Monday, 4 June 2018

Natural alternatives: teeth whitening options part 1

Natural alternatives: teeth whitening options part 1

Looking at the back of a products can be a frighten experience, all the ingredients and no vague idea of what some of them are?!? I have set it my challenge to look at alternative to everyday products. I will be focusing on organic if possible, vegan alternatives. I am not fully vegan myself but am conscious about the impact on animal cruelty with foods and products, so where every I can aim for vegan options.  I will do a series of natural alternatives; including face scrubs/washes, moisturisers, toners, soaps (homemade) and others. I will write a review of what I found, then at the end of the series do a final blog of the best of natural alternatives. If you think of any other product you want me to research make a suggestion?

Teeth whiteners 

This week I have been researching teeth whitener. The internet suggest there are three main ingredients that frequently come up including baking soda, charcoal, coconut oil and controversy turmeric is one of them :O I am interested to trying out the ingrediencies, finding out how they work and if they work?! 


The netdoctor website suggest that this would by using charcoal this blind plague and stains allowing these to be brushed and rinse away. ***HOWEVER the website also warns against using too charcoal suggesting the may cause tooth erosion and enamel deterioration, also stating that there is no evidence to suggest this is any good for your teeth.

The oral health dental journal (2005) suggested that charcoal can be actually poisonous for the body, if consumed to much of this. However, they state that with this clinical trail that there was a noticeable difference in teeth appearance and whiteness.  
Whiter teeth
Better appearance of teeth


Risk of poisoning
May cause the opposite effect causing decay and erosion  

Summary: With the research I have found suggest there are risk to overusing using charcoal, however there are risk with using whitening protect from the dentist. Personally, I would use an alternative more frequently to avoid this risk.

Turmeric/coconut oil 
Now here an ingredient that makes my stomach turn and the thoughts of this. I can almost feel the burn from here.
Skin care website suggest that turmeric works by removing bacteria from the gums and teeth, also loosing stains so they can be washed away. They suggest using some coconut oil and baking soda, put on teeth and leave for 5 minutes brush lightly and rinse. Coconut oil and baking soda can be used separately. 

Whiter teeth
Better appearance of teeth
Remove some bad bacteria 
No risk or poisoning- however over use could cause upset tummy
Some studies suggest that this can some cancer preventing properties 

Spicey mouth
Loose stools and a hot bum

Summary: With the research I feel that this is the better option for me. I am sceptical about using this though as I can see it doing nothing but yellowing my teeth, so was surprised that this works

*please use at own risk, I am not recommending you try any of the ingredients identified. Just sharing what I have tried*

Friday, 17 February 2017

A review of Clarins Make-Up Remover Trio

The Clarins trio set consist of three products; the eye makeup remover, cleansing milk and toning lotion. I really love the Clarins brand so when I saw this trio I found this the ideal opportunity to try all three products. I actually bought this product in the Birmingham airport for £19.50 on the way back form a holiday to the Canary Islands. Clarins products can also be found on their website 

Eye makeup remover 
After exfoliating and washing my face I used a small flat cotton to apply the eye makeup remover then used this on my face. I find the certain top brands of eyeliners and mascaras are difficult to remove. So finding a decent eye makeup remover is essential to my beauty product collection. The eye makeup remover felt soft on my skin and manage to wipe away my urban decay eyeliner which is always tricky to get off. My skin felt super clean and fresh, leaving my skin with a nice after scent. 

Cleansing milk
Then I massaged the cleaning milk into my skin, rinsed and dried. The cleansing milk help rejuvenated my skin leaving it looking more vibrant. It washed away a few dry patches of skin and made my face feel soft. However, I did not dislike the smell but did not like this either as it smelt like basic a moisturizer. Having little scent to a product is not always a bad things as certain perfume irritate my skin.

Toning lotion
After cleansing I use the toning lotion and apply this on to a flat cotton pad using this on my face. I always used to think that toning your face was not always necessary, however I truly believe it depend on the toner you get to how much benefit you get from it. This toner was soft on my skin and helped remove dirt off my skin onto the cotton pad. It amazing how after all the steps the pad still managed to pick up some grubby patches on my skin. 

Overall impressions- I would definitely buy this product again as I really felt it made the difference to my skin. The only down side is I mostly I use natural products like coconut oil for a make up remover, cleanser and moisturizer. Witch Hazel for a toner. However, I does really like the Clarins brand and really felt that this product was a winner. 

Does everyone cleanse, tone and moisturize everyday? What products do you use?

Sunday, 22 January 2017

How to be happy!!!

