Posts

beauty-resolutions

sun protection

I Will Wear SPF Every Day All Year Round

We may not have the sunniest weather here in the UK, but wearing an SPF is still essential to prevent premature ageing of the skin. In fact, UV rays are believed to be the single largest contributor to skin ageing. Consequences of UV damage include sunspots, spider veins, redness, dry skin and wrinkle formation. Unfortunately, the damage to the ozone layer means that the harmful UVA and UVB rays are penetrating through more easily, and this happens even in winter when the sun isn’t shining. A minimum of SPF 30 should therefore be worn every day of the year to keep your skin looking young and healthy.

I Will Detox my Products

Like food, cosmetics and beauty products have use-by-dates and keeping them beyond this means they won’t be as effective and may even be harmful. Check the packaging and replace anything that has passed its recommended lifespan, this is especially important for face creams and anything that touches your eyes such as eye creams and mascaras. Anything that smells, has separated or changed colour should also go. Don’t forget to regularly wash your make-up brushes as well. Dirty brushes are a breeding ground for bacteria, and you will be spreading these all over your face every time you use them! Ideally they should be washed in warm water with a gentle washing solution every couple of weeks and then left to dry naturally. Facecloths should also be washed daily as these will contain bacteria and fungus, which thrive in damp conditions.

radiance bag

facial cleansing

I Will Not Sleep in My Make-Up

One in four women sleep in their make-up, which leads to pores becoming clogged and clogged pores can easily become inflamed causing breakouts. In addition, not washing your face before bed means that bacteria and harmful pollutants will be left on your face overnight. Disposable face wipes are not much better as they will only remove half the dirt, so save these for emergencies only. Instead use either a cleanser or face wash suitable for your skin type and a muslin facecloth, which is excellent for removing dirt and gently exfoliating your skin at the same time. Once your face is clean, run a muslin cloth under very hot water to open up the pores and give your face a mini-steam – it feels extra clean after doing this. Its good to then run your cloth under cold water and gently blot your face to close the pores again.

 I Will Exfoliate Regularly

Twice weekly exfoliation is one of the best ways to brighten your complexion, sloughing off dead cells to reveal radiant skin beneath. The top layer of cells of our skin are constantly being shed and replaced by new ones. New skin cells are made at the bottom of the epidermis and travel upwards to replace the old ones, as they are shed from the surface. Exfoliation will speed up this process by getting rid of the old cells, so they can be replaced by brand new ones. Over exfoliation on the other hand is damaging to skin, so choose gentle products with fine exfoliating particles or fruit enzymes if you have sensitive skin, which remove the dead cells by dissolving them.

weekly-exfoliation2

soft spring makeup

 I Will Update my Make-Up for Spring

Heavy foundations may be useful in winter, but a lighter approach is better for spring, so switching to a tinted moisturiser or BB cream is perfect at this time of year to achieve a more natural look. The ‘barely there’ look is in this season for make-up, but does involve applying make-up cleverly so it looks like you are not wearing any! A light cream blush swept over cheeks will give you that natural rosy glow and highlighting products are also useful for this look. A slick of clear or tinted lip-gloss finishes the look. A spring shade of colour on your nails will give your look an instant boost. Springs hottest shades are neutrals like beige and peach, metallics such as rose gold or silver and pale greens.

 I Will Drink More Water

Your skin needs moisture to function properly and to feel and look healthy. In fact, if skin doesn’t get enough water it can produce more oil to try and compensate, which can lead to breakouts. Dehydrated skin also tends to be dull looking and wrinkles appear much worse when the skin is dry. Staying well hydrated helps your skin look radiant, helps prevent acne and helps the body to flush out any toxins. When we drink plenty of water, it also helps the body rid itself of excess sodium and ironically reduces water retention. Fluid retention actually occurs when the body is short on fluids, as it hangs on to the precious water it does have – this can make your skin look puffy and can make you feel bloated.  Aim for 1.5-2 litres per day plus plenty of high water fruits and vegetables.

dirnking water

facial massage

I Will do Daily Facial Massage

Facial massage increases circulation to the skin and stimulates lymphatic drainage to help flush out toxins. This can help reduce puffiness, especially around the eye area. It can also improve skin condition by helping to smooth out fine lines and make skin look tighter. It will ensure your products are absorbed well and penetrate more deeply into your skin. Facial massage is also a great way to de-stress and help you wind down before bed. After cleansing, you can use your usual night cream, a serum or a facial oil to massage into your skin. Be gentle but firm, never pull or stretch the skin and be extra careful around the eye area where skin is delicate. Start with your neck as this is where the lymph nodes are located, so you will encourage lymphatic drainage by massaging here. Next massage your cheeks, around the nose, your forehead and temples, and finish with your eye area. If you don’t have time to do this every day, a few times a week will still give benefits.

