LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts in category "healthy diet"

Spring Cleaning: Freshen Up Skin with a Greener Diet

In my native Romania, our springtime health and beauty routine includes eating plenty of green salads. The antioxidants in lettuce, spinach, and other greens cleanse our body of free radicals—unstable molecules produced by environmental toxins, inflammation, and other stresses. Free radicals ultimately lead to cellular damage, aging, and disease. By neutralizing these harmful molecules, plant-derived antioxidants promote the growth and repair of skin cells.

The antioxidants in green salads support skin cell growth and repair. Image: zole4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Green Beauty: Arugula and Walnut Salad

The arugula in this salad is packed with the antioxidant vitamins A and C. In addition to stimulating collagen renewal, these vitamins reduce inflammation, one of the prime causes of visibly aging skin. The addition of walnuts provides another healthy serving of antioxidants from omega-3 oils. Omega-3s help prevent wrinkles and improve skin texture by reversing free radical damage, stimulating blood circulation, and stabilizing hormone levels. The vitamin E in the walnuts and the shallot also helps nurture smooth, supple skin.

1 large shallot, chopped1/4 cup walnut oil or olive oil1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar3 cups arugula1 cup walnuts
Whisk together the oil, vinegar, and chopped shallot in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the arugula and walnuts in a large bowl, drizzle with dressing, and toss.

 

Revive Tired Skin with Extra Helpings of Anti-aging Nutrients

The stresses of winter can leave skin looking dull and worn-out. To restore the bloom of health to your complexion, make sure your skincare products contain hearty doses of nutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Here are some of the most important all-natural and organic ingredients to look for:

  • Apples
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Omega-3 oils (from sources such as olive oil, walnuts, and avocado oil)•
  • Pomegranate seed
  • Sea buckthorn seed
  • Soap bark
  • White tea

 

Refresh your complexion this spring with antioxidant-rich apples and walnuts.

 

Brighten Up Pale Skin Tone—Without Makeup!

The good news about the beauty benefits of fruits and vegetables has just gotten better. Not only do these nutrient-rich food help fight the aging effects of environmental skin damage—they can streamline your morning makeup routine. <The pigments in produce perk up pale complexions.

 

Plant pigments perk up pale complexions. Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Natural Plant Pigments Keep Complexions in the Pink

New research reported on Web MD suggests that eating 3.5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day can actually put roses in your cheeks. According to the Scottish scientists who ran the study, the secret of that healthy natural glow lies in an important family of nutrients: carotenoids—the red, orange, and yellow pigments contained in our daily doses of produce. Some of the best sources of carotenoids include

  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Apricots
  • Red peppers
  • Squash
  • Mangoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Dark green vegetables (e.g., collard greens, spinach, kale)
  • Parsley

Based on their results, the scientists believe that simply adding one additional portion a day can visibly brighten the skin in as little as 6 weeks.

The Beauty of a Plant-Based Diet, Inside and Out

Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of revitalizing skincare ingredients. Instead clogging your pores with foundation and blusher, releases your skin’s natural radiance with a stimulating botanical mask. Look for ingredients that improve blood flow to the skin:

  • Quince
  • Hungarian chili peppers
  • Sweet orange oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon fruit extract

Add warmth to winter-weary skin with skincare ingredients from the garden.

The key to avoiding irritation and lingering redness is a balanced formula. Check the label for rosemary, honey, eucalyptus, peppermint, and other calming ingredients. And be sure to follow your mask with a soothing toner and rich, hydrating face cream.

Tips for Taming Hormonal Acne

Stubborn cases of hormonal acne warrant the best professional care. But even the most advanced treatments can’t do the job alone. Make sure you’re doing your part by soothing and healing troubled skin from the inside out. Here are some guidelines:

PURSUE INNER EQUILIBRIUM

1. DON’T eat foods that promote hormonal imbalances and inflammation.

  • Refined sugars
  • White flour
  • Processed foods
  • Meat and dairy products that contain growth hormones
  • Trans-fats

2. DO adopt a back-to-nature diet rich in nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods, including

  • Fruits (especially berries, cherries, apples)
  • Vegetables (especially broccoli, spinach and other dark leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Cold water fish (salmon, cod, mackerel, snapper, sardines)
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Soy products
  • Omega oils (olive oil, avocado oil)
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds)
  • Spices and herbs (tumeric, capsaicin pepper, cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, thyme)
  • Tea (white, green, oolong)
  • Healthy sweets (eat sparingly) – Substitute honey, maple syrup, and molasses for refined sugar; add high-fiber, nutrient-dense ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts; include anti-inflammatory dark chocolate and cocoa.

