Organic All-Natural Beauty Staples & Supplements (As Loved By Yours Truly)
About a year and a half ago I drastically changed my lifestyle. I wouldn’t say it was much of a voluntary decision (despite my natural love for eating clean), it had become a full-blown necessity at that point. Afternoons would be spent curled up in a ball of pain because I drank something as menial as a green tea (caffeine). Everything I ate made me feel nauseous and sick. Food became my enemy, gradually making me weaker and weaker – I didn’t know how to help myself. Quickly, a widespread feeling of helplessness ensued. Things I thought were healthy, turned out to be the latter in regards to what I was up against. My lymph nodes were swollen and apparent – a certain intolerance had settled and established itself within my system. Enter husband-to-be (I refuse to call him fiancee, that name just feels too weird to say). His mom being a Naturopathic M.D., and he himself having grown up as a celiac, the health lesson of my life commenced. Even under surveillance and constant guidance I felt completely lost. There were orders to things, exercises to back up every change. Things I never before considered as problems when I sat down to enjoy a meal. Sauces were a no-go. No bread, no sugar, no caffeine, no wheat, no starch, certain citrus fruits were too acidic, spices too heating to the system. I had a candida issue (when all the junk you’ve consumed over the years comes back to haunt you by lining your stomach with it’s build up). No red meat, no pork, no mixing meats even if I did, organic or nothing at all. Protein was always my priority. If I wasn’t absolutely certain it fit within the “ok” list, I couldn’t have it at all (even if it meant not eating until something else was found). Candida isn’t just from junk food either, it gets fed (think of it as a bug) by medications and antibiotics, growing stronger and inducing unhealthy cravings increasingly more often. Excruciating at first, I learned to adapt to my new eating rituals, substituting coconut oil for butter, or xylitol and bananas for sugar. I learned which oils should never be heated, and which ones should be stored in the fridge. I discovered a whole world of gluten-free alternatives to all-purpose white flour (and great at-home DIY mixes). I began to take pride in making simple staples from scratch, with carefully curated ingredients bought from the market. Over time, with the help of a few great supplements, my body healed itself. The result? More energy, and more happiness. I truly feel lighter. Paired with my near-daily yoga sessions (soon to be running too), my body has never felt better.
It’s been a long time coming that I’ve wanted to share with you a bit of my newfound knowledge. Hopefully you gain some insight applicable to your own lifestyle (and please note that the eating habits as described above were part of a cleanse, my body is now able to handle mainstream regularities once and a while).
Let me break it down for you…
1. Tea Tree Oil. Made popular by the Body Shop’s stellar product line (at least that’s when I first heard of it/started using it), this all-encompassing oil ointment is a staple for both your beauty routine and first aid kit. Great for drying up blemishes, toning, and sterilizing any open wound (careful not to bite your tongue while applying, it can sting substantially if you vouch for a higher concentrate), this go-to plant extract is an absolute must. I love and use Desert Essence’s 100% (and if you have acne-prone skin, check out their amazing oil-consistency face wash too).
2. Oregano Oil. An absolute lifesaver when you’re sick. It helped soothe my sore throat when I had strep (add a few drops to warm salt water, gargle for ten minutes, then enjoy some temporary relief), eliminates bad breath, and literally rids your mouth of bacteria and infection. We often forget how vital good oral hygiene is to the rest of our bodies (think about it, everything you ingest goes for a nice long ride through the rest of your system, affecting organs and cells on it’s way). Sickness in the mouth almost always translates to sickness elsewhere. Unless you’re ill, try not to overdue it with this oil, you don’t want to strip away all the good bacteria too! Oregano oil may have a forceful punch at first (I personally love brushing my teeth with it once a week), but over time you’ll be wondering why every mint and toothpaste doesn’t have the same gusto. Look for a 100% organic formula (I find they are less oily tasting, and more spicy!).
3. Neem. This extract is still new to my beauty/treatment palette, so my experience with it has been minimal. While I can honestly say I’m no fan of it’s scent, it’s healing properties more than make up for it. A great anti-bacterial, my man and I use it to keep external infections at bay (I’m a little paranoid when it comes to growths that stem from public places – especially in a humid/moist environment like a hot yoga room/mat). If you have ongoing skin problems like acne, eczema, or psoriasis I’d urge you to give it a try. It’s also a really amazing parasite and bug killer (take note fido owners), warding off the diseases tied to insects that can (literally) get under your skin. Love beauty DIY’s? Mix neem oil into your shampoo to help relieve an itchy scalp or dandruff. I have multiple products with neem as an active ingredient (toothpaste included), and love that it’s a gentle alternative to abrasive disinfectants.
4. Probiotics. They saved me during those days when nausea and stomach pain would set in after nearly everything I ate. I have horrible memories of being bent over in pain downtown, unable to move on a bench – not knowing if I was about to throw up or if I could even make it back home on my own. There has been a lot of buzz around probiotics lately, and I’m so happy so many other people are implementing them into their lifestyles. I want to make sure everyone knows that you won’t get the same results from a serving of yogurt, as you will from a capsule supplement! The most obvious reason? The concentration. I’ve used acidophilus as an antibiotic when I’ve suffered infections (it works, and in the same time your traditional medicine would). I’m not going to lie, you definitely feel worse throughout that time, but the end result is not allowing something to completely strip your body of the good bacteria it needs to function healthily (I’ve gotten infections as a result of taking antibiotics for an infection… ironic, no?). What do they do exactly? Probiotics break down everything in your stomach, coating your system and allowing you to process everything a little easier. Every time I take one (or two), I feel better. Bio K is a great fly-by alternative to the ones offered at the health food store (you can find it at most pharmacies now – in both the refrigerator and digestive section), and there are different types available for specific uses (ask your naturopath which is ideal for you). Rule of thumb: when you buy it, get it home ASAP! The longer it isn’t refrigerated, the more the good bacteria die (they are living organisms). If you can ask the store for a cup of ice to place your bottle in, even better.
