Category Archives: structured water

I Am Gaining Thinness!

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I have to thank Jonette Crowley for that title.  She made that comment years ago and it’s always stuck with me.

I noticed in January 2016 that suddenly my body felt very achey.  The muscles, bones, joints, ligaments and tendons were all very sore and tired all the time.  I thought it was a passing thing, that it would be here for a few days and then gone.  It felt like I’d been out playing really rough football for weeks on end and the body had just had enough and needed a rest.

But no, the body kept aching.  I tried various approaches, various supplements, various meditations, and nothing worked.

Inflammation:  could that be it again?  I looked up my symptoms, and by golly, if you look at the symptoms for rheumatoid arthritis, I was identifying with just about all of them.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do.

I found someone’s videos on YouTube about cutting all — I mean ALL — grains out of her diet, not just “gluten.”  ALL grains.  This includes corn, wheat, rice, and all of those health-food-store grains that should be good for you like quinoa, amaranth, and millet.  She told the story about how the women in her family all suffered from this illness, the extreme joint pain, and they more or less just accepted it as “that is who we are.”  She was a young 20-something or 30-something mom with an 18-month-old and couldn’t hold him anymore because of her joint pain and weakness; that’s when she decided to take action and no longer accept that “this is the way the women in our family just are.”  She quit eating grains, dairy, and sugar, and ate only meat, vegetables, and fruit.  She cut out all of the filler.

Months later she was lighter, leaner, the pain had gone, she was able to be the mom she wanted to be, and was comfortable!

I had to remember back to when I was “eating for hives” in 2012.  I never felt better in my life.  I had all kinds of energy, I lost some weight, and my inflammation was gone.  Once I found the L-Glutamine and cured my leaky gut, I could eat anything once again without having my lower lip swell up like a balloon or having itchy red patches all over my body, and I regained all the weight I lost — and probably then some.  I could eat coconut cream pie!  With coffee and organic cream!  And I did!  And it was heaven!  I could eat a Five Guys burger with the bun and the fries and the ketchup and the Cherry Coke, and I did, and it was heaven!

I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that my legs and feet hurt now and then; oh, that was just from sitting on a hard kitchen stool too long.  I didn’t really notice when it hurt, getting up out of bed, or hurt getting up out of my Tiny Trailer and hobbling to the bathroom at the RV park.  That’s just “getting older.”  Right?

And suddenly in January in Oregon in the depths of the deep dark cold gray rainy days when I hadn’t seen the sun for months — in December it rained 29 days out of 31, thank goodness, and we needed the rain so badly — suddenly that pain hit hard and would not let go.  When you feel pain that intense, you do just about anything for relief.

I looked up, once again, the Blood Type O Diet and made my charts so I could see what was “beneficial,” “neutral” and “not ever again in THIS lifetime”, and then on a Sunday morning I got to work completely redoing my kitchen.  All of the “NEVER!” items got packed in tight above the refrigerator, where you have to really be dedicated to want to reach something.  I tossed some things.  I am so blessed to have a really wonderful pantry in this house, and on the top shelf of the pantry I put all of the “helpful” items in sort of alphabetical order.  On the shelf below it I put all of the “okay occasionally” items, and on the shelf below that I put the “neutral” foods.

I did the same in the refrigerator.  All of the “nope, not if you want to feel good ever again!” items I put on the top shelf and slammed them all together.

And that’s when I noticed:  I’d been eating cheese and bread and ice cream and pasta and rice almost to the exclusion of meat, vegetables and fruit.  I had to put away all of the cheese and the condiments and even the expensive health-food-store fermented food and multi-grain artisan local-bakery no-gmo-ingredients bread.  It broke my heart.

But…I could still eat.  This was May, and my “winter garden” was beginning to finally do something.  The kale and lettuce made it through the winter and started providing me with all the kale and all the lettuce I could handle.  I planted tomatoes and summer squash; the blueberries started coming on then too and every morning when I walked my dog past the garden we helped ourselves to fresh blueberries, one for me, one for him, one for me, one for him.

It didn’t happen within three or four days for me like it did for the young lady in the video; it took longer.  I’m glad to say now that a lot of the pain is gone.  It’s still there to some degree, but it’s lessening all the time.

Since sometime in May I have eaten NO grains at all except for a little rice at the sushi buffet; NO dairy except for a little butter or ghee; and NO refined sugar.  I use stevia leaf I bought in bulk years ago, or real maple syrup, or coconut palm sugar.  I have that here for my AirBNB guests, mostly.

What I noticed over these last few months is that I’ve lost my “hunger.”  I am convinced now that eating wheat and grains, not to mention sugar and dairy, “makes” a person hungry, or hungrier.  Now that I’m eating meat, vegetables and fruit, I’m much more satisfied with much less food, and I’m way less hungry.

One other interesting thing I’ve noticed:  the idea of going to McDonald’s or any other fast food place doesn’t even appeal to me anymore.  It’s like I’ve installed an inner button somewhere within myself that can “tell” when a food item has food value, and when it doesn’t.  I just don’t want to bother with food that has no food value since it’s a total waste of time and money.  I’d rather go out to my garden and grab a couple of spicy nasturtium blossoms and a few kale leaves for a quick snack.  Seriously.

Ah, the AirBNB guests.  I do provide a breakfast for them, and one day a few weeks ago I was eyeing the last little helping of organic cereal, and that last little bit of organic whole milk that needed to be used up, and the coconut palm sugar….and I decided to go for it.  I made myself a big bowl of cereal with milk and sugar and just enjoyed it.

I instantly regretted it.  For the next three or four hours I felt tired, weak, sluggish, couldn’t keep my eyes open but plodded through my day anyway, and decided never to do this to myself again.  I made a pledge to myself that I want to feel GOOD.  I want to feel good ALWAYS.  I choose for my body to feel healthy, energetic, flexible, comfortable, strong, and youthful, for the rest of my life!

The Blood Type O diet is very similar to the Paleo diet, which is basically “if the caveman didn’t eat it, I don’t eat it either.”  I’m drinking even more structured water than before from a pitcher of structured water with shungite soaking in it, and drinking lots of tea and smoothies.  I do drink organic coffee made with structured water in my French press.  This time I’m cutting out all coconut, so no coconut oil or coconut water or coconut milk.  The only oil I’m using is olive oil.  If I want “milk” I put half a cup of hemp hearts and 2 cups of water in the VitaMix with a pinch of salt and a bit of maple syrup, and voila, milk.  If I want bread I bake it with 5 eggs, flax meal, baking powder and a few other ingredients.

The body has been feeling better.   The weight didn’t instantly fall away, though, and I couldn’t quite understand that.  I ran across someone’s article about fasting and thought I’d give it a try.  That has seemed to be the key to the weight loss.  The writer advocates liquids only from 7 pm through 11 am the next day; solid food is okay to eat between 11 am and 7 pm.  During the “fasting” time a person can have juice, tea, coffee, smoothies, anything liquid.  That seemed pretty simple so I decided to add that to my way of life.  I remember decades ago the exercise trainer Denise Austin told viewers to eat dinner by 6 pm and not to eat anything after that.  I, of course, ignored that advice and ate pretty much anything pretty much any time of any day.  Typically in my life I would eat dinner at 10 pm, or have a big bowl of ice cream and go to bed.  I didn’t have a schedule when it came to eating.  I ate when I was hungry and I ate what I was hungry for.

Since I’ve added the “fasting” to my diet, the Thinness has appeared.  And again it’s not all falling off at once; it’s a gradual process.  I know I’m down at least a size from where I was in January.

Last summer I bought three Speedo bathing suits at the Goodwill because they were pretty:  one size 14 and two size 16s.  Mostly I wore one of the 16s when I’d put on a bathing suit.  This summer I’ve been sunning myself for 20 minutes a day during “peak sun hours” between 10 and 2, for the Vitamin D benefits, wearing my size 14 Speedo.  I noticed my body was changing for the better in how it looked in the 14.

A couple of days ago I bought a new Speedo in size 10 kind of as “inspiration” for Gaining Still More Thinness.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to get into it for weeks or months.  I tried it on yesterday morning and it FITS!  I look better in that one than I do in the 14.  My new “inspirational” size 12 shorts are a little more snug than I want to be wearing all day long, but my other clothes are getting bigger and baggier by the week.  Before long I will be down to the size 10 where I’m most comfortable, but I’m in no big hurry to get there.  I am enjoying these changes.

