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Establishing Good Habits

Published: (April, 2014)

Establishing Good Habits

Establishing Good Habits in Easier Than You Think!

Habits rule our food choices. In 1943 the Subsistence Division of the Quartermaster Corps - the organization in charge of feeding soldiers - decided to feed fresh cabbage to the troops, only to discover that none of them wanted to eat it. So they modified it. They chopped it up and boiled it until it looked like every other vegetable on the soldier's rations, and they ate it without complaint. The conclusion from this was that habit and familiarity dictates what we eat.

Our brains seek familiarity and when it comes to food it derives pleasure from eating something that we are used to. This is a good lesson for anyone embarking on a raw food journey. While it is always best to eat raw food with a minimal amount of mixing and with as few added ingredients as possible, it's also important to learn to walk before you can run. 

This is my sixteenth year on a 100% raw food lifestyle, and although I eat simple meals now, it didn't begin that way. My brain searched for familiarity, and only by creating raw food recipes that resembled my previous diet could I make the smooth and successful transition to raw foods. It was because of this that I developed raw food versions of soups, pizza, cakes, pasta and other common meals. My 2nd book, Beautiful On Raw: Uncooked Creations, is a compilation of hundreds of raw recipes along with explanations of the beauty and health benefits of the ingredients.

The trick is to make the new seem old, to make the daunting prospect of eating new foods and new recipes as familiar as eating old favorites. If you dress new food in old clothes, it's easier for you and your family to accept it, improving your health and advancing towards the raw food diet without making too many changes too quickly. Pleasing-to-the-eye raw food dishes are very important during the transitional phase, they fool the body's senses by looking and tasting familiar while offering much better nutrition.

Another place to look for excellent recipes is our FREE online raw food recipe collection, which with the help of our raw food chef Natalya Richter, is rapidly becoming the source that you will want to visit often.

Tips for Establishing a "No-Wrinkles" Beauty Routine

Starting a daily beauty routine can seem like a chore, particularly compared to all the "miracle" treatments offering quick fix solutions. However, commitment to a skincare regime should be no more difficult than any other aspect of our hygiene practices, like brushing our teeth for example. The key is finding the cue that will activate us to perform the routine.

Every morning we wake up to discover that our mouths have played host to a bacteria party overnight. Our breath is noxious, our teeth feel slimy and coarse, and we are driven to remove the offensive feeling. This is our cue. We respond accordingly by brushing our teeth at the first opportunity and are rewarded with a pleasant, fresh, tingling sensation. This feeling becomes imprinted in our brain and we start to crave the clean, fresh sensation whenever we feel our breath or teeth slip back in to an unclean state. 

This habit formation is described by Charles Duhigg in his best-selling book "The Power of Habit", as a process of three stages: Cue, Routine and Reward. The cue is the feeling of uncleanliness. The routine is brushing, and the reward is the fresh, tingling sensation afterwards. The cue makes us crave the reward so strongly that the performance of the routine is automatic.

My skin is one of the features people seem to notice about me, and I am complimented quite regularly. This is a result of the daily skincare regime I follow, which I have found has become just as strong a habit for me as brushing my teeth. No matter how we are feeling, we still brush our teeth whether we're upset, angry or tired. In my case, I have created a cue between brushing my teeth and my beauty routine. If I do one, I'll definitely do the other, no matter how I am feeling.

"Oh mirror, mirror on the wall, why does my reflection make me recoil?"  Have you ever had this thought when studying your 'just-out-of-bed' face in the cold, artificial bathroom light? As we age, it seems that every worry, restless night, or over-indulgence, leaves behind a visible reminder etched in our faces in the form of puffy, dark eyes, creases and wrinkles. Turn this feeling in to a cue to kick start your skin care in the morning!

Use the pillow creases or puffy face as a cue to put on a facial masque. A clay masque is the best option. (If you're using my Green Clay Masque, keep it on for only a few minutes). Then remove your masque with a brush, rinse your face with lukewarm water and gently pat dry. Apply a good quality moisturizer and begin a knuckle massage or scrape the skin with my Facial Strigil. Do something to provide stimulation for your skin. You will feel a pleasant tingling sensation, and puffiness and wrinkles are all but gone, or at least greatly diminished. Now you will be ready to face the world with confidence. This is your reward and you will begin to look forward to it, as I always do. Once your brain turns this beauty procedure into a habit, it will not require any effort on your part at all and will become as automatic as brushing your teeth.

Similarly, my evening routine is so ingrained that I can't fall asleep if I haven't done it! I developed the habit of applying castor oil on my lashes and around the eye area as a teenager and, in forty years, there hasn't been a single evening when I haven't done it. My cue is going to bed and my reward is the moist, smooth and soft feeling around my eyes each morning.

Over the years, I have added two more skin pampering treatments to my nightly routine. I discovered facial dry brushing in my forties and, in my mid-fifties, I added a night cream. When I'm ready to go to bed, I dry brush my skin, then I apply castor oil on my lashes and night cream on my face. I immediately feel a skin warming effect of the dry brushing and soothing effect of the night cream, but the real reward is the knowledge that I am treating my skin well and see the results each day. 

As I was writing this article, I received this post on social media: "My grandmother was from Poland , she taught me most everything you teach Tonya. At 98 Doctor's requested from her if they could take her picture because her skin was so unbelievable at her age."

If you do not currently follow any daily skin care routine, do not try to add all of these beauty steps at once. Try starting with just one that you can link to an already established habit. For example, you could try putting your masque on before making the bed or dry brushing immediately after changing in to your night gown. Once the habit has developed, then you will be more assured of adding additional steps to the routine.

From my own personal experience, I am confident you will be very happy to have established these skin care habits as the years roll by. The day definitely holds more promise when you can begin it with a smile toward your own reflection.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, I can have no wrinkles after all!"