woman divine

My very first podcast:)

Rudie Jay is the beautiful vibrant human behind THE PURSUIT Your Guide To Happy, Healthy Living PODCAST.
Rudie invited me to be a guest on her podcast. Since this was my very first podcast experience, I was a little nervous, but Rudie is a natural and makes her guest feel right at home😀We chatted, skin care, products, local business, and my skin-therapy journey.

Much gratitude to Rudie Jay for helping me spread the word about holistic skin care❤️

I hope that you will enjoy listening,

Magdalena xo

Time to juice! Meet the Maker!

I don’t know about you but after a long winter I really crave green juice. Not just any green juice but a fresh pressed, organic and as green as it gets juice. My body literally calls for it! And this year it has been calling extra loud. I normally wait for my spring juicing until the snow is gone but since this winter has been extra long I’m already juicing:).

Photo by Ellina Rabbit.

Photo by Ellina Rabbit.

 It always amazes me what a green, nutrient packed drink can do not only for my energy levels but also for my mind. Every single time it gives me a noticeable boost  (and way better than coffee ever did), it makes me feel lighter and clearer and it simply feels good. 

Juicing has been with me since I was little and I will never forget the carrot + apple juice that my mom made. I  didn’t really like it at the time but mom was very determined to keep us healthy so she made it and we drank it. Today, I love her for it because let’s be honest pressing your own juice is not much fun and a rather messy affair. It is a commitment!

Since juicing is so amazingly beneficial to our health and we are approaching the optimal time of the year to do a juice cleanse, I want to encourage you to do this for yourself. Do it for your health, do it for that extra glow to your skin and do it to smoothly transition from winter to spring. Fresh veggie juice contains loads of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, carbohydrates, chlorophyll (green veggies) and vital water beautifully distilled by nature in the plants. No question, freshly pressed organic juice is health building!

 I know that most will never commit to pressing their own fresh juice, but hey luckily making your own is not your only option. I’d like you to meet Julien THE juice guy.  Julien runs the juicing show for Pure Kitchen Ottawa. Since he is the person with all the juicing knowledge let’s get to it.

Julien with Hydrate - his every morning drink.

Julien with Hydrate - his every morning drink.

Hi Julien, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Julien Boyce, juice production manager at Pure Kitchen Ottawa. I started with the company from day one in February 2015, with the intention of working specifically in the juice department. A typical day includes taking inventory and organizing juice shipments, putting together juice cleanses, blending, mixing, and chopping a ton of fruits and vegetables! I’m fortunate to have the best staff and co-workers that make coming into work fun and exciting. 


How does one become the manager of the juice lab at the hottest vegetarian restaurant in town?

I became the juice lab manager pretty early on after landing the job at PK. Only me and one other person even mentioned in our interviews that we were interested in juicing. I had spent a few years working in kitchens, but I wanted something different. At the time, juicing was something very new to me, and my knowledge came from what I was juicing at home. We were all pretty inexperienced with juicing, however we learned very quickly and found our groove within the first few months. So much has changed since, new machinery, a larger space, and it’s only gotten better with time. 

Are PK juices organic? How freshly are they made?

All of the juices are made with organic produce and sourced locally whenever possible. We press around 1000L of juice per week, so we are constantly pressing every day. It can be difficult to keep up with the demand sometimes! Any juices we make have to be made with juice that is as fresh as possible, that means within 1-2 days of pressing. Some juices, such as lemon, have natural properties that allow it to have much longer shelf life than something like kale.


How do new recipes come about? What inspires you while you create?

I’m lucky to have such a creative team. We are constantly bouncing ideas around for new juices. One of the most challenging aspects of coming up with new recipes is getting the right colour. Sometimes flavours will work well together, but they won’t have an appealing colour. I love finding new products to use with our juices that make them original. 

Rowan (team PK) pouring the Lush

Rowan (team PK) pouring the Lush

Do you offer juice cleanses? Can you tell us a little bit about them? 

We offer a standard juice cleanse of five juices per day and one nut mylk, which amounts to 3L of juice. They can range from a one-day cleanse, up to as many days as you and a trusted health professional can agree upon (we had one woman do 21 days). We can always accommodate specific preferences and allergies with different juices. 


How does a juice cleanse differ from other types of cleanses?

Juice cleanses give your body a chance to recover by reducing the amount of energy it usually uses just digesting food all day. The benefit of a juice cleanse is that you can still ensure your body is getting nutrients and minerals it needs to function at its best. 


Any tips to follow a successful juice cleanse?

Ease into the cleanse and ease out of it. You should taper off how much you’re eating 24 hours before you start the cleanse and ease back into eating regular whole foods 24-48 hours afterwards. That’s for most cleanses from 1-5 days. You don’t want to start binge eating the day you finish your cleanse, that can lead to digestive issues.


I really crave green juices at this time of the year. Any favourite recipes for a great Spring green juice? 

I prefer green juices to be very strong with no sugars to mask the flavour of the greens. My favourite green juice is on our menu, called Lush. It is just kale, cucumber, spirulina, and a splash of lemon.


If you had to drink the same juice everyday what would it be?

I actually do drink the same juice every day! I start every morning with a glass of Hydrate. I get to work early and before I eat or do anything, I make sure I have some Hydrate with extra sea salt. This keeps me hydrated. I think that staying properly hydrated is the key to so many health problems and it’s something people tend to ignore. 


Any plans for writing a juice book?

I personally don’t have any plans to write a juice book. There are so many juice books available already, but I don’t think it’s that complicated of a process to need a book. I would be more interested in writing a book about healthy lifestyles/personal development that would certainly include juices and the role they can play in a healthy lifestyle. 

Squeezing lemons:) This used to be done by hand.

Squeezing lemons:) This used to be done by hand.

If there was something you wanted everyone to know about juicing, what would it be?

One thing about juice I always hear as a warning is that they aren’t good for you because you don’t get any fibre. It is true that most insoluble dietary fibre is removed during the juicing process; however, the soluble fibre is still present. Soluble fibre aids in good bacterial growth in the gut which helps the body in so many different ways!

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us Julien!  And thank you for all the great tips and info. I am always grateful to know the people who make my food, grow my food or juice my veggies . Thank you for what you do!

Ok Ottawa, I was really impressed to hear about the 1000L of fresh juice a week being pressed at Pure Kitchen. That’s a lot of juice! We are definitely on the right path. This makes me super happy:)

I am very lucky to have Pure Kitchen right around the corner from Woman Divine Studio. You can often see  me  running down Richmond Road in between my clients to grab a bottle of pure green energy that keeps me going and going. Pure Celery and Lush are my favourite :)

Pure Kitchen Ottawa, is run by the nicest people you can find and they offered us a 1 day juice cleanse as a GIVEAWAY. Head out to  Woman Divine Instagram to find out how to participate . I hope you’ll win. Make sure to take a look at their Juice Cleanse options HERE and start juicing asap. Now is a great time!

Remember what I always say? What you do to your skin you do to the rest of your body and what you do to your body, you do to your skin. Your skin will absolutely love it!

Pure Kitchen has four locations in Ottawa:

ELGIN

340 Elgin Street, Ottawa ON
+1 613 233 7873

WESTBORO

357 Richmond Rd, Ottawa ON
+1 613 680 5500

KANATA

499 Terry Fox Dr #55, Ottawa ON
+1 613 435 8492

PRESTON

345A Preston Street, Ottawa ON
+1 613 422 0115

Pure Kitchen also offers customized cleanses. So if you have special wishes and/or want to organize your cleanse, you can e-mail: juice@purekitchenottawa.com

Happy juicing,

Magdalena xo

Woman Divine Ritual

This collection is super close to my ❤️
The Woman Divine Ritual Collection was created as a legacy for my daughter Carollyne with the most precious ingredients. I crafted the collection as a wedding gift to her in the hope of helping her develop a strong connection to self and as an invitation to the inner journey of seeking the source of joy, peace and contentment.
I have often wished that someone had taught me years back that only by tending daily to our personal needs of mind, body and spirit, can we give freely to others and live a vibrant, clear life.
Each product in this collection has a meaning, a mindful purpose if you will. A beautiful affirmation has been created to amplify its action - all to help you develop a ritual, a self-loving practice, enhancing your life and your relationship with yourself and others.
May you embrace the power of Woman Divine which resides within you. May you draw upon strength of women who came before you and become a living example to those who will come after you.

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Rose Petal and Milk Bath
I wash the day away. Every night before I go to sleep, I let go of all which no longer belongs with me. I float free in the cleansing water, sprinkled with rose and milk. My skin, my muscles, my entire body feels light and clear and my heart is soft - filled with gratitude. I feel pure, clear and light.
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Precious Flowers Body Oil
I remember who I really am. Every morning, I anoint myself with oil to remember that I am an auspicious being. As I nourish my skin and awaken my body, I remember that I am worthy and good. I am already everything that I am seeking.
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Meditation Drops
I sit in stillness. Every day I consciously sit in stillness. Silence emerges when tension, conflict and struggle fall away. I find myself listening to the sound of silence.
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Breath Salts
I breathe in the moment. Whenever life is spinning a little bit too fast, I pause for a few seconds to observe the flow of my breath. When I own my breath, nobody can steal my peace.

May you live with mindful presence and find beauty in simplicity,
Magdalena .

Discover why knowing your face will make your life better.

I’ve been working with faces in my holistic skin care practice for the past twenty plus years and I know one thing for sure: most of us don’t understand our own face at all.

It’s a sad thing to realize since so much of our attention and effort goes into making our face and skin look its best.  We apply make up everyday, we moisturize and scrub and we get facials but we don’t take the time to actually understand our own face. In pursuit of beauty, we mostly treat our face as if it was one dimensional. 

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In my book, the face is the most fascinating part of ourselves and by getting to know it better, you can develop a more meaningful relationship with yourself and with your beauty.  One that is based on understanding and deeper self knowledge, not just an on-the-surface, one-dimensional interaction.

