For as long as I can remember, my skin has been troublesome, not just your typical teenage hormonal acne but deep cystic painful acne. For years I battled with drugstore brands, department store brands, prescriptions from my dermatologist, embarrassment at the state of my bare skin, annoyance as I tried to find the best foundation and concealer to hide myself and my skin. My breaking point so to speak was in November 2007, opting to try Proactiv. I had heard good reviews, was pulled in by their infomercials and thought that was the answer to clear beautiful skin. I used Proactiv continuously through the end of 2009, when I got pregnant with Liam, I switched to less harsh brands while pregnant but still, battled my hormonal skin and continued to hide behind a veil of products. As soon as Liam was born, I was back on the Proactiv train and tried to do whatever masks and potions I could to hopefully, someday have beautifully clear skin. Throughout this time, I had always had stomach issues, random upset and intolerances, I always held on to excess weight, never able to lose the stomach bloating that I just figured would always be a part of me.
Throughout 2013, we watched as Liam overcame health issues and stomach ailments (this post details our journey) and finally, I decided it was time for me to make a change in my own life. On December 25, 2013, I used Proactiv for the last time and made the switch to a more 'natural' brand. My first step was to throw away the chemical laden products that were most likely contributing to my skin issues and start anew. Next, on January 1, 2014, I did my first Whole 30. I was new to the paleo scene and thought it was the magical answer and fix all solution (I'm not saying it wasn't, but I want to stress that there isn't one easy magical button to press and you are healed or changed, it just doesn't work that way). So I had thirty days of no sugar, no dairy, no gluten, no legumes, no soy, the absence of gluten, legumes and soy weren't a big deal for me as we were already following a traditional diet and I was preparing all of our food. Ditching dairy was a big deal for me, hello cheese, who can be happy living without cheese?! Not me! And yes, I also realized I was eating a ton of sugar, even though not refined, between treats sweetened with maple syrup and honey, consistent fruit intake, I was never giving my body a break.
By January 31st, I wasn't a whole new me like I had thought myself to be, but it was one more step in the right direction.
I switched back to following the dietary teachings of Weston A Price, it felt good for my body and it felt doable, that we could continue the lifestyle of eating traditionally prepared foods without feeling like we were lacking or missing out on life or the good stuff.
Throughout 2014, I continued to go greener and more natural with my beauty products, I was oil cleansing (with my homemade cleanser, making face masks from bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar) and one day in May, I stumbled on ECODIVA Beauty. They are an online boutique owned by mother daughter team Charlene and Garcy, with a curated selection of the best natural beauty products. They have extremely high standards when it comes to ingredients and what they will stock in their shop, and I felt like they took the guesswork out of finding safe products for my skin. At the same time, it was like I hit the green beauty jackpot because, I also found Health Hut and Clementine Fields, two Toronto based companies, both of which are owned by the most amazing and inspiring women, Tara Miller and Ingrid Doucet. They, like ECODIVA Beauty will only stock products in their shops that are clean, good for you and that they fully believe in.
These women, their stories and shops, their knowledge and dedication inspired me to finally take the health of my skin, my entire body, inside and out seriously and really made me realize that the products I was using (and ultimately, the food I was consuming) wasn't helping, only contributing to what, for me, was a real big problem.
Throughout 2014, I continued taking Fermented Cod Liver Oil and Fermented Skate Liver Oil which both in their own ways helped provide necessary nutrients to heal me from the inside out. I started diligently taking pre and probiotics, consuming organic bone broth and taking seriously what I once thought wasn't a piece of the puzzle. Even still, something was missing, a piece that I couldn't put my finger on. In walks OysterMax, if you've read this post you will know how much I love it, the same can still be said today. It was the catalyst, the missing piece and what has helped my body to do what ultimately it needs to do to achieve health and wellness, not just by being pretty on the outside, but by having well working insides and thus, vitality. It has been one year this week since finding OysterMax and I can honestly say that it's one of those products I plan to use for years to come.
All of my skincare products have been sourced from ECODIVA Beauty, Health Hut and Clementine Fields. I use Kahina Giving Beauty, Cleanser, Serum and Argan Oil daily, their Eye and Night Creams (when I remember), and Osmia Organics Spot Treatment on any spots that happen to pop up - If you've been searching for a spot treatment, this one is pure gold and a lot of magic! I still make my favourite Bentonite Clay and Apple Cider Vinegar mask, I dabble in using other masks and masques available at all three of my favourite shops but haven't settled on one particular, I just adore it, mask. After all of this, I will be honest and say I'm still quite lazy with my skin, I wear makeup 3-4 times per week, when I do I always make sure to wash my face before bed but for the most part, I wash my face once per day and call it a day. I'm still quite new on this journey and tend to keep my green beauty routine as simple and minimal as possible and here we are, at the end of the day, back to basics, the simplest of natures ingredients, inside and outside my body and that is the golden answer. If you want magic, if you want an answer, simplify, get back to basics, treat your body well and it will in turn treat you well. You deserve it.
September 26, my 30th birthday
Thank you so much for reading these words that are so near and dear to my heart and following this story of mine. This post and these photos leave my heart wide open for everyone to see and even as this story has been itching to be told for some time, it is a hard one for me to revisit. This post has not been sponsored by any of the shops listed above, it is an account of what has worked for me personally, what I know could probably help you, if you are on a similar road and a spotlight of women who have helped changed my life for the better.