Saturday, December 28, 2013

Carbs Curb Hunger

According to researchers, when dieters are taken off a low-carb diet and shifted them to an approach that includes generous amounts of fiber and Resistant Starch foods, something wonderful happens: Within two days, the dieters’ cravings go away. The fiber and Resistant Starch fills them up and satisfies them while allowing them to eat the foods they crave. These good-news carbs also raise levels of satiety hormones that tell the brain to flip a switch that stifles hunger and turns up metabolism.

Source: Health Magazine

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'll Show You My Skincare Routine

 By Petra Guglielmetti

So here's my skincare routine--with the disclaimer that the exact products I use changes very often, as I'm always discovering and testing new things. That said, the basic framework of my routine and the ingredients I use remain pretty constant, and lately I've been very dedicated to the following regimen.


1. Super-quick wash with a gentle cleanser. Cetaphil is my trusty standby.

2. Apply Aveeno Positively Radiant. I have tried all sorts of daytime moisturizers and this one remains by far my favorite; great hydration while not greasy, and the sunscreen never stings my eye area. Plus, helps fade dark spots and adds subtle sheen.


1. During post-gym shower, I use my Clarisonic Mia brush and a slightly deeper cleanser--currently Mario Badescu Botanical Facial Gel. It never dries out my skin and smells great. I also like to borrow the husband's Biore Ice Cleanser sometimes to mix things up and clear out my pores even more (I got it for him after you guys recommended it for fighting pimples!).

2. After shower, I use a glycolic-acid toner or pad. Currently I am testing (and loving) Cane + Austin Retexturizing Treatment Pads.

3. Apply an antioxidant serum, like Skinceuticals Phloretin CF or Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum.

4. Reapply Aveeno Positively Radiant.


1. Clean skin with Clarisonic and Cetaphil. I used to be lazy about p.m. washing--sometimes I'd just use a face wipe--but lately I'm being diligent so that my night treatments/creams absorb more effectively.

2. Every other night, I apply Skinceuticals Retinol .5 (their less-concentrated version). I'll up it to every night once my skin fully adjusts (if I use it daily now, I peel a LOT and feel sensitivity).

3. I wait half an hour for the retinol to absorb, then I apply a night cream. Sometimes I use Olay Pro-X Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, a drugstore product derms swear by. Or if I feel like I need something more mellow, I use Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream.

My all-time favorite p.m. moisturizer so far, though, is a weird sciencey one called Bio-Cream that uses one ethically questionable ingredient (I've posted about it before). The things is, they haven't sent me any in a while and I feel silly paying $135 for moisturizer when I get tons of it for free. But I might break down and do it soon. This stuff is that amazing.

I know this all looks like a lot in writing, but honestly I probably spend 5 minutes total on my face each day.
More Mario Badescu...

Once or twice a week, depending on how my skin feels, I'll do an exfoliating peel or mask. Lately I use something different pretty much every time.

Oh, and before some of you ask whether I'm on the Mario Badescu payroll, I'm not! The reason I discovered their products is because I used to live just one block from their NYC spa and went there for facials! I always end up falling back on their products despite the many I have to choose from because they never make my skin freak out and have a sort of hand-crafted feel about them.

Source: Glamour

Save The Earth, Simply

Go Vegetarian For A Day - Livestock production is responsible for 18% of the world's greenhouse gases.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lose Your Love Handles

By John Romaniello

When it comes to losing fat, we’ve all experienced the dreaded plateau. You work hard and make good progress in the beginning, and then you hit a wall. Things are slow going from there, and you make on-and-off progress.

Why? Why isn’t fat loss a linear process?

When you get to the final stages of leanness, it’s not enough to just keep doing the same things you’re doing; it’s not enough to reduce calories and exercise more.

You’ve probably also noticed that when you hit a plateau, fat loss doesn’t just slow down all over; it begins to reveal other things. When you’ve lost the first several pounds — whether that means 20, 50 or even 100 pounds — you’ve lost the "easy" fat. As your fat loss slows, you’ll notice that you’re holding fat in some areas more than others. In fact, you may be holding all of your fat in one or two specific areas.

We tend to call these “trouble areas.” These vary from person to person, but generally, men will deal with trouble areas in the love handles and belly, while women will have them in the hips and thighs.

Why do we have these trouble areas and how do we fix them?

This has to do with your hormones. At the later stages, fat loss is not just about calories in vs. calories out. It’s not just about energy debt or cardio or even (to a lesser extent) diet, although all of those things do factor in quite a bit, obviously. Really, it’s about your hormonal environment and the way that affects fat storage and, thereby, fat loss.

When your fat loss has stalled and you’re trying to break through that wall, or when you’re trying to rid yourself of those last stubborn 5-10 pounds, it’s a hormonal battle.

Far and away, the most common incarnation of this issue in mean is sagging love handles.

My own battle, and that of many of my male clients, revolves around love handles and lower back fat. When I’m dieting or getting ready for a photoshoot, it can take me several weeks to get rid of the fat in this one area, even when I’m very lean everywhere else.
As mentioned above, the reason many men, myself included, tend to store fat is due to the effects of hormones on fat storage. The hormone responsible for love handles is insulin.

The degree to which you are able to process and respond to glucose (sugar) levels in your body is called "insulin sensitivity." The higher this is, the easier and more efficiently your body uses carbohydrates for energy and the less likely you are to store carbs as fat.

If you’re insulin resistant, on the other hand, you don’t deal well with carbs. And anything other than a low-carb diet pretty much means you’re going to be storing more fat overall, specifically in the love handles. If you’re insulin resistant and you still eat a lot of carbs, then your glucose clearance from the heavy carb load is going to be compromised and hormonal receptor sites in your love handles and lower back are going to be overloaded.

The good news is that insulin resistance (and the resulting cascade of regional fat) can be mitigated with certain types of diet and training.


You can see in gyms across the world the rampant use of “site specific” spot training. This is a futile attempt to thrash the last bits of fat from the edges of your body and does little to help you understand why nothing has worked up to that point.

My friends, the time for side bends and ab-twister machines is over. In fact, it should never have ever begun.

The reality is that these “spot-reducing” exercises often carry an abysmal level of total-body taxation. That is, they are incredibly easy and contribute very little to improving your insulin sensitivity.

Sure, you may drop a bead of sweat and cringe at the burn through your midsection, but the reality is you are probably wasting your time.

Big, dynamic multi-joint movements strung together in a specific way will provide the results you crave and rid you of those horrible handles of love. By doing this, we play into the power that hormones have on the body and use them as weapons.

One hormone in particular plays a major role.

Insulin Resistance vs. IGF-1

Insulin resistance can be combated very nicely by a hormone called IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1.

Producing extra IGF-1 through training will help you improve your insulin sensitivity and rid yourself of love handles and lower back fat.

We know that insulin resistance is very common, particularly in people who were previously overweight. So, if you have lost some fat and you’re now struggling to lose a bit more (and that fat happens to be in your love handles), I’m willing to bet you’re suffering from some degree of insulin resistance and an inability to efficiently clear glucose from your system.

In order to get rid of that fat, you need to do fat-burning workouts (obviously) and increase your insulin sensitivity to the greatest degree that you can. As a result, you need to employ metabolic resistant training (MRT).

MRT is the overarching theory that dictates how I design fat-loss training programs; it consists of using fast-paced, multi-joint movements to train the body to move more efficiently.

Because this style of training is extremely expensive in terms of energy (caloric) demand, MRT is excellent as a general fat-loss modality. However, perhaps more important is the fact that it's also an incredible way to produce IGF-1.

The Method

Using a combination of explosive exercises, speed drills and numerous varietals of traditional methods, train in a way that increases your agility, dexterity, and mobility.
Nearly all of your training sessions should be heavily dependent on variations of the best fat-loss exercises, which are compound, dynamic exercises that move your body through space.

My personal favorites are the lunge, overhead press, single-leg squat and bodyweight pulling. These exercises serve as the foundation for your fat-burning mission and can be built upon to provide variety to a number of different training protocols.

When setting up a workout, using a noncompeting order — like alternating lower body exercises with upper body exercises — is also a powerful variable. The extreme flow of blood from one side of the body to the next causes a great deal of systemic disturbance. Your heart is practically cracking your rib cage while it pounds to move enough blood from point A to point B.

