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December 30, 2014

// Unwanted Fat

6 Healthy New Year’s Party Recipes

We’re just another day away from welcoming in a new year! Everyone, here at Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre wishes you a very happy new year that is defined by a very healthy and prosperous 2015. But, we know that “healthy” isn’t always the word of choice to describe how most people welcome in each new year. Parties complete with alcoholic drinks, sweets and salty snacks are the norm. So how can you start off your 2015 in a healthy way?

Well, firstly you can throw your own New Year’s party. That way, you’ll be in control of the food. And, just in case you think you’ll automatically be disappointing your guests if you provide them with healthy options – think again. You can offer your friends and loved ones treats that are as delicious as they are good for you. Let’s ring in the new year the right way! Here are six healthy New Year’s party recipes.

1. Crispy Pita Chips Topped With Aubergine, Pomegranate & Mint. MucciFarms.com offers this tasty snack, calling it the “perfect last-minute appetizer.” The ingredients calls for mini eggplants, a crushed garlic clove, finely chopped red chillis, lemon juice, chopped mint, pomegranate seeds, crumbled feta cheese, pita breads, sea salt and ground cumin. Now that your mouth is watering, check the website for the easy recipe!

2. Mini Greek Pizza Muffins. Combining pizza with muffins may sound both odd and interestingly delicious at the same time. But as EatingWell.com explains, these savoury bite-size treats are loved by just about everyone who has tried them. In fact, one reader, named Lindsay, reports that she get requests for the recipe all the time. Only 39 calories per muffin, these snacks are bound to be a hit. Check out the recipe on the website.

3. Stuffed Mushrooms. We’ve all heard of these before. But BestHealthMag.ca offers an original recipe that is as nutritious as it is flavourful. “These mushrooms are filled with a delicious mixture of finely chopped zucchini, spinach and hazelnuts, then topped with grated Parmesan cheese and baked for delicious, hard-to-resist party bites,” reads the site, “They look their best if the mushrooms are all about the same size.”

4. Cheese & Red Pepper Cake. MucciFarms.com insists that this treat will work as a great surprise for your guests. Both delicious and savoury, this cake is not a dessert, but an amazingly tasty way to healthfully snack at your New Year’s party. To make two small cake tins, you’ll need the usual suspects including margarine, flour, baking powder, eggs and milk – but aged Myzithra cheese and sweet long peppers are the special ingredients!

5. Pear-Ginger Shooters. As you can imagine, your guests will also be in the mood for drinking at your New Year’s party. EatingWell.com suggests that you serve these shooters made with pears, fresh ginger, white wine, apple cider, lemon juice, honey and fragrant cinnamon to tantalize their taste buds and satisfy their needs to sip on alcoholic beverages. Only 67 calories per serving, these chilled shots also contain no fat or cholesterol.

6. Sushi Pockets. “While many people love sushi, the idea of bringing their own to work for lunch may seem overwhelming,” writes Paul Finkelstein on BestHealthMag.ca, “This recipe allows everyone to be the master of their own sushi domain. It’s great on its own, or you can add seafood, fish, meat or tofu. The citrus juice will help keep the mixture fresh and the colours vibrant.” Check out the site for the recipe.

Healthy New Year!

December 23, 2014

// Unwanted Fat

6 Tips For Happy Holiday Fitness

On behalf of everyone here at the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of holiday vacations! So many of us look forward to this time of year – but, for some of us, it’s for all the wrong reasons. The holiday season is generally synonymous with “binging season” for many people. And, to be honest, it’s hard to blame them. With so many wondrous eats available at our holiday events, how can you resist?

Well, resisting such temptations is just one of the ways you’ll be able to ward off all of those extra pounds that often come with indulging during the Christmas holidays. Believe it or not, there are ways to enjoy the season without going too heavy on all of the sweets and high-calorie foods that are all part of the yearly tradition. In an effort to help you have the happiest and healthiest holiday season yet, here are six tips for staying fit over the next few weeks.

1. Shorten your cardio. Quite often, people trying to stay fit assume that they need to jump on treadmills for half an hour. Shorter, high-intensity workouts, however, will do wonders in burning all of those extra calories you may be taking in. Exercise expert, Paige Waehner of About.com recommends that you “choose activities that are easy to do at a moment’s notice: walking, running, jump roping or cycling.”

2. Enlist a buddy. While many people may be receiving “do-it-yourself” items and books as Christmas gifts this year, the entire D.I.Y. policy doesn’t have to go for everything. Working out during the holidays can be easier and more fun when you’re joined by a partner. “Make your commitment to staying fit with a friend,” recommends Erin Kelly of AllWomensTalk.com, “By being each other’s personal cheerleaders and scheduling workouts together, you are more likely to honour your fitness commitments.”

