Tag Archives: Gen-x

The Gut Bacteria, Mood, Weight Connection!

Gut bacteria article are popping up all over so I decided to go down the info rabbit hole to better understand what  it all means…

What if by fixing your gut, you could fix your mind?

I learned so much cool stuff that I wanted to parse together from a layman’s point of view, the more striking info  because it’s game changing,  almost alchemical stuff.

“Super wow, consider my mind blown by the awesomeness that is science!”

Through advancements in Enteric Neuroscience, which is basically the study of the Enteric Nervous System and how gut bacteria affects our biology,  we’re finally learning more about the brain.  A rather clever doctor at the top of his field once told me that the medical world only knows about 10% of what’s happening in the body and even less in the brain so I’ll take my breakthroughs were I can.

“Meet your  2nd brain, The Enteric Nervous System”

If you’re like me you remember zero, zip, nada about the The Enteric Nervous System from school;  It’s  a network of neurons running from your esophagus to your tale bone that meshes out through the gut tissue, it can operate autonomously and oddly, wasn’t discovered until mid 19th century.

“It’s the original nervous system, the one we crawled out of primordial ooze with that might’ve involved into the brain”

The Enteric nerve system connects to the brain by way of the Vagus nerve and research  shows that Vagus nerve stimuli can drive obsessive eating as well as allow women with complete spinal cord injuries to experience orgasms, so don’t under estimate its power.

Theories will certainly change as new discoveries are revealed, but for now the good news is with any luck the personalized medical care revolution we hoped for in the wake of gene therapy innovations in the 90’s might finally come to fruition by way of your gut and new insight into the ENS.

“Someday you might sip down a designed just for you bacterial cocktail, and that’s a great thing!”

Nothing new under the sun

In 1910 Doctor George Porter Phillips reported that live bacteria introduced through whey to patients dealing with ‘Melancholia’ reported a marked improvement in mood. His study was further backed up in 1923 when doctors found bacteria treatment helpful in the aid of psychosis.

 Studies have long shown a connection between patients who suffer from depression and anxiety to gastrointestinal problems,  now the connection becomes less opaque.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that among other things regulates, your ability to feel good. Serotonin producing cells form early in the development of the enteric nervous system. Trauma, say in the form of early gut infection, intense stress could possibly lead to ailments down the road like irritable bowl syndrome. A recent study showed 87 of 100 IBS subjects had antibodies that killed off of neurons in the gut. (Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, vol 18, p 78)

“Most people think Serotonin is produced in the brain, but did you know 90% of it is produced & resides in your gut?”

According to this Caltech study an estimated 90% of serotonin is made in the digestive tract and specific bacteria are critical for its production. It can’t be produced without Tryptophan, and get this, our body doesn’t make any, it must be obtained from food or supplements.  Round up spray, a common pesticide, interrupts the pathway in the plant cell that makes tryptophan and messes with the soils ecosystem.

“You begin to see how in one of the richest countries on the planet it’s so very easy to feel terrible in mind and body”

1 in 10 Americans are on SSRI’s, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors  and that number climbing steadily.  According to a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association,  from 1999 to 2012 the percentage of Americans on antidepressants increased from 6.8% to 13%,  While another  study highlights that  69% of antidepressant users never met criteria for major depressive disorder.

From Scientific American– more and more doctors are prescribing antidepressants to treat non psychological conditions, this is troubling to me because for some of these issues the meds are a temporary bandage, not a cure. Some off-label uses of SSRIs include:

  • Abuse and dependence
  • ADHD (in children and adolescents)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Autism (in children)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Arthritis
  • Deficits caused by stroke
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Hot flashes
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraine
  • Neurocardiogenic syncope (fainting)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Premature ejaculation

That’s a lot of things an SSRI can fix, huh? Pill companies must be thrilled to have such a convenient cure on their hands.

