Are You Using the Wrong Weight Loss Products?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 01-10-2015

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Diet-Pills

The other day on Dr. Phil there were some young ladies on the show who were suffering from a variety of diet disorders, including addiction to diet pills. That is exactly why I began this series, and if you have seen the program, you would know how dangerous this problem is. Many, if not all, of these pills are extremely dangerous, and it so happens that the ones that this particular young lady was taking contained ephedrine, but there are so many out there on the market that it is difficult to keep track of them!

The following are some more of the choices out there on the market today. Good or bad, they are widely available and generally easy to get.
Fat Blockers (Chitosan)

This supplement, also known as D-Glucosamine, has also been touted “the fat magnet”, but is it really safe and effective? This supplement is made from the skeletons of crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Some studies have shown that it can help lower cholesterol levels slightly, so the idea is that it will help prevent fat digestion by binding to it. This has never been tested or shown, so the jury is still out with this one. While this product isn’t usually very dangerous, there is a lot of doubt out there as to whether or not it lives up to its claim. So, let the buyer beware, unless you like throwing your money out.

Guar Gum

This supplement is derived from the “cluster bean”. While guar gum has conventionally been used as a thickening agent in many packaged foods, it is now being marketed as a diet aid. It, like chitosan, is supposed to block the absorption of dietary fats. It is also supposed to help to make you feel fuller (this is from the fact that this is a fiber). While guar gum is considered a fairly safe supplement, in general, it does come with certain side effects, including fluctuations in blood sugar levels (hence not safe for diabetics), bloating, cramping, flatulence, diarrhea, and more. Since this is a bulking agent, we must also remind you of the chance of this supplement causing an obstruction either in the esophagus or another place in the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the cases where this has occurred have led to death. In fact it seems that the US has banned the inclusion of this supplement for this very reason. While guar gum is still approved for use in foods (in small amounts), it is considered an unsafe diet supplement. So, guar gum is not a very good choice in your quest for weight loss, even if it is still available in various forms.

Chromium

This dietary supplement comes in many forms, including GTF Chromium and Chromium picolinate, which are basically minerals found in every day foods. The claims on this supplement are that it can help to increase weight loss, increase muscle mass, increase insulin efficiency, regulates fat production, gives more energy, etc. Several studies have been done on this supplement, and it seems not to live up to any of the claims that have been made for it. There were no beneficial differences found between experimental groups and control groups. On the contrary with some obese patients, it has even been shown to be counter-effective, in fact increasing the body weight. Some studies have even found it to be cell mutating, which is really scary. It has also been noted in some isolated situations that this supplement has caused side effects including disorientation, disruption of motor abilities, and irregular heartbeat. So spending a lot of money on chromium supplements is not your most consumer conscious way to go. All those claims of fat burning and exercise-free dieting seem to be bosh, and people would be better off steering clear.

Herbal Laxatives/Diuretics

These are the variety of herbal tea blends that are being marketed all over the world (including Kuwait) as diet teas. These blends contain herbs that act as either a laxative (moving the bowels) or a diuretic (causing increased urine output). When people diet it is not normal, nor is it recommended for them to flush out the food, fat or fluid from their bodies with artificial means like these teas. You need your fluids and your nutrients, and flushing them out quickly is not a good idea. So, the next time you see a diet tea on the shelf read the ingredients. If it contains herbs like senna, cascara, aloe, cassia angustofolia, locust plant or any of the stimulants that we mentioned last week, such as guarana, kola nut, ephedra, etc., leave it there on the shelf. This type of diet aid can be dangerous and addictive. These teas can cause severe cramping, bloating, diarrhea, nervousness, vomiting, nausea, sleeping problems, and even breathing problems and death!

Aristolochic Acid

This is a plant substance that is found in many so-called “natural” diet pills. These products are often herbal products, particularly Chinese blends. The herbs themselves are probably safe, but this ingredient can cause renal failure, and has caused many people to need kidney transplants. It is also carcinogenic. Unfortunately, even with all these problems, it is still being used and marketed as a weight loss supplement, so, again, let the buyer beware!

