Latinas Living Healthy

Did you know Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the United States? That’s right, according to the U.S Census Bureau, there are approximately 52 million Latinos living in the country! With a population like that, you would think Latinos would surely be healthy, right? Well, according the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one-third of Latinos in the U.S. do not have access to health insurance and are facing some pretty serious health conditions like Cancer and High Blood Pressure. Diseases like these and many more are becoming a noticeable trend amongst Latinos and are indeed affecting La Raza of all ages.

Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the topic of Latino Health and stated that a whopping “Forty percent of Hispanic children are overweight and 50 percent are on track to develop diabetes.” With data like this, you may be pretty worried about you and your loved ones also becoming part of the statistics, but, don’t panic just yet, there’s good news! Simple lifestyle changes like exercising and eating healthy can drastically improve your health and lower your chances of diseases.

Water - healthy option

San Jose State University alum, Karen Gonzalez, says when you choose healthier snacks and leave the sugary drinks behind, life has more to offer.

“Health is important because you cannot enjoy the pleasures of life or any aspects of life to the fullest if your health is not a priority,” shares Karen.

While some focus on their health to enjoy present times to the maximum, other like Claudia Candelas says she maintains a healthy lifestyle today to make her future brighter. The Public Relations major says, “I want to be healthy when I have my children in order to be more active and keep up with them, eating clean and staying active is part of my life.”

Finding healthier food alternatives can be somewhat difficult so ask your parents for their full support and make it a family lifestyle change all together. Join them on grocery store visits and even offer to find new healthy recipes to whip up together. You’ll show your parents and family that you are actively taking interest in your health, which will inspire them and many more to take preventative action against health diseases in the Latino community.

Now that you know the value and importance of living a healthy lifestyle, the next step is in your hands.Doctors typically recommend daily physical activity anywhere from 30-45 minutes so find a local hiking trail or grab a few girlfriends, a softball bat and a new attitude to hit your health out of the park!

Your Questions About Body Image, Answered

1. My friends are always calling themselves fat even though they’re not. I weigh more than they do and it sucks that they’re always calling themselves fat. They make me feel like a whale. Should I tell them something? I’m worried that they’ll make fun of me. 

Yes, tell them something! Friends should always be able to talk and be honest with one another. What’s more, I think you’ll probably be surprised by what this conversation brings to light. Notice that you don’t think they’re fat, even though they call themselves fat. Could it be that the way they’re looking at their own bodies is way too critical? And if that’s the case, isn’t it also possible that you’re being way too critical of your own body when you say you feel like a whale?

Talk to each other. Listen. Use this opportunity to help bring each other up, rather than putting each other down. We’re always hardest on ourselves, and what are friends for if not to help us see the good in each other?

2. My mom calls me “gordita” and makes comments that my clothes are feeling tight. It bothers me, but every time I bring it up she tells me I’m being dramatic.

First of all, know that you’re not being dramatic—words are powerful and for some reason in our culture, words like “gordita” and “flaca” are considered terms of affection, even though I’ve never met anyone who actually enjoys being called either. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our loved ones called us by nicknames that are a reflection of who we are rather than how we look?

In fact, next time your mom calls you “gordita,” ask her to think of a new nickname for you—one based off her favorite quality about you. Make it something you both can do together: ask her to pick a few names, tell her which ones you like and which ones you don’t, and why.

If she continues to comment about your clothes or say that you’re being dramatic, don’t let that stop you from speaking up. Tell her, “You may think I’m being dramatic, but it’s only because this is a big deal to me. Can we please talk about it?”

3. I started to lie about what I eat to lose weight. My friends are telling me it’s not healthy, but I’d rather be skinny than be fat. How do I make them realize it’s what I want?  

Let’s start with the issue of lying. Ever notice that we only lie when we know something we’re doing isn’t right? You should never have to lie about your eating habits, so why do you feel you have to? Could it be because you think your friends might be right? It sounds to me like they’re concerned about your health, and are worried that you aren’t eating enough in an effort to lose weight. If this is the case, they’re right. There are healthy and effective ways to lose weight, but lying about what you eat and starving isn’t one of them.

