No Sugar and No Processed Food Update- Over a Year Later!

Hello everyone!

Wow, has the time flown over here!  I hope your area of the woods has been sunny!  So many things have happened this past year and so many things have changed for me (many of them good).

Let’s start with how I am doing on the No Sugar and No Processed Foods lifestyle I was doing so well on, back in 2011….I have still been eating very little to no sugar!  (I will occasionally have chocolate, but it’s so infrequent).

I must confess though, that when it comes to how much professed food I am eating, it is more than what I ate back in 2011.  I am still pretty much eating the way I did in 2011, but I have been eating some Amy’s frozen macaroni and cheese, and also eating some homemade organic white bread (made with honey, not sugar).

I have also changed what rice I am eating- I no longer eat brown rice, but rather have chosen to eat basmati rice, and I love basmati rice! (Lundberg rice is awesome!)  I have also been cutting down the amount of wheat I eat in general.

It is a daily challenge to continually eat no processed food, and it is easier to just take the processed food route.  It is.  However, I do still eat mostly no processed food.  I just am not nearly as strict about it as I once was (for better or for worse).  Since I am no longer being as strict about it, I have gained back 20 lbs, (I had gone down to 120 lbs. while eating no processed food), which leaves me still weighing less than I did in high school.

I have been focusing more on trying to make sure that all food I eat is either certified organic, or locally grown/raised.

I had four goals for my No Sugar and No Processed Food Challenge, back on April 23, 2011.  They were:

1. More Energy

2. Help clear up my acne.

3. Maybe lose a couple pounds (though this was not a major goal of mine)

4. Just feel overall healthy.

So how am I feeling?  Well, I have more energy, my face is essentially clear (except for an occasional pimple), I did gain some weight back (but that is not an issue for me), and, right now, I do feel overall more healthy than I have in years!

So did this challenge help my lack of energy?  Not really (for me anyway).  Cutting out sugar and processed foods for many people will help them with their lack of energy.

What I found for myself though, was that two major things were causing my energy to be constantly depleted- a relationship (that I broke off a year ago), and a job (that I stopped back in September).  It is a reminder that how we feel is not just affected by the foods we eat, or the products we use on our skin.  We are also affected by people that are in our lives, and by our environment And for me, since I do have some multiple chemical sensitivity, I found that I needed to let go of these two things to allow my health to become better.

How is my acne?  It’s essentially non-existent!  I found that as long as I have kept cutting out sugar from my diet, that my skin is essentially clear.  I still wash my face daily with local pure honey, and only use lime as an occasional nighttime treatment if I do have a pimple or two, or when I have an acne scar.

How is my weight?  I’ve gained some weight back, but I am still a healthy weight 🙂  I truly believe it is less about how much I weigh, and more about whether or not I am healthy.

How do I feel?  I am feeling pretty healthy right now.  I am eating pretty well (though not as perfect as before).  I am still making sure that the products I use on my body and in my environment are healthy for me to be around.  I am in a healthy relationship with a man that I love.

Please feel free to leave comments and/or questions, and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

I hope you have a wonderfully sunny day!

~Kim

Please note:  Please check with your doctor or a nutrionist/dietician before starting any new diet/lifestyle.

How to Begin Decluttering Your Stuff (and Life) Or How to Begin Spring Cleaning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello!

So this past weekend (and continuing until this next week) I have been studying for three mid-term exams!  However, I have also wanted to clean!  It feels so spring-like here, I must be ready for spring cleaning 😉  The image above I feel is a good representation of how I sometimes feel surrounded by the stuff in my life.

So, here are some tips I have been using to help me decide what I no longer need 🙂  These three tips are part of Step 4-Don’t have a lot of clutter, from the Feng Shui: What Not to Do article here.

1. Do I love it?  For some people, the answer may be that they love every single thing that they have in their possession (for those of you who this applies to, skip this step).  For the rest of us though, we probably do not love every single thing that we own.  If it makes you sad, feel down in any way, or makes you angry, if it is possible, give it away!  This will help to bring positive energy and feelings to you and your surroundings.

