I sort of stopped washing my hair

So, I sort of stopped washing my hair.

In my longstanding quest to become a crunchier earth mother and/or stick it to the man, I’ve been trying to quit shampoo. This has been something of a shift, since a few months ago, I’d have trouble sleeping if I hadn’t shampooed that day. So that was inconvenient. And, I don’t know, I read a lot of articles on the Internet about how shampoo is actually ruining my life.

The Beginning: Weaning Off
I switched to shampooing only every other day. I felt like a greasy mess every other day, and it was horrible. Liberal application of dry shampoo from Lush, which is actually just corn flour with some citrusy scent. I felt like my head was a greasy tortilla. I did this until my shampoo ran out, probably 2 weeks?

A Step Backwards: Going Homemade
In a misguided effort, I started washing my hair every other day with the homemade body wash I use. This left my hair feeling waxy all the time. I kept it in a ponytail for days as a result, and even when I pulled off my hair tie, my hair sort of stayed in a ponytail. I resembled Severus Snape. Dry shampoo didn’t help. I also tried using watered-down Dr. Bronner’s, which didn’t help, either.

A few theories on why this was so gross: the coconut oil (yum) in my bodywash was basically just hanging out on my head, or, we have hard water, and I was actually just letting soap scum build up on my head. It was not good. I researched some very expensive natural shampoos in desperation at this point, but I just couldn’t justify buying them. So…

My Head is a Middle School Science Project
Now I’m using the much-publicized “no poo” method, even though I’m still a little nervous it will damage or lighten my hair. I mix ~1 tablespoon of baking soda into a cup of water for “shampoo,” and ~1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into a cup of water for “conditioner.” I sort of squirt the baking soda and water onto my scalp and massage it in, then rinse (a lot). Then, I squirt the vinegar throughout my hair and rinse it out? My hair looks surprisingly okay, much like when I was using shampoo, actually. I’m doing this every other day but trying to lengthen the time between.

I’ve been using this blog as a reference, one of the few Asian women who’s written about going no poo. Thanks, friendly stranger!

And here, we firmly believe in pics-or-it-didn’t-happen, so here are some photos of my hair ~24 hours after a baking soda/vinegar wash.


Top of my head. It is surprisingly difficult to not look at the camera/phone and look possessed.
Top of my head. It is surprisingly difficult to not look at the camera/phone and look possessed.


Side / front. Plus some bonus double chin, because, why would I ever make a nice face?
Side / front. Plus some bonus double chin, because, why would I ever make a nice face?


It was hilariously difficult to take a picture of the back of my head with my phone.
It was hilariously difficult to take a picture of the back of my head with my phone.

Blurry and also vegetarian enchiladas

I took a break from eating kale salad every day to glut myself with enchiladas every day for a week. This is real life, you guys. Sometimes we aspirationally read new, creative recipes while we prepare and eat the old standbys. And enchiladas are delicious.

12 corn tortillas
Mixed vegetables (I used onion, mushroom, carrot, spinach)
1 can (14.5 oz? just the normal size) of vegetarian refried beans
1 can of red enchilada sauce
Shredded mild white cheese (like Monterey jack)

Beautiful beige
Beautiful beige

Especially if you fry the tortillas first. So just grab like 12 corn tortillas (for a 9×9 pan) and lightly fry them in an oil with a high smoke point. Also, preheat the oven to 375.

Don’t wash the pan! Chop up some miscellaneous vegetables, because, while we all want to just eat cheese exclusively, we should probably try to eat some plants. I diced an onion, grated some carrots, sliced mushrooms, and loosely chopped some baby spinach. Stir fry until done, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper.

Unexciting mixed vegetables
Unexciting mixed vegetables

Open up a large can of (vegetarian, if you care) refried beans and stir the beans in with the vegetables. I didn’t take a photo of this step because it looked really gross. Just… it looks bad, but it’ll taste ok. Trust me.

Assemble the enchiladas by spooning a quarter cup or so of the filling into each tortilla, wrapping it loosely, and then placing it into the pan seam-side down. Line them up like the beautiful little sausages they are.

Pour the can of red enchilada sauce over those guys. You might need to sort of help it get into the little nooks and crannies. Top the pan with grated cheese and cilantro!

Bake until the cheese is bubbly.

I was so excited to eat that I was shaking a little.
I was so excited to eat that I was shaking a little.

Fusion tacos, and in turn, self-loathing

In my defense, I didn’t start out to make “fusion” tacos. It just happened because hunger stroke, and I had not gone to the market that day. I basically always just want to eat sauteed vegetables with soy sauce (and a fried egg), but generic Asian-ish stir fry doesn’t seem to appeal to my roommates the same way it does to me. So we end up with, I don’t know, soy sauce in all of our foods.

While I wish I could say I got inspired by discussing flavor profiles with my ethnically diverse community or whatever. But, I don’t know, I’m Asian, and we had tortillas.

