Sunday, 1 February 2015

Making my own Make-Up

Did you know that I have been making my own skin care products for about a year and a half now and have even convinced Paleo Grandad to try a couple?  Besides the fact I am no longer putting a lot of chemicals onto and in my body, I have saved a lot of money which goes toward buying better quality food.

It didn't make sense to me to change my diet to healthier, unprocessed food and continue to dye my hair, take prescription medicine (or OTC pills), and rub chemicals all over my body.

I started with "no-poo" - I don't know who came up with that name - and then researched and made my own face cream, powder, face mask under-arm deodorant and toothpaste.  There are lots of recipes for eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow and blush, but I haven't tried those (yet!).  Mostly because my criteria for making my own products is that I don't have to spend a lot of money and already have the ingredients I need in my cupboard.  The "no-poo" (baking soda and apple cider vinegar) works well for me. 

I stopped dying my hair a few years ago when it finished going grey (see my picture above!) but was still using chemical shampoos which made my scalp break out and itch like crazy.  I switched to washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with apple cider vinegar, alternating with chemical shampoo and gradually stopped using chemical shampoos altogether.  I got side-tracked once and used a shampoo for silver hair that actually made my hair greyish-yellow - not a good look.  Now I have now thrown out every chemical hair product I had and only buy baking soda and organic apple cider vinegar (I have worked it out to be less than $20 a year).  Here's how I do it.

  1. Wet your hair thoroughly.
  2. Fill your cupped hand with baking soda (about 3 tablespoons) - I use Arm and Hammer, but any brand should work and sprinkle it over your wet hair.
  3. Rub it in well - no foaming and its not slippery - which takes a little getting used to.  After all, if it doesn't foam (those chemicals at work), how can your hair be clean?  Trust me, it is.
  4. After rubbing for a few minutes (as long as you would your chemical shampoo), rinse your hair well.
  5. Now condition with the apple cider vinegar (I keep a bottle of half apple cider vinegar, half filtered water) in my bathroom.  You need about two tablespoons of the mixture poured over your hair and finger-combed through.  Don't rinse - you are not going to smell like a pickle, the smell is gone by the time your hair dries.
That's it.  I have short hair cut well enough that I can just let it air dry.  My hair is shiny and healthy and my scalp no longer itches!  *Note:  this method will not work for everyone (hi, Alannah!), but give it a try for a couple of weeks to see if it will work for you.  If it doesn't, there are a lot of "no-poo" recipes on Pinterest that you could try.  [See my Pinterest Board - DIY Granny]

My hairdresser kept trying to sell me (expensive) skin protects and I tried a few of her samples, plus many other brands, including Clinique, but they all made my skin break out and my pores clog.  Again I researched and experimented and came up with this moisturizer and I now have smooth skin, with (very) rare breakouts, fewer wrinkles and unclogged pores.  Here is my recipe.  Again, there are lots more on my DIY Granny board on Pinterest.

Face Moisturizer*

You will need an electric mixer, stand mixer, Nutri Bullet or stick blender for this - any of them will work.  I use the stick blender.
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil (I mine a large jar from Costco - the best price for coconut oil I have found).
  • 1 tablespoon of shea butter (available from a health food store) - no additives
  • 2 tablespoons of jojoba oil (available at a health food store)
  • essential oil - lavender is good - optional [I use lavender flower hydrasol which I get from Galloways in Richmond)
  1. Place the coconut oil in a blender glass for your stick blender (or whatever bowl for the type of mixer you are using).
  2. Add the jojoba oil, shea butter and the essential oil or lavender flower hydrasol, if using.
  3. Mix until the mixture is light and fluffy.  (Because coconut oil is hard at room temperature, it is going to go solid again.  Just take a bit out and warm it for seconds in your hand and it is ready to use.)
  4. Put it in a small glass jar - I get mine at the dollar store.
You might think this would be greasy, but seconds after you rub it on your face, it has been absorbed and you can go ahead with the rest of your make-up (not you Paleo Grandad!). *Note:  You can also use this mixture for a face cleanser at night - cleanse and moisturizer at the same time.  If you are acne prone, you can also add a few drops of tea tree oil - not too many - it can be harsh on your skin.

