I am Infinite in Passion

Hey everyone it’s been awhile huh?

Since my last huge post opening up about my PCOS I honestly was worried that I wouldn’t be able to live up to my previous self’s writing capabilities. I was surprised by how many people commented on how well written that post was! I am always a bit insecure about my writing and to me it’s never REALLY perfect. I like to have a post sit for a few days before I even edit it just so I can have a more objective view when I reread it. But more often than not, I don’t really want to read it all over again days later so I usually edit on the spot once I’m done. I’m sort of a dump writer. I just sit down, and dump out all the contents of my brain and heart and hope like hell it makes sense to someone other than me! I have been wanting to blog again for awhile now. In fact I have multiple posts that I’ve started writing and I’ve just kind of stopped and never finished them. They’re saved on my computer and might see the light of day at some point, but I can’t say for sure! I am a person who is capable of feeling very deeply but on a daily basis I usually don’t let myself get into all that because let’s be real, ain’t nobody got time for that! And I really don’t. I have virtually no free time and the little bit of time I do have I just want to Netflix and Hulu binge forever (BTW my newest shows are Jane the Virgin, Blindspot, and Reign – SO GOOD!)

Yes I go through standard emotions and self doubts and whatever else comes and goes with the days, but I don’t often take time out to really connect deeply with my inner self. At least I haven’t been recently and I think that’s why I’ve been floundering a bit with well… Just about everything.

Before my dancing contract started along with my other various teaching jobs etc. I had a lot of time on my hands and for the most part I was using that time well. I was staying on top of my PD – Personal Development (reading books/listening to podcasts/watching motivational videos or anything similar to enrich my life, light a fire under my ass, and work on ME) and I was kind of on top of the world. While I wouldn’t say that I’m now suddenly an unhappy person, (because I’m not) I do have to admit that I haven’t been investing in me often enough by any means. Just to clarify: by saying ‘invest in me’ I don’t mean buying a bunch of clothes, or spending money on me, I’m not talking about material or money things, I’m talking about my freaking SOUL.

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So what sets your soul on fire? I’ll admit that multiple things do for me, dancing absolutely does, being successful with my business does, helping people does, being a healthy person, taking care of myself and my surroundings does, and honestly being active, passionate, and loving does as well. Unfortunately nothing is quite that simple.

For instance, I love to help people but I find that when my head or heart is in the wrong place -ie I’m concentrating too much on what I want to get out of things and not investing myself in the process- not only am I not able to give my full self over into helping them, I’m also usually unsuccessful. My heart may be ultimately in the right place, but I let those other things get in the way and cloud my heart from others view because it’s safer that way.

I love dancing but I feel a constant sense of inadequacy that comes from deep within me. It’s from years of being in the studio day in and day out and always being told I was inadequate. I was never enough. I was never good enough and I essentially failed at everything before I even tried because my lack of belief in ME was so ingrained in me. It was the essence of my being. I’ll be completely honest and say that after years of essentially verbal abuse, a lot of building myself back up into a capable human being stemmed from being with my husband. He pushed me to stop pitying myself and stop playing the victim. He taught me to see that I was capable of doing more and being better but I had to believe in ME first and foremost. No one else could do that for me but ME. It was a hard pill to swallow all those years ago but I’m glad that I did.

The problem is that (and I’ve talked about this in previous posts as well) being back in the ballet studio so regularly with such talented people is tough for me. It’s not because I can’t handle them being better than me, no in fact I’m very happy for them in that aspect. But it’s because I start feeling sad for me again. I start feeling like that person who isn’t capable of anything again. I start doubting me and everything that I have been building up in myself for the past 6 years or so. The difference is that I refuse to go back down that rabbit hole again! When this first started with the company and feeling like crap again I was pretty good about bouncing back and reading my PD to feel like a badass (You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero is amazing btw). But as I got more comfortable I started ‘accepting’ that I just wasn’t as good as them and that was it. It doesn’t help that I broke my toe last month which really had me feeling set back with a disadvantage. But it’s just not true.

It’s actually been almost exactly one year since I started dancing again. Part of me still can’t even believe how far I’ve been able to come back into it. Even around this time last year I genuinely thought it would never be possible. I’m no prima ballerina by any means but I’m in a company and I’m working my butt off day in and day out. Except that now I am “back in shape” or so I should feel. I just have a hard time measuring if I’ve even gotten back up to the level I was when I stopped dancing back in 2008. How do you actually know if you’re “back in shape”? I could go into all the stupid ways that I’m trying to figure it out but really it’s all stupid and not worth my time or yours, so I’ll stop.

When I think about the opportunities I’ve had, it genuinely bring me to tears. I can’t help but think that I shouldn’t even be able to do all that I still can and I’m so grateful. But at the same time, I need to do more, be more, and be better. For those of you who aren’t dancers (which I can only assume is most of you) it’s hard for me to explain, but feeling confident as a dancer is really really tough. I’ll just leave it at that. I have done things in this lifetime that I genuinely never ever thought that I would. Like dancing on stage again, or putting my hair in a bun, or wearing a leotard and tights, or taking ballet class at all for instance. It’s easy to forget about the past and where I came from, how much of a pipe dream it was to start dancing at all again even at this time last year. My life has entirely turned around and it has been an adjustment to say the least. Reality is never quite the same as our dreams but life is what you make of it. You can either live the reality of your dreams every damn day, or spend your days dreaming.

So back to my passion and the purpose of this post.

I have honestly probably used that word passion FAR too often on this blog, but I don’t really care. What brought me back to writing and posting today is and was PASSION. Without passion my writing feels empty, mechanical, and meaningless. But with passion I can be myself, show my true colors, and let myself shine like I deserve to, and you deserve that too. I know more than anything that I really don’t want to become that person again. The one who thinks she sucks and life and she’s just unlucky or cursed. I’ve put way too much work into myself to let it all go down the toilet.

What I’m really saying is that while I’m happy and I love my life, I want to push for MORE. That doesn’t mean living only for better roles in performances, it doesn’t mean buying more meaningless crap, it means that I need to REALLY and GENUINELY start investing in me again. I have almost no free time ever these days. I mean really I feel like I’m constantly giving myself to everything and everyone else and whatever it is that I’m doing. But I need to realign myself, make sure to do my PD and never forget who I am on the inside. It doesn’t matter who sees it, I need to remember to my core who it is that I am. Because my value comes from within and no one else can determine it but me.

I am infinite in passion.

This whole concept of doing PD daily and investing in myself is something I got from being a Beachbody coach. It’s honestly something I never even considered doing before I became a coach but I really genuinely see the value in it. It’s something that is easy to skip and look over. It’s something that can easily be tossed aside and labeled as a waste of time. It’s something that people may see little to no value in. But that is just not the case. Even today I ended up doing it really by accident. I was working on a video I’m recording about the coaching opportunity and while doing research by watching other top coaches videos on the subject I ended up watching one that really struck a chord within me and reminded me of something.

I own a business that has infinite potential.

And I want to explore that potential. I want more out of my business. With my busy schedule my business has become firmly planted on the back burner of my life. Yes I have been going through the motions but my heart hasn’t been in it because I don’t feel like I have the time. But if I really want to grow by business into what it’s capable of becoming then I need to invest more into it. I need to invest ME into it. Investing more into my business goes 100% hand in hand with investing more in ME. You see by doing PD and working on me I AM working on my business. I’m making myself the best version of me that I can be so that I can guide others along their paths and journeys. I want to help people make their DREAMS come true while making mine come true at the same freaking time!

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One of my dreams is to have a huge team of people who want the same things that I do. People who want to be the best freaking versions of themselves and to help others do the exact same thing in the process. I want to work together, build together, grow together. I want to go forward hand in hand and make an empire TOGETHER. Because while this business is mine, I cannot do it alone. I need a team of go getters, I need a team of pushers, I need a team that WANTS to excel and isn’t afraid to try hard every day and to push boundaries! I need amazing people by my side who aren’t going to let me put my business back onto the back burner. That’s right, I need for you to push me. Yeah sure posting on IG or FB and getting likes or comments is great and builds my network. But life is just about so much more than that. And growing my business is about so much more than that. It’s about more than money and it’s about more than roles in a ballet performance. It’s about people, and love, and making connections to last a lifetime. It’s about taking ownership and being willing to be scared as hell but pushing through anyway for the sake of a better tomorrow. It’s about learning, growing, and enjoying the dance even if no one ever watches you do it.

I have always wanted to bring people joy, and one way I believe I can do that is through dance. But another way I can do that is by helping people find their freedom in life so that they CAN concentrate on their love and joy and passions. I mean let’s be real, we all need some financial freedom in order do what it is that we want to do with our lives. I know that I sure as hell do. Of course if your passion is to be a doctor and you’re going to make bank following it, then good for you. You go Glen CoCo! But that’s not the case for me, and I’m betting that it’s not the case for you either. The good news? I’m ready for more. I’m busy and it’s going to be hard but I want my reach to be far and vast and gosh there are SO MANY AMAZING PEOPLE OUT THERE! I know this because I’ve met a lot of you virtually and it’s been an amazing experience. Now I just need to stop sabotaging myself with laziness and self doubt and start becoming and doing and being the person I’m meant to be. Anyone can do this so why the hell not me? Why the hell not you? We all face obstacles but how you overcome them is what defines you as a person.

So who are you going to be today? Are you someone who wants to take this journey with me? I still have a long way to go and a long road to travel but I’d love to have you by my side. I have learned so much and I want to share that with you as a mentor and business partner. I really can’t do this alone and neither can you. We all need to love and support each other in this journey called life and I’m really excited to see where the future is going to take us!

Will you take my hand and come along with me? I’m 100% serious. Please email me {thepaleoballerina@gmail.com} because if you’re passionate and you want to take your life into your own hands then I want you by my side on my team. I want to do big things in this life and my ambitions are of epic proportions. SO let’s help each other and do this thing together!

I hope you can feel my heart and soul in this post because it truly is on fire and I’m pouring it out here onto this virtual page. My cup is absolutely FULL right now. Full of love, passion, and purpose. I hope yours is too.

xoxo – Harmony

Monthly Au Natural Beauty Tip!

August’s beauty tip isn’t 100% about beauty per say but let’s be honest beauty is about a hell of a lot more than how your hair or makeup looks! No no, today’s tip goes a bit further than skin deep. I have actually been planning on writing this tip for awhile, be we all know how bad I am with blogging consistency! Okay well today’s tip is all about your pits. Yes, I’m talking about those stinky things that sit under your arms causing problems for everyone. You have to shave em all the time, worry about them smelling, plus you have to worry that they aren’t obscenely sweaty! No one really likes to talk about armpits and body odor but honestly it needs to be done so here we go.

