How I Curb Anxiety

I'd love to tell you everything is smooth and jammy over here on my side on the pond, but that wouldn't be entirely truthful. Like many people, I struggle with anxiety. It's usually nonsensical anxiety that my body pushes on me like a large, unwanted gift of straight-up awful. My mind knows it's silly. My mind doesn't want it (No, thank you!), but can't seem to reject it. Thanks a lot body! 

Am I destined to choking down beta-blockers and SSRIs to ease my racing heart and trembling hands? To help quell my social awkwardness? Nah. Here are just a few things that I personally implement to help deal with daily anxiety. As always, check with your doctor before undertaking a new health routine. I'm not a doctor. Only you and your provider and/or counselor can determine what's best for you.

These are some of the things I do daily. I've listed them in order of my day. The holidays can be stressful, so try some of these out and get to relaxing. 

Go Vegan

Shocking, right? Fo' real though. A 2012 study found that eliminating animal products from one's diet resulted in improved mood within two weeks! Animal products can have an inflammatory effect on the body.

Why do fruits and vegetables improve our mood? Because of the inhibitors of the depression-associated enzymes that are found in various plants. So eat those plants up! Really though, you don't need me telling you to eat plants...

...better moods on plant-based diets could also be from the good stuff in plants—a class of phytonutrients that cross the blood brain barrier into our heads. A recent review in the journal, Nutritional Neuroscience, suggests that eating lots of fruits and vegetables may present a noninvasive natural and inexpensive therapeutic means to support a healthy brain.
— Dr. Michael Greger

Aromatherapy

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It works. Sounds hokey, I know, but try it out. At the very least you'll smell nice!

In the morning and throughout the day I like to dab lavender oil on my wrists and neck. It's a very light and unoffending scent (unless you hate lavender). I use Aura Cacia 100% Pure Essential Lavender Oil. It's an easy buy at my grocery store, but you can find it on Amazon too. 

Lavender is known to have a very calming effect. That's why it's always in the heating pads. For more interesting information on lavender with regards to treating anxiety, check out this video and this video

If you really don't like lavender, orange oil is also known to lower anxiety levels. I use the doTerra Wild Orange Oil the same way as the lavender oil. Find out more about that in this great video. You can purchase orange oil at Amazon

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Incredibly, saffron has anti-anxiety properties. I actually started huffing saffron for my crippling cramps. However, I learned that it's reported to be just as effective as Prozac. Legit stuff. Look into it, you'll want to, from the video here. The best part is that you can buy it from the grocery store! Or from Amazon. Plus I really, really, like the way saffron smells. It's kind of pricy, but you don't actual use any of it. Just sniff it. Maybe try to refrain from doing it in public though...

 

Rooibos 

Rooibos, or red tea, can ease stress and anxiety. Researchers recently found that human adrenal gland cells in a petri dish produce about 4 times less steroid hormones, like cortisol, in the presence of rooibos.

I really like this organic Rooibos Chai by Numi. You can read more about how it beats stress here. Also, green tea is good for relaxing the mind. I drink tea throughout the day to keep me in relaxed state. Todd calls Rooibos, "monk tea" because it makes him feel super zen. Like a monk! 

Soothing and/or Uplifting Music

Listen to your favorite tunes to cheer you up or calm you down. These are some of my very favorites. 

Meditation

I meditate (or practice "mindfulness") at least four days a week for 15-30 minutes. It takes a little practice. Often I hear people say they could never meditate because they just can't stop thinking! Yeah...that's kind of the point of doing it. Your brain will always be thinking of things, even during meditation. The best advice I've heard is to let the thoughts come and go. Don't follow them and don't push them away. Like a cloud, just let them pass. If I'm really having trouble, I will focus on my breathing. 

I really like to use guided meditation, because I find the words of another very soothing. This isn't "image" guided meditation, mind you. I'm not a big fan of that for some reason. If you're interested, there a few apps I use and like a lot. The first is called Insight Timer. I have it on my phone. I also subscribe to Meditation Oasis with Mary Maddox, as a podcast on my phone. She is very relaxing to listen to. Loving kindness meditation is a wonderful thing to practice. Meditation is all about being "in the moment" and not worrying on the future, or regretting the past. 

I always meditate laying down, because it's more comfortable for me. There's no right or wrong way to go about doing it. Meditate however suits you best. Also, yoga is also a great way to slow down. I do yoga three days a week and meditate during the day and sometimes at night as well. 

Magnesium 

"The Original Chill Pill". Yep. Read ALL about it here, from Psychology Today. I won't go into detail, but magnesium has been scientifically proven to chill ya out, bro. I take a 250 mg supplement at night. It also helps with sleep (yay!) and constipation (no troubles in that department..) I make sure to get it from the foods I eat too. Foods that are high in magnesium are chard, pumpkin seeds, spinach, edamame, black beans, and quinoa. 

