The Oil Cleansing Method

This post has been languishing in WordPress Draft Purgatory since June 28, 2013—ALMOST AN ENTIRE YEAR. You have my friend Kelly from yoga to thank for my finally pushing the “Publish” button. Just knowing that an actual human person is reading makes me want to step up my blogging game. Much of my hesitation in finishing this post has stemmed from the fact that my skin is not perfect. While it was great through high school despite  just washing my face with Dove soap and eating all manner of garbage, as I’ve gotten older I’ve experienced more redness and inflammation even though, in general, my diet and skincare regimen are better.

Naturally, the skeptic in me sometimes thinks “Obviously eating healthy and taking care of your skin has no benefit whatsoever!” Yet, whenever I really go off the rails these days, my skin reacts violently. Everyone’s triggers are different, but mine are (in order of least to most severe): low quality dairy, vegetable oil, and gluten-containing grains. Obviously some of this is hard to pinpoint exactly, since the most wonderful offending foods often pack a double or triple threat. For example: the best donuts, cheese sticks, king cake, any really good hamburger, and so on. And though the majority of my knowledge in this area comes from self experimentation, I can say that people I know who’ve gone to the trouble to figure out what pisses off their skin seem to agree with these main three.

But why am I talking about food anyway when this is supposed to be a post about skincare? People a lot more knowledgable than I am have written on this subject with much more depth than I could even attempt in a single blog post. Two resources that have shaped my understanding of the gut-skin connection are Liz Wolfe’s Skintervention Guide and this four part series on Eczema by Rachel Wolf.1 I highly recommend them both, but for our purposes the short version is that diet and skin are so so inextricably linked, and topical treatments cannot solve your skin problems, they can only treat the symptoms. No matter how much you’re paying for that fancy cream, balm, or scrub, it’s not going to get rid of your acne and heal your eczema. The same holds true for oil cleansing, a skincare method I can’t praise enough. While it’s much more affordable and way less toxic than fancy drugstore creams, oil cleansing can’t fix your digestion, mediate the effects of inflammatory foods, or make up for the fact that you don’t eat vegetables. So, if you’re having major skin issues and you’re not sure what’s causing them, examine your diet first and foremost. At least in my experience, everything seems to work better when I am giving my body what it needs and limiting exposure to things I know aren’t good for me.2

Oil Cleansing

Now, after the longest introduction ever, let’s talk about oil cleansing. The logic behind oil cleansing is fairly simple—like dissolves like. So, if your skin tends toward oily, then that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t oil cleanse. In fact, you should most definitely oil cleanse, because it has the potential to regulate your skin’s oil production so that you aren’t running to the bathroom to powder your nose or use a blotting sheet once an hour. Seriously! And if you have dry skin, it’s also good for you, because you can choose more moisturizing oils like coconut and really soothe your dry, irritated skin. And if you have combination skin, then obviously it will work for you as well. Oil cleansing is really the traveling pants3 of skincare. So here is what you’ll need to make it happen:

  • castor oil, your “cleansing” oil4
  • a carrier oil of your choosing (jojoba, almond, olive, avocado, coconut5, etc., or some combination)
  • a washcloth (several of them, in fact)

Those are the three most basic supplies, but I find that it’s also exceedingly helpful to have:

Let’s start with your oils. Castor is the nonnegotiable, which I buy in bulk and keep in the fridge until I need it. In addition to castor oil, you will need a carrier oil. If you want to lower the risk bar and use something you already have on hand, I say go for it, as long as it’s high quality and suitable for your skin type. Avocado and coconut are great for dry skin, olive and jojoba are more all purpose/combination oils, and almond is considered best for oily skin.  Whatever you make sure it’s the highest quality you can afford, because you don’t want to be smearing toxins and stuff all over your face. I use a blend of olive, argan, and castor oils and I am really happy with it. Argan oil is totally optional, but it’s great for all skin types, and it’s super high in vitamin E, which means it helps my skin to heal much more quickly when  I inevitably think Chinese takeout and Supernatural in bed is a great idea (which it just sometimes is).

