I’m so honored to share with you my in-depth interview with the incredibly beautiful (inside and out), Britta Aragon! Britta is not only a cancer survivor, but the creator and founder of CV SkinLabs. CV SkinLabs is a clinically proven, natural and organic skincare line. They have set the standards for skin safety by offering us not only non-toxic choices, but products that do what they promise.
Britta is also the author of the book, When Cancer Hits. She’s an incredible woman who has endured deep hardships, but has come out radiant, healthy and inspirational to us all. I have so much respect for this woman and her illuminated soul. I had the opportunity to meet and become instant friends with Britta at the Green Beauty Event last September in NYC. In person, she glows with vitality and makes a person feel like a kindred spirit. I hope this interview will give you a glimpse into her life so you too can know her a bit better. I think you will agree with me when I say that this world is a much better place because of her.
And now let me introduce to you, Britta Aragon~
1. What does a “typical” day look like for you? Examples: What time to you wake, sleep, what is your exercise of choice and are you a coffee or tea girl? (Favorites?)
I usually wake up around 7:30 a.m. and make my hot water and lemon. Then I pray, meditate and do a gratitude list. This is the essential part of my day. After that, I take a probiotic and make my breakfast. Breakfast is always the same for me unless I’m traveling—an antiaging smoothie made with organic frozen blueberries, raw spinach, ice cubes, unsweetened almond milk, vegan protein powder from Sunwarrior or DR. Frank Lipman’s Sustain pea protein powder, raw cacao, e3live and a scoop of Miracle Reds antioxidant superfood powder. They’re super nutritious, energizing, and yummy! If I’m traveling, I choose eggs and veggies.
I stopped drinking coffee last year because the caffeine was just too draining on my stress hormones, and I find I feel much better without it. So while I prepare my smoothie, I boil the water to make a pot of tea—usually caffeine-free green and white tea or “Get Young” tea from the Republic of Tea. This whole routine is my time to nourish myself and set my attitude for the day, so I cherish that morning time as private time.
My exercise of choice is vinyasa yoga. I do it religiously four times per week—it’s such an amazing form of movement for me. I find it helps balance hormones, gets me back in my body, promotes deep breathing, tones my muscles and stretches me out! I am a very satisfied customer. At night, I block out a similar length of time to unwind, as I try to get to bed by 11:00 p.m. I usually try to take a bath, and I make sure to turn off all the gadgets so my mind isn’t racing when my head hits the pillow.
2. I read that you and Adam Farrah, the author and founder of “Practical Paleolithic”, both feel better when following a Paleo type eating plan. Can you give us an example of your diet?
When I read Adam’s article in Paleo Magazine, I got chills up my spine because I felt like I was reading my own story, in a way. There are so many similarities between us, as far as our health concerns, our dedication to feeling our best, and our commitment to using real, whole foods to do that.
In 2012, I learned that I have a sluggish thyroid, so I’m not eating soy anymore, and I used to love soy milk. After working with Dr. Frank Lipman in 2012, I no longer eat gluten, sugar, or dairy (since I am prone to breakouts). I get colonics once per month, and try to eat whole foods and nothing packaged for the most part. The only exception for “packaged foods” is Go Raw Banana Bread Flax Bar or grain-free Yawp bar. They are great when I travel and need a snack on the go. I also love Navitas Naturals Cacoa Goji Power Snacks as well. They’re made from super foods like cacao, chia, and camu-camu, and they satisfy my sweet tooth.
As I mentioned, I practice yoga four times per week. These changes made a huge difference in how I feel, how my skin looks and how I handle stress. I still work a lot, but that is what comes with having your own business. So I’ve had to learn about knowing when to push for expansion and when to pull back to problem solve, and my work with the Paleo lifestyle has also helped me with attaining that sort of balance.
All of my routines are essential to keep me energized, clear headed, and in the best shape to run my business. There are general guidelines out there for eating healthy, but we all need to find out more about our own unique physiologies, so we can do what’s best for our bodies. By finding what works for us, we can make lasting changes. I have never felt better since letting go of the inflammatory food groups I mentioned above.
