Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Beauty Works LA Weave: My Initially Disastrous Experience

When it comes to my hair, I feel like I am quite impulsive. I've died it different colours, cut it into a bob, had multiple fringes cut (which I always regret a week later) and have dabbled with clip in hair extensions. I like changing my look and I feel like I should while I'm young! I have been considering getting permanent hair extensions for years now, though, and it finally felt the right time for me to try it out!

I decided I was going to get them before Christmas and literally did months of research until I decided on two stylists. Now, this is where all my posts of 'don't believe what you see on Instagram' come in. I absolutely fell in love with the work of a hair extension technician near where I used to live and I quickly got in contact with her about getting my own weave. She is about 2 hours away from where I live now but I didn't mind travelling because I thought she was the best chance at getting the perfect weave!

She had loads of clients and took a day or so to reply to me and we chatted on text and I sent photos of my hair so she could colour match it etc. I asked all the questions I wanted to know and she answered them all, putting my mind at rest. Her portfolio of work, happy customers and approach on text put me at ease and I booked in for an 150g, 18inch LA Weave for a month later (she was that busy)!

I was literally so, so excited for the whole month and when the Saturday came around, I just couldn't wait to get my weave! We arrived and I waited about 5 minutes for her to finish up with her previous client and then it was my turn. She matched the hair she had chosen for me to my natural colour and started weaving it in almost straight away. I was happy as she started, trusting she new exactly what she was doing...

She then said she didn't feel too well and had to cancel the rest of her appointments for the day so I was glad that she was able to squeeze me in after driving 2 hours to get there! When she was sewing the weave in I tried to ask as many questions as I could but didn't manage to get them all out because she literally finished it in half an hour.

At the time, I thought she must be amazingly experienced to be able to finish it in this short space of time and without having to cut into my own hair at all like she said she would have to (I had a really blunt, short cut). She trimmed the actual weave a little bit, curled it and took a photo of it on my phone like I asked and it literally looked AMAZING. My hair looked exactly like the ones in her Instagram photos and I was over the moon. Once she'd finished, though, she said nothing more about it. I received absolutely no after care advice, I literally just booked in for my refit in 8 weeks time and left. I didn't even get to see it from the front! Not once did she bring it to the front and blend it all in but, naively, I just trusted she'd done it a thousand times and knew what she was doing. Plus, the massive curls probably would have masked the awful blend anyway.

The whole thing felt pretty rushed but I was fine because I had my new hair! We stayed out for the day and I felt great with my long hair and big, bouncy curls. We traveled back and it was only when I got home and the curls had dropped that I realised my hair was SO LONG, like way more than 18 inches and I could see my own blunt bob literally sticking out either side. 

I tried to trim it myself with not much luck and spent hours figuring out a way to hide it. It just looked awful. I was expecting the tight sensation on my head I had heard people talk about but it actually felt kind of limp and not secure. I was so scared to wash it because it didn't feel tight so I didn't wash my hair for 3 days which is a record for me but something I need to get used to having a an LA Weave. Anyway, I messaged a few LA Weave technicians in my area for a trim and blend on it and tied it back for Monday at work. P.S. if you're ever in the same situation, you need to get someone who is used to cutting hair extension to cut it because they use a different method to normal hair dressers!

I was so gutted to be feeling self-conscious of it after spending so much on it and being so excited for it. The first person that answered me was The Glam Shack Company in Peterborough. I'd been recommended her by a friend and prayed that she would be able to help me as soon as possible! She managed to squeeze me in that day and I was so happy to be able to have a weave that actually looked real.

I was warmly welcome when I got there and she brought me straight into her hair studio. She looked at my hair and knew exactly what I meant about the awful blend. She then looked at how the weave had been attached and was shocked that the previous technician hadn't even used the LA Weave method but a Horseshoe method. She also told me that the hair used was 22 inches which tells me that she didn't buy my hair specifically for me but used some leftovers she had lying around! I didn't even get to see the Beauty Works box like, I later found out, I was meant to. She offered to completely refit it for me at a discounted price and I couldn't be more grateful for that! She refitted it properly and blended it perfectly, not taking too much off my real hair and asking me exactly how I wanted it throughout.