2.  Is it useful?  This can be a helpful question, but it can also be a difficult one that allows a person to continue having clutter.  So, more specifically, is it useful to you now?  Ask yourself whether you see yourself actually using it within the foreseeable future.  If so, keep it.  But, don’t keep holding onto that one shirt you’re sure you’ll wear someday again (I have been guilty of this too).  Just give it away, and move on. 🙂

3.  Does it reflect who I am now in my life?  This was the question that really helped me the most.  Since I have lost 35 lbs. from cutting out processed foods and sugar, I have been still holding onto clothes that really no longer fit me, nor that really even fit my personality anymore.  I still am holding onto some clothes that are too big for me (that I can see myself enjoying wearing later on just because it has not even been a year since I have lost the weight yet), but I have let go of those clothes too big for me, that are much more high school-ish, and that I did not even like that I was holding onto merely “just in case” I gained weight again.  And I feel so much lighter for doing it! 🙂  I also am starting to go through my collection of books, and giving away some that just do not fit my personality anymore, or that just simply do not make me happy.

I hope these questions help you lighten your belongings and help you lead a happier, clutter-free life!

Also, I just started a Facebook page within the past week.  Check it out! 🙂www.facebook.com/sunnymothernature

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: Only the three questions are from the article I linked above.  All the commentary and descriptions after the questions are my own.

Also, the image above is used under the Commons license, shared by the Smithsonian Institution’s Photostream on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/2551232980/

Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic in Your Life AND Save Money! The Using Less Plastic Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! 🙂

Ok, so the image above of women wearing plastic face protection from snowstorms may have not caught on (thankfully), most of us can still reduce plastic in our lives very easily!

Here are some simple ways to reduce plastic in your life (adding onto my previous Using Less Plastic Challenge Posts).  Most, if not all, of these simple steps help you save money in the long run too!

1. Switch to body oil to moisturize your body.  Most lotions come in plastic tubes or plastic bottles.  By switching to body oil packaged in a glass bottle with a metal lid, you help to make sure that the packaging is truly able to be recycled.  Just make sure that your skin is damp (just after taking a shower is a good time to moisturize skin with oil), and you do not need to use very much.  A small amount really goes a long way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Switch to handkerchiefs.  This may seem like it does not actually have to do with plastic, but it does.  Most disposable tissue boxes do have a plastic window around the opening where you grab a tissue from.  Handkerchiefs are so much more economical (only have to buy them once and they last for years) and you can just throw them in with any wash load you wish.  Plus they feel, and are, so much softer on your nose!  The above image is my collection of handkerchiefs that I have been using for several months now 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Switch to at least a couple natural homemade skincare products.  I know it is hard to switch all of your skincare products over, but even just switching over one or two helps to significantly reduce the amount of plastic consumed.  Honey is an awesome cleanser (the only one I use at this point) and fresh lime juice is a wonderful acne and acne scar treatment.

Click here to see My Skincare Routine for Clear Skin Naturally post about how I use these!  You will also save money by switching to these if you typically use a little bit more pricy cleansers and treatments.  Also, you will not have as much visual clutter in your bathroom.

4. Switch to a safety razor.  What is a safety razor?  It is like a disposable razor, but rather than throwing the razor away, or buying new cartridges and throwing the old ones away, you buy a metal razor (some do have plastic handles) and you just replace the blades.  I have not bought a safety razor yet (I’m using up my disposable razors first) but many people who do use them say they give closer shaves, and that you do need to use a lighter hand when using them (ever notice how much pressure you have to use with disposable razors to shave?).

