Aging, Menopause, Skin, Skincare

Skin! 10 Ways To Start The Anti-Aging Process at Any Age

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A post by freelance writer Elizabeth Rago:

It’s never too late to start the anti-aging process. From encouraging cell renewal to seeking out professionals to recommend skin care products, here are 10 tips to reviving the vibrant and youthful skin you were born with…

1. Exercise–Dinana Rodriguez of everydayhealth.com lists 5 ways working out can benefit your skin and besides boosting oxygen and unclogging the toxins in your pores, exercise eases stress making that natural happy glow shine.

2. Wear (SPF) protection–Exposure to the sun can happen any time you step outside, so choosing a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) and applying properly is key.

3. Be patient–If you are starting a new regimen, whether it isa change in diet or testing out new skin care, give your body some time to respond to the switch in routine. You are planting a seed of healthy goodness inside your body and while you can’t see the results yet, the benefits will bloom in time.

4. Lather Up–Keeping your skin hydrated is a key element to the anti-aging process. Supple skin reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

5. Control Yourself and Don’t Over-exfoliate–“It’s no coincidence that women often start to overdo it in terms of exfoliation at midlife,” said The International Dermal Institute’s Director of Global Education Annet King.“This is when the cell-turnover begins to slow, and the skin’s overall metabolism subtly declines. In response, many women may get a bit reckless, wanting to “amp up” the exfoliation.”

6. Protect Yourself From the Sun Even In Cold Temperatures– Use a tinted moisturizer with an SPF, even during cold months when it might appear that the sun is not strong enough to cause damage.

7. Encourage Cell Renewal– In your 20’s, your skin cells were full of cell turnover energy, busting out fresh new cells every 14 -25 days. But as we age, too many poor choices like all-nighters or the overuse of alcohol starts to catch up with us, not to mention what our skin is exposed to environmentally. New Beauty Editors suggest you stay away from sweets, “Sugar will boost inflammation’s damaging effects, but eating good fats and oils, like tuna, salmon, soybeans, tofu, olive oil and avocado, help regulate cell metabolism, boost cellular repair and suppress inflammation.”

8. Get Educated – “It’s so important to interview, consult and map out the facial conditions of your client, as a free service before any product purchase and certainly before any professional service,” Annet King impresses to students who are preparing to become licensed estheticians and professional skin therapists.

9. Eat healthy – We are bombarded with the message “eat healthy”, but it’s important to take into account your personal lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic’s approach to diet “aims to teach you how to choose healthy foods and portions and to develop healthy lifestyle habits so that you can maintain a healthy weight for life.”

10. Invest In Quality Skin Care, But Don’t Break The Bank– It is important to find out from a professional what kind of skin care products you should use, but natural health and wellness practitioner, Dr. Andrew Weil, disagrees that buying expensive products ensures healthy skin. In fact, he says, “The best ways to maintain skin health aren’t very glamorous and certainly aren’t overly costly: good nutrition, adequate intake of both water and essential fatty acids, and daily use of a good antioxidant multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.”

Elizabeth_Rago_headshot

Elizabeth Rago is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content, working with yoga studios, chiropractors, mental health, and wellness practitioners. Elizabeth writes the weekly column, The Circular Home for Chicago Shopping (an editorial partner of the Chicago Tribune) and is Senior Editor of All Things Girl, highlighting topics related to the modern domestic woman. She has been published in Mamalode Magazine, MOMentumNation.com, and thesavvyfreelancer.com.  Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter, LinkedIn, Houzz, and Google+.

Aging, Menopause, Skin, Skincare

Age Spots: A Slight TMI Post

Birthday Maze

When I saw this photo of my grandson Mazen, taken on his first birthday in September, my immediate emotion was: What a happy, festive day!

But this grandma’s second thought was: Look at those large age spots ( two inches above my right thumb near my wrist). They bother me whenever I look down at them. Now they’re popping up in pictures.

So………

At Chapel Hill Dermotology for a skin check two weeks later, I held out my hand. “Can we get rid of these?”

“I can freeze them off,” Dr. Becker offered.

“How much?”

“Charge is one hundred dollars.”

Hmmm…..

