lifestyle

  • Healthy habits for life

    Do you want to sleep more, be more organized, eat healthier, drink more water, drink less soda, less alcohol, etc.? Changing habits is not easy for most people.

    Healthy habits for life in midlife

    Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

    When it comes to habits, most of us are old dogs and some people think that the older we get the more difficult it is to develop new habits. That is not my experience, people of all ages can learn new habits, if they want to.

    There are zillions of books on how to change your habits. They all have good advice, but not all advice works for everybody. There are books about different styles, different techniques, etc. What I have found is that what matters when we want to acquire healthier habits is:

    • Do you really want to do it?
    • Put systems in place

    If you want to eat healthier, workout, have a strict morning routine, control stress, etc. you really have to nail down your WHY.

    Why should you do it?

    Why do you want the results offered by healthier habits? We don’t want healthier habits, we want the results of healthier habits.

    We want to sleep more because it has health benefits such as: more concentration, it makes us happier, more productive, skinnier etc.
    We want to eat healthier because: we want to be healthier, control our blood pressure, blood sugar, look skinnier, put less pressure on our knees etc. and why do we want those effects? Because we want more energy to do what we want to do. We don’t want to spend money, time and effort going to the doctor, taking a zillion pills, lowering our quality of life, we don’t want aches and pains, we want to avoid the “side” effects of drugs etc. We want to keep our bodies young and strong.

    Find the root, why do you want healthier habits

    You have to nail it down, go to the root. For example: I want to lose 10 pounds. Why? Because I will look and feel better. Why will you want to feel and look better? Because I will feel happier and be healthier. Why do you want to feel happier and healthier? Because I want to be there for my children when they need me, I don’t want to be sick and become a liability.

    OK, that is your why. Your why is your children and your future self. That is huge. That is not feel better and look better as you initially thought. Now you have something tangible. Every time you don’t want to work out, picture your kids and you will feel the energy to workout at least a few minutes even when you don’t want to do it.

    If you have a strong why, you will have a strong will

    Sometimes you are going to discover that you don’t have a strong why for something and it will be your decision to do it or not. For example, running a marathon. It is mostly a badge of honor, but for some people it is about self-determination. This is something optional in life, but your health is not optional.

    how to create healthy habits

    Put your habit changing systems in place

    Now that you know your why you are totally convinced that you have to do it, then comes another important part: put your systems in place. Without systems it becomes difficult to change a habit. These are tips that help a lot of my clients:

    Begin with the end in mind.

    What is the goal? Imagine yourself at the end, how will you feel? Savor that moment, keep it in your mind.

    Plan the way.

    Every goal needs to be divided in small steps to measure success. When are you going to do it, how are you going to do it.

    For example, you plan to eat a healthier lunch, maybe a salad, but you don’t really like salads. What else can you eat? Instead can you bring soup and a healthier sandwich from home? You want to eat healthier snacks, you need to plan it, and in most places the snacks are not healthy.

    You want to sleep more. How can you do it? What do you need to do in order to go to bed earlier?

    Invest in yourself

    Invest time and put resources on it if you need to. Maybe an online fitness membership to workout at home, maybe once a month a meal delivery service or menu planning service, maybe a personal trainer, a health coach (contact me), maybe a life coach, a new pair of sneakers, a yoga class, etc. However be careful, as you know most people who buy gym memberships almost never go to the gym.

    Make it easy

    For example workout at lunch time, if you plan to work out in the morning leave everything ready the night before. If you plant to thoroughly clean your teeth, allow time for it, don’t wait until you are sleepy and tired.

    Take the path of least resistance

    Some people complicate their lives looking for exotic solutions. To start with something, do the easiest thing you can do.

    If you want to be fitter, move more in your daily life don’t wait to have everything you need to go to that famous Barre class. If you want to eat healthier, start by drinking more water and eating more vegetables don’t wait to find out which is the perfect diet for you.

    My niece and a friend wanted to do yoga. The friend spend a year reading about yoga, my niece started to do it right away with youtube videos. The friend goes to classes once in a while, my niece has been doing yoga at home few times a week since the first conversation. Guess who is better at yoga and fitter.

    Doing something always beats thinking about something. You know the term paralysis by analysis, this is a problem for me and for many people. Sometimes it is better to go Nike “Just do it”

    Don’t fear failure

    There is no bigger failure than never trying

    Make time

    We all have 24 hours a day. There is that saying, an activity stretches itself to the time allowed. We can limit the time of some activities in order to do others. We can also prioritize, for example no social media until this or that gets done.