It can be hard to eliminate all chemicals from your routine, and especially in pits area. I personally thought natural deodorants were WAY too hippy dippy and crunchy for my liking so I kind of ignored the subject altogether for a long time into my healthy journey. But once I actually read WHY it was important to make the changes, I decided to go for it. It was actually some time last summer that I made the change.

For those with acne, something as simple as changing your deodorant can actually have a huge impact on your life. There have been so many studies linking antiperspirant deodorant to cancer, that we don’t even stop to think about the simple ways that those chemicals can effect us. There are a truck load of other toxic chemicals that your body is absorbing through the glands and lymph nodes that sit in your armpits when you apply standard deodorant. This toxic load applies to not only antiperspirant deodorant, but even “natural” deodorants like Toms actually have a lot of chemicals in them that I personally don’t want being absorbed into my body.

I mean if you’re working so hard to eat healthy, workout, and just generally be as healthy as possible, then why would you work against yourself but shoving a bunch of chemicals right back into your body through your deodorant? Doesn’t make much sense now does it?

I would like to mention quickly that getting rid of ALL the chemicals in your life can help balance your hormones and for those of you on here with skin issues, it can help you clear your skin. I’m dead serious, it’s a VERY important skincare change to make. And it’s an easy one at that!

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Detoxing your lymph nodes through your armpits (as pictured above) is another great practice and something I will touch more on another month. In general though know that it’s a great way to start the transition to natural deodorants since it helps eliminate odor and detox your armpits. Anyway, for now let’s concentrate on making you not stinky with natural deodorant! Personally when I found out about how toxic deodorant was – specifically that it was messing with my hormones – I stopped using it altogether. It actually kind of shocks me that NO ONE told me I smelled bad during that time period even though I knew that I freaking did! Thanks for that guys! That’s totally not an important detail, but I just refused to use toxic crap to make myself not smell. I did do the whole coconut oil and baking soda thing on and off for awhile but not only did it irritate my skin, it also wasn’t particularly effective for long periods of time, and especially if you workout like I do.

In case I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s just an example of how terrible antiperspirant deodorant is… I was in a wedding last October and the night before the big day my friends and I stayed overnight at a hotel and I happened to have forgotten my natural deodorant (that I’ll name below). I was a bridesmaid in the wedding and I couldn’t afford to be stinky!! So for the first time in months I borrowed and used some regular deodorant. Dun dun dunnnnnn! I know, drama! Anyway, it was a HUGE mistake! I had a terrible migraine the entire day after I used it and it actually didn’t even help to mask the smell or make me sweat any less. I remember being so confused as to why I felt so sick, because I never get migraines. Then later I put the pieces together. The only thing I had done out of the ordinary in my routine was the stupid deodorant. It had that large of an impact on me because I hadn’t used it in so long. That stuff is crap. And it’s toxic crap. Throw it in the trash, like now!

There’s just one more thing I’d like to point out before geting to the point that you’re all waiting for… I would really like to point out that it is natural to sweat. I am not here to give you tips on not sweating because trying to not sweat is one of the most unnatural things I have ever heard of. We have sweat glands for a reason. I mean come on, let’s be real here. Also if your body is in good standing then your sweat should not smell rancid. For me when my sweat begins to smell bad I know that something is off in my system and my body is trying to regulate it.

Even so that doesn’t mean that sweat can magically smell like fresh cut grass, or flowers blooming in the springtime which is of course what we all want. For that I have product recommendations of course and I’m finally getting to them!

August Beauty Tip – Natural Deodorants!

  1. Dragonfly Traditions – my personal favorite and the only deodorant I use. I have a travel size stick I keep in my dance bag and a full size one I keep at home in the lavender scent. I mean this stuff works so well and it lasts all day most days! Sometimes I reapply at ballet but it really depends on the day. LOVE IT! I also use their lip balm and it’s amazing. The best part is that the price is good and the products all have long lifespans! And duh the ingredients are CLEAN!
  2. Primal Pit Paste – I personally haven’t used them but a lot of people in the Paleo community love their products. Ingredients are totally clean although I can’t personally vouch for their effectiveness! I would still buy from them without any qualms.
  3. Primally Pure – They use natural ingredients like beef tallow which I think is awesome! But they’re the same deal as above, I haven’t personally used their products although I think they have amazing ones!
  4. If you have no other option then you can do the good ol at home method of coconut oil and baking soda. Just be careful with the baking soda since it can irritate freshly shaven skin.

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So, treat your armpits right and don’t kill them with chemicals! Also I truly hope you don’t shave them with chemical shaving creams or soaps either! Here’s a quick hint: use Dr. Bronners mixed with coconut milk, or just use the Dr. Bronners castille soap instead of shaving cream!

Well that all from me for now, until next time my dear followers! Also as usual if you have any questions or comments or whatever feel free to reach out to me! thepaleoballerina@gmail.com

xoxo- Harmony

Confession: I have PCOS

That statement above is not going to come as a surprise for many of you but for me, it’s the first time online that I’ve actually 100% claimed my PCOS publicly. For those of you that don’t know, PCOS stands for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome. It means that I have little cysts lining my ovaries like a ‘string of pearls’ (that’s how my doctor described it). In past blog posts I had eluded to certain “other health stuff” going on in my life but I never actually had the balls to come right out and say that I have this crap. It’s sort of terrifying to put it all out there because so much comes along with PCOS. Of course there are the physical symptoms like thinning hair, acne, excess hair, and weight gain, but the symptoms that are harder to talk about deal more with irregular menstrual cycles, high risk of ovarian cancer, highly unpredictable emotional tendencies, and the biggest of all for me is miscarriage and infertility.

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You see as a woman with PCOS, instead of ovulating and having a normal cycle, my ovaries instead produce cysts. I don’t think I’ve had this for my entire life. I’ve just about always had acne and I had SOME cycle irregularities in my teens but for the most part everything always seemed normal. I believe it came about after being on the pill for so long but in reality I’ll never really know. There is no known cause for PCOS but I’m convinced that it’s from years of having the pill messing with my endocrine system. PCOS is also heavily associated with insulin resistance and people who have a very hard time losing weight. Okay – so those are really just the facts of PCOS. Now I’m going to share with you my own journey with it and how my life has changed because of it.

This is going to get really personal so if you don’t want to know, I suggest you just stop reading now.

As most of you know, I started my healthy journey in 2013. My entire life I always ate terribly and could get away with it for the most part because I was so active with ballet, and because I have some good genes. Even at that point in 2013, I was 25lbs heavier than I ever had been in my life but I was actually just in the “normal” or “average” range as far as every measurement goes. But I felt disgusting. I sat on my butt at work all day, I was eating at least 2 FULL SIZED candy bars a day, I ate pasta with any kind of cheesy, creamy sauces like it was my job, and sugar was probably my main food group in addition to bread and literally any pasta I could get my sticky little hands on. I was a carb monster. But then I saw a picture of myself one and I realized… WOAH, I’m kind of big. Now please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I was actually fat, but for me, in my life, with my frame, I was the biggest I had ever been and it was uncomfortable. Not to mention I genuinely felt physically disgusting on the regular. I realized that if I wanted to be having kids in the next 2-3 years (this was in January 2013) that I needed to change things. I wanted to have healthy children. I did not want my future children to pay for my own selfish, gross, unhealthy habits. So I did the master cleanse in February 2013. I lost 13lbs and my skin did not break out even once during the entire duration of the cleanse. I was SO HAPPY! I had so much energy and I mean I just felt amazing again finally. I started eating whole grain, cutting out processed foods, and cut out all dairy from my diet except yogurt. Then I did the master cleanse again about 6 months later in late July into early August 2013. I documented my entire experience with my second round on You Tube also if you want to watch those FYI the video and sound quality is terrible on them, but you can find them HERE!  I actually ended up losing a bit more weight than I wanted to that time around and I almost stopped early but decided not to. Because failure is not an option, duh. It was during this cleanse that I found out about the paleo diet. My initial reaction? “I COULD NEVER DO THAT!!!” I legitimately believed that I could never ever cut out GRAINS. That meant I had to say good bye to freaking PASTA!? And BREAD!? What would life mean without pasta and bread in it!? I might lose the will to live!!

But one interesting thing about the master cleanse is that while not eating I would get very inspired about what I wanted to eat once I could eat again. I started researching paleo recipes and came across some websites that showed me PALEO BREAD! Once I saw that I knew I could do it.

So I came off the master cleanse and started following a paleo diet. In November 2013 (same year still) I decided to get off the pill – remember my initial goal: to have healthy babies one day. I wanted to be ABLE to get preggers whenever I wanted to do so. So I got off the pill not thinking much of it. Little did I know just how much my life would change because of this one decision. You have no idea til this day how GRATEFUL I am that I made this decision because pretty much all hell broke loose after the fact. I started getting acne again, and I don’t mean some pimples, I mean ACNE. I started spotting and just figured it would take a while for my cycle to regulate. My weight was still low since I maintained a low weight after the master cleanses despite the fact that I was eating A LOT of really healthy nutritious foods.

Fast forward about 9 months to almost exactly one year ago, July 2014. My weight was still low, I was exercising like crazy with bikram, I was eating paleo, doing everything “right” but I was STILL spotting and my skin was at its peak of just really terribleness. I finally went to see my OB for my annual and told her what had been going on. She ordered some blood tests and based on my testosterone levels from that test she ordered an ultrasound. She also gave me some progesterone pills in the meantime to “trick” my body into thinking it was pregnant so that when I stopped taking them I would get a period. Then after two nail biting weeks of waiting for my ultrasound results (the results had been sent to the wrong place originally) I got a phone call at work and my OB informed me that I have PCOS. I remember that moment so distinctly. I had been keeping a positive outlook until then, hoping and assuming that nothing would really be wrong with me. But it turns out there was something wrong with me. I was speechless. My world was crashing down around me right before my eyes. The options I was given over the phone were A) I could get back on the pill in order to have a period. B) I could take progesterone pills every 3 months to induce a period, or C) when or if I wanted to have children we could start treatments.

Needless to say I hung up the phone feeling utterly lost and defeated. I went to my cubicle and tried to cry as silently as I possibly could. I was so scared to even tell my husband, the only word I kept thinking was: infertile. I felt like I was no longer a woman. I felt like there was no way that my husband would still be attracted me after finding this out. I was ashamed and embarrassed. I felt lost and depressed. Of course I told him anyway over skype chat while at work and I just genuinely felt like I had failed at the most basic thing I could do and that was just being a woman. My husband has been nothing but supportive and amazing through this entire ordeal even though I’m sure it’s been hard on him as well. So much has changed since then but even now as I remember all of this, I’m sobbing. It took me a very long time to get over the feeling of inadequacy. I was convinced that my husband would leave me for a more ‘complete’ and fertile woman that I was not. Having crazy acne, crazy hormones, and thinning hair didn’t help with these feelings of course. I felt like the epitome of an unattractive woman. I had struggled with self-confidence issues my entire life largely because of having acne. Partially of course it was because I went to boarding ballet school with drop dead gorgeous friends that I felt I could never live up to or be cool enough to fit in with despite the fact that we were friends. I literally used to say “well love is blind, and it’s because they love me that they can look past the fact that I’m so unattractive”. I of course always felt fat in high school, that’s just the nature of the ballet world, but my insecurities ran so much deeper than that. I had lived for 5 years in another country where my differences were constantly pointed out and made fun of. I would never ever be able to fully fit in there because I was different from them. All of these past insecurities contributed to my feelings of inadequacy when I heard my diagnosis. Back to the story at hand – I of course turned to doctor google and found essentially NOTHING helpful. Every site just said: eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight. Well I was already way thin, exercising all the time, and I was already eating crazy healthy. I also found plenty of support sites with women complaining about this and that and I wallowed in self-pity for a few days. I wanted to be sad and mourn. But then it was like I flipped a switch. I was still lost but knew I had to just keep doing what I was doing because the options I was given WERE NOT acceptable to me. So I did just that. I changed around some supplements, pulled back from doing bikram a bit, and did the 21 day sugar detox a few times which all contributed to helping my body heal and my skin finally started getting better although it wasn’t clear by any means. I told VERY few people about my PCOS because I was ashamed and didn’t want anyone to think that there was something wrong with me. Even right now my parents, my in-laws, and most of my siblings know nothing about all of this. Anyway so for over a year I spotted nonstop. I took those progesterone pills and had one period from them in 2014 but it just lead back into spotting so I don’t even count it as a cycle since it wasn’t the real thing but was just drug induced. I started dancing again in late November 2014 which was great, and in January 2015 I decided to do an Autoimmune Protocol Whole 30. I figured, why the hell not, this way I could figure out if my problems were autoimmune or diet based. I also finally went to a Naturopath and Functional Medicine Doctor. I’ve posted about all of this on my blog, I just never admitted that it was for PCOS. At that point my skin was really quite clear, especially with the AIP Whole 30 but I still needed answers. I still needed to be a normal functioning woman. We did extensive blood tests; my testosterone levels were just CRAZY high and based on everything else we found in the blood tests I was given about a 3 month supply of supplements that cost me about $1000. The appointments alone were not covered by insurance and cost about $475. Needless to say, this was all costing me a pretty penny but I felt it was 100% worth it. I just wanted to have a cycle dammit!

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I started the supplements and a week later the spotting stopped. I put on about 5lbs which is next to nothing but was still noticeable to me, and about 3 days later I got my period for the first time in ONE YEAR AND THREE MONTHS!!!! So. Much. Happiness. My cycle became about 45 days long (which is abnormally long but still something) I went back for a follow up 3 months later in April and had no complaints. I was dancing again, I signed a contract to join a ballet company in the fall and I knew that I needed to quit my terrible desk job to make that happen. These were all good things! Unfortunately the very next day I started spotting again. Honestly though, I was sort of in denial about it. I figured I would get my period again soon and maybe it was just a little light right now. I was supposed to be reducing my supplements a little so I continued with the plan. In the midst of all this I found out about Beachbody through my coach Meredith and was looking into ingredients in Shakeology and starting at home workouts and becoming a coach. I was super skeptical but I decided to just freaking go for it – it was pretty much exactly what I had been looking for handed to me on a silver platter. I just believe that everything happens for a reason and I knew this opportunity hadn’t presented itself to me by coincidence. So I decided that I was going to do something crazy. I decided to STOP TAKING ALL MY SUPPLEMENTS. For me this was the ultimate test. Would my skin stay clear? What would happen with my cycles? I was spotting again anyway so why not try. So I did. I started doing the workouts, I dedicated myself to PiYo (which is amazing ballet cross training btw) and drank my Chocolate Vegan Shakeology every day. To my genuine surprise, a few days after starting with all this my spotting stopped. Within my first week of drinking Shakeology and stopping all other supplements I had a period again! Since then my cycles are back to 45 days which again is abnormally long but IT’S A FREAKING CYCLE. I’m able to exercise and cross train at home in addition to help my ballet career. I eat healthy and further nourish myself and keep my PCOS in check with Shakeo. My skin is still clear despite some small breakouts here and there. Of course my skin is quite scarred, but that will take time to heal and I honestly don’t mind it very much. It’s a reminder of where I came from. I’m not perfect and my diet is far from perfect but I try by best and that’s all I can ask of myself. Most importantly I’m freaking happy and I want to share this with the world. There’s no cure for PCOS but you can heal yourself and manage your symptoms naturally. I swear your LIFESTYLE is the freaking key to all of it. I want to help you achieve what I’ve been able to. It’s been messy, and it’s been crazy but it’s me and it’s my life. This is my PCOS journey and my PCOS story. It is unique to me just as your story is unique to you.

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I knew when I was diagnosed as well as now that we weren’t trying to have children but even so, knowing that you are infertile is a hard pill to swallow. I know I’m going to need help when the time does come. I did a lot of research and decided that when the time came I would try acupuncture (which I still plan to do whenever we actually do TRY to conceive) to help with natural conception. If I’m being completely honest though, even to this day, right here and right now, I still feel ashamed of being the one with the “problem” when it comes to fertility. I have no idea if we’ll be able to conceive or if I’ll miscarry (PCOS miscarriage rate is at about 40% – 80%). Even reading that back to myself terrifies me! Part of me still doesn’t want my family or everyone in my life to know about all of this. Fully admitting it is HARD. But the bigger part of me knows that I have to do this if I want to be able to help people going through the same thing. I have to be brave for them, not for me, but for them, for YOU. So here I am, this is me. I’ve just put almost everything on the table, what you do with it is your decision. With the help of Beachbody I finally have a platform to help people. I finally have tools that can help you like they helped me. Don’t give up, there is hope yet! I’ve emerged from this all the better for it. I’m happy, healthy, and confident in myself and my own abilities, life is beautiful and amazing and I plan to continue living it to the fullest!

Until next time,

xoxo – Harmony

Take the Plunge

Let me paint this picture for you: You have set up your towel in the sand and decide to head towards the water. You take that first daring step off your towel not quite sure what to expect. The sand is scorching hot between your toes but it feels nice for a moment and you sink your toes further into it. You close your eyes and angle your face up towards the sun hoping to leave looking beautiful and sun-kissed. You pause for a moment and take it all in. You let out a sigh because the ocean makes you feel both at peace and exhilarated. But before you realize what’s happening that same sand that felt like heaven a moment before has now become unbearably HOT like lava beneath your feet. As you make your journey further down the beach, you begin tip toeing, then sprinting like a gazelle, but clumsy and awkward more like a toddler taking his first steps, down the beach towards the beautiful blue water and crashing waves. Then you finally reach that cool, wet sand before the water begins and you feel instant relief, you will not die from hot lava sand this day! Success! You cautiously walk towards the water and gingerly dip in your big toe hoping it’s not too cold. But of course it is and you’ve once again come face to face with a metaphorical death. Once that wave of foamy water washes ashore and hits your legs you instantaneously become an icicle. But the water is beautiful so you grit your teeth and continue to stand where the water is meeting the shore and two worlds are becoming one. You walk a little bit further out and now your calves are slightly wet. You start thinking “I could get use to this, it actually feels kind of nice” then you relax a little bit. Again, you sink your toes into the cool, moist sand and look up to the sky. You begin to take everything in and try to ignore your freezing feet, the world is beautiful! But while you are day dreaming a big wave comes on shore and crashes right into you. You stumble and and lose your balance, again like a clumsy toddler. You’re now on the ground, trying to make sure that all of your unmentionables are still in place under your tiny little swimsuit. You wonder why the HELL anyone wears so little to the beach, yourself included. It suddenly all seems like madness. You stumble away from the water with a look of defeat on your face but pause and glance back at it before you make the long trek back through the lava sand to your towel. The water may have conquered you this time, but next time will be a different story.

I hope you enjoyed that! I swear there’s a point to it.

So it’s summer time now and it’s hot outside! You know what the heat make me want to do? It makes me want to tan, and go to the beach, and go swimming. I’ll take just the tanning and swimming part also. Pools, water holes, lakes, etc will do, I’m not that picky although I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that I love the beach! I’m sure a lot of you have had experiences like the one I described above. it happens often. We want something, but never fully commit to it, then the process of attaining it doesn’t turn out to be what we expected, and so we give up or we never actually try at all. Or for some people the prospect of the entire process is too much so they just stay on their towel and watch as others do or get that they want for themselves. I have been talking to so many wonderful people recently who tell me that they want to make changes in their life.

I think it is so awesome that so many people in this world want to do better for themselves and it inspires me every day! Maybe you want to lose weight, eat healthier, change careers, clear your skin or whatever it may be that you feel needs some assistance or change in your life today today. And reaching out to someone, vocalizing the desire to change is an awesome first step! But more often than not, recently I feel that so many people are hesitant to actually take the plunge and start changing things for themselves. Now, I’m by no means saying that I expect everyone to change everything about themselves right away, BUT I just think we could all take a second to reevaluate the reasons that we give for WHY you’re willing to hold back from achieving what you truly desire. I am here to help, support, and guide people. I have seriously met so many AMAZING people through being a coach and I love every second of it, I really really do. But I also find myself getting frustrated at times because I can’t do all the work for you. There comes a time when you have to do your part!

We’re all human, myself included and I get that life is scary. I mean hell I have let fear hold me back so many times in the past, and every decision we make defines our life’s course. I can clearly see how some fear driven decisions from my younger years shaped things in my present future. I may have had a ballet career earlier if I hadn’t been afraid. Now you can also push through fear and make crappy decisions like taking jobs that you end up hating (raises hand) but that’s all part of the process. I now know something that I never ever ever want to do ever again in my life. Progress right? You gotta take the positive out of every situation. At least make an effort to learn from it and do differently the next time! I just want to share some quotes with you today that REALLY resonated with me when I heard them, and I hope they can help you to be a little more fearless today and push through whatever it is that you’re letting hold you back from your DREAMS! Whatever those dreams may be:)

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Then there was this one quote I heard years ago which I can’t seem to find online that said something to the effect of: when the prospecting of doing something makes you nervous, use that as a signal that you NEED to do it!

