Thursday, August 28, 2008
How did it all start . . . well I have been trying various types of "natural" and/or "organic" shampoos and conditioners over the years and I never really found something I could stick with. I wanted a shampoo without Sodium Lauryl Sulfates and the like. I didn't want these because they tend to make your hair a bit more frizzy and believe me I do not need more of that. There is also the whole nasty chemical idea, particularly this little blurb.
In the Journal of the American College of Toxicology notes that this ingredient has a "degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties." The journal adds, "high levels of skin penetration may occur at even low use concentration."
Doesn't that sound fun. I also try to steer clear of parabens for similar reason, the whole chemical reason, not the frizz reason. Basically sulfates are what make your shampoo lather. There is no real reason for it it is just something we have become accustomed to and I had a hard time with that at first as well.
About 6 months ago I got sick and tired of finding supposed natural or organic shampoos so I went to target and went with Aussie brand. It works and it's not too bad and on the label it said bio-degradable. Now there are all sorts of flaws with that statement but that's not for this post, but that is what I went with. The shampoo has sulfates but there were no parabens in either product. They were also $6 each and quite large so it did cut down on the amount of plastic a bit and I wasn't shampooing daily so they would have lasted me a year or more for sure.
I was not happy with my hair and I have not been for quite a while but its pretty much always been like this. So it's just something I live with and I thought I had to live with. Well thanks to Crunchy Chicken I now have a new routine. It all started with her post about Coconut Oil and then her subsequent post on shampoo. From the shampoo post I researched No Poo'ing and quickly tried it and I am pretty sure I will never go back to conventional products. The link she provides on no poo'ing in her post (how to go no poo) is where I got my start and the basic recipe I use as well, it is a great step by step illustrated guide and a great place to start.
A bit of background info, I have very thick very coarse very long hair. My hair is at about hip length and quite dry because it is so long and therefore OLD hair. I use to not be able to brush it except for right after my shower and with the aid of some de-tangler/leave in. I was using an Aussie leave in spray. It worked ok but spray for my beyond thick hair was ridiculous but all the creams were filled with nasty stuff I was not willing to use, not that Aussie was not full of nasty stuff, it was just less. If I did brush it when it was dry I would end up with a huge fro even thought it is so long. I liked my hair best when it was at least 3 days dirty but still then I could not really brush it without then having to put it up or in braids or just hide it somehow. I was shampooing my hair three times a week at most and more often it was just once or twice a week and I did not even get it wet or anything between that time. I did try condition only for a bit but I didn't really like that either. Just plain ol' dirty hair was preferable to me. Honestly my hair and my scalp would start to smell, but just to me and my husband, I think. No one else every said anything but I don't hang around people that much.
So when I discovered No Poo I read all about if for about a day and jumped right in. Here is my current routine, I wash my hair about every three or four days. To do so I make a hair wash and a hair rinse. The hair wash is 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of water and the rinse is 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. I get my hair wet and then apply the wash to my scalp and massage scalp. I run my hands down my hair but don't specifically try and get any wash on my actual hair below my ears. I then rinse my hair and do the same thing with the rinse mixture and then rinse hair out again. Then my hair goes up and out of the way and I shower as usual. When I get out of shower I brush hair and let air dry. When it is dry, sometimes the next day or whenever I get to it I work in a few teaspoons of coconut oil and use it as a leave in. I only apply it to hair from about ears down. Concentrating on hair below my shoulders and especially the dryer than crap ends. Depending on how long I go between washes I sometimes apply coconut oil a few day later. I also brush my hair every morning and night and anytime in between. I use to dread brushing my hair but I no longer do. It works great for me and I do not see myself going back to traditional hair routine anytime soon.
