THE BENEFITS OF AN EPSOM SALT BATH

 

It has become a tri-weekly ritual for each of us. I started obsessing over bathing in epsom salt first when I was a track runner in highschool, and then again more recently, when I learned that it could really benefit my digestive issues. But I realized, taking a bath, especially in epsom salts, is soothing for both the mind and body - something that every person can benefit from. 

Epsom salt is a naturally occuring mineral compound of mangesium and sulfate. Why it works wonders in a bath? It is highly absorbable through the skin. As magnesium helps with nerve and muscle function and reduces inflammation, there is no better and faster way to get it into your body than to take a bath in it. It's highly recommended for athletes, those with a magnesium deficiency, and it can even help alleviate a headache -- I've tried it. Epsom salt baths can help relieve stress and tension, ease muscle pain and cramps, they help you detox (flushes toxins right out), and even soften your skin.

 

This is true for both men and women. My husband now, especially after a stressful day, looks forward to his epsom salt baths. I got him to really appreciate the 20 minutes, sans technology, with a nice cup of tea and a candle. Just a few minutes of pure relaxation can work wonders on your soul. 

 

How to use:

 

Fill a bath with hot water and add 1-2 cups of epsom salts. Some come with added oils (lavender, echinacea...) or you can add essential oils yourself. Do not mix soap with the salt, as it can cause an interaction. Soak for at least 15 minutes. Rinse. 

 

Extra uses:

Scrub: mix a handful of epsom salt with a tbsp of olive oil and scrub your skin, it's a great natural homemade exfoliator!

Foot bath: add epsom salt to a tub of warm water and soak feet for 20 minutes. 

 

WHY WE WASH OUR FACE WITH HONEY

 

Both my husband and I have gone through ups and downs with our skin. Pollution, chemicals, gut problems, hormone imbalances - these are issues that so many people deal with on a daily basis, and they can be very frustrating. Something that I have learned over the years from experiencing severe digestive problems - is that they reflect directly on my skin. Being stressed, not sleeping well or enough, and eating a diet with more processed food that not can also wreak havoc on your skin. And when I mean skin, I am not only talking about your beautiful face, but chest and back breakouts are normal as well. 

When I went to see my dermatologist a few years ago, he told me that the little breakouts on my chin were directly related to my gut health and to my hormones as well. Rather than trying to force me to buy all of his skincare line (which is incredible, I must say) he advised me to change my diet, even if it means eliminating one or two things.

 

As healthy as grains may be, they are carbohydrates, and carbohydrates turn into glucose, and too much of that can be toxic to our bodies. I am not saying to completely eliminate grains or even pseudo-grains (such as quinoa) from your diet completely, as they do come with a variety of health benefits - but try to eat them less often, and see if that makes a difference. I completely eliminated refined sugar, gluten and dairy from my diet and I did see a difference. I added about 50 more oz. of water to my daily regimen, as that too is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to keep that natural glow - water flushes your entire system out. But I still had uneven skin with the occasional breakouts. After eliminating so many things, I thought of one more idea: to eliminate my face wash and creams. Just take a look at what you are washing and moisturizing your face with every day. Do you know what most of the ingredients even are? I do not.

That’s when I turned to honey.

 

Honey, one of the most delicious natural sweeteners contains such an incredible amount of health benefits. Honey is an anti-bacterial, an anti-fungal, and because it contains hydrogen peroxide, it can be very healing to the skin. With these few facts, I took just a small amount of honey, rubbed it all over my face, washed it off, and instantly saw a glow. I started using this skin care regimen day and night, using coconut oil at night as my moisturizer, and saw an incredible change in my skin. The redness disappeared, I rarely breakout, and using raw honey as my sole face wash was very cost effective. Finding such a sweet solution for my skin was truly remarkable and further proves how using nature’s resources can only improve our health.

 

1. The night before your flight, chop up some fresh fruit and add a little lemon juice as it keeps it from browning and also enhances the flavors. Put it in a tupper-wear container. Or bring bananas, apples, oranges, pears, or anything with a skin or peel for a perfect snack.

2. Bring a ripe avocado and get a plastic knife and spoon and it is healthy and filling -- on its own or with organic brown rice crackers.

3. Prepare a salad with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado; cut a lemon in half for a light dressing.

4. Don’t be tempted to buy energy bars — you will be sitting for several hours, not running a marathon. Make my healthy energy bites instead! 

5. If you are going on a long flight (5+ hours) grill a piece of chicken or turkey or make a hard boiled egg and top it on a salad with some olive oil and lemon juice. Or prepare some organic brown rice or quinoa and drizzle olive oil or coconut oil for some healthy fats and carbs (add veggies or protein if desired). You can also boil a sweet potato and top it with healthy evoo or coco oil. 