A hundred dollars.

Two dinners out.

Two new dresses at a really good sale.

or……..

Two big old age spots gone forever.

“Will it actually work?”

The nurse, about my age, stretched out her hands. “Yep!”

No spots there.

I looked at my own hand, and then I looked at the doc. “Zap me.”

I felt some burn, and ten minutes later, this is what they looked like:

age spots

I took photos of the healing process, but daughter Kath said they were too gross to post. The spots blistered up. Then scabs formed and after about two weeks, fell off.

They are now smallish smudges. I hope in time, they’ll fade to invisible.

At what price youth? Beauty?

I’m not sure, but I’m glad those extra-large age spots are gone.  To me, the one hundred dollars was well spent.

But guess where a chunk of the next hundred is going?

Someone’s getting  a train set and accessories for Christmas.

Choo! Choo!

Train

PS. I have plenty more age spots; I’m not ditzing, in general, on those marks of time. The two I had zapped were just so big, I was glad to see them go.

Aging, Diet, Menopause

Your Memory on Jackfruit

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A guest post by blogger Beth Waters:

From the minute we are born, our bodies age. As our bodies age, they decline. Our bodies are powerful machines that are working longer and longer as the generations pass, there is no wonder we need a little tune up from time to time.

A scary part of aging is memory loss. So how do we prevent this and make our bodies stronger?

One of the most important things we can do to preserve our memories is to keep using your brain!

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Think about this: When we get older we retire, and we stop having to use our brain as a huge source of information. Don’t let retirement stop you from using your brain.

Here are some simple things to do that act as a tune up for your brain:

  • Play a game- make your brain pay attention to a game. This will get your brain thinking about numerous things whether it is the next move, word, puzzle piece, number, etc.
  • Exercise- just because your body is aging doesn’t mean it’s time to rest. Studies show that exercising, even brisk walking will help your brain grow new blood vessels, dendrites, and neurons. A sedentary life will not only increase the decline in you physical health, but also your mental health.
  • Learn something new- It is as easy as learning new information. Learn new activities, words; take on a new hobby, language, or activity. These simple things will make your brain remember new things and do things it has never processed before.

Make this part of every day in your life and your brain will be happy about it. To start you off on the healthy habit to brain health, I’ll make it easy: I bet you don’t know jack about a jackfruit.

Think of the jackfruit as the big, gangly kid on the playground who smells kind of funny. These suckers can weigh up to a whopping 80 pounds, are covered in spikes and (unfortunately) smell rotten once ripe. Mmm… appetizing, right?

Well, don’t be so quick to judge; the jackfruit also happens to be a vitamin/antioxidant powerhouse and is surprisingly delicious! The flavor is sweet, fruity, and an excellent addition to desserts. It tastes a little bit like the combination of an apple and banana.

Here are some stats:

  • Good source of vitamin C
  • Full of B-complex vitamins
  • Contains tons of fiber
  • Known energy booster
  • Jam-packed full of potassium, magnesium, and iron

When cut open, the jackfruit reveals a series of fruit pockets that contain giant brown seeds and delicious fruity flesh.

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If this intimidates you, never fear! You can buy pre-cut, canned jackfruit—but be forewarned, you will lose some of the flavor. For those brave enough to try, I would recommend picking up and working with a fresh jackfruit.

Want to hear something really crazy? Jackfruit is an excellent substitute for meat, particularly in recipes that call for shredded/pulled meat.

My girls and I recently whipped up the recipe described in the linked article, and let me tell you, it was delicious! It really did taste like juicy meat. It’s an awesome option for vegetarians looking for tofu-less alternatives.

It seems like the jackfruit just further proves that you can’t judge a book by its cover!

Take this exercise of learning something new even further by trying something new. I bet you don’t know jack about what a jackfruit tastes like.

Beth Waters is the mother of two rambunctious children, a blogger on health and fitness, and a freelance writer for health companies such as Liberty Medical. She’s been inspired to live a long and healthy life and enjoys sharing her experiences through her blog, Carrots Over Cake. She’s pictured below with her daughter Jena.

Beth with Jenna

Aging, Menopause

Are You a Calendar Girl? The Downsizing Continues (and Cafe Steamers)

Green Plate

The project continues!

High on a shelf, I discovered these darling calendar plates my mom picked up somewhere.  They’re keepers. How fun to have your lunch on another decade!

Deep in the trenches of our storage room, I dug out a stack of nine old calendars.

I don’t know why I kept them. Perhaps I figured they might be useful for kid art projects.

Calendars

I leafed through them:  dentist, doctor, PTA, church meetings, writer events, vacations enjoyed but largely forgotten.

I usually love to pick up a tidbit from long  ago.  A photo.  A letter. A trinket from a trip.  A drawing done by one of my girls.

But looking through these old calendars made me sad and wistful.

When you can flip through twelve pages, and a whole year of your life is gone, that’s a bit too fast for me.

I made the executive decision to put the calendars in the paper recycling bin. If something bothers  you or makes you sad, the experts say to toss it.

Foiled again!

Cliff saw  them and said nope, we’re going to review one a night.

And so we are.

Remembering together makes those busy years come back more clearly.  Lots more fun!

As for the calendar plates, I bought them out of their box and washed them. I’ve got room on my shelf for them now, thanks to some other plates that didn’t make the cut.

Healthy Choice invited me to try their Healthy Choice Steamers, culinary-inspired steaming meals with a crisp and fresh taste.

On  Pink 1967, we enjoyed General Tsao’s Spicy Chicken:

1967

On Blue 1968, we served up Beef Merlot:

1968

Both low calorie  meals get good grades for flavor and freshness, and of course they look especially delicious on my beautiful plates!

You can learn more about the steamers on the Healthy Choice site right here!  

Asian Inspired

·Back to all those years…

What about you?

Are you a Calendar Girl, nostalgic for years gone by

Or are you full steam ahead?

Brown Plate Close Up

Blue Plate

Red Plate Close Up

Disclosure: I’m participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network Healthy Choice campaign. They sent me coupons for Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers and payment in exchange for my honest opinions about the product. All opinions are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by Healthy Choice prior to posting.

Aging, Menopause

This Body: Gratitude Prayers (and a Giveaway)

This Body

Ever since menopause set in, I’ve gotten grumpy about my body.

Aging makes me sad.

Shocks me.

Worries me.

The vanity issues.

And the bigger issues.

Eyes.

Mobility.

Teeth.

Balance.

Girl stuff.

I’m determined to keep in the best shape I can, but alas, time is the Great Winner in the battle of the body, I suspect.

Janine Canan’s poem, “This Body,” socked it to me on first reading.

How dare I not appreciate Body Barbara until her very last day?

Thanks Janine.

What about you?

Are you a body ditzer or a body appreciator?

“This Body” is part of June Cotner’s latest volume, Gratitude Prayers:  Prayers, Poems, and Prose for Everyday Thankfulness published in February 2013 by Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Gratitude Prayers

I’m giving away one copy of this lovely, upbeat volume. If you’d like to be the winner, simply enter a comment by August 5  saying that you’d like to win. I’m pleased that two of my pieces are included!

 Lyle, Lyle, The Crocodile:  Congrats to Penny, who won the Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Storybook Treasury.

Aging, Menopause

Down the Rabbit Hole and Back Up Again: Part Two

Alice finding door

In Down The Rabbit Hole Part I, you may have walked away with the idea that falling down the ‘rabbit hole’ of depression is inevitable.  Well, for many of us it is, to some degree.  That’s why I’m back today.  Yes, I find myself depressed during certain times of the year.  The good news is, there’s a way out.

There are several things I do to get out of that rabbit hole, and none of it is as crazy as the stuff poor Alice In Wonderland faced. Through years of counseling and years of experience, I have found a formula that works for me.

These ideas may or may not work for you, but they are worth trying.  Of course, if depression doesn’t lift after you have done everything you can to help yourself, seek professional help.  With that said, these are my thoughts about ways in which I have found my way out of that dang rabbit hole.

Recognize Your Season

Falling down the rabbit hole is something I know is inevitable for me during certain times of the year.  Knowing this is part of my salvation.  As they say; “forewarned is forearmed.”

