Monthly Muse: Evan Healy

By Emily, CN Second Generation Co-Owner

When I first came back into the business three years ago, my focus at the store was our body care section. There was a big learning curve with understanding the intricacies of buying: getting to know each brand's particular ethos and story, how to order the products, and how to communicate the value of each individual line to our customers. One of the first brands I worked with was evanhealy, a line we'd carried for over a decade. I was fairly familiar with the products, but I didn't know that much about their back story, the ingredients, and what truly sets evanhealy skin care apart.

Evan and her husband David launched their skin care company in 1999. Evan had been a natural skin care aesthetician for over 10 years, and had studied Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy and aromatherapy in the US, Europe and India. She brought core tenants of these philosophies into her new skin care brand - as well as her own unwavering passion for authentic beauty and truth. What makes the evanhealy line so special is not just that their ingredients are impeccably sourced - they build deep relationships with women's cooperatives and small family farms around the world to ethically source the majority of their high quality, organic ingredients - but also that their plant-based products are formulated to highlight and embrace your skin. Rather than correcting "problems" or "challenges", Evan's products heal and harmonize with your skin's natural beauty. On every one of their shipping boxes is a sticker with the message "Who you are is enough." Using Evan's products feels like taking a deep breath of fresh air, drawn down into your belly, and exhaled slowly. The mixing of oil, water (and sometimes clay) is one of my absolute favorite daily rituals now.

We were lucky to learn more about Evan's own rituals, her quest for authenticity, and her passion for running evanhealy alongside David and their wonderful team. Read on for our interview:

All photos courtesy of Evan Healy.

Evan in a field of Sacred Tulsi in Trivandrum, India, 2009. Photo by Niika Quistgard.

Evan in a field of Sacred Tulsi in Trivandrum, India, 2009. Photo by Niika Quistgard.

Partnerships are very important to the evanhealy brand - when you source an ingredient like organic shea butter or fair trade argan oil, you're working closely with the communities that grow and harvest the raw material and you support their livelihood in deep ways. Can you tell us a little bit about why these relationships matter to you and to the company, and one particular partnership story that inspires your work?

Evan: Partnerships are the foundation of our business. Our relationships are what matter most. I prefer to deal with people I know and have met. We are very fortunate in our business that we work with families and folks devoted to the shared values of hand made and artisan, organic and holistic. We source from all over the global garden. We also value the profound knowledge of indigenous cultures. Traditional cultures and their regional remedies are often overlooked sources of wisdom. Traditional cultural remedies represent many generations of experience and knowledge of the natural world. This ancient knowledge is imbued with both simplicity and meaning, and I love learning about their historical context. I enjoy connecting with women who know the deep truths of the land on which they live. They exhibit such a generosity of spirit when they share their knowledge of their ancestors. This is true whether it’s the women of Kperisi in Ghana or the Berber Amazigh women of Tiznit, in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. These women radiate the power, integrity and well-being of Place.

Meeting Urias in Mexico, 2007 - maker of evanhealy's clay bowls for the Clay Mask Kit. His sons and grandsons now work with him.

Meeting Urias in Mexico, 2007 - maker of evanhealy's clay bowls for the Clay Mask Kit. His sons and grandsons now work with him.

What does a typical day in the world of evanhealy skin care look like? What are your favorite daily aspects about what you do for a living?

I’m a creative person. I like variety. I don’t like to get up and do the same thing everyday. I'm not a nine-to-five person. I follow my energy cycles. In the morning I like to go outside almost immediately.

I do enjoy getting in to the office and talking to people. I enjoy their energy. More than anything else I appreciate the opportunity to exercise my creativity. I am our company’s Creative Director, so I am always scanning the horizon for new ideas, partnerships, products. Ultimately, it is the natural world from which I draw the most inspiration and value. In all settings, I work best in the moment, and often better alone. Those moments can often stretch out for months, or years! I like to take something that I’ve been tinkering with and give it life, take it to the next level. This takes time, and conversely, the process is also rather spontaneous. For me working with our nutritive oils, our various infused oils, nut and seed butters, sun dried clays, emulsions and hydrosols is an almost meditative experience. It deepens the connection to what I feel is best about myself. It both grounds me and expands me. I have been very fortunate in my life’s work.

I find the way ‘beauty’ is portrayed in the mainstream media rather shallow, and too perfectionistic. I have learned that, pared down to its essence, beauty lies in the cracks and crevices of our lives every minute of every day.

I love collaborating with our design and media team. I get inspiration from all avenues: photography, food and home-style blogs. I love picking up the camera myself. With or without a camera, I am constantly framing what I see, recording it, or making a mental note. I look for harmony, magical light and natural, unfussy beauty. I find it no matter where I am: in my backyard, on a trail, in a remote village, on the street, and of course, in the faces I see. During the years I spent in my skin care practice, I learned the valuable lesson of looking, observing and watching. All three of these actions convey the need to both soften the vision - while sharpening the focus. Attention to detail has always been my specialty!

Evan doing a summertime facial. 2016.

Evan doing a summertime facial. 2016.

Skin is constantly changing and evolving, reflecting thoughts and emotions, I find that fascinating. I am constantly looking to communicate a more authentic expression of beauty, in both word and image. I find the way ‘beauty’ is portrayed in the mainstream media rather shallow, and too perfectionistic. I have learned that, pared down to its essence, beauty lies in the cracks and crevices of our lives every minute of every day. The challenge these days is to slow down long enough to look and really see what’s there. When done right, it becomes a meditation. I love the idea that natural beauty is transitory and messy. Nature is not perfect, but it is enlightened. We place too high a value on perfection, and our nervous systems can’t handle this constant striving for perfection. All things are impermanent. The inherent lesson of our life is: learn to let go! Take a nap. Go for a walk. Take time to relax. Your adrenals will thank you. Expressed by the relative simplicity of our product range, we want to raise the conversation from one of a hyper focus on 'anti-aging' - to the appreciation of imperfection. The deeper truth behind our message is the fact that - who you are is enough.

Evan & David

Evan & David

You and your husband David work closely together to run evanhealy. As a (multi-generational) family-owned business ourselves, we'd love to learn how you balance the demands (and joys) of work life with your family life.

Oh yes! I struggle with balance every day. However, at this point, David and I have been collaborating for most of our twenty years together. It’s pretty seamless, it’s always rewarding, but yes, it’s not always easy. We like to remind each other of that analogy about stones in a tumbler, softening each other’s sharp edges. We’re pretty comfortable together, and with our business. It’s our life. It’s our child. And we are perfectly suited to it. We each exhibit the complimentary, but polar opposite of the other’s talent and skill. He’s organized and financial. I’m artistic and spontaneous. He works on Excel spread sheets. I scribble on thousands of post-its. We have taken the Yin and Yang thing to a whole new level. We have boundaries – day and night, work week and weekend – but they’re not strict. Neither of us are that good with boundaries. Ultimately, he is my most important relationship.

The never-ending barrage of internet ‘noise’ is so disruptive to our delicately balanced nervous system. It impedes access to the inner quiet life of our true self. To counter this we say: Slow down. Simplify.

Your products have a devoted following among our staff and customers - and not just because they are well-formulated and made with beautiful ingredients, but because they inspire a deeper sense of self-care. The word "ritual" always comes to mind: The daily ritual of slowing down, taking time for your skin, and therefore yourself. What are some of your favorite self-care rituals?

Evan:  Yes, I love the word ritual as it pertains to care of the skin. I like to ease into my morning. I get up and immediately go outside with bare feet on the grass, stretching or yoga, with a cup of hot lemon water, tea or coffee. I’m an introvert, so being quiet is my touchstone. I can only regenerate when I am alone and early morning is my time. I go from a sleep state to a slow, calm, natural state via our backyard. By standing under our ancient apple tree, I go within. And while I don’t mind getting up early, I don’t like to have to be somewhere, or for that matter, leave my house at all. I prefer to glide slowly into my day. As I get older, I notice my rhythms change. The stability of daily rituals matter more. They become deeper, slower and more infused with meaning.

A shell Evan uses for scooping clay, found on the beach of her childhood summer home in Scituate, MA, a place she feels a deep connection to. Her hands are also one of the main ways she connects with the world around her - both as an esthetician and as a healer.

A shell Evan uses for scooping clay, found on the beach of her childhood summer home in Scituate, MA, a place she feels a deep connection to. Her hands are also one of the main ways she connects with the world around her - both as an esthetician and as a healer.

Out of necessity, I’m driven to find what calms and relaxes me. I struggle, frankly, to get away from the internet. I do a lot of the writing, planning, and I find inspiration by scanning social media, but I don’t find it healthy to know what’s going on every minute of every day! You certainly don’t need to know I’ve just flossed my teeth, boiled an egg or blinked my eyes, for instance. A distortion of our natural rhythms results in an imbalance of the autonomic nervous system and all its attendant symptoms, such as higher cortisol. Adrenal depletion can often been seen in the area around the eyes. The never-ending barrage of internet ‘noise’ is so disruptive to our delicately balanced nervous system. It impedes access to the inner quiet life of our true self. To counter this we say: Slow down. Simplify.

I use our copper distilled plant Hydrosols and Facial Serums as remedies, not just for the skin but also to send a message to my spirit. Healers have to remain grounded in nature. It’s what connects us to our own inner physician. I love saturating my face with our Hydrosols, followed by massaging a few droplets of our Oil Serum (Blue Cactus Beauty Elixir is my idea of heaven these days!) into my skin. I use our Whipped Shea Butter, made with our own infused oils, to cure any and all skin ills.

Copper stills used in making the evanhealy Hydrosouls

Copper stills used in making the evanhealy Hydrosouls

The world has seemingly become more chaotic and our political scene ever more divisive. What people, books, media, or movements are inspiring you to keep going these days?

In my earlier years, and out of a need for answers, I spent years reading classics, philosophy and books about eastern religion. Books that encouraged my flights of imagination were often about women explorers such as Alexandra David-Neel, Gertrude Bell and Freya Stark. I was looking for answers to the age-old question of how do I live an authentic life? And for that matter, what is an authentic life? I was truly on a journey of self-discovery. My path took me to mystics and teachers like Joseph Campbell and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. My list of teachers and mentors is long and varied! There are so many sources of inspiration, and the search is always a deeply personal one.

Stepping outdoors for an afternoon walk in Big Sur.

