Aubrey is the perfect example of how important it is to listen to our body and be conscious about the beauty products we use. She went from being very poorly (where her hair was falling out) to transforming her life and living each day to the fullest. Today, she is sharing her holistic, organic and simply natural approach to food, life and parenthood.
- A few words about who you are, what you do, where you live and what you are passionate about.
My name is Aubrey and I am the Maker and Owner of Skin Food By Aubrey. A brand fueled by the passions of a Holistic Mother of four. I developed my brand based on the principals of using Super Foods, Raw Butters, and Organic Ingredients to heal the body from the outside in while of course maintaining the same philosophy of consuming those same foods. I live in a small town in Ohio, love to travel and teach my children to be kind. I am passionate about helping others heal, find peace and living each day trying to be better than the last whether it is emotional or making better food choices.
- Since you run a successful organic skin care line and make sure to only use natural and chemical-free ingredients in your products, what kind of food philosophy do you follow on everyday basis? What are the food-groups/products you avoid? Which ones you swear by? Do you follow a specific diet?
My food philosophy is pretty simple. I encourage eating based on your individual body and its needs. What my body craves and using those foods to bring balance. Consuming a diet consisting of Organic or locally grown berries, nuts and seeds, citrus fruits, fatty fish, dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale, vegetables with bright, dark, or intense colors such as beets (my favorite) and sweet potatoes, legumes like peanuts, lentils, beans, and very little non GMO and gluten free grains such as rice, oats, wild rice and quinoa.
I avoid white flour and anything containing gluten. I am not completely gluten free but avoid cakes, cookies breads and foods that are made with white flour. I do consume meat but lean organic meats such as grass fed antibiotic free lean beef, and organic free range chicken. I also eat organic cage free brown eggs or local eggs when my neighbor has an abundance. I believe our bodies are constantly changing and hormones and nutrients are depleted so eating to restore the body and "fill the tank" is the best way to replenish. I avoid foods that are not Raw or are not Organic, anything in a box, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, white sugars, distilled water, GMO'S, nitrites and white flour.
- How does your eating habits and natural lifestyle fit into your every day life? Your family, your well-being, shopping for food/cosmetics, going out for dinners, traveling?
Our local grocer has 2 isles of Organic or "Health Foods". Other than those 2 isles I stay in the produce section. There is a fruit farm I grew up visiting to buy our seasonal fruits and vegetables and for 3 months out of the year we have a farmers market every Friday which allows me to purchase Grass Fed Beef, fruits and vegetables. We grow a garden every season but when the cold weather returns I drive 35 to 40 minutes to a larger Market. Living in the Midwest there are few restaurants that offer "Whole Foods". Often times I will ask for a plate of steamed veggies or fruit and they don't have them. After being disappointed time and time again, we rarely eat out. I usually pack fruits, nuts, raw carrots, snap peas and seeds when we travel.
We live extremely close to a natural spring, so every Saturday I take the kids to refill our glass jugs with water. I avoid distilled water and local tap water because of the fluoride and chlorine content. We eat to nourish, providing energy and avoid eating for the sake of eating. I am a firm believer of staying hydrated and my kids can now recognize what they are hungry because they are dehydrated or they are hungry because they are truly hungry. I think many adults still have a hard time recognizing their late night cravings could and maybe they did not drink enough water throughout the day. If I feel hunger at night I drink a glass of water and if I am still hungry I will eat a banana with a little peanut butter or a square of organic dark chocolate.
The products we use in our home are very simple and also follow the same principal of using foods and their benefits. I use a lime enzyme cleaner as an all purpose cleaner. I use it for everything from stain removal to a counter top spray. I use vinegar and baking soda to clean my tubs and tile. I use water and a towel to clean my mirrors. When in doubt the power of the sun is pretty incredible. I will often times leave something in the sun and my stain is gone and it smells clean. When it comes to cosmetics I am fortunate I make everything from toothpaste to deodorant. I was struggling to find natural products. I suggest reading labels, asking questions and less is always more. We don't need several different products for our bodies. Stick with a few basics, drink plenty of water and eat well and you will be surprised how healthy your hair becomes, your skin has less wrinkles and will glow.
- How do you plan your meals as a family and cook at home?
My kids are very aware of foods and how it makes their bodies feel. They know if they make a decision to eat ice cream with strawberry syrup they may have a stomach ache later. Every day is a lesson about choosing what is best and they find enjoyment making foods that are good such as blending frozen bananas and strawberries to make our REAL desert. The girls help in the kitchen and love to make their favorite guacamole. They love to slice strawberries, bananas, kiwi, apples, squeeze a lime and make their fruit salad. They enjoy cooking! I make 2 soups a week. I find that I can hide onion, garlic, kale, spinach among a nice boiled chicken or a bone broth and carrots and my kids ask for seconds. It is also quick and easy in a pinch. They snack on frozen fruits and love to take part in the preparation of their snacks. My 4 year old once made her version of spinach salad and because she made it, she ate every last bite. I roast a large pan of cauliflower, broccoli, parsnips, and carrots. Season them with a pinch of rosemary and sea salt and they snack. What is not consumed is saved for later. My husband makes quinoa, rice and beans before he leaves for work and we store it in glass containers to be eaten later. I will grill chicken and saute spinach and add it to the quinoa or rice mixture. It is delicious and my kids love the texture of the rice and quinoa. I absolutely love black rice, and blending quinoa with chia or flax.
- What are the few food basics that you swear by for eating and skin care?
Food basics I swear by, eat simply, drink plenty of water and if its greasy and heavy on the plate chances are it is going to feel that way in your gut.
