Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I stopped washing my hair...

For the past 29 days I have been working on my second favourite thing in the world, which is being green.

I have been buying supplies to make my own products, buying lots of glass jars to store everything in (I had weevils in my pantry!), making my own products, giving my non-green & non-vegan products away to my family and stopped using shampoo and conditioner!

I know! Gasp, shock, horror! No shampoo and conditioner, I must be some crazy dirty hippy. (Well actually yes, but..) I have joined the "No-Poo" Club! I now "shampoo" my hair with bi-carbonate soda and water and "condition" with ACV and water. This teaches your hair to regulate it's own oil and you basically end up with lovely healthy locks. Only problem is, I already have hair that regulates oil by itself!
Confession time. I only used to wash my hair (with shampoo and conditioner) around once a fortnight. I already trained my hair to cleanse itself.
So as someone who is new to the "No-Poo" club, (but has been free of washing my hair more than twice a week for a few years now) I can tell you it's awesome!

Firstly, because I don't have to damage my hair as much, I can straighten it and it lasts for days and days (Unless I suddenly get caught in a storm, of course.)

Secondly, now with my life free from expensive (and destructive) chemicals that I previously used, I not only feel like my hair is healthier, but I feel like the water would be of a much high quality and if only I wasn't renting so it could all be stored and used as grey water.

Thirdly, I have no stupid plastic bottles to deal with anymore, (ahem, besides the ones of conditioner that Isaac, the curly haired beauty, buys for his daily conditioning - I am trying to convert him!) meaning I contribute less to everything I hate about plastic.

The fourth for loving the "No-Poo" trend. IT'S VEGAN! You don't have to squint at any stupid labels, check any cruelty-free lists or go on a hunt like Alice in Wonderland looking for the against animal testing bunny.

The fifth and final reason for loving not washing my hair is the fact that the cheapest Vegan Shampoo and Conditioner from Coles, (Natures Organics) are both 41c per 100ml. Where as a 1kg box of Bicarbonate Soda costs 37c per 100g and 2 litres of Apple Cider Vinegar costs 28c per 100ml, as you mix them 1:1 with water, that is 18c per 100ml and 14c per 100ml!
82c per 100ml of shampoo and 100ml of conditioner. 32ml per 100ml of bicarb and water and ACV and water, that means you are saving 50c per 200ml.
If you use 50ml of shampoo and 50ml of conditioner every second day for a year, that means you spend $91.25 more than you could be. And hey, that is the cheapest vegan products you can buy! My poor curly haired babe goes through 2 litres of conditioner a month, and he doesn't like the super cheap stuff either - I don't wanna do that math because I pay for half.

So there we go, healthier hair, healthier grey water for healthier plants (which means less money spent on water bills!), less plastic going to landfill because it's "non-recyclable", vegan and ridiculously cheap!

I have my bicarb mixture (1:1 with water) in a squeezy hair dye bottle, much like a sauce bottle (may as well recycle it for yourself hey?) I brewed up some rosemary in water and used that to give it a nice smell, however you can use plain water or brew up your favourite flavour of tea! (Chai "no-poo" anyone?). Then I have my ACV and water (again 1:1) in a spray bottle for easy coating of my luscious locks.

Just jump in the shower, shake your bicarb mixture (everytime you use it!) and squirt a bit over your scalp and massage in for a few moments and let the water wash it down the length of your hair as you continue massaging. Then once free of bicarb, spray all of your hair with the ACV mixture and let it sit for as long as you are in the shower, rinse it out and bam! Beautiful, natural, cheap, vegan hair!

I like to smooth a little jojoba oil on to the (bleach damaged - damn you dip dying trend) ends of my hair and comb it before it dries. Et voilá!

*Word of caution, as your hair adjusts to this chemical-free version of washing it may freak out on you, just like my body did on me when I went vegan. There will be oil, it will be ugly, but once you are free of the horrible burden of chemical dependancy, you will be thankful! Go read some Burroughs to inspire you to get rid of your addiction to junk (shampoo). I recommended washing with the mixtures as often as you wash your hair to begin with, then gradually space it out. This should keep you looking more gorgeous than gunky junky.*

Friday, 11 January 2013

Happy New Year!

New years resolutions, do you make them?

Mine have always been similar, my family had a tradition of sitting around on new years eve morning and talking about our resolutions and writing them down, along with 10 things we were thankful for. However, now that I am no longer under the family roof the new years eve tradition has fallen by the way side, I tried to reignite it with my boy Isaac, but he is more of a doer rather than a thinker.

I guess I have always talked about doing things rather than doing them.. however my most successful resolution was in 2010 when I vowed to stop procrastinating and just do what I wanted to do, it involved cutting off a lot of my hair and being a wild child.

 This years resolutions are somewhat similar...

1. Stop biting my nails, a horrible habit that I have been doing since I grew teeth, it's been 20 years too long!

2. Get a job, I would like to spend my life volunteering but that won't help pay the bills and if I want to own a house in the next few years I should probably get one, I just love the student lifestyle far too much.