3. Not only are you a survivor of Hodgkins Disease, but you were your father’s dedicated caregiver during his eight year battle with cancer. What were the key things that helped you cope and push forward? Whom did you look to for support during those incredibly difficult times? Was there a spiritual practice, person, or book that encouraged you?
My father was my world, so seeing him struggle just tore me apart. I really feel for other caregivers out there, as you go through so much, and often there isn’t anyone to talk to or who really understands what you’re going through. I’ve written several articles on my blog about the subject (http://cincovidas.com/category/caregiving/) because of how near it is to my heart.
I have to say that my main source of support was my faith. I’m a strong believer in God, and that the universe is always conspiring in our favor, and that’s what gotten me through. I also believe you have to feel the fear and do it anyway! This was the title of one of my dad’s favorite books by Susan Jeffers. He passed it on to me, and I have shared it with so many of my readers and friends. I think that philosophy really served me then—the knowledge that the fear of losing him wouldn’t stop me from sharing every possible moment I could with him.
I also had endless faith in my father. He was a very strong person—someone who had an amazing ability to bounce back despite disappointment after disappointment. I mean, the cancer came back five times, and he just kept rallying. Even now I just think about that and shake my head and wonder where he got the strength. I strive every day to honor his spirit and his legacy, and I know he’s watching over me now and that he’s thrilled our experiences with cancer resulted in things like my blog, my book (When Cancer Hits), and my skin care line, CV Skinlabs. I’ve been able to take the difficult things we went through and turn them around in ways that can actually help others who are suffering the same challenges in their lives, and I know he’s had a hand in that.
4. What would you say are the five things you cannot live without? Don’t worry, this can be as deep or as superficial as you desire!
You know, we like to say we can’t live without things, like our loved ones, our friends, our health, or our favorite facial serums or shoes! But in the end, we often have to live without these things at some point or other. I’ve had to live without good health. I’ve had to live without my father. And now and then, I’ve had to live without my favorite hand bag.
So when I think about this question, I guess I think more in terms of “what do you need to fulfill your purpose?” Because I think if we’re not living on purpose, we’re not really living, and no external thing will ever fill that void of being on purpose and in service.
If I answer it that way, my five things would be:
2. Energy (my daily smoothies feed right into this)
3. Love for others
4. Faith in self
5. Faith in God
As long as I have those five things, I can continue to fulfill my purpose, and that’s really all I need. BUT, if we were to pick a couple of beauty items? (grin) Restorative Skin Balm from my line (ah-mazing skin healer) and Sunday Riley’s Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil. It gives my skin an obsession-worthy glow!
5. What are your all time favorite books? And what are you currently reading?
I already mentioned Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Some others that have really made an impact on me include You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay; Love, A Return to Love by Marianne Williams; and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckart Tolle. I am currently reading It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I did their Whole30 eating plan and it was a game changer!
6. Current favorites: lip gloss, lipstick, foundation, mascara, serum, eye shadow?
- Lip gloss: Vapour Organics in Trust and Ilia in Butterfly.
- Foundation: I wear mineral powder by Jane Iredale.
- Blush: One of my favorite swaps is Zuii Organic Flora Blush in Melon for Nars Orgasm Blush—perfect match!
- Eye shadows: love eye shadows from Kjaer Weis.
- Mascara: wear mascara from 100% Pure
7. You have the most gorgeous skin (we know why, thank you CV Skinlabs) as well as incredible hair! What is your hair care routine: shampoo, conditioner, treatment?
Okay, now you’re making me blush. I have to give my grandmother and my mom a lot of credit, as they both took such good care of themselves. They passed that on to me simply by example.
I think one secret to beauty is in the diet. It’s something we’re hearing more and more about, but I think many of us still just don’t get the connection. I can definitely tell it in my skin and hair when I’m eating healthy, nutritious foods. Lots of good omega-3 fatty acids and I also take a supplement called Viviscal. I have taken this for 3 years and have noticed a lot less hair loss and stronger hair.