Obviously many people on  ssri meds  benefit from them and see vast improvement to their quality of life.  We’ve probably all seen this to be true of ourselves, or family members who stabilized after finding the right med combo,  but what if a fair sized percentage of current and new users  are dealing with gut troubles manifesting as depression?

“We know antibiotics wipe out gut bacteria, now we’re finding antidepressants also wipe out gut bacteria”

The very medicine taken to feel better could be wiping away healthy gut bacteria and with it,  any chance of getting better. This study also noted weight gain was the norm for the mice, as they also suffered a 16% less efficacy rate in burning calories while on a specific antidepressant.

So now you’re overweight, still depressed, and probably experiencing anxiety as adrenaline produced in response to stress can cause an outgrowth of undesirable bacteria. Your doctor then might up your meds,  switch you over to another ssri, or  maybe add in an anti psychotic to balance you out, never thinking to suggest you take a probiotic,  get a hormone panel or start eating more prebiotic foods.

“The chances of the average Western trained doctor suggesting a diagnostic hormone panel or a course of probiotics to cure the blues is low to none”

When the medical, psychiatric and pharmaceutical industry  treat psychological conditions with meds that target  brain chemistry as well as gut microbes maybe we’ll see  improvements.

“There’s slim chance of producing a balanced body ecosystem living in a nutritional desert. “

Gut Microbial Therapy

I found a most edifying lecture by Dr. Simon Carding  Leader of the Gut Health and Food Safety Research Program at the Institute of Food Research and Norwich Medical School titled, ‘Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Brain’,  which  further backs up that gut microbes influence when, what and how often we eat.

Fix your gut, Fix your brain!

Bacteria changes introduced to ‘normal’ weight mice made them gain weight without a calorie increase, just as different strains introduced into the gut of obese mice gave them the ability to eat high fat and not gain weight.

“Gut bacteria in newborns is affected by delivery method with c-sections getting microbiota from the delivery team”

Gut bacteria in newborns is affected by delivery method  C-section babies bacteria diversity comes more from the delivery team than the mother. This is why vaginal bacteria transplants are a thing.

Let’s say you’re a bottle, not breast fed C section baby who primarily ate a standard American diet in early childhood, you’re not colonizing the kind of bacteria that help stabilize things like your immunity system, weight or mood, and with that, the ability to fend off future chronic illnesses becomes tricky.

If your system is severely compromised with bad bacteria, specifically Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. which can over-populate the colon, you can die. In these severe cases a Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) can be performed. Fecal matter, that’s your poo, is  collected from a donor, mixed with a saline or other solution, strained, then placed in a sick patient, via the colon or sometimes the nasal passage.  Once good bacteria levels are restored,  patients return to health.

“A gob of strangers poop up your nose could save your life”

Highly effective, thoroughly gross, but in the end animals playing with pack mates poo might be natures way of spreading good bacteria around. Maybe your dog sniffs another dogs  butt to determine the health of the newly encountered animal.

Not all donor fecal matter is equal, so who you get your bacteria from matters.  A  mother with no weight issues received a FMT transplant from her overweight daughter. The daughter went on to become obese, the mother eventually also became obese. The daughter passed on all her bacteria, the good and the not so good.

Sterile mice bred to have no gut bacteria craved sweets, mice with healthy gut bacteria did not. Mice with a certain diversity of microbia digested foods efficiently, remained trim but when  gut diversity was reduced,  unchecked stress hormone levels went up and the mice sought out fatty foods, and then burned those calories at a slower pace.

Brain scans  of human subjects with fatty acids injected directly into the gut showed a lower response to pictures and music designed to make them feel sad than those given a placebo. Subjects  also reported feeling only about half as sad as the placebo group. (The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 121, p 3094).

Ghrelin, known as the hunger hormone,  is released when we feel stress, most likely this is left over from fight or flight responses. In 2011  Jeffrey Zigman at UT Southwestern Medical Center reported that mice exposed to chronic stress sought out fatty food, but those  genetically engineered to be unable to respond to Ghrelin did not (The Journal of Clinical Investigation, vol 121, p 2684).

