Welcome the New Year, with Squash & Cheer!

"2018" wooden pieces with mini white lights woven around.

2018 is here!

The holiday-rush has passed, the new year has hit, and the fight against unhealthy temptations is a thing of 2017! … or is it?

Even though the holidays have come and gone – and even though you did your best at staying away from those ever-so-delicious (yet sugar-filled) sweet treats, these cravings don’t stop just because a number in the year changes.

Being conscious of what we put in our bodies should be a lifestyle choice, rather than a quick-fix for when we’re feeling a little over-our-own-waist-size. And one of our favourites to staying healthy, and starting the year off right, is certainly … spaghetti!

Spaghetti squash, that is!

 

Pieces of squash cut on wooden cutting board.

Yes! The beautiful and all-encompassing squash …

…one of the most delicious and nutrient-rich vegetables to hit our markets this season. From essential vitamins & protein, to its natural health and medicinal benefits – this vegetable has it all!  So jump on board for a quick overview of some of this superfood’s attributes, that certainly can’t be ignored!

 

Assortment of squash and seasonal vegetables on table top.

The impressive health and nutritional benefits of squash …

…are above all due to the multitude of organic compounds, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it contains. Squash is filled with vitamin A for vision and bone growth, C for antioxidants and the development and repair of body tissue, E for healthy organs and immune system, and finally B6 for brain health and metabolism. Even more, it’s also loaded with fiber, omega fatty acids, and minerals; such as iron and copper, which are essential components of red blood cells in helping to prevent iron deficiency.

 

Packed with antioxidants!

Squash helps neutralize free radicals throughout the body, with powerful antioxidants. Free radicals are the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism, that can accelerate aging by damaging healthy skin cells, and as a result can lead to negative health problems; such as, cancer and heart disease. While small amounts of free radicals in the body are normal, and are helpful for our metabolism, they can multiply quite quickly and therefore must be kept under control.

…Enter, squash!

 

2018 notebook, with "This year I will" written on top page.

So, if you’re still working on that list of new year’s resolutions …

… give this super-veggie a number one spot next to “Happy & Healthy Eating in 2018” !
Even more, to help you start this journey-à-la-squash, here’s one of our own Dr. Melissa Hershberg’s favourite recipes – for a healthy start to 2018!

 

The Ultimate Roasted Spaghetti Squash …

… a perfect dinner side dish. Low calorie, filling and above all – full of nutrition!

Squash cut in half - spaghetti squash strands with fork on side.

Ready!
Pierce your spaghetti squash with holes, to let air escape
Place in microwave for 5 minutes to soften
Take out, cut lengthwise & scoop out all the seeds

fun tip!
Squash seeds are also edible – and can therefore be seasoned and roasted like pumpkin seeds! Try it out, for a delicious & healthy snack.

 

Set!
Line a cookie sheet with tin foil & place squash cut-side down
Drizzle with 1 tbsp of olive oil
Season with salt & pepper to taste

fun tip!
Olive oil is one of the healthiest oil options – due to it being packed full of
antioxidants and vitamins A, D, E & K.  

 

Bake!
Bake in the oven, at 400 degrees for 40 minutes

fun tip!
You can
be sure your squash is ready to devour, when you can easily insert a fork into the skin!

 

Enjoy!
Finally, flip it over, scrape out strands with a fork …
Et voila! Your very own homemade spaghetti squash!

fun tip!
Even more, this recipe tastes great with crumbled light feta cheese and rosemary thrown over, as a personalized finishing touch!

Winter Skincare

Well, it happened …

the cold weather has finally arrived. And as much as we love the festive lights, clean crisp air, and holiday cheer – our skin does not share in this same joy. The cold air and low humidity of these winter months, make it a perfectly imperfect atmosphere for dry, tight, and flaky skin.


A change in season, equals a change in skincare

So, why does this time of year have such an effect on our skin? Because everything from dry outdoor air and hot indoor heating, prevent it from retaining its full moisture capability.