Heating Bag

I was gifted a flannel flaxseed filled bag for Christmas a few years ago and it is THE BEST THING EVER. Things are about to get real strange okay, but it's the truth.

I call it my "puppy" and Todd heats it up for three minutes every night in the microwave and I sleep with it. It's seriously my life. Sometimes if I'm really chilled or just need a snuggle bunny, I heat it up and lay it on my chest or neck. The weight and heat of it is so soothing. This is similar to what I have.

Misc. 

Exercise!! Very important. Get outside!! Also important. Snuggles with your favorite furry companion is definitely a stress soother. Breathing exercises are effective too. I like to take a big breath in and hold it for five seconds, let it out slowly and hold it out for five seconds. Repeat until you're as zen as a monk .

What do you do to help curb anxiety?

A Special Day and DeVita Cosmetics Review

Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

In my very humble opinion, that is the truthest of truths when it comes to partnership and guess what? Today is a very special day. Two years ago today, my true love and I were married. Yep, pretty exciting huh? A lot has changed since then, and Todd and I are happier and healthier than ever before.

Produce On Parade

Happy Anniversary to the light in my life, the cheer in my heart, and the aura of love that keeps my soul afire with an immense depth of blissfulness. 

Produce On Parade

Thank you for celebrating with us. And now, a special review!

A particularly large overhaul I made since implementing a cruelty-free life was adopting new, vegan beauty products. Indeed, as I could no longer in good conscious ingest the body parts of dead animals, no longer could I put animal products on my face either. Eww, right? Yes, and deeply saddening. Animal testing is now proving utterly unwarranted, especially with the emergence of new technologies and is absolutely horrific when you really read up on it. It's wholly monstrous and the brutality is not just committed against mice and primates, but rabbits are a huge part of testing and even beagles too!  

Did you see this article the New York Times released just today on how China Ends Animal Testing Rule for Some Cosmetics. Awesome! It's a start for China, right? 

I admit, I knew animal testing was implemented in the products I was using, but I looked the other way. It's so prevalent and besides, I had my favorites and I didn't want to seek out cruelty-free brands and alternatives to what I had come to use regularly. Can you imagine in inconvenience!? Oh the humanity!! Um...wrong. I finally opened my eyes to the world of animal testing and was truly heart-broken. It didn't take long to cast aside those brands and take joy in knowing the products I now use don't contain any animal bits and are not tested, most viciously, on my furry friends either. They're so many great alternatives out there that no one needs to buy cruel cosmetics!

Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review

One of the great products I stumbled up is DeVita and I've been using their BB cream and blush for several months now. DeVita is a vegan cosmeceutical skin care company that is a certified woman-owned business, by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which is pretty cool. I take assurance in knowing that the products I use are actually developed and produced by women themselves.

Their products are all-natural, 100% paraben-free, and PETA Certified. I think it's completely fantastic that you can go on their site and read about each ingredient that they put in their products. What other beauty companies are doing that? None I know of. They even have a page on their policy against animal testing. In addition that, DeVita actually states what it means to have 100% vegan products. I seriously cannot find enough good things to say about DeVita. They also use renewed and recycled/recyclable packaging. 

I initially discovered them because I had a BB cream that I, unfortunately, discerned was not cruelty-free. As I researched more, I came to uncover that most of my cosmetics were not cruelty-free and were actually filled with poisons and toxic preservatives to boot! Lovely. Ignorance really is bliss! I clearly needed a new cream and after much scrutinizing, all I could find was rave reviews on DeVita! 

Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review

I looove their Moisture Tints Multi-Benefit Beauty Balm (BB Cream). It has SPF 15 which is great to help keep my skin safe from the sun. It's paraben-free, 100% vegan, and there's no controversial ingredients. 

I chose the Light tint and admittedly when I first squeezed a smidgen onto my fingers I thought it might not be a good match for my skin coloring. However, after I smoothed it over my face and allowed it to sit a minute the coverage and color was just perfect. As with all BB creams, they're certainly different from a foundation. This one leaves me with a dewy complexion, but not too wet looking like my previous BB cream. It's also a bit lighter feeling and more natural looking, which I really favor. 

This is my ultimate, everyday all-in-one moisturizer/sunscreen/foundation that leaves my skin looking radiant and flawless! I will absolutely continue to purchase it. 

Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review

I've had my NARS Orgasm blush for a long time now. So long, it even broken apart inside and I had to repair it. It's the stuff of legends, that NARS blush, which is why I bought it. Yet NARS, unfortunately, is no longer cruelty-free. I was pretty sure I wouldn't find a blush that I liked as much, but I had come to terms with that.

Incredibly, I was so wrong. This Absolutely Blushed Mineral Blush is such a better fit for me and I like how it's not as shimmery (high-school, anyone?) as the Orgasm. It's not a completely matte blush though, as it has the just-right amount of sheen. I was a bit unsure of the loose form it came in, as I've always only had the pressed blush. Although it may take a little more effort to apply (maybe if you have steady hands it's easier), it's completely worth it. This is such a natural-looking blush, I just adore it. My color is Pink Opal and it matches my naturally flushed cheeks wonderfully. 

