Friday, January 20, 2012

Homemade Skin Remedies

Fashion and beauty blogger Carrie Riggin shows off the best home remedies for achieving a new look.
People’s bodies take a toll due to stressful lifestyles, lack of sleep and exercise and the high prevalence of processed and fast foods. This segment provides viewers natural, low/cost, homemade remedies to “reset” the mind and body for the New Year. And skin is the body's largest organ so we definitely want to take care of it!
But people don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the popular anti-aging and moisturizing creams (most of which don’t work and have foreign ingredients that are toxic to the body). Some of the best, natural, and almost FREE beauty remedi es come from within your own kitchen! This segment is going to prove that you CAN look beautiful while on a budget. The secrets I’m about to share are some that I’ve sworn by and that industry experts swear by – these DIY beauty recipes are simply the best and easiest ways to get young, rejuvenated skin fast.
First, basic beauty begins with the glow of good health, which shines from within. So maintaining good nutrition and hydration, and managing things like allergies and hormone imbalances are essential for a radiant clear complexion.
What helps with all of the above? Antioxidants – whether you eat them or apply them – is the single key to young, glowing skin.
There is research showing antioxidants can improve cell function, increase collagen production, improve elasticity, create healthier, younger skin cells, prevent wrinkles, and reduce sun damage.
Antioxidants inhibit free-radical damage to the skin whether from the sun, pollution or other environmental factors (free radical damage causes wrinkles and premature aging): When it comes to wrinkles, free-radical damage causes collagen and other vital skin functions to break down. A great skin-care product, whether it comes in a liquid, gel, serum, lotion, or cream, should contain a potent assortment of stable antioxidants to interrupt free-radical damage and keep it from harming your skin.
Do’s: green tea, grape extract, or vitamin C; Don’t’s: Avoid stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and sugar. Never wash face with soap
NOTE: What is collagen? Collagen is known as the “glue that holds the body together,” a protein that surrounds cells; in the face collagen works to plump up the surface of the skin, making fine lines and minor wrinkles appear less noticeable
Get rid of puffy eyes:
The area around the eye becomes thinner and more delicate as we people age. Salty food, alcohol, and lack of sleep don’t help and are the main culprits of puffy eyes. Drinking lots of water and cutting down on booze and processed foods will go along way.
Best way to get rid of puffy eyes? i. Cucumbers: Reduce swelling, instantly tightening the skin. Due to the high water content (about 90%), cucumbers have a hydrating effect, which fills out the skin
Egg whites: Egg whites offer a temporary lift and tighten effect – great for right before big dates or special events. Smooth whipped egg whites thinly over the around-the-eye area, let dry and rinse.
iii. Temporary tightening: Apply tomato juice (preferably fresh-squeezed) for ten minutes
iv. Face too tight from too much sun: Apply plain yogurt to the skin and leave on for ten minutes.
Why is it important?
i. Exfoliation removes the dead cells from the layers of your skin to reveal the live cells beneath, providing a healthy glow.
ii. Dead cells block off the oxygen to the skin, making it dull, and unable to breathe. This also contributes to pores filling up and causing breakout.
Best way to exfoliate at home? Brown sugar, raw oatmeal, olive oil
i. 1 cup brown sugar
ii. 1 cup raw oatmeal
iii. 1 cup olive oil
iv. Mix all the ingredients together and then apply on dry skin, using your hands. Use your fingers and perform slow circles—this treatment is to be enjoyed and not rushed. (The real key is standing over a plastic bag or towel to catch the remains.) After scrubbing gently all over, step into the shower and rinse off. Your skin will be like butter.
Ingredients/Show-and-tell items: Mixture – apply to skin in circles
Face Mask:
Why it’s important? Face is the first thing people see and this is the quickest way to firm, rejuvenate and make skin radiate in now time.
Best face mask: There are many that you can stick to, but whichever face mask you pick, make sure it incorporates HONEY. Why:
i. Honey absorbs impurities from the pores on the skin, making it an ideal cleansing agent.
ii. Honey’s natural antioxidant and anti-microbial properties help to protect the skin from the damage of the sun's rays; honey supports the skin's ability to rejuvenate and refresh depleted skin, leaving it feeling silky soft and supple.
iii. Honey's ability to absorb and retain moisture make it an ideal ingredient in a lot of cosmetics as it helps keep skin hydrated and fresh
I like this one though: Honey, almond scrub. It is great for all skin types – you can’t overuse it – use it everyday if you want; you can make it in bulk and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. This recipe comes from the popular Naturally Skinsational book. [Will combine ingredients if we have time or I can have mix pre-made]
i. 2 tablespoons honey
ii. Thinly ground organic raw almonds
iii. Half a lime
iv. Mint: ground up
v. Combine honey with finely ground raw organic almonds (provides an abrasive quality for exfoliating and softening the skins; also provides high amounts of vitamin E, copper, iron and Vitamin A; make sure to ground them up enough so they aren’t too rough on skin). Slice lime; juice half of lime into mixture (limes have acid that softens rough spots on skins and lightens dark areas; also one of the more powerful antioxidants). Mix in ground mint and stir. Apply to face and/or body. Refrigerate leftovers for next time.
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Friday, January 13, 2012

5 easy, low-fat cooking methods

Simple techniques for no-fuss, no-stress, and delicious healthy cooking.
1. Broiling
Why do it: Because it doesn't require cooking oil, broiling is a great way to cook healthfully. It works particularly well with thin, lean cuts of meat like chicken cutlets, thin cuts of pork, and fish, which cook through before they dry out. Low-fat cuts sometimes lack flavor, so you may want to compensate by using a marinade, a glaze, or a spice paste (try hoisin sauce or rice vinegar). A plus: Less than 10 minutes of a broiler's intense heat creates something that's too often lacking in low-fat cooking―a crispy crust.
What you need: A broiler pan. It has two parts: a slotted tray and a pan the tray rests on. The slots siphon off any fat that drips off the food. If you don't have a broiler pan, you can place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. To avoid hours of soaking and scrubbing, line the pan or sheet with foil.
Tip: To reinforce the flavor of the marinade or glaze, baste the food frequently during broiling using a pastry brush or a paintbrush (a new one, of course). If you're serving the liquid with the meal, be sure to set some aside before you baste so you don't contaminate the cooked food with bacteria from the raw meat.
2. Steaming
Why do it: Steaming has a nutritional advantage besides requiring no fat. "It retains among the highest amounts of nutrients of any cooking technique," nutrition specialist Wendy Bazilian, R.D., says. Steaming creates a closed environment that envelops the ingredients in moisture. It's the ideal technique for fish and vegetables, ingredients that tend to dry out easily. "Usually the paler and whiter the fish, the lower the fat," says Bazilian, who cites halibut, cod, snapper, and sole as examples. The trick is not to let the pan run dry. As a reminder of when to add more water, toss a few marbles or coins into the pan before you add the steamer. The force of the boiling water causes them to jangle; they'll quiet down when the pan dries out.
What you need: The standard steaming setup consists of a collapsible metal basket in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. For a makeshift version, place a small heatproof bowl upside down in a deep pot, add ½ inch of water, and balance a small heatproof plate on top. Place the food on the plate, then cover the pot with its lid. If you steam often and in large amounts, consider a bamboo steamer; its large, stackable trays allow you to steam fish on one layer, vegetables on another.
Tip: Drizzling a few drops of olive oil over steamed food just before serving will impart far more flavor than sautéing the ingredients in an entire tablespoon of fat.
3. Poaching
Why do it: When you poach, the liquid gives food an exceptionally tender texture, which in turn infuses the liquid with its own flavor. To poach, place chicken or fish in a large, shallow pan, add just enough water or broth to cover it, simmer gently so that only a stray bubble breaks the surface. (If you're making chicken, remove the skin before you poach it: "You immediately cut the fat grams by more than half," says Bazilian)
What you need: A saucepan that's deep enough to submerge the ingredients and a watchful eye, so that only an occasional bubble breaks the surface (otherwise, the meat may become tough).
Tip: Instead of pouring the cooking liquid down the drain, turn it into soup by adding vegetables and perhaps some pasta for substance. Recent research indicates that when people eat soup, they tend to fill up quickly due to the volume of liquid. As a result, they consume fewer calories overall without feeling deprived. "That psychological satisfaction," Bazilian says, "is very, very important."
4. Wrapping
Why do it: A combination of steaming and baking, this cooking method works splendidly with fish and chicken, which dry out easily, because the paper pouch traps the moisture and the juices. Just place food on a piece of paper, wrap it up, and put it in the oven. When it's ready, as you pull away the crinkly, slightly burnished edges of the parcels, you'll feel almost as if you're unwrapping a healthy gift.
What you need: Waterproof and oven-safe, parchment paper is the perfect packaging for this cooking method (look for it near the plastic wrap). Don't substitute wax paper, which shouldn't be directly exposed to heat. If the seams start to unfold as soon as you let go, use a lemon half or a carrot as a paperweight.
Tip: The ingredients for a parchment package are limited only by your imagination. Use a different fish. Add some olives. Try asparagus instead of fennel, potatoes in place of beans. Whatever your creation, include a variety of colors as well as some fresh herbs, finely chopped garlic, or thinly sliced fresh ginger.

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