Zigman notes that in our modern world, with freely available high-fat food, the result of chronic stress or depression can be chronically elevated ghrelin – and obesity.

“It may turn out some of us crave fatty greasy foods for their sedating properties, rather than a desire to over eat unhealthy foods or lack of will power”

Restoring gut balance could possibly lead to a decrease in food cravings, less fat on the body, less hormonal issues. It’s also becoming clear there’s a connection between gut inflammation and some cancers as intestinal inflammation targets cancer-inducing activity of the microbiota.

One of the thing you can do to address body inflammation is pump up prebiotic foods, and cut out some of the nutrient devoid processed crap that confuse the gut.

Prebiotic foods help populate your gut with healthy bacteria. Cruciferous vegetables are a great source  These include-

  • Collard greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Rutabagas
  • Radish
  • Onions

And similar leafy greens. Raw veg contains higher levels of what you’re after, cooked is better than not at all. Folks who have medical conditions that make eating these foods difficult should  consult a doctor and go slow with introducing new foods.

These foods are high in fiber something good bacteria thrives on. The standard American diet is super low in fiber so some people might need to add a probiotic to aid in digestion. A study showed in mice who had fiber removed from their diet for a little as 7 weeks suffered a  60% drop of the local gut flora,  this remained low even after the mice returned to high-fiber meals.

This is where taking a quality probiotic comes in handy. Probiotics are live beneficial bacteria readily be found in certain yogurt and kefir products as well as pill and liquid form. The FDA regulates probiotics as foods, not medications so this makes it harder for you to know if you’re getting a quality product There are tons on the market so it’s important to find one with a diversity of cultures, say 30 or more different strains of microbiota as opposed to 5, and one with the ability to stay alive through the stomachs digestive process so it might survive to populate the colon. This usually means the brands stocked in the fridge section, with no added sugars, do your research before purchasing.

It’s a glorious machine this human body, and I’m glad we’re finally making some breakthroughs as I’d like to live out the rest of my days relatively pain free in mind and body. I’m excited new info is out there and that it’s easier than ever to access and research studies to your heart, or guts content.

Let’s Talk Hormones!

Hormones are “chemical communicators or connectors” that carry messages to and from organs.  So why is it women usually speak of them with hushed tones? An open dialogue about the role of hormones, their imbalances and the toll perimenopause exacts is needed to share knowledge.

Btw, if you are in your 20’s and are about to click off because who gives a shit about olds,  if you’re on a birth control pill or ring etc,  you’re already manipulating hormones enough to fool your body into thinking it doesn’t need to drop an egg. That’s pretty powerful stuff when you think about it.

If you were a girl who got her period maybe a little younger than your peers, whose body exploded into tits and ass, BAM! And you have dramatic painful periods, are  super ‘moody’, feel ‘hysterical’ and so on,  there’s a chance you might be rocking a hormone imbalance.

It’s up to you to be your own advocate. Even with all the breakthroughs in medicine, doctors are more likely to suggest you take an anti depressant than order a hormone panel, that’s problematic to say the least. If you’re feeling depressed, gaining or losing a ton of weight for no reason, feel anxious…. No matter your age, insist your doctor run a panel.  Hormones can get wonky from a variety of factors and may seem to you or others like solely an emotional issue. Feeling crazed? Get your panel done!

We’re pretty quick in the states to use pharmaceutical pills that mask symptoms, leaving the real culprit unchecked. If you’re considering an SSRI,  getting a panel is doubly important. A simple plant based bio identical hormone could be your salvation. Insurance usually covers the cost, but check with your doctor on any or all of this, of course.

