Natural Deo for your B.O.

As more and more people of the world are becoming conscious of what they are putting into their bodies, so are they becoming aware of what is going on the body. I was recently sent this wonderful article by Review on natural deodorants, and it made me realize how important it is this information get out to the public. We are constantly taking in toxins from out environment, possibly food we eat, the air we breath, and if you aren’t careful and conscious: what you are putting on your body! (Note: I was not paid to do this. It was just brought to my attention and I found it to be vital information that needs to be shared!)

Everyone knows by now that you are what you eat, but what if your skin has the ability to eat too? What you put on your body gets absorbed into the skin and begins circulating in the system (prime example: nicotine patches). It is just as vital to be aware of what is going on as it is what is going in.

I will be sure to cover other areas of the natural product world (shampoos, body washes and lotions, facial care products, etc), but today we are going to focus on one that gets attention on the daily: your armpits.

You may have dipped your pits in the world of natural deodorants already and had mixed results (or no luck at all). I was in the same boat when I started. From Thai crystals that are activated by water to Tom’s deodorant, nothing seemed to work quite the way I needed it to. Some things seemed to work great in the beginning then slowly lost potency over time with extended use. This was very discouraging at the start of my natural body care journey and I quickly switched back to my beloved Secret Deodorant until something good came along.

Why is switching to a natural deodorant so important in the first place?

There are several toxins lurking in your average store-bought deodorant. This includes chemicals such as aluminum, parabens, TEA (not the drink) and DEA, and artificial colors. These compounds are known for acting as estrogen within the body and have carcinogenic properties. For more information see this lovely article.

Now for the good stuff!

A few years past and I began working at a health food store where I had access to many more lovely options. I tried several and still was having tough luck… until!

schmidts-naturals-facebook-opengraph

Photo Cred: schmidtsnatural.com

Schmidt’s Deodorant. By far my FAVORITE deodorant I have ever tried. I own both Rose + Vanilla and Lavender + Sage and found them to be phenomenal. They last for hours, don’t leave clumps, and even act as a perfume if I forget to spray some in the morning. They are free of aluminum, artificial fragrance, and common irritants.

There are still many other options out there besides Schmidt’s that work just as well, or even better! There are 5 more well-tested options highlighted in this article you may feel free to check out and start experimenting with.

Have you tried natural body care products before? What was your experience? Do you have any favorites? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

Featured Image Cred: https://www.reviews.com/natural-deodorant/

Warming Autumn Squash Recipe

Autumn is here and with it the cold weather! Living in Michigan the transition going in was definitely whacky. 90s one day and 60s the next. What the heck? I can’t keep up with this state and neither can my body. For the past few days I’ve been feeling a very tense energy and possibilities of a cold coming on, so take care of yourself during this time as we adapt to the changing of the seasons! This means grounding exercises, releasing what’s holding you back, hot tea and warming, nourishing dishes!

This Squash recipe is by far one of my new favorite meals. Acorn squash is full of vitamins and minerals, but most importantly- Vitamin C! Extremely vital for keeping your immune system running while the B vitamins help convert the food to energy. This dish also features pumpkin seeds to add some additional immune boosting power with their zinc content, cranberries for a little sweetness, and warming spices also for healing and comfort 💜

Autumn Squash

Serves: 1-2

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 3 Lacianto Kale Leaves
  • 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1-2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Cinnamon, Clove, and Fennel to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the Acorn Squash in half and scoop out the insides. In a glass baking dish you may use oil to grease the bottom if desired. If avoiding oil, fill the dish 1/4 of an inch high with water. Place the acorn squash in the baking dish, inside facing down (if using water, cover), and bake for 45-60 minutes.

When the squash is halfway down cooking, prepare the quinoa according to the direction on the package. Typically it’s a 1/4 Cup dry per serving with a 1/2 Cup of water. Boil on low-medium heat until water is absorbed.

Rinse the kale leaves and chop then into 1/2 inch strips. I like to throw then into the pot with the quinoa once it’s halfway done absorbing the water.

When the quinoa is done, take it off the heat and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Get creative here and adjust it all to your taste. I personally use generous amount of cinnamon, a few shakes of clove, and a sprinkle of fennel seeds (to be exact 😜).

Once the squash is done, take it out of the oven and “stuff” it with the quinoa mixture. I recommend mashing up the squash a bit before adding the mixture to allow it to release some of the heat first. You could also scoop it out of the skin if desired.

Plate it up, serve, and enjoy!!

I used a small squash so this served a very hungry me for lunch, but depending on the squash size and if you wanted to adjust some of the other ingredients (half cup for pumpkin seeds and cranberries) it could easily serve two.

Leave a comment below on what you think! If you try it send me a picture at spoonfulofgratitude@gmail.com ! I would love to see your creations and hear your thoughts. Happy Autumn!

Love & Light

Banana Island Detox & What It Taught Me

For the past 7 days I have been on a cleanse called banana island. I wasn’t sure why I was doing it, I just felt like it was necessary at the time.

Banana Island is a detox where you eat only bananas and greens for a set period of time.

I had been eating 20 bananas a day minimum, along with a head of romaine. I was also drinking a gallon or more of water (most days).

Around days 4-6 I experienced gas and bloating. I realized later this was due to a few reasons:

  1. The bananas weren’t full ripe. I couldn’t find brown spotty ones and settled for bright yellow. This caused constipation.
  2. I was not drinking enough water. Once I realized this and started drinking more water, all gas and bloating diminished.

Takeaways:

  1. If you are to embark on banana island, prepare ahead of time with plenty of spotty brown bananas. If they aren’t ripe and spotted, the starches have not yet been converted to sugars and are much more difficult for the body to break down and use for energy.
  2. Always drink enough water. It is much more important than the food you are ingesting.

Overall my experience was very rewarding. I had more energy, I felt stronger and could go for longer while working out, and I was also much more peaceful. I typically have crashes midday and am easily susceptible to mood swings.

However, I did experience a drastic shift on day 7.

Day 7 I was already off as I was feeling a bit sleepy. Later on in the day a coworker started talking calories. Calories are never something I worry about. I am more of the “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full” kind of person. I adopted this mindset after years of binge eating disorder followed by a physically and emotionally exhausting period of time where I… you guessed it: counted calories.

I won’t get into the details of the conversation, but basically I had already met my RDA of calories after lunch time.

My first instinct was to get angry. I had spent my whole life with an eating disorder I thought I was over and now I have someone telling me that scientifically speaking, it was the opposite case.

I was in disbelief. I became stubborn in my mind and let this fester for hours. I kept asking myself, “why am I so mad about this? If I know I am doing what is best for me and I have good intentions then why should it matter? All I am doing is listening to my body, I know what’s best. If I know what’s best then why am I so angry? Why can’t I let this go?” and so on…

When I was eating I never felt a definitive “full” feeling. I stopped once I was satisfied and ate again when I felt my tummy asking for more. Could I have been eating too much? Possibly. It could have also been what was causing constipation and I didn’t realize it. Yet, it still felt like something deeper….

Then, it dawned on me. It didn’t matter how much I was eating so much as it mattered why I was eating.

When I started this journey, I felt a bit lost. I felt like I hit a fork in the road, but both of the roads had a very dense fog on them. I had no clue what way to go. By the end of my journey, the fog began to lift and I realized it was the same road all along. The problem was that I was running.

Sometimes I can be a bit of an escapist. Two popular tools I abuse are my phone…and food. When there is something coming up that I am not quite ready to face I will avoid it at all costs. I can not yet answer why. I often envision the life I want for myself, the things I would love to create, manifest, and mold into reality. I can see it all perfectly. In all this daydreaming I easily lost sight of my passion. I forget to hold dear the drive that can get me to where I want to be. I love to think about what my life could be, but when it comes to putting in the work? Nah… forget about it…  I’ll just eat/check instagram instead.

On Day 7 I was faced with a harsh reality check. When I arrived home from work with my last banana meal in the seat next to me, along with my keys and phone, God gave me a kick in the ass. I unlocked the passenger door before getting out of the car so I could pick up all my stuff. When I got out on the drivers side I subconsciously locked the car and shut the door.

Well, Shit.

Now all of my stuff was locked in the car. My last bundle of ripe bananas, my phone, keys, my highly perishable probiotic! Woe is me! Whatever will I do now?!

I walked to the lawn and laid down in the sun defeated. Okay lord, you win. I am done with my consumeristic ways from now on. I will face my reality and start living in line with my passions. You sent a sign and it has been heard.

