Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bye Bye Chemical Hair Products!!

This post might be a tad bit unusual to some because it goes against everything we've been taught about personal hygiene. I have now been 2 months without using shampoo or any kind of cleaner in my hair other than an avo mask and some coconut oil and argan oil to enhance my natural curls and moisturize slightly in the dry Joburg climate and now still in Canada  because the cold is knocking. To be quite honest I was very skeptical going into this, I've always had oily hair and generally only washed my hair twice a week but I thought that my hair would just go so oily without shampoo and that it would essentially be a nightmare. But I'm all for experimenting and since my significant other was the first guinea pig for this one and it seemed to be working very well for him, I told myself that it was definitely worth a try for experiment' sake and also to eliminate more chemicals from my daily life and from my body.

So to my surprise, I don’t think I've ever had nicer hair. My natural curls are more defined and my hair is soft and easy to manage. When I was using shampoos and conditioners as well as many other expensive hair products, my hair would fall flatter and the curls didn’t really stand out at all. I used to blow dry and straighten my hair so that it looked good and it was high maintenance. All that stress on my hair caused it to actually look worse than it can without it all. The damage that all those chemical products does to our hair is quite obvious to me now. It doesn’t really make sense to strip our hair of all its natural oils and then use products to counteract the drying effects of it.  Now All I have to do it rinse it well and massage my scalp every day or every other day and apply a bit of organic cold-pressed coconut oil and let it dry naturally.

 I must say its such a relief that I don’t have to go through the whole process anymore. I used to dread washing my hair because I just didn’t feel like doing it all. Now there's absolutely no issues. I do have to give my hair the occasional Argan oil treatment because I'm in dire need of a haircut and the ends are dry from past chemical processes  but it's just as simple as using coconut oil. It’s nice not to have to spend all that money on hair products as well, more savings for fruit and travelling, what's not to love about that!

The "No poo" movement is actually quite widespread nowadays and more and more people are trying it out. It's different for everyone, with some people going through a transition phase of greasiness but then having the best hair they've ever had and announcing their loyalty to the practice. One thing that cna be used as a transition tool is "washing" the hair with baking soda and water and/or an apple cider vinegar rince as well as the use of coconut or other like oils. :) 

So, who's up for it?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Transitioning and what it means to me :)

One of the biggest questions in the high carb raw world is what is the best way to transition to this new lifestyle and diet. I absolutely believe in a take it day by day pace. I first began experimenting in the whole raw foodist world just over a year ago and I have had a few frustrating moments caused by detox, impatience and a misunderstanding of my body and certain of it's functions.

Detox can be an enemy to anyone going trough a diet change, be it from SAD(standard american diet) to any level of veg or even just including more whole foods to daily meals. This is your body getting rid of toxins that are usually stored in fat or other tissues. And to get rid of them they have to go through your blood system again to get to your eliminating organs and out of your system. This causes symptoms that can be unpleasant and so make the process difficult, more for some then others. If you look at your past lifestyle, most of us have abused our bodies with processed foods, alcohol, drugs and other habits. This takes time to heal and its the main reason why I absolutely believe in transitioning from one step to another at your own pace.  I'd rather someone making small changes and succeeding than have someone try to change it all overnight and fail and thus lose faith in the the process.

My diet at the moment consists of fruit for most of the day and a cooked meal for supper. I also have better and worse days. I also love to cook and experiment in the kitchen and introduce people to the vegan lifestyle, which is one thing that slows my transition to 100% raw as well. But it is a goal of mine, but if it takes me 3 years to get there, then I'm absolutely fine with that because I will get there one day as I believe it to be the healthiest and most ethical lifestyle and its definitely for me. And so, from now on I will be including low fat cooked recipes and things in this blog to basically help spread the word on veganism as well as fruitarianism. They are both part of my life and both very worthy of my attention. Besides since they are both part of my life at the moment, I like to write about them.

So if you are a meat-eater, and you just decide to eat more whole foods and less meat, then you've definitely made a step in the right direction! One step at a time works as long as you have your steps and final goal in mind and you're always progressing then in my opinion you are on the right path. My transition from SAD to veg was easy, it was an informed decision. Besides, there's tons of alternative out there that make the transition easy if you want to keep "meat" in your taste palette for the first while. The best way to do it? Educate yourself! Read books or browse the net for reason the be veg, for scientific research or even just for forums to ask questions and gain knowledge. Also, there are plenty of documentaries and interviews to watch for free on the net. Go at your own pace, for some people the overnight thing works, others it takes longer.

Start now :) Go check out Earthlings for an ethical reason documentary or read The China Study for a scientific take on it.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Eating and Travelling: The Mysterious Ways to Get What you Want.