Face Powder*

*I use all natural ingredients, but some people can be sensitive to them too - so you might want to do a skin test before using - the same applies to the moisturizer. 
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot
  • cinnamon
  • cocoa powder
  • jojoba oil (health food store)
Depending on your skin color, you can also add some turmeric for yellow.  I have a yellow tone to my skin, so I don't use it.

  1. Start with the 1/4 cup arrowroot in a small bowl.
  2. Start with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (this is the red tone)
  3. Start with 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder (brown
  4. Mix everything together - careful, it tends to cover everyone in powder as you stir - we will fix that before we are finished.
  5. If you need more red, add another pinch of cinnamon;  if you need it to be more brown, add more cocoa powder - test it on your wrist. 
  6. Keep doing this until you get the color you want.
  7. Once you are happy with the color, start adding drops of jojoba oil (Vitamin E oil would work too), stirring gently while you are adding it.  Stop when the mixture is just very slightly clumping.  The jojoba oil keeps the powder from flying all over - and on your clothes - when you are using it.
  8. Put it in another dollar store jar.  Apply all over your face with a large brush.
I also make my own deodorant and toothpaste, which I will share another day.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Paleo or Not Paleo

Hello, all - long time no see!  Life got rough and I needed to re-group health-wise.  I have been on the Paleo diet for 2+ years, I was definitely feeling better, sleeping a bit better, but was gaining weight at a rapid rate (19 lbs now and counting) despite no change in my diet.  Part of the problem is that I could no longer do my walking due to a collapsed metatarsal - painful. It's getting better after having to spend hundreds of dollars on ugly orthopedic shoes.  I know, I know - vanity.  But I was born loving pretty shoes (so my Mom says), and it was depressing.

I also decided I was going to abandon my family doctor as I was tired of being prescribed sleeping pills and being told I eat too much and don't exercise enough - well that part is true at the moment - but my diet was good.  I found a Functional Medicine doctor (in Vancouver) who listened to me, and is also a Paleo advocate.  She is a Family Practitioner and has her American Boards in Anti-Aging and Rejuvenation Medicine.  It isn't cheap going to a Functional Medicine doctor, but so far it is so worth it.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Here I am again over a month later.  Such a struggle with health and weight issues.  AIP (autoimmune protocol) has been a revelation.  Hard in one way - AIP is quite restrictive - but easier in another sense - clear-cut guidelines on what you can and cannot eat. 

Switching to Paleo two years ago was a similar change in mind-set, but because I felt so much better and there were so many articles, blogs and books to read to keep me motivated, I loved it.  While I can't say I "love" AIP, it has made me feel a lot better in lots of ways - all good, right?  Not necessarily, unfortunately. 

I have been working with Mickey Trescott (one of the Consultants in  The Paleo Mom's group) and sticking pretty strictly to the AIP plan (even eating beef liver jerky trying to get some liver into my diet), talked a soil-based probiotic, HCL to improve digestive enzymes, 600 mg of magnesium every day, with some reduction in the number of stomach aches, better sleep occasionally, a clearer mind but absolutely no, none, zero weight loss and not much change in energy levels. 

Mickey (and I agree) feels my biggest issue is stress.  Stress causes an increase in cortisol, which messes up your sleep, which makes your body hang onto extra weight.  My exercise for the past month has been stopping whatever I am doing three times a day to breathe mindfully.  How's that going?  Not well.

If I go one step off the AIP plan, I get a stomach ache, bloating and more weight gain.  Last weekend we helped Youngest Son do some things around his new home and the whole day was eating the wrong things (Ikea meatballs, mashed potatoes, dinner at a local pub, including ice cream) and did I pay for it.  Eating out has pretty much become a painful exercise, except when we went to the Keg and I had a whole lobster.  No stomach ache - just a big restaurant bill!

I have been told by Mickey and The Paleo Mom (who I met at the book signing last month), to focus on better health not the weight loss.  (Have you seen them - both slim and gorgeous!)  If you have read The Paleo Mom's story you know she had a major weight loss (100+ pounds) when she started eating better and still wants to lose more weight, but's easy for them and all the other (normal weight) bloggers who say the same thing because they did lose weight.

