Your Body Is A Machine

Your Body Is A Machine

Growing up, my father used to tell me “your body is a machine”. You see, I come from an extremely athletic and health conscientious family. My brother and I were taught at a young age that our athletic performance was not just about training hard but also eating the right things. I began developing the mindset that if I ate well and trained hard, I would live a healthy life. I have played soccer, softball and rode horses. I have swam, skied and snowboarded my entire life. My brother wrestled, played football and lacrosse. All of these sports were extremely demanding on our bodies but we learned that performance and recovery depended largely on what was put into our bodies. Stephanie Walsh, a Medical Director, explains “Food is fuel for our bodies, just like gas is for our car. If we put bad fuel in our car, the engine won’t work right—just like if we put unhealthy foods in our bodies.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, eating healthy 24/7 isn’t natural. Sometimes, we want to indulge in some ice cream and cupcakes! And that is OKAY!  

Eating healthy and making healthy simple choices is a marathon, not a sprint. The key to success in eating healthy and treating your body right all stems from making healthy, simple and obtainable short-term goals that become a routine and lifestyle. Eventually, you can push yourself with more long term goals such as running a marathon, keeping weight off or just going for a walk every day. Making short term goals will be much easier than creating goals that are too wide stretched, difficult and too far long in the future that you will most likely experience binging. Trust me, it happens to the best of us.

Binging, quitting, or telling yourself “I’ll start tomorrow” happens when you want results FAST, overnight and make non sustainable goals. You might eat super strict and “healthy” for weeks and then binge days on end because you cannot maintain, thus making it more difficult to get back into a routine. Instead, creating short, obtainable, challenging but not impossible, goals you can achieve daily will help eliminate the urge to binge or quit!

 For example, instead of eating an entire bowl of pasta, cut it in half and replace the other half with a healthy salad or vegetable. If you cut your portions in half and replace them with a health alternative, that is an obtainable daily goal. You’re not being put on a strict diet that can cause crashes or binging. Instead, you’re portion controlling but able to still eat what you desire…only, you cut it in half! Or, instead of going out every night on the weekend, indulging on beer and buffalo wings, go one time a week! You have to take CARE of your body just as you would a car. Polish it, clean it, and run it on the best fuel with healthy choices. 

And yes, I made that healthy food pictured above. It is chia seeds, greek yogurt, cut up bananas and apples, granola and hemp hearts! My fiance Jon loved it and he’s naturally a Stouffer’s Creative Comforts type of man! I was surprised he enjoyed it and said he’d be willing to try something healthy again the next morning 🙂 Ahh, goal completed!

Below are examples of Whole Foods (video) and of S.M.A.R.T. method goals. Enjoy!

Copyright- Cooking Light,

1) Don’t Skip Breakfast! Try and eat a healthy, wholesome breakfast this week that has all of the food groups

2) Try to add green, leafy veggies to each meal

3) Go for a short walk 10-15 minutes 3x a week

4) Manage weight by cutting down portion sizes

5) Drink a full glass of water with each meal

What Are Your Healthcare Marketing Goals for This Year?

Disclaimer- The materials provided above are informational advice and should not be relied upon. Always consult your physician before starting any diet or exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.

Milk: Product Review

Product Review:

Get It Here

Over the weekend I was a hair model for a company I absolutely love. I won’t say their name because I truly do love their products but as I have stated before, I have REALLY sensitive skin. Well, for hours my hair was pulled, sprayed and fixed with different products, overlapping each other and building up on my scalp for hours.

Anyways, I broke out in a reaction later that night. It was painful, itchy and I freaked out thinking we had bed bugs or fleas! I washed the sheets, cleaned the dog and even told Jon (my fiance) I was really worried it was some sort of bug bites. We didn’t have bugs. In fact, we rarely even see any sort of insect in our home.

 Soon, once I calmed down, I realized it was all of the products mixed together and sprayed over and over for hours onto my neck area and scalp that was causing the reaction. As soon as I re-washed my hair, the rash subsided but wouldn’t go away regardless of trying Benadryl and Hydrocortisone cream.

I use Milk as a night moisturizer and it has done wonders for my skin in terms of moisurizing; however, I read Maskcara Milk cream was also being used for skin reactions, eczema, etc. so I figured why not try it. No joke— two days later and my neck/ scalp are almost completely cured. I couldn’t believe how quickly it worked and how it worked better than the typical medication for such a reaction. I am honestly in owe and taken back by the powers of this cream! It is no secret I am a fan of Darphin products because they’re great for sensitive skin.

Honestly, Milk is a miracle cream and it has now become a daily product added to my Darphin skincare. 

ps. it works better than La Mer in my opinion. Yes, I’ve tried both their regular cream and soft cream. Milk still takes the cake!

Honestly, Milk is a miracle cream and it has now become a daily product added to my Darphin skincare. 

ps. it works better than La Mer in my opinion. Yes, I've tried both their regular cream and soft cream. Milk still takes the cake!

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Written by Cara Brook, Maskcara Founder

Meditation: The Basics Backed By Science

We all need a “place”. A place for ourselves to unwind, relax and self reflect. Such a place can be referred to as a sanctuary, an oasis or a hideaway. It is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of day to day activities. It’s often hard for people to find the time to relax, slow down and enjoy life. Too many people are often filled with stress, anxiety and constantly running around without taking the time to just be still. Everyone needs an oasis.

“Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.” Sr. Francis de Sales

Meditation is a great way to practice self reflection, while also calming the body and lowering stress levels. Meditation can improve mental clarity, focus and emotions. However, how often do we actually take the time to find an oasis spot and meditate? How often do we take time for ourselves?

