Fall Back In Love With Your Skin This Fall: A Two-Fold Approach

 As the air begins to cool and hold less moisture, so does our skin.  This is a perfect time to adjust your diet and beauty regime to compensate for the dry months ahead.  Adjusting your kitchen menu to include more warming foods, like soups and stews, can help nourish the internal yin, which is responsible for adding moisture and ultimately nourishing the skin from the inside.  Eating seasonally has so many benefits;  It’s logical and more importantly, it really helps your internal environment adjust to the external changes. Omega-3 and beta-carotene rich foods are the perfect choice to boost your yin and nourish your skin this fall.

Our favorite skin nourishing harvest includes kale, collards, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and pumpkin. Not only are these veggies loaded with beta-carotene, but they also have high fiber content and many detoxifying benefits. Wild salmon is another wonder food for fall.   Loaded with omega-3’s, two or more servings per week for a few weeks will enhance the luster of your complexion because ofthe high omega-3 content.

Beta-carotene can also be found in skin care products that use carrot root oil and carrot seed oil.  These ingredients have an incredible effect on the moisture content of the skin.  Along with oils like primrose and rose hip, which are high in omega-3’s, products that contain these ingredients are wonderful additions to your fall/winter skin care regime.

It makes sense to address your skin care in a two-fold manner.  Loading on serums and moisturizers will give immediate results, but the long lasting effects come from a balanced diet that adjusts to seasonal shifts and our internal needs. Visit last month’s blog entry for a yin nourishing curried squash soup.  Visit our shop for the following products that contain a high content of beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids:  Organic Facial Serum, Organic Night Serum.

Book Review - Gut: The Inside Story Of Our Bodies Most Underrated Organ By:Guilia Enders

Every time we turn around these days there is another book on the market about the gut micro-biome and for good reason.  The Standard American Diet, full of processed, refined foods and decades of antibiotic overuse have lead to a gut crisis for millions of people.  All you need to do is take a trip to the drug store to see aisles full of antacids, constipation medications and antidiarrheals to realize that many people are living with uncomfortable digestive conditions.  In fact, digestive issues account for the most missed days of work.  What researchers have learned is that we truly are what we eat.  They are slowly learning about the complexities of the microorganisms that live in our guts, how they benefit more than just our digestive health k more importantly, how those microorganisms can negatively impact our health when they are out of balance.

As Chinese medicine practitioners we are thrilled to see all of this research on the gut micro-biome.  A healthy digestive system is seen as being the key to good health and longevity. 

The latest book we’ve read, “Gut:  The Inside Story of our Bodies Most Underrated Organ,” is by a German scientist named Guilia Enders who is getting her doctorate in microbiology at the University of Frankfurt.  In German the direct translation of the title was “Our Charming Bowels.”  Ms. Enders clearly has a passion for her work and that translates in her desire to educate the lay person about the components of the digestive systems and how it works. 

Ms. Enders enthusiastically describes all of the parts of the digestive system, the tissue they are made from and their purpose.  She covers everything from how the angle of the stomach allows for fluids to pass through easily where foods fall to the side, allowing time to get broken down to the optimal squatting position to create the best angle for having a bowel movement.  

This is a terrific first book for people to read if they do not have a lot of knowledge of the digestive system.  Ms. Enders covers the most common digestive aliments and why people may experience them.  The book is not meant to be diagnostic or provide solutions to complex digestive issues.  However, it does give people a good working knowledge of the digestive system so that if they do suffer from digestive issues, they should feel more confident speaking with their internist or gastroenterologist about them.  

Spring Cleaning Chinese Medicine Style

Spring is the Natural Time to Cleanse

Spring marks the entry of the wood element according to Chinese Medicine.   Its natural expression is an upward and outward movement with a rootedness to the earth.  This is clearly seen in the blossoming of flowers and trees.  Seasonal shifts are nice reminders to the body’s natural rhythm that a change in the routine is needed.  The days start to get longer, the body begins to buzz with some extra energy and the digestion tends to crave a lighter variety of food.

Chinese medicine doesn’t look at cleansing the same way that it has taken off in the West.  While it is the natural time to clean things out, being that the liver organ is dominant this time of year, the focus is on shifting naturally to foods and drinks that are more appropriate for the body, like dark greens, asparagus, green onions and young aromatic herbs.  Since the weather still remains cool, the cooking methods should align with that.  Instead of slow roasting and stewing meats and root vegetables, spring invites cooking methods like quick stir-fry and blanching.  This way, the digestion does not get overwhelmed by having to warm everything up on it’s own.  What?  How can you cleanse without RAW food?   The simple act of adding more spring greens to the diet can be just enough to activate the liver’s detoxifying power and have you feeling and looking healthier.  Does that mean green juies are out too?  In the Chinese philosophy we have a saying, Modern times, Modern formula.  We love green juices, they give us energy and offer a different kind of hydration.  One a day with some added ginger or daikon will warm things up and have you feeling like you are in the cleansing game.

Are you looking to reboot your body and mind this spring and need a little help? Contact  Laura or Beth  for personalized spring cleaning tips, full body-type analysis, and acupuncture treatments that set your liver up to be it's cleansing best!

Now, onto the recipes!  Here are two great ones that will add some zing to your spring menu, Enjoy!

