April 18, 2018
Lately I've been seeing an increasing number of women post about their acne on various social media channels. The most frequent posts have been in a number of private Facebook groups I belong to.
And the list goes on.......
Some of them, like getting enough sleep, are quite valuable.
The trouble is the causes of acne vary, and the solutions must address the cause. There are
skin care recommendations
cutting back on exercise
getting enough sleep
cutting out gluten/dairy
using progesterone creams
different types of acne, and they require targeted treatment methods.
Even advice given with the best of intentions could be counter-productive if it doesn't fit the situation. In other words, it's easy to be given the right answer to the wrong problem.
A supplement or herbal treatment may greatly help your friend's acne. She then encourages you to take the same supplement and your acne becomes worse.
Honestly, acne is just too complex to be taking advice at random. And because acne takes some time to heal, it can even be a struggle to define what is working and what isn't working.
What's the solution, then?
The Last Course on Acne by Fran Kerr of High on Clear Skin
I met Fran Kerr when I was working to heal my own adult acne. I had made some nutritional changes that were helping the appearance of my acne but I couldn't completely shake it. Fran offered me further guidance and I experienced greater improvement.
Fran has been helping women heal their acne for 10 years. She has put together the benefits of her research and education into a one stop shop, online course
Are you tired of struggling with acne?
Do you want to break free from feeling as if you have to hide your face from the world?
Are you ready to be in the picture and no longer behind the camera?
Are you confused about what supplements you should be using OR not be using to heal your acne?
Are you ready to discover how to find the right skin care to help the appearance of your acne?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then this course may be right for you.
Click here to check out ALL the benefits The Last Course on Acne offers.
Note: There are affiliate links in this post. If you choose to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I value myself and feel would be of benefit to you. Thank you for your support.
January 19, 2018
Here come the doughnuts! There goes my diet plan!
How many time have you begun a nutrition plan or diet only to have someone bring doughnuts to your office or home?
You have the best intentions and you're certain your willpower will hold out this time. After all your beach trip is only a few, short weeks away, and you want to look good in your swimsuit!
Usually this is where the bargaining begins. You have a debate with yourself. You reason that you've been so good on your diet so you choose to indulge a little. Everyone else is, why should you be the only one left out? So you take a delicious doughnut, or two, and decide that tomorrow is a new day and you'll eat perfectly tomorrow.
Does this situation sound familiar? Maybe it's not doughnuts for you but chips and salsa, or ice cream? Whatever "it" is doesn't really matter. What does matter how you feel afterward -- as a wimp with no willpower.
I'm going to share with you a secret: willpower has nothing to do with it.
In my days of constantly chasing weight loss and experimenting with different diets this scenario was common place for me. I see the scenario daily on social media. It's usually portrayed with clever memes or a gif but, nevertheless, the guilt-trip is the same success comes from willpower, and if you only had more of it you'd be successful.
Why does this cycle happen and how can it be stopped?
Willpower is highly overrated. It's a word we frequently use and see yet, if asked, I'm guessing most of us would have trouble defining it. It almost feels like a mystical factor that needs to be harnessed in order to have power over food.
I'll say it again. A lack of willpower is not most people's problem.
Take the focus off of willpower and instead put it on decisions, habits and discipline.
Dieting doesn't work in the long run and I'm not a fan.
Instead, of dieting for weight loss, nourish your body through whole food nutrition.
It doesn't last
it isn't a sustainable way of eating and
it often leaves your body lacking nutritionally
Add to that balance. Balance in life liberates us from cycles of defeat.
Take that box of doughnuts that just walked into your office. Everybody is partaking. When you do not you create at least two unproductive, self-defeating circumstances. First, you put the entire office on notice that you are "trying to lose weight." Every day after that someone (at least one) will ask how is the diet going? How much weight have you lost? Odds are the person you find most annoying will be the one who asks most often. You have put your waistline in the spotlight, center stage. That's pressure you neither want nor need.
The second self-defeating and unproductive circumstance you create when turning down a doughnut while everyone else is indulging is the "apple in the Garden of Eden" effect. The more you tell yourself "No," the stronger the attraction and urge to partake. Who wants that battle?
