Monday, 23 November 2015

Going Natural

Once upon a long time ago in March this year, when Karma hit me in the bangs and I knew that I had to find a new hairdresser because my hairdresser had one too many bad hair days - with MY hair, I eventually found a new hairdresser in August this year. I left the salon and for the first time in many years both Chad and Mark complimented my hair and both said that it looked like I had stepped out of the salon. The hairdresser is at a shopping centre I stop at almost every single day and I thought what the hell, let me just make an appointment to get my hair cut. You will be excused if you think that this post is all about me going all natural with my hair - it is not! However, going to this new hairdresser set me on this new found discovery and path in my life. Whilst we were discussing the mess my previous hairdresser made of my hair, like one side much shorter than the other and it wasn't meant to be styled like that and me agreeing that yes, hairdressers can also have a bad day at work and mess up, she did however have far too many bad days with my hair. The new hairdresser said that years ago hairdressers would round off fringes/bangs to make thin hair like mine look thicker. I thought this woman was delusional because I do NOT have thin hair. I never have had thin hair ever. I never argued the point with her and just carried on chatting whilst silently stressing about how my hair will end up if she thinks I have thin hair and I don't.

After leaving the hairdresser, I kept thinking of what she said and why she thought I had thin hair. The fact that she did not mess up my hair and that she managed to fix the mess that the other hairdresser made of my hair and I now have a fringe and not a pot effort on my head just exasperated my thoughts on her opinion of the thickness or rather thinness of my hair. My hair did feel lighter and thinner, but it usually does after being cut especially when I don't cut it for 6 months or longer as I normally do. I also started noticing that my hair falls out a lot more than it used to. It doesn't only fall out, but it breaks when I wash it. My hair has always fallen out a lot and I always said when one strand falls out three more grow - ha! I have since learned that only works with grey hair of which I have 6 strands at the moment, I started with two - now I am not touching them. When the plumber who did our bathrooms said my hair blocked Chad's shower, I said it could never have been my hair because we have never had a blocked shower before. I am now starting to rethink that idea, although I haven't blocked our shower so that reasoning hasn't been firmly confirmed or denied, but when I wash my hair my hands are full of broken strands of hair - a first. I happened across a natural beauty blog and one of the homemade products was Castor Oil and Rosewater for your hair and Lavender essential oil optional. I bought Castor Oil but I couldn't find rosewater. I did not know you bought it from the baking aisle in supermarkets and none of the Clicks stores I frequent, have Lavender Essential Oils. I also came across another site that said you can add Olive Oil to the Castor Oil, a 50/50 ratio and it will be easier to spread and you massage it into your scalp and all over your hair and leave it on for thinning and or broken hair. I used to use Coconut Oil and Olive Oil years ago in my hair, long before they both became a fashionably expensive cooking ingredient. You bought both from pharmacies and they were dirt cheap, however, I did not know about Castor Oil for your hair. Coconut Oil you can sleep with in your hair and Castor Oil just leave for an hour, then wash out and it makes your hair soft and manageable and [hopefully] stops the thinning and breaking. If you leave the Castor Oil in for too long like I did last Sunday [4 hours] there will be a slight Castor Oil smell lingering in your hair - not too unpleasant but not that pleasant either. I don't even blow dry my hair anymore, mainly because it is so hot or has been so hot and now especially because it keeps breaking and using a flat iron will just make it worse. I put Argan Oil in it and Sea Salt Spray and it air dries into curls, not frizz.

