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America’s Healthy
Cooking Teacher

Get Your Glow On

How do you maintain a demeanor of calm, serenity in the world we live in? Phones, text messages, constantly being plugged in and connected; we’re never out of reach or unplugged. Politics, climate change, special interest groups trying to take over our food…it’s enough to make us crazy? So how do you keep your glow going?

As spring warms us and we expose more skin to the sun, let’s use tools at our fingertips to put our best face forward.

1). Learn the basics of looking at your face, so each morning, as you ready yourself for the day, you can look at yourself differently and see what served you the day before…and what didn’t. You’ll find lots of information online and in books on self-diagnosis that can help to get you started. http://www.doctoroz.com/article/chinese-face-reading-chart

2). Eat foods appropriate for your lifestyle and condition.  Choosing from whole, unprocessed, seasonal foods; discover what you love best and what makes you function at your peak.  Whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and good quality fats and oil…and some dark chocolate (always…) will help you to sustain your strength and stamina and have you moving through your day with grace…no matter the pressure.

3). Eat more vegetables. In whatever form, shape or style…eat more veggies…raw, cooked, in salads, juices, sautéed, roasted, grilled or in stir-fries…eat more.  The nutrients, minerals, fiber and moisture will keep your skin vital and youthful for years…just skip the canned varieties…they have not seen the light of the sun since before ancient Rome! I’m kidding, but you get the point. Frozen is okay, but fresh is always best!

4). Take the time to cook. I know we are all busy, but in order to stay strong, vital and glowing with radiant health, we must cook for ourselves and I don’t mean opening a frozen dinner and popping it into the microwave.  I mean putting together delicious, simple meals from whole unprocessed ingredients.  Cook!  It’s the most divine art we can imagine.

5). Take the time to eat. Uh…uh…uh…no more standing over the sink gulping food from a leftover container.  Stop eating while you drive, talk on the phone, read, watch television (sometimes all at once!).  Be mindful of the fact that you are feeding yourself and understand that nourishment happens on many levels…from prepping to cooking to presentation to sitting down and enjoying. It’s such a joyful experience to eat this way. Try it; you’ll like it.

6). Chew well. Sounds simple, right?  Think of how quickly a meal is over…15 minutes for most people.  It takes the body 20 minutes to realize it has been fed…by the time 20 minutes have passed, most of us have eaten (more than we need) and cleaned up…only to be snacking an hour after the meal.  Chew your food until it is liquid for more satisfaction and much better digestion.  Make eating a priority and see how the rest of your day falls nicely into place.

7). Exercise…enough. We need to move…walk, practice yoga, lift weights, garden with great effort, discover Pilates, climb stairs, run, jog, bike, take a group class at the local gym…just move.  It helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy bones and organs, improves circulation and attitude, keeps us strong…and keeps us sane.

8). Sleep enough. Almost as important as exercise and eating well is rest…real rest.  Getting enough sleep can change your life.  The body needs down time to repair and renew itself. The lives we lead make this more important than ever.  Stop eating about 3 hours before you sleep to ensure complete rest and rejuvenation in the morning.

9). Drink water. It’s the only way we stay hydrated, really. We live lives that steal moisture from us constantly making it vital to our health and vitality to keep enough moisture in the body. Eating soups, whole grains cooked in water, veggies (lots and lots…) help us to remain hydrated and help stabilize our mineral levels. Drinking water on top of eating a plant based diet helps our bodies to stay flexible and our skin lush and moist.

10). Some remedies to glow by…a few tips and tricks to help you on the path to glowing, radiant health…

Kombu Bath
Kombu has the uncanny ability to break down fat in foods--and us.  This soothing bath results in smooth, soft skin and aids the body in breaking down our ever-present cellulite.  While not a magical instant cure, over time, you will see a difference in the texture of orange-peel skin.

3, 6-inch pieces kombu
1 generous handful sea salt

Run a hot bath, as hot as is comfortable, with the kombu and salt in from the beginning.  Simply soak in the tub for 10-15 minutes.  You may rub the kombu over your skin for smoothing, if desired.  Rinse well and pat your skin dry.  For best results, try this bath once a week.  You may reuse the kombu 3 times.

Facial Scrub
Gentle facial scrubs, without harsh chemicals, are quite nice.  They feel great and they gently exfoliate that tender skin, without abrading the surface, causing more of the very damage you are trying to heal.  This one is simple to make and does not leave your face feeling dry.  Good for all skin types, this once-a-week scrub is heavenly.

