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Friends and Strangers frequently ask me: What do you use on your skin?
To begin I will say this, my mom insisted I start a skin care regime when I was literally 8-years old. Consistency pays off. No mater what your routine, have one. Taking care of your skin daily is the best thing you can do to prevent breakouts, aging, and sun-damage.
Drink Water, and eat foods rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins, the A-B-C’s of eating well. Consider adding a high quality essential fatty acid supplement to your diet. Limit or eliminate toxic beverages like Diet Soda and Red Bull..
Wash your face everyday. Here is a recipe for a simple skin cleanser that you can make at home. I have tried everything, and I always go back to this.
In a bottle with a dropper mix 10% castor oil (cold-pressed & cold-processed) with 90% olive oil and shake.
Castor oil contains Ricinoleic acid an analgesic which has anit-inflammatory properties It also acts as a drawing agent. I know it seems counter intuitive to wash your face with oil. However if you have problem skin and breakouts, cleansing with a castor oil solution will help draw out impurities.
Directions: Massage about a tablespoon or so of the cleansing oil on your face for 60-90 seconds, remove with a hot wash-cloth. Do this twice a day.
Add a gentle exfoliant: by combining a tablespoon of baking soda to the cleansing oil once or twice a week, massage as directed above and remove with a hot towel.
Follow with a toner, I use Humphrey’s Witch Hazel. Again, I have tried a lot of toning astringents and I always go back to Humphrey’s it is 100% natural and non drying. Throughout the day when my skin is feeling like it needs a refresher, I mist with Heritage Rose-Water & Glycerine, “vacation in a bottle”. I have a bottle in the fridge, a bottle in my truck, and one next to my computer.. Love the stuff!
Once a Month: I use a Aztec Healing clay mask: http://www.aztec-secret.com/clay.html, pretty powerful stuff.
Moisturize! No cleansing routine is compete without moisturizing. You can make your own coconut oil body butter with a hand mixer. Follow this link to the Nourished life for a recipe:
Not everything in my skin care routine is ‘All Natural’. The products above are, I have dry’ish skin. Coconut oil is great for every type of skin. My other ‘go to’ is Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream it comes in a pot, for about twelve dollars, and is hands down the best moisture cream I have ever used. Alas if you want to keep your routine pure, the above course is one I have developed throughout the years, it is my standard protocol, and inexpensive.
Sunblock is Essential Everyday! I know you have read this before, and I am here to tell you again, Use Sunblock! The best stuff has zinc-oxide in it and goes on white, it is likely the least harmful option on the market. There is some scathing research about the toxicity of sunblock. Do your homework and make an informed decision. I use a product that is formulated for babies, it is unscented, and I look like I am auditioning for the circus when I apply it. I spend a lot of time outside, hiking, running, and playing, so the ‘clown look’ is my outdoor look. I also wear a hat! The best defense from the sun is shade.
Optional Additions: We all want to keep our skin healthy and wrinkle free, maintaing a healthy diet, and cleansing routine are the best things you can do to prevent accelerated aging. There are also a couple of topical treatments you can apply to maintain the longevity of your skin. A Vitamin C-serum is great for skin regeneration and discoloration, especially if you are prone to freckles.
Additionally, consider adding a Retinol SA serum. I have tried just about everything on the market and for the price this is the best!
The bottom line is that it is not exactly what I use on my skin, it is that I take care of it daily, eat well, drink a lot of water, sweat, and rest.
This is the truth. Finding the motivation to walk through the gym door, or step out for a run is often times the deal breaker between ‘happy hour’ and sweating for an hour. One of those hours may seem happy in the beginning, the other hour will make you happier in the end. You might leave the bar mad with yourself that you didn’t go to the gym, but you are not going to leave the gym mad that you didn’t go to the bar.
The number one component to becoming the fittest version of yourself is doing the work, and then sticking with it forever. Fitness is a lifestyle. Rosy glow, toned butt, and arms are all benefits to ‘the life’, but the true winner is your mind.
