Friday, March 25, 2011

My Natural Bodycare Routines

For Mara,

Aside from not eating grains, this is how I keep my skin looking nice: honey and baking soda mixed together 50/50. I keep it in a 1 cup covered Pyrex container in my shower because otherwise it is pretty sticky. I have learned to check the cup before I jump in the shower just in case I need to add more. The honey is very moisturizing and makes a great all over body wash!

Ingredients: Saponified Olive Oil, Water, Sodium Chloride
Soap: I haven't gotten around to making my own soap yet but I do use Kiss My Face Olive Oil bar soap which I enjoy. I can buy it at my local grocery store and it is less than $2/bar which is saying something for the natural body care product community. The three simple ingredients will amaze you!

How I wash my hair: I wash my hair about once a week with Avalon Organics Lavender shampoo the rest of the time just with water. I do not use conditioner because I have no need. For a while I did "no-poo" and washed with baking soda and conditioned with apple-cider vinegar but right now I like that I can wash it without trying to remember to fill the baking soda container. I haven't bought shampoo for nearly two years; I am still using the same bottle.

How I clean my teeth: I was getting sick of paying for sensitive teeth toothpaste and still having sensitive teeth. I recently read that it is actually the toothpaste that causes recession and sensitivity, not brushing too hard as I had always thought (and been told). Technically you don't even need toothpaste to get your teeth clean, but you can also boost your whitening power by using a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. I just mix it in the cap and brush away. My teeth are less sensitive and this is WAY cheaper. Oh yeah, and I floss but that is just floss which I don't believe you can get any more natural than that.

How I moisturize: Extra-virgin coconut oil is AMAZING! I use it to moisturize as well as a sunscreen and after sun lotion. Hint, it also makes a great lubricant.

How I style my hair: This is one where I haven't stumbled upon a good solution. I use a styling wax, Redken Rewind to be precise, but it is super expensive and I don't like how chemically it is. I just found this lovely tutorial on how to make your own pomade. I don't love that it uses petroleum jelly but maybe I could use Shea butter instead? Hmmm...It also looks like you can use jojoba or olive oil instead. I think I will need to experiment!

I have heard that if you get a blemish you could put tea tree oil diluted with olive oil on it, but I can't recommend it because I have never tried it myself. If you have any questions or tips, please send them my way!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


"When we would talk about our future in private, I would ask Mark if he really thought we had a chance. Of course we had a chance, he'd say, and anyway, it didn't matter if this venture failed. In his view, we were already a success, because we were doing something hard and it was something that mattered to us. You don't measure things like that with words like success or failure, he said. Satisfaction comes from trying hard things and then going on to the next hard thing, regardless of the outcome. What mattered was whether or not you were moving in a direction you thought was right. This sounded extremely fishy to me."
-Kristin Kimball in The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love

I love reading memoirs and recently have been delving into the agricultural. In addition to The Dirty Life I have been absolutely inspired by Novella Carpenter's Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. While the journeys of these two women couldn't be more different given the comparative size of their farms, they both show that it is possible to raise food for your family (or 100 families!) despite your comparative lack of experience; you don't need to be born a farmer to become a farmer. All you need to do is research, plan and DO. If you start small, you will be amazed at how much food you can grow for your family.

Here is a video of Novella's farm in Oakland, California. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making Some Changes

My last post about my 5 months on the diet was dire. I was feeling awful and wanted to give up. It turned out that my gallbladder was about to pass a bunch of gallstones, so I know why I was feeling so bad. While it was really uncomfortable and even painful at times, it was such a relief to know that my gallbladder was just detoxing. When things got really tough I did some coffee enemas and they made a big difference. I also only wanted to eat hard boiled eggs and drink bone broth, so I went with that. I am a big believer in following the body's cravings, except when it relates to sugar and high carbohydrate foods (then the body is saying it needs instant energy and there are better ways to feed it).

While I was going through that ordeal I decided that I needed to move in a different direction and have been drawn to the GAPS/SCD diets which are similar but much less strict. As far as GAPS goes, I find its system, especially its intro diet incredibly confusing, plus they advocate a very expensive probiotic that I doubt the efficacy of. On the other hand, I found that with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet probiotics are not necessary but probiotic foods are highly encouraged and that is more the direction that I want to go. On a SCD website I found an introduction diet specifically for sufferers of candida and I believe that is how I want to go, though I won't follow this exactly because I do not want to include juices or anti-fungals. It is in three stages and it is simple for me to follow. I am going to work on increasing my intake of fermented vegetables and also probably start culturing yogurt soon, making sure that I get a serving of fermented foods with every meal.

