Posted in Beautycounter, cancer, health, Healthy Living, makeup, personal care products, safer beauty

Confessions of a Beautycounter Consultant

I have a confession to make. I signed up to sell Beautycounter before I even tried their products.

Beautycounter lured me into the life of sales with their strong message of education and advocacy. Their belief that each consultant has the power to share the message of safer beauty and personal care products is empowering. Their work in Washington D.C. to actually make this happen is admirable. When I heard their mission statement- “Our mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone.”- I was sold.  It is powerful in its accuracy and simplicity. How many of you know how safe the products you are putting on your body are? I wasn’t aware that the U.S. only bans 30 ingredients out of 80,000 that are used in personal products before I went to a Beautycounter social. Did you? The E.U. bans 1400 and Canada 600. This bothered our CEO Gregg Renfrew and she decided to do something about it. Beginning with a list of 1500 ingredients that Beautycounter will never use. More importantly, she along with a few other beauty industry executives are sharing the need for stronger regulations in their own industry with members of Congress. Why does this matter you ask? You could currently be slathering on known carcinogenic (cancer causing) or endocrine disrupting (hormone levels) products in the form of soap, lotion, shampoo or makeup on your body. Beautycounter helps provide alternatives that are safer and if you don’t want Beautycounter they will provide you with resources to determine what other brands might be safer. Personally, I’ve never used any safer products that perform as beautifully as Beautycounter’s do.

Another quality I enjoy about Beautycounter is that it is a B Certified Corporation which means it values people, planet and profit equally. Working for a company that believes it can help solve social problems, help the environment and voluntarily meet higher standards of transparency (you KNOW what is in BC products), accountability, and performance is inspiring.

I’m delighted to be a part of a company that values my health and wellness and provides me with the opportunity to share and educate family and friends about the products they use. I’m part of a movement through Beautycounter to educate, advocate and provide fantastic beauty and personal care products. And I like it. 

 

Posted in Beautycounter, cancer, health, Healthy Living, makeup, Paleo, personal care products, safer beauty, Uncategorized

My Beautycounter Life So Far

Dew___Tint_Skin

It has been three months since I joined the ranks of Beautycounter  as a customer and  consultant and I wanted to briefly share my experience.

In one word it has been positive. The improvement to my skin through the use of their Essential Nourishing line and their No.1 Brightening Facial Oil has been extremely encouraging. I’ve learned to love facial mists and oils, two products I never knew existed.  I’ve been using the makeup from their Flawless in Five collection and have never felt so put together in my life. The best part about all of these products is that they last. Beautycounter has made safer beauty super high performing so it takes a small amount to get results. I am still using all my original purchases three months in and from what my mentor is telling me I can count on around six months for most of the products in my regimen.

As a consultant I feel encouraged, valued and empowered by Beautycounter as a company and the mission they are on. Yes it is direct retail, because they feel their message is best shared one on one. Honestly as soon as I started using their products and learning about how much vigilance goes into the procuring and testing of ingredients, I wanted to share it with my family and friends. Having a little extra income is great, but knowing that I am helping to spread the word about using cleaner & safer personal care products gives me a sense of satisfaction. Doing drop offs so people can use before they buy is fantastic. Seriously, once you use these products you’ll be sold.

The best part about Beautycounter is their belief in the importance of transparency in regards to their ingredients. You should be able to find out from companies before you use their products if they avoid using ingredients linked to cancer. While it seems like common sense, companies are allowed to use endocrine disruptive and toxic chemicals in personal care products you use every day. Beautycounter is working to change that and has created a Never List to demonstrate that devotion to selling safer beauty & personal care products.

 

Posted in Healthy Living, Low Carb, Paleo, Primal, Real Food, Whole 30

When a Whole 30 Isn’t Enough

Starting your journey to health with a Whole 30  is a brilliant idea. The information and community support is tremendous. You will feel better and understand the power of eating REAL food. What I’ve learned though is sometimes it isn’t enough. What? Giving up all the food that makes you joyful isn’t enough? That’s crazy talk! Well, it is my truth. Would I go back to eating processed food and too much sugar? No way.

My “only” lingering health issue after several years of real food eating is migraines. I have abnormal ones. They come on first with a visual aura and last 2-4 hours. Occasionally I will go months without one. Sometimes I get a couple a month. If I had to guess, I’d say they have something to do with my hormones as I’ve addressed diet & lifestyle. However I haven’t had to take antibiotics for five years and I cannot remember the last time I was really sick. Oh wait I do remember; it was when the hospital made me get a flu shot before I could see my new granddaughter four years ago. I felt crappy for a few days, but was not bed ridden.

My point of writing this is to say even though your health might not be perfect after you clean up your diet, it will be improved in noticeable ways. The bottom line is you can’t take a pill or supplement and keep making poor food choices if you want to improve your health, lose weight or feel better long term. For improvement in your health to need to heal your gut. And for healing to occur in your gut, you have to eat real food, have good sleep and stress relief hygiene (yoga, meditation), and move. Walk outdoors and lift heavy things and surround yourself with good people. You have to do this for a long time before you “cheat.” Maybe a year, maybe two, maybe three. I was forty when I found out I was gluten and dairy intolerant and had what I now know was the beginnings of autoimmune issues. Real food, real activity, real sleep is a lifestyle, not a diet. You are kidding yourself if you think one Whole 30 is going to fix you forever. It is a stepping stone to get you on track for having a better quality of life. You have damaged your gut over a lot of years and you need to honor yourself enough to give it time to heal. Use the wealth of free information on sites like www.Robbwolf.com , www.thepaleomom.com, www.marksdailyapple.com, www.everydaypaleo.com, and www.radicatamedicine.com to get started. Check out the books links in my resource section for help too. You don’t have to pay for meal plans or shopping lists, because people who live this way (like me) want to help you. Recruit family and friends to do it with you and have planning dates and batch cooking parties. It is work, but it is beyond worth it. If you put in the work, down the road you can have some of the celebratory treats on special occasions, but you might not want them.

Posted in Blog

Paleo Is Not A Diet

What I like most about eating real food is that it has impacted other aspects of my life. Leading me to the decision to write about the fact that paleo is not just about the food. It has made me a more mindful person when it comes to the lifestyle choices I make, the importance of my food sources and the people I listen to.

Lifestyle adjustments are important. You must make a conscious effort to lead a life with as little stress as possible. This means learning to say no. I am a giver, fixer and problem solver. In years past I would over extend myself (constantly being busy) thinking it was a good thing. It’s not. I thought volunteering for booster clubs, helping friends in crisis on top of going to college and raising my family was just the way it had to be. I’ve learned in middle age that other people (including employers) not planning well in their own lives is not my problem. I’ve learned that taking care of myself first helps me be better for the people I love the most. For me what is important is my family and friends and being able to spend quality time with them. Material things are not what nutures our spirit. What matters are the relationships we build. This “paleo” lifestyle has taught me to expend energy in a way that fosters relationships. Group dinners and gym potlucks, coffee or workout dates with friends are examples. Reach out to those around you and plan events that improve your health and help you connect with your community.

Where your food comes from matters. I do my best to buy local organic vegetables, pastured eggs and grass-fed meat. I grow what I can during the summer in my own garden which provides me with healthy doses of Vitamin D and joy from digging in the dirt. If you don’t have your own room to garden check out community gardens in your town. Some schools or local farms have gardens that will exchange produce for weeding time. It is a way to connect to the land and teach yourself and your children about where food comes from. It also offers the opportunity to try new fruits and vegetables in the real food recipes you are making. If gardening is out of the question, find your local farmers market and make it a weekly excursion.

What inputs you allow into your head are important. We are saturated in media these days and it is vital to find sources rooted in solid science when it comes to our health. I have read voraciously over the past six years trying to expand my knowledge of nutrition and have listened to many health lectures that were way over my head. To be honest I rely on people with a background in science to decipher it for me. Chris Kresser, Sarah Ballantyne, Aglaée Jacob and Robb Wolf are people I trust to give me honest information, because they have scientific backgrounds and understand how to look at the efficacy of a scientific study. They also will adjust their nutritional and lifestyle advice based on current research. Be a skeptic when it comes to nutritional advice. Educate yourself and never assume what you are hearing or reading is fact, because every study can be funded by someone with their own agenda or a desire to protect their money. Ideal health comes from doing your own research and determining what your optimal diet is through elimination and reintroduction of foods.

Be selfish when it comes to your wellbeing, because in the end it makes you healthier and happier for the people that matter the most.

Posted in Side Dish

Cook Ahead!

One thing I have learned over the past few years of my real food life is to cook ahead. When I first quit eating processed food, mainly bread, I would find myself in the kitchen starving and panicked by my lack of quick choices. This is when most of us would slap some sort of sandwich together and call it good. Since I’ve been bread free for six years or so, I’ve figured out some other choices that are actually much more satisfying and healthier. I spent about four hours over the past two days planning and preparing  different dishes. Each at least 6 or so servings. I made egg salad (with homemade mayo of course), meatloaf, broccoli & beef-from the Paleo Magazine Readers Favorite Cookbook, beef stew with garden veggies, bone broth, chicken soup and pesto. My goal for the next few months is to try at least one new recipe a week, this week that was the broccoli & beef dish Also, I’ve discovered that pesto is good in just about anything! Even chicken soup.  Here is how I made mine:

pesto

PESTO

Basil (I used two small bunches, probably two cups loosely packed), 1 bunch cilantro and 1 bunch spinach. Remove stems,  put the leaves from each bunch in the food processor. Pulse a few times.

