Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

DELICIOUS SKIN, MALICIOUS SUGAR, AND A NUTRITIOUS SHAKE #115 01/18/12  

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10 Great Foods for Your Skin

By Sarah Stevenson

Everyone has heard of the phrase, "You are what you eat." But when talking about skin care, "You reflect what you eat" may be more appropriate. Okay, sure, it's not as catchy, but the simple truth is that when you eat right, your skin will love you—and everyone else, in turn, will love your skin. The food you eat can be a great ally in the fight with age and acne.

Women and Assorted Foods

As Susan C. Taylor, MD, FAAD, and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, said recently to the American Academy of Dermatology, "While there's no mistaking how our diet affects our overall health, we're just beginning to understand how certain foods—or lack thereof—can impact our skin's health." So, before you purchase the $40 pimple eraser and the $100 wrinkle cream, make sure the following items are on your grocery list.

There are several topical creams that can help give you that youthful glow, aid in reducing redness and help remedy deep lines due to sun damage and age. However, most experts say that eating a healthy balanced diet is a sure way to help alleviate skin problems. Here are 10 great foods to help boost your chances at a lovely complexion.

  1. Water. According to the American Skin Association "Water is the most important nutrient we consume. The human body is anywhere from 55 to 75 percent water. Without water, we could not survive. It is recommended that people drink 8 glasses of water a day." Drinking the right amount of water helps you sweat. Sweat helps you detoxify from toxins that the body absorbs through unhealthy eating habits and living in a smoggy world. In turn you clear out the body and keep the internal and external body nice and clean. Clean skin = Healthy skin.
  2. Whole grains. Whole grains will up your intake of fiber. Fiber is just what you need to clear your body of waste and toxins. When we retain toxins from the food we eat and our physical environment it starts to show on our face. Whole grains such as whole-meal pasta, whole wheat breads, and rice also contain vitamin B which is an ingredient you will find in anti-aging creams.
  3. VegetablesVeggies. Foods high in vitamin A help to repair your skin. When one is low in this vitamin, skin can become dry and flakey, and take much more time to heal. Many topical creams contain vitamin A in them and are said to help with acne and reduce lines and wrinkles. You can find vitamin A in most fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, tomato juice, broccoli, and kale.
  4. Vitamin B foods. There are many forms of vitamin B. The one most important to skin is Biotin. This nutrient helps form a basis for the skin, hair, and nails. Those who show a deficiency in Biotin will have problems with itchy skin and possible hair loss. Most adults require about 30 micrograms of Biotin a day. Almonds and peanuts are high in this nutrient, in fact peanut butter contains the full 30 micrograms per serving. Other foods high in Biotin are milk, eggs, yogurt, and cheese. You can absorb vitamin B when eating chicken, turkey, and beef; leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and cabbage; fruits such as raspberries, avocado, and bananas.
  5. SalmonSalmon. Sea creatures such as salmon and oysters happen to contain Zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc helps shed old skin and promotes new-cell growth. Which gives you that youthful luminescence. Damage to your skin creates inflammation, which in turn causes your skin to age at a faster rate. Omega-3 fatty acids are responsible for reducing inflammation associated with redness. The fatty acids also promote healthy circulation. Healthy circulation is crucial to healthy skin. Anti-aging expert Nicholas Perricone, MD, author of The Wrinkle Cure, has advocated a diet rich in antioxidants and Omega-3s for better skin.
  6. Citrus and other vitamin C-rich fruit. You can absorb vitamin C from oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, and Acerola cherries (One Acerola cherry feeds 100 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement). Vitamin C is in many of your over-the-counter skin care products because it aids in the production of collagen. Collagen is that priceless protein that holds your skin in place. As one gets older (usually around 35 years and on) the skin starts the "sagging" process due to the breakdown of collagen.
  7. Raw or Sprouted Seeds and Nuts. Foods high in vitamin E offer the benefit of antioxidants. They protect your complexion from skin-aging free radicals and sun damage. Vitamin E also helps lock in moisture to protect your skin from looking dry and aged. Seeds and nuts are very high in vitamin E, specifically sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, and dry roasted peanuts.
  8. Cottage cheese. You have heard that dairy is beneficial to your bones but did you know that this dairy product is actually good for your skin? Cottage cheese contains high levels of selenium—an essential mineral that works like vitamin E as an antioxidant. It also protects against skin cancer.
  9. Dark Chocolate. This yummy treat contains high counts of antioxidants. It can help increase blood flow to your skin and helps reduce the roughness of skin, while keeping you safe from sun damage. You don't have to feel guilty when you run to the candy isle to grab a bar of dark chocolate. When eaten in moderation, this is a "guilty pleasure" that actually is good for you, when eaten in moderation of course. So break off a couple squares every once in a while for a healthy glow and soft skin.
  10. Avocado and NutsAvocado. This green, smooth, and creamy fruit contains B-complex vitamins and B3 vitamins (Niacin). These vitamins have anti-inflammatory qualities and help relieve irritated, red blotchy skin. Avocados are also a great source of vitamin E.

