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.

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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!

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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.

Day 1

Holy cow, this is going to be a lot harder than I thought it would be.

For those of you out there who are considering to start a diet, do it on New Years. The Christmas season is the most terrible time for sticking through diets in the history of…pretty much the universe.

Okay, so now that we got that out of the way, let me explain exactly what the diet is, as I’m pretty sure I didn’t include a name. I was first introduced to it on Wellness Mama, and she called it the Wellness Challenge. She kept on using these words like GAPS and paleo to describe diets, and, intrigued, I followed this site, which is the website of the woman, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, who created GAPS, which stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Now, in the GAPS diet, there are a few things different from what I mentioned before.

  1. You take therapeutic-strength probiotics. She’s the inventor of one of the best on the market, today, called Bio-kult. I might give this a try, as probiotics are something that I rarely get, as I am guilty of eating anything but yogurt, sour cream, and fermented anything, for probably the past couple of months. Probiotics are extremely healthy for our bodies, and not just ours, but animal’s as well! And fermented foods and drinks, like sauerkraut and kombucha are just chalk-full of them.
  2. Consuming essential fatty acid supplements, like a seed to nut ratio of 2:1 of omega-3: omega-6 fatty acids, fermented cod liver oil (this takes care of vitamin A + D), and a fish oil that has a higher amount of EPA than DHA. Honestly, I’ve never been a nut kind of girl. I’ll eat peanuts, peanut butter, maybe some walnuts or almonds if they’re hidden in some banana bread or cookies, but I never eat plain nuts. I’ll have to change this, obviously. I definitely know that fermented cod liver is super good for you, so I’ll need to buy that, but I have yet to understand why I’d need another fish oil, besides the cod. Who knows, so I’ll probably just stick with the nuts and cod oil.
  3. Taking Vitamin A supplements (this is taken care of if you take cod liver oil).
  4. Taking Digestive enzyme supplements. She talks about how if stomach acid isn’t acidic enough, then harmful types of bacteria can actually begin to live there! She recommends taking Betaine HCI with Pepsin.
  5. Vitamin and mineral supplements are also listed, but aren’t recommended for beginners to the diet.
  6. Juicing. She doesn’t list it, but she mentions how juicing is a very effective way to nourish your body while also detoxifying it. I’d have to say that I’d agree! I juiced for two whole weeks and I felt great afterwards. I didn’t pay attention to recipes because I couldn’t wait to start blending different things together until it was the consistency and taste I liked!I mixed things like apples, bananas, bean sprouts, spinach, chia seeds and carrots together and then tasted it, deciding on whether or not I should have added a drop or two of honey. It was fun, and I’m sure I’ll be doing a lot of that!

And with the GAPS diet, it doesn’t just stop at what you eat, it also controls what you use on or around your body! Say goodbye to harmful chemicals found in your every day cleaners, like bleach or windex, and even the chemicals found in makeup! Sorry, ladies.

I don’t even think this is really a diet. It’s more like a lifestyle change. Honestly, this kind of thing is right up my alley. Fortunately for me, my mom is super into natural cleaners and body products, so I’m already used to the whole “no chemicals!” lifestyle. That is, of course, on the outside of my body. When it comes to what I’ve been eating, it’s a whole different story.

So, with this information in mind, I’m going to sort of merge the two diets together, which is roughly what Wellness Mama did, except instead of going back to grains after a year or two of being on the GAPS diet, like you can, she’s decided that she’ll never have grains again, which is perfectly fine. I, however, will not be able to go forever without ever again tasting a loaf of french bread.

Sorry, that’s the carbs-addicted side of me starting to come out.

All in all, I think I’ll do my own little take on GAPS and the Wellness Challenge. I’ve concocted a daily routine list I’d like to show you, in case anyone has thoughts about it:

  1. In the morning, stretch, yawn and reach for my journal to write about how I want my day to go, not my phone.
  2. Drink 8-16 ounces of warm to room temperature water with lemon juice or sea salt added, to help kick-start my system.
  3. Oil pull with either olive oil or coconut oil (if using coconut, which has said to taste a bit milder, make sure to melt the oil in your mouth before swishing it around).
  4. Take a cool shower. Some studies have shown that using hot water on your skin for a shower is actually detrimental to skin health. I’d say I half-agree with that, but for normal showers, I use cool water. Not cool enough to make you want to scream, but cool enough to where the water running over your hair feels slightly colder than the temperature of your head.
    1. 2x/week, wash hair with the castille soap/coconut milk shampoo. The rest of the week, use raw, unfiltered honey. Once every two weeks, wash hair with a mud mixture. Recipe found here.
    2. For face wash, use a few drops of honey. Use a drop or two of lemon juice if skin is super oily. Use a mud mask up to 2x/week. Recipe found here.
    3. For body wash, finish up the natural bar soap my mom bought (made with lemongrass and local – it smells so good!)
  5. When shower is done, and 20 minutes are up, spit the oil into the garbage. Rinse with salt water (remember to use sea salt!). Brush teeth with a homemade remineralizing toothpaste. Recipe found here.
  6. Use ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) on face as a toner.
  7. Spritz some homemade sea salt spray on my skin. Recipe found here.
  8. Spray some homemade sea salt hair spray on my wet hair (this is different from the spray for skin use). Recipe found here.
  9. If needed, use a homemade lotion, recipe found here, to lock in moisture!
  10. Use Tom’s aluminum-free deodorant (I have the apricot kind, but there’s also lavender which smelled yummy!) Once this bottle is used up, I’m going to try and make my own, only because it’s way cheaper and I can control what I smell like.
  11. Eat breakfast (either a breakfast shake, or some homemade juice) – but remember!! No grains, sugars, beans or starches.
  12. Take morning supplements, which include: Kombucha soda (not really a supplement, and will be drinking throughout the day), fermented cod liver oil, vitamin c, vitamin e, vitamin d3, coconut oil (as long as I cook with this, I shouldn’t have to take it as a supplement), CoQ10, and chlorophyll. Yeah, that list is long, but that’s how it is in the beginning of the diet, and then it’ll be tapered down to only a few.
  13. Do some sort of exercise during the day and try to get out of the house. Also make sure to be drinking bone broth throughout the day. Not optional.
  14. In the evening, drink some herbal tea with the ionic liquid magnesium, drink some vital collagen peptides (gelatin), take 5-HTP and before bed, rub magnesium oil on my feet.

How’s that? Looking at that daunting list of supplements, I might cut back by taking out the individual vitamins and replacing it with a good multivitamin. Everything else, I’ll probably need to keep.

I’m still perfecting things to suit my needs, and I definitely need to go shopping, so I’ll let you guys know exactly what it is I’ll be taking in the mornings and evenings! As for now, I need to fix my sleeping schedule, which begins with sleep at 10 or 11, rather than 3 or 4.

Have a good morning!

P.S. – Anyone want to make me some french bread?…just so I can smell it?

Day .5

As an overweight, and fed-up teenager, I’m glad that I’m finally taking a step towards becoming the self-sufficient farmer and healthy human being I’ve always wanted to be.

This diet is fairly easy, except for a few tiny things: no sugar, grains, beans or starches. I’m not saying that I’m not allowed to have bananas or apples, in fact they’re welcome to join the party! I’m talking about refined, processed sugars. It isn’t natural and our bodies don’t need the excess that we already have from our veggies and fruits. This is a HUGE thing for me, because I have sugar every day. I didn’t always used to be this way, but for the past 6 months, it’s been sugar non-stop. I don’t drink pop and don’t eat much candy or chips. The sugar comes from desserts that my mom is constantly baking for my healthier brothers, especially in this Christmas season, which brings up the other culprit; grains. Grains are in everything, from that awesome loaf of banana bread, to that top-secret-recipe, family Christmas Eve stew. This is going to be interesting…

This diet basically encompasses the natural diet that I would be eating if I was living off of my land. I’ll be eating a lot more veggies and meats, depending on the season.

According to Dr. Michael R. Eades, a nutritionist who helps his clients start eating a low-carb diet, the key to this diet is meat WITH the fat (quite contrary to what many diets have you doing), plenty of water, salt (to replenish your body’s electrolytes), and supplements. The reason why he pushes for fatty meat is because in the beginning, when showing carbs and sugars out the window, your body doesn’t know what to do. It’s been so busy producing energy with glucose, rather than the healthier ketones. The fat in the meat helps trick your body, in a way. Much like a smoker feeling the insistent tobacco addiction after quitting smoking, a person who has been diving into sweet deliciousness will feel the same sort of addiction, calling them to just dig into that homemade, dutch-apple crisp pie. The fats from the meat help divert your body’s attention, and will usually also shorten the lethargic period of this diet. As a reminder, without the normal glucose levels your body is used to, you will start to feel tired and will barely be able to keep awake during the day. This is the transition period for your body, from using sugars, to using ketones.

