What about Supplements, Herbs, and Vitamins?

Herbs & Vitamins

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. All information is offered from my own personal opinions and experience for you to use for informational purposes only. We are responsible for our own health decisions and that includes consulting medical professionals for advice and care.

Why use them? I run across opinions from the medical sector and “experts” who dismiss the use of supplements, normally with the statement that they’re unnecessary when a balanced diet is consumed. I suppose that those ideas come from insufficient knowledge of agricultural practices.

So where are my degrees? My clinical experience? Nonexistent. I’m a gardener, I’m a mom. But, think about this: Our bodies are composed of what we eat, our nutrients.

In the same way a plant or animal food is composed of its nutrients. If foods are grown on selenium deficient soils, will they have enough selenium in them? Iodine deficient soils are known to cause problems, thus iodized salt.

Modern farming uses depleted soils to grow crops, sometimes repeatedly the same ones, with the chemical additions of the “big three” – nitrogen, potassium, and potash. Additionally, many modern hybrids are raised for disease resistance or ease of handling. This doesn’t translate into better nutrition.

Herbal and vitamin supplementation of the best diet we can avail ourselves of just makes sense.

Fresh herbs and tea count, too

My Routine

Because there have been many challenges to deal with in the last decade, there have been a number of supplements I have been trying to add into my daily diet. The most outstanding problem has been hypertension, which I will tell you about first.  Besides that, I have routine vitamins, (those taken regularly) :

Admittedly, I sometimes feel like I’ve amassed a small pharmacy worth of vitamins and herbs; but this has been helping me.

Dealing With High Blood Pressure

In working on the pressures- a doctor suggested having a glucose tolerance test. If blood sugar imbalances are damaging tissues then many of the things which help a diabetic condition would also aid the eye and blood pressure to normalize. This is a confirmation to me to exercise, add supplemental selenium, and antioxidants.

What Am I Doing Now? What Works.

I have been on blood pressure medication for a number of years now. I am trying to cut it back with the goal of no longer needing it. I have had trouble from the beginning with sometimes wild fluctuations, and developed a way to manage this. First I will list what I use, and then explain why.

  • I eat beets and drink beet juice supplements
  • I take Cinnamon and alpha-lipoic acid capsules
  • Fish oil or Krill oil for healthy Omega fats
  • Vitamin D3
  • Magnesium drink (Calm)
  • Probiotics

Beet consumption has been shown to lower blood pressure; it works in that way for me. Fish oil is often prescribed for heart health and has blood thinning properties.(1)

Magnesium is a mineral that many Americans are deficient in, and it is needed for blood pressure and glucose regulation. (2)

Ginko Biloba and Some Words on Balancing One’s Life

More on Gingko biloba: this definitely is a helpful herb and its effects ought to be considered. First, I understand it acts as a blood thinner- which might explain some of its helpfulness in the peripheral circulatory system.

Beware of Combinations

be careful
be careful

You should be aware of other blood thinning products you might be using (like aspirin). Another, subjective, observation is that it has stimulant properties. So, I personally don’t like to take it in the evening – sort of behaves like caffeine in my system.

We are often advised to be careful how foods or others things interact when prescribed medications.

Herbs and even vitamins can interact both with each other, with foods or with medications we are taking, in the same way. Blood thinning factors are one thing to be aware of, but some foods, like grapefruit juice can either magnify, cancel or otherwise change effectiveness or safety of what we ingest.

When devising our own health plan, we should research or ask advisce about possible interactions.

Natural Means Are Not A Quick Fix, But Take Time

My weight is moderate at 125 lbs. and I really don’t want to drop weight, but if you carry extra pounds, the additional exercise and some chromium picolinate can only help. People who need to lose weight should do it for themselves-your health is worth it!


UPDATED: I originally wrote this article in 1999-2001 time period. Today, in 2018 my body and health requisites have changed. I have learned a lot in the meantime, but I have also battled serious issues that include weight gain. I have learned how difficult it is to lose weight when your metabolism has changed, when medications taken have side effects on your appetite and weight gain. I will keep the pertinent original info, but this page must reflect my new status of fighting to keep down blood pressure and weight gain.

Herbs and supplements are not a ‘quick fix’, so moderation and patience (the same qualities needed for all permanent life changes) will be necessary. The concept of homeostasis, picture a balance or stacking building blocks , means we adjust our system gradually. Here is as good a place as any to compare and contrast health philosophies.

This Is Not A Diatribe Against Doctors

There is a place for the medical establishment and for self-help; the two have always coexisted along with the third, the spiritual factor. I have to believe doctors have always found it frustrating to shoulder the responsibility of prevention. It is up to an individual to do the actual exercise and common sense activities of eating, sleeping, etc.

Doctors and hospitals seem best suited for emergency intervention – I definitely want them for injuries or a heart attack! But in daily situations , they are like very expensive personal trainers, if you have the money and the need, avail yourself.

The rest of us are being priced out of the market; besides, it is very pleasant to experience a healthy lifestyle. That’s the reason to use nutrition, herb, and fitness information.

Spiritual Factors

I really have to throw one caveat in here: we cannot guarantee our own health and well-being. No doctor can, either. That’s why there has always been the spiritual factor.

