I remember reading articles about families that lived "trash free" by keeping only natural, whole/unprocessed product stocked in their pantries and making all their food and essentials from scratch. It was inspirational, but seemed impossible three years ago. Now here I am living the same way, it was a natural evolution that came along with slowly switching to eating raw vegan and making my own personal and household cleaning concoctions:
Keeping the following on hand I can make all of my favorite eats, body products, and household essentials. It's easy, effective, and cheap!:
Baking Soda: Use as shampoo, carpet refresher, toothpaste (very whitening!), household cleanser, deodorant (see here). For shampoo mix it with water to make a paste, as toothpaste, keep it in a jar and mix in a few drops of peppermint essential oil.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV removes hair build-up while closing each strand's cuticles, resulting in tangle-free, shiny hair. It balances skin's oil levels as a toner. Mix an equal part of vinegar and water to use as a toner or conditioner. Mix vinegar, water, baking soda and essential oil for a bad-ass all-surface cleanser. I use a little ACV in recipes, too.
Essential Oils: My favorites are lime, lemon, peppermint, and rosemary. I fill my mop bucket with hot water and essential oil, and mop with that instead of a chemical cleanser, it makes the apartment smell amazing! Essential ingredient in DIY cleansers, too.
Spices & Oils: black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, dried basil, chipotle, chili powder, cayenne, stevia (for tea and smoothies, use it a lot!), agave, and tamari are essentials. I sometimes use coconut oil in smoothies, salad dressings, and desert recipes- it doubles as a body moisturizer.
Herbs: I'm growing ample spearmint, parsley and basil., I love adding fresh and dried spearmint to teas like yerba mate to overpower the strong, grassy flavor. I add parsley to a lot of recipes and juice it, too.
Nuts: I love adding 1/4 cup of nuts to my frozen fruit smoothies, it makes them creamy. I keep almonds, cashews, and walnuts as my typical staples, excellent for adding texture to recipes.
Leafy Greens: For salads, green juices, or for wrapping up pates. I usually have romaine, kale, and collard leaves on hand.
Frozen Fruit: For my fruit smoothies, my usual formula is 1 cup of fruit, 1 cup of water, 1/2 cup of ice, and 1/4 cup of nuts.
Plants Aplenty (!!!): I keep zucchini, apples, avocados, tomatoes cucumber, red bell pepper, celery, carrots, and 1 head of cabbage on hand for recipes, salads, and juicing.
Glass Jars: I save all of my jars and plastic containers (usually from olives and sauerkraut) to re-use for holding leftovers in the fridge, use as drinking glasses, etc.
You can buy a lot of these essentials in the bulk buy section of your local health food stores or save money and start growing your own goodness. I can't wait until I have a constant stream of leafy greens coming in to chomp on and juice!
What are your go-to kitchen and household essentials? Got any DIY cleaning/hygiene recipes to share?