3. Make it a family affair. Waehner suggests that you take it one step further by getting your entire family involved. After all, perhaps the best gifts you can give them are pathways to better health. There are various ways to pull this off. “Walk around the neighbourhood to look at holiday decorations,” she suggests, “Plan contests with the kids to see who can run the farthest or who can do the most push-ups. Challenge everyone to a snow-shovelling contest, and then build a snow person out of the remains.”

4. Keep a food journal. Okay, so no one enjoys doing homework over the holidays. But making notes to ensure that you watch what you eat will be a task that will truly pay off in the long run. “Writing down each and every thing you eat may sound silly,” admits Kelly, “but it’s a great way to monitor what you’re consuming and an even better way to detect if you are overeating.” Keeping tabs on yourself will be a great way to prevent overindulging.

5. Control your eating. Perhaps, the most obvious and important tip for staying fit throughout the holiday season is to avoid “eating yourself into a coma”. Waehner offers four very helpful suggestions. The first is to eat before you go to a holiday party. The second is to choose just one of the many treats that are offered at these parties. The third is to control your drinking as alcohol consumption is a big calorie builder. And the forth is not to skip meals, but have small ones instead.

6. Remember liquid calories. Kelly reiterates that drinking your calories can be just as bad or worse than eating them through the various holiday treats that will be offered to you. “Holiday parties are notorious for yummy cocktails and flowing champagne flutes, and too often we forget they can be just as fattening as a cookie platter,” she advises, “Limit yourself to just one or two: this is a key thing to remember in order to stay fit during the holidays!”

December 16, 2014

// Hair Removal

5 Reasons For Laser Hair Removal In The New Year

Have you made your New Year’s Resolution yet? This is the time of year when people begin thinking about the ways in which they’d like to improve their lives in the months ahead. Not that it should take the changing of the calendar to inspired self-betterment, but with each passing year, we can’t help but think about ways to improve upon the one that has just passed. So how’s this for a New Year’s Resolution? No more shaving, waxing and tweezing!

Does that make it three resolutions? Well, if so, there’s a way to kill all three birds with one stone: laser hair removal. It just might be the long-lost holiday gift to yourself that you’ve been waiting for. This is the time of year when people make decisions that are different than any others they have made in the past. And it’s all about getting off to a fresh new start once the new year rolls around. Here are five reasons to make laser hair removal part of your new year.

1. It provides permanent results. When we say that doing away with shaving, waxing and tweezing should be part of your new year, we mean it! Laser hair removal is widely known as the most effective way to get rid of unwanted hair so that it doesn’t return. With the hair roots being destroyed over time, hair growth in the treated areas will be diminished, and eventually eliminated completely.

2. It’s a low maintenance process. On average, people require approximately six to eight treatments over the course of about six weeks. Once completed, patients are able to enjoy hair-free living with some remaining interested in maintenance treatments once or twice a year. This allows them to maintain a silky, smooth feel and look to their skin without the worry of having to go through the rigours of traditional hair removal processes.

3. It saves you money. Consider the amount of money you’ll be saving when you no longer have to buy razors and shaving cream. No more worry for spending money on wax strips or tweezers either. Do away with booking regular appointments at spas and salons where waxing treatments are performed. With laser hair removal, you set yourself up for a life where no spending on traditional hair removal processes is necessary.

4. It will prepare you for the summer. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, the winter time is arguably the best time of year to go through with laser hair removal. That way, you’ll never have to expose any of your “middle stages” of the process. The winter keeps us all covered up in order to stay warm. So by the time your treatments are done, the seasons will be changing and you’ll be as smooth, silky and as show-off-your-summer-body ready as ever!

5. It is practically pain free. At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we proudly use The LightSheer™ Hair Laser for our laser hair removal treatments. One of its fascinating features is the “chill tip” which protects the skin, making the entire procedure virtually painless. All treatments are performed by certified experienced laser technicians as the safety of our clients and the quality of the treatments are of paramount importance to our clinic.

So have you a better idea about what you’d like your New Year’s Resolution to be? A 2015 free of unwanted hair is bound to provide you with a very happy new year! Give the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre a call at 403-358-5818 today for more information on our laser hair removal treatments. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and address any concerns that may come with them. Here’s to a smooth new you!

December 9, 2014

// Unwanted Moles

A Little Q&A On Moles And Skin Tags

With the wintery cold now a regular part of our every day, it certainly pays to bundle up. Many of us, however, forget that when our faces are exposed, they need to be protected as well. Yes, the summer is long gone, but that’s no reason to put away the sunscreen. The winter sun can be just as damaging – if not worse – to our skin. After all, those harmful UV rays love bouncing off of the white snow on the ground and directly into our faces!

The winter time is also a good time to examine our bodies for skin tags and moles. As we mentioned in one of our blogs about a month ago, this is because our bodies are covered and don’t see as much sunlight during the day. So we don’t see as much of it as we normally might when the weather is warm. But what is the difference between skin tags and moles? Are they dangerous? In this week’s blog, we seek to answer these and other important questions.

