Before you grab that morning cup of coffee on an empty stomach, that lunchtime slice of pizza or indulge in a steak dinner or ice cream while watching TV, understand that what you eat and when you eat it can lead to stomach upset. It can also trigger more severe issues in your gut. On the flip side, there are some foods that when eaten at certain times of day may soothe already existing stomach issues or may even prevent stomach ailments from occurring down the line. We spoke with Dr. Gina Sam Assistant Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York who offers insights on what and when to eat certain foods for a healthy gut.

Best Bets for Morning

It’s important to start the day with a healthy breakfast that factors in stomach health. Probiotics found in Greek yogurt is ideal as it regulates the growth of harmful bacteria that is grown in the digestive tract. Probiotics also keep colon lining healthy as it breaks through gastric acid and gets to the colon. In 2015 a study published in the The Korean Journal of Gastroenterology showed that yogurt might improve intestinal function for those with inflammatory bowel disease. Those who are lactose intolerant can enjoy lactose free yogurt.

Oatmeal is a great bet for breakfast and can be topped with blueberries another gut-friendly food. Oatmeal doesn’t cause acid reflux, it actually soothes any morning stomach upset and regulates bowel movements.

Fresh Fruit
Honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon are great options for those sensitive to reflux. Bananas help restore potassium, electrolytes and normal bowel function, especially if you have diarrhea. Bananas are also high in fiber, which is great for digestion.

The Lunchtime Lowdown

Eating leafy greens daily is a great for digestion. Lunchtime salads that include grilled salmon; chicken or turkey won’t cause reflux and will be easily digestible throughout the afternoon. If you are sensitive to acid then you will want to avoid onions or tomatoes and for some even the seeds in cucumbers can trigger a bout of stomach cramping. Be careful with lemon juice and vinegar in salad dressings, which can promote reflux. Try adding fennel with arugula and baby spinach along with parsley. Parsley is known to help digestion and settles the stomach.

This delicious Korean coleslaw is made primarily with cabbage, which promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon. Also cabbage helps to eliminate waste regulating bowl movements. Home-made sauerkraut is also a delicious option but be mindful if you are sensitive to spicy foods. This is why it is best to make your own so you can regulate the amount of spice.

Mediterranean Plates
Lunchtime is optimal for grilled veggies, legumes such as lentils with olive oil along with grilled fish or chicken. Preparing a plate of various whole grains, cauliflower, carrots, figs and pears are all great sources of fiber for the mid day.

A Digestible Dinner

You really want to focus on ease of digestion at dinnertime. Foods that are high fat can overwhelm the stomach, resulting in acid reflux and heartburn. Steatorrhea or pale colored stool is excess fat in the feces. People with IBS fare better when they avoid high fat foods. That said here are some options for a healthy gut.

Grilled Fish
Cold-water fish such as salmon, halibut or tuna when grilled in grape seed oil are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can address any inflammation in the digestive tract. According to a 2014 study featured in the World Journal of Clinical Cases, omega-3s were sited as being beneficial to those with ulcerative colitis.

Grilled Chicken with Couscous or Brown Rice
Chicken another lean meat that offers protein and is easy to digest goes great with couscous or brown rice especially if you tend to get acid reflux after late meals. Another option for a side dish is guacamole or avocado slices with lime. Artichokes also feed the good bacteria in your gut as does asparagus and lentils.

Stomach Friendly Snacking

When it comes to snacking there are several options you can reach for. Granny smith apples with almond butter, baby carrots and hummus, hallowed out cucumber and cottage cheese, kale and zucchini chips and assorted nuts (not peanuts) are all healthy and good for the gut.

You know your body best, so pay close attention to what agrees with you at varying times of the day and if you notice changes in how you take to certain foods see your doctor.

Photo by  Shanice Garcia



Who doesn’t want to dive into a retreat for body, mind and spirit, sprinkled with a little mystery? The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona believes in an ancient legend where a mythical phoenix rose from the ashes of its past to be reborn and celebrate renewal. This power of transformation, whether of the body, spirit or mind, is inherent to the philosophy of their Centre for Well-Being. Ideal during the holiday season, their spa rituals lead to inner calm, self-revelation and harmony with one’s own natural rhythms.

Their Botanical Rejuvenating Stem Cell Facial gives skin a boost of life. Infused with a blend of Argan and Comfrey Stem Cells, and supercharged with Collagen, Retinol and Elastin, this facial starts working quickly to reduce lines and wrinkles.

Take some time to think of visions of a better you while relaxing at their Meditation Atrium or one of their outdoor patios. What do you want to accomplish this season? What do you want to stay away from? Where are you lacking boundaries that perhaps invade your inner peace?


