Chocolate Coconut PB Banana Smoothie Recipe

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I had a chocolate and peanut butter craving the other day. What else is new? That’s basically an every day occurrence. Anyway, I started brainstorming a chocolate peanut butter smoothie recipe that I could whip up in a few seconds with ingredients I had at home. Here’s what I came up with, and let me tell you, I’ve already made it a couple times. It’s really good, if I do say so myself. 😉

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond milk (GMO-free)
  • 1 organic banana, fresh or frozen (I recommend frozen slices to make your smoothie colder)
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 2 Tbsp organic peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp all-natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate)
  • 2 Tbsp all-natural unsweetened shredded coconut
  • small handful of all-natural dark chocolate chips
  • extra coconut and chocolate chips for topping

Throw all of this in a blender and you get a delicious and healthy chocolate peanut butter smoothie! Enjoy!

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Homemade Laundry Detergent

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A few years ago I was teaching at a Child Development Center. There was a little boy in the class next door who had red dots all over his body that he constantly itched. His whole family had them on their bodies, and they tried for a long time to figure out what was causing them. They finally switched laundry detergent brands and the spots and itching went away. After I found this out I started wondering, “What is in laundry detergent that would make someone’s whole body be filled with a constantly itchy rash?” I started reading up on ingredients in laundry detergent and I was amazed that pretty much every ingredient in Tide, Gain, All, etc. are toxic and carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Standard laundry detergent ingredients have been linked to damage on the central nervous system, lungs, kidneys, heart, and blood vessels, as well as allergies and skin and eye irritation. And they biodegrade slowly causing environmental damage.

I can see some of you rolling your eyes reading this, thinking, “I’m fine and most of the people I know are fine and we all use typical laundry detergent.” But if I gave you a recipe for a natural detergent that you can make really quickly and easily and it would save you lots of money, does it sound worth it to avoid the risks? Go into your laundry room, or next time you are at the store look at the back of the laundry detergent bottle, and you will see that there isn’t really an ingredients list. There may be a sentence or two telling you a few of the things it contains, but most if not all won’t even tell you everything that’s in it. If they have to hide from you what you are washing your clothes with and wearing next to your body every day, does that concern you at all? Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, here’s a recipe for a more natural laundry detergent that I made a few months ago and I love. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but my clothes come out smelling really good and they get really clean, so no worries. You’ll need:

  • 1 bar of all-natural soap
  • 1/2 cup of borax
  • 1/2 cup of washing soda
  • Optional: 1 capful of Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer. This is 87% natural. I bought it for my first time making this recipe because I was nervous that my clothes were not going to smell clean, but with the soap that I chose, I’m not worried about that anymore. I think that once I run out of this, I probably won’t buy it again.

Steps:

  1. Cut your bar of soap into a few sections, and then grate it in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a cheese grater. (It does make it way easier if you have a food processor.)
  2. Next, mix your finely grated soap with 1/2 cup borax, 1/2 cup washing soda, and if using, 1 capful of Purex Crystals in a container. Just dump it all into a mason jar or plastic container with a lid and shake it up.
  3. Use 3 Tablespoons for a regular load or 4 for a super large load. The more you use it, the better feel you’ll get for how much you’ll need for each load size.

This amount really doesn’t make much, but it lasted me a few months with just two of us. If you have a larger family or just want to mix more so it will last longer, feel free to double or triple the recipe. And if you decide for whatever reason that making your own detergent isn’t for you, check out Seventh Generation or Ecos Detergents. I’ve used both and have been happy with these brands as well. Happy homemade detergent making! 🙂

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I found this recipe at condoblues.com.

The OCM

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Have you ever heard of the oil cleansing method? I hadn’t until recently, but when I did, it intrigued me. I researched it for a few  weeks, and then I thought I’d give it try. (Side note: In my research, I came across an interview with Zooey Deschanel talking about how she uses the OCM, and loves it. Just thought I’d throw that out there.) There are all kinds of oils you can use depending on your skin type, but I had sunflower seed oil at home so I thought I’d try it first. I went to our local natural/organic foods store to pick up castor oil. Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me give you a list of oils and a step-by-step method for cleansing your face with them.

