Month: May 2011

Wine & Cheese, the Perfect Pair

Wine and cheese are a common and delicious combination, but in addition to taste, there is another reason to pair these two. To avoid the typical staining of your teeth that occurs when consuming red wine, have some cheese before you start sipping. This way the calcium from the cheese creates a film over your teeth and protects them from the staining of red wine (and the acid found in all wines). Good to know, right?

Photo Credit: Alena Hrbkova

Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend!

Healthy Grilling Basics

With the summer unofficially starting this weekend, I thought this would be a perfect time to share some easy tips to keep your BBQs both tasty and healthy:

  • Reduce PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and HCAs (Heterocyclic amines) - These are the two carcinogens produced via the char (HCAs) and smoke (PAHs) associated with grilling. To reduce carcinogens, cook meat at lower heats (hence producing less char). Also, cook meats over a base of perforated tinfoil to prevent meat drippings from becoming toxic smoke.
  • Keep it Clean – After cooking, make sure to dry-scrub the grill with a wire bbq brush so you don’t leave any charred bits behind for your next grilling session.
  • Add herbs - Don’t forget to add herbs to meat while marinating and grilling to up the antioxidant factor and lower carcinogens. Some great herbs to add include rosemary, basil, mint, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, garlic and thyme.

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Happy Memorial Day

Award-Winning Skincare for Babies!

You might remember my previous post about Skincando’s Combat-Ready Balm — the wonder salve that’s even effective for troops in the harshest of conditions. Now, there is a version for babies and kids! This miracle cream has similar ingredients, which soothe and heal some of the most delicate skin on earth aka a baby’s. But this is totally an adult product as well. Baby skincare products are great for adult skin, especially if it’s sensitive.  I just love how multifunctional this one is — it’s magical for dry skin, eczema, diaper rash, eczema, bug bites, sunburn, and more! I can’t wait to buy this for some of the soon-to-be new moms in my life.

Start Breathing Right Tonight

I know that so many people are struggling with allergies and the sinus issues that accompany them right now. In addition to decreasing your stress levels, changing your diet (example: consuming more quercetin-rich foods like apples and onions on a daily basis) there is another drug-free option to assist you in your sleep, literally.

They’ve been around for a while and you might have tried them before – I’m talking about Breathe Right nasal strips. The strips (available in clear or tan) simply and gently lift the sides of your nose to help you breathe easier. So simple yet SO effective.  I don’t think I have allergies, but my sinuses do bother me sometimes and the Breathe Right strips make breathing through my nose so much clearer. They’re also supposed to work great for snoring!

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Have you tried them before? What did you think?

If you want to give them a try: Breathe Right Free Sample. You can also enter the ‘Better Breathing’ sweepstake, where you can win Breathe Right products and a grand prize trip to Yosemite National Park! Enter here: The Better Breathing Sweepstakes (bottom of the page. Ends 6/17/11)

 

*M80 contacted me to write this blog post on behalf of Breathe Right and provided me with samples. Thanks M80!

Skin Food Inside & Out

Avocados are some serious skin food with their biotin (forms the basis of healthy skin), as well as their skin (and heart) healthy monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats help provide skin with a natural oil barrier reducing the occurrence of itchy/dry skin.

To keep skin looking healthy and glowing, include avocados in your diet on a regular basis and also remember that they make a perfect, all natural and inexpensive revitalizing skin treatment. This is a quick and easy recipe that I would recommend for all skin types, but especially for dry or sensitive skin.

Combine:

  • 1/2 mashed avocado
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp yogurt

How to:

  1. Wash your face with warm water and pat dry
  2. Apply a thin layer of the mask to your entire face minus the eye area
  3. Allow the mask to set for 15 minutes
  4. Rinse thoroughly with warm H20, and again, pat dry — the key word is “pat” NOT “rub”.  Rubbing is abrasive and not a good idea when it comes to your delicate face!

Highly Underrated Beet Greens

Love spinach and swiss chard? If your answer is “yes”, then you will definitely be a fan of beet greens. For anyone who isn’t exactly sure what I’m referring to, it’s exactly what you would expect – the green leaves attached to beets. Have you been throwing them away? Don’t! Buying a bunch of beets can become a double dose of veggies. Beet greens are delicious and highly delicious. Have you tried them yet?  Here is my favorite way to make them…

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
  • 1 bunch beet greens
  • 1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or sea salt to taste
  • a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice (optional)

How to:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet
  2. Add garlic, greens, liquid aminos/salt
  3. Stir frequently until greens are wilted down (only takes a few minutes)
  4. Sprinkle lemon juice for a little zing
  5. Enjoy!

Serves 1 – 2 servings (depending on how much you love your greens ;))

Photo Credit: the daily green

How Fresh is that Egg?

I don’t think any of us think about the freshness of eggs like we do about other things (milk, meat, etc), but the following simple test will help you figure out when to fry and when to toss…

How to:

  • Place egg in a bowl of cold H20 and observe if it…
  1. drops to the bottom of the bowl & lies on its side = really fresh egg
  2. stands on end & bobs in the water = somewhat fresh
  3. clearly floats = it’s definitely old – toss it!

Photo Credit: Charles Schiller

How Healthy is Low-Fat Dairy?

We’re all familiar with the advice to avoid processed foods, but you don’t often see low-fat dairy products put in that category. Shouldn’t they be? I think we’re going to start to seeing more and more articles coming out about findings that low-fat dairy is not as healthy as we thought. For example, this thought-provoking article from DETAILS magazine – IS SKIM MILK MAKING YOU FAT?

For a long time now, I have opted for whole organic milk, but I recently discovered unhomogenized whole milk (it’s not raw milk because it’s pasteurized) and I’m really loving it. Wondering what unhomogenized means exactly? If left untouched, milk naturally separates, with all of the fat and cream floating to the top and naturally occurring non-fat milk remaining on the bottom. When milk is homogenized, it is processed so that it no longer separates. While the appearance of unhomogenized milk may not be as appealing, it is completely safe to drink and equally tasty. Some evidence has even shown it might be healthier. Personally, I’ve noticed that I no longer experience congestion after consuming the unhomogenized version. I also like the idea of drinking something that is closest to it’s original/natural form.

 

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What’s your milk of choice? Has anyone else ever tried unhomogenized milk?


2 Perfect Summer Moisturizers

With warm weather upon us now and summer right around the corner, I thought everyone would appreciate hearing about these two lotions I am loving right now…

The first is one of my latest finds – an organic jasmine + neroli body lotion by kō denmark (if the name sounds familiar,  you might have seen their recent feature in GOOP). As you would expect, this lotion has the soothing, light floral scent of jasmine (and neroli, but more jasmine I think). It is extremely light weight – you definitely get the feeling that aloe is the #1 ingredient – and it absorbs sooo quickly.  I like the “100% simple” on the label – it truly is with a perfect lineup of natural ingredients and no parabens, perfume, sulfates, mineral oil, or artificial colors.

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Burt’s Bees Richly Replenishing Body Lotion with Cocoa and Cupuaçu Butters is another perfect option for the warmer weather. The scent alone just screams summer/vacation with dreamy aromas of cocoa and vanilla.  Other key reasons I love it for summer (and anytime of year) include its non-greasy consistency, quick absorption, and it is clinically proven to keep skin moisturized for 24 hours! That’s a strong claim, but after using it for a few weeks now, I am now a believer.

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Blue Jeans…Blue Skin?!

As I was shaving my legs today I noticed something quite unsettling for the second time… the shaving cream was turning very, very blue and this was happening all over my legs!  Hmmmm totally not normal and somewhat concerning, but I quickly realized what the culprit must be – my super cute and super cheap (very dark blue) jeans from Forever 21. I have never had this happen before and washing them multiple times apparently is not solving the problem. I’m really disappointed because they’re my favorite jeans, but I certainly don’t want blue dye all over my skin… Has this happened to anyone else? Is this just what happens when you get ridiculously cheap ($10.50) jeans?


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(not the exact jeans, but similar)

Incredible Entirely Edible Egg

You might have noticed lately how the yolks of eggs are suddenly healthy for you. Well of course they always were, but another fad actually had us all thinking they were to be avoided and nothing but cholesterol raisers.

For all of us who bought into the egg-white-only-craze we were sadly  missing out.  Where are most of the nutrients in an egg found? Yep, it’s the yolk. And the brighter the yolk – the healthier the egg!

When buying your next dozen:

  • Brown or White? Brown usually cost more, but the color simply indicates the chicken’s breed.
  • Go organic - They’ve been found to have significantly more nutrients (specifically vitamin A, vitamin E and Omega 3s) and less cholesterol (specifically about 1/3 less than commercial eggs!).  In addition, they have less toxins and usually taste noticeably better.
  • Opt for free-range – These are from hens that lay their eggs outdoors. They’re thought to be more content hens since they have unlimited access to food and H20. And who knows, maybe you can taste that happiness in your next omelet? ;)

So don’t forget about eggs because they are an eggcelent (ha) source of nutrients you can include in every meal. And I highly suggest you don’t throw out that yoke… Keep it real, keep it whole!

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