Friday, August 31, 2012

Loc Maintenance || Washing and 2-Headed Dragons

I've been following Dewdrop (and other loc'ed ladies) for some years now.  Dewdrop has gone from having sisterlocs to traditional locs (via combining).  She is 5 years loc'ed, uses the latching method for maintenance, and sticks with natural products due to scalp sensitivity to chemicals.  Her youtube channel is very informative with tips on styling and loc maintenance.  Here are just a couple of her videos; be sure to check out her channel for more.



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Underrated || Mango Butter for Hair and Skin

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While shea butter is extremely popular in hair care and skin care, mango butter is not heard of as much.  Chances are, if you have not tried mango butter, you may be missing out ... especially if you are not a fan of shea butter.


1.  It is moisturizing and does not sit on top of the hair.  Ladies who have tried both shea butter and mango butter tend to agree that mango butter is more moisturizing and absorbs into the hair better.  

2.  It has emollient properties.  Mango butter can help to smooth the hair and skin as well as seal in moisture.

3.  It provides more hold and definition.  At room temperature, mango butter is more solid than shea butter.  It is probably because of this characteristic that it is able to provide more hold and definition compared to shea butter.  

4.  Light to mild, sweet scent.  If you find the nutty scent of shea butter a bit strong or odoriferous, you may prefer the milder, sweet scent of mango butter.


1. Mix with an oil (or oils) to make a moisturizer.  For moisturizing, mango butter is best used when mixed with an oil (or oils).  Since it is fairly hard at room temperature, the butter should be melted first.  Then add olive oil, coconut oil, safflower oil, grapeseed oil, and/or your favorite oil to create a more pliable moisturizer than may be applied to the hair or skin.

2. As a holding agent.  Melt the mango butter slightly and apply it to the hair prior to twisting or braiding.  

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Oldies, But Goodies

1. The UGLY Truth Behind Health and Fitness
2. How to Barbecue Healthier
3. Mixology || Soothing Summer Body Spray
4. Protective Style Lookbook: 20+ Styles on Braids & Twists
5. Healthy Styles for Transitioning or Stretching Relaxers
6. Beet Juice, Beet Smoothie: Blood Pressure & Stamina

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Going Nuts! Great Reminders from Natala

If you haven't seen Dr. Greger's newest video about nuts and weight gain, let me spare you the 10 minutes. Dr. Greger has reviewed a boatload of nut studies and come up with the recommendation that calories from nuts seem to mysteriously disappear, ie, you shouldn't gain weight when the extra calories that you eat come from nuts.

To say that sounds, well, nuts, is an understatement. It flies in the face of everything that Dr. McDougall and Dr. Esselstyn are saying.

If there's one thing I don't love about nutritional studies and recommendations, it is the amount of seemingly contradictory information that is being "fed" to us. I'm a normal lay person, not a doctor, nutritionist, or scientist. My day job is half accounting, half art direction. My night job is half chef and all mother. I'm just not equipt to deal with conflicting scientific information.

Add in what Jeff Nelson from has to say about the nut studies and what we have here is an out and out war over nuts.

What the heck is going on here? I have been watching my intake of nuts for the last six months with no good effect on my weight, probably because I have replaced those nut calories with calories from whole grains and potatoes, not with kale and lettuce.

I was so confused, I had to talk about it with someone, so I e-mailed Natala Constantine, a member of the Engine 2 team. What she gave me was some incredibly sound advice, so I thought it was important that I share it with you.

Read more �

Monday, August 27, 2012

Do Sandwiches Always Equate to Healthy Eating?

Check out this slideshow on the "10 Worst Sandwiches".  Schlotzsky's Original Style Turkey Sandwich even made the list.

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Protective Style Lookbook || Grecian Goddess Bun

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

Model: Laila

Style description: Grecian style bun.  (Can be done on braids or twists as well.)

Difficulty level: 3/5

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

My Favorite Pancakes Ever

My four year old son Max had his first friend sleep-over a few weeks ago. Turns out his five-year-old friend Asher had been begging his mother to let him sleep over a friend's house, and I happily volunteered to host. But you know how this story usually ends, right?

With a midnight phone call to the parents asking them to come get their kid.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School Muffins-Oil Free, Vegan, Banana-Zucchini Muffins

Our Aunt Viv has been doing a lot of baking and freezing lately, preparing for the large family reunion that we have coming up over Labor Day Weekend. When she told me what she was doing, I was thinking, "Why don't I ever bake and freeze?"

Probably because there's never enough left over to have any left to freeze.

But this time I was determined. Due in part the the huge Farmer's Market zucchinis ($1.00 each) that are filling up my refrigerator and the giant mound of ripening bananas on my counter (trying desperately to get some into the freezer for smoothies and frozen banana soft serve), I decided to double batch it. So thirty six amazing muffins baked in my oven this afternoon.

I also thought that no-oil, vegan zucchini-banana muffins might make a nice addition to the three lunchboxes that I pack every day once school starts. It certainly beats a lot of other things that could make it into their lunchboxes.

How many will make it into the freezer?
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Loc Maintenance || Tomato Hair Rinse for Deodorizing

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According the originator of this recipe, this rinse can help to deodorize locs, remove buildup, and impart shine.   She used it on her cousin's locs and received great results! 

The only ingredient needed is the tomato. Squeeze out the juice, remove the seeds and skin, spray through freshly washed locs, and let sit for about an hour.  Check out the video tutorial below:

TOMATO HAIR RINSE (starts at 8:19)

For anyone who is interested in her tomato conditioner recipe (more so for those with loose hair), watch the video above from the beginning.

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Hair Diary || Back to Kinky

This will be a monthly series in which I discuss my hair journey from now through my 5-year nappiversary in February 2013.

I wore my hair straight (previously flat-ironed) for about 3 weeks before returning to my kinks.  During that time frame, I had my hair in jumbo twists (see below) for the most part.  There were a couple of days when I switched up my style to a bun or a ponytail.

Flat-ironed hair worn for ~3 weeks.  This photo was taken towards the end of the 3rd week.

After my usual wash and condition (see "Regimen" tab above), I went back to my routine twists, which I love so much.  Twists have been my staple style throughout my natural hair journey.  I wore the set seen below for 2 weeks then a twistout for 3-4 days.  I will put in a new set of twists and wear them for about 3-4 weeks. 
Twists worn for 2 weeks.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Real World 15: Weight Gain After College

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

Everyone who has attended college has heard of the �freshman 15��but have they also heard of the �Real World 15�?

The Real World 15 is the weight that is gained AFTER you graduate from college. You no longer have the semi-healthy food options that your cafeteria or food court offers. You do not have the free gym membership to your campus recreational facilities, taking walks and jogs with your college buddies do not happen like they use to, and you spend most of your time working to pay your bills and your student loans. With you grabbing fast food to help you survive, working 40+ hours a weeks, and spending most of your free time on the coach or in bed, these is no doubt why so many college grads gain weight after graduation!

There are ways to incorporate health and fitness into your new busy lifestyle! This will help you keep off the weight and it could also help you release some stress from your new post-undergad lifestyle.

  1. WATCH WHAT YOU EAT! Yes it may be easy to grab a burger and some fries between jobs or if you are tired after work. This is the main reason you gain weight! Eating whatever you want�whenever you want! If you are mindful of the things you are putting into your body it will allow you to make better healthier options at meal time. Try to stick to baked items�not fried! If you order a salad, get the salad dressing on the side. Also, try to stick to the oil based or vinegar based salad dressings. Try to incorporate more fruits and vegetable into your menu. Think smarter when it comes to meals. As you get older your metabolism will start to slow down. So you will have to be more aware of your food choices
  2. Schedule workout time: Even if it is late at night, early mornings, or on the weekends with some friends. Any time you can schedule a good workout session is great. I know that some people have hectic work schedules. That is ok! If one week you work out Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the next week you work out Sunday, Tuesday, Saturday�that is OK! At least you are scheduling time to get some physical activity. Just like you make plans to go out with your friends, you should also make plans to workout. Make working out a priority and an important part of your work week.
  3. No Gym? No Problem! Try to work out outside! There is always a park or area you can walk or run around. Try making space at home to work out! All you need is space to do some push-ups, sit ups, and other exercises. Look at your employer and see if they have a fitness facility for you to work out at? Also, some apartment complexes have workout facilities or offer gym memberships to local gyms for free or a discounted rate! Make sure to look at all of your resources so you can find a place to work out.
  4. Put your priorities in check: If its Friday night and you want to go out with your friends to unwind, try to squeeze in a quick workout session before you meet up with everyone. In order to see the health and fitness results you want you have to make health and fitness a priority in your life!
  5. Look into local clubs and sports teams you can be a part of! There are bowling, softball, basketball, volleyball, golf, flag football, baseball, and even kickball teams in most major areas! Some companies even sponsor these kinds of intermural sporting events! Getting involved will allow you to get your exercise and it will give you the chance to meet other people as well!

There are tons of other things that can be done to help you keep down your weight when entering �the real world� after graduation. You just have to make sure you make health and fitness a priority! Being healthy and fit NOW is a lot better than trying to get back into being healthy 10�15�or even 20 years from now. So start now! And commit to be fit!

Please feel free to stop by my personal health and fitness blog at

Oldies, But Goodies

1. Hair Issues || High Porosity (and Low Porosity)
2. Another Case for Organic: The Sweet Potato Project
3. Healthy Eating || Best and Worst Juices
4. Twist Series: Strong vs. Weak Twists
5. Shedding Too Much Hair?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pretty Darned Healthy Blueberry Peach Cobbler

I'm pretty sure if you are here on Healthy Girl's Kitchen you are well aware of the sugar problem we Americans have. And I for one have had a lifelong battle with sweets. I just love the way sugary foods taste, there's no denying it.

So when a few weeks ago I was confessing what a difficult time I have been having with a plant-perfect diet, and Suzanne, one of the kind readers of HGK suggested that sometimes you just have to make yourself some dessert to help yourself feel better, I was like, "Darn, that girl knows me well!" She forwarded me a blackberry peach cobbler recipe from Cathy Fisher's blog Straight Up Food, and I immediately put the recipe on my to do list--the short one.

I bought the peaches and the blackberries.

And the peaches got eaten before I could muster up the energy to make the cobbler. I gobbled down the blackberries when I started to suspect that they were going to get moldy before I ever made the recipe.

The next week, I bought $15 worth of local peaches at the Farmers' Market and hoped again that the right time would come.

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Are You Having a Bad Morning/Day/Week . . . Year?

When I saw this quote on Facebook last week, I immediately reposted it to the Healthy Girl's Kitchen Facebook Page. I totally got it. It spoke to me. I was having a particularly rough time (not food related--yeah!) and it was an immense comfort to read such insightful words.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

HWC is popping up Aug. 22!

Healthy World Cafe is back open for lunch on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at a NEW, temporary location, FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, at Queen & East Market streets in downtown York (just one block east of First Moravian). Use the entrance at the lower Queen Street door, opposite Martin Library, and follow the signs.

We'll be featuring the abundance of locally grown fruits, vegetables, and all that is headed from farm to table during the heart of the summer!  Menu items include chilled cantaloupe soup, a pita stuffed with Greek salad and chicken, pasta with summer vegetables and pesto sauce, a salad bar and a peach and berry crisp.  Of course, our menu is always based on whatever is available from our farmer friends, so stay tuned for updates!

At Healthy World Cafe, we always feature our "eat what you want, pay what you can" philosophy.  The ability to pay should never be a barrier to accessing delicious, unprocessed, healthy food.  Take out orders are available by emailing your selections (by 10 a.m.) to healthyworldcafe(at)

We're thrilled to announce that we are relocating this month so that we can begin renovations to the gathering hall at First Moravian Church.  We're giving the room a facelift as well as installing air conditioning, so that the space may be used on a more regular basis.  This project is being made possible through the generosity of a Healthy World Cafe volunteer who believes in our mission.

To receive periodic updates from Healthy World Cafe, send your email address to us at the email address listed above.  If you'd like to volunteer with Healthy World Cafe for food prep Aug. 21, prep and serving Aug. 22, or for any of our other upcoming events, click on the box above and to the right, "Volunteer Spot."

Hope to see you Aug. 22 at First Presbyterian Church!

Underrated || Grapefruit Essential Oil for Hair

DISCLAIMER: Essential oils are very potent. Please consult your doctor before using them, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding, or have a medical condition.

