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How Australia Helped Cure my Acne

Throughout my life I’ve gone through stages of pimples, (doesn’t everyone?) but never anything too severe. However, in the fall of September 2014, I noticed I was getting more pimples than usual.

For the next few months, it continued to get worse. I read many different articles online/heard of other people’s experienced, and I tried a number of things to help. I stopped wearing all make-up, I started washing my face with coffee scrub, at one point I tried cutting out bread/gluten because I read that certain people can get sensitivities to it that cause breakouts. I knew it wasn’t my diet because I was eating a plant based vegan diet comprised of all healthy foods. In high school I would breakout if I ate greasy/fatty foods, or even when I drank alcohol. So basically, I didn’t know what else to do, and I was so distraught.

In December 2014, it got really bad. I still didn’t know what was causing it and it continued to go on for a few more months. Finally, I made an appointment with a dermatologist, but that would take 3-4 months before I saw him. In the meantime, I visited a natural path, who helped me immensely.

We talked for a long time and basically she narrowed my acne down to one thing: stress. She analyzed my personality type, my life stressors, and basically told me how I’m the type of person who takes on other people’s stress and makes it my own. I’m also a very neat freak/perfectionist type person, where everything has to be perfect/in order/my way. I guess that could be quite damaging to me. So once we knew it was my stress, we had to figure out a way to cure the acne. She gave me these natural remedies, and while they helped a little bit, what I’m about to tell you next helped the most:

I went to Australia.

Here’s something you should know about me. 1) I’m a very structured person. I can’t be spontaneous about anything because I always have to plan every single detail. 2) I’ve wanted to go to Australia for a long time and even planned to go to school there and live there.

So in June 2015 when I woke up one morning thinking, “anything could happen. We don’t live forever. I need to go see Australia”, I booked a flight within days before I left. Spontaneous. Wow.

You can read my journal entries from Australia here, but what I’m basically trying to say to you is this: from the moment I booked that spontaneous flight, to the entire time away traveling, I experienced something that I couldn’t at home: I wasn’t thinking about my stress and worries. I forgot about all my problems and left them back home in Canada. I explored the country, traveled on different trains and planes, saw places I’d never even heard of. I went biking a lot, and when I didn’t know what to do, I started biking to different fields or parks to do yoga and to meditate. I’ve never done that before!!

And then I forgot about my acne. I stopped staring at it in the mirror every day and I didn’t even notice when started to disappear.

It wasn’t until the day before I left that I remembered my acne. I looked in the mirror, and to my surprise, there was barely anything there. I took a photo and made a collage to compare how it was before and my eyes started to water. I was so happy. For so long I had to look at it every day and feel the pain it brought to my face (pimples hurt), and it just wasn’t a fun experience, especially when I couldn’t solve it.

Australia didn’t cure my acne – I did. My lifestyle choices and mindset did. But traveling there, getting out of my comfort zone, and just doing things to relax and find myself truly helped me immensely.

And afterwards, I changed myself and brought all of that positive thinking back with me. I stopped being so uptight and worrying about every detail. I noticed myself starting to relax a bit and not caring if my room was a bit messy. (That is a big deal for me). I tried to keep up with stretching my body every morning and taking time to meditate and relax with my own thoughts per day.

So if you are experiencing a similar problem, I truly hope this can help you. I am by no way promoting that aesthetics and looks are everything – in fact, I think looks are very irrelevant. You should feel confident in your own skin and acne does not define you. However, acne is not random. It happens for a reason, and it is your body’s way of telling you that something is not right.

Acne can be caused my many different things from stress, hormones, foods, not enough sleep, dehydration, bad living environment, etc. Narrow down all the things in your life and try to determine what could be causing your acne? Hey, it could be food; too much fat, not enough fat, who knows!? Nina and Randa had acne and once they cut out soy and fat, their acne disappeared. Maybe you have a gluten insensitivity. Maybe you’re stressed. Maybe you’re a teenager and going through hormones. WHO KNOWS!! But you can figure it out 🙂

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Mindfulness

Sexuality is a Social Construct

Sexuality is a social construct. This means that it is just an idea created by society. Terms, ideologies, labels, all created to categorize humans into binary oppositions to tell us a part. If you didn’t already know, gender is one of the biggest social constructs. The idea that females come popping out of the womb loving pink and barbies. And that boys like the colour blue and enjoy playing with trucks and soldiers. This idea of sexuality and gender is so skewed that we do not even know what our true internal thoughts and emotions are anymore.

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Females can like trucks and wearing baggy clothes and having short hair, and this doesn’t make them a ‘tom-boy’; this makes them human. Boys can like pink and like to dress up and paint his nails, and this doesn’t make him gay or feminine. This just means that he is a human expressing what he likes. What is so wrong with that? Why does our society insist on categorizing and labeling people to determine how worthy they are?

