Nutrition

How To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

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Oh, the holidays. We look forward to them all year, but they can also stress us out. And we're not just talking about the stress of organizing. The abundance of unhealthy food and overeating can be a source of anxiety. Most people gain 1 to 3 pounds over the holidays. Not a big drama on its own, except that many people never lose those extra pounds. How do we make the holidays a little healthier, so we can enjoy it guilt-free. Here are 7 tips...

1. Exercise More the Weeks Before

How not to worry about the small weight gain during Thanksgiving and Christmas? By shedding some extra weight beforehand! Start doing adding some cardio exercises the weeks before, lengthen your existing workouts, and/or eat smaller portions than usual. Possibly the simplest and most reliable way to stay healthy on track during the holidays, and diminish guilt.

2. Throw in Walks

You may not have time or motivation to go do full workouts, but a nice stroll can be very fitting holiday activity! Take the family for a walk in nearby nature and burn calories while enjoying the fall and winter weather. The cosier it is inside afterwards! If you are at a big party, there are always some people who are down for a little after-dinner walk.

how to stay healthy and guilt free during holidays los angeles spa sophia3. Eat Beforehand

While you might be tempted to skip eating all day on Thanksgiving and Christmas to "save" some calories that way, it is actually wiser to eat something small before. Research has found this prevents people from binging on food. So don't let yourself go hungry, eat a fulfilling breakfast with a small portion of protein.

4. Choose Calmly

When you see all that food everywhere it's tempting to load up your plate with everything, but try to take a moment before. What dishes are there? What are your favorites? Which dishes are special? Go for only the things you really like and that you don't already have weekly. There is no need to try everything. And know that plain turkey, pumpkin pie and roasted veggies are healthier than gravy loaded red meat, chocolate cake and bean casseroles.

5. Be Mindful

When you do eat, savor! Put your fork down after every bite and eat consciously. Perhaps have a sip of water every few bites. Be present in the moment and really enjoy your food. It takes your mind about 20 minutes to realize you're full, so don't rush. Talking to people is also great to take your mind off the food. Traverse the room, speak to all those you haven't seen for a while. Enjoy!

6. Drink Water

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It detoxes, helps move your food down to digestive tract, and also makes you feel satiated more quickly. If you can, try to drink water instead of soda, sugary juices, and alcoholic beverages. Drinking water on top of those is still a great idea, though. Add a little lemon or lime juice for an extra kick.

7. Use Healthy Holiday Recipes

You may not be able to control what others bring to the table, but you can control what you bring, so make it worth your while. There are many healthy holiday recipes around, but here are some quick tips:

  • Grill, roast, broil, stir-fry, poach and steam food instead of frying or deep frying.
  • Season turkey and other meat overnight with spices, rather than using creamy, heavy sauces
  • Use fat-free chicken broth for gravy.
  • Use fruit purees instead of butter and oil for baked goods.
  • Use plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream for creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.

Need a little relief from all the holiday craziness? Spa Sophia is offering 20% off all Zents products with the purchase of a Zents massage! Find out more here.

5 Easy, Healthy Breakfast Recipes That Keep You Full

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Mornings can be chaotic and rushed, and breakfast may be turned into a quick bagel with cream cheese, a coffee, or even nothing it all. But  remember what your parents said? Something along the lines of "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day?" Don't want to listen to your folks? Then listen to us! Or, well, science. Because studies have shown that people who eat their biggest meal at breakfast have a smaller chance of gaining weight, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease, and are less likely to regain lost weight. Eating a good breakfast prevents you from splurging later on, and gets your metabolism going. So no matter what your nutritional goals are, it's very important to get a healthy breakfast.  A healthy breakfast consists of proteins, fiber and vitamins, and is calorie conscious. Here are five of our favorite easy, healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full...

