All Natural Acne Help

Tea Tree 2.jpg
Tea Tree Oil

As I was making my switch to natural body care, I really struggled with the acne on my shoulders and the occasional small breakouts on my face. Body brushing helped me to exfoliate my upper body before showering, but overall I was still struggling with breakouts. I remember going to a local drugstore and I was so desperate to find a solution, so I bought a benzoyl peroxide cream to put on my breakouts. This did work, but I did not like the ingredients and the fact that I could not put on a shirt straight away because it would bleach my clothing.

One day though, after talking to my husband, he suggested an all natural solution called tea tree oil. To be honest, I had never heard of using tea tree oil to help with acne problems, but I was certainly willing to give it a try! I have now been using the tea tree oil to help with my acne breakouts on my face and shoulders for over a year now and it has helped both. I find that it soothes the red skin and makes my breakouts seem smaller overnight. The breakouts are usually gone if I put on the tea tree oil on in the morning at least 3-4 days in a row, depending on how bad the breakouts are. For me the product has been just as effective as the benzoyl peroxide cream, but it smells better and I feel better about what I am putting on my skin.

Tea Tree 1
I purchased my tea tree oil at a local drugstore called DM

I usually take a few drops of tea tree oil and mix it with 2 tablespoons water. Then, I use a cotton swab to apply it to my breakouts. I usually do this once a day, in the morning after I have showered. I will say that the smell is strong, but it smells fresh and a bit similar to eucalyptus or menthol. It goes away after a while and you cannot smell it all day.

Because of tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties, it really helps to soothe the area and clean up the infected skin. Overall, I cannot recommend it enough! 🙂

Grocery Shopping in Germany

Food 1

Today I went on my usual shopping trip to a few of my local supermarkets and I thought I would take a photo of what I purchased and let you guys know how much it costed to give you a bit more detail about food prices in Germany. I bought the following items:

  • 2 Organic Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Nectarines
  • 1 Mango
  • 1 Organic Cucumber
  • 1 Pack of Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Organic Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Leeks
  • 1 Organic Yogurt
  • Organic Spinach
  • Organic Muesli
  • Organic Oat Milk
  • Organic Watermelon
  • Bananas
  • 2 Cans of Organic Beans
  • 1 Jar of Organic Peanut Butter
  • 1 Jar of Organic Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Avocados
  • Goat Cheese
  • Walnuts

——————————-

Total Cost: 45.09 Euro (49.76 Dollars)

 

I would say that was pretty cheap, considering the foods that I was able to buy!

The most popular supermarkets in my region are Rewe ( a mid-scale supermarket with organic and normal foods) , Lidl (a cheaper supermarket, but with organic and normal options) and then Denn’s Biomarkt, an all organic supermarket that is pretty expensive.

On a normal Saturday, we shop at all three shops to get everything we need because I find that all three of them have benefits to them.

Rewe has good specialty items, but the prices for most of the non-organic items are pretty expensive. I would compare Rewe to a Publix or a Kroger in the US.

Denn’s Biomarkt is expensive, but they have weekly sales and I usually am able to find some pretty good deals. I find that supermarket to be most similar to Whole Foods in the US, but WF is a lot larger.

Lidl is smiliar to Aldi in the US, but also sells name brands. They also sell some organic products, but not as many organic foods as the other two supermarkets.

Germany has a lot to offer as far as grocery shopping and the food prices here are pretty unbeatable! 🙂

Healthy Living in Germany vs USA

Pic 1

Recently, I was reflecting on a trip to the US that I took last winter and some questions I received from a friend about the differences between living in Germany and the USA. There are much more differences than similarities,  so I decided to make a post breaking down two categories of healthy living in both countries.

Just as a bit of background information, I lived in the southern region of the US, in both a very rural area (pop. 2000 people) and a large city for a combined total of over 20 years. I have now lived in Germany for a total of three years in a city with a population of 80,000 people.

IMG_4491
These are all photos of various parks in the German town I live in.

