About My Hair

I haven’t shampooed my hair since last June.

Yup, you read that correctly. I stopped using shampoo on my hair at the beginning of the summer and my hair has never been happier. Instead I use a baking soda and water rinse followed by an apple cider vinegar and water rinse and my hair comes out looking and feeling softer and cleaner that it has since I hit puberty. Once my hair has dried, this method leaves no sent on my hair even with the vinegar. I used to have a lot of trouble styling or even brushing through my hair when it was wet- ending up ripping out a lot of hair if I didn’t do it very, very carefully. Now, the brush goes through my wet hair easily and my hair has more volume because more strands stay attached to my head instead of in my hairbrush. Even more importantly, my scalp, which used to get dry, scaly and itchy once a month, is healthier than ever, too. Last but not least, this method is super cheap- baking soda and vinegar enough for about 3 months cost about $5-7, making it as cheap or cheaper than bargain shampoos and conditioners (which I don’t even need with this method).

This way of cleaning hair is comically named the “No-Poo Method”.

As a child of the 70’s I was surprised to learn that use of shampoo more often than a couple of times a year was really a very recent invention of the soap industry- big business trying to sell more product by convincing us that we were “doing it wrong” if we didn’t do it the way big business said way the right way. (Sounds so familiar.)

The thing that lead me to No-Poo was one of the things we have been trying to do as a family for 20 years- reduce the number of chemicals we expose ourselves to on a daily basis. I began reading and hearing about health concerns linked to the chemical sodium laurel sulfate and, wondered about alternatives. We as a family began using products that were sls free a few years ago because, despite the fact that the jury is still out about how dangerous sls is, if it is at all, we felt it was better safe than sorry. But, even if sls was proved to be completely harmless tomorrow, I still wouldn’t go back to shampoo. My hair and scalp feel way too good using the No-Poo Method.

So, my point is- if you have any concerns about sodium laurel sulfate or find that shampoos dry out your hair and scalp even when you use a conditioner, consider dumping the shampoo and using this more gentle and natural way of getting your hair clean.

More info here and here.

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My 2011 Anti-Resolutions

For Fiction Friday at Write Anything:

1. I will not whine about how I want to go vegan only to be lured back to the slightly dimmer side of vegetarianism by the siren call of fried eggs, various cheeses, and desserts with real whipped cream on top. I will just quietly repeat to myself that being vegan is too hard until even the meat eaters start trying to reassure me that I can do it if I really try.
2. I will not text random info-bites to my Dear Daughter during school hours in order to see if she remembered to turn her phone off before she went to class. I will also not try to time it for when she has her least favorite teacher in order to maximize her punishment if she has indeed made that simple mistake that I make all the time. (Do as I say…)
3. I will not lecture the kids just to hear them groan about how they already know why the sky is blue, the complete unabridged history of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and how genetics works. I will also refrain from goading the Little Neighbor Girl into arguing with me about the meanings of words used in anime cartoons that she watches just so I can tell her not to shout in the car.
4. I will not teach the cats to say my Dear Hubby’s name so that he feels obligated to be the one who always feeds them and changes their litter and takes them to the vet when they are all borked up and full of woe.
5. I will not make broccoli just to see my Dear Son writhe on the kitchen floor in anticipatory agony when he has sweetly asked for a well deserved cookie. Later, I will not eat cookies in from of him when I have punished him for throwing a tantrum by taking away both cookies and broccoli.
6. I will not I will not buy my Bug-eyed Little Boston Terrier a hat and booties to go with his jacket and sweaters. He is not so cold that he doesn’t want to retain that last shred of his dignity.
7. I will not teach my kids any more demeaning terms for people who have the very unfortunate habit of eating the carcasses of dead animals is if it were something that a rational human being would do on a regular basis. They already know enough of them and it would be a waste of precious time and resources.
8. I will not assume that everyone who is irresponsible either fiscally, ecologically or socially must be a Republican. Democrats make mistakes sometimes, too (like trusting Republicans).
9. I will not spend any more time ranting about Billy Caxton, who is really the worst thing ever to happen to the English language and directly responsible for my atrocious spelling grades in all years of school. I will also not utter the words “Great Vowel Shift” unless absolutely necessary.
10. I will not write a tenth anti-resolution. (Daggnabit! I broke this one already.)

