How to Choose Healthy Yogurt

yogurt.jpg

Photo courtesy of http://www.medicaldaily.com

Are you one of those people who go for yogurt when trying to lose weight or just trying to be healthy? Well, not all yogurts are made equal, meaning that a lot of times your good intentions of being healthy might actually backfire when you’re consuming yogurt that is high in sugars.

Sometimes even yogurts low in calories are still high in sugars, which end up not being that healthy at all or contributing to inflammation for acne-prone skin.

So how can one not fall into the trap of consuming the wrong yogurt?

Have no fear, as I will let you in on a little secret.

When choosing yogurt you need to see the amount of sugar it contains (it doesn’t matter if on the front they advertise it as being Light or ‘Only 80 calories!’), what matters the most is the amount of sugars found within. Where can you check that? Usually, that is found in the back of the yogurt or in the small print at the bottom.

The healthy choice for yogurt that is to aim for yogurt that contains between 8-14-grams maximum of sugars.

The second thing you need to aim for is to select yogurts that are high in protein as they’re likely to contain less sugar as well.

The best choice overall for yogurt is plain Greek yogurt as that doesn’t contain any sugars. You can try to sweeten it up with fresh fruit such as raspberries or blueberries.

Yogurt can be a healthy meal option when trying to lose weight, but choosing the right one will make all the difference.

White and Pink Strikeout Cosmetics Beauty Logo

DID YOU ENJOY WHAT YOU JUST READ? IF YES, THEN SUBSCRIBE TO THE BLOG, GIVE THE POST A LIKE, OR LEAVE A COMMENT! NEW POSTS ARE UP EVERY TUESDAY & THURSDAY

My Bad Romance: My First Kiss

kissing

It was a typical morning in my seventh-grade life. I’ve never been a fan of math, especially since that year I had begun Pre-Algebra. But the only thing that made that class bearable was the fact that the boy I had a huge crush on since sixth grade sat right in front of me in class. Since we were friends, I’d often find any excuse to talk to him. I’d ask him about movies. How the Chicago Bulls were doing that season (he was a huge fan and always wore a Chicago Bulls cap, strictly backward as per the ‘90s cap etiquette for cool kids).

Our history was somewhat complicated. As in the year before I had given him a Valentine’s Day card that I had made and written a poem that went along these lines:


Nobody knows of my feelings for you,
I keep them hidden, clear out of view.
But the tracks in the snow may give a clue,
But nobody knows of my love for you.


Now my grand romantic gesture would’ve been all fine and dandy if my best friend at the time hadn’t started dating my crush that week of Valentine’s. Our classes had boxes for Valentine’s cards, and I had placed mine in the box on a Monday, my best friend had gotten with the said boy on a Wednesday. Valentine’s fell on a Friday, so now you can see my dilemma. Drama-ensued for a while because of that, until things cleared up (hey, it’s not MY fault they got together after I had posted the card!).


But back to that day in Pre-Al.


It was Halloween, my favorite holiday. All I could think about was how I was going to go Trick-Or-Treating that night (something that truly defied my social group of “pretty popular girls” cause that was seen as “childish” cause ya know when you’re twelve and in a popular group, you need to act like you’re fifteen). This probably explains why I ended up leaving said group, which meant also leaving behind my best friend (and also the most popular girl in seventh grade) which was social status suicide on my part, but I was a rebel!


But I digress.


I was there getting settled in my seat, trying to pretend I knew what was going on (cause ya know, I refused to wear my glasses at the time, which meant that I couldn’t see a thing written on the board and I’m actually surprised I managed to earn B’s in math without ever seeing how the teacher worked out the problems).


Crush Boy sat down and I was doodling on my notebook when he turned around and flashed me his usual charming smile saying, “Happy Halloween!” And then and there just kissed me.


This is where time kind of stopped for me.


My heart was hammering so hard against my chest I was certain that I was going to have a coronary right then and there. My breath caught in my throat, and my cheeks flushed in the most horrendous way (being pale sucks).
“Woo-hoo!” One guy cheered, which pulled me out of the moment and was reminded that I was still in class.


In a math class that also had my best friend (and Crush Boy’s ex-girlfriend) sitting only a few rows over.  I looked over in her direction, and if I weren’t so near-sighted, I’m certain I could see her glaring.