Stepping outdoors for an afternoon walk in Big Sur.

These days, I am inspired by topics and books such as Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth by William Bryant Logan. I loved the book In Praise of Shadows, by author Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. I have read and reread Leonard Koren’s books: Wabi Sabi – Further Thoughts, and his earlier book, Wabi Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers.

The books on Wabi Sabi share the profound and ultimate wisdom of finding true beauty in imperfection. Embracing the cycles and profundity of nature. It’s a beauty that is simple, slow and uncluttered. This is what makes the most sense to me.

YARROW: A First-Aid Herb (Achillea millefolium)

By Steph Zabel
Herbalist, Ethnobotanist & Educator

Yarrow is an amazing plant that can yield incredible results when used in the right situation. If you don’t know this herb already, it’s time to become better acquainted with it, for this is a plant that has a direct, immediate and sometimes miraculous action in first aid situations.

Also known as Soldier’s Woundwort, Achillea millefolium has been used for thousands of years. It is an herb of the battlefield, an important herb for the soldier and the warrior, the healer and the medic. With its bright white, flattened cluster of flowers it easily catches the eye where it grows in meadows and areas of human disturbance.

Photo by Renee Ricciardi via WikiCommons

Photo by Renee Ricciardi via WikiCommons

Yarrow, despite being a humble, overlooked plant, has the most incredible ability: it quickly and effectively stops bleeding. In my opinion, it is one of the most important plants for self-sufficient folks to be familiar with, and, if possible, to grow near the home. If you are ever in a situation where you’ve been wounded, cut, or bruised get your hands on some yarrow as quickly as you can. Let me share a few of my own experiences with this amazing plant to highlight its effectiveness…

One of the first times I got to see yarrow in action was many years ago when I was alone in the woods cutting some birch twigs with a knife. I was harvesting some small twigs off of a main branch when all of a sudden I used too much force and ended up slashing my left palm with the knife. I started to bleed profusely. Very fortunately for me, I had noticed where there was a patch of yarrow before I entered the woods so I ran back to it, picked a few leaves, chewed them in my mouth and placed this “spit poultice” on the wound. It stopped the flow of blood immediately. I was amazed and grateful, especially since I was in a remote area without further assistance.

Photo by Renee Ricciardivia WikiCommons

Photo by Renee Ricciardivia WikiCommons

Another time, a friend of mine accidentally bit her tongue while eating, which besides being bloody, was also painful. Since it was winter I only had dried yarrow on hand so I quickly made a strong tea, strained out the herb and gave her the remaining liquid to hold in her mouth. It helped her right away — the bleeding stopped and the pain subsided.

One more story: a couple of years ago my husband was collapsing a big folding table in half when he got one of his fingers caught in the metal hinges in the middle. It was a deep, nasty gash that was quite painful. I gave him a few fresh yarrow leaves to chew and place on the wound. He was amazed to find that it helped dull the pain right away. For the rest of that day — and the following — he continued to put fresh leaf poultices on the area. What was a deep cut was quickly healed in record time. He couldn’t believe it. We have grown plenty of yarrow near our house ever since.

I share these anecdotes to emphasize what an amazing healer this plant is. Its actions are considerable: as a hemostatic it stops the flow of blood, as an analgesic it lessens pain, and as an antiseptic it prevents infections. There is a reason why soldiers and healers have relied on the power of yarrow for centuries.

It deserves a place in any first-aid kit, so please keep some on hand for times you might need it! Below are a few different ways to use this amazing healer externally.

Photo by Petar Milosevic via WikiCommons

Photo by Petar Milosevic via WikiCommons

HOW TO USE YARROW TOPICALLY:

➤ Use the fresh leaf as a poultice on wounds. Take some clean, fresh leaves and chew them up in order to release the juices of the plant. Use this “spit poultice” on your cut, scrape or wound. If you’d rather not chew-up the leaves, place them in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor and grind up.

➤ If you don’t have fresh leaves, you can use the dried and finely powdered leaf sprinkled directly onto wounds.

➤ Or, take the dried leaf and steep 1 tablespoon in 4 - 8 oz of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain. Dip a clean cloth into the remaining liquid and place on the affected area.

NOTES:
Yarrow is in the Aster family of plants, which some people are allergic to.
Not to be used internally during pregnancy.
Do not overuse internally as it may aggravate the liver.

REFERENCES:

UMM.edu
Botanical.com

Whispering Earth.co.uk

Steph Zabel, MSc, is an herbalist and educator who helps urban dwellers connect with the plant world. She teaches seasonal herbal classes and is the founder of HERBSTALK, Boston’s community herbal conference. Learn more about her work at: www.flowerfolkherbs.com and www.herbstalk.org.


This blog series — Herbs and Botanicals— is for general health information only. This Web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Does the word, "Duh?" come to mind? We believe that women deserve equal pay for equal work, and have partnered with the City of Cambridge to help spread the word that fair pay is good for business, too.

CN's Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Michael Kanter was interviewed by CCTV for a short piece on this important issue.

