Review: Morrocco Method natural shampoos and my detox experience

I’ve been into natural nutrition, natural healthcare, and general “chemical-free living” for a long time. But I have never made the jump to truly natural hair care, even after I learned about the various methods of doing that. I just didn’t want to go through the dreaded detox period.

But I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for it as we neared the summer. I already knew exactly what I wanted to do, as I had heard about Morrocco Method (MM) at least a year earlier and had researched it online quite a bit.

I bought the Healthy Hair Starter Package, which contains all of the shampoos, two conditioners, styling gel, detox clay mask, and a few more items. I also bought a pure boar bristle brush, which is important for properly brushing the nourishing oils from the scalp out through the rest of the hair. (Even in the middle of detox, I found that my hair no longer really tangles, even when wet, and I don’t need conditioner.)

The basic idea of MM is to use no chemicals on your hair or scalp, only natural/raw ingredients. This means you won’t be stripping your hair of its natural oils and conditioners, which we do every time we use regular shampoos. This also means that you’ll go through an adjustment period after you stop using regular shampoos. Your body is still used to overproducing its oils to try to keep up with how much you strip them. Once your body adjusts to the MM way of doing things, the oil production will level out, and you should be able to wash your hair every few days with MM.

Before

Here’s me on the day of my last “regular” shampoo (I’d been using either L’Oreal Sulfate-Free EverPure or Renpure Biotin and Collagen Shampoo, every other day):

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My hair is thin, fine, soft, and pretty flat. It’s relatively dry from having done highlights for a number of years, but I haven’t gotten it highlighted for over a year now. I was used to washing it every other day, but it would be relatively greasy that second day. It tangles like crazy when wet.

Detox

The detox was what I was most worried about and what I could find the least information on when I searched online. Plenty of people have pictures of their beautiful “after” hair, but what about the “during”? All of the pictures below are when my hair is fully dry.

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I stocked up on hair wraps and other accessories (this one’s from Walmart), which I’ve never worn before but are in style enough right now to be available everywhere. I also got these awesome spin pins, which I use almost every day now!

After a few days

The greasiness has definitely started. There are a LOT of flakes. These pics were after my first boar-bristle brushing.

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One week in

Showing me using the Zen Detox hair & scalp therapy and what my hair looked like after (P.S. I figured out not to use the shower cap with the zen detox; it was keeping the moisture in when I didn’t want it to do that):

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Two weeks in

My fully dry hair still looks wet. I cannot wear it down at all. Feels greasy and matted, especially in the back. I am losing an alarming amount of hair–like every time I brush, I’m removing as much hair from the brush as I feel I usually did in a week.

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Three weeks in

On the day of my June 21 blunt-cut trim; my hair feels super matted and even sticky.

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but I’m getting plenty of use out of all those wraps I bought. 🙂 This one is also from Walmart:

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One month in

When reading reviews of the MM shampoos yesterday, I came across someone who said she needed to use more than the prescribed amount. I naturally skimp on quantities when I use products (part of me feels it’s frugal, and part of me doesn’t even think about it–I just use less). But this morning when I washed, I did the normal dime-sized amount for the first wash and then used a full heaping tablespoon of the shampoo (mixed in a glass jar with a couple of tablespoons of water) for the second wash, and I think it made quite a difference. My hair is still greasy but feels a lot better. Mayyyybe I’m rounding the detox corner.

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Five weeks in

I still feel like things are getting gradually better, especially in the front of my hair, but the back still feels greasy every day and is the reason I can’t wear my hair down yet. I’m still finding a BUNCH of hair in my brush every day. You can see in the second picture below that it definitely looks thinner. All I’ve read, though, tells me that new growth will occur. I’m willing to be patient.

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Six weeks in

I think the worst is officially over–especially if I look back at the pictures from week two! But the back of my hair is still greasy, and I’m still wearing it up. I’m still doing the boar bristle brushing morning and night, and I feel like that’s really helping to condition my hair on the bottom half, which would tend toward dryness. The scalp/top is still greasy.

I bought the MM light blond henna after reading up on it and am excited to try it! I read it can dry things out a bit, which I think will actually be GOOD for my greasy scalp. I also read it just picks up on natural highlights and doesn’t really drastically change your hair color.

Day before henna hair dye:

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After henna hair dye: the color doesn’t look MUCH changed, but I expected that. I do think it picks up a bit of the natural highlights I have. BUT what’s better is my hair feels soft and much less greasy, especially in the back. I may just be able to wear it down today!IMG_0655.JPG

oh my… I am not pregnant in the next picture FYI!IMG_0654.JPG

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I’m not ready to say I’m finished with the detox process, because I’m still losing hair each day and am hoping to be able to wear it down consistently, but I feel pretty good about my hair overall and am glad I’ve made the switch to MM! I’ll update this post with more progress pictures.

