Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Update after over a year!

My how time flies!

Despite my lack of posts, I've been very busy continuing to change my habits and products!

Some of the changes I have made in the last year include:

Using coconut oil for:
-oil pulling in mornings when I get up or on my way (driving) to work, my goal is to do daily but its still been rather sporadic.
-(in place of) body lotion after showers - it works great!  I've also been using it as a facial moisturizer since about March and I've had several compliments on my skin since I made the change!
-use it instead of shortening for cooking and baking.  ratio of 3/4 cup coconut oil to 1 cup shortening
-use it to remove my eye makeup and waterproof mascara

Consuming raw milk:
-daughter has been drinking for over a year
-She had a stubborn spot of eczema on lower back that despite all the creams on the market and some steroid creme from the pediatrician it just lingered - since she has been drinking raw milk it has completely disappeared.
-She also has a stubborn spot of eczema on sides of her biceps, as long as she is drinking raw milk they are gone but if we run out of raw milk and switch to organic milk, it starts coming right back.  Right now its back because we ran out of raw milk several weeks ago and I haven't had a chance to drive to the farm to get more (2 hour drive, round-trip)
-I did a lot of research before letting my child drink raw milk and drank it myself before letting her drink it.  It has a different taste, not bad by any means, it just tastes 'clean'.  If you've ever tried it, you'll understand.  Its almost like i can taste hints of the grass that the cows ate.
If you'd like more info, I'd start researching here:
However, I also learned a lot from other moms and their decisions to turn to consuming raw dairy and  how it has affected their families health.

Drinking Lemon Water
I've read that drinking a glass of water, preferably warm, with some fresh lemon juice squeezed into it  is supposed to help your liver detox.  I've also read it has an alkaline effect on the body when consumed (even though it is an acid, technically)
I personally like the taste and it helps me keep up with drinking the proper amount of water on a daily basis, there are several sites that talk about the many benefits of lemon water that can be found just by google-ing it.  Here's a few links that I came across in my search:

I started making my own dishwasher soap.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and it works pretty darn good!  However, I do still use Cascade in a load if it is extra greasy or my dishes have a lot of food baked on.
Here's the recipe:
2 cups of Borax
2 cups of Super Washing Soda
2 cups Lemi Shine
1 cup kosher salt
use white vinegar as a rinse aid
I've read on some blogs that there is concern for using Borax on dishes since you eat off of them.  there are recipes for the same without the borax - maybe eventually I will try one of those but right now this works great.

We try to avoid eating GMOs if we can.
why?  There are lots of studies out there, and its really hard to find studies that are not biased one way or the other.  However, I don't feel like the right type of studies have been done on these - and specifically long term studies.  Most studies are 90 days or less.  There was a study that was released a while back that was a  2 year study but it was retracted - whether that was from errors or from pressure of GMO producers, we will never know.  BUT, I think if they are really as safe as they are touted, then there will be more long term studies released SHOWING the safety of these organisms.
But on the other hand, I'm not sure how I feel about patenting a life form that can live, breed and spread on its own.  Its like Jurassic Park, I know it sounds cliche, but just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean you should.....  You can bet I will be watching how these play out in the future of our food supply.  Some articles I found of interest include:

We are working towards eating a more paleo diet.  We try to cut out as much processed food as we can (which cuts out a lot of our exposure to GMOs)  Our general rule of thumb is to try to eat our food in a form that is as close to the way it was in nature.  We try to eat our veggies raw (or at least the ones that taste good raw) but we definitely cook all our meats - we don't eat any meat raw.  (unless its a special occasion and me and my husband get to indulge in some beef carpaccio!  Yum!)  We've really started to limit the amount of starches, sugars and grains and flours in our cooking and meals.  We do occasionally eat white rice or basmati and we do occasionally eat pasta, but we've cut back quite a bit from how much we used to eat.  I do think you need carbohydrates to live, I just think the typical American probably eats WAY too much of them.  Since I have cut back on them, I haven't had any trouble keeping my body at an ideal weight and I am not even exercising on a regular basis.  And I have a desk job.  Maybe I'm an unusual case study.  I am not a doctor or nutritionist but this is what I have noticed with the changes I have made in my eating habits.  

I was no pooing for over a year and it was working great - except for the development of a dry and itchy scalp.  I never had trouble with dandruff or anything like that before.  I did some research and found that the no poo is great but it is harsh on your scalp because of the swing in pH.  So I searched for another homemade alternative that was closer to the pH of my scalp.  There are lots of different recipes out there, some of the ones I came across were made with coconut milk, aloe juice or aloe vera or honey.  They all looked great but there was one common issue with all of them.  You had to make the shampoo fairly frequently as it didn't have a very long shelf life.  Yay for no preservatives but a big bummer on convenience.  These were just too time consuming for me to have to make regularly.  However, I decided to give a shampoo bar a try.  I had heard that Babassu oil is great for your hair and my favorite soap website, makes their own shampoo bar with Babassu oil.  Well the experience was heaven!  That shampoo bar makes thick lather that is beyond compare with any liquid shampoo that I can ever remember!  So, I've been using the shampoo bar for about 3 months and I just love it.  And no conditioner needed afterwards.  My hair is shiny, clean, soft.  Its great.

Oil Cleansing Method for Face
I started making the transition from a soap based cleanser to the oil cleansing method back in March.  And it was a very gradual transition.  I had read some horror stories about some awful acne that some experienced when changing to an oil cleansing method.  I started out washing my face only once a week with the oils, and the rest of the days with my soap cleanser.  then a week or two later, I'd do the oils two days a week, and so on.  It seemed that the blackheads that I always had seemed to fade over time and I hardly have ANY now.  I was pretty skeptical of this cleansing method, but I've been won over through this experience.  My face is so clear now and the tone is so even, I don't even wear foundation anymore.  I just wear blush, eye shadow, eyeliner and my mascara and lip gloss.  Its really incredible!  

As I have run out of my conventional makeup products, I have tried to replace each with a less toxic version.  I really like Zosimos botanicals.   I use their blush and eye shadow now.  They actually mix the mineral powders up when you place the order.  It takes a little more time to get your makeup but its nice to know your makeup is as fresh as you can get it!  I have found with the absence of a foundation on my eyes, my eye shadow does fade during the day, so my next task is to find a less toxic eye shadow base or primer.  I still use conventional mascara; I haven't found any less toxic versions that come even close to what I like in my current mascara.  However, I have noticed that my lashes seem to be healthier, longer and thicker since I have been using coconut oil to remove my eye makeup and mascara.  

Well, that's a start.  I'll post more later!

Friday, May 10, 2013


I've started using Soap Nuts instead of regular laundry detergent for some of our laundry.  They work great for normal laundry (like mine and my daughter's) but not so good for heavily soiled laundry - like my husband's.

He refers to them as "monkey nuts" and prefers that I don't use them to wash his clothes.  :)  It makes me laugh because, well.....enough said.  LOL

So I found a recipe for homemade laundry detergent and have been using that for his clothes.  Here's the recipe:

  • 1 cup of grated bar soap (any soap you like - we use all the scraps or half used bars laying around the house)
  • 1/2 cup of super washing soda
  • 1/2 cup of Borax

Mix these all together in a bowl and keep them in a little canister in your laundry room.

     For a lightly soiled load - start the water in your washer and sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of the mixture so it has time to dissolve before putting the clothes in.  For a heavily soiled load - use 2 tablespoons of the mixture.

This mixture works great and cleans our clothes nicely and leaves a faint scent of whatever soap you used in the mixture.

Soap Nuts are more allergen free.  Actually, I don't think you can get more natural than these nuts for washing your clothes.  You can order them online through various retailers.  Just google "Soap Nuts".  I have used the brand "Eco Nuts" (pictured above) They typically come in a box with a little cloth bag.  You take 4-5 soap nuts out of the box and put them in the little cloth bag and throw the bag in the washer with your clothes.  That's it.

When you pull your clothes out of the washer - pull the little soap nuts bag out and throw it in your next load in the washer.  Occasionally, I have forgotten to retrieve the little bag before putting the load in the dryer and consequently the nuts went through a dryer cycle.  Doesn't hurt them one bit.  Just pull em out and throw them in the washer with the next load.  They are very forgiving.

You change out the soap nuts after about 10 washes - they start getting really brittle and shrived up.  Put the used up nuts in your compost or garbage and put in 4-5 new soap nuts in the bag and you are ready to go!

The outside layer of the soap nuts is a natural surfactant so it works just like soap, you just wont see any suds (which you really don't want in your washing machine anyway).  I personally think they do a great job of cleaning - they just don't leave a fragrance behind.  So your clothes smell guessed it.....clothes! Just not dirty clothes.

If you're used to your clothes smelling like a flower garden after laundering - using soap nuts may take some getting used to.  If you can't live without your clothes smelling like some kind of fragrance, you might try the recipe I listed earlier for making the homemade laundry detergent.

I've read several accounts where people have switched to using soap nuts with great results because they are allergic to the fragrances and other ingredients in the laundry detergents you find at your local grocery.  My daughter has sensitive skin so I do like using these to launder her clothes.  I also like to use them on my clothes too - especially anything delicate.  We've been using the soap nuts for at least a year with good results.  I've been using the homemade laundry detergent for a few months - also with good results.

Hope these tips are helpful to you and your family!

Tooth Powder

This is what I use instead of toothpaste now:

It leaves my mouth feeling minty fresh just like toothpaste, just without ingredients like SLS and flouride.  They sell something similar in Sprouts Farmers Market stores - the brand is called Spry.  I've never used their tooth powder but do like their chewing gum.

I purchased this tooth powder through  I purchase all our soap there too.  Love their soap.  I also like that when you finish this jar, you can order a refill from them and it comes in a little bag and you dump the bag of tooth powder in this jar so there's less waste for the landfill.  But if you do want a new jar each time, the jars are made of glass so they can be recycled.  :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

"Non Toxic" Care of my skin - a work in progress

I read about the oil cleansing method a while back and gave it a try.  A few days after I came across a post from someone else who tried it and had broken out severely and it took her 3 months or so to get her face cleared up. YIKES!  I promptly decided not to pursue this method further.

UPDATE (5/13/2013):  One of my fave blogs posted a great list of TIPS on using the Oil Cleansing Method if you are thinking of giving it a try - one of her tips was not to use olive oil or coconut oil.

A friend told me she loved the Pumpkin Compexion Soap that I gave her for a gift one year and has been using it on her face ever since and LOVES it.  Her face looks great so I decided to give it a try too.

Its been a few months, and I love using this soap.  Its easy to use, it takes my makeup off easily, my face feels nice and clean afterwards.  My face does feel a bit tight and dry after it dries so I do need to follow it up with a moisturizer....

What should I use?

I started with organic virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer, as well as a lotion for all over my body.  It worked ok.  My skin definitely "drank" it up promptly, but it was difficult to figure out that balance of applying too much or too little.  Too little - would make my skin itchy and dry, too much - I would be a big greasy ball and leave grease marks on anything I touched.  :/

I ordered some samples of Body Butta from Bubble and Bee to try instead of the straight coconut oil.  I loved the smell of the Rasberry Vanilla and the Coconut Lime.  Wonderful!  They both did an excellent job of moisturizing all day with one application.  Not to mention, I smell divine!

I also tried their sample of Organic Face Cream.  It was better than using coconut oil, but it is very thick and it takes a while to spread on your face - you have to let the heat of your body warm it up a bit so it melts some and then it spreads around much better.  I still felt like I needed more moisturizing than what this product offered.

A few months ago, I had found a moisturizing cream, the Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator, in my local ULTA Beauty store from a line called Belli.  This line is geared towards pregnant moms who are concerned about chemicals in their beauty products.  You can read more here.

I initially tried it when I bought it months ago, but at that point, I was still trying to move towards using the simplest products on my body.  (Products that had one or two ingredients, basically trying to use products that weren't full of preservatives, additives, no matter how natural they were touted to be - just trying to keep it simple)  I remember liking the smell of the Belli lotion, but I remember that I was also battling some minor acne at the time too, thinking that this lotion was just exasperating the problem....and so I put it aside.

Anyway, I pulled it back out about a week ago and started using it again for a moisturizer.  Its smells great, reminds me of orange popsicles....Its a very light cream that doesn't leave my face feeling oily.  It soaks in quickly and has worked great these past few days.  No feeling of tight or dry skin.  And I haven't had any breakouts either....yet.  I hope I don't.  I really like this lotion.

So what's in my cabinet now for skin care?

Pumpkin Complexion Soap - to cleanse my face
Coconut oil - to remove that pesky waterproof mascara
Belli Healthy Glow Facial Hydrator - for moisturizing my face
Bubble and Bee Body Butta Rasperrry Vanilla - for moisturizing all over

UPDATE: (5/13/2013)  I recently had a facial at my favorite spa and they just started carrying a new line of skin care called Naturopathica.  Their products are very simply made and use essential oils and other natural ingredients.  I was very impressed with how my skin felt and looked after my facial with these products.  I have been using the products for about 2 months now and my skin looks great and feels great too.  The products that I am using are:

  • Aloe Cleansing Gel
  • Lavender Protective Moisturizer SPF 17
  • White Tea Antioxidant Mask

Simple Workout

I used this little workout to get back in shape for bikini season this summer.  I found it on Pinterest.
I do it every couple of days - basically whenever I remember to do it.  It takes all of about 2-3 minutes TOTAL.  AND IT WORKS.  no joke.  really.

I typically do this right before I jump in the shower, so you can do it in your bathroom if you want or wherever.

Here it is:

50 jumping jacks
5 pushups
30 crunches (with legs at 45 degree angle, straight)
20 mountain climbers
hold plank position for 60 seconds
30 squats

I do all of these, one right after the other.  No rest in between.  That's it. Who knew something so simple would work so well!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Healthy "Raw" Snack Bars

A friend of mine recommended these snack bars to me.  She's very health conscious.

A health food store employee had introduced her to them, and I went along with her to the store to check out these snack bars.  (can't remember the name of the store, but its in in the Sunset Ridge shopping center off of N New Braunfels in Alamo Heights)

I found the ingredient list to be surprisingly simple for a processed bar of "raw" food.  They also use sprouted nuts in them too - I've been hearing more and more about eating grains and nuts that are "sprouted" but haven't had the time to investigate those further.

So I purchased one bar to try it out.  $1.69/bar.  My friend told me this is her favorite flavor, the Spirulina Dream.  (What is Spirulina?) My friend also warned me not to look at this bar, and to just put it in my mouth before I judge it.  (I have to admit, it was kind of funny looking - not gross, but just not sure how to describe it)

Anyway, I tried it.  It was actually pretty yummy for a healthy snack bar.  My husband tried a piece and he said it tasted like sweet feed.  :)  I think it tastes like sweet feed smells.  Kind of nutty and sweet and chewy. Not too bad.  I'm a horse lover so I happen to love the smell of sweet feed, and horses, and leather, but I digress.....

I could eat these every now and then, for breakfast in a pinch or something like that.

There are several other flavors, of which I have only tried one other (see below)

It was not as sweet as I expected, but still good.   I hope to try some more flavors soon.  The Whole Foods market on Blanco and 1604 carries these but only the two flavors I featured here and they are $1.99/bar  there.

I plan to make a trek to the little health food store and try some more flavors soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baby/Child Toothpaste

I've been on the hunt for a less toxic version of baby/child toothpaste for my daughter.  We started out using the standard Baby Orajel (with the Elmo on it) that you can get in the local grocery store.  I wasn't really happy with it - since it was loaded with all sorts of parabens.

In my search I came across the brand Jack N' Jill.  I read some great reviews online about the toothpaste from several moms and decided to give it a try.

I soon found out that the company is based in Australia - wow.  However, they did ship to the USA, but shipping wasn't cheap.  After much debating, I decided to order 3 different flavors to make the shipping worth it.  I was pleasantly surprised and my daughter loves the toothpaste so much that she comes running to the bathroom when I tell her its time to brush our teeth!

I also love that the toothpaste uses certified organic flavorings - and they taste GREAT!  We ordered the strawberry (pictured above), banana and blueberry.  We've just finished the strawberry and started using the banana, and it is amazing how yummy each flavor has been.  No wonder my daughter loves brushing her teeth.  I'm looking forward to trying the blueberry flavor along with her in the future.

I also love that you can start using this toothpaste with babies that are 6 months old and it is safe to swallow.  Overall a great product and cute packaging too!