As far as the ratio of cleansing to carrier oil, there are no hard and fast rules, but in general:

  • oily skin – 1:1
  • normal – 1:2
  • dry – 1:3

The first number represents castor oil and the second represents carrier oil. So for me, I use 1 part castor, 2 part olive, and drop of argan. I recommend starting small, either mixing the oils in your hand each night before cleansing, or mixing up no more than a few tablespoons to begin. The oils stay fresher longer if you store the bulk in the fridge, and after a week or so you’ll be able to tell whether your proportions are right or need adjusting. If you find that your skin is too oily or too dry, adjust as necessary—adding more castor for a more drying oil, and more carrier for a more moisturizing one.

Also, don’t forget to consider the seasons. Right now my mix is somewhere between 1:2 and 1:3, but as the weather warms up I’ll probably have to cut back on the carrier oil. This is another reason that mixing small batches is beneficial. If you find that what worked for you in February isn’t working come April, it’s not a big deal to remix and adjust.

Now for the actual process. This is where the bonus supplies come in. I’ll walk you through what I do a few nights a week, plus offer some modifications in case you’re lacking any of the supplies.

  • If using fancy pants, optional ingredients: Put a kettle of filtered water on to boil, and place a clean washcloth in a large glass mixing bowl on your kitchen table. Put 1 drop of lavender essential oil onto the washcloth, and drape a thick towel over the back of your chair. (I didn’t put towel on the list because I’m assuming you have at least one. Also, I use lavender because it’s calming and I love it. I’m also a big fan of eucalyptus whenever I have sinus stuff going on, but you can use whatever essential oils you love and know are safe.)
    • Modifications for un-fancy ingredients: Scrub out your sink and get the tap water as hot as you can. Grab a clean wash cloth and a towel.
  • Use a headband or hair tie to keep your hair back, wet your face with warm water, and then massage something like a teaspoon of your oil blend into your face. If you’re mixing by hand, just do 1/2 t castor and 1/2 t carrier or 1/4 and 1/2 or 1/2 and 3/4 (you get it). Use a firm, upward motion, being careful not to press too hard. After a minute or two have passed, wash the oil off your hands with a mild soap like Dr. Bronners. 
  • Fancy pants: The kettle should be whistling by now (this is a great way to time how long you cleanse), so go back into the kitchen, pour 3-4 inches of water into your bowl (not so much that you burn your nose while steaming, not that anyone would ever do that….), and make a tent with the towel and steam your face for a minute or two or five. Especially with the lavender, this part is so nice that I usually stretch it out for as long as possible.
    • Regular pants: Stop up the sink, put your washcloth in, and fill the sink with the hottest water you can achieve/stand. Make a tent with your towel and steam your face, as above.
  • Once you’re done steaming, drape the washcloth over your face and steam a bit more. Dunk the washcloth back into the water a few times and repeat. Eventually, you can start wiping the oil off of your face, dunking the washcloth and wringing it out, and wiping some more. It’s not an exact science and the process takes a few minutes, so the water should be warm but no longer steaming by the time you’re done. Water from a kettle does get hotter and thus takes longer to cool off, so beware when reaching into the bowl initially.

And that’s it! There’s no need to moisturize after, and I only wash my bowl once a week or so. I love doing this right before bed, as the warm water and lavender are so relaxing. After I’m done, I typically make a magnesium and head to bed for the dreamiest sleep. Yes, oil cleansing is way more work than just washing my face with dove soap, but I think it’s worth the trouble most of the time. On nights I’m too tired to oil cleanse, I either exfoliate with baking soda, wash with honey, or use my konjac sponge; but like brewing kombucha and french pressing coffee, it doesn’t take long for it to stop being a hassle and become part of your routine. It’s kind of ritualistic, even—the massage, the lavender, the warm water… not to mention sitting still for ten minutes without looking at a screen. I kind of love it, and only partially because it keeps my skin in check.