UPDATE from 9/13/16:

UPDATE from 3/3/17:

Other Resources

There are a couple of videos I have found helpful:

How to cut your own hair using the “blunt snip” method

How to use a boar bristle brush

The most helpful blog posts I found about MM and detox are at thepaleoprize.com.

 

Social skills classes for kids recovered from autism

Nate will be 10 years old in less than 2 months (!), and he is doing very well. He does well in school, has good friends at church, has several interests, and is a responsible boy. While we continue with our wholesome nutrition and natural medicine lifestyle, we still want to do all we can to help him have the tools he needs to succeed. So last year, he began going to a once-a-week social skills class, and it has been fantastic. What is interesting is that this type of class is almost nowhere to be found for kids Nate’s age! There are therapy offerings all over the place for young children, but what about when those young children do well and “graduate”? There is almost nothing for them when their “quirks” start standing out among their peers.

At 5 years old, Nate was considered “recovered” from autism and no longer qualified for a diagnosis. He was doing great! But it didn’t mean he was a different child; he was still Nate and still had his quirks. He loved touching babies’ hair; he would often talk about topics he wanted to talk about and never thought to ask questions or seek to understand others’ feelings; he was extremely literal and precise (“Teacher, you said we would be going outside at 10:00, but it is 10:01.”); he had a constant desire to be first (in line, through the door, etc.). But other 5 year olds never noticed those quirky behaviors or at least didn’t think anything of them. Fast forward 3 or 4 years, and those quirks started standing out. Eight-, nine-, and ten-year-old kids notice a lot more and, while they’re exploring their own identities, they begin to point out differences they see in others. Those kids who were quirkily cute at 5 years old are now annoyingly different at 9. To make matters worse, dealing with slight ridicule and letting things roll off one’s back and navigating “playground politics” are tools that especially don’t come naturally to kids like Nate. It’s a vicious cycle!–because kids who lash back at and respond poorly to slight ridicule are often the ones who begin being more-than-slightly ridiculed.

So while our “recovered” kids are often extremely smart and do well academically–and therefore are not deemed to need any assistance–there is a great need for social helps in middle and later elementary school. And the need for this type of service will only increase, as more and more 2- and 3-year-old boys and girls are being diagnosed on the spectrum.

At the center we go to (http://www.kellymckinnonassociates.com/), classes are filled with 4 to 6 close-in-age peers, and they work on lots of things in one hour! Here are some things Nate’s class has worked on or works on every week:

– impulse control
– how to work as a group on things like choosing and playing a game
– sportsmanship
– talking about the difference between “laughing at” and “laughing with”
– remembering to ask questions and listen to others’ responses
– what types of topics are good for 9- and 10-year-old boys to have conversations about (besides just Minecraft)
– therapist takes video of the kids talking with each other and then goes over the video to point out good things and areas for improvement (usually interrupting and not listening)
– how to greet each other (no hugs)
– what to do if you feel like crying at school (and talking about how they’re now too old to do that)

This is not “play-based therapy” where the kids don’t know why they’re there and think they’re just playing. This is a social skills class where Nate knows he goes to learn “how to be a better friend and make friends.” The therapists get the most out of each hour in training, reminding, and helping the kids–which I appreciate. We have been thankful for these classes and have seen improvement in Nate’s interactions at school!

The measles outbreak, fear mongering, and vaccines

A recent measles outbreak, which started at Disneyland and has infected approximately 70 people, has put “the anti-vaccine movement” on the front pages of every news outlet. The media, always eager to sensationalize, has turned this into a full-blown epidemic and placed the blame on people who do not vaccinate. fear-2 How about these article headlines?

or this quotation from ABC News:

Others have delayed getting their children vaccinated because they still believe now-discredited research linking the measles vaccine to autism. “Some people are just incredibly selfish” by skipping shots, said Dr. James Cherry, a pediatric disease expert at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Like every other mainstream news story I’ve read, the ABC story above oversimplifies, discounts, and discredits parents’ views. Most people I know who do not vaccinate their children have made that choice for myriad reasons–and one of those reasons is usually not that they “still believe” defunct research. (And it bugs me to no end that the media automatically discredit that research without linking to any supporting information. It’s like they believe the research is discredited just because all the other media outlets have said so–so now it’s truth.)

