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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy to Meet Happy!

Every Saturday, I help organize our local organic produce buying club. It was founded by Alexis aka ThriveSurvive in 2007. Since then it has grown to be the largest of it's kind in the United States with over 600 members. I feel so fortunate to have been able to participate with this group. I love meeting all the people in the community who share the same interest of a healthy body and a healthy planet. My dream would be that all communities have a group similar to ours.

Later, I had the honor of meeting Happy Oasis. She is the founder of the Raw Spirit Festival. She was speaking at our local raw food meetup. I first learned of Happy from watching the "Rawkathon" by Kevin Gianni, which is a series of interviews with people who are prominent in the raw food community. I felt an instant connection and knew I wanted to meet her. She is kind and genuine. Love emanates from her being and beyond. Her stories and adventures are captivating and I find myself lost in them. I could listen for hours. I feel centered and HAPPY just being in her presence. I have never attended the Raw Spirit Festival, however this June there will be an event in Santa Barbara. I would love to see the interaction of this community and I am definitely planning on attending. I look forward to sharing with you my experience there unless you'll be there too! In that case, I look forward to meeting you as well. :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Just an Overall Great Day

Yesterday was such a nice day. It started with checking my emails and receiving a message from Dhrumil of We Like it Raw. He has created a page called Masala that lists" the hottest mix of raw food blogs online". I was humbled and honored that my blog would even be mentioned. It feels good knowing that somebody is reading my jumbled blogs. I love sharing my experiences and stories. Even better I love receiving comments from others stating that I have helped them. How cool is that?

I took my little poochie, Hailee out for a morning walk and just savored the gorgeous weather. I feel so lucky to be alive and have my life. I have so much to be thankful for. I am smart, healthy, and creative. I have 2 awesome kids that I spend lots of time with. I have a home that I can play around with decorating and gardening. I live in Southern California and we have such mild weather. It's funny how fast we can forget these things and we always seem to find room for complaints on where we are lacking. I really want to turn that around and only see what is going right in my life. It definitely far out weighs any nitty gritty complaints I may have.

I came home and read 2 chapter "Loss of Innocence" from "Mastery of Love" by Don Miguel Ruiz to my children. This is such easy reading and they understand the message. Wow, this really put me in my place as a mother. It explains how children are tuned into love and enjoying the present moment. As parents condition and dump our "hell" on our kids and they develop emotional wounds like shyness, fear, etc... Our kids start to try to please us (parents, teachers, etc) for approval. Anyhow, I was brought to tears. I love and adore my children. I know they are my teachers and they remind me about real life. So much of our existence is fluff. I want the real stuff, the good stuff. The stuff that matters. I want to live in love all day long. I actually said my goal for the day was to "make love all day long". That is my ultimate goal. I may not be there 100%, but I'll tell you what, each day I try I grow by minutes. Before I know it I'll be there. Practice makes perfect.

My kids and I played around in the kitchen and created this. I love when I just whip something together without any planning. It's always a surprise. I had some serious sweet tooth going on and instead of eating something really off the charts we had made chocolate ice cream by blending frozen bananas with cacao. We just kept going from there and this is a quick video of what we came up with. Meg wasn't in the mood to be on the camera so she acts a little silly, but kids will be kids.

Then a beautiful gift wrapped book came in the mail from Matthew Kenney. He sent me his book "Entertaining in the Raw". Of course it is beautiful and he truly is a genius. Sorry to keep repeating it Matthew, but it's true! I remember last year thinking there needed to be a book for raw entertaining. Ta da...here it is. Literally, my daughter and I sat and went through every picture salivating. I really didn't know which recipe to try first. So, of course Matthew recommend I make the basil wrappers. DOH! I should have known, he had sent me that recipe before the book came out last summer. Oops! Well, you don't gotta tell me again... I am on it! I'll post a video of the final product as long a you guys realize it won't be nearly as pretty as his photos show.

Anyhow, I just enjoyed a simple mellow day filled with lots of hugs and cuddles with my kids. I felt centered and balanced. So, I want to keep up with my daily goal to make love all day long. I can see how one day went and I look forward to more. Just thought I'd share. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My Skin Care Story & Regime

Since I started posting videos on YouTube I have been asked numerous times about my skin care regime. I must say it has evolved and is very different than what it once was.

Here is a video I did a few months ago that I mention my skin care regime. Fast forward to minute 3 to hear about my skin.

As a child and very early teen I always had been complimented on my skin. Funny, I never saw it and always felt a little embarrassed when I was complimented. In my later teen years, what I saw in the mirror was much different. I would see enlarged pores on my nose, tiny little breakouts and bumps on my forehead. Around PMS time I would get painful pimples around my face. I would put oatmeal on my face, egg whites, avocado, you name it. I resorted to OXY pads and every skincare product that was mentioned in the magazines. I remember over scrubbing my face and then feeling the burn from the alcohol in the toners. My face would get tight and itchy. I would get peeling skin around my nose. It seemed my skin just became worse the more attention I gave it. It made no sense at the time.

Being a teen my diet changed drastically. I was eating donuts, pizza, soda, fast food. After all, all the magazines I read said that your diet didn't have anything to do with my skin. It seemed chocolate and fried foods were OK as long as you used the products that were advertised. Well, I bought into it and became a product junkie. I never saw much of an improvement in my skin. All that seemed to happen is that I had more makeup and more goop for my face.

Years later, it was time for my massage practice to expand into a day spa. I spent so much time being "educated" on skin care and I knew what every aesthetician knew and more (or so I thought). Most of what I practice now is not was I was taught, but there were a few things that I found fascinating.

One thing I learned is that microdermabrasion is dry friction. The reason it is so effective is because when dead skin cells are wet they become sticky and do not come off the face. When your skin is dry, the cells flake off. I never had microdermabrasion done, but now I do dry friction in the form of skin brushing. Yes, I do my face, but not all the time. I will also take a soft toothbrush and go around my nose from time to time. I find that this is very effective in keeping my pores looking smaller because they are cleaned out.

In regards to exfoliation, I know not to do too much. I learned it the hard way. There is such a thing as too much and I feel that over-exfoliation is more damaging than never exfoliating at all. About 2-3 years ago I did a pumpkin enzyme peel. Once you do one of these you are to apply sunblock and stay out of the sun. Well, somehow I forgot (on the same day) and went outdoors to wash my car. When I came inside I looked in the mirror and was horrified. I had brown patches all over my face. My skin was vulnerable and basically left out for the wolves. I now have hyper pigmentation on my cheekbones. I now need to be more creative when applying my makeup. It is not as bad as it once was and it is fading. I have seen improvements when applying vitamin C, lemon juice, diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide, and bentonite clay. However, I haven't done any of these in a while. It just hasn't been a priority lately.

Despite the sun exposure issue after the pumpkin peel. I am not a huge advocate of sunblock like I once was. I am working towards that philosophy that if I can't eat it, I shouldn't put it on my face (However, I still am wearing makeup). I enjoy the sun and actually feel and look better after a little exposure.

My Simple Skin Care Regime
I must attribute my skin to more than cleansing and toning. I feel that the things that have improved my skin the most are the following:

1. Drinking lots of water
2. Sweating (either with a workout or sauna)
3. A little sun everyday
4. Using less skin care products and fussing with my skin
5. Eating a high raw diet ( I noticed that dairy and fried foods made my skin breakout, where sweets, grains and bread made my face look puffy.)

I use a microfiber cloth with water daily. I love this because it removes all my makeup, including mascara. It also removes my excess oils on my skin without stripping my face. Afterwards, I can still feel I have some natural oils on my skin. About once a week or so I use a loofa and Dr. Bronners castile soap. This gives me a little deeper cleanse.

I will skin brush my face and use a soft toothbrush around my nose. I do this about once a month. Sometimes I'll do it less or more. I am not as aggressive with this as I once was. Like I mentioned before, I think over-exfoliation is worse than none.

I occasionally use coconut oil, but that's about it. I will apply the oil, massage it in for a few minutes and then wipe off the excess oil that was not absorbed into the skin with a dry cloth.

Sun Protection
Surprisingly, I am no longer the sun block nut that I once was. I think they made me breakout and I didn't care for the toxic ingredients. I now use coconut oil, aloe vera, and eat a few Brazil nuts for sun protection. I enjoy the sun, however I am pretty smart about it. I acclimate my skin in the spring to be ready for the summer. I try not to shock it and spend a ton of time in the sun after being indoors all winter. I also take it easy and avoid extended peak hours in the sun. I also understand the importance of a raw rainbow spectrum diet to give me sun protection. Every color is a different antioxidant that the plant produces to protect it from being sun burned. Ever notice the colorful produce is harvested after the long summer days? It makes sense if we eat those foods, we will have the same protection for our skin.

