Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter. Show all posts

Monday, February 24, 2014

Dry Skin S.O.S.

We’re in the endless winter doldrums – the holidays have passed, cold weather has settled in, and winter coats are our daily fashion statement. Not to mention, our skin is dry and itchy. How do we combat it in this dry season?

Common skin lotions and salves often contain strong perfumes and odors, not to mention a list of ingredients that can only be found in a laboratory. So what do you do when your skin is dry and flaky, but you don’t want to use chemical-laden solutions?

First, take a look at your food. Your diet can greatly affect the health of your skin! As the body’s largest organ, it’s a gauge of our internal health. Not sure what to munch? Eat foods that are high in silica content, like celery and cucumber. Drink plenty of water. And enjoy healthy fats, like fatty fish (salmon or sardines), walnuts, and flax seed. The more nutrients you give your body, the healthier and more moisturized your skin will be, so aim for getting at least 3 or more colors of fruits and vegetable per day.

Second, travel no further than your kitchen! You’ll be surprised how many of the top natural dry skin remedies are hanging out in your cupboards. Kitchen finds like buttermilk, olive oil, and guacamole are easy, gentle moisturizers and skin soothers, and you don’t need to add anything to them for effectiveness. Simply lay them on the skin and let their anti-inflammatory properties and moisturizing oils sink in.

If you have a little more time, you might want to whip up a few easy recipes for any dry skin ailments. From under-eye dry patches to rosacea, you’ll find plenty of ways you can keep your skin treatment both cheap and easy, while avoiding chemicals and perfumes. Be prepared for a different texture than what you are used to: making skin lotions and treatments at home means you don’t add the extraneous ingredients for smoothness or color. But with a little practice, you will be surprised how simple and quick these effective remedies can be.

Last, if making your own solutions doesn’t appeal to you, take heart! There are many organic options with few ingredients, lots of nutrients, and moisture and healing for your dry skin. Not sure where to find them? Your local health food store will offer plenty of choices! If you don’t have one close to you, do a search online for organic lotions and dry skin remedies. You will find plenty to choose from. Be sure to check out the ingredient list, as natural products are trending right now, and the term “natural” can be used for any product, as there are no federal guidelines for its use. You may search for terms like “organic,” or “100% pure.” But still review the ingredient list to be sure you are satisfied with what you are putting on your skin as it absorbs everything we put on it.

Your skin might suffer during the cold months, but you can combat the drying effects of winter with some great alternatives! What natural remedies work best for your skin? Do you have a recipe for a natural solution that you would recommend?

Contributing Writer

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boost Your Health With Fruits in Season

Whenever possible, choose the freshest fruit you can get. Studies suggest that, for many kinds of fruits and vegetables, the more time passes from when they were picked until you eat them, the less nutritional value they retain. While refrigeration will slow the nutrition decay for some fruits and vegetables, it cannot be stopped. One good example is green beans. Studies show that their nutritional value wanes considerably after five days from the vine. And kale’s decay rate is even more startling.  In a 2007 study, The Effect of Cold Storage on Bioactive Compounds in Curly Kale, scientists discovered that the nutritional vitamin C content of refrigerated kale after six weeks was 600 percent less than freshly-picked kale.

fruit recipes
Kumquats are a tasty winter fruit.
Freshness is one of the best reasons for selecting local foods; a locally grown fruit or vegetable is much more likely to have been recently picked. Buying your fruits and vegetables locally increases the likelihood that they have been ripened while still attached to the plant. Such vine-ripened foods are often much higher in nutritional content than foods that were picked earlier, as is often the case when foods are grown far from your market, because ripe fruits and vegetables are too fragile to make the long trip. 
In a perfect world, you would pick the fruit and use it immediately. That’s possible for very few of us, unfortunately, as most Americans no longer grow their own foods and more of us than ever are city dwellers, where even our neighbors may not grow food during warmer seasons.

And then comes winter – is it possible to enjoy vitamin-rich healthy fruits in winter? Fortunately, yes, if you make a few strategic adjustments to your buying habits and fruit selection.

Winter fruits

Many citrus fruits naturally ripen
in winter.
Taking advantage of local resources for fresh fruits and veggies is trickier in winter, but absolutely possible, if you choose wisely. Some foods are known as cold weather crops, – those which naturally ripen in winter. Plus, farmers these days use such things as hoop houses or other ways to extend the natural growing season far beyond what the local weather would allow otherwise. Finally, consider choosing a tried-and-true way of enjoying vegetables beyond the Fall by selecting storage vegetables – those which store well without going bad. This includes root vegetables such as cabbage or potato.
Winter time fruits are available locally, depending on where you live. Here are some that may be available to you locally:
  • CLEMENTINES – a small, sweet orange available fresh in many areas of the U.S. from December until Spring.
  • GRAPEFRUIT – if you live in the state of Texas, California, Florida, or Arizona, it comes into season in the heart of winter.
  • KIWIS – in temperate areas, they can be fresh-harvested winter through Spring.
  • KUMQUATS - often eaten raw and whole, they have a sweet rind and sour center throughout winter.
  • LEMONS – often tastiest when harvested in winter or spring.
  • MANDARINS small citrus fruit also known as the Christmas orange, peak season is December.
  • ORANGES different varieties ripen at different times, but as a winter fruit, you can't go wrong with this vitamin C packed citrus.
  • PEARS different varieties are in season from late summer through early spring.
  • PERSIMMONS – catch ‘em quick – they ripen between Autumn and early winter.
  • TANGERINES in season from October through April.

