Great Big Wellness Geek

Geek

Today Mr Amazon Delivery Guy confirmed something I didn’t even realise I was dreading – confirmation that I’ve officially become a ‘Great Big Wellness Geek’ (GBWG for short)… and I’m not quite sure what to think of it.

Basically Mr Delivery Guy brought with him my coveted BPA Free 2 liter water bottle, the one that was as cheap as chips (€12 including postage and package!!) the one I got from these guys at New Wave Enviro Products, the bottle I wrote about here and have been only dying to receive.

Here’s a pic of him (the BPA bottle, not the Delivery Guy you ninny!)

BPA Free Bottle

Isn’t he a cutie?!

The strange thing was that when it was delivered to my office I was too embarrassed to take it out of it’s box and have a good old ‘New Delivery Inspection’ (like I used to in days of yorn when my delivers included Dermalogica products).  You see half my office already thinks I’m mental – what with the green juices I do be sup’ing, the homemade green lunches, the herbal Nettle and Green teas I have stationed beside their Nescafe and Barry’s Tea and the floral pouch of supplements I have on my desk (I deservingly get a guffaw of laughter every time I take a spray of my Vitamin D!!) so I think I just felt this BPA bottle went that step too far for what I’m ready for just now.

Basically I’ve decided there’s a few stages involved in Wellness:

GBWG Stage 1: This is the stage where you’re toying with becoming a GBWG. It’s a stage where you Google ‘cleanses’, ‘effects of sugar’, ‘benefits of raw food’, tentatively replace your beauty products with natural ones, drink a green smoothie once a month (and only get through half cos you think it tastes like grass) but generally go with the flow and keep your beliefs and preferences under wraps.

GBWG Stage 2: Then there’s the next stage, the one where you start requesting veggie options when eating out (instead of not wanting to rock the boat), actively count the number of fresh fruit and veg you’ve eaten each day and panic if it’s less then 4 and have a freaker if someone sprays Antiperspirant Deodorant near you in a confined space (‘agghhhh my poor lungs’!!).

The thing is I feel like I might just have pushed through into Stage 2… and I’m not yet sure how I feel about becoming that person.

We all find ourselves a bit cringy at times right?!

(There is a Stage 3 but I’m not even going there today)

Well anyways I know what Oprah (does anyone else have a mental block on how to spell that woman’s name?! My first attempt is always Opera!) and her cronies would say…

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And other fabulously motivating (but oddly irritating) phrases. But sometimes it all gets a bit much and you’re just a bit daunted about being out on your own, and basically you just aren’t bloody well ready for being at GBWG Stage 2.
Who knew an Amazon delivery could invoke such emotions eh?! 😉

Juice Detox: Day 5- Finished!

day5-1

Awhoohoo! Today is my last day of the 5 Day Juice Detox!

I’d just like to take a mo to reiterate the reasons why I did this 5 Day Juice Detox:

  • I did it to detox my body from all processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar and dairy.
  • I did it to give my digestion the time to process and clean out any toxins which might be residing in the deepest darkest parts of my gut and intestines.
  • I also did it to provide a nutritious boost to all my cells and organs with the help of daily spirulina and wheatgrass shots and mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables washed down with liters of filtered water.

I mean if that’s not good for you someone is going to have to take me aside, sit me down and give me a thorough lesson on what’s healthy!

It was once explained to me that when you’re on a detox (or that 5:2 day diet I’ve heard so much about) your system doesn’t have to spend it’s entire time trying to digest and convert the dodgy food we’re ingesting, so it can get involved in other worthwhile activities elsewhere in the body, like cleaning up your skin or improving your immune system or repairing your neglected liver.

Also while on the detox I made an extra special effort to incorporate 40/60 minutes of exercise into my daily routine and also to be in bed, with my light off by 11 PM every night.  As they say…

Feed your cells and your cells will feed you.

juicelife

So how am I feeling? Generally OK. In all honesty this week was hard, it was my first attempt at any extended detox and I don’t think I realised the level of preparation and dedication it would involve. We must have been shopping, washing, chopping, juicing, blending and cleaning up for about 2 hours a day, every day! I’m glad I did this in a quieter week or otherwise I feel I would have fallen off the band wagon.

Physically though I felt fine, actually I’d go as far to say I felt great. No bloating, no detox headaches and pains which I’d heard so much about, no stomach upsets or discomfort.

TMI possibly, but I did notice an alarming lack of poop over the week, probably due to the fact there wasn’t a lot of roughage or fiber going through me- that was an effect I didn’t quite enjoy.

I also slept like a baby all week (actually why is that even a saying?! From what I hear baby’s sleep terribly and are awake every couple of hours looking to be feed or something?!).

Oh and today during my ‘Work Lift Mirror Check’* I was surprised to notice all the little bumpy, pimply clogged looking pores on my face were looking a lot better, not perfect mind, but much improved – bar a whopper ‘3rd eye’ spot which has erupted overnight, but then that makes sense as it’s in the ‘detox’ part of my face (more on face mapping here).

*’Work Lift Mirror Check’: The lighting in our work lift is horrendous and shows up every imperfection on your skin. So, naturally, whenever I’m alone in the lift I torture myself by examining the quality of my skin in it.

Did I lose weight? As I’ve mentioned previously I wasn’t doing this to lose weight but then again I was happy to note that my skinny jeans slid on a lot easier this morning.

What was the total bill of the 5 days? About €100 for all the veg, fruit and supplements.

Would I recommend it? Hummmmm, let me put it this way, it’s not something I would rush to do again. I just found it very unnatural denying myself food and solids but I do think that the couple of days did my system the world of good. I think in future I’ll just integrate fresh fruit and veg juices into my daily routine.

Now, where’s that cheese sambo! 😉

My Wellness Cloud Bookshelf- Part 2

Books

Happy rainy Monday morning to you- things can only get better I suppose!

Here’s a round up of a few more books I love and would recommend to any budding Wellness Warriors…

No More Dirty Looks: I’ve discussed this book in past blogs (here and here) so I’ll just quickly say here how this book opened my eyes to all the crap we are lathering on to ourselves on a daily basis.  I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you- but some of the products on your bathroom shelf and make up bag have chemicals which are hormone disturbing at the very least and carcinogenic at the worst- eeeeeek :-/!

Since reading this book I’ve become one of those annoyingly smug people who doesn’t buy any ‘unclean’ beauty products. I preach about the joys of using coconut oil for everything (‘I use it as a face and body moisturiser, eye make up remover and hair defuzzer don’t you know?’) and it makes me happy, so I’m planning to keep it that way.

Even if you love your beauty products (as I once did), I’d recommend this book as it’ll arm you with a fighting chance when trying to decide between shower gels so you can pick the less offensive one.

You Are What you Eat: There was a time I used to call this book my ‘Bible’, I’d bring it everywhere and refer to passages regularly, (‘Page 15, section 2: ‘thou shall not eat fruit after carbs’). It was my first introduction to ‘wellness’, although the movement didn’t have any fancy terms, blogs and quiona back then.

One of my favorite things is the way Gillian breaks everything down into individual body parts:

  • Pealing nails= Means you many have a weak and over worked liver and you are recommended to introduce Milk Thistle into your diet.
  • Stinky poo= Points to stagnation in the large intestine and that you’re in need of a digestive enzyme after meals
  • Spots on chin= Means you have an hormonal imbalance in the reproductive area and you could do with a herb like agnus castus to correct it.

womancode

Womancode: In the last few months I’ve been slowly coming to the conclusion that a lot of women’s health issues (physical, mental and emotional) are due to our hormones being unbalanced, or out of ‘whack’ as a lot of other bloggers seem to say.  This book cemented this theory for me. The book discusses some really important topics and I think it’s a book we should all read (my copy is available if anyone wants a lend!)

