Health MATTERS: A SHOT at Happiness

Botox for Depression – has it been in our face all this time?

Photo: Ben Hassett

Photo: Ben Hassett

A swipe of lipstick can put a smile on your face, but when it comes to beating true depression, beauty products usually don’t do the trick.  Well maybe very temporarily.

Enter Botox, the forehead-smoothing toxin that can erase fine lines, stop sweating, and even squelch migraines – a true multi-tasker.  It turns out that a vial may have the power to make you happier – and not just because your wrinkles have disappeared.

In a recent study associated with Georgetown University that involved using Botox for depression, one participant who ended up getting botox (not the placebo), described feeling something she could describe only with a word that might seem impossible to anyone living under a cloak of despair: “lighthearted.”

Of the 74 people in the study – half were given Botox and the other half were given saline placebo injections in the “frown” muscles between their eyebrows.  Six weeks later, 52 percent of patients who’d been injected with Botox felt significantly better, compared with just 15 percent who didn’t get the real stuff.

The notion that a grin or a grimace can actually influence your emotions is nothing new, says Maryland dermatologic surgeon Eric Finzi, a co-author of the Georgetown study and author of the 2013 book: The Face of Emotion: How Botox Affects Our Mood and Relationships.

Charles Darwin theorized that our facial expressions don’t just telegraph happy or sad to the world but that they can also create and enhance those emotions.

People suffering from serious depression shouldn’t toss their meds and abandon therapy just yet, says New York psychiatrist and dermatologist Amy Wechsler.  “Depression has always been something that’s best treated by a range of things, and I think this may well be a powerful tool in our arsenal,” says Wechsler.

For the millions who suffer from depression, this could be the biggest thing since Prozac, not to mention a lifesaver, says Finzi.

To that end, Botox’s parent company, Allergen, is currently in Phase II clinical trials for its use in treating major depressive disorder in women.  Botox is predicted to become standard treatment for depression in the future.

In short, if you can’t frown, you can’t feel down.

Have any of you tried Botox?  I have yet to try it not done so and am trying hard to avoid it by trying to keep healthy and happy.

Source: Liz Krieger for Bazaar Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

Feel-good Friday: Tricks and Treats

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

halloween9

It’s always fun to dress up and play the part of someone you’re not.  halloween12halloween4

halloween5
halloween6Of course the treats are
a big part of it all.

Have a sweet and fun-filled scary evening you party animals!


But be careful not to mix your candy with too much beer…..haunted3

Halloween7

Why do they call it thumbnail photos when it’s really finger photos?
halloween8

beauty biz – THE quick FIX

How does a girl-on-the-go get a Glamorous Glow?  I will tell you….20141015_114712

GLAMGLOW was originally designed for exclusive professional backstage use in Hollywood. In 2011, GLAMGLOW became available to consumers worldwide and is now known for fast-acting and innovative mud treatments with patent-pending formulas and high-end technology to deliver instant, visible results.

20141015_114810

I tried GLAMGLOW BRIGHTMUD EYE treatment which is a 3 minute instant eye treatment and found it very refreshing as well as hydrating and softening. It claims to minimize puffiness, dark circles, and fine lines while brightening and hydrating the eyes.  It worked but I can’t tell you how long exactly it lasted.

It’s the world’s first tap-on-wipe-off eye product designed to work for Hollywood actors in just a few minutes, just before going in front of a camera on-set.  So it would work for just before going on a date then??

The package contains 12 ChromeCells and each one provides a single treatment for both eyes.20141015_114719

Aside from the claims and everything else, the packaging will certainly get your attention.

Available at Sephora.  Price: approx $76 CDN

Style – stay chic even while you SLEEP

I love loungewear!

Apartment, the Shop

Apartment, the Shop

It’s evening or not,  you’re at home or not, it’s cold outside, you’re ready to relax, to be warm, comfy, cosy, and unwind in a pair of snuggly PJ’s.  Don’t you?

lounge3These luxe and loungy choices makes looking chic so easy, you could do it in your sleep.

