Sunday, March 27, 2011

Natural Cellulite Treatments - Part 1

Howdy All . . . As promised in the last blog, I will begin a new series discussing natural ways to rid the body of cellulite. Despite it being a bone-numbing 25 degrees here at home in coastal Maine today - colder when you add in the terrible windchill - it is time for me, and for the rest of you in warmer climates, to address that lumpy, bumpy, unsightly cellulite that has developed over the winter on your thighs, and other areas - before it becomes swimsuit and shorts season - and you get caught, exposed and jiggly, as if you've smeared marmalade on your parts!! No one wants to see that! What exactly is cellulite? Cellulite is the dimpled, lumpy skin that most often appears on the thighs, hips, buttocks, and stomach. Reminds some of an orange-peel or cottage cheese appearance. Enticing, eh? Cellulite is not a type of fat, but rather a result of the relationship between skin and the fat layer beneath it. It affects women more than men because women tend to have more subcutaneous fat and slightly thinner skin . . . isn't that sad? Life's never fair, is it? Anyway . . . Causes: If you were to ask 10 different skin care and body care experts, ranging from dermatologists to estheticians to massage therapists, to state the causes of cellulite, you'd get 10 differenet answers. Here are some of the answers I received upon interview: 1. There's no such thing as cellulite. It's just plain old fat. The cause is simply a lack of exercise and overeating. 2. It's a result of stagnant circulation in various areas between the torso and the knees. 3. Cellullite is a type of fat that traps extra water beneath the skin's surface, causing a puckered appearance. 4. Cellulite is caused by toxins in the diet, such as artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and aditives, which the body stores in fat cells - as it doesn't recognize these ingredients as real food. It doesn't know what to do with them nor how to process them. 5. The appearance of cellulite is more apparent when the underlying muscle is untoned and flabby. In an athletic body, the visible dimpling of the fat layer, if evident at all, is minimal. 6. Cellulite is one of the side-effects of a constipated colon and insufficient water intake, resulting in an overaccumulation of toxins. When toxins are not being released through the proper channels - the skin, kidneys, liver, and colon - they are stored in the fat tissue, isolated from the body and out of harm's way. 7. Cellulite is a combination of fat, water, and wastes trapped beneath the skin in pockets within the connnective fiber bands that hold the skin in place. As the amount of these materials increases, the pockets bulge, causing the familiar cottage-cheese effect. All of these "causes" of cellulite ring true to a certain degree. Cellulite does consist of fatty tissue, water, and toxins, and the degree to which it affects you depends on the types of food you consume as well as the amount and type of exercise you get - and genetics - sorry to say. Although it can be difficult to eradicate completely, there are ways to at least minimize its appearance. In the next blog, I discuss natural ways to help prevent cellulite's development and aid in the elimination of this unsightly problem, if you've got it already. Stay tuned! Also, if you have any tips that have been successful for you, then by all means, send them to me and I'll post them in a future blog!! Be well . . . NOTE: This article was written by Stephanie Tourles, lic. esthetician. The content was adapted from material in one of her many books, "Naturally Healthy Skin", Storey Publishing, 1999. The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Comfort Food Done Raw

Hello Readers . . . I hope your day is going better than mine. Let me explain . . . Today, I was going to start a new 2-3 part blog on the topic of "cellulite" and how to get rid of that pesky "orange peel" appearance . . . you know . . . before we all have to bare our legs and bellies and don bikinis and shorts. But . . . I changed my mind. I'll get to that topic in a few weeks. Why, you ask? Well, we still have 3' of snow on the ground here in northern, coastal Maine and, as luck would have it, we received 2" of rain between last night and this morning - resulting in rapid snow melt - which flooded the street and drainage ditch in front of my house. I live on a slight slope. All of that water and accumulated gravel, bits of asphalt, sand, and frozen ice chunks had nowhere to go except down my sloping street, following the edge of the high frozen snow bank along the road. So, as soon as the torrent of water found the path of least resistance - that being my previously shoveled walkway to the mail box and my gravel driveway - in it all came - right into my front yard and driveway - carving little canyons and bringing with it tons of blackish debris. Yuck - what a mess! So . . . now I have a lot of spring yard clean-up to do! Needless to say, my previous good morning mood went right into the proverbial toilet . . . or right down my driveway along with all the mud and debris.

I decided, right then and there, that I deserved a depression-lifter - comfort food if you will - and what better way to improve my mood that to make some raw fudge? Chocolate does wonders to raise the spirits! At least this decadent, rich raw fudge is totally fabulous - both nutrition and taste-wise. I'll share the recipe with you. Enjoy and think warm, sunny, springtime thoughts! Be careful not to eat the whole pan . . . it's that good!

Raw Mexican Dark Chocolate-Blueberry Divine Fudge

Experience raw candy decadence at its finest! If you're familiar with the taste of Mexican chocolate, then you know it can have a pungent bite. This unique fudge has plenty of tongue-tantalizing flavors and textures: Bitter and sweet, hot and rich, smooth and chewy, melt-in-your mouth gooey! With regular consumption - and YES - you actually can eat this on a regular basis because it is SO good for you - you'll see an increase in outer glow and feel a surge of inner vitality from this luscious, nutrient-packed confection. P.S. I've been known to have a piece or 2 or 3 along with a glass of raw almond milk, and call it breakfast! YUM!

- 1/2 cup raw, unrefined coconut oil
- 1 cup dried blueberies, sweetened with apple juice, or unsweetened
- 1 cup raw cocoa (caca0) powder
- 1/2 cup raw almond butter
- 2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1. If the coconut oil is solid, set the jar in a pan of very hot water or in a warm, sunny window to liquefy.
2. Put the coconut oil, blueberries, cocoa, almond butter, agave, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir to blend until a stiff ball forms; there will be small lumps of blueberries.
3. Coat the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with a bit of coconut oil or line with waxed paper. Spread the fudge mixture into the pan to an approximate depth of 1 inch. Cover and freeze for 1 hour, until very firm.
4. Remove from the freezer and allow the mixture to soften slightly for about 20 minutes. Cut the fudge into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or in the freezer for 6 months. Do not allow the fudge to sit at room temperature for too long or it will melt.

Yield: About 24 pieces

A Good Source Of: anti-oxidants, vitamins B and E, calcium, sulfur, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, natural sugars, healthful fat, protein, and fiber

NOTE: This article is by Stephanie Tourles, Lic. Holistic Esthetician, Herbalist, and raw food enthusiast. It is adapted from her book, "Raw Energy", Storey Publishing, copyright 2009. The information in this article is true and complete to the best of her knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.