Natural Potato Eye Poultice and Interview with Amelia Ruiz

blepharitis potato eye poultice on

[Use simple potatoes and cheesecloth to create a relaxing, rejuvenating eye poultice.]

Working through an anti-candida diet can be challenging, to say the least. There are new foods to learn, lots of vegetables to eat, and a long list of foods to avoid (I share what I ate when I first started here). Then there are all the different approaches to candida: do you cut out fruit entirely, or can you have some “non-sweet” fruits to begin? What about grains? Or legumes? (in my book, Living Candida-Free, the diet that Andrea Nakayama and I worked out includes no fruit to start, but it does allow some gluten-free grains and most legumes).

One food that’s often controversial is potatoes. Many practitioners consider them too starchy to consume on the anti-candida diet. But when I learned that redskinned potatoes are less so, and lower on the glycemic index, I knew that I’d be able to continue to eat them (and allow them) on my own diet. It never occurred to me I’d be using them as a natural form of skin care, though!

I’ll get to the “recipe” at the end of this post, but for now, I’d like to introduce you to Amelia Ruiz. Amelia is a cosmetologist, an esthetician and the technical director of Fahle Ecolines, a distributor of natural and organic cosmetics. She trained in Germany in the natural esthetic methods of the world-renowned Dr. Hauschka Skin Care. Since 2000, she has taught these holistic beauty treatments to estheticians in Spain, where she lives.  And she’s also the author of The Complete Guide to Natural Homemade Beauty Products and Treatments.

Because she believes that the health begins from within and with the foods we eat, Amelia has crafted an entire book of all-natural skincare products made exclusively from food ingredients, such as avocado or avocado oil, cinnamon, dandelion, parsley, cocoa butter; and other natural non-food ingredients, such as castor oil, clay, horsetail or witch hazel (note: she does use some non-vegan ingredients, such as honey or egg yolks in some recipes).

The beauty of these products (see what I did there?) is that they are not only 100% natural, but they’re also so much more economical than buying conventional products. And I was surprised at how simple they are to make!

The book also includes a full chapter on how to approach natural health, with some rules for healthy eating; which foods enhance or hinder overall health; a short section on fasting and detoxing; and a list of what she refers to as “Beauty Thieves,” such as smoking or alcohol.

The chapter on formulating homemade beauty products at home begins with a comprehensive basic vocabulary (what’s the difference between an emollient and an emulsion? An emulsion and a milk?), tools and equipment needed, and all the ingredients you’ll use.

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I had the opportunity to ask Amelia a few questions about the book and natural skin care. I hope you enjoy the interview!  [Note: Amelia’s answers have been translated to English from the original Spanish.]

Q.  How did you get involved in this industry? What is your story?

A. Myself and my colleague Miguel Fahle have always been nature lovers. We were so worried about the environment before others were that we created Ecolines Fahle in 1988.

Before our beloved Spain knew of ecology or global warming we had already changed our way of life to contribute to a better world. To do so we gathered and stocked up on products from other countries, such as Germany, that had already started ecological change. We created Ecolines following this concern and the desire to introduce these new concepts in Spain.

We make it our life’s work to search and select the most natural products, biological and ecological. The beginnings were difficult, but with enthusiasm and effort Fahle Ecoline now has over 20 years of experience and represents in Spain to leading brands in the market for certified natural cosmetics worldwide. We are happy and proud.

Q.  The book goes into a fair bit of detail about dieting and healthy eating. Why did you feel it was important to include this topic in a book about beauty products that are used externally on the body?

A. When you eat poorly and lead a chaotic life with abundant stress, your blood tends to lack most of the essential bioactive substances that your cells need. If you eat a healthy, balanced diet, your skin and your whole body will stay more youthful and fit, both inside and out.

The best way to rejuvenate your cells isn’t with injections or treatments. Refresh them with vitamins consumed in whole grains, salads, fruits, tofu and nuts. The richer in nutrients your diet is, the more energy your cells will generate, and the fresher, more vital and younger you will feel.

