Looking back at 2019, and trying to come up with a word that defines that year, extreme seemed to be the most appropriate. While things like politics and social justice received a lot of play in the news and are important topics, I am going to focus on its influence in my sector; health, wellness, fitness and skin and body care.
1. Bigger is Better
As the owner of a spa that focuses on creating the best version of yourself through balance and self improvement, I was particularly frustrated by the "bigger is better" trend. While I support people doing whatever they want to make themselves feel better there seems to be an inability to have limits and the ability to see the difference between improvement or enhancement and obsession.
Eyelashes - While they are the easiest to correct they are also the most obvious. Big, black costume-like spiders on your eyes are not your friend. Strive for something in balance and in line with your skin and hair color.
The Duck Lips - A bit of lip filler can look lovely and remove vertical lines, but lips that enter the room before you do are distracting and take away from your other features.
Pillow Face - Don't get me wrong. A little filler can highlight facial features and help balance the face and create symmetry. But in the wrong or less talented hands you can end up with an overblown puffy look that is instantly aging.
Ok, this one may make you angry at first, but hear me out. There is never any reason to be unkind to anyone regarding the way they look. Never! That being said, it is equally unkind to glamorize unhealthy bodies to make people feel better. I want to word this clearly. The world is full of different body types and all can be beautiful but taking any of those body types and adding 50 - 100 + lbs of health damaging fat, and then telling the world that this is not only fine but should be glorified, is ridiculous. On the same note, people who gain large amounts of weight need support and positive reinforcement, not criticism to help them lose enough weight to be healthy. I said healthy, not skinny. That weight will be different for everyone. So lets stop trying to feed our own egos (look what a nice person I am) by saying we a think somebody morbidly obese looks just as good as someone at a healthy weight. Instead, encourage loved ones who need to lose excess weight, which will lead to all types of life threatening diseases and lifestyle limitations, to instead make changes that will not only keep them around longer but also make them feel better. It's time to get REAL.
3. The Quick Fix
I deal with this one a lot. Everyone nowadays seems to think that results that look good are healthy and lasting should be easily achievable or happen after one treatment. Trust me - you didn't get that sun damaged skin after one day at the beach. You didn't gain 30 lbs from 2 glasses of wine and you certainly can’t create lasting natural looking change in a day. You need to actually put in the work. I always tell my clients that the treatments done at the spa need to be used as an enhancement to the basics. Without doing these core things you will never get a glowing healthy vibrant you.
In summary, keep the extremes in sports, not on your face and body! Have a Happy and Balanced 2020!
I've noticed recently that a number of my clients are coming to me after delaying self-care for some pretty significant blocks of time. I hear things like, "Now that my child is in school, I want to drop this baby weight and get back to being me", or "I think that is my mother looking back at me in the mirror". It's always a very vulnerable expression of having spent time away from some of the very basic elements of looking after yourself. I understand - we all do. The solution is an immediate reprogramming to recognize that being your best you sometimes means putting yourself first.
The Roles Than "Define" US
As women, it not uncommon for us to put the things we want on hold to develop the aspirations of those around us. It's important to know that taking the time to develop a career or raise a family involves a very subtle form of sacrifice that can leave us with little time for self care. So, how do we turn things around?
Step 1. Stop listening to that voice that tells you to delay things for yourself. To be the best version of you, it's crucial to be bold enough to take the things for yourself that will ground you into a better reality - and to do it without guilt.
Step 2. Decide what issues are unacceptable to you. Choose one maybe two concerns and start there. If you take on too much you may get frustrated and lose focus.. Change doesn't happen overnight. It is one step at a time in the right direction.
Step 3. Arm yourself with experts. When you want to remodel your home you might hire an architect, a contractor and interior designer. Treat yourself as you would any other important project. You may need a trainer , nutritionist, esthetician or a physician. Decide what you want to change then hire appropriately. The professionals who you select should make you feel comfortable and heard. They should be well educated but also model what you would like to achieve. Then listen to what they say and results will follow.
It's More Than Just Looks
I hear people say things like, "you should love yourself as you are." "You don't need others to tell you how you should look or feel." And though I agree with those statements in theory, you should never feel badly about wanting to be what you consider to be your best. And only you should decide what that is. Most everyone feels better when they look better. It's natural and normal, not vain. So put those concerns to rest.
Today Is Your Day
By taking proactive steps to take care of ourselves, we can not only make today better, but we can set the stage for a more compelling and dynamic future. The best you is in you. Get out of the way and let her out. Today.
Marin Kombucha is uniquely brewed in small batches with locally sourced, organic ingredients. During the fermentation process, they oak age the Kombucha to enhance its unique flavor profile and healing properties: probiotics, antioxidants, and detoxifying organic acids.
There are four signature flavors of oak-aged craft brewed Kombucha tea to reflect the bounty of our local harvest: Original Oak, Apple Juniper, Pinot Sage, and Ginger Lemongrass are each available in 16-ounce bottles and 5-gallon kegs.
I had the Pinot Sage and since I try to keep cocktails to a bare minimum this is my replacement. Pour into a beautiful glass and I don't feel like I'm missing anything other than a hangover :) I found them in SafeWay, Whole Foods and Sprouts. Not available at all of the stores though so you may have to ask.
The same protein shake day after day can get old - and diet boredom can lead to moments of weakness and cheating. I found a few easy additions to dress up my usual vanilla protein shake to create a filling treat that gets me through the occasional monotony of maintaining a clean diet.
Hold The Candles...
Two bananas - sliced into chunks that will mix easy
Two scoops Vanilla Flavored Whey ( or favorite protein) Powder
One teaspoon Vanilla
Almond Extract - to taste - don't over do it - it's pretty strong and a couple drops will do
One cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 - Take All Ingredients
2 - Put Them In The Bullet
3 - You Know What Comes Next...
