Blog

Cheap & Easy Waste Reduction

Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste!

I have seen the Zero Waste Movement become really exclusionary and aesthetic driven. So many “Beginner” and “How to” blogs and vlogs encourage people to spend time and/or money they may not have. I am not interested in pursuing ‘zero waste,’ but I do strive to reduce the trash and waste I create. There are so many inspirational individuals on the internet who go to great lengths to create next to no material waste, but that’s just not reality for everyone. Furthermore, these Instagram worthy photos of homemade cashew milk, matching containers for bulk purchases, and farmer’s market groceries can sometimes scare people away from waste reduction. It’s intimidating! Not to mention, some in the ‘zero waste’ community have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude, and shame others for doing what they can, even if it means waste reduction instead of elimination.

Watch the video here!

I make trash. There, I said it, I MAKE TRASH. I am mindful of every piece of trash that hits my bin and try to find alternative uses where I can, but my household makes about a garbage bag of trash a week, aside from wasted cat litter. Once upon a time, I would have to take my garbage out near daily, so this is a huge turn around for me. I recycle whatever I can, reuse what makes sense, offer reusable items to friends and online, and shop only for what I need.

A great start to waste reduction is paying attention to what you place in the bin.

Are you tossing a lot of paper plates? A place setting per person in the home makes a huge difference to your burden on the earth and the burden on your pockets, and the dollar store can get you there for about 5$ per person. A quick hand wash will make it so you never have to worry about dishes piling up, because there won’t be enough to make a pile!

Are you throwing out plastic grocery bags, or hoarding them under the kitchen sink? They can be used over and over again! You don’t need to spend money on fancy shopping bags or spend time weaving your own from plarn (plastic yarn, some people cut and roll plastic bags to weave together to make a sturdy shopping bags), the bags exist already and may already be in your home. Bonus: many stores give you a monetary reward for bringing your own bags, such as a nickel per bag taken from the total at check out.

How often do you throw away single use utensils while at work or with take out? Those sturdier plastic utensils can live on and on with a quick hand wash. No need to buy a costly to-go utensil set, just keep a fork, spoon, and knife from a take out set and wash them after meals, along with your hands! Then, be sure to decline utensil sets from take out and delivery.

The most common thing is see in the trash bins of others: recycling. Definitely check with your city or apartment complex to see if recycling pick up is offered. I have lived in a few different apartment complexes and many had recycling dumpsters on site, and I have never lived in a house where recycling pick up wasn’t offered. It can’t hurt at all to give a call to your leasing office or garbage pick up company to see your options. My roommate and I recently decided we wanted a second recycling bin since I bring home so much from work, and when we called the city we were surprised to hear that additional recycling bins came free! Yay! If you don’t have the option of at home recycling, there may be a recycling center or dumpster nearby. ALWAYS check with what is acceptable to recycle, as sometimes shredded paper isn’t allowed, generally plastic bags aren’t allowed, and at some recycle centers you need to sort your recycling into different dumpsters yourself. I generally take a photo of any posted notice of accepted recycling, to make sure I am taking full advantage of this service.

Other frequently tossed items are reusable items! Those fancy matching containers for bulk can be replicated at home. I save all of my empty food jars, like pasta sauce jars, pickle jars, and tea tins. I LOVE my Muir Glen pasta sauce jars, they are square with measurement marks on the sides and a black lid, and I use them for food storage, car snacks (they fit in most cup holders), and bulk foods like coffee. I have also scored cute tea tins, which I spray painted to match my decor and filled with my supplements. Spray paint is definitely not zero waste, but it is an enabler in my waste reduction, as I am able to update my same old decor time and time again, and use items in my everyday life that would have otherwise been waste. Bonus: some coffee shops will let you use these relifed jars for your drink orders, and the tight seal makes these jars great for to-go drinks.

There we have it, the cheapest and easiest ways to start on a waste reduction road! Zero Waste and Less Waste life doesn’t have to be hard or expensive in order to help both you and the Earth. Paying attention to what we discard may allow us to see a second or third life in that item, so make sure to dig through your own trash! There may be treasure in there!

blog

My First Compost Bins

Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste! 

This may sound ridiculous, but the same level of excitement I felt about my first aloe plant is the level I felt over my first compost bin. I now am working on filling my fourth bin and lovingly look over my previous three, who are currently building heat and starting their breaking down process. If you are looking for a how to or a beginners guide on compost bins, this isn’t it! I haven’t even reaped the benefits of my first bin, so I am not prepared to help others with logistics, but I am more than prepared to help others build excitement!

I rent my home, and I used that as an excuse to not start a compost pile. I’ve used that excuse for the past 5+ years and this winter I decided that nothing can keep me from at least trying. No more excuses! My roommate and I both have cats, and we prefer the cat litter that comes in big tub style containers, we use the containers for so much around the house that we don’t feel trash guilt about them. I use these buckets for storage and intend to use them for my first container garden this spring. Then it hit me, why don’t I use them for compost?!?!?!??!$/&:@202&

I did a ton of research on creating my own bucket style compost containers and found that I had been overthinking this completely natural process for years. All the prep work I did for the containers was to drill holes along the bottom for adequate drainage and to allow buggies in to help along, if the buggies decide to do so. I then drilled holes along the lid to allow for air flow. The first container I drilled I made it more complicated than necessary, measuring and counting and making patterns of the drilled holes. The containers afterwards were more haphazard.

Living in Colorado, people assume we have snow all winter long, but that’s not the case. I was able to gather a ton of dry leaves from the yard for future use, as ‘browns’ are necessary for adequate decomposition. I store extra leaves in extra, not drilled, containers beside the compost container for ease of use. I really under shot how much compost I’d be making, so I didn’t collect enough leaves the first time. Now I have 3 full bins of leaves at the ready, which seems like a fair amount of leaf storage.

At this point, I decided to jump on in, setting the groundwork of each bin with leaves, and adding my kitchen scraps, then layering with leaves until full. Once each bin was full, I moved them out into a part of the yard where the soil sucks and the grass is trash, knowing that the compost liquids will seep through the holes to help the ground, and that the buggies from the lawn can find an oasis in my bins. In the future, I intend to find a way to catch the compost drippings for my household plants, but trying to figure out a way to catch drippings without hindering bugs from getting into the bins is breaking my brain.

I guess I never realized how much food waste I created before. I used to just throw my veggie scraps into a freezer bag for bone broth or into the yard for the birds and animals, but now I get to reap further benefits of my food scraps. The reason I was compelled to start my bins now is because I am hell bent on starting a garden this year and want great soil without spending the money on it. I am hesitant to garden directly into my yard soil, as it’s very clay rich and the amount of work it would take to make a garden fare well in this rental property is simply not worth it to me. I have heritage seeds that I am excited to try in containers in the yard, and am really hopeful that I will have some nutrient rich compost ready by then.

Also, I am so attached to these bins already that I am debating naming them.

 

 

Resources for Minimalists

Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste!

When I first began purging my stuff, I felt like I was just trying to pawn things off on my friends, then donating everything to thrift stores to be resold. I don’t think that thrift stores are the enemy, they really are an excellent resource for people to be able to find items, but I would rather people not have to pay for my things. Not to mention, many thrift stores hold politics I don’t assign to, so I would rather they not make money from my stuff. Pushing my stuff onto my friends doesn’t make me feel good, either. Many of my friends are also minimalists, so I give them first pick and then use my resources to rehome the remainder. I do also donate a ton of stuff, but I enjoy knowing exactly where my belongings go and how useful they will be in their new homes. When I drop off dozens of pounds of clothing at the shelter, I know in my gut that fast fashion has resulted in an excess of clothing being donated. I help to unload my own car, so I see exactly how high their clothing mountain is for the week. I feel similarly guilty when I donate my dishware to the thrift store, especially now that I see from the apps listed below how many local families in need would rejoice to have my dishes. The list below includes the resources that I use to rehome my belongings, and is pretty much in the order that I use them.

Posting on my personal Facebook page:

My first route to relieve my things is to post about them on my personal FB page. I post photos and descriptions for each thing and let my friends sort out what they may want. Many times, they find fun stuff to give others in their lives, which is excellent. This is also a great way for me to see people I may not see very often otherwise.

 Buy Nothing Project group:

I have been lurking around my local BNP group for ages. I have scored some really cute things, but mostly I have been able to rehome a ton of things there. BNP is a series of Facebook groups that are specific to the area in which you live, helping to build community. The official Buy Nothing Project page is HERE but it’s more useful to use the search bar to look up groups for your area. When you join, an admin will most likely request additional information about where you live to ensure you’re in the right place. All of the groups have the same rules, as they stem from one central organization, the blog for BNP is HERE.

Freecycle:

Freecycle is very similar to Buy Nothing Project, but they have a centralized website and there is the option to get all postings sent directly to your email. While you can view all offered and wanted items on their website, you have to be logged in and a member of that group in order to post or respond to postings. I am really weird in how I use Freecycle, but have been doing it for AGES. I generally respond to all clothing related posts and let them know that if the items they posted didn’t find a home, I would pick them up to donate to the homeless shelters.

Freecycle + Trash Nothing?

In my hunts for extra resources, I found an app called Freecycle + Trash Nothing. The app looks similar but still very different from the Freecycle site and it made me confused! After doing a small amount of research, I found that the Trash Nothing app is an offshoot of the original Freecycle page, which used to be through a Yahoo group (and may still be). The Trash Nothing app was started to curb the spam that users of the original Freecycle Yahoo groups were experiencing. What does this mean for you? It means that you have choices. I like the Trash Nothing app, it is old AF but user friendly and still send email alerts when you message someone. Direct yourself to the Freecycle website if you’d rather use the desk top version or get direct emails about offer and want posts.

Let Go:

Let Go is an app where you can choose to sell things or give your things away. My friends have had great luck with finding cool furniture on there. It’s essentially a Craigslist with a cleaner, prettier interface.

Next Door:

Next Door is an app where you can monitor your direct neighborhood. People post about if a package was stolen from their doorstep, if they need to ask for a cup of sugar, if a teen is starting to babysit and looking for clients, etc. Posts offering up items are also allowed, but they only reach your immediate area. I mean, a few blocks. Next Door is a really convenient way to help those (literally) closest to you.

Facebook Marketplace:

I am hesitant about a few of the suggestions on this list, Facebook Marketplace being one of them. Facebook Marketplace allows posts for items for sale, but you can also post items for free. The marketplace is a great way to reach a huge amount of people, but it’s kind of a free for all.

Craigslist Free Pages:

Do you remember when Craigslist was popular? Before apps took over? Well, it still exists, and people who don’t have luck with these other, smaller scale apps can generally get interest on Craigslist. This is another one of those suggestions that I am hesitant about. Strangers from all over can respond to your offers, so you never know who you are meeting, who may show up, how dangerous it may be. I, personally, hate posting on Craigslist because it is so easy to create a new email account to respond to an offer and I am an intensely private person. I favor the above suggestions because people have profiles and there is accountability.

 

Some basic etiquette about being in these groups, which may just be me being picky:

  • Use complete sentences and humanize the original poster, simply writing ‘NIL’ (meaning ‘next in line’) always makes me feel like I am not seen as a person
  • Post items that you would feel comfortable bringing into your own home, dirty or moldy items need a clean first
  • If people are picking up from your doorstep, be sure to protect the item until they arrive. I have a large plastic container to store items in until they are retrieved
  • Don’t be a creep, don’t make inappropriate comments or prolong conversation past the immediate interaction, unless it is obvious that you both want to continue the conversation
  • It is not unreasonable to request to meet in a public place. You are allowed to make plans based on your feelings of safety.
  • You are allowed to deny someone if it doesn’t feel good, you are not obligated to give or sell your item to the first person who contacts you if the circumstances are not good for you
  • REPORT UNSAFE ONGOINGS! If someone continues unwanted contact with you, is inappropriate or aggressive, or selling or giving unsafe/unsanitary/illegal items, report to the website or moderators. Be vocal. These pages are for the community, and it is everyone’s responsibility to aid in keeping the community safe.

Are there more resources that I am not familiar with? What websites and apps do you use to rehome your belongings?

 

 

 

Micro Dose Journal: Chapters 1-2

Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste!

I am writing these journal entries in hopes that they can help others to better understand the journey of micro dosing magic mushrooms. While I am writing these in real time, I will be waiting until my proposed 10 week cycle ends before publishing, in order to further protect myself. This journal entry is in no way meant to encourage others to micro dose magic mushrooms or partake in any illegal activity. I urge you to research the local and federal laws pertaining to psychedelic use of your area.

If you have not already read the EPILOGUE, please do so here:

CHAPTER ONE

My first dose was nerve wracking, I had ordered a scale, but it hadn’t arrived yet. I had to eyeball about 1/10 of the bag, assuming that one bag equaled one trip. I had been doing nothing but researching micro dosing for the previous week and still could not feel secure in what I was doing. I crumbled what I felt was the appropriate amount of stems and caps into my pot of filtered water, and set it on the stove. Fifteen minutes of boiling, and I poured the water and crumbled pieces into my adorable teal tea pot, along with some flavored tea. I sipped my tea, allowed the herbs and shrooms to cool, and then mashed them to the screen, trying to extract any medicinal properties it all may have had. I drank my delicious tea, which was raspberry black tea, and then looked out the window a while. The only thing that struck me was the depth and complexity of the colors of the grass, the sky, the trees. It was all so mesmerizing and beautiful.

I laid on the floor with meditate, windows wide open, feeling the cool breeze on my shoulders, listening to children play, cars pass. I felt tuned in, I felt I was part of the children playing and the grass they played upon. I felt inside my body and all around my body. But it was subtle. I didn’t feel overwhelmed or lost, I felt completely at ease and completely found. It wasn’t until I went for a drink of water that I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and realized that I felt any different. Despite feeling so different from normal, I hadn’t even recognized the change. When I looked in the mirror, I saw my reflection as someone else may see me. I appreciated myself as a stranger may, I longed for myself as a lover might, and I found strong familiarity in my features, as though I was my own family. I felt like it was my first time recognizing my own face.

I began settling into my own feelings and turned on some hilarious television to exercise my laughter.

CHAPTER TWO

My second dose was much easier for me. Though my scale arrived and I had ordered the wrong one! So, once again, I eye balled my shrooms into a pot of filtered water and boiled for 15 min. This time, I poured the shrooms into a muslin bag meant for loose leaf tea, and steeped in my cup alongside a tea bag until cool enough to handle, at which point I squeezed out the excess liquid from the shrooms and drank my cup. It was already a stressful day, with a lot of hurry up and wait. My anxiety kicked in and, instead of loving the colors and feeling connected to life around me, I only felt connected to my frustration within.

I was incredibly productive, though! I cleaned, cooked, did laundry, and painted a nice set of tea canisters to become both table art and vitamin containers. I felt creative and submerged in my feelings, all at once. I didn’t feel like my frustration and anger pulled my away from exerting creative energy and I didn’t feel like my frustration and anger put a damper on my creation. They walked side by side and I felt alive. And sweaty! By the time social time started, I had done more around the house in a few hours than I generally had done in a week!

I quickly centered myself once in my social situation and rather enjoyed my quiet, quality time with someone I care for. I was proud to show off how much I’d done and my fun projects that were conceived and completed in one day.

It was after this dose that I began to see how this experiment was changing my days in between dosing. I work a high stress, thankless job where my clients tend to be rude to me. I have felt how this work situation has made me more angry and people avoidant at work, and it’s made 40 hours of my week a burden. It was after this dose that I began singing at work again and speaking kindly to people who were not so kind to me. People I work with started asking me why I seemed so different, and I have been honest about this all from the beginning, in hopes that it will help others. I was astounded to see a change in my demeanor so quickly!

In Micro Dosing Journal: Chapters 3-4, I make quite the social break through and see how big of a difference this method has made.

All About Indigo

Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste!

I started box dying my hair in middle school and continued on until about 5 years ago. On average, I had dyed my hair about once a month for 14 years. One time, I used at least 10 boxes of bleach to get my long hair from black to blonde. I have had black, blonde, and all shades of red hair. I quit dying because my curls were so damaged that I wanted to shave my head. My natural color is very ambiguous, it’s generally medium brown but sometimes reds out, sometimes sun bleaches rather blonde, and I have a grey patch at the front of my head that I absolutely love. Since cutting off my hair, I have felt a little less like myself. I love the look of my short hair, I think it’s very flattering and love the ease of it, but I feel disconnected. I always see myself with black curls, and my hair is just finally long enough to complete a curl again, but now I want my color back and I don’t want to damage my curls to get it. Enter: Indigo.

Indigo isn’t as fleshed out of a topic on the interwebz as henna is, and some people feel that indigo and henna are the same and can be treated the same. Spoiler alert: They’re not. I researched indigo via blogs, wiki, youtube, and still ended up doing it wrong the first time around. Instead of allowing others to scramble for the pieces of the information puzzle, I decided to combine the information I gathered that has worked and have it offered in one location.

What is Indigo?

Indigo is a botanical that has been used in dyes for ages. Components of indigo have been isolated and are still used in fabric dyes today! When it comes to using indigo for dying on the body, it adheres very differently from henna. Henna adheres to the keratin of the body, which is why it is widely used for dying skin, nails, and hair. Indigo doesn’t adhere to keratin, which is why pure indigo isn’t used, nor would work, for skin dying. Indigo can, however, adhere to henna! I have some experiments to do still, but I suspect that I can go back to dying my nails with henna and then layering indigo on top of that for a permanent nail coloring solution. Henna and indigo are also strengthening to the hair, helping to repair damage, and are UV protective. Sun damage isn’t just for your skin, your hair also suffers sun damage (hence the term ‘sun bleaching’), and these botanicals are protective.

How to choose Indigo for hair:

There are a ton of ‘henna’ options that claim to dye hair black. ALWAYS check the ingredients. Some ‘henna’ options contain metals, and ammonia. If the ‘henna’ claims to color non botanically treated hair, it’s not true henna or indigo. Indigoferae tinctoria is the botanical name for indigo, if it claims any other ingredients, proceed with caution. I like to use an indigo combined with henna, whose botanical name is Lawsonia inermis, so the ingredient list on the one I use reads both botanicals and that it all. The only other ingredient I would be okay with finding in my dye mix would be Cassia auriculata, which is a non coloring, protective botanical.

To do the two step or combine?

It really depends on how deep of color you want and how many colorings you are willing to do. I like a deep black, but I also don’t have an entire day to color my hair multiple times. I use combined botanical dyes on my hair so that I can do 1 2-4 hour long treatment in a day, but if you have the time, a 2 step process will provide deeper, longer lasting color. Indigo can potentially become permanent in its color, but rarely does that happen at first application. Virgin hair tends to not accept the dye and will wash out, but doing the 2 step process, hair is more apt to accept the color. My first round of the combined coloring, my hair washed through to a deep purple in the first week, it was awesome. But I also made the commitment to dye my hair a few hours once a week until the color kept. My hair is very short, so dying now isn’t a problem whatsoever and I plan to make it as permanent as possible now so that when I do get length, I can just focus on my roots.

Prep your hair and work space:

Always start with clean hair, I clarify by using 1:1 ratio of lemon juice to water, but baking soda water is also a decent choice. If you use shampoo, then shampoo and do not condition or use any products after. I do this clarifying right before dying my hair to ensure my hair is clean and damp when I apply the mix. Having damp hair when dying helps the mix to be more manageable, keep in mind it’s essentially mud that you’re trying to work through your hair. Unlike non botanical dyes, there is no slip and it’s difficult to work from root to tip.

I make sure to have a black tshirt on hand for drying my hair after rinsing, and I get my gloves and plastic head covering ready. I reuse the same gloves and head covering until they rip. I also have a tight fitting beanie to put over the plastic head covering to trap heat and help the color develop better. I find that applying the dye isn’t all that messy, but still be careful and lay down old towels or shirts on the floor you’ll be standing on and the counter you’ll be working at. Optionally, wipe oil along your hair line, ears, and arms to reduce the dying of your skin. I don’t do this because the dying of my skin doesn’t last long and it doesn’t bother me.