You know the saying “Life happens” (and the variants thereof), well, despite our best laid plans the principle of entropy can manifest. .or lightning can strike…or…or..And in the meantime we can do what we can.

For me, the spiritual factor is Jesus Christ, and I really don’t want to hem and haw around yours if its different. I have a page on why I believe in Him, but, for now, allow me to share one amazing fact. When I exercise for a couple of days, I easily lower my blood pressure points about five-ten; when I pray for maybe ten minutes the same effect occurs. Just thought I’d throw that in since it shows that dealing with the whole person (not just the body) is important.

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Exercise Your Way

yes or no choice

Exercise and the Christian Woman

Follow your heart

If you are like many Christians, it is a temptation to make such a division between the spiritual and the physical that the two realms almost seem mutually exclusive. Or you may not have a spiritual emphasis, but an intellectual one. It is as if to be truly spiritual or intelligent, we must almost deny we have bodies.

This is a grave mistake and not what scripture refers to when we are told to deny the flesh. Since that statement demands some exegesis (or whatever you call bible study), it will have to wait for an addition in the bible section of my page. For now, let’s just look at the matter practically and ask these questions:

Things To Ask Ourselves

* Do I need good health to carry out my responsibilities to my family?
* If I have physical strength, can I work more effectively taking care of the elderly, the needy, or others who have need of my services?
* If I have more energy, could I additionally serve the Lord? In other words, will it prepare me for future ministry?

If You Answered Yes

Now, perhaps you feel more virtuous praying “God, help me lose weight, help me overcome fatigue, or this besetting illness” and then sitting back in faith. Or in your intellectual quest, you are willing to read book after book of self-help or the latest diet.

Now it is time to add works to your faith. Add action to your knowledge.

That is not to say those spiritual things (looking to God for help or asking to be healed) aren’t necessary, they are, but we need to add a little balance . Try to eat right, exercise, rest properly…all those things that are the attributes of moderation. And if you carefully read much of the scientific findings on good health you will see it all boils down to being moderate.

“Let your moderation be known to all men”.

Philippians 4:5

A word here on what exercise won’t do. There is a scripture ( I Timothy 4:8) that states “bodily exercise profiteth little”. And that is absolutely true: it profits something, but doesn’t take the place of character and spiritual building. One look at the number of athletes with moral problems ought to illustrate that point most eloquently.

Let’s say you’re ready, convinced that exercise is going to be part of your life, what choices are out there and how will you fit them into your life? What are some choices and what considerations are there for Christian women?

  1. Weight training is important when you live a Western lifestyle (when was the last time you hauled water from a well?). For healthy bones and maintaining muscle strength some form of weights should be used. If you have a body type that bulks up easily, a program like The Firms cross training should work fine since it combines aerobics and light weights.
  2. Martial arts and workouts such as the Tae-bo type should fulfill your aerobic needs, as long as you skip some of the Oriental Philosophy involved. Actually, many forms of exercise have philosophies and sometimes religious beliefs included; if you have qualms about this just avoid that type and make your own program.
  3. Yoga was one form I avoided for awhile since it comes from an Eastern religion, but I found myself doing many of the exercises in my tapes. The stretches are wonderful and you may find the ones you need in one of the Wharton’s books, or in a Pilates program, as well as in many videotapes available. The flexibility that stretching gives your body is necessary, the yoga program is not. Choose according to your conscience.
  4. Dance gives gracefulness along with flexibility and aerobics in a fun format. Again, though, some people have reservations and should follow their choice to other forms. But for those who like this way of getting a workout, there are so many types of dance- each with its own feeling and demands. Ballet is athletic, jazzercise is fun way to get fit, bellydance is feminine and sensual, etc.
  5. Take yourself outdoors to witness the glory of God’s creation. Begin walking or gardening and if the nasty little creatures are bothering you find some Avon “Skin So Soft” and learn to praise the Lord for the day when there won’t be such curses!

What I’m not trying to do is make judgment calls on the forms of exercise and whether you should engage in them.

The Biblical hierarchy is always spiritual first, soul second, body third. One does not nix another, as in forgetting about the body or soul in pursuit of spiritual growth. It might help to remember how interdependent the heart, soul, and body are. How many times is physical health undermined through the damage done to a person’s heart and mind? Or vice versa? 

The Bible addresses “wholeness”, and others may use the term “holistic”, but the idea is that we are not compartmentalized beings, and fragmenting our view of ourselves leads to poor health. 

Exercising the body is one part of the wholeness. Not more than building good character or growing spiritually, but alongside these important goals.

There are so many ways to get the bodily exercise you need that there is no reason to wound your conscience by engaging in a type that you are disturbed about.

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Making The Time For Exercise

finding time

How can I find the time to exercise? This can be tough when your schedule is already full or you have small children at home (duh, same difference). It is terrific to know that small bites of exercise throughout your day are an accomplishment that can give you results.

points to Keep in Mind

  • Move exercise time to the top of your priority list.
  • Strategize the best times of day to develop a habit.
  • Determine that your health is important enough to not tolerate competition from other demands.
  • Vary your exercise efforts and incorporate an element of fun and enjoyment.
  • Consider using a fitness app or watch to spur you on to exercise regularly throughout the day and week.

