Posts

collagen

Big benefits to your health are all around you – in little supplements on the store shelves, and even more so in the foods you choose to eat. Just knowing what to consume – and when – can be the difference between feeling just okay…
And feeling your very best!

As we covered in our post about bone broth, natural gelatin (also known as collagen) can have a huge impact on the health of your hair, skin, nails, immune system, and beyond. It has become an integral part of my diet since being diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Hashimoto’s Disease (an autoimmune condition of the thyroid) – and it really helps!

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juicing

I am often asked, “which is healthier: juicing or smoothies?”

In fact, smoothies and juices serve different purposes. The health benefits of juices vs. smoothies depend entirely on your desired nutritional outcome.

I make smoothies when I need a nutritious snack, filled with protein and fiber, to hold me over. On the other hand, when I need a boost (especially in the morning) I turn to juicing. Fresh pressed juice is essentially a direct shot of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes into your system – a great coffee substitute for those looking to ditch caffeine.

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fruit

Banana:

Bananas pack a nutritional punch as they are rich in potassium. Potassium is an essential mineral in maintaining normal blood pressure and an important component in cardiovascular health. They have a unique mix of vitamins and minerals and provide low glycemic carbohydrates making them ideal for athletic performance. Additional health benefits may include lowering the risk of certain cancers and asthma and promoting regularity.

note: people who are taking beta-blockers should be conscious of high potassium foods as beta blockers tend to increase potassium in the blood. Consult with your doctor about regulating and monitoring your potassium levels.

1 small banana:

Vitamin B6: 25% DV
Manganese: 16% DV
Vitamin C: 14% DV
Potassium: 12% DV
Fiber: 12% Dv

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Strawberries:

Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients including quercetin, anthocyanins and polyphenols. They are also rich in the essential nutrients folic acid, fiber and vitamin C. One cup of fresh strawberries provides 160% of your daily vitamin C needs. They have been shown to support cardiovascular health, improve regulation of blood sugar, as well as prevent certain cancers. They are a go to treat in my family in smoothies or diced and served with yogurt or a summer salad.

1 cup:

Vitamin C: 113% DV
Manganese: 28% DV
Fiber: 12% DV
Iodine: 12%
Folate: 9% DV
Potassium: 6% DV
Magnesium: 5% DV

Kiwi fruit on wooden background

Kiwi:

Kiwis are a nutrient dense food meaning they are high in nutrients but low in calories. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that neutralizes those icky free radicals that cause damage to cells. The possible benefits of consuming kiwis and many other fruits includes a reduced risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some cancers.

1 cup:

Vitamin C: 85% DV
Vitamin K: 31% DV
Copper: 10% DV
Fiber: 8% DV
Vitamin E: 7% DV
Potassium: 6% DV

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Blueberry:

These are rich in the flavanoid, anthocyanin and the polyphenol, quercetin that contribute to a host of their health benefits.  They are rich in iron, phosphorous, calcium, zinc and vitamin k that contribute to building and maintaining bone strength. Blueberries have been shown to improve heart health, cognitive function, regulate blood sugar levels, improve digestion, fight wrinkles and contain anti-cancer benefits. I like to incorporate these nutrient dense berries to my smoothies with some protein powder and almond milk.

1 cup:

Vitamin K: 32% DV
Manganese: 25% DV
Vitamin C: 19% DV
Fiber 14% DV

watermelon

Watermelon:

Watermelons are synonymous with summer and help to quench your thirst after a workout. They are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds and provide antioxidant support for cardiovascular health. They are rich in lycopene, zinc, choline,copper, vitamin B6, vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C. The antioxidant beta carotene provides eye health and heart health. Consuming watermelon can contribute to overall improved digestion and regularity, improved hydration, reduced inflammation and muscle soreness and improved skin texture due to its high vitamin A content. I like to make watermelon and mint juices for extra hydration after a long workout.

1 cup:

Vitamin C: 16% DV
Pantothenic Acid: 7% DV
Copper: 7% DV
Vitamin A: 5% DV
Biotin: 5%DV

avocado

Avocado:

These are rich in monounsaturated fats (the healthy fat) that provide a wide range of anti-inflammatory benefits. Similar to all fresh fruits they are nutrient dense as well. They are rich in the carotenoid family that provide protection for the heart and eyes, promote blood sugar regulation, may prevent osteoporosis because of their high vitamin K content and improve digestion and regularity.

