Step 5 of my 5 Simple Steps to Healthier Skin is to pay attention to the ingredients in your skin care products. Some skin care products are designed to feel and smell really nice, but they don't offer any real benefits to the skin.
This is why I love creating botanical skin care products. The oils, butters and plant extracts found in nature can be combined to make a product that feels amazing, smells divine, and has potent benefits for the skin.
It's not that I am afraid of chemicals, or that I hate ingredients I can't pronounce. I have a degree in Biochemistry; I can pronounce all the ingredients.
However, what I have found is that the benefits of pure botanical ingredients far surpass synthetic cosmetics. I believe there are a few reasons for this.
1) They are complex
Many drugs and active ingredients are either isolated compounds from plants, or man-made chemicals that are designed to mimic isolated compounds from plants. Menthol is a great example. Menthol is responsible for the minty flavor in gum and lip balm, it gives the tingly sensation to dandruff shampoos, and it gives the cooling pain relief in sore muscle creams. Menthol is also a main component of peppermint essential oil, which is found in a number of my products. By using the pure essential oil I still get the cooling, soothing minty benefits of menthol, and I also get the benefits of the other compounds that are found naturally within peppermint essential oil. The same is true of many other plant based ingredients, each one has a complex set of components that work together to offer great health benefits.
2) Deep, Long Lasting Benefits
Many synthetic cosmetic ingredients are designed to give quick visual results. They instantly plump the skin, they even color tone, or they fix puffy eyes, which is great, but the results are often temporary. The underlying problem is still there, and the wrinkles, breakouts, blotchy skin, and puffy eyes will keep coming back. The beauty of natural healing methods is that they address the deeper causes of these symptoms. Many plant based ingredients improve the overall health of your skin, making it stronger and more supple. This means the effects of your skin care products will last longer the more you use them
3) They Work
If you have read my story, then you know that I began making skin care to help my son. He was suffering from chronic severe diaper rashes. They were so severe that I could not touch his bottom to clean it; I had to rinse him off in the tub. I had tried the diaper creams at the store. The doctor kept recommending corticosteroids for the swelling, anti-fungal cream for the thrush, and keep diaper cream on it. I was frustrated by this since I knew that the corticosteroids would only make his skin more susceptible to the fungal infections, and I didn't feel this was an acceptable long term solution. I had been reading about the anti-fungal properties of coconut oil, and about the great benefits of lavender and melaleuca essential oils. So I put those together, added a little lanolin for a moisture barrier and slathered it on my baby. It worked! It was so simple, and cost me almost nothing, and it worked almost immediately. I later tweaked the recipe so that I could use it as a chapped skin ointment, and as a wound salve.
I was hooked. I started researching the properties of different plants, and soon found myself making all sorts of creams and salves for my family. Each time I tried something new we were amazed at how well they worked.
I love botanical skin care because it works for people when they have tried everything else and are desperate for a solution.
You can check out my entire product line in my online store here.
If you have any questions, or would like to learn how you can start improving your skin from the inside out email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can schedule a time to chat one-on-one.
If you have a story about how natural skin care changed your life I invite you to share it in the comments section below.
Out of my 5 Simple Steps to Healthier Skin, getting better sleep was the most difficult for me. I am a natural night owl, and my 5yo son wakes up ready to start the day at 6:00 sharp every day. I have had to train myself to go to sleep on time so that I can function well the next day. It hasn't been easy, but I have made it a priority because I know how important sleep is to my life.
When I don't get enough sleep is shows up in so many ways. I have less energy and am less productive with my day. I have less patience with my boys. My focus and concentration go out the window making it hard to get anything done. I am too tired to care about what food I eat, and I eat a whole lot more junk food. My eyes get puffy and dark, my skin turns dull, I am more prone to break outs, and my hormones aren't balanced as well.
Sleep is super important.
When life gets stressful and we get overwhelmed it can be easy to sacrifice sleep first. Our culture does not value sleep, it values work. However, I have found that when I sacrifice sleep, it shows up in the quality of my work, so if I value good work I should also value good sleep.