Where to find in-season fresh fruits

One of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting the freshest of fresh picks is to buy from local sources. And unless you've got a fruit or vegetable farmer living next door, your best resource is your nearest farmers market.
If you’re not sure where your local farmer’s markets are, you’re in luck, thanks to the Internet. Here are two great resources for locating farmers’ markets in your area, or anywhere you may be traveling to in the U.S.


The Local Harvest site focuses on helping you find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainable grown food in your area.  Local harvest provides two ways to search: either by clicking on their interactive map of the U.S. to zoom into your area, or a more traditional search engine. The latter option allows you to zero in on just farmers’ markets and even on a specific fruit or vegetable, using the product search box:
Farmers' market search options available at Local Harvest

The USDA National Farmers Market Directory 

This federal site is designed to provide members of the public with convenient access to information about U.S. farmers markets. Its listing includes locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, their website address, if any, and accepted forms of payment. You can search by zip code.  To hone your search even better, go to the Products Available tab and select Fresh Fruits and Vegetables:
lime fruits
USDA Farmers' Market database, with the option to filter search by fruit

In-season fruit recipes

Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may be able to enjoy one of the following in-season fresh fruit recipes, from Food Fit (From the HealthCentral Network), incorporating fun options, such as tangelo, blood orange, pomelo, and lime fruits:

For a full list of fruits by season, see the seasonal fruits charts at Fruits InfoFood Fit  provides a detailed list of winter fruits and vegetables. And remember: fresher is better!

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Warm Up Winter With Wardrobe Savings

With the cold weather just around the corner we need to make sure our kids have what they need to make it through the winter months. Since my family lives in Northern California we aren't hit with the big snow storms like many states, but we still need to make sure we have warm clothes for those 20 degree days and the slight chance of snow once or twice a year.

Winter clothing is always the most expensive, mainly because there is more to them and they are usually made of a high quality material to keep you warm. Layering is always a popular trend with younger kids so the more garments you have on the more money you will end up spending. Living in California definitely has its perks on the weather conditions and we usually don't have really cold weather until January. This helps out a lot on saving money because we are able to buy winter clothing for Christmas presents. So we are killing two birds with one stone. Getting our kids what they need plus using it as a present that they already want.  We have girls so they love clothing, boots, and scarves. Ed Abbott, the Website Repair Guy lists twelve helpful tips for choosing winter clothing that will keep you warm and not break your budget.  Here are a few tips that I've found to hopefully help you save money for the upcoming winter months.

Save Money & Shop Smart
saving money
Winter clothing can keep you in style

and help you save money
  • See if any of last year's clothes still fit and are in good shape. Then make a shopping list of only what you need.
  • Ask friends that have older kids if they have out grown any winter clothes. I am always giving away my girls' jackets and sweaters to help another family save money.
  • Keep an eye out for sales at the shopping mall.
  • At the end of the winter season shop for next winter. You will find huge savings on jackets and boots at this time. I usually buy a few sizes up for my kids knowing they will grow quite a bit over a year. This is also a good time to shop for snow gear in the all sports stores.
  • Go shopping but be patient. If you see something you really like wait for it to go on sale. You can usually find some good deals over the winter holidays. All the department stores will be having huge sales from now until Christmas.
  • Find coupons online. Almost every online store has coupons. I always check out Retailmenot to see what kind of discount I can get before I buy anything online.
  • Buy jackets, boots, and scarves that will stay in style. Stay with neutral colors that can be used for a few years rather than just one. Remember when shopping, if it's not in style, kids will not wear it. It's not saving money if it's just hanging in the closet.
  • Buy new scarves to change the look of an outfit. Buy a few over the year of various patterns and colors and by the time winter comes they will have quite a few and then they can make an old outfit look new plus stay warm.
If you have a child that loves expensive trends give them an allowance when it comes to winter clothing. Sometimes it is easier to compromise if you know they will wear it. Give them an amount they get for each winter accessory. For example if you have a $50 limit for a jacket than they can buy one jacket or maybe they will look a little and find two on sale for the same price. My kids took it as a challenge to see how much they could buy for that amount. They were also learning the value of a dollar and to appreciate what they have.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer