Episode 89 | How Natural Skincare Supports Holistic Health + Why It Works

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Today’s episode was so fun and so educational, even for Caroline and I! We invited a dear friend and Director of Marketing for Primally Pure, Courtney O’Connor, to share her amazing non-toxic skincare experience and knowledge as a Holistic Esthetician with us. Let me tell you friend, you are in for a real treat!

Courtney shares how her obsession with beauty magazines and creating spa days for her buds as an 11 year old morphed into an intense passion for creating beauty from the inside out and looking at our skin as a reflection of our body’s internal environment.

“The skin is brilliant at revealing imbalances within the body.”

On today’s episode, Courtney gives us her take on the oh-so-popular chemical peels and intense facial treatments, what this obsession is actually doing to our skin (the opposite of what you’d hope for) and what you can do to create healthier skin using natural methods like facial massage and non-toxic products that actually work. Courtney also shares her journey with kicking gluten, sugar and alcohol, how it’s brought her so much more than just healthier skin and why she hasn’t looked back (in over 2.5 years!).

This episode is so encouraging and educational and will definitely leave you feeling inspired to nourish your beautiful self from the inside out. Thank you Courtney for sharing your passion with all of us!

To learn more from Courtney, check out her beauty and skincare posts over on the Primally Pure blog and Instagram.

Download Episode 89 in iTunes!

Thank you to the Nutritional Therapy Association for sponsoring this episode!

Highlight Reel:

03:45 | Courtney shares the holistic side of skincare

15:00 | Why the popular chemical treatments are more damaging than beneficial + natural alternative to try out today

28:25 | Why you need tallow in your skincare routine

32:35 | How to give yourself a holistic home facial

35:18 | What a year off gluten, sugar and alcohol taught her

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The 6 Beauty Items You Shouldn't Live Without This Summer

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Summer is one of my favorite seasons because it’s low key and so much fun! This summer we don’t have any big trips planned so I have high hopes of spending my days in the pool with my family, friends and their littles, soaking up all the vitamin D, chili seasoned mangoes and laughter I can handle!

But what I’ve realized is that being pregnant during the summer months can definitely be a challenge–our Southern California heat seems even hotter and the sunscreen ingredients just make me cringe! I am really careful about the products I use day to day, but I am especially careful while I’m pregnant. All those chemies can make their way into mama AND baby's bloodstream. No thank you Coppertone.

Choosing safe skincare and beauty products is everything to me. But it's not really about me, it's about protecting my family (those born and unborn) from the harmful effects of the toxic ingredients used. 

Plus, summer products are so important! They help protect you, nourish your sun-kissed skin and make you feel beautiful.

I like to keep things quite simple during the summer–it never feels good to me to cake on makeup or use greasy, stinky sunscreens. So as the temps rise and pool time becomes part of our daily routine, I’ve found myself turning to a few simple products and not a whole lot more. I wanted to share these beauties with you in hopes to encourage you on your non-toxic living journey and just share some tried and true favorites.

Each of these beauty and skincare products are as clean as they come, leaving out any toxic or questionable ingredients. This is so important, especially as women and mothers, because we tend to be the ones lathering our bodies in harmful products on the daily with potentially hundreds of toxic chemicals (and sometimes sharing them with our little ones). Swapping out your makeup and skincare products for cleaner, safer options can help improve your hormone health, fertility, weight, energy and so much more!

Beautycounter’s Countersun Spray

I just purchased the Countersun line a few weeks ago and have used it almost every day since, either on myself or on our daughter. This is not a chemical based sunscreen that filters the suns UV rays and uses skin irritating ingredients that have been linked to the collapse of coral reefs around the world, not to mention ocean pollution. Countersun is a mineral-based sunscreen that actually blocks the sun’s UV rays and is much safer for our bodies (and our oceans). Mineral-based sunscreens are also perfect for those with sensitive skin as well as babies and kids. Countersun also uses a non-nano zinc oxide which is basically larger particles of the mineral so there is no risk of absorption into the skin and therefore the sunscreen...it’s better to get zinc from oysters anyway!

Primally Pure Eucalyptus + Lavender Body Butter

This is the best post-swim/beach/river/sun-soaked day moisturizer you’ll find. Period. It’s thick and super hydrating and smells incredible. I’ve been using PP’s body butters for years, but this newer scent is my go-to these days. This is also the only thing I use on my growing preggo belly! I used it with my first full-term pregnancy and not one stretch mark!