I add them to my salads or smoothies for a dose of my daily good oils or make a homemade guacamole.

https://iquitsugar.com/recipe/super-speedy-guacamole/

1 cup:

Pantothenic Acid: 42% DV
Fiber: 40% DV
Vitamin K: 35%
Copper: 31% DV
Folate: 30% DV
Vitamin B6: 23% DV
Vitamin E: 21% DV
Potassium: 21% DV
Vitamin C: 20% DV

lemon slice

Lemon:

Lemons are rich in phytonutrients and provide an antibiotic affect on our body. They are rich in vitamin C that is the main antioxidant in our body. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that neutralizes free radicals present in our body. Vitamin C supports a strong immune system so it is helpful in fighting colds, flus and ear infections.Additionally, they help to maintain a healthy complexion because of their vitamin C content which plays a vital role in collagen formation, they increase iron absorption when combined with iron rich foods (spinach or chickpeas) and may prevent asthma. Lemons increase detoxification in the body because it activates the release of bile which acts as an emulsifier for fat and removes fat soluble toxins.

I squeeze lemon juice and some of the zest into a warm glass of water every morning for digestive health and my daily dose of vitamin C.

¼ cup:

Vitamin C: 31% DV
Folate: 3% DV

 

 

apple cider vinegar

I was introduced to apple cider vinegar a few years back when I was struggling with symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome or IBS and systemic candidiasis.  Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been touted for many years because of its medicinal properties. It is anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral so it can alleviate the occasional heartburn, soothe a sore throat and YES even get rid of persistent warts, as well as tackle an overgrowth of yeast just to name a few properties.

So what exactly is apple cider vinegar you may ask?? Well, they take crushed apples and add yeast. The yeast then ferment the natural sugar from the apples and turn it into alcohol. Then, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution which further ferments the apple solution. The result is acetic acid which is the main ingredient in ACV. My “go to” ACV is Bragg’s because it contains the “mother,”  or the blob that is rich in probiotics and strands of protein and enzymes.

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products i love 

As a nutrition consultant, I always consider what I put in my
body but I think it is equally important to consider what we put
on our body. The skin is the largest organ in our body and absorbs
80% of what we put on it. I look for products that are free of
phalates, sodium laurel sulfate, fragrance and petroleum, to
name just a few ingredients considered toxic.

“My favorite sunscreen..”

Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 10.09.14 AM

A broad spectrum sunscreen that is formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and
water resistant. The formula includes aloe vera that hydrates the skin, green tea
and blood orange extract that provide antioxidants.
http://www.beautycounter.com/skin-care/sunscreen.html

 “My go to fragrance..”

lurk fragrance

I cannot live without my Lurk fragrance.They are hand blended and
poured using essential oils. The essential oils do not contain chemical
preservatives, stabilizers or additives. The fragrances are subtle and sexy.
http://shopfollain.com/collections/lurk

“I cannot live without my..”Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 8.17.12 PM

I love my Beauty Counter Lustra Oil #2, Jasmine. The scent is white
floral that enhances skin suppleness and tone.
I find it rejuvenating and relaxing after my morning and evening
personal care routine, after meditating or for an afternoon
pick me up. It is misconception that oil is bad for your complexion. Plant
based oils are incredibly healing for even the most problematic skin.
http://www.beautycounter.com/skin-care/oils.html

cost of beauty

You Count!!!! Your Children Count!!

The choices we make as parents, caregivers and friends on a daily basis are crucial to our loved ones- they count. When it comes to making decisions concerning our children health, we struggle because there is so much information out there. We question:

Are they getting the proper vitamins and minerals on a daily basis?

Is their school providing too many sugared sweets on a regular basis?

Are they getting enough exercise?

Should I buy organic vs. non-organic?

Do we ever consider the products that we use in our daily regime and what the ingredients are? The ingredients in our shampoos, creams and makeup are just as toxic as the pesticides and preservatives found in our foods.

It took me a long time to come to the realization that it is equally important what I put in my body as what I put on my body. The skin is the largest organ in our body and therefore needs to stand the tests of time. I realize I have had some pretty poor skin care regimes during my teenage years and beyond but it is never too late to change my habits. I especially want to be educated for my daughter as many of these products targeted to teen girls contain toxic substances. Why do you think many teenage girls are getting their periods at a younger age than when we were teens??????

1938 was the last year that federal law was passed to govern cosmetics safety and protect the people that use them. While the EU has banned or restricted more than 1,300 harmful and toxic chemicals from personal care products, the US bans or restricts just 11.

Toxic chemicals can enter our bodies in different ways. In the case of cosmetics, toxic chemicals can enter our bodies directly through our airways when we inhale particles from powders and sprays, and through our skin, lips and nails when we apply products. We know that even small doses of ingredients can have a big effect when absorbed through the skin

I have joined with Beautycounter because they believe in the purest ingredients. At Beautycounter, there are 1,500 ingredients they will never use- The Never List. Every ingredient in their products have a function; nothing is used without careful consideration for efficacy and performance. No unwanted extras, no dyes, no mysteries. Just ingredients with purpose.

