Vegan Korean Udon Noodles

My husband’s friends are visiting us from American soon. His friend’s wife is Korean, who apparently cooks really well. Not only that, she apparently is really good at presenting her food, which is NOT my strongest points. Koreans are really big on meat and I want to introduce them to my vegan diet with something they are familiar with. So I came up with this recipe as an experiment and it turned out to be pretty scrumptious.

Before I begin, let me introduce you to Gochujang. It is THE ingredient to have if you want to cook delicious korean meals. Gochujang is a korean chilli paste which is very hot, with a fair amount of saltiness.

picture from google images

I hope you like the recipe:

Serves 4-5 people

Ingredients:

1 bag of stir fry mix (vegetables)

1 Pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

10 to 12 cloves of garlic, minced

200-300grams of mushrooms (I used a variety of exotic kinds sold in tesco)

a handful of spring onions chopped into couple of inches long strips

750 gms of Udon Noodles (I used the already cooked kind)

1 1/5 tbsp of Gochujang

2 tbsp of Tamari (or soy sauce)

3 tsp of sesame oil

400 gms of firm tofu

half a cup of water

1 tsp coconut sugar/maple syrup (or regular)

1 tbsp of rapeseed oil

Method: 

First things first, make the sauce. In a bowl, mix gochujang, sesame oil, tamari, water and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

Next, prep the tofu. I simply press the tofu in between two chopping board with couple of heavy books on top of the chopping board to drain out excess water. Then cut them into bite sized pieces and simply fry them in very hot oil. The trick is to have the oil very hot, shallow fry it and don’t rush to turn them over. If you are hasty, you will find your tofu stick to the pan. Fry them and set them aside.

Now in a wok, heat some oil. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes and then add the stir fry mix. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the noodles along with the sauce. Let the noodles cook and soak up some of the sauce. After about 5 minutes, add the tofu pieces, peppers and the spring onions. Cook for another 5 minutes or until most of the juices are absorbed. Don’t overcook the noodles, even if there’s plenty of sauce. A bit of extra sauce is better than soggy veggies and noodles.

Serve hot and sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds.

Tips: Sprinkle some crushed seaweed, it will add an earthy flavour and more crunch.

 

Breastfeeding For A Year & Counting…

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Copyrights @LouiseGibbens

As a kid, I was breastfed for 7 to 8 years! It was the best bonding experience I shared with my mother. My mum and I are still very close and I have not seen a doctor for more than once in 20 years! Therefore, when it came to my baby, my decision to breastfeed was pretty straightforward.

Baby Ro was born at home. Soon after his birth, we had skin to skin and we let Ro latch on when he was ready. He was ready within the first few minutes to be honest. I struggled initially, more in terms of handling as I was overwhelmed by it all, but luckily Ro came all ready with a perfect latch. He knew exactly what to do. And thus began our beautiful journey of breastfeeding.

 

First few days……

Eventhough, baby Ro had a perfect latch and my breastfeeding journey was seemingly easy and straightforward, it wasn’t completely pain free. Baby Ro was very tiny at birth and so was his latch. Smaller latch meant a lot of cuts and recurring blebs on my nipples. They were very painful. I took pain killers. I felt like I failed myself. After having given birth without any pain relief, not even gas & air, I succumbed to the pain of breastfeeding.

I wanted to enjoy breastfeeding. I hated the fact that I was fearing the pain as the time for his next feed was approaching. If a pain killer would help me achieve a positive experience without causing any harm to my baby, why shouldn’t I take it!  In about 6 weeks, my milk supply was properly established and so was Ro’s latch. My nipples were sore free and breastfeeding was as joyous as I had hoped.

Breastfeeding in public

There was nothing in the world that would stop me from feeding my baby. Because of the support system I have in my family and amongst my friends, I was pretty confident about feeding in public. I was always slightly worried about people making snide remarks at me but I was prepared to ignore it and not let that have any effect on me. To my surprise, no one ever said anything. Infact, I received a lot of love and praises from people.

I still breastfeed in public and plan to feed him into his toddlerhood.

