Over the course of the last seven years, I’ve been in a battle with my body. What started as debilitating stomachaches morphed into migraines, weird rashes, multiple types of belly pain, bloating, cramping, nausea and general uncomfortableness.
Waking up every day, I didn’t know which symptoms I’d have, how they’d impact my work day or my social commitments or how to cope.
Doctor after doctor gave me inconclusive diagnoses and shoved me full of prescription acid-blockers. I was told to go on the BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) diet whenever my symptoms arose, and after extensive testing, including an upper endoscopy, MRIs, CAT scans and blood work, I was still left without conclusive results or a treatment plan that didn’t include multiple medicines.
Frustrated and fed up after three years of what felt like no progress, I went to see a nutritionist who specialized in food allergies and sensitivities. She was the first person to suggest that my health problems could be related to what I was eating instead of overactive stomach acid. She took me off of gluten, eggs and dairy, and put me on a strict, six-small-meals-per-day diet. For about a year, I felt better than I had since my cycle of bad health had started. It was exhausting having to plan for so many meals and bring food with me everywhere I went, but I forged ahead, hopeful that my digestion disasters were behind me.
Then, somewhat suddenly, my symptoms reappeared, once again waging war on my daily life. Nine months of seeing a naturopath, a Chinese herbalist and a homeopath, and three full days of more extensive testing at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic later, the only answer I had was that my system was slightly low in B12. Unhelpful and disappointing to say the least.
What I didn’t know at that time was that, though my Mayo doctor had done all the standard Celiac disease testing, he wasn’t aware that in order for a blood test to point to a Celiac disease diagnosis, I had to actually be eating gluten for 8 to 12 weeks before the test. Fail.
It wasn’t until a doctor went back to look at my endoscopy results that my Celiac disease diagnosis was confirmed—and that was less than a year ago. For a while, I was angry with all the doctors I’d seen.
How had no one thought to test me correctly or accurately? Why didn’t anyone tell me about cross-contamination? I’d inadvertently been poisoning myself for nearly seven years and I had no idea.
Now, I’ve spent the months since my official diagnosis mourning the lost years, and learning all that I can about the autoimmune disorder (I highly suggest picking up the book Celiac and the Beast if you’re new to the disease, or just wondering about whether or not you could be intolerant). I’ve adjusted my lifestyle, bought a new toaster and new cutting boards (yes, cross contamination can happen through household items) and declared my home a gluten-free one. The only gluten-ful thing we stock in our house is beer, for my husband.
Why do I tell you all of this, when my headline promised tips on how to recover from getting glutened? Because I was in the dark for so long. Because I read countless articles about going gluten-free and still didn’t understand how to get tested or how to live a truly gluten-free life.
Now, I’m not saying this post is conclusive in all of those realms, but I do want it to be anecdotally comforting. If you’re struggling with any kind of long-term, undiagnosable health issues, you’re not alone. No matter how long it’s been going on, or how hard it’s been for you or how many doctors you’ve seen, don’t give up hope. There are answers out there for you, and though the road to get them is full of detours, speed bumps, crashes and breakdowns, it is ultimately worth it. You won’t always feel this badly.
Even though I’m painfully careful about avoiding gluten at home and at restaurants, no matter where you go (unless it’s this awesome, 100% gluten-free restaurant Susannah and I ate at in Austin), how many questions you ask and how certain your server is that your meal is gluten-free, there’s a chance that eating brunch at a new restaurant will lead to head fogginess, migraines, stomachaches, rashes and general un-wellness.
So how do I cope when I’ve been glutened? Here’s what’s worked best for me:
- I do a one-day juice cleanse.
- I up my probiotic intake to increase the good bacteria in my stomach, which helps soothe and calm things down.
- I pop Tummy Drops in ginger or peppermint to combat acute nausea (and to placate myself).
- I sometimes drink ginger ale. (I know, I know—sugar can make things worse. But I do it anyway.)
- I use Hope Gillerman’s Tension Remedy multiple times a day for my headaches.
- I take liquid chlorophyll to help my system detox.
- I make smoothies with GI-healing nutrients (GI Revive or Intestinal Repair Complex—see the comments of this IG post for a great recipe from Chase at Kypris Beauty).
- I heat up a corn bag or hot water bottle to hold on my stomach to alleviate cramping.
- I drink a ton of water.
There you have it: my Celiac disease story and how I cope when I get glutened. Do you have a similar story or tips on how to recover from food allergies? Share with us in the comments below!
Just one thought of H. Gillerman Organics aromatherapy blends sends us half way to bliss. The potent and powerful essential oil blends are the culmination of Hope Gillerman’s 25 years of experience helping people resolve stress related mind & body issues. H. Gillerman Organics essential oil blends are the perfect way to incorporate aromatherapy into your life. Trust us, you’ll never look back. She’s even added some essential oil infused skincare products to the mix. We are thrilled to share Hope’s makeup bag with you. You must join us at A Night For Green Beauty to meet Hope and try out her line for yourself!
Name: Hope Gillerman, founder H. Gillerman Organics, the Hope Gillerman Method
My relationship with makeup: Life is a performance!
Waxing nostalgic and finding my way back to the future
I was a dancer/choreographer in New York City when it was the epicenter of the avant guarde dance world. All things day-glo, glitter and glam were the norm with makeup and hair composing 90% of the look. We all got our locks Manic Panic colored at Cinandre, the Fekkai of the 80’s. Movies like Liquid Sky (1982) distilled this look born on St. Marks Place:
Switching to simple
Fast forward to working with chronic pain sufferers (many were performers like myself but all sorts of people have chronic pain) in my studio in Union Square, while trying to resolve my own health issues. Physician, heal thyself! What better way to understand how to heal others. Disturbed by my skin problems, hormonal flux, and digestive issues I got results from Acupuncture, herbs, diet, and yoga. My aha! moment happened when I wised up to the true contents of toxic beauty: “it’s the stuff you do everyday that matters!” So I turned away from hopeless sampling of OTC beauty products and faced up to the true healing power of essential oils to get my stress patterns back in balance. Over-working a beauty regime with “too much is never enough” is where many of us get stuck. So I created a skin care collection for myself and for anyone whose epidermis is starved for organic, pure, simple attention. (See Neroli Face Oil, Flowers Face Balm and Flowers Lip Balm, in the photo).
On my way back
Pairing down my personal care to the basics definitely pulled me away from the performance of it all. Luckily, the inspiring and truly dedicated, beautifully honest, green stylists/beauty healers shared my purpose. Thanks to the nudges and winks from Jenna Hipp, Pati Dubroff, Katey Denno, and Jessa Blades, I found my way back to makeup, color, even nails!
A pioneer for greening up nails, Jenna inspired me to rethink. As a bodyworker, I avoid the heavy feel of polish in my touch, but Jenna’s sits light on my nails. With 5-free, it goes on easy and comes off the same. This summer’s dream collection of colors love my skin tone and her hand and cuticle cream is my go-to for prepping nails – such a fun tube to boot!
Katey turned me on to color-can-be-simple: start with your lips! Suggesting Burt’s Bees Hibiscus Tinted Lip Balm in Evening Glow for a healthy shine , and Sasha Plavsic’s Ilia Lip Crayon in “Dress You Up” which matches my lips exactly. What a wonderous, silky mat never pulling on skin or calling out for a protective balm. I can even put it on in the dark! Katey encouraged Ilia’s power-packed colors as well—taking me back to the richness of the 80’s Chanel lip colors.
Pati’s #anyonecandothis #diy video on how to use the beloved Kevin Aucoin’s eyelash curler finally put it all together and I am curling again! The silicone pad doesn’t get a groove in it so it never crimps, just makes a nice curve. You can even curl post mascara.
Jessa reminds me to keep spreading the word: START WITH TOXIN FREE DEODORANT IF NOTHING ELSE. I use the ever popular Soapwalla. Next up I make my own from Themamacircle ‘s Erica Chidi (link) #DIY recipe with my essential oils of choice. I got a lot of ideas there!
Fruits for face
With my skin history, I avoid trying new things as they can bring out the red. Living my new bold, I have taken the plunge – One Love Organics summer Ltd line. A light fruit cleanser for getting the fresh back on my skin– an Apple a Day works for me. I love the rose sponge – the gentle heart shape to make sure I get the makeup and sunscreen out of my pours. Then I spritz the cooling, astringing, grapefruit Pretty Pores mist for my daily dose of C, and follow with blush, highlighter and eye color from Rose-Marie Swift’s quality line of balms – RMS Beauty. Done!
List of products:
- H. Gillerman Organics Flowers Face Balm
- H. Gillerman Organics Neroli Face Oil
- H. Gillerman Organics Flowers Lip Balm
- Jenna Hipp Essential Nail + hand cream
- Jenna Hipp Nail Polish.
- Burt’s Bees: HIBISCUS tinted Lip Gloss, shade: Evening Glow
- Ilia Lip Crayon , shade: Dress You UP
- Kevin Aucoin, Eyelash curler
- One Love Organics: Apple a Day Brightening Facial Cleanser,
- One Love Organics: Pretty Pores Complexion Toning Mist,
- One Love Organics: Rose clay Cleansing Sponge.
- RMS Beauty- Cream Eye Shadow, shades: Magnetic, Lunar, Solar and Demure Lip2Cheek .
- Liberty of London Makeup Bag
- H Gillerman Organics Remedy pack.
What have you tried from H. Gillerman Organics? Is aromatherapy an important part of your life?
It’s Friday and I’m thinking about my weekend. I’ll be traveling, which means figuring out how to recharge without the luxury of time to myself. No lounging about with my newspapers and a rich face mask. No long walks in the arboretum or people gazing from the patio of my favorite Capitol Hill cafe. This weekend will be a fast-paced punch in the face, leaving stars in my eyes come Monday morning, but I say bring it! I’ve got this.
Even in a rush or away from home, you can build in moments of pure detachment from your daily thought load and engage your senses in an elemental way, the kind that really hits reset. For me, the answer is always flowers. The biggest reason I’m drawn to natural products—at least the most carnal reason—is the heavenly (earthly?) scent of expertly blended essential oils and flower essences.
Flowers are my greatest source of therapy and I suspect they play a role in your pretty life, too.
Here are my flower picks for a hectic weekend on the go…
Hope Gillerman Travel Remedy: This weekend I’ll be driving up the east coast in heavy Friday evening traffic. Tomorrow I’ll venture even further up the coast by train. Hope Gillerman’s Travel Remedy will steady any motion sickness and help me feel grounded as my surroundings change. The lemon-balm scent comes from a blend of some of my favorite oils: litsea cubeba, lavender, palmarosa, orange, atlas cedar, petitgrain, and birch. This travel staple comes in a small roll-on bottle, perfect for your purse.
LURK PRJ V1: Have you tried this natural fragrance line? Are these precious little bottles to die for or what? It was a great pleasure to sample the LURK line and speak with the lovely founder, Anne Sanford, at the Night For Green Beauty. PRJ V1 is a heady, sensuous blend with a crisp finish that keeps the overall effect fresh. Expect a perfect marriage of jasmine, rose, and petitgrain. Dab it generously on your wrists and behind your ears and come back for more as often as you please.
Bach’s White Chestnut Flower Essence: The unfinished chores or other loose ends in my life won’t bother me while I’m away. Nope, White Chestnut flower essence will interrupt the endless to-do lists that run through my head and help me live in the moment, unencumbered by worries that just aren’t productive. Have you tried flower essences?
One Love Organics Vitamin D Mist: The latest collaboration from dream team Suzanne LeRoux and Elizabeth Dehn is a gorgeous aromatic mist that kisses your face with gentle alpine rose, and this baby is multifaceted. I’ll use it to rehydrate throughout my trip, set my makeup in the mornings, and tone my face in the evening. The bottle delivers a super fine mist that floats onto your skin, unlike some that drench your face in one spot. The formula features antibacterial Shiitake mushroom extract, which soothes irritation and redness. The rosey scent is faint but marvelous.
Pratima Amla Collagen Cream: This is the only cream that can lure me away from my precious oils. It has a cooling effect on my Pitta skin, and though it is meant to treat dry skin, this cream is not heavy and sinks in beautifully. I love to smooth this over my neck and décolleté. The texture and Ayurvedic ingredients are simple and divine, but it’s the scent that has me hooked. Organic essential oils of rose, geranium, lemon, and cardamom give this cream a sweet, delicate aroma that makes me feel well-loved and dreamy. Its skin-plumping effect doesn’t hurt, either.
Rishi Wild Rose Tea: This tea is one of those little luxuries that makes me stop and appreciate my position in life. The delicate rose aroma soothes and rejuvenates my spirit. The flavor is subtle, not overpowering or too floral. I like to add some mint leaves to the blend for a mid-morning refresher, or drink with some honey in the evening to wind down. Traveling with loose tea can be impractical, but T-Sacs make it easy. Pop into a Starbucks, grab a free cup of hot water, and brew your own elevating rose tea.
Erbaviva Relax Spray: Organic lavender, rose, and neroli lend a tranquilizing sensation to this travel-worthy blend. I spritz this in the air and on my pillow just before hopping into bed. It helps me feel at ease, open to rest, and at home in an unfamiliar bed. Get the travel size and thank me latter.
What are your flower powers? How do you enhance your wellbeing on the go?
We love New York Fashion Week, but we don’t love thinking about all the dirty cosmetics the models and stylists are exposed to on the job everyday. Death by hairspray? Maybe not, because green beauty is coming to Fashion Week! Don’t miss A Night For Green Beauty, a natural beauty pop-up hosted by La Bella Figura on September 4 from 5-9 p.m at the James Corbett Studio. As New York Fashion Week’s first ever, all-organic beauty venue, some of your favorite clean brands will be showcasing their products: La Bella Figura, Kahina Giving Beauty, May Lindstrom Skin, Kjaer Weis, Ilia Beauty, Revolution Organics, CV Skinlabs, Vered Botanicals, One Love Organics, Tela Organics, Lurk Perfumes, Annee DeMamiel, Hope Gillerman, Joanna Vargas Skincare, SW Basics of Brooklyn, Olie Biologique, Lina Hanson and Dr. Alkaitis.
You can expect fresh pressed juices from Pressed Juicery, a Braid Bar, and tips and touchups from celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno. We checked in with Victoria Fantauzzi, cofounder of La Bella Figura, to get the scoop on the event and ask some fun questions while we had her ear. Here’s what she had to say (our questions in pink):
Tell us about A Night for Green Beauty.
We created A Night For Green Beauty to highlight what we do that is beautiful and committed to our industry of non toxic products. This will be the first green beauty event to kick off New York Fashion Week featuring some of the very best brands in the beauty industry. It’s not just for natural lovers, but for all beauty lovers, the bonus being all of the brands create gorgeous non-toxic products. The brand owners will be in attendance and will be available to answer questions and tell their unique stories and some are launching brand new products at the event. We have a group of experts who will be able to guide the curious with tips and advice. Our organic makeup bar, hairstyling station and juice bar with fresh juices from Pressed Juicery are all going to be interactive and fun. Some of the proceeds from the evening are being donated to a NYC non-profit called Hair2Help, which offers free beauty and wellness services to cancer patients and their caregivers. This will definitely be the perfect stop before fashion madness ensues.
Clean products are gaining traction with a wider audience as awareness spreads about toxic ingredients and the poor regulation of cosmetics. What’s next for natural skincare?
I think natural skincare and beauty will become more mainstream and easier to attain for customers. There are great stores now taking notice of brands because their customer is asking for these products to be available at Sephora or Space NK or even more traditional department stores. I also think that you’ll find more interesting scientific advancement in certain products because the science is coming in and we can add more effective ingredients into formulations. For example our new Jardin de Fleurs Skin Revitalizer is full of electrolytes and enzymes from raw coconut water, but also contains super low weight hyaluronic acid, cactus flower and edelweiss extracts to fully boost skin’s moisturizing layer and collagen promotion. Natural beauty is turning the heads of those that initially thought this was only for hippie types and had no longevity. It’s pretty exciting!
What’s your favorite essential oil and why?
This is like asking, “who is your favorite child?” I guess if I had to pick just one I would say grapefruit. It’s healing, powerful, anti bacterial and it smells incredible! I think grapefruit is Karen’s favorite as well.
Do you have a favorite beauty or self-care ritual?
I rarely have time to myself these days so I try to make Sundays my time to indulge in face masks, long baths and deep conditioning my hair. I think reading and preparing a beautiful dinner are all a part of a need to care for myself and encourage my mind to stay centered and body to feel its best. I like catching up with my friends on Sundays because they make me laugh and laughing is the real key to wellness. You just have to laugh sometimes and not take things so seriously.
What advice do you have for women who want to start their own business in the green beauty industry?
Be prepared to work long, insane hours and learn to multi task. Accept the mistakes you make and instead of beating yourself up over them interpret them as valuable lessons that enrich your entrepreneur education. Forget what everyone else is doing and do your own thing. Develop thick skin because you’ll need it. Learn to take vacations in October because the rest of the year is too busy and demanding for normal getaways.
Thanks Victoria and La Bella Figura! So, who’s going to A Night For Green Beauty?
Hello friends! This post is coming to you direct from… China! That’s right, I’m currently in Hong Kong, which is the last stop on a weeklong whirlwind tour of the country that included Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, and Dongguan. While I could talk a blue streak about the time I’ve had here, I’ll keep this post locked on everyone’s favorite topic: natural beauty.
First, some context. I’ve been away from home for over two weeks now. I started at a wedding, then went to SF for five days, and flew out of SFO to Hong Kong. I’ve taken three flights—four soon—and have avoided checking bags on all of them. I’ve been on more long drives than I can count.
Now, I know there have been heat waves stateside too, so you can possibly relate. But here in la Chine it’s been hot as h-e-double-hockey sticks, with like 100% humidity. What’s more, every day has been a marathon of sorts. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say it’s been shvitz city. Oh, and sleep has been scarce.
So there you have it. This trip, while totally amazing, was all but designed to make a girl look like a hot mess—and not in a good way. Here are the products that saved me from total disaster.
1. Hotel hair products
No kidding. The first hotel we went to in Shanghai had natural (or pretty natural) products, which could mean 1) that China is evolving faster than I thought or 2) the cause has gained serious steam. The more likely reality: This hotel is the nicest place I’ve ever stayed and the people who created this dreamy environment clearly have impeccable taste. Anyways, it solved my lack-of-haircare-products problem (remember, no bag checking). How could I tell they were clean? Entirely by smell and texture. We’re they perfect? Who knows. But they got the job done while here!
2. Hope Gillerman
If I could have one thing on a 14-hour flight, and one thing only, it would be Hope Gillerman. On my way to Hong Kong I must have applied and inhaled the muscle and travel remedies at least ten times. I did not have any jet lag on arrival, so draw your own conclusions. And I think my fellow travelers benefited from the spa-like environment these created on the plane.
3. Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil
This little beauty has done it all for me this week. Moisturize, remove makeup, make me feel less like a raisin on the aforementioned 14-hour flight and subsequent shorter ones. When traveling light, these all-in-one products are such a boon.
4. RMS Beauty’s lip-to-cheek
I cannot overestimate how my RMS lip-to-cheek in rapture saved my face this past week. In this kind of weather you just can’t wear makeup! I don’t care if it’s super-powered chemical crap, that stuff will smear when it’s this hot and humid. So I skipped makeup all together minus this, which I reapplied diligently throughout the day. It made me feel like a human on the days where I was sweating through my shirt and had only slept 3 hours.
What are your must-haves when traveling?