Get your ‘Green’ on WITHOUT the toxins!

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I know it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon of all the fun green coloured treats on St. Patty’s Day. But did you know that food colouring can be quite toxic to your body, especially yellow colouring (which is often mixed with blue to make your lovely green hues)?

There have been studies done which demonstrate not only carcinogenic and disruption of certain natural functions in animals, but ADHD like tendencies in children exposed to drinks containing food colouring. (Please do some basic research on the topic if you have the time, it’s best not to blindly trust my blogger opinion). So, if you are overloading on these colourants on holidays like today, you could be dealing with toxic bods and some hyperactive kids to boot. Doesn’t sound very celebratory to me!

Never fear, though, as always, I have some alternatives for you!

Today, for breakfast, we made “green eggs” (minus the ham) simply by adding some pureed kale to our scramble. You can add pureed kale to a lot of dishes (including just a bowl of yogurt) to green it up! It really doesn’t add a lot of flavour (or texture, if you puree it fine enough) and you are adding lots of great vitamins and minerals instead of yucky toxins. Spinach also works, but I find kale to be slightly superior if you have the option! If you want a burst of flavour, add some pesto!

Apparently matcha (a kind of green tea) can also be sprinkled into icings and sauces to add a green hue without much flavour. You can buy a box of the tea bags, and just rip one open when you need it – or make the tea and use the water (although you might get a little more of a yellowish hue this way).

If you are making a milkshake or a dip, you can also add avocado for a mild flavour and a decent colour burst. Make sure you add some lemon juice as well so your avocado doesn’t brown as fast! Or just serve up some fresh guacamole as a dish on its own 🙂

If you want to keep it even more simple, just serve some foods that are naturally green, such as those listed above, or: cucumber, celery, green salads, zucchini, grapes (pleeeeeease make sure these are organic), green apples, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and seaweed. Serve up some minty cocktails if you are wanting an alcoholic drink (mojitos, anyone)? The leaves are so vibrantly green you shouldn’t need a colorant to add more!

So we’re keeping it safe by lowering our toxins (green should really be a healthful food option, should it not?). BUT, please also remember to keep it safe this St. Patty’s Day by NOT drinking and driving – find a safe way home by deciding on a designated driver, taking transit, calling a cab, or a volunteer designated driver service. Plan ahead so you aren’t stuck with a difficult decision!

Dr. Oz’s DIY Baking Soda Toothpaste Faux Pas!

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Okay, so I was watching Dr. Oz today as it was mentioned to me he was doing a special on uses for baking soda. Expecting to give him a nod after seeing some repeats of some of my favourite tricks, I instead was horrified to see what his colleague demonstrated as a whitening toothpaste.

What Dr. Oz had concocted is absolutely NOT something I would EVER recommend brushing your teeth with. Baking soda on teeth? YES. Kudos for getting this far. BUT – and here is where my warnings about utilizing acids and bases properly when mixing household and body products come in – baking soda + pureed strawberries + lemon juice for your teeth? WHAT? NO!

Let me tell you why.

First of all, what is happening here is you are scrubbing your teeth with lemon juice, which is an acid, known for stripping the enamel from your teeth.. Insert annoying game show buzzer here. Hello, cavity time! And then, as is absolutely NOT recommended, you are applying an abrasive substance (baking soda) immediately upon weakening the enamel, further stripping your teeth. You should never brush your teeth with ANY toothpaste immediately after weakening the enamel. AND you are adding some sugar in the form of the strawberries, to sit on your teeth and rot. Will your teeth get whiter? Probably, baking soda does a great job at that. Will you get cavities? I’m gonna say yuuuuppp.

At the very best, the acid of the lemon juice is combining with the base of the baking soda, causing a chemical reaction and creating a completely inert substance with none of the cleansing and antibacterial qualities of baking soda (which is really the only ingredient of the three you should be applying to your teeth). I was completely baffled by this recipe being propogated by someone who should know better.

Do you know what I have for you instead of this DIY disaster? My own brilliant whitening toothpaste recipe, which utilizes baking soda (a natural whitener, cleanser and antibacterial agent) and coconut oil as the active cleansing and protective ingredients (coconut oil has been shown to have some amazing protective benefits for teeth). I already posted it a while back for you here, but I will make it easy on you and include it below as well:

NATURAL, FLUORIDE FREE, WHITENING TOOTHPASTE:

4 parts baking soda
2 parts extra virgin coconut oil
1 part vegetable glycerin*
A few drops (to taste – depending on quantity – unfortunately you may have to experiment) peppermint essential oil. I find about 3-4 drops per 1/4 cup of paste does the trick.