Breastfeeding and baby weight

Ro was a mere 2.5 kgs at birth which isn’t an alarmingly low weight for Indians, but according to UK standards, he was pretty small. Luckily, I established breastfeeding right after birth, but I was told that if he did not gain weight, we will have to talk. I seriously did not want to give him formula unless absolutely necessary.

Roshan wasn’t gaining tons but he was gaining at a steady pace. That gave me hope and instilled my faith in my milk supply. I had a great support system in my mum, my husband , my doula and my friend who is also a breastfeeding peer supporter. They all helped me stay focussed.

After couple of months, I started receiving some pressure from relatives back home to give him some formula to make him chubby. I, very politely, ignored their advice and carried on.

Roshan kept gaining weight slowly but steadily. He has never been a chubby baby and I do not particularly desire him to be. Yet, Ro is one of the happiest, noisiest and most awake/alert baby around the block.

Feeding routine

There is no routine. I feed on demand and that is what I did when he was born. He sometimes fed every 2 hours, on somedays every 30 minutes; sometimes he fed for an hour whilst some other times he fed for 10 mins. There was no routine or expectations. We chose to simply respond to every cue by breastfeeding. We may not understand what is wrong with the baby or why is he crying, but breastfeeding happens to be the right answer to most worries. So use it to your benefit!

Tips:

Breastfeeding can be demanding but it does not have to be so tiresome. It is so much more rewarding and enjoyable. Those little moments when they shove their fingers into your mouth, or giggle whilst still breastfeeding or look straight into your eyes or stroke your chin or fiddle with your necklace; all those moments are priceless! Trust me!

Here are some handy tips that will help you enjoy your breastfeeding journey:

Water: Drink a lot of water. Dehydration can have some really serious problems. It can not only have an effect on your supply, but also have an impact on your mood. Headaches, muscle aches, grumpiness, insomnia or overly emotional behaviours are often signs of lack of water. So please mama’s, drink a lot of water to boost your supply and energy levels!

Skin to skin: Skin to skin is so important, not only for warmth and to maintain body temperatures but also milk supply. The closer the baby is to your skin, the more responsive your body becomes to the cue of making more milk.

Babywearing: It helps achieve the closeness, calmness and skin to skin required to produce or establish milk supply.

Oats: This may not apply to all, but till date, a bowl of porridge really fills me up (I mean my boob). I can tell oats helps me with my milk supply a lot. So, if ever feeling unsure of the supply, eat a bowl of porridge before going for the formula.

Sleep on the boob: This one is frowned upon by many people. There is a culture of putting the baby down as soon as they fall asleep on the boob. No, please let them just have the boob in their mouth unless they let go completely. The motion of sucking is not a waste of time, there is a lot of communication going on between the baby’s saliva and your nipples. When the saliva comes in contact with the areola, it sends a very important message to your body. It exposes your body to all the bacteria the baby has come in contact with, and if the baby has come in contact with any bad bacteria, this saliva sends a message to your body to make milk rich in enzymes and antibodies needed to fight the germs  and infection the baby is infested with. Therefore, the baby gets rid of the germs before it even has a chance to make him fall ill. Don’t you think it is amazing?

I have spent hours and still do, sitting on the sofa with him in my arms, sucking on my nipples, clearly not drinking but fast asleep. It is the best time to read a book or a good excuse to just sit down and chill out.

The aim of this article is not to make non-breastfeeding mommy’s feel bad. I understand that breastfeeding is a very personal choice and it may not be for everyone. The number of women who can actually not produce milk is about 2% I think, and in those cases formula is probably your best option. If in doubt about your supply, please seek the right kind of help. If you produce breastmilk, you are more likely to produce enough for your baby (some women established proper supply a bit later but they do eventually). So any aunt telling you to feed your baby formula because the baby is too thin should not be taken seriously before you have met some lactation consultants. 

 

 

Babywearing, Society and Soul Slings

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“Babywearing” is one of the best ways to carry your baby, in my opinion.

I knew I wanted to babywear even before I was pregnant. I loved the idea of being able to hold my baby so close to me without tiring myself out – and while keeping my arms free.

When I was pregnant, I also went shopping for a buggy, but couldn’t find a single buggy that felt small, light and comfortable enough. (I also couldn’t imagine making my dogs heel alongside a buggy. And as I walk dogs for a living, folding a buggy in and out of the car numerous times per day on my dog walks would have been really inconvenient).

