Oct 29, 2008

No shampoo experiment, day 24: Going well

I am still in love with no 'poo. My hair and scalp feel great. I am still washing with baking soda about every three days and rinse with apple cider vinegar. In between I sometimes wash with water. I don´t think my hair has ever been so soft and shiny. It doesn´t really get too oily, nor dry. Yet, at least. I have been warned that the BS might start drying my hair and I will have to phase it out. I have managed to stay away from it 3,5 days but then my scalp got itchy and hair looked a bit greasy so I washed it with BS again. An interesting thing is that I think my hair dries now slower after I have washed it. I am too lazy to blow dry so I walk around with wet hair now more than before. My husband is still no'pooing too and he likes it. Soon I will be giving away free half-used shampoos at my house. :)

Oct 24, 2008

Make your own bread spread

On my bread I like to use organic butter instead of store bought margarines that contain who knows what. But the butter is not spreadable straight from the fridge so I have started making my own bread spread. It is fast, easy and it tastes good!

All you need is

a blender or an electrical mixer
1 cup of butter
1 cup of vegetable oil (I have tried canola oil, didn´t like the taste and now I use sunflower oil, but you could use any oil you like)
1 cup of icecold water
a container, like an old margarine container - I prefer using glass containers, like Pyrex, photo below, instead to avoid possible chemicals leaching from plastic.
(If you want to try something different you can also add some garlic or herbs!)



Let the butter soften for a while. Mix it with oil in the blender until the mixture is smooth. Keep on mixing and pour the water slowly in. Pour the mixture in the container. It will harden in the fridge but it will still be easily spreadable.

Oct 18, 2008

Less paper waste with Catalog Choice service

Image: Catalogchoice

I just added an unnececessary an unwanted catalog that I found in our mailbox to the onlince service Catalog Choice. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

"Catalog Choice is a free service that allows you to decide what gets in your mailbox. Use it to reduce your mailbox clutter, while helping save natural resources."

Catalog choice

Oct 15, 2008

Good bye stained coffee mugs

I read this tip from the ReadyMade magazine last week, tried it and loved it.

If you have tea and coffee stains in your cups, try this. Take a citrus peel, pour a little bit of salt on it, rub the stains inside the cup and wash as usual.

So I spent last weekend rubbing our stained tea and coffee mugs. (Who says my life is boring?!) It worked really well.

They also had some pumpkin recipes I was asking for earlier in another post.

Oct 14, 2008

No shampoo experiment, day 10: Feels good!

I have now been on no shampoo experiment for 10 days and I really like it. My hair and scalp looks and feels nice and the soreness and itchiness of my scalp has dramatically reduced. I think the shampoo and / or frequent washing was actually causing it.

My hair has not been too oily, maybe a little bit more than usual but it doesn´t look bad. It doesn´t smell or anything like that (maybe a little bit like vinegar for a while after the rinse if I hasn´t managed to wash it out completely).

I have been washing my hair with baking soda (less than 1 tbsp mixed in about a cup of water) every three days and rinsed it with apple cider vinegar mixed with water. I sometimes add some essential oils (thyme, tea tree, chamomille) to the rinse too.

In the days between I wash (if I wash) with water only or with the essential oil or vinegar rinse. If my hair stays like this I don´t think I will ever go back to shampoo again. I think I will try to reduce the baking soda washes too little by little. I will post a picture of the new hair soon, now I don´t think there is any big change yet.

My husband has tried this too and likes it. So right now no-one in my family uses shampoo! :)

Oct 10, 2008

Repair it yourself: Clogged sink

Maybe you already know this, but in case you don´t I wanted to share this good tip for unclogging sinks that I used today while waiting for the plumber or my husband to come and repair our clogged kitchen sink. I looked for instructions online and found some that worked (and it was really easy to do to) from ThisOldHouse.com.

"Most minor sink clogs can be cleared with a plunger. Partially fill the sink with water, then start plunging. Vigorously work the plunger up and down several times before quickly pulling it off the drain opening. If it's a double-bowl kitchen sink, stuff a wet rag into one drain opening while you plunge the other one. If it's a bath sink, stuff the rag into the overflow hole. In both cases, the rag helps deliver the pressure directly to the clog."
So no plumber (or husband) was needed this time.

Oct 9, 2008

Greener Halloween

I just got a marketing e-mail from a web store selling organic stuff. I was about to delete it when I noticed they had good tips for a more sustainable Halloween. I hadn´t even thought about it. We don´t celebrate Halloween in Finland so we are not really accustomed to it. We decided not to participate anyway - at least yet - because we don´t want our son to get used to sugary candies yet.

Green Halloween tips

1. Trick or treat with reusable bags
2. Make the costume yourself (Thrift stores are a great place to find creative costume ideas. And you can donate it back later.)
3. Give eco-friendlier and healthier treats (organic fruit leather, fair trade chocolate, xylitol chewing gum, organic raisins etc.)
4. Walk instead of driving
5. Reuse, donate or recycle party favors

(Original tips from Nubius Organics)

More greener halloween tips from
StopGlobalWarming.org

Do you have good pumpkin recipes? I would like to try to cook pumpkin but I have never tried so I need good healthy recipes.

Oct 7, 2008

Trains: A Green Alternative for Travel

As American’s we don’t often think of traveling by train. It’s something that Europeans take for granted. The idea of a trip comes up and we immediately think of planes or cars. It’s easy and it’s what we’re used to.

