Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Natural Hair And Nail Treatments

During my search for the cause of my thinning hair and peeling nails, I came across some natural remedies for hair loss and hair breakage, which reminded me that I used to use Coconut Oil and Olive Oil in my hair, back in the day before they became overpriced dietary/cooking oils. The other oil that was recommended for thinning hair was Castor Oil, which I duly bought and mixed with cooking Olive Oil. The Castor Oil smell is quite strong, especially if it is left in your hair for a few hours, before washing out and because I couldn't find Rose Water, I thought I would go to the Clicks at a bigger mall to look for Peppermint Essential Oil to mix with the Castor Oil to give the oil a more pleasant fragrance. They never had any essential oils other than Lavender and Eucalyptus and I wanted neither of those, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can still buy Pure Coconut Oil and Olive Oil from Clicks - no more using cooking Olive Oil in my hair.

I could not believe that I had forgotten all about using Coconut Oil for years and years that I even forgot that such stuff existed. I also managed to find Rose Water at Checkers in the baking aisle - I did not know that Rose Water was a baking ingredient until I looked for it and researched it. Now every morning before I shower, I put a mixture of Castor Oil, Olive Oil and Rose Water in my hair. I massage my scalp with it and then leave it in for anything from 5 minutes to 5 hours, depending on the day. I took an old hair serum bottle and filled it with a third Medicinal Olive Oil, a third Rose Water and a third Castor Oil. It needs to be shaken well before use as the Rose Water separates. I pour about 20 ml into the palm of my hand, rub my hands together and massage my scalp and then run my hands through the rest of my hair and leave it in until I shower. I rub the rest into my nails. I have done this every day for about two and a half months and my hair felt oily for the first time last week - that is how dry my hair is and I wash and condition it every day. I stopped putting it in my hair for a few days and did it again this morning.

Every other night I rub Pure Coconut Oil in my hair, not much, I rub it in my hands and then I plait my hair and rub the coconut oil into my hair whilst plaiting my hair. My hair definitely feels healthier and thicker, although it is still thin and it is really weird because when I put my hair in two plaits, the one plait is much thinner than the other. Mark and Chad don't get this whole plaiting my hair thing, but I will rather go to bed with plaits in my hair than have my hair fall out because it is all knotty from sleeping and I have to rip the hair out when I try and get the knots out. Did you know that if you wash your hair and plait it at night, then sleep with the plaits in, when you take the plates out in the morning you have nice waves/curls. You can also put a bit of serum or curl booster in before plaiting.

My nails stopped growing and not only did they stop growing but they also just peel. One day I was doing filing and I know it is a laborious task, but not exactly back breaking or labour intensive, anyway something shot across the desk and it was half my  Essence Nail Gel that shot off my left pinky nail. This is also the reason why I haven't bought any Jamberry Nail Wraps and couldn't give an honest review when I was sent the samples. I only did an accent nail, but they peeled within two days and it was hard to say if it was the wrap or my nails and I am leaning towards my nails. I haven't done my nails since December because it is a waste as they just peeled. Last week I noticed that they have stopped peeling and are slowly starting to grow. It takes six months for your nail to grow from the nail bed and I am sure it is all the Coconut Oil and Olive Oil I am rubbing into them as well as stopping the Gaviscon and Nexium.

Did you know you can even use Coconut Oil to remove your makeup - I am not keen on doing that, but in December I ran out of night cream and being December and out of routine, I kept forgetting to buy more before it ran out. When it did run out I used Coconut Oil and carried on using it at night until last week and my skin felt softer and looked clearer. I think it was just out of habit that when I needed day cream last week I just bought night cream as well. Coconut Oil is too oily for daytime use under makeup, but I do use it as a body oil most days.

I am not going totally natural and I WILL ALWAYS use shampoo, conditioner, soap and deodorant. I am not that into saving the planet to walk around unwashed, but these natural products have helped the side effects of chronic medication. I also rinse my hair in Apple Cider Vinegar from time to time, which makes my hair shiny and more manageable.  My hair may remain thin, but it is not breaking like it was.

