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Kunye is a modern lifestyle brand, dedicated to keeping its tribe informed and inspired with highly curated content and premium skincare products that people can use as part of their day to day rituals. Our mission is to create nourishing skincare goods that contribute to our wellbeing and make our lives a little easier, calm our fraught nerves, and help us escape reality even if just for a few brief moments.

 

Journal

Interview: Michelle Tirmandi of michellenutrition.ca

Kunye

We are nutrition obsessed. 

So naturally we were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Michelle Tirmandi - a Toronto based and online nutritionist  helping women eat well and fell better. Not only does Michelle work magic in the kitchen, but as she explains it, her desire is to help create healthy relationships with food and decipher the complexities of healthy eating for women in her community. Here, Michelle shares valuable insights on everything from food to motherhood and self-care. 
 

We love how you approach nutrition with simplicity and practicality. Can you share a little bit more about your journey to becoming a nutritionist and creating michellenutrition.ca?

Thank you :) My journey to become a nutritionist came about in somewhat of a roundabout way. In my early teenage years and well into my mid-twenties I struggled with an eating disorder. Yet, never in a million years did I expect to work in a career helping others with their food and wellness!

In university I studied psychology and human behaviour. After university I decided to follow my passion for teaching and later attended teachers college but found it wasn't the career for me. Somehow I ended up working in marketing consulting and brand management, and after 7 years I was completely burned out and I learned again that it wasn't going to be a lifelong career for me!

During my years working in the corporate world I started to think about how I wanted to live the remainder of my life and came to the conclusion that I didn't want to continue living the lifestyle I was living.

It sounds like your story is similar to many as far as the experience of being on a totally different path than the one you are on today. Was there a specific AHA moment that really changed everything for you?

I remember being on a vacation with a few girlfriends in Mexico  when the conversation came up around what we would all do if we could quit our jobs and do anything we wanted. I mentioned that I would be a nutritionist so that I could help others with their relationship to food and teach them how to cook nourishing wholesome meals. After I said it out loud I immediately dismissed the idea but my friends insisted that nothing stood in my way of pursuing nutrition as a career! This sparked the seed for me to begin my journey to become the nutritionist that I wish I would have been able to see while I was struggling with my issues with food and nutrition. 

Going through your own relationship issues with food must have really shaped your current nutritional philosophy. What is your nutritional philosophy and what do you love most about working as a nutritionist?

My philosophy at Michelle Nutrition is based on the idea that we all have a unique relationship to food. My hope is to help encourage women to form a healthy relationship with food and to learn to use food in the most nourishing way possible. I love teaching women about nutrition, intuitive eating, self care and how to cook simple meals! I also love to bring women together to create communities where we support each other in wellness, business and now in motherhood!

Not only are you a nutritionist but you are a mom to your 9 month old daughter. Now that you have baby Isla, has your perspective on nutrition changed at all? If so, how?

Now that I have Isla my perspective on nutrition has shifted in some unexpected ways. I am more conscious of my own relationship to food and I think often about how I can help set the groundwork for her having a positive body image and relationship to food. 

On a more practical level, my perspective on nutrition has changed to be all about simplicity and ease. I now realize how much time children take up! Although I do love spending time in my kitchen, my time is much more limited then they used to be.  My hope is to be able to support other busy women (both mamas and non mamas) with ideas and inspiration on how they can nourish themselves in a way that provides abundant energy and nutrition in fast, simple ways!

Any nutritional words of wisdom or tips for new moms?

I laughed a little to myself when I read this, as if to say "you are asking ME for advice for new mamas?!". Most of the time I feel like I am in way over my head and have no idea what I am doing in both my business and in motherhood! Yet, at the same time, what I have learned about eating and nutrition I have found also somewhat applies to motherhood: for example - following your gut and doing/eating what feels nourishing, being kind to yourself and not over complicating things is key!

I'm sure every mother out there reading this let out a big AMEN right along with you! Your honesty is so refreshing and welcome. 

I have seen so many women looking for nutritional guidance after baby arrives and a lot of times it comes down to focusing on nourishing whole foods, moving more and choosing to love ourselves first. I really do try to focus on the underlying issues surrounding why we may wish to make nutritional changes so that we can work from a place of self love, acceptance and positivity which I have found is a much better way to make a lasting lifestyle change then a simple, quick fix diet.

