Going Shampoo-less

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The road towards a healthier life is not an easy one. You can’t take an escalator all the way to the top, it is a step by step process. I am by no means considered a healthy person but I have become more conscious of my actions and what impact it has on the society. Living in a chaotic, never stopping concrete jungle it is very easy to fall into and contribute to the city’s pollution. I have to come into realization that I will not be able to fix the city’s dangerous pollution but I have to take responsibility for my own contribution, whether or not it will have a positive impact on the environment.

It is quite clear to foreigners and Egyptians that Cairo does not have any green public spaces. And if it does, it is all privatized and enjoyed by the privilege which leads most of the population behind. I am a strong believer that nature is the cure to our soul, it is the way towards knowing God and being closer to Him. When you hinder people from decoding their stress and rejuvenate their energy than the country is building an aggressive and resentful beings.

What does this all have to do with going “shampoo-less” a.k.a no poo? Well, since the air in Cairo is nothing but a poison. Apart from trying to build a mini garden and eating healthier, I also questioned what else was I doing that could harm my body? Using conventional house products was one of those things that I’ve completely eliminated from my cleaning routine. Instead, I use apple cider vinegar for everything related to cleaning and more.

On a rare moment where I watch t.v, one of those dr. shows was on and a guest had explained how she had not washed her hair with shampoo for 5 or more years. At first, everyone in the audience were frazzled by this concept. However, as she explained how much we are exposed to chemicals on our daily life and how shampoo strips our natural oils and that not too long ago we were not using shampoo, all of this starter making sense.

Immediately after having watched the show, I started making my own research for alternatives to using shampoo and came across the “no poo” terminology. I found a lot of alternatives that were just overwhelming and would take a lot of organization to go on the “no poo” journey. The simplest alternative to shampoo was by washing my hair with banking soda and apple cider vinegar. It didn’t require any work since I already have those products, so all I had to do is just start. I said goodbye to my store shampoo and conditioners and nevertheless saw great results. For moisturizer, I always use a fusion of almond, castor and coconut oil on my hair but this time I try to cut it down to allow my scalp to product the natural oils.

For a couple of weeks everything was dandy but afterwards, I’ve noticed that my hair was breaking and my ends where very dry. One of my daughter who has similar hair to mine was having the same issue. Although our hair looked better than when we were using regular shampoo and conditioner, the dryness and breakage was driving me crazy. I once again jumped online and made more research on the “no poo” journey and came to find out that baking powder has a very high PH level that our hair is not able to handle, therefore experiencing breakage and dryness is very normal.

I came across another alternative to shampoo that required blending canned coconut milk and aloe vera and rinsing the hair with diluted apple cider vinegar. This combination is so refreshing to the scalp and even skin, definitely living your body moist and soft. There was a lot of this mixture left behind so I just froze the rest in ice cubicle batches. However, this method left my hair feeling waxy on my scalp and oily. Although I loved the moist and how soft it makes my skin and hair feel, it was as though I had too much oil in my hair.

After not using banking soda on my hair for about a month, I had go back to this method to wash all the build up oils but this time I used a little less baking soda than usual. The outcome had my hair feeling lighter, airy and brought my natural color back to life. I also had found out through my research that the type of water you wash your hair with can have also an impact on the health of your hair. Water alone is sufficient to wash away the dirt in the hair but it all depends whether or not you living in a region that has hard or soft water. Hard water has a lot of harmful chemicals and minerals that also strip away the natural oils of the hair. Unfortunately, Cairo falls under the hard water category but there are some things you can do to repair the damage that hard water creates.

One step you can take is buying a filter for the shower but if that is expensive one can use rain water by putting a clean bucket outside until filled. If you live in the desert and almost no rain all year round and don’t have a filter than making a hair mask once in a while can be very helpful. You can use either the coconut milk/aloe water mixture or mask that I find helpful to remove dandruff and dryness is using olive oil with turmeric spices and leave in the hair and/or skin for 30-1 hr.

In conclusion, my hair is still not the way I want it to look and feel like with all of my experience with the “no poo” method. I am quite positive that the water in Cairo is not doing any good towards my hair either which is something I have to live with or invest in a shower filter. In the mean time, I realized that not all shampoo alternatives work for everyone. The “no poo” journey is a definitely a trial and error but patients is required and I have hope I will come across either an already all natural shampoo or a recipe alternatives. Although, my hair in the mean time is no where perfect or how I want it to be, I can tell it is definitely healthier because I no longer have dandruff and my natural color is slowly appearing. Also, this step I took towards eliminating conventional shampoos got me thinking of other healthy steps I can take next. Food is definitely one of the biggest challenges but I am eager to master healthy eating habits and share it with you all.

