I quit using Shampoo

About a month ago, I switched to organic skincare and mentioned that I was looking for alternative hair care options as well.  After reading several articles about how traditional shampoo damages hair and strips away the natural oils it needs, I boldly declared that I was ready for the challenge.  I committed to using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to clean my hair (an all natural alternative).  And I did it publicly.

I have never regretted a statement quite so much.

The idea is that instead of using a traditional shampoo, baking soda and apple cider vinegar can be an acceptable substitute.  First, wash with baking soda, then rinse very well and follow with an apple cider vinegar rinse – 1-2 tablespoons mixed with about a cup of water.  I used an organic baking soda as well as Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

I would use about 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda.  I just took a tiny bowl of it into the shower with me and added a small amount of water to make it into a paste.  Be warned, this will not make nice frothy bubbles in your hair.  It will feel like you are dragging a bunch of gritty sand through it.  It will not smell good.  It will not make your hair feel clean.  It is hard to spread through your hair and when it is rinsed out, your hair still feels dirty.

After you have rinsed out the baking soda, follow with the vinegar rinse.  The theory is, when mixed with water, the vinegar has a ph that is very similar to what your hair should be, so it’s a great natural way to keep your hair soft and shiny.  I used an empty cup to mix the ACV and water, and I would soak the ends of my hair in the water for a bit first before rinsing the rest of my hair.  I let it sit on my hair for a couple of minutes, and then rinse.  Try not to let it get on your face or in your mouth.  It’s not a fun taste during your shower.

For me, the ACV rinse was the only thing that somewhat saved me.  I have been traveling quite a bit during the last month and so I brought baking soda with me but I didn’t typically take the vinegar.  You don’t want to try this without the vinegar.  It made a huge difference in the softness and cleanliness of my hair.

I have been shampoo free for a month now.  During the first week, it wasn’t too bad.  The first time I showered, I did nothing to my hair, just rinsed with water.  Halfway through the week, I washed with baking soda and did the apple cider vinegar rise, and then again on Saturday.  My goal was to wash my hair only twice a week (since all the article I read said that I washed much too frequently, and the less you wash your hair, the less you need to…)  So I washed my hair following this method on Wednesdays and Saturdays and the rest of the time, I just let it be.

During the second week, I almost quit.  I made a trip to Lush, one of my favorite mostly natural stores, trying to find an alternate solution.

lush fresh cosmetics store mall okc no shampoo no drought review

To my dismay, they only claim to be 67% preservative free and working on the rest…

67 percent natural lush no shampoo

So after reading every. single. shampoo bottle in the place, I left with just a dry shampoo that I thought might be a worthy addition to my routine and a hair mask that was all natural and claimed would brighten my hair color.

On Wednesday of the second week, I tried the dry shampoo (No Drought).  I was disappointed.  I went ahead and washed with the baking soda routine after all.  I can see that it would be great in a pinch, like if you just finished a workout and needed something to use until you could find a shower.  But it definitely wasn’t a shampoo substitute.

Here is a pic of my hair around the two week mark – it doesn’t look bad, but it felt stiff and greasy.  Not pleasant at all.

two weeks with no shampoo my hair

The next day, I tried the hair mask (Marilyn), and honestly that’s just because at this point, I was so discouraged by how my hair felt.  It felt greasy, dirty, stiff, and I was very frustrated with it.  And when I finished it that evening, my wet hair felt wonderful, silky and smooth, like you would expect.  But the next day when I got up, it was greasier than ever.  So I washed it again with the baking soda but stuck to my guns that was all I would use.  I haven’t used either of those products again.  I think they both serve a great purpose, but they don’t really help if the goal is to go all natural.

During the third and fourth weeks, I think it got better.  I stuck to the Wednesday/Saturday washing routine.  My hair feels less greasy, or maybe I’m just getting used to it.  I actually did have a compliment on my hair this past Sunday, but they also knew I haven’t been using shampoo, so maybe they were just trying to make me feel better.

Since I started this, my hair has been in a ponytail almost every single day.  I just can’t stand the way it feels.  I can’t forsee myself doing this long term in the future… because honestly, I don’t want to.  It might look okay in some pictures, but it feels gross.  And while my philosophy hasn’t changed – I am still working really hard to go organic and all natural in every area of my life following my cancer experience – I just can’t give up shampoo.  I am giving this two more weeks because I have heard that sometimes it takes up to six weeks for your hair to adjust to the change, but unless there is a big improvement, I will be starting the search for an all organic or mostly organic option that foams up, smells good, and makes my hair soft.  Because honestly, life is too short to be miserable about my hair everyday.