Aim for the three to five full workouts, but understand that you will, many times, have to skip some of them. Just be prepared with exercises you can do in the car and at your desk, free weights in the bedroom for some back and arm exercises for five minutes between coffee and the rest of your day or at night while you watch that video or wait for SOME peoples pages to load. We’ve all been there…

I joined Curves to provide a consistency to my efforts; I found that exercising together with other women in a positive environment is very helpful. We all talk about how it is time that we take for ourselves, because we need it. We are the better for taking the time and those around us are better for it, too!

After Curves, our family signed up for a membership at our local YMCA. I haven’t taken classes there, but used the equipment, including treadmills and ellipticals. My grown kids have joined gyms, and these are all helpful ways to stay motivated and put in the time for fitness.

Exercise Will Do You Good

You know it is sort of an overused joke that people who go to fitness clubs jockey for the closest parking spaces. Make up your mind to do a little extra walking, stair climbing (in real life), etc. during your day. This is a great stress reliever, as well; instead of fuming about that creep taking the spot you were waiting for, you are actually thinking Pollyanna thoughts of how good the exercise is since you won’t have time for the regular workout this day. REALLY.

me in the garden

This is a totally new way of thinking and very freeing. The workouts you do ought to pay off in more strength for those everyday chores. All work is some sort of exercise! The reason for structured workouts is so that you are building muscles that are somewhat neglected in your daily activities, compensating for the fact that you overwork some muscle groups while underusing others.

Stretching exercises can be squeezed in almost anytime. Stretches, once learned, can be worked into the day to increase flexibility – you won’t believe how much better you function after working on lengthening some of your poor contracted muscles!

My favorite way to learn stretch exercises is through (have you guessed?) – a video. Although I did find books from the library and magazine articles which illustrate a regimen to try.  However, it is  just that I love someone else thinking up the sequences and moves, while I just follow along with music and timing all worked out for me.

How I’ve been making time for exercise lately

You know how we waste time on Facebook? Frittering away more time than is reasonably rational. Well, we can turn at least some of that into a creative way to get a bit more exercise. All we have to do is use some of the posted videos to turn some of that time into a fitness routine.

I love this! My new preferred way to exercise is available in streaming or with dvds.
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Creating A Fitness Plan

Exercise: Where to Start?

I thought about starting here because exercise is so foundational to good health. My equation is HEALTHY=BEAUTIFUL as well as its reverse (I knew it, algebra was worth something!).

In the last few years, I’ve been regularly exercising-originally to combat back spasms, rising blood pressure and eye pressure. My pressures are down, back spasms no more, and I have some other truly valuable benefits besides. I’ve shaped up (my husband is so appreciative), I have more energy (needed that!), and (what I most appreciate) I’m stronger. Much stronger. Human beings, being compound organisms require compound components, so exercise is only part of what’s needed, but that’s the part addressed right here.

Betty Boop

Key to consistent effort in exercise is finding something you like, so you keep working with it. In my twenties, running was really popular and my husband was interested in it, so I thought I’d try that. I did, once. It was so boring for me.

What I find I really like, many women I talk with find boring: exercise videos. I love exercise videos. My “Jane Fonda Complete” started me out in weight training. I’m so grateful, Jane! This was when I began to notice my strength improvement – and have found many references in medical articles on the necessity of this type of exercise.

Fitness On Video

Susan Powter is great in this respect, too. Her videos are a great workout with “real people” partners. Kathy Smith has the best pregnancy workout, and her “Body Basics” was the first video I purchased.

There are so many fitness types and stars of every type to lead us in routines that cater to every level of ability that there is really no excuse to delay creating your plan. Stretching, yoga, Latin dance, even chair exercises to deliver personal training right in your living room

I always rent or borrow videos to work with before I buy and it gives variety to my routine. So this is my main form of aerobic exercise, which I supplement with free weights.

Since I first wrote these tips, so much has changed on the video fitness front. Now, you can choose from DVDs to Youtube, and I notice that Amazon Prime offers a wide range, as well. 

One of my favorites, for the thoughts, the music, and the movement

One that I have fun with lately is “Body Groove” – check it out! I like its loose, fun style that fits the fact that I need movement and don’t have lots of ability right now.

Tactics to Tackle Exercise

stretching

I keep some dumbbells in my bedroom so that I can fit in exercise easily. Please, no jokes about that last sentence. I know none of this is new, mostly it’s just a pep talk – you have to “just do it”.

The observation I have at this point is that so many times we limit ourselves to activities which don’t fulfill our needs: team sports, good weather activities, gardening. These activities are exercise, but usually they’re marathon efforts with long absences between sessions.

Find something to fill in the spaces of everyday activities.

I would compile it this way:

  • stretching exercises
  • aerobic of your choice
  • recreational events(hiking,skiing,double digging a rose bed)
  • weight training

Women, particularly, need to take responsibility for their wellbeing. We’ll be more purposeful in our lives, feel better, prevent diseases, alot of things because we add exercise. It’s not the answer to all of life’s problems – I believe only Christ is-but bodily exercise is a key to bodily wellbeing.
You already know I like exercise videos, but thought I’d list the ones I like best:

jumping rope is good exercise

Oldie but Goodies

  • The Firm series: these are tough and effective; be sure to pace yourself and add the weights in carefully.
  • Jane Fonda series: I like the dance moves, variety of weights and spot exercises.
  • Kathy Smith Body Basics: This is the best warmup, and best ab and leg work in my opinion.
  • Marilu Henner Dance Aerobics: fun dancing
  • Susan Powter: no nonsense strength training and shaping. Great attitude!
  • Various Pilates-type videos: Kathi Smith, Denise Austin, and many more to try. Concentrated.

There are so many more to choose from now than when I started. I have especially liked the wide range of Yoga workouts.

yoga time
yoga time

Many of the stretches and strength exercises were given to me when I had to have some physical therapy in recent years. I believe we lose fitness without being completely aware of what’s happening.

This is all the more reason to create a deliberate plan and stick to it. It is the habit that is important, the challenge level or even the forms ( dance, aerobics, yoga) may well change to adjust to our interests and needs, but the fact that we need to keep using all our muscle groups remains the main goal.


A fun way to get aerobic exercise is in a dance class. There are many forms of dance, jazzercise, ballet, modern, but an unusual type I tried was bellydance

I have some pages on the many aspects of belly dance, including the costuming part of it.  They will soon be posted here.

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3-Step Motivation For Fitness

Get Motivated!

do it today, not tomorrow

Greetings! I’d like to write a few words on motivation before I add new pages to this section. I’m sure it is different for everyone, but sooner or later something trips up our regimen.

My Story

Some years ago, for me, it was some family/emotional crisis I went through. I just did not have the motivation to continue regular (oh, let’s be truthful: any) exercise for weeks. When I could make myself care about it I put in an hour or so once a week. I knew for the sake of my health and energy, that this situation couldn’t go on.

As time as gone on, I have found that motivation has been an increasingly important factor.

At one time I joined Curves to provide that extra impetus to remain focused on exercising for health. It was motivating for a time, but I still needed to follow the following steps to “get back on the bandwagon”.

…And here is the method I follow to get back on track.

Keep It Simple

woman walking
Keeping it simple

1 First, dispose of all guilt. It simply is counter-productive and exercise is not one of the ten commandments. Yes, you are healthier and you feel stronger; you get those endomorphins surging, but that is something you do because you want to, and you are not a bad person if you haven’t worked out lately.

2 Next, start back slowly, realizing you won’t be doing as much, at the pace before your layoff. The good news, of course, is that because you were exercising, it will not be as long to regain stamina, strength, and shape, as when you first began.

Still, you shouldn’t go all out and short-circuit your newfound resolve. Achy or injured muscles tend to dampen enthusiasm for most of us. Build up your mind-set with a little positive thinking…

  • “I’m worth it”…
  • “my family will benefit from it…and they are worth it”
  • “I will feel better, if I do this ” …whatever is your form of affirmation.

3 Finally, recognize that the ebb and flow of life means that you may get the flu, or have family matters that require lion shares of time, or any number of things that interfere with scheduled workouts. The resumption of workouts is part of the flow- you just have to decide that good health is non-negotiable and remember all the benefits of exercise.

The number of diseases exercise staves off or ameliorates is amazing. You will look better and function better, all with a few hours week spent in a simple work-out program. Not because I say so, but reams of medical research has come to this conclusion. (1)

When exercise is made a lifestyle habit, it helps such wide ranging problems as heart health to diabetes management to eye health. 

Starting slow or with enthusiasm?

On to the rest of the fitness pages with determination to make your own life better. You will love the person you become if you take time to meditate on good things.

If you schedule time to enjoy yourself and those around you, and if you build strength. In whatever ways and whatever amounts you are able!

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De-stress Yourself

yoga helps reduce stress

Get Rid of Stress

We all need to get rid of excess stress. Few people realize how destructive and debilitating stress really is to their lives. Instead of wishing it different, there are real things we can do to lessen the drain of daily accumulations of stress.

We can’t, and wouldn’t want, to have all stress removed. It has its usefulness to help us handle urgent situations, but modern day life and mentalities give us more than we were ever meant to handle. So, when you’ve received advice to get rid of your stress, or have those physical symptoms of “too much overwhelm”, why not try some of the relaxation suggestions here?

I also have a mood helium section, from the old “House of Happiness” blog, filled with all the things that help me feel relaxed or happy – or both! If you want further inspiration from poetry, art, suggestions for spa products or ideas on how to enjoy life more, check out “Happy Thoughts” for some mood helium.

Start with some good advice from dogs that someone gave a human voice:

Animal Mammal Cute Terrier Pet White Dog
It’s a dog’s life

Things We Can Learn From A Dog

  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • When it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
  • Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
  • Take naps and stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp and play daily.
  • Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout …run right back and make friends.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Exercise articles

Be sure to keep up your exercise program. Exercise is one way to relieve stress, along with things that you do to relax and renew yourself. So don’t let your exercise program be a source of stress: find things you enjoy, pace yourself, diversify your activities.

One of the reasons exercise is a stress reliever is because it gets your circulation going and causes your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that affect your brain to reduce perception of pain and can trigger positive feelings in the body (if you have experienced “runner’s high” you know what this feels like.

