DAY 30

I’m so sorry, my loyal followers! I’ve been having terrible internet connection and I’ve just now been able to log in.

SO:

I completed the Wellness Challenge. 30 days. Done. I was not allowed to eat legumes, grains, sugar, corn, potatoes, and a few other things. I survived by drinking a lot of kombucha and water and eating a lot of salad, tuna mixed with salmon, soup, and my own pure will. The other day, I even bought myself a slice of german chocolate cake at Alberstons, my favorite, and do you know what I did with it? I gave it to my brother. BAM.

What was so great about this cleanse? I find that I have a lot more energy and everything just seems brighter. I don’t really know how to explain it, but it was like my eyes were more focused and I could see everything. On top of that, my skin, which normally breaks out and resembles a pizza, looks a lot better. I rarely have breakouts and when I do, they’re tiny. My scars on the sides of my face are also healing at a rapid pace which I’ve been trying to accomplish since I first stepped into the world of puberty! I’ve lost 10 pounds all together and with this feeling of accomplishment and motivation I’ve decided to buy a gym membership and work out at least 3x a week and take a yoga class.

Now, I’m really not one for exercise. I hate being on machines and just looking at the same spot for 20 or 30 minutes and then going on to the next one. I would much rather walk dogs around my neighborhood but there aren’t any dogs around me that I’m able to take. That’s why I’ve also decided to pursue a volunteer job at Greenhill Humane Society as a dog walker, so I can get my exercise and tire out the pups as well!

So what’s up now? What will I be doing now that the challenge is over? Well, adapt. I’m switching over to the Paleo diet, and here’s why:

The Paleo resembles the GAPS diet in that you still can’t eat grains or processed sugars. However, you can eat sweet potatoes. This makes it easier for me to eat at restaurants whenever my family goes out. I’ve only been able to eat salads and the occasional soup, but now? I can eat burgers as long as the buns are made with sweet potato. I can eat a normal Thanksgiving dinner without having to explain to bewildered (and probably offended) relatives that I can’t eat potatoes. It’s a little more forgiving, but is still great for you. The one thing I don’t believe in is the no dairy aspect. Since the biblical times, people have been drinking milk and making cheese. Paleo dieters believe that milk is bad for you and shouldn’t be consumed. I believe this, to an extent. It has been proven that milk really doesn’t digest very easily in our bodies. That’s why so many people suffer from lactose-intolerance. However, I believe that milk that is raw, unpasteurized and comes from organic, free-range, grass-fed cows is great for you. After a lot of research, I’ve come to the conclusion that people really weren’t starting to become allergic to dairy until the commercial milking came into play and people were drinking milk at every meal.

I really don’t even like the taste of milk, but I do enjoy a half a cup of milk with a cookie or two. It just helps wash it down and tastes better than water. Now, dairy also includes yogurt and cheese. Yogurt is extremely good for you because of the probiotics, as is kefir. I have mixed feelings about greek yogurt because the by product is hazardous waste, but kefir is something that has been proven to be good for you. Cheese is “iffy” for me, because I really don’t eat it, so I don’t have much of an opinion about it. In conclusion, I will be eating yogurt, drinking SMALL glasses of milk and exploring kefir.

On top of this, I’m going to try and eat different types of meat. I’ve really only eaten salmon, tuna, halibut, beef, pork, rabbit and chicken so I want to try quail, duck, goat, mutton and bison, just to see how each one tastes and to get a well rounded mix of meats. I’d also like to try quail eggs. I’ve heard they’re extremely good for you, so we’ll see. I’ve had duck eggs, but they’re super rich. It tastes like a chicken egg covered in cheese!

Until I’m able to grow my own Farro and Kamut wheat, I think I’ll stick with this diet and exercise plan. The only thing I really need to worry about right now is processed sugars and grains. Those are the important ones I’ll make sure to watch out for.

Anyways, I believe with my last post I was having trouble with greasy hair and gross breath. It’s gone! I found out that with the coconut/castille soap mixture, it works better after the first day of making it. So now my hair is super clean and feels pretty good! I wash my hair with this mixture probably once every two days and then condition my scalp with apple cider vinegar to help lock in moisture and help prevent dandruff from irritating my scalp. With my face, I wash with raw, unfiltered honey. That’s it. It works wonders! As for body soap, I really only use it once every couple of days because body wash strips the oils off your body and that’s what causes dry skin. I generally just wash with water, though, as it still does the same thing. It just doesn’t leave a scent.

I’m still trying to buy the ingredients I need for making lotion and deodorant, but so far I’m using an organic, locally-made lotion and Tom’s Apricot deodorant, which smells amazing. It’s great for the everyday activities but if I’m really working out or something I either need something stronger or I need to reapply it every couple of hours.

So, I believe that’s a wrap! I think from here on out, I’ll mainly just be talking about how my day went, how the diet’s doing, how I feel about certain issues and whatever else comes to mind! And as I said before, I apologize for the internet problems. I did not abandon you!

Hopefully you have a great night and rest well for school or work or…whatever else you do. Goodnight!

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Day 13

I hope you guys have been having a fantastic new year! My year has been annoyingly similar to 2014, so I can’t really comment yet as to how I feel about 2015.

On to the diet progress!

The first concern I’d like to discuss would be my hair. Remember how I said that I fixed my “greasy hair syndrome”? Well, that’s come back, in a way like never before. So, after I tried that one can of coconut milk that was completely thick and gloopy, my hair felt like it had been smothered in mayonnaise. So, for two days, I washed my hair with straight castille soap and a few drops of tea tree oil. Do you think that helped at all? No. The castille soap did strip my hair of the coconut milk’s oil, but then left its own oil on my hair so when my hair dried, it felt exactly the same. Not only was it still greasy, but my scalp was itching like crazy! I have scabs from where it itched so bad and I just could stop. The following day, I ran some ACV over my scalp (once I wet it down) and let it sit in a towel for about 30 minutes. Then I stepped into the shower, washed it out and massaged my scalp with about 2-3 tsp. of honey for 5 minutes. I should have kept that in for about an hour, but instead I just rinsed it out.

Once I was done, I stepped out, dried off and waited to feel what would happen. The results? The greasiness was still definitely there, but I think it was because of the ACV treatment, because it’s also used as a conditioner. The itchiness, however, was gone, and only towards the end of the day did it start to itch again. I think it has to do with the greasiness, since the more oily your hair is, the more dandruff you usually produce which in turn makes your head itch.

So, I bought a new can of coconut milk (it sounded normal when I sloshed it around in the can) and did up a recipe of 2 Tbsp. of castille soap and 1.5 Tbsp. of coconut milk. After I dried off my hair and let it air dry, I ran my hands through my hair. The result? Nothing. It was still oily and my scalp itched like before. This is ridiculous. I can’t go out in public like this and I’m having trouble figuring out a new solution. I’m not going back to baking soda, because the last time I did that, I had a really bad reaction. And trust me, it wasn’t because I didn’t rinse well enough. I can’t just use honey on my hair because it leaves it super greasy, same with the castille soap and coconut milk mixture. I’m considering trying a mud shampoo, but am reluctant to buy anything that might not work for me.

While surfing the internet, I came across some information that made me rethink that I was doing. Castille soap has a pH of around 8.9 and our scalp likes a pH around 4 to 7. It’s much more alkaline than our scalp likes, hence the itchiness and whatnot. So, I tried browsing among the pH-balanced homemade shampoo, and found this recipe:

1 can of Coconut Milk (or about 1 1/2 cups if you like to make it yourself.)
1 3/4 cups pure aloe vera gel
Optional: Essential oils

All you do is pour the mixture in ice cube trays and put them in the freezer for a few hours and when you want to use one, you just put it in a container in your shower. She says each cube will generally last for about 2-3 washes.

Apparently, the woman who made it also had troubles with castille soap (itchiness, greasy hair, etc.), tried this recipe and loves it! She didn’t say what type of hair she has though because mine is naturally greasy, while other’s are dry. The aloe vera gel concerns me, because I’m not sure if that would just coat my hair and make a super oily mess. She says that it makes your hair feel a tab bit waxy and if it feels this way, you’re supposed to do a quick rinse with ACV.

