Yummy healthy and easy dessert

I think this dessert is the easiest one you’ve ever seen. It was not planned at all, I was just preparing my lunch with an idea of making a fruit salad for dessert, but I realized that I didn’t have enough fruits. Instead, I created this: fruits on top, some cereals and a yogurt.

It only takes 5 minutes. Trust me, everyone will love it!

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Take a transparent glass or a jar, it doesn’t matter. Something you find great and here we go!

For two people you need: 1 yogurt, 2kiwis, 1 peach, and a bit of cereals.

  • Start by putting a yogurt on the bottom of your glass (I used a fat free strawberry yoghourt)
  • Then add some cereals of your choice, or even some oatmeal.
  • After cutting the peach and the kiwis in little pieces, add the kiwis pieces first and then the peach.
  • If you like you can add something on top to decorate your dessert. As to me, some chocolate chips is just a great choice! 

And here you go! It’s simple!

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I haven’t  found a name for this yet… any idea? You are free to leave your version in comments just below 

 

My Spring Cleanse

Growing up in France in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, I felt a lot of pressure to conform to this ideal of skinny, petite look, which is often the French cliché. As a teen, I was into fad diets and new tips in order to stay in shape. The truth is, I was not a very athletic teenager and I only started exercising regularly well into college. When I moved to Chicago, I was worried about gaining weight because I would regularly gain weight when visiting the US and then lose it after going home. With this permanent move, I needed to find a better balance.

At first, it was difficult. Then, about four years ago, I decided to do a one month of cleanse in the spring. That meant not drinking alcohol for a month and eating “clean” ( meaning no processed foods and no white carbs), and vegetarian. I wasn’t sure about not eating meat for a month, as I was a self-professed carnivore, but I stuck with it. I also started working out regularly between two and four times per week. The results really blew me away. Not only did I lose a significant amount of weight, but I also felt better. To top it off, there were no crazy cravings after the first week. After that, I kept eating better and working out regularly. I also really cut down my meat intake, even though I am not fully vegetarian.

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An example of a clean Brunch: Poached eggs with salmon, avocado and Feta; sautéed mushrooms, spinach with coconut oil and fruit.

 

I am proud to say that I have consistently remained thinner and more toned than at any time in my life. Still, in the summer and during the holidays, I sometimes fall off the health wagon and splurge. For this reason, I have maintained the habit of a clean month in the spring and fall.  They help serve as a reset button to tune me back into good habits rather than a strict weight loss program. These past two years, I tweaked my cleanse a bit to reflect its new purpose.

For example, I do not watch calories as closely anymore and I am more concerned about making sure that I get enough energy, and feel good. This means that I eat more healthy fats (avocado, olive and coconut oil, nuts and nut butters). I also eat more high protein carbs like quinoa and soba noodles. It does not impact how much weight I lose during that time, but I feel more energized and healthier.

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I also focus more on other factors such as sleep. Going to bed early is sometimes a challenge, but I found that trying to stick to a schedule improves my ability to get more out of my sleeping hours. Additionally, I tried to switch up and develop my workout routine to help me fall asleep easier.

 

While I learned to enjoy my cleanse months, occasionally I feel that my social life takes a bit of a toll because I tend to be more selective in the social events I attend. Being the only non drinker at a party is not always fun. Yet it also frees my time to try new things, such as classes at the gym – I had been too shy to try until  now – or more involvement in this blog! I also make sure to include some activities I enjoy that do not involve eating or drinking, for example a visit to the museum or a movie, or going on long walks with my boyfriend.

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Diversey Harbor and the Chicago Skyline, on one of my favorite walks by Lake Michigan

I like to live a fast-paced life.  I also realize that taking care of myself and having a healthy lifestyle is a daily, and yearlong endeavor. I sincerely believe that these two months a year help set a good pace by helping me regain mindfulness and balance.

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How technology can help stay in shape

As far as I remember, food was always a big deal for me. I really love eating and I used to be a bit of an emotional eater. When I had a bad day, I would find comfort in eating. As a result, I struggled to keep a balanced weight and this is where technology actually helped me a lot.

First of all, thanks to YouTube, my booty is now firm. I practice different activities. I go running and I have a gym membership, but what I love about using YouTube to exercise is that you don’t need to get ready, get into your car or walk to the gym. Whether it is in the morning after I wake up, or after a day at work, I just need to turn on my phone, take my gym mat and here we go. I love working out outdoors, but  I deeply believe that I wouldn’t have obtained the same results without YouTube. It helps me stay active even when it’s raining or I’m feeling lazy. No more excuses.

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There are a billion You-tubers that will  make your muscles sore and bring your heart out of your chest. My big favorite is  Cassey Ho from Blogilates. She knows how to motivate me and is more like a friend than a coach. She definitely knows how to make it burn. I also like Chloe Ting, because her videos challenge me every time.

YouTube is not the only way I use technology to get fit.  Thanks to our smartphones,  it is now possible to know how many steps we took all day, how many stories we climbed up, how many kilometers or miles we walked and even how many calories we burned. Being able to know this type of information motivates me to be more active. Until I got the Apple Watch, I was using the podometre++  app on my iPhone. There are similar apps on Android devices. With the Apple Watch, I have a lot more details about my activities and I can set my daily goals. For example, my watch reminds me to stand up if it finds me too lazy. Above all, I love that we can share our activities with our friends, support one another and sometimes even tease each other. As a huge Apple fan, I could talk about the Apple Watch for days, but I’ll start to annoy you guys so if you want more information, you can find it here.