Now, you can buy a new safety razor, but they are expensive (the cheapest I’ve seen is $60 and up).  So, why not be extra nice to your wallet and the Earth by buying a vintage one? (You won’t be using vintage blades- essentially you’ll only be reusing the handle).  You can buy a vintage safety razor at some antique stores, www.etsy.com, among other sites.  And replacement blades can be bought in bulk on Amazon and are much less expensive compared to the replacement disposable cartridges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Buy some of your clothes secondhand.  Although while researching I do not get a definite yes or no answer, most polyester (if not all) is actually plastic.  Have you heard of the polyester clothing made from PET bottles?  That’s why that is possible.  So, by buying some of your clothes secondhand, you help to reduce the amount of clothing made of thermoplastics, and also help to reduce the amount of clothing discarded yearly.  Buying secondhand also helps your wallet!  If you have a little bit more money to spare, organic cotton, or hemp, clothing are also nice alternatives to man-made.  The image above is a beautiful blue striped sweaterdress that I found at a local thrift store for $2.50!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Make your own laundry soap with castile bar soaps!  Even if we ignore the possible health problems of conventional laundry detergents (including even ones such as Tide Free & Gentle), these along with even most eco-friendly laundry detergents are packaged in plastic.  We can simply avoid this constant buying of laundry detergent packaged in plastic by making our own!  Above is a photo of the container I am using at the moment to hold my laundry soap (It is an old castile liquid soap container.  I plan to switch to a glass container at some point) and an old laundry detergent lid that has the measurements on it.

How to: Take one bar of castile soap and grate 1/3 to 1/2 of a bar.  Bring about one gallon of water to a boil.  When the water is boiling, stir the grated soap into the water, until it dissolves.  Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Then, take the pot off the stove and let the laundry soap cool for a couple of hours (or until it is completely cool).  Lastly, place into a container of your choice.

And there you have a wonderful laundry soap!  I personally use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soaps.  They smell amazing, and their Baby Mild one is nice if you are very sensitive to scents, or if you have young children.  My three favorites are Lavender, Peppermint, and Baby Mild.  They are a little less than $5 a bar of soap.  You can buy the Lavender and Peppermint scents at Target, or you can buy all of their scents on Dr. Bronner’s site at www.drbronner.com. So, you are paying $2.50 for laundry soap that is safe for the planet, safe for you, you are saving money, and you are reducing the amount of plastic consumed! 🙂  It’s a wonderful feeling.

I’ve found that I use the same amount of this laundry soap as I did with conventional laundry detergents.  If you have not used castile liquid soap to wash your clothes before, I have read that it may take a wash or two for your clothes to get the residue of the previous detergents off.  However, I have not found this to be the case, even when I switched from conventional detergents over to a castile liquid soap I bought (it was so expensive though).  Also, this laundry soap works nicely even in hard water!  I have extremely hard water, and it cleans wonderfully in it.

So there are some simple ways to reduce plastic!  Have you tried any of the suggestions above, or have any others to add?  Any questions?  Leave them in the comment section!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: The image of the women wearing the plastic snowstorm protectors is used under the Commons license, shared by the Nationaal Archief on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509756/  All the other images shown are my own.

Blog for International Women’s Day~ Ways to Connect Girls and Inspire Futures

Girl in butterfly or flower costume

 

Hello and Happy International Women’s Day!

Gender Across Borders and CARE are hosting Blog for International Women’s Day 2012 today!  And this year’s theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.”

As a culture, as well as members of a global community, it is imperative that we are actively involving, educating and inspiring girls in a positive way.

How do we do that though?  Although this may seem like a daunting task, especially in the hustle and bustle of today, there are in fact many ways that we can do so just in our everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ways to Connect Girls and Inspire Futures

1. Look at our own bodies in positive lights.  This may seem like this does not directly involve girls, but it does.  If we, the women of the world, do not look at our own bodies positively, how can girls who are growing up under constant media pressure that says anything bigger than a size 0 is not good enough?

By accepting and embracing our own bodies, flaws and all, and by radiating our love of our bodies, this could help even just one girl look at themselves in a more positive light.  The media tries to tell us, as a society, what type of body is acceptable, but we can help to lessen this pressure on young girls and teenage girls by saying and believing that this is not the case.

2. Talk about other girls and women (and boys and men) positively, including about their appearance, body, and personality.  Even if we all are able to accept and embrace our bodies, if we are judgemental towards another girl, woman, boy, or man, it shows our insecurities, as well as teaches girls a trait that does not help them to think positively about themselves, or others.