It’s time to be very honest with yourself and those who care about you. Are you trying to be “skinny” because it’s something you really want, or are you hoping to look like the supposedly perfect models we see in magazines or in the movies? The problem with having “skinny” be a personal goal is that we end up pursuing an idea of perfection that doesn’t exist. Skinny models and actresses in magazines are Photoshopped to look pounds and pounds lighter than they are in real life. This means that girls who end up pursuing this idea of skinny can never reach that goal, because that goal is a lie.

But, you know what’s a great goal to have? To be healthy and strong. If you want to feel good about your body, start by treating it right—no negative thoughts like calling yourself fat allowed. Make sure that your body is getting the foods and nutrients it needs, and find fun ways to exercise like playing sports, dancing, or whatever other fun activities you enjoy. Ask your parents to help you pack meals that are healthier for you.

You’ll find that eating better and getting exercise creates some positive changes in your body, like giving you more energy and helping you get stronger so you can do more of the things you love. Take care of your body and it’ll take care of you. Honestly.

4. Every time I go to a family member’s house they serve me soooo much food! I try to be nice and say I don’t want that much, but they get offended. I don’t want to be fat like them, what do I do? 

First, thank them for the food. Oftentimes food is how family members express their love and affection, so it might be hard for Abuela or Tia to not take it personally when you turn down their homemade meal. Keep this in mind as you tell them how much you want—it’s not that you don’t appreciate them cooking for you, and it’s not that you don’t like the food, it’s just that you want to enjoy it without feeling super full afterwards. Try to make this clear to them, and well, if they still serve you too much, listen to your body and stop eating when you’re no longer hungry, not when you’re feeling stuffed. Offer to put away your dish and thank them again for the meal. Keep this up and they’ll get the message eventually—no one likes to see food go to waste!

Most importantly, treat each other with respect and kindness. Nobody likes being called fat, and if you judge your own family by their looks and weight, you’re bound to judge yourself by the same measures. We are all so much more than that.

Latina Health: Small Changes

Healthy foods often get a bad rap in a world filled with diet fads, endless salty and sweet snack foods, and a media that says it’s “okay” to be curvy but better to be thin with an endless supply of enticing snack products. These contradictory messages and food influences are especially dangerous for Latinas.

The Latina community has a higher risk compared to other minority groups for developing health problems such as: obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. According to a 2010 study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of Latinas (ages 6-19) were considered obese, and nearly 75% of Latina women had already developed some type of diabetes.These health issues are partly influenced by family health history, but they can be largely prevented by individuals who make healthy lifestyle choices — especially in nutrition.

Healthy Changes are possible!

Melissa Alvear, a Professional Chef based in Seattle, WA, emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for your health and lifestyle. In the past, Alvear reached 300 pounds before she decided to make changes in her life.

“My mother has diabetes, and I realized that was my future if I continued living the way I did,” Alvear said.

She took control of her health by enrolling at the Natural Epicurean, a professional culinary school in Austin, Tx, where chefs are trained in healthy and savory cooking techniques. Alvear is now able to honor her family’s heritage while making delicious and heart-healthy food.

“Latinas look at food as a part of the family, and together it bonds us all,” she said. “At the same time, we are confused by the American diet- we need to go back to our roots.”

Mandy Seay, a Professional Health Consultant and Dietician located in Austin, Tx, encourages Latinas to take control of their health by taking control of what is on their plates.

“Please don’t overly restrict yourself. One thing I see happen more often than not, is that people who want to change their diet, think that they must limit themselves greatly.One of the best tools is the healthy plate. This is the best way to eat – it’s balanced and provides a lot of nutrients and quite a bit of food,” states Seay.

Both Alvear and Seay were able to give readers helpful tips and advice on Buena Salud, or how to implement small, healthy changes in their daily lives.

Get Involved with Your Food:

Alvear encourages girls to get involved with their food. “Don’t be afraid to experiment with food. You can still make the same flavors you love by playing with spices and ingredients,” both shared.

Make small realistic, goals for your health and nutrition:

Seay advises individuals to “make small goals each week (no more than 2-3 goals) for food and exercise and then evaluate at the end of the week. If you achieved them, great – keep doing them and then add one more goal. If you didn’t achieve them, either try again or revise your goals to make them more realistic.”

Everything in moderation:

Both Seay and Alvear emphasize eating in moderation. “Remember splurging every once in a while is fine,” Seay said. “Eat 80/20. Eighty percent of the time eat healthy, 20% of the time have a treat,” she added.