Even though this 2017-2018 Toronto winter has been predicted to be one of the coldest we’ve had in a while, our experts here at Q Esthetics have seen it all. And, because of this, they know a thing or two about maintaining moisturized, healthy and glowing skin!

The key? … Hydration, hydration, hydration!

Along with keeping our bodies well-protected..

by bundling up in thick sweaters and warm, yet stylish, coats – it’s important to bundle up our skin as well. So, jump on board to see what we have to share, and let’s learn how to plan our skincare as we would plan our wardrobe this winter…

…preventative and protective!

 

Tip #1: Beautiful skin starts from the inside-out

If you’re not providing your body with ample nutrients, it’s going to be that much more difficult to maintain that oh-so-desired happy and healthy glow. Therefore, drinking-in that essential hydration, is our number one skincare tip for a healthy body & healthy mind.

Our body requires hydration from the inside-out; therefore, not drinking enough can result in dull and dry skin. As much as we love that quick boost of caffeine in the morning, this is exactly what we should be trying to avoid. Instead of stripping our skin of essential moisture from these caffeinated drinks, two super-hydrating drinks to feed our skin with this winter instead, are – water and herbal teas.

The calming and warming effect of herbal teas..

along with being packed full of antioxidants, internal healing properties, and natural stress relievers – is exactly what our skin needs! Warm water with lemon is also a great habit to get into. Indulging in one of these cozy cups first thing in the morning, is incredible to flush out toxins and as an added winter immunity-boost!

Q Pro Tip – Try infusing your water with some other water-rich fruits and veggies; such as cantaloupe, apples, oranges, celery, and cucumbers – for a healthy added burst of flavour!

 

Tip #2: Harsh cleansers equal a harsh reality

Once you’ve supplied your body with hydration from the inside out, why would you want to throw it all away with a rougher-than-pinecone cleanser?  Using a harsh cleanser, with ingredients such as sulfates and parabens, will strip your skin of essential oils and protective barriers – leaving it feeling dry and damaged. Instead, take a step in the right direction, and opt for a soap-free one instead!

Soap-free cleansers are gentle on our skin, and should be a staple 12-month product in your skincare regimen. Do we really only want ultimate skin protection during the winter months? Definitely not! A cleanser with moisturizing ingredients, such as glycerin, is essential to maintaining that essential hydration year-round.

Q Pro cleanser recommendation:
SensiCalm Gentle Cleanser – by Alumier MD

 

Tip #3: Your skin is hungry too!

Feeding your skin with the right serums and moisturizers is a winter skincare essential. Choose products both rich in hydration, and those that protect our skin from the harsh outdoor elements. Winning ingredients to look for in your winter skincare are humectants; such as, glycerin & hyaluronic acid (or sodium hyaluronate). Both are key elements in moisture retention, because of their ability to fight against dehydration, and by their capacity to attract and hold onto water.


A Q Pro Tip to remember
,

is to always be sure to apply any type of moisturizer to your skin immediately after cleansing – when pores are still open and ready to retain optimal hydration!

Q Pro serum, moisturizer, and eye cream recommendations:
Ultimate Boost serum – by Alumier MD
Alumience A.G.E serum – by Alumier MD
Recovery Balm moisturizer – by Alumier MD
HydraDew moisturizer – by Alumier MD
Alumineye eye cream – by Alumier MD

 

Q Pro Tip #4 – Hold on tight!

Our final Q Pro Tip in preventative skincare, is to hold onto that hydration, protect yourself from those harsh winter winds, and – if it isn’t already – make sunscreen your new best friend!

It’s true – the winter sun’s UV’s are just as damaging as the summer ones. Skipping the SPF will not only reverse your efforts of supplying your skin with that essential moisture, but result in dry and damaged skin as well.

Sunscreen helps to prevent premature aging..

as it protects from harsh elements – elements that trigger sagging, fine lines, and wrinkles. Even that short commute to work – you know the one where you tell yourself it’s not worth the extra effort to apply that last-minute sunscreen – can make the difference between your skin looking great now, and your skin still looking great 10 years from now!

Q Pro sunscreen recommendation:
Sheer Hydration – by Alumier MD

 

And that’s it – you’re ready to go!

So, indulge in that delicious cup of hot herbal tea, feed your skin with the protection it needs, top it all off with your favourite sunscreen, throw on that added chic accessory piece – and protect your skin in style this winter, by kissing dry flakey skin goodbye!
 

 *All AlumierMD Products are free of Parabens, Sulfates, Petrolatum and Dyes. AlumierMD does not do any animal testing on their products.

Healthy Eating

The holiday season

is one of the most delicious times of year! Delicious in the fresh winter air, in the warm & cozy fashions that garnish the streets, in the array of new specialty hot drinks at our favourite little coffee shops, and of course in the delicious holiday comfort foods that we all love and enjoy.

Healthy eating year-round is as important as applying your favourite sunscreen every morning – and we can’t express how important this is … but that’s beside the point – filling your body with the vitamins, minerals and nutrients it requires is essential to a healthy body and healthy mind.

However, something happens when the holidays hit…

…rather than biting into a delicious fruit, we opt for that delectable sweet. Rather than a healthy nutrient-rich meal, we somehow find ourselves choosing that dense calorie-rich plate instead. It’s inevitable – the holidays come well-equipped with foods that are easy on the eyes, but not-so-easy on the body.

But wait! Don’t start mourning the deliciousness of the holidays just yet…

…we’re here to help. What if we told you that you could have all the snacks you wanted, to satisfy that sweet tooth, without the guilt that comes in return? Is it possible to enjoy holiday baking and goodies with a healthy body and healthy conscious? YES!

Enter … Energy Balls

There is a wide variety

of these little bundles of heaven – available at your neighbourhood coffee shops, specialty stores, and even your local grocer. BUT, do you know that these are easier to make than throwing on those old ice skates for the first time in … more than a few years?!

It’s true!

One of our absolute favourite recipes for these delectable power balls, is one from our very own Dr. Melissa Hershberg’s The Good Diet. Not only do these sweet treats provide you with the nutrients you need, but they are also filled with energy – to give you that extra pep-in-your-step for some holiday dancing, or perhaps to get some of that last-minute shopping done!

Only 5 Ingredients!

Using only whole ingredients, superfoods, and all-natural proteins – each of these bite-size snacks is packed full of nutrients – Oats for vitamins and antioxidants, peanut butter for essential healthy fats, coconut for natural energy, dark chocolate for fiber and vitamins, and cinnamon for protective antioxidants. These energy ball have it all!

So put down your butter & sugar, and let’s throw these 5 super-ingredients together with Dr. Hershberg’s own The Good Diet’s 5 Ingredient Energy Ball recipe – a quick and easy recipe straight from her kitchen to yours.

The Good Diet 5 Ingredient Energy Balls

Ready!
1 cup of large flakes or old fashion oats
½ cup of natural unsweetened peanut butter
¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. of cinnamon
2 tbs. of semisweet or dark chocolate chips
fun tip!
Mini chocolate chips are best if you have them!

Set!
Heat the peanut butter in the microwave for 20 seconds, or until softened – but not too hot
Mix together: oats, coconut, chocolate chips
Pour the softened peanut butter over the oat mixture – mix well

Make!
Divide dough into 16 equal pieces (18 grams each)
Roll into balls & keep refrigerated
fun nutrition tip!
2 balls = 1 tbs. of peanut butter, 2 tbs. of dry oats, 1 ½ tsp. of coconut, & ¾ tsp. of chocolate chips (30g).

Enjoy!
fun tip!
As an enjoyable and personalized extra touch – portion 2 balls in a bag & decorate with a perfect little holiday bow, ornament or decoration of your choice – and share in the magic of the season with friends and family alike!

LED Light Therapy

What is it?

The “Cold Light” Technology is based on established research using Light Emitting Diodes to deliver specific wavelengths of Red, Blue, Green and Yellow Light energy to your skin.

How does it work?