30 Things I’ve learned in 30 years

My birthday is coming up very soon and since I’ve been having lots of contractions on and off , I don’t think I will last until my due day month of August. I thought I would share what I’ve learned in my 30 years. It will not be in any order, it will be just random thoughts that pop into my head as I write. I just hope I can think of 30 things. Here we go!

  1. My mamma always told me in Portuguese, “You catch bees with honey.” This saying has many interpretations but what I took from it is, to be kind, it will take your further than rudeness.
  2. Being patient does not mean you sit around waiting for something to happen. You have to work hard even if it means waiting forever to see the outcome of your hard work.
  3. Crying and letting your emotions out does not mean you are weak, it means you have courage to deal and confront with your problems and emotions.
  4. Mothers are always right! My mamma told me I will understand her when I have kids of my own and oh boy was she right about that!
  5. My crown is my hijab. I wear my faith on my head and there is nothing more powerful than that. It keeps me in check and conscious of my every action.
  6. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. First impressions are not the most important at all. Great people can pass right by you because of misjudging at first glance.
  7. Everyone has a story worthy of telling. Worldly problems can be solved through story telling, we would soon discover how similar we are than different.
  8. You can’t change the world but you can work in changing yourself and hopefully something good will come out of it.
  9. Things never happen according to our plans. It doesn’t mean we can’t work hard towards our goals and dreams. But I strongly believe that God has a better plan than we do. There are things that we want right now that can actually harm us, if our plans are shifted by God’s will it’s for a purpose.
  10. If something is meant to cross your journey it will and if it is not meant it will not.
  11. Never assume! So much negativity comes out from assuming something of someone or situation. The truth is only God knows our true intentions and if we don’t ask because we assume we know everything than we stay in a stage of ignorance.
  12. The best stories come from our elderly friends. Truly they are like libraries, if we do not communicate with them, we miss out on a lot of experiences, expertise and knowledge.
  13. To take care of your health. Health is best richness we will ever have. Health is worth more than money. We shouldn’t take health for granted and try to take care our body, mind and soul as much as we can.
  14. Society has undertaken the value of a mother. Being a stay at home mother is viewed as a failure in life and a waste of time. Stay at home mothers don’t get the same respect as a women who establishes her career and is aggressive in the workforce.
  15. Societies that value and support motherhood are overall a more successful society. Take some European countries as an example, such as, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands ect. look at their crime rates and quality of life.
  16. Peace and tranquility lies in the remembrance of God and not in beautiful island far away.
  17. Men and women are not created equal that doesn’t mean we are not equally important and valued. I should not strive to be the same as men nor should I want to strive to be like a men for the sake of his manhood but for his motives and accomplishments. Giving men the standard of what a women should strive for is just reiterating that women are inferior and to be superior like them, we should work to be the same as them.
  18. A person’s self value does not come by the things one has or achievements but rather by ones intentions and good action.
  19. What use does knowledge have if one uses for evil?
  20. Knowledge is everywhere it is not restricted by standard education.
  21. You may look to your right and find someone who is in much better situation than you but if you look to your left you will find someone else in a worst situation. Be grateful.
  22. Look for the things that you do have and not what you don’t have.
  23. Don’t take your mood out on people. This is actually very hard for me because I can’t control my emotions very well, whether its anger, sadness or happiness so I tend to act the way I feel but the reality is, no one deserves to be treated unkindly only because we are not having a good day.
  24. Everything has it’s time. Another one that is hard for me as well. We might see everyone else successful around us while we are stuck in a puddle but we don’t know what the future has installed for us.
  25. There is no such thing as a picture perfect. What we see in the exterior might not be what we really think it is. Doesn’t mean someone that looks happy in the exterior is actually in a stage of contentment.
  26. This wordily life is not meant to find happiness it is meant to find God and our purpose in this life.
  27. Kids are not a burden they are a blessing. I am tired of hearing how expensive and time consuming kids are. There is nothing more worthy in this world than passing along your legacy and hard work that one puts towards raising your kids.
  28. Let go a bit! I used to pride myself of being spontaneous and going with the flow. Now, I feel I am very controlling and have to organize my time. Although, I believe it is good to have some sort of organization in your life, it is important to let go of things and try to enjoy unpredictable moments.
  29. Traveling is the most enlightening experience in the world.
  30. Spend your money wisely. Oh how I wish I could take my own advise!

