OK here we are. Day 3.
So I’ve been doing to poo-free thing now for three days. And I’m pleasantly surprised. My hair doesn’t look bad at all. It actually looks pretty good. I keep waiting for the hammer to fall but so far so good. I’m guardedly optimistic. The shocking thing today was that while I was most worried about my hair being too oily it’s actually dry. So today I put a little coconut oil on the ends after my shower (and while it was still damp). This was a FAIL. But operator failure I’m sure. The coconut oil made my hair really soft but I clearly used too much and now my hair is oily. Back to the drawing board. I’ll work out all the kinks so none of you have to subject yourself to my failures. It’s a process.
And on the chem free front, a couple of things:
1. I ran out of baby wash (we’ve had the same bottle since she was born) so I used the Dr. Bronner’s lavender on Ella. Like two drops on a washrag. It’s what I already use on her cloth wipes anyway but I honestly didn’t want to give up the baby scented smell of wash and lotion. I love that dang smell. BUT, in the interest of being chem free I ditched it AND I also ditched the lotion and did our routine post bath massage with coconut oil. She loved it. (I mean she always loves it. It’s a massage. Come on. ) If you have a baby go look at the back of your Johnson and Johnson. It’s scary. I can’t even pronounce the things in there. That can’t be good.
2. I’ve been exclusively using the Charlie’s on the dirtyclothesbusiness now for three days too and I have no cleanliness complaints. My only complaint is that I like soft fabric and I miss that a little (mostly in socks). I’ve been putting vinegar in the rinse but it’s not the same. I make no guarantee that I can stick with the no softener deal. I’m a soft blankie junkie. Anyway, worst case I can get something less chemical-y.
3. Also coincidentally I ran out of toothpaste. The Man would be content to use baking soda (he is serious people) but I just can’t do that. That’s hardcore. I like a little mint. I’ve used Tom’s which I like ok but I don’t LOVE. Walmart was out of Tom’s anyway but had Burt’s Bees so I got that. It’s 99.2% natural. Whatever that means. And it has fluoride. They make a fluoride free version but Walmart didn’t have it (Have I mentioned I hate walmart). In any case, I like it pretty well. I’d buy it again. But I’m thinking of getting some toothsoap. Warning: If you like fluoride, don’t read that.
4. TP Free. Well I’m still TP free. Nothing to report without a total overshare which no one wants so I’ll leave well enough alone.
5. Birth control. While we are talking about being Chem free let me answer a question from one of the moms on a natural parenting group I am a member of. What do you use? Well… We don’t use any. Not technically. I don’t want to knock the pill takers out there, because I know it’s a good option and I know that it’s good for other things like cycle regulation and PMS management, but I think the pill is awful. I took it. I hated it. The Man hated it because I hated it. So I no longer take it. Depo is worse than the pill (don’t even get me started). A diaphragm is a pain in the butt (also obv doesn’t work as evidenced by my 12 year old). An IUD is less bad but still foreign and does release hormones. Also it prevents fertilized eggs from implanting. I’m not going to go all pro-life on everyone and I don’t want to get in an abortion debate (Like the Man says, “No one really LIKES abortion.”) but I don’t personally like the thought of washing out a fertilized egg. That’s just me. Anyway that leaves spermicide (chemical) and condoms (ew.ick.yuck.) and… natural family planning. So that’s what we are doing. I takes a little planning and some paying attention on the momma’s part (knowing your cycle, watching for your ovulatory signs etc) and either a backup or some other form of intimacy during fertile times. So, it’s not for everyone. But it works for us. You know, until it doesn’t work.
And time for quick reflection:
My dear friend Staci starts nursing school today. This calls to mind the memories of a January not that long ago when I too was starting nursing school. The 2 years passed quickly and before I knew it I held life in my hands. Literally. It was one of the best decisions I ever made to become a Registered Nurse. And I miss it. I miss holding the hands of the dying. I miss catching new life in my hands (if you don’t know, I was a L&D nurse and then a Hospice nurse). But I don’t miss it as much as I love being at home with my babies. And to Staci and all my Nurse friends: Bless you for choosing a path where sometimes the pay isn’t worth the foot pain and sometimes you don’t get lunch and sometimes people don’t respect you and sometimes you question what the heck you got yourself into. You are chosen.
