Hair care!

MY HAIR CARE ROUTINE ( 7 days of no washing or products)
&
How to train your hair to not depend on shampoo and conditioner!
 

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 I remember in high school and even years after saying "why can't my hair just be shiny, flat and pretty?" I would like to describe my hair as thick strands like a horse, very wavy and huge, and I've always thought it was so unmanageable. No matter how many or what type of products I would use, it would always take me (not kidding) 2-3 hours to get it to a manageable point and even then I couldn't stop trying to fix it every second. Not to mention if it got wet or humid even a little, my hair would frizz up like a fluffy poodle. It wasn't until I decided to embrace my big waves and stop relying on what I thought was the "perfect" products that I started actually loving my hair. It took some time to figure it all out but it was all worth it. 
 

How do you even start training your hair not to rely on all these products that your hair has depended on for all these years? Well I believe it all really all has to do with picking up these habits.

-Comb out frequently! For those with crazy curls or big waves like mine, you know its hard to do that and present ourselves to society. So take 2-5 minutes every other night before bed to really comb from roots to end to distribute the oils. Our hair pretty much produces a natural conditioner and keeping the flow is important. We don't want any clogged pores. 
- Do not over-condition y'all! In saying that our own natural oils are its own conditioner, using conditioner just doubles up that grease. So if you do want to do a longer time without washing your hair, I would skip the conditioner or do about 1/2 of what you normally do. In training your hair, eventually we want to not rely on conditioner since our bodies do the same thing except better!
-Manage that mid way awkward stage- So about 3 or 4 days in, my hair gets weird. A bit greasy, and the curls (or if I wear it straight) seems stale and hard to manage. At this point there a few roads to take:
1. The Stevie road. Before my shower, I comb it REALLY well and hop in the shower! This makes it easy for the oil to distribute and then wash away. Afterward, my hair does this shiny curl thing that I absolutely love! You can also make a simple fragrance mist with essential oils diluted in water to make it smell nice.
2. The apple cider vinegar rinse.  I used to use this as conditioner but found a new wash, but I hear a lot of people use this as a nice mid way gentle clean! 
-Embrace an updo or hair accessories sometimes! I can wear my hair down about 3 or 4 days out of the entire 7. With that being said, I really like undo's and I don't mind wearing hats ( I have a greek fisherman hat that makes me feel like a bad ass lol) . Down in a low bun with twists, or braids, high pony tail, messy high bun. All of that can disguise those days where you can't quite manage your hair. Sometimes it feels too greasy, sometimes it gets stiff and I always find that these choices really refresh everything.

I documented 7 days just to show you what I did with my hair!
 

DAY 1

DAY 1

Day 2. To be honest I just woke up and did nothing to it that day, haha. It was a bit too poofy for my liking but when I lightly curl the ends and put some almond oil afterwards, its a lot better. 

Day 2. To be honest I just woke up and did nothing to it that day, haha. It was a bit too poofy for my liking but when I lightly curl the ends and put some almond oil afterwards, its a lot better. 

Day 3. Updo's, wraps or hats on this day usually!

Day 3. Updo's, wraps or hats on this day usually!

Day 4: Didn't have time to wash it and was in a rush so I threw it up in a pony tail even though it was definitely ready for a wash!!

Day 4: Didn't have time to wash it and was in a rush so I threw it up in a pony tail even though it was definitely ready for a wash!!

Day 5: I really love this day. My hair is still wet from the shower but it dries so nice and curly and I curl a bit of the top to accentuate my underneath curls and I love it! 

Day 5: I really love this day. My hair is still wet from the shower but it dries so nice and curly and I curl a bit of the top to accentuate my underneath curls and I love it! 

Day 6: Loved this day too! A nice low bun with twists. It felt nice and shiny and laid really well. 

Day 6: Loved this day too! A nice low bun with twists. It felt nice and shiny and laid really well. 