3. Tell a girl that she has a beautiful soul and heart.  Often times, we as a society focus on how beautiful a girl, or woman, is on the outside.  Yet, being beautiful on the inside is often more important in the long run.  Although some girls may feel this is cheesy, it will probably still warm their hearts to hear.

4. Genuinely compliment a girl.  This does go along with the previous suggestion.  So many girls I’ve known that are my age just do not believe a person when they compliment them.  They believe that either they are just saying it to say it, or that they are indirectly suggesting something negative.  This is rather than just believing that someone is, in fact, being nice to them.

We can help so many girls overcome this mentality by complimenting genuinely, and by accepting compliments that others give us too.

4. Be open to talking about topics that girls want to ask about.  So many topics still seem off-limits, between parents and their daughters, between sisters, between friends, and so on.  And therefore, there is often this silence.  Help to break this silence around various topics including menstruation, girl’s health, etc.  If we do not talk, who will?

5. Let a girl know that it is wonderful to be herself.  Remind her that being herself is much more important than being the most popular, or trying to be someone else.  And support her in the journey to find out who she is.

6.  Encourage girls to imagine.  Whether it’s imagining a job they may want when they grow up, re-enacting their favorite book or movie, pretending to be a mommy to their doll, or just playing make believe, let them dream.

And lastly, we need to help bring boys and men into the conversation as well.  Neither women nor men truly live separately in society.  So, we can encourage and teach boys and men to treat girls and women as equals, and not as objects to acquire, or beings to only take care of them.  We can do this partly just by acting and believing that we are equal.

 

Today is a positive day!  Just over one hundred years ago, women were not considered equal really anywhere in the world.  Now, we are in many places.  However, so many women are still struggling for equality.  And even here in the U.S., women still do not have equal pay to men in various jobs.  So, help to connect girls and help them believe that they are equal and that they do deserve equality, equal pay, and respect.  By helping to build girls’ self-esteems and confidence, we can help them to feel empowered.

Sometimes it is the most simple actions that can create a positive reaction.

Let’s get the conversation going! Do any of you have other suggestions to help connect girls and inspire futures?  Let me know by leaving a comment down below!

Want to check out the other blogs that are participating in this event?

Click here: http://www.genderacrossborders.com/blogforiwd/

Have a sunny day everyone! 🙂

~Kim

Please Note: The image above is used under the Commons license, shared by The Field Museum Library on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/field_museum_library/3405449438/

Lunapads Haul and Intro

Hello everyone!

So I hope the sun is shining in your area of the woods today.  I haven’t gotten a chance to do any videos recently, and this is something I’ve been looking into for a while.

This type of video (or topic) is not for everyone, and I understand this.  I feel that menstruation is a part of life and is a natural process though.  Therefore, I wanted to share with you a new company that I recently ordered from~ Lunapads! 🙂

Lunapads is a women-owned Canadian company that sells reusable cloth menstrual pads and pantyliners, along with some other items.  One of the things that drew me to Lunapads was that they truly want women and girls to accept their bodies, and feel great about being a woman.

If you aren’t sure whether reusable menstrual pads are for you, that’s ok.  I recommend trying reusable pantyliners first.  I did this, and this was what convinced me that I did want to try Lunapads pads too. 🙂

So enjoy watching, and if you have any questions or comments, leave them in the comment section below!

Have a sunny day 🙂

~Kim

Check out Lunapads here: http://www.lunapads.com

Check out Planet Wise here: http://www.planetwiseinc.com

Please Note:  I bought all of the items shown myself just because I was interested in them, and I am not affiliated with Lunapads or Planet Wise.  I wanted to share this with you because I feel that these types of products have the potential to have a very positive impact on our individual health and Mother Nature’s health as a whole. 🙂

The Versatile Blogger Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi everyone!

