Vegegan journey update!…It’s complicated

In a nutshell, I broke down and had some of my husband’s famous fried chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday and it’s been downhill ever since…lol…It’s complicated but I did learn some valuable lessons.  Let me first break down my motivation for this journey.

Right before New Year’s 2016 (one week before New Year’s) I decided I was going to be a vegetarian…I really wanted to become a vegan but truth be told it is not as simple as it seems.  At least for me isn’t.  I actually thought I had my mind all made up.  I was done with meat.  Over the past several years, I have watched Forks Over Knives, Cowspiracy, and other documentaries which promote plant-based diets.   Vegucated on the other hand got to my soul.  After watching extremely disturbing images of what really goes on in some of these factory farms I thought to myself “Nope! That’s it! No more chicken (or turkey) for me!”.  I couldn’t help thinking “How could anyone possibly be okay with themselves eating meat after watching this?”.

Let me give a back story on how all of this came to be.  When I was in high school, my mom and I decided to stop eating red meat and pork.  I was done with red meat and have not looked back.  I’ve had pork here and there over the years but more recently I would only eat it when I ate pizza.  Pepperoni in all it’s sodium ladened goodness can be hard to pass up.  Then, it did not help that my husband makes fried pork chops that remind me of my mom’s cooking before we decided to stop eating pork.  A few months ago when I watched Vegucated  I was done…So I thought.

A week before New Year’s 2016 I decided I was going to partake on another lifestyle change by going vegetarian while exploring vegan options.   I was doing well weeks into it.  We traveled and I did not have any issues staying on course.  I had a successful almost two months of eating vegetarian only (besides this minor slip up when I made myself a turkey sandwich one day haphazardly)…I wasn’t even thinking about it until my husband said “Hey, did you mean to eat that turkey sandwich?”…lol…We laughed, I shrugged my shoulders, took it as an “L” (loss) and moved on.   Then,  Super Bowl Sunday came around.

The first thing I thought of was “I want some wings!”.  My husband obliged my request and that was it! In the meantime I was thinking of how that was too easy and I needed to resist because “What about those poor chickens?”.  That didn’t stop me though…smh…Don’t judge me…So, from there it’s been back to chicken, fish, and turkey (sometimes) while still exploring vegetarian and vegan options.  Of course I have been sticking to my guns by not eating red meat or pork.  Every week I make a point to serve a vegetarian meal for the family.   It is less stressful and I have more options.  I love to eat and I love options.  I had a little “trouble” during this change and learned a few lessons I want to share.

My trouble stemmed from finding vegetarian options that my whole family would like and enjoy while still getting all of our nutrients in.  I was successful at this most of the time but I wasn’t sure of how consistent I would be.   I know some may think that it’s not that hard to do because there are substitutions for protein etc.   Well, I didn’t have time to stress over worrying about whether I was giving them the necessary amount of protein through other sources like beans.  I also did not want to impose my lifestyle on them.  I have a growing 9 year old who is still learning her palate and I already don’t eat or cook red meat.  So she gets steak and burgers when we eat out.

Then, there’s my mostly carnivorous but omnivorous husband who loves his meat.  It became exhausting and a tad stressful for me.  My husband and daughter were fine though.  They didn’t mind one bit because when they felt like eating meat they ate meat.  I’m thankful that they did last as long as they did along with me.

What did I learn?  I found that what works for me is to eat meat (chicken and turkey only) in moderation like I did before.  I felt like a weight was lifted when I took a bite of that chicken wing and all was well.  Also, I discovered very good vegetarian recipes that I keep in rotation for our weekly vegetarian meals.  The most important lesson I learned is to do what makes me happy and ditch the labels i.e. “vegetarian”, “vegan”, “vegegan”.  Of course, the labels aren’t meant to be controversial or complicated but truth is society makes it that way sometimes.

So, I choose to stick to saying that I eat mostly plant based foods and ditch the labels.  Do what makes you happy as long as you aren’t compromising yourself or anyone else.  For now, I’m happy with my chicken and turkey in moderation until I decide otherwise.  Have you had any issues with changing your lifestyle, eating habits etc.?  I’d love to know how it went, how it’s going or if you’ve been thinking about it! Let me know in the comments!! Much love!

