Talk Hippy To Me (A year of No Poo)

Last march (2014) I really stepped up my hippy game. Before that I kind of identified with “crunchy granola” parents, more because I attachment parented, and we eat clean. The last year though, was a game changer. I threw out all the shampoo, lotions, conditioners, hand soap, body wash, deodorant and tooth paste. I wrote a whole blog explaining “no poo” and I posted recipes for body butters, hand soap, deodorant and toothpaste. Today I want to give an update. the last year has been a learning experience, and I’m happy I took the year to learn more about my body. What I did not expect was that I would learn so much about communication and compromise.

Jojo, one year NO POO, she's become my little boho babe. Very proud of no poo, and clean eating... with the exception of cupcakes.
Jojo, one year NO POO, she’s become my little boho babe. Very proud of no poo, and clean eating… with the exception of cupcakes.

No Poo/Dandruff/Eczema/Psoriasis: Well, I have to say, I did not know what to expect with my hair. Talk to your hair dresser and he or she will probably be mortified if you even consider quitting shampoo. Turns out, it’s really freeing. I had never just used water on my hair in my life, I was so attached to the suds, and the silky feeling after conditioning. At first that hard wet feeling really bothered me. But I was amazed by how quickly my hair dried, and how light it was. I hardly had any transition. Most people have a greasy week or 4. I had a few weeks where my hair needed extra TLC in terms of brushing sebum through. Even now, a year later, i have no split ends, and my hair is soft and shiny!  But the only problem I had is that I couldn’t get rid of the dandruff. I had never had dandruff until I gave birth to Jo, and have struggled for the last 6 years. I had tried EVERYTHING. The only thing that seemed to keep the flakes away was washing often. So you can imagine how “in your (my) face” this issue was once I stopped washing. I began searching forums and googling “natural” dandruff cures. The one that stood out the most was pouring 50/50 ACV (apple cider vinegar, and they say the smell goes away after your hair dries, maybe if you have less hair, but I have thick wavy hair and the smell DID NOT GO AWAY! It drove me and my husband crazy!) and water onto my scalp and letting it sit for 30 minutes every 3 days. OK, that was quite a commitment. But I was encouraged that it would help. It didn’t. In fact I ruined the pH levels on my head so I ended up with waxy hair. By waxy I mean, if you were to pinch a chunk of my hair it would feel sticky-ish. ALL of my hair. And water couldn’t penetrate it! Water would just roll right off my head like my hair was made of wax paper. I even went in the swimming pool, and it did nothing! So I tried apple sauce to get rid of the wax. Apple sauce helped the wax, but then my hair was filled with apple flakes! So it looked like I had the worst case of dandruff in history! I think it took 3 baking soda scrubs and LONG soaks in the tub to remove the apple flakes. In the end, the dandruff came back. So I tried an egg wash. OMG, that was the most disgusting thing I had ever done. Besides the complete weirdness of massaging snot-like goop into my hair, it smelled AWFUL. It continued to smell until my next ACV rinse. Those were my more amusing stories. But over the year I tried many “cures”. patchouli, lavender, coconut oil, tea tree oil, honey, kombucha, aloe juice, yogurt… Nothing helped. At least nothing helped for more than 3 days. Then the itchiness came back. I read that dandruff might be a type of yeast, so I cut out sugar, and started using probiotics, in fact, I have been brewing kombucha in my kitchen for months now! Still no relief. At the end of the year I tried a “low poo” conditioner from Shea Moisture, it didn’t help. So I finally decided to try the African Black Soap system from Shea Moisture. I kinda wish I had tried this 6 years ago! So far so good! right now I plan to use it once a week, then see how long I can go between washes. If the dandruff stays gone I will go back to no poo. If it comes back I will used this system as needed. I do use coconut on my ends, I think that’s why I don’t have split ends.

A 24 weeks in to no poo, 10 days water only!
A 24 weeks in to no poo, 10 days water only!
February 2015 No Poo allllllmossst one year!
February 2015 No Poo allllllmossst one year!

Lotion/Moisturizer: I’ll be honest. I missed lotion the most. Out of EVERYTHING I changed. I love lotion. And while I used hand made moisturizers, lotion bars etc, I just missed regular old lotion. I thought my skin would adjust so I used nothing for a few months. I hated it! I missed being super smooth!  And the simplicity of a pump. So at the end of the year I bought Shea Moisture’s baby lotion. I love it. (Should I mention that Shea Moisture is not paying me to pimp them out, its just an affordable brand that doesn’t have a whole bunch of added chemicals.)

