Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to Make Your Own Deodorant (3 ingredients!)

Isn't nice when you find a green alternative to a product you use everyday that is not only healthier for you but it also saves you money? Well, I know I love it. Heck, I make a point to search out things and products like that which I use on a daily basis and I try to swap them for greener alternatives.  Todays' case in point: deodorant.

I really thought I would have reached a new level of "crunchy, hippie, granola mama" when I started making my own deodorant, but it really wasn't as drastic as I thought it would be. A few (3) simple ingredients mixed together keeping me smelling fresh, and happy as I go about my day chasing my toddler and teaching preschoolers.

It wasn't hard to find a homemade natural deodorant online, there are tons out there and pretty common one is the one I'm going to share with you today, it uses three ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup Arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup Baking soda
The three ingredients needed: coconut oil, arrowroot powder,
baking soda.

That's it folks. Even simpler is the directions: combine all the ingredients and store in a container, apply daily. Done!  Well, if you like a short blog post stop reading there, but if you want to know a little bit more as to why you'd want to switch to making your own deodorant and some step-by-step photos of how to make it, keep on reading.

What's wrong with traditional deodorant and antiperspirants?
Well, there's one sneaky ingredient that is the trouble maker in most deodorants: aluminum. If you look at the back of your standard antiperspirant/deodorant you will notice that one of main ingredients is aluminum.  Now although aluminum is great when it comes to blocking sweat it comes with a dark side. Frequent exposure to aluminum such as everyday use with antiperspirants, means it's getting absorbed into the skin and unfortunately aluminum toxicity in the body has been linked to Alzheimer's and cancer (specifically breast cancer since it is applied so close to the breast tissue).

Aside from the aluminum, another downside of antiperspirants is that the underarm dryness we all want to achieve comes at a cost. When our sweat glands are plugged with the aluminum in antiperspirants to keep us dry, our bodies are not able to release toxins (which release when we sweat). So not only are we putting toxins in (with aluminum) we are trapping more of them in there that are trying to get out...a no-win for all involved. Combine this with all the other preservatives and other nasty ingredients in it traditional deodorant/antiperspirants and it's time for a change with this homemade deodorant. But before you do...

This leads to one main disclaimer about this deodorant: you will still sweat. Since this is just a deodorant recipe that means that while you will not stink, but you will still sweat. I've read a lot of other green bloggers mention that they sweat less than they did before as a result of using this deodorant. I can attest to this one too and I feel better knowing that my body can detox and release the toxins it needs to when I do sweat. Oh and I love knowing the short, clean, healthy ingredient list.

Now let's get onto that deodorant recipe in this week's video...

Natural Homemade Deodorant



1. Add 1/4 cup arrowroot powder to a large mixing bowl

2. Followed by 1/4 cup coconut oil (at room temp...I do
not melt mine for this recipe, just straight out of the container).

3. Last in the bowl is 1/4 cup baking soda.

4. Time to start mixing this will take 2-3 minutes.

5. I find it's helpful to push it against the sides of the
bowl to "cream" it all together. Here it is getting closer
to being done. Just resist the urge to add more water or
coconut oil, it's not needed.

6. Here's what the finished product should look like...
thick and smooth, not dry and crumbly.

7. I then spoon it into an air-tight container.

I find that the recipe fits perfectly in these 4 oz. jelly jars.
I store mine in my bathroom.

To apply it...
I scoop a small amount out with my fingers and rub it into my arm pit, almost as if it's a lotion.  Once it's all rubbed in, I move to the next side. Sometimes I find that it's helpful to wait a minute or two after applying the deodorant before putting my shirt on so that it won't rub off on my clothes.

Something else to remember:
  • Coconut oil will change it's consistency based on the temperature where you live since it starts to melt at 76 degrees. So if it's cold where you live, it should stay soft, but solid. If you live in a warmer climate  it may be more "melty" this isn't necessarily a bad thing because I think it goes on easier like this. But if you want it to be more solid you could store it in the fridge and just take it out shortly before you need to use it.
  • Feel free to add your own essential oils like lavender, tea tree oil, or any other essential oil you would like to give the deodorant a nice scent. Personally I like the lack of smell with this recipe, but if you like a little more fragrance with yours you could add it. I'd add it with caution though and be watchful if it causes any irritation.
Want to learn more about making your own deodorant? Here's some other links that I found helpful...
"How to Make Your Own Deodorant"at How About Orange
"DIY Homemade Green & Easy Deodorant" at My Merry Messy Life
"Homemade All Natural Deodorant" at Passionate Homemaking

Hope this is able to not only green your deodorant routine, but also save you some "green"! Have you ever made your own deodorant? Share your favorite recipe or green deodorant brand below. Let's green those pits!

Monday, February 4, 2013

How to Cook with Tempeh (for Spaghetti & Nachos)

Hi greenies, it's been awhile since I've posted a recipe, but I'm excited to share a new gluten-free, vegan staple that has hit this "green" house...tempeh!  Here's how you pronounce it: "temp-eh?" Well, not with a question mark obviously, but that helps me remember how to say it, so you get the idea. Anyways tempeh is basically whole soy beans that have been fermented, with water and rice or sometimes other grains into a cake-like patty.  This "patty" can then be chopped, baked, boiled, or crumbled into a variety of dishes.

Okay so I probably lost you back there at the "fermented part" or maybe the "cake-like patty did you in...but bear with me, there's more to tempeh than meets the eye (or the description). Because tempeh retains the entire soy bean, it also retains more of the fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Take that tofu and TVP!

Tempeh's taste is a nutty, earthy, unique flavor, which along with the way it looked when I took it out of the package, scared me a bit. But I'm glad I conquered my fear, because this stuff is good. On top of that it's really quick and easy to make. You don't have to press it like tofu or hydrate it with water like TVP, just crumble it, sauté it, and add some spices or sauce and you're good to go. Perfect for those busy weeknights when you don't want to spend hours slaving away over the stove!

In case you're wondering, a package of tempeh costs about $2-3 a package and I get mine at my local health food store, Nature's Pantry. You could probably find it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's too.  Unfortunately most standard groceries stores don't seem to carry it, if only they knew what they were missing!

Those are actual soy beans that have been fermented (cue the
white-ish stuff) and pressed into a patty. 

Check out a video tutorial of how I cook with tempeh to make a spaghetti sauce and nachos...

No time to watch the video? It's all good, let's break it down with pictures, shall we?

As I said in the video, my favorite way to have tempeh is in a "crumble-like form" similar to ground beef or ground turkey.  I get the tempeh that way by simply giving it a whirl in my food processor for a few seconds. I tried grating it with a grater but it took me forever and all I did was make a mess in my kitchen. I like how the food processor is quick, easy, and no where near as messy!

Ground tempeh that can be used in place of ground
turkey, ground hamburger, or TVP.

From there I like to combine it with 1/2 of a chopped yellow onion, and sauté it until it's brown (several minutes).

I brown it on Med-Hi for 4-5 minutes.

It will look about like this.

This is where the creativity begins because you can have it two different ways, in a "Spaghetti Sauce" or in some yummy "Nachos".

So to start out with: 1 pkg of tempeh and 1/2 an onion chopped.

Your tempeh recipe base: 1 pkg. tempeh + 1/2 onion chopped

From there you can make either one of the recipes listed below (or make up your own!)

Meat-less Tempeh Spaghetti

  • 1 pkg. gluten-free brown rice noodles (or any noodle you like)
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pkg. of tempeh
  • 1/2 onion chopped

Ingredients needed: 1 pkg. of noodles
1 jar of spaghetti sauce.

1. After sautéing the tempeh and onion for about 5 minutes,
reduce the heat to low and add the jar of spaghetti sauce.
Be sure to start your noodles as well.

2. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or as long as you like. I usually
simmer until the noodles are done.

3. Now you are ready to top the cooked noodles with the
tempeh spaghetti sauce.

Chunky "meaty" goodness!

If you're not feeling like a spaghetti dish, skip the sauce and noodles and give this Mexican dish a try! It's very quick and easy and you don't need many ingredients.

Tempeh Nachos (or burritos or tacos!)



Ingredients needed.

1. After sautéing the tempeh and chopped onion on
Med-Hi for 5 minutes or so, add the corn and spices.

2. Saute for another 3-5 minutes until warm. Then serve
on tacos, burritos, or nachos.

I warmed my nachos in the oven at 350 degrees for about
5-6 minutes.

Then I slid them onto my plate (carefully!) and topped them
with guacamole and salsa.

So delicious and filling.

So those are my two favorite tempeh recipes, what's your favorite way to cook tempeh? I'd like to try out some marinades or boiling it in the future, so if you know of a good one be sure to share it below! Enjoy!

It's Tempeh Time!
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