Skin Care for Men

Our skin is the largest organ in the body but many people seem to neglect it – especially Men.  Men usually spend less time taking care of their skin compared to most women.  This could be because putting on lotions and creams is not considered “manly”.   This being said, the trend is slowly changing with the advent of many men’s skin care lines and product promotions on main stream media.

General skin care, such as cleaning clogged pores and exfoliating, helps the skin breathe and allows the body to perspire and cool itself down more efficiently.  Lotions help keep the skin hydrated and help protect the skin from harmful environmental stresses.   Not to mention all this care for your skin also helps in keeping you looking younger with less wrinkles.

Keep in mind that your skin also acts like a huge sponge absorbing anything that you put on it.   This being said why not avoid harmful chemical based lotions and skin care products.   If you can’t eat them then why put them on your skin.    So let’s start off with a few products for shaving that are pure with no chemicals, parabens, added colours  or chemical scents.   We have our ISUN Organics men’s line which includes their Refresh Shave Cream and Replenish After Shave lotion.   The shave cream has a nice cooling effect when applied and helps moisturize while providing a nice smooth shave.  The Replenish After Shave lotion helps cool down the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties to soothe the skin.   All ISUN products are raw, vegan and made with organic or wildcrafted raw/unheated  ingredients.

mens line

So what do we use to wash and hydrate our skin on a daily basis? We love using the Phyto-Cleanse facial washes.  These are gentle on the skin but effective at removing dirt and oil.    These are followed by using the Restore Moisturizer and Repair Serum.  These can be mixed together in the palm of your hand then applied to your face.  Finally, we apply the Renew Peptide eye gel to help reduce puffy eyes and to moisturize the sensitive skin around your eyes.   Personally we recommend cleansing and applying these products in the morning and just before bed.

To help exfoliate and cleanse your pores we recommend the Rhassoul Neem Mask, Vegan Moisturizing Mask or Dead Sea Mud Facial Exfoliant Mask once every couple weeks.  Now don’t forget the rest of your body.  We skin brush our body before taking a bath or shower to remove the dead skin and then apply our MSM lotion afterwards as a full body moisturizer.

All this may seem like a lot of work but after getting into a routine it’s second nature.   So all you men take care of all your outer body parts by checking out our full line of skin care products.

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Recipe Week: Raw Pecan Cookies

This week we were inspired to make something sweet using our American Native pecans.   So why not some quick Raw Pecan Cookies?  Pecans are loaded with 19 vitamins and minerals, are an excellent protein source and are great for lowering cholesterol.

Pecan Cookies

These raw pecan cookies are a perfect snack.  Dunk them in almond milk, or add some raw vegan ice cream on the side with them or just eat them straight.    This recipe makes over a dozen cookies about 3 inches in diameter.

Let’s get started with the ingredients:

All ingredients can be purchased at www.upayanaturals.com.

– 2 cups ground American Native Pecans (these pecans are smaller and sweeter than most pecans)

– 2 cups shredded coconut

– 1/3 cup coconut nectar

– 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

– Pinch of Himalayan salt

– 1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon powder

Mix all ingredients in a food processor.  Make into cookie shape of your choice by hand and place on dehydrator sheets to dry.  You can also press a pecan into the middle of each cookie for decoration if you like.  Let dehydrate at 115 deg F for 24-36 hours or until they reach the consistency that you like.  We like ours chewy and not too dry.

Hope you enjoy this quick and simple recipe.

BTW… do you want to win couple hundred dollars in Upaya Naturals gift certificates to purchase your favourite goodies for this recipe?  Why not join our Customer Creations contest.

How To Beat Dry Winter Skin – Naturally

With winter in full force, many of us have been battling extreme dry skin along with the extreme cold temperatures.  The cause of dry skin in the winter months can be looked at both internally and externally.  Internally, our blood vessels constrict when the skin is cold which causes low blood supply to the affected area.  The cold also causes our body to sweat less, thus reducing the moisture level in the skin.  Externally, the cold wind and low humidity in the winter months further cause dry, itchy, scaly skin.   The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), says a whopping 81 million Americans claim to experience dry, itchy or scaly skin during the winter months.

skin dry itchy

So what can we do to help prevent the dry winter itch?

1.   Externally, many people turn to moisturizers and lip balms to help combat dryness.   What many people don’t realize is that the skin is like a huge sponge and many typical moisturizers found in stores have petroleum and other harmful chemicals in them that get absorbed directly into the skin and body.  Watch out for parabens, 1,4-dioxane, Ethylene Oxide and many other harmful chemicals (check out our sources below for a list).   It is also interesting to note that 1,4-dioxane is not listed on ingredient labels.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has ranked it as a possible carcinogen, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has identified it as a reasonably anticipated carcinogen.  There are many organic products on the market today that contain ingredients that you can basically eat.  However, even the organic or ‘natural’ ones you need to be cautious on. Why? Well petroleum is natural and as we mentioned is common in typical skincare. With organic, you can still find things like ‘fragrance’,  which is pretty much a guarantee its a toxic chemical.  The good news is that we at Upaya Naturals have already done the work for you.   You can use a simple coconut oil, cacao butter, or one of our hydrating lotions that contain no harmful chemicals.  Don’t forget to also protect your face with our full line of skin care from Isun.  We also carry hemp based lip balms to soothe your dry cracked lips.

skin

2.   Bundle up and cover any exposed skin.  Covering your skin will keep you warm and will provide a barrier from the cold and wind.  This will help your body keep the moisture in the skin by allowing your body to warm up and perhaps even sweat.   Gloves also help keep your hands warm allowing better circulation and heat to them.

