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28 March 2010

Sundry post for Sunday

 Duane is down the hill today.  It is his last Search & Rescue training weekend.  I've debated with myself on going to church alone today.  Today is the day, Palm Sunday, that our Lutheran Church always has a celebration with a big potluck (traditional Easter food with ham, etc.) & baskets & egg hunt for the kids.  Yesterday all day i was saying, "Yeah, i'll go . . . no i won't.  I won't go . . . oh, i think i will."

But, i think i won't go.  Potlucks are problematic for me as far as food goes.  Also, i find it irritating that because there is so much food there, i end up bringing home 3/4s of what i brought.  I'm also in more pain this weekend & have the beginning of a headache.  I think i'll stay home.

Rebecca made pasta this week & Duane & i had manicotti!  That is the one thing i miss most about gluten-free.  It tasted good & stayed together so well.  Rebecca was so pleased - she'd never made homemade pasta before.  We were pleased, too.  I think it could have been rolled a little thinner, but otherwise was perfect.  She also rolled some in eggplant cut in thin slices (because i had an eggplant that needed to be used). 

She made the above cookie bars.  They are suppose to be a GF version of the Girl Scouts Samoa cookies (the name has changed, i don't remember what they are called now).  These i'm not so sure about.  She followed the recipe & didn't do anything wrong.  Over all they taste good.  I just find the cookie part a bit overwhelming to the rest of it.  

I've mentioned before that i've made a lot of changes in my diet, & in cleaning supplies & laundry detergents, & in personal care products in an effort to be more healthy.  Cleaning is done mostly with vinegar, baking soda, & sometimes Theives oil (for cleaning) by Young Living. I stopped using regular shampoos from the drug or grocery store & found my head didn't itch anymore by not having Sodium Laurel Sulfate (& variations of this) & parabens in my shampoos.  

I also stopped using commercial antiperspirants/deodorants.    These have aluminum in them.  Frankly, no one needs aluminum added to their bodies.  Of course, the claim is that applying something to your skin doesn't effect you because it isn't absorbed, but that is ridiculous.  If it is not absorbed, then medications applied by a patch on skin would do nothing.  Aluminum is not needed or desired in our bodies.  It is well known that biopsies on folks who have died from Alzheimer's disease have been found to have deposits of aluminum in their brains.  We don't know where this came from, if it causes Alzheimer's disease or is a byproduct of the disease.  There are too many questions.  However, i believe that wherever we can reduce exposure we should.  Pots & pans are often made from aluminum, antiperspirants contain it, & most importantly, vaccines often contain aluminum.  There are probably many other sources as well.

Anyway, i began a quest for alternatives to conventionally marketed deodorants/antiperspirants.  Dr. Mercola says he is fine with just soap & water, however i have not found that to be true for me.  I would imagine that his diet is much more pure & "perfect" than mine.  I do believe i'm less stinky since i've cleaned up my diet, but i know that i need something.  

It was about 3-1/2 years ago i first started out with the mineral sold at health food stores.  It comes in a solid rock, but it also comes in a liquid spray.  I've since learned that this contains natural aluminum salts, so i honestly wouldn't recommend it, but it turned out to be academic for me.  I broke out in a rash from it & it was awful.  I itched & itched & nothing seemed to help.  This was when i learned that i don't tolerate lavender oil on my skin, either.  I tried remedy after remedy (baking soda on broken skin is very painful).  

Eventually i landed on the idea of using diaper cream because i was so itchy/uncomfortable that nothing seemed to work.  Diaper cream is zinc based & zinc IS good for the body.  I tried a number of different creams before finding this one (Little Twig), which i like.  I used to use it with a little tea tree oil.  I tried tea tree oil alone & found it didn't work as well for odor, but the cream by itself works fine.  

Of course it is rather inconvenient.  It is applied with fingers & then they have to be washed & as it is a heavy cream it doesn't come off all that well.  Also, i had to be careful putting on my clothes with it because it can leave marks & stain.  

Last summer i read of someone who had made their own deodorant & put it in a deodorant container.  That had me intrigued because of the convenience.  Of course, there are down sides.  This person said that it had to be refrigerated!   I did an online search & found a number of different recipes.  So decided to try making my own last September.

I have an old Pyrex bowl that i use as a double boiler for when i make concoctions.  I used it to melt equal parts of the above pictured diaper cream, shea butter, coco butter, jojoba butter, coconut oil, & lanolin.  When this was all melted & blended i mixed in equal parts of baking soda & corn starch ( think about 2 TB each).  The first time i made it i also added a facial clay powder, but i've found it wasn't necessary; made it tend to cake more.

I poured it into an empty deodorant dispenser & let it cool.  I did not refrigerate it as this is Big Bear, it was already quite cool in our house.  It kept its solidity.  I like it very much.  It works well.  It also goes on lighter than the diaper cream & is more transparent.  If you wanted it completely transparent, leave out the zinc cream.  If you want it scented, you could add a couple of drops of essential oil, too. 