Wearing Baby Ro

I wore baby Ro from week one of his life. He was very tiny at birth and so it was not easy to wear him without swallowing him up in fabric, but we started off with a kanga wrap, caboo, homemade saree wraps and finally moved onto full buckle slings.

Bonding

If mothers choose to breastfeed and co-sleep bonding’s not usually a problem. But babywearing is an added bonus – and also makes it extremely easy for fathers and grandparents to bond with the baby.

Magic Sleep Dust

Once you find the right kind of sling, you will know that some of them are blessed with a magic sleep dust. As soon as you pop your baby in, he/she will cosy up and go to sleep.

Skin-to-skin:

Babywearing makes getting skin-to-skin time so much easier. In summer, when Ro would get fussy, the only thing that would calm him down would be some skin-to-skin and with chores to do, I couldn’t just lock myself up in a bedroom topless giving Ro cuddles. That is when wraps came handy. I have answered the door topless with just a baby snuggled up in a wrap. No one ever realised!

Love Hormone:

Cuddles are good for us. It helps the babies to regulate their stress levels. Babywearing lowers the blood pressure, soothes the baby easily and releases the love hormone called Oxytocin. Oxytocin makes both baby and mama feel happy and connected, making motherhood an even better experience.

Hands – Free:

I have two bigger children and two dogs, plus my dog walking business to look after. I need my hands free. With a sling, I was able to go back to my school run routine as soon as my baby-mooning period was over and I started my work immediately after a 40 day long hiatus. I could take care of chores while the baby slept in the sling. And these days he looks around, chatters away, and even eats a snack whilst in the sling.

Breastfeeding on the go:

Yes, you can breastfeed on the go when you babywear. It takes a bit of practice but with the right sling and the correct technique, it is easy peasy, lemon squeezy.

Society

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Once seen as entirely natural, babywearing was pushed aside by the advent of the pram (alongside Victorian mores) and came to be seen as a preserve of the poor and the indigenous. It’s now come full circle,thankfully.

When I expressed my desire to wear my baby, I was mocked by some of my Indian friends because as a child we grew up seeing beggars or street vendors carrying their infants in a sling made out of scrap piece of cloth. Even though strollers weren’t such a big thing in India (partly due to the lack of space), babywearing wasn’t a go-to option either.

Detachment parenting, cry it out methods, supernanny and stroller companies all curbed babywearing. But attachment parenting and acceptance of instinctual parenting have paved the way for its return.

I think babywearing helps raise babies into secure and confident beings They say that babies who are raised with attachment parenting as an ethos, are less likely to succumb to substance abuse. I think that is amazing!

There are several myths about babywearing in our society that are genuinely untrue:

  1. Babies will get spoilt: Not true. Babies who are carried a lot, are less fussy, less needy and more confident. Babies who are carried have lesser reason to act out to get your attention.
  2. You will mess up your back: No you won’t. An ergonomically designed sling/wrap will help achieve a better posture if anything else and distribute baby weight across your torso and hips!
  3. Too big to be carried: Honestly, let the care-taker decide!
  4. You will delay crawling and walking: Not True! I carry my baby a lot. Probably 5 to 7 hours a day. Bonkers right? It has not prevented him from crawling at 10 months. His neck and trunk muscles developed strong enough to sit up at an appropriate age and crawl at the right time and at 12 months, he is already walking holding on to things.

 

Soul Slings Review:

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I have tried various slings and wraps to carry Baby Ro. It took me a while to find the right one and just when I found the one I thought I loved, Soul Slings sent me their Full Buckle SSC and I fell in love all over again.

Fabric:

Soul Slings full buckle carriers are made from woven cotton wraps. So they are very soft and they simply mould into your baby’s body perfectly.

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Light and Airy:

This was such a selling point for me. Most carriers available in the UK are very warming which is great for winter months but not so much during heat waves. As a dog walker, if the weather gets even slightly warm, it is easy to get hot. This is when a Soul full buckle feels perfectly breathable compared to the western makes, which can be slightly bulky.

