Mareya Ibrahim Presents the Eight Hottest Healthy Food & Beverage Trends for 2019

For the seventh consecutive year, Mareya Ibrahim, The Fit Foodie, breaks down the top 8 healthy food and beverage trends like a master butcher.


As our society gets more and more frazzled, fried and wigged out, the need to bring balance and stabilize cortisol production is the holy grail of functional foods. Traditional herbs, roots and plant foods like holy basil, ginseng, maca, rhodiola, mushrooms, and spirulina all fall into the category and are showing up in more ready-to-consume preparations like Moodbeli’s Calming Adaptogen featuring ashwaganda and ginger, Amare’s GBX SuperFood which highlights spirulina with a gut balancing probiotic blend and Four Sigmatic with their Superfoods Adaptogen Blend, including reishi and cordyceps mushrooms, ginseng, ashwagandha, ginger and more.  Just add the powder to water or your favorite nut milk or warm beverage.  Stay calm and sip on.   


Our need to feed on the go lends itself to this big trend, where all you do is add water to make a complete, macronutrient balanced meal. Proportioning good fat to protein to carbs in the right ratio helps your body become a fat burning, metabolic super machine.  You can find these replacements in vegan powder products like Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal, a USDA organic meal replacement that features 20 grams of protein, sprouted fruit and veggies and 44 superfoods.  MeleShake, a grass-fed whey protein shake that gives you 35% protein, 40% carbs and 25% fat, does the macro proportions for you. Orgain offers a USDA Organic vegan Meal Powder that’s low on sugar but high on protein and fiber with only 1 g per serving.  Get your real nutrition in a cup that’s better for you than one of those sugary smoothies or coffee drinks. 


Frozen foods have never been the darling of the grocery store and let’s face it, never taste or look as good as the picture on the package.  Now, there’s a new wave of ‘real’ food meals that take you from breakfast to dinner that are big on flavor, sustainability and quality, leaving out the garbage while staying reasonable in their sodium content. Good Food Made Simple’s breakfast burritos and enchiladas are made with cage-free eggs and artisan ingredients.  Tribali Foods offers a line of frozen protein patties and sliders made from organic grass fed and finished beef, organic free-range chicken and natural pork that are heat-and-eat ready.  Saffron Road takes you on a journey with their ‘world cuisine’ flavors, including a sesame ginger bowl featuring wild caught salmon that’s also certified halal.  Evol’s Nutrition Bowls offer a wellness message with each variety, like the Boost Be Well, a vegan balance of soba noodles in a creamy cashew sauce. You don’t have to give the freezer section the cold shoulder anymore. 


Although seemingly basic, it’s the formula for life – H20. 2 molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen. Now, water is getting extra, going the distance to do more than just provide hydration for every cellular function in your body.  It’s got new bennies, from delivering protein to electrolytes, antioxidants to essential amino acids and even more oxygen.  O2 is an oxygenated natural recovery drink that claims to offer 7x more oxygen than tap water, 2.5x more electrolytes than leading sports drinks and with some of their varieties, a little pick-me-up from natural caffeine. Fizzique, a sparkling protein water, gets you 20 grams of whey isolate protein in one serving of their fruit flavored, ready to drink creations – with zero carbs or sugar at 80 calories per serving. Blk Water, which looks like its name, gets its pitch-black color from fulvic and humic minerals that claims to have 77 naturally-occurring trace minerals, trace elements, amino acids, and electrolytes along with natural prebiotics and probiotics – but won’t stain your teeth.  You may want to ‘tap out’ from tap water entirely. 

5) Baby Food Gourmet

In all of the developments behind clean, fresh food for adults and even pets, somehow the little ones got left behind, relegated to tasteless purees from a shelf-stable jar.  Now, there’s a new crop of real food without preservatives available for baby to toddler’s developing palate.  In fact, in my new book “Eat Like You Give a Fork,” (St. Martin’s Press, releases June 4th, 2019), I discuss why introducing a variety of real food flavors, aside from salt and sweet, are so critical before the age of 3 to encourage a lifetime of healthy eating.  Purees and meals can come straight to your door from companies like Pure Spoon, who offer HPP (high pressure pasteurized) baby food puree and Nurture Life, who deliver their fresh meals for babies, kids and toddlers.  Little Spoon, whose ‘Babyblends’ offer flavor and nutrient combinations to boost brain and muscle function while developing ‘adventurous’ palates, bring flavors like Blueberry Chickpea Spinach Pear Rosemary right to your baby’s mouth.  You can also find USDA organic and cold-pressed Once Upon a Farm Fresh blends in the refrigerator section of grocery stores in a squeezable pouch, using ingredients like avocado, flax and hemp seeds. That way, they won’t cry at a kale salad when they sprout teeth. 


Studies show that even healthy eaters enjoy a glass or two.  So now, you can have your cake-tail and eat it, too, with sustainable liquor, wine and beer options that cut down on sugar, carbs, and creepy chemicals and colors.  Rather than using additives, refined sugars and artificial ingredients, Batiste “Rhum” is sweetened with 100% fresh sugarcane and no additives, made in an eco-friendly facility.  FitVine, whose motto is ‘we crush grapes, you crush life,’ offers a line of wines, all weighing in at less than 1 g of sugar for the entire bottle, with reduced use of sulfites and no added artificial flavors.  Square One makes a 100% USDA organic rye vodka with botanical additions like bergamot, botanical, cucumber and basil for a mood and flavor boost. Even beer is getting more conscientious with major bottlers like Budweiser, Beck’s, Corona, Michelob and Coors trimming down each skinny ‘beer pop’ to 2-4 grams of carbs per serving.  Now that doesn’t mean drink the whole 6-pack, but you don’t have to blow the eating plan to blow off some steam. 


