Millions of  Women Are Suffering From Pelvic Discomfort: Here’s What You Need to Know

30 million women in the United States are suffering from pelvic floor disorders.  Which means that 30 million women are suffering from debilitating and embarrassing symptoms such as urine leaking, painful sex, weak or non-existent orgasms and pelvic organ prolapse. (1-3)

This is the female health epidemic that no one is talking about and many women are suffering alone and in silence. It doesn’t have to be this way!

the realities of pelvic discomfort

Women are typically either under-treated, misdiagnosed or are told by their doctors that their only options for their “female conditions” are medications, injections into their vaginal walls or gynecological surgeries (2, 3).

Other women who suffer pelvic and bladder symptoms have been told ”the pain is in your head” or you have a “small bladder” or “relax go home and have a glass of wine and use more lube”.  Female pelvic floor conditions are physical conditions they are not emotional, psychological or sexual disorders.

What’s even more alarming to me is that many female pelvic floor conditions can be healed with noninvasive natural, holistic therapies and medications are rarely needed. (4,5)

how does this happen?

I personally know what happens when a women enters the system for vaginal and pelvic issues.  After the birth of my child I suffered from what I call the new “mom trifecta”, I had pain with sex, urine leaking and pelvic organ prolapse ( when your organs are not held in place by your pelvic floor muscles.)

The nurses and doctors all told me what I was experiencing was normal. The pain with sex “normal”. The urine leaking when I carried my baby “normal”. The ache and pressure in my pelvis “normal”. Maybe it was my female intuition, but I knew it wasn’t normal. So I went on a quest to heal myself.

at the bottom of all these issues…

At the bottom of all my symptoms was a dysfunctional pelvic floor. 1 out of 4 woman has one. In actuality, 18% of all gynecological laparoscopic surgeries are performed to determine the cause of pelvic pain and up to 15% of women of all women go to their doctors because of pelvic and bladder issues.x

So women are doing their best to find answers for their female problems, but the medical industry is falling short.

how the pelvic floor is being treated

Doctors are rarely taught about the pelvic floor in medical school, so they often lack the education and expertise to help these women naturally.  They resort to what they know, pills, surgeries and injections. (6,7) Most of the pelvic surgeries in my opinion are unnecessary. Even the most astute doctors overlook the real culprit of women’s pelvic pain, leaking, prolapse and abdominal pain… “the pelvic floor muscles.”

After personally doing over 14,704 pelvic healings in my center, I see women who’ve received experimental drugs, Botox injections to their vaginal walls, and mesh surgeries that failed. Frankly, the side effects of these drugs and surgeries are many times worse than the symptoms the women were originally feeling.  (8,9)

Guess what? You can heal your “lady parts” and bladder naturally. Read on, and I will show you how.

The Pelvic Floor and Why Is It Important For Optimal For Female Health

Our pelvic floor muscles AKA vaginal muscles are highly innervated, vascularized, and complex, and are susceptible to injuries.  The pelvic floor muscles are involved in what I call the 5 functions of life. They support our organs, close off our urinary sphincters, enhance sexual function, stabilize our hips and spine and act as a sump pump for the pelvis.

The pelvic floor muscles are also the deep connectors to the upper and lower extremities and when there’s an issue with them, such as scarring from births, episiotomies, spasms, trigger points or they are too weak or too tight, they can contribute to symptoms such as urinary and fecal incontinence, pain with sex, pelvic discomfort and low to non-existent orgasms.(10)

the truth about your pelvic floor

Research has shown that very few doctors, during routine gynecological exams, perform a digital exam of the pelvic floor muscles, the area where the women are experiencing most of their pain and symptoms. (11) Heck I’ve never had a doctor examine my pelvic floor or even speak to me about it. Have you?

Here’s the truth you should know –  your pelvic floor muscles can be healed through integrative and holistic practices that include massages, exercises, yoga, and meditation and mindfulness training all which can be incorporated into a self care program.(12,13)

Natural Therapies for the pelvic floor

As a matter of fact, The Center For Disease Control and National Institutes of Health have recommend natural therapies such as pelvic floor muscle training as the first line of defense in resolving symptoms related to leaking, pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic pain.(14,15) As a woman who suffered from pelvic pain and leaking after the birth of my daughter, and as a woman whom the medical community failed, I knew I had to change the conversation around pelvic healing.

I scoured the earth, educated myself and read hundreds of research papers and books. I had to go deep into my own pelvic floor healing to find natural ways to heal and cure myself from my own debilitating condition…

natural works!

…You might be thinking how did she heal her pelvis, bladder naturally and without stepping into a doctor office? I did it through natural and integrative therapies such as pelvic massages, exercises, breath work, yoga, meditation, bodywork, and mindfulness.

We all know the value of eastern medicine and also know that traditional physical therapy works for many ailments. These therapies such as yoga, mindfulness, massage and acupuncture can also be applied to lady parts with tremendous success.(16)

plus, these remedies are DIY

The great news is that with the proper guidance you can learn how to do the massages, exercises and techniques on your own and conquer your pelvic condition naturally, and become the most vibrant, symptom and  pain-free version of yourself.

I have created a master class where I teach my best tips, massages and exercises that will put you back in the driver’s seat of your pelvic, sexual and bladder health.

Take the Class!

Sign up for my complimentary master class “Female Pelvic Healing:  5 Steps to Healing Leaking, Intimacy Pain and Prolapse Naturally Without Going to the Doctor.  Learn tips and tools you won’t find anywhere else that will help you to feel whole again and in control of your pelvic, sexual and bladder health.

It’s simply your birthright to understand your divine female anatomy. And it’s time you claimed it.

Sign up here!

About the Author

Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS is a New York City-based holistic women’s pelvic floor specialist, author of 5 books on pelvic health, including the 2017 international best seller Female Pelvic Alchemy and the groundbreaking self-help book, Ending Female Pain, A Woman’s Manual.

