Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Mature Fashion: Rocking hair

Hair-Still working on it
Hello Stylinistas;

Healthy hair is a beauty trademark but also a sign of good health; hair is the fastest growing tissue in the human body,; growing at the rate of 1 centimeter per month (4/10th of an inch).  Unfortunately, our crowning  glory begins its hair loss at about age 40.

Diabetes, thyroid disease and other medical disorders contribute or cause hair loss as well as a major trauma such as an operation, stressful divorce or a death in the family.  If the body's defense mechanisms are threatened all the soldiers within our bloodstream and organs use the body's resources to repel the attack and our hair is the last to receive attention.

The wonderful thing is the solution to healthy, strong, and vibrant hair is the same as it is for good heart health, blood sugar control, weight regulation, etc., etc, etc. A diet primarily composed of high quality animal (eggs and poultry; (make that free range)) and mostly plant based proteins (especially whole beans and other legumes), whole grains, dark green vegetables,nuts, oysters, wild caught salmon, and high quality dairy with sufficiency of B vitamins,and sufficient water.  If this diet sounds familiar, it should; it recurs over and over for a healthy diet. A lifestyle that abuses alcohol and eating a poor diet, especially bad fats and sugar affect the growth of hair.  Crash diets are deadly; smoking is also not good for hair growth, yada, yada, yada.  Really, we all know what we have to do; healthy hair, just like all over good physical health requires the same disciplines.

Very predictably, physical exercise is necessary to move blood carrying all these nutrients to the scalp. Appropriate amounts of exercise encourage the growth of strong, healthy hair, and contribute to hair growth, especially for type II diabetics who often suffer hair loss because of high blood sugar levels.  A note of warning however, extreme exercise (aerobic or weight) over any continued period of time may cause hair loss; the body sees this condition as body breakdown and sends its resources to the the muscles and nutrition to the hair is diminished.

Proper cleansing of the scalp is also necessary to allow new hair follicles to emerge rather than be smothered by layers of skin oil and hair product. Just like any other patch of skin on the body, the scalp needs gentle care and light stimulation to allow it to be in its best shape. Using the proper combs and brushes is also vitally important in keeping the scalp intact and properly stimulated in its removal of surface cells, etc.

Although not a condition of healthy hair, removing dull split ends by keeping the ends trimmed properly add to the beauty of our hair. (a personal challenge-I all too often let my hair go too long before a trim and really need to update my knowledge of home based hair products to improve texture, etc).  As always, the role of physical health and care of all our body is absolutely necessary to present our best self to the world in general and to "Rock our Ages".

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mature Fashion: Rocking success !!

Greetings to all Stylinistas and Fashionistas;

I am so excited this morning to "shout it out" for one of my readers; as of this morning she has lost a total of 50.7 pounds; she sent a picture to me and she looks fantastic!  I recently posted to "" an article on events such as losing a great deal of weight that would require building a wardrobe almost from scratch.; 'anonymous' is now joyfully styling those 'costumes' using the core capsules method I mentioned in the post.

Of course, I asked 'anonymous' how she did it, especially since she obviously lost some of this over the holidays, the most difficult period of the year.  She responded that ' lifestyle changes, no specific diet was responsible. ..(She) drastically reducing breads, pastas, and starches, smaller portions', and concentrating on lean proteins.  She also revealed that water was her "go to" when she started to feel hungry. and she chose fruits and veggies high in water content.

I am thrilled to "shout out" this diet has a very good chance of succeeding (providing she gets the willing support of her inner circle of friends and family).  The Lifestyle changes, not rigid diets that are temporary solutions , are usually much more successful.  Anonymous will also face many challenges to her oath .(she swears she will never regain all that weight) She knows she will face struggles along the way.  I hope she will address stress reduction strategies to help her with weight control.  She is also a member of the 'sandwich' generation who provides a great deal of support to a mother with a serious and chronic disability and is a significant care giver to her grandchildren.  

