MURIEL SAMUELS: MASTERING TECHNIQUES TO LOOK GOOD FROM THE INSIDE- OUT
February 18, 2019
Muriel Valentina is a foodie, a natural foods enthusiast , a trained holistic nutritionist and a health-supportive chef. She is the CEO of ETON Foods, a Food and Nutrition business that educates, trains and consults with individuals, groups and businesses on easy, enjoyable methods for tasty and healthy-eating.
‘Food and eating have always occupied a significant portion of my waking thoughts and memories .Yet through mainstream education, I absorbedmany inaccuraciesand mis-informations that Iincorporated into my life. There’s this funny thing about information. You have to be exposed to new information about a subject to recognise how much you don’t know. I was exposed and immediately felt that discomfort of missing a chunk of critical information.I attended a health supportive culinary school in New York that altered the course of my life and started my education in this arena.
With this new-found beginning of knowledge, it was clear to see that so many struggled and were in the same space. I was holding on to a set of beliefs and practices about food that didn’t truly support health and unfortunately, the omnipresence of food lends itself to assumptions of knowledge and mastery. I developed a deep desire to help people connect the impact of their daily food choices and with their state of health.This is needed around the world, especially within Sierra Leone’s challenged health care system’.
‘ETON provides the interventions (educate, train, consult) to guide that process and make it easier. Sierra Leone particularly proves to be such a dynamic location from which to base the journey. The lessons from clients around the world have been invaluable in understanding peoples’ very complicated relationship with food and forced the business to come up with tailored, innovative practices and solutions to help clients achieve their desired results in different cultures and contexts’.
How She Defines Beauty..
Well, it is fluid. Different societies have the look they find attractive and features on which they place value. There may be variances of what is attractive for individuals within those societies yet there are standard profiles. Also certain looks transcend cultures.
Physical beauty can definitely be manufactured and or manipulated yet the eyes always tell the truth. There is something about the energy and spirit of a person that demands attention. I have an Aunty Lizzie who I’ve always thought to be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen and known, even as a child and at 60, that hasn’t changed. Based on her and other men and women I consider beautiful, I’ve put together a set of characteristics that define beauty for me.
Beauty is comfort in your own skin and physical features.
Kindness. Authenticity. Purpose.
Truth. The courage to be honest no matter the circumstances and fold compassion into the delivery of that truth is beautiful.
Passion. I find when people are engrossed and disappear into work they love quite beautiful. I also find continuous learning and a strong work ethic beautiful.
Fitness. Mindfulness of food choices and incorporating a form of exercise is beautiful as taking care of yourself in these most essential way can set the stage for awareness in other areas of and care to others in your life.
Love-giving and receiving love is beautiful..You see it in people-the glow that illuminates a person in love or truly loved. It is especially noticeable in babies and children.
Laughter is beautiful.Deep guttural laughter I find stunning and contagious and elicits an immediate positive response.
In Sierra Leone and Senegal, I find people with a mindful, spiritual practice. This is quite beautiful. From going to mosque, church, yoga classes and other forms of exercise, it might be the serenity and tranquility that prayers and meditation produce but it’s enthralling.
Beauty regimen? What Beauty Regimen? It’s a Lifestyle!
Topically, it’s now quite minimal because I no longer have the time or energy to devote and I’ve learned it seems less effective than I assumed and in some cases harmful… So I am at bare basics—Kiehls cleanser, toner plus moisturiser, depending on the weather and skin-needs perhaps once a week. The rest of the time, I use some fruits to exfoliate, aloe vera plant to moisturise etc. I like to play with food in my skincare and so far, I’ve been able to achieve safe and varying levels effective results. Most important beauty product is clean water.
The real work is not topical and fully based on habits. There are no beauty products or plants that can replace the power of great sleep, sufficient hydration, optimal nutrition, authentic relationships, tailored spiritual practice, laughter, peaceful environments and some form of sweaty physical activity, even if it only consists of you going to/creating your own sauna/steam room. I also read continuously about all my interests and learn to apply those relevant to me.
Let’s Talk Stress and Aging? How do you stay Beautiful from the Inside – Out?
The BIG truth is this: stress is proof that you’re alive and can be positive (eustress) or negative (distress). Eustress can be very useful and has been responsible for the completion of many tasks for my procrastinating ways. Distress is what may make you seem older that you would have looked and can be reduced by proper nutrition, exercise and more. Ultimately, coping mechanisms can be strengthened and sustained by doing the inner work in addition to the above.
I believe we all have a responsibility to be as healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually ) as possible for ourselves, our family and friends and society. While the stress women in these parts endure doesn’t seem proportionately reflected in their physical status, it still affects their health.
We can all remember and try to implement the following:
1 The availability of therapy can be tailored based in particular societies from exercise, to singing, to meditation, crying and dancing through a variety ofoutlets including the beach, religious houses, the mountains etc… Nothing beats a session with a great, positive, loving friend or a good cry.
2 Eliminating or reducing engagement with unloving and/or unkind energies—people, environments, situations etc—contribute to mitigating stresses in our lives.
3 Lastly, part of the therapy can include practicing compassion, kindness and love for self which will inevitably spill over to same for others.
Basic pillars that we must revisit AND own:
– Great sleep.
– Optimal nutrition.
-Tailored spiritual practice.
-Peaceful environments and sweaty exercise all serve to de-stress and keep you youthful.
The Connection Between Love, Beauty and Peace.