So Sarah at BEskincareful gave me a Versatile Blogger Award about a week ago (along with some other blogs she newly discovered)!  Thanks so much Sarah!  This is such a fun little award to receive, and then be able to pass along~ so let’s get down to it 🙂

The Rules are:

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back

2. Tell 7 things about yourself

3. Pass this onto newly discovered blogs and let them know they received the award.

So here’s 7 Random Things About Myself (in the order I thought of them):

1. I love tea!… Well, that pretty much sums that up 😉

To go along with my love of tea, I occasionally help my sister with her awesome tea business Compass Tea Company.  As I sit here typing this, I am drinking a cup of tea. 🙂

2. I have no one favorite color.  However, if you asked my mom or my boyfriend they would probably claim my favorite color was blue due to the amount of blue clothes I have, or pink for the same reason 😉

I actually have a set of colors that I love instead- blue, green, and purple together is so beautiful!  However, I also equally love pink.  Yellow and orange have started to move up as well.  Even red (which used to be my least favorite color) is a color I’m starting to gravitate towards.  So, it’s starting to look like my favorite colors are all of them.  🙂

3. I am an extremely picky eater.  I love many health foods like fruits and veggies (luckily) but I am equally picky about health foods as I am about any other types of foods.  This pickiness has become worse as I started looking into what exactly is in processed foods and decided to eliminate them from my diet.  Oh well, I still love chocolate 🙂

4. I love animals and I worked at a small no-kill animal shelter for a total of almost two years.  The first round was while I was still in high school, and the other was almost right after graduating.  I still petsit on occasion.  This way the pets do not need to go to a kennel, and possibly feel stress and anxiety.  My mom was convinced ever since I was little that I would become a vet and I probably could have been one, except I have no wish to perform surgeries.

5. I love yoga.  I try to manage to practice it at least once a day, but sometimes I just can’t make that happen.  I have even contemplated becoming a yoga teacher because I feel it really can change a person’s life for the better.

6. Now, the second half of this one I do not typically share with people (unless they share my love for this classic TV series too)

I rarely watch TV or movies (except for yoga DVDs), and on the rare occasion that I do, it is a safe bet that I am watching Scooby Doo.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s the classic Where Are You Scooby Doo?, or the newer What’s New Scooby Doo?, either way, if I’m extremely stressed, I probably have it on in the background.  🙂

7. I have recently been looking into feng shui and how I can maybe help balance my life through my surroundings.  A little random for me, perhaps, but I am fascinated by the idea that objects and colors around you can have an impact on your well-being and life.

I feel like those are completely random things about me, but most of them are things that most people can figure out about me (or end up talking to me about) in short amounts of time if they’re around me.  So, now all of you reading my blog know them too 🙂

And now for the blogs that I’ve found within the past two months and have been enjoying reading!  If any of these have already received the Versatile Blogger Award, I honestly would not be surprised because they are all really wonderful blogs 🙂  These are the five that I’ve been catching up on recently whenever I can (inbetween college coursework).

Hayley from The Flaxen Owl
Sarah from Sugarpuffish
Dana from The Tao of Dana
Kelly from Savvy Suburban
Jenn from Jenn Staz
So, go check them out and have a sunny day! 🙂

~Kim

My Skincare Routine for Clear Skin Naturally

Hi!

Today, I wanted to share with all of you what I use on my face~ everything I use is all natural, and help keep my skin acne free. None of my skin secrets have any chemicals, detergents, artifical fragrances, etc. and, along with cutting out processed foods and sugar, are the reasons why my skin is clear!  The fact that my skin is clear now, and never was when I was using Proactiv, Biore, Clean & Clear, etc. just goes to show that going back to nature is overall better for your health, and your skin!

So let’s begin!

My All Natural Skincare Routine for Acne Prone Skin

My Cleanser is: Honey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you who viewed My Favorite Natural Products of 2o11 video/post, this will come as no surprise.

Honey is the most wonderful “cleanser” I have used for a long, long time.  It is antibacterial.  Therefore, it helps to heal your acne, and also does not contribute to your acne.  Those are two things that are very hard for me to find from a cleanser.

Honey also does not dry out my skin.  It is actually quite moisturizing!  Another wonderful thing about honey is that it is water soluble.  This means that once water touches the honey, it starts to dissolve.  Honey leaves no residue on my face, which is another plus.

