Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Crunchy Daddy Takeover!

{Hello all, Alyssa here. My husband Justin wrote a post for me, and here it is! If I write anything or have any input, it will be in bold and written like this. Enjoy!}

It’s official.  The Crunchy Mama blog page has been invaded by the husband!

That’s right.  This week’s blog will be done by the man that my wife, Alyssa, has talked about on many different occasions.  

Now you would think that Alyssa would have asked me to do this, but actually, I was the one who asked her if it would be ok to take over for a change.  Usually, my wife writes about different kinds of topics which range anywhere from light topics such as eating organic foods, the wonders of coconut oil, or even her latest posting about “no-pooing”, to more controversial topics such as vaccinations, breastfeeding in public, or circumcision.  The reason why I wanted to write this week was because I wanted to share my perspective from being married to a “crunchy mom”.  And honestly, this post is more directed to the men who are married to crunchy moms who might not be fully comfortable with the crunchy beliefs that their wives have.  This is a message to you from a man who used to feel the exact same way.

Of course, today, my wife and I are on the same page as to how we want to raise our children, but that wasn’t always the case.  Originally, I believed the most mainstream opinions that the world today has conditioned everyone to believe, such as you are supposed to give birth in the hospital, you are supposed to get your kid vaccinated, and that you stop breastfeeding after 6-8 months and then give them regular milk.  My wife had to do a lot of research to get me to see a different perspective. 

For starters, when Alyssa and I found out we were pregnant with our daughter, the topic of whether to have the baby at home or in the hospital arose.  At first, I definitely wanted to have the baby at the hospital, but she wanted to have the baby at home.  She set up a meeting between us and a few midwives that she knew so that they could explain to me the differences.  At first, I thought it was just going to be a couple of old broads giving me their old-school opinion, but it was actually well-trained women who have done research and gone to school for this that were sharing with me real-life experiences that they have had.  But it wasn't until one of them asked me a simple question that I really got on board with the idea.

One of the midwives asked me, “how long have humans have been around?”  I said that they have been around for thousands of years.  She then asked me, “Did you know that hospital births have only been around for the past hundred years?”  At this point, I saw where she was going with this and I understood.  If women have been giving birth at home without hospitals for thousands of years, then why couldn't my wife?  Childbirth is a natural bodily experience.  A woman’s body is conditioned for it, but somehow, the world has conditioned us to believe that it is more of a surgical procedure that requires a doctor’s assistance.  Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t instances where a doctor isn’t needed because there are sometimes complications with childbirth, but for the most part, childbirth is a natural process that should be able to be done anywhere. 

Throughout the course of the 9-10 months that my wife was pregnant, she did more research about different topics such as vaccinations.  Again, I thought that vaccinations were just another thing that you are supposed to do.  Nope.  I found out that actually, widespread vaccinations in the U.S. have only been around since about 1812.  Before that, not a lot of people were getting vaccinated.  Nowadays, there are vaccinations for almost everything, but what a lot of people don’t know is that they are not necessary.  In fact, many vaccinations today can be more dangerous than the actual sickness or disease that they are meant to prevent because of the ingredients in them.  Most vaccinations are composed of mercury, heavy metals, and in some cases, aborted fetal cells.  Don’t believe me?  Do some research.  You will be shocked at all the crap in vaccines.  I wouldn’t want that crap in my body, so why the jack would I want to pump my new-born baby full of that garbage.  Honestly, the only real vaccine that a baby needs is breast milk, which brings me to my next topic. {Ultimately, the vaccine debate is something you need to research for your family and decide what you feel is best for your children. Our choice to not vaccinate has been a long time in the making, after a lot of research, praying and soul searching. You can read more about my research and perspective on vaccines HERE.}

When my wife told me that she would breastfeed as long as she could, I thought she meant around 6-8 months, but she literally meant “as long as she can”.  When I asked why she wouldn’t switch to regular milk, once again, I would get schooled by her extensive research.  A women’s breast milk is constantly changing depending on the baby’s needs.  It is full of natural proteins, nutrients, fats and sugars that a baby needs in order to develop and grow.  Not only that, but a woman’s breast milk contains all of the antibodies that a baby needs in order to fight off infections and other sicknesses and ultimately, naturally strengthens the baby’s immune system, whereas vaccines will most likely weaken it.  