Monthly Muse: Cam + Al of Vital Fit

By Mary, The Naturalist Contributor & CN Body Care Buyer

When it comes to working out, I’m more of a yogi and occasional (rare) runner. I rely on busy days running around the shop and climbing up the mountainous Porter Square stairs to keep my body active and healthy. But with warmer temperatures arriving, a slightly more revealing wardrobe becomes more of a necessity than a statement and I find myself, like many, spending extra time squeezing in ab work and extra squats to the beat of a Beyonce song wherever I can. My muscles are feeling and responding to that extra attention in a way that isn’t exactly comfortable, or motivating.

Soreness and inflammation are to be expected from any workout, even seasoned athletes and runners training for a new marathon are bound to run into discomfort when pushing their bodies to the extreme. Some supplement with ibuprofen for pain relief which is problematic when used to excess, while others focus on post-workout recovery supplements like BCAAs that may not necessarily target the root cause of the discomfort. But local entrepreneurs Cam and Al of Vital Fit offer something much simpler, more effective, and more approachable than anything else I’ve encountered.

Tart cherries are packed to the brim with anthocyanins, giving them their strong antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory effect, in a bioavailable form (meaning our bodies can recognize and use it instantly). The tart cherry formula that Vital Fit offers in capsule form means you get all these benefits without the calories and inconvenience of drinking a bunch of juice.

You’ve probably seen Cam & Al demonstrating their product in store every week, and below they share their story. Learn more about how tart cherry works and why Vital Fit could help you while training for that marathon or pushing through to that next Soul Cycle class.

Do either of you have personal experience in the fitness realm looking for good workout recovery supplementation that led you to this tart cherry formula?

I first started getting into fitness my freshman year of college.  At the time, I was just going with my friends.  We’d go to the gym every day but rarely took the time to truly understand what we were doing—how our bodies responded to each workout.  Of course, that also meant we didn’t really pay much attention to recovery either.

For a long time, recovery meant drinking a protein shake and branch chain amino acids (BCAAs). Granted, I didn’t start really taking recovery serious until a few years later, I always wondered why protein and BCAAs never truly helped me feel less sore.  There were also plenty of days where I didn’t feel like drinking heavy shake or taking a handful supplements right after my workout to help me recover.

Fast forward to July 2016, Alfred and I were playing a game of 3 on 3 at the basketball court around the corner from our house.  At one point I went for the ball and immediately felt a shooting pain in my back down through my leg—at the ripe age of 24, I’d herniated a disc.  All of a sudden, I couldn’t lift weights anymore, I couldn’t run on the treadmill, I could hardly stand up without wincing.  Protein shakes and BCAAs certainly weren’t going to help me recover—neither were the handfuls of ibuprofen I was taking every day.

Tart cherry became my go to for recovery. I was not only recovering faster; I was moving better during each workout.

I asked my parents, who run a preventive health medicine practice in New York, if they had any ideas of what I could take to help me with the pain, besides ibuprofen, while I recovered.  That was the first time I heard of tart cherries and their benefits.  I started drinking 8 oz of juice in the morning and couldn’t believe how well it was working—of course, I still experienced discomfort, but my ability to get up and move around improved ten-fold.  There was a while where I thought I might not be able to get back into my routine again, but the tart cherry gave me some reassurance that that wouldn’t be the case.

The only downside to the juice was its sugar and calorie content, which we found was an issue for the fitness community we initially tested the juice with too.  Of course, we solved that issue a few months later with an extract made from dehydrated tart cherry skins, a sugar, and calorie-free alternative.

When I was finally able to start working out again, I completely changed my approach to make sure I wouldn’t hurt myself again.  Rather than lifting weights and running on a treadmill, I started using my own body weight and circuit training—staples of a functional fitness routine.  While I felt stronger and more balanced than ever, I was also much more sore on a day to day basis.  Tart cherry became my go to for recovery.  I was not only recovering faster; I was moving better during each workout.

The tart cherry content in Vital Fit is a potent anti-inflammatory, how does it differ from other inflammation support supplements?

We’ve been trying to perfect our answer to this question for months now.  We were recently demoing our product, here at Cambridge Naturals, when I think we finally nailed it.  In short, tart cherries have a super high anti-inflammatory profile that’s easier for our bodies to process than something like turmeric and has way fewer side effects than something like ibuprofen—well actually no side effects.

What’s especially great about our tart cherry extract is that it’s made from dehydrated tart cherry skins, not the whole cherry.  Like most other fruits, the skin is the most nutrient dense part of each cherry.  This means each capsule delivers a lot more antioxidants and a much greater anti-inflammatory effect per serving, than other products on the market.  In fact, a single capsule (480 mg), one serving, is the equivalent of 17oz of tart cherry juice.  However, because we’re only using the dehydrated skins, each serving is calorie and sugar free.  To put that in perspective, the average 8oz serving of tart cherry juice has roughly 134 calories and 24 grams of sugar. Compared to other tart cherry supplements on the market, a lot come in tablet form, which typically means they’re made with fillers and for those that are also in powder form, they generally use the whole cherry so you’re taking more and getting less.

From a recovery point of view, the extract in our capsules is the only tart cherry extract on the market clinically studied.  Researchers at Texas A&M studied the extract’s effect on inflammation and muscle soreness with endurance trained athletes.  The athletes took one capsule a day for ten days before completing a ½ marathon endurance challenge.  Results revealed the athlete’s inflammatory markers were down by 47%, their perceived muscle soreness was down by 34%, and their run times improved by 13% because of the cherry’s ability to combat inflammation and oxidative stress so efficiently.

