Disclaimer! In talking to people about this project, I'm trying to be careful not to push any of my new directions on anyone. It's my journey and I'm very invested in it, but everyone has his/her own journey to follow which is different than mine. My only hope is that if some of my ideas resonate with you, that you'll be able to apply them to your own path. :) I'm also happy to discuss any of the research I've done if you're interested.
Moving on. The cleanse.
Today marks the first official day of December (even though I know the post is lying to you and saying it's not!), and therefore the first official day of month one. I had to take some deep breaths this morning when I thought about everything which already needs to get done this month, without adding all of these other goals. :) However, the past year has taught me that adding tiny steps to a routine allows for real change. For example, I never drank enough water growing up. Some days I don't think I drank any at all, save when brushing my teeth. Now I don't feel right if I drink less than 2 liters daily. It's all in your perspective, since drinking more water doesn't affect how much time I have, rather what I'm choosing to do with that time.
Since I love google calendars, I created a new one to help me track my resolutions. I was beginning to overwhelm myself trying to figure out how to add four new elements to my schedule all at once, so I broke it down over the month to allow myself some wiggle room. For example, I'm continuing to think solely about switching products for the next couple days. I ordered Kris Carr's book Crazy Sexy Diet, which chronicles her journey to health after finding out she had inoperable cancer. She has a mainly vegan lifestyle, which I won't do, but I'm thinking she'll have the answers to my questions about supplements and vegetables. So, while I wait for the book to arrive, I'll concentrate on these other pieces. I've decided the middle of the month will be dedicated to my virtual move, and the end of the month to my mental cleanse. Phew. Little steps.
Finding better products to use is both a goal and a resolution. My goal is to find products which won't break my budget and can make me worry less about the hazardous risks; my resolution is to continue using those products even when the alternative is more convenient and cheaper. Thus far I've been researching products from Annemarie Gianni Skin Care, Bubble & Bee Organic, Ah Shayh Natural Skin Care, and Pratima Skin Care. The biggest shock to my system was (not surprisingly) the cost: switching from my generic brand products to an organic skin care line is not cheap, especially when I'm trying to switch many things at once. I know there are salons in Philly that have organic products, but as an introduction to all of this I started by going off of personal recommendations from friends and blogs. The prices are comparable between the places I've researched and the salons here, but of course then you factor in the shipping.
Part of my experiment is seeing how long these products last, since often you need very little at each daily use. For example, I'm currently trying an organic lemon shampoo from Bubble & Bee which cost $13, plus shipping. Is it worth it to pay for shipping, when I could technically find products here in the city? Maybe or maybe not, but I also found a product which I like and which seems to be working. If it works, I'll pay the extra few $$ every few months.
Anyway, I only use a quarter-sized drop of this shampoo each day and am thinking it's going to last me a few months. Plus, the vinegar I use in my rinse costs less than $2 a bottle. My hair is detoxing like crazy and will likely be kept up for at least a week more. It's kind of exciting though to see the chemicals making their exit. I'll be interested to see if this process really does produce the healthier hair that I've read about in countless blogs - people say that they only wash their hair a few times a week without the chemical coating. We'll see! I'm also trying natural deoderant and soap from Bubble & Bee: no complaints about either yet. I do like this company though - I think so far that the extra shipping cost is worth the good reviews and the fact that I've been having a good experience so far. We'll see how I feel once they run out.
My most exciting discovery thus far is Ah Shayh's unrefined virgin coconut oil. It has a putty-like consistency and smells of course exactly like fresh coconut. As soon as you scrape some out of the container, it begins immediately to melt into an oil. It smells delicious, rubs on extremely smoothly, and from the size of the container, I think it's going to last me several months. According to the website, it says: "coconut oil when applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on your skin. Coconut oil is nature's richest source of medium chain fatty acids. It has antimicrobial, antibacterial & antioxidant properties and can be used for your hair and skin." Right now I'm using it as a moisturizer and on the tips of my hair, so we'll see how it does over a longer period of time.
For face care I tried Annemarie Gianni products. I wanted an amazing product for the first time around since my skin is super super sensitive and reacts easily. My skin also detoxed when I stopped using chemical-based products, but it's beginning to even out. I will say that my face has never been this soft in my life, and the aloe-herb cleanser smells really nice though I'm on the market for a new brand that I can find locally. A co-worker turned me on to Pratima products (based in New York, but they sell in salons here) and so that might be my second attempt.
Overall, I get nervous about the prices ($20 for cleanser? and it's smaller than usual?) but I'm trying to remember that instead of spending money on things which don't serve my goals, I can instead spend a little more for purchases which will contribute to my health. Also, it really is true that a little goes a long way. Further research is needed on toothpaste, laundry detergent, and makeup. Also, I'm planning on checking out Whole Foods and Trader Joes, to see about their selections. This all feels a little intimidating since there are so many products and many of them claim to be natural while they are not truly so. Anyway, there's a lot of upfront costs with this route, but it will even out over time since these products tend to last you longer. Maybe I should have a spreadsheet which tracks how long they actually DO last. Hmmm...