I have put together some helpful relaxation hints

spa time
Serenity in the spa

Relaxation Hints

Helpful Hints and Tips for Getting Rid of Stress

  • Allow yourself some private time each day, as little as half an hour can make a difference.
  • Pray and meditate.
  • Take a long walk. Exercise that relaxes and gives new perspectives is rejuvenating.
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers for yourself. Or pick one from your garden, even roadside Queen Anne’s Lace will do
  • Turn off the phone, and allow your answering machine to pick up your calls. This is a mindsaver.
  • Snuggle up with a good book.
  • Put on your favorite music. You can even turn it up loud, and dance; if you have toddlers they love this, too.
  • Call a friend, and settle in with a hot cup of tea, give yourself time to enjoy the conversation.
  • Run the hot water, pour in bath salts, and luxuriate in your tub for a long, fragrant soak at the end of the day.
  • Indulge in getting (or giving) a massage.
  • Fix a little favorite comfort food.
  • Recall favorite memories, and allow yourself to recreate that feeling with loved ones, or a special moment in your life.
  • Write. In your journal, or a love letter to anyone you love, or a poem to express yourself
  • Treat yourself to a trip to the salon,a manicure and a pedicure, a shampoo and styling, nothing too different, maybe, but just for the fun
  • Rent a great video. Or better yet, go to the library, and borrow it with some good books
  • New Books! There are times only a Borders or Barnes and Noble store will do! Spend the afternoon, on your own or with a friend.
  • Start a Blessings journal, and take time for God.
  • Go outside: to the beach, hike in the park, walk in the neighborhood. Bask in the sunshine, examine the trees and the flowers, make up pictures in the clouds, delight in the day.

This article was originally published by Ilona Erwin © Copyright 1999 – 2018

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Pamper Your Hands and Feet With A Home Pedicure

wood floor with pretty feet

Beauty 101: Nail Prep!

Illustrated how-to From directions to remove nail polish to full instructions on how to polish!

You can shell out your hard earned money for a pro manicure or pedicure, or you can get real luxury results at home by learning how, yourself .

Pretty Hands and Pretty Feet for Dancing

Giving yourself a home pedicure or manicure is easy and saves time and money that you might not have to spare at this time of year! This guide was written for those who like to perform belly dancing, but anyone who wants to show off pretty hands and feet are welcome to all the tips here…

Get ready to shine for the holidays.


Most bellydancers use a barefoot look, and all of them use expressive hand movements, so a good grooming regimen with pedicures and manicures are actually part of the costume. You can get it done professionally or save money by doing your own manicures and pedicures at home.

Why not try to care for as much of your foot grooming and manicures at home? Follow the links, get some luxurious products and make your graceful hands and feet beautifully cared for.

Nothing softens like a paraffin foot bath

Pretty Feet poster
Pretty Feet

Ancient Romans and later the French and British utilized the benefits of a paraffin for skin.

Gena Ultimate Spa Paraffin Bath With Wax

Gena Ultimate Spa Paraffin Bath With Wax

Paraffin Benefits

Paraffin wax is a common option in heat therapy treatments for people with arthritis- relaxes, relives pain, and moisturizes.

Paraffin increases the permeability of molecules into the skin. It is one way to drive beneficial ingredients into the stratum corneum skin layer.

Benefits of warm paraffin treatments include: an increase in extension of soft tissues; removal of toxins from cells; enhanced blood flow; increased function of tissue cells; relaxation of sore, stiff muscles; and relief of painful arthritic joints.

Gena Tropical Paraffin Wax 1 lb.
Gena Tropical Paraffin Wax 1 lb.

OPI Manicure Pedicure Green Tea Scrub 8.5oz
OPI Manicure Pedicure Green Tea Scrub 8.5oz

How To Give Yourself A Pedicure

Have your polish picked out, and all the supplies on hand. Carve out at least an hour so that you can benefit from a relaxing foot soak, too.

OPI Pedicure - Pedicure by OPI Trial Kit
OPI Pedicure – Pedicure by OPI Trial Kit

Ooooh, how fun to get a kit with so many fabulous products. Opi fine quality. Half the fun is a long lasting polish in a fun fashion color. This brand is one of my favorites, and I usually pick it from the selection at the salons, too.

These two videos make it easy to assemble your supplies and follow along in the steps needed to pamper your own feet. While we all love a trip to the salon, it isn’t always possible time wise or within the budget.

Finishing Touch

Opi Axxium Gel System- Intro Kit

Opi is the premiere name in nail care- they have such high quality products! They give your nails a professional look, and in fact I have had pro nail services that use Opi products and polishes. Love them.

Source: refinery29.com via Kiki on Pinterest

A Dancer’s Feet

Few things are more important to a dancer than the condition of their feet- something that we can all take notes from. Our feet are often neglected and even abused by our modern lives. We stuff them into shoes that squeeze them and leave them hurting. We forget them until they give us a problem- but taking care of our feet can give a sense of well being and will prove surprisingly refreshing.

Take Time For Your Feet!

Dead Sea Spa Products: Nail Kit
Dead Sea Spa Products: Nail Kit
Dead Sea Spa Products: Nail Kit — Buy 1 Get 1 Free

I love the mineral treatments that come from the Dead Sea. I use a nail kit to buff out my nails and make them shine.

photo by beglig
photo by beglig

Give Yourself a Pedicure

Easy when you know how

Remove Old Polish

Cotton balls and mild polish remover are all you need.

Cut & File Nails

Use high quality clippers made for clipping toenails

Soak Your Feet

Add a quarter cup of milk to a warm foot bath with epsom salts

Care for Cuticles

Cuticle remover and an orange stick to push back the nail cutices

Exfoliate with foot scrub

Use a foot file to smooth feet

Moisturize

Cuticle cream and a good foot cream.

Polish Toes

Acetone remover to get rid of excess oil on the nails.

Basics: A good quality polish by a name like OPI, apply 2 coats;and a topcoat.

Dry for at least 40 minutes

Spray with a moisturizing oil

California Mango Mist Moisture Spray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Recommended products:

Footlight Links

 

  • To the Tips of Your Toes: Belly Dance Costuming for Your Feet
    When planning your belly dance costume, don’t forget about your feet! Use this article to help you complete your look. This page appears on The Art Of Middle Eastern Dance by Shira, which offers over 1,000 articles related to belly dancing: historica

Pedicure/Manicure Poll


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Enlightened Gifts for Yoga Lovers

Welcome to the best in Yoga gifts!

One of the best forms of exercise for keeping flexible and known for its gentleness, this has been my favorite workout. It requires few props, but for some, there are accessories that make yoga exercises more comfortable.

As I try new levels, I found a few items that I wouldn’t want to be without- so if you have someone on your gift list who wants to try yoga, or those who have been practitioners for a long time, consider some of these great ideas- or even apparel for those who just love comfort!

Browse through these great gift ideas for a healthier new year.

A Unique Gift for Women -The Yoga Gift Basket
A Unique Gift for Women -The Yoga Gift Basket

Personally, I think a gift basket like this (or one you assemble yourself) is the way to please even the pickiest person on your list. Noting their interests while catering to their desire to relieve stress makes this combination of items one that could please just about anyone.

Spa products, aromatherapy, and a few luxurious taste treats – who can resist loving that?

Gear, Find The Kulae Brand

Kulae tpECOmat Ultra Eco Pilates Mat - Sea/Slate (8mm x 72 x 24-Inch)
Kulae tpECOmat Ultra Eco Pilates Mat – Sea/Slate (8mm x 72 x 24-Inch)

One of the best gifts for a person who practices yoga is a mat. This one is particularly attractive in color and eco-friendly.

What Is “Eco-Friendly”?

Usually made of rubber, sometimes mixed with jute or organic cotton.

These mats will be more expensive in cost.

What To Look For In A Mat

The majority of mats are made of PVC vinyl, but some may be made of jute, rubber, or cotton.

Although a bit sticky, PVC can last a very long time and endure a lot of use. It is also the most “cushion-y”.

There are different textures to choose from, with jute probably being the most rough to the feel.

WHAT THICKNESS?

That depends on you, with varying thicknesses available. I have one of my first mats that is a terry cloth material backed with foam, which is very thin, and a newer PVC which is much thicker. Sometimes I prefer one and sometimes another. Although I always liked the thinner matt for its feeling of stability and connection to the ground.

ALLERGIES TO LATEX

If you have allergy to latex like I do, you will probably need to forego anything made of rubber.

This Exercise is Good for You – Relaxes, Challenges, and Stretches for Strength and Flexibility

Gifts that will be used all year, because these exercise routines can be enjoyed by all in any season of life.
Gifts that will be used all year, because these exercise routines can be enjoyed by all in any season of life.

Who Benefits?

Almost anyone will benefit from the gentle stretches, and the levels of difficulty mean that a practitioner can progress through increasingly challenging workout.

If you are thinking about what to give the person who has already found this workout form, why not pay for classes at their favorite studio? Or if someone wanted to begin, why not give them a beginners kit including pre-paid classes, a workout outfit, and a mat?

Gift Basket Ideas:

  • Candle in soothing scent like ‘Green Tea’, or ‘Beach Walk’
  • Book with illustrated poses
  • DVD
  • Headband
  • Exfoliating glove and stress-relieving shower gel
  • Herbal teas
  • Packed in a yogi tote
  • Good Health recipe book

Find out which is their favorite kind of class and be sure to get the clothing items or accessories that best go with that type of exercise. Check out the types in the table on this page.

Types of Yoga

Type
Pace
Characteristic
Kundalini
deliberate
breathing very important
Viniyoga
individualized
tailored to the indvidual
Bikram/Hot
more vigorous
use of room heat
Iyengar
deliberate
uses props
Vinyasa or flow:
more vigorous
breathing
Hatha:
slow paced
gentle
Ashtanga
fast paced
intense

Yoga has become one of the most popular ways to exercise. The benefits listed on WebMD are improved flexibility, more strength, better concentration, improved posture, better breathing, find out more in their article.

There are classes in just about every city, but with DVD’s and fitness videos that are available those classes can be brought home.

Hint: prepaid classes are a great gift idea

This form of exercise boosts levels of brain chemicals which contribute to relaxation and contentment, and its effect on cortisol levels is considered the reason for yoga’s ability to boost the immune function. It stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, and that aids restoration and healing.

What To Look For In Workout Clothing

Loose fitting is the rule- except that a stretchy closer fitting top might work better than a baggy one. In poses such as downward dog… keep your shirt from falling into your face!

DOING THE “HOT” STYLE?

  • Capri or crop pants prevent sweaty slippery legs while allowing a cooler outfit
  • Fabric that wick sweat away from the body

What Is Hot Yoga?

Hot yoga is the use of raising the temperature of the room to allow muscles to warm and stretch more easily.

Your Own Wish List

Which gift is on your wish list?


Vibram Fivefingers Womens Performa
Vibram Fivefingers Womens Performa

There is nothing that feels better than these five toe shoes- not even barefoot! Pay particular attention to measuring your foot for good fit. The Kangaroo leather is amazingly soft.

Vibram Barefoot Shoes – Perfect for Workouts

Until you wear a pair of these, you will not believe how comfortable they are. A great way to grip the floor when doing exercise, these shoes are mainly for indoor performance. There are other Vibram shoes for outdoor wear, such as running or water sports, but these are best for yoga workouts. I have a purple pair- I love them, and people remark on them. They are a little unusual, although increasingly popular.

Read my personal review of Vibram shoes.

One thing that I stress in my review is the importance of getting the sizing right for this type of shoe. If you don’t have access to that information, this isn’t the ideal gift suggestions. BUT, if you do know the accurate sizing to order, there is nothing that will make your gift more welcome than this super comfortable workout footwear.

Danskin

This brand has made clothes for dancers for years, and their exercise and sports clothes are excellent.

Yoga Pants for Comfort – Lounging, Exercising, Almost Everything Is More Comfortable

Danskin and Green Tea are great brands, and there is nothing more comfortable than these pants. Allows for complete flexibility without binding while doing the stretches and poses. I prefer all cotton, maybe with some Spandex for stretchiness and shape.

I haven’t tried the straight leg type yet, but would love to.

Danskin Women's Yoga Pant,Black,Large
Danskin Women’s Yoga Pant,Black,Large

A Gift They Will Wear and Love

The comfort that these clothes afford make them wonderful for many activities, and for lounging, too.

I wear mine all the time, for workouts at the gym, for doing housework. They are very versatile. The yoga pants and capris are my most used items.

Learn More about Yoga – It may become your health solution

Ball Chair – Improve your posture and your core strength

There are a number of these chairs on the market, and they seem to be an improvement for sitting on just a ball (which I’ve done). An excellent gift idea for someone interested in the health benefits of strengthening their core, who has to do a lot of sitting (like at the computer). It is on my wishlist.

Gaiam Balance Ball Chair (Black)
Gaiam Balance Ball Chair (Black)

This is great for people who must work on the computer for long hours.

Most of the reviews are very positive- the minus points always are for the ball chairs not being tall enough for many desks. The comfort and improvements, however, never are an issue.

Men do it, too – Athletic workout

Athletes benefit from alternative exercise programs, and many need the flexibility that yoga provides. so what would a man wear?

My son loves his hot yoga class, and wear shorts and a t-shirt. So anything that is loose, comfortable, and allows for the full range of movement necessary for the stretches is all that is needed.

Yoga Bag Carryall – Compact ways to carry your gear anywhere

Simply Jute Yoga Bag - Water
Simply Jute Yoga Bag – Water

Other Possible Accessories For The Yogi On Your List

  • Blocks
  • Exercise straps
  • Soft headband
  • A special tote
  • favorite essential oils

Are You Just Getting Started?

You Will Need:

  • Loose fitting clothes
  • A floor mat

You can use DVD’s, but you might feel more confident in a class with an instructor.

If you want a good DVD to begin with, try Smart Start Yoga to begin with.

You want contact with the floor or mat, so barefoot or barefoot shoes work best.

Relaxation is an important part of yoga practice: forget the phone and take full advantage of the rest at the end of the routine.

What Are The Senior Benefits?

It can…

  • help you stay agile
  • build strength
  • help you remain flexible
  • gain balance

Yoga might help…

  • reduce heart rate
  • improve blood pressure
  • ease back pain
  • alleviate depression and anxiety

Are there drawbacks?

Yes, care should be taken with poses, and sometimes existing problems complicate the ability to do the poses safely. The answer is to use modifications to ease into the exercise. Also to not rush the progress, taking time to accomplish the level safely.

Mind Bending

The New Yoga for People Over 50: A Comprehensive Guide for Midlife & Older Beginners
The New Yoga for People Over 50: A Comprehensive Guide for Midlife & Older Beginners

Spice Up Your Life: The Benefits Of Turmeric And More

Why I Added Turmeric To My Diet

The news for me is eating more spices for the health benefits.

I Started Taking “Spice Pills”

I haven’t been aging as well as I’d hoped.

High blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, and eye problems have been plaguing me for the last decade. The medications I must take have had side effects. As a result, I have been trying to find the alternative solutions for these problems.

After seeing a late night episode of Dr. Oz with guest Dr. Weil, I was convinced that I should add turmeric to my diet, not just in the curries I already enjoy, but in supplement form.

World Flavors for Health

From the spice market
From the spice market

Turmeric …And?

Turmeric is best absorbed along with black pepper, and barberry is also helpful. A pill that combines them is convenient. I decided to add this to the vitamins and fish oil capsules I’m already taking.

More Spice For More Life

But diet is much more than pills, and I wanted a “whole life” regimen that would hold the line against the ravages of aging.

I found that Italian spices are especially helpful, too. Oregano, thyme, garlic, marjoram and others. It doesn’t seem so hard to improve health and nutrition when you just need to make your foods more flavorful. This is in addition to the extra amounts I am adding through the standardized supplements I am now taking.

It makes sense to explore Indian, Mediterranean, and similar cuisines that incorporate healthful herbs and spices. Now that researchers have found to them to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, you will want recipes that bring them to your table.

The more research is coming out which touts the benefits of spice for health, the more I am convinced that nutrition is an important building block to better aging. Of course that is along with exercise, and a creative, social lifestyle. Don’t forget adding a good nights sleep to the list!

Turmeric Comes From A Plant Rhizome

 Licensed under Creative Commons
Licensed under Creative Commons

What Supplements For What Health Benefit?

Blood Pressure

  • Turmeric
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Barberry

Anti-Aging

  • Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Ginger
  • Jamaican Allspice
  • Rosemary

Arthritis

  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Tumeric
  • Cayenne
  • Black Pepper
  • Ginger

Brain Health

  • Turmeric
  • Holy Basil
  • Cloves
  • Rosemary

Spice Up Your Brain

What Helps Your Brain Health?

Everyone wants better brain health, but most of us don’t bother to change our eating habits to improve. It sometimes takes the toll of age and health problems to finally jumpstart our motivation. That isn’t necessary.

Many of the dietary changes we make can increase our energy and help us function better, plus they can make food taste better. That is the beautiful thing about using these flavorings to aid our wellbeing. Our taste buds are happier!

Which spices are good for the brain and why?

TURMERIC

This has curcumin which will improve memory and reduce plaques in the brain.

THYME

Its volatile oils increase the levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which protects against dementia.

ROSEMARY

This will help against free-radical damage in the brain, it increases circulation in the brain. “Rosemary for remembrance” takes on new meaning.

SAGE

Cumin and sage have dementia-fighting power. It boosts brain performance, is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant.

Reduce Inflammation

New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body, with Turmeric and Ginger - 120 ct
New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body, with Turmeric and Ginger – 120 ct

Zyflamend is a product made by the New Chapter company. Many reviewers applaud its effect on their joint pain.

I bought it since it combines numerous helpful herbs and spices into one capsule. According to the information on the box it contains:

  • Rosemary
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Holy Basil
  • Organic Green Tea
  • Hu Zhang
  • Chinese goldthread
  • Barberry
  • Organic Oregano
  • Chinese Skullcap

After reading the list of which spices and herbs are best for anti-aging and blood pressure regulation you can see why I chose this particular supplement.

What do you think of Jamie Lee Curtis in the Activia commercials?

About Turmeric

Turmeric was used in Ayervedic medicine for centuries to treat infections, wounds, respiratory problems, colds, and liver disease.

It is known as “Indian Saffron” due to its beautiful golden yellow color. Grown from the plant Curcuma longa, which is a member of the Ginger family. The spice is made from the rhizome (underground stem food storage).

The turmeric rhizome is dried and then ground into the yellow powder which is commonly sold in grocery stores.

The taste of this spice is described as a “slightly acrid, yet sweet”, and I would call it a warming, aromatic flavor, with a slightly lingering aftertaste.

Curcumin, the principle constituent of turmeric, reduces the body’s levels of inflammatory enzymes COX-2 and LOX.

  • Studies show curcumin may reduce inflammation in the body. Curcumin is a compound in turmeric.
  • Black pepper has anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Ginger is an inhibitor of COX-2, an enzyme that makes prostaglandins which cause inflammation.
  • Cloves, which Dr. Mercola describes as “cinnamon on steroids” is good for many things including reducing inflammation.
  • Spices are thermogenic, meaning they naturally increase your metabolism.

Inflammation and Why It Harms

Chronic inflammation has been seen to be the root of many of the health problems of heart disease, arthritis, and even some cancers.

Do You Have Chronic Inflammation?

Chronic inflammation speeds aging; it is a factor in Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, but when there is a persistent problem, it becomes chronic. This long lasting immune response can be very damaging to our bodies.

Beneficial Supplements

Blood Pressure
Brain Health
Anti-Aging
Turmeric
Turmeric
Turmeric
Garlic
Thyme
Sage
Cardamom
Rosemary
Ginger
Oregano
Sage
Cloves

Interesting Study On Real Benefits Of Spices

Read More About The Good Effects Of Spices

The Road To Better Health

Since I just started taking Zyflamend I can’t report yet on what it is doing for me. I chose that particular product because it combines several spices together for the health benefits I am looking for, including the fact that black pepper increases the efficacy of Turmeric.

It becomes a good idea to reduce the number of pills when you want to become regular about adding them to your plan for better aging and well being.

The addition of more of these food flavors through new recipes and capsule supplements are just one of the changes I am making to my lifestyle, but one of the simpler ones.

Diet has been my biggest challenge, since up until my late forties I never had to consider it for my health! Spices are hopefully going to help me eat more of what is better for me and cut down on the carbs and sugars that I love.

Turmeric Flower
Turmeric Flower

Purchase Easily Online

Starwest Botanicals Organic Turmeric Root Powder, 1 lb.
New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body, with Turmeric and Ginger – 120 ct

Dr.Oz Weighs In

© 2014 Ilona Erwin