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Jenny Barrow, our resident Skin Health Coach at LOX, didn’t start out with the glowing skin she has today. Up until recently, Jenny had given up all hope of changing her skin, accepting stubborn acne as her lot in life. Then she walked into Lox Holistic Beauty and her life direction – and skin story – were forever altered.

Jenny’s honest and moving skin story begins in her youth and follows her through times of deep personal loss and transformative growth. In her own words, she describes the personal journey behind her skin transformation and the joy she finds today in helping other women to discover not only beautiful skin, but a beautiful life.

 

MY SKIN STORY

By Jenny Barrow

A Stubborn Case of Teenage Acne

My earliest memory of teenage-hood is marked by pimples. I turned thirteen and overnight, pimples appeared on my face, chest and back.

At first it felt like a rite of passage, visible proof of the monumental changes I was going through. By fifteen though, I had had enough and my typical teenage pimples had evolved into severe acne. The persistent poor state of my skin at this fragile age wore me down and began to interfere with my confidence and happiness.

Eventually I saw a skin specialist who swiftly wrote me a script. Hesitantly, my mother filled the prescription. She was wary of a medical solution but aware that more than my skin was at stake: the acne threatened my wellbeing and the core of who I was. The acne on my chest and back cleared and my face improved dramatically. Though the medication had no physical side effects, I wasn’t happy with how the medication affected my mental and emotional health. After six months I stopped taking the pills and the acne came back.

Living with Acne, Moving On with My Life

By sixteen, acne still plagued my skin but I was finding my feet. Surrounded by supportive family and friends, I had started to love the woman I was becoming and was excited about where my future might lead. Acne was my unwelcome companion, but I learnt to push its existence out of my mind and move on with my life.

Before I knew it I was at university, and my life was beginning to take shape. Deep down, a small part of me was hopeful that reaching my twenties would mean leaving not only my teenage years behind, but my acne as well.

Television Advertising + Supermarket Solutions

In my early twenties I began making purchasing decisions for myself. With television advertising as my only guide, I made my first skincare purchase from the supermarket in the hopes of clearing my still present acne. No result. I didn’t spend much time feeling sorry for myself – I accepted that acne was my lot in an otherwise great life, so I tucked the problem to the back of my mind just as I had done in my teenage years.

Despite a strong resolution to not let it ruin my life, small things still saddened me about my skin. I married a wonderful man yet I wouldn’t let him touch my face. Deep down, I longed for him to stroke it tenderly.

Discovering My Passion For Wellness

In my mid-twenties, my husband and I moved overseas. I spent this exciting new period of time delving deeper into discovering who I was by exploring not only new career possibilities but also my own life and what I wanted it to encompass.

During this time, I developed a passion for wellness. I was fascinated with the links between physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health and wanted to pursue this passion. Our move overseas had prompted my own personal wellbeing journey.

A Dream Threatened

As part of my move towards holistic health, I came off the contraceptive pill. When my period never returned, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS). My husband and I experienced fertility challenges and, unsure if we would be able to start a family, my body, mind and soul were pushed to limits I didn’t know existed.

My skin issues paled in comparison to what my husband and I were going through yet I was pleased to discover that, for the very first time, my skin started to improve ever so slightly. I had drastically changed my diet, moving back to the nourishing foods of my childhood and steering well clear of anything in a packet. I chalked up my skin changes to this new way of eating. This was the beginning of learning to listen to my body and working with – not against – it in order to heal.

Homecoming + Tragedy

Upon our return to New Zealand, I was determined to be kind to myself. That included continuing my healthy diet, but it also meant finding a job that fuelled my passion for wellness. I ended up in a dream role combining administration, with meal planning and cooking. I had cultivated a life centred around wellness and self-love. This new foundation was vital, as my life was about to be shaken to the core.

Then tragedy struck. In 2011, my younger sister died suddenly. I went through a phase of immense grief and began to challenge and question the ways of the world.

I came out the other side of this grief craving a slow and simple life. It wasn’t easy, but I had found deep reserves of strength and positivity within myself and my inner circle of support. I remained positive in the face of challenges and continued to love myself through whatever was thrown my way.

