Nutrition for Healthy Skin

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cutest little avocado ever
cutest little avocado ever

So, remember that time I smeared avocado on my face? Eating it also happens to be pretty good for your skin.

Tuesday night, I spoke about nutrition for healthy skin at a super-fun fitness event in New Jersey, put together by a consultant from Rodan & Fields, who talked about some of their awesome products. Participants were also treated to healthy snacks and a free kickboxing class.

Here’s a little cheat sheet version of what I covered at the event. Here’s how to nourish your skin from the inside out!

Eat a Balanced Diet: Consume regular, balanced meals and snacks including: fruits and veggies along with lean sources of protein, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and healthy fats. 

Eat the Rainbow: Pigments in fruits and vegetables such as the beta-carotene that gives carrots their brilliant orange color can also make your skin glow.

Pay Attention to Antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that may prevent or delay cell damage caused by free radicals. Popular sources include: fruits, vegetables, red wine (and champagne!), dark chocolate, coffee, and tea.

Choose Supplements Carefully: Aim to get your vitamins and minerals from food first and use supplements to fill in any gaps (for example, iron and vitamin B12 for vegans). A few exceptions: many of us, especially in the northern states (especially in winter), would benefit from a vitamin D supplement. You might want to consider fish oil as well.

Use Sugar Sparingly: Inflammation caused by rapid sugar breakdown leads to sagging, wrinkles, and exacerbation of conditions like rosacea and acne. Sugar also deactivates the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. Save the sweet stuff for special occasions and check labels for hidden sources in processed foods.

Drink Plenty of Water: Hydrated skin is happy skin. Aim for 8 cups a day to get your glow on. Your needs may be more or less, depending on age, activity level, and other factors.

Go Easy on Alcohol: To avoid wrinkles and blotchy, tired-looking skin, stick to one drink per day for women or two for men.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight has been linked to inflammation and related skin problems like acne, sweating, and impaired wound healing. Being underweight can cause skin dryness and a pallid appearance.

Get Enough Sleep: Aside from keeping “hunger hormones” leptin and ghrelin in check, sleep gives the body a chance to repair and regenerate tissue. Also, when we’re tired, we’re more prone to stress, another known skin irritant.

Know Your Triggers: Keep a food journal and note skin’s appearance before and after eating to help you identify problem-foods if you suspect something is causing a reaction.

Don’t Smoke: All the antioxidants in the world won’t offset damage caused by the free radicals introduced to your body when you light up.

Are there any particular foods you try to include—or avoid—to keep your skin healthy? 

Tuesday Giggles

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Hello,  friend…

stuffed dog Saw this on my way home from a meeting last night. It was just too cute and weird to not to stop and take a picture. Happy Tuesday!

Election Party at Mama Joy’s!

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Hey New Yorkers, what are you doing on November 6th?

Come out to the election countdown at Mama Joy’s! They’ll have a wall-sized U.S. map and throughout the evening will color in each state red or blue as the status is broadcast. There will also be specialty cocktails to commemorate the evening. I’ve been told that if you bring your “I voted” sticker, you’ll receive special attention and/or treats.  There will also be a round on the house as the new President is announced.

WHEN: Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Mama Joy’s
1084 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn NY 11237

I’m planning to be there for at least a little while. I’ve never been to an election party, unless you count 2004 and that awkward Boston evening I spent on some guy’s couch back when I was an undergrad with a habit of “dating” lit mag editors who probably just liked me because they wanted someone to write poems about them. Little did they know what they were dealing with…Write, I did ; )

(I actually had dinner with one of them last year, and he asked, “So, did you ever kill me off in a story?”My response: “I was nineteen!”)

Anyway, in 2008, I was home in NYC with my then-boyfriend. We didn’t have TV (I still don’t), but I knew Obama had won when I heard the commotion outside. That was actually kind of cool—regardless of how you’d voted, it still  felt like a big moment.

I’m curious to see how this year pans out!

Have you ever been to an election party? 

Fried Chicken Death Match

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Now, I know I’m an RD-in-training and all and “should” be telling you to never ever eat fried chicken, but when it comes to food, I don’t really believe in words like “never” or “good” or “bad.” What I do believe in is eating mostly foods that benefit your health—and taste good—but also enjoying a little bit of something you really, really love once in a while, even if it happens to be less healthy.

So if fried chicken is your jam, then you have to check out Mama Joy’s Fried Chicken Death Match, which runs at the Bushwick restaurant through September 23. Choose between 2 types and vote on which should stay on the menu—I’ve been hearing good things about both contenders. I don’t know the first thing about what makes a standout fried bird, but connoisseurs tell me it’s partially to do with the breading and the brine.

And hey, you can always pair it with some salad…

Do you eat fried chicken? How do you make room for indulgences in your diet? 

Turn Over a New Leaf in 2012

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With the New Year right around the corner (aka 2 days away), many of us are thinking about  the year ahead and changes we want to make in our lives. Have you ever thought about taking a stress reduction or meditation class to help you achieve some of your goals?

My mother, a psychotherapist based in New Jersey recently announced her winter class schedule. In January and February, she is offering classes in:

  • Smoking Cessation
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
  • Weight Control and Food Issues
  • Meditation Training

All classes will take place on weekends, and there is information on her blog regarding where classes to be held and how to sign up.

Have you ever taken a class to help you stop smoking, lose weight, or de-stress? 

Reminder: Conversation with Manzi Anatole and Joia Mukherjee Tonight

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Just another reminder, tonight there is an event brought to you by GlobeMed at Columbia University and the NYC Partners in Health Community.

From the Partners in Health Website, here is the basic info about the event:

Join us for an intimate conversation with Joia Mukherjee, PIH Chief Medical Officer, and Manzi Anatole, Director of the Mentoring and Enhanced Supervision of Health Centers program of PIH Rwanda. This will be a great opportunity to learn about the successes and challenges that PIH has faced in building public health capacity in close coordination with the Rwandan Government. In many ways, Rwanda is a model for building an effective and equitable public health system. Manzi Anatole has been on the cutting edge of building a decentralized supervision system for nurses in health centers serving Rwanda’s rural poor. Dr. Joia Mukherjee brings the global perspective of applying the lessons of PIH’s work in Rwanda to other PIH projects around the world.

We intend this event to be a forum to meet with and learn from two experienced and dedicated professionals in the field of global health. So please bring your questions!

You can read more here.

Unfortunately, I can’t be there myself, but if you can attend, this is surely an event not to miss. You can also stream it starting at 8 pm tonight on GlobeMed’s Ustream channel.

“The Gift of Ernie”

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, this weekend, my family celebrated my grandfather’s 80th birthday. It was held at a country club near where my folks live and there were, appropriately, about 80 people there. Some of them, I knew, others, not so much. I got a lot of, “You’re one of Ernie’s grandchildren, aren’t you? Do you remember me? I remember you when you were this tall!”

Being that I’m far from statuesque and had neglected to wear heels, this wasn’t saying much…

Anyway, there were a couple monseigneurs on hand to give birthday toasts blessings because my grandfather likes to roll with the holy men. At one point, one them got up and asked us to bow our heads and give thanks “for the gift of Ernie.” I’m not gonna lie, I kind of wanted to crack up, but something told me this was some kind of tender moment in which my inappropriateness would not be welcome.

I’ve been to family functions at this place before, and the food is always good, and the wine very drinkable. After the cocktail hour, we sat down to a dinner of salad…

…and either salmon or filet mignon. My choice was not surprising in the least, but delicious. Could have used more veggies, though. 

I neglected to photograph the dessert spread, as I was called to a family photoshoot by the fireplace (which will probably come back to haunt me one day), but there were some nice mini-pastries and an ice cream set-up. There had been strict orders not to serve birthday cake!

All in all, it was a nice party, and my grandfather was happy that everyone could be there to celebrate the gift of Ernie, and that’s what really matters.

Have you celebrated any “milestone” birthdays in your family recently?