Heat waves in spring is really not my thing! But the sun itself....ohhh how I love it!
We have been sun deprived too long--at least those of us up here in the Northeast--so our bodies are longing to bask in this natural source of splendor that helps our body produce vitamin D. This is also the time, however, when many of us fear for our skin, as the threat of UV rays is no joking matter. We smother layers upon layers, hour upon hour, of nicely scented sunscreen and walk out into the sun carefree. But please STOP! This sun-warding ritual is causing MORE HARM than UV rays itself. Here's how:
Did you know we use sunscreen more than ever before and yet skin cancer has also increased? This is not necessarily a cause and effect, but something to think about and question. The good news is that there are safe ways to protect your skin:
Sunblock Recipe With Non-nano Zinc Oxide
(adapted from wellnessmama.com)
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup shea butter
1 cup beeswax (your local farmer's market should have some)
20% of Zinc Oxide for a 30% spf (make sure it is purified, non-nano size and pharmaceutical grade. It can be found here )
2 tsp Vitamin E oil to preserve
1 tablespoon glycerin
3-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional and don't use citrus oils)
Note: Your ingredients can be found at a health food store or from Organic Infusions or from the links provided
Directions: Place coconut oil, wax and shea butter in a bain marie. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir. Pour into silicone molds. Allow to set in a cool place. Store where cool and dry. Note: this bar can last 2-4 months. For more information, visit Please note that since you are using non-nano Zinc Oxide, the particles are larger so it will rub on white and set on the surface of your skin, which is good! The more zinc you add, the whiter it will be. See the instructions that come with your purchase of Zinc Oxide.
I do understand why some people can be dubious about the green beauty movement, finding it to be a flippant trend without much meaning--or maybe there was meaning, but as pointed out in The Missing Element in the Green Beauty Movement, the meaning was lost.
How do we return to what was once a significant movement of awareness raising? The only real way is to start by getting to the bottom of our modern economy, and understanding the impact of free market. At the same time we need to start making independent decisions and not succumb to the pressure of trends that tell us what we need.
The word economics comes from the Greek word ta oikonomika, which means the science of household management. It's about how we take care of our home. However, the current-day use of this word solely implies monetary growth and our obsession with this growths' promised outcomes of happiness, freedom and democracy. But the pursuit of economic growth has first and foremost paved the way for the exploitation of natural resources as we, as a collective, have subliminally come to accept and relate to nature as a commodity to be used in pursuit of economic growth. This mindset doesn't lend it self to honoring natural resources as a living organism that deserves care and attention. And as such, we do not recognize it as an organism that sustains the lives of us all. There is no sharing in this paradigm. Therefore, in this age of global economy, where we should be relating and caring for the global as an extension of our home, we are doing the very opposite of ta oikonomika.
Until we can change how we relate to nature-- and how we factor it in our ambitions for economic growth--we will fail to treat it as a living entity that requires a healthy microbiota to thrive. We will, therefore, continue to use modern agricultural techniques, including revolutionized genetic engineering, to accelerate growth and destroy pests. Monsonto is not an anomaly.
Until we can change how we relate to nature-- and how we factor it in our ambitions for economic growth--we will fail to consider its value for those communities who also depend on it, who have learned to coexist with it and use it sustainably. If we cannot respect this, then robbing land becomes commonplace. Plundering natural resources becomes easy. Destruction of cultures and communities become a part of the economic growth process. And sadly, for many agroindustries and the conglomerates they belong to, this process is O.K.! It's even encouraged since it's the quickest means to economic growth.
As consumers in a society where our economy grows off the exploitation of earth's resources and the destruction of communities we are subjected to the "O.K-ness" of this system: we are taught that it's O.K. to remove ourselves from the commune where cooperation, sharing and coexistence would rein, and instead place ourselves/ our needs above all else, at the cost of all else. We are taught that this simply how development is attained...development required for happiness, freedom and democracy. But at the contrary, this is the recipe for the annihilation of diversity--diversity of people, cultures, places and the diversity of all life forms necessary for sustaining our life on earth.