2 tablespoons oat bran
2 tablespoons warm rice milk (not soy--too fatty)

Mix the ingredients together to form a paste.  Wet your face with warm water.  Spread gently over the face, to the jaw line, avoiding the tender skin under your eyes.  Massage cleanser gently into your skin, using circular motions, for 2-3 minutes.  Rinse with slightly warm water, at least 20 times to remove the scrub and finish with a few cold rinses.  Pat your face dry and apply your daily moisturizer. 

Facial Dabs
These simple home brews are a great way to freshen your skin when it feels dull and dry or a bit oily and shiny or if you are going through a series of breakouts.  Just dab these potions on your skin for a fresh face to carry through the day.

Oily Skin
Simply brew a strong cup of kukicha or commercial black tea.  Cool thoroughly.  Using a fresh cotton ball, dab over the face (or just the oily areas).  The drying, cool nature of tea will help to balance your skin--on the surface, while you work on the internal balance that will make this dab a thing of the past.

Dry Skin
Simply warm a cup of unsweetened full fat soy or coconut milk. Using a fresh cotton ball, dab the warm milk over your skin, rinse a few times with warm water and apply moisturizer.  The fatty nature of milk will help to make your skin feel soft, while you concentrate on diet and lifestyle changes that make it naturally soft and lush.

Blemishes
Calendula is an herb that is revered for its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.  Chamomile is an herb known to relax our systems and balance upsets.  Together, these two herbs can relieve the inflammation that is causing the breakouts, while balancing the skin--at least until you do it with your diet.

Simply combine a tablespoon of each herb in a cup of boiled water and steep until cooled to room temperature.  Do not cool in the refrigerator, as it will weaken the brew.  Using a fresh cotton ball, dab this gentle herbal potion on the blemishes.  Don’t rinse.  This brew will keep, refrigerated, for 5 days.  You may use it chilled or at room temperature.

For Relief of Tired Eyes
For those moments when you look as tired as you feel; your eyes are feeling itchy and irritated from too many hours on the computer; you wake up looking less than refreshed; you are overworked and just plain tired.  Chamomile, known for its ability to relax and balance is just perfect for infusing a bit of energy into red, tired eyes.

1 tablespoon dried chamomile
1 cup water

Place the chamomile in a glass bowl and boil the water.  Pour the water over the herbs and allow to steep, until room temperature, about 20 minutes.  Strain out chamomile and discard.  Soak two fresh cotton balls and place over closed eyes.  Relax with eye packs in place for 10 minutes.  The scent and nature of the herb will do the trick to refresh your tired eyes.

For morning puffiness, try these same eye packs, but chill the brewed chamomile overnight.  Soak fresh cotton balls in the cold brew and apply to your puffy eyes.  Leave on for 10 minutes and voila!  

And finally…the advice of all advice…the best thing I have ever learned and it’s all wrapped up in a little washcloth. This practical advice is a real game changer for your skin and your health.

The Body Rub
I know I have published this before and talk about it constantly. Commit to 30 days of rubbing and you will see why.

If you take showers or baths, you can do this one.  This remedy activates circulation, promoting clear, soft skin, by helping the skin eliminate toxins from the body.  I mean it when I say that if you do not ever cook a vegetable--scrub your body.  It will change your life--and you will really glow. 

Quarter fold a cotton washcloth (or use a cloth spa glove from the pharmacy).  Using hot water, wet the cloth and begin to scrub your body (without soap), rubbing gently with just the weight of your hand, until your skin turns pink all over. Start with your hands, rubbing palm and back side, between your fingers and work your way up your arms toward your chest.  Next, rub your chest and back, but for women, avoid the breasts and for men and women, the genitals, but scrub your groin area.  Work your way down your belly, scrub your buttocks and then work your way down your legs, front and back to your feet, scrubbing the tops of your feet, between your toes and even the soles of your feet. 

At first, you will notice that your skin turns a mottled pink.  As the body breaks down accumulated, hardened fats, your skin will turn a uniform, rosy pink in minutes.

One month of faithful scrubbing and you will notice a new softness to your skin--and you will be addicted.  In about two months, you will find that you no longer need moisturizer, that you do not have flaky shins or crusty heels.  For the best results, scrub every day.