How to do the combined botanical method:

I buy my botanicals premixed via Light Mountain, but if you buy them separately, mix at a 1:1 ratio for black hair, or more henna to less indigo for more of a chestnut color. I mix about a teaspoon of salt into hot water and mix the hot water slowly into the indigo and henna mix. Stirring in water until it is smooth, the consistency should be similar to yogurt. Allow the color to develop for 10-20 min, until you can see the black on top. The rest of the mix will appear deep green, which is normal. Mix well and start application. I wipe it all along my hairline first, then section my hair every inch or so to dye my roots, then massage as I go to make sure I hit all of my roots. As I am working on my hair, it is inevitable that the unused dye starts to dry out and thicken, so I add water little by little to keep it a muddy consistency. Once all of my hair is saturated, I put the head covering on, rinse my gloves for the next use, use a wet micro fiber cloth to clean up my edges, and put my beanie on. I try to relax for 2-4 hours, the closer to 4 hours the better, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between leaving it on 4 hours and leaving it on 6 hours.

Things not to do with combined method:

  • add lemon juice: adding lemon juice to pure henna for highlights makes sense, adding it to indigo for black hair doesn’t
  • allowing the mix to sit longer than 30 min before application: henna preparation requires allowing the mix to sit for up to 12 hours for dye release, but indigo dye degrades if left that long

How to do the 2 step method:

Mix the henna powder with hot water until it forms a paste, cover the bowl to reduce air flow (many people online say to use plastic wrap, but a silicone lid works just fine) and leave out for a few hours for the dye to release. The mix doesn’t need to be in the fridge, it can be left on a counter. Also, because you’re using this as a base for the indigo to deposit onto, you don’t need to leave the color to develop overnight like you would if you were to be dying your hair red. Once you see the orange/red color pooling on top, you’re ready for application. Now, application is the same as above, but just because this red isn’t your desired color doesn’t mean you get to skimp on the dye. The indigo needs that henna to adhere to, so slather that henna all over and leave on until you can see the red starting to dye at your hair line, about 30 min- 2 hours depending on your hair. Rinse you hair clean, don’t use conditioner or shampoo, just water.

Mix your indigo at this point, adding a teaspoon of salt to your hot water, then mixing with the indigo until a paste is formed. Once again, this paste should be similar to pudding. Yum, pudding. But don’t eat this. Apply as above, making sure to hit your hair line and roots. Cover your head, beanie up, wash your gloves, and leave on for 2-4 hours. I am literally dying my hair as I type and it’s been an hour so far, I have 3 more to go!

Rinse tips:

Try not to just hop directly into the shower with your muddy gross hair. That’s a sure fire way to dye everything in your shower! I rinse under the faucet until the majority of the dye is out, then hop into the shower and rinse through the rest. I saw one blog post where someone with long hair suggested doing a mermaid soak to loosen the remainder from your hair. A mermaid soak is when you hop in the tub and lay back with your hair in the water and let the hair fan out around you, this is a great method to do if you are willing to dye your skin and tub. I have very short hair right now and tried the mermaid soak after my rinse and I ended up dying my skin a pale blue for the day. Henna and indigo makes the hair feel dry at first, so I use a deep conditioning hair mask to help rinse out the dye. If the dye is being stubborn, massaging conditioner into the scalp is very helpful.

After care and post dying tips:

Avoid washing your hair with anything acidic or shampoo for at least 3 days, but I suggest a week, especially if your hair isn’t an old pro at botanical dye. I generally wash my hair with vinegar or lemon juice, but this is a great way to strip the color from your hair super fast! Also, oil is another thing that will strip the dyes, so no oiling up your hair. Going as long as you can without products in your hair, and just rinsing with water.

The color will develop on your hair for 2-3 days, so be patient with what’s to come. It will also bleed, so cover your pillows at night and dry your hair with black or expendable towels/shirts. If you are going to be sweaty during the day, wear dark colors and be ready to wipe away dark colored sweat. My hair bled blue for about a week!

Aftermath:

Since dying my hair, it’s been the softest it has been in ages. A conditioner or hair treatment has never made my hair as persistently soft as the henna and indigo has made it. In the weeks since my final dying, I have not needed to wash my hair, barely used conditioner, and have not oiled my hair at all. My curls are frizz free, my hair is soft, and my scalp is yet to  have any build up that rinsing with water couldn’t remedy. For those wanting to experience this feeling without changing their hair color, I strongly suggest looking in to cassia. I am excited to see how my hair progresses over time, considering I am growing my hair back out since chopping it all off. I keep seeing people say how subtle new hair growth looks against previously dyed hair, but I am suspicious. My natural color is considerably lighter than the shiny black it has been dyed. I have no set time frame as to how long it’ll be before I redye, but I do intend to check back in with how the indigo ages.

