“If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, you shouldn’t put it on your skin.”
This is the advice I was given by my doctor a few years ago when I showed up in her office with a plethora of problems, one minor one being my skin. I had been using some strong acne treatments prescribed by my dermatologist, and this new doctor began to warn me of the effects of the harsh chemicals I was absorbing into my skin. Instead, her method of treatment was a few dietary changes and some supplements, and since then I wouldn’t consider my skin “acne-prone” any longer.
This was around the time when I was starting to become enlightened about food, fitness, and health.
It was a time of awakening for me.
Prior to then, I would have considered myself to be fairly ignorant in all three areas. When it came to food, if it was quick, easy, and tasted good, I ate it without so much as a glance at the ingredient list. I considered 20 minutes twice a week on the elliptical to be a good “workout,” and I never even considered the possibility of being careful about household cleaning products or skincare and beauty products.
But once I started to become educated and aware, the changes I saw only piqued my curiosity and desire to take better care of myself.
I started challenging my body physically, pushing it to new limits, which in turn increased my lung capacity, and was able to go completely off of the strongest asthma medication on the market.
During this season I watched (wept through) a lot of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and became aware of all of the ingredients the US allows into the food industry; ingredients other countries ban.
It was around this time that I also had an eye-opening conversation with a friend from England, where she shared that “over there” they don’t use the kind of laundry detergent and fabric softener and other products that we do, because they can cause cancer and other illnesses. She even shared with me that her family didn’t own a microwave…because it wasn’t safe.
It was also during this time that I was working as a makeup artist. As an artist in general, I’ve always had a love for, not only music, but all forms of art, so getting to be creative and play “makeover” all day was a fun way to support my musical endeavors.
During my training, I learned about beauty product standards in America…and how they are nowhere near as strict as other countries. I learned that cosmetic companies have formulas for their United States products, and completely different formulas for other countries, countries with stricter regulations and higher beauty standards.
It was around this time that a friend said, “Hey, have you heard of this new cosmetic company? Since you’re into makeup, health and fitness, eating Paleo, and avoiding toxic ingredients all around, I think it’s something you’d be interested in…” and this friend didn’t even work for the cosmetic company.
At the time, I didn’t dive too much into it, but it did get me thinking, “why don’t we in the United States, a country that has surpassed so many others in so many ways, lead in the standards of what we allow in our products?”
Fast forward to this past fall, a season where I began to delve even deeper into my research on food, and not just what is “healthy,” or “unhealthy,” but what God says about all of this, and I came across a portion of scripture outlining a time when Daniel fasted, not only certain foods, but lotion.
I realize with that statement, I may have lost some people. Hey, maybe I lost ya at “makeup,” but for me, everything in my life boils down to art and obedience. I believe everything can be an art, from cooking, to writing songs, to picking out my outfit and makeup for the day. I also believe all of those things can be an act of obedience, from dressing modestly to putting foods in my body that will help it, and not harm it, all the while providing the energy I need for whatever task God has for me that day, even if it’s just simply to relax and enjoy the day without indigestion.
I’m learning, it’s the same with everything else, even the products I put on my skin. If I’m trying to be obedient in what I eat, that means I also have to be obedient with what I’m allowing to be absorbed into the biggest organ in my body.
Everyone’s journey of enlightenment in what it means to treat his or her body with love and respect is different. I have friends who make their own deodorant and soaps; while my thing has been making almost everything I eat from scratch, from sauces and condiments to baked goods and regular meals. I know a lot of people that aim to avoid harmful chemicals in foods but don’t have the time or desire to make mayonnaise and ketchup from scratch, so they purchase those things from all natural health food stores.
Whatever the case, I think it’s safe to say the majority of us are on some sort of quest to lead healthier lifestyles and educate ourselves about how to be good stewards of our bodies.
The thing about education is, once your eyes are opened to the facts, you can’t unlearn them. At that point, you have a responsibility to put that knowledge into practice.
So that’s where I am. I’m working on the fitness and food piece, now it’s time to be more aware of the things I’m putting on the biggest organ on my body: my skin.
Maybe eventually I’ll delve into the world of making my own soaps and lotions, but it’s nice to know there’s already a company out there providing safe products, so I can spend more time doing the things that I love, like making music, cooking, and spending time with my family and friends.
I get that it can be overwhelming. It feels like everyday we see on the news a new discovery of a food or ingredient that causes cancer. So, instead of getting overwhelmed and thinking that now you’ve got to dedicate 5 hours a day to making all your food & body products from scratch, then another hour at the gym, start with one change: change your meats over to grass-fed, eliminate added sugar, or make a commitment to only buy non GMO products. Then do the same with your body products. Start with a safe shampoo, lotion, or facial cleanser and build out from there.
It’s all about the small changes. One new habit will inspire another.
And that’s what got me to where I am today :)
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