Makeup That Gives Back (and Gives You a Gorgeous Glow!)

Written by: on Friday, September 13th, 2013
Laura Mercier Ovarian Cancer Compact

Comes with a bronzer, two natural cheek colors, and two highlighters.

Ever since I left my position as a full-time editor in chief, I go sans makeup…most days. When I have a meeting or I’m headed out for the evening, I apply makeup. But I’ve been looking for everyday products that are easy to apply (read: take very little time in the morning—since I don’t have much time with three young kids heading off to school) and give great results as the no-makeup look is getting a bit, well, dull.

Then I found this Laura Mercier product at my local Bluemercury—and I fell in love. What first caught my eye: 100% of the profits from the sale of this $48 product go to ovarian cancer research. (September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month…a time to celebrate the strong women who are fighting this disease and help—in any small way possible—in the fight against a disease that 22,000 new women are diagnosed with each year.)

And what’s more: this Bonne Mine Healthy Glow for Face & Cheeks compact truly works. It’s super lightweight—and goes on sheer (layer it for more color). Makeup artist Laura Mercier says it results in “skin [that] has a natural ‘no-makeup’ glow that looks soft and sun-kissed”…very true! Plus, it includes super-helpful, step-by-step how-to-wear-it instructions.

My recommendation: this is the best $48 in makeup you’ll ever spend. And the fact that your money is going toward such an important cause makes your purchase all that more worthwhile.






Love this Organic Green Tea!

Written by: on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Drink at least three cups of this a day, and you may (say some studies) raise your metabolic rate.

It’s hard to find good, loose organic green tea. Or at least that’s what I thought until I found Mountain Rose Herbs organic Green Sencha Tea ($15.50 for 4 ounces); I brew this tea in the morning and then ice it—so I can drink it throughout the day. I don’t put anything in it (I’m a purist!), but some may not like sencha’s “astringent” (as it’s called) taste.

As an FYI: Sencha tea is a tea that’s grown in full sun—as compared with Matcha tea, which is grown in shade. Some experts say that, because it’s grown in the sun, sencha tea has more catechins (or EGCG, a type of antioxidant) than matcha or teas grown in the shade. It’s these antioxidants that are so critical to our health. Studies have shown that EGCG has anti-fungal (against things like yeast infections), anti-viral (against hepatitis B, herpes, and adenovirus—a common virus that causes respiratory infections), and anti-bacterial properties.


One capsule (recommended dose) contains the equivalent of 24 cups of green tea and 6 cups of white tea.

Pretty amazing stuff.

Now, this kind of tea does contain caffeine, so if you’re trying to steer clear of caffeine, then you can take the Green & White Tea Max from Pastore Formulations (recommended to me by Jeffrey Morrison, M.D., one of the top integrative medicine doctors in New York City); $48.99 for 60 capsules. The capsules have no caffeine.

A New Way to Control Crazy Food Cravings

Written by: on Wednesday, September 11th, 2013
Woman Eating Chocolate Bar

Yes, this used to be me...craving anything (and everything!) sweet.

I used to crave sugar…desperately….morning, noon (mostly), and night. I was a full-on sugar addict. I would find reasons to whip up a batch of cookies (or a cake) all the time. And I drank a chai tea latté (from a mix that was loaded with sugar) every morning. In fact, I looked forward to that chai tea every day.

At that same time, I was also not getting a lot of sleep (I was breastfeeding my baby—which lasted 18 months) and was stressed handling three kids and a growing business. Looking back in time, I was a sugar addict when was working around the clock, too, sans baby. I’ve found that stress, lack of sleep, and lack of mindfulness when it comes to living and eating are all triggers for out-of control cravings—which can lead to weight gain and yo-yo weight fluctuations.


Always craving cookie or cake (like I did)? You may need to do some guided imagery.