This isn’t the first time something like this has come up for me. By this point it was becoming common knowledge to me that when I focus on creating and doing things I love, food and all other distractions become secondary. When I focus on painting, for example, hours could go by before food even crosses m mind. During the duration of this cleanse my main focus was all about food. “Do I have enough bananas? Am I hungry again or thirsty? Did I eat enough for the day?” I let my self and fall on the back burner. I forgot about my own desires and passions.

Thankfully, my brother was home to let me in the house (my mom wouldn’t be home for another 5 hours), so I could get a small start on loving myself again. I was able to change out of my work clothes, do yoga, clean my room, and watch The Matrix. I had never seen The Matrix until that moment; It was further testament that I need to start believing anything is possible, and I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to.

Who knew that deciding to eat only bananas for a week would help me realize that I was subconsciously avoiding self-love and living in line with my passions? Who knew that by doing a cleanse, I was really avoiding myself? And how ironic that what really got cleansed out wasn’t necessarily physical toxins, but mental ones? Negative self-talk and depressive thinking.

It’s always a good idea to cleanse every once in awhile. Even if you’re the healthiest person alive, you may still find that there could be some benefit behind it. Just remember to stick it through and have faith in yourself. You can achieve anything you put your mind to.

 

P.s. be sure to drink enough water.

Why to Cleanse

Last week I made a post on how to know when it’s time to cleanse and I talked a little about the cleanse that I am currently on. If you have not read it you can check it out HERE.

Now I will go over some of the things I have learned so far, how this cleanse has made me feel, pros and cons, and share a yummy recipe to satisfy the sweet tooth.
I am on the 6th day of this cleanse, so halfway through. The hardest thing about it is remembering to take the herbal supplements. I will probably have an extra day or two worth of pills to take after my 12 days are up. Another difficulty was adjusting to the foods recommended. My diet before this cleanse was mainly bananas and dates, and both of those are not recommended during the time of cleansing due to their higher sugar content.

Having a limited diet is also a blessing in disguise. It opened a doorway to a whole new abundance of recipes to try out and I have been enjoying experimenting with more vegetables and different foods than I would normally eat.

As for how I have been feeling, to my surprise, I have had a lot more energy. I have moments where I feel a bit more tired or my stomach starts to hurt a bit, but then it is quickly over after I realize I just need to go to the bathroom. This detox has opened my eyes to how connected energy and the gut truly are. If the digestion is sluggish, or there is a buildup from eating foods that are difficult to process, it will decrease energy tremendously. Forty-five to seventy percent of daily energy, on average, is put towards processing food. This percent increases as we eat heavier and more processed foods.

On this cleanse, I have been eating mostly raw, all whole foods; saving the cooked and heavier foods for the end of the day. On the days when I experimented with eating cooked foods for breakfast I found my energy levels started to dwindle much sooner.

Some of the benefits I have experienced on this cleanse thus far include: a LOT less bloating, clearer skin, clearer thinking, connection to the body and its natural signals, better sleep, newfound motivation and passion.

Some of the cons: moments of bloating and brain fog before using the bathroom. … That’s it. I feel better after going to the bathroom every time.

I recommend everyone try out a cleanse at least once. There are so many different kinds of cleanses out there. There are even one-day resets for those of you who feel you do not have the time or feel timid on making the commitment.


Reasons I recommend a cleanse:

  1. It connects you to yourself.
    • A cleanse allows you to tune in to your bodies natural signals.
    • It releases old baggage so you are able to focus on here and now.
  2. It is an act of self love.
    • A cleanse is a commitment to yourself.
    • By turning the focus inward, you are acknowledging that there is work to be done, and by releasing all of the old build up you will be able to start fresh and grow anew!
  3. You will feel so much better!
    • Low energy? Low libido? Yeast problems? Gassy or bloated? Angry for no reason? Cleanse.
    • A cleanse is more than just clearing old waste and toxins from the body. It is clearing all of the negativity that has made its home in your body through time. As we progress through life, we carry old burdens with us. A cleanse can bring those up and release them leaving you feeling much lighter.

If you are thinking of embarking on a cleanse, here are my top tips to make it easy and painless:

  • Stay hydrated. Always keep water on you. If you don’t drink plenty of water, any toxins being kicked up will just sit inside of you leaving you feeling fatigued and sick.
  • Go at your own pace. If you feel you are only capable of a one day cleanse, then start there. We are all in a different place, and some may have a lot more toxicity built up than others. Release what you can handle and do not try to tackle it all at once.
  • Eat plenty of whole foods, low-sugar fruits and vegetables. Keep the heavy foods (starchy, protein-rich, fatty) to a palm sized portion and see how you feel from there. Keep the focus on high-fiber fruits and vegetables with a high water content.
  • Rest. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the noise of daily life, but if you feel you need to take some time to relax and be with yourself, do it. Light some candles, take a bath, read a good book. Whatever it takes to keep you grounded and at peace.
  • Ask for support. Sometimes our biggest downfall during a cleanse can be being around others who are not on one. Make sure the people you surround yourself with know about and respect what you are doing for yourself. That way you feel supported through the process and will feel less tempted to go off-course.
  • Forgive yourself. If you mess up once, do not worry about it. I have already forgotten the pills I was supposed to take at least 3 times, and I ate grapes (a high-sugar fruit, not on my acceptable list) on the first day! That did not stop me from striving forward towards my goal. Never let a bump in the road keep you from yours.

Recipe

Sweet Potato and Millet-meal

Serves: 1

1 Cup cooked Millet
1 Small baked Sweet Potato
Almond Milk, to cover
2 Tbsp Ground Flax
1 Tbsp Almond Butter
Dash of Vanilla
Generous shakes of Cinnamon

Directions: Stir the millet in a container with the flax, vanilla, almond milk, and cinnamon. Cover and leave in the fridge overnight, or while the sweet potato cooks. Cook the sweet potato whole in a glass baking dish for an hour at 300 degrees (quicker at higher temperature, but not as good for you.) Right before the potato is done baking, put the millet concoction into a small pan and warm on low. When the sweet potato is done, cut it in half and drizzle almond butter in the center. Plate it up and Serve!


 

Signs You May Need to Cleanse

How do you know when it is time to cleanse?

Here are a few warning signs:

  • Feeling heavy and lethargic
  • Being stuck in cyclic patterns
  • Dropping everything
  • Bump into every object and wall you pass
  • Difficulty thinking or talking clearly
  • Bloated or gassy
  • Stressed constantly, even if there is nothing to be upset about
  • Yeast overgrowth (itchy down under)
  • Lack of motivation or apathetic

 

I could keep going on, but I think you get the idea. It could be time for a cleanse when you have a feeling that something is out of balance.

 

Yesterday’s Full Moon had a theme of Transformation and Healing.

Lately, I have been feeling out of balance. I found this to be the perfect time to embark on a cleanse. On the Full Moon, I decided to dry fast the whole day and decide where to go from there.

During this fast a couple things came up for me:

I have been very hard on myself and need to learn balance between resting and working;

And…

Emotions are meant to be felt, not bottled up or hidden. On that note, they are also not meant to be dwelled on. It is perfectly acceptable to not be super happy and enthusiastic all the time; it’s exhausting. It’s also not ideal to be upset or negative all of the time. What matters is to find a peaceful balance between the two to return to once the positive and negative have been experienced.

 

Today, I have decided to continue my cleanse. I woke up feeling a bit lighter emotionally and spiritually, but physically I could tell there is work to be done as I am still quite heavy. I am no longer fasting, as I do lead an active lifestyle and work full time. I will be using the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox for the next 12 days. I invite you to find a cleanse that works for you and join me in this venture on the road to overcoming obstacles and healing from the inside out. It doesn’t have to be intense or cost a lot of money. It could be as simple as cutting out all processed foods for a week and drinking 2 litres of water a day. We are all in different places. It’s important to acknowledge where you are at now, and what you feel ready for.

The focus on this cleanse will be to drink plenty of water, eating only fresh fruits and vegetables, and to eat foods that are mainly alkaline. I will check in throughout the cleanse with updates and inspiration, so stay tuned and make sure to be following me on this blog or other social media (found at the top and bottom of this page).

If you would like to eat according to the detox I am using, I will include a link to the PDF file of the food list HERE.

 

We are blessed with these bodies to embark on a human experience, filled with the good and bad, always in a state of growing. Throughout a 70 year lifespan, a single person clears at least 25,200 lbs of waste from the body. On top of this, we are constantly storing gunk from a lot of the foods people are not meant to eat and energies from our environment, other people, and our own emotions. It is vital to take care of these vessels and give them the love they deserve for working so hard to keep us going. It is time to check in with ourselves and take notice of what the body, and intuition, is telling us.

What is yours telling you?