Friday, August 16, 2013

Have I become a granola crunchin'dirty hippie momma?

      Someone mentioned to me the other day that they think/are worried that I am becoming a granola crunchin ' dirty hippie momma.  I wasn't sure whether that was a compliment or a comment on my personal hygiene.  For the record I shower regularly and I shave my armpits and legs,  which IMHO disqualifies me from the dirty hippie part of that label.  So working on the assumption that this had nothing to do with my personal hygiene,  what would prompt someone to believe I am granola crunchin ' momma? (I mean other than those girls from high school who believed I was a full fledged member of the granola crunchin ' club because I didn't wear makeup or force my hair to defy gravity with fifty tons of hairspray.  They don't count.)
     Now assuming (I am just assuming all over the place,  let's hope it doesn't come back to bite me,  you know what they say!) you have read my previous post about cow shares and my journey toward being more informed about what I eat and where it came from,  you will not be surprised to learn that I have begun to turn that focus toward what I am putting ON my body. I don't want to get all preachy here but we put a lot of questionable products on our skin. Did you know "The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet.  The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold."-http://www.webmd.com
Now just because our skin is protecting us doesn't mean it doesn't absorb what we put on it,  sending it directly into the blood stream.  So all those chemicals and parabens and petroleum based yuckies are going right into our blood stream and doing goodness knows what to our bodies!  I don't know about you but that bothers me. A lot.  Why?
       My oldest child has eczema on his wrists and it gets bad.  Really bad. It looks like his hands will just fall off his wrists bad.  The solution?  Well according to his doc keep it moisturized, and if that doesn't work they will pull out the big guns: steroid cream!  I don't know about you but whenever the word steroid is mentioned I kind of freaked out a little on the inside.  I know they aren't talking the freaky body builder type of steroids but still something about it makes me twitchy.  Especially when that word is used while talking about my child!  
     We jumped on the lotion crazy train, where I searched high and low for natural lotions that would help instead of aggravate the problem. And none of them worked in the long run. I tried every all natural, paraben free, gluten free, whatever free, I could find and afford and eventually all of them failed. Then one day in my email in box I got this and I thought why the heck not!? I have tried everything else and whats the worst that could happen? We could hate it and be back to square one, which is where I was already!
     So we tried it, and we LOVE IT! Now in the effort of full disclosure I use less coconut oil than the recipe calls for. Coconut oil can be drying for some and I found that that was the case with my son. We halved it and it is working really well for us. We have been using it for about 4 or 5 months now and as long as he remembers to put it on his hands and wrists after washing he is good. The few times he has had a flare up, the lotion helped to calm it down and soothe it a lot faster than anything else we have tried. I stopped using my store bought lotion and have been using this instead. I love it, its a lot cheaper and lasts quite awhile, even with my son and I using it several times a day everyday.
     This lead me to looking into making my own dishwasher soap (ah Pinterest how we love thee!) Sadly this was IMHO an epic fail. It didn't get my dishes clean! This of course could have been due to the fact that in the 2 or 3 years we have owned this dishwasher I had never cleaned out the filter! Well when I decided to clean it out I learned why I hadn't tried to before! What a pain in the A$$! But it was done, I have just been to afraid to try my homemade dishwasher soap again! Maybe I will give it another go, it can't do any worse than the store bought stuff I am currently using! LOL.
     I also switched my jet dry out for white vinegar-um yeah not so great either! I don't know why this doesn't work for me. Others have reported that it is miraculous. Perhaps it is my hard water I don't know. What I do know is that everything would come out of the dishwasher cloudy and covered with a white film. And yeah that was even after I had cleaned out my dishwasher. This failure has prompted procrastination in making my own laundry soap.
     I have everything I need to do this but I have been reluctant to try it. (Can you blame me?) The recipe I plan on using is also a bit involved, as in if you do it wrong get ready for epic laundry failure! I have everything I need to do it, I just need to Woman Up and do it I guess! Here is the link if you are curious:
So all of this tinkering with personal care products lead me down the proverbial rabbit hole and I began to wonder if maybe there was something I could use on my face instead of the wash and moisturizer I was currently using. It's not that I was unhappy with what I had been using, but I wasn't happy either.
      Let me tell you about me and my relationship with my face, well the skin of my face to be more specific. The two of us have been duking it out since I started puberty. All through that time I heard "don't worry once you get through puberty it will all get better" LIES! ALL LIES! Okay I will admit that it is actually better than when I was 16, but once a month I might as well be in 10th grade all over again! Ya know what I am sayin'? I tried all the prescription junk on my face-it only made it worse and was painful-I tried Neutrogena, Clearasil, Noxzema, I even tried the infomercial stuff, Proactive when I was in my early 30's. You name it I have probably put it on my face. Masks, clarifiers, acne specific soaps and lotions the list would be longer than this post! I am 35. 35 years old! And I am still dealing with acne like I am a teenager! Frustrating much? Oh yeah!
      Then one day this appeared in my trusty in box:
It was all about something called the Oil Cleansing Method, ever hear of it? I hadn't either. I was however, intrigued by all the testimonials and comments about obtaining the glowing, dewy, blemish free skin they had always dreamed of! Yeah I got all excited, could this be the solution I have been looking for? Why not? Worse thing that could happen? I could totally hate it and go back to my old way of cleaning my face.  Was there a little part of me that was screaming "you want me to put OIL on my face!? Are you CRAZY?!" I am not going to lie I was a little worried as I have always been told that OIL = BAD as far as our faces go, but ya know I have begun to realize in my 35 years on this earth that "the man" is usually a total liar who doesn't have a clue what he's talking about most of the time. So why not? This stuff is way healthier that what I had tried in the past, and I could actually pronounce all the ingredients and knew what they were!
