Tuesday, January 27, 2015

7 Foods for Glowing, Gorgeous Skin

What you put on your skin obviously has a huge impact on your pores and complexion. But beauty is a two-way street, meaning what you're putting into your body is reflected on the outside, too. When I'm eating really green and clean, I look and feel better.

So what nutrient-packed foods can really deliver a beauty boost when you eat them? Here are seven superfoods we love to incorporate into our diet and for tips to add them to yours. Your moisturizer is totally going to understand. 
You may have seen this ingredient in your green juice or smoothie before and wondered what the heck it is. Spirulina tablets and powder are blue-green algae derived from the big blue sea and some freshwater lakes. And it's anecdotally known to help clear up skin and give it a healthy glow. She loves it as a beauty food for its protein, vitamins A, K, and B-12, iron, magnesium, and as a probiotic, which is essential for great skin. Sprinkle powdered spirulina into your smoothie, or even into pancakes, a stir-fry, scrambled eggs, or pesto for a beauty boost.
Take your water to the next level by keeping some lemons on hand. Lemons are rich in powerful antioxidants that may stimulate liver enzymes to help flush toxins from your beautiful body. When toxins are flushed out, they'll be less likely to show up on your skin. Enzymes in lemons have also been shown to boost collagen, the building blocks of healthy skin. Squeeze the slices into water to drink throughout the day. Easy!
At least one every day! I put them into everything from smoothies to salads to face masks. Avocados contain a boatload of benefits, like anti-inflammatories, vitamins E, C, K and B6, and fiber, in addition to being a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. This is the best fast-food on earth! And their antioxidants help fight free radical damage, while the fatty acids really help nourish, hydrate, and plump the skin by protecting the health of the cell membrane.
Bee PollenBee Pollen
Sprinkling this natural multivitamin loved by natural health advocates into your smoothies or on top of your granola or yogurt is a great for your skin. Bee pollen naturally contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and more -- it's a beauty-boosting super cocktail. Be sure to keep it in your fridge so it stays fresh. (And, of course, skip it if you're allergic to bees.)
Fish Oil PillsFish Oil
Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and is fabulous for healthy skin, particularly to help alleviate psoriasis and acne. (Possibly because fatty acids have been shown to reduce the body's production of inflammatory compounds.) While you can get it by eating fish, of course, if you're taking it as a supplement, do it with food to increase absorption.
flaxseedandmeal1Flaxseed Meal
Eat flaxseeds after they're ground, when your body can easily digest the antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and alpha linoleic acid versus whole flax seeds (which move through the system undigested). Adds it into oatmeal, eggs, salad, or tomato sauce when making pasta.
Miso PasteMiso Paste
Miso paste is an amazing fermented food, which is incredible for your digestion and complexion, since good gut health is the foundation of great skin. Bonus kitchen tip it's really easy to eat: You make make a miso soup simply by mixing a tablespoon into hot water. Toss in a few veggies, and voila!

~Thanks to Jamie McKillop

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Maps that Reveal How American Agriculture Actually Works

Driving through the farmlands of Iowa looking for fresh food to eat is a lot like sailing through the ocean looking for fresh water to drink. In the ocean, you're surrounded by water that you can't drink; in Iowa, you're surrounded by food you can't eat. Even though Iowa generates the second-highest amount of revenue of any state off its crops--$17 billion in 2012--the overwhelming majority of that comes from field corn, which is destined mostly for animal feed and ethanol, not dinner plates. 
I came upon this startling fact while trying to answer a seemingly simple question: What crop generates the most money in each state? The Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistical Service produces reams of data on such matters, so I figured the question would be easy to answer. But it turned out to be trickier than I thought, because when I pulled the data, I realized that in most states, the biggest crop was one that was used mostly for animal feed. For well over half the states, field corn, soybeans or hay was the crop that generated the most cash in 2012, the latest year for which data are available. Though a small share of some of these crops does eventually get eaten by humans, in the form of things like soy lecithin and high-fructose corn syrup, most of it is fed to animals raised for meat or dairy.
To get more meaningful results, I decided to strip away those crops that are used largely for animal feed, and focus on crops that people actually eat. I plotted the results on a map, which revealed some surprising trends:
All that wheat! It seems nobody's told heartland farmers about the gluten-free trend quite yet. The non-wheat states are even more interesting. Some are expected: oranges in Florida, potatoes in Idaho, apples in Washington. But what about the pecans of New Mexico, or the mushrooms of Pennsylvania? Or the fact that grapes--used mostly for wine--generate more than $5 billion a year in California?
I was also struck by what the map didn't show: the power of the corn belt. When I excluded crops that are fed to animals, like corn, Iowa's biggest crop generates a mere $4.5 million a year. This makes the state look like an agricultural weakling--which it totally isn't. 
So I did a little more analysis to find out the percentage of each state's crop output, in terms of dollar value, that derives from the crops I had originally excluded: corn, soybeans, sorghum, barley and hay. I plotted these percentages onto a map as well. The result, if you squint, looks a little like an electoral map in a really terrible year for Democrats:
This second map shows that there are really two different Americas when it comes to agriculture: the heartland, where agriculture is focused on meat and dairy, and the coasts, where it's focused on fruits and vegetables.
~Thanks to Joe Satran of the Huffington Post

Monday, January 12, 2015

10 Rules to Live By in 2015

1. Break up with bread
I am a big advocate of eating little to no gluten. So why cut it out? Wheat is not your friend. It's addictive and an appetite stimulant, and the gluten it contains can make you sick. Easier said than done, but once you make it a priority to stop eating bread you'll find plenty of yummy alternatives.

2.  Do intervals! (AKA exercise like kids play)
Think about how you played outside as a kid. Were you running super fast while playing tag for five minutes and then slowing down for ten—then doing it all over again? That's called interval training. And our bodies really like it. The long-held belief that we need to elevate the heart rate with 30 minutes of sustained activity is being replaced....there's lots of evidence that intervals burn more calories, too.

3. Don't look at any screens one hour prior to bedtime 
This is one of the biggest secrets for a getting a good night's sleep—no mindlessly flipping through Instagram, answering email, or even watching Netflix an hour before shuteye. In fact, put the iPhones and laptops out of reach in another room to keep the eerie charging lights away from your sleep zone. If you can't, use an eye mask. These devices mess with your body's production of melatonin.

original-e13979533599904. Swear off sugar
If you can only make one change, let it be a drastic reduction in the amount of sugar you eat. Why should you cut it out? Because it raises your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's. Oh, and gives you breakouts.

Frank Lipman5. Learn this chill out yoga pose
If your to-do list resembles the Dead Sea Scrolls and your stress-o-meter is reading 100, then supra buddha konasana is for you. It's a heart-opening, lung-stretching, deeply restorative posture. Put a bolster, or folded blankets, under your shoulder blades to support your knees, spine, and head, and you'll feel a gentle release in your hips, chest, shoulders, and throat. Hopefully your whirring mind will follow.

161_Do Something You Love For At Least 10 Minutes A Day-Frank Lipman6. Do something you love for at least 10 minutes a day
No matter how slammed at work you are or how demanding your responsibilities, spending just a few minutes a day on something you love can have amazing benefits. Shoot hoops in the driveway. Sketch something on the bus home. It's incredibly powerful and healing.

140623_LIPPMAN_NEW_HEALTH_RULES7. Eat the yolk
Three decades in, it looks like egg whites will never go out of style. But that doesn't mean the yellow stuff is bad for you. Contrary to popular belief, the cholesterol in the food you eat has virtually no impact on the cholesterol level of your blood. It's sugar and cards that trigger production of bad cholesterol in your body. May we suggest cutting out the sugar from your latte, instead of the yolk from your chopped salad?

219_Clutter is Junk Food of the Home-Frank Lipman8. Consider clutter the junk food of your home
A healthy home doesn't have magazine piles in every corner and clothing on every chair. Clearing it out gets energy moving again. So, throw it out, donate it, and stop buying so much stuff (and don't mean hide it all away in closets and drawers)!

113_Get 15 Minutes of Sunshine a Day-Frank Lipman9. Get 15 minutes of sunshine a day 
Vitamin D is important and most people don't get enough. It's especially hard for those of us who are at our desks all day, tied up in work. But taking a few minutes a day to walk outside is better than none. Get out in the sun, arms and legs exposed (weather permitting!!) for 15 minutes every day, no sunscreen. It'll do wonders for your mood and energy level, too.

Lipman10. Honor thy feet
Not a pedicure (though they are amazing!) - your feet are super important because they're the command center of the body.  Try rolling a tennis ball under the bottom of one foot, then the other, for five minute each. When you take off a pair of high heels,  stretch yourself back into shape; stand on a step with just the balls of your feet and let one heel lower down for a deep calf stretch. Switch feet and do that for two minutes.

~Excerpted from The New Health Rules by Frank Lipman, M.D. and Danielle Claro (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers

Friday, January 9, 2015

2 Steps You Can Take Now to Power Your Kitchen

A successful transition to a inspired diet begins with making the kitchen one of the coziest, most inviting rooms in your home. Turn the kitchen into a sacred space, because if you adore your kitchen, you’ll spend valuable time there. Preparing meals and experimenting with new culinary ideas will become an effortless, stress-relieving, and enjoyable way to spend time if you’re in a happy, inspiring space that reflects who you are and what you want to become.
Here are 2 of my favorite steps for creating a kitchen that not only respects your goals, but will nurture your wellness journey for the long-haul:
1. Clean It Out
Remove anything from the kitchen that will tempt, frustrate, and otherwise hinder progress. This includes junky or expired foodstuffs but also broken appliances, wonky tools, and those dishes, serving ware, and utensils you never use.
Have a giveaway party, invite pals over to help unload, and celebrate new goals. Donate goods to someone who can fix or make use of them. Maybe even set out a healthy snack you made. See what happens.
Get the tempting S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) foods out of the house — they’re kryptonite — and if they’re not there, we can’t eat them. We instantly set ourselves up for success if we junk-proof the kitchen all around. Don’t forget about the counters, fridge, pantry, and freezer.
Make room for the good stuff.
Measuring Cups
2. Rearrange & Organize
Keep handy the appliances and tools that you’ll be using often. Bring them to the front of the cabinets or countertop. Utilize quirky jars and vessels for items like rubber bands and cheesecloths (which you’ll end up using more than you think). Make it easy on yourself.
To ensure that I eat a variety of foods, I personally need to see all my options. So my pantry items and spices are out of the cabinets and stacked on open shelves. I’m much more likely to use the green lentils or the mustard seeds if they aren’t collecting dust in the back of the pantry where I can’t see them. Label them if you need to and group items for easy locating — flours, spices, grains, nuts, seeds, teas, etc. Store bulk pantry items in airtight glass containers — recycle glass jars from tomato sauce, nut butters, or other store-bought items. You’ll use them over and over to store homemade goods.
Every six months, repeat these steps so your kitchen remains a space that inspires and motivates, versus stagnates. Hope it helps.
~Thanks to Heather Crosby

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Photos of Recommended Daily Servings of Fruits & Veggies

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What's the most important part of a nutritious diet? Most of us can automatically recite the answer: Fruits and vegetables. Yet, it can be tough to eat the daily recommended amount of produce, and most Americans simply don't.  75% is the estimated percentage of us who don't eat enough veggies.
Part of the problem is that most don't really understand what a daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables looks like. Here are 10 photos of fruits and vegetables, each one a complete daily serving. It may not be as much as you think!

How Many Americans Don't Eat Enough Veggies? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2010 that only 33% of adults were eating the daily recommended amount of fruit, and even fewer —27% — were meeting their veggie quota. And that's adults; the numbers for teens were worse.
But instead of bemoaning the lack of moral (or, you know, vegetable) fiber of our diet today, let's make it easier to eat more fruits and vegetables. For a visual person it really helps to have a handle on what exactly, is recommended.

What's a Daily Recommended Serving? 

There's not a lot that nutrition scientists agree on, but almost everyone seems to think we should eat more vegetables, and that they should make up a greater part of our plates. To this end, they recommend a very basic guideline:

Someone who needs 2000 calories a day should eat:

  • 2 cups of fruit
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetables
These recommended servings come from widely accepted dietary guidelines that are still, of course, just rough guidelines. Everyone is different, and has different nutritional needs, so there's no one-size-fits-all plan, and perhaps you eat a lot more veggies than this every day (or a lot less fruit).
While that 2000 calorie standard is an average that suits a lot of people, of course it doesn't fit everyone. Fruit and vegetable servings are calibrated off of calorie requirements, which in turn are set by a person's sex, age, and activity level.
I stuck with the calorie baseline above, which happens to fit my own profile. I worked up all these daily servings for someone like me:
  • A 30-something, moderately active woman 
  • Someone who eats, on average, 2000 calories a day
If your activity level is lower or higher, or you are older or younger, you probably have different calorie requirements and therefore different recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. But it's easy to add or subtract once you have an eye for a cup of fruit or vegetables.

→ Calculate your own daily recommended servings of fruit & vegetables: The Fruit & Vegetable Calculator at the CDC

A Few Tips on Calculating Fruit & Vegetable Servings

How do servings work? For the most part, a cup means a cup — just measure out a cup of grapes or a cup of chopped carrots, and ta-da, you have your measurement. There are a few exceptions though.
  • When it comes to salad, a cup is not a cup. It takes 2 cups of leafy greens to equal 1 cup of vegetables. 
  • Juice does count as a fruit. A cup of fruit juice does count as a serving of fruit, but nutritionists caution that you're not getting the fiber and other good benefits of eating whole fruit. Plus there's usually a ton of sugar in fruit juice, mostly not from the natural fruit.
  • When it comes to dried fruit, cut the amount in half. A half cup of dried fruit equals one cup of fresh fruit. 
  • One big piece of fruit is roughly a cup. An apple, an orange, a large banana, a nectarine, a grapefruit — one piece of fruit gives you one cup. 

A Daily Serving of Fruits & Vegetables: 10 Ways

Having said all that, here are ten quick looks at a full daily serving of fruits and vegetables.
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Let's start easy. This salad is a typical size that you'd find at a cafe or deli — about 5 cups of greens plus extras. There are your vegetables for the day!
  • Fruit: 1 large banana. 8 ounces apple juice. 
  • Vegetables: 5 cups salad greens (which equals 2 1/2 cups vegetables), plus slaw.
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Another scenario: Berries at breakfast, berries for dessert, and vegetables for lunch, snack, and dinner.
  • Fruit: 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup strawberries (about 8 large) 
  • Vegetables: 1 cup coleslaw, 6 baby carrots with dip, 1 cup sautéed kale
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Let's get snack happy! If you just snacked on fruits and vegetables all day, this is the way to do it. Cut up some vegetables and pack them in your lunchbox with some hummus.
  • Fruit: 1 cup cantaloupe, 1 cup champagne grapes
  • Vegetables: 1 cup sugar snap peas, 1 yellow bell pepper, 1 stalk celery
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Back to the Big Salad approach. Eat a big salad for lunch or dinner, and round it out with some fruit. You could even put the fruit on the salad.
  • Fruit: 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1 apple
  • Vegetables: Large salad with about 5 cups salad greens
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Salads are easy to come by, and a very basic side salad as seen here will probably have about 2 cups of greens (which equals one cup of vegetables). Add a cup of cherry tomatoes and you're almost there.
  • Fruit: 1 cup cantaloupe, 1 cup blueberries
  • Vegetables: 2 cups salad greens, 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 stalk celery
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But green salads aren't the only way — what about those deli salads you can buy out of the case at Whole Foods or gourmet groceries? Here's an example — asparagus salad with a bit of cheese and salami worked in. A great lunch, and mostly veggies.
  • Fruit: 1 cup cantaloupe, 1 cup champagne grapes
  • Vegetables: 1 cup asparagus salad, 1 cup sautéed kale, 1/2 bell pepper
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Applesauce and other cooked fruit preparations count too!
  • Fruit: 1 cup applesauce, 1 large banana
  • Vegetables: 1 red bell pepper, 1/2 cup cucumber slices, 2 cups salad greens
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Another snack-centric approach.
  • Fruit: 1 cup strawberries (about 8 large), 1 orange
  • Vegetables: 1 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 stalk celery, 1 cup sautéed kale 
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Munch on dried fruit with your breakfast oatmeal, cucumber and carrots at your desk, a kale for dinner, and nectarine for dessert. Easy.
  • Fruit: 1 nectarine, 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • Vegetables: 1 cup sliced cucumber, 1/2 cup baby carrots, 1 cup sautéed kale
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Let's do this one more time — slaw for lunch, veggies for snacks, fruit for breakfast. Easy.
  • Fruit: 1 cup cantaloupe, 1 apple
  • Vegetables: 1 cup coleslaw, 1 bell pepper, 1 stalk celery
Enjoy! You'll be feeling great in no time, and your body will thank you!

~Thanks to Faith Durand

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