Monday, May 12, 2008

Celebrating the Earth

We celebrated the Earth at Pecos school. Many knowledgeable volunteers showed the students their passion for ecology including me.

My passion is making medicine, food, and household products from plants.

Since I suspected some of the younger kids and probably most of the older kids and adults would not recognize wild plants, I chose vegetables.

Thinking about the teenagers who used to live nearby, I decided to make beauty treatments.

Keeping it simple, I wanted to use only one fruit or vegetable. First, I thought of an ancient formula used in pre-renaissance era to grease hair back into place using swine fat and apple paste. But the boys do not wear their hair greaser style any longer so that formula was out. Besides, my friends thought that swine fat mixed with applesauce and slicked back on the boys’ hair was gross.

I couldn’t think of anything else for the boys and neither could I keep it simple. The girls were easy. In the same era as boys slicked back their hair with swine fat and applesauce, women used apple puree for a facial mask. The apple has tannin in it so draws the skin tighter and gives the it a healthy glow and contains a natural exfoliate to clean the first dirt layer off the skin. I could still use that apple.

Oranges are a cleaning fruit like lemon or any other citrus. I peeled the orange, dried the zest and skin and ground up the dried peel. Vegetable glycerin is an extract of palm and/or coconut oil. So, I boiled them together strained out the chunks and put the oily concoction in a jar.

I knew strawberries whitened teeth. Cucumbers made eyes feel better. I put a pack of strawberries and two unpeeled cucumbers on the display table along with an orange to indicate the orange peel/glycerin product and an apple to indicate the applesauce product.

Then I drew simple cards of an eye, face, hand, and teeth and called the game “Produce Products”. The object of the game is to match up the produce or produce product with the body part that it is supposed to enhance.

First, pick a complete makeover recipient. Then have the students or a student representative guess the product the produce makes. If the student gets it right, the complete makeover recipient gets top wear the product.

The boys were as interested as the girls were in the applesauce mask since it closes up pores which is one of the reasons for acne. Duh, should have thought about acne prevention or cures. Apples contain a soft exfoliate which cleans the layer of dirt off the skin without hurting the skin. I explained that any facial mask should be used only once a week. The teachers knew about cucumbers on the eyes for relaxing eyestrain. Cucumbers have a very high water, silicon, and sodium content that help soothe and cool eyes and reduce puffiness. One kid knew that oranges were a cleaning solution and another knew about using oil on hands to make them soft. Nobody knew about strawberries whitening teeth and that the strawberries contain malic acid, which acts as an astringent to remove surface discoloration, but they sure knew about the whitening products on the market.

Next time, I’d like to include more produce that make beauty products i.e., beet juice and bees wax for a natural lipstick, yucca root for stimulating hair growth, apple cider vinegar and lavender flowers for an after shave product, grated raw potato to erase blemishes, and lettuce leaf juice to eradicate pimples.

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