3 more natural deodorants that actually work

Since the first post, I’ve had some time to experiment with different brands of deodorants and I’m happy to report that I’ve had success with three more all-natural deodorants.natural deodorants that ACTUALLY work

This wasn’t explained in my first post, but I think it needs to be said now. Most of my life, I’ve had issues with commercial-brand antiperspirants wearing off. I was never a big sweater so sweat stains or wetness weren’t a problem for me, but odor was. For whatever reason, even the strongest formulas would wear off midday and I’d have to reapply. I am NOTORIOUS among my family for two things: 1.) pouring the milk in my bowl before the cereal and 2.) carrying deodorant with me wherever I go. Since I’ve made the switch to natural deodorants, I haven’t had to reapply at any point throughout the day. Weirdly, I still carry deodorant in my purse because…old habits die hard (I’ve been doing this since I was twelve). BUT! I never need to use it. And that’s huge.

Now I’m not saying that my experience is typical. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But I do know that if you are an antiperspirant-loving lady, but you’d like to give these here a try, you’ll have to allow for some time (two to three weeks, at least!) for your body to adjust to the new ingredients. You might find that within the first week of trying a new deodorant, you’re much sweatier and perhaps smellier, but this is to be expected. Your body is detoxing. These are deodorants, not antiperspirants, so they are not going to block your sweat glands (nor should they) like the aluminum in a stick of Degree or Dove would. But trust me, work through it! Just know that eventually, your body will catch up and pretty soon you’ll be chucking the yuck-filled stuff and replacing those with ingredients you actually recognize and trust. It took about three weeks for my body to fully adjust. Sometimes, I was uncomfortably sweaty, but after using the new deodorant for a while, the sweating subsided considerably. If you want more tips on how to make the switch as painlessly as possible, read this.

 

1. Green Tidings All Natural Deodorant, Lavender

Pros: Very long-lasting. Has a mild, lavender scent. Available on Amazon and Amazon Prime. Vegan and cruelty-free.

Cons: The texture is a tad bit gritty and a little too soft to be in a tube. Sometimes, if I press too hard while applying, some of the product will smear on the sides of the tube. It can get a little messy. The formula is a tad bit thick so some residue may cling in the creases of the armpits. All that said, these are not dealbreakers for me and I will continue to use regularly (just maybe not with tank tops).

 

2. Primal Pit Paste, Lavender

Pros: Very long-lasting. Creamy,  smooth texture. Has a subtle lavender scent. Easy to apply with your fingers. Dries quickly and almost clear. Available on Amazon for about $11 which puts this at the cheapest price of the three. You can also order on their website for a few bucks less but free shipping is only awarded to those spending over $49. Vegan and cruelty free.

Cons: None that I’ve experienced!

 

3. Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant Cream, Lavender

Pros: Very similar (or almost identical) to Primal Pit Paste, in terms of texture, effectiveness, scent, longevity and ease of use. Available in a few stores around the U.S. Vegan and cruelty-free.

Cons: It’s also available on the Meow Meow Tweet website, which charges for shipping fees. Other than that, there’s nothing negative I can say about the actual product.

As with any skin product I recommend, it’s always smart to read the ingredient list and spot-test before using, just to check for irritation or allergic reactions.

Click here to see the first post, 4 natural deodorants that actually work.

if you ever need a crowd-pleasing dip…

buffalo hummus

Then you should really make this buffalo hummus. Because it checks all the boxes:

√ Takes almost no effort
√ Quick to prepare (and even quicker to go!)
√ Nutritious
√ Full of flavor
√ Spicy
√ Tastier than store bought hummus
√ Impressive to guests
√Inexpensive ingredients

buffalo hummus 1

I pretty much made the exact recipe from Oh She Glows (hence no recipe on my blog, so check out the original source here), although I did add way more Frank’s Red Hot because…well, one tablespoon just wasn’t going to cut it for me. I’ve been on such a Frank’s Red Hot kick for the last year, I even carry it in a small container with me on the go sometimes. It really is great to have on hand.

I prepared it the night before a party. I had only ten minutes to spare before I had to go to bed (I say ‘had to’ because if I don’t get to bed at a certain time every night and Jules wakes me up for feedings in the middle of the night/early morning, I’m pretty much a zombie the next day). So, in a much simpler way, what I’m trying to say is: make this. It’s quick, simple and you’ll want to dip everything in it!

buffalo hummus 2

what i eat: an update and a tomatillo-avocado recipe

cilantro

One. I’ve changed this series name to What I Eat, instead of How I Eat. I thought about How I Eat, and I immediately wanted to respond with a , “I eat with my mouth”. So that just kind of killed it for me.

