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Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom

The response to the last blog entry was overwhelmingly positive. So, why not continue the fun? Let’s consider this Part II…with a little twist. Following is a list of great finds that will help you cope with the stressful-excess-eating-pressure-filled-gift-giving-primping-indulging holidays.

The Holiday Hangover. You know the hangover is inevitable…but is it? This one is gold: Drink Before Elixir is a pre-cocktail beverage that claims “No hangovers & reduces redness”. The product’s goal is to “make it healthier and more comfortable for you to enjoy alcohol.” Giddy-up. Loaded with vitamins, potassium and amino acids, I was sold. So does it work? I say “Hell, yes.” Worked for me during a crazy weekend outing when drinks started pouring at 2 pm and the night ended at 3 am. Yep, I still got it. No hangover, no nausea, no problem. Find it on Amazon.

Loyalty Program. Who doesn’t love the Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupons, especially for holiday shopping? I can’t keep them in the house. If I wasn’t enough of a loyal customer before, now they really got me. They started a new loyalty program where you pay $29/year for an on-going 20% off your entire purchase. If you receive this exclusive invite…jump on it. Pure brilliance. Here’s more info.

Learn How To Read Your Body. This one is key. Especially during the holidays. Note what causes reactions to your body. Are you unusually bloated after you drink dairy? Do you crash hard after eating carbs? Are you unbearable after eating sugar? Are you especially thirsty in the evenings or AM from not drinking enough water or eating too much salt? Are you super lethargic in the morning from over-eating at night? Listen to these triggers and avoid them. Keep a journal of these reactions and when they occur and you will have incredible insights on how to feel and look better.

Luscious Lashes. We think holidays and we think lash extensions and falsies. There’s a new solution. No more expensive applications or over-promising mascaras. Rodan & Fields just launched this product called Lash Boost with clinical trials resulting in 85% longer, 90% fuller, 63% darker lashes with results in 4 weeks. And they’re killin’ it. Forget the iris-changing, crazy side effects of Latisse. Started mine 2 weeks ago and the difference is remarkably noticeable. They are offering a holiday gift with purchase – free cosmetic bag and eye cream. And now that I have access, so do you (or your favorite gift recipient). Buy here.

Get Matcha’d: I have searched for a good, authentic Matcha Tea for a long time  – however, most of them (including Starbucks) are not the real deal. I recently stumbled upon Motto Sparkling Matcha Tea: made to “make you feel and think better”. For centuries, Matcha has prepared Buddhist monks for meditation and readied samurai warriors for battle. Ok, so I’m neither – but I do frequently adorn my Wonder Woman cape. This Matcha tea is supposed to be a powerful agent of health, wellness and natural energy. Sugars are higher than I would normally grab (13 per bottle) but no more than the natural sugars in my afternoon latte. Small handcrafted batches made up of sparkling water, Matcha green tea, honey, organic agave, fresh lemon juice, organic apple cidar videgar and natural plant extract. (found it at Kings)

Read The Label: The most important thing in weight maintenance is reading the nutrition label. All too often, especially during the holidays, we have this “all or nothing” mentality. “I’ll get back into shape after the holidays.” Which I never truly understood why you would sacrifice 2 months of your life to binge eating. It only results in a guilt-filled, reluctant New Year with unreasonable “now I have to make up for lost time” pound abolishing goals. Learn to read nutrition contents and ingredients and always practice portion control. You can start using 4th grade math: If a serving contains 120 calories, 9 grams of sugar, 18 grams of carbs and 2 grams of saturated fat and there are 5 servings in the bag – and you eat the entire bag (and many of these bags are small and manageable enough to do just that), you have just indulged in 600 calories, 45 grams of sugar, 90 grams of carbs and 10 grams of saturated fat. Can you say sabotage?

Kill The Temptation. Want desperately to eat something on your plate you know is not the best choice? Spill water on it. Ever take a look at left-over food in the kitchen sink? Not very appetizing. Bet ya won’t want it anymore after it’s doused with water.

Talk In Code. We have all that partner in crime that we confide in at a holiday dinner. I mentioned The Skimm in my last write-up but what I forgot to mention was the kick-ass acronym cheat sheet they offer with the latest and greatest social uses. This one’s a must – read here (how fun to practice them over turkey dinner). And if you still haven’t joined The Skimm – do it now.

Burn Fat. There is a pretty good chance you will be indulging during the holidays (avoid making it a month-long habit). The key is to get your heart rate high enough to use up your stored glucose and get into the fat burning zone. How do you do that? Intervals. Workout example for a runner: Warm up 5 minutes at moderate rate (4.5 mph). Jog at a steady pace for 5 minutes (6.0 mph), then exert yourself running at a much faster pace (6.8-7.0) for 2 minutes. You should be breathing heavily and trying to catch your breath for those 2 minutes. Repeat that 5 min/2 min cycle for 30+ minutes, 2-3 times a week. This is the same concept of Tabata. High intervals with moderate rests in between. Adjust the times/pace to your level. Walkers walk for the 5 min and light jog/speed walk for the 2.

And that’s all folks. If you are looking for more tidbits or are interesting in a private nutrition counseling session, email me at dakarrat@yahoo.com. Happy, healthy holidays.

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Just Got Burned

I was invited to one of those home-business direct sales parties this weekend – loving the social aspect of great company/eats but apprehensive about the sales pitch that often leads to hypocriteobligatory purchases to support my friend, “the host”.

However, what transpired that evening was life-changing.

I wear a health and fitness badge proudly on my chest for all to see, and live and breathe what I preach.  I spend all this time and energy focusing on my inside, I completely disregarded my outside and feel like such a hypocrite admitting it.