3. Improve physical and mental health. This is a big one for me, 2012 brought about a lot of change in both these, but mostly my mental health.

4. Become more nutritionally conscious. I am getting there, but I would still like to learn even more! I hope being a science student will help with my understanding of it all.

5. Read 26 books. I want to read more, and here is the magic number.

6. Start doing yoga, this one is going to help with so many things, mostly my mental and physical health, but specifically my hormones and anxiety. Plus I am the most inflexible person ever, I can only reach my shins when I bend over.

7. Get (& stay) organised! This one has already been started, with a massive clean up of our bedroom, purged a lot of things and freed up a lot of space. (It also helps that I am a little manic at the moment.)

8. Be creative everyday. Mostly drawing and painting, but writing also counts, I want to expand on my hobbies!

9. Make the switch to eco-friendly vegan products! This is a major one for me, I want to make my own products that are natural and stay far, far away from harsh chemicals all whilst sticking to my super tight starving student budget!

10. Make a difference in the world. Through random acts of kindness and my consciously going out of my way to be a better person.

Seem achievable? Lets hope so!

I'd really just like to become more calm and leave less of a mark on the planet, and sing more, but that is a whole other story!

 What are your new years resolutions? Any that sound similar to mine? Ditching any bad habits for good ones?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Day In My Life: Tuesday

Disclaimer: Read at own rick - this post in incredibly boring!

Woke up at 9.00am to Evie licking my feet (of a night time she snuggles with us in our bed until sleep time, then takes herself to her crate,which is beside our bed, and sleeps with the door ajar until she wakes up and joins us for morning cuddles at around 6am.) I get up, make breakfast, make Evie's breakfast, sit at my laptop and eat whilst checking the usual social networking sites and avoiding Evie trying to grab some of my banana (one of her favourite fruits). Finish breakfast and slowly get ready for university.


At around 10.45am, after getting ready, I water my seedlings, tend to my compost and leave for university at 11.05am, catch the tram to the nearest station, then I catch a train to the North Melbourne station...


When I get to North Melbourne, I wait 15 minutes... it was a long 15 minutes. Then I catch another train for 40 minutes to the station near my university.

I spend the train ride reading, and when I arrive at 12.20pm I walk 15 minutes to campus. I make it on time to my class, we listen to a lecture on Animal Behaviours for the majority of the class and spend the last hour watching a David Attenborough documentary on Carnivores.



I make my way back to the train station, spend the 40 minute journey talking to a friend before I get off at North Melbourne Train Station and miss the next train home. So I catch the bus to my closest tram stop and catch my tram home. Only took an extra 15 minutes. Arrived home in time to help Isaac fold washing, do dishes and take Evie on a walk to the dog park before my Mother arrived for dinner - I hadn't seen her in a month!


We try to go to an Indian place on Sydney Rd (Malabar Hut), but of course they were shut - so we went to Thai on Street in Brunswick East - which was amazing, we got the last item on the vegetarian menu - which was amazingly delicious - but alas no photos.
Evie spills my left over Thai all over the white and freshly washed kitchen tiles, me and her self. I wash the tiles - too angry to take a photo and head for the shower and holding her under the water, against my chest. I play on the internet for a while and we snuggle and watch a movie until bed time.

I didn't realise the majority of my day was spent commuting! Gah!

What annoying but hilarious things have your pets done?

Elo x

Monday, 8 October 2012

Recipe: Vegan Coconut Raita

Isaac and I were wondering what to make, when we had a wave of culinary inspiration and decided to go all out! Vegan Indian Feast for Two!
Which included papadums (which we learnt can only be fried in masses of oil, so we shared a small one), vegan roti bread, Eggplant and Tomato curry from scratch (don't look at me, it was all Isaac) and (my) Mushroom and Potato Madras served with a side of white (blasphemy!) rice and Coconut Raita!

I don't know about many of you vegans out there, but for me, one of the big things I miss about non-veganism is the lack of yogurt raita on the side of my yummy indian feasts that I love so much! After messing around with a few ideas at my parent's house, I finally came up with one that tastes almost yogurty!

seared-ginger-raita-recipe

Vegan Coconut Raita
Half a can of (solid) coconut cream (One can, but only use the solid half = half a can)
Generous squeeze of lemon or lime juice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of cumin powder
1/2 a teaspoon of your favourite curry paste (Madras for Me!)
A teaspoon of olive oil (for super-lush-creaminess)
3cm length of continental cucumber (skin on)
1 tablespoon of cornflour (dissolved in just enough water or left over coconut milk to make a thin paste)
Splash of soy milk (optional)
Fresh coriander or ground coriander seeds (optional)
3cm length of carrot (optional)

Firstly, dissolve your cornflour in water, then combine that in a saucepan with the coconut cream - when it is completely combined, then and only then, turn on the heat and constantly stir until it comes to the boil - turn off immediately and combine with the rest of the ingredients!

As I am more into thick raita without too many chunks I put the cornflour coconut mixture and everything else in the blender and blended until the cucumber was almost non-exsistant.
However, you could finely dice, or even grate the cucumber and mix it by hand if you wanted.
Although, the blender does help with the super creamy emulsification part - but not essential for delicious raita.

Put in in the fridge to cool (or even the freezer).

Serve on the side, or make potato raita by mixing with a few boiled potatoes cut into small chunks - which is amazingly delicious and much easier to get everything on to your fork at once!

What is your must have for an Indian Feast?

I am back from two weeks of volunteer work, phew! I spent 7 hours a day for 5 days at The Royal Melbourne Show, in the Animal Nursery, answering questions from the public and playing with my favourite farm animals - I was even faced with the question, whilst holding a brown calf, "that's a deer, right?"... Young adults apparently know what it taste like, but not what it looks like before it is on their plates! The last week of my volunteering spree was spent at the wonder Pet's Haven Animal Shelter, in Woodend, Victoria! There are so many lovely ladies who volunteer there (and the odd man or two) and most importantly, it is where I got my baby Evie from! Now that I am back home, I enjoyed the amazing birthday party of one of my most loveliest friends Lidia, who also has a blog Salad Days.
The birthday party was a vegan potluck, and oh my there was so much food! Including the amazing birthday cake by Toucan Cakes (who happens to live a block behind me!).
(Source)

And of course, being me, I had 5 plates of food.... I wish I was kidding, it was all just so amazing!
Isaac's parents made vegan pies, Lidia made too much, Lachie made cupcakes, Isaac and I made my Roasted Root Vegetables, Lentils & Quinoa Warm Salad. As well as completely stuffing myself on the night, Isaac and I headed over for brunch the next morning, and for a post-pot-luck stroll with the pups, and of course Lidia sent us home with left overs! We didn't have to cook for what seemed like a week (actually 2 days), until we got to our coriander, parsley and other-green-things marinated tofu.. which brings me to my next post...

Monday, 24 September 2012

Recipe: Sweet Potato Brownies



























I had originally thought that I dreamt up the idea of sweet potato brownies... but apparently not. Never-the-less, I still managed to put my own spin on the recipe I found on eHow.com.


1/4 cup of water
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
6 tablespoons of non-dairy butter or coconut oil, melted.
1/4 tsp of baking soda
1/4 tsp of salt
1 3/4 cup of flour
1 3/4 cup of mashed/pureed sweet potato (I roasted mine, and needed less sugar!)
1/2 - 1 cup of sugar (I would recommend less than a cup)
9 tablespoons of cocoa powder (feel free to add more!)

Step One
Pre-heat over to 160 degrees celcius

Step Two
Combine all the dry ingredients.

Step Three
Combine all the wet ingredients - except the sweet potato

Step Four
Add the sweet potato and mix well - the mixture is very thick so use your muscles to work it together.

Step Five
Press into a tray making sure that it's pressed into all the corners, it won't rise or change so make it look pretty. Throw it in the oven for 20 - 35 minutes and your done!

What is your favourite indulgent dessert?

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables, Lentils & Quinoa Warm Salad

I survived entering the world of cooked food again - however I'm not sure my body likes it as much, I feel very run down and just blah, maybe one day raw food and I will become life long partners but for now I will enjoy my perfectly caramalised roast sweet potato, pumpkin and carrot.

Roasted Root Vegetables, Lentils & Quinoa Warm Salad

1 cup each of chopped pumpkin, carrot, white and orange sweet potato.
1 cup of quinoa
1 medium onion (red or brown, your choice)
1 - 3 cloves of garlic
1 can of brown lentils (washed and drained)
1 - 2 tablespoons each of pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
Large handful of baby spinach
Small handful of mint
Dried Italian Herbs
Handful of asparagus (optional - but so yummy)
Half a carrot finely sliced, or grated. (optional)

Dressing

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sesame oil (give or take - I love sesame oil, so that might be an overdose for some)
1 - 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar (again, depends on your taste)
Half a teaspoon of honey or agave syrup.



Step One
Your root vegetables should be cut into pretty small chunks - place your chunky cut veggies on a baking tray, and coat with a little bit of olive oil, a light sprinkle of italian herbs and salt - roast in a medium to high oven until caramelised and golden. If you wan't asparagus - add it in half way through as those babies burn oh so easily.

Step Two
Grab your mint and spinach and roughly chop - set aside for later.

Step Three
Combine the olive oil, sesame oil and balsamic in a small jar or bowl and set aside. (Ps. Best dressing ever)

Step Four
Cook your quinoa as per packet instructions - set aside for later.


Step Five
Finely slice the onion and garlic and fry, over a medium to high heat, in a little olive (or coconut) oil until golden, then add your drained lentils and continue to fry until they develop golden edges - moisture is the enemy of achieving this - add your pine nuts and sesame seeds to the pan until everything is golden then empty on to a plate for later.

Step Six
Lower the heat and add the quinoa to the pan and make sure it is all thoroughly warmed, then add the lentils, the chopped greens, the sunflower seeds & pumpkin seeds and finally the roasted vegetables - drizzle with the dressing & a little honey or agave and combine!

Serves around 2

Seriously, you HAVE to make this - the best quinoa meal I have ever eaten!

What do you eat your quinoa with?