You see, your face is nothing short of magical. It’s like the universe of you or your very own, ever-evolving piece of art.  It registers and conveys your joys and sorrows, the state of your health and the level of vibrance of your energetic being. The fact is that your face is a great communicator. The question though is are you willing to listen?

Chinese medicine practitioners and Ayurvedic doctors can read your health like a book simply by analyzing your face. The science of Morphology and face reading has your personality all figured out by the shape of your facial features and markings. It’s amazing!

Of course, I’m not going to ask you to become an Ayurvedic doctor so you can read your face. However, there are a few simple yet profound face facts that everyone will benefit from knowing. Why? Simply because if you understand the workings of your face you will no longer look for solutions to your face/skin problems in the wrong places. You will also gain a deeper appreciation for the miracle of your body.

The state of your physical health is expressed in the quality and health of your skin.

This presents itself through changes in skin texture, temperature and colour. 

For example, a person with a tendency to facial redness and inflammation may be prone to excess heat in the body and tendency for inflammatory conditions of the body in general. An over-acidic stomach is often accompanied by redness in specific areas of the face. I see this with my clients all the time.

Congested skin which lacks luster, looks puffy and is cool to the touch often represents a body which is slow, sluggish and congested with poor lymphatic flow. 

Next time when you experience a flare up of acne or skin redness, take a moment to acknowledge its connection to the internal workings of your body. Your skin is talking. Don’t just try to shut it up by using suppressive skin care products. 

The majority of chronic skin problems need to be addressed from the inside and also supported topically with clean plant-based formulas. No skin care product alone will fix your hormonal imbalance or your digestive issues. So please know the limitation of your skin care product and respond to your body’s signals by addressing the root causes. It will save you a lot of money and time that you spend searching for that perfect skin care product.

The state of your emotional health is expressed through patterns of tension in facial muscles and other tissues.

Lines and wrinkles, sad face, happy face… It is true that emotions which you are most attached to are written all over your face. 

There are a few really smart people out there who have devoted their life’s work to this subject. Dr Paul Ekman is my absolute guru when it comes to the relationship between emotions and the engagement of corresponding facial muscles.

 The gist of it is that every single person engages exactly the same facial muscles to express the same emotion. It doesn’t matter if you are from Paris, New York or a little town somewhere in Africa, when you are angry it shows up in your face in the same way. Of course there is nothing wrong with expressing emotions. The problem arises when you get attached to a particular emotion and feel it over and over. 

Let’s say that you feel very sad and disappointed in yourself, your partner or life in general. You are feeling this way not for a week or two but for the past year or maybe five years… as you know this is not uncommon. Some people feel sad and disappointed about something throughout their whole life.

The depressor anguli oris muscle is engaged in expressing this particular emotion. It runs vertically on each side of your mouth. 

If you are feeling sad and disappointed a lot, eventually this muscle becomes chronically tense. As a consequence a few things will happen: restricted flow of vital fluids (blood and lymph) which will contribute to the lack of proper tissue nourishment and accelerated aging, facial symmetry may be disturbed (more tension on one side than the other) and your lip corners will be turning down and that fixed unhappy look becomes a reality… The ‘marionette’ lines are the consequence of chronic contraction of this muscle.

To sum it up, your body, your thoughts and your feelings are all interconnected. In fact, the pattern of muscle tensions in your face is always involved in determining your emotional state. 

If you don’t like the look that you are seeing on your face lately you may want to spend some time with how you are feeling on the inside. It’s amazing how happiness and internal contentment will immediately light up your face.  And don’t be hard on yourself. We are all a work in progress.

Your sacred face

There also is a sacred aspect to your face and head. This is the seat of the vital energy points. In Ayurveda these are called marma points and in Chinese medicine acupoints.

These points are located all over the body (we have a few important ones on our face and head) at anatomical sites where veins, arteries, tendons, bones or joints intersect. They are also said to be the points of connection between our physical and the subtle energetic bodies. These points are connected to specific organs and sights of the body. For example the marma points located on the scalp are connected to the brain and also to the other organs.  

Ayurveda says that, through skilled marma point stimulation we can have an impact on hormonal balance, eye, ear and nose health, emotional balance, memory function, we can relieve headaches and strengthen general vitality of the person. These are just a few examples.

What I have observed in my work is that, through working with the face, people can experience not only states of deep relaxation but also safety and a deep sense of wellness. 

If mindfully acknowledged, the face can also be understood as the entry point or a gateway to deeper self knowledge, the starting point of communication with self.  

As a skin and facial therapist whose practice is devoted solely to treatments of the face I can wholeheartedly say that receiving a deeply nurturing face treatment is a powerful medicine both for you and your skin. The effects of such treatments can be seen on the outside and are definitely felt deep within. 

Now that you are a little bit more familiar with the true nature of your face, please, spend time with it. Touch it. Observe it. Not with your critical eye but with the an eye of wonder and exploration. 

Before you book your next facial and let someone else touch your face, make sure that they too see its magic. Don’t be shy to ask questions to make sure that they are well trained in the holistic arts of face work and that they understand the complexity and dynamic nature of your face. 

Magdalena


Bathing and what you need to know about it.