Combine this with minimal rest, moderately high repetitions and adequate loads, and you've got one of the most effective fat-loss protocols known to man. As an added bonus, your cardiovascular efficiency will enjoy a nice boost.

Here’s a quick workout using the above concepts:

A1) Bulgarian split squat — 10 reps per leg
A2) Inverted row — 12 reps
A3) Push-up — 15 reps
A5) Reverse lunges — 8 reps per leg
A6) Pull-up — 6 reps
A7) Overhead press — 12 reps
A8) Plank — 60 seconds

Perform A1-A8 in a circuit fashion, moving form one exercise to the next with little to no rest. Perform a total of 6 rounds, resting 60-90 seconds between rounds.

Even though you’re only doing one abdominal exercise (the plank) and none for the actual area where you store your love-handle fat, this workout is far better for increasing insulin sensitivity — and therefore reducing love handles — than any workout with a bunch of side bends and twists.

Without the use of any spot-reducing movements, your love handles will melt before your eyes. However, a warning: This type of training takes effort — a ton of it.

If you’re not one to tolerate hard work, possess mental toughness or have a burning desire to break past the final stages of fat loss, this may not be for you. Sadly, sitting or lying in a machine while flexing the spine will not get you where you need to go, but it is a heck of a lot easier.

So, if you're plagued by love-handular fatitude, do yourself a favor and start incorporating some dynamic work and MRT into your programming in order to up-regulate every fat-burning mechanism your body has to offer.

Seeking the “burn” in your abdominals is a false altar when it comes to the final stages of fat loss, particularly when dealing with love handles.
By performing big, taxing exercises, a different type of deficit is created. Instead of starving yourself, the deficit comes from an increased metabolic rate and systemic up-regulation. Hormonal function is maintained, sanity restored and stubborn fat storage combated.

Armed with this knowledge, design yourself a program that combines each of the variables mentioned above. Stay committed to the mission, and in a few weeks' time, those love handles may not be such an impossible issue after all.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Questions Women Ask About Their Body

Q: I'm always starving after I work out, and then I eat more! What's going on?
A: The problem is probably the foods you're choosing, not your workout. A recent study of young women found that those who exercise and ate foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat yogurt and lean protein felt more satisfied, even hours after exercising, than those who ate a diet with more pasta, bagels, cheese, cookies and pizza. And while both groups ate approximately the same number of calories over the course of the day, the women who ate the healthier stuff lost more weight and body fat. Fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber and keeps hunger under control.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mila Kunis Eye Makeup

It's not hard to make Mila Kunis' eyes look amazing. She maybe has the most gorgeous peepers on the entire planet. But there's a trick she uses upon occasion to make them look a little bigger and more sultry at the same time.

Her eyeshadow is winged out and up past her eyes. This is an old-school trick that opens your eyes and makes them look like they extend a bit farther. And because it's done with dark shadow, it also adds a touch of smokiness that's pretty hot. A one-two punch, really.

All you do to pull this off is load up a tapered-tip eyeshadow brush (or a Q-Tip, if you don't have one) with some shadow and brush up as if you were following the line of your lower lid up toward your temples. Easy enough, right?

Source: Glamour

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Carbs That Boost Fat-Making

Carobhydrates provide essential blood sugar - glucose - which is the fuel used for energy production in the brain and every cell of the body. Glucose also helps maintain body temperature, digestion, movement, breathing, tissue repaire and immune system functions - so it's one of the most important compounds coursing through your body.

There are three basic types of carbohydrates, labeled according to the complexity of their molecular structure: monosaccharides (simplest), disaccharides and polysaccharides (most complex). Polysaccharides consist of many sugar units, bonded together by nature to form complex carbohydrates (starches).

Starches either may be left unrefined or may be refined, as happens when we process them to make certain foods. Unrefined complex carbohydrates come associated with lots of fiber, vitamines, minerals and other nutrients. Most of us need to eat more foods like whole-wheat bread and brown rice in order to get enough of these unrefined complex carbs in our diets.

By contrast, foods like white bread and white rice are both less filling and less nutritious because they have refined carbs. In the process of refining, such as the milling of wheat to make white flour, the fiber and many vitamins and minerals are lost. In general, unrefined complex carbs are gisted slowly and efficiently, providing a steady source of energy without the biochemical roller-coaster effect of concentrated sugars. Eating foods with complex carbs helps stabilize your sugar levels.

Refined white sugar - sucrose - tops the list of "empty calories", alone with its counterparts corn syrup, brown sugar, dextrose, maltose and cane syrup. High intake of refined sugar has been linked to a variety of health problems, including elevated levels of cholesterol and other blood fats, a deficiency in chromium, a trace mineral associated with heart disease and diabetes, and development of breast cancer. The simple sugar molecules in sucrose require very little digestion, entering the bloodstream and quickly raising blood sugar levels far above normal. In response, the body's insulin secretion mechanism is activated to remove the excess glucose from the blood, causing a downswing in sugar levels.

Even "natural sugar alternatives" such as maple syrup, honey and fruit juice are no panacea. The fact is, no sweetener used excessively is healthful.

Source: Low-Fat Living by Robert K. Cooper

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Beauty Questions

Q: I have oily skin. Should I moisturize my face?

A: Yes. Drying out oily skin sends a signal to your body to produce even more oil. Plus, most people are oily only in certain spots like the T-zone, so you risk drying out areas like your cheeks and chin if you pass on moisturizing. Look for an oil-free product and apply a dime-sized amount all over your face. You'll get a healthy dose of hydration without making you skin look slick.

Source: Health Magazine

Saturday, November 23, 2013

No-Tech Teeth Whitening

If you'd rather pass on the peroxide, check out these other options to whiten your smile.

Baking Soda - The refrigerator deodorizer also removes discoloration on your teeth. The abrasive particles polish the surface while a chemical reaction between baking soda and water lightens stains. You can damage your enamel with the scrubbing, so don't do it more than once a week. Just dip your toothbrush in the soda, or switch to a toothpaste that contains baking soda like Arm & Hammer.

Feel the Crunch - Foods that are high in cellulose, a strong starchlike compound found in celery, carrots and apples, act as natural abrasives, cleansing teeth and removing surface stains naturally. Greens such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce contain mineral compounds that form a film over the teeth so pigments from other foods can't stain.

Source: Men's Health

Friday, November 22, 2013

Save The Earth, Simply

Lower Your Water Heater from 140F to 120F - It will save 6-10% on your energy costs, and trim emissions of heat-trapping pollutants by as much as 10%.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Taylor Lautner: Don't Overwork Your Abs

Don't Overwork Your Abs
"A lot of guys hit their abs every time they hit the gym," says Yuam. "That's why so few of them have six-packs." Your abs are like any other muscle group, and the same rule of muscle building applies: Don't overwork them. Lautner targets his abs only 3 days a week and does a combination of exercises to work his entire core. "The result is a balanced, more detailed musculature," Yuam says. One of his favorite combinations is the hanging leg raise to reverse crunch, holding for 7 to 10 seconds. That works your whole core, preventing a muffin top.

Source: Men's Health

Monday, November 11, 2013

Is Your Hair Thinning?

Thinning Hair - Blame dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that in excess, lengthens the resting phase of your hair's growth cycles and eventually causes it to jump ship. In the a.m., apply a 5 percent minoxidil solution. Minoxidil is still the only over-the-counter product FDA-approved to help stop shedding and grow new hair. At night, spray on a product called FNS (Follicle Nutrient Serum). While it's not yet FDA approved, a study showing that the spray stopped hair loss in men after 3 weeks has prompted researchers to suggest giving it a try (It's $60, It contains a natural insulin substitute that allows nutrients to get into the cells of the follicles and stimulate hair growth.

Source: Men's Health

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kate Hudson's Beauty Rules

1. Embrace your inner thrillseeker. "I've bungee jumped, I travel a lot, but I've never been to the Scychelles. And I'd love to go to Thailand."

2. Use this goo everywhere. "I discovered Egyptian Magic about 14 years ago. My hair is straight in some places, curly in others. And a friend of mine was like 'You've got to get this stuff!'. I put it on my hair, my face, my body, my kids."