Another thing that affects your hormones is Perimenopause, the transition toward no more periods, Menopause. This can happen in your early 30’s through early 50’s.  It can be jarring to say the least. you might be experiencing amped up PMS like symptoms  27 days a month because your hormones are bouncing around as much as when you were going through puberty. It means fertility is waning, and if you’re over 40,  live in America, that means you’re viewed by society as 2 seconds from full on crone status complete with the invisibility cloak of a middle aged woman, which y’know… is weird.

Steven R. Goldstein, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Medical Center in New York City spoke with WebMD.com about perimenopause and stated “Every woman thinks that it’s the sudden drop in estrogen from not ovulating that causes the problems. But in reality, it’s the fluctuation of estrogen, along with less progesterone, that is behind many of the typical symptoms of perimenopause,” Goldstein says. These symptoms, he tells WebMD, include not only mood swings and sensitivity, but also hot flashes, night sweats, and memory problems.

A hormone imbalance had a profound effect on my health when I dealt with a gnarly case of fibroids, benign tumors that grow in and around the uterus. Mine had taken over,  putting pressure on organs, wrapping around the spine and impinging my hip socket.  The general school of thought from progressive doctors is you don’t get a cranked out uterus like that without a hormone imbalance, usually an Estrogen dominance, oh,  and by the way,  fibroids are one of the top  causes of infertility and miscarriages. The old school of medical thought was, ‘We don’t know why they happen, just be happy it’s nothing more serious, it mostly only affects black women, blah blah, blah…’.  While I’m always and forever grateful they’re benign, I’m super bummed I had to get info on the fibroid-hormone connection so late in the game.

In my case there was way too much Estrogen, an Estrogen dominance, and zero Progesterone, which is also called the feel good hormone. I did not, in fact, feel good. I was crying all the time, anxious and couldn’t think straight. That’s what one missing  hormone can do! Once I began a plant sourced progesterone supplement and cut out estrogen rich foods that might add to the imbalance, like soy and dairy, (a moment of silence for malted milkshakes)  I felt and started to look like ‘me’ again. I was able to get off weight that’d been stuck, which also helped, as fat stores and releases estrogen.

Last year I had a friend in her 30’s, a successful business woman, mother and full on type A personality tell me she felt out of sorts, not like herself, was prone to bouts of crying,  and no appetite as she was very anxious. This was all very out of character for her and I could see why doctors offered Xanax etc. When I suggested she get a hormone panel she said she’d had one in the last year and that wasn’t the issue… But it sounded exactly like what I’d been through. Hormone levels can slide dramatically in just one year, so I urged her to get another test and in 9 months her levels had changed from normal to very low Estrogen, she got on a bio identical hormone and within weeks felt like her old self more or less.

Here’s a Web MD link to a less anecdotal take, it’s not the most thorough, but it’ll get you started on how the things we eat also influence hormones. Honestly I LOVE dairy, but for me feeling better in my body was worth giving it up.

Besides cremes or pills, there’s also a host of herbs like Black Cohosh that help abate symptom, they didn’t work for me but they might be the only thing you need to feel like yourself! Cameron Diaz has a  new book out soon addressing the subject and here’s one by Suzanne  Sommers, because I finally get how she a  zillion hawking natural hormone cremes .   xx Rachel

 

 

 

It’s not just genes that affect aging!

I put up a video a while back addressing how processed foods age us by way of inflammation and a few people commented  about my genes… Thanks a ton for saying nice things re my skin, but please know genes are only part of the equation.

First off,  I’ve never done hardcore drugs, or given birth… two things that age a body for very different reasons, I use sunblock and more importantly,  when I quit cig’s and started eating natural foods I noticed a huge difference in quality of facial skin.

Personally, I think folks say I look younger than my years because everyone else in Hollywood is lying about their age. That said, quality of food, hydration,  exercise, healthy gut bacteria, mood etc all factor into feeling good in your body.

In terms of skin care, most of my life I’ve washed my face with whatever was handy,  no moisturizer, no fancy serums or fussy regimes.  My formerly oily skin,  now more combo to dry,  is still prone to zits and def has fine and not so fine lines, so putting a little more thought in is required.