Gluten Free, Guilt Free and Filling. What could be better than that?
This February I am highlighting three of my favorite foods. I came across one new product and the others are two products I have been using for years that I enjoy and are worthy of sharing.
Selection #1 is Orgain's Organic Protein Peppermint Hot Chocolate. In general, I find hot beverages to be a pretty good choice when trying to stave off hunger. This peppermint hot chocolate does the trick. At just 150 calories it has a rich delicious taste and a whopping 21 grams of protein. It's vegan, organic, gluten free, and I know what all the ingredients are. One cup in the morning or before bed ...delicious!
Note: I use 2 scoops in in 8 -10 oz of unsweetened almond milk. It does require a lot of mixing to get it well blended before and after heating . So stir a lot or use an immersion blender to get it nice and smooth.
I know you probably already use almond butter and are aware that it is good for you in moderation. I however, am a peanut butter addict who wants to like almond butter too. Trader Joe's Creamy Almond Butter is the ONLY almond butter I actually enjoy. In general, I find almond butter a bit dry and grainy for my taste but this creamy almond butter is so delicious and mild. There are only three ingredients, and no added sugar. If that isn't enough, it is less expensive than most almond butters. And yes, for those of you who prefer crunch, they have a crunchy version as well. Pick one up on your next visit to Trader Joe's and let me know if it's your new favorite.
I have been eating bars since Jane Fonda was in tights, when they were dry flavorless and more like carbohydrate heavy blocks. Most of my friends wouldn't eat them, claiming they tasted like dirt. But, if something was "good" for me, I'd choke it down. No need to do that anymore. If you are looking for a protein focused bar, the Kirkland Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar is a winner. It has 190 calories, 21 grams of protein, and is sweetened with stevia and the sugar alcohol, erythritol, two of what are currently known to be GRAS sweeteners. It is something I can enjoy and causes me no digestive distress. It also has a nice, soft, chewy texture that is a change from the thick, harder bars. If you haven't already, you may want to give them a shot.
Note: They are available only at Costco.
I found a couple of no bake cookie dough recipes, modified them a bit and the result is pretty darn good. Granted there is no butter or eggs to give it that true raw dough taste but when you don't want to wreck your food plan and you just need a treat give it a shot. I found it filling and pretty tasty. I am making it tonight for the third time :)
No Bake Protein Cookie Dough
2 scoops Quest® Vanilla Milkshake Protein Powder
2 scoops Quest® Multi-Purpose Mix Protein Powder
1⁄3 cup stevia baking sweetener
1⁄2 cup water (plus 1-2 tbsp, if needed)
1 1⁄2 T peanut butter - creamy
1 1⁄2 T butter extract
1 t vanilla extract
4 T coconut flour
1⁄2 t salt
30 dark chocolate chips
4 (4 oz) Mason jars or Roll in to Balls
In a medium bowl, stir together sweetener, water, peanut butter, butter extract and vanilla extract.
Add in both Quest Protein Powders®, coconut flour and salt. Stir until a thick dough is formed. (If dough is too crumbly, add additional water.) I found it easier to just knead it with my hands. You want to make sure all the ingredients are really well blended.
Stir in chocolate chips
Divide dough between four 4-oz Mason jars or roll into balls, and serve.
Can also refrigerate and eat the next day, it's just as good... maybe even better.
Serving size- one large ball (of 4) or one mason jar
9.25 Total Carbohydrates
The ketogenic diet first gained fame through its effectiveness for weight loss. The high-fat, low-carb diet promotes nutritional ketosis–a normal metabolic state marked by moderate levels of ketones in the blood. The idea with carb restriction in terms of weight loss is that it prompts the release of body fat to be burned or converted to ketones for energy (extra dietary fat also contributes to ketone production).
For decades, much of dieting focused on counting caloric intake. But not keto.
Let’s explore why you should be paying more attention to the types of food consumed instead of that little number on the back of a nutrition label.
Table of Contents
The question sparking hot debates in scientific circles!
The first law of thermodynamics (or the law of conservation of energy) states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. When applied to weight control, this law translates to the basic formula:
weight gain = energy (calories) in - energy (calories) out
This traditional viewpoint argues that the food eaten is unimportant–a calorie is a calorie. To lose weight, create a calorie deficit by either eating less or burning more. To gain weight, increase calorie intake.
The opposing viewpoint maintains that calories still count, but the type of food consumed has a trickle-down effect on the amount of energy expended, and what foods the body craves. It takes way more energy to process and store protein than it does carbohydrate or fat–this is called the thermic effect of food. Essentially, one burns more energy dieting protein because it requires more energy for the body to process. In one study, twice as much energy was expended after meals on a high-protein diet versus a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet.1
Another study compared the effects of three diets differing in macronutrient (carb, fat, protein) composition on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance. Weight loss causes resting energy expenditure (metabolic rate) to go down, which predisposes to weight regain. Results of the study showed that the very low-carb (and highest protein) diet had the LEAST effect on reducing resting energy expenditure following weight loss.2
The loss of energy as heat through the thermic effect of food is consistent with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that some energy is always lost in any chemical reaction. The idea that “a calorie is a calorie” defies this law.3
Hormonal changes associated with different types of food are also important. Diets high in carbs cause increased secretion of insulin, meaning elevated insulin levels, meaning more fat storage. Low insulin promotes fat burning.4,5
It seems obvious that the type of food consumed can affect energy expenditure and fat loss. Staying away from processed foods made with refined starches and added sugar is, “the road map to reducing the obesity epidemic in the United States,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Food reward regions in the brain programmed much of this physical dependence on processed foods and refined starches. But the body can reverse it. Acute bouts of aerobic exercise have been shown to significantly suppress appetite and hunger while increasing satiety and fullness.6 Exercise in the form of resistance (weight) training can enhance insulin sensitivity,7 which results in reduced insulin secretion.8 Less insulin helps bodies favor fat burning over fat storage.
