Beautiful Skin

Oh, the skin you’re in…

Simple ways to keep your outer layer happy

Water – Hydration is essential for many aspects of bodily health, one of which is the layers of your skin! It helps flush toxins, too, so you’ll be less prone to breakouts like pimples. 10 – 12 glasses is a good baseline.

Diet – You truly ARE what you eat. A daily diet of unprocessed raw whole foods rich in vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy skin.

Exercise – Sweat is actually good for your skin, because it moisturizes and facilitates waste removal.  Plus it increases arterial flow, so you have more energy and a more radiant complexion.

Sleep – A good night’s sleep is non-negotiable for your general health, and your skin is one of the very first places sleep deprivation will show up.

Sunshine – Your skin is an amazing organ in many ways! one of which is the ability to turn sunshine into Vitamin D, a necessary adjunct to your body’s absorption of calcium. Sunlight also helps heal rashes, eczema, psoriasis and acne. So give yourself a daily dose of 10 minutes of sunshine! The early morning or late afternoon are the best times.

Stay away from tanning beds! Unless you think old dried-up leather is a good look for you, there is just no reason to waste time or money on these.

Wash off the make-up – Skin needs to breathe; if it’s clogged with dirt or make-up, it can’t rest and refresh while you are sleeping.

Exfoliate – Using a natural fiber washcloth daily will keep your pores clear and remove the top layer of dead skin cells. You can also use a gentle scrub once a week.

Moisturize – Use a moisturizer that works for your skin type. If you want to experiment, make your own! Aloe vera gel, jojoba oil, or a glycerin/water mixture can be used for oily to normal skin, while a few drops of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil is wonderful for normal, dry or mature skin.

posted in Healthy Aging, Know Your Body

The Gift of Sleep

Sleeping Family

Give Yourself the Gift of a Good Night’s Sleep!

Americans are sleeping badly: 60 million of us have a chronic sleep disorder:

  • Sleep apnea*
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Narcolepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Periodic limb movement

*This can be related to the functional size of the airway, which can be influenced both by upper cervical spinal alignment and temporo-mandibular dysfunction (TMJ/TMD). 

That 60 million number represents one in five Americans.  But it doesn’t include those of us who are chronically sleep deprived – and the health implications of chronic sleep deprivation are deeply serious.

Some of you may be familiar with the case of a child that’s gotten on a bad sleep schedule: they’re cranky and fretful, and they are more susceptible to opportunistic infections and illness.  We grownups are no different!  Whether we like it or not, we need a routine that supports us.

Even one week of insufficient sleep can alter the genetic activity controlling our stress and immune system responses – which means we are losing the innate capacity of the body to repair and re-build.  For example, recent research suggests that the movement of cerebro-spinal fluid during sleep removes metabolic waste around the brain; this could have extraordinary implications for a number of conditions.

 

Here are some of the specific ways sleep deprivation affects your overall health:

Higher levels of anxiety
Higher rates of depression
Higher risk of physical injury
Disrupted estrogen production (increased risk of breast cancer)
Increased susceptibility to food cravings
Impaired memory & mental processing
Impaired white blood cell production
Higher risk of high blood pressure
Higher risk of stroke
Higher risk of heart disease
Higher risk of diabetes

That’s the why; what about the how?

Sleeping-Baby

Alcohol:  after the initial sedative effect of a “nightcap”, your body has to metabolize the alcohol; this makes for a restless night, and a harder day ahead.  If you’re waking between 1 and 3 am, your liver may be over-taxed.

Stimulants:  caffeine or nicotine close to bedtime stimulates the adrenal (“fight or flight”) system; what we need is to let that system calm down so the body can rest.  Unfortunately for us chocolate lovers, it also contains caffeine.

Exposure to natural light: your daily dose of sunshine is important at every age, as it helps maintain your sleep-wake cycle.Food:  a large meal close to bedtime forces your body to work on digestion rather than rest and repair; this problem is accentuated with heavy or spicy food.

Exercise: a vigorous workout is a great general health benefit, but it’s much better in the morning or early afternoon; the evening should be reserved for gentle yoga or an easy stroll.

Bedtime routine: your body needs to de-compress from the day; try to resolve any knotty problems well before bedtime.

Bedtime environment:  let your bedroom be about sleep (not television or computing!), with a firm comfortable bed and pillows*; it’s a bit like Goldilocks’ porridge: not too bright, not too hot…

*I always ask my patients to bring their pillow(s) into the office; you’d be surprised how many people are sleeping on a pillow that is part of their neck or back problem.  Both mattresses and pillows have a shorter useful lifespan than you might think.

If you’re curious about how much sleep you need, see this post for some age-appropriate guidelines.

