I get the same question from just about all of my customers (who are mostly Gen-X and Baby Boomers), and that is “What is the best product to improve my skin?”
The truth, as I am about to reveal, has more to do with what you are putting in your body, rather than what you are putting on your body. I do share this with everyone, but the advice seems to be glazed over in hopes that there is a quick-fix miracle I can sell them.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that great skincare can vastly improve one’s complexion, however it can only do so much. It’s kind of like working out with a personal trainer, but still eating fast food every day…there is only so much progress you can hope to achieve.
I decided to put my own advice to the test, and follow every single thing I recommend to my own customers, to prove that you have the ability (in a relatively short period of time) to change your skin’s tone, texture and evenness. So I cleared my schedule to embark on a three week journey through the mountains, with my best friend in tow, to see how much my skin could change. We did this all in a little vintage travel trailer, who I affectionately call Alexis Carrington.
We reluctantly took “before” pictures and measurements of ourselves, and set off into the summer heat for a glamping adventure.
I went into the woods expecting to report back on how to make certain juices (recipes) and how great my complexion looked (and it did!), but what I discovered was something so life-changing and cathartic, that is has completely changed me at a cellular level, and I feel compelled to move in a different direction with my life (more on that later). I could have called this the “Ten Years Younger Road Trip” because that’s exactly what happened.
In case you missed it, my previous blog entry explains why I chose raw juicing for this experiment. I have done raw juice fasts in the past, but it was more of a struggle for me, and I was never able to sustain long-term changes in my behavior. I did continue to juice after my fasts, but I also did other things (alcohol, processed foods, etc). All of this lead to puffiness, inflammation and rosacea flare-ups (as you can see from my before picture above, in the top left photo).
What I believe was the missing component to make long term changes was a mind/body/spirit connection. I viewed the fast as a punishment – as in “I can’t wait to get off this fast and then I can enjoy real food again”. I even joined a few raw juice Facebook support groups, but although they provided great recipes, most newbies in the groups seemed scared, depressed and defeated (especially if they could not keep it going after a few days), and the emphasis is always on juice recipes. That’s great, but in my opinion, it’s one small piece of the puzzle.
This time, I prepared much differently for the fast, and yes I use the word prepare, because just like you wouldn’t run a marathon without training first, you can’t just jump into a raw juice fast without some preparation. I now believe this is why so many people attempt and fail at juicing, because they didn’t train properly first.
I created a plan-of-action…The Glamper’s Guide to Juicing, and not only did it enable me to go through the 21 day raw juice fast with ease, I came home and decided to continue my juice fast for a total of 60 days! By the way, if you aren’t familiar with the term glamper/glamping, it means glamorous
camper/camping. It brings five star ambiance to nature (complete with Egyptian cotton sheets and chandeliers!). It takes the “roughing it” out of camping.
To be successful at this, you need to have the right mind set going in.
The first thing we did was to make a date to disappear, and then made no apologies for it to anyone. It may seem selfish. It is, but you have to be selfish in order to take care of yourself first so that you can be healthy for your family. This proved to be the hardest step, because we had to rely on others to help us with kids, animals, work, etc.
If you think you can’t get away for three weeks, then take a week, or a weekend. The point is, you have to remove yourself from distractions so you can focus on yourself 100%. You can make the time if it’s important enough for you. Look at it this way, if your doctor told you that you have something wrong with you, and he is putting you in the hospital to figure it out, you would probably go, no questions asked because they are “doctor’s orders”. Nobody would even question it, they would figure out a way to get things done in your household.
Why wait until you are sick before you do something so life-changing that it could prevent you from getting sick?
If I was not doing this for the benefit of my customers, I wouldn’t have told anyone about my decision to do a 21 day juice fast (except of course my husband) because all of the sudden you will get everyone coming out of the woodwork giving you health advice and opinions, most of them negative. I believe this is because they don’t understand how juicing works (it’s been done safely for centuries, and all religions observe some kind of fasting rituals), or they read sensationalized headlines about juicing designed to scare people.
Nobody can make the decision to change your health; not your spouse, friends, family or doctor. Only you can. It’s up to you to educate yourself about your health, and what it means to be truly healthy.
Before we left, we both watched three documentaries about juicing (which explain the science behind it): Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, Hungry for Change, and Super Juice Me. We also downloaded them so we could watch them during our trip. That really kept us motivated.
If you are experiencing a disease (as opposed to just wanting to look better or lose a few pounds), I encourage you to also watch The Beautiful Truth. The way food is poisoned (with pesticides), genetically modified, and processed (with additives and chemicals), it’s no wonder we are a nation of obese and sick people. It effects your weight, the way you age, and your health.
There are chemicals in food that make us crave it, in fact there is an entire industry of food engineers whose sole purpose it is to make you crave it more, so you will buy it more. It’s all about profit. Then when you get sick, you go to the doctor who prescribes medication (which cause all sorts of side effects). Then you get strange diseases (which were unheard of fifty years ago) and you get depressed, so you eat to numb yourself, or to cope with the depression and the cycle continues.
When you are able to break that food addiction (and lose the cravings for sugar, salt, processed foods), you lose the brain fog (which you may not even realize you have), and have more energy that you could possibly imagine. It feels like you are a child again.
I eliminated alcohol, processed foods, and refined carbs (sweets) and added a juice or two (daily) for the two weeks prior to leaving. This made it MUCH easier to transition into just juice. The last time I did this, I partied like a rock star up until the day I started the fast (to be fair, it was the month of my birthday and Thanksgiving, so there was a lot of celebrating going on), and it was a big mistake. I had detox symptoms (feeling sick) for the first four days and it I felt awful. I believe it happens to a lot of people who don’t properly prepare, and that’s why a lot of people give up after a few days.
We chose our route based on the weather. While it was summer, it was much cooler in the Blue Ridge mountains than in the rest of the country. We chose to camp because it would get us off the grid (we rarely had cell phone or internet service), and the campgrounds were off the beaten path and away from temptation, i.e. restaurants. We also wanted to be as active as possible, and it doesn’t get more active than camping, where most conveniences are gone and you have to move around a lot. The walk to the bathrooms alone were far.
As far as the cost, we camped for three weeks at different campgrounds, and the total for lodging was about $650 total. Add to that gas, activities (such as zip lining, water water rafting, a movie on rainy days, etc), food purchased at local produce stands, and the whole trip was about $1,000 each.
Something remarkable happened as a result of being off the grid, and I also believe this helped us succeed. We were not exposed to any negativity or fear from the media. When you expose yourself (even peripherally) to the news, it will make you anxious, angry, even fearful. This causes your body to be in “flight-or-fight” mode, which releases the hormone cortisol. Add that “out there” stress to the everyday stress of commuting, picking up kids, dealing with work, arguments with your spouse, preparing meals, etc. and it all adds up to a lot of cortisol being released. This can turn your overeating into a habit. Because increased levels of the hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods.
Imagine three weeks without hearing about shootings, Isis, the presidential race or the Kardashians?! Imagine not being able to have any internet or cell service. Then imagine no dogs in your bed, no alarm clock ringing at 7 a.m. or no kids to get off to school. It was Pure Silent Bliss! It was almost too quiet at first – but soon we found our body’s responding to the natural circadian rhythms of nature and we slept more soundly and deeply than at any time in our lives.
Good sleep is essential for cellular repair. We woke up just about every day looking refreshed (not like we had to go back to bed for a couple of more hours).
Our physical exercise plan was simple. Make it fun! I brought along a weighted hula hoop (purchased at Target), and Sandy brought her exercise bands, but the majority of our exercise came from walking (we walked just about every morning and again when the sun went down), hiking trails in the parks, cleaning our campsite, and preparing our juices.
The recipes we chose were simple. We made four different recipes which we got from the Reboot with Joe website.We did the Low Sugar Green Juice, The Original Mean Green Juice, Hot V6 Juice (this was our favorite!), and Beet the Heat Juice. We read all the testimonials from that website too, which are all very inspirational.
On week one, we drank 4-5 juices per day, one every 3 hours and lots of water! It seemed like we were in the bathroom all the time in the beginning. One week two, we lost our urges to eat (this happens on day 4-7, it varies by person), so we only drank 3 juices and more water. By week three, we had one juice in the morning and one at night.
For three weeks, we maintained a can-do attitude. We didn’t sit around whining about what we couldn’t have, or count the days till we could. Our spirits were high, and each day brought us to new heights. This is hard to put into words, but as we got healthier, and our cells became nourished with real nutrients, we became happier! I consider myself a very happy person anyway, but when you add the nutrition element to it, it is simply incomprehensible at how GOOD you feel. It’s euphoric! I felt reborn!
“Ah, so THIS is how we are supposed to feel!”
It was at this point in our fast (week 3) that we both decided to extend our fast to 60 days when we got back home. It’s also the same time I decided to make some real big changes in my life. I made a decision to be 100% happy every single day, to do things that make me happy, to be around people that make me laugh. When you take care of yourself first (the body), everything else falls into place.
Look, I know we aren’t going to live forever, but if I get to choose how to live out the remainder of my life, it will be to live with love, integrity, intention and perfect health. I had been doing pretty good with the first three parts of that equation, but hadn’t realized how much the health influenced the other areas. I guess that’s what they mean when they say mind/body/soul connection.
In the silence of the woods, I heard my true calling…which is to inspire and enlighten others on their own journeys. To help show them the way by example.
Up until now, I have done that, by making clean skincare. Since I founded Celtic Complexion in 2011, I have received hundreds of testimonials from women who thank me for changing their skin, but I want to make an even bigger impact and reach greater amount of women. I don’t want to just change skin, I want to change lives!
Celtic Complexion isn’t going anywhere, I am just expanding to create something bigger. I combined everything I’ve learned about natural health, applied it, tweaked it, and saw incredible results for myself. In just three short weeks, I lost 21 lbs, 10 (over all) inches, lost 3 dress sizes, and my blood pressure (which had always been elevated) was normal. I also lost 3% body fat and my BMI went down 2.71%. IN THREE WEEKS.
I had a blood lipid panel done two days before I left (to establish a benchmark), and I will have them done again at the three month mark and share my before and after results.
As I begin the second phase of my fast, I am going to do something I have always wanted to do, but never had the time or will power to do, and that is a full body cleanse that was highly recommended to me a few years ago. For maximum results, they recommend you fast. Now that I have that down, it will be easy. It’s by Blessed Herbs and it’s a 21 day internal cleansing kit that cleanses your colon, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, lungs, blood, skin and lymphatic system. That link will give you 20% off, so you can save a little (and they will in turn give me a 20% coupon for referring you for my next cleanse).
This raw juice fast turned out to be much, much more than seeing superficial skin condition changes (rosacea). It also went beyond weight loss (in fact, we didn’t take a scale with us because we didn’t want the focus to be on weight loss). Instead it focused on creating a new way of living, a road map of how to age and feel great (from the inside out). We found how to create joy around these changes so it was actually fun to do. Raw juicing was only one component of the much bigger picture. There were so many subtle nuances that were drawn upon to achieve this monumental change in our lives.
When we were out there, we met lots of very nice people. They were mostly retirees who were 70+ years old. A few stuck out in my mind. Annie would walk by our set up every night and wave and smile. It happened to be her birthday during the week we were there, and she was smiling and almost glowing. I never ask a lady her age, but she volunteered that she was 84. If I had to guess, I would have thought she was at least a decade earlier. I asked her what her secret was, and she said “I eat very modestly and kept moving every single day!”
At another camp, we met Ralph and Darlene, who we later found out had been married for 63 years. They were hiking the same (strenuous) trail we were up the mountain. When we arrived at the top and sat for a rest, they came up beside us and we ended up chatting for a while. Feeling a bit homesick for our husbands about now, we asked them to tell us the secret to a long marriage, and Ralph said “being healthy enough to enjoy ourselves.” Talk about an ah-ha moment.
In this youth-obsessed society we live, we are being force-fed images (unrealistic images I might add) of women barely out of their teens as the standard of beauty. Honestly, how much of a challenge is it to look young when you are young?! It’s almost inescapable too – magazines, tv, internet. How often do you see real healthy women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond? Those are the women we should be looking to for advice, but in order to do so, you have to seek them out because they won’t be found in the mainstream media.
I don’t believe we have to throw our hands up and say “it’s too late, I can’t change”. I now believe that not only can you be healthy as you age, but you can get better with age too. One of the women who inspires me the most is Ernestine Sheperd, she is proof that you can change at any age, as long as you have the desire to do so.
We need many tools in our toolbox to help us navigate, and I’m building a brand new tool box. Instead of searching for my tribe, I am creating my tribe…stay tuned!