OK it’s day two of the “poo and TP free experiment”. We are well under way and moving in the chemical free direction. Yesterday was technically day one but was not my normal daily routine as I didn’t get a shower until 6:30. PM. Don’t ask. That’s just how it went down. Anyway technically I’ve (not) washed my hair for two days and I’ve been TP free 24 hours. Plus the other things I’ll get to later.
Let’s do the shampoo first.
Disclaimers: I like shampoo a lot, but mostly, I’ll be honest, I like conditioner. I like the silky way your hair feels after you rinse it out. I like how the brush glides through wet hair. It’s magical. I’m completely convinced that my hair would look hideous without it. Sigh. I also like soft hair. I have pretty soft hair and I like to keep it that way. I like my husband to run his fingers through it and not think, “Wow, is my wife a horse?” Conversely, I do NOT like hair products. I’m an odd duck. I acknowledge. I don’t like mousse or gel or hairspray or mud or pomeade. I tolerate a smoother called Moroccan oil. I use it pretty frequently (or at least when I actually DO my hair). I can’t make any guarantee what’s in it but it tames my frizzy ends and it smells pretty fantastic. I don’t like chemicals and I don’t like watching them go down the drain. I’m just like most Americans, I use them because they are convenient. Aside from that that I use nothing on my hair. I just (used to anyway) wash/condition/brush/blowdry. In fact, most of the time I only blowdry the very front of my hair and the rest ends up in a damp bun where it stays until I repeat the process the next day. All that being said, I am committed to trying to use nothing chemical on my head. On with the discussion.
This is what I did. I found two cheap water bottles ($1.47 each) at Walmart. To be frank, I don’t like Walmart, but it’s what I’ve got. They aren’t ideal but they’ll work in the absence of something better (and squeezier). I filled one with 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda and wrote a “B” on it. Not that I could get them confused. Vinegar and baking soda aren’t really similar in scent. Same ratio of apple cider vinegar and water in the other and a “V”.
First impressions: Baking soda and water doesn’t feel like it’s ‘washing’ anything. Of course it’s not ‘washing’ because there is no soap. I’m trying to get over the need for suds. I rubbed it in basically all over my scalp. I paid special attention to the oiliest parts ( ie the area near my face and neck) because I have pretty oily skin (monumentally oily really) and that is the thing that freaks me out most… Having a grease vat on my head. I left it on while I washed my face (with Bronner’s) and then I rinsed it out. Then I just poured the vinegar all over. This time I paid more attention to the ends because aside from being worried about oil on my scalp, I’m worried about having dry ends. I let it sit while I washed the rest (again with my Dr. Bronner’s). Then I rinsed it out really well and said a prayer:
Dear god of hair (no offense to any other god intended),
Please please please let this work. I am trying to care for the earth and I don’t feel like I’m asking much. Let my hair not look like crap.
After I towel dried I was shocked to see that the brush went right through my hair. Like right through it. Zero tangles. Conditioner never took out all the tangles.
Outstanding. We are off to a good start. Same basic results for day 2 (it was a little more tangled after the shower but I was hurrying because the baby was being a crab).
A. I do not color my hair. I can’t explain why my hair is multi-toned. That’s just my hair.
B. I did absolutely nothing to my hair before I took this. I just let it dry. I did this, not because I like to embarrass myself, but because I really want everyone to see what it looks like when I’ll I’ve done is the baking soda/vinegar routine. If I had added products or curled it you wouldn’t be seeing the genuine result. So there it is. As god made me. No makeup. No hairspray. Not even lip balm.
C. I slept like an hour last night.
D. I’m wearing a t-shirt.
E. I’m not trying to impress anyone, obviously.
Kids reactions (they are brutally honest after all)
15 year old: Mom your hair is so SOFT (oh she is SO going to switch over)!
12 year old: Mom (frown), your hair doesn’t smell like shampoo any more (that’s kind of the point).
10 year old: I think it’s making your hair lighter mom (no son, those are just gray hairs).
4.5 month old: She just continues to pull my hair out (meets her approval obviously).
