Have you ever dreamt of a website that only carries the most luxurious, effective, non toxic skin care and beauty products? A place where you could trust that each product has been vetted out by someone who believes that high performance skin and beauty products should also be non toxic to us and the environment? Well, your dreams have become a reality with Spirit Beauty Lounge. I had the pleasure of meeting Spirit Demerson, founder of Spirit Beauty Lounge, at the NYC Premiere of my documentary, GMO OMG. She is a natural beauty (inside and out) and I wanted to pick her brain a bit about her company and her thoughts on skin care and make up. I told her how I have managed to switch to non toxic products in almost all areas of my life, but that there are still a few make up products that I just haven’t been able to find healthy alternatives for. Spirit generously offered to take the list of products I wish to replace and send me a bunch of new, healthy alternatives to try out! I just received the glorious box of goodies in the mail this week and I am SO excited to give them all a try! I am going to chronicle my experience with the transition, as well as share any products I find that I think are must haves for all of you. So check back soon for updates on my journey!
Most of you know that I am obsessed with Soapwalla’s deodorant cream, I mean, I talk about it all the time. If you haven’t heard, check out the post I wrote about it a while back here. Well, Soapwalla is not only the makers of the most amazing natural deodorant, they (or shall I say “she”) make a host of wonderful, luxurious, all-natural products. I had the pleasure of interviewing Soapwalla’s founder and master chef, Rachel Winard. Not only does she give some great advice of what ingredients to steer clear of when purchasing beauty products, but she has graciously offered The Daily Tonic readers a 10% discount on all Soapwalla products until July 7th!! Check out our interview below and the discount code at the bottom of this post.
Me: What inspired you to start Soapwalla?
Rachel: Out of sheer necessity! I have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune illness that can manifest itself in a number of ways. Like others who suffer from lupus, I get terrible skin rashes, hives, and irritated skin patches. When it was at its worst, I could barely use water on my skin without irritation. Soapwalla was born one late night in early 2002, after months of unsuccessfully hunting for face and body products that wouldn’t aggravate my skin. I tried everything on the market I could find, without luck, and finally decided to start making my own products that were as healthy and wholesome as possible. The product line grew from there.
Me: What are your three favorite Soapwalla products and why?
Rachel: (1) Deodorant cream, because it works! (I also love the smell and application method.) (2) My restorative face serum, it’s the only thing I’ve tried that doesn’t exacerbate my lupus-related skin sensitivities. (3) My luxurious body oil because it’s my favorite scent on the planet, feels like liquid velvet, and instantly absorbs into the skin!
Me: What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about conventional beauty products?
Rachel: Ooh, great question! This fact always sticks in my mind: Of the 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products, 89% have never been evaluated for safety. And of the measly 1,150 (11%) that have been tested, the US National Institute of Occupational Safety lists 884 of them as toxic – classified as possible human carcinogens. That’s insane to me.
Me: What is the number one ingredient that you think consumers should avoid?
Rachel: Petrochemical byproducts (mineral oil, ingredients ending in ‘myreth,’ ‘oleth,’ ‘laureth,” etc, PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, and several others). Mineral oil, for example, is a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. It’s a hydrocarbon, abundant and very cheap to produce. Petrochemical byproducts can also be highly toxic to not only the environment but our bodies as well, and at least one industrial process – ethoxylation, a cheap short-cut companies use to create surfactants found in soap, detergents and even medications – requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical ethylene oxide, which generates 1,4-dioxane as a by-product. Fun stuff!
Me: If you could give women one piece of advice regarding skin care, what would it be?
Rachel: Less is more! Our skin is incredibly intuitive. When we bombard our bodies with dozens of products on a daily basis, we create confusion and imbalance. When in doubt, or when your skin seems to be acting up, pare down your skin care regimen. When my skin is particularly reactive, I use finely ground oats to cleanse, my hydrating toning mist to hydrate and prep, and restorative face serum for moisturizer. That’s it.
Me: What do you think the biggest misconception of natural beauty products is?
Rachel: That they aren’t as effective or as beautiful as conventional products.
Me: Some companies claim to be “all natural” but still contain harmful ingredients. How can one be sure that they are really buying something that is non toxic?
Rachel: This shouldn’t be the consumer’s responsibility, but unfortunately it’s on us to read every label carefully, and to do due diligence to ensure we know what every ingredient means.
Me: Some women can’t afford to buy all natural products (shampoo, cleanser, moisturizer, make up, etc). If they could only afford one in their beauty routine, which do you think is most important?
Rachel: Whatever you use the most of – for me, that’s body oil. I cover myself head to toe in body oil (I even use it as a hair texturizer!). Whatever you expose yourself most to, whether it be sunscreen, lotion, perfume — that’s what I’d recommend changing first.
Me: Fill in the blanks: Your skin is __________, treat it with __________.
Rachel: Your skin is your largest organ, treat it with love and respect.
For this months profile, I had the pleasure of interviewing nutritionist, and friend, Margaret Floyd. Margaret is not only a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) but she is also a Certified GAPS Practitioner, a Certified Healing Foods Specialist, and has trained in the psychology of eating. She created the Eat Naked nutritional therapy practice and is the author of two books: Eat Naked and The Naked Foods Cookbook. Buy her books here http://amzn.to/14ENx9g and here http://amzn.to/14ENB8N and to check out her services, visit http://www.eatnakednow.com/.
Margaret and I actually met through her husband, James Barry, who is a wonderful chef and owns a food delivery service in LA called Wholesome2go. I used his service after my son was born and I was having trouble taking care of a newborn and making time to cook healthy meals for my family. We continue to use it off and on as our work schedules and dietary needs change, and I highly recommend it for anyone who lives in the LA area and is looking for a high quality, organic and delicious food delivery service. Check him out at http://wholesome2go.com/.
Margaret and I hit it off immediately because of our common belief in holistic minded living, eating and child rearing. She has a wealth of knowledge on the healing powers of food and is our go-to for any food or health related questions. I wanted to share some of that knowledge with you by asking her a little bit about her nutrition philosophy, the average American diet and feeding her growing daughter, Sia. Enjoy and look out for future guest posts on nutrition from Margaret!
Me: When did you first get interested in nutrition?
Margaret: I’ve always loved food and anything to do with it (eating it, growing it, cooking it…) but I didn’t understand the power of nutrition until I was in my mid-20s. I’d been dealing with terrible eczema since my early teens, and even with medical help it was only getting worse. In desperation, I went to a health practitioner who drastically changed my diet, and within several weeks, that eczema was gone. It was a huge lesson for me, and taught me that what we eat has a strong impact on our health.
Me: What is your philosophy on nutrition?
Margaret: I believe in the power of eating real, whole foods. When we go back to the basics and give our bodies what they recognize: whole foods, grown in harmony with the earth, eaten as close as possible to their original state, it’s a powerful thing. Our bodies get the nutrients they need to heal and thrive. I call this “eating naked” because we’ve stripped away those things that are added and done to food – the pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, excessive processing, that long list of unpronounceable ingredients you see on most food labels, and so on. None of these added things are health-promoting, and are in fact a major reason for the massive deterioration in health we’re seeing everywhere.
Me: What do you think is the most common misconception about what it means to be healthy?
Margaret: There are so many! The most common one I see is that a low-fat, mostly vegetarian (read: low-protein and high-starch) diet is the most health promoting. No matter how many studies come out to show the opposite, there is a deep, deep fear of fat in our culture. Even those who’ve come around to the idea of “good” fats, most still don’t understand how vitally important they are to our health, and that even saturated fats from animal sources are important. The vegetarian myth is one that I subscribed to for many years (on and off for well over 10 years) and I’ve seen many people do significant harm to their health by eating this way. Vegetables are cleansing and important, but animal proteins and fats are building and are also vitally important. It is possible to eat meat, fish, dairy, and eggs in a way that’s good for you, good for the environment, and that treats the animals in a humane and respectful way.
Me: What do you think is the most important thing to do to stay healthy?
Margaret: Listen to your body, it always knows. We tune out our bodies’ signals, and so they have to get louder and louder to communicate to us. The more we listen, the more our bodies will tell us.
Me: What do you think Americans are missing most from their diet?
Margaret: Quality. We are a nation of over-processed immediate gratification, and this has come at the expense of quality. Without quality, everything suffers. When I think of quality with respect to food I think: nutrient-dense, whole food, that have been prepared in such a way as to maximize its nutritional value.