If your mad sweat, if you complacent exercise. If your creative channels have clogged up, move your body. No matter what challenges the day throws at you, fitness is your sanctuary; it is a place where you can work-it-out.
We have a million excuses to skip workouts, I say have no excuses. Tired at the end of the day? Grab the dog, not a beer and take a walk outside, enjoy the sunset. Have a kid? Put them in a stroller you will burn more calories pushing. To big for the stroller? Do circuits at the park while they play. Dont have a dog or a kid, but so much work to do that there isn’t 60 minutes to spare? Do a 20 min training-lab consisting of 60-second jogs, coupled with push-ups, bench triceps-dips, core exercises, and lunges. Have only 10 minutes to spare? Check out my previous post Ten Minutes to Train. The truth is, you have time. The excuse is, that you don’t.
I tell this to every one of my clients. “You will never finish a workout and be angry about it”.
Time is an issue when it comes to fitness.. We can all agree to that.. Any expert on the topic would say that you should commit to at least 30 min of exercise 6-7 days a week.. But what if you do not have the time? What if you only have 10 minutes between your morning coffee and shower?
As a ‘professional” I agree that the time you dedicate to your personal fitness routine is precious and you may want to consider finding ways to schedule in more time.. Exercise is not only good for your heart and body, it is good for your soul and mind..
However, if Ten is all you have, I have a few tricks to share:
What you will need: Your body, dumb-bells (light weight), and ten minutes.. a jump rope and a door frame pull-up bar..
Clearly you cannot perform all ten of these in 10 minutes, but you can mix them up..
Pick and choose the ones that work for you..
One: One leg lunges with biceps curls; these work every part of you leg and your biceps at the same time and since you are using balance to stand while performing the exercise you are additionally engaging your core muscles..
Two: Push-ups: By far push-ups are one of my ‘go to’ upper-body exercises.. There are many ways to perform them, each targeting different areas of your arms and upper back, you must engage your core to hold yourself in the proper form, and they are challenging.. In ten you can do a variation of push-ups combined with interval exercises. Ten well spent..
Three: Step ups with an overhead raise:.. You can use a stair in you home, a bench, a curb, a chair, a solid coffee table, a step stool.. Be creative, there is no need to purchase a special piece of equipment for this exercise.. With your dumbbells raise your arms up over your head when you step up.. Aim 15-20 repetitions on each leg.. Hit the floor and do 20 crunches in-between sets..
Four: Crunches with a chest fly: Lay on your back, dumbbells in hand, when you raise up perform a wide chest fly.. This works your chest, and upper back, and lower and upper abdominal muscles.. Bust out 10 standing lunges on each leg in-between each set with biceps curls.. Who knew you could be so efficient with Ten!
Five: Pull-ups: I have been working on pull-ups forever, they are HARD as F.. As a women we are not designed biologically to be exceptional at this exercise.. However, there are ways around this.. For about 40-bucks you can buy a pull-up bar that can be used with any door frame and removed and stowed when you are done.. If you are like me and NOT Super Woman, I have a trick to help you.. Afix a piece of webbing to either side of the bar creating a loop at the bottom. (It will take a little reworking to get the length right).. Jump up and grab the bars, cross your legs and place your lower foot in the loop, using the strength of your arms pull up, what you can’t do with your arms allow the strength of your legs to give you a hand (or a leg up).. Try to do three, then five, then seven… The thing with pull-ups is that they are specific to muscles ‘we’ as a culture do not use on a regular basis.. With some practice you will be surprized, they get easier.. Honestly, I can only do a few without some assist, but I can do several with a little help.. Worth IT! Totally!!
Six: Side plank: This one is also known as ‘vasistthasana’
I am including a post from Yoga Journal.. It is imperative to do this exercise with proper form.. Once you ace the fundamentals add an arm raise with a light dumbbell.. This is hands down my favorite yoga posture. It engages your intercostal muscles like no other.. Your intercostalmuscles are like the tiny fibers in the rope that is other wise know as your “core’.. Everyone wants ‘ripped abs’ but the point of the matter is that your ‘core’ supports your body and back.. Without a strong core your at risk for injury.. Those little muscles are just as important as the big ones!
Seven: Jumping Jacks:.. Revert to PE.. do them for 2 min intervals for four sets and you will hear your fourth grade PE teachers whistle blowing! Add some light weights to the mix and ten minutes will never seem longer!
Eight: Jump Rope: Cardio with added benefit! Use a rope with weighted handles.. This works your whole body.. In addition you cannot focus on anything but the exercise alone.. Aim for 60 seconds intervals with 10 push-ups in between.. Talk about an ass kicker!
Nine: Stretch: Considering you only have 10 you may want to consider that you need to stretch? Forward bends are part of my every day.. Breathe in, sweep your arms into the air as high as the sky, lengthen your body, embrace your heart, engage your thigh bones, bend from your waist exhale and bend forward.. Relax into this position for 3-5 full breaths… bend one knee and then the other.. And stop thinking about anything other than breathing in, and out.. I say to myself as I breath, inhale…exhale.. any thoughts that come to mind I breathe them out..
Ten: Meditate, Journal, Take a personal inventory.. This is perhaps the most difficult exercise I have listed.. Sitting down for ten minutes with myself, is more challenging than pull-ups… Be honest about your goals for the day, the week, the year.. Take ten to ask yourself important questions about why and who, and when, and why… This exercises does not give you ripped abs or a round booty, but it sure as hell allows time for ‘you’ and that is why you red this in the first place..
Love Your Body!
One of the most important components to your fitness success starts at your feet. Being so far away from the heart they tend to be somewhat neglected. Your feet support your back, your posture, your balance, and they assume a lot of impact.. Additionally, your feet regulate body temperature.
First: Be honest with yourself about the type of footwear you really need. It is not necessary throw down $130.00 on a pair of speciality running shoes if you are not into running. With that said consider spending more money on a well fitting quality shoe. A well made mid range priced shoe $70-85 should last about 6-months or longer depending on the rigors of your training.
second: Make sure you are wearing the correct size. Our feet swell when we exercise, it is important that your shoe be well-fitting, yet not to tight. Enlist some guidance at your local athletic store. If you can find a store that will do a gate analysis (your foot path as you heal strike) I strongly recommend taking the time to do this. Some brands are better suited for wide feet, some for people who pronate, supinate, have a high arch, or low arch, and so forth. In other words; there are many great footwear options depending on your needs. When I fit my clients in fitness shoes I pull about 5-6 pairs and have them try one on each foot in a process of elimination.
Third: Buy a sports specific insoles and do away with the flimsy foam thing that comes in your shoes. I like SuperFeet, they extend the life of your shoe, and can be used for a couple of pairs of sneakers before they need to be replaced.
Fourth: Do not overlook the importance of Socks.. Over the years I have become very particular about my socks depending on activity, duration, and the tennies I choose to wear. Sometimes I prefer a thin tight-fitting sock, and sometimes a SmartWool hiking sock, or a low profile running sock with arch support for long runs.. Whatever your needs are there is a sock for you. Spend the 14-20 bucks on them.. Cotton socks cause hot spots, they do not wick moisture away from your feet, they hold onto grime, and they stretch out, and fall down into your shoes..
Fifth: Last but not least.. Replace your shoes at least twice a year (this is of course depending on your activity level).. I find that frequent walking in my running shoes breaks them down so I buy a pair that I only use for running, and a pair that I use for walking and training clients. This strategy tends to be more cost-effective especially when I go through dry spells with running..
One: Drink more water. Aim for a gallon a day. Invest in a filter, plastic bottles are unnecessary and wasteful. Additionally the plastic can be harmful to your health and is certainly harmful to the environment.
Two: eliminate processed food. If it comes from a box or a bag and contains more than 5 ‘real’ ingredients give it away.
Three: If you consume dairy products; buy Organic. No exceptions! Conventional dairy cows are pumped full of hormones and eat a diet ridden with pesticides, the byproduct of their upbringing goes straight into your milk products. Same rule applys to meat, chicken, and eggs. The cost is not financial, the cost is your health.
Four: Consider fat as an important nutrient. With that said; choose fat sources wisely. Real butter is hands down better for you than anything in a tub, it is also simple to make. Hydrogenated oils are poison. Purchase expeller-cold pressed oils in dark bottles for preservation. Consume nuts, and natural nut butters. The nutritional benefits of healthy fats are paramount for digestion and the overall health of your hair, skin, nails, heart, and body. Fat does not make you fat.
Five: Eat Carbohydrates. It is difficult to get this through my clients heads as the ‘Anti-Carbohydrate’ diet has been beaten into them like a biblical commandment. Choosing a bowl of steel cut oatmeal over a Protein bar is not only more satisfying it is better for you and more nutrient dense. Carbohydrates like rice, quinoa, barley, and oats are all great sources of fiber, give you energy, and balance digestion. Learning how to prepare these grains is easy and they keep for several days in the refrigerator.
“Eat food. Not to much. Mostly plants” M. Pollan
Food, by definition; is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body..
My belief in this truth has generated a career of teaching others not only how to live well, but how to eat-well.. I am so moved by food, both eating and preparing it that I am often emotionally elated by the process.. Food makes me High..
By virtue of growing food I have come to understand a deeper sense of self-reliance and moral ethics. About a year ago I was fortunate enough to manage a project building a community garden which has not only heightened my appreciation for food and its nutritional advantages, but getting my hands dirty has offered me a sensational connection to the earth that can be attained by planting a seed..
The aromatic inhalation of fresh herbs, and vegetables keeps me coming back for more. Little sproutlings pushing through the dirt are simply magical as they stretch their arms toward the sun… Each clipping of basil, each tomato I pluck, the ladybugs that seem to come out of nowhere, and the very curious praying mantis, all giving praise to simple cycle of life. They rely on water and sunshine for their nourishment, in turn we are compensated with the process of reproduction; a carrot, sugar snap peas, garlic, onions, thyme, the possibilities are limitless..
Driven by the ultimate freshness and nutrient density that enters my mouth transposed into energy, I am striken by the importance of truly being connected to the food I eat, where it comes from, and being thankful for the hard work it takes to provide it…The High I speak of is not endemic to eating, creating, and understanding food… What makes me high is the process…
Sure you may not be moved by food, getting your hands dirty, or digging and sweating.. I get that.. But do not be afraid to try…There is metaphorical satisfaction attained by consuming freshly grown delicious food, a high of sorts, that yummmmm factor..we all know this feeling…
Food selflessly offers us a journey with boundless destinations, it takes us to other origins, it gives us a connection to the earth, and ultimately it allows us a creative platform to be expressive and share our creations with the people we love..
Number One: Apply yourself…I tell every single one of my clients this, “You Gotta Want IT, I can only offer my expertise, the outcome is up to you”… Take positive action today, and every day for the rest of your life. Reach new limits by applying your whole self..
Number Two: Change Your Diet.. more on this topic in a future post… I do not endorse nutritional supplements as I feel eating a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and protein is substantial. However, taking an omega-3 supplement can do wonders for your body and overall health. Be sure that you purchase essential fatty acids from a trusted distributor like ‘Whole Foods’ as there has been some rotten fish swimming into this mega market.
Number Three: Exercise! If you work out that is great! Change it up and update your current routine; add weight-bearing exercises, plyometrics, functional core exercises, and yoga. If you are new to weight training seek out a professional to get you started so that you are using proper form. Sure you can bench-press 150 lbs, but can you lift that much weight properly? You will be surprised how much more difficult that exercise is when you perform it properly with less weight…….
Number Four: Set realistic goals. If you have never run a mile setting a goal to run a marathon is not realistic, but running a 5K is. Yes, losing 10-pounds my be a goal, however setting a ‘fitness goal’ is attainable. Losing weight is a catalyst not a goal. I have seen clients lose 3 inches and drop a dress size and only loose a few pounds. Having a clear understanding of your body composition can offer satisfaction even if the number on the scale does not drop. Goals are for you, and you alone. Set them but do not set yourself up for failure, set yourself up for success.. Apply this concept to your life.
Number Five: People often overlook the importance of this one; Rest and drink pure filtered Water.. Unless you drink a gallon of water a day I doubt you are drinking enough. Water aids in cellular function and fat loss.. Get used to going to the bathroom, peeing flushes your body of toxins, and gives you an excuse to get up and move around. Sleep at least 6-9 hours every night, and if your body hurts, take a day off. Over-training can lead to injury. It is pretty hard to stay dedicated to a fitness regime if you are injured..
Lastly, these are not secrets. This is a lifestyle. There is no secret formula, pill, diet, or routine that is going to clear the path to a fitter You. The only way to attain the version of yourself you desire is to take action… I live by these principals, and my clients agree, they work…
Recently, I cut my finger so badly I had to sleep with my arm above my head. Yes, the image you have in your head is as funny as it reads.
I do not workout every day….Working out is a labor of LOVE. Sweat feels good..I have never finished a workout angry. Exercise is my sanctuary and it has been there for me during some very rough patches of my life.
Water is my favorite beverage, wine is number two.
If I said I was simple I would be telling a barefaced lie.
While I love breakfast and do believe with all of my heart it should be the most nutritious meal of the day, sometimes coffee, half & half, and a hand full of almonds is the best I can do.
Gluten is not my friend. I have tried to make peace with it. We fight like sisters.
If I could wear vintage boots, jeans, and a white t-shirt everyday I would.
Being passionate is roughly hard to explain, it is who I am, I wake each day with it, I sleep with it, and I am exhausted by it.
The best food to eat is the food you grow. I highly recommend getting your green thumbs dirty even if your garden is composed of two clay pots on your patio.
I do not have a favorite thing to cook and suffer devastating writers block when composing recipes that must be put to the cup. So bear with me…
Being focused on my career has caused me to cry a river of tears, I have zero doubts that all of the hard work is worth it.
I was put on this planet to deliver a message; to be a voice for food ecology, living and eating well.. As a result the stress I have brought upon myself on this journey have caused me to make some unhealthy choices.. Stress is a nasty little virus… Becoming toxic can be liberating if you can find your way back to yourself.. I am making confessions here.. I have bushwhacked a path back to Chance and it has not been easy….
It is true I am a free spirit. However, as a child I had very little supervision.
My soul was born in the wilderness, and this is where I go to pray.
Beautiful placement and balanced aesthetics are imperative aspects of my craft.. This is an obsession, and not always a gift.
I believe in love. I believe in humanity and humility. I truly believe, if you believe in yourself, you can and you will accomplish anything…
In a large bowl combine the following:
-2 Cups fresh basil leaves
-2 Cups parmesan reggiano cheese loosely chopped
-3 Cloves fresh garlic peeled, trim the base off (the little spot where the skin grows from)
-3 Tablespoons pine nuts (toasted unsalted)
-1/3 Cup olive oil
-Juice of one lemon
-Salt and pepper to taste
In a bowl combine the above ingredients. Since you are using a blender you will want to add the mixture in stages, otherwise the process may become very frustrating.. be patient…
*If you find that the mixture is to dry, stop the blender and push the ingredients down with a spatula (you may need to do this several times), add a teaspoon of water and continue.
once your first batch is blended to a nutty yet creamy texture, scoop it out it and place into a clean bowl. Begin the process again until you have ‘pestofied’ all of the ingredients into green goodness..
There will be plenty, and it will keep well in a sealed container for several days.
Add to pasta, chicken, spread on toast, or toss with fresh tomatoes and greens…Be creative