What Worked for Me
I read countless articles and tried numerous methods and tricks to try to get my night owl self to go to sleep at a decent hour. Below is a list of the ones that worked best for me:
1) Give yourself permission to sleep
I know you're busy. I know you have a thousand things to get done. I know those things are important. Sleep is also important. Getting a good night's sleep will help you work more efficiently. Sleep is also important for your long term health. Being drained and tired all the time is not benefiting you or anyone around you. The first thing you have to do to get better sleep is give yourself permission to get better sleep.
2) Screens off at 30-60min before bed.
This is because the light from your phone/tv/computer keeps your brain alert, and doesn't allow it to start releasing the melatonin that is needed to help you fall asleep. To help get your body ready for sleep try dimming the lights in the house and staying away from screens 30-60 minutes before bed time.
3) Mind Dump
One of the main things that keeps me from falling asleep at night is all of the thoughts running through my head once I hit the pillow. I think about what I didn't get done today, what I need to remember for tomorrow, what groceries I'm running out of, how my ceiling fan motor works, my brain is basically a big free-for-all at night. The best way for me to combat this is was to start writing my thoughts before bed. I grab a journal and I just start writing. I don't worry about organizing my thoughts, that can be done tomorrow. I just write. If it hits my brain, it goes on the paper. This helps to clear my head, because I know all of those important thoughts are written down where I can address them later. After that, when those thoughts run through my brain, I can reassure myself that it is written down so I don't need to worry about it.
4) Breathing and Meditation
The breathing excercise from my Stress article is a great way to clear your body of stress before going to bed. Simply sit in a quiet place and take five deep breaths. Inhale for five seconds, and exhale for five seconds five times. This is a quick way to calm your body and mind, and prepare yourself for a good night's sleep.
Another great breathing and meditation resource can be found on the Sleep Foundation's website here http://sleepfoundation.org/insomnia/content/relaxation-exercise
5) EFT Tapping
Tapping is an acupressure tool that can quickly start helping you get a good night's sleep. Gene Monterastelli of Tappingqanda.com has a great audio that you can use at night to help get a good night's sleep. His website also has a wealth of information on Tapping in general and the many ways it can benefit your life.
For the sleep audio visit http://tappingqanda.com/2010/07/get-a-good-nights-rest-tap-along-bonus-podcast/
For basic information about EFT Tapping visit: http://tappingqanda.com/learntapping/
Some light stretching before bed can help to clear the body of excess energy and stress without being overstimulating. Here are some great before bed stretches. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/31/yoga-for-sleep_n_3505226.html
Essential oils and plant extracts have powerful emotional benefits. Some great essential oils for sleep and relaxation are Lavender, Bergamot, Marjoram, Cedarwood, Vetiver and Roman Chamomile. Simply add your favorite oil to a spray bottle with distilled water and spray on your pillow and sheets before bed. You can also add your favorite oil to a diffuser and diffuse it in your room while you sleep.
I would love to know which of these tips you found most helpful, let me know in the comments below.
If you would like to learn more about how you can improve your skin from the inside out email me at email@example.com to set up a time to chat with me one-on-one.
So many different diets exist that it can be easy to get lost when trying to figure out what kind of eating style is right for you. How do you choose between Paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, gaps, or any of the other diets out there?
Whenever I am having a discussion with someone about starting a new diet I always like to go all the way back to the basics.
Why do we eat food?
Is it just to stop feeling hungry?
Why do we feel hungry?
What is the purpose of putting food in our bodies?
When we eat, it isn't just to make the feeling of hunger go away. Food is what provides the fuel and building blocks for our bodies. Our bodies use the food we eat as materials to repair and rebuild tissues, as weapons to fight off disease, and as energy to fuel our day. So when we think about what kind of food we want to eat, we have to think about what kind of materials we want to give our bodies.