First off, grapefruit essential oil should not be confused with grapeseed oil.  The former is an essential oil and pressed from the grapefruit.  The latter is a carrier oil and pressed from the seeds of grapes.  Grapeseed oil is growing in popularity in hair care, but grapefruit essential oil is relatively less known.  Now for why this particular essential oil is underrated ...


1.  It has a sweet, light fragrance.  While peppermint essential oil can be a bit strong in aroma and lavender a bit weak, on this scale, grapefruit essential oil sits relatively close to lavender.  Grapefruit is almost in the realm of lemongrass essential oil, but weaker and much sweeter in terms of scent.  

2.  It blends well with other essential oils.  Grapefruit essential oil can be mixed with many other essential oils to create interesting blends.  It blends especially well with lavender essential oil.  Some also state that grapefruit blends really well with the essential oils of bergamot and basil.


1. As a hair deodorizer/perfume.  Add several drops of grapefruit essential oil to a few ounces of water in a spray bottle.  Spritz your hair and scalp to hold off on wash day a bit longer.  Grapefruit essential oil has the right intensity of aroma to leave your hair smelling fresh and sweet without being overpowering.

2. As a moisturizer fragrance.  Add several drops of this essential oil to give your moisturizer a sweet, citrusy scent that is subtle.

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Four Movies and a Farmers' Market

I had the craziest weekend. It was somewhat indulgent, which is pretty rare for me. It all started with the new Batman, The Dark Night Rises movie (which I loved), followed up by a movie called Fresh. And then, since I hadn't seen the first two Batman movies, I did a Batman marathon on Sunday and watched Batman Begins and Batman Returns, after I had done some cooking of course!

My friend Chris-Anna has been totally loving Farmers' Markets lately. Not that she never went to Farmers' Markets before, but now she has a new found obsession with eating local. It all happened after she watched this movie Fresh and took a week's vacation to San Francisco, where apparently, everyone is really, really into eating local. Now she's going to two or three Farmers' Markets . . . per weekend.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Easy Entertaining: Plant-strong Vegan Taco Bar Party

Believe it or not, I started this blog posting almost a year ago. I never got around to finishing it up at the time, which, believe it or not, happens with a lot of my postings. But it's such a fun and easy entertaining idea, and I happen to enjoy it every time I prepare it, that I just couldn't let it go: Vegan Taco Bar Night!

Does it seem too pedestrian to invite guests over and serve them a meal of tacos? Not to me, and certainly not when kids are on the guest list. I confess, entertaining with a taco bar is not my original idea. I first enjoyed the beauty and simplicity of it at my friend Chris-Anna's house when I had one of those "now why didn't I think of that?" moments.

So what is it that I love so much about this concept?

This meal pleases everyone: kids and adults, picky eaters and adventurous eaters, the health conscious and the not-so-health conscious.

For guests who want to eat a salad-great! Make a salad with all of these delicious toppings. For kids-fantastic! There's a ton of ways to make kid friendly food here. For you Hungry Jacks--go for the traditional taco in a shell or construct a Mexican pasta dish. This meal appeals to everyone.

And it's ever so easy to prepare.
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mixology || Homemade Banana Conditioner (by Loo)

Another natural deep conditioner.  This one softens and infuses the hair with moisture for detangling.

Homemade Banana Conditioner -

1 medium/large overripe banana (sliced)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for lubrication, moisture while detangling)
2 tbsp glycerin (humectant, moisture)
2 tbsp honey (humectant, moisture)

Place sliced bananas, extra virgin olive oil, glycerin, and honey all in a blender. Blend the ingredients thoroughly making sure no lumps or banana bits remain. (Depending on your blender quality, you may or may not have to then sieve the mixture with a fine sieve.  Another option is to use banana baby food.) Apply to hair and let sit for 30-45 minutes under a shower cap. Detangle, rinse thoroughly, and style as usual.  (If not rinsed out thoroughly, your hair may be left hard and with mixture remnants once dry.)

Hair after detangling. If you've been following me for some time, you will be wondering how these "curls" appeared considering that I have no natural curl pattern whatsoever.  Well, it looks to be the conditioner.  The last time I used a similar concoction (transitioning days), my hair did the same thing. 

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Do I Have Any Loc'ers?

Would you be interested in posts related to healthy locs?  Natural or homemade hair care recipes for locs?  How to start locs on your own?  Do you want to be featured or see any loc features?  Etc.

If so, comment below (with your questions) or leave a reaction.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Most Important 55 Minutes of Your Life: Dr. Greger's Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death Video

It's no secret, I am a HUGE, RAVING fan of Dr. Michael Gregor from

Plants rock. If you are not convinced of that, or if you are in need of some inspiration or some major motivation to stick with a plant based diet . . .
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Jeff Novick's Simple Recipes on Facebook and Reminder!

Thank you all so much for that HUGE, warm and revealing response to my last post. Really, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'm not able to respond to all of your comments individually, but I have read and savored each and every one of them. And they give me strength and inspiration to keep going, to keep trying to do it better and to not beat myself up too much.

Before I sign off for the weekend (we've got lots of travel and lots of family fun in store), I want to mention a few things.

First, if you haven't ordered your set of Jeff Novick's Fast Food videos at 20% off for HGK readers, your time is running out! Don't miss these videos--I'm reinvigorated after watching them. I needed something to lift my cooking spirits this summer and these videos did the trick. I'm so excited to get home after work each day just to see what's going to happen in my kitchen in 15 minutes. You've got until Sunday night and then the discount goes bye-bye.

Read more �

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fitness Bucket List

By Stephanie of Infinite Life Fitness

When talking with clients, the first and main reason they want to get healthier and fit is so that they can look and feel good. There is NOTHING wrong with that�BUT why not set some other goals to go along with that?

I encourage people to create a �Fitness Bucket List�. This list is fitness and health tasks that they would like to work towards completing.

For example: Run a marathon (this can include a 5K or 10K or any other types of marathons that can be offered). Some people want to be a part of these kinds of competitions so they have something to work towards when they are in the gym. Working to complete a race like this is great motivation! Being able to train and set a time you would like to finish allows you to push yourself through training and also through the event when you get there!

Your bucket list can include ANYTHING health and fitness related that you would like.

What was on my bucket list? To give up fast food. And YES I have been fast food free for almost 3 years now! I was tired of being lazy and not caring about the food I was putting into my body. I was able to be more self-conscious of the food I was eating. AND it allowed me to save more money! Creating and planning my meals for the week allow me to shop smart at the grocery store so it cut my food budget almost in half when I stopped eating out so much!

You can create goals like �Not drinking carbonated beverages for a month� or �Only having Starbucks once a week�. YOU can set the limits and the rules on your bucket list! This is a great way for you to take control of your health and fitness habits and it also allows you to stay accountable for the things you want to achieve!

Need more ideas?

Here are a few others that may be great for you to add to your list:

  • Do a swim race
  • Learn to surf
  • Run a triathlon
  • Compete in an iron man competition (or half competition)
  • Compete in charity races
  • Compete in charity athletic events (like football or basketball or any other sport)
  • To be able to fit in your old wedding�prom�or any other dress you have hidden in the back of your closet
  • Go on a fitness cruise
  • Kayak down a river
  • Do a fitness competition
  • Walk part of the Appalachian Trail
  • Be able to run 1�2�3 miles
  • Be able to do multiple pull ups (because they are VERY hard to do!)
  • Go rock climbing
  • Go running on the beach
  • Be able to do 25�50..100 push ups
  • Master some yoga poses without falling
  • Be able to hike on trails (Like in Yellow stone national park or the Grand Canyon!)
  • Complete a spin class

Like I said, your Bucket List can contain ANYTHING you have wanted to do physically that you know you cannot do now. All it takes it a little motivation and a lot of hard work! If you stay focused and stay motivated you can achieve your health and fitness goals!

This is Stephanie from Infinite Life Fitness. Please feel free to stop by my blog for more health and fitness tips!

Protective Style Lookbook || Double Dose Twist Updo (Short Hair)

By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

**This segment contains two styles.**

Model: Iknowlee

Style description: Style #1 - twist updo with pompadour.  Style #2 - twist updo with classy roll.

Difficulty level: Style #1 - 3/5. Style #2 - 3/5.

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