(Work in progress, check in regularly for updates)
Organic beauty & makeup
I get more questions about healthy beauty products than I do anything else. Luckily, after much experimentation (I turned myself into a lab rat on my quest for natural beauty products that WORK!), I have an abundance of resources to share.
- May Lindstrom’s The Honey Mud. A gentle daily cleanser that smells divine. Using it nightly is such a treat. Can be used as a face mask too.
The Clean Dirt by May Lindstrom: A more intense exfoliator - use 1 or 2 times per week.
- Osmia Organics’ Black Clay Facial Soap: I love all things Osmia. And this clay soap has been a staple for over three years! Recommended for normal skin and also benefits those with perioral dermatitis.
FACE CREAMS & SERUMS
Osmia Organics’ Balance Facial Serum. Where would I be without this product?
- May Lindstrom’s The Blue Cocoon. After giving birth I felt like my skin needed some extra TLC and indulgence. This anti-inflammatory product fits the bill.
- This Detox Exfoliating Mask and this Adzuki Nourishing Mask . There’s a reason why half the items on my list are from this store!
- This mascara is amazing, and I am a fan of this eyeliner.
- These folks stock a lot of natural makeup products and are great about helping you find the shade/product that works for you. Just send them a picture of yourself on instagram and they'll get right back to you.
- Currently obsessed with Ilia's tinted lip conditioners.
- Meow Meow Tweet’s deodorant cream. Never mind the cutesy name. This stuff is hardcore and really works. I believe some pro-athletes use it.
Found this to be successful in containing mild outbreaks.
- Found nothing works as well as the sea. Second best option? Sea salt dissolved in water - use just a pinch, add to warm water and stir. Note: test this homemade salt treatment on small part of skin first, as it can cause dryness and irritation.
- I’ve tried a long list of body creams and oils, some fancy and others not so much. In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that none work as well as coconut oil or olive oil from your pantry. Sesame oil feels pretty yummy too, especially during the warmer months (just make sure you use UNTOASTED sesame oil, or else you will smell like Chinese takeout!).
- I use this cream by Alaffia. You can buy it at Whole Foods too. Note: it can be on the heavier side - their gel might be lighter.
A few kitchen basics can make healthy cooking *so* much easier. Here's where I would start...
GLASS STORAGE CONTAINERS
If you haven't already, ditch the toxic plastic. Use glass storage containers such as these, which are very helpful as they can be used in the oven as well.
- Make nourishing bone and vegetable broths, or huge batches of soup to last you all week. I consider a stock pot to be a powerhouse of a well-stocked kitchen.
A GREAT KNIFE
- Cooking with a dull, flimsy knife is tedious and no fun. Invest in a good knife like this one which will last forever with proper care.
A POWERFUL BLENDER
- I haven't bought a Vitamix primarily because I am not comfortable with the fact that the container is plastic. I have an old Waring Pro blender which came with a glass container that has been a loyal workhorse in my kitchen. It's not as powerful as a Vitamix, but for my purposes it works very well. I also own a Ninja, which uses this stainless steel cup attachment. Great for smoothies as it is super powerful!
WOOD OR STAINLESS STEEL COOKING SPOONS, LADLES AND SPATULAS
Bamboo is another option. But the high heat of cooking and toxicity of plastics is a bad pairing. An easy and cheap way to begin to detox your kitchen.
A GOOD SKILLET
- Say no to teflon! Cast iron is a great alternative to toxic non-stick cookware. My Le Creuset skillet almost never gets put away, as I use it almost daily (eggs, pancakes, steak, caramelizing onions... etc.) . Lodge products are also great and retail at a (much) cheaper price, although you will have to work harder at seasoning it.
- If I had to keep only one item in my kitchen, this would probably be it. I use it for everything - soup, stews, beans, sauces, and more.
WOOD OR BAMBOO CUTTING BOARDS
- Nothing fancy, any one will do. But do away with plastic cutting boards which can get plastic particles into the food you so lovingly prepared.
SLOW COOKER and/or PRESSURE COOKER
- You don't need this in your kitchen, but I recently invested in an Instant Pot and I have found that it is quite the time saver. I use it maybe once or twice a week when I'm short on time or energy but still want a healthy meal on the table for dinner. I've made beans, soups and chicken with great success. It has many other functions I haven't experimented with. More soon....
- I have so many of these, in all sizes. Extremely helpful for everything from making ferments and pickles, to preparing and storing salad dressings, to holding every which grain and legume in my pantry. Essential!
Above all, take care of yourself and indulge in rest and self-care during this magical time. Here are a few things I discovered (or wish I had) along the way..
A GOOD READ
This book by Aviva Romm is a great, accessible resource to read early in pregnancy.
FIND A LOCAL LACTATION CONSULTANT
- BEFORE you give birth, find out if your hospital has a lactation consultant on their staff. If yes, amazing! Make sure you meet with her before you are discharged, whether or not you are having early breastfeeding challenges. If you are a first time mom, you will probably have a million questions to ask her even if your little one is a breastfeeding pro. She'll talk to you about feeding frequency, latches, positions, troubleshooting, pumping, and help you with any pain you might be experiencing. In other words, she's a superstar. Find out how to get in touch with her should anything come up after you leave the hospital - it really takes a village!
- If your hospital does not have a lactation consultant find a local one and connect before your due date. Ask if she can visit you in the hospital after your delivery, or shortly after you return home.
- Connect with your local La Leche League group for ongoing support.
TAKE A CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION CLASS
- I am very fond of the Bradley Method. It is holistic, practical and non-dogmatic. I find that it prepares you for your birth by empowering you with the knowledge you need to act and make decisions regardless of how your delivery unfolds (I learned from experience that you really have to psychologically prepare yourself for the unexpected). It also really emphasizes the role of the parter in this process, which I found to be amazing. For Charlottesville folk, April is wonderful - I love her! She goes through not only childbirth education, but also brings in a lactation consultant, goes over infant care, and importantly outlines routine hospital interventions for newborns so you can think about your preferences before the big day (you don't want to be making decisions after a long labor...).
HIRE A DOULA
Having a doula assist women during labor has been shown to significantly decrease the likelihood of getting a cesarean section, while decreasing the need for administering an epidural and oxytosin. Moreover, it has been shown to decrease the length of labor as well (and who would complain about that!). Make sure you find a doula you LOVE - ask around for recommendations, conduct interviews, and find someone who is not only skilled but who you have great chemistry with.
DO NOT WAIT UNTIL BABY COMES TO READ ABOUT INFANT SLEEP TROUBLES.
MOM-TO-BE SELF CARE PRODUCTS
- Baraka Birth - a great store run by a good friend. Check it out!
Natural Baby Care