Acne: My acne has been gone for over a year now. I stopped using all the astringents, soaps and spot treatments. Now I oil cleanse, and use a jojoba and coconut oil serum twice a day. Oil Cleansing is super simple. Massage the oil of your choice (I used jojoba) into your skin for a few minutes, then cover your face with a wet hot wash cloth (Don’t burn yourself… common sense, guys.) for 2 minutes, then just wipe the oil off. Only do this at night. I also still use my lemon scrub (sugar, lemon, raw honey) 2x a week.

Body Wash: Turns out water cleans really well on its own. I suggest using a scrub occasionally, or something a little on the rough side to get a good scrub. I do still love my coconut oil and sugar body scrubs, I’m just sure to rinse the shower REALLY well after because coconut oil hardens and traps dirt and it’s slippery and gross looking.

Toothpaste: I enjoyed using my DIY toothpaste, but my husband HATED it. He especially hated that it clogged the sinks… So we’re back to toothpaste, I have been using the Trader Joe’s brand toothpaste with fennel. It tastes like jagger, but it really gives you a whole mouth clean feeling.

Deodorant: Another thing that my husband was not impressed with. I used it occasionally. Like today because it’s going to be 80 degrees, AND I had coffee. That’s what I learned, If I drink coffee, or eat dairy, I should use deodorant. But I’ve maybe used it 15 times in the last year. I made a deo with beeswax and it seems to work better, less drippy. My co worker traded me ***succulent clippings for the deo. It was an awesome trade!

Hand Soap: The hand soap smells nice, and works well, but it’s super watery and was an annoyance for husband, so we are using hand soap again. I’ll have to research what kinds are more environmentally friendly.

My Kombucha! home brewing for 6 months!
My Kombucha! home brewing for 6 months!

 

Kombucha: I started brewing kombucha in our kitchen 6 months ago, and it is going very well! My kids like it, I drink it daily. It think it causes minimal annoyance for my husband. Kombucha is a fermented tea, it’s filled with probiotics and is extremely healthy. I started brewing it to help with the dandruff, it didn’t help, but it was more affordable to make my own then spend $4 a bottle.

Oil Pulling: I still oil pull a few times a week.

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House Plants and Succulents: My newest obsession is clean air. I started out adding succulents as decoration in our home, which has been fun, and a good test since it’s difficult to kill succulents. I recently added a few air cleaning plants to each room. A Peace Lily, a Parlor Palm, a Snake Plant, a Golden Pathos and Aloe Vera. My husband has reminded me that plants belong outside, however I think he prefers this obsession over no poo.

So the moral of the story is this: I had fun, I feel good about the last year. However, somethings just weren’t worth the effort, or the fight. I’m definitely gonna stay on the crunchy side, just not as strictly. I have a lot on my plate, and unclogging a coconut oil filled sink is just not worth the effort. And as you can tell, my husband just wasn’t impressed by any of this. Since he responded a bit better to eating real food, I think I’ll focus on that. And kudos to him for putting up with it for so long!

Lucky bamboo
Lucky bamboo

 

How I Drove My Husband Crazy By Accident

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Compromise.

I can’t begin to explain how often that advice is given. It fits with just about any issue… in a perfect world. But what about when there is no compromise? Because those situations are the real issues. The small things, yeah, we can find middle ground, one of us will back down because, we’re just too tired. Too tired of fighting. I am too tired.

Last year I committed to a year of “no-poo”. Well that’s what I called it, but in reality shampoo was only one of the many changes I made. I stopped using shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial hand soaps, body wash, lotion, face wash, acne treatments and sunscreen. I know, now I sound like a dirty hippy. Don’t worry, I’m clean, and not smelly. I started out by making my own hygiene products, and slowly weaned off of many things altogether. Here is what I learned in the last year:

The biggest thing that stands out, to be honest is that I drove my husband bonkers! Seriously. Like I think there was a point where he was ready for one of us to move out. No, not because I smelled bad, but because I didn’t give him the option NOT to jump on my bandwagon. Within a matter of weeks I had thrown out all of the shampoos and soaps in the house. I went DIY crazy and made toothpaste, hand soap,  and shaving cream. He hated it. Not all of it, but most of it. He missed the suds in shampoo, and the wateriness of the body wash. The coconut oil toothpaste was salty, I fixed that, but then it was clogging our sinks. Our showers and sinks were nearly impossible to clean because coconut oil hardens and traps dirt. Still, I stood strong. I felt I was doing my job, I was saving my family from diseases. I still 100% believe in my “cause”… I just may have done it a little differently. I know that I changed everything because I love my family, but I didn’t realize the impact it would have… the negative impact. I had high hopes for the positive! I didn’t expect my husband to be frustrated daily. Missing the simplicity. I didn’t realize it took so much energy for him to try to understand my reasons, and how overwhelming it must be for him. I mean, our first year together I took away all the processed foods, and he started reading food labels. Which annoyed him then, also… now he has to read labels on the hand soap…

I realized that I was insensitive and didn’t truly know my husband. And he didn’t know me. I did not respect him. I didn’t bother to ask him, in my mind I had to save the world. That’s me… I am an activist. I see a problem and have an innate need to fix it. My heart is too big, I inherited this martyr-esque personality from my dad, and seriously I will be uncomfortable and miserable and choose the path of GREAT resistance for the greater good. That’s not my husband. They say opposites attract. Well in this case, it couldn’t be more true. I’ve learned this year that my husband is both a blessing and a lesson. I’ve learned that I am a control freak… and so is he. I’ve learned that compromise is a bitch.

