Quiet

I’m seriously so sorry for the quiet that has been happening hear this week.
This last Friday my boyfriend, sister and I went to Chicago for a long weekend and even got to go skydiving. Upon landing, my boyfriend was on one knee with a ring in hand. He asked me to marry him and of course I said YES!!!
We just got back yesterday and before even coming home, was surprised with a little engagement get together with both my and his immediate family.
Everything was wonderful, but this weekend has been LONG – BUSY – and EXHAUSTING! And now I am left with bag that need to be un-packed, many thank you cards to write, a house to clean, and about a days worth of sleep to catch up on.
So please excuse the quiet that is happening here, life is happening and its wonderful, good, exciting, and fast!
Along with the other items on my to-do list, I will also work on some “back up posts” for any future quiet.
Thank you so much for being gracious with me and this blog space!

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Homemade Skin Care

healthy skin

I’ve never had perfect skin. I’ve never had horrible skin either. But it’s always just kind of been, ok. In High School I would pile on the make up, not like a clown, but to cover any imperfection that I would see on my face. Since then, the running joke between my sister, a cousin of mine and myself is that I’ve let myself go over the last few years. Honestly though, I just don’t like the feel of all that stuff on my face any more, and I feel like no matter what I have bought/tried/borrowed, nothing seemed to clean up the mess that make up would leave behind on my face in the form of dried skin, puffy marks, pink dots and other blemishes.

About 18 months I read this post about the real reason for acne. And quickly forgot about it until two months later. The second time I read it I was hanging on to every word and digesting it (no pun intended) like a starving African child. I had never heard that acne was from food intake and I was amazed. I was also amazed with further research that after years of not letting anything that even resembled oil touch my face, that not having enough of the right kind of oil on my face was the real reason.

For the next two weeks, I searched high and low to find out more about skin care. Natural skin care, the kind that old woman across the world swear by. The kind of skin care that is native to lands and villages that have no idea what skin cancer is. My world was turned upside down. And all the information I found gave me two instructions over, and over, and over, and over again. STOP eating dairy, and use coconut oil on my skin.

The dairy part was easy, as I try to stay away from it in general. And now that I know the facts about acne and dairy, when I think back to my sickest (tummy wise) times, my skin was the worst. But the coconut oil, let’s just put it this way… I had told my self I would start using oil on my skin on a Tuesday for that Thursday, Wednesday night I has a dream that my mom was standing over my head placing chicken on my forehead. She was frying the chicken on my greasy gross forehead! A little bit paranoid, huh?

Thursday came about and I did it. Friday I woke and inspected every inch of my face. And guess what… my face seemed soft, exfoliated, and bright. I was in awe. So I looked for more recipes and since then have three that are staples to my routine. A face wash, a face scrub (microdermabrasion style), a face mask, and a face lotion/serum. So here they are ūüôā

Face wash:

– Mix equal parts coconut oil and sugar or finely ground salt. I generally do a large batch, 2 Cups of each.

– Add any essential oil for a scent. I don’t do this but know many people who do.

– Store in a container, preferably glass.

That’s¬†it!!!!! See how easy it is.

Face scrub:

– Mix Baking Soda and Coconut Oil to a 2:1 ratio.

РUse a very small amount (about a dime size) and massage into skin in a circular motion always working from the bottom of your face up.

– After washing off of your skin, gently pat dry and apply lotion below.

Face Mask:

– Mix about 2 oz of freshly squeezed orange juice with 1 tsp of baking soda.

–¬†The¬†consistency¬†should be a wet paste.

– Depending on the amount of acid in your orange juice and how fresh your baking soda is, the amounts above may differ.

РOnce the consistency is reached, apply to your face like you would a store bought face mask.

– Once dried, apply another layer.

– Keep repeating this until you cannot see through the paste/mask to your skin.

– Let sit for about 10 minutes and rinse off. Gently pat dry and apply lotion below.

Face Lotion/Serum:

– Take coconut oil and massage it into your skin.

THAT’S IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hello easy!