Happiness is the ultimate goal in most peoples life. What makes you happy can vary from person to person. No one can be happy everyday and people's mood can change. For me there are a number of things I do to keep myself as happy as I can possibly be.

Living a healthy lifestyle this means eating healthy and keeping myself active.
Living a healthy lifestyle means for me limiting alcohol, everyone knows alcohol is going to make you feel pretty unhappy. Also, eating a healthly diet and keeping active helps to make me feel healthy and happy. 

Socialising with people who bring the best out in you.
I love having spa days, going for meals and going on adventures with friends. This can be incorporated as part of my exercise, there's nothing better than having a chat and going for a long walk with friends. 

Taking extra special care of myself when I feel unhappy/ under the weather
Everyone has times when they feel unhappy or under the weather, these days I take extra special care. I like to rationalize why I feeling particularly bad this day. Have I been working too much? Am I worried about something? Am I physically unwell? Is it due to hormones? After rationalizing,  I would often have some me time if I can, do some light activity if I feel up too it.  The days I feel like this it is important to me to make sure that I recover as quickly as possible, so taking care of myself is important. I would be mindful this is the time I would usually turn to food to comfort myself and would only make me feel worse.

Working through problems makes me happy.
If there is a problem I can solve then  I make a plan with steps to solve this problem, identifying what the problem is and how it's making me feel. Not every challenge in life has a solution other life would be too easy.  If the problem I cannot solve I rationalise it. It important to me to understand why is this a problem and if it cannot be solve how can I better deal with this.

Appreciating the world and it's wonders.
Holidays and travelling makes me happy, like most people. I am fortunate to have the money to go on regular holidays which I know a lot of people don't have the luxury of.  There was a time when I could not afford to go on holiday's abroad, so I used to travel to more affordable places in the UK. Also, I would look on the internet and Google places I would love to go and even if I will never get to go to some of these places. I learn a lot about the places, so it all most makes me feel like I've been. Not only I love to travel but also time out to relax and unwind is very important for me.

I cannot always afford to go on holidays every time I want to relax so I use meditation.  I have a very busy lifestyle trying to fit in exercise, working more than full time and currently studying, working towards a Clinical Doctorate in psychology. Finding time to myself is difficult so now I make time. I try and take 10 minutes minimum of time to wind down. I often do some meditation, listening to relaxing music and this often results in a little nap if I have time. I often feel refreshed and focused after relaxing. 

Stop looking back
Most people have demons in their closet, some that just resolve themselves and others that require work.  I have found not dealing with things that come back to haunt you and it only comes back to bite you in the but. I have worked hard to get where I  am today so not looking back at things that have trouble me has helped. It's not as easy as just not looking back, some people require therapy to work through issues, others can talk to friends and family to help move on. But I feel for me making a active choice to care for myself and love myself has helped me not to look back. No one can change the past but I can change the future.

Finding something you love
I have found a job that I'm passionate for and really enjoy working with people. Finding something I enjoy is defiantly trial and error, I know what jobs I don't enjoy. I have worked hard to gain qualifications and done jobs in the past I haven't enjoyed. Too keep myself happy when I was doing jobs I didn't enjoy, I would write a plan towards the career I wanted.

Love yourself
Most of all I have learnt to love myself. Many women and men struggle with this. Doing things to make me happy would not work if I did not like myself. I often do nice things for myself, like buy myself nice clothes, do my makeup and trial new hair styles. Feeling nice often is easier when I look after my appearance and take care of my self.

What makes you happy? 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

New years resolutions part 2- Home improvements

As part of my new year resolutions, I wanted to have home improvements done on my house. I had a list of all the home improvements I want and put them in order of priory coming up with the top two for this year.

Firstly, I want to get a new designed fitted bathroom. I am currently looking around to gets ideas. It is difficult to get one idea in mind, as it needs to be modern now but not be very unfashionable in a few years. I was looking at a number of different bath room styles and the decision whether or not to have both a bath and a shower is boggling my mind. I will keep looking around and will aim to have this completed before the summer. 

Also, as part of my plan for home improvement I want to improve my current makeup beauty room. I have in mind white furniture with lots of mirrors. I have chosen my furniture and cannot  wait putting my new room together. I think that I will decorate my room first so hope to get this done nearing the end of this year.

What's your plans for this year?

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New years resolutions part 1- Goal setting/ health and fitness

Every year millions of people set goals for the new years. Usually things they have sucked at the previous year. I know that most of the people who set new year resolutions fail miserably at achieving these unrealistic goals. I have never really done the whole new year resolutions thing as I always set myself realistic achievable goals. I have year goals and monthly goals, which is broken down into mini goals. Often people say I want to lose weight ect... This goal is broad, it tells you want to want to do but how are you going to achieve these? A way to set goals most people may be familiar of is the SMART goals, this breaks down goals into achievable ones. There are many ways to lose weight but just saying this is not enough to make the goal a reality.  In order to achieve these I usually make a list of all the things I could do to achieve my goals and then look for the most sensible, realistic ways to achieve these. 

