8 Must-Know Rules For Healing Melasma and Hyperpigmentation

The following is a guest post from Sara Sumic

A while ago, I met one of my best friends for coffee. Right when I saw her, I noticed a big hyper-pigmentation patch on her forehead.

Before I could even ask: "Have you recently had any peels or other treatments done?", she said: "I had a chemical peel, and this is what happened!"

You might think that she didn't wear a sunscreen afterwards. She did!

The truth is, sunscreen alone cannot protect your skin enough to prevent hyper pigmentation at times like that. Take it from someone who has spent more than half of her life in one of the sunniest places in Europe!

Luckily, I am still without visible sun damage, and today I am sharing with you all of my tips to ensure your skin stays spotless, too!

What exactly is hyper pigmentation/melasma?

Hyper pigmentation occurs due to overproduction of pigment melanin in the skin. Melanin gives your skin color, also protecting it from damaging UV rays.

Get access to my entire melasma-healing skincare routine below:

There are several types of hyper pigmentation:

  • Sunspots/sun damage — These are very common, and they develop on parts of the skin that are exposed to sun the most, such as the face, chest, neck and hands. Freckles are also one type of sunspots.
  • Melasma — This is a skin discoloration that turns patches of skin light-to-medium brown. Melasma is caused by changes in hormones and tends to occur during pregnancy, when taking birth control pills, or during times of hormonal imbalance. It increases with sun exposure.
  • Post-Inflammatory Hyper pigmentation (PIH) — You are perhaps most likely to have experienced PIH, especially if you struggle with acne or have naturally darker skin tone.

This kind of spotting or discoloration is due to inflammation caused by damage or trauma to the skin, including:

  • acne
  • cosmetic procedures – lasers, IPL, microdermabrasion
  • chemical peels
  • chemical exfoliants – AHA’s and other acids
  • overuse of certain ingredients (e.g. benzoyl peroxide)
  • mechanical trauma – a wound that leads to a scar or discoloration
  • anything that causes excessive irritation

Funnily enough, some of the treatments above are very effective for reducing existing hyper pigmentation, but can cause new one if you are not careful with sun exposure!

So why would "trauma" or irritation to the skin cause those annoying hyperpigmentation marks?

The answer is inflammation - whether it is visible to you or not.

Inflammation is tightly linked to hyper pigmentation

All types of hyperpigmentation are caused or worsened by inflammation. The most common cause of hyperpigmentation (sun spots) is actually a post-inflammatory response to UV damage to the skin (Gilchrest et al., 1998; Abdel-Malek and Kadekaro, 2006).

Even when there is no visible redness (erythema) due to too much sun, such skin has elevated inflammatory cell content, resulting in an inflammatory process.

Inflammation can result in hyper pigmentation through several mechanisms:

- via direct stimulation of melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) by inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1-α (this one is also involved in acne formation!)

- Reactive oxygen species, such as superoxide and nitric oxide, generated in damaged skin (for example, from UV exposure) or released from inflammatory cells can also stimulate melanocytes to produce excess melanin

- damage to epidermal cells (acne, scratches, cuts, etc) can lead to a release of endocrine inducers of pigmentation, such as α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. When melanocytes are stimulated, they will produce extra melanin.

So why does your skin tries to produce all this excess melanin after inflammatory incidents?

It's because melanin provides protection against UV-induced damage by scattering UV rays and acting as an antioxidant. Your skin is just trying to protect itself from any subsequent insults!

This leads me to the my point: we need to eliminate all sources of irritation and inflammation to truly protect our skin from hyper pigmentation. Especially in the summertime, when the sun is unforgiving!

 Don’t just rely on your sunscreen to prevent hyper pigmentation. You also need to reduce or eliminate sources of irritation and inflammation.

Golden rules to prevent hyper pigmentation

1. No exfoliation in the morning

Exfoliating removes a layer of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, leaving your skin instantly brighter. Sounds harmless, right?

Not when done in the morning!