IMG_2495-Edit-Edit

These days I use a natural Mario Badescu face wash followed with Tretinoin, one of the few pharmaceutical products in my repertoire . Save $ and nix crazy expensive brands or the use of fillers & botox etc (which I’ve never tried cause.. weird.) and check it out.

It’s the  generic form of products like Retin-A and a vitamin A derivative  developed to combat acne with the handy side effect of softening fine lines and stimulating collagen growth.

Basically it sloughs  off dead cells and helps plump skin. I’ve tried natural vitamin A creams and they don’t work as well on zits or fine lines, so while it’s a bummer this is not an organic natural product,  it gets two thumbs up from me as it works well, though direct sun can cause skin irritation and some people get all peely from it in the beginning, my skin tolerates it well.

A dermo or family doc can fill a prescription for you and if you tell ’em it’s for acne insurance is more likely to cover.  I get the generic and use the lowest strength.  I’ve paid anywhere from $6-$35 a tube, which lasts about 4-6 months. I think that’s reasonable in a world of $300 eye creams,  don’t sleep on the affordable stuff.

Lastly, as far as feeling & looking good at any age, and this is maybe because my skeletal frame is small,  I personally find keeping my weight down helpful to feeling good in my body and keeping my skin looking its best.  Since I’ve gained 10lbs + after finding my boyfriend, the next post’s gonna be on how I’m going to get the weight off and I hope you’ll consider joining me in losing ten if you’re not fitting in your fav pants either. Tweet me if you wanna lose 10 too! Rachel

 

 

Diggs Kinda Sorta Has A Point On Racial Identity…

Recently the actor Taye Diggs made a statement that he didn’t want his mixed son to identify as black, causing a bit of an internet backlash and major trolling for Diggs via Black Twitter.

The thing is, I get what he was trying to say… and I don’t  totally want to agree with the dude who presumably (temporarily) broke the heart of America’s sweetheart Idina Menzel, the white mother of Tayes son.

I’ve worked with Diggs,  he’s intelligent and I think if you look at his actual statements in conjunction with the very positive childrens books he has written, you’ll see the words for what they are, a parent wanting a world where kids just get to be whatever they are, and in this case they are mixed or bi-racial.

I’m the gen-x mixed daughter of a white father, who had full custody, and a black mother but I learned long ago it was easier to say I’m black, mostly because that is how I’m perceived when I walk in a room  and also I’d grown tired of having to prove my mixed-ness…

“well, you don’t look mixed…”

“you’re really dark for a mixed person.”

“Why don’t you just say you’re black?”

“I’m not down with the swirl” (it was the 90’s)

You get the point.

At times there was an internal struggle and I would attempt to code switch to fit in.

I felt I had to deny my parentage to fit in or placate my contemporaries, who were already confused by the patois of my voice, my northern twang still evoking claims of ‘talking white’.  My  very high yellow, let’s just say ‘Gina from Martin taupe’ light (same dad, diff black mom’s) half sister once said I didn’t know what it was like to be mixed. I corrected her by saying “I don’t know what it’s like to be light skinned and mixed”. Being mixed means  having a different cultural back ground, not simply looking  ‘mixed.’

So I feel Taye is saying  why should his child or any child, have to deny part of their story because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

The narrative is bullshit.

The narrative says brown people who say they’re mixed are denying their blackness.

The narrative is anyone in the US with more than 1/16th black blood is black -this dates back to slave times and ownership of people as property.

The narrative is mixed people are always lighter than a paper bag,  ‘exotically pretty’ and tragic.

Uh, no, old school bullshit narrative..NO!

For me and many others this couldn’t be farther from the truth… When we say mixed, we’re acknowledging all our ancestors and hopefully expanding the world view of what ‘mixed’ is.

