Skin update: What’s been helping my acne

As some of you may know I am constantly looking for ways to help heal my acne that I’ve had on and off since my early teens.

Of course eating healthy, whole foods, as well as a plant-based vegan diet that excludes dairy and processed foods certainly helps, but there’s more.

Recently I had been dealing with some more inconvenient blemishes, especially on my chin area. I was eating well, drinking lots of water, using natural products and cleaning my skin thoroughly, so I thought maybe something else is going on?

Luckily I got to speak to the founder of Miiko Skin Co. who has studied Ayurveda. She listened to my story, and there were a few tips she gave me:

#1: I was over cleansing, even though I use natural, high quality products, I was washing my face about 2-3x/ day. This was because I would be working out and wash my face afterwards, as well as morning and night. This lead to an imbalance in my skin’s natural pH balance, which made it more vulnerable to bacteria and an overproduction of sebum (oil). Plus I also sweat a lot on my face when I workout which I cannot change but that does make me more susceptible to breakouts because excessive sweat can also disrupt your skin’s pH balance.

#2: I was clearly stressed, from both work and recently moving. The winter weather we were experiencing certainly did not help either!

#3: I wasn’t supplementing my diet, this I know but sometimes when it comes to treating your own problems the hardest part is to take your own advice and put it into action.

So what I have been doing to improve on this and reduce  my chances of breakouts is:

  1. Cleansing smarter, not harder. I now aim to wash my face only 1-2x/day depending if I workout and sweat alot or not. I also started using jojoba oil to cleanse my face, I have done this before but for some reason didn’t continue with it, but oil cleansing helps you to pull dirt and makeup off of the skin without drying the skin out.
  2. I also initially started using Miiko Skin Co.’s natural toner which contains apple cider vinegar (ACV), as she explained to me that the skin surface is meant to be acidic, and when breakouts are happening that means the skin is likely more alkaline (which for your skin is not good!), thus ACV helps to balance this. It worked really well but I used it up really fast and so rather than spending more money I made my own toner! I mixed half parts ACV and half alcohol-free Aloe Witch Hazel then a few drops of rose geranium essential oil and lavender oil, it’s great!
  3. I started exfoliating with a gentle cleanser by Sukin which contains jojoba oil to keep the skin hydrated as well as activated charcoal to draw out impurities. I aim to exfoliate 1-2x/week.
  4. I started supplementing again, I have taken all of these supplements before but never all at the same time and frankly I was just lazy this winter with supplements… So first I started taking some high quality probiotics to help balance the good bacteria with the bad bacteria I most likely had. I also started taking Opti-Zinc which contains zinc with a bit of copper because you want to keep zinc-copper in balance (zinc helps with hormone production and skin healing, as well as many other functions). I also started taking plant based Omega-3’s DHA and EPA again which come from algae and flax and help to reduce inflammation as well as regulate hormones. I also began taking vegan vit.D liquid again because I was certainly feeling the winter blues aka vitamin D too low! and lastly I started taking vegan B12 liquid again because although I had before, I wasn’t keeping it up and B12 is very important for overall health, energy production, especially if you are stressed!
  5. Lastly I made a bigger effort to make time for things I enjoy such as being outside, going for walks and hikes, practicing yoga, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family which all help me reduce stress. I also make sure I get 7-9 hours of sleep and have time to unwind every day.

I hope this post perhaps helps others you struggle with their skin, and if you are interested in learning more about what I do to keep my skin healthy or want to learn more about the holistic approach please feel free to email me at holistichayleynutrition@gmail.com

Homemade Healthy Vegan Granola

This granola is so simple to make and will save you money in the long run, the other great benefit of making your own granola is you can control exactly what goes in! So many natural and organic granola brands still pack a ton of sugar into their granolas! This granola I created to help keep you full and balance your blood sugar because it is full of healthy fats, minerals, B-vitamins, and cinnamon! (Cinnamon is known to help balance blood sugar) .

