One of the hardest parts of being plastic free is not having plastic wrap in the kitchen. Needing to store something in a large bowl that does not have a lid – sure you can try foil, but it just does not work. So this summer when we were in Spain – where Lékué products are everywhere – I found these silicon stretch tops! You can buy these on the Lékué site or amazon for example.
- The stretch tops are designed to create a vacuum seal that allows you to preserve food inside or outside the refrigerator
- Hermetically seals for prolonged preservation
- Stretch, cover, press center to seal
- Even works on fruit or vegetable halves
- Elastic so adjust to container size
I have been working hard to fix 2 things in my life. 1) Eating whole healthy food that will nourish my body. 2) Eliminating plastic use in my life (ok well and technically 3) learning Norwegian – but that is a whole ‘nother complicated mess of a story).
In some ways these 2 compete with each other, but not how you are thinking. I am not trying to split my time between them like 2 friends wanting to hang out with me but not liking each other. No. They just kind don’t like each other. Sadly. You see the thing is that I want to be able to buy certain products/foods that I know will make me healthier – but I am unable to find them plastic free. So for example, then I have a decision to make: Don’t buy Spinach, because it comes in plastic.Therefore you will not get this amazing nutritious dark leafy green that you need and love because there is plastic. OR, Buy this yummy and vitamin packed powerhouse green and have 1 plastic bag in your collection. (ps. My home town – Alma Arkansas – is the spinach capital of the world)
Most of you probably think I am crazy for even having to debate this. I really REALLY am rather equal in my quest on both issues. But I have to say that I am finally to the point that I am picking nutrition. I am very good about not collecting plastic. We have 100% bamboo toothbrushes (finally just got them, post coming soon!), we use a bar of soap that comes in paper for our teeth, the shower, our hands and the dishes (obviously all different bars in those areas), we take our own shopping and produce bags to the store/market, our own bags when normal shopping, we store all our food in glass, I now make our own ice cream so avoid the plastic box and be healthier, ect, ect ect. We have a great plastic recycling program here in Norway- so that is nice to know it is helping keep the plastic we do make out of the dump!
So I have been a rebel to the plastic cause these past few weeks. I have bought a few vitamins that I have been wanting. I learned that we are just not getting magnesium anymore in our food from the earth, so I decided that it was time to get nourished (Read about that here and here). Since I have moved to Norway (read: since I meet Ole) I have started to think differently about supplements and medications. I moved here with a ‘arsenal’ as Ole called it. But now, I prefer to heal naturally and to get my vitamins from foods the natural way. But those articles really convinced me about the magnesium. And it makes total sense, we don’t respect the earth anymore in the way we grow. We just throw chemicals at it and go about. The same is true for K2, we just don’t get enough pastured animal fat – if you are interested in that read this and this. So every month, for my healths sake, I am buying a bottle of magnesium and a bottle of K2 – guilt free. The brand of K2 I am ordering is the best and it only a plastic bottle. I am searching still for a glass bottle of magnesium – share if you know a good one!
[Side Note: Selection sometime is limited in Norway on things like specialty vitamins. The best brand of K2 in my opinion is a Norwegian brand called MenaQ7, but hilariously I can not buy it on it's own here. I can buy in only mixed in a multi. So I order mine from iherb.com. If you are looking for a good source for vitamins, I really recommend iherb. I have been hearing about them for ages and just thinking it was silly, but they are great and fast and have good service. I have a coupon code that you can use your first time to get $5 off - SOG981 - and if you use my code I get to build up rewards, so that is why I am telling you this ]
There is a middle ground of course, I am not going back to buying my ground beef in plastic of course. I know that is bad and bad ground beef and leaching chemicals from the plastic. I still feel strongly about the fact that when I someday have kids that I want them to be plastic free too – glass bottles, cotton bed, wooden or silicon toys, ect. No funny face plastic dinner plates here! However, those are areas that the plastic is avoidable. I think I am writing all this more in a way to say to you – If you are like me and trying your hardest to avoid plastic but have let your health go to the wayside because of it .. then take a step back and have a good think about it.
So I still have a goal to make out own potato chips. We have some unnecessary plastic consumption there. That is one I obviously can cut out and it will not hurt our health – surely it will help us since we will be cutting out the last place we get industrial oils. We have the occasion chocolate bar, but I have just found this yuber yummy brand that is in foil and paper – I think they are worth the switch. They were a tiny bit more expensive, but they have better ingredients too! Basically now, nutrition is taking the front seat and plastic is going to have to sit in the back – and I am ok with that!
I have not posted anything in 3 months, so I figure it is time for an update. I have taken a no stress approch with this blog, my other 2 blogs (Expats and Design) keep me rather busy in the blog world. So I decided, on this one – when I post I post and I am not going to stress or worry about it. This post is going to be lots of random
In September Ole and I became home owners. We are really thrilled with our new place. We live 500 feet from the harbor now, which is great because we can walk into town to meet friends for drinks and it only take 5 minutes to get there. The harbor in Stavanger is in the middle of down town, you can see out house where the pink star (lower right) is in the photo above. This is making us walk more, which is good for us.
Over the summer and through the move we have stopped tracking our plastic. Between traveling and packing and settling it has just been busy. I think we will pick up in the new year, and Ill randomly post the results. Of course back in May we had only 579 grams of plastic, so the goal is to have less.
I have started brewing kombucha. Someday Ill write a more detailed post about it. I currently have 4 litters chilling in the basement. I also finally splurged and got my Kenwood KM020! It is great, I am so excited about all the things I can make with it. It is great to have a proper egg beater/whipper now, since I use alot of whipped egg whites in my cooking. I am going to buy the ice cream attachment and the food processor attachment. I want to control what is in our ice cream and not have the plastic box it comes in. I really hate seeing all the weird stuff that is added to ice cream these days. Check out this video, I can not find the clip anywhere else – you will be so shocked at what is in your ice cream. I have been scouting lots of recipes to try when I get the ice cream attachment for my Kenwood! I have had to come to a middle ground on buying stuff that comes wrapped in plastic. I started to feel really guilty. But over time I realize that buying this machine was going to make my life much easier and yummier and save load of plastic from being used by us.
The hygiene update – We are still brushing our teeth with pure soap, with the occasional baking soda scrub. I am still not washing my hair, just water and a good scrub. However occasionally there is abit of a build up so then I take a bar of pure castile soap and scrub my scalp with it. I am have really been learning about how we need to allow the oils our skin produces to stay on our skin. They are there for a reason, and just like your hair if you over wash and strip the oils off your skin will overproduce. Why do you think so many women who wear lots of makeup and wash their face daily have a oily skin issue?
The health update – During the summer I took myself off my thyroid meds (synthyroid) and cut out gluten+grains and mostly all sugar. I went in this month to get blood work done to see how my thyroid was doing. I was abit worried that my doctor was going to be furious with me and my number were going to be bad. Well, my doctor was shocked at how great my numbers were. He really could not get over it! He wants to bring me back in for another test in 3 months to make sure it is not a fluke – I know it is not – and go from there. So on my next round of test I am going to let the doc know why my number are so good. *I still hope he is not upset. I have tons of energy and feel great. I have lost 7.5 inches from my hips without really working out at all. I can just imagine that if I were working out the results would be so much more! If you are not aware of the dangers (even if you are not allergic) of gluten, read this article and this one too if you are really interested!
The food update – We are still buying all our meat from Idsøe, the local butcher. They know to wrap our meat in paper now without us even asking. I love it! The farmers market is starting to thin out, I am bummer about it. I really dislike that they shrink-wrap the paprikas (bell peppers) here when you buy from the normal store. I have learned on trick that is worth sharing. When you buy chives or green onions, keep the roots. Plant them or put them in a cup of water and give them plenty of light. They will continually grow, all you have to do is cut them down to the stem and enjoy not having to buy them ever again (ok well I am sure at some point!). If I am not going to be using the green onions, I still cut them off when they are ‘full grown’ so they dont wilt and I freeze them for later.
Vaccinations are getting lots of heat, and they should be. In one of the States they have made a vaccine a child’s choice or not to get it, they administer them at school.. people are getting sick and getting brain damage from the vaccines. Read about it here. I have never been a fan of vaccines, I think that there are a few worth getting. But the way it is back home in the States, I feel like there are 100′s of vaccines now. Well there is a new movie out I want to see called The Greater Good. Check out the trailer for it below. And if you are interested in more about vaccines and their dangers check out the great info on Kelly’s blog here.
Crazy isn’t it! Let me know what you think.
It has been quiet on here for a few months, mostly due to summer vacation and that I am have been learning a ton about food and wanted to have more knowledge before sharing with everyone.
In the book she goes food group by food group. A main point with her is eating local and seasonal. Local meaning the food was made/grown 150 mile / 240 kilometer circle around your house. The goal is to try to get as much of the food can this way. It has a few benefits 1) When it is local, it has not sat in a plane and on 5 trucks to get to the general store down the street from you – which means fresher and less pollution and 2) you have just put your money to good use in your area, not back up to the big companies. I get that everything you need cannot be made by you, but when you can give your money to farmer Joe and know that it is helping his family that is great. But when you can’t buy local, find a smaller store that maybe is family run and support their jobs. For me there are a few things that I need that are just not local like Olive oil, coconut oil, olives, some spices, coca powder.
Another thing in the book she talks about is whole fat dairy. Why are we modifying something so natural. Your body needs to absorb the nutrients in the milk – but shocker (and with all nutrients) you need fat to adsorb them. So when you think you are being healthy downing that glass o skim milk, it is just wasted. Butter also, not margarine or fake butter – get the real stuff and slather it on. This is where I can not explain or I would just have to copy chapters of the book here.. read the book for the real evidence of why the fat is good .. it does not cause heart and health issue. She also talks about ferments and sprouting. Go on read it!!
So since May we have switched even more to local food, and whole foods like butter, whole milk, whole yogurt with out all those sugars or preservatives. Every Saturday we go into to town, we go the the butchers, farmers market, sometimes the organic store and then the ‘normal’ store for the final things .. in that order. I love knowing I am supporting the locals.
In the book she mentions the Weston A. Price foundation (WAPF). So being the nerd I am I looked them up. There site is abit drab, so I looked around to see who was blogging about it. I found The Healthy Home Economist, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and Cheeseslave. Through them I have been learning about good fats, traditional food preparation and eating nutrient dense foods. I could go on and on, but the best is if you are intersted in this ‘real food’ stuff then check out those blogs, watch there videos and get them in your rss – they are just a huge source of wisdom.
Dont’ worry, we are getting to the Paleo part. My thyroid is not up to par, as some of you may know. I found out that many people with a bum thyroid do not tolerate gluten. So through WAPF and those blogs mentioned, I found out about GAPS. Basically, GAPS is a program to heal your gut lining. Your gut is very important, when a child is being formed, the egg splits into two – the brain and the gut. Your guts bacteria can go bad if it is not take care of well and cause a slew of problem from diseases to heartburn. If your interested in more about GAPS or know someone that could benefit from it, read this article for an overview. Over the summer, I have been playing with the thought of going on GAPS starting in August. So on gaps there is no gluten for some time, so leading up to August I tried to cut as much gluten and grains out – instantly I felt better. I was shocked, I did not realize how much they made me feel like crap.
I got to googling around trying to find some grain free meals, taking away pasta, bread, oatmeal ect was going to take a mind shift. In time I came across Mark’s Daily Apple (MDA). Mark has a book out called the Primal Blueprint, and a blog full of great articles plus a forum with a great community of people to chat with.
Paleo (Primal / caveman / grok) is eating our ancestors would have way back in the caveman days. MDA has a great Primal 101 page full of the most important articles to get going, so I started reading through the majority of them. This also of the sudden just made perfect sense to me. You eat lots of vegetables, fish and meats, some fruit, some nuts, little dairy (which is debatable, but I do) and lots of fats! You are basically eating what was around in nature all those years ago – the time before hospitals and medicine cabinets – the time where people still lived and the world went on. You also are to exercise as they would – they have given ‘they’ a name, Grok. So you are to exercise and eat as Grok would have. I am working into the exercise part, but we go the food part down. A typical day for me now looks like this – Breakfast, bacon with 2 eggs fried in bacon fat. Lunch, massive salad of lettuce, olives, cheese, chicken, avocado, a soft boiled egg and some olive oil with a cup of whole milk. Dinner, large piece of meat or fish and a large serving of sautéed veggies in butter. Then dessert, I have chocolate banana ice cream (recipe will be coming) or a piece of dark chocolate or fruit. Snacks, hand full of nuts or some fruit.
I think that this video below is a nice overview of the primal life. However, as I mentioned before I am a dairy consumer. I think that it is on of the best things. The only thing I don’t agree with in the video is that he says we can’t process dairy. I get that some cannot. But I do not believe that raw natural dairy causes disease ect – I think the opposite, whole milk heals and nourishes. (and of course I am never going to get into religion or evolution on this blog, so just take the video for it’s facts)
So now I am living a Paleo + Traditional (Real Food + WAPF) way of life.. not a diet. I’ll have meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and whole dairy such as yogurt, whole milk, cheese plus ferments that are pro-biotic – like kefir, kombucha, fermented vegetables, and sour cream ect. I feel great and am so happy to have found this path, I am looking forward to the results that come from it which should be better health and a longer happier life.
[I'll be posting soon about the dangers of gluten, even for people who don't think they are sensitive to them! Stay Tunned.]
How true is that! Just like Barbie gave me unrealistic expectations about my hips and thighs… but that is another story. Today, we talk about hair.
So another cat is coming out of the bag. I do not wash my hair. Yes, you heard (*read) that right, no shampoo or conditioners go on my hair. Just good ol’ water. If you have been following along, you know that earlier this year in attempt to get away from the dangerous chemicals in shampoo and conditioner, I switched to a natural alternative. I could not bear the idea that those chemicals were seeping into my skin! Read more about that here, it is a great option in my opinion – I just wanted to take it to another level.
So in March I decided to go ‘unwashed’. I read a series of articles (here, here and here) and as is typical with me, I decided to jump in and give it a go. Autumn, at the Beheld, was kind enough to give me some advice. And answer my many questions along the way. The first few weeks I kept my hair up, as I had been warned it was going to be an oily ‘break in’ period. Many people always say that their hair gets oily the next day, so they cannot imagine a week.. or even 2 days without shampoo. I thought the same thing too, growing up I was notorious for having greasy hair – My Dad can attest to it, it was always ‘Fonda wash your hair’ or ‘ Fonda, when was the last time you washed your hair’ or my favorite, ‘If you cannot remember when you last washed your hair it has been too long, go shower now’. Poor Dad, but maybe I was on to something as a teen : P.
You see, when you strip the natural oils off your hair everyday .. or every other day.. your scalp thinks that it needs to produce x amount of new oil every day to keep it healthy. So, you have to break your scalps habits. Which takes around 5-8 weeks – mine took 5 ish, while I have heard people say that theirs took more. There are a few tricks that I have picked up along the way.
- For your ‘break in’ period, ponytails are great (and now that it is summer, you have a great excuse). If you wear your hair down it is going to be chunky – sorry I am not sure of another way to explain it, chunky seems to work best in this case. But that does go away with time..
- Brush your hair as much as possible, every day if you can. Use a boar bristle brush, and work from the roots down to the ends. This helps distribute your oils and also massages your scalp. I have had two different boar bristle brushes. Make sure to test some out if you are not impressed. The first one I got was highly reviewed online, but I found it was not stiff enough to get through my hair, it just flattened on my head. But then my friend traveled to the UK and surprised me with a Diane brush, and it works so much better.
- When you are having oily days, take some baby powder in your hands and run in into your scalp. Some days that are extra oily, I have sprinkled it right on my head and rubbed it (like a shampoo). I suggest to check this at night, then any ‘white residue’ while wear off in the night. If not, and you apply in the morning – just make sure you rub well or else you will appear to have greys. Oily days will continue even after the ‘break in’ they will just not be nearly as bad. Now I find most days are not oily.