Dead skin cells, together with a lipid matrix that surrounds them, make up skin barrier. Skin barrier looks and acts like a brick wall - the cells are bricks and lipids are the mortar that holds these cells together. This amazing structure protects the living skin cells beneath, locks the moisture into your skin, and so much more.

Without a robust skin barrier, your skin is much more exposed to the harsh environment, pollution, toxins, pathogens, oxidative damage and inflammation.

So, no acids, no retinols, no scrubs, no enzyme masks, and other exfoliating products in the morning. Leave those treatments for evenings only, and when you know you won't be exposed to a lot of sun the following day!

2. No aggressive professional treatments (peels, lasers, dermapen, etc) at all

Professional treatments, including chemical peels and dermapen, can be awesome, but they also make your skin sensitive to the sun, and not just on the day you do it. Even if you were to apply enough sunscreen, and frequently enough (every 2 hours), your skin still isn't as protected as it should be.

Simply reserve these treatments for months with less sun, especially if you are prone to hyper pigmentation!

3. Avoid artificial fragrances

Certain chemicals can trigger melanocytes to produce excess melanin, and artificial fragrance is a big one! Sadly, it is not found just in perfumes, but also moisturizers, serums and toners! Check all your skincare for fragrances and and find safe alternatives.

4. No citrus oils in daylight

Certain substances found in citrus oils are phototoxic, causing damage to the skin when exposed to the sun.

Phototoxic skin damage, or even burns, can show up anywhere from 1-24 hours after UV exposure (including tanning beds). Sadly, the resulting discoloration can last for months!

One of the substances causing such reaction in citrus oils is bergaptene. Also, fresh lemon or lime juice are phototoxic due to substances they contain - furocoumarins. Lemon juice also contains some other potentially irritating substances, such as limonene and citral.

Vitamin C serums and various oil-based serums sometimes contain citrus essential oils. These include:

  • Angelica
  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lemon verbena
  • Lime
  • Orange
  • Wild Orange
  • Mandarin
  • Tangerine

By some claims, lavender essential oil is also phototoxic. Check all your skincare products for these ingredients, and avoid applying them in the morning.

5. Use antioxidants to reduce oxidative damage and inflammation

Combination of topical antioxidants together with a sunscreen showed a better protection against the sun radiation (Photochem Photobiol. 2015 Jan-Feb;91[1]:248-50).

Those same authors published a article (Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2014;30:167-74) suggesting that another antioxidant mixture (ferulic acid, vitamin E, and vitamin C) was similarly effective.

Get access to my entire melasma-healing skincare routine below:

Why are antioxidants helpful? Because UV radiation leads to oxidative damage and inflammation, and the role of antioxidants is to stop oxidative damage from happening.

Oxidative damage (can be reduced by antioxidants) -> inflammation -> hyperpigmentation!

Layer your antioxidant-rich serum under a sunscreen every day for best protection.

6. Use only gentle skincare that respects the skin’s pH and skin barrier integrity

Skin's optimal pH (4.5-5.5) is absolutely essential for protecting against the negative external influences.

It helps your skin ward off infections, stay optimally moisturized, and it even helps the skin's natural exfoliation process, called desquamation. This not only keeps your skin healthy and smooth naturally, but it also minimizes the chances of hyper pigmentation!

7. Load up on omega-3s for extra photo protection

Omega-3s are one of those miracle substances that provide an added layer of photoprotection - from the inside!

The three main types of omega-3 fatty acids are α-Linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA can reduce the collagen damage associated with photoaging, slowing down skin aging.

Omega-3s may also be able to speed up wound healing (a.k.a. after picking your skin and healing the acne scars, which often leave hyperpigmentation marks).

Eating sustainably caught fatty fish, like sardines or salmon, can help keep your skin moisturized and hyperpigmentation-free. In case of taking a supplement, make sure that it also contains EPA and DHA, not just ALA.

8. Wear a hat and a well-formulated non-toxic mineral sunscreen

This is the part where I tell you that the type of sunscreen you use is of crucial importance for preventing hyperpigmentation!