What you buy matters. Where you buy it from matters even more. Assess your needs from a personal stand point and not merely because you are conditioned to think that you lack in any way. Then make sure that what you consume is made in loving respect of all life forms. It matters that your green beauty products are made with ingredients that are not just organic but are also grown under eco-friendly conditions. This ensures that large agro industries such as Driscoll are not simply abiding by the minimal standard to produce organic food while using up massive amounts of lands to grow monocultures--a huge contributor to soil depletion and a threat to biodiversity. When plants are grown under eco-friendly conditions it means that the entire system of production secures the well being of plants, animals, microflora, and the soil it grows on.
It all matters!
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Industries are cleaver beasts that really know how to play the game--the game of manipulation-- for the sole purpose of staying in business. But of course.
Greenwashing is the latest fad of both the food industry and beauty industry. It is when companies leverage on people's desire to become more health conscious by creating products that appear to uphold the health and nutritional values people demand. As there is growing demand for plant based / plant derived and even eco-friendly products, companies do not want to change their brand and profit margin by redoing their formulas. or changing their sourcing. But nor do they want to lose their customers. So, they engage in greenwashing, which allows them to continue using their inexpensive synthetic and often toxic formulas with the minor addition of a plant derived ingredients and lots and lots of strategic marketing tactics. Think green, kraft and that little fruit tree.
I really do believe that ALL of us want to be healthy. But the problem is that not all are aware of where the poisons lurk, and not all can afford (either financially or time-wise) the commitment or the transition. That is why greenwashing is a twisted, manipulative way to cajole people into believing that they are making sound and reliable health choices when really they are not.
Despite the green claims many cosmetics, skincare and food companies make, be aware that many of the following ingredients are still lurking in those "natural" products, therefore, making them NOT GREEN, and NOT NATURAL!
Isopropyl Myristate is a synthetic oil used as an emollient. However, this synthetic ingredient dries the skin and hair, and creates cracks and fissures in the skin, which encourage bacterial growth.
Found in: Lotions and cosmetics
Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-, ethyl-) are a class of preservatives derived from petroleum. Many have deemed these "safe after all" and continue using them despite the massive movement against these. Parabens mimic estrogen, disrupting the endocrine system. The endocrine system are glands that produce hormones that are responsible for regulating our metabolism, growth and development, including tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, Though the FDA approves a safe amount of parabens, the issue is the cumulative effect from using multiple products containing this ingredient over a vast period of time. According to the Campaign for Safe cosmetics, parbens are linked to the rise of breast cancer. It is also known to cause contact dermatitis, skin irritation. It also reacts with UVB. (Source).
Found in: Lotions, cosmetics, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and 90% of pre-made food,
BHA –These are fat soluble compounds used to preserve oils by delaying oxidation. BHA accumulates in the body, retards cell development and affects the rate of DNA synthesis. It is also known for enlarging the liver. (Source)
Found in: Cosmetics, skincare, breakfast cereals, enriched rice products and even in instant quaker oats!
Synthetic Fragrances are a cocktail of chemicals that are protected under patenting laws of the FDA. This means that Companies do not need to disclose what ingredients were used in their concoction. According to Mia Davis, organizing director of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, to create one fragrance, there can be hundreds of chemical ingredients.
Found in: Baby products, cosmetics, skincare, deodorants, laundry detergents & softeners, hair products, you name it.
Propolyne Glycol is a carrier for synthetic fragrance and also acts a vehicle for topical lotions. It is also used as an antifreeze in many food & beverages. A byproduct of fossil fuel, and made from a known carcinogen "propolyne oxcide". While this does not accumulate in the body, since it's processed within 48hrs, too much exposure can cause hives, allergic reactions, eczema. It can also cause damage to the central nervous system, the heart and liver. When taken orally, it can cause neurological problems such as mental depression. (Source)
Found in: Cosmetics, baby wipes and other synthetically scented baby products, toothpaste, processed foods, medication and skincare.
Benzophenone-3 – There are several suspected dangers associated with Benzophenone-3 or Oxybenzone. Despite its sun protective abilities, it has been shown to penetrate the skin and cause photo-sensitivity. As a photocarcinogen, it has demonstrated an increase in the production of harmful free radicals and an ability to attack our DNA cells. (Source)
European Commission Scientific Committee on Food and Health Safety.