I Will Look After My Hair

The condition of our hair has a big impact on how healthy we look and also how old we look. Healthy, shiny hair can take years off your appearance while nothing is more ageing than dull, dry looking hair. Avoiding using harsh chemicals on your hair is important to preserve its natural beauty. Most shampoos contain sulphates to make them lather, but these strip the hair and scalp of the natural oils that keep hair healthy. Instead opt for gentle, sulphate-free shampoos to preserve those protective oils. Avoid washing hair every day if possible, as this will have the same effect. Blow drying is another cause of damage to hair, so if you can allow hair to dry naturally then do, and stay away from straighteners and curling tongs which frazzle hair.

drying-hair

sugar

I Will Quit the White Stuff

Sugar is one of the most ageing foods out there. Naturally occurring sugars found fruit are fine, it is the refined, processed sugars that should be avoided found in fizzy drinks and processed foods. Refined sugar raises blood sugar levels, which increases the formation of aptly named AGEs (advanced glycation end products). They are formed in the body when glucose (sugar) reacts with body tissues, including collagen and elastin, causing cells to become stiff, lose elasticity and be more prone to damage and premature ageing. A high sugar diet has also been shown to increase oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which contribute to ageing and disease. In addition, sugar provides no nutrients, just pure energy or ‘empty calories’. Either cut right back or go sugar free if you can.

 I will Feed My Skin from the Inside

A diet based on plenty of fruits, vegetables and other plant foods will provide antioxidants to protect your skin against environmental damage. Oily fish provide anti-inflammatory and moisturising omega-3 fats, while nuts, seeds and avocadoes will provide further healthy fats and plenty of skin saviour vitamin E. To give your skin and body an extra boost of nutrients that cannot be obtained from your usual diet, include 1 Beauty & Go beauty drink as part of your skincare regime.  Beauty & Go contain collagen and hyaluronic acid to help combat signs of skin ageing, along with MacroAntioxidants which provide extra powerful and longer lasting protection against free radical damage. In addition, each drink contains a specific combination of superfoods, herbal extracts, vitamins and minerals to address your individual skincare requirements.

beauty-and-go-ice

new-year-decalogue-beauty-and-go2

Get back on track after the excesses of the past few weeks by following my top ten ‘commandments’ below to help you regain your health, energy and figure.

 

fad-diet1. Thou shalt not be tempted by the latest fad diet

While the promise of rapid weight loss can be especially alluring at this time of year, fad diets simply don’t work and research shows that people regain the weight, and often a bit extra!

2. Thou shalt eat regularly

Regular eating is essential for balancing your appetite, energy levels and even your mood. Skipping meals doesn’t help you lose weight in the long run; people who eat breakfast every day and eat regularly are slimmer and healthier than those with irregular eating patterns.

fit3. Thou shalt be active

A sedentary lifestyle was in the headlines last year for being on a par with smoking and poor diet as a threat to health. It’s not just about sweating it out at the gym, it’s about being active over the day as well and avoiding long periods of sitting.

4. Thou salt avoid empty calories

Alcohol, fizzy drinks, sugar and refined foods such as white bread provide pure energy with little or no nutrients, adding nothing beneficial to your diet, just lots of calories.

salmon5. Thou shalt not cut carbs

We need healthy carbs for energy, to feel full and for the many beneficial nutrients they contain. Avoid the white ones but include oats, sweet potato, quinoa, lentils, beans and whole-grains every day especially at breakfast and lunch to give you energy for the day

6. Thou shalt eat less meat

Another big headline of 2015 was that processed meats and too much red meat may increase the risk of disease. Avoid processed meats like bacon, sausages, ham, salami and limit good quality red meat such as lean steak to once or twice per week. Save money, your health and the planet in the process! Eat more plant proteins instead such as nuts, seeds, lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu and quinoa

pear-raspberry7. Thou shalt limit processed foods

Processed foods contribute 80% of the total salt we eat and are also packed with sugar, unhealthy fats and chemical additives, plus processing usually removes beneficial nutrients. The less you eat the better, instead base your diet on whole-foods.

