Clean and Green Beauty: Hair Care

When I decided to clean up my haircare I imagined I would have to settle for something that left my hair less shiny and silky than my prior drugstore brand. Wrong! What a treat to discover there are brands that give me shiny clean hair but are still clean enough you could probably eat them…not that I a recommending that. Just sayin. Super clean food grade ingredients. Winning!

Carina Organics shampoo and conditioners are rated a top score of 1 by The Environmental Working Group (low hazard). Love that! I found them initially by scouring EWGs Skin Deep database. The wonderful surprise was that they work better than my prior brand and are affordable to boot. How often does that happen?!

I have tried several of their shampoos and I personally use the citrus and unscented extra gentle shampoo and deep treatment conditioner. These are formulated for dry or chemically treated hair. I like the extra gentle since my hair is still color treated…I know. I am wresting with whether to let my gray grow in. So many women on instagram are letting it shine through and rocking it! Soon I think.

When I first tried the citrus I thought it was too strong of a scent…think rich tangerine…but I have come to love it. Sometimes I mix the citrus and unscented since I have both on hand. I have not tried their other scents but they offer lavender, peppermint, sweet pea and a botanical line.

For my 2 boys I bought the Citrus Daily Moisturizing Shampoo for normal hair and they both love it.

I also love and recommend their unscented leave in conditioner spray as a detangler and styling spray. Very nice.

I buy directly from their website which is much cheaper than amazon and shipping is $7.99 flat rate and free over $99.
For a great deal opt for the 1 liter bottles and order the pump tops. (For larger families they even offer a 4 liter size! That must be huge!)

While you are ordering get their facial moisturizer. Also amazing. See my prior post. 😉

How Much Do I Love My Hydroflasks….Let Me Count the Ways!

I bought my first Hydroflask in Feb 2016, but since then we have purchased a total of 7 for our family of 4 (1 got lost and was replaced…boys!).

I just got the stainless one this morning at TJ Maxx for $12…see that red clearance sticker on the bottom…SCORE! Going to use it for my morning tea.

There are so many things I love about my Hydroflasks, let me count the ways.

#1. It encourages me to drink more water.
These days I get in about 80 oz a day. Having one with me at ALL times (ask my friends…I literally cart one everywhere I go!) means I always have access to clean, cold refreshing water. The straw top makes it easy to take a few gulps at at a time. When I was first focusing on hydrating more often I used an app to remind me to drink periodically, but these days it is just part of my routine and I get there almost every day, and when I don’t, I can honestly feel it.

#2. It helps me to keep track of how much I have consumed.
If I know I started with my 20 oz flask full in the am and then refilled it 3 additional times…well then I know I am getting in my full 80 oz for the day. Tea and coffee don’t count and I have even read that you need to subtract those from your totals to remain well hydrated.

#3. It keeps water cold.
Like I mean SUPER and deliciously cold! I have left mine in the car for hours in the scorching summer heat of Miami where the internal temp of the car can rise to over 100 and when I came back there was still ice in there. THAT is what I am talking about! Game changer from the old days of glass bottles where I would run in for a quick errand and come back out to a hot water bottle dripping with condensation…yuck.

#4. It is environmentally friendly.
Do you still buy plastic water bottles? Ditch those STAT. Think of how many end up in our landfills. GASP! Install a filter at home and/or throw a GoPure pod in to clean your water on the go. It not only removes impurities, but it also adds back in minerals. Mine always lives in the bottom of each of my hydroflasks. Give it a good rinse every so often when you are washing your flask. But I digress….

#5. Speaking of plastic free?
On the subject of ditching plastic bottles…who wants to drink from plastic and have chemicals leach in to their water. I love drinking from good old fashioned stainless. Always tastes fresh and clean. (When I first bought mine I tried drinking homemade seltzer in it…metal and seltzer were not friends). I stick to flat water in mine.

#6. Fewer glasses in the dishwasher.
Seriously, our dishwasher top rack can fill up with glasses in a single morning. You know the drill…hmmm, is that my glass? I’m not sure… I will just grab a clean one and throw this one in the dishwasher! When everyone has their own hydroflask there are way fewer glasses to wash, so that is environmentally friendly too. Bonus!
Have everyone pick a different color so you always know which is yours. I even take mine to the dinner table. Did I mention that I take it everywhere? Yes…I think we covered that.

What I own and love:

The flasks:

20 oz wide mouth tea and coffee flask
Until recently this was my everyday on the go flask for water. It is light and portable. I use the straw top. We have 3 of these. Mine is white, cause I love white!

32 oz wide mouth
I fell in love with the REI special edition member flask and had to have it, even though as you can see, I didn’t really need it! But isn’t it cute!! 32 oz is a nice size requiring fewer refills. This is the one I am sporting now. The only trade off is it is bit heavier when full, but the upside is fewer refills are needed.

40 oz wide mouth
This is great for days where you are on the go and might not have access to clean filtered water (again a GoPure pod is a great option…just sayin’).
The only downside is it is pretty heavy when full, but I still love it and I rotate it in frequently. The flasks themselves are not super heavy, but water is!
Fun fact…16 ounces of water weighs in at about a pound.

22 oz tumbler with lid
I just got this this morning so I cannot yet report on it, but I will edit this when I have thoughts.

Accessories:

I use the straw lid. Now they come in fun colors and you can mix and match. It has a handy carrying loop.
I started with the flip top, which is nice for hot beverages.
I am not personally a fan of the tops that need to be screwed off, as they just make it that much harder, and for me that means I drink less often. They are handy for carrying though. Everyone finds their favorite.

I would recommend buying a boot. They come in 2 sizes. One fits the 12 to 24 oz sizes and the other fits the 32 and 40 oz sizes. It helps reduce dings at the bottom of the flask. My newest one from REI came outfitted with a boot and I plan to buy them for my other 2 personal flasks.

Downsides?
The ONLY thing I don’t love about my hydroflasks is dings…and they will happen…in spite of best efforts. At least they make nice finger grips if they happen in the right places. The boot will help with these at the base for sure!
Carrying a lot of water can be heavy. As you have just learned above, 16 ounces of water weighs in at about a pound, so just keep that in mind. It will get lighter as you drink throughout the day and you can always do a few curls with your bottle when you have a moment.
Neither of these is even CLOSE to a reason not to get a hydroflask. They are just that awesome!
I do admit, they are an investment, but you are worth it and if you make carrying it a habit, you will use this every day!

Treat yourself now and get hydrated.

Clean and Green Beauty: Facial Moisturizing Routine

I have been really working on cleaning up all of my beauty and household products and I have to say that this new routine is WAY better than the more chemical laden one I was using before! This simple combination has transformed my normally dry and sensitive skin and even gives me a bit of a healthy glow.

Both of these products are super clean and you can even pronounce everything on the ingredient list…BONUS!

On the left is Daily Face Moisturizer by Carina Organics. It earns a top score of 1 from the Environmental Working Group. It is certified organic, hypoallergenic, biodegradable and a super bargain at $14.99 for the 4.2 Fl oz pump bottle.

On the right is Harmonic Healing Oil by Innersense Beauty. This oil can be used on hair, skin and nails and it makes an amazing facial oil. I love a good multi purpose product! I buy mine from Bellacuore.com . If you use the code PALEOGIRL at checkout you will save 10%.

I started with the 1 oz size which sells for $24 but I have since upgraded to the 4 oz size. You only use a little bit so it lasts for good long while.

Here is what I do. I wash my face and then I use 1 pump of the Harmonic Healing Oil with 2 or 3 pumps of the Daily Face Moisturizer. I rub them together in my hands and then slather them all over my face and neck. I use whatever is left to moisturize the back of my hands and forearms.

