Lifestyle Change: Tips to Fight the Flab



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As we slowly but surely head towards the winter here in Botswana, I worry about piling on the pounds because like most people, I tend to eat more in colder weather. What’s more, I always seem lazier and less inclined to do anything remotely resembling exercise. This inevitably means every winter I put on a little extra weight I’d rather not carry around. As I get older, I’ve also realized that every year it gets harder and harder to get rid of the excess weight. I now realize that I need to find a sustainable solution to this pesky problem. Forget diets, because I love my food and the minute I’m told I can’t have something, I start to crave it and lose interest. I have always preferred the idea of changing my lifestyle to fight the flab over diets anyway.

So with that being said, I have put together some tips to help any of those who may need it. The beauty of going down this route is that you can eat as much of the fruit and veg as you like, which will provide your body with essential nutrients without the added pain of calories. This is not a weight-loss diet, it’s a lifestyle change towards a healthier, more balanced diet.

Avoid processed food and opt instead for fresh, homemade food. Doing this will help your liver to detox and rid your body of toxins.

Avoid coffee, drinks containing caffeine and fizzy drinks. Go instead for herbal tea like Green tea and Redbush tea.

Up your water intake and aim for 2 litres a day at the very least. This will keep you hydrated but also stave off hunger pangs. Jazz up your water with a few slices of cucumber and a few drops of liver-boosting lemon juice.

Avoid eating while watching TV as it will lead to unconscious eating, as you won’t be able to keep track of how much you’re eating!

Do away with salt to reduce water retention, which also contributes to bloating. Have fun playing around with seasoning and different types of herbs, instead. Your food will contain less calories and taste a lot more flavoursome, too.

Start each day with a glass of warm water with a dash of lemon juice for hydration as well as to cleanse your liver.

Avoid rich, calorie leaden salad dressings and instead mix a little balsamic vinegar with some olive oil and a pinch of seasoning. It’s not only delicious but also very low in calories.

Avoid snacking on treats such as chocolate, sweets and biscuits and treat them as just that; TREATS to be had once in a while. Swap them for dried fruit and nuts, raw vegetables and fruit. Dried fruit and nuts are also best kept to a minimum; a small handful is really all you need to plug that hole.

NEVER starve yourself! This will only lead to binge eating later on, and will therefore undo all your hard work. Get in the habit of eating little and often instead.

Changing small things like the above tips really doesn’t require much effort, and if kept up, can yield some amazing results! On top of that, you are more likely to stick to these rules than if you were on a strict diet, where a lot of foods are usually banned for some reason or other. Follow these tips and throw in a bit of exercise maybe 2-3 times a week and you’ll get amazing results.

Picture credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/asparagus-green-green-asparagus-1307604/



My Quest For Strong, Gorgeous Nails

The look I'm going for

The look I’m going for

My quest for strong, gorgeous nails never seems to go anywhere! As far back as I can remember; it doesn’t matter what I do, my nails always seem to be fragile, dry and brittle! I’m really not sure what I’m doing wrong because my diet includes foods rich in calcium like yoghurt and milk in my cereal almost every single day. Some of the supplements I take religiously even contain calcium. I even take a skin, nails and hair supplement, but nothing changes! Granted, sometimes I skip it out of frustration.

I’m sure like me, a lot of women like nice strong nails. The thing with me is, I’m not big on acrylics because whenever I’ve tried them, they’ve left my natural nails in a worse state than before! I also find the natural look prettier. I find fake nails also get in the way. Plus when you have an itch, it’s nicer to scratch with your real nails haha.

So what do you ladies do to help your nails grow longer and stronger? I’m not really asking for much because I don’t like very long nails. I just want them to be long enough to give them a pretty shape, and to be able to have French manicure whenever I want to. My nails actually grow, but then one or two will suddenly snap and break! Usually it’s at such a weird angle that there’s no point plodding along with it like that, and it’s too painful to ignore as it keeps catching on clothes. So I always end up having to cut all of them to start all over again. There must be a name for this sort of thing, because it consistently happens to me. I’ll suddenly notice a crack on the side of a nail, as far down into the nailbed as you can go, and I really wish I knew what causes it! What’s even weirder is the fact that even at their shortest, this can still happen!