In this recipe is:

  • 2 cups of organic large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pecans (organic if you can get it)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (get organic if possible)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp to 1tbsp cinnamon ( just use as much as you think you’ll like if you’re a cinnamon fan)

Firstly, preheat the oven to 350 on bake. Mix in a large bowl the oats, nuts and seeds. Then in a small saucepan heat on low the coconut oil and maple syrup just until they are melted and whisk them together. Pour the maple syrup and coconut oil mixture over the granola mix and stir in the bowl until everything is well coated. Then sprinkle in the cinnamon and mix again.

Get ready a baking sheet and place parchment paper down to prevent burning or sticking.

Spread the granola mix out evenly on the parchment paper. You can then sprinkle a bit more cinnamon on before placing it in the oven.

Place in the oven and set timer for 10 minutes: after 10 minutes you’ll stir the granola and then put it back in for another 10 minutes and then it should be slightly browned and crispy 🙂 . Let cool before you put it away in a glass container or jar.


Enjoy!

Nourishing Cup of No-Jo

As you may know I have a reaction every time I have coffee and so now have sworn to not have it for a very long time (never say never). So to fill that void of a comforting warm cup of Jo, I have found the wonderful Kickstart formula by Harmonic Arts made on Vancouver Island which is pretty awesome!! Kickstart has a medley of cacao, chaga mushroom, maca, dandelion root and more! I was skeptical but it is actually much tastier than other coffee subs I have tried.


Here I wanted to share my favourite way of enjoying this magical coffee  replacement when I have some extra time, this is also good to replace a traditional hot chocolate, or make it a latte by adding more heated frothy almond milk!


What you’ll want:

  • 2-3 dates with pits removed ( I like these ones pictured the best, found them at fairways if you’re in victoria)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup of organic unsweetened almond milk or nondairy milk
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of kickstart by harmonic arts
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1.5-2 cups of boiled water


Place ingredients into a blender ( put some of the liquid in before you put in the powders! ) and blend for a few seconds until it’s well mixed and enjoy!

Healthy Eating: ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’

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All too often I hear from people who want to make healthy changes to their diet, but they are lost. They are bombarded with information on the internet, from television ads, magazines and even their doctors. The key is to make small, simple changes, that one can follow not just for a few weeks but as part of a maintainable, healthy lifestyle. So the theme of this post is going back to the K.I.S.S. principle we all learnt back in school: ‘Keep It Simple Stupid”. I have broken down 5 simple steps to implement to begin the journey of healthier eating.

 

#1) Drink more water. Water is THE most important tool for your bodily functions. You can live longer without food than you can water for a reason. In today’s world, we seem to overconsume food and under consume water. The human body is very good at adapting to decreased water consumption, but these adaptations are merely for survival and are not optimal for long periods. Unfortunately, most people are chronically dehydrated without even knowing, leading them to symptoms such as have poor energy, increased hunger, poor elimination, dry skin, and toxic build up to name a few. One easy way to know whether you are well hydrated or not is to check out the colour of your urine, that’s right, look before you flush! If your urine is NOT clear and virtually colourless, you need to drink more water. So if you are well hydrated, you should be seeing minimal amounts of yellow in your urine if at all (keep in mind if you take a supplement or vitamin that can make urine yellow because of excess vit B’s and C in the urine). Avoid soda’s, pops, commercial juices, fancy starbuck’s drinks, and energy drinks. Stick to water, and herbal teas are great as well!

#2) Eat more fresh food. This is super simple, we all know fresh homemade food is better than the drive-thru. Try to minimize and eliminate foods that come from a drive by window, or that only require the microwave. The most nourishing food is freshly cooked or prepared to eat. This will include food that is raw, but also food that is cooked, steamed, baked, roasted or sauteed but not fried in oil or destroyed in a microwave! (I hate microwaves…). Just think, what would you rather eat, your grandma’s lasagna made from scratch OR a frozen lasagna? Let’s just say neither will help you fit into your skinny jeans but grandma’s will be much more wholesome.

#3) Eat local and seasonal produce. This is not only good for your health, but also good for the planet, local economy and your pocket! Fruits and vegetables that are in season offer the most nutrients and they actually help your body adapt to that current season. Plus, the less distance a fruit or vegetable has to travel before it gets to your plate, the more of its original nutrients will be intact. This also helps keep variety in your diet which is very important! Berries are great but they do not grow all year round, same goes for apples, enjoy each while they are in season in abundance. Aim to be eating atleast one fruit or vegetable at every meal/snack. 5-8 servings is the goal! (one serving is a handful).

#4) Be careful with your condiments. Read your ingredients! The most typically used condiments that are not great for our health are commercial soy sauce, relish, mayonnaise, table salt, margarine, and sour cream to name a few. Rather than using these items to flavour your food, opt for the healthier options such as spices which can offer a variety of actual health benefits (ie. garlic is great for fighting colds and flus). Opt for wheat free or organic soy sauce (Bragg’s is the best!) which has no additives or preservatives. Sea salt is good in moderation, cracked pepper is also great for seasoning without consequences. Opt for healthier fats to flavour your food such as extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. And keep in mind if you are using good quality, fresh in season foods, your meals will always taste better!

#5) Don’t overeat. Although you may be in denial, obesity is a major issue for so many of our health concerns and costs our health care system a lot of money! This suggestion not necessarily just for people who want to lose weight, even if you are happy with your weight, it is best to make sure you do not eat too much at once for optimal health. Eating past your body’s satiation point can leave you feeling sluggish but can also wreak havoc on your digestive tract and cause inflammation in the body. It’s best to eat just until you are satisfied, but not stuffed, and simply save your leftovers for another meal. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re full, it’s so simple it’s stupid!

There you have it! 5 simple ways to start eating better and improve your health without doing anything crazy! I hope you find this helpful and please share this with anyone you know who may be feeling overwhelmed but would like to start eating healthier.

Thank you for reading!

-Holistic Hayley 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short Video of my favourite and effective Stretches

I created a short stretching video demonstrating how to perform each stretch and what muscles each stretches as well as how long to hold each stretch for, check it out and let me know if you try it! and Be sure to like and subscribe for my future videos on youtube!

Watch video on youtube here!

Mineral rich Avocado Cacao pudding

Decided to experiment with a nutrient rich and decadent breakfast this morning. My secret ingredient is organic molasses to add a mineral kick, as well as cacao and dates which are all great sources of minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and more!

  
Here’s what I used:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Dash of sea salt
  • About a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Tablespoon of organic molasses
  • 5 small raw dates
  • 1/4 cup of organic cacao powder
  • Splash of non dairy milk (unsweetened) to blend- I used almond but coconut would be great too!

You may have to scrap the sides of the blender down a few times but be patient! And enjoy!


I topped mine with some homemade granola for a crunch!

Letting go of Negative Self Talk and Opinions

I think even the most open-minded, spiritual, and healthy people will tell you that it is hard to not care what anyone else thinks about you. Ever since high school I always thought “Who cares what anyone else thinks, what do you think of yourself?” But what if you think you’re ugly? What if you think you’re not good enough? What if all this bullsh*t is just in our heads!?

Our society puts a large emphasis on doing certain things to impress others, such as buying new clothes for school every summer so kids notice you, wearing makeup to cover our blemishes so we can pretend to be perfect, or winning the basketball game to impress a girl. Why do we do this?

I’ve been really working on self-love for the last few years, but it’s a long journey that doesn’t happen overnight. Some things are easier to let go of than others, for instance I was able to let go of doing my hair everyday. I now embrace my natural hair, I wash it once or twice a week, and it’s usually thrown into a bun at work. On the other hand, I am constantly stressed about my skin not being perfect and people thinking I’m not the spitting image of health that I ought to be. What the hell kind of thinking is that? No one has ever said to me that I shouldn’t be a personal trainer or holistic nutritionist because I have pimples, but for some reason I seem to think that it’s not good enough.

And then there is our body image. I can tell you that I have had distorted body image in the past and this also takes time to heal. I’ve thought I was too skinny, not muscular enough, and too fat all in the same day. On the other hand there are days where I love my body and am grateful for all it can do. Why is that?

I know that the Internet, social media, magazines, and all of the perfectionist society that we live in have a lot to do with this. We keep holding ourselves up to these perfect images of edited people and it’s just not real, it’s not possible to be perfect. I think it’s very good for us to take a break from looking in mirrors occasionally as well. I noticed that when I go camping or travelling and I don’t have a full-length mirror to look in I don’t over think it at all.

Social Media focuses a lot on what healthy looks like artificially, when really healthy does not mean perfect, it means physical, mental, psychological aspects of a person are balanced and well-functioning. So if you think you need to lose weight or gain more muscle or be more toned to be healthy, you’re probably wrong. You need to love yourself, you’re body, and respect it to do what is good for it. Sometimes you’ll need to cry, that’s fine. Sometimes you’ll need to skip the gym, that’s fine. Sometimes you’ll need to have a cookie, that’s fine.

Letting go of opinions also means we need to stop judging others for how they may appear, how they dress, what their body looks like, or whatever. No one can ever know exactly what another person is going through, so how can we make assumptions such as: “Oh that girl has really bad skin, she must not eat very well.” Or “That girl has really large thighs and shouldn’t wear those tights”. Let’s stop judging! It may be hard to do this at first mentally, because I know we all have bad thoughts, but it is important to not perpetuate it by talking about it.

Once we stop putting so much pressure on our selves to always be perfect, have nice skin, be thin, and eat salads everyday we can just let go and start being ourselves doing what we love and what makes us feel good! So for our mental health and well-being, let’s all focus on loving ourselves, enjoying our journey, and not caring what anyone else thinks! And let this extend beyond our health journey and bodies, but also our careers, our education, our possessions or our housing situations. Let’s stop feeling ashamed of where we are in this journey we call life and start feeling grateful to be alive. Namaste!

 

Thank you for reading 🙂 IMG_0848.JPG

7 Days Coffee Free Skin Results

So as I elluded to on my Instagram I have been struggling with worse than usual acne breakouts for the past year and looking at my lifestyle and diet not a lot has changed, I eat quite well obviously with some leniency and exercise and sweat regularly and wash my face right after, and have been working on managing my stress. I use natural products as well and exfoliated regularly. The one thing that has changed in my life is I’ve started drinking coffee! Not because I need the caffeine necessarily but because I enjoy it, and only buy fairtrade. I had been drinking about 1-2 cups per day for the past year and I have been dealing with way more inflamed and aggravated pimples as well as pimples in abnormal areas for me like my chin, jawline, and cheek bones. Through my studies I always knew coffee wasn’t great for the body for a few reasons, one of those being the caffeine increases your cortisol. Of course I was in denial that it was affecting me because I enjoyed it but I finally noticed my energy was lower than usual and my skin breakouts had to be something I was ingesting, and after re-learning that coffee actually increases your cortisol and spikes your blood sugar it can increase the production of acne aggravating hormones as well. Coffee also depletes various minerals and vitamins in the body such as zinc, vitC and Bvits which are essential to skin health. So I finally decided to take a break from coffee and after just 7 days great things have happened! My skin is way less irritated, less inflamed, my breakouts are healing and I’ve had hardly any new pimples pop up, because of this I’ve been more confident to wear less makeup or none at all! And my energy levels throughout the day feel like they used to years ago when I had endless energy! Here are some photos of how bad my skin was and how it was today after 7 days no coffee!

Before:

  
  
 I was trying to stay positive and smile abit for these photos but they are painful to look at 😦 . Not to mention when you have inflamed acne you can not only see it but you can feel it! Not fun!
Now, After 7 days no coffee and no makeup:


  
My skin is still not perfect but has greatly improved and feels better! For those of you who have flawless skin all the time never take your skin for granted because you are so fortunate! It was very hard for me to make this photos public but if my self trial helps someone else struggling with Acne then it is worth it! If you also struggle with acne and want to figure out a strategy that will help it to heal including holistic meal and supplement recommendations just send me an email hzedel@gmail.com 🙂 I would love to help!