How to Make No-Poo, an All Natural Shampoo

Have you ever heard of the non-shampoo-shampoo? Maybe you’ve heard the term No-Poo, basically meaning that the ingredients in your shampoo contain “No-crap.” I loved the idea of having an all-natural shampoo, but I had also heard horror stories of the detox your hair goes through when you make the switch. I honestly didn’t think I could handle weeks of greasy, untamed hair. I decided to give it a shot despite my fears, and have now been using my homemade shampoo for over a month and I love it! It’s so nice knowing that I am no longer stripping my hair of it’s natural oils and drying it out.

The cycle of modern shampoo and conditioning is so crazy. Until I started using the No-Poo, I was washing my hair every single time I showered. That means that most times, I was washing my hair twice per day and my hair was still greasy! If I dared go one day without washing it, I looked like I took a bath in olive oil. It was gross. The reason behind that is that every time you wash your hair with modern shampoos, you are stripping away the natural oils that your scalp creates. The catch-22 is, the more you wash your hair and strip it of it’s natural oils, the more oil your scalp creates in retaliation. This is why the bottom of your hair can be dry and coarse, but the roots are crazy oily. Store-bought shampoos make your hair dry, brittle, and very easily breakable. So what do we do to fix the dryness? Condition it! We put a nice layer of store bought oil on it as if what our body creates isn’t good enough. Conditioner essentially fills in all the pieces of protein missing to make your hair fuller and shinier.

I’m telling y’all, if I can go natural in the shampoo department, anyone can! I went 4 days without washing my hair this week! 4DAYS! I have never been able to even come close to that before. I got my recipe for my homemade shampoo from http://www.thankyourbody.com/all-natural-shampoo/

Here’s some detailed instructions on making your own!

First, you need all the ingredients: I quadruple the recipe to make enough for my whole family

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½ cup Distilled Water

¼ cup liquid Castile Soap- she recommended Dr. Bronner’s brand and that’s what I used (unscented)

1/8 tsp Tea Tree essential oil

1/8 tsp Peppermint essential oil

2 tsp Avocado oil

1 tsp vegetable glycerin (to thicken the mixture-entirely optional)

10-15 drops of any other essential oil for scent (I just use more peppermint because it makes me smell like a candy cane)

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All mixed up and ready to put in pump-top bottles.

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Use a funnel and ladle it in like soup!

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Don’t mind my scribbled on bottles. Lol

Mix it all together and use a funnel to pour it into bottles to disperse to your various bathrooms so everyone can enjoy. I like to use pump top bottles because this mixture, even with the glycerin, is still pretty runny. I like to just hold the bottle over my head and pump it directly onto my scalp. It makes a great foam once you start working it in.

I don’t condition my hair at all! It stays very moisturized from my own natural oils since this shampoo doesn’t strip them away. My husband says my hair is way less frizzy since making the switch as well. I hope y’all enjoy!

-Kate

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Gluten Free Banana Bread

So, I just decided to try to make some banana bread that was gluten free and good news! It came out tasting AMAZING! Usually, when something is gluten free and made with nut flours, it tastes a little off, but I promise you can’t tell that this isn’t the real stuff. Anyone with kids that are GF, give this a shot! Also, this is a great idea for when you bought a few too many bananas and they are going bad! The closer these are to getting thrown in the compost pile the better since they get sweeter as they ripen.

There are many pre-made gluten free flours on the market. You can find them in any major retail grocery store. If you would like to, you can also make your own. It’s a little more expensive since you have to buy all the ingredients, but it makes a lot. This one is my favorite:

Erika’s All Purpose Gluten Free Flour Mix Recipe

The recipe couldn’t be simpler. Here it is:

What you need:

2 ripe bananas, peeled

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 Egg

1 ½ cups Gluten free All purpose flour

1/3 cup Melted Butter

Instructions:

Coat the inside of a 5×9 loaf pan with butter and set aside

Set oven to Bake at 350 degrees

In a large bowl, mash the bananas and add the melted butter and whisk together with a hand mixer. Then add the Vanilla and Egg. Once mixed well, add the baking soda and GF flour. Mix until all flour is incorporated. Pour into the buttered loaf pan and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour. Make sure a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean before removing from the oven. Let cool completely and then remove from pan.

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See how easy that is? Hubby and Kid Tested and approved! Try it and let me know what you think!

-Kate

Packing Lunches the Healthy Way!

When we first started watching what we eat and trying to get healthy, we figured that going out to eat for lunch every day was probably the first thing we would have to change. Not only is takeout full of empty calories, it is SUPER expensive. I dare you to add up all the meals you have eaten just for lunch for a full month! Our total was astronomical. You figure around $7-10 per person per day…5 days in a work week…That’s $280-400 per month just in lunches!

When I realized the cost (to our health and our wallets) I made the decision to start packing our lunches every day. This is when we really started to see some changes in our bodies. Being able to eat as close to the natural human diet for all 3 of our meals was a real game changer. No, it didn’t happen overnight, but within about 6 months, Charlie had lost around 50 pounds, and I had lost 30!

Before

Chubby cheeks and tight pants! LOL

Healthy and Happy

In the beginning, I had such a hard time trying to decide what to pack for each of us. It has really taken some time to formulate a mental list of things that transport well and are quick to eat. Most times, one or both of us don’t have access to a microwave, so most things also have to be cold. I also like to give a lot of things to munch on throughout the day since I am, at heart, a snacker. I’m not saying any of this is gourmet, but it should be a jumping off point for anyone who wants to give it a whirl.

A typical week of lunches looks like this:

Monday– Salad with TONS of veggies and sliced grilled chicken, Sliced navel orange, homemade potato chips with rosemary and sea salt

Tuesday– Tuna fish lettuce wraps, sliced carrots and cucumbers with homemade roasted red pepper hummus, fresh strawberries

Wednesday– Gluten free Chicken, bacon, avocado wrap with fresh lettuce and tomato, banana, baby bell cheese, gluten free pretzels

Thursday– Greek Salad (ham, tomato, onion, lettuce, feta cheese) with Oil and Vinegar dressing-leave the feta out if you don’t tolerate dairy- sliced apple with almond or cashew butter, a Kind Bar

Friday– Grilled chicken, broccoli, Kettle brand Gluten free chips, grapes

So, there it is. This is pretty typical. I try not to rely on pre-packaged gluten free foods when we are at home, but for lunches, the wraps and certain bars are really convenient. Sometimes, I add another fruit or vegetable if I feel like I may be more snacky that day. I typically have all of these things on hand and I make lunches the night before and put them in the fridge.

For Alyssa, our 8 year old, it’s a little harder. I haven’t found a gluten free bread that she likes enough to eat for a sandwich every day. She likes dairy and doesn’t seem to have an issue with it, so I am pretty lenient on her lunches. She always has fresh fruit, some type of meat and cheese that she makes “sandwiches” out of, some type of gluten free snack, and cut up veggies(usually with ranch dressing). It’s not the best, but it’s SO much better than school lunches. She also is allowed to bring water to school and have it on her desk which I love. The kids think it’s awesome and they end up drinking water all day!

I hope this gives you guys some ideas to start your health journey! I will be posting exact recipes for some lunch and dinner ideas very soon!

-Kate

Where does your food come from? (Warning: I get a little preachy)

Most Americans these days are sadly completely disconnected from where their food comes from. They couldn’t fathom taking the life of an animal, skinning it, and trimming it down into “meals” to put in the freezer. Some of you even got uncomfortable just reading that last sentence…

What people don’t realize is that raising your own meat is not only a lot healthier for you, it’s actually way more humane than any of the meat for sale at your local grocery store.

Do you know that labels lie? People are hired specifically to come up with ways to word packaging to make it sound good to the consumer. Have you ever bought “cage free” or “free range” eggs? This literally means that the chickens are allowed to go from their tiny cages into slightly larger outdoor areas that are also caged in. No one ever promised that there would be grass or bugs in these areas, which are the chicken’s natural diet. How about “vegetarian” eggs….hmmm…..why would we want a chicken to be vegetarian??? Chickens are not vegetarians!!! They are omnivores. They get their protein from bugs.

What about meat from the grocery store? This paragraph will be rough for some, but it may change your mind about what you are eating and that is the goal here. I want you all to really think about what you consume and what you feed your family. Is it healthy? Was it ethically raised?

