In the coming months, I will feature various ways that the natural life impacts people with different points of view, including tweens, new mothers, workers in Corporate America, and others that I encounter. By natural life, I am speaking of not only conserving the environment, but ourselves.
If you are adopting a more natural way of life or a cleaner way of eating, feel free to submit your perspective, including tips and resources you use, to HurJurneeFeatures@gmail.com.
A woman’s hair has notoriously been considered her “crowning glory”. I agree with this, to a certain extent. My hair does not define me, nor does it rule my world. Since ridding myself of chemical tresses in 2008, I have found freedom in not having to run from rain or dodge sweaty occurrences. I embrace my curly locks and love that I am presenting myself as a visual example to my impressionable daughter, so she too can embrace how God created her. Yes, I take it that seriously. Over the past several years, I have absorbed a wealth of knowledge regarding hair porosity, density, texture, and the care of it all. What has eluded me is a true hair regimen – do you notice a theme in my posts? Merriam-Webster defines a regimen as ‘a systematic plan (as of diet, therapy, or medication) especially when designed to improve and maintain the health of a patient’. I am in severe need of several regimens in my life, and a natural hair regimen is one of them. While it doesn’t top my personal list, the need is there, nevertheless.
Since I am all about avoiding unnatural products, inside and out, I have excluded the following hair products from use in my home, for the most part:
- Silicones (coat strands, rather than moisturize them)
- Parabens (controversial ingredients that are possibly linked to cancer)
- Mineral oil (same as silicones)
Here is the regimen that I would like to follow, based on what I have learned over the past few years:
- Seal my ends – this is the simple technique of using an oil that penetrates strands to moisturize your ends. I would like to do this every night. Some of the oils that I love are jojoba, castor, extra virgin coconut, and extra virgin olive oil. Castor oil is the least expensive and by far, the heaviest out of all of the oils I listed. Definitely use sparingly.
- Sleep on a satin pillowcase – I am way too relaxed about this one. Cotton pillowcases and clothing draw moisture from our hair. It is imperative that we retain moisture in our hair. Either a satin pillowcase or scarf should be used at night. I am very forgetful about tying my hair up, so a satin pillowcase makes more sense for me.
- Conditioner wash or co-wash – this is a hair washing technique that has been adopted by many natural ladies as a method of maintaining moisture while avoiding the stripping qualities of shampoo. The sudsy property of shampoo has been known to wash all moisture out of your hair, along with the dirt. As long as you don’t use any silicone-heavy products that coat your hair (or have any additional scalp issues), you should be able to get away with washing less frequently and co-washing in the meantime.
- Stretch hair to prevent tangles – this task says it all. By stretching my hair, I mean I will twist, braid, or wear my hair in a bun to keep tangles at bay. My hair is super curly. It loves to wrap around itself, which has invoked several time-consuming detangling sessions, which were brought on by the lack of completely detangling my hair or the failure to do so on a regular basis. Don’t make my mistake. I prefer braiding or bunning my hair after co-washing. When completely stretched out, my hair currently falls at arm-pit length (APL) in the front and bra strap length (BSL) in the back. With all of my “free time” consumed with my children, it is easiest for me to put my hair in variations of a bun throughout the week. Not very fancy, but very practical for me at this time. I would like to start incorporating different styles, at least once a month. A braid-out would be my favorite style, because it is not very time-consuming and it lasts a while. When I get ready to do this style again, I will break down the process I use, including my favorite products.
- Shampoo – while I mentioned having a preference for co-washing, I recognize the need to cleanse my scalp, at least on an infrequent basis. I prefer shampooing with a sulfate-free shampoo on a monthly basis. Yes, I read the ingredient list of hair products, and you should, too! Why only focus on what we put into our bodies and not on what we use on the outside? I believe that there are products out there that can potentially penetrate our skin (takes me back to my “relaxer days”).
- Henna – this is a natural deep conditioning treatment. You may recognize the name “henna” from the temporary tattoos that are widely used in Indian culture. This product is also used in hair care regimens for its conditioning qualities. One thing to keep in mind is that henna, which is plant-based, will leave a reddish hue on your hair. I love this, as it turns my dark brown hair an auburn color. I will provide my process for a henna treatment, step by step, when I start it up again. That might be another month from now. In the meantime, please refer to the Mehandi site (www.hennaforhair.com), which is an invaluable resource of information on this topic. It is the site that I referred to when I first tried henna, back in 2010.
As I really get into following this regimen, I may modify it from time to time. I’ll post a monthly update of whether or not I have been successful at following my natural hair regimen. Everything I have listed are steps that I have followed over the past several years, yet I’ve gotten away from following them on a consistent basis. Maintaining hair length and the overall health of our hair is all about consistency, so I aim to stick with it!
