Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Lowdown on the No Shampoo "Adjustment Period"

I recently stopped using shampoo in favor of more natural methods of hair cleansing. On all the blog posts I've read about making the switch, it talks about an "adjustment period" when your hair may be greasy, sticky, or stiff. I thought I was prepared for these things, but once I entered the adjustment period, I felt like some things were underemphasized or skipped entirely. So on this blog post, I am going to break down into detailed sections exactly what I experienced during my adjustment period. The method I used changed a few times because I was desperate for a way to make my hair less gross, but I used a pH balanced shampoo, plain raw honey, and finally, a bentonite clay mixture, which worked best for me. I'm a little over 4 weeks in.

-Hair Will Be Greasy
"Big deal," you think, "I've gone a few days without showering before." No. Your hair will become so greasy, you could stick it to the wall in shapes, like Wikki Stix. The plus side to this: my updos were unshakeable. I could have walked through a hurricane and remained perfectly coifed. Be prepared to wear your hair up for at least the first 3-4 weeks. Down is not an option. I think the sticky and stiff part is implied under this heading.

These pictures were taken in my super greasy stage. I had worn that bun all day long and even laid down with the baby a few times. It was like having an entire jar of pomade in my hair.

-All Brushes Will Be Disgusting
My brushes had to washed after every single brushing. White residue from my scalp coated every bristle and on the sides of the brush there was a build up of grease and dead skin cells. It was pretty gross. I thought maybe I was more disgusting than other people that no one else mentioned it in their posts, but I hope by writing this I can save someone else from thinking they are extra disgusting!

-Breakouts on the Scalp
Pretty self-explanatory, but they cleared up within four weeks.

-Itchy Scalp
Terribly itchy all over my scalp. And it was gross because itching my scalp would leave a nasty, pasty residue under my fingernails. Yuck.

This could partly be because dirty scalp is one of those smells that really bother me, but my hair was stinky. This went away fairly quickly. I would say by three weeks.

I have been as honest as I can be about the adjustment period. It might seem like I am trying to discourage others from making the switch, but I just want to tell people exactly what it is like so they don't give up because they think they must be doing it wrong if their hair gets nastier than they thought it would. I almost gave up a few times- no one mentioned the breakouts and I was afraid my hair was just too gross for it to work. I thought maybe the no 'poo life wasn't for me. I'm glad I stuck it out now, but it was very tempting to give up. I would still consider myself in the adjustment period, but the things that bothered me the most are improving and I know they will eventually be resolved. This last picture was taken tonight. My dye job is growing out (another consequence of deciding to go all natural with my hair), I didn't blow dry it, and only brushed it after it was dry. Basically, my hair is a disaster, but you can see it's no longer waxy and limp.

None of these things were bad enough that I couldn't handle it for a few weeks. With some creative hair styling it was hardly noticed by others (or at least people were polite and pretended not to notice). It was all worth it to me and if you think you could survive these things, I would encourage you to give it a try.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm baaaaack... again.

I am happy to say that I have lost 35 pounds since my last post. I did gain 5 pounds back, but I'm working on fixing that. We have had a lot happen over the past month. Hubby got a new job and we had to move quickly. There was a lot of driving, a lot of packing, a lot of busyness, and not a lot of time. Translation: I ate enough fast food to kill a yak. I also fell off the no sugar wagon. And then rolled off a cliff. Then fell into the ocean. Then sunk to the bottom of an abyss. Translation: I ate enough sugar to put a yak into a diabetic coma. I have been struggling to get back on track.

I teach the 14 & 15 year old girls' class at church. The assigned lesson yesterday was about self-discipline. I realized I have been justifying the slip back into bad habits. I need to be honest with myself and take responsibility for my poor choices. Stress is not a valid reason to treat my body like a garbage can. In fact, I can't think of anything that would excuse that. I need to get back on track. No more excuses, no more justification!

Hubby and I have both gained weight since the move. Hubby is working a swing shift. His hours change every week. That makes it difficult for either of us to make a regular training schedule. I am also a little nervous about running in the dark in our new area. We have a beautiful riverside bike trail that runs not far from our house, but we are not in the best area. I would run it in the light hours of the morning, but not in the dark at any hour! With Hubby's swing shift, sometimes running in the dark is the only option. I need to find a running venue that I can feel comfortable with when that happens. We have a nice high school track within easy driving distance that I can use for my Monday & Wednesday runs, but going around a track 21 times+ for my long runs sounds horrible. I'll work on it.

Next thing to consider is my eating habits. I started back with no sugar today. The first week is always tough, and I am expecting a pretty miserable seven days. I ate like 5 dates today. They have proven to be excellent at curbing processed sugar cravings in the past and I'm hoping they will serve me well this next week. After I get my sugar consumption under control I will move on to counting calories again.

It feels good to have a plan. I don't want to have to keep losing the same 40 pounds over and over and OVER again. I really want to reach, and stay at, my final goal this time. I will go all the way!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cooking Class

Tonight there was a cooking class at my house. It was supposed to be a healthy cooking class, and I don't really know a whole lot about healthy cooking (brownies are made with cocoa, and cocoa comes from cocoa beans which come from a tree so it's a plant and that makes it a vegetable, right?). BUT, I have been trying to do the whole vegetarian thing lately. I was a little worried how the class would be received. After all, we're smack dab in the middle of cattle country. Everyone was so wonderful! They asked questions, they tried the food, they seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying AND a good portion was stuff no one had heard yet. I forget that not everyone is as obsessed with natural food blogs as I am so I assumed most of it would be old news. It felt good to be able to share some of the things I've learned as I am trying to make this transition. Thank you so much to the sisters that came. You guys are the best! And in your honor, I am going to share the recipe for my favorite breakfast.

Sybil's Steel Cut Oats

1 c. steel cut oats
3 c. water
5 dates, roughly chopped
sprinkle of cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
rice milk (or any milk, really)
1/2 Tbsp hemp seed
1/2 Tbsp chia seed
handful of raw almonds
maple syrup or stevia or other sweetener

Bring water to a boil and add oats. Turn heat down. Toss in your dates. I'm trying to give up processed sugar, so I go a little heavy on the dates to get my sweet fix. :) Add cinnamon and cloves. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes. I know, I know, that seems like a long time, BUT it makes a lot. I always store it in the refrigerator and just heat up individual portions. It will last me about 4 days. When it's done cooking, spoon out a portion (a little goes a looooong way), top with rice milk, hemp & chia seeds, almonds and maple syrup. If you let it sit for a while, the almonds get a little tender and it is delicious!

I always feel like a million bucks for 2-3 hours after eating this. It keeps me full without making me feel sluggish and gives me lots of energy.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Progress... kinda

I have been plugging along. I haven't been terribly successful, but not a complete failure either. I've been eating whatever I want, but watching my portions. I think I've done ok. I lost 5 pounds just from not eating like a crazy person (but isn't that what the holidays are for??) since we've been back from our holiday traveling. Apparently it takes like 7,000 calories a day to sustain that rate of weight gain. :) I made my little "Pounds to Go" and "Pounds Lost" jars with the pebbles in them and took great pleasure in moving my five little pebbles to the "Pounds Lost" jar.

I am a little stalled in my exercise because I am EXHAUSTED. Kyla, I do not know how you are running when you get so little sleep. The girls have been sick. We had the stomach flu twice with the regular flu in between. Our sleeping routines are allll messed up and we're having a hard time reestablishing them. However, I am reaching the insanity level of exhaustion. I think I'm going to lock our bedroom door, turn on the sound machine, and let the kids figure out their sleeping arrangements sans our bed. I'm hoping this will make for a better frame of mind for exercising.