Mini goal setting I find is the crucial key to achieving goals, also having in mind what are the specifics of the goal I want to achieve. I find thinking about What? Why? How? and When?
What the goal is? The specifics of the goal?
Why I want to achieve this goal? Thinking about how I will feel when this goal is achieved and what will be different?
How I will go about achieving this goal? Think of the different things that could be done to achieve this goal? How will this be monitored? How to make this achievable?
When do I want to achieve this overall goal by? Is this realistic time frame? Also, brake this goal down into mini achievements. 
Improving health and weight loss

Tracking my food intake
Carbohydrate cycling
Weighing and measurements

This is probably the most important question. Knowing why you are motivated to achieve a goal can make all the different. It keeps you focused, your eye on the prize so to speak.
Why I want to lose weight?
To improve health
To fit into old clothes
To look good and feel good in my wedding dress
Why I want to improve fitness?
To lose weight and look toned
To be strong and healthy

How? How to monitor? When? How to make this achievable?
Carbohydrate cycling: Improving my health does mean that I need to lose 2 stone in weight to get to my healthy weight range. Carbohydrate cycling has worked for me to lose weight and be able to keep the weight off. Also, it has not hindered my ability to workout at the gym and keep muscle mass. I will choose a cycle of 8 to 12 days allowing 2-3 medium carbohydrate (125g)or high carbohydrate days (225g).
Tracking my food intake: Notice I've changed this too health and fitness not weight loss. I no longer want to focus on weight loss as this can deter me from achieving my goal. I want to improve my health by tracking my micro-nutrients and macros most days on MyFitnessPal app. This app gives me a guideline on how much proteins, carbohydrate and fats I need. I have recently changed this too 1,300 calories, 120g protein, 98g carbohydrates and 50g fat each day. When? most days
How to make this achievable? Allow my self leeway on the micros 20g either side and 200 calories either side. 
Allow another type of tracking for days that your unable to track.

Flexi day/ Free days: Plan a cycle of 8-12 days and allocate which days are low carbohydrate and which are medium and/or high carbohydrate. 
Aim for 4-5 small meals (take a picture)
Eat until 80% full- have mainly vegetables and lean proteins- Can have unlimited foods until 80% full
Can swap 1tbp fruit for jam, 4 dried fruits or 1tbp honey or hot chocolate
Day rules:
1) Lower carbohydrate free day
Mostly vegetables and lean protein. Can have some other higher fat proteins. Limit to a few fruits if possible) 
1 to 2 sauces  
Think about  medium carbohydrates and high carbohydrates day to keep you motivated!!
2) Medium carbohydrate flexi day
Mostly vegetables and lean protein.
Can have some other higher fat proteins.
Limit to a few fruits if possible
1 to2 sauces
Extra some carbohydrates OR chocolate bar or small pudding
3) High carbohydrate flexi day
Mostly vegetables and lean protein. 
Can have some other higher fat proteins.
 Limit to a few fruits if possible
1-2 sauces Extra some carbohydrates
AND a free meal and pudding
How to make this achievable?
Meal out: on low carbohydrates days order mostly vegetables and lean proteins- have limited carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, pasta extra. NO PUDDINGS/ SWEETS plan on another day.

If gone off plan? Just carry on with the plan next meal.

Reward myself!!
Every day I complete a day on plan I give myself a star. Each star is worth either some I want to buy or treat myself too.
Weighing and measurements: Weigh myself, work out BMI, lean body mass, hips to waist ratio, body measurements and body fat.Use tape measure for measurements, scales I own for weight and online body calculators, for the rest of the measurements. When? Every two weeks. DON'T weigh every week as I know this has unmotivated me at times.

Run a 10k
Strengthen muscles
Run 10k: Work my way to running a 10k - find a 10k running plan online. When? June/ July (book a 10k race)
How to make this achievable? Start at a beginners level, use new music playlist to keep running fun. Mix outdoor running with indoor running. Write down achievements and reward myself.
Strengthens muscles: Work different muscle  areas- researching different exercise moves for these areas and increase weights/ difficultly when they become easier to do.  Aim for 15 reps and 3 sets, with 5 different exercises. When? 2-4 sessions a week.
Calfs, thighs and but
Chest and shoulders
Back and abdominal
Triceps and biceps
How to make this achievable? Start at a beginners level, use new music playlist to keep running fun. Write down achievements and reward myself. 