21 Day Fix: Weekly Meal Plan #2

Ok, I’ll be honest – the first week of the 21 Day Fix didn’t go exactly the way I planned…  Love the meal plan, love shakeology, love the workout and love my little portion control containers… but even with all that, life happens.  I spent most of my week in the car driving back and forth to funerals, which is not what I was expecting to do this week.  But life happens and you do the best you can, and the next week, you don’t quit!!  You make a new plan and keep going!

Here is my second 21 Day Fix Weekly Meal Plan.

21 day fix weekly meal plan 1200 calories 21day dya autumn calabrese week long meals

The screen shot is a little fuzzy, but you can download the pdf file here:

21 day fix weekly meal plan for 1200 calories (pdf download)

I’d like to have more of the recipes included in the meal plan uploaded to the blog, and I’m working on that.  If you want to get them as soon as they are available, subscribe to the blog!!

Click here to see last week’s meal plan!!

And if you would like more info about WHAT exactly the 21 Day Fix is and HOW you can be part of my next test group, read this post and fill out the application today!  Spots are filling up quick… and trust me, you want in!  Results from the first group were amazing – as much as 14 pounds lost in just three weeks (the average was NINE pounds!! Gone! Forever!)

Enjoy!

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Total Body Cardio workout from the 21 Day Fix

Here’s a little sneak peek of the Total Body Cardio workout from the 21 Day Fix!

Each workout is 30 minutes long with a three minute warmup and three minute cool down. Within each video, you will do a series of exercises, each for one minute with a 20 second break in between.

My personal thoughts on this first workout is that it was pretty intense. And although some of it *seemed* easy at the time, I could feel it the next day.

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Despite that, my feeling is that the program IS very beginner friendly. During the entire workout, there is a modifier showing how you can do the moves at a lower intensity.

The information that comes with the workout suggests that you can use a resistance band or weights but after doing this workout, I highly recommend weights. I think it would be more effective and the DVD does not show you how to modify the exercises to use the resistance band.

Want info on how you can get started on the 21 Day Fix? Read more about the program here or check out my meal plan!

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21 Day Fix Asian Salad with Homemade Asian Dressing

21day fix asian salad with vinagrette 21 day

After living in Japan for three years, I love all foods Asian.  It’s the number one thing I miss about living in Asia.  And while the Japanese are pretty healthy as a culture, some of my favorite foods aren’t.  This salad is a great way for me to get my Asia fix with out sacrificing taste!

21 Day Fix Asian Salad (Serves 1)

Container Checklist: 2 green, 1/2 purple, 1 orange

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup organic butter lettuce
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup Green Onions
  • 1 Tbsp mixed seeds (pumpkin and sunflower)
  • 1 Tbsp homemade Asian Vinaigrette (recipe posted below).

Toss first five ingredients then drizzle with vinaigrette. It’s kind of any ugly salad, it’s mostly green, but it sure is tasty!

Asian Vinaigrette (Serves 6)

  • 1/4 cup 100% orange juice
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 TBSP reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp raw honey
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger,peeled & finely grated
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil

Combine orange juice, vinegar, soy sauce, honey and ginger in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend.  Slowly add oil while whisking, mix well.  Store in refrigerator, covered.  If it thickens when cold, hold it at room temp for 30 minutes and shake well before using.

Amy Allen star diamond coach

Happy Birthday to ME!

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I don’t know that anyone appreciates this quote more than me…

Two years ago, I honestly wasn’t 100% sure that I would have any more birthdays and now I am so grateful for each and every one.

Last year, on my 30th birthday, I was blessed to be in Argentina on an all expenses paid, first class trip to Buenos Aires and Uruguay, compliments of Beachbody.

This year, I’m not on a cool vacation but instead I get to enjoy it with my kids and I am so very grateful for that.  And do you want to know why?  Having cancer taught me to appreciate every minute and make the most of them. There is no guarantee on the amount of time you have left and I’m going to continue to make every minute count.

21 Day Fix: 1200 Calorie Week Long Meal Plan

I love the portion control concept of the 21 Day Fix.  It’s clear and straight forward, and my even challengers who have had difficultly following a meal plan before are having success with weight loss by following the easy portion control concept.

I’ve been following the meal plan for almost two months now and it’s one of the easiest plans I’ve ever followed – I love having a list of acceptable clean, whole foods to eat, and I love the accountability of writing down everything I eat each day.  This is the first time I’ve kept a food log and I’ve really noticed if I’m writing it down, I won’t cheat.

But it’s hard to keep coming up with original ideas of what to eat every day, so I thought it would be helpful to my challengers and anyone doing the 21 Day Fix if I shared a copy of my week long meal plan each week.  So here is my Week One Meal Plan.  This is what I plan to eat for the week and while I expect I won’t be perfect, I’m going to do my best.