What exactly are skin tags? As Dr. Allen J. Douma explains it in an article from the Chicago Tribune, “skin tags are one of many forms of noncancerous skin growths that are abnormal accumulations of different types of skin cells. This group also includes moles, lumps of fatty material called lipomas, and red or purple discolorations called angiomas. They may be present at birth or develop later.”

What do skin tags look like and where do they generally appear? Dr. Douma describes skin tags as “soft and usually small”. They can, however, grow over time to become as long as an inch or more. “They are usually flesh-coloured or a little darker,” he explains, “They typically grow on the neck, underarms and groin, but can be found in many other parts of the body as well. Often, they will have a long stalk with a swelling at the end.”

Are skin tags generally considered health concerns? According to Dr. Douma, skin tags don’t usually create any trouble. They don’t often become infected or present a risk of cancer. They can, however, become a bit irritable. This is especially true when clothing rubs against them. He goes on to note that skin tags can easily be removed, but it’s important to only allow a health professional to do so.

So how are moles different from skin tags? WebMD.com describes moles as brown or black in colour and that they can appear anywhere on the skin. In fact, the site points out that it is normal to have anywhere between 10 to 40 moles by the time you’re an adult. Dr. Douma notes that moles are differentiated from skin tags by their well-defined borders and single shades of pigment that are darker than the surrounding skin.

How are moles caused? “Moles occur when cells in the skin grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin,” explains WebMD.com, “These cells are called melanocytes, and they make the pigment that gives skin its natural colour. Moles may darken after exposure to the sun, during the teen years, and during pregnancy.” This is why it is important to protect exposed skin from the sun all throughout the year.

How can skin tags and moles be treated? At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we proudly use the VariLite laser to remove moles and skin tags. It is widely known and respected as both a safe and effective way to treat these issues without causing any bruising. The VariLite laser is also commonly used to treat small red blood vessels (telangiectasia) on the face and pigmented skin spots. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.

December 2, 2014

// Skin Care

6 Ways To Ward Off Winter Skin Damage

Well, December is finally here! But, in Alberta, we certainly don’t need to wait until the 21st before we start calling it “winter”. The below freezing temperatures are all we need to know what season it truly is out there. With that said, it’s pretty obvious that the days of basking in the sun are well behind us. But that doesn’t mean that we should forget about the sunscreen. The wintertime, in fact, is when sunscreen is most necessary!

All that snow on the ground allows for the sun’s harmful UV rays to bounce and reflect right back into our faces. So while the rest of our bodies may be covered up, there is still the potential for damage to be done to our exposed skin. With the winter under full swing, it’s important to remember that there are a number of measures to be taken in order to protect our skin. Here are six ways to keep your skin protected this winter.

1. Get a facial. On CanadianLiving.com, Jessica Padykula provides tips on behalf of aesthetician, Kristen Ma. Her first explains that facials are excellent ways to clear our skin and begin winter with a “clean slate”. She notes that with climate changes, our skin goes through a transition that requires some assistance. According to Ma, “starting with healthier, cleaner skin allows your cold weather skin-care routine to be more effective.”

2. Avoid wet gloves and socks. As with every winter, you’re bound to experience your fair share of interactions with snow and slush. As a result, you’ll go through quite a few bouts with wet boots and gloves. It’s important to get out of them fairly quickly so that your feet and hands can dry. According to Susan Davis on WebMD.com, “wet socks and gloves can irritate your skin and cause itching, cracking, sores, or even a flare-up of eczema.”

3. Apply a hydrating night cream. Some of the work that needs to be done to beat winter’s attack on our skin needs to take place when we are warm and tucked away in our beds. On ReadersDigest.ca, Maria Barillaro writes that those with very dry skin should use a night cream on their faces. She recommends those with “with reparative and regenerating ingredients, like avocado oil, that penetrate the skin slowly while you sleep.”

4. Drink water. Drinking water is generally a part of any list of tips that have to do with maintaining optimum health. But staying hydrated is also bound to be on just about any list that has to do with skin care. And this is especially true for your skin care regimen during the winter. According to Padykula, Ma notes that we actually get more dehydrated during the winter. So don’t skimp on your regular daily doses of H20.

5. Hook up the humidifier. Keep in mind that when we try to beat the winter heat by turning up the thermostat, we create an environment full of dry air. So, in addition to drinking water, there are other measures to take during the winter that will help to keep your skin from getting dehydrated. Davis writes that “humidifiers get more moisture in the air, which helps prevent your skin from drying out. Place several small humidifiers throughout your home.”

6. Exfoliate every day. “Exfoliating your skin regularly is an effective way to rid the skin of dead cells, which tend to be dry and coarse,” writes Barillaro, “Plus, it allows moisturizer to penetrate the skin better. Exfoliation promotes cellular renewal by allowing new, moist skin cells to surface. The new cells are deeply penetrated with moisture so they will help keep your skin hydrated longer.”