As always, thank you for joining me in an adventure!

Please let me know any additional questions you may have. I would also love to hear about your own experiences with henna, indigo, cassia, and other botanical dyes. If you like the content, please consider adding me on Instagram

Simple, Sustainable Immune Boosters

Hello! And welcome back. It’s me, Desiree’ Celeste!

It’s that time of year. You know, leaves start changing, weather cools, kids go back to school, you get that itch in the back of throat? Yeah, cold and flu season. It sucks. A few years ago, I was sick for three months straight. First, with a cold, then bronchitis, then a respiratory infection. Since that year, I have tried every immune booster I could get my hands on and found that some work better than others. Many are just straight up food and can be obtained from a grocery store for less than a buck.

Sleep

Sleep is the best immune booster and happens to be free. It is, however, not open to everyone. I understand that some people can’t sleep based off of responsibilities or insomnia, but those who can, should. So many of us stay up late watching tv, reading, or partying, but we really need to start prioritizing sleep. Daily stress, poor diet, and blue light disrupt our circadian rhythm, making it hard to get a full night’s rest. Sleep is when our bodies heal, and a lack of sleep will weak the immune system, making it easy for illness to creep in. Try to go to bed a little earlier, turn off blue light and dim lamps the hour before bed, and build that immune system.

Garlic

Garlic is classic and my favorite ‘cure all.’ I roast entire heads of garlic for snacks during the fall and winter (and spring and summer, it’s just good). When garlic’s cell walls are cracked and allowed to oxidize, it creates something called Alicin, which is a super strong immune booster that also helps to reduce bad gut bacteria. Much of your immune system is in your gut, so a healthy gut is a healthy body. The way to consume garlic to get the biggest alicin benefit is to chop a garlic clove (or 3 or 4) and allow it to sit, exposed to air, for about 10 min, then swallow the garlic like you would pills. This method also works great for stomach issue. You may smell like alfredo sauce, but at least you’ll be actively fighting off all sorts of cold weather sickies.

Fire Cider

Fire Cider scares me. Truly scares me. Every year, I see a thousand posts online about the joys of making fire cider and allowing it to mature for about a month before fall, but that combo makes my stomach churn just thinking of it. If you are a fire cider fan, please let me know how to consume it to avoid immediately vomiting after. The feedback about fire cider is great, though. People swear by it and it seems easy enough to source the ingredients and make yourself. I also love that it’s straight up food and that you can feel like a true witch when you hand craft your own medicine in your own kitchen. This also makes great gifts for the winter holidays. Just imagine, cute bottles of fire cider for those you love, giving the gift of health.

 Check out the Paleo Hacks recipes here to make your own!

Or you can buy a great brand here!

Elderberry Syrup/Tea

Elderberry is naturally anti viral and possibly the tastiest immune booster on this list. You can buy premade elderberry products, such as teas or syrups, or you can make your own from dried elderberries. It’s hard to source waste free or bulk options for dried elderberries, but if you can find it, get it! I enjoy elderberry syrups packed in glass bottles and use them in teas.

My favorite brand, Honey Garden, this one is mixed with honey and apple cider vinegar.

And the Honey Garden brand pure elderberry syrup.

Bone Broth

Here we are again, talking about gut health with the immune system. Bone broth helps to heal the gut lining, strengthening the immune system. Bone broth also is high in complex amino acids, protein, and minerals, making it a nutrient rich option. In my home, I cook with store bought bone broth concentrate, bone broth powder, and homemade bone broth.

Ancient Nutrition Savory Herbs Bone Broth Powder

Jarrow Bone Broth Powder

Layering your immune boosters is a beneficial way to go. I definitely get my sleep in, cook with a lot of garlic and bone broth, and take elderberry when I start feeling sick. If you follow my Instagram this time of year, you’ll find a ton of recipes on Paleo Comfort Foods that are rich in garlic and bone broth. Check out my Instagram here.

What are you favorite sustainable immune boosters?