Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shower essentials

I already told you about the homemade shampoo and rinse I use in a previous post, but I wanted to mention a couple other things that are very useful, frugal, and healthy to use in and after the shower. 

I make my own soap and experiment with this every once in a while.  I've made exactly 2 batches from a basic soapmaking book, so I am no pro, but the results were awesome.  I collect waste fats from chicken and beef in a large plastic sherbet container throughout the year and keep it in my freezer.  I render this using a basic soapmaking book when I am ready for a batch.  If I am not ready to make a batch yet, and I run out of room in the container, I render this anyway and can it for later use.  I understand this could be used for homemade candles as well, but I am banned from making candles because I am a firehazard in my own right.  More about that another time ;) Anywho, the batch of soap I made the second time has lasted me two years and counting, as I have only used half. The bars last FOREVER!  I am super content to know that I am not bathing myself in chemicals when I shower.  It also works as a shampoo if you really want to economize, but it can be drying unless you make a moisturizing bar; mine was basic lye soap. 

The second vital thing I use is virgin coconut oil.  I use this as a salve to prevent shaving bumps/burns and it is very soothing, moisturizing, and antibacterial. 

I made homemade deodorant out of this with baking soda, arrowroot, and essential oils.  This is my favorite product as it has worked better than any deodorant I have ever tried, including many natural store-bought options.  And yes, it also is missing harmful chemicals. 

Lastly, I did a cleaning and threw out all my store bought creams, moisturizers, gels, lotions, and treatments.  Instead I made up a batch of raw shea butter, virgin olive oil, and essential oils as a facial/hand/elbow/kneecap/foot moisturizer.  Not only did it make my rough skin go away, but it makes my face feel like velvet.  I think it is plumping up my fine lines on my face and neck as well. I really love how it feels throughout the day.

 If you want more exact recipes, I am happy to post an update.

***UPDATE***I tried to link most products I've used at the Amazon link below especially for harder to find items...

Hand cream (useful for everything else!) is as follows:

1/2 c Raw unrefined Shea butter
1/2 c Cold pressed virgin olive oil or almond oil
1-2T Virgin Coconut Oil
5-10 drops cedarwood essential oil
10-15 drops orange essential oil

Place shea butter and coconut oil in microwave safe bowl and melt 1-2 minutes at a time, stirring occassionally, until all lumps are gone.  Put olive oil in a blender and place on low speed. Pour in the shea butter mixture in a slow stream until it is all incorporated.  Pour this into a container and add the oils to your liking.  I found that the olive oil has a strong aroma and it is hard to completely wipe it out.  Not a bad thing and it doesn't linger on your skin, but if you are not partial to it, use almond oil.  I like the healing effects of olive oil though, so it stays in my batch.  Let this set a few hours until is stiffens some.  Use sparingly up to what you need, instead of slathering too much initially.  Update how it's worked for you!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Cleaning Part 2

It's still January, so I just made it to add another resolution: a way to stay on top of my house cleaning.  With my new found cleaning solutions in hand, I went back to an old faithful system that has my favorite motivators, lots of tools and gadgets! has garnished a lot of attention since I first discovered her a few years ago, so you may already know about her and her systems.  I read her sink book and it revolutionized how I approached housecleaning.  That is, when I approached it at all..  Like the weight loss and exercise apps I found recently, her system asks only 15 minutes a day and helps to get into a mindset of clean-as-you-go before bed and planning at the start of a day; basically staying on top of everything before it becomes a monster.  She has way too many helpers and lists and ways to go about this to go over here, but in reality, it is very simple: stay in one area/room of your house for a week in addition to a once over (basics) for about one hour a week. You get to everything you might in a spring cleaning fling or so, but in manageable chunks that won't make you go hide under the covers.  Within about 1 month, if you are buried like me, you will have a 'moment's notice' clean house that you won't mind having company drop in on.  Ask my family... I have a heart attack at the mere mention of it and rush the 'fake house.'  Honestly, I am sick of the fake house and want a sigh of contentment when I walk into my house from work and wake up feeling good about it as well. 

Another great thing is that she has recently collaborated with Cozi to produce an online calendar that syncs everyone's activities and appointments as well gives the ability to add school calendars and sports practice itineraries directly into it.  Every family member can access this online and from the phone.  All family members can add events or items to grocery lists, send notes to each other, and get reminders.  I had an online calendar that worked, but the best part is that the flylady schedule is right on my daily things to do.  Before, I would have to jazz myself up to get on the website and figure out what 'zone' I was supposed to be in and then find the lists and missions separately.  They are now right on my calendar!  I just click on it and there's my 15 minute activity. 

