The wind and brisk weather is cascading over Oxford; the heat has finally broken and I am so appreciative. It means fall produce season, pumpkin spice, cinnamon and crunchy leaves!
There is nothing like the fall to bring out what society calls the “basic” ness. But y’all, it is far from basic to appreciate the changing of the seasons. There are certain regions that don’t get to experience all four seasons, and I am not sure how they survive without all four!
Climate change is quickly eliminating the changing of the seasons; so frequently we hop from summer to winter, and winter to summer, without a glimpse of spring or fall. Every year the changing geography and landscape gets more vivid and I take a longer moment to appreciate the world’s beauty.
There is something entirely refreshing and fulfilling about a new season; it almost feels like a clean slate. A time to check in with your body and mind and re-establish any goals or achievements for the year.
How are you appreciating the changing of the seasons? Are you still holding on to the last few weeks of summer?
I am going full throttle into Autumn and these are the products I am loving most throughout this transition. Check it out!
Stainless Steel Straws
The hype is real with Starbucks eliminating their plastic straws. Let’s be honest, we here at the Paleo community have been in support of eliminating plastic straws long before Starbucks trend. Stay away from the paper straws that disintegrate before you even finish that Pumpkin Spice Latte, and get these stainless steel, easily cleanable straws here.
Perfect Keto Nut Butter
I have talked about how much I enjoy this stuff a lot lately. Nuts can be challenging for me to consume, occasionally wreaking havoc on my skin and on my digestive system. However, this blend using macadamia and cashew nuts is really quite delicious and easy on my digestive system. Use these to make the apple cookie recipe we feature in Coconuts & Kettlebells, the book, for a tasty fall treat.
Smoothie Box, Cacao Flavor
I have been traveling a bit too, and these babies are so perfect because everything is already in a bag, ready to blend. I have always wanted to be someone that was able to meal prep smoothies into their own perfect baggies, freeze them and pull them out when I need them. However, I don’t have time, and I have stopped convincing myself this is a thing. Instead, give me those premade smoothies! Get them here.
Hot Apple Cider
Do I need to even define why this is a go to? Apples, pressed, into a drinkable delicious warm autumn treat. Yes please! I put cinnamon in mine, and if it is hot enough, I will throw some collagen in there too.
Honey Drop Lemonade
During a recent trip to Brooklyn, I stumbled across this bottle of goodness while on a late night grocery and snack hunt while feeling a bit under the weather. I was honestly looking for something non-caffeinated with anti-inflammatory properties. Normally, I wouldn’t consume anything with Stevia before bed, but I made an exception and ended up really loving this stuff. It wasn’t overly sweetened and the combination of lemons, turmeric and raw honey were the trifecta of anti-inflammatory I was seeking out. Do you have this product available in your local stores? I definitely didn’t spot it in Michigan.
Being My Own Coach
Also, I have been really digging being my own advocate lately. I have been in a crevice full of sour mood for a few weeks, and for a justified reason. And it is incredibly difficult to pull myself up by the bootstraps, by myself, out of a depression cycle. However, I have been trying to make a conscious effort in really digging at the supportive voice in my head, and letting this woman be the focus of my consciousness. Support systems really help, but the emotions I am feeling right now really call for righteous acts of self-love and compassion, and these are things I can only pull out of myself.
What are you digging this fall? Have you tried any of the products I mentioned? Likes, loves? Hates?
So I believe there are two generally allocated camps of people out there. Those that want to lose weight because they believe they should weigh and look a certain way, and those that need to lose weight for health related reasons.
The first camp is often fueled by society’s ideal body type, and the standards women have placed on their heads regarding what their bodies should look like. We have all heard stories of women that just want to lose that LAST FIVE POUNDS. I used to be one of them. But I would like to ask you, how important is that last five pounds really? Will it truly bring you happiness? Probably not. Will it make a difference in how your clothes fit? Most likely no. So why do we put ourselves through hell to lose five pounds which is already just an arbitrary number?
Healthy Weight Loss
Those in the second camp are looking for weight loss based on a health based need. This may have been a conversation you have had with your doctor or based on your physiological bodies language to you such as underlying illnesses, you may have been able to determine this was a proper course. To you, I absolutely recommend my program, Weight Loss Unlocked. In this program I detail the following:
- Healthy Weight Loss Goals
- The Metabolic System Basics
- How to Accelerate Weight Loss
- Developing Your Own Personalized Plan
- Quantity and Quality of Exercise Needed
- And so much more.
