Updates…

Ok I know it’s been a few weeks since my last post and to be honest I’ve been really  busy. So let’s catch up a bit.

A few weeks ago I posted a recipe on homemade flaxseed gel. I know I said that I would post a full review with pictures but I didn’t get a chance to. To be honest, it really wasn’t worth writing home about. At first I wasn’t going to write a review right away because well it was a total disaster. It was like I had dried mucus in my hair (I know it’s a bit graphic but it’s the best way to describe it). My hair was hard and crunchy and dry.  I started off with a co-wash of my hair with Suave Professional’s Almond and Shea Butter conditioner and followed up with a leave in. Added the flaxseed gel (made from the recipe I posted a while back) and allowed to air dry. My hair was pretty much like I said.  It was dry, crunchy, and had chunks of white goo in it. So I ended up washing everything out and styling my hair with my tried and true trio. However, I wasn’t about to give up on this just yet. I tried the recipe again adding less flaxseed to the mixture. This time there wasn’t any white goo in my hair but my hair was STILL dry and crunchy afterwards. No bounce or anything. It was like something out of the movie “There’s Something about Mary.” So refusing to give up (and because I had so much flaxseed lying around), I tried a third time with even less flaxseed and the result was zero curl definition and once again crunchy and dryness. So my final conclusion was that my hair did not like the flaxseed gel and that my hair health would probably benefit more from me EATING the flaxseed rather than trying to make a homemade hair product from it. So no go on the homemade flaxseed gel.

Now that fall is upon us (although it doesn’t really feel like it in the south), I’ve decided to start  thinking about rotating my conditioners and products. Although winters here in the south won’t be nearly as harsh on my kinks and curls as the winters in New England were, I still want to  make sure my hair is well taken care of. So today I decided to visit two old friends of mine and combine it with a new product I’ve heard very good things about. Today I revisited Coconut Milk and combined it with Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner for a much-needed deep conditioning treatment.  I’ve heard so many good things about this conditioner on Curlmart.com. It’s ingredients are all natural and vegan and it wasn’t very expensive. I found it at my local Vitamin Shop for about $7.  The conditioner was very thick and smelled amazing. So I combined a couple of tablespoons of  it with 1/2 can of coconut milk (solid portion only) until the mixture was nice and thick. I applied the mixture to my hair (after co-washing), applied my microheat cap and let it sit for about 45 minutes then rinse. I should point out that as I was rinsing I noticed that my hair was in near perfect little ringlets already just from having the conditioner in it. This has  happened to me only once when I used Kinky-Curly Knot Today conditioner. I almost hated to brush my hair because I was loving the curls so much. After completely rinsing I added my second old friend Giovanni 50/50 Balanced Hydrating and Calming Conditioner as a leave in while I detangled. The second thing I noticed was that my hair was super soft and very easy to detangle. After allowing my hair to air dry a bit I styled as usual with Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel. So far this combo has proved to work really well for my hair. My curls noticably popped into small little ringlets. Even The Hubbs commented on how great my curls were looking, even though they’re still wet. So depending on how this fall/ winter goes  in the south I think I’ll be using the coconut milk, Honeysuckle Rose and 50/50 Balanced  Hydrating  and Calming conditioners along with my Almond and Shea Butter and Eco Styler for my wash and go styles.

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One thing I’ve been noticing for a while now is that my hair is two colors. During the fall and winter last year I used a lot of henna and indigo on my hair for scalp and hair health. The last time I played with henna was back in February of this year and I used henna alone.  When you combine henna with indigo your hair ends up being black (like a black cat or a raven’s wing), but with henna by itself I usually end up with a reddish tint to my hair. Back in December of last year I used henna and indigo and in February I used henna alone. So while some of my hair stayed jet black my new growth and roots had a red tint. Now that the hair has grown out it’s much more obvious in sunlight. So in the upcoming weeks I plan to dye my hair black naturally by using henna over night and following up with indigo and a deep conditioning the next morning. I’ll have a post up when this is done.

Other than preparing my hair for the fall and winter months that’s pretty much it for updates. I haven’t thought much about other styles for the fall/winter, but I think I will play it by ear.  Many curlies like to go into protective styles for the winter but it just doesn’t work for me. I always end up styling my hair too tight and end up doing more damage than good and besides my hair seems happy out and about doing its own thing. I’ve been doing wash and go styling all summer long and have noticed a definite increase in thickness and new growth.  There’s just a lot less tension and strain on my hair and scalp and my hair seems to like it. So I figure as long as my hair is happy with this, then there is no need to change it for the winter. I will just have to wear my silk lined hats on the windy days for protection. Other than that, that’s it. Until next time…

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Health and Fitness Tip of the Week

Super Food of the Week: Flaxseed 

  

 This is a bit of a continuance  from my post from yesterday. I thought it would be a good idea to feature flaxseeds this week and outline a few of the health benefits. I should point out that consuming excess amounts of flaxseeds with too little water can lead to bowel obstruction. So if you’re consuming flaxseeds make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your day. 

With an abundance of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, the warm , earth and subtle nutty flavor of flaxseeds have become increasing popular in the diets of many health conscious consumers. Flaxseeds are available year round in the form of whole, ground, as well as in oil form. Flaxseeds are slightly larger than sesame seeds and have a hard shell that is smooth and shiny. Their color can range from deep amber to a reddish brown depending on the variety. However all varieties are nutrient dense with a host of healthful benefits. 

 Flaxseeds are rich in a particular type of omega-3 fats which are used by the body to produce anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecules. Omega-3, specifically the alpha linoleum acid found in flaxseeds, have been shown to promote bone health by helping to lower the ration of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. By lowering this ratio it reduces the amount of bone loss. Omega-3 fats are also used to produce substances that reduce the formation of blood clots, which can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease. Omega-3 fats are essential in producing flexible cell membranes. Cell membranes are the cell’s gatekeepers, allowing nutrients in and the elimination of wastes. Although important for everyone, it is most critical for persons with diabetes since flexible cell membranes have a much better ability to respond to insulin and to absorb glucose than stiff cell membranes. 

 Omega-3 fats are far from all flaxseeds have to offer. Flaxseed meal and flour provides a very good source of fiber that can lower cholesterol levels in people with atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, reduce the exposure of colon cells to cancer-causing chemicals, help relieve constipation and stabilize blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. Magnesium is also found in abundance in flaxseeds, which help to reduce the severity of asthma by keeping airways relaxed and open as well as lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attach and stroke. Flaxseeds have also been found to be rich in lignans, a special compound found in other seeds, grains and legumes which aid in the production of hormone-like agents that demonstrate protective effects against breast cancer. In addition, flaxseed has been proven to reduce hot flashes in postmenopausal women by almost 60%. 

 With an abundance of nutrients flaxseed ranks right up there with salmon for one of the healthiest foods to foster healthy hair. Although salmon does have a huge host of different nutrients from flaxseeds are off the charts with the amount of omega 3 fatty acids which makes this a great omega 3 alternative for vegetarians. Flaxseeds are actually higher in omega-3 fats than salmon. Flaxseeds can be added to homemade muffins, cookies, or bread recipes. You can beef up the nutritional punch of your breakfast shake or hot or cold cereal by adding ground flaxseeds. Also you can add a table spoon of flaxseed oil to your smoothies. 

Fit Tip of The Week: Q & A 

Q: Which vegetables and/or fruits are best when juicing? 

 A: This is kind of a difficult question to answer. To be honest, I really don’t have an answer. For one I’m not a juicer (with the exception of Orange Juice and V8 splash) and second every fruit and vegetable offers different nutrients in different amounts. My best advise is to juice your colors. Regardless if you juice or eat your fruits and vegetables whole, choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in color ensures that you get the most bang for your buck. Juicing or eating fruits and veggies of different colors offers your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. For fruits and vegetables that are orange (like carrots, pumpkins and peaches) will contain beta-carotene and bioflavonoid which are powerful antioxidants. A few years ago The National Cancer Institute in partnership with the 5 A Day government campaign published a chart that brakes down fruits and veggies into 5 basic colors; green, orange, red, blue/purple, and white. They also described the polynutrient found in that particular color group as well as the benefits and examples of foods that would fit into that color group. This chart still pretty much holds true. Again eating a variety of colors from this chart not only keeps boredom at bay it helps to balance your diet thereby balancing your nutrient intake. That would my best answer to your question. Now how you choose to combine these to make your juice is up to you and your tastes.

If you’d like to read more about flaxseeds you can find more at:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed

If you would like to check out the color spectrum chart I mentioned you can find it here: 

KSPT

Flax Seed Gel??

This week I started school. One of the first things I saw on campus was a fellow curly. She was sporting a fabulous teenie weenie afro in a wash and go style and had beautiful ringlets. Of course I had to stop her, compliment her and ask her to dish  on her products. We pretty much used the same conditioners to co wash with but she brought up something new to me.  To style her wash and go she used homemade flax seed gel.  Her curls were glossy and super soft with no sign of flakes, but what really caught my attention was that she was sporting 4th day hair. Her curls looked like she’d just styled them that morning. Sometimes, if I am careful,  I can pull of 4 day old curls with my Eco Styler Gel, but flaxseed gel sounds like it would be healthier for hair. Flax seed is full of nutrients such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin B,  fiber,  and a host of other nutrients . So what happens when nutrients are applied to the hair as well as ingested (I love muffins with flax seeds!)? Well, I figured I’d give the gel a try. Here’s the recipe I found on one of my favorite sites FromNaturewithLove.com (this is also a great site to order ingredients if you like to make your own products):

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Whole Flax Seeds
1 cup water
Pure Aloe Vera Gel, if desired
Few drops of essential oil for scent

Instructions:

Bring water to a boil. Stir the seeds into the water and reduce heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until a gel-like lotion is formed. Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth into a small bottle. Add essential oils and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. If desired, you can add some pure aloe vera gel for its moisturizing properties. Fill the bottle with flax seed gel until bottle is about 3/4 full, then fill to the top with pure aloe vera gel. Gel will not flake or make the hair hard or crunchy. Safe to use everyday.

I’ve seen several variations of this recipe. Some call for 1/2-1 cup of flaxseed. I’ll have to play with it a bit to see what my hair likes more. I’ll take a shot at this Friday and style with it Saturday. Sunday, I’ll be back with a full review, with pictures and a much over due length check. We’ll see how it goes!

Later!

How to Create Your Hair Regimen

I came across this article today on one of my favorite websites NaturallyCurly.com. It outlines the basics of creating a hair care regimen.  It’s basically how I created mine and thought it would be a good refresher for myself or to maybe help out a curly who is currently transitioning or newly natural. Check it out.

How to Create Your Hair Regimen

Later!

KinkySheaPT

Health and Fitness Tips

Every week over on CurlyNikki.com I’m featured as a guest blogger serving up health and wellness tips. I also answer health and wellness questions on the CN.com forum.  When I moved from NH to SC I suspended the weekly posts (was just too darn busy) and now that I’m settled and ready to rock and roll, I’ve started up the series again with a few changes. In the past I presented a healthy food of the week and fitness tips, and included a few question and answers sessions.  Now that I have my own blog up and running again on a more consistent basis I’ve decided to feature the articles here.  I’ve made a couple of changes to the articles.  I’ve decided to alternate weeks with a specific  food of the week and a recipe to follow-up with the next week. Hopefully it will help someone reading this or if not at least I have a database of all my favorite healthy recipes. So here is this week’s installation.

Healthy Recipe of the Week:

 Green Grapes with Feta Cheese and Honey (from www.eatingwell.com)

 This teaming of grapes, feta, and pears can be served as a dessert, side salad, or a snack.

 Ingredients:

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (can opt for fat-free feta cheese instead)

2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons raw honey

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 ½ cups green grapes (about 1 pound)

1 ripe but firm Bartlett or Anjou pear cut into ½-inch wedges

6-8 basil leaves, thinly sliced

 Directions:

  1. Place feta in a small bowl. Drizzle with oil and honey. Add pepper and toss gently.
  2. Shortly before serving, cut grapes in half lengthwise. Gently toss grapes and pear slices. Sprinkle feta over the fruit and garnish with basil.

 Nutrition:

Per serving: 162 calories, 7 g fat (4 g sat, 3 g mono); 20 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 255 mg sodium; 211 mg potassium.

 Fitness Tip of the Week: Q and A

 Q:  During a recent meet up a naturopath (sp?) spoke about how we lose minerals when we drink water and exercise. I would like to understand it better. I kind of get it but more information would be useful. What minerals are we subject to losing and how can we reintroduce them into our system?

 A:  The minerals the speaker mentioned are called electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes exist in the blood as acids, bases, and salts (such as sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, magnesium, and bicarbonate). It is important to keep the balance of electrolytes in your body as they affect the amount of water in your body, blood acidity (pH levels), muscle action and other important processes. When you exercise, you sweat,  and when you sweat you lose electrolytes. Electrolytes are one of the many substances that make up sweat. The longer or more intense the physical activity is or the more you sweat the more electrolytes are lost. Over enough time, if electrolytes are not replaced electrolyte levels in the blood begin to fall and create an imbalance. This imbalance can lead to muscle cramps or more sever situations such as hyponatremia, a potentially life-threatening condition.

So, how can electrolytes be reintroduced into the body? Drinking water is certainly a good beverage choice when doing physical activity, but water doesn’t contain carbohydrates or electrolytes. If you’re participating in high intensity or a prolonged physical activity (like a prolonged run, a boot camp style class, or high impact aerobics) or if you’re the kind of person that sweats a lot, then water certainly won’t replace the electrolytes lost. However, water the next best thing if there is nothing else available and we should be drinking water or other fluids though out the day to start off our physical activity properly hydrated. To replace the electrolytes a low-calorie sports drink would be the way to go. Properly formulated sports drinks will have the ability to help bring your body’s electrolytes back into balance during or after participating in high intensity or prolonged physical activity. There are certain foods that do contain electrolytes, but by drinking a properly formulated sports drink (during and following physical activity) you meet the goal of rehydrating and balancing electrolytes.

Peace and Love,

KinkySheaPT

New Favorite Products…

All summer long I’ve been sporting a wash and go hairstyle. I started the summer using the Kinky-Curly product line which worked great. The problem came when I ran out of the Knot Today conditioner. After visiting three stores that carried the product line in my area only to find that all three were sold out, I thought about ordering online. However I hate waiting for products to ship to me. So I did a bit of research online an came a cross a vlog comparing Kinky-Curly line to regular drug store products and a styling gel called Eco Styler. The curlygirl that did the vlog had great results. So I struck out to my local drug store and found a jar of the Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel and the price allowed me to indulge in a being a little bit of a product junkie. So I picked up a jar. On my way out I also noticed two other products. Suave Professionals Almond and Shea Butter Conditioner and Nature’s Gate Herbal Daily Conditioner. So I took the bait and picked up all three products.

So here’s what I did when I got home. I co-washed with the Suave Professonals Almond and Shea Butter Conditioner (which felt great on my hair), used the Nature’s Gat Herbal Conditoner Mixed with Coconut Milk as a deep conditioner (left in for 1 hour) and used my old faithful Herbal Essences Hello Hydration as a leave in rinsing just a little to evenly distribute. Using a white t-shirt I wrapped my hair for about 20 minutes to soak up extra moisture and to help my hair dry faster. I then applied the Eco Styler Gel in small sections. The results? My curls came to life just the way I wanted them to, organized chaos. I finished my style by flat twisting the front of my hair into a hair band to create a fun, funky, summertime style. With this combination of products, I was able to stretch the style out to three days. I sleep with a satin bonnet and in the morning I mist my hair with purified water and fluff, then off I go.

I really like the results with the EcoStyler Olive Oil Gel. Not only does it work well with just about any conditioner under, it’s pretty easy to find, costs under $5 per jar, its alcohol fee and dries without flaking. I admit I was a little skeptical because of the price. I actually paid $2.49 for my jar and didn’t think it would work at all, but it worked just as well as the Kinky-Curly line.  Don’t get me wrong I do love the Kinky-Curly line, but the only downside is that the products are made to work with each other leaving very little room (if any at all) for other products and it’s hard to get my hands on it in my area. I’ve tried using other conditioners under the Kinky-Curly Curling Custard and ended up with chunks of white sticky goo in my hair. Not cute. So looks like EcoStyler is my go too until I can get my hands on more Kinky-Curly products.

 Here are a few pics of the final results. The first three pics (after the picture of the products used) are of my hair on day one, the next  two are of day two hair and the final pic (with flower in hair) is of third day hair pic.

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Not bad huh?

Later!

KinkySheaPT

Movin’ On…

Welcome to my new home for my blog. I moved to word press.com because the features are much better and I can easily update and postnpictures and videos from my iPod touch and Blackberry. I rarely had time to sit and update my blog on Blogger so this allows to do do it on the go which will hopefully allow me to post more. I will still leave my old home up but all new updates and posts will be here. If you are curious and would like to view my old post on my old blog you can check it out at kinkysheapt.blogspot.com.