Four Things I'm Loving: January Edition

  • 1.20.2020

Five Things I’m Loving: January Edition
I love the start of a new year! It’s a great time to reflect on the past year (s) while also feeling the excitement of a clean slate that lends itself to setting new goals and intentions. Here are four of the healthy habits that I’ve been cultivating in the first few weeks of 2020. Here’s to making them last for the next 11 ½ months!

Legs Up the Wall

Before bed, I’ve been taking a few minutes to relax my central nervous system and flush my legs by putting them against the wall. I like to use this time to close my eyes, slow my breathing, and reflect on the day. No email, no Instagram, just straight-up unwinding.

Lunch Time Walks

I’ve been making an effort to get up and go for a quick 10-15 minute walk around lunch. It’s a great way to clear my head, get the blood flowing, and it results in a more productive afternoon. A much better than more coffee or sugar!

Hearty Weekend Breakfasts

During these first few weekends of 2020, I’ve found myself really enjoying the ritual of making myself a big, nourishing breakfast (which usually happens closer to lunch time by the time I get home from taking/teaching yoga, running, running errands, etc). It feels good to take the time to make oatmeal on the stove instead of in the microwave, or fix big veggie omelette with avocado and roasted sweet potato wedges. While I always eat a solid morning meal, this makes my weekends feel a bit special.

New Year’s Cleaning

In the spring of 2019 I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and needless to say…it really did change my life. That’s a topic for another post, but to give you a sneak peek, I’ll say that I’ve made closet clean-outs a much more frequent part of my life (and I already did them more frequently than most people I know—that’s what a lot of moves will do!). Consigning or donating items that don’t serve me anymore feels liberating, and I can’t think of a better way to start the year.

Five Things I’m Loving: January Edition

Winter Sun Protection: Sunscreen During Winter?

  • 1.18.2020

Winter Sun Protection: Sunscreen During Winter?
I moved from South Florida to the mid-Atlantic region when I was 18. That’s old enough to find the prospects of “seasons” repulsive, and young enough to get over it quickly. As I embark on my 7th winter, I realize that I’m still learning what it takes to get through the cold months without complaining every single day.
My most recent cold-weather adaptation is important across the board – no matter how near or far from the equator you might live. I’m talking about winter sun protection.

It may seem a little gloomier outside, but UVA rays in winter still pose a risk to unprotected skin. And if you’re headed up the mountain for a ski trip, your risk of exposure to both UVA and UVB rays only increases. So why aren’t we all reaching for the Coppertone? Below I lay out the three common excuses. But keep in mind that they are just that – excuses. If you’re not into the smell of traditional SPF, try a light daily moisturizer that contains SPF as part of the formula.

Winter Sun Protection: Sunscreen During Winter?

So Why Isn’t UVA Protection On Our Minds During Winter?

1. Sunscreen is buried on the shelves.

We typically associate sunscreen use with summer months, when drug stores erect giant, colorful displays of SPF varieties ranging from “long-lasting” to “incredibly-super-duper-long-lasting, I promise.” Without the in-your-face-marketing, who’s there to remind you? (Hint, hint: it’s me).

2. It’s just not that sunny.

Summertime sun and outdoor activities remind you to slather on the SPF, but winter months are typically cloudier with fewer hours of sunlight. In reality, the majority of the sun’s rays penetrate clouds, meaning you can still get a burn even if there’s no sunshine in sight.

3. “I’m never outside.“

Balderdash! Do you walk to your car in the morning? Catch a bus? Go for a jog? From sunup to sundown, UVA rays are beaming down to Earth. While they are less intense than UVB rays, they are known to cause wrinkles, escalate signs of aging, and contribute to the development of skin cancer. To learn more about how UVA and UVB rays interact with the body, check out resources from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Where to Buy: Sunscreen,

Winter Sun Protection: Sunscreen During Winter?

Six Surprising Ways to Soothe Dry Winter Skin

  • 1.17.2020

Six Surprising Ways to Soothe Dry Winter Skin
1. Take a cold shower. Scalding hot showers and baths are tempting in the wintertime, but they can strip your body of its natural oils, which can lead to dry skin. A shockingly cold shower may not be the most comfortable experience, so try lowering the temperature little by little until your body adjusts.

2. Tone it down. During the winter months, avoid further irritation and dryness by limiting (or eliminating) the use of harsh skincare products, including alcohol-based toners or astringents, rough exfoliants and facial peels.

3. Stay dry. If you’re out playing in the snow, remember to stay as dry as possible, and remove all wet clothing immediately when you get home. Wet gloves, socks, hats or other articles of clothing can cause uncomfortable itching and irritation.

4. Use protection. Even when it’s freezing cold, the sun’s rays can still cause sunburn, which can lead to dry, cracked and peeling skin. What’s more, sunlight reflecting off of snow can be extremely strong. If you’re going to be outside, use sunscreen or moisturizer with SPF protection ““ no matter what the weather forecast calls for.

5. Beat the heat. While you’re snuggled up all warm in your bed, your heater is busy stripping away all of your skin’s natural moisture. Before you go to sleep, be sure to generously apply moisturizer to any areas prone to dryness ““ including your hands, elbows, feet, knees and face.

6. Make it natural. Beware of cleansers, moisturizers and other skincare products that include chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate or mineral oil, as they can further dry out your skin. Instead, look for skincare products with naturally moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, olive oil or jojoba oil.

Six Surprising Ways to Soothe Dry Winter Skin

Why Take Fish Oil?

Why Take Fish Oil?
We’d like to highlight a specific type of vitamin today: fish oil. Some of you may take fish oil every day and swear by it. Others may be unaware of this supplement and what it can do for the body, so let’s discuss and learn more.

What is Fish Oil?

Simply put, fish oil is comprised of fatty acids from the tissue of certain oily fish. You may recognize it from its other common name: Omega 3 fatty acid. The best sources for this essential fat comes from cold water fish such as salmon, trout, herring, white fish, and even anchovies.

Who Should Take A Fish Oil Supplement?

Fish oil can be consumed through a healthy, balanced diet containing heart-healthy fish 2-3 times per week. For those of us who do not consume fish weekly, a high-quality fish oil supplement may benefit you. And if you do consume fish, but not the recommended quantity, you may still consider a supplement at a lower recommended dosage.

Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acid

  1. Good source of vitamin A and D
  2. Can improve blood flow to the heart, therefore keeping your heart healthier
  3. Can improve the quality of the skin by keeping it hydrated. In addition, omega 3 have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce acne, wrinkles due to aging, and decrease eczema
  4. Looking for luscious locks? Fatty omega 3s can also bring shine to your hair and reduce dandruff
  5. Can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  6. Can help with depression
  7. Can increase fertility
  8. Can help reduce body fat at a higher rate with an existing exercise program

Sounds great right? Just keep in mind that supplements are not miracle workers. Supplements are available to “aid” you and help your body achieve desired goals. You are still responsible for taking care of your body, maintaining a positive outlook, and guiding yourself into a healthier lifestyle. Supplements can only do so much without you being an active participant.

Why Take Fish Oil?

Got The Fish Burps?

A side effect of fish oil is fish burps. They aren’t pleasant, however, there are ways to help to minimize them. First, make sure you are taking a supplement with a minimum of 75-80% omega 3. It may cost a little more, but you are paying for quality. You may also try taking a fish oil supplement with food. As well, look for those that are coated or labeled as “odorless.” This can definitely help minimize this side effect.

Pay close attention when choosing a supplement and make sure that you obtain your supplements from a reputable source. Not all fish oils are of the same quality. You’re looking for the purest form that eliminates mercury. A high-grade supplement is more bio-available, enabling your body to absorb faster, giving you the nutrients you are missing.

Shop here for fish oil.

So whether you are looking for a fish oil to fully supplement with, or partially supplement with, the benefits of fish oil are worth your investment.

Why Take Fish Oil?

Aloe Vera: Inside and Out

  • 1.13.2020

Aloe Vera: Inside and Out
From sunburn to flaky skin with cuts and scrapes in between, aloe vera has long been used to treat a multitude of skin conditions. But what may not be as widely known are the numerous benefits you can reap when you eat or drink the stuff. Consuming aloe vera juice or including an aloe vera supplement in your regular diet can add another layer of benefits that help aloe live up to its nickname as the miracle plant.

Aloe Outside

The clear gel found inside the aloe vera leaves can be topically applied to treat tons of issues and ailments. This includes:
  • Sunburn, wounds and stretch marks, speeding up the healing process of the skin’s outer layer
  • Dry skin, with hydrating properties and healing help for small nicks when used as an aftershave
  • Skin conditions of eczema and psoriasis
  • Minor skin infections
  • Dandruff
  • Effects of aging, with a range of antioxidants, include Vitamin C, Vitamin E and beta carotene and the ability to keep skin firm and hydrated
  • Acne, thanks to the two hormones of Gibberellins and Auxins that help the skin heal rapidly while reducing the risk of scarring
  • Cysts, canker sores and skin ulcers
  • Genital herpes 
You can use the gel directly from a live aloe vera plant by breaking open the leaf, or you can invest in an aloe vera gel or cream to have a ready supply handy any time you need it.

Aloe Vera: Inside and Out

Aloe Inside

Aloe vera juice and supplements are rich with nutrients that can assist with internal cleansing, healing, and repair. Taken internally, aloe can give a boost to your:

  • Digestive system, with the same compounds that help soothe the skin able to soothe the digestive tract. This soothing can extend to stomach and intestinal ulcers, irritable blower syndrome, colitis and other inflammatory disorders. It also promotes healthy bacteria in the intestines that help with digestion.
  • Immune system, thanks to the antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties that help the immune system flush out toxins and pathogens. This balancing of the immune system can also help decrease symptoms of seasonal allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory immune disorders.
  • Heart, due to aloe’s ability to help enhance blood circulation. Aloe may help reduce total fat levels for people with high cholesterol, resulting in a decrease of fatty deposits and blood clots in arteries throughout the entire body.

Aloe Vera: Inside and Out

Aloe Safety

While applying aloe gel topically to the skin or scalp is not known for producing adverse effects unless you happen to be allergic to aloe, you want to note a few safety tips before you take aloe internally.

  • Diarrhea may be a side effect of drinking aloe vera juice, since the juice contains the substance anthraquinone that doubles as a laxative.
  • Drug interactions are possible with all herbal supplements, so double check the possibility with any prescription or over-the-counter medications you may be taking.
  • Checking with your doctor before adding any type of supplement to your diet never hurts, and it’s also imperative to only drink or eat aloe vera that has been specifically produced for internal use.
Whether you slather its gel on a sunburn or drink it down as daily juice, aloe vera can bring you a bevy of benefits both inside and out.

Where to Buy: Aloe Vera,

Aloe Vera: Inside and Out

© The Natural Way: Health & BeautyMaira Gall