Environmental Working Group
Campaign for Cosmetic Safety
Can't remember this? Don't worry! Download our free pocket size Cheat Sheet of toxic ingredients. Please help keep your loved ones wise and safe by sharing this list.
In my former blog post Why the Beauty Industry Is Calling Us Fear Mongers, I touched upon the beauty industry's manipulative practice of co-opting scientists, doctors, nutritionists and university departments to validate their health benefiting claims.
Sadly, this practice is also manifested within the green movement where companies piggybacking on the effort to become more "holistic" have endorsed scientists, doctors, nutritionists and perhaps even university departments to validate their health benefiting claims about berries, grass, exotic fruits etc. They too manipulate our information. That is why I started this 3-part series by stating that we cannot fully understand this topic without understanding capitalism, the psychology of human consumption etc. It is scary that the truth doesn't float on the surface.
It's true, and finally wonderful, that plants (and by this I mean everything that grows from a plants) are given the same amount of credence for their medicinal and nutritional wonders. Ancient cultures have found many uses for plants including natural cures, and thanks to the green movement we have been able to access their knowledge. As a matter of fact, what inspired me to start Nelum Botanics was precisely this that I wanted to make more accessible. I wanted to inspire others to find all their health and beautifying needs in nature because, at the rate we were going, our dependence on synthetic drugs and creams ladened with god-knows-what, was not just toxic to the environment and our skin, it was entrenching us in a way of being that was taking us too far away from the essence of life--the gift of nature. We started becoming all so proud of our progress in modernity that we forgot about the importance, significance and need to care for our earth and value its offerings. We were moving too fast and too egotistically into the modern realm without understanding or even listening to the pleas of other cultures, plants and animals.
I believed whole-heartedly that by proving that cures and beauty remedies could be found in plants, people would slow down, take a breath and appreciate what nature has in store for us. Through this appreciation, I thought people would take better care of our earth and themselves by becoming mindful of the potentially harmful ingredients they applied on their skin and washed off into our streams and soil.
The collective effort of the green movement truly succeeded in inspiring a shift to eco-beauty and health-conscious /holistic living. But, the message, the intention... those were never clear. And that's what rendered the green movement vulnerable to forming that double edged sword.
Without clear intention set in place, the green movement became perceived by many as another marketing gimmick. Whether aware of not of the information manipulation tactics by lobbyists there was also mistrust in the movement as being kooky....a kooky fancy of the bored Hollywood woman whose priority was health and beauty--concerns that not everyone could afford to have, at least not in the ways suggested. As the movement hinged on health and beauty, the meaningful purpose of holistic living got lost: the movers and shakers of this green movement left out the ecological aspect of how and where these plant ingredients are sourced. How are they grown? What land, and whose land, is being cleared to grow these superfoods? Are we all aware that the sudden craze for some antioxidant-rich herb results in the extinguishment of local economies when locals are forced to shift to producing cash crop luxuries for our extravagant demands, instead of producing basic foods for their consumption?
So now the green movement becomes a space for the agroindustries who thrive on this new market we created to "dump" more plant-based foods for us to eat, drink and lather on our skin. Backed by these scientists, doctors (very few), nutritionists, and those good ol' universities, our obsession with health and beauty, and even longevity, becomes just another part of market capitalism's business as usual, and no longer about holistic living.
Without an anchor in the intention of creating a truly holistic lifestyle, the green movement does look like a hallow vanity affair that loses credibility.
How do we change that and reroute ourselves so that we can continue with meaningful intention, and truly live a holistic life?
In the ecological worldview, when we consume more than we need or exploit nature on principles of greed, we are engaging in theft. In the anti-life view of agribusiness corporations, nature renewing and maintaining herself is a thief. Such a word view replaces abundance with scarcity, fertility with sterility. It makes theft from nature a market imperative, and hides it in the calculous of efficiency and productivity.
There are few ways we can redirect the green movement. Here are my suggestions. But in the end, it all boils down to how and where our dollar is spent. Who are we, by default, endorsing? Are we in this movement for our own wellbeing, or for that of the whole? Our health and beauty products, are they really truly green with truly holistic intentions?
How do you feel about this? What are your ideas? Do you have any tips to add on how to reroute this green movement and give it meaning again?
In the past week I have been seeing all these articles floating around about how the green beauty industry is hijacking customers by using fear mongering tactics.
