Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cultured Vegetables

As you know, I'm a huge fan of probiotics. And one of the the best ways to get 'em into your body is by eating homemade fermented foods. Sauerkraut and Kimchee are examples of fermented vegetables, but the flavors and possibilities are endless. Wild Fermentation,by Sandor Ellix Katz (aka Sandorkraut), is a phenomenal book on the subject. Their website is full of great information, like this excerpt from his other book,The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.

Here is my method, but have a look around the ol' internets (there are even some You Tube videos), and you will find lots of variations.

1. Combine shredded or chopped cabbage and other veggies (like kale, carrot, daikon... experiment!) in a large bowl (clean the bowl first with soap and water, then rinse a few times with boiling water to make sure it's super clean).
2. Remove several cups of this mixture and put into a blender.
3. Add filtered water (enough to make a "brine" which will cover the veggies once they're in your jars).
4. Add a couple of tsps of high quality Sea Salt.
5. Blend well and then add some of the brine back into the bowl of veggies. Stir well.
6. Pack mixture down into super clean glass containers or a fermenting crock if you have one! I don't have a crock yet, but I do have various sizes of this type of jar, which seem to work very well. Use your fist, a clean wooden dowel, or a potato masher to pack veggies tightly... packing down and adding more veg as you go...
7. Fill jar almost full, but leave about 2 inches of room at the top for veggies to expand. Add enough brine to just cover the veggie mixture.
8. Roll up several cabbage leaves into a tight "log" and place them on top to fill the remaining 2 inch space. Clamp jar closed.
9. Let veggies sit at about a 70 degree room temperature for at least three days to a couple of weeks. Refrigerate once you start a jar. Yum!

It's normal for there to be a little bit of mold on the top cabbage leaves. Just pull the rolled up leaves out, and discard. And spoon away any that might be just at the top. Then stir up the yumminess, and enjoy!!

Natural probiotic foods are great for your health, and help to keep the skin glowing and beautiful!

Do you make your own? What's your favorite recipe?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Picky, picky...

Okay. This is a big one. Skin picking. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about already. I mean, you already get that feeling in the pit of your stomach, because just hearing those words triggers a whole slew of vague but undeniable emotions. If you're a picker, you get it.
Those of you who don't get that feeling - consider yourselves lucky. Spared...!

Skin picking comes in various degrees of severity. And in its more serious forms has been referred to by more serious names:

Neurotic Excoriations
Acne Excoriee
Psychogenic Excoriations
Compulsive Skin Picking (CSP)
Self Injurious Skin Picking (SISP)

I am a reformed picker. I remember - back in high school - being curled up on the floor in my room crying because of what I had done to my face. I really shouldn't have been left alone with a magnifying mirror in those days!! Fortunately, I was eventually steered in the right direction by my first esthetician who said to me, "Juliana, you're a picker. Go to school." And I did. I channeled the bad into good. Now I use my attention to detail and my knowledge about the skin to help make your skin require less picking! But I deeply understand that compulsive need to get rid of the pain and imperfection of what sometimes pops up on the skin.

I don't recommend picking at your own skin. Especially if you have a tendency to overdo it. Most times when clients come in, I can see the damage done, and I know how much better their skin would be looking without the gouges. The key, I think, is understanding that ultimately you are causing more harm than good. Did you know that there is a little tiny sac under the skin where the pimple is that holds bacteria? And that you can burst it under the skin when you go after that zit? This leads to the spreading of bacteria and more pimples. Best thing to do is apply ice to help take down swelling and kill bacteria. And use something medicated to spot treat... perhaps a dot of salicylic acid, some tea tree oil, or a bit of Volcanic Clay (Epicuren Volcanic Clay Mask). And come in for a facial. We do extractions under ideal and sanitary conditions without causing damage.

If you are a serious skin picker, there are some good resources online. You may need support. And you should not be ashamed to seek it out. Read some stories that other pickers have shared. And realize you are not alone. It is more common than you might think.

Here are a couple of online resources: