Skin update: What’s been helping my acne

As some of you may know I am constantly looking for ways to help heal my acne that I’ve had on and off since my early teens.

Of course eating healthy, whole foods, as well as a plant-based vegan diet that excludes dairy and processed foods certainly helps, but there’s more.

Recently I had been dealing with some more inconvenient blemishes, especially on my chin area. I was eating well, drinking lots of water, using natural products and cleaning my skin thoroughly, so I thought maybe something else is going on?

Luckily I got to speak to the founder of Miiko Skin Co. who has studied Ayurveda. She listened to my story, and there were a few tips she gave me:

#1: I was over cleansing, even though I use natural, high quality products, I was washing my face about 2-3x/ day. This was because I would be working out and wash my face afterwards, as well as morning and night. This lead to an imbalance in my skin’s natural pH balance, which made it more vulnerable to bacteria and an overproduction of sebum (oil). Plus I also sweat a lot on my face when I workout which I cannot change but that does make me more susceptible to breakouts because excessive sweat can also disrupt your skin’s pH balance.

#2: I was clearly stressed, from both work and recently moving. The winter weather we were experiencing certainly did not help either!

#3: I wasn’t supplementing my diet, this I know but sometimes when it comes to treating your own problems the hardest part is to take your own advice and put it into action.

So what I have been doing to improve on this and reduce  my chances of breakouts is:

  1. Cleansing smarter, not harder. I now aim to wash my face only 1-2x/day depending if I workout and sweat alot or not. I also started using jojoba oil to cleanse my face, I have done this before but for some reason didn’t continue with it, but oil cleansing helps you to pull dirt and makeup off of the skin without drying the skin out.
  2. I also initially started using Miiko Skin Co.’s natural toner which contains apple cider vinegar (ACV), as she explained to me that the skin surface is meant to be acidic, and when breakouts are happening that means the skin is likely more alkaline (which for your skin is not good!), thus ACV helps to balance this. It worked really well but I used it up really fast and so rather than spending more money I made my own toner! I mixed half parts ACV and half alcohol-free Aloe Witch Hazel then a few drops of rose geranium essential oil and lavender oil, it’s great!
  3. I started exfoliating with a gentle cleanser by Sukin which contains jojoba oil to keep the skin hydrated as well as activated charcoal to draw out impurities. I aim to exfoliate 1-2x/week.
  4. I started supplementing again, I have taken all of these supplements before but never all at the same time and frankly I was just lazy this winter with supplements… So first I started taking some high quality probiotics to help balance the good bacteria with the bad bacteria I most likely had. I also started taking Opti-Zinc which contains zinc with a bit of copper because you want to keep zinc-copper in balance (zinc helps with hormone production and skin healing, as well as many other functions). I also started taking plant based Omega-3’s DHA and EPA again which come from algae and flax and help to reduce inflammation as well as regulate hormones. I also began taking vegan vit.D liquid again because I was certainly feeling the winter blues aka vitamin D too low! and lastly I started taking vegan B12 liquid again because although I had before, I wasn’t keeping it up and B12 is very important for overall health, energy production, especially if you are stressed!
  5. Lastly I made a bigger effort to make time for things I enjoy such as being outside, going for walks and hikes, practicing yoga, listening to music, and spending time with friends and family which all help me reduce stress. I also make sure I get 7-9 hours of sleep and have time to unwind every day.

I hope this post perhaps helps others you struggle with their skin, and if you are interested in learning more about what I do to keep my skin healthy or want to learn more about the holistic approach please feel free to email me at holistichayleynutrition@gmail.com

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Healthy Eating: ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’

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All too often I hear from people who want to make healthy changes to their diet, but they are lost. They are bombarded with information on the internet, from television ads, magazines and even their doctors. The key is to make small, simple changes, that one can follow not just for a few weeks but as part of a maintainable, healthy lifestyle. So the theme of this post is going back to the K.I.S.S. principle we all learnt back in school: ‘Keep It Simple Stupid”. I have broken down 5 simple steps to implement to begin the journey of healthier eating.

 

#1) Drink more water. Water is THE most important tool for your bodily functions. You can live longer without food than you can water for a reason. In today’s world, we seem to overconsume food and under consume water. The human body is very good at adapting to decreased water consumption, but these adaptations are merely for survival and are not optimal for long periods. Unfortunately, most people are chronically dehydrated without even knowing, leading them to symptoms such as have poor energy, increased hunger, poor elimination, dry skin, and toxic build up to name a few. One easy way to know whether you are well hydrated or not is to check out the colour of your urine, that’s right, look before you flush! If your urine is NOT clear and virtually colourless, you need to drink more water. So if you are well hydrated, you should be seeing minimal amounts of yellow in your urine if at all (keep in mind if you take a supplement or vitamin that can make urine yellow because of excess vit B’s and C in the urine). Avoid soda’s, pops, commercial juices, fancy starbuck’s drinks, and energy drinks. Stick to water, and herbal teas are great as well!

#2) Eat more fresh food. This is super simple, we all know fresh homemade food is better than the drive-thru. Try to minimize and eliminate foods that come from a drive by window, or that only require the microwave. The most nourishing food is freshly cooked or prepared to eat. This will include food that is raw, but also food that is cooked, steamed, baked, roasted or sauteed but not fried in oil or destroyed in a microwave! (I hate microwaves…). Just think, what would you rather eat, your grandma’s lasagna made from scratch OR a frozen lasagna? Let’s just say neither will help you fit into your skinny jeans but grandma’s will be much more wholesome.

#3) Eat local and seasonal produce. This is not only good for your health, but also good for the planet, local economy and your pocket! Fruits and vegetables that are in season offer the most nutrients and they actually help your body adapt to that current season. Plus, the less distance a fruit or vegetable has to travel before it gets to your plate, the more of its original nutrients will be intact. This also helps keep variety in your diet which is very important! Berries are great but they do not grow all year round, same goes for apples, enjoy each while they are in season in abundance. Aim to be eating atleast one fruit or vegetable at every meal/snack. 5-8 servings is the goal! (one serving is a handful).

#4) Be careful with your condiments. Read your ingredients! The most typically used condiments that are not great for our health are commercial soy sauce, relish, mayonnaise, table salt, margarine, and sour cream to name a few. Rather than using these items to flavour your food, opt for the healthier options such as spices which can offer a variety of actual health benefits (ie. garlic is great for fighting colds and flus). Opt for wheat free or organic soy sauce (Bragg’s is the best!) which has no additives or preservatives. Sea salt is good in moderation, cracked pepper is also great for seasoning without consequences. Opt for healthier fats to flavour your food such as extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. And keep in mind if you are using good quality, fresh in season foods, your meals will always taste better!

#5) Don’t overeat. Although you may be in denial, obesity is a major issue for so many of our health concerns and costs our health care system a lot of money! This suggestion not necessarily just for people who want to lose weight, even if you are happy with your weight, it is best to make sure you do not eat too much at once for optimal health. Eating past your body’s satiation point can leave you feeling sluggish but can also wreak havoc on your digestive tract and cause inflammation in the body. It’s best to eat just until you are satisfied, but not stuffed, and simply save your leftovers for another meal. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re full, it’s so simple it’s stupid!

There you have it! 5 simple ways to start eating better and improve your health without doing anything crazy! I hope you find this helpful and please share this with anyone you know who may be feeling overwhelmed but would like to start eating healthier.

Thank you for reading!

-Holistic Hayley 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Foods you may think you need to eliminate and 4 Foods that you really should

Potatoes:

Many people associate potatoes as being bad for their figures or simply as an unhealthy option. Truthfully, it is everything that we tend to put on or eat potatoes with that is bad! Mayonnaise, Butter, Cream, Cheese, Sour Cream, Steak, Tons of Salt, Bacon and Bacon bits, and Canola Oil and the foods we should really be eliminating. Fact: Potatoes are tubers; they grow underground off the root after the plant has grown and flowered. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, B vitamins (esp. folic acid, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. Their fat content is barely existent, and they are approximately 2/3 starch and 10% protein. Potatoes can be baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, sauteed or turned into soups and when enjoyed without their usual fattening suspects can be part of a healthy diet.

Nuts:

I have heard some people who are trying to lose weight say “Oh I can’t have nuts, their way too fattening” yet their think eating red meat and dairy products is helping them and that is simply ignorance. Nuts are rich in plant protein and unsaturated fats, and when eaten raw, and unsalted they are low in sodium, provide a mix of the B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other trace minerals. Raw nuts should also be stored in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. Nuts are best eaten in small portions (handful) as a snack to ward off cravings for things such a chocolate, or soaked and made into easily digested nut milk! Nuts also make a great apres-workout snack to replenish your muscles. Again, rather than blaming nuts for being fat, try reducing your consumption of animal fats.

Dates, Bananas, and other Tropical Fruits:

Since when did anyone think that a piece of sweet, delicious fruit was bad for your figure? Cause they’re not! Now of course you should ensure you have a varied diet and not eat the same foods all year round everyday, but sweet fruits can be a part of any healthy diet. Fruits contain a diverse amount of nutrients individually, and they also contain lots of healthy fibre. The fibre in fruit slows down the digestion of its natural sugars so that they don’t spike our blood sugar levels like refined cane sugar would. Fruits also have many other good qualities, Dates for instance are surprisingly concentrated in iron, and also boast good quantities of niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Bananas not only make a great pre-workout/activity snack with their pure carbohydrate content, they also provide potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. Instead of worrying about how much sugar is in an innocent piece of fruit, try to avoid any food that contains refined cane sugar or corn syrup, two of the biggest blood sugar disruptors.

Whole grains:

A whole rant could be done on the misinformation out there about grains, but I’ll keep this short.  Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide us with sustained energy for our busy lives. They are rich sources of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, and many minerals. Now lets keep in mind wheat is not the only grain out there, and if something is gluten free it is not necessarily healthy. Healthy wholegrains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat and corn. These are healthiest in their unprocessed, organic form. With the exception of quinoa which is already a complete protein, whole grains can be eaten in conjunction with legumes in our diet to provide all the necessary amino acids for a healthy body. Instead of avoiding grains all together and doing the whole “caveman” diet simply avoid refined processed grain products like white bread, packaged cookies, white rice and crackers.

Reference:

Haas, E.M. & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. NY: Ten Speed Press

6 tips to make healthy eating cheaper

 

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Scope it out: Always look at flyers from the different grocery stores in your area, check out which one has the best deal on the foods you want/ like.

 

Plan Ahead: Always make a list, because just like going to the gym, if you go without a plan, you’re going to waste a lot of time and maybe even money on things you don’t need.

 

Stock up: If there is something that you eat a lot of and it goes on sale, buy lots! For example, peanut butter or canned chickpeas, these things can last awhile in your cupboard so why not buy a bunch when they are on sale, and save money in the long run, rather than buying them every week over and over at the standard price. You can also do this with fruit and freeze it.

 

Keep it Simple: You do not need to eat expensive raw cacao, goji berries and organic kale chips all the time to be healthy, YOU JUST DON’T! Don’t fall for all the superfood gimics, you can get more nutritional value for your money from making your own food and eating seasonal fruits and veggies, grains, nuts and seeds. Those typical “health food” items are nice to have but are not affordable on a regular basis.

 

Eat Seasonally: It is tempting to buy strawberries and grapes in the winter, but they are not cheap, nor are they high in nutrients! And for a good reason, because they are not in season! Eating seasonally is one of the best things you can do for your health and your wallet. You do not need to eat the same fruits and vegetables everyday year round. Aim for variety in your diet on a yearly basis.

 

Make your own food: Don’t complain you have no time, because at some point in your day you probably sit on the couch and watch TV or sit on the computer not really doing anything productive. It is so much cheaper and healthier for you to create your own meals from the basics than it is to buy packaged, pre-prepared food. You can easily make your own cereal and granola with oats, seeds, and nuts. You can make your own trail mix with your favorite nuts and dried fruits. You can make your own salad dressing with your choice of vegetable oil, lemon, vinegar and herbs. Eventually once you have made it a habit, preparing food is no different than brushing your teeth everyday, its just something you do! Preparing your own food is also very rewarding. 

The Thigh Gap: an Unhealthy Ideal and My Personal Story

 

Im going to share with you a very personal story, not a lot of people have heard this story, in fact probably none have heard it ever in full, so here it goes. Not even my family and close friends, because I have always been scared of being judged, until now. To family and friends please don’t be offended that I never told you about this sooner. Im putting myself out there now, hoping it may help others and shed some light.

 In my studies of holistic nutrition the topic of eating disorders has come up a number of times. There is a large stereotype and misconception with eating disorders. For example, in my sport nutrition text book the section on eating disorders in athletes is in the Female athlete section…

I will stop there and now begin my personal experience with disorder eating, or whatever you want to label it…

So my unhealthy obsession with food and exercise began in grade 6. I was very active, played basketball, danced, and ran in track and cross country and was going through a growth spurt (about the same height I am now). Being in puberty and being young I had a lot in my head, and one of those was my ideal body image. I had no problem with my tummy (it was very flat already) or arms, what I wanted was thinner thighs, and essentially I wanted a thigh gap.

I taught myself how to read and understand food labels and that’s when the problem started. I used to simply eat whatever I wanted when I was hungry, and my parents were good about keeping nutritious, healthy food in the house. I began to obsess over the amount of fat or calories in foods, I would rarely eat pizza, chocolate, other junk foods my friends ate in fear of gaining weight. If I did happen to eat more or eat something I didn’t think I should have, I would make up for it by doing exercise, usually via going for a run. I also started weighing myself… every day. I started having berries, granola and non fat yogurt for breakfast and wouldn’t bring any lunch to school except an apple and granola bar. My only nutritious meal was dinner, which my mom would cook. I started losing weight pretty quickly, because I was so active, and clearly I wasn’t getting the nutrients I needed.

The thigh gap started to show but I wanted to be even thinner still. Clearly because I was athletic I had quite a bit of leg muscle which I did not think about at the time, I just wanted lose fat and get super skinny thighs.

I had only recently started getting my monthly female reminder, and pretty soon after my period had started, it stopped. At first I didn’t care/ I was excited because who wants to get their period! Little did I know this was a red light that I was underweight and had such low body fat my body was not producing the amount hormones it should have been anymore: Amenorrhoea is the name for this condition. This can cause lower than normal bone density, and increase the risk for stress factures (which I did not know at the time).

I was more active than I had ever been. I think it was around grade 7 when I started to get knee pain during and after running, which I did a lot of! This frustrated me because I couldn’t do as much exercise as I wanted! This started to affect my performance in sports, dance, and gym class. I never saw a physio or anything for it because I just wanted to stay active and was afraid of having to rest it, and I didn’t think it was a big deal. I started also doing some pilates videos at home when I couldn’t run. ( I am not saying that my eating disorder caused my knee problem, but I think it was one of the main reasons it started, along with my high activity level and lack of adequate rest).

The obsession with food became worse when I felt good feeling hungry. Feeling hungry and having an empty stomach was an accomplishment for me, and I would often skip breakfast and lunch. Never mind having low blood sugar, I felt good about being starved.

 Obviously because I was curious about weight loss and health I started reading books and magazines on the topic, I remember reading somewhere that when women have such a low body fat percentage it can actually be unhealthy and one of the main signs is that they lose their period/ stop menstruating. At first I just thought it was just because I’m so active and young, no big deal right? Wrong.

At my lowest I think I weighed 95-97 lbs, which may not seem very low, but I am the same height now, with a little more muscle mind you, and weigh 130 lbs. 

Whats strange is I never looked like the typical girls you see in pictures in articles about eating disorders, I looked like your typical pre-teen, skinny, athletic girl. Although my nick name at school was skeletor, my thinness never alarmed anyone, because it didn’t look like those pictures or girls with supposed “eating disorders”.

I began to slowly realize I had a problem, and it wasn’t healthy to continue. I was deprived.

It took awhile to start eating normally again without being paranoid about the calories or fat in food. But I did this all without telling anyone, by myself. I think it was the summer of grade 8 that I got my period back and was a healthy weight again. It was in grade 8 also that I cut out dairy because it gave me stomach aches and gas.

So now, when I hear people talking about others and saying “Oh she must have an eating disorder she’s so skinny!” it makes me mad. Im not sure why, maybe its because no one thought I had an eating disorder when I did, and the fact that people are judging others, without knowing them at all.

I have learnt a lot from this experience, and it is one of the things that lead me into my passion for health, nutrition, and fitness. From an unhealthy obsession with food and exercise I now have a healthy balance of the two.

By sharing this I am not looking for sympathy, because I don’t need or want that, what I am hoping is that we will stop judging others based on their body composition. And know that not all people with an eating disorder or disordered eating are extremely thin like the models we see in fashion magazines. And that eating disorders don’t only affect women, they affect men too. Guys are equally as self conscious as girls about their bodies, but they don’t show it the way we do. One of the things I never did was complain to others about how I wanted to lose weight, I just did it. I was stubborn. I think that may be why no one ever thought I had an eating disorder, because I didn’t complain about my body to friends or family. 

I guess my point is that everyone is different, and if you think a loved one may be dealing with an eating disorder or have an unhealthy relationship with exercise, approach them and don’t assume anything, and please don’t go telling others what you think and spreading gossip.

And to all the girls out there who think they want a thigh gap or want to be super thin, please focus on your health. By being active and eating healthy we can look our best and be a healthy weight, and not look like some unrealistic version of skinny whose thighs have been trimmed down with a photo editing software. Everyone always tells us those photos are edited, but I think we keep forgetting.

The road to loving yourself is a long and windy one but it is oh so important that we find peace with our bodies and strive to treat them well by being healthy: eating well, being active, and feeling good.

 

If you read this all, thank you.

 

 

 

 

You don’t need meat to get all of your essential amino acids!

If anyone tells you that you need to eat meat, they are severely mistaken. You can get all the protein you need, and then some, from things that come out of the ground, not a slaughterhouse.

The words “complete” and “incomplete” protein simply mean that a food either has equal amounts of all amino acids (complete) or has less of one or more amino acids (incomplete). It does NOT mean that any amino acid(s) is or are missing entirely from that food, just that some may be present in lower amounts. This means that to get adequate protein (all essential amino acids) from plants, you simply have to eat a variety of different plant proteins and more of them! Who doesn’t want to eat more? And NO you don’t have to make special combinations at every meal, just make sure you’re eating a variety of whole grains and the following throughout your diet:

Quinoa: Quinoa is very high in protein! It is considered one of the complete plant proteins because it contains good levels of all essential amino acids. And it also has good amounts of iron, calcium, B vitamins, and other minerals, so eat some!

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Sprouts: when a seed, grain, or legume is sprouted its protein content increases by 15-30%, that’s awesome! This is because during the sprouting process some of the carbohydrate component gets converted into protein. Sprouts are also richer in other nutrients so they are a very good choice, but best eaten raw! Also try sprouting at home! Check out this site.

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Soybeans: though they are in the legume family they deserve some special mention, they contain good levels of all amino acids and are high in protein (one of the best sources of vegan protein). It is important to make sure your soy is organic and non-GMO because unfortunately a lot of the ones grown in our world are tampered with! And yes, males can safely enjoy non-GMO soybeans as well and they will not develop breasts, that is a myth! Also my favorite way to enjoy the nourishing properties of soybeans: smoked organic tofu!

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Peanuts: they are 20% protein! And did you know that peanuts are actually a legume, not a nut! It is best to refrigerate your peanuts to prevent them from rancidity, and getting them raw is best, or in the form of natural peanut butter (no not the Kraft brand with teddy bears on it, sorry).

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Legumes: This includes all peas and beans and lentils! These are a great protein source and are inexpensive! They are great to combine with brown rice and vegetables for a yummy dinner. Or combine them with quinoa for an even bigger protein kick!

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So now you know where us vegans get our protein so you no longer have to ask! Thanks for reading 🙂

Reference: “Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine (21st century edition)”, 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD. 

Better Digestion with a few simple rules

Food Combining for Optimal Digestion and Better Health

1: Eat Fruit by itself, only with other fruits, or with greens in a smoothie. For example, eat fruit on an empty stomach (the morning is perfect) and not after a meal, while having a piece of fruit after dinner is better than a sugary, fatty dessert, it will not digest properly and may cause some tummy issues.

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2: Do not combine high protein foods with carbohydrates, i.e. protein powder with fruit in a smoothie, a typical burger with fries, or pretty much mixing any meat with a grain or bread is a no no, one of the reasons your digestion is typically better when you are vegan 😉 .

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Examples of what IS good: tofu with veggies, quinoa with veggies, brown rice (yes brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that also has good quality protein) with veggies, tempeh with veggies, hummus with veggies, beans with veggies, or if you do eat animal products combining those with veggies as well is okay.

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When it comes to starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes, it is best to eat those with another complex carbohydrate (i.e. grain) or with vegetables.

Following these guidelines will definitely give you better digestion, and better overall health because your food will be digested, absorbed, and eliminated in a smoother way. Now I will admit I don’t ALWAYS follow these guidelines, but if you do at least most of the time you will still benefit from it 🙂

Reference: “Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medecine (21st century edition)” , 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD. 

5 things that make your liver happier

5 things that make our liver happy 🙂 : Our liver is one of our most important organs, performing over 100 different functions, so if it isn’t functioning well then we have a problem. A poorly-functioning liver can even effect your skin with oilyness and blemishes, yikes!! So lets make that liver happy and healthy! 

 

1: Milk Thistle! This is a well known liver detoxifying herb, it helps protect liver cells from damage due to toxins. Image

2: Licorice: don’t like the taste of licorice? You better start getting used to it! This powerful herb helps protect the liver, AND it has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, a double win!

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3: Dandelion root: Producing bile is one of the ways the liver eliminates toxins, and this herb increases bile flow, therefore assisting in detoxification of the liver.

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4: Lemons! When life gives you lemons, squeeze them into your water! This fruit is considered a liver cleanser and detoxifier because it aids in fat metabolism, sweet!

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5: Don’t get so drunk: We all know alcohol is bad for our liver, but why? Well one of the liver’s jobs is filtering toxins out of the blood ( alcohol is a toxin ), and as soon as the liver becomes overwhelmed with alcohol and can no longer filter it, that is when we begin to feel drunk. So if you are someone who is a “lightweight” your liver just might not be as efficient at detoxifying. Needless to say, If you are going to get drunk, drink lots of water as well to give your liver some love.

You can look for Milk Thistle, Licorice, and Dandelion root in teas as well as supplements.

 

Reference: “Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medecine (21st century edition)” , 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD. 

5 things you can do to look like a reef girl

5 things you can do to look like a reef girl: I used to be jealous of these girls, but jealousy gets you nowhere right? So instead I just decided be my own confident reef girl ( who doesn’t have a professional to airbrush her butt ) who rocks her bikini! And here are my tips 🙂Image

 1: Eat your fruits and vegetables! The more of these you eat, the less room for all that other crap in your stomach. Start your day with a huge (so big you have to put it into two separate big glasses to drink) smoothie of just fresh/frozen fruits, maybe some spinach or kale thrown in there, and just add water, no yogurt! Maybe a bit of unsweetened almond milk, but that’s it!

 2: Get moving! Get sweaty! Go for a walk, go for a run, or just dance around in your room, the latter is my fav 🙂 , or come to one my aquafit class! Cardio is very important to burn calories and unwanted fat to reveal that beautiful butt! And it creates endorphins, which make us happy!

 3: No more late night snacks! Try not to eat anything at least an hour before bed, two or three hours is even better. Believe it or not, when you go to sleep, your body does not want to digest that bowl full of gross ice cream you just ate, it wants to sleep! This will help to give your digestive system a break and keep you from consuming calories (even if it is something healthy!) that you don’t need. You will feel good in the morning and ready for that smoothie!

 4: Do some lunges! Lunges (when done properly) are a great exercise for the quads and the glutes. Make sure that when you perform a lunge, you are keeping your knees in line with your ankles, knees are not to go past the toes, and drive all of your weight into your heels to activate those glutes! (you want to be able to lift your toes up) *If you have knee problems, please make sure its okay with your physio to do these exercises BEFORE you do them.

 5: Okay, now you can do some squats. Just like with the lunges, when you do a squat you are driving all of your weight into your heels, knees are in line with your ankles, and the knees don’t go over the toes. Place your feet hip distance apart, or slightly further. You want to be able to lift up your toes! Another tip is start with no weight (so you don’t even have to go to the gym) and just squat slower, focusing on squeezing that booty! *During the up phase of the squat, put your hands on your butt to make sure the glutes are tight and working hard.

 

Now get going!! When I find where to buy a reef bikini I will let you all know 🙂

 

 

Top 10 nutrients for healthy skin!

One of the main reasons I initially became so interested in nutrition years back was to make my skin as nice, clear, and healthy as possible. So here are my top ten nutrients for clear, healthy, glowing skin! Enjoy! *keep in mind that all of the sources listed here are plant-based, because I am vegan, so I am recommending foods that I would personally eat, though some of these nutrients are available in animal products, I don’t worry about that. 🙂

1: Water! : If your body is dehydrated, your face will be too! Water keeps our skin hydrated and healthy and helps flush toxins out of the body.

Sources: Uhh… the tap! (if you live in BC tap water is usually safe) or you can get a filter for your faucet. What ever you do please don’t buy bottled water! Buy a water bottle!

2: Fibre: it keeps toxins from accumulating in the colon and keeps “things” moving smoothly. If your digestive system is backed up, your skin will be negatively effected. Good digestion = good skin.

Sources: Anything that comes from the ground! (i.e.. plants!) Eat some fruit, veggies, grains, beans, whatever.

3: EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids): these are important for growth and keeping the skin moisturized, soft, and young. They also have anti-inflammatory benefits for acne. You will want to focus mostly on getting lots of the Omega 3’s, because Omega 6’s are not needed in as high amounts and are more common.

Sources (Omega 3’s): flaxseeds & oil, chia seeds & oil, pumpkin seeds & oil.

(Omega 6’s): most plant oils, including canola, corn, peanut, sesame, safflower, and sunflower oils.

4: B-vitamins: these guys are essential for many bodily functions, and also essential for keeping the skin in good condition.

Sources: nutritional yeast, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts, as well as leafy greens.

5: Vitamin C: as an antioxidant, it helps prevent oxidation, and aids in the formation and maintenance of collagen.

Sources: citrus fruits, papaya, cantaloupes, strawberries, peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, and almost any other fruit or veggie will have some.

6: Zinc: this mineral helps maintain body levels of vitamin A, aids in collagen formation, improves wound healing, and also helps the skin’s oil glands function. Zinc is one of the main anti-acne nutrients.

Sources: Whole grains, such as whole wheat, rye, oats, pecans, brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds. NOTE FOR GIRLS: taking birth control pills ( or having an IUD) increases your body’s need for Zinc, so load up!

7: Vitamin A (beta-carotene): an antioxidant that also stimulates growth in the base layer of the skin, and helps protect the skin from cancer cell development. Beneficial in healing acne, along side zinc and vitamin E.

Sources: yellow & orange fruits and veggies, such as peppers, carrots, mangos, apricots etc. as well as dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.

8: Vitamin E: acts as an antioxidant, stabilizing cell membranes and protecting tissues including the skin from oxidation.

Sources: the oil components of all grains, seeds, and nuts, as well as cold pressed vegetable oils and soybeans.

9: Selenium: this mineral is an antioxidant as well that protects cell membranes and tissues , including the skin, and helps slow the aging process. It works synergistically with vitamin E to serve these functions.

Sources: brazil nuts, barley, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice.

10: Silica (aka silicon): silica is a mineral that promotes strength and firmness in the body tissues, including the skin.

Sources: whole wheat, oats, and brown rice. also in lettuce, cucumber, avocados, strawberries, onions, and dark greens.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have questions! 🙂

References: “Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medecine (21st century edition)” , 2006, by Elson M. Haas, MD. with Buck Levin, PhD, RD.