I love bathing! Nothing feels as good as a nice warm bath on a cold winter’s night. If you live in Canada, you know exactly what I mean. Winter gets cold, dark and long and soaking in a tub filled with warm water is a great thing to do at the end of the day.

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A cup of Epsom salts, a few drops of your favourite essential oil, maybe a good book in your hand and you can hang out in your tub all night long until your hands and feet start shriveling like prunes. I know,  because I’ve done this many times. It feels amazing to experience this relaxation and stress relief that a  tub full of water provides. And sleep always comes easily after a good soak. But if you are like me and love bathing, there are a few important things to consider before you jump into your tub next time.

Number one is the quality of your water. Why? Because while you are enjoying a lovely warm bath, your body becomes like a sponge and soaks up all the good and the ugly from your water.  And this is when chlorine immediately comes to mind.

The city uses chlorine in our water to prevent disease. Chlorine is a  very effective disinfectant, which kills disease-causing pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, that commonly grow in water supply reservoirs. At the same time, chlorine is very problematic for our health and it’s a nightmare for our skin. An irritant with carcinogenic properties, chlorine is known to cause anything from skin rashes,  respiratory problems, and cancer. It is terrible for our skin and gut microflora which is essential to our health. It may also be surprising to learn that we absorb more chlorine by soaking in a tub than by drinking chlorinated water. It is actually more problematic to our health to absorb chlorine through the skin because while you bathe, chlorine gets directly into your bloodstream bypassing the initial filtration normally done by the liver when we ingest chlorinated water.

Related Post: Your Shower Is A Major Water Hog, Here’s How To Green Your Bathroom

Hot bath water opens skin pores making it easy for chlorine to be absorbed. Inhaling the steam from hot chlorinated water is also dangerous and may cause many respiratory conditions including asthma.

Number two is water sustainability. We are not the only ones on this planet.  We are so frivolous with our water! But water is sacred and should be treated as such. It takes about twenty to twenty-five gallons of water to take a very modest bath and it will take about the same amount of water to take a longer shower.  If you have a big soaker tub,
now we are talking more like 60 gallons. Hopefully, your showers are quick and you are using an eco shower head to preserve your water consumption. And hopefully, you don’t bathe in 60 gallons of water ever!

This is a very serious issue. Saving water is very important for more sustainable consumption of the planet’s resources. Having access to such basic service as drinking water comes without any effort to us but it is important to remember that 783 million people still do not have such access. So don’t ever use more than you truly need!

So in light of this information, should we give up taking a bath altogether?

The answer is no but we must do it way less and in a more mindful way. Start thinking of your bathing as special ritual, a time to cleanse and rest deeply.  Acknowledge that it is a privilege to have access to clean water.  This will become so much more than a simple soak.

Most of us don’t have a filtration system in our house and we must address the
chlorine situation.

There are easy ways to remove chlorine from our bath water through chemical neutralization.

There are several chemical compounds which can remove chlorine from the water. Sodium acorbate powder (a form of vitamin C) is a good solution since it’s easy to obtain and easy to use. You will need to add 1/4 tsp (or 1000 mg) of Sodium Ascorbate into your bath water about 5 minutes prior to bathing, giving it enough time to neutralize chlorine. Sodium Ascorbate will neutralize chloramine, which is also used to treat water and is even more dangerous than chlorine. A Canadian company Santevia makes bath filters which are made with vitamin C and are very easy to use.

Once your water is clear of chlorine and chloramine you can enhance your bath with additional ingredients for beautifying or medicinal purposes.

Adding Epsom salts will up the relaxation effect of your bath and will help to relieve soreness from your muscles.

I love adding oils to the bath, both lipid oils, and essential oils.

1 Tbsp of almond oil with a few drops of genuine lavender essential oil will leave you with lovely soft skin and ready for a deep restful sleep.

Adding oat flakes to the bath water will soothe irritated skin, any itchy rash, sunburn, dry skin, or eczema.  That’s why we run an oat bath for children suffering from chickenpox.
Place a cup of organic oat flakes in a cheese or cotton cloth and tie it with a string.  Throw it in your tub and run just hot water at first so the oat flakes will soften and make their anti-inflammatory properties available.

You can also make an herbal infusion (it’s like a strong herbal tea) with your favourite herbs and add it to your bath water. I love calendula, chamomile or mint.

Soak it up!

There is another important aspect of bathing. If you bathe mindfully it is no longer only about removing dirt from your skin.  It can be a ritual of removing and cleansing of all which does not belong to you anymore. You can mentally let go of unpleasant experiences from your day and release all that weighs you down. It is a simple yet deeply freeing practice which is greatly supported by the healing aspect of water.

Baths can be taken at night and in the morning. Night baths are usually used for relief of nervous and mental tension. They are a relaxation-inducing practice. These baths should last fifteen to twenty minutes. Morning baths are a tonic or a stimulating practice. They are best taken cooler than your night baths and ten minutes will do.

After a bath when your skin is warm and pores are open, it is a great time to apply skin healing oils. In general almond and jojoba are great choices for most. There are many lovely body oils on the market to choose from.

