Monday, June 25, 2012

[Debunking Healthy Food Myths] Myth #1: Healthy Food Tastes Like Cardboard

By Shaina Kamman
Shaina is a Board Certified Health Coach. She works with mothers and others who are hungry for change and ready to make healthy food the staple in their home. She is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, and she is also a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and the Weston A Price Foundation.

With Shaina Kamman

Myth #1: Healthy Food Tastes Like Cardboard

There is a myth going around, and it’s been here for a while. I can definitely remember it from when I was a kid. The myth is that healthy food tastes like cardboard. And I think many of us can attest to that. Who remembers eating those fat-free, sugar-free, low-sodium poser “cookies” that taste like cardboard because they are, in fact, basically cardboard? I do.

But there is a catch. Here is the question: Are those fat-free, sugar-free, low sodium poser “cookies” actually healthy? The answer is a resounding no. Those beautifully packaged little cardboard morsels that will last for ten years on a supermarket shelf are not healthy.  After ten years, if the bugs and the bacteria are still not interested in those things, it’s a pretty clear sign that there was nothing of value to begin with. So- not cookies, not healthy, not yummy. What a bargain.

In our current world, with such vast food choices, how does one identify which foods are actually healthy? It’s easy for anyone’s head to spin, even the intelligent and consciously discerning. When I work with my clientele, I ask them to let go of the “____-free” stigma and switch to something more simple, and much, much more accurate: If it is something your great-grandmother would recognize and feed her family, that is a great place to start.

Let’s start with a simple recipe for Garlic Green Beans:
Steam or blanch green beans to your own desired crunchy/mushyness. In a separate pan, gently sauté garlic in Extra Virgin Olive Oil for about ten seconds. Turn off the fire and add in the drained green beans. Toss it all up, add salt, and serve. Could it be easier? Come on! 

Want to feel good about it?  

Green beans are high in calcium, potassium, and B-complex vitamins. Studies show that, along with other green veggies, they reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Garlic is a rich source of dietary sulphur and selenium, and is great for treating blood pressure disorders, infections, headaches, and parasites. Garlic also contains an oil called allyl disulphate that acts as an anti-bacterial agent in the gut. It lowers cholesterol, prevents cancer, protects again blood clotting, aids in treating bronchitis and emphysema, and strengthens the immune system. BOOM! Drop the Bomb!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a wonderful stable monounsaturated fat that is 75% oleic acid, which helps to regulate blood sugar. It is rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E, and above all, it has proven the test of time.

So what do we have here? A delicious, easy to make dish that is incredibly healthy, tastes nothing like cardboard, and is something your great grandmother would be proud of.

Myth #1 has been debunked!
On a side note, when is sent this article to Mimi, she wanted to know: “But are there any legit healthy "foods from the shelf" ideas that are tasty and healthy? Well, everything is on a continuum. Ideally, yes, if you make it in your kitchen, 95% if the time it will be better for you than packaged. When you cook, you probably don’t add toxic preservatives, food coloring, or the cheapest yuckiest oils available. However, that being said, I also have a quick tip for buying packaged anything. If you can pronounce the ingredients, go for it. If you can’t, its likely more related to plastic than food.


For more information on Shaina’s Health Coaching practice visit and LIKE Life Within on Facebook! Considering if Shaina’s program is the right fit for you? Mention this LadyMama article for a 10% discount on your initial consultation!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

10 Reasons I'm (Still) Overweight

By Mimi Hecht 

A few weeks ago, not coincidentally just after the cheesecake holiday, I hit a remarkable low in my years and years of yo-yo dieting. I was feeling fat, tired, hopeless—questioning my ability to ever get it together and work towards the healthy and thin body I have always craved. 

Since I was 15, I've been conscious of my weight. Not in an insecure way. In fact, sometimes I feel like had I been more insecure like the girls around me, perhaps I'd actually have the determination to succeed at a diet. But even with feeling pretty confident with my body, I always wanted to be thinner. And even when people complimented my body for it's height and supposedly lean look, I was very aware of the extra flubber that weighed me down and prevented me from fitting into things better. I have always been what some people like to call "tall and big boned" but it's really called "overweight." I wear it well, but I have always been about 15 pounds overweight. And then I lose it. Then I gain it. Even at my wedding, when I looked and felt amazing, I was still overweight. 

Last summer, I lost 15 pounds. I felt amazing, confident, and hopeful that in the near future I would be my ideal weight. But then I let go. I didn't binge or lose total control, but I lost sight of the discipline. Now, a year later, I just found out that I have slowly gained back all the weight I had lost from my hard work. The extra weight is burdensome, but more so the realization that I couldn't hold on to my success and keep the weight off. As you can imagine, I feel pretty down about my lack of control. I feel reckless. And desperate. 

I've decided that if I have to lose weight and do this now, for good, or it's never. And I know what needs to be different is actually addressing why I fail—actually dissecting my habits that have up until now built so many stories of failure.

I've started seeing my diet downfalls as more of a mental sickness. Okay, I know that sounds harsh. Who doesn't struggle with their weight? It's normal. But identifying what makes my struggles unique is now laying the groundwork for a successful non-dieting experience. I like to call it the "Get your S!*t together, Mimi" plan. 

I'm about to make myself embarrassingly vulnerable. But I believe deeply that joining together in honesty is often a solution, if not simply healing. And maybe this will help just one more person. So here it is. 

Ten Reasons I'm (Still) Overweight 
(And what needs to change)

I am an excitable person. So when I resolve to get fit and lose weight, it comes with a lot of passion. And with that passion, naturally, comes publicity. I talk about why I'm dieting (again), what my plan is (foolproof, no doubt), why it's going to work this time (riiiiiight). Talk, talk. Blah, blah, blah...on and on. I don't know how my husband, sister and friends have not clobbered me over the head yet. TOO. MUCH. TALK. As if all my dialogue is an actual exercise. When, in fact, its simply just making me feel like I'm being more active and productive than I really am. 
Not to self: Stop talking. It does not burn calories. 

I feel proud that I know a lot about dieting and health. I'm not someone who doesn't understand what being healthy requires. And, just like I have a jabbering issue, I also have this deep need to make it known that I am not some uneducated, incapable neb. So I have this shtik where I make it very known to myself that if I wanted, I could lose weight in a jiffy and rock it. But, alas, just like talking doesn't get me the body I want, spending time flaunting and hashing over my ideals in my mind is equally tricking. It makes me feel like I'm okay, when I'm really suffering. 
Note to self: Stop spending time thinking you're good at this and start feeling just a taaaaad more pathetic. 

This is an obvious one for most people. But I feel like I have an extreme case. Forget birthdays and other special occasions. I use food to reward myself for a plethora of average accomplishments. Like still being alive at the end of the day. Oddly enough, I'll even reward myself with a cookie for having a healthy breakfast earlier. (So now you see why I used the term "mental illness?") Indulging in food when I feel I deserve it is something that I will have to struggle to be conscious of, probably my entire life. When I had my miscarriage a few months ago, I wasn't even aware of how I let go. Even though I wasn't obviously downtrodden about the experience, I still told myself "I deserve this. Look what I just went through. Now is not the time for discipline." It's different than emotional eating. It's excusing and reasoning unhealthy habits, and convincing myself it's a deserved present. 
Note to self: Newsflash! Getting fat is not a gift. And it's not your birthday everyday. 

I don't mean to scare all my skinny friends, but this is how I think: Being skinny is awesome. You have no problems. You always feel great in your body. Everyone adores you instantly. I know this isn't true, but my mind certainly goes there. It takes a lot to admit this when I take pride in not being victim to society's messages about our bodies. But
Note to self: Being thin is not Moshiach. It will feel great, but you will not turn into a unicorn.