There's a better way, and you can embark on that way now; before the doughnuts-in-the-office challenges. Decide to change the way you eat. It is your decision. You are in control. You are the master of your destiny.
The first step is to write down why you're changing the way you eat. This can't be a simple blanket statement, such as, "I'd like to lose 10 lbs." Why do you want to lose 10 lbs? What will losing 10 lbs do for you? How will your life be different once those 10 lbs are gone? You need to answer these questions and you need to write it down.
The women I work with complete that exercise with precision and clarity. They know specifically what they want, and they know the reason behind it.
Furthermore, what you want to change has to be of greater importance than the food you want to indulge in.
When I decided to heal my acne through nutrition I learned that I needed to eliminate certain foods that were not serving my body. Unfortunately, these were foods I really didn't want to let go of. A part of me felt I needed these foods to be content. I teeter-tottered and struggled with committing to a decision for a long time, and my results showed it. My face would clear, and then I would revert to eating as I always had, and my acne would come back.
It wasn't until I became utterly dissatisfied with my appearance that I successfully eliminated certain destructive foods, and replaced those with foods that were helping my body. Now I no longer miss those old foods. But initially what kept me on track was realizing why I made the decision.
You may want to lose 5 lbs, but what that requires may not be something you want to do. The 5 lbs, you rationalize, isn't that uncomfortable to live with. Do you understand where I'm going with this? Your "why" has to be bigger than anything else. When that happen it is no longer a "should do" decision, but rather a "want to" choice. It is always easier to do what you want to do that what you should do. Granted, discipline will be necessary because motivation and drive don't always hang around long.
The final component to this is to recognize that they are physiological things, completely outside your control, that take place in the body when you change the way you eat. If you're craving something, or feel you lack self-control with certain foods (especially with highly refined carbohydrates), there is a reason. This is where one-on-one coaching will carry you to success.
Reach out to me right now. Let's have a complimentary conversation. Take the first step to becoming what you want to be.
January 11, 2018
Did you know stress is one of the top 5 factors contributing to your acne?
Think about it. How many times have you had a huge breakout appear right before a special event? How about break outs that show up before a job interview?
When healing acne you must look at the whole picture and stress is definitely apart of it.
Obviously, it's important to reduce our stress levels. I don't think anyone would argue that going through life while constantly worrying is a productive, healthy way to live. The problem is it would be impossible to completely eliminate all stress from our lives. I don't care who you are you deal with stress to some extent on a regular basis.
Stress doesn't only revolve around big, life issues. Although that can definitely be apart of it. It's also the smaller things that lead to stress and sometimes I think these may be worse. These little issues are easier to ignore and therefore they can build upon each other until you have a mound of stress.
What exactly happens when we are stressed that would cause a breakout? There are a few factors.
Bottom line: You need a healthy gut to have clear, healthy looking skin. An imbalance in the gut leads to too much inflammation in the body and acne is a form of inflammation.
There's not much refuting this these days. I've even been noticing skin care companies that make acne specific products, discussing the relationship between the health of our gut and the health of our skin.
The irony here is the more acne you get the more stressed you become. I remember thinking when my acne was at its height, that if my face would clear, I could finally get a handle on my stress levels. Waking up everyday to a red, inflamed and pimple-covered face automatically put me in high stress mode.
Since it's impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, what can be done?
Stress affects your gut
70 % or more of your immune system lies in your gut
90% of your happy hormone, serotonin, is made in the gut
Stress leads to impaired digestion and optimal digestion is necessary for clearer skin
I believe there are three actions.
The first is, increase your resilience
-- and it isn't complicated. Three resolutions will immediately help:
The second action to eliminate stress is let go of things you have no control over
get adequate sleep each night -- 8-9 hours are recommended
eat a whole foods based nutritious diet
. Stressing over issues we cannot control makes us feel trapped; a victim mentality.
In situations you can influence for improvement, do so
In situations you cannot influence, either disengage, or release it from your emotional domain of responsibility.
Research has shown that changes take place in your brain that reduce stress and increase feelings of pleasure when you WRITE down what you are grateful for. Each day take a few minutes to write down 3 things you are grateful for. Research suggests doing this for 21 days straight in order for the changes in the brain to take place.