 

Spring Asparagus Stir Fry

One bunch of green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 bunch of asparagus, cut into one-inch pieces

1 cup water

2 cups of sugar snap pears, cut into pieces

6 radishes, sliced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon

Rinse and chop vegetables.  In a large sauce pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions for about a minute, add peas, asparagus and water and simmer for about 2-3 minutes until asparagus is tender, stir in mustard and tarragon and serve.

 

Pina Verde – Pineapple Green Juice

1 inch slice of a whole pineapple

1 handful of cilantro

1 handful of spinach

1/2 large cucumber

1 celery stalk

3 romaine leaves

1 inch piece of ginger

 

Preparation:  Juice all ingredients and drink immediately.  Don't have a juicer?  Blend ingredients together in a Vitamix with 1 cup of water, strain through a nut milk bag.

 

 

 

DIY Winter Skin Revival Kit: 4 Skin Care Tips That Will Save your Winterized Skin

I don’t know about you, but I find that my skincare regime needs major changes come wintertime.  The air is colder and holds less moisture and my NYC apartment building has the temperature gauge set to tropical!  Whether you feel like your skin is suffering or not, seasonal changes are a great time to change things up.  I think your skin will agree.

The two things I have always been an advocate of, regardless of the seasons are exfoliation and moisturizing, but as the cold weather settles in, I like to add facial steams and masks to my beauty regime.  Together, the steam and mask techniques open, cleanse and tone the pores, providing extra benefit to the skin. 

 My DIY skin revival treatment goes something like this:

 1. Steam

2. Scrub

3.  Mask

4.  Moisturize

Most of the ingredients for a DIY winterized facial can be found in your very own kitchen.  Always use organic non - GMO verified ingredients.  Why?  60% of what you put on your skin will be absorbed, enough said?

 The steam and the mask do not need to be used every day, once or twice a week will suffice, but if you feel like your skin is rough enough to sand your floor, better tack on an extra treatment day. 

 Check out these easy to use, easy to source ingredients listed with each step.  Call a girlfriend and have a spa day together. 

 STEAM

A facial steam is as easy as boiling water, adding some refreshing essential oils or flower petals, and tenting your face over the bowl of water with a towel. Breathe deep for a mind/body experience that benefits the emotions as much as the skin.  My go-to ingredients are listed below. 2 – 10 drops of assorted essential oils to ½ gallon of water.

  •  Problem skin:  rose petals, rose or geranium essential oils, frankincense, lavender,    bergamot, camphor, chamomile.
  •   Anti-aging:  rose, helichrysum, geranium, lavender 

SCRUB

Any DIY scrub should be finely ground so that it doesn’t damage the skin.  I have a coffee grinder at home solely for this purpose.  The three best ingredients I have found will most likely be in your kitchen.

  •  Adzuki beans
  •  Oatmeal
  •  Rice

Oatmeal is really my grain of choice for making a homemade scrub, it is gentle and grinds up very smooth.  Place your legume or grain of choice into a coffee grinder and run it though a few cycles.  If your skin is very sensitive, sift the powder through a fine strainer to keep out the larger bits.  To enhance this process, add flower buds to the mix and grind them as well.  My favorites are:  rose, lavender, calendula, and chamomile.  Green tea leaves will add an anti-oxidant boost to your scrub, calendula will heal red irritated skin, rose is great for hormonal balancing, lavender is soothing and chamomile heals inflammation.   

To use the scrub take a quarter size amount into your palm, add coconut oil to make a paste.  Scrub into the face, and neck.  Rinse and follow with a mask.

MASK

A DIY Mask is a great way to round out any at home facial.  My 4 - favorite DIY masks include the following kitchen ingredients:

  • Egg whites
  • Avocado
  • Honey
  • Papaya

Egg whites are fantastic for tightening the skin and giving it a mini lift.  If you have blemishes, dab a little egg white on them and watch the blemish heal over night. Mashed avocado will soften and moisturize your skin, leaving it smooth and radiant.  Honey has been used for centuries to beautify the skin and improve its luster.  I like to pair it with papaya if you have that available.  The best facial I ever had was in Mexico and the only ingredients were fresh papaya and honey. Cut open the fruit, peeling the flesh away from the skin.  Top the fruit with lime and eat it. Papaya offers great digestive enzymes to a tender gut. When the gut is healthy, your skin will glow. Use the flesh side of the skin as a facial scrubber and lather the face with the bits of papaya that remain attached.  Leave the fruit on the skin for about 5 minutes, you may feel the tingle of the fruit acids beginning to do their magic.  After 5 minutes, massage a teaspoon of honey into the skin over the papaya, let it rest for about 5 minutes.  Rinse and moisturize to finish your experience.  

MOISTURIZE

 In the winter, I like to moisturize more often using a more nourishing emollient.  My moisturizer of choice is cocoa butter mixed with coconut oil.  Talk about GLOW.  Add essential oils to personalize.  An easy recipe is melt 4 ounces of coconut oil with 4 ounces of cocoa butter in a double boiler.  Let the mixture cool and firm up. I like to whip this with the essential oils of my choice. 

 Geranium, frankincense, carrot root, neroli, lavender and rose are some of my favorite anti-aging oils. 20-30 drops should do.  Whip the butter for 5-10 minutes with the essential oils and store in an air tight jar.