I know that some people are blessed with speedfast metabolisms and the ability to eat whatever they want with no proof on their tiny frames. But the truth is that most people who maintain great figures and healthy bodies DO have to work at it. I realized I have this ill mindset when I caught myself repeatedly telling my skinny (and drop dead gorgeous) sister "Why don't you just eat that? Your thin!" and "Seriously why are you being so disciplined, you've got an amazing figure!" What was I really expressing? This notion that skinny people are gifted with this magical spell that allows them to be reckless without any effect on their bodies. This would explain why every time I lose some weight I eat like a pig, unconsciously succumbing to this non-existant magical spell. 
Note to self: Being skinny takes work. This is not a Houdini show.

Often, when I diet successfully and lose a little weight, I start to feel really awesome. Like, wow, I did it. So I reward. I let go. I lose sight. And the weight I'm so convinced can't possibly come from this little "reward" creeps on unexpectedly and the cycle repeats. 
Note to self: You may be awesome, but you're not skinny. Reach your goal and then we'll talk about throwing you a little party. 

Ever since I was in high school, dieting was cool. Whether you were the girl not putting sugar in her coffee (wow, she's so disciplined!) or the gal keeping a legitimate food diary, there was always this certain "chic" image that went along with going to great lengths to lose weight. Maybe it's because these people in my life were always skinny to begin with? :) Either way, I always wanted that to be me. This notion has always led me to fad diets, and often unbalanced ones. So this time around, I am not dieting. I am taking the coolness out of it. Instead, I am just doing what I need to do to get where I need to be. 
Note to self: "Diet" is your new four-letter-word. Use with caution. 

Once I'm eating, I just. don't. stop. I love food. I repeat: I LOVE food. But the truth is, when I sit down to eat, it's more like turning an engine on. The smells and tastes just keep rushing in, giving me a sort of high that prevents me from pressing the "you're full" button.
Note to self: You are inhaling your food. Stop eating like there are ten starving Mimi's nestled inside of you. 

I'm a socialite, so I always like to join up with others when it comes to diet and exercise. I try and drag my friends into it. My husband. Someone who will share the burden of discipline I just can't seem to handle myself. Will you exercise with me? Let's report to each other. What are you doing? I'll do it, too. But this really just reflects an inability to take control...of my own overweight self.
Note to self: If you want to lose weight, it's going to have to be exactly that: YOU.

I don't have a good place to walk. It doesn't fit into my schedule. We need to live near a Trader Joe's. I work too hard to give this energy. I need better walking shoes. The weather is bad. I was hungry and there was nothing else to eat. It's Shabbos. I might as well say, "I just don't want to." I mean, seriously. 
Note to self: Everything is as right as it ever will be. All you need is to want it. 

Okay, phew. It feels good to get that all out in writing. Thanks for listening. I welcome all your insights, advice, book recommendations, recipes...and I also want to hear if you relate to any of this— if you've conquered any of these bad habits yourself! 

Because of all these deeply engrained mental pitfalls, I feel like finally losing real weight is going to be like moving a mountain. I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of bad habits like not sitting down to eat, skipping breakfast and picking at my kids' food. But, alas, the most overarching epiphany is just the absolute grossness I feel when I fall so low. And reminding myself of that -- coupled with a new awareness about my lifelong downfalls -- is already working to get my tush into gear (I waited to see some success before I wrote this!). So here's some good news to round this up and accelerate more progress: I have lost 4 lbs since last Monday!  


A very special shout out to my smart, sensitive and supportive sister Mushky for being there for me through this process—for helping me make the right conclusions and get active, but mostly for rooting me on along the way! Soon I will be borrowing your clothes, mark my word.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Makeup: Stop! In the name of red lips!

By Vera Tov

Vera is a certified makeup artist based in New York. A graduate of a protégées Make Up Designory school (MUD). Vera has all of the necessary skills and tools to create an unique and fresh look for any occasion. Vera’s ability to realize the client's vision, re-create a look from a photograph or film, or develop a unique look, camouflaging imperfections while enhancing the natural beauty is truly unsurpassed.
In Vera's words: 
My makeup had been confiscated on more than one occasion in High School. How could the teachers not understand the fact that a mirror compact was an extension of my arm, and eyeliner – a wand, without which I felt powerless. Silly, of course, I know. Well, I was a teenager then, and now…I feel the same exact way now!