The next, water, is a very important aspect. He explains that during your low-carb diet transition, your body may require more water. This does not mean coffee or even sparkling water. It must be the true H2O. Obviously, with more water comes less salt. With this, he suggests consuming a homemade bone broth, or mixing water with a pinch or two of sea salt, or just cooking with a lot of it. This is salt that hasn’t nearly been processed and bleached to the extent of regular table salt. Sea salt is 70% of what the normal table salt contains. The rest of the 30% is healthy minerals that have been taken out of the table salt. Consuming sea salt is a lot healthier for this reason, which is why I’ll be promptly be buying some kind of a slightly-colored salt.

As he was describing the side effects of dehydration, I saw the two words postural hypertension. This is when you stand up suddenly and your vision starts going black and you feel faint, and you either feel like you’re going to pass out, or you do. As soon as I read that, everything clicked. I had been suffering from this for years, and I couldn’t ever figure out what was up. My parents thought I was just crazy, but now I know that from now on, I’ll need to drink more water.

With the supplements, he recommends magnesium, potassium, alpha lipoic acid (ALA), CoQ10, Vitamin D3, and 5-HTP. Since his explanations are very in-depth, here’s the links to his Part 1 and Part 2 blog posts, so you can check those out.

So far, at 2am, I haven’t had anything to eat so I doubt I’m breaking any rules. However, inside health isn’t the only thing I’m working on at the moment. I’m also experimenting with my health on the outside of my body as well. This includes homemade shampoos, “no-poo” movements, lotions, body scrubs, etc.

Here’s a brief explanation of my skin and hair type: The skin on my face is excessively oily, but for the rest of my body, it’s very dry. My hair becomes incredibly oily in just one day and it’s impossible for me to leave the house without washing it, or else I look dirty. For today, I washed my hair with a new recipe I haven’t used yet, which was:

1/4 cup coconut milk (apparently, homemade is best, but all I had was canned)

1/3 cup castille Soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s)

10 drops of essential oils, such as grapefruit or orange for oily skin, and ylang-ylang for dry.

All you do is mix everything around and WHA-LA! Just make sure to shake it up before using it again. The thing is, the castille soap we have already has essential oils in it, so I disregarded the last ingredient. As I was making this recipe, my mom came nosing her way into the bathroom, wondering what I was making. When I told her it was a shampoo, she explained that castille soap is very harsh on hair, so I really wouldn’t need as much as the recipe called for, especially since the soap is super condensed. In the end, I only measured out 2.5 Tbsp. of the castille soap.

My mom also told me to use honey, as it’s a very pure substance and has antibacterial and healing properties. Intrigued, I decided to add that into the regimen.

First, I added about 2-3 tsp. of the castille/coconut milk to my palm, rubbed it between my hands to form a lather, and then applied it to my hair. I had difficulties reaching my scalp, and ended up having to use, in total, about 1 Tbsp. of the mixture to get it inside my mass of thick hair. Next time, I think I’ll pour it straight on my scalp and rub it in this way. You’re only supposed to use about 1-2 tsp. of this for each use, so I used a lot more than I was supposed to. After I rinsed my hair well, I gathered up some honey in my palm, added a little water, rubbed it around and then applied it to my hair, trying to get it into the roots. I immediately felt this greasiness with the honey, and I’m not sure if I like the way it made my hair feel or not.

After both of these cleanses, I rinsed my hair very well and then used a drop of honey to wash my face, like normal. Again, the greasiness ensued, but I know that honey works wonders on my face, so I try to use it as often as possible. After leaving the shower and drying off, I noticed that my hair definitely felt clean, but also had the “greasy” feeling that the honey left. I wondering if, since honey is the gentlest cleanser, I should only wash my hair with the castille soap/coconut milk mixture once every three days and the rest of the time I’ll use the honey. Does anyone have experience with this?

I’d love to know whether or not I’m on the right track! By the way, I refuse to use baking soda on my hair ever again because it absolutely destroyed my scalp’s pH. Baking soda has a pH that is way off track from the pH of human hair, which is what you want to mirror when cleaning it. Some people do a vinegar rinse immediately after washing with baking soda, effectively bringing the pH back down. I’ve heard that this works, but I don’t want to chance it.

Anyways! Day One through Seven will probably be a roller coaster of hormonal-teenager ramblings, because of the sugar and grain cut-back. Please bear with me!