It has been shown that people with hyperpigmentation disorders are susceptible to longer wavelengths that "chemical" sunscreens don't protect from, according to Dr. Arellano-Mendoza.

Longer wavelengths, including infrared light and visible light, are shown to increase expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) -1 and -9, which triggers melanocytes to produce excess melanin.

Mineral-based sunscreens, however – like those with titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and iron oxide – scatter all wavelengths and also absorb UV radiation!

A 2015 study showed that a sunscreen with iron oxides prevented melasma relapse during the summer months. Patients were randomized to the same ultraviolet filter topical sunscreen, but for one group, micronized iron oxide was added to it. After 6 months, the melasma severity was significantly improved in the group using the iron oxide compound (J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Jan;72[1]:189-90.e1).

This is the sunscreen I recommend! (And it's ocean-safe!)

Finally, I can offer a piece of advice from personal experience.

Avoid sun when it's the strongest, between 10am - 16pm, and always wear a hat. If you feel your skin burning, don't just apply more sunscreen! Cover your skin with clothes that reflect the UV rays, or find some shade.

Respect your skin and the signals it gives you. When it’s time to get out of the sun, get out of the sun!

Get access to my entire melasma-healing skincare routine below:

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Sara Sumic, MSc, is a molecular biologist, mom, and a Croatian gal living in Norway. She is an advocate of gentle natural skincare that helps to establish the skin’s optimal pH, healthy microbiome and a strong skin barrier. Being a former acne sufferer of many years, she started Healthy Skin Glows to share science-based skincare tips and help women heal their skin from the inside out.

Website: www.healthyskinglows.com

How To Be Healthy At ANY Size

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The following is a guest post by Marisa Faye, MPH RYT

Are you fed up with feeling like you don’t look a certain way or feel a certain way about your body? Do you find yourself googling the terms “body positivity” and “body acceptance”? Ever heard the term “health at any size”? Does this all sound like a nice idea, but you don’t really know how this fits into your own life? And, what do people really mean when they use these words? 

Well, I’m your girl here to give you the 101’s so you can get moving and grooving with a positive mindset to achieve all of your dreams - no matter the size of your body

My name is Marisa Faye, and I’m a yoga teacher, women’s retreat entrepreneur, nutrition professional, and girl’s girl through and through. While my professional experiences inform a lot of my thoughts about health - it is my own experience of health, and a lifetime inhabitance in a bigger body, which has led me to loudly and proudly share the message of body acceptance and enjoyment of so-called healthy habits. 

After a childhood and adolescence peppered with nearly every diet trend, at the age of 20 I decided it was time to truly take control of my weight. I set off to learn as much as I could about nutrition, physical activity, and mental health – all the factors my education told me contributed to my medically identified obesity. After I was halfway to my goal weight and the scale plateaued, I restricted A LOT and my weight stalled. Upset and still in my bigger body I knew I had to get real – get angry even at how unfair it all felt – and try to find a way to be present in the body that I had at that exact moment. What follows are ideas that I’ve melded from a number of resources and years of experience working with others, so that you can learn to focus on your inner and innate wisdom to guide you to make informed choices for your health. That sounds pretty great, amiright? So, where to get started? I’ve got a few suggestions:

1. Mindset first – Our thoughts influence our actions.

Now this is not me asking you to stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful. In fact, I think that can be a negative experience for some people. This is about uncoupling the idea that what you look like, and how much physical space you take up, is linked to the value you bring to the world and the way you deserve to be treated. Hear me loud and clear – THE SIZE OF YOUR BODY HAS NO CORRELATION TO THE GOODNESS AND WORTHINESS INSIDE OF YOU. 

ACTION: Find a quiet moment each day to take a few deep breaths and repeat in your mind: All bodies are worthy of love and respect. I am worthy of love and respect.

2. Awareness & Exposure – Be aware of what you’re consuming visually.

I’m not talking about food here. I’m talking about images, thoughts, and ideas that place value on appearance. In order to redefine what health looks like, we need to expose ourselves to a variety of people of different ages, shapes, sizes, genders, abilities, religions, etc. We need to observe others being human.

