Brown Girl Goes Green

Healthy living, Green lifestyle, Beauty, Natural products

“Clean Eating”? What is it and what are the benefits? March 30, 2012

Filed under: Eat Clean — backpackready @ 5:56 am
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Clean eating is not a fad or a “diet”. It is a way of life that supports health and wellbeing by avoiding overly processed foods with hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, added sugars, and anything else that unnatural.

Basic Guide

*Start Reading labels: Avoid foods with white flour, sugar & sugar substitutes, saturated fats & trans-fats.

*What you should be eating

Complex carbs with 100%  whole grains.  Don’t be tricked into buying “multi-grain” as it is NOT interchangeable with whole grains.  Good site for more info on this:


Fresh fruits and vegetables (I’ll tell you how to make this cheaper). 

Lean meats: chicken & fish whenever possible (not fried). Staying away from processed fatty meats (NoNos: spam, Vienna sausages, mystery meat, etc).


*The Big PurgeGet rid of “Dirty” foods: Adopt a no junk food allowed policy.  If it’s not in your house, you are less likely to eat it.  Parents, remember that you are not “punishing” your child by decreasing their access to foods that predispose them to diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and obesity.  I’ll avoid my soapbox, but if your 3 year old is crying for McDonalds it’s because you have been taking them there…jus sayin’.

*Any lifestyle change takes time, so be patient with yourself and with your family.  It’s perfectly normal to slip up sometimes (i.e office parties, birthday).  The longer and more committed you become to health and clean eating the less slip ups you will have. 


Slip ups can be discouraging. Here are few ways to stay on track….

# 1 Tip:  NEVER EVER be caught hungry and without healthy options.  This is achieved by always carrying a snack: keep a bag of almonds in your purse or car, have fruit (fresh or dried) available, take a sandwich with you. 

#2:  Extension of #1: Become a Snack believer.  And EAT BREAKFAST.  When you are hungry, you become preoccupied with EATING (clean or dirty…who cares? I’m starving).  STOP SAVING YOUR APPETITE. What exactly are you “saving it for”?  It’s food, not a pot of gold.  You’re probably hard to get along with when you’re hungry anyway. When you go into an “eating situation” you are more likely to make healthy choices when you are not starving.  That is what to-go boxes are made for.

#3: Ignore Diet sabatogers: Diet sabatogers are not necessarily evil people.  They are your coworkers, your parents, your friends. Remember that your body is a temple (I Corinthians 16:9…if getting biblical helps you). If they choose to put hydrogenated oils and trans fats in their temples, that is up to them.  But, they should not be allowed to force them in yours. You have chosen a lifestyle that supports vitality and health.  You can NOT be a people pleaser with your health.  So… if you choose to eat a slither of birthday cake, make sure it’s what you want, not because you are concerned with what others think.  Good article on Diet sabatoge: Good blog on saying NO to food pushers:

#4: Be cautious about broadcasting your lifestyle change.  This can sometimes put the aforementioned diet sabatogers and health haters in full gear. Some people are just jealous in advance. They can already see you looking and feeling better. 

#5: Change the way you think about food.  You should eat to live not live to eat.  Stop striving to be FULL!!  Stop eating when you are no longer hungry.  That “full” feeling means you have eaten too much.  Eat slowly, drink sips of water between every few bites, and enjoy your food, don’t inhale it.  

Examples of ways to avoid close calls and health sabatogers.

1.       Unfortunately most of the best social experiences have the “best” food. You can still enjoy cookouts, parties, and other gatherings with food (GWF) while avoiding slip-ups.

a.       Eat before you go.  Doesn’t have to be a full meal. I always have a bowl of oatmeal before GWF.  If you do this, you can focus on the people not the food.  And…if you choose to eat there, you are less likely to overindulge…think 2 chicken wings, not 5.

b.       Okay you were in a hurry and didn’t eat beforehand (tisk tisk).  Start drinking water as soon as you get there. Water may take the edge off your perceived hunger, allowing you to think logically, and you probably aren’t drinking enough water anyway. Bottoms up (with water).

c.        Start with a salad or fruit. Just remember that lettuce and tomatoes do not cancel out fried chicken, croutons, ranch dressing, and other calorie-rich salad toppers.

d.       Put smaller portions of food on your plate. If at a restaurant with large portions, immediately put half in a to-go box.  We have a tendency to want to “clean our plates”, so just have less food there.