How to: Just take about half a spoonful of honey and wet your face.  Then, take small amounts of the honey and start rubbing the honey all over your face.  Finally, rinse away!  It’s easy, and takes the same amount of time as a regular cleanser, without all of the harsh chemicals, detergents, etc.

If you would like to see a small explanation of how to use honey as a cleanser, please watch My Favorite Natural Products of 2o11 video 🙂

The Requirements: Please use either local pure honey (support local beekeepers!) or USDA certified organic honey.  A study was done within the past few months that confirmed that a significant amount of regular honey from grocery stores and stores like Wal-mart, Walgreens, CVS, etc. are ultra filtered honey~bottom line this means that it is either not honey at all, or honey from China (which can be diluted~with high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup, etc.~, or it can be contaminated~with antibiotics, lead, etc.~, or it can be not honey at all).  There is no reason to ultra filter honey other than to hide where that “honey” is coming from.  So please use local pure honey or USDA certified organic honey!  This way it is definitely honey 🙂

Precaution: Please do not try using honey if you are allergic!

My Acne and Acne Scar Treatment: Limes!

Limes are a wonderful little fruit, and are just as wonderful as a night treatment for healing acne and fading acne scars.  I found using limes to not dry out my skin, and definitely helped lessen the appearance of my scars on my face over a few months.  Lemons could also be used instead of limes, but I found lemons to dry out my skin, and also irritated my skin (which limes did not).

How to: After you have cleansed your skin, cut a lime until you have one small slice (I typically would cut a lime in half, and then cut one of those halves into 4 pieces.  I would then place all of the lime except for one slice into the fridge to use later).  Take one of those slices and squeeze the juice into a small bowl.  Then, dab a clean finger into the bowl and gently pat onto any acne and acne scars on your face.  Repeat until lime juice is on all of your acne and acne scars.  Let dry.

The Requirements: Preferably use an organic lime, but conventional limes work as well.  Also, please use fresh lime juice.  It is unknown how long presqueezed lime and lemon juices have been in those plastic containers.

Precaution: Only use this acne and acne scar treatment at night.  Lime juice and lemon juice both photosensitize your skin (make your skin more sensitive to sunlight).

My Moisturizer: Argan Oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, an oil is my moisturizer, and yes, I do have acne prone skin.  I know this sounds ridiculous, but it does help.  Argan oil has helped to balance my skin, moisturizes wonderfully, and does not cause acne!

How to: After cleansing your face and applying the lime juice, simply dampen your fingers and your face (where you are going to apply the argan oil).  Take one or two drops (not dropper-fulls, but drops) of oil onto your fingers.  Rub gently between your fingers and then dab onto the skin where it is needed.  You can apply one or two more drops onto your face if needed.

Requirements: Preferably use organic argan oil.  If it is cold pressed, and better yet, the first cold pressing, it has even higher amounts of essential fatty acids than compared to just refined and pure argan oil (which would be cheaper).

Also, there is a difference in quality~ the Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil which is what I use on my face (and is the first cold pressing) feels much lighter on my skin and soaks into my skin quicker than the ArganUSA Argan Oil (which I use on the rest of my body because it is less expensive, but it is not the first cold pressing) feels just a little bit heavier and takes a little bit longer to soak in.

I personally recommend Josie Maran Cosmetics Argan Oil for the face, or any USDA Certified Organic Argan Oil.

Precautions: With argan oil, more is not better~Less is more in this situation.  Use only a few drops at first, then see if you need more.  Also, either your fingers or your skin needs to be damp for the oil to penetrate into the skin.  Otherwise, you will feel you need more argan oil, and it will take much longer to be absorbed by the skin.

And that’s it!  I hope these skincare ideas help you achieve clear skin!  I love these, and have been using them for many months.

Are you going to try any of my suggestions, or do you have any questions about my tips?  Leave a comment below!

And don’t forget to subscribe if you enjoy my posts~ it makes me happy ❤

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please note: I am not affiliated with Josie Maran Cosmetics, they did not send any products to me for review, and I am not being compensated by them.  I have bought so many of their argan oil bottles by now, that I lost count 🙂  (I’ve been using their argan oil as my sole moisturizer for over a year now)

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