Despite that kiss being simple (we were twelve and in class!), the feelings of euphoria that I experienced from it were something I chased for years, attempting so desperately to feel that lightheaded and blissful. And because this is me, no, Crush Boy and I didn’t have a short-term happy ending. We never dated. Despite him always showing a strange fascination with me, but always dating other girls instead. Later that year I moved, and on my last day of school, he kissed me again (this time after our English). He came up behind me and just planted his lips on me and then said, “Good luck at your new school.” I could barely murmur a reply back before he was already gone, rushing to his final class.


I never saw or heard from him after that day.


Maybe, some people are just meant to be memories.

By: Azzurra Nox

Common Water Brands pH Levels & How They Can Affect Health

water-droplet1

Everyone (from your doctor to trainer) is always preaching about how we need to drink more water for better hydration and also for optimal skincare. But are all waters the same? With so many brands out on the market, it’s hard to tell sometimes which ones are actually beneficial for us, which ones don’t do anything at all, and the ones that are actually causing harm.

Here are some of the ways that either too low or too high pH levels can cause you harm:

Eye & Skin Irritation

We need to worry when pH levels are either too high (above 10) or too low (below 4). If you wash yourself or drink water with pH levels that are either too high or too low you could cause irritation to yours eyes or worsen skin conditions like eczema and acne.

Upset Stomach

High pH levels or too low can also cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in some individuals. So if you’re someone who suffers from that you should probably look into what water you’re drinking and see which one would be best for you.

With so many brands out there you’re probably wondering, which one is the best for me? Below is a list of common brands and their pH Levels. Anything below five isn’t the best, and the closer to ten is the optimal number for drinking water.

Vitaminwater: 3.4

Propel Zero: 3.5

Propel Fitness Water: 3.6

Penta: 4.0

Dasani: 4.5

Function: 5.0

Perrier: 5.5

Poland Spring: 5.8

Voss: 6.0

Ice Mountain: 6.0

Crystal Geyser: 6.0

Deer Park: 6.3

Smart Water: 6.5

Great Value (Walmart brand): 6.5

Gerber Pure Water: 6.5

Arrowhead: 6.83

Evian: 7.0

Volvic: 7.0

Zephrhyllis: 7.5

Absopure: 7.5

Fiji: 7.5

Super Chill: 7.5

Evamor: 8.0

Real Water: 8.0

Essentia: 9.0

Now from that list you can see that the best brand for an optimal pH Level drinking water is Essentia. I usually drink Fiji and although it isn’t the level that Essentia is, it’s still at a healthy level. All the other waters are probably okay, but the clear loser is Vitaminwater, which is below a 4-level and could actually cause those issues that were mentioned above or worsen them.

What’s important to remember is that water with an alkaline pH improves your body’s hydration levels, supplies essential minerals, and creates a healthy pH balance in your body. However, when water has an acidic pH level you can have skin and eye irritations, stomach problems, the water doesn’t provide a good source of nutrients, and it may lower the pH level in your body causing more harm.

So next time you’re in the grocery store think about which waters are actually doing their job, and which ones you should avoid as you’re just doing yourself more harm and actually paying for it, than anything else.

Did your water brand make the cut?

By: Azzurra Nox

glass-of-water

Five Morning Rituals That Will Kick-Start Your Day!

For many of us, waking up early in the morning is a must. But if you’re not an early bird (as myself), waking up early can truly seem torturous. How can you alleviate this problem or at least make those early morning wake-up calls seem less dreadful? Here are a few of my morning rituals that help me jump-start my morning and be ready for the day.

Choose a Pleasant Alarm to Wake-Up To

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found that being utterly startled out of sleep already puts me in a foul mood before I even set foot out of bed. Throughout the years I’ve found that being slowly awakened to a pleasant sound that gently lulls me out of sleep works wonders. I’ve been waking up to The Cure’s Just Like Heaven for years now. There’s something about Robert Smith’s dreamy voice and the uplifting spirit of this song that somehow makes me feel like my day is going to be awesome. Choose a song that makes you feel good or even a relaxing instrumental and start your day with some positive vibes!

Cup of Tea

I’m a tea lover, and if there’s one thing that will put me in a bad mood first thing in the morning is if I have awful tea (which also makes me a tea snob). I usually favour English Breakfast or Darjeeling Tea for the mornings. There’s something about the aroma and the comforting warmness of it that makes me feel like I’m being cuddled up in a snuggly blanket. Some of my favourite tea brands are: Twinings, Ashby, Mighty Leaf Tea, and . If you’re more of a coffee person, then go ahead and have that. But something about drinking a hot drink will soothe any morning jitters and get you prepared for the long day ahead.