IMG_4488.JPG

 

Being Active

When I lived in the US, I was not very active or healthy for most of my adult life after high school. When I started college, I was a bit overwhelmed,especially moving to such a big city and I did not find many good places to get active outdoors. There were almost no parks nearby and none that I felt safe going to in the evenings. Even growing up, I was just lucky to grow up on a farm, so that I could jog and walk outdoors, but there were not many opportunities to walk or bike anywhere else.

Now that I have lived in Germany, there is so much more of a focus on healthy eating and being active. Out of my entire office, we have only 1-2 overweight employees and most of the office takes walks during the lunch break together. I also walk to the grocery store and other stores and if anything is too far away, I take the bus or the train. I never used a car to travel anywhere except when going to another city and even then I usually use public transportation. This means that I have the chance to be active every single day. There are parks everywhere and lots of opportunities for people to be active outside of a gym.

In the US, I would always used my car to drive everywhere and my friends and family never walked anywhere or took a bus or train, largely because there were no safe and\or convenient options to do so.

IMG_4496.JPG

Food

When I first moved here, I never really noticed the differences in food prices. At home, my parents had usually paid for groceries and when I went to college, I usually ate in the dining hall, so I rarely cooked and never really knew about the costs of food.

Fast forward to when I went back to Georgia to visit for a month and starting grocery shopping and finally saw the food price differences …I was shocked! Vegetables and fruit were so expensive and there was only a small selection, even at some pretty big grocery stores. I found that most of the items in stock were processed and pre-packaged foods and these items were still not cheap, but still far expensive than fresh produce. Buying organic was almost unaffordable at the groceries stores I visited.

Here in Germany,  my food costs are about 100 euros (110 USD) a week, but we buy almost all organic vegetables and fruit and cook fresh meals every single night. At home, during the entire month I was there, we usually spent 200 dollars on food a week and most of the food was not organic. I think that you can spend even less on food here and still get high quality items, but overall fresh fruits and veggies are a lot cheaper in Germany.

While I certainly miss living in the US a lot, I am thankful to Germany for providing me with a lot of opportunities to be active outdoors and afford healthy food. I may cover some other items in an upcoming blog post about some other health differences here, but I hope this was a good start. 🙂

 

 

Healthy Living Guides

IMG_4286.JPG

 

A lot of people have asked me how did I get started on using natural beauty products, eating healthier and just being more interested in my health. The change definitely happened slowly and over time, but a few things did stand out along the way.

Books:

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone is a great book for getting started on trying vegetarian or vegan recipes. I stopped eating meat about a year ago and I discovered this book along the way and I think that she has some great recipes and tips for getting started on just trying out healthier foods.

I am also currently reading Integrative Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal, but I am only about 20 percent in. So far, I would recommend it though!

Documentaries:

The documentaries, Forks over Knives and The Human Experiment, really surprised me with the amount of information they contained and I learned a lot from both. Forks over Knives is also one of the main reasons why I stopped eating meat. My husband was a vegetarian long before watching the documentary, but the facts presented gave me the push to try a plant-based lifestyle for my health and eventually, I realized that it is best for the animals as well. The Human Experiment is focused on toxic chemicals in products that we use every single day like lotion and makeup, as well as B.P.A. This just further encouraged me to look at the ingredients in the products that I am using and focus on trying to make sure that they are as natural as possible for me and my family’s health.

Blogs:

After becoming a vegetarian, I found the Minimalist Baker blog by chance while searching for meal inspiration. Since then, I continually go back to look for new recipes and ideas. Everything I have tried on the site tasted great and best of all, were easy to make! She has everything from delicious curry dinners to cinnamon rolls.

 

I hope that you guys liked the post and if you want more recommendations in the future just let me know!

