Thursday, July 29, 2010

Body Basics/Healthy Food: Veggies for lunch

I work from home so I don’t have the temptation of office snack or cafeteria food throughout the day. However, I have fallen victim to having no “lunch” food when it’s time for lunch. I feel like I waste time, gas, and money if I leave my house and go out to buy lunch (unless it involves girlfriends then that’s a different story). So, I’m always trying to come up with creative, non-sandwich options.

I am somewhat of a foodie so I like to feel satisfied with the flavors and textures of every meal. Yesterday, I dumped some organic brown rice in my rice cooker and stir-fried leftover raw veggies from a previous meal and created one of the best lunches ever! Veggies and rice might sound a little boring but that’s where seasoning comes in. I cooked the rice in coconut curry broth and stir fried the veggies with a little garlic and soy sauce. It tasted great and didn’t make me drowsy afterwards.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Bought a Steamer!

During my daily patrols of hair blogs, I kept reading about hair steamers and how great they are. Of course we know that water is good for our hair and heat opens the cuticles to enhance penetration. So, it seems logical that steaming would be a good thing.

For a while, I satisfied my itch to buy a steamer by layering hot wet towels and shower caps over my deep conditioner. The results were pretty good however when my sister started talking about steamers, my itch came back! She and I searched the web for the best deals and finally found steamers for under $100 with free shipping.

I have been steaming my daughter’s and my own hair for about a month now and I am very happy with the results. My hair retains moisture and almost any conditioner makes my hair feel ridiculously soft. I figure that since most salons tack on $20 - $50 for a steam treatment then I’ve already made my money back.

I love my steamer and think it was a great purchase. How does it simplify my life? Well, I no longer have to try different techniques and products to moisturize my hair. The steamer works like magic to infuse deep conditioner, regular condition and even leave-in into my strands.

I've included some before/after shots of my nieces' hair. My sister steamed them both using Hello Hydration, honey, and olive oil. As you can see, the results are pretty impressive. Please share your steamer experiences.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Making Time for Fitness

Working from home gives me the flexibility to exercise after I drop my kids off at school or to make it to a midday class at the gym. However, many of my friends who are in more traditional work situations have trouble fitting it in especially when they’re juggling their own busy schedules with their children’s extracurricular activities.

So what’s a busy woman to do? The good news is that you can achieve benefits from exercising in small increments. So, if you can get in a quick walk in the morning, jump rope for 10 minutes at lunch, and jog/walk/bike/move before dinner then you can still reap some benefits from exercising. You should still try to fit in a longer session on the weekend if possible but the key is to get your butt moving!

Here are some quick tips to help you stay in shape and combat that annual weight gain that tends to plague many women:

Have a plan. If you put exercise on your schedule just like your other important meetings and activities then you are much more likely to do it. Don’t just think you will fit it in because you want to. You have to plan for it. Eventually, you will find that planning exercise time also helps you plan your meals and your snacks.

Exercise with a friend. Having an exercise partner helps to keep you honest when you want to skip your trip to the gym and go to Five Guys instead. Friends will help you stay on track and keep you company. If not, find a new exercise buddy.

Make it a family affair. Get the kids and hubby off the couch. Family walks and bike rides are great! And everyone will envy how fly and fit your family looks.

Circuit train. Circuit training is a great opportunity to incorporate weights into your workout and to do it quickly. You can work several body parts in a quick circuit training session. And take my word, unless you’re taking some banned substance you will NOT look like a man if you lift weights. You just won’t have those jiggly chicken wings when you lift your arms.

Do something you enjoy. I know that running is not my thing. So if it is on my schedule, chances are I will find an excuse to do something I enjoy more, like cleaning my daughter’s hermit crab cage (just joking!) But really, exercise is not punishment and should not be dreaded. As Digital Underground said back in the day, “Doowutchyalike!”

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sunscreen - It's for YOU, too!

I was sitting on the beach with a good friend of mine and started pulling out my sunscreen stash to re-apply. She asked me why I used it since I am obviously brown skinned and have natural sunscreen “built in” to my skin. She didn’t seem to buy it when I told her that dark-skinned people need sunscreen too. Thinking back to my childhood, I don’t think my parents ever applied sunscreen to us despite the hours spent outside in the hot North Carolina summer sun. However, that doesn’t mean they were right.

People with darker skin have more melanin, which actually does absorb more UV rays thus providing a bit more natural sunscreen. However, individuals with dark skin should still wear a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection because we can still get sunburn. Very dark, black skin has a natural SPF of about 13 and filters twice as much UV radiation as white skin, for example. However, the recommendation is that individuals wear at least SPF 15 for daily sun exposure.

Failure to use sunscreen can results in sunburn, premature aging, and in the worst cases – skin cancer. By the way, skin cancer tends to have higher mortality rates in darker skinned individuals because it usually goes undetected until it is fairly advanced.

So…..please be smart in the sun this summer (and throughout the year). One of my favorite bloggers, Savvy Brown, recently posted an article on natural sunscreen that is definitely worth checking out.