My Take on All-Natural Deodorant

So the last post about bottling and tasting our home brew was supposed to be posted on my other blog–the one where I actually talk about our home brewing and terms like hydrometer, ABV%, etc., actually make sense! We do love our little brewing operation, such as it is. We’re at if you’re interested, but I’ll get back to the regularly-scheduled program now.

Suddenly, it seems to be summer in the Northeast. At least for a few days, we have bypassed Spring and gone right from winter to hitting nearly 80.  I was worried about snow a few weeks ago; now I’m worried about sunburn.  But now that it’s warming up, it seems like a good time to talk about something we really need in summer–deodorant.

As I mentioned before, when you decide to go vegan, or even just to live a more natural life free of chemicals and other weird products that our body probably wasn’t made to process, you start to question all of the things in your life. In particular, I really like to try making things at home that are normally full of chemicals and all other kinds of nasties. This led to my experience with making my own deodorant.

I found a recipe that used coconut oil, some Benzonite clay, essential oils…it smelled soooo good and was really easy to make!  I would love to say that this stuff is the best and I loved it and I’m never going back.  But honestly, using just deodorant without antiperspirant was an epic fail.  The smell was fine in cooler weather, but I was starting to notice it not being so fine with the warmer temperatures.  Plus, without antiperspirant, my sweat was leaving nasty yellow pit stains on my clothes!  I was turning into a dirty hippy, yikes!!  I’m fine being a hippy, just not a dirty one!  We use an all-natural laundry detergent that is not so great at getting out stains, keeping whites white, or keeping colors bright, so the stains aren’t going to come out in the normal wash.  While my clothes feel amazing, I’ve had to get used to a certain amount of not looking totally crisp and bright.  But pit stains are not something I plan on getting used to, so my options were to use a harsh stain remover or throw my clothes away.  Seeing as how neither one seems all that environmentally friendly, I must sadly go back to my regular antiperspirant that keeps me dry and smelling like baby powder.

I hope others have more success with make-your-own deodorant than I did.  But for now, I’m telling myself that doing the best I can doesn’t mean doing everything perfectly.


Intention, Not Perfection

I read an article in Vegetarian Times that quoted a woman saying veganism is about “intention, not perfection.”  I am trying to take this to heart as I recover from a weekend of unhealthy and not-entirely-vegan eating.  While many people would consider my diet this weekend to be fairly healthy, after several weeks of eating an entirely plant-based diet, I felt tired, bloated, and just generally terrible. I guess transitioning to a vegan diet has had more effect than I even realized, and I was already realizing that I was feeling pretty great.  I haven’t had a food coma in ages.  Imagine living life without food coma!  You CAN have a meal and not feel like you’re about to pass out afterwards! It’s a beautiful thing.

A few other thoughts about transitioning to a plant-based diet:

1. I think I would prefer to call my new lifestyle “plant based,” as opposed to always worrying about whether something is totally, truly, 100% always vegan.  I’m doing my best, and that’s good enough for me.

2. Veganism is easier in places like Los Angeles or New York, where people are always on some sort of special diet.  I live in a town known the world over for it’s cheesesteaks, for goodness sakes!!

3. I really hate wasting food, so much so that I have decided to allow myself a transition period to eat some of the things that we still have in our freezer/pantry that contain animal products but can’t be donated.  No food pantry is going to take a partially-used bag of frozen shrimp, or the remains of my can of anchovies, or my 1/4 bottle of Worcester sauce that is getting used up at a snail’s pace.  But they’re still fine and I’m too cheap to throw them out.  So be it.

This weekend, that last part meant that I prepared a roast chicken for my mom’s birthday.  It’s one of her favorites, there’s no way to donate a frozen chicken, and I wanted it out of the house. So for her birthday dinner, we had the roast chicken and vegetables, sautéed broccoli, and mashed potatoes and celery root.  The next day, I felt like crap.  Complete and total crap.

When I mentioned to my husband that I was feeling bad after eating so badly, he was really shocked.  He thought we’d been really healthy–roast chicken, veggies…what’s wrong with that?  That’s when it hit me how much my body, and perspective, have changed over the past few weeks.  Most people share my husband’s view–that was a healthy dinner.  But once you start eating vegan, you really learn what it is for your body to feel healthy.  I haven’t lost all the weight that vegan books promise, and I don’t feel like I walk around glowing in some euphoric, blissed-out state, but I just FEEL better.  I’m not tired, I’m not cranky (well, not as cranky), I have energy, I can think again.  And now I realize the difference between “low-fat” healthy and vegan healthy–your body just works when you eat plants.  When you eat animals, you can be thin, but you’re never really firing on all cylinders.

Our Sunday night dinner of adzuki beans and kabocha squash with glazed daikon radishes (both from The Kind Diet cookbook) set me straight and I’m feeling so much better.  This week, we’re having tofu and bok choy with ramen, vegan mushroom stroganoff, and kabocha soup.  I raise my cup of kukicha tea to our good health!

A review of my visit to the Upper Darby H Mart coming up!