I made two of these & took one to Costa Mesa (Orange County) with us.  That was a mistake.  It is much warmer there.  The melting point of all these items is fairly low.  It didn't melt but it did become gel-like.  The bottom of this dispenser is not a cap but simply a grid that pushes up the solid deodorant.  With the mixture at a gel-like consistency, the grid pushed itself up thru the mixture & was not at all a success.  Refrigeration is necessary for this stuff in warmer climates.  So, when we are in OC, i have this mixture in an empty diaper cream container & simply apply with my fingers as i did before.  

The original dispenser i made lasted 5 months (& i still have lots in the jar in OC from that first try).  It is easy to use too much.   I've found that just a light coating on the skin is sufficient & doesn't cake that way.

Big Bear does get warm in the summer, so i expect that by mid-June i'm going to have to put this stuff in the fridge & use an alternative for the warm months.  (It is pretty cool again by mid-September.)  Applying with my fingers isn't too much of an issue, but i think i am going to try something else.  Antiperspirants also come in gels & those containers are different.  I think i will try & see if i can put this in a container made for a gel antiperspirant & see how that works for OC & summer Big Bear.  But i've not done it yet.  

Another issue i've had is with hand/body creams.  Frankly, i wouldn't touch anything from Bath & Bodyworks these days.  Duane & i both have problems with the heavy scents & they contain a myriad of chemicals i don't want.  The health food stores have plenty of alternatives.  You still have to check the labels, however, because many of the ones sold there still contain parabens, proplyene glycol, & other nasties.  I've tried creating my own (some including the above products for the deodorant) & have found them often to be too sticky or oily.  

Last winter, well before Christmas 2008, i found that my skin was dry & nothing i tried seemed to help.  My hands were very dry & they even began to crack around my nail beds.  In desperation i did an online search.  I honestly didn't find a lot - well, i found plenty, but none that seemed to work for me.  (Petroleum jelly, avocado, bag balm, Neutrogena, & many others were recommended.)  Then i ran across a home remedy site.  I can't give it to you, for i just went back to find that it is down.  At that site i came across a post of a lady who said she is diabetic & nothing had worked for her, not even Rx lotions prescribed by her doc.  She then came across an old recipe that said, 1 part vegetable glycerin & 4 parts distilled water.  She said this cured her dry skin when nothing else had.  

As i was planning to make this, i saw a bottle of aloe vera juice at the store & thought that it would be a good substitute for the distilled water.  So i made the moisturizer with the same parts of glycerin to liquid but used some distilled water & some aloe vera juice. (These days i don't bother with the distilled water.)

This aloe vera juice is made to drink (& vegetable glycerin is also something you can eat, it is a bit sweet).  I'll be honest, with these preservatives i wouldn't drink it.  I think it this tiny bit is ok on skin.  Or, you can buy aloe vera juice that has no preservatives. 

I pour the mixture in a spray bottle & spray it on because it is very liquid. I do have a bottle left over from the glycerin which i refilled with the mix & i keep in it my office.  I use it by just pouring it in my hand.  I use this all over, hands, face, feet & any other part of me that needs moisturizing.  Some folks love this, others don't care for it.  If you get too much glycerin it will be sticky.  I've added a couple of drops of Miessence orange oil for scent.  This does make the solution a bit cloudy instead of clear.  My sister mixes this with rose or orange water in place of some of the liquid because she wants it scented.  I also sometimes add grapefruit seed oil (which is also something you can eat) as a preservative, but so far i've not found it necessary.

I will tell you that while many women like this (it does make your skin feel silky), all three of the men i know who have tried it have complained that it is "sticky."  I believe this to be because most men don't use lotion or anything else, so they find all things like this to be sticky or oily.  

After i'd made this & shared it with the office manager, Lori, at work, she told me that the office used to have a patient in her 80s who would come in.  Lori said her skin was beautiful & her hands looked like she was in her 30s.  Lori asked her what she used & this lady had said, "Glycerin & water."  

I've not had a problem with dry skin since i began using this.  

Duane will be home soon.  He called saying that he passed his test & is coming.  

Since i was in the kitchen anyway, i took pics of my herbs i've sitting in there.  

Have a nice day.  :)



lisa said...

Herbs are always nice. I usually plant them outside in the summer and the aloe is always nice to have around. You take care of yourself.

Amrita said...

I don 't know about America, but here you can just take fresh fruit or dessert in a potluck and your own food to eat.
USA is an overflowing land, so things are different there.

I also have an aloe vera plant, bought it last month.Yours is nice.

We get the juice too but it expensive about $6 or 7 for a litre - I have never bought it.

Churches have Easter meals here, and after a 3 hour Good Friday service churches serve hot cross buns and Kool Aid. After Easter morning Dawn Service people have buns with boiled eggs and tea in church

Mrs. Mac said...

I LOVE the moisturizing spray you gave me! Have not used any lotion since Feb. and only use warm water and once in a while a little of my homemade oatmeal olive oil soap. I see you have lettuce growing along with your herbs ... good for you. Experiment away ...:)