A few things, there is a transition period where you may become a giant greaseball as your scalp regulates itself to its new routine. I had this period, it was 2 or three days. Some people have a much longer one and if you tend to have greasy hair then it will be hard on you I am sure and you will probably want to quit quite often. But if you can make it through you will probably be happy. Also at first I had to get rid of the nasty soap scum build up that was on my scalp, I always knew it was there but I didn't know what it was or why it was there. I learned it was there because I have hard water. So to help break this down for the first two weeks the first thing I did was to rinse my hair with a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar. It worked and I no longer need to use it. I may have to every once in a while I have been told by other no poo'ers but I have not used it in the last almost two months. When I make my wash and rinse I use cold/cool water from the shower that has not warmed up yet. This is especially helpful for me so I can feel the cold water on my scalp and make sure it is actually penetrating my hair. At first I used old measuring cups but the wide opening was not the best for in shower use. I now use old glass bottles from a tea drink my husband buys. It is especially helpful because I can put they ingredients in and put the lid on and shake to mix well. The smaller opening also regulates the flow better and I can get the wash/rinse where it needs to be better than a big open container.
There are all sorts of ways to go no poo and the baking soda/vinegar was the way I choose and am very happy with. The best place I can send you for information is a LiveJournal community, The No Poo' Method. They discuss all sorts of ways to go no poo and different things you can use and even their favorite conventional products if you are not ready to go completely no poo'. Many use tea rinses instead of vinegar, largely because of the smell but if used properly there is no lingering smell what so ever, and believe me because my husband hates the smell of vinegar and he actually has recently been telling my how clean my hair smells! That is a testament to the greatness of this method, mudnessa no longer smells!! AMAZING!!! Try it for yourself.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Green tips from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Healthy & Green Living from Care2 has everything you could want. I especially love Green Girl and their archives, they are huge. I use it to find out EVERYTHING. Just use the search and you can find anything and everything green under the sun.
Mr Green Checklist a checklist to green your home room by room
Some other great sites:
Low Impact Living
Green living tips
Greenfeet.com The planet's homestore
Carbon Conscious Consumer
Seafood Selector from Environmental Defense Fund
Green is Sexy
Earth 911 recycling info for practically everything you own
Gaiam Green Living, Yoga, Fitness, and Organic Products
Organic Milk score card
Big Green Purse
Lets Go Green
Hate junk mail, try these resources:
DMA Choice I used this and it has made an enormous difference.
Stop the Junk Mail Monster
Buy yourself some reusable tote bags instead of using plastic grocery bags, I use and LOVE my Whole Food bags, sturdy and HUGE. If you are handy maybe you should try and make your own out of old T-Shirts. T-Shirt tote bags. But if you do use plastic bags recycle them, although a lot of places just "pretend" to recycle them and if you don't recycle them try this:
Fusing Plastic Bags
Sewable Fabric from Plastic Bags
Don't to forget to sign up for the newsletters/tips that some of the sites offer.
As you are probably also aware it is almost more difficult to figure out where to properly dispose of electronic items.
Here are some option for tech recycling.
GreenDisk seems to be a pretty cool service and fairly easy.
Also check out your local Office Depot for tech recycling, they have three different size boxes and all the stuff you can fit in one is recycled for the price of the box.
The Big Green Box is much like what Office Depot offers but they seem to specialize in batterties and small handheld devices.
ACT recycles videocassettes and computer disks through an org that provides jobs to disabled people.
At The Rechargable Battery Recycling Corporation you can enter your zip code and get a list of close places to recycle your batteries.
Safe Sunscreen and Bug Repellants and
Natural, Organic, Biodynamic–What's the Difference?
both from Low Impact Living
Safe Sunscreens from Sierra Club's The Green Life
Monday, August 25, 2008
This is seriously the best thing to ever happen to me. We hate our monthly cycle don't we, although it serves a great purpose if you plan on reproducing. It is still no fun, no fun at all. Ok I didn't want to just jump right in and scare some people because I know it will but I am not that good with words so . . .
I suggest you research and ultimaltey try a Menstrual Cup. I did and I LOVE it. I also realize it is not for everyone and that even if it is something you would like to use it just may not work for you.
So here is how I got started, I noticed the mention of it on a blog I visit, Crunchy Chicken. Great blog, but she held a DivaCup Challenge. That's how it all started for me.