*Please make sure this is vegetable glycerin, and food grade if possible. Other forms of glycerin are largely made with petroleum. You don’t want that in your mouth any more than you want fluoride in there, IMHO.

Mix mix mix! It helps to add the coconut oil, peppermint and glycerin first, and then mix in the baking soda part by part. If it is too thick, add more glycerin or oil. Too runny? More baking soda! Mix until you get your desired consistency if the ratio doesn’t turn out right. I find it varies a bit based on quantity. The exact ratio doesn’t change the effectiveness very much (unless you are widely changing it).

If your coconut oil is too hard to mix as is, heat it a bit in a double boiler first – but don’t allow it to melt completely, or your toothpaste will separate too much after mixing.

Try your toothpaste out! I just scoop it directly out of a small mason jar with my toothbrush (wetted a bit). Use generously, and expect some drool ;). Seriously. It makes me drool a bit. Saltiness, maybe? Anyway. Moving on….

So please, don’t believe everything you see on TV.. This recipe of Dr. Oz’s may have had some devastating effects on your teeth. Do some research (and feel free to research my ingredients as well) before you try any personal care products!

Greening your Home: Reduce Waste!

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Due to some recent health complications, and some time constraints due to moving, I have unfortunately had to bow out of the Queen of Green’s springtime volunteer green coaching project. I am super bummed to not be able to contribute to the level that I wanted to, but I thought I would blog on my personal journey with waste reduction this week, to complement the module the current green coaches are taking their families through.

Let’s take a journey through my ideas for waste reduction in the home, as well as some of my future aspirations!

Ways I currently reduce waste in my home:

Ahem….this first one is obvious: I DIY my household cleaning and body products, reducing and eliminating a LOT of plastic waste.
I do not use paper towel or other disposable cleaning products. I use washcloths, towels, and a microfiber mop.
I used cloth diapers for my son.
I use washable menstrual pads.
I use cloth napkins at the dinner table.
I bring my own cloth bags to the store, and I do not put my produce in plastic bags. I have reusable plastic bags at home that I store my produce in. I have had the same bags for many, many years now. If I don’t remember to bring my own bags to the store, I ask for paper bags, fill them right up, and use them to line my under the sink compost container.
I use compostable bags for any of the garbage I DO put out to the curb. Yes, I buy them. No, they aren’t cheap. But I do it!
I try when I can remember to bring my own containers for leftovers to restaurants.
I do not use plastic wrap, and I wash my plastic bags when I do use them. You can wash plastic bags hundreds of times over if you are careful! I store most food in reusable containers.
I do not buy bottled water, instead I have a wonderful countertop filtration system from Aquasmart which I LOVE. Only problem with this is the disposal of the filters after they are done. I could work on this….
When I can find what I need, I buy clothing and household items secondhand. I am a huge fan of thrift stores and craigslist!
I buy clothing only when I need it. Read: a current item is breaking apart and un-mendable, or I have changed size drastically. I do not shop for fashion, unless I REALLY have to attend a fancy dress event (most of my wardrobe is casual and practical). I try to buy mostly cotton or other natural fibers.
I donate used household / baby items and clothing or sell them on craigslist.
I tell others about my aversion to plastic and buying everything new to discourage them from buying me anything in that vein!
I carefully consider the packaging whenever I am shopping for a new item, or when buying groceries. Anita’s Organic packages most of their products in paper. I love their flours, grains and popcorn!
I buy durable, quality items, instead of cheaping out. I make sure I am buying something that will last, and at the very least is made out of biodegradable, sustainable materials when possible. No use sending something for recycling or to the trash sooner than it needs to go.
I do not rush out to buy the latest electronic gadget. I use my cell phones, cameras, and the like until they are DONE (ie. broken, or unusable due to software requirements). I was the longest of any of my friends to convert to a touchscreen phone, and I only did so when mine was garbage. This was after several large mishaps that I managed to salvage it from.
I recycle as much as possible from the items I do buy with packaging. I wash ALL of my food containers and recycle them, no matter how nasty the contents. No trashing just because I don’t feel like dealing with spoiled food. I seek out options for recycling items my curbside collection won’t take.
I have had to momentarily stop personally composting, but for the time being am adding 100% of my food waste to my municipal yard waste bin. Find out if your city will take your food scraps! Most are on board with this now.
I grow many of my own vegetables seasonally, reducing the packaging required to ship / deliver them to the store.
I bake a lot of take along snacks, to reduce the need to grab for a wrapped granola bar or the like.
I do not giftwrap, and choose to buy green gifts when I can. If I absolutely need to wrap something, I will use one of my coveted gift bags that I have collected from gifts from others, or I will drape some sort of cloth or blanket over it that I take home with me afterwards. This works great for kids.
Some of you may groan at the next one, but I maintain the belief that it’s okay to let it mellow if it’s yellow, and flush it down when it’s brown. Why do I need to flush away every pee? Especially my hubby’s or son’s that don’t even accompany any TP? I really think that folks should get on board with this, to save a TON of water.

