Tag Archives: health

How I’ve Been Staying Healthy These Days

April 6, 2015

I’ve been so focused on beauty products lately. But of course, there’s a lot more to beauty than cosmetics!

Consider the energy and vitality that you radiate. No amount of makeup or skincare serums can hide your snotty face when you’re sick and shooting neon-green sillystring out of your nose!

Unless of course you’re the bomb at applying makeup. But come on, no one is that good.

So let’s switch our focus for a bit and go back to talking about beauty by maintaining a simple, healthy and happy lifestyle.

Here’s how I’ve been staying healthy these dayzzz!

A simple breakfast

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Massage Coupon Valentine's Day Gift Idea

The Perfect Gift Idea For Valentine’s Day

February 12, 2013

If you’re still looking for a Valentine’s Day gift idea, then this is a really great idea.

There’s no need to spend any money. It’s something that will bring you closer together. AND it will feel really good.

But this is a gift that requires real work of love.

I’m talking about giving each other a nice, long, relaxing massage!

The art of massage has been around for millenia and played an important role in therapeutic medicine. Unfortunately, it fell out of popularity during the Dark Ages when religious authorities began to frown upon it. They didn’t like the idea that massages can also be quite pleasurable! But nevermind the negative and sexual connotation that continues to surround it.

The fact is, giving and receiving massages is simply a wonderful way to connect with your loved one.

While this article is geared more towards Valentine’s Day couples, massages do not have to be practiced only within the context of romantic relationships. Massages can be practiced by anyone on a regular basis throughout the year. Parents, children, and friends should also practice massages in order to achieve and maintain overall health and wellness.

Consider the numerous benefits of massage:

  • Relieves Stress & Tension. Massages work wonderfully for relieving stress and for preventing the accumulation of tension in the body. There are studies that suggest massages can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Feels AH-Mazing! Massages release endorphins, which act as a pain reliever and are also responsible for our feelings of pleasure. People often feel more relaxed and refreshed after receiving a massage.
  • Promotes Healthy Circulation. Massage is an effective way to increase blood flow and decrease lymphatic buildup. This means more oxygen and nutrients can reach your tissues and organs.
  • Strengthens the Immune System. The benefits from increased blood flow and lowered stress gives a boost to the immune-system. But also, massages reinforce the immune system by stimulating the lymphatic system which removes toxins from the body.
  • Improves Skin Tone & Texture. Stimulated blood flow improves the skin’s tone and texture. Massages can help remove dead skin cells and prevent cellulite. Also, depending on the oil used during massage, the skin can enjoy moisturizing benefits.
  • Promotes Better Sleep. Relaxing from massage can improve the quality of your sleep, which is crucial for health and beauty.
  • Creates Closeness. When you help someone to relax and relieve them of tension, a feeling of closeness can be cultivated. Massages can also help develop communication and trust within a relationship.

Some tips on making the most out of your massages:

  1. There are many helpful books on massaging techniques.
  2. You can take a couples massage training class together.
  3. Remember the oil. It makes a world of a difference. Even olive oil from the kitchen will do.
  4. Talk with each other and listen to what your partner does or does not like.
  5. The goal is to relax. The goal of the person giving the massage is to guide their partner into relaxation. The goal of the person receiving the massage is to relax. This can actually be more difficult than it sounds.
  6. Be patient with each other.

When practiced in the context of a romantic relationship, it’s important to point out that the massage should be about the massage. And not a precursor to sex.

Relaxation can be more easily achieved if the person receiving the massage is able to focus on the massage without the anticipation of amorous activities.

But you know, keep it flexible and fun.

And to enhance the delight…

Try presenting your Valentine’s Day gift in the form of a Coupon hand-made with LOVE! 

Massage Coupon Valentine's Day Gift Idea

Vitamin D & Keeping The Winter Blues At Bay

December 21, 2012

Good news! The world hasn’t ended. Yet. 

However, there is a real significance to December 21, 2012. Today is the day that marks the winter solstice. This is the “turnaround” point when the days will slowly begin to be longer and the nights will become shorter. It’s the day when winter officially begins.

But frankly, if you live in Paris, the weather during the past couple of months has already been quite cold, dark and depressingly gray and rainy throughout the day every day. Whoever said that Paris is best when it rains forgot to mention that it is always raining in Paris! I expected this kind of weather in London. But not here.

Considering how high Paris is in latitude (it’s even further up north than New York or Montreal), the darkness during the wintertime makes sense. It’s now common for darkness to set in around 4:30pm and it doesn’t get light again until around 9am. But this shortness in the length of the day coupled with all this cloudiness and rain has been nothing short of a real bummer. And it is something that I am not used to.

Lack of sunlight, especially during the wintertime, truly does have an impact on our physical and mental health.

And I believe it has a lot to do with a deficiency in Vitamin D. Our bodies need sunlight to produce Vitamin D and oftentimes, there is not enough light in the wintertime to give us the required daily dose of this “sunshine vitamin.” Many studies have shown that low blood levels of Vitamin D can increase the risk of developing diseases which range from osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, asthma in children, cognitive impairment in older adults and depression.

The Health and Beauty Benefits of Vitamin D 

The primary role of Vitamin D is to strengthen the bones by allowing the body to better absorb calcium. But Vitamin D can also play many other roles that are vital to our health and beauty.

Vitamin D can contribute to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism. One of the main benefits of Vitamin D for the skin is in the treatment of skin-conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. Also, by helping to support the immune system and by reducing inflammation, Vitamin D can help destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging.

As we age, some of the bones in our face begin to shrink which can give our facial muscles and tissues a “sunken” appearance. This process can worsen wrinkles and accentuate jowls (loose flesh in the lower cheek and jaw that is characteristic of aging). So maintaining bone-strength by way of maintaining sufficient Vitamin D levels in our blood is just one way to ensure graceful aging.

In addition to strengthening the bones, Vitamin D also contributes to strong, healthy nails and teeth and can even help prevent the thinning of hair.

Keeping The Winter Blues At Bay

To be sure, the main health benefits of Vitamin D should be enough to convince anyone of the importance of getting a sufficient dose of it on a daily basis. However, what really encouraged me to do further research and actually begin supplementing Vitamin D into my diet was the fact that Vitamin D has also been shown to help boost moods during the winter months.

As fall settled in and the days became shorter and the nights became longer, I began noticing a decrease in my energy level and an overall sluggishness in my mood. I began to sleep longer hours and it became harder for me to wake up and get going in the day. It also became a lot harder to concentrate and stay motivated. I think this was what some people would call the “winter blues.”

While there is still so much unknown about how Vitamin D works in the brain, research has suggested that Vitamin D can affect daily biorhythms and help relieve mood disorders by increasing the production of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.

In particular, studies have shown that Vitamin D can help with a type of depression called “seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” which tends to occur annually during the fall and winter. The cause of SAD is not well known, but it is a disorder that tends to affect more women than men. It’s important to note that SAD is a real condition whose diagnosis and treatment requires professional psychological help.  It should not be confused with mild mood changes like the “winter blues” or “cabin fever.”

Making Sure You Get Enough Vitamin D

Making sure that you get enough Vitamin D is tricky.

First of all, it’s hard to get sufficient exposure to the right kind of sunlight that will stimulate the production of Vitamin D. This will depend on where you live, the time of the year, the darkness of your skin, how much clothing you’re wearing and whether or not you’re covered in sunscreen.

Second, very few foods naturally contain significant levels of vitamin D. Most of these foods are fatty cold-water fish like salmon, mackarel, bluefish, anchovies, sardines and tuna, as well as cod liver oil. Some foods are fortified with the vitamin, especially milk and yogurt, cheese and breakfast cereal. But you would have to actively be eating loads of these foods every day to even get anywhere near the ideal level of Vitamin D intake.

Third, what is the ideal level of Vitamin D intake anyway? This is a topic that continues to be debated. The idea is that too little is harmful while too much can be toxic. I have read that you need anywhere from 400 IU to 4,000 IU of Vitamin D daily. My best advice would be to get your Vitamin D level tested by your doctor and ask about your ideal level of Vitamin D, as it can vary for each person.

For me, the best way to get enough Vitamin D has been to take supplements. I have the Solgar brand of Vitamin D3 and I take 800 IU every day. I’ve only been doing this for a month now and I’ve already noticed real improvements. In my case, I know the evidence is only anecdotal, but I swear–taking Vitamin D supplements like this has really helped me to balance my energy levels and become a functioning human being once again, instead of a hibernating bear during the wintertime.

Solgar Vitamin D3 Fish-Based Oil Capsules

There is still ongoing research to prove or disprove the value of Vitamin D supplementation beyond its well-known benefits to bone health. As of 2010, there has been a large-scale, randomized trial involving 20,000 people across the U.S that’s being conducted called the VITAL study. Its objective is to investigate whether taking daily dietary supplements of Vitamin D3 and omega-3 fatty acids can prevent cancer and heart disease as well as help with other ailments such as diabetes, cognitive decline, depression and respiratory diseases. I am hoping that this is the study that will finally resolve all the conflicting opinions that has surrounded Vitamin D.

Other Tips For Staying Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed During The Cold, Dark Winter Days Ahead

So, apart from taking Vitamin D supplements, there are of course a load of other things we can do to stay on top of the winter blues. I would suggest the following three things:

1) Eat healthy and balanced meals. There is a real connection between what we eat and our thoughts, behavior and emotions. A nutritional imbalance can make us prone to depression and affect its duration. Also, supplements can only truly be effective when used in conjunction with a healthy and balanced diet.

2) Stay moving. Regular exercise has also been shown time and time again to boost mood. This is especially true when exercise takes place outdoors in a green environment. Movement stimulates the release of mood-boosting endorphins and can improve the quality of your sleep.

3) Enjoy time with your loved ones! People who are prone to mood disorders should definitely avoid being isolated and instead seek out social contact. What more perfect time of the year than Christmas and New Year’s to enjoy the company of your family and friends?

What about you? What are your tips for beating the winter blues?