What are my products?!
Almond Oil: I use this when my hair is frizzy and it smooths out the frizz so well, all day. Do NOT use this before you take any sort of heat mechanism to it (curling iron, blow dryer, flat iron). You are essentially cooking your hair if you do that, which will compromise the quality of it (obviously, haha). I do it after, if I do use any of those.
Shampoo: Vermont soap has an all purpose, palm oil free lavender cleaner that I purchased in bulk at my favorite food co-op in Manhattan! 
Hair brush: I use Bass bamboo hair brush with wood bristles and a 100% bamboo handle! I love it so much! You can probably find it online but I bought mine at a whole foods with all recyclable, and no plastic packaging.

Now heres my documentation of the 7 days with notes that may be helpful. Dang, this may be my lengthiest blog post yet! I feel like there is just a lot to cover and this information could be helpful to some! 

1st day is WASH day: Only a quarter size amount into palm of my all purpose cleaner from Vermont Soap. Rub together til all foamy in hands then get the roots. My hair is typically really frizzy and wavy but ever since I’ve done the  5+ day thing, its tamed itself.  I won’t comb the first day, since the oils aren’t building up quite yet.

2nd day: Easy to manage and it acquires a certain shine. I just woke up, curled the ends a bit and that was it! In the evening I take about 2-5 minutes, play some music and just comb my hair from roots to end. This distributes the oil evenly and conditions the entirety of my hair. I also find that combing my hair gets rid of dandruff at the roots and any unclogs sebum glands.

3rd day: A great updo day for me! I usually throw it up in a bun with a hair wrap, maybe in a hat in a low bun or something like that. I comb 2-5 minutes before bed too!

4th day: Didn’t have time to wet it or style so I dragged the straight hair another day and threw it in a pony tail! At this point there is signs of grease and my dark hair hides it pretty well! These days usually consist of another updo, hair wrap, or hat day.

5th day: Time to change it up! When in the shower I’ll get it all wet! I may take my body/face soap bar and wash just my hair line just to avoid any breakouts along my face or my forehead. My hair is naturally big and wavy and it looks at its best in the later days of my wash timeline (4th or 5 day). I will curl the strands that are being a little flimsy. If there is some frizz on the top I will put a bit of almond oil in my hands and rub my palms together then smooth it out (a really small amount! about the 1/4 size of my pinky nail.)

6th day: Really easy to manage, it looks nice and has shine to it, I couldn't wear it down but it looked really nice in a low bun with yesterdays slight curl.

7th day: Wash! Or not, if it still looks good!

Zero Waste Toothpaste!

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ZERO WASTE TOOTHPASTE! 

Once you make this toothpaste for the first time and you buy your handy bamboo toothbrush, you will realize how easy it is to make a huge difference everyday in lessening plastic consumption, landfill pile up, and not supporting resource sucking industries! Knowing what ingredients go into your everyday teeth, face and body care also means voting no on deforestation and saving species from habitat destruction. So lets do it!

A good bamboo toothbrush brand is
-Brush with Bamboo

For floss I use
- Dental lace  (no plastic, a re-usable container, and commercial composts accept it!)

NOTES:
-It's important to never use metal or stainless steel of any kind when using bentonite clay. Bentonite clay has some amazing properties and draws out bacteria as well as remineralizes your teeth. If it touches metal, it loses all its charge and will then be a pointless ingredient in your toothpaste.
- Sometimes if it gets cold, your coconut oil may harden in your pipes, clogging the drain. An easy fix is to just pour hot water down it and it will melt it all down!
- You are not supposed to ingest these essential oils unless diluted properly so I would advise not to add any to toothpaste intended for children unless you are certain they will not swallow it. Using non-diluted essential oils is completely okay for toothpaste since it will mostly be spit out. 
-Spearmint/peppermint keeps your breath fresh, cinnamon essential oils is antimicrobial, tea tree is anti fungal, and clove has germicidal properties and obstructs pathogenic bacteria! 
A good essential oil brand that focuses on sourcing sustainably is Mountain Rose Herbs


TOOTHPASTE (makes 4 oz)
What you'll need: 
1. 4 oz jar or any small glass container (no metal)
2. A wooden spoon or stir stick ( I reused a wooden chopstick). No metal or steel - the bentonite clay will lose its beneficial charge.

