Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Mature Fashion: Supporting the Skin

Hello All;

We all know that the skin in the largest organ in the body, so it stands to reason that a diet that nourishes the skin will also be a diet that nourishes the body.  While researching articles and other information on natural skin care, I realized that I own a "nutritarian book" I bought two years ago to help control my diabetes that corresponded directly to the information I was digesting for improved skin care.   The book is called the Blood Sugar Solution 10 Day Detox Diet authored by Dr. Mark Hyman.  I will be re-reading the book immediately, concentrating on the similarities that we really are what we eat (or at least our complexion is ). I just completed reading a post for improving one's skin that re-iterated the same information in Dr. Hyman's book on diabetes control and prevention.

I have now read two postings in the site About.com (style menu) by the multi-cultural beauty editor, Gerrie Summers.  I understand she has also been involved in writing articles for health publications (Google her for the references, etc. ) One gives some recipes for making some basic home cleansers, masks, and moisturizers that I am certainly going to try.  I just read another article advising complete skin detoxification from the inside to the out.  Basically, the diet is the same (eating salmon or sardines twice a week, drinking some green tea once a day, drinking some warm water with lemon every day, eating plenty of fresh dark greens(at least two cups) every day, limiting animal based proteins, eating organic produce, plant based Omega 3s such as sunflower seeds, flax, cruciferous vegetable such as brocolli, cabbage, etc, drinking enough water).  She also made the same recommendations for detoxing Epsom salt baths, dry brushing of the skin, and a minute of cold water when completing a shower,  I recommend every woman who really wants to maximize her skin care to read both the book and the articles. (I don't know more than I have said in this post about Gerrie Summers, but I have read all of Dr. Hyman's books, viewed all his presentations on PBS, and know he is well respected in both the medical and the diet and nutrition fields.)

The more I am studying the cosmetics that are being hyped by all fashion media (much of it contradictory, by the way) and discover what little regulation surrounds the use of chemicals or redress in case of actual harm to the user, the more convinced I am in making my own cosmetics if I cannot find a trustworthy and reliable supplier of safe cosmetics. (no preservative, chemicals, etc. that are banned in the manufacture of cosmetics in most other  countries).  I need to know more about the Environmental Working Group's (EWG)  "EWG Verified Program" to determine their abilities as a source.  Every singe cosmetic I own contains one or more of the five known most toxic ingredients!!  I would love to find something I could use because it is inconvenient making my own!

Weigh in!!  I weighed in at 133.9 Monday morning!!  That means an actual loss of 1/2 a pound in my original goal to lose those last 10 pounds!! I have been wanting to do this for the last five or six years....9 1/2 to go ..(I really have lost over two pounds because I actually weighed a bit more than I thought when I began).  I really am beginning to feel an accomplishment now...thanks, Tonya, Ginny, Ali!!  knowing you are on the same track also helps me to keep working towards my goal.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mature Fashion: Just Do It!!

Most of us have busy lives, no matter what our age. One of the problems I  have now realized is that I am really not doing as much exercise as I should to remain reasonably healthy (and in losing that ten pounds I have been trying to do for over a month!) because I am not as diligent as I need to be in making time to do the appropriate amount of exercise.  I am finding it difficult to make my physical well being a priority by doing the recommended routines.  When I began this I swear I thought I was completing the routines almost every day.  Now that I have been monitoring myself more  closely, I find that my basic AARP routine was being  cut short at least a third of the time, and all too often, I was missing the routine a few days a month!.  I was doing some exercise almost every day, but all too often it was not completing or doing the routines as much as I thought.  The same has been true about sticking to the appropriate portion sizes for the foods I have been eating;  it was comforting to realize I was usually pretty good about eating healthy foods and not too much of the "empty" calories.

Once again, I am finding that this public journaling is helping me to meet my goals of "rocking age" by providing a good quality of life during my golden years.  I am 73 in a few days (an April Fool), and I really do not have much to complain about (really glad about that, since I just did a post on 'toxic ' people!).

I really do consider myself reasonably fortunate; even the negative things that I have experienced (and haven't we all?) could have been much worse.  I am also proud of my achievements in doing what I have done to create or improve that good fortune.  I do, however, come from a life long desire for "continuous improvement" in all areas where I believe it is possible.  I see that I have to apply myself a bit more to maintain my goals for both diet and exercise....I must just do it,!!..............(acknowledgement is half the battle..)



Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mature Fashion: Toxicity

Good Day, friends, fashionistas, and stylinistas;

A young lady posted a simple one line (maybe two?) statement on my Facebook feed the other day about toxic people...I have no idea why; I assume she was dealing with something that made the statement important to her.  In any event, I have recently been posting about depression, etc., that can occur in the 40+ age range, how often it occurs, and some things we can do to avoid it.  When reading the post, I immediately recalled how dangerous a proximity to 'toxic' people can be to a woman's health.