Some of the stuff I learnt:

  • PCOS, endometriosis, low libido, infertility, cystic acne, PMS, cramps and irregular menstruation are not normal and are not things we should be expected to live with (a say whaaat?!)
  • These are all symptoms of unbalanced hormones.
  • Amazingly interesting things (which I actually can’t believe we didn’t learn in school!) about our monthly cycles and how we have different ‘powers’ and qualities at different times of the month depending on the balance of hormones in our system (e.g. we are proven to be more creative the 7 to 10 days following our periods and that’s the time we should brainstorm and try new foods and sports as we will most likely enjoy them).

Mind Over Medicine: I am currently reading this fascinating book all about how we can heal ourselves with the power of our minds- sounds a bit ‘out there’ but apparently its all backed by medical research as Lissa is a qualified doctor. I’ll report back here once finished.

Salt, Sugar, Fat: This is next on the reading list and I’m pretty excited about it as it provides insights into the big business that is the Food Industry. 

So, have any recommendations of other wellness books for me to read? Any suggestions are much appreciated 🙂

Clean Beauty Products- Shampoo Review

Clean2Through most of my teen and adult years I’ve been slapping endless bottles of  lotions, potions, fake tans, moisturisers, cellulite creams (useless but bloody expensive!), hair reducers, shaving creams and exfoliaters all over my body, being a marketers dreams and not once stopping for even a second to wonder what was in them or if there was a possibility the ingredient list could be anyway detrimental to me (more on that here)

So when I stumbled across the ‘Clean’ beauty product movement my initial reaction was, ‘naaaah, that can’t be right, Dove wouldn’t do that to me. It’s just another conspiracy theory from a pack of smelly hippies…’

But, even though I tried to silence it, one train of thought kept nagging at me as I slapped on my moisturisers and fake tans, ‘your skin is your biggest organ, it absorbs everything you put on it… can all this crap be good??‘.

Then it hit me, it was suddenly so blindingly obvious. Why the hell was I going out of my way to eat fresh, organic foods and reduce eating any products with unknown/ unpronounceable ingredients and then ruin it all by consistently slathering on unnatural substances and chemicals on a daily basis?

It was defo a personal ahh-ha moment (Oprah would be so proud!).

Anyway, I sent a mental apology to all the ‘conspiracy theorists’ I had been doubting and jumped firmly on the ‘Clean’ beauty regime. I blogged previously about all my new organic products but here’s a quick update.

My most recent purchase was Avalon Organics Glistening Shampoo.

shampoo1

I bought it in The Select Stores in Dalkey, Dublin for about €6 and am very happy with it. It has no parabens or the evil sodium lauryl/ laureith sulphateit, it smells good and it works just fine (it does take a bit longer then most shampoos to get a lather going but other then that it’s just spiffy!).

Dirt Cheap Epsom Salts

epsom salts1

In keeping with the last post about relaxation let me introduce you to the magic that is Epsom Salts. They are a brilliant detoxifier and a great way to turn your bath-time into a bonafide spa treatment!

All you need to do is pour 2 cups of the salts into your bath and soak for just 20 minutes to get the following benefits:

  1. Ease stress by replenishing magnesium in the body. Magnesium helps produce serotonin, a mood elevating chemical.
  2. Ease PMS
  3. Flush out toxins and heavy metals from the system- great when doing a detox
  4. Relieve cold symptoms
  5. Relax and ease muscles
  6. Reduce inflammation
  7. Relieve pain and headaches
  8. Relieve asthma
  9. Treat bruises

Here’s Epsom Salts secret sauce… it’s sooo bleedin’ cheap! I bought a massive tub from The Health Store for about 2 yoyos!

Epsom saltsP.S. I wouldn’t bother wasting money on the ‘Dead Sea Spa Magik’ brand which is sold in most pharmacies around Ireland, as it’s double the cost and seems to do the same job as the less fancy looking Mr Epsom.

P.P.S When I’m having a bath I tend to leave out the harsh and drying Bubble Bath and replace it with a few drops of yummy lavender essential oil instead.

The Innocent Looking Tampon

Guess how many tampons we approximately use in a lifetime? Go on, just guess.