Now as I write this, I’ll be honest and say that I’m having hormonal fluctuations, but my “bad” now is what my every day used to be. I have people tell me all the time now that I have nice skin. Never before did that happen to me… not with Proactive, not with Arbonne, not with anything found at Target… nothing!

So what do you think?

Would you be up for trying any of the above homemade health products?

Do you use anything on your skin that other might look at as odd or strange?

How about coconut oil? Have you ever used that gem of an food on your skin?

Chemicals

chemicals

In the last year, I have done something that I never expected that I would do. Being the girlie-girl I am, I have more make up than a CVS and know how to use hair spray for things that would probably be a shock to Paul Mitchell. I remember hearing about people who would cut out their use of chemicals from their day to day lives and think, “why”? I have officially become THAT person and am so happy!¬†In the last year, I have made bi-monthly changes to my life to cut out some chemicals and trust me, every one around me including myself, are beyond amazed.

After going through a rough summer last year in terms of my health, I decided I was going to make majoy changes. And after experiencing some rashes on my face, I hopped on this beast of a machine called the internet and did some homework. I was blown away at what I learned and will probably never be able to make ALL the changes I would like to in my life, but try to change one thing – on very little thing every other or few months.

SO what all have I stopped using and what do I now make from products found in my kitchen? Here’s my list!

Body Lotion, Wash & Scrub

Sunscreen

Hair Conditioner

Toothpaste

Face Wash, Lotion & Masks – and other facial products

Laundry Detergent

Deodorant

Cleaning Products such as “cleaning wipes” – think¬†Clorox, and cleaning liquid/spray – think Clorox CleanUp

Over the next few days, I’d like to share with you the recipe for each product, the information as to why I switched and my experience since using these homemade health products. I’ll try to use pictures as much as possible to show the process and give you a really solid idea of how the process works.

Also, I have a little surprise for you on Saturday! So expect a weekend full of posts and some really interesting reading all about chemicals and our health.

Do you use any “non-conventional” products in your house? If so, what? Have any thing specific that isn’t on the list above you want more information on? Let me know and I’ll add it to this little series I’m calling “Homemade Health”.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are really strange diseases. There are currently over 80 identified and that number is expected to increase by about 50% in the next 10 years.  These diseases range from Celiac Disease, to M.S., to Type 1 Diabetes, certain types of cancer and even certain types of anemia. Chances are, someone you know either has already been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease or has one but has not yet been diagnosed.

Autoimmune diseases are strange because they are more or less an internal fight within your body that includes the body destroying itself. Take a celiac patient for instance. Some where along the line, the human body recognizes gluten within the body as “DANGER”, and an invader. The body sends out it’s little solders to locate, attack, and destroy. That natural process is all fine and dandy until you realize that the gluten molecules are usually attached to something else whether it be nutrients or body cells. And the result is a human body destroying itself whether by destroying it’s one food fuel or killing off it’s own cells.

Sadly, the percentage of American’s suffering from Autoimmune diseases is increasing at a rapid rate. And generally speaking the treatment for Autoimmune disease is¬†usually¬†minimal. Now, not all autoimmune diseases kill but they do definitely alter life in a negative way.

This post today is just to say to anyone who is or knows someone suffering from an autoimmune disease that nutrition makes a different in the body being able to heal and maintain balance. If you are interested in more information please contact myself via email, do some of your own research, or contact a person with a background in nutrition concerning disease.

Food brings us together as individuals, it connects us and brings hope. Whether it is because you are able to share a meal and commune with someone who can relate to your current circumstances, or because you find healing physically… food does in fact heal us. Spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally!

 

HOPE

Stuck

Ella: I gained 6 pounds.

Me: It’s ok, I promise.. your body just isn’t sure what you are doing to it yet.

Ella called me last Friday. She was in a panic and I could hear the tear welling up and the gulps in her throat being held back. She has lost about 24 pounds and has gained and lost about 6 of those in the last week, over and over and over.¬†What¬†you have to understand about Ella is that she wasn’t having regular cycles before setting out to lose weight these last 2 months. And the result has been a 3 week long¬†menstrual¬†cycle accompanied by fluctuating hormones and many tearful phone calls.