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Wellness Challenge of the week: The art of relaxation…

Need an escape from all of the foolery we are bombarded with lately concerning current events and racial tension that is so thick you could cut it with a knife?  Check this out…In addition to my pure barre class that I try to make 3 times a week I have begun to revisit an old past time of mine.  Art.  Lately, I’ve been in the mood to separate myself from all of the craziness by using my outlets which include sketching and coloring as healthy ways of coping.  Exercise was and still is a favorite of mine but I like variety.  Variety is good.   Also,  like everything else what is meant  for one is not necessarily meant for the other.

Although very effective forms of relaxation, not everyone is into deep breathing, or meditation.  I engage in those too when necessary (to combat anxiety when I fly).   There are a number of other relaxation techniques that can give you that peace we all long for and need.   I wanted to focus on the one that I’ve been using lately as I’ve been tapping into my artsy side.  I am a creative so it’s what my heart moves me to do.  Several months ago I purchased an adult coloring book which my daughter and I color in together sometimes.  She loves it and admits that it calms her.  She loves to create and  is quite the artist.  She gets in her space and is so focused.  I love to watch her create because it puts her in a peaceful state.

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We can all benefit from doing something that takes our minds off of those worries or negative thoughts that distract us from time to time…  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we ALL just took the time to explore those outlets that bring us peace?  Channeling negative energy  by doing something positive is a great way to relieve stress and has a tremendous affect on our mental health.

My art therapy takes me back to being a kid when sketching and drawing was something fun to do that I was good at which also became my “escape”.   It brings a sense of peace and accomplishment at the same time without feeling like it is a task.  I find that when I do I am relaxed and focused rather than tense.

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For the wellness challenge, challenge yourself to do something that relaxes and calms you.  You may choose to revisit an old past time that you enjoyed but stopped doing.  Maybe try something new like the adult coloring books or learning to play an instrument.  Maybe go roller skating.  Try to think outside of the box when thinking of something new.  You just might discover a hidden talent or skill that you are good at but were unaware of because you just didn’t try.  Engaging yourself in activities that make you happy can bring a sense of calm and also does wonders for your self esteem.

What is your love language?

With Valentine’s day coming up love is in the air.  Honestly, I have my  thoughts about Valentine’s day and all of its superficiality which involves big corporations capitalizing off of sales but I’ll digress.   Amidst all of the gift giving and advertisements centered around making your special someone or someones feel loved, let’s take a moment to focus on “love” in all it’s actuality.  Aside from the chocolates and gifts that are expressions of love for some , let’s skip to the real deal.  The “real deal” being how to show unconditional love on a regular basis which everyone can relate to in some way.  Currently, I’m reading the book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” for couples; specifically, married couples.  The author, Gary Chapman shares his depiction of how to connect with your spouse by expressing love in a way that addresses their true needs and desires.

 

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The author’s idea is based on the premise that “Everyone has an innate emotional need for love” which he believes can successfully be expressed in your significant other’s own language.   Their own “love” language to be exact.  What determines the success of this method?  Well,  the book explains how learning your spouse can be an advantage which benefits both individuals.  Effectively  communicating love in accordance with your spouse’s needs can surely create more harmony within the relationship.  Chapman goes on to explain what he identifies as the 5 love languages that are pretty universal and more on how using this method improves relationships.   Most people should be able to relate to them in their own unique way.  There is even an assessment which has separate profiles based on gender at the end of the book where you can discover your love language.  If you do not have the book you can find the assessment on the official website here (follow the prompt at the top of the page below “Discover your love language” where you will see ‘Click here to begin’).

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So, for your wellness challenge of the week I thought you would find it both interesting and beneficial to complete the assessment either online or from the book if you have it (or plan to purchase).  I completed the assessment which only took about ten or so minutes.  It was straight to the point and simple to do.  The five love languages include Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.   My dominant love language at the moment is “Acts of service” as they were found to be the most meaningful to me.

Now, you’ll notice I said “at the moment” because many of us are continuously evolving  and changes happen which affect how we think, feel etc.   I know for sure that I am and my language could change over time.  I would just use it as a guide or however you feel comfortable even if you just are curious.  You can learn more information about the 5 Love Languages on the official website provided in the link above.   Also, there are several other books of the 5 Love Languages series which target singles, military couples, teens and young children.   They are listed among other books by Chapman on the website.  I plan to start with the original and again I recommend it as a basis to assess your love language.

You may agree or disagree but this assessment has been found to be pretty accurate.   At least my husband and I think so.   We can all benefit from improving our communication.  You will learn the importance of your childhood in how you communicate love as well!  If you’d like you can share the results of your assessment too if you desire!   Have a great weekend!