Finally, when shopping, I consider “Do I really need this?” when making decisions, and try to curb the desire to buy for the sake of a deal, promotion, or novelty. I think about whether I can use something at home in a similar way, borrow something from a friend or family member, or just do away with the idea altogether.

The list likely could go on, but let’s call it a day there! Hopefully some of my habits have given you a few suggestions!

Some of the things I would like to improve upon:

I want to replace tissue with reusable hankies. I have been lazy in getting around to sewing up some hankies in appropriate, nose friendly fabric.
There are a select few things I cook wrapped in aluminum foil. I just have not found a way around it that I have found an acceptable alternative, especially for barbecuing! Still researching this! Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I would like to start cooking some meals in bulk to allow for quick, nutritious lunches on the go, to replace some of the canned soups and packaged burritos my son eats. Granted, it is very hard to switch him onto new foods, which has made this process doubly hard to be motivated for. Think: I just spent 8 hours cooking and my son won’t eat it, and I now have ten jars of it in the freezer. I generally cook slow, nutritious whole foods meals most of the time, but occasionally I need something quick. This is a tough one!
I need to find a better source for bulk foods in my area, that is affordable, and offers organics. I find it challenging to find a local source for certain bulk organic foods.
Oh, those yogurt containers! These make up a large portion of our plastic recycling. I have not found a bulk organic source, and I do not find it affordable to make organic yogurt from scratch. Hmmm….any suggestions?

How have you been successful or challenged in your waste reduction goals in your household? I would love to hear your stories!

Stop buying me plastic junk!

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So today, after going through much of my house in preparation for a move, I really felt motivated to write a thought piece. A thought piece on all the junk I’ve been finding in my house, and my plan to avoid more of it in the future!

Let’s start with a list of all the utter junk and garbage I have been finding in my house:

1). Half used, expired, and unusable personal care products (largely leftover from my pre-DIY days).
2). Expired and half used medications.
3). Broken, random plastic items like toys & parts from toys, parts, lids, thingamajiggers that belong to nothing, that “I wonder what this is from?” kind of junk. The kind of stuff you keep for three years, throw out, and then discover what it belongs to three days later.
4). Tupperware containers without lids, and lids without containers. Poor lonely storage items without their romantic partner.
5). Random computer parts, accessories, and old broken cell phones.

The list DOES, unfortunately, go on. However, I am going to stop there, as I think you can get a sense of the kind of stuff I mean. The kind of stuff that really mostly cannot be recycled, up-cycled, or anything. Just garbage. Yes, a few of the containers from personal care products can be recycled, but things like lotion and toothpaste tubes, lip balm dispensers, and all of those lovely impossible to clean, random plastic items are just going to the LANDFILL. And that bothers me, a LOT.

What also bothers me a lot is that I have not been in control of how a lot of these items have entered my home. You know what a lot of people like to give as gifts? Bath and body products! I have never really figured this out. Most people have very personal tastes in these kinds of things to begin with, not to mention skin sensitivity issues, etc. But people seem to love to dish these things out come gifty time. And you smile and nod and say “Ooooh and ahhh, this smells yummy, yada yada…..” But I then am left thinking, great, another lotion to stick in my cupboard. And plastic packaging to eventually hit the landfill. (Ironically, I did give some of my homemade products to family members this year, but all in glass containers, and not wrapped, and with a “love it or lose it, at least you got a nice mason jar” kind of attitude).

