Is Your Makeup Brand Really Cruelty-Free? You May Want To Take A Second Look.

Animal Testing

When I read this question on the FDA Cosmetics quiz, I knew it would be a good one to cover. It’s not as if we’re blowing this one open or uncovering any myths, but we do want to talk about animal testing.

Last month we talked about how much our skin absorbs. This time we’re covering the FDA question, True or False; “Cruelty Free” or “Not tested in Animals” means that no animal testing was done on the product and its ingredients.

Here’s their answer:

False; Even if a product never was tested in animals, there’s a very good chance its ingredients were. A company might call its products “cruelty free” because it isn’t doing any animal testing on these ingredients now, although the ingredients may have been tested on animals in the past. In some cases, “no new animal testing” might be a more accurate claim.

What Does ‘Animal Testing’ Mean?

Maybe this is an obvious question but I’m an optimist and when I think about animal testing I envision a little monkey with a shower cap playing with some lipstick. It’s cute and it seems like it could be a harmless little thing. Boy was I wrong (wrong, wrong).

I won’t include photos, and don’t google it if you’ve got a mind to because what animal testing is, is cruel. Have you ever had an allergic reaction that covered your body with an itchy rash? It’s miserable. That’s just one of the common tests animals in a lab go through to answer the question, “how much of this substance can we feed/apply to its body before it has a terrible reaction.”

Rabbits, mice and guinea pigs are most often used by scientists to test what happens when living beings are exposed to the most hazardous chemicals we know of. They go through patch testing, forced toxic inhalation, dissection, cancer screenings (because a lot of the chemicals that are tested are carcinogens), concentrated eye irritation, in-vitro birth defect assessments, and a whole slew of other tests. Further, animal testing doesn’t even offer up a full picture of what could happen with an ingredient because human body chemistry is different than a mouse, bunny, or guinea pig.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re all for scientific discovery and we wouldn’t want to hinder any life-saving techniques or products out there but I want to level with you. The cosmetics industry is appearance based. How much does your beauty matter if your favorite makeup brands are backed by cruelty? Not to mention that the types of ingredients commonly used in chemically produced skin care products are typically detrimental to your skin over time. It seems asinine to use products that are tested on animals just to look good, especially when those products can contribute to the appearance of aging over time.

The FDA agrees that animal testing isn’t necessary and coupled with the National Toxicology Program to create two aptly named interdisciplinary agencies — the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) and the Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) — to ensure that new chemical testing procedures are found to protect human and animal health.

How to Spot Animal Testing

Learning that your favorite ‘cruelty free’ brands may have ingredients that are tested on animals can be pretty upsetting. In some ways, testing an ingredient is even worse than a finished product because ingredient testing is often focused on how concentrated the dosing can get before it causes harm. Yikes!

Here are some guidelines to seeing through the words ‘cruelty free’ on the pretty labels:

Chemical ingredients. If an ingredient is made in a lab, you can almost bet that it’s been tested on animals.

New ingredients. If you’ve been using a product for a while and you suddenly see on the packaging that the brand upgraded or added new ingredients, there’s a great chance it’s gone through animal testing to be on the shelf, especially if it’s man made. Look for extra information on the ingredient in the products that has changed, most actual cruelty free companies are excited to talk about their ingredient changes.

Read through the claims. If your favorite cleanser has a claim on it that says something like, “we don’t test our products on animals unless it’s for legal reasons” look closely at what they aren’t saying. These cosmetic companies may not be testing their products on animals, but they’re probably using ingredients that have been tested.

Look to other countries. Animal testing isn’t off the table in the US but the EU has totally banned animal testing on products. So if the company that you’re purchasing your products from also sells in the EU, there’s a pretty good chance they’re one of the cruelty-free brands. On the other hand, China requires that all internationally imported or exported cosmetic products are animal tested so if you’re buying products from China, you can be sure of the testing.

