The first time I came across Dr Libby, which was only a few months ago, I was glued to her every word. With a PhD in Biochemistry and having studied Nutrition, she was literally deciphering all the big confusing concepts of science into much smaller chunks that everyday people could take away and understand. Myself included. I’m currently studying Biochemistry and I do love it, only my teacher is not nearly as passionate or able to explain stuff in a way I get – every time.
So I went on and watched every You tube clip of Dr Libby’s and came across a weekend workshop she was doing in Sydney.
Ooh I so wanted to go! But I had kinda just made a commitment to myself to stop spending so much money. Well… B and I had a chat about it and decided to go. I had the money anyway, every bone in my body had already decided I was gonna be there, and low and behold flights that weekend were half the usual price from Cairns. I booked it the following day.
And I’m so glad I did.
Brock flew down with me as it was his birthday weekend and, well we basically said “why not?” We crashed with our besties from Simply Raw (and yes, had access to unlimited bars oh my), saw family, laughed, rode around Centennial Park, and had a ball. But enough of that, I want to summarise Dr Libby’s Beautiful You weekend for you all. It's a condensed version of the weekend, but my write up is still is super duper long - my advice, boil the jug, pour a herbal tea, and put your feet up, coz all of this is incredibly valuable information that I've written in my usual slang language to keep you from falling asleep.
But if you still want anymore info than what I’m giving you here, check out all Libby’s books – I bought a whole bunch and I’ve got bookmarks in them all right now!
|The view over Hyde Park to the Cathedral from level 7 David Jones, Sydney City|
What does beauty mean to you?
What dulls your shine? – acne, anxiety, worry
What lights you up? – music (live is even better), laughter, green juice, yoga, dancing, ocean, X Factor (hehe)
These are big questions we were asked straight up on the morning of Day 1, and it really gets you thinking. Is your list of dull things bigger than your list of what lights you up? Do less dull-ers and more light-ers.
Libby refers to the “red zone” and the “green zone” – red being our sympathetic nervous system (ie. fight or flight) and our green zone being our parasympathetic nervous system (ie. rest and digest). Far too often these days we live in our red zone, and rarely access our green zone. It should be the other way around.
Caffeine and other stimulants, stress, deadlines, excessive exercise, and pressure all activate our red zone.
Deep breathing, restorative yoga, tai chi, happiness and calm all access our green zone. We want to downregulate our red zone and upregulate our green zone.
If our nervous system is forever on alert, it will inevitably impact our skin, because it is seen as “non-essential” when we need to get out of danger. Stress will also impact our sex hormones, our sleep, our food choices and our body’s fuel preference (which is key to weight loss and weight gain)
A great example is of two people who both say their days are super duper busy; one of them has deadlines, work colleagues and staff to attend too, bad sleep, poor diet, no time to cook proper food, no time to exercise, the list goes on. The other person has adventures to go on, delicious lunch meetings with people for collaborative idea generation, their exercise commitments to fit in (but they love it), fresh produce to buy, meals to prepare, work they love doing, and so on. They are both busy, but one lives in their red zone while the other lives in their green zone.
When we are constantly stressed, our body uses glucose as fuel. And it’s our nervous system that decides whether we use glucose or fat. Glucose is fast burning so when we feel stressed, we need fuel asap, and glucose fits the bill. However, if we never come down from our level of stress, our body will always and only be using glucose as fuel… which means we are never burning fat as fuel. If we eat glucose, and more glucose, and more glucose (due to sugar cravings, stress, 3pm slump, etc), our body begins to store it because it’s unlikely we are using so much for fuel (unless we running half the day, everyday). Stored glucose is called glycogen. And it does have a purpose. However, as more and more gets stored in our liver and muscles (where it is safe), our storage supplies begin to fill up until there’s nowhere for the excess glucose (as glycogen) to go, except to be stored in adipose tissue. Fat. And this begins the downward spiral into diabetes.
Using fat as fuel is slow burning and stable burning (no highs and lows). We need to retrain our bodies to do both. But if we are always in fight or flight mode, our body is getting very used to only burning glucose (sugar).
Nervous System Support:
- Diaphragmatic breathing daily
- Restorative yoga more often
- Trial no sugar, no caffeine
- Calcium and magnesium rich foods (if you are super stressed, a magnesium supplement will be best as mag-rich foods are limited)
- Vitamin B’s and C
- Withania (lowers cortisol)
- Siberian Ginseng (for fatigue)
- Panax Ginseng (for depp fatigue that is longer lasting)
- Skullcap (anxious)
- Licorice (when cortisol has crashed)
- Rhodiola (for the “drama queens”)
- Rehmannia (same as licorice)
|The morning view from Level 7 David Jones... perfect for our tai chi|
ELIMINATION & DETOXIFICATION
Our liver, our kidneys, and our colon are the three biggies when it comes to elimination and detoxification. And when 1, 2, or all 3 of these are not working optimally, then our skin comes in to help, and that’s often how acne, eczema, pimples, rashes, etc are formed.