Firstly, what comes to my mind when I hear the expression "toxic person", I think of is a usually negative person who most often drains my soul of joy and happiness; a person who does not wish me to be happier, healthier, etc. than she is, a person who does not really wish me to "rockmyage". 

Toxic people are usually pretty easy to spot if one evaluates their actions; unfortunately, the toxicity of these people may creep upon a woman over time and she may not realize how toxic the person to her well being.  Toxic people spread negativity, they are really only concerned about focusing attention upon themselves and their problems or woes in life, not yours, unless they are comparing to themselves (which will always be worse). Any conversation you try to have with them will always revert to themselves. Many times the conversation will be a subtle "putdown" or attempt to belittle your life as compared to theirs. They spread negativity, and will always end up with a complaint, even if it begins with something positive. They often take delight in the plight of others.  Many of them use the negativity as control issues with either friends or family members; complaints that you are not paying enough attention to them, and attempt manipulative "games" to control you or depress your self esteem;All too often, they may succeed.  We have all been exposed to the man or woman who rarely has anything very positive to say on any subject, who usually is on the "outs" with someone at any given time, and who is not comfortable with any opinion other than his or her own.

A truism of the psychological world is "if you feel you are the only one contributing to a relationship, you are probably right".  If you find yourself in a 'toxic' relationship, (i.e., "pity parties",) for the sake of your own health, it is important to set limits in your dealings with that person, especially if you are the one doing all the 'giving' - whether it is the 'attention, conforming to their control,  or in more material ways.   Usually, asking "Toxic" what he or she plans on doing about a specific gripe (diplomatically, of course), failing to wallow in his or her problem(s), and setting limits to the level of toxicity you will allow them to project in to your life can end the subject. It is also important to realize that "Toxic" may truly feel you owe it to her in some way to be her victim, and he or she may be a bit annoyed.  It is important to find the "win-win" situation if at all possible, and it may not be.

Of course, I am not talking about the genuine catharsis that a friend may need when confronted with a significant life event such as divorce, death, extreme health issue, etc., that occur in life and your friend needs a shoulder to cry on or a genuine helping hand.  That type of mental and conversational support is what separates the meaning of "friend" from "acquaintance".  Constructive help, whether it be a willing ear or more substantial support can deeply strengthen a true bond.  

Each of us know who, if any, are toxic people to us; each of us have a different ability to shake or shrug off people who may be harmful to her mental health. Each of us also have a different amount of this negativity we can tolerate before it affects us.  Certain behaviors may be toxic to a woman and not toxic to another.  It is important to discover what her limit is and what boundaries she must set.  Each of us must also learn to stand her ground when she knows her acceptable amount of "leaching" has been reached.  Failure to do so is harmful to both physical and mental well being.

It is important to search out people who contribute to personal growth and who "add" to our life, rather than "subtract" from it. Trials and tribulations may make us grow a little stronger, etc., but negative people can only drain our coping abilities. Poison is mental as well as physical and needs to be avoided to "Rock Fitness".


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mature Fashion: Depress Depression

Hello, all my mature lady friends;

Many women in our age group never expected our lives to be the way it is at our time of life. Many women are truly satisfied and are, in fact, experiencing the anticipated joys of our 'golden years'.  Unfortunately, those years have a significant tarnish for many of our sisters. Although we all are aware of the potential misfortunes such as premature death and/or chronic and debillitating illnesses, unexpected shattering of marital relationships, etc., most of us  expected it would not happen to us. Many of us expected we would have the loving  and mellow spouse in our 'golden years', the travel and time to enjoy each other's company, the smiling grandchildren who we could spoil to our heart;s content, leisure time to spend on ourselves, etc.

We pretty much believed we would be "rocking our age" on all these fronts, yet clinical depression in the 40+ age group for women is fairly common. (50+ for men). Late life depression affects millions of Americans in this age group.  It is also noticeable this is the 'sandwich' group for many people. Unfortunately, the generalized nurturing and 'maternal' spirit of women and the expectations of society place the burden significantly on woman in their lives rather than equally with the men.  These expectations can be crushing, and certainly leave little time for the woman to take care of herself.  

Overcoming depression at this stage of our lives is critical for our good health, and certainly for enjoying our golden years.  It is important to know that much of the work overcoming the depression is changing the way we think and handle our lifestyle. 

Just creating a tailored routine for handling your lifestyle will greatly improve one's overall mental health.  According to Dr Ian Cook, MD, PHD, and the director of Depression Research at UCLA, creating a routine where you set goals, take on responsibilities that you can handle, introduce yourself to new ideas, create opportunities for having fun, and most of all, think positively when possible.  Of course, the tried and true continuous advise to get enough physical exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep always help tremendously.