I really view applying products to your skin similar to the products your eat. Your skin is a protective, porous organ covering your entire body. You absorb your surroundings. If you apply products that replenish and tone such as a lemon butter or restore and remineralize such as Dead Sea clay or Alfalfa Powder, your skin and body will thank you. If you are applying propelyne glycol, sulfates, parabens with a touch of fragrance you are basically asking your body to work extremely hard to fight off pathogens you added to your body when in fact it should be working to fight off pathogens you unknowingly may come in to contact with.
- You're very passionate about natural living, what are a few of your favourite natural products that you adore?
I adore Raw Coconut Oil for everything, Biokleen Laundry Powder as well as Planet Laundry Soap. I use essential oils whenever possible of course to make my own products around the house. Currently, I make a room and body spray for our own personal use that consists of Purified water, Witch Hazel and Litsea Essential Oil. It promotes healthy lungs, is a natural antibacterial and smell amazing! I spray it to freshen a space but it also helps rid the air of allergens which are very prevalent where we live. Products I used to love and thought were safe contain fragrance which is a hormone disruptor. Fancy words for dangerous. A little bit of which is not going to immediately make changes in your daily life but every single day or over exposure absolutely will. Think about a woman who religiously applies her perfume to all of her pulse points or her antiperspirant twice a day. Her body is constantly absorbing and combating these foreign substances. My all time favorite natural product is a Natural Deodorant. If you change nothing in your life but one product I highly suggest you start with a deodorant.
- Any tips on how to make a healthy transition into natural lifestyle? What are the things we should look out for when transitioning?
It is a transition. Your palate makes a change as you start to refrain from eating certain foods and introduce new ones as well as the skin acts the same to a change in topical products . I personally used to love salt on everything and after I stopped buying and using salt I can barely handle salty foods. Instead, I taste the natural occurring salt in a tomato. I haven't had a Coke or Cheetos in who knows how long and the last time I tried I could barely handle the burst of synthetic flavors. I swear I could feel them eroding the tissues in my mouth. A little dramatic but eating a constant diet of foods that are full of these synthetic flavors desensitizes the palate. I would rather be able to taste my food than an added flavor. Same goes for the products you apply to your skin.
Reintroducing a body butter made of lemon or limes will fill your senses in ways you can only dream. I suggest sticking to foods that you feel you may need and adding new ones. You may not like kale but start by adding a little to a soup or a salad and over time you will enjoy it. As far as transitioning with the products you use on your skin I suggest starting with the Deodorant as I said before and trying new things like a natural toothpaste or a bar soap made using essential oils. You will find that overtime you will find a soap or lotion made using a fragrance oil instead of an essential oil will be offensive. Also, I follow the philosophy as to what you feel you are drawn to you may need. If you smell an orange lotion and fall in love your body is telling you that you need that in your life. If you walk past grapefruits and have an initial reaction to grab it, do it!
- And any other aspects of your food/lifestyle journey you’d like to share with us...
I was sick. My hair was falling out. I had terrible skin. I was anemic, my stomach was constantly hurting, I was stressed and had my first episode of shingles before I was 24. I was working at a famous Bath and Body Store and felt worse than I have ever felt in my life. Every day, I had headaches, and struggled to stay in a positive mood. I had visited doctor after doctor with my zip lock baggie full of lost hair wondering what was wrong with me and no one really had an answer. I was told by one Doctor I may have Lupus or a whole list of Auto Immune disorders. My thyroid was off balance but I could not fathom taking a prescription that I would need to take the rest of my life.
I was referred to a Natropath and at my first visit she tested my body and one of the main results was that my skin was at 72% of an attack. 100% meaning my skin would be one of the hardest working organs in my body fighting off unnecessary pathogens. At the time in my life, I was submerged in body sprays, lotions, soaps and fragrance. I was completely off balance and although I believed I was eating good foods it was still not enough. She encouraged me to go home and read my labels. Look for ingredients such as Proplelene Glycol, Sulfates, Parabens, Urea, EDTA, and a ton of other ingredients. She suggested to start to eliminate these things from my daily life. I went home and threw everything in the trash. Everything. Even my expensive bottle of perfume. I thought about giving it away because I am not a wasteful person, but knowing what it was doing to me I wouldn't allow or suggest anyone I know to use it.
Do I suggest you to do the same? If you feel as bad as I did, yes. But then again, everyone is different and I know my body cannot handle it. My kids are the same and after 8 years of marriage my husband recognizes his headaches as being triggered by plug ins or someones perfume. I left my job and started to heal. I started to think back to what I knew as a child and it was foods that heal. When I was little and my skin was itchy, I had bug bites or poison ivy, my Mom would throw me in a tub with Oats. We used Avocado in our hair and cucumbers on our face and this was in the 80's. When I was sick my Mom would make a giant pot of vegetables and my Dad an herbal tea with lemon, ginger and echineacia. I struggled to find products I loved that were fragrance free and had ingredients I didn't have to google. I decided to start to make products I could use and were safe for my children. Friends started to ask me what I use, and if I had a natural remedy for eczema, psoriasis, lice, dry skin. I told them what I would do. Friends started to ask me to make them a lotion or salve and pretty soon strangers were calling me to ask if I could make something for them. That is how my business, Skin Food By Aubrey was born. Today, I use the knowledge of these foods and their "Super Powers" to heal the body.
Thank you, Aubrey for sharing your amazing story! xo
P.S: Also, Drea's vegan story, Ashley's holistic lifestyle story, Deniz's fructose free story and Tessa's gluten-free story.
P.P.S: Plus, my thoughts on food.
(All photos by Aubrey and Andrea Belle Studios)