The simplest way to start transforming how you approach eating is to focus on eating "real food." Real food is defined as food that is still as close to its natural state as possible. It hasn't been changed and altered, and put through a dozen processes before reaching your table. This is important because the more processing your food goes through, the fewer nutrients it has, which decreases the benefit that it has on your body.
The effects of adding more real food to your diet, and starting to cut the junk food can be seen in as little as a few days to a week. The first two things you will notice are changes in your energy, and in your skin.
Your body will not have to work as hard to filter out all of the unusable junk from processed foods, and it will have a lot more tools to work with, so you will start to notice better energy.
Your skin acts as an indicator signal for what is going on inside your body, and as your internal health improves so will your skin. You will notice a brighter complexion, and stronger more resilient skin. Your skin my start to be supple where it used to be thin and fragile. This is all because your body is finally being given the tools it needs to heal and restore itself.
I like the real food approach because it cuts out a lot of the guess work involved in some of the more complicated diets. You only have to distinguish between real food and processed food.
I want you to have some good resources to start your journey into better eating habits and better health, so here is a list of books and websites with some great practical information on how to get started. I highly recommend spending some time at the "100 Days of Real Food" site. Lisa Leake has done a great job of defining real food, and helping you get started on that path.
"Eat to Live" a book by Dr. Joel Fuhrman
"In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan
"French Kids Eat Everything" by Karen le Billion (if you have picky kids this one is really great)
I would love to hear more about your experience with how food has affected your health and your family's health. Share your story with us in the comments below.
Did you know that drinking plenty of water every day is one of the fastest ways to improve your skin's health?
What does water do to make your skin healthier?
1. Clean out Waste
Our bodies are constantly working. We are rebuilding cells and tissues, fighting disease, healing injuries, processing information, pumping blood, and breathing. All of these functions produce waste products that have to be eliminated from our bodies, and water is needed to transport much of this waste. When we don't drink enough water this waste builds up and causes dull skin, sluggishness and brain fog. Increasing water intake will help to flush all of that waste out so your body doesn't have to hold it
2. Deliver Nutrients
The body relies on nutrients like vitamins and minerals to do its job. Many of these nutrients have to be transported in water. If we don't have enough water, we can't get all of the nutrients we need, and the body is hindered in its ability to function. This will affect things like tissue repair, metabolism, energy, skin and hair regrowth, hormone balance and even sleep.
3. Maintain Vital Processes
A number to the vital processes in the body use water. The act of creating the building blocks of our bodies requires water. Water is also required to break down food and turn it to energy or store it for later. Without enough water, your body has to sacrifice things like tissue regeneration so that it can continue to do things like keep your heart pumping and your lungs breathing.
When we don't drink enough water it shows up on our skin as dullness, blemishes, excessive dryness, slow healing wounds, and wrinkles.
Commit to drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day for 8 days and see what kind of difference you notice.
I would love to hear about your experience with drinking more water and how it affects your body.
If you have any specific skin concerns, or if you would like to know more about how to improve your skin from the inside out email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can set up a time to chat.
It seems to be a constant part of our lives, and for the most part we have accepted that as something we just have to live with. Human beings have such an amazing ability to adapt; and through the last few decades we have adapted to fast paced, stress filled lifestyles.
When we experience stress in the form of things like fear, busyness, overwhelm, sickness or anger our bodies respond with a series of chemical reactions. These reactions heighten our senses, temporarily increase our strength and stamina, and make us more alert. These are all great things when they are used to handle momentary stress, but how many of us only experience momentary stress these days?
Those little chemical reactions that help us in moments of need, are supposed to turn off. This is because they are harmful to the body if they stay stuck in the on position. So what happens when the stress sticks around? We enter into chronic stress. When this happens, the consequences affect every system in the body. If left unchecked it shows up as:
So What Can I Do?
I can't change my circumstances, so how do I get rid of stress?
It is difficult to talk about reducing stress without talking about cortisol first.