PLEASE NOTE: I did not come up with this list. I found it on Alex Raye’s blog, almostexactlyblog.wordpress.com, which I encourage you all to check out! She lists more on her blog, I’m only listing oils that I’m more familiar with. 🙂

  • Balanced skin: sunflower, canola, sweet almond, olive, safflower, avocado, extra virgin olive oil
  • Sensitive skin: grapeseed, apricot kernal, jojoba, safflower, sunflower, sweet almond, watermelon
  • Oily skin: grapeseed, jojoba, watermelon, hazelnut, safflower, peach kernel
  • Dry skin: extra virgin olive oil, macadamia, avocado, sesame, sunflower, sweet almond
  • Acne-prone skin: grapeseed, jojoba, watermelon, apricot seed, hazelnut, peach kernel, sweet almond, sunflower, safflower, walnut
  • Mature skin: rosehip seed, carrot, sweet almond, olive, avocado, extra virgin olive oil

Whichever oil you choose is mixed with castor oil, depending on your skin type.

  • Oily: 30% castor to 70% other oil
  • Balanced: 20% castor to 80% other oil
  • Dry: 10% castor to 90% other oil

Method (same for if you are wearing make-up or not):

  1. Wipe your face with warm water and a wash cloth.
  2. Mix a dime sized amount of oil in your hand and rub onto your face for two minutes.
  3. Put the same wash cloth under HOT water, wring it out, and place it over your face until it cools. I stand there with my face up toward the ceiling (so it doesn’t fall off) and my eyes closed for usually about 45 seconds to a minute.
  4. Massage your face gently with the wash cloth to wipe off the oil.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
  6. Let your face air dry.

That’s it! I’ve been doing this for about two weeks now and I’ve seen AMAZING results already! My skin is softer and clearer than it’s ever been! I use the OCM (oil cleansing method) at night before bed and after a run, but I don’t wash my face in the morning (on days that I don’t work out). If you think about it, why would we wash our faces in the morning after washing them at night? If you are changing your sheets and pillow cases out like you should be, all you are doing is sleeping. Even before I started the OCM, I never washed my face first thing in the morning.

Another perk to the OCM is that it moisturizes my face. In the past two weeks, I’ve only used moisturizer once. I used it last night because the weather was cooler. I think in the winter I may need a tiny bit of moisturizer, but in the warmer seasons, the OCM should do the trick on its own.

Something that may have crossed your mind is the expense of the oils. I thought about it too before starting. But now that I have started, I’m seeing that using a dime-sized amount once a day (sometimes twice), my oils are going to last forever! (Way longer than my face wash ever did!) I bought my castor oil for about $8, but I haven’t even put a dent in it. I’m certain it will last at least 6 months, probably way longer than that even. And my sunflower oil was pretty inexpensive being from Trader Joe’s. (I don’t remember exactly how much I paid for it.) I just bought organic EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) on my last grocery run, a big bottle for $4.99. So, really, I think if you started recording how fast you go through your face wash and how much you spend on it, you’d see that this is a better choice for your wallet as well as the health of your skin. (And you are saving money from not having to use as much of the moisturizer you used to use daily, too.)

Using the OCM, if I see a little acne spot on my face while washing it at night, the next morning it is gone! Seriously! It used to take days for acne spots to disappear. The OCM is magical! 🙂 Also, I used to never dare to leave the house without make-up on, but over the last few weeks I’ve done that several times. I’m truly confident in my own skin now, and don’t think I will ever go back to using traditional face wash.

Here’s my face right after rolling out of bed yesterday morning. No make-up and no filter. My skin is loving the oil cleansing method! 🙂 A few weeks ago you could not have paid me to post a picture of myself without make-up. (You can click on the picture to enlarge the image…I’m telling you, it totally works!)

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Paleo Chocolate Avocado Smoothie Recipe

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I love avocados. It’s not unusual for me to buy 4 or 5 every time I do my weekly grocery shopping. But last week I had a few in the fridge and I did not want to eat them! I guess I burned myself out on them. I kept trying to muster up enough of an appetite for one before they went bad, but they just weren’t appealing to me. So after putting a few in my hair for No-Poo deep conditioning treatments, 😉 I started looking at Paleo recipes where I could use them up but maybe not have a strong avocado taste. I found a recipe for Paleo chocolate avocado mousse and it was disgusting…basically if you sprinkled unsweetened cocoa powder on a plain avocado and ate it, that’s what it tasted like. Yuck! 