Leek & Goat Cheese Frittata

This savory breakfast recipe has tons of protein, and can be refrigerated and served cold later on. It's one of our favorite healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full, because you only have to make it only once or twice to have a delish nutritious breakfast all week.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. leeks
  4. 1 bell pepper
  5. spinach leaves
  6. brown onion
  7. crumbled goat cheese
  8. pepper
  9. salt

Prep: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, crack the eggs and whisk with pepper and salt. Cut the veggies and fry them in a small saucepan until the spinach leaves have shrunk and the onion is golden brown. Pour over the egg mixture and stir, then let it sit until the egg begins to set. Take the pan off the stove and sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top. Put the whole thing in the preheated oven. Let it bake for about 10 minutes, and voila! Un frittata!

Apple Coconut Bowl

This is one of our fave healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full because it's so fresh, and made within 5 minutes. It can also easily be eaten on the go. The nuts and yoghurt add some protein while the fruit and chia seeds gets you your vitamins.

Ingredients:

  1. Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
  2. 1/2 cup Plain non fat/low fat yogurt
  3. Chia seeds
  4. 10 oven roasted almonds
  5. 2 Apples

Prep: Grate your apples with a cheese grater into a bowl, add chia seeds, almonds, coconut flakes, yoghurt and that's it: you're all done!

Veggie Omelet

Another  one of those savory, healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full all morning, and takes maybe 10 minutes to make. Cut the veggies on Sunday and bag and refrigerate them to save time, or just buy chopped veggies.

Ingredients: olive oil 1/2 zucchini 2 green onion 1/2 bell pepper 1 large egg 3 large egg whites 2 tablespoons shredded Gouda cheese pepper salt

Prep: Whisk eggs, egg whites, salt, pepper, some water and cheese in a bowl. Cut veggies and heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add veggies and a pinch of salt to the pan and sauté until they're crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Then heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat pan with olive oil. Pour egg mixture into pan and cook until edges begin to set (about 2 minutes). Lift the edges of the omelet and tilt the pan to allow uncooked egg mixture to cook. Add the veggies to one half of the omelet and sprinkle with cheese. Then fold the omelet and  enjoy!

Walnut & Banana Cereal Combo

This sweet, fruity breakfast can be made within a minute and is super delicious. While low on calories, the nuts and Greek yogurt add protein and the bran flakes fiber, so you'll feel satiated all morning. Probably one of the easiest healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full.

Ingredients: 1 banana 10 walnuts 1/4 cup bran flakes 1/4 cup Greek yogurt 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Prep:

Cut the banana into pieces, throw them into a bowl, and add cinnamon, walnuts, bran flakes and yogurt. Yup, that's all. So you really have no excuse to skip breakfast ever again, you!

Breakfast Quesedilla

On of those very California healthy breakfast recipes that keep you full, and we're sure nothing new for our Los Angeles spa clients. But unlike restaurant versions and breakfast burritos, this one is low on calories, full of fiber, and low on carbs!

Ingredients:

cooking spray 1 whole grain tortilla 1 large egg 2 tablespoons chunky salsa 1/2 avocado 1/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar

Prep:

Whisk the eggs and spray a skillet with cooking spray, then heat over a medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add eggs, scrambling until cooked through. Take off heat. Spread one half of the tortilla with salsa, scrambled eggs, avocado and cheese. Then fold op. Grill in a frying pan or on a grill and take off when both sides are brown. Yum!

Combine your healthy diet with relaxing massages or Ayurvedic treatments from Spa Sophia to achieve full inner beauty. And while beauty starts within, nothing beats a good facial ;) Book your Spa Sophia treatments online or by calling (310) 564 6676.

Six Smoothie Recipes For Beautiful Skin

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Six Smoothie Recipes For Beautiful SkinSmoothies are the perfect snack for summer. They're healthy, refreshing, easy to make and of course extremely yummy. And they can also do great things for your skin as well! We've already told you about the ten best foods for beautiful skin, but if you need some inspiration for smoothie recipes with those foods, look no further. Spa Sophia collected six smoothie recipes for beautiful skin. Get the blender going and drink your way to beauty!

Green Kale Smoothie Recipe

Kale contains carotinoids, which have been proven to enhance complexion and skin color. Some super healthy chia seeds add texture, while the grapes boost taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cleaned kale, raw
  • 1 cup green seedless grapes
  • 1 Bartlett pear, core, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 orange, peeled and quartered
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1⁄2 cup water

Green Spinach & Celery Smoothie Recipe

The folate in spinach helps protect against skin cancer by preventing and restoring DNA damage. On top of that the water in spinach passes skin cell membranes, which creates a healthy plump looking skin. Add to that celery's vitamins (especially vitamin K for skin firmness) and you've got one of the best smoothie recipes for beautiful skin!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cleaned spinach leaves, raw
  • 1 cup celery hearts
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, peeled
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Carrot & Almond Milk Smoothie Recipe

Carrots contain a lot of carotinoids, which improve your skin color and complexion. On top of that carrots also contain heaps of vitamin A, which reduces overproduction of the outer skin layer and the resulting clogged pores and breakouts. Mix it with Vitamin E rich almond milk and some pumpkin pie spice for a little edge, and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup carrots, shaved
  • 1 banana, peeled
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 2 tablespoons cup coconut cream

Greek Yoghurt & Berries Smoothie Recipe

Greek yoghurt calms irritation and skin dryness and its proteins keep skin firm and wrinkle resistant. The berries don't just add flavor, they also add vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Who knew smoothie recipes for beautiful skin could be so tasty?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt

Avocado Antioxidant Power Smoothie Recipe

Avocados contain lots of vitamin C, E and K, which are essential for a healthy skin. They also have plenty of antioxidants to protect and help fight the aging of skin, as does kiwi.

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1/2 mango
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Pomegranate Berry Bomb Smoothie Recipe

Pomegranates are full of polyphenols, antioxidants that fight free radicals, protecting your skin from damage. They also regulate your skin’s blood flow, giving you an healthy, rosy tone. The pomegranate makes this one of the better and more original smoothie recipes for beautiful skin. And it's oh so tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup low fat yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp flax seed

Want more nutrition and skin advice? Our estheticians love sharing their wisdom. Book an appointment for a facial, wax, massage or ayurvedic treatment online or call 310.564.6676.

Ten Best Foods For Beautiful Skin

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ten best foods for beautiful skin almonds spa sophiaWhile facials and good skin care products can help your skin tremendously, beauty starts from the inside. Unhealthy habits can undo many of the benefits facials and external skin care create, particularly smoking and a bad diet. That's why Spa Sophia recommends a healthy, balanced diet for clients who are serious about skin care and want to create long term effects. Want to know which foods are the best for your skin? Read our list of  the 10 best skin foods...

1. Kale

Kale is all the rage, and for a good reason. Kale contains carotinoids, which in a clinical study were proven to enhance complexion and skin color. People therefore rated the skin of people who ate more kale as better looking.

2. Pomegranate

Pomegranates are full of polyphenols. What? Polyphenols are antioxidants that fight free radicals, protecting your skin from damage. They also regulate your skin's blood flow, giving you an healthy, rosy tone. When applied directly to the skin pomegranate also moisturizes and fights wrinkles. Bring out the pomegranate juice!

3. Avocado

Angelenos love their avocados, and thankfully they're full of health and beauty benefits too! Avocados contain lots of vitamin C, E and K, which are essential for a healthy skin. It also has plenty of antioxidants, so go ahead and enjoy that guac!

4. Greek Yogurt

Yogurt and dairy products in general are nice for your skin, as they calm irritation and reduce dryness, but Greek yogurt is especially beneficial due to its protein content. Proteins keep skin firm and wrinkle resistant, and Greek yogurt often has twice the amount of protein that regular yoghurt has. Add some berries and granola and turn Greek yoghurt into your breakfast.

5. Almonds

These verstatile seeds are full of vitamin E, which helps protect against sun damage. Studies even found that people who ate more almonds got less sunburned. Add them to salads, that Greek yoghurt breakfast, or go with peanuts as a suitable replacement.

6. Carrots

Just like kale, carrots contain a lot of carotinoids, which improve your skin color and complexion. On top of that carrots also contain heaps of vitamin A, which reduces overproduction of the outer skin layer and the resulting clogged pores and breakouts.

