Fall Reading List

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I haven’t done this before, but I’m always reading good articles and blog posts and I felt it was time to recommend a few. My favorite articles are always the ones which make the reader take a step back and consider them for a while. I am always looking for enlightenment, so to speak. The following, in my opinion, offer just that.

Why Courtship Is Fundamentally Flawed  This is a good read for anyone, but especially conservatives and parents. Very interesting and fresh perspective on dating that I haven’t heard before.

Why Women Aren’t Crazy  “A remark intended to shut you down like, ‘Calm down, you’re overreacting,’ after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation—pure and simple. And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged.”

This article deals with the misconceptions about women in our society, especially by men, and the (relatively unknown) topic of gaslighting.

Why Yoga Pants Are Incredibly Dangerous For Today’s Youth  This is my favorite post to date which touches on the subject of modesty, women’s bodies, and dress codes.

Why Wheat Is Ruining Your Life  The author of “Wheat Belly” explains in an interview so much about health and food in the most intelligent way, ever.

The White Problem  “I don’t think I was born white. I think white children are manufactured.” WOW to this whole article. Wow.

“Not Again” by Arundhati Roy  Found this writing per Peer Landa, CCRMA at Stanford University. I have no way to describe the brilliance of her words.

And some videos- How Frozen Should Have Ended (just for fun), What Guys Look For In Girls, We Are Legion- The Story Of The Hacktivists (Documentary)

Detox Series: Colon Cleansing

detox1

I do dozens of cleanses. Some I’m obsessed with, some I haven’t been too impressed by. I think I’ve driven my boyfriend crazy by this point, with my herbs and supplements and intermittent fasting. “Date night tonight, babe?” “Nope, sorry, I’m doing a liver flush tonight, which means I can’t eat anything and need to be in bed by 10pm.” Poor guy.

Nonetheless, I felt that it was about time to start spreading the knowledge and sharing my (amazing!) experiences to help you on your path to a happier and healthier life. Today I’m going to talk about colon cleansing (which we all need!).

If we lived in a perfect world, with clean environments, healthy products, and pure food, we wouldn’t have to worry about proper elimination. Our bodies would take care of that themselves. Since this is definitely not the case, however, we do have to worry about it!

Why We Need To Worry About “Toxicity”

A lot of people say that our bodies’ natural detoxifying organs (liver, kidneys, lymphatic system) do a fine job of dealing with toxicity, and that the idea of “cleanses” or “detoxes” are over-hyped. While it’s true that our bodies naturally detoxify themselves on a daily basis, from an evolutionary standpoint, our bodies are not prepared to deal with the toxic load they are dealing with today. For most of history, the toxins that your body is trying to fight off every day did not even exist

To be fair, the idea that “chemicals are bad” is a very misleading concept. A chemical substance, from a chemistry standpoint, is just a form of matter. You have chemical processes within yourself that are working all the time. Even mother nature is comprised of chemicals. So a lot of people hear that and dismiss chemical “toxins” as a bunch of bologna. This, though, is over-simplifying the issue.

Just because chemicals exist does not mean that they have always existed in the same forms or quantities that they do today. It does not mean that our repeated exposure to them isn’t harmful. On the contrary, we know that it is.

A perfect example of this is geochemist Clair Patterson, who first exposed the dangers of lead toxicity resulting from lead-additives in gasoline, paint, and other household products during the first half of the 20th century. The big companies behind this problem refused to acknowledge his findings, and denied the evidence of lead toxicity, claiming that lead has always existed in the environment and hasn’t proven to be harmful.

Lead propaganda from 1923

It took Patterson a very long time to prove that the levels of lead in our environment due to man’s tampering was, in fact, unnatural, and dangerous for us. This was all in spite of their attempts to make sure that he didn’t show up to trials and couldn’t get his evidence. These companies played dirty.

Sound familiar? This same fight continues today, with other harmful substances. You can’t expect every business to prioritize ethics over profits… human nature would imply otherwise.

All this is to say that your body needs your help. It is being bombarded with things it cannot possibly handle, and your first step in counter-acting that problem starts here: with colon cleansing.

Why Colon Cleansing?

It is said that you are supposed to have a bowel movement after every meal, because there is always something from your food that your body cannot completely assimilate and utilize. Even babies, who drink pure mother’s milk, poop frequently. To think that we, as Americans, can often go DAYS without pooping is horrifying. This is a result of our modern diet and our industrialized world.

Food and waste products that are no longer needed (and toxins that the body needs to eliminate) go through your colon, and are supposed to leave fairly quickly. The longer they sit in there, the more they rot and ferment, creating more toxicity that your body re-uptakes. The longer it stays in there, the worse it gets.

Some effects of a toxic body include skin issues like eczema and acne, hormonal imbalances, irritability and mood swings, irregular sleeping patterns, low energy, concentration issues, depression, poor immune system, and weight problems, to name a few.

The reason colon cleansing is the first step in any detox regimen is because without a clean colon, all your other organs get re-toxified (so to speak) fairly quickly. Conversely, if you have a clean colon, this induces a cleansing affect on the rest of your body. This is a very important step!

The other thing you need to realize is that a clean colon isn’t as simple as pooping regularly. You could have a bowel movement once per day, or more, and still have a very toxic colon. Most sources guess that we have anywhere from 5-15 pounds of waste matter along our colon walls, that, without cleansing, would otherwise accumulate and block up our digestive system for our whole lives.

This waste accumulation happens a number of ways. Medical Insider explains it like this:

Modern diets are often low in natural fiber and also high in mucus producing foods, such as dairy products, white flour, meat (especially processed meats), eggs, potatoes, beans, rice, grains, fish, peanuts and fats (and low in fresh vegetables and fruit), and food, drink and drugs high in toxins, for instance coffee, alcohol, recreational drugs and pharmaceuticals. When we talk about mucus producing foods, we mean that they tend to stimulate the digestive tract to produce more mucus, rather than mucus in the nasal passages.

However, a large number of people have a very mild immune system reaction to certain food proteins that resemble viruses to the immune system, mainly dairy and wheat, which may well cause nasal congestion as well as adverse immune system activity in the digestive tract. This is a separate topic and is discussed on the Food Allergy and Intolerance page.

