The Best Natural Moisturizer for Dry Skin

One of the things that sets us apart from other skin care companies is our focus on continual training and renewing our knowledge. We don’t just spend our time creating and selling products, we also think it’s really important to teach and share what we’ve learned about skin with you so that you know why we choose to make the products the way we do and so that when you start to recognize signs like dryness and dehydration, you know exactly what to do.

Maybe you’ve been working with dry skin for a while, or maybe it’s a new issue. As always, it’s best to start from the beginning—learn about why you’re experiencing dry skin so that you can choose the best moisturizer for your dry skin.

What is Sebum?

Simply put, sebum is the natural moisturizer that our bodies create to protect the skin and hair from external pathogens and water loss.
Sebum is produced in the sebaceous glands, which are found everywhere on the human body except the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet, and is excreted to the surface of the skin to help create the barrier and keep our skin nice and smooth.
For the most part, sebum is made of fatty acids, wax esters, and cholesterols but just like how everyone’s skin is unique, the chemical makeup of everyone’s sebum is different and that means the oily-dry balance is different for everyone too.
If you’ve ever had oily skin, or you know people that seem to have a constant shine on their forehead, your skin may have been overproducing sebum. If you have dry, flaky skin, you may not be producing enough.

Sebum Over a Lifetime

Sebum levels within our bodies are largely affected by hormone levels. That’s why teens, with their big hormone changes and surges, tend towards oily skin and clogged pores. It’s also why people under constant stress tend to have more breakouts and why women can have different skin issues throughout the month.

As we age, and this is especially true for women, our bodies move towards less natural hormone production. With fewer hormones in our bodies, it’s common for our sebaceous glands to be less active and we produce less sebum. This leaves our skin unprotected from environmental damage, water loss, and it can exacerbate the signs of aging.

Why Moisturize?

The ultimate point of a moisturizer is to mimic balanced sebum production to keep the skin protected, moisturized, and hydrated—of course, the beauty that comes with dewy, fresh skin is also wonderful.
Since an important function of sebum (as well as hyaluronic acid) is to hold water in the skin, if you’re experiencing dry skin there’s also a pretty good chance that you’re experiencing dehydrated skin. The difference between dehydration and dryness is subtle but impactful because if you’re suffering from dehydration, it means that there isn’t enough water to plump up your skin cells so that they can absorb the oil that you’re applying! You want to hydrate and then add your moisturizer to make sure that you’re giving your skin what it needs, keep it supple and in healthy condition.

That beautiful skin you’re after is actually an evolutionary sign of good health and genes (most vanity is) and since choosing the right face moisturizer increases the health of your skin, reduces the signs of aging, and helps you feel beautiful, it’s really important that you don’t skip moisturizing if you have dry skin.

Choosing Between Oil and Cream/Lotion

We wanted to include a little bit about the difference between an oil and a moisturizing face cream because we get this question all of the time. Yes, they are both moisturizers but we elect to work with carrier oils rather than cream products because a cream is typically made with an emulsification of oil and water.

You’re probably thinking, “but oil and water don’t mix,” and that’s precisely right. In order to create a lotion, there has to be an additional ingredient, like a wax, mixed in. Since the wax has to be melted to mix well, lotions are often made at very high temperatures, the kind of temperature that can kill the antioxidant activity and leave it less effective overall.

Additionally, water is life. There’s just no better way to say it. So when water comes into contact with the fats and acids in oils, they can grow mold and go rancid pretty quickly. Most companies add preservatives to their cream products to kill off those molds and enhance their shelf life and since there is very little regulation in the cosmetic industry, these preservatives go largely untested for quality and safety of use overtime.

That being said, there are great companies out there using organic ingredients and keeping their products clean that make lotions (like our Radiant Skin Silk) and this essentially boils down to texture preference and what your skin likes. If you love the feeling of a cream over and oil for your moisturizer, go for it! Just be sure to check in with the companies that you work with for some clarity around how they make their products and what the ingredients are in your favorite products.

The Right Carrier Oil for Dry Skin

There are a lot of options for the carrier oils that you use as a moisturizer—I bet if you walk into your kitchen right now you could probably find at least two or three—but you want to choose the right one, or maybe even the right blend. It’s important to know what your skin is needing and since everyone’s sebum has a different chemical makeup, it may take a bit of trial and error. Here are three tried and true carrier oils that are great for dry skin.

