Food Can Bring Out Your Natural Beauty!

Surprising ways food can enhance your beauty!

The yummy foods you eat also enhance your beauty!

Last Friday I tuned into Bethenny to see what she would discuss in terms of her “Diet Debate” segment, but what interested me more was her segment where she tested our beauty knowledge. Like me, Bethenny is a firm believer in using what you’ve got to improve your life, and it turns out that several common kitchen items can bring out your natural beauty and/or heal a specific health concern.

These three remedies impressed me the most:

  1. Turmeric is traditionally used in Indian food, but it works wonders on acne. One of turmeric’s main ingredients is called curcumin and it works so well because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can either mix some turmeric in a glass of water or make a paste and let it sit on your skin for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Strawberries make delicious preserves and jam, but did you know that they are also an effective sunburn treatment? The anthocyanins, the compound that gives the strawberries their gorgeous red color, have awesome anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. To get the most of this treatment, mash some fresh strawberries and spread it on your sunburn like a salve. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Mint has been shown to be an excellent way to reduce the puffiness under our eyes. The flavonoids help increase the production of antioxidants in the skin under our eyes. Those antioxidants, in turn, help fight the free radicals that give us the dark circles and puffiness we hate. To use mint, crush some fresh mint leaves and make a paste and leave it under your eyes for 15-20 minutes.

I’d love to hear about how well these remedies have worked for you!

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The Natural Cure for Diabetes

Reversing Diabetes Naturally

Y’all know I love to give you the scoop on the incredible foods nature has to offer us, and I’ll continue to do so, but I think I’ll start finding other sources of evidence besides articles on the web.

Over the weekend, I went to a screening of a documentary called “Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days,” and to say was good is the understatement of the millennium! For the film, they found 5 subjects with Type 2 diabetes and 1 subject with Type 1.

All of the subjects met with a Dr. Cousens who introduced them to the raw food lifestyle and had them eat only raw for 30 days. As I’m sure you know, it wasn’t an easy thing to do because of all the sugar we Americans have in our diets: the average American consumes approximately 150 pounds of sugar per year!

One man’s story really made me want to break down in tears. Kirt was a 26-year-old African American man from Baltimore, Maryland. He shared a story about how one time he went to the emergency room and the doctors told him his blood sugar level was at 1200; the normal range for blood sugar is between 80-100!!

Kirt impressed me further when he adhered the most to the diet – he gave those 30 days 110% because he knew that that was what was required if he truly wanted to cure his diabetes.

On day one of the program, his blood sugar was about 346 and he was taking 4 to 6 insulin shots a day. By day 30, not only was he able to STOP his insulin, his blood sugar was down to 73! At the end of the movie, Kirt went to his doctor to get the results of some blood work and he was surprised to find that his doctor had reread his file and was going to rediagnose him as a type 1 diabetic and had plans to give him an insulin pump! I’m sure you all know that people with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin – but after a strict 30-day diet of raw foods, his body was totally healed and started making its own insulin!

My moral of the story is, although many doctors mean well, they are definitely undereducated about the power of the food we have available to us. Granted, they take the Hippocratic Oath upon graduating from medical school, but the better musing from Hippocrates is “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food.”

Awesome Oatmeal

OatmealFrom time to time I get into a food rut. Basically, this is when I’ve found healthy food options that I enjoy (and I’m pretty picky because I have a little bit of a sweet tooth) and I buy them on autopilot, I guess.

Lately, I’ve been having just French toast, pancakes and egg whites for breakfast. Then one day I remembered how my mom would make old-fashioned oatmeal (I thought instant oatmeal was all that and a bag of chips!). So I went to the grocery store and bought a big container of store-brand whole oats.

It could be the middle of the summer and my mom would still make oatmeal for breakfast. After doing a little research I completely understand why. According to Mother Earth Living, oatmeal can do incredible things such as lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar and lower the risk of you developing diabetes. These three attributes alone are worth all the diamonds in the world to me because both heart disease and diabetes run in my family.

It’s surprisingly easy to make, but what astonishes me even more is how I can add the most seemingly random ingredients and it always tastes incredible. At first, I only added spices like ginger and cinnamon; then I’d add honey. I can’t wait to go to the grocery store and get a bunch of raspberries, blueberries, cashews, pecan and almonds and see how they can make the oatmeal even better than it always is!

Good thing I listened to my gut and gave the old-fashioned oats a try 🙂

Cinnamon

cinnamon

Cinnamon is an incredible spice that not only brings zesty flavor to your favorite foods, it’s also believed to be a powerful antidote against multiple ailments, including arthritis, diabetes, headaches/migraines, and LDL (bad cholesterol).

Western medicine has yet to commission detailed studies on how this ancient Chinese herb can improve your health, but there are fabulous resources, such as GreenMedInfo, that focus on alternative medicinal therapies like spices and herbs. GreenMedInfo does a fantastic job of differentiating between the two main variants of cinnamon, Cassia and Ceylon.

Most cinnamon available in the United States is Cassia (milled mainly in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and Vietnam); this is the weaker of the two but is still an awesome source of manganese. Manganese helps to build healthy bones and increase your carbohydrate and fat metabolisms. Cassia cinnamon should be avoided if you are taking blood thinners like Coumadin because it contains higher traces of coumarin, a natural blood thinner.

Ceylon comes from India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean. This variant is considered the “true cinnamon” because it is sweeter, lighter and more refined than cassia.

