When buying beauty helps make the world more beautiful, too
The premise is simple. All I need to do is incorporate some simple steps into my everyday routine that help my body to recover from the multitude of stresses that bombard it on a daily basis.
The inspiration came from what I observed in my own daily activity.
I'm one of those people who make a mess whenever I'm actively doing something. Part of the blame for this is due to my short attention span. I pick an item up, do something with it, get distracted, and move on to something else without putting the item away. As you would imagine, this habit leads to lots of disorder in my environment.
In the past, I would allow many days to pass before truly cleaning up my mess. By then, cleaning everything up was a nightmare. I've since ingrained the habit of cleaning at the end of my tasks (or at the end of the day). This helps keeps things organized while preserving my sanity.
Looking back, I realized that I've been treating my internal environment in the same way. I lived from one day to the next without giving much thought to giving my body the fuel it needs to "clean up" internally.
Our bodies do a decent job of repair and regeneration......but.....we sometimes do a better job of increasing toxicity. We eat the wrong things, are exposed to toxic chemicals and we do an overall lousy job at giving our bodies the help it needs to properly detoxify. The older I get, the more I realize my body isn't as efficient as it used to be. The effects of my poor choices are becoming more evident day after day. But, on the flip side, our bodies are ultra-resourceful and respond well to any positive behaviors. Just a few simple daily detox actions will go a very long way.
Let's start at the most basic level. The most obvious way that our body cleanses itself is from waste elimination. The easiest way to promote/increase elimination is through adequate water intake. When you drink more water, you'll use the restroom more. It's as simple as that. Anytime I slack on my water intake, my body holds onto more waste products then when adequately hydrated.
I read a book once that talked about how scientists were able to keep heart cells from a chicken alive in a petri dish for over 20 years (chickens normally live 7-8 years). These cells remained functional because they were placed in a saline solution that contained the right balance of oxygen, water, and minerals. Each day, the researchers were tasked with removing the waste products created by the cells. Once they neglected to remove the waste, the cells died. Here's the thing, when we don't properly eliminate waste, it doesn't just disappear into thin air, it's stewing in our bodies. You take showers every day, aren't you also interested in cleansing the body from the inside?
#2 Healthy Lymph
Another critical component that we can't neglect is the lymph. Our body contains more lymph fluid than blood. This lets you know how important the lymphatic system is to our health. When we talk about detoxing, the lymphatic system HAS TO BE a part of the conversation. We rarely think about our lymph but it's a critical component of our health and well-being. Our white blood (immune) cells live in our lymph fluid. You wanna know what else is there? Cellular waste.
Unlike the respiratory system where the heart pumps automatically, the lymph needs our help. In order to properly do its job, it requires movement. When you're sitting all day, our lymphatic system suffers. Lymphatic stagnation results in acne, puffiness, swollen face/arms/legs, cellulite, under eye bags, constipation, bloating and so much more. The good news is that we can easily incorporate detox actions to promote a healthy lymph. These include:
- Exercises that require up/down movements like bouncing on a trampoline, jumping rope, jumping jacks (but any exercise works).
- Lymphatic massage on the face/body.
- Dry skin brushing.
- Stay Hydrated.
Next on my daily detox is sweating. It's one of the main ways our body eliminates waste (aside from going to the bathroom). Imma be honest with you. Sweating on a daily basis is not an easy task for me. I don't enjoy sweating, especially while working out (I know, that sounds bizarre). This is why I enjoy sauna's so much. They do all the work for me which is why I made the investment of acquiring an at-home sauna. Even though I have a sauna sitting just a few feet from me, I still don't use it daily. But I'm making an effort to use it at least a few times a week as part of my daily detox. The list of benefits from using infrared saunas are too long to list. During that intense sweat, you're not just releasing fluid, your body is also using that opportunity to get rid of toxins and chemicals. Ideally, I'll work up to using it each day. If you are one of those people who love working up a sweat at the gym, then go sweat, and sweat often.
#4 GUT HEALTH
The other area we need to focus on during the daily detox is the gut. We have 10X more gut microbiome than any other type of cell in the body. We can not ignore the health of our gut. I love unhealthy foods which are horrible for our gut health. But I've decided to incorporate some strategies to counteract the outcomes of eating processed foods. The easiest thing for me is to take a probiotic on a daily basis. It makes such a difference.
But I need to do more.
The goal is to include other elements that support gut health that goes beyond simply popping a pill. I want to feed and nourish the good bacteria so they thrive. This basically means eating more fiber. One thing I've recently was swap out sugary processed snacks for juice or fresh fruit. I've also made sure to prep salads on the weekends again. At the very least, I can take a swig of apple cider vinegar which is great for the gut. The goal is to make a deliberate effort to get fiber in each day. It's all about balance. By the way, since eating better in an effort to be more mindful of my gut, I easily shed several pounds. Not bad.
There's so much more I could add to this list, but for now, I'll keep it short. Stay hydrated, move, sweat, and feed your gut. Doing these things daily (or as often as possible) will go a long way towards making sure that our bodies remain in great health.
Really good things!
By Veronica Wells
When I was first hired on at MadameNoire, I quickly learned that if we needed a traffic boost, all I had to do was write something about hair. It got to the point where I started feeling like I wrote, almost exclusively about hair. And eventually, I got burnt out. As a result, I vowed that I would no longer spend my days writing about something so “trivial.” I pulled a Solange. I said I wasn’t talking about no damn hair no mo only to continue talking about hair; Solange in the single from A Seat At The Table and me by writing for this Black women’s publication that focuses on our hair.
|Singer Monica and husband Shannon Brown|
I didn’t like Shannon’s hair either. But since cornrows were the go-to style of my adolescence, I wasn’t so quick to dismiss it as played out. And I thought the conversation, while hilarious, was a bit mean-spirited. After all, nothing says Black hair across the diaspora like cornrows. It’s unique. It’s ours and I don’t know if we should be so quick to write it off.
Last week, the internet was in an uproar about a J. Crew/Madewell ad featuring Dominican model Mari Henny Pasible. Everyone swore that J.Crew had dropped the ball in their incapability to hire a stylist who knew what to do with Black hair. I mean people were outraged, making jokes about wanting to fight the clothing company for allowing this Black woman to look “bad,” in a nationally disseminated ad campaign.
The whole J. Crew discussion reminded me of another one I had with real friends--or friends of friends rather. In a moment of candid conversation, they asked me my advice on what to do with a friend who was wearing her natural hair in a way they deemed “unkempt.” With genuine concern, they said, “I mean, I’m all for her embracing her natural texture but it needs to be styled differently. Why can’t she do something else with it?”
|Model Mari Henny Pasible J. Crew|
My response to them was something like the one the J. Crew model eventually offered. Both were looks the friend and the model had readily embraced and were happy to showcase. There is no “right” way to be natural.
We saw a similar discussion play out with Beyoncé and the way she let Blue Ivy wear her hair. We saw it in the comments issued by Isaiah Washington and Tyrese when they encouraged Black women to stop wearing weaves and fake hair, and with the everyday Black men who encouraged one Black woman to put her wig back on.
As a community, we take an almost unhealthy interest and concern in the ways in which other Black people wear their own hair. Rarely, as a community do we stop with “I don’t like her hair” or “I don’t like his hair.” There is an entire dissertation why the way someone has chosen to wear their hair is “not right.” When I was considering the reasons for this phenomenon, I didn’t have to think too hard. For Black folk, there is the burden in the belief that the way we wear our hair says something about not only our personalities but our philosophies. There are thoughts that wearing “fake” hair means you don’t love yourself or embrace your Black features. There are people who will argue that it’s deceptive.
But more than anything, the reason Black folk are so concerned about what other people are doing with their Black hair is largely based on respectability politics. Beyond just a style or a preference, for centuries many Black folk believed that if we didn’t wear our hair in ways that were similar to or appealed to White people we were only going to be allowed to get so far in life. It was the reason my mother told me after I’d gone natural, to buy a wig for job interviews. It’s the reason that Wendy Williams said Viola Davis’ natural hair wasn’t appropriate for the red carpet. It’s the reason HBCUs forbid certain hairstyles in their business schools. And the reason Steve Perry and Steve Harvey applauded a group of young, Black men who made the decision to cut off their locs, braids and fros in favor of a look that was connected to the “aesthetics of success.” Whose aesthetic? Furthermore, what type of success is there to be had when you have to mask your cultural or racial identity to attain it?
There are times when we’re judging, commenting, clowning, and policing one another’s hair for the sake of coolness and style. As a people who invented style and embody cool, that will always be the case. But more concerning are the times when the ownership we take over one another’s hair is clearly our own grappling with fully accepting Black hair. For so many of us there is still hesitancy in accepting Black looks that don’t adhere to certain Eurocentric beauty standards (i.e. perfectly slicked edges, length minimums, texture preferences). The real tragedy in what we’ve been convinced to think of ourselves and our features, whether through images, representation, or oppression, is that even when White folks aren’t even thinking about dismissing or denigrating our hair, we do it to ourselves.
Why do you believe we 'police' each other's hair so much?
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.
I scroll through my Facebook news feed admiring the chubby-cheeked faces that my high school classmates post. The happy babies are dressed in toothless grins and two-pieced grownup outfits looking like little men and women. I smile in recognition of the toddlers who are complete miniatures of the people who upload the photos.
“Aww look at her,” I say to myself. “Too cute.”
Then I read the caption. It refers to “my grandbaby.”
Grandchildren? I’m not old enough to be anyone’s Grandma! Am I? But I’m not even a parent yet! Never mind that, I’m 41. And then I start to do the math, which has become an increasingly growing habit these days. I calculate how I could have a high school student right about now. Or a college student. Or (gasp!) a college graduate. Then, yeah, I guess it would be possible to be a grandmother at 41 had I not thrown the proverbial biological clock across the room and postponed motherhood.