I am reading an excellent book. It's called A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson. It's not about an eating plan, but how we use food to replace God in our lives and how to change that. I never thought that my dependence on food was akin to idolatry, but what she says makes sense. I will admit that some of it is weird and I haven't done all the assignments, but it has been instrumental in returning the sanity to my eating. For a while after the holidays I thought I was going to be a thoughtless food shoveler for the rest of my life because I could not make myself STOP EATING! Things have improved vastly since I started reading her book and I would recommend it to anyone who feels hopeless about losing weight.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Today was a very stressful day. There was a mix-up with my bank where they took my credit card payment out of my checking account TWICE, Jane (and therefore, I) did not sleep well last night and was cranky, I have clothes the girls have outgrown aaaalllll over the house that I was trying to sort/put away, Sarah has been having a testing-her-limits stage lately that is soooo fun, Tyler had meetings at the church tonight so was home for only a half hour to eat, Jane acted like a maniac during story time so bed time took about 1-1/2 hours, etc, etc, etc! I am feeling frazzled. I am feeling completely wrung out. I am feeling intense cravings for unspeakable amounts of doughnuts.

My cry for help is this: what works for you when you really need to vent some steam? Besides eating. I have already mastered that stress relief technique. :) And how do you switch your technique from eating to something else? I'm open to any suggestions!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Back on Track

This morning I made a delicious green drink. I added more green cubes than usual to make up for the fact that I didn't really make many green drinks over the weekend. Jane and I shared it, like we always do. I'm convinced it's the reason we didn't catch the flu that Sarah had. :) Maybe I should start making smoothies for Sarah's breakfast so she can beef up her immune system. That might include waking up a little earlier.... well, I'm sure it would work just as well if I made her one after school.

I thought I should probably start taking pictures of the stuff I'm making. So here's my green drink.

I realized two things when I took this picture: 1) I do not have any attractive glasses. I broke all our glass ones when I was pregnant with Jane. 2) Our kitchen is really dirty. You know those days when you can't find any clean dishes so you end up using recycled sour cream containers to mix your chickpea salad in? Not that I'm having that kind of day.... and if I was, who are you to judge me! Ahem. Sooo, I made this one with 3 little bathroom cup (you know, the little Dixie kind that you use for mouthwash) size green cubes, a handful of a frozen fruit mix with peaches, mangoes, pineapple, and strawberries in it, a few frozen blackberries, a banana, some rice milk and white grape juice.

Speaking of chickpea salad, I found this delicious basic recipe for a chickpea salad from Diva Dish (I really REALLY love this woman). You can also use chicken if you'd prefer. It's basically mushed chickpeas with garlic hummus instead of mayo. Then you add in your regular chicken salad ingredients. I used some quartered grape tomatoes, chopped green onions, chopped roasted almonds, a little handful of golden raisins, Garam Masala, cumin, salt & pepper and some fresh chopped cilantro. It was A-MAZING. I almost left out the raisins. I'm not a big fan of raisins in savory salads. That would have been a mistake. The sweetness in the raisins really brought out the flavor of the cardamom from the Garam Masala. It was like pure deliciousness.....

Sorry! I drifted off in a rapturous memory of eating my chickpea salad sandwich. Point is, it was GOOD. Try it. You'll like it.

Mug Cakes

(photo from family kitchen)

Last night I was having a hard core baked goods jones. I wanted cupcakes. Or coffee cake. Or brownies. Or cookies. Really, anything with sugar and butter that could be baked would have done. I was telling Tyler about this craving and he made a brilliant remark. "I wish there was a recipe for just two cookies." I realized I had a recipe for something like that! Have you ever heard of mug cakes? They are little single cakes that you cook in a mug in the microwave. I remembered pinning the recipe for a chocolate salted caramel mug cake recently. It seemed like just the single serving fix I was looking for!

I mixed up the ingredients and popped it in the microwave. One minute and thirty seconds later, I had a little chocolate cake aaaallll for me. It was horrible. :( It uses a whole egg in a mug sized cake. As you can imagine, that makes it a bit, well, eggy. If that's the only chocolate cake I can have, I might hold out hope for a chocolate craving cure. Oh well. It was great in theory.

If you want to try it for yourself, head on over to's family kitchen. Maybe double the recipe, but use only one egg? If anyone has suggestions, please let me know. I would love to be able to make this work.