5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Mood

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Good Morning sweethearts! I hope you are all having a wonderful week so far! Today I wanted to post something a little different, if you have been a reader of my blog for some time now you know that I used to incorporate health/wellness into my weekly posts and I kinda miss them! So today we are starting simple with just 5 Simple Ways to Boost your Mood!

This time of year can be extremely hard: exams are coming up, the winter blues are seriously setting in and you are already wondering how it is already the 3rd month of 2017 and you haven’t really accomplished any of your New Years resolutions yet…Well no worries, because these tips are sure to put a smile on your face!

Tip # 1 Go off of social media

Probably the hardest, yet the simplest tip I have on this list. We are a generation attached to our phones, and sometimes it can become to much. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my Insta-fam and am just so thankful for every single one of you, but sometimes the simple act of logging off and putting down your phone can do wonders for your mood!

Tip #2 Eat Some Happy Foods

Weird I know, but there are some foods that have been proven to improve one’s mood because they increase the levels of Serotonin and other happy hormones in your brain. Try eating some Popcorn, Salmon, Dark Chocolate or Bananas for a simple mood boost!

Tip #3 Go Outside

This tip strongly relates to tip #1, but I find that by removing myself from what is frustrating me instantly puts me in a better mood. So take your dog for a walk,  go for a coffee run or maybe do a little bit of shopping. Anything to take your mind off whatever is bothering you!

Tip #4 Do Something for Someone Else

Have you ever seen that episode of Friends where Joey and Phoebe argue if there is in fact a selfless deed because you always feel better about yourself after? Well Joey is right in this sense, you always feel happier helping someone else. So go and volunteer at an retirement home or a Humane Society, cook dinner for you Grandparents, or simply go to the local park and pick up some trash. It’s the little things that will make the biggest difference!

Tip #5 Watch a Mood-Booster

Tip #5 relates to tip #4, watch a TV show or a Movie that you know will put a smile on your face and make you forget about your problems. My favorites are Friends, Corner Gas, The Pink Panther and Morning Glory! These are all great things to watch when you are in a little bit of a slump!

I hope that these little tips were useful, and today I am wishing you all an amazing day :)

Joy xx.

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Power of Plants – Calcium

The Power of Plants - Calcium, Vegan Diet, Vegetarian Diet, Health, Wellness

Good morning everyone! After last weeks craziness that was 5 outfits in one week we are back to the regular scheduled programming. Today I will be continuing with my “Power of Plants” Series ( Part 1 HERE ) and for today’s topic I will be discussing Calcium.

We are told countless times through TV adds, magazine articles and even from our Mom & Dad that we need to make sure we are getting enough calcium, and although this is true, the source that we are told to consume (ie Dairy) isn’t exactly the best for our health (more on this later). Plenty of plants contain high amounts calcium, you just have to know where to look!

So What is Calcium?

Calcium is our most essential mineral that is not only needed for strong bones but is also involved in so many functions such as muscle contraction & relaxation, blood clotting, the transmission of nerve impulses & enzyme activity. No matter how much calcium we consume out bodies naturally maintain the ideal amount of calcium in our blood and inside our cells with a very complex system.

Calcium Balance

To understand a little bit more about calcium you need to learn about Calcium Balance: which is the relationship between calcium intake and calcium output from the body. Our goal as adults is to maintain our calcium balance, ( ie Calcium Intake = Calcium Output ), however our absorption, excretion, & retention can differ from person to person and be affected by many different circumstances.

Calcium Absorption

Absorption of calcium can differ from person to person but usually we absorpb about 15-20% of the calcium in food/beverages.

Here are 3 Tips to Improve Calcium Absorption:

  1. Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D helps to maintain blood calcium at the correct levels by regulating the calcium movement in three places: absorption in the intestine, losses through the urine & the storage in the bones.
  2. Absorption of calcium occurs better when consumed in small amounts throughout the day rather than one large dose at a single time
  3. Certain substances in vegetables such as Oxalates ( found in spinach, Swiss chard, rhubarb & beet greens ) as well as some phytates can bind to the calcium, decreasing absorption.

Calcium Excretion 

Our diet has a large impact on the composition as well as the acidity of our urine, which then affects how much calcium we are losing. Overall there are two substance that are know as “Calcium Thieves”: Proteins & Sodium as well as Coffee & Phosphoric Acid to a lesser extent.

