Eat, Sleep and Drink Yourself to Youth
Dare to become ALIVE & explore a natural approach that stands the test of time
Summer is cooooooming!!! And this, my dear Healthies, will be the first of a new summer series celebrating beauty and and love for our bodies. If you do not take care of YOU....then who will??? If you do not take care of YOUr body...then where will "YOU" live??? Why do we so often prioritize everything else other than our own well-being? Being healthy and taking care of our bodies, should be more important than a new sofa or TV? So WHY is it sometimes so difficult to love ourselves, the way we would love others to love us?
Through this article I’d like to invite Ximena Gonzalez, a Holistic Nutrition & LifeStyle Coach and the author of many of our HFC newsletter articles, to extend the conversation & dive deep, very deep into the topic of beauty and explore it as it relates to your body. I’d also like to take the opportunity tand ask Ximena to share 10 natural beauty secrets that stand the test of time. This in hopes of inspiring you to transition from the external pursuit of beauty through approaches that may be killing you, to embracing nourishing practices that will make you feel ALIVE while naturally enhancing your BEAUTY so you can GLOW from the inside out!
A HUMBLING EXPERIENCE
I would like to start this journey by sharing a life changing experience I had while interviewing a Kogui Indian, in La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the mountains of Colombia. I asked the Kogui “What is your idea of a beautiful woman?”
He said “A woman that is loving, understanding, a great mother…” My “civilized” arrogance interrupted him “No I mean aesthetically” and I proceeded to rephrase the question, this time I spoke a bit slower and made an effort to vocalize. I wanted to get past the language barrier and make sure he understood me. I tried again “What should a beautiful woman look like?” He insisted “A woman that is good to me, one that smiles…” as he continued to list personal qualities it hit me. I had a humbling realization “Wow the one who doesn’t understand is ME!”
You see until then I had never met a person that was NOT contaminated with ideas of physical stereotypes of beauty. For days his words resonated like the echo of a loud drum in my heart and each beat broke through yet another layer of the “beauty” bullshit I had been programmed with. I’m talking about how we’ve learned to measure our sense of worth based on looks rather than the quality of women that we are. Not only that we’ve given our power away to the fashion, cosmetics, supplement, fitness & movie industries, to dictate what we should look like in order to deserve the title of “beautiful”. And if all that wasn’t concerning enough beauty standards have gotten so EXTREME in recent years that in order to achieve the “ideal look” millions of women around the world are literally “Dying to be beautiful”. Let’s take a closer look…
1. Natural curves:
For the most part until the 1990’s “beautiful” was natural, feminine & curvaceous a look that could be achieved, by the average woman NATURALLY, through good nutrition & physical activity.
2.The malnourished little girl look:
In the 90’s the ideal of “beauty took an interesting twist… curves got kicked “OUT” and this look became the glamorous “IN” thing. Hello BOX-GAP! Soon we began seeing click here of this:
It breaks my heart to see this distortion getting packaged in a way that seduces women to associate these bodies with glamour, status, success, sexiness, beauty, attention, etc. as it invites them to engage in dangerous practices in hopes of achieving all of the above.
Extreme “skinny” measures to die for: Some common methods used to achieve this body type include: Anorexia, bulimia, excessive cardio, fasting, extreme dieting, stimulant addiction, thermogenics (fat burners) and other diet pills like appetite suppressants, drugs, cosmetic procedures, etc.
NOTE 1: I’m NOT saying ALL models engage in these behaviors, however they are very common.
NOTE 2: Yes there are some healthy women that are naturally petite, yet one thing is to be petite and another is to be malnourished.
JUST HOW FAR ARE WE PREPARED TO GO?
Model Confessions… “All that glitters ain’t gold”
Confession #1 Australian international model: I asked her why she stopped modeling she said “because I got hungry” and then went on to tell me that many of her model colleagues lived on cocaine, diet coke and cotton balls to get a sense of fullness. You read right cotton balls were their solid meal. How can you even swallow cotton?
Confession #2 Aussie Model in NYC: She told me that for years she had a full-blown eating disorder; she was anorexic, over exercised & abused diet pills until the day her metabolism crashed.
Confession #3 Dominican former Elite Model: She said to me that she quit because the dieting became unbearable & each time it became harder to hide her Latin curves which weren’t particularly appealing to the casting directors.
Confession #4 Colombian model: She told me she was desperate because she had 1 bowel movement every 10 days. When I asked about her diet she was pretty much living of soda, white bread and packaged foods.