(P.S. excuse my unwashed hair, I was petrified to wash it with the previous weave because it didn't feel secure and it felt SO LONG (way, way too long for me)

I had the best experience I could have wished for at The Glam Shack. I completely trusted her and I was right to because my LA Weave couldn't be better, now! She put it on securely and I had that 'tight sensation' the first few days like I thought I would. I can wear it straight or curly, without worrying my own hair is sticking out all over the place like before. She also gave me so much after care advice so a newbie like me won't ruin my hair and also a little gift bag with a dry shampoo and all the after care advice in it so I wouldn't forget! This is exactly how I wanted to be treated and expected to be treated and I couldn't recommend her enough.

Look how neat the track is!
 So, don't always believe what you see on Instagram because I have experienced first hand how perfect something can look but actually be the complete opposite! I don't want to divulge the previous technician because I wouldn't want to affect her business in anyway and do feel that she was maybe having a bit of an 'off-day' after she told me she didn't feel well. I let her know I was disappointed and she was very lovely about it saying she would have rectified it for free if she'd have known. I physically couldn't drive back another 2 hours because of work which is not her fault.

I have written this post to, one, recommend an LA Weave technician that I had an amazing experience with, two, get my experience out there for anyone who is considering getting an LA Weave and, three, to just reiterate that you shouldn't believe what you read on Instagram! Oh, and make sure they're a certified LA Weave technician. The Glam Shack have the licence number S18P2201 if you want to check that out! 

 I urge anyone in the Peterborough area that wants a weave, to go to The Glam Shack because I can honestly say that she saved my whole weave experience! I am so obsessed with it now and can wear it with pride. It's so nice to have long, swishy princess hair and I owe that all to The Glam Shack!

Also, I'd be more than happy to answer any more specific questions about my experience with an LA Weave and Beauty Works hair because I know I found literally one blog post explaining what it was like and I could really have done with reading more! I have found the actual hair is great quality so far, so hopefully that lasts!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Learning To Love The Girl In The Mirror

I'm so excited to say that the book tour for Learning To Love The Girl In The Mirror has reached my blog! I thoroughly enjoyed the book and completely related to so many of the subjects she covered. Personally, I'm in the process of being a little bit kinder to myself and by doing that, I have found the pressure to be perfect is slowly releasing and leaving me feeling happier in my mind and body.

Learning To Love The Girl In The Mirror is written by a British actress living in LA, Helena Grace Donald, and offers a brutally honest account of her experience with an eating disorder. Aimed at young women, Helena talks through how she learnt how to be a little bit kinder to herself and 'the girl in the mirror'.

This book completely encapsulates everything that I'm trying to work on at the moment and that's why I found it so interesting to read. It was lovely to hear in-depth how somebody else has struggled with many of the same feelings as I have. It was also great to see that she worked on them for herself but, by doing so, is managing to help many other young women that haven't worked out how to be content in their own skin yet.

I found Helena's voice throughout the book to be understanding and kind and it's no surprise to me that she knows exactly what the reader is going through. She covers a range of subjects from unhealthy fad diets, to stress, to striving for perfection, to simple ways to appreciate your body every day. The book is filled with little self-help exercises that I think would be really useful to most people. I mean, have you really ever met anyone that is 100% confident and happy with their body? I know I haven't!

Similarly to Helena, I resonated with many of the struggles she covers in the book during my teenage years and she does a perfect job in pinpointing those issues, sharing her experiences and then offering a solution to them. I really would recommend anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder, low confidence, stress or trying to achieve the impossible feat of 'perfection' to give this book a read!

I have inserted a little bit of the book that I really loved so make sure to give it a read!

"We are bombarded with these images of so-called 'perfection' every day - not only in magazines, but also on TV, on our social media sites, and peering down at us from massive billboards. And, it's so easy to feel insecure and 'not good enough' in comparison. But, we don't have to allow it to influence us. We have a choice.

Recently, I was sitting down to watch one of my favourite shows when a commercial came on showing a 'perfect-looking' model in a bikini running in slow motion along a white sandy beach. For a split second, I felt a pang of jealousy. Luckily, my moment of jealous insecurity was short-lived. I quickly flipped a switch in my brain and said:

"Stop!" Why should I let a commercial on television have the power to make me feel insecure about myself?"

I then gave myself a gentle pep-talk. I told myself that I don't need to look like anyone else or be like anyone else, to be acceptable. I reassured myself that I am perfectly imperfect and that I accept and appreciate myself exactly as I am."

Now, here's the exciting part - I have one copy of the book to giveaway to anyone who is interested in reading it. Just comment below and I will pick someone to send it on to! Or, you can purchase the book here and enjoy - I'd love to hear what you think of it so make sure to come back and let me know your thoughts if you do read it!


