Pilothouse and The Argonaut Cafe

A few weekends ago, Michael and I went on our babymoon in California’s Gold Country. Check out my pregnancy blog for a full review of the trip and money saving travel tips. We had both been dying for a Gold Country trip for over a year now, so this was the perfect way for us to have some quality time before the baby comes. We ate at two restaurants that really impressed me, so I thought I would share.

Old Town Sacramento at night.

We went on our babymoon starting the Saturday of Presidents’ Day weekend, so we decided to save our fancy Valentine’s Day dinner for that night. We both wanted a nice dinner in Old Town Sacramento, so I did some online research and found Pilothouse.

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The restaurant is located inside the Delta King Hotel, a retired riverboat docked along the Sacramento River. I made reservations online, but we probably did not need them. We came later in the evening so we missed the rush, and the hostess told me that the day after Valentines Day is never that busy. She suggested that in the future we always make a reservation just in case.

The staff was very friendly, though our specific waiter was kinda slow (Michael’s beer and our bread came about 15 minutes later). The atmosphere was very nice, the whole dinning room restored to it’s 1930’s charm. And the view of the river all lit up at night was lovely.

I ordered the beet salad (Michael just ate the cheese for me). It was sooo good. The beets were perfectly cooked and very juicy.

For my entree, I had to order the only vegan thing on the menu, Grilled Vegetable Tagine. I was a little annoyed at first there was only one choice, but it was tasted good so I have no complaints. Lovely crisp veggies served over rice, seasoned with a sweet but savory spice blend. I am sorry I don’t have a photo of my entree, I know I took one and somehow it vanished off my phone….

Michael ordered the Saturday Night Steak Dinner Special—nothing besides his starter salad was vegan. He always wants steak for Valentines Day. I can’t complain because I didn’t have to cook it for once. He loved his organic and antibiotic free prime rib. And was in heaven with his buttery mashed potatoes. Meh, I will stick to my still delicious healthier food 🙂

Aren’t we cute all dressed up?

This place is expensive, but it was a lovely treat. We got to dress up and snuggle up next to each other. It would have been even better if I could have sampled the wine selection…..

On Monday while visiting the Marshall Gold Discovery Park, we had a lunch at this adorable little cafe across the street from the Visitor’s Center. The Argonaut Cafe is an organic, farm-to-fork style restaurant. It’s a tiny little building, and even at 2:30 PM when we entered, it was pretty busy.

The cafe is decorated like an old Gold Rush era store, mostly wood and metal. There are a lot of picnic tables out back with a great view of the American River.

The menu is basic cafe foods, like soups, sandwiches, salad, and a few desserts. I ordered the Fresh Veggie Sandwich (without the cheese) on Sourdough and Michael got the Organic Smoked Turkey on Sourdough. My sandwich was heavenly. Fresh, crispy veggies with a creamy hummus. And I love buttery California avocados. I was so happy to find fresh organic food in such a small town at reasonable price (both sandwiches were $8 each).  The soup of the day was vegan chili, but I didn’t want to be too full and set off my acid reflux. It looked really good though, maybe next time.

We want to do a bigger Gold Country trip when Jack is old enough and I totally plan on coming to both these restaurants again. Though, Jack might stay the night with his Auntie who lives nearby when we go back to Pilothouse so momma can enjoy some wine in peace.

And see, it’s not that hard to go on a vacation and eat vegan. Just do some research and be prepared that your food will be delicious, just not a mound of buttery mashed potatoes. Or who knows, maybe you will luck out and find an awesome organic cafe!

My Concerns Once Baby Arrives

Now that Jack will be coming in about 2 months, I’ve had to start getting more things ready—including myself. I knew I wanted to be a mother since I was little girl. I am naturally good with most kids and have babysat since I was about 12. I love kids so much that I considered being a neonatal or an OB/GYN nurse. I am one of those naturally maternal women, I guess.

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However, I am still terrified about having a baby sometimes. Unlike babysitting, I cannot give the baby back to its mom when something goes wrong—because I will be the mom! My husband and I will be responsible for another person for the rest our lives now. Our lives will change dramatically once he arrives too. And our family’s lives. And you never know—maybe our son will grow up and change the world! So, in a sense, the choices we make might affect EVERYTHING. How can I not be terrified sometimes?

I know things will work out and life unfolds the way it’s supposed to in the end. So I am still very excited to have a baby. These are just normal concerns that every parent has in the beginning. I wanted to read how other moms dealt with these fears, but could not find much on it. So I decided to share my concerns so some other mom can relate and relax.

How am I supposed to have a baby when
these two already think they are my babies?
Lucky girls got to come in the house that day
because it was so cold…spoiled.
  • Not knowing what to do: I just said I have good natural maternal instincts, but that doesn’t mean they are correct or will prevail every time. There is not one specific thing I am afraid I will do wrong, more like everything. The basics like nursing, bathing, dressing, sleeping, and playing. And complex things like discipline, morals, and education. Also, arbitrary things like what if his hair isn’t curly like Michael’s like I want or he isn’t interested in science like us? What can I do to calm these fears? Get educated so I can make informed decisions, first of all. I can also ask for help from my family or a professional anytime I am overwhelmed. Other than that, there is nothing much I can do besides stay calm and wait them out.
  • Postpartum Depression: I have had some depression problems in the past, and worry if I will have depression again after Jack is born. I know that some baby blues after birth is normal because rapidly changing hormones. I know all the signs and will seek out help right away if feel it is more than the normal baby blues. But I worry how it will affect my ability to be a good mother. My friend from High School recently did a post on her blog Oregon Domesticated about her experience with postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. I remember her as very bright and bubbly person. And her daughters are both beautiful. So I was shocked when I read the story, I would have never guessed it would happen to her. She is an example of how someone can look so happy but is actually struggling on the inside. I really applaud her getting help and sharing her story for other moms.
  • How My Cats Will React: Before I started dating Michael, I was pretty lonely. So what does a lonely single girl do? Get cats! They are both my babies. When I brought them from Hawaii after graduation, I had to leave them in Oregon for a year while I got settled in California. The day I left I told them the great Lilo and Stitch quote, “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.” I meant that for life. I chose to take-in these cats, and that means I need to care for them no matter what. These girls are pretty spoiled and get a lot of snuggles every day. I know this will change when Jack comes. And for awhile, they might not get much attention at all while I establish a routine. I already feel bad about that 😦 And I worry how they will treat Jack. When I bring him home, I will show him to them so they know what that weird smell/sound is, but after than I plan to keep them pretty separate for awhile for his safety (not a problem because they live in a back room not attached to the main house). They are both nice cats, but you never know how an animal will react to a new person. Let alone one that is taking all their mommy’s attention. I will just have to keep on eye on them and see how they behave. And the picture above, that is actually how I woke-up from a nap, paw on my face and all.
  • Junk Food: I mentioned in my Will Your Baby Be Vegan? post that Michael and I compromised on what the baby will eat. In order to respect each other’s wishes, the baby will be allowed to try all types of healthy foods and make his own choice when he is old enough. I know Michael respects me and if I say do not feed our child that meat/dairy today, he will comply. And I will not get upset if Michael asks if Jack can share some of his ice cream cone on occasion. But I am worried about other people feeding him things I do not want. Like either grandma giving him non-vegan cookies on a day when I want all vegan food. Then them telling me something like “It’s just a treat, I hardly ever to see him. Do not deprive me of loving my grandson!” I don’t want to fight with them over it, but I need people to respect my wishes too. I don’t want him to get used to eating junk and turn into a picky eater. My husband and his sisters were, and his mom admits that she wishes she did not cave into their demands so easily. I will not let Jack become a picky eater, but it will be harder if people undermine me all the time. There is not much I can do to stop this (other than tell the grandmas they can’t see Jack if they only feed him junk, which is very mean). I will just have to be open and direct (while still polite) with people.

Low Blood Pressure: So That’s Why I Keep Almost Fainting….

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I went to my nutritionist the day after my whole embarrassing Labor & Delivery ordeal. I had a much better experience this time, no crying in my car afterwards!

I explained how I got dizzy during my counseling appointment and that was not the first time that has happened. I explained how my doctor thought it was low blood sugar, and the doctor at L&D thinks my anemia was a factor too. She took the time to actually listen to me and look over all my lab work. Yes, my blood sugar was lower when I felt dizzy, but not actually out of the normal range. And yes, my blood work from my glucose screening 3 weeks ago said I had anemic iron levels, but the ones taken the at the hospital yesterday were within normal (meaning my iron supplements are working). So she was not convinced either one was the reason for feeling so faint.

