Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rooibos: The Anti-Aging Tea

I stumbled upon this tea about 8 years ago. At the time rooibos was just being introduced into popular culture in the States but I was assured that it contained, “Like a hundred times more antioxidants than green tea!” according to the sweet little hippie girl at the tea shop. So I gave it a try and have been drinking it regularly ever since. Native to a very specific area in South Africa--Cederburg, South Africa in the Western Cape Province to be exact, rooibos tea is loved for it’s incredible healing properties as well as the taste.

Much research has gone into this tea over the last 10 years; as a result, studies have found that it contains a number of vitamins and minerals: calcium, fluoride, manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and vitamin D just to name a few. However the thing that truly caught my eye are the anti-aging properties of this exotic red tea. This little wonder tea strengthens our body’s resistance to free-radicals in our system. If you aren’t aware of that bad word (don’t say it too loud), free-radicals are the annoying by-product of normal cell function. It is this by-product that causes our bodies to age quickly. Rooibos fights wrinkles because it contains a neutralizing enzyme called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), an anti-aging substance mandatory in the production of healthy skin cells. As if that weren’t enough, rooibos also contains a potent antioxidant, Asphaltin flavonoid, that also fights signs of aging. Similar to the antioxidants found in green tea, rooibos tea has a few more advantages: greater amounts of SOD (like a hundred times more), it is caffeine free, and contains zero tannins, which are typical to green tea.

Rich in Zinc, rooibos regulates the body’s immune system and is also beneficial in healing skin irritations of all types, including eczema, acne, and sunburn. A powerful anti-carcinogenic that reduces the occurrence of cancers, rooibos also fights depression and asthma. It is anti-spasmodic, meaning it helps to relieve stomach cramps, tension, and aid in digestion. If I were to put two and two together, I would hypothesize that rooibos would be excellent at preventing colon cancer as well. Drinking rooibos tea before bed is also useful in reliving muscle so that you may sleep better.

All that from a modest broom-like plant commonly used by the indigenous people of South Africa for drinking and cooking. Rooibos tea is available in most health food stores and teashops. Also Yogi Tea makes a delicious Sweet Peach rooibos that can be found nearly anywhere.

Not only is rooibos good for a warm relaxing cup of tea but it also has incredible topical skin benefits. Below you will find two very simple, yet effective recipes, to try at home. Acne and wrinkles be gone!

Illuminating Face Mask/ Exfoliating Scrub
1 Tablespoon rooibos tea, room temperature
¼ cup dry oatmeal (instant)
1 Teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar

Mix into a paste and apply to face, avoiding the delicate eye area. Leave on for 6 minutes. Apply small portions of warm water on your face, working the mask into an exfoliating scrub. Excess may be refrigerated for up to one week in an airtight jar. Follow with the Rooibos Toner/Astringent.

Rooibos Toner/Astringent
2 cups brewed and cooled rooibos tea
¼ cup Witch Hazel

Combine ingredients and store in a bottle or jar with a tight lid and refrigerate. To be applied generously with cotton balls following the Rooibos Vibrant Face mask. May be refrigerated for several weeks. The cold tea may also be used as a face toner throughout the day by storing it in a spray bottle to use as needed. Come summer in NYC--you will be so glad to have this one in your tote bag!

You know that tight face feeling you get after applying a mask, scrub, or toner? Well you won’t have it with this not even after all three steps. My face feels natural and my complexion looks amazing. This is one to do in the morning because you’re going to want to get out and let everyone see how fantastic you look! Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brilliant Quotes on Inner-Beauty From Goddess, Sophia Loren

Here are some fantastic quotes I found online. There is clearly a reason why this woman has remained a sex symbol her entire life! Don't just read it--LIVE it!

"After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It's better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life."

"Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical."

"Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

"Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent."

"I think the quality of sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn't and it really doesn't have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips."

"If you haven't cried, your eyes can't be beautiful."

"It's a mistake to think that once you're done with school you need never learn anything new."

"Sex appeal is 50% what you've got and 50% what people think you've got."

"The two big advantages I had at birth were to have been born wise and to have been born in poverty."

"There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Beautiful Skin Before Bikini Season: Banish Cellulite Naturally

(Above: Easy to make coffee scrub)

Since my early teens I've been committed to beautiful skin. (I can thank my mother for that one!) Early on I realized that healthy glowing skin is not just based on good genes—it’s how a woman makes time to care for herself.

I’m not talking about wasting a small fortune on expensive treatments or miracle creams. It’s more about a woman indulging in her own beauty and placing value on how she cares for her body. This does not have to be a costly endeavor—in fact it can be quite inexpensive and totally natural!

So ladies, over the next few weeks I’m going to share with you some of my beauty secrets—the first of which is battling CELLULITE! Ah such a bad word, isn’t it?

Okay so if we’re going to fight this enemy, then we must know where and why it shows its lumpy face.

Did you know that 95% of women battle cellulite? Even models and celebrities (and I’ve seen the photo re-touches to prove it) deal with it. Look around and you will find expensive creams and procedures to eliminate it. The error here is that they are dealing with the surface of skin, which accounts for only a small percentage of the problem. The real battle is what’s going on under the skin. Cellulite consists of fatty deposits under the skin due to excess weight, hormonal changes, a lack of exercise, poor circulation, and/or genetics. Looking for a cream or laser treatment will only give you temporary relief of this problem. You must attack the root of the problem if you want to eliminate this bad word from the list adjectives describing your backend.

Here are 7 of my secrets.

I happily pass them on to you dear sisters because we all deserve silky, sexy, smooth skin. (Much better adjectives, right?)

  1. Your Body is a Wonderland. Thanks John Mayer for creating the ultimate body worship song, albeit a bit cheesy; however cheesy song is better than cottage cheesy legs—right? SO back to body worship. Are you worshiping your body ladies? By that I mean, your body is your temple. I know you’ve heard that before but let’s go beyond the cliché here. Are you taking the time to nurture and care for the YOU inside that skin? First and foremost this is the part where I tell you that what is going on inside will inevitably manifest itself on the outside. Take the time for pamper yourself everyday. You deserve it and if no one else is telling you that, let me be the first. The simple act of making the time to care for yourself will one, make you look better and two, imprint the message in your subconscious mind that you are worthy of the best. Do it until you believe it. Tell yourself you are beautiful and deserve it until you start to see it. Almost magically your perspective changes. Get this part down and your life will change.

  1. Eliminate Excess Fat: Bottom line (he, he). What you chose to put into your body, your skin will inevitably show it. It cannot lie. Maybe it’s your skin’s way getting back at you for boozing it up last night? Or downing that greasy burger for lunch? Regardless, you are what you eat and that goes for your skin too. Cut back on fatty foods and you shrink the fatty deposits.

  1. Cutout toxins. How many times must you be told that alcohol and tobacco rob your skin of its elasticity? When your skin lacks elasticity it starts to sag.

  1. Flush out toxins with apple cider vinegar. This is an inexpensive home remedy that really does work. Mix 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg Organic $3.99), mix with 1 Cup hot water, and 2 Teaspoons organic honey. Drink every morning! Not all apple cider vinegar is the same, go for cold pressed organic for best results. Additional benefits of apple cider vinegar include: helps to maintain proper ph balance, rich in enzymes and potassium, helps to control weight, promotes digestion, and removes toxins.

  1. Water! Do you get enough of it? Not only does water hydrate your body, water also aids in the removal of toxins in your blood stream. The average person loses about 2 liters of water a day sweating, breathing, and expelling body waste. So how much should you drink? The Institute of Medicine advises that women consume at least 2.2 liters (9 glasses) of water per day. This is an average so naturally if you are more physically active you may need more.

  1. Fish Oil and Omega 3s. My mom always told me that the good fats push out the bad fats. These are the good fats.  How that works: Omega 3 fatty acids are liquid fats at room temperate versus saturated fats which solidify at room temperature. By increasing your fatty fish intake you are pushing out the build up of fat deposits on the walls of your arteries, thus providing better blood circulation, which allows your body to carry away and burn the fat molecules that comprise cellulite. Fish and other foods high in Omega 3s include: salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, raw almonds, avocados, and olive oil—just to name a few.

  1. Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! No excuse. Just get in 30 minutes a day. I practice yoga and love it. If you want to try it out at home for free check, then out these podcasts:

  1. Mineral Oil is BAD! Your body lotion or moisturizer may have mineral oil. Check the label. There is a lot of debate about whether or not mineral oil is bad for you. The fact is mineral oil clogs pores and when your pores are clogged you cannot eliminate toxins properly or efficiently. There are many healthy alternatives to lotions without mineral oil, in fact Whole Foods makes a great body lotion and it costs less that $5! It has no parabens, no animal ingredients or testing, and no artificial fragrance!

  1. Get a dry body brush. Super inexpensive and totally beneficial. Here are just some of the benefits: improves circulation, cleanses the lymphatic system, removes dead skin cells, improves digestion---all of this supports the removal of toxins. See the connection? Also, dry brushing prevents premature aging and tightens the skin! The technique: start at the bottom of your legs and brush upward towards your heart, giving a little extra attention on the inner thighs (lymph nodes located here). Next move to arms working inward toward the heart, then focus on the underarms (more lymph nodes here). The key is to always brush in the direction of the heart. The body brush I use is Earth Therapeutics Tampico Vegetable Fiber Skin Brush, which is available on Amazon for under $7. I like it because you can remove the brush from the handle to really get a good scrub.

  1. Soak it up! Enjoy a good bath now and then dear sisters. I particularly like to indulge in what I call the Cleopatra bath. I love aromatherapy and many years ago I discovered the benefits of essential oils in my bath. My all time favorites for papering myself with a purpose are orange and ylang-ylang essential oils. Orange oil is excellent for improving circulation, eliminating toxins, boosting the immune system, easing stress and tension, moisturizes and refreshes skin—I could go on and on. Not only was ylang-ylang the fragrance of choice for little Miss Cleopatra, but it’s also a well know aphrodisiac. This essential oil is fantastic for relaxation and has incredible calming effects—so perfect for a long stressful day. Combine these two oils with the detoxifying powers of Epson salts and your good to go!
My recipe:
Fill your bathtub with warm water.
While the bath is filling add 1 cup Epson salt, 5 drops ylang-ylang, and 5 drops orange essential oil.
Light some candles.
Relax in this beauty bath for at least 15-20 minutes.

  1. Save the best for last. I’ve shared this one with a couple of my close friends. It’s a good one however one of the messiest!
Combine 1 cup finely ground coffee (used or fresh, it doesn’t matter)
Make sure it’s finely ground coffee because if it's more coarse it may clog your drain.
Mix with olive oil until you get a nice sticky paste. Avoid making it too liquidy, as you want to be able to scoop this out without it running through your fingers.
I use one small scoop for each leg, arm, one for my stomach area, and one scoop for my bum.
You will want to apply this in the shower—it’s messy!
Before you begin with the scrub, be sure to get a good warm rinse, then apply one scoop to your leg scrubbing in a circular motion. Next move to the other leg and so on, always moving in a circular motion.

This is messy so always apply it in the shower and be sure to get a good rinse otherwise your towels will look a little scary! I like to use a mild organic body soap after to clean off any excess coffee while maintaining the moisturizing benefits of the olive oil.
Use daily as this stuff really does work and is amazing for improving circulation. Your legs will not only look good but they will amazing!
The leftover scrub may be refrigerated for up to one week.

Alright lovely ladies! Get to work and I promise you will look as amazing as you feel.