*Side note–the sweet ladies over at PP shared a little discount code for my readers to use through June! Enter “ALO10” at checkout to get 10% off your purchase through June 30!

Primally Pure Charcoal Deodorant

Aka God’s gift to armpits...and to anyone close enough to smell you. I have been using natural deodorant for about 10 years and none of them ever worked the way I wanted (I’m talking rashes, funny smelling BO, itchiness, etc.) until I met Primally Pure’s deodorant. Instant chemistry, instant love. Sure they smell good, but most importantly their deodorant actually performs. Recently they added the Charcoal deodorant to their lineup (among a few other delights like geranium and tea tree) and I’ll just say this–I never leave home without a few good swipes (or the whole tube!). Deodorant can be one of the most toxic everyday products you use on your body so if you haven’t made the switch, let this be your sign! And don't forget to use promo code "ALO10" for 10% off your order through June!

Beautycounter’s Rose Lipsheer

My go-to makeup routine lately has been Tint Skin Foundation, Volumizing mascara, Rose Lipsheer and ta-da! Done! What I love most about the Lipsheers are that they are so moisturizing while still sticking around, unlike lipgloss. Rose is my fave, everyday (and night) color...little pink-little red perfection. I honestly never leave home without it!

Body Deli Cucumber Juice Elixir

Sunburn remedy extraordinaire! This toner is full of living ingredients like fresh greens, kombucha, chlorophyll and chlorella. Because of its fresh ingredients, you keep this little love in the fridge which makes it that much more wonderful when you spray it on sun-kissed skin. I also love to use it in the morning with a fresh face while I’m making breakfast (since it’s in the fridge!). It’s cool, smells so stinking delicious (like can we use this as a cocktail mixer!?) and super clean–perfect for that accidental sunburn!

Primally Pure Cleansing Oil

Have you ever heard of oil cleansing? It’s so awesome and the perfect night-time routine to begin this summer. Oil cleansing helps to pull out impurities while purifying and nourishing your skin. It’s good for all skin types and I’ve heard from so many women that after the initial adjustment (about a week or so), their skin balanced itself out! I’ve been using the Dry Skin Cleansing Oil for a few weeks and I am loving the nightly routine and what it’s doing to my skin! Here is a great “how-to” post written my dear friend and the creator of Primally Pure, Bethany.

*Don’t forget about that 10% off promo code for all Primally Pure purchase in June! Use promo code “ALO10” at checkout through June 30!

What are some of your go-to summer faves? Have you tried any of these ones? Share the love in the comments!

xo

Justine

Episode 84 | 6 Ways to Keep Your Summer Healthy

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The official start of summer is right around the corner and with the summer months comes lots of sunshine, family vacations, BBQ’s and cold treats–it’s safe to say summer is one of our favorite seasons. But truth be told, it can also be a stressful season with too much on the agenda, a few too many tropical drinks and no real down time. On today’s episode, we want to give you some encouragement to help make your summer a healthy one, both physically and emotionally.

We each chose a couple of ways we love to make the most of our summers and what has helped us feel our best throughout the season. Today we are sharing these 6 tips with you–from practicing daily gratitude and keeping your phone time to a minimum to enjoying seasonal produce and getting in plenty of uninhibited vitamin D. Nothing fancy, just simple, practical tips to help you flourish throughout the summer season.

We hope that your summer is filled with joy, lots of time with loved ones and plenty of beautiful memories!

Highlight Reel:

05:40 | Give yourself margin so you don’t need a “vacation from a vacation”

11:55 | Creating phone-free opportunities

13:28 | Why you shouldn’t fear the sun (and how to choose safe sunscreen)

18:47 | Choosing daily joys over comparison

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Episode 74 | Clearing Up Confusion on Changes in the Skincare Industry with Kate Criswell

We’ve been talking a lot about creating a non-toxic home on the podcast so we wanted to make sure we didn’t leave out one of the most important aspects, your beauty and skincare routine. These are the products we use daily, that sit on our skin for hours and hours and ultimately find their way into our bloodstream, making their safety a major concern.

Today we’re getting into some of the nitty gritty of the beauty industry with our dear friend and a woman who is passionate about health, fitness and safer beauty, Kate Criswell. Kate is a Managing Director with Beautycounter and is one of the women we go to often with questions about the beauty industry and what’s really going on behind fancy labels and companies upping their “greenwashing” game.

In today’s episode, our big focus and the main questions we put together for Kate were about going beyond labels like, “natural” and “organic,” and figuring out what is really being used and showing up in our beauty and skincare products. We also want to know how to choose products that are truly safer, made by companies who are taking a stand for real change within the industry and doing the rigorous testing needed.

Kate shares what the term “greenwashing” means, why “natural” products aren’t always as safe as you’d think, and why the safety of the ingredients used may be a bigger deal than their sourcing. She’s also got some great resources and ways to help you dig into your makeup bag and learn about the products you’re using and just how safe they really are.

Our hope is always to create conversations about topics that affect our health and share information that can help you make healthier choices within your life. We hope we can continue the better beauty convo with today’s episode and encourage you to create changes that positively impact your and your family’s health!

Highlight Reel:

04:12 | How greenwashing may = brainwashing

11:15 | Sourcing vs. safety

17:25 | The best resource for getting started with better beauty

27:45 | What’s trending this year in the safer skincare world

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Episode 65 | 30-day Simple, Nourishing Detox Challenge

It’s no secret that detox is a wonderful part of a healthy life, but often times in our detox obsessed media, it can be be taken too far, done incorrectly and even cause more harm than good. Our take is a bit different and we’re all about supporting and optimizing your body’s natural detox abilities while improving your food and lifestyle so more junk isn’t coming in.

But how do you know if you need to detox? What are the causes of toxin overload? And what symptoms is your body showing that may indicate that you need some intentional detox support? Listen in and we’ll share the juicy deets.

Since we are all about taking action and really making this content a reality in your own life, we’ve create a 30-day detox program for you, simple enough for anyone to follow. We’ll walk you through the daily routine to support gentle detox and new steps to add in each week to amplify your detox routine.

And to help a sista out ever more, we’ve create a freebie for you to help you stay on track and nourish detox the right way.  Click here to download your 30-day Simple, Nourishing Detox Guide!

Our goal is to encourage you to nourish your body with real food and non-toxic living on the daily while creating routines that support your body’s natural ability to detoxify.

Follow along our detox journey over on IG– @caroline__potter and @alowellness and join in on the fun by adding #nourishingdetox

Thank you Primally Pure for sponsoring this episode! Be sure to listen along to learn how you can get your free lip balm!

Highlight Reel:

06:58 | Why you need to eat real food to detox best

08:55 | Potential causes of toxicity

10:45 | Symptoms of toxin overload

15:35 | Daily steps for gentle detox

22:15 | Weekly detox steps

36:40 | Monthly detox action steps

Download Episode 65 in iTunes!

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Don't forget to download your freebie!  Click here to download your 30-day Simple, Nourishing Detox Guide!

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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Episode 60 | How Toxin-Free Living Actually Affects Your Health

We’re finally doing it, digging into the nitty gritty of environmental toxins–the cold, hard facts about chemicals within the beauty and skincare industries in the US, ways these chemicals get into our bodies and how they reveal their nasty little side effects and affect our health.

The episode is not for the faint of heart, we definitely go deeper than usual and use some big words, but we break it down, explain the buzz words and connect it all to real life (like how it affects babies in utero, how you experience their effects and more).

Our goal is not to scare you, rather to empower you to be an advocate for your own health, to be able to make decisions that affect positive change within your health journey and create more balance and beauty within your life. No stress, just steps forward. Know better, do better, right?

Don’t forget that November 30 is the last day to enter to win our conscious holiday gift basket. Don’t worry, we made it super simple for you! Head to the purple podcast app on your phone or the iTunes store and write a review for the Colorful Eats podcast! That’s it! You’ll automatically be entered to win. We’ll announce the lucky winner during Episode 61, airing December 4, so make sure to stay tuned!

Highlight Reel:

10:55 | How side effects of toxin exposure can reveal themselves in your life (aka symptoms)

16:18 | Endocrine disruptors and how they affect your hormones

20:38 | Heavy metals and your beauty routine

27:32 | The toxin-skin connection and hormonal acne

33:25 | Why “natural” isn’t always enough

38:02 | Sourcing vs safety – what these buzz words really mean

Download Episode 60 in iTunes!

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For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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Your Better Beauty & Non-toxic Home Black Friday/Small Biz Saturday DEALS

Yes, it's that time of year again and we are all excited to get some steals and deals on our fave goodies during Black Friday! I am also a huge fan of Small Business Saturday because I am all about supporting small companies doing big things in the world!

So as you sip that cup of Joe and peruse all the deals out there (because EVERYONE has got stuff going on), I wanted to share with you some of my favorite companies and what they're doing this weekend. 

And since I am all about creating a non-toxic environment and getting you and your loved ones all stocked up with clean beauty goodness, I am doing some serious GIVEAWAYS today! (scroll down to get the deets)

But first...THE DEALS! Oh my goodness friend, I am so stoked about all these because it's the perfect opportunity to add to your collection of non-toxic products to support your health and also help your loved ones do the same!

Plus you're supporting me and other small businesses so THANK YOU ahead of time!

Beautycounter Black Friday Promos–

Beautycounter's Holiday Sets are the perfect gifts and stocking stuffers for all the ladies in your life! Plus they have plenty of other goodies to splurge on if you're just looking to fill your safer beauty collection while there are hot deals going on!

> FREE SHIPPING on orders over $100 Friday thru Sunday at 11:59pm

> Cleansing Balm and cloth | $38* 

> Lash Power Duo - mini Volumizing Mascara (my favorite!!) and travel makeup remover | $20*

*These sets have limited quantities and will most likely sell out by end of day Friday!

Gift(s) with purchase...

  • FREE Beautycounter+ Spa Set of choice with any purchase over $250 Friday thru Sunday at 11:59pm...uuuuuuum this is amazing! That's an $88 value! There are some details about the spa sets below so you can figure out what will be best for your skin!

More about the Beautycounter+ Spa Sets (gift with purchase) for Black Friday:

This Collection of targeted masks, mists and oils were formulated with SAFER INGREDIENTS to enhance your current skincare regimen! Products to brighten, plump and balance the skin.

🍊No. 1 Brightening Collection ~ Infused with multi-source vitamin C complex, brightens dull skin and boosts radiance. Helps minimize dark spots for a more even complexion and radiant glow.

🌸No. 2 Plumping Collection ~ Formulated with powerful peony and jasmine essences to restore and firm moisture-depleted skin. Helps diminish the appearance of fine lines.

🖤No. 3 Balancing Collection ~ Infused with activated charcoal and ylang ylang to gently refine oily, uneven skin. Charcoal removes excess oil and impurities. This collection works great for acne and breakout prone skin.

  • Spend $150* and choose from the following lip glosses, all from our Holiday Sets (limited to first FOUR order confirmations sent via email to justine@alowellness.com, gifts are first come, first serve!):

PLEASE email your gift preference from the options above (first come, first serve) to justine@alowellness.com by end of day on November 27 to qualify.

*All dollar amounts are pre-tax and pre-shipping.  Limit one gift with purchase per person.  MUST purchase using the links on this page with Justine Campbell as your consultant.*

**Gifts will be sent the first week of December.**

 

Primally Pure Promos...

If you've been following the blog for any amount of time, you know Primally Pure is one of my very favorite non-toxic skincare lines. Their products are safe, clean and work like a charm and they make absolutely beautiful gifts! I especially love all their kit options, they are so perfect for gift giving!

  • Spend $60 and receive Primally Pure's brand new (full size) Black Charcoal Deodorant for FREE!

Shop Primally Pure here!

Branch Basics Promos...

Branch Basics has been my go-to for non-toxic cleaning for the past few years and they just recently re-launched their Concentrate with an even cleaner formula and it is A M A Z I N G. I use it on all the things, literally. It's the only cleaning product we use in our home and I'm so grateful for the option! If you are planning to conceive (like, ever), are pregnant or have little ones, this cleaning option is a must for keeping your family safe!

  • 20% off their Starter Kits and products PLUS free shipping through Cyber Monday! Their kits even come with a cute holiday bow for gifting! Use promo code "GIVECLEAN" at checkout!

Shop Branch Basics here!

 

Alright, there you have it! I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! Don't forget that if you purchase with Beautycounter to email your order confirmation to justine@alowellness.com to claim your gift!

Happy Holidays my friend! May you be beyond blessed this season!

xo

Justine

The Better Beauty Gift Guide–The Gifts that Keep on Giving

If you’re anything like me, this year you thought, “This is the year I am going to get all my holiday shopping done BEFORE November. No stress. Think ahead. Relax during the holidays.”...then November rolled around and you realize you’re back to your usual holiday scramble. Anyone?

No worries, there’s still plenty of time to get all the goodies you need and still have time to relax your pumpkin spiced tush into the season!

