Treatment tricks Chest skin is nearly as fragile as face skin, so you have to treat it that way. For best skin care, rub a light exfoliating pad containing alpha and beta hydroxy acids over the entire area twice a week to help promote cell regeneration, reduce fine lines, and boost suppleness (try MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, $78,mdskincare.com). Before bed, slather on a peptide-rich moisturizer to help plump and hydrate your skin while you sleep. (Try Olay Regenerist Regenerating Body Lotion, $10, at drugstores.)
Got a chest full of freckles? Ask your derm to erase them with a Q-Switched YAG laser, a machine that permanently absorbs melanin pigments in the skin in just one session (cost is about $500).
Prevent future damage "Wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day on exposed body parts, even if you’re not planning on spending a lot of time outside," insists Gross. "Research shows that premature aging comes from incidental exposure while we’re out shopping or grabbing lunch." Choose one with antioxidants to fight free-radical damage. (Try Aveeno Positively Ageless Sunblock Lotion SPF 55, $13, at drugstores.)
Change can be a truly beautiful thing. Think about it: When you change the way you eat, you can change the way you feel, and change the way you look! With bikini season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to invest in positive changes that improve all of the above and result in a sexier you.
Begin by incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. They play an essential role in both physical and mental health, but since your body cannot produce them, you can only receive these essential fatty acids through a healthy diet. Here are my favorite omega-3-rich foods and how they change your body for the better while keeping your brain in tip-top shape:
Walnuts Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and contain cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory properties that may help aid in weight loss and provide other superb benefits like the promotion of bone health. Serve them mixed into your morning muesli, alongside a cup of green tea, or paired with some peaches and non-fat Greek yogurt for a perfect morning.
Sardines Don’t scrunch your nose! Sardines are one of the most concentrated sources of the omega-3s, DHA, and EPA, which can all help lower cholesterol. They are low in saturated fat, packed with protein, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, and can boost metabolism. Feeling eco-friendly? Wild-caught Pacific sardines are one of the most sustainable low-mercury omega-3-rich fish. Throw them into a Caesar salad, put them on a flatbread pizza with Gruyere cheese, or simply eat them with some avocado, thinly sliced red onion, and arugula over toasted pumpernickel.
Flaxseeds Flaxseeds are rich in ALA (that’s alpha-linolenic acid), an omega-3 fat that can promote bone health as well as prevent heart disease and cancer. Plus, flaxseeds give you that ultimate boost of beautiful hair, skin, and nails that every woman deserves. Gorgeous from the inside out! Toss some flax into homemade granola, on top of your favorite cereal, with some unsweetened almond milk, or pulsed up and folded into cookie, muffin, or cake batter. You won’t have a clue they are in there. Getting a lil’ more flax will do us all good.
Eggs All eggs are good for you, but some eggs are a better lay for your health. Eggland’s Best eggs, for example, are fortified with more omega-3 fatty acids than regular eggs due to their all-natural vegetarian-based feed. Eggland’s Best eggs contain more than twice the amount of omega-3s, twice the vitamin D, and 10-times the vitamin E of ordinary eggs. With feed that contains ingredients like rice bran, alfalfa, vitamin E, and sea kelp, you can bet these chicks are sexy as can be.
Salmon Yes, another fish makes the cut here. Why? Studies show that consuming more salmon can directly enhance the performance of our cells by increasing insulin effectiveness and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent in joint and digestive tissue. The combination of EPA and DHA omega-3 fats in salmon are especially good for the heart. So eat more salmon for a healthy heart, brain, and bod. This stuff is absolutely delicious broiled with a miso glaze, marinated and grilled over an open flame, or pan-seared with shallots and leeks and paired with a quinoa salad.
If you’re like most women, you’ve been struggling to flatten your stomach for about two decades now. Why? Because you think achieving enviable abs is complicated. Don’t be fooled! If you’re smart with your strategy, scoring a flat belly is actually incredibly simple. Follow these three steps and you’ll have a flat belly in no time.