It looks unwieldy before it’s cut, but this exotic-sounding, crunchy veggie is gaining popularity fast for its exceptional nutrition profile and versatile usage.  High in fiber, vitamin C and B vitamins, jicama used to be considered more of a ‘Mexican’ cuisine veggie (nicknamed the Mexican potato), but because of its relatively mild flavor, it’s getting a lot more mainstream attention on menus in formats like fries, slaws and salad croutons. Xica Foods, makers of jicama sticks and jicama tortillas have reported skyrocketing popularity of their products at over 50% sales increase YOY for the last two years.  At about 50 calories per 1 cup serving you can almost eat with abandon when the urge to crunch takes over.  Although it is considered a starchy vegetable, it is high in inulin, a soluble fiber that won’t spike blood sugar.  According to Melissa’s Produce, a specialty distributor, other veggies gaining big popularity include celery root and kohlrabi.  Looks like we’re getting back to our (veggie) roots. 


No, it’s not the male part of a tiger.  Tiger Nuts aren’t actually nuts at all.  They’re a tuber that grow like potatoes and carrots but the reason they’re the next ‘it’ superfood is they’re high in prebiotic fiber (trend from my 2017 report) which help probiotics do their thing while managing blood sugar, they’re rich in minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium, important for brain health, and help to maintain a healthy digestive system – plus they’re low calorie and super satiating. They can be eaten whole or used to make flour or milk, with a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat to help you feel fuller, longer.  ‘Fat fillers’ are a key strategy in my upcoming book, so tiger nuts make the perfect in-between-meals snack, without sabotaging your diet.  You just earned your stripes. 

Mareya Ibrahim, aka The FoodieFit is an award-winning entrepreneur, chef, author, speaker, patented inventor and 25+ year food industry veteran.  She is the author of the upcoming book “Eat Like You Give A Fork” with St. Martin’s Press and host of the Facebook Live Show, The Real Dish. This is her 7th annual Healthy Food & Beverage Trend Report.  Learn more at

Give Your Eyes a Rest

Tips to reduce digital eye strain

Imagine how strained and tired your arms would feel if you carried around a 10-pound rock for 12 hours. That’s essentially what you’re doing to your eyes when you focus on digital devices all day.

If you’re experiencing headaches, eye fatigue, burning, stinging, redness, watering, blurred vision or even pain in the neck and shoulders after extended time on your devices, you may be experiencing digital eye strain.

A 2018 study from employee benefits company Unum found that nearly 40 percent of adults in the United States spend more than 12 hours a day looking at various digital devices, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and television screens. In the same study, 34 percent of respondents said they feel they spend too much time on their devices.

In today’s always-on digital culture, it can be hard to escape the need to stay connected, but making a few slight adjustments can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.

Dr. Chris Wroten, an optometrist and partner at Bond-Wroten Eye Clinic, suggests a simple, easy-to-remember rule of thumb for relaxing your eyes.

“Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds,” he said. “This 20-20-20 rule can help relax the eyes and allow them to focus on non-digital objects in the distance.”

Other tips to reduce digital eye strain include:

  • Reduce the brightness or contrast on your screen to a comfortable level. You can find these controls in the settings of your phone or tablet and on the monitor or keyboard of your computer.
  • If your glossy screen is prone to glare, consider an anti-glare protector to reduce reflected light.
  • Try adjusting the ambient light around you. Strategically placed lamps can produce the proper lighting and result in less visual fatigue than fluorescent or LED light bulbs.
  • Maintain good posture and adjust your seating to assure you’re viewing screens at the proper angles and distances. The top of your computer monitor should sit just below eye level at about an arm’s length away from your face.
  • Ensure your prescription is up to date, especially if you wear corrective lenses. If it’s been longer than a year since your last eye exam, consider making an appointment with your eye doctor.

Good visual health should be a component of maintaining your overall health and well-being. While the frequency of visits to your eye doctor typically varies for individual needs, most healthy adults should receive a comprehensive eye exam every year or two, which is included in most vision insurance plans. Eye exams can detect vision problems and allow you to adjust with corrective lenses, if necessary. This visit can also allow you to discuss any symptoms you may be experiencing, including eye strain.

Many employers offer vision insurance, and your human resources department can usually provide information about vision plan options. Vision insurance can be an affordable solution and offer benefits typically not included in a health insurance policy. It can cover routine eye exams, most likely offer a benefit for corrective lenses and may provide discounts for additional lens options. Some vision carriers, like Unum, also offer online tools or mobile apps to help you manage your benefits and find qualified, in-network eye doctors in your area.

For more information about digital eye strain, consumer research regarding device dependence or vision insurance, visit (Family Features)


7 Ways to Boost Energy Without an Energy Drink

Written by Dr. Niket Sonpal NYC Internist and Gastroenterologist

After seeing the news about a research study out of the University of Texas Health Center in Houston, which found the diameter of blood vessels to become “dramatically smaller” 90 minutes after consuming a 24-ounce energy drink, I decided to offer some ways to boost energy without an energy drink.

While the 24-ounces used in the study of 44 healthy, non-smokers in their 20’s, is 3 times the size of a typical 8-ounce energy drink, there is plenty of research out there that shows chugging energy drinks is not the best way to get more energized.

When we look at the levels of sugar and caffeine in these energy drinks and the habitual nature in which they are consumed, we see issues such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, thickening of the blood, gastrointestinal irritation plus anxiety, sleep disruption and restlessness.

Here’s what I suggest consuming for a more sustainable and healthy way to energize.

1. Hydrate with water.

The idea is to follow the 8×8 rule. Eight ounces of water 8 times per day which adds up to a half gallon. Most people are not getting anywhere near this water intake opting for coffee, juices, sodas or energy drinks instead. I challenge my patients to try the 8×8 rule and even declare going “H20 Only.” By the third day, they notice they’re feeling more energized.

2. Exercise 30 minutes per day.

Something as simple as going for a fast-paced walk elevates heart rate and healthy blood flow. This improves stamina and gets energy flowing throughout our bodies. A lot of people claim they don’t have time to exercise which calls for creative ways to get exercise in. I had a client add dancing for 30 minutes upon her arrival from work with her 4-year-old daughter. This provided a way for both mom and daughter to get moving in a fun easy way right at home.

3. Sprinkle in chia seeds.

These low carb seeds have an energy packing blend of protein, fats, and fiber. Chia seeds regulate blood sugar, so you won’t have these spikes then drops. They deliver big time nutrients with very low calories. Loaded with antioxidants, chia seeds were a highly valuable energy staple for Mayan and Aztec warriors in ancient Mexico who consumed them knowing they would be sustained, not hungry and energized for hours and hours.

4. Eat foods rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Omega 3’s are big-time energy enhancers. Eating salmon, sea bass, tuna, oysters, shrimp, seaweed salad, walnuts, edamame, and cauliflower are just a few Omega 3 rich staples to add to the shopping list.

5. Get good quality sleep.

Many of my patients who see me for gastrointestinal issues often benefit from getting disciplined with setting a bedtime, wake time and enhancing the quality of their sleep. This could be simple things such as pre-sleep meditation with an app, removing the television from the bedroom, buying curtains that block light, setting the temperature to suit your body best, buying new sheets and even a new mattress.

Making the bedroom a comfortable haven for quality deep sleep is incredibly important. Sleep is our time to recharge and when it is disturbed, we will feel sluggish during the day.

6. Get more magnesium.

Magnesium activates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which can be thought of like the “magic button” of energy within our cells. According to studies, about half of the people in the USA and Europe aren’t getting the recommended amount of magnesium (300 milligrams for women and 350 for men).

Interestingly, most Americans and Europeans complain of energy drains and sluggishness and typically attribute their lack of energy to busier, more demanding lifestyles. However, the problem, most commonly, is a lack of magnesium which helps us convert food into energy, create proteins from amino acids, and helps regulate our nervous system.

7. Get more B12.

Known as the “energy vitamin” it’s important to note that the only time B12 will give you energy is if you’re deficient in B12. It’s wise to get complete blood work done to see if you are in fact deficient in B12 in addition to other key vitamins and minerals.B12 is found in beef, fish, and dairy and these days more and more people are cutting red meat and dairy out of their diets.

B12 helps to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen, so when there’s a dip in red blood cell production we’re being deprived oxygen which leads to feeling run down, the first tell-tale sign of B12 deficiency. Body weakness, shortness of breath brain fog, forgetfulness and lack of focus are also symptoms. Yogurt, Swizz cheese, fortified cereals, Shiitake mushrooms, and clams are other great sources of B12.

About Dr. Niket Sonpal:

Dr. Niket Sonpal is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and Clinical instructor at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, Brooklyn who specializes in Gastroenterology. He is a graduate of the Medical University of Silesia – Hope Medical Institute in Poland. After completing his residency in Internal Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, he was selected to be the 2013‐2014 Chief Resident at Lenox Hill HospitalNorthshore LIJ Health System. Dr. Sonpal has completed his Fellowship in Gastroenterology & Hepatology at Lenox Hill Hospital and continues his work in the field of medical student and resident test preparation. He now serves as the associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Brookdale University medical center.

He is the co‐author for the best-selling Master the Boards: USMLE Step 2 CK, Master the Boards Step 3, And Master the Boards: Internal Medicine. He is also the Chief Operating Officer for Medquest Test Prep, Director of Medical Education for Picmonic Test Prep, and a recognized expert on medical test prep.

Does Your Skin Have a Holiday Hangover?

What to Do When Libations Take a Toll on Your Skin

It’s holiday time again. Although Thanksgiving has passed, the “booziest” holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s are yet to come.

This post-Thanksgiving period between now and the New Year are when even average people tend to binge drink. What many people don’t realize is that drinking alcohol in excess can have a negative impact on your appearance. Alcohol dehydrates your body including the skin- your body’s largest organ. This happens every time you drink. Extra cocktails can be adding years to your face in the form of wrinkles, poor texture and lack of radiance.

Dr. Stanley Poulos a board-certified San Francisco area plastic surgeon explains that, “frequent alcohol consumption is also thought to deprive the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Over time, drinking heavily can have other, more permanent, detrimental effects on your skin. Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to blush and flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is linked to alcohol. Since alcohol increases your blood flow, it often causes blood vessels in your face to dilate (sometimes permanently) and often burst, leaving behind broken capillaries and red spots that are difficult to get rid of,” offers Dr. Poulos. 

Here’s a look at what alcohol can do to wreak havoc on your appearance.

Brittle hair.

What’s worse, drinking too much doesn’t only affect the appearance of your skin; it will dehydrate your hair, making it more prone to breaking and split ends. Weak, brittle hair in addition to premature wrinkling, can easily add 10 years to someone’s appearance. 

Dark circles, bloodshot eyes and even blindness.

In much the same way that alcohol causes broken capillaries on your face, it irritates and enlarges the tiny blood vessels on the surface of your eye (the sclera) causing a “bloodshot” appearance. If vanity doesn’t get your attention, how about blindness? “Because excessive drinking robs the body of some nutrients required to maintain eye health, it can lead to a condition called alcoholic optic neuritis, which impairs eyesight and, over time, can result in blindness,” cautions Dr. Poulos.

Some tips to avoid a “skin hangover” include… 

1. Stay hydrated.

Aside from giving up booze altogether, Dr. Poulos says it is possible to minimize the unwanted effects of alcohol by constantly staying hydrated. “That means drinking a full glass of water for every cocktail you have. Drink even more water before you go to bed to flush the alcohol out of your system, so you wake up less dehydrated, puffy and flushed,” he advises.

2. Take care of your skin before bed.

Taking care of your skin before hitting the sack is also crucial. Dr. Poulos advises fully washing your face and then applying a moisturizer, like a hydrating serum before getting into bed. “Sleeping with dirty skin makes it prone to clogged pores and acne.”

3. Prop pillows and use tea.

One of the best ways to minimize the eye and face puffiness is to sleep on two pillows, slightly propped up. In the morning, rubbing ice cubes all over your face helps, too. “One of the best ways to deflate eye puffiness and reduce the redness is to place cold tea bags over the eyes. The tannins in the tea help constrict blood vessels,” adds Dr. Poulos.

4. Cover up what you can’t cure.

To camouflage the redness in the face, use a green-tinted primer before applying makeup, which should help neutralize any redness. If you must use foundation, look for a lightweight, moisturizing formula.  Avoid powders, as they are often more drying.  

5. Consider lasers.

When at-home remedies aren’t making much of a difference. There are pricier measures you can take to minimize the effects of alcohol. “Certain laser treatments can reduce redness and spider veins on the face. It’s important to see someone who is well trained to administer the laser treatment,” suggests Dr. Poulos. 

6. Choose your booze wisely.

If you are going to consume alcohol know that different alcohols have different effects on the skin, but as a general rule, the clearer, the better. Vodka, gin, and tequila leave your system quicker. “If you’re going to drink anything, drink vodka that doesn’t have a grain in it, like potato vodka. It’s a lot clearer and smoother, so it gets in and out of your body quickly,” says Dr. Poulos. Most physicians agree that although everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, if you can remember to drink in moderation and stay hydrated, you can save your skin.

7. Reach for Caffeine

Grab an extra-large coffee, then give your skin a little caffeine boost, too. Caffeine helps constrict blood vessels and is a good option after a night of drinking, since alcohol dilates blood vessels. “This can make the area around your eyes look puffy and bloated,” explains Dr. Poulos, who recommends keeping an eye cream with caffeine handy.  

8. Go for Yogurt

Dr. Poulos advises slathering it on as a face mask and to make sure it’s plain yogurt.  Because it’s anti-inflammatory, it will help soothe redness, another side effect of drinking too much, especially for those who have rosacea, he notes. Leave it on for five to ten minutes before rinsing.

9. Put Your Face on the Rocks.

“Take the ice cubes out of the freezer, put them in a hand towel and rub them over your face,’ says Dr. Poulos.  He suggests doing this to minimize puffiness and swelling. Use cold teaspoons to de-puff around the eye area.

About Dr. Stanley Poulos

Dr. Poulos is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon and Co-Founder with Ingvar Hvistendahl, M.D of Plastic Surgery Specialists recognized as one of the premier aesthetic surgery clinics in Northern California.

Dr. Poulos helped pioneer the quick lift facial rejuvenation surgery in California and has extensive experience in body contour procedures. With over 30-years’ experience in aesthetic procedures, Dr. Poulos has been on the forefront of innovative procedures such as the quick-lift facial rejuvenation, mommy makeover, and vaser lipo-contouring. Dr. Poulos combines his consistent knowledge of new treatment options with his mastery of facial and body symmetry.

His recent focus has been on the gastric balloon, a groundbreaking, non-surgical, medically assisted, outpatient procedure offering weight loss to those seeking to lose between 30 and 75 pounds who may be ineligible for the more invasive gastric bypass surgery. This exciting new procedure allows patients to achieve optimal health and, when combined with exercise and proper nutrition, the results have been exceptional.

A graduate of the University of Texas Medical School, Dr. Poulos completed his internship and residency at UC San Francisco. He completed surgery and plastic surgery training in San Francisco prior to entering private practice in Marin County where he co-founded PSS (

5 Ways To Turn Back The Clock And Look Younger In The New Year

Dennis Schimpf, MD, MBA, FACS

Dennis Schimpf, MD, MBA, FACS

It’s human nature that as people grow older, they want to look younger.

The tendencies of aging can make that desire an uphill climb for many. Even if they feel energetic and healthy, they may look old and tired.

“Women and men ages 45 to 65 really start to notice a difference in their skin when they look in the mirror,” says Dr. Dennis Schimpf, author of Finding Beauty: Think, See And Feel Beautiful, and founder of Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery.  ( “Healthy living makes them feel great on the inside, but on the outside, the years can take a toll.

“They look for ways to turn back the clock, for their face to more closely reflect what they feel like. And there are indeed minimally invasive ways to stave off some of the effects of aging.”

Schimpf suggests five ways to turn back the clock:

Skin-care products. Reversing the aging of the face starts by choosing good skin-care products. “Sunblock is one of the best defenses against the rays that can really age the skin,” Schimpf says. “Good skin care can build a solid foundation, so start it before spending money on other efforts. Having healthy skin to start with can optimize the outcomes for any procedure.”

Lasering. This is a more aggressive type of treatment. Micro-ablative is one of the most common types of laser treatment. “It uses fractional technology to basically punch micro holes in the skin, reducing pore sizes and allowing new skin and growth to occur,” Schimpf says. “It’s similar to aerating a lawn, where holes are punched in the grass and healthier grass grows. The treatment tightens and offers mild to moderate improvements in wrinkling.”

Dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and skin peels. Dermabrasion is a more aggressive type of skin peel involving removal of the upper layers of skin through surgical scraping of the skin. “This treatment is usually reserved for facial wrinkles or scars,” Schimpf says. “Microdermabrasion sands away the uneven outer layer of skin. It treats sun damage, stretch marks and small scars. Skin peels use a solution to remove the damaged outer layer of skin, improving texture and tone.”

Fillers. “There are dozens of fillers on the market for the soft-tissue changes, but the three main ones are hyaluronic acid, calcium hydroxyapatite-based, and autologous fat transfer, which harvests the patient’s own fat to be injected into the facial tissues,” Schimpf says. “In the forehead, injections reduce wrinkles. In the lips, injections make them plumper.”

Fat grafting. This is a minimally invasive procedure but usually more expensive up front. “Roughly half of patients require two sessions of fat grafting to get the graft to take,” Schimpf says, “because the procedure doesn’t just inject a large clump of fat. The fat tissue that’s being transferred has to be in touch with surrounding tissue that contains blood vessels. Otherwise the clump of fat doesn’t survive. Overall, fat grafting technology has really improved.”

“It happens to many people – they look in the mirror and don’t really like what they see,” Schimpf says. “But there are good, affordable options that have little or no downtime and counter some of the effects of aging.”

About Dennis Schimpf, MD, MBA, FACS

Dennis Schimpf is the author of Finding Beauty: Think, See and Feel Beautiful, and the founder of Sweetgrass Plastic Surgery  (, a multifaceted practice focusing almost exclusively on cosmetic plastic surgery of the face and body. He is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and American Board of Surgery and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), as well as a member of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgery (ASPS).

Skinkcare 911: What to do When a Skincare Disaster Erupts Before a Party

It’s something every woman fears: Waking up on the day before or day of a big holiday party with an unsightly skincare emergency. How many women have cancelled an invitation because a cold sore erupted? How about cystic acne on your chin that appears New Year’s Eve? While neither of these are “life threatening” conditions, for a woman, they might as well be. There are solutions. Dr. Manish Shah is a Denver Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. As a father to girls, he can relate to these skincare 911s and shares his expertise on what can be done to mitigate various conditions.

Problem: Cold Sore

Solution: Dr. Shah offers cortisone injections to patients who want to look better faster. “Very diluted cortisone into the cold sore, this can bring the inflammation down quite rapidly,” he says. If you are afraid of needles, call your doctor and ask him/her to call in a prescription for Valtrex, Famvir, or Acylovir, Dr. Shah says. You can pick up Abreva, an over-the-counter medication. If you can’t make it to the pharmacy, you can try some old-fashioned remedies: Visine will help take the red out. You can also use a cold compress and Tylenol or ibuprofen.

Problem: Allergic Reaction

Solution: The first thing you need to do is stop eating or using whatever is causing the allergic reaction. If the reaction happens a few days before an occasion, Dr. Shah recommends using hydrocortisone cream twice a day and taking Allegra, Claritin or Zyrtec which are longer acting and less sedating than Benadryl. Try a whole-milk compress for 10 minutes twice a day. For allergic reactions, use the hydrocortisone cream and then cover up redness by canceling it out entirely. The opposite of red is green, so apply green tinted concealer on the red area. The combination will create a flesh-toned hue. A good quality tinted moisturizer naturally has green/yellow undertones and also provides moisture to dry skin. “If this type of reaction is something you have never experienced before, go immediately to your dermatologist,” says Dr. Shah.

Problem: Cystic Acne Breakout

There are some people who use a lancet or small knife to cut into a cyst and fish out the clogged part of the pore. “Cutting open a cyst is extremely risky. You not only run the risk of getting an infection, but you also run the risk of scarring, as in a permanent skin indentation or protrusion,” says Dr. Shah. And what if you cut open a cyst but can’t squeeze out the root clog? You don’t know where the root is or how deep it resides inside your skin. You can’t even be 100% confident that you will be able to completely remove the hardened plug of the cyst. If any remnants of the clog remain, the cyst is likely to get re-inflamed and come back even worse. It’s also not exactly good to cut open skin and dig around and squeeze the wound. Doing so will only make a bloody mess, increase the chance of skin scarring, and prolong the time it takes the cyst to heal.

Solution: Here’s a secret that many a supermodel or actress use: Steroid shot. Dr. Shah explains that, “when we discuss treating acne with cortisone or “steroid” shots, we are referring to the process of gently placing a very dilute quantity of a “glucocorticoid” steroid into the cyst. Glucocorticoids are a class of steroid molecules that are naturally produced by our bodies and have numerous functions including the regulation of human metabolism, immunity, and inflammation. They have very potent anti-inflammatory effects, so they are often used to treat inflammatory diseases in medicine. They can be formulated as creams to treat skin rashes or as pills to treat systemic disease. They can also be injected directly into local areas of inflammation such as in arthritic joints and inflamed acne cysts. Within one or two days of injection into a cyst, the steroid will shrink the inflammation producing relief of pain and almost immediate cosmetic improvement.” 

Problem: Puffy Eyes

Solution: The key to reducing the puffiness of puffy eyes is having something cool applied to them. “A cool compress or cooled cucumber slices applied for 5 to 10 minutes can constrict blood and lymph vessels,” says Dr. Shah. You can also use cool tea bags, which contain tannins that will help reduce swelling. And since puffy eyes can be caused by a high salt diet or alcohol, try to cut out both before an important occasion.

Problem: Sunburn

Solution: Take a cool bath or shower. Set the water to a cool temperature that’s just below lukewarm and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. The temperature will ease the pain, and the water will stop your skin from becoming as irritated. Repeat as often as you need to. Avoid using soap, bath oils, or other detergents as you bathe – they’ll irritate your skin and possibly make it even worse. If you have blisters forming on your skin, take a bath instead of showering. The pressure from the shower might pop your blisters. When you get out, don’t rub your skin dry with a towel. Instead, let yourself air dry, or pat the towel over your skin in small, gentle movements. Apply cold compresses to your skin. If you’re not in a situation where you can bathe, or you’d just prefer not to, you can instead apply cold, wet compresses to your skin. Dampen a washcloth or other piece of fabric with cold water and lay it over the affected area for 20 to 30 minutes. Re-wet it as often as you need to. Apply aloe vera to burned skin. Using the pads of your fingers, gently apply the aloe to your sunburn. Don’t “rub it in” all the way, like you might with a regular lotion. Leave it a bit goopy and moist on top of the burn – this helps prevent the skin from drying out and becoming more irritated. Reapply as often as necessary. Treat inflammation with cortisone cream (optional). Cortisone creams contain a small dose of steroids that can work to reduce inflammation to your sunburn.