Carb Blockers

One of the newest products to hit the diet and weight loss market are “carb blockers”, that are supposed to block carbohydrate metabolism. This is supposed to mean that you can eat a high carbohydrate meal without any of the backlash and weight gain. The important ingredient in these products is a constituent of white beans, which is called “phaseolamin”. The idea is that it binds the carbohydrates in order to prevent absorption. There are some studies that seem to show some metabolic inhibition when ingesting carbohydrates, but there are no long term studies in this regard. The problem with this product is the side effects, which can include severe bloating, digestive upset, abdominal pain or cramping, diarrhea, and more. Is discomfort worth the benefit though? In any case, so far the jury is still out with regard to the safety of this supplement, but it looks clear at this point. The good thing is that they are not very expensive, so you won’t be putting your pocketbook out much if you decide to try them.

If you really want to lose weight safely, try these…

The New Atkins   Practical Paleo   Against all Grain

Just click on the books to buy from Amazon.

(To be continued)

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

Weight Loss Products: Their Dangers and Benefits

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty, Natural Health, Natural Weight Loss | Posted on 25-09-2015

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weight loss

Since practically everyone is concerned with their weight these days we need to be aware of what is going on in the world of weight loss products. Your awareness is imperative so that you don’t get caught in the scams that are out there, and it is important that you have as much information on the various products that are available in the market, with some of the products being safe and useful, and others being useless or downright dangerous.

Considering the vast amount of weight loss products out on the market today, we will not be able to touch on all of them, but over the next few weeks we will certainly delve into many of them, and attempt to be as thorough as possible, so that you will be able to make your own informed choice, either to use or not to use the particular weight loss product that you were pondering.

I am going to begin with the so-called “natural” products that are being marketed as “safe”, “natural”, “healthy”, and more.

Caffeine Products

There are many products on the market now that contain caffeine. The idea is that caffeine is supposed to help people to lose weight. One of the ideas is that it should help people to be more active, pick the heart rate up, gets the metabolism going, suppresses the appetite, and often acts as a diuretic (increases urinary output). In reality though, caffeine actually slows weight loss down in many (if not all) cases. There is evidence that it makes people crave high carbohydrate foods, and raises certain hormones in the blood that make weight loss more difficult. While many of the concoctions being sold for weight loss contain chemical caffeine, many of the caffeine containing weight loss products are actually herbal, either in part or in whole. Herbal dietary aids such as Yerba Mate, Guarana, black tea, green tea, and coffee (of all types) contain fair amounts of caffeine, and while caffeine isn’t considered a seriously dangerous ingredient, nonetheless, it is probably not ideal. After all, anything that artificially speeds up the systems in your body isn’t the best choice. If you want to speed up your metabolism in a safer way, just exercise!

weight loss 2

Ephedra Products

Ephedra is the herb that has been in the news lately. It seems like people everywhere are talking about it. Some say it’s very dangerous, and others say it’s very safe. The bottom line is that, even though it’s an herb, it is a strong herb, and must be taken with extreme care. This means that products containing ephedra should definitely NOT be sold over the counter. This is not to say that ephedra doesn’t have plenty of benefits, because it does, and is a very valuable medicinal herb. But this herb should be taken under professional medical guidance only. Ephedra also goes under the Chinese herbal name “Ma Huang”. It is extremely great for dealing with asthma, or other allergic manifestations, but as beneficial as it is for some, likewise, its misuse could cause problems, even death. For this reason, using ephedra as a stimulant (as is done with dieters) is really not a good idea at all. Some people use it to make them feel more energetic, stronger, and it speeds up the metabolism to some degree. It speeds up everything in the body though, and thus, people who are suffering from high blood pressure and several other medical problems shouldn’t take it at all.