Breastfeeding Friendly:

It is super simple to feed in Soul carriers. There’s an adjustment panel on both chest straps to lower the baby, to reach to an optimum position to feed without putting pressure on your shoulders and back. The hood helps in maintaining some privacy too.

back carry

Back Carry:

In 11 months of babywearing Roshan, I truly never managed to carry him on my back. I always found it difficult for some reason with my other carriers. Maybe it was just that he was small and I was less confident or maybe it was the carrier. All I know is that Soul full buckles made it easy. The lightness of the carrier and the smooth glide of the adjustment buckles made it very easy to back carry Ro. It is super quick to do a back carry with this sling, which is essential because Ro starts fussing if I take too long to achieve the optimum position and comfort.

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Design:

The one I have is called the Topaz Jacquard Full Buckle. They have some amazing prints but I like their geometric patterns; the colour adds just the right amount of vibrancy and is nicely unisex.

The one they sent me is also quite versatile in terms of colour coding with your own outfit. It was one of the things we’d consider when spending on a carrier.

Ergonomics:

The soul carriers are made very ergonomically for both baby and the wearer. The babies achieve a good M-position in the carrier with their knees higher than their hips which is crucial for their optimum hip development.

The padded should straps provides comfort to the carrier and the waist belt helps distribute the weight across the body, thereby taking away pressure from the shoulders.

Sizing:

Soul Slings full buckles, in my experience, comes a bit bigger. They have a lot of give. The standard carrier is from 7kgs up. A lot of babies achieve 7kg by the age of 6 months but my Ro is a small baby. He was only 7.5 kgs, when he was 11 months old. So although he could only start using the standard Soul sling at 11 months, it has so much space for him to grow, I don’t think we would need the toddler size one (which is great).

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Easy to wash:

I found it super easy to wash the carrier. When you have a baby that enjoys his snacks on the go, your carrier ends up with all sort of sticky things on it. To wash it, I simply fastened all the buckles and popped it in a pillow case. I washed it on a gentle 30 degrees wash for an hour and air dried it. Ok, no I dried it on my electric dryer (as it rains a lot in England). But it was dry and ready to go overnight. Clean and fresh as a daisy.

Price: 

My sling costs Rs. 5,750 INR which is about £70 GBP. A standard full buckle costs anywhere from £60 to £120. So I think it is appropriately priced especially for me as I won’t need a toddler size at all. It is total value for money and a babywearing win!

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My only minor gripe is that the carrier doesn’t have a pocket – but I know that Soul Slings have started incorporating that into their latest design. 

All in all I love Soul Slings. It is my favourite so far. I highly recommend it. I think, Indian companies have nailed the art of making slings better than western countries in so many ways, it makes me proud.

 

Vegan Gnocchi With Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

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This recipe is a complete experiment and it turned out delicious. This is my healthy version of Mac n Cheese or Alfredo sauce.

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 chopped carrots

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tsp garlic granules

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp dried sage (or fresh)

3 tbp of nutritional yeast

1/2 cup of grated vegan pizza cheese

1 cup soy milk

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

Salt to taste

500 gms gnocchi

Method:

Cook the carrots and cauliflower and then blend it with the soy milk to get a creamy thick mixture. Set aside!

In a hot pan, add the oil and fry the onions. Add the garlic granules and mustard. Stir well and add just a little dash of water to stop it from sticking. Now add the cauliflower mixture, cheese, sage and nutritional yeast.

Let it cook for a couple of minutes and set it aside.

In a separate saucepan, cook the gnocchi as per instructions.

Once cooked, drain and stir it in the cauliflower sauce.

Serve hot!

Tip: Sprinkle some chilli flakes or throw in some butternut squash. Instead of gnocchi add macaroni or any other pasta of your choice.

If you thin out the sauce with some plant based milk, you could have it like soup.

Why We Chose Cloth Nappies?

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There are many good reasons why people choose to cloth nappy their babies. Ours was essentially environmental (also, I am a sucker for cute prints).

We, as a family try to be as conscious as possible when it comes to the environment and we try to incorporate a lot of cruelty free products into our lifestyle.

