Getting Crunchier All the Time

I don’t consider myself a health nut. I don’t exercise religiously (or even regularly, if I’m being honest). I’m a sugar addict. I enjoy chocolate. A lot. I don’t get enough sleep. I push myself pretty hard to achieve.

I’ve written about being a little bit crunchy – not quite a hippy environmentalist, though I have my moments. I think I’ve gotten a little crunchier lately.

I do my best to be aware of my health, and what I put into, and onto, my body. And when something enters my consciousness repeatedly, I give it my attention.

Oil Pulling

Not the best selfie ever…

The latest thing that has surfaced several times is oil pulling. It’s an Ayurvedic method of cleaning your teeth, and it’s supposed to have some pretty amazing secondary benefits, from whiter teeth to improved heart health.

I first read about it a year ago, and I thought it sounded interesting. I wasn’t sure I could handle swishing oil in my mouth for 20 minutes every day, though. Several of my friends have done it in the past, and a few swear by it. Another friend just started doing it, so I thought I would give it a try.

After about 2 weeks, I’ve noticed that my mouth is definitely clean. I think my teeth are whiter – I didn’t take “before” pictures to compare. My allergies have dramatically decreased. I was at the “I’m ready to stab my eyes with a fork because the itching is driving me crazy” stage before I started. Right away, the itchy eyes disappeared. They are starting to come back a bit, but nowhere near the levels they had been. I’m getting used to the taste, and 20 minutes doesn’t seem quite as long as it used to.

The other thing I’m trying is oil cleansing. When I was looking (again) for the information on oil pulling, I also read about oil cleansing. Since I have the Costco size jar of coconut oil, I thought, “what the heck!” I mixed up some coconut oil and olive oil and gave it a try.

After about a week and a half, I haven’t noticed a huge difference. I didn’t get any major breakouts when I started. I also haven’t been completely acne-free. To be fair, it’s only been a week and a half! I haven’t used a chemical moisturizer at all during this time, and my face is super soft. It removes makeup really well. Now, if only I could figure out how to get my eyelids to stop overproducing oil…

I’m going to give it an honest shot – at least a month. It will be interesting to see if my dentist notices any difference in a few weeks. (I’m still brushing before bed. I’ve always been horrible about flossing, though.)

Next challenge: green smoothies. Am I up for this? I have to get myself a blender…

Blessings,

Mary

Sometimes I’m a Little Bit Crunchy

 

And sometimes I’m a bit of a… you’ll have to watch the video to find out!

 

For any of you who are curious, here are the proportions I use for my natural shampoo and conditioner:

Shampoo
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp baking soda

Dissolve the baking soda in the warm water and pour into a container (I use an old shampoo bottle). Shake before using.

To use, pour straight onto your hair, focusing on the roots. Scrub and rinse. It doesn’t lather like regular shampoo. It thoroughly cleans your hair of any chemical buildup, so if you have colored your hair, you may not want to use it. I haven’t colored my hair in ages, so I am not worried about that.

Conditioner
1 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
7-10 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)
7-10 drops rosemary essential oil (optional)

Mix and store in the shower (again, I use an old conditioner bottle). Shake well before using.

To use, pour directly onto your hair, focusing more on the ends. You can let it sit on your hair for a while before you rinse it out, or you can leave it in. This helps restore the pH balance of your hair. Once your hair dries, you won’t smell the vinegar. It won’t feel slippery like with regular conditioner, so I was amazed at how easy my hair was to comb out – no tangles at all!

Tooth Powder
4 Tbsp baking soda
2 packets Stevia powder (because I like it a little sweet, and it helps counteract the flavor of the baking soda)
10 drops peppermint essential oil

Mix well with a spoon and store in a container with a lid. If you leave it open, the baking soda will absorb the odors in the air where it is stored – not the best idea if you are storing it in the bathroom!

Feel free to adjust the amounts of any of the ingredients. You’ll find lots of different versions out there on the Internet.

I’d love to hear some of your natural personal care recipes, or home remedies below. And let me know where you experience balance in your life, and where it is more of a challenge for you. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

UPDATE 2014-04-26

I just went 3 weeks back on shampoo and conditioner in an attempt to maintain color for an event. My hair was oilier, my scalp was SUPER itchy, and my hair tangled very easily. It also felt heavier.

After one wash back with the “no-poo”, my hair is lighter, softer, much less oily and much less snarly.

I recommend using non-pasteurized apple cider vinegar. I have noticed my hair is shinier than when I use the pasteurized. I think is has to do with the enzymes.

I don’t use the essential oils much any more. Just the straight solutions.

Also, several people have mentioned that they add honey to the baking soda, and it is gentler on their hair. Good luck!