Interview | Laura’s Natural Life

Oh my gosh. Finals are over are I can breathe a little + resume to working on several things that fulfill my heart and passion. This semester was very rigorous and required a lot of studying, most of which was done online and watching videos for some courses. Through this (and perhaps slightly procrastination) I fell into the vortex of Youtube and while sifting through videos of pugs, planners, & seasonal-themes ones I found Laura’s Natural Life channel.

Laura creates daily video content on natural & non toxic beauty, health-based & nutrition advice and overall treat-yourself energy. She holds a Master’s of Science in Health & Nutrition Education, so she is educated and well versed as well as rigorously tries out any product she posts about, sharing only her honest thoughts.

While sifting through her various videos I came across an article she did on overcoming/living with Lyme Disease. From there I felt provoked to reach out to her for her story. I admire her cheerfulness, her radiant personality & thirst for wellness (in which she is educated in). Her videos are based on empowering, educating, & being honest with yourself. Through social media you don’t know someone’s own personal life, struggles & stories. For me, health & wellness had been a big issue until I began learning + listening to my body and making responsible choices, which is not to say wellness is about limiting or restricting – its about balance. & everyone is different.

I am so thankful to Laura for contributing her story & advice. I only wish I could have had this interview with her over peppermint hot cocoa & gingerbread cake.

Who are you + What do you do?

My name is Laura, but most people know me from Laura’s Natural Life. I am a YouTuber, but I just recently launched where I will also be creating written content. I have a Master’s Degree in Health & Nutrition Education and worked in the Holistic Healthcare Industry for three years gaining valuable experience. My mission is to educate women to listen to their bodies, wade through all the conflicting health information on the internet and feel confident to make the healthiest choices for themselves. I’m also a green beauty addict and love to share my new favorite products and looks with all of you!

How has Lyme affected your life & lead to creating your Youtube Channel, Laura’s Natural Life

Though I do have Lyme, I also suffer from Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome – a lesser known condition often referred to as Mold Illness, so I have very poor detoxification pathways. When I was at my sickest, it was all I could do to go to work for about 5 hours, 4 days a week and then come home and rest for the remainder of the day. During this time, I began researching green beauty products and looking up reviews via YouTube. I had no idea that YouTube had more than cat videos at the time and instantly became enamored with this cross between blogging and actual reality TV. I just felt like it was something that I HAD to do. It took me another year or so to actually start my channel!

What are some of your lifestyle philosophies?

As I am extremely sensitive to chemicals and anything with fragrance, my house is a toxin free zone! I only buy the cleanest personal care products including laundry detergents, makeup, skincare, shower products, etc. I clean with vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and essential oils. I also highly value balance. Being chronically ill and having under functioning adrenals means that I get burnt out quite easily. I really make rest and relaxation a priority, as well as activities that I enjoy. Eating healthy is an absolute must. I believe that natural is always the best starting place.

 Optimal nutrition is a basic necessity that’s often overlooked. Off from that there’s homeopathy, acupuncture, massage, cranialsacral therapy, chiropractic care, naturopathic doctors, functional medicine practitioners and more. I certainly feel that Western Medicine has its place, but I prefer to be treated by a practitioner who believes that the whole body is connected and not just a specialist for one part. I believe that health is more than just physical. Health encompasses the emotions, the thoughts, and the spiritual well-being. When one element is out of whack, it always impacts the others.

Top 5 favorite foods & treats for beauty and wellness

Oh great question! In no particular order:

1. Parsley is a great, fresh herb to throw in smoothies. It makes everything taste fresh, makes your breath smell great and helps to support your liver, which aids in detoxification. When detoxification is aided, the skin typically clears.

2. Avocado. Essential Fatty Acids found in foods like avocado, nuts, seed oils and coconut oil are crucial for health. They are key in increasing immunity and ingesting them helps to improve the skin, as well.

3. Green Smoothies/Drinks because sometimes salads take a lot of chewing. They’re a super fast way to get a lot of nutrients and take no skill whatsoever to make.

4. Grapefruit, simply because I am obsessed with grapefruit. Lemons & Limes are a close second when enjoyed in water

5. Dark Chocolate because it releases endorphins and smile on a women is always beautiful

What can we expect in the future from Youtube?