Have you heard of oil cleansing? Have you ever tried it? Do you think I am crazy for smearing oil into my skin on the reg? Let me know in the comments.

Notes:

  1. I never noticed the similarity in their last names until typing them side by side just now, but obviously there’s a correlation between having some variant of wolf as a last name and being a total badass.
  2. And please, please don’t think I am judging you for your less-than-perfect diet or that I survive on lemon water, grass fed beef, and organic spinach alone.
  3. As in, Sisterhood of the
  4. While you can pick up castor oil in the medicine section of the supermarket (it’s a laxative as well), I would caution against it. This is what I purchased when I started oil cleansing, and the results just weren’t great. I can’t be sure it was just the castor oil, but even after I switched to using a tea kettle, I still weird breakouts around my hairline which I blame on inferior castor oil.
  5. If you’re acne-prone at all, let me caution you against coconut oil. While I’ve not personally experienced problems with it, it does seem to make some people’s skin worse.
  6. So, I’ve been oil cleansing fairly regularly for four to five years, and the whole glass mixing bowl thing didn’t occur to me until weeks ago. Despite steaming in more than one basin sink, which are essentially bowls, and loving it, somehow it took a disgustingly clogged sink for me to make the connection. But I am so glad I did because now I can sit down to steam! And it uses less water because you don’t have to leave the faucet running to heat it up.

Friday Faves: Spring Skin Edition

ff spring skin

Although this has been the longest, coldest winter ever (people living in places farther north probably want to punch me in the face right now), I could swear it almost feels like spring here in Mississippi. Yes, it was down in the twenties just a couple days ago, but I am willing it to be spring. We are no longer running the heat. The daffodils are blooming. We’ve even had a couple of glorious, no-coat-necessary, 60° days.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that soon it will be warm enough for something other than my current uniform (a sweater, fleece-lined leggings, wool camping socks, boots), which means I should probably do something about my winter skin. Here’s the thing: for the most part my skin is fairly problem-free, though it tends toward dry and sensitive—two things cold weather only makes worse. Add to that the fact that the cold makes me crave the grossest, bad-for-you foods (burgers, pizza, chinese food,  sugar in every imaginable form, and a Krispy Kreme NY Cheesecake donut in a moment of true weakness), and it’s not hard to imagine the state my skin is in.

In addition to eliminating refined sugar, dairy, most grains, and generally cleaning up my diet (the most important part!), here’s what I’m doing to prepare my skin for spring:

o1.  For the past few months I’ve been using coconut oil as a facial moisturizer. It’s great in winter but a little too much for the rest of the year, so I am switching back to my long-time favorite argan oil. It’s the lightest, fastest-absorbing skincare oil I’ve ever used, and perfect for the heat and humidity that will be here before we know it (I used argan oil religiously when I lived in Southwest Louisiana, which is saying a lot).

o2. Unlike argan oil, I am new to the world of konjac sponges, but after reading rave reviews at No More Dirty Looks I decided to order one and see what the fuss is about. My love for turmeric is well documented, so it should come as no surprise that I chose to order the Leonie turmeric konjac sponge for sensitive/mature skin. I’ve been using the oil cleansing method for several years now, and it’s great except it takes forever.  I recently signed up for a yoga class, and I need a way to get the sweat off my face in the middle of the day that doesn’t take as long as oil cleansing but also isn’t soap. I’m hoping the konjac sponge lives up the the hype and brightens my sad winter skin.

o3. Another weird skincare thing I first heard about on No More Dirty Looks (before that post was published) and then taught myself to do via YouTube video, dry brushing is so unexpectedly wonderful. Every day before showering, I use a natural bristle brush with a long handle to make long strokes toward my heart. Dry brushing is supposed to stimulate the lymphatic system and help with detoxification, and it also exfoliates dry skin and feels really nice.

o4. Because it’s still not as warm as I’d like it to be, I’m relying pretty heavily on warm lemon water for hydration and detoxification—both of which should help brighten up my skin. Image via Angela Gerhardt.

o5. Since I started drinking a teaspoon or two of grass fed gelatin in my coffee every morning, I have noticed that my skin isn’t taking quite as long to heal, plus my hair is growing faster and my fingernails are a lot stronger. Gelatin is also rumored to help with cellulite (as is dry brushing), but I can’t speak to those benefits thus far. Still, the skin, hair, and nails are big for me, as I have always had very thin, brittle fingernails and skin that scars super easily and takes forever to heal.