Ingredients:
4 tbsp Coconut oil
1.5 - 2 tbsp Baking soda (baking soda can be harsh on gums, and if you experience this, lessen the amount)
1 tbsp Bentonite clay
Drops of essential oil (peppermint, cinnamon, or spearmint ) 

Directions:
1.  Add room temp coconut oil to your jar
2. Stir in baking soda and the bentonite clay with your wooden spoon
3. Add your essential oils to your liking. I do about 10-20 drops.
4. VOILA!!!
5. I store at room temperature for easy use! 

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Vegan/GF Cinnamon Apple Pie Bread

VEGAN/GF CINNAMON APPLE PIE BREAD

This recipe makes one delicious & guilt-free apple pie bread. You will feel full gratitude for life, for food, and for the planet. Don't you just love when food can do that? Awaken your senses and your present being? Am I being too emotional about this loaf of bread?

I say guilt free in every way because its palm oil free, no refined sugars, no animal products being used to save resources and it feels way good for your soul. The apples are local and organic and all the ingredients I bought in bulk or had all recyclable and no plastic packaging!

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INGREDIENTS:
 2 tsp ground cinnamon
 1 cup maple syrup (or coconut sugar or another sugar you prefer)
 ¼ cup coconut oil (softened, not liquid)
 ¼ cup applesauce
 2 chia eggs  (for one chia egg mix 1 tbsp chia with 3 tbsp water)
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract      
 1½ cups Gluten free flour (see note at bottom of ingredient list for kind I use) 
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 ⅓ cup almond milk (or milk you prefer)
 1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and chopped

*Note: I use Pamela's Gluten Free Baking and Pancake mix (choose the non-dairy one for vegan) for most of my baking! I ordered the 25 lb. bag one because its the only one that comes in all paper and zero plastic. It has lasted me about 6 months and I'm only half way there so it's the best purchase ever!

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine small bowl with 1/3 cup sugar with cinnamon and set aside
  3. Mix together (I used my magic bullet) 2/3 cup sugar and coconut oil until blended and semi-fluffy. Then mix in apple sauce, chia eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Stir together flour and baking powder and then add flour and almond milk to mixture.
  5. Stir to combine and do not overmix.
  6. Pour half into greased and floured loaf pan. Sprinkle in 1/2 of the apples and 1/2 of the cinnamon mixture.
  7. Stir rest of the apples into the remaining batter and pour rest into pan. Top with the rest of the cinnamon mixture.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top comes out golden brown and until knife comes out clean.
  9. YAY!!

Home made All purpose spray

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Easiest eco-friendly all purpose cleaner!

NO plastic packaging, nasty ingredients, or spending way too much money with this incredibly easy cleaner that I use for my entire house! Just save your citrus rinds, buy some white vinegar, and gather a few favorite essential oils. 
I feel like I should write a lot but theres really nothing more to say here. I'm so in love with this recipe for a clean home and I'm sure I'll be using this recipe the rest of my life! Are you ready?

ALL PURPOSE CLEANER:

Ingredients:
(I have a 64 oz jar but it just depends on how much you want)


-Leftover citrus rinds (I have orange and lemon)
-White vinegar (I use the 32 oz glass bottles of Heinz White vinegar)
-Water
-Essential oils (I rotate between spearmint & lavender together or tea tree.

Directions:

1. Fill up any size jar with your leftover citrus rinds and store in the fridge
2. Submerge them fully in white vinegar and keep in fridge for 2 weeks. You can add rinds as you go!
3. After 2 weeks strain out the citrus rinds and compost them.
4. Cut citrus vinegar in half with water. Ratio should be 1:1 (exact same amount of both)
5. Add essential oils to how you like
6. SPRAY YOUR ENTIRE EVERYTHING CLEAN BECAUSE YOU DID IT! WOOO!!!

Note: To make it even more eco-friendly, wipe with reusable everyday cloth napkins or "unpaper" towels. You can find some on Etsy or make your own using cloth or towels you don't use anymore and cut them into squares.
 

Fill up your citrus rind jar with white vinegar!

Fill up your citrus rind jar with white vinegar!

Final product! 

Final product! 