Now, I’m much more mindful because I’m not rushing through life at warp speed; I get plenty of sleep (when one of the kids isn’t waking me up because of a nightmare or a tummyache) and I’m eating a diet that’s rich in greens, whole grains, and beans. The result: I’m not craving the sweet stuff anymore. In fact, I don’t really get food cravings any more. I’m back down to my pre-baby weight—and have more energy than ever.

Mindfulness Sign

Good advice for every aspect of our lives: stop rushing—and start appreciating the present moment!

So it’s no surprise to me, then, that I recent study from Plymouth University in the UK found that Guided Imagery (a technique of focusing and guiding thoughts that uses all the senses) helps to reduce food cravings. People involved in the study were asked to abstain from food overnight, and then to carry out 10 min of something called body scanning (a form of meditation), guided imagery, or a mind-wandering task.

They rated their cravings before, during, and after. While cravings rose for the mind wanderers, it didn’t for the guided imagery or body scanning groups.

Investigators conclude that “brief guided imagery strategies might form useful components of weight-loss programs that attempt to address cravings”. My bottom line: being mindful of your life, of what you eat, of what you do every second of the day helps you stay focused and in balance—which benefits your health, your weight, and your sanity.

If you need help with guided imagery or mindfulness, here are two resources I highly recommend (and have used myself):



A basic guide to mindfulness that I have listened to many times.

Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn (CD, $13.37). Just listening to this guy’s voice is enough to de-stress you, but this CD helps you learn how to stop and become mindful in all aspects of your life.



Belleruth Naparstek Weight Loss Guided Imagery

A super-effective guided imagery CD.

Health Journeys Weight Loss by Belleruth Naparstek (mp3, $11.98; CD, $17.98). Belleruth is the expert when it comes to guided imagery.

Mom of Four: “I Never Thought I Could Be an Athlete”

Written by: on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Aurora with her four children and husband.

Just five years ago, San Diego-based Aurora Gonzalez Colello—now 40—was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis); 10 lesions were discovered on her brain, through an MRI, after excruciating pain caused vision loss in one eye. She was told by her doctor not to exercise (heating up the body during exercise has been known to trigger MS symptoms like vision loss, fatigue, numbness, dizziness, memory problems, and balance problems) and to accept the fact that she had a progressive incurable disease and might never gain her full vision back.

This year, on Saturday, September 7—along with 5, 499 other athletes—she’ll swim almost a mile in the Pacific Ocean, bike almost 25 miles along


Aurora finds time to train whenever she can—sometimes fitting it in while her kids are at sports practice.

the Pacific Coast Highway in California, and run more than 6 miles along the sands of Zuma Beach—one of the largest beaches in Los Angeles County. Despite her doctor’s warnings about exercise and accepting her “fate”, Aurora is planning on finishing strong in the 27th annual Nautica Malibu Triathlon presented by Equinox.

“This is a race that I’ve been wanting to do. It’s a great race; it’s a beautiful place to race. I’ve been training hard for it,” says Aurora, who has taken not one of the 21 triathlons she’s already participated in for granted. “I started off with a sprint distance triathlon in a bay and gradually worked my way up to this point, with ocean swims.” Last year, she did a half IronMan (1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1 mile run).

But ask this mom of four kids (ages 12, 10, 7, and 5)—all of whom are home-schooled by her—how she finds the time to train for an event like this, and she says: “If you want something bad enough, you’ll let go of the stuff that’s not important and fit it in.”

How she transformed her body—and took charge of her disease

Before she was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) in 2008, at the age of 35, Aurora never worried much about her body—or her health. “I was thin. I ate whatever I wanted (and didn’t really eat well) and never really needed to work out,” she says. “I thought: ‘I’m skinny so I’m healthy’. I couldn’t run a mile without stopping.”


Aurora finishing the ocean swim part of a triathlon (not easy!).

And then everything changed. Aurora started getting a pain in the back of her right eye that became excruciating. Then she lost her vision in that same eye.

After her diagnosis, she panicked. “I was scared,” she says. “I was in this constant paranoia about my health—and about what was going to happen to me and my body.”