Briefly, here are the reasons we do not vaccinate:

  • Vaccines contain some terrible and toxic ingredients, like human cell lines from aborted infants, formaldehyde, ammonium sulfate, MSG, thimerosal (mercury), and more. Even the CDC website lists these ingredients on its “you don’t have anything to be worried about” page (see that page or the PDF listing all ingredients also on that page). In addition, our bodies don’t know how to process the synthetic ingredients in vaccines, and so those ingredients end up being stored in our “long-term storage centers”–our fat tissue. (source and source)
  • There are lots of side effects. The CDC placates us by saying, “Any vaccine can cause side effects.”
  • Our child who was vaccinated (Nate) has a history of being affected by environmental toxins (like vaccines), and we don’t want to assault his body again.
  • We believe strongly that parents should be able to make the decision about whether to vaccinate their child.

In addition, because two of our kids do not have the MMR vaccine, here are some steps I take to help support our immune systems naturally:

  • We all take a daily dose of high-quality probiotic (good gut flora are very beneficial for immunity!) and cod liver oil
  • I apply essential oils to my kids’ necks, heads, and feet each morning before school.
  • We eat a wholesome, nourishing diet.

Finally, what if we do come in contact with the measles virus and one of the kids contracts it? Well, once symptoms arise (this article spells them out), I would help along a low-grade fever like I always do (email me for the details on how I treat a low-grade fever and the steps I take to prevent ear infection and aid the immune system). Finally, in one of the articles linked below, one researcher found that cinnamon oil made measles cases milder. I have some cinnamon bark essential oil on hand. I don’t imagine getting the measles would be pleasant at all, but at this point I still feel strongly that we do not want to vaccinate, especially with the MMR.

Here are a couple of excellent articles on this topic I’ve read:

– A fantastic article my husband Jon found with extensive research – The Truth About Measles the Mainstream Media is Suppressing

and another source with similar information by the same author: Measles and measles vaccines: fourteen things to consider

– Article written in “regular words” by a chemist – Herd Immunity: Three Reasons Why I Don’t Vaccinate My Children… And Why Vaccine Supporters Shouldn’t Care That I Use Vaccine Exemption Forms

31 Days: my favorites

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Welcome! Today is the last day in the 31 Days writing challenge, where I’ve posted every day (except three) for the month of October. Here are my favorite posts from this month:

Raising chickens to overcome fear of animals – I loved this post because I got to put up pictures of our chickens when they were cute little chicks, but also because this was a real issue with a real solution we experienced in the last year.

Food at school – I like being able to give practical, easy-to-implement tips like in this post. My favorite “treat” recipe is also included in this one.

Nourishing recipes worth taking time for: broth – broth is such an important part of natural, whole foods nutrition!

Recipes that saved my sanity – more practical tips, links, and recipes.

A nutty treat – I rarely do recipe posts with pictures, but this one was fun.

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’ve detailed our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries.

Why I write

I must admit, I thought I would have at least a few people read and comment on some of my posts this month. However, that wasn’t my main motivation for writing every day. My hope is that, by writing our experiences, I might help someone, at some point. I know my blog isn’t the fanciest, doesn’t have lots of photos, isn’t expertly designed, but if it comforts or teaches or helps another family going through similar trials, it’s a success! I would have been so encouraged to have found another mom like me when we were in those first couple of years of diagnosis and therapies with Nate.

So in that vein, if you are here for the first time and are dealing with a new (or old) autism diagnosis, try these posts:

Intro to treating autism

2014 check-in

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Q&A time

I’m enjoying this 31-day journey of writing every day, compiling our experiences, and thinking through what has become important to us nutrition-wise over the years. Is there something I haven’t covered that you are wondering about? Leave a comment, and I’ll answer your questions in another post!

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Food and grace

grace_and_foodMy friend posted a thought-provoking piece about food guilt, about the stress and pressure now in our culture to eat a certain way, about “think[ing] that we are deep down somehow better than all those other people” who don’t eat like we do. It got me thinking about my topic this month and what I don’t want to convey.

Eight years ago, I did none of this food stuff and didn’t think I ever would become “that person.” So if there is one thing viewing these last eight years through the lens of my thoughts on nutrition has taught me, it’s that we’re all on our own journeys and we’re all at different places on our journeys.

My intention with these posts this month is possibly to help families dealing specifically with autism. I don’t mean to guilt anyone into doing anything. By detailing the process we went through (specifically in posts here, here, here, and here), I wanted to show that this was a process–a difficult process. But it’s a process that was worth it to us, because we saw changes in Nate that any parent would long for.