I mentioned a little earlier the importance of support of her success by the members of her inner circle; unfortunately, a negative side effect of this type of achievement is all too often 'sabotage'.   As you know, I have lived a long time (and certainly hope to do so for a while more).  In my own personal life I have experienced friends who have divorced spouses because the spouse was so threatened by changes from 'ugly duckling' to the 'princess bride'. I have known (a very close and dear person) who experienced the "Days of Wine and Roses", and resumed an alcoholic existence after a few years of sobriety because her husband (a functional alcoholic) wanted a drinking partner.  I have heard repeatedly stories (and have experienced it firsthand) such as a person who began a strict diet and was given a rare box of chocolates by her spouse, or many similar circumstances far too many to relate.  Usually, the sabotage is subtle; purchasing fattening foods they know is craved, 'forgetting' dietary choices, etc.  I feel that sometimes a friend feels personally threatened when a diet is successful (if she is successful I feel pressure to do the same?) I have also yet to meet a person who suffered alcohol addiction and stayed sober who has not related to me the experience of  a "friend" encouraging them to " just have one, one drink won't hurt you".  Anonymous has diabetes.  Her health and quality is most likely going to be affected by her resolution.  

I began this blog because I have 'been there, done that" myself; I let myself go for a period of several years in circumstances very similar to 'anonymous'.  Although I have a family history of diabetes and was under a great deal of stress during those years, I firmly believe that my weight gain of 50+ pounds is what tipped my health into diabetes.  I have been in control for the last decade,  During that time I have experienced almost all of the negative "encouragement" that Anonymous might face.(I believe she has already experienced at least one based on her communication) I know firsthand the importance of truly supporting our friends and family while they try and "rock Age".  I want to end this post by encouraging every one to support their friends and family in self improvement efforts.  Most importantly, please help oneself improve by beginning or maintaining a healthful diet, stress reduction program, skin care, and exercise program.

Let's make 2016 the best year

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Mature Fashion: Back on Track!

At home uniform (necklace not shown)
More Happy New Year!!

I am thrilled to say this blog has helped me to keep my diabetes numbers more manageable during this past holiday season! It helped in two ways; the same way recording in a journal every day the foods that I eat, and keeping a diary of the times and value of my blood sugar levels helps keep awareness of what is being consumed.  My blood sugar numbers were back on track to a reasonable 115.  (my target level is 105, and the unacceptable level for me is anything over 140.)  Unfortunately, my average numbers for the past six weeks have been closer to 140 than 106!.

Anyway, with the new season, I am resolving to be more diligent in keeping to my diet and exercise routines in spite of the much needed rain and not so needed cold spell.

Of course, the largest culprit to the rather long holiday period between Halloween and St. Stephens is the prevalence of sugar (or sugar substitute) in our diets. EVERY thing has sugar!! 

Most health professionals recommend no more than 10% of our calories should come from sugar although most Americans consume two to three times that amount.  It has been acknowledged by many health professionals that refined sugar is as addictive as many drugs and has many of the same side effects such as "brain fog".  I firmly believe this statement to be a fact. 

It is not too effective for most people to "quit cold turkey", it simply does not work for most people; the craving for sweets is just too strong.  Artificial sweeteners do not solve the problem because it does not eliminate the chemical dependency and resulting cravings.  One tip I have read recently is to begin a gradual withdrawal program.  

One such program suggests alternating sugarless days and a measured reduction of sugar on those days it is consumed. (I have found that a gradual reduction of sugar worked very well for me.  I have found that I can no longer tolerate overly sweet desserts, jams, etc.). These same programs suggest eating more fruit, at least two to three servings per day to help withdrawal for processed sugar. After success in alternating sugarless days and reducing processed sugar during the days she can have it, it is further recommended one goes for two days off and one day on until one is able to withdraw from processed sugar completely.

 It is also suggested that artificial sugars be replaced with Stevia (liquid form), and that we try to get enough sleep.  A study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine reported that sleep deprivation increased the body's dependency on sugar. It is also recommended that absolutely no product containing high fructose corn syrup is consumed.