Here's the way I look at it. This gratitude exercise is simple. It probably won't take more than 5 to 10 minutes of my day. If it really can help why not give it a try? The worst thing that could happen is you notice zero changes in your outlook on life and you go back to your old routine.
I challenge you to 21 days of gratitude! Leave me a comment below & tag @h_stoffel on instagram with #gratitude4clearskin
The final component to increase your stress resilience is implement a Gratitude Journal.
Don't start throwing tomatoes at me just yet! Believe me, I was someone who always rolled my eyes at this type of thing. I feel grateful enough, what do I need to write it down for?
January 11, 2018
What if you never again had to use the word "cheat" when it comes to food? FREEDOM!
It's sad that over the years we've forgotten how to eat. We seem to know nothing about listening to our own bodies.
It's January and, as I expected, I'm noticing a trend on my social media accounts. I'm sure you have, too. It seems everyone is excited to share their latest diet endeavors and how they plan to shape up for good in 2018. The intentions are good but the way I see some women going about it is not.
There are so many methods of eating available: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, and perhaps the most disturbing, keto.
Apart from food camps there are numerous diets available that promise quick, yet lasting results. Cabbage soup diet (been there, done that and it was SO incredibly disgusting), apple cider vinegar and maple syrup fast, carb cycling (who can keep track?), counting calories, counting macros, etc.
I've tried a few of these myself. In fact when I first began healing my body through nutrition I classified myself as a vegan. I'm the first to admit I've fallen into the trap of forcing myself into a food camp, and I've had my fair share of dieting.
As a health coach and being passionate about nutrition people ask me, "What diet do you follow?"
My answer is, "I listen to my body."
"Huh?" with a blank stare is a typical response.
It's hard for women to believe that I don't follow a specific plan. What rules do I follow? How do I know when to eat or what to eat? I understand their questions because I had these same questions a few years ago. It's what led me to where I am today. Chasing weight loss, looking for quick fixes and miracle cures led me to a place of gut imbalance and chronic inflammation in the form of cystic acne. I had to find different answers.
Before jumping into a new diet plan or finding yourself feeling trapped by a food camp I encourage you to consider these few things.
The diet frenzy that takes place every January is no surprise. We live in a culture where we spend months over-indulging, only to turn around and deprive our body of adequate nutrition as some sort of punishment for all the food we just ate. We see foods as "good" and "bad". We use words like "cheating" when it comes to what we eat. It's nonsense and, when I hear it, I hurt for the person who believes it.
Learn to listen to what your body is telling you
Identify your food intolerances and avoid them even if it's the healthiest food on the planet, if you don't digest it well, don't eat it!
Keep your body hydrated with purified water
Don't become legalistic when it comes to food
Focus on real, whole foods that nourish your body well.
When you follow my principles (the basic are cited above), and you put them into practice so they become second nature, something beautiful happens: you never have to diet again. I know because I'm finally at that point myself, after years of battling with my own body.
I will teach you how to get to this point yourself.
It is possible to not fret or worry every time you're around food. It is possible to feel good in your own skin without being tied down to a diet.
Tired of the nonsense? Let me offer you a complimentary, no obligation session!
January 3, 2018
Everyone is choosing a "Word for the Year" -- everyone except me.
So much can change in your life in one month, one week or even one day, much more over the course of one whole year.
Some words I've seen chosen are: joy, trust, slow, rest, yes, brave, etc. You get the idea the latest fad is to choose a word that represents the type of year you want, and then make decisions based off the word. One major change in your life will sabotage everything, if it all rests on one word. I plan my year for vacations, school schedules and big projects for my business, but for all the other things? Monthly. My approach is more realistic, and healthier. Therefore, instead of adding stress when life goes crazy, I am able to adjust.Flexibility facilitates your wellness journey.
So often we view the month of January as setting the tone for the year. If we are successful with our health in January then we can assume we'll be successful for the rest of the year. I'm sorry but this is faulty thinking. First of all what if January is an incredibly challenging month for you financially, emotionally, or physically? What if you feel "unsuccessful" this month? Does that mean the rest of your year is shot? I sure hope not!
