Skin and Sickness

Q1 Epidemic: flu in the office

I have been getting sick a lot lately. Scratch lately, more like my entire life. It seems I pick up every bug going around.  I hear people say things to me like, “You’re sick again!? You’re always sick.” Or if you are my mom you simply just tell me what a hot mess I am. True that mother, true that. But to be fair she also makes me homemade chicken soup, lucky me!

After my last cold which lasted about 4 days I looked into the mirror and noticed how crappy I looked. My skin was dull and flaky, not exactly the picture of healthy skin I talk about here. I know that not looking fabulous is not the worst side effect of having the flu or a cold but it’s definitely not a good one either.

Here are a few steps I take to get my skin back to glowing after a bout with a sickness.

Exfoliate!

This is key after being sick. A common skin concern is dry flaky skin, especially if you haven’t been drinking enough fluids. Peeling back that dead layer of skin will help you get the glow back and also help with product absorption. I would choose a gentle non-abrasive exfoliator in case your skin has been sensitized during your illness.

Mask

I like to apply a deeply hydrating mask to my skin after a cold. Especially if you have been taking over the counter meds or antibiotics because they can wreak havoc with the skins hydration level. If you do not have a “fancy” mask at home you can even use a few tablespoons of Pure Aloe Gel (maybe we a few drops of Lavender essential oil) and apply directly to the skin. Preferably while relaxing in a hot bath, ahhhh.

Spot Treat

Due to toxins being released breaking out is common during times of illness. It is best to apply these types of products at night while the skin is regenerating (let it dry before your head hits the pillow). Clays, Tea tree and Lavender essential oils are all great natural ways to heal an acne breakout.

In future posts I will also be sharing what information I have been seeking to strengthen my immunity. Hopefully I will stop getting sick all of the time and keep my skin looking its best. I have learned so much and continue to learn what steps to take, foods to eat and medicines to avoid. I will share what has worked for me and please share with me if you have any immunity boosters that have worked for you! More to come!

 

Ch ch ch Chia! Super Skin Food

I used to eat Ground Flax Seed  every day, nowadays I eat Chia Seeds. There are so many health benefits and it is amazing for the skin. Chia seeds are rich in omega Fatty Acids, in fact the richest in any plant based food. These omega-3 fatty acids help keep the skin cells plump and healthy.  Along with the omegas it also contains antioxidants and hydrating effects which are essential for healthy looking skin. Some of the other health benefits include:

High in fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Great plant based protein source.

When compared to Flax Seed they are favorable because they do not have to be ground up and also have a much longer shelf life.

Have been known to cut sugar cravings and are really helpful with elimination issues (this should be a staple if you are trying to lose weight, it helps you feel full).

A few ways to incorporate Chia into your diet:

  • Throw them in your smoothie (I know, I know that is my answer to everything)
  • Soak the seeds in water for 10 minutes. The consistency turns into a gel and you can add it to your beverage of choice for something different. (tons of recipes out there)
  • Add to breads, meatloaf or cookies to add some high quality nutrition. (You can buy this in powder form as well)

Moms, this is a great food to give to your kids, especially when they go on food strikes and will NOT eat anything you cook. Plenty of ways to sneak this into foods they WILL eat (not that this is happening to me…sigh). This is truly an amazing Super Skin Food, your skin and body will thank you for adding this to your diet!

Do you eat Chia? How do you enjoy it?

 

 

 

 

Sweet Lips!

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I am offering Free Shipping to celebrate Valentines day this year for my New Simply Jess Lip Balms! Just type in FREESHIP at checkout, click here to find my store on Etsy.

Read more about this BOMB balm here and if you have tried the balm already I would love to hear your feedback!

P.S. The fellas happen to love this balm-great gift idea!

*Offer expires February 15th, 2013

Simply Jess: Coco-Mint Lip Balm

Natural Lip Balm Coco-Mint

As some of my readers know, I have just opened a store on Etsy, Iheartskincare. My brand is and will always be natural, non-toxic and efficacious. iheartskincare.com will continue to be a resource on lifestyle, products, nutrition and how they play a role with our skin.

My first product, Simply Jess Coco-Mint Lip Balm is a terrific alternative to the commercial lip balms out there because it penetrates the skin delivering great hydration. My husband is finally off the chapstick and my 2 year old loves it too! We are constantly applying it especially this time of year with this crazy dry weather.