When I asked about regular milk, I found out that milk actually doesn't have much of a nutritional benefit to our bodies.  Apparently, there are good and bad types of calcium.  Because of all of the processes that milk goes through in order for us to drink it, our bodies aren’t actually able to absorb the calcium that is in milk.  Also, because of the hormones that are injected into the cows and the milk itself, more and more children, especially girls, are going through puberty earlier than usual.  So giving our daughter milk was out of the question.  

But what about formula?  Again, I learned that formula is not an adequate replacement for breast milk.  In fact, formula contains fats that are not easily digestible and if given too much, can result in childhood obesity.  I never really fought with my wife on this matter, because to me, if my kid is healthy, happy, and is growing, I don’t care how long they breastfeed.   Our daughter is over a year old and is still breastfeeding.  Yes, she eats regular foods like chicken, eggs, and puree baby foods, but she still gets her daily fix of milk from the tap. {I would like to add that this is not a hate on formula or moms who use formula. We realize there are instances where some moms cannot physically breastfeed. Our belief is that in general, for the average mom and child, breastmilk is the ultimate nutrition and food we can give our child, and shouldn't be a "will I" or "won't I." Not only to save money but because the benefits are innumerable and there really is no comparison. Also, there is such a thing as "toddler formula." If there is toddler formula, I don't understand the controversy over me breastfeeding past one haha.}

Probably one of the biggest crunchy debates that my wife and I ever really did have when we found out we were having a baby was the topic of circumcision.  And again, I thought that it was just something that happened to all boys when they are born.  But this was the one topic that really got my wife going on her research.  If we had a boy, she did NOT want him circumcised.  Doctors in America (emphasis on "in America" as we are the only country to routinely practice circumcision on infants) say that there are health benefits to circumcision.  The most notable belief is the decreased risk of a sexually transmitted disease.  Really?  If cutting off the end of my penis reduces the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease, then chopping off my ear reduces the risk of me getting an inner-ear infection. When I heard that that was the most notable benefit to circumcision, I couldn’t freaking believe it.  How about this?  Don’t have unprotected sex unless you want to have a kid, I’m sure that reduces the risk of an STD better than circumcision.  Besides the fact that America routinely practices infant circumcision and has one of the highest STD rates in the industrialized world. Europe doesn't routinely circumcise and their rates are a lot lower. Just saying. {to read more about circumcision, the lack of benefits, and other info, click HERE.}

After reading about the “benefits” of circumcision, I also read about the risks, and as it turns out, if the doctor botches the procedure, the baby may end up having to have its penis fully amputated and in some cases, the baby can actually die.  Don’t believe me?  Again, do some research. Babies die of circumcision related blood loss more than a 100 times a year here. You will be shocked to see how common it actually is that a baby dies from a botched circumcision.  I knew that circumcision was the removal of the foreskin of the penis.  What I didn’t know was that when a baby is born, the foreskin is actually fused to the penis and that, over time, it retracts naturally.  So when a newborn baby boy is being circumcised, the doctor is actually peeling flesh away from flesh.  How would you like to feel that?  I’m sure you wouldn’t.  Try taking a scalpel to your finger and taking off your attached nail, for an example. 

What really convinced me against circumcision was after hearing all of this, Alyssa asked me to watch a medical video of a circumcision being performed, and the way that the doctor was so brutally handling the child and the amount of pain I could see on the baby’s face and hear in its cries made me realize that I would NEVER want my kid to go through that kind of pain.  So, if God ever decides to bless Alyssa and me with a son or sons, they will be staying intact.

I know that most of the men sitting here reading this might be thinking that I’m totally nuts, but seriously, I was the same as you and have had same reservations that you might have against your wife or girlfriend's viewpoints.  But seriously, if you take the time to do the research, you will learn that your crunchy wife might not be as crazy as you think she is.  I thought mine was, and look at me.  I’m almost as crunchy as my wife!

If you want proof for anything that I have talked about, let me tell you this.  My daughter is now over a year old and since the day she was born, she has never been sick.  She hasn’t had so much as a cough or a runny nose.  Why?  My wife and I believe it's because we don't vaccinate her and she's been breastfed so long, she has quite the immune system.  Another kid that I know who is around the same age as our daughter has had all of their vaccinations and they have been sick on several different occasions with things that there vaccinations should have prevented you would think. 

I’m very blessed that my wife is as crunchy as she is, because if she wasn’t I couldn’t even imagine how our daughter would have turned out.  Without her doing her research, we probably would have gone to the hospital to deliver our daughter where all sorts of interventions could have changed the outcome, gotten her vaccinated, and given her formula instead of breast milk.  All in all, things could have turned out very differently than they are now.

Today, I am about as crunchy as my wife when, before, I was pretty “creamy," I guess that would be the opposite of crunchy if we are going based off of peanut butter types. I hope that I was able to give you guys a little insight to what its like being a guy who is married to a crunchy mama and hopefully you have learned a few things and will do your own research so that you are prepared to be the best father you can be to your kids.

                                                                                                                Best wishes,

Monday, November 11, 2013

My No-Pooing Adventure

Do you.... no poo?

Because I do. Or don't?

However you want to phrase it, I've started to no-poo my hair. Which means, for me, I only wash my hair with conventional shampoo once a week.

There are many different ways to no poo, and different spans of time and lengths between washings (if you do) and that's what I'll be sharing with everyone today.

My introduction to the idea of no pooing was my cousin Britney. We were at this awesome annual hippie fest that goes on every summer near us, and were visiting a cute booth set up by a very nice and talkative older couple. They made their own hair and body products, and were talking to us about the damages of shampoo on our hair. The husband had worked for an automotive factory and informed us that shampoo companies used some of the same ingredients he used once upon a time to strip oil and fuel and crud off car parts (that's apparently what makes shampoo sudsy). I am fairly certain this is what got my cousin on board. (I could be wrong and am open to correction from the source!)

This link here, at goes into greater deal and offers some great input and suggestions, as well as some of the ingredients used in shampoo if you'd like to read more into that. My way of no pooing is similar to hers, and as I have pretty oily, moist (moist, eww what a word, not dry? Let's go with that) hair the baking soda works great with my hair. I've known people to say no pooing dried out and/or damaged their hair, so if you have more dry, stiff hair I would suggest going easy with the baking soda. I will be adding some homemade shampoo recipes (including what I do with my hair) so you can play around and find out what works best for you if you decide to try to no poo!

Now what my cousin does is straight up nothing on her hair. She went a few weeks without any shampoo or products whatsoever to break her hair's oil cycle. See, as the link above explains, shampoo strips away our hair's natural oils. We need those oils! And since we strip them away, our hair overproduces them to make up for what was taken. Are you one of those folks who has to wash their hair everyday (maybe twice a day) because of how oily your hair is? Shampoo is not helping you. I was like that, trust me!

So after Britney broke her cycle, she bought some crunchy granola hippie all natural super expensive shampoo from Earth Fare, and I think the last time I talked to her about she said she washes every 14 days. She does not use any baking soda or anything on her hair. And that works splendidly for her!

Not so well for me. After a week I couldn't take it and washed.

Now, she still showered and wet her hair, she would just scrub with her fingers and water. But I couldn't take that personally and looked for some suggestions. The first I found and tried and liked and I played around with it. I use 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part baking soda and mix this thoroughly, I keep it in an open jar on my shower sill (we have a wonderful, privacy killing window in our shower). I then have an old peri squeeze bottle I use apple cider vinegar mixed with a bit of water and a few drops of essential oils in next to my powder jar, this is my "conditioner." Other people use baking soda dissolved in water and put that in a squirt bottle, same with the ACV (apple cider vinegar), so read a few links and try a few different routes to decide what works for you!

Now I first off brush my hair thoroughly (dry) before I get in the shower. I wet my hair and part it down the middle. I use my fingers to grab some of my mixed powder and put it down my part on my scalp and massage it in. I then do this around the frame of my face and then do a few other parts on both sides of the middle, rubbing in my powdery mixture, and then finally a bit at the base of my neck. I then go back all over with my fingers to massage my whole scalp (no added powder this time.)

After this, I rinse well, massaging with my fingers. I then take my ACV peri  bottle and squirt some on my scalp and work it in, massaging and then rubbing down the strands of my hair. I leave this in while I wash and everything so it sits on my hair a while, just like what I did with my conventional conditioner in the past.

After I'm all clean, I rinse the ACV  from my hair. Lots of massaging haha. Rinse and scrub well, elsewise the smell of the vinegar likes to linger. Mmmm! This is also why I use essential oils to add some light scent. On my wash day, I do not personally use conditioner. But if you want, go for it! See what works right?

This works well for me. I usually wash my hair with conventional shampoo on Saturdays or Sundays. I probably will not add length to my cycle, I like where I'm at. Some people, like my cousin, go different lengths or different/no products. Gotta play around for your personal hair.

Now about seven or eight weeks ago I regrettably chopped my hair off. It was soooo long, past my chest, entangling me and getting caught in my arm pits while I slept, and I loved it. But it was really damaged from a lot of dye and bleach and a short amount of time, and I couldn't take the split ends; no matter how often I got a trim they sprung back with in a few days.

So I cut off about three to four inches and added some very blunt layers. Which I loved at the time but hated myself for two weeks later. I missed my length! I missed the wavy hair I had before the chemicals stripped the life from my strands...

(Dye is my drug of choice. Its so unhealthy and damaging for me, because I changed hair colors as frequently as Ramona Flowers. I love it. So much. It's a constant battle to not buy some when I go shopping. Anyway...)

I happened to start no pooing that week. And in the past five or six weeks, look how much my hair has grown...

Top photo courtesy of Instagram, bottom photo courtesy of my webcam.

One of the more shorter layers I put in, about mid-cheek, is now at my chin! The layers at my chin are now at my shoulders. WHAT?! Yeah. Pretty fast. I'm taking better care of my hair (who knew brushing wet hair was damaging) and get this... no.split.ends. None!

No pooing has also brought back a lot of life and volume to my hair, I believe the cornstarch is helping with that. And it's been bringing back my waves!

Mid way through the cut, my no pooing, and today.

If I wash with my powder/ACV concoction, and hair dry I have some waves again! I am thinking with some more time and growth they may get even better.

So that's been my adventure with the no poo system! If you want to try it, play around, I'm giving you some links to read. Would I ever let you down by not providing links?!

Keep in mind the first few days and even weeks may not be pleasant if you're breaking your oil cycle from the nasty crud in shampoo. Push through! No pain no gain right?

(P.S. I still love shampoo on my wash days because it smells soooo heavenly. Why are evil things so lovely. WHY?!)

Oh hey, also, that static winter likes to bestow upon our hair? Only an issue on my shampoo days.

As always, these links and more on my Pinterest! Check out my hair and my style boards.