Here are the changes:
  • Adding 1 oz. hard cheese a week ETA: It appears that I cannot tolerate cheese yet 3/23
  • Adding 1 cup. cooked berries every other day
  • Slowly add in small amounts of plain 24-hour fermented yogurt every day starting with one spoonful
  • Decrease coconut oil to no more than 2 tbsp/day to help with the detox symptoms
  • Occasional almond flour or almond butter
  • Maybe some lentils?
  • Maybe some raw honey? ETA: Honey is a no-no 3/24
I will continue with a modified Bee's diet with these small additions until my symptoms improve enough to move on. I may need to remove aspects of these changes depending on my reactions to them and it is a good idea not to eat ALL the news foods at the same time. Ideally they should be spread out 3-5 days or as much as a week. SLOW introduction is key to knowing what I should and should not eat. I also want to limit the amount of supplements I am taking. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Giving Up?

I have now been on the Candida control diet for 5 months, or nearly that. I hate it. In the past when I got sick I would call it whatever it was: flu, food poisoning, cold, just dead tired; now I have to call everything a "healing reaction." Yeah, ok. Sunday night I began to feel one of these "healing reactions" coming on and was then up all night throwing up. Last week I felt good a total of ONE day out of seven. The last month has been majorly sucky. Is this all detox? I felt much better a few months ago and really, not a whole lot has changed in what I am eating or the way I am doing things except perhaps that I am not "cheating" so much.

How long did I say I was going to do this? Eight months? Isn't GAPS an easier path? Every night I pray that this diet will work and that all of this "healing" will get a whole lot easier. I think I might end up crazy and bedridden by the end of eight months if it continues downhill as it has been. I need some help from someone who has been there/done that with a healing diet.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Primal TV Dinner

3 hard boiled eggs, sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, supplements and Electrolyte drink. Top Brussels Sprouts with vast quantities of melted Kerrygold butter and devour while watching a BBC period drama.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What Poverty Does

Today Ravenna and I went to Roots Market with the BFF and after buying produce and checking out the critters we wandered over to the flea market in search of treasures. Christie was in search of a candy dish (which she found for $1!) and I was just keeping my eye out for Depression glass, Delft and useful junk. Just as we were about to leave I spotted some cool stuff at a table I had passed by earlier. The man sitting at the table was quite eccentric, had incredibly LONG nose hair and a generally disheveled appearance. No matter, it wasn't unusual.

I spotted a blue and white serving platter and while I debated over buying it (the price wasn't bad I just didn't need it) I had one ear open to the conversations this man was having with other customers. I became startled to observe that this man was actually begging people to buy his wares. Then I started to look around. It didn't take a rocket scientist to notice that something was up. The seller appeared to be living out of his van. He said that he used to be a Social Studies teacher and was down on his luck. He needed some sales. Some people might call me a sucker but I don't believe that there was any dishonesty going on.

My heart broke to see this lonely, eccentric human being begging for me to buy a $10 platter that was certainly worth much more. I bought it even though I didn't need it. After leaving I felt so grateful for my comfortable life and the blessings of being surrounded by wonderful friends and family. What did he have? I really don't know but in my experience with flea market sellers they might bring down the price of an item but they never beg.

What could I do for this man? Could I have done more than just bought the platter? All these thoughts fill my mind now. What more could I have done?

Sunday, March 6, 2011


 This Isn't My Lemon-Curd

What's a girl to do when the lemon curd curdles? Whip out the stick blender of course! Dessert saved.

Stevia Sweetened Lemon-Curd -I eat this like a pudding while it is still warm. Delicious!
3 Egg yolks, beaten slightly
1/8 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp liquid stevia
1/4 stick of butter (4 tbsp) OR half extra-virgin coconut oil and butter

I don't really have a good method for this. Sometimes it turns out, sometimes it doesn't. I usually combine the first 3 ingredients and then when the curd begins to form I take it off the heat and add the butter and stir it in like crazy. Tonight it didn't work so I emulsified it, mayonnaise style and it turned out silky and lovely. Here is a really interesting article that says it is fool-proof and because it uses whole eggs and not just egg yolks I might just have to modify my method. The author says to cream the fats and sugars (or in my case stevia) together and then add the eggs one at a time, as if you were making a cake. Lastly add the lemon juice. Pour the mixture into a heavy bottomed sauce pan and cook over low heat stirring constantly until it thickens nicely. The full recipe can be found here