This is a very complex topic that cannot be addressed with due justice without digging into the psychology of power, psychology of consumers, political-economic history, capitalism, the role of media, human emotion, and the role of government. The beauty industry is never only about beauty.
But for the sake of brevity, and to focus my response to this ludicrous claim, I'm going to forego the deep digging into all these disciplines and start by illustrating the ways of this powerful industry and what happened to the FDA. I will also leave you with some insight on how to counter some very compelling arguments the beauty industry and its supporters use to discredit the green movement.
The reoccurring sentiment I have noticed is this contention over the fact that the green beauty industry has grown significantly from comprising only of 3% of skincare sales in 2002, to a staggering 21% today. This increase is said to be because of fear mongering tactics employed by green beauty movers who have avidly vilified the effects of ingredients used in mainstream skincare products. "It's unfair to make us feel bad about what we are putting on our skin", they cry. Or "It makes me sad that people are afraid to use their face cream" said author of Your Beauty Products Are Not Going To Kill You. (Out of respect I will refrain from doing a huge eye-roll). Another quite naive, yet widely circulating, supposition is that "it's not because it's natural (or organic) that it means it's safe and effective".
To validate their cries, beauty industry experts (mainstream, that is) and cosmetic chemists have been called into the discussion to confirm that indeed ingredients such as aluminum and parabens are in fact safe. They go as far as confirming that not all natural products are safe to use--which I find utterly insulting that they need scientists to tell us adults that. What is even more disturbing is the hidden political agenda behind the attempt to make people feel comfortable with the toxic ingredients in their skincare.
The beauty industry is under the auspice of multi-national conglomerates that also run the food industry. What's the connection? The connection is that knowing how the food industry works and what food producers do to get congress to pass laws in support of their interests, is exactly what happens in the beauty industry because they are operated by the same people with the same greedy agenda.
Did you know that up until the 1990's, the FDA required scientific evidence to support any claim made on any label? However, Food producers galvanized farmers and congressmen, and hired lobbyist to work together to change the FDA rules. New adjustments made to the FDA allowed food labels, supplement labels and yes, even drug labels to make claims WITHOUT having to provide evidence. They argued that it should be up to the individual to educate themselves about the safety or dangers of a given ingredient or product. This resulted in the common practice of co-opting scientists, doctors, nutritionists and entire university departments to research and circulate information that advanced their goals. (More in my next blog).
The push back against our green movement is strong because it is threatening these companies as they watch the masses switch to natural products. So, they hire experts to debunk our convictions that most ingredients used in skincare are harmful in the long run.
How do we know this? Let's at least assume it, considering that of the more than 10,000 ingredients used in our skincare products, only 10% have been tested for "safety". And even with those ingredients marked as safe by the FDA, time has shown direct and indirect links to cancer i.e. lead, formaldehyde, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate etc. Secondly, when private entities that are committed to human and environmental safety, are being discredited and accused of misinforming the public it's an indication that it's time to weigh the arguments and consider who is saying what, and why.
To get at the bottom of this, continue by sitting with these thoughts and seriously questions the logic behind the ideas the beauty industry (and its advocates) is spreading:
They say: "Not all natural / organic things are safe for you"
Consider: If they are trying to validate their use of questionable ingredients, why on earth are they telling us that not all natural / organic is safe? Think about who their message is targeting? Question why they chose to target them.
They say: "The green movement is a pretentious craze of the urban elite. If it was so safe, why are they excluding a whole at-risk population?" (link to article above).
Consider: While it is true that natural green products are not made available to all economic groups, it doesn't mean the cause is a pretentious or superficial one. It only means that 1) making natural/ organic plant based skincare is more expensive because of the ingredients, where/how it's sourced and because most makers are relatively small-scale and 2) makers in this industry have strategically targeted their clientele based on their company's brand and goals.
They say: "It's not fair to mislead people with fear tactics"
Consider: Why do they think it's unfair when 90% of the ingredients used have never been tested. What are they protecting? Industry leaders are protecting their companies. Bloggers and friends of the beauty industry are protecting themselves: no one wants to be wrong about using things they have long been using. It brings about guilt that they cannot easily handle, therefore, they prefer not to rock the boat. Think about all those people you know who, despite what is commonly known, continue with the same bad habits and just don't want to hear about it. It's also change and humility that people fear.