Depression is like many illnesses – the more we know, the more prepared we are, the more likely we are to recover.  When the dates approach, I talk about it with my family.  It’s coming.  I know it.  Saying it out loud with those who know me best (and most likely are going through the same thing) is a way to prepare.  Pretending this time isn’t coming does absolutely no good whatsoever.

Accept Your Feelings

It’s true that the years have softened the blows I feel from the losses I’ve suffered.  But what happens to people like me who have “situational depression” is that even small situations can trigger the FEELINGS of a bigger situation.

During the times when I’m most likely to become depressed, I recognize the small triggers and give them the same respect I do the big triggers.  This helps bring about the same result – lessening the depression or quickening the recovery.

Accepting the importance of these smaller triggers also validates feelings, and validated feelings are the only kind of feelings we can work our way through.  Unvalidated feelings get stuffed and land us back in that rabbit hole.

Remember Your Recovery

Each time I end up down the rabbit hole, I remind myself that it’s a temporary situation.  I remember the times I thought I’d never smile again; then I did.

I remember that even if I am depressed at times, I very often laugh at the same time.  I guess what I want to say is a good life full of laughs does not exclude depression, and depression does not exclude a good life full of laughs.

I am a happy person who also happens to get depressed.  I do not have a cloud following me around.  I am not a sad little stick figure on a commercial for anti-depressants.  Sometimes I am very happy and I still want to go to bed.  But, I know I will get up again. That’s what recovery is like for me.  It’s important to remember that.

Reach Out And Renew

I have people I love who know about this darkness and care about my recovery.  I have learned to reach out to them instead of pulling the covers over my head.

Make a phone call, write a note, contact someone to say; “Yes, I am in bed today, but tomorrow I’ll call you again.”

Making that connection is a big part of moving forward.  Then, you’ll be ready to take the next step; perhaps get together and walk.

On the same note as connecting, we sometimes need to accept a new challenge – to renew.  I’m not talking about something gigantic, just something outside of what we are currently doing.

I have been working at home for many years.  When the woman who does my facials called to say she needed someone to take charge of her appointments and phone calls, I knew it was something I needed to do.  The call came at the height of my depression.

I embraced the opportunity to get out of the house and do something new.  It was time I made a change.  I was outside my comfort zone, but only slightly, which was good.  Small changes are still good changes.

What I Know

I have what my counselor calls “situational depression.”  For this reason, I know that certain times and certain events will trigger my depression.

But, it’s alright.

Because there’s a lesson I can take from Alice In Wonderland.

Just like Alice, I will find that little door… and open it.

I am reassured once more that my depression is just a season in my life – not the entirety of my life.

Thank you, Barbara, for letting me share my thoughts with you and your readers.  I hope my experiences with depression will help clear up some of the confusion that so many have about this complicated issue.

p.s.  For more about the signs of depression, the dichotomy of depression, and how it affects us at our age, please read my blog post – Depression In Baby Boomers – I’m So Happy I Just Want To Go To Bed.  And don’t forget to leave a comment.  I love the company here in the blogosphere!

About The Tiny Door: 

Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage… she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains…

Discovering that little door, and finding your way through it and into that lovely garden with bright flowers and cool fountains isn’t necessarily easy.  Poor Alice went through hell and back to find her way.  I can feel the excitement of pulling that curtain back to discover that tiny door, and the hope that I might find a lovely garden and cool fountains when I work my way through that door.

Alice finding door

“Alice Finding Tiny Door Behind Curtain” – The Tenniel Illustrations for Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by Sir John Tenniel

Visit Project Gutenberg at www.gutenberg.org to see over 42,000 ebooks, free for your viewing and downloading pleasure.  Enjoy.

Patti school pic

About the Author:  Patti Winker has enjoyed reading and writing ever since she can remember.  She likes sharing stories of growing up in the 50s and 60s on her blog RemarkableWrinklies.com You’ll also find her stories in our collaboration – Tangerine Tango

In addition to waxing nostalgic, Patti also writes about aging well.  Part of Patti’s journey through life has been her battle with depression.  This two part guest post is her way of telling others that depression doesn’t need to defeat a person, but it isn’t always easy either, especially as we get older.