Who knew these little fruits packed such a punch?!

Who knew these little fruits packed such a punch?!

The last cool feature we want to mention about our tart cherry product is its versatility.  For those who don’t like swallowing pills, you can open up the capsule and mix it into water, tea, or recovery drink.  We’ve been experimenting with the powder ourselves, a few weeks ago we handed out tart cherry spritzers made from seltzer, our tart cherry extract, and a dash of cranberry juice—based on the response, we’d say they came out pretty good.

We could see business owners and members of the fitness community who were initially very skeptical put their guards down and open up to us. It was incredibly rewarding to earn their trust and eventually the chance to earn their business.

What are some of the highlights of being young entrepreneurs in this field? Did you imagine a grad school project taking off the way this has so far?

One of the most rewarding things for us has been seeing people’s response to us and our product over time.  In the beginning, everyone had their guard up.  We were just starting out, two kids’ fresh out of grad school with a lot of ideas and no track record to back them up.  While some people were willing to listen to us, there were many more who weren’t—at least not yet.  We understood why, we’d be skeptical too if we were business owners and two guys they’d never seen before said: “Hi, we’re starting a supplement company, want to do business with us?”  That realization forced to us to leave our comfort zone, start meeting people, and begin building relationships with people all throughout Boston’s health, wellness, and fitness scene—from the ground up.  As our network grew, we could show people our intent and explain our vision.  Over the course of a few months, we could see business owners and members of the fitness community who were initially very skeptical put their guards down and open up to us.  It was incredibly rewarding to earn their trust and eventually the chance to earn their business.

We had no idea that this grad school project would turn into a full-time job.  The initial idea was very different and admittedly not so good.  However, after a few months of tweaking and fine tuning the concept it got to a point where we thought the idea “had some legs.”  About halfway through our last semester we looked at each other and said, “Let’s run with it, we can make it work.”

What can we look forward to in Vital Fit’s future? Are you crafting any other products you can tell us about?

We're working on products two and three right now.  We’re almost finished fine-tuning our protein product.  It’s a plant-based protein made from organic cold-pressed pumpkin seeds.  It tastes better than any plant-protein we’ve ever had and is super easy on the stomach.  We’ve also added ten essential vitamins and minerals that are typically missing from a modern diet and a full serving of BCAA’s.  It’s a balanced meal replacement and a functional recovery drink.  It’s 134 calories and gluten, grain, sugar, wheat, soy, and dairy free—we’re very excited to release it.  The second product we’re working on is a beetroot based nitric oxide booster to help combat oxidative stress and increase blood flow.  It’s the perfect way to prepare for your next run, class, or workout.

Lastly, what are your top 3 Cambridge Naturals products you can’t leave the store without?

An arm full of Runa Teas, a hand full of Elemental Superfood Seed bars and Zen’s Zen Calm.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Cam and Al! To keep updated on new products and demos, follow them on instagram @vitalfitnutrition


This blog post is for general health information only. This web site is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any health condition or problem. Users of this Web site should not rely on information provided on this Web site for their own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own physician or other healthcare provider.

Herbstalk Plant of the Year: Rose

By Steph Zabel,
Herbalist, Ethnobotanist and Educator

How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being,
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too
Frightened.
— Rose for the Heart / Hafiz

The Rose family (Rosaceae) is one of the most beloved group of plants —humans have had a deep love for Rose and her relations for thousands and thousands of years. Not only does this family produce beautiful flowering plants such as spirea, potentilla, lady’s mantle, agrimony and hawthorn, but also important fruit crops such as pears, peaches, plums, cherries, quinces, almonds, raspberries and strawberries.

What would our world be like without these delights?!

Of all these family members, Rose is the most well-known and sought-after. She is the true queen of flowers.

We all know Rose as the symbol of love and beauty but its use as an herbal remedy is less known. However, the gifts of this flower are plentiful.

Rose petals are cooling and astringent, which makes it useful in cases of heat or inflammation in the body. I like to mix rose petals (from pink or red flowering species) in tea blends to drink on hot summer days. Rose helps to cool heat that exists in the body, whether it manifests as hot, inflamed skin conditions or as internal heat in the gut, such as ulcers, colitis or Crohn’s. High in bioflavonoids, rose is also a wonderful cardiovascular tonic which helps to strengthen vascular function and support proper circulation in the body.

All roses will develop hips once their flowers fade, which are a delicious wild edible. They are nutritive and tart, and can be infused into a tea that is high in many vitamins, especially Vitamins A and C. Even though citrus fruits get all the glory for being a great source of Vitamin C, rosehips actually contain a higher concentration of this important vitamin and are in fact one of the richest botanical sources of it. This makes rosehips an excellent addition to fall and winter tea blends to help support the body in cold and flu season.

As an energetic remedy Rose works on opening the heart chakra (not surprisingly) and also acts as heart-settling nervine. It brings peace and strength to the body and spirit, and can help to lift anxiety and depression. Likewise, if one’s emotions are too hot or stuck — with frustration or anger — Rose comes to the rescue.

The gift of Rose is two-fold: it helps to soften and relax the heart space (and tense emotional states) while also offering strength and fierceness when needed. A rose is beautiful and vulnerable in flower but also sharp and fierce in thorns — it imparts these same qualities to us when we use it internally or as a flower essence.