It used to be quite simple to buy ephedra-containing products over the counter, but due to a few deaths, ephedra is becoming more and more controlled. This is actually a good thing, as ephedra use was getting out of hand. But, I will repeat that ephedra use, when it is extremely moderate is a natural medicament and has been used for centuries, and as such is safe. It’s just the indiscriminate use as a weight loss panacea that made ephedra get its bad name as a dangerous supplement. Indeed, when used in that way, it is certainly a perilous endeavor.

power pops

Hoodia

This is one of the most up and coming new weight loss gimmicks around. It is advertised practically everywhere. It usually comes in an all natural form, and is generally considered safe (so far). What it is said to do is to stave off hunger pangs. Apparently it was discovered by the Kalahari tribesmen, who used to chew it in order to help them to avoid feeling hungry on their long desert treks. Since it has been used for thousands of years it seems to be safe, although the quantity that these tribal men use is much different than the daily usage of some dieters, so beware. It is probably best to use it sparingly, and to try and fend off hunger by eating healthy, filling choices. It is important to buy from a reputable company though, because apparently there have been some hoodia scams out there in the market, where people were selling something similar to hoodia instead of the real thing.

curb bites

With the above-mentioned natural weight loss aids less is more. That is what I always say, and that is the best policy to keep, particularly when it comes to natural things like herbs. So, even with things like caffeine-containing drinks, don’t overdo. Take it easy, and remember to check out what you are talking for weight loss. Don’t just walk into a store or a person’s house and let them pressure you into taking something that may or may not make you feel comfortable. But, in moderation, and for the right purpose, the above-mentioned items are safe, particularly when taken under supervision. Consult a medical practitioner before beginning any questionable product.

(To be continued….)

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

 

What good sweeteners are there for low carb, ketogenic, Paleo eating? (Part 1)

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Medical Terminology, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty | Posted on 27-08-2015

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sweeteners

 

One of the misinformed dieting fads in Kuwait is using fructose in cookies and cakes and calling it part of a weight loss or low carbohydrate diet. This is part of a campaign in which many companies are marketing various “diet” desserts in bakeries and various supermarkets around the country. The first time I ever encountered this phenomenon here I took the time to call up the so-called “doctor” and discuss it with her. When I asked what sort of sugar substitute was in the desserts, she said fructose. I was quite surprised, knowing full well that fructose reacts the exact same way in a body as glucose does. She informed me that there were some other sugar substitutes as well, but mostly fructose. She argued that it is better than “regular” sugar and is metabolized differently. I, naturally, disagreed and informed her of the correct scientific facts, which we will discuss below. She continued to argue her point, and only after I brought up more and more information did she finally remain quiet, admitting defeat. The worse part is that she isn’t the only person out there who is confused. Although her confusion is inexcusable, (particularly because she is a health professional in the field of dietary medicine), she is certainly not alone.

So, when is sugar not sugar? Never! (That is unless it has been chemically altered, and we will discuss that later). While we have several kinds of sugar substitute, sugar is always sugar, no matter which name you decide to call it, and it has plenty of names. The bottom line is that when the body takes in sugar it reacts the very same way no matter where it was from (unless you have a food sensitivity to beets, for example, in which case you will react to that sort of sugar).

Sugar goes by many aliases, including the following:

*sugar (sucrose, fructose, etc)
*glucose (pure sweetness found in fruits, honey, and vegetables)
*sucrose (table sugar)
*fructose (sugar from fruit)
*saccharose
*(crystalline) solid disaccharide
*cane sugar (sugar made from sugar cane)
*beet sugar (sugar made from beets)
*lactose (milk sugar)
*galactose (found in dairy products)
*dextrose (pure sugar from fruit
*maltose (sugar formed as a breakdown of starches)
*trehalose (sugar disaccharide)
*disaccharide (double molecule sugar)
*monosaccharide (single molecule sugar)
*ribose (kind of sugar found in human cells, often used as a supplement for athletes, particularly body builders)
*white sugar (basically table sugar made from either sugar cane or beets, also known as granulated sugar)
*brown sugar (which is just white sugar with molasses)
*table sugar (pure sugar, normally consisting of one molecule of sucrose and one of fructose)
*castor sugar (super finely ground)
*powdered/confectionary sugar (finely ground)
*fruit sugar (fructose, often said to be absorbed slightly slower into the blood, but having almost the same rating in a glycemic index, which judges rates of use by the blood)
*raw sugar (initial pressing of unrefined sugar)
*turbinado sugar (filtered through wood charcoal)
*muscovado sugar (a type of less refined sugar with some molasses content, thus more nutrients)
*demerera sugar (a type of raw cane sugar, thus more nutrients)
*honey (what bees make)
*molasses (the byproduct of sugar production, full of nutrients)
*corn sweetener (sugar derived from corn)
*corn syrup (sugar derived from corn)
*maple sugar/syrup (sugar/syrup derived from the maple tree, full of nutrients)
*high fructose corn syrup (sugar derived from corn)
(The following are sugar alcohols, which are not supposed to act quickly on the blood, and thus are suitable for diabetics and low carbohydrate dieters).
*sorbitol
*xylitol
*mannitol
(This is one of the newest forms of sweetener. This one is derived from sugar but isn’t supposed to react in the body as sugar).
*sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda)
(There are other artificial sweeteners as well, but we won’t go into them right now).