This is actually a very common thing. When women lose weight, it messes with our lymphatic and endocrine system (both sex hormones and regulatory hormones). In the end, it’s a good thing. And don’t get me wrong if your hormonal changes are really bad, as in you or someone around you is fearful for your well being, then definitely go see a doctor. Otherwise, keep going!

In the weight loss battle, feeling stuck is one of the worst things in the world. It’s ultimately what makes so many people want to quit. But keeping going! In fact, I always tell people (including Ella) to just give it 1 more week. If nothing changes in a week, and .5 pounds counts as a change, then let’s reconsider what you are putting in your mouth and how you are exercising. But 9 times out of 10, a week is all your body needs to get used to what you are putting it through.

I explained it like this. If you and I both have to get to a party and a driver drops your off 20 miles away but drops me off 50 miles away, well it’s going to take me longer to get there. And I’ll probably even need to stop and rest, or get water, or go to the bathroom more than you. But the point is that I get there. That is how our bodies work. Someone who needs to lose 20 pounds¬†compared¬†to someone who needs to lose 50 pounds. The person with 50 pounds to lose will actually start losing faster but it’s just a matter of time before their body needs a break from everything it’s been going through. And they will probably experience two “stuck” periods while the person with 20 pounds to lose may only experience one.

Just get there. Keep pushing on. Keep doing the work in private day in and day out and before you know it, it will pay off in public. Food is not our enemy. It’s our friend, it fuels us. Exercise is not the devil, it’s a great way to experience life.

Have you ever been in a “stuck” period with weight loss or over all health?

If so, what helped you keep pushing on?

5 Recipes & a Question

Happy Friday, today is a little more about Juicing. I have 5 recipes for you to give a try and the answer to another question. So let’s go!

My first juice recipe for you is Hello Haul and I love to make it when I am feeling either bloated or after a good workout!

Hydration Haul: 1 Cucumber, the juice of a lemon (not directly in the juice but hand squeezed), a dash of parsley, 2 Cups of Lettuce, 1 Apple, and about 3-4 oz. Coconut Water.

After using this a few time, I found out that coconut water comes flavored now. That might be a great little kick of flavor as well in what ever way you want. I have seen pineapple, mango and many other flavors.

The Mean Green is my go-to, bulk juice. Headache? Mean Green. Hungry? Mean Green. Constipated? Mean Green.

Mean Green: 3 Cups of Green (Kale, spinach, mustard, what ever you like or a bit of all), 1 LARGE Cucumber, 2 stalks of Celery, 1 Green pepper, about a Cup of broccoli stems, and 1 green apple.

People are always thrown by the broccoli stems but they are delicious! They actually taste sweet, just make sure that they are well washed and not discolored. If the stems do have any spots on them, simply cut them out or use a potato peeler on them.

I explored and made the Potassium Packer is because I went through a season of charlie-horses. It didn’t matter if I did cardio or strength exercise, it seemed like I had charlie-horses every night. This guy definitely fixes that problem.

Potassium Packer: Peppers, Cucumber, Apple, Celery, Broccoli, and a Banana.

The reason I don’t have exact numbers on the items above is because depending on the size and ripeness of your banana, well that¬†determines¬†how much you will need of the other items. The more ripe your Banana is and the larger it is, the more of the water (juice) from the other items you will need to cut the thickness and sweetness of the Banana. Also, don’t juice the Banana, instead juice everything else and the place those contents as well as the banana into a blender.

Due to my tendancy to have low iron, this is the most played around with recipe I have come up with for Juicing.

Iron Infusion: 1 Medium Beet, 2 Cups Spinach, 1 Medium Tomato, 1 Stalk Celery, 1 Large Cucumber, 1 Red or Orange Bell Pepper

Iron is high in both beet (which by the way is unbelievably sweet, smooth and creamy) and spinach. But for that iron to be absorbed, Vitamin C is needed… welcome Tomato and Red/Orange Bell Peppers!