TopShop

TopShop

 

THE PAJAMA PARTY!

This photo (from Olivia von Halle’s latest lookbook) makes me want to put on some girly pajamas, invite my best girlfriends over, pop some champagne, and frolic in the British countryside.lounge2

Photo by Grace Atwood via [StripesandSequins]

Photo by Grace Atwood via [StripesandSequins]

That last part might not be so realistic, but seriously… how dreamy is this image!? The pajamas made of 100% silk, were inspired by Coco Chanel’s lounging pajamas and designed to be something glamorous enough to have a gin & tonic in before bed… a girl after my own heart.

You don't have to sacrifice comfort for style.

You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for casual style…even at home or at bedtime.

 Bottoms Up my friends!

 

Food – Thai Tofu-Quinoa Salad

This healthy low-calorie, high-protein dish is simply delish!tofu2It makes a great lunch but can easily suffice as a side salad for dinner (especially with salmon or chicken).  Serves 4.  It’s only 330 calories per serving.

Ingredients:

Extra-Firm Tofu

Quinoa

2 Carrots

Red Cabbage

Frozen Edamame

Green Onion

Cilantro

Sauce:

Lime juice (from ½ a lime)

Natural Peanut Butter

*Tamari  (or low-sodium soy sauce)

Honey

Grated Ginger

2 Garlic Cloves

Hot Chili Flakes

Sesame Seeds

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with oil.  Arrange half of a 350g package of extra-firm tofu (patted dry and cut into 3/4  in. cubes) on prepared sheet.  Bake in centre of oven until tofu is golden brown – about 20 minutes.  Transer to a rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Cook ¾ cup rinsed quinoa in a medium saucepan according to package directions.  Scoop quinoa into large bowl to cool completely, about 30 minutes.  You can also make this in advance, like a day or two ahead.

Whisk 2 Tbsp. lime juice (half of a regular size lime) with 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter, 1 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. Tamari, 2 tsp. honey, 2 tsp. finely grated ginger, 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves and ½ – 1 tsp. hot red chili flakes in a small bowl.  Set aside.tofu1

Stir 2 coarsely grated carrots into cooled quinoa along with 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage, 1 cup thawed frozen edamame, 1 thinly sliced green onion, ½ cup chopped cilantro, 4 tsp. toasted sesame seeds and cooled tofu.  Drizzle with dressing, then toss to coat.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Do you know the difference between Tamari & Soy?

Even though both sauces are similar in color and flavor, there are actually a number of differences between the two. While both soy sauce and tamari are byproducts of fermented soybeans, the main difference between the two is the presence of wheat. Many recipes that call for soy sauce often include a note to substitute tamari in its place to make the recipe gluten-free.tofu3

  • Tamari:  Little to no wheat (always double-check if avoiding gluten)
  • Soy Sauce:  Includes wheat (not gluten-free)

    Other Differences – Soy sauce and its many forms are found widely throughout Asia, but tamari is specifically a Japanese form of soy sauce, traditionally made as a byproduct of miso paste. The differences in production give each sauce its own unique flavor. Tamari has a darker color and richer flavor than the common Chinese soy sauce you may be more familiar with. It also tastes more balanced and less salty than the sometimes harsh bite of soy sauce, which makes it great for dipping.

Instead of keeping one or the other in your cupboard, consider stocking up on both sauces and experimenting with them in dishes that call for soy.

 

 

 

 

Travel/Luxury: the Exclusive “all-inclusive”

Le blanc spa resort – Cancunleblanc5

I’m not usually into all-inclusive vacations but I think I can resort to this.  leblanc11My brother and his girlfriend just got back from Le blanc spa resort in Cancun and by what they described and by the looks of these photos it makes me want to jump on a plane right now.  In actuality I will be heading on a plane soon enough to go to a different part of Mexico but I know I won’t be getting my own private butler there.  More on this later.

Le blanc spa resort is aleblanc4 luxurious environment with an all white décor to match the all white sandy beaches. It is an adults-only all-inclusive nestled along the sparkling blue waters of the Caribbean.  It is apparently a world onto itself.leblanc6

The staff is trained to serve you and make you feel that this is not your typical resort.  Service is professional, prompt and polite.  The staff looks as good as they are (I read this) and the private butler is a real plus!  The dining is fine world class. The rooms are clean with private Jacuzzi and French balcony with views of lagoon and resort or common areas.  leblanc8The spa is a sanctuary.  They have an amazing fitness facility which also offers yoga & pilates.

It comes highly recommended by some very picky people.  It seems like a dream vacation.  And what about that butler?leblanc12

I think I can do this!

http://www.leblancsparesort.com/

 

Words…little style pick-me-ups

Sometimes we gals just need a little style pick-me-up

Lauren Hutten from a Bazaar fashion shoot.

Lauren Hutten from a Bazaar fashion shoot.

Glam up your day with a few fashion quotes from some favorite designers, style icons & girl crushes.classic2

“Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous, but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing.” —Alexander Wang

What you can wear on your day off to walk your pink poodle

DO NOT let a pink poodle upstage you at any given moment – remember You set the stage!

“The most important thing to remember is that you can wear all the greatest clothes and all the greatest shoes, but you’ve got to have a good spirit on the inside. That’s what’s really going to make you look like you’re ready to rock the world.” – Alicia Keys at a Giorgio Armani party in New York, 2009.classic1 (2)“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.” – Carrie Bradshawclassic2 (2)

You can’t be melancholy in fashion because people don’t respond to it.” —Isaac Mizrahiclassic1

Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” —Lauren Huttonclassic3 (2) 

 

 

Health MATTERS: dealing with Dementia?

These days almost everyone knows someone who knows someone who is living with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. dementia2 It’s quite shocking and worrisome when you first find out a loved one has the symptoms.  How do you deal with helping someone with either?

When a person with dementia finds that their mental abilities are declining, they often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance and support. The people closest to them including health and social care professionals, friends and family – need to do everything they can to help the person to retain their sense of identity and feelings of self-worth.  It’s very important that people with dementia are treated with respect. It is important to remember that a person with dementia is still a unique and valuable human being, despite their illness.

The person with dementia needs to feel valued for who they are now, as well as for who they were in the past. There are many things that the people around them can do to help, including:

  • trying to be flexible and tolerant
  • making time to listen, have regular chats, and enjoy being with the person
  • showing affection in a way they both feel comfortable with
  • finding things to do together, like creating a life history book.dementia1

What exactly is Dementia?

Dementia is an overall term for a set of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Symptoms may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language, severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. A person with dementia may also experience changes in mood or behaviour.

The Dementia/Alzheimer’s Connection

Many people use the words “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease” interchangeably. However, they’re not the same thing. You can have a form of dementia that is completely unrelated to Alzheimer’s disease.  Although younger people can develop dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease, your risk increases as you age. Still, neither is considered a normal part of growing older.

Dementia Is a Group of Symptoms

Dementia isn’t a disease. It’s a group of symptoms that affect mental tasks like memory and reasoning. Dementia can be caused by a variety of conditions, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

As dementia progresses, it can have a devastating impact on the ability to function independently. It’s a major cause of disability for older people, and places an emotional and financial burden on families and caregivers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that 35.6 million people around the world are living with dementia.

Signs of Dementia

Early symptoms of dementia can be mild and easily overlooked. It often begins with simple episodes of forgetfulness. People with dementia have trouble keeping track of time and tend to lose their way in familiar settings.

As dementia progresses, forgetfulness and confusion grow. It becomes harder to recall names and faces. Personal care becomes a problem. Obvious signs of dementia include repetitious questioning, inadequate hygiene, and poor decision-making.

In the most advanced stage, dementia patients become unable to care for themselves. Time, place, and people become more confusing. Behavior continues to change and can turn into depression and aggression.

Causes of Dementia

Dementia is a problem of the brain that you’re more likely to develop as you age. Many conditions can cause dementia, including degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. According to the Cleveland Clinic, Alzheimer’s disease is responsible for 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia.  Infections such as HIV can trigger dementia. So can vascular diseases and stroke. Depression and chronic drug use are other possible causes.

Treating Dementia

In some cases, treating the condition that causes dementia may help. Conditions most likely to respond to treatment include dementia caused by drugs, tumors, metabolic disorders, and hypoglycemia.

In most cases, dementia cannot be reversed. However, many forms are treatable. The right medication can help manage dementia, including dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia patients can also benefit from supportive services from home health aids and other caregivers. An assisted living facility or nursing home may be necessary as the disease progresses.

Alzheimer’s Is a Disease

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease of the brain that slowly impairs memory and cognitive function. The exact cause is unknown and there is no cure.

The National Institute of Health estimate that more than five million people in the United States have Alzheimer’s disease. Although younger people can (and do) get Alzheimer’s, symptoms generally begin after age 60.  The time from diagnosis to death can be as little as three years in people over 80 years old. However, it can be much longer for younger people.

The Alzheimer’s Brain

dementia3Damage to the brain begins years before symptoms show. Abnormal protein deposits form plaques and tangles in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Connections between cells are lost and they begin to die. In advanced cases, the brain shows significant shrinkage.

It’s impossible to diagnose Alzheimer’s with 100 percent accuracy while a person is alive. The diagnosis can only be confirmed during an autopsy, when the brain is examined under a microscope. However, specialists are able to make the correct diagnosis up to 90 percent of the time, according to the NIG.

10 WARNING SIGNS:

To help you know what warning signs to look for, the Alzheimer Society has developed the following list:

  1. Memory loss that affects day-to-day function

It’s normal to forget things occasionally and remember them later: things like appointments, colleagues’ names or a friend’s phone number. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget things more often and not remember them later, especially things that have happened more recently.

  1. Difficulty performing familiar tasks

Busy people can be so distracted from time to time that they may leave the carrots on the stove and only remember to serve them at the end of a meal. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble with tasks that have been familiar to them all their lives, such as preparing a meal.

  1. Problems with language

Everyone has trouble finding the right word sometimes, but a person with Alzheimer’s disease may forget simple words or substitute words, making her sentences difficult to understand.

  1. Disorientation of time and place

It’s normal to forget the day of the week or your destination — for a moment. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost on their own street, not knowing how they got there or how to get home.

  1. Poor or decreased judgment

People may sometimes put off going to a doctor if they have an infection, but eventually seek medical attention. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may have decreased judgment, for example not recognizing a medical problem that needs attention or wearing heavy clothing on a hot day.

  1. Problems with abstract thinking

From time to time, people may have difficulty with tasks that require abstract thinking, such as balancing a cheque book. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have significant difficulties with such tasks, for example not recognizing what the numbers in the cheque book mean.

  1. Misplacing things

Anyone can temporarily misplace a wallet or keys. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in inappropriate places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

  1. Changes in mood and behaviour

Everyone becomes sad or moody from time to time. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease can exhibit varied mood swings — from calm to tears to anger — for no apparent reason.

  1. Changes in personality

People’s personalities can change somewhat with age. But a person with Alzheimer’s disease can become confused, suspicious or withdrawn. Changes may also include apathy, fearfulness or acting out of character.

10.   Loss of initiative

It’s normal to tire of housework, business activities or social obligations, but most people regain their initiative. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, and require cues and prompting to become involved.

For information on diagnosis, see Getting a diagnosis: Finding out if it is Alzheimer’s disease.

Sources: http://www.alzheimer.ca/  and  http://www.healthline.com/

 

 

 

 

 

beauty – AWARENESS

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month never4so I thought it would be good to post a roundup list of skincare & makeup product ingredients (in alphabetical order) to make recognizing, understanding, and avoiding these ingredients easier for you.never1

THE NEVER LIST:

Animal fats, oils, and musks: tallow, rendered beef or mutton fat, oils or musks from animals like mink, emu and sharks that are procured after an animal has been killed. Found in: soap, salve, shaving products, lubricants, paints, and all types of cosmetics.
 
Benzalkonium chloridea disinfectant used as a preservative and surfactant associated with severe skin, eye and respiratory irritation and allergies. Found in: sunscreens, moisturizers.
 
Benzophenone and derivatives: a possible human carcinogen and hormone disruptor used as a fragrance ingredient and to absorb ultraviolet light. Found in: nail polish, sunscreen.

Bisphenol A (BPA): a hormone disruptor that may also alter DNA, used in plastics and resins. Found in: plastic bottles, lining of aluminum food cans, possibly in eyeshadow and styling gel.

Butoxyethanol: a solvent used to control viscosity, or a “fragrance” additive. It irritates skin and may cause cancer and reproductive toxicity. Found in: fragrance, hair color.

BHA and BHT: synthetic antioxidants used to extend shelf life. They are likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors, and may cause liver damage. Found in: lipsticks, moisturizers, diaper creams, and other cosmetics.

Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients: a byproduct of coal processing that is a known carcinogen. It is used as a colorant and an anti-dandruff agent. Found in: hair dye, shampoo.

1,4-dioxane: a by-product of manufacturing that is a probable human carcinogen (a known animal carcinogen) as well as toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ethoxylated ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, and ceteareth are listed on ingredient labels. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA): a chelating (binding) agent added to cosmetics to improve stability. May be toxic to organs. Found in: hair color, moisturizers.

Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA): surfactants and pH adjuster linked to allergies, skin toxicity, hormone disruption, and inhibited fetal brain development. Found in: hair dyes, mascara, foundation, fragrances, sunscreens, dry cleaning solvents, paint, pharmaceuticals.

Formaldehyde: used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol) and several other preservatives are listed. Beautycounter does not use any of these formaldehyde-donating preservatives. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Hydroquinone: a skin lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin
and is a linked to cancer, organ toxicity and skin irritation. Found in: skin lightening creams.

Methyl cellosolvefragrance ingredient and solvent that is an irritant and a possible neurotoxin, developmental toxin, and cause of DNA mutations that could lead to cancer. Found in: anti-aging creams.

Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone: chemical preservatives that are among the most common irritants, sensitizers and causes of contact skin allergies. Found in: shampoo, conditioner, body wash.

Mercury and mercury compounds (also listed as Thimerosal): metallic element used as a preservative and antiseptic known to damage brain function. Found in: ear and eye drops; may be used in mascara.

Mineral Oil (also listed as liquid paraffin; liquid petrolatum; paraffin oil): a by-product of petroleum distillation that may cause contact dermatitis. Found in: baby lotions, cold creams, ointments.

Oxybenzone: sunscreen agent and ultraviolet light absorber linked to irritation, sensitization and allergies, and possible hormone disruption. Found in: sunscreen, moisturizer.

Parabens  (methyl-, isobutyl-, proply- and others): a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Specially, parabens mimic estrogen; they can lock on to our cell’s own estrogen receptors and mess with important natural signals. They may play a role in triggering breast cancer. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.

Phthalates  (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray.

Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds): PEGs are widely used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, and moisture-carriers. Depending on manufacturing processes, PEGs may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Found in: creams, sunscreen, shampoo.

Resorcinol: a colorant and fragrance ingredient that is a skin irritant, toxic to the
immune system and organs, and suspected to cause hormone disruption. Found in: hair color.

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): a nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES): SLS and SLES are surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Synthetic flavor or fragrance: an engineered scent or flavoring agent that may contain any combination of 3,000+ stock chemical ingredients, including hormone disruptors and allergens. Fragrance formulas are protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets, and therefore can remain undisclosed. Found in: all types of cosmetics.

Toluenea volatile petrochemical solvent that is toxic to the immune system and can
cause birth defects. Found in: nail polish.

Triclosan and Triclocarban: antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.

Print out an Always-With-You Never List and carry in your wallet for easy reference while on the go.

Source: http://www.beautycounter.com/the-never-list