Step 1: Exercise But not so fast with the crunches! It takes 250,000 crunches to burn one pound of fat. And working those muscles underneath won’t matter if you still have a layer of fat covering them. Plus, crunches are one of the main culprits of back injuries, according to recent research. You won’t look so good on the beach if you’re bent over with an achy back. Instead, try these core-stabilization exercises to build the strong, sleek, sexy stomach you’re after:
Pushup: Get down on all fours and place your hands on the floor so that they’re slightly wider than your shoulders. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause at the bottom, and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible. If your hips sag at any point during the exercise, your form has broken down. Consider that your last repetition and end the set.
Plank: Start to get into a pushup position, but bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms instead of on your hands. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Brace your core by contracting your abs as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Hold this position while breathing deeply.
Hip Raises: Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for up to 5 seconds in the up position, then lower your body back to the starting position.
Also use combo exercises, which target more than one muscle group, to get your heart pumping and ramp up your metabolism for up to 48 hours after your workout.
Step 2: De-Stress When stress is high, a hormone called cortisol shoots up. And high cortisol levels equal high belly fat. Take at least 10 to 15 minutes a day to decompress and reduce your cortisol levels, and a flat stomach will be one less thing to worry about. Some ideas for de-stressing:
Slip into a hot bubble bath with lavender
Stretch or do yoga poses in silence
Write each day in a dedicated journal
Laugh (even if you don’t feel like laughing!)
Step 3: Eat Right Fuel your body with belly-fat burning foods that stabilize your blood sugar. These includes lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and good fats. Some rules to follow:
Eat one to two servings of vegetables at every meal. If you eat four to five low-cal meals a day like you should, you’ll rack up four to 10 servings of vegetables a day!
Drink lots of water. Good’ol’ H2O curbs dehydration, which is easily confused with hunger. Aim for at least 64 ounces (that’s eight 8-ounce glasses) of water a day.
Consume high-quality protein at each meal. High-protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them. They also take longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner—and longer.
Don’t be afraid of fats. Eat lots of omega-3-rich foods such as olive oil, avocado, fish and nuts, which increase fat oxidation to help keep you slim (fat oxidation is the body’s way of breaking down large fat molecules into smaller ones that can be used for energy).
Q: Is it better to work out your upper body or lower body first?
—Elena P., Santa Rosa, CA
A: Unless you’ve already got guns like Madonna, start up top. Most women’s upper-body muscles are weaker than their lower-body ones, so their upper-body workout may require more focus and effort, says fitness expert Karen Joseph, owner of Fountain of Fitness in Valrico, Florida.
Studies show that plowing through tough exercises while you’re still fresh helps prevent injury (since you move with more control) and maximizes efficiency (since you won’t slack off on form or speed).
Joseph suggests working large muscle groups, like the chest and back, before smaller ones (triceps, biceps, and forearms) and doing multi-joint moves, such as bench presses or pullups, before isolated movements like biceps curls. Get them all in two or three times a week for a leaner, tighter body.
For runners who used the winter weather as an excuse to retire their shoes for a few months, it’s time to hit the road once again. But getting back into the running groove doesn’t always happen as quickly or easily as you’d like it to, says Jess Cover, an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and 18-time marathoner.
Cover, an instructor with RunVermont—the running organization behind the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon and Relay on May 27—offers the following tips to help make your spring transition back to regular running safer, easier, and more enjoyable.
1. Check Your Shoes One of the first steps in resuming your running routine is to check your running shoes. For those who haven’t been running over the winter, putting on your old running shoes can actually be detrimental to your body. With time, the cushioning breaks down, stiffens and hardens, and your shoes will no longer provide the support your body needs.
Those who run regularly should aim to replace their shoes every 300-500 miles, or about every six months. Running outside also speeds the wear and tear on your shoes compared to running on the treadmill. Your old shoes don’t need to go right to the trash; you can save them for shorter runs during messy conditions. (You can also recycle running shoes.)