Does anyone else experience this, or is it just my own personal, weird thing? What do you do to nurture your nails and keep them strong and supple? Please feel free to share your secret tricks, anything that works for you!

Picture credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/nails-hybdyrowe-hybrid-lacquer-1271507/

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin: A Review

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Lansinoh HPA Lanolin is a described as a cream that nursing mothers can use to soothe their aching, extremely dry and maybe even chapped nipples. It’s meant to not only soothe but also to protect the nipple area by forming a protective barrier on the skin around that area. Many of those who have had babies will probably be able to relate to this problem, but I’ve yet to have a baby, so I don’t know how effective this product is on sore and cracked nipples. If it’s good for them, I know Lansinoh HPA Lanolin would be a Godsend because I remember seeing my mum on the verge of tears with this condition.

So what am I doing writing a review on the product, I hear you ask! Well, that’s because I suffer badly with very dry and cracked heels as well as very dry lips, and I reckoned if this product could help soothe and bring much needed relief to cracked nipples by deeply moisturizing the area, surely it would work on my chapped lips and cracked heels? So I went right ahead and bought it to see if it would be any good.

So What Is Lansinoh HPA Lanolin?

Although described as a cream, it’s a product that’s very similar to petroleum jelly type products such as the commonly known Vaseline. The makers claim it’s 100% natural, made from a single natural ingredient. This was one of the facts that made it very appealing to me. It was designed specifically for the relief of extremely dry, sore skin, in particular nipples.

 What The product Boast

·      Recommended by lactation consultants and US doctors

·      Soothes and protects sore, dry and cracked nipples

·      Contains 1 natural ingredient; no preservatives and additives

·      Hypoallergenic

·      Safe for mum and baby

Did it Work on My Lips and Cracked Heels?

This product is thicker than petroleum jelly, so it’s not nearly as easy to spread around.

What I would recommend is you take a small pea sized amount and work it in the palm of your hand before applying, because it then loosens up and becomes easier to spread.

A little goes a long, long way. However, I wonder if not containing preservatives means it has a very short shelf life. Mine went a weird colour and seemed to harden further, so I’ve not used it since just to play it safe.

I tried it at night before bed to give it time to work overnight. I put some on my very dry lips and cracked heels, and wow, this thing works like magic! By morning, both my lips and heels were soft and supple! Regular use brought even better results. 

I also have to say it works really well on cuticles. All you need is a tiny little bit to gently massage into your cuticles and nailbed.

As good as I found it, the novelty soon wore off and I found having to work it to make it more spreadable a little tedious, so in the end I left mine in the corner, collecting dust until it turned a weird colour.

Those who are patient with these sorts of things will be ok, but if like me, you tend to be a little lazy, you may lose patience with it. BUT it’s sure worth a try if you have extremely, uncomfortably dry skin.

All in all, I’d give it a solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Picture Credit:

My Own

8 More Fat Busting Super Foods

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Earlier this week, I wrote an article titled 8 Fat Busting Super Foods, and I enjoyed putting it together so much, that I have found eight more foods that can help you on your way to fighting the flab!

Lemons claims state that lemons are a very good food item with which to tackle the flab. But not only that, they’re also said to be very good at cleansing the body of toxins, and can really do a good job of boosting the liver’s detoxification process! No wonder a lot of celebrities are very big on sipping water with a slice of lemon floating in it. The only thing I’d say is the lemon’s acidity can make your teeth sensitive, so you may have to consider using a straw.

Blueberries are especially good for those fighting belly fat, which is notoriously difficult to get rid of. A handful a day is all you really need to melt away your belly fat. Research has found blueberries, very rich in vitamins, may change the way fat and sugar are metabolized in your body. The only snag I’ve found is that this tiny superfood doesn’t come in very cheap. 