I do this first thing every morning and then again before bed every night.

UPDATE:

Lately I have added in a drop or 2 of Cacay oil after reading about it from Hayley Stobbs on instagram. I buy this one on amazon. It is very nice and has antioxidant and anti-aging properties, so what’s not to love about that?

Cauliflower Turnip Soup: Instant Pot

The other day I went to my fridge to pull the ingredients to make my weekly batch of Creamy Cauliflower Leek soup and lo and behold I was out of leeks! Not to fret. I subbed in turnips, tweaked a few other things and wow, the result was amazing. Voila! Another version is born. Here are the details if you want to give it a go.

Creamy Cauliflower Turnip Soup

Ingredients List:
3 cups water or broth
1 large cauliflower with leaves and stem
3 shallots
2 medium sized turnips (roughly each the size of a large apple)
thumb sized chunk of peeled fresh ginger
optional pear or apple quarter (omit or use green apple for 21DSD)

Start by adding 3 cups of water or broth to your Instant Pot using the cup markings inside the stainless pot and hitting the sauté button. I recommend homemade chicken bone broth if you are opting for the broth method. Due to suspected gelatin and or oxalate issues I use water, but either liquid works well.
This first step will start the liquid heating while you chop up the veggies so everything will come to pressure more quickly later. Feel free to skip this step but I find it handy.

Wash the cauliflower and chop it in half or quarters. Trim off the very bottom of the stem but otherwise include the stem-base and even a few of the bigger thicker leaves. I just pull off the green parts of the leaves as they tend to get cabbage-y smelling (is that a word?!) during cooking. Add the cauliflower to liquid in the Instant Pot .

Now add in:
3 large shallots, peeled and chopped in half
2 medium sized turnips trimmed and chopped. You can leave the skin on.
Chunk of peeled ginger, thumb sized
Optional 1/4 piece of pear or apple

If you opted to start pre-heating the liquid, now you need to turn off the Instant Pot sauté function.
Lock lid in place, close vent and now hit SOUP… (this is a 30 minute high pressure cycle for those of you with other brands of pressure cookers). This soup can easily be made stove top in a covered stock pot. Just cook covered until the veggies are tender. You may need a little more liquid to account for evaporation.

Once the soup cycle is done, let the soup cool in the fridge until it is a safe temperature to transfer into your blender jar. I am absolutely mad for my Blendtec 725 blender, which is a major game-changer for the creamiest soups!  Their website says to avoid adding ingredients to their jar that are above 115 degrees as ingredients continue to heat as they blend at high speed, though their blender jar is safe up to 176 degrees. Before adding the soup to the jar pull out a little of the liquid and reserve it. You can add it back in little by little until you get to just the right creamy texture. You can also blend with an immersion/stick blender, which is what I used to do in the days before my Blendtec arrived.
If you are not sure how much ginger flavor you want then pull out the ginger chunk and cut it in to quarters and add one in at a time until you reach your ginger sweet spot.
Blend in batches if needed, drizzling in optional olive oil while blending for an even creamier texture. I usually add about 2 T of olive oil per batch. You may not need oil if you opt for homemade broth as it has some of it’s own fat content.

I usually salt the soup when I serve it rather than salting the batch, but that is totally up to you. Smoked sea salt adds amazing flavor. My personal favorite is Alaska Pure Alder Smoked sea salt. A little pinch of that stuff makes almost anything taste better!

I pour the blended soup right into pint size wide mouth mason jars and fill to the 10 oz line and freeze. I use these jars for EVERYTHING! Splurge on a case. You will thank me later! While you are ordering get these white lids, which are far superior to the metal ones that come with the jars. I have bunches of these jars in my freezer stash…go read all about it here!

One version or another of this soup is a regular part of my breakfast and is a great way to get in extra veggies any time of the day!

