Friday, April 30, 2010

Lose Weight by Sleeping Like a Baby and Relaxing Like a Queen

You and I know that poor sleep and stress make us gain weight. Then, why are we hitting ourselves with the same hammer again, and again, and again?

Well, let us go through this same exercise one time more, that is a reminder why we need to do it – both sleep and relaxation, – rather than just have a lonely knowledge of it.

Why Poor Sleep Makes You and Me Fat?
Lack of sleep, or poor sleep, is directly linked to an increase of the body’s production of a hunger hormone called Ghrelin. Ghrelin not only makes you overeat, but it also makes you gain weight by lowering the amount of calories you burn. [Don’t worry! This situation is reversible] How?

The only way to reduce Ghrelin is by some sound and deep sleep. Once rested, your appetite will normalize and this will help you stay fit and slim. That is how simple it is.

Stress Contributes to your Cellulite Mass as Well
When you are stressed, you automatically reach out for simple carbs like cookies, and cakes, and candy. Why? To calm your bodily systems down and feel good again. Quickly.

The trick to reversing the weight gain from stress is to relax. Like a Queen. We need to bring down the levels of stress and anxiety, in order to avoid the hormonal weight gain triggers. Once we are relaxed, our bodies can establish a normal hormonal balance and the weight loss will occur.

Relax Like a Queen?
Common, if you can eat like a Queen, you can relax like a Queen. What does it take? During the day, whenever you feel stressed, walk around the block for 10-15 minutes. Or just do 15 sit-ups (Overcome that laziness for the sake of you). Get your blood going. Exercise is a great stress reducer that allows your pheromones to take over and calm all systems down. Do it!

And yes, take this weekend – just a couple of hours – to treat yourself to a walk, gardening, joyful play with kids, conversation over the tea with your friend (Isn’t that a privilege?) May be even a spa!

Then rested and relaxed go to bed a bit earlier (curl up with your favorite book, if you wish). You’ll feel like a Queen just by doing all these small steps for your better health, fresher and younger look, and a more peaceful you inside.

Let’s Celebrate The Woman in You Today!

To Your Health!

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Weight Loss in Spring

Spring is All About New Beginnings and Evaluations
Flowers define Spring. They strike your eyes with vibrant color. They fill the air with fragrances too-long absent.

Flowers defy the pessimism of Winter, break through the dirt and explode into green before their colors shine brightly.

You were this way, once. All-new, all full of promise, all effervescent about life unfolding in front of you.

You found love in the Spring, deepened romance in the Summer, reminisced in the Fall.

But like so many of us, still mostly-young in body and surely of heart, life has worn you down. It is more about tomorrow than the future, more about survival, making it though the week, waiting for our bank account to re-fill with another check deposited.

Life can get that way when financial woes overcome your centerdness, when sickness or hay fever intervenes and slows you down, when your overweight is all too obvious in the mirror and in your forced-choice of ill-fitting warm-weather clothes.

Deep inside your yearning heart the hope of Spring barely lifts your spirits when too much has overwhelmed, and too little has delighted these last months.

Weight Loss Postponed...
Weight loss in Spring is half-hearted, unlike the boisterous explosion of perennials in a well-planted garden. Hope for a better, slimmed-down body is a low emotional priority, given the reluctant way your excess pounds hang around, despite your repeated efforts to say good-bye.

Then there are those shorts. At some point along the steady progression to warmer days, you know you will be forced to get out the shorts – the dreaded shorts. You love shorts, of course – we all do. But the white chicken legs of winter join your turkey thighs that seem plumper than last springtime. And so you delay putting on shorts until you are forced to by sweltering heat.

No, being overweight is especially cruel in Spring, when you are reminded of too-much-body in all the wrong places.

At least it's nice to feel the warm sun on your face again, and smell the fragrant optimism of Spring's flowers.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Are We Feeding Our Kids?

Deep in the heart of every mother is a fear that something may go wrong with the health of their child, and threaten their life.

It is a gut fear, held deeply, hidden mostly, until some little health problem happens to your child, fear pops to the surface, and suddenly the gut wrenching comes over you.

You contain it, of course. Mothers do that – they hide from themselves and others the fear for their child that comes out of nowhere. There are moments when a health or hurt crisis unfolds, when you remain calm, and clear, and do the very best that anyone can do.

Yet, in the quiet moments, when reflection is finally allowed, you know it could have been far worse – and the fear – the "thank goodness it didn't get worse" floods in, forcing tears out. Thankfulness. Gratitude.

The deep connection a mother has with their child, especially very young ones, when every squeak and squeal has a meaning, is an indelible impression that never leaves you, even in the deepest of sleep.

