Archive | March, 2012

Whole-Body Approach to Skincare

19 Mar

So, just what is a whole-body approach to skincare?  A whole-body approach is just that.  In order for the skin to be healthy and beautiful, or to heal a skin condition, it takes more that just topicals applied to the skin.  It involves all the aspects of your life.

In our collective psyche, skin has been viewed as something outside ourselves, meaning we often don’t see that our skin’s condition is as much dependent on our internal workings as any of the other body’s organs.

While skin is the largest organ in the body, I would venture to guess it is one of the least understood.  Much of how we view skincare is a trickle down effect from doctors.  They often approach skin disease and diseases in general through a myopic lens, focusing just on the disease.  Since the advent of the predominant pharmaceutical culture, physicians have stopped trying to heal the body or be healers.  For example, most dermatologist still harp that food, lifestyle, mental attitude do not have a part in acne.  Why is it so hard for them to connect the dots when diseases, such as scurvy that have skin manifestations are a result of improper nutrients?

On the other hand, a whole-body approach to acne says that the body is out of balance and needs to be brought back into balance with proper nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, etc.  It also involves the use of skincare products, but doesn’t just rely on them or pills as a cure. Dermatologists who do not counsel patients who have skin conditions about the effect of proper nutrition, exercising, mental attitude, stress, etc. on the skin are doing the patient a disservice.

The skin is an organ and is affected by our lifestyle just as any other organ is in the body.  Don’t get lolled into thinking that because we can see a layer of it on the outside that its not being affected by what you eat, think, do, and feel.

While Yum Scrub Organics produces skincare products, we know that products alone can’t do the job.  No matter the marketing hype from any cosmetic or pharmaceutical company, wrinkles, blemishes, eczema, psoriasis, backne, acne, dryness will not go away/stay away or diminish with just a skin-applied product.  Big spending advertising is another way we are lolled into thinking the skin is something separate from the rest of our body.  However, the right product can certainly play a large role in skincare (or we wouldn’t be in the business).

To really enhance the beauty or healing of your skin, you do need to also go deep inside.  A whole-body approach to skincare then is about all that makes you–you.  It involves what you eat and drink and what you don’t eat and drink; exercise, mental attitude/mindset, and spiritual development.  With regard to spiritual development, we are referring to the inner path or who you are as a person that comes from deep within–not the religious connotation of spirit.

Applying a whole-body approach, you embrace a natural healthy lifestyle that benefits your whole body.  You see the body as interconnected, what affects one part of the body affects another part and affects the whole body.  With this in mind you approach the care of your whole body–physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual–with mindfulness.  If you apply this approach, your skin will radiate and of course your entire body will be much healthier.

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Browse through some of our posts to get some suggestions on some whole-body techniques.


Yum Friday Recipe: Asian Style Anti-Inflammation Soup

16 Mar

I love soup; I could live on it.  They are easy to make; you can be very creative with ingredients; they are healthy and everything is in one bowl to eat.  Let me retrace my steps a bit to “healthy,” and add that most soups are healthy.  Those heavily creamy mixtures that are also cheese laden, not quite so healthy.  You know who you are broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, and one I just saw online, “Cream Cheese Potato Soup.”  Whoa!   My arteries are clogging at the thought while my mouth is watering with a craving.  Not for me, though, the dairy would send my stomach into a tailspin.

Lately, my soup tastes have been going  Asian  with a hunger for ginger, turmeric, and a thinner broth.  And that is where this recipe comes in.  It relies on those ingredients as the base spices.  It is also a very versatile soup, lending itself to easy adaptations.

While there are some really great nutrients in the vegetables in this soup, the stars are the spices and herbs.  It is heavily dosed with anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, and cilantro.  So, the bottom line is this soup is really good for the skin and because of its anti-inflammatory ingredients it’s great for skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, etc.  Including this soup in your regular diet along with foods high in omega 3, fresh fruit, and fresh dark green vegetables will have your skin glowing.

Ginger has been used in eastern cultures for centuries as “food medicine.”  Turmeric in Ayurvedic medicine is considered a healing food for acne and other skin conditions.  If you can get fresh turmeric, it’s the best.  While dried is good, fresh turmeric has a smoother, less pungent taste then it’s dried form.  Asian markets and larger Whole Foods carry it.  It really makes a difference in the taste.  But, I don’t always have fresh turmeric on hand, so I use the dry form. 

The base of the soup always has either vegetable or chicken stock, onions, ginger, turmeric, cilantro, and garlic.  While I change-up certain vegetables, I always include onions, some type of mushroom and greens (spinach, kale, watercress, etc.).  Really, the soup is delicious with just those three vegetables.  And it great served with lime wedges.  Lime juice adds another level of flavor. 