Shared a little pic of my garden above where I actually grow turnips, though they are usually too small to make it in to my soup. I love them sauteed right in with their greens and a few other garden fresh greens like dino kale and bok choy.  Next year I may add some purple top turnips which grow a bit larger.

For more soup inspiration visit my guest post on the Blendtec website here or
see these other creamy soup versions right here on my blog:
Creamy Zucchini Leek Soup
Creamy Veggie Soup
Butternut Squash Soup

My Weekly Prep Routine

There are some things I make just about every week.  Here is my weekly prep routine. For details about how I store these items see my Freezer Stash post.

Large batch of Shallot Baked Chicken Thighs. I will vary the seasonings….lemongrass and ginger…fresh picked herbs from my garden…tarragon, sage, oregano, basil. These will get chopped and portioned into single serving mason jars to add to my freezer stash.

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Creamy Veggie Soup. Again, the ingredients will vary week to week. Zucchini, yellow squash and turnip with ginger and turmeric…zucchini leeks and pear…butternut, zucchini and turnip.  Tons of possibilities. Again this gets portioned and frozen for the week.

Cooked ground meat.  For me this is typically ground turkey. Sometimes I season it, sometimes I do not…just sauteed with olive oil, portioned and frozen. Turkey seems to work best for me since I follow a low histamine diet. Sometimes I do lamb or veal. Beef, bison or chicken are other options and you could have some of each in your freezer stash with or without seasonings.

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Lunch Salads. On Sundays when I am already making my typical lunch salad I also prep to go salads for the first half of the week. I will do a similar session one night mid week. I used to prep for the entire week, but again due to histamine issues I now will prep fresh produce items for only 2 or 3 days at a time.

Sweet Potato Cubes or Cooked Squash. I always have a Ziploc bag full of cooked sweet potatoes and I frequently prep baked winter squash slices or cubes and either portion those or freeze in a Ziploc as well. They are super easy to make. I place cubes or slices on a parchment lined baking sheet drizzled with olive oil and roasted at 425 until toasty. They hold up surprisingly well in the freezer. These cubes or slices are super handy. You can grab a handful, defrost quickly and add to any salad or bowl.

Creamy Veggie Soup

I make a batch of this every week and freeze in single portions in pint size mason jars. So delicious. I mix up the ingredients for a little variety. Lately I have been making it in my Instant Pot. This reduces the lectins in the squash…something I have been tinkering lately.

Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP

Freezer Cooking for the Paleo AIP

You all know I am always raving about my #freezerstash and what a game changer it has been for streamlining my daily and weekly routine. It makes pulling together a delicious and healthy meal quick easy and is a savior when I am short on time or energy.

Well now there is a cookbook all about creating YOUR very own stash of AIP friendly freezer foods. 30 of us in the AIP community collaborated to pull this together so you have all of the resources you need to build your very own freezer stash, full of delicious foods that work for you! There are 123 recipes, all fully tested for freezer storage with reheating instructions that take all of the guesswork out. From breakfasts (yes, AIP breakfast ideas!) to soups and casseroles and desserts and everything in between.

So treat yourself now, download the book and start building your stash today! Having food on hand after a long day at work…returning from a vacation…on days when your energy is low…if you have overslept and need to get out the door in the morning (ummm, yes that did JUST happen to me earlier this week!)…priceless.

CLICK TO ORDER YOUR COPY NOW

Prep Tip: Cutting board

Wanted to hop on and share a quick tip I recently posted on Instagram. I tuck a paper towel under the edge of my cutting board when I am prepping and then I can slide scraps off on to the towel. At the end I pick it up by the corners and take it right to my compost bucket. Then I give it a shake and usually can use it for a little counter wipe down after I am done. Here I was prepping my weekly batch of creamy veggie soup. I adore this Kitchen Series cutting board by Epicurean. I have 8 of them in different sizes and it is our go to board. I love that they are dishwasher safe for when I am cutting meats.