The Go-To Fruit for Healthy Skin and Hair

Who doesn’t secretly wish for more radiant, beautiful skin and hair? If you’re anything like me, you’re always on the hunt for simpler, more natural ways to be healthier.

As autumn transitions into winter, the cold outdoor air and the warm indoor air work together to strip your hair and skin of their natural moisture, leaving them dry, crinkly and unhealthy. Like thousands of others, I suffered from winter dryness. However, that all changed when I  came across an effective solution to a problem that I had been at the mercy of my entire life! So what’s the fix you ask? It’s as simple as an apple a day, and what better time to talk about apples than fall when the orchards are aplenty and ready for picking!

Whether in fruit, pie, sauce, cider or whatever form you can imagine, the humble and versatile apple can greatly nourish and improve the texture of your skin and hair. Apples are excellent sources of antioxidants and fiber which help to fight the signs of aging, maintain the elasticity of your skin and prevent skin diseases and ailments such as bags under eyes, pimples and acne. Being about 84 percent water, apples also help to keep your skin and locks hydrated throughout the day.

An apple a day helps keep blood circulation flowing freely which assists in the rejuvenation and rebuilding of cells giving hair and skin a healthy glow.

If you’re always on the go and don’t have a minute to breathe between work, taking care of the kids, keeping up the house, and zipping from activity to activity, you owe it to yourself to take a quick five minute break and enjoy an apple. It’ll give you some time to relax and offer great benefits to your hair and skin.

Do you prefer sweet or sour apples? Stop by and let us know in the comments section, as well as leaving any great ways you include this wonderful fruit in your own diet.

 

 

A little relaxing never hurt anyone

It’s a go-go-go world out there. The number of hours spent on the job isn’t limited to time at work; technology means we’re always connected, and although that can be a good thing, it can also be a bad thing if there is no down time. As counterintuitive as it may sound to some, it is important to schedule some relaxation time into each day. Of course relaxation may mean different things to different people, but that time when the mind and the body can stop going is important. Some ways that people can de-stress are to:

Train yourself to take slow, deep breaths for a few minutes before bed and when you get up in the morning

Enjoy the present moment  

Draw up a nice bath, light a candle and have a relaxing soak

If you love to play or listen to music, sit back and become engrossed in the sounds

Take a few moments every day and make a list of things that you are grateful for  

Get lost in a good book

Any of these things can help you relax and relieve some of the stress, even if just for a few minutes each day.  What individuals do to relax is just as individual as all other aspects of their lives. The benefits of relaxation cannot really be overestimated. Truly relaxing improves your memory, reduces your risk of stroke, increases your ability to get a fulfilling night’s rest, and even improve productivity.

Something we all owe it to ourselves to do is to take some time to de-stress every day. You will get better at relaxing and once you build a habit of relaxing life will be more enjoyable. Whether through mediation, reading a book, or whatever else you love, removing stress for even a small period of time can improve your health.

What do you do to relax?

Protein Packed Snacks

You’ve heard me talk before about the need for high protein snacks to keep you going throughout the day. Protein helps your body to remained fulfilled for hours, while also providing your body with energy to get through the day. Keep in mind….protein snack can still be tastier than the afternoon donut, or chocolate bar (less of a guilty feeling too). Here are my four favorite protein packed snacks!

  • Edamame – One cup of edamame supplies your body with 17 grams of protein! I personally purchase the pre-cooked variety (which you can find in the frozen section of your grocery store) and microwave/defrost them for about 2 minutes before eating.
  • Chocolate milk – Chocolate milk isn’t just for kids. It’s actually a great source of protein and calcium. Just remember to drink in moderation and try to purchase one that is lower in sugar.
  • Yogurt Parfait – Try eating ½ cup greek yogurt and a handful of berries for a protein packed snack. Even better, add a palm sized amount of oats for added protein.
  • Hummus and veggies – One of my favorite quick afternoon snacks. Also, economical. A large batch of hummus can be preprepared and made from home for as little at $2.00.

Winter Weather Woes: Skincare

Winter can be a difficult season on your skin. We always find ourselves slathering on sunscreen and moisturizers during the Summer months, but the Winter season can cause serious damage to your skin. Without proper treatment, Winter skin can become dry and flaky, giving the appearance of prematurely aged skin. So what is one to do to properly protect their skin during the Winter months….?

1. Exfoliate – Rid your body of the dead cells that reside on the outer layer of your skin. Protect yourself by buying a body scrub with natural exfoliating properties such as oatmeal, coffee, or sugar.

2. Moisturize – Probably the most obvious but definitely the most important. Your skin needs added moisturizing protection in the Winter months. Purchase yourself an oil based moisturizer. Apply the moisturizer immediately after showering for best results.

3. Hands – There should be a whole article written about protecting your hands in the Winter months. My hands become horribly dry and itchy during the Winter. Apply hand cream multiple times a day. When you are planning to be out in the cold for long periods of time, wear gloves for added protection.

4. Hydrate – Water is your skins natural moisturizer, so remember to keep drinking plenty of it.

5. Face – Your face is the most exposed to the elements during the Winter months. Wind, cold, sun…It can cause some serious damage. Follow your normal skincare routine, however be sure you are applying sunscreen daily. Also, those lips can become dry and cracked in an instant, so apply a moisture rich lip balm multiple times a day.

Natural Remedies: Cold Season

I hope everyone had a lovely Labor Day weekend! Can you believe it is already September 3rd? Which means cooler weather, oversized sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes are ahead. However, that also means it is almost time for cold season…dun, dun dun! So what can you do to remedy yourself from this nasty little rhinovirus…?

1. Sleep, sleep and more sleep! Probably the most important thing you can do for your body during and before an illness. Sleep is the bodies natural restorative process. In fact, sleep deprivation can cause your bodies immune system to break down, thus preventing your body from fighting off illness.

 2. Take Vitamin D3. In the Winter we spend less time outside, which can cause deficiencies in Vitamin D3. Studies have shown that children and adults who take Vitamin D3 are less likely to get sick with the common cold or flu. Also, spending 20 minutes outside daily can raise your Vitamin D levels immensely.

 3. Enjoy regular exercise. Research is not sure what it is about exercise that helps us during cold and flu season. Some believe exercise reduces stress, improves sleep habits and usually revolves around being outside. Remind you of anything already on this list…?

4. Limit your sugar intake. Sugar suppresses your immune system, which is your body’s natural way to fight off illness. Sugar can also prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals into the body.

 5. Reduce stress in your everyday life. Stress can break down your immunities, making you vulnerable to the common cold. Feeling stressed…? Take a walk, exercise, take a long hot bath. Your body will thank you in the long run.

10 Natural Oils For The Skin

You have probably heard or seen a thing or two recently about adding natural oils to your beauty routine. There are so many oils out there that can be used on your skin and each one has a different use. Natural oils are a great choice for those who are plagued with sensitive skin because they seldom cause allergic reactions. The key to using oils is finding the one that is right for your skin. Some might find that natural oils are great for their skin and not their face. Others may find that they do not like the feeling of straight oil on their skin, but can find a lotion that contains natural oil extracts.

10 Natural Oils For The Skin:

  • Argan Oil – Also called Moroccan oil, it is rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids. This oil is known for its anti-aging properties.
  • Coconut Oil – Helps reduce bacteria on the skin surface and also great for moisturizing skin.
  • Avocado Oil – Rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids. A wonderful oil for moisturizing skin.
  • Tea Tree Oil – Its antiseptic properties can help fight acne.
  • Peppermint Oil – Filled with anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint oil can help reduce redness.
  • Chamomile Oil – Also filled with anti-inflammatory properties, as well as antiseptic properties. Chamomile oil can assist in fighting off infections.
  • Carrot Seed Oil – This oil is rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which help soothe skin and aid in cell turnover.
  • Acai Oil – Full of antioxidants, which help protect the skin from free radicals and cell oxidation.
  • Grape Seed Oil- Helps brighten your skin and regulate oil.
  • Olive Oil – Loaded with Vitamin A and E, which helps repair dry/cracked skin.

And the list goes on…and on…and on…

***Please note that Peppermint, Chamomile and Tea Tree Oils are essential oils and should not be applied directly to the skin unless mixed with proper carrier oils.***

Let’s Talk Meal Planning

Everyone thinks there is this amazing secret to losing/sustaining weight. The truth is…there is no perfect secret. Staying healthy and losing weight is hard work and dedication. Last week we talked about portion control as a way of life. Meal planning is an extension of portion control. If you are planning out your meals weekly/bi-weekly, you are limiting your calorie intake daily by eating healthy portions loaded with nutrients that are low in calories. For the average woman, reducing portion sizes and focusing on healthy foods that are lean in protein, a serving of whole grains, and loaded with vegetables/fruit can help you to sustain/reach your weight loss goals. However, it is not best to eat the same exact meal daily. Your body needs you to change the types of nutrient rich foods you are putting into your mouth. And for those of us who simply skip meals daily, like breakfast (the WORST thing to do)…meal planning will help you stick to an eating schedule.

Here is a good rule of thumb to eat (live) by in your daily meal planning: 45 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, 25 percent healthy fats (less than 7 percent from saturated fats). Overtime if you stick to this rule, you will find your body is now craving food likes beans, blueberries, spinach and nuts during snack time. Wouldn’t you love not to crave chips and candy every day….? I know I would.

Portion Control That Fits In The Palm Your Hand

For decades women have been told to eat our fruits, veggies and monitor the amount of food we put into our bodies. But what exactly is portion control and how does one go about implementing it into your lifestyle. Let’s be clear…today’s blog is not about losing weight. Portion control is a way of life. Our body only needs so many fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and grains a day (think old school food pyramid). Also, the average women is going to need smaller daily portions than a man. That is where portion control comes in to play…portion control helps you to monitor the amount of food you intake daily, while also ensuring you are meeting your daily serving of fruits and veggies AND allowing you to still enjoy the foods you love.
Honestly though, it’s not practical to practice portion control when out to eat. It’s not as if you can throw measuring cups in your purse and often food sizes at restaurants are massive. In these instances, your hand can be a wonderful approximate guide to how much you should be eating.

Fist = 1 cup

Cereal, Soups, Fruit, Vegetables, Salad

Cupped Hand = ½ cup

Pasta, Rice, Potatoes, Cooked Veggies, Ice Cream (yes…ice cream)

2 Cupped Hands = 1 ounce

Chips and Crackers

Palm Of Your Hand = 3 – 4 ounces

Red Meat, Fish, Chicken, Pork

Thumb = 1 ½ tablespoons

Dressings, Sour Cream, Spreadable Cheese, Peanut Butter

The Tip Of Your Thumb = 1 teaspoon

Butter, Oils, Mayonnaise

Beat The 3PM Slump

 It’s 3 o’clock pm and it’s almost time to head home from work, but the day keeps lagging on, your eyes are beginning to get heavy, and your head and shoulders start to sag. Full-time, part-time, stay-at-home moms…We have all been there and it’s called the “3PM Slump.” So often when you find yourself feeling tired around mid-afternoon it’s because you are hungry. It is so easy to reach for a sugary snack, cup of coffee, or salty snack. These will satisfy your immediate cravings, however your body will quickly burn thru the sugar causing you to crash again. Your body needs carbs that are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats to keep you energized longer. In order to beat the 3PM Slump you need to be prepared. Keep foods on hand like nuts, seeds, fruit, greek yogurt, cheese sticks, popcorn and hummus. Most of these are portable and can be thrown in your purse/backpack. Also, KIND bars are great for portable energy (and my personal favorite). They are low in sugar and high in fiber. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help to sustain your energy levels throughout the day. You can also drink a cold glass of ice water around this time to help wake you up, as dehydration can cause sleepiness.

The Importance Of Protein In Your Diet

Protein is essential is building/developing strong bones and muscles. After water, your body is primarily made up of protein. Protein makes up roughly 50% of bone volume and about 1/3 of our bone mass. Sufficient amounts of protein help fight infections and provide our bodies with energy to get thru the day. High protein foods take more time to digest and metabolize, which means you will feel fuller longer and are also burning more calories. Also, if you are attempting to lose weight, a steady diet of lean protein will help you burn fat and not muscle. Proteins are constantly breaking down in your body. The protein we consume daily is being processed into amino acids within our bodies. These amino acids are then used to replace the broken down proteins in our body. Your daily consumed protein also aids in healthier/strong hair, strong nails and radiant skin. The current recommended daily allowance of protein is .08 grams per kilogram, however pregnant woman and elderly people require more protein in their daily diets. Just keep in mind it is important that you eat a well-rounded diet that includes complex carbohydrates, produce, protein and healthy fats.

Foods that contain protein include:

  • Red Meat
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Dairy
  • Soybeans
  • Veggies
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

 Fun fact: The word protein was conceived by a Dutch chemist in 1838 and comes form the Greek word “protos” which means “of prime importance.”