Numerous clinical studies demonstrate the action of the active ingredients of plants’ skin and great superiority to synthetic ingredients or animal products, from the standpoint of tolerance and effect. If we also consider that the skin absorbs all of the ingredients that we apply, you will understand why it’s important to nourish from the inside and out.

The natural world provides us with all sorts of ingredients for making facial masks, tonics, lotions, deodorants and beauty products that are a treat for the body. With these gifts from the Earth, we can nourish ourselves both inside and out.

Q.  Which top 5 ingredients in conventional cosmetics do you think are the most harmful, and why?

A. Natural cosmetics should not contain mineral oil or paraffin or petrolatum or any petroleum ingredient that can clog pores.

There are also many other substances that are enemies of beauty such as alcohol, coffee, certain fats, refined foods and excess animal protein. By limiting or avoiding exposure to them, you can avoid building up the toxic, long-lasting residues they leave behind and the damage they cause to your body.

Q.  Some of the formulas contain dairy products such as yogurt or milk. For people who are vegan, would plant-based alternatives (such as hemp milk or coconut yogurt) work as well?

Yes, many women I know use soy or oat milk instead of dairy. Soy milk will provide a stable source of energy to fuel your body throughout the morning — and that’s just what you need to do your normal daily activities.

Q.  Can you talk a bit about the impact that using natural products has on people and their health? 

A. I love hearing people say they never imagined they could make their own beauty and body-care products based on delicious (and edible!) ingredients, such as cucumber, avocado, honey, fruit juices, etc.

I also like when people understand true physical beauty cannot be dissociated from inner beauty. By exercising, eating a nutritious diet, getting restful sleep and living a balanced life without excesses, you ensure you will remain beautiful, agile and mentally vigorous throughout your life. True beauty is ageless.

Q. What is your favorite part about working in this industry?

There’s no need to buy beauty products when you can make such a huge array of them at home, including creams, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, perfumes and bath oils. The best part about what I do is helping you determine the type and quality of the ingredients you use. And helping you customize your selection to the exact needs of your skin, hair or whatever body part you want to pamper.

I also love showing people it’s never too late to start a beauty regimen that takes advantage of the infinite possibilities Mother Nature offers.

Q. Which are your three favorite recipes in the book? Why?

I love anything containing Wheat Germ. This familiar grain product isn’t an everyday food on many tables, but it has extraordinary nutritional and therapeutic value. It contains up to 35% protein, the essential fatty acids and many different vitamins, especially B vitamins.

Wheat germ is also a major source of iron, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, so it you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, it’s ideal. It’s delicious sprinkled over oatmeal or on peanut butter–topped toast. You can also mix 1 tsp (5 mL) of wheat germ into fruit juice or sprinkle it over salads or vegetables.

Q. If someone was able to replace only one kind of cosmetic product to start out, which one do you think is the most important (eg, eye cream, face cream, shampoo, etc)?

A. True beauty comes from within, not just by having a healthy body but also by having a balanced mind and a positive way of looking at life with optimism, joy and fulfillment. One key to that positive thinking is to learn to like yourself.

The first step is to stop commenting on your bad points and focus on your good points. Start by appreciating what you like best about your body, and then extend your love to include the aspects that you don’t like as much.

By doing this, you learn to feel at ease with your body as it is, creating an image of yourself that you can love in spite of your perceived flaws. I want everyone to do this before replacing any product or cosmetic.

Many thanks, Amelia! I love this philosophy (though sorry I won’t be trying out any of the wheat germ-based recipes) 😉 .

Amelia was also generous enough to share this recipe for a potato poultice from the book.

As someone who deals with dry eyes and blepharitis (eyelid swelling) on a daily basis, I was fascinated to learn that potato poultices were recommended way back in the early 20th Century by mystic healer Edgar Cayce, who said they draw toxins from the eyes and help with inflammation.

I’ve applied the poultice only once so far,and it was a lovely, relaxing experience. My eyes definitely felt refreshed afterward. I think it’s too early to sense any major changes in inflammation, but I’ll report back once I’ve had a chance to use it several times, and will share the results!

In the meantime, you might like to give this simple eye refresher a try yourself.

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