The large chicken farmers are continually thinking of new ways to kill their chickens without having to touch each one individually. The newest way they do this is by using a foam. Let me set the scene: There’s a huge warehouse with thousands of chickens in cages. These chickens have been pumped full of antibiotics to keep them from getting infections because that would hurt the profit margin. They give them growth hormones to make them much larger than they would be naturally because the more the bird weighs, the more money they get for that one chicken. Unfortunately, these chickens get so big that their legs can’t hold the weight of their bodies and they end up with broken legs, not able to walk for weeks before they are slaughtered! I hope that disturbs you as much as it disturbs me. It gets worse… On slaughter day, a thick foam is pumped into the cages. It takes about 15 minutes for it to fill the entire warehouse and suffocate all the chickens. I wish I was joking. I wish this wasn’t how the vast majority of people get their chicken. Once the animal is killed, it goes to a processing plant to be plucked, have their innards removed, and go through 6-7 bleach baths before they are put in shrink wrap and sent to the stores. Google this! Look at the pictures. It is truly horrifying.

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These are my chickens. We have 75 meat birds right now that were shipped to us when they were 1 day old. We are slaughtering in 3 weeks. Am I happy about it? No. I don’t enjoy killing animals. Do my chickens have a good life? Yes! They are in a chicken “tractor” and are moved to new, fresh grass every day! Half of it is open to the sunlight and half is covered for shade. They are happy and always want to be near us. We feed them mealworms for extra protein and they go crazy for them! Will I let my chickens get so big that their legs break? Absolutely not! My chickens have never had hormones, antibiotics, or any unnatural food. We will process them in the most humane way we can. I urge anyone reading this to come watch or even participate on that day to see how it should be done. This chicken will fill my family’s freezer for the rest of the year! One of the best parts of this whole process is the cost. When all is said and done, our organic, truly free range chicken will be around $1.50 per pound! If you buy the same quality at the store, you are looking at around $6.00 per pound. I will know that because of the way my chicken is processed, my family will not be at risk for e-coli when we eat it. This is because each one is hand processed and the digestive tracts are removed intact. The only reason that commercial chicken has so many bacteria is because machines do the gutting. They basically roto root the inside and the content of the intestines is released into the cavity and on the meat. Even after all the bleach baths, some of the chickens still have e-coli on them!

I really urge everyone to try to grow your own or find someone locally who grows and sells them. By finding a local farmer, you are not only supporting small business, but providing healthy, ethically raised meat for your family.

I promise to not always be a debby downer, but this issue is really important to me. As always, if anyone has any further questions, feel free to message me!

Kate

Easy Peazy Breakfast Smoothie

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!

For a long time, my husband and I ate scrambled eggs almost every morning for breakfast. Recently, he did a diet analysis for a nutrition class and we started re-evaluating what we were eating. He was meeting his daily salt intake by lunchtime due to the salt and butter added to the eggs in the morning. Also, even though we were eating lots of fruits and vegetables, we were nowhere near the 4 cups of vegetables and 2-3 cups of fruit that is recommended for the day. This got us thinking of new ways to add fresh fruits and vegetables in without having to eat a salad with every meal! In true Charlie fashion, my husband started throwing things in a blender and our new favorite breakfast was born! It’s super easy and so filling that I don’t think about food until usually about 1-2 pm. Before, I would be staring at the clock from 11am on at work just waiting to take a break while my stomach growled. There are many other amazing things about this smoothie…it has local honey in it which is great for allergy sufferers. It also has kale which helps immensely in keeping you ::ahem:: Regular…Okay, enough about that. My one word of advice is to freeze the kale. It helps it break up in the blender so well that you don’t even notice it’s in there! I swear all you taste is berries! It also has an avocado in it for healthy fats! It’s the ultimate super food breakfast and I can pretty much guarantee you will love it. Even our 8 year old thinks it’s tasty! Here’s the recipe: Don’t get too caught up in measuring…these are estimates as we never actually measure anything.

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Kale Breakfast Smoothie: Makes About 2-16 oz. glasses

2 handfulls of frozen Kale

½ – ¾ cup of frozen mixed berries

½- ¾ cup of frozen strawberries

½ cup of frozen mixed pineapple and mango pieces (optional and makes it sweeter)

1 tbsp. local honey

1 avocado (pit and skin removed)

About 6 oz. of water to start-may need to add more to get the consistency you want- don’t add too much at first because you don’t want it to be runny!

Throw it all in the blender and let it rip! Here’s what you end up with:

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I’d like to say I’m fancy and drink my breakfast out of a pilsner glass, but I’m not…and I don’t. This is purely for the photo.

We have been drinking some version of this every morning for the last month and honestly it’s just the best. Sometimes we run out of one or two ingredients and we add in different things like an orange, apple, or banana, but it always turns out pretty good. My skin is clearer, my stomach is much less bloated and full feeling, and it gives me so much energy that I find I am drinking WAY less coffee! I try to get my frozen fruit in bulk at Sam’s Club or BJs because it’s so expensive to buy in the 4-6 oz. packages at Publix (Which is the best store ever, by the way). If I can get local fruit, I also chop and freeze my own.

A tip for freezing your own fruits and vegetables: Wash, dry and slice/dice as you want and then place all the pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the fruit or vegetables are all frozen. You can then add them to portioned bags and put the bag in the freezer. This will keep the fruits and veggies from becoming a huge frozen blob that you can’t separate without thawing. You will be able to just reach in and get a handful and throw the rest back in the freezer. I hope you all love this smoothie as much as we do! Have a fantastic week 🙂

Kate

What the heck is Paleo?

Hey everyone! In my first post, I briefly touched on the fact that my family eats a modified Paleo diet. I want to go a little(Okay, a lot) more in depth for anyone who hasn’t heard of this way of eating or who has some misconceptions about it.

Paleo is exactly what it sounds like…eating as our Paleolithic ancestors did. They ate whatever they could hunt, fish, forage, or grow for themselves. This included mostly meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruit, and vegetables. There were no modern conveniences, no restaurants, and no grocery stores. Most people back then died from being attacked by other wild animals ( I say ‘other’ because we were pretty wild then too), infection, lack of fresh drinking water, or starvation. In the years since the agricultural revolution, people have been getting larger and more unhealthy. We live longer now than ever before in history, this is true, but this is definitely not because we are eating better. We have drugs now that help our blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, and stomach acid stay under control. This is a feat of modern medicine, but without the drugs, a lot of people would be up sh**s creek without a paddle!

Does anyone stop to think about why we need all of these medications?! Some people do, but as a Nurse who sees over 100 patients per week, I can tell you from personal experience that most people don’t know what medications they take or what they are for. They just take them because they are told to by their Doctor. Everyone needs to be their own advocate and ask questions! I cannot stress that enough.

::Rant over:: Back to Paleo

I want you to think about a field of wheat swaying in the wind…I don’t know about you, but to me nothing about that looks enticing or edible. That’s because it’s not. Well, not without a lot of processing. The only way that wheat can be eaten is if it is plucked from the ground, taken to a flour mill and ground into a powder that is then bleached and sold for human consumption. The problem with this process is that is isn’t in the natural lifecycle of that wheat. Let’s go back to the field of wheat swaying in the wind…This is how wheat reproduces. The wind picks up the 50-60 kernels that grow on each stalk and carry them away to land somewhere else and grow more wheat. In no way are we a part of that life cycle. Now, let’s take a strawberry for example. If we still used the bathroom outside like all other animals, the strawberry we ingested would pass through us, we would get the antioxidants and nutrients from it, and we would leave a nice pile of its seeds somewhere for it to grow more strawberries. A nice little symbiotic relationship. The strawberry can’t reproduce without being consumed by some kind of animal. This explains why it is brightly colored. It wants to attract us and other animals to it so that we can help it along its life cycle.

On top of wheat not really being a natural human food, it actually doesn’t want us to eat it! What, you say? How can we possibly know the wheat doesn’t want us to eat it? Well, it’s true. Here’s why. When ingested, wheat actually creates a kind of chemical warfare in your digestive system. It causes gut inflammation in about 80% of people who eat it. This inflammation leads to a breakdown of the lining of the intestine which will, over time, leave larger than normal holes in it. Through these holes, pieces of actual food particles can get into your bloodstream. This is never supposed to happen. When it does, your body sees that food particle as an invader and sends out the troops (your immune system) to handle it. We then build antibodies to this particle of food and voila, a food allergy is born! Ever wonder how someone can be allergic to random foods like chicken or a mango? They have holes in their gut. Holes caused by wheat and gluten!