Tuesday, 6 March 2018

A Huge Life Update (In Manageable Bullet Points So I Don't Bore You To Tears)

For some reason, I feel like I should start with an apology for not blogging regularly but that is the exact thinking that made me give myself a long break from it so I'm not going to do that. So, hello again! I have posted the odd post about how I am working to change my diet to see if I can cure my acne on my own but that is about it...

That's why I thought it was time that I do a little update on where I'm at with everything. I'm starting to feel like I want to blog more again so I thought (for my own motivation) I would get the ball rolling with this blog post!

Content Creation - Blog, Writing + Vlogging
  • I did mention in my post about why I started blogging that it had begun to feel like a little bit of a chore for me and I was actually just pretty exhausted feeling like I was working my day job and then coming home and working another full-time job blogging. So, I decided to give myself a break over Christmas and made the decision that I would start writing as and when I wanted to so I could 're-find' my love of blogging if you like. So, I'm back! I don't think I'm going to work on a specific schedule just yet but I am keen to start brainstorming different topic ideas and get back to blogging again!
  • After months (literally, months) of having two novel concepts sat in my head waiting for me to get my bum in gear and write them, I have decided to start writing a screenplay with one of them. I have mapped out different characters, themes and scenes that keep springing into my head and it is a work in progress. It feels really good to be working on something that's just in my own head with no pressures of deadlines etc. I'm also really enjoying writing creatively again!
  • Vlogging... I still love you but I don't have enough time for you yet. I started vlogging when I was waiting to start my job and I absolutely loved doing it! However, with the 101 million other things I'm working on at the moment, unfortunately, vlogging has had to take a back seat. I am hoping to get it going again in the summertime, though, so that should be fun!

Goals - Life + Career
  • So, Tom and I are now in full swing of saving for a house of our own. We're still unsure of where we want that house to be exactly but it feels quite nice to have the future undecided in regards to where we'll be settling down. It's hard work saving for a deposit but I'm just keeping the end goal in mind and that's making it a little bit easier!
  • Career-wise, I'm pretty stuck. I mean, my dream is to be a writer but I am aware that that is a career that I am going to have to slowly chip away at whilst I work a full-time job as well. It would be great if I was mega rich and could just jack my job in and write and blog all day long but that's just not doable. So, for now, I am pursuing writing as a hobby and just trying to stay persistent with it until I'm in a position where I can consider it as a full-time job!
Diet, Skin + Exercise
  • It's no secret that I've converted to a paleo-based diet and I've only been banging on about it so much because it literally is my main focus in life at the moment. I started it with the goal of improving my acne and it is proving to be a bit of a wake-up call in a lot more aspects of my life than that. It has started to slowly improve my skin (I have a hunch that dairy and possibly gluten are the culprits) but it has improved my mood, my energy, my digestion and, possibly most importantly for me, my mental health around food. I am absolutely loving eating nourishing meals and I am eating more than I have done in years. I am certain that this diet is perfect for me (I say 'for me' because we're all individual and what works for me won't work for everyone) and I haven't felt happier in general whilst being on it!
  • I have taken up HIIT based training again and loving it. I did try out a bit of long-distance running and tried to make myself like it with no luck. I like short, intense bursts of exercise and that's how it will always be! So, I'm really enjoying doing HIIT training at the minute and it's just adding to my increase in energy and mood.
Blogs/Vlogs I'm Loving

As I'm sure you can understand, some of these categories cross over so I have featured some of them in more than one category but I really wanted to share with you some creators that I'm watching or reading every day - Make sure to check them out!

Inspiration + Positivity: - I absolutely love that her blog goes beyond just external beauty and encourages people to look for the beauty in everything in life!
GraceFitUK - I've only recently discovered GraceFitUK (I know, I'm late to the party) and I just love her attitude to life, it's very uplifting.

Sarah's Day - So, she lives paleo based and makes the yummiest food ever! She really showed me how easy it was to eat well and varied on a paleo based diet without missing out on treats you love.
Whole Heartedly Laura - I stumbled across her blog on Pinterest and I've been obsessed with pinning her recipes, they're great!

GraceFitUK: She looks so great and her workouts look so fun! She's inspired me to start introducing weight training into my exercise regime.
Sarah's Day - She does a lot of plyometrics, HIIT and body weight training which is the sort of exercise I love. She also hates running which I can relate to (ha).