Such diets lead to more mucin being produced in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract. The mucus can indeed be cleared away by pancreatic juices (from the pancreas) but mucus-forming foods form such a large proportion of modern, western diets that the pancreatic juices are not effective in clearing it away. As the mucus and food particle solution passes through the intestines, moisture is removed and absorbed back into the blood stream. As more moisture is removed and reabsorbed, the mucus becomes sticky and gluey. In passing, it leaves a coating on the intestinal wall. Layer tends to dry out over time, compacting and hardening. Over the years, layer after layer of gluey faeces builds on the intestinal lining. It gradually forms into a tough, rubbery, black substance (hardened faeces mixture) found in lumps in the corners of the intestinal tract and covering the walls and villi themselves. This is known as ‘mucoid plaque’, and causes constipation, a reduction in the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal wall, and is a breeding ground for candida, harmful bacteria and parasites.

Toxins are absorbed into the mucoid plaque over time, including biotoxins and heavy metals. The liver relies on the colon being clear in order to effectively eliminate toxins from the body through the digestive tract. The build up of mucoid plaque and congestion in the colon (affecting the normal passage of stool) results in the build up of large amounts of toxins in the digestive tract. Harmful micro-organism activity also produces additional toxins. The body tends to produce more mucin to try to wash away the mucoid plaque, which mixes with the mucoid plaque to exacerbate the problem. Low fiber diets slow down the movement of food in the GI tract and do not act to remove mucoid plaque and prevent mucoid plaque formation.

So if you consume any dairy, meat, eggs, GMO corn or grains, caffeine, alcohol, or medications, for example, chances are you have a lot of waste build up, whether you have regular bowel movements or not.

Because all these mucous-y, sticky substances “bake” in your very hot 98.6-degrees body, they harden and get stuck along the walls of your intestines (both large and small). This makes it extremely difficult to remove with regular diet modifications (like just consuming more fiber). It also makes it very difficult for your body to absorb nutrients effectively- if at all.

This requires extra effort to remove, if you want things to start functioning properly again.

How Can I Cleanse My Colon?

There are so many ways you can get cleansing, depending on your budget and what you’re hoping to accomplish. Most commercial laxatives are harsh and toxic, and can not only damage your colon and damage the villi in your small intestine, but create a dependency on them, robbing your body of its natural ability to excrete waste. They dehydrate the body and have no health benefits whatsoever. There are many healthy ways to cleanse and detox the colon, however, and here I have listed many methods, all of which I have personally tried and had positive results from.

  • Colonics and enemas-   Both of these methods involve using warm water to gently flush away waste inside the colon, as well as to soften and wash away the gunk that is caked up along the colon walls. Colonics are superior to enemas, because they are able to clean the entire colon, whereas enemas use a much smaller volume of water, and therefore clean only the sigmoid colon and not into the transverse or descending colon (see image below). One benefit to enemas is that they can be used anytime at home, whereas colonics have to be administered by a professional, which can get pretty pricey. For colonic-like enemas that reach farther into the colon, you could look into “high enemas” which involve holding onto larger and larger quantities of water. This can be time consuming and uncomfortable, but the results don’t lie.                                                                                                                                                                              You should only be using filtered water in enemas, boiled first, and cooled to body temperature. This ensures that you are not adding more toxicity to your body with bacteria or amoebas, heavy metals, chlorine, and other gross things found in unfiltered tap water. (Well water is not free of these things either.) I like to add bentonite clay or activated charcoal to the water when I boil it, to further purify it. I am also a huge fan of coffee enemas, which I will discuss later in this series.                                                                         What to expect: after a colonic you will experience a very flat stomach. Some people have some bloating or fatigue for a couples hours afterwards (it takes a lot out of you- no pun intended.) Days afterwards you should have high energy and a positive outlook and your skin might clear up. After an enema you will experience the same results (minus the bloating) on a lesser scale. 
  • Salt Water Flushes- This is an old Ayurvedic method of cleansing the colon. It involves taking 2 tsp of pink rock salt (Himalayan salt, Celtic sea salt, or Real Salt) in one quart (4 C) of warm-to-room-temperature water on an empty stomach in the morning. This creates a flushing action, as the salt water has the same gravity as the blood, so the kidneys do not pick up the water and the blood does not pick up the salt. It runs straight through your small and large intestines, cleaning both, making this an extremely effective cleanser. It also replenishes electrolytes to your cells, and helps restore the pH of your body (it is very alkaline). For more really detailed information and instructions, check out this post from Health Beyond Hype. This is an especially cheap and healthy method, which only requires about an hour or two in the morning. (Note: it is extremely important that you do not use regular salt or commercial sea salt for the flush, as these are very toxic and harmful for your body in large quantities.)                                                                                                                  What to expect: your stools will be watery, but it shouldn’t be very unpleasant. A large portion of the gunk and muck in your bowels will be emptied. I usually experience a burst of energy afterwards, and a much flatter stomach.
  • P & B Shakes- This might sound exciting, like a peanut butter milkshake, or at least something delicious.  Unfortunately, this stands for psyllium husks and bentonite clay (which is a little bit like flavorless Malt-o-Meal). You use 1-2 tsp of psyllium husk powder and 2 T of colloidal (liquid) bentonite clay into 1-2 C of water.  You can also add a couple capsules of activated charcoal in place of the bentonite clay, for the same effects. The psyllium husk bulks up in the water fairly quickly, so it needs to be stirred or shaken vigorously to ensure that it doesn’t get lumpy (this is where the name comes from). P & b shakes are the best known way to clear out mucoid plaque (the hardened, rubbery gunk on the colon walls) from your body. Often water-flushing methods like enemas, colonics, and salt water are rendered ineffective at getting some of the older, tougher stuff unstuck- especially in the small intestine (enemas and colonics never reach the small intestine). Psyllium works by bulking up in your intestines, both loosening the plaque and also attaching it to itself, and bentonite clay works by soaking up all the toxins and muck that comes along with it. It is recommended that you drink a lot of water with p & b shakes, so that they don’t constipate you and further the problem. Once your body gets used to one p & b shake a day, you can slowly add another and work your way up to three or four a day for maximum effects. Don’t take them within two hours of any medication or nutritional supplement, as both the “p” and the “b” can absorb them, rendering them ineffective. For more information, see p & b shakes at curezone.com                                                What to expect: there will be more fluffy bulk to your bowel movements, making them much more comfortable to pass than some of these liquidy-options. You will soon start to see black, rubbery ropes attached to these bm’s. This is mucoid plaque. It’s always extremely gratifying to see them come out of your body! It’s amazing how much can be up there. This method also helps your body regulate its own bowel movements, as you are giving it quite a bit of fiber every day. Expect to become very regular! 
  • Epsom salts- This action works the same as the salt water flush, for similar reasons. To flush with Epsom salts, you would add 2 tsp to 1 C of water and take it in the morning on an empty stomach. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, and so will replenish your body of magnesium- something most of us are deficient in without regular supplementation. This is another cheap option and readily available, as you can find Epsom salts just about anywhere. The Viva Mayr detox clinic (a celebrity and royalty favorite) is known to use these as a daily requirement, first thing in the morning.                                                                      What to expect: this will be exactly like the salt water flush- your stools will be watery. The cleaner your system is, the faster it will get through. I had a friend come to me recently saying “You should have warned me!” So for some cleansing newbies, recognize that it will keep you near the toilet for a while. After the first few times, though, it will go quicker and not take as long to clean yourself out, so stick with it! Your stomach will always be nice and flat afterwards. 
  • Magnesium citrate- This is a much gentler version of the Epsom salt flush, and tastes a whole lot better, too. I like to use Natural Calm in the raspberry-lemonade flavor. While I like to also use this drink to de-stress during the day or to wind down for bedtime, it does have a mild laxative effect, which can be maximized on an empty stomach in the morning.       What to expect: like I said, it’s a much gentler version of the Epsom salts in every way. It will be slightly less watery, slightly less flushing action, still the same gunk cleared out (although a little less might be cleared out). 
  • Mag07- This supplement works by oxidizing the colon both in the small and large intestines (while also not harming any of the beneficial bacteria), restoring the pH of your body and liquifying the contents of the colon. Mag07 claims to be able to liquify mucoid plaque as well, although no one is able to confirm this, as the contents are broken down and we can’t tell the difference, although many experts swear by it. Many people use Mag07 supplementation as an alternative to colonics for entire-colon cleansing. I would recommend Aerobic Life or Detoxy. It is recommended that you take Mag07 on an empty stomach before bed. For an ultra-cleansing effect, I use it at night and in the morning for a week at a time.                                                                                                                                             What to expect: this does liquify the contents of your bowels, so your bm’s won’t be completely formed. Everyone’s body is different, so the dosage will affect this as well. To have a more comfortable bm if 2-3 pills aren’t working, up your water intake instead of your dosage. I haven’t noticed a flat stomach the way I have with some of these other methods, although that is secondary to the detoxification it gives you, and a lot of others do claim to have these benefits as well.

