Saturday, September 29, 2012

My "No-Poo" experience.

When I told my 16 year old niece that I had not used shampoo in over 2 months, her response:

"OMG! Auntie that's DISGUSTING!!!  You need to wash your hair!"

  I DO wash my hair, I just don't use shampoo and conditioner. This has come to be known as "No-Poo" (as opposed to "sham-poo".. get it? .. .. anyway...)  Instead of using commercial shampoo and conditioner, I use baking soda and coconut oil. 

  I decided to go the route of no-pooing for a few different reasons:
  • First: The chemicals in synthetic shampoo strips the natural oils from your scalp. The issue with this is that then the scalp overcompensates for the lack of oils by producing more!  (btw.. the same thing happens with your face and soap. Every time you wash your face with any cleanser, you strip the natural oils off your face which then produces MORE oils to replace it.. it's a vicious cycle)
  • Second: I am trying to get away from using so many chemicals, additives, etc.  Just as I am trying to stop putting chemicals and additives into my body in the form of food, I have decided I would rather not put them ON my body either. 
  • Third: I have spent PENNIES on my hair care over the last few months. 
  • Fourth:  It's an ADVENTURE!!  Why not? I had decided to give this a try. Either I was going to end up with string cheese on my head, or I was going to end up with healthy hair sans chemicals. Either way, what is the risk? Are puppies being tortured across the world by my trying this? Nope.. so.. why not!?
Check out the Wiki for more information:

So... what do I do?   How do I wash my hair?   What has my experience been?  What's my hair look like?

  What I had learned originally with this was that you take 1 tbsp baking soda and dissolve it in 1 cup water. I would use that on my scalp mostly and then kinda run it through my hair a bit and rinse it out.  Then, for a "conditioner" I would take 1 tbsp of vinegar in 1 cup of water and use that on my hair but not on my scalp, let it sit for a bit, and then rinse. (no you don't end up smelling like vinegar)  Shortly after I started my "no-poo"ing, I went on my Awesome August Adventure and was experiencing different types of water every time I washed my hair for a month. The majority of that month was me out in the woods, and so I just had a little baggie of dry baking soda that I would make into a paste in my hand and smoosh it into my scalp and then rinse it out. 
  We have REALLY hard water here, and I was finding that I had some sort of buildup in my hair.  After doing some research I found that with hard water you should boil the water before you put the baking soda in. So, I did that (I make up 4 cups at a time and put it into a large container then put it into a small travel size shampoo bottle that has a squeezy type top). I did this and put it just on my scalp as I was used to. I found that my hair at my scalp was SOOO amazingly clean and soft!  but I still seemed to have a film in the rest of my hair. As an experiment I just went and took a lock of my hair and poured the boiled water/bs mixture onto just this one dry lock.... and.... in the sink I was seeing black dripping from my hair. It seems that it was literally cleaning the iron film out of my hair! Needless to say, I then followed with washing my entire head with the boiled water solution. So now I use the boiled water/bs solution and "lather" it through all of my hair (there is absolutely NO lather involved with this, which is a bit hard to get used to at first, but will save a lot of time and water since there are no suds to have to rinse out)
  I haven't played around with the vinegar "conditioner" part of it yet, but I stopped using it.. not really for any reason, I just don't think I need it.  I use coconut oil as my facial moisturizer, so what I now do is after I moisturize my face and have a smidget of coconut oil on my hands, I run my hands through the ends of my hair and find that it gives my hair a nice finish. 

And now.. for what my hair looks like.. you be the judge (btw, I could have done an entire blog about how hard it is to take a picture of the back of your own head!)

I washed my hair yesterday morning around 7am.. used a smidge of coconut oil on the ends..went to work yesterday, did a bunch of cleaning/organizing/physical activity last night, etc, etc (just to let you know this wasn't like freshly washed hair.. it has been through its paces a bit.) I am finding I can go at least 4 days before I feel like I need to wash it.

Another benefit I think I am getting from this, is that bugs leave me alone. (I am going to give the credit to no-poo anyway) While I was out on the Trail in August, my hiking pal was being bothered a lot, while I was getting left alone. Off Trail however, sometimes I want some sort of nice scent in my hair. I have found that if I just take a nice body spray and spritz my hair a couple times that works nicely. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wait, WHAT are you eating?

Well, acorns of course!  

Tonight is the last night of my "retirement" as I start a new job tomorrow and I decided to celebrate with a sweety-yum-yum of some sort.  The crisp atmosphere of Fall is in the air begging me to make a cozy treat for the evening.  Keeping in line with the Autumn theme of the treat, I decided to utilize some acorns I have had processed and ready to use for about two years.  

I have been trying to get away from enriched flour (and leaning towards gluten free all together) and so, started searching out a recipe that I could use that did NOT include wheat based flour.  This proved to be quite a task!  Just about every recipe that uses acorn flour ALSO uses another wheat based flour. I finally found one that made me perk up.  

Here is what I found:

Banana Acorn Cake (Flourless, Gluten Free)
  • 1/4 cup acorn meal
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2/3 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • Mix dry ingredients together, then mix wet ingredients together. Pour into pre-oiled pan (a smallish bread pan works well) and cook for approx 20 minutes at 350.

 I had to keep it in the oven for probably more like 40 minutes in order for it to not seem like an oil bubbling chocolate sponge.  I had a piece of it while it was still hot and the center was molten coconut oil and somehow I could not decide if it was gross or yummy.  I decided to put it in the fridge to cool it down and then try again. 

  Vanilla almond milk in hand, I pulled the cooled "cake" out of the fridge for a second try. It was still pretty much an oil soaked sponge, but no longer apt to cause 3rd degree burns in my mouth. I sliced off a tiny sliver of the very flat, dense, oily loaf and popped it in my mouth. Again... absolute toss up, is this disgusting, or yummy?  

  I think it is the coconut oil. Or, perhaps it's the banana. Maybe that I used dark chocolate cocoa? Either way, it's not the acorn that I am having a problem with personally.  I decided to get a second opinion and presented it to my mother.  She decided it was worthy and I left the entire "cake" with her and her fork.

  Perhaps I will try tweaking this recipe and see if I can turn it into something more palatable, but that is not going to happen tonight.