The philosophy of naturopathic medicine is to use the most natural methods to achieve optimal health and beauty. People who follow this philosophy have a "glow"an almost indescribable radiance, beauty, and energetic vitality. Dr. Pina's holistic wisdom blends practices from naturopaths, scientists, and Chinese medicine and is informed by medical research.
This practical guide presents the five simple keys to great beauty and health (sleep, food, exercise, relaxation, detoxification), explains how to maximize their benefits, offers advice on natural remedies like vitamins and herbs, and gives Dr. Pina's expert guidance based on over a decade of research and clinical experience. The book's tips include:
The real secrets behind staying young.
The best practices for radiant skin and hair.
The vitamins and herbs that work like magic bullets.
Simple daily habits that help overcome stress and shed extra pounds.
Dr. Pina clears up the confusion about what actually works and what doesn't and dispels the popular myths that are doing more harm than good. By following Dr. Pina's advice, you will see yourself looking more radiantly beautiful each day.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Your Beauty Sleep
Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and ourbodies together.
—Thomas Dekker, author
All the makeup in the world isn’t going to hide the factthat you’re not sleeping. There’s a reason it’s called “beauty sleep”—and likeanger, stress, and bitterness, fatigue shows on your face. Lack of sleep canlead to weight gain, digestive problems, impatience, stress, a sense of beingoverwhelmed, and an inability to think clearly. Even the U.S. government hasofficially recognized that lack of sleep can increase vulnerability to majordiseases, including high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and cancer. In2014 the Centers for Disease Control, which had found that almost one in fivepeople had trouble sleeping, deemed lack of sleep a “public epidemic.”
Yet what if sleeping well isn’t simple for you? What ifyou lie there unable to fall asleep? What if you’re able to fall asleep butcan’t stay asleep? Help is here.
First, let me say a few words about your sleep schedule,because not having a sleep routine is often at the core of a number of sleepissues.
Your Sleep Schedule
In 1640 the poet George Herbert said, “An hour of sleepbefore midnight is worth three after.” That tenet is almost four hundred yearsold, but it remains true today. At the core of Herbert’s bit of wisdom is thefact that the later you go to bed, the less chance your body has to do itsnecessary repair and anti-inflammatory work. You late owls are wondering, “Butwhat if I go to bed late and sleep in late? Is that just as good?”
No. Unfortunately, it isn’t.
As the sun goes down, your body recognizes that the timeto sleep is growing near. When your eyes sense darkness, the small pineal glandat the base of your brain begins to release melatonin, the hormone for sleepand the master hormone that sets your body clock. So, maybe it’s 8:30 or 9:00at night and you start to feel a little drowsy. If you wind down the eveningand slip under the covers by 10:00 or 10:30, your body naturally continues the“closing up shop for the night” process that began with the lowering of thesun. When you interrupt this natural order of things, however, maybe bywatching television or surfing the Internet, you create a stress response andelevate your stress hormone, cortisol. An animal that stays up past darkusually has a desperate need to find food, or to run for its life. Either way,the creature is stressed! Most likely, what feels like a second wind to you isactually your primitive brain thinking, “Wake up! There’s trouble!” Do you seehow this can impede your ability to wind down and go to sleep?
Okay, now let’s try to fix the most common sleepproblems.
Sleep Problem 1: “I Can’t Fall Asleep”
You’re looking forward to bed. You’re ready for bed. Youcrawl into bed. And then you just lie there, wide awake, not even tired—or,worse, wide awake and exhausted. Let’s look at some of the possible cures forthat life troll insomnia.
Aim for a Bedtime Between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m.
If you go to bed very late, try slowly to inch yourbedtime ten to fifteen minutes earlier a week. Such gradual change shouldn’t bedifficult for your body to adjust to. If you do find it difficult, some naturalsupplements should help a bit (we’ll discuss these under “Sleep Problem 2”),but try these rituals first, and you may find you won’t need the supplements.
Start a Bedtime Ritual One Hour Before Bed
Turn off the bright lights, TV, computer, phone, andtablet. Bright blue light suppresses your natural melatonin, so consider buyingan orange bulb for a dedicated lamp, and read a book (yes, a real book, not alighted electronic one) by that light only. Orange light doesn’t suppressmelatonin as much as regular white light does. Make a small cup of chamomile orlavender tea and sip it slowly. You are becoming verrry sleeeepy . . .
Assess Your Nest
There’s an old saying that the bedroom is for sex andsleep. So make sure your boudoir isn’t cluttered with extraneous distractions(such as a TV or a computer). Also, how much light is in the bedroom whenyou’re trying to sleep? While I know some people who could sleep through DisneyWorld’s Main Street Electrical Parade, many of us are sensitive even to lowlevels of light and would be well served by blackout shades. An eye mask canhelp, too—I love the comfy padded ones filled with lavender or flax seeds. Usethe hand test: if your room is dark but you can still see your hand twelveinches in front of your face, there’s too much light in the room.
