daria howell
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Can You Be A Health-Conscious Foodie?

“What do you eat? I mean, like in a typical day?”

I was putting on a workshop about Five Super-Powers for Ageless Beauty, so of course I was talking about healthy food choices as part of it.

Talking about what I personally eat wasn’t part of the presentation I’d planned. So, here I was – on the spot.

Let’s see. What did I eat today? I’d had a big smoothie for breakfast that consisted of hemp protein, maca, raw cacao powder, flax seeds, spinach, half a frozen banana, maybe a little coconut oil and a dash of vanilla.

For lunch I’d had a big mixed greens salad with radishes, carrots, beets, and tomato topped with chopped turkey and homemade vinaigrette dressing.

For dinner I was having homemade hummus with cucumber slices and some pear with almond butter, because that was what I’d brought for treats to the workshop. Not my typical dinner, mind you. But it was all I’d had time for.

My guests were worried that they couldn’t possibly enjoy their food if they suddenly started eating “healthy.” “We’re all foodies here!”

Well, guess what? I am too! My main creative outlet these days is to cook up something wonderful. I’m always experimenting in the kitchen and, as my husband is fond of saying, “We eat good.”

With all the debate about what type of diet is best – vegetarian, vegan, paleo, raw, low-fat, high-fat – I’ve come to the conclusion that no one diet is “right” and no one diet is even right for you all the time.

It’s best to pay attention to how you feel after eating – and in general – in order to begin to assess what your own body’s needs are. I do, however, like Michael Pollan’s advice from In Defense of Food: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Eat food. As in, recognizable as such by previous generations. Not something generated in a laboratory with flavor enhancers and preservatives added. Not something with seventeen unpronounceable ingredients. Not genetically modified, artificially colored, irradiated, extruded, or formulated for convenience.

Not too much. We don’t need to go for super-sized anything. Other cultures limit quantities by using small plates to serve or simply by being aware of how full they are and stopping at, say, 80 percent capacity.

Mostly plants. This one is really key. People who eat plenty of vegetables along with modest amounts of fruits, legumes and grains get a host of benefits that can’t be had in any other way: vitamins, minerals, enzymes, co-factors, antioxidants, fiber – the list goes on.

So be a healthy foodie! Learning to incorporate plant foods at every meal satisfies the urge to be creative at the same time keeping us healthy and radiant.

Sure, it’s so much easier to grab a container of processed yogurt or a bag of chips or a frozen pre-made casserole. But the payoff for choosing real food on a consistent basis is more than worth the effort.1

As for dinner tonight? I threw together a quick marinade for chicken fajitas, then sliced onions, bell peppers, and zucchini for my husband to grill outside. I whipped up some guacamole to top it off and served everything over a bed of greens.

No deprivation there, I can assure you!

 

What Can I Do About Neck Wattle?

NeckA couple of friends and I were sitting in the kitchen sharing some health tips over luscious cups of steaming tea. We were talking about serious health issues here – perimenopause and hormone-related concerns. Then one of them leaned toward me and patted herself under the chin.

“What about this?” referring to the skin sag that was just beginning to show under her chin and jaw. “What do you call it?”

“You mean neck wattle?” It gets its moniker from the resemblance to turkey and chicken necks.

“Yeah, you should write a blog about that.”

Sure.

JaI guess almost no one is totally immune to the sagging-neck thing.  Maybe Jane Seymour and Sigourney Weaver.  According to dermatologists, the neck starts to go around age 43.  I must have been lucky, because I seriously didn’t notice anything until my 60s.

Why is the neck area so susceptible? Among the factors involved are genetics, excess fat, weight loss, weakened muscles, thin skin, and sun damage.

Before I started looking into it, I didn’t realize that there’s actually a book entitled I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron. I think I’m going to have to check it out. Amazon describes it as “a hilarious look at women who are getting older….”

Here’s a quote from the book: “One of my biggest regrets…in that I didn’t spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck.”

Ouch. Note to self: Begin staring lovingly at my neck every day.

You should know right now that I’m not one to tout medical procedures. Botox and knives are not for me. I’m all about prevention and supporting the natural healthy aging process with good lifestyle habits.turkey

Anyway, moved to gather some helpful tips to stall the inevitable wattle, I asked my esthetician for her best advice. My esthetician is great – always wears a white coat just like a doctor and was a chemistry major before becoming a skin-person. She knows her stuff.

Right off the top of her head, without hesitating a second, she rattled off: Vitamin C serums (she likes Cellex-C neck cream and Skinceuticals) and ultrasound treatments, which purportedly boost the collagen factor.

From my own experience I will add:
• High-water content foods (and an excellent diet overall)
• Maintain optimal body fat percentage
• Facial acupressure
• Good posture (lifting up from the ears creates a mini-face/neck/chin lift!)
• Craniosacral therapy to release neck and jaw tension

You might not be able to avoid the dreaded wattle entirely, but rather than spending time in regret and wishful thinking, you’ll enjoy your ageless beauty knowing you do what you can to look and feel your best every day.

Leave your thoughts below if you have something to share about neck wattle!