ACTION: Pull out your phone and open up Instagram: Search a hashtag that interests you that is not linked to dieting or body size (think a sport that you like, a topic you want to learn more about, a city you want to visit). Now scroll through and follow at least 5 people that all look different. Next, view the accounts you follow, remove anyone who is consistently posting photos or stories about dieting and/or weight loss.

3. Compassionate Choices – Treat your body and mind as you would have your best friend treat theirs.

Your behaviors and daily choices directly impact your health. You can absolutely be making changes to your lifestyle in pursuit of health and not weight loss. For example, endurance exercise (such as jogging or speed walking for 30 minutes) can improve cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. The key to this step is to try things, and identify how they make you feel to consider if it’s a change or adjustment that you’d like to make or maintain in support of your health. 

ACTION: 1) Select a behavior to change or activity to try. For example, walking 30 minutes after work two days per week. 2.) Ask yourself when considering this change: What is my intention? 3) Try it! 4) After you try it ask: How did I feel during? How do I feel after? If after trying a few times you aren’t enjoying it, then nix it and move onto trying something else if you’d you’re up for it. Give yourself a high five, or reach out to me for virtual fist bump for listening to your body and mind! 

As you can see, being healthy is about so much more than a number on the scale or the size of your pants. Let this be another tool in your toolkit to love, accept and take care of yourself – inside and out! 

For more resources to get you started, check out Linda Bacon, PhD’s book and Health at Every Size online resources, Beauty Redefined, and the Association for Size Diversity and Health

Passionate about wellness and nutrition? Want to share your unique viewpoint with people all over the world AND get paid for it?!? Learn more about creating an authentic, profitable wellness business here.

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Marisa Faye is a champion of self-empowerment and self-awareness. As a recovering perfectionist, Marisa has found home in her body and mind through movement and conscious choices to support her well-being. She is a registered yoga teacher (Yoga Alliance), certified group fitness instructor (ACE), holds a Master's in public health, and studies nutritional therapy. As a full-time hustler, Marisa demonstrates a mix of passion and persistence as she works by day developing educational trainings for health professionals and by night delivering workshops, retreats and classes on mindfulness, yoga, body awareness and nutrition. Marisa believes you can be healthy at any age, stage of life, or size through increased access, information and support. In her own words: “I believe in movement for everyBODY, nutritious food for everyBODY, and a healthy mind for everyBODY.” Learn more about her at www.marisafaye.com/

Find Marisa online:

https://www.instagram.com/marisafayewellness/

https://www.facebook.com/marisafayewellness/

www.marisafaye.com/

 

What I'm Obsessed With Lately - Human Design, Celery Juice, + more!

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I'm the type of person that doesn't just become "into" something new. Nope. If i'm interested in something, I become utterly obsessed, needing to know everything about it, following my gut even though I have no idea where it is leading me, and then share everything i've learned with other people - in the hopes they will find as much value in it as I did. 

That's why, this week, i've decided to share a few of the things i've been getting tons of questions about (mostly on Instagram ;))

So this e-mail is going to talk about a few of my new obsessions, what they are, why i'm doing them, and where you can go to learn more about them!

1. Human Design

If you are someone who is into Myer's Briggs, the Enneagram, astrology, or the 4 Tendencies (any of those tests that tell you more about what "type" you are) prepare to go down the rabbit hole of information with Human Design - which is kind of like a woo-woo version of the Myers Briggs personality test that is based on your birthdate.

It is based of of the principle that we are all a different "energy type" and generate energy different ways by doing different things. For example, I am a "Generator": someone who gains more energy by doing what they love, and sharing that energy with everyone they come into contact with, in order to leave the world a more inspired place. UM HELLO SPOT ON. 

If you're interested, you can go here and input your birth information and find out what "type" you are, but to be honest reading the chart that you are given is pretty difficult to do. I highly recommend checking out Jenna Zoe's website or Charlotte Dupont to learn more (they are both experts).