We all agree for the most part that race is a social construct… We’re all humans right? So to have a phrase such as ‘mixed’ or ‘biracial’ cause such divisiveness in 2015 is mind boggling.

In truth, I am Black AND I am Mixed. I can be and am both. I love my blackness, besides being a woman it is the singular defining thing about me, and I did me some me.

To troll Diggs for wanting to explore and make his child feel comfortable with his full genetic background seems immature.

I agree he phrased it in some pretty clunky questionable dialogue, though…. for a writer and all.

Rachel True

 

 

 

Compliments with qualifiers…

“The thing about compliments with qualifiers, is it detracts from the compliment you’re genuinely trying to  give… duh.”

If I say… “You look great!” Or “that top look amazing on you!”  That might make you smile.

No let’s try this again, I say ~ “You look great, for 36!”… Or “that top looks great, if you lost 10lbs you’d look amazing!”…. or “you’re handsome for a white guy”~

You’re probably going to think I’m socially awkward at best, (which I am) even though my intentions are good.

If you can’t not mention numbers, for the record I’m 211 & rarely seen in daylight, so  get it right.  Or weight ~ none of your business…. Or height ~ I’m whatever height the part calls for. Rest assured I’m comfortable in my skin… though I am as always, a work in progress.

A few short years ago, like so many Gen-xers, I was as the saying goes… fat sick & nearly dead after a garden variety illness & major surgery… Since then I committed to living a healthy lifestyle (for me that means no dairy, no meat, tons of veg and water, exercise… not fillers, botox, or short cuts, I’ve never even had a facial)…  It’s been great & I’m delighted some of y’all are kind enough to compliment the results.

If you’ve been feeling sluggish or not your best energetically, try adding more water, fruit & veg into your normal diet, these foods deliver nutrition & help repair your cells the way nature intended!     ; ) True

IMG_6980

Things I’ve said…

“Hold on, I gotta change my clothes for this grandma audition.”

That said, I have dressed like an extra from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat for most of my 211 years, and perhaps it’s time for a change… I’m thinking French lady chic? Which begs the question…  How do I tie a neck scarf and not look like Rizzo from Grease?  Also, will I feel like a grown up if I start dressing like one?  True

_MG_8259-Edit

Products My Natural Hair Loves

dawn-rachel-mail
 Hello!
There’s tons of great sites dedicated to naturally curly hair,  this is not going to be one but… over the years  I’ve been asked by a few to do a Q&A type thing but never did, probably because I was  having a bad hair day.
A couple of years ago I over dosed my hair on protein, too much heat & hard water. It split like crazy way up the shaft… yet again, le sigh.
Here’s a wee bit of what helped get some length and body back to my fine 3c hair.
Shout out to my stylist Valerie Harrell and to you, natural hair bloggers! THANK YOU, you’ve all helped paved the way for natural hair acceptance!
 Rachel.
P.S. No one is paying me to say nice things (or not, we’ll get to you some day not so Living Proof) about their products.


 
Some things I do & a few leave ins I LOVE.
Tabloach-Custom-Black-Barbie-Wigs
  •  If you must color your hair (oh, and I must) find a skilled master colorist! It’s not always the most expensive person, I’m talking about the person who loves hair,  mixes color like an artist & knows how much bleach your kind of hair strand can handle. For example I’m a low volume demi permanent kinda girl.
  • “Treat your hair like a fine silk shirt”- my colorist Valerie Harrell. Meaning curly hair is delicate &  ends can be years old so  like a  fabric it’ll fray without special care. Even the way I handled my hair in general when pushing it forward or backwards, fluffing etc, was too rough she said.
  • I massage or rub my scalp a lot. Massaging helps stimulate  hair follicles exponentially by bringing blood to the scalp  & it doesn’t cost any $.
  • I stopped getting trims about 6-8 months ago. Now when there’s a bad split or knot I dry trim the strand right away otherwise it’ll take down the surrounding hairs.  If you’re even a little ocd this might not be a great idea for you, some people can’t stop cutting and that’s no bueno.
  • If my hair feels lifeless, limp, not dry, but not happy… It needs protein for structure, but this is only every few weeks followed up w/ a moisturizing conditioner under a dryer.