My natural Lip Balm’s main function is to soothe and heal dry and chapped lips, here are some of the key ingredients:

  • 100% pure Organic Peppermint essential oil – heals dry, chapped lips with a cooling effect.
  • Shea Butter – Rich and moisturizing
  • Organic Coconut Oil – Nourishing and protecting
  • Organic Sweet Almond Oil – Relieves dryness and irritation

I use only use top quality and organic ingredients with no harmful chemicals added (such as Parabens, artificial color or fragrances). Please check out Simply Jess at Iheartskincare on my Etsy Store to learn more!

Argan Oil by Josie Maran

 

As I am transitioning to pure ingredients in every area of my life, I am constantly searching for natural lines that use quality ingredients. As I learned more about the Josie Maran Cosmetics line I was excited to try it out. The sourced ingredients I read about such as Argan Oil, Coconut Oil, Mango seed butter and more, are the type of natural yet effective ingredients I like to put on my skin.

I recently tried the 100% Pure Argan Oil and love it. It is extremely versatile with uses ranging from a daily facial serum or moisturizer to dry nail beds and hair. Although it is an oil, it is silky and easily absorbed, not greasy whatsoever. The best part is it is 100% organic! Since my entire body is terribly dry right now with this weather I have tried this oil all over and love the texture and hydrating effect.

I also love the simple and Eco-friendly packaging.  You can tell this company has great pride in taking care of the environment and giving back, which you can read about on their website. The product packaging is recyclable and containers are biodegradable. Josie Maran’s motto for her brand is “Luxury With A Conscience.” Love it! 

I can’t wait to try the cosmetics and color from this line, I will be sure to share what I try out!

Mom’s In Charge!

I am super excited to share with you my latest interview with Dotty Hagmier- President and Founder of Mom’s in Charge. It is such a privilege to share this information with you and introduce this organization if you haven’t already heard of it. I have been writing about how lifestyle can affect our skin for a while and Dotty educates us beautifully here:

I ♥ SC– Tell us a little about your story and how Moms In Charge began.

DOTTY– I have always been wellness-conscious and as an RN, I thought I knew the answers to keep myself healthy. I worked out and ate what most would consider “healthy” foods.

However, as I had my children, my health as well as theirs began to decline. We were on what I call “the sick cycle”. Someone was almost always sick in my home. I became very ill and it became very clear that my standard American diet and way of life was not working.

With the help of a homeopath friend, she shared new insights that set me on a new course. From my sick bed, I began school to learn more about how to heal myself and teach others. I began Moms in Charge as a project in my school that evolved in taking the idea to moms around me.
On my own personal health journey, I felt alone and isolated without a place to turn to get answers on how to incorporate new ways to prepare food and live a less toxic lifestyle with my kids. I began reaching out to my friends and inviting them to learn with me.
The result was forming Moms In Charge to have community of like-minded moms to learn and have resources to make healthier choices with their kids.
I believe this is a journey and ONE step at a time, the health of my family has greatly improved and I’m excited to hear how steps others are making are positively changing their lives, too.

I ♥ SC-  In your opinion, how important is using quality ingredients on our skin?

DOTTY– Putting quality, non-toxic ingredients on our skin is much more important than most people realize.

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It’s very well known in the medical community that our skin absorbs what is put onto it, as many medications come in the form of a “patch” and are very effective.

I ♥ SC– Adversely, do you believe there is a consequence for using harmful chemicals on our skin?

DOTTY–  The truth that is not widely known is that the FDA does not regulate most of the ingredients that goes into our skin care products.

The big issue is that many of these ingredients are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors. Most claim that there are just “small amounts” of these toxic ingredients, and therefore should be safe.

However, in the light of how many different products we use every day, it is a huge issue to address. Counting the products we use just from the time we wake up until we leave the house is an interesting challenge to give yourself. The average is about 15 products. Add in the ones at night and realize this is a daily occurrence, and it’s much more than a “nominal” amount.
The cumulative effect of these toxic substances, I strongly believe from the research I have done, are contributing to increasing incidences of cancer as well as immune and hormonal disruptions.

Putting these on our children is even worse due to their developing bodies and immature immune systems.

I ♥ SC– Aside from the topical skin care products we use on our skin, what other factors do you believe have impact on the health of our skin?

DOTTY– Our skin is the “tattle tale” what we are feeding and how we are treating our bodies. To have healthy skin, a diet rich in antioxidants, phytonutrients and pure water is essential. This includes, fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices, less cooked foods to maintain more if the nutrients and critical enzymes needed for proper digestion.

I believe our digestion is one of the most important functions of our body.
Dairy and Gluten, which cause many digestive issues, are best to be eliminated to have the best most vibrant skin.