5. Sea Buckthorn. I think this has been my diehard obsession lately (even more so than all the rest). It all started with sea buckthorn tea – a very neutral/refreshing tasting caffeine-free add to my at-home ritualistic life (the man and I drink obsessive back-to-back amounts of this). Then the good folks at Seabuck Wonders stepped in and generously introduced me to their entire world of organic beauty products and omega-enriched supplements. What I love about sea buckthorn, is that it’s a big time antioxidant (anti-aging buffs, listen up). For fans of the ever-popular goji berry, sea buckthorn berries are sourced from the same Himalayan mountains (growing even higher in altitude), and offer up ten times more vitamin c than found in your traditional orange. For those missing out on their essential fatty acids, sea buckthorn contains not only omega 3, 6, and 9, but also the rare omega 7 (found in whole dairy products, said to help lower cholesterol and build connective tissue in athletes). A few added health bonuses: is said to fight cellulite and prevent fat storage, provide stronger nails, glossy hair, and glowing skin (sold yet?).
6. Pau D’Arco. While we’re on the topic of tea, pau d’arco has been a longtime healing staple in my home. I enjoy a cup of it every once and a while these days, but there were times when it was the only thing I’d drink. It’s smell is more tree-like than it’s sea buckthorn citrus counterpart (it’s actually a bark from the taheebo tree – fungus and mould can’t grow on it due to it’s natural antibacterial properties), but this tea packs a big punch when you’re feeling less than. It’s all encompassing makeup reduces fever, fights fungus, candida (what I had), diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer (all the while strengthening the immune system). Just imagine an enjoyable, drinkable staple in your life that kills all the bad in your body on it’s pathway through your system (too visual?). It’s the closest thing you’ll come to superman in a cup.
7. Silica. This natural mineral is great for expelling and detoxing. I take two chewable tablets every night before bed to rid my skin of blockages and buildup. It has the same effect on boils, working rather harmoniously with your lymphatic system to constantly “flush out” your system. In short, silica is the component in collagen that maintains skins elasticity (eternal youth revelation!). You can credit your dewy complexion, radiant hair, and healthy nails to it’s properties (and use it’s supplement alternatives to add to your body’s own natural production of it). Be warned: if you naturally have acne-prone skin and congested pores, your breakouts will only get worse before they get better. Be patient and accepting, knowing all that gunk is leaving your body naturally!
8. Evening Primrose Oil. Something I take at night to rehydrate my skin. It’s a great preventative natural medicine that additionally softens the discomfort that PMS brings. If you’re trying to conceive, it also counters infertility! Something about it makes me feel like it’s a very ladylike/feminine addition to your health practice.
9. Grapeseed. An amazing antioxidant that strengthens your veins and capillaries, also increasing blood flow through your body. I’m a fan of the Caudalie skincare line, and the way I see it, this acts as a beautiful internal extension to the rituals and philosophy they promote.
10. Organic Olive Oil Body Scrub. Every time I go to NYC, I hit the Sabon store (a recent find via my commute to the Lincoln Center during fashion week). Not only is their golden sink in the middle of the store eye-catching, but their products heavenly. The man loves it too. Last time we picked up their amazing organic olive oil body scrub (which I also love using on my face before I go to bed) – the slight sting of the sea salt (also a natural disinfectant), is quite refreshing. Highly recommended!
11. Musk Shower Oil. If you love musk, you’ll love this shower delicacy (also from Sabon). The fact that it’s also a sudsy, non-stripping cleansing oil is merely the cherry on top. This is a product I would order by the case (if only they shipped to Canada, or flight baggage fees weren’t through the roof!).
12. Nat Phos. A must-have if you frequently feel nauseous or bloated after fried or sugary foods. This is like the natural version of Tums, breaking down heavy meals and offering relief after you’ve sampled one too many mysterious hors d’oeuvres. Keep a bottle in your purse and forget about them. You, or someone you’re with, will inevitably need a few.
13. Olive Oil Mud Soap. Is there nothing better than a sea mud soap? Or mud for that matter (when it comes to oily skin)? Picked this slab up at (you guessed it) Sabon, but the local health food store also has it’s own great alternatives. I use this in the bath, I use this alongside oil to take my makeup off. It’s truly all-in-one deep cleansing goodness.
14. Magnesium. Vital for allowing your body to repair itself and let up on physical strain and tension, magnesium is a mineral supplement for your muscles that acts as a relaxant. Great for people with heart conditions, just as beneficial to aching athletes and stressed professionals. Best taken at night as it can make you drowsy, helping you sleep.
What are your tried, tested and true beauty/health obsessions?
xoxPosted under all natural beauty, cosmetics, organic, skincare, Uncategorized by Robyn