Homemade Shampoo With Rye Flour: Natural Pro-V for Thick, Shiny, Healthy Hair!


In our day and age shampoo is a necessity.  Everyone has it, and everyone uses it frequently.  Most commercial shampoos are made of a number of ingredients, almost all of them being chemicals, and almost none of them being natural.  Shampoo is actually a detergent, rather than a soap.  If you read the ingredients, you won’t find soap in there at all.  Many of the ingredients are questionable as far as our health goes, including potential carcinogens and developmental and reproductive toxicity such as glycol, diethanolamine DEA and cocamide DEA, methylparabens, propylparabens and formaldehyde.  Shampoos contain many thickeners, artificial fragrances and colors, and known skin irritants such as sodium laureth sulphate and alcohol.  If you can’t pronounce the words on the ingredient list, chances are you shouldn’t be pouring it on your scalp at regular intervals.

The good news is that there ARE alternatives.  Many of you have probably heard about washing your hair with baking soda.  This works in that it cleans the oil out of your hair, but it is also a strong base on the pH scale, and can dry out your hair if you use it long enough.  Some people also complain that it changes your hair color.  I used baking soda for 2 and a half years.  I liked using a 1-ingredient product that I was familiar with, but eventually I started noticing it was drying out my hair, and I started using conditioner to help with that.

Then I came across an article from another green blogger. Sonya from Kanelstrand shared her experience using rye flour. This article has inspired me to write this post.  In fact, it has brought me to great levels of excitement and I can’t help but tell everyone I see…

Rye flour.

Yes!  3 heaping tbsp. of organic, finely ground rye flour mixed with water so that it resembles a runny paste.  Rub it evenly onto your scalp and let it sit a few minutes while you finish your shower.  Then rinse off very well with warm water.

It is as easy and as cheap as that.

Does it work?
Yes!  Check out my pictures!  It leaves my hair squeaky clean, and adds a shine and softness incomparable to baking soda, or anything else.  No greasy roots, no dry ends.  No stripped hair.

Why does it leave your hair shiny and healthy?
Rye flour is loaded with vitamins, proteins and minerals.  You remember all those Pantene ads on TV where they talk about the Pro-V they add to their shampoo?  Well, the pantothenic acid they add in synthetic form is actually present in rye flour, in its natural form.  You can actually buy synthetic pantothenic acid vitamins to add to your hair to increase the strength, shine and overall health.  While those versions are man-made these occur naturally in rye flour, helping restructure dry and damaged hair, boost shine and improve manageability. Click here for more information on how pantothenic acid benefits hair.

Rye flour also contains all the vitamin Bs, vitamin E, and phytonutrients such as lignans, phenolic acids, phytic acid, plant sterols and saponins which are also used to help with hair re-growth and even skin regeneration.

Rye flour is naturally perfectly pH balanced.  This is a huge reason why you should use it over baking soda.  Rye flour tests 5.5 on the pH scale which is the same as our hair, and so will not dry it out or strip it of its natural oils.

What kind of rye flour to buy?
I use certified organic dark rye flour that is finely ground.  (ie. you can’t see bits of husk in it).  I have a flour mill so will likely try grinding my own soon…

Who shouldn’t use it?
Those with Celiac disease should not use it since rye flour contains gluten.

Is it easy to switch to using rye flour?
As with the baking soda method, you may experience a period of time when your scalp and hair adjust to the change.  If you have been shampooing every day with a regular commercial shampoo you may notice a few weeks where your hair gets greasier faster, but you may not experience it at all.

Can I use a conditioner with it?
Yes you can.  Or you can use apple cider vinegar (with a ratio of 1 cup water to 1 tbsp. vinegar) as a rinse.  Pour it on your hair, let it sit a moment, then rinse well.  Once your hair dries, it no longer smells like vinegar.  Apple Cider Vinegar works as a detangler.

Tips:

  • After washing with rye flour, rinse VERY WELL to make sure there is no flour left in your hair.  It will itch… I have done it.
  • Do not use if you have Celiac Disease.
  • Make sure the flour you use is finely ground and doesn’t contain bits of husk or you’ll be brushing that out of your hair forever.

For more information on washing your hair with rye flour read:
Kanelstrand: Homemade Shampoo Review: Rye Flour
Washing Hair Without Shampoo: Rye Flour

This post has been shared on From The Farm Blog Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #112, and Heritage Homesteaders Blog Hop #4.

 

7 Snacks You Should Never Buy Again (Plus Recipes)

We all know eating whole food is vital to our health. Making meals from scratch and baking from scratch can eliminate the unknowns and unnecessaries in your diet. Since we know all this, why are the grocery stores full of premade meals, baked goods, and packaged snacks? That’s easy. Because it is easy. And quick. Time is always of the essence to most people and it is much easier to buy it than make it. Or is it?

Here are my picks for 7 snacks you can easily make at home with minimal time and effort. The best part is how surprisingly easy they are to make!

  1. Yogurt
    Store-bought yogurt usually contains thickeners, artificial colors and flavours, high amounts of sugar and preservatives.  The ingredients may be GMO.  You can EASILY make thick, rich, creamy yogurt from milk, cream and a yogurt starter or a Tbsp. of plain yogurt.  So easily you’ll wonder why you have never done it before.  Click here for the recipe.
  2. Ice Cream
    Store-bought ice cream contains thickeners, ingredients to make it stay frozen longer, ingredients to make the ice cream feel creamier, artificial flavour and color, preservatives and is high in sugar.  The sugar, unless it is organic, is almost guaranteed to be GMO. With an ice cream maker you can make healthy ice cream with 3 basic ingredients: Milk and/or cream, sugar and vanilla.  That’s it!  And it tastes WAYYYYYYYYYY better.  Click here for a recipe.
  3. Granola Bars
    Once you stand and stare at your astounding selection of granola bars and then start reading labels, you’ll realize that they are pretty much just a highly processed junk food.  They contain WAY too much sugar (likely GMO unless it is organic), preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and transfats.  Granola bars are very easy to make without the above ingredients.  And they taste better too.  Click here for a link to my granola bar recipe.
  4. Fruit Leather
    Fruit Roll Ups, or any variation of fruity snacks, generally contain an alarming amount of GMO sugar, thickeners, preservatives, color and artificial flavouring.  With the use of a food dehydrator, (and can also be done in the oven), you can make your own fruit snacks from just plain mashed up fruit.  You can add a bit of honey, maple syrup or organic sugar to sweeten it a bit if necessary.  The kids love it.  Click here for my instructions
  5. Smoothies
    Don’t waste your money buying a “smoothie” from McDonalds or any other fast food restaurant selling smoothies.  If they contain real yogurt you are lucky.  They will also contain artificial color, flavour, thickeners, too much (GMO) sugar, and if you are lucky enough to find real fruit in them, it likely won’t be fresh, local or organic.  Smoothies are so ridiculously easy to make.  You just need a blender, yogurt, your choice of fruit/vegetables, and a touch of your choice of sweetener, if you choose.  Click here for a simple smoothie recipe..
  6. Popsicles or ice cream/yogurt – sicles
    Commercial popsicles are either made from (GMO) sugar, water, artificial color and flavouring and preservatives, or if they are all natural and made from real fruit, they cost an arm and a leg.  Click here to find out how to simply make frozen treats from plain old fruit (or fruit juice), homemade ice cream, yogurt or left over smoothies.
  7. Chocolate shell for ice cream.
    Don’t waste your money buying those chocolate sauces you pour on top of your ice cream.  They are loaded with preservatives, colors, thickeners, wax, artificial ingredients and more.  Make it OH SO SIMPLY from healthy coconut oil and chocolate.  Find the recipe here.

This post has been linked to From The Farm Blog Hop #38.

Homemade Chocolate-Dipped Ice Cream Pops.

You know those ice cream bars covered in rich, dark chocolate that you have to bite deeply into in order to get through the thick layer of chocolate before you hit the smooth, creamy, vanilla ice cream in the middle?  Yeah.  I’ve got you on rich, dark chocolate.  Right?

Do you know what’s in those bars?  Probably more than you’d like to think about.  Want to make them at home with your own, all natural, homemade ingredients?  It’s easier than you think!

If you haven’t bought an ice cream maker yet, buy one now.  You can save a lot of money making your own ice cream, and even better, you can use ingredients that you KNOW are fantastic.  No preservatives.  No thickeners.  No artificial flavour or color.  Nothing to make it stop from melting.  Just cream, vanilla, milk and sugar.

If you don’t have stainless steel popsicle molds buy them here.  Unlike plastic, stainless steel does NOT leech toxic chemicals into your lovingly homemade popsicles.

Ingredients:

  • Homemade ice cream ingredients (see your recipe book that comes with your ice cream maker)
  • Organic, all natural dark chocolate chips or bars.
  • Unrefined, fair trade coconut oil.

Directions:

  1. Follow the directions for homemade vanilla (or other) ice cream from your recipe book that comes with your ice cream maker.
  2. Once the ice cream is mixed, spoon it into popsicle molds.  Poke the popsicle sticks in and freeze for 2 hours.
  3. In the mean time, make your chocolate dip.  Over low heat, melt 1 part coconut oil to 3 parts dark, organic chocolate (or your cholice of chocolate).  Allow the chocolate/coconut oil to cool to close to room temperature before dipping so you don’t melt the ice cream.
  4. Remove ice cream pops from freezer.  Run popsicle mold under hot water for 1 second.  Carefully remove ice cream pop from popsicle mold.
  5. Quickly dip popsicle in a mason jar filled with (not hot!) melted chocolate/coconut oil.  Mason jar must be tall enough to allow the popsicle to be well-dipped.
  6. Hold right side up for a minute until chocolate starts to solidify.  Lay down carefully in a glass pyrex container.  Place container in freezer.  Repeat with other ice cream pops.
  7. Freeze for a few minutes and serve whenever you want to eat them!

And oooooh they’re good!

Notes

  • Store left over chocolate/coconut oil in mason jar in fridge for a week or more.
  • Try experimenting with different flavours of ice cream, or even non-dairy ice cream!
  • Double dip for thicker chocolate.  Do it AFTER you have refrozen the first dip!

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This post has been shared on The MorrisTribe’s Homestead Blog Carnival #14 and The Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday.

Simple, All Natural, Homemade Yogurt. Plastic-free, Additive-free and Sugar-free.

 

Yogurt is considered a health food.  Yogurt contains acidophilus, a lactobacteria. Among other things, acidophilus aids in digestion, helps maintain a healthy colon, can decrease yeast infections, and helps lower cholesterol.  Unfortunately, most yogurts contain sugars, fillers, artificial flavors, preservatives, color or thickeners.  For example.  Yoplait Yogurt, Made by General Mills, contains:

  • Vanilla: Skim milk, sugar, cream, milk and whey proteins, modified corn starch, active bacterial cultures, gelatine, natural and artificial flavours, locust bean gum, pectin, concentrated lemon juice, colour, vitamin D3, potassium sorbate.
  • 14 grams sugar per 100 gram serving. (that’s 3.5 tsp. of sugar).

Some types of vanilla yogurt have as much as 30 grams of sugar per serving.  That’s over 7 tsp. of sugar!  Many have ingredients such as gelatin, locust bean gum, corn starch and pectin to thicken.    And of course artificial color and flavour, and preservatives.

Another fact about store-bought yogurt that has been nagging me for years is that they are all sold in plastic containers.  I have been fighting a constant battle with plastic and this is just another example of how plastic is quietly ruling our lives.  With recent studies indicating health risks from BPA in plastics (as well as plastics made from other chemicals) I can’t help but think that “good, healthy yogurt” isn’t so good or healthy after all.

I started making my own yogurt about a year and a half ago.  I haven’t bought yogurt since.  With only 2 or 3 ingredients (depending on what product you want) this recipe is healthy, safe and easy.  SOOOOO easy.  So easy, in fact, that I felt silly I hadn’t listened to my mother years ago and made it back then.  So easy, that it takes 10 minutes at the end of the day to start it, and you have fresh, natural yogurt ready for breakfast.  I use either my own goat’s milk, or organic milk I buy in glass bottles.  This avoids plastic entirely.

Tools you will need:

  • thermometer (candy style, or digital will work)
  • large pot
  • roasting pan
  • 5 x 500 ml mason jars (1/2 quart)
  • whisk
  • oven

Greek Style, thick, creamy yogurt
Ingredients
1 L milk (1 quart)
1 L 18% table cream (1 quart)
2 tbsp. plain yogurt (from a previous batch, or store-bought)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 105F.  If your oven doesn’t maintain heat at that temperature, turn to 350 for 2 minutes and then turn off.  Check temperature.  Make sure your oven temperature is less than 115F before you put your yogurt in it.
  2. Pour milk and cream into pot.  Heat until temperature reaches 112F.  Remove immediately from heat.  Once you are sure the temperature is steady at 112 (under 115, anyway!) stir in yogurt with a whisk.  Whisk well.
  3. Pour into 500 ml. sized (1 pint) mason jars.
  4. Place filled jars in a roasting pan that has about 3 inches of warm water in it.
  5. Place roaster in warm oven.  (No warmer than 115F)
  6. Leave in oven overnight or for 8 to 12 hours.
  7. Remove from oven and serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Low Fat Yogurt
Ingredients
2 L (2 quarts) skim milk
3/4 cup skim milk powder
2 tbsp. yogurt.

Follow above directions except add skim milk powder to milk while heating and whisk very well, until dissolved.  The milk powder thickens the yogurt.  Without it, the yogurt will be quite runny.

Low Fat Yogurt without milk powder
Ingredients

2 L (2 quarts) skim milk
2 tbsp. yogurt

Follow above directions.  This will make a runnier yogurt.  You can strain it through cheese cloth, though, and this makes a thicker yogurt.  Save the whey for baking with!

Tips

  1. Some people use a heating pad instead of an oven.  In this case, you could make the yogurt in a pot, cover with a thick towel,. and place on heating pad for 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Some people make yogurt with a crock pot.  I haven’t tried it but here are the instructions.
  3. You can pasteurize your milk first if you like, by bringing the milk to 165F and then allowing it to cool to 112F before stirring in yogurt.  I see no reason to pasteurize if you are using pasteurized milk.  I don’t pasteurize my goat’s milk anyway :)
  4. It is important to NOT stir in the yogurt until the temperature is less than 115F or you will risk killing the bacteria and you will end up with a product that is NOT yogurt.  If this happens, don’t throw it out!  Use it as you would use buttermilk in a recipe.
  5. Flavor with vanilla and honey, maple syrup, fruit, jam or ???

Enjoy!  Let me know how you love your homemade yogurt!!!

This post has been linked to Whole Foods Wednesday #56, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #31 and The MorrisTribe’s Homesteader Blog Carnival #11.

 

 

And then there is wild blackberry home-made ice cream.

The quietest time in the house is not nap time.  It’s not when the kids aren’t home.  It’s when we are all eating ice cream.  My usually chatterbox kids are absolutely silent, except for the lip-smacking sounds of ice cream being enjoyed.  Thoroughly.  A few years back we were terribly disappointed when the “all natural” Breyers vanilla ice cream became double-churned and  “natural vanilla” with a bunch of additives including Poly Sorbate 80.  We wrote to them to complain and were told that everyone prefers the double churned style but the double churning process could not be done in an all natural way.  We were given a handful of coupons for the ice cream.  We handed the coupons over to someone else and never bought Breyers again.  Our little protest against changing a perfect product to something less desirable (to us, anyway).  We still bought ice cream in general, and enjoyed it.  It has always annoyed me though to read ice cream ingredients and find things like:
Modified Milk Ingredients, Glucose, Mono And Diglycerides, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Cellulose Gum, Guar Gum, Colour, Polysorbate 80, Carrageenan, Glucose-Fructose
What are modified milk ingredients anyway?  How about Mono and Diglycerides?  (Click and find out)  We all know “colour” isn’t natural, and as for polysorbate 80… yikes.  Glucose-fructose is deceptive but it is the same thing as High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).   Coconut oil is good for you.  Hydrogenated coconut oil isn’t.  There are so many man-made ingredients in store-bought ice cream that don’t need to be there.  Some are preservatives, some are thickeners, some make it melt slower, some are for color, and some are for flavour.

For Father’s Day this year, I copied my sister-in-law and bought my husband an ice-cream maker.  So far I have made fresh strawberry, blueberry, blackberry chocolate chip mint, and vanilla ice cream.  The ingredients?  (For the fruit ice cream) Fresh organic fruit, fresh lemon juice, whipping cream, organic milk, cane sugar, and vanilla extract.  All natural, as organic as you want it, no preservatives or coloring, and flavor-FULL!!! 

My favorite so far is the wild blackberry ice cream.  I followed the basic vanilla ice cream recipe that came with the machine not altering anything except for the addition of the blackberries:  I soaked a cup of blackberries in 3 Tbsp of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar for an hour.  Then I cooked them in a pot for about 5 minutes, or until they mashed into a dark purple juice.  I strained the juice into the ice cream mixture.  What a treat!!!   The ice cream was naturally pink from the blackberry juice, was made from fresh, wild blackberries picked that morning, and a fantastic, mild blackberry flavour.  Served over fresh blackberries, this makes perhaps the best summer dessert ever!

Our ice cream maker is a Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.  It is bpa-free and makes 1.4L of delicious, all natural ice cream.  It comes with a recipe book and is easy to make.  The mixing of the ice cream takes 20 minutes, and then you can either eat it as soft ice cream, or pour it into a container and place in the freezer for 3 hours to make hard ice cream.  I paid about $60 for it.

The cons of home-made ice cream:

  • It takes about 3.5 hours to complete if you want hard ice cream
  • It melts faster compared to store-bought ice cream
  • It doesn’t last very long in the freezer compared to store-bought ice cream

The pros

  • It is all natural
  • it doesn’t contain added ingredients that aren’t necessary (unless you want bionic ice cream that doesn’t melt, that is a fluorescent color or that lasts forever in the freezer).
  • You can make it with organic ingredients if you choose
  • You can add whatever you want to it!

The cons aren’t cons to me since I avoid bionic food products.  I love to make home-made ice cream.  I love knowing what is in the ice cream, and I love the superior flavour.  The contented silence of ice cream being eaten is complete to me now.  I know their treat is a safe one, and I value that above all.  (Oh, OK, and the silence…)