You're right. There are tons of moms (and non moms, and moms to be) out there looking for nutritional support. And frankly, any tools that helps make eating healthy easier and more sustainable. Any plans to create something special for them?

I started an online meal planning subscription program called NourishandGlow. It's meant to help busy women plan simple meals by delivering weekly meal plans and recipe inspiration Right in their inbox every week. It's super affordable ($10 month or $100 for the year) and we have a developing community of women who are loving it. 

We couldn't agree more. Between a business and a baby, understandably, you probably don't get much  "mommy time." But if/when you do, what are some of your favorite self-care rituals to indulge in?

I must admit that I am learning to be kinder to myself and try to prioritize self care more! Usually, when I do get some time to myself it involves a yoga class at my favourite studio, a massage, or a bath and face mask at home with a glass of wine (or two!). 

When it comes to self-care and/or nutrition, what do you hope Isla learns from you?

It is so important for me to model self love and self acceptance to Isla. As I mentioned above, I struggled for so many years with my body image, self-esteem and feelings of never being good enough and I never wish for her to go through that. I also have a vision of us cooking in the kitchen together the way that I grew up cooking in the kitchen with my dad. I'm not sure if she will be into it, but I would love to teach her how to cook, bake and appreciate the amazing power of food from an early age! 

We like to get different perspectives about the meaning of self-care. What does self-care mean to you, and has the meaning changed since becoming a new mom?

The meaning of self care has definitely shifted for me recently from care in the physical sense to be more about my mental and emotional care. I am working hard at saying NO more often and choosing to follow my gut and intuition more. I also feel that I have been bitten by the 'busy bug' and find myself constantly trying to tackle  to-do lists that are totally unrealistic and leave me feeling like a failure. My hope is to model self care to Isla in a way that demonstrates true love, acceptance and decision making and that is reflective of following my true desires that make me feel good vs. feelings about doing things that you believe 'should' be done. 


You can find more information on Michelle's Nourish and Glow service here and try 1 week of her meal planning service for free here. Don't forget to follow her on IG: @nourishandglow_ + @michellenutrition

Kunye X Sunnyside: Natural Skincare Workshop

Kunye

We are thrilled to announce our collaborative workshop with Sunnyside - tucked away in the easternmost point of North Vancouver in Deep Cove.

Join us for an evening of integrative beauty! Sample our collection as we cleanse, treat and hydrate together while our founder Melissa shares her integrative insights and tips for holistically caring for your complexion. 

Wednesday June 21, 2017
7:00pm - 9:00pm

$35 - limited space available

Workshop details:
Introduction to natural skincare
Walk-through cleansing
Facial steam with Sunnyside organic tea water
Mist and moisturize
Custom mask-making experience, which includes a mask of your choice, custom blended with pantry elements (examples include honey, avocado, yoghurt, apple cider vinegar)
Personalized gift from Melissa of Kunye

Purchase your tickets here. 

Moisturizing vs Hydrating - Whats The Difference?

Kunye

source: trefoiled.tumblr.com

source: trefoiled.tumblr.com

One of the most vital elements for healthy skin is water. The level of water in our skin cells affects everything from skin clarity to oil production to texture.
 
So, how do we make sure our skin is getting (and retaining) enough water? Drinking water and eating hydrating foods quenches thirsty cells from the inside, and topically, we can look for moisturizers and hydrators. These two words are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact different and perform different functions on the skin.  
 
Understanding the difference between moisturizers and hydrators can help you select the right products for your skin.  So let’s clear up the confusion and simplify the science.
 
Moisturizing is about creating a shield on the skin known as an occlusive barrier. Occlusive ingredients (like natural butters and oils) create a barrier on the skin that helps prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). Essentially, the job of moisturizers is to prevent the water already found inside our skin from escaping. Within the green beauty realm, the most common moisturizers are face oils, balms, and butters.
 
Unlike moisturizers, hydrators act like magnets that attract and hold moisture from the atmosphere and bind it to the skin in order to rehydrate dehydrated tissue. Hydrating formulas include humectants that draw the water from the atmosphere towards your skin.


