day seven: water

divide your weight in half and that's how many ounces a day you need to be drinking of pure water.  not coffee, not tea, not crystal light.  i know it's hard, but it comes down to this: the days that i get my water in, i feel great.  the days that i don't, i'm sluggish. 

sound simple?
the best things usually are.


day six: food

i approach this day with a little hesitation, because i feel that too much importance has been placed on food in the lives and minds of women today. our culture has told us that there is only one kind of beauty, but it is a LIE.  God made every single woman on earth to be uniquely beautiful and His design is perfect.  food has become something to fantasize about, over-indulge in, and despise.  this guilt cycle has to be broken! 

when i am out or at a party or special occasion, i don't say "i can't eat that" and i have no guilt when i actually do because i know that in my DAY TO DAY life i am eating what i feel comfortable with.  it doesn't have to be a public show.  i won't label myself because food doesn't control me, i control it, but i do believe in eating whole foods and three healthy meals a day.  we have strayed from the way that God intended us for to be eating, and he certainly never meant food to be such a source of agony for so many people.  if a food label has a paragraph of ingredients that i can't pronounce, i don't buy it.  i also don't like "lo-fat" or "fat-free"-they have also been chemically altered.   

i decided to make these small changes last fall: 

1. i sweeten my coffee with stevia.
2. i switched to whole wheat and multi-grain on everything.
3. i don't serve a starch at dinner (unless we have company). 
i replace it with another vegetable side. 
4.  we don't eat out as much (as a bonus, we've saved a lot of money).

they've made all the difference.  i did not start this to lose weight, but to be healthy for my family, but i have gone down one dress size, much to the dismay of my mother.  i don't spend the money on organic (even though i do love organic yogurt and cereal), and i shop at sprouts, kroger and my wonderful local farmer's market.  i've made friends with the owners!  i cook with chicken, fish and lean red meat, and make dessert almost every day-of course they are mostly made with fruit!  we love homemade pizza and burgers and my meals have actually become more simple and easier to prepare which has been nice. there are so many amazing recipes online and i will continue to post some on this blog.  i have supportive family that enjoys my cooking and is willing to try new things.  if you are unhappy with how you feel, don't try to do an "all or nothing" change- just do little things throughout your day.  reach for food that has one, two ingredients at the most, that God created for us to enjoy, and as a new friend reminded me the other day, it's all about moderation.  


day five: the misses

deodorant:  well, i tricked you.  what i have been making all year is technically an "antiperspirant" and the original recipe i tried was found here. i made the solid and it worked so well!  it even got me through the hot texas summer.  what i loved the most about it was the fact that it didn't stain or rub off onto my mostly all black wardrobe.  the problem was that it gave me a slight rash.  i tweaked it and even tried other recipes, but my skin stayed slightly irritated.  i've gone back to crystal roll-on, which is made of mineral salts and can be found anywhere (usually on the bottom shelf).  it doesn't stain my clothes either!

the oil cleansing method:  i wanted this to work and didn't give up on it until quite recently.  i suffer from dry skin and last fall when i started doing this my skin became so supple.  it works in theory (oil dissolves oil).  i got all of my original information here and even thought i didn't have breakouts and my skin was soft, i didn't like the way my pores felt.  the day i switched back to my trusted aveeno, they opened up in thankfulness.

skin moisturizer:   this page really got me thinking.  if it's THAT good, why don't we just bathe in it?  well, i didn't to that, but i did try to use coconut oil as my body and face moisturizer.  it feels (and looks) amazing on the skin, but i found that it transferred to my hair somehow, leaving it greasy and limp, even when i just used it on my body.  

hair care:  homemade shampoo was the most massive fail of all.  i'm not going to even post the link.  i moved on to organic shampoos and tried several before i realized that as terrible as "sodium laurel sulfate" is supposed to be, my hair needs it to have some sort of shine and body.   i'm sticking with my suave professionals. 


day four: cleaning supplies

actually, you don't have to, because i don't hate to clean anymore! my favourite thing about this entire experiment has been my discovery of non-toxic cleaning. i collected "recipes" and tried almost everything and found them to be just as effective, if not more so, than store bought. i know what i'm using is safe for everyone and i have no idea how much money i've saved. i bought my containers at the dollar store and walmart and everything is very simple to make. my main ingredients are vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, lemon juice, borax, castile soap and of course, my essential oils. (excellent descriptions here).  try a few!

day three: green smoothies

i have been drinking a smoothie *almost* every day for the past year and i started with this one.  i wanted to save some fruit for snacks so my smoothie has morphed into a green concoction...that i absolutely crave if i miss!  i love blending whole foods because every nutrient is released, and it makes it easier for the body to absorb the vitamins and minerals.  i make it differently every day, but only add 1 or 2 servings of fruit to keep it "green".  this is what i had this morning:

3 leaves romaine
2 large handfuls baby spinach
1/2 cucumber
1 cup water.
one banana
1 small orange
2 TBL. ground flax seed
1 packet stevia
 blend the vegetables and water then add fruit and blend again.

these also work well:  red leaf, green leaf, avocados, celery and any fruit (fresh or frozen).  what doesn't work (in my humble opinion) are arugula, kale and swiss chard  (vile weeds).  if you use fresh fruit, add ice.  i will say that blueberries are the absolute best fruit to cover the taste of the vegetables if you are trying to get little ones (or husbands) to drink this.  


day two: scrubs

i have always hated wasting money on jars of scrubs to find out that the chemicals (i guess) irritated my sensitive skin, but i really like exfoliation.  so, after many experiments, here are my favourite three.  they cost pennies to make and i can make them in under a minute with ingredients that i always have on hand.

face scrub: 1 part olive oil to 1 part sugar.  i do this about once a week.  i can skip the moisturizer afterwards too.  it's important to use pure extra-virgin oil.

microdermabrasion: 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.  make a paste, apply to clean skin in small circles and rinse well.  these kits are SO expensive and having it done professionally is even more.  i find this to be just as effective and do it about once a month.

body scrub:  i made up my own recipe on this one.  i found olive oil to be too heavily scented to use all over my body.  i also tried salt scrub, but i tend to cut myself and rubbing salt on my skin just didn't seem like a great idea.  you don't have to, but i've enjoyed experimenting with my essential oils in this scrub.  the scent lingers on the skin.  do NOT use fragrance oils.  they are not the same.  they are synthetic and highly irritating to the skin (or at least mine) and mostly used for candle making.


the simple life: day one

it's been exactly one year since i began my personal challenge of living as naturally as possible.  (i haven't worn deodorant in 12 months...more on that to come.)  i had been saving bookmarked ideas and recipes for years, but i decided to make the jump last fall and i'm not really sure what took me so long.  i guess i'd never thought of myself as one of those on the fringe, "granola" if you will.  i surely did not want to become obsessed with any one thing.  i was at an age that seemed like a "halfway point" of sorts and found myself with less energy than i needed to take care of two little ones.  i just wanted to be resourceful and know that i was my best self. 

so, for the next week, i'll be sharing a few tips...and a few misses.  i'll preface this week by saying that i do not take myself too seriously in this newest walk.  we are fortunate to even have breath and i'm just grateful to have stewardship over this body and home that i've been given. 


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