There is so much more to learn about Rose — it is a multi-faceted and multi-purpose remedy. I believe it is also important for our modern day lives in that it helps us shift our orientation from being too much in our heads to being more in our hearts.

And this is exactly one of the reasons we chose Rose to be our Herbstalk Plant-of-the-Year for 2017!

Herbstalk is an annual event that takes place in early June at the Armory in Somerville. The Herbstalk Team also organizes the popular Wintergreen Holiday Market at the Armory in late November. More details can be found at: www.herbstalk.org. For more information on Steph's work (including classes and consultations) please visit: www.flowerfolkherbs.com.

Beauty Uniform: Julia Teren of Thesis Beauty

Julia Teren, founder of Thesis Beauty

Julia Teren, founder of Thesis Beauty

By Mary, The Naturalist Contributor & Body Care Buyer

Reading the label of a skincare product is like reading a nutrition label, except worse. There’s an ingredient list, common allergies, there are chemicals I know I want to avoid, chemicals that sound like I should avoid them but are really just a fancy name for Vitamin E which I don’t want to avoid, and there are ingredients I covet. There are oils we all know and love (Jojoba! Rosehip!) and oils we didn’t know about before we saw them bottled and prepared on the shelf (Moringa!). Then there are 4 different kinds of the same oil and 3 different moisturizers claiming to target sensitive skin. It reminds me of the first time I moved out of my parents house and had a panic attack, standing in the middle of the bread aisle at a supermarket in West Hollywood, overwhelmed at 18 years old by the sheer amount of options I had and wondering whether I should even be eating bread anyway.

Julia Teren, founder of Thesis Beauty and self proclaimed Beauty Purist, has created a line of incredibly pure and effective skin care while making sure labels are easy for consumers to digest. I discovered Thesis like many of you probably did: while longingly searching for non toxic skin care that actually worked. Thesis also became my first realization that skincare could be the next local food movement. By choosing Thesis I’m supporting a local family owned business that uses premium organic ingredients without charging me a premium price. By supporting Thesis, I’m helping grow the rich community of makers, artists, and healers that call New England their home.

Below, Julia shares her own experience with discovering pure beauty and how Thesis came to be.

Thesis is a local favorite among Cambridge Naturalists, what was the first product you created as a brand that led to the growth of the company?

First of all, we are so proud to be part of the awesome Camberville community and Cambridge Naturals and grateful for all the unbelievable support we are getting! Thank you so much!
The first product I came up with after months and months of extensive research was the serum Lullaby for Dry Skin. At the time I was struggling with skin dryness exacerbated by living in an urban area such as Los Angeles. The weirdest thing was that my skin was dry, but still breaking out. At times it would actually swing in the opposite direction and produce crazy amounts of sebum while still feeling awfully dehydrated, flaking, and just looked embarrassing. Nothing I got in stores (and at the time I was dead set on going organic and natural) could fix this, no matter the price. So it was my priority to make something soothing and moisturizing for the face first to alleviate dryness, clear flaking, and stop breakouts. Countless hours were spent to come up with this truly balanced, nutritious formula that was light, moisturizing, and smelling great.

They say you have to spend at least 10,000 hours to master a skill, I think I paid my dues beyond that. In the meantime I was also trying to formulate a good cream because my shins were so dry and itchy I was scratching myself to tears. Dozens of failed experiments later, a silky Lavender cream was born. Those two were my saviors and the formulas have experienced minimal changes since their debut because they were so successful.

Julia and Serge

Julia and Serge

How has Thesis changed since those beginnings?

Well, it's been a journey. We started back in 2009. We had a different name and very much homemade packaging, and the bottles and jars were blue. I had to master Photoshop and photography skills from scratch in order to come up with professional-looking labels. In fact, I had to re-design them at least 3 times. But from the very beginning, and to this day, we have been focusing on eco-friendly packaging, mostly glass with sun-protective qualities. So on the surface, the design has changed, but our organic-vegan-eco ethos is firmly rooted in all we do.

I love the term “beauty purist.” It sums up those of us searching for nontoxic and sustainable skincare products perfectly. When/how did you first become a self proclaimed “beauty purist?”
I think I have this perfectionist mentality where everything has to be done to the highest standards or it's not worth doing at all. So I can relate to how frustrating it can be to read skincare label. Say, as a beauty purist, you want to find a product that would be organic, vegan, and simple. What you find instead: asterisks on the labels with exceptions, or in-brackets explanations with the "derived from" theme, or with free-from list of ingredients while the ingredient panel would be plagued with a lot of other chemicals. So when I started Thesis I decided it must be the best or what's the point in wasting ingredients.

What’s your daily skincare routine? Does this change with the seasons or while traveling?