They say: "Trust me. It's not in the industry's interest to kill off its customers"
Consider: Hmmm, is that so? This is a very compelling statement but think about it long enough and you will see that it's not in their interest to preserve life either. No one dies immediately from the use of toxic ingredients--that is why so many argue that they are safe. It's over time that the negative effects start to manifest. And because death can be due to several interconnected variables, these industries have no urgency to change up their formula. Besides. new customers come in flocks every generation. Why give up making something that yields a huge profit margin by using ingredients that are so cheap to manufacture in a lab?
What are you thoughts so far?
To be continued...
Three Things at Your Fingertips that Could Significantly Improve Your Health Without Increasing Your Carbon Footprint
As I was thinking of creating a nice long list of local alternatives to these exotic foods we are consuming at such a high rate, I rediscovered two amazing foods that can be accessed and consumed without increasing your carbon footprint. So today I want to tell you about these two rediscoveries and the amazing role of breath in maintaining proper health. The first food is not locally sourced BUT it is produced in ethical and eco-friendly ways, and it is easily accessible. Can you guess what it is?
It's CHOCOLATE! Yes, I am sure most of you are very well aware that chocolate has long been the go-to food to assuage sadness. But, chocolate has many more less known attributes that can provide just as many benefits as do imported exotic foods that are cultivated under ethically and environmentally destructive ways (check out my previous blog post 6 Ways to Improve Your Holistic Life Style)
After a break up or a simply gloomy day, many turn to chocolate because it stimulates the release of dopamine. Furthermore, it produces euphoric and confident feelings similar to being in love. Pretty cool, right? A lesser know fact about chocolate is that it revs up cellular metabolism, fueling the body with alert and vibrant energy. Rich in phenylethlamine, a powerful neurotransmitter (or neuromodulator--scientist are still debating on this difference), it balances neurohormones and plays a significant role in cognitive and nervous system function. As such, chocolate helps with focus, concentration and nimble thinking! It is even known for burning fat and curbing hunger. Tip: 70% plus is best! Eat it or add Cocoa powder in your smoothies.
The other amazing food I rediscovered are SPROUTS! These little things burst with vitamins A, B-complex, C & K, fiber and minerals such as manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron and calcium! Seriously, add this to anything and call it a day! Sprouts are rich in fiber and enzymes, which stimulate gastric juices and improves digestion. And unlike you would imagine, sprouts are rich in protein, which is necessary for the structure and function of all cells that make up our existence. If you are suffering from anemia or a low immune system--or if you want to prevent anemia and strengthen your immune system-- adding sprouts to your diet is a promising way to overcome these deficiencies. Precisely because of the high levels of minerals and vitamin C, sprouts replenish mineral-deficiencies, and that help white blood cells fight off infections/ disease. It's worth noting that broccoli sprouts have been linked to reducing allergic reactions!
How to sprout: What's awesome about sprouts is that you can be sure they are organic, ethically sourced and grown under eco-friendly conditions by growing them yourself! It's super easy: wash 1/3 cup of beans of your choice, rye berries, or brown rice. Soak over night with about 1" water extra to allow room for swelling. Cover. Next morning, discard water. Rinse. Use three 1 qt jars. Place 1/4c of whatever it was you soaked in each mason jar and close opening with a cheese cloth secured in place with a rubber band or screw top canning jar lid band. Put jars on their sides in a warm, dark place. Once a day rinse the sprouts-to-be by pouring lukewarm h2o, swirling around gently to moisten. Dump excess into a pant. In about 4-6 days beans/grains should sprout. Add them to your salad, sandwiches or smoothies! Here you can purchase organic grains for sprouting!
Lastly, this post would not be complete without mentioning BREATH. In case you missed out on the last blog post, I promised to talk about breath as one of the largely underestimated, yet critical way of improving your health--mastering your breathing technique is as deserving of our attention as incorporating exotic foods into our diet.
Poor posture and strained muscles cause our bodies to tense up. Without realizing, this affects our breathing pattern. Remember, we breathe to exhale CO2, "bad" gases, our body no longer has use for. As we exhale these out, we clear space to inhale the necessary O2 that our cells require in order to produce energy and perform all of its functions. Think about that for a minute. Oxygen is necessary for the proper function of our cells.
Sadly, however, over stressed systems inhibit the free natural flow of exhaling and inhaling. As a result, the suppressed system tries to make up for the O2 it needs, by breathing rapidly. These quick and shallow breaths, however, do not supply the body with enough oxygen, which inhibit cellular function, increase lactic acid build up in the muscles and increase nervous tension and fatigue. Breathing deeply and slowly, however, allows for the full release of toxic energy and CO2, welcoming more room for O2 for a healthier, more efficient, and centered YOU!
Below is an article worth reading highlighting the power of breath, written by Jean McClealland, a voice and Alexander Technique teacher. I had the wonderful opportunity to learn from her, and ever since, I have become much more focused on how I breath.
The healthy living trend we are facing today is proliferating like wild fire. It's assuring to see that we are moving forward in our approach to health as it's allowing us to be responsible and proactive in how we care for our own well being. It's absolutely inspiring to see the movement towards nature's botanical wonders for our health and beautifying needs--this is even part of my brand statement. Look to turmeric to reduce inflammation in your muscles. Eat pomegranate to benefit from powerful antioxidants that help reduce oxidative stress on the body. Reach for the chia seeds to get your load of calcium and omegas, and for that sustained energy that carbs cannot provide. It is utterly and truly all in nature. I am constantly amazed by how symbiotic our relationship to nature can be as it contains practically everything we need thrive.
However, the trend of promoting healthy living-- often equated with being "one with nature" as you enjoy the raw greens, exotic fruit and aromatic spices in your smoothy, or in your skincare can, if not careful easily counter what it actually means to live in health & harmony with thyself and nature. From news feeds to grocery stores to the ever burgeoning restaurants catering to the latest dietary fad, we are seduced into eating bowls of chia in the morning, snacking on cashew yogurt sprinkled with coconut shavings, lunching on quinoa salad toped with mango, finishing off with a 7-fruit smoothy of more chia, more coconut, more mango, heaping pinches of turmeric and the occasional raspberries. Finally for dinner we are enticed into eating mahi-mahi with more turmeric, more coconut, more....you get my point.
Imposing such a food craze onto those of us who want to live holistically is taking advantage of our intentions. Holistic living and being one with nature is not about indulging in healthy and exotic foods; it's about mindful living. This craze, however, is cajoling overconsumption, which is extremely taxing on natural resources (the anthesis of being one with nature), unless, and truly unless, the produce we consume are sourced form fair trade and gown under eco-friendly conditions.
Otherwise, all this craze is doing is giving multinational agro-industries the excuse and leeway to appropriate vast amounts of land (from developing countries) to grow monocultures that require toxic fertilizers and pesticides. Appropriating land for this purpose, puts smallholder farmers out of business. It employs civilians at meager wages. It also makes foods that are a part of traditional diet unavailable to the local people because exporting becomes the priority--and the level of exports today, is not what it used to be back then...not at the rate we are told to consume, and consume and consume.
Mindful living, sustainable living and being one with nature is, indeed, about eating well. But it's also about being aware of where your food comes from and how it's produced. Unfortunately, it's very hard to access foods that have been grown under eco-friendly conditions and ethically sourced. So if and when these foods are not available to you, you can at least do these 6 things to continue to improve or sustain your health without compromising your desire to live holistically:
There seems to be some nebulous understanding of what moisturizing is, which can cause you to incorrectly treat your dry or dehydrated skin (not the same thing when it comes to skin). Become familiar with how your skin works so that you can choose the appropriate solution to your skin's problem. Either way, you will see why our Aqua Vitaes should be added to your daily skincare ritual.
Some leading estheticians say that dry skin is the result of a lack of oil, which is necessary for holding in water. A “moisturizer” is thus recommended to seal in that water. Here, moisturizer is referred to as an element that does what an oil does--it seals in water.
Other skincare experts, such as dermatologists in the British Journal of Dermatology, refer to "moisture" as a water element that is necessary for hydrating the skin. But too much of it can interfere with the integrity of the skin structure. You can read more about that here.
Which kind of "moisture" does your skin need? The truth is, they are both necessary in different ways and at different doses--depending on how dry or dehydrated your skin is.
Dry skin certainly lacks oil. That is why water can evaporate so easily. However, adding oil to dry skin doesn't help if your skin isn't sufficiently hydrated. Therefore, drinking water is a must. But another "must" is to ensure that your skin is able to attract water from the air. Once your skin is hydrated, you want to be able to seal that water in. Dry skin also means that your skin's ability to produce responsive cells for healthy cell communication is compromised. It also means that cell repair and cell rejuvenation are more difficult.
Adding Nelum Botanics' Aqua Vitae to your routine helps the stratum corneum (the outer most layer of your skin) maintain healthy supple skin--skin that retains, attracts, repairs and rejuvenates. In addition to hydrating and attracting water, our Aqua Vitae, such as the rose, has the phytocompounds to stimulate the extracellular release of nitric oxide in the blood vessels, which dilates them and improves the microcirculation. You can learn about Neroli Aqua Vitae here.
If your skin is already well hydrated, then you probably have pretty healthy stratum corneum that is able to attract and hold onto water. In this case, you do not need to add a "moisturizer" referred to as water. Instead you could simply benefit from a "moisturizer" referred to as an element that seals in the water. The best for this is a cold-pressed, ecologically harvested oil, which can nourish your skin. You can read more about the benefits of oil here. With a healthy stratum corneum, an Aqua Vitae can still benefit your skin with antioxidants and essential vitamins. Though the water content is not as necessary, simply use a little spritz here and there.
On Monday, Matisse, my 9 year old boy, started telling me about the energy we get from colors and people's aura. I was impressed and proud. I got that motherly warmth of gratitude to have a young boy whose mind is already open to the various dimensions of this complex universe. But more importantly, my heart tingled because he was like me:). (I hope that's not a bad thing). Then on Tuesday, Asim, my 4 year old, saw a cut-out portrait of Einstein that Matisse made and asked in disgust "Oh my goodness, mama, is that Trump?" "No way!" I exclaimed. "That's Einstein!" After I explained to him who Einstein was--describing him as a genius--Asim replied: "You mean he is smarter than me?" Of course I had to break to him. Then he asked "Is he smarter than Matisse?" And again, I broke it to him. Then he said, in total despair, "You mean he is smarter than me, Matisse and Obammmaaa?" "Uhhh, yes, love, smarter than the three of you". And today, Wednesday, as I set out to write this blog post to talk about Helichrysum, the featured ingredient in our Graceful Face Elixir-- I decided I wanted to also share about the healing benefits of the color yellow. And as I was referring back to something I wrote a few years ago about colors, I was reminded of what Einstein discovered about energy from colors. I'm in awe seeing how two topics brought up by each boy, over two days, pieced together: Einstein talked about color therapy. You can read more about it in my earlier blog post called Color Therapy--it's quite fascinating!
Einstein's approach to healing differed significantly from mainstream thought, which was perhaps influenced by Newton who treated illness or disease with chemicals as a way to cure symptoms in isolation--like mechanical parts. Einstein, however, looked at how we operated in relation to, in function of and in harmony with, energy systems all around us--including the energy systems within. And as also observed by ancient cultures around the world, our well-being is a manifestation of energetic flow and balance. Therefore, cures and prevention must enable that energetic flow. Einstein coined this understanding in his mathematical equation E = mc2, determining that energy and matter are dual expressions of the same universal substance.
The interaction between energy (light, which is a electromagnetic radiation) and matter produce color. A different color is produced depending on the wavelength, frequency, and amount of energy. A color, thus, stands for a certain amount of waves, frequency and energy, which, according to chromotherapy, gives existence to, sustains and stimulates our body: our organs and energy centers vibrate and harmonize with these different color frequencies because every atom in our body exist as energy, and each form of energy has its own frequency. Colors are, therefore, responsible for the correct working of our internal system by serving as an external source of energy that fulfills, in times of depletion, its energy counterpart extant in the internal system. No wonder why we feel so fulfilled, happy and complete in the spring time when colors are in abundance.