Calcium Retention

There are many lifestyle factors that can affect how much calcium we retain, although there are two main considerations:

  1. Estrogen – which appears to help in calcium absorption & help our bones to retain this mineral
    • Research has shown that by consuming foods high in estrogen ( ie soy products ) may improve our bone density
  2. Exercise – when exercising a message is communicated to the bones to preserve the calcium and to keep the bones strong.
    • 45 minutes – 1 hour of weight bearing exercises ( walking, running, cycyling etc. ) 3-5x per week as well as resistant training 3-5x per week is reccomended.

Calcium Rich Plant Foods

*roughly*

  1. Greens:
    1. Bok Choy, Raw, 2 Cups – 147 mg
    2. Broccoli, Raw, 2 Cups – 84 mg
    3. Collard Greens, Cooked, 1 Cup – 226 mg
    4. Kale, Raw, 2 Cups – 181 mg
    5. Romaine Lettuce, Raw, 2 Cups – 40 mg
  2. Fruits
    1. Figs, 5ish – 137 to 197 mg
    2. Orange, Medium – 52 mg
  3. Legumes & Soy Foods
    1. Garbanzo Beans, Cooked, 1 Cup – 80 mg
    2. Lentils, Cooked, 1 Cup – 38 mg
    3. Pinto Beans, Cooked, 1 Cup – 82 mg
    4. Green Soybeans (edamame), 1 Cup – 185 mg
  4. Nuts/Seeds
    1. Almonds, 1/4 Cup – 115 mg
    2. Flaxseeds, 2 tbsp – 47 mg
    3. Hazelnuts, 1/4 Cup – 38 mg
  5. Black Strap Molasses, 1 tbsp – 176 mg

Plants are filled with all of the essential vitamins, minerals & macronutrients that we as humans need to survive, without the added “bonus” of cholesterol, additives or hormones. By just switching to one or two meals per week ( or even participating in Meatless Monday ) you will be making leaps and bounds towards better health as well as a better environment!

Joy xx.

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Power of Plants – Protein

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Good morning and happy Friday everyone! I am starting a new blogging series called: “The Power of Plants” in which I will be discussing the benefits of consuming a predominately plant based diet and debunking some very popular myths. I thought that I would first start off with the topic that everyone seems to talk about: PROTEIN.

Myth #1: It is essential to consume meat in order to get enough protein

In today’s day and age we are constantly told to consume more protein, and that if we want to be healthy our protein should come from animal sources (whether that be dairy, meat, eggs, fish etc ) but the fact is we are over consuming protein by about 50-100% above our recommended amounts ( which is only 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight eg. weight=50kg, protein recommendation=40g ). You may be thinking “Okay, but what’s the harm in that?” well currently there is no conclusive evidence to suggest long term benefits from consuming an extremely high protein diet, and in fact it may actually have some harmful effect including excessive loss of body calcium as well as an accelerating decline in age-related renal function.

So, where do you get your protein…?

This is a VERY common question that I get asked, and when I answer I tend to receive an eye roll in response, but in reality it isn’t that hard to consume enough protein from a plant based diet! Here is a list of high protein, plant based foods with (roughly) their protein content:

  1. Legumes
    1. Black Beans: 15.2 g per 1 cup
    2. Garbanzo Beans: 14.5 g per 1 cup
    3. Lentils: 17.9 g per 1 cup
    4. Pinto Beans: 14.0 g per 1 cup
  2. Nuts/Seeds
    1. Almonds: 7.5 g per 1/4 cup
    2. Cashes: 5.2 g per 1/4 cup
    3. Pumpkin Seeds: 8.5 g per 1/4 cup
    4. Flaxseeds: 3.7 g per 2 tbsp.
  3. Grains
    1. Oatmeal, cooked: 3 g per 1/2 cup
    2. Brown Rice, cooked: 2.3 g per 1/2 cup
    3. Quinoa, cooked: 3 g per 1/2 cup
  4. Vegetables:
    1. Broccoli, raw: 2.6 g per 1 cup
    2. Cauliflower, cooked: 1 g per 1/2 cup
    3. Kale, raw: 2.2 g per 1 cup
    4. Sweet potato, baked: 2 g per 4 oz.