Some of these spring skincare resolutions have been harder to keep up with than others. Dry brushing, for example, is a real pain when you are freezing and it takes every ounce of strength in you to just take off your clothes and get into the shower. And stirring gelatin into my coffee in the morning sometimes feels just like one more step separating me from caffeine. Still, like anything else, once you make it a point to do them despite your discomfort they pretty much become part of your routine. My dry brush is hanging right beside the shower, so there’s no way I’m getting in without seeing it. Likewise, I keep the gelatin right next to the coffee beans and grinder so that I don’t forget to add it.

Are you doing anything to get your skin ready for spring? Let me know in the comments!

Dear Coffee: It’s Not Me, It’s You.

When I was in graduate school, on campus for 12-hour stretches, staying up late grading, and generally eating garbage, I drank black coffee all day. I bought a large when I got to campus around 7:45, then refilled it every couple of hours throughout the day.

I didn’t really experience any ill effects that I can remember—I slept well because I was exhausted, and any anxiety I felt could be attributed to an upcoming deadline or nervousness about workshop. I drank all that coffee because it kept me going, but also because I just love coffee—whether it’s the French pressed stuff I make at home, the $6 a cup pour overs that I splurge on when I’m traveling, or the crappy campus coffee shop variety. It’s not just the caffeine, although that’s certainly part of it. I am also a sucker for ritual, and coffee is probably my most regular one.

Every morning I wake up, put on my slippers, and pad into the kitchen in the dark. I put on a kettle of water to boil; grind four scoops of coffee beans by pressing the button on the coffee grinder twelve times, holding the grinder upside down for the last two; and dump the beans into the french press—always in that order. Then it’s back to bed until the kettle whistles, cover the french press with a saucer, and sleep for another five (or fifteen!) minutes.

Next, I put a tablespoon of gelatin into a pyrex cup, pour a little water over it, and stir it with a fork. Then add a tablespoon of coconut oil, pour in a cup of coffee, and whizz it all with the immersion blender. Finally, I divide the coffee, coconut oil, and gelatin mixture between two coffee cups, stack one on top of the other, grab the french press, and carry it all back into the bedroom and drink the coffee in bed.  

In fact, I am typing this post and drinking coffee in bed, but unlike most days, it’s probably going to be my only cup. It’s not that I buy the hype that coffee is universally bad, especially since I’m drinking higher quality, fair trade, whole beans and not adding sugar and powdered creamer (no offense, Mom). I think coffee can be very healthy, but in the context of my life right now, in the quantities that I’ve been drinking it, it just isn’t.

For the past week or so I’ve found that by the end of the day I’m  jittery and anxious, obsessing over things out of my control, and generally overwhelmed regardless of the number of items on my To Do list. It doesn’t help that that list has been getting longer and longer. While sometimes a coffee after lunch can be just what I need to check a few things off, the healthier my diet gets, the more efficient my body is at metabolizing energy, and the less I find myself need caffeine. But I love the way coffee tastes, and I love the ritual of making it, so I keep drinking it. I tend a bit toward mania as it is, and so the extra energy from caffeine straight up overwhelms me. I have found that coconut oil and gelatin mediate this effect somewhat, but since I’ve been traveling a lot lately (and thus lacking an immersion blender), I’ve been drinking plain black coffee and a lot of it.

So, I’ve decided to limit my coffee consumption. (Caffeine from other sources is of minimal concern since I don’t drink soda and I brew my kombucha with white and green tea).

Starting yesterday, I’m allowing myself one cup in the morning and another post-lunch, if I want it. Yesterday I did, and today I chose to drink black tea with coconut milk after lunch instead. Though I only have two days’ experience under my belt, I did sleep much more soundly last night, and I still managed to get a decent amount of work done yesterday even without the extra push from caffeine. Today, I’ve felt more calm and in control of my emotions and more capable of tackling the items on my To Do list. So yay! I’ll check back in on this subject in a couple weeks and let you know if I’m able to stay strong.

Have you ever tried giving up caffeine? If so, why? Let me know in the comments.

On Headaches

I’ve tried to write this post six or seven times now. When I’m buzzing around the house—washing dishes, rolling up my yoga mat, making tea—I have plenty to say, but by the time I finally sit down and try to type something out, I can’t remember what it was.

That’s kind of how the entire month of January was for me. In the span of about two weeks, Ben was offered and then accepted a new job, and we packed up and moved an hour away—not so far, but far enough to disrupt our routine. Before we could really get settled, it was time to make the drive down to south Florida for a week of vacation (thankfully, during what turned out to be one of the coldest weeks of the year). So it’s mostly been a blur of packing and unpacking, wedding planning, and walking whenever the weather allows (and sometimes even when it doesn’t).

In other news: We are getting married in less than 100 days! I feel like I should be stressed out about it, but I’m really just excited. A very practical (and beautiful!) dress has been purchased, and letterpress plates for invitations, RSVPs, and thank you cards have been ordered.

Even sooner than that is my DONA Doula Training workshop, for which I leave tomorrow. I’m almost finished with the second of the two books we were recommended to read before attending, which has made me me more excited. After being out of school for almost a year, it feels really good to be pushing myself and learning new things—even if it’s not in the structured way I am so accustomed to.

One thing that kept me away from the computer was a surprisingly bad migraine on Saturday and Sunday. I used to get them a lot, and sometimes I still do, but I can almost always identify a trigger—cigarette smoke, water in my ear, whiskey shots, and so on. When I woke up Saturday, however, with my right temple pounding, I figured it was just dehydration and would go away after a glass of water and some coffee. It didn’t, despite a big lunch and more water, and by mid-afternoon it was substantially worse—like, sip a bloody mary and watch Twin Peaks in bed all afternoon worse. Neither of those helped, either, and we had planned to go to a friend’s birthday party, so I drank some peppermint tea and took a hot shower covered myself in a peppermint magnesium body butter, which helped just a little. Still, by the end of the night by headache was back, and I was so so ready to go to bed.

When I have a headache like that, I’m always a little afraid upon waking up the next day, because about half the time, the headache is still there. Sunday was one of those days, but thankfully breakfast, another bloody mary, and a haggard-looking trip to the grocery store seemed to clear it up. Still, I find myself wondering why I had that headache in the first place.

You’re probably thinking, “Just take an ibuprofen and shut up already.” That used to be my migraine protocol (except it was Excedrin Migraine and a nap), but that course of action just doesn’t feel right to me anymore. Most of the time, I would prefer to figure out what kind of imbalance is causing my discomfort and then eliminate. And most of the time, I know exactly what’s causing my headaches, and I simply stop doing it—whatever it is. But sometimes I just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it was the white sugar I ate the night before? (I almost never eat it, and this isn’t the first time I’ve felt hung over after going overboard on sugar.) Maybe it was a tension headache brought on by all the busy? Or maybe it was some weird reaction to the storm system moving in?

I honestly don’t know. I have an arsenal of home remedies, some of which seem to kind of work, but I’ve still found the most effective course of action is to not do things that trigger migraines.

If you suffer from headaches, have you figured out what brings them on? Do you have any home remedies that stop them in their tracks? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Friday Faves: Holiday Edition

Santa was so, so good to me this year. There’s no way I can include all the beautiful things I got for Christmas, but I figure since it’s been a while since I did a Friday Fave, it would be nice to post a few this week.

