Health MATTERS – the nontraditional approach

Health and Lifestyle Choicesmedicine1 Do you ever get mixed up between the different types of non traditional health approaches such as alternative vs complementary vs integrative?

Dr. Oz says yes, but it’s subtle so people tend to use the words interchangeably and incorrectly.  Your simple shortcut guide to what’s what according to Oz:

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE –  any type of non-mainstream therapy or medication used in place of conventional Western treatment.  Example: Acupuncture may be used instead of a prescription pain med for, say, chronic migraines, or in place of hormone therapy for menopause symptoms.medicine2 - Copy

COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE (does not mean free) – Nontraditional treatments that are used in tandem with – non in place of – conventional Western medicine therapies. Example: A cancer patient gets acupuncture to alleviate the nausea caused by chemotherapy.

INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE (IM) – A comprehensive plan that combines approaches (both Western and non-Western) to care for a patient’s overall well-being – body, mind, and spirit.  IM plans are generally designed to help the body prevent illness or heal itself. Example: At the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine, for instance, practitioners use a range of therapies, from Chinese herbs and acupuncture to traditional Western medicine.

Have you tried any of these approaches?  Care to share?


Feel-good Friday: humming right along

The incredible lightness of being – that’s THE HUMMINGBIRD.bird1 - Copy

Beautiful, delicate, swift, changing direction quickly and smoothly, gliding seemingly from one place to another. bird2 I’ve always loved hummingbirds and they’ve entered into my life from time to time when my spirit is in need of a little lift.  You can’t help but enjoy their presence, everything seems light and bright whenever they appear.  I have been drawn to them, and they to me. They have emerged in some strange places (like right inside my camper van in the desert at Dead Horse Canyon, Utah) and in strange ways (flapping around my head in Jamaica with no nest or feeder in sight) and more recently to some feeders in Palm Canyon, California.  I decided to look up the spiritual meaning of hummingbirds.bird3

Hummingbird Meaning

The Hummingbird is the joyful messenger and a symbol of health.  When a hummingbird appears, healing will follow.

The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:

  • Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
  • Being more present
  • Independence
  • Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
  • Lifting up negativity
  • Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
  • Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly

When the hummingbird shows up in your life, it may be an invitation to flex your path, perhaps even bending backward or forward, in order to accommodate life’s circumstances. You may be required to adapt to a situation that is a bit more demanding than usual. The wisdom carried by this spirit animal emphasizes flexibility and lightness in your approach to the unexpected.  Oh; I get it.bird4

Photos: d. king                                                                                                                     (click to enlarge)

beauty: Best in BALM

SUPER SEVEN!  Exotic, Organic beauty.  Paraben + Cruelty Free.   It’s called Divine Balm by SkinsoDivine.


Why?  Because it’s a special 3 in 1 *balm which contains seven superstar ingredients rich in moisture and vitamins to help smooth and soften the skin on your eyes, lips and cuticles.  A divine selection even if I say so myself.

Why should I say so myself?  Hmmm…seems like forever that I’ve been trying to formulate what I believe to be the most effective of all balms.  The balm of balms. I’ve tried out so many different concoctions to get it right. And of course at first I had to get some extremely picky friends (but then again most of my friends are unbelievably picky) to try it out and give me their totally honest feedback.  I’m very happy with the results.  There are three other products in the line all made with 100% nourishing natural oils for all skin types, even those who suffer from rosacea.  Having said that, I will be the first to admit that anyone can have an allergic reaction to any single ingredient so it’s best to read what is in each product first.  I have sensitive skin and it works for me.

Yes, these are my products but I wasn’t even going to tell anyone that I formulated them myself because I don’t want to appear like I’m pushing my own line.  But it seems that many bloggers are doing exactly that.  They either have something of their own to sell or they promote other people’s products.  And while I’m comfortable talking about and helping to promote other products and things I believe in then why shouldn’t I talk about my own? I guess because I’m a bit uncomfortable with doing so and it doesn’t come naturally.  But I’ve also been researching and sourcing the best oils from all over the world (for the individual products) so all I can say is that if you are at all interested in checking out the Skin so Divine product line please do so at the link below.  If you feel like purchasing anything (or the complete line) and decide you don’t like it or it’s not working for you within 30 days then send it back and I will refund your money.  Guaranteed. Whew!  That wasn’t so hard after all.  Here’s what is in it:

1) Soybean Oil - one of the major benefits of soy oil is that it’s a very good oil for protecting skin from UV rays. Soy oil helps to cure skin damage and gives it a healthy glow.  It is a rich source of linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-6 fatty acid. It contains B vitamins along with Vitamin E and Vitamin K. In addition the Vitamin E in soybean oil keeps the skin smooth and healthy.

2) Jojoba Oil (native to southern Arizona, southern California, and northwestern Mexico) – One big bonus is that it contains almost all of the vitamins and minerals essential for healthy skin: vitamin E, B-complex, copper, zinc, selenium, iodine, and chromium. And it’s even gentle enough to be used on sensitive skin without causing allergic reactions.

3) Rosehip Seed Oil (Chile) – is high in linoleic acids, vitamin C and Vitamin A (retinol). It will help to regenerate tissue and eliminate wrinkles, fine lines & sun damage. It actually deserves a whole post of its own (coming up I promise).  A little gossip…it wasn’t until former Victoria’s Secret Angel Miranda Kerr name dropped it as the secret to her radiant complexion that we decided to further explore this oil.

4) Carrot Seed Oil (obtained from wild carrots which are usually found in Europe) – is high in antioxidants and will help protect your skin from environmental assaults like UV rays & pollution.  It has an amazing ability to rejuvenate the skin and stimulate cell growth and repair damaged skin. While it can’t turn back time, it can help you look younger and more radiant.

5) Kukui Nut Oil (Hawaii) – is fortified with essential fatty acids, Vitamins A, C, E and antioxidants.  Also rich in Linoleic  acid – an omega fatty acid that your skin will devour. Kukui nut oil also works well as an under eye treatment for the prevention and softening of crow’s feet.

6) Sea buckthorn Oil (Tibet) - is loaded with antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, and studies show that these two nutrient powerhouses can prevent wrinkles. Of the essential omega fatty acids found in Sea Buckthorn, one of the main moisturizing essential fatty acids is Omega 7 palmitoleic acid. Palmitoleic Acid (Omega-7) is a natural component of skin. It is considered a valuable topical agent in treating burns and healing wounds.

7) Shea Butter (Africa) -  is very rich in fatty acids as well as Vitamins A and E. Applied on the skin, it intensely hydrates and soothes the skin as well as helping to restore the natural skin barrier.  Good to prevent black under eye circles.


*A balm has a different consistency than a cream or lotion, it’s more of a thicker ointment that glides on easily and sinks right in.

Do you use an eye or lip balm?  If so, what do you recommend?



style – chic speak!

How many times have you said a designers name incorrectly?

Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin


To help you not ever make that mistake again here is a list of famous designers with names that many of us (but not me) have difficulty properly pronouncing.


They make beautiful things, the least we can do is get their names right.


click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Chanel S/S 2015

Chanel S/S 2015

designer5You’re fashionably welcome.

Food: cookbooks – the next generation

We’re looking at a few ways of eating that are all the rage these days.

Classic cookbooks like Betty Crocker, Julia Child and The Encyclopedia of Creative Cooking are handed down through generations and are still unprecedented references to go by.  But our lifestyle has changed and along with it our ways of eating too.20150315_122106 - CopyI still enjoy a good old fashioned breakfast on occasion…like once a week.  A break from granola & yogurt.  Except now I spread avocado in place of jam on toast and fresh fruit on homemade waffles.  Well it’s a start.

No longer banned from the food pyramid, (good) fats are now seen as keys to weight loss.

No longer banned from the food pyramid, (good) fats are now seen as keys to weight loss.

20150320_132823 - Copy - Copy

I don’t know what appeals to you but let’s have a look at some of the new age cookbooks as seen on Flipboard.

The paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet—i.e. food you might have foraged or killed.

The paleo diet is also known as the caveman diet—i.e. food you might have foraged or killed.

Move over, kale. There's a new darling on plates, and they call her quinoa.

Move over, kale. There’s a new darling on plates, and they call her quinoa.  (Keen-wah)

Health concerns aside, many people say a gluten-free diet just makes them feel better. Read

Health concerns aside, many people say a gluten-free diet just makes them feel better.

Over a thousand (!) articles and recipes about whole foods, vegetarianism and veganism.

Over a thousand (!) articles and recipes about whole foods, vegetarianism and veganism.

 LOCAVORE A magazine that seeks to strengthen your connection with food, culture and the land.

A magazine that seeks to strengthen your connection with food, culture and the land.

A new study (ha!) out of California’s Loma Linda University found that vegetarians live longer and were especially less likely to die of heart disease than carnivores.  The studies found that the mortality rate of meat eaters was as much as 19 percent higher than that of self-identified vegetarians, and the effect was significantly greater for men than for women.  The Loma Linda studies showed an even longer lifespan for pesco-vegetarians, or those who included fish in their diets.

Until the verdict is in, meat eaters would do well to eat ample servings of fruits and veggies, limit intake of red and processed meats, eat fish often, and consume fewer calories overall.  Vegetarians should find ways to get plenty of protein, iron, calcium, zinc, B12 and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are often lacking in meatless dishes.

So, which category do you fall into?

Source: Flipboard for cookbook photos & New study by Kellee Katagi for Natural Choices.

breakfast photos: d. king



ART/Abstract Attraction

ABSTRACT ART Does anyone know enough about it – are we supposed to?

Hans Hofmann

Painting: Hans Hofmann

 My appreciation for abstract has grown through the years.  I certainly do not confess to know anything about it other than a strange attraction to its form, colour and content even though it appears to be convoluted to some degree.  It makes you question what it means and wonder just what the artist’s intentions were.  After all, a tree is a tree for all to see.  Abstractally speaking, do you see something totally different to what the artist intended you to.  Does it matter?  What if we just admire the piece for what it is…whatever it is.  Which brings me once more to a former question – what makes good art?

I can only surmise that if it moves you then it must be good art.  Abstract art is sometimes misunderstood, but that, ironically, is what makes it beautiful. Abstract art is art in its purest form. Below is a brief history of abstract art and an easy-to-understand, layman’s introduction to the term. And a beautiful way of expressing the form.

“Experiencing Life Through Painting”

Courtesy, Art by Mona.

Most art produced today can be said to be abstract art and, in fact, that has been the case for more than 100 years. The development of photography in the late 19th century and its evolution today have freed artists from the obligation to recreate “picture perfect” paintings that reflected reality precisely. And that has given birth to the everlasting abstract art revolution. Artists today are no longer expected, nor do most even desire, to simply paint what their eyes see. Instead, they paint their interpretations of what they see, and that is abstract art. This lack of objectivity means that today’s art is often complicated and easily misunderstood. But, for the art lover willing to spend time studying paintings for their subtle merits and messages, abstract art is endlessly exciting.

Abstract art is best compared to poetry or literature. Rather than to simply report the facts, the way a piece of non-fiction does, a good poem gives much more: it reveals the writers attitudes and feelings towards what he is writing. Abstract art does much the same. By experimenting with shades of colors that would not necessarily be found together in nature, an abstract art painter can portray moods that would not be seen in a painting that attempted to create a scene realistically. Just the way, say, the legendary writer Edgar Allan Poe took great care to choose every word of his poems and stories to evoke a constant feeling of horror, a good abstract art painter can choose every brush stroke and every color to conjure a specific emotion. This is what makes abstract art, perhaps, the purest form of art. It captures, as many scholars and critics have noted, all that it means to be human.

Art by MonaAbstract art, despite its beauty and excitement, can be difficult to interpret (just as some poems are), and that leads to frustration among many viewers. Often, for example, novice viewers will stroll through a museum filled with abstract art and marvel at what appears to be paint simply splashed thoughtlessly on canvas after canvas. “Gee, I can do that,” the uninitiated might be heard to mumble under their breath.