 

Superficial irrelevance, “perfection”, and image

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The other day I was playing on my phone and for the first time discovered a feature I could use to alter my pictures by changing my facial features .  This was funny and ridiculous.  You can alter anything on your face including your complexion.  Hmmm…Anyway, I tried them out and compared the before and after.  Above are the pics.  On the right is my face unaltered with my chubby cheeks intact.  The first pic was after using the feature to slightly alter my face.  I don’t plan on using this when I post pictures. First, because I just don’t see the point and second I don’t like the idea of changing how I look to get likes.  I was curious to see how subtle yet believable these changes looked.

If someone did not know me personally they would never know I changed my features.  Honestly, those who know me probably would not be able to tell because the changes are small but it’s just the principal.  I could have made them more drastic but did not want to.  People use these features so frivolously and have no problem with using them to deceive others by making themselves look “better”.  This made me think of how people do this everyday in society especially on the internet displaying false depictions of themselves. This is a little disturbing on so many levels.

Society has been obsessed with image over the years with the influx of social media perpetuating the cycle by making it easier for people to “alter themselves” online.  We end up forgetting what is truly important by becoming distracted by what I call “superficial irrelevance”.  Superficial irrelevance being just that; things of a shallow nature which do nothing to improve our wellbeing whatsoever.  This shallow nature causes us to think that we actually can determine what someone else’s life is like based on images.  Many like to think that what they see depicted on social media is perfection based on these images.

Usually, we don’t see the “bad” with the “good” because most people only want you to see the “good”.  Nothing is wrong with that.  It is best (and wise) to keep your personal life and struggles even your “flaws” to yourself.  It becomes a problem when you enhance what you post with the intent of creating this false depiction of your life.  Not only are other people fooled but you fool yourself into believing this is your reality.  Clearly it is not but you distract yourself with these images to feel better about yourself and your life in general.

It’s unhealthy because at the end of the day after you shut off that device you are faced with those flaws which do not live up to that image.  On the other side of the coin, some members of your audience (including some people who like to dissect other people’s lives by comparing what others have to what they don’t have) have this perception that your life is perfect.  At the same time, there are many who post realistic images of their lives that are perceived as perfect by their viewers but it is not their intention to put that out there; they just post nice pictures and cannot help if others think they have it made.  Ultimately, we need to just know and understand that everyone has flaws and problems, not everyone is open to display that publicly (and have every right not to).  We should stop comparing our lives to others especially when we base our perception on images.

Perfection is about perception and to some of us it is nonexistent.  Some people refer to their lives as perfect because to them perfection means they are happy with their life regardless of the flaws.  Then you have others who do not use the word perfection lightly because they embrace the “flaws” proudly.  Either way placing so much emphasis on achieving perfection can be superficial and honestly quite stressful.  When we base perfection on image we are missing the point.  Hence the irrelevance of image.  You can easily become blindsided when you place more focus on how the package is wrapped versus what is inside the package.

With that said, I want to challenge you to participate in doing something that will not only improve your wellbeing but be of benefit to those who you come into contact with.  We’ll call it a wellness challenge.  Your wellness challenge for the week is to use some of your free time over the weekend to make a list of qualities that you want to work on improving that do not have to do with appearance.  Then, write down at least three ways to improve this quality.  Make sure you’re being realistic and let these be small efforts.  The smaller and more realistic the efforts the more obtainable your goals can be.  Over time you can challenge yourself more but start small depending on how difficult this change is going to be for you.

Make a point to work on one or two of these qualities a day.  For example, if one of the qualities you want to change is selfishness you can make a conscious effort to make sure each day you do something selfless like hold the door open for another person when you go out, give someone a genuine compliment, or just do something nice for another person.    You will find that you will become much more productive.  The goal could be anything and have an affect on any aspect.  You will be so busy setting goals for yourself while focusing more on improving your inner qualities that you won’t have time or even the desire to focus on things of no importance.  Peace, love and blessings.

Vegegan journey continued with a recipe….

 

 

I have made it almost through my first month of being vegetarian.  As mentioned in my last post, this has been a journey that began years ago as I gradually began to eat less chicken and turkey.  I had to change my thought process first which to me determines your success in any changes you make in life.  Going cold turkey is not always the best option because it can lead to failure.  Anyhow, cutting out beef and pork was much easier because I completely omitted beef when I was a teenager and only consumed pork on occasion.  I have been met with some challenges recently but did not give in.  Some challenges were sticking to vegetarian options while traveling, dealing with detox breakouts (Ugh!!), and resisting the urge to indulge in meals with chicken.