Then she say my blood pressure readings and asked if I had naturally low blood pressure. The last pre-pregnancy blood pressure I can remember was from last May, and it was something like 104/75. It’s normal but on the lower side (here to learn how to read blood pressure). At the appointment to confirm my pregnancy, it was something like 102/80, still lower but normal. I couldn’t see the rest of the numbers on my chart, but the one from almost fainting was 91/71 and at L&D it went up to 94/75.

It’s normal for your blood pressure to drop in the first and second trimester, which is normally not a that big of a deal, just some minor dizziness. However, since I have blood pressure naturally, dropping 10+ points in just a few weeks makes it’s worse. I am do not have hypotension because I am still in the normal range though. And since my baby is doing fine and I have no other complaints, she does not think I have an underlying condition causing it.

She loved my diet and said there is no reason why I cannot continue being vegan. My weight gain is perfect, she said I could have one more snack a day if I wanted actually. She loved that my husband and I go for walks daily on our break. Her only suggest was maybe a few extra walks a week to help increase my blood pressure. She made a note for my doctor to follow up on it at my appointment on Friday too.

So I am going to keep doing what I am doing, take a few extra walks, and be grateful that I do not have hypertension or preeclampsia. Between high blood pressure that runs the risk of needing an emergency c-section before I have a stroke and low blood pressure that makes me almost faint, I’ll take the slight inconvenience of being faint.

Anyways, here is a recent pic of my bump. Twenty-six weeks and 2 days here.

Go Niners!

Will You Let Your Son Join a Fraternity?

I am a proud member of the Gamma Phi Beta Sorority. I was initiated at Nu Chapter at the University of Oregon my freshman year and I am the current Chapter Advisor for Epsilon Omicron Chapter at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Aren’t I a cute little sophomore?

Joining was one of the best decisions I made in my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I honestly would have dropped out of school entirely if it had not been for the support of the women of Nu Chapter.

Nu Chapter’s class of 2010, I would not have graduated if it wasn’t for these ladies.

Gamma Phi taught me to hold myself to a higher standard, respect people from different backgrounds and circumstances, and how to contribute to the greater good. During my collegiate time, all members had to maintain a GPA of 2.75 (B-‘s or better). In addition, you had to do community service each term. And, you had to attend social issues ( a guest speaker on campus who presents a relevant topic such a human trafficking or alcoholism). There were mandatory attendance events like weekly chapter meetings and philanthropies. You can also hold officer positions too, and I held several over the years.

Flipping pancakes for our annual philanthropy, Pancake Breakfast.
We raise money for our national philanthropy Campfire USA. I loved being Philanthropy Chair.

And yes, I went to some wild parties that I will never tell my mother about. But you cannot attend parties if you do not meet all these requirements and follow all the rules. If you violate the rules, we have our own disciplinary system in place so we can hold our sisters accountable for their poor choices. It teaches that you must earn the things you want in life. Greek Life is nothing like Animal House (which happened to be filmed at Oregon).

Despite being filmed on my campus, this was SO NOT my experience.
Though I love this movies and it’s funny say
partied in Omega House during college.
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I also love being an Advisor. Over the past year and a half, I have seen the members of Epsilon Omicron grow into strong women and outstanding leaders.

So, this begs the questions: Will I let my children join a fraternity or sorority? The answer is yes and no….let me explain…

First of all, the sad truth that not everyone is meant to be Greek. Some people will never like the structure and ritual—and there is nothing wrong with that. And they wouldn’t be secret societies if everyone was in them! My husband is amazing man, but he is so not a fraternity man. He is what we call an independent. If my son (or maybe my daughter one day) takes after his dad with that independent spirit, I would never pressure him into joining.

Second, there is the issue of non-conformity in the some Greek Systems. While some states/universities do an amazing job of ensuring the safety of all students, other do not. The State of Oregon has very strict hazing laws (zero tolerance actually) and Gamma Phi Beta has very strict housing/membership requirements (in addition to a zero tolerance hazing rule). So pretty much it is impossible for any Chapter to last in the State of Oregon if they try to be Animal House (and I did see two bad chapters get shut down during my collegiate time–and trust me they deserved it). A lot of other states have just as high of standard for nationally recognized Greek houses (see California’s here). So if my child went to school in a state with these regulations, I would most likely approve.