2. Evaluate Yourself When you start running again, it’s important to realize that you have had a layoff from running, even if you’ve stayed active throughout the winter. Your first run should be an evaluation—stay relatively close to home on a familiar route, remember to do plenty of stretching before and after your run, and don’t be afraid to walk, stop, or take it slow. Your body needs to adapt to running again—picking up where you left off isn’t going to be immediate, even if you left off at the finish line of a marathon or half-marathon
If you’re transitioning from running on the treadmill to running outside, it’s going to feel more difficult and can be especially hard on your knees. Plan your route to avoid big uphills or downhills when starting up again. If your body isn’t accustomed to it, running at a steep decline can cause micro-tears in your quad muscles, and your knees will stiffen up. Try to balance the uphills and downhills, or pick a relatively flat route to begin.
3. Dress the Part Spring can be a tricky time of year for choosing the appropriate apparel thanks to the unexpected rain, wind, and sun that can lurk around each turn. Since weather can change drastically during the course of a run, research what conditions you should expect and then layer your running gear accordingly. Just choose a wicking fabric as your first layer to draw moisture off your skin.
A good rule of thumb is to dress for 15-20 degrees warmer than it actually is, since your body temperature will rise throughout your run. It’s easy to overheat as the weather warms because although you’ll still feel the chill in the air, your body will heat up much faster than it did during the winter. Feeling a little chilly before you begin your run is a good sign that you’re not overdressed. It’s important to remember that you’re still at risk for hypothermia on cooler or rainy days, so a thin pair of gloves, a thin hat, and a vest are all good pieces to layer with. Look for layers that can easily be tied around your waist once you begin to warm up.
4. Stay Hydrated As you begin running again, it’s common to start sweating more than usual, especially as the weather warms up. To prevent dehydration, it’s important to hydrate both before and after running and it’s smart to have the option to hydrate during your run. Even if you wouldn’t normally bring a drink for a 45-minute run, it’s recommended to bring a handheld bottle—or a few dollars to stop for a drink along the way.
5. Set a Goal Having a goal is crucial to getting back into your running routine. Picking a race to train for or joining a running club or a relay team are great ways to get motivated. Whether it’s a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, or even a marathon in your future, make a running calendar to help plan these goals and stay on track. It’s important to give yourself enough time to train so you don’t feel rushed, but don’t plan too far ahead so you lose sight of what you’re working toward. Many larger races offer a relay option, which is great for people who haven’t run a race before or for those who aren’t ready to tackled the entire distance on their own. Plus, being part of a team will give you running partners and the drive to get moving!
Almonds: Hey, guess what? Almonds are seeds, not nuts, and they’re stuffed with vitamin E, a potent sun blocker. Volunteers who consumed 14 milligrams of the vitamin per day (about 20 almonds) and then were exposed to UV light sunburned less than those who took none. “Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant that helps to protect skin cells from UV light and other environmental factors that generate cell-damaging free radicals,” explains Jeffrey Dover, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.
People with sensitive personalities are easily upset—and so are people with sensitive skin. Hey, patches of tiny red bumps or an itchy rash can make a girl cranky. The cause of an irritable complexion: “Women with sensitive skin have hyperactive immune systems that read certain products or weather conditions as enemies and fight them off as foreign objects,” says Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, M.D., a dermatologist in Miami. “This reaction often leads to skin redness, itching, stinging, burning, and peeling.”
Blyumin-Karasik says that 30 percent of the women treated in her practice have sensitive skin. However, many more experience symptoms at some point in their lives due to hormonal fluctuations or because they’ve slathered on products that contain harsh ingredients. “Women are using more anti-aging products than ever before, and the potent exfoliants in them can cause irritation,” says Francesca Fusco, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “So more women are experiencing the symptoms of sensitivity.” Keep your skin happy by staying away from the following saboteurs.
