How to talk to little girls

I wanted to share an article with you today, written by Lisa Bloom, author of Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed Down World. (Awesome book btw, should be mandatory reading for anyone regardless of gender.) This article explains in a very enlightening way how we subconsciously help creating gender stereotypes while communicating with kids, even though our intentions of course are nothing but the best.

How to talk to little girls

“I went to a dinner party at a friend’s home last weekend, and met her five-year-old daughter for the first time.

Little Maya was all curly brown hair, doe-like dark eyes, and adorable in her shiny pink nightgown. I wanted to squeal, “Maya, you’re so cute! Look at you! Turn around and model that pretty ruffled gown, you gorgeous thing!”

But I didn’t. I squelched myself. As I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are.

What’s wrong with that? It’s our culture’s standard talking-to-little-girls icebreaker, isn’t it? And why not give them a sincere compliment to boost their self-esteem? Because they are so darling I just want to burst when I meet them, honestly.

Hold that thought for just a moment.

This week ABC News reported that nearly half of all three- to six-year-old girls worry about being fat. In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. This keeps happening, and it breaks my heart.

Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.”


Image borrowed from TLC

“That’s why I force myself to talk to little girls as follows.

“Maya,” I said, crouching down at her level, looking into her eyes, “very nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you too,” she said, in that trained, polite, talking-to-adults good girl voice.

“Hey, what are you reading?” I asked, a twinkle in my eyes. I love books. I’m nuts for them. I let that show.

Her eyes got bigger, and the practiced, polite facial expression gave way to genuine excitement over this topic. She paused, though, a little shy of me, a stranger.

“I LOVE books,” I said. “Do you?”

Most kids do.

“YES,” she said. “And I can read them all by myself now!”

“Wow, amazing!” I said. And it is, for a five-year-old. You go on with your bad self, Maya.

“What’s your favorite book?” I asked.

“I’ll go get it! Can I read it to you?”

Purplicious was Maya’s pick and a new one to me, as Maya snuggled next to me on the sofa and proudly read aloud every word, about our heroine who loves pink but is tormented by a group of girls at school who only wear black. Alas, it was about girls and what they wore, and how their wardrobe choices defined their identities. But after Maya closed the final page, I steered the conversation to the deeper issues in the book: mean girls and peer pressure and not going along with the group. I told her my favorite color in the world is green, because I love nature, and she was down with that.

Not once did we discuss clothes or hair or bodies or who was pretty. It’s surprising how hard it is to stay away from those topics with little girls, but I’m stubborn.

I told her that I’d just written a book, and that I hoped she’d write one too one day. She was fairly psyched about that idea. We were both sad when Maya had to go to bed, but I told her next time to choose another book and we’d read it and talk about it. Oops. That got her too amped up to sleep, and she came down from her bedroom a few times, all jazzed up.”

“So, one tiny bit of opposition to a culture that sends all the wrong messages to our girls. One tiny nudge towards valuing female brains. One brief moment of intentional role modeling. Will my few minutes with Maya change our multibillion dollar beauty industry, reality shows that demean women, our celebrity-manic culture? No. But I did change Maya’s perspective for at least that evening.

Try this the next time you meet a little girl. She may be surprised and unsure at first, because few ask her about her mind, but be patient and stick with it. Ask her what she’s reading. What does she like and dislike, and why? There are no wrong answers. You’re just generating an intelligent conversation that respects her brain. For older girls, ask her about current events issues: pollution, wars, school budgets slashed. What bothers her out there in the world? How would she fix it if she had a magic wand? You may get some intriguing answers. Tell her about your ideas and accomplishments and your favorite books. Model for her what a thinking woman says and does.”

Lisa Bloom for Huffington Post

Time to get with the program Spain!

lowfatmadness

I was on the metro today and I saw this ad for Asturiana milk. They have now manage to make their milk contain even less fat, and I can´t help but wonder when this country is going to catch up with modern day society and learn that natural fats are actually healthy (necessary even) for your body. Isn´t this low-fat mentality just so 1995? Don´t people know by now that it´s overconsumption of carbohydrates that is the reason for obesity, type 2 diabetes etc, and not fat. All it takes is just some basic knowledge in physiology to figure that out. And I know that the world is run by money and that the sugar industry and the pharmaceutical industry are actually some of the largest industries in the world, and if people would stop wanting/needing their products it would be a financial disaster, but sometimes the stupidity and greed of this world becomes exhausting. I just want to run off to a desert island or a mountain top somewhere and not be exposed to this shit for a while.

How the whole “saturated fat myth” got started:

Refreshing minty shower oil

mintyoilI have really sensitive skin and my arms and legs tend to get superdry during the cold winter months, less now since I moved to Spain, but still somewhat dry and itchy. So I decided to completely stop using soap, instead I now fully rely on my amazing home made shower oil. As we´ve clarified earlier, oil dissolves dirt, and natural oils are easily absorbed by your skin as opposed to the synthetic ones.

So here´s my recipe for my home made refreshing minty shower oil:

A bottle of sunflower oil (preferably organic unrefined). Sunflower oil is odor less which is why I picked it. Olive oil works too, but has a very distinctive smell and maybe you don´t want to walk around smelling like a mediterranean salad.

Castor oil (organic and unrefined).  Castor oil has deep cleansing and anti inflammatory qualities, but too much might have a dehydrating effect so just put about 1-2 tablespoons in there.

Peppermint essential oil. Or any other essential oil that has a scent you like. Vanilla, almond, floral scents, whatever your preference is. I like the peppermint because its very refreshing, especially during those hot humid summers. The scent doesn´t really stay with you that long after you get out of the shower though, so it provides more of an aromatherapeutic shower moment.

I just use the original sunflower oil bottle (since it´s already a dark glass bottle that protects the oil from oxidation) and put the castor oil and peppermint oil in there, but if you prefer something nicer you can buy another bottle, dark glass bottles are to be preferred.

Now oil can be a bit tricky to completely rinse off your skin so I use a sponge or a wash cloth to gently rub off the oil under warm running water.

Eating without guilt

vikt

This photo was posted on the swedish Weight Watchers Facebook page the other day. For those of you who aren´t fluent in swedish I can tell you that that´s the swedish Weight Watchers logo on the back of the car. On the back window it says; “Weight loss that lasts? Follow us, we know the way!” (Oh yeah and that´s the McDonalds Drive through if you didn´t notice.) Maybe most of you see this picture as ironic, but actually  this represents the Weight Watchers philosophy pretty well. Eat any crap you want as long as you count the calories. The problem with all these low calorie starvation diets, such as WW, Cambridge, Herbalife etc is that they don´t focus on health, it´s all about weight loss and starving yourself to get there as fast as possible, using all different kinds of low-fat high sugar food substitutes. It´s not about feeling better by providing your body with the nutrients it needs, it´s about hating yourself to the point where you are willing to deny your body of nutrition in order to be skinnier. That´s what diets are about, self hatred. You are not good enough. Instead of learning how to love ourselves now and because of that want what´s best for ourselves we must strive for physical perfection through hating ourselves, and feeling guilty every time we fall off the diet/self starvation wagon. Hate and guilt, a small price to pay for being perfect.

 

Slut shaming 101

I found this quote on Facebook this morning, it´s taken from the book More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Through His Daughter’s Eyes, and yes, it´s exactly just that, a “life lesson” taught by Muhammad Ali to his daughters on a day when they were apparently wearing clothes a bit too revealing for his liking.

“When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.
My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to.
Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected.
Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell.
Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”
He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

This is the foundation of what we today refer to as slut shaming, that a woman who is sexually liberated (or just happens to be wearing a skirt that´s a little too short) should be ashamed of her behavior and that she´s not respecting her body. See that´s what I don´t quite understand, how is restricting what you wear in order to please someone else respecting yourself? To me respecting my body is maintaining the control to do whatever I want with it. I respect my body in the sense that I keep it happy and healthy by eating healthy, giving it sunlight, fresh air and exercise, if I´m cold I put more clothes on, if I´m hot I take some clothes off, if I´m thirsty I drink water, and if my body feels like putting on something slutty and sleep with every guy within a mile radius, then you can be sure I will let it! I respect myself enough not to be constrained  and judged by the opinions of a slut shaming society.

I find it sad that we live in such a man hating culture, reducing men to testosterone driven animals who are triggered by only the sight of a woman’s legs or cleavage. Personally I think men are better than that, I think you are intelligent enough to constrain yourselves and act respectfully towards women in spite of how much of their skin you see. Don´t let sexist opinions get you down, I have faith in you men of the world!

As a final thought, a question; how many parents would have a conversation like this with their son? Telling them to dress less sexy, and to hide their “diamonds” in “the mountain”?? Why does this rule only apply to women? Shouldn´t men “respect” their bodies as well?

As with every situation in life there is a Sex and the City quote to go with it:

Lots and lots of ladybugs

These are some of my favorite scenes from the movie Under the Tuscan sun. And if you, like me, are a fan of the law of attraction and creative visualization then you probably understand why. ;)

Whenever I feel a bit down I watch this movie and I´m instantly reminded that no matter where I am, I am always exactly where I´m supposed to be, and in the end I will get everything that I wish for. (The good and the bad stuff so always wish for the good stuff!)

PS. And as a Grey´s fan I do enjoy watching “Christina” and “Addison” playing a couple. :)

Awesome skin care tips pt 3

This is on of my favorite home made facial masks. It´s made with Aspirin, water and a regular (biological w/o any synthetic crap of course) facial cream, some aloe vera or even some natural yogurt (although I find this a bit too runny for my taste).

What we are going to do is our own home made BHA (Beta hydroxy acid) mask. BHA is salicylic acid normally found in anti aging creams but can also be derived from the acetyl-salicylic acid in Aspirin. BHA works as a very light chemical peel, it also cleans out your pores and can also bleach minor scars.

So here´s what to do:

Take 4-5 Aspirin and crush them.
Mix them with a few drops of water until you have a creamy paste.

Now here is where you can choose to simply apply this mix on your face (avoid areas around the eyes, and if you have inflamed areas of your skin) and let it dry, it takes about 5-10 minutes.

Option no 2 is to mix the aspirin-water blend with a biological face cream, or some aloe vera, natural yogurt or honey, and apply it to your face. I usually do it like this and leave it on a little longer for a better effect, about 15-20 minutes. (Try what works best for your skin, if you are very sensitive then it might be better to leave it for 5-10 minutes only.)

Then I take a soft face towel and soak it in warm water and gently massage off the mask until my face is completely clean.

This mask is amazing for properly cleaning out clogged up pores and remove dead skin cells, and it leaves your skin radiant and healthy looking.

Hungry for change

This is a really interesting video on why we need to stop dieting and instead focus on being healthy and happy. There´s such an obsession in society today on beauty and being skinny and perfect and we forget the most important reason that we´re here, to work on our minds, to evolve and become happy, loving, intelligent beings. Will write a longer post on this subject later but first go watch this video! It´s only available for free for 19 more hours, so click on the image below to watch it!

Awesome skin care tips pt 2

So if you cleaned out all the artificial crap from your bathroom cupboard after my last post :), you might want some tips on what to fill it with next. Ok, so there are various brands out there that sell biological skin care products without a bunch of suspicious additives in them, for example Dr Hauschka, Annemarie Börlind or my swedish favorite Rosenserien. However my absolute favorite and nowadays exclusively monogamous skin care lover is something you can get at the supermarket for just a few € (or whatever your currency is :) ).

I´m talking about a regular bottle of extra virgin olive oil, it´s unrefined and completely natural and contains tons of vitamins and essential fatty acids for your inside as well as your outside. So what do we do with this? You mix it with a little bit of castor oil, which is also a completely natural oil, derived from castor seeds. Castor oil is deep cleansing and anti inflammatory which makes it ideal for people suffering from acne, oily or combination skin (I´m one of them). I´d say about 95% olive oil mixed with 5% castor is a good start, but since castor oil is deep cleansing after a while your skin might start to feel a bit dry, then you just put more olive and less castor. It really doesn´t take a lot to get the super effects of the castor oil. And if your skin is dry or sensitive from the start then just put 99,99% olive oil and a only few drops of castor oil, see what works best for you.

So I use this as a facial cleanser every night. Thoroughly massage the oil blend into your skin to dissolve all dirt and make up, then wash it off with warm water and a wash cloth to gently rub off the oil. Now since the oils are naturally moisturizing you don´t need to apply any cream afterwards. (In the morning just rinse you face with water and if you want apply a day cream with SPF to protect your skin from sun damage and pollution.)

In the begininng you might experience that your skin is actually getting worse (dirtier) but that´s only because all the dirt is being drawn up to the surface, so that´s a good thing. After all that crap is gone your skin will clear up. :)

If you have really inflamed acne I wouldn´t recommend this next one, which is a facial scrub, as it might irritate it, just use the olive castor oil blend until your skin has cleared up a bit.

This is a facial/body scrub that I use once a week to help remove dead skin cells and properly clean out stubborn pores. It´s basically baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) mixed with olive oil. (Mix it well in a small bowl.) First wash your face to get rid of make up and superficial dirt and so that your skin is soft, warm and slightly moist when applying the scrub. Lightly rub the mix onto your skin for a couple of minutes to make sure you get it all over and into your pores, then wash off with warm water and a wash cloth. This will give you baby butt skin, I swear!

Ok here´s you shopping list:

- Organic extra virgin olive oil.
- Organic unrefined castor oil. (For example this one from Fushi, but the important thing is that it´s unrefined and organic, as clean and natural as possible. (Refined castor oil will not work, believe me I bought one by accident once.)
- Baking soda aka Sodium Bicarbonate (NOT baking powder, just saying in case there is some confusion).
- A bottle for the olive-castor blend, preferably a dark glass one as it protects the oil from harmful sunlight, something like this:

Ok, I think that´s about it! Good luck! I also have more posts coming up on other awesome products so stay in touch if you´re interested! :)

Awesome skin care tips!

I´ve been using biological skin care products for the past 6 years now and the improvement of my skin condition has been amazing. The funny thing is I´ve spent years and years spending insane amounts of money on different products, thinking the more expensive the better product. That was before I started working in the health food business and learned all about glycerin, paraffin and other petroleum based oils that are added in basically all the conventional skin care products out there, whether it´s L´oreal or Clinique. Synthetic oils block your pores and make it impossible for the moisture to enter your skin. Meaning it will only lay on top of your skin making it temporarily soft, but the next time you shower or wash your face you´re dry again and need to apply more. Same for the cleansers, you can´t properly deep cleanse since the synthetic oils keep everything on top.


Mmm, mineraal ooil…

“Mineral oil acts as a thin layer on the skin. It is difficult to absorb and clogs the pores, which slows the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins. Remember, the skin is the body’s largest organ and plays an important role in maintaining overall health! Once the oil is absorbed, it is broken down by the liver and passes through the intestinal tract, it will absorb all of the fat-soluble vitamins found there. It is essentially stealing important vitamins from the body, which the body will not be able to replace. This can eventually lead to nutritional deficiencies. Studies have also shown forms of pneumonia caused by mineral oil decreasing lung function, known as lipoid pneumonia. Because of these dangers, the medical community has condemned the use of mineral oil taken orally or as an ingredient in medications.”(Source;)


Mmm, petrooleuum…

I know a lot of people will argue that if mineral oil was that bad for you it wouldn´t be allowed in all these skin care products. Well, I just woke up but unless there´s been a dramatic change since last night and the Dalai Lama was just proclaimed president, money still rules the world. And fact is mineral oils are cheap, it´s actually cheaper to buy the oil than to dispose it. And no, obviously it doesn´t have any instant harmful effects. However, as you may have noticed earlier in this blog, my favorite motto is educate yourself and learn to think for yourself, instead of trusting others to do it for you. So let´s look at this from a common sense point of view; mineral oils are by-products from refining gasoline (you know that stuff we put in our cars that are currently destroying the earth), does that seem like something you would want to rub your body in? I mean does that make sense?

So what to use instead? Fear not, I have a guide coming up in part 2!