Vet the company yourself. If you suspect that your favorite brand might use ingredients tested on animals, do a bit of research. You might be able to search their blog for the answers, most companies that are truly cruelty free talk about it. If you can’t find anything on their site, write to them and ask directly about their policies on animal testing.

What This Means For Us

Well, truthfully, we knew this when ASC started. This is one of the things that actually drove Annmarie and Kevin to start Annmarie Skin Care. Working directly with our formulator and our vendors lets us feel comfortable with the creation of our products from start to finish because we thoroughly vet any new vendor for our ingredients and we’re able to say that all aspects of our skincare and makeup products are in integrity with our focus: Honest. Wild. Beautiful.

We have shared our cruelty free promise with you for years and we’ve recently undergone the testing to be Leaping Bunny certified alongside our Made Safe certification because we use ingredients that are straight from nature, that have been used safely for generations. We think that if animal testing is necessary for a product to be brought to market, it most likely has the potential to cause harm to the user. We’re morally opposed to causing harm, even potential harm, when there are such effective, sustainable options available.

What are your thoughts on animal testing? Let us know below.

References:
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Product Testing – Animal Testing & Cosmetics.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

“Cosmetics Tests That Use Animals.” The Humane Society of the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

“Fact Sheet: Cosmetic Testing.” The Humane Society of the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 07 Mar. 2017.

The following post Is Your Makeup Brand Really Cruelty-Free? You May Want To Take A Second Look. was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

The Best Foundation For Oily Skin: Minerals Multi-Purpose Foundation

Best make foundation for extremely oily skinWhen we were creating our Minerals by Annmarie Multi-Purpose Foundation we wanted to make sure to keep every skin type in mind. We asked, “what is the best foundation for oily skin?” and “how can we make one makeup that works for oily skin while still being the best foundation for other skin types?”

We think we have figured out the perfect solution to natural makeup for oily skin.

What Does Oily Skin Look Like?

If you’re oily you probably know it, but just in case you’re not sure, this is how we think about it.

The oil slick. A couple of hours after you wash your face, your skin is downright dewy. Your forehead is shiny and your cheeks are tacky to the touch.

Activity increases that shine. You feel sticky, not sweaty, after working out and you have to wash your face right away.

You need to exfoliate regularly. Sometimes skin that’s actually oily can seem dry if there’s too much buildup and the extra sebum gets trapped.

You’re blemish prone. Excess oils can trap and hold gunk that can cause build up and create impurities in the blemish prone skin.

Are you nodding your head right now? Congratulations, you probably have oily skin. You might be working with some impurities now, but you’ll be grateful when you start to show wrinkles much later than your dry skinned friends.

How to Find a Natural Foundation for Oily Skin

If you’re experiencing oily skin it can be really difficult to find the perfect beauty routine, let alone the best foundation. It seems like it either cakes on or slides off. Oil based makeups can make you look even shinier but the wrong kind of powder can highlight large pores or worse, get stuck in them. Here are a few general guidelines to search for in an organic makeup for oily skin.

Light consistency. A heavy foundation, even one made for oiliest of us, can look unnatural and cakey. It can puddle on the skin and wreak havoc with your flawless finish.

Matte finish. Oily skinned people live a life of shine. You don’t want to add to it so finding a foundation that stays matte is crucial for flawless coverage.

Non-clogging. For some people this means oil-free and for others, it means checking out the ingredient list for things that you know might cause a blemish if the natural oils hold onto it for too long.

Targeted ingredients. Look for ingredients that aren’t going to make you oilier over time like natural minerals, hydrators, and herbal infusions that are targeted towards cleansing and balancing.

Enough coverage. This is the real challenge, right? How to get the full coverage you need without having a foundation that’s too heavy.

Minerals Multi-Purpose Foundation

Remember how I said that we wanted to create a product that works for all skin types? Well, we did it! The Minerals by Annmarie Multi-Purpose Foundation is a versatile organic mineral makeup that comes in 8 different shades and makes a beautiful nude palette. It’s fine enough to be mixed with your moisturizer and goes on smooth enough to be used as dry.

