things that make me happy in this silly world


face follow-up

i made good on my promise.  i pulverized my quick-cooking oats in my blender and got a nice powder (to use in my oatmeal/baking soda/water face cleanser).  MUCH better result when washing my face 🙂  so much easier and less messy to use.  i’m still impressed by how well my skin is responding to such a basic and inexpensive cleansing routine.

oatmeal ground up nicely

i then got it in my head to grind up some almonds since they make for a good exfoliant:

about to get blizted!

it went BADLY when 2 nuts were impaled causing them to burn while spinning generated smoke and everything

and i only ended up with this much. and they smelled like burnt rubber.

so i threw the ground almonds out and decided that i would use flax meal instead–>this was genius.

i did do something right when i made parmesan crisps to eat with vegetable soup i made using my homemade chicken stock:


ah, sugar, you beastly thing.

another doctor supporting what i’ve been uncovering in my search for information.  try to make it through the whole thing, you won’t regret it.  if you’re on the fence about nutrition, diet, and sugar, hopefully this will push you over the edge.  if you’ve never really thought about it hard before, hopefully this will make you question what you believe.  i see too many people hurting, frustrated, and unhappy when it’s easily fixed with knowledge.  and it frustrates and hurts me to know that people who don’t take charge of their health are ultimately hurting the people that love them.


oatmeal–in your face!

i got so excited about my coconut oil revelation that i scoured the web last night to find foods i could use to cleanse my face.  i basically came up with an oatmeal and baking soda (wonder material again!) scrub/mask.  my attempt was meager.  most information i came across suggested ground oatmeal but it was late and i had already cleaned and shut down the kitchen for the night.  so i didn’t want to bring out my blender to pulverize some oatmeal.  i decided to use oatmeal with the smallest pieces, which is quick-cooking (and yes, i have quick-cooking, regular rolled, and steel cut).

in true granola girl fashion

i made a paste at the sink of a lil oatmeal, a lil baking soda, and some water.  then scrub scrub scrub.  it smelled great but kept falling off my face in chunks (you know, due to the chunky oatmeal) which was a little cumbersome and messy.  so today i’ll be pulverizing some oatmeal 🙂  my skin surprisingly felt incredibly clean afterwards and i was so excited to be doing something kind to my skin (and INEXPENSIVE).

but it doesn’t stop there!  as if i can’t tout it enough:  in deep nutrition dr. cate suggests that “as good as modern cosmetics may be, they lack the secret ingredient of their aboriginal counterparts:  probiotics.”  after finding some information that supports yogurt as a great face mask, i was completely convinced that the tub o’ probiotics in my fridge was going on my face.  and on it went and happy was i.

i CANNOT find full-fat yogurt in my's amazing i can even get organic

i believe the probiotics will also help with acne since these microbes work with our bodies to destroy bacteria that may cause us harm.  they want us healthy because it keeps them healthy 🙂  i think after a week of doing the oatmeal/baking soda/yogurt routine i’ll chuck the proactiv cleanser (so long as things keep going smoothly) and be completely free of those harsh synthetics.

it makes me shake my head to realize that the most beneficial things i can put on my skin were already sitting in my pantry and fridge.  no $60 spent on a special tube of something-or-other.  talk about multipurposeness!

i do want to point out that i believe this new face cleansing routine is working because i’m also eating a very whole, unprocessed, organic diet with lots of fats, grass-fed cage-free meats and eggs.  and also more veggies than i’ve ever consumed in my life and almost no sugar (basically i’m getting i wallop of nutrition i never got before).  only when i started noticing my skin behaving better from my diet did i dare venture to use natural ingredients on my face.

fyi:  coconut oil is an AWESOME makeup remover.

i made chicken stock all day yesterday and threw together a vegetable and chicken soup today

i also roasted tomatoes for 2 hours today and made this tomato caprese salad...tasted like CAN-DAY!

i’m (coco)nuts

a few years back i got on a kick to go “all natural”.  i read a lot of information about synthetics, chemicals, additives, etc. that are in everyday products and i was determined to rid them from my life.  i succeeded for a little while but found that a lot of “natural” specialty items were EXPENSIVE.  i needed to save money so i sort of gave up.  funnily enough, the only things that stuck with me after i was done going full throttle hippie were the most inexpensive products: baking soda and vinegar.  magic materials.  i always clean my kitchen counters and mirrors with a vinegar/water solution.  suuuuper cheap and suuuuper effective.  and when i need to give the bathrooms or any surface a good scrub, i pour on the baking soda.  add vinegar to it and it’s 6th grade science all over again.  plus it’ll eat away all the gunk and make for squeaky cleanliness.  and the best part:  it won’t require ventilation or a breathing treatment afterwards.  and your dog or baby could lick it and, you know, not die.