Add juice of a lemon, 1/4 -1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt, 3 garlic cloves,  1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 pecans. Mix in the food processor, scraping the sides as needed until well blended.

Posted in Low Carb, Side Dish

Kale Salad

Happy Monday! I saw this Chris Kresser post on Facebook and it ties into my last post so I wanted to share for those who would like more in depth reading on why to choose a real food life.

http://chriskresser.com/9-steps-to-perfect-health-1-dont-eat-toxins

And I want to share my new favorite salad that is super easy to make and lasts for days in the fridge, kale salad. This is a picture of what I had for breakfast (bacon, duck egg fried in ghee, and 2 day old kale salad-don’t those apples still look fresh?)

kale salad

First, I have a confession. I planted way too much kale (three varieties) in my garden this year. For some reason I always plant too much of something and end up feeling guilty when it goes to waste. I simply cannot eat as much kale as I’m growing. And why does it cost so much at the store? It grows easily and abundantly even when I ignore it. Bottom line is that I currently have an endless supply of kale, so I thought I’d try out some new recipes. Usually I cook it in my leftover bacon grease for breakfast, toss it in soup or meatloaf,  but I wanted to use it fresh so I looked up a salad recipe. I didn’t have three of the ingredients in the recipe, so I improvised and it turned out great.

KALE SALAD

1 bunch kale, stems removed & chopped into bite sized pieces

1 decent sized apple chopped into bite sized pieces (or other fruit-the recipe I looked at used mango)

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (I bought raw and roasted in cast iron on the stove, then salted)( I also used sunflower seeds when I had no pumpkin)

1 lemon or lime (the amount you use will depend on how tart you like it)

¼ olive oil

½ tsp salt (more if you like)

Sprinkle of pepper

Put the kale into a bowl. Squeeze half a lemon or lime, drizzle half the olive oil and sprinkle the salt on the kale. Now massage that kale for a couple minutes until the liquids & salt are well worked into and onto all the kale. Add the apple and seeds & stir. Taste it. Is it tart enough? Oily enough? Salty enough? Add more lemon, olive oil and salt to your taste. Sprinkle on the pepper. This is better made ahead, as the kale softens a bit and the flavors blend more.

What new salad have you tried recently?

Posted in Blog

Why I’ll Never Go Back

Want to know a secret? I’ll never give up eating real food even though it’s not always easy. Why? When I started this journey to being healthy in 2003 I was as heavy as I had been 9 months pregnant.  I was taking allergy and heartburn meds, antihistamines, ibuprofen and migraine medication regularly. I didn’t want to be that person. You know, the one that thinks our health just happens to us. Migraines, heartburn, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and many other chronic health issues most doctors want us to think are only controllable, not preventable or curable. Your lifestyle choices dictate your health. Most people don’t want to take that responsibility on, which I find excruciatingly frustrating, but I believe you can massively improve your health through what you choose to put in your mouth. Here are some personal improvements in my health that I’ve experienced:

1) I don’t get tired during the day

2) Migraines down from 20 a year to 5 or less and the severity of them hugely reduced

3) No heartburn

4) No itchy skin

5) Healthy weight

6) No cysts

7) No thyroid issues

8) No gallbladder pain/problems

9) No constipation

So, bottom line? To me it is definitely worth it. Plus, you get to eat yummy food! I feel best following a 95% of the time real food, 5% ‘cheat’ foods plan. However I never cheat on gluten and avoid sugary, high glycemic foods as I’ve discovered they can trigger migraines. Here are some food pics:

food

Top Left: Vegetable stir fry (cabbage, kale, onions, mushrooms), bacon, duck egg, avocado.

Top Right: Pizza w/ ham, onion & broccoli on a cauliflower & tapioca crust. I did use Daiya ‘cheese’ as I’m dairy intolerant. I consider it a processed food so it is a once or twice a month choice.

Bottom Left: Roasted chicken thighs & sweet potatoes

Bottom Right: Roasted beets with fennel, tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper.

How do your food choices make you feel?

Posted in Blog

I’m so hungry, I can eat crap food. #makeaplannotexcuses

Quick post tonight. I was going to take pictures, but I was too hungry. My message tonight is:  being hungry (or hangry) is NOT an excuse to eat crap food. After Ellensburg CrossFit took 4th at the Elysian Games today in Seattle and I got in my car to drive home, I realized I was hangry. What would I do? I had an hour drive home. I made the decision to grab the ingredients for a chop salad when I stopped to get my hubby his whole, raw milk at the local food co-op. It took me ten minutes to shop and ten minutes to fix it. Faster than a restaurant? I say yes. Less expensive? Yes. Better quality, nutrient dense food? Yes. I bought organic lettuce, Applegate Farms meat and tossed myself a quick, yummy dinner. Thank you to myself. 🙂

Be good to yourself and your gut. You are worth it.

Posted in Blog

Real Food Babies

While I could extensively discuss the glories of grandparenthood, I’ll just say this; it is even better then everyone says it is. I’ve decided to quit knitting Seahawks hats for them long enough to talk about what they eat.

SeahawksHats

I couldn’t ask for a more well fed 19 month old granddaughter. I feel so lucky to have children who understand the role and importance of feeding real, nutrient dense food to their babies. And that they were willing to educate themselves from numerous sources, but mainly through Chris Kresser’s Healthy Baby Code. (www.chriskresser.com) They started her off of course on breast milk, introducing no foods before six months and then began soft boiled egg yolks for a week, then avocado and surprisingly liver which she enjoyed. She currently consumes the healthiest looking meals I’ve seen a kid eat. Here are two of the meals she ate last Sunday.

realfoodbaby2 realfoodbaby3     Breakfast: Organic kale, zuchhini & onions cooked with bacon, chicken sausage & a soft fried pastured egg. She also enjoyed some fresh blueberries and strawberries after she finished her breakfast.  Water for a beverage.

realfoodbaby Dinner: Meatloaf (see previous post for ingredients) & raw veggie salad. Water for a beverage.

Now, baby boy is 7 months old and has absolutely no interest in anything other than Mama’s milk. I wish I had a picture of his face when we were trying to give him some sweet potatoes. Let’s just say he was obviously opposed to them. 🙂 His mom’s plan is to try putting some small chunks of soft food choices (avocado, sweet potato or banana) and let him choose what to try. He puts absolutely everything in his mouth  so maybe he’ll do better when he’s shoving it in there.  Until then he’ll be fine eating breast milk as he is quite the big boy already.

The reason I thought it was important to talk about this is because kids will eat real food if that is what you give them. While they are babies and toddlers the caregivers are the ones who make food choices for them. They will eat good, whole, real food if that is what you provide. There are tons of resources for parents around this subject. Check out the following links for ideas:

http://paleoparents.com/

http://www.thepaleomom.com/

Home

Happy day to all and GO SEAHAWKS!

Posted in Blog, Offal

Offal is an essential part of a real food life. Yipee. #eatliver

This is only my second post. I wasn’t sure if it was too soon to introduce the idea of offal, but it’s what I did today so that is what I’ll write about. I also made yet another batch of soup for my daughter who is currently in week four of the GAPs protocol, but that is a different story and recipe.

I’ve been at this real food life for about four years now. Gluten and dairy free for six. Getting to where I am at, especially if you are coming from a typical SAD life, takes time. It took me at least a year before I worked up the courage to take on liver. Anyway, I thought I’d share how I’ve learned to deal with it.

We all know we need to eat our sustainably raised offal, but it is so gross. Right? I say get over it, ‘cuz you really need to be eating it. Today I did what I do to add offal to my families diet. I prefer to hide it in entree’s like meatloaf, stew or meatballs (or as I like to call them Offal Balls). I keep it simple.

Thaw it:IMAG0936[1] Beef liver & heart (I cut out all the nasty tendons and grisly bits)

Cook it:IMAG0937[1] I like to pressure cook it. Only takes a few minutes + the cool down time.  Get the ventilation going though, because it is stinky.

Grind it:IMAG0938[1] Love my Kitchen Aid Food Processor. Vital kitchen tool.

Add it:IMAG0942[2]   I mixed it in with my meatloaf. Recipe below….

Freeze the excess for later use.IMAG0939[1]

And here is why you should be eating it, offal that is:

http://www.thepaleomom.com/2012/04/why-everyone-should-be-eating-organ.html

HACLIFE Meatloaf

2 lbs ground beef

½ lb breakfast sausage

1 ½ cup ground offal mix

¾ cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped mushrooms

½ cup grated carrot

1 cup chopped kale

2 duck eggs or 3 chicken eggs

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper (fine ground)

2 tsp paprika (omit if AIP)

1 TBLS garlic powder

1 TBLS Italian Seasoning Blend

Other stuff to add/substitute per your own taste if you like:

Worchestershire Sauce (make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup or other crap)

Ketchup (make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup or other crap)

½ cup almond meal

Grated zucchini

BBQ Sauce (make sure it doesn’t have corn syrup or other crap)

Be adventurous. Meatloaf is pretty forgiving

Bake in whatever dish you want at 350 degrees until cooked. Usually 35-45 minutes, but that depends on your dish type. If I’m in a hurry I cook it at 375 degrees, cuz I’m tricky like that.