Friday Faves Holiday

o1. Ben got me the Clothbound Classics editions of Pride and Prejudice and The Hound of the Baskervilles. P&P was the first “grown up” book I ever read, and it will always be one of my favorites. I’ve actually never read The Hound of the Baskervilles, but I love spooky stuff and the book itself is too, too beautiful. I love everything about the Penguin Clothbound Classics line.  (Fun Fact: I got Ben the clothbound classics edition of Moby Dick.)

o2. (Most likely after she saw me brewing raspberry leaf tea in a pyrex measuring cup and pouring it through a tiny mesh strainer) Dawn got me this ceramic infuser mug from Teavana. Even better, it has a peony on it, which is my favorite flower. (image via)

o3. My dad and stepmom paid for the DONA doula workshop I’m attending this upcoming February. I am beyond excited about this one!

o4. A while back I lost several years worth of music from my computer. Rather than even think about building my library back up, I’ve been relying on Pandora and Spotify, which was hard when we didn’t have internet didn’t always sound the best. Ben got me Iron & Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days and Band of Horses’ Cease to Begin (two of my favorite albums ever) on vinyl, which is a step in the right direction.

o5. Because we’re in a kind of transient period, we didn’t even decorate for Christmas this year, and I have been really bummed about it. After getting these handmade stockings and matching tree skirt from Ben’s mom, I have pretty much decided we’re decorating next year even if we live in a cardboard box (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that).

o6. I love how air plants look like little aliens. Ben got me one from West Elm for Christmas last year, and I loved and doted on it until I accidentally left it in Rhode Island over the summer (RIP, Sassafras). I was so happy when he got me a replacement this Christmas. (image via)

All I Have Ever Wanted is to Look Like Claire Danes in Romeo & Juliet on my Wedding Day.

claire danes

I didn’t realize until recently that, like unity candles and a reading from 1 Corinthians, it’s pretty much standard to have your makeup done professionally for your wedding. But we aren’t bothering with a lot of these wedding “standards,” so I don’t see why this should be any different.

Before I go further: I don’t mean any offense here. Obviously, all these things can be wonderful components of a wedding ceremony if they are meaningful to you. My primary source for wedding planning ideas and inspiration has been the book A Practical Wedding (and the blog by the same name), and one of the most resonant concepts by far has been the distinction between what’s meaningful and what’s expected. And for me, a lot of the more “traditional” wedding stuff just doesn’t mean anything. It’s just more stuff to buy, so I am not going to fool with it.

With all that in mind, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m  choosing not to get my makeup done for my wedding. Here’s why:

  1. The few times I’ve had my makeup professionally done, I haven’t been crazy with the outcome. It’s not that I don’t feel pretty, but I definitely don’t feel like myself. I think this is fairly normal as makeup artists aren’t psychic and makeup preferences vary considerably from person to person. For example, I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup. Most days I don’t wear any, and when I do feel like fancying up I usually stick to 100% Pure mascara (which I really love) and homemade powdered eyeliner that I make by dipping a wet brush in activated charcoal.
  2. Because of the previous point, a “try on” would be really necessary. But since we’re getting married four hours from here, arranging that seems like a big fat pain.
  3. Plus, and maybe most significantly, I am very particular about the products I use. I make my own toothpaste and deodorant, I wash my face with either castor and coconut oils or honey, and I haven’t washed my hair since 2006 (another post entirely). This is one of the main reasons I don’t wear much makeup. Though I know there are some really nice clean products out there, for the most part there isn’t a ton  within my price range that I feel comfortable slathering over the my body’s largest organ.

However, while mascara and eyeliner is enough for a trip to Kroger, I know it won’t be for a day when I’ll be photographed and probably crying a lot. After reading this Open Thread: Beauty post by A Practical Wedding, I started thinking about wedding day makeup. Someone commented that, rather than paying to have her makeup done, she planned on investing in really nice products, watching some Youtube tutorials, and doing it herself—which pretty much sounds like the best idea ever.