    For some people the problem is not time, it is energy. In order to have energy you need good nutrition, sleep well, and have less stress.

    Eat the frog

    This means do what you dread more first thing in the morning. That way it will be out of the way and you will not be thinking about it.

    Be realistic

    You are wonderful, but you aren’t perfect. Life is beautiful, but it isn’t perfect. Always plan for more time, more effort and more energy than you think you will need. If you don’t do it you may be putting unnecessary stress on yourself and it will be more difficult to reach your goals.

    Find joy in the journey

    Life is a journey and the joy is in living that journey. Be present as much as you can and just smile at life. Tomorrow you can try again. Always be kind to yourself.

  • August self-care challenge

    Join me for this fun summer challenge. It is super easy self-care challenge to help us relax. You can join the Facebook group or follow our page to comment and tell me and the other members how you are doing .

    30 day self care challenge for women

    The only rule in self care is say no to perfection, be kind to yourself. Summer is wonderful and it goes by so quickly, sometimes even planning fun activities can be stressful, so let’s chill together.

    self care challenge for middle age women.
    Self care challenge for women

  • What no one tells you about skin care in perimenopause and menopause?

    The miracle cream that will erase your wrinkles. Or Better than Botox. The secret to beautiful skin after 50. Nobel Prize Winner Technology in skin care. You, like me, probably have read them all and more, much more.

    how to have youthful skin in perimenopause and menopause

    There are so many creams, potions, procedures and supplements promising us youth in a bottle, an injection, procedure or a pill. If they would work, we will not have wrinkles anymore. So is there a secret to beautiful, healthy skin at 50, during menopause and perimenopause? The pill is the closest from all those promises, the reason is that the secret is our hormones.

    The supple, radiant skin that we had in our younger years depends greatly on our hormones.

    The cream can put moisture, the procedure can force the skin to generate collagen and a more radical procedure can lift and iron out wrinkles, but the overall effect won’t give you beautiful skin. And, beautiful skin can make you look younger and prettier even with wrinkles and flaccidity. Beautiful skin has a characteristic called radiance. Radiance can go away during perimenopause and menopause. In Ayurveda, radiance is part of something called ojas and it means live, healthy tissues.

    Skin radiance comes from our hormones and health. It is affected by emotions.

    Have you seen the face of a bride? Happiness is visible. Audrey Hepburn was right:

    Happy girls are the prettiest

    If your estrogen is out of balance in earlier years then the skin maybe oily. Hormones out of balance in midlife in perimenopause or menopause can cause skin dryness, lack of luster, loss of volume and in some people, very reactive skin (that’s me). If the person has estrogen dominance, the skin is going to be oily. If your hormones, especially estrogen and T3, are not balanced your creams and treatments are not going to be as effective.

    If your liver is not working properly you may develop allergies, redness, discolored patches, etc. A lower thyroid functions will bring dryness, hair loss and eye brow hair loss.

    How do you get radiance?

    Well, this is part of what a healthy lifestyle with low stress, good nutrients and happiness brings to your life. There are a few things you can do.
    The main thing is to try to balance your hormones. This is a big topic and one of the main topics of this blog. In short, in order to balance our hormones we need to:

    • Eat enough good fat
    • Eat a diet rich in nutrients
    • Lower stress
    • Consume a low glycemic diet (low sugar)
    • Sleep
    • Eat a natural diet
    • Make sure you are having all the minerals your body needs
    • Be happy. Make yourself happy. Happiness is an attitude; it comes from within us, not from the exterior.

    Help your organs

    We also need to help our liver and adrenals. The liver and adrenals are going to help the thyroid and are going to help us have more available estrogen, our own estrogen.

    The type of nutrition above will help you liver and adrenals. In some cases, we need to take supplements after a period of neglect. That is what I did and worked out very well for me. I will include a link to the products I took. If the imbalance is deeper, you need to go to a practitioner. I recommend an Ayurveda or functional medicine practitioner. The solutions for hormonal balance don’t give immediate results, you may need months before you see results, but the results are great if you keep trying.

    Other tips for healthy skin

    Follow a simple skin care routine. It should include cleansing, moisturizing and exfoliation once or twice a week.

    Use a star ingredient or a few of them. You don’t have to become an expert or a junkie. Certainly you don’t need to use expensive products. I will be publishing a series of articles on this topic. Star ingredients are retinol, alpha and beta hydroxy acids and many more.

    how to have beautiful, youthful skin in middle age

    Don’t overexpose to the sun

    I am not saying always use sunblock. Use a safe sunscreen when you are going to expose yourself for longer periods of time. But mostly use common sense, wear hats, stay indoors at the time the sun is stronger, don’t tan, etc.
    Take more precautions when you abruptly change to a different weather. For example, if you live in a cold place and take a winter vacation in the Caribbean. These changes are more damaging to the skin.

