Friday, May 15, 2015

Distillation and the Learning Curve

As a teacher by day I have become familiar with various learning styles and the ways we process information. Some of us process information verbally, others visually and some perhaps emotionally over using more rational methods. As not only a teacher but my own (sometimes begrudging) companion for the past thirty-two years, I have certainly learned something about my own learning style. For me, the distillation of information to it's barest bones often helps me determine deeper "academic" truths. What can I say, I'm a minimalist. This process is often helpful in the food world as an array of articles fights for room in one's consciousness purporting the benefits of potatoes or acai or your mother's shoelaces. Save for the latter, both of the above ingredients are certainly good for you but when you're trying to incorporate all these foods into your diet, it can be quite exhausting. I, for awhile, felt this overwhelming feeling towards beauty products. Luckily, I gave up on the idea of color or foundation a long time ago after my acne cleared up and I was through with any unneeded beauty routine (again, I'm a minimalist). As I age, however, the idea of caring for myself has come more and more into my (blurring) view, leading me to consider skin and hair care products that won't only make my skin look better but will be good for my skin.

Several blog posts back, I entitled an article Plants in the Mouth and on the Face. To paraphrase the food chain in a very basic and unscientific manner, we might suffice to say that water (and sun) feed plants and plants feed animals (and some animals feed other animals, etc.) If someone were to ask me the key component of my "beauty routine", I would have to site, first, the consumption of water at the base of the food chain. It's a personal belief but I've always thought that what we put in our bodies affects us more than what we put on our bodies (cue juvenile laughter). Again, this belief is personal but, if we only put a fractional ounce of moisturizer on our skin each day but drink sixty-four ounces of water (or soda) I would think the drink may have a greater affect on how our skin looks. Therefore, I drink a lot of water to flush out toxins from my body through the kidneys (which take over after we've met our hydration quota) and keep my skin from reaping the affects of dehydration (dryness, wrinkles, etc.). Indirectly, by avoiding muscle fatigue through the consumption of water, I'm able to to keep on with my yoga which definitely helps my lymphatic and endocrine systems and (I think) leads to a better glow.

To move on to those things which use water for food, plants serve as the next step up in the food chain (and my beauty routine). Here, I've seen how the affects of green plants such as kale, spinach and herbs contain a multitude of vitamins (particularly A, C and E) which can help the skin. According to Joy Bauer, "[v]itamin C helps the body make collagen... [which] keeps your skin and hair healthy and beautiful." However, this is where the distillation begins. Since I'm relatively new to the beauty scene, I've felt somewhat like a kid in a candy store with as much dopamine in my brain as there are options to chose from. While knowing I wanted to stick mostly to beauty products with natural ingredients, I found myself pulled at once to Aesop's Parsely Seed Cleanser only to be sidetracked by MyHavtorn's facial oil which counts sea buckthorn as its primary ingredient. While many come to find the right product for their skin care routine, I neither have the time or money to indulge in such experimentation. When my mind was (delieriously) swirling with with all these options, however, I came to the realization that all the products I need in my beauty bag ASAP were plant based. That KORA Organics Exfoliating Creme... made of bamboo and oat flour. That Grown Alchemist Hyrdra-Repair Day Creme... botanically based. To some extent, while this does not ensure I'll find the best product for my beauty routine, I can now take comfort in the fact that plants (in general) are beneficial to the skin and there's often not a silver botanical bullet that might clear my redness or acne or make the profile of my face better. In the end, it's the intention to stay true to what's good for us which might be the most beneficial.

One note, however, while eating plants and using them in your skincare routine can really only offer you beneficial results, not all vegetables (when consumed) are created equal. This fact came back into my scope of reference while reading a BuzzFeed article entitled 26 Most and Least Healthy Vegetables. While my doctor has often told me to eat dark, leafy greens (you don't just have to rely on the BuzzFeed article to know they're healthy) recipes for romesco sauce or anything with artichokes often drew my attention from these healthy powerhouses. Looking at BuzzFeed's article, however, it was made clear once again how beneficial dark, leafy greens can be, even when compared to other vegetables. While I'm not sure of their scoring method, kale received a 1,392 while vegetables like broccoli and and peas received a 268 and 173 respectively. Much like my preference for distilled information to make the best choice (what do all of these things have in common and how can I get the most of it?) I found that, as I begun to eat more vegetables, things like peas and bean sprouts began to fall by the wayside and things like cabbage and kale seemed to yell at me from the store shelf. So... more recipes with kale to come.

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