natural

Trying out The Whole 30

Paleo Diets have been the new big thing for a few years and may be singlehandedly keeping Pinterest in existence (can you look for any recipe on there without a Paleo one coming up? try it). Through an Instagram friend I came upon something that is the same, but different, called The Whole 30.

From what I can tell thus far (from reading the website, not the NYT BEST SELLER book) the main difference is in the details. For example, there are a number of specific chemical components (carageenan, MSG or sulfites) used in prepared foods that are to be avoided, but coffee and salt are allowed (not Paleo). The general idea of no refined sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, processed foods, etc are the same.

Much to my dismay, the Whole 30 does stress the avoidance of the Paleo-type cheats that have been widely used (See: pinterest). As the site says:

Do not try to re-create baked goods, junk foods, or treats* with “approved” ingredients. Continuing to eat your old, unhealthy foods made with Whole30 ingredients is totally missing the point, and will tank your results faster than you can say “Paleo Pop-Tarts.” – See more at: http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/#sthash.tqhCuUVy.dpuf

They have a point. But I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks now consistently, and I just have to have something sweet after dinner, so I’ve been whipping up a banana-ice cream (with almond butter) and YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT IT.

The idea I like about The Whole 30 is that it has an end time. It feels like a game to try to be getting to the finish line, instead of a diet, which feels more easily cheat-able with no end in site. And if I gain some knowledge and positive good habits along the way, SO BE IT!

So far I feel so great and less bloated without any dairy or grain. I also feel so much less crazy without any sugar. This isn’t new news, but I sure do feel the noticeable difference between having and not having sugar – when I don’t have any, I don’t crave it. But when I give in to those donuts in the office kitchen…. I want more the rest of the day. The addictive properties of sugar are no joke, and if you’ve never seen the segment on sugar from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, please do so.

Here’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve been whippin up on the reg since doing The Whole 30

FRITATTA

I’ve been making frittatas for ever but for some reason they’ve gotten more tasty in doing this eating plan (and as I get better at making them).

IMG_6390

They’re really easy, and can incorporate any vegetables you have. I usually use zucchini, tomato, peppers, kale, spinach… whatever I have around that can be roasted or sautéed. After preparing them, I beat 3 or 4 eggs (I WOULD throw in some parmesan cheese, but not on the Whole 30), and pour them over the veggies I’ve prepared in the same skillet.

Cook on low until the egg is solid and cooked, and you can flip it.

I’ve eaten this for breakfast, lunches, dinners… I usually make a big one and cut it in pieces for different meals!

Next recipe for the Whole 30 coming up later this week! Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

UPDATE: My Experimenting with Apple Cider Vinegar

A few posts ago I declared my suspicions about the BFD with raw apple cider vinegar. I really wanted to understand what all the hype was about, so I decided to try it out (consistently) for myself.

Many of the recipes and recommendations I was reading suggested consuming it in some form every day, sometimes multiple times a day. I could not do that. It definitely got easier to drink over time, but every day was too much for me.

Instead I focused on using it three (sometimes four) days a week for the last month – either taking a shot of it mixed with water and juice, or using it on a salad.

MY RESULTS (thus far)

  • I can not confirm or deny any effects on my immune system, thus far. I haven’t gotten sick, but it’s also summer and I normally would not be getting sick.
  • I can however confirm there may be a slight change in my skin and breakouts. As I’ve mentioned many times I suffer from (really AWFUL) hormonal breakouts that have never been an issue in my life before the past few years. I am willing to try anything and everything, but it’s hard because I also have sensitive skin. The inside out approach (as I’ve mentioned before from reading Eat Pretty) has been especially helpful, including ACV. My usual breakout at that-time-of-the-month was not as severe as I’ve come to expect (though this could also be because of other dietary changes as well). I also really liked using the ACV-based toner recipe I mentioned in my previous post!
  • I will say I think the ACV has helped in my digestion, and although it may have been a placebo effect, the ACV did assist in my feeling fuller, quicker, when consumed before a meal.
  • Also felt like consuming it before a meal helped in my mood and energy (and possibly slight weightloss too!
  • I would say it assisted in “detoxing,” (remember, when people tell you they are on a detox, it usually just means they are pooping a lot).

I did not try using ACV as a hair cleanser, so I can not speak to that. And overall I liked the results, and I think had I been consuming and using it every day my results probably would have been even better. I think I will continue using it  the way I have thus far though.

Anyone else have results like these from consuming apple cider vinegar consistently? Better, or worse than my experiment?

Thanks for reading!

What’s the BFD with ACV?

acv

Amongst the blogs, twitters, and instagrams I follow that discuss health stuff, the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar repeatedly comes up. I’ve read countless articles, and most of them say that either by ingesting or using topically, RAW Apple Cider Vinegar will do any of the following:

  • clear your skin
  • boost your immunity
  • clean your hair
  • help you “detox”
  • help you lose weight
  • give you energy
  • enhance your mood
  • save the whales

But my question is, has anyone actually seen these benefits first hand? It’s easy to write a blog post echoing a study that you think someone did once, or repeat information you read somewhere else that you think works. But what about some hard investigative reporting where said blogger follows up  with what they find out?

Look no further my MANY (few) followers, I am here. I am going to put a few of the Raw Apple Cider Vinegar recipes I’ve found to the test, and let you know what kind of results I get. Currently I could stand to lose a few ten pounds, as well as could do ANYTHING to clear my chin acne, and both of those things already bring down my mood, so I would be happy to see any of that eradicated. Also, I am definitely going to drink it before lunch and see the effect it has on my “afternoon slump” at work. Here are the few recipes I found if you’d like to play along:

ACV based vinaigrette – from Refinery 29

Any of these great juices – from The Healthy Honeys

Or these juice recipes

and This ACV and Aspirin toner

Also in everything I’ve seen, it’s important to use RAW Apple Cider Vinegar, such as Bragg’s, which is available at Target!

If anyone has truly done these before, please let me know your experiences or how you prefer to take it! I’ll take all the advice I can get. 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Beauty is skin deep…?

Earlier this year I mentioned how I switched up my skin care routine, and had (fully) discovered all that Sephora has to offer. Since I’d gone most of my life without acne, until the last few years where I’ve been experiencing hormonal breakouts, it’s been a struggle to know what direction to head in. I started with Clinique, which for my sensitive/combination skin has been going relatively well. However, once I started searching, I haven’t been able to stop. It seems as though every time I even breathe near a Sephora, they are giving me more samples for similar skin care items, and I want to try them all in my quest to find that miracle product.

Similar to this post I read a few weeks ago from A Pretty Penny, I am realizing that simpler is better. After my product scouring, and weeks of researching brands, ingredients, and the latest technology to clear my skin and make it look younger (and I’m only 25!), I’ve settled on doing nearly nothing chemically (surprise!) based to keep it looking good. Here are my latest tips for the sensitive, combination skin, hormonal acne sufferers like myself !

1. Always  be drinking water

It’s a tried and true skin helper because improper hydration is the cause of many skin ailments. Plus, adding detoxing ingredients like lemon, mint, or blueberries, or enhancing the hydration with water-soaked chia seeds, makes it hard to get too bored!

2. Do not wash with hot water

Maybe this is just me, but my mind set for everything is – hot kills bacteria, the hotter the better! NOTE TO SELF: This is not true for skincare. Washing my face, and really whole body with warm or nearly cool water has made a world of difference – less blotchy, less dry. And when it’s less dry, there are less steps to take to make up for how dry it is (ie. moisturizers, serums, heavy lotions).

3. Using real, natural, leaf derived aloe vera


unnamed (11)

Not only has using true, natural aloe vera been great for moisturizing, but it is unbelievably healing! That means that the scars, scabs, and marks from current or previous breakouts are healing, as I am moisturizing. I’ve been using it at night when the skin does it’s best repairing, and it’s literally worked wonders. And not just the healing and the moisturizing, the aloe has been my miracle product in terms of pore minimizing too! I have oily skin around my t zone and nose, and using the aloe under make up has kept my pores from looking huge all day.

There are a few options for obtaining natural aloe (not, NOT the stuff in the gel form, from the bottle that you use on sunburn, as it’s very little aloe and a lot of thickeners and preservatives!) –

– First, my local Whole Foods has large, aloe leaves for purchase that look like this, and you can then extract the aloe vera following a video like this (from the adorable Kibby Miller, check out everything she does!). You can also buy aloe vera plants for your house, which I have, but you won’t get nearly as much as you would if you can find those huge leaves. Once fully extracted, the fresh aloe should be stored in a sealed tight mason jar as pictured, and in the fridge for the few weeks you should have it. I use a little bit on my face every morning and evening, and now I’ve been using it on actual sunburn!

– You can also buy a product like this Aubrey Organics Aloe Vera, also at Whole Foods or on Amazon. Not exactly the same as extracting from the leaf yourself, but still has the same effects from what I’ve seen!

4. This lovely new book I picked up, “Eat Pretty” by Jolene Hart

Eat-Pretty Cover

I saw Jolene speaking about her book “Eat Pretty” last weekend, and I had to know everything! I think it’s easy to forget that the things you put INSIDE your body completely effect everything that comes out of it – be it skin, mood, hair, etc. This book has all the different parts of our diet that we don’t even realize are connected to most issues we have, simply because they are so ingrained in our lives (like caffeine and sugar), it’s just easier to find surface level solutions instead of working from the inside out. So far it’s been incredibly informative and has helped me on my journey to wellness and clear skin!

 

Thanks for reading, hope this helps for anyone struggling with my same issues! And don’t worry, I still have a few not-so-natural products I’ve discovered in my recent searches which I will detail here very soon.

Post in the comments any of your go-to natural beauty tips, or let me know if these have worked for you!