Dos & Don’ts by Vita Ratmanova

I really love brand stories that start with creating products for myself. Vita Ratmanova, the creator of the organic cosmetics brand Naturals by Yerba Vita, was born in Kharkov, and at the age of 17 she moved to the Netherlands to study. Since her student days, when Vita gained 20 extra pounds, Vita has completely changed her lifestyle, studied at the Natural Healing Institute and experimented a lot with her diet. Vita created the first organic products for her loved ones and for herself, and then this hobby became her life’s work. In the Dos & Don’ts rubric, Vita told us why she gave up on a vegan and raw food diet, what foods she includes in her diet every day, how she managed to cope with her addiction to sweets, and why she goes to Vipassana.

・ ・ ・ Do ・ ・ ・

It is important for me to wake up at 6: 00–6: 30 – my daughter is still asleep, and I have an hour of time that I can devote to myself. It is preferable for my body to wake up earlier and go to bed before 22:30.

I start the day with a glass of probiotic water. I believe that the secret of youth and vigor is in a healthy intestine, and there are 10 times more bacteria than cells in the entire body, and their life directly affects the state of our skin and our health. I take a variety of fermented foods and drinks every day that I prepare myself. On trips, it is not always possible to find live fermented products, so I always carry probiotics in capsules with me.

Green smoothie for me is a must-have beauty ritual. It includes parsley, celery, avocado, various lettuce, apple, spirulina, and sauerkraut juice. I have learned from my own experience that my skin condition depends on nutrition.

Every morning I run in the forest and do Strelnikova breathing exercises. Such physical activity in the morning gives a boost of vivacity for the whole day.

In the morning before the shower, I do a dry body massage with a brush with natural bristles from a cactus. This is my favorite beauty treatment. In terms of efficiency, it is better than any salon peeling or lymphatic drainage massage, and it takes only 3-4 minutes a day. The skin after it is soft and velvety.

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I have done many different nutritional experiments. For 12 years I was a pure vegan, of which 2 years I was fond of raw food. Then I realized that the combination of the cold climate in Amsterdam, where I live, and a vegan raw food diet is not the best option for my body. My hands and feet were constantly freezing, I felt chills in my body, and the dryness of my skin increased. Having added eggs and cheese from unpasteurized goat milk to my diet, I saw positive changes in just a few weeks – warmth appeared in the body. In the spring-summer period, my body itself imperceptibly switches to a vegan diet – this happens naturally, without straining, but in the cold season I prefer warm food including animal protein, steamed vegetables, soups, cereals. I love quinoa and amaranth, these two gluten-free cereals and avocados are always with me on business trips. Green smoothies in the morning are a must-have for me regardless of the season.

Vipassana meditation helps me maintain harmony with myself and the world around me. For the last three years I have been taking a course in Vipassana – this is the whole science of self-observation. It helps to expand awareness, to see things as they really are. By meditating, I learn to be more within myself, to live in the here and now. On Vipassana, for the first time I consciously met a unique and interesting creature – myself, began acquaintance with my body and the processes in it. I saw how everything flows harmoniously and changes inside without my intervention. I discovered for myself that pain is just a combination of sensations, and how my thoughts and emotions can intensify these sensations or, on the contrary, transform them into a state of calmness and comfort. I felt how, at the moment of meeting something new, my body sabotages, fears intensify, and the desire to return to the familiar haunts me. I look forward to the upcoming trip to vipassana under the guidance of Pavel Erzayikin. For me, this is an opportunity to meet myself again, to discover something new.

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Wherever I am, I dance every day – in the shower and in between meetings, on the plane and in the office. There is always a couple of minutes a day for your favorite activity. I close my eyes, turn on the music and let my body follow the rhythms of the music. Dancing allows the body to cheer up, and the brain to switch and start the next part of the day with a clean slate. Twice a week I visit the Ecstatic Dance in Amsterdam, where I disconnect from all my social roles for 3 hours and feel my body.

Once a week I devote time to planning and visualizing the next week. I have goals for the year and weekly planning helps to get closer to them every day in order to achieve them on time.

My must-have facial includes cleansing, moisturizing, nourishing and dry brushing. I use only products made by my own hands – I know exactly what is in the composition and what quality these ingredients are.

In the morning I do a light dry massage of the face and neck with a brush with natural bristles. This massage awakens the skin, cleanses the pores and the upper layer of the epidermis, without disturbing the lipid balance, stimulates blood circulation and promotes cell renewal. Then I wash my face with cold water. I spray my face with rose water with hyaluronic acid to close the pores and moisturize the skin. Let the water soak in and apply my favorite My Essential Concentrate all over the face and neck, including the eye area. The concentrate is very light and absorbs quickly without leaving an oily film. The final step in my morning ritual is a moisturizer. I alternate creams depending on the needs of the skin and the climate. In winter, I use a cream with sea buckthorn extract, which regenerates the skin and relieves irritation.

・ ・ ・ Don’t ・ ・ ・

Despite being vegan, my excessive love of sweets and starchy foods by the age of 25 led me to an imbalance in flora and candida. The main reasons for candida are sugar, yeast-based flour products, alcohol and antibiotics. By multiplying, candida releases toxins that poison the body. Among them, acetaldehyde, which is almost 30 times more toxic than alcohol and can cause headaches, neurosis, impaired concentration, depression, decreased immunity, chronic fatigue, etc. Tablets, suppositories, creams worked until a certain point, and then the problem worsened. Finally it dawned on me that such treatment does not restore the intestinal microflora, but only eliminates the symptoms for a certain period. A strict diet helped me take control of this monster – I literally starved Candida to death. For a month I did not consume sugar and any products containing sugar, fruits, flour, beets, carrots, mushrooms, dairy products. And gradually introduced fermented foods and probiotics to restore healthy microflora. Having defeated Candida and restored my microflora, I also got rid of my addiction to sweets.

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Since the age of 19 I have not eaten meat products – in my diet there is only vegetable protein every day, and 1-2 times a week I eat fish or eggs.

I don’t drink any carbonated drinks like cola, sprite, and sugary lemonades. There, the level of sugar or aspartame is off scale, plus all kinds of chemical additives, dyes, flavors that make us addicted and gradually suppress natural immunity.

I completely exclude milk, sugar and flour products cooked with yeast from my diet. I grew up with fresh milk from my grandmother’s cow and have nothing against a glass of fresh fresh milk. But where to get such milk now? Cows no longer graze all day in the fields, they are fed with genetically modified grain and soybeans, and in order to avoid various diseases they are given antibiotics that get into milk. Also, cows are stuffed with hormones, which allows them to produce more milk. Then it is carefully pasteurized, and what ends up on store shelves would be more honestly called a chemical cocktail instead of milk.

Before I was afraid of the new, the unknown caused trembling in my body and cold sweat. Now I understand that the most exciting journey is a journey within oneself, and the discoveries there are amazing and endless.

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