8. Thou shalt eat 7 fruit and vegetables per day

5 was always intended to be the minimum, 7 is the optimum for health and happiness and even more is fine! Fruit and veg are low in fat and calories, so help with weight loss, high in antioxidants to protect your skin, fibre for digestion and a host of disease fighting vitamins and minerals. Eat the rainbow as each colour provides different nutrients.

daily-beauty-and-go9. Thou shalt drink 2 litres of water per day

Drinking 500ml of water before meals has been shown to reduce the amount eaten and lead to weight loss. Water also hydrates the body and skin and dehydration is the quickest route to dull skin, low energy and lack of concentration.

10. Thou shalt enjoy a daily Beauty & Go

Include 1-3 daily as part of your health and beauty regime, to provide skin plumping collagen and MacroAntioxidants, which protect you, and your skin against free radical damage and ageing. The Detox drink will help you and your skin recover from festive excesses, whilst Vitality will give you an energy boost when you need it.

winter-blues

Winter is most definitely on its way and for some of us the dark days and cold weather are reflected in our mood at this time of year. In fact, many of us in the UK report experiencing some degree of the ‘Winter Blues’.

Symptoms include less energy, lack of motivation, low mood and the urge to stay in bed and hide away. This is due to the fact that as animals, we are genetically programmed to go into hibernation mode at this time of year, so it is completely natural to feel like slowing down. Some simple lifestyle ‘tweaks’ can be all it takes to re-energise and lift you up again. Here is my advice on how to look after your mind, body and soul, to get you bouncing through to spring.

Exercise is Key!

winter-exercice

A 35-minute brisk walk five times per week has been shown in studies to help with mild to moderate depression. The great thing is you can squeeze this into your lunch hour so don’t have to make time for more time-consuming activities like the gym. Exercising in the middle of the day (or first thing in the morning) and being outside are also more beneficial, due to the exposure to natural daylight.

Any form of cardiovascular exercise gets your heart pumping, improves circulation, which helps prevent cold hands and feet and will also raise your core body temperature. It also releases happy brain chemicals, which is why it has this amazing mood-lifting effect.

When it is raining or just too miserable to go outside, don’t use this as an excuse to ditch the exercise! Instead, try exercising at home if you simply can’t face leaving the house – there are plenty of workout videos on-line. Another option is to try hot yoga or hot Pilates as a guaranteed way to warm up fast!

stay-connected2

Stay Connected

Don’t be tempted to hide away, making the effort to go out and see people will increase your sense of connectedness and well being. Research has proven that people with stronger social networks are healthier and happier, so arrange a trip to the cinema, go ice-skating or invite friends round for some home-cooked, warming food.

Taking up a new hobby has been shown to help people with seasonal depression by providing both a distraction and enjoyment. It could be something crafty like knitting, something musical such as singing or playing an instrument or something active such as a dance class.

Eat Well

It may be tempting to over-indulge in comfort foods at this time of year, but being mindful of what you eat is especially important during winter to help your immune system fight off bugs. It will also help prevent that dreaded feeling in January when you realise your jeans won’t do up. Instead of using winter as an excuse to fill up on junk food, indulge in healthy, warming, comfort foods like soups, stews and porridge. See my Autumn Foods post for some recipe inspiration (Link to Autumn foods and recipes).

Fill Up on Healthy Carbs

Most of us crave carbohydrates more when it’s cold, because we need the energy they provide to help keep us warm. Include healthy carbohydrate foods with all your meals, especially at breakfast and lunch to fuel you through your day. For breakfast porridge is my ‘go-to’ winter warmer at this time of year, I love experimenting with different delicious toppings. My current favourites are fig and chocolate (Recipe here) and coconut, banana and almond butter. Other healthy carbs to include are rye bread, buckwheat, sugar-free mueslis and granolas, oatcakes, sweet potatoes, barley, quinoa, pulses, wholegrain rice and wild rice.

fig-porridge2

The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is essential for helping ward off depression and keeping our immune systems strong. 90% of our total vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on the skin, but unfortunately from October to April, the light is not of the correct wavelength for stimulating any vitamin D production! If we build up adequate stores during the rest of the year it should carry us through, but many of us don’t and become deficient during winter. It is therefore advisable to include plenty of oily fish in your diet, which are the best dietary source of vitamin D. Mushrooms, eggs, some fortified foods, soya and dairy also contain small amounts. You could also include a supplement during winter as an ‘insurance policy’, especially if you’ve had limited sun exposure for any reason or have dark skin.

Raise the happy Serotonin

Eating foods containing the amino acid tryptophan in combination with healthy carbs (see above) will help your body to produce the happy chemical serotonin. The best food sources of tryptophan are pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds, hazelnuts, almonds, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, chicken, turkey, tofu, bananas, avocado and lentils. Include some of these every day, especially in the evenings, as they will also aid restful sleep.

Your Environment

listen-music-drinking-winter

Your sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system in the brain, which affects emotions, so you can use scents to lift your mood. Citrus smells like orange and lime are uplifting, while ginger and basil are energising. Clary sage is great for soothing the nerves and aiding deep and restful sleep.

Music is another great way to lift your mood and research backs this up, finding that music can actually raise levels of the reward chemical dopamine in the brain by 9%. Dedicate yourself a few minutes every day. Put on your favorite music and relax while enjoying your daily Beauty & Go!

Some people find that light therapy can really help at this time of year. You can use a light box emitting bright light during the day to boost energy and mood. Alarm clocks are also available which simulate sunrise, making getting up when it’s still dark a little easier.

Research has found that staying warm can reduce the winter blues by a whopping 50%! Eating warm foods, plenty of hot drinks and wearing warm clothes will all help.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

If your symptoms are more serious or are getting in the way of leading a normal life, it could be a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, a type of seasonal depression thought to affect about 2 million people in the UK. If you think you might have SAD or are feeling depressed, please go and see your GP for advice.

metabolism

After the excesses of the summer, many of us have a few extra pounds we’d like to shed at this time of year. Encouraging your body to burn calories more efficiently by raising your metabolic rate can be a great help. Your metabolism is your body’s engine, which burns calories for energy throughout the day. If it’s working well, losing weight will be relatively easy, whereas a sluggish metabolism can make it more of a struggle.

While genes do play a part in dictating our baseline metabolic rate, there are plenty of ways to raise yours. Here are my top ten tips for getting that engine revving!

 

desayuno-breakfast

1. Never skip breakfast

Eating good breakfast ‘ignites the fire’ first thing, meaning that you can keep it burning and burn more calories over the day. This may be one of the reasons people who eat breakfast are slimmer than those who skip it. Missing breakfast on the other hand, after the long overnight fast will mean that the body can go into ‘starvation mode’. This involves signalling the metabolism to slow down to conserve precious energy stores. To read more on the importance of a good breakfast, including healthy breakfast ideas, click here.

get-moving

2. Get Moving

As well as structured exercise, simply moving more and sitting down less over the day makes a big difference to how many calories you burn. Ensuring you never sit still for more than an hour, by setting a reminder on your phone is the first step. Using a pedometer, fitband or phone to measure how many steps you take each day is another great way to monitor your activity levels. The aim is 10 thousand, which can burn an extra 500 calories!

In terms of working out, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best workout for raising your metabolism. Not only does it burn plenty of calories while you are exercising, but it continues to keep the metabolic rate up for the rest of the day.

Muscle is as an active tissue, meaning that is uses energy even while you are resting. Therefore the more muscle you have the more calories you burn each day. Muscle building exercise such as weights, resistance exercises and yoga are therefore excellent for raising your metabolism. Fit in two muscle-building workouts per week.

tea2

3. Green Tea & Coffee

Caffeine revs up your metabolism, but before your reach for that double latte, a much healthier option is green tea. It contains about one fifth of the caffeine of a cup of coffee, giving a more gentle caffeine kick plus catechins – a type of antioxidant that boost metabolism. The combination of caffeine and catechins leads to increased metabolism and fat burning and 4-5 cups per day have been shown in studies to result in weight loss (1), as well as being great for skin and general health.

Green coffee is a healthy caffeine-free alternative to coffee that some studies show may encourage weight loss (2,3). It is made from raw coffee beans, which are naturally green before they are roasted. Roasting destroys some of the active ingredients (chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid) that have weight loss benefits including reducing fat absorption, increasing fat breakdown and changing the way the body handles sugar. Green coffee is available as a drink or supplement.

drinking-water

4. Water

We already know it’s good for hydrating the skin, helping us concentrate and stay alert but water is also good for keeping the metabolism working well. Drinking cold water is best as the body uses energy (calories) to warm the water up to body temperature. Drinking 8-10 cups of cold water over the day will give the maximum benefits. An interesting study came out last week showing that simply drinking ½ litre of water 30 minutes before meals aids weight loss, so time your drinks accordingly (4).

 

healthy-snacks

5. Smart Snacking

Research shows that eating regularly – every 3-4 hours – keeps those energy furnaces burning. Of course it’s important to choose healthy snacks though, a packet of crisps is not going to do the trick! Instead choose small, nutrient-rich snacks like fruit, vegetable crudités with hummus, oatcakes with almond butter or a palm-full of almonds. Snacking on almonds has also been shown to help dieters lose more weight so they are a great choice!

fish-meat

6. Protein

You burn twice as many calories digesting protein as you do carbs or fat, so protein is the best of the three food groups for metabolism boosting. Choose lean animal proteins such as fish and chicken plus vegetarian proteins lentils, beans and tofu. As far as carbohydrates go, whole-grains require more energy to breakdown and digest that refined carbs so always opt for whole-grains.

chili

7. Turn Up the Heat

Capsaicin is the compound in chilies that gives them their kick and is a known metabolism booster. It works by increasing thermogenesis after meals, which is the rate at which the body burns calories. It can also suppress appetite after eating, reducing those desert cravings, and is an excellent source of vitamin C. One study also found that chili decreased insulin levels after meals, which is beneficial for diabetics and also reduces the chances of healthy people developing the disease (5).

thermostat

8. Turn Down the Heat!

As winter is on the horizon, it will be tempting to turn the thermostat up soon. However, scientists have found that this can actually slow down your metabolism. Cooler temperatures on the other hand, boost brown fat in the body, which is a type of fat that creates heat and burns energy. So the more brown fat we have the better for our metabolic rate and the colder the outside temperature, the more brown fat will be created. Just turning the heating down a couple of degrees may reduce your waistline, along with your bills!

 

tiroides-detox-skin-revive

9. Look after Your Thyroid

The thyroid gland is a little organ near the throat, which controls your metabolism. When it’s not working optimally things slow down. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, low mood, feeling cold and weight gain. So looking after the thyroid is essential. Two key nutrients the thyroid needs are iodine and selenium. Seaweeds such as spirulina found in Beauty & Go Detox are a fantastic source of iodine and Brazil nuts are an excellent selenium source. Selenium is also in Beauty & Go Skin Revive.

 

dormir-mejor

10. Sleep Tight

Good quality sleep and regular sleeping patterns will ensure your metabolism functions optimally. Poor sleep causes disrupted metabolism and an increase in the hormone ghrelin, which tells you to eat more! Aim for 6-8 hours per night and try to go to bed and rise at similar times each day.

References
1. Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans. Obesity 2007;15:1473-83.
2. Thom E. The effect of chlorogenic acid enriched coffee on glucose absorption in healthy volunteers and its effect on body mass when used long-term in overweight and obese people. Journal of International Medical Research. 2007;35(6):900–908.
3. Dellalibera O, Lemaire B, Lafay S. Svetol, green coffee extract, induces weight loss and increases the lean to fat mass ratio in volunteers with overweight problem.  Phytothérapie expérimentale 2006 Nov;4(4):194-197.
4. Parretti HM1, Aveyard P2, Blannin A3, Clifford SJ1, Coleman SJ3, Roalfe A1, Daley AJ1. Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Sep;23(9):1785-91
5. Ahuja KD1, Robertson IK, Geraghty DP, Ball MJ. Effects of chili consumption on postprandial glucose, insulin, and energy metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;84(1):63-9.