A Miracle Baby

We call her our miracle baby. In 2011, I became pregnant despite still not getting periods. I was over the moon, and it was just the boost I needed to further examine how I was fuelling my body. I intensified our whole-foods journey, making changes slowly and sustainably. With this renewed focus on what nutrients were entering my body, I saw, for the second time, a slight improvement in my skin – but I thought it might have been the pregnancy hormones!

A Life Changing Leg Waxing Session

Strangely, it was a leg waxing session in Auckland that really changed the course of my life and skin health. My beauty therapist and I were both passionate about the emerging Slow Food movement. We discussed wellness and nutrition and compared notes on how it felt to return to a whole-foods diet. I gave her some recipes I had developed that were gluten, dairy and refined sugar free, and in return she showed me the next step on my path by introducing me to the Bestow Recipe Books.

I devoured these amazing books and went to work on my kitchen leaving no drawer unturned as I rid my kitchen of all things processed. I began cooking like mad and made vegetables the hero of our meals. My husband and two-year-old daughter were the perfect guinea pigs. I wouldn’t have dared say it aloud, but there was a sliver of hope that this might also help my skin.

With Bestow as my guide, I became incredibly passionate about slow food. My husband and I moved from Auckland to Tauranga in the hopes for a slower, simpler life. I didn’t look for work straight away in Tauranga, so I had plenty of time to throw myself into studying nutrition.

Straight To The Source

My admiration for the Bestow philosophy led me to LOX Holistic Beauty, the home of Bestow and Janesce Skincare. New to Tauranga, I was looking for a new clinic for beauty treatments and, as a fan of Bestow, LOX felt like the best fit.

One day my therapist, Jan, gently asked me about my skin. I was fascinated that the conversation didn’t solely centre around topical products but also involved a discussion about the food I ate.

My Journey Towards Glowing Skin Begins

Encouraged by Janesce skincare holistic approach, I agreed to give their plant-based organic skincare range a shot, coupled with Bestow skin nutrition blends and further skin-specific changes to my diet. Even though I was eating a really healthy diet, I was deficient in certain skin nutrients and there were foods in my diet which, unbeknownst to be, had been aggravating my acne.

I see things in black and white, so when my therapist said to do something, I did it. When she said to avoid a particular food, I followed that advice too. For me, there was no grey area, no ‘just this once’. I followed my programme to the tee and was rewarded with change straight away.

Within a week my skin began to look more subtle, wrinkles plumped out and started to disappear. The Janesce Skin Soaking ritual made a huge difference and it all seemed too easy. The time I spent on myself during my skincare routine was not only improving my wellbeing, it was actually changing my skin! The acne was still there but the surrounding skin became healthier.

With the addition of internal changes and supplementation, my skin’s redness disappeared after a few weeks and the acne began to clear. My skin was still congested, but I no longer had the angry-looking pimples that had plagued my skin for years.

Persistence and Dedication

Most skin clears up after four months of the Janesce + Bestow programme, but my skin, which had been deeply congested for 15 years, took eight months to clear. But when it cleared, it really cleared! I still get the odd pimple, but this is a far cry from the woman who, upon waking, would immediately feel her face, searching for pimples and wishing them away.

My skin is now soft, clear and has the trademark ‘Janesce’ glow. It’s the skin I always secretly dreamed of having, but didn’t think was possible. I am grateful everyday for the wisdom and support I received on this skin transformation journey.

From Client to Coach

Through my personal experience at Lox Holistic Beauty, I ended up meeting founder, Janine Tait, an influential figure in the beauty industry, Janesce educator, Bestow founder and champion of the Slow Beauty movement. I was inspired by who she was and what she stood for and secretly hoped to be part of her team. As our relationship grew, I expressed that I had recently moved to Tauranga and was looking for work in a wellness-related field.

I started working for Janine in 2014, filling a variety of needs in her multi-faceted business, and my Skin Coaching role evolved as I have sat, literally, side by side with Janine. She has taught me so much about holistic skincare and my nutrition and teaching background have played an important part in my role as Janesce educator, and Skin Health Coach.

Helping Others as a Skin Health Coach

It is natural for me to share my skin story in my role as Skin Health Coach at LOX. It is encouraging for others – beauty therapists and clients alike – to hear that change is possible, that beautiful skin can be achieved – even against great odds. I love merging my organisational skills with my love of food and nutrition alongside my passion for skin health and wellbeing. I count it a blessing to share in the journey of others, walking alongside them as they fulfil their desire for beautiful skin and a beautiful life.

As for my journey, I love looking after my skin and continue to cultivate a life that is slow and simple.

At LOX, our Skin Health Coach, Jenny Barrow, offers two tailored skin-coaching programmes, using a Slow Beauty approach to support you on your unique skin transformation journey.

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  • October 30, 2017

IMG_3128-2Well the last day has been and gone and overall the week cleanse was a positive experience for me. I saw changes in my body and general well being that I didn’t think would be that obvious and found it very achievable while living a busy life with a family and working as well. The set menu was amazing to have and very easy and flexible. We also found that it wasn’t expensive to buy the groceries and there was no wastage which is always a bonus in our household as we like to be as sustainable and eco-friendly as possible.

After completing the cleanse I feel amazing. My skin is clearer and my eyes brighter. I wasn’t concerned with weight so not sure if I lost any, however it was amazing to know that there have definitely been centimetres go and my clothes are feeling like they should (they had been getting a bit tight!). I feel great, I have lots of energy and am sleeping well. When I wake early in the morning it is lovely to wake feeling refreshed and not sluggish! Below is a picture of me this morning, the day after my cleanse is finished with no filter!

There food was delicious and I loved all the recipes. For me the favourite this time was probably the broccoli and tuna salad or the salmon parcels. To be honest, it is a bit hard to give a favourite as they were all yummy and super easy to prepare which is always handy!

To those who are planning to do the cleanse or thinking about it, I say, go for it! Be kind to yourself and set small goals as you want the change to be lasting! Remember to be mindful and listen to your body during the cleanse, notice what it is telling you; most importantly rest and relax as often as possible! Try to focus also on the mind and other parts of the cleanse that go along with the change in diet like the dry brushing and thinking positively as I found these in their own right had an impact on my health and experience that week. On the hard days stick in there as the feeling at the end is worth it!

There were many aspects of the cleanse that I carried on with after the March cleanse such as herbal tea instead of decaf, eating tuna, dry brushing and overnight oats. This time I am going to carry on with all of the above as well as aperitif once a day, including brown rice in meals, less snacking at night, better portion sizes and eating more raw veggies which is easier coming into summer. I think the raw veggies was something I definitely noticed a difference with as over winter we eat all cooked veggies as we find salads a bit cold on a winter night, so now is a great time to bring the raw veggies back in salads etc now it is getting warmer.

Lastly, I am being kind to myself and coming out of the cleanse. Last time I found my digestive system and bowels didn’t cope coming out of the cleanse so well and this time I am doing things a little differently. This week I will keep taking the aperitif but only two times a day as well as keep some of the meals from the cleanse in there as there are lots to choose from in the back that I didn’t do, as well as the breakfasts. Then the week after I will go down to aperitif once a day and then keep eating in the style of the cleanse as this is something we want to keep up as much as possible from now with lots of raw veggies since it isn’t winter anymore!

I am so pleased with the results of the cleanse and would encourage you all to give it is go! The great thing is that every time you do it you notice new things and you pick up new habits, its not about getting it all right the first time but allowing yourself to make long lasting change to your diet and lifestyle. Bring on March 2016 – I will be ready!

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  • September 15, 2015

jenny01Coming into the weekend I must admit I was nervous of the cleanse. One of my regular weekend treats is a glass of wine or two on a Friday or Saturday night so I was interested to see how this was going to go along with other social commitments we had.

Day five started with a great breakfast again and I started to notice feeling a lot better and not as tired which was surprising considering it was the last day of a busy week!