    If you eat healthy your skin is more resilient and the sun causes less damage.


    These are the products I used. These are affiliate links:

    Adrenal Health – To support the adrenal glands
    Liver support


  • You need these 2 awesome healing plants in your home

    Home sweet home and with healing plants, home with a sweet healing garden. I am not a good gardener, many of my plants commit suicide, but I try and my garden more or less looks nice.

    Besides beautiful plants, our garden can also have healing plants. The two plants I will recommend you today are so easy to grow indoors and outdoors and they are so sturdy that even I can grow them successfully.

    Properties aloe vera

    Those plants are aloe vera and Melissa or lemon balm. You probably know aloe very well, it is a powerhouse when it comes to healing. And Melissa or lemon balm is very soothing. Let me tell you more about each one of them and why it is a good idea to have them at home.

    1- Aloe Vera

    Aloe is one of those plants that we can write books about. You can cut a little part from a leaf and use its meaty center or gel to:

    • Aloe juice. It promotes good digestion, soothes the stomach and digestive tract and it can help with constipation (if used with the yellow substance).
    • Burns and wounds. Aloe gel appears to accelerate wound healing. Aloe is used directly on the skin for burns and irritations. It refreshes the skin and helps to control burning sensations and inflammation. It also promotes skin reparation.
    • Aloe has antibacterial properties.
    • Some people think that it reduces dental plaque. The diluted juice can be used as a mouthwash.


    Aloe in skin care.

    • Aloe is fantastic to soothe the skin and prevent inflammation.
    • It helps to eliminate, improve or prevent discoloration and dark spots. It is especially good for melasma. It has to be used directly from the plant every day for at least a couple of months. It takes effort, but I have seen it work great.
    • It may help to treat acne. Because of its soothing effects, it can also help treat the inflammation and irritation caused by acne medicines.
    • It may help treat Psoriasis and reduces redness and itching.


    Growing aloe

    Aloe normally is bought as a small plant and it can grow substantially if you plant it directly in the garden. If planted in a pot, the growth is proportional to the size of the pot. I keep it in a small pot; my sister lives in warmer weather and she has big plants in the garden. It is a nice looking plant that requires little care.

    Warnings

    If you use aloe in moderation, there are no side effects; however larger amounts taken orally may interfere with some medicines, so check with your doctor before deciding to take it internally frequently.

    How to use your garden’s aloe?

    Cut a leaf or a piece of the leaf. Make a few incisions in the leaf. Place it vertically for at least an hour. The plant has 3 parts, the outside, the gel and a yellow liquid. By placing vertically we are eliminating the yellow liquid which has latex and can cause allergies, irritation and loose motions if taken internally.

    You can use the gel directly on the skin or use it in smoothies for other effects.

    properties lemon balm or melissa

    2- Melissa or lemon balm

    Melissa or lemon balm is a type of mint. It is very easy to grow from seed and it is mainly used as a calming sedative tea. The plant can be invasive so it is better to plant it in a pot.

    Melissa’s leaves are used to make an infusion. The flowers can also be used. The essential oil is very expensive because the plant does not have a lot of it and it is difficult to extract.

    Some properties of Melissa or lemon balm

    • It is used for anxiety and depression
    • It can be used for tension-caused headaches
    • It helps to sleep better
    • It promotes happiness
    • The tea is used for colds and flu.
    • The essential oil is believed to lower triglycerides
    • It can help eliminate candida.
    • Some people use it to control ADHD in children


    How to use your garden’s lemon balm?

    To make the tea, just heat water to a boil and place some clean leaves in a cup and add the water. With a mortar or the back of a spoon, press the leaves, so they can release the essential oil. Let the water sit for about 10 minutes and the tea is ready to drink. You can add a sweetener if you want.


    Warning

    Lemon balm tea is safe to use, but in larger amounts, especially in the essential oil form, this plant may interfere with thyroid function, so if you suffer from hypothyroidism, avoid to use it in larger amounts. In larger amounts it may also interferer with hormone replacement therapy medications.

    Do you have any healing in your garden?