A week or two ago I ran across a few YouTube videos with a woman talking about having two years of intense pain that basically came from nowhere — hey, that sounds familiar — and she said she is now pain free.  I’ve been checking out her videos and I like them.  Recently she posted a body healing meditation that I’ve listened two a couple of times now, and I like it.  She recommends doing it once a week.  I’ll post it here and also in the Links over at the sidebar.

Here’s to Gaining still more Thinness, Flexibility, Ease, Grace, Youthfulness, Strength, and Joy!

***

And now an update.  It is July 2017.  I am a couple of weeks away from my 60th birthday.  A week to 10 days ago I discovered the YouTube channel of Dr. Eric Berg, who makes fantastic detailed videos about all kinds of health issues.  I’ve been doing BioAcoustics work since last October, and his videos are SO helpful to teach me what’s going on with the reports I can generate — what is cortisol?  Vitamin B12, what does that have to do with anything?  What’s an adrenal body type?  Why do I still have inflammation?

After watching a few dozen of his videos and looking at my own voiceprint charts and seeing sugar, sucrose, fructose, sugar sugar sugar…I decided I had to quit sugar.  Sugar, I learn, is an inflammatory.  I have an insulin problem.  I can see that in my voiceprint charts.  If I’m waking up to pee through the night, and I was, I need to quit the sugar and start consuming 7-10 cups of vegetables a day and some healthy fats.  This will help me get my adrenals back into balance and will help me drop that belly that magically appeared out of nowhere when I hit menopause.

Of course he also recommends getting pasta-cereal-bread-crackers — he’s got his cute little phrase — out of your diet completely.  I did that already.  Now I’ve hidden my collection of sugar in the pantry in a faraway place where I don’t see it every day.  And I have some fabulous sugars — coconut palm sugar (natural, wonderful); maple syrup and powdered maple syrup (organic); raw local honey (which I keep because I use it in recipes) (and binge on over winter, using it in tea).  I have to quit them all.

What to use for sweetening?  I have stevia leaf.  Real leaf, something I bought from Frontier Natural Co-op, years ago.  It’s not manmade stevia, manufactured in some way; it’s the real leaf.  You can blend it in with your smoothie in your Vitamix when you’re blending the 7-10 cups of raw vegetables you harvested from your garden this morning with the wheatgrass juice powder you bought online at his recommendation.  Real stevia leaf is not glycemic, it’s very sweet, a little goes a very long way, and you use it *when* you need it and not before; it will taste great when you first use it, but after it sits around a bit it gets strange tasting.

So we’ll see how this goes.  I’ll update the photos.  Here’s me in December, after going down two dress sizes since May:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these two are from a couple of days ago, after stopping sugar for about two days.  I can tell I have lost some belly fat and I’m pretty sure I’m into ketosis — fat-burning, not sugar-burning.  I have all the happy signs of ketosis.  I’m not crashing in the afternoon, I’m able to go a loooooooong time between meals, I don’t have to eat until noon or after and I’m not hungry when I get up, I’m not getting up to pee at night anymore (after only a few days of this!) (yay!), I’m remembering my dreams after not remembering them for a long time.  My focus is good.  Inflammation is down.  Right shoulder pain is gone.  Any other complaints I would have had at this time last year…not there anymore.

 

 

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Water, Part 3

In July I drove to the Pacific Northwest, decided it was time to move to the Pacific Northwest, and between July and early November made 5 road IMG_3684trips from the midwest to the Pacific Northwest.  The last road trip was me, driving myself, my dog, and the stuff I’d need in my new house for two weeks one way here while the rest of my stuff was in transit on the back of a big truck.

Now I’m all unpacked, mostly, and can find almost everything, mostly, and have a few things to comment about, about water.

Wow, the water in the house where I used to live in the midwest was hard.  I mean hard.  All the problems I was having with gunkiness in my hair have now gone away.

I will say this:  with the water in the town and the house I live in now, my hair actually gets softer and silkier every day, and I have to wash it because I can’t figure out how to make it stay in a ponytail!  Or in one of my other hair-doodad-things.  It falls right out because it’s getting too silky.

Which is not to say “too oily.”  It’s not getting oily.  It’s getting silky.

Wow, was my water ever hard, where I used to live, and even 3 structured water units attached to my house didn’t budge it.  I have those three structured water units attached to my house now, and the water is great here.

But again:  note that it’s been almost a year now since I used store-bought shampoo, and the hair I have now does not get oily on Day 2, requiring me to shampoo again and use conditioner again or else my head becomes an oil slick.  I really don’t use much shampoo at all, and what shampoo I do use is the Zum Shampoo bar (bought online at their website, indigowild.com, in the Zum Lab area) that I grate, mix with 4 times again as much water as bar soap, heat very gently so it all blends together, stir it a few times with chopsticks while it’s blending, let it cool, bottle it up and use it.  I think the last time I made shampoo was shortly before I moved, maybe the middle of October-ish.  Maybe earlier.  September-ish or October-ish.  I have lots left and won’t be making any anytime soon.  A bar of Zum Shampoo is $6, plus tax and shipping, is made of awesome ingredients, and smells fabulous.

What did not work for me when I lived in the midwest was washing my hair with vinegar & water, or using vinegar & water as a rinse.  That was pretty worthless.  Someone I met in the Pacific Northwest in July told me that she washes her hair in spring water and vinegar, and if she needs a conditioner, rubs on a tiny little bit of coconut oil into the palm of her hand and uses that.  That’s all she does.  I have not tried this yet, now that I also live in the Pacific Northwest and my water is awesomely awesome, but for sure it did not work for me when I lived in the midwest.

Another thing I noticed:  a couple of days ago I boiled water for ginger tea, pretty much emptied out the kettle into my cup, and way down at the end of the tea there was a disgusting pile of tiny little white calcium balls!  I thought it was unmelted ginger tea crystals, but no; it was calcium.  Blech!  (Did not taste at all like ginger tea, a big shock to my tongue.)  I’m still getting midwestern calcium deposits washing out of my kettle.  That’s how hard and ornery the water is there, and it’s something structured water didn’t budge.

So yeah; comparing the water here in the Pacific Northwest to the water in the midwest, what a difference.  There is a huge difference in how my homemade shampoo works here as opposed to how it worked, or didn’t work, for me when I lived in the midwest.


Homemade Natural Stain Remover

A few days ago I got all ready to attend a meeting, put on a lovely white shirt and jacket, hopped in the car, and stopped at a local fast-food place for coffee and a to-go sandwich.  Before I realized it, I’d spilled coffee all down the front of my lovely white cotton tee-shirt.  The best I could do in the moment was drizzle water over the spill, some of my structured water that I’d put in my water bottle.  That took out 90% of the stain within a few minutes, but still there was a residual shadow there that I could see because I knew where to look for the coffee stain.

And then just nowIMG_5124, pulling my dry clothes out of the dryer, I noticed I’d missed stain-removing a stain on my beautiful white linen shirt!  So we have a dryer-set-in stain right down the front of the shirt.

The recipe I just put together and am now trying out, after finding it online here:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup liquid castile soap — I used Dr. Bronner’s HempIMG_5125
  • 1/4 cup liquid vegetable glycerine
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 10-15 drops lemon essential oil
treating the coffee stain with the homemade stain remover recipe

coffee stain in the middle of the shirt; I treated right after it happened with structured water, and a lot of the stain came out right away

Following the directions, I mixed it all up and put it in one of my empty spray bottles, then sprayed it on the stain.  I’ll let it sit there for 30 minutes while my current load of laundry is washing.  I may go back now and then to “rub it in” into the stains on both shirts (but truthfully I won’t try too hard).  I’ve taken pictures of the stains with the homemade stain remover sprayed on after about five minutes.  Once they’re washed  I’ll add the results & post “after” pictures.

 

set-in stain…discovered the stain as I was taking it out of the dryer…

 


Water, Part 2

I thought I’d post a bit of a follow-up to the first “water” post.

