the importance of gratitude for clearer skin

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.
How to practice gratitude for clear skin #acne #acnefree #clearskin #gratitude

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.

  • 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

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 may 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?

I believe there are three actions.

The first is,
increase your resilience -- and it isn't complicated. Three resolutions will immediately help:
  1. get adequate sleep each night -- 8-9 hours are recommended
  2. eat a whole foods based nutritious diet
  3. exercise regularly 
The second action to eliminate stress is let go of things you have no control over. Stressing over issues we cannot control makes us feel trapped; a victim mentality.
  1. In situations you can influence for improvement, do so
  2. In situations you cannot influence, either disengage, or release it from your emotional domain of responsibility.     

The final component to increase your stress resilience is implement  a Gratitude Journal.  

Really?! Yes! 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? 



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! Do you keep a gratitude journal? Leave a comment and let me know. 


 

Posted in Acne. Tagged as acne, clear skin, cystic acne, heal acne, heal acne holistically, heal acne naturally.

How to Never "Cheat" on Your Diet Again

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. 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. 

The most recent statistic I heard is that the diet industry is a $72 billion industry. We live in a culture where people are obsessed with weight loss and quick fixes.   The problem is it's easy to sacrifice your health in the name of weight loss. The good news is you don't have to do it this way! 

You don't need to: 

  • Punish yourself for the foods you've eaten
  • View foods as "good" or "bad"
  • Use the word "cheat" when it comes to the foods you've put in your body
  • Ever again say, "I'll start Monday."


How to Never Cheat on Your Diet #dieting #dietingmotivation #weightloss

There are so many methods of eating available: paleo, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, keto and the list goes on. 

Apart from food camps there are numerous diets available that promise quick, yet lasting results. Cabbage soup diet (been there, done that), apple cider vinegar and maple syrup fast, carb cycling (who can keep track?), counting calories, tracking 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.

Learning to listen to your body is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself.  Tuning into your body will bring you peace with food. Weight loss, if it needs to happen, will occur in a much more sustainable, life giving way with lasting results. 

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.
  • 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? Click here to apply to work with me. 

Posted in Nutrition, Wellness. Tagged as cheat day, dieting, diets, eat real food, health and wellness, health coach, how to eat, how to eat to lose weight, stop dieting, whole food nutrition.

On the fence about choosing a "word for the year"? Try this instead

Everyone is choosing a "Word for the Year" -- everyone except me.

Here's why:

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 trend 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!
#wordoftheyear #clearskin #womenshealth


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
.

Don't rely on a  quick fix, trendy diet or fad exercise program as your be all to end all. These things 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?
 

Posted in Wellness. Tagged as #newyearsresolutions, #wordoftheyear, creating healthy habits, goal setting, habits, health and wellness, new year, new year's resolutions, new years resolutions, nutrition, quit dieting, weight loss, weight management, word for the year.

Tips for Stress Management for Clearer, Acne-Free Skin

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.

As for myself, I notice a direct correlation between stress in my life and the appearance of my skin.


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.

Let me share with you a few key things I recommend you consider.

Stress Management for Acne #acnefree #clearskin #stressmanagement #acnetips

What gets your thoughts gets youWhat 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.

Do you find yourself constantly being negative in every situation? Then it may be time for an adjustment.  We have different personalities and some people are naturally more 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 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.


What are your thoughts? How do you manage stress? Please comment and share your ideas you may be an inspiration to someone else!


 

Posted in Acne. Tagged as acne, acne and stress, heal acne, heal acne holistically, health and wellness, healthcoach, holistic healing, holistic healing for acne, tips for reducing stress levels.

Healthy Holiday Tips and Tricks

It's said that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That's a significant amount of weight!

How accurate these numbers are, and whether this actually starts around Thanksgiving (I personally believe it to start in October with Halloween), the fact is the holidays can present a struggle.


As soon as the weather begins to turn cold our bodies begin to crave more nourishment. Unfortunately, our first thought is not of dark, leafy greens tossed in a vinaigrette. Warm, cozy, comfort foods are a more tempting choice and, during the holidays, they abound. That is not necessarily, however, a bad thing. There are plenty of delicious foods that are great options to eat over the winter.

The problem I've seen in my private coaching sessions are the number of events that surround the holidays: office parties, family gatherings, cookie exchanges . . . you get the idea.

The trouble all begins with the onslaught of your kid's Halloween candy that bag can be SO tempting!


#holidays #Christmas #thanksgiving #nutrition #dieting

As the holiday season comes to a close with Christmas and New Year's I'd like to share a few thoughts with you on how to manage the holidays.

  • When an event, party or social gathering is on your calendar, NEVER show up hungry. This one drives me nuts because I hear women say it all the time, "I have a party tonight so I'm not going to eat all day so I can eat at the party." No, no, no! I'm not sure where this idea originated, but its faulty logic. The biggest problem I have with this approach is it doesn't facilitate steady blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels control the hormone insulin. It's best to avoid large spikes and falls with our blood sugar levels. We want our blood sugar, and therefore our insulin levels, to have minimal rises and falls like small, steady waves. Not eating all day, only to go pig out at night, is setting you up for failure. You can't save your entire caloric intake for one meal.  You just can't and be healthy with a steady weight.
 
  • If food is being served buffet-style, first peruse the selections and select what you really want to eat. A small sample of the menu items is okay, too. Eat a little of everything, and eat a whole lot of no one thing. I learned this trick from Bethenny Frankel who advocates, "No more dieting! I've had it!" She writes, Taste everything, eat nothing. Why shove a bunch of food into your face when you can taste small perfect bites of delicious food and stop before it ever gets ugly?  Naturally Thin, 2009.  While I don't agree with every point she makes in her book, I do agree with this school of thought. 
 
  • If you have dietary restrictions don't veer off course just because you're at a party. If you're highly intolerant to gluten, then don't eat it just because you're in a social environment. Trust me, it's not worth it! Of foods you tolerate in moderation, make your decision before arriving how much you will eat. Use your head, and not your emotions. Do not get ambushed by temptation. That is another reason to not show up hungry.
 
  • If you're hosting the event, anticipate the wishes of your guests. Have a gluten free/vegan option available. Serve healthy hors d'oeurves and a large green salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing, along with the classic favorites we all enjoy.
 
  • ​​​​​​​Make time for exercise. Life is busy and it seems to get even busier around the holidays. Making time for exercise is so important there's no excuse not to. Schedule it on your calendar, and hold to it as an appointment with your healthy self.
 
  • The key to making exercise stick is to find a program you love that gives you the results you're after. If you're new to exercise I highly recommend Leslie Sansone's walking program. Years ago I tried her out and dropped 18 pounds in about 2 months. I like her method because it's simple to use, there's no expensive equipment to buy and it's so easy on the joints. I currently do Tracy Anderson Method, and have for about the past 5 years. I love programs I can use at home. It makes it that much easier to get done. You don't have to join a gym, unless you want to of course! The point is:
    • Stick to it.
    • Make a commitment.
    • Find something you like.
 
  • ​​​​​​​Allow adequate downtime -- don't over schedule. Lack of sleep and high stress levels have a profound effect on our health, and our weight.

If you've already gained some weight, please, don't beat yourself up over it; and don't go on some crazy juice cleanse to eliminate it. Be gentle with your body, and nourish it with delicious, whole food nutrition.


Struggling to get the weight off? Let me help you. I have 5 spaces available beginning in 2018 for my private coaching program. Those tend to fill up fast, so don't wait! I offer a complimentary 60 minute session to discover if we're a good fit to work together, one-on-one. Click here and let's get started.
 

Posted in Wellness. Tagged as health and wellness, health coach, healthy holiday tips, holiday tips, weight loss, weight management.

Eating for Clear Skin

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.

#acne #clearskin #nutritionforacne #healacne

The amazing thing about your body is you can teach it what foods you want it to crave!

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: Keep doing what you're doing while getting the same results or change the way you eat and possibly get better results. 

If you're ready to start making some changes I encourage you to 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. 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. 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. A large component is restoring your internal health and those changes are then reflected in your skin. Opt for whole foods whenever possible and you'll begin to see positive improvements.





I am an independent distributor for the Juice Plus Company ®. I have included links to my Juice Plus website. By purchasing through this link I receive a small commission. Purchases are not necessary but are greatly appreciated and help me continue to deliver quality content for free! 





 

Posted in Acne. Tagged as acne, acne coach, acne scars, acne treatment, clear skin, clear skin diet, health and wellness, health coach, hormonal acne, how to heal acne, nutrition for acne, what to eat to heal acne.

Is a Vegan diet really best for healing acne?

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.


While the cystic acne on my face 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 skin. 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. 

vegan diet for acne prone skin #clearskin #clearskindiet #acne #vegandiet


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 can be an indication of excess 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 so you 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 emphasizing 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!

 



 

Posted in Acne, Nutrition. Tagged as acne, acne coach, acne remedies, acne scars, adult cystic acne, best diet for acne, heal acne holistically, health coach, nutrition for acne, skin health.

Processed foods - what to look for & what to avoid for clearer, more beautiful skin

For optimum health it is better to avoid processed foods. But it can be 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 a firm believer in balance.  Nutrition shouldn't be viewed as all or nothing.  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.
What to eat for clear skin #healthyeating #clearskin #clearskindiet #acnefree #acne

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.

Let me share with you some key things to look for in any packaged food you buy.

 
  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. SUGAR: It's important to avoid excess sugar, especially refined sugars.  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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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 products containing oils made from coconut, flax, olive, avocado and nuts.
  7. 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. 
  8. 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

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 beautiful, clear skin avoid too many processed foods.
 

 

Posted in Acne, Nutrition. Tagged as acne, acne coach, heal acne, heal acne holistically, non-gmo, organic, processed foods.

The Link Between Air Quality and Acne

I just saw an article discussing the relationship between indoor air quality and acne. Contrary to what you may think, indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. Common culprits can be dust, candles, cleaning supplies and also the particles that travel inside with you on your clothing.

"These are commonly known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs."
Frequently, these tiny, invisible particles lurk in things like paint, cleaning products,
candles, and air fresheners--and they can have all sorts of repercussions for your skin.
(https://www.wellandgood.com/good-looks/air-quality-and-skin/slide/2/)


It's easy to think of acne as only an external skin issue.  Having a proper skin care routine is extremely important to clearing your skin and maintaining that clear skin. However, it stands to reason that other factors play a role in the look & appearance of our skin as well.

Acne can be a deep rooted issue and it's important to get to the real source. Digestion, quality of nutrition, stress levels and quality of sleep all affect the appearance of our skin.


What about air quality? It's probably safe to say that many of us aren't focused on this part as much. However, there does seem to be a natural progression between improving nutrition and improving the quality of household cleaners, soaps, shampoos and makeup. Once we start changing the foods we put in our body, it's natural to begin examining the things our skin comes in contact with as well as those things we breath in.

I have made the switch from toxic cleaning products to safer alternatives. Before that I remember shooing my children away while cleaning the bathroom. On the days when I had to go in and scrub the tub, I'd come up coughing and eyes watering. Pretty sure that's a good indication that what I was breathing in wasn't great. Not only that, but the chemicals we use come into contact with our skin and may end up in our bloodstream.

Where to start?

Start small. Ditch plug in air fresheners and perfumed room sprays. My favorite alternative to this is diffusing essential oils.  


Consider having a few house plants. There's a lot of evidence to suggest that indoor plants help improve the air quality. Plus, they are attractive and can be a natural part of your home decor. 

Check out a quality air purifier. One thing to look for is how much square footage the unit covers. If you live in a small space one air purifier may do it. If you have a large home take that into consideration. If you cannot manage to cover the entire house, focus on the rooms in which you spend most of your time, including the bedrooms.



Awareness is the first step. It's easy to go through the "day-to-day" and not think about what comes in contact with your skin. If you have persistent acne it's certainly worth looking into.
 

Posted in Acne, Wellness. Tagged as acne, acne and air quality, air quality, heal my acne, healing acne holistically, health and wellness, health coach, indoor air pollution.

How to Beat the Sunday Blues

What is it about Sundays and feeling blue?

I don't think I'm alone in this as I've seen other bloggers write about this very topic.  Not to mention a good friend of mine and I call it
depressing Sunday.  In fact we call or text often on Sundays and say the words, "Happy Depressing Sunday!!" This little joke between us has actually brightened my day more than once.


How to Beat the Blues. #beattheblues #overcome sadness


I don't know about you, but I'm the type of person who thrives on routine. I like the mundane, ordinary tasks of the week and while I may get tired of it sometimes, there's also a great deal of comfort in it. 

I'm a Christian and grew up in a Christian home so Sunday was always a day of worship and rest in our house.  My parents even had a rule that any weekend homework had to be completed by Saturday night because come Sunday there would be no working on it.  I much appreciated this rule because I was never frantically trying to get school work done before Monday morning rolled around.


While Sundays have always had a calmer feel to them, there's something that feels almost sad to this day.

Whether or not you are a believer, and whether or not you attend a church, I don't think many would argue that Sunday does represent a somewhat slower pace that any other day of the week.  It's a time to sit back, be with family and rest for the week ahead.


It's the sitting back and resting part that can be a bit uncomfortable for me.  Weekly schedules and routine keep my body busy and my mind busy.  Do you find this to be true for yourself?


Routines and structure means there isn't much time for reflection and this also means there aren't many pockets of quiet.  While this does get tiresome, it also offers a certain level of protection.  I can't stop and think and reflect because I need to move on to the next task.  Sundays provide a large window of time where I really don't know what to do with myself and I'm forced to deal with the quiet.

Do you find this true for yourself?


Your state of mind is essential to your overall well being.

Everything is connected: mind, body, and spirit.  It's important these things are in tune with one another.

Now I'm not saying don't ever feel sad or blue.  Quite the contrary, when these feelings do arise don't ignore them but rather decipher where they are coming from and what's behind them.  My mother passed away three years ago and, since then, Sundays have become an even greater challenge -- missing her most in the quiet moments. The reality of her absence cannot be denied during those times.


Here are a few things I've found that help me deal with the Sunday blues and may help you as well:

  1. Stay hydrated.  Sounds ridiculous, I know.  It also sounds like it's just another excuse to talk about the importance of water.  However, there is no denying that when your cells aren't properly hydrated your body doesn't function optimally.  Any negative emotions you're feeling will only be amplified if you're running on empty.
  2. Take a walk and grab some sunshine. It's easy to stay in the house and hibernate with Netflix. This can be comforting but it's easy to not want to retreat from your personal space. Instead I like to grab my daughters and take them for a walk, especially when the weather is nice.  A little Vitamin D from the sun can go a long way to lift your spirits.
  3. List the things  for which you're grateful.  It can be easy to forget all the little things we have to be grateful for.  Try writing down just 3 things you are thankful for.  If you are in a tough season of life, you may feel that there isn't much to be grateful about but that's the beauty of this exericise.  It causes you to pause and see the beauty that's around you.  At night when my girls and I do their prayers, we always thank God for our warm beds and our full tummies. Two things most of us take for granted everyday but oh their significance in our lives! I thank God for my family, friends, for the roof over our heads and for food in the refrigerator.  Stopping to say these blessings helps me remember just how sweet life can be.  I challenge you to complete this exercise in gratitude and see if your spirits aren't lifted.


I'd love to hear from you! What are your thoughts on Sunday? Funday or Depressing? Is there a day of the week where you feel more uplifted and excited than the rest of the week?


Disclaimer: This blog is in no way intended to be a substitute for medical advice and/or professional help. If you struggle with depression it is important to seek professional counseling.
 

Posted in Wellness. Tagged as depressingsunday, depression, gratitude, healthandwellness, healthcoach, sundayblues, vitamind.