Category Archives: Skin Care

Guest Post: How to Heal Hormonal Acne Naturally

Amie, from Rebelle Nutrition, is a fellow NTP and Beautycounter consultant with a passion for healing the body from the inside out. Like me, she was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time, and turned her health around with the power of real food. She started having way more energy and vitality, but her skin issues and hormonal acne took a bit more work and digging around to solve beyond simple nutrition. So here she is to tell you what steps made the biggest difference and resulted in the radiant, clear skin she has now. I hope her story and advice help you on your skin care journey!

Amie Tollefsrud - Hormonal Acne

Eating real food but still suffering from painful hormonal acne?

Here are the steps you might be missing.

So you’re eating a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet but still have annoying (and painful) adult acne. This was exactly my story a few years ago when I first made the change to a paleo-ish style way of eating. My fatigue, joint pain, and acid reflux all improved drastically, but the one thing I could not seem to get a handle on no matter what I tried, was healing my hormonal acne. It continue to pop up, month after month, no matter how “clean” I ate or how dedicated I was to my “natural” skincare routine.

After about a year of research, trial and error, and intense healing, I discovered 5 key steps towards healing hormonal acne that have worked wonders for not only myself, but dozens of my Nutritional Therapy clients who come to me with the same problem. Keep in mind, these steps are intended for those people who have already made the switch to a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet. Improving the quality of the food you eat is the first step towards healing; after which, I recommend bringing in the “big guns” aka these 5 steps:

1. Don’t guess, test!

Unfortunately, there are plenty of nutrient dense foods that can still cause a histamine response (or “sensitivity”) in our bodies. This is especially true of foods we eat on a regular (or even daily) basis. Without rotation and a wide variety of different nutrients, our bodies can create antibodies to these foods, causing a number of physical manifestations such as joint pain, eczema, migraines, or painful acne. If you are eating a paleo style diet that has removed inflammatory foods like grains, dairy, soy, sugar and other processed goods, it might be time to look into food sensitivity testing. But don’t worry, you don’t need to run out and spend hundreds on expensive testing just yet. There is an easy at home test I like to do with clients, called the “Coca’s pulse test” that measures your pulse rate in response to eating certain foods. Here’s how to do it: 

Pick 1 food that you suspect may be causing you problems (coffee, eggs, milk) make sure it is only 1 ingredient and not a combination of different things (banana bread, for example, would not be able to decipher it is the bananas, wheat, or eggs causing the reaction).

Take your pulse for one full minute, record.

Put the chosen food in your mouth and chew but do not swallow for 20 seconds.

After 20 seconds, take your pulse again for one full minute with the food still in your mouth (do not swallow). Record your findings. Spit out the food and rinse your mouth if you plan to test again.

What are your results? An increase of 6 beats per minute or more indicates a stress response from that specific food, and may mean an elimination protocol may be needed. The higher the pulse increase, the greater the response. (Want to watch a video tutorial of this? Go HERE!)

2. Heal your leaky gut

You might be wondering, but WHY is my body creating antibodies to delicious and nutrient rich foods? The answer: your gut is “leaky”. Leaky gut is the term used to describe the process of increased intestinal permeability; which means that undigested food particles are able to make their way into the bloodstream – instead of being properly digested an used as fuel. This causes the immune system to elicit an “attack”, aka a histamine response or sensitivity reaction (i.e. increased pulse rate). Leaky gut is at the root cause of nearly every health symptom imaginable, and I find that repairing the gut lining is one of the most successful ways to improve a variety of skin related conditions – specifically acne. Some of my favorite gut-healing nutrients include L-glutamine, collagen peptides, plenty of nutrient rich bone broth, and DGL

3. Change up your skincare routine

I’m willing to bet that if you have acne, you’ve already tried nearly every product on the market, am I right? As a nutritional therapy practitioner, I tried so hard to make the oil cleansing method work for me, but all it did was create a mess of my bathroom and make my skin look greasy. When I finally learned about Beautycounter, a company that aims to remove harmful toxins and chemicals from their skincare products (without compromising performance), I was sold. I now consider myself to be a bit of a Beautycounter whore; but when I first started out, there were 3 products that improved my adult acne better than ANYTHING else I’ve ever tried. Seriously.

Charcoal Bar for cleansing (morning and night)

Purifying Charcoal Mask (2-3x a week for a spa grade facial)

Balancing Face Oil for moisturizer (I know what you’re thinking, oil on acne?!? But hear me out- Beautycounter specifically formulated this oil for acne prone skin, to moisturize and balance out levels of skin sebum and actually reduce excess oil production – how cool is that?)

4. Get off the treadmill

I know, I know. This is one that my clients, nor I, wanted to accept. But the truth is, if you have hormonal acne and you continue to do intense workouts in the form of running, cross fit, cycling, or anything that elicits a stress response in the body – this is likely to be a key player in the formation of your acne.

Intense exercise leads to heightened levels of stress in the body, causing increased cortisol output and insulin production. For women especially, this can also throw off the delicate balance of progesterone to estrogen – amplifying testosterone levels and causing increased oil production, clogged pores, and – you guessed it: acne.

5. Zinc supplementation

Zinc is an amazing skin-healing mineral that most of us are deficient in, despite eating a good diet. Zinc has been shown to lower chronic levels of inflammation and prevent acne-causing bacteria on the skin to become painful and inflamed. It also helps reduce the bacteria on the surface of the skin that causes acne, reduces keratin production that leads to clogged pores, and balances hormones by keeping levels of acne-causing testosterone in check. If you aren’t getting daily sources of zinc from foods like oysters or pumpkin seeds, I recommend experimenting with zinc supplementation in the form of zinc picolinate for around 3 months or so (make sure to work with a practitioner). 

There you have it! If you are already eating a real-food diet but still struggling with hormonal acne, I hope that these 5 key steps will be as life-changing for you as they have been for the clients in my practice. 

Want more? Download my free e-book: Acne Free in 30 Days HERE

Amie Tollefsrud is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and minimalist living in Maui, HI. She recently downsized to a tiny house by the beach with her husband, where she spends her days surfing, building her online business, and figuring out how to cook real food without a kitchen. Find out more by visiting her blog, Instagram, or Facebook page.

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

Guest Post- How to Heal Hormonal Acne Naturally

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide 2016: $50 or Under + Safe Skincare Giveaway!

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway
It’s officially holiday season! As stressful as December can be, I do love all the twinkly lights, family time, and decorations. I know many of you have started doing some holiday shopping already, but I wanted to help you out if you need more ideas for those hard-to-get folks and I also have a healthy skincare freebie and a giveaway for you at the end of this post!

I love giving gifts that inspire a healthy and happy lifestyle, because of course I want my loved ones to live a long life full of vitality! This gift guide does just that and these items are also easy on the wallet because they are all $50 and under! Hope this helps your holiday shopping go much easier.

2016 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Naughty to Nice Charcoal Bar and Mask Gift Set, $48. I’ve talked before about my love for activated charcoal for skin care and how much it’s helped me reduce my hormonal acne. This gift set from Beautycounter contains 2 of their most popular items at a reduced price! I love all their safe and toxin-free skin care products, and I use both the bar soap and the mask regularly to detox my skin of impurities and oils.
  2. Foam Roller, $24.97. When I first bought a foam roller, I didn’t realize how much I would LOVE using it! It works incredibly well at loosening up sore and tight muscles, speeding up recovery time after a workout, and my favorite: massaging my back and shoulders. I hold a lot of stress in my neck and upper body, and foam rolling every night has helped a ton in getting out the kinks and stiffness. It’s one of those gifts that the recipient doesn’t even know if he or she needs it until they try it!
  3. Meditation Pillow, $32.95. I’m a huge proponent of meditation, and I think everyone should try to incorporate it into their daily lives. Having something so comfortable like a meditation pillow will make it so much easier to sit on it and learn to breathe. This one comes in 6 different colors and it’s made with organic cotton. I also love that you can remove the inner fill for easy washing!
  4. Salad Dressing Bottle, $6.99. What a fun little stocking stuffer! This glass salad dressing bottle has 8 different dressing recipes on the bottle with fill lines for the different ingredients. Salad dressing is something that’s so easy to make at home and the typical store bought ones contain crazy ingredients and hydrogenated oils. Now this gift can make it even easier to enjoy homemade dressing. Some of the ingredients suggest vegetable oil and sugar, but you can just omit those and it will still be delicious!
  5. Luminous Nudes Gift Set, $48. Another awesome Beautycounter gift set! This one contains Sheer Lipstick in Twig and Lip Gloss in Bare Shimmer, 2 colors that go with every skin tone. I was a bit nervous about buying these colors because of my dark complexion, but they complement my skin really well. I actually didn’t like to use anything other than lip balm until I started using these! They contain jojoba esters and vitamin E to moisturize and nourish, so your lips are never chapped while using them.
  6. Adult Coloring Book, $9.57. Coloring has become one of my favorite ways to unwind and relax at the end of the day, and this coloring book contains such pretty details and designs. It’s become increasingly important for many of us to slow down and do something we enjoy, especially because we are always on the go and busy at all times, and coloring is a great, calming way to do that. I mean, who doesn’t love to color? It works for many people because you don’t have to be artistic to enjoy this simple activity.
  7. Zoya Nail Polish, $10-20. Since I regularly talk about the importance of safe skincare, I’ve been asked several times what nail polish I like to use. I love a good manicure and pedicure and nail polish wasn’t something I wanted to give up on. Luckily, Zoya’s nail polish is toxin-free and made without common harmful ingredients like toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and DBP (dibutyl phthalate). Plus, it stays on for a long time which is important for someone like me who cooks all the time. You can buy their nail polish individually (so many colors!), or they have a some great gift sets that you can buy for a reasonable price!
  8. Stainless Steel Lunch Box, $28.95. I’m all about encouraging bringing your lunch to school or work. You just eat so much healthier and more nutritiously when you make your own food. However, the quality of containers that you put your food in is important as well. This stainless steel lunch box is free of BPA, BPS, lead, toxins, and harmful phthalates, and I love the different compartments it comes with! It comes in 2 sizes, but I would go for the large size to pack meals and snacks to hold you over during a long day.
  9. US Wellness Meats Gift Card, $25-250. Some of us are fortunate enough to live near farmers markets and stores that have a great variety of high quality meats. However, there are others who do not have easy access to grass fed beef and pasture raised pork and chicken near them. Well, good news! US Wellness Meats is an awesome company that uses proper farming techniques to raise healthy and happy animals, and they deliver these meats straight to your door! Plus, I love that they have hard-to-find items like rabbit, liver, bones, and even wild-caught seafood. I think their gift cards, ranging from $25-$250, is a great way to support these farmers while encouraging your loved ones to eat better quality, healthier meats.
  10. Homemade Mixed Nuts, $5-10. I love homemade gifts because there’s always so much thought and love that go into them! It’s even better if it’s something you can eat. There are many recipes out there, but my Spiced Maple Rosemary Mixed Nuts are a hit every time and people really love them during holiday season! It’s a perfect combination of salty, spicy, and sweet. Put it in a glass jar, tie a bow around it, and it instantly becomes so pretty and fun. These kinds of gifts are also perfect when you are trying to save money over the holidays.

Safe Skincare Freebie & Giveaway time!

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway

Now it’s my turn to gift YOU something. I’m in such a happy holiday mood, that:

I’m giving anyone who orders from Beautycounter through me in the entire month of December a free sample of the Purifying Charcoal Mask – no minimum orders!

I absolutely love the charcoal mask and I use it about twice as week, and it’s also great as a spot treatment on acne. It really is one of the best methods to cleanse and detox your skin! This offer ends on 12/31/16, 11:59pm PST.  Start shopping HERE!

Now for the giveaway

1 lucky winner will score Beautycounter’s travel set, worth $48, which includes:

  • Body Wash in Citrus Mimosa
  • Hydrating Body Lotion in Citrus Mimosa
  • Daily Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Travel Bag

All these items are safe and toxin free, and perform beautifully. It’s a perfect set to pack for your holiday travels! To win, enter below:

This giveaway is open to US residents only. It will be open for entry until Friday, 12/9/16 at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be announced above and will also be contacted by email.

Happy Holidays and good luck!

Healthy Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway

2016 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

Safe Toxin-Free Skin Care Freebie Giveaway

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

6 Ways to Avoid Dry Winter Skin

6 Ways To Avoid Dry Winter Skin

Cooler, drier weather is in full swing! While the San Francisco Bay Area gets more humid during the winter seasons, I know the opposite is true for the rest of the country. I grew up with sensitive, dry skin that would flake every Fall and Winter (I was so self-conscious!), so I know how annoying and frustrating it can be. It’s especially bad when you have dark skin like me.

Over the years, I made changes in my nutrition and my skin care routine, and both of these have contributed greatly in improving my skin tone an getting rid of flaky dry skin. It was actually a happy coincidence from these positive changes that I noticed this result and it amazed me how much my health can affect the integrity of my skin. Makes sense though! Our skin is an organ (our largest one!) so when we improve our health, of course our entire system will improve their function as well.

Here are 6 ways you can avoid dry skin during this winter season:

1. Load up on healthy fats.

While the humidity and the weather definitely affects your skin, your internal factors play a huge role as well. Dry skin is a classic sign that your body is deficient in fats. This could be due to two factors: 1) You aren’t eating enough healthy fats, or 2) your body isn’t able to properly digest the fats that you are consuming.

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the main contributors that keep your skin supple and moisturized from inside out. It keeps the skin from drying out and it’s also anti-inflammatory, assisting in the healing process of irritated skin.

So what should you eat? Load up on wild-caught, deep-sea fish like salmon, sardines, cod, anchovies, and sea bass. Grass fed meats have a good ratio of Omega-3 fats as well, and nuts and avocados also have loads of healthy fats that benefit your skin. When cooking, use healthy nourishing fats like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, butter, ghee, and animal fats.

If you are having trouble digesting fats, beets and bitters stimulate bile formation, which help us break down the fat in our food. If you would rather supplement, this ox bile can be a great addition to your meals that also helps you feel less bloated.

2. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables rich with nutrients

Carotenoids give fresh produce their deep, bold-colors, and these nutrients, combined with the active form of vitamin A found in these foods, keep our skin young and supple. Carotenoids keep the skin from aging, forming wrinkles, and drying out. Converted vitamin A is especially beneficial for preventing loss of skin’s moisture and it acts as a powerful antioxidant that replenishes nutrients in skin and promotes collagen production. Not only that, fresh produce hold a lot of water, helping to hydrate us internally.

Ideally, choose fruits and veggies that are locally grown and organic, and try to consume a wide variety. I especially love to concentrate on and try out different types of dark leafy greens every time I’m at the farmers market.

3. Avoid sugar and processed foods

High sugar consumption, processed packaged foods, and hydrogenated oils are probably the main source of dehydration in our body and our skin. These foods do the opposite of what fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats do, accelerating the age of our skin and causing wrinkles and acne.

I can definitely tell when I’ve had too much sugar when I wake up with pimples or my skin just looks a bit patchy and grayish. My eyes are even dry after a high sugar meal! When your blood sugar rises above the normal range, the body loses fluid fast and causes poor circulation which can even contribute to itchy skin.

If your gut is also compromised by a high sugar diet and you have yeast overgrowth like candida, this can definitely cause dry skin issues, along with rashes, athletes foot, and itchiness. Always eat a whole food diet, and avoid processed sugars and packaged foods, and you’ll find great improvements in your skin. If you don’t know where to start, my RESTART sugar detox program will guide you on how to start a healthy and nourishing diet.

4. Moisturize with safe, toxin-free products

Using products with less-than-ideal ingredients like toxic chemicals, parabens, and hormone disruptors actually do more harm than good to not only your skin, but to your internal organs as well. Our skin care products contribute greatly to the toxic overload that all of us face in the modern world. Ignore the clever marketing by the skin care companies and check all products you are thinking of using on EWG’s Skin Deep to find out how much toxins they contain.

Olive oil and coconut oil are great, natural sources for moisturizing the skin. My Homemade Body Butter contain both of these ingredients and it’s so moisturizing and hydrating for the skin.

Don’t feel like making your own? These are some of my favorite Beautycounter products that have made a huge difference on my dry skin:

Cleansing Balm

Beautycounter Cleansing Balm

I use this balm to oil cleanse (learn more about oil cleansing HERE) and it hydrates and takes off my make up at the same time. I really love how luxurious and moisturizing it feels on my skin.

Rejuvenating Day Cream

Beautycounter Rejuvenating Day Cream

I use this in the morning after I wash my face. Not only does it smell amazing, it contains omega-rich natural oils and vitamin-rich fruit extracts that hydrates and brightens skin. It also has anti-wrinkle properties and my skin definitely feels more nourished after applying this cream.

Hydrating Face Oil

Beautycounter Hydrating Face Oil

I think this might be my current favorite Beautycounter product. It’s so luxurious and silky on the skin, without feeling greasy. I use about 4 drops each night and it’s plenty to make a huge difference in how my skin feels in the morning. So hydrating!


5. Humidify

And I mean this both internally and externally. As the weather gets drier, it becomes even more important to drink plenty of water. Remember: your skin health reflects your inner health. You need to keep hydrated so your skin can also retain plenty of moisture. How much water is enough? Your daily intake should roughly be: The number that you get when you divide your body weight in lbs in half, that number in ounces is how much you should be drinking each day. For example, a 140-lb person should drink 70 ounces of water daily.

This time of the year is also a great time to invest in a humidifier. Low humidity level not only results in dry skin, but this is also the reason why we get sick so easily in the winter time. It’s great to keep it on throughout the day, but especially important to leave it on at night in the bedroom so your body can heal and detox properly while you sleep.

6. Exfoliate

If your skin is already dry and peeling, exfoliation can be extremely helpful. I love using my homemade coconut coffee body scrub on my body in the shower, because it really helps my skin feel smooth and moist.

However, I don’t recommend physical abrasive exfoliation for everyone on the face where it’s a bit more sensitive. Instead, you can gently exfoliate by using raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar as a toner after you wash your face or use activated charcoal mask. If your skin can handle some more physical exfoliation, Beautycounter’s Nourishing Cream Exfoliator is also a great option.

Dry skin is not just an isolated external issue. You have to heal your body from the inside out with proper nutrition, sleep, and stress management to hydrate and moisturize your skin. Skin care products and other external remedies are supplemental factors that can also help minimize dry, flaky skin in the winter (or any time of the year!). If you have dry skin, you are probably dehydrated or deficient in nutrients. With small changes in your diet and lifestyle, you can make a huge difference on your skin, and soon, you’ll look more beautiful and radiant!

What Great Grandma Ate / Jean Choi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
Regarding other affiliate links and affiliate relationships: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support and understanding.

6 Ways To Avoid Dry Winter Skin