  • Stress is really bad during menopause and perimenopause

    Stress is really bad during menopause and perimenopause, it is worse than bad food and lack of exercise. You probably have read things like this: Eat this, eat that, do not eat that cake, it will kill you. Yes it has sugar, bring the priest we need an exorcist to get the sugar out and the gluten and the milk and the joy. No doubt sugar is bad, but the stress produced by the scary headlines is worse, at least for your hormones.

    stress affects estrogen during menopause and perimenopause

    Stress is really bad during menopause and perimenopause because as you know those pesky menopause and perimenopause symptoms are the result of hormonal imbalance. In order to alleviate or eliminate the symptoms we have to balance our hormones. In the natural community there is a lot of emphasis on food to control or manage the hormones.

    Without a doubt food is important; however, I think stress is equally or more important to balance your hormones.


    Do you know anybody who eats super clean, super healthy and that person is bitter, judgmental, and she or he looks stressed out or with anxiety? I know more than a few. Food alone is not the answer. And more importantly, food should not create stress or deprive us of joy.

    Why is stress really bad during menopause and perimenopause?

    Let me simplify it: every time we stress out, two hormones rush out, adrenaline and cortisol. The one that keeps lingering to help us escape danger is cortisol.

    stress lowers estrogen during menopause and perimenopause

    In the past, we used these hormones when we needed to escape from a predator, in other words we ran to save our lives. Stress is a response to danger. In the present time, stress is caused by many factors, which are mainly harmless or at least nonlethal. In fact most of our stress is caused only by our thoughts. However, the body’s stress response is the same as if it were in danger.

    The organ that creates cortisol are the adrenal glands. These glands are depleted in many people in our age bracket. They are depleted and not working properly because of a few factors: we have had too much stress throughout our lives, we may have taken hormones such as birth control pills and our lifestyle is not very healthy. So we may not be producing enough cortisol to support a lot of stress.

    More cortisol less estrogen

    Our body is always trying to protect itself. It will always give priority to immediate protection than to other bodily functions. Since the body believes that the stress hormones are so important for survival, when it does not have enough cortisol, it uses other hormones, including estrogen, to make more cortisol. During menopause and perimenopause, we have less estrogen and if we have stress it may be used to create cortisol instead of working as estrogen.

    In conclusion

    During menopause and perimenopause we have lower levels of estrogens and progesterone. We also have a lower capacity to make cortisol. If we have a lot of stress our body maybe using our little estrogen to make cortisol in order to supply fuel for our useless stress.

    In other words your stress is depriving you of your estrogen, and we feel it in the form of all the menopausal symptoms.

    Xassy.com

    Stress is really bad. And the good news is….. you can control it, no prescription required.

    Read Why do we gain weight in perimenopause .

  • Favorites this week

    This is my collection of interesting things that I read, watched, ate, smelled, tried during the week, and that I think they are so good I have to share them with you. If you have your favorites leave a comment and share them.

    Read

    The Sinus Cure
    This is the newest version of an interesting old book. For allergy suffers, or people who suffer nasal congestion, the book offers interesting tips. The author is a MD who worked mostly as a functional doctor. I do not share all the opinions with the author, but I think it has some good advice when it comes to nutrients to treat sinus infections. I want to clear my sinus and there are no effective medical treatments, so I am hopping I can find something natural. This book was a first step in that direction.

    weekly favorites

    Watch

    La Tribu
    If you want to have a good laugh, this is a great choice. I am into comedy and laughs lately, it was one of my New Year resolutions. This Spaniard comedy, La Tribu, is super funny. I am new to standup comedy and I am also loving some old stand up comics such as: Trevor Noah and Ali Wong.

    Smell

    I am loving Tory Burch Bel Azur. It is a very refreshing, but sophisticated fragrance. Maybe it is more summer than spring, but still wonderful for this time.

    weekly favorites

    Make-up

    Viceart mini palette eye shadows. Viceart has an amazing quality. The fall out is minimal, they blend beautifully, and the colors are highly pigmented. Their prices are very high and this small eight color palette sold in Sephora offers a lot of value. It is a very warm palette with four matte colors and four shiny ones. I took it with me to Europe because of its size and versatility and it delivered.

    Skin care

    I tried a new sunblock, Anthelios 60 by La Roche-Posay. It is a favorite of many magazine editors and I understand the reason. It spreads easily, it does not leave a residue, tackiness or color on the skin. It did not cause me any irritation and it held well under the foundation. If you do not have problems with a chemical sun block this is a good product. I prefer a physical sunscreen and for that reason I will not continue using it. I wish I could find the same quality in a physical sunblock. However a few reviewers are saying that with heat it turns yellow on the skin, it did not happen to me, but the weather is pretty cold here.

    making bread

    Eating

    My husband and I are into the Great British Baking Show and it was one of my goals to start baking bread this year. Oh well, he started to bake ahead of me and we have been eating a lot of awesome homemade bread. I got two books from the library and we have been trying a lot of recipes including pop-overs, I used to love them in the Neiman Marcus’ café and now I can make them at home.