This light energy passes through a layer of phytogel to stimulate, regenerate and hydrate your skin. According to NASA space program research (they developed the technology), the specified wavelengths found in the Cold Light stimulate cellular growth and metabolism, resulting in increased collagen production. The Cold Light is indicated for
the improvement of overall tone and texture of the skin, rosacea, acne, acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and soft tissue (myofascial) pain management.

What benefits does it has?

  • No pain, side effects, or downtime
  • Safe and effective for all skin types
  • Non-thermal, non-invasive, and non-ablative so there’s no injury to the skin surface
  • Fast and convenient
  • Treats large areas such as the entire face or chest at once
  • No aftercare is needed
  • Follow up is a home routine of skin care
  • Skin care professionals report high customer satisfaction

Hydration for Vanquish fat loss treatment

Why is it so important to stay hydrated?

Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to work correctly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate joints. Water is needed for good health in general and is also important to facilitate the breakdown and elimination of fat cells.

But why is it so important for Vanquish?

Our skin contains about 70% water. Fat contains only about 10% of water.
The more hydrated the skin tissue, the less resistance it has towards the RF energy being used to target those fat cells. Hydrated tissue enables the energy to travel more easily through the skin in order to reach and selectively heat those fat cells. This means both a more effective and more comfortable Vanquish treatment.

How much water should I drink each day?

You may have heard different recommendations for daily water intake. For most people that is about 6 to 8 8-ounce glasses of water each day, which is a reasonable goal.

If you are concerned that you are not drinking enough water, check your urine. If your urine is consistently colorless or light yellow, you are most likely staying well hydrated. Dark yellow or amber-colored urine is a sign of dehydration.

Could what you eat and drink dehydrate you?

There are a number of foods that can decrease your hydration levels. It is important to increase your fluid intake if your diet is high in any of the following: caffeine, alcohol, protein, and herbal supplements.

What if I workout?

When we sweat, we experience fluid loss. With any activity that causes perspiration it’s important to increase your water intake in order to rehydrate.

Tips for staying hydrated:
Keep it handy: If you have easy access to water throughout the day you will be more likely to make it a habit.

Spice it up: If you don’t love the taste of plain water try adding a hint of fresh fruit or herbs to the mix. Rosemary-Watermelon, Strawberry-Kiwi, Pineapple-Mint, and Lemon-Cucumber are just a few delicious and nutritious combinations to try!

Swap your snacks: Carby snacks like granola bars, chips, & crackers all have a low water content. Instead, reach for fresh fruits and veggies or healthy smoothies that will all help to keep you hydrated. Celery & peanut butter or veggies with hummus are both great refreshing mid-day pick-me-ups.

Pile on the produce: Aim for half of your plate to be made up of fruits & vegetables; both for their higher water content as well as a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals & fiber.

How To Deal With Stress Acne (Without Stressing Out)

When you’re stressed, breakouts are the last thing you want to deal with. Unfortunately, for women in particular, the two go hand in hand.

Here’s a little science lesson for you: “When your brain perceives stress, it sends a messenger to your adrenal gland that makes it secrete a hormone called cortisol,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz. When cortisol is created, he explains, “a tiny bit of testosterone leaks out of the adrenal gland as well. [This produces] a major increase in a woman’s blood testosterone level which causes glands to create excess oil.” And, as you know, excess oil equals acne.
So what can you do about it? Says Dr. Schultz, stress-related breakouts tend to take the form of inflammatory acne, meaning red, rashy pimples, pus-filled pimples and cysts—not blackheads or whiteheads. It’s best then, to treat accordingly. Dr. Schultz recommends using a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid or a cleanser with a mild dosage of salicylic acid. (To avoid further irritating the skin, start with one percent, he says). Drying creams and masks, tea tree oil and hydrocolloid bandages are also excellent options for combating flare-ups.

Keeping up with good daily habits is essential as well. When you’re under pressure, it’s all too easy to skimp on sleep and make poor eating choices. Unconsciously, you might even be touching or picking at your face more frequently. All of these factors stand between you and a clear complexion.

Of course, there’s no better way to treat stress acne than to simply (or not so simply) chill out. Mediate, exercise, embark on a weekend getaway…remember: It’s just a pimple.

5 Ways to Prevent Last-Minute Skin Woes

If something has to go wrong at your wedding, let it be the best man’s toast—not a spotty complexion that will live on forever in photographs. Dermatologist David McDaniel has a few suggestions for staying picture-perfect in the home stretch.

Don’t experiment. A new cleanser, cream, or treatment can cause pimples, irritation, or an allergic reaction. Now is not the time to take chances.

Be smart at the spa. Unless you’ve had several facials with the same aesthetician and ingredients, don’t book one in the weeks before your wedding. The result could be redness, a rash, or flaking.

Know your history. If you’re prone to breakouts or cold sores, tell your dermatologist at least a month before the wedding. Stress can aggravate these conditions, and a doctor can prescribe medications to keep them from popping up.

Do a trial run. At least a month ahead of time, try on the fragrance you intend to wear at your wedding to make sure you don’t develop a rash or a headache.

Watch your mouth. The week before your wedding, limit your consumption of salt, alcohol, and spicy foods, all of which can irritate sensitive skin. As appealing as they are, salt and booze also cause water retention, which makes the eyes puffy, the body bloated, and the wedding dress uncomfortably snug.

Does SPF 30 Really Protect You All Day?

There’s a lot of confusion about what SPF really means. So let’s just clear something up: It is not an indicator of how long you can stay out in the sun.

“Studies have shown that SPF’s efficacy stays steady for about an hour, and then begins to drop after an hour because UV rays break down many sunscreen ingredients,” says Jill Weinstein, a dermatologist and instructor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. It’s why you should reapply sunscreen every two hours or after you sweat or swim (whichever comes first).

Here’s what SPF really means: It’s the percentage of UVB rays—which are the sun’s burning rays—that the sunscreen blocks. It’s not indicative of the percentage of skin-aging UVA rays that the formula protects against, which is another reason to reapply often and choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. To get really specific about what SPF means, the percent breakdown is this: SPF 15 protects against 93 percent of UVB rays; SPF 30 guards against 97 percent, and SPF 50 is about 98 percent. The difference sounds negligible, but not so much when you reverse it (because, duh, two percent of UVB rays get by SPF 50, while seven percent can get by SPF 15). And this next part is really key: Almost no one puts on enough SPF 30 (half a teaspoon for your face) to get the full SPF. “It’s impossible to get the SPF on the label without really caking it on,” says Darrell S. Rigel, a dermatologist in New York City. And since that’s not happening, go with SPF 50 or higher. We like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55, because it’s light and sheer for such a high SPF. “Be careful not to miss frequently overlooked spots, like between the eyebrows and around the nostrils and eyes,” says Vivian Bucay, a dermatologist in San Antonio.

10 Things That Really Keep Your Skin Firm

In a bathroom somewhere, a woman is stroking her jawline, hoping to remind her skin where it used to sit. Another is trying to follow the directions—in French—of a new facial-massage technique. And in that special place where desperation meets magical thinking, another is actually considering a face bra. When women confront the force that holds the moon in the earth’s orbit, is it any wonder we fall for gimmicks and hype?

Skin sags when fat, collagen, and elastin break down. Still, “there is a lot we can control,” says Fredric Brandt, a dermatologist in New York City and Coral Gables, Florida. Here, experts reveal the latest findings on the ingredients, nutrients, and daily habits that will help your skin stay firm.

1. Put spring in your skin. “If I had to pick one thing to fix in my skin, I would choose elastin,” says Miami Beach dermatologist Leslie Baumann. “Elasticity is what makes youthful skin snap back when you press it.” The sobering reality, though, is that we stop making elastin around the time we hit puberty. Using a cream or serum containing retinoids each day will help restimulate production.

2. Make collagen. Without collagen, skin is destined to have the same texture as an old leather bag. Fortunately, there’s a way to make more: retinoids (again). They are the rare family of ingredients that dermatologists agree actually work. “We know that they stimulate collagen production and cellular regeneration,” says Brandt. The nonprescription form, called retinol, can start working in six months. Prescription retinoids are more powerful but also more irritating.