Of course, any depression that is so severe it creates a problem in one's life may need medical treatment.  As always, a woman should see her doctor before taking any medications or making any drastic changes to her physical well being. Major changes do frequently happen in our age group; death and loss of loved ones, moving 'down' to smaller homes, reduced incomes, health issues and other negatives happen and such medical intervention is often necessary.

Well, I did my weekly weigh in an I have not lost another ounce.  I weight exactly what I weighed last Monday.Obviously, this is not serious but it is an example of making a minor change to help make me feel a bit more in control of my life and to improve my blood sugar levels (they are slightly elevated with no apparent reason).  This struggle to lose a few pounds is just a tiny bit  "depressing"! I will continue to "think positive" and tell myself I will eventually reach my goal....an exercise in practicing the above...........


Monday, March 14, 2016

Mature Fashion: "Safe" Skin Care

Good Day, All Fashionistas and Stylinistas,

Healthy skin care has consumed me since my last post to this blog; I really had no idea that there was so little consumer protection against what is happening in the cosmetics and body care industries! I just received my latest copy of "InStyle" which also mentions some of the concerns; (April, 2016; page 234) about the parabens, phthalates, sulfate, and triclosan mentioned in my last post.

Now, before someone says, "I only use soap and water, just like my grandmother", some of us are old enough to remember there was lye leached from ashes in some of those soaps! The point is, commercial "natural" (remember, raw oil from the ground is 'natural') does not mean it is either safe for long term use nor good for you.  

As mentioned in earlier posts, I am experimenting with several home made cleansers, masks, and moisturizing creams; in this post I will provide you with the mixtures I have found that work well for me and my type of hair and skin; they may or may not work well for you.

I have very dry, frizzy, hard to manage and thin (an thinning) hair that I bleach out approximately every 3 weeks and use a toning shampoo (shimmer lights) each time I shampoo and a professional grade after shampoo conditioner  (L'Oreal Feria) that I absolutely swear by and can only be purchased at a beauty supply store (so I have been told, and I can't find it anywhere else).  Both products are loaded with the parabens sulfates, etc. that are of concern to me.  I also use a texturizing lotion called Re-Works by Paul Mitchell that has 31 un-pronouncible (by me) ingredients and another dozen or so that I do not understand the purpose.or safety considerations (I remember the 1000+ plus ingredients banned in other countries but are common in our products).  I use a very small amount (about the size of 2 or 3 grains of rice) of organic virgin coconut oil every day on my dry hair and brush it through the strands.  I love it, and if I forget it even one day, my hair suffers.  I have heard that I can get the same effect from the coconut oil if I use it as my conditioning shampoo.  I am going to try it today.  I have no idea what I can do for the toning shampoo or the texturizing lotion (any input would be really appreciated!)

I am using a mixture of three parts plain lowfat yogurt (the same I use in my food recipes-whole milk would probably be better) mixed with 1 part runny honey. I mix a small batch, and store it in the refrigerator.  When ready to cleanse, I apply a dollop to my hands to warm it up and smooth it onto my face.  I leave it on until it dries and rinse my face thoroughly with a warm wet washcloth.  So far, I have been using Ponds cleanser (also has parabens) to remove my make-up if I am wearing any on my skin before I do this double cleanse.  I am still experimenting, but I find this works better than any thing I have so far tried.  By the way, I picked up this recipe somewhere on a blog that offered some home made recipes.  I had to modify a bit, and I do not remember the name of the blog I got or I would share.  I went out to the web but I could not find the one that had the recipe I remember.  I really want to move away from as many commercial products as I can unless I can find ones that I know to be safe.

I have tried several oil cleaning methods, but I find (so far) they all clog my pores, including coconut oil and vitamin E oils.  I am still experimenting;  I think most women would have to find just the right combination for her skin.  There are several products that are expensive that are reported to be totally safe, etc. but I need a less expensive alternative if I can find one.    I have heard that Physician's Formula products are relatively safe, but I have never tried them. Obviously, I am going to check the products (and ingredients) out also.

On another note..it is weigh in day and I have lost another pound!!  Of course, I still need to lose another .6 just to get to where I thought I was when I started!!..but, I can now say I need to lose just the ten pounds which was my original goal..Wish me luck......

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mature Fashion: "Health Conscious" Cosmetics

Hello Fashionistas and Stylinista's.....

With the proliferation of cosmetic choices available on the market today, a great deal of concern has become apparent there may be many dangers in the products we are putting on our bodies as well as what we are putting into it. On January 1st I posted how important what we put into our bodies was to the appearance of our skin.  Today, I am posting the importance of checking the ingredients of the products a woman puts on her skin, the largest organ of the body. 

Women, on average, use about a dozen personal care products a day on her skin; men about half that amount.  What few women realize is there is very little regulation regarding these personal care products.  The FDA is the only agency with any oversight capability or authority; they have none whatsoever in recalling or preventing continued use of products that become known as harmful. This oversight has had little or no  modification since 1938 in spite of the fact that so many new chemicals, etc. have been introduced to our beauty products.

Cosmetics regularly sold for use in the United States have approximately 1,328 chemical ingredients in them that have been banned in other (mostly European) countries; the United States has only eleven according to Dr. Jody Krukowski of the University of Kansas teaching hospital.  In fact, as in food consumption, Dr. Krukowski suggests that if you cannot pronounce the ingredient, it is not something we should use on our body (ies).

In 2004, the Environmental Working Group, (EWG) launched the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database, containing approximately 78,000 items.  This data base contains results of science research on these items.  The EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health.  Its "EWGVerified" trademark is increasingly become a widely sought certification.

The EWG lists the five most harmful ingredients in widely sold personal care products. They are sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (found in any product that foams) to be a known and proven skin, lung, and eye irritant.  Toluene, derived from petroleum and used in paint thinners, parabens (dangers increasingly in the news) and phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptor's with a link to breast cancer in women. Triclosan, found in anti-bacterial soap, eye-shadows, blush, mascara, and nail polishes, can cause thyroid and reproductive system issues.  Other concerns also occur with talc (check out recent law suit award!), 4-dioxanes, believed to be associated with skin, liver and kidney damage, Dea/TEA/triethanolanim, formaldehyde, propylene glycol, and sodium fluoride (used in rat poison!).  Of great concern is also the general lumping of many other banned items under the generalized name "fragrance" that is allowable under the current regulations.

Dear reader, as you already know from reading this blog, I have been greatly  concerned over the foods we put into our bodies and sheer away from almost any preservative or artificial ingredients.  My personal blood sugar levels are EXTREMELY affected by them, so I am certainly a believer in their harm to my body.  Although I have only recently began experimenting with making my own skin care products using only natural ingredients, etc., after discovering the information that I have posted above, I am definitely withdrawing as much as possible from "ingredients whose name I cannot pronounce".  I have found that the natural products of plain yogurt and honey work wonderfully as a cleanser for my aging, dry skin. Raw, unfiltered cider vinegar diluted with about 60% water works wonders as a toner for my skin (I swear it brightens it).  I have not found a really good recipe for night cream or daytime face moisurizer yet, but I am working on it.  The downside is that making these products is messy, it takes more work, and the product is perishable. Hopefully, I can find some great recipes that work for me.  In any event, you can bet that I will be reading the label on EVERY product I purchase, and will not buy anything that conntains the ingredients I have listed above.  I also plan on learning a lot more about the EWG. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mature Fashion: Tuesday Weigh In

Hello Stylinistas;

Today is Tuesday but I actually did weigh in yesterday.  Unfortunately, I was not able to publish my post yesterday because of a rather major power failure; the power went down while I was on the computer, tried to recover, but went down again and took my computer modem down with it.  I had to wait until today to have the service technician fix the darned thing. Fortunately, I have not lost any data (I hope!!...no, I don't back-up every day,my bad). 

Anyway, the good news is I lost .2 pounds (that's point .2, not 2.00) but the bad news is that I am still over the 134.4 I thought I was when I began this ##@%  attempt to get to my target 125.0!! I have to lose 1.6 pounds just to get to the weight I thought I was when I began!!  I know most of my readers have been through something like this...frustrating, isn't it?

Actually, I am a little proud of myself.  I had two lunches with friends during the week, and part of a bakery 'goodie'; I also did not complete two days of my exercise rituals (I am still having a little problem reminding myself the MY health needs to come first before chores and other social items). I actually did pretty well making sure I got up and moved around at least every twenty minutes while I was watching the remaining fashion shows on my computer (vogue.com). I am going to try and stay optimistic that I will show some more weight loss next week.  I really won't mind much as long as it is something.  I am just not looking for any gain at all.  I'm sure most of us know how disappointing that can be.

Thankfully, the shows will end tomorrow so I won't be in front of the computer so much. (I am certainly ready for anything but fashion shows after watching so many- I have never watched so many all at once) Of course, I will now compile my results and suggestions for fall/winter stylings and report back on the appropriate blogs. 

The next post to this blogsite will concern the health of our cosmetics; I have been reading a lot lately on the inherent dangers of many of our cosmetics.

Happy Styling;...now that Spring is springing in many parts of the country, it is time to introduce some of the fresh fashion ideas for the new season into our wardrobes.