Expedition Happiness - Tom and I have a dream of buying a van, doing it up and travelling around either Europe or America in it and that's exactly what these two did. We spent the whole time going 'ooh', 'aah' and 'wooow' so it's definitely worth a watch if you secretly want to be a hippy like us. The shots are also amazing and they both seem like really great people!

The Anna Edit - I really want to start a capsule wardrobe and this gal has it covered. I love seeing how she pairs things together and I will be going back to her when I start my own.
Lisa Olsson - I'm obsessed with everything this girl wears. I love her minimalistic style.
Love Style Mindfulness - Everything Sinead buys, I want! I just think she looks great in everything and she gives me daily outfit inspiration. 

Thursday, 8 February 2018

10 Things I've Learnt After 1 Week On The 30 Day Paleo Reset

Eat What Makes You Happy - Jon Tyson

1. Don't worry about calories
Oh my god, it's taken me a week to actually get my head around that when you eat whole foods, you don't need to count calories and, I'm not going to lie, it's been a hard habit to try and shake off. This is for two reasons. One, it's nearly impossible to overeat on whole foods, I just can't do it! Two, after doing a lot of research, a big mistake people make is not eating enough food. 

2. You will feel constantly ravenous 
OK, this is a slight overreaction but I have found myself getting really hungry a lot quicker than I usually do. I put this down to the decrease in carbs! This is where it's important to substitute with healthy fats like an avocado or something.

3. You'll be constantly reading labels
In fact, you read labels and have to put the item back down so much that it doesn't take long to realise that just meat, fish and vegetables are a lot easier. Also, when you do find products that are made of completely whole foods they're so expensive... but, hey, I'm not having alcohol!

4. Your 'toilet habits' might go a bit crazy
I've been needing a wee so much more than I usually do and also my tummy has been very iffy - I think from dealing with the massive shift in diet. I won't go into too much more detail, don't worry!

5. Coconut will become your best friend
Coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut water, desiccated coconut, coconut yoghurt - enough said.

6. You will feel bloated
I have found myself feeling pretty good in the mornings but by bedtime, I'm often feeling quite bloated!

7. Your gut health will improve
Well, mine has! I can actually eat berries again and not be in excruciating pain! I definitely think that my diet mixed with probiotic supplements every day has allowed my stomach to tolerate fruit again - yay!

8. You won't have as much energy to workout
I have been either not wanting to workout at all or tried to and just ran out of energy really quickly. I've read that this, as well as the toilet habits and bloating, improves later on in the reset, though, so I'm not really worried.

9. You won't feel full and guilty after any meal
It's so refreshing for me to be able to eat and not feel guilty about it. It honestly takes such a huge weight off my mind and that is one of the biggest reasons why I don't want to go back to eating how I used to. I haven't felt this carefree around food in so long, I don't even remember!

Oh my god, my skin is actually getting a bit better! I only have a couple of spots on my chin at the moment which is literally amazing for me. The main thing that I've noticed is when I run my hand across my chin it's feeling less and less inflamed and angry and starting to smooth out.

 I am starting to get a hunch that the culprit could be dairy as this is the first time I've really cut it out fully and I used to be lactose intolerant. Also, I've been making a conscious effort to chill the eff out because I know stress sets it off too. So, nobody stress me out!

In all seriousness, I am so happy that I have started to see an improvement even if it is very small because it's still early days and I was expecting to have to wait months to see any change. It's the first week and I'm really looking forward to learning more about my body and what foods etc effect how it runs!

Monday, 29 January 2018

I Am Giving Up Alcohol For 30 Days...

If anyone knows me, they know I like a drink... and don't most people?

Ever since I can remember, alcohol has been a big part of my life. Whether that has been watching my family drink, drinking underage in parks (yes, we all did it), drinking in clubs at uni any night of the week and, now, enjoying a few in a bar or pub on the weekends - it's just always been there. I mean, one of my earliest memories is being so excited to have a 'sip' of my dad's pint! This definitely isn't just exclusive to me or my upbringing, in fact, it's more common than not for people in our culture to have a similar experience with alcohol.

So, let me get to the point. I've really been toying with going sober for a few months just to see what effect it has on my body and health. I tried to do it a few weeks ago when I just wanted to 'cut down' and where did I find myself Friday and Saturday night? The pub. So, that clever idea lasted all of about... 2 days? Then, I tried to approach it a little more seriously when I re-started my paleo diet. I had a bar crawl with my uni friends planned and I trialled telling my friends that I was going sober. The reaction was obviously not positive and they urged me to do it after the bar crawl, which I have ended up doing. 

