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.
Part 1: The Plastic
Week 1 we used/collected 26 items equaling 229 grams / 8.07 ounces total.
Week 2 we used/collected 12 items equaling 138 grams / 4.8 ounces total.
Week 3 we used/collected 11 items equaling 109 grams / 3.8 ounces total.
Week 4 we used/collected 6 items equaling 103 grams / 3.6 ounces total.
Month of May Total: 55 Items equaling 579 grams / 20.4 ounces.
I am rather proud of our efforts, and I think it is good to have a new goal. It was interesting to see out plastic count fall every week My hope is that at the end of June we have went from totaling 20 ounces to 15 – at least.
The things that we continue to buy in plastic will be candy, ice cream and chips. I do plan to make our own ice cream sometime in the future, but need to wait till I get a full fridge and out of my dorm sized fridge. We will have some beer wrappers too.
In this have learned to make some of my own things to avoid plastic. They are:
- Sour Cream / Crème fraiche
- Yogurt – regular
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Pasta (this is on hold until I buy a proper roller)
- Cooking Syrup
I am also learning to make some things, that will take some time to master
- Cheese (Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan)
- Ice Cream
I have learned to really watch if I am buying something packaged. When buying fresh fish for example, they always try to slip in a plastic bag inside the paper – now I know to watch them like a hawk the whole time. Or even if I buy something in a paper box to shake it around to see if I can hear plastic. Ole and I are always laughing at ourselves, we know we must look crazy while at the grocery store. I have also come to realize, that if I can get a good quality used product I should – but when that is not an option to not beat myself up over buying new and gaining tons of plastic wrapping.
I have now also stopped buying the oil I was before. I just read ‘Real Food: What to eat and Why” by Nina Planck – I highly recommend it! Ok well not all oil.. but I am buying only cold pressed organic Olive Oil in glass, Coconut Oil in glass and then we have butter and lard. The Olive Oil is easy to get with a metal lid and no plastic spout, so I am excited about that. But I guess that is a whole other post.
You too can join the Show you Plastic Challenge here! I challenge you to do it for at least one week, week all the plastic that you use – you will be amazed at how plastic is everywhere! If you need motivation, read this to learn about the health dangers of plastic – Plastics: The Sixth Basic Food Group – and watch this.
Part 2: The Cost
If you recall from the May Challenge post:
We will be keeping tack of all the money spent on goods. Not just a general we spent this amount, but a we spent XX on bread, XX on fruit, XX on toilet paper, ect. … We have looked back into our bills from October to see how much we used on these items then, when we were only shopping at the regular grocery store and the liquor store. We have been working to put our money to better places then big business, and now we are buying I think 80% of our goods not at the regular grocery store.
Now I am not sure if that 80% organic is correct, I am not sure of the exact percentage but I know we try to always get the ‘good stuff’ over the commercial stuff. When I compare the numbers of October food bills, our food spending has only went up 6%. Which is not bad, as in the summer months we eat lots of ice cream and Popsicles (no A/C). Personally for me it is really nice to see exactly where this money has went too. I kept a detailed list, but in the end simplified it. For me it broke down into 11 categories: Meat & Fish, Fat & Oil, Fruit & Vegg, Grains, Milk & Eggs, Spices & Sauces, Juice & Drinks, Desserts, Alcohol, Toiletries, then a few Odds & Ends.
It is nice to know that I am trying to send my money to smaller more local business’. We are shopping at Idsøe – local butchers, Økologiske Dagligvarer – local organic store, Stavanger Torget – farmers market, and a commercial regular grocery store. Now that summer is coming the Torget will be open more, I am very excited about that. Also, I am still working to try to get out of the regular grocer but I think that we will still have to go until I can have a small plot to grow.
I am challenging myself to buy my fish from the local fish market sometime in June, I have been avoiding it because I am worried it will cost to much. We have just bought a house that is in the Sentrum of Stavanger (downtown) and move in September, and the fish market and torget/farmers market will be just a 5 minute walk from my house – so I will have no excuses.
Have you been more aware of your plastic intake/use since hearing about this? I would love to hear if knowing about the plastic dangers has got you to thinking!
While I am not a mother now, I plan to be someday. For me that means when I can read/hear advice that will benifit my future children or grandchildren, that I want to soak it in. I read this interview with Alexandra Cousteau (granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau), she is expecting her first child this summer and Shares Tips For Green (Blue)-Minded Moms and Moms-To-Be. Check it out here. And while we are on it, the interviewee has written another article about having a green pregnancy. It is full of great tips that you can apply to your life anytime – check it out here.
Research links pesticides with ADHD in children! Ekk! Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they’re still growing and they may consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight. More reasons to know your farmer, or be your farmer Read the article here, and why take the chance with those chemicals!
Once you get in baby articles, you get stuck Give this article a read, it is about the chemicals that we are exposed too and how they are in babies umbilical cords. In the month leading up to a baby’s birth, the umbilical cord pulses with the equivalent of at least 300 quarts of blood each day, pumped back and forth from the nutrient- and oxygen-rich placenta to the rapidly growing child cradled in a sac of amniotic fluid. This cord is a lifeline between mother and baby, bearing nutrients that sustain life and propel growth. Chemical exposures in the womb or during infancy can be dramatically more harmful than exposures later in life. Substantial scientific evidence demonstrates that children face amplified risks from their body burden of pollution. Prepare to be shocked – read it here.
Over on ‘The Zero Waste Home‘ this week, there was an article that sparked some discussion. You see, Bea and her family have been living with zero waste, and doing a great job at it. Her blog stands as a source of inspiration to declutter and consume less, therefore wasting less. You see the issue is that she has a very modern style, which I love, but some people feel she is trying to push it on them. People are accusing her of saying you can only live zero waste in a white and empty house (this is her house picture, I love the style!), but she is just showing how she has decluttered. I have never herd her say you need to paint everything white or give decorating advice. She runs a blog about reducing the impact we have on the earth, not a decorating blog – I am saddened that some people are not able to see past that and have to go get defensive and therefore miss the real point she is trying to make. Give her reply to the [rude and confused] comments a read and chime in with your opinions here.
I have just read Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck, and gosh I loved it! I will be doing a full post about it in the future. If you care about what you are eating, where it comes from and if it is truley good for you then I strongly suggest picking up this book. It is great since she goes back to what our forefathers ate and really digs into the facts and science of it in a way that is super easy to follow.
[If you know me, you know I really do not like reading books often. And if you dont know me, now you know that I tend to dread pick up a book, then I do remember it is not all that bad to sit around and read. However it does normally take me ages to get through a book. But this time I picked up Real Food, and it was the hardest book for me to put down. I wanted to know everything she had to say in it right away. I am so passionate about wanting to eat right and this book was the perfect answer for me to be able to have answers to many questions I have been having. Now I am excited to eat traditional and healthy food. It seems so obvious after reading the book that this is what we should have been doing all along, and where until the industry wanted to make a fast buck.]
We have decided to post weekly results for the May Challenge. Instead of monthly, then we can see more often what we need to fix. I am happy with our results, but know we can do so much better. It is good to see everything laid out, it helps to see what we really need to work on. Below is the photo from Week 3 (May 22-28) of all our plastic that we used.
none, all is new
Ice Cream box
packaging from butchers meat
chocolate bar wrapper
hair brush cover
I have submitted our results to the My Plastic Free Life: Plastic Trash Challenge. Beth, of My Plastic Free Life, ask some questions when you submit your weeks tally. Here are my answers below.
What items could I easily replace with plastic-free or less plastic alternatives?
There is a store that sells chocolate bars in paper, I buy them sometimes – but they dont have many flavors.
What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic-free alternative doesn’t exist?
Magazine Cover, I don’t ever remember ordering it nor have I ever gotten it. But it made it to me from the States so I guess I did order it.
Brush cover. I had been looking for a boar bristle wooden brush. I bought one, then a friend who knew I had been looking for one brought one back for me from her vacation. Was nice of her, but now I have 2 brushes
What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
We could nix the snacks (chocolate, chips and ice cream), since I do know how to make them all.. but at the moment we are to busy. I am going to try to make our own ice cream soon though.
Meat, sometimes the butcher has packed it down to smaller bags
What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
I have a new house now (yay, but dont move till September) so that means I can get a deep freeze. We are going to look into finding a local farmer that would sell us 1/2 a cow and 1/2 a pig. Then we can get it all in paper and freeze it!
What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Not sure that there are any this week that we would give up.
What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
We have decided to drive up to the other butchers just outside of town next week to check out there meat selection. I am hoping that they will have less plastic. (I also hope that since they are smaller they will have more time to talk to us. I really want to know exactly where my meat is from, not just a ‘yeah its local’ response.)