In May my siblings and I met for the last time at our parents’ farm, to clean out the farmhouse and barns and hand the keys over to the new owner.  We had tons of stuff to do during those last 10 days or so; every room in the farmhouse was packed; my mom didn’t throw anything away; we had to clear it all out.  This was our third go-round of 4 adults, 10 days, nonstop going through stuff.  It was a big job.

I grew up in that house; my dad grew up in that house; his dad built the house and barns.  It was tough letting the place go.

And, I knew the house so well.

One feature about the house was — my grandpa was a tech-savvy person of his time in so many ways — he had a cistern built into the property, for rainwater to supply the laundry, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, bathtub and showers, and the well supplied drinking water and water for flushing the toilet.  The well provided good water for many years, until a stone quarry next to our property blasted into a layer of rock that started providing us sulfur water, and sulfur water was what we drank out of that well since the ’60s.  My dad was really upset when that happened, never got over being upset about it, and we just always had stinky sulfur water coming out of the well.

IMG_3569

I wanted to try an experiment or two, since it was going to be our last time ever to be “our” house, at the end of May.  I wanted to see if adding a structured water unit would change the taste of the well water, so I bought a “mini shower” unit to try the experiment of structuring the sulfur well to improve the taste and change the quality of the water from stinky and pungent but otherwise healthy to no smell, no sulfur taste, and healthy.

That experiment worked!  Very excited to report that.

And as a side benefit, before we got the structured water “mini shower” unit hooked up to the well on Sunday, from Wednesday night through Sunday morning I attached the “mini shower” to the bathroom shower, just because I wanted to.  Might as well use the “mini shower” unit while we’re waiting to figure out how to structure the well, right?

I got a benefit out of that that I was not expecting.

For months, here, at home in Nebraska, with my single whole-house unit and my homemade shampoo, my hair has been so-so.  I won’t go back to store-bought shampoo, but truthfully, there’s a lot of residue left on my hair from the oils in the shampoo and nothing I’d do would get it out.

BUT!!!  Washing my hair in the shower where there’s cistern water — rainwater — coming out — and rainwater is nature’s structured water — PLUS having the structured water “mini shower” unit on there — my hair rinsed out clean, was perfect, there was no oily residue, nothing stuck to my hair or my comb or brushes, and my hair was easy to brush and comb.  Sadly my favorite hair-sticks started falling out of my hair, my hair was so soft and silky…so I knew it was the water…the soft rainwater and the structured water device together…with my homemade products…gives me great hair.

SO!  I decided, once I got back to my hard-water home — mind you, I have softer water now that I have one whole-house structured water unit installed, but it was still giving me gunky hair and spots on my dishes — I decided to buy two more whole-house units, just to see if I can have water that’s as soft as it was back at the home where I grew up.  As soft as rainwater.

I’ve got the two units now and they will be installed on Friday.  And I will post an update about gunk-free or not-gunk-free hair…in a few weeks…


Water

It all started because I woke up one morning, sometime during the Christmas season, knowing I needed water.  My body was water deficient.  Dehydrated.  I could tell.  I was thirsty, waking up, most mornings, and there would be some nights I’d wake up and need to go get a drink; I’d realize I really hadn’t had anything to drink during the day.  What was this doing to my body?!

So, the way my life works, a series of interesting synchronicities happened from that point, and I started learning about structured water.

IMG_2945Long story short, I bought a whole-house structured water unit from Natural Action Technologies through a distributor, had a plumber install it right after the Polar Vortex blasted through my town in early January, and since then I’ve been experiencing what it’s like to have a whole house structured water unit.

~I actually drink water.
~I actually drink water that comes out of my tap.  No other filters.  I don’t have to refill anything, don’t have to buy a replacement of any kind, there are no big heavy bags of salt to lug around, there’s no repeat customer kind of situation with my water.  I bought the unit, had it installed, and it will essentially last forever, end of story, giving me soft, healthy water from now until eternity.
~Water tastes “round.”  And not harsh.
~Coffee made from my tap water is rich and mellow and awesome.
~My skin is soft, and it’s not just from all the coconut oil I’ve been using, but that has played a part.
~My bathtub doesn’t keep growing rust stains.
~Or hard water deposits.
~My hard water chunky bits around my bathtub knobs fall off in clumps from time to time.
~I have soft water to shower in.
~Which affects my homemade hair products — hard water does not work with homemade hair products.
~I’m taking more baths, because I simply enjoy it.  Structured water feels like holy water.  It’s amazing.
~Using natural products in my bathtub, I notice “oil” thickness “growing” in the tub after about a week, so what I do for that:  I take a nice long hot bath and really enjoy it, and then when it gets cold, I let that all drain out and use my homemade body wash on a natural scrubber sponge to tackle the bathtub gunk, which there really isn’t much of.  It takes me about 5 minutes’ worth of scrubbing, while I’m still sitting in the tub, which is still warm, and I get up, rinse it all out, and I’m done.  I’m nice & shiny & clean, and so is my tub.
~I feel healthier.  Just generally healthier.  I feel alive and energetic and grateful to be here.
~I feel like my world is really supporting me and wants me to thrive.
~The animals, birds, squirrels, plants, flowers, trees, all natural life around my house and in my area, seem happier, more responsive.

IMG_3041~Odd observation, but there have been things that I wanted when I was a kid and didn’t get then that have now come into my life, like a Siamese cat that comes and goes.  I wanted a Siamese cat when I was a little kid.

~More and more often, I just know and trust that what I need and what I need to know, will be in my life when I need it and when I need to know it.  I can just relax.  I’m much more calm, centered, peaceful, less on edge, less fearful or anxious for any reason.  It’ll just happen; it’ll just be okay.  All is well.  That’s a new feeling.
~I’m learning SO much! about structured water, what it is, how it works.  I love learning new things, and this is so exciting!  The potentials are just phenomenal.

And there’s so much more.  I’m doing a blog about this whole water thing in my life now, and I’ve become a distributor for Natural Action Technologies structured water units.

I will keep this DrStrangeItch blog the way it is, won’t sell or promote anything here, and will keep this just for recipes and allergy and hives-related information.

It’s kind of like I had to go through that whole purging process, getting all the nasty stuff out of my life, the toxic chemicals, the toxic mattress, the toxins in my body, saying NO to all that…BEFORE I could know what I did want in my life.  I had to get rid of all that before I could say YES to health and well-being and peaceful, confident living.

And isn’t that the way it goes.  We live unconsciously and pretty much obliviously.  Then a big crisis comes up and it’s a wake-up call:  do we want to experience more of life, or do we want to deny that?  That’s the choice.  Do we want to live consciously or not?

I had to look at my choices…my choice to buy the mattress…my choice to get rid of the mattress…my choice to be healthy, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually healthy…my choice to make the positive changes in my life that would bring about health.

Now I’d say I’ve never felt so good.  Adding structured water to my life and saying YES to water and YES to good health and YES to living consciously and being aware of choosing life and taking responsibility for my choices and my health and my life has been such a wonderful new next step.  I’m really enjoying this.IMG_3026

 

 


Life Observations Since Making My Own Stuff

Beginning just before Christmas, I began making my own shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, hand lotion, body lotion, facial sunscreen, lip gloss, laundry detergent, fabric softener, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap scum remover for the bathtub, toilet bowl cleaner, rust remover (when it’s needed)…and I’m probably missing a few dozen products I’ve made and experimented with that just have become natural normal parts of my everyday life.  Everything in my life except for a very few store-bought products and a few simple ingredients (store-bought baking soda, white vinegar, Dr. Bronner’s, Zum shampoo bar soap, regular Zum bar soap, essential oils, coconut oil, and a variety of other oils) is now natural and organic and homemade.

I had a structured water device installed on my whole house on January 8, 2014.  This has revolutionized my life, my house, and my water, in so many ways.  I’m beginning to discuss that on my structured water blog.

I am not throwing away plastic shampoo bottles anymore, because I’m not buying shampoo.
I am not throwing away plastic water bottles anymore, because I’m not buying water anymore.  I’m drinking really good, clear, pristine structured water right from my tap.  No more filling up big garbage bags full of plastic bottles and taking them to the recycling!  I’m really picky now about anything I buy and the container it comes in:  what definitely runs through my head now before I buy anything is can I recycle this and use it for my own products?
I am not throwing away glass ginger beer bottles anymore; I do buy ginger beer, but not as much as before, and the bottles I buy I am reusing to bottle my own water kefir.