3. DO keep your weight and stress levels in check with vigorous physical activity, plenty of restful sleep, and regular interludes of relaxation.

Restore clear, healthy skin, with the right balance of pure, plant-derived nutrients inside and out.

MAINTAIN BALANCED SKIN FUNCTIONING

1. DON’T use harsh synthetic ingredients that clog pores, dehydrate skin, or cause inflammation

  • Alcohol-based astringents
  • Soap
  • Petroleum-based products (petroleum jelly, baby oil, mineral oil)
  • Parabens

2. DO calm, hydrate, and protect hypersensitive skin with premium organic skin care.

  • Zinc oxide to help control excess oil
  • Natural anti-inflammatory botanical and herbal extracts
  • Plant-derived anti-microbials (rosemary, aloe vera, white tea)
  • Natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) (shea butter, squalene, aloe • vera and other botanical oils and humectants)
  • Natural vitamin A – Avoid overuse of topical retinoids to prevent harmful levels of inflammation.

Regardless of the acne treatments you’re currently using, I’m confident you’ll find that this integrated health-driven approach to restoring hormonal balance to your skin will optimize the results—and contribute to your total wellbeing.

 

 

The Latest Word on Conquering Acne

Like all the stages in the life of your complexion, acne is more than a collection of symptoms. The blemishes and oily shine you see in the mirror start below the surface with complex changes in the deeper layers of the skin and the body’s internal organs. While using the right topical products can help control these symptoms, putting the wrong foods inside your body can aggravate their root causes. As new research reported in the New York Times makes plain, bad food choices can be as disastrous for your face as they are for your waistline.

The High Price of High-Carb Diets

The studies cited in the article link the risks of refined carbohydrates like white flour and  corn syrup to their immediate and long-term effects on hormone levels. When we indulge in  starchy or sugary treats, insulin surges into our bloodstream. This excess insulin, in turn,  stimulates our oil glands and the buildup of surface skin cells, clogging pores and trapping  bacteria. The weight gain that can result from a serious junk food habit also raises levels of  androgen, a prime culprit in the type of acne associated with periods of hormonal change.

Unfortunately, the cost of those empty calories seldom stops with a few extra pounds and  an occasional pimple. The reason both problems tend to spiral out of control is the stress  hormone cortisol.

Raging Hormones and Out-of-Control Complexions

Scientists quoted in the Times article believe that the stress of being overweight and having  acne may trigger overproduction of cortisol. Heavy daily doses of this hormone take a major  toll on the body. In addition to increasing appetite, sugar cravings, and the buildup of belly fat, elevated cortisol levels can cause a variety of skin problems. A chronic cortisol imbalance not only raises the risk of acne, but also interferes with skin’s ability to heal and renew itself. That sets up your complexion for double trouble: acne breakouts and wrinkles.

Hormonal acne is a frequent and frustrating problem for many women nearing menopause. While there’s no overnight cure for distressing condition, there’s a lot you can do calm the hormonal storms that fuel acne. I’ll share some acne-fighting tips in my next post.

As Good As It Gets: Antioxidants for Dessert

Summer Apricots: A Sweet Source of Anti-aging Nutrients

Summer fruits are a delicious way to add antioxidant vitamins, flavonoids, and other revitalizing phytonutrients to your diet. As rich in anti-aging nutrients including vitamin C and beta-carotene as they are in flavor, apricots epitomize the spirit of Mediterranean-style cuisines. In Turkey, this delectable relative of the peach is so prized that the Turkish equivalent of the English idiom “it doesn’t get any better than this” (bundan iyisi  Şam’da kayısı) is “the only thing better than this is an apricot in Damascus.”

The featured role of apricots in my native Romania’s famously luscious pastries, jams, and other desserts reflects the enduring cultural influence of early Greco-Roman and Turkish settlers on our diverse and vibrant cuisine. One of my personal favorites is a distinctly Romanian variant of Italy’s albicocche cotte al vino (“apricots cooked in wine”).