As for the TP free movement (Haha, get it? Movement.) so far I’m the only one taking the plunge (yuk yuk). The kids just aren’t ready to make that kind of ecological commitment yet. Hubs is doing his day in the bay gig for work but he’ll convert once he gets home. Based on how I knew I’d feel I’ll say I’m pleased with the end result (harhar). I just took some white washrags (Again, Walmart… We have a love hate relationship.) and poured two cups of water and 1/2 ish tsp (I confess I don’t measure) of Dr. Bronner’s (lavender scent) over the top. There are a dozen rags so should last a couple of days at least. I don’t make it to the potty that often. I’m a busy lady. As for the dirty storage… I have an extra wet bag of Ella’s that I hung on the bathroom door to put the used it. That’s all. I’ll wash them with the diapers which is typically every day or two depending.
And that’s all that probably needs to be said about that.
In other news… As part of the chem free movement, I made my own deodorant. I don’t actually even wear deodorant and haven’t for about two years (and neither does my husband) but I do have an emergency bar of lavender Tom’s in the drawer for those days I really don’t want to stink (and if it’s a real emergency I have some Mitchum). I became deo free after I read the study on aluminum and Alzheimers I was pretty scared to use it (since my family has a history and I don’t think I need to say no one wants Alzheimers). Since then the study has been refuted (or at least argued) but I’d rather not take any chances. Anyway I made my own.
1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. cornstarch (in he form of same baby stuff I had, but regular ol cornstarch would work)
6 T. coconut oil (give or take)
I mixed that all up (think of it like mixing pie crust and incorporating the solid with the powder) and put it in an upcycled cream cheese container from panera. To use it you just scoop it out and rub it in. Note: need bigger container of coconut oil. It’s amazing. Also it’s solid at room temp but don’t let that scare you, it’s not like crisco and it’s melts at a very low temp (in your hand). I heated mine a tad to make it easier to work with (It’s pretty chilly in the house).
It smells awesome. I don’t know if it works but whatever. I’ll smell like a tropical sensation either way. Since I don’t wear perfume I sure hope Hubs likes coconut. That or BO.
Speaking of husbands, I should note, I’m lucky to have a husband that is an eco-aware guy. If there was a green scale of 1-10 and I was a 5 he’d be a 7 at least. In that light he is absolutely on board with there being no shampoo in our shower and no TP in our potty. Also he told me if I didn’t want to shave my legs he thought I shouldn’t. Same thing for bra wearing. And he likes me better without makeup. And with my hair in a ponytail, because he like my big ears. Seriously? How did I find this guy? Oh yeah, 6th grade spelling bee. I’m the luckiest lady.
In other news: I cleaned out the cleaners. I wish I’d taken a photo of under my kitchen sink but the baby was crying so you know. If you saw yesterdays cleanser confessional you know what I was up against. This is what’s left.
(If you’re going to ask, those mugs are from Cost Plus and they are super cute and were purchased by the Man who has great taste.)
Anyway… What’s in there?
*baking soda (for tubs, toilets, showers etc)
*Meyer’s scrub for whatever else needs scouring (it’s mostly baking soda with some smelly oils)
*spray bottle with 2 c water, 3 T vinegar, 1/2 t castille soap (Dr. Bronner’s peppermint) for windows and mirrors
* 3 microfiber cloths (one for windows, one for counters, one for wood)
*Murphy’s oil soap, a good old standard I’ve used since I knew how to mop, for mopping and such (I could use the castille for that but I like the way Murphy’s smells A LOT)
*a recycled sponge (I don’t know what it’s recycled out of but it’s brown and has something that look like stems in it, most likely strategically placed by the Scott company to make the consumer feel like they really are using something recycled when in fact it’s probably a sponge dyed brown. I digress.)
*a microfiber duster (and housewife cleaning partner)
*a Mr Clean magic eraser (Do I really need to say why? It’s magic. )
*Bon Ami (I just had that under the sink already, I like it in the kitchen sink. Tangerine oil makes it smell. Yum.)
*a spray bottle of Meyer’s basil scent (for the kitchen tables because I already had it and my daughter likes it and if it’ll get her to clean then I’ll keep it, once it’s gone I’ll just use the water, castille soap spray, but it’s non-toxic and all that good jazz)
* rubber gloves
That seems like a lot of stuff but it’s less that half what I had. And nothing toxic. I wouldn’t recomned drinking Murphy’s oil soap, but it won’t kill you.
OK that concludes today’s green update. I still have a roll of paper towels.
Come on people, I’m not crazy.
Tomorrow we talk toothpaste and laundry soap.
green , green living , poo-free , TP free
And no, it’s not what you think it is.