These foods don't only need to be ingested to help create healthy skin. You can also apply many of them to the face by making some fun homemade food facial mask. Face masks are a great way to pamper yourself while cleaning your pores and soothing dry irritated skin. Get in the kitchen, whip up a facial concoction, dim the lights, and you have yourself an at-home spa treatment for a fraction of the cost. Here are a few simple facial masks for you to try out.

Avocado MaskAvocado Mask:

  • Mash one whole avocado
  • Add 1 tspn flaxseed oil and 1 tspn honey
  • Mix together until smooth and creamy
  • Apply to face and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes
  • Rinse clean with warm water

This helps to sooth and heal irritated skin due to sun exposure.

Oatmeal/Egg White Mask:

  • You'll need: 3 – 4 egg whites and 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • Mix ingredients together
  • Apply and rub mixture onto skin (oatmeal with exfoliate the skin). Allow for mixture to sit for 5 minutes and let egg whites dry.
  • Rinse clean with warm water

This exfoliates and removes dead skin and blemishes leaving skin feeling soft and smooth.

A Woman Wearing a Cucumber MaskCucumber Mask:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • Cut a cucumber into thick slices and place in a blender. Set aside 2 thin slices of cucumber for the eyes.
  • Throw 3 mint or parsley leaves into the blender. Puree to a paste.
  • Mix the cucumber puree with the yogurt in the bowl.
  • Cover your face with the cucumber mask. Place thin slices of cucumber on the eyes and let sit on the skin for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse clean with warm water.

This purifies and cleanses the skin leaving the face feeling cool and smooth.

So hop in the car and head to the grocery store. Nourish yourself inside and out. Next time you hear "WOW . . . you haven't changed a bit since high school," you know they are talking about your beautiful, youthful glow and not a face stained with break outs.

References

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Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in The Beachbody Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive The Beachbody Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe.

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

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Sugar Addiction Detox 101

By Debra Pivko

Sugar, sweet sugar—a delightful minute on the tongue in exchange for what feels like a lifetime on the hips. But weight gain isn't the only consequence of eating too much sugar. Ready for the not-so-sweet truth?

Strawberries Covered in Sugar

Overconsumption of processed sugar can contribute to a number of conditions, including tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, hormonal imbalances, overgrowth of candida yeast, chronic fatigue, more severe PMS symptoms, anxiety—and yep, even wrinkles. On the other hand, if you start to cut sugar out of your diet, you can shed excess weight, increase your energy, improve your concentration, improve your moods, and possibly steer clear of diabetes. Ready to kick-start your sugar detox? To help you out, I'll let you in on some reasons why we get addicted and how to read food labels for hidden sugars. I'll also give you some tips on how to start your sugar detox so you'll have a much better chance at living a long, vibrant, and disease-free life.

ChocolatesWhy we crave sugar. According to AskDrSears.com, "Sweets trigger an increase in the hormone serotonin—a mood-elevating hormone. The body and brain get used to this higher level of serotonin and even depend on it for a sense of well-being. So when our serotonin level dips, (we dip) into the (sweets) to 'correct' the situation." According to the Web site, sweets also "trigger the release of endorphins . . . the brain's natural narcotics, helping you to relax when stressed."