Get Weight Loss Unlocked here
If you have been dieting and are consistently not experiencing weight loss, the following items could be contributing.
1) You are not healing underlying issues
No matter how hard you try to lose weight, you might not be able to if you suffer from an underlying health condition.
Thyroid diseases like hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are super common problems for people trying to lose weight, especially women.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), and leaky gut are all gut health problems. They might not seem like they are important for weight loss, but they are some of the most important. Without a healthy gut, you cannot absorb nutrients well, or have a healthy hormonal response to food.
Autoimmune diseases are also very important to tackle. The best guide for overcoming them, in my opinion, is Sarah Ballantyne’s, here on Amazon.
Figure out your underlying issues by taking stock of your body. What symptoms do you experience? When? For how long? How long have you had them? Take your answers to google and to the doctor. Get some tests done. Paleo is fantastic for healing, but a more targeted approach can help heal you all the faster.
Then, the faster you heal your underlying problems, the faster you can lose weight.
2) You are Under Eating
People are not wrong when they say that you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.
This is one of the reasons paleo can be so great for weight loss: it spontaneously helps you eat less, by being more simple and satisfying than processed foods.
But there is such a thing as over-doing it.
If you undereat, and especially if you do so for an extended period of time, your thyroid gland will slow down. The body starts to burn body fat more slowly because it detects an energy decrease.
Depending on how restrictive you are, your body might even stop burning fat altogether, or will gain it. This is especially common for women. The female body is so much more sensitive to body fat levels (which you can read more about at my post here) than the male body is.
This is a weight loss plateau. The solution? Eat when you’re hungry! If you need more specific advice than that, do not eat below 1800 calories a day, and if physically active, then at least 21 or 2200.
3) You’re stressed out:
Stress, for a third, is also incredibly important. Many studies show that stress, like fitness level, is more important than body fat percentage in promoting health and longevity. For example, some studies show that implementing Healthy At Every Size practices, which means ignoring weight regulation in favor of intuitive eating and living, significantly decreases mortality in overweight adults, and promotes better lab results, health behaviors, and self-esteem than weight loss treatment. For those who are stressed out about losing weight this can be a never ending cycle, try not weighing yourself and paying more attention to how your body feels. You can read more about how the parasympathetic and sympathetic states of the body are influenced by stress and can influence your weight loss.
4) You’re not getting enough sleep:
In 1960, a survey of over 1 million people found a modal sleep duration of 8-9 hours. In 2002, polls conducted by the National Sleep Foundation indicated that the average duration of sleep for Americans had fallen to 6.9-7 hours. Recent data indicate that a higher percentage of adult Americans report sleeping 6 hours or less. In 2005, in the US, more than 30% of adult men and women between the ages of 30 and 64 years reported sleeping on average less than 6 hours each night. This decrease in sleep duration has occurred over the same time as the increase in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes. These studies have shown correlations with hormone leptin, sleep, and weight loss.
Leptin has a distinct diurnal and circadian rhythm. It has minimum values during daytime and a nocturnal rise with maximum values during early to mid sleep. The amplitude of the circadian variation averages approximately thirty per cent. Leptin levels rise during the night to suppress appetite while sleeping.
Moreover, with sleep deprivation, the reduction of leptin at night spells bad news for the rest of the day: it sets the individual up not just with lower leptin levels in general but also decreased glucose tolerance and an increased craving for carbohydrates. So not only are our bodies hungry, but they are craving foods that are less nutrient rich.
Putting away electronic devices or wearing blue blocking glasses before bed can help melatonin production which will help you fall asleep easier as well. You can learn more positive sleep hygiene tips here.
5) This is the weight you’re meant to be:
Just because your body might not burn through fat as efficiently as someone else’s doesn’t mean they are more healthy than you.
If there isn’t an underlying health condition associated with fat storage, it may be a simple matter of genetics, the quality of nutrition and a body type you had as a child growing up, or of having a history of dieting (which so many of us do), which leads to slower fat burning mechanisms in the long run.