Me: If you could tell the average American to change one thing about the way they eat, what would it be and why?
Margaret: Eat a different breakfast. Swap out the bagel and low-fat cream cheese, the orange juice, the cereals, the triple caramel lattes for something more balanced and nourishing like some eggs with veggies cooked in good old fashioned butter. This one change can make an enormous difference.
Me: What inspired you to write your book “eat naked”?
Margaret: There are so many misconceptions about food, and it has become almost impossible to figure out what is truly “healthy” amongst the mixed messages and confusion. I wanted to clear through the clutter in a really simple, accessible, and practical way. Also, there’s this myth that eating healthy is either hard, expensive, or tasteless and boring, and I wanted to dispel that myth.
Me: Has motherhood changed the way you feel about food?
Margaret: It has enhanced it more than anything. Food and health have always been priorities for me, but now they’re top of the list. I also see the direct impact of what I do with my baby girl, and watch how she thrives on real, whole foods. Nutrition is always important, but it is never more important than when you’re preparing to conceive, pregnant, and breastfeeding. You cannot give your child what you don’t have – she inherits your nutritional sufficiencies or deficiencies. Your health sets the foundation for her health for the rest of her life.
Me: What is the biggest thing you have learned from being a mama?
Margaret: Trust and patience. Trusting my instincts and my baby’s cues, and being patient with the process of learning and growing (for both her and me!)
Me: What advice would you give mamas to be?
Margaret: Nourish yourself on every level – physically, spiritually, emotionally – even if it feels like there’s not enough time or space to do so. It’s the only way you’ll have the ability to give your best self and to give your child the best possible start in life.
When I was Pregnant with Miles, I did two things to keep in shape: walking and Kundalini Yoga. Before I was pregnant I did The Bar Method religiously, and although I loved it and it kept me in shape, it didn’t feel right once I was pregnant. All that contracting and straining felt like the opposite of what I needed, which was to be open, flexible and connected. I was introduced to Kundalini the year before and it really resonated with me. What I love most about it is the recognition that we are all connected to something greater than our selves…the universe, the divine, God, whatever it is for you. It also made me feel present, grounded and aware of my mind/body connection. So when I got pregnant I knew that I wanted to take prenatal Kundalini classes as much as possible (which ended up being twice a week for most of my pregnancy).
Akal Kaur was my teacher. She led such a beautiful class that left everyone feeling calm, happy, and grounded. The interesting thing was that Akal herself was pregnant with her first child at the same time! So she taught throughout her pregnancy and gave birth to her adorable son, Meherpal (meaning “the lion whose heart is filled with kindness and compassion.”) just a few months after Miles was born. Although Akal has been a registered nurse since 1999 and works in the labor and delivery ward of one of the best hospitals in LA, she chose to have a midwife assisted home birth (Fun fact: we had the same amazing midwife). I found this very interesting and wanted to pick Akal’s brain a little bit about her experience with Kundalini yoga and her choice for a home birth. Here’s how it went…
creates consciousness and makes a person happy and healthy.
was with that first class that I had felt that I came home. From that
moment on my life was forever changed for the better.
immediately felt better. Then I went back again and felt even better.
I continued to get happier and healthy. Everything started to fall
into place for me. I woke up and life got really good!
other yoga practices are the same. The difference is that it takes
one kundalini yoga class to absolutely and completely alter a person’s
consciousness and it takes longer in the other forms of yoga.
pregnant women. The classes connect women to their strength and
intuition. They also work on the physical body to prepare them for
the birth. The classes can be very meditative which can help a woman connect more
to their baby in the womb. The babies also get massaged in utero
which is great for them developmentally.
baby. I chose a homebirth because I knew it was the safest place for
my baby to be born. I really feel like the best place for a woman to
deliver is where she feels safest.
birthdate. It is a numerological spiritual name. The meaning is “the
lion whose heart is filled with kindness and compassion.” The
spiritual name is a mantra. The more a person is called that name the
more they become it.
I was in Labor we realized there was a hole in it and it could not be
learned so much but the biggest thing would be that there is no such
thing as plans anymore! I have learned to totally let go and be
Also, play mantra’s for your baby in the womb. Put speakers on so the
babies can hear the sounds.
sessions, and workshops which help a person to transform and elevate
in a progressive and effective way. http://www.yogawithakal.com/