It did take me about 3 months of casual on and off research to decide to actually purchase and try a cup. The best resource I found is a LiveJournal community. Menstrual Cups. It has a wealth of information and the people are very helpful and VERY VERY VERY nice. If you check out their Community Info page and scroll down they have a picture of all the available cups and their sizes and things. Very helpful for deciding which to buy. I went with the DivaCup mostly because it was easily available to me, I got mine from drugstore.com.
Why are so many women willing to shove bleached to hell, proccessed to the ends of the earth little pieces of cotton up their hooha!! I swear a man must have decided that would be the best way so it would all be out of sight out of mind. HORRIBLE that that is the most accepted way of dealing. Not only is it putting chemicals and things in your hooha it is using up many resources not to mention money. Seriously how much money do we spend over our lifetimes on tampons and/or pads, things we despise. Tampons also soak up EVERYTHING in there. It is not suppose to be dry it's just not.
Possibly TMI but the whole subject is TMI for some . . . since using the DivaCup I have had shorter periods and no more end of cycle spotting and even if I did it wouldn't be an issue because the cup is not like a tampon, it doesn't need to be "full" to come out easily. BEST PART, reduction in cramp severity!!! Seriously. I believe that has something to do with having a happy hooha. Before it was screaming at me and rightfully so I must say. One more added benefit is you really get to know your parts and as odd as it seems it really makes you feel like you know yourself and understand being a woman a bit more. It is also kinda interesting seeing how flow changes over the cycle, from a scientific point of view, which is how my brain functions and well I am interested in all sorts of odd things. Anyways I could go on and on.
Please look at the sites and info on them and make the decision for yourself, but I highly highly highly recommend it. I no longer dread my monthly visit, I honestly kinda look forward to it now. Also please feel free to ask me personally about anything, I am not squeamish and I would love to help you make the decision and put you at ease about the whole idea.
CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury, so they cannot be thrown out in the trash. However, the mercury in CFLs represents a much less significant environmental hazard than incandescent bulbs because CFLs require much less electricity, and more than half of our nation's electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants—the largest U.S. source of mercury emissions.
In scientific words, the average coal-fired power plant emits only 3.2 milligrams of mercury for each CFL running six hours per day for five years, but emits nearly 15 milligrams of mercury for an incandescent bulb running the same amount of time, according to The Union of Concerned Scientists research. The difference far exceeds the approximately five milligrams present inside a CFL. Properly disposing of CFLs ensures the mercury in them remains contained.
Proper CFL disposal
What do you do with cfl's that you no longer can use since you are not suppose to put them in the regular garbage, Home Depot now has drop offs for proper disposal of CFL bulbs. Info about Home Depot's in store bulb recycling.
Now its easy to do the right thing. So if you have not switched do it, the upfront cost may be more than incandescent bulbs but the money you will save on not having to replace them and lower energy bills will quickly offset the cost. If you are worried about the whole mercury thing, it seems to be overreacted by a lot.
If the twisty light thing is what is stopping you then get yourself to a big hardware store, I frequent Lowe's but Home Depot has the same products. They have CFL's in all shapes and sizes now. Even some in color. I have even seen teardrop CFL's for use in chandeliers.
If you have used a CFL or two and were turned off by the difference in type of light that they give off, try switching to a lower watt, basically a 26 watt CFL is about equal to a 100 watt incandescent. Some people complain about the type of light, some feel its too "blue". There are many new CFL's that say softer light or things like that on them so the transition from incandescents will be easier on you eyes.
Transportation by the Numbers
Percent of the world's transportation energy currently supplied by oil.
Cost of barrel of oil on July 18th, 2007.
Cost of barrel of oil on July 18th, 2008.
Number of fewer miles Americans drove in May 2008 compared to May 2007.
Number of trips taken via the U.S. public transportation system in 2007, the highest in 50 years.
Percent increase in price of diesel fuel paid by public transit agencies.
Percent of America's public transit agencies that are cutting services due to budget constraints.
Percent of population that has no access to public transit.
Amount the average two-worker household saves annually by taking public transportation instead of driving a car.
Year by which lifting the ban on offshore drilling may start to impact the price of gas.