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Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Winter is here. We see it in our skin, hair and nails – the dryness, and the resulting little cracks that will prove to be excellent entrance ways for bad bugs that can lead to winter colds.

How do we spell protection against winter dryness and colds? HYDRATION

Sometimes hydration is only thought of as a summer issue – we are hot, we sweat, and so we remember to drink lots of water and eat water-based foods. We wear hats to shield our hair and skin from the sun and we lather on the moisturizer.

Habits change in the winter. We change from water-based vegetables to winter’s more starchy and less water-based vegetables; we trade raw salads for warm soups; and our iced teas often become hot tea with milk, hot cocoa, and hot cider which translates to: less water, more sodium = DEHYDRATION. Furthermore, we often forget our skin under all those clothes and while sun exposure may not be our issue (though winter sun should not be ignored), heaters/heating have a powerful, drying effect on our skin.

What to do? Follow these tips to improve winter health by way of HYDRATION:

1) Potassium intake: make sure to include potassium-rich foods and beverages which help bring water into our cells for hydration: coconut water (see this video to learn more about coconut water’s hydration benefits: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWOV_WRvVdc), bananas, potatoes, avocado, and even try supplement Ultima Replenisher for travel or in your workout bottle.

2)Sodium intake: be careful with excess sodium which keeps water outside our cells (dehydrating). Make your own soups or look for low-sodium options; use spices versus salt; and when using salt aim for a sea salt that contains an array of minerals; avoid canned and packaged foods where salt is used as a preservative, and choose fresh and frozen options (sodium can still be an issue in these packaged foods so read labels). In general, sodium should be less than 250mg PER serving but in some foods like soups it’s likely to be higher versus others like frozen vegetables where there should be zero. Check the Ashley Koff Approved lists on my site for good choices and always compare products in a category (i.e. cereal, soups etc.). http://www.ashleykoffapproved.com/approved/index.html.

3) Water – yes, you need it…8 glasses or take your weight in pounds and divide it in half and that will give you your daily ounces requirement (if you wight 150 pounds then that’s 75 ounces and there’s 8 ounces in a cup so you need between 9 and 10 cups daily).

4) Oil Up – when you get out of the shower or after you wash your face add some oils like coconut oil or argan oil to your skin to lock in moisture. Also, you can spray a hydrosol on your face in the day and reapply a dot of oil to the nose and lip areas which tend to get dry the quickest. Choose alcohol-free skincare products to avoid extra dryness.

5) Shroom ‘n Good Bugs: Yup, adding mushrooms like maitake and shitake to the diet or taking a daily supplement like LifeShield from New Chapter are great ways to boost your immune system. Also, consume probiotic-rich foods like coconut water kefir and cultured veggies as well as taking a supplement (I recommend and work with Align).

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December, the 12th month of the year…the time when holidays can create a holidaze leaving even the most health committed person saying, “I’ll get back on track in the New Year.” Well, we all know what putting off for tomorrow what we should do today can do for our health, our energy, our skin and our waistlines. So, this year, to help me best help you, I reached out to some of my favorite experts for their advice on how to stay on track through the holidays. These twelve tips are my gift to you – and so I begin with my own favorite tip…

1.            TREAT yourself right during the holidays…the holidays ARE a special time. Wanting to maintain your health regime is no reason to give up on treating yourself a little extra special during this time. But since when does TREAT= EAT…What puts the ‘TR’ in “TREAT” are things like: TRim your hair, TRy a new type of massage (I love Thai massage), TRek with a friend – blow off some work and go for a hike even through the snow, fly through the air on a TRapeze, and TRade your errands (with a spouse, a friend, a child). Enjoy your TReats this holiday season!

2.            From Leslie Goldman, women’s health writer, author of Locker Room Diaries, body image blogger for iVillage, www.lesliegoldmanwrites.com

Yoga can keep you emotionally and physically grounded during holiday food chaos. Feeling overstuffed? Try Warrior Pose. Plank pose keeps you balanced. And any kind of workout will rev up mood-boosting endorphins.