I think that’s a great way to push through fear. So if doing something like performing or even just talking to someone I don’t know very well or putting myself out there in someway, makes me nervous then I’m like okay. I need to challenge and push myself to do this! I hope some of these will help you to do the same with whatever you’re trying to push through today! I fully realize that this post is very random but I just had these thoughts on my mind so I wanted to put them down on virtual paper. Please don’t let fear hold you back from living your own life. It is yours and yours only, to do with that you choose. No one else can live your life for you so make sure that you’re living it for yourself!

Remember that story from the beginning of this post? Now imagine if our character had instead decided that from the second they stepped off the towel, they were just going to run and jump into the water? I bet you they would’ve had a much better experience with the whole thing. They would’ve skipped the whole lava sand process, they would’ve gotten used to the water after jumping in, and I bet they would’ve spent time actually playing in and enjoying themselves instead of all the other crap that went along with their hesitation, including the unfulfilling concept of defeat. They would’ve walked back to their towel soaking wet, with a huge smile on their face feeling entirely content because they not only faced their fear, but they had a blast in the process. My point is that yes caution can be important in certain instances. But sometimes you just need to jump in with both feet! Take a plunge! Enjoy your life! Just freaking DO IT and you will reap the benefits! Waiting, and hemming, and hawing when your gut is telling you to just do it can hold you back and delay your life. You may stumble, you may fail, and you may fall, or in this instance you may get bitten by a shark. But at least you tried. At least you LIVED. Be honest with yourself about what your reason for holding back on WHATEVER is today and make sure it’s in alignment with what you TRULY want out of your life. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU REALLY WANT? Sit down and start writing. You might be surprised what comes out.

That’s all for today folks, enjoy the rest of June as I doubt Ill post again before July rolls around but hey, maybe right!? And as always please email me if you want or need any guidance! thepaleoballerina@gmail.com But also please understand that it may take me a few days to get back to you due to the large volume of emails I get, OR I might get back to you on the same day! It just depends:)

xoxo Harmony

Monthly Au Natural Beauty Tip

BACK

Above picture credit goes to Henry Ovideo.

You see my back in the picture up there? I’m proud to say that this is the first summer in a long ass time that I WANT TO EXPOSE MY BACK. Which is a good thing because low back cuts are so adorable and you can find them all over the place right now. Plus when you’re a skinny flat chested girl, the low back is a much cuter look then a low front. Just throwing that out there!

Do you suffer from body acne or BACNE in any way? Acne on your back, chest, arms, neck, or even stomach? If you do then I feel your pain, and it is SO EMBARRASSING! Well today I’m going to give you a natural beauty tip to fix that! Doing ballet and working out a lot means that I end up sweating A LOT. But I gave up using standard soaps on my body over a year ago and I will never turn back. At first it seemed kind of weird, I’ll fully admit that, and I felt like I wasn’t really getting clean. But ridding my life of any and all chemicals had to include my body wash and all skincare. I also switched to natural deodorant which I’ll post about another month, and like I said no more body wash!! I bought a body brush for dry brushing and I still have it but honestly I never really got into the whole practice of dry brushing. I’d always technically want to do it right before I shower which is usually right after I workout meaning that I’m all sweaty… I think brushing your own sweat into your skin sounds like the perfect recipe for a breakout. But that’s just me. I could be entirely wrong but as far as I know your skin is supposed to be dry when you DRY brush! So while I haven’t given up on it and I fully trust in the benefits of the practice, I can’t personally vouch for it.

I actually came upon this topical bacne remedy I’m sharing with you today by accident. Of course what you eat and your hormonal health is going to mostly be the basis of body acne and acne in general but topically there are things you can do to help the situation! Acne on your body sucks! And since summer is here it’s time to bare it all again. Whenever the weather warms up I start to worry about having to show my back, arms, and chest because of the acne I’m prone to in those areas. Ironically besides a few pimples here and there it has not even crossed my mind this summer! So what’s the secret you ask?? TAKE BATHS. Not just any baths but I have a specific formula for your bath that with consistence and patience should bring you beautiful results. Yay right!? You ready for this?

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Moving on to the AU NATURAL BEAUTY TIP OF THE MONTH!

Acne Killing Bath Soak

I first started soaking in this bath mixture every night to heal my blistered ballet feet and sore muscles when I got back into dancing. This bath is great for all that and detoxing too but I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that my body acne was clearing up as well! You will literally want to do this soak every night. Like I said I don’t “wash” my body anymore but I try to do this soak every night to keep my skin clear which is especially important during the summer months but really year round. If you happen to be in a rush and don’t have time for a bath one day, I have a quick acne killing shower solution posted below as well. But first on to the bath instructions! Step number 1 is to make a “bath bomb” by putting baking soda in your tub and pouring apple cider vinegar over it. It will foam and be glorious. I usually use about 2 heaping TBS of each, sometimes more if I’m feeling crazy. Don’t use the nice braggs brand of ACV here, just get any standard cheap ACV from the grocery store! Next you’ll want to throw in at least a cup of epsom salts and also some standard sea salt. In fact if you don’t have the baking soda/ACV on hand for your bath bomb, you can just give yourself a nice hot salts bath every night and you should see some drastic improvement with your skin! Draw the bath with water pretty much as hot as you can tolerate and soak in it for AT LEAST 20 minutes. I like to take a book in the bath, light candles, add some essential oils for relaxing smells, and sit for an hour or more sometimes! Sit back, get comfy, and relax! I also recommend buying a bath pillow and a bath table or stand of sorts.The longer you soak the better so don’t be shy! There are so many amazing things you’re soaking up while just sitting. Now for some more information on each of these ingredients.

EPSOM SALT

You can find epsom salt pretty much anywhere. I’m personally not picky about the quality but I know that some people are. I think many people have taken epsom salt baths for one reason or another throughout their lives but I’ll list some fun facts according to saltworks.us about why soaking in an epsom salt bath is amazing for you!

  • Eases stress and relaxes the body-Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells. Experts believe that bathing with Epsom salt at least three times a week helps you to look better, feel better and gain more energy. Magnesium ions also relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline. They create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.
  • Relieves pain and muscle cramps- An Epsom salt bath is known to ease pain and relieve inflammation, making it beneficial in the treatment of sore muscles, bronchial asthma and migraine headaches. In addition, it has been known to heal cuts and reduce soreness from childbirth. Mix a thick paste of Epsom salt with hot water and apply to get soothing comfort. It softens skin and will even neutralize foot odor.
  • Helps muscles and nerves function properly-Studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves and enzymes. Magnesium is also known to be critical in the proper use of calcium, which serves as a main conductor of the electric impulses in your body.
  • Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots-Epsom salt is believed to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and strokes by improving blood circulation, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.
  • Makes insulin more effective-Proper magnesium and sulfate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, and can help to lower the risk or severity of diabetes. *AHEM IF YOU HAVE PCOS THIS SHOULD BE REASON ENOUGH TO TRY THIS OUT*
  • Eliminates toxins from the body-The sulfates in Epsom salt help flush toxins and heavy metals from the cells, easing muscle pain and helping the body to eliminate harmful substances. Your skin is a highly porous membrane and adding the right minerals to your bathwater triggers a process called reverse osmosis, which actually pulls salt out of your body, and harmful toxins along with it.
  • It can also help with – Athlete’s Foot, Remove splinters, Treat toenail fungus, Soothe sprains and bruises, Ease discomfort of Gout

There are actually about a million more uses for epsom salt but here I’m focusing on it’s benefits and how that pertains to this beauty tip. As you can see there are so many reasons to go buy some epsom salt right now! And there’s really no excuse not to take an epsom salt bath. Plus it’s even cheap. I❤ this stuff! Okay moving on…

SEA SALT

Have you ever noticed that while away at the beach your skin looks beautiful? Of course that’s partially because of the relaxing carefree environment, the exfoliation of the sand, and the sun BUT a huge factor is the ocean water AKA sea salt water. As in water with salt from the sea. Yeah. I’m sorry I don’t know why I’m being so awkward today, let’s learn more about why this stuff is great from healthbenefitsofwater.com!

  • Sea salt helps the body remove toxins and by-products of metabolism through the lymph system. – This is important because it helps eliminate fluid that is trapped around the ankles, thighs and knees.
  • Immersing in warm salted water brings relaxation to the muscles and the entire body.
  • Seawater and mineral mud are known for anti-aging, anti-wrinkles, deep cleansing and whitening effect. Circulation is accelerated as is the process of natural skin regeneration. The result is healthy skin that is silky soft.
    * In the ancient Greece, saltwater bathing was regarded by numerous physicians, including Hippocrates, as a therapy for chronic inflammatory skin conditions (ACNE, PSORIASIS, ECZEMA).
  • Dead Sea salt has proven healing properties due to its high concentrations of sodium chlorides, calcium, sodium and potassium. It is considered to be extremely efficient for the treatment of different skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, as well as for alleviating joint or arthritis pain.
  • Taking a sea salt bath is often the solution for treating many health discomforts.
    Whether done by the sea, or in the peace of your own bathroom, bathing in salt water is effective in eliminating toxins, relaxing and rejuvenating the skin, while balancing the body’s energies.
  • A study on the mental changes caused by Thalassotherapy also showed positive psychological effects.
  • Brine waters are also believed to help certain children’s diseases, including respiratory infections and enuresis (involuntary urination).

So as you can see, sea salt is pretty bad ass! I see no reason not to add it to your bathtub or shower scrub (you’ll see the details on the shower scrub below)!

BAKING SODA & ACV BATH BOMB

Okay while these two ingredients separately have benefits, I’m putting them together because we’re looking at them as a unit. Now if you happen to only have one of these on hand that’s no problem, throw it in the bath, it won’t hurt that’s for sure! Let’s look at the benefits of adding this awesome bath bomb to your tub from marksdailyapple.com everydayhealth.com and medhealth.net.

  • A lukewarm (36 ºC) bath full of carbonated water boosted the performance of competitive swimmers when taken before a workout. Subsequent lactic acid threshold was higher, heart rate took longer to become elevated, and muscles were more efficient after a carbonated bath. Swimmers who took a regular bath at the same temperature enjoyed none of the same benefits.
  • Using apple cider vinegar externally helps promote blood circulation in the skin and can prevent bacteria and regulate pH levels
  • The malic acid in apple cider vinegar makes it antibacterial, and the amino acids help balance hydration in the skin to calm irritation.
  • Apple cider vinegar makes hair soft and shiny because it removes shampoo residue
  • Use baking soda to detoxify and alkalize your body. It is natural, safe and inexpensive. People who eat a Western-style diet consisting of sugar, red meat, cheese and other refined foods have a high acid consumption, which baking soda baths can neutralize. You can also detox your body from alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and medications.
  • Use baking soda with your sitz bath to relieve pain from hemorrhoids, vaginal yeast infection, anal fissure, and other discomforts in the genital or buttock area.
  • Baking soda soothes irritated skin, relieves itching and reduces burning sensation.Baking soda is a good substitute for commercial products used for bathing. It does not contain fragrances and chemicals, it is colorless and odorless, and it does not leave residues in the bath tub. It makes bath water alkaline and leaves the skin feeling silky.

Speaking specifically of Mark’s Daily Apple and his amazing website, he has a great article that everyone should read about improving your bath HERE. Remember to make the bath as hot as possible and get your detox on! There are about a million other options for baths out there but I say if all else fails at least take a bath with one or more of these ingredients in it! If you’re only going to use only one of them though make sure you put in 1-4 cups of whichever ingredient you so choose. If you’re using all 4 them they can be used in the smaller amounts described above in my experience.

One last important note and as promised above – instructions for the busy body! If you don’t have time for a bath after a workout or whenever it is that you personally bathe, at least rinse off with warm water. I sometimes take 1/2 cup of epsom salt into the shower and give myself a rub down of sorts. I wet my skin then LIGHTLY scrub the epsom salts on. OR I fill the rest of the cup of salt with water and pour/rub that into my skin. Either method I use, I let the salt sit and soak in for a few minutes – this stings a lot of the time – then I rinse it all off and voila! A quick solution for not being able to accommodate for bath time but still needing to get clean and not be grimy. Rinsing off is good too. Don’t hate on the rinse off game.

Okay well my brain is a little fried and all kinds of kooky tonight in case you haven’t noticed from this scatterbrained post, but I HAD to make sure that I actually got this tip out there this month! I am not a very good/consistent blog owner. I promise I’ll try to be better. But seriously in the mean time find me on Facebook and like my page! Friend me on there too, I love connecting and talking with people! Find me on Instagram and follow me! I post on those platforms ALL THE TIME and I can be very wordy over there which I think is why I hesitate to write a lot of blog posts. I already put myself out there in a big public way every day. Sometimes the response is great and other times it’s very ‘meh’. But I’ll say it time and time again that I’m humbled and amazed by the following I’ve gained. I really never thought that things would even take off as much as they have right now but here I am and I thank each and everyone of you for your part in this journey.

Let me know if you try the baths, how you like em and how your skin reacts! You can always email me especially if you have skincare/wellness issues you’d like some guidance with at thepaleoballerina@gmail.com.

May you be BACNE FREE this summer! Woohoo!!

xoxo-Harmony

Vegan Orange Chocolate Creamsicle Shakeology

I’ve been browsing the the internets all day trying to find the tool people use to post recipes in that little box on their blog posts so I don’t have to manually type them in here BUT alas I was unsuccessful so I’m just going to post the recipe here! Just a little update: My black swan performance was last weekend (today is Monday) and I’m still recovering from it. Overall it went fairly well I guess. Not perfect by any means, I wish we have more than one performance so I could get a chance to do a better job but it’s okay I will survive! I also decided to become a Beachbody Coach which is super exciting. I LOVE helping people and I feel like this is just one more platform for me to do so. I really hope to help A LOT of people transform their lives! I’ll give more details on all that later including pictures from the performance but for now let’s cut to the chase – the Orange Chocolate Creamsicle! This thing tastes just like those fun little chocolate oranges I used to buy at the store and eat as an unhealthy kid. YUM! Along with signing up as a Beachbody Coach I needed to try the products out myself obviously, Shakeology being a huge one of them. I got the Chocolate Vegan Shakeology and boy let me tell you I’m actually really surprised by what I’ve experienced while drinking the Shakeology so far. I kind of expected to drink it and break out or gain weight or feel gross or whatever. They also have this amazing 30 day money back guarantee so I figured I’d just return it if I didn’t like it anyway. But actually it’s been awesome!

Now I know this is a real food and paleo blog and Shakeology is not 100% Paleo friendly because the protein sources are Pea Protein, Rice Protein, and Oat Protein. However, besides that small snafu it’s actually gluten, soy, and dairy free and otherwise Paleo friendly. Quite frankly at least at this point I feel that the benefits far outweigh the fact that the proteins come from a grain source. At least it’s not crappy processed whey or anything like that. The ingredients are things you might even be supplementing with right now!

Okay most of you know that I dance in the evenings from around 6-9 or 10pm. I get home starving and usually end up eating a big meal right before bed. UH can we say weight gain? And here comes Shakeology to the rescue! I’ve been making sure to eat lunch late at work around 3pm in order to stay full from it for awhile. I now started making my shake before ballet class and bringing it with me. I usually drink it during and after ballet class. It’s so filling that I can’t drink it all in one sitting, it takes me awhile to finish! So far since I’ve started drinking the Shakeology these are the changes I’ve seen:

  • These Shakes are FILLING! I don’t even need dinner when I drink these in the evening
  • My workouts are fueled and I’m not getting as tired during them as I was before
  • My skin is staying very clear – this is a huge one for me. If my body doesn’t like what I’m consuming I can ALWAYS tell through my skin.
  • I’ve LOST WEIGHT. That’s right. Not eating that super late night meal helps of course but I think these have helped me burn fat.
  • My cravings for unhealthy food are virtually gone. I really wasn’t expecting this one.
  • My eliminations have gotten even more regular.
  • I’ve been WAY less bloated in general and my hormones are pretty happy right now. I have ways of knowing this and I won’t go into those details.

SO I actually haven’t been drinking Shakeology for that long yet and I’ve already seen a lot of benefits. I’m SUPER curious to see what else changes on this journey!! One thing to keep in mind – I have a really clean diet so I think my body is very receptive to new things. I feel like it doesn’t have to try to clear all the crap out of my body before showing the benefits but instead I can see the benefits more quickly. That’s not just with this Shakeology but with other supplements and treatments as well. At least that’s what I’ve noticed. I could be totally wrong,

Now for the second component of this recipe…. The Adrenal Cocktail AKA Dreamsicle or Creamsicle By Ginger Newtrition that has been going all around the paleo community. I love this Adrenal Cocktail, you should try it out! Find the recipe and more info on Adrenal Fatigue HERE

NOW FOR THE RECIPE! (I know that was a really long build up) I swear this thing tastes JUST like those chocolate oranges you can buy at the store. SO GOOD!

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Orange Chocolate Creamsicle (Gluten, Soy, Dairy, Casein, Nut  FREE using VEGAN chocolate Shakeology)

1 batch of Ginger Newtrition’s Adrenal Cocktail (recipe here)

1 batch Vegan Chocolate Shakeology (following package directions except OJ from the Adrenal Cocktail should replace the water)

Put the following items into the blender: 8-12oz of fresh squeezed OJ, 2oz water, Himalayan pink salt(as much as you can tolerate), 1 scoop of Shakeology, 1 scoop of beef collagen, 1/2-1 cup of ice and 2tbs coconut cream. Blend it all together and ENJOY!

I hope you try this recipe and love it! Let me know what you think in the comments sections!

xoxo- Harmony

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

I have a problem, my blog readers and followers… And the problem is that the times I typically feel the most inspired to write and post for this blog are during the hours I am at work. Now, why is that a problem you ask? The main reason that’s a problem is because a blog is considered “social media” and despite the fact that these sites aren’t blocked on my companies network we’re still not supposed to go on them. To be fair, for my more extensive posts I sometimes spend all day, like almost 7 hours working on them (yeah, you read that right. And you’re welcome). From adding pictures, to proof reading, to the actual writing process and everything in between it can be very time consuming. Even the most basic posts (of which I pretty much have none) end up taking well over an hour because I keep adding things when I read it back. I’d say about 99% of the time I just sit down and start typing without even knowing what I’m going to say. Then even after I’ve written everything I typically don’t even know half of what I’ve said, but I swear writing just feels amazing and I love to  let the thoughts flow onto digital paper. I of course read and reread all of my posts before they are actually published but it’s hard to decide that a post is ever “finished”. I have one post that has been sitting in limbo for 3 MONTHS. But I refuse to let it die so I’ll finish and post it at some point. It’s saved on my other laptop… ANYWAY even after all the reading and rereading and editing and rewriting, I usually want to make even more changes after publishing when I read them again months or weeks later. You can see why it’s a problem when I get inspired to write at work now right?

Speaking of work, I’ve been super productive at work this week. I’ve sewn a pair of pointe shoes, I’ve watched countless ballet videos on youtube for inspiration and “research”, I’ve looked up and downloaded performance music, I’ve researched becoming a beach body coach, I’ve planned my husbands birthday dinner including looking up recipes etc, AND I’m now sitting here writing a blog post and it’s only Wednesday.

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Please keep in mind that I’m an Accounting Assistant for a Government Contracting Company… So essentially I’m terrible at my job because I do other stuff all day instead of my actual job. That’s not to say that I’m incapable of doing my job, because I do get it done and I get it done well but I’m a freaking passionate and creative person! I may not be passionate about accounting, or anything remotely related to the work I am doing (or really not doing) for the time being, but in general I am passionate and can’t nobody stop this train!

Here’s a random question for you… Have you heard of Bentinho Massaro?

He talks a lot about passion. I’m pretty sure that his words can inspire almost anyone. For the sake of honesty and transparency I’ll admit that I’m pretty easily inspired. I get excited by things super quickly and damn it I dream big! He has about a million videos (that’s an exaggeration) on youtube, and while they may not all speak to you, I love having it on in the background during my day. Even the same video over and over, I catch new things every time. Sometimes I hear entirely new things in the same videos and I wonder what the hell I was doing during that part last time that I missed it entirely? We all have needs, and honestly those needs can change daily, or even multiple times a day. The universe draws us to different things, and if we trust it and let it guide us we can have those needs fulfilled everyday. Just like hearing parts of an old video I never heard before. Finding these videos was one of those things for me. I was needing something. I didn’t even know that I needed something but I did. I found what I needed in myself through his words: POSITIVITY. I literally felt my energy perk up like I hadn’t in a few months. At that moment I realized that I had disconnected from my positive vibrations and had reverted to my negative thoughts for the past few months now. The slip happened so gradually, so randomly, and so naturally that I didn’t even think twice about it or realize that it had happened. Old habits die hard. The fact that I put myself back into the setting where I used to be a little negative nancy (the ballet world) obviously made this transition feel even more natural. But  no more!