The thing I love about it (so far, without knowing much) is that it's basic premise is: each of us is unique - and the key to each of our success, happiness, health and fulfillment is being able to embrace the ways that we are different and NOT try to be like everyone else. It's almost like getting permission to be exactly who you were designed to be...and learning how to leverage those differences to our own benefit. 

There are even recommendations for the different diets for each type which I thought was SUPER fascinating, and shocker: "Generators" are supposed to make dietary choices based on what their gut is telling them to eat - and NOT necessarily follow what anyone else tells them they "should" be eating (HOW DOES THIS KNOW ME SO WELL. Insane).  Which leads me to my next obsession...

2. Celery Juice

I started learning about the benefits of celery juice a few months ago and heard it was a "cure all" from everything from acne to Lyme to depression to acid reflux to eczema...and I was pretty skeptical. Can celery juice really cure ALL of those things?

To be honest, i'm still not sure how valid these claims are, I can only speak from my own (and my husband, Erik's) experience, but when I started feeling a little bit of Bali-belly last week (general upset stomach that happens to almost everyone here in Bali) celery juice seemed like the easiest, most low risk fix. 

Not only did my stomach feel almost immediately better after drinking it, but after keeping up with the celery juice every morning for the past 4 days now, the biggest benefit: Erik's near-constant "throat clearing" has almost stopped completely. HALLELUJAH. We had tried everything from HCL, gut healing, removing dairy and other allergens, coffee, etc. and NOTHING.was.helping. I'll definitely keep you guys up to date as we continue with the celery juice protocol, but in the meantime, check out this website if you want to learn more about it!

3. Cycle-Syncing

TMI alert - but did you guys know I didn't have a natural period for 10 F*CKING YEARS?! I know, I know...horrible coming from a Nutritionist but it's the truth. If you're interested in learning more about this let me know, but cutting to the chase: now that i've re-balanced my hormones naturally and have a period again, it is SO INCREDIBLE to me to be able to "track" what my body is doing each month and make lifestyle decisions based on what cycle i'm in:

i.e. HIIT workouts during ovulation but not at the end of my luteal phase, planning for creative projects during my follicular phase, and so on. 

For more info on this, check out Alissa Vitti's website here (i'm using her FloLiving app to track!)

4. Morning Routine

Until about a week ago, I was a wake-up-and-immediately-check-my-phone-person. 'm not proud of it, but I had every excuse in the book about why I "needed" to respond to emails, DMs, etc. as quickly as possible, and with the Bali time change, most of the people I am in contact with on a daily basis are working while i'm asleep. 

But last week I realized that this TERRIBLE morning routine of mine was sending me into a negative, stressed out, cortisol-filled tailspin for the rest of the day - which was NOT the reason I started my own business. 

SO - my new routine is:

  • Celery juice
  • Journaling/manifesting/affirmations
  • No phone (besides a wake up text to my mom 😉) until after i've had breakfast, coffee, and am sitting down at my computer

That's it. And oh yeah i've removed my work email from my phone completely hich is pure freedom. But you guys, this has made SUCH. A. DIFFERENCE in my entire mood for the day and it has made me feel back in control around the boundaries I have set in my business. 

Let me know if you try it ;) Also - I haven't read this book yet but I heard the author on a podcast and he was AMAZING talking about morning routines - definitely putting it on my list. 

5. Travel

Ok so this isn't new, but i'm still obsessed with it, ha! Anyways, Erik and I booked our tickets for our next destination and I am SO FREAKING EXCITED! We will still be in Bali for another 2ish months while I finish my newest online course, but after that - we are celebrating in...

SPAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did I mention i'm excited? We are starting in Madrid and then going to Barcelona, the islands (Mallorca and Ibiza) and then heading down south, so if you guys have any Spain recs definitely let me know ;)

Toats manifesting spending my 30th birthday on a yacht in the Greek islands, so i'll keep you updated on that. Gotta tell you guys so it  happens, right?

Want to turn your passion into a traveling business (like mine?) Join my free training!

