I while back, while strolling through the aisle of my local Asian market, when suddenly I spotted an interesting package I knew I had to have.  It was a package of dried up little rosebuds not unlike potpourri.

But on the back of the package were brewing instructions.

These little dried up roses were meant to create rose flavored tea or rose water.  The product description contained the following sentence : "red rose can help improve a dull complexion and skin moisture."  Although I wasn't sure exactly what those words meant or if they were even true, but I needed to try it and find out.
All of us probably have a bottle of rosewater sitting on a dresser that we mist our face with from time to time.  But did you also know that rosewater drinks are becoming a thing?

When you see an image of a celebrity sharing an image of themselves enjoying a large container of chilled rosewater, one has to ask....why is she drinking it?

If you do a little research on the benefits of consuming rose water internally, the first and most touted benefit is it's anti inflammatory benefits.  That's probably why rose water is so great when applied topically.  But, did you know that rose water is a high anti-oxidant beverage containing vitamin A, B3 C, D, and E.  In fact, the anti-oxidant properties were so potent that researchers compared it to vitamin E ( a powerhouse antioxidant).  They also determined that rose water had the ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation.  Oxidation is directly related to the aging process.  And because rosewater is so effective in slowing down oxidation, it's being considered a viable medical grade treatment for free radical related diseases.
cilk rosewater
That's powerful stuff.  Its no wonder why these designer juice companies are quickly adding rose water drinks to their lineup.  Please, don't reach for your facial toning spray and consume it.  That stuff is not meant to be taken internally.  Instead, you should seek out food grade rose water and there's a bunch on the market.

Here's a little snippet from a couple happy customers who experienced wonderful skin benefits as a result of her faithful consumption of rose water.

"...over the last several months I've been drinking h2rose religiously and have noticed my skin is much softer, I no longer have to use lotion like before and the quality of my skin all around is significantly better."

I finished 12 bottles of All Beauty Water in exactly 12 days because I wanted to see if I would have instant results. I must say I am truly amazed at how beautiful my skin looks and feels. I stuck to the same skin care regimen wash routine so the only thing I can attribute my new glowing skin to is All Beauty Water. It is truly a miracle in a bottle and an added bonus is it tastes great. My skin looks healthy, refreshed and it is blemish free. I will make this a part of my daily skin care regimen.

I got into drinking rose water this past winter.  I brewed about a half gallon at a time but didn't get to drink it consistently because my husband acquired a taste for rosewater and would consume most of it.  But, thanks to the gentle reminder from Justine Skye 's Instastory and learning about the powerful antioxidant affects online, I'm ready to jump back on the rosewater bandwagon.

By Erickka Sy Savané

“You can’t have more cookies until you work off that pudge! Your sister already lost hers. But you think you’re going to sit around here and get fat,” says my friend to her little girl.
She puts her head down. She’s seven years old. Her sister is three. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard my friend blasting her girls about their weight. The first time was right after Thanksgiving, and the difference was that both my friend and her husband were calling them ‘Pudgy.’ The crazy part is, I think they’re a normal size for kids. But even if they were pudgy or obese, what’s with the fat shaming?

When I ask my friend about it she says that it’s tough love. “I don’t want them to get fat and teased out there because kids can be way crueler than me," she answers.

“But don’t you worry that calling them names will have a negative effect?”

She tells me a story about a family friend that went from an active 8-year-old to a fat 14-year-old who now takes depression medication. She's convinced that the young girl's problems begin and end with her weight. "I'm not letting it happen to my kids," she says with conviction.

In a weird way, I get what she’s saying. I remember getting called names like “Big Bertha” and “Thunder Thighs,” growing up, by some people in my own family. It was as cruel as when the big sister of my best friend slapped my thigh and pointed out how the fat jiggled in front of a bunch of people. I was young, but old enough to be mortified. So I get why my mom would tell me things like, “You better lose that weight because they don’t make cute clothes for fat people.” Though today she admits that it was a horrible way to shock me into losing weight, I can’t say that it didn’t help. It did prompt me to eat two plates of food at dinner instead of three, but on the flip side it made me feel bad. The fact that fat people weren’t worthy of someone making them cute clothes left me feeling unlovable. Like my value as a person was connected to my weight. Now that’s good if I lose it, which I eventually did, but unfortunately weight can fluctuate so when it’s good, I'm great; when it’s not, I'm back to feeling like sh*t again. As an adult, I still struggle.

Statistics even show that no matter how well-intentioned parents are, shaming kids about their weight actually increases their chances of developing negative body image, which can lead to an eating disorder (something struggled with in high school and beyond), which is increasingly putting more kids under the age of 12 in the hospital. It can also lead to depression. With these odds, fat shaming is too tricky. So what’s a good alternative?

According to fitness expert Tarik Tyler, who regularly works with kids, “The first thing to change is nutrition. And that starts with the parents. Seriously, kids don’t have access to credit cards. So how does the junk get into the kitchen in the first place? The parents.”

It’s true. In my friend’s case, tater tots and chicken nuggets are a dinner staple. And they have enough sweets to open a bakery. As for me, it was customary to eat a whole sweet potato pie in one sitting around he holidays. The problem is a lot of parents don’t want to change their own eating habits, let alone that of the whole family. But Tarik says it’s imperative:

“Kids will eat whatever you put in front of them, so it’s important to feed them the right things.”

He also stresses the importance of getting kids involved in an activity that is fun and interesting. “But you have to let them know why the activity is good for them. You gotta be encouraging.”

His words are coming at a good time, because with two young daughters whose weigh can easily fluctuate, I know to focus on nutrition and fitness for them and the whole family. It’s so much better than calling them, “Blubber Butts.”

Do you believe that 'fat shaming' is just 'tough love?'
Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or 
I stumbled on a random piece of information the other day that lead to hours of research on the internal effects of hydration/dehydration.  I've talked a ton about drinking water on this site. But it was mainly geared towards the external beauty benefits.

We all know that if we don't get enough water that our skin could be affected.  But many of us aren't aware of the impact it could have on our weight.  I mean, sure, some individuals experience positive weight benefits when they switch from drinking soda to water, but I'm not talking about that.

There's another type of impact that water intake can have on your weight and eating habits that you should know about.
As we all know, the human body is made up of mostly water.  Much of that water isn't found in our blood but it consists of fluids located in between our countless number of cells.  In a healthy individual, the fluid travels in and out of the cell bringing with it essential, life-giving nutrients.

Water levels in the body fluctuate depending on various factors.  We lose water through normal daily functions like urination, sweating and even breathing.  In any given day, we are losing water just by being alive.

Our body counts on us to replenish that water through 2 main ways:
1. Drinking
2. Eating

Ideally, we drink at least half our body weight of water in ounces a day to keep hydrated.  But, sometimes life happens and we don't drink nearly enough.  I know this happens to me all the time. I'll feel bad for dropping the ball then promise to do better next time.
But, here's the thing, when you're not drinking water, your body is STILL thirsty (internally) and needs to get access to water.  So does what it needs to do by implementing plan B.  What's plan B?  Hunger.  Most of the food we eat has water some content.  It's nowhere as much as when you drink water, but it works.  Once your food is digested, the body extracts water from it for use by our organs and cells.

Plan B isn't so bad if you eat lots of fruits & veggies.  They are high water content foods and do an ok job as a source of hydration. But if you eat typical foods that aren't mostly water, your body has to extract whatever little bit of water it can.  When it needs more water, it asks for more food.  Here you are, taking in all of these extra calories just so your body can scrounge for a little bit of water.  This, my friends, could be a root cause to those extra pounds we've put on.

If that wasn't enough, there's yet another mechanism related to water drinking that causes us to gain weight.  Sometimes, when I'm working for extended hours, I suddenly feel the need to eat something sweet.  I need the sugar in my system.  Once I've satisfied my urges, with high calorie sweets, I feel normal again.  What my body was looking for was access to glycogen which is stored up energy (carbs) in the muscle.

Typically, it's the liver's job to release stored glyogen when needed.  But, when we're dehydrated, the liver struggles to do it's job.  And, of course, our body is self-preserving so it launches Plan B--sugar cravings.  That gives it quick access to the fuel it needs.  If we're trying to manage our weight, tapping into stored glycogen is actually a good thing.  But, not drinking enough water will screw with your normal body functions.  So next time, you have a craving for something sweet, try water first.

Lastly, when your underhydrated, your serotonin levels are impacted. Seratonin has a direct correlation with you feeling full after a meal.  When our seratonin is low, the brain activates our sugar cravings so insulin levels rise (which raises our seratonin).  It's a viscious, ugly cycle and our poor waistline is caught in the middle.

If these arguments aren't enough to help you get back on track with your water intake, I don't know what will.  Not only are there external beauty benefits, adequate water levels could help keep us leaner. As I did my research, I stumbled on another "water fact" directly related to anti-aging.  I'm still gathering data but I look forward to sharing the information with you in the near future.  But for now, experiment with keeping yourself hydrated and see what difference it makes in your healthy weight journey.

Yesterday, I decided to start enjoying morning smoothies again.  A few years back, morning smoothies were my favorite activity of the day.  It was the easiest way to pack a multitude of nutritional products in one, easy to consume, beverage.
via @supanovaslam
I peeked in the cupboard where I keep all of my smoothie approved ingredients.  Sitting near the back was a large bottle of powdered chlorella. After reaching for the bottle, I noticed that it was nearly full.  A feeling of dread came over me once I realized that it was well past its expiration date.

Soon, my fears were confirmed.  Engraved under the bottle was a "use by date" of 2016.   I was screwed.  There was no way I was going to risk consuming this potentially expired powder.  But, perhaps there was another, much better, use for my super chlorella powder.
I searched the internet for answers.  Before I knew it, I was supplied with answers on how to salvage my stockpile of powdered chlorella.

According to a published study, chlorella is actually a powerful skin beautifier. And I'm not just talking about the benefits of taking it internally.  When applied topically, chlorella has the ability to impact the skin in so many amazing ways. But one result in particular really caught my attention.