Jojoba

Jojoba oil is actually made up of fats and wax esters so it is texturally similar to our skin’s natural oil. This type of oil is great for dry, flaky skin because the rich texture of the oil doesn’t immediately soak in so it’s really soothing to the top layers of the skin and it’s high in antioxidants so when it does soak in, it’s helpful in combatting environmental stressors.
We use it as a base in the Anti-Aging Facial Oil to add a bit of extra protection and rejuvenation to the facial oil.

Avocado

This isn’t as thick as the jojoba so it’s less likely to sit on top of the skin. Because it penetrates so nicely, it helps to hold in hydration and is great for skin that needs a moisture boost deep within. Avocado is high in omega fatty acids, which are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes, and offers an amazing boost of healthy vitamin E.

Shea butter

Super moisturizing and very creamy, shea butter is perfect for dry skin—especially if you’re love the creaminess of lotions but don’t want to put the preservatives typically found in them on the skin. It’s a great option for those of you working with sensitive skin (and for baby skin!) because, in its pure form, the smooth texture and rich vitamin content make it the most gentle natural moisturizer available.

Sometimes shea butter is a little hard and can be tough to work with, so you might try melting it a little and blending in a little bit of pure avocado or grapeseed oil to make it go on a little smoother.

Try these moisturizers out individually or make a blend. Let us know how they work for you in the comments below!

The following post The Best Natural Moisturizer for Dry Skin was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

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Need a Spring Detox? Try this Beet and Fennel Soup

Guest Recipe from Sophie Uliano

Did you know that red beets are one of the most cleansing, detoxing foods you can eat? These miracle roots contain compounds that open up your blood and lymph vessels, allowing all those built-up toxins to be easily removed from your system. They also contain super-antioxidants (yes, there is such a thing!) and these support the liver in carrying out all of its important detoxification functions.

Moreover, beets help thin bile and boost your digestive enzymes. Good bile flow is absolutely critical for proper digestion. Many of us who have digestive issues such as gas and bloating may need to look at the cause, which could well be sluggish bile flow.

So, we have a solution my friends, with this gorgeously red, inexpensive root veggie.

And if you want a delicious way to eat it during the miserable winter and stunning spring months, I highly recommend my Beet & Fennel Detox Soup.

It is absolutely delicious: warming, spicy, earthy, and satisfying.

I recommend eating with a side of quinoa and a crunchy green salad. This makes for a perfect week night dinner or a hearty lunch.

Beet & Fennel Detox Soup

Ingredients
3 medium red beets
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced (I used the gorgeous purple ones that are in season right now)
1 small fennel bulb, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tsp coconut oil
2 cups vegetable broth, warm
Juice ½ lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp chia & pumpkin seeds, walnut pieces, and 1 teaspoon coconut milk, to garnish
Ripe, but firm avocado, sliced

Instructions
Place the unpeeled beets in a pot, cover with water. Bring to boil then simmer for 30 minutes until tender.
Drain from water and set aside to cool.
Heat the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet. Add the onions, carrots and fennel. Fry gently for about 2- 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and fenugreek seeds, and fennel. Fry for 5-7 minutes over low heat. Remove from the heat.
Peel the beets, cut into cubes, and add into the blender, together with the cooked vegetables, lemon juice, salt, and warm vegetable broth.
Process to obtain a smooth cream.
Season with salt and serve garnished with mixed seeds, and coconut milk, and avocado.

Note: If you have a Vitamix, you don’t need to heat the broth. Simply place all the cooked ingredients in the blender, and blend until desired temperature.

For more amazing recipes, natural DIYs, weekly can’t-miss newsletters, fab giveaways and the latest in healthy living news, check out SophieUliano.com!

The following post Need a Spring Detox? Try this Beet and Fennel Soup was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Beautiful Voices: Gail Dailey

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

Who do you feel you are today? What event has defined your life?

A better version of who I was 77 years ago. Coming to the place where I had to make a decision to end my marriage – That there were no positives coming to anyone in staying. I have made many changes and I am proud of where I am and the confidence in knowing I may still have fear but I can get through it.