Helichrysum, the featured ingredient in our Graceful Face Elixir is a beautiful bright yellow flower that grows in the Mediterranean. As a color, it produces an energy that stimulates mental activity, learning, intellect, acquired/learned knowledge, individuation, alertness, concentration, focus, cheer, sun, warmth, cleaning, left brain, empowerment, self-esteem, and confidence. Yellow is great to counter fear and obsessive behavior. It boosts the immune system, and aids your digestive system. Our Elixir is alive with this yellow energy.
Medicinally, Helichrysum italicum oil has strong antibiotic and antimicrobial properties that make it an effective natural cure for acne and candida: the flavonoids and terpene in Helichrysum fight off bad bacteria and fungal growth that can cause various skin irritations, including rashes, infections and delayed wound healing. Helichrysum essential oil is soothing and healing, making it deal for helping hydrate dry damaged skin. Rich in antioxidants, helichrysum is renowned for decreasing signs of aging on the skin and block UV-light damage that can contribute to the formation of skin cancer! And that, my friends, is the reason why I chose to create the Graceful Face Elixir with Helichrysum.
Convenience is the human manipulation of things to render greater ease & practicality. But what we have failed to consider in this effort to render things easier and more practical is the cost of this effort. On a day-to-day basis I am struck by how easy, practical and accessible things are. But at what cost does it all come with? Take a look at our smart phones, for instance. They are incredibly easy to use and extremely practical—they are built into how we operate. Yet, having this device that brings us so much convenience that it has transformed our lives, comes at a cost that is detrimental to the Democratic Republic of Congo. On the mineral-rich mountain in the Masisi region of eastern DRC, coltan, a tar-like mineral is mined with the bare hands of exploited miners in order to power our smart phones.
We have centered our needs as a priority, whilst forgetting about what’s best for environment, animals and the other people that don’t share in the benefits of the things we acquire. This is also said of the plants we consume. As we have defined our needs according to our wants, our expectations to access vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices with such ease has fueled the industrialization of agriculture: in order to keep up with demands, more and more land from developing countries is ceased by multinational agro-industries to grow monoculture crops that are worked on by underpaid "farmers". These crops, in order to survive the inorganic growing conditions are ladened with pesticides and synthetic fertilizer, which poison our land, kill micro-organisms, pollute streams and threaten the health of workers. Worst of all is that someone else's land is taken away---land that they could have used to grow more trees, to build schools, or homes, or grow beautiful gardens. All because it is more convenient for us to access our health and beautifying needs easily, affordably and in abundance.
What does Permaculture-- the agricultural approach that values all forms of life (plants, microbes, people, insects, animals, soil, sun, wind) as intrinsic parts of collective effort to protect the ecology--teach us?
It teaches us the importance of symbiotic relationships: as each element is honored and nurtured in order to enable that element to deliver on its maximum potential; permaculture teaches us to give back and not only reap; to protect and not destroy; to nurture and enable and not just benefit. Pausing to reflect on this is what living in harmony is about because it considers the whole and not just the self.
Permaculture teaches us that it's not about our convenience but about necessity. It implores us to ask ourselves what the ecological cost and human impact is of our convenience: are our preferences for convenience worth the consequences?
Permaculture teaches us that it's not always about the "now". Permaculture allows plants to grow at the their own pace with the help of companion crops. We enter a harmonious process of give and take; nurture and reap. And it is through this that we become more appreciative of the time, effort & experience of growing food safely. It no longer becomes about the rush to consume & produce more than we need, as this is what breeds our obsession for cutting corners in the name of convenience.
Think about the things you consume. Question where they come from, who they were made by etc. Can you make more time to do the things you need to do instead of depending on a "convenient" gadget, for instance, that ends up in the landfill or floating in the sea? Could you spend more time walking, biking or using public transportation? How about those health & beauty products you use? They may conveniently contain all the herbs you need but are those herbs sourced from eco-friendly farms? Ask the same about the the detergents you use. They may clean, but is there something else you could use/do instead (requiring a bit more effort) that doesn't add more toxic chemicals into the environment? Keep thinking, questioning and finding creative solutions. Everyone will benefit fro this!
Thank you for visiting our website and blog. Through this medium, I hope to teach, enlighten, and inspire you about Mother Nature's wonders so that you can discover the true value healthy living. I want to foster a love for Nature so that we, as a collective, can take a stance to protecting our Earth as we indulge in the beautifying remedies Nature has in store for us!