Cortisol has gained a pretty bad reputation in the past few years. It is the hormone responsible for carrying out the actions that prep your body for stress, and it is the hormone that wreaks havoc on your body when it is over used. The reality is, cortisol is just doing its job. Your body has decided that it is under stress and is waving the stress flag, cortisol is seeing the stress flag, and carrying out its duties. When we are under chronic stress there is too much cortisol in our bodies for too long, and that's when problems arise.
The goal when you are trying to reduce the effects of stress in your life is to help the body lower your cortisol levels.
There's one thing you can do to accomplish this that takes less a minute and gives immediate results.
Sit down in a quiet place, hide in the bathroom and plug your ears if you have to, and take five deep breaths in. Make each breath ten seconds long; five seconds in and five seconds out. Try it right now, before moving on to the rest of this article.
In 1 2 3 4 5 out 1 2 3 4 5
in 1 2 3 4 5 out 1 2 3 4 5
In 1 2 3 4 5 out 1 2 3 4 5
in 1 2 3 4 5 out 1 2 3 4 5
in 1 2 3 4 5 out 1 2 3 4 5
What do you notice?
That only took 50 seconds! Less than a minute!
It takes longer than that to scroll through your Pinterest feed, and does a much better job and relieving your stress.
This Breathing exercise is a great way to start reducing the stress in your life right away. Try doing it three times a day for one week. That's 2.5 min a day; do you think you can find 2.5 min in your day to start reducing your stress and improving your health?
If you would like to know more about how stress affects your skin's health, or if you would like to find out how to improve your skin's health from the inside out email me at email@example.com to schedule up a time to chat one-on-one with me.
I would love to know how this little breathing exercise affects your week. Do you notice better energy? Do you notice a difference in your skin's coloring? How do you cope with frustrations after doing a little breathing?
Have you been trying to get healthy, but just can't seem to get lasting results?
Maybe you've even tried a few diets, and had some success, but just bounce back to being tired, sick, unhappy with your weight and frustrated by skin problems.
True health can't be achieved with just your diet or just with exercise. We are complicated organisms, and there are many factors that contribute to our health.
If you are trying to improve your health to have more energy and vitality, and you just can't seem to make it happen, then you may be sabotaging yourself in one of these five areas.
1) You are not getting enough sleep.
I can hear you now. "Of course I'm not getting enough sleep! I don't have time for that."
"Nah, my sleep is fine. I mean, yeah I'm tired a lot, and I have bags under my eyes, and can have a hard time focusing sometimes, and more sleep would be nice, but I get as much sleep as anyone else I know. Being tired is just part of life these days, but it's not like I'm sleep deprived."
If that second paragraph sounds like you, then there's a good chance you're mildly sleep deprived.
The thing is, the human body needs sleep. Your body does most of its healing work while you are sleeping. If you're not getting enough sleep, then your body cannot fully heal. Eat a healthy diet, exercise all you want, take supplements, drink coffee, do whatever you want to trick yourself into not feeling tired, but if you are skipping out on good sleep, then you are robbing your body of true health. Your body cannot efficiently use all of that wonderful food, or those great supplements, nor can it fully utilize your exercise if it is fatigued from lack of sleep.
If you care about your health enough to do all of those other things, then do yourself and your body a favor and give yourself permission to get a full night of sleep every night, and even take naps in the day when you need them.
By giving your body and your mind adequate rest you find that you will be more productive during your working hours, and you will be in a much better mood for working and playing during the day. You can get through your to-do list much more quickly because your brain is actually functioning better. You will be more patient with your co-workers, kids, and spouses, and you can be more engaged with them throughout the day.
2) You are stressed
Stress is such a constant part of our lives. It has even become a badge of honor for many people. We all sit around at coffee shops talking about how busy we are, and how much we do and how stressful life is. What good is that doing any of us?
Stress, if left unchecked, will wreak havoc on your health.
