From the Pantry to the Bathroom: Deodorant Edition

January 2, 2009


Welcome to the first installment of From the Pantry to the Bathroom, where I feature natural alternatives to beauty and hygiene products, all of which can be created by using ingredients found in the kitchen pantry (think toothpaste made from baking soda and peppermint extract; face masks assembled from oatmeal and honey; etc).

While I was entrenched in the darkest days of my green year and not buying any new plastic, let alone consuming products full of chemicals and preservatives, I ultimately had no choice but to make myself clean and pretty using whatever I could find in the house. Now, I still do this, but it’s more in the name of laziness and frugality.

Sometimes, homemade stuff doesn’t turn out so great — using vinegar instead of shampoo, for instance, unless perhaps you have thick, curly hair and don’t mind a permanent redolence of fish ‘n’ chips — but occasionally I’ll stumble upon something so effective and simple, I just have to share it with every woman (and sometimes men) I know.

So without further ado, here is my first find:


The recipe is very simple:

– Coconut oil

– Put on underams

That’s it!

You can find coconut oil at most grocery stores (definitely at any health food store). It looks something like this:


Coconut oil is great for cooking — it can be safely heated to high temperatures, it’s great for smoothies and has lots of beneficial side effects (ask your local nutritionist about it). But it’s also useful as a moisturizer, a shoe polish, and, if you’re feeling kinky, as a lubricant.

I can’t remember what, exactly, possessed me to spread coconut oil underneath my arms recently because I’ve been using a combination of the crystal rock and the wild-yam scented Green Beaver brand of deodorant for a while with mostly positive results. But in the end, I found that coconut oil is a lot more effective. In fact, it almost smelled better once I started to sweat a little. I’m not sure whether the oil is clogging my pores or not, but whatever — I’m sold. Try it out!!

Update: Burbanmom/EnviRambo has also just seen the coconut oil light — check out her post on it over here.

Deodorant ad above from Flickr

Bookmark this post (Day 296)…

December 21, 2007


I’m sorry, that photo is way too profane, especially during this season of love, tenderness and all that is G-rated. But man, did it ever make me chuckle. And it’s relevant, see, because today’s post is about bookmarks.

I’m currently halfway through The Know-It-All, one of the most hysterical and educational books I’ve ever read (yes, those two adjectives can sometimes appear together in the same sentence). It’s got so many fun facts I want to remember (like for example, did you know René Descartes had a fetish for women with crossed eyes?), so I’ve been folding down the corners of pages I intend to go back to once I’m finished.

The only problem is, it gets confusing when I’m also folding down the page I’m currently on, which may — or may not — have something in it that I want to remember later.

OK, admittedly, I just made it sound way more confusing than it actually is, but I do prefer having a real bookmark. There are so many nice varieties out there, too: demure paperclip-style ones, old-school leather ones, dorky Garfield ones and, my personal favourite, these knitted strawberry ones!

But in my quest to stop buying so much crap, I’m going to only use found bookmarks from now on, that is, pieces of scrap paper like subway transfers, concert ticket stubs and postcards. Still, I’d like to get as creative as possible, so if anyone has any crazy origami patterns they want to pass on or some ideas for crocheting leftover scarf yarn, please do share below!

Photo courtesy of two rabbits on Flickr

Thou broth protest too much (Day 275)…

November 30, 2007


Now that the days of summer — and its accompanying menu of grapefruit salads and light seafood for dinner — are a distant memory, I’m eating a lot more comfort food, usually in the form of mashed potatoes or soup, which feels especially cozy after riding my bike home from work at night.

Most often, when making something like, say, apple and butternut squash soup, I buy an organic vegetable broth to give it some extra flavour. But after suffering some Tetra Pak guilt, then reading the ingredients list, I began to wonder why I need this extra product.

Really, soup is pretty hard to screw up, unless of course you use rutabaga (a winter root vegetable that came in my CSA delivery recently and messed up an otherwise perfectly tasty meal).

Anyway, the first ingredient in this broth is water. I can get that from my tap for free. The second is carrots, which are usually already in the pot. The third ingredient is celery, but that’s also just water with a bit of roughage and sodium. And the rest of the list is garlic, onions, salt, and spices, all of which I have on-hand and can easily add myself.

So, from now on, I’m not buying flavoured water for soup. That will mean less packaging, less shipping, less to recycle, less weight to carry home and more locally grown food in my soup. So Meghan, are you up for another soup party, sans premade broth?

Only 100 days left, and I’m in stitches (Day 265)…

November 20, 2007

knitted scarf

This is the very first scarf I ever made — a bright orange, mixed-up-texture thing done with a garter stitch on honkin’ big needles. My mom helped me buy the yarn at Romni, then taught me how to cast on, keep the tension consistent, fix any dropped stitches and finally cast off. I’ve made other scarves since, as well as a few not-quite-symmetrical mittens, but there’s something about that first one — it’ll hold a special place in my closet.

Knitting is of course a very environmentally friendly hobby. There’s barely any packaging with a ball of wool, no machinery is required other than what’s used to spool it, and there are fewer transportation and shipping costs associated with the final product. Now, you can even get bamboo yarn, which feels wonderfully soft, and organic fair-trade yarn.

As the weather here in Toronto starts dipping down to the freezing point, I’m realizing I need to stock up on winter gear. My change today, then, will be to knit as much stuff as I can rather than buy anything.

Oh, and P.S. — Today officially marks my 100-day countdown! Woohoo!