Dec 31, 2009

CHEAP Beauty Tip! Exfoliate your face!




I tend to have dry skin on my face. Especially in the winter. It is flaky and NOT flattering when mixed with my makeup. Yes, I do use a moisturizer and a makeup that is right for my skin type...but that doesn't always make a difference when you have a less than smooth surface to begin with. I also tend to get that really annoying acne on my forehead. The kind that feels and looks like medium grain sandpaper. Well, here is a beauty tip for both of these problems and it REALLY works and it is CHEAP! I have tried all sorts of face scrubs. Expensive ones, cheap ones and I am not saying that they don't work or I don't like them, but this works better and I like it best. Now, this is so easy when I tell you, you will think...it won't work, that is too simple. But it does! All you need is a bowl, table sugar and water. Wash your face BEFORE you do this so it is free of oils and makeup. Put about a 1/8-1/4 cup sugar in a bowl and add a LITTLE water so it is like a thick paste, yet wet all the way through the sugar. You don't want the sugar to be dry. Now just rub in small circles all over your face and neck. Get those trouble areas well like your forehead, around nose and your chin. Then rinse away! So simple. If you see blood, you are rubbing too hard. :) If you can not feel any friction you are not rubbing hard enough. :) Do this two days in a row if you have a problem with the forehead acne or dry skin, then twice a week for maintenance. Just do it twice a week if you want glowing skin but don't need to work off some dry stuff or acne. It really works, and well. I do it right in the shower. Makes your skin SO smooth. PLUS it tastes good if you get some in your mouth on accident. LOL. Give it a try! You have nothing to lose unless you are allergic to table sugar. :)


P.S. There is no reason why men can't do this as well!


-Liz-

Stevia: The Sweet Herb

I could go on and on about all the things wrong with artificial sweeteners.  I mean volumes and volumes about how they cause cancer, they still make you fat and they give you diarrhea...  I'm not going to do that because you should know that a few calories is better than cancer.
Now, sugar addicts, don't despair.  You don't have to choose between eating your weight in calories from sugar or getting cancer and diarrhea!  You can try Stevia. Stevia has been around forever.  Why haven't you heard of it before then?  Well the FDA has claimed it wasn't a safe food additive. Why am I talking about it if the FDA didn't deem it safe?  Well the truth is the FDA did virtually no studies on it, therfore they did not deem it safe. It's not because they did study it and found it to be dangerous.  No, in fact many like myself believe that the reason they did no studies and even blocked it from being imported like it was some kind of crack is because it's an herb.  And you can't own the patents or copyrights on an herb.  Therefor there aren't many companies who would make massive profits on the hopes and dreams of overweight people, hoping to satisfy their addiction to sugar with a non calorie substitute.  If there are no companies making massive profits who's going to "give" you that vacation to Bermuda for 6 weeks?  (I am indeed an FDA conspiracy theorist)

So really stevia has been used forever as a sweetener, just not here (USA). If you google it online "stevia side effects", you may find some  references to a small study on lab rats where they had a slight decrease in testosterone.  I tend to believe that if you force feed anyone an excessive amount of anything it will have side effects.  But because Stevia is so sweet you only need the smallest amounts.
Now there are great Stevia products at the store.  My favorite and the most affordable is Sun Crystals. It has a small amount of sugar mixed in it.  They do this because the packets are equivalent to 2 tsp sugar in flavor and that much stevia is such a small amount it would be difficult to package.  Each serving is 5 calories.  It's really good in teas, coffee and makes really good lemonade. Just follow the recipe on the bottle of lemon juice and substitute Stevia.  You can even bake with it.  Unfortunately the flavor does not meld well with chocolate.  So I suppose we will all just have to continue using will power to keep ourselves from eating our weight in chocolate every month!

-Val


New Year's Resolution

I never do New Year's Resolutions.  I feel like there is no time like the present to make changes.  If you know something needs to be done, just do it!  NOW!  If you set up a time that you will start (especially New Years) then you are setting up a time to fail.  Just do it now and you will never fail because it will be a work in progress.  So, No.  I have no New Year's Resolutions.

-Val

Brown Rice Bread. Easy and Yummy.




Although I have no need to eat Gluten free, my father in law does. Because I love him so much I wanted to find him an easy bread recipe he could make on his own. I looked online for rice bread recipes and they were so ridiculous. They almost all included weird things like tapioca flour, quinoa this, starch of that... So I thought, "I'm going to make this easy". Baking powder, eggs and flour are the strangest ingredients you will find in this bread.


You will need a medium baking sheet with about 3/4 - 1 inch edges. Spray it with cooking oil. Mix the following ingredients together and pour into the baking sheet. Cook it about 10- 15 minutes at 350 F.


3 cups Brown Rice Flour
3 TBs Baking Powder
3/4 tsp salt
3 TBs brown Sugar
3 eggs
2- 2 1/2 cups water


You know its done when the top starts to crack, and you may want to stop it before then for a more moist bread. Cut the bread in to squares and enjoy! It resembles a smooth cornbread taste. It makes good sandwiches and toast and is even good all by itself! Email me if you need to purchase some brown rice flour.


-Val

Posture Exercises


Bad posture can be corrected by stretching the shortened tendons and muscles and shortening the lengthened muscles.  It's not really a quick process but its not necessarily hard.  For rounded shoulders you need to stretch your arms back to lengthen the front of the chest and do strenghthening on your back to shorten those muscles and pull your shoulders back naturally.  Strengtheing the core can also improve posture.  You need the muscles around your spine to be in tip top shape to pull it into correct alignment.  I found a work out video called 10 Minute Solution: Target Toning for Beginners.  It's not the most exciting workout, but I've found it to be quick, easy and effective.  It specifically targets posture muscles in the ab and upper body sections of the workout.  What I really love about it is you can pick and choose what workouts you want to do in the menu section and it will automatically play them.




Remember not to do the floor exercises for your tummy if you have a diastisis.


-Val    

This Core Exercise Kicked My Butt!


Granted, I just had a baby not too long ago and my core is very weak right now, but I think this exercise would be good no matter how strong your core is. It's the Plank Jump. So you are basically in plank position like you are going to do a push up. Jump your legs inward toward your hands. Now stand up reach your arms in the air and then bend back over, put your hands back on the ground and jump your legs back out to the plank position. It worked those lower abdominal muscles for me, you know, the one's that nothing else seems to work! If you add a jump to it when you stand up you add some great cardio and leg work too.


-Val


I don't know why I cant embed the videos here but here is the link

http://www.exercisetv.tv/workout-videos/banish-fat-boost-metabolism-9127


About halfway through this vid Jillian is doing a plank jump! Good luck!


P.S. Here are some photos in order of how the exercise is done. Remember you are JUMPING your feet towards your hands and jumping them back out.










Dec 30, 2009

Bye Bye Baby Belly Pooch!


 Listen up you postpartum mommies,  this is for you!

While your baby is growing inside of you it starts to separate your abdominal muscles.  After you have your baby only a lucky few will get out without a "mummy tummy".  This little pooch that wont go away is because your muscles are still separated.  So, short of a tummy tuck what do you do?  Here's what did and didn't work for me.

"How to Loose Your Mummy Tummy" Program:
First of all this program does teach you some very important things to know.  Like that you shouldn't be doing crunches if you have abdominal muscle separation (called a diastisis)  because it makes it worse!!!  She also teaches you how to hold your transverse muscles in to strengthen it and she teaches you basic principles in bringing the muscles back together so that they heal back into place where they belong.
Her exercises however are so tedious (1000+ reps a day!) that I just couldn't do it!  Also her video is boring and slow.   She also sells an "abdominal splint" that is supposed to pull those muscles back together so they heal and get strengthened in the right place.  It is a piece of junk!  It was like 2 layers of a t-shirt sew together.  It stretched out of shape after 30 seconds of wearing it and it bunches and binds.  It's a sound concept but the expensive splint, AKA piece of junk they sell just doesn't do the job.

How to check if you have a diastisis:  Lie on the floor on your back.   Place your fingers across your belly button horizontally or right below or right above.  The size of the gap will vary from place to place on your tummy  Push them in there good and lift your head.  Just your head.  You will feel the muscles tighten up and kinda grab hold of your fingers.  If you are more than 1 finger width you definitely have a diastisis.  Most women have 4 or more finger width's right after having a baby (check 3 days after you had your baby).    

So here's what worked for me.  The minute I had a chance after having my baby I used an abdominal wrap.  I started out with a thick Ace Bandage.  It didn't stay put.  So then I tried using my Belly Bra backwards and upside down.  This worked fairly well for quite a while.  It was bulky under clothes though.  So I wore that as much as I could for about 2 months.  Then My husband suggested I try his back brace.  I would recommend one of those Belly Bandits, or something similar.  I'm just cheap and tried to use what I had.  The brace worked really well. It stayed put and was just the right motion of pulling the sides of the abdominals in together.  By 3 months I started wearing it just at night.  It was really working!  Now at 4 months my belly is flatter than it ever was after my first baby, even when I weighed less than I do now.  Now that it has healed back together I have started doing abdominal exercises again. I try to stay away from exercises that require me to lift my shoulders off the ground though.  I do planks, standing exercises like the ones in Turbo Jam, and head lifts.  I'll post later how to do these exercises.  Closing my diastisis has solved my lower back pain and flattened my tummy (as much as it will flatten with my weight).

I think improving your posture is also important to looking slim after a baby.  Standing up straight will make you look like you lost 10 lbs.  Exercise your posture muscles and you will stand up straight without even thinking about it.  I will also do a post on posture later.

If you have a diastisis and you had your baby long ago it is still possible to close it up.  Just do the same things recommended for just having a baby.  It's never to late to loose that pooch!

 Here is a good site on how to check your diastisis and some exercises.

I hope you all have as much luck with this as I had!

Whole Wheat Pancakes.


These pancakes are not only so-o-o good for you but they taste so-o-o good too. They are made with White Wheat. No, not white flour, but a different kind of wheat. You have Red, Yellow and now White Wheat. White Wheat is softer and lighter and lacks that bitter red wheat flavor. It makes excellent breads and desserts without the gritty weight.


1 C Whole Wheat
1 egg
3 tsp baking powder
1 TB brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2- 1/3 Cup water or milk


Just mix it all up till its nice and smooth and runny enough to pour. This is a small batch. Double or triple it for every 2 people.


-Val

Why do we write this blog?

Hello,

My sister Liz and I have truly been on a crusade since our early 20's to feel good, look good and be good. My has it been a struggle! Life always throws you all kinds of twists and turns. We have both suffered health problems and the emotional and physical toll these take on you. Along the way we think we have come up with some pretty cool stuff that could benefit others. Like great recipies, work out routines, natural cures, tips and tricks for just about everything.



We discussed what we wanted this blog to be about. We both agreed we should share what we have found to really work for us related to exercise, cooking, sharing... Uh, living! We both have 2 kids and stay at home. We understand how much pressure it is to be skinny and fit, have a clean house and be a super Mom! (which speaking for myself only, I am none of those things...)


This site is not about being perfectly healthy, beautiful or sane. It's about what works, when it works and how it works. Sometimes what works at one time in your life isn't going to work at another. What's important here is that we are all trying to be our best everyday. So, read, share and learn with us!

-Val