What are your new year resolutions???

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Do I really need products and/or supplements to gain my desired health/fitness goal? Part 1- Improving on your workout performance

Recently I have been doing a lot more exercise and starting to really enjoy this. I have always wondered if I needed supplements to achieve my desired outcome which for me is weight loss and muscle growth. I have bought a lot of different products to try them out and tell you guys what I think. I have also researched a least expensive way to get everything I have previously bought which I'll go through in a later post. Now let's first talk about what you need when it comes to supplements and  products. You do not need anything is the key point. Eating the right foods, sleeping the right amount and exercising sensibly is enough to achieve the desired goals. If you want to try any of the products I have tested please consult with your doctor, especially if you're like me and already on prescription medication. Supplements and products may help you improve on a workout performance, suppress you apatite, increase your metabolism, encourage muscle growth, increase fat oxidation (fat burners), reduce stress hormones and decrease the absorption of carbohydrates and fats in your diet. depending on your desired outcome, products may help support this but they are not essential. When buying my products I was very conscientious. Ensuring that where I was buying these the site was reputable. I know everyone has heard horror stories off buying offline. Companies do try and keep fake products off the market but if the seller is not legitimate then what is in the products may not be what you expect.  Now let's talk about the key areas I mentioned earlier. I will first describe how you can achieve this without not products. You'll also notice links to other websites so you can gain more information on the discussed topic and where I have bought my products from. I will have a separate post for each key area.

Ways to improve on your workout performance

How you can improve naturally on your workout performance is making sure you are getting enough sleep. Depending on your age, gender and health condition the amount of sleep may vary for each individual (please see the link if you would like more information). I know I need around 8.5 hours to feel sane and have energy throughout the day. I also take a nap when I can before a workout which naturally gives me a lot of energy, enhancing my workout performance. However, if unfortunately you are the type of person who takes a nap and cannot sleep at night, avoid having a nap as going into a deep sleep at night is important to balance your hormones and repair your body. If my partner takes a nap he would be tossing and turning all night, so he would tend to avoid napping as he would be missing his REM sleep at night (please see the link if you would like more information). Also, the amount of time you take for a nap is important to gain the desired benefit which is having more energy (please see the link if you would like more information). I'm really lucky in the sense that I can nap for up to two hours and still have no issues with sleeping at night. But for those who are not getting a adequate amount of sleep at night. If you want to increase the amount of sleep you are having aim for going to bed 15 minutes early than usual for a week or two and increase this gradually. Thinking to yourself I want 8 hours sleep and going to bed 2 hours earlier than usual, may cause you to wake up early hours and reduces that amount of sleep you usually get. Finally on this topic a key point about getting a good amount of sleep is sleep hygiene. What is meant by this term is what you do before bed. Playing on your phone late at night, eating junk food and talking about something that has been stressing you out late at night may make you have difficulty falling asleep and this is classified as as sleep hygiene. I tend to avoid stressful topics late at night, having something light for dinner, take a hot bath, have some time relaxing, reading a novel, no phone or ipad in bed and put on my dimming light called Lumie bodyclock (£59.95).

You can improve on a workout performance by eating a healthy varied diet. I hate the word diet as it automatically makes me remember to times where I was hungy, grumpy and no energy due to being on a new FAD diet. So for the purpose of this topic I will call a diet a healthy eating plan. A healthy eating  plan suggest that this should be a long term, feasible plan. You should incorporate healthy vegetables, 1-2 fruits per day, healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates. How much you eat depends on you and would be calculated by your Body Mass Index BMI. I started off using a app called MyFitnessPal as it does all the hard work for you. This app calculated your desired goals and how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you require. It also looks at your vital micronutrients/ vitamins and suggest how much you need per day. I used this app for a number of months but no longer need to use it as I have a rough idea of how much I need to eat. Every now and then I use this to check I am guessing correctly. I also make sure that I am not hungry when working out so I have the energy to have a good workout. Sometimes I have a some fruit for carbohydrates and some protein a hour before my workout. Or I have a Juice Plus shake (£123.75) to fuel me for a good workout. The only down side is that Juice Plus only supply you with four months worth at one time, you can pay in monthly installments. They give you a rep who support you through their food plan, which I believe is one of the best healthy eating plans available. However, you do not have to have fancy shakes but a light meal may work the same to enhance performance. 

Finally, your water intake will improve your workout performance as your muscles love being hydrated. Your muscles move more fluently when hydrated which means less work when exercising. How much water you need is debatable. Most experts say 8 glasses but have no idea where this information came from. I drink as much water as I can as my desired goal is weight loss but be careful as too much fluids can be dangerous.

