Category: Health

Juice It and Reuse It

“Eeek, the CSA is coming any minute and I still have some stuff left from the last box!”

Here’s what you do:

Juice It!

Juice up a healthy drink (pictured here with celery, fennel, carrot, lemon, basil, beet). Make sure it’s enough balance of bitter and sweet. (This one was celery-heavy, but I knew the sweet beet would play counterpoint).

Now I just had an epiphany: why not make vegetable stock out of the leftover pulp from the juicer? This stuff:

The Pulp

Well, why not? So I threw it in a pot and covered with water. Brought to a boil, then set to simmer for 1 hour. So we’ve got some time to kill here.

Mind you, I realize this is going to be one red stock because of the beets. That might affect what kind of soup I make with it. I make a lot of soup with CSA box leftovers. My husband complains we have too much soup, but if it were up to him we’d be eating pizza every night. Besides, nothing is better than a good homemade soup. Except for that time I made the accidental lavender-hued batch….

Image 3I digress, let’s get back to the stock. 52 more minutes to go. If this doesn’t work out, I’ll just go back to my favorite bouillon cubes (The Organic Gourmet Vegetable Bouillon low sodium). Easy to store, and certainly faster than boiling down pulp. I get a small box of these at Whole Foods, but you can also buy them in bulk online.

Hey, while we wait, let me gush about my juicer. I love this little guy. It’s the only juicer I’ve ever had – but of course, I did tons of research before I bought it. This is the L’Equip Juicer Mini, which I probably bought about 5 yrs ago. I was once a juicing fiend, but now my juicing days seem to come and go in spurts. This strong, compact R2D2-kinda guy has never let me down.

I also have a favorite juicing book: The Juice Lady’s Guide to Juicing for Health by Cherie Calbom. Chock full of information about specific health benefits of all the fruits and veggies. And tantalizing recipes, such as The Ginger Hopper, Sweet Calcium Cocktail and Popeye’s Power. It is arranged alphabetically by condition, making it very easy to find a remedy for what ails you. Thanks, Juice Lady!

25 minutes left. Plenty of time to clean up my juicer. This can be a mess and a pain, but I have a couple of tricks to make it easier: such as a small plastic produce bag to line the pulp bucket and a fine-bristled brush designated to clean the mesh blade/basket. These two things save oodles of time.

The stewing chum is finally done! Now I’ll strain out the pulp by putting a colander over a big bowl. ImageYep, that’s some red-tinted stock! Hope it makes my next soup taste delicious. And just in time, here comes the CSA!

For more CSA stories, click here.

I Smell (not anymore)


I can’t believe it. My very first post is about BO. My BO, in fact…

Not a topic I usually discuss with strangers, but then I guess that’s why I started this blog. To share the behind-the-scenes stuff that we all deal with in our daily lives. Not that I’m saying you stink.

To set the mood, here’s one of my favorite songs about smelly things:

Let’s face it, bad body odor is the pits. Ha ha, very funny. But it’s true. I remember those distinctly embarrassing days where I forgot to put on deodorant, where I was sure I was offending everyone in sight with my rank underarm smell.

But those days are gone. And it’s the perfect first post for Alice and the Rabbit Hole, because I found the solution quite by accident while surfing online. I was researching the virtues of coconut oil – to use as a remedy for my cat’s scabby skin – when I stumbled upon several DIY deodorant sites using said coconut oil with a variety of other ingredients.

I’m not afraid to try home remedies. I’ve been doing it for years, with varying degrees of success. And I’ll have to admit I was skeptical about this one. I’d tried every natural deodorant in the store and always ended up disillusioned and odoriferous. I cannot prove that commercial (aluminum-based) deodorant is unhealthy, I just know that I never liked the stuff and have always sought an alternative.

Since puberty I’ve had stinky pits, and most of the commercial deodorants I tried did nothing to erase the stink. I could find only one brand/type that would keep the smell at bay, and even that didn’t work too well.

Here’s what I don’t like about the typical store-bought deodorants/antiperspirants: they only mask my smell with artificial scents and inhibit sweat; they leave yellow pit stains on my clothes that never come out; they irritate my sensitive armpits, especially after a shave. And the bottom line is, I find I’m still at least a little stinky by the end of each day.

So I jumped right in. Due to my sensitive skin, I chose a minimal list of ingredients: coconut oil, shea butter and baking soda. These were all things I had on hand. I eyeballed my first batch, not really paying close attention to measurements. More coconut oil than shea, a sprinkling of baking soda.

Lo and behold, no smell. No pits stains. No bad BO whatsoever, and it hasn’t come back, even when I skipped a day. Shaving no longer hurts (my left armpit used to be especially sensitive to a razor). I’m not having a problem with wetness either. BUT, so far this little miracle has had a downside….

My left armpit (you know, the Sensitive One) started turning dark after a couple of weeks. And then the right one joined in. No irritation, mind you, just a light shadow (kind of like a healing bruise of yellowish-brown hue). Not pretty. My husband said, “What is that?”  Dunno.

I researched all the threads I could find, and it turns out I’m not the only one with this reaction. I’d say maybe about a third of the posters were having some darkening issue and the corresponding bewilderment. The culprit seems to be baking soda (perhaps having something to do with pH levels in the body). Not one member of this Shadow Pit Clan had any intention of giving up. Neither do I.

It feels too good not to be stinky. To stick my nose right in my armpit and not smell a thing. It’s been 5 weeks now. I’ll keep tinkering with the de-stinkering and let you know what happens. I may try a batch with no baking soda, though I fear this is probably the most active ingredient. Some people have had great success with just the coconut oil. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try a smaller amount of baking soda.  If I still have the darkening issue, I’ll try a pH balancing spritzer of Apple Cider Vinegar and water before application (I’ve read this can solve the problem).

Image 10

3 simple ingredients and final product in a Go Toob container

For now, I’m content to stick with this second (carefully-measured) batch:

1.5 TBSP organic unrefined coconut oil
1 TBSP organic shea butter
.75 TBSP baking soda (mine is Whole Foods brand)

No melting it down in a pan for me – I took the lazy route and just mixed it all together in a small jar. You only need a pea-size amount per pit. A tiny amount, really. I put this batch into a small Go Toob to make it easier to store and travel with (still experimenting with this part, too). The other day I added a crushed up bay leaf. Smells even better. Maybe I’ll add some fresh lavender from the back patio garden. Oooh, yes! The adventure continues….

A note about the products I used (see photo): the L’Occitane Pure Shea Butter is fantastic – while the $42 price tag may seem steep, this 5.2 oz tin has lasted me a long, long time.  I like that it is so thick and has no smell.  The coconut oil pictured is from a local SF company, VitaminExpress; I have used several brands of organic coconut oil – Trader Joe’s has a good one for a great price. The baking soda is, well, just baking soda. Make sure your box contains no other ingredients. If you’re concerned about purity, I’ve heard that Bob’s Red Mill makes a good one.

Already using a homemade deodorant? I love to hear what ingredients have worked for you!


Update: I have made two more batches since this post (each lasting about 2 months). I decreased the baking soda to half a tablespoon. Less darkening than before, but it reappears occasionally (more so after shaving). Nonetheless, I’m still thrilled with my homemade deo!