Lastly, the Immune Booster – great for anything from a busy week to cold and/or flu like symptoms.

Immune Booster: 1 Large Orange, 1 Apple, 2 Large Carrots, 1 Pear, Lemon and/or Lime juice, and minced garlic.

When making this bad boy, go ahead and juice in your juicer the orange, apple, carrots and pear. Then hand squeeze the lemon and/or lime juice and stir in finely minced garlic. The reason for the garlic is that it is a natural anti-biotic and will help and lingering bacteria in your system find it’s way out.

Now for that question… some one asked me if it would be ok to do a hybrid juice fast and how that might be planned out.

– Like I said , I believe yesterday, juice fasting can go any way you want it. SO if you aren’t looking to do a long juice and just want to give your body a kick start, well it may look something like this.

Day 1-3: Juice ONLY fruits and vegetables

Day 4 & 5: introduce raw nuts

Day 6 & 7: introduce organic chicken, lamb and game meats

Day 8 – 10: introduce quinoa and rice

Day 11-14: continue eating what is above

After 2 weeks ( day 14) all other foods can be introduced in the order and time that you would like. If the juicing fast is being done as an elimination diet, introduce foods slowly and pay attention to how you feel when doing so.

I hope you can try out some of these recipes and please keep the questions coming!

Juicing Day 4

I am officially on day 4 of Juicing and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to answer a few questions and show you what exactly I’ve been drinking.

**Before we start, I do want to say that before starting a juicing regimen of any kind, it is best to speak to your doctor. Many doctors will tell you that juicing will do nothing for you and believe you are only juicing for weight loss. Some doctors may not have heard about it before and you may have to fill them in. No matter what side of the fence they fall onto, they are still your doctor and understand best any previous or current medical issues that may be effected by your juicing. **

I have had two questions come to me yesterday and they are really great questions so thank you asking them.

The first one is: Can I add some yogurt to my juicing to help with digestion issues.

– This really is a wonderful question and after doing a little thinking and some researching I have an answer for you. Not only is yogurt good for you, it’s also great for your digestion in general. When juicing, the goal is to eliminate toxins within your body so that you have a solid and pure foundation to feed once the juicing is finished. Therefore, if you are going to¬†implement¬†dairy,¬†implement¬†whole milk, plain, organic yogurt. Also,¬†Greek¬†is best!¬†The¬†reason for this is the chemical process that takes place when making yogurt fat-free. Those chemicals are left in the yogurt and put into you body. So rather than¬†eliminating¬†toxins and chemicals, you are actually putting some into your body.

So if you are looking at that answer and thinking, ewwwww… whole milk, plain, organic, Greek¬†yogurt, no¬†thanks. Well¬†that’s¬†OK,¬†because¬†believe it or not, the fruit and veggies that you juice with all have varied pH levels that when consumed actually do for your intestines exactly what the friendly little bugs in yogurt will do. You see, the varying pH levels of fruits and vegetables will trigger the production and activation of enzymes and just like magic, the exact same thing that yogurt would have done for you is done by the fresh fruits and veggies.

The second question I received was: DO I have to juice ONLY (no other food) for 2 weeks, I don’t think I can do that.

РYou most definitely do not have to juice ONLY (no other food) for 2 weeks. Juicing can be anything you want it to be because juicing does so many great things. I know of many people who juice once a year Рthink spring cleaning time, because they just want to get off those 4 lbs they gained during winter and want a boost of energy. I also know of people who despise juicing but do it as a form of medicine to get over sickness or after a period of time when then had a lot of junk foods. Whether a day or a month РI did that once, juicing will definitely benefit your health and unless other wise stated by your doctor, well you really have nothing to lose.

I was introduced to juicing via the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead Рand I am so thankful for the insight in that movie. Definitely check it out if you are still interested!

Now to what I use when I juice!