Chaga mushroom tea

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Hello!! I present to you the best mushroom tea around! We can thank Chaga for absorbing the amazing nutrients of a tree and we can thank nerdy humans for figuring out how to extract the benefits for our benefit!
Fungi is one of the main reasons I changed my entire way of living. Fungi plays an incredibly important role in sustaining the health of the natural world and I believe that humans can too! I will talk to you guys about more of that in another blog post so for now enjoy this amazing health drink!

What are the benefits you ask? The real question is, what AREN'T the benefits?
-The mushroom has a thick outer layer of black and that is an overproduction of melanin (hence the color) which plays a role in our bodies to protect against sun damage and protects DNA. It helps with anti-aging and fights free radical damage.
-There are a ton of minerals, substances, and elements (poly saccharides, photo nutrients, and way too many more) in chaga that contain anti-cancer properties. Yes you read that right, Chaga shrinks cancer and tumor cells!!! This is a fact.  
-Chaga contains more antioxidants than any superfood in the world other than Reishi mushroom
-Stimulates the immune system and reduces blood sugar to fight diabetes.
-SO MANY MORE!

Some very important things to know before you embark on your tea making journey:

1. Please source your chaga sustainably. If your harvester cannot explain what a collar cut or bark ridge cut is, then they have no business cutting chaga down! A proper harvester will not cut the chaga too deep into the tree, because it will kill the tree so ask questions! This is really the key to finding sustainable anything. Its also important to find a trusty seller because often times they will inject the mushroom chunk with air and sell it for more! Get the bang for your buck and do your research. I get my Chaga from  Fiddlehead heaven !!

2. Do not let your chaga boil! The nutrients will be denatured and you won't reap the full benefits! 

3. After using once, you can keep the chunks and reuse over and over again until you can't (the water will be clearer and clearer). You can then compost your chunks!

4. Some use this like a coffee, as it has energetic properties so if you are very sensitive, maybe skip the night time chaga! I drink it at night and it doesn't bother me at all!

CROCK POT CHAGA TEA:

Ingredients:
- 25 cups of water (or just fill your entire crock pot!)
-1/2 cup Chaga powder or chunks

Directions:
1.  Pour in water and put in chunks/powder. Turn on middle setting (should be warm or low)
2. Set for anywhere from 6-10 hours! I do 8 hours.
3. Strain and freeze chunks for later use.
4. Enjoy! Store extra in sealed jar in refrigerator. (Will last 2 weeks in there)
5. Optional: add maple syrup, milk, or spices to flavor it to desired flavor
-Chaga tea in its plain form has a very earthy flavor.. It is a kind of acquired taste like a black cup of coffee but I personally LOVE the flavor so much. I don't add anything. 


OVER THE STOVE CHAGA TEA:

Ingredients :
- 10 cups or fill your pot and leave about an inch of room
-1/3 cup chaga chunks or powder

Directions:
1. Pour in water and put in chunks/powder. Put on low/simmer. DO NOT BOIL. (it will ruin benefits)
2. Let steep from 2-6 hours. Some water may evaporate, and you will have to occasionally replenish water! ( I like the crock pot way better because you can leave the house, the water doesnt deplete during the process, and it will last you a while.)
3. Strain and freeze chunks for later use.
4. Enjoy! Store extra in sealed jar in fridge.

 

This is Chaga! Photo from http://mushroom-collecting.com/mushroomchaga.html

This is Chaga! Photo from http://mushroom-collecting.com/mushroomchaga.html

Easy Vegan Home Made Chai

Guys, It's fall! Once fall hits, I feel my mind go into a totally different state. Instead of my summer brain that wants to lay in the sun and hang out with the trees, it kicks into the fall feels and I just want to spend all my time baking things and smelling cozy food aromas. Lighting a candle, listening to my fall playlist, and making delicious things is heaven. To start the season off I made a  home made chai. Prepare yourself though, you will need every fall spice in the books. The best part is that you might already have most of them but if you have to buy these spices, they will last you so long. 

It's really important to source your spices organic because your purchase is a vote for healthy soils. They use no pesticides, fertilizers or toxins and you are supporting the well being of workers, the environment, and ourselves. 

