Thursday, June 7, 2012

Getting more crunchy.

I spent this past weekend delving into "crunchy" blogs. I say that like it was a departure from my normal schedule but it really isn't. I've been soaking this stuff up now that I have time and mental space available. I read about using honey as a facial cleanser and am giving that a go (use only raw honey and if you can get honey from the people that made it it's even better). I bought jojoba oil at my local health food store and am going to try the Oil Cleansing Method. I have also been inspired to go "no-poo". Most of these decisions have been motivated by cost concerns; facial cleansers/creams are expensive and, also important, they haven't been working for me. I still don't consider myself "crunchy" although I think I've leaned in that direction for a while. As a teen I resisted makeup wearing and have always preferred a "natural" look. I also didn't shave my legs until I was 14 and the societal pressure got too much for me (which is funny considering I shaved my head for several years, which isn't something any other teenage girl I knew would have done). "If I can't maintain a regime in the wild then I shouldn't do it" was my thinking, although I'm far from applying that to every area of my life.

So I'm telling Damm all about "no-poo" and honey and he expressed dismay at my "home remedies". I don't think he has an actual reason, per se, it's just leagues away from what he's comfy with. I had to tease him, though, because he had devoured my home-made peanut butter protein balls (from Oxygen magazine) and my Whole-Wheat Irish Soda Bread earlier with no qualms. I'm moving away from processed junk in our foods, why not with our health care products? Plus, I found out that you can get away with not using Apple Cider Vinegar (I'm lazy and didn't want to go to the store). Just pour a bit of baking soda into your palm, mix it with a bit of warm water and apply to the roots of your hair. Apparently there is a transition period while your hair figures out it's normal status quo but then everything resolves itself and you don't have to wash it often, other than getting it wet. This solves a gigantic mystery for me: I had always wondered (true story) how girls in the 19th and 18th centuries (and even further back) could stand their hair given they didn't wash it often. Lo and behold, we don't need to. Pretty cool, eh? I washed the Orclette and Miniorc's hair with baking soda and we'll see what happens. I figure I should start now so they don't have time to become resistant.

Aren't they cute?

I also think I'm going to concoct my own body wash. I'll let you know what I come up with, but it might have to wait. Jojoba oil is rather expensive with our current budget and I want to acquire some coconut oil, which is also rather denting. Baby steps. I have been using Vitamin E oil on my "warrior wounds" (it helps me to think of stretch marks that way) and I feel like there's been a huge improvement. I did some reading, though, and it turns out that some people can have adverse reactions to it so don't just slather it over yourself. Test a bit of skin first. It doesn't bother me so I'm slathering away.

Disclaimer: Every blog I have read lately has one of these so I'm including it here. I am not a professional anything and hold no degrees or titles. I experiment on myself and like to share my findings but follow my example at your own risk. Consult your doctor, yadda yadda. Have people been sued? Is that why I'm seeing disclaimers everywhere? Anyway, there you go. I'm not qualified enough to be trusted in anything I say:)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

So here's how I've been "crunchy" so far.

So far they've all been on the health/beauty side rather than culinary attempts. I already modify any recipe, adding whole wheat flour instead of white, flaxseed, unsweetened applesauce instead of oil and other similar changes, so I guess you could say I'm already on the crunchy side culinary-wise.

So without further ado, my crunchy attempts:

#1 Turmeric Tea: It supposedly does a boatload of good stuff for you, including easing aches and pains (which is why I decided to try it). Here's the recipe, which you can find variations of all over the web:

1 C. almond milk
1/2 Tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
dash of cinnamon
very, very small dash of black pepper (apparently it makes turmeric work even better but wow, don't like the taste:)

Heat the almond milk and butter. Mix other ingredients into your cup, add a bit of the heated milk mixture. Stir. Add the rest of the stuff and enjoy. As long as I go easy on the pepper it actually makes a pretty good drink (rather like chai, in my opinion) and did get rid of my aches and pains (I had done a kettlebell/suspension training mixture the previous day). And the little golden capsule next to my mug is my cod oil supplement, which also works wonders and is supposedly best taken with butter fat, which is why I include it in my tea.

#2 Oil Cleansing Method: Google this one as well. You'll find tons of information. Basically like dissolves like and so using oil will dissolve the oil/makeup on your face (I have here reduced pages of scientific-sounding explanations to one sentence:) It's very, very important that you use organic oils, especially with EVOO. Apparently quite a few brands are NOT really extra-virgin and contain all sorts of impurities that will cause you to majorly break-out. Here's a guide to the best oils to use for your skin type and the ratios you can try. I use 2 Tbs. castor oil mixed with 1 Tbs. jojoba oil (it's good for acne-prone skin) with a couple drops of tea tree (again, good for acne-prone skin). Shake it up, massage about 1 Tbs. into your face for a minute. Get your faucet water piping hot and get a clean washcloth wet, put it on your face and let it steam for another minute. Once that's done you can wipe the oil off, rinsing your washcloth as you go (I have heard that you should use downward strokes and not upwards).

So far my skin looks awesome. I did have one, very localized breakout which is apparently normal; your skin is sloughing off all those impurities. I'll let you know if that changes.

#3 Honey: I use this honey to clean my face in the morning. Like the oils for the OCM you need to use a quality honey that's raw. If you can get some from your local farmer's market that's even better. Pour 1 Tbs. onto you hand and start massaging it into your face (which can be either dry or wet, there seems to be conflicting opinions). Massage for a minute and then wash it off (or leave it on for 10-15 minutes as a face mask). If you need to exfoliate you can add brown sugar.

#4 Laundry Detergent: Don't have a picture for this one. Go here if you want to see the original site I looked at for my recipe. Here goes:

2 C. finely grated bar soap (I used Zote). I had to grate 4 C. of the stuff and then blend it in my blender to get 2 C. of the finely shredded stuff.
1 C. Borax
1 C. Washing Soda
Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container. Apparently you only need 2 Tbs. per full load but I haven't had time to test this mixture out. I've been too busy doing all my crunchy projects:)
P.S. I found all these ingredients at Walmart. I think they cost me $9 total and I have loads left (ha! I made a pun)

So that's what I've been doing. Not sure what I'm going to do next, but I think it will involve essential oils. I'm just itching to try them out.

Monday, June 4, 2012

And the craziness just does not stop

I found another blog that has me spending hours at a time reading through the archives. Skwigg is a former anorexic/bodybuilder fanatic + a good many other phases. I totally identify, having been through the anorexic thing and the fanatical exercise thing. Her blog got me thinking about my approach to life/fitness/eating and I thought I'd share my thinking (because if you're like me other people's thoughts about nutrition and fitness are fascinating. If you're not like me feel free to ignore me:)

I will not eat diet food. I did for years and the stuff tastes nasty and I'm just not doing it anymore. I still do like using protein powder BUT I mix it up with other stuff because I don't like the taste of whey (although MuscleTech puts out a protein powder that I can drink by itself). I eat full-fat yogurt (although I am currently enamored by Brown Cow's non-fat Lemon yogurt) and mayonnaise and butter, just in small amounts. I also love whole milk. Again, I only have a serving or half a serving. Totally worth the calories/fat.

I love muscle. I do not understand the ladies who are afraid of "bulking" up and using weights and prefer to be cardio bunnies (I love that phrase. It makes me laugh.) I did the cardio thing and injured myself because my fitness approach wasn't balanced. Now I'm doing a nice mixture of strength and cardio training and I have avoided injury.

I can't do diets or fitness plans. The thought of doing a diet sounds like the most absolutely evil and insane thing I could do. Been there and done that, have the weird food habits to prove it. I also cannot do fitness "plans", again because of my obsessive habits. I stick to doing strength and cardio workouts but don't try to plan them further than that until I'm about to do them because otherwise it ceases to be fun. I enjoy flipping through my magazines and Evernote clippings to figure out my routine. I do tend to do some of the same exercises so I can track progress but I don't hold myself to it.

There's this thing called intuitive eating. Google the term; lots of stuff will come up. Basically you get in touch with your body and eat what it tells you to eat. Doesn't work for everybody (especially if it's telling you to eat ice cream) but I've been noticing that I can tell what my body is wanting. For the first time in years I've salivated over a piece of fruit and I've had a craving for protein. Formerly I only craved/salivated over junk foods. I think I've gotten to this point because I refuse to become obsessive again and won't outlaw any type of food or exercise for hours at a stretch. I'm balanced!

I've decided not to cut carbs. I posted about trying to reduce carbs but I've decided against that. I could feel the lure of fanaticism and I simply won't do that again. I'm totally cool with sticking to whole grains but I can't do the fitness competitor's diet of chicken breast+steamed veggies+ maybe one serving of oatmeal. Bleh. I have thought about buying the book Eat Stop Eat. The author is a proponent of fasting for a 24-hour period two times per week. You don't fast an entire day, though. You start after dinner and fast until the next dinner time, thereby never going a day without calories. It appeals because, although I enjoy tracking and writing down what I eat, it does become tiresome. It would be much easier to not have to think about food. I'm not sure, though. The idea of fasting brings up warning signals and I want to consider the idea more.

I want to eat more fruits and vegetables. With some protein and carbs added on. I do feel better on the days that I eat raw stuff, although I have no leanings towards vegetarianism. I adore bacon cheeseburgers. Not giving those up.

So there you go. I could go on but I don't want to produce that glazed look, which I do on a regular basis anytime I launch into the whole nutrition/fitness topic.