Not to mention when you have a toddler, and people then find it entertaining to give your kid crappy little dollar store toys that break in a week, overpackaged big, silly electronic items that flash and are super annoying (and then eventually hit the landfill), and horrible books involving Elmo and other television characters that I have to then sit and read over, and over, and OVER to my very enthusiastic young son.

If you have noticed a pattern here, it’s that I am really, really tired of bringing stuff into my house that I don’t really care for or even use, and then have to shoulder the burden of eventually throwing it in the trash or try ridiculously hard to find an obscure recycling centre for it when it eventually breaks down.

What I am really trying to say is: STOP BUYING ME PLASTIC JUNK!

In fact, please do not buy me anything at ALL with any kind of plastic or non-recyclable material in it unless I have specifically expressed a personal interest in owning it, to you. Directly. I try very very hard to minimize my use of plastic in my house, but it makes its way in there anyway, and then I feel guilty for trashing it.

This is why I make my own personal care and home cleaning products. (Among other reasons, of course). This is why I buy wooden OR second hand toys for my kid. I buy food products in glass or paper packaging if at all possible, and I bring my own bags to the store. I research the products I bring into my home very carefully, considering all sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives before purchasing something. I cloth diapered my child. I use cloth menstrual pads. I compost all of my food waste and use biodegradable garbage bags for any waste that does make it to the trash bin. If I take a drive, I make sure to get everything done in that location all at once, to minimize my footprint. I use a regular vacuum, a regular broom, and regular cloths to clean up messes. No swiffers or paper towels here.

All of this takes some additional effort, and I would hope that people who know me would understand this, but it sometimes doesn’t seem to be the case. I find that many people just don’t think about things like this to this level of scrutiny. I don’t mean to be rude, I don’t mean to be unappreciative, (really, really I don’t) but I really need to stop this influx of plastic into my house, because I am drowning in it. So it is my plea to everyone to please help me with my goal of plastic reduction – this is the biggest gift to me you can give.

Some ideas for gifts to give to us plastic free folks who may challenge your gift giving creativity once in a while:

1). Experiences – Buy us a membership at a place we regularly visit. Movie tickets and a babysitting offer for a night out. A night at the symphony. Something we would probably love to do, but likely wouldn’t buy ourselves, or would appreciate not having to budget for.
2). Bake or cook for me – I would love some of your home baking or cooking! One less meal I have to cook is a big blessing.
3). Buy me a plant for my garden – Please make it one that is easy to care for, and buy it in a compostable or biodegradable pot.
4). Buy me a gift certificate to my favourite Natural foods store, book store, or soap making store. And iTunes. Good ol’ iTunes bucks, we loves us some good new tunes to drown out the children’s songs constantly twirling our brains. Oh, and can you see if they sell gift certificates in paper or electronic format? I don’t know why they started making all gift certificates look like debit cards, but it is extremely unfortunate for our planet.
5). Offer to watch my kid for a bit – Mommy and Daddy don’t get much alone time that doesn’t involve household chores or being too exhausted to do anything at all. We would love for our kid to spend time with you so we can rest our weary minds and return to parenting with our creativity and patience topped up!

Oh, and if you buy me flowers, PLEASE do not bring them to me wrapped in three layers of plastic! Egads! It breaks my heart to have these wonderful, natural, fragrant lovelies brought in my house, only to be shrouded in something that is destroying the good earth they were grown in.

Want to buy something for my kid?

1). Buy him a class or an experience – Yeah, I know it’s more fun for YOU when you give him something flashy that he oogles at immediately after you give it to him. But in all likelihood, he will get more enjoyment (and intellectual benefit) from participating in an activity or event that he enjoys. And we won’t have to factor it into our budget!
2). Buy him wooden, educational toys – Okay, so you want him to have something physical. First of all, you might want to check with me about what he is into lately, as his interests do vary from time to time. Then find him something made sustainably and out of natural materials. Healthier for him, too!
3). Buy him a quality book – By quality, I am hoping it doesn’t involve a cheap storyline with hashed out TV characters. I really don’t want to hear what Elmo has to say for the 100th time.
3). If it’s gotta be plastic, and I have ASKED YOU for it (remember, I have to have asked you for it if it involves plastic) buy it on craigslist – Please, if I have asked for something that involves plastic, can you try your best to find it second hand for me, and then brag to me about the wicked deal you got? I would love that, and my kid can’t tell the difference between new and used toys anyway.