I produce on average six videos each month – a new video every tuesday and two fridays each month. Each month you will find a monthly makeup tutorial, a roundup of my monthly favorites including beauty products, lifestyle products and books, and an episode of The Healthy Girl’s Guide. The other three videos are completely random and may include hauls, or green beauty reviews or my personal routines. The Healthy Girl’s Guide is a series in which I take a health topic and break down the basics for you – so far you can watch my videos on Detoxification and Immunity.

Are you an avid reader? What are your favorite books/recommendations?

Yes, I was definitely that nerdy girl in middle school reading in the corner. Ok, I am still that girl.

Health Books:
Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somers is a MUST read for everyone, in my opinion.
Mold Warriors by Dr. Richie Shoemaker. If you feel like you have a mystery illness, or if you know you have mold concerns- read this book. You will find so much clarity and support.
Detoxify or Die by Dr. Sherry Rogers – THE handbook for detoxification

As for Leisure, I am a shameless Young Adult lover. Some of my favorites include:

The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty (an absolutely hilarious coming of age series, with my personal favorite fictional boy)
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Swoon)
Everything by Robin Benway – Audrey, Wait! Is my favorite. Hilarious.
If you prefer heart-wrenching tales, check out Jessi Kirby’s books, especially Golden.

Now that we are entering the colder, dryer and perhaps in some parts humid weather, what can you recommend to keep our immune system and outer beauty safe & nourished?

I swear by Vitamin D3! Since I started taking this vitamin religiously, it has increased my immunity so much. There are studies out of Canada which imply that optimizing Vit. D levels may decrease risk of cancer by nearly 70%! I have a video on this here. Since it is fat-soluble, it is important to have your blood check periodically to make sure you aren’t accumulating too much over time.

Also, decreasing sugar intake is crucial. Here’s a video on how to avoid getting sick during cold and flu season! How to Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season // The Healthy Girl’s Guide

For those who are not in-the-know of natural Youtube bloggers, who are some of your favorites to follow & watch?

Oh man, there are so many lovely ladies out there! If you are looking for green beauty girls, I never miss a video from The Green Bunny, Aesthetika, ErikaSummers22, Teri Miyahira, and Holistic Habits. For health related topics, I love the old HealthTalksTV (no longer made), my friend Aviva Peltin, and Dr. Axe!

What are/is a charity/ies you support?

I support CareNet Pregnancy Center & our local Hospice Care. My husband and I have both had loved ones who have spent their last days in hospice and we couldn’t have asked for more caring people to entrust our loved ones too.

What makes you happy + How do you unwind?

My dog, Tedford!!! I swear, even if I’m in the worst mood that guy makes me laugh. He has an enormous personality. Takes after his mom! I also use a Far Infrared Sauna religiously and take detox baths. I watch a lot of Netflix and Youtube. I try to meditate and get in yoga sessions when I can, but if I’m being honest, I could be better with these. I’m only human!

What are 5 things we can do to bring wellness into our lives?

1. Detox! I have two videos on Detox to help you out:

Take Control of Your Health Through Detox / The Healthy Girl’s Guide

My Favorite Detox Methods/ The Healthy Girl’s Guide

2. Decrease caffeine and sugar intake.

3. Get adequate sleep – try to go to bed by 10:30 every night!

4. Cultivate Positive Mental Talk

5. Figure out your best balance

Dream Vision Board: What would your ideal day consist of?

Wake up when my body wants to, not from an alarm around 8am. Have a delicious breakfast including fruit, eggs, bacon and tea magically appear. Spend at least an hour applying makeup and playing with new products. I’m going to assume that on my ideal day, there is beautiful weather and I could go paddleboarding, or soak up the sun near the water. Play with my Dog. Cuddle with my husband. Eat phenomenal food that makes me feel great. Just enjoy the little things 🙂

Words you live by?

“Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life message and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” Rick Warren

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Honestly, I don’t know. My life has turned out so differently than I thought it would when I was 18, that I don’t always like to plan for the future and rather be surprised by the great things that happen! I hope that I continue to become healthier and can help others feel healthier as well. I hope to still be cuddling my dog and my husband every night. I hope that I can make amazing videos with a higher production value and take fabulous vacations.