I finally had to make my second batch of shampoo on Sunday.  My first batch lasted from mid January through last weekend — about six weeks.  So 12 ounces of shampoo lasts me, with very, very long hair, about six weeks — or longer.  We’ll see.  It could be that with my first batch I had to get used to the new type of shampoo.  Subsequent batches of shampoo may last much longer.  I’m washing my hair about once a week now, whereas previously I washed my hair at LEAST every other day.

I don’t buy — or want — soda.  My own very good-for-me probiotic water kefir drink is AWESOME and is perfect.  I really don’t want anything else, besides structured water out of the tap, and coffee made with structured water in the morning.  I do love my 100% Kona coffee with real cream in the morning.  Drinking a Coke these days…ew.  I will, sometimes, with a few foods that I *have* to have a fizzy cola drink as accompaniment, such as pizza…but really, Coke (my absolute favorite soda ever in the whole world) tastes so bleh now.  And why is that?  There’s no life in it.

I’ve stocked up on all kinds of beans, nuts, seeds, rices, grains…and put them in Ball jars and use them as decor in my living room, which is next to my dining room, which is next to my kitchen.  It looks quite handsome, I must say.

Food As Decor

Food As Decor

I am growing fresh food right on my kitchen counter — sprouting seeds, fermenting kefir.

I am drinking water right from the tap, something you couldn’t have paid me to do for the previous 10 years here in this house. It tasted bad; there was “stuff” in it; and it was unfit to make coffee or tea straight from the tap, so I boiled it first. I don’t boil my water anymore before using it. That was a huge effort, right there, boiling all my water, and then I never drank it. I’d use it for coffee or tea water, but I wouldn’t drink it. Drinking water, I’d buy and drink out of plastic bottles.

One of the side effects I’m noticing from using structured water: I’m more intuitive and aware, and I rely on and trust my intuition to guide me.

I’ve cleaned-out…and cleaned-out…and cleaned-out again…and again, and again, and again…my clothes closets, my kitchen cupboards, drawers, you name it…office…shelves in the living room…

An odd side effect of all of this:  blue.  I want blue in my living space now.  I banished blue since 2001:  no blue clothes, dishes, paintings, upholstery, NOTHING blue in my life.  Well, there was that car…somehow that didn’t count.  No Blue.  Suddenly, about three weeks ago, I had to have BLUE.  And it feels right, again.  It feels like I’m bringing back balance  and wholeness into my life and blue is part of it.


My Kefir Water experiment with structured water

I’ve seen bottled kefir in the organic section at the grocery store for years; never tried it. Recently I went through a fit, a spell, a phase, a compulsion, of making my own natural body products from things like beeswax and baking soda and vinegar and shea butter and coconut oil, and chronicled my experiments here as well as on a message board.

A commenter on the message board has been at this for years, switching everything over from store-bought to homemade. She talked about kefir. Kefir! What’s that?

I ordered my little pouch of water kefir grains from someone on Amazon. They didn’t cost a lot, and arrived in two ziploc bags, one inside of the other one. I left them sitting on my desk over last weekend, thinking I’d get to it eventually. What do you need to do to make kefir? Hmm…

One January Monday morning I decided I needed to get it going, and looked quickly at a kefir-making list:

  • 2-quart glass jar with a lid that will let air escape (so the jar doesn’t explode)
  • water
  • water kefir grains
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I use organic palm sugar)
  • non-reactive strainer
  • non-reactive whisk

Directions:  mix sugar and warm water so that the sugar and water blend together thoroughly…and then add some cooler water…you don’t want to cook your kefir grains….then add this sugar-water  mix to your jar, add the kefir grains, add some more water, up to filling the jar about 2/3 full…put the lid on the jar, leave this on the counter for 24-48 hours, depending on how warm the room is, and within 48 hours bottle and bottlecap the water kefir…and/or you can add 2-4 ounces of fruit juice, like unsugared grape juice, or I like acai juice…add that to the sugar/water mix and the result is slightly fizzier than “regular”… 

..hmm…may have to buy a few things…

So I barely knew what I was doing when I assembled all my kefir stuff that Monday night: the kefir grains, some sugar, a glass measuring cup, a couple of chopsticks — I like those to stir with, since I don’t own a whisk anymore — and water. Stir it up, mix with a little water, add the rest of the water, let it sit on your counter overnight, for 24 to 48 hours, and voila, you’ve got a wonderful healthy probiotic drink that’s a little fizzy. The sugar feeds the kefir grains — they’re alive little guys — and they carbonate your water for you. Sounds good: make my own soda.

As I read and re-read the directions, I noticed they said NOT to use tap water: use spring water. Spring water? Okay, I’ve got that big plastic jug of Poland Springs water I bought a couple of weeks before ever hearing about structured water. I haven’t used the Poland Springs water at all. I could use it for kefir!

Looking again at the instructions, they said DEFINITELY do NOT add tap water, because kefir grains do not like chlorine, which is in tap water. Tap water will basically kill your kefir grains.

Okay…so I thought I’d try a little experiment. Two jars, not one; half the kefir & sugar in one jar with the structured water out of my tap, and the other half of the kefir grains and Poland Springs water in the second jar. I used two quarts of water, not one, as the directions said.

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structured water and kefir grains on the left side…spring water and kefir grains on the right side
This is what the jars looked like after 24 hours. It’s clear to see that there’s activity in the structured jar…NOTHING going on in the Poland Spring jar.

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closeup of the structured water jar

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closeup of the springs water jar

So…one packet of water kefir grains straight from Amazon Land…I left the packet on the desk for two days…opened it up…they were already starting to expand…added half a cup of sugar and a little water and the kefir grains in a glass measuring cup…added half the mixture to the jar on the left and the other half of the mixture to the jar on the right, then filled the jars up with water…jar on the left got tap water with the structured whole-house unit…jar on the right got Poland Springs, from a previously unopened plastic jug out of the fridge…they sat overnight on the countertop, next to each other…and this is the 24 hours later picture.

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closeup from the Poland Springs jar…what are those little black seedy things?

Now, a freaky thing happened. The structured water crystals remained clean looking, and kept expanding, getting bigger and bigger. They just looked like they were happy. On the other hand, I got worried about the kefir grains in the Poland Springs jar. There was NO growth, at ALL, on the bottom of the jar, NO fizz at all, the grains were not metabolizing the sugar, or whatever it is that goes on there…AND, there were some small black grains and small white grains — they looked like seeds — forming in the Poland Springs jar. There were a few of those in the structured water jar, as well, but the Poland Springs jar had a lot of them. And they didn’t look all that great. What’s going on?

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48 hours on the counter with the structured water kefir grains…looks great! Healthy, growing, and I’ve got about 4 times the amount of grains I started out with…in just 48 hours!

48 hours on the counter with the Poland Springs water...yikes! Nothing! This is about the amount of grains I originally added to the jar of water, 48 hours prior...no growth whatsoever.

48 hours on the counter with the Poland Springs water…yikes! Nothing! This is about the amount of grains I originally added to the jar of water, 48 hours prior…no growth whatsoever.

I got so excited about the kefir growing in the structured water, growing so phenomenally well, I listened in on Clayton’s conference call on January 22, hoping to be able to tell the world about this. Clayton had other callers, though, and I really enjoyed listening to them talking about structured water and their questions and answers and experiences.

The next day I decided to really go for broke. I decided to make ginger beer. I am a great fan of ginger beer, and needed to find all of the ingredients first…and a bottle capper. Fortunately there’s a place I know locally that sells beer and winemaking items; they had bottle caps and cappers. I have TONS of used ginger beer bottles in my recycling bin, and now I’m going to recycle them.

2/3 cup of kefir grains, all from the structured water jar, plus ginger beer ingredients, in the jar on the plate; bottled & capped kefir from "just plain" kefir from the structured water jars; kefir bottles in the background, now all filled with structured water, kefir grains and sugar...jar on the right is an experiment with homemade coconut water and some structured water added

2/3 cup of kefir grains, all from the structured water jar, plus ginger beer ingredients, in the jar on the plate; bottled & capped kefir from “just plain” kefir from the structured water jars; kefir bottles in the background, now all filled with structured water, kefir grains and sugar…jar on the right is an experiment with homemade coconut water and some structured water added

Now all of my kefir jars have only structured water in them; yesterday I bottled & capped about a dozen bottles of kefir, some being kefir ginger beer, some being kefir and lemon for sort of a lemonade kefir, some being “just plain” kefir and water and sugar, and some being coconut and ginger and kefir.

my kefir harvest from yesterday!

my kefir harvest from yesterday!

All of this kefir grew (amazingly fast!) in structured water. I haven’t used Poland Springs water since the first jar grew the kefir so very badly. I was actually worried about the grains dying if I kept feeding them sugar and Poland Springs water.

I sure have been enjoying my home brewed kefir, and had my first taste of homemade ginger beer today. Not bad! I’d actually pay for another bottle of ginger beer tasting like this! And I have all those bottles in the fridge now…

So the real kicker is this, now: the kefir grains have grown SO phenomenally in structured water. What am I going to do with all these kefir grains?!

 Seriously fertile kefir grains...the jar on the right is rebounding from its bad spring water experience...the jar on the left is the always-had-structured-water jar. Now they both have structured water and are growing like crazy. This batch contains kefir, sugar, one piece of dried sugar ginger root each, and a handful of goji berries in each jar. We're at about Hour 36 with these two jars. I ran out of places to put more kefir!


Seriously fertile kefir grains…the jar on the right is rebounding from its bad spring water experience…the jar on the left is the always-had-structured-water jar. Now they both have structured water and are growing like crazy. This batch contains kefir, sugar, one piece of dried sugar ginger root each, and a handful of goji berries in each jar. We’re at about Hour 36 with these two jars. I ran out of places to put more kefir!

***

And now it’s been about eight weeks since I originally posted this on another one of my blogs. Here’s a photo of my kefir grains now, even after having given away about 4 cups of grains:

current supply of water kefir grains...aaugh!  talk about abundance!!!!

current supply of water kefir grains…aaugh! talk about abundance!!!!

Now I keep three big jars of kefir grains in the refrigerator, with sugar water and a small amount of juice, and that will rest comfortably for about a week; then I bottle the kefir water and start it again. I drink several bottles of kefir water every day and really enjoy it. The grains don’t multiply so fast in the refrigerator. I’m more able to handle the grains this way. But I’d love to continue to give it away! I have way, way more kefir grains than I can possibly use by myself. I’m pretty sure my kefir grains are so prolific because of using structured water.


Fresh Sprouts!

Welcome to my farm. Since January I’ve been farming water kefir crystals and all kinds of fresh sprouts right on my countertop. This posting is about the sprouts.IMG_2295

In the ’70s I remember buying my first sprouting jar with a variety of plastic screw-on lids with different-sized holes in the lids. I never really had much success with that and didn’t figure out why. Didn’t take the time, I guess, or didn’t know who to ask for advice. Now, with the internet, it’s as easy as typing into a search bar “growing sprouts” and there you go…all the free help and advice you could ask for. So lately I’ve been catching up with what I really wanted to learn when I was about 22.

What my sprouts look like as of 15 minutes ago:

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Sprouts, Day 2

What I did yesterday, after using up my most recent batch of sprouts: washed out the jar, and added about two tablespoons each of:
mung bean seeds
pumpkin seeds
aduki beans (also spelled azuki or adzuki)
flax seeds

Filled the jar about half full of water and placed that on the counter overnight for about 8 hours.

In the morning I drained the water out, and rinsed the seeds & beans, really got the water moving in there, swished it around, and drained that completely out.

View from the top, after rinsing:

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View from the Top

After the beans / seeds are rinsed well, cover them with a towel and place on the countertop. Seeds sprout in darkness. AHA!!! That’s what I didn’t know, all those years ago…the seeds can’t be submerged (like I’d been doing) and they need darkness to sprout (also something I didn’t know).

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go to bed, sleepyheads…

Take the towel off and rinse them well, twice a day, morning and night. Do this for four or five or six days. Don’t let them get dried out…and also start using them before they grow roots a mile long (oops, my first time this year…) and get all tangled up (like roots tend to do, untended…unintentionally untended…)…

So there you have it; that’s the basic recipe. You can use all KINDS of seeds or beans to sprout. I buy my seeds & beans at Natural Grocers in Omaha and make sure they’re organic and are intended to be eaten… And here all this time I thought the only kind of sprouts you could grow were alfalfa seeds. Not true! Now I’m sprouting alfalfa seeds, sunflower, pumpkin, aduki bean, flax, — I mean really, if you can cook them, like black beans, why couldn’t you sprout them?!

Several weeks ago I grew a jar of only mung beans sprouts, then wondered what in the world to do with them all. I found a GREAT recipe which I will post, and made up a few uses of my own, as in: you can use mung bean sprouts as spaghetti. IMG_2689My mung bean sprouts grew roots like nobody’s business…and man…I had some tremendous spaghetti / mung bean sprouts. Cook them in a little hot water, slather with coconut oil & salt and squeeze on a little lemon juice…and man, what a great meal.

But I digress, and this needs to go in another post.

I suspect that using structured water helped my sprouts grow like they did for J from the message board.

Enjoy!


Natural Shampoo & Conditioner

IMG_2218

“the winner” in the shampoo saga: a “body wash” recipe made with castile soap, raw honey for pH balancing, oil, essential oils for a good scent, and vitamin E as a preservative

Several months ago I decided to go “no poo” — no shampoo — for a while. I didn’t like it.  You use baking soda and water to wash your hair, and apple cider vinegar to rinse it out, and there are a thousand yes/no/maybe/liked it/loved it/hated it comments on the blogs that talk about this shampoo recipe. This seems to be a REAL trial & error thing for people, one where you definitely have to try it and experiment with it and see what does and does not work for your own body. For me, it made my hair feel like greasy straw. Ew!  It works ecstatically well for other people.  For some people, I’ve noticed, it works for a while, and then doesn’t.

It didn’t work at all for me.  I had to go back to using store-bought manufactured shampoo.

UNTIL!!!  I read that if you have hard water, which I do, BOIL your water first, THEN add baking soda, about a quart of water and a half cup baking soda. AHA! It was the hard water that was making my hair come out feeling like greasy straw! So I did that, and put it in a spray bottle, and decided to try using this recipe for a couple of weeks. Can it work for me? We’ll see.

And I put water in a second spray bottle, a cup and a half, with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of lemon juice…and a few drops of tea tree oil…and started using that as a conditioner.  I decided to try this again and see how the soft-water option works, if it works any better for me.

Conditioner:  fill the bottle halfway with water; add 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 10-20 drops of essential oil of your choice, shake it up & spray on; can be left in or rinsed out

Conditioner: fill the bottle halfway with water; add 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 10-20 drops of essential oil of your choice, shake it up & spray on; can be left in or rinsed out

***

On my mission to find more ingredients for more personal care products, I drove to Omaha on Christmas Eve, walked into the Natural Grocers store, and immediately a young lady clerk asked me if I was finding what I needed. I’d just got there! But while she was asking, I thought I’d have her direct me to what I was looking for…and we got into a conversation. I told her about my no-poo experiment and the baking soda and vinegar deal. She was kind of surprised. She’d been trained as a cosmetologist and had never heard this! about baking soda shampoo.

And as we talked, she took it all in.

Wow, and that’s the way we train students, whether they’re doctors (believing the lies the pharmaceutical company reps tell them) or cosmetology students (believing the lies the chemical cosmetic industry tells them). And when you’re a student, mostly, you accept what you’re told because “they know the truth” and wouldn’t tell you they put bad stuff in their products…or they just wouldn’t put bad stuff in their products, now, would they? So for the most part you don’t do your own research. You’re exhausted, what with all the studying for tests and all…and you do what you have to do to get out of school and get that degree so you can pay off the loan.

She was fascinated with the idea of no-poo baking soda shampoo, standing there, surrounded by all the hundreds of varieties of “natural shampoo” and endless bottles of “natural” this and that to put on body parts.