I also chose an alternative to dairy milk because I want to lighten my footprint and by opting out of animal products, we can lighten the load of methane and carbon being emitted and not to mention - giving the earth a break from all the water usage and other resources getting used up by that industry. So yay! Here it is!!

Vegan home made chai
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Easy Vegan Home Made Chai
serving size: 3-5 people or will last a week in your fridge for yourself!

Ingredients:
2 cans full fat organic coconut milk
3-4 cups of water (depending on creaminess preference)
3-4 Tbsp of organic assam black tea
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
2 cinnamon sticks (or just add 1 more TBSPN cinnamon powder)
1 Tbsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp cardamom
2 Tbsp black peppercorn
2 full star anise pieces
10-15 strands of saffron
5 cut coins of fresh ginger
1/4 cup-1/2 cup coconut sugar depending on sweetness preference

Directions: 
1. Literally throw it altogether and have it all boil for a few minutes then stir.
2. Adjust to simmer and leave it for 30 minutes to an hour. I left it for an hour just so it would be extra flavorful.
3. Strain out the chunks.
4. Serve hot or let it cool, pop it in your fridge and take it out for a nice iced chai!!
5. YAAY!!!
 

Vegan Poutine

I haven't posted in a long time! I thought I'd kick off the blog again with a good amount of food recipes. Since cutting out meat and cheese from my grocery list I have had some really amazing meals and I want to share it with all of you. 
Even cutting back twice a week on your meat/dairy intake makes a HUGE difference in sustaining our planet.  I have found alternatives that better digest in my system, that are guilt free, and that are better for our earth and saving resources. This particular one is a take on a Canadian favorite, poutine! You really just need three parts to this recipe. The sweet potato fries, the vegan cheese, and the gravy. So I've broke it down for you.
 

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So what I did was soak the cashews a couple hours before making the poutine. You can soak the cashews anywhere from 3-8 hours before depending on when you remember haha. Then I start to make it all at the same time. Starting with popping the fries in the oven, then the gravy and cheese at the same time, then taking out the fries from the oven. It should all take about 30-45 minutes. 

Sweet potato fries ingredients:
-2-3 medium sweet potatoes
-Olive oil (any type of oil)
-salt/pepper (any seasoning you want!)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 385 F .
2. Slice the sweet potatoes into thin strips.
3. Lay them out evenly onto a baking sheet and drizzle oil with salt and pepper.
4. Ready in about 30-40 minutes depending on thickness of strips. Should be a light brown at edges, and crispy.
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Mushroom gravy ingredients:
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-10 to 12 sliced crimini mushrooms
-1/2 of a big red onion (chopped)
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-2 cups vegetable broth (link is for my crock pot veggie broth)
-3-4 tablespoons of coconut amigos ( or to taste)
-herbs to taste (sage, thyme, salt, pepper)
-4 tablespoons of tapioca starch (your choice of flour to thicken)
Directions:
1. Toss the olive oil and onion in a pan on medium high. Saute til aromatic and til onions are transparent and browning.
3. Add mushrooms and herbs and turn down to medium heat. Toss til mushrooms are getting smaller and the water has evaporated from them.
4. Add in veggie stock, coconut aminos, tapioca starch and stir. Let simmer til flavors are all sweetly marinading and delicious!
5. Taste and if necessary add more aminos or herbs til you love it!


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Vegan cheese curds ingredients ( adapted from here):
-1/2 cup soaked cashews (soak 3-8 hours before starting to make meal)
-1 cup water
-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- dashes of salt to taste
-1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-3 tablespoons of tapioca starch to thicken it (or a corn starch/flour that works for you)
Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender, or bullet until its all blended and no cashew grains are apparent. Should be very smooth!
2. Pour it over to a pot and turn onto medium heat until it thickens up a lot! Stir occasionally. Should all take about 6-10 minutes but consistency is preference. I liked it thick like curds! 
3. Place in fridge for 10-15 minutes (if you want) so it gets even thicker like curds.

Add fries to a bowl, then pour a happy helping of gravy over your fries and top with cheese curds. Add chives on top for extra yumminess!


-Note: Once you make the vegan cheese curds and the gravy, it should be about time for the fries to be done. If not, just leave your gravy on the lowest setting until the sweet potato fries are all done. 

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