In the Name of Red Lips!
You may have heard that every woman should own a well-fitting black dress and a red lipstick.  However, classic red lips can be as tricky to pull off as fighting a red light ticket. The truth is, every woman can wear some type of red on her lips.  Still, several factors contribute to what will work best for you.  

Some guidelines and suggestions:
  • It helps to know your skin undertone.  While doing some research, I’ve come across many articles that talk about skin undertone being the determining factor in choosing red lipstick.  In fact, the general rule is that if you have a fair/rosy complexion, you should choose blue-based reds (no, they’re not actually blue!) and if you have yellow undertones, orange-based/warm reds will suit you better.  What I’ve learned is that you can do the exact opposite to create a more dramatic/unexpected effect.

Top – orange-based/warm red
Bottom – blue-based/cool red


  • Think texture. Some of the textures include matte (no shine), creamy (some shine), and sheer (usually quite shiny).  If you already own a matte lipstick, you can add some shine to it by patting on some gloss on top.  Conversely, to mattify a creamy lipstick, blot your lips with a plain tissue (not the soft kind). You can even pat a little powder over the lips.
  • Banish bleeding.  Bleeding of the lipstick that is.  While we talk, laugh, or eat, lipsticks try to creep out through the tiny lines around our lips. Lip liner helps prevent that when applied before the lipstick.  I actually prefer lining lips with a light neutral lip liner instead of red.
  • Don’t fear – go sheer! Sheer lipsticks and colored glosses aren’t as pigmented as creamy and matte ones. Therefore, they’re neither as intense nor long-lasting. They are great for those who want to wear the classic color without the drama. You may need to keep it with you to reapply as the color fades.  If you already have a bright red lipstick that you’re not comfortable wearing, there is a great trick you might like: rub some  lipstick on your finger, then apply it all over your lips, staining them.  Don’t worry about trying to get a crisp line; the edges should be soft. Then apply some gloss, lip balm, or even just some Vaseline.  The effect is headturningly (not a word, according to MicrosoftWord) gorgeous, in a more natural, nonthreatening way.
  • Stunningly simple.  If you choose to make your red lipstick the focal point, keep the rest of the makeup more natural.  As seen on many runways during this spring's Fashion Week, models wearing red lipstick seemed to be almost free of eye makeup.  I recommend the following simple steps (Steps 1 and 2 are optional): 1) Apply a matte eyeshadow closest to your own skin color all over the lids, up to the eyebrows, 2) Define the creases and the bottom lash line with a shadow slightly darker than your skin color, 3) Define your upper lash line with a black or brown eyeliner, and 4) Apply mascara to top and bottom lashes

Products you may like:

MAC's Ruby Woo Matte Lipstick
Recommended by makeup artists as one that complements every complexion
(I do not own this lipstick, therefore cannot comment)

L'Oreal Infallible Never Fail Lipgloss, Rebel Red 315
This can be applied very sheer or layered to look more dramatic.  It has excellent staying power for a gloss.  What I like to do is apply one layer, then blot my lips with a tissue, then apply another layer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dear Mimi: Where can I get skirts that cover my knees?

Hi Mimi, 
Hope you doing well.. Once again i'm really inspired by your blog.The article about the miscarriage was so true and cheered me up.. Umm just wanted to know if you know some online shops for Long Skirts?! Searching long skirts here in Germany is really annoying..maybe you know some shops online where I can get some more skirts for over the knee. 
Shipping doesn't matter.. Im only tired of searching here in every Single store for just one skirt with a horrible colour for old ladies 
Thank you!

Hey Sara, 
So glad you wrote, and sorry for your frustration. Finding modest skirts can be such a challenge, especially come summer!
Below are a few places you can begin your search! I'm not sure you're particular style, but I've included images of skirts you can currently find at these stores online. 
I could have included a lot more but these are all reasonably priced (you'll be paying a lot for shipping as it is!) and perfect for summer! 
Let me know how it goes :)

Good luck in your search to be smart, STYLISH, spiritual and sane!