That is a very good question. My friend just asked me yesterday: "Which products in your line do you use?" and I replied "All of them!" - that's because I developed them originally to tackle my own skin issues. In summer, when it's hot and steamy my dry skin behaves more like combo type, so I use products intended for oily/combo skin to curb excessive sebum production and control pores. As heat subsides and we step into cooler, dryer months my skin swings back to its normal, dry self, so I begin to swap one product after another to gradually revert back to the dry skin routine. But regardless of the season, I am trying to be good about following simple steps: #1 Removing makeup, if necessary. I really only wear mineral mascara and occasionally mineral eye shadows. Lately I got obsessed with super bright lipsticks, so those may require makeup remover for sure. #2 Cleansing. I love Tender as Petals for its mildness, and it's also just very slightly scrubby and gives me a gentle massage. #3 Moisturizing - it's everything for me. The one thing that I can't forget while traveling or under any other circumstances is a moisturizer. #4 Scrubs and masks - whenever the life of a busy mom permits. I sometimes apply a mask even just for 5-10 minutes before little hands start knocking on the bathroom door, but it already makes me feel better, taken care of, and the skin is certainly very happy even with this effort. I am grateful that this routine liberated me from camouflaging my skin with foundations because there is usually nothing to camouflage anymore.

The Thesis Beauty Team (including Bjorn)!

The Thesis Beauty Team (including Bjorn)!

What has inspired or continues to inspire your beauty uniform?

The raw movement. Several years ago I got inspired by bloggers and recipe books describing raw, living foods - the dishes on those photographs looked better than what they were called to substitute! To that end, I feel like organizing my kitchen better played a very important role in improving cooking habits and transitioning to raw.


I try to apply raw principles to my skincare formulas as well - most ingredients are raw, unprocessed and food grade. It also made me look deeper into supplements and vitamins, so now I only use raw, organic vitamins, live probiotics, unprocessed proteins, etc. Raw and organic ingredients provide maximum benefit to the skin and the body which has been confirmed by a number of studies. I can attest to that with my own experience. I also used to get enough sleep, but with when our son came I haven't slept in probably 2 years. I attribute my energy and complexion to the beauty uniform that I am trying to uphold as best I can.

If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring beauty purists, what would it be?

Reading labels and understanding ingredients is essential, so it pretty much boils down to educating yourself about what should and shouldn't be on your plate, in your lotion, in your laundry, etc. Another aspect of it is the perceived beauty standard touted explicitly or subliminally by media, movies etc - they are forced upon us. Also at play are our inner unresolved issues, complexes that prevent us from loving and accepting ourselves as we deserve. I strongly believe that healthy is beautiful - the rest is passing trend.

Do you have a favorite Thesis product or one that is particularly special to you?

Serum for Dry Skin is my favorite moisturizer. It helped me normalize my skin, transition to a purist routine, and eventually drop camouflaging with everyday makeup.

Thank you so much for sharing your Beauty Uniform with us, Julia! For updates from Thesis follow them on instagram @thesisbeauty

Not just a number: Introducing Plain Jane Beauty

By Caitlin, CN Body Care Lead

In a world cluttered with toxic cosmetics, it’s no wonder that choosing the right foundation can be such a daunting task. Making the switch to safer can seem like a lifestyle overhaul, especially when you’ve been (as so many of us have!) bowing at the feet of conventional cosmetics for years. At Cambridge Naturals, we understand the need for clean cosmetics that actually work, and most importantly, we understand the urgency of partnering with inclusive beauty and body care brands that offer a variety of styles and shades - suiting the needs of all of our diverse customer base, not just a small selection.

Being a ‘green’ and sustainable business is more than just paper recycling, car pooling and water conservation. Those things matter too, however, it also includes fostering business relationships with like-minded vendors and manufacturers; sustainable ingredient sourcing, product packaging; fair labor practices and social and economic responsibility.
— Lake Louise, Founder of Plain Jane Beauty

Our latest partner in the Body Care Department is Plain Jane Beauty - a champion in inclusive and clean cosmetic formulation. Formulated by certified makeup artist, Lake Louise, Plain Jane Beauty offers 17 shades of liquid foundation from ivory to ebony - and we carry every one of them! Lake Louise tasked herself with creating a cosmetic line that had foundations for all shades without compromising the health of your skin or the performance of her products. With fabulous foundation names like “I am Exquisite”, “I am Magnificent”, "I am Brilliant" and “I am Radiant”, Plain Jane Beauty affirms your lifestyle choices, your power of choice, and your strength and beauty.

Lake Louise Ziwa, founder of Plain Jane Beauty

Lake Louise Ziwa, founder of Plain Jane Beauty

Plain Jane Beauty’s liquid mineral foundations blend aesthetics with ethics. Using natural mineral pigments, certified organic ingredients and plant oils such as frankincense, neem and calendula, your skin will be fully nourished without feeling greasy or clogged!

Not only is Plain Jane Beauty making strides with cosmetics, but they’re making strides as a “green” business. Lake Louise says “being a ‘green’ and sustainable business is more than just paper recycling, car pooling and water conservation. Those things matter too, however, it also includes fostering business relationships with like-minded vendors and manufacturers; sustainable ingredient sourcing, product packaging; fair labor practices and social and economic responsibility.” Plain Jane Beauty uses fair trade coffee, cocoa powder and shea butter, certified organic ingredients whenever possible, and makes a conscious effort with eco-friendly packaging and promotion. Plain Jane Beauty reuses shipping packaging and boxes, prints all marketing materials locally and on recycled paper and uses vegetable-based inks. We are excited to offer this brand in store, and we know you’ll be excited by this wide range of colors, too!

We highly value our partnership with Plain Jane Beauty, and we welcome you to come try out their products with us! Please ask our Body Care team for a sample to try out! We are happy to help you find the shade that best suits you!

The Father's Day Gift Guide

It's time to celebrate dad! If you're having trouble finding the perfect gift, Caitlin has rounded up some of our favorite clean and effective body care and lifestyle products to show dad some love:

Brothers Artisan Oil “The Wash”

Charlestown, MA based Brothers Artisan Oil delivers quality cleansing for face, body and hair all wrapped into one! Tea Tree and Charcoal for those long days that need washing away and Blood Orange, Lemon and Lavender for a nice, relaxing weekend wash to relish in.

LEAP Organics Lip Balms

Hyper-local brand LEAP Organics will have your father figure moisturizing their lips in style! Eucalyptus Mint, Lavender and Citrus flavors all feature fantastic artwork of animals in need of our help! When you buy LEAP Organics, you’re supporting local and supporting LEAP’s charitable partner, 1% for the Planet, which receives 1% of LEAP purchases. The earth will thank you!

A Wild Soap Bar Timber and Coal Soaps

These chunks of soap stack perfectly on any surface, and lather incredibly well! If your dad is looking for that powerful, grounding signature scent, look no further! Handcrafted in small batches, A Wild Soap Bar’s Jory Hanus “celebrates the average hardworking American whose hands helped build this great nation, providing a nostalgic look back at a simpler, more honest time”. Worth a wash!

Badger Basic Shave Kit

Fellow local B Corp, Badger, is dedicated to taking care of parents and their children offering the babies at work program and partially subsidized, reasonably priced childcare. Something else Badger is doing for parents is providing the perfect self care products. With the Basic Shave Kit, dad will be enjoying his “me time”, too!

EnviroCare Combs  

Made in the USA from 100% recycled material, GMO and BPA-Free - what’s not to love?! We love EnviroCare because they’re a family-owned business that’s been around for over 40 years, just like Cambridge Naturals! Gifting EnviroCare Combs this Father’s Day not only will make your dad’s hair happy, but it will support an environmentally conscious family-owned business, too!

Maika Travel Kits

Want to ditch the idea of one-time use gift wrapping this Father’s Day? Put your dad’s gifts in these great travel cases by Maika! Printed on recycled canvas with eco-friendly inks, these are sure to be something your father will feel great about using over and over again!

Imbibing, Naturally

By John, CN Grocery Buyer and The Naturalist Contributor

"What's that?" you may be asking. "How could the place where I purchase my vitamins and protein shakes help me get drunk?" Well, dear readers, although Cambridge Naturals will always be here for you when you're in need of a cleanse or detox, we're more than happy to help you creatively re-tox as well! Booze in careful moderation* may have some medicinal value, and its functions as a social lubricant and stress reliever have been documented since the poems of antiquity.

But antiquity is not what we're here to talk about. The world of the mixed drink has changed dramatically in the last decade, and Cambridge Naturals is stocked to the rafters with ingredients which can bring your next party to the vanguard of the craft cocktail revolution!

What follows are not a couple, not a few, but five different drinks showcasing a wide variety of items for sale in our store. It could have been a dozen! The possibilities really are limitless. Come find me in person at the store for the low-down on some of my extra-secret concoctions or to let me know what you've come up with.

THE HOT HONEY PALOMA

  • 4 oz Grapefruit flavor Spindrift sparkling water
  • 2 oz Organic Mezcal or Tequila*
  • 1 tablespoon Mike's Hot Honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Sprig of Mint

Stir the liquor, honey, and lime juice well, then pour in the Spindrift and enjoy!

THE SAPPY CHAMELEON

  • 1 oz Feronia Forests Mission Maple Syrup
  • 1 oz Overproof Rum*
  • 8 oz Chameleon Cold Brew

Combine and mix ingredients in a glass, stir, and serve!

THE CHAI ORANGE HONEY OLD FASHIONED

  • 3 tablespoons Boston Chai Party Homemade Chai Spices
  • 8 oz Organic Bourbon*
  • 8 tsp Puremiel Orange Blossom Honey
  • Urban Moonshine Citrus Bitters
  • Mountain Valley Sparkling Water

(recipe makes 4 cocktails)

First, put the chai spices in a sachet and infuse the bourbon for a few hours. Then mix 2 oz of the infused bourbon, 2 teaspoons honey, and 3 dashes of the bitters with some ice in a shaker and shake it all up. Pour over an old fashioned glass with ice and top with a splash of sparkling water.

THE GINGER CACAO BOMB

  • 1 1/2 oz Repurposed Pod Cacao Juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Organic Gin*
  • 1/4 oz Old Friends Farm Ginger Syrup
  • a dash of Urban Moonshine Original Bitters
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice, shake, pour over ice, and bottoms up!

THE CAMBRIDGE NATURALS BLOODY MARY

  • 2 Tablespoons Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Hosta Hill hot sauce
  • 3oz Organic Vodka*
  • 6oz Mucho Gazpacho (Original)
  • Mix in a glass with ice and your choice of garnish, line the rim with Maldon's smoked sea salt!

That's all for now! Cheers! Slainte! Probst! Kampai! Salud! See you next time!

*Please drink responsibly. Any of these cocktails can be made without alcohol and enjoyed immensely!