A good night’s sleep is basic to our well-being.  None of us can function well, let alone flourish, without it.  Not only will it benefit you, but there’s a positive ripple effect on every single person you meet during the course of your day.  So this holiday, give yourself the gift that keeps on giving!

posted in Healthy Sleep

Spicy Cajun Cabbage

Cabbage is one of the most under-appreciated members of the brassica family (which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and chard).

All the brassicas have powerful anti-cancer properties, with a phenomenal ability to neutralize free radicals.  An extra incentive to include cabbage in your diet is the positive effect it has on estrogen metabolism.  Low rates of breast cancer in Eastern Europe fueled research into the phytonutrient compounds called indoles, which boost the ratio of “good” estrogens in both men and women.

If that weren’t enough, cabbage delivers a big chunk of the daily vitamins and minerals we need, as well plenty of fiber.  It’s delicious both cooked and in slaw (although over-cooking releases an unpleasant sulfurous odor).  One note of caution: people with hypo-active thyroids should eat cabbage in moderation.

Spicy Cajun Cabbage

Ingredients:

Cabbage Close Up

  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TB butter
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed and minced
  • 1 small head green cabbage, shredded

Add butter and oil to hot skillet over medium heat; then add onion.  Saute onion for a few minutes, then add garlic.  Saute a few minutes more (until soft), and add the shredded cabbage.  Keep turning over cabbage for 3 to 4 minutes; add the spices.  Keep stirring until cabbage is tender and aromatic, and done to your taste – probably about another 4 to 5 minutes.

 

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posted in Healthy Eating

10 Tips For A Better Day

10 Quick Tips for a Happier Day!

1. Drink more water: 10 to 12 glasses daily helps you digest food, detoxify & promotes healthy cell function.

2. Down-shift the caffeine: too much caffeine stresses your adrenal glands & disrupts healthy hormonal balance.

3. Eat breakfast! Your body needs protein in the morning: real oatmeal, eggs, or a fruit & yoghurt smoothie will give you some traction for the day.

4. Ban the barcodes: the food with the most nutritional content is around the edges of the store; more processed foods tend to have barcodes.

5. Take the stairs: it promotes heart and bone health – & burns a few extra calories!

6. Read more, watch less: a good book keeps your brain active and allows you to unwind in a way the television can’t!

7. Take a moment to say thank you: 60 seconds to reflect on our blessings can turn a bad day into a good one.

8. Use acu-pressure to revitalize! Apply light pressure to the space between your eyes for 10 seconds.

9. Give your feet a break: roll a tennis ball under your bare foot for a few moments to ease kinks & promote healthy blood flow.

10. If all else fails, squeeze a stress ball: put your focus on a gentle, rhythmic breath while squeezing a soft ball for 60 seconds, then repeat with the other hand. It releases tension & allows you to re-focus.

It’s your day, after all – make it as pleasant as you can!

posted in Healthy Living, Stress Strategies

Watermelon, Feta and Parsley Salad

Ingredients:Healthy Organic Watermelon Salad

  • 3 to 4 cups peeled and cubed watermelon, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup finely sliced flat-leaf parsley
  • Juice of 1 lime

Arrange the watermelon cubes on plates or a large platter.  Sprinkle with the feta cheese and parsley and drizzle with lime juice. Garnish with mint, if desired, and serve immediately.

 Optional Extras:

  • Red onion, diced
  • Black olives, chopped

Makes 4 to 6 salads.

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posted in Healthy Eating

Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

Delicious, versatile and easy to make, hummus is a healthy and inexpensive way to dress up a veggie plate, add body to a salad dressing or use as sandwich spread. This is a mild, tasty hummus you can use all year round – and it has a good balance of protein, fiber, unsaturated fat, minerals & vitamins.

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 scrubbed carrotsbigstock-Hummus--27098909
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 thick slice raw ginger
  • 1 dried red chili (optional)*
  • 1-2 tsp cumin seed
  • Juice of 2 lemons (about 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini*
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  1. In the morning, put 1 cup of dried chickpeas to soak in 2 -3 cups of filtered water.
  2. In the evening, drain the chickpeas and place in a heavy pot with: water, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, raw ginger, red chili, and cumin seed.
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat & cook for up to an hour.  The goal is tender but not mushy.
  4. Discard the vegetables and drain off the liquid into a measuring cup.  Put the cooked chickpeas in a blender with: lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt, pepper, and 2-4 tbsp of the reserved liquid.
  5. Blend until creamy; add more salt if necessary.  If you have leftover liquid, you can use it in other recipes (when cooking rice or soup, for example) – or give it to a houseplant!
  6. Serve garnished with minced parsley and red pepper, & maybe a drizzle of olive oil.

Some variations:

  • Garlic lovers can add 1 – 2 cloves of raw garlic; blend well!
  • Roasted red pepper makes a colorful and tasty addition
  • Mix in minced basil or spinach for a green version
  • Try making this with white beans instead of chickpeas

*Available at Indian grocery stores

posted in Healthy Eating

Cabbage Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. peanut or almond butterAsian Salad
  • 2 tbsp. hot water
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey,optional
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1- 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, optional
  • small handful of chopped peanuts or almonds, optional
  • salt and red pepper flakes, to taste

 

In a large bowl, mash together the nut butter and hot water until they form a smooth paste.  Mix in vinegar, agave syrup, salt, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Add the cabbage in 2 cup increments, mixing well after each addition. Add red pepper to taste. Cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, visiting it every hour or two to give it a good stir. If desired, sprinkle the nuts on top right before serving. Serve with a slotted spoon.    Serves 4-6.

 

Adapted from Still Life with Menu Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

 

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posted in Healthy Eating

Roasted Cauliflower with Green Herb Sauce

Spring is a great time to try vegetables in a new way.  We think of cauliflower as a winter vegetable but it transitions beautifully to spring in a zesty green sauce.  It is also a good source of numerous B vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber.

 

Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower with Green Herb Sauce*

Ingredients

1 large head cauliflower, whole

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped

1/2 tsp garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.  Place whole head of cauliflower on parchment lined-sheet.

Brush cauliflower with 1/4 cup olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper.

Pull short sides of parchment over cauliflower and fold one ends over other a few times to seal.  Fold long ends of parchment under cauliflower to create a packet.  Roast until knife-tender, about 40 minutes.  Tear open parchment at top, roast for 15-20 minutes more until golden brown.

In a small bowl, stir together parsley, cilantro, garlic, mustard, vinegar, and remaining 1/2 cup of olive oi.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Serve cauliflower warm, accompanied by sauce on the side.

*Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Living tm

 

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posted in Healthy Eating

Delicious, Nutritious Dandelion Greens

dandelion leaves isolated on white

A relative of the sunflower, the humble dandelion packs a hefty nutritional punch as a spring tonic: it supports digestion, reduces swelling and inflammation, and is used by herbalists to treat skin conditions like eczema and acne. One cup of raw dandelion greens out-performs broccoli in Vitamins A and K, besides being rich in calcium and iron.

 

 

Dandelion greens add a nice bite to a spring salad, and can be used exactly as you would bok choy or other greens.

 

 

 

Here’s a lovely Italian-flavored recipe:

A side dish of swiss chard cooked in olive oil with garlic and c

 

3 pounds dandelion greens, tough lower stems discarded and leaves cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3- 5 large garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

 

 

Cook greens in a large pot of boiling, lightly salted water, uncovered, until ribs are tender. Depending on your taste, this can take from 5 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking and drain well, gently pressing out excess water.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic and red-pepper flakes, stirring, until pale golden, about 45 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high, then add greens and sea salt and sauté until coated with oil and heated through, about 4 minutes.  Serve with lemon wedges.

 

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posted in Healthy Eating

What you need to know about hand sanitizers

Why use them?

Sometimes it just isn’t feasible to wash your hands.  And we all know that our hands are a vector for transmitting bacteria.  Doorknobs, gas pumps and pin pads are all touched by many, many people, and are rarely – if ever! – cleaned.

Why ingredients matter:

Trans-dermal delivery is incredibly effective, as anyone who’s used a nicotine patch can testify.  Harsh chemicals can not only be very damaging to your skin, they can also disrupt your hormonal system.  Especially for small children, who tend to put their hands in their mouths: safer is smarter.

What we recommend:

Buy a quality product.  You want a sanitizer that’s designed with your total health in mind, not just the company’s bottom line.  And don’t forget, actually washing your hands is still the best way to prevent sickness.

Clean Well Hand Sanitizer

 

EO Products Hand Sanitizer

 

CleanSmart Hand Sanitizer

Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Hand Sanitizer

                     These are all available locally (or online): try Mom’s, Trader Joe’s or Wegman’s.

 

posted in Healthy Living, Seasonal Tips

Announcements

Personal assessments of your workplace ergonomics now available! Dr. Winters will make practical suggestions that are easy for you to implement, and make a big difference in your stress and energy levels.

Talks

Dr. Winters loves to talk about posture. Have her come do a presentation for your school or community group! Recent presentation topics include nutrition, seasonal detoxification, the physical mechanism of stress (and how to combat it!), and a general introduction on working with your own body's self-regulating ability.

Talks can be tailored to the interests of your group, and generally run 10 or 20 minutes. She also offers a 50 minute class on posture for high school girls, which is both fun and illuminating!