I’ve written previously about PI and PII detoxification pathways, and Libby reinforced this by saying PII needs to be working optimally for thorough detoxification to take place. If not, that’s when we see bowel congestion, liver problems, congested skin, high blood cholesterol, the list goes on.
Some people cannot lose weight until their liver and kidneys are healthy, because their body knows that in breaking down fat stores toxins are released (as they are stored in fat tissue), so if our liver and kidneys are not working optimally, all those toxins will re-circulate through the body. They are safer stored in fat tissue unless they can be excreted from the body. These people need to focus on detoxification not weight loss.
Any of the following likely means your detox systems need some love:
- Fluid retention
- Skin breakouts and congestion
- Sore, red, stingy eyes
- Waking consistently during 2am and 4am (and waking up hot is esp. liver issue)
- Lumpy breasts that swell with your cycle
- Feeling like you could eat your arm off with hunger that doesn’t go away
- Not hungry for brekkie… but coffee is your best friend
- Digestive issues
- Increase in body fat
- Poor energy
- Short temper
Elimination and Detoxification Support:
- Eat real food
- Omit fake food stuffs
- Increase green vegetables and leaves (esp. Brassica family)
- Increase fats from whole foods (avocado, coconut, nuts)
- Take a break from alcohol
- Have a veggie juice each morning
- Replace coffee with green tea
- Transform anger into passion
- Snack on seeds and nuts
- Cut out dairy and gluten for 4 weeks
- Use some liver herbs;
- St Mary’s Thistle (PI help and liver protective)
- Bluperum (up-regulates PII and very good for clotty periods)
- Schisandra (adrenal support, don’t take if you’re on medication)
- Dandelion (the root is for liver detoxification, the leaves are for adrenal support and a diuretic)
- Globe Artichoke (gallbladder help, cellulite, mobilizes fatty substances, and great for estrogen dimonance)
I recently wrote about this after Nat Kringoudis’ Womens Body talk in Cairns (and have access to her online Debunking Ovulation course to give away soon so stay posted).
High stress and poor elimination lead to hormonal imbalances as adrenal production of sex hormones is often compromised as our stress hormones are being overworked/out of balance these day.
Every month, a womans sex hormones naturally go up and down, obviously in preparation for a baby. These sex hormones do more than just create the perfect environment for a baby though – progesterone works as natural antidepressant and diuretic, restores libido, normalizes blood clotting, promotes new bone growth and hold our uterus in place. And an estrogen deficiency can contribute to night sweats, hot flushes, mood swings, mental fuzziness, incontinence… most symptoms seen in menopause as 50% of our estrogen production drops, as we no longer to be prepared to make babies.
The problem is we are now seeing much more estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency. It’s the high levels of stress pumping out loads of adrenaline and cortisol (our stress hormones) that create a flat-lined progesterone all month, while our estrogen is high all month.
High estrogen can contribute to pounding headaches, recurrent yeast infections, depression, bloating, and leg cramps. Low progesterone can lead to PMS-migranes, anxiety and nervousness, fluid retention and depression, and low libido.
Our high stress levels are only creating greater stress levels, as our natural anti-depressant (progesterone) is not peaking each month like it should. We want our body to be able to produce both estrogen and progesterone, but to also be able to excrete them (and this means a healthy liver, kidneys and colon).
Out of balance = hair, skin and nail problems are likely
The Pill stops a woman ovulating; the ovary makes no progesterone meaning the adrenals have too, but if you have higher than optimal stress levels, your adrenals will struggle to do so.
Things that act as sex hormones messing your whole system up include:
- Phytoestrogens such as soy and red clover
- Xenoestrogens from plastics, herbicides, petrochemicals, and environmental estrogens… these are all endocrine disruptors (ie. mess with you hormones)
Sex Hormones Support:
- Do your nervous system support above
- Look after your liver and take liver herbs
- Eat more greens
- Take essential fatty acid supplement (eg. Udos oil)
- Eat regular meals
- Exercise regularly
- Do restorative practices
- No caffeine/or cut back
- No refined sugar/or cut back
- No gluten or dairy/or cut back
- Herbal support includes:
- Chaste Tree (pituitary herb, fosters communication between the pituitary and the ovaries)
- Peony (for low progesterone and high stress levels)
- Bluperum (for clotty periods)
- Globe artichoke (for detoxification)
- Don Quai (for menstrual pain)
- Licorice (support adrenal glands)
- Withania (lowers cortisol)
- Shatavari (female reproductive herb)
|Dr Libby doing her thing - and mucking around with genius Chef Cynthia Louise|
MANY PARTS OF YOU
How many parts of you reside inside of the whole you?