Nothing like this ever happened to me, and should never happen to anybody.
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Third, there is the issue of local chapters, ones that are not affiliated with a nationally recognized Greek organization. Local chapter usually consist of a few college students who come together to form a small, localized house. Some do this in order to establish Greek life on their campus, in hopes of one day be colonized and accepted into a national organization. Some do this to start a new national organization one day. But there are some (but not all) that do not want to ever be a national organization and want to follow their own rules—meaning they can haze and not have to worry about grades.

My wonderful Epsilon Omicron Chapter collegiates at Fall 2013 recruitment.
I took this picture because I was so proud of them. No Delta House here.

An example of such a local organization actually comes from UCSC and was featured on MTV back in 2004. The bad reputation this behavior left on the campus is still effecting Greek life today! When I tried to introduce myself to some key people on campus last year, the first thing most of them said was “Why are you contacting me? Did your members get in trouble?” Now there are rumors that all of Greek Life are wild drunks, which is making it harder for me to start the process of getting them a Chapter house. No child of mine will ever be allowed to join an unstructured organization. I will never allow my child to haze or harass people (or barbecue a beloved campus animal). I will not spend good money on a education if they just want to goof off all day. As a side note, my current collegiates do not act this either nor would anyone in Gamma Phi Beta allow them to.

And lastly, there is the issue of why they want to join. I have been through several recruitment processes now—as potential member hoping to be selected by a chapter, a initiated member trying to select new sisters, and as an Advisor overseeing the process. I have heard practically every reason for wanting to join a sorority there is. Everything from “I want friends for life!” to “I want to kiss a lot of frat boys.” I personally went through recruitment because I felt lost in life and hoped to find some guidance. If my child wanted to join for a similar positive reason, I would absolutely support it. But if I hear the words party, beer, sex, drugs, slacking off, or hazing I will bring their butt home instantly and figure out where I went wrong.

Epsilon Omicron Chapter’s Spring Recruitment 2013.
I’m a sister for life. I would be proud if my son or daughter
wanted to carry on my Greek legacy.

I would be very proud if my son joined a Fraternity one day and matured into one of the outstanding gentlemen that I had the privilege to meet during college. And if I have a daughter one day, I would be more than proud to place my Gamma Phi Beta pin on her one day and call me my sister (I could not type that without tearing up). But only if it right for them, right for the organization, and helps them become a better person.

Things That Helped my Morning Sickness

I was not prepared for my horrible morning sickness. It struck hard around 5 and a half weeks. My mom told me she had horrible morning sickness with both my brother and I, but I didn’t think it could be that bad. I tried to explain it to my husband one day, the best analogy I could come up with a horrible hangover that wont go away.

Before I found out I was pregnant, I had some symptom, a bad headache and a little bit of an upset stomach. We had eaten out several times that weekend, so I assumed I had mild food poisoning or something. Neither the headache or the stomach issues were that bad. Well, long story short, about week later I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. After the initial shock, I thought to myself  Hey, this isn’t that bad. Just a headache and extra time in the bathroom…I can totally do this!

….Oh how wrong I was. It started to get worse slowly. A few days after the test, I didn’t like the smell of Michael’s dinner one night and made him sit on the other side of the room to eat it. Then one morning I woke up with a even worse headache. Then that night I woke up feeling like the room was spinning and I was going to be sick. The the next day I woke up feeling so sick I couldn’t eat until noon. Then the next day I couldn’t eat until dinner. Then the next day I couldn’t eat anything. Then the vomiting started…most of the time I just threw up in the morning, but the queasy feeling lasted all day. I was also getting dehydrated, giving me a worse headache and the shakes. At about 7 weeks I said enough and tried to figure out ways to cope.

Here is a list of things that helped me:

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  • Laying Down: Every time I stood up, I instantly got dizzy and felt like I was either going to faint or puke. I kept trying to do stuff around the house, but would just end up crying next to the toilet. Eventually I realized if I just laid down, I felt a lot better. Eventually sometime in the afternoon my nausea subsided and I could at least make Michael dinner and finish the laundry. I eventually found out if I ate laying down, I could actually keep it down.
  • Ginger Candy: My mom bought me a box of Reed’s Ginger Candy. I kept it next to my bed and popped one in my mouth right when I woke up. I have to admit, they are pretty strong and even sting a little to swallow. But they really do work wonders. They fix that hunger-over-like feeling you have when you are not throwing up.
  • Ritz Crackers: After the ginger candy, while still in bed, I would eat a few crackers. I tried these fancy organic multigrain ones, but they didn’t work. I needed plain Ritz Crackers. The simple taste wont set off your nausea, unlike the multigrain. They are easy to digest. And they have salt to balance your electrolytes. Plus, grains absorb liquid and acid in your stomach, giving it less stuff to irritate it.
  • Preggie Pops: My mom also bought me Preggie Pops. These things are a godsend! They are made from sugars and essential oils–and taste great! . Just pop one in and suck all nausea away. However, at least for me, the effects only lasted as long as I was sucking on one. So I only used them when I absolutely need to be out and about for awhile. I would have not gotten through wedding dress shopping if it wasn’t for these pops.
  • Carbs: So I know only eating carbs is not healthy at all, but when you are that sick, you have to eat whatever sounds good. I could usually get down bread (even multigrain) and butter. Plain ramen noodles (no flavor packet or soy sauce) went alright too. I tried really hard to eat anything, because having an empty stomach makes nausea way worse. I was usually fine by dinner time if I could munch a little something during the day. But I still was careful and only ate simple things.
  • Coke: I am not a big soda drinker. The stuff is pretty much just liquid fat waiting to give you a heat attack or diabetes. I rarely ever drink it normally. But for me, it the only thing that will really settle my stomach. My mom would give us a little bit as kids if we were like projectile vomiting—and it worked every time. And when I am hungover, it’s the first and only thing I ask for. There are tons of reasons why people think coke works, but nothing has really be proven yet. My guess the sugar gives you energy, the potassium/sodium electrolytes re-energizer you, and that liquid hydrates you. All that being said, soda still has no nutritional value and really is just liquid fat. So I only used soda a last resort on the days I was really sick and had things to do. After the coke settle my stomach, I usually drank a few glasses of water to make up for it
  • Sleeping: I noticed pretty quickly the days that I had a good nights sleep, I could handle my nausea a lot better. I already have insomnia issues, so adding nausea and stress did not help.
  • Benadryl: Luckily my doctor said I could Benadryl as need to help me sleep and curb my nausea. And it worked! See My First Trimester post.
  • Small Meals: Eating a few bites at a time went over a lot better than trying to eat 3 meals a day. Like I said, by dinner time I was usually okay, but I still tried to keep it small.

Oil Face Wash

A few months ago I found a something on Pintrest about washing your face with oil. At first I thought it sounded weird, but the more research it, the more it made sense.  Like dissolves like. Ever notice that soap is actually made from oil? Palmolive—made from palm and olive oil.

As a teenager, I had HORRIBLE acne and no product I tried worked. Also, I have very sensitive skin, so most products irritated my skin so much that it would peal (most prescription topical creams) or swell (Proactive and Clearasil).  I had no choice but to accept my acne. I started washing my face twice a day with plain soap and used a basic moisturizer. I still had acne, but it stopped getting so inflamed. And to be honest, the thing that really cured my acne was growing up and going vegetarian (which both happened round the same time). When I went vegan, my skin completely change. I have GORGEOUS skin now. Like people stop on the street and ask me about my beauty routine—no joke. However, I still had the occasional pimple. It is mainly just hormonal acne or from not taking my make-up off before I went to bed. It would go away quickly, but I still did not like it.

Then I read that article about washing with oil and it all began to make sense. Oil is gentle enough to not inflame my sensitive skin. Oil will cleanse my face and get all my make-up off. And oil will nourish my skin. And, the article stated that it can lessen the appearance of scars. I have a two large chicken pox scars on my face (I did not listen to my mom when she said not to scratch), and liked the idea of reducing them. Then I realized the best part, it’s cheaper than cleansing products.

So I deiced to give it a try. After researching the net, I decided to try the combination of 3 part castor oil to 1 part olive oil.  This combination is best for combination-oily skin and for reducing scars.  I just mixed the oils together in a clean, empty bottle. The cleansing process goes like this:

  • Pouring about a quarter-sized amount of the oil in your palm
  • Rub your hands together to warm the oil
  • Massage the oil into your face, really working it in the pores, but be gentle (especially round your eyes)
  • Take your time, enjoy the massage, release some tension
  • Your skin will feel softer and the oil will feel thicker between your fingers once it all worked it
  • Next take a clean washcloth and soak it very warm water—enough to be steaming but not enough to burn—and place it over your face
  • Leave it on for 30 seconds, this will open your pores to remove oil and the gunk it grabbed
  • Rinse the washcloth in warm water again and gentle wipe all the oil off your face
That’s it! Your skin should be soft and supple now. If you have very dry skin or just was a little extra moisture, you can apply a small about of Vitamin E Oil as a moisturizer. But most of the time you should not need it after this cleansing process.
Do some research of your own and figure out what combination of oil works best for you. And tweak the process to suit your needs as well. But this is a great way to save money, use less chemicals, and get gorgeous skin!
Michael and I both started doing this and it has worked great for us. I am still using the same bottle of oil I made 3 months ago too. I do not have any more hormonal acne breakouts, and my skin very so smooth and soft. I do get a few pimples when I do not take my make-up off, but I bought some witch hazel and use that to take off my make-up quickly when I am lazy. Check out this pictures I took the other day at work. I only had on a light layer of powder and mascara. Who needs tons of make-up with skin like this?
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A Vegan Houseguest

Once again, sorry I haven’t posted in awhile.  I have been busy so let me update you quickly.

The last week of classes, Michael and I both came down with a horrible case of the flu. It pretty much knocked us out for two weeks. It is was so unfair to be in beautiful sunny Hawaii but be stuck inside in bed dying in front of the air conditioner. And, not to mention this happened during finals week, last term of senior year. Luckily all of our professors understood and let us take our finals later. And, we passed them all! The next week both of our parents came for graduation. It’s not fun to meet your boyfriend’s parents for the first time when your sinuses feel like they are going to explode.

The commencement ceremony was very lovely, but very long. We were the largest class to graduate from UHH so far. After graduation I went with my family to Kona and had a very fun family vacation. Michael’s parents left a few days before mine so he joined us for a few days too. Afterwards we drove back to Hilo and packed up our apartments. Michael went back to California and I went back to Oregon. But, after being home for a week, I decided to come visit Michael. I’ve been here for a couple weeks now, and I am working on getting a job and moving here. Very exciting!

Aren’t we cute?

Anyways, I promise this post actually has something to do with veganism.

I have been staying at Michael’s parent’s house, and they have been very gracious hosts. A couple people have asked me if it is hard staying at peoples’ houses when you have a different diet, so I thought I would share some advice.

First and foremost, always remember you are a guest and should always act as such. These people were kind enough to open their home to you, which means you treat them with the upmost respect at all times. You can inform them about your lifestyle, but do not be preach or lecture.


Second, do not be rude if they do not understand or get something wrong. Since they are letting you stay, I assume that means they like you and will try to be as accommodating as possible. Usually a simple explanation is all you will need. And, if they accidentally put meat or cheese on something, politely decline it, say you can go get yourself something later, and just enjoy their company at the table. No big deal.  Or, better yet offer to make them dinner one night!

Do not be an angry vegan!

Lastly, you sadly might just have to let somethings go. A good example of this is when I had dinner at a friends house awhile ago. She bought me Tofurky brats, vegan buns, and even made mac salad with Vegenaise— all of which I was very grateful for. But, she accidentally used the same utensil to rotate my brats that she used on the meat ones. It bothered me, but it would have been very rude to tell her I can’t eat it after she went all the trouble of making me a nice meal. You just smile, maybe later on mention it if you can, and just let it go. No one will like you if you are that crazy vegan who lectures everyone.

Shampoo Free Update

It’s been almost a month now since I posted my Shampoo Free post. My hair has continued to get better and better. I can go 3 days easily without washing it and it’s so much more managable now. I can even blow dry it and straighten without it getting all frizzy. And I still have half my original jug of vinegar and half the box of baking soda left.

But, I have found one issue with this cleansing regime: it does not get sand out of your hair. I went to the beach on the Kona side last weekend and it was so windy that it pretty much imbedded the sand into my scalp. Normal shampoo lathers up and grabs all the tiniest little particles. Since baking soda doesn’t lather, it didn’t grab all the teeny particles so my scalp was still quiet sandy after my shower. I took a fine-tooth comb over my scalp and worked out most of the sand the next day before I went to class, so it wasn’t the end of the world. I suggest that avid beach bums might want to use a natural shampoo that lather instead of the baking soda/vinegar regime if they don’t like waking up with a sandy pillow. 