Fresh Apricots Cooked in Wine

Unlike the Italian version, my grandmother’s recipe – which appears below - doesn’t require making a syrup of dry white wine, sugar, and vanilla. The use of a sweet dessert wine and cinnamon instead reduces the preparation time and calorie count, while maximizing the fresh, natural taste of the fruit.You can also adjust the taste of this dessert to suit your palate. If you desire a honey-like sweetness and complex flavor, choose a true dessert wine, such as Romanian Grasa de Cotnari, Hungarian Tokay, or an imported or domestic Muscat. If you have less of a sweet tooth, your might prefer the taste of lighter white wines like a sauvignon blanc or German Riesling.

Delicious summer apricots are loaded with anti-aging nutrients.

INGREDIENTS

Fresh apricots, 1-1/2 lb (fruit should be ripe but not mushy)

White dessert wine*

Cinnamon, a pinch

Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Cut apricots in half and remove the stones. Place facedown in a large skillet. Pour in wine. Cook the fruit approximately 3 minutes on each side. Serve alone or with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream for special treat!

 

Romanian Holiday: A State of Health, Happiness, and Mediterranean Desserts

Moderate portions of simple yet elegant fruit-based desserts like this one are a great way to integrate sensual pleasure into a naturally healthy lifestyle. Even in the wintertime, one bite of this refreshing treat recalls the extended hours of sunlight during my summer holidays on the shores of the Black Sea. Regardless of whether you summer in Portofino, Martha’s Vineyard, or your own backyard, my grandmother’s summer dessert recipe is guaranteed put you in a vacation state of mind.

Add regular doses of summer's natural pleasures to your European-style anti-aging regime. Image: Idea go / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Spring Turnaround: How Changing Your Mindset Can Change Your Life

What if I told you there’s one no-risk, foolproof, and absolutely free way of ensuring that you look and feel younger than your age for the rest of life? And that millions of people who already know about this anti-aging method haven’t put it to work yet?  Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it?

A fresh attitude the first step to a lifestyle makeover.

But that’s exactly the case with the healthy lifestyle practices of traditional cultures around the globe. Unfortunately, in the United States, as well as in a growing number of increasingly “Americanized” cities overseas, this alternative anti-aging approach continues to present hard-charging people-on-the-go with one virtually insurmountable obstacle. It requires them to relax their impossibly high standards and live a little—without the guilt and self-loathing that drives their ceaseless pursuit of total self-control and unattainable physical perfection.

Trade Costly Serial Makeovers for a Sustainable Anti-aging Plan

If you’re trapped in a self-defeating cycle of deprivation and overindulgence, do something nice for your body this spring. Don’t let thoughts of bathing suit weather bring out your inner Puritan. Whether it’s a highly restrictive diet, Botox injections, or liposuction, one radical tactic inevitably leads to another in an endless round of increasingly extreme measures. Before you make this kind of high-risk investment, consider the latest research on the long-term price of quick fixes:

Botox – Repeated Botox injections gradually weaken facial muscles over time. Known as “disuse atrophy,” this decrease in muscle mass and resilience is a major contributor to the droopy eyelids, jowls, and sagging jaw lines that develop as we age. The claim of Botox advocates that this effect is a “benefit” doesn’t change the facts of muscle physiology and facial anatomy that underlie the most visible signs of aging and environmental damage.

Starvation Diets – Within 2 years, 80% of dieters regain all of the weight they’ve lost—or more. And the greater the weight loss and frequency of dieting, the bigger the risk of metabolic overcompensation and other physiological changes that eventually doom these fast and furious weigh loss efforts to failure.

Liposuction – A new University of Colorado study shows that liposuction patients who had fat removed from their thighs regained that lost weight in their arms or bellies within a year.

The Old World Paradox: Living Well to Grow Younger

Instead of re-engaging in this costly and ultimately futile battle against nature, give these three time-tested Old World wellness prescriptions a try.
1. Accept your appetite for the good things in life as normal and natural.

2. Discard your belief in the one-size-fits-all ideal of youthful beauty perpetuated by Hollywood and the fashion media.

3. Reject the extreme path of unnatural deprivation and self-denial in favor of the gradual cultivation of healthful moderation and long-term discipline.

This attitude adjustment may strike you as foreign and even downright dangerous. But to the traditional Europeans who continue to live and breathe this balanced philosophy, the idea of giving up their joie de vivre or la dolce vita to look younger and more attractive seems equally counterintuitive.

In the coming weeks, I’ll not only explain more about the natural wisdom behind the European mindset and the specific strategies that make it effective, but also provide additional evidence for a paradoxical truth:  You can have your health, stop and smell the roses, and eat cake, too.