A few weeks ago my husband and I needed to go on a business trip to Chicago and drive a moving truck back. Usually when we go we get a round trip plane ticket and have to waste the return portion of the ticket. I started thinking about my business trip a couple of years ago when I took the Amtrak from New York City to Boston to Philadelphia to Washington, DC. It was so much better than flying and trains have tons more room.

Actually, train travel is financially more beneficial as well. Our plane tickets would have cost at least $500 per person for a round trip ticket and ironically even more for a one-way ticket. Our train tickets cost $100 per person with a $244 upgrade for our private room, for a total of $444 for both of us.

The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I was really looking forward to a romantic trip with my husband (who happens to be 6’5” so he fits in the train a lot better than a plane). We had the best, most relaxing trip. We chose to get a private sleeping room since the trip was going to be 16 hours.

We left Jackson, MS at 6:00 pm and got to Chicago at 10:00 am…well, we were supposed to. One of the drawbacks of trains in the United States is that they don’t really run on time. We were about three hours late, but we didn’t mind. We had a wonderful steak dinner on Thursday night and went back to our room to watch a movie on my laptop. After a very good night sleep (the chairs folded out to a bed), we ordered breakfast and brought it back to the room to watch the scenery and read. All in all, it was the most relaxing trip I’ve taken. No cell phone, no internet, just spending time enjoying the ride.

It wasn’t until I was reading my new Mother Earth News magazine that I realized how green the trip was. There was a column called “Green Your Getaway”. It says, “This lower-carbon alternative lets you relax and enjoy the scenery on the way to your destination while releasing fewer greenhouse gases than flying or driving.” I had never really considered the idea of train travel, but after this wonderful experience and given the fact that it actually is better for the environment, I fully intend to use this alternative when ever possible.

The trains do have limited coverage in our area, but there are stations in Lake Charles, Lafayette, New Orleans, Jackson, MS and Marshall, TX. You can check out the routes at Amtrak. You can get a full sleeper room with a private bath, a smaller sleeper room with a bathroom down the hall or just a seat in the general cars. The general seats are very large and recline with a foot stool. The restaurant/bar is very good. We took the City of New Orleans which featured great Cajun food. We even ended up sharing a table with a great guy who was traveling with his two small kids to meet his wife.

I would like to encourage everyone to think about taking the train for your next trip. Instead of fighting traffic, being stuck on a monotonous interstate and paying ridiculous gas prices, you can put the driving in someone else’s hands and sit back and enjoy the view from the large picture windows while helping the environment and seeing the countryside as your great-grandparents probably did. You might even come home with a new friend or two.

You can also check out “Tips for Eco-friendly Travel” at Mother Earth News. Happy traveling and maybe we’ll see you on the train!

Oct 6, 2008

No poo experiment, day 2

Ok, I am not going to report about my hair every day but I found this video from Youtube that I wanted to share with you, it made me laugh.

After hearing on Skype phone about my no shampoo experiment, my mother suggested that I would also add some good oils in my diet to help with the possible dryness of the skin. (She also suggested that I could shave my hair but I think I will still wait before taking such radical measures...) So I started today taking vegan omega capsules (made of black currant seeds instead of fish oil) and decided to eat a few nuts every day.

My scalp feels a little itchy today so I am trying to remind myself why I started this.

1. I don´t like the chemicals in the shampoos. I am afraid they will harm my skin and that they are bad for my health too.
2. The shampoos won´t help the itchiness in my scalp. The medicated shampoos intended to help with the problem make things worse.
3. I have read that my body can produce natural oils that will help to keep my scalp and hair well if I don´t wash them away with shampoo. If this is the case, the shampoos are actually unnecessary.
4. Especially organic/natural shampoos cost a lot of money.

The hair looks and feels good though after baking soda and organic apple cider vinegar wash. Tonight I rinsed it with water and a rinse of essential oils (rosemary, tea tree, chamomille) diluted to water. Tip: The oils mix with water easier if you dilute them first in a little bit of milk (this applies also to adding essential oils added to bath water by the way). I forgot to take a "before" picture to compare for later, but this one is taken 20 hours after the first baking soda / vinegar wash.

Oct 5, 2008

Experiment: Going shampoo free



My scalp got itchy after moving to US about two years ago. The dermatologist says it is seborrheic dermatitis. The interesting thing is that it gets better when I visit my home in Finland for longer periods. So I have figured it must be caused by the climate (humid!) or water or then I have stress about living so far away from home :)

Either way, I read about going shampoo free (look at this amazing link to learn more!) and I am going to try it now, starting today. I will follow the instructions of the link above and use baking soda (1 tbsp per 1 cup of water) and occasionally apple cider vinegar rinse. I will follow the experiment in this blog.

I think this might make sense since I rarely use shampoo on my son´s hair, who is two. He has quite a lot of hair and even if I hardly ever use baby shampoo to wash it, it feels nice and smells good and the scalp looks good. So going natural in this case might just help. I feel very hopeful.

Do you have any experience or good hints about going shampoo free?

Welcome to the Living Naturally blog!

Living Naturally in Louisiana blog started from a yahoo group, an online support group for people in Northern Louisiana attempting to live more natural life. The purpose of this blog is to reach more people.

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