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

Divorce – and being out of the job market for 20 years. During that time my skills were no longer useful – I had learned to be a business admin on a typewriter and now it was all about computers!! I taught myself how to use Windows suite – Word, Excel and all the bits and pieces by asking questions every time someone came to my desk as a Customer Service Rep – soon I was an Executive Assistant with skills – I also reached out to a wonderful therapist to teach me how to believe and trust in who and what I was.

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

Believe in yourself and never give up – If it doesn’t work one way find another but keep going!

Where and when do you feel most at peace?

Either when I am with my family – the good men who are my sons and the beautiful loving families they created – or I built a beautiful garden on the back of my home – I lugged and dug and planted and I sit and look and feel proud of what I created

What does beauty mean to you? And what are your words of wisdom to other beauties out there?

To be a good, honest and truthful person who takes good care of all that I have been given and not beat myself up or compare myself but finally accept that what I am is beautiful – sounds trite but its true. Wisdom is – I always felt that I wasn’t very pretty – and one day I was looking through about 20 years of photo albums and I kept thinking wow I really wasn’t ugly then and as I kept going I realized it was my own low opinion that was ugly and I made a decision to think better thoughts about my looks.

Isn’t she beautiful?

Much Love,
Annmarie Skin Care

(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: Gail Dailey was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Detoxify Defined with Green Smoothie Girl

By our friends at GreenSmoothieGirl

We live in a toxic world. Luckily, we have organs of elimination, that help you detoxify every day.

But what happens when they can’t keep up? When our liver, kidneys, or the blood aren’t filtering fast enough?

The FDA has approved 84,000 chemicals for use in our environment and food without testing for long-term disease risk for those breathing, drinking, and eating them.
It’s no wonder we’ve gone from 1 in 200 getting cancer just a few generations ago, to 1 in 2 now, for men. (And 1 in 2.4 for women.) Your grandparents did not face these challenges!

Imagine a Model T motoring through the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s—this is a time when there was so much particulate in the air in 1936, that babies and old people were literally dying of dust inhalation. Now imagine that same car if you never changed the air filter—ever. While the danger has changed format, this isn’t all too different from what we are currently exposed to.

You don’t want to get caught in a situation where your “filters” are unable to keep up with the cleanup required to deal with:

  • pesticides and preservatives in our foods
  • chemicals in our cosmetics and personal care products
  • fluoride, plastics, chlorine, and drug residuals in our water supply

Medical research throughout history has a thing or two to teach us about how your body detoxifies, how it may be struggling, and how you can resolve the issues:

Cleaning Up Your Detoxification Pathways

Dr. Bernard Jensen studied over 10,000 human colons. The substances found in us humans might shock you.

It turns out that excesses of meat products and white flour, especially in combination, are the worst culprits for gumming up your 35 feet of digestive tract. Dr. Jensen discovered a phenomenon he called “catarrhal mucoid plaque,” a buildup of substances without fiber or nutrients and undigested proteins in the gut, primarily accumulated by people eating a meat-intensive diet and those who eat processed flour and sugar products.

Keep It Clean When You Eat Green

Dr. Ann Wigmore discovered some powerful things about the cleansing properties of greens. She healed herself of an advanced colon cancer many decades ago with diets and lifestyle changes and has been promoting her Living Foods Lifestyle ever since. Her work with plants like wheatgrass juice, almond milk smoothies, and other living foods is championed by many clinics worldwide to this day.

The truth is, it’s powerful to follow a protocol that optimizes your elimination pathways, eliminate toxic foods, and eat only the most cleansing foods, twice a year–for a total reboot, and excellent health. It may seem difficult to find the perfect green meal routine without flying to one of the Wigmore-inspired clinics, but you can learn how to devote respect to your liver, kidneys, colon, and gall bladder from the comfort of your own home.

Organs of Elimination Cleansed and Optimized

In the 1930’s, after German Doctor Max Gerson discovered how to eliminate his reoccurring migraines, he was able to help thousands of people came to overcome theirs as well until he was forced to flee Nazi Germany for the United States.

In the US, Gerson discovered dietary secrets that helped thousands with advanced-stage cancer heal after traditional Medicine had written them off. This is detoxing at its most healing, and because it is so effective, the Gerson diet is still used by millions after a lifetime of proven efficacy.

