Skin Transformation Series (which foods to decrease)

Creating healthy & radiant skin requires a truly integrative approach. While topical products help, looking at the health of your skin from the inside out can really help you achieve beautiful & luminous skin for good. In this post I will share helpful, step by step guidance that will empower you to create the skin you have always desired and deserve. The best part about the steps is that they are mostly free! No expensive drugstore purchase of products is needed. As you read along, keep in mind that for changes to be sustainable they have to be gradual and you have to understand the reasons behind W H Y you are making the changes. Once we have a better understanding of what helps or harms the body, our skin, and our overall health, we become more and more inspired to continue along our new path to radiance.

Then, before you know it, you will start seeing results. You will start to see a glowing, clear and youthful complexion. Not only that, you will find an improvement in your overall health and wellbeing – increased energy and vitality felt from the inside out!  

Skin Transformation: which foods to limit to enhance health

The truth is that what you eat affects not only how you look and the radiance of your skin, but also how you feel. It can do wonders for your skin if you avoid chemically processed, genetically modified or any foods that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. Chronic inflammation is a precursor to wrinkles, blemishes and redness in the skin, so a diet filled with anti-inflammatory foods strongly supports skin health.

  • Casein (found in cow milk): Dairy products made from cow liquids contain a main protein known as casein, which can lead to an inflammatory response in the body; especially to those that are sensitive to it. Without a doubt, I was one of them and never even knew it. In fact, my whole life I gobbled up cheese at every chance I got. Little did I know it was my protein rich cottage cheese and yogurt (cow derived) that were causing my skin so much grief (cystic acne, eczema patches, itchy skin, keratosis pilaris and hives). Please note that sensitivities to casein will vary and will not be the same for everyone. In next Sunday's blog post will share healthy, protein and calcium rich alternatives to cow liquids.
  • Processed Meats & Nitrates: These are full of harmful toxins and preservatives that can lead to allergic reactions (rashes & hives), amongst other skin and general health ailments. You're best to steer clear. Next Sunday's blog post will share plant based protein rich alternatives to cows, pigs & chickens.
  • Processed Sugar: Processed sugar can also be called things like high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, dextrose, fructose or anything that ends with the word syrup. I know… it is tough to avoid this ingredient as it is in almost everything these days but the truth is that it increases chances of breakouts, cellulite and more. This is because sugar messes with our hormones, blood sugar and the immune system, and can even steal nutrients and hydration from our skin. Next Sunday's blog post will share healthy sugar alternatives, including my favourites (honey and organic coconut palm sugar).
  • Sugar Substitutes:  The most detrimental choice you can make regarding a sugar is by picking a substitute that is marketed as "sugar free" or zero calories. These are made with Sucralose or Aspartame (also known as AminoSweet after rebranding to sway the public). These contains toxins & carcinogens which rapidly age the body, including the skin. Click here to learn more. These ingredients also increase the bodies insulin production response. The more insulin we have floating around in our blood, the more our body is going to respond by increasing our fat storage. Interesting how the "zero calorie" and "sugar free" products are the very things contributing to type 2 diabetes and obesity due to the abnormal insulin response it causes in our bodies. As an Exercise Physiologist, it is very common that my clients who suffer with type 2 diabetes or obesity, have been mislead with incorrect information regarding sugar free sodas and they negatively impact their insulin response.
  • Refined White Carbs (also known as enriched wheat flour): As with processed sugar, refined white carbs get immediately converted to sugar once ingested in body and in turn cause the same side effects (spiking blood sugar and releasing more insulin). This puts stress on the body and kickstarts more inflammation.
  • Gluten: The name says it all. This glue-like substance can clog up our body and our skin, while further increasing inflammation. This all stems from what happens to our gut as a result of consuming it (especially if you are gluten sensitive). Curious to learn more? This article here is helpful.
  • Carrageenan: Although this ingredient is derived naturally (you’ll find it is added to many organic food products or drinks to thicken the consistency), it is actually harmful to the body as it too promotes an inflammatory response. This is because it is difficult for the digestive system to break down. Click here to learn more.

I know that can sound overwhelming! I don’t suggest anyone quit cold turkey. The goal is to simply become more mindful and aware of what we put into our bodies and to understand how what we eat impacts our energy, our mood, our health and even our skin.

I use to eat a ton of processed meat, as well as cheese and gluten. Presently, the only animal products I consume include wild caught fish & organic eggs from free range chickens. I also avoid gluten & dairy 90/95% of the time. For me, the biggest thing that healed my skin disorders (which included eczema, cystic acne, red bumps on the back of my upper arms (keratosis pilaris), and itching skin/regular breakouts of hives), was the removal of processed meat & most dairy and gluten. 

I know this to be true because the rare time I consume cheese or gluten, I will experience a light flare up of old skin issues. But let me stress, my dietary changes did not happen over-night! It was very gradual process overtime (a few years) that eventually become solidified based on the results I was seeing and how much better I started feeling. My energy also started to soar as my body was no longer in a state of chronic inflammation.

