Feeling Particularly Irish

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After nine months without coloring my hair I’m finally a redhead again. And it feels so good. When I decided to leave my brunette days behind me two birthdays ago I was taking a risk; plunging into the first hours of my birthday with new locks.

Now being a redhead is fantastic. I could live the rest of my days this way. But with every application over the months I’ve grown to hate my use of this commercial, chemical dye. I feed my body whole foods & I apply only natural ingredients on my skin.

Honestly, I felt like a hypocrite with every purchase. It was as if every box was lined with a dusting of guilt, and with every new box the guilt grew a bit more.

How can I talk of the importance of natural health when I’m poisoning my body with every application? When I’m supporting the industry I openly oppose with every purchase?

So I made the decision to quit the box. And for nine months I went without.

There were the few awkward months of noticeable roots. When I would find myself at the store standing in the isle of coloring agents, staring longingly at my favorite green box. I’d stare at the price tag. Pick up the box. Turn it over in my hands, feeling the slickness of the label. Take a couple quick steps, before my right hand could figure out what my left was doing. Then came the reprimand, where I’d make myself turn around, putting it back begrudgingly. All the while muttering under my breath, arguing with myself.
And repeat.
Two or three times.

Yeah. I was a little desperate. And I’m sure there were other women in the isle who thought I might be a tad crazy.

But after a while the vibrancy of my red faded & turned into a cool ombré effect that was super popular last summer. And for a couple months I forgot that I missed my red hair.

Then September snuck up on me & I remembered my red hair experiment two birthdays ago. For the last year or so I have been contemplating switching to a completely natural hair dye: henna. But at the time it was easier to stick with my favorite green box because I knew it worked. I knew what I was getting every single time.

Last week I decided to find out if I could leave my green box behind for good. I bought a tub of Rainbow brand henna in Persian Red online. There were no “example” pictures, no indication to what color might procure other than the title & its one ingredient: red henna. It comes in a lovely tub, in powder form. The application was a little different, finding the right consistency – the ratio of powder & water – took a bit of time. It smelled lovely, like freshly brewed tea. And looked like melted chocolate. I managed not to stain my skin at all, thanks to my mama who took the time to apply it for me. The booklet suggested a bit over an hour for setting without heat, I disregarded that & contemplated sleeping with it in since it was already seven in the evening. In the end I couldn’t stand the wait. I needed to know if there was red hiding beneath the thick chocolate mask.

And there was. A beautiful, natural shade of red. Almost exactly what my green box gave me.

And I’m so happy. My eyes even turned green as I washed the henna out. It was pretty magical.

The only downside of henna is that it fades within 6 weeks, washing out slowly from the hair. Where a permanent color fades, but sticks around. The henna I bought was a few dollars cheaper than the green box (which is what ultimately caused me to pull the trigger). I’m hoping to find my new favorite henna locally, paying five dollars in shipping for a 4 oz tub is ridiculous. I’m all about the savings.

Anyway. That’s my henna story. I have no excuses now when it comes to coloring my hair. And it is really, really simple to do. And so worth knowing that I’m not harming my body anymore. Yay for natural beauty!

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A Spicy, Sweet Concoction for Coughs

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08 March 2013

Whenever I get a cold the thing I dislike most about it is the coughing. The coughs that are dry, like a cat’s sand-papery tongue licking your esophagus clean, causing your eyes to water up in discomfort.  Those are the coughs that I detest.

Growing up whenever we caught a cold it  meant regimens of cough medicine during the day & Nyquil. That was the norm, we didn’t know any different. But now that I’m older & my viewpoints on the food industry have changed drastically, I’ve rid my medicine cabinet of all conventional medication apart from ibuprofen. I don’t eat anything I don’t know the ingredients of & when it comes to medicine I am no different. Plus, all those cough medicines tastes awful. I don’t know who thought of those “flavors” but they did a terrible job.

“Good for you” some of you might be cheering.

Or perhaps more are thinking  “You’re crazy to not take medicine & living with the pain, you hippie”.

But this story doesn’t end with my throat being left raw & fragile! I bring you good news! I found something that I am so in love with I needed to share it. A natural, homemade cough suppressant. That tastes GOOD!

It’s hard to believe, I know. But if you’re a health nut like me you’ll be excited when you hear it has both ginger & cayenne in it. Yum! I found the original recipe here on Good Food Matters and it goes a little something like this:

¼ teaspoon Cayenne
¼ teaspoon Ginger
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)
2 Tablespoon Water
1 Tablespoon Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)

Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough.

It’s the only thing I’ll take & it works like a charm. Spicy, and sweet. Along with taking it straight, like to add a tablespoon to 8 oz of hot water & sip on it. The only problem I find in this recipe is that it contains honey, which cannot be given to infants under one year, so in the future – distant future – when I have kids hopefully I’ll have found an alternative recipe to use if a cough should arise.

Please give it a try, my friends & say farewell to scary, mystery ingredient cold medicines.