Tag Archives: beauty

🎃 🎃 Pumpkins Everywhere! 🎃 🎃


“The best time to set up a new discipline is when the idea is strong”

-Jim John




Tell Cinderella that turning into a pumpkin may not be so bad.

October always makes me think of pumpkins. Those bright orange spheres of cheeriness. Whether you like carving them at Halloween or making soup they are a source loaded with nutrition and beauty support.

Pumpkin flesh contains enzymes that are useful in a skin care mask or for improving digestion.

As a mask ingredient pumpkin is useful to exfoliate dead skin cells, diminish scarring and age spots, stimulate circulation, improve skin texture, and promote healing. Pumpkin is a good choice for sensitive or acne-prone skin instead of more intrusive peels like glycolic acid.

Pumpkin enzymes break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats into smaller components. This is a great help for digestion and overall gut health.

Recipe for Pumpkin Face mask
2 T fresh pumpkin puree (organic from the can is ok)
1 T raw honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp pumpkin seed oil (organic, cold pressed)
1T plain yogurt (cow or goat) or 1 T mashed avocado (optional but good for dry skin)
Mix all ingredients well and apply to clean face. Leave on 15-20 minutes. Rinse, blot dry and follow up with moisturizer or facial oil.

Raw Pumpkin seeds are a power house of nutrition: protein, unsaturated fats including oleic fatty acid along with omega 6 and trace amounts of omega 3, iron, calcium, B and C vitamins, beta-carotene (which converts to Vitamin A). Pumpkin seeds biggest claim to fame is high levels of magnesium and zinc. They enhance memory and thinking skills and contain stress fighting tryptophan: a precursor to good mood serotonin. Raw seeds contain methionine recognized for its power to remove heavy metals from the body as well as support libido and sexual function. What a great snack or addition to salad!

Pumpkin seed oil (cold pressed and organic) is beneficial both nutritionally and to the skin. It has all the above properties as well as phytonutrients. This is a great oil to add to your salad dressing or use as a scalp treatment (warmed) and is known to support new hair growth. Oiling the scalp is also a wonderful way to reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system. You can add it to almond or olive oil if you prefer.

Gay’s Recipe for Pumpkin and Chard with Cashew/coconut sauce

Soak 1/2 cup raw organic cashews in fresh water for 2-4 hours. Rinse and drain
Peel and cube 1 medium baking pumpkin (sometimes called pie pumpkins or sugar pumpkins. They are smaller than jack-o-lantern pumpkins)
Clean and rinse 2 bunches fresh chard; chop into 2 inch strips and set aside

Steam pumpkin cubes-
1.5 Cups Vegetable broth for steaming Pumpkin 
Sea salt/ pepper to taste
Place pumpkin pieces in steamer with broth and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn down to simmer for approximately 20 minutes until tender (don’t over cook)

Make Sauce:
Place into blender or vitamix;
1/2 C pre-soaked raw cashews
2 inches fresh ginger peeled and chopped
1 tsp tumeric
1/2-1 cup coconut milk
leftover vegetable broth
sea salt
dash of Bragg’s liquid aminos (optional)

Blend on high until creamy add more broth/coconut milk as needed to get a creamy pourable consistency.
fresh parsley chopped for garnish

Prepare Chard
1 red onion chopped coarsely
2 cloves garlic minced
2 T Olive Oil
Juice of one lemon
Sea salt and pepper

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a large enough pan to hold the chard. 
Add chard and lemon juice, salt and pepper and allow to steam/cook with the lid on for 10 min or until tender.

Divide pumpkin amongst individual bowls. When chard is ready spoon over pumpkin and finish with sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

The beauty diet by David Wolfe.
The Nutrition Almanac by Lavon J. Dunne
and the Institute for Integrative nutrition.

What is Your Skin Trying to Tell You? (Part 2)

What is Your Skin Trying to Tell You?

To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

The condition of the skin is a result of many biochemical and physical factors that are subject to change both internally and externally. The purpose of skin care is to maintain skin in it’s most healthy and attractive state. The skin needs many things: water, minerals, lipids, proteins, vitamins, good circulation and elimination.

Skin function can be improved through good nutrition, adequate water intake, sleep, exercise and stress management. These along with a regular skin care program will optimize the skin’s appearance.

A holistic approach to healthy skin care always considers the whole person. The skin is really a mirror for what goes on inside the body. In general, because the skin is a sense organ it is closely related to the emotional state of the individual. Understanding your emotional nature is important to address especially if there are skin issues present. I personally love flower essences and essential oils for support in this area as well as other therapies.