3.   Use a humidifier at home and at the office.   A humidifier puts moisture back into the air by allowing your skin to absorb it.  It also helps with dryness when sleeping since you are not breathing in dry air.   We have a Humio Humidifier by Tribest.   This neat looking device does not use any heat or fans to create moisture so you don’t have to remove any scale from the heating element or replace noisy fans.   It is so quiet you can keep it on your nightstand and it also doubles up as a night light (a beautiful coloured one) The night light and humidifier can be turned on or off independently.   We absolutely love this great looking piece.

Humio_TripleTravel Tip:  If traveling and you can’t bring a humidifier with you, and the dry air is really bothering you, turn on the shower for a short time and/or run hot water to produce steam to add moisture to the air.  We always have a shower filter with us to help remove any chlorine in the water so we are not breathing it in or absorbing it through the skin.

4.   Internally, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.   We at Upaya Naturals use our Mountain Spring Water Filter to fill up our Life Factory glass water bottles before leaving the house to keep us hydrated with clean water.   We also add 20-40 drops of Crystal Energy to restructure the water (“makes water wetter”) for better absorption.

5.    Your skin also requires certain minerals, vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) to repair.  Zinc supports the repair process from the inside out.  Other minerals such as selenium as well as foods and supplements high in anti-oxidants also help repair the skin by attacking free radicals and helping protect the skins DNA.  Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium and vitamin A is an excellent anti-oxidant as well.  Vitamin A keeps skin and mucous membrane cells healthy.  When membranes are healthy they stay moist and resistant to cell damage.   EFA’s are also important for skin health and proper skin function.  We don’t recommend EFA’s made from fish oils since it is not a clean source.  Why not go lower on the food chain and take what the fish eat to get their EFA’s which is micro-algae.  We have this in a vegan capsule form that is quite effective and easy to assimilate, or you can get your EFA’s from chia, hemp, flax and other foods.  Vitamin E is also a key vitamin for healthy skin and can be found in Tocotrienols.

So now that you know how to protect your skin in the winter, don’t just sit there.  Plan a weekend winter getaway, go for a walk, tobogganing, skiing or snowshoeing or maybe even a swim 🙂  Get outside and get active.  Enjoy the winter wonderland!people in snaow

Sources:

http://www.examiner.com/article/fighting-winter-itch

http://www.breastcancerfund.org/clear-science/environmental-breast-cancer-links/cosmetics/

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/vitamin-supplements/benefits-of-vitamin-a.htm

GMO – a ‘no’ or a ‘go’?

The foods we choose to eat are usually ones that we like the taste of, foods that we have grown to love and foods that we consume for nutritional value. But the foods that taste oh so good may not be oh so good for us. Have you ever heard of GMO? GMO stands for genetically modified organisms and these folks are things that people are consuming all over the world without even knowing it! No matter how tasty or healthy we may think our food is, we could be consuming GMO’s without evening knowing it!

So what are GMO’s??

GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are the result of a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another species in an attempt to obtain a desired trait or characteristic: they are also known as “transgenic organisms.” This process may be called either genetic engineering (GE) or genetic modification (GM). For example, some genetically modified soybeans contain a gene that comes from soil bacteria. This gene helps the soybeans grow even when sprayed with herbicide. Some genetically modified corn has a gene that produces a toxin. This toxin kills an insect called the corn borer and allows the corn to grow without damage. These types of genetically modified foods are considered safe for humans to eat. The first GMO crop was approved by the FDA in 1994. Since then, GE varieties of corn, soya, sugar beets and canola have become common local crops in Canada. In addition to locally produced crops, GE varieties of cottonseed oil, papaya, squash and milk products are imported from the USA into Canada. In a mere 20 years, GMO ingredients have made their way into most of the processed foods available on Canadian grocery shelves.

Am I eating a GM food??

The safety of GMO foods is unproven and a growing body of research connects these foods with health concerns and environmental damage. GM foods do not have to be labelled in Canada or the United States. Labeling of GM foods is very difficult. This is because a GM food like corn can be used as an ingredient in many other foods like cereal, yogurt, frozen entrees and canned soup. All of these foods would need to be labelled as having genetically modified ingredients.

If you are a Canadian consumer, you will likely not know if the foods you buy have been genetically modified. But, in other parts of the world like Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, it is mandatory to label GM foods.

Risks of eating GM Foods:

Cross-contamination

Crops that grow GM plants may contaminate other fields that are close by. This may happen if the seeds from a GM crop blow into a neighbouring field. Many countries now have ways to lower the risk of cross-contamination, but this is still one of the biggest risks of GM crops.

Crop variety

Some experts say that the variety of foods that the world produces may be lowered due to GM crops. This is because farmers may choose to plant only a few types of GM crops since they may produce larger amounts of food.

The scariest part for Canadians?

Health Canada does not plan to do research on GM foods since they are not seen as a risk to Canadians.

I don’t want to eat these! What can I do??

We have a couple of options and steps that we can take to eliminate GM foods! We can:

  THIS?OR THIS?