Two. I haven’t posted one of these in a long time. Originally, this was going to be a post about my Sunday at home (I know. Please…contain yourself). But as I sifted through photos, I realized, no this is totally a What I Eat post. And so, here we are.

salad

Romaine lettuce with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, hemp seeds and chia seeds.

Every chance I get, I’ll add hemp seeds and (sometimes) chia seeds to my food. Hemp seeds, in smaller amounts, are virtually tasteless and texture-less so it’s an easy extra dose of nutrition (essential fats, amino acids, protein, etc.). I add hemp seeds to most of my food, even if it’s just a small sprinkling.

I use chia seeds less since they have a crunchy texture when dry and a gelatinous consistency when wet. They are great sprinkled on avocado toast or in smoothies. One of these days I want to experiment with them in a homemade strawberry or raspberry jam.

mexican skillet

One-pan Mexican quinoa topped with tomatillo-avocado sauce (not pictured above / see tomatillo recipe below)

I’ve really taken to quinoa lately. Initially I disliked it, but I recently learned that I just prefer it smothered in sauce. In Sunday’s case, a tomatillo-avocado sauce. But my favorite is quinoa with steamed broccoli and mushrooms in a simple San Marzano tomato sauce. YUM.

stew

West African peanut soup. I added two sweet potatoes to the recipe to make it heartier and subbed the collards with kale. Not pictured: a side of brown jasmine rice.

sunday cooking

Monday’s dinner in the front, Sunday’s dinner in the back.

Sundays have been my go-to day for bulk cooking. At most, I’ve only been able to cook two  meals and some prep work for other meals for the week. My goal is regularly cook three meals most Sundays. Cooking on one day makes the following work week so much easier: No cooking, less dishes, more time—what’s not to love about that?

cupcakes

Cupcakes from Burgers & Cupcakes

Sugar is my weakness. Still working on that ravenous sweet tooth. Another thing I’m working on? Breakfast. Lately, it’s been my least nutritious meal of the day, i.e. lots of toast and bagels.

My main goal is to eat a mostly plant-based diet. As in veggies, fruits, whole grains and legumes. I haven’t eaten meat in over a month now and I don’t plan to either. I’ve had very little temptation to do so and it’s usually fleeting, so it hasn’t been too difficult to abstain. That said, it’s been easier to eat well because other more nutritious ingredients get more play. I’ve been much more creative and adventurous with dinners. I’ve always been down for trying new dishes, but now I’ll take something that normally has meat and replace it with a vegetable or grain…or nothing at all! You can pretty much make anything vegetarian or vegan.

As for protein? This seems to be the common question when you tell people that you’ve stopped eating meat. I always say I’m not worried about it. There’s enough protein in foods like nuts, seeds, lentils and even fruits and veggies to help me get my recommended intake. I’m more interested in B12 and plan on buying a supplement this week.

tomatillo sauce

Tomatillo-Avocado Sauce
makes about 2-4 servings

1 tomatillo, husk removed and sliced
1/2 of an avocado
1 small handful of cilantro or to taste
1/2 lime, juiced
chili powder, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

Blend all ingredients together. Add a tablespoon of water at a time to reach your desired consistency.

This sauce on top of the Mexican quinoa made the whole dish for me. Feel free to use on other foods like nachos, tacos or spicy potatoes.

…and a happy new year!

lightsDepending on the year, what kind of mood I’m in and where I’m at in my life, I will likely have a different opinion on New Year’s resolutions. There have been years where I deem resolutions entirely unrealistic and unnecessary. But this year, I’m all about the fresh new start.  I’m feeling the need for some healthier habits again. I think—no, actually I’m sure that pregnancy threw me off my healthy game this year. There were many times I’d just order in because I was too exhausted to cook and that even continued until after Juliette was born. Though recently, Bob and I have decreased our meat consumption considerably, so we’re heading on the right path. Our hard rule is no meat Monday through Thursday. If you’ve been following my Pinterest food board closely, you might notice I’m bookmarking more vegan dishes because I’m also trying to limit our dairy intake by incorporating more plant-based fats like nuts, seeds and avocados into our foods.

