Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Overcoming Winter Skin Drought

Ever get cracked and dry skin on your hands, arms, or legs? Does your skin look like a desert? Do you experience itching, redness, or rawness?

Yowzas, I hear ya. California air gets SUPER DRY come November, and this year I really had to kick my butt into gear and take extra care of my skin.

Plus if you have any skin conditions such as eczema or psorasis, the cold dry air could exacerbate your breakouts.

Emphasis on "could." I truly believe that if you feed your skin proper nourishment both internally and externally, that you can have radiant skin all year long, no matter what nature brings.

Firstly, are you getting enough water? Most people definitely aren't getting the recommended 8-10 glasses a day. And with dry weather and exercise, you're gonna need more. So pump up the H20.

Second, are you getting enough healthy fats in your diet? Low-fat diets and overconsumption of toxic fats (transfats in fast food and processed goods) are equally bad for your skin and mood. Stick with olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocadoes, and best of all, coconut oil. It's saturated fats are medium chain fatty acids, and very easily utilized by the body for energy and repairs, NOT stored as fat and NOT harmful.

And remember, high allergy foods such as dairy, gluten, sugar, and soy can stress out your body, and cause internal and external inflammtion. So belly aches, skin rashes, breakouts, redness, itching...try eating more veggies, healthy fats, and protein, and cut out or reduce dairy and grains.

Thirdly, are you getting enough sleep and relaxation? Lack of sleep and excess stress can throw off your hormones and deplete your body of nutrients, which means you can look ugly and dried up if you don't take care of yourself. It ain't worth stressing over, believe me.

And lastly, are you taking care of your skin externally? What kind of lotions or creams are you using, if any? Most products have alcohol as one of the first ingredients, which means it's just going to dry out your skin. And most products have parabens, which have been linked to cancer. If you're going to use a skin care product, try to get one without alcohol or chemicals. Almond, joboba, and olive oils are fantastic, as well as shea butter. But the king of the oils? Coconut oil!! As mentioned before, it's medium chain fatty acids are rapidly absorbed by the body, and will moisturize and firm up your skin in no time at all!

Massage oils or lotions into skin after showering and toweling off. Your pores will be open, making the oil more easily absorbed, and your skin will be damp, making it easier to spread the lotion/oil.

Check out this article online that I was interviewed for. It talks about taking care of the skin, particularly for those with eczema.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday gift for you!!!

Hi there!

Just wanted to reach out to you, and make sure you know that you deserve the absolute best when it comes to your health and happiness.

I'm meeting with clients and teaching yoga today,
but before I get going, I wanted to share with you
this amazing opportunity to help you
feel absolutely incredible...as early as NEXT week.

During the holidays, we need more support.
We work extra hard to clean, cook, and have enough money to shop and buy gifts, all to show our love and our appreciation for our loved ones. But if we don't feel good about ourselves, and we're not happy with our bodies, our health, or life in general, we miss out on so much of what the holidays can offer.
I know for me, there were a number of years where I "missed out" on the holidays. Either because:
I was beating myself up for not looking perfect in that holiday dress.
Or I was so worried about gaining weight from the holiday food that I would get stressed, cranky, and end up eating everything in sight.
Or my skin was so broken out, that I would make everyone late while I obsessed over my makeup application, and was extremely self-conscious of my face, even around relatives. It was miserable and I was burning inside.

And the thing is, if I knew then what I know now, I could have saved myself so much time, energy, and money, and had a much happier holiday season. I would have been a better, healthier person, and much more pleasant for everyone else around me.

Now that I feel absolutely amazing no matter what time of year, I'm available to coach YOU to do and feel the same.
All you need are the handful of simple tricks that I learned over the years to feel the difference in no time at all.

Which is why I am now offering a wonderful holiday gift for my readers!


2 private 45-minute "body breakthrough" sessions with Michelle ($400 value)

1 copy of the Revamp Your Body in 21 Days Detox, for you to keep on file and complete whenever is convenient for you in 2012. ($97 value)

1 BodyCare gift package, a box of the best quality nutrition and skin care products hand-picked by Michelle, delivered to your doorstep ($150 value)

Your holiday gift package rate: $197

Regular value: $647

Reserve your spot TODAY! There are only 20 spots available!

Call 310-413-3847 or email michelle@nutrabrilliance.com to reserve.

It is my mission to help you feel and look your absolute best. Don't let 2012 be another year you missed out and put yourself on the back burner.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy at the holidays

It’s the holidays. Do you feel joyful? Stressed? How about both? For many people, the holidays are the toughest time of the year, with extra activities, mile-long to-do lists, and constant entertaining high on the roster of stressors. So how do we stay sane and healthy during this crazy, zany time of year?

The first thing we need to do is check out how many chemicals we’re taking in. When we say “chemicals”, we mean any substance (like refined white sugar, caffeine or alcohol) that gives you a short burst of energy, and then a subsequent energy crash. And it’s important to note that we don’t just experience a physical roller coaster ride on these chemicals. Large fluctuations in our blood sugar levels drastically affect our moods as well. Have you ever felt yourself getting irritable as your coffee high wears off? Do you feel significantly juiced up after eating a bag of peanut M&Ms? If so, you’re riding the chemical roller coaster.

Now, add incredible amounts of holiday stress together with incredible amounts of chemicals, and you’ve got the proverbial perfect storm. No wonder we all end up with the flu in January!

This holiday season, focus on adding naturally sweet foods to your diet regularly. Root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, butternut squash, and pumpkin have lots of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and tend to have a calming effect on the body.

If you are making baked goods, use the highest-quality, organic ingredients available and substitute natural sweeteners for refined white sugar. For your favorite holiday baked goods, try substituting molasses, maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, barley malt, date sugar or raw honey.

And just to emphasize those root vegetables I mentioned, let's take a look at pumpkin as an example of what these bad boys can do for you. Pumpkin isn't just for Halloween decorations or Thanksgiving pie, after all!

Food Focus: Pumpkin

A staple around the holidays, let’s explore the nutritional powerhouse that is pumpkin. A member of the Cucurbita family, including squash and cucumbers, pumpkin its name from the Greek word "pepon" for large melon. Seeds (pepitas) from related plants have been found in Mexico, dating back over 7000 years to 5500 B.C.

Pumpkins are chock full of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Research shows that people who eat a diet rich in beta-carotene are less likely to develop certain cancers. Pumpkins are also loaded with potassium, zinc and are high in fiber.

Pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses as well, and can be beneficial for people with kidney, prostate and gallbladder problems. They also help remove parasites from the intestines, and are a natural anti-inflammatory. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper and essential fatty acids. All these nutrients are particularly helpful around the holidays.

Today I have 2 recipes for you! Yee-ha!

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
From “Get The Sugar Out” by Ann Louise Gittleman

Serves 8-10 people

1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
1 ½ c pumpkin puree
1 cup milk (dairy, soy, rice or almond)
3 eggs, beaten
¼ c honey
1 ½ tbsp molasses
1 tsp natural vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Add seasonings to the pumpkin puree.
2. In a large bowl, mix milk and eggs, then stir in pumpkin mixture, honey, molasses and vanilla.
3. Pour filling into store-bought whole wheat crust*.
4. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 50 minutes longer.
5. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

Recipe: Roasted Root Veggies

6 carrots, peeled and trimmed
3 large parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices
2 medium onions, trimmed, peeled and halved, each 1/2 cut into quarters
2 large beets, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1 celery root, trimmed and halved, halves cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices
1 whole head garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put all the vegetables and the herb sprigs in a large baking dish. Season well with salt and black pepper, drizzle generously with olive oil, and toss them with your hands to coat them evenly.
Put the baking dish in the preheated oven and cook, stirring the vegetables occasionally, until they are tender and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve the vegetables from their baking dish or transfer them to a platter to accompany a roasted main course.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Food Gift Ideas

I sent this out in my latest newsletter and forgot to post to the blog. Enjoy!

Marinated Goat Cheese Jars from http://www.countryliving.com/

· 1 (8-ounce) goat cheese log
· 1 red bird's-eye chile
· 2 strip(s) lemon zest, pared from 1 lemon
· 2 bay leaves
· 1 sprig(s) fresh oregano
· 1/2 teaspoon(s) fennel seeds
· 2 clove(s) garlic, halved
· 2 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil

Cut goat cheese log into 4 equal pieces; form into balls. Pack all 4 balls in a sterilized wide-necked jar. Cut chile in half, through the stalk. Add chile, lemon zest, bay leaves, oregano, fennel seeds, garlic to jar. Pour in olive oil to cover cheese. Seal jar and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours.

