Wholeplus... the 'Subscription box review'

I mentioned my Wholeplus journey in this post, but I wanted to celebrate a little more and a few weeks ago I had an idea. This Christmas period my Wholplus goodies were featured in four different subscription boxes and since I have four other family members I thought it would be a lovely surprise (and a little proud moment for me!) to wrap up a box from each to put under the tree to share with them on Christmas day!

Can you see the labels on the packages under the tree? …I labelled them 'surprise no. 1, 2, 3 and 4 ..ha ha! My family were very confused :-) We left these until the end and unwrapped them together.

I also felt it was ideal opportunity to review the boxes to show my appreciation for them having supported me on my journey and I in theirs. I have big things planned for 2015 and without the support of companies such as these, Wholeplus could never have been what is today. Seeing my goodies tagged on Instagram and around social media has brought such light to my life that I never could've anticipated this time last year!

Thank you,  thank you,  thank you!!

Please note: this is an objective review as I'm proud of all the companies I have worked with and wanted to show my appreciation for those I was involved with specifically over the Christmas period. They have supported me on my journey as I have supported them on theirs. Therefore this is not a 'which box did I like best' style review. Also note that not all box contents may be vegan.

P.s. the photos are not fantastic quality as I literally shot them the moment they had been opened on Christmas morning, before my family began opening packets and tucking into the goodies!!

boxes2a.jpg

I'll review the boxes one by one, in alphabetical order just to make sure there is no hierarchy or favouritism. ;-) You can check out the links below their company name.... go and show the some love!

Life Box

Website, Facebook, Twitter

Prices from £12.95 - £21.95. There are five boxes to choose from and you buy either as a one of on on subscription (ladies, mens, junior, everyday and cleanse) Taken from the website: "Delivering current and wannabe “healthies” with the latest super health foods, clean eats and refreshments, providing a convenient and affordable way of discovering new and delicious wholefoods". There were so many goodies in this box! I was particularly excited to see maple 'Wahta' as i'd seen it on Instagram and was curious to try! (we also had a little sip). There is also a recipe card.

This box (the November edition) featured my Wholeplus Cinnamon Toppers.

Box contains:

  • Raw ecstasy activated chocolate walnuts
  • Rountons coffee sample sachet
  • Aronia berries pukka teas sachets 
  • Maple water
  • Emily fruit crisps
  • Raw bite coconut raw bar
  • Conscious organic chocolate bar
  • Wholeplus cinnamon Toppers
  • Pukka clean greens sachet
  • Apricots kernels 
  • Miso soup sachet
  • Lifebox amaranth trial bag
  • Lifebox digestions spice mix
  • Lifebox Chia seeds trial bag

Primal Snack Box

Website, Facebook, Twitter, 

Prices £19.99 for the meat-free version of £21.99 for the regular (inc. P&P) Taken from the website: "The uk’s first paleo snack box service, all of our snacks are free from grains, gluten, dairy and refined sugars". Lots of festive flavours and there was also lots of other raw style goodies... yummy and also good to check out my competition! :-)

This box featured my Wholeplus Choc-Orange Squares.  

Box contains:

  • Mulled Apple leather
  • Wholeplus Choc Orange slices
  • Cinnamon kale crisps
  • Figberry balls
  • Chocolate mulberries
  • Gingerbread bar
  • Cranberry chocolate
  • Rawbite cinnamon
  • Yummy scrummy
  • Fig and orange pudding bar
  • Apple crisps

The Vegan Kind

Website, Facebook, Twitter

£10 (plus £3.15 P&P) for the lifestyle box. TVK also have a quarterly vegan beauty box for £15 (plus £3.15 P&P).  One of the things I like about this box is that it features home products as well as foodies bits. I nabbed the toothpaste before the rest my family could get there hands on it! :-) There is also a recipe card with binder holes (you get a free binder with your fourth box- I think!)

This box featured my Wholeplus gingerbread Toppers.

Box contains:

  • Harpers bizarre jingle bells Christmas candle
  • Wholeplus gingerbread Toppers
  • Olive branch gluten-free sweet biscuits
  • Teatonics mind awakening yerba and laid-back botanical tea
  • Green people toothpaste

Vegan Tuck Box

Website, Facebook, Twitter

Prices- £8.50 for the mini (5-6 treats) or £19 for the classic (10-12 treats). They also offer a gluten free box option.  This was the special Christmas box and was most festive themed of them all... with lots of indulgent treats in festive shapes- snowman and holly leaves! There was also a recipe booklet with festive vegan alternatives for Christmas classics.