6. Stay away from salty nuts. Bring a bag of unsalted raw nuts or make a superfood trail mix at home with nuts, seeds, mulberries, goji berries and cacao nibs.

7. Get up to take a walk and stretch every 30 minutes if you are awake; it is important for circulation.

8. Drink a glass of water every 30 minutes; hydration is essential while flying.

9. Be a germ freak: carry antibacterial wipes with you and clean the seats, belts and tray — it’s a field of germs.

10. Take an extra dose of vitamin C and Echinacea before you fly; it gives your immune system a good boost.

11. Stay away from caffeine and sugary drinks; stick with water only!

12. Avoid alcohol while flying to prevent dehydration. 

13. Be considerate of your fellow passengers: don’t pack anything that you would not want to smell — onions, garlic, tuna, fish..

14.Remember to hydrate with lots of water when you land.

15. Start your mornings with a quick workout even in your hotel room such as a HIIT workout or even 20 minutes of yoga. There's never an excuse, even if your hotel doesn't have a gym. 

16. If you're obsessed with incorporating super foods into your diet every day like me, bring packets of spirulina, maca, or Chia seeds.

17. When you get to the hotel, ask for a mini fridge if there isn't one already and you can buy fresh local fruits and keep them cool to snack on.

18. Take a daily probiotic to keep your gut health in check.

19. Check my site for my healthy travel guides to find the healthiest spots and places to workout around the world!

20. Have fun and be adventurous!

HOW TO STAY FIT AND HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING

MY THOUGHTS ON JUICE CLEANSES

I’ve probably done around 10 juice cleanses, ranging from 1-3 days. And I pretty much regret doing each one of them. Growing up in Los Angeles and living in New York for three years, I lived in the epi-center of trends. Food trends, fashion trends, workout trends, you name it.  Following trends has become a trend in itself, as exposure via social media has made it easy for anyone to be a part of a trend, and expose him or herself in the public eye.

 

I remember when I first heard about juice cleanses. It was right when I started working at CBS News, I had crazy hours, and little time to eat. I was always known as the health nut at work, because I never gave into the pastries, breads or lunches that were provided for us a lot of the time. I always had my healthy foods with me. Living close by to still one of my favorite juice bars in New York, Juice Generation, I drank my kale or beet juice on a daily basis. I was obsessed. Juices were either my breakfast, lunch, or pick me up (which is still healthier than coffee), and I never went a day without one. I learned about a three day juice cleanse one day, and got one of my friends to purchase one as well so we could do it together. As usual, like everyone says, the first day you’re starving, cold, have a headache and want to simply chew on anything in site. The second day it gets better, you’re still a bit hungry, but you know you’ll survive (maybe?), and by the third day, you have the glow, and you could go on for a few more days if you really wanted to. Not.

 

I had headaches, my skin didn’t improve, and I never glowed. I was simply hungry, couldn’t wait to eat real food, and questioned myself why I chose to do this. But being so naïve, I did it again, and again. I’ll go back a bit and state that one of the reasons I drink so many juices, and smoothies too, is because of my severe digestive problems. Eating bothers me, no matter what it is I eat. Even though I don’t eat gluten, dairy or sugar, I am still constantly in pain and feel bloated minutes after I eat a meal. Having more liquefied meals, including soups, really helps eliminate that pain as my digestive system has less to do. That said, I didn’t realize that drinking so much juice really has some negative aspects to it.  I felt better when I drank smoothies and juices more than not, so I continued.

 

After tons of research and speaking with doctors and nutritionists, I realized that juices, especially when they are made from a base of fruits could make your blood sugar levels fly through the roof. I had no idea. They don’t write that on the bottles, nor did I truly ever believe that cold pressed juices weren’t always the healthiest option. I learned that drinking juices in moderation, and those that are composed of less fruits and more vegetables are fine and won’t give you that sugary high. I now try to stick with juices that are made mostly of vegetables, such as carrots, celery, spinach, beets, ginger…you get the picture.

 

Think of how much sugar you are consuming when you drink 18 juices in three days? They usually all have a base made out of apples, because yes it does taste better. People like to drink sweet things. Maybe you felt like you glowed after you finished a three-day juice cleanse, and that’s great! But there is no scientific evidence that proves that juice cleanses pose any benefits to your body. I actually noticed thinning hair. Yes, maybe you will lose 1-3 pounds, but the second you go back to your normal eating habits, you will gain it right back. Juice cleanses are not a solution for weight loss, nor a solution for eliminating acne, and they’re not a solution for my digestive issues either.

 

I still enjoy smoothies or juices almost every day, but I am very conscientious as to what they are made out of. The most important thing you can do for your body is eat real foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, and protein – from whatever source works best for you.