The Best Fruits to Eat if You’re Cutting Back on Sugar

low sugar fruits

We’ve been told for decades to eat our fruits and vegetables. Government guidelines recommend five to nine servings a day because these foods are full of nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals critical for optimal health.

But lately, some of that advice has been questioned—particularly the advice on fruit.

A lot of our favorites, including grapes and bananas, are high in sugar. It’s natural sugar, and it’s combined with fiber and other nutrients, but still, it’s sugar. And we’re eating more sugar today than ever before.

While we’re cutting back on sugary treats and snacks, should we be limiting our intake of certain fruits, too?

The Rise of Sugar in America

According to a report by the USDA, consumption of sweeteners in America—including table sugar, corn sweeteners, honey, maple syrup, and molasses—increased by 39 percent between 1950-59 and 2000. In the year 2000, each American consumed an average of 32 teaspoonfuls of added sugar a day.

The USDA recommends only 10 teaspoons a day for the average person on a 2,000-calorie daily diet.

a sugar wave

In a 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers reported increased consumption of sugar had been linked to a decrease in intake of essential nutrients, as well as to weight gain.

The results of an analysis of sugar intakes between 2005 and 2010 showed that Americans were getting about 13 percent of their total calories from added sugars. The Dietary Guidelines recommended no more than 5–15 percent of calories from both added sugars and solid fats.

low sugar fruits

recommended doses

The American Heart Association recommends even less. Whereas data show Americans getting about 240–335 calories a day from added sugars, the AHA suggests a limit of 150 calories (9 teaspoons) for men, and no more than 100 calories (6 teaspoons) a day for women.

Why such low amounts? Studies have linked excess sugar intake to heart disease, as well as to type 2 diabetes.

The Dangers of Too Much Sugar

We didn’t used to think about sugar so much. I remember a scene from the 1990s movie “Michael,” in which John Travolta plays an angel sent to Earth to mend some wounded hearts. During a breakfast scene he pours half the sugar bottle on his cereal and says, “And you just gotta remember, Sparky.” (Sparky is the dog in the household.) “No matter what they tell you, you can never have too much sugar.”

Angel or not, Michael may have gotten that one wrong.

sugar and cardiovascular disease

A recent 2014 study, for example, found a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. More specifically, those who got between 17 and 21 percent of calories from added sugars had a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who consumed 8 percent of their calories from added sugar.

Sugar and diabetes

In 2013, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco reported that increased sugar in a population’s food supply was linked to higher type 2 diabetes rates—independent of obesity rates. For every additional 150 calories of sugar available per person per day (about as much as is in one soda), the prevalence of diabetes rose one percent.

Another 2013 study found that consuming excess sugar or high-fructose corn syrup increased risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Additional studies have linked dietary fructose (but not glucose, the other main type of sugar) to weight gain, increased triglycerides in the blood, and decreased insulin sensitivity. (Both table sugar and high fructose corn syrup are about half or more of fructose, and about half glucose.)

What about natural sugars?

But all these studies linking excess sugar with health problems are focused on added sugars—those sweeteners added to foods after the fact. Are natural sugars—those present in foods to begin with—similarly risky?

The Health Benefits of Fruit

Eat whole fruit, and you get a lot of healthy things:

  • Fiber that fills you up, keeps you satisfied, and eases digestion.
  • Vitamins like vitamin A, B, C, E, and K—all critical for good health
  • Minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and more—often 10 or more minerals in one piece of fruit!
  • Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, plus flavonoids like quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, and anthocyanidin—all nutrients known to fight disease and keep you healthy.
  • Healthy fats: Some fruits, like avocados, have healthy monounsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol levels and even support healthy skin.
  • Disease-fighting factors: All fruits have been linked with reducing risk of disease. Blackberries, for example, because of their powerful antioxidants, have been linked to a reduced risk of stroke and cancer. Apples may help reduce risk of diabetes, and blueberries may help you retain your memory as you age. Cantaloupe, because of its high levels of beta-carotene, may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts. And the list goes on and on.

Still, all these fruits have natural sugars, too. Could they cancel out the health benefits?

low sugar fruits

Stick to Eating Whole Fruit

Most experts say that as long as you eat the whole fruit, you’re getting three key things:

1. Fiber
2. Water content
3. And what they call “chewing resistance.”

These three things combine to slow down digestion. That means the natural sugars will slowly enter your system, which is important when we’re talking about disease.

We raise our risk for diabetes and heart disease and obesity when we eat those sugars that spike blood sugar levels. In other words, they digest quickly and go straight to the bloodstream, forcing the body to release more insulin to process them. This describes the action of all added sugars.

The whole fruit difference

Natural sugars in whole fruits, however, because of all the other nutrients in them, don’t cause the same type of blood sugar ups and downs. An apple has fiber and water, which fill you up and slow digestion. Soda runs right through you, spikes blood sugar levels, and leaves you still feeling hungry.