That's it for this week, but i'm curious to hear from you guys:

  • Are you into human design? What's your type?
  • Have you tried the celery juice craze? What about cycle-syncing?
  • Do you have a morning routine?
  • Have you been to Spain?

XO,

Amie

P.S. It is TOTALLY 100% ok to be multi-passionate in your business and share those passions with your audience. This is the benefit of building a personal brand - you are never "off brand" when your business IS YOU. The important thing is that you are able to "niche" down your paid offerings enough so that you are targeting a specific subset of people and solving their specific need. This is how you ensure PROFITABILITY -> something i'm covering in depth in my new course. Can't wait to share it with you guys, sign up for the VIP list here!

Why I Can't Call Myself a 'Vegan' + Nutrition Updates!

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Oh. Em. Gee. You guys.

It's been a hot minute (ok, like a year) since i've written anything nutrition-related on here...but as with EVERYTHING in my life, when something feels right, I go with it. 

So first I feel like I need to update you guys on the nutrition front. 

Last we spoke (or...I wrote?) I was really fucking sick of talking about nutrition, which is also why I stopped seeing nutrition clients and went the online business route instead (that's the short version, at least). 

I think the main reason for this was that I had a lot of my own nutrition (and disordered eating) issues that I was still trying to figure out, and I didn't think it was healthy for me to be advising other people on what they should be doing, nutrition-wise, when I needed to focus on myself.

The truth is, I still don't want this blog to be about me "advising" anyone on what they should be doing when it comes to nutrition. 

Yes, i'm still an NTP, I love good food (avocado toast is life), and I love sharing all of my favorite restaurant travel-recommendations with you guys - but at this point, I feel like nutrition is SO individualized, that it's hard to give blanket recommendations over the internet that are going to work for every single person.

WE ARE ALL SO DIFFERENT. 

What I DO want to do, is share my experiences about food and nutrition, what is working for me (especially while traveling) and what isn't...so that YOU can make the decision about what is right for you.

In the words of Tony Robbins, BE YOUR OWN DAMN GURU. 

Ok, now that that's out of the way - for those of you who haven't been around here for long, my husband (Erik) and I started traveling full time in January, so I basically haven't had access to my own kitchen or really ANYTHING familiar (food-wise) for the past 6 months. 

Old (disordered-eating) Amie would've been freaked the fuck out by this, because it meant I couldn't control every-single-ingredient in my food. But to be honest, NOT being 100% in control of what i'm eating (as weird as that sounds) has actually been extremely therapeutic for me. I've loosened up the reigns on my food choices and realized that i'm not going to gain 10 pounds by eating a bowl of pasta. Talk about freedom. 

So yes, i've pretty much been eating out for every single meal since January.

And I feel great. The only thing I really miss my Vitamix and making my own smoothies (only because the ones you get at restaurants are too small, lol)

So...what have I been eating?

Vegan in Thailand

If you guys saw my recent Instagram post, believe it or not, i've been eating mostly plant-based (i.e. focusing on an abundance of foods like vegetables, fruit, grains, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds etc. and avoiding eggs, dairy, meat and fish for the most part) since I started traveling. 

I say "believe it or not" because if you've been here from the beginning, you know that I started as a total "paleo" enthusiast. And don't get me wrong, I'm not against eating "paleo" at all and I think eating paleo can be incredibly healthy and healing for some people.

But for me - eating paleo was just another way that I could avoid and restrict certain foods, which definitely didn't help my disordered-eating mindset. 

Now you might be asking yourself...isn't eating plant-based just as restrictive?

And I totally hear you. When I was a strict "paleo" eater, I viewed veganism/plant-based eating as the ULTIMATE form of restriction (ironically hilarious coming from someone who used to be anorexic) and I still believe that many people still "use" the plant-based/vegan style of eating in this (unhealthy) way.

i'm not calling myself a vegan

However, i've always been drawn to a more "ethical" way of eating. I even tried to become a vegetarian when I was 8 years old because I loved animals so much- but that's pretty hard to maintain when you aren't cooking your own meals, you aren't buying your own food, and you know nothing about nutrition. 