Even tiny amounts of some chemicals used in everyday products can have huge impacts. Endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals like BPA, parabens and phthalates that mimic or block hormones, can have major health impacts because they mirror the function of our real hormones.

Parabens and phthalates are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, meaning they can alter important hormonal mechanisms in our bodies.
Parabens are a class of preservative used in many skincare and makeup products to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. There are methylparaben, isobutylparaben, proplyparaben and others, but essentially, you want to avoid anything ending in -paraben, since they mimic estrogen
and may play a role in triggering cancer and other serious health issues.

Phthalates (pronounced THAL-lates) are plasticizers – they make plastic more pliable. In cosmetics, phthalates are used to make fragrances stick to skin, styling products malleable, and nail polish bend and stick to the curve of your nail. They are thought to block signaling pathways for hormones like testosterone, and have been linked to birth defects. Like parabens, there are many kinds of phthalates (the ones used in cosmetics are abbreviated as DBP and DEHP), but since they don’t often appear on ingredient labels, they can be tricky to avoid.

THE NEVER LIST: DOWNLOAD PDF

I prefer the countertime line at BeautyCounter as it targets those beautiful fine lines that have started to show up on my complexion as well as targets the accumulated sun damage from my teen years (remember sitting with those aluminum foil reflectors??). I am looking to age gracefully 🙂

However, the essential line is perfect for the family and is a coconut-oil based skin collection. It targets skin that has not shown signs of aging and is perfect for all skin types.

Here is the link if you would like to read more information:

https://melissaakopiantz.beautycounter.com/Home

Here is another helpful link from the EWG- Environmental Working Group that explains and rates the 70,000 products on the market for their efficacy.

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

 

 

 

skin care

ADORE YOUR BODY FOR IT HOUSES THE DREAMS AND DESIRES OF YOUR WONDERFUL MIND

I have been searching for a store that carries organic, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic ingredients in their beauty products. I feel that not only eating healthy is important but what I put on my body is equally important. Have you ever thought of how many chemicals are in our shampoos, conditioners, creams etc…

We are exposed to so many chemicals throughout the day, why do we need to add more through our beauty routine? But do we need to sacrifice beauty, style and glamour? No way!!!

We absorb up to 80% of what we put into our skin. Here is a list of some of the potential hazards in our everyday products that we should avoid. These ingredients have been proven to cause skin allergies, increase the risk of cancer, infertility, birth defects, reproductive problems and learning disabilities:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Used in acne products and can cause DNA damage in human cells and is a possible tumor promoter.
  • DEA, MEA, TEA: A foam booster that causes skin and eye irritation leading to dermatitis.
  • Dioxin: Does not appear on the label but is found in antibacterial ingredients, such as triclosan, emulsifiers, PEG’s and other cleansers like Sodium Laurel Sulfate. It potentially can cause cancer, reduce immunity and lead to nervous system disorders.
  • FD&C Color and Pigments: Synthetic colors derived from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins in the skin.
  • Phthalates: Usually not listed on products. Can damage kidney, liver, decrease sperm count and result in early development in girls and boys.
  • Sodium Laurel Sulfate: Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and 90% of personal care products that foam. Leads to diarrhea, skin irritation and eye damage.
  • Fragrance: This represents an undisclosed mixture of chemicals that make the product smell nice. They have been associated with skin allergies, dermatitis, respiratory distress and potential effects on the reproductive system.

These are just a few of the controversial chemicals in our products. Here is a link from the EWG, the Environmental Working Group who tests every product on the market and rates them according to their safety:

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

So, you can imagine my shear happiness when I stumbled upon a little jewel the other day right here in Wellesley.

The stores name is Follain and is owned by Tara Foley. They are located right on Central Street in Wellesley with other locations in Nantucket, the South End in Boston and Washington, DC. She has searched for companies throughout the U.S. that manufacture with the purest ingredients and have your health and well-being at the heart of their mission. In 2013, she opened Follain her first store and prides herself on being eco-friendly. Certain liquid products can be refilled in their beautiful glass bottles.

They carry a long list of amazing products but here are a few of my favorite picks so far:

1.RICA Butter All Over 22$: Produced by a southern family whose recipes for beauty date back to the owner’s great great grandmother. From their kitchen they produce healthy and effective beauty products with love in every batch just for YOU. There are no colorants, parabens, sulfates or petroleum.