I could not believe how shockingly difficult it was to find a natural, cruelty-free blush that didn't contain titanium dioxide, which can be harmful when inhaled...like in a blush powder. Yikes! That's how I found DeVita's blush.

Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review
Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review

DeVita cosmetics might be a little more costly than your average drugstore beauty products. However, even someone as frugal as myself takes no issue with this due to the knowledge of their products being paraben-free, 100% vegan, cruelty-free, all-natural, and contain controversy-free ingredients. Not to mention they are some of the best cosmetics I've ever used! 

Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review
Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review
Produce On Parade - DeVita Cosmetics Review

So, if you're looking for new vegan products or just in need of some replacement, all-natural, vegan, and eco-friendly cosmetics that are of incredibly quality, I've done the work for you. I'll definitely be buying from DeVita in the future. In fact, I plan to buy their mascara! 

Please hit me up with any questions you may have. Also, share your favorite vegan beauty products with me! 

If you'd like to educate yourself or your friends/family on animal testing, you can learn more about it here.

Website

http://www.devitaskincare.com/store/

Where to Buy

On their website or their store locator.

*DISCLAIMER*  PRODUCE ON PARADE IS A PERSONAL BLOG WRITTEN AND EDITED BY MYSELF ONLY, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. MY REVIEWS ARE COMPLETELY BASED ON MY OWN OPINION OF THE PRODUCT REVIEWED. I AM NOT PAID TO WRITE POSTS. THESE PRODUCTS WERE SUPPLIED TO ME AS GIFTS FROM THE COMPANY TO TEST AND REVIEW. OTHERWISE, IF I MENTION A COMPANY BY NAME AND THERE IS NO DISCLAIMER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST, I AM MERELY WRITING ABOUT SOMETHING I LIKE, PURCHASE AND/OR USE. THE FACT THAT I DO RECEIVE A PRODUCT AS A GIFT TO TEST AND REVIEW, WILL NEVER POSITIVELY INFLUENCE THE CONTENT MADE IN THIS POST.

Homemade Vegan Butter

So, I've seen a lot of homemade vegan butter recipes floating, melting, around the web. I figured it was time to hop on that butter churn, or in this case...food processor. Todd and I usually buy Earth Balance, which we love. However, we don't love the palm oil.  The collection of palm oil is destroying the habitats of orangutans, rhinos, tigers and elephants. Even "sustainably sourced" palm oil is pretty questionable. It's in vegan butters as well as that "natural" creamy peanut butter that you don't have to stir. Do I love stirring my natural peanut butter? It's not one of my all-time favorite pastimes, but it does help clear my conscious. Plus, I get a pretty sweet little arm workout for a minute. If you want to learn more about palm oil, it's consequences, and what you can do to avoid it and help (you do), check out this article.

I don't want to be a part of that. There are some things we can control, like purchasing palm oil laden things, and some things we can't. If it means I have to stir my damn peanut butter and briefly inspect the ingredients of what food items I purchase (which I already do anyways), then so be it. It's a small inconvenience. Plus, what's better than creamy homemade butter slathered on fluffy homemade bread...um...nothing, that's what.

This vegan butter has the Todd Seal of Approval, and let me tell you...the man knows his butter. It's also super easy. A vegan butter that involves less forest/animal habitat destruction? Yes, please! Creamy, easy and it's super quick to whip up.

If the orangutans weren't busy running for their lives, they could do it. 

Homemade Vegan Butter

Makes about 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. unsweetened, plain soy milk
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • heaping 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. refined coconut oil, melted and room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. liquid soy lecithin 
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum

--Note--I recommend only using soy milk, as it is noted that some other non-dairy milks may have difficulty curdling. Refined coconut oil imparts absolutely no coconut flavor. Unrefined coconut oil, however, will impart a coconut flavor. Liquid soy lecithin and xanthan gum can be found in the organic or bulk section of most local grocery stores.

In a small bowl, whisk together the soy milk, apple cider vinegar and salt. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes, until it's thickened and curdled.

Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in the microwave at 30 second intervals. It's acceptable to still be partially un-melted, with bits of solid coconut oil. You don't want it to be hot or warm at all. If it is, allow to cool. Measure it melted, not solid.

In a food processor, combine the coconut oil and the canola oil. Add in the remaining ingredients, including the soy milk mixture and processor for about 2 minutes. Be sure to scrape the sides occasionally. It will quickly become whipped up, just like creamy butter! 

Transfer into a storage container for the fridge (for buttering bread, etc. ), or silicone ice cube trays for the freezer (for baking, etc.)

Listening to Zee Avi – No Christmas For Me

his recipe is very slightly adapted from the very particular, Vegan Baking.