Did I mention it is all FREE??? C'mon, you should know me by now ;)  The signup is here

Saturday, January 26, 2013 and equipment

Seems that there is a trade off when it comes to gardening, unless you plan well ahead and have time to shop around.  The trade off is sweat or money.  Yes, you can have a beautiful garden for free and take the time to dig, build, compost, salvage or reuse materials, and save seeds/trade with neighbors, or you can buy everything premade or pregrown. Since I have more excess calories to offer than dollars, I go the sweat route most times and draft some extra free labor, aka kids who are better builders and more regular harvesters than I.

Sometimes I have gotten a steal on items that would usually cost a bit, such as topsoil with almost-full-cost rebates and heritage seeds on recycling websites from y2k'ers.  The dollar store and hardware stores have seeds 10-20 cents a packet at the end of the season, but one has to be vigilant about looking for those; I am too sporadic a shopper, so I rely on alerts from friends.  I have also found name-brand red and black pruners, lobbers, and an expandable hoe at a local dollar store for a quarter of the price of the local hardware or depot store.  Other tools like shovels, lawn furniture, wheelbarrows, and canning jars have been located faithfully in the basements, garages, and attics of estate sales.

Otherwise, recycling websites and the closest curb have yielded some great finds for me such as window boxes, hanging pots, landscaping flats, various tools, hoses, bricks, fencing, leaves and paper shreds for compost/mulch, and netting.  Thrift stores have provided me hand tools, yard clogs, and a school sports equipment stand that perfectly holds shovels, hoes, rakes, etc.  Grocery deli and bakery departments have been fantastic about providing food grade 5 gallon buckets that I drill holes in and use for potato planters.  Donated untreated wood was cut down to size with a handsaw and nails found in the basement of our recently purchased house to make raised beds.  To start new beds, my own recycling bins have provided all the newspaper and pizza boxes I could ask for. 

Another source of free items could come in the form of gifts of labor and materials from loved ones, like my 40th birthday gift for a sorely needed landscaping project.  Though I never thought to ask for this specifically, it wouldn't be a bad idea for a large or daunting project. Over eager family has also been a neat supply of excess plants and seeds when their eyes were bigger than their plots.

The gardening bug has officially hit me as of yesterday and I am smitten, so there will be more about gardening, maybe more than you want to know.  I may need to start another blog ;)

Friday, January 25, 2013

When we're sick.... stomach, fevers, etc

Again, please refer to the first sick blog for FDA disclaimer....

If we get hit with a flu like bug that sends us to the bathroom for one reason or another, we first ensure they have a comfy place on the 'sick couch.' Sometimes, just knowing we are being cared for in a special designated place helps recovery.  That, and its much closer to the bathroom and saves me some cleanup time ;)

Seriously, though, we have used Brioshi (below in amazon links) to keep the last meal at bay with some success.  Mostly, I head for the spice cabinet and brew up a simple cup of ginger tea.  It quells nausea fast and also works as a quick pain reliever. During recovery, we make them sleep as much as possible to help the body go into healing mode, sipping water or real ginger ale or weak sweetened tea occasionally until they can tolerate broth, soup, or dry crackers.  If I am out and get nauseous, I keep a pack of ginger gum handy and it works the same. 

We do not worry much about fevers, unless they are super high or of unusually long duration.  I am not one to run to the cabinet for a fever reducer, as fevers combat the bad bugs and I want to help it along as much as possible.  I come from a long line of fever phobians, so I understand the panic, but give it some space to do its thing :)

If the issue is the 'other end,' I give them a chewable probiotic according to the directions or yogurt a few times a day.  Fibrous foods and water are very important, too. I noticed that if I get an intestinal issue that would normally make me want to take that little white pill, the probiotics seem to work just as fast and are just as effective, and I'm helping my body retake enemy territory :)

Pet care

We have had a menagerie of animals over the last 10 years that have included almost every house pet outside of lizards including dogs, fish, turtles, hamsters, mice, birds, rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs.  No cats because dad's allergic, but otherwise, we are happiest with our furry or somewhat slimy friends.  At this point we are down to 2 rats, a bunny, and some fish. However, there are somethings we do now or have done that could help control costs and benefit the health of your animals. 