I’ve been giving a considerable amount of thought to making a few simple, but impacting, life changes. I cannot make them simultaneously, lest my body and mind be shocked into a chemical free coma. But you know, we are overrun with chemicals in our daily lives and I don’t think they can be that good for you. I’ve known this for some time but honestly I just wasn’t ready to take to the plunge all the way. I’m getting there. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Make my hair shampoo free. Yes you heard me. More on this later.
2. Make my face chemical free. I plan to use the oil method of face washing. It’s sounds counter intuitive but really the reality is, the more we clean our faces with harsh chemicals, the harder our face works to produce oil to replace the oil we strip off. What you need isn’t an oil free face, but a dirt free face. I’m going to give it a go. I already gave up makeup. It’s not as awful as you think.
Please don’t stop reading my blog. I swear I’m not crazy
3. Make the complete switch to an eco-safe phosphate free laundry soap. I already do this for the baby’s diapers. Currently we are using Charlies. It’s not offensive smelling and coconut based. I really do love it. Also I bought if from ebay and it came with a bottle of spray cleaner which I love. However, despite this love, I haven’t yet been ready to take to plunge into using it for the whole family because, well frankly, because I have boys and they are dirty and I’m worried about getting clothes clean. Here’s some of what I’m currently using (minus the fabric softener which I just ran out of). On the right… what I will be using. Charlies and vinegar (with the occasional bleach I confess)
Some of those I’m not proud to say I use. In any case, you’ll see there is quite a variety there. I make green choices when I can but I’ve yet to give up the hardcore stuff like the comet bathroom spray which cleans a shower without you even having to touch it. It also smells like it’s probably giving you cancer (or at the very least a bleeding lung) in the process. What I have been using a lot of is this:
Dr. Bronner’s castille soap. It’s fair trade and organic and made with coconut oil and hemp. You can use it for like a jillion things. I’ve used it in the bath, on my face, on my body, on my baby, on our reusable baby wipes and to mop the floor.
I’m not a hippie. I swear (but I think my friend Karen would be proud. Karen, I love you.)
It’s about to get serious.
5. Use significantly less paper towels/toilet paper. Yes, I said toilet paper (more on that later). I already use towels for mostly everything and I’m practical, I’m not trying to say we shouldn’t use paper towels at all but if you can use a towel, why not? I bought these on etsy.
As for the toilet paper, brace yourself for a radical suggestion.Braced?
ok good. Why not use cloth instead?
Don’t get nauseated. Take a breath and get back to me in a second.
OK. I realize that you might be running for the hills right now but wait. Before you do, read this. And then consider. Did you know Americans use 4.6 million tons of TP a year. A YEAR. It takes 78 billion tress and 32 trillion tons of water to make all of that. Trillion people, TRILLION. It seems radical at first glance but it’s really not. This idea came to me in a flash of ecological brilliance one day when I was changing Ella. If you read the cloth-diapering post linked above you know we use cloth wipes for Ella. This is basically a bunch of cheap walmart washrags (no they aren’t fair-trade or American made of organic cotton, just $2.50 washrags. I’m cheap too.). I would have preferred flannel honestly but my sewing machine was broken and I didn’t want to deal with fraying flannel all over the dern place (Yes, Jen I want to borrow yours. Please.). This was the quick and easy alternative. Anywho, I just toss them into a tall tupperware type container and pour a couple of cups of water with about a teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s in it over the top. Bingo. It takes like 15 seconds and I haven’t bought wipes since Ella was born. Anyway, as I was getting her little rear so clean I was actually thinking, this seems like a better way to wash a grown up bottom. I mean how fresh and clean is that? Right?
So the next hangup we have to overcome is having wipes with grown up ickies on them around and I think that this can be solved with a simple flip lid trash can. You don’t have to LOOK at the wipes. Just toss them in the can and them toss them in the wash with the whites. The good news is if you put a little Bronner’s on there (say the lavender scent) they’ll actually make your potty smell nice.
Next: Have a hang up about using the same wipe your husband used on his man bottom? (I don’t, but I realize I’m unique in that way because I will also use my husband’s toothbrush). Solution: color code the wipes. He gets brown. You get pink. Problem solved. The great thing about all of this (besides your fresh and clean backside) is it will SAVE YOU MONEY. I solemnly swear.
Also I swear, I still wear a bra. Well, most of the time.
I’m not THAT crunchy.
Come along with me on my green adventure.
Tomorrow: Poo-free update #1.