Having been told she has a progressive incurable disease—and might never get her vision back—Aurora sent an e-mail to everyone she knew, asking their advice, experts they knew of who treated MS, and anyone they knew of with the disease. “I got a list of 15 to 20 names of people who I could talk to,” she explains. “One of those people was going to a holistic center. Another recommended an Ayurvedic neurologist. I went to see both.” That decision to break out of her box with regard to what could help her is what changed the course of Aurora’s illness—and her health—for the better.

“I had a lot of blood tests—and they came back saying I was deficient in just about every vitamin and mineral, including vitamin D and all the B vitamins,” says Aurora, who explains that’s what prompted her to radically change her diet and her lifestyle.

Exercise: While her conventional doctor told to be careful with exercise, Aurora researched the benefits of exercise and found that it could help MS patients. (One study, in particular, found that highly fit MS patients perform significantly better on tests of cognitive function


Fit, happy, and healthy—Aurora's whole life changed when she overhauled her diet and started training for triathlons.

than those less fit peers. The study, published in the journal Brain Research, found that highly fit MS patients actually had fewer brain lesions—which could account for the cognitive differences.

“The truth is I started training for a triathlon because my doctors told me I couldn’t,” she says. “I was very scared when I started training, but I started slow.” She also overhauled her diet with the help of the holistic medical center—and her Ayurvedic neurologist.

Diet:“My Ayurvedic neurologist taught me about herbs and eating to


Crossing the finish line with her kids!

prevent inflammation,” says Aurora. “Now I’m on an anti-inflammatory diet—no boxed or processed foods, only natural whole foods. It’s a Paleo way of eating.”

“I used to be addicted to sugar,” she says.  “I used to need my coffee with tons of sugar—and candy bars every day at 3 p.m. But the first thing I noticed when I changed my diet is that I wasn’t craving sugar any more.” (Sugar has been shown to create inflammation in the body.)

Lifestyle: “I have to get enough sleep,” says Aurora. “Sleep is huge for me. My neurologist told me I need to be in bed by 10 every night and get 11 or 12 hours of sleep. When I start slacking off on sleep, on my diet, on my supplements, the symptoms start: my arms get numb, I get shooting pain along the side of my face. As a result, I don’t slack off any more. I can’t.”

“It’s been 5 years now,” says Aurora. “All my lesions, every single one of them, are gone right now—and I know exactly what I need to do to keep the disease at bay. But the lesions and symptoms will come back if I start slacking off.”

“I didn’t know what healthy was until I experienced true health,” says Aurora, who founded a blog about living a healthy lifestyle. “I just wish more women would be open to this fact—so much of it is fitness and diet and how you’re living; just make these changes and you’ll see big benefits.”

“I’m an athlete now but I’d never thought I’d be this person,” says Aurora. “My husband even told me, ‘I can’t believe this is you.’”

Aurora’s Healthy Living Tips:

 • Re-think your mindset. “When I was first diagnosed, I was crying and so upset after hearing about the course of the disease and all the symptoms I’d be experiencing,” says Aurora. “But what I quickly came to realize is that having an illness is so much about your mindset. All the experts tell you what to expect; they put you in a box with symptoms. But each disease is unique to each individual; you don’t have to experience those symptoms.”

• Be open to things. “Whether you’re diagnosed with a disease or not, live a preventive life,” says Aurora. “Be open to things that may seem weird or out of the box like Ayurveda and natural or holistic or integrative medicine. These may be the things that can really help you; they’re about finding the root cause of your problem. They look at the whole person.”

Don’t be intimated by fitness. “Don’t ever say, “I could never run or do a race.’ Anyone can do it. Anyone can improve their fitness level,” says Aurora, who adds: “Work toward something. So many of us don’t ever give ourselves a chance to be what we want in the future. We limit ourselves. Don’t ever limit yourself.”

The quote I live my life by: “Life your life today like no one else so you’re not regretting it later on; don’t follow what everyone else is doing.”