so, since i’ve been on the straight and narrow with the foods i’m putting into my body, i’ve decided to ease myself back into my hippie jeans and revisit the products that can be used outside the body.  revelation:  a lot of the time what you put into your body is just as suitable for use outside the body.  and if you think about it, doesn’t it make sense that you would not want to put something on your body that you would not be able to eat?  skin being the largest organ and all that.  and it absorbing, like, everything it touches.

my aim is to slowly convert back to natural whole products that are inexpensive and as multi-functional as possible.  2nd revelation:  duh, you don’t have to spend tons of money on natural products–just buy them in their most basic form!  last night i took the first step.  i nixed my shampoo, conditioner, and lotion for baking soda and coconut oil.  i’m so excited by how much money i’m going to save.  i was even able to invest in organic coconut oil which doubles as body lotion and a deep hair conditioner (and i can cook with it if i so choose).

thanks to nourishing flourishing i learned to use baking soda as shampoo.  baking soda is wondrous.  i mixed about a tablespoon with some shower water in my hand, rubbed it into my scalp, let it sit a bit, then rinsed it out.  the conditioner was where things got fun.  apparently, oil does not feel super slippery like bottled hair conditioner (dur!) so my stupid self kept adding TONS of coconut oil to my hair (the ends only) thinking i wasn’t using enough and i woke up today with a grease-ball head.  i’ll have to use a MINISCULE amount next time or just leave it for a deep conditioning treatment.  i read that vinegar is a great hair conditioning agent which i may try next time (lord knows i’ve got tons of it).

anyhoo, i got out of the shower and slathered myself head to toe with coconut oil and it was AH-MAZE-BALLS.  i was so scared it would leave me feeling sticky but it was luxurious and made my skin look super dewy and glowing.  and the most interesting part of this experience?  i used it on my face.  i have suffered from acne 4eva and have been suuuuper psycho about things that go on my face.  i’ve been on antibiotics (tetracycline, minocycline, erythromycin), i’ve used horrendous prescription topical treatments (cleocin-t, peroxide, retin-A—>all strengths. and they eventually stripped the pigment from my face which didn’t come back for years), i used birth control pills, and i almost killed a doctor who wouldn’t prescribe me accutane (thank GOD i never used it).  so putting anything oil-based on my face was enough to give me a panic attack.  i eventually got off all medications and just used proactiv which worked pretty well.

but i’m done being harsh to my poor skin.  after changing my diet to follow the principles of deep nutrition i saw pretty immediately that my acne was being soothed.  i only have to wash my face at night (that’s ONCE a day! UNHEARD of for me).  i’ve reduced the proactiv products i use to only the cleanser.  and i plan on replacing it with a natural product after i do a little more research.  i almost thought dr. cate was being too ambitious when she explained in “deep nutrition” that removing sugar and vegetable oils from my diet would significantly improve acne (along with tons of explanations as to why this is so).  but the logic was sound and, so far, i’m free of acne and the trapping cleansing routine that comes with it.  dr. cate also mentions in her book how ancient egyptians “enjoyed protection from acne and other skin infections because of a secret ingredient in their makeup”…FAT!  and she goes on to say that “quality beauty products are made with natural saturated fats”.  so i decided to give it a go.

this was supremely out of my comfort zone since my entire life i have believed that my oily acne-prone skin should avoid oil-based products at all costs (magazines, tv, doctors, everyone tells you this!).  then i thought “i’ve bombarded my skin with toxic chemicals, ingested harsh medications, spent tons of money on doctors and products and never has my acne been totally controlled.  why the HELL is my breath catching at the mere thought of putting some nourishing organic coconut oil on my face?!”  i was almost enraged when i recognized how backwards my beliefs had become and overcome with emotion that i was finally taking charge.  so i dunked my hand in the oil jar and gave my face what it has probably been screaming for my whole life.

this is me, right this second (grease-ball head and all) with NO makeup and skin conditioned with coconut oil. and i have chronic cystic acne. but i bet you can't tell 🙂

saturated fats

i LOVE butter.  my parents used to play around with me as a kid and hand me a stick of butter when i wanted a snack.  har har har.  i cut it out of my life for years (minus when i would fall off the “wagon” and splurge).  but i have brought it back with a vengeance.  meaning that it makes a daily appearance in my food usually while cooking.

this is a typical breakfast:  egg omelette with asparagus, baby spinach, sharp cheddar, and cooked in BUTTAH.

