Saturday, May 17, 2014

Flashback Crunchies: How Are the Natural Options?

So in preparing for a short break from regular life, I didn't really want to take on a new project this week. Sue me for lazy (although flashback crunchies sounds like some combination of pot and LSD -- flashback munchies -- that could cause you to get fat when you stop using).

Instead, I decided to do an update on how my previous projects are working out, or not.

1. When I determined to become crunchy, I started sharing my journey with my hair, which was my first effort at going natural long before I heard the term. More than a year ago I went no-poo with baking soda, vinegar and water as my main hair washing ingredients (although not all at the same time.) I'm still doing that, although I've discovered the diluted honey I sometimes use as an alternative is called a honey-poo. In addition, I've added a semi-weekly deep conditioning with either coconut oil or olive oil. Those have to be followed with a low-poo as no-poo won't cut it. I made low poo with half liquid castille soup, one quarter distilled water, one quarter aloe vera gel and essential oil for fragrance. You can also add honey, vitamin E, or vitamin C (a ton of recipes on Pinterest). I have to use low poo a time or two after deep conditioning, but otherwise only wash once a week. Still loving it, hair is growing fast and shiney and it feels the best ever. My hair is naturally dry, thick and curly, and does best with little interference.

2. In April I quit using detergent for most of my laundry and went with soap berries or nuts. For the most part I'm still happy with the choice. My water is so hard that I can't wear anything white, yet I've had a couple of white t-shirts that have been laundered multiple times without turning orange. I have also had a few very heavily soiled items (shorts and a sweatshirt from working with dogs/yard) that did not come clean. I may look into developing a stronger natural detergent for the dirtier items, but love the natural berries and the fact that I don't need fabric softener either for everything else. I may just double wash the really dirty things or try to avoid getting so grubby.

3. Ditching my chemical facial routine (read anti-aging) was easier than expected. I'm now cleansing my face with olive oil, (cold pressed, virgin) with a bit of castor oil added. I haven't quite found the right combination, but it's easy to adjust on the fly. Castor oil is supposed to help if your skin is oily, but instead leaves my skin feeling oilier than the olive oil alone. After washing I use the homemade vitamin C serum. That's it. No lotion of any kind. I still use a mineral powder in the morning when I have time, both to even skin tone and for a little sunscreen effect on my face.

4. With fleas beginning to show up I looked for natural solutions to that problem as well and that one took a lot of research due to conflicting information. There's just no way I could justify putting a spot-on pesticide on my dogs and exposing three little people to it on a daily basis, especially when most spot-on treatments were not working last summer. I purchased Bug-Off chewable garlic tablets from Springtime and have been happy for the most part. My house dogs will not eat the chewables, so I break them and administer them daily at half the recommended dosage. Four of my dogs eat them like treats and two require peanut butter. Except for the house dogs, I increased the dosage after finding fleas on one of the eight dogs, and ticks on two dogs, but stayed within the dosage range. I also made lavendar spray -- much better smelling than pesticides -- to use occasionally. As a side benefit, my 13-year-old Jack Russell terrier, who has been plagued with allergies leading her to gnaw herself raw every summer for years, has stopped chewing herself. I'll be sticking with these, even if we later find fleas.

5. The following Saturday, I had cooked up sunscreen. No, I cannot state what its SPF is, although the recipe said somewhere around 20, I doubt it is at all scientific. It is, however, free of parabens and the known carcinogens in so many chemicals, including those used in sunscreen and lotion. I remelted the bars last weekend and poured them into empty deodorant tubes bought for the occasion, and that is all that has been used this spring on the 4,3, and 1 year old. No one has had a sunburn. I made the bars with citronella essential oil, so we also hope they will fight mosquitoes. We'll be taking it to the beach and should be outdoors, even if the forecast is for cooler temperatures.

6. Homemade body butter has got to be one of favorites, even if I don't yet duplicate the texture of a commercial product, heck, even if I never do. Creating my own scent in a luxurious, skin softening product is so easy and fun. Yes, the cocoa butter with vanilla is still my favorite. Yes, it soaks in a bit slow and leaves a short-term, oily sheen to my skin, but I love it and have no intentions of ever going commercial again, even if I am a bit slow to toss all my unused lotions.

7. Of course, spring brings ants and last week I had them, and made a homemade ant killer to take them on. This week I don't have them. It works, it's cheap. What more can I say?

8. Although I hadn't committed to crunchy blogs, my first effort was actually deodorant and realizing that most of what I was using could just as well be stored in the kitchen as the bathroom closet. I'm still not using antiperspirant and using my homemade deodorant. I'll admit, if I always needed to smell cool and clean, it might not do the job, but it isn't bad and it is safe. I'm also still struggling to remember to not use it too soon after shaving and dealing with some sensitive skin issues, but no intentions of going back. If I needed to smell better, I'd make some body spray. Regular use of black soap and water pretty well takes care of that any way.

So, there's a recap of my crunchy, with links back to the original blog and the only specific product I used (nothing from the company for doing so, although I was committed enough to reorder and leave a comment on their page as well). I have some new experiments in the works, and I'm a long way from kicking the chemical habit, but I'm working on it and I encourage you to stop and think about the chemicals you expose yourself and your pets and family to as well.

Not so many generations ago, our ancestors didn't go to the store and buy these things. They grew their food, got a lot of exercise working the land, and made whatever cleaning or body care items they really needed. Better living through technology and chemicals has left us with a growing number of unhealthy habits and both chronic and fatal ailments. I'm not ditching my technology, but anything I can do to turn the tide in other area is worth a little effort.

No comments:

Post a Comment