     So I read up on it using the above link and the basic recipe contained therein. I got some grape seed oil and castor oil at the grocery store in an effort to prevent the heart palpitations I inevitably cause my husband whenever I say the words "I need to order______(fill in the blank) on line." So do I love it?  Has it changed my life? Made me famous beyond my wildest dreams? brought about world peace? Um, ok that's a bit over the top, I get carried away sometimes sorry!
     Let me clarify, I have been using this method for about 2 months. I love the way it makes my skin feel, all soft and supple. Am I dewy? Glowing? Blemish free? Well so far no one has said anything about my skin looking amazing so I am going to have to go with a no on the first two questions. Blemish free? Sadly no! It is still only once a month but now they are bigger, more painful, and there are more of them! That said they don't stick around nearly as long as they used to, but still! I was seriously considering going back to my old facial cleanser and moisturizers. But I just couldn't give up! Something inside me really really wanted this to work! Whats a girl to do? Troll the Internet of course!
     So I did. I searched for all natural facial cleansers and what did I find? Even the "All Natural" ones have ingredients I can't pronounce and have no idea what they are, and the price tag!? HOLY COW! The hubs would have a heart attack if I told him I need to buy this little bottle of face wash for $45! and I don't blame him one bit! The cheapest one I could find was $18 not including shipping costs.
    But then I stumbled across this which in turn led me to this: Washing my face with honey? Really? I figured why not? Perhaps this is the boost my OCM blend had been missing? What did I do? That's right I ran right out to Costco and bought a big old thing of honey! Got home tried it out and loved it! My face felt even softer! This had to be the answer! (Insert celebratory dance) and then I read this:
Now you would think that this would be a no brainer considering the fact that this has been a quest to find something natural and good for my face right? Wrong! Wrong! WRONG! (insert mental face palm here) I know. I know. Shouldn't it have been obvious that I needed organic, cold-pressed grape seed oil and organic hexane free castor oil? and RAW honey!? Apparently not to me. Sigh. I got all gung-ho and ran out and bought everything without doing ALL of the homework. (In my own defense my first articles on OCM did not mention any of this! It should be obvious but apparently it's not)
    What did I learn? Several things. First I learned that my OCM blend may not be working because they are not organic or cold pressed or hexane free (i honestly don't know what this means. I Googled it but that didn't help! LOL) Second, my face may not like grape seed oil, or it could be that it dislikes castor oil. Some people just can't use it because castor oil is very drying. I could be one of those people, as I have had to adjust my blend several times adding less and less castor oil and more and more grape seed because I have been having issues with dryness. (light-bulb?) Third, my honey is not RAW. So all of the goodness has been heated out of it from the pasteurization process. Which they only do so that your honey doesn't crystallize as quickly.
    So what are my options now? Well I am going upgrade my honey, and my oils. Until then I will just keep doing what I am doing. And yes I totally expect to have movie star gorgeous skin once I do upgrade! So keep your eyes peeled, as I may be coming to a theatre near you! LOL I am not giving up. This method works for so many people I just can't give up yet. And considering everything I have done wrong, I am hoping that once I start doing it right I will start to see the results I have been hoping for. I will keep you posted.
Here is a link to the OCM method that I found much more informative than the first one I used:
   Can you tell that is my new favorite hang out on the web? Yeah I like it. I like the tone she sets, and I like her mission statement. And after watching the video she made (see the honey wash link above) I love her sense of humor. I am actually thinking of just biting the bullet and buying her OCM blend which she sells in her Etsy shop. The upsides, she does all the work for me AND she even sends you the complete recipe so you can make it yourself if you so desire. This I really really like! How many companies are willing to do that?  Honestly I will probably buy it and then do a price comparison using the recipe and see which is cheaper, buying from her or making my own. If you are interested in my price comparison let me know in the comments and once I do it I will post it here on the blog.
     So where is my granola crunchin' journey going to lead me to next?
I am looking into doing this: The no shampoo, shampoo.
I am a little nervous about it. My hair is long and has always been fine. If i don't wash it at least everyday it becomes a grease pit. However this could be from the fact that I am stripping all the natural oils out of my hair when I wash it. This causes the scalp to overproduce the natural oils our hair needs thus causing me to wash my hair everyday. It is a vicious cycle. I also suffer from eczema/psoriasis on my scalp (the dermatologist isn't willing to give me an actual diagnosis. Whatever! ) So I am seriously thinking of giving it a try. Anyone interested in doing it with me? Sometimes it helps to have a buddy! LOL
     If you would like to be my No 'Poo shampoo buddy let me know in the comments and we can totally set up some sort of challenge. Please read the whole article above before you decide you want to do this as it takes at least three weeks for your hair to adjust back to a normal way of being. Your scalp will over react and it will overproduce oil during this three week period, and then it will be happy and shinny and beautiful! So until the happy and shinny part of this experiment I would go with her recommendation of hats and ponytails!
     I am still exploring the Crunchy Betty site, it may take awhile I have about 5 years of posts to go through! LOL I do encourage you to check it out if you are at all interested in making your own products. I just found a make your own deodorant post-Yup I may be doing that next too because really who wants to develop Alzheimer's because of the stuff you put on your armpits?