On the flip side of this, what if January is a highly successful month for you? You hit your fitness and nutrition goals you're on your way to your summer body and then reality hits and you find yourself back where you started. Does this mean you need to wait until next year to start over? Of course not! It would be silly to even think that. This is exactly why I enjoy the new year but I don't place too much pressure on myself to make the month of January "perfect."
A key element that is overlooked when it comes to New Year's goals is how to implement new habits to accomplish those goals. Goals are set with good intentions but, without a clear plan, it is likely you will fall short. This can leave you feeling like you failed. The remedy is to develop some new habits.
The greatest success I've seen with creating new habits is planning out and implementing one or two at a time. Focus on those few items and really perform them well for six weeks, at least. Then it will become an organic part of your day. After that, add another new, healthy habit.
For example, let's say this year you want to implement a new exercise routine, cut out all processed foods, get 8 hours of sleep each night and implement a quiet time into your day for reflection. Wow I'm tired just writing all that! That's A LOT of pressure, and too much to handle all at any once.
The key is to choose one or two of these new habits, decide how you're going to implement it and then get to a point where it's second nature. Let's say you choose to focus on getting adequate sleep each night, but you're also eager to start working out. Determine what time you need to go to bed by to get the sleep you need. Then decide what you'll do to ensure that your head hits the pillow at the time and do those things.
To begin your new exercise routine start slowly. Plan to commit to 20 minutes a day to start. Work your way up from there. If you currently don't exercise at all, but set a goal to workout for one hour, 6 days a week, you'll probably revert back to your old ways. It's just too much pressure on the body. Will this take longer than implementing all the goals at once? No it will not, because it will work.
Whatever you do to inspire yourself for the new year I encourage you to remember this, one critical truth:
Taking care of your body is lifelong commitment.
There is no quick fix, trendy diets or fad exercises are never a miracle cure. I encourage you to view good health as a way of life. Adopt that way now and stick with it forever.
Happy New Year!
P.S.-- I am excited about improvements coming to my site. More than ever I'm passionate about helping women take charge of their health. I will help you
quit dieting for good, and I've got just what you need for that.
Reader Feedback: How do you view the new year? Do you feel a lot of pressure in the month of January to perfectly implement all your goals for the year? What would you like to see happen?
December 20, 2017
Have you ever considered the connection between stress and acne? If you're using quality skin care and your nutrition is on point but your acne still lingers, stress could be the culprit. In my own personal situation, my adult acne flared up because of a stressful event in my life. Chronic, unresolved stress leaves us with excess inflammation in the body which then leads to a weakened immune system along with an increased likelihood that the body will attack itself, as in autoimmune diseases. All of this will do nothing to help improve your acne and could be a contributing factor as to why your acne lingers. For me, I notice a direct correlation between stress in my life and the appearance of my skin. My acne easily flares up if my stress levels stay too high for too long.
How should you deal with this? Obviously, it's not possible to be 100% free of stress 100% of the time. Life presents challenges and unexpected circumstances do arise. I'd like to share with you a few key things I recommend you consider.
What are your thoughts? How do you manage stress? Please comment and share your ideas you may be an inspiration to someone else!
Have we connected on social media yet? I'd love for you to join me on Facebook and Instagram where I share more about nutrition and skin clearing tips!
What gets your thoughts gets you. What do you spend most of your time thinking about? Answer honestly. It may help to sit in a quiet area and journal for 15 minutes to really figure this out. Let your thoughts come out on paper and see what's in front of you. If you find yourself constantly being negative in every situation, it may be time for an adjustment. We have different personalities. Some people are more naturally upbeat and positive, while others tend to see the glass as half empty. It may not be in your nature to put a positive spin on things in life. That's okay. I do believe you can train yourself to change your thoughts and the way you speak and think. I read somewhere that it's easy for people to be negative. It's easy to see the bad things in life and dwell on those. It's easy to complain and sometimes it even makes us feel good to stew over a situation that upsets us. Here is where you may have to consciously decide to stop negative thoughts in their tracks. Like any new habit it will take time to develop but it's one that is worth the effort.