Chickpeas are suitable for everyone and are a very good source of protein. They make for a good meat substitute, but are high in fibre, rich in B vitamins and iron and low GI (they release energy slowly, and keep you fuller for longer). I like them in hummus and curries. The good thing about hummus is it’s delicious and you can have it so many different ways without feeling guilty.

Cauliflower is a delicious but very low calorie food item. It’s crammed full of detoxifying compounds, which help flush waste from your system. It’s also rich in vitamin C and E. The latest trend is to grate it, steam it and use it as a substitute for rice. I’ve yet to try it this way, but I bet it makes for a yummy change from rice. 

Raspberries like most fruits, are very healthy and packed full of vital nutrients. However, what sets them apart from the rest is that they contain a compound called ketone; which helps promote fat metabolism. What’s more, they’re very rich in anti-cancer antioxidants.

Apples– everyone has heard of the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and well, it can do a lot more that keep you healthy and fit! As we all know, apples make for very low calorie snacks, and can stave off that pesky sweet craving. But they can also help you drop some pounds. Eating them regularly will provide your body with roughage, which will help you shed some weight.

Turmeric is a very popular spice in India and has anti-cancer properties. It’s also been shown to contain a compound called Curcumin, which helps regulate insulin in your body, as well as keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Natural Yoghurt is full of probiotics, which look after the general wellbeing of your tummy, as well as help your belly fat at bay. Being rich in protein, natural yoghurt will also keep you feeling full for longer, allowing you to avoid too much snacking. Opt for non-flavoured versions for maximum benefits.

Picture Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/food-salad-healthy-vegetables-2215/

 

8 Fat Busting Super Foods

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We’ve all been there, a holiday such as the Easter break rolls around and suddenly we throw caution to the wind and join in with eating all the gorgeous food on offer! Let’s face it, nobody wants to be a party pooper or miss out on all the good food by saying no to everything on offer, right? Sadly, all those Easter eggs and delicious food have a way of sticking around for longer on our hips and everywhere else than we’d all like.

Luckily, help is on hand! Here is a list of eight super foods to help you on your way to a trimmer post-Easter break body.

Broccoli feel free to pile onto your plate as much of broccoli as you desire, because it’s very low on carbohydrates, but packed with fibre. It’ll fill you up for longer, without the added worry of piling on the pounds! It’s packed full of calcium, potassium and iron. Enjoy it steamed, sautéed or even raw.

Radishes admittedly not one of my favourite things to eat, but it’s a good snack option if you’re craving something savoury. It takes some getting used and is probably best paired with something else to take off the edge and spicy bite it’s known for!

Cucumber is very low on calories, given the fact it’s made mostly of water and fibre. It’s also packed full of vitamins, and can be enjoyed as a snack; cut into strips and dipped in houmous, salsa or guacamole. Cucumber also makes for a very refreshing drink sliced thinly and thrown in your water!

Eggs are some of my favourite food items, and I’m happy that they’ve made this list! Not only are they cheap; but are filling and packed full of protein, which is handy is regulating levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone, ahrelin. The good thing is that eggs are very versatile, and can be eaten poached, boiled and scrambled, among others.

Tomatoes are another favourite of mine! They’re full of powerful health-promoting properties such as the antioxidant lycopene and can be eaten alone as a quick snack, or tossed in to a salad.

Cottage Cheese is rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein, but low on fat. It makes for a very delicious alternative to full fat cheese, and what’s more, it derives its sleep-inducing properties from the chemical tryptophan, which also regulates hormones such as cortisol. Some people are able to make their own, but it’s readily available in stores, and comes in a variety of flavoursome versions, both savoury and sweet! Cottage cheese can be enjoyed on its own or paired with rice crackers for a low-fat snack.

Turkey is another one that’s packed full of sleep-inducing tryptophan, and helps keep your hormones balanced. Low in fat, turkey is rich in protein and will help in turning fat into muscles.

Lentils are a good vegetable-based protein alternative, and are packed full of fibre. They will keep you feeling fuller for longer, and also keep bloating at bay, helping you on your way to a flatter tummy. Lentils make a good addition to soups, stews and curries.