2.       Avoid alcohol when possible.  Drunkà Waffle house, Krystals, and ihop.  nuff said.



Make your own All Natural Flaxseed Hair gel/setting lotion. March 28, 2012

Filed under: Hair & Skin stuff — backpackready @ 2:20 am
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Supplies: Flaxseeds, Knee high stocking (or just cut the bottom off a pair you don’t need anymore), essential oils (optional), small pot, container to put your new gel in.


3 Tbsp Flaxseeds         1 cup water

Prep work:  Cover the top of your container with the stocking. This is your strainer.


  • Boil 1 cup of water
  • When water comes to boil add flaxseed

  • Stir slowly and continuously for ~10 min.  It’s ready when most of the flax seeds start floating on the foam.
  • Pour the foamy mixture into your container through the stocking.

  • Remove stocking and with a large spoon or a gloved hand squeeze out more gel. Be careful…it’s hot.  
  • Add a few drops of essential oils (optional)
  • It should be a liquidy gel at this time (feels a little snotty). Keep in fridge.


  • I love it, I hope you do too!

**This should make a little less than ½ cup of gel.  Modify recipe as needed to make more but remember that it is ALL Natural and only good for up to 2 wks if kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator. **

General Flaxseed info

Flaxseed is good for you inside and out, so it’s something you should start keeping in your pantry anyway.  It is rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids (great for ♥, lowers cholesterol), Lignans (antioxidant properties), and Fiber. Also a source of Vitamin B 6, Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.  I like to add a little to my yogurt, oatmeal, salad, and breakfast cereal.

Visit my sources for other health benefits of this wonder-food.


Give that “Trash” a New Life March 27, 2012

Filed under: Green — backpackready @ 11:26 pm
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I surfed the web far and wide to find ways to reuse items I would normally throw away.  Many of the sites list over 20 uses.  I am only addressing things I would realistically do (jus keepin’ it real).  Using a cereal box to start a fire may be possible, but I’m more likely to use it to mail something I sold on Ebay. The links are listed below if you want more ideas. Enjoy!

Cereal Boxes

  1. Cheap way to mail stuff.
  2. Cut it up and make a Bookmarks


Plastic Grocery Bags

  1. Trash bags (who hasn’t done this one?)
  2. Mailing fillers
  3. Keep several in your car: Trash, dirty shoes, car sickness
  4. Place a plastic bag inside or next to the sink when you peel fruits or vegetables. Easy cleanup.

Peanut butter jars

  1. Snack container on trips
  2. *See glass jars*

Glass Jars

  1. Picture frames (I ♥ this)
  2. Candle holder
  3. Storage: toothbrushes, candy, spices, hairpins.
  4. Desk organizer
  5. Store items you purchase in bulk such as spices, cereal, flour or grains.
  6. Utensil holder for forks, knives or spoons
  7. Give gifts such as chocolate, cookies, homemade jelly, trail mix, bath salts, etc. Add a special homemade touch by decorating the outside.
  8. Flower vase
  9. Organize sewing supplies
  10. Organize hair accessories (I already do this).
  11. Organize Laundry Supplies:  Perfect for storing your homemade “green” detergent.


***How to remove a jar label***

(1)     Remove as much of the label as you can with your fingers. 

(2)     Under hot running water rub remaining label off with a fork or spoon.

(3)     Remove any remaining adhesive with rubbing alcohol.

Wine bottles: I may have a few of these….