This year I have a better idea of how I want to bless the loved ones in my life. Their health is always at the top of my priority list, as I'm sure it is on theirs as well, so I am going to give the gift of good health this year through safer, conscious products.

Yup, it's decided.  

As I dive into the world of non-toxic living, the more I see the need for knowledge all around me–hence why I am always sharing my fave products on Instagram stories or on the blog.

Because the products we use on our skin and around our bodies can affect our health in a positive or negative way. Yes, what you eat matters, but it’s just not enough!

Everyone uses products–skin care, beauty, home and cleaning, etc.–each and everyday, so I thought to myself, “Why not make my gifts a little more meaningful so that I can help create positive change in the health of the people I love the most!?”

No brainer, right!?

I have actually tried this in years past with friends and family who were interested in health and wellness and they loved the goodies and now support those very same companies I gifted them products from.

So many people are starting to learn that the products they use may be affecting their health, specifically their fertility and conception journey, but it can be really intimidating, especially if you’re brand new to the healthy living game. Everyone desires to have better health, to feel better and live with more vibrance–gifting someone a safer product, like a delicious smelling non-toxic body butter, lip gloss or candle, can be a great way to introduce them to the world of non-toxic living and encourage them to explore further on their own.

So today I have put together a list of my very favorite products that will fit oh-so-perfectly into any stocking or beautifully wrapped holiday box and create a positive ripple effect in your loved one’s health! Now that is some seriously good gift giving, right!?

***Just FYI–I share a lot of my fave products from two of my go-to beauty and skincare companies, Primally Pure and Beautycounter. A little birdie told me that both companies will be having some A-MAZING Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals! I'll be posting again on Black Friday with more info! I'll also be doing a GIVEAWAY this weekend so definitely stay tuned!

Use the links below to take you to your gifts!

2017 Safer Beauty Gift Guide

Skincare

  • Primally Pure’s Starter Kit–absolutely perfect for the clean beauty newbie or pro on the go, the set comes with a body butter and deodorant of your choice, an ‘everything spray’ and three lip balms!
  • Primally Pure’s Spa Kit–everything you need to pamper yourself or a loved one, the spa set comes with a dry brush, a body oil of your choice, sea soak salts, flower bath salts and a beautiful organic bag (yes, even the bag is good for you!)
  • Primally Pure’s Baby Kit–perfect for the new mama or new baby (whomever you decide to gift it directly to!), it’s got everything you need to keep little ones all clean and snuggly!
  • Mini Body Butter Collection–yes, one is not enough. You need to have them all. PP’s body butter is like heaven, so silky smooth and super hydrating.
  • Lip Balm Set–this set was made for a stocking, I’m sure of it! I keep one of these lip balms in every room of my house and every bag or purse I own!
  • Body Oil Collection–PP just reformulated their body oils and this set is perfect for anyone who loves beautiful scents and products that actually hydrate the skin...perfection!
  • Multi-Masker Set–let me just say, these masks are a GAME CHANGER. I have seen these beauties in action at one of my Beautycounter socials and it was pretty impressive.

 

Beauty + Makeup

  • Ultimate Nudes Eyeshadow Palette– TO. DIE. FOR. I got this for myself (oopsies) and it is all things amazing. So many beautiful shades for dressing up or down. A must.
  • Illuminating Trio– This set is at the top of my “yes please!” list! Perfectly paired highlighters for any skintone.
  • Perfect Pout Trio, Pinks– This set can be given whole or split up between stockings or personally curated gift sets.
  • Best of Brushes Set– Four brushes that every beauty needs!  
  • Blue Tansy Beauty Cream–the perfect addition to your safer beauty routine, blue tansy oil is used to

 

Safer Products for the men in your life...because their products matter too!

  • Clean Slate Charcoal Duo–comes with the charcoal bar and the No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask, perfect for the man who's OK with gettin' his 
  • Counterman Perfect Shave Set–everything your man needs to prep, shave and soothe, this is the perfect gift for your health conscious dude or any man in your life for that matter!
  • Beard Oil or Beard Oil Pack–the perfect way to nourish, tame and hydrate facial hair without weighing it down or looking greasy. Plus, they're cocktail scented (old fashioned and mint mojito please!) which is pretty awesome. 