The Real Benefits of Detoxification

What might you experience if you detox? It’s a tough question to answer, but to get started, Robyn made this short video about what kinds of health benefits are most commonly reported to her in her detox class:

Click here to check out Green Smoothie Girl’s Master Detox Class

In a Toxic World, Detoxing Isn’t Optional

Through deep study of the work of Dr. Jensen, Dr. Wigmore, Dr. Gerson, and many others, Robyn Openshaw developed a protocol (and beta tested it) that holds exciting results for everyone completing her 26-day detox program. She has led over 9,300 people through a process where in less than a month, detoxers experience phenomenal health benefits that feel like turning back the clock 10 to 20 years.

You’ll want to grab a seat in our friend Robyn Openshaw’s Detox Video Masterclass, right away, while it’s FREE for friends of Annmarie Skin Care.

As you become educated about how your body cleanses itself and where it needs help, you may wish to “reboot” twice a year. When you’re ready, Robyn explains how you are giving your fat cells a “pink slip.”

That’s because most of us are holding onto fat stores, for a very important reason: Chemical toxic agents are attracted to (and trapped in) fat stores. We struggle to lose the fat because our bodies don’t want us to release them to our most critical organs (like the kidneys and liver).

When we detoxify, fat stores are released far more easily—since detoxes relieve them of that job.

And when we keep our cells and organs clean and clear, they are able to reward us with strength, mental resilience, and emotional clarity.

Emotional Benefits for a Physical Detox

If you join Robyn in this Video Masterclass about detoxing, you can learn how releasing years of toxic material can lead to far more than physical wellbeing.

She explains in this special video, a bonus for those who have watched the first three videos, exactly why emotional energies are trapped in undigested proteins that build up in those eating the Standard American Diet.

You’ll learn about how to love your liver and how to give it a rest twice a year.

Are you interested in a twice yearly detox?

Click here to check out Green Smoothie Girl’s Master Detox Class

The following post Detoxify Defined with Green Smoothie Girl was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Beautiful Voices: Gigi Hurley

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

This May, to celebrate Mother’s Day, we are featuring several mothers as our “Beautiful Voices.” Check out Gigi’s story and responses to the questions below:

Who do you feel you are today?

Today, I feel proud of the person I’ve become at 63+. To get to this point in my life, I’ve had to overcome decades of insecurity; chronic bad health; anxiety; serious depression at some point when I would beg to never wake up again, and many other emotional disappointments as it happens in most people’s lives.
But through rock solid perseverance and self-taught disciplines, I am learning how to be happier and healthier, so I can keep giving love and my attention to others as well.

What event has defined your life?

My most important event in my life was becoming a mother to my daughter and son. Having been born very maternal, and after growing up playing with dolls as if they were truly my children, I became really fulfilled when I delivered my babies. Today, I’m a grandmother of a sweet baby girl with whom I get a third chance to feel delighted about giving a lot of affection to another little one.

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

My biggest challenge is still taking place as I write this, since after being diagnosed with Graves disease at 18, I not only ate like a lioness ever since, but started bingeing more and more thus becoming addicted to sugar and simple carbs for years within a family where Insulin dependent Diabetes has affected direct family members.
I am trying as best as I can to overcome my food addiction which had started to seriously worsen my already chronic health issues. I know that compared to other deadly addictions, mine doesn’t seem to be a serious challenge, but still, it very much is so for me, especially now that I’m a senior with autoimmune disease.
Due to the aforementioned rock solid perseverance and after implementing even more strict eating and non-drinking habits, I am thankfully starting to see some positive changes in my health.
Annmarie’s high-quality products are part of this new journey towards a better life, and I’m grateful for everything good in it!

Where and when do you feel most at peace?

I feel most at peace in Nature, especially in the Rocky Mountains’ forests, like the ones I used to trek in Colorado. I miss the level of awe that invaded my soul every time my husband and I would reach one of its mountain lakes. Such peaceful beauty and tranquility!
Ever since I was a little girl growing up in a very busy large city, I could feel the healing magic that would take place when my family and I would drive away towards the beaches and the ocean, just at a walking distance from my parents’ summer home. Reading a book on that warm sand is one of my treasured memories of my youth.

If money were no object, what would you be doing?

If spending large amounts of money and thus I had no economic concerns for my future, I would choose to travel the world, staying in beautiful hotels/lodgings when available; eating the most delicious foods; getting a massage daily and getting to see every country out there which is by far the best way to acquire culture.
Then, in between more trips, I would go back to my stunning home surrounded by fruit trees, a vegetable garden and a creek that would also provide me with the soothing sound of running water, a primary source of life…and what a life that would be!