I also had the dates wrong in this post. I started my Kefir Cleanse on the 16 November 2015 and did the full cleanse well before I redid my blood tests, so it could very well be the Kefir that normalised my cholesterol. I believe it is a combination of everything.

 I can't wait to put colour on my nails again, but right now I am just enjoying my healthy looking nails. They are now white and not ragged and transparent. They were so bad at one stage my thumb looked like it was bitten to the nail bed almost. Soon I will be able to buy Jamberry Wraps and hopefully by then, our Rand will have strengthened somewhat.

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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

System Reset Restore

For the past couple of weeks, it has been all about me and resetting and restoring systems and phones and computers - some intentionally and some just through plain and simple rushed not thinking stupidity. Today, however, will be about a different system reset and restore - the lowdown on Milk Kefir (pronounced - ke as in kettle and fir as in fear). This post is long overdue and if you follow my blog you may be wondering if it wasn't all just pie in the sky and that I have intentionally forgotten about it. So did it work??? When my doctor asked for my blood results to be sent from my Insurance Company who did my blood tests in August or July last year, I was so disappointed because I received a text message from my doctor's rooms to say that my Cholesterol had gone up excessively. I was totally despondent. I wasn't on a total health binge at the time, I was drinking copious amounts of coffee and although I wasn't binging totally on junk, I wasn't dieting as such, but had also just finished a ten day or 14 day (memory relapse here) juice fast and if that is not sacrifice and discipline and a touch of deprivation then I don't know what is.

It was on the 23 November 2015 that I received the disappointing news about my cholesterol. The plan was to go redo my blood tests straight away. My doctor had given me a request form to go and have them done at the end of December, but I thought I would have them done earlier and then go and see her to discuss the way forward. Life happened as it always does and procrastination, as usual, got the better of me and I only went for the tests on 17 December and by that time, any thoughts of healthy eating had disappeared and I was baking up a storm and eating a bunch of junk for almost two weeks. Surprise - surprise, my Thyroid, Sugar and Cholesterol were all normal. I double checked with the doctor's assistant as my doctor was away and I was worried that the locum had made a mistake. She called back to confirm my cholesterol was normal.

I started my Kefir journey on the 23 November 2015 16 November 2015 (see this post)  so I can't totally credit the Kefir for the normal cholesterol results because that was too soon, but I would say it was a huge part of it and a combination of absolutely no coffee for 32 days. I had my first cup of coffee, the morning Mark and Chad went to Lesotho on their bikes. That was on the 4 December 2015, we woke up at 3.45 and I NEEDED coffee and lots of it - 3 cups. I did a full 3 weeks of green juicing in November, but with the fibre so not officially juicing and broke my fast the night of Chad's Graduation, but then continued with clean eating until the end of November. I had been drinking a glass or two of red wine, Merlot (heart healthy apparently) almost every night for at least a month before the juice fast and after the juice fast and I changed to Flora Proactive Margarine after my fast. According to the Virgin diet and the Whole 30, by eliminating food sources that can cause food intolerances, like dairy; grains; wheat and nightshades, you can reset your body to almost new. I tried all of these diets prior to 2015 and didn't stick to any, so it is not the diet that makes one motivated, it is your mindset (currently my mindset has left the building).

Now for the Kefir conclusion. I have lived on Gaviscon for as long as I can remember. I get severe bouts of heartburn or acid reflux that it burns my throat until my voice is hoarse. I never ate minced meat (ground beef) for most of last year, the reflux was so bad. I was taking Nexium every day for years and prior to that Lockit and prior to that Nexium until I discovered that my hair was getting thinner and falling out in bunches (not in chunks like someone on Chemotherapy - nowhere near that amount). My brush was full of hair all the time, cleaning it daily didn't help, it was always full of hair and looked like I never washed it or cleaned out the hair. When I washed my hair, my hands were full of strands of hair and I only realised it after a new hairdresser commented that I have very thin hair. My nails also stopped growing and they just peel all the time. All my research lead to it being the Nexium as well as possibly Hypothyroidism which I have, but the side effects of long term Nexium use, was pretty scary and that is also how I came across Kefir. You may want to stop reading now unless you are interested in the benefits and side effect of Kefir, because TMI!!!