Once a day I do a BIG juice…

The other thing I love about juicing is that there is no way I would be able to eat all of these fruits and vegetables at once. And sometimes, I take the pulp that is left over and put the pulp and the juice in a blender so that I’m getting the fiber to!

My other juices are smaller ones, think beet, spinach, apple and strawberry. And the other may be pepper, zucchini, squash, and orange.

Do you have a favorite juice recipe?

If not, are there any vegetables or fruits that would be a big “no-no” for you?

Juice LOVE

Hello dear readers. I am very sorry for the lack of post’s that has been happening. My computer has been sick – and I am far from technology savvy so that pretty much means I’ve been staring at it hoping it just magically get’s fixed. Thankfully I have a boyfriend who lives for technology and he was able to help me stop staring and start problem solving.

Anyways… on top of my computer being out of order I’ve been up to a bit of a project myself. I’m on day 3 of a two-week juice fast. Actually, that’s a bit misleading. I’m juicing (not the steroid kind of juicing), and eating fruits and vegetables both raw and cooked and popping a few walnuts in my mouth here and there.

The reason for this madness is that, well first off I love it and find juicing or cleanses of any sort fun, but also because I have felt so yucky lately. I have these weird food allergies/intolerance’s and when I don’t take care of them I get terrible I.B.S. and other weird things. Let me explain…

I have an allergy to yeast, and when I eat it I end up with hormonal craziness. My reactions can be anything from bloating to gross sores in my mouth, mild skin rashes to moodiness. It’s not cool at all. I also get terrible I.B.S. from wheat and diary. This is not self diagnosed, this is physician diagnosed – my mom as there when it happened. I had a blood test to see if it was Celiac Disease and that came back positive but my biopsy came back negative so who knows what is going on with that. What I am certain of is that when I eat wheat and dairy all the time, well it does me NO good! I get bloated and hormonal, unbelievably gassy – not like I have to fart gas, like it sounds as if my stomach is going to explode and hello pain. Also, when I don’t take care of these food intolerance’s, I become extremely iron deficient.

** Science moment – in our intestines we have these things called cilia on our intestinal lining and they help absorb nutrients, move food along and other cool things. Well when you have I.B.S. or Celiac disease the cilia get matted down and can’t do their job! Hello nutrients not getting absorbed and constipation or even diarrhea because of lack of movements or to much! No good – right! **

Lately, I haven’t been taking care of myself like I should. Between mothers day weekend, Greek Orthodox Easter, Birthdays, Baby Showers and other life events, well I’ve been eating a lot of bread and cheese! And it isn’t working well for my body. So a 2 week fruit and veggie¬† cleanse it is! And honestly, because I haven’t cleared 3 days yet, I hate it. But I’m sure I’ll be singing a different song tomorrow. I don’t know why but things always get better after day 3. Oh and let me tell you, day 1 brought me a terrible migraine which just confirms how much my body is needing this.

So anyways, that’s life this week, It’s good! It’s busy and I’m learning. I’m going to work on a few juice recipes later today and will post them tomorrow. Also, I am reading an amazing book right that I can’t wait to share with you all. It comes with a diet plan (28 days long) and I will be giving it a shot.

Since we are on the topic, have you every juiced?

If so what’s your favorite recipe?

Also, with early summer here, try to get in some more veggies. They are so good for you in so many ways. Start our by just adding an extra serving in everyday and see where that leads you!

The Cave Man Diet

A lot of talk has been happening over this whole cave man diet thing… I’m sure many of you have heard about it, it’s called the Paleo diet and it’s quite controversial.

The Paleo diet is based on what many people believe to be available to our ancestors (or what most people believe to be our ancestors), the cave men. The base of the diet is meat, fruit and vegetables with nuts. No dairy, no grains, and nothing processed. The idea is that hunter and gatherer communities do not suffer from diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other recently discovered diseases. Instead, the belief is that before the industrialization of America, people lived healthy lives. With the exception of severe illnesses such as plagues and polio like disease, people did not have health issues at the age of 40.

Whether you agree or disagree, the concept is very interesting and worth taking a look at. And please, let me also say that I think the paleo diet (just like all other diets) has it’s pros and cons.