It begins with practising love and kindness, especially in challenging circumstances with individuals at varying levels of kindness and/or cruelty.It empowers and frees you from regret and guilt. It also helps you master your baser reactions. I use it to measure my growth or regression. Deciding and responding over reacting to individuals and being shifted from your place of strength is a powerfully, edifying behavior. It offers a measure of peace in limiting stress and positive intents certainly lends itself to a more beautiful you.
For me,certain life fundamentals helps me achieve a measure of harmony between love, beauty and peace in my daily life. The food and nutrition I choose AND ignore (mostly added sugar and dairy) is the foundational influence on my biological responses and has a strong effect on my moods.
Beyond food, I surround myself with plants and my favourite colors, I dance, read, sing and listen to music, especially hymns and great choirs (Warren!!!). The poetry of the hymns and brilliant voices serve at times as life instructions, which, in addition to nature, the ocean, witnessing acts of kindness, kissing babies and a few other things seem to open me up for communion with God. It’s quite therapeutic and it clears the space to fully experience the abundance of love that is already there.
From the peace found in these spaces, I notice I am able to be more loving and measured in my responses, which leave me feeling rather accomplished when I can approach my relationships, situations and random encounters from love. While I strive to make these practices consistent, I sometimes fail. However, I know what to do and how to self-correct when I am out of alignment and my temper or fear is dominating my actions. Peace also comes from my practice of mindfulness in how I disburse my energy and time. And peace in everyone, regardless of their physical features, is beautiful to behold.
Attraction vs Physical Looks – Beauty vs Love
I think you can love whomever in different kinds of relationships. However, for romantic ones, well, attraction is important and definitely includes looks. For example, physical attributes like how a man walks, smells, his voice etc all have their effect but so many things influence how you see that man such as the kindness they show to and respect they have for others, for themselves, their passions, intelligence and interests etc.
Falling in love requires another level of consideration. While the looks plus more may draw you in to consider the person, there are so many unspoken characteristics that are at play and their importance depends on the values of the people involved.
So the relationship between beauty and love depends on a person’s values and intents. There is a school of thought that says we have no control over those for whom we feel love and I believe this. I do think we have control over the actions we take as a result of that love. It’s always easiest when it’s aligned..i.e. loving the people we feel love for and in situations of misalignment, provide opportunities to prove our values and/or enjoy/learn from our missteps.
Unearthing Generation Z’s attachment To Superficial Beauty and The Struggle to achieve ‘Theperfect look’.
Choicematters. From the physical to the psychological to spiritual and mental, all of your decisions inform your life and have lasting impact. Don’t take nutrition and wellness for granted. Incorporate it into your life. NOW. Your health and wellness is part of your true power as nothing functions without it. Calculate your optimal water intake and hydrate consistently as it is foundational to ALL—not some..ALL of your biological processes… Eat well for your goals. Many illnesses can be alleviated by these basics. Understand your body type, what it needs and what looks great on it while experimenting to find out what resonates best with you at this point and time knowing that change will come and you are always allowed to change and evolve.
Master YOU. You have to go inward and do the work to understand yourself and your body and life will thank you for it…Don’t be afraid to play with fashion and style, with your hair, with color and volume. Enjoy your mistakes and some mistakes are worth repeating to really get the lesson—if you truly understand and/or are ready to withstand the consequences. Always ensure you excavate lessons from all life experiences. The journey and fun is figuring out what works for you. And applying them.
Words of Wisdom on Fashion, Beauty and Wellness
Beauty will be defined by you and many people throughout your life. Just make sure part of your beauty ideals include your natural characteristics such as your natural hair, your make-up free skin and your features as God made them.
Surround yourself with people that really like and love you and that you really like and love and find a few who like and love you and will tell you the truth, ALWAYS.
Finding these people will not be as easy as it seems. Do not tolerate un-kindnesses and understand you cannot be everything to everyone.
Develop a spiritual practice whether it is through church, mosque, temples, yoga and QUESTION EVERYTHING.
Clear the path and give yourself quiet space to commune with and hear the Divine in your life.
Always consider the source of advice and all information—qualifications, intent, energies etc. Even those who love you do not have the right to determine the course of your life. That is a sacred decision between you and God and you must honor that covenant. You do so by doing the work it requires to know who you are and what you were meant to do. This mean no copying. And it also means that some of your greatest ideas will not be understood and/or validated by others. Your spiritual practice should help facilitate your self-mastery. Respect your process of creation. Others may not and you may be tempted to adjust, but listen to your intuition and God as only you will know when you are on the right path for you. Have the courage to be your full self with all relationships. Those who love you must love the real you.
Go read the ‘Desiderata.’ Practice kindness to and love for yourself always. This may prove difficult at times. Do it anyway until you become a master. Always seek the beauty and goodness in others. Practice engaging others with extreme compassion AND firm boundaries. Be nice and kind to people, as much as possible, until it becomes an automatic habit. No matter what if you cannot be nice or kind, try to not be harmful, especially to those who are harmful to you as they often need kindness the most. That’s where painful growth happens and it’s absolutely worth it. Find opportunities to laugh and laugh—don’t take yourself so seriously around persons that love and honor you. Focus on positive, uplifting agendas, goals, solutions etc and steer clear of the alternative. Stop complaining unless your aim is to master the sad tale or you’re giving context information. Discuss what you want to achieve using failure and past challenges as a launching pad. Remember that whatever you give your energy will grow so ‘feed your focus, starve your distractions.’
Figure out the top 3 non-sexual features— they can be physical, mental etc— what you love about yourself—and let these be the go-to features you focus on when you feel down.
I love my teeny little corkscrew curls, my shoulders, my forehead. What do you love about yourself? And who will be the most difficult person to be kind toward? Start your kindness practice with that person.