She also mentions how washing your hair every day can make the oil glands in your hair go into overdrive…oops. I guess I should have thought of that, but I’m just really tired of the oily mess. I think that once I get my hands on some money, I’ll try that recipe out, but for now I’ll continue using the coconut/castille soap once every three days and then just rinse with honey the rest of the week, just to control the dandruff and itch.

Second, I have a confession to make: I haven’t oil pulled or had lemon water and kombucha in the past three days. On top of that, I’m really reconsidering the homemade toothpaste. But that may be because I haven’t oil-pulled. The toothpaste was working wonders while I was, but not anymore. Now, when I wake up in the mornings, I have this terrible taste in the back of my tongue and when I look, it’s like a bacteria bomb went off. DISGUSTING. No matter how hard and long I scrape my tongue, it comes back in the morning like some kind of a tidal wave.

Honestly, this is probably due to not oil-pulling, so I just need to continue to do that, along with the lemon water. And actually, as I’m typing this, I’m drinking some kombucha, so I’ve finally got that covered. If my mouth doesn’t get better after a few days of oil-pulling and brushing my teeth 2x/day, I’ll probably need to find a different recipe, because this isn’t working.

I think those are my woes while being on this homemade products and GAPS diet lifestyle, so here are some extra things:

  1. I’ve lost 8 pounds! Wooo! Since I’m so young, weight just melts off me like butter, which is nice but probably won’t last for much longer.
  2. My face has cleared up so well! I have these scars on the side of my face from acne, and they’re almost gone! The honey treatment works really well on my face as well as the fact that I’m not eating as much sugar as I was. Sugar really messed my face up.
  3. 20150107_14455220150107_144740 My rabbit is a total butthole. The first picture is what she did to me as I was holding her. She was mad at me or something. The second picture is when I was ushering her up the ramp so she could get her pellets (like we do everyday) and she happily chomped on my hand. Lucky for her, I don’t eat my pets. Unfortunately for her, I locked her up for the night and didn’t feed her. When I woke up in the morning, the bite was infected and had pus . That’s a picture of the bite today, whereas yesterday was the day it was infected.

And for those of you who are worried that I’m abusing my rabbit by not allowing her to eat her evening 2 Tbsp. of pellets, I assure you, her pellets are supplementing her diet. She’s given unlimited timothy hay (which I source from our local feed store), and about 8-10 cups of dark greens and vegetables a day. The only reason I’m giving her pellets at all is because it’s more like a vitamin. To just make sure she’s getting the nutrients she should be in a given day. I fed her in the morning though, so it’s not like she would starve through the night.

Anyways, this is what’s been pretty much going on in the past week. One last thing though, my chicks will be hatching soon! I have a mix of 12 eggs from probably 6 different breeds I got from a lady who works up at the raptor center and they should be hatching either today or tomorrow. I can’t wait! I’ll take a lot of pictures, I promise!

Have a good afternoon!

P.S. – the eggs are not raptor eggs. She works at the raptor center, has chickens, and gave some of her eggs to me. Just thought I would clear that up!

Day 7

Yes! Somehow, I have made it to a full seven days without giving up this incredibly difficult diet. And when I say difficult, it’s difficult. I honestly want to go as long as I can being on this cleanse, until I’m able to find a farm who grows their own wheat (the old, heritage kind, like kamut) and lets people either grind it there or buy the fresh berries and grind it at home. I would absolutely buy the heck out of them! Old grains like that aren’t processed nearly as much as, say, soft white spring wheat is, because it usually can’t compete with the quantity that’s produced. So, until I find a farm that does that, I think I’ll remain right where I am; drinking kombucha, rubbing magnesium oil on my feet and growing a bunny garden to strictly produce Mable’s veggies. She costs about $15/week in just her vegetables! Such a spoiled rabbit.

As I told you guys earlier, after the 7 day mark, I would only post “My Journey” posts probably once or twice a week. Let’s shoot for twice right now, and then when I get past the one month mark, then we’ll do once a week and then so on and so forth.

So, today was interesting. Today was a big day, full of football, so my dad had his friend over and they kept shouting at the TV screen while my friend and I were watching “Hellboy: The Golden Army”. Since the first day I saw that movie, I’ve wanted to marry Abraham. Has that thought crossed anyone else’s mind? Anyways, I didn’t eat until around 12:30 or so, and when I did, I had two farm-fresh eggs, a little bit of sharp cheddar sprinkled on and a whole lot of tabasco sauce. Since ketchup used to be my flavoring of choice, I’ve now switched to using tabasco because, well, it’s red, like ketchup. I wish there was a way to make ketchup without sugar, but unfortunately, if ketchup didn’t have any sugar added to it it’d just taste like marinara sauce, and I am not putting marinara on my eggs.

After I ate breakfast, my friend and I proceeded to laze about my room, playing with Mable and pretty much evading other people. If there was such a thing as vampires, I’m sure we’d be them. Or at least she would. After debating about who would make a better vampire, we decided to go hangout with her grandparents to get her birthday/Christmas present. Her birthday is on January 2nd, so the family usually combines it. As soon as I sat down on the couch, Bandit slowly got up and walked towards me eyeing my lap like it was made of warm, fresh laundry. Then, he jumped up and decided that my lap was his and I couldn’t have it back. As I was petting him, I noticed that he had drops of water on his neck…then I saw this:

20150101_145612 Wait. What’s that droplet on his lip?

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Oh my God…this cat is drooling!

Dog drool is one thing, because you pretty much expect it, but cat drool is an entirely different matter. There’s something wrong, there. Most of my friend’s cats are that way though, so I really wasn’t that surprised. Still grossed out, though. Here I was thinking that it was cute he hadn’t cleaned his face after drinking from his water bowl.

So, after being drooled on by Bandit for about an hour, my friend dropped me off at my house and I went back up in my room and played with Mable. And by “play”, I’m usually walking around and she follows me and nudges at my leg, wanting me to give her pets. If I don’t, and I’m sitting on the ground, she does this:

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It’s pretty much the cutest thing in the world and I can’t resist it. By the way, yes, she is almost longer than my leg. When she’s stretching up, trying to see if you have any banana in your hand, she’ll reach about 3 feet high, ears excluded.

Anyways, after that, I went downstairs and made myself a simple green salad using the cashew chicken leftovers and then had a tangerine. After that, I drank a lot of water, drank some kombucha and watched Dr. Oakley for a while before returning back to my sanctuary and writing about my day!

Struggles of the day:

My mother made some pumpkin bread and I went to go grab some, and then I remembered my diet. Same thing with the loaf of fresh french bread…and you guys know exactly how much I like french bread. She also made a potato soup for my dad and his friends, which they loved, but I was mad because I couldn’t have any. She said she’d make the Thai Coconut Soup, but then changed her mind and said she’d make it tomorrow, so for dinner, I had an orange and the rest of my kombucha.

Good news:

I’m finding that my cravings have definitely gone down. I’m not craving snacks as much as I had, and I’m also not eating as much. Hopefully, once I get the job at Petco (fingers crossed!) I’ll get the “exercise” portion taken care of. I know, I know. Walking around a store for 8 hours a day barely fits into the category of exercise, but I do know that I’ll be doing a whole lot of skiing this winter, so that’ll be something extra I hope to benefit from. My mom also told me to get into yoga, but I’m not sure about that. I did “pregnant yoga” once and at the end of the session, the instructor asked us to give one word that would describe how our vagina feels. Only in Eugene, Oregon.

