Tag Archives: Health

Reflection On 2009

22 Dec

Here we are at the end of another year. As tradition dictates, many of us reflect on the past year and ponder what the New Year will bring.

The local and world events of 2009 will not soon be forgotten as so many dear friends, family members, and acquaintances were affected by some of the worst economic conditions in history. As we close this holiday season, with a little less than a bang, many of us are reflecting on the simple things in life, like family, a roof over our heads and even a steady paycheck.

Some close friends and I spent an afternoon over tea discussing what we truly appreciated about this past year. In doing so, we recognized that much of what we were thankful for was not the material possessions and a big fat 401K (which dropped to nothing and is now slowly recovering). Rather, the things we were most thankful for were healthy changes that we all made during this economic down turn.    

The first hot topic, home cooked meals. Fresh cooked, healthy, homemade meals were at the top of the “thankful” list. With less disposable income, many of us choose to make home cooked meals rather than eat out on a regular basis. Though this took some additional effort and personal planning, the end result was healthier choices and happier families. The overwhelming consensus was that more time was spent at the dinner table engaged in quality discussions that reinforced positive family interactions. Tip; learn to love your crock pot!

Next on the “thankful” list was creative fitness time. While many of us dropped our gym membership to save some dough during times of uncertainty, we all found new ways to get our fitness on. Power walking around the neighborhood, walking our pets, and intense cardio work outs in our living rooms did the trick…the result, we all realized that tough we love the gym; we can actually live without it. A creative solution for some of us was to purchase pedometers and heart monitors. These fantastic tools can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of a month’s gym membership. This was a learning experience that I am glad I had to opportunity to live through, though I must admit that I am back at the gym 4 times a week now and loving every moment of it.

Last but not least on our “thankful” list was a realization of how important it is to prioritize the important things in life. Having the latest fashion, gadget, home good, or the newest pair of Christian Louboutin shoes just does not seem as important as it did two years ago. Rather, most of us have learned the ways of being the epitome of frugal fashionista, money wise house wife or money savvy career gal. Regardless of who we are, we all put our own spin on not only saving money and reprioritizing our lives, but also adding a greater level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment in all that we do on a daily basis.

What changes did you make during 2009? Are these changes sustainable? Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear them.


The New Years Resolution

21 Dec

Tis’ the season!…to make our resolutions for the New Year. So how about that commitment that we all have made at one point or another to take better care of ourselves? Quit smoking, stop drinking, eat better, exercise, read more books, the list goes on and on and every year we dutifully break our promises (some of us anyway!).

This year, I started on my new years resolution early…as in September early. My goals are simple

1.) Eat healthful most of the time

2.) Exercise 3-5 days per week and

3.) Gain a greater awareness of what my body needs to be healthy and happy from the inside out.

Seems simple enough, and so far I have been reasonably strong, but flexible in my commitment. The result? I’ve lost 21 lbs. I feel 100% better and it has become easier to make good choices. The process has been long, but to be honest, making the changes over time has proven to be a blessing in disguise.

Perhaps that is the key to keeping a New Years resolution, keep it simple, achievable and don’t beat yourself up if you have to take it slow?

Share your thoughts and comments.

How to get healthy skin – part two

8 Aug

How to get healthy skin – part two

Can the secret to healthy skin really be demystified? I am here to let you in on my secret…there is no “secret” to healthy skin, just a lot of common sense!

In part one of “how to get healthy skin” we discussed the benefits of a healthful diet abundant in vegetables and fruit and moderate in healthy proteins. We also talked about the importance of antioxidants and how to make food selections which optimize the external benefits on the skin. With no single correct answer on how to get healthy skin, we will explore our second common sense factor – your skin care regimen.

So many wonder if healthy, beautiful, luminous skin is really possible just by eating right…it’s not likely. Others wonder how they can retain the skin of their youth…nothing lasts forever! So let’s dive into our second article. 

