I must admit that, unless it's some French toast on sourdough bread or maybe a bowl of Raisin Bran every now and then, I'm not the biggest breakfast eater. There's no real rhyme or reason as to why other than I tend to not really be in the mood to eat until right around brunch time. Still, I did grow up having the first official meal of the day, every day. Plus, the older that I get, I can tell that when I do force myself to at least have a piece of fruit, I feel a bit more energized. That's why, lately, I've been on a mission to find ways to motivate me to eat breakfast a lot more often.
In walks the reason for this particular article. Aside from the fact that having breakfast can do things like make you more productive, increase your levels of concentration and suppress your appetite so that you don't go crazy come lunch or dinner, there are several breakfast foods that are like beauty meals for your hair and skin too.
While there are many, below I've enclosed 10. Ones that are packed with so many nutrients that you should start to see visible results within a month or so of adding these foods to your daily morning routine.
1. Almond Butter on Whole Wheat Toast
If time is tight and you don't have a ton of time to prepare a full breakfast, at least slice up an orange or tangerine (they are loaded with Vitamin C that will help your body to produce the collagen that your hair and skin need) and put some almond butter on some whole wheat toast. Almonds are full of fiber, protein and magnesium. As far as direct health benefits go, they aid in lowering your blood and cholesterol levels, plus they are good for controlling your blood sugar too.
As far as your hair and skin are concerned, almonds are filled with Vitamin E. Your hair needs that vitamin because it not only moisturizes your hair, it helps to increase your hair growth too. Your skin needs Vitamin E because it's a wonderful way to keep your skin soft, supple and moisturized.
And why whole wheat toast? It's high in fiber and aids in digestion. The more regular you are, the less toxins you'll have in your system; this results in healthy skin and hair as well.
Try this Recipe: Homemade Almond Butter
2. Oatmeal with Honey
There are all kinds of reasons why it can only do your body—and beauty needs—good if you have a hot bowl of oatmeal a couple of times a week. For starters, oats are a gluten-free grain that are packed with fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus and a ton of manganese, along with vitamins B1 and B5. The combination of these nutrients will help to keep your cholesterol levels low, your blood sugar balanced and constipation at bay.
Beauty-wise, because of the antioxidants that are in oatmeal, eating it can help to reverse any of the environmental or UV damage that's been done to your skin. And, when it comes to your hair, the copper in oats can help to prevent premature greying as the B vitamins can keep your hair moisturized. Also, if you add a little bit of honey to your oatmeal, because it's a humectant, your skin can be soft and your hair will be manageable.
Try this Recipe: The Perfect Bowl of Oatmeal
3. Whole Grain Pancakes
Whole grains are grains that are literally "whole". What that breaks down to is it's a grain that still has its endosperm, germ, and bran intact (refined grains only contain the endosperm). This means that whole grains have far more nutrients in them including protein, fiber, B vitamins, zinc and antioxidants. Whole grains also have the disease-fighting plant compounds polyphenols, stanols and sterols. All of this works together to lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, cancer and type 2 diabetes. There are even studies indicating that whole grains can aid in preventing premature death (due to health-related issues).
The antioxidants in whole grains will protect your skin from experiencing sun damage, the zinc will make your skin glow, and the traces of the mineral selenium that's also in whole grains will increase elasticity in your skin. Your hair will benefit from whole grains because the zinc will nourish your hair follicles and heal your scalp which promotes healthy hair growth.
Try this Recipe: Whole Grain Pancakes
4. Acai Bowl
I once read that an acai bowl can be summed up as being a thick smoothie that has something on top of it like oatmeal, granola, fresh fruit or even peanut or cashew butter. That's a pretty accurate description. The smoothie part of an acai bowl can give you the antioxidants your hair and skin need in order to produce collagen and elastin. If you put granola on top of it, that can improve your gut health and reduce breakouts. Peanut or cashew butter can give you more iron so that your hair is stronger.
Try this Recipe: Classic Acai Bowls (Vegan & Gluten-Free)
5. Unsweetened Greek Yogurt with Banana Slices
Greek yogurt, in a nutshell, is strained yogurt. What that means is it's processed in a way where a lot of water and lactose (and some minerals) are removed so that there are also less carbs and sugar. Greek yogurt contains plenty of protein, probiotics, potassium, calcium and Vitamin B12. This makes it the kind of breakfast food that will give you a boost of energy while strengthening your bones, increasing your brain function and keeping your immune system healthy.