Look at who you surround yourself with. Speaking of your thoughts, what are the thoughts of your friends and co-workers? Are you surrounded by positive people, or habitual grumblers and complainers? First recognize you can't change the way those around you speak and react to situations. The only person you can control is yourself. However, when you speak positively and keep your cool in stressful situations, it has the potential to spill over onto those around you. Negativity breeds negativity just as happiness breeds happiness. If you have a friend who is particularly negative all the time consider approaching the person about it. They may not realize what they are doing. If you're not comfortable having the conversation you may want to consider limiting the time you spend with that person. Remember, you are in control of yourself and your time. It's your choice who you surround yourself with. Choose wisely.
Grieve it, be angry and move on. Things happen in life that upset us. Things don't always go our way. Someone at the bank may cut in front of you in line. Another driver may cut you off. Someone may make a comment about your clothes that hurts your feelings. There is no way to stop these inconveniences and hurts from happening. Again, the only part you can control is yourself and your response. How much energy do you put towards the guy who cut you off in traffic? If you need a few minutes to stew, take it. Set a timer for 10 minutes be angry, call a friend and complain and then when the timer ends let it go. I'll admit this is a tough one for me. When something upsets me I want to be mad for awhile. I realize this does nothing to help me or better my health, and it only gives more power to the person who wronged me. Learn to let the little things go!
Don't worry about that over which you have no control. I confess, this isn't my strong suit. I tend to dwell on things even when all my worrying won't change the outcome. The truth is many situations in life are this way. No amount of worrying will change anything. What will be, will be. When a situation arises that has got you stressed, ask yourself, "How much control do I have over this circumstance?". If there is something you can do to better the situation then create a plan and put it into action. If the answer is that you have no control over it, then it's best to put it out of your mind. I find the only way I am ever successful at this is to leave it in God's hands through prayer.
December 13, 2017
When it comes to healing acne with nutrition, there is a lot of talk about what you can no longer eat. The first things to leave your diet are gluten, dairy, processed foods and refined sugar. To a lot of women that is a bit overwhelming. However, it is true that these foods are inflammatory in the body, especially when eaten in excess, which we tend to do. While it's important to reduce our intake of inflammatory foods, it is equally as important to increase our intake of foods that reduce inflammation and are full of antioxidants.
When I first began changing the way I ate to heal my skin, I almost fell into a state of depression around food. I knew the foods I shouldn't be consuming, but I didn't yet have a strong taste for the foods I needed to be eating. I longed for the comfort foods I grew up with. Because of this I oftentimes felt hungry, but didn't feel like eating. This struggle left my body lacking a great deal of nutrition. In fact, my body was so nutrient deficient that my hair started falling out. Hair may be our crowning glory, but our bodies don't recognize it as being necessary for survival. Therefore, it's a go to place for the body to stop sending nutrients when necessary. It wasn't until I visited a Naturopath (although not before I ended up with a bald spot on the side of my head) who informed me that I simply wasn't nourishing my body well.
The amazing thing about your body is you can teach it what foods you want it to crave! How? I'm glad you asked! The concept is simple. Feed your body the foods it should be having and thanks to metabolic reprogramming you'll be craving those foods in about 30 to 90 days. So cool, right? The old adage, 'you are what you eat' is correct. Your cells are literally made up of what you feed them! Now that you know, the next step involves making a decision.
Do you want to keep eating the way you are and look the way you currently do OR do you want to change the way you eat and kick acne to the curb? Making this decision was one of the smartest moves I ever made. You can read more about that here.
For now though, let's talk about what we want to be feeding our bodies to support skin health. Finally, we're going to talk about what we can EAT!!
This list is in no way exhaustive, but if you're struggling with where to start it's a good jumping off point. Take small steps. Don't go buy a ton of produce you've never cooked with before. Start with the fruits and vegetables you know and are comfortable with. Find a few recipes that suit your tastes and build from there. I often eat the same few dishes for several weeks before I tire of it and find something different to add in the mix. I recommend you do the same.
Lemons lemons are one of the most cleansing, detoxifying foods. Juice from a fresh squeezed lemon provides support to the liver and and aids digestion. The liver is a our main detoxifying organ, so it's vital to support it in order to clear up acne. I encourage you to get the juice of 1 full lemon per day. Enjoying fresh squeezed lemon in your water throughout the day is one of the simplest ways to do this.