She has dedicated her career to advancing awareness of pelvic floor conditions so that more women can find relief from this silent epidemic that affects over 30 million women in the US alone. Ms. Herrera holds a BA in Psychology and Biology from Fordham University and also a Masters in Physical Therapy from Hunter College. For more info, go to http://www.PelvicPainRelief.com

References:
1) Harlow BL, Kunitz CG, Nguyen RHN, et al. Prevalence of symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of vulvodynia: population-based estimates from 2 geographic regions. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014;210:40.
2) Mathias SD1, Kuppermann M, Liberman RF, et al. Chronic pelvic pain: prevalence, health-related quality of life, and economic correlates. Obstet Gynecol. 1996;87(3):321–327.
3) Reed BD, Harlow SD, Sen A, et al. Prevalence and demographic characteristics of vulvodynia in a population-based sample. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012;206:170.1–9.
4) Arnold LD, Bachmann GA, Rosen R, et al. Vulvodynia: characteristics and associations with comorbidities and quality of life. Obstet Gynecol. 2006;107:617–624.
5) Nickel JC, Tripp D, Teal V, et al. Sexual function is a determinant of poor quality of life for women with treatment refractory interstitial cystitis. J Urol. 2007;177(5):1832–1836.
6) Paulozzi LJ, Mack KA, Hockenberry JM. Vital signs: variation among states in prescribing of opioid pain relievers and benzodiazepines—United States, 2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2014;63:563–8. PubMed
7) Paulson JD, Delgado M. Chronic pelvic pain: The occurrence of interstitial cystitis in a gynecological population. Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. 2005;9(4):426–430.Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3015651/?tool=pubmed.
8) Gerrits MM, van Oppen P, van Marijk HW,et al. Pain and the onset of depressive and anxiety disorders. Pain. 2014;155:53–59
9) Pacik PT, Understanding and Treating Vaginismus: A Multiimodal Approach. Int Urogynecol J. 2014 Dec;25(12):1613-20. doi: 10.1007/s00192-014-2421-y. Epub 2014 Jun 4.
10) Gray’s Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice, 41e by Susan Standring PhD
11) Kavvadias T, Baessler K, Schuessler B. Pelvic pain in urogynaecology. Part I: evaluation, definitions and diagnoses. International Urogynecology Journal. 2011;22(4):385–393. doi: 10.1007/s00192-010-1218-x. [PubMed]
12) Crisp CD, Hastings-Tolsma M, Jonscher KR.Mindfulness-based stress reduction for military women with chronic pelvic pain: a feasibility study.Mil Med. 2016;181(9):982-989. doi:10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00354
13) van der Kolk BA, Stone L, West J, et al. Yoga as an adjunctive treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder: a randomized controlled trial.J Clin Psychiatry. 2014; 75(6):e559-65. doi:10.4088/JCP.13m08561
14) CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016 Recommendations and Reports / March 18, 2016 / 65(1);1–49
15) NIH State-of-the-Science Conference: Prevention of Fecal and Urinary Incontinence in Adults December 10-12, 2007 Bethesda, Maryland
16) Goldfinger C, Pukall CF, Thibault-Gagnon S, et al. Effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral therapy and physical therapy for provoked vestibulodynia: a randomized pilot study.J Sex Med. 2016; 13(1):88-94. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2015.12.003

 

The following post Millions of  Women Are Suffering From Pelvic Discomfort: Here’s What You Need to Know was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

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#GreenUp2019: Laundry

#GreenUp2019 is a month long challenge taking place this January, helping our audience make greener, cleaner decisions. For more information on the challenge, read here and follow along on our Instagram.

Whether or not we realize it, the laundry detergent we use affects us day to day, in a big way. From the clothes we wear to the sheets we sleep in, we spend almost 100% of our time covered in fabric that’s been cleaned with our detergent. It’s for this reason that we’ve decided to make laundry it’s entirely own category for #GreenUp2019!

We’re going to walk you through which chemicals to look for in your cabinets and what you can replace them with. Be sure to follow along on our Instagram, and post photos of your swaps or DIY concoctions using the hashtag #GreenUp2019 for the chance to win prizes! We’ll have a weekly winner, and a grand prize at the end of January.

chemicals to avoid

These are a few of the most common chemicals to avoid in your laundry detergents. This week, try taking everything off your laundry room shelves and toss anything using these ingredients.

1. “fragrance”

This is one of the main problems, and the focus of the two studies above. Manufacturers combine a number of chemicals to produce a fragrance—so you’ll believe your clothes are clean because they smell clean—and they don’t have to list those chemicals on the label because of trade protection. As we’ve seen, some of those chemicals can be very toxic.

2. surfactants

These are included in the formula to help the product clean better.

Examples include chemicals like quaternium-15 (known to release formaldehyde, a known carcinogen), diethanolamine (linked with skin and eye irritation and possibly liver problems), nonlphenol ethoxylate or NPE (toxic to nerves, irritating to skin, potential hormone disruptor, toxic to aquatic life), linear alkyl benzene sulfonates or LAS (irritating to skin and eyes and toxic to aquatic life; benzene on its own is a carcinogen), and petroleum distillates (linked to cancer and lung damage).

3. stabilizers

These chemicals help stabilize the formula, so that it lasts longer on the shelf. Examples include polyalkylene oxide or ethylene oxide, which are linked with eye and lung irritation, and even dermatitis.

4. bleach

Bleach may be used separately or may be included in the detergent itself. It’s known to irritate skin, eyes, and lungs, and when it mixes with wastewater, it can form toxic organic compounds that have been linked with respiratory issues, liver, and kidney damage.

