After having had the most horrible stomach aches after pretty much every meal for two weeks now, I finally seem to have found the root of all evil: my beloved ginger!?
First off, yes, I am aware of the irony of me being on such a health trip, and at the same time not really taking any time to look into (or have someone look into) this problem. My stomach was burning after seemingly anything I ate, my digestion was a nightmare – yet I kind of didn’t do anything about it. I attributed this to the sudden changes in my lifestyle I’ve been making, and just hoped it would go away once my body would adjust. As the saying goes, it’s easier to see the splinter in other people’s eye than the log in your own. So maybe this was karma.
I just don’t like going to doctors, especially not here where you don’t even have a specific doctor you go to – you go to a so-called health center, and you’re assigned whoever happens to be on duty that day. Plus I get the impression that the medical practice here is very „traditionally western“. It seems to me that antibiotics are subscribed as if they were skittles. I am just not into that.
Yesterday however I started looking up doctors in town with an Ayurvedic background or a homeopathic one, willing to bite the bullet, and pay for a consultation outside the tax-funded mainstream health system. Then Peter and I had a heated discussion about my state, his concerns that I was downplaying it, etc. And somehow, I don’t remember exactly how, we realized that the number one food that I have increased my intake of since I got into Ayurveda was ginger. It suddenly dawned on me that all the times my stomach couldn’t tolerate a meal, I had added ginger, and I had done that with about anything since it’s supposed to be so good in so many respects.
Perfect example of how there really is no universally valid recommendation, that it always depends on the particular case. For now that I’ve come to this conclusion I suddenly have been able to see all the lines where it says in which cases not to eat ginger – and they were all the symptoms that I had, or rather: developed in a chain reaction after continuing to eat ginger (high metabolism/high Pitta, diarrhea, all that good stuff).
So, today I avoided ginger, drank peppermint tea in the morning to soothe the stomach – and I haven’t had problems all day. I guess I did get around consulting an expert this time after all, and became a little more of my own expert (not sure whether that really is the take home message from this ordeal though).
I did discover one quick remedy (or rather: Peter pointed me to it), which is obviously no solution for the actual problem but which helps the immediate symptoms, and sometimes that is needed: baking soda. Just dissolve about a tea spoon or so in a glas of water, and drink – works within minutes. Baking soda seems to be good for a lot of things, so I guess there is a post about it in the future …
Mission completed! I did enough to be able to abandon this project, and show some after pictures that don’t reveal everything I didn’t do. Success! Oh yeah, and I tried out some more no poo methods which I now can recommend with a clean conscience.
I cleaned the stove according to this recipe: Sprinkle some baking soda onto the plates, add some drops of white vinegar, let it sit while you do the rest of the cleaning. Then you just wipe it off. Before wiping the stuff off, I used one of those metal brushes (I don’t know what the technical term is, they are specifically for these kind of stoves). I found the recipe for this on a Swedish site, they had a lot more useful tips on cleaning, mostly also no poo: Bästa städtipsen för ett fint hem.
For all of the surfaces (cupboard doors, tiles, working spaces, mopping the floor) I used the white vinegar/lemon/water mixture again. For the sink I just cut a lemon in half, rubbed it in and let it sit for a while before rinsing with water. Again, I am really satisfied with the results, so I am definitely done with the poo that we have standing around here.
I found another link with no poo cleaning methods on ByzantineFlowers (I really find this blog inspiring, makes me wnat to try out a bunch of their recipes!): DIY Citrus Cleaner – you’ll find a lot more no poo alternatives than what the title reveals.
Although I didn’t get as far as I had hoped, I still got the chance to try out some no poo cleaning techniques – and can therefore make some actual recommendations:
- Oil and a mix of vinegar, water and lemon (roughly equal parts) turned out to be my best cleaning friends, I didn’t use much besides that. When it comes to oil and grease stains, it’s really a fighting-fire-with-fire kind of method – and it works, too! The spice rack being located above the stove was covered in a sticky layer of cooking grease and dust. I just dabbed some paper towel in oil and wiped the sticky surfaces. Just use the cheapest you have/can get, doesn’t need to be you precious EVOO. This is obviously only step one, unless you’re content with replacing the old grease layer with a new one (that will get yucky in a few weeks). This is were the lemon/water mixture comes into play. Why not use that one first? Well, I guess you can, but when I tried it felt like I needed to use much more force with that one – using oil was a lot easier.
- I tried out the recipe for cleaning the oven (actually started with that one since you’re supposed to let it sit for 8 hours). I found that the ratio in the recipe made the mix to dry, so I just went with my instinct and added more water until it took on a „wasabi-like“ texture (if you were to conclude from this that I have a sushi-related problem you’d be right on). Also, I used about double the amount of the original recipe. I got good results – I am telling myself that the stuff that I couldn’t get of has been there even when we moved in. This recipe is perfect for me since I am not a very patient person. I tend to get sloppy at the end of a task but luckily, with this recipe, I do not need to worry about whether I am going to die from the next meal I prepare in the oven after cleaning it. Sometimes you can have the cake and eat it, too!
- Oh yeah, maybe the most useful piece of advice that I managed to ignore once more after already having made the mistake: filter the lemon juice before you pour it into a spray bottle. Otherwise the pulp will clog up the pipe/spray head thingy. Or: don’t use a spray bottle, just dab the cleaning rag in the liquid.
I promised recipes and diys – so here we go. This morning, a chain of events (trying out another Ayurveda recommendation, massaging my skin with oil – taking a shower – greasy bathtub) led to me seeing the necessity to clean the bathtub right away. After having read and thought about the whole no poo concept only so recently, the thought of grabbing the bottle with the suspiciously blue (kinda like the blue Gatorade) and strong smelling cleaning product that we have used so far didn’t seem so appealing. There must be something else, I thought, and checked online. Disco! To no surprise, even a very quick research delivered a bunch of helpful sites, and I ended up cleaning the bathtub with a lemon. Yes, with a lemon – and it worked, too.
Among the results of my quick search, I particularly liked a (Swedish) blog post by The Green Eco Journal. The instructions were short and easy, while covering many things you might want to clean in a house/apartment. Also, all that you need according to post is vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and olive oil.
Here is my translation of the post, so please note that the source for the following (unless otherwise marked) including the picture is The Green Eco Journal, anything lost or messed up in translation is completely my fault:
(White wine) vinegar
- For cleaning in general, pour equal amounts of water and vinegar into a spray bottle. Comes in handy when you want to clean up something.
- To freshen up the toilet bowl (it literally says „seat“ but from the rest I gather that it must be the bowl – Solveig), pour two to three deciliters (ca. 1 cup – Solveig) white wine vinegar into it. Wait a few hours, then scrub and flush.
- To clean windows, use the vinegar/water mixture for general cleaning. Spray onto the window. Instead of wiping off the mixture with a towel, use pages from a newspaper (from what I know it works – which it does! – because there are silver particles in the black ink – Solveig). (Paper towels get stuck easily.) You can still recycle the nepspaer after this.
- To clean the floors, pour vinegar into the bucket instead of your regular cleaning product.
- To clean the laundry machine, pour 1/2 deciliter of vinegar (ca. 1/5 cup – Solveig) into it. Start the machine without laundry. This helps to take away old laundry detergent that might have gotten stuck.
- This is a good cleanser for stains and to take away bad smells. It’s also excellent to clean pots.
You can pour half a deciliter (ca. 1/5 cup – Solveig) into the laundry machine to clean it. So next time you’re going to wash something, your clothes will get extra-soft without you needing to add strong fabric softeners.
- Mix a little bit of baking soda and castile soap (my link – Solveig) or regular dishwashing detergent to clean sinks and surfaces that are hard to reach. It’s also a good cleanser for drains. To make it smell nice add a few drops of essence.
- If you have rugs that smell because of pets, sprinkle some baking soda onto the rug before vacuum cleaning them.
- For cleaning the oven, mix 3 ts baking soda, 1 ts salt and 1 ts water. Spread the mixture inside the oven and let it sit for 8 hours. Scrape away and wash off afterward.
- For when your drains get clogged: pour in 1/2 deciliter (ca. 1/5 cup – Solveig) and 1/2 deciliter of white wine vinegar. Let it sit for a while, then rinse with warm water.
Another way to clean the toilet bowl is to pour in 1 ts baking soda and 4 ts vinegar. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes, then scrub and flush.
- Lemon juice is good against grease stains. So it’s perfect for kitchen cleaning.
- To get a natural and fresh scent in a room, make your own room spray from warm water, 1 ts baking soda and 1 ts lemon juice, and put the mixture into a spray bottle.
- To „bleach“ white laundry, add lemon juice to your laundry detergent.
- To give your dishes that extra shine, add lemon juice to your dish washing detergent (not on anything silver, though).
- A spray bottle filled with half water and half lemon juice comes in handy when taking away stains from windows and mirrors.
- Mix 2 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs lemon juice to create a natural furniture polish.
- When cleaning brass and steel material, use a cleaning rag with some olive oil on it.
- When cleaning shoes, use some olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice to make them nice and shiny.
Now all we need to do is find the appropriate dumping site for the poo we’ve been using …