featured-6146

  • Weirdly brittle  means I  probably need  a  clarifying shampoo to get rid of silicones and definitely a moisture deep treatment after, under dryer. My hair can get moisture parched quite quickly.
  • Valerie my hairdresser says conditioner can’t really get in the strand w/o sitting under heat. I hate sitting under one at home but I do it cause she’s right.
  •   I read product labels because it’ll say ‘moisture’ on the front but will have wheat or milk protein with silicone for the main ingredients.  Those don’t give moisture & end up just another expensive shaving cream.
  • I like cider rinses & a blast of cool water to seal, but leave ins  that are not too heavy on the oil are key with my kind of curl.
  • Silicones ~ Hair takes a beating under L.A. sun & actress styling. The right silicones in quality products help heat protect my ends to retain length and seal in  moisture.
  • When my hair feels super porous, I’ll break out the old school Roux Porosity Control Corrector and Conditioner. I used  it once in a while in the nineties, forgot about till this year. It’s weird and not at all organic but my hair loves it every three to four weeks.
  • The ‘new trend’ of not shampooing isn’t new. in my late teens after my one & only relaxer wore out i realized just wetting my hair & putting more conditioner worked great for about 2 weeks. When I lived In NYC, and my hair liked more protein, I’d mix olive oil in with Aubrey organics GPB conditioner while wet, then more while it was drying. GBP is a great reg conditioner & leave in if your hair likes it.
  • Post on my fav  deep conditioners coming up.
  • If I didn’t stretch out my curls I’d look like Little Orphan Annie, the white one, not the black one, Q’s curls are on point! I don’t use heat without 2-4.5 layers of product on the ends. I usually air dry then skim my hair with a flat iron and more product on med to stretch. I totally need to get  a waver.

MY HAIR LOVES…
featured x-2653Leave ins!

CASTOR OIL
COLD PRESSED hexane free castor oil is best for my sensitive dry scalp, it’s a great emollient for skin too
Castor oil is all the rage for good reason, it’s been around for thousands of years & is a staple in beauty  & hair products.  Buy your own & add to cheaper conditioners for a boost!  A huge bottle is about $9 and not sticky like  glycerin. I use it on my face!
 My fine 3c curls get weighed down easily, Castor is one the only oils/butters I can use on dry or wet hair, so two thumbs up.

 DARSHANA HAIR OIL
A great  silicone free blend of oils, pricey at $50, but lasts forever.  I saturate my  dry hair a few hours or overnight before a wash & have seen a nice change. I don’t use it for styling or as leave in,  too heavy, wet or dry…  but if your hair’s thicker than mine (and it can’t not be) it’ll probably work great as an all round.
Straight coconut oil or anything with too much protein can make my hair brittle and break off.

 MILK SHAKE INCREDIBLE MILK LEAVE IN W/ MARU MARU
incrediblemilk_1
I tried to keep my products 100% natural for a while, but ultimately the hair wants what the hair wants, and my hair loves this stuff
 I use whatever stops my fine hair from breaking. This product  has a mix of silicone & natural oils  including something called  Maru Maru butter.  I’d love to find some raw   maru to play with, but butters alone usually make my locks look greasy & flat.  My bottle seems to go fast, so it’s a tad pricey at $20, but hey, we’re not into Kerastase  territory, so win win, I say. Plus  I color the heck out of my fine hair so a good leave in that works on already dry hair is a find. My hair likes this a zillion times more than It’s a Ten btw. I’m careful not to get silicone products on my face. I break out from make up, like bb creams with dimethicone etc.
“I use silicones in arid climates, but can go for more natural products like glycerin based leave ins in humidity, like New York City.”