Avoid mindless eating:

“You can still have a couple of cookies,” said Alvear, “but count them out and avoid eating in front of the TV, computer or on the phone. Try eating a snack outside!”

It is time for young Latinas to redefine what it means to “eat healthy”, and to realize the importance of  having a buena salud. The world needs strong Latinas; It is important for young women to realize that as individuals and members of the global community, every Latina matters.

Body Image Quiz

By Olga Ochoa & Laura Werthman

If there was a contest for best body would it be Sofia Vergara’s bodacious behind, Selena Gomez’s girl next door look, or the tiny Eva Longoria? How do you think these women see themselves, and how much pressure might they get from the media to alter, sculpt or color in their multiple shades of celebrity? Well, let’s find out how real or plastic these chicas are!

BODY IMAGE QUIZ

There are a lot of misconceptions about what women and girls go through in order to compete with glamorized representations of the female body.  Test your knowledge of the media’s negative consequences on female body image and self-esteem.

1. An estimated one thousand women die each year of___________.

A. anorexia nervosa (Eat something!!)

B. dancing (Give those feet a break!)

C. car accidents (Stop looking in the mirror while driving!)

D. heart attacks (Too many hot Cheetos)

 

2. Approximately five percent of adolescents and adult women have:

A. bulimia nervosa

B. anorexia nervosa

C. binge eating disorder

D. all of the above (talk to a Comadre, stat!)

 

3. What do you think is the average weight of a model?

A. 140 pounds (Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen)

B. 117 pounds (Lindsay Lohan during her crazy stage)

C. 67 pounds (Willow Smith)

D. 225 pounds

 

4. What percentage of women in the U.S. do you think are dissatisfied with their body?

A. 10%

B. 60%

C. 80%

D. 100% (On no, we need to call Oprah)

 

5. What type of women are more likely to develop an eating disorder?

A. Waitresses

B. Mathematicians

C. Athletes

D. all of the above

 

6. What do you think  the average American woman wears as a size in pants?

A. 10 or larger

B. 0-2

C. 5-8

D. 1

 

7.How much less do you think today’s models weigh than the average woman?

A. 8 %

B. 15%

C. 23%

D. 2%

 

8.What is the ideal body image?

A. The body image portrayed through media as the “perfect body.” (Victoria’s Secret Model)

B. a person’s perception of his or her physical appearance. (Look in the mirror)

C. a visual representation. (Get real abstract)

D. a picture taken by oneself and being reflected as an image. (Facebook!)

 

ANSWERS

1. Correct Answer A – Anorexia Nervosa. Don’t worry girls, those Hot Cheetos aren’t going anywhere. Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by the refusal to maintain a healthy body image weight and the belief of seeing oneself as overweight when being underweight.

2. Correct Answer D – All of the Above! Let’s start looking into eating our fruits and vegetables regularly, ladies. About 5% of women and 1% of men have bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and a binge eating disorder. Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by excessive eating. People who have bulimia will eat an excessive amount of food in a single  episode and almost immediately make themselves vomit or use laxatives or diuretics (water pills) to get rid of the food in their bodies. This behavior is often referred to as the “binge/purge” cycle. Like people with anorexia, people with bulimia have an intense fear of gaining weight.(http://www.networktherapy.com/library/dictionary.asp) Binge eating disorder is a disorder that resembles bulimia nervosa and is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating (or bingeing). It differs from bulimia, however, because its sufferers do not purge their bodies of the excess food, via vomiting, laxative abuse, or diuretic abuse. (http://nyp.org/health/mentalhealth- glossary.html)

3. Correct Answer B – 117 pounds.  Models probably work on their body way too much for my taste; I’d have to give up my addiction to tumblr to look like them! The average American woman is 5’4″ tall and weighs 140 pounds. While the average American model is 5’11 tall and weighs 117 pounds. Most models are 98% thinner than the average woman. ( Source: media-awareness.ca)

4. Correct Answer C – 80 %.  No lie, girls are beautiful in every shape and form! In an article from About.com, it states that 80% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies, which has a lot to do with the way the media has portrayed the ideal body image to look. In a study of fifth graders, 10 year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodied after watching a music video by Britney Spears.