Feng Shui for Better Sleep
In Chinese medicine, when your environment is cluttered,your body’s energy gets cluttered, too, and unhealthy. Feng shui is the art oforganizing your environment so your body’s energy flows best. Consider having afeng shui expert check the room to see if anything is getting in the way ofgood sleeping energy (such as stuff under the bed, too many books,electromagnetic fields, or the bed’s position in the room). Better bedroomenergy may mean better sleep. There are many wonderful books on the topic.
Here are some more steps my patients have takensuccessfully to get back into the sleeping groove. Try the first one and giveit a few days. If that doesn’t work, try the next one.
Starbucked? Cut the Caffeine
I know this hurts—I confess, I’m drinking an earlymorning soy latte while writing these words—but when I had my insomnia issues,I said good-bye to the caffeine for a few months until my body clock was reset.While caffeine may not be the root cause of a sleeping problem, working withpatients has taught me that it’s almost impossible to correct sleep issues whenthere’s caffeine in the system. Once you’re sleeping again, you have myblessing to do a nice big swan dive into your beloved mochaccino.
If cutting the coffee really hurts (I mean, reallyhurts), then congratulations! You are addicted to caffeine (and right whereStarbucks wants you). You know this because when you stop caffeine, your bodytells you all about it with whopping headaches, extreme fatigue, and sometimesconstipation and even depression.
The fact is it’s good to take time away from anythingthat starts to run you. Try this: Start taking a good, potent B complex in themorning. (It will make your urine very yellow; this is normal.) Also, take 250milligrams (mg) of magnesium glycinate once a day at bedtime. These twovitamins will minimize the caffeine withdrawal symptoms. Once you have these inyour system for a day or two, start the weaning process: For week one, makeyour coffee three-quarters caffeinated and one-quarter decaffeinated. Week two,move to half-caffeinated and half-decaffeinated. Then, for week three, tryone-quarter caffeinated and three-quarters decaffeinated. Finally, for the lastweek, move to all decaf (which still has a little caffeine in it). After thislast week, you should be able to move to an herbal tea such as rooibos, or toTeeccino, a delicious chicory coffee substitute that contains no caffeine.
Avoid Certain Foods Before Bed
Sometimes eating too close to bedtime will also keep youup. When you keep your digestive system up and working late, it can be hard toget the brain to shut down. And here’s a little bad news: dark chocolate isanother no-no at bedtime, as it easily has enough caffeine to perk you up atthe wrong time. Alcohol is confusing because it can help you drop into sleepquickly, but then it disturbs your deeper sleep later by working to stimulatethe nervous system. So what felt like a nice buzz will soon morph into athrashing sleep. Spicy and fatty foods can rile your stomach enough to stop youfrom sleeping. For optimal slumber, try to put a good three hours between yourlast meal of the day and your bedtime.
Try Pre-Sleep Sweating
For years the medical community thought exercise close tobedtime was too invigorating and kept people awake at night. Then, in 2013, theNational Sleep Foundation found that exercise at any time of day can helppeople sleep well at night and stay healthier overall. Only 3 percent of lateexercisers in the study reported that their sleep was worse after exercise. Soexercise when you can and see how it feels for you. More than likely it willhelp you sleep better.
Quiet Your Mind
Sometimes “racing thoughts” are what keep people awake.Unfortunately we often can’t just turn them off. I suggest trying to displaceyour broken record with a thought, a word, a mantra of some kind. You mightsilently think of a word or phrase such as “Sleep . . . now.” As you breathein, hear yourself think, “Sleeeeeeeep.” As you breathe out, hear “Nowwww.” Tryto establish a slow, gentle breathing pattern. If you force yourself to repeata short sequence of words, it’s very difficult for other thoughts to push theirway in.
Fool Yourself into Feeling Light-Headed
I know a woman who has a bizarre-sounding insomnia cure,but she swears by it, so I think it’s worth mentioning. She “daydreams” herselfinto what feels like the light-headed or drugged state she remembersexperiencing before going into surgery: those floaty seconds while she wasbeing anesthetized and starting to float into la-la land. She concentrates onrevisiting or re-creating that sensation. Sometimes this involves her focusingon the moving patterns she can observe even though her eyes are closed: fluidsand lightness against the darkness behind her eyelids. She claims that foolingherself into thinking she’s been given a sedative works every time.
Renowned psychologist Elisha Goldstein teaches aboutmindfulness and offers practical strategies for calming the mind. He teaches avery simple “self-hugging” technique that can also work as a sleep aid. Whilelying in bed, bend the elbow of one arm and lay that arm across your chest,resting your hand on your opposite shoulder. Then wrap your other arm aroundyour waist. This creates a gentle binding sensation, not unlike the cozinessthat a snugly swaddled infant feels—and a sense of snugness can help lead tosleep.