When making lifestyle/diet changes it can be easy to fall off when traveling.  I traveled to my hometown of Washington, DC last week, visited and stayed with family, and ate out a lot.  Fortunately, when eating out I had more vegetarian options and I love fish so I was able to fill up on my protein by consuming different types of fish.  So, I was good.  I slacked a little with the veggies and fruit compared to what I usually eat on a regular basis but overall I did well.  The real challenge came when I stayed with my mom for a few days.  Her husband made barbecue ribs which looked and smelled divine but I could not get the picture of how that poor pig was slaughtered and tortured for those ribs.  Don’t jude me.  This is one of the tactics that I use to stay focused.  So, I made  oriental flavored ramen noodles (only used half pack of the seasoning to reduce sodium intake) with added spinach and mushrooms.  I did not need to add anything else.  It was not the healthiest but the point is I refrained from eating meat.  Breakfast and lunch were easier as I already have not been a fan of meat with my breakfast.  We also ate lunch out which gave me more options.  I could do better with vegan meals but like I said before, this is a gradual process and my primary goal is to transition to vegetarian while considering vegan options as I go.

With that said, I have had challenges but mostly triumphs for the past 3 weeks.  I think I need to work on limiting carbs because it is easy to fall into the trap of overconsumption of carbs while eating a vegetarian diet.  You are learning how to maintain your diet while eating to a point of satisfaction/feeling full.  That can be hard to do when you are new to this and need to explore options.

Speaking of exploring options, as I considered what to cook for Sunday dinner yesterday I saw a recipe for roasted chicken with root vegetables which was so pleasing to the eye.  My stomach was longing for the fulfillment and my tongue longed for the taste of the combination which seemed like a perfect match.  So satisfying but I continued to look on and found this recipe for a stew made with root vegetables, kale and beans (white cannelini beans to be exact).  My husband wasn’t too interested as he was preparing a roasted chicken for himself and our daughter.  After smelling the aroma and seeing the finished product his disinterest turned to “I’ll eat the chicken tomorrow and eat the stew tonight”…lol…Our nine year old daughter enjoyed it too.  A delicious and filling vegetarian meal was had by all including the hardcore meat eater aka my husband.

I did tweak the recipe a bit.  First, I omitted the crumbled pieces of toast added to the stew.  I’m not a fan of soggy bread.  So, we kept our toast on the side.  Next, in place of 10 oz of squash I used 1 parsnip, 1 rutabaga, and 1 white potato.  I also did not use dry beans.  I used canned cannellini beans (white kidney beans).  I skipped the first step and moved on to Step 2.  I then added two tablespoons of olive oil to a 5 quart pot over medium heat as suggested.  I added the minced garlic, celery, and onions to the oil and seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano, italian seasoning and crushed fennel seed (I only used suggested measurement in recipe for the fennel).  When the veggies were softened and aromatic I then added 4 cups of chicken stock and 1 cup of water (because I didn’t have 5 cups of chicken stock), the pureed beans, the rest of the canned beans, the parsnip, rutabaga, potato, onion and kale all chopped to bite sized pieces.  I let this cook on medium low for about an hour.

The only extra step I took was to season with a little more oregano, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning to taste after the last ingredients (including the liquid) were added.   I didn’t drizzle anything on our toast.  We had some italian bread sliced in the freezer and just toasted it to have on the side with the stew. That’s it!  You can use this recipe as is or tweak it to your liking.  Either way, I think it will not disappoint!  If you try this recipe and/or have any questions let me know in the comments!  I hope it is as satisfying to you as it was to myself and my family.  Enjoy!

My vegegan journey ;-)

 

African American woman holding bell peppers and vegetables at supermarket --- Image by © Barry Austin/Corbis

For years I have been saying that there is a vegetarian within me begging to unleash itself.  I have tried vegetarian and even some vegan meals which my family have actually enjoyed.  After contemplating for so long I thought it was time to take the plunge or let’s say—leap!! I have considered veganism but due to the fact that I like to pace myself and I also have leather shoes, bags etc. I want to but am not ready to make that commitment just yet.  With that said, I feel that it is time for me to let my inner vegetarian out while exploring vegan options.  What do they call it “vegegan”? lol…Yep, that’s me!!  Becoming a vegan is the ultimate goal but I think that lifestyle changes for me are more successful when I ease into them rather than going cold turkey.

For the past three days I have been oil pulling.  The objective behind my oil pulling is to detox, improve my oral health and reap other benefits that it is known for.  When detoxing it is important to increase your water intake and eat clean foods.  It defeats the purpose to continue consuming the same “junk” when you’re trying to clean up your act so to speak by omitting the “bad stuff”.   So, in addition to oil pulling I have also been eating plant based foods while drinking solely water and tea.  I also took a liking to ginger lemon tea made with fresh ginger, lemon and sweetened with a little honey.   When I really want something other than plain water I add lemon or other ingredients like cinnamon, honey, and ginger.  That is how I have been getting my water in.

As I mentioned earlier, for several years I have dabbled with the idea of becoming a vegetarian but my issue was giving up chicken.  I gave up red meat and pork as a teenager but upon meeting my fiancee’ (now husband) back in 2003 I have dabbled with pork by eating some bacon, pork chops and pepperoni here and there but very little.  More recently (within the past few years) I have been more diligent in steering clear of pork as I did in the past.  Still, tsk tsk…Veganism is a whole other story.   To begin with, giving up dairy specifically cheese and eggs would be a serious challenge.  I love omelets, pizza (with cheese obviously), and ice cream!!  lol…Never mind all of the other animal by products “hidden” in other foods.  Milk was not an issue because I am not a fan.   About four years ago almond milk became a favorite milk substitute in my oatmeal, cereal, and other foods.  Needless to say I have been easing down the road to becoming a vegetarian for a while now.  Still lots to learn and try but I am being optimistic!!

Now as far as the vegan exploration, I have tried some different vegan recipes successfully.  I made vegan quesadillas for dinner earlier this week and they were pretty good.  The vegan cheese took some getting used to.  It wasn’t nasty; just different.   I used the Daiya brand Pepperjack shreds.  When I reheated them for lunch the next day, I added a little salt to the cheese which I know is not the best thing to do but I really wanted to make it more palatable…lol…Anyway, it worked out and although I think vegan cheese tastes nothing like real cheese the brand I chose was pretty close.  It’s kinda hard to have a substitute for dairy that tastes like dairy I guess.  Another vegan dish I’ve tried was a vegan potato chowder which is made with blended cashews for the creaminess.  Initially when you think of vegan you may think “tasteless” and “bland” but I have found that not to be true.  Keeping an open mind is valuable when it comes to trying new things.

I’ll be checking back periodically as I continue this journey which should be interesting which is why I chose to share it.  The biggest hurdle for me to get over will be maintaining dinners to accommodate my family who are meat eaters and myself who is going to stick to meatless options.  I strongly encourage feedback from anyone who has questions and/or interests in improving their eating habits whether it is just cutting out certain foods, vegetarian, vegan or if you just want to do a more plant based diet.  Whenever you plan to make changes it’s important to have support so let’s support one another by generating discussion about the ups and downs of our journeys to an improved lifestyle!!

My au natural skincare regimen…No filter!

My beauty regimen has changed so much over the years.  One of the lessons I learned along the way was that you do not have to use expensive or high end products to keep your skin looking its best.  Let me stress that my best may not equal your best.  I’m happy with the skin I’m in now and that is all that matters.  Is my skin “perfect”?  No, I still have some imperfections but it’s not that serious.  Do I still get an occasional pimple? Yes, and I am perfectly fine with that too because I know it is likely to happen no matter what I do.  The world is not going to end if you get a pimple and you will still be fabulous with or without it.  That lesson is learned through maturity though.

At the end of the day we all would prefer to have minimal to no acne versus having acne all over our face.  So, let’s keep it real and admit that although it is really not be the end of the world when we do have acne for some it is.  I have transformed my skin from having moderate acne  to regaining clear skin with the help of a product that I wholeheartedly stand behind.  It takes more than just one product or solely products to gain clarity…Literally!

Tea tree oil is amazing! First, let me say I love the smell…Haha…I know not many can say the same but I absolutely love the smell of tea tree oil.  My mom inspired me to choose more natural products for healing overall which was where my interest in holistic healing originated. She would use tea tree oil for different things but mainly for skin ailments. She also preaches heavily about the amazingness of that which is apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s brand that is) for the skin and everything else!  With that said, regarding my passion for natural healing, I literally get it from my mama!!

