I grew up on porridge. That creamy bowl of goodness was my regular breakfast (and often a late-night snack too.) When I moved to the USA, over thirty years ago, I was a little underwhelmed by their oatmeal. So, I'd like to shed a little light on the different types of oats - and let you decide who the winner is!
Meet The Players
How to make the perfect bowl of oats (and what NOT to do)
Ultimately, it comes down to individual taste, but here are some tips that can take your oats up a notch:
Delicious Additions and Tasty Toppings
Although fruits and nuts are the typical toppings, oatmeal is known for playing well with others. So, although I usually keep mine pretty simple (with sliced bananas and dates), feel free to be adventurous. If you like something, throw it on! Some of the more unusual additions I've seen are soft boiled eggs, feta cheese, cream cheese, avocado, and smoked salmon. I'd love to hear what you've tried and loved (or hated - so we can all avoid it!)
Oats are Healthy - However You Cut Them.
The good news is that all oats are good for you. And just like other 100% whole grains, they're an excellent source of nutrition and essential fiber. I've already picked my winner, but there really isn't a loser when you're choosing real, whole food. Oh, and I'm happy to confirm that my insistence that UK oats are creamier wasn't just in my imagination!
You should be able to find Scottish oats (both regular and organic) at your local supermarket or health food store. If it's not been carried in your area (or you like to buy online), please check out my link here.
* If you purchase anything from a link on my site, I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you.) Your support is greatly appreciated!
Ladies, I think I've found it - a winning formula for fighting wrinkles and feeling better about growing older. I'm happy to say that with age has come a little wisdom, and I'd like to share what's working for me. My ablutions (love that word) have never been simpler, and I no longer have a drawer full of skincare products to dig through. I'm embracing the fabulous fifties, soon to be spectacular sixties - which my mother said was her happiest decade!
But before I open my box of goodies, here are a few guidelines:
So, without further ado, (drum roll please) the winners are:
Derma E Pycnogenol Sensitive Skin has been my go-to face cleanser for many years. The upside is that it's very gentle. The downside is that it's very gentle! For this reason, you may need to do a double wash (or use a wet washcloth) if you're wearing heavier makeup.
Another good choice (sold at most drug stores) is CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. There's a foaming cleanser too - but I'm suspicious of anything that foams! Always remove makeup and go to bed with a clean face, but a simple splash with water is all you need in the morning.
For the times when your skin is feeling a little irritated (or downright angry), nothing works better than Eucerin Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Cream. Yes, it may feel like you're smearing a creamy pat of butter on your face, but it soothes like nothing else and is the gentlest face cream I've ever used. It's not the best for wearing under makeup (it's so rich), but for night time, it really is a dream!
Another good drug-store moisturizer is CeraVe PM. Although this is their evening moisturizer, it works beautifully under makeup. It doesn't contain a sunscreen, which should always be worn during the day. Dermatologists advise an SPF of 30 or more if spending more than a little time outside. Apply sunscreen after moisturizer, and if you're using a serum, this goes on before your moisturizer.
Colorescience has an array of sun protection products. All are tinted and go on beautifully. Choose from a primer (I love calm), or something from the Sunforgettable line, which includes a handy powder with SPF.
When it comes to your neck and upper chest, you may not want to go too far down with a tinted sunscreen as it can transfer onto your clothing. The trick to making untinted mineral sunscreen blend into your skin (and not leave you looking like a ghost) is to use it over a facial oil. Mad Hippie's antioxidant oil works perfectly under their facial SPF sunscreen.
A retinoid product is your best bet (short of surgery) to fight against wrinkles and aging. Retinoids come in several strengths: start with the weakest (0.25%) and only use once a week or every other day until your skin adjusts. Only use at night time and apply after your moisturizer if you have super-sensitive skin. Your complexion may look worse and peel like crazy before getting better but hang in there as it'll be worth it in the end. Skin Medica Retinol Complex is a worthy splurge.
Alpha hydroxy acids are excellent exfoliators, but they can be a little harsh for sensitive skin. Clinique's Turnaround Accelerated Renewal Serum contains a gentler acid (polyhydroxy) which hasn't bothered my skin at all - and feels lovely!
Don't forget to indulge in a little pampering too: Take that meditation class; enroll in yoga, or just take a relaxing bath. If you like to spend time in the tub, try having a honey facial at the same time. (Just spread a generous blob of raw or Manuka honey on your face and leave on for about 20 to 30 minutes. It's a fantastic moisturizer, gentle exfoliant, and can even promote collagen building.
There's been quite a bit of excitement over turmeric lately. Its active ingredient (curcumin) has been shown to have anti-cancer properties when applied to the skin. As someone who's had a couple of bouts of basal cell, I'm going to start adding a little of this powder to my honey mask (along with a heaping spoonful into my daily smoothie.)