Isn’t she beautiful?

Much Love,
Annmarie Skin Care

(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: Gigi Hurley was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

4 Tips to Choosing Safer, Healthier Seafood

Guest Post by Lara Adler

In our pursuit of healthy, vibrant lives, so many of us are paying much closer attention to the foods we eat and the products we buy and use every day. One of the ways we navigate the maze of healthy vs. unhealthy foods, and safe vs. unsafe products is by learning to read labels.

While not perfect, the ingredients listed on these labels usually give us enough information to make informed, empowered choices.

But what about foods that don’t have labels? What if the things we need to be mindful of aren’t actually ingredients at all?

When it comes to seafood, this is a big deal, because while the only “ingredient” in a piece of fish is, well, “fish,” it’s likely to be loaded with contaminants that can put our health at risk. And these will never show up on a label.

Contaminants like methyl mercury, PCB’s, antibiotics, and pesticides are commonly found in nearly all types of seafood. Reading that, you might think it’s better to avoid seafood altogether, but that’s not the case, as seafood is a great source of heart healthy and brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Knowing how to navigate the waters of this issue is super important if we’re looking to both optimize our health and reduce our exposure to harmful chemicals… so let’s dive in!

We Love Seafood

In the United States we eat a lot of seafood. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average American eats 15.8 pounds of seafood each year, including 3.7 lbs of canned tuna (“U.S. Seafood Consumption Declines Slightly in 2009”). Some of our most popular species of seafood (shrimp, tuna, and salmon) have some of the highest levels of dangerous contaminants in them.

There are a number of issues related to the way seafood is raised or caught that can turn shopping for healthy options into a bit of a challenge, so before getting to the general guidelines and rules to follow, let’s take a look at the key issues.

Mercury In Seafood

Ask anyone about health issues with seafood, and they’ll automatically think “mercury,” the super toxic heavy metal. Mercury is a developmental neurotoxin, meaning it directly interferes with normal brain development, is toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems, and can lead to developmental delays and learning disabilities in children exposed in utero.

Exposure to mercury can not only affect brain development and functioning, it can also leave us feeling not quite ourselves. Mercury exposure can cause irritability, excitability, temper outbursts, fearfulness/anxiety, restlessness, depression and insomnia. Seafood, in particular tuna, is our primary exposure source to this heavy metal, so it makes sense to pay attention to what we’re eating.

Mercury is released into the environment mostly through industrial activity, where it gets blown into the air or dumped into waterways. From there, it travels around the world, depositing in oceans, on land, and building up inside the bodies of fish.

The larger and older the species of fish, the more mercury it accumulates. Dangerous levels of mercury, enough to warrant seizure by the FDA, can be found in tilefish, swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and our beloved sushi tuna.

These fish should fall on the “never” list, as the risk of mercury exposure outweighs the benefit of consuming seafood.

While canned tuna is lower in mercury than species used for sushi (like bluefin, bigeye, and yellowfin), we consume so much of it that it is our primary exposure source.

To find low-mercury seafood, aim for fish that are smaller, and lower on the food chain, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

Pesticides & Antibiotics

Just like with large scale farming of cattle, pigs, and chickens, close quarters breed disease. Fish farming has exploded in the last decade and gained a bad reputation for its rampant use of both pesticides and antibiotics.

In 2009 the non-profit Food & Water Watch produced a report called “Suspicious Shrimp” that looked at the way imported shrimp are raised and consistently found measurable of antibiotics, cleaning agents, pesticides, mouse hair, rat hair, pieces of insects—you name it, it’s in there. They even found pesticides that are banned in the United States due to health risks.

Infestations of sea-lice, little critters that eat the skin and blood of fish, have decimated the farmed salmon industry. Salmon farmers typically combat these infestations with the use of organophosphate pesticides, some of the most toxic pesticides in use. The more densely packed the fish are, the greater the infestation, and the more pesticides are needed. Use of pesticides in the farmed salmon industry have skyrocketed over the last few years, which in turn has created resistant “superlice.”

These issues are enough to steer me clear of farmed seafood like shrimp, salmon and tilapia! Opt for wild-caught species of fish instead. They’re not totally free of contaminants, but they’re a much healthier option.

Imported vs. Domestic

In 2016, Food & Water Watch produced a report titled “Toxic Buffet: How The TPP Trades Away Seafood Safety” that found a whopping 94% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported. They write “these factory farms on water raise hundreds of thousands of tightly packed carp, shrimp, tilapia, crab and catfish in one location in often unhygienic conditions. To combat widespread disease, fish farmers in the developing world that supply the U.S. market often use drugs and chemicals that are banned in the United States.”

They also highlight the fact that only a measly 2% of seafood is inspected. What this means, is that imported shrimp from Vietnam could be also serving up an extra helping of pesticides, antibiotics and drugs.

No thanks! Domestic seafood is nearly always a better choice.

Tips For Eating Safer Seafood

There are three golden rules (plus a bonus tip) when eating seafood

Eat Low on the Food Chain

This means I choose smaller fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, while avoiding bigger, longer living species like swordfish, shark, sea bass, and tuna.

If you’re eating tuna a few times a year, I say eat whatever you want, but if you’re a regular seafood eater, be mindful of the species.

Domestic over Imported

Not only do I only choose domestic seafood, I try to seek out sources that are locally caught or harvested – this way I can keep in mind local water conditions, or contamination issues nearby. I’m lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest, where seafood is abundant! I’ll eat wild caught Alaskan salmon over imported farmed Scottish salmon any day.

Wild over Farmed

Wild caught fish, provided they are sustainably caught, are a healthier choice than farmed in most cases. Farmed fish can not only have a huge negative impact on the environment, but can serve up a uninvited side of toxins.

Newer, more progressive farmed seafood operations are starting to take a smarter look at their industry, working towards creating a model that’s both sustainable and healthy, and that doesn’t fall into the cycle of overcrowding, disease, and pesticides. Seek these out just like you would a local organic dairy farm: visit the farm, and ask questions.

Check Out Some of the Fish Guides Out There

Guides like the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector. These guides typically look seafood from the perspective of sustainability rather than health, so you often have to take their recommendations a step further.

Seafood doesn’t have to be scary, but it should be approached with a degree of caution. What we’re looking for is the balance between healthy, sustainable, and delicious!

What’s your favorite seafood to eat?

References

Crinnion, Walter J. “Environmental medicine, part three: long-term effects of chronic low-dose mercury exposure.” Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic 5.3 (2000): 209-223.

Gilbert, Steven G., and Kimberly S. Grant-Webster. “Neurobehavioral effects of developmental methylmercury exposure.” Environmental Health Perspectives 103.Suppl 6 (1995): 135.

“Suspicious Shrimp: The Health Risks of Industrialized Shrimp Production.” Food & Water Watch. 2009. Web.

“Toxic Buffet: How The TPP Trades Away Seafood Safety.” Food & Water Watch. 2016. Web.

World Health Organization. “Exposure to mercury: A major public health concern.” WHO, Public Health and Environment (2007).

“U.S. Seafood Consumption Declines Slightly in 2009.” NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. N.p., 9 Sept. 2010. Web. May 2017

The following post 4 Tips to Choosing Safer, Healthier Seafood was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

Stay Sound in Body and Mind with Sanandi

My mentor told me a sad story about the effects of modern agriculture—he said that indigenous people are now falling ill from chemicals showing up in the foods they have eaten throughout history. From pesticide-sprayed fields and roadsides to factory runoff contaminating water sources that feed their plants and fish, indigenous people (and wildcrafters alike) are in danger of serious disease from foods that have served as natural medicines for generations. A little research and the Journal of Indigenous Well-Being confirmed that unfortunately, this is happening all over the world.

That’s why when I read about this month’s We Heart, Sanandi, this story came back to me and knocked me off my feet (literally, I found myself laying on the couch in the office with a pen in my hand, writing fervently about this company). Hearing about contaminated waters and healing plants that are hurting breaks my heart, but the story of Sanandi gives me hope because they prove that it’s possible to restore our planet, create healing spaces, and do so sustainably.

When we fall in love with a company we automatically want to share them with you. But before we do so, we vet them for honesty and transparency as well as purity of products. We were so pleased to discover that Sanandi is the absolute of pinnacle those things, so we invited them to join our little We Heart Family. This company is truly inspiring and they are absolutely wonderful to work with.