After years of spending money on expensive products, cheaper products and natural products I finally found tea tree oil to be the most effective to prevent and treat my acne!   I wanted to  incorporate a toner into my skin regimen again.  I used witch hazel alone which was good but did nothing to combat the pimples that would turn up periodically.   One day I was researching natural acne treatments and came upon an article on how to use tea tree oil to treat acne.  I learned from personal experience that using it undiluted was not the best idea because of its potency as it could cause more harm than good by irritating the skin.

So naturally I decided to use it in conjunction with the witch hazel as a toner all over my face.  When I began using it this way I saw a change in my skin.  My acne was reduced to maybe a few at a time to none at all.  Now I rarely get breakouts except around that time of month which is pretty much inevitable.  I don’t think my skin is perfect by a long shot but I can say that it is the clearest it has been in years.   I can now sometimes just wash my face with warm water in the morning instead of using a cleanser. THAT has never really been an option for me before!    I wear less makeup now because I do not feel the need to wear it which is a clear indication to me that what I have been doing is working.   I feel more confident now and the best part about it is I don’t feel like I am a slave to some prescription medication or expensive products.  Tea tree oil is affordable and clean.

My skin regimen:

From left to right: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash grapefruit formula, Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil, Target brand witch hazel, Acure brand argan oil, Trader Joe's tea tree oil, Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, Aztec Healing Clay (combine with aloe vera juice or acv for a facial mask)
The arsenal from left to right: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash grapefruit formula, Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil, Target brand witch hazel, Acure brand argan oil, Trader Joe’s tea tree oil, Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque, Aztec Healing Clay (combine with aloe vera juice or acv for a facial mask) and cotton pads

Daily:  Cleanse my face with warm water or cleanser of choice (sweet almond oil, neutrogena oil free grapefruit face wash) using hands or white facecloth…Rinse…Then pat dry…Next, I apply my  toner consisting of  a cotton pad soaked with witch hazel  and one to two drops of tea tree oil.  Lastly, I moisturize with Acure argan oil (another holy grail).

As needed or once/twice per week:  Use St. Ive’s apricot scrub with salicylic acid preferably at night before applying a mask

Although I did mention cleansing with water or a Neutrogena cleanser which I’m really only using to finish up the bottle,  I predominately cleanse with water or almond oil, tone, and moisturize.   Less is more!   I try to use a mask every week but sometimes I get lazy.  My skin is behaving lately and it has been years since I have felt comfortable going out with no makeup (concealer and powder) on.  I owe it to the reduction of acne and scarring due to my tea tree oil toner nipping those pimples in the bud.  I will do separate posts on my other holy grails and products I use as they deserve there own spotlight!

I must add that the key to healthy skin is not solely based on products as I have adjusted my lifestyle including my diet and water intake over the past several years.  This is what has worked for me.   Everyone is different so some may or may not have success but it’s worth a try.   I attribute the effectiveness of the products I use to my internal health as well though.  I try my best to eat as clean as possible.  Predominantly,  I stick to plenty of veggies, fruit, lean proteins (chicken, fish, turkey), water, and green tea.  Everything else besides red meat which I do not eat at all I consume in moderation.  I eat a very minimal amount of pork…I cannot resist a pepperoni pizza sometimes.  I’m working on improving my lifestyle daily.  It’s a process but I must be doing something right so if it ain’t broke…Below are pics of the transformation of my skin from 2012 when the worst case of acne I have ever experienced began until now.

March 2011-Still using birth control which not only kept pregnancy under control but kept my acne under control too
March 2011-No makeup after working out; Still using birth control which not only kept pregnancy under control but kept my acne under control too
May 2012 after I discontinued birth control and my skin went crazy...Judging from the look on my face, I was not happy
May 2012-After discontinuing birth control and my skin went crazy…Judging from the look on my face, I was not happy
Same as pic above from 2012 just the opposite side of my face
May 2012-Same as pic above from 2012 just the opposite side of my face
Nov 2015 no foundation or concealer just moisturizer
Nov 2015- Makeup less with only moisturizer
Nov 2015 much clearer skin; almost back to top pic when I was taking birth control
Nov 2015-Much clearer skin after changing regimen and lifestyle changes;back to clearer skin same as first pic when I was on birth control
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Nov 2015-Same as pic above just opposite side of face