Ruminations on Going Vegan

Currently, my family of four (Dear Hubby, Dear Daughter (10) and Dear Son (6) and little old me) are ovo-lacto vegetarians, however, recent events have got me thinking about going vegan- for myself at the very least and probably encouraging my family in that direction will come into play, as well. A few months ago, I began trying to have as high a percentage of our food as possible be organically grown/produced. I did this as a way of reducing the amount of chemicals my children were exposed to, as well as in order to try not to be part of the problem of factory farms. It made me much more aware of how the animals from which our eggs and dairy products were treated (cage-less/free roaming, grass-fed/vegetarian feed, no antibiotics/genetically modified anything).

I thought I was doing pretty well on the animal treatment front, then some recent events made me think about situations in which males might be considered inconvenient. I decided not to be part of something that effects the bulls and roosters born on the farms that produce my eggs and dairy products, because what do you think happens to most of them? They don’t get to live and lay eggs or make milk, they get slaughtered as poultry and beef. So, while I might not be buying meat, by buying eggs and dairy products, I am still supporting the meat industry anyway. This is my primary inspiration to go vegan. The next bit for me to think about is how…

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On My Extended Family’s Transitioning Diet

How great this looks together on a plate.

How great this looks together on a plate.

I come from a large family and we were raised pretty traditionally when it comes to diet- that is to say, we all ate meat and sea food and wheat and nuts and dairy and- the thing is, we were the standard American Omnivores. Over my thirty-seven years many of us have made changes from the old square meal/food pyramid to more untraditional diets. Some of us had to make these changes for health reasons- my mother developed a nut allergy, one sister eliminated wheat and some other grains to reduce her eczema, another sister became diabetic, had gall bladder surgery and found that she had a persistent problem with yeast (she also chose to become a vegetarian)- her diet is very far from the American standard diet. Others of us made changes to prevent problems- my cousin, who was raised like a sister to me, her family gave up beef after the Bovine Encephalitis scares, diabetes runs in my husband’s family (as well as high cholesterol) and those things did figure in with our decision to become vegetarians (though there were so many reasons). We also include in many family celebrations some close family friends who keep kosher. Still others of us remained in the mainstream and continued to eat meat and wheat and nuts and dairy and eggs and don’t much seem likely to budge from that diet. The point is, we are all over the map.

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Sharing a moment of Veggie Pride in my son.

So, as you might have surmised from the title of this blog, I and my family are vegetarians. We are coming up on out tenth anniversary of being meatless (although the process began more like 12-13+ years ago with my Dear Husband’s personal dislike of seafood). Our oldest child is ten and she never had meat, neither did her brother who is six.

Raising veggie kids has been interesting, with good things like Dear Daughter finding out that a couple of the kids in her grade/classes are Seventh Day Adventist and therefore also veggie kids (for the most part) and her favorite teacher being one as well (it seemed to provide a bonding moment for them, which was great). It has also giving us a some less fun moments, like the time I took Dear Son (3yrs. old) to the grocery store and he asked what that funny smell was. “Fish,” I answered. His face lit up and he asked, “Can we go see them?” And then I had to squash his innocence and explain that they were dead fish and that some people ate them. . . .

Flash forward three years to last night when we are reading a book about sharks which mentions that some people hunt sharks (and are occasionally hunted right back if they mistake an unconscious shark for a dead one). Dear Son asked why anyone would do that. “Some people eat sharks as food,” I responded.

So it was very reassuring for me personally considering that, earlier in the school year, Dear Son, who had been feeling peer pressure from his new kindergarten classmates because he brought weird stuff to eat for lunch, when he remarked, “Some people are crazy,” and he was making a face.