Oh, and please, no more tea. My tea cupboard is ridiculous. Yes, I have a tea cupboard. An entire shelf devoted to tea. I could open my own tea shop here.

Hopefully, if you feel the same way, you can share this article with your friends and family. I am saying it for you, so maybe they won’t take it as hard 😉

Get those leafy greens!

We all know dark leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, collards, and the like are super good for you. Packed with vitamins and minerals (although it varies with soil quality and method of farming – choose organic), they should be a staple in your diet, right?

Not necessarily! A lot of us do not find them very palatable, especially our little ones! And like any vegetable, sometimes the preparation time gets us down. So today I’ve prepared some quick tips for you to save yourself some time, and sneak those greens into unsuspecting places!

TRICK ONE: STEAM ON TOP OF CARBS
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If you are steaming your leafy greens, it’s known that a bit of nutrients are lost in the water. This is not to say you shouldn’t steam them, a lot of leafy green vegetables contain “anti nutrients”, or compounds that interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients, especially when raw. Cooking them reduces these in most cases. After LIGHT cooking (your veggies should still be green when you have done cooking them – they shouldn’t be that yucky brown green tinge), the great vitamins and minerals in these green veggies will be more available to you.

But some of the nutrients may also have been lost in the water! My solution for this? Cook your greens on top of your pot of pasta, rice, noodles, quinoa, or the like – the carbs will suck in the lost nutrients as they absorb the reservoir water.

TRICK 2: PUREE & SAVE
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As I don’t find a limp steamed leaf of kale or chard very appetizing (and neither does my two year old), I usually do something else with it after I’ve steamed it. I will steam a whole head of whichever green (sometimes a few), and then puree and freeze serving size portions. When I want to add them to something, I take a serving out of the freezer and thaw in the sink in warm water (I would advise you against microwaving for many reasons, but primarily because you will then cook your already precooked greens further and remove more nutrients).

Some examples of how I use my pureed greens are:
1) In pasta sauces / curries
2) Mixed with beans in a burrito
3) As a spread on a sandwich
5) Mixed in with guacamole or salsa
6) Mixed in with apple sauce for a snack (my son gobbles down his “green apple sauce” like a champ).

In this form, the greens really don’t contribute a ton of flavour to whatever you are adding them to, so they can be nicely disguised!

TRICK 3: FREEZE A HEAD OF KALE

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The third trick I have for your leafy greens is simply to freeze an entire (washed & prepped) raw head of kale in a bag with something to absorb the moisture like a cloth. You can then later rip off a handful and crumble in into whatever you are cooking – this is a great option if you want some uncooked kale to add to your dish but you don’t have the time to chop or shred it up. I haven’t tried this with other leafy greens, but I’ve been told kale is this best for this.

Next up: My recipe for kale chips: my personal favorite recipe for greens! Forthcoming in the next few days 🙂

Cleaning with Toddlers & Small Children

After finding a nifty list of suggested chores for kids, I figured I could blog some thoughts I have about cleaning with kids. I have a two year old who loves to copy Mommy, which sometimes works as an advantage OR a disadvantage when cleaning your house – depending on how much time you have to be patient while they explore the task, or whether you just need to get it done in a hurry!

If you involve your child with cleaning behaviour from a very early age, they will be more likely to internalize the values associated with having your living space clean, and chances are they will be more likely to independently engage in the same behaviour when they are older. The earlier they can be come involved with taking care of their living environment, the better – IMHO!

If you clean your house with toxic and poisonous chemicals, you likely will be keeping toddlers and small children out of your cleaning routine. Nobody wants their kids breathing in / mouthing these kinds of cleaners. BUT if you start making your own safe cleaning products, you will feel more comfortable involving your kids in these activities. Got a kid who likes to use a spray bottle? Your all purpose vinegar spray cleaner is perfectly safe for them to use, and fairly gentle on the skin. Have them spray the mirror or floors for you and help you wipe it!

One thing my two year old loves to copy is sweeping the floors – so much so that we bought him his own mini broom to help sweep. He is now at the age that he even targets pieces of dirt – usually just flings them around to another part of the kitchen, but it’s pretty cute to watch 🙂

Kids usually love doing the laundry, too – you can have them add the laundry soap, turn the dials, press the buttons, and transfer the clothes from one machine to another. Folding laundry can be fun – start them with washcloths and hand towels! Finding the matches for socks can be a thrilling exploit for a two year old ;). My LO also loves taking the clothes to the proper bedrooms and putting them in the drawers. Especially the underwear, for some reason!

If you have a LO who loves to copy, but you can’t have them involved in the task either for efficiency’s sake or safety – try and have them either pretend with some imaginary / distracting objects, or give them an empty bottle to “spray” or “pour” with. If you are using a bucket, give them their own empty bucket to carry around. Be creative – it will work to your advantage later if you have tried to have them involved in the task in their own capacity rather than dissuading their participation!

If your munchkin has not taken an interest in cleaning and tidying, sometimes singing a song or making the activity into a game can be helpful. My LO loves counting, or singing the ABC’s – this has been a great strategy when completing a task involving steps. “Score a goal” with dirty socks or when putting toys in bins. Sticker charts can be a great initial motivator, too.

I thought I would make up my own list of the hierarchy of easier to more difficult “cleaning” tasks, and out them in categories, rather than lump them into age ranges – every little cutie develops at their own rate and has varying levels of interest in household activities. This way you can pick and choose from the list by category of interest! Check it out:

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CAUTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS:. I wouldn’t have a toddler shaking around the powdered scouring cleaner, as breathing in the dust from it is not super great for you – but it is certainly FAR safer than any other scouring cleaners you would purchase commercially! Your school aged kids should certainly be able to use this cleaner with supervision. If you involve your small children in mixing some of your cleaners, watch out for recipes with a lot of powdered dust floating around – have them wear a scarf over their face if they are joining in.

Yo, “No ‘poo” haters – Ummm, actually I DO wash my hair.

Hey, lovely readers! I have just been so flabbergasted at the recent media uproar about No ‘poo users that I really felt I had to chip in my own 2 cents on the issue. As you may know, I posted on my own use of No ‘poo a while back HERE. So rather than explain how it works again, I am just going to have a mini rant, if that is okay with you. Okay? Okay.

One of the most common erroneous perceptions that I see floating around, is that no ‘poo users don’t wash their hair. Ummm, what? I can’t really understand how this misconception came about. We are not telling people not to shower, we are just using a DIFFERENT METHOD for cleaning our hair. Our hair is still getting clean, we just clean it a different way – a way that doesn’t involve harsh chemicals, fragrances, and toxic ingredients. And did I mention it’s cheap, too? And that it doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils, so that you don’t have to use other products to then make your hair soft and silky again after washing it? It stays soft and silky on its own, thanks – no conditioner for me!

And does anyone’s hair actually feel great with all of the product in it that you need after regular shampoo use? I know when I used to use hair spray, mousse, gel, wax and the like, my hair felt like crap. Crap. And it looked like crap, too. With no ‘poo, you are cleaning your hair GENTLY without the use of harsh surfactants and toxic fragrances. I don’t need suds to clean my hair. I don’t need suds to clean my dishes, either – and they are spotless and germ free.

Okay, so my hair might not smell like Mountain Mist or Athena’s Armpit or whatever after I am finished, you’ve got me there. It just smells like, well, hair. Just like my clothes (washed in natural detergent) smell like, ummmmm……clothes. Why do we need to be dancing in roses and splashing ourselves with rainbow dust every day? I don’t need to smell like the perfume department at The Bay to be clean. Sometimes clean is just the absence of stank, not the addition of perfume.

Have an issue with that? Fine. I also have an issue with your fragrance overload. Myself and my son find ourselves sneezing and coughing when we walk by some beauty queen doused in Chanel. Or some dude who sprayed on the Axe a little too heavy that morning. Yikes. I find that repulsive.

Let’s all congratulate those who are choosing to live toxin free, and not stretch the facts. And if even you choose to just wash your hair using only nature’s cleaner, water, that’s perfectly fine too! I find plain ol’ water to be pretty darn effective at cleaning my hair if my no ‘poo bottles are empty. Because we choose a different method for washing, doesn’t mean we aren’t washing, or are unclean. Shampoo isn’t the only way to clean your hair! If you like it, great. But keep your nose out of my business, literally. If you need artificial fragrance to tell you something is clean, maybe your nose needs a check-up!