3. Stay natural. "I probably wouldn't do eyelash extensions or anything too experimental. I like to keep it simple."

4. Start with what's inside. "My mom's so great. She really is wonderful. The best beauty advice she's given me is that being happy always make you look a little bit better. Happiness is what she's most interested in for us and our bunch of boys."

5. Look Alive! "I'm the face of Allmay's Wake-Up collection. It feels cold on your skin, which is great. A makeup artist once told me that Paul Newman would dunk his face in ice water in the morning. Guys, They'd much rather stick their head in ice water than put makeup on. But I started doing it too!"

6. Doctor your products. "I mix exfoliator with cleanser to make it gentler. And when I wear lots of makeup, I use moisturizer underneath for that dewy look."

Source: Glamour

Monday, September 23, 2013

Beach Health Myths

Myth: You have to wait an hour after eating to swim

Truth: Yes, your stomach might protest with cramps and nausea if you hit the water right after eating a really big lunch, but a fully belly won't increase drowning risk. In fact, if you're swimming laps, a 100 calorie bite ten minutes beforehand will actually help fuel your workout.

Myth: Urinating on a jellyfish sting eases the pain

Truth: Pee won't help. Try vinegar; it deactivates the venom. As you pour, scrape off barbs with the edge of a credit card. Some stings are deadly. If you feel nauseated, head to the hospital.

Myth: Washing a cut in the ocean water will speed healing

Truth: Although clean salt water can kill many types of germs, the sea hosts a variety of bacteria. A very small number of which could cause infection if they were to get into an open wound. For that reason, you're better off rinsing a cut in clean tap or bottled water instead.

Source: Health Magazine

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Carbs and Blood Sugar

The right mix of carbs is the best way to control blood sugar and keep diabetes at bay. In one study at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Center at the USDA, participants who consumed a diet rich in high Resistant Starch foods were able to lower their post-meal blood sugar and insulin response by up to 38%.

Eat the carbs you want, but you need to combine them so that they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar. Instead of eating white rice, switch to brown and combine it with beans, corn, or other high Resistant Starch foods that keep your blood sugar more balanced than low-carb diets.

Source: Health Magazine

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Best Beauty Products

Body Moisturizer - Lubriderm Soothing Relief Lotion ($9; drugstores). This hydrator is great for dry skin brought on by psoriasis or eczema. Menthol makes it medicinal.

Body Cleanser - Nivea A Touch of Renewal Lathering Body Scrub ($4; This all-over body scrub works like an at-home peel. It won't leave you irritated, thanks to gentle microbeads.

Sunscreen for Body - L'Oreal Paris Sublime Sun Crystal Clear Mist Spray SPF 50+ ($11; most stores). The antioxidants don't just sit on the skin, they're absorbed beneath the surface for added protection.

Shampoo - Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light ($4; drugstores). This cleanser uses conditioning polymers, instead of heavy silicones, so there's no oily residue left behind.

Source: Health Magazine

Monday, August 26, 2013

Laser Hair Removal

Splurge: Laser Hair Removal
Tired of shaving yet? High time to invest in a laser hair-removal package—just make sure you’re an ideal candidate. “People of all skin tones can safely receive treatment and experience dramatic hair reduction, as long as the hair is dark and coarse,” says Liza Young, co-founder of Beam Laser Spa in New York City. “Laser hair removal will not work on blond or gray hair.”

Source: Glamour

Monday, August 19, 2013

Get Perfect Skin

How to Get Perfect Skin: Beat Those Blackheads
Even if you don’t have a bunch of pimples, clogged pores totally mess with your skin’s groove. Blackheads make pores look bigger and make your skin’s surface less smooth. One way to keep your complexion clear is to use a salicylic acid cleanser like Bioré Pore Unclogging Scrub, $8, so you’ll have a smoother canvas to work with for your makeup.

Source: Glamour

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


As the overachiever of minerals, calcium builds bones, helps with weight loss, and possibly decreases the risk of colon cancer. And a study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that 1,000 mg of supplemental calcium can increase HDL cholesterol by 7 percent. New research shows calcium supplements may increase prostate cancer risk, so men should aim to get calcium from dietary sources. (Two servings of dairy per day will fill your calcium need without increasing your risk).

Conditions: Bone strengthCancer riskCholesterolColon cancerWeight loss
Recommendations: Natural sources: Dairy products, broccoli, kale
Interactions & Side Effects: Antibiotics. Calcium may reduce your body's absorption of these bacteria-busters.

Source: Men's Health

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Migraines are often the result of blood vessel spasms in the brain that block oxygen flow. Feverfew—an herb grown in Europe—reduces these spasms by slowing the production of inflammatory compounds. When German scientists gave migraine sufferers 6 mg feverfew daily for 4 months, the frequency of their headaches was cut in half. Feverfew also helps reduce eczema inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis.  Other supplements that help migraines:  riboflavin (vitamin B-2), butterbur, and Coenzyme Q10.

Conditions: Migrainesk Skin, Bones
Recommendations: 50 to 150 mg daily
Interactions & Side Effects: Coumadin, Heparin, Aspirin or NSAIDs

Source: Men's Health

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

German Ancestors Suggest Pumpkin for Testosterone

The Amish used pumpkin seed to stimulate testosterone production and rid the intestines of parasites. While available as a dried seed, pill or powder, fresh pumpkin seed is preferred as a remedy. According to, raw, hulled seeds can stimulate the body's generation of testosterone in the body and may prevent impotence. The extract and seeds are rich in zinc, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A and B. reports that the seed texture helps kill and expel parasitic worms in the intestine. No published scientific studies exist to prove the folk remedy claims. Consult a doctor before using pumpkin seed for any malady.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Coconut Oil Instead of Sunscreen!

by Paul Fassa –

Summer time is beach time, or at least poolside time. But if you want some protection form the sun’s UV rays, don’t always reach for toxic sunscreens. Instead, pack some extra virgin coconut oil along with your beach towel and umbrella.

That’s right, the same extra virgin coconut oil found in your kitchen pantry will do the trick to protect your skin – minus the toxicity from health-compromising ingredients. Coconut oil has been used as an effective sunscreen for thousands of years by indigenous, pacific islanders. Why slather toxic chemicals on your body when you can use non toxic coconut oil instead?

There are two types of UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun: UVA and UVB. UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin damage from excessive sun exposure that can lead to cancer and skin aging. However, although UVB rays can also cause damage and sunburn, they are necessary for your body to produce its own cancer protective vitamin D via the skin.

Sunlight is by far the optimal way to produce your vitamin D. Blocking UVB rays may inadvertently be increasing your cancer risk by blocking vitamin D absorption. Plus, sunscreen causes cancer through carcinogenic ingredients.

Avoid Toxic Sunscreens

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) approximately 75% of commercial sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer and disrupt hormones.

Store bought sunscreens typically contain:

– Retinyl palmitate, a known skin cancer hazard.

– Oxybenzone, which disrupts hormones leading to cell damage and cancer.

– Zinc and titanium nanoparticles are in colorless sun screen lotions.

Those and other chemicals rubbed on your skin are readily absorbed into your bloodstream and can be just as unhealthy and toxic as an oral dose.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) Hoax 

An excerpt from a 2012 CNN article about sunscreens:

“The EWG said consumers should not purchase sunscreens with SPF greater than 50. SPF (sun protection factor) works by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays on the skin. It is very misleading to put high SPF numbers on labels because it gives consumers a false sense of security and doesn’t offer a lot more protection.”

While SPF 85 may sound like a lot more protection than SPF 30, the higher the number doesn’t always offer a higher return. Studies show that sunscreen with SPF 15 can block about 93% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97%. SPF 50 blocks 98%. The protective factors plateau from there.

“A product with SPF 100+ blocks about 99.1 percent of the UVB rays. You don’t really need a high number. They end up being expensive and don’t offer more protection than SPF 50. Keep in mind, SPF protects only against UVB rays.”

Coconut oil has an SPF of 10 which means 90% of beneficial vitamin D creating UBV rays are blocked. How many people know that SPF ratings do not indicate any protection from the highly damaging UVA rays?