Let’s keep it real – I need to lose some serious weight. By serious, I mean that I’m not looking to lose that “last ten pounds” so I can fit into my clothes better. I need to lose at least 50 pounds, but 60 would be ideal. It’s crazy, because my family and friends would say, “no way!” I know how much I weigh, and I know what weight I feel most comfortable at. I was diagnosed with chronic hypertension after giving birth to my first son, five years ago. I couldn’t believe it. Yes, I was overweight – but I had just given birth! Yes, I have a family history of heart disease and hypertension – but I was still in my 20’s! There were a lot of “buts” filling my thoughts. It just didn’t seem fair at the time. It was my reality though. I know that my hypertension is partly due to excess weight and partly due to stress. I use meditation techniques (which I will discuss later) and pray in order to relieve some of the stress in my life; however, life happens, and various stressors present themselves on the regular. So here I am: I gave birth to my third and final child this spring, and I have a large amount of weight to lose. I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge, and this is my life, right? So let’s get it!!!
My last post discussed the new diet regimen that I will follow starting October 1st. On a weekly basis (at the very least), I will provide an update on my progress and any tips that I discover. Please feel free to do the same!
I’m honestly not sure how I will tackle my weight loss journey this time around. When I lost weight after my second pregnancy, I worked out either before work or during my lunch break. On the weekend, I did Taebo. This worked pretty well, as long as I ate right.
This time, I am nursing (go me!), so I use my lunch time by going to pump during the day. I will have to wake up earlier so I can work out at home. I’m not good about working out at night – it just doesn’t suit me. In the coming days, I will need to come up with a plan.
My first step to natural health is adopting a better way of eating. No fun, but definitely worth it in the long run.
Starting October 1st, I will cut back on my secret love affair with sweet snacks and desserts…let the separation anxiety begin!
I will incorporate the following details into my regimen:
- Consume no more than 1200 calories per day
- No soda or sweet juice
- No fried foods
- No candy
- No carbs with dinner – I read somewhere that it is better to eat a more filling breakfast and let your calorie consumption taper throughout the day. On the weekend, we may have a filling breakfast, but during the week it is not likely. Lunch can consist of carbs, but our society is more accustomed to eating a heavy, fatty, carb-laden dinner. Dessert is literally the icing on the cake! No more – I must part ways with sweets, for the most part. So long, lover!
Wow…so many No’s…well, here is what I can have:
Drink half my weight in ounces of water – no small feat (for example, a 150lb person would consume 75 ounces of water per day)! I usually drink around 6 cups of water per day, but I haven’t weighed 96 pounds since I was in middle school…
- One cup of coffee per day
- Nuts or cheese for snacks, two snacks per day
- Breakfast each day, full of protein! I’m usually really bad about eating breakfast. I’ll have coffee while I’m getting ready in the morning, but I’m always in such a rush that I don’t get any breakfast in. Once I get to work, it just doesn’t happen. I’ve got to do better!
- Breakfast and lunch can have carbs but again, I must focus on my protein intake – with an infant in the home, especially one who is still not sleeping through the night, energy throughout the day is a must. In order to stay alert for work, I must consume a fair amount of protein.
- One dessert per week
So where does the “natural” part of my new regimen come into play? I mean, the purpose of this blog is meant to delve into all things natural, right? Prior to getting pregnant this time last year, I was juicing…and I loved it! I would make a mean pea soup with avocado for lunch, and I would make all-fruit smoothies for breakfast. I would eat a salad with protein (poultry or fish) for dinner. At first, I thought I would be lethargic and down-right bitchy, but that wasn’t true at all. I really did feel clean, if that makes any sense. I wasn’t even working out much, yet I lost twelve pounds in the first two weeks. It was crazy! I made sure to include enough green vegetables, like kale and spinach, in both my smoothies and soups to ensure that I was consuming enough protein. That is what I want to get back into. I know that going cold turkey and diving into a new eating regimen just isn’t effective for long-term success, so I thought I’d ease into eating better and ultimately, juicing again.
So tell me, what natural qualities are you adding to your diet?
Ah yes, goals! I have always failed at realizing goals that I have set for myself. I’ve been a dreamer my whole life, yet when it comes down to actually following through with a goal, I tend to fall short. I grow bored easily, similar to my five-year old. At this point in my life, I am determined to set both long-term and short-term goals, not only for this blog, but for every facet of my life. Whew! I’m feeling that demon called Overwhelm creep in, ever so slowly. I thrive under pressure, but I suppose I thrive more under the pressure of others than my own. We shall see…
I will address my personal goals in a weekend post, when there is more time to ponder and plan. For this blog, I would like to post weekly on the following topics, my passions: God, my children, baking, and music.
I will also post on my hair — now that can cover a blog all by itself! In a nutshell, I chose to go au naturale, with regard to my hair, in 2008. I haven’t looked back since then, but now that my hair has reached epic proportions (compared to what I’ve had in the past), I have gotten so lazy with it. In order to maintain a professional appearance at work, retain my personal sense of style, and hold on to an ounce of sanity, I am fully aware of the fact that I must get a true hair & body regimen going on. See, now this post is leaning toward my “weekend post” length, so I digress. Really, I just have so much that I need to do with myself and many things that I aim to accomplish in life.
Have a blessed day and I’ll be in touch!