3. The “Ripped” look: But fashion models are not the only extreme bodies girls are aspiring to these days. The ripped look has become the new “skinny”.
Having 10% body fat or lower, for a woman, is not natural or achievable without engaging in questionable practices.
Extreme “fitness” measures to die for: Some common methods used to achieve this body type include: Thermogenics (fat burners) & other stimulants, extreme dieting, supplement over use, over training, steroids, etc.
NOTE 1: Just like there are naturally thin women there are women that are genetically leaner than others, yet it’s unlikely that the level of leanness displayed in these pictures was achieved naturally.
Fitness Bunny confessions:
Confession #1 Australian fitness model/fitness competitor: She said that what the judges are expecting to see on stage now is so unrealistic that in order to achieve the new “fitness” standards the competitors have to push their bodies to new extremes. She said she quit because she wasn’t willing to put her body through that any more. She’s learned to embrace her feminine curves.
Confession #2 Former Australian fitness competitor: She told me that she had recently participated in a fitness competition. She was overweight, looked exhausted and very unhealthy. She said that her metabolism had crashed and that she was now paying the consequences of the extreme measures she used to shred her body and compete.
4. The hybrid: One of the things we’re seeing is women trying to create hybrids between the 3 body types I described previously; the curvy, the skinny & the shredded.
When you look at the skinny models and the fitness girls you’ll notice that they are pretty flat chested. Why??? Because breasts are made of fat and both the skinny girls and shredded girls typically don’t have enough fat on them to menstruate, let alone, to have big breasts. However the curvy “sex symbols” displayed at the beginning of the article, have more fat on them and therefore have full breasts. You’ll notice that the women in the pictures below are a good representation of the hybrid bodies I’m talking about. By adding breasts to their physiques they are incorporating a “feminine” or “sexy” trait to their skinny girlish body or to the more masculine shredded look.
Extreme “hybrid” measures to die for: Some common methods used to achieve this body type include: Cosmetic surgery, implanting foreign objects into their bodies, restricting calories & nutrients, skipping meals, over exercising, eating toxic diet foods, thermogenics (fat burners) & other weight-loss supplements, steroids, stimulants, drugs, anorexia, bulemia, etc.
When women don’t feel comfortable in their own skin....So, what happens to the average woman who:
Is bombarded with all these confusing images? Has become disconnected from what a natural body looks like?
No longer feels comfortable in her own skin?
Many compromise their health and even put their life at risk in order to forcefully mold their face & bodies to fit the coveted “trendy” beauty standard, which women with extreme physiques are modeling. Some are willing to do this because they believe that when they have “THE” face & “THE” body, they’ll somehow reach the Promised Land… BEAUTY BLISS, a one way ticket to the “perfect life”.
Confessions of a Coach
So now it’s my turn to share just a few of MANY situations I’ve had with clients that don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. These cases are about mothers projecting their own image & eating disorders on to their daughters.
CONFESSION #1 A psychologist referred her patient to me so I would teach her how to nourish her body through nutrition, lifestyle & healthy exercise habits. The girl’s mother was so obsessed with making her 16 year old daughter skinny, that she forced her to follow diets, go on diet pills, have a balloon tied to her stomach (to reduce it’s size) and even had her tongue stitched so she would only ingest liquids. When I spoke to the mother and told her that I was going to teach her daughter how to nourish her body through food and through learning to love herself she left and never came back.
CONFESSION #2 The mother of a 26-year old client called me in a rage because I had educated her daughter about the importance of eating FAT. She was furious because her daughter was 14lbs over weight. You see this very petite girl was 114lbs but her mother expected her to weigh 100lbs. In tears my client described sitting with her mother at the dinner table & going shopping with her as torture.
I can’t help but wonder as a woman and as a coach…
How much more pain do we need to experience or witness before we realize that:
1. Chasing “ideals of beauty” and …
2. Opting for “dying to be beautiful” approaches are destroying girls & women physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually?
What’s a girl to do?
Based on what I learned from my encounter with the Kogui indian:
Stop basing your worth on LOOKS. Devote equal amount of time & energy to nourishing yourself physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually.
Stop coveting what other people have & be grateful for what YOU have. Can you visualize what YOUR body would look life if it were well nourished (based on YOUR natural frame, height, curves, etc)?
Realize that achieving extreme bodies requires extreme measures that come at the expense of your physical, mental, emotional & spiritual wellbeing. Can you use the life giving elements of nature to nourish your body, become healthy inside and as a result GLOW on the outside?
I want to share with you the 10 NATURAL daily habits that have nourished my body for the last 12, going on 13 years. These habits have stood the test of time & have allowed me to stay healthy “inside and out”, NATURALLY.
Below you’ll find a timeline from the time I was 25 until today when I took the picture that represents me at 36.
(I’ll be 37 in 18 days).
NOTE 1: These pictures don’t intend to project a body image on to you. I’ve used them here as a mere reference of how MY unique frame has responded to living by the principles outlined below.
NOTE 2: I’ve never had cosmetic procedures done other than dying my hair & using make up for photo-shoots. I’ve never used diet pills, thermogenics, etc.
NOTE 3: I didn’t include pictures of me at 26 & 27 because I don’t have any.
NOTE 4: The principles outlined below have also helped my clients recover from: diabetes, fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression, metabolic disorders, chronic fatigue, migraines, cancer, obesity, etc.
At the end of the summer, early fall you’ll hear from one of my clients (who is close to your heart). She’ll be sharing her inspiring cancer survival story.
For now I leave you with the Natural nourishing practices that have helped my clients & I feel ALIVE:
I eat WHOLESOME food found in nature. I avoid “food-like products made in labs and factories.
I buy my food from co-ops & farmers markets that offer ORGANIC plant foods & animal products that are ORGANIC grass-fed, pasture raised. I eat wild caught fish & seafood. I’ve been enjoying the food from Miller’s organic farms roughly since 2005. I avoid foods grown with agrochemicals, genetically modified organisms and factory farmed animals.
I eat 3 big meals per day and I don’t stop eating until I feel nourished. I DO NOT diet; restrict calories, skip meals, eat diet foods, or weigh food. If I feel like I need to snack I do.
I eat a good variety of plant & animal foods of all types
I eat plenty of fat from butter, ghee, pork lard, beef tallow, coconut oil & olive oil
I drink bone broths with every meal
I season my food with fresh herbs and spices and salt my food to taste with unprocessed sea salt.
I avoid the foods that I’m sensitive to (meaning the foods that bloat me or make me feel sick). I’ve built my diet around what makes me feel truly ALIVE. I LISTEN TO MY BODY.
I drink filtered or spring water, coconut water, herbal teas and the occasional fresh squeezed juice. I Avoid soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, commercial teas, tap water, alcohol etc.
I go to bed at 10:00pm and rise at 6:00am. This helps me feel energized, fresh, young & rested.
I workout 5-6 days a week for 30 minutes
I LOVE to lift heavy weights at the gym. I do body-weight workouts at home. I also love to dance “freestyle”.
I meditate for 30 minutes after each workout
I walk my dog daily for about 30 minutes
My skin is olive so I need quite a fair amount of sun in order to make enough vitamin D. I sunbathe 1-2 times per week until my skin turns light pink.
I tan with coconut oil & when I’ve had enough sun I’ll use a natural sunscreen or get out of the sun.
DIGESTION & DETOXIFICATION:
I eat slowly, in a peaceful setting.
I chew my food until it’s liquid & I enjoy every bite.
I take probiotics daily to support the friendly bacteria in my gut.
I regularly eat garlic, ginger & turmeric to protect myself from fungal or parasitic infestations.
I keep a clean healthy bowel (colon). This is SOOOOO IMPORTANT!
I’m a nature lover and try to spend as much time as I can out in nature barefoot. When I can’t be out in nature I bring nature to my home: I’m surrounded with plants, I watch the sun set on the ocean (from my balcony) & I connect with my beautiful doggy.
I use natural beauty care products as a way to feed my hair & skin. I avoid toxic “beauty” care
I use natural cleaning products & avoid being in contact with toxic chemicals.
REST & SILENCE:
I love quiet time that allows me to connect with myself and feel centered for the rest of the day. Try to find some time for yourselves, even if you have a busy family and work schedule.
I love to laugh until my belly aches. My husband makes me laugh all the time. Humor is one of my favorite qualities in a man
All these practices are built into my day. They are very important to me because every-time I do something nourishing for me I feel loved & ALIVE. This makes me want to share my LOVE with my husband, my dog, my family, clients, friends and everyone else around me, including YOU.
May the healing power of nature be with you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ximena Gonzalez has 16 years of clinical experience helping people restore their health & recover their figure through nature. She lectures in USA, as well as Mexico, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Colombia. Ximena's work has been published in numerous magazines, including the Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Journal, She's hosted nutrition & fitness segments on Telemundo, Vme, Televen, etc. and has been featured on CNN, NBC6, Univision, CaracolTV, amongst others.