 

 

Links:

The Human Experiment:https://www.amazon.com/Human-Experiment-Sean-Penn/dp/B010RZZ3VS/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1466924209&sr=1-2&keywords=the+human+experiment

Forks over Knives: https://www.amazon.com/Forks-Over-Knives-Colin-Campbell/dp/B005K23RS0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466924170&sr=8-2&keywords=forks+over+knives

The Kind Diet:https://www.amazon.com/Kind-Diet-Simple-Feeling-Losing/dp/1609611357/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466924274&sr=1-1&keywords=the+kind+diet

http://minimalistbaker.com/

 

 

All Natural Makeup Removal

Picture.JPG

Makeup removal is something that can be a bit of a struggle when you are trying to find all natural products or methods that work. In my case, while my skin care is all natural, I have not been able to completely make the transition with my cosmetics yet. Therefore, I need products that really work and can help remove my makeup to prepare it for cleansing.

I separate my makeup removal and facial cleansing because I find it important to first, remove your makeup and then to clean the face. I have been “double cleansing” for months now. This came after I realized that just removing my eye makeup and then washing my face was still leaving makeup residue behind and causing breakouts. I now ensure that everything has been removed by doing a double cleanse.

To remove my makeup, I first put some organic, cold pressed coconut oil ( I use the Manako Organic Coconut Oil) or the Flow Organic Facial Cleansing Oil on my eyes and gently rub that in for about 10 seconds. This helps to melt away eye liner and mascara, which are usually the most stubborn bits of makeup to remove.

I then either put some coconut oil on my entire face or use my Avril Organic Cleansing Micellar Lotion on some cotton pads and remove both the oil on my eyes and then the makeup that is on my face. The oil helps to naturally breakdown the makeup and is a gentle way of removing makeup without using harsh chemicals. I always use the cotton pads to remove the oils on my face and then I usually finish off with the micellar lotion as a way to make sure that everything has been removed before I wash my face.

A question some of you may be asking, is how do you do all of this when you travel? I certainly do not take all of my products with me! I usually just pack a small plastic container filled with coconut oil. In the evening, I rub the oil in all over my face and then remove it with some cotton pads. I think this is a great way to streamline your routine when you travel. I also then use the coconut oil as a body moisturizer and as a hair oil if I am really trying to pack light. I can only recommend it! 🙂

It may seem a bit long process, but I find that my skin looks best when I put in the effort to remove my makeup with all natural products. 🙂

Dry Body Brushing

IMG_4270.JPG

 

Body brushing is something that I learned about in autumn of 2015 after visiting my local natural beauty shop in search of an all natural exfoliation product.

For me, I usually do this in the morning for 2-3 minutes before I jump into the shower. I start at my ankles and work my way up to my stomach and then brush my arms, shoulders, and back, working towards my heart the entire time. The brushing itself feels like getting your whole body scratched, but a bit rougher. I  would describe it as invigorating more than anything.

If you google dry brushing, there are a lot of different websites that mention that dry brushing helps with cellulite. I cannot attest to that benefit because cellulite is not something I struggle with, but I can imagine that it would be helpful. For me, dry brushing has helped me more with my upper back and shoulder acne and as a sustainable way to exfoliate the entire body. Many exfoliants in the drugstore have microbeads. These little plastic balls are mistaken for food by animals in our lakes, rivers and oceans. While I have found other exfoliating alternatives made from natural ingredients like sugar or shells of various fruits, I find dry brushing to be the best exfoliator that I have tried so far. It is also relatively inexpensive because you just have to pay for a high quality brush once and then you are good to go!

 

IMG_4260.JPG

My brush has hairs about 1 inch tall and is specifically designed for dry massage, which I think is important to look for when you are purchasing your body brush. I clean the brush about 1-2 times a month with an all natural soap like Dr. Bronner’s. I then let the brush dry on a hand towel, bristles down and after that it is ready to be used again.

 

Below is a great short article from NPR on microbeads and another article on dry body brushing that summarizes the benefits.

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313157701/why-those-tiny-microbeads-in-soap-may-pose-problem-for-great-lakes

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7955/why-you-should-start-dry-body-brushing-today.html

Going Natural with Deodorant

Option 1.JPG

About 7 months ago, in November of 2015, I attempted to get rid of my toxic deodorant full of chemicals and switch to natural deodorants. After reading reviews, I decided to give  Schmidt’s deodorant in lavender sage a try. For a week, I applied the the paste to my armpits every morning, but every single day I would remain dry for about an hour and then I would start to sweat and then usually by mid-day, I would start to smell. 😦 I thought to myself that as long as I am working in an office full of people, I well probably not be able to make the switch to a natural deodorant and decided to give up on the transition for a while.