The year mark couldn’t have come soon enough. Not that I wanted to buy regular hand soap, but I was ready to stop fighting. Every day became a fight on some level. Maybe we didn’t actually argue, but he would get frustrated by any number of inconveniences caused by the changes I made. And I took it personally that he hated it. It was those little things that wore on him, and turned into reasons to bicker. He became so frustrated. I felt like he didn’t care about his health, or our kids. It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that it was too much. This isn’t what he signed up for. It was all too much. And let’s be honest… Ignorance is bliss. I stripped away his bliss, I dissected it, and magnified the ugly truths, broadcasting them, forcing them to be acknowledged. This was the third time I turned his life upside-down and inside out. The first time it was the food, switching to organic and banning fast food. Next it was parenting, I brought my crunchy attachment parenting ideals into his home, and changed the rules. I took parenting out of his hands, again without compromise (in his eyes). And now I’ve taken away shampoo. In his mind, I’ve been taking. Taking away his comforts, his jobs, his rules, his ideals, his deodorant… In my mind I was enriching, nourishing, helping and teaching. It’s mind blowing how opposite we see the same situation.

It never occurred to me that I might make him feel stupid. I have such strong feelings, often based on extensive research, and because I trust my intuition. It was never my intention to make him feel less than he is. All I ever wanted was to be better for each other, our kids and the planet. I never thought that maybe he was perfectly happy with the way things were. Who do I think I am, that I can just make these decisions without talking with him? I am not his children’s mother, I do that job, he asked me to… And I wanted to. I assumed it meant I could parent the way I saw fit. I didn’t stop to think that because this is a partnership, he should have a say, more than a say… they are his kids. But I thought it was my job, this parenting thing. I have a daughter of my own, and I do my best. I thought his job was to provide, and back me up, while I did all the nitty gritty mom jobs. I didn’t think he wanted to “parent”. He never expressed interest in it, that is until I was doing it full time.

I learned that compromise doesn’t mean admitting defeat. It means I value my marriage. So last week I bought shampoo. I bought antibacterial hand soap, lysol, and toothpaste, too.  (I’ll write a whole blog on what kind and why!) I am picking my battles, and finding ways to keep my household healthy… and also realizing that all of our emotional health is more important than  physical. I would rather be married.

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I plan to write all the amazing things (and all the not so great things) I learned in the last year! What worked, and what didn’t… I know this post makes it should like it it was a disaster, it wasn’t. My hair is happy and my skin is smoother than ever! I had to get the therapeutic part out of the way first 😉

 

 

Birthday Wish

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday. I’ve been sick in bed with this horrible stomach flu… plenty of time to think through the last 27 years, but really I’ve focused on the last year. Usually we take inventory on New Years eve… but I think this is more appropriate for me. I’ve bee thinking about the kind of woman I want to be in the next year.

This year I want to listen more. I will bite my tongue and take a deep breath, because I don’t have to be right. I will be conscious of how I make others feel when I express my opinions. No one should feel small because of something I’ve said. My tongue can be acid, something I am honestly proud of… it’s my best weapon. But I’d rather use it only when there is a worthy fight. Speaking of fighting, I will pick my battles. There is no point in fighting to the death when it’s not THAT important. I don’t want to push people I love away because I have strong feelings. I will be kind to my husband. Why is it that it’s so easy to snap at him when I love him so much? Even when he does idiotic things, chances are, he had no idea how it would effect me. It’s not fair to hold him accountable for not meeting the expectations I never voiced. I will voice my expectations (after thinking them through, deciding if they are reasonable, fair and won’t rock the boat (too much). I will tell my kids that I love them everyday. I will tell my kids I love them when I am mad at them. I will have patience with other humans. I will have patience with myself. Nobody is perfect. I will follow my heart, I will embrace change, I will nurture and nourish myself family. Our health is important, even if it can be inconvenient. I will listen to my intuition. I will have humility when I mess up. I will not point out other’s faults. I will be kind. I will burn the good candles, eat sushi for no reason, drink champagne any time, and call my grandma “just because”.

I’m promising myself, because everything I do effects the universe. I want to make the world better, not bitter.