How to Relax During the Holidays. Really.

The season is a whole lot jollier when you stop to smell the candy canes.

have a relaxing holiday

Before you wrap another present or bake more holiday cookies, promise yourself to take time out of your hectic schedule to do something nice for yourself. After all, you can’t tackle that to-do list if you’re suddenly knocked out with the flu.

Here, 10 ways to ensure a healthier, happier and more fulfilling holiday season.

1. Nourish your body. Resist the urge to stuff your pantry with holiday treats. Instead, keep an assortment of low-calorie, immunity-boosting snacks on hand. Soup is one staple to have in your cabinets all winter. It keeps you feeling warm and full (read: too full to snack an hour later), and it’s a great way to load up on veggies and protein.

2. Take a timeout. When you’re feeling frazzled, stop what you’re doing, take some deep breaths and switch gears. Go for a run or walk, practice yoga, or meet up with a friend for coffee. You’ll return to your tasks with a fresh perspective and renewed energy.

3. Pamper yourself. Take a little time during the day to pamper yourself—starting with your hands, which are probably taking a beating not just from the cold, but from all that baking and gift wrapping. Stock up on hand lotion and keep it near all the sinks in your home, and in your purse, to stay soft and sweet-smelling. We love Gloves In A Bottle ($18 at Walgreen’s), Origins Rejuvenating Hand Treatment ($22) or L’Occitane Shea Butter Extra Gentle Lotion for Hands & Body ($26).

4. Delegate. For those of us who are a bit OCD, this can be tough, but try not to take it upon yourself to do absolutely everything. Have your significant other or your kids help too. Put them to work licking envelopes, mailing holiday cards or delivering goodies to the neighbors. Bonus points if you can get them out of the house for a while (holiday shopping, anyone?) and watch your own productivity soar.

5. Treat yourself. Shop for something you really want and buy it. Yes, it’s the season of giving, but how often do you shop for yourself? We’re talking about something you don’t necessarily need, but damn it’s pretty. Whether it’s a beautiful scarf or that new eye palette from your favorite makeup counter, every time you put it on you’ll feel fantastic.

6. Catch your Zs. Your mind is going a million miles an hour, so it’s vital that you get enough shut-eye. Sleep allows your body to repair itself, strengthens your immune system, and keeps your metabolism at an optimal level. If you’re having trouble dozing off at night, put away all the devices and read in bed to help yourself drift off.

7. Just say no. This one might be the hardest of all, but when you overcommit you set yourself up for too many negatives. If declining is not in your vocabulary, then break down the work. For example, if you promised to attend two Christmas parties on the same day, then stay at each party for only an hour or two. Most people will understand, and those who don’t may not be worth the effort.

8. Don’t attempt to please everyone. During this emotionally charged season, feelings can be more easily hurt and words may be taken out of context. Remember, we are all trying our best. It’s important to stay true to the spirit of the season—to get together, be grateful for those in our lives, and create long-lasting memories.

9. Fight the urge for perfection. If your children are decorating gingerbread houses or helping you wrap gifts, allow them to do it themselves, their way. So what if tape gets stuck in everyone’s hair or there’s frosting in all the wrong places. Everyone will enjoy themselves and feel proud of their creations when you let go and enjoy these beautiful, messy moments.

10. Be present. Give the people you love your undivided attention for five minutes, and you’ll see your mood elevate along with theirs. Share a glass of wine with your SO and ask him how his day was. Read a holiday story to a child in your life. Call your BFF and catch up on her family news.

It’s easy to get caught up in the stress, but come January, the holidays will be a distant memory and you may even find yourself wondering how you ever got that stressed to begin with…Well, maybe.

Happy Holidays from Red Typewriter!

New Superfoods That Will Supercharge Your Life

Move over, almonds and acai, and make room in the cupboard for these nutritional rock stars.

new superfoods

The word “superfood” has become one of the most overused words in our culinary vocabulary. We’ve all read about the enormous health benefits that nutrient-packed goodies such as avocados, fish oil, flaxseed, acai berries and coconut oil can provide. But the truth is, there are many more powerhouse foods out there waiting to boost your health while adding flavor and variety to meals. Here are 10 superfoods you may not yet have heard of, but should definitely get to know.

the new superfoods

1. Spirulina. A member of the algae family and one of the hottest superfoods, spirulina is harvested from both the ocean and fresh water and is available in flake, tablet or powder form. Not only does spirulina contain the most concentrated source of protein known to man, but it also supplies a wide range of photonutrients, vitamins and trace minerals. It may help fight cell-damaging free radicals, curb hunger and increase stamina, as well as aid digestion by suppressing the overgrowth of bad bacteria. How to consume this deep green stuff? Just blend it into your favorite smoothie or salad dressing and reap the benefits.

 

 

the new superfoods

2. Dulse. An edible seaweed whose name rhymes with “pulse,” this superfood provides a wealth of protein and fiber and is rich in vitamins, trace minerals, healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. Resembling a leafy red lettuce, dulse grows wild on the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts and is most readily available in dried leaves or flakes. With a slightly spicy, salty flavor, pulse leaves can be crumbled into soups, stews and casseroles, while the flakes may be sprinkled onto a variety of foods as a nutritious condiment.

 

 

the new superfoods

3. Nutritional Yeast. Affectionately called “notch” by vegans and others in the know, this gluten-free superfood is now being discovered by the rest of us. This inactive yeast is grown on a food source—some brands use sugar cane or beet molasses—then harvested, heated, dried and crumbled into flakes or powder. Found in the bulk or supplement section of most health food stores, nutritional yeast is chock full of B-vitamins and folic acid, and has a mild, nutty-cheesy flavor that makes it a great substitute for cheese in recipes. It can also be sprinkled over popcorn or salads, added to juice, cereal, smoothies, gravies, soups or casseroles, or used to make sandwich spreads.

 

 

new superfoods

4. Bee Pollen. One of the richest sources of complete protein in nature, bee pollen has been consumed by the Chinese for centuries. Packed with all the B vitamins (except B12), vitamins C and E, potent antioxidants and essential amino acids, it’s said to provide stress relief, improve digestion and stamina, and balance hormones while cleansing toxins from the body. Some claim bee pollen also fights acne and depression, and enhances fertility and libido. Always buy organic pollen from an environmentally healthy region and an ethical beekeeper. Start with a quarter-teaspoon a day, and avoid if you have a pollen or bee allergy.

 

 

superfoods_chlorella

5. Chlorella. One of the few edible species of water-grown algae, chlorella is a great source of protein and contains all the B vitamins, vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, amino acids, magnesium, iron, trace minerals and a unique set of phytonutrients. One of this superfood’s greatest health benefits is its ability to cleanse and alkalize the body, reducing inflammation and making it more difficult for diseases to thrive. Chlorella has also been used to relieve pain, reduce hypertension and enhance the immune system. Available in pill, powder or liquid form, chlorella may be added to smoothies and other recipes, or eaten (in pill form) as an on-the-go, high-protein snack.

 

 

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6. Oat Groats. The most natural, unprocessed form of oats, oat groats are another high-nutrient plant food that packs a full spectrum of nutrition, including vitamin E, the B vitamins and minerals. Oat groats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, making them quite filling, and don’t spike your blood sugar the way refined carbohydrates and sugars do. They’ve also been found to benefit heart health, lower blood pressure and possibly help prevent diabetes as part of a high whole-grain diet. If you can’t find them in your local store, a good substitute is steel-cut oats, also called Irish oatmeal, which are the groats cut into pieces with a steel cutter.

 

 

 

the new superfoods

7. Hemp Seeds. This super seed possesses one of nature’s most concentrated plant sources of essential fatty acids (even greater than the mighty flaxseed) and supplies a rich source of easily assimilated amino. It’s loaded with phytonutrients to nourish healthy blood, tissues, cells and organs and provides a rich array of protein and minerals, including zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron. Hemp seeds may help you support a healthy metabolism and fat-burning functions and reduce inflammation. Because they don’t contain phytic acid, they won’t cause bloating when ground into smoothies, sprinkled on salads, or incorporated into other recipes.

 

 

the new superfoods

8. Raw Organic Honey. More opaque and dense—and significantly healthier—than the processed variety that often comes in a cute teddy bear jar, raw honey boasts antibacterial properties that make it an effective topical remedy for sore throats, burns and other wounds. Containing both hydrogen peroxide and phenolic acids, this unpasteurized version is a natural infection-fighter and antioxidant that, when taken orally, may also increase immunity and fight the buildup of “bad” cholesterol. Because it still contains pollen, raw honey also been used to prevent allergy flare-ups. Note that honey should never be given to children under age 2, and that you should consult your doctor before using it to treat allergies or infection. And always purchase an organic variety from a local, ethical beekeeper.

 

 

 

the new superfoods

9. Turmeric. Best known as one of the ingredients in curry, turmeric has a warm, peppery flavor and a deep yellow-orange color. Traditionally called “Indian saffron,” this spice comes from the root of the curcuma longa plant and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye. Touted for its anti-inflammatory and possible cancer-preventing properties, turmeric tastes delicious added to many different recipes, including sautéed apples, steamed cauliflower or green beans and onions. Or, add some turmeric and dried onion to creamy yogurt for a flavor-rich, low-calorie dip.

 

 

 

the new superfoods

10. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. Long used as a natural health remedy, raw apple cider vinegar is a strong digestive aid that has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and helps promote the growth of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your system. This unique vinegar contains potassium and other trace minerals and elements, and has been used for centuries as a natural health tonic and weight-loss aid. Select a version that’s labeled “raw” and “unfiltered” and include in salad dressings, use instead of cooking wine to brighten dishes, or dilute 1 tablespoon in a glass of water to drink before meals.

 

 

 

That Candy Corn Is Not Your Friend

How to be healthy this fall, in spite of all the sugar, spice and holiday vice.

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Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season. Bring on the pies, candies, parties and—for the average person—a few pounds of extra weight! But it is possible for you and your family to enjoy this fun holiday without going completely unhealthy. Here’s how. //READ MORE

Mom and Daughter Shed 200 Pounds

How they supported each other through a life-altering diet-and-fitness program.

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Dynamic Duo: Amy (left) and Margie doing their daily workout.

Both Margery Kashman (Margie, as she’s called by friends) and her daughter, Amy Weismann, struggled with their weight for years. Through the decades, Margie steadily grew from a petite size 5, when she was a teenager, to a size 20. Amy fought a similar battle since she was a child and, by the time she reached her early 20s, weighed more than 200 pounds. Not too long ago, both ladies decided they’d had enough. Enough of avoiding mirrors and scales. Enough of feeling out of control at the dinner table. Enough of buying clothes at plus-size stores. //READ MORE

Are You Too Old For a Tattoo?

Even if you've passed a certain birthday, there's no reason not to think about some ink.

tattoos for women

I got my first and only tattoo when I was 32. I don’t know what triggered the desire, but suddenly I just knew I had to have one.

I was a busy mother of two small children, and I was working full time. Amidst all my family and work responsibilities, I realized that I needed to do something that was just for me. For my tattoo, I chose the astrological symbol for Pisces, which is my horoscope and rings true for my “fishy,” artistic, emotional, fluid/water nature. So that fateful night, for whatever reason, I dragged my already much-tattooed friend to the Electric Rose tattoo parlor and got my “sign” tattooed just above my panty line (the notorious “tramp stamp” location—sexist labeling, whatever). The procedure hurt, but I was proud of my new tattoo and didn’t really care what anyone thought. //READ MORE

The Internet Says I Have a Brain Tumor!

For God's sake, read this before you self-diagnose.

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My 83-year-old mother called me with the following question: “My friend Janie has a rash and the ladies at cards looked at it. Dina says her husband’s cousin has the same thing and that it’s psoriasis, do you think it could be psoriasis?”

Now, the card ladies do have their talents, but their diagnostic skills are dubious at best. Convincing them that their pooled illnesses and hospital stays do not add up to a medical degree is an impossible task. It takes a great deal of discussion, sometimes aided by photos, to counter the collective expertise of the card group. And yet, when they consult me, it’s more for confirmation of their diagnosis than for my medical opinion.

The modern version of the card ladies is the internet medical site. //READ MORE