Picture Credit:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/food-salad-healthy-vegetables-2215/

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

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What are alpha hydroxy acids?

I’m sure some of you, especially those who have a keen interest in beauty products, have heard of alpha hydroxy acids. But do you know exactly what they are?

Well, allow me to explain!

Some people are often alarmed to hear that AHAs are widely used in the formulation of beauty products, because they immediately think of strong industrial chemicals such as sulphuric acid! They couldn’t be further from the truth! Alpha hydroxy acids, often referred to as AHAs, are in fact a class of chemical compounds that occur naturally in foods such as milk, fruits and sugar cane. The most common of AHA’s are as follows:

  • Glycolic Acid- derived from sugar cane
  • Lactic Acid- derived mainly from sour milk
  • Citric Acid- derived from citrus fruit

*AHAs may be derived from their naturals sources or alternatively they may be synthetically made.

Why Choose Beauty Products That Contain AHAs? 

  • They function as pH adjusters; not too low or high pH meaning they won’t irritate your skin and cause further damage, if properly administered
  • They act as humectants, drawing moisture to the skin, thus sealing it in and keeping your skin moisturised 
  • They’re very good exfoliants; they slough away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and in the process encourage rapid cell turnover
  • They soften skin and tackle uneven skin tone, giving way to more uniform and glowing skin
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  • They are very good for problem skin, and regular use will help keep zits at bay by unclogging your pores
  • Support collagen production and may even help in speeding up collagen production, which in turn will slow down the formation of wrinkles while strengthening your skin

Bear In Mind

Not all AHAs are created equal! You’re best off sticking with naturally derived versions, as opposed to synthetically made ones. Ensure you read the packaging thoroughly and ask questions where you don’t understand.

Synthetically made AHAs can be too harsh on sensitive skin types, and may cause problems for all skin types.

As good as AHAs are, they make your skin sensitive to UV rays. So if you do use them, limit exposure to the sun, and make sure you always use high SPF sunscreen; SPF 30 and above should be fine. Some AHAs will contain small amounts of sunscreen, so I’d urge you to use a separate sunscreen on top just to be safe!

Picture Credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/woman-portrait-makeup-model-fruit-804068/

About Hydroquinone

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Hydroquinone is a skin-bleaching agent often used by people of colour to achieve lighter skin. It’s regarded by experts the world over as the ‘gold standard’ of skin brightening and bleaching. However, it has raised grave concerns in the beauty world, as recent reports point to it being linked to cancer. These claims are heavily contested, but are enough to cause concern.

The devastating effects of bleaching agents in many Asian and African countries where the tendency to bleach skin is popular, are all too evident. Back in the day, many women blindly used these products, without the full understanding of their effects and long-term implications. What made it worse for women in Africa, is the fact that the sun shines a lot brighter and hotter here than in most countries. A lot of these women were not enlightened enough to protect their skin against the harmful UV rays or even read up on the ingredients contained within the products they were using. There are claims that a lot of the products contained harmful ingredients such as mercury, that’s why they cause damage to the extent that they did. Either way, the claims about hydroquinone are hard to ignore.

Prolonged use of hydroquinone leads to skin thinning, and exposing the new, delicate skin to harsh UV rays inevitably leads to skin darkening and thus causing irreversible damage. Often women of colour who have fallen prey to the harsh after effects of hydroquinone have unsightly blue-black patches on their skin. Small wonder hydroquinone is banned in many countries across the world. Since studies revealed that hydroquinone could be linked to skin cancer, many countries will only allow the sale of products containing no more than 2% hydroquinone over the counter, and a maximum of 4% via prescription, and many of these countries are in Africa.

What Does Hydroquinone Do?

Its principal aim is to decrease the formation of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin the brown colour. From a medical standpoint, it’s used to even out skin tone, while people will often use it to acquire lighter skin. Sadly, this is especially the case in countries where beauty is measured by how light your skin is.