I think the hard part of this resolution will be the exercising. I’ve never been very active and lately the only workout I get is walking and simultaneously rocking Jules around the house when I’m trying to get her to nap. All attempts to exercise in past years have failed. I took up running for about a week. Hated that. I signed up for a year’s membership at Planet Fitness.That quickly got old. I even did a little bit of prenatal yoga, which bored me to tears. This time, I’ll take up running again. I know! But since Bob is joining me, I’m hoping that we will hold eachother accountable. If it turns out I still hate running—and, let’s be honest, I’m expecting it—then so be it. I’ll try something else.

(Of course, since my surgery is scheduled for the middle of January, I’ll be taking it easy for those first few weeks.)

Whenever I’ve made a health-related resolution in the past, it’s been just for that—my health. But this year, my other intention is to lose some of this baby weight. I actually don’t mind having some extra thickness around the butt, hips and thighs, but the gut I could do without. There’s also the matter of only fitting into 4 pairs of pants and a few tops. I never realized how tight some of my clothing is until I couldn’t fit into them anymore! As much as I’d love a whole new wardrobe, it’ll be healthier and less expensive to just lose weight instead.

Now onto more pressing matters. Do you have any exciting plans for New Year’s Eve? Bob and I are going out to dinner at Alobar in Long Island City, while his mother spends time with Jules. Then we’ll be back home to celebrate the new year from our couch with another friend. We’ll probably watch some Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. Should be pretty thrilling stuff.

I honestly love our “boring” New Year’s plans :)

Happy new year! See you in 2016!

 

how i eat: what’s for dinner this week? 3/15 – 3/19

palak paneer

Getting my ingredients ready for the Palak Paneer.

On Sunday, Bob and I went into  a deep spring cleaning mode in the kitchen. We learned that we were hoarders of delivery ketchup packets, instant coffee samples, years-old spices, freezer-burnt pie crusts and for some odd reason (one that I can’t seem to remember) a boatload of raw sesame seeds. Needless to say, there’s a lot more room in our cabinets and refrigerator and the kitchen looks a little less crowded now. It’s nice to see it clean and organized for a change! So this week’s dinners are all about using what I have already. Of course, we bought a few grocery items over the weekend to round it out, but for the most part, I’m trying to use what’s here. We want to make sure that when we finally move next month, there’s as little as possible to bring to the new place.

Sunday: Homemade Kentucky Fried Chicken Famous Bowl. I attempted those delicious mashed potato bowls from KFC and they were yummy, except I forgot the gravy, which in my opinion, is an absolutely essential part of the bowl. Luckily, it was still good without it. Here are the layers: mashed potatoes, sweet corn, crispy baked chicken nuggets and a light sprinkling of cheddar. That’s when the gravy would come in. Though if I remember correctly, KFC actually puts the gravy after the potatoes, not over the entire bowl. I’d prefer the latter. Gravy over EVERYTHING or nothing at all. It’s definitely healthier without, but the bowl begs to be smothered in beefy brown sauce.

Monday: Palak Paneer, which is very similar to the Saag Paneer I usually make. Made this for the first time last week and loved it. I wanted to perfect it, so I gave it another go this week. I generally find most recipes lean kind of bland, so I always up the amount of spices considerably. I subbed the Paneer with halloumi, added way more garlic and a pinch of the powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric. The fire-roasted tomatoes add a great flavor to the dish as well.

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Bisque and grilled cheese tonight! It’s a regular in this household and if you’ve been following this blog for some time, then you know I’ve mentioned this soup once or twice (possiby more than that) before. It’s easy, quick and nutritious. Grilled cheese because what is a soup without grilled cheese? Sad is the answer to that.

Wednesday: BLT Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad* with homemade croutons. One thing I’ve been obsessed with lately? Making my own croutons. HEAPS above the store-bought kind, let me tell you. Can I even go back to the standard stuff? Begrudgingly, I probably will in a pinch. But ever since I started toasting French bread, turning them into crumbs in the food processor and then sauteeing those crumbs in butter, garlic and salt there has been no turning back for me. It’s freakin’ delicious. And once you make the croutons, they last for a couple of weeks which I appreciate since we can’t polish off a whole loaf of crotuons in one sitting (well, we could if we wanted to, but…). This salad is BOMB. I mean, we’re talking salad with bits of bacon on it, so…obviously. It’s got tons of flavor and filling enough for dinner, thanks to the protein from the chicken and the healthy fats from the avocado. I prefer to use my own lemon-oil-dijon mustard dressing concoction, but Bob’s not a fan (he’s weird) so he uses a balsamic vinaigrette instead. I love my salad dressing so much that I practically inhale it like it’s going out of style. I just might post the recipe for that one soon.

Thursday: As usual, it’s cleaning out the fridge/leftovers day. This might involve an omelette with random ingredients or a simple pasta with one or more veggies.

 

*No recipe for this one as I thought the name was pretty explanatory, but I can always post at a later time, if requested!

how i eat: this week’s dinner plans (2/15 – 2/19)

Monday
berry kale smoothie1

Tuesday
berry kale smoothie2

Lately, my first breakfast of the day: a smoothie made with blueberries, strawberries, dark cherries, kale and 1/3 of banana. No extra sweetener needed! And yes I did say “first breakfast”. I’ve been eating two breakfasts every day. A smoothie early on and then a buttered English muffin with cheesy scrambled eggs (sometimes with bacon) a couple of hours later. Very satisfying!

 

I thought it was about time for a How I Eat post. Instead of showing my dinners from the week before, I thought I’d share my meal plans for this week. Some already consumed and some not yet. To make up for our weekend, I wanted to make sure I had planned some healthy meals for the rest of the week. I kept most of it meat-free and because of that, our grocery bill and our cholesterol intake was lower than usual. I’m pretty happy about that. We’ve been going pretty hard with the chicken lately, so it was good to get out of that rut with some lighter, more-heart-healthy vegetarian fare.

Sunday: Saag paneer. The recipe calls for fresh spinach, but my budget this week only allows for frozen so I go with that instead. I’ve made this a few times and it’s a meal that’s nutritious, uncomplicated, quick, highly adaptable and very flavorful. Basically the formula for an easy weeknight dinner. I usually sub the paneer with chickpeas for some protein, but I honestly love it most with fried halloumi. It’s a firm and salty cheese and it’s oh-so-wonderful in a spicy dish like this.

Monday: Mashed potatoes, roasted chicken drumsticks and roasted broccoli. It’s hard to mess up mashed potatoes but I manage to do it while experimenting with a coworker’s recipe. She brought in these amazing mashed potatoes mixed with butter, coconut milk and whole milk to work one day and I loved them. Instead of boiling the potatoes, I decided to bake them and then mash so as not to lose the nutrients in the boiling water. Weirdly, my potatoes come out chunky even with the use of potato ricer. Also, they didn’t taste good. Bob might have even used the words “kind of terrible”. He was laughing when he said it, but I know he’s being honest. Note to self: get the exact measurements for the recipe from my coworker tomorrow. Broccoli is roasted until crispy, as usual. The same for the chicken drumsticks. I like to quickly season with Adobo and olive oil and stick ’em in the oven until the skin gets golden-crispy. Adobo All Purpose seasoning is my jam.

Tuesday: Another recipe from 101 Cookbooks: split pea soup.  Have you ever had vegetarian split pea soup? It’s just as good without the ham, in my opinion. Smoked paprika gives it a nice bacon-like flavor that I just love. I don’t wait to mix it in at the end, like the recipe says. I toss a few pinches while the onions are cooking. Green split peas are awesome for your heart, so I definitely want to try some other ways of cooking with them. I’m also serving roasted cauliflower on the side. Doesn’t really go with the soup but I’m not too concerned about it. Split peas have a lot of fiber in them so I think a lighter side option is ideal here anyway.

Wednesday: Toasted bread and Parmesan kale salad. The minute I saw this, I bookmarked it. I want to go the extra step and season the breadcrumbs with butter, garlic and (maybe) some anchovies. I might improv the dressing too, depending on what I have. Either way, I know this will be a good one and I can’t wait to eat it.

Thursday: Don’t know yet. I sometimes leave this day open in case we have some leftovers from the week that we can just eat again. Or sometimes I’ll make breakfast for dinner. It can be an omelette with whatever ingredients I have in the house or a bacon, egg, lettuce and cheese sandwich. Maybe even a simple pasta like cacio e pepe or spaghetti aglio e olio. All this to say Thursday is “whatever’s in the pantry” day. I’m wingin’ it.

how i eat: last week in dinners (Sept. 1- Sept. 4)

Last week was a successful one, in terms of dinner. I enjoyed each and every meal/recipe listed here, so if you’re looking for a good variety of easy and healthy weeknight dinners then I’ve got you covered. Click on the links for the recipes.