3.            From Veronica Bosgraaf, Pure Bar Founder, www.thepurebar.com

Enjoy Holiday Fruits:

I know you are surrounded by cookies, candies and cakes, but also surround yourself with the sweet and succulent fruits of the season.  I love pomegranate, dried cranberries, sweet pears, oranges with cloves, and baked apples with cinnamon!

Recycle Your Wrap:

Wrapping paper may look pretty but it is a huge source of waste around the holidays.  Instead of buying wrapping paper, I always save colorful tissue paper that is used to wrap clothing in and use it to wrap my gifts.  I also use old patterned bed sheets or tablecloths that you can buy at a thrift shop and cut to size.  Tie with a string and reuse over and over.  Another idea is to use your children’s artwork to wrap presents.  Grandparents especially love this one!

4.            From: Maria Emmer-Aanes, Nature’s Path, Director of Marketing and Communications, www.naturespath.com

The holidays are full of treats, but for us at Nature’s Path, treats mean delicious, organic granola bars in unique and tempting flavors that, at 150 calories or less, won’t pack on the holiday pounds.  Our 100% USDA certified organic bars contain no artificial preservatives, additives, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or synthetic pesticides, and they come in flavors that will make passing up unhealthy holiday goodies easy, including: Pumpkin-n-Spice, Mmmaple Pecan, Berry Strawberry, Lotta Apricotta, Sunny Hemp, Peanut Buddy, Peanut Choco and Chococonut.  They make great stocking stuffers too!

5.            From: Michael J. Balick, PhD, Vice President for Botanical Science, Director and Philecology Curator Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden, www.nybg.org

As the weather gets cold up here in the North, I usually start adding lavender oil to the washing machine. Long ago I gave up fragranced and heavily synthetic washing soaps, and just add a half dozen to a dozen drops of lavender oil to the rinse cycle of the wash. Not only does it leave a hint of summer in the air, but moths seem to hate this essential oil as well. You can add lavender oil to a small jar containing dried flowers and leave it (open) in your closet, where it will help perfume your belongings as well as possibly helping keep moths away (depending how much oil you put in the jar) . Lavender has been used for centuries as a cleansing agent, for example, in bathwater and for washing floors. If you have a tub at home, put a few drops of lavender oil in a hot bath in the evening–very relaxing!

6.            From Kathy Kaehler, Trainer, Spokesperson, Author, www.kathykaehler.net

It is very easy to pack on extra pounds over the holidays.  It seems that preparing for all of the festivities invades our gym time.  To keep your weight

at bay and your energy balanced make your exercise routine a priority.  Keep it in your calendar just like an appointment.  Get it done in the morning

because you will find too many excuses not to exercise later on during the day.  Even if you can’t make it to the gym find things that you can do around your home

that will charge up the calories.  Walk up and down your stairs, power walk around your neighborhood or dust off that old piece of equipment and get moving.

Your body will thank you and you hopefully won’t be making that redundant New Year’s resolution again.

7.             From Heide Banks, a nationally recognized relationship expert and frequent contributor to 20/20, The Early Show, Good, Morning America Health, a featured contributor to The Huffington Post. HeideBanks@aol.com

Holidays are a great time to meet new people.  Go out with an open heart and  leave home that sweet but awful sweater you got as a Christmas present.

Alone for the holidays?  Tell friends as soon as possible so they can include you.  And, there are plenty of opportunities to help out your community and serve those around you this time of year.  It’s reach out time.

Wanna take a trip but you’re without a significant other?  Check out the many singles trips that abound this time of year.  Gyms are a great resource for this.

You and your mate always seem to fight more this time of year?  Join the can we just make it to January 2nd club!  Identify your source of irritation from holidays past.  Family?  Bad gift giving?  Overeating?  And talk about it.
You can’t change your relatives but you can change the way you relate to them.  Hint.  Laugh.

Thinking of breaking off a relationship?  While holiday time can be lonely there’s nothing worse than kissing someone at New Years that you have lost affection for.  Give yourself the gift of a fresh start for the new year.

And speaking of New Years, forget the vows.  You’ll feel a lot better if you practice some self-forgiveness for anything and everything that didn’t quite turn out the way you wished in the past year.  The one vow I always make us to be a little bit kinder, gentler and more understanding of myself and those I love in the year to come.

8.            From Myra Goodman, Founder and Owner, Earthbound Farm, author Food to Live By: The Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook, www.ebfarm.com

While I don’t count calories, I like to know the calorie count of some holiday foods ahead of time so I can portion accordingly. One slice of pecan pie is over 500 calories, and I find I am just as satisfied with half a slice eaten at half the pace, savoring every bite. A whole slice after dinner would most likely leave me feeling too full and a little worried about holiday weight gain – making it less of a pleasure.

9.            From Jovial King, founder and formulator, Urban Moonshine Organic Bitters + Tonics, www.urbanmoonshine.com

This holiday season make sure to have a bottle of herbal bitters within reach at your favorite holiday gatherings!  Bitters stimulate digestion and help to soothe any feelings of overindulgence, including gas, bloating and acid reflux.  But the best part might just be bitters’ ability to stave off that sugar craving.  After a big meal reach for your bottle of (urban moonshine :)) bitters instead of dessert.  It will keep your body feeling great and that waistline in check.

10.            From Erin Schrode, a young ecoRenaissance woman, the “face of the new green generation,” the spokeswoman and co-founder of the United States-based Turning Green campaign, promotes global sustainability, youth leadership, environmental education, and conscious lifestyle choices, www.erinschrode.com

What’s the best way to “eco-ize” any gift this holiday season? Go one step beyond recycled wrapping paper and package up presents in something reusable or repurposed! It makes any gift far more personal and fun. Old maps, newspaper, shopping bags, even plain paper bags (the little ones can go to town decorating with markers!) are perfect for the job. The receptacle itself can be part of the present too… think scarves, towels, totes, and baskets.

11.            From Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches, www.cynthiasass.com

This season simplify your menus. Enjoy season foods as close to their natural state as possible with just a few natural ingredients to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your meals. For example, core an organic apple or pear, drizzle with a mixture of water, organic pure maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and bake in the oven. Brush sliced root vegetables (carrots, turnips, and beets) with a garlic infused extra virgin olive oil, roast and garnish with sea salt. Melt organic dark chocolate, fold in fresh grated ginger and drizzle over slices of fresh pineapple. Simplifying your menus can free you up to spend more time with friends and family but you won’t sacrifice one iota of flavor.

12.            From Elisha Reverby, Elique Organics, organic skin care and beauty expert, writer, consultant, salon owner, creator of food based skin nutrition. www.getwaxed.com, www.eliqueorganicskinfood.com

This holiday season share, listen, feel and laugh… do everything you do with passion and zest and let your worries fall to the wayside, trusting and relishing in the love and blessings that surround you. Your skin will naturally glow and you will be the most radiant person in the room. Guaranteed! Merry merry…

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AKA regularly evaluates cosmetics and skincare products because we know that it’s not just what we eat / drink, but what we put on our skin and in our air that affects our health. I rely on tools like the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” database and my friend, eco-makeup artist guru, Christy Coleman www.christycoleman.com or what’s okay and NOT for us and our environment…oh yeah, and how to get camera-ready or out-on-the-town ready with win-win-win looks. Wanted to pass on this latest blog from www.healthychild.org – take action people!

Watch and share The Story of Cosmetics and tell Congress it’s time for SAFE cosmetics!

What are all those chemicals in your shampoo? your lipstick? your aftershave? And what do they have to do with asthma, breast cancer and learning disabilities?

Learn, share and help change this toxic mess: Watch The Story of Cosmetics, a film exposing the ugly truth about personal care products – brought to you by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff Project and Free Range Studios.

Let’s make a huge splash with this new video: if we all share it with our friends and community, we can reach millions of people and really inspire change!

This video is just in time to build momentum for groundbreaking safe cosmetics legislation – the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010! For the first time in 70 years, we have a real chance to pass a bill that would eliminate chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects and other health problems from the products women, men and children put on their bodies every day.