Wow, I can’t believe I made it to number 30 and I can’t wait to have 60/70/80 and 90 more tricks under my sleeve. Let me know what were some of your life’s biggest lessons. I would love to learn from you.

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How to get ready to go out with kids

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You need to leave the house for whatever reason and you are in a rush but your kids are throwing a tantrum and your heart is beating at 100 mph. You are ready to give up, scream or cry. You think to yourself, “is the outing worth all of this chaos?”

As a new mommy, the first outing is the hardest, we have to get the child ready, prepare the baby’s bag, get dressed and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. The more kids you have the more challenging it becomes. Before having kids, all we had to worry was ourselves, there wasn’t any diaper bag to be packed nor was there any necessities to carry snacks around. Obviously going from one step to 3 or more steps before leaving the house can be chaotic at first. I will share with you some tips I’ve learned along the way that I think will help with this problem.

I learned this first tip in college living with a Belorussian roommate but I didn’t practice it until becoming a mom.

  1. Limit the amount of clothe you have in your closet. I got rid of a lot a clothe and stopped buying excessively, like I used to prior to being a mother. This Belorussian roommate had literally 7 outfits. She would wake up 20 min before having to leave the house and get dressed really fast and off she went. Don’t be fooled, she always looked great because she had a couple of good pieces that she would wear continuously.
  2. De clutter the closet and your house. I try to go to one room at a time and find things that are not useful anymore and I either throw it away or donate it to a family member. Not having a tone of miscellaneous items around will help you concentrate during the times you are in a rush to leave the house.
  3. Get storage items, boxes, drawers to throw crap inside. All of us have these random items that don’t make sense but we feel like one day we might need it so we like to keep them around. The best thing is to have a drawer or any storage that we can throw these items in. This helps with quick cleaning and decluttering the mind.
  4. I am not one of those women that prepare things overnight but one thing that helped me getting out of the house quickly, is having my bag with the essentials at all times. This includes, diapers, wipes, water and quick snack where I can grab and insert into my bag.
  5. I think this tip is the most important one. Help your child become independent and take responsibility for herself. I was lucky because my first child really wanted to do pretty much everything by herself. I just had to teach her how to do it right, sometimes she didn’t even let me help her which would take a very long time to get ready but it’s now paying off. At 4 years old, she can pick all her items from her closet and get dressed all by herself. My second child was not ready to be independent as early as my first but that’s ok. As she is watching her big sister dress herself, she is eager to try out herself too.
  6. Having a uniform. What I mean about this is, sorting out your clothe by what event you have for the day. For example, I have clothe that I wear only for errand purposes,  casual sporting clothe if I am going to a sporting club or playground, dark clothe when I think I might get a little dirty mostly shopping in souqs, cotton/linen for really hot days and the most important clothe that I have when I will go out alone without the kids or frequenting a nice place.
  7. Having pieces in your closet that are seasonal friendly or that fit you. When summer comes there is no need to have your winter clothe occupying space in the closet and vise versa. Also having items that fit, whether it is too small or too big, either donate or storage it outside of your closet.
  8. I also stopped buying a lot of kids clothe. I just buy the most essential and sort them out by outings as well. If I am going to perform an errand than mostly likely they will be wearing shorts and a t-shirt and so forth.
  9. This next tip is something I just recently adapted into my routine which is wearing the same outfit more than one day and especially when it comes to kids clothing. I used to see a little stain in my daughter’s clothe and I would throw in the laundry. I seemed to have endless amount of laundry that entailed mostly children’s clothe. Now if I see one stain I make my daughters wear it again the next day.
  10. Lastly, invest in few but very good quality items. I don’t shop as much as I used to but when I need something, I will invest in good quality items. I also try to compare prizes for certain things that I need to buy, instead of purchasing at the first store. This implies for the items that I use in the daily basis such as my bag and shoes. For my kid’s shoes I try to buy a very good quality so that it can be passed around for the next child. I also buy items that can go with many things such as simple sneaker that can be dressed up or down. I usually buy one pair or sneakers and than one sandal for summer and one pair of warm shoes for winter.

These are just some tips that have worked for me but the most essential thing is to create a routine and have the children get involved. It doesn’t have to be the 10 tips I wrote above. Having things that you do every day to help you get out of the house as stress free as possible, will soon become second nature to you. I am sure we all experienced having the kids running behind us like little ducklings when we are trying to leave the house which can be a little irritable. If you include your child in the process it will make things easier for example, telling your child to turn off the tv, getting the water from the fridge and so forth.

Let me know what are some tips that helped you get out of the house as quickly and stress free as possible.