Citrus-Marinated Olives from http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/

2 lemons
1 orange
6 clove(s) garlic
1/4 cup(s) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
2 pound(s) assorted brine-cured olives, drained

From each lemon, cut three 3/4-inch-wide strips peel; place in 1-quart saucepan. Grate any remaining peel from lemons, and place in large bowl.
From orange, cut three 3/4-inch-wide strips peel and add to saucepan. Grate any remaining peel from orange, and add to lemon peel in bowl. Peel garlic and cut each clove in half; crush with side of chef's knife.
Add garlic, oil, and thyme to saucepan, and heat on low until hot but not smoking, about 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 10 minutes.
Place olives in bowl with grated peels. Pour oil mixture over olive mixture, and toss to coat well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate olives at least 24 hours to allow flavors to develop, stirring occasionally. (Or place olives in large self-sealing plastic bag, turning to coat olives well. Seal bag, pressing out excess air. Place bag on plate and refrigerate olives, turning bag occasionally.)
Spoon olives into tightly sealed containers or jars for gift giving. Store in refrigerator up to 1 month.

Chili Lime Peanuts

6 tablespoons lime juice
6 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 cups unsalted cocktail peanuts

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 250°F. Whisk lime juice, chili powder, salt and cayenne in a large bowl.
Add peanuts; toss to coat.
Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets; spread in an even layer.Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until dry, about 45 minutes.
Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Holiday Spiced Pecans

1 pound pecan halves
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread pecans on a large baking sheet. Roast until fragrant, about 12 minutes. Watch carefully so they don’t burn.
Combine brown sugar, salt, thyme, rosemary, pepper and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer the roasted pecans to a large bowl, drizzle with oil and toss well to coat completely. Sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss again.
Serve warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Choco-Nut Bark

2 cups semisweet, bittersweet or milk chocolate chips, melted
1 1/2 cups assorted nuts, such as hazelnuts, almonds and cashews, plus more for garnish

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (Take care to avoid wrinkles.) Combine melted chocolate and nuts in a medium bowl.
Scrape the mixture onto the foil and spread it into an approximate 12-by-9-inch rectangle.
Sprinkle with additional finely chopped nuts, if desired.
Refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the bark and foil to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

Hope you like these recipes/ideas! Let me know how they turn out! I'm planning on making them as soon as I can!

Healthy hangover tips

Last week a reader sent me an email asking,

"What are some nutritious answers to the hangover? What to eat before, during, after..."

GREAT question. I jumped all over this one.

When you've indulged in one, two, or a LOT too many, you've usually got a big headache waiting for you the next morning. Even when you ate greasy diner food after the bar, you still feel crappy in the morning. Why?

Alcohol is a dieuretic. It causes your body to take water from different areas and deposit the water in your bladder. Also, heavy drinking can affect nearly every system in your body for up to 24 hours! And in this process, you also lose important vitamins and minerals such as B6, magnesium, and potassium.

One of the biggest storehouses of water in your body is your brain. So when you wake up with that big headache, your brain is screaming out of thirst. Also, if you had wine or sugary cocktails, your brain and your muscles hate you for the fluctation of blood sugar levels. Up with the drinks, crashing down by morning.

Your best defense is as follows:

1. Always eat a hearty meal BEFORE drinking. This will coat the stomach and prevent the alcohol from being readily digested and absorbed. This works better than eating a big meal before bedtime. Food isn't going to just soak up all the alcohol you drank because the drinks will have already gone in your system, and it will be too late.

2. Drink tons of water before, during, and after drinking. For an extra bonus, also drink coconut water which is full of electrolytes such as potassium, and doesn't contain nearly as much sugar as Gatorade.

3. The morning and day after, eat plenty of foods that are high in the vitamins and minerals that alcohol usually depletes. So eating bananas, tuna, nuts, and beans will replenish your B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. Also try eggs, which have cysteine, an amino acid that breaks down the acetaldehyde (from the alcohol you drank) in your liver.

4. You can also try taking B vitamins, or even better, the supplement chlorella. It is a blue-green algae that is extremely detoxifying, and will help remove toxins from your intestines and liver. Also high in B vitamins and protein, it will boost your energy and combat sugar cravings. And milk thistle is another good supplement for detoxing the liver.

5. If you're hungry after the partying, make sure to have a small snack at the end of the night to help with the blood sugar levels. I know everyone usually goes for pizza or diner food, but even just a banana with peanut butter or a bowl of cereal would help. Something with fiber and lots of nutrition.

Action step: Look at your calendar and see what social events are coming up. Will there be alcohol? What tips from above can you implement to make sure you wake up refreshed the morning after?