Thus, my decision to do my own makeup. Luckily, my sister Dawn is an excellent resource when it comes to product recommendations, so I have a list of ten or so, from foundation to blush to mascara, that I’ve started slowly ordering. That way, the initial investment won’t be a huge and I’ll have time to figure out if I really like them/how to properly use them.

The first two arrived last week! Thanks to a cyber weekend deal, I got Vapour Organics Atmosphere Luminous Foundation (in 115, fair with neutral undertones) and Aura Cream Blush (in Courtesan , classic rose) for under $60. 

vapour organic

I’ve used them a few times already, and I’m really happy with their performance. I use the foundation as more of a concealer–under my eyes and on any spots–but it matches my skin perfectly and doesn’t look splotchy even without powder. The blush, which looks really bright in the picture above, is actually very natural. Here’s a photo of Dawn and Me (wearing makeup in question) at Flip, a fancy burger place she, Ben, and I ate at when we visited Birmingham recently.

At Flip in Birmingham

It’s been so long since I put more than minimal effort into makeup, so I’m having fun playing around with these products. Next on my list to order is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar and an angled brush that makes my charcoal eyeliner easier to apply.

A Case of the Mondays

Today I am feeling less than motivated.

Although I work from home, I still try to have my body out of bed by 6:30 or 7. I think it helps with productivity, and I just feel better when I’m in a routine. Structuring my work life this way means I still get the Mondays sometimes—especially after a long weekend or a holiday when I’ve been eating things that don’t make me feel awesome, drinking too much, and staying up late. That sentence pretty much sums up my Thanksgiving: deep fried turkey and cornbread dressing, pumpkin pie with a real crust, and drinking games into the early morning.

turmeric tea

Here’s what I’m doing this week to counteract the negative effects of the not great choices I made over the past several days:

Setting a few very achievable goals and tackling them one-by-one. For example, my To Do list today actually included “work out,” “shower,” and “blog post.” Check, check, and check.

Sticking pretty closely to Whole 30 style eating for a while—though I may have an occasional glass of wine. I’m especially focusing on eating something other than pumpkin pie for breakfast. Today I had Against All Grain’s Roast Chicken Soup with Roasted Vegetables, which I made with leftover turkey and bone broth.

Starting a new 30 day workout plan. I pretty much do yoga and yard work for exercise, but lately I’ve been looking for something a little more challenging. Aside from the first video, I’ve never done HIIT (high intensity interval training) before, so we’ll see how this goes. So far: ouch.

Sipping lots of bone broth and turmeric tea.1 In my last Friday Faves post I mentioned I’ve been drinking this tea, and I’ve found it to be really great for bringing clarity and focus. As far as herbs and natural remedies go, turmeric is pretty universally regarded as beneficial for a host of ailments. It has been shown to support the liver (can I get an amen?), inhibit the spread of skin and breast cancer cells and make them more vulnerable to chemo and radiotheraphy, and maybe even lower Alzheimer rates in India. It’s super anti-inflammatory (which my body needs after all those grains and vegetable oil).

In case you, like me, could use all the help you can get this week, I’m including my recipe for turmeric tea. I came across the idea a while ago at Mark’s Daily Apple, and based on my preferences and what I read in the comments, I’ve landed on the following recipe:

Turmeric Tea

1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat, canned)
1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 tsp turmeric (heaping)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1″ piece of ginger, minced
a dash of black pepper2
honey to taste (preferably raw & local)

Combine the coconut milk and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer (almost boiling, but not quite) over medium heat. In the meantime, throw the remaining ingredients into a large mug. Once the milk mixture is simmering, pour a little into your mug and swirl/stir to dissolve the ingredients. Once combined, add the remaining milk and enjoy.

Notes

1. Also, alliterating apparently.

2. The piperine in black pepper activates the curcumin in turmeric and increases its effectiveness. Yay!