Friday, May 31, 2013

Brighten Tired Looking Skin

We all have those days where we could use a few more hours of sleep.  Feeling tired is one thing, but looking tired is the worse. Here are some helpful ways to brighten tired skin.


A sure way to brighten tired skin and revive dull skin is to exfoliate your skin. Exfoliating is essential for getting rid of dead skin cells and revealing fresh skin. Using a gentle scrub on your face and body can instantly make you feel much more awake and refreshed. Make sure you use a scrub a few times a week to keep skin looking and feeling better and brighter!


If you frequently skimp on sleep, staying hydrated will be your skin’s saving grace. Dehydrated and tired skin looks dull and sallow. Start your day with a tall glass of water and stay hydrated throughout the day to aid your skin in regaining its natural moisture and glow! Have some lemon with your water for a vitamin C boost to keep skin clear.


This next tip on how to wake up tired skin isn’t the easiest thing to do when you’re sleepy, but it really helps. Take an ice cube and rub it all over your tired face. If you don’t have any ice cubes on hand, splash some cold water on your face. Cold water or ice will help stimulate blood flow and tighten your pores, making your skin appear brighter and smoother!


A similar way to look more awake is by using chilled skin care products. Place your toner, eye cream or facial moisturizer in the fridge overnight and apply it in the morning. The chilled products will soothe tired, puffy skin and help refresh your skin. The cold temperature of the products will also stimulate blood flow and invigorate skin without using super cold water or ice.


If you feel like your skin needs more help than a splash of cold water, wake up tired skin with a de-puffing product. Try using a roller ball with an eye serum that will help take the puffiness and brighten up tired-looking skin. I love both Clinique’s All About Eyes Serum and Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Awakening Face Massager to gently massage and revive your skin.


Concealer is the first thing we reach for when we need to look more awake, and believe me it works. What else can camouflage dark circles and even out your skin tone like it’s nobody’s business?! Use a good quality concealer that’ll hide giveaway signs of restless nights.


If you've got some time in the morning, fake being awake with a refreshing facial mask to wake up tired skin. Using a cooling and calming cucumber and mint mask will help revitalize tired skin and give your skin back its gorgeous glow! Mash up a cucumber and strain. Next, place the mashed cucumber in a microwave-safe bowl with a little water and microwave on high for about 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup of fresh mint and microwave again for 2 minutes. Once it’s cool to the touch, apply it all over your face and rinse off after 15 minutes.


Another beauty product that’ll instantly give your skin back its natural glow is to use blush. Blush will help you look more awake and give your cheeks a sexy flush of color. Don’t walk around with pale cheeks that makes your skin look tired and dull when blush will immediately add some life to your skin and revitalize its appearance.

It’s easy to wake up tired skin when you've got the right tools. Doing little things like exfoliating and hydrating can do wonders for tired skin, but we can always use help from beauty products, too. I hope you try out some of these tips to wake up tired, sleepless skin. Do you have any tips brightening up tired skin?

Forget The Apple - A Banana A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

I've always been a big fan of bananas way before I knew about all of the benefits. Now that I know just how good for us they are, I love them even more. Not only are they a tasty sweet treats, they’re my second favorite pre-workout snack (pure coconut water is my absolute favorite). If you’re still not entirely ready to jump on the banana bandwagon, keep reading. Here are a few of the benefits of bananas.


If you suffer from high blood pressure, and are reluctant to add another pill to your personal pharmacy, consider trying a food-based alternative to lowering your blood pressure. That’s right: one of the most amazing benefits of bananas is that eating two of them a day has been proven to lower your blood pressure. Scientists believe it’s got something to do with the potassium in bananas, but for whatever the reason, bananas really are a super-food!


According to Japanese Scientific Research, full ripe banana with dark patches on yellow skin produces a substance called TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) which has the ability to combat abnormal cells. The more darker patches it has the higher will be its immunity enhancement quality; Hence, the riper the banana the better the anti-cancer quality. Yellow skin banana with dark spots on it is 8x more effective in enhancing the property of white blood cells than green skin version. Eating 1-2 banana/s a day increases immunity. Of course this is just one study; further studies need to be done to ensure that these statements are 100% accurate.


Need to relax and unwind? Then have a banana! They contain tryptophan, a protein your body converts into serotonin, to help you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier. Who knew?


On occasion I'll have a sweet tooth. Having a banana is one of the best ways to indulge but still rest assured that your not polluting your body with the usual calorie rich and carb filled junk foods. About half of a banana's calories come from sugar, but since it’s natural sugar, not processed added sugar, and because bananas are loaded with other nutrients, it’s a guilt-free sweet treat.


The USDA recommends adult women get about 1.3 milligrams of pyroxidine, or Vitamin B6, each day, for healthy nerve tissue. But most sources of B6 are from animal proteins, so what’s a vegan girl to do? No worries – bananas are a very good source of B6, and they’re entirely vegan friendly.


There’s a reason bananas are included in the pediatrician-recommended “tummy trouble” BRAT diet: they’re remarkably easy to digest. They’re loaded with electrolytes, which may be depleted if you’re suffering from a range of tummy troubles, and they even help with nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. 


Bananas are quite possibly the perfect pre-run or pre-workout fuel source, because they’re loaded with potassium to prevent muscle cramps, but also because they provide all the energy you’ll need to get across the finish line or to push through the last 5 minutes of Zumba class. The carbs in bananas are both the slow-burning and long-burning type, so before your next workout or run, try a banana.


One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.


Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.


Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.


Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.


Why is it that junk food is cheap, but healthy food seems pricey? Bananas prove that myth plain untrue! Most times, a single banana costs mere pennies. Compare that to chips or cookies and suddenly, the healthy snack choice makes even more sense… or cents.

Now that you’ve got the scoop on all the benefits of bananas, will you start adding them to your grocery cart? If you’re already a fan, why do you like bananas?

Heart Break Hotel - Most Common Break Up Excuses

Today's topic of discussion is breakups. More specifically we're exploring to most common break up excuses used by both men and women. According to my dating experience and to the experience's of my friends the, "It's not you, it's me." line is the king of lines used. Let's jump straight into the list of the top break up excuses used.  


aka:"I'm definitely not ready to spend the rest of my life sleeping with one person, but if I were, it might be you. Sorta, not really too sure though."


aka: "... Just not enough to date you or spend much time with you. But I still care."


aka: "Hey, you never know. Maybe we be friends with benefits or maybe down the road we can start off where we left off. Either way I'm gonna have to let you go. Bye Bye now."


aka: "I don't think you'll take this break-up well, but you can't argue with this one." 

Now I'll admit I've used this and it wasn't because I was scared that the person wouldn't take it well. I said it because I mean't it. Sometimes we really do need time to deal with issues or focus on accomplishing goals, or sometimes you really do need that alone time to work on personal growth. Now it's true sometimes people use this line as a quick way to cut ties because they're tired of the relationship and they're tired of you. Either way my advice would be to accept it and try your best to move on. If that person really just needed to work on growth etc and you guys are meant to be together then you will.

aka: "I've got to get away from you, fast!"

I've never heard of this one before but I can't help but laugh at this one. Talk about a quick getaway.


aka: "And I know I can do so much better than you."

If you've ever heard this one before it may sting or leave you feeling a bit confused but my best advice is to take solace in those words and make it a reality. Take some time get closure and work on becoming a better you.  Those positive changes and a positive outlook will help to attract someone who is indeed better. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.


aka: "I've already met someone I'd rather spend more time with." or " It's been really great sleeping with you but now I'm tired of it."


aka: "I've got a fear of being tied to you at all."


aka: "You're in my face too much - Please leave me alone."


aka: "I just hope I'm not that lucky!"


aka: "I'm already sleeping with someone else, and I'm just telling you this before you find out."


aka: "I want to try sleeping around, but keep you close in case I can't find anyone else."


aka: "My main issue is that I'm just not that into you."


aka: "You're just not as cute as you were when we started dating."

Ahh yes, the dreaded friend zone. Quite frustrating for some of us. While it's true that some of the best relationships are formed in friendship sometimes those feelings remain firmly in the friendship zone. Don't pout or cry because that's just the way it is sometimes. Be happy that you 


aka: "I'm not sure what more is, but I'm kind of bored, and this line sounds really convincing."


aka: Ouch. This one's probably true.

Awww man. This one cuts like a knife. Imagine giving all of your time and love to someone then being dropped kicked in the stomach with this whopper. Sometimes It comes out of no where but often we see signs of that lingering love. If they keep talking about that ex or still keeps pictures of that ex or goes behind your back to spend time or communicate with that ex those are all signs that they may not be over  their former significant other. Listen to your intuition. If you feel that there's something going on more often than not you're right.     


aka: "I'm really not that mature right now, but I probably will be in five years, and then I could've made a great boyfriend/husband."

This one rings true for me. In my early 20's I feel hard and fast for a certain "gentleman." All I really wanted from him was his commitment and for him to feel for me what I felt for him. I was no where close to thinking about getting married or having kids; I just wanted him to be there with me. If I even uttered the words commitment or boyfriend/girlfriend he would freeze up like a deer caught in headlights or run away from me like I was a plague. After a day or two sometimes even weeks he'd return and say I do love you but yada yada yada. I never understood why he would do that until years after it suddenly dawned on me that he just wasn't ready and that's completely okay. It had nothing to do with me. And sometimes ladies and gentleman someone that you've set your eyes on just isn't ready. Instead of trying to force it, or make them feel guilty or pressured just accept it and move on. It's like baking a cake. You wouldn't take it out of the oven before its done and expect it to be ready. It just doesn't work that way.    


aka: "I'm in this place called I Want to Go Out Drinking, Partying, and Sleeping Around, and you're in this place called Let's Settle Down, and those two places don't fit well together."

Where that person just wants to enjoy a life of non commitment and promiscuity or their actually being sincere really doesn't matter. Never ever try to keep someone in your life who doesn't want to be there.  I actually think that this can be a blessing when one or both people in a relationship realizes that you both just aren't in sync. One of the worst things we can do is to stay in a relationship that's a doomed dead end. You know what I'm talking about. A relationship that you know in your heart isn't working because the two of you just aren't even in the same book.    


aka: "Please don't tell your friends I'm a jerk, because I might want to date some of them."

This is often such a BS excuse. lol But sometimes someone just doesn't feel like the relationship is working and they'd rather respect you by being honest about how they feel. It may hurt but at least their being honest instead of leading you on. Count your blessings and move on.


aka: "When you put your toothbrush beside mine in the bathroom, that really freaked me out."

I hate to say this but sometimes this isn't just another excuse to give someone the brush off but on occasion this can be a totally valid reason. Some people are so afraid of being alone or are so consumed by attraction that they rush into a relationship. There's no need to rush. Get to know each other and try to respect your partners feelings. It's always better to take your time and create a strong lasting relationship than rushing into things too quickly and hitting a roadblock that could have been avoided. 

Whether the excuse given is sincere or bogus do yourself a favor and move on. Please don't be one of those people that would hunt the ex down and plead for closure or detailed explanations  If someone doesn't want to be with you let them go. Your beautiful and have a lot to offer. Sometimes those relationships go bad because that just wasn't the person you are meant to be with and that's fine. I'd rather be single than one of those people that continue to try and fight a battle they've already lost or one of those that are lied to and cheated but stays and cries every night or is completely clueless. there's nothing wrong with being single. In fact it can be just what you need to grow and/ or find yourself. So cry if you need to or sing a sad song while downing a pint of Haagen Dazs for the first few days or maybe even a week or two but then dust yourself off and get back out there. Go get your hair done, do some shopping, work on perfecting that body and most importantly surround yourself with all things positive and uplifting.    

Have you heard even better ones than these? Feel free to share them with me and we'll complete this list together! ;)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Midnight Musings

Sometimes it’s a serious test of wills; how far can you push, where is the breaking point? It’s like the sore you get on the inside of your lip that you just can’t stop touching with your tongue. You always know it’s there, you can’t ignore it.

Sometimes you can look in the mirror and not even recognize the person staring back at you. ‘Who is this person?’ You think. ‘How did I get here?’

And most importantly, how did you get so good at hiding?

Let Him Know That You Like Him Without Looking Desperate

I’m not a guru but I've picked up a few tips that have never let me down. Below are some of my favorite ways to let a guy know that I like him without coming off as a desperate bug- a- boo.


This is one of my favorite ways. One of my guy friends who also has a deep love for all things literature suggested that I read a book called, "The Power of Eye Contact: Your Secret for Success in Business, Love, and Life by Michael Ellsberg." There's a chapter devoted to women only and it's all about eye flirting. In this chapter the writer told one of his single girlfriends that she should look back towards the guy, make eye contact, give him a dazzling smile, then turn back around. It worked for the girl in the book and it's worked for me countless times. It's one of my favorite moves. I've had a 100% success rate with this little gem. It's easy to do and virtually embarrassment free. Don't be afraid to give it a try.


Every guy likes to be flirted with. Face it. It makes them feel wanted. A little bit of flirtation will definitely let him know that you like him. So flirt a little, give a coy little smile, touch his hair or his arm – it’s all part of the game ladies. We want it to be cute and subtle not overly aggressive or overtly sexual. A little goes a long way.


Everyone loves to be complimented. Yes, guys love to receive compliments as well. Compliments are truly one of the most fantastic ways to let him know that you like him and what you like about him. Like his body? Tell him! What about his hair? Let him know. Love that smile? Tell him know how amazingly sexy those pearly whites are. 


If you and the object of your affection are finding yourselves engaged in long and meaningful conversations typically guys will take that as a sign of interest. Think of it this way; when you're on a date with a guy that you’re just not into you would almost always keep the conversation short right? Well, one of the surefire ways to let him know that you like him is to strike up a good conversation – he’ll appreciate the chance to get to know you. And who knows during that conversation you two may find out that you've got a lot more in common.


Beam those pearly whites. Not only will it give him a reason to approach you, but smiling is a great way to make yourself look your absolute best. So flash that incredible smile his way. Needless to say you're gonna want to make sure that your teeth are clean and white. =)


Never ever compromise who you are for anyone even a very hot, very available guy. I can’t stress this enough. If you really like a guy, you want him to like you, for you, not for someone you've made yourself into. Trust me I've been there before. For many years my self esteem was minimal to damn near non existent. I would bend over backwards trying to be this seemingly perfect person that I thought someone else would like. In my head I would think that no one would really like me because I thought that I wasn't smart enough or pretty enough blah blah blah. Let me tell you having that frame of mind and trying to live up to that expectation is exhausting and miserable. You lose yourself and that little charade will only last for so long. One of the sexiest and most rewarding things you can do is be yourself and be comfortable in your own skin.


Coyness is one of the best and most under utilized tools that we women have. Some men love when a girl is a little coy, when their a little flirty, and when they're a bit shy. It’s cute, it’s adorable and for some men it's a chance to try to pull you out of your shell. A bit of an endearing challenge if you will.


A guy shouldn't be the only one that asks the girl out. If you truly like a guy then ask him out. I’m not saying to do this all the time, but a causal ‘let’s hang out’ statement, makes a huge difference to a guy and opens to door to possibilities.


I’m not suggesting that you throw yourself all over him. A subtle brushing of ‘imaginary lint’ off of his shoulder or brushing his hair away from his eyes goes a long way. Couple those sweet little touches with a  smile and it's game over. Just keep it clean and light and you’ll definitely make an impression.


So you've been chatting with this handsome guy at the gym, but your workout time is over. What do you do? Well, slip him your business card or jot down your phone number on a slip of paper. That way, the ball is in his court. Do NOT beg for his number then proceed to call him over and over again. Let him know that you're interested but don't chase him.

To many of us finding ways to let a guy know that we like him can be intimidating and awkward at times, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't go for it occasionally.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fool - Proof Tips For Fighting The Freshman 15

One of the biggest struggles in college is fighting the Freshman 15. I gained the freshman 30. That's right, I gained a whopping 30 pounds of fat and misery. But if you follow these tips you wouldn't succumb to the same fate as I did. Fighting the Freshman 15 is very possible and I’m here to tell you how to do it. Even if you've already gained those pounds these tips can help you to get back on track to healthier leaner you. It worked for me so I know they'll work for you.


This is my first tip for fighting the Freshman 15. Why? Because we often don’t realize how much we consume when we're away at college. Think about all those all-nighters and how many cups of coffee, latte's, and/or energy drinks that you consume. Those drinks are loaded with lots of calories. Same with excess snacking. We tend to snack more when stressed and this contributes to weight creeping up on us. My apartment was close to a Sonic and a 7 Eleven  Needless to say when I was stressed out and pulling those all nighters those were the first places I would head to in order to fulfill my fix. Whatever you're choice of indulgence try you're best to exercise restraint when it comes to your portions. It's a bit unrealistic to expect that a college student would always snack on vegetables so even if your getting that bag of chips I'd suggest that you take out a portion of it and put that big bag away. Preferably out of sight. 


Most schools have deals at their gyms so take advantage of it.  Or try joining a club sport team, or a yoga/Pilates class (this also helps alleviate some of the stress). Sure it’s an extra expense, but think about the benefits! It will be way cheaper in the long run than having to constantly buy new jeans, ladies. Think about it. =)


Skip the soda and energy drinks and drink water instead. Staying hydrated will help to keep you healthy, and it also does wonders for your skin. You can try juices too, but make sure that they are low in added sugars, preservatives, and high fructose corn syrup. Buy fruits and use your blender to make delicious smoothies. Always try your best to have a bottle of water with you at all times. Not a fan of plain ole water add Crystal Lite packets or slices of lemon or cucumber to your chilled water. It's absolutely delicious.  


Not getting enough sleep can make you fatigued and lazy and causes you to eat more than you usually would. I know that in college, our sleep schedule is  flipped and turned completely upside down, so it's important to be on a good sleeping schedule. While I wish I could say that I've taken my own advice when it comes to getting adequate sleep I'd be lying.  (Don't judge me) But in this case I'd advice that you do as I say NOT as I do. You'll thank me later.


Working out is sometimes easier when you know that you aren't in it alone. Ask around perhaps your roommate or friend or even a co- worker would be your workout buddy. Another great tip is to get a small group to pitch in for a gym membership. That way it can be a bit more affordable, and everyone can benefit. Most colleges provide students with the use of the school gym for free or for a very affordable fee. Spending a few moments to look into finding a good gym is so worth it. You're at college to invest in your future. Take this time to invest in your health. If you cant find an affordable gym perhaps you can walk around. Instead of driving everywhere it never hurts to put on your sneakers and take a walk. You'll be surprised by the excess calories you'll be burning off. 


I'm not saying to count every single calorie that you consume. But make an effort to write down what you eat. Trust me, when you see that your last couple of entries are nothing but sweets and fatty foods, you'll be more likely to want to changing things up. My favorite website and app is MyFitnessPal. It's simple to use, easily available online or as an app, and best of all it's free. Also, keep a good workout schedule and stick to it. Designate a day and time to hit the gym, go for a run, go for a bike ride, or put on your favorite workout DVD. Craigslist can also be your best friend. If you live in a house or an apartment you can find cheaply priced treadmills or ellipticals on Craigslist. If you're lucky you can also find that some are absolutely free. 


I love this tip. Depriving your body of what it craves can be harmful and counter productive. If you've been eating healthy, why not reward yourself? Hey, you may even find that you don’t even want that slice of cake, and may opt for a yummy yogurt parfait instead of ice cream. Whatever your guilty pleasure might be, go ahead and enjoy it for a day. I'm a huge fan of the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time try to eat as clean as you possibly can and the remaining 20% feel free to indulge a bit.  


I know this can be a challenge when you’re surrounded by is convenient  cheap, tasty junk foods but look around your campus market. Most almost always have healthier alternatives and options for you to choose from. If not, buy some healthy foods the next time you go grocery shopping and make your own lunch.Meal planning and prep for the week not only saves time, saves money, but it also helps to keep you from grabbing the junk foods when you're hungry and on the go. (Perhaps I'll do a post on how I do my Meal Prep for the week on another post) My favorite place to shop for healthy goodies without breaking my bank account is Trader Joe's. Another tip would be to look into your local farmer's market. Usually you can get fresh produce at a reasonable price. P.S. if you're fruits are spoiling before you can eat them all wash it, peel it(if applicable) cut it up, and freeze it. Trust me it works and it saves you from throwing your money away.

These tips are tried and approved by myself and from many of my friends who have already gone through it. If you have any other tips or comments, please let me know. I'd love to hear back from my readers.

Live long and proper...

Secrets To A Diet Friendly Kitchen

Do you have a diet-friendly kitchen? There’s been a drastic increase in food, health and dieting related studies recently, and it appears your kitchen can have a big effect on your weight loss success. It’s time to stop treating the kitchen like a forbidden land full of treats, and kick it into shape by creating a diet-friendly kitchen.


Okay, so it’s not really as simple as having a fruit bowl, but a recent study by Cornell University found that we are three times more likely to eat the first thing we see when we enter the kitchen. The problem? People are much more likely to display cakes and cookies than healthy foods. Mix it up, and boost your weight loss, by displaying fruit, a chopped salad or prepared vegetables in your newly diet-friendly kitchen instead.


Along those same lines, it’s important to put away any treat foods. While most diets would recommend not buying any junk food, so that there is nothing to tempt you, most people find that they can stick to a diet for much longer with an occasional treat. Just make sure that they are hidden away somewhere where you won’t accidentally come across them – having to dig them out will prevent mindless snacking.


Eating a good meal size but not feeling a loss? Your plates could be at fault. Many plates and bowls are much bigger than they need to be, which leads to too much food being served, or feeling that you ate less than you did due to having a half-empty plate. Invest in smaller plates and bowls – and while you are looking, keep your eye out for collections involving blue, which is thought to act as an appetite suppressant.


If you are forever picking at things and standing up to eat, you are much more likely to put on weight. Sounds obvious, right? It’s surprising how many families admit to eating at the computer, or on the sofa. Create a dining area and eat every meal there. Don’t eat unless you are sat there – you’ll see the difference in no time.


Have you ever noticed how easy it is to order a takeaway when your kitchen is a mess? When you start getting hungry, nobody wants to fight their way through packets, clutter and plates. Keep your kitchen clean and tidy, and you’ll be much more likely to whip up your own excellent recipes – and you can almost guarantee that whatever you choose, you’ll have saved calories!


Sometimes it can feel there is just not enough hours in the day, so we are all guilty of watching TV, reading the news or checking emails while eating. Whether you are catching up with your favorite TV program during dinner or working through lunch at your computer, it could be sabotaging your diet. A study reported in the British Journal of Nutrition found that people who eat while distracted regularly miss body signals that indicate fullness, meaning you eat far more than you need to.


We all know that teaching our bodies routine is a good thing, but did you know you can take it one step further? As well as trying to eat your main meals at the same time each day, close up the kitchen in the evenings. Eat your dinner, tidy up and then turn off the lights and close the door. With a bit of willpower, your body will soon learn not to crave food in the evenings.


The most common reasons for eating in the evenings isn't hunger – they are stress-relief, boredom and sugar cravings. If you struggle to fight the cravings, try investing in some vanilla items, such as candles or air fresheners. A hospital in London found that a vanilla patch applied to the back of the hand significantly reduced sugar cravings due to its sweet smell, so make it work for you!

And let’s not forget the common but oh-so-effective methods of meal plans, adding spices and teaching yourself new recipes! Soon enough, your kitchen will be your favorite room in the house – and it’ll be a diet-friendly kitchen, too! How have you made your kitchen healthy?

Amazing Unconventional Uses For Coconut Oil

The health world is crazy over coconut oil, but there are more uses for coconut oil than just downing it with a spoon. Coconut oil is one of the most overlooked ingredients that can enhance your nutrition plan, skincare regimen, and self-cleansing routine. While coconut oil is in fact delicious but it is also beneficial to your overall health. I use it in my cooking, on my skin, in my hair, and as a part of my oral hygiene. The brand that I use is from Trader Joe's but Virgin coconut oil can be found in most grocery stores and in all health food stores. Here are some benefits of and ways to use coconut oil that you probably haven’t heard of or tried yet.


One of the most impressive health benefits of coconut oil has to do with the heart. Years ago it was a common belief that all fats and oils were bad for the heart. Now we know coconut oil, along with a few others, can actually improve your heart health by reducing cholesterol. Consider using coconut oil when cooking and baking. You can even use it to make your own salad dressings.


If you have hypothyroid disorder, this health benefit of coconut may interest you. Coconut oil is said to restore normal thyroid function. Those who use coconut oil have reported improvements in body temperature, tiredness, and hair growth. Have you tried coconut oil for your thyroid disorder?


A research study found that women who consumed 2 tablespoons of coconut oil every day for 12 weeks had decreased the amount of fat in their abdomen. This is significant because belly fat is typically harder to lose than other body fat. It is also directly related to heart problems.


Because coconut oil has anti-infective properties, it is known to boost the effectiveness of the immune system. In fact, The American College of Chest Physicians found coconut oil used on patients with pneumonia had a faster relief from symptoms and reduced hospital stay. I’m sure you will agree that this one amazing health benefit of coconut oil.


Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy which cleanses the mouth along with toxins from the mouth. This is best done first thing in the morning. Simply put 1 tbsp. coconut oil in your mouth in the morning and swish around for about 20 minutes, like you would mouthwash. DO NOT swallow. If your jaw gets tired, spit it out and start again. After 20 minutes, spit the oil out and toxins from your mouth will go with it, without the need for chemical-filled mouthwashes. Swish some water in your mouth after you spit the oil out to make sure your mouth is washed out well and spit again. Many people note that they feel better overall when doing this, and notice whiter teeth in about a week. I've been doing this on and off for the past 6 months and I can honestly say that my gums and teeth  are indeed healthier and whiter.


One of the best uses for coconut oil is for your teeth as a natural toothpaste. This will save you money, and help you avoid nasty additives in commercial pastes without shelling out tons of dollars for the all-natural kinds. Coconut has anti-bacterial and whitening properties which make it an excellent base to use for toothpaste. To make your own, simply add ½ cup coconut oil, 3 tbsp. baking soda, 1 tbsp. tea tree oil, and 1/16th tsp. peppermint oil if you want that minty taste. Mix all ingredients together and store in a glass jar and it will last for about 2 months. I've been using this specific toothpaste recipe for a few months and I've got  to admit that it's minty fresh and my oral health is so much better. Don't forget to floss though.


Yep, that’s right, coconut oil is an excellent way to take off your makeup. Simply rub about one half tbsp. on your face and massage all over. This moisturizes and cleanses your skin in one step. It will not cause your skin to be oily and can, in fact, be a great way to get rid of acne from skin irritation. After massaging over your face, take a hot cloth and wipe clean. It works extremely well at taking off eye makeup, which can be stubborn at time. Don't have any coconut oil at hand? It's okay; I also use extra virgin olive oil and it works wonders as well. As someone with extremely oily/ acne prone skin I can recommend the use of oil as a cleanser. Most people tend to believe that using oil would cause even more acne or skin issues. That assumption is incorrect for most people.   

CONSUME WITH FOOD TO ENHANCE NUTRIENT ABSORPTIONWhile technically any type of oil can be useful for enhancing nutrient uptake because of the healthy fats’ ability to absorb nutrients, coconut oil is extremely beneficial for a couple of reasons. First, coconut oil has abilities to speed up your metabolism and by doing that, certain nutrients from your foods may be absorbed faster than other fats. Also, coconut oil does not change structure with temperatures, making it great to take with hot foods like soup. Just stir it in your meals and enjoy. The fats in coconut oil are not damaged when exposed to high heat like other vegetable oils so they are safe for your body.


Coconut oil is very hydrating to the skin, which makes it an excellent night cream. Simply rub a little under your eyes and eye lids before you go to bed. It won’t irritate your eyes, but it will make your skin soft and supple. It is also much less expensive than most skincare items.


One of the most fun ways to use coconut oil is to eat it! Most people don’t think of slathering it on toast, pancakes or muffins, but coconut oil makes an excellent alternative to butter. Use it as a topping, not just for cooking. Coconut oil has been proven to keep your blood sugar from spiking after a meal, especially one higher in carbohydrates. Whenever using coconut oil, be sure to use in small amounts and not go overboard, as it is still high in calories as all natural fats are, but you should not fear it. Coconut oil’s fats are quite unique and proven to ward off weight gain, depression and poor digestion when used in moderation.


One of the biggest uses for coconut oil that a lot of people don't know about is that it can actually lighten up any age spots that you have on your body. Just a little dab on the spot, rub it in and let it sit! You can also use it overnight if you really want to see results! It takes about a week or two to see any results, so give it time.


I actually had no idea that you can prevent and smooth out stretch marks that you have on your body simply by rubbing in a bit of coconut oil on them. Just a dab, rubbed onto your stretch marks, can go a really long way. Give this treatment a few weeks to work, but you will see results!


Do you have a lot of split ends that you have no idea how to get rid of? Just use a little coconut oil! How do you use it? Well, you put a bit of oil on your hands, rub it together to melt the oil and comb through your hair. Make sure that you are concentrating on the ends, but still use a little bit near the roots of your hair to keep your scalp healthy. Let the coconut oil stay on for at least an hour (the longer the better – you can sleep in this!) then shower and shampoo all of the oil out! You usually have to shampoo twice to get all of the oil out.


Using a bit of coconut oil along your scalp can actually help make your hair grow. So if you've been dying to have long, long tresses but don't want to wait for them to grow in, try the steps above (same as getting rid of split ends!) and you'll see awesome hair growth!


I've always wanted really awesome, long nails but mine break all of the time! If you have the same problem as me, it's time for a little dose of coconut oil! Just rubbing coconut oil along your cuticles can make all of the difference in the world!


If you mix a bit of the coconut oil with some mint, rosemary or catnip essential oils, you'll see a huge decrease in the amount of bugs that are around you! This natural bug repellent doesn't have any of the harsh chemicals that other bug repellents have in them, which is awesome.

I’m sure after reading about all these wonderful health benefits of coconut oil you are wondering how to use it for yourself. The good thing is coconut oil is available at your local grocery store or health food store. Remember to look for organic coconut oil. It can take a little heat which makes it great for cooking. Sauté your favorite vegetables with it or try using it when you bake.Use it in your smoothies or even in your morning coffee. You can also use it to apply to skin or hair as a moisturizer.

Now that you have learned about all the many health benefits of coconut oil and the different ways to use it, how do you plan to add coconut oil into your life? Did any of these health benefits of coconut oil have a special interest for you?
Enjoy =)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Simple Yet Effective Way To Lower Blood Sugar & Insulin Spikes After Eating a High Carbohydrate Meal

Summertime is just around the corner. That means graduations, picnics, weddings etc.  Times that we enjoy indulging a bit more than usual. The problem is that most of the indulgences are carb loaded meals. These carb loaded meals results in insulin level spikes.  Insulin is produced by your pancreas whenever your blood sugar levels start rising, which mainly occurs after consuming carbohydrates from breads, potatoes, or any sugary foods.  According to a 2003 article in "Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology," a healthy diet can help you keep your insulin levels lower to help you stay healthier and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, obesity, acne, and heart diseases.

Spikes in Insulin levels is a problem for just about everyone; the healthy, the diabetic, the pre- diabetic etc. Usually its easier for most of us to eat healthy meals without the extra sugar and carbs but in social situations most of us tend to  indulge as a social convention. 

This information is offered as a solution for those times when a diabetic, pre- diabetic or health conscious person will be eating more carbohydrates than would normally be eaten. A study done in Sweden in 2001 showed that blood sugar spikes were held in check when pickles preserved in vinegar were consumed immediately after a high-carbohydrate breakfast. Earlier Swedish research indicated that vinegar might help control blood sugar spikes.

In his book The Diabetes Improvement Program, Patrick Quillin, Ph.D., states the following: “Real vinegar has not been filtered or pasteurized, and is rich in organic acids, pectin (soluble fiber), and acetic acid, all of which help to slow down the emptying of the stomach. This simple ‘detour’ for the digestion of food creates a slowdown in dumping glucose into the bloodstream. A meal with 2 tablespoons of vinegar can slow gastric emptying rate by 30% and drop blood glucose peaks by 30%.”

“Recipes for salad dressing with flax oil and vinegar not only taste great but can dramatically improve overall health by lowering rises in blood glucose. Red wine vinegar works best at this.”

As a result of the earlier research, Carol S. Johnston, Ph.D., from the Department of Nutrition at Arizona State University, created a study to put vinegar to the test on three groups of subjects: ten type 2 diabetics, 11 subjects who showed symptoms of pre-diabetic insulin resistance, and eight subjects with normal insulin sensitivity. None of the subjects were taking any diabetes medications.

Subjects were randomly assigned to consume the apple cider vinegar or a placebo drink. Two minutes later, each subject ate a meal consisting of a white bagel with butter and a glass of orange juice, containing approximately 90 grams of total carbohydrates. Blood samples were collected before the meal, and 30 minutes and 60 minutes after the meal.

Dr. Johnston and her team reported several significant results:
Each of the three groups had improved glucose and insulin profiles following meals that started with the vinegar drink In subjects with type 2 diabetes who drank vinegar, blood glucose levels were cut by about 25 percent compared to diabetics who drank placebo
In subjects with pre-diabetic conditions (insulin resistant) who drank vinegar, blood glucose levels were cut by nearly half compared to pre-diabetics who drank placebo.

And here's the most surprising result: Pre-diabetic subjects (insulin resistant) who drank vinegar actually had lower blood glucose levels than subjects with normal insulin sensitivity who also drank vinegar.

Dr. Johnston notes that vinegar dietary supplements may not be useful for managing glucose and insulin spikes associated with meals as they don't contain acetic acid [ acetic acid: a colorless acid with a pungent odor that is the main component of vinegar ] — the key ingredient she feels is responsible for vinegar's effectiveness.

Apple cider vinegar is another vinegar that works well. It is recommended that the typical apple cider vinegar product carried by large grocery chains carry be avoided. Instead, look for raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, usually available at many health food stores. To make a quantity of your own salad dressing just mix one part oil (or water) to two parts vinegar. Condiments such as garlic and/or onion powder, salt and pepper, should be added to taste.

I use raw, unfiltered Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar with the 'mother.' This is the only brand of Apple Cider Vinegar that I ingest. I usually mix 2 tablespoons with an 8 oz glass of water or I use it with olive oil to make my salad dressing  I've noticed significant changes in my body and overall health by implementing this pungent tasting gem. I've even given a bottle to a pre-diabetic family member who have had great success with it. Hopefully this helps someone out there in internet land. Of course, it's always advised to consult with your physician before using this or any other supplement.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Low- Carb Crustless Cheesecake


1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Stevia
2 teaspoons sugar-free vanilla extract (or sugar-free vanilla syrup)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg


Use a muffin pan and liners. I used a standard size muffin pan and the recipe made six cheesecakes 
Disclaimer - These aren't the prettiest looking cheesecakes but they taste SOO good. I always feel like I'm being bad whenever I devour these. 

- Preheat oven to 325F. 
- Beat the cream cheese, adding the Stevia slowly while beating. Incorporate well.
- Add the vanilla extract
- Add the lemon juice
- Add the sour cream
- Add the egg, slowly beat.

The mixture should be about the consistency of cake batter, maybe a little more dense. Fill up the muffin cups with the mixture or pan.

Bake for about 15 - 20 depending on the heat created by your oven. The top will be puffed and may be a little cracked when finished.

Cool for 30 minutes and  place in the fridge for a minimum of two hours. Then, enjoy!!

You could make a nut crust for the bottom of the cheesecakes if you were so inclined - but if  you're concerned with any additional carbs then make as is. 

Serving : Approx 3 carbs per "cheesecake" muffin.

Enjoy =)

Island Style Boiled Corn

As a West Indian I grew up eating this treat. It's my favorite way to enjoy corn. It's simple to make and the result is a creamy, flavorful comfort food.


1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
Salt to taste
A generous amount of ground black pepper to taste
Minced hot pepper to taste
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 ears young corn


Add all the ingredients except the corn, to a large pot and place on medium heat. Stir to mix and dissolve the salt.

Add corn to the pot with the coconut milk mixture. 

Turn the heat to high, cover the pot and bring to a boil. 

Once the pot comes to a boil, remove the lid and let continue to cook on high heat until all the liquid has been absorbed and the coconut milk cracks (this is indicated by small bits of white curds from the coconut milk).

Serve warm or at room temperature.
Enjoy =)

Delicious Diet Desserts...

These desserts have saved my life when it comes to keeping my sweet tooth under control without totally wrecking my diet. These aren't your typical bland flavor-lacking diet desserts; these are tasty, decadent confections that will satisfy your desire for a sweet treat.


When it comes to desserts this one totally wins me over.No matter how full I feel, I always have room for ice cream. Unfortunately it is loaded with fat and the sugar free or fat free versions don’t usually have the taste I’m looking for. Amazing things happen when you mix frozen bananas and peanut butter.


2 Frozen Bananas

1 Tbsp Creamy Peanut Butter or PB2


Peel your bananas and slice them into disks.

Spread the slices out on a wax paper covered plate or in a Ziploc bag and pop them in the freezer for 2 hours or overnight.

Blend the frozen banana slices and peanut butter in a food processor or blender until the mixture is creamy.

You can eat it as is or pop it back into the freezer until it’s the consistency you would like.


You can make this warm and tasty treat with canned pears if you’d like, but fresh is best! The pears themselves are sweet and the drizzle of honey and sprinkle of cinnamon make them absolutely perfect. Baked to perfection, this healthy yet flavorful dessert will satisfy your taste buds and your tummy!


2 Fresh Pears
½ Tbsp Honey
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)


Cut your pears in half lengthwise and lay them skin side down in a small baking dish.

Drizzle the honey over the pear halves, allowing it to pool slightly on the fruit.

Sprinkle cinnamon over the honey.

Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


This recipe only has 3 ingredients, so it was love at first sight for me! Technically it contains more ingredients than that because one of the items is “cake mix,” but still, it takes barely any time at all to prepare and that’s one thing I love about this cake. The second is the burst of fresh lemony flavor you get when you take a bite! Try this one out, it’s a definite crowd pleaser! Making lemon cake from scratch tastes amazing but it requires significantly more ingredients and time.

1 box Lemon Cake Mix (Just the powder, don’t add eggs or anything)

1/2 thinly sliced pineapple chunks

¾ cup Lemon non-fat Greek Yogurt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray or line pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of your ingredients, making sure they are completely blended. The batter will be pretty thick, don’t worry it’s alright.

Pour the batter into your pan and slide it into the oven for 35-40 minutes.

Let it cool completely before you cut it and just be aware that it won’t be “cake” consistency, it’s very moist and sticky but it is SOO good!


This low crab treat is something that I turn to when I'm craving a gooey. cheesy pizza but I don't want to suffer the consequences of the usually carb loaded treat. It's simple and can be modified to your tastes.


Turkey Pepperoni
Tomato sauce or paste


Bell Peppers

Pineapple chunks (optional)


Place turkey slices in a round pizza like position. Make sure that there is no space between the slices towards the middle of the faux crust.
Place tomato paste or sauce on pepperoni as you would on a pizza.

Place cheese and any other toppings and place in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes depending on the heat of your oven.

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken => Low Carb


4 tablespoons olive oil(or 1 egg)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup Flaxmeal
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Lightly grease baking dish.

In a bowl, blend the olive oil and garlic. In a separate bowl, mix the Flax meal, Parmesan cheese, basil, and pepper.
Dip each chicken breast in the oil mixture, then in the Flax meal mixture.

Arrange the coated chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish, and top with any remaining Flax meal Parmesan mixture.

Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

PREP:15 mins
COOK: 30 mins

Friday, May 24, 2013

Baked Dijon Lime Chicken


1 (3 1/2 lb) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 Tbs Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs Mayo
1 Garlic Clove, minced
Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 Lime
3/4 Tsp pepper
Salt to taste
Chopped parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 400. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. 

In a bowl, whisk together the mustard, mayo, garlic, lime zest and juice and pepper. 

Season the chicken generously with salt. 

Pour the mustard-mayo mixture over the chicken, tossing well to coat.

In a large baking pan, arrange the chicken in a single layer. 

Bake until it is cooked through; breasts take about 30 minutes and legs will need 5 to 10 minutes more. 

Serve the chicken with pan juices drizzled over top and garnished with chopped parsley.

Freeze Ginger to Reduce Waste

I'm obsessed with Ginger Tea. Not only is it delicious and refreshing but it's great for you.  If you didn't know here are just a few of the benefits of ginger:

Maintains Normal Blood Circulation: Ginger contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which can help to improve blood flow, as well as help prevent chills, fever, and excessive sweat.

Remedies Motion Sickness: Ginger is a known effective remedy for the nausea associated with motion sickness. The exact reason is unknown, but in a study of naval cadets, those given ginger powder suffered less.
Improves absorption. Ginger improves the absorption and stimulation of essential nutrients in the body. It does this by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion.

Cold and Flu Prevention: Ginger has been used for thousands of years as a natural treatment for colds and flu around Asia. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that to treat cold and flu symptoms in adults, steep 2 tbsp. of freshly shredded or chopped ginger root in hot water, two to three times a day

Combats Stomach Discomfort: Ginger is ideal in assisting digestion, thereby improving food absorption and avoiding possible stomach ache. Ginger appears to reduce inflammation in a similar way to aspirin and ibuprofen.

Colon Cancer Prevention: A study at the University of Minnesota found that ginger may slow the growth of colorectal cancer cells.

Reduce Pain and Inflammation: Ginger contains some of the most potent anti-inflammatory fighting substances known and is a natural powerful painkiller.

Fights Common Respiratory Problems: If you’re suffering from common respiratory diseases such as a cough, ginger aids in expanding your lungs and loosening up phlegm because it is a natural expectorant that breaks down and removes mucus.. That way you can quickly recover from difficulty in breathing.

Ovarian Cancer Treatment: Ginger powder induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells.

Strengthens Immunity: Ginger helps improve the immune system. Consuming a little bit ginger a day can help foil potential risk of a stroke by inhibiting fatty deposits from the arteries. It also decreases bacterial infections in the stomach, and helps battle a bad cough and throat irritation.

Combats Morning Sickness: Ginger has demonstrated a success rate of 75 percent in curing morning sickness and stomach flu.

Ginger tea and tea made with Unsulphured Blackstrap molasses are the ones that I turn to when it's that time of the month. Both seem to help with the gut wrenching cramps that I experience. 
Instead of buying the pre - made ginger tea I always buy ginger root from the grocery store then I use a knife to peel the outer layer of the root. Then I either cut the ginger in slices and place in a cup of boiling water or I grate it and place the grated ginger in my tea infuser which is then placed in a mug of hot water. I tend to sweeten with raw honey, sugar in the raw, or I enjoy it without any sweetener at all.  

Now back to the topic at hand. I purchase significant amounts of ginger because I use it often however there have been many times that some of the ginger root would spoil before I was able to use it all. I'm not one who enjoys throwing my hard earned dollars into the trash so it was very important to find a way to make it last. Oddly enough while looking for a low carb recipe online I stumbled onto a simple solution. Freeze the ginger root.

It's so simple and a method that I use for preserving my bananas and berry's that I use to make smoothies. I honestly don't know why I didn't think of it but hey no one's perfect right. It's ridiculously simple. Peel the ginger root and cut it into thin slices or grate it then I place the slices or grated ginger into little Ziploc bags or my favorite way is to put the grated pieces into ice tray with about a tablespoon of water per cube. When I need the ginger for a recipe or to make tea I simply go into my freezer and use the  frozen slices or ginger ice cubes. Simple yet and cost effective.      

Enjoy =)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Low Carb Cream Cheese Pancakes

Sooo I've been craving pancakes. I've tried so many variations of healthier pancake alternatives all of which have left me feeling disappointed and unfulfilled. After so many recipes I think I've finally found one that's low carb and delicious. If you decide to try it out let me know what you think. 


2 oz Cream Cheese
½ tsp  Cinnamon

1 tbsp butter


Combine all ingredients (except butter) in a medium bowl & blend using an immersion blender.  If you don’t own an immersion blender you can use a blender or food processor.

The batter will be really bubbly when you’re first blending it, so just let it sit for a minute or two so some of the bubbles settle (some small ones will still remain).
Place about a half tbsp of butter onto a hot griddle (or non-stick spray), pour about 1/4 of the batter onto the griddle, letting it cook for about a minute or so on each side.  

Nutrition: 383 calories, 33g fat, 16g protein, 3g carbs, 1.5g fiber (1.5 net carbs)

Serves: 1
Yields: about four 6″, thin pancakes

Enjoy =)