Last week Siobhan shared an article from Prevention with our dear friend Anna and me. It was written by Dr Christiane Northrup, a woman who has been a teacher to all three of us at different times in our lives, and for different reasons. If you have yet to read Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, you’re in for an eye-opening treat. This woman gets women.
And while it’s not exactly news, it always bears repeating: Real beauty is the hard-won result of self-love and self-care. Sure, it’s clean products, lots of veggies, yoga and piloxing (still my fave!)… But how many of us truly take care of ourselves in a deeper, holistic (and consistent) way? Yeah.
“Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that consistent, thoughtful self-care is the single most important aspect of our health, period, ” says Northrup in the piece. Below are highlights from her recommended ways to care for yourself. How many of them do you practice?
1. Express your needs.
So many people I know, myself included, have a really hard time asking for help and support. I don’t think this is exclusive to women, but we certainly live with the perception that we should be able to handle everything and execute without a glitch. According to Northrup: “Unmet needs create stress, and stress produces toxic hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, that cause inflammation and suppress our immune systems. So it’s vital to learn to ask for what we need.”
2. Listen to your body
When you’re hungry do you eat? When you’re tired do you rest? Do you do things because they feel good or because you think that you should? Here Northrup tells a great personal story about growing up in a family of athletes: “They were fabulous role models for physical health, but that go-go-go approach was not my style. It wiped me out and drained my energy. I felt guilty about that for years, until I discovered activities that work for my body. I fell in love with Pilates, a stretching-and-strengthening program that has made me stronger, thinner, and even taller. That kind of exercise fuels rather than drains me.”
3. Face uncomfortable feelings
This one’s a toughie, but a goodie because we believe in these parts that unexpressed feelings have a way of staying in the body and wreaking havoc. Northrup agrees: “Facing your emotions helps you process them and get rid of them. Ignoring them, on the other hand, keeps you stuck emotionally and can contribute to physical problems, from fatigue to migraines. So pummel a pillow, cry, shout, throw things. Movement, tears, and making sounds are all nature’s way of moving your emotions up and out of the body.”
She also advises to see age simply as a number, and to live life by your values. You can read the entire wonderful article here. Does her advice ring true for you?
Happy Monday! We have two new things for you to freak out about.
I’ve had pills on the brain lately, mainly because every day I have to take medication (nothing serious, just a thyroid thing) and supplements (nothing serious, just omega 3s and folic acid), and I’ve long wondered what on earth is in them. I made the mistake of looking up the inactive ingredients in Synthroid once and was dismayed to find they contained dye. After that decided to turn a blind eye to it until I can come up with a better plan, which will probably be never since thyroid medicine is typically something you have to take for life.
But two headlines recently caught my eye, and I fear that further investigation may be on the horizon.
First, I learned that many common medications contain phthalates, hormone disruptors that we avoid at all costs in our personal care products.
In a recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, U.S. researchers sampled a small portion of pills on the market—medicines for conditions ranging from acid reflux, infections, and inflammation to ulcerative colitis and high blood pressure, among others—and found that 10 to 20 percent contained two types of plasticizing chemicals tied to lifelong health problems. These plastic chemicals, known as phthalates, are often found in vinyl flooring and shower curtains, cleaning products, nail polish, perfumes, and fragranced personal care products, insecticides, and food packaging.
Blarg. To find out how to tell if your meds contain phthalates, read the rest of the piece here.
Next, I learn, from our friends at Well+Good NYC that medications are also often not vegetarian.
Attention vegans and vegetarians: A new study published online in the Postgraduate Medical Journal found that many people who avoid eating animal products unknowingly take pills that contain gelatin, derived from collagen in animal skin, bones, and connective tissue.
The study: Researchers from the U.K. surveyed 500 urology patients about their dietary preferences and whether they would take medications that contained animal products. (Previous studies have shown that urology drugs often contain gelatin.) They also asked the patients if they would question their doctor about animal ingredients in pills.
The results: Of the patients polled, 176 said that they preferred medication made with vegetable products, and 43 percent of those 176 said they that would not knowingly take a pill made with animal products. (The other 57 percent said they would take a pill containing animal products if no other alternative existed.)
To find out more about that, continue reading the post over here.
Are you worried about what’s in your meds and supplements?
Lovely picture via