Pet litter: For mice, rabbits, hamsters, and guinea pigs, use shredded paper.  Newspaper is ok, but the colored pages are a no-no. The long shreds work best as they can burrow into it to stay warm and explore, but the cross cut works as well.  Since we broke our 3rd shredder, we get donations from extended family and a recycling advocate on freecycle.  Before this, I took bags of it home from the office I used to work in. Check with your local businesses as they may be thrilled to not pay a shredding disposal service.  The next cheapest option was wood shavings by the bale at a farm supply store.  This was about $6 each and lasted a while.  For pets on a leash, we reused plastic shopping bags instead of the purchased rolls.  Free again.

Pet food: For vegetarians in a cage, I approached my local grocery stores for their culled veggies.  Most said they supplied pig farmers, but one was glad save them for my critters if- 1. I provided a bin and 2. If I would be faithful to pick it up on time. No problem! The critters had good, free food for quite a while.  I actually ended up having to get creative with drying methods and making longer lasting items from it to not throw the excess into my compost pile. For other animals that prefer grains, some wild bird seed mixtures are cheaper than the pet store formulations with virtually the same ingredients except maybe pellets.  Those can be purchased in large bags from the farm supply store as well. For birds, there are recipes for bird 'bread' that is good enough for us to eat if it weren't for the egg shells.  Ask my mother in law, who mistaked a fresh pan on my oven for banana bread ;) For the dog, I made my own food, following online recipes that included the scrap meat from poultry carcasses after making broth, rice cooked in broth, sweet potatoes or carrots, olive oil, sage, parsley, crushed egg shells, kelp, and oats. He loved it and I knew he was getting good food instead of byproducts. *If anyone has tips on rat food, other than table scraps, let me know.

Pet health: I purchased food grade diatomaceous earth and we rub down the furry critters with it regularly, especially in flea season and it can be added to food for internal parasites. WARNING: Be sure to get food grade! I also made up a bandana for the dog with various essential oils that were pet friendly, yet flea/tick aggressive. Any minor cuts or abrasions calls for our colloidal silver spray for quick healing.  For larger wounds, like when my mini pincher attacked the neighboring pitbull, we kept EMT gel handy (on the amazon site below).

When we're sick #2....Pain relief

Please refer to my other post for the FDA disclaimer before reading on if you haven't yet....

I tend to get migraines about monthly for the last few years.  My mom described hers to me and I am glad that I could refer to that when I got my first one with an aura about 15 years ago.  When I get an aura, I thankfully don't get the pain with it, but I get it at a different time in the month.  I just can't see right for a couple hours until they fade. But when the pain comes, it takes over my whole head, starting as a kink-like tightness at the base of my skull, traveling to the sides of my head, into my ears/jaws, and then down both jugulars.  Worse, if it is during the night, it travels to whatever side my head is resting on, making sleep impossible. It is unbearable, and for this I sometimes do resort to aspirin, naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen out of desperation.  These work sometimes, but mostly I have to do various things to get relief.  I first make ginger tea (cup of hot water, 1/4-1/2 t ground ginger, honey to taste) and it usually makes a dent in the pain, if not removing entirely it for a while. I also made a rice sock out of a new tube sock with the stripes and everything. At least this makes me laugh when I pull it out. I filled it with a couple pounds of white rice out of my cupboard and tied a knot at the end.  You might want to put some essential oil on the sock and worked it in because hot rice smells like, well, hot rice.  I microwave this for 3 minutes and use it wherever the pain has traveled.  If these is not entirely effective, I also massage a menthol muscle salve into my scalp.  Yes, it is a bit messy on the hair, but my image and smelling like sushi cough drop is the last thing on my mind. Besides, the almost instant cold tingling is such a break from the pain. On that note, the menthol gel works great anywhere there is pain from headaches to muscle/bone aches and is a natural alternative to messing with your gut.  However, not all are the same, so read the ingredients. I have read about using cinnamon, mustard, or cayenne for the same effect, but do some research as they can be irritating to the skin. As with anything, do not put anything near your eyes, or on the skin surrounding your eyes.  The skin there is the thinnest on your body and absorbs right into your eye; protect your vision for as long as possible! 

Another use of the rice sock is, of course, when we strain a muscle, or just have a hard time getting into a cold bed :)  It can also be placed on an ear for earaches as the moist heat is very soothing. The rice sock has it over a heating pad because it does not produce electromagnetic fields and it is not a fire hazard, unless you warm it too long.  I might need to start a blog on how many times I've been my own fire hazard...but I digress. For more about the dangers of heating pads, see this.... 