7. Flaxseed

Flaxseed is full of Omega-3, which reduces redness and irritation, and makes skin absorb more moisture. This in turn leads to less wrinkles. Add some flaxseed to your smoothies or sautee your veggies in flaxseed oil. Fish are also a great source of Omega-3.

8. Spinach

Popeye knew what he was doing. The water in spinach and most other greens passes the skins' cell membranes, making it look more plump and healthy. More importantly though: The folate in spinach helps protect against skin cancer by preventing and restoring DNA damage. People who eat lots of greens have been shown to have half the amount of tumors.

9. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are total health champs. They contain boat loads of Vitamin C that increases collagen production. In fact, sweet potatoes have been proven to lead to 11 % less wrinkles if eaten over a long time. Carrots also do the trick!

10. Tuna

Just like flax seed tuna contains Omega-3 which - like we stated before- reduces redness and irritation, and makes skin absorb more moisture. On top of that tuna also contains selenium that preserves elastin. More elastin means less wrinkles, so add some tuna to your diet!

Want to really treat your skin? Get one of Spa Sophia's cutting edge facials. Book one online or call us at 310.564-6676.

How To Pick Healthy Carbs: The Glycemic Index

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how to find healthy carbs glycemix indexFollowing a healthy, nutritious diet can sometimes seem like a day job. Proteins, sugars, carbs, gluten, fat, omega-3, mercury: There are so many things to pay attention to. Especially sugar and carbs have gotten a lot of attention. While we used to look at just the amount of sugar in food,  it later became carbs as a whole. Then it was the amount of simple carbs versus complex carbs, and recently it became all about the Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load and Insulin Index. What are these things, what do they teach you about food, and what should you pay attention to? Spa Sophia explains.

The Importance of Glucose

Carbs and sugars are so important because they create blood sugar, also known as glucose. Your body uses glucose for energy, but stores whatever is left over as fat. High levels of glucose can lead to diabetes, stroke, obesity and other cardiovascular diseases.

Eating large amounts of carbs is therefore never a good thing, but not all carbs are created equal. Some carbs are digested very quickly, flooding your blood with glucose, which makes you feel hungry soon after. These carbs are found in candy and junk food, and are the ones that can and leads to aforementioned health problems. Other carbs release glucose more gradually though, which is healthier and also keeps you feeling more satiated. Fruits and vegetables are examples.

The Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index (GI) has recently gained a lot of popularity because it takes this difference between carbs into account. The GI is a number that describes how quickly glucose rises after eating certain foods. Foods with high GI scores (in the 70-100 range) cause quick glucose spikes, while food with low GI scores (55 and under) have a gradual glucose release.

The Glycemic Load

While the GI is a better measure than just looking at carbs, the GI doesn’t take into account how many carbs of a food are typically eaten. For example, white pasta has a GI of 46 and apples a GI of 50. That doesn’t mean white pasta is healthier though, because people typically eat 100 calories of an apple, while they eat about 500 of white pasta. That’s why the Glycemic Load (GL) was invented. The GL looks at both the GI and how many carbs are typically eaten in one serving. A GL of 20 or more is considered high, while a GL of less than twenty is considered low.

The Insulin Index

With the popularity of the GI and the GL came the criticism that it only takes into account food with carbs, while other food can also influence glucose levels, due to their effect on insulin. For example protein heavy foods like steak. While the GI and the Insulin Index scores are often quite similar, some foods do trigger a disproportionate insulin reaction. The insulin index, just like the GI, doesn’t account for the amount of carbs usually eaten per serving, though.

So How To Pick Healthy Carbs?

It’s good to educate yourself about things like the GI, GL and Insulin Index, but don’t worry about adding another checklist item to following a healthy diet. Because the foods with high GI, GL and insulin scores are the ones you probably already know are unhealthy. And the same goes for those with low scores. So stick to as much fruit, veggies and raw, non processed foods as you can, and you should be good!

Want to go about your health and beauty holistically? Book an all natural facial, wax or massage at Spa Sophia’s online or make an appointment by calling 310.564.6676.