Food Allergies Are Endemic
For some mothers there are moments when something very small quickly becomes so big – when your child eats something and suddenly there is a life-threatening event unfolding, when every second counts, and every fear must be put aside to make a series of very right decisions to save your child.

Every day this scene unfolds hundreds of times in our country. Food allergies are endemic. Kids are increasingly at risk.

Food allergies are quickly spreading among our young ones, and they are more dramatically life-threatening than a flu epidemic. Something in our food threatens to kill more than 1 in 10 of our kids, and the percent is rising faster than anyone can figure out why.

Nut Allergies Become A Growing Trend
A friend of mine called the other day. She was devastated. Crying uncontrollably, she told how earlier in the day her three-year-old daughter had her friend Caroline over for a fun Saturday lunch. Samantha helped the two little girls make a peanut butter and banana sandwich – her daughter's favorite treat. Within seconds, it seemed, tiny Caroline was on the verge of not breathing. Quick thinking, and a quicker 911 response, saved the struggling girl.

Caroline's mother got there just before the paramedics arrived – she had been out Saturday grocery shopping. She had no idea her daughter was allergic to peanuts -- they never served them in their home. She didn't blame Samantha. But Samantha blamed herself, even though she couldn't figure out what she could have done differently. Caroline's mother was a wreck, barely able to call her husband and have him meet them at the hospital emergency room.

Samantha was sick inside. The episode sunk deeply into her. It hurt. The fear – the "thank goodness it didn't get worse" flooded in, forcing tears out. Then a frantic call to me.

It is one thing to see your child in distress, quite another to see someone else's child, one in your care, almost expire in your clenching arms. The look in little Caroline's fear-filled eyes – eyes that pleaded for help – eyes struggling to understand – eyes desperately searching for her own mother. Those child-eyes would haunt Samantha, she knew it would for the rest of her life. And it made Samantha wonder what sudden life-threatening crisis could await her own child... and where she might be when it might happen, and who..., and....

After we talked, and she had hung up, I wondered... what are we feeding our kids that makes more and more of their little bodies react so violently – strangling them at the smallest taste of an everyday food?

And if certain foods do that to some children, could it also be doing something bad, but not as quickly dramatic, to other kids but we just don't see it yet?

What are we feeding our kids?

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Friday, April 9, 2010

Poisonous Ingredients Used in Your Skin Cosmetics

The feedback from the last newsletter about the importance of “clean” cosmetics for yourself and your family has been enormous. Many of you asked to give a list of all poisonous ingredients used in cosmetics and home detergents. Here are some – not All – most frequently used poisons used as ingredients in lotions, gels, creams, shampoos, tooth pastes, detergents.

Check your cosmetic collection, detergents, tooth pastes, yummy-smelling bubble baths and deodorants for any of these poisons:

Acrylamide
Common Use: sewage and waste treatment, ore processing, permanent-press fabrics, synthesis of dyes, enhanced oil recovery, – to name a few.
Found in many hand and face creams. Linked to mammary tumors in lab research.
Acrylamide can be absorbed through unbroken skin, mucous membranes and lungs, and the gastrointestinal tract (Klaassen et al. 1986, Merck 1989).

Mineral Oil, Paraffin & Petrolatum
Common Use: protecting alkali metals, metal tools, weapons from oxidation (mineral oil does not absorb atmospheric moisture); preserving wood and conditioning leather products, ointments, baby lotions, cold creams, cosmetics,  – to name a few.
These products coat the skin like plastic, clog pores, create a build-up of toxins, lead to dermatological diseases. Cells cannot function healthily with constant lack of nutrition which leads to earlier aging of your skin.

Parabens
Common Use: as preservatives in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food.
Parabens mimic estrogen, bind to the cellular estrogen receptor preventing real hormone to take its place. Parabens were proved to cause breast tumor cells (MCF-7 cells) to grow and thrive in vitro.

Phenol carbolic acid
Common Use: cosmetics, perfumes, adhesive dyes, lubricating oils, disinfectants, – to name a few.
Carbolic Acid can cause circulatory collapse, paralysis, convulsions, coma and even death from respiratory failure.

Propylene glycol
Common Use: automotive antifreezes, as preservative in foods (fat-free ice-cream, sour cream!), cosmetics and toiletries, some baby wipes (!), shampoos, lipsticks, cleaners, santitizers, – to name a few.
Shown to cause dermatitis, inhibit skin cell growth, act as skin irritant and sensitizer.

