At my behest, this month my book club read Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking.” It comes across equal parts memoir and journalism–her year of magical thinking is one that follows the sudden death of her husband and the extreme illness of their only child. Though her tone never feels dramatic or overly expressive, there is an overwhelming sense of profound loss.
To aid in the comprehension of such grief, I selected 8 poems to share from a book of collected poems about grief called “The Art of Losing.” The book is divided into 6 sections that are a reflection on the grief process: Reckoning, Regret, Remembrance, Ritual, Recovery, Redemption. These two poems, both from “Recovery,” were particularly striking to me.
Almost a year ago a friend introduced me to a line of skin care products that has created a noticeable difference in my skin–I love it, and wanted to share it with you!
Evan Healy is the creator of evanhealy, the skin breathes, a line she created after working as an aesthetician for many years. Her line is a homeopathic approach to skin care that uses all natural plant ingredients, vitamins and minerals to create safe and non-toxic products. The products are hand-produced in small batches and organic ingredients are used when possible (you won’t find any synthetic or artificial ingredients here). There are three different treatment lines aimed at differing skin conditions, but Evan urges you to “trust your own sense of smell and intuition when deciding which product is appropriate for your skin’s current condition.”
A big change for me when I started using these products was using oil as a moisturizer instead of lotion. As is the homeopathic way of treating like with like (remember onions treating watering eyes/nose?), nourishing nut and seed oils are used to treat oily/imbalanced skin. I use the Tea Tree gel cleanser and Rosehip Treatment Facial Serum (Blue) daily, and the Green Tea Clay Mask weekly.
Evan’s holistic approach to life is one I am striving for:
“The fundamentals necessary to creating and maintaining healthy skin include a balance of nourishing foods and pure water, time spent in quiet contemplation, and exercise that encourages a healthy sweat and deep breathing. If you follow these few simple suggestions you will find yourself in the midst of a life well lived.”
You can read more about evanhealy products here.
This definition of “Good Food” from FEAST Together is really resonating with me:
But who has the privilege of eating this way? The beautiful carton of local eggs above was purchased at Marche for $4, and they were the best eggs we’ve ever eaten. I feel perfectly at peace paying over 2 times the amount a standard carton of eggs goes for because this is the way I have chosen to feed my family after much research on our current food systems. But I recognize that this is a privilege, and I find that fact very disturbing. “Justice for eaters” certainly does not mean that the most affordable food happens to be processed, denatured, and filled with additives. “Nourishing for our planet” means limiting or not using pesticides. Where can we find food that meets all the criteria? I reached for an organic head of cauliflower at Publix before quickly drawing back upon discovering that it was $6. SIX DOLLARS. That is privilege, and I certainly cannot afford to shop that way. I will pay $4 for eggs but not $6 for cauliflower because it seems to me like organic sections of chain grocery stores are a niche market and they can raise the price accordingly, whereas local/free-range eggs are usually around the same price. As I sort my way through all of this, I find I am getting more lost and feeling somewhat hopeless about the state of our food systems in America. We have a very long way to go–because it’s not just about making sure every plate has food on it, but also about making sure the “food” on the plate is actually contributing to the health and nourishment of the eater.
While it is easy to feel hopeless, there are people doing this extremely difficult work and there are amazing organizations committed to food justice all across the country. Here are a few that make me proud to call Nashville home:
As I am entering the world of nutrition and health (starting school next week!), I am reminded time and again that the best thing you can do for your own health is listen to your body. Our bodies truly know what they need for optimal health and they will tell us; the process of learning to listen will greatly inform the depth of our wellness. For example, I am prone to getting colds and sinus infections–last winter alone I had 4 sinus infections that knocked me out for a week at a time. In the past year I have changed some ways I go about life (cutting out meat, eating mostly whole foods, eating when I am hungry and drinking when I am thirsty, going to bed when I am tired…), and it’s these small changes that have given me a greater awareness of my body and how to listen to it. I am very aware of my symptoms of a cold/sinus infection, and my new favorite remedy is a homeopathic medicine called Coldcalm by Boiron. A dear friend gave me some when I felt a cold coming on recently and I was amazed at how quickly it worked to alleviate my symptoms. From the Boiron website: “Homeopathic medicines are therapeutically active micro-doses of mineral, botanical and biological substances.” Homeopathy is often looked down upon in the medical community (the wikipedia page definitely uses the word “quack”), but only you can decide what works best for your own self care. Coldcalm has a list of 9 ingredients all written in latin, so I did some research to see what it is I’m actually taking (something we should do for every medicine/thing we put in our bodies, no?) and I’m really excited about what I discovered. Do some research and decide what’s best for you, but I will say that I haven’t had a cold since last January. Here’s to a new year of good health!
Newly discovered poem from this episode of my favorite podcast, On Being.