As usual, not being a medical doctor, I recommend consulting your health care professional before taking part in any program; although my own experience is anecdotal, I have found it works for me!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Mature Fashion: New Year Diet Tune-Up

Camel uniform with accessories
Happy New Year, Stylinistas and Fashionistas;

Most of us have had a bit too much of holiday "goodies", meaning too much sugar, too much dairy products, too much unhealthy fats, and too much  processed foods of all types.

Now that the "twelve days of Christmas" are over (December 25 - to St. Stephen's Day, January 6) we should have a lot less temptation. I know that I am getting back on track now that I have used up all the frozen and refrigerated left-overs.

I am getting back on track by returning to the following regimen: I try not to have these foods more than 1 serving per week: red meat of any sort, cheese,(one of my hardest challenges) or desserts. I have no foods fried in any oil except olive or very occasionally, pure organic butter. I never use vegetable or corn oil;  no shark, swordfish, or tuna at all. (too much omega 6 or mercury). All dairy products I consume are low fat organic and I try to limit milk consumption to tea or coffee additives. I rarely drink any form of carbonated beverage.  All of the above steps are ones I have researched and are recommended by well respected heart doctors and associations.

Foods that I am trying to make sure I have at least two to three times per week include wild caught (not farmed-farmed are fed with corn or soy products) fish (Alaskan salmon, Pacific halibut, Rainbow Trout, sardines, anchovies) and free range chickenand .  I also eat eggs from free range chickens. I actually like all of those, but I haven't made enough effort to actually follow those suggestions except for veggie laden omelettes; a resolution for this year.  I am also trying to increase my consumption of  carrots, artichokes, green beans, peas, and other vegetables. My consumption of fruit and salad vegetables is more than adequate, including grapes, citrus fruits, and apples. I am trying to add more berries and stone fruits (peaches, plums, etc.) as they contain even more nutrients.

Foods I try to have every day include two cups dark leafy greens,especially spinach, (organic, if possible) 1/2 avocado, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup hard nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts)  and seeds, 2 to 4 cups black or green tea (working on this as green tea is not my favorite), two or more cups raw or lightly steamed vegetables, at least 1/2 cup whole cooked legumes or beans every day, 1/4 cup berries, 1/4 cup whole grains, especially oats, flax, and chia.  I try consume all this by having at least 5 smoothies a week (either veggie types like gazpacho or yogurt types with fruits, nuts, seeds and stevia). I also try to have 4 oz of red wine or red grapes.

I also try to have one  oz of 72%+ chocolate, a little garlic, a little mushrooms, some cooked tomatoes, some cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc) peppers, raw onion, and spices, especially ginger, cinnamon, tumeric, and fresh  herbs everyday. (all these recommendations are taken in part from Drs. Mark Hyman, Joel Fuhrman, Steven Masley, and Robert Lustig; all books obtainable through Amazon-I thoroughly recommend them).

I know this sounds a bit boring, but it is really rather easy to make delicious foods that include all these healthy ingredients and mix them up enough to satisfy variety.  Now almost every cookbook, web-site, and health site have great recipes.The only downside is that it takes a lot of time and everything is made from scratch, but if you like to cook you can make wonderful meals using healthy ingredients.  I am starting my fourth year of this regime and I would never go back to my old way of eating; one that I thought at the time was rather healthy.  I never met a carb I didn't like and I love desserts.  I still have both (carbs and desseerts) and eat delicious foods.  It really is true that you will not want the processed sugars and unhealthy fats after you have eaten healthy for a while.  The biggest problem is finding foods you want; I am still working on not leaving my house without appropriate foods to snack on or eat.

Today I have made a large batch of marinara sauce and a bean/brown rice/vegetable dish that I truly love.  This is really the first week that I am back to eating the way I like and that likes me. (My own blood sugar has been higher than I like over the holidays, but I am now back on track).  I am having to work at getting appropriate exercise because we have a steady flow of rain (Yeah!) now.  I am doing a lot of "housework aerobics" to try and compensate, but it looks like I am not doing enough based on blood sugar levels.  I hope that my next post will report I am back on track!!

