Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Foods That Make Your Skin Glow

Foods That Make Your Skin Glow - This article is from the website www.realage.com. It is full of very good information so do read on.....

Top skin creams average about $400 per ounce (and you thought gas was expensive!), yet most offer little proof that they do half of what they promise. Want to save a bundle and improve your skin? Load your shopping cart with nutrients that have been shown to possess skin-hydrating, sun-protecting, and even wrinkle-preventing powers, says Manhattan dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD. Here’s her grocery list of the best foods for your skin:

Firm and Bright
You’re probably up to your eyebrows (Botoxed or not) with the mantra “eat more fruits and vegetables.” But if you’ve yet to take that advice to heart, maybe knowing that they prevent wrinkles will do the trick.

The skin doc’s three top picks: sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and cantaloupe.

What they do: Replenish your skin’s supply of antioxidants, so they're ready to scarf up free radicals whenever they make an appearance. Free rads are highly reactive oxygen molecules that damage cells and contribute to just about everything that can go wrong with skin, from dryness to wrinkles.

Fresh and Juicy
Your body can’t store much wrinkle-fighting vitamin C, so you need to top up your supplies regularly. The easiest way: Have some citrus every day.

The skin doc’s four top picks: oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit.

Ounce for ounce, oranges are the top citrus source of C, but you can only eat so many, right? For variety, make lemonade; squeeze limes on melon; add grapefruit to salad; and, instead of drinking soda, fizz OJ with sparkling water. It all adds up.

What they do: Keep skin’s vitamin C levels high. While C is a nifty antioxidant, that’s not the key reason it’s here. It helps keep collagen -- the supportive protein fibers that stop skin from sagging -- strong and resilient. (Flimsy collagen means lines and wrinkles.) Since collagen breakdown really picks up in your mid-30s, eat citrus early and often to head off aging.

Smoothing and Soothing
There’s a particularly potent antioxidant known as EGCG that does all kinds of good things for skin. The best place to find it? True teas: black, green, or white (not herbal). Brew a full teapot every morning so that sipping 4 to 6 cups throughout the day is a no-brainer.

The skin doc’s #1 pick::green tea.

While all true teas contain EGCG (by the way, that stands for epigallocatechin-3-gallate), the various types of green tea have the most. Dr. Wechsler’s personal favorite is hojicha green tea (available at http://www.adagio.com/). “The roasting process that turns this green tea a brownish color also lowers its caffeine content,” she says -- handy if you’re caffeine sensitive or it’s one of those days when you don’t need another stimulant.

What it does: Gives your skin a healthy dose of EGCG, which is a great multitasker. EGCG puts a damper on inflammatory chemicals involved in acne and sun-related skin aging, it helps prevent skin cancer; and it has a lion-tamer effect on tumor cells. What’s more, green tea contains L-theanine, a de-tensing amino acid -- and anything you can do to stanch the flow of the stress hormone cortisol helps keep collagen fibers intact.

Dark and Green
Certain dark green vegetables, whether they’re fresh, frozen, raw, or steamed, really deliver on vitamin A, one of the most skin-essential vitamins going.

The skin doc’s three top picks: spinach, turnip greens, and broccoli.

What they do:Deliver a hefty supply of vitamin A, which supports skin-cell turnover, the process that keeps cell growth and development humming along flawlessly. Without enough A, skin becomes dry, tough, and scaly.

Fish Faves
Several cold-water catches give your skin a double benefit: age-fighting omega-3 fatty acids and the restorative powers of protein.

The skin doc’s seven top picks: salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, Pacific herring, and most shellfish.

Just don’t, uh, go overboard. As good as omega-3s are for skin (and the rest of you, too), worries about the amount of mercury in many fish mean it’s smart to limit seafood or freshwater fish to two meals a week. That’s a must for young children and for women who are pregnant, who may become pregnant, or who are nursing. (Go here for the government’s fish guidelines)

What they do: Omega-3s fight inflammation, now considered one of the top skin agers, and they also help protect against sunburn, enhancing the effects of your sunscreen’s SPF. Protein is required to build and repair skin cells and to make enzymes and hormones that help keep it glowing.

Fill your grocery cart with all of these foods and you won’t just look younger, you’ll be younger. Eating at least one serving of fish a week and getting the right amount of antioxidants through diet or supplements lowers your biological age. In fact, the antioxidants alone can make your RealAge up to 6 years younger.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bubble Play

Bubble play is one of the most favored activities of my son, and needless to say I love it too. As a child I loved bubble play and am happy to see that my son has taken a liking to it as well.
I bought the bubble play set from Toys r Us, and also the liquid required.
We would play bubbles because it was fun, little did I know that it has so many benefits. I got to know of them when I saw that at Gymboree they use bubbles play as an integral part of their play-gym class. The teacher blows small bubbles and all the children run up to burst as many as they can or then try to catch one on their finger. After this the children sit with their parent and the teacher comes around to each child and blows him bigger bubbles which the child is supposed to burst saying 'pop', during this exercise everyone is singing "bubbles for xyz" for every child there is. This makes the child feel special and at the same time he gains confidence of being in a group.
I also read that the child manages to use complex mouth movement, blowing air out, keeping tongue at a certain position etc in order to blow bubbles. The child picks up language as we tell them to say 'pop goes the bubble' etc. And with the complex mouth movements required to blow bubbles, they learn to move the tongue to make different sounds thus improving language skills. With bubbles we can also teach them what a circle is or what the difference between a sphere and circle is. Numerical games can also be done with use of bubble-play.
With my son we have discovered that he loves to play bubbles during his bath where he has another of his favorite play item - water. When he was younger, where in he would bathe in a tub I would make a bubble bath for him and he would love them. I used the liquid soap by Kodomo for this purpose, this one had moisterisers so that the baby skin is not damaged due to the longer duration in water. Now that he is older and loves the shower, we play bubbles using all the different shape blowers (as seen in the picture above) and enjoy the time, this way I am spared the trouble of mopping the floors after a bubble play and my son gets to do his favorite stuff.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Play in progress...

A picture is worth a thousand words they say....so I am not going to describe what is going on...just that my son enjoys his painting sessions...and this time around I added poster (child-safe, non-toxic) colors and a roller brush to his ever-growing painting set.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Chair

Whenever we went to the neighbors' house to play, my son would fall in love with the small chairs they have. He would love sitting on them, and look at me as if to say that he wants one too!!
We were in Carrefour the other day and we saw this very cute beach chair for kids. It is a white metal chair, the base is white fabric, and it has yellow & orange flowers on it. It is very cute.
I chose not to buy a plastic chair which was much cheaper, as I am making every effort to avoid plastic as part of my 'go-green' motto for my home.
This one cost us 25 RM which is not much for a metal frame chair with a cloth base seat. We liked it and Aadi loved it immediately so it came home with us!!
Now he sits on it when he wants to watch TV or just look at books etc. sometimes the meals are also eaten with him sitting on this.

Eyes, nose and mouth

For the last 2 weeks my son has been drawing faces, complete with eyes, nose and a line for the mouth. Though at times the frame of the face is absent!!
He is also trying his hand at drawing fish, and supena-man (read as Super Man). The supena-man has a face, two feet and two hands.
Actually the first time he drew a face we were at a restaurant and the master piece was on a hand tissue from the hotel. (The photograph shows this first attempt of his at drawing a face)
I used to carry some paper and crayons for him earlier on, but have not been doing that of lately, I guess I will continue with that so that he can embark on his creative journey while we parents finish our food.
I encourage his creativity and expression with the help of painting sessions, pencil drawing, crayons and color pencils are also his favorite. He also loves his art-class at Gymboree, and now he has moved on to the second level, where they get to paint on paper that is stuck on the wall!! and then they are introduced to different painting techniques, and are introduced to things like tooth brush, hair brush etc for painting effects.
I like this time with Aadi simply because I get to do something that I always loved as a child, and I love to see what Aadi draws to express something that he wants to say, it shows me a lot of the way he thinks and what he likes and what he does not.

My favourite tool

I picked up this new tiny handy beauty from a store located in Endah Parade on our recent trip to Sri Petaling. This is tool that has tiny spikes on its surface, with which we can grate ginger and garlic to get instant freshly made paste. It does not have perforations like a grater, hence the paste stays on the surface itself and is very easy to remove. It really takes no time at all to grate the required amount of ginger or garlic.
I find this new experience of making fresh paste on demand much more fun and the taste that carries itself into the food is also proof of what freshness in ingredients can do.
Next time I head out to Sri Petaling, I am going to pick some more of this amazing tool for family & friends.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Gudhi Padwa

6th of April was our (Maharashtrian) New Year day, we call it 'Gudhi Padwa' in my mother tongue Marathi. It is the first day of the Marathi calender and the first month is 'Chaitra'.
This day was particularly good as it was Amol's birthday as well; so we made plans for a twin celebration but tried to keep it very simple as it would otherwise become a tiring new year day!!