5. Correct Answer C – Athletes. Be smart about staying healthy, don’t wear yourself out before the big game! Although it can happen to all kinds of women, athletic women are more likely to develop an eating disorders. In an article by Elizabeth Quinn “Eating Disorders in Athletes” it states that athletes tend to be competitive and disciplined individuals who will go out of their way to excel in their sports. With a combination of their personality and the pressure from their coaches, spectators, and teammates they are at high risk of developing an eating disorder.

6. Correct Answer A – 10 or larger. n the film Miss Representation, they state that the average American woman wears a size 10 or larger while the average model wears a size 2-3.

7. Correct Answer C – 23 % less. We need better equality. Twenty years ago, the average model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman, but today’s models weigh 23 percent less! (Source: media-awareness.ca)

8. Correct Answer A.  Ideal body image is the body image portrayed through media as the perfect body. Stop changing your Facebook profile, you look fine!Dr. Barbara Cohen talks about our addiction of control being related to our addiction for our body weight. In our culture, being fat is seen as loss of control which has become one of our culture’s greatest fears. This relates to our obsession of looking like the women we see in the media, such as magazines, TV shows and movies.

Keep it REAL

You are never too young to make a difference. Take it from Julia Bluhm, 14-year-old blogger and inspiration for the 2012 Keep It Real Challenge.  Fed up with the digitally enhanced and altered photos in magazines, Julia decided to start a petition on Change.org and partner with the nonprofit SparkSummit.com to convince popular teen magazine, Seventeen, to feature at least one un-Photoshopped photo spread in their magazine every month. In addition to the 84,000 signatures she and her supporters received, Bluhm also participated in protests in front of the Seventeen headquarters back in May. Her efforts inspired Through her persistence and tenacity, Bluhm partnered with motivated Spark and Missrepresention.org to build on what she started and initiate a movement. The #KeepItReal Challenge encourages people to speak out in favor of un-manipulated images of women’s bodies by using social media to bring awareness of the issue by tweeting to national magazines, blogging about why they are against heavily altered photos, and taking pictures of what they consider to be beautiful. Many young girls, who make up a large part the population affected by the unrealistic beauty standards presented in print media, participated in this challenge and their voices were heard by one Ann Shoket, Editor-In-Chief of Seventeen.

In Shoket’s Editor’s Letter, she upheld that Seventeen would not alter a girl’s body or shape face, that they would feature healthy girls of different sizes, ethnicities, and hair textures, and that readers should continue to write them about anything in their magazine that makes them uncomfortable. Along with these statements, Seventeen included two photos of a model: one with, and one without, Photoshop, so that readers could see the kind of changes they make to their photographs. Shoket’s letter to Seventeen readers has circulated the web and encouraged further discussion, commentary and cries of victory, but the fight for fair representation of women in all publications continues. Activists continue contact editors of other magazines for women and girls to stop the Photoshopping trend. You’re never too young to make a difference, so if you have ever felt pressured to change your physical appearance because of how perfect” other girls in media seem, let your voice be heard and join the challenge!

Here’s what some fellow Latinitas had to say about female body image and Keep It REAL:

“I say just to be your self and don’t change who you are.”-Chloe Botello

“These magazines seem to think that only one type of women is beautiful. They are beautiful…but they are just one type of beauty. They need to accept all women for who they are and how they look” -Marifer Ruiz

“I think it’s shocking to think that their natural beauty isn’t enough. It’s sad that editors think it’s necessary to change any aspect of these girls physique; they’re perfect the way they are” – Cynthia Amaya

“Glasses, freckles, crooked teeth, they all fall under the list of features that make a girl unique.Who’s to say what true beauty is nowadays?”-Adriana Candelaria

“Be proud for what God created you with and remember beauty is not how you look on the outside but what is on the inside” – Lisa Marie

“Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of the body.” –  Jasmine Villa

“The fact is that women’s magazines are 10 times more likely to feature diet plans than men’s magazines. With the amount of media pressuring women to lose weight and look like a photoshopped 6 foot, 100 pound model, it’s no wonder many girls deal with body image issues.” – Dejeanne Doublet

Snacking and Your Health

With a busy schedule many girls think that means there’s no time for healthy eating.  Latinitas share helpful tips to eating healthy snacks.

Many high school students like 17 year old Rosie Martinez, find little to no time to eat or snack healthy. “I am always busy, class after class and even after school so whatever they sell in the snack machines is usually what I end up getting,” said Rosie.