21 Day Fix Meal Plan Weekly 1200 calories calorie

I know that’s hard to read so here is a pdf file that you can download:

21 day fix weekly meal plan pdf download with links

I’ve also provided links for the recipes that are already on my blog and plan to add more over time until they are all available.

On a side note, I did my first official 21 Day Fix workout tonight and WOW.  That’s all I can say.  I am already sore and it kicked my booty.  Can’t wait to see what this program has in store for me!  Stay tuned for my week one update next Monday along with a new meal plan and more recipes!

Amy Allen star diamond coach

Grow your own Egghead Sprouts

After we grew our own organic sprouts a few weeks ago, Madison had the idea to grow eggheads.  I’m not sure where she saw this or how she came up with the idea, but its a great fun way to get your kids excited about eating something healthy and new, like sprouts, and it was a fun project for us to do together… and you know this healthy homeschool mama is always up for fun and messy projects to do with her kids.

Organic Egghead Sprouts

Ingredients:

1 egg

1 tsp organic sprouting seeds

water

all natural cotton

serrated knife

egg dish

markers

bowl

making your own egghead with kids homeschool project organic sprouts

Step One:

Cut the top off your egg.  I’m sure there is a better, more efficient and more practical way to do this, but we just grabbed a serrated knife and literally sawed the top off of our eggs.  And it worked really well.  If you are doing this with kids, you might want to do it for them, and if you are kid reading this, have an adult help you cut the top off.

Step Two: 

Once you have a decent hole in the top of your egg (about 1/5 of the way down the egg), dump the whole egg into a bowl.  You can use it for breakfast.  Now you have an empty but dirty egg.

Step Three:

Rinse the inside of the egg really well.  I suggest using some dish soap – you’re going to be growing something edible, so make sure all the egg is gone.

Step Four:

Dry off your egg and draw a face on it.  We just used regular markers.  If you have an egg dish, that’s really handy, but if not you can cut off a portion of your egg carton to have something to hold you egg while the sprouts grow.  Now you have a pot made out of an eggshell – time to plant your sprouts.

Step Five:

Fill your egg with a bit of all natural damp cotton. It will be mostly full – 3/4 of the way or more – with cotton. Put about a tsp of sprouting seeds on top and pour water over your seeds, then drain it.  The seeds will be very close to the top of the shell.  You want the seeds to be damp but not soaking wet.

Step Six:

Water your seeds for the next few days – sprouts grow in about 2-5 days.  After 2 days our sprouts looked like this:

making your own egghead with kids homeschool project organic sprouts

Remember to keep the seeds/sprouts damp everyday!  After four days, our sprouts looked like this:

making your own egghead with kids homeschool project organic sprouts

So after four days, they were long enough to EAT and enjoy on our salads.  You can pull them out or you can trim the tops and they will keep growing – the “hair” can get very long.  All three of my kids had a fun time pulling the sprouts out of the “head” and at least trying them – it’s fun, it’s healthy, and it’s a memory they will always enjoy.

Amy Allen star diamond coach

What does a typical plate look like on the 21 Day Fix?

So I’ve been seeing this question a lot – what will I be able to eat?  15 pounds in 21 days??  Is that even possible?  I don’t want to starve myself…

Well, guess what?  You don’t have to!!

For those of you wondering about how much you can eat on the fix, I am in the lowest calorie bracket (no one will ever eat below 1200 calories) and I eat:

5 Reds (proteins), 2 Yellows (carbs), 4 Greens (vegetables), 2 Purples (fruit), 1 Blue (nuts/healthy fats) and 1 Orange (oils) every single day.

21 day fix containers portion sizes control 21dayfix

It’s a lot of food.

Here is what my dinner looked like tonight:

21 day fix you dont have to starve portion control sample plate

I had a red portion of Southwestern Chicken, a green/oil portion of Spicy Green Beans, and a yellow portion of Garlic and Basil Quinoa.  It was delicious, healthy, and I was totally full.

When you eat foods that are full of dense nutrients, you can eat a TON of it. A majority of people  are used to eating high calorie, low nutrient foods – but they don’t fill us up, help fuel and heal our bodies or keep us satisfied, so we are always hungry and craving more.

This program will teach you what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it to keep you full but also functioning at your peak. It’s simple eating, simple fitness, and fast results.

Garlic and Basil Quinoa

basil and garlic quinoa amyallen fitness

Garlic and Basil Quinoa (makes 8 1/2 cup servings)

Container checklist: 1 yellow

Ingredients:

2 cups water

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 cup organic whole grain quinoa

1 tsp basil

Bring two cups and garlic of water to a boil.  Add 1 cup quinoa, bring back to boil and cover.  Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes or until Quinoa has absorbed all the water.  Removed from heat, fluff and stir in 1 tsp basil.  Cover and let stand for about 15 minutes.

Amy Allen star diamond coach