    So I've been out of Canada for the past 2 months and want to share my experiences travelling as a vegan/fruitarian. Most people think that being veg is a disadvantage whilst exploring the globe and I really have to disagree, it certainly has its advantages and everyone will cater to your specific dietary needs as long as you have the right attitude about it.
    Why most people worry about transitioning to a veg diet today is beyond me because I've never experienced a situation where there truly was nothing I could eat. Restaurants and other establishments will cater to anyone's  dietary needs because they want you as repeat customers, its really that simple. If you ask nicely and inform yourself properly you will get what you want.
  1. Plane food: This is actually quite an advantage to the veg people. All you have to do now to eat a veg/vegan/fruit meal is choose is choose whichever you want when you are booking your ticket online or with your travel agent and yes most airlines have a fruit meal option, just bring extra (just not any more than you can eat because although its more than ok to bring fruit into the aiplane, customs at the other end wont let you go through with it) . Another bonus is that you usually get served first and the quality of the food is generally better than the omnivore stuff from my experience.
  2. Restaurants: Here is where attitude is everything! Any restaurant will be more than happy to cater to you, besides they want you and your party to come back to eat there. Just be specific and above all polite about what it is exactly that you want and don't be afraid to ask questions! If your not sure about a menu item, ask whether there is this or that ingredient in it and if so, ask if they can accommodate you and make it without animal products or a salad with items of your choice. If you're travelling to a country that you arent fluent in their language write down a list of either things you don't ant in your meals or things that you do want while precising that you don't eat animal products. And a trick is if they seem to be giving you a hard time, just say you are allergic, their attitude with change quickly and adjustments will be made :)
  3. Airport food: This one can sometimes be tricky, especially if your at an airport late at night waiting for a delayed flight. There are a few things you can do. One is to bring along some snacks just in case, which in the end will also save you money. If you forget this, then you can basically make due, they'll usually have  some sort of veggie or fruit plate and possibly a granola bar or something that while not ideal will get you feeling not so hungry until the on-board meal.
  4. Hotel accommodations (B&B, all-inclusive…): The best thing for this one is to prepare in advance and do you research.  Most B&B's have no issues accommodating special diets and will do so with pleasure, but you may want to check into some of them that have experience in the matter and you have to be prepared to specifically explain to them what your diet entails, especially being a fruitarian and detailing what a ripe fruit is and how much you really eat. There are websites that detail which all inclusive resorts are best for veg food and fresh fruit, but I would say that the higher the rating, the better your chance of having great food. Again just give them a call in advance and before booking to ensure that you'll be comfortable on your vacation.
  5. Vacationning over at friends and family: This a a great chance to showcase how great vegan food is. If your friends and family aren't familiar with veganism or fruitarianism offer to bring along a dish or to prepare one in their home before the meal. If they are familiar with it just double check with them that there will be food that you can eat there.If you are staying for an extended period of time consider just buying your own food, especially if you are eating mostly raw :)
  6. Self-catering; One of the best options when travelling is booking a room with a fridge or a small kitchen. This enables you to have the majority of your meals your way and it's always fun (imo) to explore the markets and fruit shops in different countries to see whats available and to explore different ingredients and if you travel to an exotic destination, some great local fresh fruit!
  7. All in all, the chances of having issues with veganism or fruitarianism and travelling lie with how prepared you are. If you make the right moves and take it all with a relaxed and friendly attitude people will serve you what you want and do their best to make it a great experience. The whole point of travelling is to explore new cultures and landscapes, so concentrate on your adventure and have fun! A positive outlook will attract to you what you need :)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The elixir of life and why the bleep aren't we getting enough of it?

On my way back from South Africa, I had an 11 hour flight to Frankfurt and it really made me realize how  truly chronically dehydrated everyone is!  My co-passenger didn’t get up ONCE to go to the bathroom. To me this is crazy, mostly because of the large contrast between my use and his. I went at least 5 times plus again after I landed. The funny thing is I actually drank a little less than normal because I slept almost half the time. I casually observed the bathroom use after my nap (I was seated at the first row of economy so half the plane had to pass me to go)  and the ratio of passengers to bathroom use was very low even thought there were messages constantly displayed reminding everyone to drink liquids and stretch during the flight to avoid dehydration and uncomfort. Although it mayy seem weird that I was observing bathroom habits, it's really something of an issue in our society and after all I am a sociologist in training!

It's especially worse in planes because the air is so dry and being in that sort of closed environment is taxing on the body (and if you don’t like airplane food, actually a great time to do a little fasting). This means that if you don't drink water on a flight, especially a long one, you will feel worse for wear afterwards and even worse if you add jetlag to the mix. So why not just drink down a few botttles of (free) water in flight and avoid all that?

Although we're constantly reminded that drinking water is vital to good health, most people find it a chore to drink their recommended 8 glasses (or 1.2 liters) a day and frankly even that isn't enough. Everyone has some sort of excuse. But how about this: water is life. It's what we are principally made of and without it we cannot possibly expect to be at the peak of our health! So drinking that water (and really, the only other good source of water is fruit and veg, soft drinks and coffee don't cut it) will make you feel and look healthier, will help you lose weight and improve your everyday life.

Small changes makes big differences and everyone has their own pace to make the changes for better health and everything that comes with it. To help me drink water throughout the day I carry around a metal bottle that I constantly refill, I carry it even when I'm at home. It becomes second nature after a while and now I'm consistantly drinking well over 2 liters a day, On a good day over 3!

So get guzzling people, trust me it's allll worth it!