Unfortunately, this is the same way that many autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, asthma, allergies, and thyroid problems begin. This is a big deal, folks. One that the USDA does not want you to really understand. The food pyramid suggests 6-11 servings of whole grains, cereal, bread, and rice per day. Trust me when I tell you that no one has ever died from a bread deficiency!

So, now that you are terrified of eating bread and dreaming about your next crescent roll at the same time, I will tell you that there are alternatives. There are nut flours like almond flour which I use all the time to make baked goods! They are actually really tasty and there are a bagillion Paleo recipes on the internet. As you might imagine, dairy is off limits as well since most Paleoliths didn’t have a cow that they could milk daily. Here’s where my family modifies the diet. We eat one type of butter. It is from Ireland grass-fed cows and it’s called Kerrygold. It tastes like heaven and I won’t give it up! Haha

I will be posting some Paleo recipes here from time to time. I have so many go-to’s that I love! If you have any other questions about the Paleo lifestyle or what to eat, message me! I love to explain how all of this works J

Until next time

Kate

Summer Garden and the low-down on GMOs

In light of all of the GMO seeds and subsequent GMO fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, we are making a solid effort to grow our own! If you don’t know why GMOs are so bad for you, here’s a little backstory:

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms, meaning that the seed of that fruit or vegetable has had its genes changed for one reason or another by a human in a lab. They basically delete or add genes to the seed so that the fruit will be bigger, smaller, more colorful, heartier, withstand harsher herbicides, etc… I’m sure you’ve seen the popular ‘cotton candy grapes’ that literally taste like cotton candy. Luckily, these were made just by cross breeding two different types of grape. They are Non-GMO and actually pretty healthy. What about the sweet corn that looks and tastes totally normal? According to nongmoproject.org, there’s an 40% chance that the corn is genetically modified and the USDA does not require it to be labled! Here’s where it gets tricky. Anything that they do to change the DNA of this corn can potentially change the DNA of anyone who ingests it! It just may alter your cells enough to make one mutate. Cells that mutate and then reproduce rapidly are called cancer my friends. The scariest part is that once these have been introduced to the world, they can’t be recalled. Since this is a fairly new process, we don’t know what other effects GMOs will have on humans, animals, or our planet in the future.

If you didn’t know the above information prior to reading this, I urge you to do more research for yourself. If you want non-gmo produce, find a local co-op and sign up. If you live near me, I know of a great one in Eustis that I can give you the info on. Better yet, grow your own!!!

Back to our garden…We are really ecstatic about this years’ Summer garden! We have a local mushroom farm that sells their organic mushroom compost for only $5 per yard so naturally we brought 8 yards of it on to our property for our garden this year. My hubby fixed up an old rototiller and tilled up a huge area of our yard for the garden.IMG_1501

Once we got the compost, we tilled that in as well. We watered it at night for a few days and then started planning out where to put everything. We bought all heritage, non-GMO seeds. For certain vegetables, it’s too late to start from seed, so we also got some organic tomato, pepper, and eggplant starts. We put in some posts to outline where to put the fence and got to planting! It was a long day, but awesome knowing that in a few months we will have our own organic vegetables!IMG_1536

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The last picture is the morning after we planted everything. The walkways were added after we planted so we wouldn’t step on our produce! When it was all said and done, we planted WAY more than we thought we would, but come harvest time, I’m sure we will be happy about it. What all did we plant, you ask? Lets see….About 30 corn plants that will yield 1-2 ears of corn each, 2 types of hot peppers, 4 different types of tomatoes(including a purple heritage seed that has amazing antioxidants), Bush green beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, peas, cucumbers, red and yellow bell peppers, potatoes, red and Vidalia onions, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, eggplant, lettuce, and spaghetti squash which won’t be ready until the fall. I can’t wait to see this garden grow. It has only been 4 days since we planted everything and we already have shoots coming up! I’ll keep everyone posted on the progress.

Thanks for stopping by

-Kate