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 Β 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 πŸ™‚ . 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 Β 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 πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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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!

New Supps and Pullups

 

Just a short video showing you my recent vegan supplement purchases. Raw Fusion Proteins in Banana Nut and Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge! Both are delicious! Then I also got some Creatine HCl and plant-based fermented BCAA’s from Kaged Muscle. FYI the BCAA’s smell and taste like crap but I guess thats what happens when you order vegan, unflavoured BCAAs 😦

Secondly, Pullups are something Ive been working on for the last year and a half. I initially found it very hard to make progress and then I injured myself, turns out you need to stretch your back and shoulders when your constantly doing pushups, burpees and pullups! DUH! Anyways so with the help of my amazing chiropractor and foam rolling and stretching my back and shoulders are slowly but surely getting better and are now more mobile. I was pretty happy with my assisted pullups today, this was the first set with the thinnest band which really just helps me on the initial pull which I find to be the hardest part of pullups. I was able to do 6 and lets count that last one as a 3/4 one πŸ˜› I plan to make my next video a full upper body workout so stay tuned!

4 Foods you may think you need to eliminate and 4 Foods that you really should

Potatoes:

Many people associate potatoes as being bad for their figures or simply as an unhealthy option. Truthfully, it is everything that we tend to put on or eat potatoes with that is bad! Mayonnaise, Butter, Cream, Cheese, Sour Cream, Steak, Tons of Salt, Bacon and Bacon bits, and Canola Oil and the foods we should really be eliminating. Fact: Potatoes are tubers; they grow underground off the root after the plant has grown and flowered. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, B vitamins (esp. folic acid, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. Their fat content is barely existent, and they are approximately 2/3 starch and 10% protein. Potatoes can be baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, sauteed or turned into soups and when enjoyed without their usual fattening suspects can be part of a healthy diet.

Nuts:

I have heard some people who are trying to lose weight say “Oh I can’t have nuts, their way too fattening” yet their think eating red meat and dairy products is helping them and that is simply ignorance. Nuts are rich in plant protein and unsaturated fats, and when eaten raw, and unsalted they are low in sodium, provide a mix of the B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other trace minerals. Raw nuts should also be stored in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. Nuts are best eaten in small portions (handful) as a snack to ward off cravings for things such a chocolate, or soaked and made into easily digested nut milk! Nuts also make a great apres-workout snack to replenish your muscles. Again, rather than blaming nuts for being fat, try reducing your consumption of animal fats.

Dates, Bananas, and other Tropical Fruits:

Since when did anyone think that a piece of sweet, delicious fruit was bad for your figure? Cause they’re not! Now of course you should ensure you have a varied diet and not eat the same foods all year round everyday, but sweet fruits can be a part of any healthy diet. Fruits contain a diverse amount of nutrients individually, and they also contain lots of healthy fibre. The fibre in fruit slows down the digestion of its natural sugars so that they don’t spike our blood sugar levels like refined cane sugar would. Fruits also have many other good qualities, Dates for instance are surprisingly concentrated in iron, and also boast good quantities of niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Bananas not only make a great pre-workout/activity snack with their pure carbohydrate content, they also provide potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. Instead of worrying about how much sugar is in an innocent piece of fruit, try to avoid any food that contains refined cane sugar or corn syrup, two of the biggest blood sugar disruptors.

Whole grains:

A whole rant could be done on the misinformation out there about grains, but I’ll keep this short.  Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide us with sustained energy for our busy lives. They are rich sources of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, and many minerals. Now lets keep in mind wheat is not the only grain out there, and if something is gluten free it is not necessarily healthy. Healthy wholegrains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat and corn. These are healthiest in their unprocessed, organic form. With the exception of quinoa which is already a complete protein, whole grains can be eaten in conjunction with legumes in our diet to provide all the necessary amino acids for a healthy body. Instead of avoiding grains all together and doing the whole “caveman” diet simply avoid refined processed grain products like white bread, packaged cookies, white rice and crackers.

Reference:

Haas, E.M. & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. NY: Ten Speed Press

Plant based products I use regularly

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I’ve had some people ask me what I use since I don’t use any cosmetics or personal care products that are tested on animals or have animal ingredients in them, So here’s some of my favourites!

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I try to wear as little makeup as possible, but when I do wear makeup I always use Arbonne, they’re company is vegan certified, all cruelty free, really good quality and they aren’t owned by any other animal testing company. Their products are only sold in Canada, US, Great Britain, and Australia, and soon Poland I think? You have to get them from an independent consultant which I signed up to be cause you get 35% off! Doesn’t hurt right?

Pictured here is their creamy concealer in medium (its not very dark), makeup primer, mascara, and eye liner in cocoa.

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Again I don’t always wear perfume because wear I work we’re not supposed to, but when I want to smell extra fruity I roll on some of this Pacific Perfume! This brand is based in Portland and so obviously it is vegan and cruelty free! PS to those that live in Portland, you are freakin lucky! They have a bunch of other products and different scents as well.Β 

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I’ve always struggled with my face. I have oily skin and acne-prone skin, its great. Although I find my diet makes a big difference in my skin condition, I still like to treat it right on the outside. I love Arbonne’s Calm moisturizer because its gentle,soothing, not oily at all, doesn’t have SPF (which makes my skin oilier), and its non-comegenic (wont aggravate acne). Also from Arbonne is the SeaSource Detoxifying Rescue Wash, this product is pretty cool because you can use it on your face, body and hair even!! And its perfect for acne prone skin! I especially love using it after a really sweaty day. Now, the middle product in this picture is one made in my city (Victoria BC) called Nezza Naturals, and I use their Facial Cleansing Scrub once a day and its freakin awesome, its organic, all natural, plant based, and keeps my skin clear and smooth.Β 

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You should know that I wash my hair with shampoo only about once a week, thats right, you should try it! Once you do you won’t go back. Anyways, again another Arbonne product featured here, the Sea Source Fortifying Hair Mask is something I use a few times a month to keep the ends of my hair healthy and smooth. The Loma Nourishing Oil Treatment is something my hair dresser got me hooked on, it used to be called Peratin in a gold bottle. Its perfect for the ends of your hair, especially if your prone to frizz and such, and you can use it on your skin, it also smells divine and is made with organic plant oils!Β 

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Jojoba oil! I use this as a deep moisturizer for my face, chest, legs, and arms when I feel its needed, it soaks in better than coconut oil and is rich in Vitamin E. You can also put it in your hair but I would be very careful!

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I don’t usually paint my nails but I got excited about this colour because its neutral and totally cute but work appropriate. Its by Gabriel and is vegan and cruelty free, this colour is called sand castle. It also is Formaldehyde, Toluene, and DBP free! I think most other nail polish’s contain those chemicals… ew.Β 

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Lastly, I like to put all my essentials for the day in my cute Stella & Dot make up bag! Its made with faux-leather and the perfect size, fits my glasses case, tooth crush, makeup, contacts, etc. πŸ™‚Β 

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Post any questions or comments below! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

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Green coconut pudding

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Experimenting in the kitchen this morning and i wound up with this magical pudding, its green, its vegan, its healthy and delicious! This makes for a great apres workout meal because you got your protein, carbohydrates, fats and loads of vitamins and minerals to promote recovery!

-half a cup of organic canned coconut milk ( dont use the light stuff it aint creamy enough! )
-4 to 6 dates with pits removed ( depending how sweet you like )
-handful of organic spinach
-1/2 or 1 serving of vanilla protein powder ( i used vega )
-splash of unsweetened almond milk to help blend

Throw these ingredients into your blender or food processor, start blending slow and speed up gradually. Pause it now and then to scrape the sides, and once it’s the consistency you want you can sit back and enjoy! Eat it alone or with some fresh berries, some granola, chia seeds, etc. πŸ™‚