In addition, you get significantly less fructose (the disease-causing sugar) from fruit than you would from a food with added sugars. One apple, for example, contains about 23 grams of sugar, of which 13 are fructose. A can of soda, on the other hand, contains about 52 grams of sugar, about 30 of which are fructose.

But of course, there are limits to how fruit we should be consuming, and it differs according to our individual needs and activity levels.

If you want to cut back on sugar and continue to enjoy fruit, opt for low sugar fruits.

Fruits to Choose if You Want to Cut Back on Sugar

In general, dried fruits (like raisins, dried currants, and dried apricots) are high in sugar. Similarly, most juices on the market are full of added sugars. Even if you get an organic variety that’s 100 percent fruit juice, you’re getting a product that will spike your blood sugar levels, as there’s nothing in it to slow down the digestion of the sugars.

We have the two lists here for you—10 fruits lower in sugar, and 10 that have higher levels. (Based on raw and frozen samples.) Keep in mind that sugar content varies, even among fruits of the same type, depending on how long they were allowed to ripen, as well as on the variety of the fruit.
(Source: USDA Database for Added Sugars Content of Selected Foods)

Low Sugar Fruit (8 grams or lower)

•     Avocado
•     Rhubarb
•     Lemon and lime
•     Cranberry
•     Raspberry
•     Papaya
•     Watermelon
•     Blackberry
•     Strawberry
•     Grapefruit
•     Loganberries
•     Boysenberries
•     Currants
•     Mulberries

High Sugar Fruits (12 grams or higher)

•     Raisin
•     Date
•     Fig
•     Pomegranate
•     Grape
•     Mango
•     Cherry (sweet)
•     Banana
•     Persimmon
•     Plantain

low sugar fruits

Fruits That Land Somewhere in the Middle (between 8 and 12 grams)

•     Nectarine
•     Peach
•     Cantaloupe
•     Honeydew
•     Blueberry
•     Kumquat
•     Orange
•     Pear
•     Plum
•     Apple
•     Apricot
•     Guava
•     Pineapple
•     Sour cherries

Are you concerned about the sugar in fruits? Please share your thoughts.

R. Bethene Ervin, and Cynthia L. Ogden, “Consumption of Added Sugars Among U.S. Adults, 2005-2010,” NCHS Data Brief, No. 122, May 2013,
USDA – Profiling Food Consumption in America
Nanci Hellmich, “Adults consume 13% of calories from added sugars,” USA Today, May 1, 2013,
Quanhe Yang, et al., “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults,” JAMA Intern Med., 2014; 174(4):516-524,
USDA Database for Added Sugars Content of Selected Foods

The following post The Best Fruits to Eat if You’re Cutting Back on Sugar was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.


5 Reasons Your Serum May Be Aging Your Skin

serum and aging

There are a variety of skincare regimens that cater to every skin type. Whether it’s 3-step, 10-step, or more, using a serum is typically included in a multi-step skincare routine.

Why we use serums

The concentrated doses of specific ingredients allow serums to target the problem we wish to improve. Serums are often viewed as the “holy grail” of skincare products, giving its users the gift of achieving and maintaining healthier looking skin.

Despite the positives that come along with using serums, there are also negatives. Negatives that can adversely affect your skin’s overall health and appearance. One of the more noticeable changes is prematurely aging skin.

serums and aging

embrace aging—but don’t speed it up.

In my opinion, seeing the physical transformations that come with age is a beautifully spiritual experience. I love the changes I see in my face. It’s in those changes I see my mother, and the other women in my family who came before me. My skincare routine is my way of showing “skin appreciation” through health preservation practices. It’s not about going back in time.

However, I’m in no hurry to expedite the aging process. Unfortunately, some serums do just that—prematurely age our skin. Below I have 5 reasons your facial serum could be working against you and your efforts to preserve your skin.


When purchasing a facial serum, we typically have an idea of the area we’d like to target for improvement. We often place our focus on the effectiveness of a specific set of ingredients for the chosen target area. This acquired “tunnel vision” can sometimes prevent us from recognizing the overall impact of the combination of all of the serum’s ingredients on our skin.

What to look for

SD Alcohol 3-A, SD Alcohol 30, SD Alcohol 39, SD Alcohol 39-B, SD Alcohol 39-C, SD Alcohol 40, SD Alcohol 40-B, and SD Alcohol 40-C, along with the denaturants, Quassin, Brucine Sulfate/Brucine, and Denatonium Benzoate are all Denat. Alcohol and (SD) specifically denatured alcohols that are labeled “safe” for use in cosmetics.

Often times, these alcohol based products are advertised as easy fixes for oily or acne-prone skin.

alcohol, your serum and aging

Being labeled as safe doesn’t not mean long term use is good for your skin. Depending on your skin type and frequency of use, these alcohols can cause skin dryness, dulling the skin and accentuating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

In some cases, these ingredients may not affect you. But, if you are prone to skin dryness or have skin sensitivities, being mindful of your serum’s alcohol content is a good idea.

