I hope you enjoyed the beauty newsletter. This portion used to be part of the main newsletter but the scoop overflowed this year. I will apologize on the length. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
To start, I will remind you to have your mammograms if you are over 40, sooner if you are at high risk. If you are between 40-50, check out my prior post on how to make the decision to be screened and how to determine your personal risk using the Gail model. And don’t forget to consider having your Vitamin D checked if you are not getting enough sun exposure or are not eating foods fortified with Vitamin D or have other risk factors for deficiency (liver kidney or gastrointestinal malabsorptive disorders). Currently, there are no guidelines on routinely screening for Vitamin D. Although, I think guidelines will soon be in place. Here in Qatar, a study recently showed that 53.5% of Qatari females of college age are severely vitamin D deficient.
This year while reading Self magazine (October 2010, I learned about the epigenome, chemical tags that sit on top of our DNA. They tell our genes when to turn on or off, how loud to express, and are reportedly easier to manipulate than actual genes. The bad news is that you can have healthy epigenomes but what your parents or grandparents did or ate can make your epigenome unhealthy. The good news is that your overall lifestyle can repair these unhealthy epigenomes. A study in pregnant mice with an obesity gene revealed that the mice fed with a diet supplemented with Vitamin B and other nutrients rendered their offspring non-obese. One Mummy in Provence is happy that she is “not very French” and did not imbibe in glass after glass of wine during her pregnancy.
The above finding that epigenomes are easier to manipulate is huge in regard to chemotherapy. Can you imagine a therapy that merely silences bad genes and doesn’t kill healthy cells.
Recently, I have been focusing on decreasing dairy intake and replacing with with soy. Soy has been controversial but at 2-3 servings per day is safe. Soy is an isoflavone, a compound which binds to estrogen receptors and exhibits weak estrogen-like effects. The controversy is over concerns that soy may stimulate the growth of existing estrogen-sensitive breast cancers. Rest assured, there is little evidence to support this in healthy women. And there is some evidence to suggest that soy at dietary levels does not contribute to recurrence rates in breast cancer survivors. The later, I would discuss with your oncologist.
Here are some other important findings: Among Asian women, higher soy intake is associated with a nearly one-third reduction in breast cancer risk, and Japanese breast cancer patients exhibit better survival rates than Western women,
Lastly, societies that eat 2-3 servings of soy per day have been found to live the longest. (Japan remains the country with the longest life expectancy: 83 years of age) If you have any doubt on the youthfulness attributed to soy have a look at this video.
I want to look like that when I am 72. And after re-watching this video, I may want to add a green smoothie in the morning.
Lastly, I have long known that environmental exposures are one of our greatest health hazards. Did you know many common everyday products have harmful chemicals in them? Here are a couple websites I found to review common products, cosmetics, and toys.
I researched three cosmetic products in our home. The rating on the cosmetics database is 0-2 for low hazard, 3-6 for moderate hazard and 7-10 for high hazard. Nivea body moisturizer scored a 5, Dove body wash a 5 or 6 depending on type and the original Johnson’s and Johnson’s baby shampoo a 5. The search not only returns the above score but will score every chemical within the product as well as list why it is hazardous. I will be searching for safer alternatives for our household.
Here are some simple changes I have made: slowly changing from plastic food containers to glass (check Costco as they sell an affordable set), changing to natural cleaning products and making sure all of our water bottles are BPA free.
I posted all my favorite bargains here . I don’t have as much to add on this front except for that I finally had a look at the Simply Vera line made by Vera Wang for Kohl’s and was impressed. My opinion is that full price is not that cheap. However, I was fortunate to walk in during a sale which made the line inexpensive!
The frugal but fashionable collection to watch for spring is the recently released multiple top name designer collection (Thakoon, Zac Posen, and Behnaz Sarafpour to name a few) at Target starting at 24.99 USD. Go quick as I am sure these items will sell out as they were released March 13th. There were some really cute dresses in the 13 page ad in March’s Vanity Fair.
I have been dying to try out two websites but being abroad isn’t conducive. Rent the Runway for dress rental is tempting. As an expat there have been numerous occasions to be dressed formally. But how many times do you wear a formal gown? Not to mention it is difficult to re-wear formal dresses particularly in Doha as it is small.
The site says the dresses rent for 10% of the cost. Most of the dresses do but some can go up to 20% of the dress. Here is what I found: $75 for a $595 Catherine Malandrino dress, $100 for a $695 D& G dress and $350 for a $3500 Herve Leger dress, not that I would rent the later. And for $5 you can buy insurance and not have to worry about wine spills. No need to dry clean and return shipping is free. They will even ship you a back up size for free and a second style for $25 for the same dates.
The second site is bag borrow or steal where you can rent a designer handbag for a week or for many months. Rent as a member ($60/year) or a guest. The Jimmy Choo Riley hobo bag rents for $150 dollars for one month, $165 if you rent as a guest. This is a $1995 USD bag! Not certain that I would rent for more than one month or even more than once. But if you would spend $1995 on a bag, why not rent a different bag a month and have 12 different bags per year? The cost is less (150 x 12 + 60 = 1860).
As the years pass and we age, sigh! The light bulb goes off. Hopefully it tells us not to make the same mistakes. This year, I have focused on implementing two things which are crucial for anyone’s mental health. I didn’t say that I was mentally healthy we have after all been in Qatar for more than 5 years now. Joking aside, it is all about the perception. And what one life coach, Rachel Anastasi called your “already always way of thinking”. You listen to others (and yourself) through your past experiences and labels. For example if you have labeled one of your children a “whiner” you will always listen to your child through this label i.e. in your mind he will always be whining. It doesn’t allow your relationship to blossom and can be damaging to the child.
Recently, I had a total change in my “already always way of thinking”, not certain how it came about perhaps acceptance or resolve. I decided I wouldn’t label the nightly dinners with two cranky children while my husband was still at work as dreadful. You know what? We are actually having fun now during dinner. This is not to say that some nights are not still filled with meltdowns.
The other life pearl I have focused on is eliminating the negative energy in my life more quickly. Life is too short. Some of you remember our human rights violating unethical neighbors? Enough said, eliminated! Here is one phone call from a childhood friend who was constantly one-upping and putting me down (to feel better about herself) that I ended promptly but cordially in 1997: “I just called because I knew you would still be single…” Click, negative energy eliminated. It is really that easy. And if you can’t completely eliminate, keep at a distance. You just have to choose. Or a positive way to look at eliminating is surrounding yourself with like minded individuals whether in business or pleasure.
What are your favorite fashion, health or life tips?