It is also incredibly important to bear in mind that fat cells don’t go away once created. They can shrink, but they never go away. This makes it much easier for people who have been overweight in the past to keep weight or to regain it once they’ve lost it. This has nothing to do with health, and everything to do with the biochemistry of fat storage.
But by and large, you may just be at a satisfactory weight especially if you do not have an existing or underlying health conditions. I know it is scary to approach the thought that you just may not be destined to be a size zero, but that is OKAY. Body types vary, and that is what society doesn’t show us. It also doesn’t show us the extremes that it may take to maintain that size of body.
All I ask, is that you consider this on your weight loss journey: How important is this weight loss to the grander scheme of life and my purpose in life? Will losing weight allow you to achieve your goals and make shit happen? Is this something I am doing for my health or to live up to somebody else’s expectations of who I should be?
After years of suffering from devastating acne, I finally figured out the major mistakes I was making.
I wrote Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin to save you from making the same mistakes.
Clear Skin Unlocked is the most comprehensive acne program I have ever come across, period. I made sure it was when I wrote it, so that I would be certain to help you the way I finally helped myself.
Not only that, but I have written countless blogs on acne and how to eliminate it. I have a tight relationship with acne, and aim to share all of my tools and knowledge with you.
Between my program, Clear Skin Unlocked, and my knowledge of acne and health, we can work towards eliminating your acne for good.
Click here for my free comprehensive post on acne to start whittling down the causes of your acne.
The Three Primary Parts to Acne :
Conventional dermatological wisdom is that bacteria is the primary cause of acne. This has a grain of truth to it, since bacteria do play a role, but it is minimal compared to the internal conditions that start acne in the first place. Acne in reality develops in three steps. First, male sex hormones can cause excess oil production in the dermis layer of the skin, which clogs pores (though surface debris can also clog pores, rendering hormones less important in this case). Second, inflammation attacks the clogged pores. Third, bacteria infect the clogged pores and cause low level inflammation to increase to large, painful, irritated pustules. The two primary causes of acne are hormone balance and inflammation, and bacteria are only a tertiary concern.
Acne is perhaps the most visible symptom of systemic inflammation. If you have significant acne, there is inevitably at least some amount of inflammation in your blood.
For this reason, healing your gut and cooling inflammation is perhaps the most powerful step you can take to overcome acne. Focusing on antioxidants, which fight inflammation, in your diet (such as those found in fruits and vegetables) and in your skincare routine will also go a long way toward soothing your acne.
Both supplemental and topical antioxidant use has been shown to reduce breakouts by as much as 50 percent. For some of my favorite topical solutions to acne, check out the antioxidant cleansers, serums, creams and topical probiotics I use, including the new Countercontrol Line.
Counterintuitive as it might sound, one of the best things you can do for your skin is to stop washing it.
Much like with food, today’s culture has this idea that skincare products designed in a laboratory are better for us than natural methods. The chemical barrage to which we subject our skin on a daily basis is unnecessary and often harmful. First, consider the fact that benzoyl peroxide, one of the most popular topical acne treatments available over the counter, reduces antioxidant activity in the skin. Antioxidants are crucial for reducing inflammation. Consider too that the skin has natural oils and cleaning and healing processes that work delightfully well on their own. Washing the skin removes those natural oils, so the skin often dries out in response. With dry skin, women often turn to lotion. However, the skin also tries to rectify the dryness on its own by increasing oil production. At this point, both you and your skin are engaged in efforts to increase lubrication. Too much lubrication clogs pores, so your washing and moisturizing routine is counterproductive.
The act of washing your face can make it either too dry or too oily, depending on how your skin reacts. Keep in mind that these can change with the seasons, your body may produce more oil in the summer and less in the winter, therefore your cleansing routine may have to change with the seasons. Rarely does washing leave it in tip-top shape. And moisturizers that contain unnatural chemicals often don’t heal the skin; they just cover it up. Many natural alternatives to washing and moisturizing, such as apple cider vinegar, baking soda, coconut oil, lard, cod liver oil, and vitamin blends provide real healing to the skin and can be protective in times of dryness or oiliness.
In all fairness, there are probably some manufactured toiletries that do not aggravate your skin. It is not absolutely necessary to “go all natural” and expressly forbid cosmetics. It is only important to note that they can be problematic, and to do your best to find a product—natural or not—that works for you.