2. Skin Type & Skin Conditions

Choosing the correct serum for your skin type, or skin condition is important. For instance, if you are a person with dry skin, a humectant rich serum may be beneficial. Or, if you are managing a skin condition, using a serum that won’t further compromise your skin’s integrity is very necessary.

It’s a good idea to sample products not just for the targeted problem area, but for its overall effect on all of your skin. Treating one issue might inhibit the health of other areas. Paying attention to how your skin reacts both during initial use of a serum, and over a period of time is crucial.

Pay attention to what your skin is telling you

Although more research is needed, there are cases of tachyphylaxis with the use of certain skin products. If you are unfamiliar with the term, tachyphylaxis is a decrease in response to a drug or chemical introduced to the body, causing a change in tolerance levels.

Similarly, the skin can plateau with the long term use of certain products. If you notice your skin is no longer reacting positively to the use of a certain serum, a change is likely necessary.

3. Product Interactions

This is a topic I often fail to consider when purchasing my favorite makeup or face moisturizer that will be paired with my serum. I often follow the idea of “if the products are made for use on my face, they are okay to use together.”This statement isn’t always true, especially when using serums.

I realized it is necessary to consider the combination of facial products I use, in the same way a pharmacist views using more than one medication at a time. The interaction between certain product ingredients with your serum, may reduce the serum’s effectiveness. It could even reverse its intended effect.

the vitamin c effect

Vitamin C is considered a superior skin antioxidant for healthier looking skin. Ongoing research and clinical trials have shown positive effects on the skin’s appearance, based on the samples collected. However, clinical trials have also shown a decrease in collagen production when vitamin C interacts with phosphates and other metals typically found in cosmetics and sunblock.

More studies are necessary to make these findings more conclusive, but this is an area of study we can monitor ourselves. Paying attention to our skin’s response to varied product combinations will guide us in the right direction.

natural cramp remedies

4. The Best Time to Use Your Serum

Day or night? This is a very common question when it comes to face products. Time of use can either determine how soon, or if you will see results at all.

Potential for UV damage

For example, serums containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids have been found to work best if used at night. They typically are used as an exfoliate to remove the top layer of dead skin cells.

This leaves the skin more susceptible to the sun’s damaging UV rays when used during the day. And as you know, UV damage is a major culprit when it comes to aging skin.

Vitamin A is another ingredient that can have a similar effect on the skin if not used at night. Always pay close attention to ingredients and use your serum as directed.

5. Don’t Forget to Moisturize

Depending on your skin type and the serum’s ingredients, the use of additional moisturizers and creams may not be necessary. But for those that do, additional moisture is needed because their ingredients may dry your skin.

The serum can do the work of focusing on the problem and the moisturizer can create a barrier. Properly hydrating our skin is extremely important in relation to our skin’s health and appearance.

take in account your full skin care picture

The moral of the story is to consider all of the pieces of your skincare puzzle – the serum’s ingredients, the combination of all of the products you are using, and most importantly your skin’s response. As always, do your own research and decide what is best for you.

How do you choose a serum most tailored to your skin? Are there any ingredients you avoid? Share your experience in the comments!

The following post 5 Reasons Your Serum May Be Aging Your Skin was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Toxic Ingredients To Avoid at the Grocery Store (Check your Labels!)

toxic ingredients

If we’re being honest, healthy dieting is a nightmare in today’s world. The grocery store isles are lined with frozen dinners, processed ingredients, and junk food. Even the health food isles are shockingly lacking in nutrition.

And trying to decipher labels only seems to make things even more confusing and frustrating, especially to the untrained eye. What does all of it mean? What should I include and avoid in my diet? How can I really be sure that I’m buying whole foods without toxic ingredients?

Well my friend, don’t despair because you’re about to find out.

Dr. Nandi is sharing a bit of his Toxic Ingredient Guide with us today—but be sure to visit his site to download the full one!

The Downfall Of The American Diet

Although it sounds too good to be true, there was a time when the American diet consisted of mainly whole foods and even home-grown foods. No pesticides, no herbicides, no GMOs, just your classic fruits, veggies, and free-range livestock. Now that is the life!

Over time, however, the American diet became influenced by large industries and manufacturers wanting to save money, time, and resources. Food began to be more about making a profit than keeping you healthy and with all the misleading advertisement and media, people began to forget what a truly healthy diet even looked like.

How do we find balance?

In today’s day and age, although lots of people are better informed about the importance of healthy dieting, it is still getting harder and harder to sift through all the unhealthy and processed foods in order to get to the really good stuff.

But trust me, you are not alone in the struggle! And there is a safe path through the ferocious jungle of the grocery store.