So if the idea is to eat whole foods that come from nature what are the real rules to this game? I found this great flow chart that makes perfect sense of the paleo diet!

I love that chart, specifically because it is so easy to understand!

But in complete seriousness, here is a list of foods that are acceptable to eat while following the paleo diet.

РMeat: Lean meats, anything from wild game, to poultry, beef, pork and seafood too.

– Fats and Oils: the key here is that if it’s found in nature it’s fair game… think animal fats, nut oils, olive oil, avocado oil and butter

– Eggs: from anything really

– Vegetables: everything except corn and white potatoes

– Fruits: nothing is a “no” but do remember that fruits contain sugars which should be regulated

РNuts: everything is fair game, however nuts are generally high in calorie which should be taken into consideration

– Spices and Herbs

Here is a meal plan I found that lays out a week worth of the paleo diet

The cool thing about the Paleo diet is that despite all the loud gasping that takes place when people here about the large amount of fats consumed and their immediate confusion or better yet anger because we all know that in America “Fat is BAD”, research so far is saying that the right types of fat in our diet in large¬†quantities¬†actually is curing disease.

So please do me a HUGE favor and look at the links below and for a few minutes just consider what the research is saying to be true. Then judge away make an educated opinion for yourself, because after all I’m not a¬†dietitian¬†and this information is not meant to diagnose, cure or treat but rather meant to share my opinion and experiences with you!

Robb Wolf’s website¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Paleo diet and M.S.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Paleo diet and Diabetes¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†General Studies on the Paleo diet

Sorry if the images are to small to read, click on the “pinterest” link below each picture to view them in original context.

Portion Control

I feel like the topic of Portion Control is one that is rarely talked about. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the real issue with weight loss not being effective in our society.

The reason behind my thinking has to do with the vast number of diets currently being used. Between South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, the Low-Fat Diet, Weight Watchers and so many more, well portion control isn’t talked about! And Instead, food groups are talked about. Now, I think the fact that those foods groups are being talked about is wonderful, I’m just not sure if we are understanding the big picture.

Let me stop for a moment and say two things please. I am NOT a¬†dietitian¬†¬†This¬†post, like all others are simply my observations, experiences, and opinion. Secondly, I am not basking any diet. I think all diets are like everything else in life, each one has it’s pros and cons and non are perfect.

Back to diets! Atkins diet tells you that you can eat whatever you want and how ever much you want as long as it isn’t carbs. Low-fat diet says the same thing, just don’t eat eat. Weight Watchers does a better job of talking about¬†controlling¬†your intake but let’s face it, you can eat all of your points in ice cream or¬†Doritos¬†if you want and still “lose weight”.

Then there are the calorie counters… again, in my opinion close, but no cigar! Eat fewer calories every day than your burn and lose weight! Right? Not quite.

No matter what diet you use to navigate your weight loss, portion control is vital. It may not be vital in your initial period of weight loss, but it sure is for those last 10 pounds, and even more so for weight loss maintenance.

So what is a portion?

Portion Control

I absolutely love this chart. I find it¬†applicable¬†because, well… most of us all have a hand or two.

If this doesn’t work for you, here is another great tool!

Portion-Control-Plate

And with this plate, remember that starches can be fruits. That’s because fruit has the fiber and sugar that is in the starch.

Something else to consider are the portion of your snacking. If you have been trying to lose weight but are struggling with it, consider your snacks between meals. I personally am a snacker and think it’s a good thing. However just because something is small in size, well that doesn’t mean that the calories are few. In fact, things like a small bag of trail mix or a banana with peanut butter can have a lot more calories than you would think. It’s important to look or the calories and maco-nutrient information to make sure you aren’t ingesting more than you can afford.

Do you already use a special chart/tool/resource to make sure your portions are reasonable for your health and weight goals?

If so, please share!

* I do not agree or disagree with any of the diets mentioned above. I think each one has research behind them that prove to be powerful in weight management and health improvement. *