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Looks that my girls are working hard today

On top of helping me move my butt, technology also helps me manage what I eat. I use the Yazio app, also available on Android. With this app you can calculate the calories you eat everyday. I have to admit that counting calories can be a bit constrictive, so I use the app to make sure that my meals are balanced. When I see that I have crossed the line and ate too much, I use the app to set me back on track. It helps me maintain a balance without feeling the frustration of a diet. I don’t believe in dieting anyway. I believe we have to find balance between what we eat and what we burn.

There are lots of similar apps to Yazio. For example, I find Lifesum to be a very complete fitness app, although I still use Yazio because I am accustomed to it.

Last, but not the least, is Instagram. You can find many accounts for a healthy life and food ideas or Fitspo. I think it has a great impact on our lives by encouraging the exchange of this kind of content.

Here are some accounts I like:

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@fashionablefit
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@amandabisk
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@healthier_world
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@mimmidousis
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@sjanaelise
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@yourhealthyworld

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Our tips for a great skin

May: One day my Korean friend told me: “Did you notice the big difference between Asian and Western women in terms of skincare? Asians are crazy about creams and stuff that can improve their skin quality and Westerners are crazy about products that hide their imperfections.” I don’t think it is true for all Western girls, but it was my case and this conversation made me realize that I should try to take better care of my skin. 

But unlike what my friend said, having a great skin is not only a matter of finding the perfect cream, it is also about great habits. I’d like to share with you five tips to help you improve the quality of your skin. 

Laura:  You are right. Having a great skin is so important and can be tricky! I think we got the wrong impression from mom here because she has a great skin and does very little to it.  This is why I always figured than once I’d pass the puberty stage, I’d emerge like a Phoenix with radiant skin. I learned that in reality, she has naturally good habits that work. Unfortunately for me, I was well into my twenties when I started making meaningful changes.  I don’t know if I have five tips, but I’ll do my best!

May: First of all, throw away your out-of-date cosmetics. You have to know that expired products are real nests for bacteria because the substance that used to protect your cosmetic products against bacteria has become ineffective. Spreading bacteria on your skin will worsen your little imperfections.

My second tip is to wash your brushes and sponges, for the reason mentioned above. I use the daily Brush cleaner from Sephora. I just spray the product on my brush and wipe it afterwards. Once a week, I wash my brushes with the birchbox brush cleaning tool and some soap, as it makes my brushes feel as good as new.

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Also, don’t forget to wash your face. In my case I do it twice a day. The first time would be when I wake up because you will clean up the excess of sebum and the sweat you accumulated overnight. The second time is at night before bed to remove your makeup of course, but also the pollution and all the toxins that built up during the day. Above all, no excuses after a long night of partying, even at 5 am cleaning your face is your priority.

Laura: In terms of washing my face, my routine is slightly different from May’s. While washing your face twice a day works great in your teens and early twenties, as you age, it is probably better to let your skin rest and not over wash it. I have very sensitive skin and because my skin type is combination, I often resorted to washing it thoroughly to avoid blemishes. It turns out that the gentler I am with it, the better it looks. Now I only wash it once a day, usually at night, with a gentle wash such as Avene. In the morning, a splash of cold water is enough. Removing makeup is essential, not only before you go to bed, but also before work-outs. Makeup mixed with sweat can clog your pores. I do not use aggressive make-up removers, because I prefer micellar water such as this one or this one

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May: To have a great skin, you also need to stay hydrated. I’am not talking about using a moisturizing cream even if it is great, I’m talking about drinking water. You know what we say, at least 1.5 liters a day. Drinking water will help eliminate all the toxins and impurities in your body and illuminate your complexion. Also, water has many other benefits for your body like helping you lose weight.

Laura: I agree, staying hydrated is important for your skin and your overall well being. When it comes to skincare, it is important to be mindful of what you drink – check your caffeine intake for example – and what you eat. This was a tough one for me, especially after moving to the US, because my body and my skin were all over the place as I was discovering new foods and a new way of life. Luckily, after six years here, I have figured out what works for me. Eating a lot of green vegetables and going easy on white starch, deli foods, and alcohol does the trick. I eat a lot less meat, dairy and animal fat than I used to, replacing them by vegetarian, monounsaturated fats, like avocado, nuts and  olive oil. Everyone has to find what works best with their body. I can tell almost immediately after I have indulged too much, as I see the consequences on my skin right away. 

May: My last but not least piece of advice will be to wash your pillowcase as much as possible. Every night, you drop some excess of sebum and sweat on your pillow. In my case, I wash my sheets and pillows once a week. I love the smell of clean sheets when I get into my bed.

Laura: Speaking of bed, here is one thing that cannot be overstated: sleep! I know this is a tough one when you live a busy life, but it does allow your skin to rest, giving it that healthy glow. Nothing is worse than sleep deprived, dull skin and I get very bad dark circles so I try my best to be mindful of my bedtime… whenever possible.

I would add that I do not wear a lot of makeup most of the time. I prefer CC cream over foundation and I spend most of my makeup budget on skin care. Recently I have discovered a type of product that really changed my skin routine: elixirs or facial oils. I have tried the Premier Cru Elixir by Caudalie and the Josie Maran Argan Oil, and they have worked wonders!  It makes my skin hydrated and elastic without feeling oily or shiny. This is the first time I really get this perfect balance with my combination skin type. 

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