Click here for my Pinterest page. - best link ever. It has alllllll the answer for troubleshooting and issues you may have, and has suggestions for different types/styles of hair and reactions etc {This post makes some good points, and though I disagree with the negative remarks on baking soda, it has some valid suggestions if it's something you can't/don't want to use. Also search through Pinterest for some homemade shampoo ideas if that's something you'd rather do!}

Friday, November 8, 2013

When You're Too Crunchy For Your Own Good

If you follow this blog, you probably have somewhat of an understanding of the term "crunchy." After all, this is a crunchy mama's blog here you're reading.

My idea of crunchy is who I am, obviously crunchiness varies by person and strength (eg: super crunchy to slightly crunchy.... scrunchy?)

If you are any kind of crunchy, have you ever had one of those moments? The ones where you think to yourself "how far have I gone into this crunchy world?" You know, the hazards of being crunchy?

I had one of those moments hit me this week. Let's call this recurring offense The Stains.

Predominately crunchy? You know all about coconut oil and its uncountable uses. You accordingly use it for everything. But then.... DUNDUNDUUUUN.... It's The Stains. You know. You've had them before. The coconut oil stains. Essentially the grease stains of the modern hippie.

I was changing my daughter's diaper and applying coconut oil to her bum. Whatever happened, my oil-laden fingers made contact with my lovely, gray, soft, favorite shirt..... The Stain made its appearance right squat in the middle. Multiple washings did nothing, I was broken inside.

Fast forward to me making my homemade deodorant. Allllll baking soda, corn starch, and of course.... coconut oil. Fast forward a bit more and you'll see another one of those... those.... Stains.

In a summer and fall surprisingly free of crunchy mishaps, yesterday happened. I cannot recall why exactly I was using an essential oil, but as a crunchy mom it's bound to happen. I was tilting my EO bottle, but the oil wouldn't come out... so I started shaking it hoping this would magically release the dam holding back my jasmine oil. Which it very quickly did. The event was akin to a scene in Friends, slow motion with symphony music blaring in the background in tune with the travesty. My oil went EVERYWHERE. Which, with the prices of EOs was devastating enough. But then.... The Stains. All. Over. My. Shirt. Another favorite, a soft v-neck army green Old Navy uber comfy tee.

I may have lost it.

I may have said words I don't normally say. (Akin to Phoebe's breakdown when she lost the Ms. Pac-man game on Friends.)

The Stains were all over my beautiful comfy shirt! I was too crunchy for my own good.

Luckily I found out about the old Dawn dish soap trick.

{Now, I'm fairly crunchy, but I wouldn't say I'm super crunchy. I have researched the crap out of so many things that there are some sacred things I won't touch. Dish soap and Starbucks are good examples. So I don't know if there is anything iffy about Dawn or the company that owns them, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were, but I spend enough money on other specialty things I am okay with buying "mainstream" dish soap. And pumpkin spice lattees.}

I didn't exactly listen correctly and used Gain soap instead of Dawn, which can be a fatal mistake causing fading, as I've read. Dawn is used because it's petroleum based and gets rid of grease.

Anywho, I kinda did my own thing and mixed a random amount of Gain dish soap with baking soda. While it worked, I would recommend going with the Dawn route. I didn't notice fading yet on my shirts (hang drying) but I did noticed a bit of fading on my pillowcases.

Essentially, Dawn can get rid of grease stains, even set in ones. The apparent go-to at home major stain remover is 1 part Dawn to 2 parts hydrogen peroxide and will allegedly remove any stain whatsoever! So I aim to try it next time I go to the store.

The moral of this story is, sometimes you will experience mayhem that makes you think "oh goodness I'm too crunchy for my own good." And this is only one of my stories! But it's okay, because all the crunchy things you do that are beneficial makes up for the self-inflicted mayhem.

Or I am totally alone in this and made a fool of myself and my clumsiness. And no one ever has the crunchy "aha" moments like I do....

....And now that I think of it, I was using Jasmine Oil in my apple cider vinegar rinse for my hair. I've started no pooing.... but that's an entirely separate post.

That's all I have for today folks, I've got a diaper to change and Christmas movies to watch!\

~The Crunchy Mishap