We need all hands on deck: Urge your elected officials to co-sponsor common-sense safe cosmetics legislation that ensures everyone has access to safe products!

Thanks for watching and sharing The Story of Cosmetics and for asking Congress to get behind safe cosmetics legislation. Together, we’re going to make sure cosmetics are safe for everyone.

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Sometimes I’m told that there’s just no way to make the holidays happy ones if they have to be healthy ones. I disagree and thought I’d offer a few support points for my argument.

  1. A holiDAY, by definition, is just one day; it’s not holiWEEK or holiMONTH, so if we overindulge or consume treats for one DAY each month there’s a very low likelihood that it will cause us to veer off our health path. So if you have a few events or even one every night, pick THE one that you want to be your holiDAY and aim to keep the others less indulgent – afterall, a treat by definition isn’t something we have regularly.
  2. Give the gift that keeps on giving. I’m often told that holiday parties or shared meals are a major derailment to health plans. Why not bring a favorite healthIER dish so that not only will you feel good about what your are eating but you will also show your guests that it’s possible to eat healthIER and have it taste great too. For example, insist on organic ingredients, use a variety of vegetables and fruits to make your dish colorful, replace animal fats with healthier vegetable fats such as those found in nuts and seeds, avocado, and olives.
  3. Remember to keep pace. When we have balanced eating occasions (carb + pro + fat + unlimited vegetables – see the AKA menu worksheet and we stay on a schedule of eating occasions about every three hours, our energy will stabilize and our body will work efficiently – this helps keeps our insides happy, prevents fat storage, and also regulates our mood helping healthy mean happy inside and out. For example, a fist of organic high-fiber cereal (Like Nature’s Path Oatmeal or Optimum Slim) with a serving of nuts or hempseeds (a complete protein) will supply all the nutrients one needs for a balanced eating occasion – and it’s easy to travel with when you are on the road or flying.
  4. Healthy today, healthy tomorrow. Ever wonder why the flu season hits hardest in January and February? Could it be our immune systems have taken a weakening blow from November / December, leaving us ripe for a cold, or even the flu. We know that alcohol and sugar are immune suppressants, as is lack of sleep. I’m a realist and I want you to have fun, but take care to limit the frequency and quantity of these immune suppressants and try to get your Z’s. I also recommend keeping up with your vitamin D intake, trying medicinal mushroom supplements (i.e. New Chapter’s Host Defense or Metagenics Mycotaki), taking a quality probiotic (i.e. Align), and using good quality homeopathic remedies (i.e. Boiron) at the first sign of a cold.
  5. Treat yourself right. Who says that the only way to treat ourselves is with sweet or savory food or with too much drink?  A day off? A hot bath? A mani-pedi? A new TV? Make your list and check it twice, make sure there’s enough on there that isn’t food or alcohol, so that when you treat yourself it stays a treat and doesn’t turn into something you regret later.

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When it comes to beautiful skin, you will hear me talk about how it begins with what’s going on inside of you, what you choose to eat and what you choose NOT to eat. But recently, there’s been growing attention rightfully placed on what we actually put on to our skin in terms of beautiful skin as well as disease prevention. To get underneath it all, I sat with renowned celebrity make-up artist, Christy Coleman who uses toxin-free products exclusively in her work and whose celebrity clients include Amber Valletta, Sheryl Crow and Emmy Rossum.

AKA) You haven’t always used toxin-free products, what inspired your change?

CC) It all began in rural Texas and Oklahoma.  My dad was exposed to many chemicals and fertilizers throughout his life, and I believe that these harmful toxins were the trigger for his ALS (also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”). After watching my father pass away, I knew that I needed to turn my personal experience into something positive by transcending my knowledge about this disease and how much we all are exposed to toxins into my professional life.  Many consumers aren’t aware that traditional makeup can contain harmful ingredients, which the skin absorbs, potentially causing long-term health concerns. After years of research, I have hand selected only green products to be a part of my makeup kit that not only perform at a very high level, they’re good for you and the environment. (more…)

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