In my experience, the only way to know if a lotion, if you choose to use one, is a good match for your skin is to try it for a few days and see. A different, more specific test is to apply lotion to one side of your face and not the other in order to witness its effects, or to apply it to the sensitive skin on your wrist or neck before using it on your face. I do not forbid using any manufactured cosmetic products—in fact, I use the Countermatch Adaptive Moisturizer Lotion. But it took me a long time to find one that did not irritate my skin. I opted to use it because it has white tea extract in it, and white tea is a powerful antioxidant. Applying antioxidants such as white tea, green tea, vitamin C, and B vitamins to your skin can help reduce inflammation in your skin as long as you are certain that you have found a lotion that does not aggravate your skin.
Another way to aggravate your skin is to pick at it. Just as with scabs and wounds, the skin does best when it heals on its own. Have you ever noticed that breakouts often occur near each other? This is because wounds act as beacons for inflammatory molecules. The more aggravated a wound is, the stronger the inflammatory response becomes, so pimples become bigger and nastier the more you touch them. Even worse is the fact that picking causes new pimples to crop up around old ones. Keeping your hands off your face is one of the harder habits to practice, but the less you touch your zits, the more your skin will thank you.
Even the simple act of touching clear skin can lead to the development of acne. Fingers carry all kinds of bacteria, dirt, and oils. When you touch your face, you put these dirty oils directly in contact with your pores. When I was in high school and college, I always had acne around my mouth, particularly on the right side of my face. It took me years to realize that I was breaking out because I rested my chin on my hand while I studied. Once I broke that habit, the acne faded away.
The New Contributor to eliminating your acne for good
I have recently been discussing how I have been using Beautycounter to slowly replace my drugstore and conventional makeup. This is because the quality is amazing, and not to mention the products are safe for our skin. Beautycounter has released a new line geared towards clearing acne and healing scars, called Countercontrol.
Countercontrol is a powerful regimen for oily and blemish prone skin without the irritation that can result from conventional treatments. Approximately 70% of people between 15-29 experience oily skin or moderate acne. While teens and young adults often have oily skin and acne, it can affect people of all ages and ethnicities: ~50% of the population ages 20-40 have oily skin or acne. Additionally, as women age, adult-onset acne can occur often due to a combination of factors including menopause, medication, hormone imbalance, genetics, and stress.
Why is It Safer Than Other Acne Products
Unlike conventional acne and oil control products which can strip skin of both bad and good bacteria, leaving it red dry and irritated, Countercontrol treats the main causes of acne while maintaining skin’s healthy microflora to keep skin in balance. Additionally, Countercontrol is formulated without potentially harmful ingredients such as harsh surfactants, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur commonly found in conventional acne products. Instead of these ingredients, we’ve formulated Countercontrol with a proprietary blend called SkinBalance Complex, a combination of two extracts:
- Natural salicylic acid from wintergreen helps exfoliate dead skin cells and restore the imbalance of bacteria to a healthy level
- Rosebay willow helps reduce irritation and decrease sebum production
So what are the benefits?
- Controls oil
- Clears breakouts
- Purifies pores
- Helps prevent future breakouts
- Balances skin and keeps it comfortable
The Hard Up Facts
In an independent consumer study, after four weeks of using Countercontrol*:
- 95% said skin looks clearer
- 100% stated skin feels healthier
- 100% said skin clarity is improved
- 95% said skin looks less red *Based on independent 24-subject consumer panel study after four weeks with twice daily usage of Clear Pore Cleanser, All Over Acne Treatment, SOS Acne Spot Treatment, Matte Effect Gel Cream.
What About Blackheads?
Yes, Countercontrol works to treat blackheads. Salicylic acid exfoliates and promotes cell turnover which helps reduce blackheads.
Countercontrol is designed to treat oily skin and moderate acne. Cystic acne is a severe form of acne that requires a medical treatment. People with cystic acne should consult a dermatologist or physician or start with my Clear Skin Unlocked Program.
I am offering Clear Skin Unlocked for 50% off when you purchase the Countercontrol line. I want to make sure we eliminate your acne for good.