The night before I sent off Amol with a list of things that I would need for the prayer, especially important were the Neem tree leaves as they are important part of the Gudhi. Well the Gudhi is actually a stick that has new clothing, Neem leaves, flower garland wrapped over it, and the top is sealed off with a 'kalash'. This gives the Gudhi the appearance of a lady dressed up in new clothes and jewels of flowers etc. It looks very pretty.

Well to continue with the 6th, I was really happy when Amol came home with an entire bunch of Neem leaves, and a lovely garland. Only thing that upset me was that he forgot about the garland/toran for the main door. But all in all I was very excited and happy to continue with the prayers as my son understands a lot of what is going on and what is being said, so I made double sure that I did things in a traditional manner as this is how I can show my son what our traditions are and what the reason behind doing all that are.

On d-day we woke up early and bathed, I got busy with the prayer getting all the basic things done, making the 'prasad' (offering) etc. Once the Gudhi was up, I did the prayers, then Amol and Aadi had their turn of offering prayers and seeking blessings for a good year ahead. Later in the day we had to go to the Lakshminarayan Temple. The evening was spent preparing a good dinner and the best part was that our friends Amisha & Praveen came home and added to our joy!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

First Day in preschool

Tuesday was unofficially Nayaz's first day in preschool.I am thinking of enrolling him in a school called "Y'kidz Montessori Enrichment Centre" which my daughter has been attending since the last one year.

Nayaz went for a trial session last Tuesday and I was with him the majority of the time. When I took him inside the school, he was very apprehensive and clingy.But once we were inside, his eyes twinkled with excitement as they devoured all the colorful toys inside the classroom.

There were around 8-9 toddlers and two teachers and two assistants. The class began with floor activities.Teacher asked each child to get a mat and sit and then to get any toys that they were interested in. The class was quite organized and toys were grouped and labeled.......like one shallow tray had all toy vegetables and another shallow tray displayed fruits.Puzzles and books were neatly stacked.There were also trays in which there were one bowl of dry uncooked macaroni and other bowls and a soup spoon.I noticed that some children took the tray and were putting macaroni from one bowl to another with soup spoons.

The teachers asked me to let Nayaz roam and choose his own toy.This is in line with the montessori method of education which allows children to experience the excitement of learning through their own choice. He looked around and chose a toy orange from the fruit tub and brought it to me. I guess he chose the orange because he is fond of playing with balls.Then, before I could stop him, he banged a child's head with the orange who was sitting with her back towards him.The teacher moved towards him,caught his hand and told him very firmly that he should not hit other people.He looked at the teacher wide-eyed and seemed to understand.

Afterwards the teacher gave him a tray and he was very absorbed in the activity of putting macaroni from one bowl to another bowl with the help of a soup spoon.The teacher showed me that the way he is holding the spoon is the way in which he will hold the pencil.And he showed Nayaz how to grip the spoon.I was sure that he would continue to grab the spoon but to my surprise he actually could follow the "pencil grip". This activity, the teacher explained, develops their fine motor skills.

Before beginning each new activity the children were asked and guided to put back the previous toys.This was something I really liked and would like to implement this at home....haven't been able to teach Ibnat to keep the toys in their places after she finishes playing.

Next it was lesson time and all the toddlers were taken to the next room, which I supposed was the "lesson room".There was a large table surrounded by chairs in which the children sat one by one. Nayaz sat on my lap.The teacher said aloud particular numbers and passed around flashcards.The numbers were etched in sandpaper on cardboards and the teacher passed on the cards to each child for them to look at and "feel" the number.Nayaz was more interested in the "1,2,3 songs" and moved his body to the rhythm whenever the teachers sang.After some time Nayaz wiggled out of my lap and went into the play room again.I wanted to bring him back but the teacher said it was ok to let him roam.

Next it was "lego" and "building blocks" time. Nayaz was more interested in taking off the legos rather than building anything out of it.Soon he got the naughty idea of throwing the legos but the teacher put a stop to it by catching his hand and covering the legos to send the message that "if you do this then no more legos". I am using this idea at home to limit undesirable behavior and it actually is working!

The children were given some snacks and they fed themselves.It was a bit messy but the teachers told me that at home also I should let him feed himself (but I feel that at sixteen months he is too young for that!).

In the last half an hour I sneaked out of the class into the waiting room.When he saw me leaving, he was a bit distressed, as I could see on his face, but the teacher quickly diverted him with something. I later asked the teacher how he was without me and they said that he was perfectly fine.Surprising, isn't it?