The job of a moisturizer is to prevent transepidermal water loss, "which facilitates the body's own barrier repair mechanisms" (Lippincott's Primary Care Dermatology, p. 30). In other words, we use a moisturizer to take the place of our skin's barrier mechanisms

So here’s where it get a little tricky. Moisturizers may contain hydrating ingredients (look for humectants like sodium lactate, honey, and hyaluronic acid). These formulas are ideal because they not only create a protective barrier on the skin but also deeply humidify cells below the surface. Most commonly, you’ll find a combination of moisturizers and humectants in lotions and creams that contain water (along with other ingredients that are not always plant derived).
 
By now I'm sure you are wondering - how do I know if I need moisture or hydration? 
 
An easy way to tell if you require more hydration is if your moisturizer is still leaving your skin feeling dry. This is especially evident if you are using natural products that are not formulated with any water like a natural face oil, balms or butter. Remember, moisturizers only form a barrier on the skin. So natural oils and butters create a barrier but you’re not actually adding water to dehydrated skin tissue. The good news is there is an easy and effective fix that you can start incorporating today. Before applying your moisturizer, try dampening your skin with a mist, hydrosol, or plain water and layer your moisturizer on top. This creates a layer of hydration that you can seal in by layering your moisturizer on top. 
 

Pursuing The Pure Life with Sisley Killam

Kunye

The Pure Life is a hub of information and inspiration for anyone seeking to augment their approach to nutrition - something we are always seeking a better understanding of here at Kunye. 

It's not every day you meet a gem like Sisley Killam - the nutritionist and blogger behind thepurelife.ca, inspires others to take a more holistic approach to wellness by healing our bodies and our skin with nutrient-dense plant-based foods. When we're not drooling over her delicious IG feed, or inhaling her yummy vegan recipes, we are just in awe of how this super down-to-earth girl is making nutrition approachable and oh so cool. Below, she shares her story, and some holistic tips on how to pursue The Pure Life every day.

We love how you're empowering women through nutrition education. Can you tell us how The Pure Life came to be?

Thank you! Well, it started off as a food diary on Instagram, where I posted my healthy meals daily. I was going through a tough transition period, healing myself through food and struggling to fit in a world that didn’t really respect nutrition at the time. At that time, Instagram was a way for me to connect with like-minded people who were on a similar journey as I was. It was such an incredible feeling, and I was constantly feeling inspired, which is eventually how the blog came to be, and The Pure Life was created.


Nutrition can have such a profound and transformative impact on the body. How do you think it influences the way we look and feel?

It influences every bit of how we look and how we feel. Take sugar, for example. If I skip lunch and have a sugary donut instead, my body immediately gets a sugar high and then crashes like there’s no tomorrow. If I have a big veggie + quinoa salad instead, my blood sugar levels stay constant, allowing me to be alert, awake and energized throughout my day without crashing. When we eat good, nutrient-dense foods, we are feeding our cells to create a healthy body, fresh-looking skin, a strong immune system. Nutrition is so, so important and the basis of how we look and feel every single day!


We know how tempting it is to want to reach for that sugary donut! Especially if you are in a hurry or you just aren't sure how to make healthier choices. What is some advice you can share with people who are looking to eat a cleaner or more plant-based diet but want to start with the basics?

  1. Start your day with something clean and plant-based. This will dictate your choices for the rest of the day. I recommend a big green smoothie, avocado on rye toast or a fruity breakfast porridge.

  2. Have clean protein and healthy fats at every meal. This will keep your blood sugar levels constant and avoid energy highs and crashes as I mentioned above. For example, sprouted rye bread and nut butter at breakfast, chickpeas and hemp seeds with your lunch, and lentils or a wild piece of fish for dinner. Include healthy fats like avocado, coconut milk, walnuts and chia seeds daily to feel satiated and to promote fresh, healthy skin.

  3. Eat the rainbow! Fill your grocery basket with 1 item from every color of the rainbow. Red bell peppers, Orange mandarins, Yellow bananas, Green Kale, Blue Blueberries, Indigo colored Eggplants, and Violet purple potatoes.
     