Related to the skin– All substances needed by the body to maintain metabolic functions such as fats and oils especially unsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins, phospholipids, vitamins and enzymes.

Foreign to the skin- Substances the body does not need and do not occur in the body as either a whole or part- such as paraffin, plastics, petro-chemicals, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, hydroquinone and too many other chemicals to mention here. All synthetic chemicals are highly suspect!

Beauty Counter has created The Never List a handy guide for what you should avoid when buying skin care products and cosmetics. Get your copy of The Never List here.

What does your skin need? Does it need oil or water? Internally and or externally? Are there bumps and if so what kind, what color and where are they?

The skin does not stop at the face… Are there signs of trouble anywhere else on the body?

In Traditional Chinese Medicine different parts of the face and body reflect different organs and meridians. Depending on what is going on with your overall health, the skin will often leave us clues as to where the problem might be and can help us to determine an appropriate plan. Start with changes in diet and skin care and check with your physician or functional medical doctor if you suspect anything serious.

Skin care to consider:

  • Baths
  • Massage oils
  • Compresses
  • Face and body mists
  • Masks
  • Exfoliants
  • Cleansing and wash products
  • Oils and creams
  • Protection- physical sunscreen, clothing
  • Botanical support in the form of herbs, tea, essential oils & flower essences
  • Getting plenty of fresh air/oxygen

The skin responds well to routine. If you do not currently have a skin care program in place, start one. Using The Never List as a guideline, check to see what’s in the products you are using and what you may be exposing yourself to.

If you’re discovering that you don’t like the ingredients in your current products, check out cleaner safer skin care at www.beautycounter.com/gaydering

Drink adequate water and get enough sleep preferably on a routine that your body is accustomed to. So much of the restorative, re-building and clean up activity amongst our cells takes place while we sleep. The term “beauty sleep” is no joke!

Eat a balanced whole foods diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid sugar, processed foods and watch the alcohol consumption as well as carbonated beverages.

Remember this beauty rule:
Never go to bed without washing your face no matter what time it is. No exceptions!

Hopefully you found this information useful and have a new interest in taking even better care of your skin. It is time to appreciate all the amazing things your skin does for you. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you.


  • Physiology Of The Skin by Peter Pugliese MD,
  • Chinese Medicine by Tom Williams
  • Principles of Holistic Therapy with Herbal Essences by Dettrich Gumbel

What is Your Skin Trying to Tell You? (Part 1)

What is Your Skin Trying to Tell You?

The mind and body are not separate units, but one integrated system. How we act and what we think, eat, and feel are all related to our health.
-Bernie Siegel

In the body’s infinite wisdom, our skin is considered a non-essential if there are other more important needs going on. Blood flow and nutrients may be needed elsewhere especially if the body is under stress and the fight or flight response has been triggered. This is why managing stress is so important for our overall beauty and our health!

The cells that are fed in the underlying skin dermis are depending on us to provide the essential nutrients they need for building beautiful glowing skin. This is also why it is never enough to work solely from the outside of the skin topically. We must also nourish and feed it with good solid nutrition; to nourish the skin from the inside.

That said, the skin will react and give us some information if we learn how to read it, and there are many things we can do to make it happier.

The skin is our largest vital organ so lets take a closer look at it.

Skin covers an average of eighteen square feet and weighs around 7 pounds.

In a square centimeter there are:

  • one hundred sweat glands
  • twelve feet of nerves
  • hundreds of nerve endings
  • ten hair follicles
  • fifteen sebaceous glands
  • three feet of blood vessels
  • and hundreds of sensory receptors for pain, pressure, touch, heat and cold.

Unbroken, the skin is a protective barrier and our first line of defense against disease and bacterial invasion. It regulates body temperature by constricting blood vessels in cold temperatures to preserve body heat and producing sweat in warm temperatures to cool the body by water evaporation. Sweating is also one of the ways the body eliminates toxins. Including skin, there are five vital organs that eliminate waste: the liver, lungs, intestines and kidneys.

The skin is our largest sensory organ, sending neurological messages to the brain. 

It breathes (takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide), manufactures vitamin D and protects the body from ultraviolet damage from the sun.

The skin acts as a protective barrier in three specific ways.

  1. It keeps out harmful bacteria by secreting a fatty substance (sebum) that is a bactericide, fungicide and lubricant. Sebum mixes with perspiration and dead cells on the surface forming the acid mantle (pH 4-5) which has anti-bacterial properties. It can be easily disturbed by over washing or by the use of products with harmful chemicals.
  2. The skin protects the body from ultraviolet radiation from the sun by producing melanin which absorbs the rays. Melanin is also what gives skin it’s varying shades of color, from white to darkest brown/black.
  3. The skin’s subcutaneous layer also absorbs shocks and blows to protect the internal organs, muscles and tissue.