So, earlier this year when I intuitively felt (<<< notice a theme here?) like eating less meat, and was having an increasingly difficult time seeing the animals I loved on my plate... I just went with it. 

My plant-based "experiment" if you will, started in Thailand, and was surprisingly easy to do there, as well as most of southeast Asia. Think curries, noodle dishes, rice, veggies and TONS of fruit everywhere. HEAVEN. 

I was feeling great eating this way, it was easy and delicious...plus once I started doing more research on how eating plant-based/vegan positively impacts the environment (+ saves TONS of animals every single day) it honestly has become a no-brainer to maintain. 

But here's the thing: I totally realize that putting any "labels" on your diet can be a slippery slope for anyone who has ever struggled with food and disordered eating. So while I will say i've been eating mostly plant-based...I don't think i'll ever call myself a vegan

For me, it is important to keep an open mind about the fact that sometimes, delicious and nutrient packed smoothie bowls are not available at every restaurant like they are in Bali

 Buddha bowl - Kynd Community - Bali

Buddha bowl - Kynd Community - Bali

Sometimes, you're in France at a fancy restaurant (um, me last week) and the only option that looks appealing to you is fish cooked in tons of butter. (All I could think was 'thank god they have something other than veal'...that I WON'T do)

So what did I do?

Yes, I could try to figure out a way to say "i'm vegan" in French, cause a scene*, and stress myself out...but i've been there, done that before (during my disordered eating days) and i'm over it. 

*If you have an allergy/sensitivity etc. I TOTALLY understand the need to do this, but I don't

So yeah, I ordered the fish, enjoyed my meal, and moved on. No, it wasn't my top choice, but being flexible around food and NOT beating myself up for imperfection is totally my jam these days. 

how am i feeling eating plant-based?

I seriously can't believe it's been almost 6 months since I started eating this way! Like I said, i've occasionally eaten eggs, fish, and dairy (i'm talking maybe 1x a month ish?) but for the most part, eating plant-based has made me feel awesome. Maybe I can do a part 2 post about the changes i've noticed? (DM me on Instagram if you're interested!)

My energy has been great, I feel totally satisfied, I actually feel like i'm LESS restrictive than ever with my food choices (bring on the bread, pasta, and vegan pizza) my skin is looking great, i've only had acid reflux maybe once or twice in the past 6 months (I used to have it daily) my PMS has lessened, I feel like i'm making a positive environmental and ethical difference, and more than anything...I feel like i'm doing the right thing for myself, my body, and my mind right now. 

However: living/eating intuitively also means that I am open to the possibility that eating plant-based may not work for me forever. Living ethically and making food choices that support our beliefs are AMAZING - but I feel like this is a very "put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others" type of situation. If the day comes when i'm starving and the only option is chicken, or i'm feeling super low energy and depleted and craving a steak, i'm going to listen to that. 

I can't call myself a "vegan"... not because I don't believe in the mission or what it stands for, but because i'm not going to let what I eat define me. I also think that when it comes to different styles of eating, there is such an "us verses them" mentality, and i'm soooo not about that life.

I can’t call myself a “vegan”... not because I don’t believe in the mission or what it stands for, but because i’m not going to let what I eat define me.

If you are thriving on a keto diet, awesome. If you love being Paleo, let's be friends. If you eat 10 bananas a day and wear a "vegan vibes" shirt, i'm into it. 

Let's all stop trying to convince other people what THEY should be doing, and what the PERFECT diet is for them, and keep our eyes on our own plates. Let's stop judging other people's food choices and accept that just like us, they are doing the best they can with the knowledge/resources that they have right now. Let's start sharing helpful information and personal experiences, but allow each individual to decide for themselves what is best for them in the end. 

What do you think?

How would you describe the way that you eat?

What questions do you have for me about plant-based eating?

Thanks for reading, you guys are the best !

Curious how I turned my passion for nutrition into a profitable business online that allows me to travel full-time? Join the free training!

XO,

Amie