Finding a healthy snack that is both tasty and inexpensive proves to be difficult, but that does not mean you are completely doomed. There are great foods you can make that don’t cost a fortune, says kidshealth.org. Mixing and matching granola with yogurt or with your favorite fruit does not only taste good but is healthy. Snacking can help prevent unwanted weight gain and boost up your metabolism.

“I really try my best not to buy junk food, so I try to get a snack before I go to school,” added 18 year-old Priscilla Gomez.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the number of overweight children, aged 6-11 years old has more than doubled in the past 20 years and among adolescents aged 12-19 has more than tripled. The website family.go.com suggests a few substitutions can make a big difference. A few things to consider for now and the future:

Try This, Not That

-Try to avoid food that have high amounts of sodium

-Instead of ice cream, get yogurt or frozen yogurt

-Instead of a candy bar, try a granola bar

-Instead of regular potato chips, try baked chips

-Instead of white fried rice, get steamed rice or get brown rice

-Instead of white bread, get whole-grain/wheat bread

-Add fruit in your diet like apples which is rich in fiber or cut up vegetables like carrots or celery with a filling topping like peanut butter

-Instead of cokes, drink water or juice

-Instead of making sandwiches out of bacon, try using turkey

-Instead of drinking whole milk, try skim/low fat milk

With these tips in mind you are sure to feel healthy.

 

 

Above the Influence

You may have felt pressured or may feel pressured into trying drugs someday, but why? According to drugfree.org teens do drugs, “for a variety of reasons. To party and get high, in some cases, but also to “manage” or “regulate” their lives.” Drugs may seem like an “easy” escape from life, but in they are nothing but harmful to your health, relationships, and the way you live and experience life. So what are some of risks of doing drugs that you should know?

Risk 1: Relationship Problems

Doing drugs can lead to many unwanted problems, especially in your relationships. Your relationships with your friends, boyfriend, and your parents can change a lot as your attitude about drugs change. Your friends may stop hanging out with you and your boyfriend may break-up with you. Your parents will probably try to help, but you feel they are only trying to punish you. Diana Valera, age 14 says, “I think if you started doing drugs the relationship with your parents would be very stressful. They are doing the best they can to help you out and the only reason you would do drugs is if you have a low self-esteem.”

Risk 2: School Troubles

Doing drugs can also affect how you do in school. Doing drugs can lead to many school absences, getting bad grades and not paying attention in class. Drugs can also affect your plans for your future education and career.If you become lost in the world of drugs, college and your dream job will be the last thing on your mind.

Risk 3: Hanging Out With the Wrong Crowd

If you start doing drugs you are probably going to start hanging out with the wrong kind of people. You may think they are you “friends.” If they are encouraging you to do drugs, they aren’t real friends. You could possibly lose touch with your closest friends as your new “friends” pressure you into doing things that aren’t good.

Risk 4: Drugs Are Addictive

Drugs can quickly change the way you think and act as they begin to control your life. According to abovetheinfluence.com drugs play a major role in affecting the way our brain works. “Just as we turn down the volume on a radio that is too loud, the brain adjusts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of receptors that can receive and transmit signals. As a result, dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit can become low. This is why the abuser feels flat, lifeless, and depressed, and is unable to enjoy things that previously brought them pleasure. Now, they need to take drugs just to bring their dopamine function back to normal.” Your body becomes addicted to the drug as you now rely on it to make you feel good.

Risk 5: Health Issues

Drugs are extremely bad for your health as they pose a lot of risks depending on how much you take. Drugs can affect your abilities to hear, speak, walk, smell, see, taste and think normally. They can also lead to things like depression, mood swings and hallucinations. According to drugfree.org, “there are both immediate and long term risks. In the short term, overdosing can be fatal. In the longer term, drugs such as pain relievers and prescription medicine, among others, can become potentially addictive.”

Drugs lead to a lifestyle that no one should have to experience. Steer clear of drugs by saying “no” to peer pressure, getting involved in school clubs, volunteering around your community and surrounding yourself with positive people.

 

5 Ways to Deal with Stress

Latinitas readers share their tips to destress.

Tip 1: Listen to Music

“Music is love. Every song has a meaning that you can relate to at any time or how you feel. Music is a big part of my releasing stress.”-Daisy Fuentes.