Interview – Claire Ragozzino // Vidya Cleanse

Claire is such a beautiful soul. I came across her blog several months ago reading it to the very end – falling in love with her prose, plant based recipes and self. She is the typeof being I wish I could spend a day (or week) with in my life, full of vitality, earth and movement. Claire’s journey to creating her Vidya cleanse + courses stemmed from healing her own health which is something I admire, and she’s done a pretty amazing job. I am so thankful she took the time to answer some questions. For more on Claire check out her blog | instagram | pinterest

Interivew – Claire Ragozzino // Vidya Cleanse
Who are you + what do you do
My name is Claire Ragozzino, I’m a holistic nutrition educator and yoga instructor.

How did you get involved with holistic/organic living?
In my early teens, I suffered from chronic digestive problems.  I wasn’t raised with the healthy eating lifestyle I’ve adopted now, in fact, hamburger helper and fast food was a pretty standard part of my childhood diet.  But by 15, I was tired of feeling terrible all the time, and somehow the universe delivered to me my very first raw food book. Completely intrigued, I spent an entire summer experimenting with raw cuisine and reading every alternative medicine book I could get my hands on. Then an older friend just back from India and Bali introduced me to cleansing. I got a juicer for my 16th birthday, and from there I guess you can say the rest is history! Over the years of learning, I built my lifestyle around this passion for sharing what I love and what has brought me healing along my journey. 
Tell us a bit about the e-courses you offer
I believe our health is not static, and that our bodies are closely connected to the natural cycles of the earth. With this in mind, I wanted to create an online program that used holistic cleansing as an intentional tool for reconnecting people with their personal health needs.  Cleansing with intention is a powerful medicine, and when you can do a purposeful, seasonal cleanse you can cultivate a deeper connection with your intuitive health knowledge.  Vidya actually means clarity, knowledge and inner wisdom. So the Vidya Seasonal Detox eCourse is a platform for knowledge sharing, providing you tools to inspire sustainable change in your diet and lifestyle, and find your own inner wisdom.  I guide you through the journey with step-by-step cleanse plans, seasonal recipes, shopping lists, meal planners, meditation and journaling exercises and intention crafting worksheets – so get you clear on where you’re at each season and how to find your health truth. The next global cleanse kicks off June 21st with the summer solstice!

What projects are you working on? + How will you celebrate Spring season?
I just launched the first video in my quarterly “Vidya Seasonal Kitchen” series. I’m working with my favorite local video production team, Choate House, to create short instructional cooking films based on recipes that inspire connection with the seasons and our health. Eating seasonally is a way to naturally cleanse your body and connect in with the fluid cycles of the earth and our evolving health needs. My intention is to show that seasonal cleansing can be simple, nourishing and satisfying to the mind, body and spirit. Keeping in line with the seasons, our next Kitchen Series video will be released summer solstice week.
But without getting too ahead of myself, I’m savoring the arrival of Spring by spending more time outdoors hiking and rock climbing, and enjoying all the amazing fresh salads and juices I’ve been missing over winter.  I’m also gearing up to do my own seasonal cleanse, and really looking forward to this time of reflection and renewal.
Do you have a morning routine?
I like to wake up slowly, spending my time in bed visualizing my day and reflecting on what I’m feeling with a short journaling practice before I get up.  Then, I get to my Ayurvedic morning rituals of self-care, Dinacharya, starting with oil pulling, tongue scraping and dry skin brushing before I shower.  After I’m clean and covered in a copious amount of coconut oil, I’ll head to the kitchen and make an alkalizing drink of warm water with lime and aloe vera juice.  I’ll usually sip this while I check emails (guilty!), then make some herbal tea and get over to my mat. I have a small yoga room in my home where I do my personal practice, which can vary daily from just 15 minutes of yoga therapy and pranayama (breath work), to a juicy 2-hour asana sessions with friends.  Since my schedule frequently fluctuates, keeping an open mind and fluidity to my morning yoga practice is important to me.
How do you spend your free time?
Rock climbing! I am completely hooked on climbing and take any free time I have to disconnect from technology and get outdoors.  Climbing is a total meditation, so when I’m not practicing yoga on the mat, I’m doing so on the wall. It’s so special because you get to experience this beautiful one-pointed concentration as you move with intention and balance.