I love using homemade stock, but hey, time doesn’t always allow for it.  When I use commercial stock, I use a very good quality stock and always organic.  I also find commercial stocks much more condensed in taste, so I dilute them.   Usually, I dilute them about half stock and half water.  Vegetable stock I may dilute a bit more.

This soup is a great one to play with for flavor and ingredients.  I usually serve it with bean thread or rice noodles.  Lately, however, we have eaten it without any starch, or I have really enjoyed serving it with sticky short grain rice.  That’s what I love about it, you can play around with the ingredients.  For examples, if I could eat shrimp I would probably add some at the end of the cooking process.

The other thing I enjoy about making this soup is that the vegetables are rough cut.  They aren’t diced in small pieces, so it really speeds up the time.  The soup can be made in about 30 minutes or less, depending on the vegetables added. 

Yum Asian Style Anti-Inflammation Soup – serves 6

64 oz homemade chicken or vegetable stock – if using commercial stock dilute 32 oz of stock with 32 oz of water
1 large onion cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced – about 4 cups

2 cups sliced mushrooms of any variety (frozen shitake nice to have on hand for this soup)
2  cups rough cut chopped greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, watercress)
½  cup chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon fresh grated ginger

2 – 3 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric (if using dry turmeric, 2 teaspoons)
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno or other hot pepper (optional)
salt/pepper to taste
6 lime wedges
4 – 5 cups prepared rice noodles, or 4 cups cooked rice (optional)

If serving with rice noodles, start the noodles soaking.  If serving with rice, start cooking rice.

In a large pot, add the stock, onions, ginger, turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat so soup simmers.  Cook about 12 minutes; add the mushrooms and greens, cook about 10 minutes; add cilantro.  Taste for seasonings. You want a nice balance between the ginger and turmeric.  Simmer for additional 5 minutes.  Serve as is or over rice noodles or rice.

other vegetables – If you use other vegetables, make sure to keep a nice balance of the amount of vegetables used so the soup remains brothy.  Also add the vegetables that take longer to cook first, so the softer vegetables, keep their color. 

Some vegetables suggestions: celery, carrots cut on diagonal.  If you use celery or carrots, add them with the onions and cook until tender soft.  Other vegetables, such as snow peas or peas, add in the last 5 minutes to keep their texture and color.

Add a couple tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce.  If you do this, reduce or eliminate the salt.

Add a little shrimp in the last few minutes.

Add some bean sprouts last 5 minutes of cooking

Sometimes I sauté the onion (carrots and celery too if being added) in some extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes then add half the spices (ginger, turmeric, garlic) and sauté for about a minute or so before adding the chicken stock.  Then I add the remaining portion of the spices after the stock begins to simmer.

Happy Eating

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Get Your Happiness On

7 Mar

So, for skin to be healthy and beautiful, you need good nutrition, good sleep and rest, exercise, a skincare regimen, great products (ha-hum), etc.  However, there is something we tend not to relate with healthy, beautiful skin and that is happiness and laughter.  Do not underestimate what feeling happy and laughing can do for the skin. 

Happiness and laughter bring a natural glow to the skin.  Feelings of happiness, reduce stress and lower blood pressure, which gets reflected on your skin with less wrinkles, improvement in skin conditions, such as acne and eczema, and more suppleness.  With less stress and worry, more nutrients flow to your skin instead of being directed to bodily functions that are a part of the body’s “fight and flight” response.

An Angel We Can All Love

Kick Start Your Happiness Gene
Okay, we don’t really know if there is a happiness gene.   But imagine there is one, and we are going to turn it on.

The quickest way to turn on your “happiness gene” is to think or list all the things you love, every little thing and every big thing you can think of.  Just keep going and going and going with the list.  Hand-n-hand with love is gratitude.  Again, list all the things big and small, you are grateful for.  If it’s hard getting started, think of all the people whose work makes your lifestyle possible: farmers, utility workers, builders, grocery workers, farm workers, automobile designers and workers, etc. 

Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists ever, gave thanks and gratitude 100 times a day every day.

A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer lives are based on the labors of other people, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.

Here are few videos and images to jump start your happiness! Yeah, some are cute, some funny, and some ridiculous.  Enjoy.

Ridiculous Happiness

Lizards Get Happy Too

Blossoms Bring Hope

Joyous Abandonment: It's Catchy

Piggy Possum...Too Full to Move...Caught Red Handed

Nothing Like a Good Roll in the Snow

Sign of Spring

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