I'm not giving up, in fact I have another appointment with Mickey in a couple of weeks to see what we can try next.  I do appreciate the health benefits and I don't want to lose those, but I would also like to see fifty a few pounds disappear.

On a more positive note, I have discovered that Point Roberts, a part of the State of Washington that you can only get to by land by going through Canada, has an international market that sells Kerrygold butter (US$5.69 for half a pound) and Organic Valley butter from pastured cows (US$5.29 per pound).  It is less than half an hour from our place so we can make a run every month - better fat.

Would you like to see what I have been eating on AIP? Click here for the recipe for Citrus-Thyme Pot Roast - easy and delicious!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Autoimmune Paleo

It's been awhile (again) since I blogged, but I can't stay away from it too long.  Very cathartic.  I have been busy working on my health and weight issues and getting into Autoimmune Paleo mode.  Autoimmune Paleo is Paleo (no sugar, dairy, legumes, grains or processed foods) plus AIP = no eggs, nuts, seeds or nightshades (chili pepper, cayenne, peppers - all kinds and, most importantly for me - no tomatoes), and to increase my use of organ meats (I'm struggling with that).

I am almost finished the first month of the plan I got from working with Mickey Trescott (Autoimmune Paleo), which meant reducing my stress levels (not doing too well there), getting more sleep (a bit better) and healing my digestive system (which is going well as long as I stick to the eating plan and take my Betaine HCL every time I eat).  I have also just added a soil-based Probiotic/Prebiotic for more healing.

Depending on how bad your gut is, some people can do 30 days and then start adding back non-AIP foods slowly, but I have had these problems for so long I think I am looking at a lot longer before I will risk adding eggs or nightshades.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

One Week On

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there.  I talked to mine this morning (he's 800 miles away) and Mom had taken him out for breakfast and they are going to the Dairy Queen later for ice cream.  At 86 I think he deserves a banana split at the Dairy Queen or anything else he feels like eating today and, if I know my Dad, that will be buttered potatoes.  Do you think buttered potatoes are the secret to a long healthy life?  Wouldn't that be great.'s been a week since I have been following the Autoimmune Protocol meal plan (mostly) and I have to say that I feel better - mind clearer, sleeping better, more interest in cooking (and blogging) - all good things.  However, zero weight loss in the week.

I have my one-hour meeting (via Skype) with Mickey Trescott, and I am excited (hopeful?) that she will have some insight into my inability to lose weight.  Fingers crossed.

I love to cruise around Pinterest looking for meal ideas and saving them for inspiration.  I found a couple of recipes for stuffed baked sweet potatoes with various fillings that I saved, one of which I planned to make for Friday night dinner.  However, when I went to start dinner I discovered I was down to one largish sweet potato, so I decided to deconstruct the recipe, and use other vegetables I had on hand instead for the "stuffing".  It turned out pretty good - four bacon strips from Paleo Grandad.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

I'm back!

I'm back (I hope).  It's been too long. I got off track (love you Paleo Grandad, but no more chocolate, please) and I was prescribed some medication for stomach problems that added to a 25 lb. weight gain (in less than two months), serious bloating and swelling of my legs and feet and to feeling depressed again.  When I'm happy, I blog.  When I'm depressed, it's all I can do to get out of bed and go to work...and then there's work.

I'm off the stomach medicine now (immediately dropped 5 lbs. - like the next day) and am desperate to get back on track so I can get back the energy and the enthusiasm I had before I got derailed.  Most of all, I need to lose the 20 lbs. I just gained, plus another 30 more that I have been carrying around for years. 

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Crispy Lemon Herb Chicken

Several years ago in my search to solve health problems and lose weight, I bought all of Suzanne Sommer's books and one of them (forget which one) had a recipe for chicken drumsticks that we really liked.  She used fresh herbs for this recipe (she grows her own), but I didn't have fresh and I actually like it with dried.

I had bought a big package of chicken thighs (not organic unfortunately, but not many people can afford a big package or organic chicken thighs), so I used thighs instead of drumsticks. The only difference is that the thighs didn't get as crispy as the drumsticks would.
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