After a long, cold winter many of us need to lose a few pounds to get ready for the fast approaching bikini season. We know that dairy, carbs and sugar make us gain weight. But we need something naughty to look forward to and fantasize on… Personally, I am unable to crack my sweet tooth. I wanted something to replace my winter German Chocolate Cake obsession with that would give me multiple benefits. I finally hit upon it.
If this post seems like an infomercial – it is. I have become wildly obsessed with Astaxanthin – a supplement I had never heard about until I discovered that it is ‘sunblock you can eat.’ As someone who has meticulously dissected all the chemicals in the average sunblock and concluded that the only non-toxic ingredient (zinc) is one that makes me look like a real vampire, I have long worn picture hats and avoided the sun from 12-2. All that has changed now that I have discovered Astaxanthin. I have been taking it for months now and am in the sun a fair bit – but no burning! And my nails have become long and strong – very unusual for me!
I rarely comment on current events here as I want to stay on subject but I want to send out love and prayers to the French tonight. I lived for years in Paris, did my MBA there, carried my child there, I dined, danced, cried, laughed, partied and loved in that great City of Lights. And, it was with great sadness today that I read about this heinous attack on all of our free rights and security. Laughter is a salve for all humans. If we cannot laugh at ourselves, religions, governments then we exist in a state of fear and poverty – forever crippled. Paris, your lights may have been dimmed today but tomorrow they will burn even more brightly. Al Qeada – you are only convincing the world to turn away from your religion in disgust and shun your people. To France and their dead: Chapeau off. Head bowed. Je suis Charlie.
In the quest for the perfect, nourishing skin oil I have come across a lot of options. Avocado, Apricot kernel, Evening Primrose oil etc. Frankly, they are all great and variety is the spice of life for your health and your skin. One oil that came across my radar in Europe that is not so well known in America is Borage Oil.
The more I read about Borage Oil the more I wondered if it was as powerful to consume as to apply topically. And this question led to me to a deeper examination on the limitations and benefits of Omega 6 oils and how what you are eating affects the balance of Omega 6 oil and the very important Omega 3 oils.
The essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) from borage and other oils has been shown to be one of the most effective agents for the treatment of skin disorders and for the maintenance of healthy skin. The fatty acid profile of borage is unique in that it contains 20 to 24 percent GLA. Evening primrose oil contains 8 to 10 percent GLA and black currant oil contains 15 to 17 percent.
The popularity of borage oil as an ingredient in topical formulations for the skin is growing rapidly, based on the strong research showing that it is of benefit in the treatment of various skin conditions, including dry skin, eczema, inflammation, wounds, and dermatitis.
Role of GLA in the skin
Healthy skin depends on adequate amounts of lipid, in particular certain polyunsaturated fatty acids called essential fatty acids (EFAs), for moisture, suppleness and smoothness as well as to prevent skin disorders. The most important polyunsaturated fatty acids for maintenance of healthy skin and for the alleviation of skin disorders are the essential fatty acids of the omega-6 family, namely linoleic acid (LA) and GLA. Dietary deficiency of these fatty acids results in a characteristic scaly skin disorder, increased epidermal turnover rate, weak cutaneous capillaries that rupture easily, decreased wound healing and increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) leading to xerosis (dry skin). Dry skin is the most common skin condition and is especially common in the elderly. By the age of 80 years, the epidermis may lose as much as 50% of its thickness, which accelerates water loss. Dry skin also exacerbates many other skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis.
Now I realize an article about onions is not terribly Christmassy or even sexy. However, throughout the holiday season, we all want to look our best and stay as healthy as possible and, despite their pungent aroma, the humble onion must not be overlooked. Actually, the onion, in my opinion, is less humble than a true member of the vegetable royalty.
I was drawn to write this article after a conversation with a Jordanian lady in Central Park. Our children were playing together and we were discussing the huge number of vaccinations the U.S. insists that children get – up from just a few in our childhood. We were both frothing at the mouth about the flu vaccination and its implications for destroying the immune system of our youth as well as our right to choose what our children’s bodies are pumped with. She told me that when she grew up in Jordan, when children got the flu, their parents and grandparents would slice onions and put them in the feet of socks and draw the socks on the children for the night. Apparently, it is a magical solution for fever and flu. Intrigued, I was drawn to explore further and found a list of the below benefits.
(Regarding the flu shot, if you don’t want your child to get it – just find a doctor on the same page and have them tick off the form without actually injecting your child. Stories about deaths and paralysis of children from this year’s flu shot are more and more in the news.)
If you are worried about onion breath: take a shot of vodka or hydrogen peroxide (spit out the h.p.) – both kill bacteria in the mouth, brush your teeth and tongue with baking soda and floss, rinse with water, and chew parsley or mint leaves!
Note the amazingly decadent recipe at the end of this article… Continue reading
Springtime is here! The tulips and cherry blossoms are out in force along with the snails who accompany those regular spring showers… But along with the flowers comes that inevitable itch to rid the house of those winter dust balls hidden behind the couch and the ancient fingerprints that patchwork the windows and light switches.