I’ve got Student Christie (where I am 90% of my time), Italiano Cristina (who is very much a life-loving-go-with-the-flow-always-smiling), there’s Susie Homemaker, the Sun Loving Hippie, Alecia Moore (singing and dancing extraordinaire), and a few others.
All are valuable and all are a part of me. But it’s when we don’t give time to each of our parts that things can be way less fun in life. For example, if I’m forever in Student Christie and never allow Alecia Moore some time, I feel stiff and like I’m working against the clock each day. But I went I crank some tunes, if only for half an hour, and once or twice a week is enough sometimes, I’m happy as Larry, shake off the stiffness, use my vocal chords, sing, breathe, and move, my circulation is going, my heart rate increases, and it’s so much easier and pleasant to go back to Student Christie. See what your many parts are, where you spend most of your time, and where you want to start playing in more.
BELIEFS & BEHAVIOURS
“Why do we do what we do when we know what we know” – Dr Libby.
Two lists we made here really hit home;
What currently has to happen for you to feel beautiful?
What currently has to happen for you to feel flawed?
Are we making the first list really hard for ourselves to even achieve (like have perkier breasts), and the second list super easy for us to feel crap (like having a bad hair day)? Interesting isn’t it…
Your beliefs determine your experience in this life
Your behaviour is your outermost expression of your beliefs
Take 20 slow deep breathes daily
RESTORATIVE YOGA & TAI CHI
Uh-maze-ing. Not a word of a lie. I’ve always loved power yoga and I still do, but I have done about half a dozen classes in the past 2years because of adrenal fatigue. I always knew restorative yoga needed to happen but I guess I wasn’t really interested (hint; that's when you need to do it). Even knowing that we had 90minutes of it at the end of our first day was enough for my little head to start conjuring up ways to get out of it – I could get to Brocks birthday earlier if I skipped it or jetted out early after all. "Too bad" I told myself. "You’re staying."
It absolutely rocked my socks off! And I’m not joking. Ever since leaving that session I’ve done it every day since – and that’s huge for me.
We did a mere 5 yoga poses and a short visualization in 90 minutes. A lot of deep diaphragmatic breathing to go with it, put together it’s what my body has needed for far too long, but my manic mind would have never let me lay down that long on my own at home – unless of course I flaked and literally fell asleep from sheer tiredness.
|This pic is one of Camilla Ferraro's from Inspired Nutrition|
So, if you’re adrenally fatigued, you need to start this stuff today! Find a class, a private practitioner, or email me for the 5 poses we did. Alternatively, look into one of the many online yoga class subscriptions around theses days.
If you’re not adrenally fatigued, but are still very often stressed, rarely allow yourself proper downtime, panic whenever anything ‘last minute’ has to be done… you need to start this as well. Or if you have been trying to lose weight, pushing yourself to go all out running everyday, portion sizing your meals, and also have stress levels higher than you'd like... I challenge you top do no running all week, and do restorative yoga everyday instead. Then email me to let me know what experience you had.
I believe everyone living in cities right now would experience pro-found! benefits from restorative yoga.
SKIN & HAIR
These are a reflection of our eliminatory and interior processes involving our liver, kidneys, and colon (that is, our detoxification).
It takes 28 days for the skin cells at the deepest level to migrate out and appear on the surface of our skin, so if we feed, nourish, and look after that deepest level everyday, we’re going to have fab looking skin everyday.
Nourish with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E and be sure to drink sufficient filtered water and eat foods rich in water also for skin hydration – think cucumbers, watermelon, celery
A little bit on acne… red means recent. Eliminatory organs and sex hormones need attention. Adrenalin drives inflammation in the body (big red acne is inflamed). Most people with acne need much more zinc than the RDI, and zinc piccolinate is better utilized by the body than others, but take it last thing before going to bed as it can interfere with absorption of some nutrients.
And eczema… try supplementing with 3g of Evening Primrose oil daily (in addition to an omega 3 oil), and start to look at when and why it began for you. Eczema in adults is very often an emotional link. In children, omit dairy and gluten and see how they go.
Our hair is an extretory mechanism and lurves essential fatty acids and minerals. Poor hair health is a result of poor protein digestion, adrenal fatigue, and sub-optimal thyroid health. Vitamin C slows the formation of split ends, increases circulation to the scalp, supports the blood vessels feeding the hair follicles, and insufficient levels are linked to hair breakages. Essential fats are also beneficial in preventing split ends. Vitamin D plays a role in healthy function of the hair follicle. Biotin is linked to a decrease in hair loss, as is zinc, which also helps a dry flaky scalp.
Skin and Hair Support:
- Support digestion, elimination and detixification
- Eat real foods
- Take an alcohol break
- Support your thyroid
- Consume essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9)
- Increase plants consumption
- Increase foods high in vitamins A, C, D, E
- Omit or minimize caffeine intake
FOOD & NUTRIENTS
- Nature gets it right, human intervention often gets it wrong
- B vitamins are needed for the PI pathway
- Greens are liquid sunshine
- Nettle tea is very good for inflammation as it calms skin conditions
Beauty Foods include:
- Almonds; nutrients essential to skin oxygenation and function
- Apple cider vinegar; helpful for dandruff, stimulates digestion
- Avocado; contains 19 different vitamins and minerals including bitoin and fat for healthy hair, skin and nails and hydration
- Beetroots; contain nitrates for circulation, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to the skin
- Lemons; high in vitamin C and stimulate digestion
- Green Tea; full of antioxidants and theanine protecting against cellular damage
- Blueberries; antioxidants
- Brazil nuts; high in selenium (antioxidant) protecting against cellular damage, regenerates vitamin C and E and decreases aging of the skin
- Figs; contain calcium to keep you calm, and keeps the digestive tract moving
- Broccoli and Cauliflower; great for liver detoxification, help sex hormone balance (ie. critical for clear skin)
- Coconuts; lauric acid has been shown to have 15x stronger action against bacteria involved in acne than benzoyl peroxide, its antibacterial, doesn’t need stomach acid to break it down and so goes straight through the portal vein to the liver where it is used as fuel for energy very quickly (when using fat as fuel our blood sugar levels are stabilized and our mood is increased)
- Cucumbers; hydrating, little diuretic effect
- Eggs; biotin (for dry skin), nail and hair health, iron for oxygenation, and protein
- Kale; vitamins A, C, E, calcium, magnesium, relaxing and calming, alkaline
- Oily fish; omega 3s, salmon also contains astaxanthin which improves skin elasticity
- Parsley; high in antioxidants, iron and vitamin C (both for oxygenation), anti-inflammatory and alkaline
- Spinach; contains lutein for our eyes, and has a range of nutrients
- Sprouts; concentrated nutrients
- Sunflower seeds; vitamin E and zinc for wound healing and scar prevention
- Walnuts; omega 3s for soft skin and shiny hair
- Watercress; high in vitamin C, pother antioxidants, and help to hydrate
- Olive oil; monounsaturated fats
- Organic butter; contains lauric acid like coconut oil, but also has vitamin D for our skin, bone, and nervous system health
Key Beauty Nutrients then include vitamins A, C, E, all minerals but especially iron, zinc, iodine and selenium, alpha lipoic acid and all your green veg.
REAL WORLD PLAN
Then we integrated it all and wrote down (without stopping our pens) the changes and experiences we now want in all areas of our lives – health and energy, connections, career, development, restoration, and play.
WHO I MET AND WHAT WE SNACKED ON…
The beautiful Camilla Ferraro from Inspired Nutrition, and Melanie from Naturally Nutritious, both from Melbourne and who are both on my Instagram feed. Don't you just love meeting up with online friends in the real world?!?! It's gotta be one of my favourite things ever! I also met Dr Libby of course, and a fair few other beautiful women who I chatted with, laughed with, danced with, and ooh-ed and aahh-ed over bliss balls and cake with.
|Brain Balls from The Real Food Chef Cookbook|
|Herbal Teas galore - most of us had a hard time picking which one to have every break!|
We were spoilt with a huge selection of herbal teas, and got to taste Chef Cynthis Louise’s vanilla balls, brain balls, coconut ice, and chocolate beetroot cake (oh my gosh). The recipe for the cake will be in this weeks newsletter on Friday so you’re gonna wanna be on the list for this one! Sign up here
|That Choc Beetroot Cake - recipe in my newsletter this Friday rememeber!|
|Chef Cynthia Louise making us her Chocolate Beetroot Cake|
|Coconut Ice that your body will lurve from The Real Food Kitchen Cookbook|
So there you have it! I really hope you got something out of this post as I sure got truckloads out of the whole weekend. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or what resonated with you the most.
Remember, you've gotta be on my mailing list to get the Choc Beetroot Cake recipe tomorrow, so pop your name down here