Aside from that, I have to say my hair is my obsession. It’s been that way since I was a teenager. When I went through cancer I was really traumatized when it all started falling out and then we had to shave my head. But fortunately, it grew back! Just like my bathroom cabinet is full of a million potions, so is my shower. J I use shampoos and conditioners both from Giovanni (obsessed with the Deep Moisture conditioner), Rahua and Intelligent Nutrients. I sleep in hair oil once per week and I don’t color my hair—just use a gloss twice per year (thanks James Corbett). That has helped keep my hair strong. J And I wash twice a week and use dry shampoo in between to lessen damage.
8. I read that you are a huge proponent of detoxing. What do you recommend and how many times per year?
I do believe that with all the chemicals surrounding us these days, we do need to help our bodies flush them out. I do that every day rather than going on the occasional cleanse. When I do go on a cleanse, it’s about eating whole foods (I am a huge fan of Whole 30) and nothing processed.
Now I am cleansing on a daily basis by doing the following:
- drinking warm lemon water every morning.
- eating lots of fiber though raw veggies.
- consuming wild, free range and organic proteins (to cut down on new toxins entering my system).
- drinking lots of filtered water.
- enjoying green juices.
- relaxing in detox baths with Dr. Singha’s mustard baths.
- getting regular exercise, like running and especially yoga as it encourages deep breathing and our lungs are the number one way we detox.
- regularly dry brushing my skin, which helps stimulate both blood and lymph circulation, encouraging your body to get rid of the toxins.
- I also get a monthly colonic when I feel like I need one as we release excess estrogen through our bowel movements
- I detox my mind through my Morning Prayer and meditation ritual and try to practice an attitude of gratitude which helps keep my negative thoughts in check.
9. CV Skinlabs has grown exponentially through the years. Where do you see your business in the future? Can we look forward to a makeup line? Cleanser?
I do have plans to expand the brand, for sure. I will stick to skin care first, as that is my first priority—helping people with sensitive skin to enjoy the comfort and confidence that comes from having soft, radiant skin. But of course we all want to look beautiful, and color is so fun! For now, the sky’s the limit. I love what I’m doing and as long as I continue to receive the support from customers and those who believe in our mission of safe skin care, I will definitely continue to work hard and grow the business. Yes new products coming soon. Stay tuned!
10. You are a very busy entrepreneur. How do you cope with your heavy work schedule and find relaxation time? Have you tried Flower Essences, Aromatherapy, or perhaps dark chocolate :)
This is a constant challenge for me, and just when I think I’ve got it nailed, the business takes another giant leap forward and there I am again, frazzled and overworked and trying to figure out new ways to manage everything. One of my best coping strategies is meditation. I recommend the meditation CDs created by Belleruth Napersteck. I like to get into a warm tub and listen to her lower stress or general wellness CDs because they are so relaxing. But first thing in the morning, I always do Primordial sound meditation, which I learned at The Chopra Center eight years ago.
I turned to yoga when I separated from my husband three years ago. My world felt like it was falling apart and yoga became my anchor. It gave me so much and I am a full-on devotee to this gift! I mostly practice Vinyasa yoga (though I practice Kundalini, too), and I find it helps me to feel stronger, more centered, and purified inside and out. It also helps restore my energy, which is perfect when I’ve been really busy for several days.
When I find myself constantly on the go, I reach for my Bach Flower Remedy—my favorite is the original Rescue Remedy. Whenever I’m really busy and finding it difficult to carve out moments for stillness, I spray it twice on my tongue. It provides instant stress relief, like yoga in a bottle. My other nighttime obsession to help me get a good restorative sleep is Sleep from Essence of Vali. I travel with it and never miss a night of this miracle worker.
Thank you so much Britta for allowing me to interview you. You’re a constant inspiration to all of us.
Have you ever tried any of Britta’s products? Did this interview inspire you as much as it did me??! Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Keep in touch with Britta: