Monday, August 31, 2009

Obesity and Prescription Drugs

Today I saw an article about America's Top 10 most medicated states and I decided to research what the top 10 fattest states might be. According to the most recent info I could find, the findings were very similar:

10 Most Medicated States:
1. West Virginia
2. Alabama
3. South Carolina
4. Tennessee
5. Arkansas
6. Missouri
7. Kentucky
8. Louisiana
9. Mississippi
10. Iowa

10 Fattest States
1. Mississippi
2. Alabama
3. West Virginia
4. Tennessee
5. South Carolina
6. Oklahoma
7. Kentucky
8. Louisiana
9. Michigan
10. Arkansas/Ohio

The top 3 drugs sold last year were:

Lipitor- a cholesterol control drug
Nexium- an acid reflux drug
Plavix- an anti-platelet drug to prevent strokes and heart attacks

The obvious thing that this comparison shows is that obesity and lifestyle-related health problems are the motivation for most of this prescription use. But more importantly, it seems to indicate that these things are not working!

With the rampant prescription use in this country, we should be in better health over the years if these pills do what they say they are going to do. Certainly, that is how doctors prescribe them. As someone who is watching so many of my family members take part in the use of these dangerous drugs (I feel that I can pretty freely call them dangerous considering an anti-platelet drug was listed as one of the causes of death on my dad's death certificate), I can say with confidence that they are not helping.

The problem is, the average American has NO CLUE how to eat a healthy well-rounded, disease-preventative diet. And it's not entirely our fault. Just like the beauty industry, we have companies and organizations telling us the wrong things. We are being told that refined grain products, conventional meat, and dairy are all acceptable foods to eat freely. And the greatest lie we're being told is that processed, packaged, and convenience foods are foods at all.

So just as consumers need to be ruthlessly savvy about lipstick ingredients, so too do we need to be about our food. And the same rules apply. If it isn't 100% whole food that readily grows or exists in nature and is free of all synthetics, additives, isolates, fortifiers, etc., then it is not serving our health. Real food is true medicine.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Does Beauty Sell?

How interesting! Check out this little article on a study that was done about how a salesperson's looks can affect the female customer's desire to shop.

I have certainly experienced days when I feel kinda gross and don't feel confident enough to interact with salespeople comfortably. I'm sure MANY women have such healthy self images that they never experience this phenomenon. But I know that many women do.

But we shouldn't! Ever! Biological or not, we need to appreciate ourselves enough to not feel that we're in competition with other women. Rather, we should feel a sense of comradeship, especially in such sacred places as fitting rooms for f***sake!

It's possible that the postulation that this is a biological response is correct. But I'm inclined to think that we are so competitive with other women because we've been brought up in a culture that demands that women strive for a specific brand of physical perfection in order to be desirable to men. The pressure placed on the average women to engage in this is overwhelming and totally destructive to our feelings of self worth.

The question at the end of the article is: What should companies choose to do?

The real question is: What should we do? How can we change this dynamic? How can we change (or immunize ourselves from) the culture that promotes this dynamic?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

DIY Organic Facial Mask

Here's an easy recipe for a calming pore-cleansing facial mask. This is a good recipe for inflamed skin and skin that is oily or prone to blemishes and pore congestion.

2 tsp Organic Oat Flower
Water as needed
lavender essential oil
chamomile essential oil
tea tree essential oil
(or essential oils of your choice)

mix the oat flour with some water, starting with a very small amount at first, to make a paste. The paste should be very spreadable, not goopy. Add water until you reach this consistency.

Next, add just a couple drops of each essential oil and mix into the flour/water paste.

Apply to damp skin and massage it over your face gently to cleanse and get a little exfoliation out of the process.

Then leave the mask on until it dries (or if you have dry skin, leave it on until it's almost dry and then rinse).

Rinse with warm water. Follow with your usual products.

I use this mask when my skin is hormonal or congested and it quickly reduces redness and calms inflammation.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Skin Care Pantry

Despite working for one of the purest skin care lines in the US, I still find myself making my own stuff out of simple ingredients just for fun and to curtail them to my own skin's needs. Making DIY bodycare can be easy and very economical, even when using really high quality organic ingredients. Below are items that I always keep in my skin care "pantry":

Aloe Juice (you can get 99% organic aloe vera juice from health food stores and Trader Joe's)- I drink a cup of this every morning and mist it on as a toner twice a day so I buy it in gallon jugs. It's super detoxifying and refreshing

Organic Brown Rice Flour- In the palm of your hand, mix some into your face cleanser to make a very gentle yet effective exfoliator

Organic Oat Flour- Mix with water to create a paste. This makes a great, slightly exfoliating, wash for oily skin. It's very absorbent and anti-inflammatory

Epsom Salts and Sea Salts- I always have this on hand for bath salts and to mix with oils and essential oils for body scrubs

Bentonite Clay- cheap and very therapeutic. It is purifying and toxin-flushing so it's great as a mask.

Oils- I keep a variety of good organic unrefined plant oils on hand to make hydrating elixirs for face and body. Some of my faves are jojoba, pumpkin seed, safflower, and apricot seed oils. Pure plant oils feed and heal the skin unlike any lotion on the market.

Essential Oils- I keep a variety of organic steam-distilled essential oils to make scented products and to create treatments for just about anything. Good basics to have are Tea Tree, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Mandarin, etc. Some of my favorites are vetiver, basil, cedar, and sandalwood.

Tea- Teabags make convenient steam facials and tea internally and topically is amazing for the skin.

Bodycare is like cooking- you always save money and make good quality stuff when you "cook" at home rather than buying pre-made things. And you have complete control over what you put on your body!

Next will be some easy DIY recipes...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blog

I have decided to recommit myself to this blog after a year away from it.

There are two main reasons that I neglect this poor blog- the first is that I've been blogging for the company I work for and I often lack the energy at the end of the day to blog here. So I will do my best to avoid letting Work prevent me from sharing here from now on.

The second is that now and then I feel like a total hack. My very motivation for starting this blog is what occasionally keeps me from feeling qualified to post on it: I am one of many women that has an ongoing struggle against the effects of growing up in a culture that is obsessed with beauty, youth, and bodily perfection at any cost to our health and happiness. I sometimes think "How can I possibly share advice with women like myself while I frequently fail to practice what I preach when it comes to self-acceptance?" But my goal is to write the kind of blog that I need to read as I can only assume that there are countless girls and women (and guys too!) who feel the same way I do.


Regular posts are on their way. Any requests for content related to products, recipes, wellness, herbs, etc? Send them to me in an email or comment.