Hair SOS

So, I have a secret that I don’t tell many people (maybe not so much a secret anymore if I write about it here!)  . . . I only wash my hair once a week.

Ten years ago, I was washing my hair twice a day – once in the morning, and again after I worked out.  My hair was dry and frizzy, tough to control, and I spent a lot of time blowing it dry and using a flat iron to get it under control.  This was a lot of time and energy.  I met a girl at work who had similar hair to mine, but hers was totally gorgeous.  She told me to stop washing it so much, which was pretty much revolutionary back then.  When she told me she only washed her hair once a week I was FLOORED.  I had never heard of such a thing.  I was intrigued, so I started cutting back, only washing it once a day, then every other day, then every three days . . . to now, when I only wash it once a week.

Nowadays, if you do a search for “no-poo” or occasional hair washing, you will find that quite a few people are doing it these days.  Yes, you do have to deal with a greasy stage as your hair adjusts, but it is totally worth it.  Washing your hair every day strips the natural oils from your scalp and hair, and your oil glands work double time to catch up.  By letting your body regulate the amount of oil itself, the hair and scalp are way healthier.  Not to mention the TIME I save every day.

So, here’s my routine:

First, I shower at night.  This is because I can’t stand the thought of lying in my bed dirty for eight hours.  Also, I find a hot shower incredibly relaxing before bed.  This means my routine might not work the same way for you morning shower people.  Anyway, on Night 1, I wash and deep condition.  I let my hair dry overnight, which gives great volume and waves.  On Nights 2-6, I comb out the tangles in my hair, spritz it with leave-in conditioner, then put it in a high bun for the night.  This allows the conditioner to soak in and also rejuvenates my waves.

My  morning routine is dependent on the weather forecast and what my hair looks like when I get up.  If everything is looking smooth and shiny, I use a few sprays of hair spray and go on my way.  If my hair looks rough or frizzy (high humidity days), I use a few squirts of smoothing liquid to calm everything down.  If things are totally out of control, braids, ponytails and buns are my BFFs.  I also use dry shampoo, as needed, to add volume, absorb oil and sweat, etc.

The products I use are:

1.  Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid

2.  It’s a 10 Leave-In Product

3.  Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser

4.  Aubrey Organics NuStyle

5.  COCONUT OIL, of course.  A super deep conditioner, but you will probably need to shampoo twice to get it out.

What about you?  What is your no-poo or low-poo routine?  I would love a recommendation for a natural or organic shampoo and conditioner to use!  Have you tried the apple cider vinegar/baking soda combo that I have seen online?

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Apple Cider Vinegar is AMAZING!

If you haven’t heard of all the amaaazing things that apple cider vinegar (ACV) can do for you, get ready!

ACV is one of my staples, both in the kitchen and in the bathroom.  Just like coconut oil, it is a food product that is a multitasker.  First and foremost, it is important to get ACV that contains the “mother”.  Most of the store-brand ACV  you will see at the grocery store is filtered and clear, which removes the “mother”.  This is too bad, because the “mother” is full of awesome bacteria that can do amazing things.  So, make sure the bottle you buy is murky or chunky looking.  I really like to buy organic ACV that contains the “mother”, like Bragg.

Before you use the ACV, make sure you shake it up so the “mother” is evenly distributed.  Then, I take tiny squeeze bottles and fill them halfway with vinegar and top off with water.  I shake them up so the ACV is really mixed, and then I put these tiny bottles all over the place.  So, how do I use ACV?

Skin care:  I use ACV as a toner every morning instead of washing my face.  I use a gentle face wash at the end of the day to get all of my makeup and grime off, but in the morning I just use ACV to freshen up and prep for the day!  A small squirt on a cotton pad is all I need, and it makes my skin smooth and soft.

Hair care:  I use ACV to boost the shine in my hair.  About once a week, I squirt ACV all over my hair and let it sit for about five minutes.  I give my hair a rinse, and the ACV makes my hair super shiny.  Other people say ACV works wonders on their dandruff, but I don’t have personal experience with that!

Bathroom cleanup:  We have hard water, which causes this awful white mineral deposit crust on our faucets and handles.  I used to use really harsh cleansers to try and remove it, but they never worked.  ACV is a miracle worker!  A quick swipe of ACV on a cotton pad dissolves the mineral deposits like magic!  (If you have a lot of white gunk it might take some time to get it all off, but you will definitely see an improvement even after one use.)

Tea:  I make a great cup of tea with ACV.  I boil some water, add 2 T of ACV, one T of honey, and a bit of lemon.  This is a very comforting and soothing drink, especially if my throat is scratchy.

Sunburn:  I am usually a sunscreen fanatic, but as a redhead, the sun can still sometimes be too much.  A bit of ACV on a cotton pad and then gently dabbed onto sunburn gives a great deal of relief.  (Side note:  after the ACV is applied, I like to slather up with coconut oil – it is amazing!)

Comfort Food – sweet potato edition

When the weather gets chilly, I am all about the comfort food – anything I can bake in a casserole, simmer on the oven, or put in a crock pot sounds delicious.  I tried a new recipe last night that you all will love – sweet potato casserole from Oh She Glows.  I have to admit that I used real butter, not vegan, but stayed pretty true to the recipe otherwise.  My kids and husband raved.

Recipe pasted below from Oh She Glows:

YIELD:8 SERVINGS  PREP TIME:35 MINUTES    COOK TIME:35 MINUTES
Ingredients:
FOR THE SWEET POTATO MASH:
  • 4.5-5 pounds sweet potatoes (approx. 4-5 large)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt, or to taste
FOR THE CRUNCHY NUT CRUMBLE:
  • 1 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 1/3 cups pecan halves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Peel and roughly chop sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place into a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to med-high, and gently boil for 10-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 2.5 quart (10 cup) casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Prepare the crumble topping: Pulse the oats in a food processor until coarsely chopped. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped pecans, oats, almond meal/flour, cinnamon, and salt. Pour on melted coconut oil, melted butter, and maple syrup. Stir until combined.
  4. Once cooked and drained, place sweet potatoes into a large bowl.
  5. Mash potatoes with the butter and coconut oil until smooth. Now, stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Adjust to taste if desired. Spoon into casserole dish and smooth out.
  6. Sprinkle the crumble topping all over the sweet potato mixture, evenly.
  7. Bake, uncovered, at 375F for 16 to 23 minutes, until the dish is hot throughout. Plate and serve immediately with a pat of vegan butter or coconut oil.

Note: Instead of boiling the potatoes you can roast them whole in the oven and then scoop out the flesh. The choice is yours! 2) For a creamy twist, try subbing some of the butter/oil in the sweet potato mash for full-fat canned coconut cream.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2014/11/04/saweet-potato-casserole-with-a-crunchy-nut-crumble-vegan-gf/#ixzz3IJv6ofHK

Coconut Oil in the Kitchen

I loooove coconut oil!  I buy six jars at a time when I find it in stock at Trader Joe’s.  I use it to make my own brown sugar body scrub, body lotion, and in oil pulling, as well as using it straight on my skin and hair to keep things soft.

However, one of my favorite everyday ways to use coconut oil is when I cook.  It seems like oil and butter are called for in most recipes, and I love to sub coconut oil in and get the additional benefits.  Here are some of the ways I like to use coconut oil – give them a try!

  • Eggs – use coconut oil in the pan instead of spray or butter
  • Baking – when oil or butter is called for, use an equivalent amount of coconut oil (or try half coconut oil and half applesauce – delicious!)
  • Popcorn – put a chunk in the pot before you pop, and then melt more and drizzle on top
  • Smoothies – coconut oil tastes great in smoothies
  • Sauteing – whenever I saute or sweat veggies, a bit of coconut oil does the job really well
  • Coffee – sometimes I put a teaspoon of coconut oil in my coffee for some flavor

It's PUMPKIN time!

The leaves are changing, the nights are cold, I switched my closet out to boots and sweaters instead of sandals and tanks . . . it’s FALL!  To me, fall means pumpkin season.  I am a pumpkin maniac.  Here are my favorite pumpkin recipes:

PUMPKIN SMOOTHIE:  I use a recipe from lululemon as my basline, but I tweak it a bit and make enough to share with my husband.  In a blender, put:

  • 2 C almond milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 4 dates
  • 1/2 a can of organic pumpkin (I get mine at Trader Joe’s!)
  • 2 scoops of protein (I use Isagenix vanilla)
  • a few healthy sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice
  • Blend it up, pour into two cups, and enjoy!

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS:  I save all the pumpkin seeds from our Halloween Jack O’Lanterns, and roast them up for a delicious, nutritious snack!

Put all the pumpkin guts into a large bowl, then fill with warm water.  The seeds float, which makes them super easy to separate from the pulp.  Then, I boil some salted water and put the seeds in for ten minutes.  I dry the seeds, then spread them onto a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with kosher salt.  I put them in a 375 degree oven for about a half hour, stirring them every five minutes or so.  I know they are done when they are dry, crunchy, and the edges look a bit golden brown.  (I usually sample a few every time I stir so that I get them just right!)

PUMPKIN MUFFINS:  recipe an adaptation of 100 Days of Real Food  (makes approximately 2 dozen muffins)

  • Whisk together 3 C flour, 3 t cinnamon, 2 t ground ginger, 1 t nutmeg, 1/4 t cloves, 2 t baking soda, 1/2 t baking powder, 1 t salt in a large bowl.
  • Make a hole in the center, and add 4 eggs, 1 C applesauce, 1 C honey, and 1 t vanilla.  Stir thoroughly, but do not overmix.
  • Fold in 1 can of organic pumpkin.  Put into muffin liners, and bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes.

Enjoy the season!