3. Look out for your eyes. They should be the windows to your soul—not to your birth certificate. Big sunglasses help. Baumann also says to apply a retinoid at night.

4. Take cover. Sure, you could hide out in a cave. But it’s a lot easier to simply apply sunscreen every morning, just as you know you should. The sun really is skin’s worst enemy: “Long-term exposure causes collagen to break down and elastin to degrade,” says Brandt. Choose broad-spectrum formulations with Helioplex or Mexoryl, which offer the longest-lasting protection, and be sure the SPF is at least 30.

5. Fight free radicals. Antioxidants are the superheroes of skin care. They protect skin from all the evil forces in the environment—also known as free radicals—plus block an enzyme called elastase that breaks down elastin. Choose products containing several different antioxidants—”they often work best in synergy,” says New York City dermatologist Howard Sobel, who recommends those with vitamins A and C and coenzyme Q10.

6. Make the most of moisturizer. Here’s one thing we bet you didn’t know about moisturizers: They protect skin against free-radical damage. “Dehydration leads to oxidative stress, which generates free radicals,” says Brandt. “Without moisture, your skin isn’t able to repair itself and suffers even more damage.” You just have to use the right product. Cholesterol, ceramides, essential fatty acids, and niacinamide are among the best ingredients—they improve skin’s protective moisture barrier.

7. Relax your neck. During a workout, it’s perfectly acceptable to sweat, pant, and even grunt—just don’t strain your neck. “I see women do this when they jog,” says Brandt. “They’re strengthening the muscles that eventually pull down their faces.”

8. Don’t smoke. Rather than nag you to quit, we are just going to present the facts: “Smoking destroys collagen and elastin,” says Brandt, “and it decreases levels of estrogen, which is necessary to keep skin firm.”

9. Eat skinny foods. It’s well known that food can make you thin or fat, alert or tired, happy or sad. Now add younger or older to that list. “New research tells us that low levels of vitamin C and zinc, among other skin-essential nutrients, may inhibit the skin’s ability to repair itself,” says New York City dermatologist Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas. To keep skin happy, eat more fatty fish (such as salmon), dark green vegetables (broccoli), almonds, and walnuts. And drink lots of green tea.

10. Ignore your cravings. It’s not much fun to hear, but some experts believe that overindulging in sugar (and corn syrup, dextrose, and fruit-juice concentrate) can prematurely age skin—as early as our mid-30s. Sugar in the bloodstream forms harmful molecules called advanced glycation end products (or, appropriately enough, AGEs). And AGEs weaken collagen and elastin.

The Best Ways to Reduce Puffy Eyes

We recently got this question from Beth on Facebook: “What is the best way to reduce puffiness under the eyes? I don’t have wrinkles but often am puffy. I have increased water intake.” The list of things that’ll give you puffy eyes is a long one: allergies, staying out too late, watching The Notebook…you get the idea. Thank God there are just as many ways to get rid of them.

Start with one of these at-home remedies, says Michele Green, a dermatologist in New York City and one of the consulting experts behind SkinBetter, our free skin-analysis tool. “The antioxidants in green tea help reduce redness and soothe inflammation,” says Green, who recommends steeping two tea bags in hot water, letting them cool (you might need to give them a squeeze if they’re dripping wet to get out the excess water), and then placing them over your closed eyes. Drape a damp cloth on top and sit back for five to ten minutes. “You could also use cucumber slices,” she says. “It sounds old-fashioned, but it constricts blood vessels, and the cucumber has an astringent property that reduces puffiness.” In a hurry? Swipe on a product that contains caffeine (we like Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller).

If puffy under eye bags are a recurring problem, you may want to take a look at your diet. “Soda makes you dehydrated, and when you eat foods that are high in sodium, your body retains the salt and you get puffy, especially under your eyes,” Green says. Or you may want to invest in an in-office treatment. Green suggests three sessions of eMatrix, a laser treatment for under-eyes, or Restylane Silk, a new one-time injection that goes right into fine lines and under the eyes to help camouflage bags and puffiness.