The Worst Offenders Of Processed Foods

The most important thing you can do to improve your diet is to avoid processed foods, and especially those with extremely toxic ingredients.

So what is processed food anyway?

Processed food is basically any food that has be dehydrated, canned, or has had any chemicals added to it. And for the United States, processed foods actually make up about 60% of the average person’s diet.

You heard right! Most people are getting over half of their daily calories from processed foods.

Where to start

While the ideal dieting goal would be to bring that 60% all the way down to a 0%, the difficulty of completely ridding your diet of processed foods is understandable. But don’t give up hope just yet.

In the meantime, the most beneficial thing you can do for your health and diet is to be aware of the ingredients that are the worst offenders and avoid them at all costs. Here are a few examples.

Partially Hydrogenated Oil

Partially hydrogenated oil is a trans fat that you will definitely want to watch out for when checking your labels. You’ll find it most often in fried foods, packaged crackers, cookies, cakes, non-dairy coffee creamers, cake mixes, pancake mixes, microwave popcorn, vegetable shortening, and margarine.

Partially hydrogenated oil can raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, lower your good cholesterol (HDL) levels, and increase the risk of developing stroke and heart disease.

Sodium Nitrates and Nitrites

Sodium nitrates and nitrites are salt preservatives. They are most often found in processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meats. This ingredient is believed to cause colon cancer and metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. So be on the lookout for this ingredient while you’re pursuing the meat aisle.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is actually an incredibly common added sweetener. It is most often found in commercial baked goods including bread, cookies, cakes, ketchup, and unfortunately most other processed foods that you can imagine.

The real issue with this ingredient is that it gets metabolized directly into fat, increases cholesterol, and has been linked to an increase in diabetes and obesity. While the name may seem rather harmless, it’s best to avoid any foods that contain this ingredient.

These ingredients are just a few examples from the list of toxic ingredients and worst offenders. If you want to see the rest of the worst offenders, download the entire Toxic Ingredients Guide! The full list also includes a wallet-sized guide that you can keep handy in your wallet for every impromptu grocery trip.

So What CAN I Eat?

Like I mentioned before, the best kind of diet is one made up entirely of whole foods. But what does “whole foods” mean exactly?

The best definition of whole foods is foods with just one ingredient. So fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, carrots, and cucumbers, or un-processed meats such as chicken and turkey. One ingredient is all you need. And really, it’s just that simple!

go organic!

Buying organic foods is also a great way to ensure that what you’re eating is free of pesticides and GMOs, and full of real nutrients. Organic foods have proven to be extremely more nutritious and can in turn be beneficial to your mental and physical health.

But if you feel that completely ridding your diet of processed foods like crackers, cookies, and hotdogs just isn’t going to happen, that’s okay. Moderation is always the key. The most important thing is to be aware of and avoid the most toxic ingredients in order to avoid the undesirable consequences.

The Healthy Choice Is The Best Choice

Although the general American diet really isn’t helping with your dieting goals, all hope is not lost. Becoming more informed about the foods around you is the first step to a healthier lifestyle. And with your newly-trained eye and your toxic ingredients guide, you’ll be able to face every aisle in the grocery store with confidence, knowing you’ll come out on top!

A good rule of thumb that’s easy to remember is that if you can’t pronounce what’s on the label, then you probably shouldn’t eat it. I mean, would you really want to eat it if you don’t even know what it is? Remember, one-ingredient foods are best!

Take your guide with you!

So download your guide, take it with you out to lunch and to the grocery store, and start your new healthy and happy lifestyle today by avoiding these toxic ingredients and choosing a whole foods diet. If you can make the healthy choice in the grocery store, you’ll make the right choice in the kitchen!

What toxic ingredients do you avoid buying? Share in the comments below!

The following post Toxic Ingredients To Avoid at the Grocery Store (Check your Labels!) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

7 Natural Ways to Remove Facial Hair – No Razor Required

natural ways to remove facial hair

According to research from Bristol-Myers, about 20 million American women remove facial hair at least once a week. Hormonal changes are responsible for common increases after the age of 40, but it’s hereditary too—if your mom or dad had a lot of facial hair, you may as well.

In some cases, conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), adrenal gland tumors, or even medications can also lead to facial hair growth.

Whatever the cause, facial hair is annoying. And removal techniques like shaving, plucking, bleaching, and waxing can all cause skin irritation, rashes, and bumps. Often our removal techniques make the area more visible than it was to begin with!

What to do?

Turns out there are several natural ways to reduce facial hair. They won’t give you the immediate results that conventional methods do—some of them require several applications before you start seeing results—so you may need to continue with your other methods as needed, or alternate them with these methods until you find the process that works best for you.

Let us know your results—we’d love to hear!

7 Natural Ways to Remove Facial Hair

Sugar and yogurt scrub

Mix a teaspoon of raw honey in with a tablespoon of full-fat Greek yogurt. Apply to clean skin and leave on for at least 15 minutes. Scoop some regular sugar into your fingers and use to scrub off the mask (and the hair). Scrub gently to avoid irritating the skin. Rinse with warm water and immediately apply a calming toner and moisturizer.

Chickpea flour (besan) and turmeric

This is a traditional Indian method used to remove hair from the face. Mix equal amounts besan (chickpea flour) and turmeric and add water to make a paste. Apply to areas where the hair grows and leave on until it dries. Rinse off with warm water.

face mask

Egg mask

This is probably the most effective one on this list, once you get the hang of it. Mix one egg white, one tablespoon sugar, and half tablespoon of corn flour and beat to make a paste. Apply where the hair grows, as thick as possible. Leave on until it dries. It should form a mask-like covering. When you pull it off, some hair should come with it—similar to waxing. Apply a calming moisturizer immediately afterward.

Oatmeal scrub

Oatmeal is a gentle exfoliating agent, and can help you scrub away the fine hair that grows on your face. Mix ½ a teaspoon of coarsely ground oatmeal with one tablespoon of honey and 6-8 drops of lemon juice until the ingredients form a paste. Apply on the areas where hair grows and leave on for 15-20 minutes. When you go to remove it, scrub for a few minutes first, rubbing your fingers over the area in a circular motion. Finally, rinse off and apply your moisturizer.

Lavender and tea tree oil

An interesting 2013 study found that lavender and tea tree oils could potentially be effective in reducing mild cases of “hirsutism,” which is a condition of unwanted male-pattern hair growth in women. For the study, researchers sprayed the oils on the affected areas two times a day for 3 months in one group of women—the other received a placebo. Results showed a significant decrease in hair in the oil group. Try mixing about 1 teaspoon of lavender with 4-6 drops of tea tree oil and apply to the affected areas 2-3 times a day. Be patient—it may take a couple months to start seeing results.

natural ways to remove facial hair wheat barley

Wheat and barley scrubs

If you have stubborn facial hair and your skin isn’t too sensitive, you can try these two ingredients to see if you get better results. Mix 1-2 tablespoons of wheat bran with a tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of rosewater to make a paste. Apply, and then start scrubbing right away and keep scrubbing until the paste dries up. Rinse and repeat about 2-3 times a week. (Always follow with moisturizer.) Or, try one tablespoon of barley powder mixed with a tablespoon of lime juice and a tablespoon of milk. Add the paste to your face and leave it for about 30 minutes. Rinse off.

Fenugreek scrub

Grind up your fenugreek seeds to make a powder, or use pre-made fenugreek powder. Mix it with water to create a paste, apply to hair areas, and allow it to dry. Gently rub off and the hair should come with it.

Other Options


Natural waxing

Mix sugar with juice from most any citrus fruit and honey to make a paste. (Heat if you need to make it a paste you can work with.) Apply to hairy areas, cover with a cloth or waxing strips, and pull off to remove unwanted hair. This may work better on other areas of the body—it may be too aggressive for your face—but if you have stubborn hair, this will help get rid of it.

Natural bleaching

Try a natural bleaching action using potatoes! They’re said to naturally lighten the look of hair, and with this mask, you’re also likely to remove some of the hair. Soak some yellow lentils in a bowl overnight, and then remove the water and grind them up to make a paste. Cook your potato and mash it up (without the skin), and extract the juice by pressing. Mix the lentil paste and potato juice with about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and a tablespoon of honey. Apply to areas of facial hair and let sit for about 30 minutes. Rub gently as you’re rinsing to remove hair.

For sensitive skin

If you have sensitive skin and these other methods make you a little nervous, use the power of enzymes to your benefit. Papaya is a rich source of natural enzymes that help exfoliate skin and may help break down fine facial hair as well. Cut a raw papaya fruit into pieces, grind to make a paste, then mix about 2 tablespoons with about ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder. Apply to areas that have hair and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Massage into the skin while it’s on, and then let it do its work. Rinse with warm water and apply moisturizer.

Let it grow!

If hair removal just isn’t for you, we’re all for letting it grow. Body hair is normal, everyone has it, and some of us are comfortable just leaving it. Natural is in!

Have you tried natural hair-removal techniques? Which one works best for you? Please share your experiences.


The following post 7 Natural Ways to Remove Facial Hair – No Razor Required was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

I Drank Camel Milk for a Week (And I’m Lactose Intolerant!) Here’s What Happened.

camel milk

The short answer to this article’s headline is—I didn’t get sick. In fact, I actually felt really, really good. And if you’ve ever known a lactose intolerant person, you know that’s a miracle.

You may be wondering why I decided to take on such a challenge if I’m lactose intolerant in the first place. I was first intrigued by camel milk when I read about Desert Farms—a company specializing in camel milk, whose commitment to sustainability and ethical practices impressed me. Not to mention, they’re selling a product I had never even heard of before.