But Ashley did remind me that, ultimately, it’s about grace (or as she said, “It’s about the people.”). When nutrition becomes so important to me that I exclude others from my life or my kids’ lives because of it, that’s a problem. So while this is something I’m passionate about, it can’t be what I’m most IMG_4858passionate about. Thanks for the reminder, my friend.

I plan on taking a break from everyday posting tomorrow, as it is Sunday and I don’t yet have a post planned! So I’ll see you Monday. 🙂

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

On motherhood and autism

If there’s one thing motherhood has taught me, it’s that I know way less than I thought I knew.

I had a big list of “I will nevers” before I had kids. (I will never let my children do x in the middle of a store. I will never let my children talk to me in x sort of way. Insert your “I will never” here.) Then I had kids. And not only that, but I had a child with autism. My pride, selfishness, judgmental heart, and lack of grace were quickly exposed when Nate didn’t conform to my silly ideas. Oh, he was beautiful, sweet, cute, lovable. But he didn’t talk; he had meltdowns and tantrums at inopportune times; he didn’t look at me when I called his name; he wouldn’t eat anything healthy.

I thought I wa232323232-fp58=ot-2323=--7=529=3232--7438358nu0mrjs going to be a good mom; why wasn’t my child behaving?

That was often my thought. Even then, it was very much about me. I have a feeling that motherhood in general is a slow process of “dying to self,” of giving up selfishness and preconceptions. Perhaps I would have gone through much the same process of realization if I hadn’t had a child on the spectrum; I think it was just intensified.

In addition to recognizing my own sin, I also mourned for Nate’s lost childhood. It was hard seeing others’ neurotypical children who just “got it.” Their moms didn’t have to teach them how to talk or communicate; they just got it. They could go to parks and playdates and fun stuff, all while Nate was going to therapy.

Slowly, slowly, the focus turned away from me, my lost mothering experience. I learned much about letting go of expectations and embracing the beauty of what the Lord has given me.

232323232-fp64=ot-2323=--7=537=3232--7446637nu0mrjLooking back, I can see stages and steps God brought to loosen my grip on it being all about me: adding a second baby to the mix (and then a third!); homeschooling for 1st grade; doing the GAPS diet (I’m serious. That was an eye-opening sacrifice.). I’m still learning. I still have a tendency to turn inward and make it about me. I have bad days. But nothing has been as revealing and refining as motherhood.

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

Food at school

Once you have your child on a restricted diet, school adds a new element of difficulty. Every week–sometimes nearly every day–is someone’s birthday or some special day when parents want to bring in “treats” for the kids. Here’s how I navigate these waters.

First, I love when teachers encourage non-food celebrations. For example, some teachers invite parents to bring the child’s favorite book and read it to the class and then tell the class a few special things about the child as a celebration of his/her birthday. Love that. Or what about children getting to bring in a few favorite items from home to show their classmates and teacher on their special day?

Second, I also love when teachers limit what types of foods can be brought to class. And they should!–Teachers directly benefit from reducing the sugar, processed food, and junk intake of the kids in their class. Teachers can say, for instance, that only fruit and popcorn are allowed. This pleases parents like me, who care about what their kids eat, and also prevents most issues for children with allergies. Parents who really want to give their kids treats covered in colorful frosting can surprise the children at pickup at 3:00 with a single cupcake.

When these ideals aren’t reality, though, here’s my best tip: stock your child’s classroom with acceptable “treats.” I don’t just mean bring in a treat on the days you know another parent is bringing something in. I mean stock at least 10 treats, because I can’t even count the times I’ve found out after the fact that so-and-so’s parent brought in cupcakes and “healthy store-bought muffins” (really? healthy?). So I get my child’s teacher on board, explaining briefly why Nate can’t have sugar, wheat, most dairy, processed foods, etc., and then I provide a bunch of items to keep on hand in the classroom for when they’re needed.

Treat ideashoneymints

Here are three of my favorite nut-free treats to stock at school. Many of our favorite treats have nuts in them (almond flour, almond butter, etc.), and since most schools are nut free, I have excluded those treats from this list.

  • Trader Joe’s honey mints – these are definitely a treat, but I love them because they can last a long time at school, and Nate loves them. He usually gets to have two if everyone else gets muffins or the like. Ingredients: honey, chocolate liquor, oil of peppermint.
  • Easy banana-oat cookies – two of my kids like these, and it’s easy and economical to make a huge batch and keep in the freezer in the kids’ classroom. The add-ins I do are cinnamon and a couple tablespoons of raw honey. NOTE: to be healthiest, definitely soak your oats first, then dehydrate before making your oat cookies. (You can also try without dehydrating but might have to adjust the recipe to account for extra moisture.)
  • Buttermintsbuttermints – pretty much my favorite treat of all time. These will work in classrooms with a refrigerator or freezer. Even though my kids consider these “treats,” they are filled with such goodness that I offer them often.

But what if your child is a sneak? I have one of these (not Nate), who occasionally likes to sneak bites of things not usually allowed. At my kids’ particular school, this isn’t too much of a problem, because kids are not allowed to share or trade food with each other, and generally, teachers encourage healthy foods to be brought in to class (if at all). But if this is a problem for you, I would recruit your child’s teacher to assist. Explain how important staying away from certain foods is for your child, emphasizing behavioral implications that could even affect your child at school. Ask for the teacher’s assistance and buy-in, and then be proactive about stocking acceptable treats that your child loves and doesn’t often get. (Back at a previous school, when Nate was in special ed and had an IEP, I included his diet requirements as part of his official IEP! Teachers or other parents were not allowed to give Nate any food without my permission; I had to be that strict because those teachers were not on the same page as I was and often thought something was “fine” when it wasn’t. Example: one teacher didn’t know goldfish crackers had wheat/gluten.)

Do you have any treats you like to stock in your child’s class?

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.

A shift in perspective

After putting Nate on a gluten-free, casein-free diet, we also took out soy pretty quickly, since the soy protein acts similarly in the body to gluten. However,

Going GFCF did not mean Nate’s diet was healthy.

When I decided to go GFCF, the only way I thought I could make that happen would be to replace all of the gluten- and casein-containing foods in Nate’s diet with non-gluten, non-casein duplicates, regardless of nutrition.

Even so, we saw major improvements. He started saying words and communicating. He had fewer meltdowns. His digestion improved a tiny bit. He slept better at night and didn’t wake so early.

Nate, July 2008
Nate, July 2008

Understandably, I was focused on autism and all the talk that removing gluten, casein, and soy made such a difference. So instead of quesadillas with flour tortillas and cheese, I made taquitos with fried corn tortillas, chicken, and lots of ketchup. Instead of Life cereal, I gave him Rice Chex or Kix (dry) as a snack. Instead of crackers, I gave him Fritos (with ketchup, of course).

I wasn’t looking at the big picture of what nutrition and health could mean. 

Do you see a trend in the list of foods above? They were still all nutritionally empty refined carbohydrates. This was still all his little body craved. Although we weren’t actively harming his gut with gluten and casein, we were depriving his body of nutrients it needed and were even stripping it of nutrients it had (metabolizing refined/processed carbohydrates actually strips our body of nutrients).

I continued on this path for years. Sometimes it was easy, but mostly it was hard. (Think birthday parties, church nursery snacks, pretty much any social get-together: gluten and casein abound!) But this was extremely important to me–seeing Nate heal and progress–and so I made sure not a molecule of gluten, casein, or soy crossed his lips. If an accident did happen and he got some of those foods, we could tell! A few goldfish crackers would manifest themselves in days–days–of meltdowns, whining, and tantrums–outward physical symptoms of the turmoil caused inside his body.

Then I was introduced to a local naturopath in early 2011. We all eventually would have appointments with him, but I took Nate first. After a few appointments with Nate (during which we worked on issues with parasites and probiotics/gut), he mentioned the GAPS diet.

Nate in 2011, shortly before we started GAPS
Nate in 2011, shortly before we started GAPS

The GAPS diet works in stages, with the introduction/first stage being quite restrictive; you add in more and more foods with each stage until you reach the “full GAPS” diet, which you maintain for a while (think 2 years). Eventually, you introduce dairy (also in stages), but the GAPS diet does remain gluten- and soy free. The staples of the diet are organic/unprocessed meats and broth, lots of fats, soup, cooked vegetables, eggs, naturally probiotic foods (like sauerkraut), and NO grains, starches, or sugar. After the couple of years on full GAPS, the gut should be healed and you can start coming off of the diet and eating other foods (while still eating healthy and making good choices). Basically, it is not a life sentence and has as its primary goal healing of the gut/digestive system and repopulating with beneficial bacteria so that all foods can again be tolerated.

I read Dr. McBride’s book (here it is) and was excited to get started in January 2012! Come back tomorrow to see how it went!

This post is part of the 31 Days writing challenge, during which I’m detailing our family’s journey through autism as it relates to the one lifestyle change we made that had the greatest impact on our son’s recovery: nutrition. Click here for a list of all this month’s entries as they are posted.