A Re-Examined Life

Canberra girl’s mission to live a more natural, sustainable life.


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Natural Deodorant Recipe

Plastic cosmetics bottles on white background

I would say that I have pretty much tried out every natural deodorant on the market (this was obviously in my former life when I was still in the market!), but I could never find one that did the job.

Now, I’m not someone who suffers from any serious B.O., but I definitely become aware of it if I forget to put deodorant on, or if the deodorant I am using is not working.  I don’t have any issue with sweating, I figure that being one of my body’s natural responses it’s probably best not to get in the way of it.   Besides which, sweat doesn’t actually have any odour.  It is the little bacteria which are busy doing bacteria business under your arms that produce the odour.

So after trying every natural deodorant on the market with no success I was very keen to see if I could find a recipe that worked.  I was pretty lucky with the natural deodorant search, as the very first recipe I tried was a winner.   I initially went with the coconut mama’s recipe, which I chose because it looked extremely easy, only contained 4 ingredients and contained coconut oil and bicarb, both of which I am in love with.  Her recipe calls for arrowroot powder which I didn’t have, but I looked up online that you can use cornflour in place of arrowroot, so I did that.  I mixed it up into a paste and put it in a jar and started using it that day.  Based on my previous experiences with natural deodorant I was pretty skeptical about this working so I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did not get any BO. I spent a couple of weeks walking around, surreptitiously checking for it (BO that is), but there was none to be found.

I was pretty happy with the results and wanted two of my self-confessed stinky friends (as they shall be known for the purpose of this blog) to give it a go.  One of the stinkers had told me that she has to buy specialised, extra strong deodorant from the chemist as she didn’t have any luck with the usual stuff you buy in the supermarket.  The other stinker said that they needed to change their shirt a number of times during the day (often at the request of his girlfriend) due to the BO issue.  Both skeptical at the start and both now using the deodorant.

The only problem I found with this recipe was that through applying the paste with my hands, the bicarb was making my, already-extremely-dry-as-the-result-of-the-Canberra-winter hands, unbearably dry.  So I had another look online and found a “travel friendly” version at Chocolate and Zucchini which basically has the same ingredients as the coco mama but includes beeswax so that you can turn it into a “stick deodorant”.
So here is the recipe I have had success with:

(and yep, this is one that I made, professional huh?!)

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Ingredients:

5 grams of beeswax

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

1/4 cup of bicarb soda

1/4 cup of cornflour

empty recycled stick/push up deodorant container

 What to do:

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil together in a pan on the stove, when it is completely melted take of the heat and stir in the bicarb and cornflour, keep stirring until it starts to cool a bit  and turns into a paste, (it is important to do this part, I missed this step in one of the earlier versions I made and the bicarb didn’t mix evenly and so there were parts of the deodorant that were too abrasive for my poor little pits!).  Shove the paste into the empty deodorant container and you are done.
Notes:

  1. I asked everyone I know, and I even put up a notice on my work online bulletin board requesting recycled deodorant containers (well there was a lady asking for empty Jamie Oliver Pasta bottles so…..) and  I managed to get a couple.  If you can’t get a recycled one, you can either buy a full one from the shop and empty it, or you can buy empty new ones online, but a recycled one would be better for the earth 🙂
  2. I don’t bother using essential oils in this recipe, as I quite like the coconut smell and I have essential oils in other body products I am making, but you can, of course, add essential oils if you would like to change-up the scent.
  3. As coconut is the main ingredient, the consistency of the deodorant will vary depending on the temperature, I have been using this recipe all through the Canberra winter and usually just hold it under my arm for around 30 seconds to heat up the coconut oil and then it is ready to go.  I haven’t used this during summer yet, but I would expect you may need to increase the beeswax, and maybe even store it in the fridge, I also wouldn’t go leaving it in a hot car.
  4. Dont be shy using this one, I slather it all around my armpits, there was one day when I didn’t, and I regretted it.

 

I would love to hear of other easy, foolproof deodorant recipes that you are making at home 🙂

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A Re-Examined Life

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It was Socrates who said “An unexamined life is not worth living” and recently I have completely re-examined the way I have been living my life.  Well more specifically, I have re-examined my life in relation to  the type of foods I have been eating, the types of cleaning and bathroom/beauty products I have been using, and the amount of waste I have been creating. I decided that I wanted to start eating much more naturally and reduce the amount of stuff I buy from the shops, and in particular processed foods, cleaning and beauty products.

At this point I should mention that I am no Suzy homemaker, in fact I am quite dodgy when it comes to these homemaker type things. You can bet that if there is something that can go wrong with a recipe, I’m going to get it wrong! I’m as busy as the next person and don’t have much spare time so I tend to cut corners, I’m the kind of person who starts a recipe without reading it the whole way through and that rarely ends well!  I have spent a lot of time trying to find the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective  ways to go about the changes and, despite not having any natural ability for this stuff, and the whole “cutting corners” thing, I have managed some success.  I think it would be fair to say that if I have managed some success with this stuff, then anyone can, and it is for this reason that this blog came about.  The  aim of this blog is to document my successes and (sometimes epic) failures in the hope that I can help to inspire other non-Suzy-homemaker types to make changes and to get on board the make-it-yourself train.

The re-examination of my life came as the result of attending a number of workshops and watching a number of really interesting docoumentaries which really got me thinking about the power of food.  A couple that I would highly recommend watching to start with are “Minding your Mitochondria” which is about Dr Terry Wahls who has completely cured her Multiple Sclerosis through changing her diet. “Genetic Roulette” which is all about genetically modified food and the impact it is having on people and animals and the environment.  There is also heaps of interesting research being done on the gut bacteria and the impact this has on our health, “Live Dirty, Eat Clean” is one I watched early on, and recently Catalyst had a couple of episodes on the research being done in this area called “Gut Reaction“.  Really interesting stuff!

Now, not all the changes I am making involve making something, and in this, my very first blog, I wanted to share a couple of the very first changes I made, which require pretty much no effort and no recipes.

The first is change your salt (well unless you are already using unrefined salt, in that case, please do not change your salt).

Pinksalt

Did you know that natural, unrefined Himalayan salt contains 84 nutrients that are vital for life? Did you know that by the time we have finished processing it so that it looks like the pure white stuff you may be used to buying, it contains none? That’s right, zero. Here are a couple of links to some information that I found interesting about salt. This one from the organic authority , and this one from the Wellness Mama .

Basically, salt for eating, should NOT be white. It can be pink, red, black, or grey but it should not be white. White salt provides no nutritional value and actually contains harmful ingredients. But don’t go throwing out your white salt, you can use what you have left for cleaning (cleaning recipes to come!).

The second thing is to use butter, stop using margarine.

Butter

Did you know that plastic is made from oil? I didn’t, but it is, and at a workshop I went to recently I heard that the process through which margarine is made is similar to the one used to make plastic, and if they kept heating the oil during the margarine making process, it would become plastic. Well that sounds fairly disgusting to me.  Now, I couldn’t actually verify this information through my research, but what can be verified though (and is the same as with salt) by the time we have finished processing oils to make margarine, there is no nutritional value left (well that is assuming there was some nutritional value to begin with and it is unlikely that this is the case given the types of oils they use to make margarine). Here is a link that outlines the process for making margarine from the All 4 women website, yep, fairly disgusting.

On the flip side there is increasing information around about the health benefits of butter, butter is full of all kinds of essential vitamins and minerals and has many health benefits. Here is an article from the body ecology website which outlines some of the health benefits of butter . One thing to note here, as outlined in the body ecology article (and this is the case with all dairy), try to go organic.  You can grab a slab of organic butter from any of the major supermarkets for around $4. If not organic, then go with butter that is made from grass-fed animals. Here is a great article about grass-fed butter in Australia from the Optimoz website.

And for now, that is all 🙂