Decreasing or eliminating caffeine will help the skin to be more hydrated and more supple. Replacing coffee with green tea or other herbal teas like gynostemma tea are better alternatives.

Sleep is crucial for the skin to look its best. A good rule of thumb, although easier said than done for many of us, is to get to sleep by 10pm and no screen time one hour before bed. The time between 10pm and midnight is “double restorative” and so you essentially are getting more positive results by getting to bed a little earlier.
This will show up in your skin, but decreasing those bags and dark circles under your eyes.

I ♥ SC–  Although MIC focuses on raising healthy vibrant kids, I have also learned from you how important it is for Moms to take care of themselves. Why do you feel this is so crucial?

DOTTY -My motto is ” If mama ain’t healthy, ain’t nobody healthy”

As moms, we expend a massive amount of time and energy to care for our family and home. The research is very clear that the profile of a caregiving mom who is overwhelmed by life and is not herself nurtured, is at high risk for health issues including cancer, depression and auto immune problems.
I believe we get caught up in the supermom mentality and  believe a lie that by being everything to everyone makes us a better mom and woman. The reality is, we were not designed to do it all. It literally does and should take a village.Reaching out to other moms and asking for help, belonging to a community of like-minded moms, and taking time for yourself to nourish your sprit soul and body are critical to being a healthy mom and woman.

Prioritizing our own nutrition, exercise and wellness along with our kids’ will serve them more than being a frazzled sick mess and then becoming the martyr to top it off.

It’s a challenge to “get it all together” and then keep it that way, but I believe that small steps toward healthy goals will make our collective journey more joyful and enjoyable.
After all, it should be about the journey and not a guilty frenzy to some non-existent utopia-like “finish line”.

I ♥ SC– MIC has been a huge force for moms desperate to learn healthy tools and its only been a short while since it began. What is the vision for MIC in the future?

DOTTY– My ultimate goal is to have Moms in Charge chapters around the country, and have our web community as a strong force to create a movement to “change the shape of our future”. Our Non-Profit, Moms In Charge Foundation is working on programs to educate moms, kids and teachers on how to empower our kids to make THEIR OWN healthy choices.

We plan to get our Kids’ Chef Academy into DVD’s and built into a curriculum for parents and schools.

Our goal for the “Clean the Clean” campaign is designed to change the environment in schools to a non-toxic and safe area for our kids.

The “Day for ME” program is to educate moms more about the importance of taking care of themselves and giving them tangible steps and tools and support on their journey.

My goal is that these along with other strategies will change our paradigm where feeding our kids healthy foods and putting safe, non-toxic products on their skin and environment is not only accepted but EXPECTED and our kids become more empowered to be leaders in healthy choices.

I ♥ SC– Where can my readers learn more about MIC?

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DOTTY– Our website is www.momsincharge.org
Our blog is Www.momsincharge.me

You can find us in the group “moms in charge” on FB
And in the fan page ” Moms in Charge Orange County” to keep up with all the MIC happenings.

For local MIC moms, we are also on meet-up, where you can connect with the MIC  moms on fun outings with your kids.

I ♥ SC– Thank you Dotty for taking the time to help us understand the importance of healthy lifestyle and how it goes hand in hand with beautiful skin! You are certainly an inspiration to me and have changed my family’s life for the better. Empowering moms to take charge of their health and the health of their families is priceless, we appreciate you!

 

 

Prevention-Cold and Flu Season

SweetLeaf Product - Tabs

The dreaded cold and flu season is here. I have been sick quite a few times this year and have been researching ways in which I can keep my immune system strong. Once I’m sick it really shows; my skin gets dry, flaky and has a dull look to it. The last time I was feeling a scratchy throat I took a few actions and actually did not get sick! Here are 5  ways in which I protected myself:

1. Cut out sugar.

There is a lot of evidence that sugar can depress the immune system so I cut it out when feeling sick. A great substitute is Stevia to use for a sweetener.

2. Probiotics…go to town.

Find a great quality probiotic and you can take it in higher doses which is totally safe. I love Inner Eco which is a coconut water based Probiotic. Great for everybody when sick and to prevent getting sick, keep in your fridge! You can find it at most health food stores-berry flavor is my favorite!

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3. Vitamin C/Vitamin D

I’ve read that increasing not only Vitamin C but Vitamin D is crucial when feeling sick. I take the Super D Omega-3 by Carlsen. This is a Cod Liver Oil in liquid form, I know this sounds completely disgusting but it has a lemon flavor and is not bad at all.  I even sneak it into my sons apple sauce and he loves it. A great side effect for the skin with fish oils are the essential fatty acids which are amazing for fine lines, dry skin and even eczema.