  1. Candle holders
  2. Fill empty wine bottles with olive oil, herbs, rice, vinegar, and other kitchen staples.
  3. Water plants while you are away: If the plant and pot are large enough to accommodate the bottle, simply fill with water and insert the neck into the soil.
  4. If you have a glass cutting kit:  homemade drinking glasses, candle displays, vase


  1. Gift wrapping. Use the comic section and they will see you as unique instead of cheap.  Use Magazine pages for smaller items.
  2. Mailing fillers
  3. Great for cleaning mirrors and windows
  4. Make your own seeding pots
  5. Burn it up. Instead of a starter log in the fireplace or at a bonfire, use tightly rolled pieces of newsprint instead.

Zip lock bags…  Not the ones you bought in the cute little boxes, the ones your pita bread, frozen veges, and almonds came in.   A zip lock bag is a zip lock bag.  Put a sandwich in it.  Nuff said.

 chopped onions inside an almond bag.

Shoe boxes: You can always paint or decorate the outside of the box. If you mess it up, it’s just a shoe box. Get another one and try again.

  1. Drawer organizers
  2. Organize manuals & warranties: You know the papers & little booklets that come with washer machines, computers, and food dehydrators.
  3. Organize cords: extension cords, power cords, camera cords  (make sure you put a label on the outside)
  4. Old photos
  5. Daily mail container
  6. Moving boxes for the small things ( silverware, jewelry, hair stuff)
  7. Organize spice jars in your cabinet
  8. Cover it with fabric & use to store CD/ DVDs.
  9. Taxes ewww: Put your receipts in them & mark the month /year on the end and store in closet for returns or taxes, etc.
  10. Small emergency kits to carry in your car.




African Black Soap=Awesome

Filed under: Hair & Skin stuff — backpackready @ 5:54 am
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In my quest to find a soap that is ALL NATURAL, I ran across Black Soap aka Ose Dudu.  Awesome!!

What is it?

All natural African black soap is made from dried plantain skins, palm leaves, cocoa pod powder, and kernel oils. Plantains skins are largely what make this black soap so effective. It is a natural source of vitamins A & E and iron. It is not oily, and can be used for hands, face, body and hair.


Black soap is used to treat psoriasis, eczema, acne, ringworm, dandruff, fine lines, wrinkles, etc.


Depends on how much you get.  I recommend starting with 4 oz, which should run ~$4-$5.  If you love it as much as I do, buy more.  I buy mine from Amazon or Ebay. 

How to weed out the imposters?

Look at the ingredients. If there are any dyes or fragrances it’s not the real thing. If it’s “pretty”, it’s not the real thing.  Real black soap is soft brown and claylike.

My Personal Experience

Although the appearance threw me for a loop, it smelled fresh and lathered very nicely.  My skin felt noticeably softer after one use.  I am a faithful Proactiv follower and nervously replaced it with black soap. No breakouts! My face feels and looks smooth and my pores appear smaller.  What I did notice is that like Proactiv, due to its deep cleansing properties,  it dried my face out after using it a few days. This was quickly remedied by moisturizing my skin after each use.  If you don’t have sensitive skin, it may not even be an issue for you.  

I also use it as a natural alternative to store-bought shampoo.  My scalp felt very clean and my hair was soft and more manageable. Of course this is followed by my hot oil treatment (see link).

This soap is soft and easily dissolves so it does NOT need to be left in the shower uncovered.  I usually cut off a quarter, and keep the rest in a zip lock bag in the cabinet. The soap I am actively using is kept in a soap container in the shower. Also, be sure to look for any rough edges before using it and smooth them out with water.  

Good sites for additional info:



Start Recycling…..I’ll tell you how.

Filed under: Green — backpackready @ 5:01 am
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Learning how to RECYCLE.  Yes, I said LEARN. If you did not grow up in an environment where recycling is common place, it’s difficult to know where to start.  Thank God for the internet!  I want to recycle not because it is the trendy thing to do, but because it is the right thing to do.  It is important to understand that recycling does not stand alone.  It is a component of a 3 part system: Reduce (don’t use or buy what you don’t need), Reuse (I’m sure that glass jar can be used for something else after a good rinse), Recycle the rest.