According to the CDC, the highest rate of depression occurs between the ages of 45 and 64, then drops off again after 65.  In her blog post – I’m So Happy I Just Want To Go To Bed Patti explores this problem that many ‘baby boomers’ are experiencing right now;  reaching a perceived perfection, but not feeling the joy.  I hope you find some useful information and support in these posts.

About the Picture:  Patti said she laughed right out loud when she found this picture of herself and knew immediately she had to use it for this guest post.  I think she looks rather “Alice-ish,” don’t you?   Patti estimates this to be her 2nd or 3rd grade school picture, about the time she would have been reading Alice in Wonderland, and wondering what kind of crazy person Lewis Carroll was.

Aging

Across the Generations: Mother Latifa

A post by Peace Corps volunteer Barbara Klein:

I’m joining your friends for the ride!

Old age may not be as golden as they say, but we OBGs  (Old but good) have much to grin about. My husband Martin says, “It’s been a good ride,” and I like to add, “But it ain’t over yet.”

When people talk about wishing that they were young, I say that I do not want to live my life over again, but would just like to have the strength and well being that I had at 75.

Some can’t believe that I am older than 75. Others say, “75 wasn’t a year to remember.”

                              *****************************************

Peace Corp, Hergla, 1989.

I was 59, and my husband Martin was 61.

The volunteers, in training all had mattresses on the floor, but as the oldest married couple, we were given a queen size, off the floor, bed.

I don’t think the Peace Corps management gave too much thought to housing arrangements other than available space. We shared a villa, one story house, with two wonderful Tunisian language teachers, Lamia and Latifa, and two younger volunteers, who were not very friendly.

Lamia was  petite, dynamic, and wore mini skirts, while we volunteers were instructed to cover our knees and wear sleeves.

Hergla did not boast the services of a barbershop, so Lamia gave Marty a haircut.

Latifa was good looking with freckles, and had a great sense of humor.

Both teachers  helped me celebrate my birthday with lovely presents.

Latifa, was concerned that we needed a change from PC rations and put a few mullets,( small fish), and lamb chops, in the freezing compartment of our frig.

One day she left a box of delicious fig filled pastries, about 2 kilos, on the kitchen counter, and told me that I must eat this. I kind of understood what she meant, thanked her and explained that it was a lot of cake which I couldn’t eat alone or at one sitting.

The chore of taking out the garbage fell to Marty, but Latifa was always there to help him tie up the bags.

We attended prenuptial festivities of a double wedding for brothers living in the town. Latifa sat with us, introduced us to the family, and gave us a crash course on Tunisian wedding customs.

At one  cross- cultural excursion, we were treated to a meat stew which we ate with our hands, for lack of utensils, and lopped up the gravy with bread. Just like a mother, Latifa served me meat and gravy with less fat.

I can’t imagine why it took me so long to realize that Latifa brought  goodies to the house for Marty and me, not for all of the occupants.

Was it respect for older people, hospitality, or did she like us ?

Doesn’t matter!

mom_dad_ tunisia

More About Barbara:  Barbara  Klein and her husband Martin, lived in Killingworth, Connecticutt for 49 years in the house where their four children grew up. They owned a poultry farm in neighboring Madison. About 20 years ago they converted the farm to a golf range, which the Klein family owns and operates.

The Kleins traveled all over the world, at times for personal reasons and often as Agricultural Consultants with Aid for International Developement. Martin and Barbara have both been involved in local politics. Barbara has degrees in Biology and in Health Cate Management. Martin has a degree in Poultry Husbandry.

Barbara is now blogging!  Check out Best of Barbara.

Best of Barbara

Top Photo:  A resident of Hergla shows Barbara the technique of  spindle weaving.

Middle Photo:  Barbara  and Marty with Latifa during a pre-nuptial gathering held in the courtyard of the groom’s home.

Bottom Photo: Barbara and her family today.

Want to know even more about Barbara Klein? Check our Cycling Grandma, Barbara’s daughter Lisa’s blog,  and Tangerine Tango: Women Writers Share Slices of Life.  Barbara inspired many of Lisa’s essays.