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I'm Crystal Vaughn

a classically trained chef taking holistic plant-based nutrition on a grand adventure through North America. When I’m not creating in our traveling kitchen, you can usually find me on my yoga mat or a hiking trail.

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Here is part two of my daily routine series where we are diving into the Ayurvedic tradition of Dinacharya.  As we work to bring mindfulness into our daily routine it can be a little tricky to change our habits at first.  I have found the best way to add a new habit is to set up a cue at a specific time of day or attach it to another routine you already do.  If you miss a day, who cares, try again tomorrow.  Don't worry about the times you skip or forget about it a first.  This is natural, just keep trying and if you never seem to be doing it, change the cue or time so it can work into your schedule better.

Last month, I shared about drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning.  (If you missed it, you can read it here!)  How did you guys do?  Have you noticed any positive changes?  If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

This month, we are talking about something that may seem a little weird at first but I'm asking you to keep an open mind.  What if I told you it only takes a few minutes a day and can help your skin look brighter, improve circulation, help shed dead skin, unclog pores, can help breakup cellulite and it helps to purify your lymph system which rids the body of toxins (added bonus: this could help you lose weight).

So what are we talking about? Dry brushing.  It really is pretty darn simple and all you need is a dry brush with natural bristles; avoid synthetic and plastic ones.

The first time I came across dry brushing I was reading about a supermodels beauty tricks in a magazine.  I thought it sounded odd and didn't really give it much thought.  After learning more about the benefits of this Ayurvedic routine I decided to give it a try and it has been part of my self-care ritual fairly consistently over the last 3 or 4 years.

How to:

Step 1: Set yourself up for success by putting your dry brush where you will see it and be reminded to use it before you shower (after a few days, if you aren't noticing it, try a new spot).

Step 2: I recommend stripping down and getting in the shower before you turn the water on so all the dead skin stays in there, instead of on your bathroom floor.

Step 3: Remember to be gentle on sensitive areas such as the breasts and always avoid the face.

Step 4: Use long sweeping motions starting from the feet and moving towards the heart.  I start at my feet and do a fluid movement all the way up to the top of my leg, make my way all the way around and move to the other side, then I move to my arms and brush from my hands to my shoulders all the way around on both sides, then I move to the torso (I skip my belly while pregnant)and use long sweeping strokes up on the front side, then I move to the back, I brush upwards on my bottom and then down my back (a longer handle is nice for this part), lastly, I do my neck and chest, I start right below the chin line and move down towards my heart.

Step 5: Shower!

Step 6: Moisturize with a natural product like coconut oil or your favorite organic lotion (be sure to read the ingredients!).  You are flushing out toxins so it makes no sense to add them right back to your largest (and porous) organ.

I have even continued this practice during my pregnancy.  I use this method to help me when my limbs, especially my legs, feel like they are swelling or like there is stagnant energy in the body.

My challenge to you is to add this to your daily routine for the next month.  If you have questions or give it a try I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment below!

Love and self-care,

Crystal

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Jan 12, 2016

 

If you follow me on social media you may have seen that I was doing a kitchari cleanse last week.  I got so many questions about it that I wanted to discuss it with you.  Today’s post is not about a specific cleanse or how to cleanse.  We will discuss some of the dos and don’ts that surround cleansing and the right and wrong reasons to do them.

Cleansing can be a great decision when wanting to be healthier and give your digestive system a little break.  When we cleanse or fast with water, juices, teas and/or easy to digest foods like kitchari our digestive system that is used to working almost all the time gets a bit of a break and the rest of the body can get to work.  The organs start to cleanse and the body has an easier time ridding itself of weak and sick cells.  It has the ability to focus on problem areas and can start to help heal them.

An added bonus of cleansing is weight loss but you must not be too attached to this outcome.  Yes, you will probably lose a few pounds over the course of a cleanse (sometimes even a few pounds every day) but this really isn’t a good telling of where the number on the scale will end up.  When we change our daily eating habits our weight shifts in the direction of how we are eating.  A cleansing menu isn’t really sustainable for most of us in the long run so when we shift back to other eating habits our weight will reflect that.

Setting an intention to be healthy instead of aiming for a specific weight is a great way to start feeling better and weight loss will usually follow.  If we set the intention to be healthier we start to look at things differently.  You start to tune in with how you feel after you eat.  You can let go of the body shaming that sometimes comes with weight loss plans.  If we focus on keeping ourselves healthy and intuitively eating we start to understand when we are filling up and when it’s time to put down the fork.  We don’t have to count calories and macro-nutrients to tell us when and what to eat.   Once you get out of your head and start listening to yourself, some of these changes come naturally.

 

What are your intentions for doing a cleanse?  If your answer is only to lose weight and you plan on going straight back into your old routine, I suggest skipping it at this time.  Maybe you should focus on making small sustainable changes to your current diet.  When we yo-yo back and forth it is really hard on our systems and we typically end up worse or heavier than when we started.

A cleanse might be right for you…  IF you have been eating unhealthier more regularly and you want to get back on track.  IF you are working on getting over food cravings and you want a clean and strict set of guidelines to help you take some of the first steps.  IF you want to change the way you eat and are ready to make some long-term change.   IF you intuitively feel like this is a good place to start.

Cleansing is not for everyone at every point in his or her life.  If you are considering a cleanse really check in with yourself and make sure you are doing it for the right and long term reasons.  If you have any questions please contact me or leave a comment below!

Peace and health,

Crystal

“It is about feeding ourselves as a good parent would: with love, with variety, but also with limits.” – Bree Wilson

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Jan 01, 2016

 

Happy New Year!!

This time of year has me thinking a lot about resolutions (and probably you as well).  Do you even know exactly what a resolution is?  Well let me tell you: it is a firm decision to do or not do something.  Please focus on the word FIRM.  Please don't use this term lightly.

Just because this is the time of year you are "supposed" to make a resolution doesn't mean it is the right time for you.  Make sure it is something your really want.  Check in with yourself and ask WHY you want it.  Maybe you are still traveling and it makes more sense to start a resolution when you return home or next month or six months from now.  I think it is always a good decision to make positive changes but make sure you are doing them for the right reasons and will take the time to implement them into your life.

If you know me very well, you know I am not a fan of fad diets.  Resolutions are often like fad diets: they don't help anyone and end up making you feel bad about yourself.  DON'T LET YOUR RESOLUTION BECOME A FAD DIET!

When/if you are ready to make changes here are a few suggestions on how to implement then and stick to them:

1) Choose your why.  This is a very important to making lasting changes.  If you don't have a strong why, what is the point anyways?  What is your reason for wanting to do this and will you put time and effort into accomplishing it?

2) Make a plan.  Changes are a lot easier when you have a plan.  Once you have decided on a resolution and know your why the next step is to sit down and write out a plan.  The key is to start small.  Maybe you decide to gradually increase of remove something from your life.  Set a plan on how much you add or take away each day, week or month.  Also, depending on your resolution you may be able to set specific times or cues.  For example: if you decide you want to work out more, you could start by working out once a week and gradually adding in workouts.  You can set yourself up for success by choosing a specific time of day and setting out your workout clothes or packing your gym bag the night before.

3) Implement when you are ready.  Choosing the right time can be crucial for your success.  Pick a time where you don't have more than usual on your plate or a lot of stress.  This will only make it harder. 

Bonus!  If your new resolution can be combined with something you enjoy or a reward try adding it as motivation.  Going back to the workout example, maybe you set a goal of working out three times a week and once you have done that for two months straight you reward yourself with a new outfit you've been eyeing or a night out with friends.  Something you really enjoy but don't do too often.  Just make sure you don't pick something that is detrimental to your goal. 

I hope this helped you get some perspective on your resolutions and will help you make lasting changes!

Cheers to a wonderful new year!

 Crystal

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The information on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any health condition or disease. It does not replace medical advice from a licensed professional.