To compare lets look at animal based products for protein content (roughly):

  1. Dairy Products/Eggs:
    1. 2% Cows Milk: 4.1 g per 1/2 cup
    2. Low-Fat Yogurt: 6.4 g per 1/2 cup
    3. Large Egg: 6.3 g per 1 large egg
  2. Animal Products:
    1. Ground Beef: 10.6 g per 2 oz.
    2. Roasted Chicken: 17.9 g per 2 oz.
    3. Salmon, baked: 13.4 g per 2 oz.

Myth #2: Plant Based protein is of poor availability & digestibility 

Remember how in this post HERE I discussed how proteins are made from a combination of amino acids? Well you can get amino acids from plants, and there is really no difference between the amino acids found in animal products and those found in plant based foods. Although, yes, some proteins are less available in certain whole grains,legumes and vegetables that just means that as vegetarian or vegan you may have to increase your protein requirement by 10-15%. However the extent to which we digest and absorb the proteins available depends on each individual product as well as how the food is prepared or processed. We know that sprouting or germinating beans before we cook them increases the digestibility and can increase the product content of plant based proteins. Cooking or processing certain produce can also be beneficial as it increases the amount of protein as well as some minerals and phytochemicals become more readily available.

Random tip of the day:  Know the song:”Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot…”? Well, simply cook your beans and you will become less gaseous. Your family can thank me later.

Myth #3: You must protein combine at every meal

What is protein combining? Protein combining is when you consume two types of plant based proteins at one time in order to create a ‘complete protein’ ( a complete protein is a protein that contains all the amino acids needed for the body to properly function ), an example of this would be beans & rice, oatmeal topped with nuts/seeds etc. This belief is a little out dated, we now know that as long as you eat a variety of whole plant based foods through out the day and you consume enough calories you will be able to attain sufficient amino acids from your diet.

For some simple & healthy meal ideas check out these blog posts: HEREHERE & HERE!

Hope you all have a very healthy weekend!

Joy xx.

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*I am not here to tell you how you should eat, I am simply trying to provide education. By consuming a predominantly plant based diet you lessen your chances of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Always remember to consult a health care professional before making dramatic changes to your diet.*

 

12 Key Additives to Avoid & Their Related Health Risks

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Good Morning and Happy Wednesday everyone!

Finally another nutrition post, Yay! So sorry that I missed one from last week, but sometimes life get’s in the way of blogging! But I am back and today I want to discuss with you all the Top 12 Additives in Foods to Avoid plus their Related Health Risks.

Hydrogenated Fats

Found in: Margarine, most chips and many pre-packaged baked goods

What is a hydrogenated fat? Basically polyunsaturated fats are hydrogenated with hydrogen which changes their biochemical structure, essentially “saturating” them. Once thought of as a beneficial substance, it has now been linked to cardiovascular disease as well as obesity.

Artificial Food Colors

Found in: Colored drinks, color-coated candies, gummy candies, most cereals, cookies & cakes & other pre-packaged or frozen foods

Many food colours have carcinogenic properties, and have been linked to allergies, asthma and hyperactivity in children. Think about this: if you like to eat colorful foods, just consume all the fruits and veggies that you desire and leave the artificial foods alone.

Nitrites & Nitrates

Found in: found mostly in preserved meats such as hot dogs, bacon and salami

Nitrites and Nitrates are a preservative that can turn into nitrosamines in the body which have the ability to become carcinogenic ( caner causing ). Research has indicated that Vitamin C can protect against this harmful process.

Sulfites 

Found in: grapes & wine, sulfur dioxide in some fruits & metabisulfites in other foods. Used in preservation of dried fruits and freshly cut potatoes, used in fruit juice concentrates & can be sprayed on grapes and used in the making of wine.

Sulfites are particularly irritating to people suffering with allergies as well as asthma and can actually trigger anaphylactic shock as well as headaches & nausea.

Sugars and Sweeteners

Naturally Found In: honey, maple syrup, date sugar, brown rice syrup, barley malt, fruit juice & fruit juice concentrates, fructose & molasses. 

Refined Sugar products are added to almost everything

Can cause dental cavities, obesity, diabetes, elevated blood sugar, hypoglycemia, behavioral changes & food cravings. Natural forms of sugar should be limited, but to be totally honest I love my Maple Syrup and I will not be taking that out of my diet, I just don’t eat it every day.