Part two of the “how to get healthy skin” series focuses on incorporating a healthy skin care regimen. In short, gently cleanse twice a day for normal, combo and dry skin, cleanse more if you are oily. Treat your skin for any concerns such as acne, wrinkles, crow’s feet, rosacea, dark circles etc. Moisturize twice a day, even if you are oily…don’t freak out oily folks! I will explain how to moisturize your skin with out adding oil. Exfoliate 1-2 times per week except in the summer. Protect your skin daily using an SPF30 during all seasons. 

Cleans: Most individuals can cleanse each morning and each night with out causing any concerns. Individuals who are oily may wish to cleans more often, be careful to not over cleans your skin by washing too often (more than 4 times per day) unless you are instructed to do so by your dermatologist. Why cleanse at night? Your skin regenerates at night while you sleep. While you sleep your skin is actively working to repair damage done during the day; this is when your cells are most actively turning over. When you sleep with make-up or other environmental elements on your skin, such as pollution, you are damaging your skin and providing a great foundation for other issues to crop up. Believe it or not, some experts state that you age up to two days for every one night you sleep without cleansing your face before bed. Perhaps that is just a scare tactic to sell more skin care products BUT think about it, how good can it be to sleep with all of the day’s exposure on your skin. Eventually you will see congestion, possible break outs and you will experience generally dull skin. For cleansing, use gentle products with minimal fragrance; remain clear of those apricot pit scrubs! Those are terrible for your skin. Use warm, not hot, water for best results as hot water will over dry and scold your skin. I suggest using an eye make-up remover if you wear mascara and eye liner.

Treat: For those of you that need or like treatment (anyone over the age of 20), most treatments are applied before a moisturizer. Some individuals use a toner and a treatment after cleansing, and this is fine. Toner is applied first, then the treatment. In most cases toner is not entirely necessary but many love it…so tone away if you’d like. For treatment, I am referring to retinol treatments, vitamins (A, C, E), alpha hydroxyl acids, beta hydroxyl acids, antioxidants, etc. Whatever your choice of treatment, they are generally applied under your moisturizer.

Moisturize: This is a critical step in your skin care regimen. Adding hydration to the skin no less than twice per day will help in the appearance of your skins tone, texture and suppleness. Select your moisturizer carefully as you do not want to add oil to your skin, just hydration! Remember moisturizer does not have to mean oil! There are a lot of oil free moisturizers on the market today, nearly every one of your high end or dermatologist recommended products will have oil free hydration options for your skin. Individuals with oily skin should be aware that adding hydration to the skin can greatly help reduce the amount of oil that your skin produces, thereby reducing you’re your chances for acne to form. When you over cleans your skin, or add too much treatment, the skin will naturally produce more oils to help protect itself! Image that! If you would like suggestions on selecting a moisturizer let me know. 

Exfoliate no more than twice per week using a mask, peel or scrub. Reduce exfoliation in the summer to once per week or even every other week as your skin will become more sensitive to the sun through the exfoliation process. If you would like recommendations, let me know, I can post some goodies!  

Protect: Always wear a sunscreen during the day. Exposure to UV radiation (UVA/UVB) is damaging to the collagen fibers and elastin proteins in your skin. The damages cause premature aging in the form of wrinkles, rough skin, hyperpigmentation, dryness and sallow unattractive skin.

Regardless of the season, sunscreen containing SPF30 or greater should be worn for prolonged sun exposure or anytime when you will be spending more than a few minutes in the sun. If you are just walking from your car to the office, an SPF20 should be fine. If at the beach, gardening or other outside activity, you may want to consider wearing a hat to protect your skin further for the sun’s harmful rays.

Stay tuned for more tips on – how to get healthy skin – part three!

How to get healthy skin – part one

7 Aug

How to get healthy skin – part one 

Have you ever walked past a person, male or female, who had absolutely beautiful, radiant, perfect skin and thought to yourself, “wouldn’t it be nice to know his or her secret!” 

The truth is – there is no secret. 

The so called “secret to healthy skin” has long since mystified women and men in epic proportions. Fortunes have been made by savvy “experts” who appeal to our desire to retain the skin of our youth. Conversely, fortunes have been spent by women and men just like you and I in our quest for beauty…how many products do you have in your skin care collection? 

This series of short articles will provide a basic understanding of some of the fundamentals of skin care. Though no single solution for healthy skin should be considered the ultimate solution, certainly there are some things that all of us can do to achieve that healthy glow of beautiful skin. 

Part one of this series focuses on on eating healthy. Eat a healthy, well balanced diet rich with leafy green and colorful vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Drink 8-10 glass of water everyday, really??…more on that to follow.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) women between the ages of 31-50 should have at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and 1.5 cups of fruit daily. It is important to note that 2 cups of leafy greens is a 1 cup equivalent according to the USDA. The daily recommendation for men within the same age group is 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit. Daily recommendations for protein is 5 ounces for women 31-50 and 6 ounces for men in the same age group, though some individuals may require slightly more or less based on activity levels and overall health. 

Fruit: If you are looking for healthy fruit options I would focus my efforts on those rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, strawberries blackberries and plumbs. Antioxidants are important to the body as they help to eradicate those pesky free radicals that scavenge electrons from other molecules in our bodies, all the while causing genetic alteration and cell damage. From a skin care perspective the consumption of antioxidant rich fruit is a necessary support process that provides a solid foundation for the external benefits of healthy and radiant skin. Experts in the skin care industry believe so strongly in the benefits of antioxidants that supplements have been developed to compliment healthy skin care regimens. Dr. Brandt’s Antioxidant Water Booster is an example of this trend (the pomegranate tastes the best, but they are still pretty bland!)    

Veggies: Choose veggies rich in vitamins and minerals to help boost your skins health. Choices such as spinach, broccoli, squash, arugula, watercress, and onions (to name a few) are great options. Adding veggies to your diet is generally a good thing! Most nutritionists would recommend a balanced approach that includes green, yellow, red and orange vegetables. There are some possible dietary restrictions for individuals who may have health concerns, so use common sense and select veggies (and fruit) that are appropriate for you.  

Protein: Most people think of protein as a big juicy slab of steak perfectly grilled on the BBQ…well, there is more to protein than just meat! Sources of protein include eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans…and yes meat, fish and poultry. Red meat should be consumed in moderation, choosing alternative options such as beans may be a way of not only getting your protein, but saving on your daily intake of fat and calories. A lean healthy serving of protein can be as simple as a 1 cup serving of lentils which has less than a gram of fat, 17.9g of protein and 230 calories. When you compare a 6oz. porter house steak at 15g of fat, 45.7g of protein and 330 calories, the fat content alone makes the lentils a much healthier choice. 

Finally, let’s chat a moment about the benefits of water. Water helps to dilute toxins while they are being flushed out of our system as we excrete waste through the urine. Water helps to carry nutrients through our body and our body relies on water for it basic functions. Here is my take on water; a very small amount of water you consume is used by the skin alone. Fact: our body is made up of 60-70% water so the idea that water is critical to your overall health certainly holds water – pun intended! Here is a common sense factor – consume enough water to replace the water that you use each day in order to avoid dehydration. Dehydration can do a number on your body and your skin! When you sweat, urinate, or even breath you are losing water…have you ever fogged a mirror or your eye glasses to clean them…well, that “fog” is water! The thought behind 8-10 glasses of water is to keep your natural systems functioning properly, thus the benefits of water consumption will reflect in the radiance of your skin based on your over all health and properly working irrigation system. Make sense? If you drink soda, replace with water or a tea with high antioxidant content, you will see a difference in your skin. 

It is important to note that there are other factors that can influence your water intake requirements. This is an educational article that I found be the Mayo Clinic http://snipurl.com/pcp26.       

 There is more on how to get healthy skin…stay tuned for “how to get healthy skin – part two”.

 Source: USDA / Mayo Clinic.

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