She makes her own toothpaste. Led me right to the Xylitol and neem oil and calcium/magnesium and trace mineral solution I wanted. I have my own bentonite clay and coconut oil.

She’s going to go home and google baking soda shampoo and learn all about the stuff she didn’t learn in school. And she’s going to look up “drstrangeitch” for my homemade body lotion recipe. She thought she could remember that.

***

Day 1 and it seems fine. May feel a little coarse at the ends. One thing I noticed is that most of the people trying the no-poo thing have fairly short hair. But not everyone. I think it’s harder to do this with long hair. Mine is longer than halfway down my back now.

***

Well, dang it, my hair is already (this is just Day 3!) starting to feel like greasy straw. Albeit it’s less greasy and less straw-like than when I used hard water to formulate the water & baking soda.

On the “wellnessmama” website I read through about DIY shampoo, she said she’d tried the baking soda no-poo idea and it didn’t work for her. She tried a lot of different options until hitting upon one that worked for her: Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap (3 T, I think?) and coconut milk (2 T?) and a few miscellaneous essential oils that made her happy. THAT worked for her.

So, in the shower just a bit ago…hair’s wet, all tangly, feeling hard, ick, what do I do?

There’s my homemade body lotion right there, made mostly of coconut oil…the one that’s posted on my website here… https://drstrangeitch.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/coconut-oil-skin-lotion/2012_0508Walthill_0002

I read that other people used straight conditioner instead of shampoo…hey, why not give it a try? Can’t hurt. I’m experimenting right now.

It was warming up, there under the shower…

Opened the bottle, put a little of the melted stuff in my hand, worked it into half my scalp…no bubbles, of course…then flipped my head over and put more on, rubbed that in…rinsed it out…and there we have it. I could tell right away my hair likes this better. I have no idea whether I’ll think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread until I give it a while.

One thing’s for sure: my hair didn’t need any conditioner, combing it out. And that’s a big improvement over the past two days of using baking soda shampoo. Yesterday when I combed out my hair it took me 20 minutes…tangles…hair tearing…and eventually I had to break out the Weleda Rosemary Hair Oil, rub that on, and comb out. At least then I could comb it out. And my hair had a heavy, stiff feel the rest of the day.

***

Note:  If you put coconut oil on your hair, in other words, the coconut oil in my homemade body lotion, it will stay there until you wash it out with soap.  I learned that by trying it.  🙂  That didn’t work so well for me either.

***

Day 3 note:  I have read disclaimers like this on almost all of the “make your own natural body products” websites:

A word about making the switch to natural shampoo:

You must be patient when it comes to switching your hair care from commercial to natural. There is often a “detox” period where you hair may feel stiff, sticky, oily, heavy, or dry. The myriad of synthetic products that are so often in our commercial shampoos and conditioners artificially coat the hair with plastic or protein polymers to make it look and feel undamaged. The more damaged the hair, the more porous it becomes; the more porous the hair, the more it absorbs these synthetic “protein” polymers (e.g. soy, wheat or oat proteins – that are NOT edible foods), plastic polymers such as PVP (petrochemical polyvinyl pyrrolidone) and gum coating agents.

Until the residues of protein and plastic polymers have been completely removed your hair will take some time to heal from all the chemicals… leaving it feeling a little less than “ideal.” But if you’re patient, the end result is worth the wait! As new hair grows in to replace old damaged hair, you’ll probably be amazed at the difference. Then again, for some folks with very chemically damaged hair, you may not like the way your hair feels after the detox, because this natural shampoo contains none of the vinyl or protein plastic polymers to coat their hair to make it feel or look undamaged. Just a heads up.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

http://www.thankyourbody.com/all-natural-shampoo/

Okay, so maybe giving up on Day 3 is a little too soon.

***

I washed my hair on December 27 in a blended mix of one cucumber and “one lemon’s worth” of lemon juice. It worked pretty well; by evening and the next morning the hair felt soooooooooooo heavy and greasy. I had to do something else. The egg shampoo idea might be next.

My to-do list: make up a batch of shampoo including Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap.

I ran across someone’s website saying that she’d used the baking soda shampoo & apple cider vinegar rinse for a while and liked it, but eventually it made her scalp itchy and she was disappointed; she then learned about pH balancing your homemade shampoo. She tried different recipes, then came up with a recipe that is *only* straight aloe vera gel (not the kind you put on owies that you buy in the pharmacy section that has other stuff in it) and coconut milk (canned). Hmm! Maybe that’s what everybody’s missing:  pH balancing.

So I googled around on the whole litmus paper thing, and pH balancing your homemade shampoo.  This will take a bit more exploration. Someone on another website commented that red cabbage is also effective as litmus “paper.”

***

SO. The Hair Adventure Continues.

I washed my hair with the second half of the cucumber & lemon juice mixture I made the day before in my blender.

But…I settled on mixing up this recipe when I ran across one of the comments at the very bottom of the blog:

http://ashleyshomemadeadventures.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/homemade-shampoo/

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10 Pu-Ehr Teabags in water, steeping

The comment  said that to make the recipe pH balanced, add 3 or 4 teaspoons of raw honey. I have raw honey! And everything else! Except Xanthan Gum…and comments asked about substituting arrowroot…why not, she said…she added xanthan gum for a little bit of thickening.

So I did it.

From her website, she says you will need:

  • 1 gallon of brewed tea or water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup castile soap
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum (I omitted this — it’s to make the recipe a little thicker)
  • essential oils (about 30 drops-optional)
  • I added:  4 Tablespoons of raw local honeyIMG_2208

She used chamomile tea bags, I think, and a later comment said she didn’t even think you needed tea. You could just use plain water.  She has blond hair; I have brown hair that’s going gray.

I had an aha from several months ago when I wanted more brown in my hair, and looked around to find shampoo that adds highlights…didn’t have any luck. This may be a disaster in the making, but I added 10 Pu-Ehr Teabags to my gallon of water and let the water get hot, and let the teabags steep about 20 minutes. Then removed the teabags, added the rest of the ingredients — baking soda, arrowroot, Dr. Bronner’s liquid castile soap — I picked out the Tea Tree version — and added 15 shakes of rosemary essential oil and 15 shakes of peppermint essential oil after adding the 4 tsp of raw honey. Once it cooled I poured it into the one-gallon empty vinegar jug from my recycling bin to store it in my bathroom cabinet.  It is VERY VERY brown, and we shall see if my bathtub suddenly goes from a lovely white to a nicely tinted dark walnut color. And we shall see if my hair suddenly looks dyed. That’s not what I’m going for. I’m going for just a little more brown highlighting amongst all the gray.

At least I do believe we’ve got ourselves a winner, with shampoo that will actually *foam* a little bit and clean my hair, won’t give me a terribly dry scalp over the long haul, and is something that I *could* ingest if I would so desire.

Somewhere on someone’s blog I read recently they made a point about our skin being our biggest organ, and we do take in whatever our skin comes into contact with. Why would I want to put something on my skin, any part of my skin, that I wouldn’t want to drink? Because essentially it’s going in anyway.

And it smells good!

And I won’t have to worry about rinsing it out really really really really really well so as not to have green stuff coming off my hair all day, green stuff that kind of looks like snot.  Yeah, if you don’t rinse that cucumber out of your hair well, you’ve got problems.

Ah, the experimental stage….”some assembly required”….

***

WELL.  After writing the above, I went to get dressed…and discovered that when I combed through my freshly-washed-in-cucumber-and-lemon hair, I had pretty big cucumber bits sticking to my comb. GAH! Not good. Looking a bit further, I’d additionally missed seeing the also-rather-big cucumber bits sticking to my shower curtain.

Lesson for the Future: use the cucumber from the top of the blender if we do this again. Cucumber bits settle. At the bottom you get stuck with the big pieces that truly *do* look like snot.

So, back in the shower, and next to try the newly formulated baking soda & tea & Dr. Bronner’s shampoo. I put it in a spray bottle and sprayed it on…rinsed…yeah, there’s a lot of brown coming out onto the bathtub floor, but it didn’t stick. Washed and rinsed again, and sprayed off with a spray of water, vinegar, lemon juice, and essential oil.

Cucumber bits were also stuck to my towel. I washed my towels.

Some assembly required is right.

My hair felt cleaner, dry at the roots due to the baking soda, I’m guessing, and I thought this was a pretty good recipe to stick with for a while. I was still planning to try out the aloe vera gel and coconut milk recipe; you pour that one into ice cube trays and freeze it, then as you need it you take out of the freezer the night before and use it, thawed, the next day. The recipe would last a week in the fridge, without freezing.

I also learned that I probably won’t be washing my hair every day like I used to. Apparently you don’t have to!  Who knew! “Wash your hair every day” would indeed make more money for those selling hair products…AND…knowing that if you wash your hair with their products it will strip your hair of its natural strength (oil), then you’ll need more products to help it de-frizz…and as a result of adding the de-frizzer, your hair will then need something else…get a real nice little cycle of consumerism going for the companies…great for their bottom line, which is, by corporate law, “do whatever is in the financial best interests of the corporation”…so they were only following the law…

***

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Pu-Ehr Tea Shampoo in the squirt bottle on the left; “conditioner” spray bottle, empty, that I fill with mostly water, and 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, and 10-20 drops of essential oil; the pink squeeze bottle has coconut & aloe gel shampoo, melted, inside; bottle on the right is “body wash” which, it turns out, did the best job of all shampooing my hair!

The Shampoo Journey, December 31: For the past couple of days I’ve used my mixture of Dr. Bronner’s, baking soda, water, and essential oils, and tea water, then rinsing with the water + vinegar + lemon juice + essential oils. At night I try to brush it with my boar bristle brush, “to distribute the oils to the ends of the hair.” My hair is still pretty greasy and heavy, once it dries out; I’m still washing it every day, hoping something will get the grease out, eventually.

I noticed yesterday that my hair has a different texture. It’s pretty thick, and I’ve always thought of it as “fine” in texture. Yesterday I washed it, rinsed it, combed it out — no tangles now — combed out pretty easily — and put it up in a ponytail. My hair has body! Thickness! When I put it in a ponytail elastic, it seems like there’s way more of it, and it kind of stands up on my head, a little, where before it would just lie down totally flat and smooth. And wrapping it up in the elastic band I notice that it looks much less perfect; there’s little strands kind of sticking out here, there…which I think is kind of cool. I like that. Once it gets dry I can comb it out and put it back in the band and it will be smoother — greasy-looking, though. But I know it’s clean. Just looks like I haven’t washed it in a week.

Today I used my “shampoo” recipe in the spray bottle as a “body wash” too.  Smells good! Worked just fine.

I was going to whip up a recipe of Aloe Gel (got that now) and Coconut Milk shampoo; read the comments in that person’s blog, and sheesh, people are having trouble with that TOO! My next plan is to make my own coconut milk out of dried coconut — I have that — and hot water, strained through a fine mesh sieve — and use that, not canned coconut milk “with guar gum,” for my coconut milk supply. I may do that tonight while the rest of the world gets crazy over 2014.

I still have a cucumber in my fridge, and yesterday I restocked my lemon juice supply. Just in case I have a bad case of silliness deficiency and need a good laugh.

***

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“Dry Shampoo” recipe: “some” arrowroot powder; add cocoa powder and ground cinnamon “to color” — to match your skin color; this is actually a “foundation” recipe that I grabbed, sprinkled on my clammy icky greasy-feeling hair, rubbed it into the roots, brushed it out, and went on with my day — it definitely took the “ick” feeling out of my hair! To use as a face powder, just dip a face powder makeup brush in, tap off excess, and brush on as you would normally use face powder. It absorbs oil.

January 1, Update on Shampoo Journey: last night my hair was still damp (and felt a little greasy) on top. I brushed it out…the ends were all pretty okay…flyaway, yes, but didn’t feel greasy…just on top. I made a bit of “makeup” powder with arrowroot and cocoa powder and cinnamon, and had already tried that out on my face.  Pretty neat. I took some of that arrowroot powder mix and sprinkled it on top of my head and rubbed it in…brushed it out. Pretty neat! I went to bed, got up this morning, felt the top of my head where it felt ewwww last night, and it feels pretty good! I combed out my hair this morning, it was static-y, and I put a little water on my hands and wetted down my hair. Pretty good! I may not wash my hair today. Or if I do, I’ll just rinse it with water and that’s it.

Hair feels better today than it has since the day I decided to start this, the last day I washed with store-bought shampoo.

***

http://www.thankyourbody.com/ph-balanced-shampoo-recipe/

January 1:  I made my own coconut milk! Hot water, and about a cup of grated dried coconut, and a wire mesh strainer…I poured the water through the strainer, then learned I could actually put the coconut & water in a blender and strain *that*.

Burned out my little Oster one-person-sized smoothie-maker.  But I made a whole bunch of coconut milk.

Then added the bottle of aloe vera gel and a cup and a half of homemade coconut milk, stirred it up with three chopsticks — I don’t have a wire whisk — ladled this mix with about 15 squirts of grapefruit essential oil into two ice cube trays, and they’re now in the freezer. Also I froze my new coconut milk.

One of these coconut milk / aloe shampoo bars lasts for several washes, according to some people…I don’t know; my hair is long and thick and we’ll see how it works.

***

January 4:  Yesterday I washed my hair in the aloe gel & coconut milk mixture I stirred together, then froze in ice cube trays.  With my long hair I used about a cube and a half of thawed-out aloe & coconut milk mix.

Not good. My hair felt heavy and greasy after washing, all last night, and today.  I understand there is a detox period with this recipe too.  I’m just not sure I’m patient enough for yet more hair detoxing.

Today I tried using the Body Wash recipe on my hair:  http://www.diynatural.com/homemade-body-wash/

  • ⅔ cup liquid castile soap 
  • ¼ cup raw, unfiltered honey 
  • 2 teaspoons oil – grapeseed, jojoba, sweet almond, sesame, or olive 
  • 1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil  (I didn’t have any, so I omitted this item — if you’re planning on storing this for a while, you’ll need it; I’m using this up pretty fast so I don’t think I need to worry about it; it’s a preservative)
  • 50 – 60 drops essential oils 

Measure out all ingredients and combine in a bottle with a squirt top, shaking to mix. Shake gently before each use. To use, squirt onto a washcloth, bath pouf, or directly onto body.

When I mixed mine up, again, in a tall glass jar, in a pan of warm water or a saucepan of water heating on the stove, stirring it with a pair of chopsticks, I was worried about the honey.  Mine is solid and thick.  The directions didn’t call for mixing it up and melting it together, but I did.  Would it get hard and lumpy when it cooled?  No — mine is a nice liquid; the honey didn’t separate out or get hard; and it’s working very well as a body wash.

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2/3 cup castile soap (Dr. Bronner’s), 1/4 cup raw, unfiltered honey, 2 tsp oil — I used almond, 1 tsp Vitamin E oil which I omitted — it’s used as a preservative, and 50-60 drops essential oils of your choice; melt the castile soap and the honey together over a very low heat, stirring with chopsticks in a quart-sized Ball jar in a pan of hot water, perhaps, and then add the oils, and pour into a squirt bottle — no water added.

As a shampoo, it foamed up very nicely, gave me thick, rich suds, washed out well, and I’ve been using the water / vinegar / lemon juice / essential oil in a spray bottle as conditioner. My hair is drying, now, and it feels pretty good! I was pretty sure yesterday, while washing my hair, that my hair wouldn’t turn out well with the aloe/coconut recipe. It might work well as a conditioner, if you have really dry hair.  At least you don’t have to worry about little green stuff remaining in your hair, on your shower curtain, in your bathtub, on your comb, with the aloe/coconut recipe…now, if it’d only work

***

So, that’s where I’m at right now:  I’ve tried plain baking soda and water with apple cider vinegar, using hard water.  That doesn’t work for me.  I tried boiling the water, adding the baking soda, using that as shampoo, and using half a cup of water, a tablespoon of white vinegar, a tablespoon of lemon juice, and 15-20 drops of essential oil as conditioner.  This conditioner recipe seems to work, now that my hair has de-greased and detoxed for a while; plain baking soda and water does not work for me.  Trying a recipe of Dr. Bronner’s, baking soda, tea water, and adding 4 tablespoons of raw honey — this one kind of works for me.  Cucumber and lemon juice worked for me a little bit, the first day I used it; Day 2, using the settled-out portion of the cucumber mix, gave me large juicy green things in my hair, bathtub, comb, shower curtain, and towel (ew!).  Aloe gel and coconut milk, correctly pH balanced, did not work, but then again I did not use this mixture for a long period of time, only one day, and gave up on it.  I still have a whole bunch of frozen aloe vera gel and coconut bars in my freezer, and will no doubt use them up over time.  What actually worked really well for me was the “body wash” recipe.

Now, that’s pretty sweet, right there.  Imagine having just one recipe, the “body wash” recipe, to use for body wash, shampoo, shaving lotion, and facial cleanser.  In the comments to that original blog post, someone asked if it could be used for shampoo; the suggestion was to remove the almond oil.  I used it this morning “straight” — no changes to the recipe — and I have very oily hair, or at least that’s what I’ve believed about my hair since I was a teenager.  Tonight my hair isn’t frizzy, isn’t static-y, isn’t greasy, and feels and looks clean, even with the almond oil and raw honey in the mix.  IMG_2216

I may have something different to say after using this recipe for a while.  But for right now, I’d give this one my *only* thumbs-up for the natural shampoo recipes I’ve tried so far.

***

Update The Next Morning:  My hair feels pretty good today!  At the roots, where it was the foamiest — I really didn’t wash the length of it, mostly just at the roots, all over my head — it feels dry and clean, still.  It doesn’t feel at all greasy, not at all like “I need a shampoo today” like I usually feel the day after shampooing my hair, using whatever product is out there.  The only thing I noticed today is that the length of the hair, past the ponytail point, feels a little like there’s “something on it.”  Not that heavy, wet, greasy feeling, just hmm…there’s something there…but it doesn’t bother me that much.  It’s a little static-y, too, but nothing I can’t calm down with a bit of water on my hands and rubbing that over my hair for a second.  Day 2 of “body wash shampoo” photo from this morning:

IMG_2221

 

*****

 

And the Updated Update: I haven’t used that recipe since sometime in mid January; it’s now April. I discovered Zum Shampoo Bars at the Zum website.  They do web-exclusive shampoo bars for $6 each in Frankincense and Myrrh scent and also Lavender.  So far, the Lavender has worked best for me.  Somehow, and it might be my water, the F&M variety gets thick and kind of clunky; Lavender is less thick and less clunky and doesn’t weigh my hair down as much with essential oils.

This is what’s worked really well for me now since January, but lately I got a little impatient with the thick and kind of gummy feel to my hair, so I tried an experiment — but I’ll get to that in a bit.

What I’ve felt, the reason I’ve really stuck with the Zum homemade shampoo, is that with this shampoo I can go almost a WEEK without needing to shampoo again.  For me, that’s unheard of!  I’ve always assumed I needed to shampoo every day; every other day was stretching it, even.  If I didn’t wash my hair every day I had a greasy oil slick on top of my head.  I *had* to shampoo it.

It’s been a learning curve, and I’ve learned that using this shampoo my hair looks as good on Day 6 (after shampoo) as it does on Day 1 and Day 2.

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you need: Zum shampoo bar, ordered online; grater, saucepan, and 4 times as much water as solid shampoo bar (in this case, 12 ounces)

The way I do it, you need:

~Zum Shampoo Bar (3 ounces)
~4 x as much water as Shampoo Bar

Directions:

In a saucepan, warm the water; as you’re doing that, grate your shampoo bar.  Add the grated shampoo bar to the warming-up water, stirring gently until all of the pieces are melted into the water.  Or, grate your shampoo bar into the saucepan, add the water, start it warming up gently.  Don’t boil it, and don’t get it too hot, just keep it going until it all dissolves nicely.  Keep stirring every now and then with chopsticks while the pieces melt into the water.  And that’s it!

IMG_2297

Grate the shampoo bar; add 4 times as much water as shampoo bar — in this case, the shampoo bar is 3 ounces; so add 12 ounces of water

Let it cool, pour into the squeeze bottles you’ll use in the shower, and you’re done.

***

Now, the gummy part.  I woke up on Saturday morning thinking my hair was feeling heavy and thick and kind of gummy.  What would work to make my hair feel a bit lighter, freer, shinier?  Really, what I was going for was that stripped-down feeling again, I guess…but how can I get that with natural products?

IMG_2298

…will look like this…

What I tried:  adding my homemade shampoo to a good bit of sea salt, and putting that on my hair in the shower and using it as a shampoo.  I rinsed it out I though pretty well…and put the usual “conditioner” on it — water mixed with vinegar and lemon juice and essential oil.

Well…not what I wanted.  I let my hair dry all day Saturday, wrapped in a french twist on my head.  It was still damp when I went to bed Saturday night.  Sunday morning, waking up, my hair felt heavy and hard and thick.

So.  I drew a nice hot bath and submerged my whole self under the water, soaked for a while, sat up, applied apple cider vinegar  and water, half and half, in a spray bottle.  I did that four times.  You’d think that’d do something!

Put it back up in a french twist, went on with my day.

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…dissolve the shampoo bar into the water over a very gentle heat, stirring with something like chopsticks…when it’s all dissolved, let it cool, and pour into the container you’ll use in the shower…and you’re done!

This morning:  the hair is better, but still not what I was looking for.  I shampooed it very very sparingly with a little homemade shampoo…rinsed it out again really well and applied the apple cider vinegar and water spray. And put it up in a french twist again.

So….this is a long, long, long, long, long, LONG venture, trying to get it right with my hair and my homemade hair products.

One thing’s for sure, though:  I have body.  My hair has body like it’s never had before.  It’s thick, it doesn’t need shampooing on Day 2, it stays in a french twist without falling out a million times a day like it used to, it is DEFINITELY “not manageable,” it’s hard to comb through, there’s a lot of oil stuck to my hair and my combs — natural oils, coconut & whatever they make Zum out of — but would I go back to store-bought?  No way in hell.  Absolutely not.  My hair is also strong and it’s holding a curl for the first time.  And it’s actually gorgeous.  When I take the time to comb it out.  Which mostly I don’t.  I just wash it, comb it out in the bathtub while I’m bent over at the waist, straighten back up, and it’s a tangled mess then, from which point I twirl it into a french twist and secure it with my favorite stick, and I’m done.  It’s kinda messy, kinda curly here and there, kinda … creative looking.

me long hair day

a “Day 2” day

I like it, grays & all.  Imperfections & all.

***

Update, June 29, 2014:  This is still a work in progress.  I noticed when I went back to the farm where I grew up, for 10 days at the end of May, where we have rainwater (naturally soft water, naturally structured water) in the cistern to use for showering, my hair when I first got there was heavy and gunky and thickish, even though I’d just shampooed the day before.  *Sigh.*  But after showering several days in the rainwater, with a structured water “mini-shower” unit in the shower, my hair was way improved!  Even without shampooing my hair, just running water through it and washing the scalp with my fingertips, my hair was vastly better there than it was at home in Nebraska.

So, I decided to get two more whole-house structured water units installed in my whole-house in Nebraska.

Got that done on Friday.  I washed my hair Saturday in what would be 10-times-structured-water, if you count each whole house Dynamically Enhanced unit to be equivalent to 3 passes through a unit…so, 9 passes with the 3 whole-house unit, and one more, the mini-shower at the shower head…and my hair will be dry by tomorrow so I will have more to say about it.

Saturday night I made up a new batch of shampoo, with the Frankincense and Myrrh shampoo bar, grated, and 12 ounces of water — 9-times-structured-water, and since I had *all* my stuff out, all my oils and carrier oils and essential oils, making laundry detergent and toothpaste and bug bite juice and bug repellent spray…I noticed the bottle of jojoba oil suggested to add a tablespoon of jojoba oil to your favorite shampoo or conditioner.  Ah!  Why not!  It’s sitting right there in the pan.  Easy to just stir that in.  So we will see how adding the extra tablespoon of jojoba oil to the grated Zum & water shampoo recipe works.


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