- Try to go as long as possible between rinses/washes. When you do ‘wash’ just do like normal but without the shampoo or conditioner. Scrub your scalp well, you do want to clean it and take care of the dead skin (sorry). I now try to ‘wash’ every 10 days. The reason I wait so long, is the day after a wash your hair … ok my hair.. freaks out. I think that my hair has gotten so used to the oils sticking around that when it gets ‘washed’ that it loses its bounce and looks icky – it is like it needs to dry out even after it is dry. I chatted with Autumn about this too, she agreed that it needs some breathing time after a wash. I find that it takes around 8 hours to do so. Also, I have found that it is much less ick if I ‘wash’ with warm and not hot water.
There are some great benefits to letting your hair go natural and take care of itself.
- No more buying products that make tons of claims and drain the bank account. Water is free.
- When your hair is naturally oiled up, you have this natural mouse like texture in it. It is rather hard to explain, but if you have long hair then think of the best mouse you have ever had in your hair. It is like that. If I want my hair to by curly, then it holds a curly. If I want straight hair, then it is straight. Without any products. Thats another thing Autumn over at The Beheld agrees with me about, she had the same realization too! I generally wear my hair down, wavy with abit of curl. I never need to do anything to it, it just stays and is light and airy. I think it is best described now as beach hair. But of course everyones will be different.
- My hair is so healthy now, it feels healthy and it looks healthy! I would imagine yours would be too!
- There is so much time saved. Not shampooing, no conditioning and waiting for the conditioner to soak in. No oil treatments. And, No getting up early to style – this obviously would not work if my hair did not have the tiny bit of curl I like and needed to curl my hair. But then again, that would be another world for me.
- You use less water in the shower. Better on the hot water bill!
- If you dont brush your hair for a few days (I tend to go like 5 sometimes, especially if I am really loving how it looks) you will be so surprised at how easily it brushes through. It is amazing. I always have had tangely hair, but now the natural oils keep it all apart. It is really great to just easily brush through it.
Then there are the cons, which I feel to be fair I need to point out. These don’t really bother me, but might bother you.
- Your hair will smell like hair. Gasp! If you want a sweet or flowery smell, you can make a spray with some essential oils, but I have no desire too. For the first few weeks I had Ole regularly smell my hair (thanks for putting up with me!) and he said it is fine. He has been informed to say if it ever smells. So far 3 months in, no stink.
- Yes, it can be greasy. Some days are more than others. But really just a bit of baby powder goes a long way. Apply it, brush it through if need be and the shiny oil is gone! Poof!
- It is not exactly an easy or open topic to chat about. Kinda like with my ‘I don’t use toothpaste’ choice, you will get some odd looks if you talk about it. But really, who needs to know (unless like this post and you think it will help or inspire people).
This is definite something to consider. I am thrilled that I am not using chemicals and that I am saving loads of money. But if it is not for you, consider a more natural hair cleaning approach to avid the harsh chemicals – read this idea about ACV and Baking Soda. I will post an update in the future, in the meantime however- feel free to ask any questions you might have!
UPDATE Winter 2012:
I have now started to use (as I have talked about in the comments below) pure olive oil soap on my roots about once per week. I found that after some time, I just needed to get some of the ‘buildup’ of my scalp. I just was the roots/scalp and rinse it off, the rinsing part takes care of the rest of the hair – the soapish water runs over all my hair but does not dry it out. If I want to prolong the time between washes I just put a very small amount of baby powder on my roots and rub it in, not only does it take away any oily shine – it also is great for styling! It is still very easy to brush my hair, even if I have not brushed it for many days.
I have used the soap as a bar, just rubbing it on the scalp. While this worked for me, I wanted to have an option that was more ‘normal’ for Ole so I now liquidize it. I take around 700 ml of hot water and 1 block of soap (generally chopped up into smaller pieces, like 8). I leave this on the counter for a few days and shake it when i go past. This makes a nice thick creamy soap that we now use for ‘shampoo’, dish soap, and hand soap.
I have gotten many questions about dandurf. I do not seem to ever have dandurf anymore either. I see this as a bonus of this lifestyle of no/limited checmicals and eating how I do. I take magnesium and vitamin D3, they do wonders for the skin. I also am eating plenty of natural fats which nourish the skin. I think that if you are getting dandurf look into what you are eating, take some Cod Liver Oil and vitmin D3 and read up on the subject.