This box featured my Wholeplus gingerbread Squares.

Vegan Tuck Box have also generously offered a discount for my readers for 10% off all boxes during January (as I am to be featured in one of their January boxes also!)  Enter Wholeplus10 at the checkout for 10% off all of box options.

Box contains:

  • Mint chocolate holly leaves
  • Chocolate pralines
  • Wholeplus gingerbread squares
  • Milk chocolate star
  • Gluten-free white chocolate pretzels
  • White chocolate snowman
  • Viva vegan Christmas recipe booklet

 

Now it's over to you... have you tried any of these boxes... or maybe others?  Share with me in the comments your thoughts or where else you might like to see Wholeplus featured this coming year!

 

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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A 2014 reflection.... what my first year in business has taught me!

Wow... What. A. Year!!

At the beginning of this year I had big dreams and a huge amount of excited anticipation. But like so many dreams, it is only action that powers them forward into reality. It is the action part that is oh so scary and overwhelming!  

The difference with this last year is that for the first time ever I played full out and embraced the overwhelm. Oh man, there was a lot of it. I'm steel reeling if i'm honest and the entire year has been such a roller coaster of emotions. So many times I said to myself "why couldn't I just be content with a regular job"  but in the moments of the highs and when I look back and see just how far I've come, I really have no regrets. 

A few big highlights from the year:

  • Wholeplus had it's first full year in business

  • A became a contributor to a number of great magazines I truly respect

  • I graduated from the Institute if Integrative Nutrition as a health coach

  • I took on my very first coaching clients who continue to amaze me every day

  • I launched the '21 Day Lemon Water Challenge' with 400 participants

I would also like to say at this point, that so much of this may never have come to fruition in the way it has without the never-ending support of my family (I know I annoy the hell out of them at times- but I thank you!) but also another two key people in my life, who exist largely behind the scenes but are amazing in enabling me to be the person I am today...

My business coach, Erica has worked with me throughout this entire year. She has been there right from the very start (before I even realised I needed a coach) and grounds me yet pushes me beyond my comfort zone, all the while pushing her own personal boundaries. They say every good coach needs their own coach, and I whole heartedly agree with this statement!

My personal trainer, Toby. Fitness is a huge part of my life. It has come to be even more so this last year as it is my 'down time' and an escape from my own head at times! Toby deserves extra kudos for putting up with numerous floopy moments and tears of frustration when I rock up to a session after a stressful morning.  He had been a great support during both my highs and lows and also shares my plant based food philosophy... we have shared so many hours of interesting debates over the least 12 months and so here's hoping for 12 more!

A few things this year has taught me:

  • There are some truly amazing genuine people out there! In exploring who I really am and taking my business to the next level, I have come into contact with some genuine and amazing people and companies. Above and beyond Erica and Toby, it has affirmed my belief that so people are there to help each other and not simply out for themselves. One of my biggest concerns going into 'business' is that I can be very naive, too nice and very honest. Right back at the beginning a few people told me that I wasn't cut out for business and that I would hate it, but I have proved them wrong. Yes, I might pour too much emotion what I do and yes I might get hurt somewhere along the line. But I honesty woudn't have it any other way!

  • I need to be more organised! I am a creative on all levels. I think in colour, texture and shapes, I enjoy the random places my mind wanders, I never sit still, I love creating cakes with perculiar ingredients profiles, I like designing, I like asking questions and exploring answers BUT I do not like spreadsheets, business plans, tax returns, systems or anything remotely regimented. The more creative I have become, the more my brain seems to move away from that other side of things. I need to get better (simple) systems in place for 2015... and address my areas of weakness!

  • I need to put myself first! In throwing my self into business I focussed on working so hard my personal health has suffered. As much as I know (and preach) that self care and relaxation time is so intrinsically important in everyday life, I have struggled to implement this myself. It was as if I hadn't 'earned the right' to relax even though I know that's ridiculous. I have taken some time out this Christmas and will be on a mission in 2015 to balance both areas of my life. No doubt this will be the focus of my blog from time to time.

"Life is a constant journey of discovery. One I never want to stop" 

Do you remember this post from August, when I had just finished my final module with IIN?  I posted a quote which I still resonate so much with.  Here is is again.

 

May 2015 be an incredible year for you all.

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

 

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My article...a little celebration!

I am just popping in briefly (as I am still in holiday downtime mode) as I wanted to share a little achievement with you and celebrate a little more!

On Christmas eve I received an early Christmas present in the post... a copy of Vegan Life magazine with my very own article in it!  My first feature in a feral print magazine available in high street shops!

I have been actively getting more involved with publications over these last few months as this is something that resonates so much with me in getting the word into the world. I have always loved writing too so it seems a great fit.... I have already established an ongoing relationship with fab magazines such a Definition for Ladies and Fresh View but you'll be seeing me pop up more on the coming months (hopefully!)

In the age of digital information there is still something so magical about holding something in your hands. A real magazine, printed and bound to sit on the coffee table for a flick through when a moment takes your fancy!

Here is a little sneak peak... but you can buy in throughout the UK.  

It's all about tips to quit sugar, a topic you know I love!  Although a little bit hypocritical since I have overindulged like most this holiday period. I'm hitting January with a bang!  

I had more on that to come next week too.. watch this space!! 

 

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Christmas day done.... and the chickpea hazelnut tart!

Christmas day never fails to disappoint. The one day of the year where I feel able to totally relax and chill out... no need to be anywhere or so anything, other than spend time with family, peel veg, eat (lots), read books, watch TV, play games... basically whatever takes our fancy in the moment. I love the notion that the whole world is taking time out to relax too. I love that vision, opening my curtains in the morning and imagining what is happening inside all the other houses in my street. 

A little frustrating was that this year I had a cold. I very rarely get ill and i've had this cold for almost two weeks which is a wake up call that I was working myself too hard over these last few months. That didn't stop me enjoying the day, it just meant the early Christmas morning run I went on last Christmas day didn't happen this year.... as I can't breathe properly! I am planning on picking up running again in the New Year. I find it meditative, and I could really do with more of that in my life.

We'll talk all about goals and resolutions another time soon but for now.... my Christmas day and food!!

I made this mushroom chickpea and hazelnut tart largely inspired and changed very little from the original recipe by Kathy at Healthy Happy Life. I didn't have any sage- all the shops had sold out!  so I couldn't add that, otherwise it was pretty much the same. I made this tart for myself and my dad who are both plant-based. The rest of my family ate meat but wanted me to make some stuffing (usually they use my nut roast as stuffing), so with a little twist, I added extra oats to the tart mix and pressed it in to an oven dish and voila... 2 dishes from one recipe. I got a tart they got some stuffing.

I added the recipes below so you can see the differences and make which ever you prefer as a main or side dish.

I also had lots of potatoes, steamed and roasted veg, bread sauce (I indulged in gluten a little over xmas), plus a dish of pan fried maple glazed brussel sprouts with red onion and chestnuts... yum!

Recipe: Chickpea hazelnut tart with a spelt crust

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup mild oil (I used olive)
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk of choice

Filling:

  • 3 cups chestnut mushrooms- chopped 
  • 1 large white onion- chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • juice of one orange (approx 1/4 cup) and 1/2 tsp zest
  • 2/3 cup whole raw hazelnuts
  • 400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fine corn meal (polenta)
  • 2 Medjool Dates or 5 deglet nor, pitted and diced
  • 1 heaped up kale, finely chopped, loosely packed
  • a few pinches of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt + 1/8 tsp black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced

See note below for stuffing additions.

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Prepare crust. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk and oil in separate bowl then process together to achieve a slightly sticky crumbly mixture. Using your hands form a ball  that will roll out without crumbling, roll to fill the base and sides of a 9" pie dish. I had a little leftover to make holly leaves!

Bake for approx. 10 minutes until just golden. Set aside.

Meanwhile start on your tart filling. Warm a frying pan over high heat, add the coconut oil. Add mushrooms, onion and rosemary. Saute until browned, about 3-5 minutes over high heat. Onions and mushrooms shoul lightly brown and reduce in size. Fold the salt, black pepper, cayenne, nutritional yeast and parsley into the mushroom mixture. Turn off heat and set the pan aside.

Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a hot pan for 2 minutes until they begin to give off an aroma. Then, in a food processor process the hazelnuts until they are coarsely chopped. Add the chickpeas and process for a few seconds until the chickpeas until coarsely mixed in with the nuts. 

Put the nut chickpea mix in a bowl and add the orange juice, veg stock, dates, kale and corn meal to the large mixing bowl and fold the ingredients together. Add the mushroom mixture to the chickpea-hazelnut mixture and fold everything together. Stir for about a minute.

Spoon this filling into the pie crust and pat down to smooth the top. Add the chopped red pepper over top and press in lightly. 

Bake tart at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. (see notes on Kathy post for other notes on timings) Allow tart to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving, it can cool for up to a half hour. 

Stuffing: For a firmer crust-free stuffing style alternative I added 1 1/2 cups oats and 1 tbs soy sauce (to bump up flavours since the oats 'dilute' it). Press into  pan and rough the top with a fork. 

Note: I made both the tart and stuffing this the day before and warmed in the oven for 15 minutes on Christmas day itself- I left it in for 20 mins and browned the top a bit too much! It also tastes great chilled as I had the following 2 days!

I also tried making a trifle.

Trifle is a childhood favourite for me... especially the way my mum makes it with sponge and  raspberries in jelly, a blancmange layer and then a whipped cream layer with sprinkles on top!! But since being vegan I haven't been able to eat it. I've always had it in mind to attempt my own and so this year I did... I worked pretty well BUT I couldn't get the whipped coconut to work- that should have in theory been the easiest part!! Annoying. It's not a recipe I consider blog worthy and for the all the effort that went into it i doubt i will attempt it again... i'll just enjoy the memories of my mum's version :-)

The trifle kind of worked... topped with some vanilla Wholeplus Toppers

The trifle kind of worked... topped with some vanilla Wholeplus Toppers

How did you sped your Christmas day?  Food? Family? A big gathering or a quiet affair?

 

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Nutty chocolate truffles... the perfect last minute christmas treats and gifts!

Christmas is so nearly here now… I can't believe it's been a whole week since I've posted, and I had so many things I want to write up for you!

However, I have been struck down with a horrible cold for the most of this last week, not that it stopped me from doing anything I wanted to, but it has reminded me I have to take my health bit more seriously and factor in that crucial downtime.

I'll write a little bit more about this coming days. It's so important for all of us take time to centre ourselves that recalibrate. In the rush and overwhelm of setting up my coaching business and my food business over these last twelve months I realised I had been putting my own wellness on the back burner....yes i'd been eating the right foods, but that plays such a small part in the overall picture as I have personally come to appreciate more than ever before.

Christmas is the ideal time for rest and recuperation. It's as if the whole world breathes a sigh and slows down.

I have more recipes I am prepping today up today for the main meal tomorrow and I hope i'll be able to capture a few photos to blog later in the week if they turn out to be winners!  I really hope they do!

For now a final recipe that I can't believe I haven't already shared (I checked back through my posts and couldn't find them!)  I previously made a version of these with almond butter for The Real Food Source quite a few months back and I have been making countless variations ever since, usually with peanut butter as it's so much more cost effective.

If you make one chocolately treat this Christmas time... make it this one!!

The ground almonds give these raw bites and almost cake texture unlike the regular 'larabar' style raw bite. As I mentioned you can change up the nut butter base for almond, cashew, or even something like hazelnut butter for a ferrero rocher style treat!!

These freeze really well too. I made some about three weeks ago that I put in the freezer specifically for Christmas, but I kept stealing them and now I need to make another batch as I don't think there will be enough! oops...

I also makes these as gifts and they always go down very well!

Recipe: Nutty chocolate truffles

Makes approx. 12 truffles

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup ground almonds

  • 1 cup peanut butter (or other buy butter)

  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup or agave

  • 12 pitted dates (this is based on deglet noor dates but if using larger medjool dates reduce to 7 dates)

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • Dark chocolate for coating

Method:

Soak the dates in boiling water for 5 mins and then drain. In a food processor, mix all the truffle ingredients together to form a thick paste, it should be sticky but not too sticky to handle.

Roll into walnut sized balls and chill until they are a little firmer.

Melt the chocolate and either dip the firm truffles into the chocolate to half coat them,  or just drizzle the chocolate over the top of the truffles on a tray.

Best kept refrigerated. Eat within 1 week or freeze.

 

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Festive flax blend... the ultimate topping!

