My acne story

Acne is something I started dealing with since age 18, so about 2-2.5 years ago. I remember being in high school and getting compliments from girls because my skin was clear. I did however have trouble with Keratosis Pilaris. This is usually a hereditary problem which I got rid of by using benzyol peroxide and cortizone 10 cream.  I always thought that acne was something adolescents dealt with and once you got older, it would fade away with the regulation of your hormones. So it was a huge shock for me to start breaking out around the time all my fiends started growing out of their acne phase. I tried various cleansing regimens like Clinique, Murad, and Origins but nothing worked. I then decided to try changing my diet. I thought for sure cutting out processed, sugary, unnatural foods that my skin would clear up. While I felt better on the inside I still had no significant change in the color, texture, and over-all quality of my skin. My last approach was to see a dermatologist, and just like I thought, she prescribed me with tetracycline and tretinoin .025%. After four days on tetracycline I got a yeast infection. I called my doctor and she said it was a normal reaction and that she would put me on doxycycline. Within a week of using doxycycline I again, had a yeast infection on top of being horribly nauseated. I told myself I would never take an antibiotic for my acne again. I liked my results from tretinoin so I kept using it and my acne lessened more and more.

img_0077This photo was taken right after I graduated high school.

Two months after my 19th birthday I came home from traveling for the last six-months. During that time I had little control over my nutrition and I had never seen the skin on my face and back so irritated. With the help of my mother, I started researching how to naturally cure acne the minute I got home. This is when I realized I was dealing with hormonal acne. I started taking zinc, probiotics, adrenal support, on top of eating a clean diet. I started seeing positive changes in the skin on my back and chest and felt much better internally from eating a wholesome diet.

img_9704This photo was taken a month after I came home.

Fast forward a year and that brings me to one of my first posts on this blog about supplements. In that post I talk a lot about Hum Nutrition. I am still taking those supplements today and have seen some improvement. Cutting out dairy in my diet cured the acne on my forehead completely. I recently decided to try the dermatologist one more time and just as I expected, I had the same experience and was prescribed and oral antibiotic. I am very passionate in my belief that most problems can be helped and cured naturally so I am 100% positive I will be able to cure my acne this way. My main focus right now is to balance my hormones to heal the rest of my acne and treat my scars by this summer. I want to feel confident, clean, and beautiful in my own skin and hope that my journey will help someone else dealing with hormonal acne as well.

img_1986This photo was taken three weeks ago.
*Please take into consideration that I chose not to take up close photos of my acne because honestly who would. So these are the best photos I could come up with the show you what my skin looked like. Also realize I’m wearing a lot of face makeup to cover up the redness and bumps as well.

Love, Rachel Grace

It gets better, I promise

cropped-img_1600.jpgI started my site about half a year ago. For a few different reasons, that time was one of the best and hardest times in my life. I had recently moved near Los Angeles and married my best friend. I was so incredibly happy where my life was going and was beginning to realize my passion for health .On top of all these positive improvements, during that time I was probably at my lowest in self-esteem and confidence. I was extremely hard on myself and became obsessed with my weight. I was also dealing with fighting hormonal acne which is a daily struggle for me to this day. I spent hours researching weight loss plans, diets, and looking to people on social media for motivation. I was totally ashamed of myself… and the sad part is that I was not at an unhealthy weight. On the scale(which I no-longer recommend) I was completely normal and healthy. But I still felt like I wasn’t good enough. This is when I decided to try a plant-based diet and ended up quitting because I did it TOTALLY WRONG. I went to the gym but felt uncomfortable and stupid, worked out at home and felt unmotivated and even more stupid. So, I kept looking for answers on what I was doing wrong.

These last couple of months have been very healing for me. This is when I truly started to grasp the concept of “listening to my body” and I unfollowed any negative influences on social media. I also began to grow in my passions. I put more time into my relationships with others and my relationship with myself. I also started my first year of University studying holistic health. This is what helped me get back to a positive place:

  1. Work out to gain strength and measure your progress that way instead of on a scale or in measurements. Once I started noticed my progress by how I felt rather than I looked it did wonders for my confidence.
  2. Bloating is normal! I cannot stress this enough. I used to go to sleep crying because of the way I looked after a full day of eating and sometimes not eating enough. Look at it this way; being full is a good feeling. It lets us know we have nourished ourselves and done something good for our bodies. Yes, we have food babies at the end of the day.. Who cares! If you are a human being on this earth, your stomach will expand for a few hours after eating. Once I learned to love myself anyway and look at it as a good thing, I became a happier person overnight. (This is all with the exception of sever bloating due to allergies, that is not good).
  3. I was so excited to do my vegan one month challenge and ended up being disappointed with my results. After that month I decided it wasn’t for me. This January my husband and I decided to both go plant based and see how we feel. The difference between this time and last time is a few things. Now we eat mostly raw, when before I would cook all our veggies and usually in oil. YOU GUYS, I cannot tell you how much cutting out excess oils and eating mostly raw has done for us. My hormonal acne lessened, I’ve lost weight, and honestly just feel better about myself for not hurting the animals.

I didn’t feel right about writing a wellness blog and giving other girls advice when I could hardly take my own. I was dealing with some personal and diet problems that lead me to a dark place. But I’m coming back to you with a new understanding of what it means to be healthy, fulfilled and grateful, and to love myself. We all have good days and bad days, but this year I want to be grateful for all those moments and share them all with you. Thanks for sticking with me!

Love Rachel grace

Hey!

I started working on a simple assignment for my stress management class, talking about an experience where I was mindful this week. Next thing I know I am typing a full blown rant and word vomiting(if you’ve seen Mean Girls) all over my computer. I got so into it that I thought I’d share it here as a post. I know I’ve been gone for a very, very long time…

Mindful Awareness Reflection Journal

1. Acknowledge

Describe your experience

This month I have been paying close attention to what I am eating and getting in the habit of mindful eating. Many people like to try new things at the beginning of the new year. Last year I went back and forth from being vegan to vegetarian, to eating whatever I want without thinking about it. This year my husband and I decided to commit to being vegan after watching a documentary narrated by actor Joaquin Pheonix called “Earthlings”. Before going to sleep we decided to watch the documentary, not knowing how powerful it would be. I knew the reputation this movie had but was not at all prepared. “Earthlings” was an hour and a half of animal abuse footage ranging from the meat, dairy, leather, and even circus industries. Within the first ten minutes I became emotional and couldn’t believe my eyes but I told myself to finish the film. What my husband and I thought was a simple movie night lead to a major life change for us.

 

 

2. Intentional Attention

Describe what you noticed

BREATH: My breath was even most of the time. A few times I caught myself skipping breaths/holding them in out of shock.
BODY: I was lying down at first, by the end of the movie I was sitting up straight.
EMOTIONS: I felt, sad, overwhelmed, and mostly disgusted.
THOUGHTS: I thought about the pain the animals were feeling, I wondered how humans could treat living creatures this way, and asked how could my husband and I help.
SENSES: I could physically feel my heart beat pounding in my ears and chest, and the tears welling in my eyes.

 

3. Accept Without Judgment

Describe judgment; acceptance

 

The judgements I made were mostly about the humans in the film. I was outraged and could not understand how people could do the things I saw. I made judgements that those people should be put in jail and that anyone responsible for the way these industries are run should be held accountable. I decided how I think things should be done and made my opinions based off the information I had learned. This was one of many health, plant-based, meat and dairy industry documentaries I have seen, but “Earthlings” completely changed my perspective on how humans should eat and treat animals.

 

4. Action Toward Change

Intention/willingness; new perspective

While at first I thought negatively about the industries, people I saw, and the fact that the government is doing nothing to stop it. I then decided to channel my energy away from judgements and towards change. How could I help? How can I be involved? Is eating meat necessary? How can we compel society to change? How could we be blinded for so long? I decided to channel my anger into finding the answers to these questions. This also lead me to make decisions every day about what I was going to put into my body. I wanted to see how my husband and I would feel when we took meat out of our diets. After a few weeks of the experiment I can say that I feel not only physically better, but also better about myself.

 

 

5. Mindful Meditation Experience (Mindful Practice)

What did you notice about your meditation experience this week?

After seeing “Earthlings” I knew I wanted to help the cause in some way. I was thinking about the bigger picture when I realized that was not the place to start. The way to make change is one person at a time, within each community. When my husband and I decided to go vegan, I noticed a few things. The most noticeable thing at first was the fact that we felt better about ourselves. It’s a good thing knowing you are doing something good for someone else, or in this case, the animals. We want to show our friends and families what it truly means to eat animal products. I wondered how I had lived most of my life eating this way and never thinking twice about it. Society does not have a problem eating meat because we have been blinded to what this really means. We have not been shown the reality of this traditional way of eating. After a few weeks we noticed we had more energy, felt less heavy, and had clearer skin.

What I’ve learned this week is that being mindful about what you eat is much more than fully experiencing a meal. It is about knowing why you are putting this in your body and understanding what it does for you. We would not want to put unhealthy foods into our bodies if we were practicing mindful eating.

Watch “Earthlings” here

Vegan coconut raspberry scones

Hey guys! I just made THE best scones. They taste non-vegan but are completely dairy and refined sugar free. I saw the recipie on my Pinterest (I’ll link the blog down below) and had to try it! I added a bit more raspberries to give it extra sweetness and also a little toasted coconut on top.

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh raspberries (I used a heaping cup)

3 tablespoons coconut sugar

3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 cups flower (I used I bleached white flour but if you wanted to make a helshtier alternative you could try whole wheat or gluten free, they will come out a bit denser/ less fluffy)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

1 can/ cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and like a baking sheet with parchment paper or a rubber cookie sheet.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, coconut sugar, coconut shreds and oil.
  3. In another bowl: mix the coconut milk and vanilla extract.
  4. Combine until dough forms. Pouring dry mixture in small batches at a time. And don’t over mix!
  5. Add raspberries by gently folding them in the dough with your hands. The raspberries will separate and get a little gooey. That’s okay!
  6. Next place the dough on your cookie sheet and form into a ball, then press down to flatten out. It should be about 2 inches in height.
  7. Cut out 8 triangles ( like you are cutting a pizza).
  8. Evenly space the pieces ans sprinkle with left over coconut shreds.
  9. Pop in the oven for 10 minutes until golden.
  10. Serve with coconut yougurt or vegan whipped cream alternative. I put coconut aminos on mine but you could also use maple syrup.

Link to recipe

Love Rachel Grace

 

(I haven’t been able to transfer my photos onto my computer so sorry for no pics! But I’ll have them up as soon as I can figure out whats going on)

Vegan: month 1

Im back! I took some time off writing and working because there were some major positive changes going on in my life. But! I’m back and ready with tons of post ideas for you guys. Today I wanted to talk about my first month being Vegan.

I decided to try Veganism out because I really wasn’t feeling well or looking the way I’d hoped I would. I ate healthy, whole foods, got lots of sleep, exercised, I felt like I was doing everything right! Yet, my body wasn’t responding well to my diet. So I did my research on veganism, vegetarianism, paleo, and whatever else is out there. Eating plan-based meant no cheese, not gonna lie I was pretty torn up about it, but I knew I had the will power to do it! So, I went cold tofurkey vegan(see what I did there..?hah).

It wasn’t hard for me to stop eating animal products because I was really dedicated to see results. The journey definitely had it’s ups and downs though. Week one went pretty well. I had a lot of fun looking up vegan recipes and watching girls on youtube talk about their success going vegan. I did discover I HATE vegan cheese though. Week two I noticed my skin cleared and I was loosing weight, but I also was (sorry for the TMI) constipated. I felt good through most of the day, I LOVED eating bread. Then at night my stomach would bloat and it made it hard to sleep. I had read eating lots of veggies would give me more fiber which would make me “go” more but I was having the opposite problem. Week there was probably the best. My digestion improved, I was eating delicious foods, bigger portions..until I realized I had been eating chocolate. I didn’t know it had milk okay! Anyway, I had never felt better in my life. I continued to loose weight, had energy(thanks to my B12 supplement), and was making healthy desserts. It went all down hill on week four. I had been eating waaaay to many carbs and it went all to my stomach. I felt like I gained five pounds over night. I really wasn’t happy because I was eating healthy foods and working out, so why was this happening?! This was around the time when I decided to bring meat back into my diet. The carb intake was too much for me and I found it hard to get enough protein. I finished out week four proud of myself to sticking with it for the last four weeks.

Now, I try to stay mainly plant-based. I still eat the same amount of veggies, beans, nuts, and fruits, I just lessened the amount of rice and grains I eat and added lean meats. I still love my almond milk though! I see my month being vegan almost like a cleanse. I detoxified my body by putting in only fresh ingredients. I recommend anyone who is in a slump, feeling like they don’t know why they aren’t feeling their best to try going play-based and see how they feel.

Love Rachel Grace

 

Supplements

Vitamins aren’t just for your grandparents ladies! Taking the right ones can really change how you feel and even how you look too! But how do you know which ones you should be taking? If you’ve ever walked into the health section at target you know there are like a bazillion of them… So to help you decide which ones you want to try, I thought I’d tell you which ones I can’t live without!

DISCLAIMER! This is not a sponsored post. HumNutrition did not send me anything, (although honestly if they did I’d be super stoked)!

Multivitamins: I know it can seem like a bit of a hassle adding vitamins into your daily routine but girl I cannot stress to you hot much they’ve changed my life. Story time: I did a lot of traveling last year and it took a crazy toll on me. I don’t think I’ve ever been more ill. Strep throat turning into bronchitis, mouth soars, even awful stomach pains, not to mention my eyes swelled up for about a week. So, while I was having fun, I will say it could have been better. That’s when I started researching vitamins (and also essential oils but I’m saving that for another post). I went to the only health food store there was a in the tiny town I was staying in Hawaii and found a women multivitamin. I desperately needed something to boost my immune system and kick off whatever was attacking me on the inside. Adding a good multivitamin is a good introduction into the world of supplements. Super easy, just one pill and you’re good to go!

Fighting Acne:  HumNutrition has a variety of supplements all geared towards helping your beauty from the inside out! I stumbled upon HumNutrition’s website while looking for ways to cure my hormonal acne. They have this awesome deal where if you buy three you get 25% off. AND you get $10 off your first order. I answered a few questions, they responded with an in-depth recommendation of which supplements I needed. These are the ones I order every month:

I start off my day taking Daily Cleanse.

  • Gently cleanses the body of toxins
  • Algae
  • Vegan
  • Cleanses skin, liver, bowls, kidneys, and lungs

Before lunch I take Flatter Me.

  • Good for digestion
  • Helps with bloating = flatter stomach
  • Vegetarian

Anytime with food I take Red Carpet.

  • Hydrates hair and skin cells = healthier hair and skin
  • Vegetarian
  • Plant-based omegas

 

Vegan/vegetarian: There are a few things us veggie lovers miss out on when we don’t eat meat. Our diet often leads us to lack in B12, Omega-3 Fatty acids, and vitamin C. Make sure to take a form of these supplements so you know you are getting everything your body needs!  Often veggies(plant based eaters) like us tend to be low in energy, B12 will help with that! Omegas will improve your skin, seriously! Fish eaters get lots of omegas in their diet. Iron is found in a lot of vegetables, especially the green ones! So it’s important to take some form of vitamin C. This helps the body breakdown and properly use the large amount of iron. Anemia runs in my family, meaning we are low in iron. So I take a basic iron supplement around the time of my period.

In the last six months I’ve added supplements into my diet I’ve noticed better skin tone, less acne and lighter breakouts, easier digestion/less bloating after eating, and stronger hair and nails.

IMG_0577     IMG_0579

I hope this post had some helpful advice and got some of you ladies thinking about taking supplements 🙂

Love, Rachel Grace

Building a better mindset

So, what’s it take to get on the “fitness trend” people seems to be a part of these days? Just one thing: Commitment. Believe it or not but the easiest way to stay on track and reach your goals it to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Yes, LIFESTYLE. Not a diet, not a 30-day nutrition plan, but a real change in your daily routine. And, it’s easy! These are some of the ways I stick to healthy living and keep me motivated. 🙂

Listen

Learn to listen to your body. What I mean is, when you’re craving potato chips, pizza, french fries, your body probably needs sodium. Try snacking on some apples and cheese or hummus and cucumber(I season mine with lime and cumin). If you’re carving ice cream or chocolate you probably need some sugar, but not too much! Almost everything we eat these days turns into sugar, even thought its not sweet in the slightest. So try going for natural sugars like dates, strawberries, and dark chocolate or cocao to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Research

Get to know whats good for you. How do you feel after you eat dairy? Maybe there’s one specific kind of dairy that upsets your stomach. Try goats milk or goats yogurt if cows milk doesn’t suit you. Like I said earlier, listen to how you feel after you eat. There has been many discoveries of seeds, oils, supplements, and grains that are sooooo beneficial to your health. Get on your phone, your laptop, whatever, and google! I bet you’ll discover something new you’ll want to try or.. you might even find out something you thought was good for you actually isn’t!

Motivation

When I saw motivation I don’t mean following bikini model’s Instagrams or fitness motivation accounts. I find that these accounts actually make me feel worse, haha! But hey, if it works for you, go for it! I watch a LOT of fitness youtubers. TessBegg, and Sarah’sDay are my favorites. They have such positive attitudes and share amazing recipes! When I don’t feel like getting out of my bed, I go to my youtube subscriptions. Seeing other girls do good for themselves is inspiring.

Have fun

When I first decided to eat clean, exercise, and strive for my best self, I was excited! Adopting a lifestyle of health and wellness won’t last for you if you are forcing yourself. You need to want to make healthy choices. You need to want to move your body so you start to feel stronger. It’s hard in the beginning, and I still have days where I couldn’t be bothered to workout. But, you get off the couch and get active because you know it pays off! Find exercise routines you find fun, if you like ab workouts(these are my favorite) start your day off with a 15 minute ab-blast. If you like running(I wish I was you) go for a run! What I’ve noticed is, after the initial few weeks of working out and eating clean, I started to feel stronger, happier, and my skin even cleared up! This keeps me going. But, I’m not saying I don’t skip  day or have a cheat meal every once in a while, I’m only human! haha

Love, Rachel Grace