Your blog is a compliation of delicious plant-based recipes and health tips because you are a nutritional health educator, how do you help your clients online/in person and heal others this way? 
I work with clients in three ways: one-on-one with private wellness consultations and food coaching sessions both in-person and online, in large group guided cleanses through my seasonal ecourses, and through workshops and retreats (I’ll be leading a fabulous retreat in Costa Rica in June, all beautiful souls should join me for a week of spirited detox in the jungle!). My teachings meld together my background in yoga, raw food nutrition and Ayurvedic principles. But my true goal is to empower people to think, feel and act intuitively when it comes to their health.
You are absolutely stunning and have a visually beautiful life, what are some beauty tips + favorite places to shop?
Thank you! I try to keep my beauty routine as natural as I can. Sticking to the mantra “If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!”, I use mostly edible organic skincare products that I make or buy. In the warmer months, cooling coconut oil is my go-to lotion pre- and post-shower. In the cooler months, warming sesame oil nourishes and grounds me. I use magnesium oil for my hair, and let it air dry…but I think that part is mostly out of laziness to blow dry it! Epsom salt baths with essential oils are a pretty regular part of my weekly rituals. But above all of these habits, I’ve committed to practicing these rituals with self-love and appreciation for my body.

Favorite books/online reading material
My reading material consists of a mixture of yoga/Ayurveda/herbalism texts, cookbooks, food blogs, and quarterly journals, like Lucky Peach or Kinfolk. These are some of the books + blogs I’ve been loving lately:
·      “Woman’s Power to Heal” by Maya Tiwari
·      “Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy” by Mukunda Stiles
·      “Planetary Herbology” by Michael Tierra
·      “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison
·      Food + Lifestyle Blogs – The First Mess, Green Kitchen Stories, My New Roots, Earth Sprout, Free + Native, Justina Blakeny…are a few of my favs.
Top 5 Necessities (can be culinary,clothing, makeup, etc) for health
1. Banyan Botanicals Triphala Tablets (digestion is everything right?!)
2. Kuumba Made Sage Coconut Oil (on-the-go natural skincare)
3. Lulu’s Raw Chocolate Love Truffles (one of my favorite raw chocolate companies)
4. Rifle Paper Co. Journals (daily journaling is so essential in my life)
5. Heritage Store Rosewater Spray (for energy clearing + grounding)
For those who want live cleaner what are some tips?
Start by shopping one day a week at your local farmer’s market. Take your fresh new ingredients and research a few ways you can prepare them.  Making even just one home-cooked meal with a few fresh, local ingredients can make a big difference in your diet habits by establishing a meaningful connection with your food source and engaging in the process of preparing your nourishment with loving intention. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Barefoot on the beach with a babe on my hip, a few books under my belt, and surrounded by friends who inspire a healthier, happier world.
Who + What inspires you?
I’m so inspired by entrepreneurial women who live their dream proud and loud, and share it with others to inspire passion and positive change in others lives. I’m also really intrigued by people who live off the grid, who don’t live by social norms and spend their lives closely connected with their surroundings – both nature and the people in their lives.  It’s an interesting balance isn’t it? Finding a way to live authentically and share your truth is a true test I believe!
You live where + recommend these places for travel
I fancy myself a bit of a gypsy, but somehow I ended up in the Midwest – great old Oklahoma City! This place has some interesting creative energy and I’m grateful for my little home here now, but I need to travel frequently to stay alive and inspired. Here’s where I would pack a bag and hop a flight to any day:
·      Tulum, Mexico
·      Joshua Tree, California
·      Burlington, Vermont  
·      Mysore, India
·      Essaouira, Morocco

Dream Vision Board : what would your ideal day consist of?
In my perfect dream world, time would be infinite and unimportant.  Life would be centered around long meals with friends, soul-connecting conversations, and uncharted adventures.  My home in the jungle near the ocean (think Tulum), would play home to my gypsy traveling friends – their board paid in time spent caring for the garden.  Whatever we couldn’t grow ourselves, I could find by taking a trip to the farmer’s market and filling up my bike basket with fresh, local harvest. There would always be music, laughter and late-night conversation by the fire. We could sleep in hammocks under the stars, and awake to the sunrise by the ocean.  Barefoot, sun-kissed, and open-hearted, we’d greet each day.
One piece of advice

Above all else, practice self-love and compassion…the rest will follow!