I love to keep 'toppings' on hand... simple blends to throw on my porridge, or yoghurt, or in a smoothie, or in cookies mix... or savoury options are great for a salad or a veggie bake.

It's what first inspired my Wholeplus Toppers! (which have been going down very well in the Vegan Kind box this month and has made me super smiley!)

flax blend 2 a.jpg

You'll remember a month or so back I had some samples of goodies sent to be by the lovely folks at Steenbergs, a UK company who's products I love and order regularly. A couple of months ago they launched some beautiful Christmas spices, delicate blends with subtle flavour variations, and were kind enough to send me some to try out. I have been having fun adding them to my porridge in place of cinnamon, and also over stewed apple and other fruits. I also made my Wholeplus Christmas Stollen flavour using their blend along with their dried lemon peel.

I decided a new winter porridge topping blend full of festive spice was in order and so whipped up this little number. All you need is a food processor or grinder and you'll have your very own blend ready to go! 

Ideally keep your blend in the fridge for best flavour and freshness (nuts and seeds can easily go rancid when ground due to exposed surface are) they'll keep fine in the fridge for a three months or so.

This was my spontaneous combo with dates and cacao for a light touch of sweetness but you could add in other ingredients, such as nuts, as you fancy. I kept the ration of flax to other ingredients pretty high as I like to add lots of flax to my porridge as it gives a great omega 3 boost (flax is one of the best sources of omega 3 and we could also do with more of it in our diets!) and the 'gelling' quality of ground flax (linseed in whole form) creates the lovely thicker texture which i'm after. That being said these quantities are simply guidelines,

Recipe: Festive flax breakfast blend

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup linseed/flax
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  •  1 tsp Steenbergs Stollen, Lebkuchen or Speculoos spice (or use cinnamon/nutmeg/mixed spice)

Method:

I used whole linseed and ground it before adding other ingredients, otherwise use pre-ground flax.

Add all ingredients to your processor and ground until coarse (or to desired texture). Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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Grain-free almond mince pies... with sugar-free mincemeat filling!

Have you downloaded the FREE Real Food Source Christmas ebook yet?

I designed it and created most of the recipes for it and i'm super excited about it... originally launched last year and re-launched last week with lots of new festive recipes! Nearly all of them are vegan except just a couple that the guys at RFS developed themselves to add to the collection.

Christmas is complete without mince pies!

... and these mince pies are one of my favourite recipe so I wanted to share it with you here today. I don't always have much luck with gluten free pastry and my first attempt at these mince pies were a little overdone... keep an eye on the oven as they don't take long to cook! You'll also need to be fairly gentle when forming the pastry cases.  But they taste yummy!

I also made the mincemeat... it was this recipe from years ago  (excuse the photo quality!)  except I used goji berries instead of cranberries this time which was a great twist... particularly since regular cranberries come coated with sugar whereas goji's don't.

The mincemeat is so good... here are a few other ways to use it...

still my favourite... Christmas baked oatmeal made even better with homemade mincemeat!

still my favourite... Christmas baked oatmeal made even better with homemade mincemeat!

Recipe: Grain Free mince pies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup fine almond flour 
  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil
  • 1 tbs ground chia plus 2 tbs hot water
  • 1 tbs coconut syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Method: 

Mix the ground almonds  fine almond flour together then add the wet ingredients to the mix to form a dough. It should be sticky enough to hold together but not too sticky it won’t roll out, dust with extra fine almond flour if needed.

Roll out onto a dusted parchment paper to approx. 3mm thick and cut circles for the bottoms and shaped tops as desired.

Very carefully and loosely press the circular bottoms into pie trays (they may crack if you are not careful- patch with extra dough if needed). Fill the cases with mincemeat and lay the pastry top over. Glaze with non dairy milk and sprinkle with extra coconut sugar or mixed spice.

Bake at 160C for approx 10 minutes, watch carefully for burning as the edges will go brown very quickly.

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

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How I wash my hair now... the 'no-poo' experiment concluded!

Long time readers may remember back in the late springtime I began experimenting with the 'no-poo' method for washing my hair.

Over the last 12 months or so I have been gradually transitioning all of my body products and toiletries to become home-made versions or at least ones that are as pure and simple as possible. This has been pretty successful across-the-board. I have home-made body butter, face cream, cleansing oil, toner, leg shaving oil, body wash and to a large extent I succeeded with toothpaste and deodorants...

HOWEVER I have struggled with the toothpaste tasting nice so for now have resorted to this brand and on the deodorant front, when I am in full on sweaty mode at the gym and need to quickly freshen up I need a spray- the coconut oil homemade paste version doesn't really do the job. Any tips out there for home-made spray deodorant much appreciated, or a really effective natural spray deodorant??

Back to hair!

Shampoo and conditioner was thing that I was most passionate about finding a natural alternative for, yet was also the trickiest. However I committed to the process, so for many long weeks (and months!) my hair was almost constantly in a ponytail as it felt it too heavy and oily to wear down... frustrating!

I was close to giving in so many times!

I think part of the problem is that my hair, whilst not crazy long, is pretty thick, and also I train heavily at the gym and so a lot of the sweat accumulates (nice!) A pretty tough contender for the 'no-poo' method!

I tried the traditional baking soda paste with apple cider vinegar rinse. Loved the ACV but the baking soda didn't feel as though it was getting right into my hair. One of the hardest parts about the baking soda method is the lack of foaming action so hair can typically not feel fully covered.

I then tried another option for a coconut milk combo also using Dr Bronner's Castille soap, this felt great whilst in the shower- it was lovely and foamy and I had high hopes… But once dried, my hair felt extremely heavy and lifeless. Up in a ponytail it went!

I tried each of these methods for a couple of months at a time hoping that my hair was just going through transitional phase, but it wasn't to be....

Then a revelation!

In September I went to the VegFest exhibition in London and got chatting to a couple who run Living Naturally a 'soap nuts' company who also make special soap nuts shampoo bars amongst of home and body products. I was curious and excited, given my pevious frustrations, and asked if I'd be able to review one the bars for my blog. I wanted to try the shampoo bar for at least a month before I came to my verdict my verdict… And the rest is history!  I've been using the bars ever since and I absolutely love them.

PS. I'm not being paid fort this review, I simply loved the product and now having tried other bars in the range and can say they are all fantastic and great company to support too. I really, really encourage those who are contemplating going 'no-poo' and also those who may have tried the baking soda method with undesirable results to give soap nuts a try.

For me the soap nut bar followed with a vinegar rinse (1 tbs ACV to approx 1 1/2 cups warm water) is perfect. I now wash my hair every 5-6 days instead of every 3 days as I had previously done with regular shampoo, it's also the best condition it has ever been in my adult life with no split ends and a real rich auburn colour that's come through, very similar to the colour I had one had as a much younger child....very interesting indeed!

You'll see from the info above that natural soap nut shells are used as a detergent, but as I have only tried the shampoo bars. The Dead Sea shampoo is the first bar I used and now i've tried others too. 

The ingredients are as follows:

Organic Soapnut Liquid (Sapindus Mukorossi), Olive Oil (Olea Europaea), Organic Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera), RSPO Certified Palm Oil ( Elaeis Guineensis ), Castor Oil (Ricinus communis), Dead Sea Mud (Maris Limus), Almond Oil (Prunus Dulcis), Rice Bran Oil ( Oryza Sativa), Jojoba Oil (Buxus Chinensis), Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia ), Rosemary Essential Oil (Rosmarinus Officinalis), Cedarwood Essential Oil (Thuja orientalis ), Cypress Essential Oil (Cupressus Sempervirens ) Linalool*, Limonene*, Geraniol. *occurs naturally in essential oils

I couldn't get a good picture of the lather but it's lathers up like a bar of soap and really gets into the hair and scalp well.

I guess I should have given you a picture of my hair before and after the experiment.... oops should have planned that better! :-)  You'll just have to take my word for it!

The shampoo bars even work well when I have covered my hair in an argan oil mask which I usually do once a month. In this case I typically wash through twice before the ACV rinse.

 

Note: Based on my experiences with the whole 'no-poo' transition, I read countless blogs and articles on the subject and what seems to work well for one person may work terribly for another. So you may find, depending on your hair type and thickness, that these bars don't work as well for you, and that the baking soda method is perfec. It's all a process of discovery but I really encourage you to experiment in getting away from the chemical laden body products...your hair and body will really thank you for it!!

A few resources I found useful in my searching...

Coconut milk and castille no-poo (I wasn't a fan but you might be)

One Year without Shampoo (plus interesting toxic ratings)

The No Poo Method (pretty much everything no-poo related!)

Honey Shampoo (a none vegan recipe)


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