Artificial Sweeteners

Found in: soft drinks, gum, candies, beverages, instant tea/coffee,  desserts etc.

Also known as Aspartame, Saccharin & Acesulfame-K these artificial sweeteners have been linked to many health related problems such as allergies, changes in behavior and may also be carcinogenic.

MSG

Found in: soups, candies, crackers & other packaged foods

Can cause headaches, irritability, an increase in heart rate, tingling of the muscles or skin and a tight feeling in the chest.

Preservatives 

Found in: cereals, crackers, and products containing oil as a preservation method

BHA, BHT & EDTA.

Can be very damaging to the liver as well as the nervous system. Linked to some cancers and may also cause allergic reactions. My thinking behind this is: if a chemical can preserve food for years and years to come, yet an apple rots in the fridge in a week…how can the preservative filled food it be good for us?

Artificial Flavors

Found in: almost all processed and refined foods

Generally these foods are not healthy to begin with as they have been highly processed and therefor lack the nutrition that the body needs. Leave foods containing artificial flavors for the occasional treat and not as an everyday occurrence.

Refined Flour

Found in: many baked goods, white bread, pastries etc.

These foods are what I like to call “empty calories”. They do nothing for your body as little to no nutrition is left after the refinement process and these products have been linked to obesity, however they feel oh-so-good for the soul. I suggest not cutting them out of your diet, just leaving them to the occasional treat.

Salt

Found in: various foods

I personally like to limit my salt intake as I find that it causes headaches. An excessive intake of salt can lead to fluid retention as well as an increase in blood pressure, & according to my textbook an excessive amount of salt can influence a women’s menstrual cycle.

Olestra

Found in: various foods marketed to contain half the calories of original product ( low calorie cookies, chips etc ) 

Olestra is an artificial fat used in products that want to have lower calories but still have that rich taste, which may cause diarrhea (ew) and other digestive issues. My advice? Eat the full fat product, but just limit the quantity and occurrence of these treats.

 Please remember that we need to properly nourish our body with wholesome, natural foods and that these pre-packaged products are usually highly refined and not at all nutritious ( despite what a label might say ). Always do what works for you, I am simply here to give you guidance and advice, what you choose to take from this is up to you.

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope you found a little inspiration in it!

Joy xx.

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Components of a Healthy Diet

Healthy Lifestyle Tips, Components of a Healthy Diet, Silver Rings, White T Shirt, Boyfriend Jeans, Rings, Watch, Details

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As I start to integrate more health/nutrition posts I will start to talk about more complex topics, but for now I really want to stress the basics because once you got those down the rest will be fairly easy. Already I have talked about the importance of choosing Organic ProduceThe Macronutrients & I also gave you all some Simple Healthy Lifestyle Tips so I thought that today I would just incorporate all those topics into one post and explain the components of a healthy diet!

Natural, Seasonal & Fresh Foods

  • Consume a wide variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grains & legumes
  • Should encompass at least 80-90% of your diet
  • Eat local & in season
  • Avoid spoilage/rancidity of animal products; eating your fruits/vegetables as fresh as possible

Nutritious Foods

  • Consuming foods that allow you to acquire all the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids & phytonutrients you need to properly function
  • Organic produce
  • Consuming chemical free foods ( no chemical additives or chemically treated foods as well as refined-sugar or refined-flour products )
  • Properly washing & storing of foods
  • Drinking clean, filtered, chemical free water

Variety and Rotation

  • Eating a variety of foods that provide all the nutrients
  • Rotating your diet as to not eat the same foods everyday, decreasing the chances of allergies or sensitivities

Food Combining 

*I only suggest this if you have digestive issues or want to eat a completely clean diet. These are great guidelines, but I do not follow them strictly*

  • Food combining allows us to digest our foods properly, optimally utilizing the nutrients
  • General Guidelines:
    1. Fruits should be eaten by themselves or with other fruits
    2. Proteins & starches are not to be eaten together
    3. Combine Proteins & Vegetables or Starches & Vegetables
    4. Do not eat more than one serving of protein per meal

Moderation

  • Practice mindfulness when eating, no distractions
  • Do not overeat or under eat

Balance 

*do not worry about the specifics as much, there is no need to track,  just have a general idea of macronutrient balance*

  • Macronutrients
    1. 60% Carbohydrates
    2. 15% Protein
    3. 25% Fat
  • Micronutrients
    • Vitamins, Minerals, Fatty Acids, Amino Acids

Dietary Guidelines 

  • Produce
    • 5+ servings per day of fruits & vegetables
  • Starches
    • 4+ servings per day of whole grains and other starches
  • Proteins
    • 3 servings per day
  • Calcium Foods
    • 2+ servings per day ( I do not advocate the use of dairy products, however if you choose to consume them please keep to a minimum of 2 servings per day )
      • Plant Based Calcium Sources Include: Leafy Greens ( Bok Choy, Broccoli, Kale, Romaine Lettuce etc. ), Soy Products, Figs, Oranges, Various Legumes ( Garbanzo Beans, Lentils, Pinto Beans etc. ), Almonds, Flaxseeds, Hazelnuts, Blackstrap Molasses
  • Oils
    • 1-2 servings of vegetable oils per day

Always remember that the road to a healthier diet is a long one, and that you need to just take it one step at a time. Take my tips and find what works for you, when you begin to transition to more natural foods and start to lessen your intake of pre packaged, non organic foods you will not feel well. That is simply a detox period, keep at it and eventually you will feel amazing!

Joy xx.

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11 Health Hacks

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Want to adopt a healthier life style? Here are 15 simple tips that will help you get on the right track!

  1. Cut out or Reduce Red Meats and Dairy – you heard me right, cut them out. Although they are a good source of protein and some nutrients, the negative affects of over consuming these products is just not worth it! Instead choose lean proteins ( such as fish, poultry, beans & legumes ) and plant based milk products ( soy, almond, rice etc.). Worried about B12? Consuming some poultry a few times a week will help take care of that! Vegan or Vegetarian? Try a B12 supplement as nutritional yeast is not a significant source of B12!
  2. Eat Organic – to learn more about why you should be consuming only Organic Produce click this link HERE
  3. Carb it Up – that’s right folks! CARBS ARE GOOD!!! Contrary to popular belief we need carbohydrates in order to properly function ( plus carbohydrates can actually help you loose weight and reduce bloating because of our good friend we like to call fiber! ). The key here is to eat ‘good’ carbohydrates: Vegetables, Rice, Potatoes, Beans/Legumes, Fruit etc. and limit ‘bad’ carbohydrates: pastries, refined baked goods and simple sugars.
  4. Read the Ingredient List – Stop looking at the calories and read the ingredients! Try to consume foods with less ingredients and remember that if you can’t pronounce it, do not eat it!
  5. Eat your Fats – Avocados, Nuts and Seeds are high in healthy fats that will help us feel full and satisfied. So add half an avocado to a salad, pack a handful of nuts to work and sprinkle some seeds on your oatmeal in the morning.
  6. Cut Out Sugar – Sorry guys, but as pretty as those pastries might be for your Instagram shots, they are doing nothing for you. Not only do they increase your chance of Obesity but it can also lead to Diabetes and other illnesses. Instead opt for some fruit! My favorite is frozen raspberries and frozen pineapple!
  7. Eat ever 2-3 Hours – Now I am not saying that you should consume a full meal every 2-3 hours, what I am suggesting is snacking throughout the day. If we consume too much at one meal we are actually putting stress on our digestive system which can cause gas or bloating, it is better for our health and our energy levels to snack throughout the day. Plus if we go without food for more than 5 hours our blood sugar will drop making crave sugar and we are more likely to reach for junk food
  8. Go Raw – most of the vitamins and minerals that we need to consume from our fruits/vegetables are lost during the cooking process, so choose to go raw more often! Enjoy salads made with fresh produce, fruit plates with breakfast and veggie sticks with hummus as an afternoon snack!
  9. Eat More Plant Based Protein – you have probably heard it enough, but plant based protein is better for you in the long run as it does not contain cholesterol and other unhealthy hormones that are present in animal products. Some great  alternatives are beans/legumes, brown rice, cruciferous vegetables ( i.e Broccoli, Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts ) and Nut/Seeds.
  10. Drink Enough Water – water is so important as not only it keeps us properly hydrated but sufficient intake also supports the eliminating functions of the kidneys, bowls and the skin ( detoxifies our bodies ). Try adding a bit of lemon to your water and try to make a habit of carrying a water bottle with you at all times!
  11. Pack a Snack – unlike other women my purse does not contain a bag full of makeup, instead it contains a bag full of food. I always make sure to be carrying around some nuts/seeds, a healthy muffin or granola bar and sometimes some veggie sticks or an apple just in case I get hungry or am out longer than I originally intended. By doing this you are less likely to run to the convenience store for a bag of chips when your tummy starts rumbling.