Infact, the very first thing I brought for the baby was a big stash of cloth nappies. I do not like the idea of something synthetic and plastic against my babies skin. So when I knew I had an option to cloth nappy my baby, it was a no brainer that I would go that route.

When I tell people that I cloth nappy my baby, I get a lot of questions. I will try and answer as many queries as I can think of, some queries were received by people and some made up by me to make sure we cover all the basis when it comes to cloth nappy-ing.

1.  Isn’t it a lot of work, washing and drying them?

Yes it is!

Unfortunately, we have ignored the eco-system for so long that, to be honest, we cannot afford the luxury of ignoring it anymore. In order to save our planet, we will have to go that extra mile. 

Honestly, it only seems like extra work because we live in a quick fix culture. Once you get a hang of things, you start incorporating the nappy wash into your routine and before you know it, it becomes less of a hassle. 

The rewards of not using plastic based nappies to the eco-system and our babies skin is so huge that the time consumption involved in cloth nappy washing seems miniscule. 

Aren’t cloth nappies expensive?

No. My baby is 12 months old and I might have spent a total of about £250 – £300 on nappies. Now it seems a lot at first but honestly it is not even a tenth of money you would  be spending if you were using disposables.

Also, these nappies only get more absorbent with use and last for a long time which means you could potentially use it for your next baby (s).

They also hold their resell value. After selling, if you tally your money, you would have spent much less than your initial investment. 

Won’t babies feel wet? 

Yes and No. 

Most cloth nappies have a top layer of microbire which prevents babies from feeling extremely wet and protects the skin from extreme dampness.

It does feel wetter than disposables if left unchanged for a long time. But it is this damp feeling that helps toddlers potty train themselves early. Babies in disposables are much harder to potty train because it keeps them dry and comfortable for so long.

How often do you change nappies?

You don’t have to change nappies as often when they are babies unless ofcourse they are heavy wetters. But as they grow older, you need to change them ever 2-3 hours just like disposables. 

How do you clean poo-ey nappy? Isn’t that gross?

Yes, they are vile!

But when they are a newborn and are exclusively fed on milk, their poo is water soluble, so they can go in the same wash as the pee nappies. 

When they get older and start solids, that’s when things get dirty and muckier. In my experience, the easiest thing to do is to put a biodegradable nappy liner that catches all the poo. They can be disposed off easily. If you do catch some poo in the nappy, the microbire is such that you can, in most cases simply flick it in the toilet and the poo comes off, if not a bit of jet spray and job done!

How to get rid of stains?

Sun them out or let it rain! After you have washed the nappies just dry them outdoors, the sun has magical powers. Even on a grey day, it usually works. I sometimes let it get rained on and then leave them to dry as the weather settles a bit. I haven’t had to try anything else. 

Be careful what detergent you use. No liquids or bio detergents. Also, stay away from stain removers. They totally ruin the shelf life of your nappies.

Don’t they take ages to dry?

Cloth nappies come in different materials. Microbires and cotton for example don’t take very long to dry but bamboo takes longer to dry. 

They recommend not to tumble dry your nappies but if you are in a cold country like I am, I would recommend investing in an electric air-dryer. I brought mine for £30, second hand. My nappies dry overnight and it is a handy investment which you can resell easily, especially to someone who is cloth nappying.

It doesn’t sound travel friendly, does it?

It is a matter of perspective.

Cloth nappies consume some space plus they take some time to dry. You have to carry atleast two days worth of nappies which can be anything from 12 to 15 nappies.

When we travel for day trips or to a friends house, we don’t bother with cloth nappies. But if we are visiting family and they don’t mind us using their washing machine to wash dirty nappies, we carry cloth nappies. 

Handy tip: I always leave a few clean nappies home, for them to be ready to use when we arrive back just incase what I bring back is dirty and wet. 

What kind of nappies do you use?

There are so many choices but we use two types. We use all in ones and two parter. 

In two parters, you have the minky nappy and then a leakproof cover. An all – in – one is exactly what it says. It is like putting a disposable on. No cover involved. 

All in ones are less bulky and but also comparatively less absorbent. Hence, they are perfect for day time wear, easy to pack in your nappy bag and quick to change.