Here’s what I learned:

  • There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today in the health and beauty industry. Many don’t have any safety data.
  • 80% of the ingredients used today have never been tested for safety.
  • The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.
  • The European Union has spent the past two decades banning or restricting more than 1,300 ingredients, the US has only banned 11 to date.
  • Only about 10% of the 10,000 chemicals commonly found in personal care products have safety data.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates cosmetics) allows companies to use chemicals known to be extremely harmful (lead, formaldehyde, and phthalates) in the products we put on our bodies and on our kids every day. And they don’t necessarily have to list them on their products.
  • Our skin is our largest organ – it absorbs up to 60% of what you put on it; on average we use 12-20 products on our skin every-single-day.

I felt nauseous thinking of all of the skin and beauty products I purchase for my family that could potentially be detrimental to their health and mine.

According to BeautyCounter, “Decades of studies indicate that serious health issues (including, but not limited to asthma, learning disabilities, cancer and infertility) are on the rise, and due in some part to our on-going exposure to toxic chemicals”. 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the US will be diagnosed with cancer. ewg

In panic mode, I immediately went through my cabinets that night – zapping everything I had with the EWG (Environmental Working Group) safety rating app I learned about that evening. Phenomenal tool that helps you determine the safety of a product by scanning the UPC code and giving you a rating (the app is: EWG Healthy Living).

The next day, I replaced nearly everything – hand soaps, facial cleansers, body washes, soaps, shampoos, oils, sunscreen, disinfecting sprays, wipes, facial cream, etc. I looked like a crazy woman zapping every label in the store until I found a worthy winner. And I have continued to follow this crusade daily since that evening.

Once you know, you know – and you can’t go backwards and pretend like you never heard it. And now, every effort counts.

Just as my philosophy with food – you do as much as you can do to lead a healthy life without becoming neurotic. 80/20 rule.

The presentation I went to was for BeautyCounter. Their mission and movement is outstanding. I bought a few products (excellent selection) but also sourced many products separately on my own (with my scanner) that were not as much of an investment. Harmon Discount is a great resource.

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My Favorite Quirky Beauty Tips

Thought I would have fun this week and share some of my favorite and less conventional beauty tips. Love to hear what your favorites are – tell us about them in the “Leave a Comment” box.

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Shaving: I love this one – I have been doing it since college! Use baby oil instead of soap or shaving cream to shave your legs. It creates a barrier and protects your skin from abrasions. There is also a new product by Johnson’s called ‘Baby Oil Gel‘, which works just as well and drips less. One caveat – the tub or shower floor gets a little slick- consider using a shower mat and be careful!

Lashes: Forget regular mascara – I use ‎Blinc™ Mascara. You can find it at Sephora and Amazon. It coats your lashes with smudge resistant little tubes and it stays on incredibly well. Because of the way it is designed, there is no clumping when you apply it and it doesn’t flake off at all during the day.

Brushing Hair: Don’t use a brush on wet hair – it causes breakage. Instead use a wide toothed comb.

Drying Hair: If you have thick or long hair that takes a while to dry and tends to be frizzy or curly, don’t hit the dryer right away. Apply whatever conditioning or moisturizing product you like best and then wrap your hair in a microfiber towel or twist it and clip it up. This gives your hair some time to dry on its own and when you are ready to blow dry it, it will dry more quickly. And less hot drying time is always better for your hair. I often keep my hair in a clip for hours and when I have time, I take it down and blow dry it in half the time and with much less heat damage.

Dry Hands: Wearing gloves to bed works! But, first I apply Arbonne’s Skin Conditioning Oil to my cuticles and knuckles and then I follow with a thick coat of a heavy moisturizer like The Body Shop’s Africa Honey & Beeswax Hand and Foot Butter. Avoid using plain old petroleum jelly. Petroleum is an occlusive agent, which provides a physical barrier and protects epidermal water loss – but it doesn’t absorb into the skin well. If your feet are dry, you can do the same treatment for them – apply oil & lotion and wear socks to bed!

Face Mask: Honey is not just for your tea. Honey makes an incredible, effective (yes, also messy) facemask. Honey has antimicrobial properties so it is amazing for acne and unclogging pores and it will leave you skin super soft. No harsh chemicals here, just buy honey from the grocery store. Filtered and organic honey is best – you don’t need anything else. Try using 2 – 3 times a week and see the difference.

Breakout: Visine isn’t just for your eyes. Try soaking a cotton ball with Visine and placing it in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Take it out of the freezer and place it on a pimple. It brings down the swelling and gets rid of the red.

Eyelids: We all know about concealing dark circles under our eyes, but what about brightening above the eye? Eyelids can darken with age (at least mine did!) and by adding an eye shadow base, you can brighten your eyes with very little effort. During the day, I wear it instead of eye shadow– it really opens up my eyes. And if I choose to wear eye shadow at night, it acts as a great base to keep my makeup in place. Tip – Pick a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone so eyes look even brighter.

Eyeliner: I love the look of eyeliner along my upper lashes, but always struggle with applying it correctly. Those fine paint-like eyeliners leave little room for error and it often takes me more than one attempt. And, eye pencils never seem to go on smoothly or last long without smudging. My solution – use a powder eye shadow and a wet eyeliner brush (the brush with the angled tip). Gently rub the wet brush into the shadow and then apply to eyelids. It will go on smoothly and once dry, it will stay in place beautifully. Then simply rinse your eyeliner brush off for next time. As an added bonus, your color choices just exploded, as any eye shadow in your drawer will work.

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