Many people claim it is harmful to cleanse the colon because you can become dependent on it (which generally isn’t true if you use these methods, but you should always give your body a break from cleansing to let it re-set) and because you can wipe out beneficial bacteria- a problem easily solved with probiotic supplementation. Certain types of minerals can be depleted depending on the type and frequency of the cleansing method you are using  (especially the colonics and enemas), so if you are doing this a couple times a week, try to supplement those.

*(Enemas and magnesium citrate are generally safe for pregnancy. Mag07 is said to be as well, but I’d consult your doctor for that or anything else on the list.)

Benefits I’ve noticed- Clearer, brighter skin would be a major, major difference here. Less dark circles under my eyes, less bloating, an increase in positive thinking and elevated moods, more energy, and a great immune system. Oh, and when I am not cleansing, I have normal bm’s, at least once a day!

Have you personally tried out any of these methods? Do you plan on trying it after reading this post? Comment below and tell me all about it!

The Big Eyebrow Mistake (Shaping Brows 101)

Recently I tweeted a picture of Britney Spears, where I had virtually shaped her eyebrows, because for whatever reason, I needed to show her and the world how much better she could look if she got it right. (I was a young fan of Brit’s during her prime, so I still secretly hope that she’ll get hot again and end up with Justin Timberlake. I see the brows as a part of this process.) When Britney was younger, she went through an array of brow-waxers and makeup artists constantly, so her eyebrows were always pretty decent (except when they dyed them bleach blonde.. that was weird).

Young Britney, with good eyebrows

Young Britney, with good eyebrows

These days, she does her own makeup. She’s not even in charge of her own money, so I doubt that Papa Spears thinks a brow-shaper is necessary. (It is, Papa Spears! She can’t do this alone!)

When Britney does her own makeup

When Britney does her own makeup

I felt an intervention was necessary. Many people underestimate the power of good eyebrows. They shape your entire face! A while back I wrote a why-makeup-makes-you-prettier post using a study which showed that the difference between a feminine face and a masculine one is the contrast of the features:

The exact same face can be made feminine or masculine by playing with the contrast. You can use makeup to do this, too!

The exact same face can be made feminine or masculine by playing with the contrast. You can use makeup to do this, too!

To look more feminine and therefore “prettier”, the contrast of the eyes, lips, brows, and skin needs to be heightened. Better brows make you look prettier. See the article here.

So I pulled up a recent photo and tweeted an example of how much better they could look. It’s a subtle difference up close, but when you take a step back and examine it, you can see how much better it is.

I know, I know, I misspelled “darker”, but it’s a pain in the ass to re-do a tweet, and they don’t have that handy “edit” option like Facebook does.

Anyway, a friend saw the tweet and shot back with an idea:

I usually shape my friends’ and sisters’ eyebrows in person, with makeup and tweezers. But I thought, if I could do a photo online, I could probably do anyone’s, right? So she sent me a photo, and I made her this:

brows

I made sure that she could see where I filled in her brows by using a slightly different color, as opposed to Britney’s picture, where I tried to blend it in really well. That night, she tried out my suggestions and sent me pictures. They looked great! She wrote this Facebook status: “One of my FB friends virtually shaped my problem eyebrows… and I love them now! Thanks Sarah :)”

As you can see in the picture I sent her with all the black lines, to effectively shape your eyebrows, you should use a pencil to give you an idea where your eyebrows and arches should start, and end. HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART! Most people use the end of their nose to show them where to start their eyebrow. My friend had been doing this as well. I don’t know why ladies allow waxers to give them such bad advice. DO NOT use your nose. Use your nostril.

Teen Mom’s Amber Portwood is a good example of someone who uses their nose and ends up with a very wide glabella (that space in between your eyebrows):

Amber Portwood and her wide glabella

Just to show you how much of a difference it makes, using her nostrils instead, I filled in her eyebrows.

Amber Portwood with better eyebrows

In the first photo, she looks a little strange and unnatural. In the second photo, she looks great!

LADIES OF THE WORLD, stop allowing the waxers at the salon to physically mame you. This is not a good look.

You can use your nostril as a guide for your arch and the end of the brow as well. Ignoring Lauren Conrad’s bad advice to use the end of your nose, here is a picture (from Lauren Conrad) of how to do that:

Use your nostril and your eye to trace where the brow should end. It's just like connect-the-dots!

Use your nostril (NOT nose!) and your eye to trace where the brow should end. It’s just like connect-the-dots!

Here’s a photo of me and my brow-protege little sister.

Do we have better eyebrows than you? Nay! We just know what to do with them!

Do we have better eyebrows than you? Nay! We just know what to do with them!

Want me to virtually shape your brows for you? Send me a picture at justsarahg@gmail.com (It’s free! And I love to do it!)

The Invitation

paint

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer*
(*Disclaimer: I should specify that I did not write this, nor can I seem to find a specific author. This poem was very personal and moving for me so I decided to share!)

How To Think And Love Selflessly.

Kindness

Somewhere between experiencing an eating disorder and then recovering from it, in the different types of therapy I went through during that eating disorder, and then in my own personal studies of psychology and sects of it like neuro-lingistic programming (NLP), or probably from a little of each, I learned something profound. Something I think too many people go through this life not knowing. 

I learned that a human being who is not emotionally well cannot think or see beyond beyond their current needs or their current moment. A person who is not emotionally well focuses most of their life on two things: “how can I be okay?” and also “how soon can I be okay?”

Now, it might seem silly to you that I’m exclaiming how “profound” something this basic is. But I’ve learned that it’s more profound than we give it credit for, so long as we remember it. (Which we mostly don’t.)

In order to explain, let me back up a little and establish why this happens to people in the first place.

Because human beings are animals, we are motivated by self (and “preservation of self”) first and foremost. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you can see that primal needs like food and water are more essential to living than emotional fulfillment. If you’re starving, you’re going to worry more about getting food than you are about whether your friend is mad at you or not.

Maslows hierarchy of needs

What that means is, naturally, wherever your needs fall on Maslow’s list is what you’re going to be focusing your attention on. Got the primal stuff? Got the safety? Next you’ll need to feel loved and a sense of belonging. That need will motivate your thoughts and actions until your fulfill it.  Got the loved and belonging part down, too? Now you’ll want to build confidence and self-esteem. And so on and so forth up the list. 

This leads us back to the idea that when someone is upset, depressed, anxious, or has really low self-esteem, for example, those unhappy feelings are actually unmet needs which rule their minds and actions. (I understand that in this light, focusing on the idea of not being “emotionally-well” is possibly taking for granted our lives in a first world country, but for the sake of my audience, I’d like this post to more relevant in your daily lives than it is metaphorical.)

We all go up and down Maslow’s lists on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s just because we’re hungry, then we eat, and go right back up the scale to wherever we were before. Sometimes it’s because our friend or significant other said something unkind, and we need to resolve the conflict to regain love or esteem, before going back to where we were. 

These preoccupations, these motivations, these needs, are inherently “selfish”, yet not in any bad use of the word. They are selfish because they are self-motivated, as they very well should be. It’s part of the human condition. We have many moments in our lives when we cannot think about anything but ourselves, and we can’t even help it.

This leads me to the “profound” part. You see, all of this also means that our friends, and our family, and even strangers we walked past today have lives full of moments when they cannot think about anything but themselves, and they can’t help it either.

Is it any surprise that none of us understand each other, when we’re all looking at the world through our own needs and our own emotions? 

This can be dangerous for our happiness and for the happiness of the people we love! For example, this confusion is how most breakups happen: 

It starts with two people who want to be together and are fulfilled by each other. Naturally, through their own self-motivated thinking, one or both people slip up and offend their partner’s needs somehow. Now, when the couple fights about a slip up, each individual is expressing their needs and wants (often not in an effective or loving way). When those needs are not properly communicated or understood by their partner, they obviously cannot be met. This leads to anger, frustration, and resentment, in varying degrees. Now both individuals have unmet needs and fight with their partner to get them to fulfill it. Neither of them can see beyond their own needs in order to listen to and fulfill their partner’s. Of course, it’s very predictable that when a person’s needs within their relationship are not met, the relationship satisfaction goes downhill, and before you know it, bam. Relationship over. 

People who are self-aware enough to recognize their own needs and can effectively communicate them to the world get what they need more often and are much more fulfilled in life compared to those who don’t. But too many people aren’t self-aware. 

We need to be conscious of the our thoughts and our feelings, and the needs we have that are running them. As importantly, we need to be conscious of the fact that others have needs that rule their thoughts and emotions, too. We can love others by not only understanding this concept, but by seeking out their needs, and by working to help them fulfill those needs. It’s the only real way to love and be loved in this life. 

The level of consciousness I’m talking about takes a lot of effort and a lot of patience. But this new view of others (in my experience) completely shatters all judgement for humanity in your heart and mind, when you simply realize that no one is a bad person. No one wants to be miserable and hated and misunderstood. We’re all just people who go through life thinking about how we’re going to be okay every day. 

Just like you.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato

What Does God Think About Gay Marriage?

With all the traffic this blog has been recieving lately, I wanted to link to (what I view as) my most important post. 

I was raised in a Christian home with conservative values (which I have since deviated from.) That said, as I got older, it didn’t take long before I saw discrepencies in the bible, what is preached, and the way we voted. It seemed a little too simple to say, “the bible says this is wrong, so no one in our country should be able to do it.” 