I also noticed that my nails no longer grow. For about a year now, they just don't grow even when I take Vital Hair Nail and Skin Supplements, which I used to swear by. I Googled possible causes of why my nails won't grow, as we do and also if the medication I take could cause nails to stop growing. I came up with far more search results of long term use of Nexium causing hair loss than anything about nails not growing. Hair loss is not a side effect of long-term use of Nexium yet so many, especially women, were reporting loss and breaking of hair after long term use, some even as early as 6 months usage. I cannot remember how long I have been on Nexium. I know I was first put on it in 2011 and then I stopped after 6 months, it was a 6-month course. My reflux got worse so I went onto Lockit, which I stopped taking also after 6 months and the doctor put me onto Nexium again, but I can't remember if there was a break in between or how long the break was if there was one. The reflux never healed and if I stopped the Nexium I got such bad Gastritis. When I stopped smoking I suffered so badly with GERD and Gastritis, so I have been on Nexium for a long time. Most of my Google findings painted Nexium in a very bad light, but you cannot just stop Nexium, because of the sudden acid build up in your stomach when you stop. My research also happened upon something called Kefir - the new miracle cure for everything under the Sun including Gerd; Gastritis and Ulcers. A cleanse of Kefir and Flaxseed flour for three weeks will reset your body and cure every ailment possible.

I cannot credit any single site with information on and benefits of Kefir, because every site I went on has the same information down to the almost very last word, but a site I found that had the most info was this one. You cannot buy Kefir in South Africa and you have to make your own with Kefir Grains and you cannot buy Kefir Grains in a store in South Africa. In the US you can buy Kefir drinks in stores but apparently it is not as good as proper Kefir. The Google hunt began for Kefir grains in South Africa and the best place I found was Crafty Cultures in Pretoria Gauteng. You can buy a starter kit for R300.00 which I bought or the grains for R150.00 and pay R75.00 delivery. I bought Milk Kefir, you also get Water Kefir, but Milk Kefir came up in all my searches as the better one to use, although on my Juice Detox I shouldn't have had milk, but I had done two weeks of Juicing so wasn't too worried about the Milk. I thought finding Flaxseed Flour would be difficult, but our local Spar sells a whole host of healthy things these days and I just happened to come across the Flaxseed Flour one day whilst still contemplating the Kefir Cleanse.

I was very impressed with Crafty Cultures because I paid and ordered on the Wednesday and received an email that night informing me that my order was at packaging and on Thursday morning I received an email to say it was being delivered. You have to pay by bank transfer only so that was very quick. Everything fell apart with the courier company, Courier Man. It took me an hour to direct the driver from the Filling Station 3 Km's away from my house. Half an hour later he ended up at the next filling station about one kilometer up the road from the other one he was at - in the same road. Then another 30 minutes to get to my house 2 minutes away. He had the cheek to tell me to meet him at the shopping centre next door to the Filling Centre - after paying R75.00 for delivery I must leave my dinner on the stove and drive off to collect my parcel from a courier company that I paid. He eventually found it. The problem was that every time I started explaining he would say ok and put down the phone - all 20 calls barring the first were paid by me not him. That annoyed me so much I just left the Kefir in the box. When I opened the box eventually I was very disappointed.

The Kit consisted of grains, a Tea Strainer from Checkers, the label was still on it, a plastic spoon which you can grab for free at the Woolworths counters when you buy your milk, an elastic band - wow and two little pieces of cloth - ok the right cloth may have posed a problem in finding, but the rest was not worth the cost of a kit. I bought the Kit because I didn't want to hunt amongst my junk for a suitable container to culture my Kefir in, but I still had to do that. If you are looking to buy Kefir, I do recommend Craft Cultures for the grains, because their grains are good, but I wouldn't recommend buying the kit. I didn't have to hunt too far because I had a milk bottle and a suitable glass container. The Kit also came with instructions on how to start your Kefir Culture, but it didn't say how much milk to use, so I used this site. The Kefir grains came in a tiny plastic bottle with milk, I was quite disappointed and my first attempt on Friday evening that I ate on Saturday with Flaxseed flour was disgusting. I ate half and it was terrible. I kept the other half for Sunday and took about an hour to eat it.

I did not think I would manage the three week cleanse. The first week you have100mls of Kefir and a tablespoon of Flaxseed Flour every day for breakfast and the next week increase the Flaxseed Flour and have two tablespoons and the third week 150mls Kefir and 3 tablespoons of Flaxseed. You only do the cleanse once a year, but during my research I found that so many people eat Kefir every day for years. I decided one more attempt. My first attempt I did not do properly and just put a teaspoon of the grains mixed with the milk they came in into a cup of 2% Low Fat Milk into my glass jar and started the culturing process. I did not even see the Kefir grains. On Saturday, I went and bought Spring water and as usual Woolworths as always badly stocked, did not have their Farm Fresh Organic Milk that I have never bought, but always see so I bought Ayrshire Full Cream Milk. I rinsed the tiny grains in Spring Water and then in Milk and added the one teaspoon of grains that it ended up to be into one cup of milk. First you put boiling water into your glass container for three minutes to sterilise the container and ensure that there is no soap residue in the container. Pour one cup of preferably farm fresh milk or full cream milk, pour in your grains, cover with the cloth and put on a counter in a warm area 20 to 30 degrees celsius and leave to cultivate.

This Sunday I have about 500mls of Kefir Milk, my grains are growing bigger all the time and it is really not bad at all. If you eat cottage cheese, you will eat Kefir with no problem - I don't eat cottage cheese at all and if you eat Greek Yoghurt, Plain Yoghurt or Ayrshire Yoghurt you will tolerate Kefir Milk. I love Plain, Greek and Ayrshire Yoghurt and quite look forward to my Kefir in the mornings. They caution you to only have 100mls and of course, I don't listen and had 200mls the other morning and had a terrible burning pain under my ribs on the right-hand side. I have had that pain often when my Gerd was really bad - I haven't had it for a long time. My healthy eating has helped a lot of my reflux problems. I don't eat Minced Meat at all because I suffer so badly with reflux, even with Mince from Woolworths. Mark does not subscribe to the notion that Woolworths sells quality food, his shop is Spar, but he can only eat Mince from Woolworths otherwise he gets bad heartburn - I get it from any Mince, some more severe than others. I did find 100mls Kefir Milk too dry with the Flaxseed Flour so have 125mls. You have to drink two to three litres of water every day when doing the cleanse - I don't but am trying.

2nd batch - but first properly made batch

It takes between 18 and 24 hours for the grains to culture into Milk Kefir. You then use the plastic strainer to separate the cultured milk from the grains. Never use metal only plastic and glass. Throw the grains back into your culture jar and add a cup of milk and start the process again. Pour the Kefir Milk into a glass jar and refrigerate until you use it.

You don't have to wash your culture jar after each batch, you just throw your grains back in and start the next batch. You wash your container every few days and eat the refrigerated milk within 7 days.

I am weaning myself off the Nexium and take one every three days just in case the sudden acid build-up becomes too hectic. Whether Kefir will help remains to be seen, if it doesn't I need to find another way to address the reflux I have. We, in fact, need acid in our stomach - it helps with the production of Biotin and Biotin is necessary for cell growth. Biotin strengthens nails and hair growth, Wikipedia has a whole bunch of information on Biotin. It all now makes sense and although my Underactive Thyroid could be a cause of hair loss as well, I tend to lean towards it being the Nexium. Hair loss is not listed as a side effect, but I have read that it was never meant to be a long-term medication for reflux, only for 6 weeks. I can't conceive of the fact that whilst I have now embarked on a journey to better health that I end up losing my hair. I could not even think that I can imagine what it is like for someone going through Chemotherapy to lose their hair, I am not going through anything has bad as that, but it is a concern. What is also a concern is that your bones and teeth also become weakened by Nexium and I have enough issues with my teeth as it is - possibly caused from Nexium too or it has exasperated the problem.

I won't lie I have felt the effects of this detox and have had all the side effects of a true detox, I haven't had that with green juicing, which I am still doing so perhaps that is why I am feeling the effects. The 100 to 125mls is more than sufficient for breakfast and it fills you up more than cereal or oatmeal. I have a green juice at 11 when I start getting hungry.

Flaxseed and Kefir Milk
It is not well documented, but it appears that you have the Kefir Milk for breakfast and then have a Mediterranean type diet for the rest of the day. A small amount of protein and lots of fruit and veg - clean eating and no processed foods or carbs.

... So yes, I am not going Au Natural with my hair I am going Au Natural with my medication in the hope that my hair will stay Au Natural...

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