In its intended form, stress is a very good thing. The stress response is what lets your body know it needs to react to something. It is responsible for the fight or flight reaction that keeps us out of danger. When our ancestors were alive, a quick stress response was what saved one man from a tiger, while the man next to him wasn't so lucky.
The problem is, our bodies do not distinguish emotional stress from "a tiger is trying to kill me" stress. It's all just stress to your body. So when you're afraid about that meeting, or you're overwhelmed because you have too many things to do today and you still haven't gotten dinner ready, or you're raging at the other drivers on the road, you are putting your body through a similar trauma as if you were running from a tiger. Allowing yourself to get stressed over so many issues floods your body with stress hormones that are only supposed to be used in an emergency. These chemicals, when overused, wear the body down.
You will become increasingly fatigued, you will get sick more often, you can become depressed or irritable, your hormones won't work properly, and it will affect your weight (either become over or under weight). Your skin will break out in things like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes and hives. I call this your skin's SOS signal, trying to get you to pay attention to the symptoms your body is giving you that you need to slow down.
Stress is not something to take lightly. In a couple of days I will be sending you an email dedicated entirely to giving you practical ways to manage and reduce your stress.
Often times, our stress responses have become an entrenched habit, and you need a little bit of extra help changing those habits. If you would like some support in that process enter your information in the Work With Me tab so we can see how I can be helpful to you.
3) Your self-talk
STOP. I really really want you to pay attention to this section.
If you are not used to paying attention to your own self talk, then you might be tempted to breeze past this one and move on. Please don't. If you only read ONE of these tips, make it this one.
Self talk is insidious because we often don't even notice the way we talk to ourselves, and yet the effects of our self-talk will weave their way through every aspect of our being and either bring strength, light and joy, or fear, depression, anger and disappointment.
I want you to try something. Close your eyes and picture the things you need to do in order to get healthy; picture cooking and eating healthy food, exercising, and using natural self care and cleaning products. What are you saying to yourself about those things. Are you negative or cynical about any of it? Now picture yourself already at your goal. You are living a healthy lifestyle, you have energy, you are healthy, you rarely get sick, and you love what you see when you look in the mirror. Now pay attention to the words you say about being that person. Is there any push back? I want you to pay extra close attention to your "jokes" about all of this.
You know what I'm talking about. All of the jokes about crunchy hipsters, and about gross healthy food (my dad used to call my mom's smoothies swill before he was assimilated), what jokes do you make about people who exercise or buy all organic and green products. These may seem like only jokes to you, but they still have an effect.
Do you remember in the stress section when I talked about how your body doesn't really perceive a difference between "I'm late for work" stress and "a tiger is going to eat me" stress? Well your self talk is similar. If you make negative jokes about people who are living the life you would like to have, your mind will still accept it as your truth. You can't tell your mind you're "just joking". Those kinds of jokes are often your way of saying how you feel without having to actually say how you feel.
When you have these stories and beliefs in your mind, they will direct your actions. So if your internal dialogue is mainly one that discourages doing things to get healthy, then you will stay stuck. You will have to use a tremendous amount of will power to overcome those little voices in your head telling you that you don't want to do this, and that will burn you out. Fortunately, we can also use self talk to our advantage.
Think about ONE of the things you would really like to accomplish. Make it something super specific. I'll pick the example of eating a healthy breakfast every morning to start the day. You might say something like, "I don't have time for that". You will probably have to rearrange your morning a bit to make time for something like eating a good breakfast. So how do you find that extra time? You could wake up earlier, you could lay out your clothes the night before, you could even lay out some of the items for breakfast the night before so it's easy to get it ready in the morning. The problem is, all the planning in the world won't help if you have an inner voice telling you not to bother.
So, what we will do, is create an alternative phrase about eating a healthy breakfast to repeat to yourself until it takes root. Lets use, "I deserve the benefits of a healthy breakfast". A healthy breakfast sets you up with energy, focus, and better emotions. It also kick starts your metabolism for the day. You deserve to be healthy, you deserve to live with energy and vitality. So when your little voice is complaining about the extra effort it takes to give yourself an healthy breakfast, just remind yourself that you deserve the benefits.
