Getting a manicure is a great way to keep your fingernails in shape, but have you thought about your cuticles and why they are important? Cuticles keep dirt and bacteria out of the body. If the cuticle does not exist or has been cut away, it leaves the body vulnerable to infection and nail fungus because dirt and bacteria can get underneath the skin in that area. So the cuticle actually protects you!
What is the best way to care for your cuticles? The right combination of vitamins and minerals, in a cuticle cream or cuticle butter, provides nutrients to the cuticle. Cutting the cuticles will only lead to problems such as ridges and white spots on the nails, in addition to a possible entryway for bacteria. The cuticles are intended to protect while being soft. By using essential oils combined with a few other amazing ingredients, you can make your own DIY cuticle butter that moisturizes and softens the cuticles, literally at your fingertips! And this combined with my DIY moisturizer for dry skin can offer amazing results for soft, attractive hands. (1)
How to Make Cuticle Cream
To make your own cuticle cream, start by filling about one-third of a small saucepan with water. Bring the water to a boil. Now, combine the shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil into a mason jar or heat safe glass container, and place it in the pan. As these ingredients melt, blend them together with a spoon or whisk. Shea butter is a favorite of mine because it is loaded with stearic and oleic acids as well as vitamin E and vitamin A. It boosts collagen, too, which is a major benefit to the skin and its youthful appearance. Beeswax falls right in line with shea butter, adding amazing moisturizing benefits because it’s also rich in vitamin A. As an emollient, it softens and hydrates the skin while maintaining healthy cellular structure. And, of course, coconut oil adds benefits to this easy-to-make cuticle saver by offering antibacterial and moisturizing properties. It also contains lots of antioxidants.
Now, remove from heat and add the vitamin E, lavender, lemon and myrrh essential oils. We know vitamin E is great for the health of your skin. Even though vitamin E is found in the shea butter and beeswax, adding a little more can provide some added benefits. Vitamin E helps strengthen the cuticles. Plus, it adds moisture and elasticity, which is helpful for keeping them soft. Additionally, it is a natural anti-aging nutrient that reduces inflammation. What’s better is when you combine vitamin E with vitamin C found in lemon essential oil, it gains the ability to fight even more inflammation.
Lavender essential oil is not only relaxing, but it is also a very healing ingredient for the skin due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics. And myrrh is favored among essential oils for healthy skin and cuticles because it is great at preventing fungal infection. Tea tree essential oil is another great option to prevent and/or heal nail fungus.
Once you have blended all of the ingredients well, transfer to a small container or jar and let the mixture cool to room temperature. This will solidify it into a butter or dense cream. To use, massage a small amount onto and around the cuticle area. Allow it to sit for 10–15 minutes. Or simply massage it in, using it as a moisturizer for the entire hand. You can apply the cuticle cream daily. Make sure to wash your hands well before dipping into the container. Or, use a spoon or knife to scoop out the cream so that you do not contaminate it with bacteria since we do not add preservatives. This recipe will last several months, so you can store it in your bathroom cabinet.
DIY Cuticle Cream with Lavender & Myrrh
Total Time: 5 minutes
1 tablespoon organic beeswax
1 ½ tablespoons organic raw shea butter
½ teaspoon organic coconut oil
2 drops vitamin E oil
2 drops lemon essential oil
8 drops lavender essential oil
2 drops of myrrh essential oil
2 drops tea tree essential oil (optional)
Fill about one-third of a small saucepan with water. Bring the water to a boil.
Combine the shea butter, beeswax and coconut oil into a mason jar or heat-safe glass container. Place the jar in the pan.
Blend ingredients together with a spoon or whisk.
Remove from heat and add the vitamin E, lavender, lemon and myrrh essential oils.
Transfer to a small container or jar and let it cool to room temperature.
Packing a lunch every day is a great way to start (or keep) healthy eating habits. When you’re stressed at work and pressed for time, or running from one errand to the next, fueling up often ends up being something you do in haste, desperation, or simply on the way to your next appointment. Preparing and packing a lunch ensures that you won’t be taken in by what’s convenient but less than ideal nutrition-wise. But packing lunch is also a lot more complicated than it seems like it should be, because time and planning are essential to making a meal that's healthy, that satisfies, and that travels.
Throwing together a quick sandwich isn't the only speedy brown bag lunch option , however. And according to Yeung, when it comes to packing a healthy, balanced, sustaining lunch, the secret is in the storage.
Before we get to the details, it's important to note that weight loss as a goal isn't necessarily for everyone, and healthy eating can look completely different from person to person. What works for some may not work for others. For anyone who has a history of disordered eating, even if you're in recovery, you should speak with a doctor before you change your eating habits or pursue any weight-loss goal. Even if you don't have a history of disordered eating, it's really important to have realistic expectations and make sure you're approaching weight loss in a healthy way. Many factors play into weight loss—like exercise, getting good sleep, managing stress levels, and genetics—so simply eating fewer calories may not bring the results you want. With so many factors at play, it's no wonder weight loss varies so much person-to-person. But if you just want to eat healthier in general, these simple tips can help you do that, too.
The key to a properly prepped and packed lunch is containers that do the portion-control for you.