Whereas, a two parter is a tad bulkier but has a brilliant absorbency. They are perfect for night time wear. But I use two parter even in the day time. They are my favourite as I have a super heavy wetter.

Did you use them right from birth?

No. But that is only because my baby was very tiny at birth. He was a mere 2.5 kgs baby. Most newborn nappies fit babies that are 6 oz or 7 oz and up. There are cloth nappies for tiny babies but I knew that my baby will outgrow them as soon as my milk was established and he started gaining weight. 

Will my baby get a nappy rash?

Well unlike disposables, cloth nappies are notorious for wasting your money, that is if you have invested on an expensive nappy rash cream (not all rash cream are cloth nappy friendly by the way).

In all honesty, my baby has been wearing cloth nappies since he was 6 weeks old and I have never had any problems because unlike disposables there are no chemicals in the nappies. Having said that babies do get rashes especially if they aren’t changed often enough or due to some irritants like a new detergent or the material of the nappy even.

The only time I saw a sore bum was when he was teething. I use two things on such ocassions coconut oil or weleda nappy rash cream. Both are cloth nappy friendly and very good for rashes. But there are plenty of options out there.

How many nappies do you need?

In my opinion, 20 is a good starting point. 

I personally brought a pack of 20 nappies. Realistically, you will need about 6 to 8 changes a day.  Because my entire stash of 20 was a two parter, I then invested in another 10 all in ones. And that is personally more than enough, especially if you plan to do a wash every other day. If you plan to wash in longer intervals you will need more. 

I hope I have answered most of the common queries people may have about cloth nappies. There is honestly nothing negative to say about them, when what they do to this earth is so rewarding.

Let’s not contribute to that landfill and let our planet breathe.

……to a better and a cleaner future. Cheers!

 

The No-Poo Method

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Hair is quite often referred to as a woman’s jewel in a lot of Indian poems. And yet, we put our beautiful mane go through endless torture and abuse. If exposure to sunshine and pollution wasn’t enough, we kill the life out of our hair by shampooing it endlessly.

As a kid, I always shampoo’d my hair once a week. I had luscious long hair all the way up to my knees. I was very proud of my hair. When I became a teenager, the rebel in me wanted to care for my own hair. I cut it shorter, I coloured it and ironed it flat. Results were great and I enjoyed the look for a year that it lasted but as soon as the colour wore off and I lost the straightened hair, I realised the damage all that had caused. My hair was left lifeless. I had frizz and my hair was so badly damaged that I could not simply wash and air dry my hair anymore. I had to blow dry and straighten it every time to avoid frizz. Rain became my enemy. I could not just enjoy going for a swim in the sea unless the plan was to head straight back home after the swim. I tried all sorts of shampoos and conditioning/masks to repair my hair but to no avail!

Why stop shampooing?

Shampooing our hair regularly is actually pretty harmful for us. The chemicals in the shampoos not only strip off our hair and make it dull, they totally dry out our hair which confuses our system and thus, our scalp produces a lot more oil to compensate the loss of moisture. In order to get rid of the excess oil we shampoo a bit more. It is a vicious circle. Not only that, but every time we shampoo and rinse our hair we pass on the chemicals into our water sources causing enormous amount of damage to our marine life. And lets not forget the plastic waste!

After giving birth to Baby Roshan, I became very conscious of my use of chemicals. I did not want to wear, consume or promote the use of so much chemically rich products into my life. I wanted to go the natural parenting ways and live a natural lifestyle too. I started boycotting a lot of cosmetics products that were full of harmful chemicals. One of which was my shampoo and conditioner.

Another reason to ditch my shampooing routine was the lack of time. After having a baby, long showers became a luxury. For the first 8 months, I hadn’t had a shower without an interruption from the baby. Since my hair needed immediate blowdrying and straightening in order to prevent it from getting frizzy and dull, my hair care routine became a liability with a baby on toe. So the first thing I did was to cut my hair short.

I loved my long hair. I have always had beautifully thick black hair. Cutting them short was a big emotional decision. I chose to send it to a charity that makes pretty wigs for little princesses with cancer. That way, I felt less bad about cutting my long mane shorter.

Now that I had short hair, I thought it would be a perfect time to try out the No-poo method for my hair care routine.

No-Poo Method:

No-Poo method simply means reducing or boycotting the use of shampoo altogether. I chose to go all out and give up shampoo completely.  For the past six months, I haven’t used any shampoo in my hair and I have to say it works. My hair is clean, healthy and smells of nothing but hair! It does not stink nor does it smell of any artificial perfume.

My hair care routine:

I started off by using bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar.

Now it is important to note that initially your hair will feel very greasy even after washes. But trust me, stick to it and be patient. It really works.

What you need to realise is that all those years of shampooing has resulted in an unimaginably excessive amount of oil secretion from your scalp. It will take a while for the scalp to realise that you don’t need so much oil for your hair. So I would say it can take anywhere from a month to six weeks for the hair to feel less greasy after a wash. In fact, the first few washes, the hair will seem very very greasy and oily. almost yucky!

After three weeks, I almost gave up because my hair did not feel clean. It constantly looked greasy. I also realised diluting the bicarb and vinegar wasn’t working for me. So I took the risk of using it directly.

I washed my hair once every three days with bicarb and vinegar!

My current routine

So after rinsing my hair with water, I use a table spoon of bicarb and massaged it into my scalp. I leave it in for 2 minutes before washing it off.

I would then use the white vinegar as a conditioner. I use about two to three tablespoons of vinegar and massage it into my hair.

It is important to rinse the vinegar off with luke warm water and not hot water. This helps to lock in the moisture and gives the hair a luscious and glossy look.

It has been six months, and I am thoroughly convinced with my no poo method. It gives me such a pleasure to think how much I save on shampoos and conditioners and how naturally clean my hair is. It does not smell, it is clean and it is shiny.

This method not only prevents the use of chemical to clean your hair but the use of bicarb and vinegar is good cure for dandruffs too. Who would have thought!

Give it a go. What is to lose? If it doesn’t work for you, you can always go back to shampooing. There are so many herbal shampoos with less chemicals to choose from too.

Tips:

Frangrance

Now, if you are wondering that vinegar would leave your hair smelling all vinegary you are wrong. It does not smell of vinegar once washed thoroughly, but if you want to be extra sure, you could dilute some essential oil in a mug of water and rinse your hair with it. I use lavender oil or rose oil.

Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil as a serum to tame the frizz or flyaways. Once a month I also massage my hair with coconut oil and leave it on over night. I wash it off in the morning. This helps the hair gain some volume and repairs any damage.

Let me know what you think of No-Poo Method?

Beetroot & Chickpeas Burgers

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This recipe is so easy and can be made in less than 2 hours. A good way to get those veggies into your kids. The beetroot adds a nice raw pink colour to it which we loved. We were surprised by the combination of beetroot with chickpeas. Flavours were subtle but very satisfying.

Servings: 8 to 10 patties

Ingredients:

3 cans of chickpeas

2 big beetroots, cooked & grated (I used precooked from the shop, a pack of 6 to 7 tiny beetroots)

1 finely chopped red onion

3 – 4 cloves of garlic

Handful of chopped coriander

4 – 5 tbsp quick oats

1 tbsp cornflour

1/2 tbsp of grammar flour

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

2 tsp of chia seeds (optional)

100 grams of walnuts, coarsely ground

1 tbsp of cumin powder

1 tbsp of smoked paprika

Salt to taste

3 tbsp oil to cook

Method:

Take a can of chickpeas and blend it with its water. It will be nearly as smooth as hummus, pour it in a mixing bowl. Drain other two cans and put it in with the ground chickpeas. Now mush up the chickpeas with a potato masher.

Add all the other ingredients and mix well. I would get in with your hands. If it is too wet, add more oats or a sprinkle of cornflour should do the trick.

Once the mixture is ready, form your patties and set them aside in the fridge to set.

In the meantime, chop up all the other fillings you would like to put in your burger: tomatoes, red onions, gherkins, cheese etc.

After about 30 minutes of chilling. I shallow fried the patties until golden brown on both sides and then put them in a preheated oven on gas mark 5 for 20 mins or so.

Check after 15 minutes and cook accordingly. Voila!

Serve with some homemade chips and cold glass of lager! Perfect way to welcome spring.