    Life

    Days are getting longer and it is time to spring-clean. I am getting ready to celebrate this wonderful season and Easter. I have a list of activities I want to do and cool new things to try. Did you read my 20 ideas for health and beauty in spring?

    How was your week?

    Photos by Nadya Spetnitskaya Melissa Walker Horn on Unsplash

  • 20 spring time rituals for health and beauty for mature woman

    Spring is the season of awakening. It provides us with the opportunity of a new beginning, to renew our inner forces and strengthen our bodies. During this fabulous time in our lives we can create a spring routine based on Ayurveda and European natural traditions to help our bodies to more easily adapt to the season of growth.

    Spring routine for women over 50

    Spring is a season of transition when nature wakes up to life, from cold to warm, from seclusion to life outdoors. Our bodies have to adapt to the changes and this time potentially with less estrogens due to perimenopause or menopause. Our bodies are trying to balance the new energy, they are looking for harmony. The natural medicine traditions offer solutions to help us have more energy, sleep better, feel happier, sexier, and be more productive.

    According to Ayurveda, winter is dominated by the energy of kapha. This energy is heavy and it creates mucus and heaviness in our bodies. The cold weather and dry heat in our homes dries out the skin and makes us a little lethargic. Spring is the time to clean the body of the heaviness of kapha, renew our mind and bring “new” and growth into our lives, new energy, new ideas, new foods, new colors, new activities, new habits, and new flavors.

    20 ideas for a new spring routine after 40

    For the body

    1. Breathe, take deep breaths through the day, especially outdoors. Breathing cleanses our body.
    2. Try one nostril breathing. Gently cover the right nostril and breathe deeply with the left nostril, imagine how the air goes all the way to the tummy, hold for a few seconds and slowly release. Repeat with the other nostril and try to do 3 times. This helps to balance our body, releases stress and helps us to sleep better.
    3. Try to do some stretching exercises. It does not need to be complicated, just extend your arms, up, front, down and sides a few times a day and try to stretch your legs and feet.
    4. Morning exercise is always great. Try to sweat (real sweat) at least once a week. Try a new type of exercise.
    5. If possible try to walk in nature for a few minutes. If you can try to walk under the trees. Nature walking helps us absorb negative ions. In other words, it helps us eliminate radiation toxins. Our homes are full of radiation from all the electrical devices and Wi-Fi, these are positive ions. Touch the soil and hug the trees if you can.

    Food

    1. Lighten up. Invite spring vegetables and fruits into your diet.
    2. Try new recipes.
    3. Continue to use warming spices and herbs such as pepper, ginger, cayenne, cardamom, cloves etc. As the weather warms up we can start to use “colder” herbs and spices.
    4. Drink warm water with lemon through the day to aid digestion.
    5. Avoid fried foods. They are too warm for the season.
    6. As the weather warms up include more salads and smoothies.

    Mind renewal

    1. Listen to a few songs from your high school years. This tricks the mind into feeling younger and it tells your body that it is younger.
    2. In your essential oil burner or diffuser, you can use a 50% mix of lemongrass and geranium to bring happiness to your environment. You may also try lavender to cleanse.
    3. Try affirmations and visualizations. Every time a negative thought comes to you mind, have a positive affirmation ready. For example: If the thought is “I am fat,” change it to “I am in harmony”, “I love my body”.
    4. Watch comedy, read funny stuff, and try to laugh every day.
    spring care for women menopause and perimenopause

    Pampering/healing ideas

    1. Add some nice herbal tea to your routine. One of my favorites for the season is lemon and ginger.
    2. Give yourself a daily massage for a week. For only 2 to 5 minutes. Just put some oil on your hands and lovingly massage your body with long strokes in direction to your heart. Start from your feet and keep going up until you reach your head. You will feel great.
    3. If you have sinus issues, try a saline solution bottle to rinse your sinuses.
    4. You can also do a sinus steam with lavender essential oil. This can be done with a face steamer or put water to boil over the stove and bring your face close so you can breathe the steam.
    5. Bring a new plant to your desk to clean the air

    One more
    Try dry brushing. During winter we accumulate toxins and dead cells; dry brushing helps eliminate both of them.

    Photo by Sharon McCutcheon, Uby Yanes on Unsplash