Surprisingly successful.
Surprisingly successful.

I’ve decided writing recipes is tedious, and reading them must be even more boring, so I’m done with that. It’s my secret blog, and I do what I want.

From top left, going clockwise:

  • Finely chopped scallions and cilantro for toppings
  • Crispy shallots (slice shallots, fry in hot oil with a high smoke point, drain on paper towel) and limes
  • Refried beans, vaguely Asian (sautee diced onion and garlic, add can of beans, mash with oil and Chinese five-spice)
  • Red cabbage slaw (slice cabbage thinly, dress with lime juice, soy sauce, and a little maple syrup)
  • Roasted butternut squash and sauteed spinach
  • Warmed (and puffed!) tortillas

Whew. Wasn’t that easier?

Kale salad with miso sesame dressing

Sometimes I get really stuck on certain foods and will eat them for every meal for days, possibly weeks. This flies in the face of my usual reluctance to eat leftovers, but, well, at least it makes things easier. This time, as a grand stroke of irony, it’s kale salad. I know. This is probably the healthiest meal I’ll ever post.

I mean, I like salad. I really do. I’m just always on a tirade about how it doesn’t feel like a full meal and I want something warm like soup or toast or a sandwich or maybe a bit of pasta with it. But, I don’t know. I came around. Chomping through a big bowl of kale definitely seems more substantial than eating some watery lettuce.

Kale salad with some alternaloaf
Kale salad with some alternaloaf. I told you it was sickeningly healthy. Don’t worry, I think I ate ice cream after this.

Kale Salad with Miso-Sesame Dressing

7-10 leaves of kale (preferably lacinato, but curly will work)
handful of some kind of nut (I’ve been using almonds)
1 carrot
1/2 avocado
1 t ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T miso paste
2 t tahini
2 T lemon juice
2 T olive oil
soy sauce to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

Tear the kale leaves away from the stiff stem. Then, gather it all together in a big lump on a cutting board and run a knife through, cutting it into small, bite-size pieces. (Don’t sweat it if they’re different sizes.) Set in a large bowl.

Make the dressing — combine minced ginger, minced garlic, miso, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Whisk together the ingredients until smooth. You want a flavorful and thick dressing.

Tip for the ginger: I actually keep our ginger frozen and just grate it on a microplane for use. I don’t even peel it. Much easier.

Pour most of the dressing onto the kale. Work the dressing into the kale by “massaging” it. The kale will wilt, shrinking a lot. How much you massage is sort of personal preference, but when the leaves seem soft enough for you to eat, that’s enough.

If the massaging isn’t your thing, you can just drizzle the dressing (or just some lemon juice and olive oil( on the kale, mix it around, and just let it sit for 30 minutes or so.

While the kale is sitting, toast the handful of nuts in the oven. This only takes 5-10 minutes. They’re ready when they smell toasty. Let them cool and roughly chop.

Shred the carrot, or, use a peeler to make ribbons, and add to the bowl. Cube the avocado and add to the bowl.

Add a little more dressing if desired.

Alternaloaf (or, the “life-changing loaf of bread”)

I’m not eating a gluten-free diet. I think every single previous post to this thing has had a gluten product or 20 in it. I love bread, pasta, and preferably, both. With white rice. And potatoes. And maybe a breadcrumb topping?

Glad we got that out of the way. I also like things that aren’t carbs (sometimes). So I thought I’d try something new and make this gluten-free, generally healthy “bread” from My New Roots. You remember it, the one that rocked the food blog world like a year ago? It’s made mostly of oats and nuts, bound together with ground psylium seed husks, which is this crazy absorbent powder sort of like ground flaxseeds. It’s also a colon cleanser, so, you know, there’s that.

I’ve made it a couple times now, so I feel like I can safely say that it’s really good. It’s satisfying and flavorful and an awesome vessel for toppings. It’s not really like crusty, fluffy bread in many ways, but it’s really good. I hesitate to call it “bread” for that reason, so I’ve settled on the vaguely unappetizing name of Alternaloaf.



Adapted very slightly from My New Roots

1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup hazelnuts or almonds
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 T chia seeds
4 T psyllium seed husks (ground)
2 t salt
1 T maple syrup
3 T coconut oil
1 1/2 cup warm water

Sitting out on the counter for its 2-hour soak.
Sitting out on the counter for its 2-hour soak.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Add coconut oil to warm water and swirl until the coconut oil is melted. Stir in maple syrup.

Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix well.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and press the dough into the loaf pan. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the loaf for 20 minutes. Then, remove the loaf from the oven and carefully pull it out of the pan using the parchment paper for help. Set the loaf onto a cookie sheet and return to the oven, baking for 30-40 minutes, or until the outside of the loaf is golden.

Let the loaf cool before slicing and eating. It tastes the best sliced and toasted.

The loaf spoils pretty quickly, so I slice up half and freeze the slices for snacks later.