Yet, the American Cancer Society advises to apply a generous amount of of toxic commercial sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and minimally every two hours thereafter, reapplying after being in the water, sweating, and towel drying.

Choose Coconut Oil for Sunscreen Instead

Daily exposure to the sun is essential to your overall health; it’s the overexposure that could cause some issues. Sunshine exposure is the best way for your body to create health protecting vitamin D. To protect against sunburn, use a non-toxic sunscreen like coconut oil or opt for a low-risk, safe sunscreen that doesn’t contain health-compromising ingredients.

Bruce Fife, ND, author of Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut Oil, explains that coconut oil applied on the skin protects against sunburn and cancer. Unlike sunscreen, unprocessed coconut oil doesn’t completely block the UVB rays that are necessary for vitamin D synthesis. It protects the skin and underlying tissues from damage excessive exposure can cause. Instead of burning or turning red, it produces a light tan, depending on the length of time you spend in the sun.

Fife asserts that “Consuming coconut oil also strengthens the skin and makes it more resilient and less prone to sunburn.” He warns against using hydrolyzed or processed oil. Just make sure the coconut oil is pure and not processed.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fat Blast

Slenderizing pasta - Make a tasty pasta with some black olive tapenade—it’s got intense flavor, so you won’t need a lot, and the anthocyanins in dark olives will help slenderize your tummy. Toss with linguine for resistant starch, and throw in a few toasted pine nuts for crunch. (trio top left)

Good-for-you-dip - To create this tasty dip, (Bottom right) purée a can of white beans (loaded with fiber and resistant starch), with jarred artichokes (more fiber) and olive oil (to add some fat-fighting monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs). Serve with crudités.

Source: Health Magazine

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Sun: Friend or Foe?

Why That Golden Globe Hurts So Good

During that brief moment when experts seemed to be suggesting it was perfectly fine to skip the SPF in the name of scoring a healthy amount of vitamin D, many people reveled in the return of their greatest and guiltiest pleasure: a day in the sun. Sure, part of it was about the pure joy of soaking up those rays. But another part of it was about the way a tan makes you feel: younger, slimmer, and sexier.

That sense of well-being isn't your imagination. There are plenty of health benefits to being outdoors. Research suggests the sun have both psychological and physical benefits, improving skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema, combating depression and anxiety, improving sleep quality, boosting immunity, and even enhancing blood circulation. So is it really possible to spend an afternoon at th ebach without feeling like you're committing a crime? As long as you're protected. Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30, a protective hat, and try to avoid the sun at midday when rays are at their strongest.

Many of us still aren't serious enough about sun safety. At least that's the finding of a Harris Interactive survey of almost 2,400 adults. Though nearly half reported becoming more vigilant about using sunscreen in the past 5 years, only a paltry 300 respondents said they apply it daily--a dangerously low number, considering we get the bulk of our sun exposure while running errands or driving our cars and not while at the beach. This cumulative exposure has been linked to the development of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Obviously, there's a lot to know about sun protection. What you don't know can hurt you and your family.

Source: Men's Health

Thursday, June 13, 2013

8 Deadly Chemicals In Your Beauty Products

We're far from powdering our faces with lead-based powder and painting our lips with mercuric sulfide like we did in the Victorian Era, but how much safer are today's beauty products? Today, beauty products are more like chemistry experiments. They're loaded with chemicals that have no business being on — or in — our bodies. 

Aside from labeling requirements, regulation over the beauty industry is minimal at best. Currently, there is no federal law that requires companies to test personal care products for safety prior to marketing them to the public. This lack of regard for public safety means that just about anything is ending up in your facial cream. It is up to us, as consumers, to make informed decisions about what goes on our skin, in our hair, and into our bodies. In this article I'll list some of the most problematic toxins found in everyday, conventional beauty products.

1. Parabens

Parabens are synthetic preservatives. They're found in shampoos, conditioners, styling products, soaps, body washes, lotions, shaving creams and gels, makeup, and toothpaste. Whew!

The cosmetic industry strongly believes that parabens are safe. On the contrary, studies have shown that they're linked to many acute and chronic health problems. Some of these health problems are: allergies, skin toxicity, biochemical changes in the body, developmental and reproductive disorders, endocrine disruption, tissue irradiation and organ toxicity, and cancer. Furthermore, parabens can be hazardous to the environment.

Labeled as:
  • Paraben
  • Butylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Methylparaben
  • Propylparaben
2. Phthalates (Fragrance)

Phthalates are used to soften plastic. They're in adhesives, building materials, films, pesticides and perfumes. Perfumes and colognes, hair care products, hair color, deodorants — virtually all conventional beauty products — contain phthalates. They're typically used as solvents and to make fragrances last longer, and they may be disguised on the label as “fragrance.” Very sneaky! In both humans and animals, phthalates are linked to bioaccumulation, which means they become trapped in the body FOREVER. Other potential health problems include: cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, organ toxicity, birth defects, neurotoxicity and neurological disorders. Not only are phthalates toxic to the body, they're hazardous to the environment.

3. Sulfates

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are inexpensive chemicals used to create lather. Sulfates will be found in anything that lathers. That’s right — you're being exposed to a toxin just so you can have bubbles in your soap. Stripping the skin of its natural oils, these chemicals can make it feel as dry as leather that's been left in the sun for far too long. Sulfates also increase penetration of the skin’s surface, thus, allowing even more toxins to easily enter the body. 

4. Ethylenedimine and Tetraacetic Acid (EDTA)

EDTA is used as a stabilizer. That's a nifty trick, but it also means that EDTA is very stable itself and doesn't biodegrade even in water treatment plants. EDTA’s chelating, or binding, effect can cause all kinds of problems in our waterways because it can remobilize heavy metal sediments and have environmental effects. It's linked with skin irritations, allergies, contact dermatitis, reproductive and fetal effects, and kidney damage. YIKES!

5. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is the carcinogenic chemical present in most embalming fluids — fluids used to temporarily preserve dead bodies. It's also found in most beauty products. Ew. More than likely it won't be found on the product label. There are even some preservatives that are capable of releasing formaldehyde. Preservatives can be exposed to formaldehyde during processing, or they can be part of a chemical reaction that, in turn, produces this nasty substance. 

The most common formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are:
  • Diazolidinyl urea
  • Imidazolidinyl urea
  • Dimethyl-dimethyl hydantoin
  • Quaternium-15
  • Bronopol
6. Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is one efficient multitasker! Not only does it work to maintain moisture in the skin, it's a key ingredient in embalming and brake fluids, and it's used as a solvent in the plastics industry. Propylene glycol is also known as antifreeze, a de-icing solution for roads, planes, cars and boats. Exposure may have a negative effect on cell growth; it's been linked to skin allergies, and it can cause permanent damage to the surface of the skin. It's safe to say that propylene glycol is not the best solution for skin care. Skin creams are supposed to improve the condition of your skin, not damage it! 

7. Toluene

Toluene is an additive used as a solvent in nail polish and some hair coloring products. An unnerving characteristic of toluene is its deceptively sweet smell. This chemical is considered a volatile organic compound (VOC), and it has the potential to cause various health problems. Severe irritation to eyes, lungs, and skin, damage to the central nervous system (CNS), kidney and liver damage, developmental and birth defects are all health problems known to be associated with toluene exposure.

8. Talc

Talc is the primary ingredient in baby powder. It can be found in deodorants, cosmetics and sunscreens. This commonly used substance is seemingly harmless; however, it's often contaminated by asbestos — a known carcinogen. Talc by itself is also believed to be linked to cancer.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lautner Abs: Swiss Ball Pikes

Swiss Ball Pikes
Assume a pushup position with your arms completely straight (your hands should be slightly wider than, and in line with, your shoulders). Rest your shins on a Swiss ball so that your body forms a straight line from your head to your ankles. Without bending your knees, roll the Swiss ball toward your body by raising your hips as high as you can. Pause, then return the ball to the starting position by lowering your hips and rolling the ball backward. Do three to four sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Source: Men's Health

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Fitness Model... and a Diabetic

John Angelesco is a part-time model living with Type 1 Diabetes. Double majoring in Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, he still has time for mud runs. With nutrition and exercise constantly being a concern for people with unstable insulin levels, I jumped at the opportunity to get his perspective and any advice to others struggling with the same issue.