…12,000!! Seriously, twelve flippen thousand tampons over our life time! But then again, I suppose that makes sense, they’re a product that most women need on a monthly basis for approximately 40 years of their lives.

Without being too graphic, it’s safe to say that these 12,000 products go into a very intimate and delicate place. We’re not talking application of foot cream or nail varnish here. We’re talking about the most absorbent part of our body. So obviously you’d like to know the tampons you’re using are safe and totally harmless right? Or maybe you’ve never given this topic a second thought? Keep reading, I command you! 🙂

You know the way tampons are made almost entirely by cotton? What if I was to tell you that cotton is the world’s dirtiest crop, that it is sprayed with 25% of the world’s pesticide- more than any other crop. That the pesticides it’s continuously sprayed with include, among others: insecticides, fungicide and herbicides.

I mean this is grand (ish) when the cotton is used to make the jumper you’re wearing, but when it’s used in something that’s getting intimate with you, multiplied by 12,000 times?

cotton1

If you thought that was bad, how about this- if your regular tampon has a plastic applicator it’s made from petroleum products, which will also contain plasticisers, which is an additive which makes the plastic pliable and which therefore contains Phthalates (a large family of industrial chemicals). High exposures to Phthalates for women of childbearing age are proven to create a risk of reproductive birth defects and other scary health effects.

It’s also been proven that continued exposure to these chemicals can worsen period pains, PMS, and aggravate symptoms of endometritis, polycystic ovaries and other fertility issues.

Lastly (and the picture I’ve posted below illustrates this pretty well) when conventional tampons (the one on the left) are placed in a glass of water, small bits of the cotton breaks off and floats off in the water… Do you get what I’m saying here without having me spell it out? BITS OF CHEMICAL LADEN COTTON FlOAT OFF INTO YOUR LADY PARTS!!… Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.

But don’t despair. None of this happens with Organic tampons (the one on the right) which are made from clean, non processed cotton and uses a safe carboard applicator.

tampon2

And that’s why, in my quest to become Clean, the very first product I replaced was my tampons. I now use Natracare tampons (which again can be picked up in any health store and cost about €2.25 for 10) and am promising myself (and future me) that I’ll never compromise on this again.Tampon1

Ok, rant over (cue sighs of relief all around).

More on this topic can be seen on this video of Nat Kringoudis (a fertility expert) talking to Aimee Marks, the founder of TOM Organic (an Ozzy Organic Tampon company).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BNmmH3kqZHQ

Or for more on Natracare

http://www.natracare.com/en-GB/

Dry Body Brushing

dryskinbrush2

Have you ever seen one of the above brushes in someone else’s bathroom and thought, ‘wow, they must have one squeaky clean back’?! I’m here to stop your brain being silly and tell you that in fact it’s their Dry Body Brush.

Each morning (i.e. whenever I’m not running too late!!), as I’m waiting for the shower water to heat up, I use my Body brush on my skin for 2/3 minutes (never use it while in the shower, as it’s not as effective on wet skin). I use long, gentle brushes which are always directed toward the heart. I start with the soles of my feet and work my way up my legs, hands and arms, back and bum. Then I brush my tummy, very carefully, in an anti-clockwise direction.

And why do I bother?

  • It exfoliates dead skin cells, that clog pores and leaves your skin lovely and bright and glowy!
  • It’s one of the most effective methods that I’ve ever come across to removes that horrible ‘chicken skin’ from the back of your arms/ legs.
  • It boosts circulation and stimulates the lymphatic system to release toxins which reduces the dreaded cellulite
  • It improves muscle tone and reduces puffiness
  • Reduce ingrown hairs
  • It also feels bloomin great!

Everyone from Irish ‘Sorta- Celeb’ Amy Huberman to Miranda Kerr is at it!

So, go on and get yerself a Body Brush. I picked mine up from The Body Shop (but they are available in any pharmacies), it’s got a long handle and firm bristles and I love it 🙂

If you want to know more on how to brush, here’s a link you might find of interest

http://www.koraorganics.com/blog/live-in-my-skin/all-things-organic/organic-certification/how-to-dry-body-brush-at-home/

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