The Camel Milk Difference

I learned that camel milk is unique in that it doesn’t contain β-lacto globulin, the allergenic component you find in cow’s milk. Camel milk is actually more similar to human milk, and doesn’t activate milk allergies.

Now my intolerance to lactose is bad, so I am always looking to try new milk substitutes when possible. But nut milks and soy milk don’t pack the same nutritional punch as animal milk does, and my diet has been in dire need of a nutritional boost.

So when I found this out, I decided to craft a challenge for myself.

camel milk

I decided I would drink camel’s milk for a week

I went all in on drinking camel’s milk from Desert Farms for a week to see if it lived up to the hypoallergenic hype. I was a bit skeptical at first, considering that animal milk hasn’t sat well with me for quite some time.

After a week of drinking Desert Farm’s Fresh Camel Milk, I’m sold. My stomach didn’t ache once, and actually, felt really good. I added it to my morning coffee as creamer replacement, and mixed it in with my eggs while cooking. I was beyond excited to be able to reintroduce animal milk and all the benefits that come with it into my diet.

Camel milk isn’t just useful as a milk replacement—it’s actually loaded with tons of other good stuff that your body will thank you for.

Desert Farms shared just a few of the incredible benefits you can get from drinking camel’s milk with us:

Why we’re drinking Camel Milk

1. Delivers Immune Active Whey Proteins

Camel milk is ideal because its “living components” are nearly bio-identical to that found in human colostrum. It offers optimal levels of many other beneficial components needed to support the gut, brain and the immune system.  It nourishes the microbiome, with a profound effect on metabolism, immune function, genetic expression and brain chemistry.

Some of these active proteins are:

Lactoferrin: iron-binding glycoprotein, it binds metal ions which are necessary bacterial metabolites, making them unavailable for bacterial development.

Lysozyme: an enzyme that is widely found in tears, saliva and other bodily fluids. It breaks down the carbohydrates in bacterial cell walls. Lysozyme is also an antioxidant that can scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.

Proline Rich Polypeptides (PRPs): small chains of amino acids that have a powerful effect in initiating and balancing immune responses

2. Delivers IGF-1

IGF-1 plays an important role in childhood growth and has an anabolic effect in adults. Most prominently, it helps retain and increase lean muscle tissue, burn fat stores for fuel rather than muscle tissue, reduce insulin needs, balance your mood and increase strength and stamina.

3. Contains Immunoglobulins, the antibodies that maintain immune health

Camel’s milk contains significant amounts of protective proteins and immunoglobulins. High immunoglobulins reduce amount of allergic reaction and functions as antibodies, which protects immune system.

4. Delivers Antioxidants

Drinking camel’s milk increases glutathione. Cow’s milk does not.

Desert farms has a natural source of glutathione that is way better and safer than artificial, manufactured glutathione product from tortilla yeast that you often see on the market.

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant found in the body. It is vitally needed for optimum health. Low levels of glutathione in the body have been found in individuals with some health conditions.

Because oral glutathione supplements have shown limited effectiveness at raising levels of glutathione in the body, researchers have begun focusing on food sources that can promote glutathione production in the body itself.

5. Delivers Oligosaccharides

Milk oligosaccharides are complex sugars that selectively enhance the growth of specific beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and could be used as prebiotics.

Because oligosaccharides also aid in cell recognition and cell binding, they play a vital role in immune function.

6. Non allergenic

Neither human milk nor camel milk contain β-lacto globulin, which is considered to be an allergenic component of bovine milk. Camel milk contains no β-lacto globulin and β-casein. Because these two protein components are primarily responsible for allergies, camel milk has reduced (or no) allergic reactions.

7. Blood Sugar & Glucose

Camel milk helps maintain healthy blood sugar, maintaining glucose within a healthy range throughout the day with no extreme ups or down.

Have you tried camel milk? Let us know your experience in the comments below!

The following post I Drank Camel Milk for a Week (And I’m Lactose Intolerant!) Here’s What Happened. was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Understanding the Causes of Acne Part 3: Digestion

digestion and acne

It’s well known in herbal circles that all disease starts in the gut. The way we fuel our body’s functions is through our digestive system, so if there’s a hitch somewhere within that system, all sorts of imbalances can happen.

Acne is certainly a bear of a problem to deal with day to day—but if your digestive tract is part of why you’re having acne, it could be really helpful for you to figure out what else could be going on internally in your body.

How do I Know if my Acne is Caused by my Digestion?

Like with other causes of acne, the answer to whether your digestion could be causing your acne can be evasive. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Do you notice your breakouts a day or so after eating certain foods (like sugar, red meat, or a stick of butter)?
  • Does there seem to be no cyclical pattern to when your breakouts show up?
  • Is there a specific place where you’re breaking out? The forehead is often associated with the digestive system. This face map could be a real help to get you started.
  • Do you have frequent stomach aches or any other type of gastrointestinal distress?
  • Do you notice that you tend to break out before, after, or during periods of gastrointestinal distress?

Digestive Imbalances Can Lead to Acne?

The short answer is yes! I’ll give you the long answer too, though.

If you have acne, you’ve probably read a hundred blogs about how what you eat can make a difference in your skin. But why? (This is where the complicated stuff that they don’t tell you on most blogs comes in.)

There are a lot of ways that the digestive system can affect the skin. Let’s take a walk through one common digestive process and see where we might find some potential breakout-causing intrusions.

digestion and acne

What are you eating?

The first step is looking at what you eat. Diets high in sugar, trans and ‘bad’ fats, and highly processed foods don’t feed the body quite right. How well does your car run on contaminated fuel? Similarly, an imbalanced diet can create imbalances within the body. Acne is one symptom of this. Since everyone’s body is different, your optimal diet will be specific to you.

How are you processing it?

The next step is how your upper GI (the mouth to the stomach) is processing what you’re eating. Active digestion starts in the mouth with the saliva. Make sure that you’re chewing your food very well; your saliva starts the process of breaking down proteins and starches.

As your food travels down to your stomach, more digestive secretions (sorry, I know it’s not pretty) are produced. The most common issue we see with digestion is that not enough digestive secretions are available to completely break down the food in the upper GI.

There are many possible reasons for this lack of digestive juices in the stomach, and a lot of different symptoms can show up if this is happening for you. But the essential concept is that undigested food travels to the lower GI.

Lower GI and Metabolization

Okay, the third step on our walk is to the lower GI (the intestines to the colon). This is where our body checks out the digested food and sorts out the nutrients from the waste. Well, if you have undigested food in the lower GI (now it’s all beginning to make sense, I know) then the lower half of your digestive system has to do some of the work from the upper half. Then it still has to pull out the nutrients to feed the whole body.

Think about what happens when you work too hard and too fast. You start missing details and making little mistakes. Pretty soon those little mistakes add up, right? Well, in the body, some of the work that gets passed over is the proper metabolism of fats.

Fat stores a lot of toxic waste, hormones, minerals and vitamins, so they need to be properly sorted. If fats aren’t being completely broken down when they’re supposed to be, undigested fats get into the intestines, the liver and into the bloodstream. Over time, this effectively slows down the complex systems that feed the body.

What does this mean?

At this point the stomach isn’t digesting properly, the intestines have extra work to do, and the liver is receiving blood with undigested fats (without the broken down hormones, toxins, proteins, vitamins and minerals). The liver starts to work on these imbalances, and inevitably misses some things in its sorting processes. Sometimes it speeds up and other times it slows down—that depends on your personal bio-makeup. If this sounds like a recipe for disaster, you’re right.

The result? Imbalances and acne

When the liver can’t do all of the things being thrown at it, the body does this cool thing where it creates “collateral veins” for the blood to keep its flow. Collateral veins in the digestive system are extra blood vessels from the intestinal tract that bypass the liver all together and put unfiltered blood into the general circulation of the body.

If you’re thinking “but that blood has impurities in it!” you’re right on track. This causes all sorts of bodily imbalances. Acne is just one of them.

Okay, but What Does this Have to do with Acne?

Remember that the skin is an elimination system in the body and acne is a function of the skin doing its job. If you’re seeing an increase in acne, it comes back to the toxicity in your blood.

I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here, but just like with the first two installments of The Causes of Acne (hormones and air pollution), it’s all about what’s in the blood that’s feeding the skin!

How Can I Heal Acne Related to Digestive Problems?

Like with other acne causes, this one is multi-faceted. It’s important to find the root cause of what’s going on in your digestive system and try to work on that. It could be that you have a food allergy and your body isn’t able to digest a certain type of food, so it’s wreaking havoc on your face.

It could be that there is too much stress in your body and you have to find a way to calm down before taking bites. Here are some things that might help, but I also suggest checking in with a holistic practitioner to see what’s right for you.

puffy eyes water glass

1. Drink Water

I say this all the time. Water is amazing for your body because, just like Earth, we’re all made up of about 75% water. We need water to carry nutrients throughout our body and to help flush out the toxic buildup that we’re having. Drink it!

2. Keep a Consumption Journal!

Changing your diet to help your face is hard. A great way to find what works and what doesn’t is to write down what you eat and how you feel for a full week. Start to notice patterns about how you’re feeling before, during, and after what you’re eating and drinking. Try to see if you notice more or less breakouts when you eat a certain type of food. While this won’t solve the problem, it’s a good first step towards clearing up your acne, and possibly clearing up any stomach issues you might have.

3. Increase the Digestion in your Upper GI.

One way to do this is to take bitter herbs. We use lemon balm in my house because it’s gentle and its useful secondary actions help with the nervous system. If you’re curious about bitters, check out this article. It talks a little bit about how the nervous system works with the digestive system too, which is an additional piece of this puzzle.

Another thing you should do is eat probiotic foods. Fermented foods are delicious and so good for you—kimchi is my favorite. Kombucha, sauerkraut, real yogurt and even classically fermented pickles are all probiotic.

Making your own Ginger Beer is a great way to get your probiotics, stimulate your upper and lower GI tracts, and work on your central nervous system. You can do it with just ginger, sugar, water, and time.

Milk Thistle

4. Help Heal the Lower GI.

As a general rule, working on the upper GI and the liver will help the lower GI function more efficiently.

Taking demulcent herbs to help coat the lining of the intestines can be helpful because the digestive process can be corrosive to the lower GI. Marshmallow is my favorite herb to help heal with lower GI distress.

Herbs that help the liver:


…helps the body process toxicity and increases secretions throughout the digestive system.

Milk Thistle

…is one of nature’s best liver protecting and strengthening herbs.

Ask yourself, “Do I need an oil change?”

The types of fats that you’re consuming is as important as the amount of fats you’re consuming. Fat is an important building block and energy store in our bodies, so it’s important to be eating good fats that help sustain your body. Researching the types of oils that you use can be a bit harrowing, but here’s an infographic that might be helpful for you to start!

Understanding Acne: The Series

Acne is really complicated. This is part 3 of our 4 part series, here’s where you can read more:

Click Here to Read Part 1: Hormones
Click Here to Read Part 2: Pollution
Click Here to Read Part 4: What We’ve Learned

Have you dealt with acne from your digestion? Let us know below!


The following post Understanding the Causes of Acne Part 3: Digestion was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

We Heart: Ojai Energetics Super CBD

Ojai Energetics CBD

Our favorite part of We Heart-ing companies is, of course, getting samples sent to the office. Ojai Energetics CBD was certainly no exception. We’ve spent the past few weeks cooking our veggies in tasty CBD coconut oil and mixing their CBD elixir it in our coffee to quell the morning jitters.

Our team is officially obsessed with Ojai Energetics, and we think you will be too.

Meet Ojai Energetics

Ojai Energetics makes fast acting, water-soluble, organic CBD products. The company ‘s story begins in 2014, when founder Will Kleidon was searching for a CBD rich hemp oil for a personal need. He couldn’t find one that was made without synthetic fillers, had 3rd party batch testing results, and used organic ingredients. (Side note- we can’t help but to notice parallels between this story and the Annmarie Skin Care company story!)

He wanted to create something that he would feel good taking, and feel comfortable giving to friends and loved ones. Will wanted to make the most effective and clean CBD rich hemp products possible, in manner that was in alignment with his values around sustainability and love for the planet.

Thus, Ojai Energetics was born!

Why They’re Different: Ethics in Mind

We love Ojai Energetics for a lot of reasons, but a big one is because they only support regenerative farming and fair trade practices that use certified organic methods, or beyond organic methods like bio-dynamic or permaculture systems. For every ingredient! Their products are completely devoid of any synthetic or synthetically modified compounds.

And it goes beyond the product, to their packaging too. They use veggie inks and eco-friendly labels printed in the US.  They’re also working on an exciting new project, collaborating with national labs and clean energy technology, to utilize the ‘left over’ parts of the hemp.

Health benefits

Why do we like taking CBD, you may ask? According to Ojai Energetics, “a dietary intake of hemp is necessary to have a healthy endocannabinoid system; the endocannabinoid system maintains balance and function for all the systems in the body.”

CBD has no shortage of health benefits, including neurogenesis of the brain. You can read all about the benefits of CBD in this article, but here are a few notable ones.


Highly concentrated doses of CBD oil have been successfully used to treat epilepsy in a number of research studies.


CBD hemp oil is well known to reduce feelings of stress, as well as prevent depressive episodes by increasing the levels of “positive” hormones and neurotransmitters in the body.


One of the few side effects of CBD oil can be tiredness, but for many, it’s what they seek out in the natural herb. CBD is your new best friend if you’re looking for a restful night’s sleep

Our Favorite Products

ojai energeticsFull Spectrum Hemp Elixir

Meet the only full spectrum hemp oil thats water soluble and made without synthetics or synthetically modified compounds. Most feel the effects in under 30 seconds, and you would have to take 5000mg of a regular CBD rich hemp oil to get effects of our 250mg. Its also loaded with some of natures most powerful super foods like moringa, and acerola cherry.

CBD Coconut Oil

Bio-Dynamically grown raw, virgin, and cold expeller pressed, this creamy taste of the tropics is great for smoothies, spreads, and enhancing your favorite recipes.

Try it!

Seriously you guys, you’re gonna want to try this. Go to Ojai Energetics’ website and use code trycbd15 at checkout for 15% off your order. You can thank us later 😉

Use code trycbd15 for 15% off your order! 

The following post We Heart: Ojai Energetics Super CBD was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.