 "My exercise plan consists of a 5 or 6 day workout routine for about 2-3 hours. Usually comprising of 3 days on and 1 day off. What I do in the gym everyday is a rotation of muscle group training. That is (1) Back & Biceps, (2) Chest & Triceps, (3) Shoulders, and (4) Legs. Along with that, I do shorter abdominal exercises for around 20-30 minutes, then some type of cardio exercise burning 200 calories.

From a diabetic standpoint, before going to the gym I always make sure I eat any type of breakfast. I would eat enough so I wont feel empty stomached, but not too much to feel bloated. I bring a couple Gatorades every time to make sure I have something to drink if/when my blood sugar goes low. Also make sure I have enough strips and lancets in my meter and insulin in my pump to get me through my time at the gym. Next it depends on whether you take any muscle supplements (pre or intra workout) because some contain carbohydrates. For instance, I recently took an intra workout that contained 40g of carbohydrate in each serving, so before my workout I checked my blood and put in 40g to cover for carbohydrates. Same situation goes for your post workout protein if any contain carbohydrates or not.

When working out, I bring my meter with me to my workout area where I do free weight exercises, then to each machine I use. I usually check about 5 times average. Which are (1) at the beginning, (2) mid weight workout, (3) post weight workout, (4) pre cardio, (5) post cardio. Then of course, if I feel like my blood sugar is low or high I check more. When low I would feel shaky, sweating more than usual, and weak. When high, I usually feel more lethargic, sleepy eye feeling, and have to go to the bathroom.

 For my meals/snacks, I eat all foods that are healthy for you. I eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, then other things like peanut butter crackers and granola bars. Vegetables and chicken are popular dinners of mine that I frequently eat. Also some lunches I make are turkey clubs on whole wheat bread for healthy sandwiches. Leading up to bedtime, for snacks its good to eat peanut butter because it’s a good stabilizer for the blood sugar. So I would eat a banana or apple and slab some peanut butter on it for each bite. Then every night I drink my casein protein shake, which helps muscle recovery/growth for the slow acting proteins."

 There you have it. John recently created a modeling page on Facebook. Check him out, LIKE and SHARE!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Stay In The Game

Control Inflammation
Supplement: Bromelain
Daily amount: 120 milligrams (mg)

"It's almost like putting a chemical cold pack on a bruise or sprain," says Chris Foley, M.D., a professor at the University of Minnesota college of pharmacy. Extremely safe and inexpensive, bromelain has been shown to reduce swelling, bruising, healing time, and pain following physical injuries. A 2002 British study found that it relieved mild knee pain as well.

Shore Up Weak Tissue
Supplement: Glucosamine sulfate
Daily amount: 1,500 mg

Think of it as adding cement to a creaky foundation, says David Grotto, R.D., director of nutrition at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care. Glucosamine creates polymers called glucosaminal glycans (GAG) that build and strengthen the tissues, preventing tears. Try pairing it with chondroitin, which promotes GAG formation and inhibits degradation enzymes in connective tissue.

Source: Men's Health

Sunday, May 26, 2013

What Healthy Really Looks Like

White tongue? Blue fingers? Green pee?

Those seemingly random color changes are actually a mirror reflecting what's going on inside of you, and they can warn you that a problem's brewing. "Even with all of the high-tech equipment we have today, color is still a very valuable diagnostic tool," says Marc I. Leavey, M.D., a primary care physician with Mercy Health Services in Baltimore. "Looking at changes in skin and body fluids helps doctors identify many underlying conditions, just like healers did thousands of years ago."

Eyes - Whites should be bright white if you're fair or off-white to beige if you have dark skin. A yellow shade to the whites of your eyes points to jaundice, a sign your blood's overly saturated with bilirubin. This substance is created as old red blood cells are broken down by the liver, which then helps the bilirubin exit your body via stool. Bilirubin might stick around if your liver's having trouble doing its job (because of diseases like hepatitis) or if a blockage is preventing bile from traveling from the liver to the intestines. See your doctor immediately to figure out what's wrong.

If eyes are bright red in the white part of one eye and it doesn't hurt, and your vision is fine, it's a burst blood vessel. It should go away in a day or so. If it doesn't, see an opthalmologist -- you may have an infection or a rare condition such as glaucoma, a disease that affects the optic nerve and impairs your sight.

Tongue - Your tongue should be a rosy pink. White patches inside your tongue and cheeks means you probably have an oral yeast infection called thrush, which is easily remedied with a prescription medication. But since a white patch could be as harmless as a canker sore or as threatening as a cancerous lesion, you should have a doctor take a look at it if it's been in your mouth longer than two weeks. Black tongue? Bismuth-- the active ingredient in peptobismol, can blacken the tongue. Haven't taken any? Bacteria that pools on the tongue due to poor dental hygiene, diabetes or antibiotic use can darken it as well.

Pale pink to white lips - You could be anemic, meaning that you're low on iron, vitamin B12, or folate. There are many causes of anemia, though-- including heavy periods, fibroids, and even taking too much aspirin or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to ID any underlying problems before trying to treat them yourself with supplements.

Source: Health Magazine

What Healthy Really Looks Like Pt. 2

Skin - If your skin is a yellow-orange color, it may be a condition called carotenemia, a result of overeating foods rich in the pigment beta-carotene, like sweet potatoes and carrots. If your eyes are yellow too, you're probably jaundiced. Black smudges around your neck, knees, armpits, fingers or toes are a sign you should get your blood sugar checked. These discolorations called acanthosis nigricans can be harmless side effects of oral contraceptives or hormone replacements, but they can also be a sign of pre-diabetes.

Brown splotches is probably melasma, which develops when high levels of estrogen turbocharge the color-making cells called malanocytes. Estrogen-based contraceptives can cause this, as well as pregnancy. Darker skin is more susceptible because its color-producing skin cells are more responsive to light than the ones in fairer skin. Your dermatologist may suggest switching to a contraceptive that doesn't contain estrogen and using sunscreen with a mineral block like zinc oxide or titanium oxide -- unlike many chemical sunscreens, these block the entire light spectrum to prevent further darkening. Lightening creams, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser treatments can help lighten any dark patches you've already got.

White patches could be new skin forming after a wound that you've had in those spots. Otherwise, see your dermatologist in case it's vitiligo (autoimmune disorder) or tinea versicolor (overgrowth of a yeast that lives in sebaceous glands). Pinkish-red across the cheeks, nose and chin may be rosacea, a skin condition that dilates blood vessels and especially affects fair-skinned people.

Fingers and Nails - Fingers should be the same color as the rest of the skin on your body. Nails are clear. Brown/black streaks on your nail? If it's a splotch, you probably bruised your finger. But, any mark that starts at the cuticle and runs the length of the nail should be seen by a dermatologist. It could mean melanoma. It's rare for fair-skinned people to get this form of cancer under their nails, but up to 40 percent of melanomas in darker-skinned people can be found there. Bluish-white fingers that later turn red? You may have Raynaud's disease, meaning the blood vessels in your fingers spasm, cutting off circulation in your digits. This usually happens when you're cold or stressed. Once the vessels relax, they turn pink to red as the blood rushes back in. Raynaud's is often connected with injury or autoimmune conditions such as scleroderma and lupus, so see your doc if this is a problem for you.

Source: Health Magazine

Friday, May 17, 2013

Questions Women Ask About Their Body

Q: Are there any exercises to make my A-cup chest bigger?
A: No -- your breasts are fat, not muscle. There is nothing to tone. Try strengthening your back muscles with bent-over dumbbell rows or reverse flies. Working your back will give you amazing posture, so you'll stand up straighter, chest out. Too many push-ups and chest flies can flatten out your breasts.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Russian Cure for Sore Throat

To combat a child's sore throat, Russian mothers bring a cup of milk to a gentle boil and stir in 2 tbsp. honey, then serve the concoction warm. According to The World's Healthiest Foods, honey has proven antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities. Another honey-based folk remedy calls for 3 tsp. of honey with 1 tbsp. each of finely-chopped onion and grated apples. According to Russian Foods, a third Russian folk remedy recommends grating beets and squeezing out the juice until you have 8 oz., then adding 1 tbsp. vinegar. Gargle with the mixture five times a day.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Back Facial

Splurge: the Bacial (a.k.a. Back Facial)
Who wants to wear a backless dress if your back is littered with bacne blemishes? Ensure that hard-to-reach area is always flawless and dress-ready by booking a back facial service, which generally includes a deep cleanse, a mask, exfoliation, extractions and a tranquilizing neck-and-shoulder massage.

Source: Glamour

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Men: Shaving Routine

Now that you have more choices than Barbasol and a Bic, the products and process can be overwhelming. Here's what you need to know.

1. Exfoliate - For thirty seconds. This removes dead skin cells and lifts stubble.

2. Prepare - For thirty seconds. A few drops of preshave oil are essential if you have more than a day's growth. (Anthony logistics pre-shave oil.

3. Lather - For two minutes. A brush is best for lifting whiskers. If you want to go hands-on, just make sure you've really massaged the foam into your beard.

4. Shave - The best razor is one that lets you use a light stroke so you don't push down too hard and risk causing nicks.

5. Repair - Did you nick yourself? Use a naturally medicated stone that contains healing alum and potassium.

6. Moisturize - Leave your face a little damp and massage in a bit of moisturizer or aftershave to seal in the moisture. It'll keep you from looking old prematurely.

7. Restore - Once a week, use a natural clay mask to calm shaving irritation with minerals and oils.

Source: Men's Health

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Need to Lose Water Weight?

Are you about to get your photos taken or need to slip into a dress that you had fitted about three months ago? Are you bloated and need a quick fix?

How to Lose Water Weight Quickly

By Karen Frazier
Nutrition Counselor
Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN

If you're retaining fluids, you may be wondering how to lose water weight quickly so that your clothes fit comfortably. For the average person, water comprises about 70 percent of total body weight. Muscle tissue contains about 75 percent water, while body fat holds around 50 percent water.

Retaining excess fluids can leave you feeling bloated and puffy. If this is the case for you, it might surprise you to learn that diet can contribute to considerable fluid retention. Factors contributing to the retention of fluids include the following:

Inadequate protein
Insufficient amino acids or B-vitamins

If your doctor has ruled out a medical condition and you are looking for a safe, natural way to lose water weight quickly, there are natural foods and herbs which offer diuretic properties. However, even though these "remedies" to water weight gain are natural, you should always use them with caution and moderation.

Natural Diuretic Aids
Many natural substances can serve as diuretic aids. suggests reducing salt and eating more fruits and vegetables. According to Natural Diuretics, other natural diuretics include the following:

Apple cider vinegar (maintains potassium levels)
Celery seed
Cranberry juice
Green tea
Dandelion leaf tea (also helps in detoxification and urinary tract infections)
Juniper berries

Diuretic Foods
Eating foods which have high water content is another way to increase the elimination of excess fluid retention. Other foods contain elements that boost kidney performance. You might want to try some of the following:

Brussels sprouts
Tomatoes (also aid metabolism)
Along with these foods, garlic is another tasty solution if you're looking for how to lose water weight quickly. Animal studies show that it is not only to a natural diuretic food, but it also aids in the fat breakdown.

Diuretic Beverages
Several beverages also have a diuretic effect:

Coke (While the caffeine works as a diuretic, Coke can also wreak havoc with your sugar levels and cause bloating.)
It is also important to note that some studies show a connections between caffeine and weight gain due to increased insulin resistance.

Diuretics for Edema

If your body tends to accumulate excess fluids, it's best to see your doctor to learn the cause. Diuretics are often prescribed to help those suffering from edema (accumulation of fluids in the body tissues).

Medical Reasons Contributing to Edema
A visit to your doctor can determine whether there is an underlying medical condition causing your edema. Although edema can be harmless, it is also a common symptom for the following medical conditions:

High blood pressure
Heart disease
Kidney conditions
Liver conditions including cirrhosis of the liver
Nephrotic Syndrome
PMS symptoms such as bloating
Thyroid condition
Taking a diuretic aids the body in getting rid of excess fluid retention. However, using diuretics indiscriminately when trying to lose weight can lead to other serious consequences like dehydration, electrolyte imabalances, and potassium deficiency. The overuse of natural diuretics and laxatives may also lead to an eating disorder.

Making a Plan to Lose Water Weight

If you suffer from PMS symptoms like bloating and headaches and want to lose water weight quickly while steering clear of prescribed diuretics, make a diet plan that follows these guidelines:

Avoid sugary food.
Avoid salt and high sodium foods.
Drink plenty of water.
Drink herbal teas.
Eat small amounts of starchy carbohydrates.
Include the foods and herbs listed above and eat fruits and vegetables.
Adding these herbs and foods to your diet can help alleviate water retention, but if you decide to take a diuretic supplement, it is important to understand that they should not be taken for more than a few days. This is because necessary minerals and nutrients may also be flushed from your system along with the unwanted water weight. Instead, make a healthy diet plan incorporating these foods and be sure to add exercise to your daily routine.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Most Eco-Friendly Shampoos

Your brief guide for safe and eco-friendly shampoos.
A couple of years ago, EcoSalon’s Beauty Editor Kathie Butler posted the (much-read, oft-shared) piece Best Organic, Natural and Eco-Friendly Shampoos for All Hair Types. Who doesn’t want the scoop on better hair products? Well, we have an update for you, below. But first, a note on what has changed—and what hasn’t—in the world of “natural” shampoos.
“Sustainable” cosmetics are the fastest growing segment of the industry. But many companies are using claims like “natural,” “organic,” and “sustainable” without walking the walk. This is called greenwashing. Look for meaningful certifications as one way to back up eco-friendly claims.
And keep in mind that natural doesn’t necessarily equal safe. Personal care products are still the least regulated consumer products on the market. Many companies use harmful ingredients in shampoo and other products we use all the time. This is perfectly legal because of a seriously outdated cosmetics law (from 1938). Environmental health groups like the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group are educating consumers about toxic exposures, and increasingly, people are reading ingredient labels, using the Skin Deep database, and asking companies hard questions about what’s in the products they are putting on their bodies every day.  A lot of companies are responding—check out this list of Safe Cosmetics “Champion” and “Innovator” companies.
I encourage you to learn more about this issue and support the groups working for market and regulatory change. And now, the carefully complied list of some of the best safe, green, effective and enjoyable shampoos:
Best Overall
My colleagues in the safe and green cosmetics world are raving about Acure. The company is committed to using safe ingredients that are pro-customer and pro-planet. Acure uses revolutionary plant stem cell technology coupled with some of my favorite ingredients—avocado, lemongrass, quinoa protein, acai and argan oil.
$11 for 12 oz
John Masters
John Masters Organics’ Lavender Rosemary Shampoo is a “best of” list mainstay, and for good reason. This shampoo doesn’t have a lot of foam action, but the scent, the lightweight feel, and the high quality ingredients don’t leave anyone missing the lather.
$16 for 8oz
Desert Essence – Red Raspberry Shampoo
This is a great shampoo for people looking for the conventional shampoo elements (lather, fragrance, clarity), without the toxic chemicals.  You’re left with clean, shiny hair that has not been stripped of its own oils.
$9 for 8oz
Best Balancing
Hugo’s Naturals- Tea Tree & Lavender
This shampoo is a favorite of mine—it’s light, smells lovely, and really does help to balance. The company says they use “gentle ingredients that effectively cleanse the hair and scalp and reduce flakiness without stripping away natural moisture.” And that is just how it feels.
$10 for 12oz
Max Green Alchemy – Scalp Rescue Shampoo
Max Green Alchemy was founded on the principle that natural should really be natural, and that hair care products should be safe. This shampoo contains botanicals, vitamins and essential oils to soothe your scalp and reduce itchiness and dandruff. Everyone I know who has tired it, likes it.
$15 for 8.8oz
Best For Curly
My friends with waves and curls of all kinds recommend Aubrey Organics—Honeysuckle Rose is a favorite, and White Camellia Ultra-Smoothing Shampoo too. Check out their hair type matrix. Aubrey has an impressive list of certifications, including USDA Organic, NPA and BDIH.
$11 for 11oz
Best Luxury
Rare Elements – Pure Shampoo
Looking for a cleansing experience that is a “journey,” including visits from an African watermelon seed oil, nutrient-rich Black Seed and moisture boosting Marula oil? Then Rare Elements is for you. My makeup artist friend Christy Coleman loves it for her long, often dehydrated hair.
$34 for 8.5oz
Rahua – Voluminous Shampoo
This body-building shampoo contains lemongrass, green tea and rainforest oils. The company says “for centuries, women from the Quechua-Shuar tribes have traveled deep into the Amazon rainforest to prepare a highly potent, restorative oil they call Rahua (ra-wa) – believing it to be the secret to their thick, flowing, lustrous hair.”
Full disclosure: I have yet to try it, but the reviews from friends and hair product junkies are positively glowing.
$32 for 9.3 oz
Best All-in-One
Intelligent Nutrients – Certified Organic Total Body Cleanser
Intelligent Nutrients is the brainchild of the founder of Aveda (which sold to Estee Launder years ago). IN is whole-heartedly committed to making nontoxic, nutrient rich products that are a joy to use. When raw ingredients are not available through the organic certified system, they go the extra mile to materials verified to ensure good growing conditions and safety. This product does it all—cleans from head to toe, reducing shower clutter and packaging waste. (But note: it is not recommended for color-treated hair.)
$29 for 6.7oz
Best for Babies
Earth Mama Angel Baby – Top of Form
The base of this product is a gentle, real castile soap, with added calendula, zero toxins, and no artificial fragrance. A multitasking product for kids, and the whole family.
$10 5.3oz
Best Bar Shampoos
Herban Lifestyle
Interested in washing your hair with a shampoo bar? Then try this one. Herban Lifestyle is a small, woman-owned company doing the right thing. This shampoo contains seven ingredients, costs eight bucks, and will last you up to 60 washes.  Awesome.
$8 for 4oz bar
Best Dry Shampoo
LuLu Organics
An organic, talc-free hair powder to use between washes, or when you need a little refreshing. A favorite of hair product mavens.
$30 for 4oz
Be Green Bath & Body
A straight-forward, super simple product to extend time between washes (and thus prevent stripping hair of natural oils). This is a tiny company committed to safety, and to making affordable products.
$6 for 4 oz
Best DIY Tips
By now you’ve probably heard of people going “no poo,” and others whipping up hair products in their kitchens. Check out these DIY hair tips from makeup artist Todra Payne (including natural, nutrient-rich cleansers like Bentonite clay and coconut oil).
Happy cleansing!
Mia Davis is the former Organizing Director for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and is a founding member of the American Sustainable Business Council’s Workgroup for Women & Business. Mia recently joined a team of social entrepreneurs who will launch BeautyCounter, a company that will bring chic products and higher safety standards to the beauty industry, in Winter 2013.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Worst Fast Food Breakfast