Who doesn’t love goat cheese? But it can get a little boring after you’ve crumbled it on a dainty arugula salad for the millionth time. So when I had some leftover goat cheese recently, I wanted to make something a little unexpected. And, as usual, my sweet tooth demanded something dark, dense, and chocolatey. The solution: Goat cheese brownies.
These brownies are not only easy to make, but they manage to combine an inconceivable pairing of textures: fudgy and fluffy all in one bite! It’s all about whipped goat cheese—the usually dense, creamy cheese is surprisingly airy thanks to a lengthy six-minute beating session.
I played around with the ingredients in this recipe quite a bit, and the brownies turned out amazing every time! Try coconut milk or even buttermilk to bring out more of the cheese’s tanginess. And soy or coconut butter make a suitable substitution for butter.
Goat Cheese Brownies Adapted from Bruce Weinstein, chef and co-author of Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese
What you’ll need: 2 cups of flour 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped 10 tbsp butter 8 oz goat cheese 1 3/4 cup sugar 4 large eggs 1 tbsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup milk
How to make it: 1. Begin by positioning the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. 2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. 3. Place chopped chocolates in the top half of a double boiler set over a pan with about an inch of slowly simmering water. If you don’t have a double boiler, set a heat-safe mixing bowl over a medium saucepan with a similar amount of slowly simmering water. Stir until half the chocolate has melted, then remove from the heat and continue to stir until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, beat the unsalted butter, goat cheese, and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy and thick, about 6 minutes. 5. Beat the melted chocolate into the cheese mixture until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the inside of the bowl and beat in 4 large eggs, one at a time, adding the next after the one before has been thoroughly incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract. 6. Turn off the beaters, add half the flour mixture, and beat it in on the lowest speed. When creamy, add milk. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture just until there are no white streaks in the batter. One warning: it’s a stiff batter. Pour and spread the batter into the prepared pan. 7. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25-35 minutes. The middle may be soft (but not jiggly) but it will set and firm up. 8. Cool the pan on a wire rack for an hour, then cut the brownies into 24 pieces. Carefully remove them from the pan. You can store them between sheets of wax paper in a sealed container on the counter for up to 3 days—or in the freezer for months.
For being the key to weight loss, your metabolism is incredibly simple. It’s just all of the chemical processes in your body added up. So the higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn. And while your metabolic rate is influenced by genetics, your workout can really rev it up big time.
Exercise can increase metabolism in three ways: 1. It burns calories during the workout session. 2. It burns additional calories directly following the workout session, which is known as the afterburn affect. This post-exercise metabolic boost can last 24-48 hours. 3. It increases calorie-burning lean muscle mass. One pound of muscle burns an extra 6-50 calories a day.
But when it comes to boosting your metabolism, not all exercise is created equal. Here, how you should prioritize your workouts to get your metabolism humming:
#1 Choice: Strength Training Lifting weights will boost your metabolism in all three ways and should be your first priority if you really want to burn more fat more easily. Have you ever noticed that men can lose weight by cutting out their nightly ice cream while women have to count calories like crazy before the scale will even budge? That’s because men tend to have more metabolically active muscle than women. Complete a total-body strength-training program two to three days a week to build significant lean muscle mass and boost your metabolism, even if you’re cutting calories.
#2 Choice: Interval Training This type of cardio workout, in which you push your exercise intensity for a short period of time and then recover, will burn calories during exercise as well as give you an afterburn effect. In one study comparing the effects of 15 weeks of interval training with 20 weeks of steady-state endurance training, researchers found that the participants who completed interval workouts lost nine times more fat than those who completed endurance workouts.
#3 Choice: Steady State Endurance Cardio and Aerobics When you hit the pavement, you burn calories during the run, but you don’t get the benefit of an afterburn effect or of building muscle. And be careful: If you overdo it, you could actually end up losing muscle, which can slow your metabolism. In one study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, participants completed six long runs in seven days, after which the average weight loss was 6.1%. However, 5% of their weight loss came from lean mass and only 1.1% came from body fat. Stick to a little running—about 30 minutes on the days following your strength-training sessions—to help recover from your workouts without burning through muscle.
1. Sprout Garbanzo Beans. Place 2 C dry beans in a jar, cover with water and let soak for 24 hours. Make sure there is plenty of room in the jar as these will expand quite a bit. Drain off water and rinse 3 times a day until little sprouts appear. Usually 2-3 days
2. Place sunflower seeds in food processor and grind until fine. Place ground sunflower seeds in large bowl.
3. With food processor running, drop 2 cloves of garlic in. Let run until garlic has been chopped.
4. Place sprouted garbanzo beans in food processor with garlic. Process until a mash is achieved.Remove to bowl with sunflower seeds.
5. Chop onion in food processor, pulsing until a very fine chop in achieved. Place in bowl with garbanzo bean mixture.
6. Chop parsley and add along with remaining ingredients to bean mixture. Combine well.
7. Shape into golf sized balls and dehydrate, beginning at 140 degrees for 1 hour and then reducing heat to 116 for 4 to 6 hours. You will want to check as they dehydrate. They should be crispy on the outside but still a little soft on the inside.
Mango Pineapple Salsa
1 C Chopped Pineapple
1 C Chopped Mango
1 C Chopped Jicama
1/2 C Chopped Onion
3 T Finely Chopped Cilantro
1 Lime (juice from)
Mix all ingredients together. Let sit to marinate.
1/4 C Cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)
1 Young Coconut (flesh from – about 3/4 Cup)
2 T Lemon Juice
pinch sea salt
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth. Can add water to thin out if needed.
To Serve: Create a bed of alfalfa sprouts, place falafel on top of the sprouts. Top with “sour cream” and serve with salsa.
Fueling your body the right way gets you better workout results
By Caroline Schaefer
Eat Exercising on an empty stomach makes you more likely to lose muscle, and without any extra gas in the tank, your exercise intensity and overall calorie burn will take a hit. An hour or two before working out, snack on 100 to 200 calories of complex carbs and protein (like a cup of nonfat yogurt or a piece of fruit and a cheese stick).
Drink Sipping green tea—hot or iced—helps your muscles recover faster after a workout so you can get back into the gym more quickly. According to a study in Nutrition Research, exercisers who drank green tea extract, which contains therapeutic antioxidants, had less muscle damage after workouts compared with those who drank only water.
Snack Red apples, berries, and grapes contain the antioxidant quercetin, which can boost your endurance and oxygen capacity, making workouts feel more doable, according to a study from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. Researchers believe quercetin also helps the fatigue that can cause you to skip workouts.
To make the crust, process the macadamia nuts and dates in the food processor. Sprinkle dried coconut onto the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch springform pan (found in Target). Press crust onto the coconut. This will prevent it from sticking.
To make the cheese, blend the cashews, lemon, honey/agave, room temperature coconut oil, vanilla, sea salt and lemon extract (if using). Blend until smooth and adjust to taste. Pour the mixture onto the crust. Remove air bubbles by tapping the pan on a table. Place in the freezer until firm. Remove the whole cake from the pan while frozen and place on a serving platter. Defrost in the refrigerator.
To make the lemon curd, first use a zester and reserve the lemon zest from the lemon to sprinkle on top of the cake later. Combine lemon, coconut butter, agave, salt, lemon extract in the food processor. It’s difficult to get it to come out completely smoothly, but it’s tart and delicious! Spread over the top of the cake.
An apple a day really does keep the doctor away! Apples are an excellent source of Pectin which helps reduce your body’s absorption of cholesterol. A recent study from FSU reported that women who ate 2 fresh apples a day for a year saw a 23% drop is LDL (bad cholesterol).