I also seem to have issues with an ovarian cyst rupturing abnormally every few months.  It hits me without warning a few minutes or hours after starting my day and sends me to bed in pain that reminds me what early labor was like.  Not cool, as I am a textbook example about how you 'forget all about the pain.' My rice sock and ginger tea come to the rescue again as I lay as motionless as possible for a few hours.

My last pain reliever is for splinter removal or addressing an infection around a nail, etc.  We use the cheapest throat spray analgesic or baby teething formula on the area, leave it for a minute, and then go at it.  Works terrific!

***UPDATE: Cold sores: Make lemon balm tincture ahead of time and use on spot the minute the tingling starts.  Also, rubbing an ice cube on the tingling spot can quelled an outbreak.  Lastly, if it ruptures or threatens to, grind an aspirin with a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide to make a paste and dab this with a clean cotton swab a few times; let it air dry preferably when you do not have to go out.  This made a very angry, weepy one go away overnight with minimal residual redness. Note: this stings a little bit, according to my 11 year old, but is not painful. 

When we're sick...Colds, etc

Business first... FDA Disclaimer
The statements and products referred to throughout this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health condition or concern, consult a physician or your alternative health care provider. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing new exercises. We recommend you educate yourselves on the scientific / nutritional facts. Again, I do not want to get into trouble with the FDA, so what I've used is simply that . Please do your own research, make wise decisions, and use products at your own risk. 

First, it would be helpful to know that none of us takes prescription drugs or otc items of any kind regularly.  I can count the times on my hand that we needed prescription antibiotics and those have been mostly for one kid with a revolving issue with an infected toe.  Further, it is only because he has not faithfully take the rounds with regularlity.  We are fairly healthy and mostly have complaints from aches, but we will get to what we use for that. We do not take multi's regularly and one of us uses natural supplements daily for focus issues, but again, we will get to that as well. I do try my best to stay away from otc and prescription medications as much as possible.  The side effects and way they mess with our systems instead of working with them is just not desirable.  Here is an interesting article about the effects of antibiotics...

We will start with the common cold and associated symptoms. When any of us starts sniffles or a sore throat, the first thing we go to is vitamin c and zinc. Note: there are chewable versions of both. Our loose rule is to take 2 c's and one zinc in the morning, then more c's throughout the day at least 2 more times.  We do this until the symptoms are gone.  We notice that they definitely last fewer days and are of a lesser intensity when we do this.  If congestion is an issue, we brew up a strong tea of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg with honey.  If coughing is an issue, as with a chest cold, or just a nagging cough during the night, we use a chest rub product (natural ingredients) on the bottom of the feet with socks overnight.  It stops the coughing and helps us sleep deeply.  If a sore throat is a nagging issue, we pick the most desirable of one or more of the following: gargle with salt water, spray colloidal silver at the back of the throat and gargle for 30 seconds then swallow, or use a mixture of honey and lemon juice as a gargle.  I found natural horehound cough drops to suck on that my grandmother used to give us as kids in a novelty general store. I have persuaded the kids to use a honey, lemon, and onion juice mixture as a cough remedy, but they balked at it- should have started that one a bit younger ;)  It's too bad because onion juice is a strong opponent to bad bugs.  On that note, I have heard that a cut onion placed in the room of the sick person disinfects the air, and when I tried this recently, that very day was when I felt more like myself- but that could be the timing. Speaking of food, I regularly make broth with poultry carcasses, vegetable ends, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, sage, and egg shells. To this broth, I add vegetables, the meat from the bones, some noodles, and process jars of it in a canner for a rainy day. Some of my family members rebel and still grab the red and white label soup and use regular cough medicines to lessen symptoms, but everyone has to decide what is best for their body, I just try to influence them to make the healthiest decisions possible; that is to help the body heal and not just cover up symptoms.

Should one of us have more drastic symptoms, like the beginnings of strep or a sinus infection, we definitely go right to colloidal silver (a natural antibiotic in my faves below and on the amazon site). For throat issues, we gargle many times with silver and swallow the rest over the course of a few days.  If the pain is intolerable, we will use a analgesic spray until it lessens and we remove the person from others.  This usually takes care of it in a couple days. For sinus infections, we use the spray as an inhaler multiple times a day as well.  Though the silver is not inexpensive ($14 for about 2 oz), we find it is effective on so many things, it is worth it.  Ps, one 2 oz bottle lasts all of us months at a time, so I guess it is still cost effective considering prescription and dr visit copays.

Oddly enough, one of my kids develops the beginnings of pink eye whenever he begins a cold.  We spray the silver in each eye once, 2-3 times a day. We usually only have to treat it for one day, sometimes two, but any itchiness and redness is gone almost immediately after the first spray.  I think this covers the basic cold approaches we do, but will update if any slipped my mind :) 

Weight Loss tools #2

Before starting with Lose It and Daily Workout apps, I used the program.  Since I have been looking for lots of things to do, and my extended family is a fan of Weight Watchers, I looked into it, but the cost and time to go 'check in' was prohibitive.  I understand the rationale on the check in's, but it wasn't going to work for me.  Did I mention the cost was a factor?  I REALLY like free.  So, about Sparkpeople... they offer a comparative program that offers tracking of weight, foods, and exercises that is quite comprehensive with lots of reports, and I think, meal planners.  They have a vibrant community and offer challenges and your own website to express yourself.  I liked it, but I never really lost weight and I wonder if it was due to the fact it allowed me 500-700 more calories than I have now on the Lose It program.  Many people have had great success with it, but Lose It just fits me better and is more 'on the go' friendly for my lifestyle.  So, if you are not a fan of Lose It, check out Sparkpeople.  Did I mention it's free????

Today, I was looking for a calorie converter for my treadmill workout of 3.0 at a 7 incline.  No, my beloved Lose It did not have anything more fancy under walking/treadmill other than minutes walked.  I know I worked harder than that.  A quick search on my phone brought up a site that asks your weight, time worked out, and you pick from an extensive list (that included speed and incline.) Granted, it had 6.0 incline instead of 7, but I could live with that estimate- the rest is gravy ;)

The site was

 I know there are others out there, but this one worked in a pinch.  Give it a shot!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Weight Loss

January always brings my first thoughts to, "What am I going to do about my weight this year?" Because I am 37 pounds heavier than when I got married and my last 'baby fat' excuse is now almost 12 years old, I obviously need to address this in some permanent way.  I have tried everything outside surgery from pills, exercise, and diets, looking for something that would outlast my 2 week spurt of ambition.

Some things have worked in a visible way, at least as long as I did them.  Tae Bo was fun and I saw results slowly over a month.  Next to that with faster and more visible results, was T-Tapp. Both can be found in my recommendations at the bottom of the page.  T-tapp had it over Tae Bo because I am not one who enjoys sweating. She did make me work, and I did sweat, but at least I could still breathe and it was surprisingly low impact.  Better than that, I saw inches melt away when I faithfully did the videos.  

I found free apps for my smartphone that offer 5 minute, I repeat... 5 minute workouts.  They may be short, they may be simple, but they are not easy. I chose the two areas I need the most work on: abs and arms. Daily Workout offers these for free in singular or group form and include all body areas. Since I have a treadmill (birthday gift) and elliptical (side-of-the-road gift), I add 10 minutes on one of those for cardio and I'm done for the day.  I cannot seem to be able to excuse myself out of those 10 minutes.

The Lose It app incorporates any exercise routine and allowed me to lose an impossible 5 pounds in my first 10 days. It is a free tracking app that calculates goals into daily calories.  I track my food/exercise and I have lost every day, except one where I stayed the same.  I have a diet buddy there and we ninja motivate each other.  That is, there are no planned check ins; we sneak text each other, so we always have to be ready ;)

So, final evaluation is that Tae Bo and T-Tapp WORK.  Lose It also works, works fast, includes any exercise program you want, and is really painless. I am getting fit in the small window I have with faster results.  It has made me much more aware of what I put in my mouth and I am making much smarter choices without a ton of planning.  Try it and 'friend' me there :)

****UPDATE: still using the lose it app with whatever exercise app I feel like doing at the time; yoga is the current favorite (  and lost 10 pounds so far.  Ups and downs depending on what I've been doing (read who's house I've been eating dinner at), but basically the downward direction.  Clothes are looser and neck fold-line disappeared.  I love being able to plan out my day and still eat what I want.  Yes, I find am eating better and less as an end result, not a forced march!

Cleaning the Bathroom, and everywhere else!

Since my last post addressed the shower, I thought I'd stay there and talk about my next discovery that wowed me.  Homemade cleaners was another infatuation of mine last October, but I never got around to actually mixing them up until November.  Up to this point, I had used a combination of bleach based or bubble-type cleaners to get off the soap scum that repeatedly crept up the sides of my tubs and shower walls. I used what was effective, even if it made me gasp for air every few minutes and make my throat feel like I was in a smokey bingo hall for an hour afterward.  While they were effective, it was not a long lasting solution as my bathrooms tend to get icky the minute I walk away. 

I don't have a lot of time and I hated the chemicals, so I sought out other options after watching Chemerical one night. I looked up recipes online (free) and made up a paste of baking soda and water to scrub my shower walls, tub, and sink. Yes, this took a bit more elbow grease than usual, and I got say goodbye to some calories, but not many more than with the usual bubble stuff.  This gets rinsed with plain water. Next, I mixed up a bottle of rubbing alcohol, vinegar, water and essential oil to disinfect the outside of the toilet and polish the fixtures.

The positives: Cheap, natural, and left a super sparkly bathroom behind that lasted what seemed like FOREVER.  The negatives: none, unless you count burning some calories, but with my new year's resolution- no problem.  There was no bad air, no cost (since I had all these things already), no having to do it again right away, and no guilt.  The alcohol cleaner is one that I use everywhere around the house, not just the bathroom, and it shines things beautifully. I believe it is 2 oz of alcohol, 2 T white vinegar, fill the rest with water and some drops of essential oils; I used wintergreen and lavender.

I was thinking about moving to a hydrogen peroxide base next time for everything except mirrors and glass/fixtures to see if I can smell my oils better (alcohol smell is strong) and it disinfects just as well.  The only thing I have not finished researching yet is to find a good natural toilet scrub recipe or process for the interior of the toilet.  Still have to use the store stuff until I get a good lead, hint hint ;)

Going Poo-less

So, to start, instead of going with what is impressing me just today, I am going back to what I have been doing that has been successful and try to add semi-daily thoughts.  Since I've been on an 'improve me' routine, I will start with my hair.  I have long, thick, curly hair that needs either constant taming or an 'au natural' approach.  Either way, my hair ends up dry like straw on the ends if I wash every day or starts to get greasy/itchy if I wait a day in between.  I also have an endless infatuation with everything natural and an inclination to rebel against everything imposed on me for commercial reasons.  Because of this, I found myself sifting through posts about going "poo-less" last October.  The articles I read went from water only techniques to only using conditioner.

I decided to try the combination of water and baking soda with an apple cider vinegar rinse.  To be honest, I wasn't sure just water would clean enough and I read enough about the benefits of cider vinegar on the hair to convince me to give it a go. I also read WAY too much about the dangers of the chemicals in average shampoo. Needless to say, since October, I have been using these mixtures daily or every other day.  The vinegar rinse happens when I feel like it and I've added cinnamon essential oil to it to leave my hair smelling wonderful.  NOTE: Do not use excessive cinnamon oil- it burns all the way down to the drain.  I revised those 10 drops to 3-5 drops in a 16 oz bottle; this worked with no pain, lol. The baking soda was about 1/2 inch or less at the bottom of a 16 oz bottle; shake each before each use. My hair has felt extremely clean, stayed cleaner longer, dandruff has reduced significantly, and my hair is much softer and healthier looking.

A positive and unexpected outcome from this is that my hair, which fell out by the clump fulls (20-30 hairs each pass through to squeeze out my hair) has gone down to about 5-8 total per shower.  If this wasn't enough, the hair (or lack thereof) at my temples has grown in and some on my hairline!  If you knew me, you'd know that I am a genius according to Renaissance measurements of intelligence, so any additional hair on my long forehead was welcome :)  I would love to hear if anyone has ideas why this occurred.

If you are leery about attempting this, be aware you will NOT get any sudsy action. This takes some getting used to, but remember to scrub your scalp anyway; circulation is a good thing. Also, any vinegar rinse will smell like salad until the hair dries some.  However, the smell does NOT stay and it is lessened by any essential oil, I just picked the strongest, most pleasant one I had. Would love to hear your experiences!

***UPDATE:  In regards to my hair growing back, I remembered why.  It was not the shampoo, or lack thereof... it was the fact I was taking shots of onion juice almost daily a few weeks prior to this when I was getting sick after reading about the wonders of it.  It is hard to get down, but it definately works with the bonus of groing hair back better.than the popular "R" product out there!