Sodium Laurel or Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Common Use: garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers, detergents, cosmetic cleansers, hair shampoos, bath and shower gels, tooth pastes, – to name a few.
May cause hair loss by attacking the follicle. Dries skin by stripping away the protective lipids fromt he surface. SLS reacts with many types of ingredients used in skin produtcs adn forms Nitrosomines (nitrates) that are potential cancer-causing carcinogenics.
SLES is sometimes disguised with "comes from coconut" or "coconut-derived" labels.

Toluene
Common Use: as octane booster in gasoline fuels, in most synthetic fragrances, varnish, nail polish.
Causes eye irritation, nausea, dizziness, headaches.
Chronic exposure or high amounts can lead to anemia, birth defects, liver and kidney damage,developmental abnormalities.
Toluene may appear on ingredients labels as Phenylmethane, methylbenzene, or Toluol.
Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) contains toluene. Other names may include Benzoic and Benzyl. Harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Thursday, April 8, 2010

This Dough is The Way to Go!

My two-year-old is growing by leaps-and-bounds. Every day, he’s ready to shower us with his new words, expressions, ways of doing things. And yes, he is into PlayDoh-type of sculpting. A LOT! Clementine Art modeling dough is one of his favorite past times.

For the past two months, he’s been sculpting nothing, but balls. Small balls, big balls, green balls, and of course Blue balls (as Blue is his favorite color.) His little fingers roll those balls carefully and meticulously, adjusting the size, the corners, mixing colors.

I do the best to buy chemical free, non-toxic art supplies for my child. This year, we discovered Clementine Art. For several months, my baby has been using and re-using Modeling Dough by Clementine Art. No crumbling of this crafting material so far. Actually, they guarantee the quality of modeling dough for 12 months if stored in their containers. Good news: It’ll be for a while until our modeling dough expires!
Oh, the natural scent extracts of lime, lemon, strawberry add more interest and curiosity to any child’s play.

After sculpting done, my boy usually lets newly created balls dry out in the open. When the play dough balls become hard and bouncy, he lines up a colony of Tonka trucks that tow all big balls, small balls, blue balls, All the balls into the storage area, consisting of empty plastic jars. That’s where all the balls are stored.

It is fun and funny what my child comes up with. His new creations bring an amazement within my soul. Grow up, Little One, expressing yourself! And yes, Clementine Art Modeling Dough is an excellent addition to any little sculptor’s art supplies collection.

Disclosure: If and when my references fall onto mentioning any Product and/or Brand in this blog entry, they come from my personal recommendation and experience. I did not receive any products and/or compensation from any mentioned companies and/or brands for promotion, review and/or giveaway.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Vegetarian Vegan Snack For Your Indulgence

Do you ever snack?

What are your favorites that actually do contribute to your healthy weight and “no-guilt” conscience? What are your daily goodies that are nutritious? And delicious?

One snack that made its entry into my pantry is Primal Strips Vegetarian jerky.
Once I tried it, I loved it! This vegetarian/vegan snack has a moist, flavorful taste. My favorite flavor is Mesquite Lime. In addition to it, you could indulge into five more flavors: Hickory Smoked, Texas BBQ, Hot & Spicy, Teriyaki, and Thai Peanut. Enjoy them all or to each her own!

The positive of this snack is that it is delicious and healthy. Check this out:
  • No preservatives
  • Non GMO
  • No artificial colors
  • No cholesterol
  • Up to 10 grams of protein per strip
Those who are allergic to wheat, please be aware that Primal Strips use different sources of Protein. They are seitan (which is Wheat Protein), Soy, and Shiitake mushrooms. Each flavored strip is based on certain protein source.

Look into the back panel with Ingredients List to determine which Primal Strip snack is compatible with your nutrition needs.

For those vegetarians, and not so, who don’t mind soy and wheat proteins, Primal Strips may become part of your snacking experiences. Celebrate New Tastes in your daily lives!

And snacks ARE part of our daily lives.

Disclosure: If and when my references fall onto mentioning any Product and/or Brand in this blog entry, they come from my personal recommendation and experience. I do not receive any products and/or compensation from any mentioned companies and/or brands for promotion, review and/or giveaway.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tea Ceremony Time

Today is a Wednesday. This is when Annie, my best friend, comes to visit me. And have some tea. It has become a tradition in my house and home to talk, discuss, brain storm, focus, and relax... with a cup of herbal tea.

Tea drinking is a social experience. It is when you and I allow all concerns and worries drift away. It is the time in the moment when a flavorful herbal aroma strips you and me off any guessing and mind “wondering-around.” It is when the focus is on your breathing. This is a true relaxation.