4. Essential Oils

One of my favorite essential oil blends is the On Guard by doTerra. This oil can eliminate airborne viruses and pathogens, I diffuse it into the air constantly. It has a nice holiday flavor as well so it is perfect for this time of year. When I felt my sore throat coming on I gargled 1-3 drops of On Guard mixed with water and then swallowed it. My sore throat was gone! This blend is 10% off for the month of November: On Guard

5. Chicken Soup-From Scratch.

I love the study I read a few years back on how chicken soup was shown to help as a cold remedy. Although results were mixed, you can’t deny the comforting effects achieved from a warm bowl of homemade soup, not to mention the yummy aroma that comes with it. Luckily my mom came over and made some for me, I froze the broth and am hording it like liquid gold. If you are not so lucky to have a mom who can do this for you, find a store bought soup or pick up from a restaurant.

I wish all of you a happy and HEALTHY Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin for the Skin

 

I adore pumpkin, talk about a versatile fruit! Not just for carving, there are great health benefits and it’s even beneficial for the skin. Many skin care brands are using pumpkin as an ingredient in exfoliation and masks. Rich in zinc, vitamin C and A, pumpkin can help with cellular turnover in the skin and enzymes help to slough off dead skin cells.

Now that it’s pumpkin season take advantage! I like to bake the small pie pumpkins during this time, puree them and then freeze. There are so many other ways to eat pumpkin other than pie like in soups and breads. I love sprouted pumpkin seeds for the added omegas/protein and eat them everyday.

SO whether you put it on your skin or eat it pumpkin has many great benefits. Enjoy and have a happy Halloween!

Other spooky Post:

Halloween

 

 

Power Smoothie

 

Happy Friday! I want to share a recipe for a “Power Smoothie” I made this morning. I will be going out of town this weekend heading up to northern California for several days. While I know there will be plenty of Super Food heading north on the 5 highway (NOT), I thought I would get one last dose of highly powerful foods (hence the name) to load up on before we leave. I use Parsley which is super high is iron, extra protein, greens and chia seeds for added omegas.

I want to share this because even though it is very green is it also very tasty! If you feel like you could use a dose of goodness try this. If you don’t have all of the ingredients no worries, this is not easy to mess up. Just utilize what is in your fridge and don’t forget to give it to your whole family, this is a huge serving, the blender will be full. If you are not used to the green taste add a banana or sweetener like Stevia. You can store the leftovers in a glass mason jar if you have any at all. Here we go!

Add the following ingredients in your blender in the following order:

3-4 cups of water depending on how thick you like your smoothie (add an avocado for added creaminess)

2-3 Cups of greens (I use a mix of Spinach, Swiss Chard and Kale)

1 Cup Parsley

1 T Gogi Berries, Chia Seeds, Green powder of your choice

1 Scoop of Protein Powder (I use Sunwarrior Vanilla)

1 Cup Frozen Mango

1 Cup  Frozen Pineapple

Blend, drink and feel really good.

 

 

Baking Soda, is there anything it can’t do?

The more I learn about all of the harmful ingredients in our homes the more it makes me want to switch some of that out. One of the last times I cleaned my bathroom I actually felt sick afterward, I knew the powerful cleaning agents were getting to me. The fumes we inhale and that leach onto our skin from strong chemicals and even less obvious personal care products are adding up. I am trying to take a good hard look at these and make better choices. This is where baking soda comes in.

I can’t believe I am just now using baking soda in more ways than the occasional teaspoon here and there in baking. I remember my grandma brushing her teeth with it when I was young but that is pretty much it. For one thing,  this is one the greatest cleaning products I have ever used and the options for it are endless! My son scribbled all over my table and I used baking soda to remove it all. Here are some other ways to use this extremely safe and CHEAP product:

Toothpaste and deodorant

Cleansing agent-so many uses. Couple with Lemon Oil and Vinegar to clean tough jobs

Use it while vacuuming to help with odor

Diaper Rash-Sprinkle in bath water

Cleans your fruits and vegetables

There are many DIY recipes out there but you can just start by playing around with it. I used cornstarch, coconut oil and essential oils to a baking soda base and made my own deodorant. It actually worked! I have to say it feels good to a product like baking soda that actually works and that isn’t toxic. Post a comment if you have any great DIY recipes for Baking Soda you would like to share!