Long story short, both kinds of cinnamon will adequately flavor the dishes you use it on, but it’s important to heed the warning about cassia consumption.

Scintillating Scallops

seared scallops

When I was a kid, my mother would make flounder and white rice for me. Unfortunately, I was an extremely picky eater back then and I’d refuse to try other kinds of seafood.

Now that I’m older, my desire to experiment has grown exponentially and I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes: Seared Scallops with Herb-Butter Sauce. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly; you can find the original recipe here.

 For the scallops, you’ll need:

  • 1 lb of dry, large sea scallops

  • 1 Tbsp Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil

  • Fresh ground black pepper

For the sauce, you’ll need:

  • 3 Tbsps Smart Balance with Omega-3

  • 1 medium shallot, diced

  • ¼ cup of herbs (I like chives, rosemary and parsley)

  • ¼ cup of your favorite liqueur (I like Kahlúa)

  • ¼ cup lime zest

  • Fresh ground black pepper

Quick tip: Chop your herbs and the shallot for the sauce before you start cooking the scallops.

Cooking directions (scallops):

  1. Rinse scallops in cold water then pat dry with paper towels

  2. Warm a nonstick skillet on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes

  3. Add oil and Smart Balance to the pan → to test if the mixture is hot enough, run your fingers under some cold water then splash it into the oil and Smart Balance. When it’s hot enough, the cold water will instantly boil off

  4. Pat scallops dry once more before placing them in the pan (spread them around the pan for best cooking results)

  5. Season each scallop with your choice of spices and place in the pan to sear

  6. Let each scallop cook for 2 to 4 minutes until nicely browned (you’ll know it’s ready when it’s mostly firm to the touch)

  7. Flip with tongs and repeat searing on the other side

  8. Transfer the scallops to a warm plate (turn the burner down to medium and let the pan cool for about 45 seconds before starting the sauce

Cooking directions (herb-butter sauce):

  1. Melt 1 Tbsp of Smart Balance in the pan

  2. Add shallots to the pan and sautee for 1-2 minutes

  3. Pour Kahlúa and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes or until it reduces by ½

  4. Mix in herbs and lime zest and reduce heat to low

  5. Add the other 2 Tbsps of Smart Balance to mixture and whisk briskly until it melts completely

  6. Return scallops to the pan and roll them in sauce until warmed through

  7. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!

Sleep and Weight Loss

sleep and eating

We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep to let our bodies heal itself from the wear and tear from that day. What we eat impacts how well we sleep.

I’m sure there have been several studies on this, but I like to try things out for myself before I back anything… and those studies are TRUE!!

When I ate junk like soda, Kraft macaroni & cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs, candy, and the like regularly I always had problems falling asleep for more than an hour at a time. Now, that I use simple ingredients in my recipes, I sleep like a baby and I can count on falling asleep at a specific time every night!

I’ve done a little research and apparently all of the sugar and chemicals from the boxed crap we eat keeps us from falling into what science calls “Delta sleep.” WebMD defines “delta sleep” (link here) as a stage in the NREM (non-rapid eye movement) cycle where the body can repair/regenerate tissue, build bones/muscles and strengthen your immune system!

So the next time you feel a little sleepy, listen to your body and take a quick nap!

SlimVox

SlimVox

I don’t believe that diet pills should be the crux of anyone’s plan to change their eating habits, but they might be helpful if you need to lose weight but can’t work out.

A prime example is be when I was on bed rest for my back injury: I could barely move without excruciating pain, let alone exercise. Despite my limitations, I was determined to do SOMETHING to change my destructive eating habits, so I started doing research on what kinds off supplements were available to me. One day I came across SlimVox and I noticed I could pronounce the ingredients and that stoked my curiosity. The more research I did on SlimVox, the more it impressed me, so I ordered it to see how it could help me during my recovery.

Supplementing.com has a terrific in-depth YouTube review on the ingredients in SlimVox; the concept behind the development SlimVox and the fact that they used NO artificial ingredients were the main catalysts that helped me decide to give it a trial run.

SlimVox was developed by women for women because we fully understand how hard it can be for us to shed those unwanted pounds. Men say women don’t lose weight as fast as they do because we’re lazy (a MONUMENTAL cop-out, in my opinion!), but that is NOT the case. A woman’s body is genetically engineered (link) to store more fat than men just in case we get pregnant.

The women who developed SlimVox underscore this point and use all natural ingredients to help us shed those unwanted pounds, with proper diet and exercise!

My favorite ingredients in SlimVox are kelp, ginger and green tea. The fact SlimVox included kelp in the formulation intrigued me greatly. I had heard many times how marine plants like kelp and seaweed were helpful in absorbing toxins in the digestive tract and easing them out (after all, sushi rolls are usually wrapped in seaweed!). Since I had 25+ years of junk food in my system, I wanted something that could really kick-start the detoxification process.

Ginger is an incredible spice because it is an intestinal spasmolytic (something that is really good at soothing the intestinal tract and makes it easier for it to expel toxins from your system). This was important to me because during the first five months my recovery, I could not stand long enough to make a fiber-rich salad or heart-healthy bowl of granola.

Green tea sealed the deal for me because of the potent antioxidant properties that could help repair the damage from my injury (and it had just the right amount of caffeine that gave me a much-needed boost of energy while I took the time to recover from my injury).