In addition to sebaceous glands that secrete sebum and the sudoriferous glands that produce sweat, there is keratin, a product of skin metabolism that transforms soft living cells into hardened, non-living protective cells. It comes in two forms: hard as found in hair and nails, and soft as found in skin. Keratin contains the elements of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorus, oxygen and sulphur. Hard keratin has a large amount of sulphur, and has no tendency to break off or flake away, but remains in a continuous structure. Soft keratin contains more moisture, a small percentage of fats and sheds continually. Every month we completely regenerate the outside layer of our skin although this process begins to slow down as we age. Here’s where good skin care practices CAN make a difference.

Next month I’ll show you how to best care for skin, and how to read the warning signs that your skin is giving you.

Here’s a quick tip: Never go to bed without washing your face no matter what time it is. No exceptions!

For now, enjoy The Never List, a handy tool that Beauty Counter has created to let you know what to avoid when buying cosmetics and skin care products.



  • Physiology Of The Skin by Peter Pugliese MD,
  • Chinese Medicine by Tom Williams
  • Principles of Holistic Therapy with Herbal Essences by Dettrich Gumbel



“Your philosophy determines whether you will go for the disciplines or continue the errors”

-Jim Rohn

Detoxing is an ongoing practice. Nowadays we are exposed to so many pollutants that it can seem overwhelming. I live in Northern California where all the fires raged last fall and experienced first hand what toxic chemical filled air is all about. Seriously we all had to wear masks before going outside and many people I know invested in air filters because it was so bad. There is also the water to worry about…I know it is a pain but putting a filter system on your kitchen sink so you can drink pure clean water that is free of chlorine and all the other chemicals is not only a good idea but can be a cost effective one too because you will never have to purchase plastic bottles of water again which do not break down and adds to our land fill problems not to mention exposes us to harmful plastic that is hormone disruptive.

Then there are all the personal care products we use that are often swimming in chemicals. The USA has a very poor record of safety standards in this area and I highly recommend visiting the ewg.org site to see how what you are using rates. You will probably be very surprised. Consider switching to safer products www.beautycounter.com/gaydering

Our cars, new carpet or building materials can off gas with harmful chemicals and our new furniture that is covered in flame retardant can be dangerous. Then there’s mold and gas fumes….I could go on but you get the picture.

We live in a toxic world and we need to finds ways to navigate this.

What we eat truly matters more than ever.

The good news…Yes finally some good news here. People are waking up and companies are offering more and more clean, organic and safer products for us to choose and choose we must. Its time to vote with our dollars.

Become a regular at your local farmers market or join a CSA and support an organic farm.

You will feel better, look better and be better for it.

Spring Clean

Spring Clean

“It is better to prevent than to cure” -Peruvian proverb

Spring is in the air or at least the promise of it is, and it’s time to think about cleaning out the cobwebs, cupboards and closets. This time of year is a good time to clean up our digestive tract as well and consider a cleanse. Now I know you might be groaning about this idea but honestly after the holidays and the long winter have you maybe let some extra sugar and heavier meals creep into your diet? This is the perfect way to clean the slate and reset with some good new habits.

There is a cleanse for everyone and for you it may be just simply drinking more water, cutting back on caffeine and or eliminating sugar, dairy, gluten and meat for a period of time. For others who are seasoned cleansers you may embark on a specific program like arise and shine or blessed herbs. A vegetable juice cleanse for a few days to a few weeks is also easy enough to try or you may choose to fast. As I said there is a cleanse for everyone and you should get your doctor’s or health professional’s okay before you start.

It is a good idea to prepare yourself at least a week before the cleanse by cutting back on caffeine and sugar to avoid withdrawal symptoms. The first three days of any cleanse can feel pretty crappy especially if you just jump in without preparation.


  • Pick a period of time that is not super busy so you have some downtime to rest.
  • It is sometimes easier to do a cleanse with a group or with a buddy so you have support.
  • Do some research first and find the right cleanse for you. Talk with your health coach.
  • Shop ahead and make sure you have everything you will need
  • Keep a journal and write down your experiences, thoughts and track your meals/bowel activity.
  • Have a cooler with all your food/drinks handy if you are on the go.
  • Take plenty of epsom salt baths
  • Get extra sleep

Happy Cleansing!