wellness

Beauty Superfood: Vitamin C

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When it comes to youthful, radiant & healthy skin - Vitamin C is the answer! Vitamin C is a powerful beauty superfood that nourishes the skin to prevent signs of aging and keeps the skin healthy, vibrant & glowing! Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient that our bodies cannot produce, therefore Vitamin C is an essential part of our daily diet. If eating a balanced, whole foods diet, you will likely be able to get adequate amounts of Vitamin C daily from the food you eat (this is what we recommend). However, there is also the option to use a natural supplement - this can be expensive and isn't really necessary.

Nourishing Benefits of Vitamin C:

  • Powerful antioxidant benefits - Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight damage caused by free radicals (in the foods we may eat and our environment). Free radicals can cause damage to the bodies cells and speed up signs of aging - antioxidants are important for nourishing our bodies and our skin!
  • Heals the skin - Vitamin C helps to heal and replenish the skin from acne-related blemishes.
  • Supports skin integrity - Vitamin C plays a critical role in the formation of collagen and collagen helps to give the skin its firmness and even tone. Increasing your Vitamin C intake (within a healthy range), will help the body to produce collagen resulting in healthy skin, hair and nails.
  • Helps iron absorption - as females, many of us have low(er) levels of iron, which can cause anemia and low energy. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from our food, when we eat iron-rich and Vitamin C rich foods at the same time.

Top 10 Vitamin C rich foods: oranges, red peppers, kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, guava, grapefruit, kiwi and green peppers

Our advice: limit your intake of juice as a source of Vitamin C. Juice is loaded with natural sugars which can cause our blood sugar to spike and our body in unable to digest that much fructose at any given time.

Here's to healthy, glowing skin!

For the Love of Tea

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At ESME Beautiful, we love our tea so it seemed fitting to talk about our obsession! In today's blog post we are talking about various types of tea and the associated benefits. We're sharing the basics, but if you're interested, there is SO much more to learn. If you have social media, you've likely seen that tea detoxes (or teatoxes) are all the rage. But, in our humble opinion, tea shouldn't be a trend. There are many types of tea, each with their own unique benefits. Tea can help to heal the body, hydrate the skin, stimulate your metabolism, etc. or simply be an enjoyable, healthy drink (warm or cold). Keep reading to see what teas we love  (and why) at ESME...

  • HERBAL TEA - One of the best things about herbal tea is its hydrating benefits. Many people are dehydrated and are not drinking enough water. Some people don't like the taste of water (or the lack of flavour), so if thats you, increase your water intake by drinking more herbal tea. On top of being hydrating, herbal tea also has various other benefits. For example, ginger tea is good for settling the stomach and reducing nausea. Peppermint tea is also good for digestion (especially after a big meal) due to its soothing properties. Chamomile tea is good for creating feelings of physical relaxation and can help to promote better sleep.
  • BLACK TEA - The caffeine in black tea can help to increase energy and alertness (similar to coffee). But, black tea also is rich in antioxidants - which is great for your skin and detoxification systems. It's important to keep in mind that caffeine is a stimulant that can impact your energy, mood and metabolism. Caffeine is also dehydrating, so to counteract the dehydrating impact of caffeine / coffee, I suggest drinking an additional cup of water for every cup of black tea consumed (this is in addition to the 8-10 cups I recommend drinking daily).
  • GREEN TEA - Green tea is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Green tea contains a significant amount of antioxidants which are beneficial for your skin and organs. These antioxidants also support and help our bodies detoxify. Note, green tea does contain caffeine (much lower amounts than black or pur'eh tea), but if you are sensitive to caffeine enjoy your green tea earlier in the day.
  • WHITE TEA - Here is a great article from Mind Body Green that highlights and shares some of the benefits of white teal. For example, white tea is a rich source of antioxidants - with as many as 3X as many polyphenols as green tea. Plus, the article quotes that there have been studies that have shown that white tea can help in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight by boosting the breakdown of fat cells. There is also an antioxidant in white tea that triggers the release of fat from the cells and helps speed up the livers ability to turn fat into energy. If weight loss is one of your health goals, incorporate more white tea into your diet!
  • ROOIBOS TEA - There is a powerful flavonoid in rooibos tea which can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage. Again, if weight loss is your goal - add in more rooibos tea to inhibit the formation of fat cells.
  • PUR'EH TEA - Research suggests that pur'eh tea can help to increase your metabolism and break down fat cells. Be careful, pur'eh tea contains caffeine, so if you're sensitive to caffeine, avoid drinking this later in the day.

At ESME we love serving our guests Ollia teas (its local and oh so delicious). Some of our personal favourites are the Madame Grey, Marrakesh Mint, Jasmine Blossom and Summer in Paris. Enjoy a cup at your next ESME appointment.

The Truth About Nail Polish

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So what's the real truth about nail polish? I used to think that since polish is applied topically on the nail, the chemicals in the polish wouldn't have much impact on my health. But, the research I've been doing has taught me otherwise. In fact, the research suggests that our bodies absorb chemicals & toxins through our nails (check out this article here). That means, we must be mindful about the products that we are putting on our nails, fingers and toes.

There are some toxic & harmful chemicals found in nail polish that we at Esme recommend you steer clear of. Better to be safe, right? From what I can find, here's the low-down on the three most harmful ingredients found in conventional nail polishes:

  1. Formaldehyde & Formaldehyde Resin: You may remember from high-school biology, formaldehyde is the chemical compound used to preserve dead bodies. Do you really want that on your nails or anywhere near your beautiful body? Formaldehyde is often added to nail polishes because of how it can help strengthen and harden the nail. But, keep in mind that formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, meaning there is research and evidence that it is directly related to causing cancer. No thanks!
  2. Toluene: The purpose of toluene in nail polish is to improve the look of a smooth finish across the nail (and it helps to prevent pigment separation in the bottle). Watch out, when exposed to toluene in the air we breath, it can cause irritation, can affect the nervous system and can cause reproductive harm & fertility issues.
  3. Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP): DBP is used in nail polish for added flexibility and fluidity. But DBP is very harmful and is connected to cancer and birth defects.

When choosing your polish, you also want to watch out for a chemical called camphor. Camphor is a highly flammable poison that covers your nails and deprives absorption of nutrients. Plus, some research suggests that, in large quantities, camphor can cause seizures and disorientation. Our advice? Be cautious and say no to any polish with formaldehyde, toluene, DBP and camphor.

With all of this being said, it is important to remember to be consistently mindful of what you are putting on your skin & nails. At Esme, we are confident that the polishes we use are as natural as possible and free from harmful chemicals. Here are some options for our favourite brands (and the ones we use here at Esme):

Click here to book your next mani/pedi at Esme Beautiful. We can't wait to see you!

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

5 Reasons to Drink Warm Lemon Water

When it comes to healthy habits, its all about ease, simplicity and consistency.  For me, that means that my healthy routines are all about what can most easily be incorporated and what will do the most for my body (i.e. smallest amount of effort for the biggest reward). If I don't feel and/or see a positive shift, I won't keep doing it (I don't have time for that and I doubt that you do either). With that being said, warm lemon water is my tried and true health habit that I commit to EVERY morning. It's one healthy habit that I recommend to everyone! Warm lemon water is easy to incorporate and has SO many health benefits. Below are five reasons to start drinking warm lemon water:

  • One:  Whole body detoxification. Drinking warm lemon water effectively detoxifies the liver and the liver is the bodies primary organ for detoxification. When the liver is functioning optimally, the body is able to purge excess toxins and reduce inflammation. Also, drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning wakes up your digestive fire to prime your body to optimal digestion all day long.
  • Two: Boosts your immune system. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, a key vitamin needed for immunity.
  • Three: Balances your pH levels. Lemons are an alkaline food. Yes, on their own, lemons are highly acidic but in our bodies, lemons have an alkaline effect. Alkaline diets are great at reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Four: Helps with weight loss. When the body is out of balance, it becomes increasingly more difficult to lose weight. Lemons help to restore balance in the body - by regulating the pH levels and detoxifying any excess toxins.
  • Five: Clears skin. As mentioned above, lemons are high in vitamin C which helps to reduce and prevent wrinkles and blemishes. Plus, lemons help to detoxify the blood which also has a positive effect on your skin (less toxins inside the body = less breakouts).

Instead of having a cup of coffee as soon as you get out of bed, make yourself a glass of warm lemon water (...you can have your coffee after). In addition to the benefits listed above, enjoying warm lemon water in the morning is very hydrating (and we need that after a good nights sleep). Lemon water is simple to make but in order to maximize the nutritional benefits of lemon, don't use boiling water! If the water is boiling (or even just too hot) you will actually destroy some of the nutritional properties of the lemon and as a result, reduce the health benefit in your body. So here's exactly what you need to do:

  1. Bring 2/3 cup water to a boil.
  2. In a mug combine 2/3 cup boiling water and 1/3 cup room temperature water (filtered is best, if possible).
  3. Add lemon slices or juice of 1/2 lemon.
  4. Enjoy on an empty stomach and feel great!

Tip: Once you finish your warm lemon water, rinse your mouth with filtered water to ensure the acidity of the lemon doesn't damage the enamel on your teeth.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

Beauty from Within

You've likely heard the saying before, you are what you eat. Well...that's not entirely true, you are what you digest and absorb. When we nourish our bodies with healthy, whole foods (and are able to absorb that nutritional goodness), our tummies, skin, hair/nails, energy, etc. all reap the benefits.

For example, do you want glowing skin? Well...that healthy glow you are longing for actually starts in the gut. Our external appearance is (often) a reflection of what we've got going on inside. It's not always an easy fix because no two bodies are the same, so what works for one may not work for another. However, here are a couple of things that we can all do to optimize our digestion and absorption:

  • One: Where possible, eat local. If you are eating local, your food is often more fresh with fewer (or no) preservatives. Not sure what's in season? Check out your local farmers market and browse the local produce stands.
  • Two: Eat whole foods that are as close to nature as possible. As a general rule, on packaged foods, limit the ingredient list to less than 5 ingredients and make sure you are able to pronounce each ingredient. If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it.
  • Three: Eat probiotic rich foods or take a high quality probiotic supplement.  A healthy gut biome is key to all areas of your health - physical and emotional. Probiotics help to repopulate and rebalance the healthy bacteria in our gut.
  • Four: Add greens to every meal. Dark leafy greens are filled with antioxidant and detoxification priorities. Green smoothies and green juices offer an easy on the go option to get your greens in!
  • Five: Drink more water. Water is so important to overall health. When the body is properly hydrated our detoxification systems function optimally, nutrients are more easily absorbed and overall health is improved.
  • Six: Stress less. Stress hinders our bodies ability to digest because when we are stressed, we are in our sympathetic nervous system (i.e. fight or flight). When we are in this state, our bodies are not using energy to digest (because historically we experienced this stressed state when we were in a dangerous situation, i.e. being chased by a bear). Optimal digestion occurs when we are in a relaxed state (parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest). So...for optimal absorption and nourishment, we CANNOT be so stressed. So breathe deep.
  • Seven: Get more sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours every night (I know, this seems impossible for some). Sleep is important for your body to rest, repair and regenerate. Plus, a lack of sleep leads to an increase in the production of the hormone, ghrelin. Elevated levels of this hormone negatively impact our ability to recognize when we are no longer hungry (and therefore we tend to overeat). Overeating negatively impacts digestion and causes inflammation in the body.
  • Eight: Drink your food - sounds weird, right? Digestion begins in your mouth, so remember to chew your food, until its a 'liquid' consistency.

Integrate all (or at least some) of these suggestions and observe change in how you feel and how you look. Slow down and allow your body to nourish, absorb and digest. Sometimes its easier said than done, but your body will thank you.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

 

#ESMEINK : "August Awakening" Day 28

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{AUGUST MOON}

This is a delayed posting - but still words beautiful to digest....

This full moon seems full of forward momentum. While just a couple of weeks ago, I felt that things within me and around me were moving at a slow pace, that has quickly changed. I'm seeing through a new window. It is clean and clear. I have realized where I need to make some changes in order to progress. Sometimes I just have to take a leap of faith, and trust that making a change will serve me better. There is such a fiery ball of momentum within me. I've been planting soul seeds for the past couple of months in preparation of a beautiful harvest. This full moon, on August 18th can be a time of realization, awakening, rebellion, and seeing things from a new point of view. New understanding and directions. Big picture visioning. Taking risks, and diving into self expression is all a part of it. This is the perfect time to tackle any tasks and decisions I've been putting off. (like my basement spare room project, or small work projects.) Cheers to today, and the near future!

{Mantra}May my eyes be able to see,
And my ears be open to hear,
The beauty of all creation,
And the Spirit that brought me here.”

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#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body" Day 7

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{HEALTHY MIND, HEALTHY BODY}

"Caring for the mind is as important and crucial as caring for the body. In fact, one cannot be without the other." -Unknown

Being "healthy" generally has a large emphasis on food and exercise. Often, what's forgotten is state of mind. There is, a definite balance between the three. For myself, when one of those is out of balance, I generally fall apart in some way or another. Sometimes for a day, sometimes longer.

This past year, I had to let go of some anxiety relating to food, to ease my mind.

While I was in school studying holistic nutrition, I became increasingly afraid of making the wrong choices when it came to food. Is it a whole food? Are there ingredients, and what are they? Sugar is poison, is the food I buy ethical and humane? Am I supporting local? Am I deficient in nutrients, what are my symptoms? The questions were endless, and they haunted me. These thoughts and questions built and built, and the worry for my children and husband were present too.

Why, having all of this new, amazing information, did I feel more worried than ever? I would think that being empowered to make the best food choices should put me at ease. Isn't knowledge power? It didn't' feel that way.

I started to feel anxiety for the first time in my life. I had no idea where it was coming from until I self-evaluated. I first began looking at other symptoms I had, and there were none, other than that, and exhaustion. So I realized I needed to support my adrenals. I needed to focus more on exercise, and less about the food.

Finally, it clicked. I was so consumed with how my choices of food would do me right or wrong, that I'm sure I manifested unnecessary stress, affecting my nervous system and adrenals.

I Truly beleive that constant worry or fear can manifest health problems. Our biography can become our biology. In other words,- when thoughts, beliefs or fears are thought about consistently enough, they create physical pathways in the brain, and can have an effect on our health at some point. However, just as these thoughts are created, they can also be addressed and changed. It's all the power of the mind, and the willingness to change.

My state of mind, has had a physical effect on my body. It does for anyone, when the situation allows. I need to listen to my body, but more importantly, I need to let go of fear.

We live in a world where food is plentiful. We have more food than we need. We have more choices than ever.

I know how to make choices that are right for my family and I. I just need to simplify. I've been working on meditation. Releasing fears.

I focus on how blessed we are to have the freedom to make choices. I will say YES to pizza. I will enjoy the slowness of food. Growing, harvesting, creating, sharing food.

Our culture has gotten so far away from the true pleasure of a meal; the experience. Who we eat with can bring us joy. Preparing a meal is so satisfying, especially when feeding others. It's so much more than just what's on the fork, and it's that thought that brings me satisfaction and peace. Besides, don't I have better things to worry about?

{MANTRA}

By experiencing the joy, and culture of food, I release fear, and take on peace

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

Superfoods for Better Sleep

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Sleep is said to be one of the very most important things we should be intentional and steadfast in - for our health, mood, and even our looks! But - it's probably something that a majority of us struggle to make a priority. There's just ALWAYS something else to accomplish, someone to respond to, or a list to make to keep us just as busy the next day.

On a recent WELL+GOOD post -  Jason Wrobel, a longevity-obsessed raw vegan chef with his own TV show on The Cooking Channel and a roster of celeb fans (think Woody Harrelson and Robin Wright) - shares a list of superfoods that aid in our ability to shut down, relax, and get those VERY MUCH needed zzz's. Here are a few off his list & his reason for suggesting each food:

1. ALMONDS

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“Almonds are high in potassium and B vitamins, which help our nervous systems to relax,” says Wrobel. His super-sleep snack tip? Spread some almond butter on toast with banana slices (another sleep all-star)—no need to count sheep when your head hits the pillow.

2. CHERRIES

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Cherries allow the body to release melatonin, which Wrobel calls “the body clock hormone” because it promotes a cycle of falling asleep and waking up naturally. As in, the fruit will help you recalibrate the body when you’re dealing with a bout of jet lag.

3. KALE

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Need some more convincing to pile your plate with kale? “Magnesium deficiency is a major cause of insomnia,” warns Wrobel, adding that many Americans don’t get enough magnesium. Good thing this dark, leafy green is packed with the mineral. Yet another reason to throw some kale in to your daily smoothie.

4. CHICKPEAS

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Your sleep cycle’s new best friend? B vitamins. “Chickpeas boast vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin,” Wrobel notes, highlighting the legume’s deep sleep-inducing qualities. Munching on chickpeas throughout the day will help your body and your nervous system relax come bedtime, too.

See the rest of the list HERE!

P.S. Go to bed EARLY tonight...just try it!

[images via WELL+GOOD]