Year: 2014

Part ii Of Great Skin: What You Put Into Your Body

For the next few weeks, I’m returning to the final four components of great skin care. The original post is here. What follows below are merely general guidelines, and only you will know which ones you should adopt and which ones aren’t working for you. I am not a nutritionist, dermatologist, ayurvedic specialist, etc. However, I am self-admittedly obsessed with researching anything I’m putting into or onto my body. These are observations I’ve made, tips I’ve gained through trial and error, and eating patterns that have worked for me. So here we go:

the second component of awesome skin has to do with the things you choose to put into your body.

Quite simply, this can be broken down into three categories:

1. Liquids
2. Solids
3. Gases

1. Liquids

These are the essential liquids you want to include in your diet for great skin:

Water

  • At least 32 ounces every day
  • Mineral/Spring water is best, but just make sure the water you consume is not fluoridated (that includes the water in your pasta, rice, tea, coffee, etc.!)

Green Tea

Tip: decaffeinate it naturally by steeping it once and using that water on your plants. Re-steep for decaffeinated tea.

Green Juices/ Smoothies

Step away from the sugary fruit juices unless you absolutely cannot tolerate the green stuff
Avoid kale juice if it is contraindicated for you based on your test results from Great Skin: Part I. A common contraindication for kale (and other cruciferous veggies, at least when they are consumed raw) is Hashimoto’s, a common autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.

Coffee

Whaaa? Yeah, I drink coffee, I love it, and I have great skin. I recommend drinking only organic and filtered coffee from a percolator or other non-plastic brewing device. I like to mix decaf and regular coffee.

Read: Espresso Machines Buying Guide

2. Solids

Fats

Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil is a great addition to any diet in my non-medical, smooth-skinned opinion. I like the Lifeway brand oil.

Butter. The organic, grass-fed kind. Animals store their toxins in fat, so don’t skimp. The extra cost is worth it for great skin and the possibility of a long, healthy life.

Extra virgin cold-pressed organic olive oil (non-heated). You have to be careful with EVOO because it undergoes a chemical reaction at low temps and turns into a trans fat. I sprinkle EVOO (okay more like vigorously pour it) on spinach with a pinch of salt for a tasty, fast side dish at dinner.

Experiment with other oils, particularly those from nuts (flax, walnut, non-GMO safflower…) Make sure they are cold-pressed (rather than expeller… the former doesn’t use any chemicals). Additionally, if the oil comes from a genetically modified crop avoid it unless it is labeled Non-GMO. You can find a list here of GM crops. The two most common culprits that turn into oil are soybeans and corn. And those oils aren’t even that great for you anyway. So take that Monsanto.

Protein

I think humans are like bears- we’re not meant to have a meat-based diet but rather we are opportunistic carnivores, benefiting from the consumption of meat products that are as raised as close to nature as is possible.

Eggs from chickens who are cage free & humanely raised. There aren’t any standards on what this means, so you may want to research sources of eggs ahead of time. Or go to Whole Foods. They’re pretty good about not paying mean farmers. Pretty good, not perfect.

Meat, especially grass-fed AND finished beef and ‘Step 4+’/non-caged pork. Animals raised in more natural settings have more Omega-3 in their fat, which is great for your skin.

Fish. Don’t skimp here. Buy the best. The younger the fish species tend to live, the less mercury it will contain.
Aim for wild salmon. Tilapia is cheap, but still a healthy option. So is Catfish, if you’re like me down here in the South and that’s an option for ‘yall.

Vegetables

Garlic (and onions). Garlic is pretty much the vascular wonder-child, it can do no wrong.

Organic. Always better. You knew that. Organics are kind of like yearly physicals. You pay more upfront to avoid bigger problems down the road. Consider it an investment.

In-Season. Ayurvedic medicine holds that these vegetables are more easily digestible and better at balancing our individual constitution(s).