7-Minute Reading

I know some people love to read the morning news, and that’s good if that’s what you like to do. I usually try to avoid being bombarded by the news first thing in the morning, mostly because a good portion of the news if always somewhat depressing. Instead, I try to wake up my brain with some leisure reading. Usually it may be a magazine article or simply reading a few pages of whatever book I’m currently reading. Whatever you choose doesn’t matter as long as it helps you motivate yourself to wake up.

7-Minute Workout

I’m not the best person when it comes to exercise (at least in the formal going to the gym-sort), but I’ve found that doing this simple exercise routine 7-Minute Morning Workout In Pyjamas by Joanna Soh is the best way to get your blood flowing and shake off the morning blues. This exercise is simple and doesn’t take too much time out of your morning routine. If anything, it helps you work off that extra glass wine or scoop of ice cream you had before going to sleep the night before. It’s also fool-proof enough that even hungover or sleep deprived you can manage to do these easy steps. In just seven minutes you’re able to loosen your muscles and get your heart rate going. And don’t worry if you work up a bit of a sweat, just jump into the shower afterwards!

Lemon Water

This is simple! Just take a glass of hot water and spritz some lemon juice (or add a slice of lemon) to the water and drink this either before your morning coffee or tea, or even after. This Lemon Water is an excellent source of Vitamin C (much needed during flu-season!) and an amazing way to rid your body of unwanted toxins. Not only that, lemon aids in reducing pain in the body and any inflammation in joints. Not to mention that it tastes delicious!

These are just some of my morning rituals. Leave some of yours in the comments below!


Lemon Water image taken from eblogfa.com

By: Azzurra Nox

Say Farewell to your Acne FOREVER!

Acne can be a very serious problem for many men and women. Not only is it painful but it can be very damaging to your self-esteem. And yet, acne is no longer a problem that’s only debilitating teenagers around the world, but rather more and more adults everyday are being affected by this skin condition. 50 million, to be exact.

Now, I’m not a dermatologist, and I haven’t suffered from severe adult acne as some have, but I’ve had to deal with some painful cystic acne in which nothing seemed to cure. And apparently dermatologists were just as clueless, offering to prescribe one different acne cream or wash after another with no real significant change.

Being someone who’s always avid to learn, I decided that maybe I should try to find the perfect cure to eradicate this problem. After all, a whole population of an island on Papua New Guinea have never suffered from acne in their lives. This made me think about what did they have going for them?

First of all, throughout my extensive research I’ve learned one major fact, that acne is a problem that cripples mostly the Western World (poor eating habits and stress being the major issues).

I know dermatologists have been saying for years that they don’t know WHAT causes acne, but I decided to take matters into my own hands and figure out exactly what is happening to our skins.

The major culprit is P. acnes (a bacteria that colonizes the skin whether or not you have acne) and grows rampant with the help of sebum (hence why people with oily skin or combination skin are the ones who majorly suffer from this skin condition). Hormones also play a huge role, creating an overabundance of sebum (thus making your skin fertile for acne to flourish).

The issue is, how can we eradicate the problem? I turned to science as a way to solve it. What I learned was that a lot of the inflammation that causes acne begins in the stomach and that the common denominator in crushing acne is Vitamin A. So I used that knowledge to test drive the five steps that have kept me acne-free for two years.

skin

5 Proven Steps to Better Skin

Vitamin A. This vitamin makes your skin virtually hostile towards P. acnes by keeping your levels of sebum very low. There’s a reason why dermatologists prescribe Acutane to acne sufferers, and it’s because it’s pretty much overdosing on Vitamin A. Now, there’s two ways you can obtain more of this vitamin (through food such as a chicken livers, which you’d only need to eat it once a week, as Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it’ll stayed stored in your liver till your body consumes it) or you can take Vitamin A supplements (which anything higher than 25,000IU daily dosage could be potentially harmful or even fatal, which is why if you’re planning on taking supplements that you see your doctor first to see what dosage is best for you). I DO NOT recommend to self-medicate because this isn’t a water soluble vitamin, so take with caution.

Rose Water Toner. Rose water helps soothes inflamed skin, and nothing causes acne-prone skin to breakout or get worse than using toners that are alcohol based (they’re too drying and hence will have your body replace even more sebum, creating a vicious cycle). There’s many to choose from on the market, but my personal go-to is Alteya Organic Bulgarian Rose Water (from New Rose Harvest). You can order it from Amazon and it retails for $15.94 (250-ml/8.5-fl. oz.).

Benzoyl Peroxide. This works because it helps kill the P. acnes that’s harvesting on your skin. Usually it takes about 6-12 weeks for you to start seeing a difference, so consistence is key. I’ve tried out many but what has really worked for me is Neutrogena’s Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel. It’s got 10% Benzoyl Peroxide (most of the creams out there have only 5%) and it really helps with keeping my skin clear. You can find it on Amazon or your local Ulta, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, or CVS and it usually retails for $6.50 (1-fl. oz.).

Brewer’s Yeast. Now, one of the major culprits that causes acne is your digestive tract being out of whack. Somehow, inflammation in your gut corresponds with inflammation on your skin. One of the reasons why that population in Papua New Guinea doesn’t suffer from acne is because they eat a plant-based diet, low sugar, and no processed foods. But some people even if they were to do all that, will still have gut issues because of stress. Enter Brewer’s Yeast that’s packed with all the B-vitamins essential for healthy skin (Thiamin Vitamin B1, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Niacin Vitamin B3, Pantothenic acid Vitamin B5, and Pyridoxine Vitamin B6). It’s also got the good bacteria that makes your gut happy – Probiotics. Now you can take it in powder form (which is absolutely disgusting but does the trick) or you can find it in capsule form. I recommend Now’s Brewer’s Yeast, retailing for $10.25 (200-tablets) on Amazon.

Vitamin C Serum. Vitamin C is essential for collagen and cell turn over, and with skin that’s constantly inflamed, it helps dry out the P. acnes without causing it harm. I always put this on after having applied a thin layer of Neutrogena’s Spot Cream (see #3). I especially love Isabis Formulae’s Vitamin C serum because it’s also packed with Vitamin A & E which somehow helps keep spots at bay while leaving your skin feeling supple and glowing (this serum is so lightweight that you can also apply it during the day). It currently retails for $25.97 (30-ml/1-fl. oz.) on Amazon. A little goes a long way. One bottle usually lasts me between 3-4 months (I use it once a day at night).

*In conjunction with these steps you must also follow a diet that’s extremely low on dairy intake, high in leafy greens and water, and no processed foods or exceeding more than three teaspoons of sugar a day.

By: Azzurra Nox

Milk: How it went from being the Good Guy to becoming the Enemy

milk

If you grew up in the 90’s you’ll easily recall the magazine adverts for Got Milk? The advertising campaign was started in 1993 by the Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board to encourage everyone (teens in particular as many of these ads were running in teen magazines such as Teen, YM, Seventeen, and Teen People to cite a few) to consume more cow’s milk. The ads were snazzy and catchy with informative bits (or was it only false advertising?) usually using celebrities that were relevant and hip at the time. Some of the celebrities that got involved in the campaign were Tyra Banks, Hanson, Kate & Ashley Olsen, Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, David Beckham, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and recently before the campaign got retired for good by Taylor Swift.

About 300 celebrities between models, athletes, musicians, and actors took part in the ads spanning a 20-year campaign. The celebrities were often depicted donning a milk moustache and calling out facts that should make us want to drink more milk, such as: Nine essential nutrients, Studies suggest that teens who drink milk are leaner, and Three glasses a day keeps osteoroporosis at bay for girls!

That all sounds awesome, right?

kate

Well, the truth is studies show that cow’s milk isn’t all that great for humans after all. The main protein in milk is called Casein which is potentially TOXIC for humans.

But what does that exactly mean?

It means that the more milk you consume, the more likely you’re to suffer from the following conditions:

  • Eczema
  • Acne
  • Kidney Disease
  • Arthritis
  • Tooth Decay
  • Asthma
  • Irritable Bowels
  • Sinus problems
  • Colitis
  • Chrons
  • MS
  • And ups the possibility of an individual getting breast or prostrate cancer.

Another fun fact, most milk sold in America is overrun with hormones and antibiotics causing more harm than good in the long run. Not to mention that each glass of milk has at least 135 million pus cells (a huge reason why acne is so rampant in the Western world).

So where should we look for calcium if dairy products are off limits?

Leafy greens, seafood, legumes, and fruits contain enough calcium to keep your bones and teeth strong without the gross factor.

Got milk? More like Get out.

By: Azzurra Nox