Annie absolutely cracks down when I open up my wooden tea box with multitudes of teas and herbal flavors. She never fails to comment how crazy I am to stock up on a “zillion-million” (her words) different teas. She is right. I Am Passionate about my teas that I allow into my special tea box.

Wanna know my recent herbal tea additions?
Pukka Teas
These teas are so soft and yummy to the palette. Pukka teas boast of different ensembles of flavors. These are just a few of them:
  • Three Mint
  • Jasmine with Cardamom and Green tea
  • Cinnamon and roasted Chicory




The herbs used in them have been long-time proved to have a wide therapeutic effect on the body.Take peppermint, for example. Its menthol scent is used in common colds, easing digestive qualms, headaches, and sore muscles. Peppermint is also known as a “wake up” herb. Its invigorating scent “awakes” your energies and lets you continue with your daily work.

Annie reached out for her choice of Tea du Jour. It happened to be organic Pure Heart tea bag by Guayaki, with yerba mate, raspberry and hawthorne berry. She’s not afraid to try my selections. And what truly makes My heart happy is that Annie trusts me with my precious tea box (and whatever it holds inside.)




Disclosure: If and when my references fall onto mentioning any Product and/or Brand in this blog entry, they come from my personal recommendation and experience. I do not receive any products and/or compensation from any mentioned companies and/or brands for promotion, review and/or giveaway.

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Friday, April 2, 2010

Prevent Animal Cruelty – Go Orange in April 2010

Please support ASPCA efforts by Celebrating the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. This April, Go Orange for Animals!


This campaign started four years ago and has enjoyed a tremendous success among the animal lovers. With our joined efforts, we can make the lives of animals in every town, village, city of this country better, safer, and happier.

Here are the specific steps you could make this April to show your support to the Animal World. And make a difference.

Snap a Photo – and Win a Prize
Send your photos of yourself and your pets wearing orange to ASPCA. The best 10 favorites will be awarded unique prizes and featured on the ASPCA website.

Throw a Party!
Become an ASPCA Ambassador and create your grassroots event in your community.

Show Your Virtual Support
Post information about the Go Orange Campaign on the pages of your Blog, Facebook, Website. Twit about it. Talk about it anywhere online!

Show Your Support to Local Animal Shelter

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sophisticated Pallets Be Aware ... Butter Buds Are Coming...

... in sprinkles.
Dinner at our home is a social event.

It is one of the evenings when the dinner needs to be served, kids crave for attention and fun games, hubby would love fresh veggies and herbs salad, and I... I have to do it all and more. Figure that. And be happy.

For several months, my visiting mom has been exercising her talents in cooking the traditional Russian dishes. This time, she produced neatly arranged vegetable dumplings from the refrigerator’s storage unit. Uhmmm... They need to be boiled and sauced, and only then served to satisfy my family’s unique pallets.

It takes a few minutes for the boiling pot to be ready to accept the majority of this dumpling population into its obese of bubbling water. Meanwhile.... everybody’s looking  up to you with a question mark in their faces, “We are hungry. Feed us now!”

OK. What else can I do, produce, create Quickly in the interim? Something healthy and nutritious, please. Frozen peas! This luscious snack sounds good. Usually, I make some sauces or low calorie vinaigrettes to go with salads and veggie snacks.

This time, I opted for ButterBuds sprinkles. It was the first time I ever tried them in my kitchen. Fat free. Cholesterol Free. Gluten Free. Real butter flavor. Low calorie. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? I had to try it to believe it is true. I picked up a jar of this product at the show because I liked the Nutrition Facts profile on it.

Sprinkling the granules over warm peas, my two-year-old was mesmerized how they were melting on round green surfaces of peas in the bowl. Just like real fatty butter. Melting that is. I carefully scooped the buttered peas with a spoon. In a few seconds, I was totally amazed with a yummy flavorful green peas with Butter Buds sauce all over them.

This simple snack inspired “Umms” and “Yumms” from my whole crew gathered at the kitchen’s center table and scooping up peas from the bowl with a speed of a greased lightening.

Butter Buds, You did it right! Thank you for your thoughtful process of making our lives in the kitchens easier.

And yes, the Russian vegetable dumplings followed the yummy Butter Buds snack. And my life was easier that evening – Butter Buds were served on top of the main dish. I did not have to make any sauce to go with it. (Hooray! Hush me.)

VP Programs Development, ScaleDown for Life
VP Education, GoZonkers Inc.
Founder, CelebrateLifeNutrition.com
Curb Your Appetite – Stop Your Cravings

©2010 Laura Gontchar. All Rights Reserved.


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