At its core, weight loss results from burning more calories than you consume. But the macronutrient composition of those calories is also vital. Different foods have substantially different metabolic and hormonal effects on the body. So what’s eaten (and how calories are expended) can change how much you eat and whether those calories are burned or stored.
Not all calories are created equal.
Keto and Weight Loss
It almost sounds counterintuitive at first; can a high-fat diet promote weight loss?
A review of 13 randomized controlled trials (1,415 patients) found that people on the ketogenic diet lost significantly more weight than people on low-fat diets. They also kept the weight off for 12 months or more.9 While the diets in these studies contained no more than 50 grams of carbohydrate (a typical keto diet plan), low-carb diets with more generous amounts of carbohydrate (≥ 120 gm/day) showed similar results (more weight loss with low-carb than low-fat) in a review of 17 randomized controlled trials.10 More recently, type 2 diabetics lost 12% of their body weight after one year in diet-induced ketosis.11
Untold secrets of the keto diet
Along with counting calories, there are several other ways to optimize keto for the best results.
“Weight loss from low-carb diets is mostly water weight,” some will argue. Initially, there’s definitely water loss from glycogen depletion, but studies have demonstrated that weight loss from a keto diet lasting a few weeks or longer is predominantly fat.5,12
So how is the keto diet so effective at promoting major weight loss?
There are two theories.
According to one hypothesis, low-carb diets have a distinct “metabolic advantage” over diets with higher carbohydrate content when the amount of calories consumed are the same.3This metabolic advantage is essentially an increase in the expenditure of energy (calories) on the low-carb diet. Factors that may account for this higher rate of calorie burning include:
A common symptom of the ketogenic diet is appetite suppression.17 This feeling of fullness associated with the state of nutritional ketosis may be linked to a higher intake of protein and fat.
Ketosis suppresses ghrelin–a hormone that increases hunger,18 while high levels of the ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate may act directly as a satiety signal.19 Exogenous ketosis induced by HVMN Ketone, a ketone ester drink, also decreases appetite and ghrelin.20 If you're looking for a fasting aid, HVMN Ketone is the perfect tool. Our flagship product puts you into nearly immediate ketosis without the need to diet or fast for weeks–try it here.
While both appetite suppression and higher energy expenditure likely play a role in low-carb weight loss, they may not always act independently. For example, the increase in body temperature resulting from the greater energy cost of higher protein consumption translates into feelings of satiety.21,4
Should You Count Calories on Keto?
It’s more about the type of calories than the amount.
Long-term underlying metabolic issues, such as insulin resistance, have not been resolved with calorie-counting diets. This failed, traditional approach of calorie deprivation has been used for decades while obesity rates continue to soar. The vast majority of overweight people are unable to lose weight and keep it off.22
Counting calories does have some benefits. It may be useful on keto for people who are still not getting results. These individuals may be unknowingly consuming too many fats, such as coconut oil, in order to increase ketones. Tracking calories may offer a reality check on what normal portion sizes look like.
In general, strict control of calorie balance is unnecessary on the ketogenic diet. The keto diet is consistent with the foods we were designed to eat. A diet low in starchy/sugary carbs and favoring proteins and fats, along with fiber-rich vegetables, was the mainstay for humans for thousands of years.
Proteins and fats promote satiety and help control blood sugar to reduce cravings. Resting metabolic rate increases somewhat, and does not continue to spiral downward as the body sheds excess fat. As you become more keto-adapted, calories burn at a higher clip. Elevated levels of ketones (beta-hydroxybutyrate) even reduce inflammation, whether introduced endogenously through diet or exogenously through HVMN Ketone.23
Body weight is self-regulated on the keto diet by emphasizing the types of food over quantity of food consumed. This is the best approach to reducing obesity, as well as related disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.24
When it comes to food and nutrition we are overwhelmingly inundated with mixed messages and misinformation.
Every diet rationale comes with an equally convincing counter argument. It’s no wonder we are exhausted before we have even started.
I’ve spent countless hours, attending classes, reading books, listening to nutrition lectures and even testing diets on myself to try to decipher the perfect way of eating. My most recent resource has been podcasts. While entertaining, there seems to be an awful lot of self proclaimed experts when it comes to food. I feel it’s because food is a subject that everyone participates in and has emotions attached to. I am at once fascinated and annoyed by all of the conflicting thoughts.
During the process, I totally gave up on the idea of coming up with the perfect diet. The fact is, everyone is different and many diets or eating plans can have positive effects on an unhealthy body. Instead, I decided to focus on finding the common thread. There had to be some universal ideas that in some way connected most food plans and were in line with my nutrition education and experience. Through this process, I was able to put together some universal truths. Of course there will be a few extreme diet outliers, but most scientifically backed diets have many of the items I have outlined below. I call them the “Fueling Fundamentals”, and I feel they are the easiest things you can do to reap the largest rewards.
Establish your eating window to be no more than 10-12 hours. I personally start eating at 6am and stop between 4-6pm
Listen to your body and eat when hungry during your window. That doesn't mean eat the whole time - just start really paying attention to the signals, and respond appropriately
This means fewer processed foods. Choose foods that are grown in your area, require minimal transportation to get to you and are grown or raised humanely with less pesticides and additives.
If it’s in season locally, buy and eat it. That means don’t eat strawberries from Spain in the winter. Your choices should require less assistance to be ripe at the appropriate time, be more budget friendly and support your health needs during that time of year. It makes it fun and provides motivation and opportunities to try new things and get out of meal ruts.
Ok this where most meal plans go off the rails. It doesn't have to be so complicated. Eat a mix of foods that consist of:
Proteins: Good quality proteins. Both meat or non-meat sources can work, though you do have to apply more effort into your selections to get balance if you go a non-meat route. Protein should be a part of all of your daily meals.
Carbohydrates: Lots of vegetables, kale and chard, carrots, peppers, mushrooms to name just a few - Eat green - Get lean.
Fats: Yes they are great but don’t go crazy because too much of even a good thing will ultimately be stored as body fat. Fat sources such as olive oil, avocados, egg yolks and nuts are great natural ways to improve skin, hair, and overall health - Just keep it to small amounts.
I think by now, almost all food has been considered a food you should never eat . But I will address some of common ones here:
Dairy - If you're allergic or lactose intolerant, this is obviously not a good choice.If dairy is not a problem I still suggest selecting high quality whole milk over processed and skim - just not a gallon a day. A small organic, grass-fed, full fat, greek yogurt , a little chèvre or some feta are all good choices. When it comes to cooking and added milk in recipes, I recommend almond milk or preferred non-dairy source, provided it’s not soy
Fruit: One - two pieces a day - some berries, a banana, apple, or pumpkin all have nutrition we need but avoid fruit juicing where fiber is lost and calories from fruit sugar add up too fast.
Sweets: Most people enjoy a treat every now and then, some more than others. Once you are eating healthy, you will crave sweets less and when you do, I think it’s best to eat a small piece of what you want, rather than more items trying to avoid the one you have deemed to be bad. My favorite is a small piece of dark chocolate or a tiny cup of dark chocolate mousse. Choosing small amounts of good quality flavorful treats on occasion will make you less interested in the typical halloween candy that always seems to hang around too long.
Bread: If you have celiac or a real gluten intolerance, then you can skip this part. If you are going to indulge in bread, choose a whole grain product with minimal processing.
Pasta: A small serving of pasta on occasion is fine if you enjoy it but keep it more as a side than a main dish.
Emotional Mindful Eating
We all eat for emotional reasons. People eat when stressed, or sad or happy. I eat sometimes just because it’s Fall - whatever your trigger is, just take a moment before you eat and think if you are really hungry. The more you do this, the more aware you become of fueling your body and less about trying to heal another need.
Be realistic. There are no evil or bad food is just food. When you eat something you think you shouldn’t, or you ate too much of don't beat yourself up. Just regroup, think about why you ate it, and come up with a way to deal with it differently
Remove Triggers. Other people don't have more self control or willpower than you . They most likely have just reduced the number of triggers around them. We will all break down and do something we shouldn't if faced with constant temptation. Don't make yourself work that hard. Simply reduce the opportunities for your body to give in. Don't buy food you have a hard time resisting. If it’s not around, it’s not part of your daily eating equation.
Set yourself up for success. Do food prep to make healthy cooking less of a chore when you are hungry. Have good to go snacks. Bring food with you when healthy food options are not available.
Don’t listen to others
Just because Johnny lost 30 lbs eating only meat and drinking bullet coffee and wants you to do the same doesn’t mean this is the path for you. Politely tell him you are glad that worked for him and then You Do You. You don't need don’t need to talk about or explain your healthy eating plan just go about it. Develop a positive relationship with food and you will feel and (bonus), look amazing.
I have always been bothered by the use of steroids in the fitness industry. I believe the goal of fitness endeavors should be geared around improving one's health. Sadly, I had gotten used to steroids in traditional bodybuilding, but then they started working their way into bikini competitions. These were originally created as an alternative format where women could have a competitive option that didn't require the need for drugs. The truth is, if there are people posing on a stage, there are steroids on the stage. I quickly became disenchanted with the whole idea of fitness related competitions.
One of the main reasons is that women who choose not to take these dangerous drugs no longer stand a chance of placing. Often, they don't realize the people who are winning are taking steroids. This leads to self blame and criticism. "I didn't train hard enough. I shouldn't have eaten that extra ounce of turkey," etc. Fitness should make you feel good about yourself. Training for a show is hard work and, if in the end, the only way to be competitive is to take steroids, what is a fitness related competition actually about?
I came across a great article by SpotMeGirl.com that outlines the details of steroids in women's fitness. My only caveat is the article states that "No one should have to disclose if they take any enhancements." I disagree. When it comes to competing, if you walk on a stage or enter a contest, it needs to be a level playing field. If its a drug show or a drug free show, just say so. Other than that, its a great read. Here's an excerpt and the link to read in full "Here is the kicker: most of you follow them on Instagram or Facebook and don’t realize it. No one said that steroids were only for the muscle bound bodybuilder like Iris Kyle. Bikini models and competitors alike take steroids to maintain a lean and cut figure. When it is your job, or you’re trying to make it your job, you’ll do what you need to in order to maintain a certain look. That is why while many people steer clear of steroids, there are those who benefit from it and you’d never know. How does that effect the industry though? By setting standards that many can’t attain."
Some days you just can't face it. One more session on the bike, treadmill, or stair machine feels like it will kill you. When cardio dread hits you, just break it up into smaller parts. For example, do ten minutes of cardio in the beginning of your work out, train a body part, do ten more minutes, train another body part, and finish up with a final ten minutes on your cardio machine of choice. It's easy to skip it when you aren't feeling it, but by knocking it out even when you don't want to will get you over the cardio blues.
We all have the same problem - we run out of time so frequently, it feels like we are never going to catch up with all the things we need to do. We try scheduling and making lists, but somehow time always slips away and things don't get done. I think this problem can be simplified to reach a level where nothing falls through the cracks, and we actually start to take on more than we thought possible before.