Source: Homemade Simple

  1. Know what can be recycled. This is just basic info, so check with your local recycling center for specifics on what they will and will not accept.  Source:
    1. Glass drinking bottles (no lid)
    2. Milk & other cartons
    3. Paper (duh).  This includes magazines, newspapers, waste office paper & greeting cards and cereal boxes.
    4. Aluminum drink cans. Some places don’t accept foil wrap so check first.
    5. Tin cans, paint tins, aerosol containers (not all places accept), coffee tins, jar lids, and bottle tops
    6. Plastics (look for the recycle symbol), leave the lid off.
    7. Glass drinking bottles (leave the lids off)

2.     Don’t be gross. Rinse the food or drink residues off before tossing it.  You may even think a new use for it after it clean. Ragu container with gunky tomato stuff=trash.  Clean glass bottle formerly known as Ragu= tooth brush holder, bobby pin container, or homemade jelly container.

 3.     Where do I put this stuff while I’m collecting it? Unfortunately Recycling takes up space, so you need to create a system that minimizes the clutter and doesn’t interfere with daily life.

A few ideas

  1. Tubs or small trash bins under the sink
  2. Containers outside the kitchen
  3. Separate material types into bags and keep them in a large tub
  4. If you have things that need to be taken to a processing center, you’ll need somewhere (back porch, back yard, secret closet, bat cave, where ever) to allow these things to accumulate.

 4.      Okay, now where do I take this stuff? Here is a site I found helpful.  It’s easy to navigate and all you have to put in is your zip code.

Or…you can just type in your location and “recycling” into yahoo or google and see what happens.


Hot Oil Treatment

Filed under: Hair & Skin stuff — backpackready @ 3:55 am
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Hot oil treatments are WONDERFUL for your hair.  Seals in moisture, protects ends, repairs….

Leave in conditioners can be great too.  So….I’ve started doing a leave in hot oil treatment.  The trick is that you need to use lighter oils if you plan to leave it in, unless you don’t mind greasy spots on your pillow. 

My regimen for leave in hot oil treatments

What you need:  Oil, Plastic Shower cap (or improvise with a plastic bag or saran wrap), bowl, wide tooth comb, heat cap (optional)

Good oils to use separately or mixed together:   Grapeseed oil (really light),  almond oil (light), olive oil (had it in the cabinet).  Feel free to add essential oils to the mix (Warning: Never apply essential oils undiluted to skin).  I usually add Rosemary oil for the growth stimulating qualities.


  1. Wash your hair (you already knew that)
  2. Dab hair gently with towel.
  3. Mix oils together in small bowl, heat in microwave for 1 min. Check to make sure it’s not TOO Hot.  
  4. Saturate hair with hot oils, massage into scalp, place on ends especially.
  5. Comb through hair using a WIDE TOOTH COMB. If you hit a kink, do NOT force the comb through. Instead gently start from the end of the hair section and work your way up. 
  6. Section hair into plaits and massage oil in scalp since it will now be more accessible.
  7. Put on plastic shower cap.
  8.  (optional step)  Place heat cap over shower cap for 20-30 minutes. *Gold N Hot makes a good one*.
  9. Style as usual  *No additional oils needed when hotcombing*



About this blog

Filed under: About me,about this blog — backpackready @ 2:42 am

This blog is a way to share my adventures on my journey to a green life.  My goal is to maintain a lifestyle that is good for the earth, emotionally satisfying, and as natural as possible.  I’m not completely there yet, but i’m enjoying the ride. Green stuff:  recycling, making things myself, and being less wasteful.  Natural stuff:  “Clean eating”, completely pure hair & skin products.  Vegetarian stuff:  Recipes, tips.


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