I know that making those initial steps towards healthier eating habits is hard, and you will fall off the wagon sometimes! I’m not gonna lie, even as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist I still find myself craving the sweets and the junk food, and I too fall off the healthy eating wagon once in a while. But these simple tips always help me to get back on track, and I hope that you are able to find some inspiration in them to start your journey towards a healthier diet.

Happy Friday!

Joy xx.

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Natural Beauty

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Good morning and happy Thursday everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful week so far!

I made a promise earlier this year both on my blog and on Instagram that I would start to incorporate more health/wellness posts….well that kinda failed…but I am here to try again! So for today’s post I really want to talk about the importance of using Natural Beauty products. I will be discussing what makeup I use, why I use it and also some of the dangers associated with using conventional makeup, so without further ado lets begin!

Why I Only Use Natural Makeup

Originally I only used natural makeup because that was the only makeup my Mom would allow me to bring into the house, she has very severe allergies to colors and dyes with the added bonus of being asthmatic to artificial smells and perfumes ( which she also passed onto me ). At the time I hated it, I wanted to use the drug store makeup that all my friends were using, but looking back on it now I am so thankful for what she did! I never had any zits, pimples or any other imperfections on my skin growing up, and I believe that has a lot to do with the makeup that I used. Unlike conventional drug store/higher end makeup brands, mineral makeup is more gentle on your skin and doesn’t clog your pores as much. Plus natural, mineral makeup doesn’t contain any of the harsh chemicals that can be extremely irritating to the skin, which in turn can cause the breakouts.

Now that I am older, I prefer to use natural makeup for a variety of reasons, the main ones being:

  1.  Natural makeup is not only better for my skin, but also for my overall health as studies have linked the chemicals in conventional makeup to a higher risk of cancer and other illnesses
  2.  Natural makeup feels better on my skin, it is not heavy or harsh and half the time I forget I am even wearing makeup because it feels like I have absolutely no product on my skin
  3. Natural makeup is better for the environment which is something I believe we should all be concerned about in this day and age

The Dangerous in Makeup

According to the David Suzuki Foundation here are the 12 worst ingredients in makeup that should be avoided:

  1. BHA & BHT
  2. Coal Tar Dyes – especially p-phenylenediamine and colors listed as CI followed by a five digit number
  3. dibutyl phthalate
  4. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives
  5. Parabens
  6. Parfum or Fragrance
  7. PEG compounds
  8. Petrolatum
  9. Siloxanes
  10. Sodium Laureth Sulfate
  11. Ticlosan

A List of Dangerous Ingredients and their Negative Effects on Health

  1. Parabens,  used as a preservative in makeup are linked to breast cancer
  2. Pigments such as bromo acid lake dyes ( including red no.21, red no.27 & orange no,17 ) are linked to dermatitis, and they contain coal tar, are common allergens and are carcinogenic ( cancer causing )
  3. Emollients such as hydrocarbons, mineral oil, petrolatum are pollutants to the environment, contain impurities that can cause health problems such as acne and cancer
  4. Solvents such as glycols are irritating to the skin

The Makeup I Use

I have been using two different make up brands for years now: Jane Iredale & Bare Minerals. They are the only brands that I have been able to find that are fairly clean ( ie the least amount of ingredients ) and the only ones that do not irritate my skin ( like I said I have extremely sensitive skin and even some mineral makeup irritates me ). I really need to stress that just because a makeup brand claims to be mineral does not mean that it is 100% clean. Always read the labels and make sure that the harmful ingredients I listed above are not in the makeup!