Love where you are!
I'm so grateful to have reached the ripe (not old) age of 58. Yes, we may have been "prettier" in our twenties and thirties, but I like what goes on in my mind so much more now! I'm never going to welcome crows feet, age spots, and all the other "interesting" things that pop up. However, I love having a lifetime of experiences to draw upon. And finding happiness in the simple things, and not worrying so much about what people think of me... well that looks pretty darn good too. So let's embrace this next chapter of our lives - wrinkles and all.
Skinmedica and Colorescience products are available at some spas and physicians offices. Derma E and Mad Hippie can be found in many health food stores. Clinique is sold at Ulta and most department stores. If you're having trouble finding anything, please check the website links at the bottom of the page to buy online.
I have no affiliation with any of the skin care products mentioned in this blog - I just love using them.
If you'd like to check out a couple of other items I've added to my beauty regime (including the BEST silk pillowcase), please check out my fab beauty finds here
* This is a revamped version of a previous blog that I had to delete as several products had been reformulated or discontinued. And there have been new discoveries!
Derma E sensitive skin cleanser with pycnogenol
Colorescience skin perfectors
Colorescience store locator
Skinmedica Retinol Complex
Skinmedica store locator
Clinique turnaround accelerated renewal serum
I will always remember my first latte: it was at a waterfront coffee shop in Scottsdale, Arizona. For some inexplicable reason, I had let fifty plus years of my life slip by without having a single cup of coffee. But after savoring just a few sips of this new and delectable concoction I was in awe - this wasn't just a beverage; it was an experience! I now look forward to coffee time with the same joyful anticipation I once had for happy hour - and I'm getting into far less trouble!
Coffee (like our equally delicious friend, chocolate) was once shunned as an unhealthy indulgence. But after years of research (and being one of the most studied substances in food ever), the general consensus is that moderate coffee consumption is very good for your health - and your happiness quotient too!
Despite its awesomeness, coffee isn't perfect for everyone, especially those poor souls with a sensitivity to caffeine. And you'll be negating some of the benefits if you load up your coffee with sugar or artificial sweeteners, flavors, and creamers. But this doesn't mean it has to be boring - I make my latte with organic whole milk (preferably grass-fed), and maybe a little cinnamon or pumpkin spice sprinkled on top, and it's perfection!
Not everything we eat or drink has to be organic, but coffee falls into this category: it is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. Buying organic ensures your brew is free from herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides - which is kinder to farmers, the environment, and you! One final caution is to let your coffee cool a little before consuming, as some studies have shown a link between drinking extremely hot drinks and esophageal cancer.
Unfortunately, even the healthiest coffee isn't all sunshine and rainbows. Ironically, the same roasting process that makes coffee so delicious also causes a natural by-product named acrylamide, which is a known carcinogen. But please don't let this freak you out - coffee actually contains very little of this substance, and you would have to drink an outlandish amount of coffee to come close to a dangerous level.
Also (and I'm not sure if this will make you feel better or worse), acrylamide is in numerous foods that we eat every day. This same chemical is generated when certain (mainly starchy) foods are cooked at high temperatures for long periods of time. Potatoes, bread, black olives, and prune juice all have higher amounts of acrylamide than coffee. And french fries and potato chips are off the charts!
After reading (endless) articles on this pesky compound, I'm really not worried about getting an unhealthy amount from coffee. But if this still concerns you, there are things you can do to reduce acrylamide consumption in both coffee and food:
So now we know the scary part isn't so bad after all, let's get back to the warm and fuzzy feeling we get whenever we spy a coffee shop. I don't know if it's the cozy atmosphere, cool decor, or the intoxicating smell that draws us in (and let's face it - makes us all a little addicted), but there's definitely something uniquely welcoming. Although I wouldn't feel comfortable walking into a restaurant and eating alone, I have no qualms about being by myself in a coffee shop. It feels like a home-away-from-home. And even though we may only nod and smile at each other, I believe this comradeship is an acknowledgment of our mutual love for the coffee bean.
So, how did coffee change my life? Well, at the beginning of this blog I mentioned the similarity(for me) between "wine night" and "coffee time." At one point in my life, I was indulging in too much of the prior and hadn't discovered the pleasure of the latter (or latte - haha). Thankfully, a friend shared her concern over my behavior when alcohol was involved (after another rather rambunctious night), and it was an eye-opener and life-changing moment. I realized that the closeness and camaraderie I enjoyed so much with friends over wine could be achieved with coffee too. And that's when coffee became more than just a beverage and turned into a lifestyle I'm loving - and it loves me back!
Harvard Health Publishing: Health benefits of coffee and a proposed warning label
Healthline: Instant Coffee: Good or Bad