beauty routine · health · natural/organic

OVM blog posts round-up: Going natural

I recently wrote a series of 4 posts for the Ottawa Valley Moms blog on natural products, which offered tips and tricks on how to make the switch to natural, organic products in your home, personal care and for your family.

Links to the posts on OVMgreen leaf

Part 1: Getting started is available here

Part 2: your skincare and haircare is available here

Part 3: To take care of your family is available here

Part 4: Cleaning the house is available here

health · training

How I lost the baby weight, mostly…

During my pregnancy, I gained 45 pounds. On my 125lb frame, that was a lot of weight. Granted, I had a pretty big baby, but once I had Sam, I had quite a bit of weight to lose.

All my life, I’ve always been skinny. Too skinny. Getting bigger during my pregnancy, I realized how much better I felt, with a little more meat on my bones. So when I gave birth, I told myself that I wanted to lose most of the weight, just not all of it.

pregnancy photo

Because I had a very difficult birth, I couldn’t do anything for almost of 5 months after Sam came. For the best of 2 months, I could barely sit down, let alone exercise. So coming up with a workout or weight loss plan was pretty challenging.

In the beginning, I started out slow. When soring came and Sam was 5 months old, I started taking a walk with him around the neighbourood every day for 45 minutes. After a trip to France where I swam in my parents’ pool a bit, I realized I was well enough to step it up. At that point, Sam was on a pretty rigourous napping schedule. Every morning, around 9:30 a.m., I would put him down for an hour or two. That was my designated workout time. Every day of the week, I ran. I started at 15 minutes. Then 30. And by the time I went back to work, 10 months postpartum I was running for an hour straight. I took it one day at a time, and was really happy with my progress. Of course, after I went back to work, I stopped running completely, but that is a story for another day.

In terms of a diet, I didn’t do anything drastic. Everything in moderation. I stopped snacking between meals, cut out desert, except for yogourt and fruit. That was it. I don’t really believe in drastic dieting. I think that all you need is to eat a good diet and exercise.

In the end, I lost 35 pounds. I’m still a bit bigger than I used to be, I still have a stomach pouch, but I’m happy with my weight, and comfortable with myself and my body for the first time in a long time. In the end, that was the most important thing for me. Weight is just a number, it’s how you feel about yourself that matters.


Wheat and dairy and the impact on my skin

Image of a woman's face

I have often talked on my blog of my issues with my skin. I started having acne when I was 13 or 14, and I have never had clear skin since then. I used to blame it on my adolescent state, and then on my young adult state. Then I got older, the acne remained, and I realized there were other factors at work here.

I have very healthy skin care habits. My products are all natural, pure, I use products with no butters or comedogenic oils, I cleanse twice a day, use a mask once a week, use a exfoliant sparingly. I make my own hydrating lotion using aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin and tea tree essential oil. Even if it has been an issue in the past, I am fairly certain that my skin care habits are NOT what is causing my acne issues.

When I got pregnant with my son two years ago, my skin cleared up a little. It remained clearer than my usual spotty self throughout my 4 months of breastfeeding. This told me that a part of my struggle was hormones. But it can’t be all of it, or else I would have had beautiful, glowing skin during pregnancy, not slightly improved skin.

After reading up quite a bit on the subject, I realized that my problem was probably caused by my diet. I found a lot of literature that linked the consumption of wheat (and gluten) and dairy to acne breakouts. Considering that I also have a history of digestive health issues, this kind of set off an alarm bell for me. Could this be the answer to my recurring skin problems?

I don’t plan on cutting wheat and dairy completely from my diet. I love both too much and don’t have the self-control for it. But I do want to limit my intake. My action plan to do that is this:

Free of dairy:

  • Replace milk with almond milk when cooking milk-based meals;
  • Replace milk with almond milk in my coffee (less fattening too!);
  • Replace cheddar with goat milk-based cheddar, whenever possible;
  • Limit my intake of cow dairy products to 1 serving per day.

Free of wheat:

  • Use my homemade all-purpose gluten-free flour mix in place of wheat all-purpose flour in all my cooking (brown rice, tapioca starch, almond meal);
  • Breakfast on cereal that have no or very little wheat, or on gluten-free products;
  • Limit my intake of wheat based products to 1 serving per day, maximum.

Other skin-loving resolutions:

  • Drink my 2L of water per day, as I’m supposed to!
  • Limit caffeinated products to 1 per day on the weekend (and none during the week).
  • More green veggies!
  • Keep active!

We’ll see how that goes, and how much of an improvement that makes. Any tips or recommendations?

cooking · health

My resolutions to get healthy

Even though it is not New Year’s, I wanted to put down on paper (well, not literally) some resolutions that I have set for myself in order to get and stay healthy, in all aspects of my life. We’re not talking weight-loss here. Just general feel-good-about-myself and feel-good-in-my-own-skin stuff that I want to start (or continue) doing.

Resolution #1 : Run 3 times a week, whether I am training for a marathon, or for nothing at all.

Resolution #2 : Never use any beauty product which contains more than 5% of synthetic chemicals. If possible, use products that contain 0% synthetic chemicals.

Resolution #3 : Make all things from scratch (that includes mac’n cheese, apple sauce, cookies and brownies, guacamole, etc.) as much as possible. Controlling the ingredients that go in your food is so important. Stay close to the farm, and far from the processed.

Resolution #4 : Use only natural cleaning products at home. Killing 100% of bacteria using harsh products that give me a headache is overkill. It is unnecessary and will not guarantee a safer environment for my family.

Resolution #5 : Eat more fruits and vegetables! That is a big one for me because I definitely do not eat my 5-10 servings per day, like I should. 

What other resolutions should I be taking?