Understanding the Label

  • 100% Organic – the ingredients are 100% organically produces
  • Certified Organic/Eco Cert – the product contains at least 95% organic ingredients
  • Made with Organic Ingredients  – the product contains at least 70% organic ingredients
  • Hypoallergenic – this implies that the product is less irritating, causing less allergic reactions
  • Alcohol-Free – the product contains no ethyl alcohols
  • Fragrance – Free – implies that the product has no detectable odor
  • Noncomedogenic – implies that the product does not contain any ingredients that could lead to acne
  • Cruelty-free or No New Animal Testing – the product has not been tested on animals

I hope that this post opened up your eyes a little to the dangers of using makeup, even mineral makeup has some associated dangers to it, although the list is smaller. Please remember to always check the ingredients of any product you use and always consult a physician or other health care professional before making any lifestyle changes.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope you have a wonderful day!

Joy xx.

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Nutrition Basics – The Macronutrients

Nutrition Basics - The Macronutrients ( Proteins, Carbohydrates & Fats )

Hey Babes! So for today’s Nutrition post I really wanted to go back to the basics and talk about the building blocks of a healthy diet. Now with everyone on the internet having an opinion on how you should and shouldn’t eat I just wanted to do a blog post giving you the facts and allowing you to make the decision on how you should nourish your body. I believe that what you decide to consume is a very personal decision and I will not be telling you how you should eat, I just wish to educate you and allow you to make the decision for yourself.

This first blog post will be very basic, I will go into more detail regarding each macro nutrient in blog posts to come! So, what is a macro nutrient? A Macro nutrient is what the bulk of our diet consists of in order for us to function properly, specifically they are the Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. Each macro nutrient is needed in order for your body to function properly, so you should not severely restrict or cut-out any of these: you need a balance of all three to have a healthy and happy body!

PROTEINS 

Proteins are an important component of our body and are involved in so many bodily functions including: growth & maintenance of tissues, proper immune system function and our metabolism. Although Proteins can be used as a form of energy, the body prefers to break down Carbohydrates and then Fats before even touching the Proteins.

 Each protein molecule is composed of 22 amino acids which can be broken down into one of three categories:

  1. Essential Amino Acids – Meaning our body cannot manufacture them
  2. Non Essential Amino Acids – Meaning our body can manufacture them
  3. Conditionally Essential – Meaning our needs for these amino acids depends on our metabolic state at the time

Each amino acid is needed in assisting in different functions in the body and in building different body proteins.

Proteins can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Complete proteins – proteins that contain all the essential amino acids ( eggs, dairy, seafood & meat )
  2. Incomplete proteins – proteins that are capable of maintaining life but may be lacking in one or more essetial amino acid ( beans, rice etc )

*A popular belief is that if consuming an incomplete protein source you must combine two incomplete proteins to create a complete protein. However researchers are now finding that you do not need to worry about ‘protein combining’ as much as the body will form a complete protein on its own as long as all 22 amino acids are consumed in a 24 hr period*

As for requirements the main goal for a healthy adult is to be in even – to – positive protein balance, meaning that we are not under consuming nor over consuming protein, which allows your body to maintain proper function.

Sources of protein include: meat, dairy products, fish, fowl, eggs, whole grains & legumes

*It is highly suggested by many health care professionals that consuming more plant based protein over animal based protein is extremely beneficial and better for one’s long term health*

CARBOHYDRATES

Carbohydrates have been given a bad reputation over the years, but you need to understand that not all carbohydrates are bad! Carbohydrates play an important role in the functioning of internal organs, the nervous system, help in the metabolization of proteins & fats and are both an immediate & time-released source of energy ( meaning they provide a sustainable source of energy for an extended period of time ).

Carbohydrates can be broken down into two categories:

  1. Simple Carbohydrates – these are naturally occurring simple sugars that are easily & quickly digested and used as a form of energy by the body
  2. Complex Carbohydrates – which include whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, take longer to break down and provide a sustaining energy source for the body

All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, the main form of energy for the body and what the brain requires for proper function. Any excess glucose not needed for immediate use will be stored as glycogen in the muscles or liver.

When our body has a low ratio of carbohydrates to proteins our body shifts into a ketogenic state, meaning that our body responds the the stress or starvation ( yes. starvation!! ) by increasing the body’s reliance on fat as fuel ( a no, no! )

FATS

Fats are another macro nutrient that has been given a bad rep over the years, but they are needed for some very important functions in the body such as: energy storage, insulation, healthy cell membranes, absorption of fat soluble vitamins and protection of the nervous system.