Managing Your Bandwidth
There are too many things pulling at us through technology that split our attention and often steal our productivity. You don't need to comment on every posted pic. You aren't missing out on anything. If you can free your mind from the need to check in with social media, your time will open up significantly. I'm not just talking about the time spent actually looking at your device - I'm combining that with the headspace you use automatically telling yourself that you need to look at your phone every thirty seconds. Turn your phone off. Give yourself a break from your tech habit. You will see that you really haven't missed a thing, and you have reclaimed minutes - and potentially hours everyday.
Say NO To Your Snooze Bar
This one is pretty simple. Those few moments of "snooze sleep" never help. I feel it can even set a daily tone of procrastination that results in low overall productivity. The personal freedom you will know by having the discipline to get up and attack your day feels so much better than those few extra minutes of restless sleep
Creating Daily and Weekly Goals
Here's the drill - Get a monthly planner. Take bites out of the year in 30 day segments. Write what you have to do in black on every day. For example, "Pay Rent", is a black ink item. Then, write in red for things you are going to do for yourself. "Go To Yoga" , would be a red item. Then, in green, write up your goals. Even something like "Paint The Bathroom Door". Write it down, and make it real. Just looking around and hoping you will get to it won't get it done. Consider this calendar your appointment book with yourself. It manages your must-do items, your personal health and wellness, and serves as a tracking system for the other little chores that slip away. This is not a calendar on your phone with all the built in distractions. It's paper. And pen. Like in the old days. Before phones. When things got done....
Just a little reminder to wear your sunscreen DAILY. We have come so far from when this ad was created - Tanning leads to premature aging and collagen breakdown that is often difficult and costly to reverse (if it's even possible). If you are still laying out, you are killing yourself. Literally.
This summer, many of us will be stepping away from our regular lives to get some much needed R&R. The best way to have a great trip is to not come home with extra pounds and cravings that are hard to kick. Don't worry - staying on track and making the most of your vacation can go hand in hand.
Managing The Food
The best tip I can give, is to stay away from the buffet. These staples of resort dining can lead you to pile on unnecessary calories, and send you into a craving tailspin. It's best to order a la carte, but if you must eat at the buffet, I suggest using two smaller plates. The first one is for your nutritious green vegetables and items that typically make up your normal eating routine. The second is for sampling a few of the things that look interesting. This will allow you to fill up first on healthier things, as well as give space for some dietary cheating. After all, it is a vacation.
Getting Your Work Out In
When I'm away from my usual gym, I also think of it as a break from the way I would normally work out. If you are somewhere that offers group classes, then take one that you have never taken before. That will make it fun and will give you something to look forward to. I also like to do two short sessions rather than one long one. For example, if I take a yoga class in the morning, I may do 20 minutes of core later in the afternoon. It's a good idea to coordinate your later session with happy hour. You can avoid unnecessary afternoon calories and alcohol by keeping this appointment with yourself. I feel much fresher going to dinner knowing I did something good for myself over having that extra Mai Tai. And that's not even mentioning those bar snacks that always seem to disappear...
I like to do a little exploring when I'm in a new place - I get a feel for the culture and sometimes I can even learn something new. I enjoy trying activities like a day tour on a bike, or paddle boarding to a more remote snorkeling spot. These non-motorized outings can often lead you to locations that many people don't get to see and really add to the beauty of the place you are visiting. Hidden gems are hard to find, but of you are willing to put in a little work, the locals will show you why their home is such a special place. Try this - make a one to one trade - if you rent jet skis, then next you are going to try windsurfing. You won't regret trying something new.
Hit The Road!
This summer, take a trip and get away from it all. Just don't come home with work to do to get back to where you were before you left. Proper food choices, staying hydrated, and getting a couple of short work out sessions a day in can all come together to making it your best trip ever. Just remember...Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen.
I recently had a client complain to me that the weight she wanted to lose wasn't coming off. She had been good about her workouts, had cut calories and maintained her nutritional requirements. What was the deal?
It's Not A Meal....
When we broke down what was going on, I discovered that she had opted to replace a couple of meals each day with protein shakes. Seems reasonable. Loads of nutrition, easy to digest, you feel full and it keeps your diet on track. The label even says meal replacement. At first blush, this sounds like a real time saver and a true diet hack. WRONG.
Fast Fixes Never Are
Here's the problem. We all want our metabolisms to be like turbine engines, burning through everything we throw at them. Meal replacements and protein shakes are built on the backbone of predigested proteins and nutrients. You simply don't have to work as hard to break them down and put them to use. It's a digestive vacation that may give you a lot of nutrition, but your machine simply is not going as hard as you want for optimal results.
There's No Substitute...
When putting together your diet and nutrition plan, it's ok to occasionally use a protein shake to mix things up. When you use shakes as a mainstay, you are headed for trouble. Supplement means "in addition to". These drinks were never meant be the bulk of your diet. To keep your metabolism running in top form, as always, eat green, eat lean, and now you know, shakes sometimes.
Simply put, the sun and environmental pollutants don't discriminate. They’re constantly at work, attacking your face, scalp, forehead, neck, and ears. While men who shave their heads or have a receding hairlines are at additional risk, ALL men need to protect and treat ALL exposed skin.
Yes Dad, I'm Talking To YOU....
Skin Cancer is the most prevalent of all cancers and overexposure to sunlight is the main cause. Over one million Americans develop skin cancer every year. Sun exposure has also been linked to the formation of wrinkles and "age spots." Even on cloudy days you need protection.
Penetrate deep into skin layers.
Are 20 times more abundant than UVB rays.
Affect long-term skin damage.
Can pass through window glass.
Are not affected by a change in altitude or weather.
Are present all day, every day of the year.
Are related to more than 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Cannot pass through window glass.
Strength varies with the season and weather conditions
They are more intense in the summer than in the winter.
The Science Of Skin Damage
Environmental factors such as pollution, cigarette smoke, and radiation can lead to the formation of "free radicals" which are basically unstable molecules that contain an "unpaired" electron. When cells in the skin encounter one of these free radicals, the free radical may cause destruction to the skin cell, which can lead to signs of aging. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize these free radicals by donating an electron to them to make them more stable. This helps prevent cell and tissue damage, slowing down the signs of aging… and with the right products and treatments prevention and reversal of damage is possible.
So What To Do?
Wear sunscreen - The sun and its damaging rays are potentially the biggest threat to your skin. Keep in mind that even on cloudy days your skin is under attack.
Some interesting facts:
-A white t-shirt has an SPF of 3
-Wet clothing has decreased SPF
-No sunscreen is "waterproof"... reapply sunscreen after swimming or excessive sweating
Moisturize - It is important to replace and "seal in" the moisture your skin naturally has. Without maintaining your skin's proper moisture level, you are headed for flaky, dull, dry skin.
Get facials every 6 weeks to clean and protect the skin and treat and help heal existing damage. It is also a good way to stay aware of any changes in your skin.
Father's Day Skin Treatment - Specials just for Dad
Purchase a Gift for Dad of either a Gentlemens’ Classic or Straight Up Facial and receive $25 towards the service of your choice or free custom foundation matching ($30 value)
1. Issue: Cracked Heels - Winter Feet
2. Issue: Bumpy Arms or Red Dots
3. Issue: Cellulite and Poor Texture
4. Issue: Pigmentation and Brown Spots
5. Issue: Dry Dull Skin
6. Issue: Pasty Skin
Eat Healthy Real Food. And Enjoy it.
That means shop the perimeter of the store. Avoid the aisles where processed food resides. Instead choose seasonal and diverse food. Enjoy eating and you will eat less. Take some time to not only plan your meals, but where you will eat them. Make where you eat as appealing as what you eat. If you need inspiration, Pinterest is great for this.
Develop Good Skincare Habits Early
In Europe, this often begins as early as 10 years old for both girls and boys and usually starts with their first facial. Teaching your son or daughter the importance of good skincare leads to a lifetime of healthy skin.
Make Facials and Massages a Part of Their Health Plan.
It’s really not a luxury. Skin is our largest organ — and it needs to be protected. Adults carry some 8 pounds and 22 square feet of it. This fleshy covering does a lot more than make us look presentable. In fact, without it, we would literally evaporate.
Move Their Bodies
Hike, lift weights, walk, ride a bike, take a class. We have wonderful weather here and there is really no excuse for not taking advantage of it. Your body is designed to move, and to do so frequently. When you think you are too tired, that is usually when you need it most. People who exercise always look better, feel better and have youthful energy
Smile More and Be Happy
Ok, maybe you're thinking “I can’t just be happy.” But actually, you can. The reality is that our thoughts create our experiences, because our thoughts determine what we notice, how we think, and therefore, how we feel. "Happiness" is not only a choice, but an active decision. Even if sometimes you don’t feel like it, smiling and positive thoughts can become contagious and lead to genuine happiness.
Less Media, More Interaction
While I believe there is a place for social media and computers in our lives, it is also important to be sure to disconnect. People who consciously turn off all electronic stimulation - yes, that means your phones, computers and headsets - and focus on the world around them are happier and more productive. Consider it the new conscious uncoupling ;)
More Maintenance, Less Extremes
While I always support doing what makes you feel better about yourself, there is more to be said for balance. Those who maintain their health and wellness will find more extreme measures less appealing. Ask Christie Brinkley. Small tweaks as you go result in a beautiful, more natural appearance. Asking an unhealthy body or neglected skin to respond well from extreme measures is unrealistic and will often result in a more artificial appearance. Start with the basics and build from there.
Develop a Sense of Style
You aren't missing the style gene. A sense of style is typically a learned and practiced skill. It is also one of the benefits of aging. As we realize what looks better on us, we care less about the fads and instead focus on our personal style. Getting a color analysis done to determine what works with your skin tone is a great start. Look towards cuts that flatter your body. Nowadays, it's less about dressing your age and more about dressing for your body.
It's something that you already know, but let's go over it again. You can lose weight and rev up your metabolism simply by walking. You can also elevate your mood and in many cases, crack the code to overcoming the cravings that often come at the end of each day. By taking a walk after dinner, every night, you are going to become a believer. I'm not talking about some arduous pilgrimage through rough terrain or walking the local shopping mall. I'm talking about getting up from your meal, passing on dessert, and walking in your neighborhood for even just two tiny miles. In a month, even if you only walk four days a week, you will cover forty miles, and burn 4000 calories. Those are results that everyone has time for.
It Fixes More Than You Think
When you keep this appointment with yourself, the benefits really go beyond what exercise offers. I do my walk without my phone. Don't be scared. You can do it. Just leave it at home, and walk out the door. The freedom you get may surprise you. Not only that, but in the absence of your phone, you may understand how reliant you are on this technology - which is not always a good thing. Simply be present in your walk, and see what 40 minutes can do. A tech diet is good for everyone. You really won't miss a thing.
Killing The Cravings
It can take 20 minutes for the signal to go from the receptors in your stomach to your brain that tell you to stop eating. By eating a sensible dinner, and getting up and heading out, you give time for that process to occur. I have never come home after a walk and been hungry. I find that the method of "Eat and Walk" will also completely erase my desire for something sweet. I don't know how. It just does.
Sticking With It
When I return from my walk, I make a little note on my calendar (yes - my paper one) so I can see how far I've gone in a "week by week" and "month by month" basis. It makes it more fun, and if something isn't fun, chances are, you won't stick with it. I keep it fresh by walking different routes and exploring streets I haven't been down. I like seeing the different landscaping designs and color schemes that people use on their homes. It gives me something to look forward to, and I use a very simple "20 minutes is a mile" method to track my distances. It's not exactly accurate, but for this, it's close enough.
You Have The Time
I had friend tell me a long time ago, that no matter what you do, the time will pass. So this summer, get out there and walk after dinner. I bet by August, many of you have gone beyond 100 miles. That is real. So, as the summer passes, you can get out and be a part of it and cover the distance of a few marathons, or you can have that second helping everyday and complain that your bathing suit must have shrunk. Totally up to you.......
Makes 24 Mini Muffins
1 scoop Quest All Purpose Protein mix
1 pouch of METRX chocolate protein blend
¼ cup Unsweetened Applesauce
Unsweetened Almond milk
⅛ tsp baking powder
3 tsp stevia bakeable blend - Pyure
Dramatic, but true. I know you realize that sugar is bad for you - but sometimes a little reminder is a good thing. High levels of dietary sugar will erode your quality of life. It will age you prematurely, both inside and out, and put you on a path to numerous health issues. Sugar is hidden in products we use everyday. It has created generations of unknowing addicts that have suffered physically and emotionally as it has taken hold and become a major part of our diets.
The "No Added Sugar" LIE
I read the label on everything I buy. I have noticed that some products are trying to hide added sugar by labeling the ingredient as another form of sugar such as fructose. To be perfectly clear, this fruit derived sugar is sugar. In nature, we are meant to eat an orange or an apple, not have some factory extraction process delivering us the juice without the fibrous material inherent to the fruit itself. So, when you see products with "no added sugar", look to see if they have simply added a sugar analog. It's a dirty trick that harms your health. Sugar can even sneak in to seemingly innocent products like taco seasoning and almond milk. Stay informed, read labels, and make good choices.
Do You Have A Wine Gut?
Let's be honest - no one is a fan of the beer belly. Wine will do the same thing. I do enjoy a very occasional glass of wine (and by glass I don't mean bottle) - but I partake with the caveat that I'm going to pay for it the next day in the form of additional cardio. I think of an alcoholic drink as a glass of sugar, because it is. Alcohol places your metabolism in low gear, and leaves it there until you work it out of your system. It also erodes your will power. How many of us have over eaten as a result of having a couple of drinks? All of us. Also, the terrible sleep you will have on nights you drink is due to the alcohol and the sugar being processed out at different rates. Be aware that a serving of wine is 5 ounces. Many restaurants will pour a 10 ounce double serving. So if you have two glasses of wine, you have had four servings. No one has ever stopped drinking and gotten less attractive. If you want to drop your wine gut, drop the wine. It's fine occasionally - which means on occasion - the daily arrival of 5:30 doesn't qualify.
The Sugar Emotional Roller Coaster
Sugar is a jerk. The more you eat it, the more you want it. It gives you amazing highs only to drop the bottom out with soul crushing lows. It's a major player in depression, mood imbalances, attention disorders, and completely sends your hormones into a spin trying to regulate your levels. If you aren't quite feeling yourself, maybe all you need is to reduce your sugar intake and reassess. Sugar depresses immunity, making you vulnerable to colds and flu, not to mention diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, and, new research shows Alzheimer's can be linked to the damages caused by this sweet little creep.
Completely eliminating sugar is very, very hard. Reducing it is an attainable goal that can be done today. Read your labels, make good choices, and show your body the respect it deserves. Sugar is a tough one - but you are tougher.
As a skin care clinician I spend a lot of time with clients analyzing their individual issues, and creating an at home skin care program that complements the treatments we perform at the spa. Ideally, your home care regimen should be customized to your personal skin profile to help get the results you want and still be completed in a reasonable amount of time.
After selecting the products, and explaining why the key ingredients work best, I started asking my clients if they know the technique to apply their products. I found that many of us just don't know. We do what we have always done, or what is fast and gets us on to the next task. Let's take a minute to establish the best way to get the most out of your home care regimen.
In the following, when you see the word "face", think face, neck, and décolleté
A.M. Routine P.M. Routine
It's All In The Technique
By using these techniques, I feel you can improve the quality of your skin while getting the most out of the products you buy. My mom was right when she said, "Treat your skin like your eyeball". It was one of those things that sounded funny at the time, but really makes a lot of sense. She also calls blue jeans "dungarees", but you can't win them all.
Ladies, we all need to up our calf game. There is no better time than the legging covered winter to work on the body part that gets all the attention when you throw on your favorite heels. Carving out a nice set of calves takes persistence. But all that constant work means nothing if you aren't doing things the right way to get the look you want.
In knowing how to build and shape the calf muscle, we need to first understand what we are dealing with. The calves are constantly working and always under load from everything we do all day long. As a result, the muscles in the calf are very dense, and are a unique combination of both slow and fast twitch muscle. Additionally, the calves can be a couple of degrees colder than the more central muscle groups, so getting them to respond takes strategy.
Hollywood legend Steve Reeves was known to spend his mornings on his tiptoes. He felt that immediately stimulating the calves after lying down all night was a good way to force them to grow. He also had an amazing body at a point in time when no one had an amazing body - so he may have known what he was doing. Want to give it a shot? Just try standing on your toes when you brush your teeth. Even small, incremental stimulation can push your muscles to change.
Three Ways To Get Them Going:
The Seated Calf Raise : This is a staple to build lower calf strength. I like to do these as a starting exercise to really get my achilles stretched out as I get the blood flowing. I keep the weight light and move slowly through the movement like a ballet dancer getting up on her toes. Bouncing is not the way. Keep control - and keep your weight low and your reps high. I feel that overloading on this exercise can create a thickness in the lower calf area that doesn't benefit the desired shape.
Leg Press Calf Raises : Here is where I add the weight. I put just enough to make 20 reps challenging. If you load it right and get a full range of movement, 20 will be more than enough. I also change my foot position here during my three sets. I go from inline, to slightly outward , to slightly inward. If you start bouncing, you are going too heavy. Lighten up and do it right. Think about how you would press if you were trying to look over a wall. Pay attention not to shock load your knees here as well. A slight bend is all it takes - just keep them from being locked out - but don't let the quads sneak in to help you either. That's called cheating.
Standing Calf Raise : I have a love/hate relationship with this one. I love the feeling of the deep muscle stretch it gives me, but I hate the marks it can leave on my shoulders. To combat this, I use a lighter weight, and really relax at the bottom of the movement to get the full benefit of that elongation. When you feel it, you will know you are in the right spot.
If you don't want to risk the shoulder marks from the standing calf raise, try the standing dumbbell calf raise. Flex hard at the top and relax the muscle as you lower back to the floor. It's not exactly the same, but if you don't enjoy your workout, you aren't going to stick with it, so alternatives are always a good thing. Using a couple of weight plates under your toes can give you an additional range of movement that you wont get from just being on the floor.
Simple But Effective
To get good calves, you have to plan your work, and then work your plan. Accessory muscles can be overlooked. Don't do that. Training your calves regularly will not only give your legs an overall better shape, but will give you more balance and confidence in every move you make. Brush your teeth on your toes, don't bounce in the gym, keep them stretched out, and the next time you put on your favorite heels, you're going to steal the show.
There is a lot of talk today about turmeric and it's potential health benefits. With every trend, I like to take a step back and go to the science to separate the hype from the facts. I gave turmeric a solid skeptical hippo gaze, and here's what I found out.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that has been used in India for centuries. It gives curry that beautiful yellow color and adds the flavor that is distinctive to many East Asian dishes. It has recently been hailed as an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and provides relief for a whole host of ailments.
What Makes Turmeric Effective?
The active ingredient that provides the benefits is curcumin. Unfortunately, there is only about 3% curcumin in turmeric, making it virtually impossible to get the healing benefits from just turmeric alone. You just couldn't consume enough of it to hit a meaningful therapeutic threshold. Curcumin is also very poorly absorbed in the bloodstream, so you need to combine it with piperine - which is found in black pepper. Once those two get together, their absorption rate can go up as high as 2,000% over just taking curcumin alone. Knowing this, taking turmeric is pretty pointless.
Curcumin Is The Real Hero
Now that we know turmeric won't give us all the benefits the mob is telling us, what is curcumin good for?
1 - It's a proven anti-inflammatory that in some tests proves as potent as a pharmaceutical agent
2 - It increases your anti-oxidant capacity - and getting rid of those free radicals is always a good thing
3 - In your brain, there is a hormone called "Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor" (BDNF) - This hormone helps create the pathways for neural activity - which happens in childhood. Studies show that curcumin can increase your BDNF levels, and put those pathway crews back to work. It can help repair and potentially slow some of the aging processes in the brain. Amazing.
4 - Heart Disease is a killer - and curcumin works to improve the function of the lining of the blood vessels. When the lining isn't functioning properly, the negative impact of heart disease can accelerate rapidly. Combine better function with reduced inflammation and you are on your way to a happier heart.
The list truly goes on and on. When I turned my hippo gaze deeper into my bowl of curry, I found the answer was not turmeric, but curcumin. Remember, curcumin alone is not enough - it needs piperine or you will literally be flushing your supplements down the toilet.
So Here's What You Do...
When the hype tells you to take turmeric, get on some curcumin with piperine - and keep the spices in the kitchen. Hey - don't be sad turmeric - being delicious is a big benefit too....
After a few months off of sharing "My Favorite Things", I've had a lot of requests to bring it back and share the little gems I have found that I really enjoy. I'm going to try to kick off each month with another edition, so let's get into it...
Quark isn't yogurt - it's a crafted German Cheese that is made in Los Angeles and delivered right to your door. Elli created 16 delicious flavors that have a smooth and creamy, cheesecake like consistency. Its higher protein to sugar ratio than yogurt, and clean ingredients make it a clear winner. For me, it's an easy way to satisfy my desert cravings and not call it a "cheat day". Try the apple pie. I love it. Click on the pic to go to their website and select your flavors today.
Bragg Organic Sprinkle
Bragg Organic Sprinkle is awesome. When I first opened it, the smell was amazing. I knew it would be good on so many things - chicken, fish, salad, even eggs. It adds a ton of flavor with no dietary impact. It's available everywhere. Just click the pic to check out the macros...
How Good Does All This Sound???
INGREDIENTS: rosemary*, onion*, garlic*, thyme*, red bell pepper*, carrot*, tomato*, black pepper*, basil*, Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil*, parsley*, tarragon*, lemon peel*, orange peel*, Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar*, celery seed*, dill seed*, oregano*, savory*, sage*, ginger*, coriander*, bay leaf*, turmeric*. * organic ingredients
Outer Aisle Cauliflower Thins
Do you remember my blog about my homemade cauliflower bread bites? Well, after the blog came out, a client ( Thank you Melissa) turned me on to these. They had the exact same ingredients as my recipe. They are a great bread substitute that you can get in some Whole Foods - or even have them shipped to you. Outer Aisle Cauliflower Sandwich Thins are the BEST. They cook up nice and crispy in a toaster, and are an excellent gluten-free bread alternative. They are made in Goleta, California, and I love them!!! They also do a pizza crust that comes in a two-pack, so be sure to try that as well - it's the same formulation as the sandwich thins - but gives you the option of a healthy pizza night in your own kitchen. Click below to read more from Outer Aisle and my blog.
I wanted to share an article I wrote for a trade magazine. It will give you a little insight into my business philosophy and give you a look inside what makes S-Team work. Click the link below...
This blog was created to provide information as it relates to skin, body and food health.