Au Natural

Au Natural

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After two months of living without certain dietary habits (January was dedicated to living without white sugar, flour, potatoes or rice and February was my month without dairy), I’ve chosen to step outside the refrigerator. March is my month without make-up. Living without make-up may not sound as difficult as, say, living without sugar, but for me (and I hate to admit this) this month was the most difficult to attempt. More on that in a bit; I’d like to give you some reflections on my month without dairy first.

This month was challenging, but not nearly as challenging as it would have been if I had not lived without sugar and white flour first. Sugar and white flour are tricky; they are just “in” lots of stuff like spaghetti sauce and cereal. Dairy, on the other hand, is a bit more obvious. Either that sandwich has cheese on it or it doesn’t. Of course I had to avoid most sweets and baked goods due to the butter, but I had been avoiding those anyway for most of my other months, so it wasn’t that different.

What really got me, and what always seems to get me, was pizza night. I have a very organized meal-planning schedule that results in me cooking only twice per week. My genius plan? Whatever I cook on Monday we eat for leftovers on Wednesday. Whatever I cook on Tuesday we eat for leftovers on Thursday. Friday is pizza night and Josh cooks on the weekends. Voila!

This plan is great, except I have become so used to it that I cannot bring myself to cook anything on Fridays. My work-tired fingers balk at the thought of chopping vegetables or steaming rice on a Friday night. They seem to crawl, of their own will, toward my laptop and start typing in papajohns.com. 

I did find that eating a salad and breadsticks with marinara was pretty close to the pizza experience. And the one time Josh and I went out for pizza, I ordered my half without cheese. I fully expected the waitress to look at me with the type of disgust normally reserved for people who aren’t allowed within 50 feet of elementary schools, but she simply wrote down my order and headed back to the kitchen. When I told Josh how surprised I was that she didn’t act like I was nuts, he responded, “Of course she didn’t. She wants a tip.”

Will I continue to not eat dairy? Nah. But I’ll eat less. It’s nice to know that I can live without it and I’m sure my heart is thanking me for 30 days of significantly less saturated fat. I know that large amounts of dairy aren’t really good for me, but it is not something I want to try living without forever.

Which brings me to the month of March… no make-up. Like I said, this was the hardest month for me to attempt. Am I secretly vain? I don’t think so. I just think that make-up is a very ingrained habit. I started wearing make-up in high school to cover acne, and even though the acne is gone, the make-up habit has stuck. I’ve never gone to work without make-up. At the start of this month, the thought of going to work without make-up was like imagining going to work without brushing my teeth or wearing clean underwear. It felt wrong in a way that none of my other months had felt. It felt scary. I thought I could not do it.

But I did. I purposely did not tell anyone because I was curious to see their reactions. I work with 12 and 13-year-olds, so I knew they would be the first to tell me (and not very politely) if I looked tired or different. Not one of them said a word. Not. One. Word. This was rather shocking. None of my coworkers mentioned anything, either.  To the rest of the world, the make-up free me looked exactly the same as the made-up me. So who actually thinks I look better with make-up? Just me. Only me. And after two weeks of not wearing make-up, I wouldn’t say that anymore, either.

I have actually come to like my make-up less face. I am getting more sleep, because I know I cannot “fake awake” with mascara and concealer. I am drinking significantly more water and using about three times my normal amount of moisturizer to keep my skin soft and dewy. The result? Instead of creating a fake “healthy glow” with make-up, I actually have a healthy glow because I am healthier. I am more awake throughout the day because I am getting to bed by 9:00. When I come home, I have the energy to play “chasing” with my kids. (My typical exhausted-mom response to the request to play chasing? “Let me watch you play chasing.” Yeah, nice… I’m sure my Mom of the Year award is in the mail.) It’s been kind of awesome. And who would have thought all this would be due to living without make-up?

When I think of the truly beautiful women I know (my mom, my sister, my best friends), I cannot think of one who looks better with make-up. They are all beautiful to me, all the time. So why did I think for so many years that I looked better with make-up?

This month has been very eye-opening. It scared me more than any of the other months and it has produced some of the more positive results in my life. I think this is due to the fact that it actually scared me, and whenever you face a fear, you will always change your life.

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