Turmeric. This Indian spice is anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant. It keeps red blood cells from clumping and increases circulation. Better blood flow is vital to keep the skin glowing. Turmeric acts as a blood cleanser which helps prevent acne. I find you can add a dash of this to oatmeal or Juice Plus Complete. You can learn more about that here. By also adding nutmeg and cinnamon you won't taste the turmeric.
Arugula. Arugula is high in vitamin A, which may not only improve acne but also helps protect the skin from free radical damage. This dark leafy green is alkaline and will help cleanse the blood and lymphatic system. Arugula does have a strong flavor and is a bit peppery. I prefer to mix it with a portion of organic spring mix, which contains baby lettuces and spinach. It helps balance the flavor.
Bell Peppers. Bell peppers are a wonderful beauty food and if you aren't already eating them I recommend you start. I have to be honest. I never cared for raw bell peppers until I reprogrammed my body and now I love them. One of the simplest ways to consume them is chopped in a salad. Red bell peppers are particularly high in vitamin C. Not only is this beneficial to help banish acne, but it also helps regenerate collagen in the skin which may slow down the aging process. I do recommend you opt for organic with bell peppers as they are one of the more heavily pesticide laden foods.
Onions. Onions are an amazing food. Not only do they add great flavor to many dishes, they also contain properties that help cleanse the liver which is crucial for the health of our skin. It's beneficial to eat this food both cooked and raw. The two onion varieties I use most often and that contain the most health benefits are yellow onions and red onions. Yellow onions have the most sulfuric compounds while red onions are high in antioxidants, which we can see from its bright purple color. Here is a great article on the best way to store onions https://draxe.com/onion-nutrition/
Garlic. Garlic helps support your body's detoxification system and may aid in digestion; two things necessary for clearer skin. Garlic contains an enzyme called alliinase and a sulfur-containing substance called allicin. Pressing garlic activates the release of the these anti-inflammatory substances. In the store you'll see containers of pre-chopped garlic for sale. I recommend you opt for purchasing the whole garlic (bulk garlic) instead. Not only is it more cost effective, but also so much of the health benefits happen when pressing the garlic and then fade away shortly thereafter. Buying pre-chopped garlic isn't going to give you the same anti-inflammatory effects.
Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon. Salmon is so beneficial for the health of our skin and it is a large reason why I don't advocate for a strict vegan diet. I dedicated an entire blog post to this amazing fish. You can read that blog post here.
Remember, when it comes to clearing your skin, changes probably won't happen overnight. One of the biggest components is restoring our internal health and those changes are then reflected in our skin. Opt for whole foods whenever possible and you'll begin to see positive improvements.
Let's connect on social media! If you haven't already join me where I share more skin clearing tips.
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November 29, 2017
When I first wanted to heal my acne through nutrition, Google became my best friend. I honestly didn't know much about nutrition, and I definitely didn't understand how food affects our body and our skin. One of the first concepts I encountered while researching adult female acne was a vegan diet.
Vegan noun, a person who does not eat or use animal products.
While my cystic acne was at it's height in severity, I went vegan for many months. In the beginning I did notice some improvement in the appearance of my acne. However, in the end being vegan didn't win out for me. While my diet is still largely plant based, I don't eliminate all animal products. I want to share with you my thoughts on the vegan diet, specifically as it relates to acne.
The benefits of a vegan diet can be the large number of plants consumed. When you're not consuming animal protein, you need more fruits and vegetables to fill you up. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help fight inflammation in the body. Acne is a sign of too much inflammation in the body so, logically, it makes sense to consume more fruits and vegetables. The problem that often arises here, and the reason I put can be in italics, it's easy to be vegan and lose sight of nutrition. It's easy to become so focused on whether a not a food is vegan that you forget to evaluate nutritional value. Technically, Oreo's® are vegan. Although I don't think anyone would argue that eating these cookies will help clear your skin. I've seen many times, including in myself, where consuming a vegan diet quickly turns to lots of vegan baked goods, pastas and baked potatoes. These things are fine in moderation but they aren't the super-foods needed to boost our immune system, and can give acne a kiss good-bye.
The downside to a vegan diet is its neglect of healthy fats. When researching a vegan diet I was quite alarmed at how many proponents of this diet still had the low fat mentality that plagued the 90's. The concept of following a low fat/no fat diet is outdated information that was never actually correct. In fact, during the 90's when the low fat craze really took off, heart disease increased as people's waist lines grew. Why did this happen? Most likely it was due to high insulin levels. Instead of eating healthy fats, which keep you fuller, longer, people were eating low- fat crackers, highly refined pastas and low- fat yogurts. All these things spike our insulin levels which leads to excess belly fat, AND many people felt constantly hungry because the very thing that helps keep us full fat was removed from food. What I'm discussing here pertains to weight gain and heart health but, please make no mistake, it's also connected to the appearance of your skin. Warning signs of internal excess inflammation in the body, such as acne, should help us connect the dots: a low-fat/no fat diet won't give us the skin, or the overall health we want.
Vegan diets also eliminate the intake of wild-caught, sockeye salmon. I really can't overstate its benefits to our skin health. First, wild-caught salmon provides a hefty dose of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids simply means our bodies don't make these fats, therefore, we must get them from food. Omega-6's are also essential fatty acids. However, because of deficiencies in our food supply these days (such as eating grain-fed instead of grass-fed beef, or consuming processed foods containing unhealthy, shelf-stable oils) we are ingesting too much omega-6's and not enough omega-3's. The ratio of these oils should be 1:2 omega 3 omega 6. Unfortunately, our modern diets tend to have a ratio of 1:10 of omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to omega-6 (inflammatory). [William Sears, MD, The Inflammation Solution,©2015]
Vegan diets also lack astaxanthin. Here we go again with salmon the prize winning fish! Astaxanthin is another reason to love this fish. Astaxanthin gives salmon its beautiful pink color. It's a nutrient that has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. Astaxanthin paired with beneficial omega-3's in wild-caught salmon make this fish vital to our diets. Notice I keep writing wild-caught. It is important that you avoid purchasing farm-raised salmon. It doesn't contain the same amounts of the powerful antioxidants. In fact, farm-raised salmon may have pink color added, so it appears more like wild-caught. I also take a fish oil supplement and have noticed a difference in my skin, hair and nails.
Tip: On the days you enjoy salmon for dinner it's okay to skip your fish oil supplement. This will help you stretch your budget a bit farther as well!
Lastly, I encourage you not to place yourself in a "diet camp." What I mean specifically is avoid anything that promises weight loss as its single goal. It can lead to an all or nothing mentality, in which you feel guilty if you are ever in a situation that makes it impossible to eat and still stay within the diet's strict guidelines. What I do encourage, instead, is focus on real, whole-food nutrition. Shop the perimeter of your grocery store. Opt for organic produce and meats when possible. If unavoidable, be very selective in the purchase of processed foods. If you're curious what to look for when purchasing processed foods, you can read more here.
Have you ever tried, or are you currently following a vegan diet? Have you noticed an improvement in your skin, hair, and nails? How are you currently eating, and how does it make you feel? Please comment!
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November 22, 2017
Pumpkin pie has always been a favorite of mine - regardless of the time of year! After the birth of my second child I began dabbling in a gluten free diet after reading the book, Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. I was trying to eliminate those last stubborn pounds of pregnancy and sure enough ditching wheat really helped. During this time I would make pumpkin pie without the crust and literally eat it for breakfast. I'm now gluten free for reasons other than simply maintaining a healthy weight (although it does help). I discovered gluten is related to a lot of digestive issues and was contributing to what seemed like an endless cycle of my skin breaking out. Whatever your reason for being gluten free, this pie won't disappoint.
While the crustless version of the pumpkin pie is certainly delicious, I feel for social gatherings and holidays it makes a much prettier presentation to present a pie with a crust.
This version of pumpkin pie also happens to be free of dairy as well as refined sugar. I imagine if you keep it a secret, no one will know the difference. It's simply delicious!
For the crust I used this recipe. Although I altered the instructions a bit. I did not chill the dough and I also did not roll out the dough. I simply worked the crust into a ball and then gently pressed it into my pie plate.
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 large organic eggs
1 can (15 oz) organic pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk - It's important the coconut milk be full fat, from a can such as the one in the link. You will need to chill the coconut milk ahead of time in the refrigerator. Be careful not to shake the can as you want the fat of the milk to separate from the liquid. You can use the fat that rises to the top of the can for your whip cream. I use this method. Use the remaining liquid for your filling. I have made this pie several times and almost everytime the liquid measures to 1 cup. If you are slightly under, it's okay to add a bit of water to the milk. The milk should yield fairly close to 1 cup. I wouldn't recommend using more than 1 or 2 TBSP of water.
Directions: Mix coconut sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin puree and sugar-spice mixture. Once combined, gradually stir in coconut milk. Pour into your prepared pie crust. Bake at 325 for 55 to 60 minutes.
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November 20, 2017
For optimum health it is better to avoid processed foods. But it's difficult these days to do that.. Life seems to be busier than ever and it seems we have less time to dedicate in the kitchen than in years past. It's no wonder women resort to picking up boxed packaged items, and foods in the freezer section.
I'm all about balance nutrition shouldn't be viewed as all or nothing. When clients come to me for coaching I make it a point to meet them where they are. It's all about giving yourself grace. Do what you can with the knowledge, information, budget and time you have.
While I do cook mostly from scratch there are a few things I purchase prepackaged. However, there are KEY things I look for before buying a processed food; and there are certain factors I won't compromise on.
In order to manage acne it is best done from the inside out. Focus on nutrition to bring your skin to an improved state of health. Examine all facets of your diet.
If, for example, buying jarred marinara sauce works for you right now, great! That's what works in my house as well. Let me share with you some key things to look for in any packaged food you buy.
Become a label reader. Take the extra 15 seconds needed to read the ingredient list on every packaged food you buy. I even periodically re-check the labels of foods I buy. Sometimes manufacturers change ingredients, or start using GMO's where they had not previously.
Know what you're putting into your body! For healthy skin, avoid too many processed foods.
INGREDIENTS: This is an instance where less is more. The fewer the non-food ingredients (such as stabilizers), typically the better the food is for your body.
WORDS: This one is simple. If you read the ingredient label and you don't recognize half the words, or it sounds like something you'd be reading in chemistry class, look for an alternative.
SUGAR: Here's where it can be a bit tricky. One of my favorite packaged foods Larabar ® - has a sugar content of around 16 grams per bar. However, the ingredient list is short and it's all REAL foods. The sugar content comes from whole foods not highly processed, refined sugar. Also, they contain some dietary fiber and protein which brings me to the next item.
PROTEIN and FIBER: Look for items that are high in protein and high in fiber. These foods will help slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream and will help keep you fuller, longer.
MSG (monosodium glutamate) and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup): Honestly, I could write an entire paper on why these two should be avoided but for now let me keep it simple. MSG is used as a flavor enhancer but it's linked to respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardio vascular, circulatory, muscular, visual and urological conditions. Should I say more? As for HFCS this is a sneaky little devil. HFCS is a highly processed sweetener that (studies indicate) interferes with your body's natural ability to recognize when you are full. It may, in fact, "tell" your brain, "You're not full. Keep eating." If true, there is little wonder why it would be added to processed foods.
OIL: Cheap, highly refined oils to avoid include corn, cottonseed, palm kernel, partially hydrogenated, safflower, sunflower and soybean. It can be really tough to find products that don't contain those oils. Most processed foods use cheaper vegetable oils for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately they do nothing for the beauty of our skin (or our insides). These oils are found in obvious places like potato chips but they also hide in sneaky places like jarred sauces and salad dressings. Instead look for oils and product-containing oils made from coconut, flax, olive, avocado and nuts.
NON-GMO: Genetically modified organisms (GMO) have altered DNA, changed by genetic engineering. 75% of all United States processed foods contain a genetically modified ingredient. The concern is genetic engineering hasn't been around long enough for us to know its long term effects. Dr. Sear's motto is "When in doubt, leave it out". I have adopted this attitude as well.
ORGANIC: This last one I don't adhere to 100% of the time because organic isn't always an available option. If it is available, I typically choose organic over conventional. Organic foods eliminate your consumption of pesticides and herbicides, which is a plus.
Note food labeled organic are also non-gmo. However, any food labeled non-gmo doesn't necessarily mean it's organic
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