Human beings are so much more complex then what society makes us out to be. It makes us think that at a young age, we must decide which category to label ourselves into: gay or straight. Or bisexual. There is no other options really. And since heterosexuality is seen as the norm and what is accepted in our society (due to a patriarchal system that benefits upper class, white males), everybody believes (or chooses to be) heterosexual. Straight. “Normal”.

The term homosexual was actually created first. Then ‘heterosexual’ came afterwards so that people could have something to compare the terms; to understand the difference. Homosexual meant nothing if there was no other binary opposition to be related to. We understand the world through binary oppositions. I know I’m not a boy because I am a girl. I know I’m not black because I am white. I know I’m not gay because I am straight. This is how we comprehend things.

But as I was saying, humans are so complex. We aren’t supposed to be categorized into binaries. We are mean to express ourselves naturally, and that cannot be done when we are either 100% straight or 100% gay. I guess that’s why the term bisexual was created. Humans require much more fluidity within sexuality. When we see someone of the same sex that we think is attractive, that is a homosexual tendency. Of course I’m not saying you are homosexual if you think your friend is pretty, however, that just goes to show how we should not label ourselves this way. Because humans are neither 100% gay or 100% straight – we need so much more fluidity. And that is just natural, not something to be shamed or embarrassed about. If we were truly 100% heterosexual, we would never have these thoughts.

Due to gender roles and a patriarchal society, females are given more fluidity and leeway when it comes to expressing sexuality. We can wear dresses AND pants. We can kiss boys, AND girls, and that’s okay. In fact, guys are turned on by it. Males don’t have this same luxury as females do. They can only wear pants. Because if they wear a dress, they are gay. They can’t even say “damn that dude is attractive” without everybody turning their heads and saying, “are you gay!!!??????”

Why is being gay such a weird and shocking thing still? And why can’t males express themselves like natural humans without being criticized? Everybody is just assumed to be heterosexual, so unless you state otherwise, that is what you will be defined as. Everybody thinks you’re straight unless you come out and have to tell people otherwise.

Eve Sedgwick, who is one of the key founders in queer studies, had this idea involving the Essentialist viewpoint and the Constructivist viewpoint. Basically the essentialist approach sees sexuality as a biological thing. As Lady GaGa says, “baby you were born that way,” It is set in stone. You were born either gay or straight. And you can’t change that over time. If parents dress up their sons and paint his nails, they can’t TURN him gay. Right?

Well, the constructivists say otherwise. They believe that due to our history and culture, the majority of humans lean towards heterosexuality because that is what’s considered normal and accepted in society. We were born into a society with pre-existing ideas regarding sexuality, and that our own personal sexuality is basically pre-determined for us once we are born. If we lived in a society where there were no labels, history, or cultures that favour heterosexuality, everybody would express themselves as we naturally are, which demonstrates both homo and heterosexual tendencies.

Interesting to think about huh? We’ve been taught all our lives that sexuality is such an easy, cookie cutter thing. Girls like boys. Boys like girls. Girls like pink. Boys like Blue. But when you challenge those thoughts and dig deeper into you, you truly see how complex we truly are as humans, and how no one – especially not society – can tell us who we are or what we should think.

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Curing Cancer and Living to 100

The other day I heard the people on the radio talking about how scientists are inventing this new drug that will help people live to be over 100 years old. This drug will also apparently eradicate such illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and alzheimers. And I immediately thought: when will people realize that the answer to health and longevity is not in a pill; it’s in our diet and lifestyle.

Recently I’ve been presented with an abundance of knowledge and information regarding humans living longer and healthier. I guess it all started about a month ago when I watched the presentation by Dr. Michael Greger titled: “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.” Consequently, I found the speech life changing. His presentation is full of extensive studies and research done over periods of 30 years and more. What he explained was how by eating a plant based diet full of fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, nuts, etc: we can cure, prevent, and reverse 15 of the 16 top causes of death in North America. These would be diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and many others. I would highly recommend watching the presentation as I felt very enlightened afterwards and wanted to share it with everybody.

But then I had a thought that has crossed my mind multiple times in the past: if the solution is so simple, why isn’t the whole world having access to this information? If we can all prevent cancer and heart disease by eating plants, why doesn’t everybody know about this??

The answer to that question is simple: money.

The government makes money off of our sickness. The meat and dairy industry make money off us spending all of our money on their products. And then when animal-based foods like meat, dairy and eggs cause diseases like cancer, obesity, heart disease, and all the others I listed above; well, you see how the system works. It’s all about money. And unfortunately, if everybody was healthy and lived long, the medical industries would be out of business. One of my favourite quotes is actually from Family Guy when Lois’s dad says: “Why cure someone of cancer in a day? When you can treat them for a lifetime and bill them every step along the way?

It’s so sad that we live in a generation where cancer is the most deadliest thing someone can hear. But what if all of that could change; what if there really was a cure to fix it all?

Well, there is; it’s called eating a plant based diet.

In Dr. Greger’s presentation, he specifically outlines the causes of cancer, and how eating animal foods can cause cancer growth to grow. And when patients were fed a diet of only plant based foods, the cancer cells shrunk. I really cannot do it any justice by describing it to you so please, if you are doubting me or are just interested, go watch the speech now. It’s only an hour and can literally change your life.

The next week I came across this TED talk by Dan Buettner titled: “How to Live to be 100+“. In the presentation he discusses the tribes of people who are the longest living on the planet: in Sardinia, Okinawa, and Loma Linda. What all of these groups of people had in common was that they ate a predominantly plant based diet: consisting of fruits, vegetables, grains, starches, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

But it’s not just diet that aids in their longevity, it’s also their culture. These people do not live like we do in Westernized societies. They wake up each morning with a happy and peaceful mind. They pray to whatever God or higher powers they believe in; they spend quality time together in their community; they form genuine connections with people who will be with them their entire life time; they do not over eat like North Americans do, they simply eat until they are 80% full to ensure they do not over eat. They also say a prayer before each meal and also say that they will appreciate this meal and not over eat. Another thing all of these communities have in common is that they do not exercise; yet they are the healthiest people on the planet, where living to age 100 is normal, even 120 is average for them. They do not have a word for retirement because these people believe that the job they have is not a job at all; they believe it is their duty to their community; to help and serve. They never want to finish working because they love it so much. They work to be 97 and older.

The difference between these communities and ours is that we live these busy, hectic lives. We are overwhelmed by industrialization, consumerism, and the internet. We rush around the busy streets surrounded by tall buildings and polluted air. We stress about the future and let things from the past haunt us. One specific thing that these tribes do is to sit down once or twice a day and just relax and pray. To say what they are appreciative for, and to de-stress/mediate, and relax their minds and bodies. We do not do that enough.

So with all of these things combined – diet, stress, culture – they live much longer and healthier than we do.

I aspire to be like them. I want us all to aspire to be like them. Because if we can all be happy and live long together, why wouldn’t we?

But then I am reminded; where is the profit in that?

And that is why we will never be like them. Because our Westernized world revolves around money and greed, not the wellness of our people. Unfortunately, people being sick is what keeps the money flowing. And until people wake up and do their own research on these things, they will continue to be a slave to the system. And I truly do not want that to happen to people. That is why I highly advise you to watch these presentations, read these books, do your research, and learn about these things. Because sometimes the internet can help you more than think.

Mindfulness

Favourite Quotes

I think you can tell a lot about someone by their favourite quotes. These quotes all speak to me and are so deep to my heart. Here a few of mine; feel free to read through them and find inspiration, hope, or anything else you are looking for <3

Please comment YOUR favourite quotes. I’d love to hear them.

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“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid in stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
―Martin Luther King Jr

“I cried when I didn’t have any shoes, until a saw a man that didn’t have any feet. Life is full of blessings; sometimes we’re just too blind to see them.” – Unknown

“It’s a bad day, not a bad life”
– Unknown

“If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies, how very different out ideals of beauty would be.”

“Before you can see the light, you have to deal with the darkness”
― Dan Millman

“If you love a flower, don’t pick it up; because if you pick it up, it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.
-Osho

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
― Gautama Buddha

“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
-Lao Tzu

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
-Mahatma Ghandi

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein

I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”
– John Lennon

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Gautama Buddha

“The goal is not to live forever, but to create something that will”
– Selena Quintanilla Perez

“Each time you read a book, a tree smiles knowing there’s life after death.”
-Unknown

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?”
– Mark Twain

“An entire sea of water can’t sink the ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world can’t put you down unless you allow it to get inside of you.”

“Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder”

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in your life, you’ll never have enough” – Oprah Winfrey

“Do not be frightened of the sad, dark spots in your life. If it never rained, nothing would ever grow.” – Beau Taplin

“I was always taught by my mother, that the first thought that goes through your mind is what you have been conditioned to think. What you think next defines who you are.”
– Tumblr

“You don’t need a reason to help people.”

“You have to be a little nuts to be a writer because you have to imagine worlds that aren’t there.”
– Stephen King

“If you only play for the applause, then you place your happiness in the hands of the audience.”
“Don’t do things for recognition, gratification, or because you want something in return. If you’re not doing things for you because you want to, you’ll never be happy.”
-Instagram

“She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
-Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor&Park

“Most lives are not distinguished by great achievements. They are measured by an infinite number of small ones. Each time you do a kindness for someone or bring a smile to his face, it gives your life meaning. Never doubt your value, little friend. The world would be a dismal place without you in it.”
– Lisa Kleypas, Scandal in Spring

“I’ve been asked why I don’t try to make myself look beautiful in my photos. My reply is always the same. I do, we just don’t see beauty the same way,”
―Brooke Shaden

“What is the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?”
―John Green

“Life begins where fear ends.”
― Osho