5. 1,4-dioxane

This is a chemical by-product of detergent manufacturing. In independent tests, Women’s Voices for the Earth found 89 parts per million (ppm) in Tide Free & Gentle and 63 ppm in regular Tide. They helped increase awareness, and Proctor & Gamble agreed to reformulate to reduce levels to below 25 ppm. Future tests should show whether they made good on that promise.

6. phosphates & edta

Manufacturers use these to make detergents more effective in hard water, and to help prevent dirt from settling back on clothes when they’re washing. These chemicals have long been associated with environmental damage, particularly in our streams and waterways. They cause algae blooms that damage ecosystems.

Many detergents have eliminated these, but they’re often using ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) in its place, which does not readily biodegrade, and has been found to be toxic in animal studies.

greenup2019 laundry

products to use instead

The good news is that we don’t have to expose ourselves to these chemicals—there are several options when it comes to cleaner, greener laundry. These are a few options that are better for your body, and better for the environment.

INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR

If you’re opting to purchase a new detergent, look for ingredients like Sodium Sulfate, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Carbonate, and Sodium Bicarbonate when shopping for a green laundry detergent. They have all received an “A” from the Environmental Working Group, and are commonly found in more eco-friendly products. You can check out many laundry detergents against the Environmental Working Group’s database. 

Additionally, adding a bit of baking soda to your wash cycle will naturally brighten colors, without the clingy, skin irritating chemicals. One of our tried and true methods is, instead of using strong cleaners and chemical-laden stain removers, simply pre-treat your stain with a combination of washing soda, baking soda, and water before washing.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

We’ve shared MyGreenFills  with our audience before in a WeHeart feature, and we stand by our recommendation! Please note that we recommend their unscented line (just check I Prefer My Laundry Unscented when selecting your package from their online shop.)

Their line is made with plant-based, nontoxic ingredients that are better for your skin, and better for the planet. Not to mention, they operate on a refillable model, where you can refill your jugs with their detergent. This is perfect if you’re also trying to reduce your waste this year!

We also share Meliora last week on our post about household cleaners, but we also love their laundry powder! Not only is it clean and green, but it is Made Safe certified and receives an A from the Environmental Working Group.

DIY Laundry Detergent

If you’d like to go the DIY route and make your own laundry detergent, this is our tried and true recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup Sodium Carbonate (commonly branded as Washing Soda)
1 cup Borax
1 bar soap (Look for a clean, natural brand – we love Dr. Bronner’s bar soap!)

Instructions

Grate the bar of soap on a cheese grater, or place in a food processor or industrial blender until you create a fine powder. Combine with the other ingredients and store in a canning jar.  Use 2 tablespoons per load of laundry.

How has your #GreenUp2019 challenge been going? Share your experience with us in the comments!

The following post #GreenUp2019: Laundry was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Why We’re Obsessed With Fermented Foods (Plus, How to Start DIY Fermenting!)

fermented foods

We’re all about gut health. Within the last couple years the probiotic scene has blown up, with every market stocking its shelves with the latest and most effective probiotic supplements. The probiotic craze is all about replenishing the lining of your gut with “good” or “helpful” bacteria and yeasts. This good bacteria helps with digestion and the overall balance of bacteria in your intestines.

Each probiotic supplement claims it has the best strains of bacteria you won’t find anywhere else… giving them the right to charge you $60.00. But the truth is, there are other ways to give your gut the TLC it needs without dropping your entire paycheck on supplements.

Enter Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are the easiest and most cost-effective way to keep your gut healthy, and best part is you can make your own at home. Before we get into a DIY, let’s go over the fermentation process, so you don’t end up with any exploding jars.

How does fermenting work?

Fermented foods can be any food that has gone through the lactofermentation process, meaning natural bacteria feeds on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. When fermenting vegetables, the bacteria thrives on excessive amounts of sugar and an oxygen-starved environment.

This process preserves the food, while also making minerals from the food more readily available for digestion.

fermented foods

Health benefits of fermented foods

Most people turn to ferment foods because they’re a natural and cheap way to get your good bacteria, but there are tons of other benefits to eating fermented foods. In addition to various strains of probiotics, fermentation creates enzymes, B-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids, which help with heart function and blood flow.

Fermented food also keeps your body’s yeast to bacteria ratio in check. For all you ladies that struggle with yeast infections, fermented foods will help your body prevent yeast overgrowth. So if you’re feeling funky, find a good fermented snack.

Also, you’ll look like a cool witch with mason jars of god knows what laying around your kitchen.

You probably already incorporate fermented foods into your diet without realizing it. Food fermentation is practiced across many cultures, starting as an easy way to preserve food without a refrigerator. But the fermented dishes have outlasted the fridge because they’re delicious and nutritious.

Our Favorite Fermented Foods

Sauerkraut

Originating in Germany, sauerkraut is just cabbage and salt that has gone through the fermentation process. Not only is it good for the gut with all its probiotics, but it’s also a great source of fiber. When you can opt for the refrigerated sauerkraut over the shelved ‘kraut, for more probiotic benefits.

Kimchi

Kimchi is the Korean sauerkraut. It essentially has the same benefits as sauerkraut since it’s also fermented cabbage, but this dish is spicy. With the Korean flair of red peppers this fermented food will clear out the sinuses too.

Yogurt

Yogurt (fermented milk) is loaded with probiotics. Yogurts that are labeled with “Live and Active Cultures” are guaranteed to have 100 million probiotic cultures per gram at the time of manufacturing, although yogurts without the label still contain cultures. Yogurt is an easy fermented food to incorporate into your diet. Some lactose-intolerant people use it as a dairy substitute since the probiotics help you digest the sugar in the milk (lactose).*

*Not everyone who is lactose-intolerant is able to digest yogurt, but it’s worth exploring.

Kefir

Kefir is another form of fermented milk, very similar to yogurt, but a more drinkable consistency. It’s a great source of calcium and can be made from any milk product. Health food stores generally carry cow kefir, as well as goat kefir. While some people drink kefir by itself, the taste can be a little overwhelming, so we recommend adding it to your smoothies.

Kombucha

Kombucha is one of the more popular fermented foods. There are many types of kombuchas, some coming from mushrooms others coming from tea. During the fermentation process a small amount of alcohol is naturally released. In recent years companies have been brew kombucha to release greater amounts of alcohol and selling it a kombucha beer. Even the beer contains probiotics, so drink up guilt free.

Miso

Miso is a fermented paste made from barley, soy beans, or rice. It is traditionally used in Japanese cooking and can be found in miso soup as a base for the broth. Another way to incorporate miso into your diet is adding it to salad dressings or creating a miso glaze that goes great on black cod.

Any Veggies

You can pretty much ferment any vegetable you want, the process working better with vegetables higher in sugar. And fermented veggies are a great snack, garnish, or excuse to order another bloody mary. When you begin fermenting at home, vegetables are a great place to start.

gut health

DIY Veggie Fermentation

Like I said, the best part about fermented food is that you can do it yourself, with minimal effort. Here are some brief steps on starting your first fermentation.

  • Prepare your veggies however you like. You can grate, chop, slice, spear, or leave them whole depending on how you want to eat them later on.
  • Choose whether you’d like to use salt, whey, or starter culture to ferment your veggies. This is a matter of taste and dietary restrictions. To get a comparison check out this article.
  • Use water to prepare the brine. If possible do not use tap water, because the less contaminants you have in your water the better the veggies will taste.
  • Put your veggies in a mason jar or some sort of container with a sealable lid. Then add the brine to your jar, fully submerging the veggies within. You may need to weigh them down in the brine. Then seal the lid.
  • Once your veggies finish culturing, you’ll want to move them to cold storage. Here are some tips on how to tell when they’re done.

Now that you’ve preserved your veggies, they’ll last you much longer and help you keep a happy gut.

What are your favorite fermented foods? Share with us in the comments.

The following post Why We’re Obsessed With Fermented Foods (Plus, How to Start DIY Fermenting!) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

The Ultimate Beauty Detox Guide

beauty detox 2

It seems odd that we have to schedule detoxing into our lives. Our body is a natural detox machine so it should be completely fine to go about our lives and let it do its thing, right?

On further consideration, this internal detoxing system was created long before the industrial revolution, urban farming, and personal hygiene products existed. With the rise of these changes, the new environments we live in and the daily activities we engage in it is feasible that our centuries-old body system has become like an old software system – slow and sluggish to process everything.

It is increasingly difficult for our body to effectively purify the level of toxins we are exposed to. In addition to that, we are regularly and actively choosing to consume toxins – happy hour cocktails anyone?

With this, having a firm grasp on diverse ways to detox our systems is vital to maintaining our health and making sure our body is working at its optimum state.

HOW DOES THE BODY DETOX?

The liver removes toxins and metabolic waste from the body by converting them to water-soluble compounds. Once water-soluble they can be eliminated from the body through urine.

so where do the toxins go?

Some waste products are not water-soluble and are transformed by the liver and excreted in the bile. The bile is then transported to the intestines where it exits the body through our bowels.

Toxins not eliminated or completely removed by either of these processes may be eliminated through our skin via our sweat. Detoxing can be done in a variety of ways to affect these systems and should be done regularly.

Read on to discover:

  • 4 ways to Incorporate Beauty Detoxing into Everyday Life
  • 3 Steps to Purifying Your Skin Care.

DIY Face Serum wash face

STIMULATE YOUR LYMPHATIC SYSTEM

Your lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The below beauty detox routines are my favorite ways to stimulate the lymph and support skin detoxing.

These are my favorite because it doesn’t feel like another thing I have to do but instead is a part of my life as regular as brushing my teeth and getting a haircut. All of them are easy, leave you feeling amazing and are enjoyable!

4 ways to Incorporate Beauty Detox into your Everyday Life

Try these rituals to boost your bodies ability to clear itself out.

1. Dry Brushing

This ancient Ayurvedic ritual is one of my favorite ways to get the lymph moving. You can use a traditional natural bristle brush or you can use jute mitts.

how to dry brush

To perform this use movements with a light brushing over your skin in upward strokes, consistently moving in the direction toward the heart. This seems like a simple action but it is truly amazing how much increased energy and alertness I feel after dry brushing.

Once you get the hang of this it is only a 1-2 minute addition to your routine that is 100% worth it. I like to dry brush first thing in the morning right before getting in the shower. I don’t have a daily ritual of dry brushing, but when I need extra energy for the day or a pick me up, this is the first detox addition I reach for.

2. Rebounding

This fun activity has a multitude of benefits. The rebounder, also known as a mini trampoline, has been studied and proven to effectively stimulate your lymphatic system and circulation as well as significantly improve fitness, even when following a relatively light workout schedule.

Workout less and get effective results? Count me in!

an easy fix

A quick 15-minute jump gets your entire system pumping and many can reach the recommended benefits of a 30min workout in half the time. I have read study after study on the benefits and recently purchased a rebounder after a long debate.

I debated due to size issues in my apartment, cost of the brand that I wanted and hesitation if I would actually use it. But, I can happily report that it has now become my preferred form of exercise and I look and feel my best on the days I unfold it and hop on.

3. Bath Time

This luxurious and enjoyable ritual is taken to the detox level when you add Epsom salts or other another detox mineral soak to your bath. Soaking in a tub filled with these minerals causes the toxins to literally seep out of your pores.

Epsom salts, also known as magnesium sulfate, draws out toxins through the skin. In addition, soaking in a hot bath further releases toxins when you sweat.

4. Facial + Body Massage

Massage can trigger the natural detoxification process of the body. During and after a massage you experience an increase in blood circulation which stimulates the body’s self-cleaning mode and your system begins to work to flush out toxins.

This can be experienced if you get a massage from another person as well as if you perform self-massage. If getting a massage regularly is not in the cards for you, there are other ways to get this ritual as a daily boost.

DIY Massage

When cleansing my skin and applying products I make sure to apply these items using massage movements and on days where I have a bit more time or energy, I perform a 5-minute DIY Facial Massage for the best at home skin boosting results.

natural skin repair crystals

DETOXING AND THE SKIN

The best ways to protect yourself from toxicity is to avoid taking toxins into your body in the first place and choosing habits that keep your systems in good working order.

For example, you can best protect the kidneys by drinking enough pure water and avoiding dietary stressors such as coffee and alcohol. Protecting your skin begins first and foremost by being conscious of the products you put on it.

3 Steps to Purifying Your Skin Care:

Follow these three easy steps to start detoxing your bathroom cabinets and beyond!

1. Determine your skin care “diet” style and find a balance

We all have a preferred diet. Vegan? Carnivore? Herbivore? Mostly Paleo? The options are endless and we all decide at the end of the day what works best for us. I encourage you to think of skin care in a similar way.

Just like you choose a diet that feels best to you, that works with your lifestyle, and that helps you meet your goals without compromising your values – skin care is the same. I acknowledge that I like to have a cocktail and indulge in rich foods sometimes so I put that much more effort into my skin care to counterbalance my diet choices.

make conscious choices

Maybe you love a specific perfume (which is full of toxins) and it brings you joy. First, acknowledge that you are choosing something that it is harmful to your body. Then, ask yourself if you would like to seek alternatives.

Yes? Wonderful, there are many pure options for every vice these days – explore, play and discover an amazing new favorite. Do you have to have the toxic choice? Well then, make a conscious and consistent effort to actively reduce toxins in other areas of your life.

2. Reduce toxin absorption in every category possible.

The average US woman uses 12 personal care products and/or cosmetics a day, containing 168 different chemicals, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in a 2004 study. This data is over 14 years old. We can easily jump to the conclusion that on average we use significantly more products now.

looking at labels (beyond skin care!)

In addition to skincare you should consider your shower products, dental, body, makeup, hair care, and even your house cleaning products. All of these items interact with your skin and can result in toxin absorption.

The body’s ability to eliminate toxins simply cannot compete with the levels we are exposing ourselves to, so it is imperative that we select as many items as possible from pure and trusted sources.

Little by little

I have been on a personal mission to detox my products for years. Skin care was first, 10 years ago. Every year since, I have taken a new category and set out to read the labels, reduce my toxic exposure and replace as many toxic items in my life as possible. It’s been a long amazing journey.

I can feel the difference and I am certain I am healthier for all the changes made. I empower you to do this through self-learning or reach out to get support greening the routines in your life from an experienced professional.

3. Start with Skin Care

Of the categories, skin care is the one which we use the most items per day. Therefore, by percentage, when we purify our skin care, we are getting the greatest improvement results of any category so I definitely encourage you to start there. And, skin care currently has the most options on the market, making it an enjoyable journey as we seek alternatives!

the detoxing journey

Most of all, remember to stay positive with each beauty detox change you explore. There is a lot of overwhelming and scary education about toxic ingredients available. Don’t get stuck in fear.

Instead, make one category improvement at a time, celebrate each success along the way, breath in the amazing aromas of your new healthy skin care and enjoy the detoxing journey – it is lifelong after all.

About the Author

Bokhara Lashi is a Wellness Specialist at  Embody Zen and artist at Moss Art Studio

Which products are you having a hard time finding a healthy alternative for? Let me know in the comments below!

References:
Detox Bath: Why and How
Exposures add up – Survey results
Eliminating Toxins With Massage?
The Effect of Several Weeks of Training with Mini-Trampolines on Jump Performance, Trunk Strength and Endurance Performance
RESEARCH AND STUDIES AROUND THE SUBJECT OF REBOUNDING
Organ Systems
Lymphatic System: Facts, Functions & Diseases
Detox Diets: Cleansing the Body

 

The following post The Ultimate Beauty Detox Guide was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

A Grain-Free Bread Recipe From a Nutritional Biochemist

grain-free bread

Different diets work for different people. We’ve posted recipes for everything from lentil salad, herbal smoothies, and holiday recipes that can feed every eater at your table. There are a lot of different ways you can eat and be healthy.

Today we’re going to talk about one that has gained a lot of popularity lately—going grain-free.

Beyond avoiding gluten or avoiding wheat, some people are seeing really good results when they eliminate grains altogether. Reducing inflammatory conditions is one of the common outcomes you’ll hear from people who have gone this route.

One problem with going grain-free, though, is that some of the processed alternatives you’ll find in the grocery store aren’t much better for you, or in some cases are worse.

going DIY with grain-free recipes

So you might try making your own grain-free recipes at home, maybe even attempting grain-free bread. If you’ve tried this, you know that it’s hard. Recipes you find online may not have been as thoroughly tested as you’d think. And exact measurements are really important when you’re doing any sort of gluten-free cooking.

Our friend Kelly Herring went though this. After being diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, she delved into the world of gluten-free baking. It helps that she has a background in nutritional biochemistry… It’s an exact science!

GRAIN FREE DELICIOUSNESS

She founded the company Healing Gourmet and wrote a book called Better Breads, which is where the recipe we’re sharing today comes from. Her book has 25 grain-free bread recipes, all thoroughly tested, beautifully photographed, and guaranteed to be a delicious part of your next meal. Plus, each recipe has nutritional info.

Kelly has a lot to say about bread. She narrows it down to 5 lies you’ve have been told about bread in this article.

grain-free bread

Now, here’s a sneak peak into her book, with one of the tasty recipes:

Crusty Boule Bread Recipe

Originally from Better Breads, by Kelly Herring
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegan, Paleo
Serves 16

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour (100g)
  • 1 cup arrowroot flour (120g)
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour (40 g)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1½ tbsp very finely ground chia
  • 2 tbsp organic psyllium husk powder

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cup filtered water
  • 2 tsp maple syrup, coconut sugar, or honey
  • 1 egg yolk + tsp water for egg wash (optional)

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour, coconut flour and sea salt.
  • Heat water to 105–110°F. Add maple syrup and stir. Add the yeast and let stand 10 minutes. The yeast should bubble or foam. If it doesn’t, start over.
  • Stir the finely ground chia and psyllium powder into the yeast mixture. Let stand 1 minute to thicken, then whisk.
  • Pour the thickened yeast-chia mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until thick and fully combined. The dough will be slightly sticky, but workable. Knead for 1 minute.
  • Put kneaded dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rise for one hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a pizza stone in the oven to preheat.
  • Divide dough into two balls. Place dough balls on a square of parchment paper or a pizza peel. Dip your hands in water and shape into nice rounded shapes. Brush with egg wash, if desired. Use a serrated knife to cut a tic-tac-toe pattern on the top.
  • Slide the prepared boules onto the preheated stone. Bake 35-40 minutes. PLEASE NOTE – baking time can vary – the measure of doneness is an internal temperature of 205-210 F.
  • Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Not allowing the loaf to fully cool before cutting may result in a gummy interior.) When completely cool, slice and serve or store in an airtight container. To re-crisp crust, toast or reheat in a 375 F degree oven for 5-10 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

87 calories, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g monounsaturated fat, 1 g polyunsaturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 13 g carbohydrate, 1 g sugar, 4 g fiber, 2 g protein

For 24 more recipes for all kinds of grain-free bread, check out Kelly’s article and scroll down to the bottom for information on how to get your own electronic copy of her book, Better Breads. Read more on Better Breads here!

The following post A Grain-Free Bread Recipe From a Nutritional Biochemist was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

5 Tiny Shifts to Help Build Minimalism (And Declutter Your Life)

new year minimalism

Minimalism by definition is, “a small number of very simple things used to create a particular effect.”

The concept of a minimalist life, in contrast, has been created, defined and redefined. There are a variety of interpretations of what exactly it takes to live a life of minimalism. Regardless which interpretation is embraced, it is unanimously seen as a healthy concept that can lead to a less stressful life.

With the focus on healthy lifestyle choices across the media, minimalism has been sweeping communities across the world with intrigue and planting seeds for a new, more thoughtful way to live.

a minimalist life

Personally, I strive to be a minimalist and each year work to further build habits into my life that make it feasible to live minimally even as my life changes. I have been living with this mindset for so long I don’t recall a time without it.

I have not documented this journey; I don’t have a blog or Youtube channel to prove that I have taken significant steps toward living this way. You’re just going to have to trust me when I tell you that I lived in a bus as a family of 6 in my youngest years, that in the 80’s (for a time) my mom and 3 sisters lived in an old Chevrolet, that I moved countless times before I was 25 and in the experience of those years, “stuff” permanently took on a different meaning to me.

how do we accumulate so many things?

It is easy to be a minimalist when you are moving regularly or you know a move is coming on the horizon. Until I was in my mid-twenties all of my belongings could be, easily, numerically counted. However, 12 years ago, I did what felt like the impossible for me and settled and stayed in one place. In these last 12 years, I finally discovered how people accumulate SO MUCH STUFF!

When I moved to SF, in 2007, all my belongings still fit into my 2-door ’94 Honda Accord. If I move now, I will need a truck large enough to accommodate a 3 bedroom apartment amount of stuff. Yikes, right?!?

minimalism

taking stock of what you have

I am not sure where I became exposed to minimalism as a concept, but for as long as I can remember, I have felt the accumulation of belongings like a rising tide. Perhaps it’s because of how I grew up, always aware that if you collected things you would eventually need to leave them behind, gift them on, or lug them on your back or make numerable exhaustive trips back and forth to move it all around with you as you relocate.

I have successfully minimized my skincare, makeup, hair care, dental care, groceries, house cleaning supplies, and my wardrobe all to levels I am happy with that I consistently revisit and keep minimal with ease.

Yet, I have failed in many other areas and restart toward minimalism again and again. So, with my unique life experience and consistent commitment to minimizing, how did I accumulate so much stuff?

even a minimalist can’t escape accumulation…

It’s a typical modern consumer’s tale. Having had numerous roommates, each leaving things behind. Having moved my business into the house – which is an entire professional room all on its own. Having my love move in and work out of the house as well. Having gone to a myriad of costume parties at regular intervals and festivals enough times that maintaining camping survival kits and costume bins now make more sense than having a raincoat.

It’s easy to see how the collection of things became a quick and overwhelming tide that’s crashed and coated the space all around.

In contrast to how I feel, if you came over, you probably wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. Everything has a home and nothing feels cluttered. Yet, I feel all the items around me like living, breathing possessions. I consciously spend time putting things away. Every. single. day. without. compromise.

Those two things keep my home in check. So, it’s warm and cozy and uncluttered and many clients and friends have shared it is calming and brings them peace to be here in the space. This brings me joy and at the same time, behind the scenes, I thoughtfully and religiously have been working ever closer to an even more minimalist life.

Keeping a minimalist perspective

Even though from others perspective the home already appears minimalist without being Spartan, I know I am still only a striving minimalist. To me, it’s not actually about how things look at all. It’s how we approach new purchases. It’s when we invest our money with the preference toward experiences, not things. It’s how the things we collect, cherish and use ultimately affect our happiness, health and the planet.

Minimalism also easily conjures up the image of a blank slate, the same image many of us have when we approach the New Year. With the blank slate of 2019 ready to fill, I find myself dedicated to beginning again with a stronger dedication to living a minimal, conscious life.

I am revisiting the same actions I always find helpful and have compiled them into a list of 5 tiny actions you can embed into your New Year’s goals with ease.

minimalism

5 Tiny Changes to your life That Help Build Minimalism

If you are just starting out with lifestyle changes toward minimalism, you already are a minimalist or you are a striving minimalist like me these actions are all things I have done, found doable and are tiny enough to stick to as New Year Resolutions.

1. Single-Tasking

Minimalism isn’t only about stuff! Science shows multi-multi-tasking is more stressful and single-tasking can actually be lead to more productivity and more fulfilling conversations.

Begin single-tasking by giving your undivided attention to one thing. In other words, be fully present at the moment by not multi-tasking. This can be surprisingly challenging at first since so many of us are used to multi-tasking constantly throughout the day. To make it an actionable and memorable practice, choose one action or habit you regularly multi-task during, and minimize your actions down to one during that time.

How does this look in practice?

When with friends out to eat, resolve to put away your phone. Be present with your friends, not also scrolling through social media, looking something up “real quick”, or checking your messages from work.

Already do this? You’re awesome and I am sure your friends appreciate it. 🙂

Its about simplifying

Other examples are when you are waiting in line – just be there, not on your phone. When you are working out, turn the music off. When you are on the phone with a friend don’t do laundry, dishes or other actions, simply sit as though they are there with you.

There are many opportunities to practice that will balance our habit of multi-tasking. Be simple or get creative, either way, simplify your actions and feel the positive effects of this tiny change.

2. One in / One Out

A classic minimalism rule to help people keep their lives minimal is that every time you bring something in, you remove something. This keeps your stuff from multiplying steadily and building into an overwhelming amount of belongings.

It is a perfect method for the successful minimalist to keep their space clear, but also a really great habit for those beginning minimalism because it is emotionally easier to remove items when we are bringing items in.

How to make it happen

An efficient way to practice this is to have a donation basket easily accessible. Whenever you buy and bring in new items, immediately remove out the same number of items of similar size and place them into your donation basket.

[Note: keeping a similar size in and out is important. If you bring in a chair and remove out a pen it will defeat the purpose.]

new year minimalism

3. Daily Purge

This is a minimalist action that can be simple or a challenging game.

You can choose to remove a single item every day for a set time (items as small as a pen or as large as a piece of furniture—all count) or a set number of items on a specific day of the week (ex: purge 3 items every Sunday). For a more challenging version, you can make it a game and purge for a full month removing the number of items equal to the day of the month. (ex: remove 1 item on the first of the month all the way to purging 30 items on the 30th of the month).

Be sure to continue with ‘one in/one out’

However you apply this practice, removing items daily, weekly or monthly from your life (no matter how small) can make a big impact. If you are removing things but also consistently bringing in new things, you won’t feel much change, so this tiny action becomes most effective when coupled with #2.

4. Tiny Habit

Instead of big resolutions, distill your bigger aspirations down to a tiny habit that can be duplicated easily and will become a foundational trigger towards your larger goal. Sandwich this tiny habit in between other daily rituals you have. It also can be helpful to time how long your tiny habit takes.

Seeing the very insignificant amount of time tiny habits take can help remove the feeling that you don’t have the time for yet another thing. This is an amazing hack to minimize a resolution, accomplish your goals and build habits into your life you really want.

How does this look?

Instead of having the resolution that you will “get more fit,” resolve to practice the tiny habit that you will do 5 pushups per day or 1 Yoga Sun Salutation and do these between other actions that are already part of your daily rituals.

for example:

Make coffee / tea.
Do 5 pushups or 1 Yoga Sun Salutation.
Drink coffee/ tea.

Also, if you time how long it takes you to do 5 push ups or 1 Sun Salutation, it’s actually really short and the feeling that you don’t have time becomes less of a block to doing it daily.

Once you are consistent with this you may find you want to do even more pushups or a few more sun salutations while you are already in the workout mindset. The tiny habit is sure to get you more fit and help you achieve your larger goal for the year.

5. Value Time

So many goals are focused on adding rituals and routine into our year. Instead, consider subtracting an action that is eating up time in your day.

We all wish there was a little more time in the day. This is your opportunity to get honest with yourself about how you’re spending your time and declutter and minimize the chunks of wasted time, ultimately rediscovering and freeing time that disappears each day.

How to evaluate this

What do you do when you wake up? Read an inspirational quote? Listen to a podcast? Meditate? Or do you snooze the alarm or scroll on social media?

Value your time by removing the habit of snoozing or scrolling first thing in the morning. Take back your morning time and use it intentionally to do something you want toward one of your other resolutions – it might even be the perfect time for the tiny habit you committed to in #4.

the positive ripples of minimalism

Hopefully, you find these actions as helpful as I have over the years, they feel like easy options for you to succeed in the quest toward a more minimalist life and they help you create a more meaningful, stress-free year.

At the very least, I hope you try 1, dedicate to it for a week and let me know if you notice any changes. I am counting on it that you will feel the positive ripples of these tiny actions throughout the year!

May this year be minimal in all the best ways!

How do you practice minimalism? Have any of these methods resonated with you? Opening the comments up for discussion.

References:
Minimalism: When Living With Less Means More Mental Health
Minimalism is Not Just a Fad: 7 Powerful Ways it Can Lower Work Stress
Definition of ‘minimalism’
A neuroscientist’s baby-step guide from multitasking to single-tasking
The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress
Play the 30-Day Minimalism Game
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

The following post 5 Tiny Shifts to Help Build Minimalism (And Declutter Your Life) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

7 Steps to a New Year’s Wellness Reset

new years wellness reset

Do you ever wonder if the new year feels so rejuvenating simply because we can finally leave behind the seasonal stress we created for ourselves during the holidays? Or maybe we’re biologically geared to refresh ourselves after the darkest peak of winter passes.

Whatever the reason, January brings an overwhelming feeling readiness and newness. Something beyond the social media pressures of “new year, new me” is pulling us into our new selves, but before we follow the flow of transformation, we need to make sure we are tending to our personal wellness.

The 7 Dimensions of Wellness

You may have already heard about the 7 dimensions of wellness, established by Dr. Bill Hettle, co-founder of the National Institute of Wellness. These 7 dimensions of wellness are thought to be a holistic approach to creating a healthy and happy life.

They are all interconnected, so it’s important to give each area attention to create a harmonious balance in your life. The new year is an intuitive time to reset your wellness and make sure you are caring for every aspect of yourself.

1. Intellectual

Your intellect is what creates wonder and curiosity within you. The more you stretch and build your intellect, the better you are at processing information (which helps with your emotional wellness, see, interconnected). Having a healthy intellectual wellness also promotes creativity and active learning. Your intellect can get bogged down by biases and fixed mindsets that don’t allow for growth.

how to tend to your brain this new year

A good way to reset your intellectual wellness to kick off the new year is to create a book list based on your passions or interests. We naturally want to learn more about things that appeal to us, and books are a great way to do so.

Your passion book list will allow you to explore new fields you’ve maybe put on hold in the past because you were too busy with work, kids, or whatever the world has thrown in your way.

wellness reset

2. Social

2019 will be the year of real social connection. We need to reset our view of what healthy social interactions are. Using social media to post your highlight reel while comparing yourself to your friends’ (and most of the time strangers’) highlight reel is unhealthy.

By only showing the best of ourselves on social media we a creating a persona that makes us feel inadequate, because let’s face it, we can’t be perfect ALL the time. And neither can your friends. Watching their stories of glamour shot in Tulum and five-star meals with a view will make you wonder why you aren’t constantly doing something amazing. Relying on social media to fulfill our social wants and needs can lead us down a very depressing road.

where to focus our attention instead

Instead, we need to focus our time on building real, strong connections with people that matter to us. Some people will tell you to delete all your social media apps for a healthy social wellness, but in this day and age, most of us use social media for our jobs. It feels a little to archaic to abandon the latest technologies and hope we’ll still be relevant in this digital workplace.

But cutting down on social media usage is always a good thing. If you search your phone’s battery usage (under “Battery” in your “Settings” app) you can see how many hours a day you spend on each app.

how to cut down on social media

To reset your social wellness in 2019 set a goal to allocate a portion of your average social media time to catching up with old friends and family members either on the phone, Facetime, or bum bum bum… in person.

Start small by skimming 20 minutes off the top of your weekly social media use and call your old college roommate.

3. Spiritual

Spirituality is not about any specific religion (although religion is a common way for people to express their spirituality). Spirituality is a connection to something larger than yourself. Having healthy spiritual wellness can make us feel less alone and are the foundation for positive thinking.

how to make a commitment to spirituality

Making a commitment to yourself to meditate daily will help reset your spiritual wellness and keep you focused on staying connected to something bigger than ourselves.

Everybody has an excuse for why meditating just doesn’t fit into their lives, but if you make the time for it the benefits of mediating are countless.

wellness reset

4. Physical

We normally see new year’s goals centered around our physical wellness. While it’s important to look after your physical health, we need to view our wellness from a holistic perspective.

healthy, practical physical goals

Your physicality has a large effect on every part of your wellness. Your diet and exercise affect your emotions and how you view other aspects of your life. Physical goals don’t need to be as extreme as running a marathon or committing to a hyper-intense fad diet.

They can be as simple as making a choice to eat in and cook your dinner one more night a week than you usually do, or move your body for 30 minutes whether that’s dancing in front of your mirror or biking to work. Physical goals can be very personal, so I’ll give you space to craft your own.

5. Environmental

Our environmental wellness is shaped by the spaces we surround ourselves with. This includes everything from the places we spend our time, the organization or clutter they hold, and the people we encounter there.

If we spend all our time in a neon-lit office building surrounded by people who make us feel inadequate there’s no way we’ll ever be happy. It’s hard to control your shared office space, but make sure you’re getting out into nature as much as possible to stay grounded.

how to reset your environmental wellness

We can, however, control our home. Designing a space that hold true to the Japanese principles of feng shui will reset your environmental wellness. To do this, make sure your space has as much natural light and air flow as possible, clear all clutter, and work within your lucky numbers.

There’s more to it and than that and if you want a deep dive check out the link above. I also recommend cleansing our space by burning palo santo and removing any built up negative energy in your home.

morning routine

6. Occupational

Our occupational wellness is constantly referred to as work/life balance nowadays, but it also means that you feel the work you’re doing if fulfilling and holds meaning. By feeding our intellectual wellness with our passion book list, hopefully we will also gain some insight into whether or not we are occupationally fulfilled. If not, maybe it’s time for a change.

How to freshen up your work life

One thing that will help in any job is open communication with your boss and coworkers. We tend to assume we are being heard even when we aren’t fully explaining ourselves. The new year is a perfect time to reset expectations for the upcoming year and make sure everyone is on the same page.

7. Emotional

Emotional wellness seems to be the thread that weaves it all together. If your wellness is off in any area, your emotional wellness will show this. Being emotionally healthy doesn’t necessarily mean being even tempered all the time. It means you are able to acknowledge, understand and work through the emotions that present themselves to you.

how to maintain emotional wellness

The best way to support healthy emotional wellness is to journal daily. Not only will this let you explore and process whatever you’re feeling, but it will also show you how far you’ve grown in dealing with your emotions.

How are you resetting this New Year? Let us know in the comments below.

The following post 7 Steps to a New Year’s Wellness Reset was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.