After that experience, I dare say I probably won’t be doing yoga, but who knows. I’ve tried roller derby, soccer, basketball (briefly, when I was 10), running, swimming and a million other things. The ones that have stuck with me are: skiing, marching band (if you tell me that marching band isn’t a sport, I’d like you to try blowing breath out from your lungs for 2 minutes, if necessary, while blindly running across a football field and carrying an instrument that may weigh 10 lbs. or heavier while making sure you don’t slip on mud without looking on the ground. Make fun of the sport and I will smack you with my clarinet), swimming, mountain bike riding, and walking dogs. I can’t walk or run without a dog by my side. Trust me, I’ve tried and it doesn’t work. Unfortunately since it’s winter and I live on hills, I’d really only be able to ski, which as you can imagine, is an expensive sport.

Also, one other thing I’d like to add. I hate spelling things wrong, so if you guys catch mistakes and grammatical errors, would you please somehow tell me? I read over every blog posting twice before I posted it, but I find mistakes afterwards and it bothers me. So if you find one, and it’s totally embarrassing, first, laugh about it, and then forgive me. I am only human, as they say.

Wow, this is probably the most pointless post I’ve posted so far. It had barely any GAPS references in there any where. I’ll be sure to talk more about new body products and what I’ll be experimenting with in…a few days.

Have a wonderful day!

Day 6

HAPPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

HAPPY

TO

THE

FREAKING

NEW

YEAR!

happy new year

*ahem* Now that I got that off my chest, I’d just like to say that today was TERRIBLE. Okay, so a little something about me: I am a huge asian-food lover. In fact, there’s probably nothing asian (besides sushi) that I don’t like. I like curry, and basically anything with noodles or rice. Anyways, my parents decided that, because it was New Years, they would go out to PF Chang’s and order some asian food. LAME.

First of all, it’s terrible that the GAPS diet doesn’t include “fruits, veggies, meats, and asian food,” because if it had, I’d be its number one fan. A lot of the menu items have grains, or their sauces have added sugar, or there’s corn somewhere on the dish, whether it’s oil or high fructose corn syrup. So that’s why I can’t eat it.

So, while they were out having a blast, I went to work on my meal. Oh, and before I get all carried away, I can tell you that this morning went terribly with making my daily shampoo, because the coconut milk I got was either old or I just didn’t prepare it right but either way, I ended up with greasy hair throughout the day. My dad actually touched my hair and said, “Wow. Are you trying to make candles with that?” UGH. Embarassing.

So, to fix it, I washed my hair with 1 tsp. of castille soap and 4 drops of tea tree oil. That did the trick. My hair just felt so much lighter.

Anyways, with the meal, I made cashew chicken lettuce wraps.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of chicken breast or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup of butter or coconut oil (I opt for refined coconut oil…the butter I used was salty and made the entire dish taste like the sea
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dried basil
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut aminos or naturally fermented soy sauce (I used normal soy sauce that was sugar and wheat-free)
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup toasted cashews
  • sliced red onion for garnish
  • bibb lettuce leaves

So, what did I do wrong? When I went to the store, I forgot two things. I forgot the maple syrup and the red onion. That’s why it was so salty. Basically, you melt the butter in a large skillet, plop the chicken in there, mix it around and then put the spices in there, (with the spices, put as much or as little as you’d like because it really doesn’t matter). When the chicken is cooked, put the coconut aminos or soy sauce in there and let it cook down until most of the aminos (or soy sauce) has evaporated. Add the maple syrup and continue to stir until there’s barely any liquid in the pan. Add cashews and stir until heated. Go ahead and serve the chicken wrapped in the bibb lettuce with a red onion garnish!

Even though it was incredibly salty, I liked it, especially since if you wrapped it in 2 or 3 leaves of the bibb, it took a lot of the saltiness away. It was surprisingly good, but next time I’ll make sure to buy the maple syrup!

Anyways, while I was at the store I also bought my kombucha (3 bottles!) and a different brand of coconut milk to try out, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m kind of mad at myself that I didn’t take a picture of the lettuce wrap, because it looked beautiful, and I can’t show you tomorrow because I gave the rest of the bibb lettuce to Mable. So I’ll make sure to take a picture next time I make it.

Sorry this post is so short. My party is crazy.

Just kidding. Like many people I’ve read who blog, I’d much rather curl up by a fireplace with a fantastic book about dragons, don my puppy socks to keep my forever-freezing feet warm and drink a tall glass of…water. Okay, so not like all bloggers. I don’t like the taste of alcohol, so it would never be wine. Not unless I was trying to act sophisticated or something, but let’s face it, I don’t need a glass of anything to sound sophisticated.

Okay. I’m babbling again.

I’m just going to go to bed with my water. Goodnight!

Day 5

Ho hum… In some ways I can’t wait until day 7 comes along, because then these posts won’t all be so similar.

Today was kind of hard as far as eating food goes. My mom has a bunch of “normal” people food (ice cream, bread, noodles, crackers, rice, etc.) but not enough food for someone on a GAPS diet. So, I’ve compiled a list of things I need so I can make my breakfasts and lunches (dinner would probably be leftovers).

Breakfasts:

  • more coconut flour
  • some almond flour
  • chorizo
  • 100% pumpkin puree (no sugar added)
  • local, UNpasteurized milk (yes, there are some risks to drinking it, but I think it tastes way better and is a lot better for you)
  • homemade salsa (for different egg dishes)
  • coconut cream

Lunches:

  • cabbage
  • turnips
  • parsnips
  • fresh green beans
  • arrowroot powder
  • coconut aminos
  • avacado
  • different types of local, pasture-raised and organic meats like pork, goat, sheep, chicken and quail
  • more kombucha

And there you have it. Enough ingredients for me to last about two weeks, depending on how much of everything I use. The fresh ingredients will only last up to a week, so everything else should be able to keep. Kombucha generally lasts me two days because the company I buy from bottles it in 16 oz. bottles. It’s a lot of soda.

So, today was no different than any other. Washed my hair and brushed my teeth with homemade materials. After that, I ate an apple and got ready for the interview. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I get really nervous before an interview. I sort of start to tremble and my mind turns mushy. The good news is, because my dad’s a business-type-people-person, he’s given me many tips and I’ve learned from one of the best. The bad news is, I can never remember them when I’m being interviewed, besides, “Shake their hand like a man!” and “Keep direct eye contact and smile!”

For me, when I’m asked a question like, “So how would you rate your customer service skills?” I answer, “Sir, they’re exemplary. I make sure that each customer comes in feeling welcome and taken care of and leaves feeling accomplished and happy.” and then if he asks me to give an example, my mind goes blank.

“Um, well, for example, there was this one time…” and then I babble.

I’m a babbler. *hangs my head in shame*

Alas! ‘Tis not my fault! While my dad is calm, organized and collected, my mom and I, if asked a question about what we did today, say something along the lines of: “Well, I did some laundry – oh, no wait, before that, it was really funny because some guy called about…” *proceeds to lose train of thought* “Um, I don’t know, I just did stuff!” – Is generally how things go.

So, when in doubt as to why you are the way you are, blame one of your parents. I blame my mother.

Either way, if that happens I just make sure and use a lot of big words and try to shock them with my amazingly vast knowledge of animals, like, “Did you know that ferrets are actually direct descendents to the pole cat and many times, if they escape, they’ll produce hybrids with them?” or “I noticed you guys have some beardies there. Yeah,” *shines fingernails on jacket* “I used to own one and his name was Merlin.”

I generally end up getting positions if I do that. Although, if I tried applying at, say, Albertsons, I doubt they’d be as impressed as Petco or Petsmart. However, I felt that the interview went alright. It wasn’t my best, but I was unprepared for the interrogation I was going to be receiving. I should have at least been warned beforehand. In fact, I think they should give me a second chance because I am usually really good at figuring out what someone’s thinking by the way that they act or look like! I couldn’t tell what either of them were thinking because their faces were impassive, but they sounded cheerful.

After that, I went back home and ate some lunch which consisted of defrosting a chicken breast, marinating it with pesto, cooking it on the stove with some butter and then cutting it up and putting it on a salad with a pesto dressing. Yeah, there’s a lot of pesto, but out of all the summer dishes, pesto is my favorite. Even in winter, it’s welcome to join the party.

image

Mmm…I’m craving it again, honestly. For dinner I just had a chicken breast and some green beans. I swear, any more chicken and I’ll start sprouting feathers!