Fast forward to this past February, when I read some more articles on others making the switch and found numerous suggestions stating that the body needs longer to adjust to the lack of aluminum found in most conventional deodorants that stops you from sweating. I then decided to give things another try. Over the weeks that followed, I realized that if I was going to make things work then I would need to take the small jar of deodorant with me to work and reapply it in the afternoon. I did this for a while, but found it quite cumbersome to carry a little jar of deodorant with me when I left the house for more than a few hours. 😀 Not long after this, my local natural cosmetics shop started selling the stick version of Schmidt’s Bergamot and Lime and I decided to give this a try. While the ingredients are not exactly the same as the paste in the jar, I found them both just as effective. After about a month of applying the paste every morning after I showered and then the stick deodorant in the afternoons, I realized that my sweating had decreased and I had no body odor even when I did weight lifting or runs in the evening after work.

IMG_4232
The inside of the paste with the small spatula to apply the deodorant.

As far as the scents go, I would say that the bergamot and lime is my favorite over the lavender and sage because it smells fresher and perfect for waking me up in the mornings. The lavender sage has more of a calming scent, but would be great for after an evening bath or shower.

To other people that exercise or sweat a lot, just like I do, I would recommend to give the transition period at least a month and to find something to take with you to work or school to help in the afternoons, especially in the first few weeks.

I have also tried other natural deodorants, but so far Schmidt’s has been the most effective for me, but maybe in the future I will be up to trying some more and letting you all know how they work. 🙂

Ingredients as listed on the packaging:

ingredients

Bergamot and Lime Paste Ingredients: Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot) powder, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Citrus bergamia (bergamot) essential oil, Citrus aurantifolia (lime) essential oil, Tocopherol (vitamin E).

Bergamot and Lime Stick Ingredients: Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot) powder, Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Triglyceride (fractionated coconut oil), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrus bergamia (bergamot) essential oil, Citrus aurantifolia (lime) essential oil, Tocopherol (vitamin E)

Both deodorants are also vegan and cruelty free.

My Morning Skin Care Routine

My morning skin care routine consists of organic and all natural skin care products that I have found to work best for my redness prone, sensitive skin. Before this, I tried a lot of other products, but a lot of times the harsh chemicals irritated my skin and made my rosacea worse or even caused breakouts. After visiting a dermatologist about a year ago, I finally realized that I needed to clean up my skin care routine, start wearing sunscreen, and choose products suited for my skin type. The items below are a result of research and trying a lot of different products.

IMG_4218So without further delay, here is my skin care routine!

  • Step One: Every morning, during my shower, I wash my face with theAndalou Naturals 1000 Roses Cleansing Foam. This is a gentle cleanser that smells just like roses and is a great way to wake up the skin and wash everything off from the night before.
  • Step Two: When I get out of the shower I immediately follow with myApeiron Rosewater Vital Spray and Tonic. I think this is a great way to calm and cleanse the skin to prepare it for the rest of my skin care routine.
  • Step Three: I then apply my Pai Chamomile and Rosehip Calming Day Cream. I have been using this face cream for a little over two weeks now and it is a light, but very moisturizing cream that makes my skin feel soft and calms the redness. I use this day and night.
  • Step Four: After my face cream, I apply the Pai Echium and Argan Gentle Eye Cream. I just recently started trying various eye creams and this one is my favorite by far. It is very moisturizing and a little goes a long way. I find that after I put this on, my eyes feel so much more awake and the eye area is ready to go for makeup application.
  • Step Five: The final step in my morning skin care routine is to apply my Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 sunscreen. It took me months to find a all natural sunscreen with non-toxic ingredients that left my skin with a matte finish and did not cause breakouts. I apply two pumps and massage that in as the top layer. After that I am all ready to go with my makeup routine!:)

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and I look forward to continuing to find great new products to share with everyone.