My current job role is a Community Psychiatric Practitioner. In this job role I work will mentally unwell patients in the community. The first thing I will look at when supporting these clients is the areas mentioned above, if they are getting enough sleep, are they being active and what are they eating/drinking. Being over all active, sleeping well and a healthy diet is not only great for weight loss or maintaining a healthy lifestyle, workout performance but is also great for a good mental health.

Now let's talk about the supplements and products that enhance workout performance. The ingredients that have been clinically tested to enhance workout performance are; caffeine, Branch-chain Amino Acids BCAA's, Creatine and Beta-Alanine. Now let's look at these areas in more detail.

Caffeine is absorbed through the stomach and into the intestines. This usually takes around 45 minutes to start feeling the effect.  Caffeine increases heart rate, increases blood flow to your muscles and increases the amount of energy you have. This gives you more energy to work harder and makes some people feel like they have more strength.  Caffeine can be inexpensive and a good workout performance enhancer. Also, it increases metabolism which I will talk more about in another post. However, caffeine does have its down side, some people cannot tolerate it as its makes them feel anxious, have palpations and makes them feel queasy. Please do not use caffeine products without consulting with your doctor first. Especially some pre-workout products as some are known for high amounts of caffeine in them. Also, having caffeine long term is not beneficial, with any fat burner products, professionals advise to wean yourself off them. I currently have a product called Grenade (£44.99) which has high amount of caffeine, I have been advised to stop this after 6 weeks and too not use it again until after 3 months. This is the advice I have been given, you may be different so please do check with a professional.
Branch-chain Amino Acids BCAA's
Exercising has been linked to increase serotonin levels which makes us feel fatigue. BCAA's have been linked to increase serotonin levels enhancing workout performance. Some studies suggest that BCAA's increase the blood oxygen levels, which enhancing workout performance as the muscle have more oxygen to work harder.

Creatine itself work similar to the Amino Acids mentioned above. Creatine phosphate is found in the human body which naturally increase muscle stores. Creatine helps make the glycogen (fuel for the body)  more available and therefore increase the performance of exercise (please see the link if you would like more information). I'm currently using a product by PEScience called high volume (£32), which has creatine in the product.

Beta-Alanine also works like an Amino Acid as mentioned above. Beta-Alanine increases carnosine levels which increase muscle buffering capacity, in other words increasing strength (please see the link if you would like more information). However, Beta-Alanine can cause a tingling sensation like pins and needles, which may be annoying while trying to workout. Amino-Acids are brilliant in repairing muscles after a workout which I will go into more detail in another post.  Currently I am PEScience protein powder (£48.95) peanut-butter cup flavor and eating high protein foods to gain my Amino-Acids. I believe you can gain the essential Amino-acids from foods however I enjoy sometime sweet in my diet so love protein powders. I know some protein powders have added sweeteners which studies suggest this is not great for you, but I will be using them until I reach my goal weight. 

I am not a health and fitness professional, I just enjoy reading articles and clinical studies relating to health and exercise. Please do your own research and consult your doctor when trying a new product. 

Thank you for reading. 

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Homemade weight loss pills

I know what you're thinking, there is no pill that makes you lose weight without changing my lifestyle. Well your right without a deficit in calories through.... yeah you guested it; diet and exercise. So why have I titled this weight loss pills? This is because some ingredients actually has been clinically proven for health and nutritional benefits and help aid weight loss. In the so called weight loss pill I have added ingredients that are often found in over priced shop made weight loss pills. 
Some products like caffeine keep us feeling full and energized. Consuming turmeric has been linked to reducing slightly the risk of cancer. Studies have shown chili pepper aids digestion by increasing the body's speed of metabolism. Also, nutrients from fruits and vegetables helps to reduces free radicals which in high doses are toxic to the body. Wheat grass has vitamins, copper and iron. Spirulina has proteins, calcium and iron. I have combined all these ingredients to make a nutritional, boosting health pill. Have you ever tried to eat any of these ingredients on there own? I have and swamp tasting comes to mind. Also, the turmeric started staining my teeth and the chili burnt my mouth... not pleasant at all.  ***Please be aware that the chili still may burn your bum on the way out even if you take it in a pill form***

***Be warned buying ingredients to make your own health/ weight loss pill may save you money***

Step 1: buy the ingredients that you would like, including capsules (pill cases) and mix them in a bowl. Or use them singularly if you like colourful pills. 

Step 2: use the capsule/ pill case to scoop the ingredients into. 

Step 3: take the capsule/ pill with plenty of water

step 4: do a happy dance as you have now saved money :) and will be feeling the health benefits