You mentioned earlier how feeding our cells nutrient-dense foods can help our skin. What has been your biggest skin challenge and in what ways did food have an impact (either negative or positive)?

Hormonal issues! I have struggled with hormonal acne for awhile now. I managed to rid of my cystic acne and rosacea a few years ago by altering my diet, but the hormonal and stress-related acne always finds a way to come back, especially when i'm om my period. It is so frustrating!

Sugar is a huge no-no for me. If I eat sugary foods, I have a break out right away. A few years ago, I upped my water intake, cut out all dairy and wheat products, as well as a few other changes, and managed to rid of my cystic acne and rosacea.

When I get a breakout, I try to reduce the stress in my life, eat a super clean diet and avoid touching or picking at my face.


Best beauty advice you've ever gotten?

My mom always says “just wash your face, put your hair in a ponytail, throw on some red lipstick and you’re good to go!”. It’s so simple and always makes me feel beautiful.
 

We like to finish off each interview by talking about the idea of self-care. What does it mean to you and what are your favorite rituals?

Self-care is so important to me. Not only does it make me feel healthy and beautiful, but it also helps to put any anxiety at bay and creates a positive body image for me. Self-love to me means taking care of my body in a way that suits my needs, to benefit all other aspects of my life. If you don’t love yourself first, it will be really difficult to put your whole heart into other projects in your life. Put you first.

My favorite rituals are simple things like taking a hot shower, spraying myself with lavender essential oil and reading my favorite health book. I also love putting my phone away and spending a few hours in the kitchen, letting my mind and creativity do its’ thing.

Clean Beauty - Why We Stand Behind It

Melissa Nkomo

Originally Published in Mother Muse Magazine February 2017

Clean or conventional, when it comes to skincare, we're all looking for the same thing - products that deliver real results. But so often we reach for our beauty counter favorites without a clue about the ingredients in them.  Having the ability to choose what you put on your skin is one of the most empowering ways to achieve a healthy, glowing complexion. And, with all the time and energy we put into caring for our bodies on the inside, considering what we put on the outside only makes sense.

The truth is, clean beauty products are to skin what a healthy diet and regular exercise are to the body. And just like the organic food we eat, using products free of toxic ingredients benefits your skin, your body, and the planet long term.

A clean beauty ritual (or any beauty ritual for that matter) should be less like a religion and more like a relationship. And just like any great relationship, it requires understanding, authenticity, and at times, a little more effort than we'd like. But at the end of the day, the long-term benefits, far outweigh the short-term challenges when it comes to switching to a cleaner regime.

A great place to start is by understanding your skin, our bodies largest organ. It performs essential duties like regulating your body temperature, protecting your vital organs from exposure, flushing toxins from the body and converting sunlight into vitamin D.

What beauty advertisers doesn't want you to know is just how smart your skin truly is. And though our intentions are well and good, a lot of the things we do to 'care' for our skin, actually interrupts its natural ability to do what it does best - cleanse, exfoliate, repair and protect.

Ingredients like plant oils and nut butter, essential oils and natural earth clays are all completely harmless and highly effective. They are also elements that our skin recognizes and utilizes for nutrients.

Take face oils for example - they are 100% plant oils (usually from seeds and nuts like avocado, macadamia, or jojoba) used to moisturize the skin.  The oils are excellent at hydrating, but also contain vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals that feed the skin, in a similar way those very same nutrients feed our bodies. Since the oils are natural, unlike mineral oil made from petroleum, they easily sink into the skin without harm.

In comparison, standard creams and lotions are a combination of oil and water. Since oil and water don't naturally mix; the formula also requires the use of emulsifiers to create that creamy texture and preservatives to prolong shelf life. In addition to this, most companies will add an "active" component which further dilutes the naturally active benefits of the plant oils in the formula. These emulsifiers, lab-created actives, and preservatives are often the ingredients that irritate and cause harm to the skin, the body, and the planet.

Many clean beauty products are consciously (and often sustainably) created and produced without any proven or suspected toxic ingredients. They include ingredients ethically sourced and made with the health of our bodies and the environment in mind. And that's something we can definitly get behind. 

Shop Our Clean Beauty Collection