If you know me at all, you know I have a deep love of unicorns. If you know me well, you know I love my essential oils. Naturally, when my BFF told me she had seen something called a unicorn blend and gifted me a fabulous roller bottle, I had to look it up. There are MANY different varies of a “unicorn” blend. Everyone’s tastes are different and different oils may not be as effective for you as others.
I’m so excited to finally get to share these pointers with you. I had this post planned months ago but then my nails became a disaster. I’ll get to that in a bit, but I ended up needing to put my tips into practice again. It was really helpful to go through rebuilding my nail health so truly test out my tips. I’m happy to report that THEY WORK!
Over the Summer I did my second round of Whole 30 and, if you’ve been around since then, you know that I’m a huge fan of it. It’s funny that I thought I’d never try it about a year ago and now, I’ve done two rounds and don’t find it so crazy after all. It does wonders for resetting your body in so many ways but the one I noticed the most was my skin. It is so clear when I’m doing Whole 30. I’m not talking breakouts though, but that is something I was clear of too. I’m talking about my skin condition, tinea versicolor*. It was GONE. So I’ve decided that, for the most part, I’m going to start treating my skin better with the food I eat.
*What is tinea versicolor? It’s a common fungal infection that occurs when the body has an over production of the yeast/fungus that our bodies naturally produce. Flare ups can be small discolorations on the skin, to larger patches that appear scaly. Mine have even been mistaken for an allergic reaction. It’s not contagious and you can be perfectly healthy and have this condition.
I had no idea before Whole 30 that my skin condition was being effected by food. It makes sense now of course, but it just never dawned on me. I pride myself on knowing a good bit about nutrition and health for someone who doesn’t have any formal education so the fact that I’m just now figuring this out is crazy. Anyway, after this revelation, I decided that I wanted to make a permanent change to my diet but I wasn’t quite sure what was causing the flare ups to come back. There’s a period of time after Whole 30 called the reintroduction phase but I didn’t notice flare ups until after that time. So what was it? Gluten? Dairy? Sugar? Time to do a little research*.
Turns out that it’s most of those things, not just one. Yay for me right? It’s also a number of other factors too, such as humidity, excessive sweating, oral contraceptives (something I’m NOT willing to change at this time of my life), and hormonal changes. The hormonal changes definitely explains why it’s worse in my postpartum life than when I was younger. As for what I can control and am willing to change, I had to decide what was worth it for me to keep and what I felt effected my skin the most.
Let’s cut to the chase…
What can’t you eat? The answer here is best given as a list of what I CAN eat with little to no risk of flare ups.
- Whole Grains (foods with no yeast)
- Vegetable Oils
- Poultry, Beef, Pork, and Seafood
Yeah…that’s it. But why? Because with this condition, my body over produces this natural fungus and it reacts with many common ingredients in food, even naturally occurring ingredients. That includes fruit!
So, is that all you eat?
No. I ate a ton of fruit on Whole 30, aka natural sugar, and my skin was still clear so that’s one food I can keep. Vinegar is also a food to avoid but, again, I had balsamic vinegar dressing while resetting. But the most problematic foods I have definitely cut out (with a few exceptions).
Sugar, added and otherwise, alcohol, baked goods, and dairy are the main things I try to stay away from. It’s also advised that I stay away from coffee and opt for teas instead. Not happening. It’s all about finding a balance and figuring out what’s worth it for me. (Food Freedom Forever is a great book to read on that topic!) If I’m going out to dinner, or having dinner with family, I’ll have a glass of wine but I’ve decided to not have it in my house. Too tempting. I eat gluten-free items and stay away from cheese/milk products but I’ll eat a little ice cream or fro-yo with the boys on the weekend if we happen to be doing that.
I totally have my weak moments, I get stressed and completely fall of the bandwagon. What happens then? I get flare ups. It is what it is. My condition does not have a permanent solution so I have to do my best to keep it from flaring and keep my anti-fungal cream handy.
If you have a health/skin issue (non life threatening), I highly recommend trying Whole 30 as a way to discover what you’re body is reacting to.
*Articles: whole30.com / livestrong.com / healthygoods.com / tineaversicure.com / mayoclinic.org
Not only as a mother but as a human in general, it’s important that I take care of myself. With mental health still (somehow) a taboo issue, many go weeks, moths, even years without focusing some of their energy on taking care of themselves. I’m for sure guilty of it. It’s so hard to break that cycle, especially as a mother. Caring day-in and day-out for little people is exhausting and down right expensive at times. What’s left over? If anything, you have just enough energy to take a shower once every few days and shut your eyes for half a second. So what can you do to practice some self care, feeling a little better about our selves and not spend an arm and a leg trying to do it?
1. Clean(er) Eating – Let me slap you with an old cliche. “You are what you eat.” Cliche? Yes. True? Also, yes! The better you do for your insides, the better you’ll feel about the outside. I learned this first hand in the past month and as I’ve reintroduced some foods back into my diet, as well as indulged a time or two (ok, like 12!), I’ve increasingly feel crappier. It’s also not has expensive as you think. If you’re not spending the money on the bad/less good items, you have more left over for your good things.
I also realize that this one is a matter of doing it for yourself. I can sit here and tell you you’ll feel so much better but you have to be willing to make the effort. Make the investment in your health and you mind will thank you for it!
2. Nail Care – Mani/Pedis are wonderful. You feel pampered and pretty and all that good stuff. But I’ll be darned if they don’t cost way more than I’m willing to spend on a regular basis. Invest in some good drugstore supplies and start doing it yourself. There are great cuticle removers, base and top coats, oils, etc out there that cost a fraction of the price of a nail salon. They also last much longer! Here are some of my favorite drugstore finds:
- 15 Second Cuticle Remover
- Cuticle Cream
- Nail Thickener
- My Favorite Nude Polish (color name is Eternal)
- Tool Kit
- Quick Dry Top Coat
All of these together cost LESS than one manicure. Painting your nails can takes some practice (my left hand is so uncoordinated!) but it’s worth it!
3. Essential Oils – Oils are everywhere now and it’s awesome! Even Walmart has started selling them. All you need is a diffuser and a couple of oils to get you started. There are so many uses for them and benefits to using them. Some of my favorite single oils are lavender (calming), lemongrass (keeps mosquitoes away), tea tree (blemish treatment), lemon (fresh/clean scent), Eucalyptus (calming/fresh). And I could go on and on!
4. Drink More Water – This one is basically free! You’re body thrives on this stuff so give it what it needs. My favorite way to enjoy water is to drop in some fruit and/or herbs. Infused water just tastes better in my opinion. Some great combos include orange/cucumber, lemon/mint, or just plain lemon.
5. Take a Nap – This one is completely free and, done in the right amount of time, can really refresh you. I know we don’t always have time for a nap, #adultingishard, but when you can, treat yourself to a 30 min power nap and you’ll thank yourself.
What are your favorite ways to do something for YOU and not brake the bank?
I did it! I finished my first round of Whole 30 as of yesterday! I really do feel much better in my body, as the program says you will, and I’ve noticed many positive changes that don’t even include my number on the scale (although that’s a huge perk!). I originally did this to support my husband’s decision to give it a try but it’s safe to say that I became slightly obsessed with the program and learning all that I could about it. I’m a huge fan of what it can do for you but there are still misconceptions about what the Whole 30 actually is. If you’ve never heard of it, never done it, never looked it up, many of the things that I would share sounded down right crazy to some people. I’m here to bust the most popular myths that I encountered while doing my first round.
- It’s just another fad diet. – This far from true because it’s NOT a diet. The Whole 30 is not meant for weight loss. Weight loss is simply a perk that goes along with eating a cleaner, more natural diet. Also, I did ZERO calorie counting, weigh ins, or food logging. Getting on the scale is actually discouraged for the duration of your 30 days. The Whole 30 calls itself a “reset”. You are literally pushing the reset button on your health to figure out what groups of food cause issues for you such as gastrointestinal problems, breakouts, bloating, etc.
- There’s no way you can maintain that. – And you’re right! You’re right because the program was not meant to be maintained for life. It’s meant for 30 DAYS (hence the name). It’s meant for you to find out how different food group effect your body and decide what foods you’re going to completely eliminate from your diet, which ones don’t effect you, and which ones you’ll choose to indulge in sparingly.
- Aren’t you so hungry? – Nope. Just because the types of foods are restrictive doesn’t mean that your portions have to be. Remember, you’re fueling your body with the good stuff, not filler. You’re not calorie counting here, add an extra scoop of veggies or pack on a little more protein.
- Well, I guess you can’t go out for a month. – Of course I can. Doing a round of Whole 30 does not mean you have to become a hermit. Now that would, of course, be much easier and less use of willpower but it would also be a little (ok a lot) miserable. All you have to do is prepare. If you’re going to a party, bring your own snack or eat before you go so you’re not starving and more likely to cave. If you’re eating out with friends, find the menu online (thank you Google!) and call ahead with questions if you want to avoid being “that person”. Or, do what I do, call yourself out to the waiter, tell them you’re gonna be a little crazy with the questions. I hardly ever mention that I’m on Whole 30, just that I have dietary restrictions and I’m being safe.
I hope that this is helpful and even gets you more interested in trying a round for yourself. The more you know, the better off you are when giving this a go so be sure to do your own research, talk to your doctor, etc. before starting. It’s also makes the entire process much easier and takes the stress out of a lot of situations.
I’m half way through Whole 30! Woohoo! Crazy to think that just about two weeks ago I was binge eating Halo Top ice cream in preparation for my first day. (This is actually discouraged by the program but I did it anyway)
I’m already feeling some positive effects from the eating plan. I have more energy (most days), I feel better mentally, I like the way my skin looks, and I have just a general feeling of being healthier. One of the weirdest things that has happened is that I find myself not really wanting certain foods like I would before. Example: Muffins with mom at Gav’s school was yesterday and I didn’t have any desire to eat the muffin. Like….what? Who am I? (I did, however pretend to take a bite to make Gav happy. If for some reason you’re reading this in the future Gav…Sorry!)
We all go through seasons of life that are great, and some that just plain stink. It’s easy to go through the good times. They’re good! But how do we break free from those not so wonderful times. I’m not talking about true tragedy or deep depression. Please, if that describes you, ask for help. I’m talking about those times where you just don’t feel like yourself. When you don’t feel inspired or motivated. Life can throw in these wrenches in from time to time and I like to be prepared. These rough patches don’t have to be debilitating, use them to grow and learn more about yourself.