Part of the reason why I have always been successful getting rid of my acne is because I use research, facts and actual experience. So I want to hear from YOU regarding this Countercontrol line. Is it helping you the way it’s helps others I have worked with? Is it better for your teenage daughter than you, or does it fair best on your skin?
I know our bio individuality varies amongst everyone so I really want to capture how this product is treating you.
Please send me an email or DM if you have any questions! You can get the new Countercontrol line here.
In a recent blog we really dove into why rest is important not just for the reasons we hear often, but underlying reasons.
When we are relaxed we aren’t consistently shooting adrenaline throughout our body causing an inflammatory response like when we are stressed. Our body is able to maintain a balance that keeps us healthy. Being in a parasympathetic state can reduce stress on our heart, chronic illnesses, and immunity in general.
Parasympathetic states also affect our metabolism. When we are in fight or flight mode our cortisol is spiked, causing the blood sugar to spike. This can lead to weight gain.We know that stress can lead us to carry weight in different areas of our body. This stress weight is often related to being in a highly functioning, yet overwhelming sympathetic state.
If we don’t rest, things start to go wrong. We become exacerbated, exhausted, and fatigued.
How to Find Balance
So now that we know the ins and outs of our nervous system states, how do we achieve balance between them? The first step we can take is being cognizant of what our body and mind is telling us. I find it much easier to recognize cues of being in a fight or flight mode (sympathetic state) in my body than in my mind. These cues like racing heart beat, fidgety limbs, sweating, or wanting to run away (literally), help tell me that I need to reflect on the situation and see if I really should be engaging in fight or flight rsponse.
The more aware we are of our bodies and when we begin to track our varying cycles, the more we will be able to respond to the correct state with an educated and effective response.
How to Activate PNS
There are several ways to activate your PNS system. You can typically hack this by being in the company of others, or self soothing. Some of these items below may not apply to you; or you may have other activities that help you achieve PNS. It is important to take note of your physiological and psychological state to see whether the activity is right for you.
Our paleo ancestors did this. They groomed each other, slept together, communicated to each other in their own ways. This part of being human is ingrained in our DNA.
But sometimes it is difficult to understand how to enter a rest state; especially if this is a state we are unfamiliar with.
Soothing with Others
Some of my favorite ways to soothe around people include the following:
- Talking nature walks with my friends, either on the phone or together in person
- Taking a yoga class with a friend
- A couples massage
- Reading a book in the same space as a friend or lover
- Watching Netflix on the couch together
- Having a picnic with a friend
- Taking a study break at the library with a friend
- Sitting on a beach with a friend
- Massages or general welcomed and consented touch from others. If touch from others isn’t an option right now, check out this personal massager that does an amazing job as an alternative.
This may seem counterintuitive if you are an introvert who gains energy by being alone. However. It is important for our mental state to be able to soothe with others around. This fosters connections and allows us to enter a parasympathetic state. Simply, because we are with others and our defenses aren’t drawn, as in a sympathetic state.
Basically, any soothing activity you can do with a friend can be beneficial. A soothing activity is something that won’t push you to create more “should do this” or obligations while completing the task. Notice how I said taking a study break, not studying with a friend. To soothe, it has to allow you to slow down.
A lot of times when I need to get into a PNS state, I need to be alone and the reason I am in that state is because I exhausted my social capacity with others. The following are my favorite ways to get back in a parasympathetic state all by myself.
We are rounding a full circle here; no pun intended. A healthy lifestyle includes eating proper foods, moving your body, taking care of your mind, and incorporating balance and rest. In the paleo community, and in any western society, it can be easy to forget that the end goal isn’t always weight loss, physical appearances, or accomplishments, but that it’s sustainable health and wellness over the course of our lives.
In order to achieve this ideal state of wellness, we need to incorporate balance.
The time has finally come! You can now get your hands on our brand new love child, the Coconuts & Kettlebells book! If you haven’t heard anything about this new project (then my marketing person has some explaining to do, ((I kid!)) this book is basically a personal trainer at your fingertips. We remove the stress of searching for a personal trainer, making calls, spending a boatload of money, all so you can have a convenient little package rolled into one for you to refer too.
You can order it on Amazon here! In the meantime, I’ll just tell you briefly what it’s all about. I am just so excited to share with you something I love so much, and a product that I think will be a great tool for women and may even revolutionize the way we do nutrition.
The Low Down on the Coconuts & Kettlebells Book
Over the course of our time working in the health and nutrition space, Noelle and I both came to realize that there’s something off about the way we do nutrition. And the off-ness we discern isn’t just confined to calorie counters and juice cleanses, but applies to most major health gurus that everyone follows, even the best of the best of the paleosphere.
These gurus have two major problems: 1) they typically apply one-size-fits-all solutions, and 2) they fail to understand the relevance of psychological factors for physiological health and making sustainable improvements.
1) One-Size-Doesn’t Fit All
One-size-fits-all solutions are the most popular kind of solution out there. This is because they are simultaneously easy and profitable. They’re easy because the health gurus who extol them get to pick one area of health or slice of literature and know it really well, and they are profitable because one-size-fits-all solutions sell. In these conditions, health gurus win, and many other people lose.
One-size-fits-all solutions are appealing. Consider the ketosis craze. Everyone loves the idea that just this one simple trick will help you lose weight and maybe solve all your other health problems, too. Or think about diet books that promise you eliminating these seven foods will be your path to health, happiness, and freedom. Or books that say paleo will fix you. It is really nice to relax into the simplicity of such ideas. And it is easy to believe the hype–with all the before and after stories–and think that your turn is going to be next. If you do this one surprising thing, and if you do it really well, all your problems will melt away.
The problem is that this just isn’t true. The people who promise you solutions are either:
A) the ones who have had the greatest success with this particular solution, such as ketosis, or
B) have sold out, because their marketing lessons have taught them that magic bullets sell better than careful plans.
Noelle and I are here to call BS. Health isn’t one-size-fits-all. This isn’t true for macronutrients or micronutrients or exercise or sleep or stress. Everything is specific to your own body and your own needs. Of course there are some general guidelines that are probably helpful for the majority of people: reduce stress, sleep more, focus on eating “real” foods (though, I’d argue, even real food can get fuzzy for people dealing with disordered eating and body image issues).
So we’ve written a book and made a plan that helps you figure out what’s right for you. No more shooting in the dark with tips and tricks offered by people who show off their six packs in their instagram photos. Instead, we show you how to figure out which foods best support your health. We help you decide which macronutrient ratio is best for you. We help you learn which exercises are best for you. And more.
2) Food is Complicated
So far as psychological health is concerned, Noelle and I both know first-hand that food is complicated. Pretty much all of us have some sort of emotional relationship with it (and that can be a positive one, too; I’m just saying, we all have relationships with food). One of the problems we noticed in the health sphere is that most “diets” are too restrictive. The dieting mentality is all about what you avoid. Avoid carbs or fat or avoid “toxins.” Stay away from grains and dairy. Avoid eating too many calories. Definitely don’t eat snacks or fruit.
Over the last few years Noelle and I have seen so many people just practically lose it — or at least fall off the wagon — because the elimination diets they are following are too strict. It causes them to become restrictive, obsessive, and eventually develop a negative relationship with food.
We wanted to provide a plan that feels as good for you psychologically as it does physically. To that end, we support you with material that teaches you how to have a healthy mindset and love your body. We have already created an elimination trial diet that maximizes the gains you receive from the elimination while simultaneously maximizing your feelings of happiness and freedom.
You can snack. And, you can eat fruit (as much as you like!). You can eat fat & you can eat as many calories as you feel you need or want. And you can still arrive at the kinds of solutions that health gurus talk about–increased energy, easier weight maintenance, better sleep, radiant skin, reduced symptoms.
So all in all, this is in the Coconuts & Kettlebells book. And we love it and believe in it fiercely. It’s got literally everything you need in it to be healthy and love your food for arguably the rest of your life!
The book contains the following:
- information on food
- tips for how to figure out which macronutrient ratio is best for you
- a 28 day elimination phase called the 4×4 (eliminate four food groups for four weeks)
- two meal plans — one tailored to carb lovers and one tailored to fat lovers
- more than 70 recipes most of which have full size photos
- and a personalized fitness plan.
See? It’s actually everything.
We can’t wait! It is available for you to order now.
You’re lovely and thank you for being a part of this amazing journey!!!
Here are the order links:
Barnes & Noble