Because your hair is made up of mostly protein (keratin), Greek yogurt supports strong hair and length retention. Meanwhile, B12 not only aids in repairing damaged skin cells, it also helps to regulate the production of pigmentation too. What this ultimately results in is less dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Try this Recipe: Homemade Greek Yogurt
6. Lox Toast
If, like me, you prefer the kind of foods that are more brunch than breakfast, lox toast is right up your alley. For the most part, lox toast consists of salmon, cream cheese, tomato slices and capers. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, B vitamins, protein and antioxidants. Cream cheese is also a great source of protein, plus it has quite a bit of vitamins A and B2 in it. Tomatoes are a fruit that are full of antioxidants, folate and Vitamin K, while capers are also a fruit with nutrients that help to fight fungal infections, diabetes, arthritis and even chest congestion.
The nutrients in all of these foods will make your hair stronger and your skin softer. In particular, the omega-3 in salmon can lubricate your scalp and reduce hair brittleness. When it comes to your skin, the properties in capers can reduce skin redness and inflammation, and even heal pimples and the scars that they leave behind.
Try this Recipe: Smoked Salmon and Caper Cream Cheese Toast
7. Quinoa Porridge
What exactly is porridge? Basically, it's when a grain, cereal or legume (or combination of all three) is boiled with water, milk or broth. This means that oatmeal is a kind of porridge but since we've already discussed what oats can do, let's look into another kind of grain—quinoa. Not only is quinoa gluten-free and rich in protein, it contains twice as much fiber as most other grains. Some other cool things about quinoa is it has iron, magnesium and vitamins B2, B3 and B12 which is fabulous when it comes to rebuilding muscle cells. Quinoa also has the plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol; these are great at fighting body inflammation. As a bonus, quinoa has Vitamin E in it as well.
Since quinoa is one of those rare foods that is considered to be a complete protein (because it contains all nine amino acids that our body needs), you can probably guess why it's a food that's so good for your hair. Aside from it giving your locks a protein boost, the amino acids are able to repair damage that's done to your hair shaft. The B vitamins in the grain can reduce the appearance of age spots while giving you a glowing complexion (Vitamin B3 specifically is able to fight breakouts and skin inflammation). Also, the Vitamin E that's in quinoa can fight off free radicals so that your body can give your skin the collagen that it needs.
Try this Recipe:Vegan Quinoa Breakfast Porridge with Strawberries
8. Amaranth Porridge
Amaranth is another kind of grain that falls into the pseudocereal category. What that means is that while it's not technically a cereal grain like oats or wheats, it's oftentimes prepared like it's one. Amaranth is cool because it's a gluten-free grain that has fiber, protein, antioxidants, manganese, magnesium, iron, selenium and copper in it. If you eat amaranth on a consistent basis, it can lower bodily inflammation, lower cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
Your hair will love amaranth because it contains the amino acid lysine that moisturizes your hair and prevents hair loss. Many people also find amaranth to be a grain that soothes skin, slows down the aging process, heals breakouts and improves the overall health of your skin over time.
Try this Recipe: Amaranth Porridge with Roasted Pears
9. Egg Frittata
Eggs are good for you due to the protein that's in them. Your hair is made up of mostly protein, so of course, eggs will only benefit it. As far as your skin goes, the amino acids found in eggs can help your skin to regenerate new cells so that it appears fresh and glowing.
That said, if you've ever wondered what the difference is between an omelet and a frittata, there are actually a couple of things. First, frittatas (which is means "fried" in Italian) usually consist of fillings that are put into the egg while it's in the pan (rather than folded in the center like omelets are). Also, while omelets are designed to serve only one person, because frittatas are sliced into several pieces, it is able to feed a few people. And finally, frittatas are able to be enjoyed while they are hot or even at room temperature.
Now, with that breakdown out of the way—an egg frittata made this list because of some of the basic ingredients that are in one. Ingredients like milk (protein), tomato juice (antioxidants), bone broth (it promotes collagen production) and herbs like thyme leaves (they have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties) or veggies like spinach (it's got vitamins A, C and E in it). When you cook all of these things together, it's like having a delicious multivitamin; one that works wonders for your skin as well as your hair.
Try this Recipe: Basic Egg Frittata Recipe
10. Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Let's round this list out with fruit smoothies, shall we? Something that virtually all fruits have in common is that they are loaded with antioxidants. Something else that fruit tends to be is high in carbohydrates while being low in calories; this means they are able to provide a healthy source of energy (which means you don't have to overdo it on coffee or Red Bull) without you having to worry about packing on the pounds in the process. Nutrient-wise, most fruits contain potassium, fiber, folate, iron and vitamins A, B, C and E. Basically, fruits are just what your hair, skin and nails long for. So, you can never go wrong with making yourself a fresh fruit smoothie, at least a couple of times a week. Drink up!
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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