I was excited to try the ‘salad in a jar’ as well since I didn’t do this last cleanse. I had a lot of fun filling mine with tuna, capers, grated beetroot and carrot, red cabbage, sprouts and spinach. It was surprisingly filling (mind you my jar was rather large) and I loved that all I had to do was tip it onto a plate and then dig in! And food in a jar is so much cooler than food in a container! My jar was just a reused one I had at home.

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I was surprise that night when we had dinner a little later and I wasn’t really hungry since my salad had kept me full. Also that night I went out but was fine with just having water! I even surprised myself and didn’t feel like I was missing out at all. Remember social functions are about connecting with others and the drink or food is an added bonus.

Day six I felt even better – my energy levels were up and I was feeling great. That day we had too of my favourite meals, the goddess bowl with falafels and also the crusted fish. My goddess bowl was tasty as and included grated carrot and beetroot, spinach, sprouts, peas, falafel and lemon rind. I also made homemade green hummus that we do regularly. This is just chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and any greens you have around – we find it a great way to add an extra way to get veggies into ourselves and also our little girl who loves hummus!

That night with the crusted fish I must admit, I would have loved a glass of wine. It was the first time I really ‘craved’ or ‘felt’ like something that I couldn’t have during the cleanse so I was impressed by this and easily able to pass it by. The other time was that night when we were watching a movie, my husband and I usually like to have a homemade treat – this is usually a concoction I make from nut butter, cacao, vanilla, cinnamon and other bits and pieces I have in the cupboard. Although this is always a ‘healthy treat’ it can become quite habitual and more nights that one during the week which isn’t necessary. Instead I enjoyed a nice cup of peppermint tea and that hit the spot.

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With only one day left I am amazed at the way I feel – for someone who eats healthily anyway I have been impressed with the changes I have noticed and love that my jeans are not so snug. It will be a bit weird to be finishing and I will definitely have to think of a plan about ‘coming off’ the cleanse as last time I noticed my body struggling a bit. One more day!

Remember the cleanse is running for all of September to it is not too late to join me!

Like to know more about the 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse? Click here >>

  • September 15, 2015

on-oats2Today was tiring for me, the afternoon particularly. We had an early morning meet and had to be out of the house by 7.15am so this morning I toted my overnight oats with me in a jar and had them after the meeting when I was at work as I didn’t have time before then. I was too busy getting a toddler ready for kindy and out of the house by 7.15am! Usually I have breakfast just before 7am so it was really hard to wait until nearly 2 hours later to have it – my stomach was definitely making growling noises at me by the time I sat down to eat it. Needless to say, I savoured every bite! I love that the breakfasts are able to be taken with you – such a bonus!

At lunch time it was great to see all the healthy lunches the others who were doing the cleanse had and it was nice to share the experiences we were having with each other. If you are the only one in your household doing the cleanse then I would definitely recommend meeting up with a friend who is also doing the cleanse for lunch or a catch up to share how it is going, the challenges, the differences you are finding already as it is really encouraging! It’s also great to do around day 4 when you are over the worst of it and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Lunch today was the tuna and broccoli salad. Previously to doing the cleanse in March, I would NEVER eat tuna and couldn’t stand it, however one of my goals last cleanse was to try all the recipes/food even if I thought I didn’t like it. Surprise, surprise tuna is now something I love and have kept eating since the cleanse. Healthy and easy to add to lots of meals!

The afternoon I found myself the most tired I have been during the cleanse and struggled a bit to stay focused. I enjoyed a cup of tea and was very thankful that we eat dinner early with our toddler! 5.30pm couldn’t come around fast enough as well as bedtime!

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DAY FOUR – Possibly the hardest day for me but glad that it is now officially over half way and there are only three days left. In saying that I am really enjoying the effect it is having on the digestive system and body. I definitely feel much better in that regard and know the tiredness won’t last so it is all worth it! Perfect time to be doing it as well with the weather getting warmer and the smell of summer on the way!

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Remember the cleanse is running for all of September to it is not too late to join me!

Like to know more about the 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse? Click here >>

  • September 11, 2015

Yay, day three! Today was better than expected for me. Last time I did the cleanse, day three was the hardest, I was extremely tired and had a bad headache. Chatting to some of the other girls who are doing the cleanse helped me realise that the changes I had made from last time (no more decaf coffee) had made things easier this time. Although I wasn’t having caffeine the milk alone was like another small meal so since I hadn’t been having that and having herbal tea instead my body was already used to not having that and I haven’t felt as hungry as I did last time. It is these small lasting changes that you notice the second time! I also was a bit tired but no headache today and feeling good.

The aperitif before every meal I find helps digestion for sure and keep things very regular! I don’t particularly mind the taste however I do just put a small amount of water with it and take it a bit more like a shot instead of a long lasting drink of water.

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I am getting more into the herbal teas and enjoying those between meals – today was a red chai tea – always best shared with someone for sure! Making into a little ritual with a beautiful tray and pot/cups makes it feel very special and ‘treat like’ which is a great habit to get into instead of rewarding myself with food treats!

Lunch today was amazing and very filling with all the saturated fats like salmon and avocado. It was easy to prepare and take to work with me as well.

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The thing I am enjoying most about this cleanse is that the meals are easy and can be prepared in advance so are great for a busy mum like me, looking after a toddler and working part time. Getting home at 5.15pm and expected to have dinner on the table by 5.30pm for a toddler can be tricky but the cleanse meals can be made in advance and just served up! Usually I spend 30 minutes at night preparing what I can for breakfast, lunch and dinner the next day and it is so worth it! For example tonights dinner I had already cooked the rice and the boiled egg as well as grated the veggies and made the dressing so all I had to do was throw it all together and we were ready to go!

jennybAlready I am noticing the effects of the cleanse, a lighter feeling and less bloating. My skin is also much clearer! Still haven’t got to the bath yet but that might be my reward at the end of the week after a busy few days at work. Can’t wait!

Remember the cleanse is running for all of September to it is not too late to join me!

Like to know more about the 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse? Click here >>

 

  • September 10, 2015

Ah breakfast…. my favourite time of the day! We chose to do the quinoa porridge (with buckwheat instead) and it was lovely to have something warm since the morning was rather chilly. We find the porridge to be very filling so were fully satisfied after this meal.

During the morning I made the effort to sit with a cup of tea and enjoy the sunshine while it was around. I gave myself 5 minutes to practice being mindful and filling my thoughts of the things in life I am blessed with. It sounds cheesy but it really did bring a smile to my face and filled my soul. I am glad to be making an effort to do this side of the cleanse as well as the food as it is definitely something that is good for me right now with our lives being quite busy and changes on the horizon.

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Lunch was the lettuce cups and looked huge! Of course I managed to polish it all off easily and again felt very satisfied. We made a dressing using the Bestow Oil which provides EFA’s needed for skin health. This dressing was something that we kept on with after the cleanse in March and we will definitely be keeping this up still.

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The afternoon went well and although I didn’t feel hungry, I was definitely tired and a bit grumpy! I am presuming this is due to my body working hard to cleanse so although it doesn’t feel pleasant I am trying to embrace it! Last time I found day 3 and 4 the hardest so here’s hoping tomorrow and the next day aren’t too bad!

jennybDAY TWO – Overall another great day! Not as hungry as I thought I would be which is nice but definitely a bit tired and grumpy. Looking forward to getting through the next few days and hopefully enjoying a bath or two with the Epsom salts to help relax and let me body do it’s thing.

Remember the cleanse is running for all of September to it is not too late to join me!

Like to know more about the 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse? Click here >>

  • September 9, 2015

FullSizeRenderAll started well today with my favourite breakfast – overnight oats! I love eating this out of a jar as it makes it more of a ritual and I find I am more mindful during eating and savour the experience (if I am running late I can just take it with me too!) We had kiwifruit instead of banana with ours and both the husband and I devoured it easily. I love this breakfast because it is definitely one that fills you up and the oats are slow releasing meaning it gives energy throughout the morning.