The problem is, I'm 23 and there will always be another bar crawl or a trip to the pub or even the odd club still. I'm always going to have to resist the temptation and it is so hard for me to say no when everyone else around me is having a drink and relaxing. No one wants to be the 'sober friend' who just has to watch everyone get increasingly tipsy and I've never been the person to do that. I'm being completely honest when I say, I like a drink. I'm not thinking about going sober because I don't like feeling drunk or whatever, it started as a health thing and now, it's turning into something that I just want to prove to myself. I want to know that I can resist the temptation.

It is such a big thing to do for me. I don't think I've been a weekend (well, maybe the odd one) without consuming some form of alcohol since I was about 14! When you look at it like that, it's really scary... But why is it so hard? I'm not an alcoholic, I don't get the shakes if I haven't had a drink, I don't need alcohol to talk to people but I am genuinely more nervous to cut out alcohol than 'junk food'.

I honestly think it's a culture thing. I said to my dad the other day 'the problem is, when I go out with my friends it is to drink - we're just still at that stage of our lives' and he answered 'well it's a stage you don't get out of because it's exactly the same with me'. This really got me thinking about how drinking alcohol is just expected of people. I've never had to say 'no, sorry, I'm not drinking' before and I've not wanted to!

Anyway, during my 30 Day Paleo Reset, I am not allowed to drink alcohol but it is something that can be re-introduced in phase 2 or 3. I know I've got social 'drinking' occasions during those 30 days so it's going to take a lot for me to say no because I am really going to want to have a drink... but I'm going to do it because I've set myself a challenge and it's not forever. I'll let you know how I get on and I do think it'll be quite interesting to see how I feel and how hard it will be for me to say no. I guess, writing about it on here means I really can't do it. I'm hardly going to want to come back next month and say 'sorry everyone, I failed'.

Is drinking alcohol regularly an age thing, a society thing or is it not a problem? I'd love to know your thoughts and if any of you have had to abstain for a certain amount of time - I'd love to know if you have any tips!

P.S. today is now Monday (the start of my 30 Day Reset) and so the no alcohol has begun (I wrote this post on Friday) and I'm feeling optimistic and excited to see the benefits... if there are any!


Friday, 26 January 2018

Why I Am Doing Chris Kresser's 30 Day Paleo Reset

It has been nearly two weeks since I decided to really work on curing my acne holistically. To say I feel the best I have in a while is an understatement really which has just pushed me to take it to the next level, really strip it back to basics and get to the root cause of my skin problems!

So, where am I at after 2 weeks? 

I've taken myself off the contraceptive pill. This might seem really strange because it does make my skin slightly better than when I'm off it but I just feel like a complete phoney if I'm working so hard at putting the right things into my body and then pumping fake hormones in at the same time. Chris Kresser has a great way of describing natural medicine compared to the medicine from a traditional Doctor.

He says that if you had a stone in your shoe, a traditional Doctor would often prescribe you with painkillers to stop you feeling it but he would aim to remove the stone from your shoe (hence, find out exactly what is causing the problem and cure it). My skin most probably will get worse before it gets better when coming off the pill as it usually does but I would much rather that happen and then work at curing the route of the issue than just mask it short term.

What have I been eating?

I've generally got into the habit of having yoghurt, banana, chia seeds, flaxseed, organic desiccated coconut, cinnamon, ginger and pure maple syrup. It's very yummy and it's keeping me full for a long period of time so I've been quite happy eating it. I did start off with smoothies but I just wasn't full enough and by the time lunch came around I was ravenous!

For lunch, I tend to have a salad or pea pasta (you can literally buy pasta made of only peas in Waitrose) or some form of rice noodles and veg. To be honest, I just shove a load of veggies together for lunch and I really enjoy it.

Tea hasn't been too dissimilar to before. I've been having some sort of meat or fish and having it with vegetables, rice or rice noodles. Pretty simple but very tasty. I'm really into taking meals that I liked before (ones that may have gluten or sugar in them etc) and working to find paleo alternatives that are usually better in my opinion!

That leads me on to my paleo baking which I have been really enjoying. It takes a bit of time to get used to baking with paleo ingredients. For example, I've made a few really stodgy cakes because you need the smallest amount of coconut flour and a couple of my coconut milk buttercream creations have gone lumpy.

On a positive note, I've completely nailed two of my favourite sweet treats - millionaire's shortbread and carrot cake! What's really mad is that people that can tolerate gluten and sugar and 'normal' baking love my paleo versions and can barely taste the difference! I'm going to publish all of my recipes to this blog (when I get the time) and work on building up lots more of my favourites paleo style!

Have I been exercising?

I've actually started running (I really hated it before). I've been going with a group in my local town and it's so motivating and nice because everyone is so lovely and supportive. I can feel my stamina for steady, long distance running (well, long distance for me) building and I'm actually really starting to enjoy it!

I'm also really looking forward to re-introducing some HIIT style workouts next week as I really used to enjoy them! I've also really been working on just getting active in general and doing fun activities that don't feel like you're working your body because it's just enjoyable and not structured. Tom and I went to a trampoline park last weekend and this weekend we're going to a climbing wall. They're really great ways to get active and just feel like you're having fun!

So, what is the 30 Day Paleo Reset?

Let's get to the title of this post. I am going to start Chris Kresser's '30 Day Paleo Reset'. This is a form of elimination diet where I will be basically be eating very strict paleo for 30 days. It's meant to cure any inflammation and basically 'reset' your body ready for when you want to introduce new paleo foods like dairy, dark chocolate and alcohol (THANK GOD).

After I've completed the first 30 days, I plan on using Chris's book 'Your Personal Paleo Code' to guide me through introducing new foods and seeing what works and what doesn't work for my body.

It works in 3 phases. Phase 1 is the 30 day reset and phase 2 and 3 are slowly introducing new foods to see what your body likes and doesn't like.

Here is a list of foods I can and can't eat on the 30 Day Paleo Reset (thanks to Rubies & Radishes for the list):

Eat Liberally:
  • Meat and Poultry – organic and free-range is preferable
  • Organ meats (especially liver)
  • Bone-broth soups
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Starchy plants – yams, sweet potatoes, tapioca, yuca, taro, lotus root, plantains and breadfruit
  • Nonstarchy vegetables
  • Fermented vegetables and fruits
  • Traditional fats – ghee, coconut oil, red palm oil, palm kernel oil, macadamia oil, lard (rendered from free-range pigs if possible), duck fat, beef tallow (from free-range cows if possible) and olive oil (preferably extra virgin)
  • Olives, avocados, and coconuts (including coconut milk)
  • Sea salt and spices
 Eat in Moderation:
  • Processed meat- sausage, bacon, salami, etc. Make sure they are gluten, sugar and soy-free. Organic/free-range/grass-fed is preferable. Two to four servings a week is fine.
  • Whole fruit – up to four servings per day, depending on your blood sugar balance and type of fruit. Choose a wide variety of colours. All fruit is permitted but favour low sugar fruits.
  • Nuts and seeds – limit yourself to a handful per day.
  • Green beans, sugar peas, and snap peas – Though technically legumes, they are usually well tolerated. 4 -6 servings per a week are allowed.
  • Coffee and black tea – limit to 1 8 ounce cup a day.
  • Vinegar – may be used in small amounts every day as part of a salad dressing or sauce.
Avoid Completely:
  • Dairy – including butter, cheese, yoghurt, milk, etc. Ghee is permitted because it contains only trace amounts of dairy proteins and lactose.
  • Grains -including wheat, rice, oats, pseudo grains and nongluten grains like sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat and so on.
  • Legumes – including beans of all kinds (soy, black, pinto, etc.)
  • Sweeteners, real and artificial – including paleo friendly sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.
  • Chocolate – including dark chocolate. Although dark chocolate is a nutrient-dense food, many people who are intolerant of gluten are (unfortunately!) also intolerant of proteins in chocolate. Don’t worry! You can reintroduce it in Step 2.
  • Processed or refined foods
  • Industrial seed and vegetable oils – Soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower, rapeseed, peanut, cottonseed, canola, etc
  • Sodas, including diet sodas and fruit juice – Coconut water is fine, but limit yourself to half a cup a day. Plain soda water or mineral water is fine.
  • Alcohol – In any form
  • Processed sauces and seasonings
 After my first week, I'm going to post what I ate that week as a sort of meal plan/inspiration for anyone else who is interested in trying it so keep your eyes peeled if you fancy 'resetting' your body and getting it healthy and thriving again!