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Next I tried this one, and it was soooo good! I didn’t have all the ingredients for it, so I ended up doing my own thing. Here’s what I came up with:

  • 8 oz. almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter (I technically used organic PB, which isn’t Paleo but I’m waiting for almond butter to go on sale…it’s double the price of organic PB! Not cool.) 
  • a small handful of dark chocolate cocoa nibs

Blend all of your ingredients in a blender until smooth and you get…

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…this amazingness! I promise you can’t taste the avocado at all! It’s so rich and creamy and filling that I had half for breakfast, couldn’t finish it, and had the other half for lunch. (And now of course I’m craving one and don’t have any more avocados.) 🙂

Enjoy!

 

I got the idea for this recipe at againstallgrain.com.

“Low-‘Poo” and Pictures from my “No-‘Poo” Journey

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Ok ladies, today marks 6 weeks since I started my ‘No-Poo’ journey, and I am going to be switching to ‘Low-Poo’ (for now, at least). I was hesitant to tell you this, since many of you have either started ‘No-Poo’ or are seriously considering it. Let me explain what ‘Low-Poo’ is. Basically I am just going to be switching to an all-natural or organic brand of shampoo and conditioner.

I am training for a 5K that I’m running in November, and I’ve been noticing that I haven’t been running as much on ‘No-Poo’ as I should be to get ready for this thing. I like my hair on the days in between washes, so I’ve been skipping runs in order to avoid having to wash it. I wrote Alex Raye (writer of Almost Exactly blog) a few days ago and told her my concerns. For sweaty days on ‘No-Poo’ I’ve been using a lemon juice mixture to sop up the oils from my hair, which totally works, but I’ve been concerned that I have been doing too much to my hair.

Alex agreed with me that if I’m going to be running almost on a daily basis, the baking soda and lemon juice washes would be too drying for my hair. With this said however, I don’t want to discourage any of you that have started ‘No-Poo’ or are wanting to try it. I think every girl should give it a try! I’m soooo glad that I did, and I’m not saying that I will never do it again. I’ve had some of the best hair days in my life during these last 6 weeks! Haha. 🙂

If you are exercising 3 days a week, or if your schedule/circumstances don’t allow you to exercise as much, ‘No-Poo’ would definitely work for you! If your normal routine is anything like last week was for me, I highly recommend ‘No-Poo’ for you! Here’s how my week went, followed by pictures. My mom was in town, so I didn’t run for the week so that I’d have more time to spend with her. (We had a blast by the way! I’m so glad she came!) Anyway, Monday night I used the baking soda and vinegar method. Tuesday morning I curled my hair and I didn’t do anything else until a deep conditioning treatment on Saturday night. Best hair week ever, seriously! Look at the pictures:

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Top picture (with my beautiful momma) was taken on day 35 (Tuesday). Middle picture was day 37 (3 days after washing it and sleeping on my curls every night). Bottom picture was day 38 (4 days after washing it and sleeping on my curls). 🙂

Can you see why I love it so much? I basically had to come to  the point though, where I needed to give up running if I was going to stick with ‘No-Poo’. And I think my transitioning period on ‘No-Poo’ (where I watched my hair go from greasy mess on non-wash days to the point where my scalp was used to the routine and my hair days were amazing) will allow me to have no problem with a natural shampoo. I tried a natural shampoo for awhile before, and it left my hair really oily. But now that I know what I know about silicones, waxes, sulfates, etc. in conventional shampoos that coat your hair with chemicals and strip it so much of natural oils that are necessary for healthy hair, it totally makes sense to me that I needed to go through a transition with that, too.

I hope you understand the reason behind why I’m choosing to go the ‘Low-Poo’ route for now, and I really hope this doesn’t discourage any of you from trying ‘No-Poo’! If your daily routine allows you to go that route, I think that would be awesome. And if you’ve been thinking all along that you’d love to try ‘No-Poo’ but weren’t sure if you could or not, go ‘Low-Poo’! Let’s have healthy, chemical-free hair! 🙂

P.S.-PLEASE visit Alex Raye’s blog almostexactlyblog.com if you still wanna go the ‘No-Poo’ route! She has lots of info about ‘Low-Poo’, too, and all kinds of other all-natural beauty routines!

Homemade Dry Shampoo for ‘No Poo’ Hair

Before I started ‘no poo’, I was actually washing with my shampoo bar every other day and using homemade dry shampoo on my non-wash days. The first time I tried it, I was so surprised that it actually worked for me, because I was one of those girls who, if I washed, say on Sunday night, by Monday night my hair already looked really oily. Now that I’ve started ‘no poo’, I’m still getting a lot of use out of it. 

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • For all you lovely ladies with dark hair, you can add unsweetened cocoa (amount will vary depending on how dark your hair is).

I store mine in a glass jar.

To use it, just rub a little amount in your hands and run your fingers through your hair/massage it in starting from your roots and working your way out. Flip your hair and do the same to the underside of your hair. Repeat in places that you get oily. But don’t forget to use a tiny amount! A little goes a long way! Leave it alone while you do your make-up or something else for a few minutes, then comb it through to get rid of the powdery look.

It totally soaks up the oil! I’ve had a few days where I put it in, still see oiliness, say, “Whatever, I’m just gonna look like a grease ball today, I guess.” but then…when I get to wherever I’m headed, I look in the mirror and it looks great! 🙂 (Usually, I can tell that it’s worked before I leave the house, so don’t worry.)

I use my dry shampoo on days when it’s not a baking soda and vinegar wash day but I could use a little “touch-up”. 

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I took this picture on day 7. Please ignore how tired I look and check out my hair. 🙂 I had only let my hair air dry the whole first week. No styling whatsoever, but look at how much volume! I never had this much volume before starting the ‘no poo’ method, no matter how hard I tried! 

Deep Conditioners for ‘No Poo’ Hair

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On the ‘No Poo’ method, you have to keep your hair moisturized. I’ve been trying to do a deep conditioning treatment once a week. I wanted to share a few that I’ve tried. I got them all from Almost Exactly Blog. (almostexactly.wordpress.com) Deep conditioning is a necessity for ‘no poo’ because the baking soda would be too drying on your hair if you didn’t moisturize regularly. These are to be done alone, no washing with anything after. 

1. Yogurt and Egg Yolk 

  • 1/2 cup organic PLAIN yogurt
  • 1 Egg Yolk 

Mix together in a bowl until combined. Put all over your hair-roots to tips (with your fingers…it’s messy!). Leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse out in the shower. 

2. Yogurt and Honey 

  • 1/2 cup organic PLAIN yogurt 
  • 2 Tablespoons RAW honey 

Combine in a blender. Put all over hair-roots to tips. Leave on 15-20 minutes and rinse out in the shower. 

3. Avocado and Egg Yolk 

  • 1/2 Avocado (DON’T use a whole avocado! I did that the first time and it was so thick it left my hair super greasy!) 
  • 1 Egg Yolk

Combine in a blender. Put all over hair and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse out in the shower.

4. Avocado, Banana, Honey and Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1/2 Avocado 
  • 1/2 Banana
  • 2 Tablespoons Raw Honey
  • 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • I also added 2 TBSP water to mine. 

Blend together in a blender until smooth (til there are no chunks). Put all over hair and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse out in the shower. 

I use my fingers to put the mixtures in my hair. And I stand over the sink for the 15-20 minutes so that if it drips it doesn’t get all over my floor. (Gives me an excuse to play on my phone for a little while!) I usually have a mess in the sink to wash out once I’ve finished applying it to my hair. 

Confession tIme! Deep conditioning day has been when I’m most tempted to give up ‘no poo’. I haven’t found one yet that I absolutely love. It feels awesome when I get it into my hair, and I can tell it’s really moisturizing, but this has always been my greasiest day. I’m still trying to get a good routine down. I was deep conditioning on Wednesdays, but then by church it looked very greasy. 😦 This week I deep conditioned as soon as I woke up this morning (Saturday). Based on what your week is like, you’ll have to figure out the best day to deep condition for you. (Hat day!) I’m still experimenting and trying new mixtures every week, so if I find one that I fall in love with (not leaving my hair greasy-looking) I’ll definitely let you know! I think the one I like the best out of what I’ve tried so far has been the egg yolk and yogurt. My hair has looked the least oily with that one, but the egg doesn’t smell pleasant, just for a heads up. 

After reading that last paragraph, you may be thinking, “Why is she doing this, then? And do I really want to try it?” Despite my greasy deep conditioning days, I’m lovin’ the way my hair looks on the rest of the week, so I’m finding it’s worth it. And it could be that I’m still so new to this that I’m not completely out of transitioning yet. And hey, if nothing else, it gives me an excuse to wear a cute hat once a week, right? 

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