i’ve read a few books and articles about the comeback of saturated fats and how the alternatives (mainly trans fats) are making us probably the most unhealthy we’ve ever been.  there are all kinds of super scary facts out there for the viewing about how trans fats wreak havoc on every part of our bodies and how prevalent this fat actually is.  if you want a wallop of easily digestible information about this, read deep nutrition.

through the years, a couple things i’ve heard have stuck with me:  trans fats are bad and they’re in fast food.  we should chuck the margarine and stick with plain old butter because butter is better.

but what are trans fats?  what do they really do to us?  what is the difference between margarine and butter?  but butter is all fat and aren’t we supposed to be avoiding that???  things get really confusing really fast.  that’s why i think people should really take an important initiative and educate themselves.  scour the web and other resources and find what’s out there.  i was shocked and horrified by the things i’ve found out.  and i’m still looking…

most of all, i was confused by a lot of contradictory claims (still am, as a matter of fact).  but yesterday, i got my issue of TIME and the front page practically said “FOR SARAH”:

the article was written by dr. mehmet oz (of oprah fame).  his “you: on a diet” was one of the first nutrition books i read that really spoke to me.  from this book, the main points i carried with me were to avoid sugars as much as possible, get rid of trans fats, and eat whole unprocessed foods.  however, dr. oz also touts that saturated fats are bad and should be avoided along with trans fats.  but dr. cate’s deep nutrition practically glorifies saturated fat by the very definition that it’s “saturated” and can’t be changed into evil things through the process of heating and such (unsaturated and trans fats have “holes” because they aren’t fully saturated and this causes them to be unstable.  they combine with other things to create life-depriving specimens within our bodies).  i really like the approach that dr. oz and dr. cate take on nutrition but i don’t like how they seem to butt heads on saturated fats.

but in the TIME article written by dr. oz, he seems to be swinging towards the “saturated fats are not so bad” bandwagon.  which makes me HAP-PAY!

want to get healthy?  then forget about diet soda and low-fat foods.  instead, tuck into some eggs, whole milk, salt, fat, nuts, wine, chocolate and coffee.

and this was the clincher for me:

bad fats generally include saturated fats (found in animal products), trans fats (found in hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils) and their cousin cholesterol (found in egg yolks, meats and dairy products).  even this general grouping, however, can be misleading: new research is finding that some saturated fats (like those found in coconut oil) may actually be good for you and that dietary cholesterol may not affect blood cholesterol as much as we once thought.  the only fat that is universally accepted as bad is trans fat…

dr. oz’s book was published in 2006 and since then, a revised version has come out (2009).  so i’m wondering if his new perspective is reflected in the new version.  anyway, it makes me glad that two doctors i respect seem to creeping up on the same page.

i would like to point out that i have heard bad things about trans fats and sugars throughout my life.  but i would still eat these things fairly regularly (like A LOT of people i know).  it wasn’t until i started actively researching on my own that i found information that brought me to my knees.  i recommend dr. cate’s book all the time because it is a good launching point to begin searching for answers.  motivation only came to me when i was hit with truths and were so ugly and yet so applicable to things i have been through.  i’m not just talking about yo-yo dieting.  i’m talking about failed pregnancies and fertility issues, being taken advantage of by the medical system, acne, being a “late bloomer”, seeing the people i love suffer with preventable and easily fixable health issues, and SO SO SO much more.  it’s not enough to tell people to get rid of or add things to their diets if they have no idea why or how devastating and far-reaching the effects can be.  basically, it comes down to FIND YOUR MOTIVATION.  and being skinny is NOT enough.  dr. cate‘s book has a slurry of motivating reasons.  when one of them knocks you to the ground, keep plowing.

how to win an argument with a vegetarian

i thought denise’s speech was charming and funny.  of course, i don’t care what any person’s diet tendencies are (unless your staple is junk food, then you should really tackle that) but i like the logic presented here and find it in keeping with what i’ve figured out for myself so far.

more delicious libations

in an effort to rid my diet of all the excessive sugar i had unknowingly been consuming, i’ve been trying out different things with my liquid loves:

in the mornings i still have 2 cups of coffee 🙂

plain coffee with coconut milk

at night i’ve been drinking hot (whole & organic) milk (a la when you were a kid).  i heard a long time ago that it was a natural sleep aid.  and it’s got good belly-filling fat for those late night snack attacks.

heated milk with cinnamon and vanilla bean

i’ve always known that sugar is an important thing to cut out of our diets (the same with a lot of people, i bet), but nothing has struck me harder with cold truths than reading this: