Caroline’s Healthy Fourth of July Guide. Fitness, Recipes, and Fireworks for your FOURTH!

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My brother Tim and I in our red, white, and blue workout gear for the Fourth of July!

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. It’s all about friends, family and sharing quality time relaxing in the summer sunshine. Holidays always feel their best when they leave your body and mind feeling nourished and refreshed. You can still have a great Fourth without sacrificing your healthy habits and feel confident in your swimsuit. Here are my top fitness, diet, and health tips to keep you feeling your best while celebrating the fourth:

Caroline’s Guide to A Fit and Festive Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is sunny, social, and full of fun opportunities to move. Make an extra effort to sweat on your day off and that extra physical activity will help you balance calories consumed with calories used.  I recommend doing a little workout first thing in the morning, before the events of the day get crazy. A short, effective 10-30 minute sweat session can give your energy levels a boost and help you feel strong in your red, white, and blue swimsuit. To help you a get your holiday off to a great start, I filmed a fun and festive “Fourth of July Total Body Circuit Workout” just for you. This 12 minute routine combines squats, burpees, planks, and sit-ups for a quick high-energy burst of movement. The video targets your prime “swimsuit” muscles: your abs, obliques, and butt to help you feel strong and toned in your summer swimsuit. This workout is designed to build lean muscles, boost your metabolism, increase your strength, improve your performance, improve your energy, and help you get and STAY fit. If you are tight on time go through the video once or repeat the exercise series 2 or 3 times through for a longer workout. Remember consistency is the KEY to success – keep up the GREAT work and you will see results!!

Caroline’s Fat Burning Fourth Of July Circuit Workout. 12 Minute Total Body Routine

You also want to look for ways to make fitness fun and SOCIAL throughout the weekend. Make exercise something to look forward to by planning activities you enjoy to do. You can rally friends for a dodgeball game in a local park or at backyard BBQ; you can cool off by swimming if you are at the beach or a pool; you can even ditch the car and walk or bike ride to see local fireworks. Get creative, social, and active – there are plenty of great ways to enjoy exercise on your holiday.
Just make sure to be mindful of the heat and wear your sunscreen. Stay hydrated and avoid exercising outside at peak temperatures and you will feel your best all the way till the fireworks.

Caroline’s Healthy Fourth of July Nutrition Tips:

  • Sit and Eat a Meal. It can be difficult to keep track of what you are eating throughout the day if you are picking, picking, picking here and there.  Sit down for a meal and then be finished eating for the evening. Focus on a balanced meal with protein, greens, healthy fat, and moderate portions. Put your meal on a plate and sit with your family and friends to enjoy their company. Allowing yourself to have a real meal instead of lurking around the buffet table will help you avoid mindless munching and allow you an enjoyable dining experience.
  • HYDRATE. Begin your day with a few glasses of water and continue drinking throughout the day. The Fourth of July is typically a HOT holiday and keeping yourself well hydrated is the key to feeling your best. Not to mention hunger can often be masked as thirst, so its good to go for a glass of water before the potato chips. Keep a water bottle on hand if you are out at a picnic or park and refill it often. Drinking plenty of water will help you feel your best throughout the fourth of july and avoid heat hangovers on the days that follow.
  • Watch the liquid calories. If you want a regular root beer, grape soda, lemonade or alcoholic drink, have one – just work it into your calorie budget. Each is around 150 calories for 12 soft drinks (including lemonade and teas), 12 ounces of beer and 6 ounces of wine.  Get creative by making healthier drink options like this Fun punch – 1-quart of your favorite juice and 1-quart soda water with lime, lemon and orange twists for a refreshing party-favorite drink. You can read more on cocktail calories in my “Think Before You Drink” Article. Alternate fun drinks with water to stay hydrated and avoid a fifth of july hangover.
  • Grill lean meats: Lowering your fat content can decrease your overall calorie intake and fewer calories equals less barbecue belly. Eating grilled meats, like the ones your friends serve at cookouts, is O.K. as long as you remove excess fat and watch how and what they’re grilled with. Most cookouts offer a variety of meats, so choose the leanest cuts of beef, chicken and pork.
  • Use natural condiments. Instead of using marinades or BBQ sauces loaded with corn syrup, sugar, and preservatives, season your food with simple good-quality ingredients such as olive oil, sea salts, balsamic vinegar, fresh herbs, and spices.
  • Select slimming sides. When it comes to side dishes, go for the greens. Make salads from green leafy veggies like spinach, arugula, or watercress. Cook kale or spinach with garlic and serve hot. Other good grilled veggies include: eggplant, garlic mushrooms, asparagus, and jacket potatoes. Load up on these healthier sides and grilled veggies: you can fill half your plate with veggies to avoid overdoing it on the higher-calorie options. The fiber will help keep you full and the nutrition will keep you feeling good.
  • Substitute! When deciding on recipes for your fourth feast, choose to cook up your favorite dishes with healthier substitutions. For example instead of making dressing for coleslaw or potato salad (or another creamy side salad) with mayonnaise, explore healthier recipes and choose substitutions like nonfat plain yogurt or light vinaigrette to top your dish. Cooking light offers an incredible library of recipes with healthier versions of your favorite comfort foods.
  • Practice portion control. Allow yourself to enjoy the foods you love in balance with how it fits into the bigger picture of your daily diet. You can have the brownie (and enjoy it too!) with portion control. For example, try serving 1/4 pound burgers (made with extra-lean ground sirloin) instead of 1/3 or 1/2 pound patties; choose filet mignon-sized steaks instead of 16-ounce steaks; cut sausages in half lengthwise before grilling; make kebabs from smaller pieces of meat. When eating out at a friends BBQ, use your hands to guide you in serving yourself proper portions of your favorite foods. Your palm is the approximate serving size for a portion of meat, your fist is the size of a portion of grains (rice/pasta salad), and your thumb about the portion of cheese. Click here for my “SMART size portion control guide” to help you make healthier diet decisions this fourth of july.
  • Don’t skip meals to try to “save” calories for later. This will only cause you to overeat and make poor choices due to hunger and low blood sugar. Start your day off right with a metabolism boosting breakfast and choose to eat regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Eating this way will provide you with great energy levels and help with your self-control at the BBQ.

My family hosts a fun and festive outdoor BBQ every Fourth of July. We grow a large fruit and vegetable garden at our home in Davis, so having friends for dinner gives us a great way to share fresh produce with others. Our Fourth menu is full of color, nutrition, and flavor. Here are a few of my Jordan family healthy BBQ recipes just for you. All of these are gluten/ dairy free and full of flavor, and will help you cook up a healthy BBQ that has every guest BEGGIN’  for more.

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Caroline’s Healthy BBQ Recipes: Gluten/Dairy Free Summer Eats. Good food is meant to be SHARED.

Lemony Cabbage-Avocado Slaw

Serves 6

Creamy avocado and bright lemon make great partners in this colorful salad.

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups finely shredded purple and green cabbage
  • 1 small red, orange or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Method:

Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, until avocado is creamy throughout.

Nutritional Info: Per Serving:110 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 115mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 3g protein
Herb Marinated Chicken Breasts
SERVES 4
This recipe is for those who love barbecue but don’t like sticky fingers. It can be enjoyed with a knife and fork.

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil, more for brushing grill
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1. Place garlic on a cutting board and sprinkle with salt. Using the side of the knife, continuously apply pressure to garlic and salt until a paste forms.
2. Place garlic-salt paste into a small bowl with oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, mint, oregano, thyme, onion powder and black pepper. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
3. Place mixture and chicken into a re-sealable bag and shake ingredients together until chicken is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Remove chicken from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature 30 minutes before grilling.
4. Heat grill to medium-high heat and brush grates with olive oil. Place chicken on grill and cook 4 to 6 minutes per side until cooked through.
Nutritional Info Per Serving: Each chicken breast contains 275 calories, 15g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 68mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 28g protein.
Raw Berry Crisp
Serves 8
Rich nuts and sweet dates make a tasty topping for mixed berries in this no-cook version of berry crisp.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups mixed berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, more or less to taste depending on sweetness of berries
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method:
In a (7- x 11-inch) dish, toss berries with maple syrup. Put pecans, walnuts, dates and cinnamon into a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Scatter nut mixture over berries and serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional Info: Per Serving: 240 calories (140 from fat), 16g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 16g sugar), 5g protein
COCO LIBRE Cocktail Recipe
Here’s my take on a fun, low-calorie, coconut water cocktail for you to try this holiday weekend. Enjoy – and BE SAFE. Moderation is good…. seeing stars and stripes is NOT.