Eventually, though, the novice art lover will come to understand that, even the most amateurish looking of masterpieces, are, underneath the service, elaborate, master-crafted works of art. The artist has carefully chosen every drop of paint to evoke a certain feeling and express a certain attitude. Sometimes the feelings and attitudes can be directed toward a specific thing, but often, they are simply evoked for their own sake. Only abstract art, for example, can make a viewer feel happy (or sad or frightened or angry) without providing anything concrete to be happy (or sad or frightened or angry) about. A bright yellow painting with plenty of pink, green and light blue brush strokes strategically arranged can brighten up anyone’s day – even if those brush strokes represent nothing in particular.

Abstract art, like nothing else, helps us all to experience everything that it means to be alive.

So, do you agree with Mona?  I do.  Except for the part about amateurish looking paintings which are not master-crafted works at all.  Remember what Matisse said: “everybody is sensitive to art, but that doesn’t mean that they are capable of making it.”

Source: German born Monika Heckenbach (known best simply as Mona) has created hundreds of inspiring paintings that are on display in private residences and galleries across the globe.


Contemplating…too many scientific studies?

One day it’s this, another day it’s that! I find it somewhat relevant that A New Study Finds that There Are Too Many Studies.

Talk about changing your mind!

Talk about changing your mind!

A growing number of scientific studies is making it harder for researchers to keep track of all their content.

A new paper published by professors from universities in Finland and California, reports that “the attention that can be devoted to individual papers measured by their citation counts, is bound to decay rapidly,” due to the overwhelming number of studies.study3The research suggests that the decay is accelerating in recent times signalling that papers are forgotten more quickly. The study focused on scientific research but notes that the same concept can be applied to the internet and popular culture.

“Over the past years, thanks to the Internet, a huge amount of data has allowed a thorough investigation of the dynamics of collective attention to online content, ranging from news stories to videos and memes. Here attention is measured by the number of users’ views, visits, posts, downloads, tweets. It is also noted that the attention decays over time, not only because novelty fades, but also because the human capacity to pay attention to new content is limited,” the study explains.

The conclusion states that due to the exponential growth of these publications scholars “forget” papers more easily now than in the past, sometimes making it harder to isolate the most relevant information.

Do you agree?

Source: PALO ALTO, Calif. (CBS Sacramento)

Health MATTERS:  Vitamin D – too little, too much?

If you live where the sun don’t shine you most likely lack getting enough Vitamin D. 

Getty Images

Getty Images

Many of us supplement with Vitamin D capsules to make up for the lack of sunshine. Up until recently I’ve been taking about 4,000 IU of D3 gel capsules daily.  That was increased from 1,000 units a few years back when a study showed we should really be taking up to 6,000 units.  I was working my way up but…

Here we go again….the newest new study is the first of its kind to show that there’s a very narrow window for healthy vitamin D levels.

  We’ve heard a lot about the benefits of vitamin D for issues like bone health and nutrient absorption, and even weight loss but there might be a hidden risk for those who frequent the supplement aisle for high doses of this superstar nutrient.

New research from the University of Copenhagen has found an association between cardiovascular deaths and both too-low and too-high levels of vitamin D in the blood.

So how much is too much and how little is too little?

Scientists and doctors have long determined that too-low  levels of Vitamin D can be harmful to overall health — and often recommend supplements, since vitamin D is generally obtained from sun exposure and isn’t readily available in the food supply. According to study author Peter Schwarz, MD, a professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, the relationship between cardiovascular deaths and too-high Vitamin D levels is a new finding that’s worth our attention.

“We found this inverse J-shaped curve of mortality —which was surprising, as we expected that vitamin D should reach much higher levels to cause damage,” he tells Yahoo Health.

For the many who are told in their yearly checkup that their vitamin D levels are low and to take supplements indefinitely, this could be important news.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, tracked participants in the COPD-Study, which included data on follow-ups of 250,000 people over a wide range of ages from a period between 2004  to 2011. More than 16,000 of the participants were registered in the Danish Registry of Causes of Death, where researchers were able to determine mortality.

Mortality risk from a cardiovascular event or stroke seemed to jump roughly twofold when vitamin D levels fell below 50 nmol/L (nanomoles per litre) and increase by a 1 to 3 ratio when levels rose to over 100 nmol/L. Somewhere between 50 and 100 nmol/L seemed to be the optimum level, with roughly 70 nmol/L being the sweet spot.

To put those numbers into perspective, if you wanted to raise your Vitamin D levels from 40 nmol/L to 50 nmol/L, you’d have to take a 1,000 IU supplement each day for several months to achieve your desired level of D.

Since this is such a new discovery, Schwarz says he’d like to see other groups worldwide conduct research on various populations to help confirm the optimal upper level of vitamin D in the body. And he cautions against drawing too many conclusions. “This is an association between vitamin D and mortality by cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack and not causal explanation.”

In the meantime, doctors and consumers should be mindful of their supplementation.

If you have low levels of vitamin D, supplementation is not a problem to raise them up — but it’s generally not meant to be taken continually, for a long time period. “Based on our study we should recommend supplementation to a level between 50 and 100 nmol/L, but if the level [in the body] is higher, one must reduce supplementation,” Schwarz says. “Extensive supplementation with different vitamin D products cannot be recommended.”

That said, Schwarz insists it’s a long-term high level of D in the body that’s problematic — not a short-term increase in D, or taking a strong supplement for a short time.

Talk to your doctor about getting your vitamin D levels checked.

He can recommend the supplement strength and duration that’s right for you. The Institute of Medicine recommends roughly 400 IU per day of D and check out the Vitamin D Council for more on supplementation and getting D from natural sources.

Dosage of Vitamin D Needed To Achieve 35 to 40 ng/ml (90-100 nmol/L)

Historically, 400 IU (10 ug) of vitamin D was recommended for better health because it closely approximated the amount of vitamin D in a teaspoonful of cod liver oil. However, 800 to 1,000 IU is the dose that may have a better chance of giving a patient a normal vitamin D level. In some countries (I know, it gets confusing), vitamin D is listed in micrograms, and the relationship is as follows:

  • 2.5 mcg (micrograms) = 100 IU.
  • 5 mcg = 200 IU.
  • 10 mcg = 400 IU.
  • 15 mcg = 600 IU.
  • 20 mcg = 800 IU.

Source:  Jenna Birch | Yahoo Health



Feel-good Friday: SPRING is in the air!

Tomorrow is the day we’ve been waiting for all Winter – the first official day of Spring!

With spring comes longer days, new adventures, maybe a spring fling or bright new romance, lighter clothes and a change in our style with some added colour.


Cheerful, Colourful Carryalls from Roots Canada20150317_142013

A new Spring shadow palette from Canadian Cosmetic queen (headquarters are based in Montreal) Lise Watier. A palette of bright yet soft colours inspired by the Runways.20150318_17294520150318_172648

And something to put a Spring in your step:

Source: Fernando Leon/Getty Images  

Source: Fernando Leon/Getty Images

I love these comfortable printed palm shoes from Arden Wohl X Cri de Coeur, Presentation – Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015

What are you craving for Spring?


beauty: your body and your body lotion

What’s in your BODY LOTION?

20150315_202320You’ve seen ingredients like Sodium Lactate, Glycerin and Ceramides right?  Did you know that these ingredients in the bottle are the same ones in you body?

Sodium Lactate: is a salt found in lactic acid, which your body makes when you exercise.  In lotion, it coats your skin and locks in moisture. (Ahava & Cetaphil are two that contain SL).

Glycerin: found in your skin’s fatty tissues is so good at preventing water loss that brands sometimes add a synthetic version to creams. (Vaseline Intensive Care, Eucerin & Jason contain glycerin as one of their ingredients).

Ceramides: are fats that help keep skin soft and strong.  Moisturizers with ceramides are especially good for ultra-dry skin. (CeraVe lotion is a well known brand that contains this).

Every good lotion should contain oils which penetrate skin to help rehydrate, plump, and fill in tiny cracks.  Coconut oil, olive oil & avocado oil are good natural ones.

Did you know?

Even lotions labeled “unscented” may contain masking fragrances that neutralize the smell of other ingredients – and companies don’t have to list them on the label.  So if you have ultra-sensitive skin, you should do a patch test first when using a new cream or body lotion.

Care to share which body lotion you’re using?