My Impression: This is a very thick but light and airy cream. At first, I thought this is a little difficult to spread all over my body and I may feel like a greased up monkey. Well, my skin soaked up the “butter” very quickly and my skin was super soft. I had no problems getting dressed right after as the lotion soaked in immediately. If you do not have dry skin all over this is a perfect solution for those areas, such as the hands, feet and elbows that tend to get dry in the cold months. This is a great gift for a friend, teacher or someone special in your life for the coming holiday season.

butter all over

2. Beridan Naturals- Botanical Apothecary- Simple Butter 14$: This company prides themselves on 100% natural skincare that are free from artificial ingredients, alcohol, added water, synthetics, toxins, dyes, fillers and parabens. Their products are formulated with natural,organic and ethically sourced ingredients and made by hand.

My Impression: If anyone suffers from eczema as I do you will appreciate this little jar of LOVE. I have always avoided the hydrocordisone creams (I used them years ago when the flair ups were so terrible) and have struggled to find products that will nourish my skin without added fragrances. The fragrances make the condition worse! This is not only for people with eczema but anyone with dry skin resulting from washing the dishes (that would be most of us!) or just the plain old cold weather. I am going to keep a little jar in my purse at all times.

simple butter

3. Tammy Fender Epi-Peel: Their products are made from 100% botanical formulas that enrich, purify and protect the skin. They recognize that the skin is our largest organ and so what we put on it is very important. The flowers and plants they use to create their products are  from organic, food grade ingredients that are ultra-nourishing. I love her epi-peel, especially her packaging that comes with a head band to pull your hair bag for when you apply the scrub on your face. You wash your face with the scrub and then leave on for 5 minutes and your face will feel amazing after.

My Impression: Although the packaging was beautiful and inviting, I was a little apprehensive about putting something that said “peel” on the label on my face. Wow, I was wrong. This is a delicate exfoliant that you can use 2-3 times per week. My face felt so soft and clean after my epi-peel that I can’t wait till the next time I get to slough off all the dead skin and feel refreshed again!!

face scrub

4. Organic Bath Co- Stress Less Scrib 27$.: All their products contain good for you ingredients that are organic and Fair Trade Certified. Let me tell you this stress less body scrub worked wonders and softened up any and all rough patches.

My Impression: I used this scrub all over my body in the morning. Even though it is a stress less scrub I am trying to really de-stress these days so I am looking for anything that will help. Other options are: Java Jolt, Mocha Madness or spiced cacao and more… Those will get you going in the morning even before you can get your first cup of coffee.

stress less

I did indulge in more products that I loved but am a little embarrassed to admit as I don’t truly want to divulge how much I spent.  I always have lipbalm in my purse and this is my new fave, The Hurraw! sun balm for your lips (4.20$) which is all natural and vegan.

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I also purchased one of their soy candles which are so calming. I had my own mini spa one night and slept so well after using my relaxing, nourishing and eco-friendly products. They carry many more lines of products that include shampoos, conditioners, lotions and more… Don’t add up how much I spent.. It was all worth the trip to Follain with my daughter, who came willingly with me.

bone broth

Do you suffer from adrenal fatigue?

Do you have dry skin, and hair?

Are you fighting off an infection?

Do you have issues with gut health?

Well, chicken/bone broth has a plethora of medicinal qualities that can help alleviate many health issues. First and foremost, it speeds recovery and healing from illness. Remember, when you were younger your mom gave you chicken noodle soup for your cold??????

The secret lies in the bones and cartilage of the chicken. This is where all the amazing minerals are contained, such as, collagen, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, glucosamine (for joint pain and arthritis), chondroitin sulfates, keratin sulfates(for skin and hair) and hyaluronic acid (for skin, hair and joint health).

It also contains cysteine, which is an amino acid that thins the mucus in your lungs making it easier to expel any mucus when you have a cold.

If you suffer from gut issues, chicken broth helps to heal and seal the gut lining. The nutrients are easily digested and helpful in reducing inflammation along the gut lining.

Some of the medicinal properties include:

  • fighting infections, such as a cold or flu
  • reducing inflammation
  • producing beautiful skin and hair
  • promoting sleep
  • repairing gut health
  • alleviating adrenal fatigue
  • alleviating muscle cramps and spasms
  • reducing malabsortion issues

benefits of chicken broth

courtesy of  renowned Dr. Mercola

So you can actually save so much money by making your own bone broth instead of buying supplements to help with inflammation, joint pain and infection.

Enjoy your bone broth like you would drink a cup of tea or add to soup and stews or even use it as a medium for cooking rice or pasta.