“I usually listen to music to calm me down.  I like music because I think it just relaxes me.” – Dalena Lopez

“I usually do on my roof and listen to music the air always calms me down and the beat to the music helps my feelings calm.” -Aliris Lopez

Tip 2: Hangout with friends

“I love going to my best friend/sister named: Daisy. I love to hangout with my family.” – Jessie Baron

Tip 3. Talk to your Parents

“When I’m stressed, what calms me down is to always be around my mom. She helps me calm down.”

“When I deal with stress, I usually go to talk to my mom because she always knows all the right things to say to me.”-Dominic Hernandez

“When I talk to my mom, it gets a big weight off my shoulders and helps me know I’m not alone in my problems.” -Brianna Holcomb

Tip 4. Exercise

“Dancing, is like if your soul is letting out your true colors. The way you feel comes out on the way you move, attitude, silliness and heart. Running for me is a time to cry, think and let it out. It’s an alone time to just think about what has happen.”- Daisy Fuentes.

Tip 5. Do What You Love

“I pray and just think on it.”- Brianna Holcomb

“Singing helps me let out my feelings.”-Daisy Fuentes.

“I go to do puzzles.”-Monica Vargas

“I sing, dance, write or just chill with my friends.” -Jessie Baron

Bella Latina

Over the years, Latinas in the media and the presence of a stronger Latina voice in the United States have influenced the ideal body image of the Latina, or what is thought to be the ideal. Before actresses like J. Lo and Salma Hayek, Latinas were virtually off the map. However, they have been and continue to be considered exotic beings; a real trophy. But the unique blend of Hispanic and American cultures has since created a sort of double standard when it comes to the ideal body type. How do Latinas today deal with the pressures of the American skinny and the Hispanic voluptuous? How do young girls feel about the clashing standards they are forced to meet, but can’t simply because they lie on two opposite ends of the spectrum?

For years, Latina women were absent from media, until the arrival of beautiful actresses such as J. Lo. “Eva Longoria and J. Lo are known for their great physique and it’s proven you don’t have to be 5’7” to be beautiful but that you can have luscious curves and still feel beautiful about yourself,” says Carinna Arvizo, a junior in high school. However, many Latinas have come to think that even one of the most renowned Latina artists is slowly transforming into the ideal American beauty. “This focus on beautiful Latinas can feel like a relief,” argues Rosie Molinary, author of the book Hijas Americanas, “but it does not come without pressure. Red carpet commentary often focuses on Salma Hayek’s and Jennifer Lopez’s curves…But Hayek’s and Lopez’s figures are, for many Latinas, as unattainable as Paris Hilton’s.” Truthfully, however, we are all different, have different body shapes, hair texture, eye color, so it is virtually impossible to attribute or expect a specific body type from such a diverse ethnic group.

Unfortunately, the pressure comes from other sources as well. In our homes, we are expected to look a certain way. Some Hispanic moms like to feed us and feed us till we burst, and others don’t. Sometimes mothers fall into the American way of doing things, causing another source of outside pressure for a young Latina. “Other times, it seems as if we’ve conquered our own demons, only to find that our mothers and aunts have grabbed on to that North American standard of slimness, feeding us the same messages that lead to feelings of inadequacy.”

Seeing as body image forms such a large part of every girl’s upbringing, I have chosen to share the stories—and expectations—of the women in my family that have had to deal with these clashing cultures. My younger sister Carinna and I have different body types and physical appearance; while she is the curvy, green-eyed, fair-skinned beauty, I am thin, brown-eyed and brunette. When asked how she deals with the different expectations of beauty in the United States, Carinna answered: “I personally would like to be 5’7”, have long legs, be a size 3. Sadly, I’m only 5’2”, so there’s no way I can change it. I’m not the person to answer that because I’ve always hated my body. I just don’t like it.” Evidently, this double standard results in frustration and a tendency to dislike the Latina body.

I, on the other hand, have felt the pressure of the ideal American athletic body, exercising 6 days a week and obsessing over healthy eating habits. As Rosie Molinary writes, “Thus as Latinas we can be caught in between two standards of beauty—not feeling beautiful in either culture, or feeling beautiful in one but not the other.” Of course, my grandmother feels I do not have enough meat on my bones, but I have come to terms with my less than curvy body and have learned to love it! After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the only beholder that really matters is you!

Molinary writes, “After all, we are all the union of our parts. The truth is that every woman can be saccharine and salt, beauty and brawn, gentle and razor sharp. We, the multi-ethnic children of Latino parents and American upbringing, are able to take from our culture what we need and integrate our parts to become our best selves.”

January 2011

10 Tips for Healthier Looking Skin

We have all been through a time when we had an awful pimple or pimples that just wouldn’t go away. Acne can be embarrassing and here are a few simple tips that could help get rid of unwanted blemishes.

Tip 1: Drink Water
Drinking water is incredibly good for your body overall. This may sound like a broken record, but its true eight glasses a day could lead to a better heart and skin. If water isn’t really your thing, try cutting lemons or cucumbers and adding them to a pitcher of water. Let the water sit overnight in the pitcher with the fruit. In the morning, your water will taste more like lemons or cucumbers than water.

Tip 2: Learn Your Complexion
How can you fix a problem if you don’t know what the problem is? Everyone has either dry, oily, or combination skin. You may have dry skin around your nose or oily skin on your forehead or possibly both. If you know what type of skin you have, you can make sure to get the right kind of treatments and products.

Tip 3: Keep a Daily Routine
Find a face wash and toner that you feel works for you and stick to it! There is no need to spend tons of money on ridiculous face products. Clean and Clear, Neutrogena, and St. Ives are all awesome brands of face washes. They are all easily found at any Walgreens, Target, or Wal-Mart, and are all under $12. Even just plain soap and water are good as long as you wash your face regularly.

Tip 4: Go Hot to Cold
When washing your face, use hot water first and then cold water. Hot water opens up the pores and will help all the soap get in to clean your pores. The cold water will help close up the pores.

Tip 5: Toothpaste is the Secret Remedy
Putting toothpaste on a pimple helps to get rid of the redness and will dry the pimple up. Toothpaste has sulfur which is why it helps to make the pimple smaller. Leave the toothpaste on overnight. In the morning, moisturize your face because it will dry out your skin a bit. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have all night a few hours can do the trick.

Tip 6: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!
Sleep is vital in keeping your skin looking healthy. Pre-teens and teens should be getting roughly around 9 hours of sleep reports TeensHealth.org. Getting enough sleep helps keep you looking young and fresh!

Tip 7: Moisturize
Keeping your skin hydrated is very important. Also it’s good to get a moisturize that has sunscreen in it. The sun can do a lot of damage to our skin and it’s a good idea to buy a moisturizer you can wear daily that has at least SPF 15.

Tip 8: Exfoliate
To keep your skin soft and fresh, exfoliate your skin with a face wash scrub at least once a week. St. Ives apricot scrub works wonders and cost around $6.

Tip 9: Know the Difference
Acne can come in different forms and each one has a different treatment. Minor acne is usually divided into the categories of non-inflammatory acne such as blackheads and whiteheads and inflammatory acne like a papule or pustule (commonly called a zit). A blackhead is a blackish bump or plug on the skin, and a whitehead us a tiny white spot. They are very difficult to pop and could lead to scaring. If you have blackheads, trying to cover them up with makeup could be making your problem worse. Pilling on foundation is NOT the answer! The best way to get rid of blackheads is using products with Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) such as Olay Blackhead clearing scrub. Papules are inflamed, red, tender bumps with no head and should not be squeezed. A pustule appears as a red circle with a white or yellow center. Lotions with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are great for treating papules and pustules.

Tip 10: Be Careful When Popping
There is a right and wrong way to pop blackheads. According to CollegeFashion.com the right way is, “wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Next, cover your face with a warm, wet cloth for 10 to 15 minutes. Pat your face dry, then wrap tissues around your fingers to prevent slippage. Use GENTLE pressure to press down then up around the sides of the blackhead. If nothing happens after one or two tries, stop. That means the blackhead isn’t ready to come out yet. Whatever you do, don’t pinch, use your nails or press too hard. This can damage your skin and might even lead to scars!”

If you have acne, you are not along. According to AcneSkinGuide.com, over 85% of teens suffer from acne. You don’t have to live with pimples, oily skin or anything else that makes you feel less than amazing. Caring for your skin is the easiest way for you to keep up with not having unwanted pimples. Most of all though love yourself! Most acne is a result of puberty, and I promise it will go away soon as you grow older.

By Ytzel Monae McDaniel

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