Healthy living it’s a choice

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A healthy lifestyle not only changes your body – it changes your mind, your attitude, your mindset, your mood. It definitely changed my life when I made the choice to live my life on my own (healthy) terms. What is your choice? 🙂

With lots of love,

Laia

What’s the big deal about skin?

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My partner, who reads all my post (or at least I want to believe it!) suggested last week to write about the skin to complement my post about what we put in our skin. What a lovely he is! As I’m very interested in how we look after our skin, I think it’s appropriate to stop and have a look at our largest organ to better understand what the big deal about it is.

The Oxford dictionary says that “the skin is the thin layer of tissue forming the natural outer covering of the body of a person or animal”. What does this mean? Well, basically skin protects us from the microbes and the elements that are in the air – it’s our first line of defense.

It’s the largest organ of the body as well as the largest organ of detoxification so it’s important to look after it from the outside as well as to incorporate proper diet. Our body works as a system where every function is connected so nutrition also plays an important role on how we feel in the inside and we look in the outside. Great skin starts from within – when we feel good in the inside we look good in the outside. Would you agree?

Being our protective covering, our first barrier to fight illness and disease, you would think we all care about it, right? Well, the issue is that it’s easy to take skin for granted. I sometimes get a complement about my face skin: “You have a great skin”, they say. Well, let me share with you something: the difference between neglected and pampered skin is incredible. So ask yourself: how am I treating my skin? What do I put on it? And you might have an answer on why your skin is (or not) looking so good…

To make things simple: healthy skin is vital for us, both emotionally and physically. What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body. Both affect the wellbeing of our entire body so next time you cover yourself on body lotion, remember that your skin absorbs a large percentage of what you put on it.

Did you know how much we rely on our skin?

  • The skin defends us from a range of harmful things each day. Think of all the germs and particles that are in the air. In addition, skin is a protective barrier that helps preserve our internal fluids and organs.
  • Clean pores enable our body to expel waste so keeping your pores clean provides a clear exit strategy for all kinds of nasty toxins that accumulate in our bodies.
  • Our skin provides the first signal to our brain that we’re being hurt or in pain. This signal helps us react quickly to prevent a worse injury.
  • The skin is an indicator for our overall health. Early warning signs of many diseases manifest themselves on the skin.
  • Vitamin D is vital to our immune system. With proper sun exposure, skin plays a large role in manufacturing Vitamin D.
  • Skin is the body’s natural heating and air conditioning system. It helps regulate body temperature and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
  • Harsh chemicals, soaps and skin care products that reduce our bodies’ natural protective oils demolish our natural defense strategy.
  • Touch is one the most meaningful ways we connect to other people. Our skin allows us to experience pleasure through touch.

Also, don’t forget appearance: so much of how we feel about ourselves is wrapped up in the way we look.

I hope you are getting a sense of how important it is to look after ourselves and our skin by giving it what it needs. Next time you have to choose a personal or skin care product, be conscious on what you are selecting. A good start would be avoiding nasty chemicals on your skin and eating healthy – you’ll feel the difference!

With lots of love,

Laia x

Photo on VisualHunt

Do you know what are you putting on your body?

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Following up on my last post on how to identify toxins in your foods, I’ve decided to write a little bit about my own experience with personal care and beauty products. Why? Because my choice of healthy living is from the inside out, so what I put on my skin matters as much as what I eat.

Did you know that:

  • Cosmetics is a self-regulating industry? The people who create the commercial products used every day are who determine if the product and the chemicals contained within them are safe.
  • This means that chemicals are used in cosmetics (skin, hair, beauty, personal, baby, oral) on the basis that they are safe till the opposite is demonstrated?
  • Your skin will absorb chemicals 10 times faster than by way of ingestion because the skin doesn’t have a digestive system or the liver detoxifying process to break the chemicals down
  • The average person puts over 200+ chemicals on their skin every day? 65% of these chemicals are absorbed into the body.

This is something I learnt not long ago, and most people I talk to these days don’t know either. I remember my mum telling me what to buy for my personal and skin care… and I used to ignore her. When she told me to stop using certain brands because of their ingredients, I ignored her. Till one day someone else told me about it, and then it clicked and I realised what I was doing to my body.

An example someone gave once: have you ever received a topical prescription from a doctor, such as an anti-fungal or anti-bacterial cream? Or used a topical pain reliever for a mouth sore (or for your baby’s teething)? What about a birth control patch that slowly releases hormones? Why do these products work so well when applied to our skin, rather than taken orally? Well, I know why now… our skin readily absorbs chemicals and other substances deeper into our body– through our skin layers, into muscles and fat, and ultimately into our bloodstream and organs.

Another example: Make up. It doesn’t just hover around on the outer layer of your skin until you remove it at night – it penetrates deeper and deeper into your body throughout the day.

Scary, hey? Well, I thought it was scary. There is so much information available around about nutrition and skin & personal care products ingredients that can cause cancer and other illnesses that it’s frightening and confusing, to say the least.

So I decided to look for a botanically based safe option (which by the way, I love). But I didn’t stop there – I then starting investigating which are those ingredients that I should be avoiding in personal care products to make sure every time I buy a new product I’m not making the wrong choice. I can’t always buy natural and organic products to be honest, but I like checking that the products I buy aren’t harmful. One thing I discovered is within my powers is not buying nasty, chemical filled products till I can afford or have access to organic, vegan and botanical based ones (and for me is also a must to avoid products that are tested in animals).

Different sources name different ingredients, but there are some that consistently repeat across my  ‘to avoid’ lists and I’d like to share them with you:

  • Synthetic colours
  • Parabens
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Aluminium
  • Synthetic dyes
  • Petroleum based ingredients: benzene, petrolatum, phthalates and toluene
  • Mineral oil
  • PABA
  • Triclosan
  • Hydroquinone
  • Formaldehyde-donating preservatives
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  • Sunscreen chemicals
  • DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine)

Do you feel a little bit overwhelmed with all this information? I did when I started researching it and my first thought was: “I need to get rid of all my cosmetics and replace them for a safe option!”. The reality is that I would be broke if I tried to suddenly replace all of my beauty care products at once. So my first step was to pick the one or two range products I was most concerned about: skincare and makeup.

I replaced my whole range of facial moisturisers and make up, plus my deodorant, for a brand I knew was botanically based, vegan, result driven and PETA certified. That was a great choice and I have to admit that I feel confident that I’m now using a safe product on my body. Actually, I’m totally in love with the makeup range! Even people at work could see the difference when I did the shift, so I knew that besides putting a healthy product on my skin, the results were visible.

So, if you are not comfortable with the products you are currently using, research some better brands or, if you have time, you could even consider making your own replacement – there are lots of recipes online.

Once you’ve found a replacement that you’re happy with, decide what you might like to replace to start with. One at a time, little by little, you will slowly transform your beauty care routine into a non-toxic, pampering affair. Because – as I keep repeating in every post- you are your most precious asset – look after and treat yourself with love and care and enhance your healthy living from the inside out.

With lots of love,

Laia x