Finally, I want to give you one more suggestion. On a cold winter’s night when your body is chilled and you feel like you can’t warm up, treat yourself to a warm foot bath.

Neutralize the chlorine first with a tiny bit of Sodium Ascorbate. Throw some salts in and maybe add a few drops of sage or eucalyptus essential oil. Immerse your feet in the water and enjoy. You may find that this is as warming as a big tub full of water.

This is an article which I have written for The Eco Hub. You can find it HERE

Magdalena

Thank you!

The saying goes that it takes a village to raise a child, and I can tell you that it also takes a village to grow a successful business.

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I feel incredibly lucky to have such an amazing support from the Ottawa community and from women from all corners of Canada. So many women are cheering me on and encouraging me to spread my wings wider and wider. I will not name names because there are so many of you… you know who you are:) You are amazing and so incredibly generous and kind! Whenever, I’ve had a moment of doubt, someone has appeared out of nowhere with encouraging words, a beautiful testimonial, business advice, offer to help or to host a WD pop up shop:) You have been continuously referring your family members, your colleagues and your best friends… And you choose my products to grace your skin. Please, know that I am beyond grateful and I will do my best to take really good care of you and to pay it forward.

 This was a great year for me and for Woman Divine for so many reasons! I have learned tons about myself and my business (still have tons to learn.
I’ve been able to learn few new moves for the treatment room. I’m in the process of upgrading my herbal medicine knowledge, continuing Ayurveda studies and exploring the art of face reading (this one is a lot of fun and very fascinating). I have a few new formulas on the go and I can tell you that one of them will include local organic 🥕🥕 (they are so good for your skin)🙂. I also have one very special collection ready for launch in the early spring. And Woman Divine Lift & Gift classes will be starting at the end of January. As you can see I’ve been a very busy bee!

 A Big thank you to all my skin care colleagues all over the world! You are such an inspiration and I learn so much from you! It feels like we are really creating the much needed shift in the realm of Beauty Care and I’m very happy that we are doing it together:)

Thank you to all who follow me here and read my posts❤️

I hope that the New Year will bring you joy, prosperity and lots of love! May you always feel supported to live your true self!!! .
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KITCHARI

It’s a little late in the season to do a cleanse but I was very busy,  so NOW will have to do. In my opinion, a kitchari cleanse is the most suitable for this time of the year.  When Spring arrives I love to juice but in the Fall and generally during cold months, kitchari is my choice when I need a break from regular food .

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I asked one of my food enlightened friends for her favourite kitchari recipe. I met Magda at an Ayurveda course few years back. She is beautiful, passionate and her eyes have a special spark 😀 She is Polish like me and we share the same name:) But I can tell you that it is the love of Ayurveda that binds us.

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Magda is a devoted Ayurveda student , a very skilled yogi and she also has a special gift with food. She applies Ayurvedic principles in her food creations.  Magda teaches wonderful Ayurveda inspired cooking workshops and often talks on other topics related to Ayurvedic lifestyle, yoga… Together with her family, she lives a pretty cool off the grid life, surrounded by nature in the Ontario country site. Follow her on Instagram HERE

So, late as it is I will be starting my yearly kitchari cleanse tomorrow. Normally, I do forty days straight (kitchari breakfast, lunch and dinner). Yes, I really do this:) but because it is already so cold, I’ll do just two weeks this time. If you feel, like your belly needs a bit of a rest, you can join me for as long as you wish. This is not going to be anything official but it always feels better together. Especially on the day 3 when you are tempted to go and buy yourself a donut.

Here is the delicious Kitchari recipe which my beautiful friend graciously shared with us. Let me know if you decide to do it.        

NGREDIENTS:

• 1 cup white Basmati Rice

• 2 cups Mung Dal (split yellow)

• 7 cups (approx.) Water

• a bit of Salt

• 2 Tbs. Ghee

• 3 tsp. Mustard Seeds

• 2 tsp. Cumin Seeds

• 2 tsp. Turmeric Powder

• 2 tsp. Coriander Powder

• 2 tsp. Fennel Powder

• 1 pinch Asafoetida (Hing) optional

• vegetables of your choice ( e.g.. onion, asparagus, carrots)

DIRECTIONS: Wash rice and mug dal separately in at least 2 changes of water. If you have time soak rice and dal 1 to 3 hours prior to cooking, or soak overnight and rinse well before cooking. Sauté the seeds in the ghee on low heat until they pop approx. 2-3 min add the other spices (takes seconds, be careful not to burn ) Add rinsed mung dal and salt. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 4 cups of boiling water, bring to boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the dal is 2/3 cooked. Add rice and 2 more cups of water. Meanwhile prepare any vegetables that suit your constitution. Keep it simple, use 3-4 different veggies max. Cut them into small pieces. Sauté veggies in ghee according to their hardness, eg.start with onion, add carrots splash of water then add asparagus salt and pepper.

( I usually start with onion for flavour ) Put veggies aside. If needed add extra water to your Kitchari. Bring back to a boil, them simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is fully cooked. Aim to have minimal water remaining, leaving the lid on the pot to allow any excess to be slowly absorbed. The Mung Dal should be fully cooked and blend nicely with rice. Serve with your veggies.

Note: In Ayurveda Kitchari is considered the most healing food as its easy to digest giving your body space to restore. Some recipes call for equal parts of rice and mung dal, I find it heavy on rice and adding more dal makes the texture smoother. Also, I find that its more substantial and nutritious.

For Veggies, when my Vata is high ( I use sesame oil instead ghee to sauté veggies ) I favour sweet potatoes and mustard greens to top my kitchari, Pitta kale and squash ( also use coconut oil instead ghee ) for Kapha use sesame oil and favour cauliflower and dandelion greens.

Veggies that are tridoshic ( good to enjoy for all dosha ) ARTICHOKE ASPARAGUS BEETS CARROTS PEAS GREEN BEANS

If you are not sure what your Dosha is (your Ayurvedic constitution), I highly recommend going through THIS questioner to find out.

Magdalena

Is Bacteria The Next Big Thing In Beauty?

This is a great article by Candice Batista of The Eco Hub . Candice has asked me few questions on the subject when she was writing this piece. Big thank you to Candice for including me! Here it is:

If you follow any good health blogs you’ve probably read about the importance of gut bacteria, sometimes referred to as the microbiome. It’s probably one of the most important things for optimal health. I’ll be talking more about gut health in the coming months.

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Now when it comes to skincare, new research is showing that the skin’s very own microbiome is super important to its health as well. Is Bacteria The Next Big Thing In Beauty?

Our microbiome is taking a beating thanks to our obsession with flawless skin and we can’t discount the pressure that social media puts on all of us to try to attain skin that does not need a filter.

If you live in the real world, you know it’s almost impossible to live up that.

We’ve been told for so long that we need to scrub, peel, exfoliate and mask our faces until they burn. But the reality is, it’s doing more harm than good because we are disrupting the skins delicate ecosystem.

Magdalena Tomczak is a Holistic skin + Face therapist at Woman Divine Skincare, she says, “Our body, the skin included, is a dynamic, ever-changing organism which constantly interacts with and is affected by the environment, the food we eat, the emotions we experience. Your skin may look perfectly healthy today and may be irritated tomorrow because of all the complex life dynamics it takes part in all the time. Your skin expressing how you’re doing is a natural and necessary occurrence. It’s an essential aspect of our body’s signaling system. If you learn to pay attention to your skin signals and behaviours in a positive manner it can become your best guide to self-care and skincare. It’s a reflection of your health, both physical and emotional, the expression of your body’s wisdom. Yet, we continuously find new ways to prevent skin from expressing and communicating.  Peels, excessive scrubbing, micro-dermabrasions actually hurt our skin. They mess up our skin’s precious microbiome.”

The takeaway here is that we need to let the healthy bacteria that exists on the skin thrive and with 70 percent of Canadian women reporting sensitive skin, there is no better time to start.

Cultured foods as many of you know have unbelievable benefits for the gut, things like Kefir, yogurt, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kimchi etc. are fabulous.

So when it comes to the skin, is this just a fad?

Science is proving there is truth behind the results.

So how does the microbiome work?

“There are plenty of these invisible guys roaming around. So I’ll say you better keep in good relationship with your microbes. The fact is that you are an ecosystem. This ecosystem is made of trillions of organisms (microbes) and includes bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These microbes live in colonies (communities) inside (eg. Your gut flora or your mouth flora) and on the surface of your body (eg. your skin micro-flora or microbiome).  Your ecosystem is unique, complex and ever-changing just like other ecosystems in nature.

The gist of it is that you absolutely need a healthy ecosystem in order to be healthy. Your skin needs a healthy microbiome to be healthy and to look its best.  When your microbes are ‘happy’ their communities live harmoniously, in balance and life flourishes.

They also do an amazing job at protecting you from invaders from the outside, other organisms which may cause disease and create havoc in your system or in the health of your skin. Peels, micro-dermabrasion, excessive exfoliation as well as antimicrobial soaps, toxic skin and body care products all disturb your precious skin microbiome and are causing a lot of damage to your skin. They also strip the natural oil that our skin produces (sebum). Sebum feeds the beneficial bacteria which live on our skin and produce immune-boosting fatty acids.


Stripped skin is in a vulnerable state. Unwelcomed micro-invaders from the outside can now penetrate. The natural order of microbial colonies previously living in harmony has now turned into ‘Gangs of New York’ and everyone is competing for dominance and skin problems arise.  Sebum also softens, lubricates and prevents the skin from premature aging. Without it, your skin can no longer protect you from the trans-epidermal water loss.  Dryness, dehydration, more lines, and wrinkles are the consequence.  So as you can see, what started as a ‘beauty’ treatment or product, turns out to be very unhealthy, skin damaging and quite frankly doesn’t add to our beauty at all, ” adds Magdalena.

So skincare that contains a good probiotic can be very beneficial to you. Good quality oils can support the microflora living on your skin.

In her new book Beyond Soap (which I am reading now) Dr. Sandy Skotnicki writes that “On its own, the skin is better equipped to fight wrinkles, stave off aging and act as armor that protects the body from infection. Every time we slather, spread, hydrate, or soften the skin, we nudge the skin away from its healthiest natural condition.”