Monday: Crunchy Cabbage and Kale Salad with a Creamy Thai “Peanut” Dressing

Crunchy, delicious Thai salad

I try to have at least one raw dinner, particularly a big salad, every week for a few reasons:

1.) I like to switch it up.
2.) It’s a dinner comprised mostly of vitamin-rich veggies, yet still satisfying.
3.) Most of the food isn’t cooked or denatured, so we get the maximum amount of nutritional benefits.
4.) It’s easy.

Of all the Thai salad dressings variations I’ve tried, this one has to be my favorite. I could have drank it up on its own, it was so good. It’s a flavorful dressing that uses sunflower seed butter as the main ingredient, although I think any nut or seed butter would work well in this. Make it! And when you do, make extra.

My parents gave me a whole bunch of bell peppers from their yard, so I got to use them up in this salad. Raw bell peppers don’t cut it for me, so I sauteed them in a bit of olive oil, salt and smoked paprika and it added a savory bacon-like flavor to it. Smoked paprika has been having a moment in my kitchen lately. I’m loving the strong smokiness and I’ve been using it a ton, mostly on vegetables.

Tips for people who just can’t get behind the idea of salad for dinner: 1.) Start small – add cooked foods to it. Toss in some baked shredded chicken, roasted veggies or a poached egg. It adds texture and loads of flavor, while still keeping it a healthy salad. Steer clear or go light on add-ins like bacon, shredded cheese and processed dressings. Try to stick to veggies, nuts and seeds and find creative ways to make them tastier for you. For example, I like to take raw walnuts with a tbsp. of soy sauce or tamari and a couple pinches of cumin and cayenne and mix them into a ground beef-like texture using a food processor. I sprinkle it over the salad for a meaty, salty bite. It’s awesome! 2.) Use different types of greens for variety and texture. No boring salads here! 3.) A great homemade dressing is key.

Tuesday: Sweet and Spicy Burrito Bowl Plate.

Sweet and Spicy Burrito Bowl.

Again! But this time no sweet potatoes , which is fine because it simplifies the process a bit, yet doesn’t skimp on taste. It’s a starchy meal for sure, but still abundant in fiber, potassium and folate, which are all beneficial for maintaining optimal heart health.

I make Bob brown rice, while I have white. I bought a huge tub of brown rice, but I completely forgot that I loathe brown rice so I’ve been making two batches of rice. This can get blah sometimes but it’s better than letting it go to waste or forcing myself to eat something I don’t like.

Wednesday: Herb Brown Butter Mayo Shrimp Rolls (with a side of not-pictured broccoli)

Brown Butter Mayo Shrimp Rolls

“Shrimp in hot dog buns?”. Bob was incredulous and so was I, but for different reasons. Shrimp rolls sounded weird to him, but I just couldn’t believe he’d never heard of them before, especially since I made them twice last summer. He gave me his usual “I don’t think I’m going to like this” speech, but that just made me determined to make it extra special. And it was! I’d never made my own mayo before so that was a little daunting. It’s a workout, I will say that, but it’s still very easy. Good arm muscles are recommended, though 😉 And the brown butter? Bonus yum. I normally wouldn’t make something so high in cholesterol, but I thought it was okay to make an exception, especially since the meal is also high in healthy fats, protein and vitamin B12. If I were to give you any tips on this one, it’d be to toast the buns. Makes all the difference!

Bob’s take? “Good. But it’s still weird eating shrimp in a hot dog bun.”

Thursday: Summer Vegetable Chowder

Summer Soup

I made very few, small changes to this soup. I substituted the milk for homemade cashew milk, as I tend to do with any recipe that calls for cream or dairy milk. I added more smoked paprika—obviously. I sauteed a few smashed garlic cloves with yellow onion for more flavor. No green onions, so I used chives which I like better anyway. The soup is thick and and hearty enough to stand on its own (love that) but a crusty loaf of bread to dip in is always a good call!

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*I can’t seem to recall what we had on Sunday nor do I have the pictures to jog my memory. Fridays and Saturdays are usually “eating out” days.

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For more on How I Eat, see here:

How I Eat: The Introduction

How I Eat: June

How I Eat: July 

 

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