Mango Season

Hey guys, I’ve been missing in action for a lil while, but my fellow blogger posted something interesting today and I would like to share. Even though I doubt I would “waste” my precious mangoes on this affair, since we in Jamaica “have so much till we can stone dog wid dem”, here’s what you can do with your excess. In the meanwhile, I’ll be blogging soon. If you have any suggestions or any topics you are interested in seeing me blog about, go right ahead, I’m always open to suggestions.

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Its the Season for it

 

You feel that little tingle in the back of your throat and a slight headache. You go to sleep and hope its just a little ‘draft’ and you’ll sleep it off and feel better by morning. But, you wake up, your eyes are runny, your voice is hoarse, nose stuffy and the headache far from gone. Unfortunately, your flu virus has further developed and you just have to let it live its course… Sigh 😦 Or do you?

From personal experience, I only get sick once a year (twice at most). And when I do get sick, the virus takes advantage of my body to the maximum, as if it is making up for all the other times through out the year I did not get sick. I can attest to my strong immune system and I am proud. I give thanks to my frequent drinking of water and my seldom indulgence in “unhealthy treats”. After all You ARE What You Eat.

Last night I felt that dryness at the back of my throat and this morning, it felt itchy. And by no means shall I allow the virus to manifest nor prosper. I shall get rid of it by all means. Lets explore some natural ways to both prevent and relieve these uninvited little flu viruses.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises as follows:

“Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.” (I’ll let the highlights speak for themselves ;)) 

The CDC has more information here.

At the first sign of this ‘thing’ I drew for Symmetry’s “Cold Rx”

It has the following immune supportive anti-flu stuff:

Zinc – an essential nutrient for the health of the immune system, studied for its effect on reducing the discomfort and duration of colds.

Echinacea – a widely prescribed herb in Europe, proven by numerous clinical studies in its effectiveness to support the immune system.

Vitamin C – one of the most prominent and trusted antioxidants since the last century, shown to bolster the body’s defenses, possibly reducing the duration and severity of symptoms

 

ZINC

From my personal experience, working in the health supplement business for over a year, I have learnt that zinc is a particularly excellent addition when needing help with healing. It is a key ingredient in acne medication and also formulations for diaper rash. Zinc also assists in protein and amino acid production (which is highly recommended for gentlemen… not performing down there)  Zinc is helpful for the respiratory systems and in stressful situations where the body must call on its healing capacity.

 

ECHINACEA

And… what is Echinacea? Hmmm another health food store based knowledge. This is the miracle herb… flu, allergies, asthma? anything respiratory related, echinacea was the answer.

Echinacea has demonstrated positive effect on the immune system. Many studies have shown that echinacea helps maintain a natural barrier between healthy tissue and unwanted pathogenic organisms. Thus echinacea helps the body maintain its line of defense against unwanted invaders and acids in tissue regeneration.

Several European studies show that echinacea appears to lessen the severity of colds and flu, and helps speed recovery. Echinacea has also been used successfully to control candida, an annoying and persistent fungal infection. Other studies show that topical echinacea has been used successfully to control psoriasis and eczema.

Echinacea has a number of constituents with immune supporting properties, and they appear to work synergistically. This wonderful supplement can be found in encapsulated in a health store near you.

 

Everyone knows VITAMIN C is good for the flu but why?

Oh dear, after doing my research Vitamin C is an all rounder :$. Probably have to do a separate post for this one altogether. But here’s a few:

  • Antioxidant – Vitamin C is the body’s most powerful water-soluble antioxidant and plays a vital role in protecting the body against oxidative damage. It neutralizes potentially harmful reactions in the watery parts of the body such as the blood and the fluid inside and surrounding cells. It helps protect LDL cholesterol against free radical damage. This antioxidant action helps to protect the health of the heart and an array of other body tissues.
  • Lungs – There is some evidence that vitamin C may be of benefit in maintaining the health of the respiratory system. This effect may be due to the antioxidant effect of vitamin C on oxidizing agents. Vitamin C may also improve lung and white blood cell function and decrease respiratory stress.
  • Immunity – Vitamin C boosts immunity by increasing the production of B and T cells and other white blood cells, including those with a critical role in natural defenses. It also increases interferon levels and antibody responses and has antiviral and antibacterial effects. These immune-stimulating effects lead to improved resistance against infections. Though the research is contradictory and inconclusive, Vitamin C may reduce the duration of colds and the severity of cold symptoms such as sneezing, coughing and sniffling by reducing blood levels of histamine, which can trigger tissue inflammation and runny noses. It may also protect the immune cells and surrounding tissue from oxidative reactions that occur when cells fight bacteria.

