Tracy’s Pick of the Week: 2/24/14 – 3/2/14

Welcome to another list of updates I have collected for you. This time’s news include: food news, exfoliating and other skin detox advice, and meditation tips. Enjoy!

1. Chipotle’s “Farmed and Dangerous” Web Series on Hulu – Two Episodes out already

If you have been reading my news updates (If you haven’t, feel free to visit one of my latest news collections – News No. 3), you have already known that Chipotle is doing something interesting since last month: they are releasing four 30-minute episodes with a satirical tone to make us think about the food industry and food we allow to go into our mouth.  As of today, two episodes have been released on Hulu with two more to come in the coming two weeks. The episodes are a perfect way to kill time during a lunch break at work, after dinner or at the weekend both for entertaining and some serious thinking about the food supply these days.  I have already posted the latest episode below for you. You can also visit Hulu for all the episodes up to date. Now before you start watching, here is a quick reminder: while you are enjoying some good laughs there, do not forget that we are what we eat. So, we should choose our food more carefully!

2. Is Gluten Free Always the Healthiest Option?

Gluten free labels

Photo by Healing and Eating

The answer to this question is a “maybe”. This article gives us a holistic view on understanding gluten and choosing gluten-free products.

One on hand, consuming gluten can cause inflammation, weakens immune system and digestion, and trigger a series of other health problems as well. From this angle, eliminating gluten is a healthy approach to improve your overall health and wellness and skin conditions. On the other hand, just because the food label reads “gluten free”, it does not equal “healthy”. The reason is that: some manufacturers are taking advantage of the gluten free trend to sell their products, which contain a lot of high-glycemic and processed ingredients despite lack of gluten.

The solutions? Instead of being attracted to the eye-catching or even capitalized “gluten-free” labels on the front of the packages, jump immediately to the small labels at the back and scan through the ingredients. Here are some example ingredients the author recommends we avoid: processed starches (potato starch, corn starch and rice starch), food dyes, artificial flavors, corn syrup, sugar, gums, or ingredients with names we don’t recognize (as they are likely to be chemicals). Instead, go for whole foods such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and amaranth.

3. Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Avoid Genetically-Engineered Food

Avoid genetically engineered food

Photo from Environmental Working Group

EWG has recently released a Guide on how to help shoppers avoid genetically-engineered (GE) food. By donating $10, you will get the new Guide. This article offers some quick tips on three ways to avoid GE food (buying organic produce, buying foods certified as “Non-GMO Project Verified” and using EWG’s Shopping Guide as a reference), four common GE ingredients to avoid (field corn and corn-derived ingredients, soybeans and soybean-derived ingredients, sugar, vegetable oils), and foods that have been placed onto the “watch list” (papaya, zucchini and yellow summer squash, sweet corn, and more).

4. A Recap of My Seven-Day Skin Detox Experiment

Skin detox experiment complete

Me successfully completing my skin detox experiments!

Early on, I was following on a 7-Day Skin Detox guide designed by Food Matters. This guide introduced me to some beauty treats which I had never experienced before and which I am determined to incorporate into my own skincare routines after my experiment. Personally, I highly recommend this guide to you because it is not time consuming at all (each experiment takes you about 15 minutes or less), and because you will see improvements on your skin conditions: based on my experience, my skin was cleared up and became more nourished; and acne marks were lightened as well. Should you be thinking about giving it a shot, I would recommend the recap to you before you begin your skin beautifying adventure, so that you can maximize the results you get in return. I truly hope that my recap will add value to you!

5. The Whys and Hows of Exfoliation

Skin detox with body scrub

Photo by SpaWeekBlog

Has exfoliating been built into your skincare routine? If not, maybe you should start considering it after reading my recap above and this article. Exfoliating the skin can remove dead skin cells and encourage cellular turn over, so that we are able to maintain healthy and glowing skin. Additionally, body scrubbing (a form of exfoliating the ski) can stimulate lymphatic system and promote circulation, which helps with the detoxification process.

As a general rule, we should embrace natural ingredients such as ground nuts, grains and flours which are effective for exfoliating the skin. Ingredients and activities that raise a red flag include chemicals, acids, peels and micro derma abrasion, which can make the skin look youthful at first but can accelerate aging and damage skin in the long run. And don’t forget to check out this post for DIY home products for face and body scrubbing that guarantee results. I think I will try them this coming week ; )

Also, despite all the benefits that exfoliating can bring us, one should do this with caution especially if you are currently suffering from acne. Note that one should not exfoliate acne skin until break out clears because affected areas can spread out.

6. A Step-by-Step Guide to Dry Skin Brushing

dry brushing order

Photo from Food Matters

To continue the topic of exfoliating the skin, here is another great way to do so: dry brushing, which I also mentioned in the skin detox guide. This post gives you a detailed instruction from purchasing a brush, to how to brush before getting into a shower, all the way to what to do after getting out of the shower. There is a tip that I found interesting: while in a shower, alternate between the hottest and coldest water temperate you can tolerate to stimulate blood circulation.

And, here is the caveat which is not mentioned in the post: find the image above created by Food Matters for guidance on in what order you should do dry brushing.

7. Meditation Tips Offered by Miranda Kerr

skincare tips on meditation

Photo from Miranda Kerr’s Monthly Newsletter

This is the most recent newsletter from Miranda Kerr, international top model that I respect, founder of KORA Organics and a loving mother. From there, she shares about her experience on her meditation practice. As I also meditate daily to help myself de-stress and stay focused, I found her sharing very helpful. This is what I have learned from her: “gently smile – you will see and feel the different, a gentle (not forced) smile throughout keeps you relaxed, peaceful and can enhance your meditation experience.” This is an interesting insight. In fact, I have tried doing this from time to time these days since I read her newsletter. Whether you are just starting out or have been mediating for a while, try doing this to feel the subtle but magical effects!

To me, her monthly newsletter offers a lot of useful tips on taking care of the skin and living a stress-free lifestyle. If you would like to subscribe to her newsletter, simply go to the link here and click on the “subscribe” button on the top left corner and sign up. Please note that I am not affiliated with her company, I simply think that this could add value to you ; – )

Hope you enjoy the new list here. Now that you finish reading this post, what is the first thing you will do: to go watch Chipotle’s web series, to buy a brush, to get EWG’s 2014 Shopper’s Guide to Avoid GE Food, to add smiling into your meditation practice (if you meditate regularly), or anything else? Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.


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