Every month, Spiritual Guidance and Plant Based Wellness Coach Jenna Davila answers your questions on physical and emotional health and wellbeing. If you have a question for Jenna’s next advice column, send it here.
Your skin is clear and glowing, was this always the case or has a more mindful lifestyle improved it? Do you have any tips for clearing up skin issues and maintaining healthy skin?
– Lou, UK
Thank you for your question and for the lovely compliment! Before this lifestyle, I grew up with eczema and I suffered from deep cystic acne (painful lesions under the skin) around my chin area, especially around my menstrual cycle. Once one lesion would get under control, another one would appear. I had so much scarring from it, but I am so happy to say that all of the scarring has cleared away with diet change and I haven’t had that cystic acne or eczema in almost 5 years! Our bodies are constantly expressing and communicating to us. If we are experiencing symptoms, this is a way that the body is helping us to pay attention.
My personal facial skin care routine is very simple. In the morning and at night, I wash my face with cool water and pat dry. I use a vitamin C serum and then once that dries, I moisturise my face with raw, unrefined shea butter which is incredible! I just rub a little bit of it in the palm of my hand to warm it up and gently apply it to my face and neck. Shea butter has done absolute wonders for my skin! As I mentioned earlier, I suffered from eczema and shea butter has been excellent for keeping away dry skin. It helps to reduce inflammation and protect the skin with its fatty acids and vitamins. It also provides anti ageing properties, restores elasticity, boosts collagen and helps with scarring and stretch marks.
Another thing I do is exfoliate every other day. This is huge! Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and helps to regenerate new ones. This keeps your skin staying healthy and glowing. If you are currently dealing with acne, after you wash your face, try using ACV as a toner before the serum and shea butter. The ACV can help kill bacteria and fight infections. When removing make up, all I use is coconut oil with an organic cotton pad. It works amazingly as a cleanser. I then wash my face with cool water, remove any excess coconut oil with the pad and do the skin care routine I mentioned above. If you live in a humid environment, you may not have to moisture as frequently.
My tips for clearing up and maintaining healthy skin are as follow:
● Be aware of your triggers and pay attention when you notice differences in your skin. Ask yourself a few questions, such as: Am I eating something different? Do I notice my skin reacting when I eat certain foods? How am I feeling in general? What situations am I dealing with right now? Am I feeling stressed in my life? Am I in a new environment? Am I eating foods that help boost my immune system? By asking yourself questions, you can get a better understanding of your body and how it functions.
● Be mindful of touching your face and try to make sure you are cleaning your most used items like your cell phone, computer and tablet regularly. You’d be surprised how often we touch our face throughout the day and most people nowadays are using their electronic devices more than ever. We bring our cell phones, in particular, to public transportation, grocery stores, sporting events, you name it! Every time we touch one of our devices and then touch our face, we have the potential to put unwanted bacteria on our skin. Try to start recognising when you do this, so that you can start creating healthier patterns.
● Change your pillow cases frequently as they can easily collect dead skin cells and bacteria.
● Stress management and positive thinking. When we are stressed, our bodies release hormones that can cause inflammation, oily skin and breakouts. Keeping our stress levels under control is extremely beneficial when trying to achieve clear skin. We also need to stay positive and be kind to ourselves. Avoid calling yourself harmful names based on the way your skin looks or your appearance in general. Beauty comes from the inside out and the more you love yourself, the more your cells will reflect your inner glow.
● Try to stay away from salt, dairy, oils, alcohol, gluten, refined sugar and processed food. Salt causes water retention, puffiness and can irritate your pores. Dairy is full of hormones that can trigger skin conditions, inflammation and clog pores. Consuming oils can also clog your pores, leading to acne. Alcohol will dehydrate your skin and as well as refined sugar, cause inflammation that can break down collagen leading to wrinkles. Gluten can also cause inflammation resulting in skin issues such as acne and eczema. This goes for processed foods as well. They are filled with chemicals, excitotoxins, additives, artificial or natural flavorings and preservatives. It’s best to avoid all of these not only for clear skin but for your overall health in general.
● Be conscious of what you are putting on your skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body so everything we use topically will be absorbed into our bloodstream and transported into our cells. Make sure you are using healthy, non toxic ingredients. You can simply read the label of your skin care and body care products and check the ingredients. There is a great website called www.ewg.org where you can search ingredients that you are unsure about and it will describe their health concerns. This ranges from allergies to cancer to even reproductive toxicity.
● Be aware of the products you use in your household. This goes for cleaning products, soaps, laundry and dishwasher detergents. Try to go as organic as possible and avoid items with fragrances unless they are made from wholesome essential oils. You can try looking for products that say, “food grade” on them as well. Also, be mindful of the materials that touch your skin such as clothes and sheets. Look for organic cotton, bamboo or hemp. If you spend eight hours of your day sleeping in your bed, you want to make sure your skin is touching healthy materials and you aren’t breathing in harmful chemicals from washing them in toxic detergent.
Now let’s get to what we put into our body!
● Adding papaya into your diet can be life changing! Papaya is an absolute miracle fruit. It is extremely healing for the body, particularly for the digestive system. Your gut health plays a huge role in your skin so it’s important to eat foods that will feed your microbiome in a way that promotes good bacteria to flourish and repair the gut. In doing so, you can decrease inflammation, strengthen the immune system and heal your skin.
● Stay hydrated with juicy, high water content and fibrous foods like melons, grapes, celery, cucumbers, bell peppers, berries, leafy greens, papaya, pineapple, citrus, mango, kiwi and pears.
● Try juicing. Juice to me is like getting an injection of powerful vitamins and minerals into the body. Lemon juice is excellent to add to your drinks, great for the gut! I’ve found carrot juice works wonders for my skin so give it a try! I have a skin cleansing juice recipe and glow juice recipe on my website.
● Try to make sure you are getting an adequate amount of pure, clean water. If you drinking juice, smoothies or are eating lots of hydrating fruits, take that into consideration for your water intake.
I hope you find these tips helpful and please know that no one’s skin is perfect 100% of the time. Even people with the most perfect diets and lifestyles can experience blemishes here and there. A lot of factors like the ones I mentioned above need to be taken into consideration. It is totally normal! The most important thing is to not stress over your skin because it will make it worse. It’s okay to have imperfections. Send loving energy to your cells and live your life to the fullest! If you suspect that something is a serious issue and nothing is working, you can always see a professional dermatologist for peace of mind.
You seem to be high raw rather than 100% raw – what’s the reason for this?
– Sarah, France
Thank you for reaching out! I was fully raw for about four years and then transitioned into a high raw diet for the past year. As the winter time approaches, I definitely feel my body wanting some seasonal, warm meals. I have learned and healed so much on this lifestyle and by listening to my body. Going back to nature has profoundly changed my life. Through it all, I feel it is extremely beneficial to me to eat in as seasonal a way as possible and food that my environment provides. After the summer of last year, I joined a local organic CSA that harvests crops all year long. There are three large green houses that produce amazing winter crops and large varieties of greens, herbs, squashes, savory root vegetables and sweet potatoes.
There are so many amazing, nutrient dense vegetables that digest better when lightly steamed that I personally wouldn’t enjoy in their whole raw state otherwise. For example, spaghetti squash has an excellent omega 3 and 6 ratio. It is great for preventing inflammation and proper brain function. It is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, C, E, K, several B vitamins, calcium, niacin, folate, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. It is loaded with dietary fiber which helps with digestion and cleaning out the body. You can essentially eat it raw but to me, steamed digests better and I enjoy it much more. The same goes for things like sweet potatoes (which I don’t recommend eating raw), broccoli and cauliflower florets.
Another reason I am not fully raw anymore is because I don’t want to deny myself anything I would potentially like to try that is vegan. I recently was traveling in Maine and I went to this super cute smoothie bowl spot. They had a chai banana based bowl that had sweet potatoes in it and to me, that sounded delightful so I wanted to try it! I am at a point in my life where I am so aware of the healing power plants contain that I know a whole food, plant based cooked meal here and there isn’t going to make or break my way of living.
I 100% feel my best when I am eating fully raw; there is no doubt about that. Eating a high fruit diet is absolute heaven to me! I love it with every ounce of my being and have a deep understanding of its healing benefits. With that being said, if my Beloved wants to go out to dinner a couple of times a month, it is so incredibly nice to have those special date nights together. It literally feeds my soul! Years ago, I would drink a large smoothie before going out and make my own dinner to bring to the restaurant with me in order to stay fully raw and I found that to just not be as enjoyable as eating from the menu and even somewhat stressful. I have just evolved past that “fully raw” mindset and I am now in complete flow with life. I eat intuitively and go for the foods that are best going to nourish my mind, body and spirit.
I’ve been married for five years like you and have felt defeated many times. We share our kids with my husband’s ex and it can be very difficult. How do you just let go and trust that all will work out? You are so positive and I so appreciate the gift you freely give to us.
– Diana, USA
Diana angel, please feel my wings around you. Thank you for your love and for sharing so vulnerably. I appreciate you!
Please know that in every relationship there are going to be high and low waves but what truly matters is how we respond to them. In addressing how to let go and trust in the process, you have to know yourself to the core of who you are. Know what you want and what you don’t want. You have to be clear, solid, balanced and grounded in your truth. The more we work on ourselves, the better all of the relationships in our lives become because we have a better understanding of what kind of energy we want to attract and how to stay composed when turbulence hits. Our commitment to personal growth, healing and self empowered confidence can greatly benefit the relationships we have. Being at peace with yourself will help you navigate this life with a new perspective of compassion and empathy.
Some helpful questions you can ask yourself in difficult times are, “Is this helping me, healing me or giving me the tools I need to expand my divine self?” Situations that make us uncomfortable (in your case, your husband’s ex) can be our greatest teachers if we allow them to be. Ask yourself, “What exactly is the challenge that I am facing? How does it make me feel? What does it mean to me? Where are these feelings/ emotions coming from? Are they coming from a place of fear or intuitive discernment?” Fear can paralyse a relationship and prevent it from moving forward and blossoming. Pay attention to your triggers and explore where they are stemming from. Are you trying to control a situation or a person’s behaviour/ action or are you focusing on yourself and your light? Trying to control anything other than yourself is fruitless adding a ton of unnecessary stress and depleting your energy. Trust in any relationship (especially the one with ourselves) is crucial. Without it, the foundation of the relationship will never be stable. I’d like you to really think about that and take that in. Is it possible for you to fully trust one another?
After you process your feelings and emotions, take the time to have an open conversation with your husband. Communication and expression in any relationship are so vital. Do this at a time when you can both be calm, collective, relaxed and present with one another. You can go out in nature, be at home, light some candles or diffuse some essential oils; any environment you feel like you will both be most at peace in. Make sure you are both making eye contact and really listening to each other. Speak from the heart with honesty, vulnerability and let go of any fear. Remember, everyone’s feelings are real and valid. Try not to interrupt, be dismissive, pass judgement or point fingers. Everyone involved needs to take self responsibility. You also want to try your best to be an active listener and ask questions with sincerity to get a better understanding of where your husband is coming from. Try to stay present with each other as much as possible throughout your day. Get off the phones, social media, turn off the TV and allow yourselves to just be with one another whenever you are together. You’ll connect through the cosmic mind and rediscover all the reasons why you choose to vow yourself to this person. If both parties can commit and dedicate themselves to transforming in this way, things will turn into gold!
A healthy relationship is about growing together. It is so important that you have these moments with one another to regroup and be on the same page. Any time a person is stagnant or resistant to change it only hinders their ability to evolve. Any challenges that come up and threaten your foundation will reveal the truth of how your relationship will stand the test of time. Working through things in a healthy way will only strengthen and propel the relationship forward. It is love, sincerity, availability and your willingness to be open that will promote each other to a higher state of consciousness. It will allow you to fall deeper in love with not only each other but with yourself. Try to focus on all the positive, not negative qualities and aspects (this is completely different if your partner is in any way shape or form emotionally, mentality or physically abusive and/ or degrading) your love possesses. Where you place your focus will grow into your manifested reality so be mindful. If all you are doing is focusing on the negative, you will only see that and you will miss out on all the great things your partner is actually offering you. Appreciation is huge!
It’s also very important to allow each other to be authentic. If there is something you want to do in your life that is going to bring you bliss or connection, make sure you are with someone who allows you to be you! Someone who encourages you to live your passion and supports your way of life. You don’t have to always have the same interests or do the same things but be with someone who understands and respects that you are your own person of light! Don’t allow anyone to dim the love that your heart radiates. My advice to anyone looking to have a healthy, happy and loving relationship of any kind is to remember that we are here to have fun, to share energy, to love, to create, to express ourselves without judgment, to feel safe on all levels, to be free to make our own choices, to be authentic to our Divine selves no matter what.
Of course, you will experience challenging situations but keep yourself secure in your love, your truth and knowing that whatever is happening is temporary and will pass. Anything you go through is there to help you see what needs to be transmuted in order to make space for the new. Don’t allow fear, worry or doubts to consume you. Accept the situation for what it is and move on. Our experiences do not define who we are to our core. They are our teachers and help us thrive to our highest potential if we surrender. Many blessings sweetheart!
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. This column, its author and the website are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.