Homosexuality was especially the concern. I began to wonder, what does the bible actually say, and what does that actually mean? 

Here’s what I found:

“Christians Should Support Gay Marriage”
https://justsarahg.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/christians-should-support-gay-marriage/

Confidence Is Vulnerability

setgo
I find confidence in revealing my insecurities to the world. By doing so, I’ve found that I am accepted just as I always was (sometimes more so!) and what I thought were flaws that needed to be hidden actually look pretty normal in the light of day.

People are drawn towards realness, and I’ve found my imperfections to be much better received than a facade of perfection- which just seems fake. Vulnerability is scary, but it’s empowering.

Beautiful Skin, The Natural Way

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(Clear, healthy skin without any chemicals! I do still get a few “time of the month” breakouts, like you see here, but usually my skin is pretty flawless!)

Yesterday I talked about the process I’ve gone through to rid my life of unnecessary toxic chemicals as it pertained to haircare. Due to the response it received, I wanted to follow up with the changes I’ve made for skincare as well.

The most important part about natural skincare is that they don’t need any toxic chemicals or synthetic fragrances or fancy packages to get the job done. And I’m not talking about mushing up an avocado or banana to wear as a face mask- that’s probably good for you, but I never noticed a difference in my skin doing something like that. I like skincare that DOES something. Isn’t that the point?

So I wrote up a list for you consisting of my natural skincare products that actually work, what they’re supposed to do, and why. If that’s not enough to convince you, it’ll be easy to try it out yourself, as most of these products are in your kitchen or bathroom already. Anything that’s not in there won’t cost more than $10 to go out and get. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the cost benefits of natural skincare!

Without further ado, “the list”:

FACE

Exfoliate:

-Baking soda scrub

Clarisonic (okay, so this isn’t a product AND it’s spendy, but it supplements any skincare regimen nicely- including my own)

-Organic coffee grounds

It’s important to scrub away the dead skin to improve cell turnover for collogen production, as well as keeping them from building up and mixing with the sticky sebum from your pores, clogging them and causing white heads, black heads, and pimples.

Baking soda is a cheap, quick, and gentle way to exfoliate. All you need is a tablespoon on a wet face. Be careful not too mix too much water, because it can dissolve fairly quickly. Simple, and effective!

Organic coffee grounds don’t dissolve, but are a little coarser. I make sure to use organic coffee for this and for consuming, because there are loads of toxic chemicals in normal coffee. Especially the flavored kind!

The cool part about coffee grounds on your face is that caffeine can work as a vasoconstrictor, which makes it really good for de-puffing your eyes (it’s included in a lot of expensive department store eye gels!), temporarily tighten skin, reduce dark circles, as well as stimulate the circulation under the skin, helping produce a nice, rosy glow. The best part about this is, it doesn’t have to be un-used coffee grounds (although it can’t be decaf, or you don’t get the benefits!). You can recycle your grounds from your morning brew, or use fresh unused grounds if you’re not a coffee drinker. If I’m not using my grounds after I make some coffee, I put them in a jar that I keep in the fridge. For a quick-morning de-puff, I press the cold coffee grounds under my eyes for 10 minutes or so. You can also take it into the shower for an all-over body scrub with the same circulation benefits, as well as de-puffing benefits that have been known to temporarily improve cellulite.

The Clarisonic is fairly expensive, but is extremely effective at exfoliating thoroughly. After using the sensitive brush for only a couple days in a row, it feels just like my skin did after a microdermabrasion! It’s the smoothest my skin has ever felt.

 
Cleansing:
 
-Natural, organic bar soap like this one
 
I like using soap because it still gives me a nice lather, which breaks the surface tension of water and washes away dirt, oil and makeup. I use this method when I want an effective makeup removal or cleanse without having to rub very much on my skin or eyelashes, the way I would with oil. I really like using this with the Clarisonic brush. This is the only cleansing method I use that strips away a lot of the oils on my face, so I make sure to moisturize afterwards- because I don’t want my face feeling too dry and feeling like it needs to produce extra oil (like I explained in my I’ll Never Shampoo My Hair Again post.)
 
Makeup remover:
 
-Unrefined/raw coconut oil
 
Like dissolves like, so oil cleansing actually dissolves the surface sebum on your skin. Some people have really finicky skin, so this doesn’t necessarily work for them. I’ve never met anyone who this doesn’t work for, personally, but I’m not going to recommend it as a one-size-fits-all if I’m not positive that’s true! Test it out and see if it works for you. Chances are, it will. It removes all mascaras and face makeup as well as any remover I’ve tried, sans nasty chemicals. You can just rub a couple teaspoons worth over your face and eyes, and wipe with a dry or wet washcloth.
 
Moisturizer:
 
-Unrefined/raw coconut oil
-Cold-pressed caster oil
 
Some people don’t like the “greasy” feel of oil on their face. They liken it to the feeling of really oily skin (the bad kind) and to acne, but it’s nothing like that. I actually think it feels rather luxurious! I’ve been using oil on my face for 6 or 7 years without any adverse reactions or breakouts. I even use it to clear my skin up after a breakout! I used to have really sensitive skin and eczema (which have cleared up since clean-eating), and it helped them both significantly as well. I slather it on before bedtime, since it isn’t really practical to be shiny and oily during the day, or putting under makeup, since the makeup will just slide right off. While coconut oil is my go-to, I like to use castor for its other benefits on top of hydrating my skin as well. 
 
Anti-aging, skin tone corrector:
 
-Cold-pressed caster oil
 
Caster oil has been known to reduce wrinkles and age spots/sun spots. I use it in place of my old Clinique “Even better” Dark Spot Corrector Serum and it works just the same!
 
Eyelash moisturizer and growth serum: 
 
-Cold-pressed caster oil
 
It’s not Latisse, but caster oil has been known even to grow hair back on bald spots on people’s heads after long periods of continued use. My results haven’t been crazy, but they’ve been good. I’ve been using this on and off for 8-10 months now, and while it took quite a while to notice any difference (probably in part because I don’t use it super consistently), I have noticed this summer that when I apply mascara, my lashes are definitely longer and thicker than they were before using caster oil. So I do use a bit more mascara these days, but I won’t complain!
 
