Apparently African people have all the knowledge that we Americans are lacking when it comes to living naturally. Although, maybe that should be a given considering life started in Africa so maybe they’ve had way longer to figure things out than we immigrants of the United States have. I have been on this “natural” journey for a few years now. I am not near where I would like to be, but I’m slowly getting there. I wrote earlier about my deodorant dilemma and my quest to “un-stinky” my pits. I used the crystal deodorant that I had to wet before applying. I used the crystal deodorant that came with some sort of wetness already applied, but still aluminum free. Then I started using a home made deodorant that I got from a customer made with lavender and other essential oils and I don’t really know what else and I liked it, but one day I had been out in the hot sun and I was feeling a little less than sexy when Derek came by. He leaned in to hug me and I immediately told him he may want to start rethinking his life choices because I stunk. He laughed and told me I didn’t smell bad, but I am fairly certain he was just being nice or he lacks the ability to smell anything. He then told me in Ghana they use lemon and ash as a deodorant. Of course, I wanted to know more. But there was no more to it than that. You just dip the lemon in the ash, rub it under your pits, let it sit for a few minutes, and wash it off. Voila!!! No more stinky pits. I was skeptical at first, like I am about almost everything in life, but astonishingly, it worked like a charm. So my new morning routine consists of lemon and ash before my shower. When I say ash, I mean good old fashioned wood ash from the fire, but natural, of course. It can’t be doused in lighter fluid or anything. It has to be started naturally from kindling and flame basically. I did use a little bit of paper to get er going, but that was about it. When I collected the ash, it was still pretty hot. I made the mistake of initially trying to put it in a plastic container but I quickly learned my lesson there as the ash melted the container in my hand. Then I got smart and used a glass soup cup and let the ash cool before moving it to a plastic container with a lid. So I had this container of ash sitting on my kitchen counter and I knew there had to be some other natural stuff I could do with ash, plus, I had a bunch so it was going to take me a while to use all that I had as deodorant. I asked what else I could use it for and he said my teeth. And I was like, “nope.”
But then he told me that you didn’t just put the ash in your mouth like mouthwash. Which, when he said it, I was imagining chewing a piece of chalk and that doesn’t sound like a good day to me. He told me that there is a thing called a chewing sponge (I think that’s what he called it). He said it came from a tree or something and you chew it and then dip it in the ash and use it as a “toothbrush.” I was a little skeptical at first (surprise, surprise). He came over tonight and brought some of this “chewing sponge.” It basically looked like straw in a way or hay, maybe. He cut a decent sized piece off and told me to chew it. I started chewing and immediately started salivating because it tasted weird to me. I guess I’m not used to the flavor of African tree byproducts. And I guess my face said as much because all he could do was laugh at me. It wasn’t that it tasted bad, but it was definitely different and I felt like it was burning my tongue. If he wasn’t such a nice guy, sometimes I would think he just randomly comes up with shit to tell me because he knows I’ll try it. Luckily, he’s a nice guy and wouldn’t do that. So I chewed and chewed and chewed this straw until it turned spongelike in my mouth. By that time, he had left and it was just me, the chewing sponge, and the ash. So I carefully dipped my new apparatus in the ash and began “brushing” my teeth. I didn’t even notice the taste, which was my major concern and when I was done, my teeth felt amazing as if I had just left the dentist after a cleaning. Speaking of cleaning, did you know that if you warm up prune juice and drink it, that it works like a cleanse? Just a little food for thought. Or should I say drink for thought?
Needless to say, I’m completely enthralled with Derek’s knowledge of “alternative” ways to do things. It’s amusing to me because people always call me a hippie and I feel like I am nowhere near it. If anyone is a hippie, it’s him, but no need to split hairs over it. I just think it’s really cool that every time I mention that I wish I had an alternative for (insert whatever here), he immediately gives me a natural alternative for it. It’s quite amazing.
Just in case you couldn’t figure it out from the above mention of him, Derek and I got past our little bump in the road (aka me being a weirdo) and things are going swimmingly well. I’ve noticed that as each day goes by I like him more and more. And that’s an amazing feeling considering it is usually the opposite that happens. It’s been a month since we started seeing each other and he becomes more endearing every day. And I have no complaints.