The Sanandi Story

In Western medicinal philosophy, “healthy” is synonymous with “the lack of disease” and doctors often help to remove illness rather than increasing health. Dieter le Noir, MD was working as a Western physician when he realized that he wanted to help people to live healthily—not just cure disease. So he went back to school in Germany and Switzerland to add holistic and naturopathic knowledge to his healing practice (Can you imagine choosing to go back to med school after med school? Wow, this is passion) and then he went back to his roots in Mexico to start Sanandi.

The word “Sanandi” is derived from the Latin word “sānus”, which means “sound in body or mind” as in “healthy, in a state of wellbeing.” Health is the crux of all things Sanandi, so this name fits perfectly.

Sanandi has a few different far-reaching branches that touch thousands of people. At the center of everything is the Valle la Paz (Spanish for Peaceful Valley). Dr. Noir and his brother purchased this land in 1998 and set to work reforesting using methods in permaculture—they even banned machinery in their valley so that everything could be tended naturally.

The valley is fed by a mature natural spring that comes from snowfall on the top of a volcano. The water moves through the rich earth, being filtered naturally over hundreds of miles to bring pure, crystal-clear, pH balanced water to the land.

The brothers landscaped their fields with their goal to create a biodynamic farm, Rancho la Paz, complete with natural irrigation lakes and soil that tests completely chemical free. The farm includes its own organic and biodynamic seed bank, has over 40 medicinal plants growing, and they even have their own apiaries (beehives) so that they can be sure that every ingredient in their products fits their mission of bringing health and wellness to every part of our planet.

In the vetting process, I specifically asked about ingredients that are sourced rather than grown at the farm and the response I got was outstanding, “whenever we source an ingredient from another farm, Dr. Dieter le Noir verifies that it is Organic and Biodynamic, and respectfully grown.”

The Sanandi team worked at a slow but steady pace to build the perfect organic and biodynamic space, and in 2010 they launched their herbal products along with an educational program to promote and integrate holistic healing and sustainable agriculture with the key driving principle of being part of the Economy for the Common Good.

The provide education for other farmers to help them become organic and biodynamic, along with helping them become self-sufficient rather than having to rely on GMO seeds or chemical pesticides. They also work with other farms to provide free, hot breakfasts to children in the surrounding communities and sponsor agriculture, music, and health classes in schools.

In addition to all of this, Sanandi runs a low-cost, public-run clinic for the people living in the surrounding areas that previously did not have access to health care—both due to funds and because they had to travel hours to the nearest doctor.

In 2016, they expanded to create SanandiUSA so their products are finally available in the United States. We are really excited to announce them to our community! They have a lot of really amazing products and it was difficult to choose just one to spotlight but for brevity’s sake, we had to.

Respiratory Balm

It’s incredibly rare to find a company that harvests herbs, drys them, and then creates a product with them in the same place—you can’t get more pure than that. Like all of Sanandi’s products, their Respiratory balm is handmade in small batches in the lab located on their farm.

The impressive organic ingredients include Almond oil with Calendula Essential oil, Almond oil with Giant Hyssop Essential oil, Beeswax, English Plantain, Eucalyptus Essential Oil, Mezcal, Pine Essential oil, Pine Resin, Thyme.

And because we can’t say it better ourselves, here’s what they have to say about their balm:

Our Respiratory Balm provides soothing relief to your respiratory system! It is formulated to work on multiple levels: from helping you enjoy a wonderful sleep of relaxed breathing, to providing relief to your respiratory system when the temperature is cold, when congested, or when experiencing coughing or shortness of breath. Made with all-natural ingredients, it contains organic and biodynamic extracts and essential oils from numerous medicinal plants and flowers, and is handcrafted using USP and German Pharmacopoeia grade processes to guarantee potency, quality, and effectiveness.

If any company falls under our scope of Honest. Wild. Beautiful. it’s Sanandi. We are absolutely thrilled to welcome this company into the States and share them with you!

We Heart

We know we can’t change the world alone, so every month we highlight another amazing company in the clean-living community that we’re creating! We share transparent companies with integrity, that we’ve fully vetted because we believe we’re all stronger when we work together to create a cohesive Earth-based, sustainable society.

Do you know of a company you think fits with our values? Write into us and we’ll get the eco-friendly party started!

The following post Stay Sound in Body and Mind with Sanandi was first published on Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.