I used to have these once a month, but I haven't seen a professional in over a year. I do have a facial protocol that I do at home from time to time. It includes seaweed, spirulina and bentonite clay. The full facial protocol is coming soon to my blog. So stay tuned :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sweet Skin

Take a whiff of your skin after an intense sweat. How does is smell (considering of course you don't have a thick slathering of toxic deodorant on)? Is it sweet and clean or is it enough to wilt a bouquet of roses? Not exactly the sexiest thing to have after a sweaty romp between the sheets if you know what I mean. Many people think that body odor is normal. It is important to note that there is a difference between normal and common. While it may be common for many people to have body odor, it is not normal and absolutely not optimal. So many people are spraying, slathering, and applying all sorts of gunk on their skin trying to mask this issue. Why don't we just get to the source and eradicate the problem rather than coping with cover ups? If you find that your skin is not as sweet as you'd like you may benefit from a cleanse. The smell of the skin is directly related to the elimination functions of the colon, urinary, alimentary system (skin), and liver. If those are overloaded then the symptom is body odor.

Incorporate these into your regular practice and you'll be smelling sweet in no time.

1. Do things to make you sweat- vigorous exercise like power yoga or even a sauna will do the trick. The digestive tract, urinary tract and alimentary system (skin) are the 3 major proponents to cleansing. Did you know the skin is considered the 3rd kidney? Sweating has a huge impact on the smell, tone, clarity and color of your skin. Many people tell me they don't sweat and think this is a good thing. It is actually the opposite. If you aren't sweating you probably are not drinking enough water.

2. Drink lots of water- at least half your body weight in ounces. To support the liver and spruce up the flavor add lemon, lime or orange wedges.

4. Eat foods that encourage the colon to purge itself of any residue or old matter that may be rotting in the GI tract. Chlorophyll is a natural odor eliminator. Chlorophyll is found in leafy green vegetables. According to Victoria Boutenko in her book "Green For Life", she recommends that we consume 2 bunches of greens a day. Beyond greens, apples, carrots, celery, and beets (especially the beet tops) are all great for colon cleansing. This is the best step to take. If more aggressive measures are desired herbs can be introduced.

5. Skin brush - this gets the circulatory and lymphatic system going to where it can cleanse the body at an optimal rate.

6. Try a series of colonics, perform home enemas, or try purging herbs like licorice, cascara sagrada. This can be habit forming so do not exceed 30 days on this herb. If after a 30 day break from this herb you can resume on 30 day intervals or as needed. Ideally, you want your body to function on it's own without the need of herbs to force your body what it should do naturally. Some people enjoy the benefits of bentonite clay mixed with psyllium to accelerate the cleansing process.

In the meantime, try going off your smelly cover ups. If you feel your body odor is too strong you can use a natural salt deodorant and/or essential oils.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Old Bikini Body

Many are asking about my bikini body progress. Well, I started to feel overwhelmed and too wrapped up in every little thing I ate or did. It started to turn into a stress rather than a fun transformation. I was putting unneeded pressure on myself in order to lose weight. It felt more like a struggle than anything else. So, I needed to take a break and change things up.

Not only was I stressing myself out emotionally, I think my workouts were too high stress for me. I even think that the adrenalin rush I would get from intense workouts were defeating the progress. If the cortosol levels are too high in the body and the adrenals are overworked it will suppress thyroid function. Not good for someone who is already dealing with a slow thyroid. So, I decided to pick up the yoga and drop the hard core boxing and boot camp classes.

I even laid off spinning since it really reduced my range of motion and slowed the progress I was making with yoga. I have been dealing with a considerable amount of low back pain. I have hyper lordosis which simply means my low back is really overly curved. It makes it a bit more vulnerable. I injured a disc 10 years ago and it just seems to be my weak link. However, when my quads and psoas are fully stretched my back pain greatly reduces. So, lunges, splits, warrior 1 and all those similar stretches are rocking out! Plus lots of core work keeps me better aligned.

As I was clearing out old data in my computer today I came across pictures I didn't realize I had. This is me weighing in at 108. As you know I am a little over 5'5". Don't mind the boob slippage. I was laying on my tummy and sat up quickly . I didn't realize I was doing a "fashion DON'T". :)

I decided to post these anyway since it really got me excited to think of being that size again. When I see these pics , it takes me back to that feeling confident in my body. I am enjoying this process. As long as I stay in this zone I feel energized and not pressured. I am happy to watch my transformation.

I want to stay in a state of excitement and gratitude. I want to be thankful for what I have now and remember how lucky I am to even have a healthy able body. So many people are less fortunate, disabled, or ill and how dare I complain. I am one lucky chick and I look forward to being as healthy as possible.