The book is very well-written and looks at how we are damaging the microbiome of our skin by applying hundreds of ingredients by way of lotions and potions and make-up. How we strip off our natural oils only to spend a fortune on trying to replace them. And how we’re giving ourselves dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, and acne by irritating our skin from all these ingredients and also by over-washing.

When we spoke with Magdalena, she echoed this, saying, “Did you know that organic, great quality oils when applied topically, feed and support the microflora living on your skin? Yes, they do! The micro-organisms actually use oil as food and then change it into very beneficial fatty acids. Quality oils infused with organic herbs will nourish the skin and give it radiance. You know how you like that squeaky clean feeling after you wash your face? Well, it’s not good for you. You just disturbed your microbiome and stripped your natural oil barrier. Oil cleansing is so wonderful at removing pollution from our skin and it protects the microbiome. Facial oils and serums infused with herbs are perfect for daily skincare. These are truly great choices to support your skin function. Skin care products are here to do just that, support your skin function. Not to interfere with or suppress the skin function but to gently support it.”


So it seems pretty obvious to me that many modern beauty products are actually harming our skin and the vicious circle of modern skincare in which we believe we need more products to soothe and heal irritated skin, but in actual fact, we prolong the irritation.

There is no such thing as a miracle cream.  Your gut microbiome and skin microbiome are actually in constant communication with each other.

Skotnicki says to choose a gentle pH-balanced cleanser and only use it once a day. She also says that a 10-step regime is not ideal for everyone as layering products can actually lead to more irritation and if you are cleansing then exfoliation you are stripping the skin leading to redness and irritation.

Now we are not saying to never exfoliate again, just make sure to pick products that work with your skin, not against it.

Last year scientists at the University Of California published a report after conducting a study on the skin’s microbiome and came up with an innovative microbial treatment for eczema, a disorder characterized by red, itchy, inflamed skin.


This kind of research is illustrating that scientists are able to identify specific strains of bacteria that are required to balance the skin and help people suffering from extreme skin conditions like eczema.

We know that prebiotics and probiotics are good for us. We also know that you are what you eat, food and stress play a major role in how your skin looks and functions.

The quality of the food matters too.

I love this quote from Magdalena, “Like it or not, there is no magic skincare bullet. We are funny creatures though, always looking for shortcuts. I hope that the use of probiotics in skincare does not become another latest fad that will disappoint those looking for a quick fix.”

I have to agree, clever marketing can lead us away from the true nature of the situation.

Get to know your skin, seek help from a professional and remember less is always more

Read this article on The Eco Hub HERE


Can you trust your nose?

I distinctly remember one particular class during my aromatherapy training. Our teacher sent two different bottles of rose essential oil around the room and he asked which one of the two we liked better and why.

The majority of the class picked the oil which seemed to have a sweeter and more ‘rosy’ aroma because they felt that the scent was more pleasing.

To the surprise of most, this happened to be the lab engineered rose substance which is toxic and disruptive to our health but commonly used. The genuine and organic rose essential oil in the other bottle appealed only to a few in the class.  It had more of a medicinal scent and did not smell sweet as everyone would expect rose essential oil to smell.

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Since then, I have learned over and over again that it is a common occurrence for people to pick a lab engineered aromatic substance over the real thing created by nature.

This is something worth talking about because it appears that our nose is in trouble and it can’t tell right from wrong any more.

Let us start with what our sense of smell does for us and why it is so important to keep it in tact.

The workings of our sense of smell are very complex. Our sense of smell impacts our life on many levels. Without going into serious anatomy, we can confidently say that our sense of smell is there to protect us from danger. It helps us to detect fire, or a gas leek. It warns us of food gone bad and pollution levels in our environment being high. It truly is one of our survival mechanisms which is vital to our existence.

But it does not stop there. Our sense of smell is linked to the part of the brain which stores our past memories. That’s why certain smells will immediately bring you back to your experiences from the past, some as far back as your childhood.  This is thanks to the amazing apparatus of the limbic system. The limbic system is made up of various parts of the brain which help us create and sense emotions. This is why we refer to the limbic system as the ‘emotional’ brain. 

Also, did you know that your nose helps you pick your partners in life? You are not consciously aware of this but your nose can smell the distinct chemicals called pheromones which we all secrete into the environment to send signals to elicit attraction, arousal and sexual desire.

When you happen to smell the beautiful aroma of flowers, your nose can take you on a creative journey. Some have written poetry about the scent of flowers or the scent of a woman…

I could go on about this and give many more examples but the point I am trying to make is that it is absolutely necessary for our nose to work very well. I am sure that you get the picture.

So going back to my aromatherapy class, how come our nose is in so much trouble that it can not tell right from wrong? The answer is very simple. We are bombarded with thousands of chemicals every single day and our sense of smell is deeply confused. The invisible toxic brew is everywhere you go and it even lingers in your home. Beauty products, especially perfume, are a big contributor to your nose’s perplexity. Bounce and Febreeze, cleaning products that you use are loaded with lab-engendered scents. That ‘lovely’ pine or lavender scented product never saw pine nor lavender. 

And how about the aromas you smell as you walk into stores? Did you know that there are laboratories which design scents which will make you into a compulsive buyer? Remember the limbic system - your ‘emotional’  brain?  Studies have been done which suggest that when people are exposed to citrus smell they feel compelled to clean. Other scents can prompt you to shop. There is a whole science created around this subject very much like the taste manipulation in many processed foods. Eat a little and you will feel compulsion to eat more….

Artificial aroma is the way to go for the beauty industry simply because it is cost effective and assures a fixed and stable aromatic profile of the product. First, true essential oils are very expensive to produce and secondly the aromatic profile can change from year to year depending on weather conditions in which plants grew, the health of the soil and such. 

In that sense, the production of genuine essential oils is very much like that of wine.  Like beauty companies, some wine producers use chemical additives to create a consistent flavour and more recognizable brand. Sadly, when the focus of the company is on profits rather than your wellbeing this is what takes place. 

I know that this may sound a bit like doom and gloom but there are actions we can consciously take to help our nose regain its virtues.

Maybe at the moment you don’t feel like there is much to do about scent you are exposed to in the stores and outside of your home. But remember that in your personal life and in your home it is totally up to you. First and foremost, remove toxicity from your personal and beauty care products. You may have to say goodbye to your favourite department store bought perfume but don’t fret! There are amazing genuine essential oil based products which can replace them. There is a movement taking place towards artisan genuine essential oil based perfume making. It is very exciting!

Make sure to read your labels and don’t be shy to ask questions about the source of scent in the product you want to purchase.

Splurge on a bottle or two of organic essential oil and from time to time simply smell it. Close your eyes and inhale. There is a very big difference in the effect a natural scent has on you compared to lab-made perfume. You will be amazed at how quickly you can become an expert on reading a scent’s authenticity. 

As a botanical product formulator I am very hopeful and I trust that ultimately we all want to be healthy, we want our planet to thrive and once made aware, we will make wholesome choices. The simple truth is that there is no comparison between a scent that is made in a lab and a scent that is produced in nature. The first is a substance devoid of life and disruptive to our health; it is a burden to the environment and will totally mess up your nose and your health. The second is full of life and healing on many levels.  

For example, one essential oil can improve the health of your skin and uplift your mood at the same time.

I believe that when you make a conscious decision to choose aromatic products which are supportive to your life and your health, you and your nose will slowly become more in tune with that which is true and that which is not. Your nose will no longer be fooled by toxic brews which pretend to be something they are not and genuine scents of plants will grace your life as they were meant to.

Magdalena


Nourished in Nature | a day retreat in the country

Join Magdalena, Susie and Anne for our beautiful Nourished in Nature | a day retreat in the country.

We invite you to an experience in nature, surrounded by native plants, bees, butterflies and the intoxicating scent of Summer.

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This will be a day of reconnecting with our environment, ourselves and the beauty of it all, paying a visit to plants (some are the stars in Woman Divine products and treatments), sharing the purest, the freshest and most delicious meal and playing alchemists as we make skin healing products together. All in the company of beautiful women on the enchanted land of Susie Osler in Lanark County, just outside of Perth, ON. This one is not to be missed! 

A little bit about Susie, her land, art and her offering at the retreat:

For over 15 years, Susie has inhabited a pocket of Lanark County now called Wildwood Farm where she revels daily in the magic and beauty of the world around her. This feeds and inspires her creative life.  She is an artist, gardener, and event organizer who enjoys sharing Wildwood Farm with others with the intention of connecting people, nature and creativity. Susie will guide you on a short 'sensual' tour of her gardens where she will encourage you to open your senses to the space around you.  Bring your eyes, ears, nose and skin with you, as well as a journal and something to write or draw with if you are inclined.

A little bit about Anne, our lunch and the vibrant food she grows on the Creek'n Tree Farm:

Every dish is created with what’s flourishing and delicious in the fields and forest at the time. We make maple syrup, grow shiitake mushrooms and all kinds of native plants and flowers as well as a wide variety of annual vegetables. All is tended to carefully from the time we tap or plant the seed through to the day of harvest. Lunch will be light, fresh and simple.  Our land is abundant with natural beauty. We work each day in awe, gratitude and respect of it and are happy to share it’s goodness with you so you too can feel nourished by nature.

A little bit about Magdalena and her part in the retreat: 

I have a deep love for plants, healing and beauty. I continuously seek harmony both in my life and in my work. I strive to live consciously and with presence. Woman Divine Skin Care Studio and Botanical Skin Care Products are my expression of heart felt desire to nurture, to serve others and to do so with Nature’s support. I will be sharing with you my knowledge about holistic beauty, skin healing plants and will also guide you in your own experiment of plant based product making. This retreat has been a dream of mine for a long time. I am very grateful to Anne and Susie for agreeing to create this event with me and for sharing their beautiful energy with us. 

Register for Nourished in Nature here: http://www.womandivine.ca/shop/nourished-in-nature-a-day-retreat-in-the-country

 Thank you and hope to see you there:)

Magdalena