While each of these sugars is different in a variety of ways, they are still all sugar. While they don’t act on the body in exactly the same way, they are all basically the same in the long run, as they increase the level of sugar in our blood, thereby requiring that our bodies deal with it, which can cause a variety of symptoms including weakness, exhaustion, and worse, in certain cases. In fact, all this hype about fructose and other so-called “diet” sweeteners being healthier looks like it is going to go the opposite way as scientific studies delve into the side effects and detriments of using it. Tune in right here next week to get the low down on what that research is discovering.

There are millions of people out there desperately trying to be healthier, lose weight, or keep their weight at a normal level. I am one of them, and I am certainly one of those people who have tried a variety of sugars and sugar substitutes in my quest to be healthier and thinner. The problem with this is that it is apparently not working. There are several reasons for this, and the main one is that the information that business minded people are giving out is incorrect. It is simply not true! Giving these companies the benefit of the doubt, the probably have good intentions most of the time, but still, regardless of their intentions, millions of people are being misled by false advertising with regard to these sugars and sugar substitutes that are being marketed.

Let’s take the fructose issue, since that seems to be one of the more sensitive ones. Here in Kuwait and all over the world there are people who are marketing fructose as a healthy alternative to sugar. Well, the lowdown is that fructose is just another kind of sugar. In fact it is sweeter than table sugar, and while you need less of it to get your foods sweet, the basic analysis of its use is something you’re going to want to hear.

There are several reasons why fructose isn’t a great idea, even though in some forms it has a lower glycemic index than table sugar (remember in the form of high fructose corn syrup its glycemic index is very high). According to studies that have been done, diabetics and heart patients often have adverse effects from the use of fructose because of how it raises their blood lipid levels abnormally, specifically cholesterol and LDL, which are fats that you don’t want to have, and this is apparently true for diabetics particularly, and in men this reaction is higher than in women. It also increases blood clotting, which is another dangerous side effect, particularly when you are suffering from heart disease or a circulatory disease. Don’t forget that diabetics have a higher rate of heart disease than most other people too, so the use of fructose is definitely a dangerous endeavor for them. Fructose has also been found to affect the natural absorption of certain minerals, including copper, which is important for healthy blood. It has also been linked to the heightened process of aging, and causing the skin to deteriorate resulting in wrinkles, lines and age spots.

Naturally though, practically anything in small enough quantities isn’t going to have an adverse effect on much, but still, quantities can add up when you’re not looking! Fructose and its not-so-nice sister high fructose corn syrup are not diet foods and are implied in many studies showing detrimental effects to our health when we eat them, even for normal weight people.

Did you know that fructose metabolism causes the body to store fat more than regular sugar? Indeed, when it is metabolized in the liver (which is the only place it is metabolized), as opposed to glucose (which is used by the entire body), it is almost completely converted to fat. Also, another interesting fact is that since fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin production, and because of this, it encourages overeating. In fact, over time, it can even create insulin resistance! In addition to that, fructose doesn’t contain even one single vitamin, mineral, or enzyme, and in its metabolism by the body, these things are actually leached from our bodily store of them!

I bet you didn’t know that most of the fructose out in the market today isn’t even derived from fruit, did you? It’s derived from corn for the most part, and corn alone is one of the grains that I always tell people to stop eating when suffering from any kind of health problem, particularly allergies and food sensitivities. It can also be made from beets, sugar cane and other plants. Hmm…. that is exactly where table sugar comes from! In fact high fructose corn syrup has been linked directly to the increase in obesity of children and adults all over the world, due to its high use in processed foods everywhere. It is turning up in foods that don’t even need to be sweetened! And, apparently, according to the research, the fatter you are the worse you are affected by fructose!

So, reading ingredients lists is your first defense. Just don’t buy products containing fructose, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup. When you begin reading, you will be surprised at what you will find. High fructose corn syrup is everywhere! You will find it in cereals, soft drinks, bottled and canned juices, fruits, and vegetables, canned foods (such as sauces, soups, etc), grain products, frozen prepared products, prepared spice blends, and more! And you will find tons of it in fast foods, even in the most unlikely places, like in your “healthy” salad dressing, for example!

Now, keeping in mind that some forms of fructose are better than high fructose corn syrup, still the better route is to go as natural as possible. The best idea is to completely cut the sugar out. The bottom line is, if you want high quality, “good for you” fructose, eat whole fruit! You can’t go wrong with a couple pieces of healthy, preferably organic fruit a day. Try to choose fruit with plenty of fiber for the best results.

More on Sweeteners in the next post (stay tuned)… but in the meantime… check out my two favorite natural, safe, GMO-free, sweeteners that can be effective with low carb, ketogenic, and Paleo diets.

xylitol zveet   eryrthritol

 

 

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Essential Oils, Natural Beauty, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 27-05-2014

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premature-balding

                       It seems like practically everyone in Kuwait complains of some sort of hair loss (or at the least falling hair to the point that it is annoying) or other hair or scalp problem. I don’t know why that should be so, but I can certainly speculate a variety of possibilities. Some of the possible reasons include the type of water here in Kuwait, the type of pipes in most places here in Kuwait, the weather, the pollution, the food, and the list goes on. Chances are that it is a combination of all of these, with a heavy dose of stress and anxiety added in for good measure. OK, so we’re stuck with the environment, and we’re basically stuck with the water as well, although a good carbon filter will do wonders on that front for a little up front expense. We’re not stuck with the food though, nor are we exactly stuck with the stress and anxiety either, unless we choose to be, but getting rid of stress and anxiety is easier said than done, to be sure.

                      The first thing you need to do if you are suffering from any kind of hair or scalp problem, is to straighten up your diet. Without getting into minute detail, make sure that you are eating a well balanced diet, and having plenty of fresh raw or cooked vegetables and fruit. Included in your well-balanced diet is a necessary dose of protein, as well as healthy carbohydrates, including whole grains, dried beans, and lentils. Try to leave out as much of the junk as you can, even if you don’t completely eradicate it, although, eradication is certainly the ideal. So, do your best to cut out pre-prepared foods with additives and preservatives, things with colorings, flavorings, and other enhancing agents. Remember that you are in need of the foods that have the most vitamins and nutrients.

The Bald Truth

The Bald Truth : The First Complete Guide To Preventing And Treating Hair Loss

                      The next thing you have to look at is what the possible cause is. If you find that stress or anxiety is playing a role in the process, you must take action against it. Stress will not only make your hair fall out, but can cause many other very serious diseases as well, and must be dealt with as quickly as possible. If you can get away from whatever is causing you the stress that is the ideal situation, but if you can’t then you need to look for other ways to cope. You need to make sure that you take care of yourself. Get out and do things that make you happy. If the stress is from your job, then perhaps you would do well to find another one, if possible. If that isn’t possible, then try to take a more optimistic view, and find the good in it. (Remember, no matter how bad your situation seems to be, there is always something good about it too, and in any case, if you are feeling miserable, think of those who have it far worse off than you, and then maybe you won’t feel quite as miserable).

Try to make yourself smile, even when you don’t really feel like it, because it has been scientifically proven that the act of smiling releases certain hormones into the body that will actually make you feel better. Don’t spend time wallowing in your misery either. Many sad, depressed, and stressed people out there make it worse by languishing in front of sad movies, rehashing all of their old and new problems, and contemplating “eating worms” (for those of you who aren’t familiar with this phrase, it is an English cliché for what people who are miserable do). Instead, watch comedies, get out there and pick up a new hobby, get out with your friends (and not to discuss your miserable life, but to discuss positive things), take up a new sport, and do your best to have fun! You will find that your stress levels will drop and your hair will stop falling out.