When I work with my clients we devote an entire module to reprogramming your self talk and inner beliefs that are keeping you from your goals, because it is that vital to success.
4) Your eating and drinking habits
Here's how I explained it to my son. Your body has little workers inside it (your cells) and they have different jobs. Some are construction workers, some are soldiers, some are messengers, there are hundreds of different jobs. Sometimes bad guys also get into our bodies. They break things, they kill the good guys and they wreak a lot of havoc. The good guys and the bad guys both use different tools. The food you eat is what provides those tools. Some food gives weapons to the soldiers and building materials to the construction workers. Some food gives weapons of mass destruction to the bad guys.
If you give your body the right tools it can do it's job properly to keep you healthy. The simplest way to make sure you are giving your body the tools it needs is to eat "real food". What's "real food"? Real food is food that is still as close to its natural state as possible. Fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed meat, good fats; these will give your body the good tools it needs to start rebuilding your skin.
You also HAVE to keep your body hydrated to function well. This means drinking plenty of water, but there is more to hydration than just water. You also want to include water rich foods like fruits and vegetables. I also encourage at least one glass of mineral water every day. Our current food supply is lacking in many trace minerals due to poor soil management, and mineral water is a great way to counter that. Other hydration sources include bone broth, coconut water and tea.
5) Your Self Care and Cleaning Products
This is so important to me that I created an entire business around it. I started making natural skincare products for my baby's sensitive skin. When I was pregnant, and the doctors were giving me pamphlets telling me to stop using certain cleaning products, and to buy special detergents and soaps for myself and later for my baby, I started to wonder why. Why, if these things are dangerous for baby, are they okay for slightly older children, or even adults? Then I went to a class where I learned how to make my own cleaning products. Then, when my son was a baby and suffering from severe diaper rashes I tapped into my biochemistry knowledge and my understanding of natural healing to make him an awesome diaper cream. Soon I was making most of our personal care and cleaning products, and if I couldn't make it I was buying natural alternatives, and I'm so glad I did.
When my oldest was 3 I found out that he is predisposed to asthma, and his skin is very sensitive to certain allergens and chemicals. It was never a problem because our environment at home had never aggravated him; it wasn't until we started visiting relatives that I discovered his sensitivities. Having a green home had saved me a considerable amount of stress, and kept my son healthy, when I know things could have been so different. We could have been doing constant breathing treatments (like I did as a child), and we could have been having to rely on anti-histamines and steroid creams to keep his skin from breaking out.
So many of my customers and clients come to me with chronic skin issues that they just can't seem to solve. They often notice drastic improvements after using natural skincare that's designed to nourish the skin, rather than just cover up the problem.
Using green cleaning products also gives a noticeable change. Many conventional cleaning chemicals leave you feeling dizzy and fatigued, but natural cleaning products can actually be very invigorating due to the botanical extracts in them, and they don't leave behind toxic residues that can harm your respiratory system and skin over time.
Enter the coupon code NATURAL in your Love-Essential Skin Care shopping cart to receive 20% off your first purchase of Love-Essential Skin Care products.
Did one of these areas stick out to you? When you were reading it did you have an AHA! moment of "that's totally me"?
Any one of these issues will keep you from having the health, energy and vitality that you want (and deserve).
Maybe you already knew all of this, but still can't seem to get the success you want. Over the next few days you will be receiving emails that go into more details and give practical tips on how to make changes in each of these 5 areas.
The thing is, the habits that keep us stuck in these 5 areas are often deeply entrenched and it is very difficult to change those habits by yourself. Getting support is one of the best things you can do for yourself in your health journey.
I would love to offer you the support you need to finally reach your health goals. Schedule a free Health Assessment and we can narrow down exactly where you are sabotaging yourself and figure out the best action for you to take moving forward in your health journey.
Simply click here to schedule your assessment.