 

So what are you waiting for? Don’t be a victim of the season. Take control today!!!

For more information check www.symmetrydirect.com/simplybeautiful

Beauty on a Budget

I haven’t done a post in awhile partly because I have been caught up with twitter. By the way you should follow me @SimFiguresItOut. However, a fellow blogger and a dear friend of mine for the past 😮 more than ten years, Candice, you can check out her blog by clicking here suggested I do this post. 

So last night I was feeling a little bit down and usually to feel better, a day at the spa, a new hairdo, a mani or pedi, lol maybe some ice cream always does the trick. I opted for the spa, at home, using items I have around me every day. You can do it too and you should try :).

Things I used:

  • Everyday Face Soap (Neutrogena)
  • Baking Soda
  • Lasco Unflavoured Milk Powder
  • Peppermint Tea Bag
  • Aloe Vera
  • Cod Liver Oil capsules

Technology has failed me 😦 I took pictures and everything but unfortunately they are inaccessible :(.

  1. CLEANSE: Wash face twice with whatever soap you use. You should always have a separate soap for your face, to avoid extra contamination.
  2. Put tea bag in a container and poor boiling water on it, cover to allow the water to become infused with the peppermint.
  3. TONE: While water is still warm (should be just cool enough to be bearable) dip cotton in mixture and wipe face (this is being used as a toner)
  4. EXFOLIATE: Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply to face and scrub gently in circular motions to remove dead skin cells and any other build up that is preventing that natural glow.
  5. TONE: Rinse face with cool water. Wipe with peppermint mixture once more.
  6. MASK: Use milk powder and make a paste with water, (should not be runny) apply to face as a mask, leave for 10-20 minutes or until dry. Rinse face with cool water. TONE: Dip cotton in peppermint mixture once more and wipe face.
  7. Cut a piece of aloe vera and smush with a fork. Burst 3 or 4 cod liver oil gel capsules and squeeze oil into container. Mix thoroughly.
  8. TREAT: Apply aloe and oil mixture on face, let it sit for as long as possible (at least 30 mins). If you can let it stay on over night the results are spectacular.

CLEANSE: This process involves removing dirt and other impurities from the surface of the skin. Most persons stay away from using bar soaps and stick to washes, because they say bar soaps leave reside. I say, use whatever works for you. This is always the 1st step in a facial.

TONE: This procedure is done after every other step. Toning is the process by which additional debris such as dead skin cells are removed. This step promotes blood circulation and improves skin tone. I used peppermint tea bags because peppermint has a stimulating and cooling effect, perfect for encouraging blood circulation. 

Alternatives may include:

LEMON JUICE                                                     

WITCH HAZEL

 

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

EXFOLIATE: Sometimes referred to as a scrub. Most times grainy in texture to facilitate the removal of dead skin cells and other unwanted impurities that may need a little bit more effort to be removed. The scrubbing action may also stimulate the unclogging of pores. I used baking soda because it can easily be mixed with water, also baking soda has properties that allows it to fizz, this action increases the likelihood of pores becoming unclogged. Baking soda is also suitable for almost all skin types.

Alternatives may include:

Brown Sugar and Olive Oil

   +        

Salt and Olive Oil

Cornmeal and Water

MASK: A mask is put on the face for at least 10 minutes, it penetrates the skin and its purpose is to remove impurities deeply embedded in the pores. A mask can also be used to moisturize dry skin and remove excess oils for oily skins. As such masks should be chosen specifically to a person’s skin type. I used a milk mask because milk is a natural source of fat which has excellent moisturizing properties and also contains protein which nourishes the skin, giving a bright glow rather than a dull appearance.

Alternatives include:

COCONUT MILK POWDER

RAW HONEY

AVOCADO PEAR

TREATMENT: This step is taken to correct any problems with the skin, such as blemishes, pimples, scars, dryness and again is specific to an individual’s skin condition. Treatments have a wide range. I used cod liver oil because it has vitamin A, E and D which are all excellent for achieving beautiful skin. However I’m a sucker for vitamin E. You can read my post Aloe: All Over to find out why I used aloe.

Tell me what you decide to try. If you need any help figuring out what is best for your skin type. Ask me today!

Quit Today

Smoking, alcohol drinking, gambling AND be prepared to add soda drinking to that list of bad habits / addictions that you need to quit, starting right now.

Honestly, before I went on my research for doing this post, my only reason for advising you to quit soda was the sugar content. But look what I dug up… FIVE MORE reasons for you to quit. So why are you still drinking it? The word soda was derived from the process by which the drink is made fizzy. That is by adding sodium bicarbonate and acid to water (to be honest, I could not get a good source to quote from). But basically its similar to why baking soda is called such, see the similarity with the fizzing action?

The photo above basically outlines enough reasons to say why you need to remove this item from your diet dictionary but I will expound on sugar. Having an average of NINE teaspoons per sitting… umm, say what? Imagine your container of granulated sugar, with you in front of it with a teaspoon eating 9 of em full each time you drink a glass of water. I am already sickened by the thought. Sugar is one of the main culprits in our everyday diet which contribute to fat, and weight gain.

By the way when I say diet, I am referring to the food we consume daily. Diet has been tailored to mean being restrictive in the foods we consume but that in itself is rightly a “strict” diet.

Most studies show that when an individual drastically cuts the sugar from their diet, weight loss is seen almost immediately. High consumption of sugar lead to diseases such as obesity and diabetes which are risk factors for many other life threatening illnesses.

Sodium is also a key ingredient in soda, hence why it is called such. Most times, when a person with high blood pressure comes to me for advice, they don’t smoke, their salt and caffeine intake is minimal and they can find no reason linking to the cause of their fate. After probing, such individuals admit to having at least THREE bottles of soda PER DAY. 9 x 3 = TWENTY-SEVEN!!! teaspoons of sugar. Need I say more? In addition an average bottle of soda may contain anywhere from 20-100 mg of unnaturally occurring sodium. Soda contains BOTH caffeine and sodium, both these ingredients, if consumed in excess can wreak serious havoc on our bodies.

Next time, before you open a snack or any package of processed food just check the sodium content. And to think DIET soda contains more sodium than the regular.

Remember, most beverages or foods that claim to be “low-fat” or “diet” usually means the addition of more harmful chemicals to make it that way.

Here are a few other things you might want to consider since you are gonna quit soda 🙂

Breakfast …to go please

Your alarm has been put on snooze four times in the last hour, you finally open your eyes long enough to look at the time and, you have less than 45 minutes to get ready! Just enough time to grab a quick shower, put an outfit together, make your self look presentable for the day ahead, no time for breakfast. Unfortunately, this is the everyday story for most of us who have a 9-5 or a job that takes us away from home.

If you’ve never heard it before, I’m going to say it once more breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s not lunch and it’s definitely not dinner, nor the snacks you pick at every now and again throughout the day.

After sleeping for the last 6-8 hours (if you are able to get that much) your body has exhausted the fuel (any food you may have consumed before you went to bed) necessary to keep your organs working throughout the night. So as it is so rightly called, your first meal of the day breaks the previous day’s fast :). In order to get the most of your body, having it work efficiently, especially with the added stress of your everyday life, give it the push it needs with a healthy breakfast.

Most persons thing that if its not heavy, not consisting of your yam, banana, some sort of meat kind, tea and the whole works, its not considered breakfast. Remember you have six food groups and you have the entire day to get all the necessary servings in. You aren’t expected to have it all in one sitting, breakfast just starts you off.

I advise you to just pick 3 of the 6 food groups and have one or two servings in each of the groups picked.

So as you can see, doing so isn’t too hard. For example, a bowl of cereal and your favourite fruit includes your carbohydrates(from your cereal) milk in the food from animals section and a fruit. You also have the choice of making a sandwich, includes your carbs and your food from animals, maybe an egg and a glass of juice, your fruits. Its not so hard after all.

However, it would be beneficial to you prepare for this. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen over night. Keeping your fridge stocked with healthy food encourages healthy eating and ready access to the tools you need to make a healthy breakfast.

Here are 9 quick, fun and simple ideas for making a nutritious breakfast.

What are you waiting for? Make your next morning the first step to having a kick start to your day the right way. Instead of no breakfast have one, to go 🙂

Water

Occupying more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and more than ²/3rd of the human body; in its simplest form, we need it for everything. 

For the past few days, its been the talk in my office of this “Chinese Water Therapy”. I’ve been ignoring the talk, because, to me it was just another fad, which would soon die out.

However, I was doing some research on how to make some natural products (yes look out for my beauty line soon guys) and in doing so, I realized how important water is as an ingredient in our products, yet the presence of it can be so harmful. As a result, the inspiration for this post came to me.

I dug a little deeper in this “Chinese Water Therapy” thing and after all my research this is what it is:

—EXCERPT—

It is popular in Japan today to drink water immediately after waking up every morning. Furthermore, scientific tests have proven its value. We publish below a description of use of water for our readers. For old and serious diseases as well as modern illnesses the water treatment had been found successful by a Japanese medical society as a 100% cure for the following diseases:

Headache, body ache, heart system, arthritis, fast heart beat, epilepsy, excess fatness, bronchitis asthma, TB, meningitis, kidney and urine diseases, vomiting, gastritis, diarrhoea, piles, diabetes, constipation, all eye diseases, womb, cancer and menstrual disorders, ear nose and throat diseases.

Method of Treatment
• As you wake up in the morning before brushing teeth, drink 4 x 160ml glasses of water.
• Brush and clean the mouth but do not eat or drink anything for 45 minutes.
• After 45 minutes you may eat and drink as normal.
• After 15 minutes of breakfast, lunch and dinner do not eat or drink anything for 2 hours.
• Those who are old or sick and are unable to drink 4 glasses of water at the beginning may commence by taking little water and gradually increase it to 4 glasses per day.

The above method of treatment will cure diseases of the sick and others can enjoy a healthy life.

The following list gives the number of days of treatment required to cure main diseases:
1. High Blood Pressure – 30 days
2. Gastric – 10 days
3. Diabetes – 30 days
4. Constipation – 10 days
5. Cancer – 180 days
6. TB – 90 days

Arthritis patients should follow the above treatment for only 3 days in the 1st week, to be followed by daily treatment. This treatment method has no side effects, however at the commencement of treatment you may have to urinate a few times.

—END OF EXCERPT—

So, I can’t say I was impressed or moved any at all by this but it did encourage me to share this post on water with my readers.

Water is endlessly beneficial to us, and it provides more benefits than disadvantages, to my knowledge anyway. I am personally in love with water (if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m in love with health :)). I have seen what water can do for us as human beings, through my friends and yes I can testify myself how it has changed my life.

There was a point in my life when my hair was breaking and getting thin. And my hairdresser asked me one question that made me both embarrassed and enlightened: “How often do you drink water?” I was appalled, because I was an upcoming nutrition professional and she was a hairdresser ( no offense to hairdressers of course but you get my drift) Yes! a lack of water does show, even in the condition of your hair!

With that said, here are a FEW of the purposes water has to our bodies daily:

Healthy Skin :

I have mentioned in one of my previous posts You ARE what you eat that what you take in your body ultimately determines your health status. Likewise, consuming water, you are hydrating your body and in turn you hydrate your skin. We live in a temperate climate and we are at a constant battle with the heat the sun produces. If we don’t keep our bodies constantly hydrated, this can in turn cause our skin to become dry and cracked, resulting in the flakes we sometimes get on our skin and, yes, even the wrinkles are as a result of dry skin. So one of the cheapest beauty products we can invest in is to drink at least 8- 8oz glasses of water in any given 24 hr period.

Body Temperature :

Obviously, right? When you’re hot, you drink water, you get thirsty because your body is dehydrated right? Then our bodies need water to regulate our body temperature. When we feel hot, our bodies produce perspiration to cool our bodies down, and perspiration is water, we are loosing water, so we need to put it back right?

Flush Toxins :

We inhale and exhale toxins everyday. We also accumulate toxins through the foods that we eat. Water flushes our bodies through a system that is set up with out kidneys to remove toxins through urination. (Some is also removed through perspiration)

Lubrication :

Water acts as that fuel for the lubrication in our joints. It helps with that free movement that is needed and it has been shown that sufficient intake of water, before, moderately during, and after exercise can reduce the likelihood of us getting muscle cramps. Water also acts as a medium to pass our food along our digestive system.

Constipation :

Water helps to soften our stool, partly due to its role in lubricating our colon. Fibre intake allows our bodies to make the bulk of our stool, but without adequate fluids, will result in constipation. So if you have problems with constipation, the best medication is, yup you guessed it! Drink at least 8- 8oz glasses of water in any given 24 hr period.

Oxygen Levels :

Water constitutes a great amount of your blood volume (obviously, right?) And as a result, once your body is adequately hydrated, your heart and lungs will work effectively to supply blood and oxygen to your body’s cells, thus making the brain work more effectively and also causing your metabolism to be improved ( in turn burn fat).

My friends will note that if they tell me they have a headache, more times than not I will ask “Have you had any water since morning” and most times the headache is as a result of dehydration. Never wait until you are thirsty to drink water, by then your cells have already started exhaustion of their water content.

I have friends that say that they can’t drink water, because the taste of it upsets them. Or they just don’t like drinking plain water. This one is for you:

lemon water

 

And guys (and girls) I know I haven’t touched all the benefits of drinking water. But above are enough reasons why you should try to drink your 6-8 (8 oz.) glasses each day. So DRINK UP!!!