For a quick snack before bed I took some pecans, lightly salted them and then trickled probably about 1 tsp. of honey on them and then added about 1-2 tsp. of cinnamon. All I did was mix it around and pesto presto! An awesome snack for any picky nut-eater.

Tomorrow I’m going to start experimenting with the coconut flour I bought, so I’ll hopefully update you guys on how that went.

Have a great night!

Day 4

Alright, sorry for the late post, guys. I’ve been trying to get the animal part of this entire blog up and running.

So, today was no different from any of the other days. I told you this was going to start sounding boring! However, I did do one thing differently. Before I took a shower, I wet my hair down and then poured some apple cider vinegar right onto my head (I was leaning over the bathtub, of course!). Dr. Oz was explaining that if you sprayed your hair with a 1:1 ACV to water solution and tied it in a towel and let it sit for 15 minutes, and you did it 1-3 times a week, it’d help with dandruff issues. Instead of using a water bottle, I cheated, but I still waited for 15 minutes before taking my shower!

After using my castille soap/coconut milk/tea tree oil on my scalp and doing an apple cider vinegar treatment on my hair, I have to say that I couldn’t see any dandruff in sight for the entire day! This is crazy! My hair also wasn’t as dry as it had been, strictly using the castille soap/coconut shampoo. The ACV also acts as a conditioner, so that’s probably what I’ll be doing from now on, at least twice a week. Also, I’m considering only making my shampoo for each day, instead of making enough to last me the week, because I’ve been doing some reading and it turns out that opened canned coconut milk tends to last only a few days. This is a problem, because all I’ve got are cans. So, I think I’m going to dump out the remaining shampoo and either freeze my coconut milk to make it last longer or buy actual coconuts and make my own milk. How, you say?

According to WellnessMama.com, you take aabout 1 1/2 to 2 cups of shredded coconut (in this case, I’ll substitute it for whole coconut) and  blend it in a blender with 4 cups of hot water. You keep it going for several minutes and then once it’s creamy, you strain it through a fine mesh strainer and then some cheese cloth. And there you have it…fresh coconut milk. I feel like since freezing anything only slows the process for which the food no longer has the same nutrition as when it was fresh, I’d want to make the highest-quality coconut milk to freeze, so that it still retains a high level of fats and oils once defrosted. Or, I could buy a high-quality brand of coconut milk and store that in the freezer. The only problem with that is that I’d have no idea exactly how old it would be. I have a hard time trusting food companies, no matter what they’re packaging.

*throws hands desperately into the air* Why is this so difficult?!

Besides this coconut milk frustration, nothing else really stands out as far as interesting topics. Although, I guess one topic would be that I recently found out that one of my dad’s accounts happens to be a really high-quality, and local herb/spice company. They don’t have a retail store, otherwise I’d be all over that. But apparently he has a great relationship with the owners and could get me my supplies for dirt cheap. I’m so excited! I’ll be posting lots of pictures of my new products and the recipes I used for things like lotions and deodorants and whatnot in the upcoming couple of weeks, most likely. But anyways, this company is one of my favorite because: they make everything they sell or work very closely with the people who do to ensure quality (like dead sea salt), practically everything on their website is organic, free-trade, kosher or wild-harvested or any combination of the four, they only have recyclers at their work – no trash cans, and employees who ride their bikes to work receive raises! There are a few things on there that are organic, free trade and kosher, which is kind of awesome because it shows just exactly how far they go to make sure their customers remain happy. And their prices aren’t even that bad, honestly, especially for the quality you’re getting.

I know, I’m a nerd. This stuff honestly makes me happy!

As for food, today I had my chocolate energy bars, some chicken, green beans and a cheese wheel with the rest of my kombucha, and a salad with bell pepper and salad shrimp with a pesto dressing. It was surprisingly a lot better than I thought it would taste. With the restricted diet I have now, I’m finding that in order to remain healthy, I need to branch out and cover other types of foods I normally never even touched. Bell pepper? You’d have better luck daring me to kiss a hungry lion on the mouth. Today, I didn’t even care and wolfed it down anyways. I didn’t even gag or anything. That’s how proud of myself I am.

My parents keep telling me that I should learn to just eat things in moderation and I’ll be healthy. The thing is, I don’t want to eat everything in just moderation. I want to eat high-quality, homemade things. I’d like to grow my own wheat, grind my own flour and make my own bread. I’d like to raise my own chickens on my own lacto-fermented feed that’s corn and soy-free and harvest their eggs and butcher them when the time comes. I want to eat all of these things using what I’m able to produce, so I honestly don’t want to eat everything that “normal” people eat, like ice cream and wheat because of how overly-processed those materials are. Anyways, who ever gave McDonald’s a 5-star rating for their food? Generally speaking, the fancier restaurants are those who have fresh, local ingredients and strive for quality ingredients. They’re the ones who earn the 5-stars, and rightfully so!

So, that’s my opinion on that.

Anyways, I’ve got an interview at 1pm today with the manager of Petco for an aquatics specialist position, because I’m awesome. I’ll make sure and post later on today!

Dogs

Brief Summary:

Canis lupus familiaris

Its wild ancestor is the Gray wolf (Canis lupus) and because of this, they are first and foremost, carnivores, not omnivores. Dogs have been used for pets, hunting, herding, pest control, draft, show, sport, rescue, fighting, research and even meat. There are over 150 dog breeds registered under the AKC, and the domestic dog is one of the only species of animal to have as much variation within its breed, regarding size and appearance (ex. an Irish Wolfhound and a Chihuahua). According to the AKC, the top ten most popular dog breeds are: Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Boxers, Poodles, Rottweilers, and Dachshunds.

Does it really matter whether or not I should research what kind of dog I want?

YES. Even if you are adopting an animal at the humane society, they give you an educated guess as to the breeds of the dogs under their care, because it helps determine how to care for them. True, they are all dogs, but some dogs require different care than others. For example, you wouldn’t need to brush out a lab’s coat as often as you would a golden retriever’s. You also wouldn’t need to exercise a pug as often as you would a rhodesian ridgeback. Knowing ahead of time what breed of dog you are getting is crucial to understanding exactly what care you will need to be providing. On top of that, some house rental companies won’t allow certain breeds in their apartments or houses, even if you have a mutt! If it shares some of the same blood as a dog on their list, it usually isn’t allowed.

I can’t tell you how many dogs I see on craigslist because their owners are moving and they can’t take the dog with them because the housing complex doesn’t allow their breed. Most of the time it’s the American Staffordshire Terrier, a dog with a lot of terrible publicity as of late. You are responsible for planning your future ahead to figure out whether or not a dog would be conducive to your lifestyle. That includes thoughts like, “Will I be able to care for this animal if a loved one dies?” or, “Can I afford this animal, with all of the attention and money it needs, and if so, will I be able to pay for an emergency, like if it broke its leg?”

Okay, I want a dog and I’m stable. How should I go about buying one? And should I get an adult, or a puppy?

Obviously, there’s a lot of debate when it comes to whether or not you should buy or adopt a dog. Honestly, I vote for adopt, and here’s why. I believe that there are thousands upon thousands of dog breeders in the US, and with the immense number of dogs already in shelters, what reason do they have to keep producing puppies, other than to make money? They may say that they only breed their dogs once a year, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter whether it’s once, or a hundred times a year. The problem is a whole. All dog breeders are responsible for the crisis seen in rescues and humane societies across the country.

It’s not like they’re selling the puppies, knowing they’re going to end up in a shelter. Most responsible dog breeders will actually take back what they bred! So, if you want to be a part of this never-ending cycle, be my guest. I can’t stop you, but if I could smack you from inside the computer screen, I would. Now, if you’d rather help stop the problem, rather than allow it to continue, I’d tell you to start figuring out what kind of dog you’d like most, if you’re looking for a particular breed, and then search your local humane societies, small rescues and even look statewide! I’m a big believer in adopting the dog mill and puppy mill rescues, so there’s always that option.

If you really want a greyhound, there are national greyhound adoption events! They’re usually young, being retired from racing, but there are older ones that are always looking for a good home! There are rescues for specific breeds like boxers, mastiffs, chihuahuas, etc. But most of them will have some mixed blood, so it’s not like you’ll be buying a purebred animal.

Once in a great while, usually during the spring, you’ll stop by the humane society and find puppies! It’s usually because someone abandons them, so if you’re looking to adopt and own a puppy, be patient! Spring is probably the best time to look!

Now, as far as whether or not you should get a puppy or an adult, it depends on how much work you’d like to put into it. If you want to be woken up by wails and yips and barks all night long, and have to deal with a dog that doesn’t know the meaning of scratching at the door to be let out to go potty and needs to be let out at least every 30 minutes, then get a puppy. Puppies, like babies, are a lot of work. They have sharp teeth that will pierce skin when they’re playing, and they don’t understand the words “calm down” or “stop”. They can, however, be trained from a young age (anywhere from six weeks up) to sit, lay down, stay and roll over. Generally, the ten to twelve-week old puppies are a little better at following directions, in my humble opinion. Puppies will also require a lot more exercise (all that energy has to go somewhere!) and funds, because you’ll be buying puppy food, probably pee-pee pads for when you leave for work, training supplies like tiny, pea-sized treats, as well as everything else needed for a dog, like bowls and a bed and possibly a kennel.

With adults, you don’t have to worry about whether or not their food will give them diarrhea. Unless you know the dog has allergies, most of the time, they won’t react as badly to dog food as puppies will. Obviously, this depends on a lot of things, like the brand of dog food, how often they’re being fed, and whether or not you took the time to slowly switch them from one brand to another. It’s incredible how many people ask me why their dog doesn’t feel too good after they switched their food, and I learn that they did it within a day. Adults are usually already pre-trained. The one thing about adults that you would need to consider is their baggage. Some dogs (and even puppies!) don’t do well with small children or other pets. If you’re unsure about whether or not this would be a problem for you, I’d consult with the rescue or humane society you’re adopting from to see if they’ve noticed any issues during training and behavioral tests.

Okay, I’ve decided on adopting/buying a puppy/adult. So what do I need?

Excellent question! Walking into pet stores when you’re adopting or buying an animal and needing to get supplies can be stressful. It’s like your body disconnects from your mind and you end up buying either too much or too little. Here’s a basic supply list you’ll need.

Puppies

  • dog bed – get something that’s relatively cheap. For the first few months to a year, this pup will tear it apart.
  • crate (optional) – this is for when you’re at work and need to keep them some place or for training, or for travelling. It comes in handy, and I suggest buying one that they’ll grow into, otherwise you end up wasting money.
  • puppy gate (optional) – for separating your puppy from the rest of the house.
  • puppy play pen (optional) – this allows your puppy to have a little more space than a crate, but doesn’t let them get into trouble while you’re gone!
  • pee-pee pads (optional) – unless you’re able to wake up every 30 minutes to take your puppy out to go potty, you’ll need these.
  • food – the humane society or breeder should tell you exactly what they were feeding the puppy. You’ll need to buy that exact brand and use it for a week or two, until he becomes adjusted and then you can slowly begin to switch him to your choice of food. Just make sure to get a puppy food, not an adult dog food. Yes, there is a difference. Puppies need more fat and protein as they’re growing, just like a human child. Adults would quickly become obese on puppy chow, although a lot of breeders use puppy food to give their pregnant bitch some extra nutrients.
  • dishes – you’ll need a water and food dish, and it’ll have to be something that is either super heavy and it won’t tip over or can be attached to something, like their crate.
  • chewing toys – your puppy will be going through the teething phase just as babies do. Give them something tough and fun to play with, otherwise it’ll be your chairs they chew up!
  • treats – now, these treats should be pea-sized, or easy to rip into small pieces. The best treats are moist and have a super fragrant smell to them. Puppies love these, and it’s easy to get their attention with them.
  • collar/leash or collar/harness/leash – if you have a large puppy you might want to buy a harness and a leash. You’ll still need the collar for if he escapes somehow, so he’ll have a dog tag on him for identification. Harnesses help stop them from pulling as hard as they can, making training a lot easier. If you have a smaller puppy, a collar and leash should work just fine.
  • dog tags – in case your puppy gets out of the yard or escapes through the front door because you forgot to close it, you should always have a tag on his collar somewhere. It should include his/her name, your address and your phone number. Another optional tag is what veterinarians give you after they get their rabies shots. It lets people know that they got their shots and aren’t carrying anything deadly.
  • puppy shampoo – puppies can get into big messes, whether it’s in your garbage or garden. Make sure to buy a gentle shampoo so their skin doesn’t get irritated with the harsh chemicals.
  • brushes (optional) – if you have a long-haired puppy, you’re going to need some grooming supplies to keep them happy. It’s unlikely a puppy’s fur will knot up and matt, but you’ll definitely need it when they’re adults. Matts can actually cause sores on the skin and restrict the dog’s movement. A lot of owners don’t understand this fact and their dog lives a terrible life.
  • sour apple anti-chewing spray (optional) – buy this if you want your puppy to stop chewing on certain items. You just spray the item and they should leave it alone. Some puppies actually like the taste, so I’d just buy it just in case.
  • nail clippers – be sure to store these someplace dry. If they begin to rust, make sure to get a new pair. You want to have nail clippers that are sharp and strong. Puppies can grow really sharp nails, so it’s important to have a pair of good clippers.

Adults (I’m going to assume that this dog has been house trained and knows basic commands)

  • dog bed – make sure to get a bed that’s large enough to accommodate his body. Also, buy one that’s really plushy. Adult dogs will turn into senior dogs and will need that extra padding underneath.
  • dog crate – if this dog has separation anxiety, you might need to buy a heavy-duty kennel for outside, otherwise he could chew his way out of the plastic one and wreck havoc in your house.
  • food/water dishes – these can just be normal bowls. Adults don’t normally knock them over on purpose.
  • food – make sure to buy the food they were eating before you acquired them, otherwise they could develop gut issues.
  • collar/harness/leash – if your adult dog is larger (lab, golden retriever, husky, etc), you should use the harness. If you have a smaller dog, a collar and leash should be fine.
  • dog tags – this should be on the dog at all times and should include his/her name and your number and address.
  • shampoo – I personally have always used puppy shampoo on my dogs because the ingredients are slightly less harsh than the adult shampoos.
  • grooming supplies – if your dog has a long coat that’s prone to knotting up, buying yourself a brush can be a life saver! Groom your own dog to save money!
  • nail clippers – like the puppy, make sure to use heavy-duty clippers. Ones that are rusty and dull should be avoided.
  • treats (optional) – you can buy treats or give your adult dog pieces of cooked chicken if you’d like.
  • toys (optional) – some dogs like plastic water bottles, while others like tearing up newspaper. Just make sure they do it outside!

As you can tell, the puppy list is a lot longer and since they’re constantly growing, you’ll have to buy replacements to fit their needs. Puppies are definitely cute, but they can be a challenge and not many people are ready for them. This leads to owners keeping their dogs tied up outside all day, or inside the garage, where getting the proper amount of exercise or good potty habits is practically impossible.

So I want to switch my dog/puppy from one brand to another. Which brands are better?

If you’re tired of buying bag after bag of dog food and you want a different option that will keep your dog fuller for longer, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to go over some good dog food options. These ones are generally the most popular at pet stores. Remember, most of the time, the more expensive the brand is, the higher quality the ingredients are. The higher quality it is, the less you end up needing to feed your dog.

  1. Purina Pro-Plan – out of all of the cheap brands, this one is the best. Other cheap brands like science-diet and iams are complete crap and shouldn’t be fed to any animal. Some rescues and humane societies use science diet, not because it’s the best option, but because it’s cheap. Purina is also crap, but it’s slightly better.
  2. Wellness Core – this brand a little more expensive, but offers a whole lot of nutrition! Some products of theirs are grain-free and you should really opt for one of those.
  3. Natural Balance – about the same price as Wellness Core, this is one of the best foods on the market. It comes in many flavors and I believe it’s all grain-free.
  4. Blue Buffalo – this stuff is very expensive. It’s also unnecessary. Yes, it’s a good brand but there are other brands, like Natural Balance, that I find to be better. Blue Buffalo is only popular because they’re constantly airing commercials and people have convinced themselves that this brand is the best on the market. Like I said, it’s good, but not that good.

Now, as we all know, nutrients can go bad after a certain amount of time. In fact, the nutrients in wheat berries, once ground into flour, begin to deplete as soon as a few hours. So what about dog food? Well by the time you buy it from the store it’s usually quite old. A veterinarian friend of mine told me that bagged dog food can be as old as six months and can harbor deadly bacteria and bugs inside! Now, what I’ve been trying to tell people is that homemade dog food saves you money…a lot of money. Yes, it’s expensive to get started, but once you do start, you won’t ever go back. Your dogs won’t need to eat as much, and you can freeze the food into daily portions!

What I’m talking about is a raw food, or homemade, diet. A lot of people, and veterinarians included, tell you that raw food diets are dangerous for dogs, because the meat or eggs you put into the food could be contaminated with harmful bacteria, or a bone could puncture an organ or there could be an unbalance in the diet itself. Many others disagree and say that raw food and homemade diets are optimal for pet nutrition. These are interesting points that I’d like to go over.

  1. Contaminated meat.
    1. Yes, it is true that meat can be contaminated. There’s practically a meat recall every week and in fact there is one going on today from three Texas companies, including HEB! Why? Because the bigger the company, the harder it is to control what happens to the product before it goes out to the store. Not to mention the fact that slaughterhouses are disgusting and can harbor deadly bacteria. That’s why a lot of companies rinse their product with ammonia, to kill anything on it. Obviously, this is a terrible practice and I, for one, hate thinking about the fact that I was probably eating ammonia at some point in my life. So, yes, meat can be contaminated. However, not all meat is contaminated and I prefer to shop locally, anyways. My friend’s grandparents own a small farm with a few Angus cows and chickens. Once a year, they butcher and sell their product. A customer of theirs regularly buys 1/4 cow and takes home a few of their chickens as well as their organs. When I asked him what he was using them for, he said, “Dog food!”
    2. Benefits of feeding a raw food diet includes: shinier coats, healthier teeth, more energy, smaller stools and healthier skin. And sure, the shinier coat is probably because of the higher fat content found in meats rather than in dog kibble, but think about it. If pet food companies were to add more fat to their food, it’s no different than adding a supplement. Supplements, especially if low in quality, have little to no effect on health and is unnatural. I try to get as much nutrition as I can using food items, rather than supplements. Dogs are the same way. They get the most nutrition out of food. Not supplementation. There are packaged raw food diets out there but I personally don’t trust them. I mean, dry dog food is dangerous enough, so commercial raw dog food sounds downright scary.
  2. Bones puncturing an organ. So a major part of a raw food diet is something called RMBs. This stands for Raw Meaty Bones. These are uncooked bones from different animals and provide a fantastic amount of calcium and other nutrients for dogs, as well as a very cheap chew toy! The problem with these is that sometimes, the slivers of the bones can perforate a dog’s organs. Depending on how long it stays in, the dog can die. Now, this happens all the time with cooked bones so never feed your pet cooked bones. Raw bones are definitely controversial, but I agree with the concept as long as your dog is smart. Generally speaking, the only dogs I’ve heard of who get slivers of bone stuck in organs are the dogs that inhale their food and aren’t very smart about it. So, if your dog is the kind that inhales food, you may want to grind up the bones in a meat grinder, which I’ll talk about in a second.
  3. Unbalanced diet. I believe in variety. I believe that the wolf isn’t constantly eating deer. He’s eating caribou, moose, elk, coyotes, birds, and rabbits. All of these animals provides a variety to the wolf, which is the best form of nutrition. If we were forced to eat a few things, but the same thing, every day, wouldn’t it get kind of boring? In fact, wouldn’t we develop certain allergies, like we are now with grains? A lot of this has to do with genetics, but either way, feeding a commercial dog food is boring. Now, balanced raw food diets are a lot of fun to create, and no dog can resist them! A balanced diet is, as the co-author of the award-winning book “Real Food For Healthy Dogs & Cats” comments, “75 percent meat/organs/bone and 25 percent vegetables/fruits.” I believe that anyone considering to dive into raw food diets should buy this book, as their recipes are rotational, making sure that your dog or cat are getting variety every week, rather than eating the same thing everyday, which is just as they’d be doing in the wild. Remember, table scraps thrown together is not a balanced diet. There will be health problems later down the road if you don’t take the health of your dog seriously.

So, there you have it. If I was living on my own and had a dog instead of an ugly squirrel, I’d be feeding them a raw food diet. Yes, like I said, it takes money to start up. For example, if your dog doesn’t have many teeth or has trouble eating bones, you’ll want to consider buying a meat grinder. The best one I’ve heard that works is the Weston #12 meat grinder. It’s very expensive, at just over $400, but it’s incredibly silent and fast, however the other that works just fine is the Tasin TS-108, at just over $100. Either one is fine, but don’t expect to be able to hear anything else while the Tasin is working!

Okay, I chose a dog food. How much exercise should my dog be getting?

This depends. For small dogs, it isn’t much. For our Chihuahua, we take her out about once a week for about a 10 minute walk down to the park and back. Why? Because she gets her exercise when we throw balls around the house. She’s absolutely spent after about 15 or 20 minutes of play time. We also can’t really take her out on walks that often because her knees pop in and out of their joints and she can’t walk that far, or run that fast. She is very small though, so that’s why we can get away with it. She isn’t obese or anything. She’s actually right under the 5 lb. mark, which is good weight for her, because of her legs. Now, small dogs that have a weight problem should be given at least a 30 minute walk every day. You should also consult with your veterinarian to determine whether or not your dog’s diet needs to be changed or just lowered.

Large dogs, regardless of their breed, require at least 30 minutes of fast-paced walking or running every day. Dogs that grow bored easily or are displaying unwanted behaviors (like chewing up carpet or even becoming aggressive towards other people) should be outside on walks twice a day, at least an hour each. I was once pet-sitting a dog named Texas while his owners were away. He required at least an hour’s walk every day, so, wanting to impress the owners and lose some weight in the process, for the following two weeks, I walked him up my hills twice a day and each walk lasted about an hour. He was a very energetic dog to begin with, so walks were necessary to keep him under control and friendly. I also got paid double what I was expecting, so that was awesome!

The harder you work your dog, the harder it is for them to remember that they’re “supposed” to bark at the other dogs that pass by, or the people riding bicycles. Breeds like “bullies” are dogs that should definitely not be kept by everyone because of their care. Police actually use them because of their stamina and because they have so much energy. A pent up bullie is bound to reproduce bad behaviors, which is why they’re one of the dogs who should receive a walk/run twice a day.

All in all, 30 minutes a day is a good marker. For small, healthy dogs, it can be lowered to practically 1-3 times/week. For larger, more energetic dogs, 1-2 hours/day is the best bet. I’ve found that just adding more exercise into your dogs schedule will usually stop any bad behaviors they were exhibiting.

How do I train my dog?

Positive reinforcement. You reward him for his good behaviors and ignore the bad ones. For example, if a dog was used to sleeping with you at night and you wanted to make sure he slept in his kennel at night, you’d start off by giving him treats for every time he laid down in his kennel. This shows he’s comfortable being in there. Then, you start kenneling him at night. He will bark and howl and paw at the cage in the beginning, but will then calm down and that’s when you want to swoop in and give him a treat. You do this exercise multiple times and he will soon understand that he won’t be rewarded if he barks and makes noise.

This can apply to every situation. However, if you feel like the training you’re doing has got you nowhere, it may be time to hire a professional. Petco and Petsmart both have dog trainers at their locations, and they are generally very good at what they do. I’ve only heard complaints from customers who owned aggressive dogs, as dogs that are aggressive aren’t allowed to participate in training sessions.

Is it safe to let my dog run around at a dog park?

For the most part, it is very safe! In fact, it’s beneficial! A lot of dogs who don’t play well with others are usually that way because they aren’t used to being around dogs. If you surround your puppy or dog with other similarly-sized canines, they will soon learn to behave around each other! Obviously, aggressive dogs should never be allowed here, as there are small breeds of dogs but there are many dogs I’ve babysat where I could see a difference within a matter of weeks from going to the dog park once every day. They played nicer with the dogs and, when I’d walk them, they didn’t bark or pull when they saw other dogs pass on by! They just did a quick sniff to say hello and moved on! That’s what a well-rounded and well-trained dog looks like.

I think my dog or puppy has fleas. How do I get rid of them without paying a lot for harsh chemicals?

  1. Apple cider vinegar. Farmers have been giving their animals apple cider vinegar for generations because of its amazing health benefits and because fleas and other bugs don’t like the smell. If you’ve got a flea problem, put a few drops of the ACV in their water. A tip is to use the cap. Pour into the cap until only the very bottom holds liquid, and then pour the small amount into their water. They should drink it. If not, you may have put too much in. Simply dump the water out, and refill it, this time putting even less in. At this point, they may still not drink any, but give it time. If they’re thirsty, they’ll drink! Once they get used to the taste, you can up the dosage to about 1/2 to 1 tsp. for every cup of water. You should notice shinier-looking fur and less itching.
  2. Bathe the dog once a week (depending the severity of the situation) with normal, warm water. No soap or shampoo needed! All you’re doing is drowning the fleas. It’s easy with my dog because she’s so small, so I just submerge her in the bathtub, but for larger dogs, I’d combine a bath and shower and comb through their fur. If you do this right, you should see tiny, black, bug-like creatures in the water. If not, keep scrubbing and combing.
  3. Use the pesticide-grade diatomaceous earth (NOT pool grade!). You can sprinkle this directly on your dog’s skin as it won’t harm them. Also make sure to sprinkle it near their bed or anything other place they enjoy being. After a few days, vacuum up the mess and bathe your dog. You can also use baking powder, but I wouldn’t put it on their skin. You can just sprinkle this around the dog’s bed.
  4. CLEANLINESS IS KEY. Vacuum your carpets or hardwoods every day. Clean any sheets or blankets in your house at least once a week. Use a 1:1 cleaning vinegar to water mixture to clean your house. Vinegar is strong-smelling and will repel many insects. You can also spray this on carpets and let it air dry.

As long as you maintain these habits for at least a month, you should see no more fleas. However, depending on the severity of the flea situation, you may need to bomb your house. These steps should take care of any minor problem, though.

And there you have it. An almost-complete guide on taking care of dogs. I don’t show or breed dogs, so that information will have to be found elsewhere. Just as a reminder, I am not a veterinarian of any kind, but I have talked to many and a lot of the information found on this post is from a few of them. So don’t try to sue me or anything like that because I’ve already warned you on here that many people will have different opinions than me, and if something doesn’t work for you, you should probably just consult your vet instead of my blog.

If you have any other questions, you can go ahead and post a comment! I’d love to hear feedback, and what your opinions are. Without further ado, here are some pictures of my stupidly-ridiculous dog. She’s really more like a squirrel. We called her Weasel, or Weaz for short. Her real name is Rose!

Isn't she beautiful? She definitely knows it.
Isn’t she beautiful? She definitely knows it.
There's a heater under the couch...so she practically lives there.
There’s a heater under the couch…so she practically lives there.

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Day 3

Okay, so today has been a little better than Day 1 or Day 2. I think my cravings for bread and sugar are subsiding? I mean, don’t get me wrong, my mom’s gingerbread is in full view and out of habit I went to grab a fork and dig into it and then I remembered the diet, but it’s not like I was actually mad or angry or anything like that. It was just as I said. A habit. And as for the sugar addiction, any time I have a sweet tooth, I just eat a banana or apple. Natural sugars, baby!

Now, as for what’s been going down, let me briefly explain what I did today:

  1. Got up and reached for my phone. OOPS!
  2. Went downstairs and drank a lot more lemon water than I did yesterday. I also didn’t even gag when I placed the glob of coconut oil in my mouth.
  3. Ran upstairs to take a shower. I was going to use the castille soap/coconut milk recipe today, and when I went to pour it on my head, I accidentally let probably 2 Tbsp. on my hair. It lathered very nicely and after my shower, it actually felt like my hair was clean this time.
  4. Spit the oil into the garbage and brushed my teeth. Again, I forgot about the sea salt rinse. OOPS!
  5. Grabbed an apple from the fridge and rushed out the door to head on out to the raptor center.
  6. Proceeded to cut up cute little animals for the falcons, hawks and eagles.
  7. Proceeded to stand in a corner like an idiot when a rescued barn owl latched onto one of the handlers and wouldn’t let go (she wasn’t wearing a glove and had three punctures).
  8. Stood shocked like an idiot when a super awesome guy with magic hands (his name is Brian) came in and unlatched the claws from her hand, and then grabbed a rescue red tail hawk from his crate without gloves, like a boss.
  9. Fed the birds and cleaned some cages.
  10. Stood very still as a resident raven come right up into my face…it was unnerving and I avoided eye contact. Luckily he didn’t try to bite me!
  11. Travelled back home and dad dropped me off at Wynant’s, before they closed.
  12. Went ahead and bought 100% cocoa butter, calcium powder, tea tree oil and 100% magnesium oil.
  13. Goggled at the cost ($51.50!)
  14. Got a ride back home and made myself four eggs and slathered them in cheese and tabasco sauce.

Once I got to this part, I went to work. I decided that because it was Christmas and because my brothers kept shoving delicious desserts in my face, I needed to make myself my own dessert. So, I created something that was based off of a recipe posted on WellnessMama.com; her chocolate-coconut energy bars.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup cocoa butter

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey (or more depending on your tastes…I ended up using probably 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup cocoa powder

About 1 1/2 of a filler, such as shredded coconut, almonds, walnuts, or something else. I used walnuts because we only had sweetened coconut shavings.

1/2 cup chia seeds (or more filler)

About 1-2 tsp. of vanilla (depending on your taste)

As much cinnamon as you want (I love cinnamon and used probably 1 Tbsp.)

Any other spices you’d like (I used ground cloves for an interesting, spicy flavor. I also meant to use nutmeg, but I couldn’t find it)

First, melt the cocoa butter on LOW heat. Once it’s melted, add the coconut oil. Once that’s melted, stir in the honey. You’ll have to stir this for a while because the honey will want to stick to the bottom. Next, add your cocoa. This will help the honey bond with the oils, so make sure you mix well! Once that’s all mixed, add your coconut or almonds or walnuts or whatever it is that you’re using and then mix in your chia seeds. Mix it around until it looks just about ready to be done. At this time, do a taste test and go ahead and add more honey or cocoa or whatever you’d like.

Now, you can take it off heat. Go ahead and add your vanilla and spices of choice. Using a pan lined with parchment paper, go ahead and pour your mixture into it, wait until the mix is room temperature (or no longer hot) and stick it in the fridge. Because the oils solidify when they’re cold, you’ll have a nice, solid bar of your new chocolate anywhere from 1-3 hours. It depends on if you did what I did and stick the pan in there while it’s still too warm. Then it’ll take longer.

Once they’re solid, cut the bar into squares and enjoy! I actually really like this recipe. I just about gobbled it all up in a second, but I held back because I want some left over for tomorrow. I love walnuts when they’re slathered in chocolate and the cocoa butter gives this delicious treat an excellent flavor that I haven’t tasted before! Not to mention that the organic, unrefined coconut oil gave it a little hint of a coconut flavor, which was nice.