For oily skin, we like to suggest using the Mineral Foundation as a dry powder! You can watch a video of Carly brushing it on for full coverage here, but there are a couple of great ways to use it as a dry powder rather than a liquid foundation.

After your moisturizer. It might seem counter-intuitive but a lot of people with oily skin do really well with a moisturizer. We suggest working with a moisturizer that helps balance out oiliness over time like our Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin. Apply your regular moisturizer and then brush the Minerals on over top!

After a serum. If you find that you’re just fine without a moisturizer, it’s still good to use a hydrating product because adding more water to your skin will help it be able to absorb your oils better and the consistency of a good serum is perfect for helping you achieve the coverage you’re looking for with our Minerals Multi-Purpose Foundation.

Try a setting powder. For people with oily skin that can be difficult to maintain throughout the day, a setting powder helps to reduce the shine and help foundation last longer.

Do you have oily skin? Let us know how you use our Minerals below!

The following post The Best Foundation For Oily Skin: Minerals Multi-Purpose Foundation was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Choose Your Stress Response

Choose your stress responseby Aviva Romm, MD

You’re probably familiar with the term fight-or-flight. It’s the system of survival responses that automatically kicks in when we’re exposed to a threat. Your heart races, your breathing gets shallow, and you become hyperaware of everything that’s going on around you, your brain scanning for danger, our body waiting to run or pounce. On an evolutionary scale, this is meant to be a short-lived reaction that occurs, say, when you’re running away from a predatory.

What you might not realize is that it’s the same response your brain and body kick into when you’re under chronic stress and overload. In fact a lot of us spend a lot of time in chronic overload, going from one mini-crisis to the next, one never ending to do list item to another, with too little time for rest and repair. We keep up, we push though with coffee, sugar, or other habits, and we try to adapt to the demands of our lives.

There’s some bad news here: over time, we pay the price with our health. Being in chronic survival mode can lead to serious chronic symptoms such as fatigue, poor sleep, stubborn weigh (especially muffin tops and belly fat), poor focus, memory, or work accomplished (“brain fog”), and hormonal imbalances, as well chronic medical problems including metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and autoimmune conditions (for example, Hashimoto’s).

The good news is that the fight or flight mode is not the only one we can use to respond to stress. With a little practice, you can use these techniques to consciously shift your body’s stress response instead into a state that’s calm, secure, and replenished.

1. REST AND DIGEST

We aren’t meant to spend most of our time in overdrive. Part of life necessarily involves replenishing ourselves by getting into a parasympathetic response — what you experience when you nap, get a massage, or lie in shavasana at the end of yoga. This restorative mode helps us recover from the wear and tear of daily life and times of stress.

The problem is that most of us don’t take time to hit the pause button, because we think we can’t — or shouldn’t. But intentionally taking time to recuperate after an unexpected stressful event will lessen its effects. Better yet, we should regularly build this time into our schedules.

Here are a few other ways to shift into “rest and digest” that you can try anytime:

  • Breathe slowly and deeply for three minutes before you jump out of bed in the morning, and before sleep at night.
  • Spend 30 minutes a day in nature.
  • Take a relaxing hot bath in the evening.
  • Attend a yoga class.

2. TEND AND BEFRIEND

There’s a physiological reason it feels so good to call a friend when you’re feeling anxious or down. UCLA researcher Shelley Taylor, PhD, has identified this as the “tend and befriend” stress response.

Along with adrenaline and cortisol, the body produces a small amount of oxytocin in response to a threat. Sometimes called “the cuddle hormone,” oxytocin triggers us to bond with others, which helps us feel safe and settle down.

Shifting into this mode isn’t hard:

  • Do something social — anything that allows you to bond with others. You don’t need to discuss problems to get the benefit of social bonding.
  • Connect with a good friend on the phone or take a walk and talk it out. Studies show that verbalizing our concerns automatically turns off the sympathetic nervous system.

3. EXCITE AND DELIGHT

You don’t have to shut down when you feel pressure. It’s possible to open up and use the energy of stress to become more interested in what’s going on. This is called the “excite and delight” response. Because it also involves cortisol and adrenaline, you feel the same level of alertness and awareness as you do in fight or flight. But rather than narrowing your focus, you choose to open up, to be curious.

Marilee Adams, PhD, calls this a “learner mindset.” If you adopt a learner mindset, a challenging situation can become an opportunity to learn or experience something new. If you’re ill, for example, you can view your symptoms as a chance to listen to your body instead of as signs of your demise. Or if someone is being aggressive toward you, you could ask yourself what’s going on with that person, rather than reacting defensively. This might lead to compassion instead of more anger. Curiosity expands your options for how to solve problems — and often resolves them more quickly and easily.

Asking yourself these questions can help you shift into excite-and-delight mode:

  • What’s really happening here?
  • What else might be going on that I’m not seeing?
  • What’s interesting about this situation?

Too often we assume that how we’re “wired” to respond to stress is just “who we are.” But you can actually rewire your brain and with it not only your stress response, but your happiness, success, health, and longevity. You can respond differently to stress, and in this holiday season, and facing the New Year, now’s a great time to start.

About Dr. Aviva Romm

Referred to as “the face of natural medicine in the 21st century” by Prevention Magazine and one of the 100 Women to Watch in Wellness by Mind Body Green, and founding board member of Yale Integrative Medicine, Aviva Romm is a Yale-trained, board-certified MD, midwife, and herbalist with a specialty in women’s health. Her new book, The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution provides a groundbreaking blueprint for women to take back their health by understanding the Root Causes of imbalance.

Click Here to Get Aviva Romm’s new book The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution.

Do you have a great way to deal with life stressors? Let us know in the comment below. 

The following post Choose Your Stress Response was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Our Favorite Balancing Natural Face Wash; Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser

Best Natural Face Wash For Oily Skin

We have two facial cleansers for you to choose from; the Aloe Herb and the Citrus Mint. The first of the two facial cleansers in our line was the Aloe Herb Cleanser, a creamy facial wash that offers a gentle clean, which is awesome for skin that’s dry and for everyday dirt but sometimes we need a little bit more umph in our face wash.

Enter the Citrus Mint Cleanser. This is one of our favorite products and we want to share a little bit more about it because we think it’s being counted out way more often than it should be.

Awesome Ingredients

Like all of our products, the Citrus Mint Cleanser is made with amazing ingredients. We infuse hydrating aloe vera juice with calming and clarifying herbs, add saponified coconut oil and a little bit of suds along with antioxidant rich essential oils and a witch hazel distillate to give it those extra deep cleansing properties you look for. Here’s a closer look at some of those ingredients:

Sodium Lauryl Glucoside Carboxylate

We wrote an article comparing this ingredient to its dangerous cousin, sodium lauryl sulfate, but we wanted to give another shout out to this added cleansing and foaming element. It helps get a deeper clean without impairing the skin’s mantle so even sensitive skinned beauties can use this face cleanser.

The Herbal Infusion

You already know that most companies use water in their cleansers and that we use aloe vera because it is awesome for your skin (so hydrating, so soothing) but did you know that we really take it to the next level by infusing herbs into that aloe?

  • Calendula and lavender keep the infusion soothing and calming while adding extra deep cleansing properties.
  • Rosemary adds extra antioxidants and an invigorating element to the clean feeling.
  • Neem is an amazing herb that clarifies and promotes an even skin tone.

Witch Hazel Distillate

This is part of what makes the Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser so great for oily skin. We use this distillate to keep it gentle enough for sensitive skin but it still has the amazing toning action.

When to Use the Citrus Mint Cleanser

For Oily and Combination Skin

We always recommend Citrus Mint Cleanser for people that are experiencing oily skin because it’s a gel face wash so it has more deep cleansing properties than cream facial cleansers do (we talked about the differences between a gel and cream here) but there are other great reasons to use this facial wash too.

While most cleansers for oily skin strip the excess oil with each use, the Citrus Mint Cleanser helps to balance oil production over time so this is going to be the best facial wash for oily skin.

For Clogged Pores, Regardless of Skin Type

Yes, it offers deep cleansing but it’s also gentle! If you’re experiencing any type of clogged pores or if you have blemish prone skin, this is the best facial cleanser to use. It helps get in deep and clear out the gunk without stripping your acid mantle. So even with sensitive and dry skin, if you’re experiencing burdened skin this is a great product to use, you just want to make sure that you follow up with the right serum and face moisturizer  for your skin.

After a Workout

Do you sweat when you work out? That’s the best time to use Citrus Mint Cleanser! It feels so good to get the blood pumping and sweat out the stress but that increases sebum production which makes workout sweat a little bit stickier for grime that can get trapped in the skin and cause impurities. This face wash totally annihilates that post-workout blemish risk.

Do you love the Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser? Tell us about it in the comments!

The following post Our Favorite Balancing Natural Face Wash; Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Beautiful Voices: Dr. Christiane Northrup

Beautiful Voices is our ongoing blog series that highlights inspiring, empowering women. Our most recent Beautiful Voice is Christiane Northrup. See what she says when Annmarie asks her some questions about her own personal beauty.

Photo by Bill Miles

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is an ob/gyn physician and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. She is also the New York Times bestselling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, The Wisdom of Menopause, and Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-being.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I ever received was two-fold—from my college advisor (Robert David) and from my Dad. I had finished college, was feeling completely burnt out. And after a year off typing invoices at my boyfriend’s father’s office furniture company (which was depressing), I decided to apply to graduate school. My college advisor said, “Why don’t you go to med school?” And my Dad said, “At the end of four years, you have to be something, might as well have an MD after your name.” That sealed it.

Where and when do you feel most at peace?

These days I feel more and more at peace everywhere. But there is something special about being right in my back yard in Maine. It feels like a little piece of sacred.

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty is a quality that uplifts everything. It’s not just about outer appearance. It is both an inner and outer quality. It resonates with the heart. And can take your breath away. Beauty brings heaven down to earth.

What do you do when you want to pamper yourself?

When I want to pamper myself, I get a massage, then get my hair blown out and go to lunch with good friends. Took me years to feel like I deserve this. Now it’s part of my routine whenever possible.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge throughout my life has been feeling loveable and desirable as a woman. Being a doctor, a mother, an author, and business person. Easy. But loving myself— deeply, completely? Feeling comfortable in my own skin. Another story entirely. The inner work that became Goddesses Never Age was the turning point on this. And I’m happier and more comfortable with myself than I’ve been since age 4.

Dr. Northrup’s latest venture:

After spending decades transforming women’s understanding of their sacred bodies and processes, Dr. Northrup now teaches women to embrace a new mindset and thrive at every stage of life. In her new book, Making Life Easy: A Simple Guide to a Divinely Inspired Life (December 2016, Hay House), Dr. Northrup reveals her long-hidden secrets to mind/body/spirit well-being. Don’t miss Dr. Northrup’s cutting-edge information. Follow her at www.drnorthrup.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and her Internet radio show, Flourish!

Click here to check out Dr. Northrup’s new book Making Life Easy: A Simple Guide to a Divinely Inspired Life.

Isn’t she beautiful?

Much Love,
Annmarie Gianni
*****

If you’re interested in being featured as one of our Beautiful Voices, please email us at newyou@annmariegianni.com

The following post Beautiful Voices: Dr. Christiane Northrup was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

6 Tips To Make Your Detox Fun from Food Matters

by Raquel Vasallo of Mind Body Green

 

Many people cringe when they hear the word detox. It sounds scary to them, they think they are going to be deprived, hungry and irritable, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Detoxing is about giving your body a break and allowing it to come into balance, and there are certain necessary steps that will get you there. I’m a firm believer that cleansing should be a delicious and fun experience that’s all about giving yourself what’s best for you.

Here are some simple tips to help you through your Food Matters 3 Day Detox:

1. Create An Intention

Focus on what you want to get out of the detox. Is it about losing weight, having more energy, changing your relationship with food, boosting your immune system, finding food intolerances? Journal your goals or create a vision board to get really clear. Having your intention in mind is a very strong motivator that will keep you on track.

2. Detox With A Friend

It’s very important that you don’t feel like you’re doing this alone. Get a friend, your partner or your whole family on board. This will make it a more enjoyable experience and will set you up for success.

3. Hydrate

Hydrating is the key to minimizing some of the effects of the detox that don’t feel good, such as achy joints, headaches or moodiness. Keeping yourself properly hydrated will help flush out the toxins in an easier way.

4. Pamper Yourself

Pampering during a cleanse is key to your success. Not only will it help you feel amazing, but it will also make the detox a much more pleasant experience that you will want to do every season.

There are certain ways to pamper yourself and aid in the detoxification process such as scrubbing your body with a hot towel, getting a massage, nourishing your skin with coconut oil or doing detoxing yoga poses.
superfood-protein-50-off-stocktake

5. Focus On Eating What Your Body Loves

Think of the detox as 3 to 7 days of giving your body the best. Your body craves to be in balance, eating whole and cleansing foods will give it just that. I actually use detoxes as opportunities to create or try new recipes and share them with the people I love. It’s a fun way to reset your body’s balance, try new delicious meals and inspire others too.

6. Journal

Get yourself a beautiful notebook and make a ritual out of this. Your journal will be your best friend during the detox, a place where you can review your daily detoxing efforts, be aware of your emotions and focus on how you want to feel the next day.

A Special Event You Don’t Want to Miss!

Our friends James and Laurentine at Food Matters have a truly amazing FREE workshop coming up about cleansing and detoxing! If you want to learn how to feel refreshed, energized, and incredible inside and out, you’re going to love this!

The 5-Part Cleanse & Detox Workshop is an online event beginning March 20th, 2017 and it will guide you on a 10-day personal journey to looking and feeling better than you have in years.

Click here to secure your free pass to the entire online workshop!

 

The following post 6 Tips To Make Your Detox Fun from Food Matters was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

An Excerpt from Sara Gottfried’s New Book, Younger

By Sarah Gottfried MD

I’m no supermodel…

In fact, obesity, hair loss, anxiety and Alzheimer’s disease run in my family—not a pretty genetic picture for middle age and later life. My mother ate sparingly while pregnant with me, as was the fashion in 1967, an era of Twiggy and miniskirts. Mom’s diet turned on my famine genes while my chromosomes were being knit in her womb, meaning that I’ve had a lifelong struggle with blood-sugar problems and rapid weight gain (a lot more on these topics later). I’ve grown up idolizing actresses such as Katharine Hepburn, Sigourney Weaver, Diane Keaton and Julia Roberts. They were slim and tall, but I was pudgy and short.

Now, when I start to wonder why it’s so freaking hard to stay mentally and physically fit at fifty, I remind myself that my genes program me to be a two-hundred-pound anxious diabetic with thinning hair. All things considered, maybe I’m not doing so badly.

Think about Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Julianne Moore, Gisele Bündchen and Helen Mirren. It’s easy to believe they won the genetic lottery. Perhaps they hail from a long line of superwomen with flawless skin, flat bellies, perfectly balanced hormones, and fast metabolisms.

It’s their job to look amazing, and they are extremely motivated to look good as long as possible as they age. Their taut abdominals and gravity-defying posteriors grace billboards, Victoria’s Secret catalogs, and Sports Illustrated covers. They have proportionally similar metrics: Gisele Bündchen, the world’s highest-paid model, is five feet eleven and weighs 126 pounds, and her bust-waist-hip measurements (in inches) are 35–23–35. Angelina Jolie is five feet eight, weighs 128 pounds, and measures 36–27–36. Their paychecks and magazine gigs depend on their enviable measurements. Even in her sixties, at five feet four and with 37– 27–38 measurements, Helen Mirren rocked a coral bikini on a beach in Italy, looking better than me and most of my girlfriends.

That’s great for those women, but the rest of us flounder. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I was born to wrestle with my weight, skin, energy, and sex drive. In college, my weight ballooned. In medical school, my skin broke out and my adrenals broke down because of stress. I craved sugar and carbs and rarely ate vegetables. I drank gallons of coffee, hardly slept for a decade, and bought fat jeans. Then I had two kids. Need I go on?

Maybe you’ve been told that your muffin top or memory problems aren’t your fault; they are simply programmed by your genes. It doesn’t seem fair. When I was in my forties, my battle only seemed to get harder as I navigated the challenges of crazy work hours, perimenopause, grief, breast lumps, aging parents, tight clothes, travel, and stress. Eventually, I learned that there’s a spiritual lesson in my battle with age and that my mess is my message.

The female body is magnificent, but it doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty or an owner’s manual. You’re the result of millions of years of evolution, but many of the adaptations that helped your ancestors survive are now making you fat and wrinkly and are no longer needed. But your genetic code—the DNA sequence that is the biochemical basis of heredity in all living organisms—is only a small part of the story. Your DNA is a unique, one-of-a-kind blueprint that is specific to you. Even if you haven’t been dealt platinum genes, you can still look great and age more slowly.

The fact is that scientists have found new ways for us to take control of our genes. For example, the naughty aging genes usually associated with fat and wrinkles can be altered with diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices. Simply put, by turning your good genes on and your bad genes off, you can actually prevent aging—no matter how old you are.

Gisele’s measurements are unattainable for the average American woman—who is five four and 164 pounds with a thirty-eight- inch waist—but even if you have fewer of the good genes and more of the bad genes, you can still lose weight, improve your skin, and change how your DNA controls your body and mind. You don’t even need a large staff of trainers and chefs to hold you to your exercise regimen and diet; you can appear to have lucky genes whether or not you actually have them. The truth is that around 90 percent of the signs of aging and disease are caused by lifestyle (and the environment created by your lifestyle), not genes. The neighborhood of your body—how you live and the world you create, internally and externally—is more important than your DNA when it comes to how you look and feel now and for the next twenty-five to fifty years. So let’s clean up your neighborhood.

How I Came Up with the Younger Protocol

I started testing my own and my husband’s DNA in 2003, when I was considering pregnancy. We were looking for genetic problems that our daughter might inherit and, fortunately, came up empty-handed. In 2005, I started testing more genes in myself. Why? I wanted to find out the ideal food plan for my body, the most expedient ways to lose weight, the best supplements to take, the most effective exercise regime, and what else I had passed onto my kids. Our genes mostly control enzymes that in turn influence micronutrients, detoxification, and metabolism. Based on the results of those tests, I added B vitamins, methylated folate, and vitamin D to my daily supplement regimen. Then I started high-intensity interval training. Hallelujah! My long-standing depression disappeared almost overnight, my weight dropped, and my energy soared. I knew I was onto something important.

A few months later, not long after giving birth to my second daughter, I headed to yoga class by myself on the weekend; my husband stayed home to bond with our girls. In class, we were about to move into the peak pose, a difficult arm balance called side crane. Attempting it usually sent me toppling to one side or another. I looked down at my postpartum belly, still bigger than I wanted it to be. I could feel my breasts filling with milk; it had been a few hours since I last breast-fed my baby. Following the teacher’s detailed instructions, I planted my hands on the mat in front of me, twisted my legs to the right, engaged my core, and took flight! Up went my legs to rest on a spot just above my right elbow.

My legs stayed put, and I was perfectly balanced. I was solid—and fervent and, at that moment, didn’t care. I marveled at how my body had managed to retain some vestige of core strength despite the fact that I’d recently pushed a small basketball- size baby through my pelvis. As the instructor advised us to unwind, I reluctantly came down.

Afterward, I rushed home to tell my husband. “Babe, it was amazing—side crane! My center of balance is shifted, as if my body changed for the better after having two kids. I could have held the pose forever.” I paused and then said, “Wow, my body is older, better, and wiser than before!”

David responded with something like “That’s great; here, feed the baby,” but I knew I couldn’t ignore this dramatic change. Even after all my decades of medical education, I never thought the body could get better with age. But now I had proof. It was just the spark I needed to consider the ways that my environment, the sum of all of my lifestyle choices, affected the way my DNA communicated within my body. Just as having a baby, trying to reclaim my body with core work, and a shift in my center of gravity had made me successful at mastering a difficult yoga pose, perhaps my patients could partner with me to determine how to become successful at mastering the targeted lifestyle choices that would best express their DNA.

Hacking Your Environment

You’re not going to believe this, but the truth is that around 90 percent of the signs of aging and disease are caused by lifestyle (and the environment created by your lifestyle), not genes.1 The neighborhood of your body—how you live and the world you create, internally and externally—is more important than your DNA when it comes to how you look and feel now and for the next twenty-five to fifty years.

I love the axiom that genetics loads the gun, and the environment pulls the trigger. Genetic factors and environmental factors don’t work on their own—they interact. Even if you have lousy genes, you can change your health destiny by managing your exposures. It means that you have the power to get your body to work for you instead of against you. You can actually adjust epigenetics up or down by tweaking what’s known as your exposome, a collection of environmental factors that directly or indirectly affect your health. You control your exposome by your daily habits of body and mind, both conscious and unconscious, including how often you move and what form that movement takes, what environmental exposures you have in your home and office, what you eat and drink, and how you manage or mismanage your hormones. When one gene is turned on by a certain exposure, another gene may be turned off. And in this way, the goal of the Younger protocol is to optimize all the bodily systems, while turning off the bad genes and turning on the good ones. The end result is the magic elixir that so many of us have been chasing – the ability to turn back the clock.

Excerpted from YOUNGER: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years, available now for order.

Copyright ©2017 by Sara Gottfried, published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

References
1. ↑ Rappaport, S. M. “Implications of the exposome for exposure science.” Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 21, no. 1 (2011): 5–9; Rappaport, S. M., et al. “Using the blood exposome to discover causes of disease.” Agilent Technologies, September 15, 2015, accessed February 9, 2015, http://www.agilent.com/cs/library/technicaloverviews/Public/5991–3418EN.pdf; Harmon, K. “Sequencing the exposome: Researchers take a cue from genomics to decipher environmental exposure’s links to disease.” Scientific American, October 21, 2010, accessed February 2, 2016, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ environmental-exposure.

About Sara Gottfried MD

Sara Gottfried, MD

Sara Gottfried, MD

Sara Gottfried, MD is the author of the new book, Younger: A Breakthrough Program to Reset Your Genes, Reverse Aging, and Turn Back the Clock 10 Years. She’s the two-time New York Times bestselling author of The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet. After graduating from Harvard Medical School and MIT, Dr. Gottfried completed her residency at the University of California at San Francisco. She is a board-certified gynecologist who teaches natural hormone balancing in her novel online programs so that women can lose weight, detoxify, and slow down aging. Dr. Gottfried lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two daughters.

The following post An Excerpt from Sara Gottfried’s New Book, Younger was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.