Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Completed: 60 Days Without Soap

Goodbye lather, goodbye fresh herbal bars, goodbye liquid goop...goodbye forever? After I read Courtney Pool's tips and practices for gorgeous skin I recognized the truth by practicing the majority of the list. I also realized there were a couple I haven't tried. If something triggers my interest I am almost always willing to try it. So I decided to choose one challenge which didn't require a lot from me. That challenge was to go 30 days without soap in the shower. At the 30 day mark I felt there was a lot more in the process and I wanted to keep going.

I read other websites about those who decided to go without soap. Many of them concluded they could tell no difference if they used soap or not. The vast majority of people who stopped using soap stopped using it as a life choice. If most people could tell no difference if they used soap or not--why are we Americans so hung up on soap? I, like many others, still use soap for certain parts and always my hands. I have taken some castile soap to work to share, though I would rather go without washing than use that pink stuff which stains the sink.

At home, for my face I follow the Oil Cleanse Method outlined by the magnificent Nadine Artemis. Nadine's method can be found here. When I am not exhausted I use an Oil Cleanse Method for my body (at other times I scrub down with water and a nylon body scrubber from the International market). My body Oil Cleanse Method is as follows:

1.) Liquid

2.) Wash cloth
3.) Coconut Oil

4.) Essential Oil

Essentially I take the washcloth spritz it with a hydrosol, rub in some coconut oil, and drip a few drops of essential oil onto the coconut oil. I rub the oils together and rub into my skin in the same way I use the dry skin brush. I start at the left foot and make my way to the left hip. Then the right leg. Then I start at the left wrist and work my way to the shoulder. Then the right arm. I scrub all parts of my back that I can reach (I'm getting pretty flexible) then I work the front side ending with large clockwise circles over my abdomen. I leave the oil on as long as I can before using the nylon scrubby with filtered shower water to remove excess coconut oil.

The results? My skin is in remarkably better condition. My skin stays moist a lot longer. When I used soap my skin seemed to pucker up and not be as healthy of a color. Because my skin is so dry the oil cleansing method is my first choice and the water-only shower works, but it's not as beneficial to my skin. As a result of this experiment I do not see myself using soap in the shower anymore. Well, unless on travel when I collect the hotel soaps which I give to the homeless.

Despite being uber conscientious of chemicals in my home I have become even more conscientious of the soap in my house. I was stunned when I read the ingredients on my Seventh Generation Free and Clear dish soap and found Sodium Lauryl Sulfate! I appreciate their products, especially as they were the first in mainstream stores however I am not willing to knowingly use unnecessary chemicals anymore. Now I am using castile soap to wash dishes and some laundry. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Walking with the Ancestors

I've been reading more and more about Celtic Wisdom. As I have progressed on my health journey I have come to the conclusion that healing happens not just in the body, but in many other elements such as mental and spiritual. The body is the manifestation of the other elements--those which we think so much about that we solidify them in our bodies. The Juice Feast is a tremendous boost to heal my whole person because it stops putting solids in my body. In practice this leads to me living a more fluid life.

In the beginning of my healing journey I could only see the physical limitations. I sought (at times desperately) for simple physical solutions to my problems. These physical solutions did not provide overnight success so I wavered and kept practicing somethings and let go of others. I began to see my approach to healing had to change.  I started with  Healing Thoughts. As I began to change my negative thinking, which likely manifested my problems, I then found out how to do inner work.  As Louise L Hay tells us in You Can Heal Your Life: "The word incurable, which is so frightening to so many people, means to me that this particular condition cannot be cured by any outer means and that we must go within to find the cure."

I've gone inward and I've done a lot of work. Now I seem to balance the inner work with nature walks. One fascinating book on Celtic Wisdom has taught me about self-healing in nature. Frank MacEowen's The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers speaks deeply about Celtic Shamanic healing. One way to retrieve my soul's "missing parts" is to perform a Scottish Omen Hunt through hillwalking.

I live in Northern Virginia and hills are hard to find. Nevertheless I am always looking for ways to adapt to what is in front of me. Last month I traveled to the land of enchantment or New Mexico. I went for work so any moments I could break away to soak in the surrounding culture were considered what made the trip worthwhile.

The 2 mile trek through the 40 degrees Fahrenheit morning chill was amazing. I texted my coworker whom I shared a rental car with and we packed up early for a quick hike at the Petroglph National Monument on the way to the airport.  Our hands were freezing but digging my Vibram Five Fingers through the cool sand felt wonderful. Immediately, we were on a petroglph hunt.

 I felt the powerful presence of the ancient ancestors with each step. This was a bit of a training session for Omen hunting. Although I walked with another person, at times I felt his presence and other times I felt hugged by the knowledge in the cool rocks. MacEowen believes we are never at a loss from the information of our ancestors. It is always there. We must, if we want to understand the ancient ways, uncover those messages waiting for us.

Friday, November 23, 2012

I am Vegan--Do I Still Have Parasites?

After completing my first parasite cleanse during the first Juice Feast I quickly realized my body's ecosystem was still harboring "unwanted guests." Although I am comfortable talking about almost anything, parasites make me squeamish. Therefore this post will be written as delicately as I can.  In an earlier post I mentioned I regularly use cinnamon and cloves to ward off parasites. Last month I attended the Take Back Your Health Conference here in Northern Virginia. One of my take-aways came from a spotlight on parasites. The speaker mentioned that parasites mate on a full moon. She recommended to take a parasite cleanse that covered the full moon to stop the next generation in its tracks.
SCRAM 150 caps
Parasite Cleanse 

I also read in Donna Gate's book on The Body Ecology Diet to cleanse after menstruation or to help clean up yeasts, to saturate an organic tampon with organic tea tree oil and use overnight.  I now do this, especially on the full moon. By completing parasite cleanses I have discovered I am not parasite-proof because I am vegan.

As I have cleaned up my ecosystem I have learned the hard way that parasites can rule my cravings, steal my nutrients and really creep me out! For me, I take precautionary measures and try to align my life to make my ecosystem unfriendly to parasites. Tonight, a few days before the full moon I started my third parasite cleanse.  I may only be able to report back that I feel better and more in control of my food choices because I refuse to look in the toilet and see if any parasites have come out. Louise Hay reminds us parasites take hold metaphysically because we are giving our power away to others. With each parasite cleanse that I do I regather my strength and take back ownership of my healthy body.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Sun and Juice Feasting

I have been blessed with warm sunny weather this fall.  It's been so deliciously inviting I've thrown on a bathing suit and tanned 5 unexpected times in the last two months. In fact, I just came in. I intend to start my second Juice Feast come the spring which means I will be able to lay in the sun for added benefits.  When I started out improving my health I can tell you what I know now and what I knew then seem light years apart. I imagine this theme will continue the rest of my journey.

Credit and Story of Chemical Treatment
In my life I have gone back and forth about what is healthy for my skin. Should I suntan? Should I use sunscreen? I was shocked the first time I saw a photo of a sun-loving celebrity in her 20's with her décolleté full of freckles. I need the benefits of the sun yet I don't want to damage my skin and health. In my life I could find few examples where I could see sun exposure improved overall health.

During my first Juice Feast I spent workdays with 20 minutes around noon walking everyday outside, soaking in the sun. I  noticed my skin tan a bit (I am fair-skinned with a history of burning) but there were no marks left behind. In fact being on the Juice Feast and suntanning erased several freckles which had been with me for years.

What I experienced is what the Health Ranger describes in The Truth About Sunlight, Cancer and Vitamin D. The sun is healthy when the body is nutritionally fueled. On the Juice Feast I found the sun detoxed my body through my skin. In essence it's a direct pull of what is in your body. If you have garbage in your body, it will pull out garbage. If you are being very pure in your diet (for me that's organic, plant-based, superfoods, super herbal teas, etc) you may be flushing out the old and creating a more healthy ecosystem for the new cellular life.

I know I don't want to freckle-up.  Right now it's my understanding (which I'll test on the upcoming Juice Feast) that it goes along with the saying--if you keep doing what you've always done, you'll get the same results. I don't tan regularly, but when I can I do. As I embrace the healing power of the sun during the second Juice Feast I hope to satiate my curiosity about how a more targeted use of the sun will improve my health.