Shampoo Free

So, about a month ago I was bored and just repeatedly “stumbling” on StumbleUpon when I came across an interesting blog called Simple Mom. The post was titled “How to Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo,” and it described how to clean your hair using diluted baking soda as shampoo and diluted vinegar as conditioner. I was intrigued, a cheap, non-toxic, and non-damaging way to wash your hair? That’s a broke college girl with a giant head of colored-treated hair’s dream! But then I saw her and her family’s photos of lovely short, fine hair and became a little discouraged. I thought there was no way measly baking soda and vinegar could tame my lion’s mane.

Then I thought about it some more and realized that my normal shampoo and conditioner routine was not really working either. My hair would be so insanely dry that I needed to deep condition at least once a week. My hair would also be so frizzy at times that I need styling several products to keep it smooth and shiny.  Plus, not to mention I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 14 and years blowing, straightening, and curling. I have always been complimented on my hair, but I would always want to scream back “Do you know how much effort it takes to get it to look like this!”
In the blog, she claims she uses no styling products at all, and this part brought back some hope. It would be so nice to not waste money on mousse, gel, and leave-in conditioner each month. Then I did some math, and even though I buy the cheap stuff, I still spent like $20 a month a hair products. A big box of baking soda and big jug of vinegar would only cost around $10, and could last 2-3 months.

Lastly, in her blog she mentions that shampoo is essentially detergent and it strips your hair of its natural oils. Those oils are what make your hair shiny and healthy in the first place. And not to mention detergent can be toxic and can pollute the water supply. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and acetic acid (vinegar) are both natural substances that are proven effect as gentle cleansers. 
Keeping all this in mind, I thought “why not?” The worst thing is I don’t like the results and go back to using shampoo and conditioner. I rinsed out two empty shampoo bottles and decided to got for it. 
Now, my hair is baby fine but I have tons and tons of it and it’s down past my shoulders too. So I decided to make my solutions a bit stronger to conquer my mass of hair. For the shampoo, I used the bigger bottle and mixed about 1/4 cup of baking soda with 3 cups water. For the conditioner, in the smaller bottle, I filled it almost half way with vinegar and the rest water.  
Right after the first shower, my hair felt great. It wasn’t till the next afternoon I noticed my scalp was very greasy. In the blog, she mentions that it takes awhile for your hair to adjust since it was used to having its oil stripped away with detergent. This went on for about a month, my hair would be great for a few hours then turn into a grease pit. It felt so icky and I was tempted to revert back to shampoo. I am one of those peoples who believes in proper hygiene as courtesy to others, so it bothered me greatly. To be honest, it was pretty much all in my head. No one noticed my hair was slightly more greasy than normal. And it didn’t really look that different. My acupuncturist does some points in my head and she said she couldn’t really notice anything. 
At first I washed my hair everyday (mainly out of my own self-consciousness), then it got a little better so I switched to every other day (like I did with shampoo). Then this past saturday when I got off work, I went to take a shower and had a realization: my hair was not dirty three and it had been 3 days since I last washed it. I started to brush my hair out before I got in the shower and noticed it was still fresh and shiny. No grease, no knots, and still had bounce. I put it up in a bun and took a bath instead (I do believe in bathing your body daily, the whole courtesy idea).  I couldn’t believe it when I woke up the next morning and took the bun down—it was still lovely. It actually worked. 
I would highly suggest going shampoo free to any one. Give it a try, if you don’t like it, you can always switch back. If you can tough out transition period, I promise it is worth it. Just look for yourself! 

Forks Over Knives

I finally had the time to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives. It explores the health benefits of a whole food, all plant-based diet. I will spare you all the preaching, but I will just say I am so glad I watched it. It affirms everything I came to believe in about veganism based on my own research. I strongly suggest this film, it’s not overly pushy or overly radical. A quote that personally stood out to me was, “I changed my health destiny by not engaging in the same habits,” said by a doctor who wanted to counteract her horrible family health history. This is actually why I went vegan, my family health history scared me so much that I knew I had to fundamentally changed.

When it comes to eating good food and staying healthy, just keep it simple. Tonight for dinner I had simple baked tofu and green beans, marinated in shoyu and garlic cloves, and a simple salad with homemade peanut butter dressing. A nice balanced meal, easy to make, and not lacking any dietary needs. Go educate yourself and make your own smart, informed decisions!

No cholesterol, no oil, low in fat, low in sodium, all organic and still plenty of food.