Sunday, June 26, 2011

Spa Girl asks...Who You Calling a Weed?

The other day the gardener was pulling dandelions from the lawn with his fancy claw digger and I thought of all the locavores and herbalists who would love to get their hands on this basket of cheerful edibles.

While some might see them as annoying little weeds, there are many others who welcome them as a sure sign of spring and a potent and useful medicinal that can be brewed, fried and tossed into a salad.

Known for their ability to clean up toxicity (both in the environment and the body) the dandelion plays an extraordinary role helping the body to detoxify. Known as an effective liver tonic, the root can be juiced to help stimulate gastric secretions that are essential to good digestion and overall good health, and the dandelion is also a welcome kidney stimulator helping to prevent water retention. A natural diuretic the it is also a great source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamins A & C.

Dandelions become more bitter as they age so the best time to incorporate them into your menu is when they first start to nudge through the grass. Brew as a tea, make wine, whisk up some fritters, or toss a few small leaves into your salad and enjoy the benefits. of this amazing edible.

Spa Girl Tip...Although edible all season, picking dandelion leaves in the early spring or late fall, after the first frost, will provide greens that are less bitter provides this great recipe for Dandelion Greens.

Dandelion greens are cooked with chopped onion, minced garlic, chile pepper, then topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
Ingredients:1 pound dandelion greens, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 whole small dried hot chile pepper, seeds removed, crushed. 1/4 cup cooking oil, salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese
Discard dandelion green roots; wash greens well in salted water. Cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Cook greens uncovered in small amount of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Sauté onion, garlic, and chile pepper in oil. Drain greens; add to onion garlic mixture. Taste dandelion greens and season with salt and pepper. Serve dandelion greens with grated Parmesan cheese. 

Recipe for dandelion greens serves 4.

Books, books & more books...

Dandelions Are Free by: Stacy L. Wanchisn

Soups, Fritters, Wine and more...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spa Girl's remedy for dry, dull skin...

William & Kate are coming to Canada

Don't you love it when your skin glows, everyone notices, some comment, and enviably you feel alive and well and on top of the world.  But harsh summer rays can leave your skin looking dry and drab.

Sun, harsh soaps, and extreme weather conditions can take the blame for drab, dry looking skin as they all throw PH levels out of balance.  In previous blogs I have mentioned that proper PH balance for healthy skin is between 4.5 and 5.5, anything above this range and your skin will be dull, flaky and dry. 

To restore proper PH balance all it takes is a milk compress at night after you cleanse, thanks to the lactic acid and alpha-hydroxy acid that removes layers of dead, dry skin.  Simply dip a clean washcloth in a bowl of milk and apply to your skin for a week or so, and then use a good moisturizer with active ingredients such as glycolic acid which will help maintain your proper PH.

I also find adding olive oil to my bath really helps with dry skin, and exfoliating with dead sea salts for that ultimate glow! And while a hot bath is delightful, better to use temperate water so you don't dry out your skin and remember not to wash your face with soap, it is much to harsh.

Foods rich in zinc and vitamin C also aid in the promotion of cell renewal because taking care of your skin is essential from both the outside and in! 

Enjoy all the pleasures of the season and enjoy the glow...and remember to wear your sun screen!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spa Girl says TWO thumbs up for the New Rules for Sunscreen

In my world a day at the beach ranks the number one thing to do on those hot lazy summer days! Remember...What's a Sun Goddess to do?

Just in time for summer, if it ever comes to our part of the world, the Food and Drug Administration (Canada is soon to follow) has determined new rules for sunscreen protection.  Familiar promotional terms like sun block, waterproof, sweat proof will no long be allowed under the much tougher new standards.

Three decades in the making, the big change under this new legislation will require broad-spectrum sunscreens to protect from the sun's radiation with both UVB (causes the skin to burn) and UVA (causes the skin to wrinkle) and both can cause cancer.

While the new rules won't go into effect until a year from now, we know from this new legislation to look for both UVB and UVA with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher.  The rules will also ban sunscreen manufacturers from claiming their products are waterproof or sweat proof because such claims are simply not true.

Can't you just hear the dermatologists applauding!
Sunscreen products represent a $680 million domestic market which continues to grow as the boomers age and with alarming increases in the number of skin-related cancer. More than two million people in the United States alone are treated each year for the two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell, and more than 68,000 receive a diagnosis of melanoma, the most deadly form of the disease.
I have posted a number of blogs on the importance of sunscreen, the number one ingredient to health, happy skin.  This new legislation is a welcome addition especially as rows and rows of sunscreen products make the selection more and more difficult. 

Last week I received three fabulous "I Will Reflect" bracelets (only $4.95) from SpaFinder  in support of my dear friend Nelson.  These wonderful bracelets have been designed to help raise awareness about early melanoma detection and prevention. Support the cause and order yours today!
Check out these sites for more information on the new FDA regulations:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spa Girl is into her 'agya de coco' (Coconut Water)

It seems lately that every time I head to the health food store, or the local grocery more shelves are being stocked with coconut water.  So naturally I tried a few different varieties and it's fabulous, then I did some research and discovered coconut water is a powerhouse of anti ageing properties.

Mother Nature seldom gets it wrong and coconut water is no exception. It is  a rich source of natural fibre, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, making it a healthy electrolyte drink.  It is low in sodium and has negligible amounts of cholesterol.  And those who drink coconut water on a daily basis generally have a lovely complexion!

This heavenly hard-shell fruit is known botanically as Cocos nucifera and comes from the coconut palm. Coconut water is extracted from the young green coconuts.
I made a coconut water and mango smoothie which was divine!  There are many ways to integrate coconut into your everyday.  Consider not only drinking coconut water, but coconut pulp, coconut oil and coconut cream can be worked into your beauty routine. There are also many other benefits including increased hydration, better digestion, great complexion, high in  antioxidants and the list goes on!

Wikipedia says...

“Coconuts for drinking are carefully packaged and sold in many places. These are typically Asian coconuts whose outer green husk has been removed, and the remainder wrapped in plastic. In Central America, particularly in Costa Rica and Panama, it is found and sold in strategic highway stops or on the beaches; there, the coconut water is called “agua de pipa”, and the coconut is cut in front of the customer to ensure its freshness. In Brazil, coconut water is called “água de coco,” and is the second best-selling juice after orange juice. Coconut water can also be found in ordinary cans or tetra paks (and often has coconut pulp or coconut jelly added) and is also marketed as a sports drink because of its high potassium and mineral content. In fact, one cup-full of coconut water contains more electrolytes than most sports drinks and more potassium than a banana.

For those who extol its benefits, coconut water is the best drink found on the planet. 

Here is how to make my Coconut Water & Mango Smoothie
1 fresh mango (or any of your favourite colourful fruits)2 cups coconut waterpinch of cayennesplash of fresh lime
blend and enjoy!

Check out the many benefits of this tropical water...