Worst Fast Food Breakfast
Burger King BK Ultimate Breakfast Platter
1,310 calories
72 g fat (26 g saturated, 1 g trans)
2,490 mg sodium

Platters are meant to feed groups, not individuals. But serving size isn't the King's only flagrant foul. He hacks away at your arteries with buttered eggs, fried potatoes, gristly sausage, and a trans fat-filled biscuit. (And we're not even talking about the diabetic debacle that is the pile of pancakes and syrup.) You'd better have run 12 miles before queuing up for this breakfast at BK. That's what it would take for the average person to burn through this platter's 1,300 calories.

Source: Eat This, Not That

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Get Perfect Skin

How to Get Perfect Skin: Don’t Sleep in Your Makeup
Your mom was right: You need to wash your face before bedtime! Aside from leaving your pillow mess-free, having clean skin while you sleep helps keep pores clear—meaning fewer pimples and blackheads. Feeling lazy? Cleansing wipes like Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes, $6, make cleansing your face too easy to skip.

Source: Glamour

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vichy Shower

Skip Buying: the Vichy Shower
We’re not sure we can fully appreciate the novelty behind paying to take a powerful shower. Instead, why not upgrade your home with a tricked out, state-of-the-art, pulsating massaging showerhead that you can enjoy every single day?

Source: Glamour

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Britney Spears' Newest Fragrance

Britney Spears launches her new fragrance named Island Fantasy in April 2013. The fragrance belongs to the popular line of sweet perfumes. The line includes the original Fantasy from 2005, Midnight Fantasy from 2006, Hidden Fantasy from 2008 and Circus Fantasy from 2009.

The scent is announced as a tropical island getaway, made of floral and fruity aromas. It opens with a cocktail of citruses, mandarin, clementine, red berries and watermelon. Flowers of jasmine, violet and freesia exceed the lower notes of musk and sugar cane.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chinese Cure for Colds

Ginger is a popular cold remedy around the world, and it takes center stage in this hot and healing citrus drink. Cut a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger into small pieces and mash them down with the side of a knife. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup (or more) of water to a low boil and add ginger pieces; simmer for 20 minutes. Now add the rind of 1 organic orange, chopped into pieces, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat, strain and serve; if the taste is too strong, add a touch of honey to sweeten it up.

Source: Organic Authority

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

5 Hidden Acne Causes

You break out when you're swamped at work, but is that the cause? Could it be the extra junk food you've been eating as a result of the stress? Maybe you've been in the sun too much? The point is, there are a lot of myths surrounding pimples. We looked at the research and talked to experts to uncover these surprising reasons your skin may not be as smooth as it could be.

Dairy - A study published the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that boys who consumed two or more servings of milk a day were the most likely to have acne. The researchers believe this applies to older men, too. "Just one cup of milk can cause breakouts", says Adnan Nasir, M.D., Men's Health dermatology adviser. If you break out frequently, opt for almond milk. Try this for two months and see if it makes a difference.

Carbohydrates - Researchers gave men a face cleanser and assigned them one of two 12-week diets: one high in carbohydrates and one high in protein, vegetables, and whole grains. Both groups saw a decrease in the number of pimples, bu the high-protein dieters had double the drop. The researchers believe increased insulin can cause inflammation in the skin and lead to breakouts. Cut down on the sugar and switch to whole grains.

Not Enough Omega-3's - A 250-gram supplement of EPA (The omega-3 found in sardines) reduced the number of pimples in a study published in Lipids in Health and Disease. "Inflammatory chemicals increase the production of sebum. Omega-3s prevent these chemicals from making sebum, which is known to cause acne," says Alan Logan, N.D., an independent researcher.

Stress - Research shows that stress triggers the release of steroid hormones, like glucocorticoids and adrenal androgens, known to cause acne by activating the oil glands and clogging pores. A Standford University study even found that college students had more breakouts during exams, when they reported more stress.

Too Much Sun - Over several years, sun exposure may increase your skin's oil production. If you're fair skinned, five to ten years living in a sunny climate as an adult can make you more susceptible to acne. So, choose your sunscreen wisely. Try picking sunscreen that is dissolved in alcohol instead of plant oils. "The alcohol will evaporate and only the protection is left behind," says Dr. Nasir.

Source: Men's Health

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fat Loss Mistakes: Four Reasons You're Not Lean

I’ll be honest. I’m not a fat loss “expert.” I also don’t think most people need a fat loss expert. What they need is a straightforward, no-frills approach to fat loss. Check out the physiques of the folks inside your local Walmart or grocery store, even your gym. How many are so elite that they need strategies to get from 6% to 4% body fat? Compare that with the number that could benefit from simply dropping 20-30 pounds, or might be looking to get into single digit body fat for the first time in their life?

That’s what I thought.

This piece is about in the trenches, real world fat loss strategies. And while there’s nothing new about what I’m about to present, I’d implore you to focus on mastering these basic tools first, before worrying about the minutia.
To that end, here are the biggest reasons why you aren’t getting results from your current fat loss program, along with practical strategies you can use to start seeing a difference today!

A Quick Primer

When it comes to fat loss programs, I’m a huge advocate of alternating upper body and lower body exercises in a superset fashion. For example, do a set of squats (lower body), rest for an allotted period of time, and then do a set of chin-ups (upper body).

You can use any approach you like, but this example will be used throughout this article.

Reason #1 – Crappy exercise selection and lack of intensity

In the real world, great exercises are great exercises. Big exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, push-ups, pull-ups, rows, and single-leg work are great regardless of your goals. So why is it when people want to lose fat, they spend more time wussing out on the big exercises?Look, fat loss programs flat out suck. Try doing a heavy set of 8-12 squats, resting 60-90 seconds, and then following that up with a big compound press or pull. Rest 60-90 more seconds, and then repeat that sequence 2-3 more times.

Feel like throwing up yet?

If you aren’t really uncomfortable in your fat loss efforts, you’re not working hard enough. And beyond just crappy exercise selection, most people trying to drop lard don’t work hard, period. They assume that since their reps are higher they don’t need to use as much load. While you definitely won’t be using as much weight as you would on say a 5-rep max, many take this to a wussifying extreme.

Regardless of whether your goal is strength, hypertrophy, fat loss, etc., you have to push the weights. In fat loss programs, if you’re supposed to be doing sets of 10 reps and you could’ve done 15 or 20 reps, you need to get your ass in gear and pile on some poundage.
The Fix:

The first two supersets of your workout should make you cringe.

I like to start every fat loss session off with two big supersets, something like this:

1A) Squat Variation
1B) Horizontal Pull
2A) Posterior Chain or Single-Leg Work
2B) Horizontal Press
Another workout could look like this:
1A) Deadlift Variation
1B) Vertical Pull
2A) Posterior Chain or Single-Leg Work
2B) Vertical Press

So big exercises, and pushing the weights are critical. This leads me right into my next point…

Reason #2 – Your rest periods are out of whack

When it comes to fat loss, we know that rest periods are important. But again, there’s a big difference between knowing they’re important, and actually sticking to them. I see two issues frequently – men take too much time between sets, while women take too little time. Guys are notorious for taking their sweet time when training. They’re supposed to rest 60 seconds, but then they have to get some water, load the bar, ogle the hot chick on the stretching mats, or a host of other things. Next thing you know, it’s been 2-3 minutes and they still haven’t started the second exercise in their superset yet! Is it any wonder they’re still fat? Women, on the other hand, are notorious for chasing the “burn,” and they look like perpetual motion machines gone wrong.

Instead of taking 30, 60 or even 90 seconds in between their sets, they’ll bounce from exercise to exercise, taking as little rest as possible. I’m all for training density – doing more work in less time. It can be a powerful tool. But not if you use it exclusively, or while ignoring other valuable training methods. Think about what happens if you never rest. What you’re doing is trading exercise intensity for training density.

The Fix:

Time your rest periods! Put your headphones on, take a stopwatch to the gym, and become militant about your rest periods. Guys, get serious about your routine and stop dicking around. It’s time to dial it in and do the work! For fat loss, rest intervals are as important a training parameter as the weight on the bar, so respect it as such. Ladies, rest is important. If you want to maximize your results, there comes a time and place to increase your intensity. Take the allotted amount of rest and push the weights.

Reason #3 – Your Diet is Garbage

The basics of diet aren’t that complicated. We’re not going to talk about macronutrient splits, nutrient timing, or any other complicated stuff. We’re going to look at the basics, and why most people fail miserably in their efforts to shed body weight and/or body fat. I can’t tell you how many times people have come to me muttering something along these lines:

“My diet is great but I just can’t lose weight.”

“I eat so clean – I think I must have a hormonal imbalance.”

“My mom and dad are overweight. I just have bad genetics.”

Sure, there are legitimate reasons why some people can’t lose body weight and/or body fat. Unfortunately, most just like to make excuses and play the victim rather than put in the work necessary to achieve their goals.

My new strategy is to have any clients who want to use an excuse perform two exercises first. If they do both of the following and still aren’t losing body fat, then we can explore deeper-seeded issues.


If you’re not willing to write down everything you eat and drink for at least 7 days, I’m not willing to accept your excuse that you can’t lose weight. Period. About a year ago, a female came into the gym to start training. She told me that she was eating pretty clean, and yet was still unable to lose weight. I gave her the challenge – write down everything you eat and drink for the next 5 days (I was nicer and less annoyed back then). The result? She became immediately more conscious of what she was eating and as a result she lost six pounds over five days by simply understanding all the garbage she was inhaling!

A diet history is a powerful tool. Unfortunately, our grasp of serving sizes these days is totally skewed. So if they do the diet history and we still can’t find any glaring issues, we add another wrinkle. Take a 7-Day Diet History, Weighing and Measuring ALL Foods

Do you have any idea what three ounces of chicken really looks like? What about two tablespoons of ranch dressing or peanut butter? Or how much a serving of pasta is?

Most people don’t, and it’s absolutely impeding their fat and weight loss goals.

Another client was in the midst of a 200-pound weight loss when he came to us. (Yes, this guy went from 400+ to just a little over 200 pounds over a five year period!) When he was with us, one of the biggest changes he made was consistently making better food choices. Instead of snacking on chips or pretzels, he moved to a healthier alternative: almonds. The issue was that almonds are incredibly calorie dense, and he had no clue how many he was actually eating. Instead of eating one serving, he was eating three, four, even five servings as a snack!

Once he reined this in and focused on weighing and measuring his foods, he broke through a plateau and saw some great changes in his scale weight.

The Fix:

Weigh and measure all your foods for a month. “A month? What? Mike you just said 7 days!”

Seven days is a great start, and it can shed some light on where you’re going wrong. But if you’re serious about your fat loss efforts, I want you to know exactly what you’re putting in your body on a daily basis. Is this a massive pain in the ass? Sure. But if being lean was easy, every bro would be sporting a six-pack and every gal would have the figure of a Victoria’s Secret model.

The people that get the best results do the things that others aren’t willing to do. So get to work!

Reason #4 – Your recovery sucks

Let’s say your diet is on point, you’re training your ass off with the right exercises, set/rep schemes, and rest periods, and you’re still not losing fat.

What gives?

Tell me if any (or all) of the below describes you:

• You rely on caffeine to get you through the day.
• Sleeping 6 hours is a thing of beauty.
• Your job, spouse/significant other/children/life are incredibly stressful and cause you anxiety.

Regardless, this list could go on and on. People keep pushing and pushing and wonder why their body isn’t responding.
I try to describe it like this: Your body is like soil. You need to take care of it so it has the potential to grow your garden (or your physique).

But if your soil never gets any fertilizer, you never water it, and it’s baking in the scorching hot sun all day, do you really think it’s going to have the foundation to grow anything of substance? Your body is no different.

If you’re doing all the hard things right, why not do the easy things that help you get over the weight and fat loss hump?

The Fix:

Start prioritizing recovery. This can be daunting for some, but start with the basics.

You need to get 7-8 hours of sleep minimum. I know there’s going to be one guy piping in on the LiveSpill about how he sleeps four hours per day and is 4% body fat, squats 1000, and benches 700, raw.

Good for you. The rest of us need more sleep to expedite recovery. Sleep 7 hours. If you can’t get in seven continuous hours, try getting as much as you can at night and then work in a nap or two throughout the day. Seriously, if you need to go out to your car on your lunch break and take a nap, do so.

You’ll be shocked at how refreshed you feel and how much more intense your workouts will become once your batteries are fully charged.

Improve sleep quality. Beyond quantity of sleep is quality. To enhance the quality of my sleep, I’ve been using BIOTEST’S EliteproTM Minerals and Z-12TM before bed. I’m pushing my training and with a five month old at home, I’m going to do whatever I can to maximize whatever sleep I do get.

Manage stress. You need to find quality stress management techniques that work for you. First, worrying about things you have no control over is worthless and totally dumb. If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it. Whatever happens will happen. Focus on the things you do have some control over and start to take your life back.

Relax. Consider employing some progressive relaxation techniques before bed. Simple things like diaphragmatic breathing, contracting and relaxing individual muscle groups, and simply unwinding for 5-10 minutes can greatly expedite how quickly you fall asleep.

Meditate. You don’t have to center your chi and chant “Om” until the cows come home, but meditation definitely has benefits. If nothing else, meditation can help clear your head and get you focused on what’s important (as well as what’s not).


Getting lean isn’t anywhere near as confusing as some would lead you to believe. Trust me, far too many people are making insane amounts of money by keeping you confused and having an “angle” on fat loss.

If you’re serious about getting lean once and for all, apply the four simple techniques and fixes I outlined above. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!


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