Common Side Effects

  • Mild stinging or burning
  • Severe redness
  • Severe cracking and bleeding of skin
  • Skin oozing, blistering
  • Severe dryness
  • Severe inflammation, which in turn can worsen the situation by leading to further darkening of the skin
  • Skin discolouration

It must be noted that this doesn’t always happen, and it won’t happen to every single person who used the product. It’s for this reason, that people are cautioned against use of hydroquinone without their doctor’s supervision. In all the above cases, you are advised to urgently alert your doctor.

If You Must use Hydroquinone

  • Consult a doctor/dermatologist, they’re best placed to guide you on what needs doing
  • Lather on sunscreen and limit exposure to the sun
  • Alternatively consider natural alternatives such as mulberry extract, licorice extract, arbutin, azelaic, L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbic acid and niacimide.

*These won’t give results as fast or as obvious as hydroquinone. But at least you’d be safe in the knowledge that the ingredients are natural and will not cause damage to your skin.

Picture credit: Micha Love

https://flic.kr/p/p66X2Z

Kinder Bueno Chocolate- A Review

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I like most people have a lot of love for chocolate. In all my life, I have never come across anyone who hates chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate to varying degrees. I however, have a clutch of different chocolates that I can’t get enough of and will very rarely deviate away from them. I know that to some people, chocolate is chocolate and they eat anything that’s available to them. Not me!

For instance, I really don’t like the taste of white chocolate. To me, it tastes like sugar coated with chocolate and little to no flavor whatsoever. I’d rather skip chocolate than eat white chocolate. I also don’t like dark, even as good for your health as it is. I don’t like the bitter after taste that often comes with it. But milk chocolate; oh, I love milk chocolate!

I have quite a few favourites, but Kinder Bueno is right up there with the best of them! It’s very light and doesn’t feel very heavy at all. I’d even go so far as to say that besides the Kit Kat, it’s the kind of chocolate that people who are mindful of their waistlines could do well to go with. Not surprisingly, Kinder Bueno is made by the same company that makes the decadent Ferrero Rocher chocolate that has proven a huge hit in many a household up and down the world.

Kinder Bueno comes in a few different types, but my personal favourite is the one that comes in pairs, with each individually wrapped within the package. I like that because I can have one and save the other ‘finger’ for another time, although sometimes resistance is futile; and I end up gobbling both fingers up in one sitting!

The chocolate is a thin, almost flimsy wafer filled with deliciously luxurious hazelnut cream. This is decadently coated in smooth chocolate over the top, and the result is what I like to call a bite of heaven in my mouth. The chocolate just melts in my mouth without much effort on my part, which is something that appeals to me. I like that because I can just savour it and feel it melting away without worrying about any bits in it. I also like that it very light and doesn’t leave me wracked with guilt.

Have you ever tasted this chocolate? Do you even like chocolate? –and what’s your favourite?

Picture taken by Evan-Amos

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29331390

Powder Sunscreen 2

A powder sunscreen I've used

A powder sunscreen I’ve used

I only wrote about powder sunscreen last week, and in as much as I love sunscreen, powder sunscreen for me is the ultimate beauty product that many women will really appreciate. This will apply especially to women who prefer to wear makeup, those who live in hotter countries and have found it a hassle to re-apply their sunscreen in the past. Because let’s face it, read the back of any sunscreen and all you hear is, re-apply through the day! I’m not sure how exactly you’re supposed to do this with full makeup on! But thank the beauty industry Gods, for coming up with the ingenious product called the powder sunscreen.

The one challenge I’ve come up against however, is that use of powder sunscreen hasn’t spread quiet as far as I would have thought! When I speak to other women, many have never even heard of it. I’m not sure if it also hasn’t caught on enough for more beauty brands to make it more readily available. I’ve personally only ever been able to buy it online, even in the UK. So now that I live in Botswana, it’s even harder to find. But it should be a lot easier for people in say America to get their hands on.

What’s To Love?

  • Easy to apply
  • Broad spectrum protection, SPF 30 and above
  • Contains no chemicals
  • Not messy
  • Doesn’t sting the eyes as is the case with chemical versions
  • Can easily be worn over or under makeup
  • Usually easy to carry and convenient packaging
  • Doesn’t cause breakouts
  • Mops up oily patches
  • Suits all skin tones
  • Because you can get it in translucent shade, also suitable for men.

Because it’s not exactly cheap, you can use it on the face, the neck and décolletage area to help it go further and last you longer. For the rest of the body, you may want to use a regular natural/zinc sunscreen. The good news is that natural sunscreen is now becoming easier and easier to find in stores, compared to say 2-3 years ago.

Ingredients To Look Out For

  • Zinc Oxide; the higher the content the better! *
  • Titanium Oxide, the higher the content the better! *
  • Mica
  • Iron Oxides *
  • Silica
  • Rice Starch

*All these are the main ingredients that do the work of blocking out harmful UV rays and protecting your skin. In fact, I’d be very happy with a powder sunscreen that contained only those three and little else. The less ingredients that any product contains, the better for your skin!

Picture Credit:

My own

Vick’s Vapor Rub: Amazing Benefits

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I’m willing to bet that most people around the world have heard of and used Vick’s Vaporub at one point or another. I’m also willing to bet that those same people are not aware of the full benefits of this little wonder product, and will no doubt be very surprised and maybe even impressed by what else it can do! I know I am.

So What is Vicks Vapor Rub?

Popularly known as Vicks, is a mentholated ointment that’s commonly used to suppress and take care of nasty coughs and blocked nasal passages. The formula was first made in 1894, so it’s been around for many, many years and still continues to take care of many a household’s ailments.

Vicks contains four active ingredients:

  • Camphor
  • Turpentine oil
  • Levomenthol
  • Eucalyptus oil

While it is commonly used for cold and flu, achy muscles and tendons and for headache relief, Vicks is so much more than that! Here are some of its lesser-known uses that may surprise you!

Treating Nail Fungus many adults are constantly at the mercy of this horrible infection. The toenails turn a nasty yellowish-greenish colour and become very dry and brittle. Gently massaging a little Vicks into the infected nails for about 2 weeks can rid you of this problem. The nails will get worse before getting better, though. Don’t be alarmed to see the nails turning blue-black, it’s just the Vicks working its magic. The healthy nails will then grow to the surface and your toenails will be as good as new.

 

As a Mosquito Repellent for those of you who are terrorized by mosquitos the world over, help is at hand! A cheap and easy to source solution that you would never have expected to work for this purpose is Vicks! Mosquitos appear to hate the smell of menthol, and will most likely stay away from you if you’re reeking of the stuff. If you still manage to get bitten, Vicks can also be rubbed into the bites to reduce the intensity of the itchiness!

Cat Repellent cats are known for their love of scratching just about any hard surface! To get them to stop doing that, select any areas you want to keep your ‘moggy’ away from, smear some Vicks on those areas and they’ll stay well clear. For whatever reason, cats can’t stand the smell of the stuff!

Deep Skin Moisturiser I would never have thought to use Vicks as a skin moisturizer, but if you look at all the active ingredients, it makes perfect sense! It’s especially ideal for very dry skin and even for eczma, as it offers relief from all the itching and the pain of the skin cracking. Vicks is also good for reducing the inflammation that comes with eczma.

Zip Zapper this will come as a piece of good news for those who suffer the devastating effects of acne, day in day out. Applying Vicks at different stages of the day will soothe and dry out spots within a short space of time! The camphor and eucalyptus work together to dry the spots out in record time. The beauty of this remedy is that Vicks is very cheap and a little goes a long way. 

Bringing on The Tear Taps I know nobody would go out of their way to make themselves cry, well unless they’re required to on stage or some sort of production! If you find you struggle to cry on command, Vicks is your go-to product! Dabbing a little Vicks just below your peepers will soon have you in floods of tears!

Chapped Lips If like me you suffer from consistently dry, chapped lips, you may want to give Vicks a try! It truly does a good job of moisturising and keeping lips moist and soft, ridding them of cracks and dry skin.

Picture credit: ficusdesk

https://www.flickr.com/photos/yto/4297543240