The participants in the study were given a cream containing 1% dermachlorella (a solution of water & chlorella).  Eleven women asked to apply their chlorella cream 2X a day for 84 days.  At the end of the experiment, all the noticeable benefits were measured.  And the results were very good....
Basically, chlorella changed their lives. But more specifically, they experienced measurable changes in the following areas:

  • A "lightening" of dark circles under the eye.
  • Improvements in lymphatic drainage/increased circulation.
  • A decrease in the deep pigment of stretch marks by 32% after 84 days.
That's just some of the few highlights.  What I'm most excited by is the impact of chlorella on the firmness and tone of the skin.  Specifically, the 1% solution of chlorella increased collagen expression by over 150%.  As expected, this increase of type 1 & 3 collagen resulted in improved firmness and tone.

Well, that's all I needed to hear.  

The plan now is to convert my the dark green powder (once allocated only for smoothies) into an anti-aging, skin loving mask.  Because it's in powder form, chlorella can easily be blended into a clay mask.  All I have to do is mix in a little Aztec clay, some manuka honey, apple cider vinegar, and I'm all set!  

The women in the study applied chlorella in a cream form which means that the green algae was absorbed through the skin topically.  This is probably why there was such an impact at a cellular level.  So I have to find another way to apply it.  Right now I'm even considering adding a tiny sprinkle of chlorella powder into my super-hydrating emulsion to boost its skin enhancing intensity.

Today I gave it a try and, much to my surprise, the dark green powder easily melted into my facial lotion.  Once I rubbed my chlorella cream in, it sunk deep into my skin.  With the naked eye, I could see no traces of green tint on my face.  This is a big deal because this means that I could possibly recreate some of the elements of the study.  I'll proceed with caution to make sure that my skin reacts positively to being exposed to such a powerful detoxifier.  But, overall, I'm really looking forward to slathering on my new superfood moisturizer and I'm excited about the wonderful results ahead.

I'm having some work done on my home.  My stove to be disconnected for a couple of days.  I used this as an excuse to cheat a little on my diet.  Out of convenience, I treated myself to frozen pizzas. Out of greed, I finished my meals by enjoying ample amounts of caramel gelato.

As soon as I was done, I questioned my choices.  I imagined my arteries becoming clogged with all of the sugar & fat now floating around in my bloodstream.

Instead of regretting my gluttonous rampage and making a promise to myself never to do it again, I went online to see if there's anything I could do to minimize the impact.  Moments later, I learned the solution that could help balance out my high-fat meal.
I learned there was something I could do to prevent some of the damage from what had just taken place.  After eating a high-fat, high carb meal, real changes happen in our body.  The composition of our blood changes as it becomes laden with fat.

Did you know that after a heavy meal, your arteries look like that of someone who has heart disease? Yep, the thick sluggish fat impairs the arteries' ability to function properly.  This outcome is relatively temporary lasting for around 6 hours but if you're always eating high-fat meals, you're keeping your arteries in a constant state of impairment.   That's not a good thing.

But researchers have found a way to reduce the impact to our arteries.  All we have to do is go for a post-meal walk.

They took a look at the arterial impact of eating an extremely high-calorie meal.  Healthy 25 year-old participants enjoyed a robust breakfast consisting of eggs, sausage, and hash browns (945 calories 😳).  Two hours later, they were asked to walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes.  After examination, they found that arterial function was vastly improved.  In fact, it was even better than before the participants ate.

The same benefits were seen in managing blood sugar as well.  We all know that after eating sweets or meals consisting of highly refined grains, our blood sugar spikes.  Eating pasta, bread, and rice is pretty much equivalent to eating sweets as far as the body is concerned.  That spike in blood sugar is potential energy for the body.  Unfortunately, most of us are fairly sedentary after a meal/snack so all that extra energy is quickly stored as fat.

The Mayo Clinic conducted a study which assessed the blood sugar levels of healthy individuals after a meal.  Four hours after eating our blood sugar rises to over 100% higher than normal. But those who walked at a comfortable pace post meal didn't experience that same spike.

Basically, walking after a meal can help lower blood sugar and reduce the amount of fat in the bloodstream.  Instead of flooding the blood, that extra sugar is diverted to the muscles where it can be used as energy.  This news made me so very happy.  I could actually do something proactive to help protect my body against the negative consequences of my eating choices.

 I've been putting this theory into practice by taking walks after meals and I've noticed that I haven't been experiencing feeling sugar highs and crashes.

It's also good to know that benefits are still accessible when I do mild physical activity.  We don't have to rush to the gym after a meal we just have to get active so the body can process the excess sugar & fat.  This doesn't mean that we can gorge on sweets and high-fat food all of the time. If you still eat more calories than you burn, you'll still gain weight.  I'm not advocating that you eat horribly. We are fully responsible for eating healthy, nutrient rich foods that feed our cells.

 But it's nice to know there's something we can do to reduce the possible internal effects to our bodies from the foods we eat.