Making my own Beetroot Cheek Tint is something I have wanted to do for ages. So this week when I received two big beetroots in my weekly organic food box, I decided that the time was now. Below I have outlined each step with photographs and directions so you can also give it a go:
Utensils: a vegetable grater, a saucepan, a double boiler or aluminium bowl and water for the double boiler.
Step 1. Set the water in saucepan to boil and then grate about half the beetroot into the bowl (the instructions I had said 45g – I guesstimated how much that was):
Step 2. Add 30 mls of Glycerin to the grated beetroot and place the bowl on gently boiling water.
Step 3. Stir grated beetroot and glycerin for about 10 minutes on a gentle heat. You know it is done when the beetroot starts to look limp and the liquid is deep red. Once complete, remove from the double boiler and strain into a jar (or a receptacle that has a lead so you can seal it from the air).
Step 4. Kept in a sealed container, in the fridge, your cheek tint should last about 3 months. You can apply the tint to your cheeks or lips as below:
The tint is quite liquid and blends in very easily. You may need more than one application.
I had an assistant during the process of making the cheek tint. He wasn’t much help but very good company:
Please let me know if you have made any DIY skin care products. I would love to hear about your experiences and find out some more recipes.Twitter It!
Antiaging ingredients and eye creams that work…a myth or reality? While there may be many products in the market that claim to work, how many actually do make a difference? Two tried and true ways of finding out are:
1. Review the research. Antiaging is big business but there are a handful of key ingredients that show real promise. Among them, marine extracts, Hibiscus esculentus extract, sodium hyaluronate and naturally sourced alpha hydroxy acids.
2. Alternatively you can try a product out for yourself. What works for others may not work for you…and vice versa and it can be worth spending the money to find out.
The Eyes have it…
In my opinion eye cream isn’t just a clever marketing gimmick – it really does work! And it makes sense to take care of the skin around your eye, as it is the thinnest skin on your face and the first to show the signs of aging. And yes, eye creams are different to everyday face creams. Moisturisers tend to have a heavier molecular structure and so can cause puffiness or inflammation around the eye area. Eye creams are designed specifically for the delicate skin around the eye.
In my experience, eye creams are lighter and tend to absorb in more quickly. The ingredients are also targeted for the eye area however, there are many different choices when it comes to eye creams and eye products tend to focus on specific issues be it puffiness, dark circles or fine lines and wrinkles. Choose the one that suits best suits your skin and the predominant issue. Similarly to moisturisers, it is important to choose age-appropriate eye creams (and I don’t mean R-rated eye creams!). Anti-aging eye products and creams are probably to rich for someone in their early 20s. In this case an eye gel may have a better result.
To get the best out of your eye cream use it daily both in the morning after cleansing and in the evening after you’ve removed your make-up. Gently apply using the pad of your fourth finger and dab the eye cream around your eye socket. Our pick of the very best natural eye creams on the market now:
1. Worth every cent La Mav Certified Organic Firming Eye Lotion contains active ingredients to help with skin restructuring by preserving collagen & elastin fibers and marine extracts help reduce the appearance of dark circles.
2. Haven Scent Rosehip Eye Cream is a light soothing eye cream that nourishes and hydrates skin using certified organic aloe vera and rosehip oil. A favorite indeed!
3. To minimise dark circles Devita Under Eye Repair Gel is ideal. A light, refreshing serum that soothes tired eyes. The inclusion of bioflavanoids Astaxanthin and Hesperdin help strengthen the capillary network under the eyes and clear dark circles. Don’t expect overnight results; give it 3 months and you should see a lightening of dark circles – anything less is unrealistic.
4. As a light and soothing gel, Third Stone Botanicals Green Tea Eye Serum l contains colloidal silica and green tea antioxidants soothe and protect the delicate eye area and help reduce puffiness. Storing this product in the fridge will further help with the reduction of puffy eyes.