I'd also really recommend reading Chris Kresser's articles if you are suffering from acne, like me, or any skin issues, weight problems, fertility problems, stress problems (honestly the list is endless)!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

2018: The Year To Holistically Cure My Acne

Holistically curing acne with gut health

Hello lovely people, it's been a while...

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are ready to smash a brand new year! I know I have been a bit elusive over the last month and, if I'm being completely honest (I have to be since I named this thing 'authenticallyolivia') I needed a break. I needed some time away from stressing myself out with blogs and vlogs and Instagram posts and I basically took some time to be selfish and not worry about deadlines etc.

During this time of relaxation, I decided to chill back out with everything again and remember that I started this as a hobby. I did begin to get a bit swept up with numbers and schedules and growing my blog and taking some time out made me realise that it's not worth it if it's going to stress me out. I'd rather keep my blog little and ticking along if I'm going to be happier that way. So, for the moment, I will be posting as and when I feel like it and I won't be posting on a strict schedule - hopefully, that is a good arrangement that will keep me happy and stress-free!

This post is about holistically curing my acne and I'm going to talk briefly about my findings (there'll be more to come when I actually get into it and learn more) but a great place to start is de-stressing. I can't remember a time where I wasn't stressing about something so I've really been trying to train my brain to chill out. That did start with scrapping the schedules and as well as curing my gut I am going to introduce meditation and yoga back into my days which, I'm hoping, my skin will thank me for!

Right, let's get to it!

As you may know, if you've been reading for a while, I've dabbled in a paleo-based diet, contemplated Roaccutane and basically got really stressed about my skin. After many trials and tribulations, I've decided I'm not going to take Roaccutane (it scares me and I'm just really unsure about it) and I'm going to really work hard at curing my acne holistically. I know, I sound like a Buddhist wannabe but how amazing would it be if I could be the best version of myself with no weird concoction of drugs but just with real food and calming techniques?

So, I've been doing a lot of research into gut health and how it affects basically everything. Weight loss, fatigue, mental health, sleep, skin conditions, digestion, fertility, the list goes on! I've been reading up on how I should be feeding my gut with probiotics through fermented food and supplements and cutting out all 'toxic' foods from my diet.

I cut out 'toxic' foods (which to put it basically, are processed, unnatural foods) when I followed a paleo-based diet and I know my body thrived off it. My digestion improved, I had way more energy whilst exercising and I felt generally happier. Tom urges me to go back on that all the time because he noticed a difference in the amount I stressed about food and exercise and how I generally just felt well. He said it was the healthiest he'd ever seen me and I was... so why did I stop? I guess I got slightly disillusioned. I felt these great benefits but it wasn't hitting what I really wanted to change. My acne. I still had acne and my weight didn't really seem to shift either. I seem to be able to eat as much as I want and not put anything on but then I can be really good too and not lose any either... This not only indicated to me that there was something missing but also made me feel like I might as well eat what I want and find a drug that can target my skin because it obviously wasn't my diet that controlled my skin condition.

Now, this is where I'm hoping that the answer I've been looking for is healing my gut because I really have given it a battering over the years. I've taken long courses of antibiotics for my acne and recurrent UTIs and I've also been on the contraceptive pill since I was about 15. These are all things that will be destroying the good bacteria in my gut which leads to bad gut health and, subsequently, acne.

I'm only guessing after researching how I destroyed my gut in the first place and I put it down to a number of things. Growing up, I ate processed food. This doesn't mean I lived off oven pizzas and McDonald's, I'm talking bread, cereals, 'healthy' breakfast bars, things that are staples in our diets but aren't natural. Like most, I was given courses of antibiotics to fight illness or discomfort and the one thing that I think really triggered it? Stress. It can't be solely hormonal for me because I didn't develop acne when I started my period or went through puberty or whatever. My acne developed in my later teenage years when I can pinpoint that I was most stressed.

So, what now? I don't have to just live with a damaged gut - 2018 is the year that I'm going to set out to heal it. I want to put all the good gut flora back in through prebiotics, probiotics and fermented food and I'm so excited to document my finding to help others that may be struggling with similar issues to me.

So, I'm ready to really take control of my overall health and (hopefully) cure my acne completely holistically. You can all watch me learn, fail and hopefully succeed! I start on Monday and I will post what I'm eating for the week as well as (hopefully) a vlog or two on how I'm finding it.

Now, let's do this! (insert muscle emoji here)
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