Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Proud of being a vegetarian. (Again!)

Vegetarian Pussy

I have been a vegetarian (pescetarian for 2 years) for about 7 years now. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life and I will never regret it. Two years ago I went on trip to South America, to the beautiful countries of Uruguay and Argentina.
As you may know, this countries are known to be BIG meat producers, one of their main exports is meat and they are really proud of it. The trip was amazing. Life-changing experiences! But the vegetarian alternatives were hard to find and most of the ones that appeared on the menus were delicious pasta or pizza or variants of these two. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pasta and pizza, but I thought, “If I eat this for two weeks straight, I’m going to have to come back on a cargo plane!”.  So I decided to take the plunge and eat fish. I had eaten Conch a few months before, and also had shrimp. So I ate fish. And since that moment I have been a pescatarian, someone who’s main diet consists of vegetable and creatures from the sea.
It has been two years of that, and I have splurged. I began to eat fish everyday! Sometimes more than once a day. I didn’t think it was that bad, but deep inside it didn’t feel right. Also, I always thought it was stupid when people said “I’m a vegetarian” but then stuff themselves with fish, canned tuna, sushi, shrimp and all that jazz. Quoting Jack Black: “You want to live hardcore? Then BE hardcore.” Not that I think being vegetarian is that hardcore… you want to see hardcore? Vegans (no  animal by-products) and Fruitarians (only eat fruit, nuts and seeds) are hardcore.
Vegetarian Food Pyramid
So I decided to go back to vegetarianism. Maybe I’ll eat fish once or twice a month, maybe just sushi (I FUCKING LOVE SUSHI!) But I don’t want to keep on eating sea creatures, it’s not good for me or the environment, and specially not for the fish.
I have been eating vegetarian again for more than a week now, and I LOVE IT. I’m proud to say:
I’m a vegetarian again! <3

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trying to get back on my feet: Pinky Promise.

I've been falling up and down for a couple of years now. I guess I have much work to do with myself and others in order for my life to work properly and for everything to fall in (or out) of place. I haven't been consistently writing as much due to this processes that come and go and interfere with my daily goals and actions.

I promise to write more. Writing makes everything better.
And since I need things to be and get better, therefor I must write.

Soon, I'll be posting once a week or even more, and everything will be better. Pinky promise.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Stuff and it's history: A revealing introduction.

The Story of Stuff is revealing. Shocking.  Horrifying. Humbling.

This short film portrays the economic system in a nutshell, in a way so simple yet without leaving out all of the complexes nooks and crannies of it all. If you have not seen this amazing life-changing-in-your-face-woah-this-is-not-right-lets-do-something-about-it documentary please click the following link and do it for yourself and the rest of humanity: The Story of Stuff.

The creators of this documentary took the task upon themselves to try and explain the many complexities of our system, starting with Stuff, a zoomed-out point of view of late capitalism. Then they zoomed in into other specific systems inside the big system, like bottled water, cap and trade and cosmetics. I wanted to take an entire post to just take this great film to you for your own personal knowledge and for you to share. It's just a copy-paste, but it works. This is something everyone who uses cosmetics and personal care products should know about.

Watch, learn and share! Tell me what you thought about it! Hold parties to watch and discuss! Do a special activity on your school or campus! Watch it with your mom and grandma! Make it your family time! Spread the word!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sticky Icky and Gooey: Homemade Aloe Vera Gel!

On my last post, about home made sanitizer, one of the ingredients for the recipe is aloe vera gel. As always, the more natural the better! So this post is a quick rundown on how to harvest your own aloe and using it to create awesome stuff for yourself, your friends and other awesome people in your life. It is very easy to do and like most good things in life, it is best when shared with others.


Some interesting facts about Aloe Vera!!! YEIIIII!!!:

*Aloe is a disinfectant, it is great for cuts, bites and scrapes.

*Aloe has been used forever! Well, at least since 1550 B.C, it was used in Egyptian medicine and Ancient Austronaut Theorists say... ( or at least I hope they would say...) it was brought as ancient alien medicinal technology.

*Aloe is a cactus, hence the prickly leaves, and there are around 200 different types of it!

*Aloe is a great moisturizer!

*Aloe is under investigation in the medical community for many different uses, from fighting gingivitis, having compounds that could work against diabetes and having anti-inflammatory characteristics.

* I used to drink it with some honey and lime for bad colds... it worked!

*Aloe makes my friend Luis sick, since he is allergic to it. (A strange allergy indeed.)

So, here  is my rendition of
"Making Aloe Gel on a Sunday Afternoon" represented in pictures, accompanied by my little sis.

Step #1:

Get your hands on an Aloe Vera plant!

My mom recently cut a bunch of her own plants, so this one in the picture is a full grown plant with it's roots. Looks like a cactus octopus hybrid... don't it?

Step #2:

Cut as many leaves as you want. Then make two incisions down the leave, one on each side. Cut the yellow area where the aloe sap has been dripping, you don't want that in your gel. You want it as clear as possible! Separate the leaves.

Step #3:

  Get your little sister to scrape the gooey sticky-icky clear gel with a spoon.  Repeat! She is having FUN.

Step #4:

Save your awesome gooey aloe gel in a bowl in the fridge. Use as soon as possible! Find recipes! Make them! Share them! Hit me up with new ideas!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Homemade Hand Sanitizer: I hate smelly hands.

Have you ever had a sub-sandwich and then had to type all day? Eew. I don't mind being dirty. I'm not a stickler about hygiene (sometimes I accept I'm the smelly kid in the room, and it's ok) or "smells", but something I dislike very much is having my hands smell like food after a meal. It's just something that bothers me. I don't need my hands to be a reminder of what I ate some minutes ago, and certainly not hours ago.

 (Piglet Mosh Pit = Swine Flu Extravaganza)

When the ¨Swine Flu¨ became the top story for every news media, the hand sanitizer industry´s stock probably went up high...off the roof, probably. At the moment I was visiting some friends in Washington D.C. and my mom called me to say: ¨BUY AS MUCH HAND SANITIZER AS YOU CAN! THE ENTIRE COUNTRY HAS RAN OUT OF HAND SANITIZER!¨ Obviously she was exaggerating. When I came back to P. Rico, I realized we hadn't ran out of Purell, but instead we were buying intensely huge quantities and in bulk! The entire island went sanitizer crazy. The media was hysterical about the A-H1N1 virus and we believed them. ¨Don't go where there are big crowds! Don't touch anything! Run if you see someone coughing! Get the vaccine or you'll die! But above all... ALWAYS USE HAND SANITIZER.¨

After that scare, the cleansing product became an everyday staple and part of our daily life and hygiene rituals. I even grew to miss having sanitizer after a meal. Not even for a moment did I sit down to think about what this product was made of, or what it could do to our bodies. I just liked my hands fresh and clean.

So, as part of my chemical and toxin detox, I stopped using hand sanitizer, but I missed it. In order to live with a healthy conscience and nice smelling hands, I decided to create my own homemade version! It came out great, I'm pretty in love with it and I now share it with you.

Toxin Free Homemade Hand Sanitizer!

You will need just 3 ingredients:

- Aloe Vera gel (as natural as possible, I made my own, which I'll later show how to do in another entry. It is very simple and actually, really fun.)

 - Isopropyl Alcohol

 -Essential Oils

I specifically used Thieves and Peppermint, but I would love to know what other combinations other people come up with.

1. Because I like the smell
2. They are antivirals.

Mix 1/3 of Aloe Vera gel, with 2/3 of alcohol. Add as many drops of oils as you would like.

Enjoy your nice smelling, moisturized, clean and completely pthalates and parabens free. (I explained what these chemicals do to our bodies in a previous entry, click in the link to check it out.) . 

Try it out, share it with others and let me know how it came out! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Repair: Dealing with decades of hair-shame

Like most people in the western hemisphere (and probably the eastern part too) I grew up with certain complexes and shames. In between my weight issues and my untamed hair, school was pretty unpleasant and I was an easy target for other kids (who dealt with their their own complex by bullying others). Not to mention, my four-eyed existence since I was 7 and adding insult to injury, braces when I was 9. But nothing was worst, than the funk I've always had on top of my hair.

My hair was brown with some natural highlights. Now I really couldn't tell what color it was... I can only remember, and it will probably never grow back to it's natural hue. It's something I have accepted, since I do not want to shave my entire head for it to come back in it's original tones. It is dry, frizzy, sort of curly but with undefined curls, the complete opposite of shiny and silky. That is what I have had to deal with, since I remembered caring about my appearance.

I've had every possible thing you could imagine on top of my skull. I've had it long, super short, a chelsea cut with a #2 comb, 3 different mohawks (one with leopard print on it's sides) and every single color known to the universe, from brown to pink to blue to blonde to orange and beyond.  I've had several hair procedures and probably every product you can imagine. I first dyed my hair when I was 14, I believe. After that, I've never stopped. By now, my hair has gone through hell and back, yet it still remains on my head.

By now, I've concluded it loves the torture, masochist hair strands... filthy kinky un-curly curls. So, 10 years after the first massive attack to my hair, I'm trying to make peace with it, yet again. As part of my new lifestyle, I took all of my personal care and beauty products and placed them in a bag... the amount of stuff I relied on to feel pretty was unacceptable and after knowing all of the horrible things they contain, I will not go back. I'd rather have ugly hair than be bald due to cancer ( which is treated with chemo therapy, where loosing hair is one of the main side effects), brought up by Pthalates and Parabens ( things our products have that make us sick).

Most products that are sold on a the wide market have some kind of ¨fragrance¨ or ¨perfume¨, even if they don't necessarily need it (same thing can be said of color dyes, but that is another entire blog entry in the future). These manufactured smells contain Pthalates, or Pthalic acid, which are mainly used as plasticizers, and are pretty much everywhere. While, Parabens, are used as preservatives and can be found in mostly every beauty and personal care product, as well as pharmaceuticals.But, what is the problem with this?

Turns out, pthalates and parabens are both know to be endocrine disruptors. This means they mess up the way your entire endocrine system is supposed to work and sends your body on a chaotic hormone ride. Disrupting hormones cause many, many things to a body, from growing hairs were they are not wanted, to growing tumors were they are not wanted. Parabens are also known to be carcinogenic and recent studies have found that in many cases, parabens are associated with breast cancer.

So after deciding to go on a chemical detox, I recently googled some nice hair repair masks. I decided to start nurturing my hair with the nutrients and oils it needs, since it's been deprived of them because of the bad things I was putting on my hair to make it look "pretty", like shampoo, "conditioners", gels, smoothing cremes, moose, hair spray and more.  Right now, I'm still working on the detox part. My hair seems to have withdrawal symptoms, and has been pretty hard to tame the last couple of months. But I know it will be back to healthy in no time. Last week I used this mask I now share with you, and is seems that with patience and a little natural care, my hair will be back in route to being kinda sort-of nice (since it's never really been THAT nice).

Natural Hair Repair Mask  
(It's also a fun activity to do in a group!)

-Egg Yolks- 1
-Olive Oil - to ¨taste¨
-Jojoba Oil - to ¨taste¨ (this oil is kind of expensive, so control yourself)
-Honey (1 spoon)

Mix together. It will look a pretty bright yellow! If you need more, just mix more, I had to do 3 yolks since my hair is very thick. Apply to hair, cover with shower cap or shopping bag and leave for 30 minutes or more. Rinse.

I promise it will bring back some shine into your hair, even if it used to look like dried up hay from a dirty stable, like mine did.  I will try other masks and conditioners as I go along my chemical rehab. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

An unwanted sprout.

Everybody has that year they loath. That year that you will never want to go back to. That year that makes the hairs in the back of your neck stand up and shudder. That year for me was 2009 (and then 2010).

Just around the end of 2008, my mom sat me down and told me that she found a lump on her breast. She had been going to doctors and had already gotten a biopsy. After knowing this, it was almost a month of the waiting game until the results came in. I was thinking positively. I thought it was only a scare.

But it was not. My mom started chemotherapy on 2009. She had a 3 cm (approximate) sized tumor on her right breast. At 50 years old, just like her mother before her, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. This lump sprouted out of nowhere. She had always been diligent about her breast exams and they had always come out benign. But right before her scheduled yearly mammogram, a tumor raised up from out of nowhere. She lived a relatively healthy life, had no vices, didn't have a job that exposed her to harsh carcinogenic filled environments and ate what most people in the First World eat. She had no reason to get sick... but then again, most people who are sick don't have a reason either.

I tend to shut down when horrible things happen. That year I was pretty much a mute. I didn't voice out my tremendous fears. I lived on like a typical 21 year old. Studied, partied, went to cook for a bunch of hippies in the woods (who would later change my life forever), and just went on... just like life goes on. I only cried once that year and it was the day I knew the biopsy results. I guess I cried out of shock. I didn't believe it.

My mom went through 4 different kinds of chemo, including an experimental new drug, plus rounds of radiation. She fought that motherfucker like a champ, and won. At the end of the year her tumor had shrunk and the little bit that was left of it was taken out with a tiny surgery.

Later on she got a test, to see if her cancer was genetic, and it was not. I was a bit surprised ( and certainly relieved), since my gandma had also gotten breast cancer at age 50 and had a mastectomy. She also survived it. I had even gone through a breast exam myself, because of the scare. I surely was glad it wasn't in our genes, but if it wasn't genetic, then where and why did it appear?

My mother's tumor was fed by female hormones. The more hormones it got, the bigger and tougher it would be. For this reason, after chemo and radiation, she has been in hormone suppressants, which have made her completely menopausal at an earlier age than usual.

After the toughest year my mother has probably had in her life, I faced my toughest year so far, 2010.  After bottling up all of my feelings and fears that cancer makes people go through, I exploded. My anxiety went off the roof. I became a hypochondriac, my entire body fell ill constantly (somatization, is what psychiatrist call it). My mind was making me feel sick. I went to travel the world. Uruguay, Argentina, Virginia ( again with my loved hippies) and Dominican Republic all in one summer, yet deep inside I was conviced I was dying. I thought (I was sure) I had AIDS and later on was pretty sure I had Lymphoma. I was obviously dying, but every lab test known to man and woman was done, and everything came out perfect. I had officially gone insane. After therapy, pills, going off the pills, ignoring the symptoms, tantrums, good days and bad days, I'm still battling with my own mind (but that is a whole other topic for a whole other blog).

It wasn't until I sat listening to that D.I.Y. workshop a year later in 2011, that I saw what was going on. Why are so many people getting sick all the time for no reason? Why are healthy individuals suddently becoming ill of horrible diseases like cancers, ADD and ADHD, autism, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic anxiety and others? It is what we are putting into our bodies that is making us sick. It is the many chemicals, the many additives, the many carcinogens and hormone disruptors that are mutating our cells and making illnesses appear from nowhere.

After ending the workshop and doing my first batch of home-made chemical free shampoo,conditioner and toothpaste, I went into a place of solitude and cried. I cried for my mother, who didn't know her perfume and her makeup could be the culprits of her past suffering.  I cried for myself, because I was already immersed in a chemical burden that my body was probably hating me for. I cried for the injustice presented to me minutes before and that feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing what to do about it. But now I did know the truth, and I wasn't going to let it slip away ever again.

The big industry that is personal care and beauty products is making us "pretty" while poisoning us, without our knowledge or consent. This things we buy to fit in, to look "better", to "highlight our attributes" are messing with something that shouldn't be messed with. The beauty myth is slowly killing us. We are slowly dying in order to feel beautiful. Our nature, our own natural balance of hormones and cell production are being tampered with. We are placing toxins into our bodies constantly, daily, even a couple of times a day; yet most of us remain completely ignorant towards this.

This is the main reason why I will dedicate my time to this blog. To bringing the truth about our daily consumption to the surface. We have to start cleansing ourselves in order to have a better future and in hopes of creating a better tomorrow for our future generations. We all have the power to change our lives, we just need to take action.