You've probably noticed that although sugar gives you an initial high (a rapid spike in your blood sugar), you crash several hours later, leaving you wanting more. It's because sugar takes away more energy than it gives. Eventually, you find yourself exhausted, anxious, and moody. I know I've definitely experienced this crash too many times.

Is the sweet taste worth the unpleasant effects? Think gaining weight is the only negative effect of consuming too much sugar? Nancy Appleton, PhD, author of Lick the Sugar Habit, describes some surprising ways sugar intake can negatively affect your health:

  • Suppresses the immune system's defenses against bacterial infections
  • Increases the risk of blood clots and strokes
  • Contributes to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, and difficulty concentrating
  • Can lead to hypoglycemia, kidney damage, an elevation in harmful cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay
  • Helps speed the aging process, including wrinkles and gray hair

The list goes on . . .

Sugar PyramidMake the decision to detox from sugar. The first step in breaking a sugar addiction is making the decision to stop eating it completely for at least a few days to start to get it out of your system. While it's usually best to make dietary changes gradually, sugar has the unique ability to inspire cravings that are refueled every time you give in to them. The only way to break the cycle is to stop feeding the fire. Then your cravings should subside substantially. Continue to resist large amounts of sugar and actively avoid situations that cue you to eat sweets. And whether you're at work, at home, or at a party, just because a cookie is sitting out on a table in plain sight, that doesn't mean you have to eat it.

Ask yourself why you're eating sugar before you put it in your mouth. Are you eating out of habit? Because of circumstance? For a special occasion? Because everyone else is? Watch yourself like a lab rat. Begin to face your truth by keeping a food journal. I like to jot down what drives me to eat sugar, when I crave it, where I eat it, why I want it, and how I get it. For example, do you pop up out of your desk chair in search of cupcakes the second you hear people at the office singing "Happy Birthday"? Journaling can be helpful preparation for stomping out your sugar habit by making you aware of why you're eating it.

HoneyBegin to eliminate sugar from your diet. For thousands of years, people ate whatever sugar occurred naturally in their diets, and it didn't seem to be a problem, it was a treat. Registered dietician Becky Hand reports that the typical American now eats the equivalent of about 31 teaspoons (124 grams) of added sugar every day (about 25 percent of the average person's daily caloric intake), and that sugar alone adds up to almost 500 extra calories each day! Our bodies simply weren't designed to handle this massive load. The American Heart Association recommends that added sugar should be limited to no more than 6 to 7 percent of your total calories (not including naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and dairy products.) To put this in perspective, if you eat 1,200 calories a day, you should limit your intake to 21 grams of sugar per day. That's the equivalent of about 6 ounces of low-fat fruit-flavored yogurt or one 8-ounce glass of orange juice.

To begin eliminating sugar from your regular diet, simply cut out foods with sugar, white flour, and high fructose corn syrup—including cakes, cookies, pastries, and most desserts. It's okay to have a dessert or sugary snack on occasion, but make sure it's not your main dish. Although sugar is generally found in desserts, added sugar can also be found in your main and side dishes, and even sauces. Look closely at the labels of processed foods, cereals, and sauces—like ketchup, barbecue sauce, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, and dressings. You can usually find nutritious alternatives with less sugar that taste just as good.

If you're a Team Beachbody® Club member, you can get a personalized, balanced online meal plan to ensure that you're getting the proper nutrition you need to meet your health goals. You can even use the food analyzer to search for the nutritional makeup of various foods, so you'll know which ones are high in sugar and should be avoided.

Eliminate hidden sugar. As you begin to decode ingredient labels, it's really important to know all the other words for sugar and sugar alcohols. Here's a hint: Look for words that end in "-ose."

  • Agave nectar/syrup
  • Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Caramel
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn syrup solids
  • Carob syrup
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate (apple, grape, or pear)
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Lactose
  • Maltose
  • Malt syrup
  • Molasses
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucrose

Trick your taste buds. Using spices and herbs can trick your taste buds into thinking you're eating something sinfully sweet. Try adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, or other sugar-free flavors and spices to your coffee, cereals, or other dishes and drinks that could use an extra kick.

Fruit ParfaitEat a healthy breakfast. What you eat for breakfast will actually influence your food choices for the next 12 to 15 hours, and influence your energy levels, moods, and overall sense of well-being. Dr. Joe Klemczewski, PhD, explains that eating a healthy breakfast balanced between lean protein (like egg whites) and slower-digesting complex carbohydrates (like oatmeal) will help you have good energy throughout the day, stabilize your blood sugar, reduce cravings, and make wiser food choices. Typically, your blood sugar is at fasting levels when you wake up in the morning. If you start the day off with a muffin and a latte, you're choosing to ride the roller coaster for the rest of the day. If, on the other hand, you begin your day with a veggie omelet and fruit or some oatmeal, you're opting for a balance of foods that will be absorbed at a slower rate. Then you'll have a steadier flow of blood sugar that's far easier to keep balanced than if it were fueled by a muffin, a bagel, or a cup of coffee dosed with sugar and cream.

Eat throughout the day. The best way to avoid impulse eating when you're overly hungry is to eat several small meals, spaced throughout the day. This will keep your blood sugar more stable than eating the traditional two or three large meals spaced farther apart from one another. Schedule your meals around your body's needs rather than around your to-do list if you can. You'll find it much easier to stop eating once you're full; to make smart food choices from a rational, calm place; and to maintain even moods and energy levels. Eating balanced meals is essential for getting real satisfaction from what you eat and leaving cravings behind. For most people, this means approximately 50 percent of your meal should be vegetables or fruit, and the rest should be split between protein (beans, meat, dairy, etc.), grains, and a bit of oil or other fat. However, everyone's a little different, and you should experiment to find what works best for you.

High-fiber foods fill you up—yet they bring less fat to the table, says Barbara J. Rolls, PhD, the Guthrie Chair in Nutrition at Pennsylvania State and author of The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan. Plus eating high-fiber foods allows you to eat a higher volume of food while ingesting fewer calories. It's a concept called "energy density"—the number of calories in a specified amount of food, Rolls explains. Some examples of energy-dense foods are: apples (skin on) and bananas, avocados, flax meal, and kidney beans.

CookiesFind alternatives for when you have a craving. Make sure you find alternative foods and activities that you actually enjoy. If they aren't satisfying, you'll eventually abandon them for your old habits. When I'm craving something sweet yet healthy, I usually go for either low-fat Chocolatey Cats Cookies (for People) from Trader Joe's® (only 9.9 grams of sugar per serving) or chocolate Shakeology® (only 9 grams of sugar)—that's not bad for a sweet treat. Yep, I'm a sucker for chocolate, but I can still enjoy the taste without overdosing on sugar!

Related Articles
"Eat More. Lose Weight. No Kidding."
"10 Tips for Craving Your Inner Cookie Monster®"
"10 Ways to Ward off Excess Holiday Pounds"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Check the Team Beachbody Chat Room for the next impromptu video chat.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in The Beachbody Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive The Beachbody Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe.

And if you'd like to know more about Beachbody Director of Results Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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Recipe: Heart-Healthy Blueberry Smoothie

Heart-Healthy Blueberry SmoothieContrary to what the fancy pants recipe books will tell you, indulgent desserts don't always require hours in the kitchen to make or inches on the waistline to eat. Here's a quick, simple way to pile on the antioxidants and satiate that sweet tooth.

  • 1 scoop Beachbody's Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 fresh or frozen blueberries (unsweetened)
  • Ice

Add ice and blend. Who knew such fruity deliciousness would be so easy?

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
230 20 g 4.5 g 38 g 2 g < 1 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.


P90X® and P90X2® Portion Information

Nutritional Information: (per serving)

Protein Fruit
1 1 1/2


If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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