Tell us what your favorite eye product is and why for your chance to win a $10 Vitale Gift Voucher (prize will be presented 14 days after post).Twitter It!
A recent landmark study has highlighted the fact that many women undergoing cosmetic surgery have very little idea about what to expect from their procedure nor the associated risks. Unlike plastic surgery, which is performed to repair damage, cosmetic surgery is not necessary, rather it is a voluntary choice by the patient the majority of which are women. In Australia, anyone with a medical degree can perform cosmetic surgery from injections such as Botox to quite invasive procedures and currently there is no requirement to be a for the doctor performing the procedure to be a qualified surgeon.
The Australian study by health sociologist Rhian Parker from The Australian National University, has written Women, Doctors and Cosmetic Surgery: Negotiating the ‘normal’ body. Dr Parker interviewed 32 Australian women
that had undergone a cosmetic procedure and 19 medical practitioners performing the procedures. From the interviews, it emerged that there are 3 reasons that women choose to undergo cosmetic surgery:
When approaching Doctors about cosmetic surgery, the study revealed that women generally don’t know what the surgery entails and therefore they don’t know what questions to ask. Many women are also embarrassed by their choice to undergo surgery and so keep it a secret thereby missing out on emotional and practical support throughout the process. Ironically, the research has also shown that Doctors are not understanding why women are there. Dr Parker noted that previous research identified that men prefer larger breasts than women. In Australia we have a situation where most of the Doctors performing cosmetic procedures are men and most of the patients are women and so unfortunately the end result is that there are now lots of women with larger implants than they originally wanted, for example, a women goes in asking for a C-cup and comes out with a D-cup. And so now in their perception instead of standing out because they have small breasts, they stand out because their breast are large. In most cases, women don’t want to look like movie stars or like another person, they want to look like better versions of themselves.
Dr Parker says there are wide ranging implications from the study. The first issue is that we need to actually find out how many women are undergoing cosmetic procedures annually as currently there is no way of tracking this information. Secondly, she identified the need for industry-wide quality control measures to be put in place. Also, and very importantly, that there needs to be unbiased education and information available to women undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures so they know how to make good choices and what questions to ask before they have a procedure. Finally a comprehensive list of complaints needs to be gathered Australia-wide so that the magnitude of the issues associated with these kinds of procedures can be identified.
Anecdotally there is a strong rumor that one of the reasons for increased medical insurance premiums across the board is due to the high number of complaints from dissatisfied patients following cosmetic surgery. Essentially the lack of regulation, lack of education and secrecy surrounding this industry is costing the entire medical industry dearly from a financial perspective and costing the women involved from an emotional perspective.
See an interview with Dr Parker.
Editor’s note: I found this study fascinating and alarming. I would love to know what you think, both about the study and about cosmetic procedures in general.Twitter It!
I mentioned in a previous blog that I was going to do a review about the latest fad diet, Raw Food. I say fad diet because like many other diets I have seen over my 15 years as a naturopath, the Raw Food Diet will have a boom in popularity followed by a slump with only the “true-believers” continuing on. Do I sound cynical already? Well I don’t mean to – I am writing this article primarily to stimulate comment. But first, just a little bit of cynicism, a list of the fad diets I have lived through, either via my own experience or vicariously through students and patients over the years:
versions of this diet include good fats – thank goodness (fat tastes so delicious!)
for the entire 3 weeks of the diet (I know, too much information). The problem with this diet is that it is too open to interpretation e.g. a friend of mine interpreted a high protein diet as follows: breakfast – scrambled cheesy eggs, lunch – 2 x lamb chops, dinner – cheese platter….and so on. With such a lack of anything resembling a vegetable, I am not surprised it didn’t work for him. While this diet may be useful for short term weight loss, it may not be so good for bowel health in the long term.