Problem: Too much filler

The Solution: Dr. Shah suggests doing fillers no sooner than 1 month before a big event to allow time for healing and touch ups. One of the reasons Dr. Shah leans toward hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane is because they are easily reversed with Hyaluronidase. This product dissolves and degrades the Restylane, Juvederm or Perlane so as to reverse the results of the initial injection. It’s a great insurance policy when choosing a practitioner. Make sure yours has it at his/her disposal. Most patients find the immediate results of soft tissue filler treatments very satisfying. If an undesirable result occurs, your treatment provider should be able to discuss and carry out all of the treatment options. Removing the effects of a “filler” treatment can be difficult. This is why any filler treatment needs to be done carefully, conservatively and only by very experienced and Board -Certified Specialists. Hyaluronic Acid based dermal fillers have the additional benefit of being partially or completely reversed with time or with the injection of a commercially available enzyme known as Hyaluronidase.

About Dr. Manish Shah

Plastic Surgeon Colorado | Dr. Manish Shah, M.D. | Denver

Manish Shah, M.D., F.A.C.S. was born in Canada and raised in the Washington, D.C. area. He graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a degree in biomedical engineering. He then completed his medical training at the University of Virginia, earning his Medical Doctorate. During this time he also completed a one-year fellowship in microsurgery research at the New York University School of Medicine / Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. As a prelude to his plastic surgery training, Dr. Shah completed a rigorous five-year training program in General and Trauma Surgery at Emory University and the Medical College of Georgia. His formal training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery was completed at the Univ. of Tennessee College of Medicine – Chattanooga Unit. After completing his plastic surgery training, he moved to New York City when he was selected for the prestigious Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. He underwent extensive, advanced training in aesthetic surgery of the face, breasts, and body at the hands of some of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in the world. This fellowship is widely considered to be the best of its kind in the world. Dr. Shah is one of only a select few plastic surgeons in the country who have undergone formal post-graduate training in aesthetic surgery.

Dr. Shah’s specialties include revision facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty (“nose reshaping”), and aesthetic surgery of the breast (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction). He is, however, well-trained in all areas of aesthetic surgery.

Dr. Shah’s aim is to obtain a natural appearing transformation that complements the real you!

Dr. Shah is a past Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center based at Denver Health Medical Center, the Rocky Mountain region’s only academic Level I trauma center. He is a past Chief of Plastic Surgery at Denver Health Medical Center. He also maintains a private practice in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery on the Dry Creek Medical Center campus (DTC/Denver) and up in the Aspen Valley (Basalt – in the office of MDAesthetics – Tim Kruse, M.D.).

Dr. Shah is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Shah is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

A Fresh Approach to the Winter Freeze

Winter means snowfall, cold days and time spent near a fireplace seeking warmth and comfort.

While planning for chilly days and frozen nights, it’s important to prepare for the seasonal weather so you and your family can stay comfortable and warm.

Dodge cold drafts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5-30 percent of energy use in your home. To help avoid energy loss, consider switching out lighter, airier summer curtains for heavier winter drapes. You can also add additional rugs around the house for extra insulation and to help prevent drafts in wood floors.

Freshen up sweaters and blankets. Sweaters and blankets are must-haves during the winter season for staying cozy indoors. To help keep them fresh, use a gentle and effective detergent that’s easy on skin that can become dry during the winter season. For example, all free clear Odor Relief provides a powerful clean and attacks odors while being gentle for sensitive skin. Its hypoallergenic formula that’s 100 percent free of perfumes and dyes keeps sweaters and blankets clean and fresh. For added convenience, try an option like all free clear mighty pacs, which are also gentle on skin, free of irritating residues and can be easily tossed in the washer when you need to do a quick load of laundry before heading out the door into the wintry weather.

Invest in a humidifier. Humidifiers can help keep your home warmer in cold winter months and also help eliminate dry indoor air that can irritate your skin. You can also easily move the humidifier around your home so that no matter which room you are in, you can stay comfortable all winter long.

Layer blankets and covers. While making beds, it’s important to keep the right layering process in mind. Layer the thinnest and densest covers on top of lighter, fluffier blankets, which can help reduce heat that can escape, keeping you and your loved ones warm and snug throughout the winter months. Also be sure to opt for cozy blankets made from materials such as cotton or wool.

For more information on laundry detergent for sensitive winter skin, visit (Family Features)

Content courtesy of all®


10 Common Mistakes You Might be Making at the Gym

As people begin to think about New Year’s Resolutions and Fitness Goals, you must remember just paying for a membership doesn’t guarantee the results you want.

Many people start their year off buying a gym membership and new gym attire. While the first step to transforming your body is, in fact, deciding to commit to restructuring your lifestyle at the gym and in the kitchen, it is common for people to make mistakes that jeopardize their progress. These mistakes can chip away at their enthusiasm to work out and ultimately result in people giving up on their goals.

“As a trainer, my job consists of helping clients assess where they are and where they want to be. Giving them a clear pathway helps avoid mistakes that often cause people to quit too soon and forfeit their goals,” says Vince Sant, the co-founder and lead trainer of V Shred, the online training platform that has taken the world by storm in recent years.

Vince says these are some of the most common mistakes people make when starting off their fitness journey.

  1. Failing to Assess Your Body

“Trainers and gym staff see this all the time. People who are new to working out and  get a few workouts from a friend and head into the gym without analyzing their bodies with a trainer.” This becomes harmful because these people are not trained to pinpoint their body’s imbalances, where their weaknesses lie and how their body is compensating subconsciously.  “They go to the gym pay for the membership and spend months doing exercises incorrectly and damaging their joints and their back.”

  1.  Failing to Set Realistic Goals

Nowadays a lot of people scroll through social media and try and mimic the amount of weight being lifted and want a six pack in two weeks. Contrary to popular belief, fitness models and trainers don’t start off deadlifting 200 lbs. They train for months, maybe years, perfecting their form. When you set major goals with an unrealistic time frame you are setting yourself up for disappointment. “A lot of what a trainer does is manage your goals and give you honest timelines to get you there. We cheerlead you through the rough times and the plateaus,” says Sant.

  1. Consistency is Key

New gym goers lose their excitement over working out a few weeks in. They start skipping workouts and making excuses. This will add to the time it will take for you to reach your goals and may even hinder your enthusiasm overall. Push yourself through the first few months of working out and eating nutritiously. Make a habit out of working out. Consistency will become easier once you start seeing those desired results.

  1. Delaying Your Workouts Into The Night

We get it. People work tremendously hard and they have errands to run and people to care for. People want to sleep as much as possible. “Here’s a pro tip: If you want consistency to be an easier hurdle to overcome… Plan to workout in the morning. In life, things come up and schedules change. The morning will always be more available than your night. We also tend to make more excuses at night and let things override our plans to work out,” says Sant.

  1.  Giving Up When You Hit A Plateau

If you hit a plateau it means you have consistently been doing the same routine for an extended period of time. Kudos for the consistency, but that is just one part of getting the results you want. “You need to learn or get guidance on how to effectively change your workouts to continue challenging your muscles and prevent your body from falling into a comfort zone with your regular routine,” explains Sant.

  1.  Overdoing the Cardio

Don’t misunderstand, cardio is an important part of any fitness journey especially one that is centered around weight loss. However, in the eagerness of the first few weeks people who start going to the gym concentrate overwhelmingly on cardio and needlessly exhaust their body. Trainers see it all the time, people who spend 2 hours on the elliptical. You’d be better served to do a 30-minute cardio session followed by light weights and circuit training. Remember you want to strengthen the muscle as well.

  1.  Unorganized Lifting

When you are working on weight training you have to educate yourself on what exercises belong in a superset together and how much is wise to lift when shooting for a certain amount of repetitions. “Gym goers often lift too heavy making it difficult to complete a set or too light, failing to challenge the muscle,” says Sant. It is important that you don’t lift too heavy out of vanity and that you don’t too light out of laziness. When doing supersets (two different movements, one after the other you without rest it is important that you learn about the movements that go together as one might affect your form for the other and open you up for injury.

  1. Record Your Progress

Failing to record the amount of weights and repetitions per set that you can lift per movement easily leads to plateaus and lack of interest. If you don’t record what you are doing then you have no way of increasing intensity meaning you will not get any better. “Working out without a clear goal for each movement can become boring. You lose interest and consciousness about what you are doing. Record what you are doing, perform it consistently and then increase intensity to avoid plateaus. 

  1. Stretch

For many, stretching is common sense. Many people still ignore the importance of it. Working out without stretching can lead to reduced muscle mind connection, poor form and muscle strain. Stretching helps your range of motion and aids in preparing you mentally and physically for the workout ahead. 

  1. Failing to take an Active Rest Day

Many people go all out the first few weeks of their fitness training looking desperately for quick results. This is not wise. Taking a rest day allows your muscles to heal. An active rest day is a day where instead of training at full power you incorporate some sort of low-intensity cardio or HIIT training. This way you keep your body active and don’t let any soreness settle in while still resting from your much more comprehensive workouts.

It is important that before beginning a fitness journey you assess where you are and where you want to be. Seek out help from trainers at your gym or through an individualized online program like V Shred.

About V Shred: 

V Shred is the fastest growing fitness and nutrition brand in the world offering online training programs designed to put the fun back into fitness and nutrition. V Shred provides a results-driven enduring lifestyle change instead of a frustrating battle that is easy to give up on. With a support network comprised of trusted accredited advisors and virtual personal trainers, people meet their fitness, nutrition, and goals. 

The company, co-founded in 2015 by Nick Daniel, Roger Crandall, Kevin Pearn, and Vince Sant, sought out to create a healthy fitness movement specifically designed to deliver profound changes in your body with the minimal amount of workout time. V Shred has created some of the world’s most popular fitness and nutrition programs such as Fat Loss Extreme and Toned in 90 Days for women and men and Ripped in 90 Days for men. 

The diet that accompanies the workouts in these comprehensive fitness programs, offers plenty of healthy food options and recipes. V Shred’s supportive coaches encourage “portion empowerment” which inspires people to eat and enjoy food knowing it’s the fuel they need to achieve the results they seek. 

V Shred is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information visit

Building Babies’ Brains

3 indoor activities to encourage fun and education

(Family Features) Being stuck inside with a baby during the colder months can leave even the most seasoned parents feeling a bit stir-crazy.

Consider these activity ideas from Ann Fisher, an award-winning teacher at KinderCare, that you and your baby can do together no matter the weather or where you’re traveling. Because these ideas involve materials you likely already have at home, that means you can entertain baby without going out to buy new toys or materials.

“The important thing is to show your baby how excited you are to teach them something new,” Fisher said. “You just have to be down at their level and make lots of eye contact. Talk to your baby about what you’re doing and ask questions. It’s OK if they can’t answer you yet – it’s all about the interactions you have while you’re exploring and learning together.”

1. Explore a world of smells.

Spicy cinnamon, sweet vanilla, crisp mint – your pantry is probably already stocked with tantalizing scents that can help your baby learn about the world. It’s easy to grab a couple spice jars and introduce your baby to new smells right in your kitchen.

Take an empty spice jar (the smell typically lingers) and hold it under your baby’s nose. Choose plastic instead of glass so your baby can play with the jar after taking a whiff. He or she may be captivated by all the new smells, and you’ll be putting old things to good use – it’s a win-win.

Safety tip: Make sure the jar is big enough that it won’t end up in your baby’s mouth, and always keep a close eye on him or her.

2. Reuse all those old boxes.

Turn any empty cardboard boxes lying around the house into a brain-building activity for your baby – it’s never too early to start playing pretend.

Whether you make a box fort to explore together, a maze for crawling through or a make-believe drum set, your old cardboard boxes are full of imaginative possibilities for play.

When you’re all done, it’s easy to break the boxes down and either store them for next time or recycle them.

3. Bring the outdoors in.

Snow, sand, dirt – wherever you live and whatever the weather is like outside, you can let your baby dig with his or her little hands right in the comfort of your home. All you need is a bucket and some extra wipes for the inevitably messy fun.

Getting down and dirty lets your baby practice fine-motor skills and explore with his or her senses. Just scoop a few small shovelfuls of (pesticide-free) snow, sand or dirt into the bucket and bring it inside for your baby to play with. Adding some “homemade” sandbox toys like a big spoon and spatula can make the game even more fun.

To keep cleanup easy, consider laying down a sheet of cardboard or a plastic tarp on the floor.

For more activities you can do with your baby any time of year, visit (Family Features)


Not Sure Who to Help and How This Giving Tuesday? Think Veterans!

Paws of War urges public to put their support behind those who help keep the country safe

Paws - I

Each year, the first Tuesday that follows Black Friday is known as Giving Tuesday. The event follows a weekend of shoppers out getting bargains and being stuck in spending mode. Giving Tuesday is a day that reminds people to help others through gifts, time, donations, goods, and by using your voice. This year, Paws or War is asking people to rise to the challenge of helping them to help our military veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). 

“Many people don’t know who to help or how to do it,” explains Robert Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War. “You can never go wrong helping our veterans. They have conditions from their service that greatly impacts their life. We make it our mission to try and be there for them, helping them to live a more comfortable and enjoyable life.”

Paws of War is a non-profit organization that has a mission of matching these veterans with the trained service dogs that they need and that can help them through these tough times. The organization rescues most of the dogs from shelters and provides them with the intensive service dog training that they need in order to help the veterans they are paired up with. The veterans receive a service dog in training at no expense to them. Not only are people helping the veteran, but they are also helping to rescue a dog, when they support the charity.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), PTSD can stem from traumatic incidents. Those who have PTSD may have long term feelings of upsetting memories, feelings of being on the edge, sleep problems, be irritable, avoidance, and they may no longer engage in activities they once enjoyed. The condition makes it difficult for those with it to have jobs and often simply function in life as they once did. Those with PTSD may also have depression, substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders as well. TBI, according to the NIH, is often caused from blast waves from explosions that rattles the brain inside the skull. They report that around 31 percent of Vietnam veterans have PTSD, as do 10 percent of Gulf War veterans, 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan, and 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans.

“We are asking that people give to Paws of War on this Giving Tuesday,” explained Misseri. “When they give to us they will help our mission of helping veterans in need by getting them trained service dogs. They will also be helping to support our mobile RV veterinary clinic that provides free care to veteran’s dogs.”

Two-time Iraq war veteran Jose Rios is one of the veterans who needs the help of the Paws of War program. He served 22 years in the U.S. Navy and received many commendations and medals. During his deployment, he was stationed where the worst terrorists are kept. Due to his service overseas, he suffered from physical and mental harm. Upon returning from his duty in Iraq he contacted Paws of War so he could learn more about the program and how they can help. 

“When I came back from Iraq, there were limited options for treating my PTSD,” said Rios.  “A friend of mine told me that I should get a dog and my doctor recommended Paws of War. Now I have Hunter, my golden retriever, and looking forward to the future together with him. Being accepted into the Paws of War family has changed my life already. I would not be able to do this alone, I am truly grateful beyond words to Paws of War.”

A 2018 study out of Purdue University reports that veterans with PTSD may benefit physiologically from using service dogs. In fact, they found that there may be significant scientific evidence of potential mental health benefits experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs. 

While those who offer donations on Giving Tuesday will be doing a lot to help veterans and support the Paws of War mission, they will also benefit themselves. The Cleveland Clinic reports that studies find that that those who give get a mental and physical health boost. They report that giving is associated with lower blood pressure, increased self esteem, less depression, lower stress levels, longer life, and greater happiness. Considering it’s a win-win for everyone when we give, it only makes sense that it should be a high priority.

In addition to training service dogs and providing them to veterans in need, Paws of War recently launched a new mobile RV veterinary clinic. Called “Vets for Vets,” the program uses a custom-designed RV that has been outfitted to be a mobile veterinary clinic. It will be on the move, providing care to many veterans’ pets. The mobile clinic will help those veterans who are in need, by providing their pets with annual vaccinations, dental care, allergy care, grooming, microchipping, minor surgeries, and more.

Paws of War is an all-volunteer organization that provides assistance to military members and their pets and provides service and service dogs to veterans suffering from PTSD. To learn more about Paws of War or make a Giving Tuesday donation to support their efforts, visit their site at: For those who would like to sponsor Rios and Hunter and make a donation, please visit: Paws of War Sponsor Jose Rios and Hunter.

About Paws of War

Paws of War is a 501c3 organization devoted to helping both animals and veterans. The Paws of War goal is to train and place shelter dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans that suffer from the emotional effects of war such as PTSD. In turn each veteran can experience the therapeutic and unconditional love only a companion animal can bring. To learn more about Paws of War, visit the site at


Cleveland Clinic. Wanna give? This is your brain on helper’s high.

National Institutes of Health.  PTSD.

Purdue University. Study shows physiological and behavioral benefits may be experienced by veterans with PTSD who have service dogs.