I have not had a single Gaviscon tablet in over two months, I ate those things like sweets!!! Can you get addicted to Gaviscon - I don't know, but besides the heartburn, I craved those tablets and honestly ate them and craved them like they were sweets. I had my last Nexium around mid-December. I weaned myself off them slowly in case of the production of lots of acid due to the sudden withdrawal of the Nexium. I have eaten Mince and Pasta, Babotie, Curried Mince; Mac and Cheese with Mince, Lasagna a few times and I have only had manageable heartburn a couple of times which woke me up. Lying on my left side when I sleep stops the heartburn. In December for the first two weeks, I made double meals so I could freeze them and not have to cook that much over the holidays and mince and chicken was the easiest to cook and freeze. I just had to cook the pasta; rice or sides. I have eaten cake and biscuits and bread and junk and my gastritis pain has been minimal. I won't lie the Kefir made me feel very bloated when I started eating normal foods with Kefir and fruit for breakfast after the three week cleanse.

One night when I first started eating normal foods, before the biscuit and cake binge, I had severe gastritis. We had lamb chops, green beans which I fry with onions in olive oil after steaming them and peas and butternut, I never had rice and gravy. That night I woke up with such severe pain in my solar plexus and my back, I honestly thought it may have been a heart attack because I could not breathe and the grip was just getting tighter and tighter. The only thing I had in the house was Valoid, which makes me sleep and I thought drugged sleep would work. I was also very nauseous, which also made me take Valoid and I sipped on Chamomile Tea with no milk and sugar, which is very good for digestive and tummy troubles. Eventually hours later, the pain subsided and I fell asleep. I thought I would have to go back on the Nexium, but since then I have had a niggle only.

Just after Christmas, I developed a UTI and because my doctor was away, I treated myself with Over The Counter Meds and stopped taking the Kefir, because Doctor Google said that Kefir can mimic yeast infections. I doubt very much that it was the Kefir and it was more than likely the washing powder we were using. Mark was buying OMO Auto from a Client as factory rejects, the packaging damaged only, but it came in a clear packet, so could have been anything. We all know Mark and his bargains at double the price and half the value. When the soap foamed so much it was coming out of all the crevices in the machine and I developed a UTI, I said no more. We tried the washing powder for a month - no thank you. Washing machine functioning again, no white soapy residue left on clothes and no more UTI.

I also felt that I was eating unhealthy foods, so I would give the Kefir a break. I wasn't doing the actual cleanse, I was using Kefir in my smoothies in place of yoghurt. The Kefir Milk Cleanse should be done together with a clean, relatively raw and unprocessed diet. When I stopped the Kefir, I froze the grains as recommended everywhere online, but they won't grow now. I have tried for a week now and just get a watery slimy mixture that I throw out and rewash the grains with milk. I will give it another week and buy some more - now I am back to Ayrshire Yogurt smoothies. The Kefir really did help my reflux and gastritis pains, because I have done juice fasts often and cut out foods that cause food intolerances and this is the first time I have been able to go without Gaviscon and Nexium. As for my hair and nails - my nails are still struggling, but for the past 3 weeks, they have not peeled and although my hair is very long at the moment, probably the longest it has ever been, it is still thin, but when I wash it, I don't have my hands covered in strands of hair. I have also been using coconut oil or a mixture of olive oil; castor oil and rose water on my hair every day since December (more on that in another post).

Would I recommend a Kefir Cleanse - most definitely. I certainly don't believe it cures cancer and you would need to sieve through all the ailments it is said to have cured, but definitely aids your digestive system. To not suffer from acid reflux and eat just about everything I couldn't eat before, including the minced meat Mark has bought from Spar more than once and not take ANY medication for it, is nothing short of a miracle. I can even eat Chocolate now - eating Chocolate would cause the reflux to hit the roof, not literally, but close enough and I lurve Chocolate. OK, that is not a good thing, because I have been eating far too much chocolate with no nasty effects and that is a very bad thing. I honestly feel so much healthier when I go on my crazy green juice cleanses and Kefir cleanses. I sleep better, I feel better, my skin is clear, but Oh my word it is so darn hard to get back on track and I am struggling at the moment. I just cannot get back into it, alway the elusive Monday...

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