     Am I bothered with being titled a "granola crunchin' dirty hippie momma"?
Honestly? Just the dirty part, because as I have expressed before I do have personal hygiene standards!
I do not consider myself  a granola crunchin' hippie momma because
1) I don't eat granola, hardly ever, even though I do like it.
2) I haven't worn Birkenstocks since I was in high school! and
3) as much as I would like to be 100% organic, my wallet won't let me. It is getting more affordable but it is still, a lot of the time, outside of my price range.
I do what I can, when I can and as far as I am concerned every little bit helps.
So sure you can call me a GCHM if you want to, but I know some real ones and quite frankly I am not even a rank amateur compared to their greatness. ;) And I am okay with that. We all need something to aspire to right?

Here is a recap of all the links I referenced in the post:
My lotion:

The laundry soap I hope to make someday:

The first OCM post I read:

The honey wash make up remover solution:

The honey wash challenge:

Why does honey quality matter:

Crunchy Betty's OCM post:

No'Poo shampoo:

I do use the whipped body butter lotion and as I said I love it!  I enjoy making my own products because I know (when I am paying attention, ahem) what goes in them, they last longer, and save me money in the long run.

      So hey jump on the Granola Crunchin' band wagon and go make something!!

UPDATE: I did buy Crunchy Betty's oil cleansing blend: It's Tamanu Thyme Cleansing Oil. I haven't tried it yet as I am doing the honey wash challenge.  I am on day 5 of the 2 week challenge.
But once I do I will check back in :)