So many people in this world are negative. Please, never doubt or downplay the power of your thoughts and feelings. You are creating your own reality every second of every day. Make a conscious choice to lead yourself where you want to be with your thoughts. No one is more powerful over your life than you are right this second and every future second in your life. Please take a minute right now to be grateful. Be grateful that we are living in a time where infinite knowledge can be discovered and shared as long as you’re searching for it. Never be afraid to learn more or keep growing, we are made to evolve and grow into ever blossoming beautiful beings. Don’t stunt that growth with negativity or self doubt. The only thing negativity breeds is more negativity. Have you ever noticed that? All it takes is that one little negative thought parasite to take root and before you know it your entire mind is infested. It happens to all of us and it’s OKAY. It is OKAY to be there right now. Every experience in this life is a learning experience if you choose to look at it that way. Use it as an opportunity to grow. Mistakes, screw ups, victories, accomplishments, these are all growing opportunities. At some point something is going to come and knock you over the head and give you the opportunity to kill your negativity infestation. The key is to be open to receiving information. It can come from any source, and possibly even the most unexpected source. DON’T IGNORE THE UNIVERSE! You must be willing and open to new things, to change, to doing what may feel unnatural or uncomfortable at first but will become your own personal norm and bliss. We all have our own unique paths so don’t doubt or regret any part of yours because your path is your life and without it you would not be you. Follow the yellow brick road as they say. Thanks google images (and the wizard of oz of course) for always having my back…

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Some of those negative people in this world can really bring you down. Especially if they come in the form of people we care about. Being a pessimist and choosing to instead being an optimist is like being a recovering addict. Whatever your vice is, whether it be shopping, drugs, sex, food, video games – whatever- once you quit it there is always a temptation to hop right back on the wagon and slip back into old habits. Coming in contact with people who are doing what you yourself used to do is a particularly hard battle to fight. But it’s possible to overcome. Like I said earlier though, even if you do “relapse” it’s OKAY. Please be forgiving of yourself because blame and guilt aren’t helping anyone, you’re only hurting yourself more.

I believe in you, and I bet you almost anyone else you encounter in this world will believe in you and your abilities 100 times more than you believe in yourself right now. So just take the leap of faith and believe in yourself!

On that note I’ll stop rambling and as always thank you for actually reading this… If anyone actually does that is- I’m extremely grateful and always humbled by the amazing people out there! Maybe this post will be your ‘knock on the head’ I surely hope it will speak to at least someone!

xoxo – Harmony

Monthly Au Natural Beauty Tip!

Happy Good Friday everyone! I am starting a new regular post on here with monthly natural skincare and beauty tips for you! This month’s tip is all about HAIR. I know hair care can be tough especially when you’re trying to go about it naturally .I’ve done posts in the past about no pooing and the masks I’ve tried with that and since I’ve stopped no pooing I’m way less stressed about my appearance and happier. I wish no pooing had worked for me (I attempted for months), but with my greasy thinning hair and the water in my area I just couldn’t make it work which is okay! If you are currently no pooing then please keep in mind that oil masks are SUPER hard to wash out. I recommend mixing a natural clay like THIS one with your baking soda to help wash out the oils and absolutely DO NOT wet your hair before putting the dry baking soda and clay into your hair. Even so the mask I’m telling you about today will probably be a bit hard to wash out, you may find yourself “washing” it multiple times and still needing to wear your hair up because it looks greasy. One day I will try Morocco Method and post about it… They have my ‘dream’ shampoo and I would recommend them to anyone, especially if you suffer from thinning hair, but as of right now I’m using another shampoo. The shampoo I now use is by Avalon Organics. I use both the Lavender and the Rosemary ones for shampoo and conditioner. DISCLAIMER: I want to mention that I actually do NOT recommend these products because they are not 100% natural or paleo friendly. I personally bought them in a pinch (they were on sale and the ingredients were not the worst) before an event a few months back and I’m using them until I run out. I only wash my hair about twice a week maximum so needless to say I’m going through them pretty slowly despite the bottles being small.

Moving on to my AU NATURAL BEAUTY TIP OF THE MONTH!

2 INGREDIENT OIL HAIR MASK

Okay there are only like a million different hair masks out there but honestly most are chemical ridden and not many are very effective, and especially if you’re not using conventional shampoos! Even the more natural options are typically just inconvenient, messy, and sometimes even downright gross. Even with oil masks it can be very hard to find a good balance of what works for your hair. You can be left with limp greasy looking hair trying to convince everyone that you DO believe in showers! For me I have thin hair with an oily scalp and fairly dry strands. The mask I use I’m sure won’t work for everyone, but I’ve tried regular coconut oil masks, olive oil masks etc and this 2 ingredient combination below is what I’ve found to work best (at least for me). These days my hair is soft, shiny, flowy and luscious. Yes, luscious. It is growing back and filling out after thinning for the past few years of crazy hormones and I am super happy about it! I also cut quite a few inches off my hair, balanced my hormones pretty well, and stopped getting highlights very recently (it’s currently ombre’d so the top is my natural color and the bottom still has highlights) which of course are all contributing factors in hair health. But I really think this mask is what’s making my hair ‘go the distance’ for me! I hope you at least give this mask a try and more importantly I hope you find success with it!

CASTOR OIL

Castor oil is very thick and for this mask I put it on my scalp only. THIS is the brand I use. I make sure to cover every inch of my scalp really well and really rub it in to make sure the skin of my scalp is getting a nice massage which stimulates hair growth and blood flow. Side note: in general scalp massages are great for your hair, so don’t hesitate to rub a dub dub. The hair on your scalp will of course get covered in castor oil but just don’t distribute it throughout your hair. Below are just some fun facts about castor oil from castoroilfacts.com.

  • Antibacterial and Antiviral – The ricinoleic acid in castor oil prevents the growth of many types of viruses and bacteria, protecting the skin and body.
  • Improves Lymph Fluid Flow – Castor oil exerts a positive influence on the thymus gland and the lymphatic system. It stimulates the free flow of lymphatic fluids, reducing swelling in the lymphatic nodes and easing depression and fatigue.
  • Castor oil for Constipation – Castor oil is an effective laxative and is even used as an enema agent in hospitals for those who are suffering from constipation. It also eases symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Treats Skin Ulcers and Ringworms – Aside from ricinoleic acid, castor oil also contains undecylenic acid, which has germicidal and disinfectant properties. It helps treat skin ulcers and kill fungi around fingernails and toenails. The same acid can also effectively treat ringworm infestation.
  • Arthritis Remedy – Castor oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent massage oil for aching joints and sore muscles.
  • Stye Treatment – An eye infection called stye can be treated by applying a few drops of castor oil. The oil can also be used to remove debris that has entered the eye, causing irritation. For stye treatment, simply apply a small drop of castor oil to the stye 2-3 times daily.
  • Improves Lactation – Rubbing castor oil onto the nipples of a breastfeeding mother can help stimulate the mammary glands to produce more milk. Wash the area with a mild soap and water before letting the infant feed. Consultation with a doctor is important before using castor oil as a means to increase lactation.
  • Skin Treatment – Skin infections such as acne, dry skin stretch marks and age spots can be effectively lessened with the application of castor oil. Massaging the body with castor oil before taking a bath can help the skin retain its natural healing properties as well as stimulate muscles and internal organs.
  • Anti-aging – Castor oil is packed with antioxidants which are responsible for sweeping away free radicals that cause damage to the skin. With the abundance of antioxidants, the skin will remain young looking and wrinkle free.
  • Castor oil for eyelashes – Rubbing castor oil over the base of the eyelashes before going to bed will stimulate hair growth, leading to thicker and fuller lashes.
  • Prevents hair loss – The ricinoleic acid in castor oil prevents the occurrence of scalp and hair infections which can cause hair loss. Applying castor oil on the scalp may also cause regeneration of new hair within months.

As you can see Castor Oil is some potent stuff and in my opinion, it’s 100% something you should be rubbing all over your scalp! But wait, this oil hair mask isn’t complete yet! Here’s what to do next…

GRAPE SEED OIL

I typically use about 1-2tbs of grape seed oil and run it through the rest of my hair making sure to cover all the strands. I use THIS brand of grape seed oil although I’m sure there are better options out there. I also use this oil for my oil cleansing and occasionally even for my oil pulling. Make sure you really comb through your hair with your fingers so it’s equally distributed and your whole head is now covered in oils. At this point I put my hair up in a messy bun (I have a designated oily hair tie I use every time), put my shower cap on and go to bed. The shower cap isn’t necessary but it heats the oils slightly as you sleep for better absorption PLUS it saves your pillows and bedspread from getting oily. Below are some fun facts about grape seed oil from homeremediesweb.com

  • Grape Seed Oil and its Extract constitute anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-histamine, anti-aging, anti-allergic, antimicrobial, and adaptogenic activity. Therefore, it has been beneficial in the treatment of a number of health issues which include: arthritis, edema, dermatitis, acne, wrinkles, dry and itchy skin, age spots, sun burns, chapped lips, wounds, bruising, stretch marks, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, chronic venous insufficiency, premature aging, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), weight loss, stress, dandruff, hair loss, warts, cardiovascular diseases especially atherosclerosis, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, visual impairment, cataract, and macular degeneration.
  • Research suggests that the linoleic acid in Grape Seed Oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen, acne reductive, and moisture retentive properties. It contains 73% of linoleic acid which may be beneficial in the treatment of acne, dermatitis, allergic reactions, atopic eczema and dry and itchy skin.
  • The rich nutrients in Grape Seed extract have been found to protect against UV radiation, and they have been found to lighten the effects on age spots and pigmented skin caused by ultra violet rays. Threfore simply taking Grapeseed supplements daily may heal and minimize the risk of sunburn and reduce the appearance of age spots.
  • A few studies suggest that regular oral intake of Grape Seed Extract may suppress the development of different types of cancers and may induce apoptosis – a process that triggers the self-destruction and elimination of damaged and superfluous cells in many cellular systems. It may also help with liver damage and other side effects caused by chemotherapy medication.
  • A number of intensive studies have shown that oral intake of linoleic acid can reduce the complications associated with Diabetes.
  • Varicose veins, spider veins and hemorrhoids are caused by damaged blood vessels and compromise the ability of the capillaries to manage blood flow in the veins, which results in pooling of the blood inside the veins. Grapeseed Oil contains oligomeric proanthocyanidin and flavonoids, which are known to help with capillary integrity.
  • Recent research has shown that Grape Seed may improve damaged blood vessels and help regulate high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
  • Studies have shown that Grape Seed Oil may improve the production of collagen which is important for maintaining healthy connective tissues in our joints. Its anti-inflammatory activity may also reduce the pain caused by arthritis.
  • the antioxidant activity of Grape Seed Extract may reduce the damage to skin cells and enhance the production of collagen and elastin which is important for strong and healthy looking skin.

Now that you know way too much about castor oil and grape seed oil I hope I’ve convinced you to give this mask a try! When you wake from your slumber just take off the shower cap – DON’T WET YOUR HAIR – put shampoo in your hair and work it in well first before you add water. Then just wash as usual. I typically do these hair masks every week or every other week depending on my mood. You can do them as often as you feel necessary! I’ve seen great improvement in my hair and I hope you experience the same!

To give you a visual… This is what my hair looks like these days…

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Not my best photos but I think you get the idea! Of course my hair is styled here, although there in no product in it. Have a great weekend everyone! Friday night is  a great night for a hair mask! You can have fabulous hair all weekend!

xoxo Harmony

The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships

Hopefully most of you know where my title line is from but for those of you who don’t, it is famous line in Greek Mythology about the Trojan war. The “face” is referring to the ever beautiful Helen of Troy. She left Sparta and it’s king for another man in Troy, and by doing so she started a war among love struck men. If you want more info then watch the movie Troy; it’s historically inaccurate but it has both Orlando Bloom and Brad Pitt so by watching it you’re still winning at life while kind of educating yourself. Or you could google it or read a book, but I still say just watch Troy… Because hotness.

Okay now that I have sufficiently “cited my source” I’m going to move on to the actual content of this post and let me just start by saying…Wow.

I mean really wow. I am SO impressed/shocked/elated/surprised/excited by the response I got on Instagram of my acne progress picture. The outpouring of support and kind words has been amazing and I am really truly so grateful for them. I’m going try as much as possible not to get too far off track on this post because I have a purpose. I want to expand what I posted on Instagram and talk about my skin journey in hopes of educating and hopefully helping some people! Hence the name of this blog post. Oh and that picture… They’re the “Heroes of Troy” apparently. Imagine them as Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom… Okay sorry, now moving on…

Because trying to get rid of acne is a Battle (like the Trojan War) and my face (not for it’s beauty but for it’s skin) has “sailed a thousand ships” in that it has hopefully inspired many of you to keep going in your own battles against problematic skin and never give up! You CAN heal your skin naturally! Plus my skin has been waging this war for a very loong time. Without my health and the knowledge I’ve gathered I would be losing miserably. But instead I am hashtag winning. Yes you read that right, #winning.

Many of you have already asked questions on Instagram and I am hoping that with this post I can answer many of them so I don’t have to type the same answer repeatedly on my cellphone where I am prone to many typos and consequently frequently confusing answers. I want to mention that I am not an expert or a professional in this subject. All I know is from hours upon hours of research (don’t worry I won’t include any of that here) that I have done and my own personal experiences so please do keep that in mind!

PAUSE

Can I be a complete NERD and fan girl for a second!? I am just so excited that freaking Liz Wolfe (realfoodliz.com) author of Eat the Yolks and the Purely Primal Skincare Guide (formerly Skintervention guide – and possibly the best purchase I ever made) reposted my picture and said that I INSPIRED HER! How freaking amazing is that!? I mean to have someone you so genuinely admire and look up to say that you inspire them is just really life affirming and fulfilling. I really am elated and HONORED and HUMBLED by this. I really truly am. Okay fan girling complete.

UNPAUSE

I have had acne for what feels like my entire life. This isn’t 100% accurate but I remember getting my first pimples when I was around 11 years old. Ever since then it has been an identity that I have worn and I suspect no matter how clear my skin is I will wear that identity for the rest of my life. Plus I have scars… SO there’s that. I was living in Korea at the time and honestly I didn’t think too much of it. But when I moved to America at the ripe age of 13 and realized that no one else had the skin problems I did I began to become self conscious about it. So began my attempt to get rid of my acne. I started my first “3 step acne system” I don’t even remember the name that consisted of a face wash, toner, and lotion of some sort. That did me no good and did not last long – maybe a couple months at best.

I heard or read somewhere else to just use a specific bar of soap so I did that and it didn’t help, shocker I know. Then I moved on to good ol Proactive which helped a bit for a few months (by this time I was around 14-15 and at the peak of feeling like crap about myself) but here’s where things really took a turn for the worse… I got contact dermatitis mostly on my forehead and T zone but it was really all over my face. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s like poison ivy but you don’t get it from a plant, rather it’s from touching your face in any way shape of form. It was itchy, scaly(it looked like snake skin peeling from my face), there was pus and it was a disgusting, and super uncomfortable mess. I went to the doctor and was put on steroids and other medications with antibiotics that made me dizzy and ill throughout the day. Which didn’t bode very well for my 12 hour days (as a junior in private ballet school I had school for 5 hours then ballet for 4 hours 5 days a week and 3 hours of ballet on Saturdays… I had Sundays free to catch up on homework). But I got through it and was back to washing my face with a very mild bar of soap.

From there my mom and I decided to attempt the whole “natural” thing. We bought witch hazel as my toner, and I don’t even remember what brand the random cleanser we found at the health food store was. When that didn’t work we went to a dermatologist who prescribed me tetracycline (another antibiotic) for my skin plus Tazorac to put on topically. We called her within a few weeks to say it was all making my skin worse and I wasn’t feeling well and she said I just needed to continue with it and give it time. Yeah okay I had a bad feeling about it so we stopped it right after that and never went back to her. From there over the next years I proceeded to try at least 7 more (that I can remember) different acne treatment “kits” or “complete systems” including some “natural” options. Oh and a round of 10 microdermabrasion sessions. None. Of. Them. Worked. I read a book on acne that told me my diet had nothing to do with it that it was purely my sebaceous glands clogging and there was no particular reason for it beyond being UNLUCKY.

I have asked myself countless times throughout this life: WHY do I have acne? Why am I a person who has to struggle with this when for so many people it’s a thought that never even crosses their mind? Most people get a singular pimple and complain about being “broken out”. Not even.

Anyway, after high school I went to a new dermatologist and was put on the pill. Yippie!! I was so excited because I had heard that it clears up your skin! And along with being on the pill I was given Duac and again the Tazorac plus a few other topical treatments. For the first time possibly since I was 11 years old I had clear skin. It felt like a miracle. I could go outside without makeup on and not die of sheer and utter shame. I finally felt like I was like everyone else. Ya for conforming to “normalcy”. Granted my face hurt and peeled 24/7 because it was so dried out and I inexplicably lost a bunch of weight but still I was happy, I thought it was over. I thought I had won the acne battle. “Silly girl trix are for kids!”

Then I lost my health insurance coverage because my new job didn’t offer benefits. This meant bye bye BCP and Duac. I was off the pill for about a year and during that time I started putting on weight (over 10 lbs) and got my beautiful full fledged acne back (this includes acne on my chest, back and arms btw). I got back on the pill in 2011 after being off for about one year, but didn’t experience the same magical effect as last time. Instead I kept gaining weight (another 10 pounds to equal a total of 20-25lbs weight gain total) and my acne wasn’t going away but I was “okay” with it. I told myself: This is just my life. I have acne and that’s it. I’m the size of a “normal” person now, I’m just not ballet thin anymore. I’m doing fine.

But I ate and felt terrible all the time. I was genuinely eating mutiple full sized candy bars every day, all sorts of fast food, fried food, really anything and everything. I’ve always been a thin person so I never worried much about that. But in January 2013 I was sick of feeling and getting sick. I felt disgusting and despite not actually being very large in size, I felt huge for my frame. I did the master cleanse and dropped a good 13 lbs and kept it off. I felt amazing. AND the entire time on the cleanse I did not break out once. True story. When I started reintroducing foods I decided to leave dairy as a food group out all together. I started eating what I thought was “healthy” as in whole grains, gluten free, brown rice, meats and veggies (I’ve always loved meat) and no dairy what so ever. I also got laser treatment for my acne with chemical peels every 2 weeks and was using Obagi skincare. My skin was looking pretty good for a little while there but I was never breakout free. In order to do more detoxing (and wanting my skin to be a little better) I did the master cleanse again in July 2013. I broke out the entire time I was cleansing, and I lost more weight than I wanted to – I was not happy. My sister in law had told me about this paleo thing and I researched it while cleansing. I discovered Elana’s Pantry and realized that I could eat bread made with almond flour while doing paleo. UHM OKAY SIGN ME UP! I’ve been Paleo ever since  – August 2013. My skin wasn’t terrible at this point but it wasn’t good either.

I wanted to get even healthier – plus I wanted to be fertile for the sake of being able to have children when I wanted to – so I got off the pill in November 2013 (the same year) which is when everything changed. I started really having acne again. I closed out 2013 with my first round of all paleo holidays and started 2014 with a face and body full of acne. I also purchased a yearly unlimited bikram yoga package and I was still using the Obagi at this point because I felt it had worked in the past. But really I didn’t understand why I was breaking out again when I was eating so well and doing bikram more often than ever. I was working 2 jobs, teaching ballet in the evenings and working a desk job during the day. I started in a new job in April of 2014 and revved up my yoga. My skin was getting worse and worse. I bought the Purely Primal Skincare Guide (formerly Skintervention guide) and began to read my tail off. I also started listening to the Balanced Bites Podcast and getting myself further and further immersed in the world that is the paleo community. There is just so much to learn and know! Anyway, I did a 30 day bikram challenge around May/June (the 12th picture below) which is when my skin was at it’s WORST EVER. Like in my entire life, my skin has never been this bad. Okay the contact dermatitis may have been worse but that was different… Here’s what I was doing at this time:

1. Oil Cleansing (OCM) with coconut oil, using ACV/water as a toner, using baking soda/water paste on occasion to exfoliate, Beauty Balm from Green Pastures to moisturize, and occasional Aztec clay mask.

2. ‘No poo’ing on my hair

3. Bikram at least 3-5 times a week including some advanced classes.

4. Supplementing on and off with Vitex, Maca, Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil Blend( FCLO/BO), Milk Thistle, and l-glutamine.

5. Eating pretty standard paleo without specific modifications.

Okay so that all sounds pretty good right? SO what freaking gives!? This went on and was a process for months mind you. While I thought that I was doing pretty great for myself I also found out that my acne is strongly driven by hormones, specifically testosterone. For a female I have some crazy high testosterone levels (tested by my OB/GYN and confirmed again this year with the Naturopath). There is a lot more to that whole situation but I’m not going to go into that here. SO what did I change to start seeing results despite being crazy discouraged? Well here are just a few things that I believe contributed to my overall success:

1. I switched to doing the OCM with Grapeseed Oil. Such a simple change but made a huge difference for me!

2. I stopped ‘no poo’ing. It was stressing me out that my hair looked like crap 24/7. I tried to make it work for months but it just wasn’t for me. Instead I use JustNaturals Shampoo.

3. I stopped working my second job, started dancing again and almost entirely stopped going to bikram. I think this is a huge one. I was pushing myself so hard in class and it was not good for me. I still love bikram yoga, don’t get me wrong but I had to take a step back for my health.

4. I started consistently taking a double dose of FCLO/BO (2tsp instead of 1tsp) ironically because I felt like I was getting sick and read to take a double dose for that but saw improvement in my skin! I reduced my l-glutamine to 1/2tsp of powder in water daily and decided to scrap everything else.

5. I did multiple 21dsd’s which helped my sugar (helping regulate insulin) addiction and began trying to get nutrients as much as possible. Sardines, gelatin, offal, fermented foods, and the list goes on. Most recently I did AIP in January and saw my Naturopath who gave me great insight into what was going on with my body.

6. TIME. I swear this seems all tied up into a pretty little bow by this post but man has it been a PROCESS! The body takes time to heal. I’m still working to heal my body. Everything takes time and patience and forgiving, and understanding, and persistence and determination. Repeat after me: “I know I am doing my very best and my very best is good enough.”

By the time I went to the Naturopath (or Functional Medicine Doctor) in January 2015 my skin was already really doing well but I still knew that my hormones were out of whack. We did both blood and genetic testing that gave me a wealth of information about ME in early February. The genetic testing specifically was super informative as it showed what medications and supplements I do well with based on my genes. For instance I found out that my body functions optimally with high amounts of Omega 3’s. I’ve been eating a can of sardines a day minimum pretty much since then. I learned a lot of other things too and I am taking a bunch of supplements with his guidance for the next few months to try and fix my hormonal imbalances. Then I’ll have my blood drawn again and we will reevaluate. It’s still a process but I have been genuinely amazed with the fast results. Knowing what your gene’s respond to took so much of the guess work out of what to try.

ANYWAY, this post is way too long and I just want to reiterate that you need to look at every freaking aspect of your life when you’re looking at something as complex as a skin issue. And please research and educate yourself as much as possible! Very rarely is there a quick, simple, or easy fix to these problems but the answer is there – you just have to find it! Once you get yourself balanced you have to do your damn best to maintain it and continue to make changes as your body’s needs change. Keep that in mind. Your body today is not the same as it was yesterday and it’s not the same as it will be tomorrow. We are constantly changing for better or for worse. If you’re going through a struggle, please don’t be discouraged, and feel free to ask me any questions you have! And just please believe that YOU CAN HEAL YOURSELF NATURALLY! Be patient with yourself. Be forgiving of yourself. And above all else, LOVE yourself. You can do this with perseverance and persistence. Now time for pictures…

The pictures below are all of the same side of my face (obviously) over the course of multiple months starting probably in March or April of 2014 until February 2015. They are unattractive and unflattering. But I hope they give you a visual and I hope they give you hope. None of them are retouched or edited in any way. I’m not wearing any makeup in any of them either as I’m sure you can tell. Now truth time – I totally started slacking with the progress pics as my face started improving… It jumps from: you can tell it’s getting better to now in February when it’s looking great (I had just woken up in the picture so just pay attention to my skin please haha). I also took a lot of progress pics WITH makeup on but that’s not a fair comparison next to these pictures. I apologize for that but regardless here we are! Oh and that last picture is from January BEFORE I saw the Naturopath to show you that I achieved this on my own prior to his help and intervention. I originally took the picture to show my puppy sleeping on my butt again but hopefully you get the idea!

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And now…..

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xoxo – Harmony

The Opposite of a Blank Space

This may be the first time that I’ve come to this blog without anything specific to say. It’s in times like these that I am reminded of those awkward social situations where you’re forced to make small talk with people that, well let’s be honest here, you’d rather not talk to. You want to be friendly, and people can be great but this whole process just makes you uncomfortable as hell. For me personally, once I’m comfortable with someone I can be very talkative and I have a lot to say. But I swear it can take me forever to get to that point with people. At one time in my life when I was a youth leader I had sort of “trained” myself to be more outgoing and make better small talk. In a setting like that there’s no room to worry about what people think of you and worry about how uncomfortable or awkward you feel because you’re instead in a position to SERVE others and therefore your main concern becomes them. You find yourself wondering: Are these kids comfortable and having a good time? I hope I’m helping them feel included and not awkward and uncomfortable”. It’s too bad though that in this life unused skills tend to dwindle or disappear. Like that saying about dull knives needing to be sharpened regularly in order to be useful or something. I know I butchered that saying but I think you get the idea.

Well now I seem to have lost the “small talk” skill. I’m no longer a youth leader, I don’t do customer service anymore, and I no longer work in a setting that I have to talk to anyone at all really. All of these facts together make for my dull butter knife social skills. Maybe I’ll get them back one day but I’d rather keep my mouth shut and express myself with dance anyway… Okay that was a big ol paragraph about well… Nothing really.

Let’s start over… I still have 3 different posts that I’ve “promised” to you, my imaginary readers. At least as far as I can tally it’s 1. The year 2014 in review. 2. Different supplements I take and why. 3. Recipes. Now really I’d like to hear from you on which one you’re most interested in but I’m trying to be realistic here, I know I don’t really have that kind of following. On another note the thought of typing up recipes doesn’t sound very fun to me. I’m the type of cook that either strictly follow a recipe, or I wing it in the kitchen and more often than not things turn out delicious. If you follow my Instagram (which you should @thepaleoballerina) I try to post a lot of my meals there. Again, not recipes but it can give you an idea of how I eat and maybe inspire you to eat healthier (if you don’t already, or if the idea seems impossible or daunting). Switching gears again (I swear this is how thoughts flow in my brain… Seemingly random but totally connected in my mind)… I’m anxiously awaiting my follow up appointment with the functional medicine doctor in February to have the results of those blood tests that made me so sick. I’m beyond ready to figure some stuff out and start down a new path of healing.

I was just thinking this morning about FODMAPS. Accoding to Google FODMAPS are: “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides and PolyolS. They comprise fructose, lactose, fructo- and galacto-oligosaccharides (fructans and galactans), and polyols (such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol) that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine.” Essentially FODMAP intolerance means that your body is incapable of digesting or absorbing certain fructose that is present in many fruits and veggies including but not limited to: avocado, cabbage, garlic, onions- and the list goes on and on. Anyway the reason I bring this up is because I was saying to myself while driving to work “Self, you could not handle giving up garlic-which is probably my favorite seasoning ever- or most FODMAPS. You already have a super restricted diet and most of the FODMAP items are foods you eat all the time. You’re not even using black pepper right now… You love black pepper!”. Then I realized that I also at one point in time thought that I could “never give up sugar” or “never go paleo” or “never do AIP” or never not eat pasta or cheese or BREAD again. But I did it. And I continue to do so every damn day. I have accomplished all of these tasks DESPITE my negative self talk at one point in time saying that I couldn’t.

Then it hit me: I can do and survive anything. Now I don’t mean that in a crazy I could jump off a bridge and be just fine kind of way but I mean that any obstacle I come across I sure as hell am always going to do my best to fight and over come it. Does that mean that this road to health and recovery has been easy? HELL NO. Does it mean that I haven’t strayed from my healthy ways here and there? HELL NO. Does the fact that I’m not perfect and this shit is really hard and frustrating SOMETIMES mean that I’m going to give up? NEVER. Honestly this lifestyle IS sustainable. It takes time to get used to and it’s an investment in yourself but once you’re on the straight and narrow for awhile, the thought of tarnishing all your hard work just isn’t that appealing. Yes my health isn’t perfect and I’m working hard to fix my crazy endocrine (hormonal) system I still see the results. One day when I gather the courage I’ll do a post about my skin and how I’ve worked through all of the trouble and torment it’s caused me… It’s tough for me to show some of the pictures and make myself so vulnerable but if it will help someone then I’m willing to do it. (Lookie here I’m promising another future post… I’ll get to em eventually). No matter how clear my skin is I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself as someone without acne. More like I’m someone who’s skin is under control at the moment. And I’m not going to lie, right now I’m in a pretty good place with my skin but it is SUCH a delicate balance and I have by no means mastered it yet because it’s a never ending process! Just like the road to health. It’s not a destination but rather a journey and a process to stay in balance.

Back to where I was originally going with the whole functional medicine doctor thing… Depending on what my blood tests say -even if the news is the opposite of what I want to hear- it’ll be okay. I’LL BE OKAY. So believe me when I say that we are all so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and if you want to achieve something then by all means try your best to make it happen, I know that I’ll continue to do so. And who knows you just might succeed, so don’t give up!

One final thought to leave you with… I’ve been dreaming a lot more recently. Maybe it’s part of this AIP Whole 30 thing (today is day 18 btw *happy dance*) but I had a dream last night that I ate a Big Mac. Let me take a second to mention that in my former unhealthy life I never really liked Big Macs. I was always more of a dollar menu girl, or better yet a Burger King Whopper kinda girl. Also yesterday while scrolling someone’s “paleo” Instagram I saw a picture of a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich that someone ate (YUCK). I don’t know if any of that is relevant to this dream but I thought you should be fully informed. Okay back to the dream. After eating a few bites of the Big Mac I then proceeded to FREAK OUT because I had eaten gluten. Like I went into straight panic mode as if I was going to die or something. That was the rest of the dream. Me freaking out from gluten exposure and being in disbelief that I had eaten something so evil as a Big Mac. HAHAHA even thinking about it now makes me legit smile, my brain is so silly sometimes. I have no clue what it meant or if it had any meaning at all but dreams fascinate me in more ways than one. In my conscious dreams I  dream of one day not working a desk job and being able to follow my passion full time. OH and more tangibly I dream of gaining the courage to do some ballet auditions. Makes me super nervous just thinking about it but I know I have to overcome that if I want my dreams to become a reality. So please keep dreaming my friends and never stop.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend…. Man I wish it was Friday instead of Thursday and I wasn’t sitting here at work… Shhh I didn’t say that… Yay Thursday!

xoxo – Harmony