Fats can be broken down into different categories:

  1. Saturated Fats – come from animal sources ( meat, dairy and eggs ) as well as some plant sources ( such as tropical oils ). *Saturated fats are best eaten in moderation as they are not needed by the body for optimal health and over consumption of saturated fasts has been linked to obesity and heart disease.*
  2. Unsaturated Fats – Unsaturated fats are part of a healthy diet and can be broken down into:
    1. Monounsaturated Fats – mainly in vegetable oils ad nut oils ( almond, olive, canola and peanut )
    2. Polyunsaturated Fats – omega-3 polyunsaturated fats & omega-6 polyunsaturated fats ( which are Essential Fatty Acids, meaning the body cannot manufacture them )  are required for circulation, growth, cell division, brain development, immune function, regulation of blood pressure & blood clotting and anti- inflammatory responses.
  3. Hydrogenated Fats & Trans Fatty Acids – Hydrogenation is the process of making unsaturated fatty acids into saturated fats, helping to extend the shelf life. This process is extremely dangerous to oils and can pose a serious health risk to people: proven to be one of the major health risks associated with heart disease, cancer, premature aging and increases the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) while decreasing the ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL). Hydrogenated Fats are often ingredients in commercially prepared baked goods, candies, ice cream, chocolate, peanut butter, boxed cereals and snack type foods. 

As discussed above, the two main essential fatty acids are:

  1. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fats – helps to increase the ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL, which helps to carry cholesterol from the tissues to the liver), may slow down the formation of blood clots in the arteries, control blood pressure, increase energy, improve learning, decrease the risk of heart attacks and stokes and can assist in weight loss. Rich sources include flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, salmon, halibut, cod, trout and mackrel.
  2. Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fats – are components of all cell membranes, needed for healthy skin/proper functioning of the reproductive system, and can regulate blood pressure. Rich sources include most plant oils, oat germ, wheat germ & rice bran.

I hope that you all found this blog post very informative and has inspired you to adopt a healthier lifestyle, or at least made you stop and think about what you are choosing to nourish your body with on a day to basis! I am planning on posting one health/wellness related blog post at least once a week, so if you have any questions that you would like answered or any topics that you would like for me to discuss please feel free to ask in the comments, or ask me on Instagram or Twitter!

Happy Sunday Everyone! I hope you all have a healthy week ahead!

Joy xx.

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Organic, Natural or Pure – What’s the Difference?

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Eating right and staying healthy now a days can be very difficult, we are constantly being told what we should and shouldn’t eat, companies everywhere are making different beneficial claims for their products and we can get a little confused in the produce department when we see the words: ‘Organic’, ‘Pure’, ‘Natural’ and ‘Non GMO’. We all want to take the right steps towards being a healthier human being, and although it can be a little hard at times ( and you may fall off the wagon here and there ) I believe the simplest step to take ( and the first one you should! ) is to start in the grocery store choosing the correct produce. In this blog post I will briefly be explaining what ‘Organic’, ‘Pure’ and ‘Natural’ products mean and also giving you a little advice a few tips to choosing what is best for you.

Organic

What does it really mean when something is labeled as ‘Organic’? Basically it means that the produce has been grown in an environment that uses only natural fertilizers and pest management without any genetic modification, livestock has outdoor access and are not fed any antibiotics, growth hormones or any animal by-products and products containing multiple ingredients contain at least 95% organic ingredients. The benefits are wide ranging including consuming foods that do not contain harmful pesticides or pesticide residue, higher nutrient content, less environmental impact and organic products ( in my opinion) taste way better!

Natural

Sometimes the words ‘Natural’ and ‘Organic’ can be mixed up and assumed to be the same thing, this is not the case. ‘Natural’ simply means that the original state of the product ( physical, chemical or biological ) has not been altered, they do not contain any artificial colours/flavors, chemicals or additives.

Pure

Currently (in Canada) there is no standard regulation on the term ‘100% pure’, but basically it implies that the item is not a mixture, substitute, or imitation of product.

The first step that you can take to a healthier self is to choose the correct produce to nourish your body with. My advice to you is to always choose locally grown, in season and organic produce whenever possible, try to stay away from pre-packaged food (even if it says ‘Organic’, ‘Natural’ or ‘Pure’ on the label) as the food that will properly nourish your body and give you lasting energy comes in it’s most natural and pure form.

Joy xx.

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