One way to make sure you're getting the right balance of nutrients, especially at lunchtime, is to actually measure it all out. This can be harder to do when you’re putting things in a storage container compared to dishing it out onto a dinner plate, where it’s easier to visually judge portion size, Yeung notes. To properly measure out your packed lunch, you have two options. Either actually get your measuring cups and spoons out (a tedious task that may further put you off the lunch-packing grind). Or, do as Yeung suggests and invest in containers that will do the portioning for you.
She tells SELF, "While I don’t measure my food, I do have a variety of containers ranging in sizes from a quarter to two cups, which helps keeps my portions in control. For instance, I’ll pack nuts and hummus in my quarter-cup containers and fruit in half-cup containers. For packing entrees, I use the 2 cup size containers.” Bucking the trend of topping a base of grains with veg and protein, she uses what she calls her “reverse plating” method , filling the container halfway with veggies and splitting the remaining space evenly between whole grains and protein.
There are lots of great products for packing up a perfectly portioned lunch, including cute bento boxes and Weck jars . But you don’t need to buy anything special to make the system work. Yeung says that though she is particular about the sizes of her storage units, she isn’t picky about the containers themselves. "I don’t use anything fancy to pack my lunches. It’s usually mason jars and basic Tupperware," she tells SELF. So if you're ready to alter your lunch packing habits, there are plenty of affordable, handy, and BPA-free storage options you can buy . A better midday meal is just a new Tupperware container away.
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Anyone who’s ever watched a Skittles commercial has heard the suggestion to “taste the rainbow.” While it may seem counterintuitive that a candy commercial has good weight loss and healthy eating advice, registered dietitians are fans of this guidance. The only catch: That “rainbow” you're talking about is produce , not sweets.
First, a head's up: You should know that when it comes to health and weight loss, it's all about finding what works for you, which may or may not be what works for other people. And if you want to lose weight, it's key to think about where that desire comes from—and whether losing weight is a decision that will ultimately make you healthier and happier. For instance, if you have a history of disordered eating , you should check in with your doctor before beginning a weight-loss plan or changing your dietary habits, no matter how healthy that change may seem. And keep in mind that even if you don't have that history, setting reasonable goals is key. When it comes down to it, weight loss is about a lot more than how many colors you have on your plate. Other crucial factors: how much you sleep, your general stress levels, hormonal changes, and more. No matter where you are on your health and fitness journey, do your best to be kind to yourself, take your time, and listen to your body.
Whether or not you’re trying to lose (or maintain) your weight—maybe you just want to treat your body well in general—eating the rainbow might help you get there. “Everyone always hears to eat more fruits and vegetables,” Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.N., founder of the New York-based BZ Nutrition , tells SELF. Specifically, the recommendation is that women between the ages of 19 and 30 eat 2.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit each day. Women between 31 and 50 should eat the same amount of vegetables, but downgrade the fruit to 1.5 cups a day (fruit has a lot of sugar).
That all sounds good in theory. In practice, it's easy to fall short of taking full advantage of produce’s potential, including bringing about weight loss. “A more fun, interesting way to approach [eating the recommended amount of produce]—and make sure you’re actually doing it—is to eat the rainbow,” Zeitlin says. This method helps keep you from getting bored with your healthy meals, plus it allows you to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods without overdoing it on calories, Laura Cipullo, R.D., C.D.N., C.D.E., C.E.D.R.D., owner of Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition , tells SELF.
“Every fruit and vegetable has different colors based on the different minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, and antioxidants it contains,” Zeitlin says. For example, sweet potatoes have that delightful orange color because of their beta-carotene , an antioxidant that your body can convert into vitamin A, possibly boosting your eye health, immune system, and skin. By switching up the fruits and vegetables you eat, you’re making sure to get as much varied goodness as possible.
You don’t have to meet an exact number of produce-provided colors at each meal. It’s more about the overall ethos of the “rule”: To maximize fruits' and vegetables’ incredible potential by getting as large of a variety as you can. “You don’t need to have every single color in one meal as long as you’re eating them throughout the day,” Zeitlin says. “Greens can be a good basis, then you can build on that.”
On the flip side, if your plates are regularly filled with various shades of white or brown, it could be a sign your diet isn't diverse enough, meaning you're likely missing out on a lot of nutrients. “If your plates are just one color, you aren’t including a variety of vegetables—you’re probably eating more packaged foods, probably doing more takeout,” Cipullo says.
In addition to phytonutrients, foods that are plants are a great source of fiber , which is great for weight loss, weight maintenance, and keeping blood sugar level. “When you’re trying to make your plate chock-full of colorful veggies, you’re loading up on fiber, which keeps you full for a long time,” Zeitlin says. She's right: Fiber is a bulky nutrient, taking up valuable real estate in your stomach and helping you feel more satisfied than you otherwise might. “When you get enough fiber, you don’t needlessly snack as much between meals, and when you’re heading into your next meal, you’re not as ravenous,” Zeitlin says.
Keep in mind that you can take baby steps when incorporating the rainbow IRL. “I just joined up a CSA—it forces you to get creative,” says Cipullo, who also recommends trying a meal delivery service , or simply making an effort to eat locally. “Then you’ll be eating in season, so it’s going to be varied,” she explains. But all of that can get expensive or seem overwhelming if you're not used to it, so eating the rainbow can be as simple as maximizing the number of colors of produce in your cart on your usual trip to the supermarket.
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