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Friday, October 7, 2011

Beauty Sense, Naturally

Advertising is a powerful and very convincing tool in the world of beauty and skin care. Commercial hype feeds on the insecurities of its consumers. From little on up children are exposed to subliminal messages concerning satisfaction with self-image. The result of such subconscious bombardment is a dissatisfaction with our bodies and appearance.

Awareness is the key to seeing through all that and discovering the meaning of contentment. When it comes to our health we have to realize that it is up to us as individuals to maintain or regain optimal health, inside and out. There is no magic product to transform us into the airbrushed beauties we see on television.

We have to trust our instincts in the choices we make. Building a sense of mind, body, and spiritual awareness will bring out that inner beauty we were all blessed with from birth. Beauty shouldn't be trying to create an image or cover up supposed flaws not in line with the current trend.

The formula for beautiful skin in all stages of life is basically common sense.

1. Eat a healthy diet

Everything we put into our mouths becomes a matter of chemistry in what our systems do with it. Give our bodies what it needs and it'll run like a fine tuned engine. Feed it inferior fuel and it'll eventually get bogged down with sludge just like our car engines. Eat whole foods as nature intended, that our bodies' will recognize, not processed imitations with a pretty picture. Supplements are good but don't think a handful of capsules will offer the same benefits or replace the whole food itself.

2. Be smart with sun exposure

Skin is very forgiving while we are young, but over time we pay the price when those dreaded age spots, freckles and wrinkles start popping up, or the fear of skin cancer becomes a reality when that suspicious spot doesn't go away.

The warmth of the sun is wonderful, we just have to be smart about it. If you know you're going to be out between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. be prepared with a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen. Sun protective clothing to cover up is always an option as well. Getting enough vitamin D is important and what better way than naturally from the sun. SAD, seasonal affective disorder, is not just "in your head". We need outside time and fresh air to feel our best. Remember as kids you could always tell who the country kids were because they had the "kiss of sunshine" on their cheeks.

3. Don't Smoke

Smoking damages collagen and elastin which are the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. By narrowing the tiny blood vessels in the outer layers of skin, there is a decrease of blood flow. A decrease in blood flow results in the skin being starved for oxygen and important nutrients. Those tiny little wrinkles around the mouth are often created by the facial expressions done while taking that drag on the cigarette.

4. Manage Stress

People often say they smoke because they have bad nerves and a cigarette calms them down. Or they say their cigarettes are very consoling, almost like a best friend. As true as that may be, try to find another friend who won't stab you in the back later in life. Our culture certainly doesn't encourage the benefits of doing nothing. Even when we are doing nothing that usually also involves some form of entertainment such as web surfing, video games or mindless TV. Doing nothing should mean emptying our minds of chattering clutter for a period of time every day. In doing that, our entire systems will relax and rest. Only when we rest does our body focus on repair. Practice meditation, try yoga, take a bath, take a casual walk without the headphones. A body in a continuous fight or flight mode is asking for a physical breakdown of some sort.

5. Exercise

We all know the expression, "Use it or lose it". That goes not only for our outward physique but also our internal organs. Get things moving and you'll be amazed how your overall health improves as everything works together. Good circulation means a continuous supply of fresh oxygenated blood all throughout the body, including the brain which helps with those memory skills. Too often people hurt so they move less. Moving less weakens and stiffens those muscles putting them at risk for atrophy. Remember, your lungs and heart are also muscles. The less you do the weaker they'll get as well, and the cycle continues as fatigue deters your ambition and facilitates feelings of depression.

6. Drink enough water

Here are some fun facts about the human body:

Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. Each day humans must replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods eaten.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Utz, Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University, different people have different percentages of their bodies made up of water. Babies have the most, being born at about 78%. By one year of age, that amount drops to about 65%. In adult men, about 60% of their bodies are water. However, fat tissue does not have as much water as lean tissue. In adult women, fat makes up more of the body than men, so they have about 55% of their bodies made of water. Fat men also have less water (as a percentage) than thin men.

While drinking water is often the best way to replace lost fluids, other liquids including milk, tea, soup, fruit juice and sports drinks also are effective. One caution: beverages with caffeine or alcohol can increase fluid output, making it more difficult to stay adequately hydrated.

It is usually advised to drink 8 glasses of water a day, though it all depends on our activity level and what types of foods we eat. If we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables we'll get much of those needed fluids in comparison to eating primarily processed or prepackaged foods.

7. Proper rest

We all know the price we'll pay when we don't get enough sleep. Our bodies do their healing and repair of tissues while at rest. We can't fit more hours in our day, and depending on what stage in life you're at with child rearing and career, the opportunity for an 8 hour night's sleep may be few and far between. But at least you can hope for an uninterrupted sleep rather than tossing and turning with your thoughts still churning. Try the lifestyle changes listed above before reaching for pharmaceutical sleep-aids.

Balance is the key, and everything in moderation. There are always going to be occasions when we have to keep going and feel like the energizer bunny. But even the strongest battery will burn out without a recharge.

Our skin is the largest organ of elimination in our bodies. A beautiful, blemish free complexion and youthful appearance is the result of good balance and proper energy flow.

Meadow Muffin Gardens all began with the desire to find such a balance. Turning to the wisdom of people who have "been there and done that", my inspiration comes from the experience and writings of past generations.

"Wholesome and practical is the best way to describe our line of body care.
Guided by wisdom and knowledge passed down from generations of women our products consist of ingredients provided by our natural world. Information and recipes often tucked away in quaint old books resurface to remind us that 'simple is best'."

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