Frozen. Avoid canned vegetables– the liner more often than not contains BPA. Frozen vegetables are my favorite to maximize nutritional value and taste. The texture is sometimes off, but I also just throw frozen vegetables into a wok with butter and salt, then use the “wait and see” cooking method. I don’t recommend cooking like this.

Sugars and Carbs

What? I think these are delicious. And totally necessary on your birthday.

Cupcakes. I have a rule- I have to make them myself. This ensures I use only good ingredients and keep the junk out (i.e. the preservatives, trans fats, etc.) It also ensures I don’t eat cupcakes every day (sadly, there was a period in my life when this was the norm.)

Vitamins and Minerals

Anything you are deficient in… As I talked about in Part I, it is important to have good baseline knowledge of where you stand, deficiency-wise, and work with a doctor to balance that out.

Vitamin B12. Shots or sublingual tablets/liquids are nearly always a good boost to your diet- many people have problems absorbing this vitamin from food and oral vitamin sources.

Magnesium from Epsom salt. I am a huge proponent of bathing for 15-20 minutes 1-3 times per week in Epsom salts.

Tip: The San Francisco Salt Company sells a huge bag (20 lbs!) of USP Grade Epsom salt, with free shipping!

4. Gases

Admittedly, it is a bit tricky to control the air we touch and breath. One remedy is to rinse your nose and body everyday, even if you don’t use soap (you can always use oil instead to pull the particulates off.)

Clean Air. Limit your exposure to exhaust while driving by making sure the recirculate feature is on in your car and keeping your windows closed in high-traffic areas. I’m a huge proponent of getting out of the city at least once a week. The beach or mountains are the best places left on this planet to find clean air. Avoid outdoor aggravations such as pollen, chem-trails and environmental pollutants by staying inside when these particles are heavy.

BONUS CATEGORY:

Thoughts and Images. What you put into your body is not limited to the physical components of our life. Be mindful of what you choose to think about or expose yourself to, because these affect who we are. Will you have terrible skin if you watch an entire season of Housewives in one weekend? No. Probably not. But you will find yourself thinking differently after viewing that content. Are you open to this new way of thinking? If so, watch away! If not, there are lots of other things to do with your time. Like get a facial ☺

“health is a by-product of enlightenment.”
-Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, Ayurvedic Physician…

Read More

Bringing Abundance Into Your Life This Fall

We all have things in our life that make us feel tiny. One of the challenges in life is finding those things or people and removing them. This year, I bought seven impatiens plants for six pots. The extra plant was to be used just in case one died. The pots were little but cute. Just the thing for a front porch that looked like a Pottery Barn ad! I was promised the impatiens would bloom to beautiful heights no matter what. Confident in the shopkeeper’s promise, I tossed the seventh impatiens onto the ground beside the pots without a second thought. The six potted plants are weird looking and didn’t bloom much. The seventh? Flourishing.

Right now, my life is filled with abundance and love. But it wasn’t always this way. A few years ago, I was in a compressive, dark space. We’re talking a hermit cave that even the hermits vacated because it was too squished. That small. The worst part? I didn’t even realize it! I just knew I felt bad. What I didn’t realize at the time is that it’s really hard to see for yourself how bad it is when you feel this little. Especially when well-intentioned friends and family are encouraging you to embrace the things that are making you feel tiny, the pretty pots that look so great in the Pottery Barn ad.

Want to know a secret about Pottery Barn ads? They’re fake. They use fake food, fake plants, fake stuff to create an illusion of beauty and perfection. But when we remove the real plants from the container and let them find their own roots– their own happiness– the plants thrive.

You have a choice- staying in a beautiful, but tiny, container, or boundless, imperfect abundance in a wild world.

The decision you make is the right one for you. And if (when) it changes, that will be what’s right for you in that moment too.

Where I’m finding abundance right now:
I had the opportunity to spend time in and out of the studio with my mentor Annie (yep, that’s us in the picture.) I’m getting my certification to teach prenatal yoga soon from Mama Tree, a school (and teacher) I feel so lucky to be able to study with (love you Jane!) I’ve been invited (and accepted) an opportunity to regularly contribute to Forefront magazine. And best of all, my life is filled with people who I love and who love me.

Everyone has the ability to create abundance in their life. I would love to know where you are finding abundance this fall.…

Read More

Five Steps To Perfect Skin

What you’re about to read isn’t an ‘overnight guide to great skin.’ I wish I could tell you how that could happen. No, this is about a lifestyle shift. For some, the change (should you choose to accept it) will be more drastic than others. (And I’m betting they will be the ones who see the biggest difference in their skin!!)

What is the perfect skin? Perfect skin to me means having the skin I don’t have to worry about. The skin I can place makeup over, or not. Perfect skin to me means choices. Confidence. A true reflection of my inner light.

In order to have perfect skin, you must pay attention to the five essential components of great skin:

1. what you’re not putting into your body
2. what you put into your body
3. what you keep out of your body
4. what you put onto your body
5. what you take off your body

This week, the discussion will center around #1- What are you not getting enough of? You should definitely read these recumbent bike reviews to get a sense of what you have been missing.

Originally, one of the other discussion points followed that hallowed #1 slot. But this is the most important, and most remediable, an aspect of great skin. It is the one I am the most excited about.

Now, I say this is the most remediable step, but it is decidedly not the easiest. Because here is your task, should you accept it: Go See (a) Doctor(s). Maybe more than one.

Every year, I pay a visit to a great PA named Lisa who checks me all over for melanoma. This is the most basic skincare maintenance you could practice. Having untreated melanoma on your body because you choose not to get a checkup is pretty not-sexy. Then, at least twice a year I visit my general practitioner, Dr. Taz Bhatia. There are a few other doctors I see, but this is my short list for maintaining fab skin. {BTW- if you are in Atlanta, feel free to steal my doctors!}

Visiting Dr. Taz is the most essential part of my skincare routine. Say what?! A doctor? Yes. So long as you are deficient in vitamins, minerals, or other necessary compounds, you will never have the skin you deserve. For my readers who don’t live in Atlanta, I recommend setting aside some time to find an MD/ND (medical doctor + naturopath). Sometimes these doctors are referred to as “Integrative” practitioners. Even if you can’t find an integrative doctor, you can request certain tests, the results of which could improve your skin. I recommend the following annually (based purely on my experience, albeit as a non-medical professional):

1. Thyroid Testing.

Due to many chemicals and toxins, we are exposed to in our 21st-century lives, many of us will find our thyroids are out of whack. In my opinion, as a hypothyroid sufferer, I’ve found Iodoral works way better than Synthroid. This was a treatment Dr. Taz tipped me off too when the pharmaceuticals were doing nil. This is a blood test.

2. Adrenal Gland Testing.

The results may surprise you. Adrenal function is tied in with your thyroid function. This is a saliva test.

3.Vitamin & Mineral Deficiency Testing.

No excuses, this one should be covered by your health insurance. However, if you want to go the extra mile, I recommend the NutrEval test from Genova Diagnostics. This is a blood and urine test. Even if you don’t get tested, in my opinion, everyone should be supplementing magnesium and B vitamins. For more on how to maximize absorption of these notoriously hard-to-assimilate vitamins, read on here.

4. Yeast Culture.

Newsflash: Candida overgrowth is way too common. For more information about yeast overgrowth, check out this great article. This is a stool test.

5. Heavy Metal Testing.

Because “You look like the tin man” has never been a compliment.

So those are my recommendations. It is a lot to take in, but don’t let it overwhelm you incorporate this information into your day little by little. Maybe today you make a long list of doctors for research. Tomorrow you come up with a short list. The next day, you could call to make an appointment. Then, write down a list of your concerns (for real, you will forget if you don’t!) or print out your checklist for an even easier trip to the doctor.…

Read More