Ah – the joy of spring cleaning! (Grrr) I spent all of yesterday in my underwear cleaning furiously while blasting Kylie Minogue’s Fever album. Unfortunately, I am more of a seasonal scrubber since I have far too little time to make a day-to-day art of it. But, as I cleaned I had to ask myself, wouldn’t this have been less work if I had been more organized?
The same philosophy applies to the cleaning of one’s body. In an age where we are under many pressures and combining a busy work and home life, it is easy to be careless about our eating habits. Under pressure we may munch on acid forming foods or drinks throughout the day or drink too much coffee or exercise less. These habits create stress on the body’s ability to detoxify itself making it more acidic and inflamed. Poor detoxification can lead to aging, cancer, diabetes, weight gain and even (as epigenetics tell us) worse genes for our future offspring.
However, with a little organization and discipline, your body actually detoxes itself. Yep. As the wonderful Dr. Alejandro Junger says in his book Clean:
“When the digestive tract isn’t constantly needing to work to process food, the body can direct energy towards detox and repair. Making sure your meals are full of fat and protein keeps you from needing to constantly graze and keeps blood sugar levels stable. It also allows the body to go into fat-burning mode more easily, which releases more stubborn toxins stored in fat cells.” Continue reading
My mother always told me to never discuss my Serbian roots. “People will think you are dangerous,” she would whisper with narowed eyes. While it is true that the Serbs are a feisty race one cannot deny their beauty, survival skills, their passion for life and their weapon-sharp minds!
My glamorous Serbian grandmother who never went to bed without a perfectly made up face (if she died in her sleep she wanted to be found looking beautiful) always had a stash of homemade ajvar on hand. She swore that the vitamin C in the red peppers was responsible for her impeccable complexion and wrinkle-free skin.
Ajvar is a type of relish, made principally from red bell peppers, with garlic. It may also contain eggplant and chili. Ajvar originates in the Serbian cuisine, and was therefore long known as “Serbian salad” or “Serbian vegetable caviar”. It became a popular salad (side dish) throughout Yugoslavia after World War II and is nowadays popular in the Balkans. Original homemade ajvar is made of roasted peppers, while some industrial producers use cooked peppers, which leads to a lower quality. Depending on the capsaicin content in bell peppers and the amount of added chili peppers, it can be sweet (traditional), piquant (the most common), or very hot. Continue reading
I chose the word bloody not because I am pretending to be English but because the vegetable I refer to oozes blood red juice with every bite. That vegetable is the miraculous beet. Like vampires sucking life juice from their victims, I highly recommend you get sucking on some beets pronto for all the reasons listed below.
Now most people overlook the beet. They don’t seek it out or crave it. And that is because they have no idea about all it has to offer.
Here are 8 reasons not to ignore beets by the amazing Diana J. Herrington – head chef on Real Food for Life. Continue reading
In order to slow aging as much as possible it is essential you learn about your body. Knowing how these perfect machines function is the first step to fine tuning your habits in order to maximize potential. We are responsible for how our bodies decay and how fast. In a perfect environment we can dramatically slow the aging process. The body functions well enough until we stop pummeling it with toxins and fake substances (processed food – perfume etc.). The closest I ever got to God was the first time I witnessed a human dissection. Every organ, gland, vein – you name it – has meaning. Seeing the blackened lungs of a smoker up close made me realize how responsible we are for our body’s condition.
Boosting the production of good hormones is critical to the anti-aging process. DHEA is one such hormone.
DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is known as the ‘fountain of youth.’ It is made from cholesterol by the adrenal glands, which sit on top of your kidneys. Estrogen and then testosterone are both made from this steroid hormone. Someone who lacks essential levels of DHEA really can benefit from taking a supplement and they can be easily found in your local health food store. But before you supplement with DHEA capsules, first check with your health care practitioner to make sure that you are in fact deficient in this hormone. Continue reading
This article is dedicated to the truly vain, the experimental, the Lara Crofts, the Indiana Joneses, the trail breakers, the mad scientists, the mountain-climbers, the women who wear 5 inch heels and mix their own creams and those who believe there is some magic in nature’s untouched state… If you are conventional and believe in the FDA – stop reading now.
Now, I know I am a sucker for anything that sounds like a magical potion for anti-aging. I know myself. My heart beats a little faster when I read about Ormus Minerals (perfect foods like avocados, almonds, apricot seed kernels etc. – see the link at the end of this article to get some goose bumps for yourself…). So when I overheard a yogi friend talking about his new Shilajit-fix my ears grew bigger. The below information is from a site that sells Shilajit (http://shilajitsupertonic.info/) but I buy mine from Upaya Naturals. I have been taking it for about a month now with no side effects and my skin looks wonderful but – I DO write an anti-aging blog so it is hard to tell if the Shilajit is making a significant impact or if my skin and health is a result of all my efforts. (With all that I’m doing I better look 40 at 65 dammit!)
I am entranced by the idea of Shilajit because our soil is so depleted of minerals and nutrients. Taking vitamins/nutraceuticals is an option (that I embrace) but the idea of drinking mineral and nutrient rich soil that was plucked from rock crevices far from mankind has a utopian tinge of romance sprinkled with a little Kipling no? Oh Lama where art thou? Continue reading