 

For the Non-Toxic Home

  • Branch Basics Starter Kit–does it seem weird to gift someone cleaning products!? haha Not when they're one-of-a-kind goodness, packaged in a beautiful reusable cloth bag with a red bow, ready to make that loved ones life way easier (and less toxic, duh!). Use promo code "alo10" to get 10% off your starter kit!
  • Honey + Fern beeswax candles–this is one of my fave new shops and I already have a box full of candles to gift to loved one! Their candles are non-toxic, pure beeswax and just plain pretty. 

 

I hope this gift guide helps give you a few ideas for gifting safer beauty, skincare and home goodies to your loved one! Healthy living really can trickle into every aspect of your life, even in the gifts you give!

I'd love to hear what some of your favorite healthy gifts are or if you end up gifting any of these goodies! Please share in the comments below! I love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays my friend! Praying you have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

xo

Justine

 

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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Episode 59 | Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

Oh friend, the holidays are upon us and we are beyond excited! This is definitely the most wonderful time of the year in our eyes!

On today’s episode, we are sharing some of our favorite conscious gifts, supporting companies who are making things cleaner and greener and doing business better, for everyone in your life–the precious mamas who bless so many, the fashionista, that fitness enthusiast, the kiddos you love so much and we can’t forget all the men out there, plus a few more in between!

We love to do this type of episode, just as we did last year, because we believe that the businesses we support have the ability to create positive impact in our world with the products they create, the good they support and the way they do business.

And since we’re feeling all giddy about the holidays, we wanted to bless one lucky gal with a few of our favorite clean beauty goodies and tasty holiday treats! All you have to do to enter is head to iTunes or your purple podcast app and write a review for the Colorful Eats podcast! That’s it! And if you’ve already written a review, you’re automatically entered to win!

The deadline to enter is November 30 and we’ll announce the lucky winner during Episode 61 going live December 4!

Thank you Sunbasket for sponsoring this episode.  Be sure to listen along to get $35 off your first order!

Download Episode 59 in iTunes!

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For the Moms in your life…

For fashion splurges

  • Everlane
  • Cuyana
  • Flannel PJs, Lake Pajamas

For the home body & kitchen lover

For the fitness enthusiast in your life...

  • Apple Watch
  • Outdoor Voices apparel

For the outdoorsy in your life…

  • Patagonia
  • Hunter rain boots

For the men in your life…

For the kiddos in your life…

  • Palumba
  • Cuddle & Kind
  • Banner Toys
  • VONbon

For the beauty lovers…

Gifts that go beyond:

  • Samaritans purse
  • International justice mission
  • Compassion international

For more information on how to get your body ready for baby makin' and create a stress-less conception story, join our brand-new email list for posts on healthy eating + living, upcoming events and programs and more!

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How Nutrition & Non-toxic Living Helped This "Infertile" Couple Conceive Naturally | A Testimony

Today I wanted to share a story with you, from a beautiful client of mine, Erin. It's one of those testimonies that leaves me in awe. It begins similar to so many other women's story. One of dieting and restriction and years of unintentional abuse that can leave a body in a bad, bad place. A place that makes starting a family an incredible challenge. The difference in Erin's story is that she decided to do something about it and used Nutritional Therapy and healthy living to change the direction of her (and her husband's) health journey in order to conceive naturally. When Erin emailed me to share she had become pregnant, I literally cried my eyes out! What a gift and what a powerful testimony. I am so grateful that Erin was willing to share her story with us and I hope that it encourages and inspires you to continue on your path toward a healthier body and better fertility! 

"My hormonal problems started long before I realized how crucial hormones actually are. When I was about 13, I became very body conscious and desired to be thin above all else.  At that time, I associated being thin with being healthy.  The thinner the healthier was what I thought, so I got very thin. I did so by eating less than I had ever eaten before and exercising as much as possible. I would eat an apple before school, a banana with a slice of fat-free cheese for lunch, and a salad with fat-free dressing for dinner. I feared fat in all forms. This behavior continued for several years and, when I look back, the saddest part for me is that I honestly believed I was “healthier” than my friends who were eating three normal meals. I thought I had accomplished something by eating less than 1,000 calories per day and was proud of myself.  

By age 14, my menstrual cycle had disappeared completely. This should have been a huge red flag that I was not, in fact, healthy but it did not bother me one bit. Prior to college, at age 17, during a physical at my pediatrician’s office, the nurse asked me when my last menstrual cycle was. I giggled and responded that it had been years. Her look of concern frightened me. The pediatrician, however, told me not to worry and prescribed me birth control pills to “bring on a period.” I started the birth control pill, got a monthly bleed and was happy to continue my restrictive ways. I wish so badly now that the pediatrician had done more investigative work and told me the importance of hormonal health.

Over the next years, I met my husband, went through college and dental school, got married and started a new job. All this time my nutrition and lifestyle did not change. I ate about 1,200 calories per day, exercised vigorously 7 days per week, and was under chronic stress from school and work. I often thought about wanting children one day, but I always seemed “too busy” to worry about it at that time.

When my husband and I decided we wanted children, I went off the birth control pill. To no surprise, my period did not return. After 8 months of no cycle, I went to the OBGYN and had blood work performed. At the age of 27, my hormones were that of a post-menopausal woman. I was diagnosed with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea, which means essentially my brain stopped communicating with my reproductive organs due to the stress signals it was receiving. My doctor informed me that my lifestyle had caused this and that I would never conceive on my own. He told me that, when we were prepared, he would refer us to a specialist for assisted reproductive technologies. I did not want this at all and was willing to change whatever I needed to make it happen naturally.   

I knew in my heart it was time to make some drastic changes. I did a great deal of research on Hypothalamic Amenorrhea and made lifestyle changes. I quit intense exercising, ate more calories, and stressed less. After 15 years of no period, my cycle returned, albeit irregular. At this point we knew it was game time for trying to conceive.

During my research on hypothalamic amenorrhea I came across several holistic health blogs, podcasts and books. The more I learned, the more I realized how much I do not know! Of course this led me down the path of more research as I learned exactly how critical our nutrition is to our own health and that of our offspring. I realized, my body was craving specific nutrients and minerals to build the healthiest DNA possible. I also learned that my husband’s health was just as important as mine, as he will be providing half of the DNA for our children.

In mid- 2016 one of the holistic health podcasts that I listened to, The Colorful Eats Podcast, did an episode on preconception health. I listened to that episode three times in a row and hung on every word. I was fascinated by the fact that my husband and I have the power to influence the health of our future children before I was pregnant! Changing what we eat and how we live our lives now could protect our future children from illnesses and give them a healthier foundation. This sounded like a no-brainer to me. Now that we knew it was possible to impact the health of our future children, we had to take every advantage of this opportunity.

Justine from Alo Wellness had mentioned on The Colorful Eats Podcast that she was passionate about preconception health. My husband and I discussed reaching out for guidance on our journey and decided to set up a pre-conception game plan with Alo Wellness.  We drastically changed many aspects of our lives from nutrition to sleeping to cleaning products.  My husband jokes we added the “B’s” to our lives… butter, bone broth and Beautycounter!

One of the simplest, most impactful changes we made was changing the products we use in our home. After learning how quickly the toxic chemicals from everyday products can enter our bloodstreams and influence our hormonal health, we were adamant on only using non-toxic products. I began reading about products on the Environmental Working Group’s website (http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/). We purchased safer, non-toxic cleaning and personal care products. I did a beauty product dump and purchased all new products from Beautycounter.

We also made many diet changes. We focused on getting a balance of carbs, fat and protein with each meal as well as a variety of vegetables each day. We began taking whole-food based supplements rather than the synthetic supplements we had been taking for years. We added bone broth to our daily diet to promote gut health, which has been shown to be extremely important in overall health. Finally, we cut back on our caffeine consumption to support our adrenal health.  Amazingly, caffeine is no longer a daily necessity for either of us, but rather an occasional, special treat.

We implemented these practices religiously for 6 months before we went to see a specialist about our troubles conceiving. It turns out, while they were running tests, they told me I was already 6 weeks pregnant! I am currently 18 weeks pregnant and could not be happier. All babies are miracles, but I truly believe this baby is a miracle and a testament to the power of lifestyle changes that we can make prior to conception!" Erin, North Carolina

Wow, what an incredible testimony of healing and the power that real food and healthy living can have within your life and on your fertility journey. It's surely not always easiest route, but it's always worth it!

If Erin's testimony touches your heart and you'd like to create your own path to better fertility, naturally, I'd love to help support you! I support couples who are preparing for conception, are struggling with infertility issues or are looking to begin assisted conception and would like to get their bodies as healthy as possible. Learn more on our Preconception + Fertility page.

Have questions? Not sure if it's right for you? I'd love to schedule a time to talk and see if Nutritional Therapy can support you! Email justine@alowellness.com 

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