Hope some of this information helps and if you are curious to explore more non-toxic and healthy facial products, please click here to see BODYCHERISH's new Facial Ritual Line.

P.S. Eventually I will include all the Skin Transformation Series blog posts into a pretty online Ebook. Stay tuned Green Beauty Babes!

Interview: How BODYCHERISH came to be through my own journey to self-love & care

I have a pretty unusual story with how bodycherish came to be. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share these real, raw (not all pretty) personal details but then I met the right woman to open up with (Alanna who is a Canadian mama on a journey to live wholehearted, simple and clean). She's awesome and so is her lovely + informative site (which is now called Divine Mamahood and is currently under construction).

Christine, you're a Certified Physiologist & Exercise Therapist, specializing in injury rehabilitation and fitness. That sounds like a fulfilling job in itself; what motivated you to want to do more and create BodyCherish? 

So many reasons! BodyCherish is reflective of everything that I am passionate & interested in, including taking a more holistic approach to health (body, mind and spirit) and practicing radical self love & care along the way. BodyCherish supports this approach through the crystal essence infused, organic skincare as well as the services that are soon to be offered. It is my belief that pursuing your passions in life (those things that light you up) are of the utmost importance to ones well-being. I believe that following your passions is a way to practice radical self-love and that is what is truly fulfilling to me. It’s like saying “Yes!” to the Universe "I do deserve to do things that nourish my spirit and bring me joy."


Something that I haven't come across in the green beauty world is this infusion of Crystal Essences into skin care. How did you come up BodyCherish and this unique concept?

I can actually pin point the day in which I received the inspired idea to formulate my own green beauty products. It was November 15th, 2014 and I was submerged in a 2 week long road trip from Alberta through to the southern states. Along the way, I spent most of my time fully immersed in nature, exploring national parks, hiking and camping most nights while sleeping in a tent under the stars. There was one particular day that I saw so many beautiful & breathtaking places that Mama Nature had to offer. It was these experiences that I feel opened me up to receive what I call a divinely inspired idea. I was driving along a windy road, entering Sedona, Arizona when the idea hit me like a lightening bolt. That idea was I must make body butters infused with crystal essences. That is where the idea was planted and it has been an ongoing work in progress that has evolved ever since. Interestingly enough, my company just so happened to debut it’s launch exactly one year later to the day, on November 15, 2015.

I absolutely LOVE working with crystals & I am always interested in learning more about the truly remarkable healing benefits that each stone holds. It is this draw toward the elemental kingdom (and different energy practices in general) that has compelled me to become a Certified Crystal Healer & Advanced Reiki Practitioner. Making crystal essences is how I am able to add the energetic properties of the actual crystal to each BodyCherish product. I really believe in the powers that these crystal essences have to promote healing and awaken well-being in the body. Each product has a different combination of crystal essences added to offer further benefits to the body, mind and spirit, in addition to the already nourishing organic ingredients that make up each body butter and oil.

Have you always been an advocate for radical self-care and holistic wellness?

Not at all, but let me elaborate. For the majority of my twenties I had a chemical saturated body, inflamed red skin, cystic acne, eczema patches, allergic skin reactions (hives and itching), mood irritability, unhealthy relationships, chronic insomnia, stress, stress & more stress, poor eating habits, crummy self esteem and body image, irregular exercise habits & low energy, zero spiritual practice, an ever going battle up and down on the weigh scale, minimal to no leisure pursuits & a downright disconnect with my true self & higher purpose. Back then I worked all week just for the weekends to drink alcohol. I had no sense of true fulfillment. Sure, I did occasional yoga and maybe (with struggle) made it to the gym but that was it. From the outside, I had what seemed like it all (I was married with a good paying job, a nice house and plans for having a baby). Truth is that it felt empty and caused something inside me start to stir. I wanted more out of life. I wanted to feel good; to feel energized and inspired. So, my first step was cleaning up my diet. I started to juice vegetables and became more and more mindful and curious about what I was putting into body and onto my skin and how it would make me feel.

Although I was starting to get healthier through nutrition and non-toxic beauty products, at that time I was not yet into crystals, and energetic practices in general. It was a life altering summer back in 2013 that really changed things. It was that summer that I got some major wake up calls from the Universe in how I wanted to live and experience my life and how what i had been doing wasn't working anymore. See, I sustained a traumatic brain injury that included fracturing the left side of my skull and also losing 100% my sense of smell. Soon after this incident, which also coincided with me going through a divorce, losing my house and also my sense of identity in this world; I found myself being guided down a much more spiritual path and approach to life. At the time I didn’t view it as “spiritual” but rather as a necessity to start prioritizing myself by practicing self-love and care practices which were essential to get my life back on track.

These practices (yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling, dietary changes, and eliminating drama in general) all influenced me positively and I started to notice an ever increasing optimism, and fulfillment, as well as sensitivity to the energies around me. A big part of this was also my ever increasing draw towards crystals and their healing benefits. It makes perfect sense to me now that following the loss of one sense, my body had to adapt and make up for it by enhancing a different sense; I feel it was my loss of smell that resulted in my heightened sensitivity toward energies and the crystal kingdom, but also my ability to trust my own intuitive guidance system in order to make decisions confidently.

So it may seem surprising, even bizarre, that the formulator and creator of a skincare line has never been able herself to smell the products created. What’s even more interesting about all of this is that had it not been for what may appear like a major barrier (my loss of smell) I don’t think I would have experienced the same heightened sensitivity toward energies and crystals; nor would I have been compelled to make some major changes in my life that required radical self-love and care.

What is your process like from start to finish when you're handcrafting an item?

Research, research, research! Mixed in with trial and error and eventual application on my own skin. I feel I am the best test subject as my skin is incredibly sensitive. The most time consuming phase of the handcrafting process is the creation of the crystal essences. Click here to read my blog post on how I make them. Other than that, the beauty butters take a fair bit of time as they require both melting down of ingredients, refrigeration for the perfect amount of time (with regular stirring), followed by whipping, jarring and then labeling. I don't mind the time my products take to make as I truly enjoy making them & take pride in the quality of what I am creating.

What message do you most hope to pass on to women?

Your past does not define you & where you stand today does not determine where you’ll be in the future. You get to decide RIGHT NOW, by the empowered choices you make today, what your future experiences will be made of. I know this from my own transformational changes for the better. Any difficult or trying time in one's life can be a catalyst for where you choose to go next. You can choose to respond in a way that proves your resilience and strength. You can step forward into a life you only dreamed of. That's the life you deserve to live.

3 ways to ring in the Autumn Equinox

 

The seasons are changing & autumn is definitely in the air! I love everything about this season including the cool+crisp fresh air, comfy clothes, as well as curling up & getting cozy on the couch. This year Bodycherish is celebrating the autumn festivities by bringing back the Organic Beauty Butter from last winter... but this time in Vanilla Spice! These luxury green beauty butters as well as a special edition candle called Let's Get Cozy will launch on the fall equinox (September 22nd) which also happens to coincide with the end of mercury retrograde (hallelujah!). I don't know about you, but I have most definitely felt the effects of this retrograde. With it concluding the same day of the equinox, I cannot help but feel compelled to start fresh and change things up.. in all areas of my life for that matter. Below I have shared 3 easy ways to "spice up your life" (pun intended) with this seasonal change:

1) Clear the clutter. I know it is more common to clear out the closet and house of clutter when spring hits, but I like to do an overhaul with each season change. It helps me make space for the new. This includes donating clothes I have not worn for > 1 year. You know you are just as guilty. They are sitting there and you keep saying one day you will wear that shirt. Really, you don't even like the damn shirt.. you just feel guilty and like you "should" because you bought it. That is so silly. Someone out there needs that shirt and would actually really like it. So now is the time to declutter & donate. Trust me, you will feel lighter and brighter after! Like a load has been taken off.

2) Spice it up! No, not with spiced rum :-) ... but with scents that infuse your home and even your body with something different than summertime coconuts. There is something so delicious about curling up on the couch with a good book while having a candle lit and that is what has inspired Bodycherish's Let's Get Cozy Candle, scented with organic essential oils of vanilla, nutmeg and a touch cinnamon and clove. This high vibration candle is absolutely perfect for both autumn and winter as it is these seasons that have the most family gatherings. Inside this candle you'll find flower essence of holly.. which is all about opening the heart. Once fully burned you'll find a raw clear quartz point inside. A  little treasure to keep for you or a loved one! It's also nice to occasionally change the scents we apply to our body. The special edition Organic Beauty Butter {vanilla spice edition) has a delicious scent of vanilla, cocao butter, & subtle notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and clove.

3) Bring the outdoors inside. With cooler temperatures you may feel like staying inside more and that means less time in nature. Most all people tend to spend less time in nature during the autumn and winter months. We exchange our outdoor walks or runs with some good ol' sweaty spin or hot yoga classes. I definitely do this but there is actually a side effect of being less connected from nature. This leads to feeling less grounded or rooted (more flighty and stressed out). Being in nature soothes our souls but also helps our physical body stay in equilibrium. So what can we do? Well, we can bring nature indoors! This may include investing in a pink himalayan salt lamp you have been eyeing. These lamps change the quality of the air in your home as if you were near the ocean, among many other benefits. Another way is going to the local greenhouse and splurging on some house plants that are especially helpful for the air quality they promote. One of my favourite and most hearty house plants is the snake plant. I have owned mine for for 2 years and 8 months and it is still going strong! Yet another way, that can be a family fun day, is by bringing the kids outdoors to pick a few favourite leaves or pinecones from the ground. You can then hot glue these beauties to a pre-made branch style wreath (found at local craft stores). You can also find your elements from nature while on vacation. Bringing home sand or seashells is a great souvenir from your travels and also looks pretty displayed inside a vase.

~Happy Equinox Green Beauty Babes!~