Balding

Androgenetic Alopecia: Modern Concepts of Pathogenesis and Treatment

                       There are several medical reasons that hair might fall out as well, and these reasons must be accounted for in any case. If you are a woman the reason might be your hormones. Get them checked just in case, and even if nothing shows up in the tests, you still might have a mild hormonal problem. If you are a man, you might be facing male pattern baldness, which is hereditary, and basically hormone based as well (it seems that the men with the most testosterone have the most tendency toward this problem). Both of these cases are not the end of the world. There are several alternative choices that you have, and they don’t include hair transplants!

                  If you take a blend of natural essential oils are apply it to the scalp, or any other area where hair is lost (eyebrows, for example), you should notice a difference in less than a month. For areas where the hair is long, it might take up to 2 months to really notice a change, but you will. All you have to do it take about 10 ml of a base oil. I find that calendula is the best, but if you don’t have it available, then olive oil works fine as well. Add about three drops of the following pure essential oils: rosemary, juniper, cedar, and eucalyptus. There are others as well, but those are the strongest and most effective for this problem. They will work individually as well, but they definitely work the best together. For itchy scalp you can use the same oils as for falling hair, and if that doesn’t help, try lavender or tea tree instead, in case you have an allergy or dermatitis. Also, if you are suffering from drab, lackluster hair, your best bet is to do oil treatments for it. There are several great oils, including coconut oil, jojoba oil, and almond oil. You can add essential oils to the mix, depending on what your problem is. If you hair is too oily, then add lemon oil, too dry, add sandalwood. But, again, eating correctly is one of your main allies.

Rosemary Oil

NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, 4 ounce

                       You may also wish to try any of several alternative body therapies as well, in order to remedy any glandular problems that you might have, particularly if you are suffering from hair loss due to a hormonal imbalance. The best choices are reflexology, acupressure, and acupuncture, but, in my experience, reflexology works the best. These treatments work to activate all the glands and the circulatory system in the body, for total health rejuvenation.

So, just because your hair is falling, or in a miserable state, it’s not the end of the world, but it is a sign that you need to take action right away. So, listen to what your body is telling you, and do something about it. Your health is a precious gift that you have to take care of.




Help!!! My Skin Looks Terrible! What Can I do?

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Information About Essential Oils, Information About Herbs, Natural Beauty, Natural Health | Posted on 06-03-2014

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YAA059000003.jpgNatural Beauty 2

 

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought that your skin looked unhealthy? Has your skin ever looked blotchy, too ruddy, pimply, dull and drab, or just plain blah? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions (and frankly, who hasn’t?), then the following information is just for you!

 

            If you have heard the saying “you are what you eat”, then you are on the right track, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Chances are that your diet is not as good as it could be. Before you go out and buy a bunch of expensive creams, evaluate this most important aspect. If you have a chocolate bar for breakfast, potato chips and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread, washed down with two cans of regular soda, for lunch, and fast food for dinner (as many people actually do nowadays), then you will definitely need to revamp what you eat!

Organic Beauty

  Organic Beauty With Essential Oil: Over 400+ Homemade Recipes For Natural Skin Care, Hair Care and Bath & Body Products

The first step of your day of healthy skin eating is breakfast. Don’t skip it, and be sure that your choices in the morning are wholesome and healthy, since this meal will set the scenario for the entire day. Good skin choices are a variety of the following: whole cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, perhaps some fresh cheese (not too much though), eggs, lentils, beans, or other pulses, and dried fruit (although fresh is preferable). 

            If you snack or have a meal at work or school, then think of what you will have and plan ahead. Don’t wait until you are famished, and have no alternative other than to pick up something out of a vending machine, fast food joint, quickie supermarket, cafeteria, or snack bar. Your choices at those places are not likely to be as healthy as they would be if you planned them ahead of time and brought a couple snacks to work with you in the morning. Also, don’t wait until you are starving either. This will set you up for a fall. You are more likely to reach for something unhealthy in desperation. Unless you have healthy choices, it is probably best not to order out. Try to stick with whole fruit, veggie sticks, and, perhaps, some cold fish or chicken. If you have a microwave at work or school, all the better to eat healthily. Bring soup, leftovers from dinner the night before, or sautéed vegetables, for example.

Natural Beauty at Home

Natural Beauty at Home: More Than 250 Easy-to-Use Recipes for Body, Bath, and Hair

For lunch, make sure that you have a substantial meal. This works well with the system in the East, since the midday meal is normally the largest one anyway. But, if you are from the West, and you are used to having your main meal at night, then rethink this policy, and make sure that you eat a heavier meal in the daytime, so that your body will have a chance to digest it and use the energy that a large meal will supply. Here in Kuwait, rice a staple food, and, for those of you reading who are from India, the Philippines, or other Asian countries, you would do much better to choose wholegrain brown rice, instead of white. It is widely available here in Kuwait at the supermarkets, and, although it takes a little extra effort and time, it is well worth the effort. Try to stick with fresh proteins, vegetables, and fruit, to accompany your rice, instead of cured, smoked, or salted proteins. Also, try to keep the chili and spice at a minimum. I know this may be difficult, since this is what you are used to eating, but you will notice a difference in your skin, and indeed, your health very quickly. For those hailing from the West (as I am), keep it simple and wholesome at lunch too. If you are not used to eating a heavy meal at this time, then don’t force yourself, but try to eat the bulk of your food during the daylight hours. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh proteins, vegetables, and fruit, with a variety of whole grains thrown in for good measure. Whether you eat these things hot or cold is not the issue, but that you eat them, and not junk, if possible. This is the only way to make sure that your skin looks its best and that your health remains tip top.

 Practical Paleo

Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and a Whole-Foods Lifestyle

For dinner, it is best to keep it light, and fairly early. You don’t want to go to bed with a full stomach. First of all, you will not be able to sleep comfortably, and second of all, the food will not be able to be digested properly and completely, and your skin will show it! Again, here, as with the other meals, plenty of fresh protein, vegetables, and fruit are what is called for. You will need to make sure that you balance things, leaning toward the wholesome watery fruit and vegetables more heavily. Try to keep away from the heavy spices all the time, particularly at the evening meal, as they will stick with you longer and you will sleep with them in your body. You will notice it if you do, and pretty soon your skin will begin to show the signs! I will remind you again, fresh fruit and vegetables are the most important part of your meal, especially at night. If you want a grain, then have it, but make appropriate choices, and keep it small.

Hungry for Change

Hungry for Change: Ditch the Diets, Conquer the Cravings, and Eat Your Way to Lifelong Health

The idea is to stick to things that are healthy and beneficial to your body, and to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients that you need. Yes, you can take a multivitamin as well, but, really, if you are looking for optimum skin benefits, whole foods are the way to go. Herbal teas are also a good idea throughout the day, especially if you are a habitual coffee or tea drinker. Substitute those choices for healthy herbs instead. Peppermint, chamomile, sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and others are found in practically every kitchen and can be easily brewed into a light and refreshing tea that not only tastes delicious, but also helps to cleanse our bodies of toxins, and keep our lymph and excretory systems working their best.

 Natural Beauty Recipes

Natural Beauty: Homemade Recipes for Radiant Skin & Hair

In order to keep your skin as bright as it can be, and ward off acne, eczema, and all those other nasty skin problems (along with a slew of other health problems), make sure that you drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep at the appropriate time (night!), stay away from toxins (cigarette smoke, arbitrary medications, pollution, chemicals, junk food, etc.), make sure your bathroom habits are good (you should be having regular bowel movements of normal consistency, and urinating regularly (the urine should, preferably be clear in color), and eat as well as you can. There are plenty of good food choices out there nowadays in Kuwait, so there is really no excuse. Whole grains, and even breads with no yeast are widely available now in most supermarkets. There are even organic restaurants now that serve whole foods that are delicious and good for you too!

 The Green Beauty Guide

The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances

So, if you suffer from skin problems (or even if you don’t), your diet and lifestyle are the most important things you can help yourself with. Don’t jump right out to the skin specialist and whine that your skin is sick. What they give you will simply compound the problem. Your solution is closer to home, and, indeed, it is right in front of your mirror!

Well Fed