AUBREY ORGANICS PRIMROSE TANGLE-GO LEAVE IN
I’ve used Aubrey products off and on since college!
Glycerin based  all natural mist refresher for wet or dry , works great in Los Angeles in winter, but not during the super dry summer. Great all year round on east coast.  Glycerin, thou art fickle. Yes, I know it’s easy enough to make your own spray, but I’ve never nailed the ratio right like Aubrey, under $10.

Moroccanoil hydrating styling creme leave in
us.can_hydratingstylingcream_320x304_2.14This works like a light moisturizing gel that doesn’t turn my hair into weird spaghetti curls
This works great on wet hair to set curls, dry to refresh. I don’t use any other products from this line, but my curls LOVE this stuff. Pricey at around $30, but it’s your hair!

Feed Your Head Space Links

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”― Hippocrates

Some food & healthier living doc’s, books, blogs… I’ll get a proper list soon.

If you have a long commute, try audio books, I think they’re awesome for this kind of stuff.

Documentaries

Fed Up Geared more at kids and weight in America,  a good starting place if you want the basics on eating for nutrition vs eating what’s advertised as food. Some might find it redundant info.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

Forks Over Knives

Good Hair

Books

How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger  Gene Stone

Salt Sugar Fat  How The Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss This book reads like a thriller and is riveting. You won’t look or think about processed foods the same, you’ll feel too duped.

Be Here Now by Ram Dass

Food

Mercola.com good site for navigating getting started in general healthy living

This Rawsome Vegan Life An easy way to dip your toe into eating more living foods is my favorite food blog is Emily Von Euw’s This Rawsome Vegan life, delicious, gorgeous to look at , easy to follow recipes, plus she’s a wizard with the  cashew cream.

Lovely Lemons

Meet my new best friend, the Lemon.

Years back I was amazed to realize when I drank a bottle of Martinelli’s apple cider on my own in a day…. it was well over a thousand calories and that’s before anything solid even hit my mouth. No wonder I battled my weight most of my life.

Enter the lemon.  As a child I loved lemon anything… cookies cakes, drinks, country Time lemonade… bring it on. My guess is  instinctively my body craved vitamin c and the nutrients in actual lemons, but being a gen-x kid meant for the most part all our food came pre packaged, sugar coated, and fully microwaveable.  I’m surprised we didn’t all get scurvy.

23007-1_n

These days I drink a mixture of one lemon to one glass of water with a little bit of maple honey grade b. I go through 4-6 lemons a day. Some people add Cayanne pepper for a fast, I don’t. I’m just trying to keep off white sugar & stay hydrated. I don’t go too sweet, just enough to make it taste yummy not sour. It helps curb my appetite for carbs. You can make your own throat coat tea for sore throats by heating up water with lemon rinds, juice, ginger &  honey.

There’s a huge debate whether or not lemon juice, an acid,  has an alkalizing affect on the body. Acid foods are dairy, eggs, meat and grains, the Standard American Diet in a nut shell.

Fruits & veg  have an alkaline effect on the body. What does that all mean? Too much of either throws your body out of whack. A body can leach minerals from its own bones if starved, that’s what an awesome machine the human body is… It’s designed to succeed even when not feed the right, or any fuel. while I’m no doctor and my results are anecdotal at best, for me, the lemon is one of my super foods.  I used to down packets of Emergen-C, now I have a fresh lemon, it’s cheaper too!

lemon-water-hfr

Did you crave any fruits or vegetables as a kid? Do you love strawberry pop tarts? or Blueberry or apple pie? Maybe your body is pointing you toward your super food, rather than just the pastry & sugar. Try a real strawberry and clock your bodies response. There are cases of children deficit in vitamins gnawing on things like chalk or rocks that contained the missing minerals etc. Somewhere in us healthy eating is still hard wired in.

What’s your super food?

Rachel