Sleep Problem 2: “I Fall Asleep,
but Can’t Stay Asleep”
Maybe you do try to keep a good sleep schedule and youcan fall asleep, but you can’t remain asleep for long. Give the advice fromchapter 2 a try. But also try this trick I have up my sleeve:
Found naturally in turkey and bananas, this amino acidhelps your brain produce more serotonin, which will help you stay peacefullyasleep. German studies from the late 1980s showed benefits, but unfortunatelythe advent of sleep medications curtailed the study of many naturalsupplements, so more studies have not been completed. I find supplementaltryptophan quite helpful for patients. Try 500 to 2,000 mg. I recommend theproduct Tryptophan Calmplete, which is dosed from one to four capsules a night.
If tryptophan is not enough, add a little time-releasedmelatonin. For this, I recommend Melatonin Cadence, which is in tablet form.One tablet is 3 mg. Start with half a tablet—they are scored and easily splitinto two halves—and move up to two full tablets, if needed, to stay asleep. Seethe “Resources” section at the back of this book for information on findingthese supplements.
A Few Good
Often people wake up due to hunger because their liverisn’t releasing enough sugar at night to keep them feeling sated until morning.Eating a little food before bed can prevent this. A little food. Too much foodcan keep you awake. You might want to try one of these sleep starters:
This is one of my favorite nighty-night foods because itcontains small amounts of melatonin, the brain chemical that tells your bodyit’s time for bed. Oatmeal is a cereal grain made from the herb Avena sativa.Avena sativa is known in traditional herbal medicine as a calming plant that isnutritious for a frazzled nervous system. Oats contain complex carbohydratesthat can help deliver more tryptophan to the brain to help you sleep. They alsocontain B6, a vitamin that helps produce serotonin in the brain. Have a quartercup at bedtime. (If you have issues with constipation, feel free to add atablespoon of ground flax meal.)
The Montmorency is a special variety of cherry with evenmore melatonin than its regular old cherry counterpart we see in mostsupermarkets. You can find these bright red cherries in some fine food storeswhen they are in season. They can also be found in the frozen section, or lookfor a Montmorency cherry juice concentrate.
These have extra tryptophan, which turns into serotonin(a molecule you need to sleep) and then into melatonin in the brain.
Dark green leafy vegetables have more nutrients than wewill probably ever know. While dandelion greens are not traditionally known asa sleep-inducing food, I have found their liver-cleansing properties to be avaluable sleep aid.
Still relatively unfamiliar to most people, pulque is athousand-year-old native Mexican milk-colored alcoholic beverage made from thefermented sap of the maguey plant (a type of agave), and it is high inmelatonin. It is a bit frothier and less alcoholic than its modern beercounterpart. While it is an age-old drink, it is becoming quite popular these days.Thanks to pulque’s melatonin and alcohol content, it functions as a relaxant,so it’s best to drink it after dinner. It should not be used by anyone with ahistory of or tendency toward alcoholism, and it should not be ingested byminors or pregnant women. I don’t recommend drinking pulque as a dailysolution—just an occasional one.
Sleep Problem 3: “I’m Anxious and Need
Anxiety Meds to Sleep”
This is quite common. Do sleep medications such as Ambien(zolpidem) or antianxiety meds such as Ativan (lorazepam) and Xanax(alprazolam) help you fall asleep or stay asleep? If your answer is yes, thissuggests that your brain is in stress overdrive. You need to calm that braindown.
Basically, your brain has two modes that runsimultaneously. One mode deals with the outside, conscious world; this is thepart of the brain that makes decisions, leads you to action, and is aware ofwhat’s happening right now. Then there’s the other side, which is moreinternal. It’s your unconscious, and it houses your all-important backgroundthoughts, your spirit, your psychic processors. In Chinese medicine there’syang and yin—each of these opposing energies needs a little of the other to bewhat it is. If you look at the familiar yin-yang illustration, in the white,yang part, there is always a little yin. In the black, yin part, there isalways a little yang. Your brain works the same. Even in the daytime (the yangpart of the day) your brain needs some yin. (For a picture of yin and yang anda more detailed explanation of this concept, please visitwww.drpinaND.com/yinyang.)
Translation: if you haven’t managed to connect with yourunconscious, spiritual side during the day, it will stand up straight at nightand shout, “Okay, now you’re going to pay attention to me!”—keeping you up. Ifyou think this is part of what’s keeping you awake, try one or more of thefollowing:
Excerpted from "The Little Book of Healthy Beauty"
Copyright © 2016 Pina LoGiudice.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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