We are often stumbling across blogs and forums explaining the spiritual reasoning behind why people should meditate. There are many spiritual gratifications an individual can receive from meditation. However, many people like science based facts over spirituality. For instance, people like my fiance need scientific facts to help them understand certain benefits with activities such as meditation and self reflection.

  • 1. Brain & Moods
  • 2. Mind & Performance
  • 3. Body & Health
  • 4. Relationships
  • 5. Mindfulness For Kids
  • 6. Miscellaneous
  • 7. Conclusion

The Evidence…

In a study conducted at five middle schools in Belgium, involving about 400 students (13 ~ 20 years old), Professor Filip Raes concludes that “students who follow an in-class mindfulness program report reduced indications of depression, anxiety and stress up to six months later. Moreover, these students were less likely to develop pronounced depression-like symptoms.”

Sources: ScienceDaily, Link Springer, Jama Network

High-risk pregnant women who participated in a ten-week mindfulness yoga training saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms, according to a University of Michigan Health System pilot feasibility study. The mothers-to-be also showed more intense bonding to their babies in the womb. The findings were published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
Source: Medical News Today

This is also the conclusion of over 20 randomized controlled studies taken from PubMed, PsycInfo, and the Cochrane Databases, involving the techniques of Meditation, Meditative Prayer, Yoga, Relaxation Response.
Another research concludes that mindfulness meditation may be effective to treat anxiety to a similar degree as antidepressant drug therapy.
Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineJama Network

A study led by Katherine MacLean of the University of California suggested that during and after meditation training, subjects were more skilled at keeping focus, especially on repetitive and boring tasks.
Another study demonstrated that even with only 20 minutes a day of practice, students were able to improve their performance on tests of cognitive skill, in some cases doing 10 times better than the group that did not meditate. They also performed better on information-processing tasks that were designed to induce deadline stress.
In fact, there is evidence that meditators had a thicker prefrontal cortex and right anterior insula, and also to the effect that meditation might offset the loss of cognitive ability with old age.

Sources: Time MagazineNCBILink Springer

Ph.D. psychotherapist Dr. Ron Alexander reports in his book Wise Mind, Open Mindthat the process of controlling the mind, through meditation, increases mental strength, resilience, and emotional intelligence.
Source: Dr. Ron Alexander

Eileen Luders, an assistant professor at the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, and colleagues, have found that long-term meditators have larger amounts of gyrification (“folding” of the cortex, which may allow the brain to process information faster) than people who do not meditate. Scientists suspect that gyrification is responsible for making the brain better at processing information, making decisions, forming memories and improving attention.
Source: UCLA Newsroom

In a study made with 50 adult ADHD patients, the group that was submitted to MBCT (Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) demonstrated reduced hyperactivity, reduced impulsivity and increased “act-with-awareness” skill, contributing to an overall improvement in inattention symptoms.
Sources: Clinical Neurophysiology JournalDoctorsOnTM

Research has shown that even after only four sessions of mindfulness meditation training, participants had significantly improved visuospatial processing, working memory, and executive functioning.
Source: ScienceDirect

A study from Harvard Medical School demonstrates that, after practicing yoga and meditation, the individuals had improved mitochondrial energy production, consumption and resiliency. This improvement develops a higher immunity in the system and resilience to stress.
Sources: BloombergNCBIAmerican Psychosomatic Medicine JournalJournal of International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology

Clinical research has demonstrated that the practice of Zen Meditation (also known as “Zazen”) reduces stress and high blood pressure.
Another experiment, this time with a technique called “relaxation response”, yielded similar results, with 2/3 of high blood pressure patients showing significant drops in blood pressure after 3 months of meditation, and, consequently, less need for medication. This is because relaxation results in the formation of nitric oxide, which opens up your blood vessels.

Source: The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary MedicineNPR News

In a research conducted by neuroscientists of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, two groups of people were exposed to different methods of stress control. One of them received mindfulness training, while the other received nutritional education, exercise and music therapy. The study concluded that mindfulness techniques were more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being.
Source: Medical News Today

In a study published in the American Psychological Association, subjects that did “even just a few minutes of loving-kindness meditation increased feelings of social connection and positivity toward novel individuals, on both explicit and implicit levels. These results suggest that this easily implemented technique may help to increase positive social emotions and decrease social isolation”.
Source: American Psychological Association

After being assigned to a 9-week compassion cultivation training (CCT), individuals showed significant improvements in all three domains of compassion – compassion for others, receiving compassion from others, and self-compassion. In a similar situation, the practitioners also experienced decreased level of worry and emotional suppression.
Sources: Stanford School of Medicine (also here), Sage Journals. presented research evidence for the following benefits for kids:

  • reduced depression symptoms
  • reduced somatic stress
  • reduced hostility and conflicts with peers
  • reduced anxiety
  • reduced reactivity
  • reduced substance use
  • increased cognitive retention
  • increased self-care
  • increased optimism and positive emotions
  • increased self-esteem
  • increased feelings of happiness and well-being
  • improved social skills
  • improved sleep
  • improved self-awareness
  • improved academic performance

Some more interesting facts about meditation:

There are MANY different types of meditation. Science has proven it is good to practice for many different factors.

For now, we will start with just a basic meditation. Below is a self help guide to meditation. I recommend finding a place of your own and practice these principals. Make it a habit and make it apart of your daily ritual. Your mind and your body will thank you. 

“In mindfulness meditation, we’re learning how to pay attention to the breath as it goes in and out, and notice when the mind wanders from this task. This practice of returning to the breath builds the muscles of attention and mindfulness.”- Mindful Staff ( )

Meditation Exercise for Brief Moments