Thursday 21 May 2015

Gorgeous for Good overview

The 30 day Gorgeous for Good adventure came to an end a month ago. I did not stick to my original plan of weekly updates, frankly because I was a little overwhelmed, and by the time I was ready, my laptop sadly was not. I have to say that I really enjoyed the experience and in large part that was because I had an amazing partner in crime to do it with, Liz. But I feel like I need to start at the beginning, and it all began with a book.

The Book.

It was quiet exciting to get my hands on an unpublished copy of Sophie Uliano's Gorgeous for Good. Her Gorgeously Green was one of the first few books that I purchased when I started switching from conventional beauty, naturally I was very excited to take part in this programme. The book consists of three parts.  After reading the introduction for some reason I was expecting there to be a strong empathises on nutrition, however the first part is about taking care of the outside and focuses on skincare, makeup and there is even a discussion on plastic surgery. The approach is that beauty products and treatments are a fast fix, so while they treat the symptoms and they are not by itself enough, but they can yield fast results. This part is almost half of the book, there is loads of information on how to choose your products and some very well explained clarifications on ingredients. There is a whole chapter on makeup, my philosophy here is a little bit at odds with Sophie Uliano, it is pretty clear that I do like make up, but I also like how my face looks without it, and I certainly do not wear it every day nor do I feel that I should.

The second part is about taking care of yourself from the inside, with focus on nutrition, movement and your inner world. This part is about a quarter of the book, with one chapter dedicated to food. This is more of a how to approach food and best practises rather than a complete nutritional analyses, which makes sense since the first two parts are all about guidance on how to approach the programme itself. The real "meat" of the book is in part three, which includes the day to day detailed descriptions of the 30 day gorgeous for good journey, and recipes for food and diy beauty (there is no actual meat in the book/programme, the recipes are in fact vegan).

The Programme.

Every day of the programme is planned out from your morning and evening beauty regime, to me time that includes sipping on water, three yoga poses and meditation, to the food that you should be eating for the entire day and exercise.

Liz's experience: 

I said that as long as I could have my long run meals (marathon training getting in the way) then I would love to be Tamara's buddy. And, to my surprise, Porridge (a classic) and Banana and nut butter toast are on the Gorgeous for good menu. So is pasta. Delicious carb loading pasta.

So will a bit of a rejig, I have tried to follow the program.

I have always liked a smoothie, so it was good to get back in the game. I'm not too fond of juices but that's not anyone elses fault, it's just my preference. I have never thought of taking a smoothie for a snack at work. So that has been a nice change.

There were a lot of new recipes to try as well as the familiar ones. I really enjoyed the soups and once I combined it with a side of quinoa or rice it became a staple lunch, as did the tomato and basil lunch. I have to be honest I repeated a lot of lunches. It was easier for me when planning. I also missed a lot of juices but tired to keep up with the smoothies.

I loved adding a bit of vanilla to my Chia Pudding! What a great Idea!

Dinners were fine, if busy I would have to have soup again or I went for tacos, mac and cheese or risotto. Again, I'd like to stress that I know it is not hard to plan meals but for some reason I couldn't follow it strictly all the time. The recipes created are great though and the healthy muffins will be turning into a regular occurrence. I'm sure.


This is what I wrote in week one:

I had a really similar skincare routine to the one Sophie advised. I didn't have the same brands but the ethos was there and I was quite chuffed to see that I had got there on my own. For some it may be a lot of products and actually twice a  week, I usually take the routine back to basics with a good carrier oil. So we shall see how my skin does later on. As for bodycare I'll be honest that's where I really lack consistency, so Sophie has kicked my butt into action about that one!

I'm not wearing make up everyday, I have never done so and have not changed for this routine.

Around two and half weeks into the programme, my skin erupted in to a huge rashy mess. It has only just begun to clam down. I'm putting this down to outside stress and not the challenge. I loved the body d.i.y's but I went back to basics with facial skincare, using just jojoba oil as my cleanser and moisturiser, as I really wanted to clear up my skin.

Me time and exercise:

Creating some me time has been essential these past weeks and taking in the little messages from Sophie each day has been really positive. I often meditate, just not everyday. When reading what Sophie says about making a commitment to yourself, I have noticed how easy it is for me to make excuses and talk myself out of doing things. It's self sabotaging. This has not stopped but has lessened. I've noticed that less self sabotage has also transferred to my exercise.

 Whilst my exercise routine has not changed, I have kept to my running/cross training schedule. I have become less guilty when I have not performed to what I think is my potential. I don't really beat myself up anymore. I do what I can and that is fine. It's exercise. It's all good.

 Now that the challenge is over, I still believe that the plan is quite flexible and you can make it work for your needs, as long as you make time for it...It's just about the prep. Which I still need to practise! 
I think that I will be buying a hard copy to flick through at leisure. I didn't get on well with it as a kindle book. Turning pages is best when wanting to quickly reference and stare at pretty pictures!

My experience:

The first week was pretty easy, I loved the food (often creating my own recipes inspired by what was in the book) and me time. I decided to get a journal to keep track of everything and I have found it to be incredibly useful, and that is why I can tell you exactly how many times I went off track (I had a little bit of chicken on two occasions, turkey on one occasion and fish in sushi on four occasions) because of family gatherings and events.


I have to say I loved the recipes in the book, and what's even better Mr. RF liked most of them too. I had to do some adjustments to breakfasts as some of the recipes were too sweet for my liking, and I'm not always a big fan of smoothies. The soups and the mains were absolutely scrumptious, however I rarely eat quinoa and I don't cook with it, so when it was suggested as a side I would use buckwheat instead. Now I am not about to become vegan, but I think I can easily be a weekday vegetarian (being veggie Monday to Friday and having whatever I like on the weekend). I think that is more realistic for me at this point. What I realised is that I can easily cut down on the amount of meat that I eat and not feel like I am missing out, but when it comes to family gatherings and special occasions I am not quiet ready to let it go. A strange but wonderful side effect of this diet, is that my sweat has become less shall we say smelly... Now that is a huge bonus in my book, because now my natural deo is able to cope with ease. Sophie is a qualified nutritionist, the meal plans are very well balanced with proteins and healthy fats, so if you decide switch things up you need make sure that you are not missing out on anything. This is not really a diet and more of a way of eating, no portion control in this plan.


This is the part that I found hardest, I have a job where I am on my feet all day so putting in an extra 40 min workout 6 days a week has proved more than a little difficult (since I already feel like I've been running around on the days that I work). After talking to Sophie Uliano over google hangouts she suggested doing 20 min yoga instead on the days that I work, and that was much more manageable. But I will be honest I did more 4-5 days of exercise a week not 6. I will definitely continue with this practice and maybe at some point I will get to 6 days, but for now I am aiming for 5. I do find that being more active has made me feel well... more active, I have been feeling more energetic overall.


I was starting from a place of my skin being pretty happy, in fact my only real concern is slightly uneven skin tone. Still I wanted to give the suggested skin care ritual a try just to see the difference.
After trying out the full regime for a few days my sensitive skin had a bit of a freak out. I simplified my routine drastically and took Sophie's advice on sticking with vit C serum but skipping the retinol at night, however I reintroduced it slowly. Effectively my routine ended up being very similar to what I was doing before the Gorgeous for Good, with the addition of the vitamin C serum and using an Spf as the last step (I normally used to use spf straight after toner). My skin has accepted the extra step and I really like the results that I have seen in the last 2 weeks, so I will continue. The fact that everything was planned out for each day meant that I used my body brush, I'm very pleased with that as I always feel great after body brushing but never remember to actually do it.


I think this has been my favourite part of the programme, I love the 'me time' and I feel so focused after those 15 minutes. I have found the few writing exercises extremely insightful and I loved the walking meditation. For me to sit still and meditate for even 5 minutes is a bit of a challenge, and on a few occasions I have caught myself opening one of my eyes to peek at the clock, but something has to be said about the sharpens of intentions straight after the practice. I found that rubbing a badger balm or a calming aromatherapy roll on onto the pulse points helped me be more relaxed and focused during the meditation.


One thing that I do want to mention is the budget, if you want to follow the book to the letter and you are starting from scratch be prepared to set some few hundred pounds aside. I already had my clean skincare (and was lucky enough to receive a few things as part of this collaboration), and some seeds, nuts, and coconut milk, but I still had to spend about a 100 pounds on things I did not have like seaweed, tofu, tempeh, millet, green lentils, sprouted bread (this was in addition to the weekly shopping). While individually these things are not uber expensive it adds up when you are stocking up your cupboard from ground zero, and good organic skincare can cost quiet a bit, especially if you need to change everything at once.You also really need a good juicer and blender (my blender is average but I will not upgrade until it dies) to get the full benefit of the programme. So while you can totally make it work on a tight budget I think the idea that everyone will be able to start it in full swing the same day they get the book is a little flawed. Overall I have nothing but good things to say about the programme. It is an integrated approach that I would like to carry on exploring. The 30 days is a sort of challenge, and there is emphasis on trying new things especially when it comes to exercise, but the idea is that you will carry on with the practises that best suit you. In Sophie's own words "you will get as much out of the programme as the effort that you put in". Realistically I think I put in about 75% of an effort. But the great thing is I can do it on a loop until I get to 100%.

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