Sun protection:
 
-Unrefined/raw coconut oil
 
The trouble with most sunscreens is that they rub in or go on clear, because people don’t like those white-zinc streaks from old sunscreen. Unfortunately, this means that the molecules are small enough to penetrate the first layer or two of skin, and thus has actually has been known to cause cancer. Being wrinkle-free is not worth getting cancer for, especially when you’re trying to protect yourself from it in the first place. The white-streaks are actually the only safe kind of sunscreen, because it’s not getting into your bloodstream and filling your body with toxins. Plus, all that means is you have to rub in it a little more. Is that really so bad? For full coverage I use Banana Boat Natural Reflect Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 for myself and my two year old.
 
Unlike man-made sunscreens, coconut oil has a natural SPF 10. For a nice golden-brown tan I just grab a jar from the kitchen cupboard!
 
Toner:
 
-Raw apple cider vinegar
 
ACV wipes away extra oil and dirt that cleansing may have missed, just like a regular toner, with the added benefit of restoring your skin’s natural pH. This helps to reduce the oil production and balance the skin’s natural hydration levels, as well as fight acne with its anti-bacterial properties. The measurements for this method are 1:1 apple cider vinegar to water.
 
Acne spot treatment:
 
-Raw apple cider vinegar
 
Dab a q-tip’s worth of undiluted apple cider vinegar right onto a pimple to help dry it up and the kill bacteria, all while healing the skin.
 
NAILS 
 
Nail conditioner + strengthener:
 
-Raw apple cider vinegar
 
Just like it says in my no-more-shampoo post, ACV is an excellent skin, hair, and nails conditioner, as it helps to restore their natural pH for strength, health, and beauty. I am pretty hard on my nails, and this really helps! You can also use it to condition your nails before adding polish to wipe away extra oil and balance the pH for extra long-wear nail polish. I know they always brush something on to balance the nail’s pH before I get my gel manicures for this very reason, and that stuff is much more expensive! This formula is 1:2 apple cider vinegar to water (1 part apple cider vinegar, 2 parts water)
 
Teeth, Mouth & Gums
 
Toothpaste: 
 
-Baking soda
 
 
Baking soda has long been known to be an effective breath-freshener, tooth polisher, and teeth whitener. Mixing it into a paste with water works as well as toothpaste, without unnecessary chemicals. While it does not contain fluoride, your teeth might never miss it anyway. Studies are increasingly showing that fluoride is incredibly toxic to ingest, and while it can be beneficial for your teeth topically, is not inherently necessary for the health of your teeth. Not to get all political on you, but the only studies that show fluoride IS beneficial for your teeth are funded by American Dental Association-approved programs. (In fact, this organization works really hard to run all holistic-dentistry out of business. Look into it!)
 
To improve the strength and health of your teeth fluoride-free, Dr. Collin’s Restore is an excellent choice. It re-mineralizes your teeth to protect against enamel breakdown, sensitivity, and cavities. Plus you still get that minty-fresh taste. My daughter’s paternal grandfather is an oral surgeon who has confirmed that the ingredients of this toothpaste suggest the efficacy in all its claims! 
 
Teeth whitener & oral health:
 
-Cold-pressed untoasted sesame oil or unrefined coconut oil
 
Oil pulling, the act of swishing oil around in your mouth for a period of time, has been used for hundreds of years in Eastern Medicine to detox the entire body for a wide array of health benefits. While the scientific evidence has yet to show whether these claims are true or not, it has already confirmed one thing: your entire mouth will be cleaner and healthier. Oil pulling has been shown to stop the growth of Streptoccus bacteria- the main cause of tooth decay, protect against plaque/gingivitus, and significantly whiten teeth in just a couple uses. 
 
I brush my teeth with baking soda and floss beforehand, so the oil doesn’t work on cleaning what it doesn’t need to, and swish 1 tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil around in my mouth for 15-20 minutes. Sometimes it mixes with my spit a lot and my mouth gets really full, so I spit it out and grab some new coconut oil to keep going if my 20 minutes aren’t up yet. Make sure you spit the oil out in the garbage, not the sink! Coconut oil solidifies at certain temperatures, and you don’t want it doing that in your pipes and clogging them up! I rinse my mouth out thoroughly when I’m through (it’s thought to contain a lot of the toxins from your mouth after oil pulling) and that’s it!
 
Extra, extra white teeth:
 
-Hydrogen peroxide
 
Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in all tooth-whitening products. The reason there are so many strips, trays, and gels on the market is because they supply a concentrated dose, as well as being sticky enough to stay on your teeth for a while so it can actually get to work in a short period of time. The additional chemicals and gunk that they add are not good for your teeth, and even worse for you body- which is not good news because you end up ingesting them in small amounts every time you put them on your teeth. A hydrogen peroxide rinse works as well as any high-end whitener if you use it consistently, and sometimes better. A Crest White Strip can’t get in between all the cracks and crevices of your teeth- those stay stained. Not so with the hydrogen peroxide rinse! Add one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts water and swish for a couple minutes every day for professional-like results.
 
What about acne?
 
Although I’ve had my fair share of breakouts, I’m blessed enough to not struggle with them very frequently or significantly. Even so, thanks to the above natural skincare methods and a clean diet, my skin is the best it’s ever been. I used to be crazy about my skincare- spending most of my money on expensive and trendy products, washing once or twice a day, a new mask or skin cream at night, eye creams, anti-acne spot treatments, you name it. I had drawers full of department store and drug store products that worked half as well as an organic, vegan diet does for me now. Cutting out dairy and having a green smoothie every morning does more for me than that entire chest of drawers ever did! 
 
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(My morning “Glowing Green Smoothie“!)
 
I read a story recently in a magazine about women who eat Ramen noodles to afford pricey skin creams, and I was horrified. If these women only knew that they need to do the opposite for good skin! Fruits and vegetables, more than any other foods, contain a wide array of vitamins, nutrients, and anti-oxidants that are necessary for proper functioning and beauty alike. The more real nutrition that you get from your food, the more your body can use it for beauty and wellness. Your body needs nutrition first for normal, every day processes (because these are necessary for life). If there’s anything left over, your body can devote that to beauty, detoxification and wellness (because these are secondary). And that’s only if there’s any LEFT OVER. Most of us only get a serving or two of raw fruits and vegetables a day- if any- and it ALL goes to the basic processes! No wonder we see signs of gray hair and crow’s feet at age 28. 
 
I could talk about nutrition all day, as it’s a huge passion of mine, but I’ll move on. Another way to combat acne healthfully is to detoxify your body from fluoride. I just got on a little rant about fluoride in the toothpaste section, but let me tell you how it relates to your skin. Fluoride, as I said, is incredibly toxic for the human body when ingested. There are zero proven benefits, and only shown detriments. It likes to accumulate it in your body- like your brain, disrupting mental processes, and your bones, significantly weakening them. Did you know countries with fluorinated drinking water all have significantly higher osteoporosis rates? It’s uncanny.
 
Aside from many other hazards, it has an effect on a small portion of the population that is lesser-known in the dermatological community called “fluoroderma“, which is a condition caused by fluoride sensitivity that produces extreme acne that does not clear up very well even with the help of prescriptions or topical treatments. 
 
A cheap and easy way to protect your brain, bones, and skin from fluoride in your drinking water is to detox it out. This can be done by supplementing either boron or melatonin, both of which are very good for you outside of the detoxing purposes, too. I take melatonin supplements when I go to bed, and they improve my sleep. They’re cheap and safe, as melatonin naturally occurs in your body. Fluoride disrupts the production of melatonin in your brain, however, so putting it back in your body through a supplement helps replace it again. 
 
Boron is very effective for getting fluoride out from all areas of your body, and one easy way to take it is in simple old Borax. Yeah, Borax, the stuff in the laundry isle. Borax is not regulated by the FDA, so they don’t recommend it for human ingestion, although it is perfectly safe. Borax is just sodium tetraborate- a type of salt. It’s not a very tastey type of salt, which is why we don’t usually eat it, but we certainly could, if we wanted to. 1/8 of a teaspoon is all you need a day to continually detox the fluoride from your body and protect against buildup. Because it doesn’t taste very good, I add it to citrus drinks like orange juice to mask the flavor. Similar to adding a pinch of table salt to orange juice, a pinch of borax just cuts down on the acidity of the orange juice and makes it taste a little sweeter. I also add it to my morning cup of coffee, and it cuts down on the acidity level of that too, making it less bitter. A pinch here and there quickly adds up to 1/8 tsp, and that’s all it takes. A box of the stuff costs under $10, and you can imagine how long it takes to get through one when you use 1/8 tsp at a time. That’s a small price to pay for your well being!
 
If you have well water, don’t think you don’t need to detox fluoride too! Juices, sodas, soups, and all sorts of other processed and pre-packaged foods or restaurant foods and drinks contain fluorinated water. Even some bottled-waters, and the frappe you got at Starbucks last week. It’s all over the place, and your body has a hard time getting rid of it. If you haven’t detoxed it, chances are almost certain that you need to.
 
So there you have it! A little lesson on good skin and health, the natural way. Don’t take my word for it- try it out for yourself! 🙂

I’ll Never Shampoo My Hair Again, EVER. (Seriously!)

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(It had been 6 weeks since I shampooed my hair when I took this picture!)
(**EDITED 8/12/14) This past year I have been in the process of weeding out the chemicals in my life. The kind of unnecessary chemicals that are in cleaning products, skincare, hair care, makeup, non-organic produce, and so forth. I’ve chosen to do this partially to lessen my carbon footprint, and mostly for my personal health and well-being. Not to mention it’s cheaper!
Along the way I stopped using shampoo and conditioner. This may sound weird for some, or even “gross”, but I swear to you that it isn’t. I’m excited enough about it that I want to write a post to explain why you might want to give it a try too!
I came across this concept, that has been known as the “No Poo” movement, while reading online. I don’t personally like to call it that- I can’t get past the fact that poo is usually a nickname for poop, and I’m totally not into that when we’re talking about my hair. In any case, those who go “No Poo” do actually still wash their hair. We actually still condition it too. And the way we do it is actually way, way better for your hair.
So why not shampoo?
First of all, shampoo is a detergent, meaning it strips your hair completely of its natural oils. While none of us want yucky, greasy hair, stripping the oils away completely is actually counter-productive. Your scalp recognizes that all the oils are gone, and starts to pump out extra. This is why those of you who shower and wash your hair every day actually NEED to wash your hair every day: because your hair legitimately gets greasy faster than the hair of those who don’t wash their hair every day! You’ve taught it to do this. (You skin actually does this too, while we’re on the topic. This is why moisturizing after washing your face is a good idea- your skin will want to pump out extra oil if you leave it with that tight, dry feeling. And we know that’s definitely no good for acne!)
Shampoo also contains many hazardous chemicals, including fragrances, which are usually carcinogenic (aka cancer-causing) and not so friendly to your lungs when you take a whiff, DMDM hydantoin (allergy aggravator), and 1,4-dioxane (which The Environmental Protection Agency has labeled as a human carcinogen as well). Not to mention what they add in each different variety.
Also, it’s expensive! Depending on what brand you buy, what type of hair you have, and what scent you like, you might end up paying anywhere from $8-$20 every month or two. That may seem like a normal expense, but what if it’s not necessary? You could save a lot!
How do I get my hair clean, then?
That’s the best part. Baking soda! Stick with me here- it works, you guys. I had a few concerns when I wanted to try washing my hair with baking soda, too. The first is that I thought I was going to need A LOT of baking soda to wash my hair as well as shampoo. The second was whether or not it was even going to work as well as shampoo anyway. I had tried putting things like cornstarch and dry shampoo in my hair on off-days when it started getting greasy, and while it worked, it never cleaned my hair from that greasy feeling like shampoo did.
To my happy surprise, I didn’t need that much baking soda to do the trick, and yes, it cleaned my hair just as well as shampoo did. It didn’t have the nice scent like shampoo or lather into bubbles, but I’d gladly sacrifice that for the health and cost benefits.
Baking soda also doesn’t strip the oils completely from your hair, even though It totally feels like it does. No oily-ness in sight. That might sound like a half-ass job at washing your hair, but the best part is, it’s actually better. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but when you stop stripping your hair’s natural oils away completely, you won’t get greasy as often!  Your hair learns to stop pumping out extra oil all the time, and your hair gets LESS greasy the MORE you substitute baking soda for shampoo.
What about conditioner?
This is the other half of the equation, and equally exciting! I don’t use conditioner either- and let me tell you what, my hair is actually stronger, shinier, and less dry & brittle thanks to apple cider vinegar and raw (unrefined) coconut oil. A couple tablespoons of ACV in a big glass of water is all you need to condition your hair. People like to use it as a “rinse”, but I like to make sure that my dry ends get thoroughly moisturized before anything else, so I dip them in the cup and let them soak for a minute before dumping all over the rest of my hair. Then I let it sit for a few minutes while I do something else, like wash my face, and rinse it off. It does smell vinegar-y, but that smell goes away mostly after rinsing and ultimately, completely after drying.
So why ACV? Most importantly, it has a natural pH of 4.25-5.0 when undiluted. Your hair’s natural, healthy pH likes to be somewhere similar (see the table below), or just slightly more alkaline than that. Water’s pH is a neutral 7.0, and a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar is all it takes for that water to become the perfect pH for your hair.
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The amazing part about this is that when your hair is at a healthy pH level, it can function correctly. The cuticle is naturally smooth and seals itself against further chemical and heat damage. You don’t need to coat your hair shaft with chemicals to protect it from these things- with apple cider vinegar, your hair can do that by itself! It also helps the pH of your scalp (see “skin” in the graph above)- eliminating dandruff, along with clearing away product buildup from mousses, gels, and hairspray, AND rinses off whatever leftover dirt and oil is still there.
Normal conditioners that you buy at the store don’t account for your hair’s pH at all. Instead, they use oils and silicone to make it feel smooth and temporarily help make the cuticle less rough. These are not necessarily good for your hair, despite how they make it feel, and regardless of what the packaging says, they cannot actually penetrate the shaft and nourish your hair on the inside. In fact, it was just a couple decades ago that hair conditioner’s main ingredient was sheep sebum. Sebum- you know, like the stuff your shampoo just scrubbed away?
Coconut oil, however, DOES penetrate your skin and hair, nourishing them both from the inside. This is due to two different components of unrefined coconut oil, which “has a ‘medium chain’ of 12 carbon atoms but the size of the molecule is only part of the puzzle. The shape of the molecule is also important. Coconut oil is highly saturated which means the carbon atoms are “filled up” with hydrogen atoms. In addition, the molecule is a straight chain with no branching.  Most oil is unsaturated (not all the carbons are ‘filled up’ and the molecule is branched.) This difference in configuration allows the coconut oil molecules to slip in between the inter-cellular spaces in the hair’s cuticle layer so it can penetrate into the cortex. …Most other oils do not have this ability. None of the other oils penetrate like coconut oil, but all of them can help lubricate hair. However, since they do not penetrate, they need to be used in a leave on product like a hairdressing. When delivered from a conditioner or other rinse off product, they will simply go down the drain.” *Please note that unrefined, or raw, coconut oil is the only kind of coconut oil with these special medium-chain fatty acids. Refined has been altered to withstand higher heats, and therefore is just pure saturated fat- which cannot penetrate into your hair or skin.
*Edit: many people have commented and asked how I use the coconut oil. Since the coconut oil makes my hair so greasy, I use it as a deep conditioning mask overnight, and wash it out in the morning.
Research shows that hair can absorb around 15% of its weight in coconut oil in an hour. An overnight soaking oil (six hours) increases absorption to around 20% or 25%!
I only have two qualms with this new type of conditioning:
1) Apple cider vinegar doesn’t leave your hair silky-smooth when you get out of the shower. It will be when it dries (much smoother than normal, in fact), but the lack of that yucky, plastic-y silicone in your hair means that you have no extra coat of silky gunk on top of your hair. This is a good thing, but it does make for some rougher-feeling wet hair. A key tip here is to make sure your hair is brushed, combed, and totally de-tangled (this is especially important for long hair like mine!) BEFORE showering, so you don’t tangle it up while it’s wet. I can get past that knowing that what I’m doing is actually better for it, though!
2) With coconut oil it is impossible to get out of your hair with just the baking soda. You must use soap of some kind to effectively wash it all… but I think that once a week or a few times a month, I’m okay with that for the deep-conditioning I get from the coconut oil. I just try to use products that contain natural ingredients (like Dr. Bonner’s)!
Measurements and tips: You can use regular white distilled vinegar, especially if you’re blonde, but it’s significantly more acidic, so the standard is 1 teaspoon per cup (8 oz) of water. Apple cider vinegar takes 1-2 tablespoons per cup (8 oz) of water. ACV rinses are safe for color treated hair- mine is part colored, part natural (I’m growing the color out) and it’s worked beautifully on both. I use anywhere from 1/3-1/2 cup of baking soda for a wash, and all you need to do is rub it right into your hair and scalp! Concentrate on the scalp area more than anything, as it’s the main area that needs clarifying. You can make a paste ahead of time, but it’s really unnecessary because when you put dry baking soda on wet hair, it has the same effect anyway.
*Edit: THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! !
A lot of people have written in about how terrible this can be for your hair, about why you shouldn’t use it, etc. This is because the baking soda is very alkaline (aka the opposite pH that you want for your hair). People often mistakenly use baking soda instead of shampoo and skip the apple cider vinegar step. DO NOT DO THIS! The ACV is the step that makes your hair healthier- the baking soda is simply used as a way to get rid of the oils for people who are used to shampooing. In order to re-balance your hair’s pH after the baking soda, you MUST RINSE WITH VINEGAR AND WATER! !
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My hair after 8 weeks with this treatment! (It’s messy because I just took it down from a top-knot, but it’s strong, shiny, healthy, and grease-free!) 
Reference:
-Quantitative measurement of the penetration of coconut oil into human hair using radio-labeled coconut oil. JSCC, 2012, Vol 63.

Untitled

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In your eyes I see

Their reflections staring back at me;

Naïve, innocent, like mine aren’t-

Believing what falls from those lips

Like we know I never will;

And I envy them

For feeling like they had you.

Rose colored glasses I started to wear

Creep into my mind,

And I miss them-

Who you are was so beautiful

When I loved you.