Come lunchtime, the sun was shining so I decided to make my lunch and eat it outside since I wasn’t working today. The prep for this was easy and the meal was simple but delicious – I was so pleased to be able to use Italian parsley from my own herb garden too. I made a few adaptions as I am not a huge fan of mushrooms so added a bit more fill and placed the avocado on top instead.

I did find that it was a bit on the light side and I was feeling hungry in the afternoon so had a big cup of peppermint tea to help me last till dinner time. My cup of tea was also enjoyed in the sunshine with 5 minutes peace as the little one played happily beside me.

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For dinner we enjoyed the chicken, coriander and mint with brown rice which was surprisingly filling. We used fresh mint from our garden and had watercress this time which we didn’t do last time as I wanted to try it. Both my husband and little one enjoyed this as well which is always a bonus. After dinner I enjoyed a cup of hot water with lemon and then had an early night. No temptation for wine either which is good but this might get more tricky later in the week!

jennybDAY ONE – done and dusted. I am definitely counting my blessings and loving it so far. I imagine the sunny weather helped today as some of these meals might have been hard in the cold and rain! The bath will have to be something I enjoy later in the week and I was too tired and then am busy the next few nights but it is definitely on my to do list for a few days time. By then I am sure to be needing it as my body feels the effects of the cleanse!

Remember the cleanse is running for all of September to it is not too late to join me!

Like to know more about the 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse? Click here >>

  • September 8, 2015

jennybMeet Jenny Barrow, she is an integral part of the Lox Spa Team as support and assistant to Janine. She is very passionate about healthy living and is one inspiring lady!

Reform, reduce and recreate

When I heard that the Janesce 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse was happening again, I was instantly on board. I had such a great experience (although tough during parts) participating in the March cleanse that it is something I want to do at least twice a year.

In our house we eat a healthy diet, however as happens over time, I find myself slipping into habits that I would rather not. In March I came off coffee completely and after being introduced to a range of herbal teas through the cleanse, I now love them! There are some new ones I want to try this time as well as continue to build the tea drinking ritual of finding myself a quiet, calming space for 5 minutes to just be. This small act of mindfulness was another great habit I picked up in the last cleanse. Wine is another sneaky habit that has occurred more often during winter than I would like but sometimes it is just too hard to resist a red wine in front of a roaring fire, snuggled under a blanket on a cold and rainy night! So the first reason for doing the cleanse for me is to reform some habits!

Sometimes I find with eating a healthy diet I tend to think that it is ok to eat more than my body needs because the food is ‘good for me’ or ‘healthy’. Over winter in particular our portion sizes at home have definitely crept up and this is showing in my clothes feeling slightly tighter than usual, not a great feeling! The great thing about the cleanse is the food is healthy, fresh but also a great guidance for a good portion size. I am a firm believer in listening to you body when it comes to hunger, however this will be a great way to guide my body back to eating what it needs for energy. It is also a way to let me my food digest and settle before thinking, am I really hungry for something more or am I just busy. Reduce my portion sizes along with stopping to chew my food properly and slow down my meal times (both of these can be hard when meal times include a toddler!) are the second reason I am doing the cleanse.

Lastly, during the 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse I want to recreate some of the beautiful meals that I had during the March cleanse and use ingredients that I haven’t done in a long time! I am particularly looking forward to the falafels as they remind me of when I used to live in the Middle East for a few years as well as Kev’s chicken loaf which is my husbands favourite! Yes, he and the toddler will be doing the cleanse with me for the most part as I am definitely not cooking other food for them! I also want to recreate some rituals and routines that I didn’t do last time. Things like introduce a bath with the Epsom salts at least once or twice this week and focus more on cleansing the mind as well as rest and relaxation. Over the year I have developed the art of gratitude so want to continue to count my blessings and do ‘thought audits’.

When I read back over this, it seems like a lot I want to get out of this but I believe it can all happen! And as my Nan so often says “If it’s to be, it’s up to me” so let’s do this!

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Like to know more about the 7 DAYS OF ME Vital Cleanse? Click here >>

  • September 7, 2015