And so this leads me to the dietary fad of the 2010′s – Raw Food. Firstly I want to say that there are many positive aspects about this diet. For a start, the diet is based on fruit, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, seaweed, and dried fruit – foods that most Australian’s don’t eat enough of and certainly not over 75% of the diet as advocated by raw foodies. If you ate 2 serves of fruit and 5 of vegetables yesterday, which is considered the minimum daily intake, I bet you feel fabulous today. However, most of us didn’t. Raw Foodies also believe that heating above 116 degrees F. destroys the naturally occurring enzymes that assist with digestion and absorption of nutrients. In addition that cooking food can reduce certain vitamins such as vitamin C and B group.
The raw food diet is highly alkaline and very cleansing and so the health benefits can be extensive and include weight loss, detoxification and bowel cleansing. While this all sounds good, and don’t get me wrong, I think most of us could do with a good clean out, in the long term a raw food diet is not a good choice for all.
I see the biggest issue with a primarily raw food diet is the issue of absorption. Many nutrients need to be cooked to be absorbed effectively. One example is lycopene from tomatoes which is released when in the presence of oil and heat. More importantly is the strength or effectiveness of most people’s digestive systems. This varies from person to person however, many people do not have the necessary digestive enzymes to break down the nutrients in raw food.
To illustrate this point, if you imagine the gut is like a small campfire, burning (processing) firewood easily and generating heat as a result. If you pour petrol on the fire, it will turn into a raging inferno (petrol in food terms equates to
excessive consumption of foods such as alcohol, coffee, fats and hot, spices). If you feed the fire leaves, it will burn quickly and then go out (leaves = processed, sugary foods which are full of energy but empty in nutrition). If you put green wood on the fire it will also eventually dampen down and die out (green leaves = cold foods such as those straight from the fridge, cold drinks, too many raw foods.). The gut is rich with capillaries that bring a supply of warm blood to the stomach so it can produce digestive enzymes. Too many cold and raw foods will constrict the blood supply and reduce the body’s own supply of digestive enzymes. And no matter how raw the food is, the enzymes supplied will never match the body’s own ability to produce its own enzymes.
So for those who have weak or poor digestion in any way (loose stools, IBS, bloating, indigestion etc), a raw food diet may be actually harder on the digestion that fresh, warm, cooked foods. You can consume the same types of foods that the raw food diet focuses on, veges, nuts, seeds etc but prepare them differently. Have a veg stir-fry, soups, stews, steamed veg or fresh fruit & veg juice instead. Warm foods are particularly important in Winter when our body is using a lot of energy to stay warm. Eating a raw salad mid-Winter means our body has to warm up the food to digest it properly as well as keeping our body warm. Summer is definitely the season for more raw foods and indeed the thought of eating hot vege soup on a hot day is not appealing.
Genetics play a role in how we digest and process food as well. If you come from a culture where cooked foods is the norm then it may be a shock to the system to suddenly change over to a raw food diet. Our body’s adapt to the food we eat and the way it is cooked so in this case, gradual inclusion of more raw foods is a good way to proceed.
Over time, a strict raw food diet may also lead to nutritional deficiencies such as protein, calcium, iron, B12 and zinc. These nutrients are commonly found in animal products and can be hard for the body to process from vegetable sources. While not impossible impossible to maintain good levels of these nutrients by any means it does require planning and deliberate inclusion of raw food sources that contain these nutrients.
My philosophy about food is one of moderation: good quality food, a majority whole foods – both raw & cooked, enjoyment of that food and the occasional treat. Maybe why I think the raw food diet will be another fad is that it is at the extreme end of the dietary spectrum. However, as with any diet, there will be some that absolutely thrive eating raw foods. I also stress that most people need to eat more fresh fruit & veg in general and if the raw food message is the way for this to occur then I for one will jump on the bandwagon. And I can’t stress enough how much people need to move away from processed, empty calorie foods, however, I suspect that like the other fad diets around, the raw food diet will have its day and I for one will stick to more moderate eating habits.
I would love to know what you think about raw food and if you have gone down this path, what your experience is.Twitter It!
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