Here’s My Journey to a Healthier, Happier Life

My journey to a healthier life started in circa 2014. I was, and am, an avid fan of Pinterest because I’m a visual person. One of the boards that I own is about personal care, titled Face Hair Nail. Since I love to browse the pins, I found some pins containing infographic about DIY skincare utilizing ingredients in your kitchen. I’m sold on the idea of not adding harmful chemicals to my skin, especially after informed that several chemicals are contributing to cancer potential. Here’s it.

I graduated from chemical engineering major, hence I’m familiar with the fallacy of ‘chemical’ word. Everything is chemical, be it a simple element such as Sulphur, or a complex one like Caffeine in your watered-down morning coffee. So, don’t ever try to say ‘your skincare is packed with chemicals’, honey. Yes, even my clothes are packed with chemicals because they’re made of cotton and polyester. Back to topic, some chemical compounds are found in cancer cells and deemed as an alert to minimize. Those things, for example, are parabens, phthalates, colorant, and fragrance.

Please visit this link to know more about the harm they can do to your body. Please be reminded that these are all potential harms, just like when we want to avoid MSG’s in our food but apparently MSG itself is not forbidden by Indonesian FDA (BPOM) under a certain level. Hey, every product with the BPOM’s license is safe to consume. However, the effect of each chemical has not been tested for a longer period of time, say, 20 years. So if I want to minimize my MSG intake and some chemicals from my skin products, it’s not because I don’t believe in BPOM, but it’s because I’m sure of its cancer-inducing properties in the long run.

Apparently, later on in the journey, I realized that not all DIY skincare products are OK for your skin, especially baking soda. Again, try to browse Pinterest and you’ll find tons of people pinning baking soda benefits for your skin, hair, face, even your sink. I learned that baking soda is of extreme basic pH and I didn’t know how to neutralize it apart from apple cider vinegar (ACV) wash. But then, I browsed the internet and apparently the combo of baking soda followed by ACV wash is too harsh for your being, because you introduce delta pH to your skin. OK, whatever. My common sense told me so. I avoided baking soda henceforth.

Baking soda is too harsh for your skin

After trial and error, I found the formula that works best for me. I’m sold into oil cleansing method and essential oil for my well-being. So my skincare regime consists of max 5 steps. I just can’t follow the 10-step Korean beauty routine, lol. The above link was from 2017 and it’s not updated because it’s still featuring baking soda, lol. I’ll update on detail of what I put on my face daily, later when I have time.

Now I religiously do my morning routine consisting of splashing my face with water and toning it using rose water toner from Kencana Bodyworks. Followed by sunscreen from the same brand, too, because it only contains zinc oxide, without any chemical sunscreen. Then, I’m applying my makeup and good to go.

As an old adage goes, birds from alike feather flock together. In the online community of pinners or bloggers loving the natural skincare, I also found people with branching interests to organic skincare as well. While organic raw materials are a bit more expensive for me, organic foods are more accessible. I found people whose navigating in their organic food journey. My old friend from oil and gas world together with her husband also joined the bandwagon and establishing their company, producing healthy and tasty kale chips and tempeh tortilla. Sunkrisps.

I’m more aware of my digestion intake. I realize I live in Jakarta where I can’t avoid MSG at all. Ranging from my occasional eating-out to my daily lunch prepared by my family with some MSG still, I am far from ideal eating. But I consciously eat MSG once a day during lunch if I do intermittent fasting. I have muesli from Go-Lite and soymilk for breakfast. And I normally skip dinner. Or if I’m starving after office hour, I have to grab something to eat from nearby diners This is not an ideal situation, but I can control what I buy. I avoid eating random gorengan (fries/fritters) too often, so I consume it like once a week. If I need to order coffee from a cool place via food delivery, I prefer the no sugar iced coffee. Or if I have to, I order less sugar. I get used to drinking sugarless coffee. I minimize unfermented dairy products, so I still consume yogurt and cheese. I don’t like the Western version of the salad, so I opt for gado-gado which has ground peanut sauce so it’s also healthy. We can ask the vendor not to put MSG in the sauce, so it’s an ideal option. 

Image from GadoGado Boplo

Some people start at organic foods first then natural skincare, while I started other way around. That’s good, too. Recently, I visited an organic and vegan fair at The Local Market, and they sell products with vision. I love browsing organic chips, cold brew coffee, fair trade clothes, and organic soaps. I brought home organic shampoo from celery, snacked on kale chips from my friend’s company, and tasted cold brew coffee and hot brew from local coffee beans. It felt so empowering that I chose the best and least harmful products for my body.

So, are you on the same path of opting for healthier alternatives? Share your story below.

Until next time,


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