COCO LIBRE

Add rum and lime to highball glass. Fill with coconut water, stir, garnish with lime wedge & Enjoy!

How will YOU be celebrating this Fourth of July? What are your favorite holiday traditions with your loved ones? Share your favorite fourth ideas, recipes, and stories by commenting below – I love hearing how you stay healthy, active, and CELEBRATE yourself! 

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY to you ALL! Till then…. enjoy your fireworks and WEAR SUNSCREEN!

Caroline

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From Asheville, North Carolina: My Wellbeing on the Road Travel Kit.

I just returned home from Asheville, North Carolina, where I was brought in to present my “THRIVE: Wellbeing on the Road” Workshop. This workshop is designed to raise awareness of healthy work and lifestyle habits and support the busy business traveler towards achieving their optimal state of wellness while on the road. It’s designed to enable participants to overcome traveling health challenges, make changes that last, and fulfill their vision of living well. The presentation was a success and I honestly believe it’s because we are all hungry for ways to stay healthy when traveling. Truth is, business travel is exhausting and stressful which makes exercise, nutrition, and stress management an important part of maintaining your health when you are away from home. From these wellness workshops, I’ve had many participants come back excited by their positive progress. One woman gave up drinking at the airport/on flights and has lost 5 pounds as a result. Another man started doing 10 minute high intensity interval workouts in his hotel room before business meetings and this has allowed him to lose fat, build lean muscle mass, and improve his ability to function well on all levels. Presenting travel wellness workshops for companies truly excites me because I see the incredible impact it has on business travelers. It’s the small changes that produce BIG results and can be the difference of surviving vs. THRIVING while on the road. 

If you do travel a lot for work, one of the best things you can do is fit in a little bit of movement before you leave your hotel room or home. Business trips often involve busy schedules and networking, which can make exercising during the day or evening challenging. You may not have time to fit in a long workout or stick to your regular routine, but even short bouts of exercise and stretching before you begin your day will prove beneficial. I believe that fitness is often the gateway drug to positive change and packing it with you when you are traveling for work can fuel you towards adopting a healthier lifestyle in other areas as well. Here are some of the resources I bring with me when I travel to support mini hotel room workouts on the go:

Caroline’s Travel FIT Packing list:

  • Online Fitness/Yoga Studios: I subscribe to both Yogaglo and Fitnessglo . These websites offer an assortment of fitness and yoga classes with some of the best teachers in the world for a small monthly fee. Perfect for a hotel room workout with a talented instructor!
  • Yoga Tune Up Balls. Self massage on the go. I bring my yoga tune up balls with me EVERYWHERE and have even been known to bust them out in my airplane chair. The yoga tune up techniques offer an endless variety of ways to soothe muscle tension in every body part. Now my body is addicted to feeling good and I won’t leave home without them when I travel.
  • Tennis Ball. If you don’t have the yoga tune up balls (seriously – buy.now.) a tennis ball is a great on the go massage tool. Check out my tennis ball foot massage or calf massage video for ideas on how to use a tennis ball to help you feel better from the tiring side effects of travel.
  • Travel Yoga Mat. The lightweight lululemon mat is my personal favorite. Weighs NOTHING and packs easily! This way you don’t have to use a hotel room towel as a makeshift mat when you are on the go.
  • iTRAIN. Online downloadable podcasts for all fitness formats (running, bootcamp, pilates, stretching, elliptical, cycling, etc). Updated weekly with top trainers from around the world (myself included 🙂
  • RunThePlanet.com. Get running and walking maps for cities around the world.
  • Travel Fitness Smart Phone Apps: Nike Training club, tabata timer, fit bit, workout spots, airplane yoga…. there are SO many smart phone apps that can be take with you anywhere personal trainers for fitness on the road. Find a few that you find motivating and work to fit your personal exercise preferences. The few listed above will get you started, if you have a favorite, please leave a comment in the comment section below!
  • YouTube Fitness Channels. There are many options for free full length or quick workout videos. I subscribe to channels like Bloglaties, Fitness Bender, Jillian Michaels, Popsugartvfit, and of course my own Caroline Jordan Fitness channel.  They offer short and full length videos with a variety of helpful content. Everything from hi-impact to pilates, and there are even simple how to stretch in the airport videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-2V2aLikFc. When you subscribe to channels, you will get a weekly email with updates on the latest uploads available to you online. Here is an example of how to use youtube fitness videos to piece together a short, effective workout in your hotel. Choose to do them all or do one depending on how much time you have:

Travel Stretching Sequence. Feel Better from the plane INSTANTLY! (8 minutes)

Total Body Home Workout (15 minutes)

Oblique and Arm Workout (12 minutes)

Small windows of time can turn into powerful opportunities for health and fitness (yes believe me SMALL changes net BIG results). When you take advantage of them, your travel will be considerably less stressful and you’ll find more energy for all of your work and life pursuits. Next time you travel for work, sample some of the resources above and let me know if they help fuel your fitness on the road.

I’m always trying to add more  content to keep my corporate wellness workshops current, informative, and inspiring. Is there a website, tool, or resource that you find helpful in keeping you healthy while traveling for work? Leave your comments below – Id love to hear from you!!

Here’s to us not just surviving but THRIVING as we travel through life 🙂

Yours in Health,

Caroline

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How to do the Wobble. Life Learning Lessons from ClubMed Turks and Caicos: Why Dancing is good for your Health + Happiness

 

The Family at ClubMed Turks and Caicos

The Family at ClubMed Turks and Caicos

“There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” Vicki Baum

I just returned home from a week long vacation with my family (parents, little brother and his adorable Brittish girlfriend Amber) at ClubMed Turks and Caicos. We had the BEST time together bonding  on the white sand beach and enjoying the many activities offered at the resort. ClubMed is an all inclusive resort concept with locations in many exotic places throughout the world. The slogan for Club Med is “Where Happiness means the world”. It is a French corporation by the name of Club Méditerranée or Club Med for short. The atmosphere at ClubMed is laid back and relaxed you can choose to take part in numerous club activities or just do absolutely nothing but recharge your batteries. The unique and fun thing about ClubMed is that the guests and the staff vacation together by both partaking in all the activities ClubMed has to offer from playing sports during the day to dancing and dining together at night. It makes for a very festive and totally fun atmosphere for both the guests and staff.

Snorkleing with the team at ClubMed Turks and Caicos

snorkeling with the team at ClubMed Turks and Caicos

One of the reasons many people stay at Club Med is that it takes you out of your comfort zone. You get to do things that you normally would never do anywhere else. My family and I flew trapeze, played in the ocean on stand up paddle boards, and shared dinner with people from all over the world. Oh and we danced. Every night and all night.

Up all night dancing

Up all night dancing

ClubMed is a resort known to bust out in impromptu dance parties with their communal dance or crazy signs led by the GOs (staff title for gracious and nice organizers) at varying intervals during the day and evening. The dance steps for each song are standard across the organization with some new ones introduced each year.

The ClubMed’s culture of dancing 24-7 must be because they know how healing it is. Truth is, shaking your booty is remarkably healthy, and not just in a fitness-and-weight-loss kind of way. Dancing can preserve your brainpower, improve your outlook, grow your social circle, and protect your most important organs . . . even if you have no rhythm.

You don’t have to have moves like Jagger to reap any of dancing’s health-enhancing benefits. The simple act of dancing benefits your health, happiness, and has the power to transform you and the world around you. Current research (and common sense) shows us that dancing lifts our mood, can lengthen our lives, and can provide instant energy. Here are some of the health benefits of dancing:

Creativity. Like painting, writing and playing music, dancing is an art — a performing art. It connects us to our capacity to think creatively and our ability to explore self-expression. Moving in time to rhythm and music triggers all kind of inspiration that can apply to other areas of life.

Heart Health. A study in Circulation: Heart Failure found that people with cardiac conditions who danced for just 20 minutes three times a week saw their heart health improve significantly more than those who stuck to traditional cardio workouts. Dancing can also help make your skeleton strong, per the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and it does wonders for your overall makeup: When researchers compared dancers with non-dancers, they found evidence that dancing may preserve both motor skills and perceptual abilities.

Self-Esteem. Dancing helps you feel more self-assured. When you dance, you start to lose all inhibitions and gain self-confidence in your body and its movements. It effectively frees yourself of thinking too much about yourself, you become so involved in the rhythms and the music that you become impervious to self-criticism.

Endorphins. When you start moving your body, your brain starts to release endorphins — pleasure chemicals — in response to your body’s heightened motor activity. Ever noticed how sitting still at your desk keeps you feeling restless and bored? Your body craves physical activity and the pleasure associated with it. Dancing is a great way to keep your body and your brain on its toes as you move in time to the music to get these endorphins flowing.

Sensitivity. Dancing can be a gateway into understanding more about how you feel and about who you are. Moving your body around and engaging your mind to steps and music strengthens all your senses — you naturally feel more grounded and acquire a higher sense of both physical and emotional sensitivity which stays with you off of the dance floor.

Dancing combats depression. It has been proven that many forms of aerobic exercise fight off depression. This applies to dancing too; as your dancing develops over a longer period of time, your body adapts and changes a depressive mentality into a more relaxed and positive one. The ample flow of mood-improving chemicals that dancing releases means, of course, that raising the roof can elevate your mental state. Just one lively dance session can slay depression more than vigorous exercise or listening to upbeat music, according to a study in The Arts in Psychotherapy. Getting jiggy with others also leads to less stress and stronger social bonds, key factors in both mental and physical health, says Verghese. You know that feel-good feeling after dancing for so long? That feeling is fortified the more you dance.

Brain Power.  Dancing gives your brain’s memory, coordination, and focus areas an intense workout, leading to stronger synapses and beefed-up gray matter. The result: Dancers can be sharper in the short term and less likely to succumb to brain diseases in the long run. A New England Journal of Medicine study of 11 physical activities found that dancing was the only one that lowered dementia risk by a whopping 76 percent.

The more time you spend on the dance floor, the more you train your brain to open those feel-good floodgates—and the more you’ll start to amp up your overall well-being. Don’t believe me? Try the exercise in this video and tell me if it makes you smile:

It’s never too late to augment your health by getting down, whether you start small by rocking out while cleaning your house or go big and sign up to take a class. However you choose to move, you can glean the biggest rewards by doing it for 20 to 30 minutes most days of the week. What are you waiting for? Have your own dance party at home and get down in the Club Med Resort Style!

One of the favorite dances that I experienced at ClubMed Turks and Caicos is called “The Wobble”. This is a dance choreographed to a song by the rapper, V.I.C. , and has been called the new “Electric Slide”. In the spirit of ClubMed, I wanted to teach you how to do “the Wobble”. Get up out of your chair, shake your butt, and give the dance moves your own flair. Your health, happiness, and dance partner will thank you 😉

Leave a comment below when you have tried the WOBBLE and let me know if it raises your happiness levels! Does dancing make YOU happier?

Thank you ClubMed for providing a one of a kind vacation and memories to last a lifetime

In health,

Caroline

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6 Tips to Go and GLO! Ashley’s Top Tips for Healthy, Happy Summer Skincare

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I am home from a week long vacation in the sunny Turks and Caicos islands and have SO many fun stories to share of my adventures overseas. I am feeling happy, relaxed, and blessed… and my skin is a new color of dark brown. This trip really reminded me of the importance of summer skin care.  Since good skin is your number one accessory, keeping it healthy is a top priority. I invited expert aesthetician and friend Ashley Curtis to weigh in on her top tips to get glowing, healthy skin (and not look like a wrinkled lizard when your on your next vacation). Her philosophy revolves around maintaining beauty from the inside out and with a clinical background in Aesthetics she is absorbed in perfecting the harmony between eastern and western anti-aging methods. Ashley provides in-depth knowledge about skin and it’s functions – whether problematic, aging, or in need of special maintenance. Blending the art of science and nature for optimal skin health is her specialty. Ashley’s passion for healthy skin is contagious, she speaks from the heart and has helped many (myself included) find the path to healthier pores. She speaks from the heart and our time together has proven to be deeply enriching and endlessly worthwhile (and has allowed my skin to have a healthy, happy glo). Here are Ashley’s top tips on keeping your skin looking and feeling its best no matter where your summer adventures take you next.

6 Tips to Go And GLO. Ashley’s Top Tips for Healthy, Happy Summer Skincare

As the warmers months approach, I am reminded by my clients (and the condition of their skin when they come in for a treatment) the importance of protection as we indulge in the sweet sunshine.

Assuming that you have been endlessly lectured about SPF throughout the duration of your life, I would like to spare that and share a few simple facts, tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout my career in regards to properly protecting the largest and most precious, delicate organ; your skin!

1.) If you have sensitive skin, even if you don’t, and are in the market for a new SPF – always opt for physical(mineral) properties. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are the two mineral properties should be listed first in the ingredients on your label. Once applied, these properties become immediately effective and deflect the rays rather than absorb them. Chemical properties, Oxybenzone being the worst, penetrate the skin and act as a sponge to absorb the harmless rays (causing break-outs) along with being hormonally disruptive, they can take up to 20 minutes after applied to be effective, and can sometimes contain cancer – causing free radicals (errr, isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid here?).

2.) You absolutely need a separate layer of sunscreen. The SPF claimed to be present in your moisturizer and / or make-up is not enough, because it is diluted. For example – if the label says SPF 30, it is usually diluted down to an SPF of 10-15, etc. and the properties have a likeliness to be compromised by other ingredients. SPF should always be applied after moisturizer. It can also be applied before AND after make-up.

3.) Re-apply, re-apply, re-apply! I cannot stress this enough. Every 2-3 hours. 4 hours is too long. Grab a few travel-sized containers, fill them up and place them in your purse, the glove compartment in your car, your office (apply before going out to lunch), and your backpack. Be sure not to store in extreme temperatures and replace every 5-6 months.

4.) Your safest bet against the sun is to wear naturally sun-resistant clothing (hold it up to the sun to see how much light gets through), hats, and sunglasses, in combination with a sunscreen that offers UVA and UVB protection. Bring an umbrella to the beach / park and find shade during peak hours.

5.) “I’m just going to the office today.”, “I’m only going home after this.”, “I’ll be in the car driving most of the day and my car has tinted windows.”, “It’s almost dark and I’m going straight home.”, “Sunscreen makes me break out.”; these are a few cleverly concocted excuses against SPF I have heard over the years and before applying sunscreen to my clients after treatment. Rays cannot be avoided, my friends! They sneak into your offices (sometimes the UV lights / lamps in your offices can even be harmful!), your houses, your cars, and sometimes the strongest rays emit just before sunset! The most common complaint is that SPF causes break out, which most CHEMICAL properties tend to do. Try to find a physical sunscreen that works for you, and don’t stop trying until you do.

6.) SPF diet? did you know that what you eat can also help shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays? Adding these healthy foods to your diet may help lessen your chances of burning and developing skin cancer.

  • Tomatoes, Watermelon and Berries – antioxidant lycopene reduces your skin’s sensitivity to sunburn. Lycopene also increases with cooking. Tomato paste has much more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.
  • Spinach – vitamins in raw spinach give you effective natural sun protection along with slowing your skin’s aging process. Those antioxidants that are loaded in dark greens disperse in your body and destroy free radicals from the sun. Try lightly cooking spinach to maximize the absorption of antioxidant vitamin E and phyto-antioxidants like beta-carotene.
  • Sweet Potatoes & Carrots – beta-carotene is a carotenoid that protects skin from sunburn by increasing the strength in pigment. Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamin C, which adds to their effectiveness as an antioxidant. The darker the color of a sweet potato, the higher in concentration it is with beta-carotene.
  • Salmon, Trout, Herring and Mackerel – Omega-3’s raise skin’s natural protection while reducing inflammation in the case of too much sun. Overall, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish lower your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
  • Green Tea, Black Tea and Coffee – antioxidants called polyphenols which can offer skin protection by working from the inside, out. Research shows that drinking two or more cups of black or green tea a day may decrease the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 30 percent. Green tea is known to be the more powerful of the two, because it fights damaging rays from the sun to prevent pre-cancerous skin lesions. And for you coffee drinkers—drinking two to five cups a day is said to lower your risk for non-melanomas by up to 17 percent.
  • Dark Chocolate derived from real Cocoa – Flavanol protects your skin from burning, this strong antioxidant can reduce reddening after UV exposure and make skin more moist and less scaly. Consuming two ounces of dark chocolate each day is a healthy way to obtain its benefits. Studies have shown that cocoa can make skin up to 25 percent less sun sensitive.

Thank you Ashley Curtis for such a helpful guide on keeping our skin looking ALIVE for the rest of our lives. I have to say I am so happy to hear that Dark Chocolate is part of a healthy skin care diet… that’s one suggestion I know I’ll have no problem following 😉 What is one thing you do to keep your skin healthy in the summer? For more expert advice on skin and beauty care, check out Ashley’s website at: http://www.agelessashley.com/

Now off to unpack from my trip… and reapply sunscreen!! Thank you ASHLEY CURTIS!!

Keep smiling,

Caroline

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Why I need a vacation. And why you should probably come.

2ddf1aa009d939be71eef75a45cf2496I graduated college in 2008 and moved from cow town Davis to “the big city” San Francisco to pursue my dreams. My career took a jump-start and from then on it was go-go-go all the time. My business blossomed and  I LOVED every second. I found that my work allowed me to experience what psychologists describe as “Flow”. “Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.” It’s a beautiful thing to find a career that allows me to feel so present and alive. However 5 years later I realized that it been a while since I took time off… 5 years in fact.

I know I’m not alone. Maybe you too experience flow in your work. Or you have sick time accrued but feel guilty taking time off. Or you just cant find time between the kids, laundry, and activities  to plan a getaway. Whatever it is, we all have crazy schedules and could use a little extra support in taking time OFF. In fact unplugging from the fast pace of our day-to-day may be just what the doctor ordered. Here’s why:

Relieve stress. Of course the #1 benefit of leaving everything behind and relieving your brain of all your worries is reduced stress. Countless studies have shown a direct link between stress and health conditions such as headaches, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and other types of infections acquired as a result of a weaker immune system. It has also been scientifically shown that taking vacations reduces the incidence of burnout. Relief from stress often gives us a new perspective on life, allows us to regain energy, and often allows us to find simple and sometimes obvious solutions to problems that had previously seemed impossible to solve.

Regain your fitness. Have you ever been surprised to come home from a vacation in better shape than when you left? Thats because without the stress of the nine to five grind our bodies have enough time and freedom to repair themselves. It’s easier for our system to fight sickness when we’re on holidays because it’s not working so hard trying to fend off all the other environmental obstacles that come between us and our health goals. It’s a widely accepted truth that chronic disorders, such as back pain, migraines and sore throats, also disappear when we’re on a break. Vacations also allow us ample opportunities to exercise because we walk greater distances, swim, chase the kids around and play sports. Just standing upright instead of sitting down at a desk all day help you look and feel fitter. This regular movement throughout the day boosts your circulation, fitness, energy levels, and provides you with that post vacation healthy glow.

Feel inspired. Most of the year, we live on a schedule. We eat at the same restaurants, see the same people, and experience the same environment. This monotony reduces the opportunities for inspiration and for new ways of thinking. By traveling to a foreign environment, we put ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, and allow our brains to think differently. Visiting places that move you and doing things that you’re passionate about are an instant fast-track to idea heaven. Stagnant surroundings make for a bored and dull you, so get your juices flowing by getting out of your daily routine and going on a trip.

Revamp your relationships. I don’t have any fancy studies to back this one up, it’s just common sense. A real vacation is the ideal time to reconnect and revitalize relationships that have taken a toll from an on-call, always-on, and work-obsessed culture. A vacation is a great opportunity to build bonds with each other in a different setting and to create lasting memories.

Improve your mental skills
. Some studies have found a positive relationship between vacations and intellectual function. Cant argue that one! A well-rested mind that is free of worry is often more effective.

Enjoy life. If you do the same thing day in and day out, at the end of your life you haven’t experienced much. Taking time off can be a great opportunity to fill your life with rich, new experiences. It could be a healing retreat where you can rest and turn inward, or a strenuous physical challenge to blast away the worries of the world, or a busy schedule of guided tours, classes, and social interaction. Which type of vacation will reset your life-balance button and heal your tension-tattered psyche? There’s only one way to find out. Take a trip and fill your life full of enjoyable experiences.

Don’t feel like you have time for a vacation? MAKE TIME. The secret sauce to all of this is planning ahead and creating time for rest. Alternating periods of activity and rest is necessary to survive, let alone thrive.  It has come to my realization that if we don’t plan ahead to take time off it will never happen. We have to actively work to experience our lives or we might never live them. I am now realizing that taking time to live will only inspire your work, and you must enjoy all the days of your life not simply work through them. Don’t put off enjoyment of YOUR life. As the years go by, are you doing the fun things you always said you’d do one day? Ask yourself: If not now, when?

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With that said I am now off to a week-long vacation in Turks and Caicos. I promise to bring back lots of stories of my adventures and a healthy post vacation glow. I hope to hear stories of all of your travels as well… till then, Im OUT!

Caroline

Other Things To Check Out This Week:

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