Feeling good will keep us looking

Friday, January 1, 2016

Mature Fashion: ItsNot What's On It, But What's In It!!

Happy New Year, Fashionistas & Stylinistas;

I sincerely hope you all had a lovely holiday season; I also hope that you enjoyed good health and were able to maintain a comfortable diet and exercise program amid all the fun.

From the beginning of this blog I have mentioned that we would be discussing the five building blocks of physical health necessary to "rock our age"; diet, exercise, sleep, stress reduction, and skin care. Today we are going to discuss skin care in a bit greater depth because it is the most challenging time of year for mature skin. It is the most challenging because of the colder weather, because of the foods we put in our body, and it is the most inconvenient time of the year to take proper care of our skin.

I'm sure most of you know your skin type (dry, oily, combination, skin allergies, etc.) On November 24th, I posted the four basics of skin care that almost every woman must perform to have her best skin. (cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliation,UV protection-If you haven't already read it,  I would suggest reviewing the post for the basics.

In that post I discussed the importance of eating nuts, fruits and vegetables and drinking appropriate liquids.  I want to spend a bit more time on its importance in this post.  Being a Nutritarian, I cannot stress strongly enough the most important part of skin care is what you put in your body, not what you put on it. 

Many women forget that alcohol in excess of one drink per day and five days per week is damaging to skin. (one drink is 1 shot of liquor, 5 oz of wine, or 12 oz of beer)  Too much processed foods and sugars further damage the skin. All too often complexion faults can be attributed to greasy saturated fats, yet not enough healthy oils (olive, nut oils) are eaten to keep the skin smooth and supple. I have not mentioned smoking (tobacco or other) because I don't believe there is a woman on the planet does not know that is almost certain death to healthy and youthful skincare. Many women do not drink enough water to flush toxins out of the body,

For those of you who like smoothies or are juicers, it is a simple matter to assure you get the right amount of fruits and vegetables (juicers, remember to eat the fiber) in healthy drinks made with berries, apples carrots, leafy greens, herbs and spices, bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers, nuts, etc. There are literally thousands of recipes available on the internet or in book stores to suit any taste. For those of us who cannot tolerate too many juices, whole fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables are in abundant supply even when out of season. Avocados, bananas, coconut, citrus fruits, berries, and any dark green or purple plant supply our bodies with many essential vitamins; the list is endless.

Although diet is extremely important for great skin, it is not enough; exercise and enough sleep are also critical.  Aerobic exercise not only helps reduce the waistline and helps to lose weight, it also increases the blood supply to the skin and hair folicles.  It also aids circulation of blood to remove toxins stored in the body. Inadequate amounts of quality sleep are necessary to provide repair to damaged skin. As you can see, the same principles that apply to to good health also are the same requirements for great skin and hair.

Many of us believe the same foods that are eaten to provide the greatest advantage to one's skin is also the same that provide us with the best skin care.  I have found home made skin cleanser, moisturizer, and masks are more beneficial to my skin.  I must admit that they are messier and require more work and greater care. I have had to do quite a lot of research to find the best combinations that work for me.

In addition to diet, exercise, and adequate sleep, cold weather requires additional moisture protection.  Also, just because it is cold does not mean we can forget protection from the sun.  Sunscreen and hats are just as important in winter weather as in hot weather.

Like personal style, however, every woman must identify and find the exact best fit of products for routine care for her individual type of skin.  Total skin care is vitally important to our over all health and appearance because skin is the largest organ in the human body and deserves quite a bit of our attention.

One New Years resolution I hope each of us will make and keep is to drink a healthy smoothie at least five days a week.  I also hope  we resolve never to forget to protect our skin from the sun, develop and practice a daily skin care ritual, get at least 7 hours (preferably more) sleep per night, and perform 150 minutes of aerobic exercise every week.

I know these routines have helped me improve my all over health and skin quality (yes, of course, I blow it once in a while!), but it is my continuing resolution.  

Let's all have a great 2016!!!!!!