Anyways, after this, I went upstairs and began to make my homemade, remineralizing toothpaste!

Ingredients:

5 parts calcium powder

1 part diatomaceous earth (you want the food-quality kind…not the pesticide or pool kind)

2 parts baking soda

(OPTIONAL) 3 parts Xylitol powder

3-5 parts coconut oil (you should probably do refined, unless you want the coconut flavor)

(OPTIONAL) 10-15 drops of essential oils. I’ve heard that orange and mint or spearmint is a good choice.

First, mix together all of the powders. The only reason why you’d use xylitol powder is if you have a problem with bitter things, because the baking soda will give it a terribly bitter taste. I didn’t use it, and I don’t really mind the taste. Next, mix in the coconut oil. I used 4 Tbsp. and liked the texture it created. It’s your choice though. Keep mixing it until the mixture resembles toothpaste, not crumbs. I was confused when I was mixing it because it was just a bunch of crumbs, but then it started turning into a thick paste, which is what you want, so keep mixing! After this, add your essential oils, if you have any. All I had on me was grapefruit, tea tree and lavender. And only one of which is generally accepted as food. So, I put in about 15 drops of the grapefruit oil and mixed everything around really well.

By the way, don’t taste it. I made that mistake and regretted it. It tastes terrible without the xylitol powder. Anyways, you can go ahead and store this anywhere. As long as water doesn’t get into it, it should last a very long time (as long as normal toothpaste does!) but just make sure to keep it in a covered container because the humidity during showers can ruin it.

I just used the toothpaste and am impressed. The grapefruit and baking soda kind of work together and made it taste like a sweet lemon, and then obviously the baking soda bubbles and fizzes in your mouth, so it’s kind of nice! Now, as to whether or not it actually cleans, I can attest to the fact that my teeth feel great. I mean, don’t get me wrong, after washing the toothpaste out of my mouth, there was a terrible aftertaste, but my teeth are plaque-free and feel clean. Actually they’ve been feeling this way with the oil-pulling, so that might also be why!

After I got done with this recipe, I went ahead and added the tea tree oil into the castille shampoo. Hopefully in the morning I can test it out and see whether I can feel a difference on my scalp!

Anywho, time to go to bed and test out this magnesium oil. Have a good evening morning!

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P.S. ~ These are the brands I chose. The tea tree oil and the cocoa butter are made locally. With the others, they were the only ones I could find for what I was looking for.

Day 2

So, I think for the first seven days I’ll post a blog every day. After that I’ll probably check in once every three days, just so I don’t get too monotonous and boring.

Let’s start from the beginning…

In the morning, I wrote about how tired I was in my journal, listened to my favorite song, which happens to be “Everywhere I Go (Kings and Queens)”, and meandered downstairs. I have no idea why that song is my jam especially since it talks about beating stuff up and getting high, something I’ve never done which is quite contrary to the teenage “norm”. Either way, it made me happy and I hummed the tune while heating up some water, cutting a slice of lemon and squeezing its eye-watering juice into the cup. Now, I’ve had warm water with lemon in the mornings before, but for some reason my body wasn’t having it, so I downed a good 4 ounces of the mixture and then popped a small spoonful of unrefined coconut oil into my mouth.

My first reflex was to gag. I literally had to move the coconutty-glob to the side of my mouth and wait for my stomach to calm the heck down. I’m pretty sure I just kept trying to picture the Mounds candy to get myself through the taste. It helped some, and from there I ran back up the stairs and started my shower. Today I used the castille soap and coconut milk mixture because my hair was feeling really gross. After all that was done and I let my hair dry, I noticed it still felt super greasy. I know that in the beginning of not using any more products that strip the oils off your hair, your hair still continues to produce an excess of the oil, because that’s what it’s used to doing. So for the time being, I’m just going to have to suffer a little bit.

I’m considering putting a few drops of either tea tree or cedar essential oil into the shampoo to help with the dandruff issue. Obviously, since my scalp is producing more oils, the amount of dandruff has also gone up. Fine for when I’m all alone and feeling frumpy, but not for when I’m trying to go to work and look presentable and professional.

Anyways, after 20 minutes, I spit the coconut oil into the trash and did notice a cleaner feel in my mouth. That could just be my imagination, but since people have been doing this to keep their teeth healthy for thousands of years, you’d think that I wasn’t just imagining things. I skipped the sea salt water rinse because I was in a hurry, brushed my teeth and then got ready for the day.

I went over to my great grandparent’s house and had a fantastic dinner! Since I’m about 25% Mexican, and they’re the hispanic side, there was a pot of the most mouth-watering, moist, and fragrant mexican rice in the world, sitting on her stove. I’ve been to many a mexican restaurant, and none of their rices even come close to her recipe. Next to that were some beans (she takes normal beans, soaks them and using some of that same water, puts the mixture in a skillet and simmers on low for a while with the oils of about two or three jalapeno peppers she had seared earlier until the beans are pretty much split in half because of how soft they are, and then she mashes them – BEST refried beans I’ve ever had), and a skillet of squash mixed with pork meat, onion, tomatoes, corn and cheese with broth.

All of this, of course, made the fact that I was on a diet so much worse because I couldn’t eat anything but the pork, squash, tomatoes and broth. I can’t have beans or grains, which is pretty much the staple of “my ancestors”. When my great-grandpa caught me separating the corn from the squash dish, he asked me if everything was alright, and when I told him I was doing this diet and corn wasn’t allowed, he laughed and said that if corn was so bad, then why was he healthy? Of course, in my head I was thinking, “Well, you’ve have cancer multiple times and have had countess surgeries. I don’t exactly call that healthy.”

Out loud, I said, “Yeah, I know, it’s weird. It’s just a cleanse though, so I’ll be able to eat your guys’ dishes soon!”

So far though, I haven’t let go once. I haven’t given in to the temptation to bury my hands wrist-deep in my mom’s gingerbread and shove handful upon handful into my mouth. Nor have I eaten the salted caramel chocolates that my mom got me for Christmas, because she knows how much I love them. As much as it pains me, I’m going to have to give that away to one of my brothers, in case I cheat and try to eat them.

Anyways, this was pretty much my day. I also forgot to mention that I drank a ton of kombucha (when I say a ton, I mean a bottle, which is 16 ounces). Technically, the 2nd bottle I had was only 95% kombucha. The other 5% was organic blackberry and pomegranate juice. I bought it on accident, so next time I’ll make sure to get the “real” stuff, although you’d think that even 95% kombucha would still hold plenty of nutrients and probiotics. I let my friend take a sip and she practically spit it in my face and told me how disgusting it was. Honestly, I love the taste and will probably continue drinking it for the rest of my life.

Tomorrow, I’m also planning on visiting a health store near me to buy some much-needed supplies like more kombucha, maybe some kefir, some shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, organic produce (for me and my bun), calcium powder, fermented cod liver oil, magnesium supplements, arrowroot powder, organic, raw honey (we have some, but I’ve begun to find pieces of bread from toast my brothers have probably slathered the honey on), and probably some coconut and almond flour, although depending on the cost of the almond flour I might just buy the coconut. I asked my mom if this could be an early birthday splurge and a celebration to getting a new job (I just got called today!), so hopefully she can help out. She’s all for creating healthier body products and eating healthy food, so she usually helps out with whatever it is I’m interested in. Most likely though, she’ll buy the supplies we can use as a family (like the fermented cod liver oil, produce, and coconut flour).

I volunteer at a rehabilitation center for raptors, (bald eagles, snowy owls, peregrine falcons, goshawks, etc.) so after that I’ll go ahead and speed on over to Wynant’s (the health food store) and see how much I can buy without spending all of my savings.

I’ll make sure to update you guys on how tomorrow goes and I’ll be sure to include pictures of the brands I buy and everything.

From one hungry, carb-loving individual to another, I say thanks for reading this blog of mine and may the odds (for dieting) be ever in your favor.