You may think there is no need for sunscreen during the winter months; yet, experts disagree.  Combine the need for some color during the winter months with incredible protection and you’ll have YouthRenew™ Tinted Cream SPF 30, an extraordinary 5 in 1 Daily Defense Cream. It’s age-defying and ultra-hydrating, while providing broad spectrum protection, healthy luminosity and a tinted, flawless look. Infused with Collagen, Vitamin C, Olive Extracts and the new Flash Action Unisphere, YouthRenew™ Tinted Cream combines the benefits of BB, CC and DD creams to leave skin with an immaculate finish. And, the added subtle natural tint reduces the appearance of enlarged pores and brightens skin throughout the day.


I leave you with the words of Marilu Henner, “Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.”

Health Aging_Pevonia_Mavian Arocha-Rowe

While plastic surgery and Botox have become the norm, there are millions of people who don’t want to go under the knife or needle to preserve their appearance. There are plenty of ways to look 10 years younger, and the good news; it is never too late to end bad habits.

Scientists now believe we have the power to slow down 40 percent of how we age, especially when using authentic botanicals like Pevonia in our daily regimen. Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is a NYC Osteopathic Physician Board Certified in family medicine and anti-aging medicine. Despite his busy schedule, we were able to get him to provide his Top 10 Must-Haves when saying bye-bye to sad aging effects, and hello to youthful, healthy aging:

1. Stop smoking.
“Cigarettes contain some 40,000 toxins, each deposited directly into the DNA of skin cells each time you take a drag,” says Dr. Calapai. “Numerous studies in identical twins have found that smokers look ten years older than non-smokers. That evidence is profound in lines around the eyes.” Talk to your doctor about methods to help you quit.

2. Flex your face.
“Facial muscles are just like body muscles,” he says. “The more you use them, the stronger they get and the less likely they are to sag and atrophy.” Try this quick cheek workout to help build up sagging facial muscles: look in a mirror, smile as broadly as possible while keeping your lips closed and mouth corners turned up. Try to make your mouth corners touch your ears. Next, wrinkle your nose and see your cheek muscles move upwards. Stay like this for a count of five, then relax. Repeat 10 times.

3. Consider acupuncture.
Half of Hollywood is allegedly hooked on the face-saving, radiance-boosting power of cosmetic acupuncture. According to experts, it stimulates skin cells to lay down new collagen fibers under wrinkles, ‘filling them in’ literally while also toning different muscles to restore glow. The added bonus is that most cosmetic acupuncturists treat underlying problems that could be causing your skin to look older, such as insomnia and bad digestion.

4. Have more sex.
Having sex at least three times per week can make you look up to 10 years younger. According to Dr. Dr. Calapai, having more sex is the next best thing you can do after exercise to look younger because it also helps you to naturally release more growth hormones and it’s been proven that having more sex can help you live longer.

5. Avoid sugar.
“Too much sugar in your diet will lead to an age accelerating process in your body known as glycation and glycation does damage to the collagen in your skin making you lose skin elasticity causing wrinkles to appear,” he affirms. Something as simple as cutting out sodas and sweet juices makes a difference fast.

6. Exfoliate your skin regularly.
“Exfoliation increases dermal volume, making skin look less wrinkly. It will also help fade brown spots. You can use a physical exfoliant like a scrub, or a chemical exfoliant, such as a glycolic,” says Dr. Calapai. We say our Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser fits the bill, perfectly.

7. Start intermittent fasting.
The two main reasons why intermittent fasting makes you look younger is because intermittent fasting naturally increases your human growth hormone which amps up the production of collagen for younger looking skin. Dr. Calapai explains that, “intermittent fasting induces autophagy where the cells in your body repair themselves to make a newer much healthier cell to prevent aging.”

8. Exercise.
You may think you carry your age in your face, but people “guess” your age by how you move. The youthful figure is thin, muscular, flexible, and strong. Your exercise program should include lots of cardio (this allows you to move around without huffing and puffing (a definite “geezer” giveaway). Also be sure to strength train with free weights, and add in some stretching to preserve flexibility.

9. Improve your posture.
One of the biggest giveaways for looking old is a curved back with slumpy sitting, and shoulders that ride up too high with respect to your neck. Fix your posture by thinking of the top of your head as a flat surface and then try to get that flat surface as tall as you can. Consciously push down your shoulders. Do this as you walk and sit. Take a “posture check” as often as you think about it during the day. Young people may not have perfect posture, but correcting your posture will make you look more youthful.

10. Eat more oily fish.
Eating fish rich in Omega 3 is optimal but if you don’t like fish take a high-grade fish-oil supplement. Dr. Calapai says that, “none of us consume enough essential fatty acids, which as well as helping our brains to function more smoothly are considered vital to keep skin-cell-membranes in good health and therefore stop the skin from getting too dry.”

Photo by  Sylvain Reygaerts

Stress + Acne Go Hand in Hand-Pevonia Blog

Stress and acne go hand in hand as stress and stress-related conditions cause multiple reactions in the body that can trigger acne breakouts. While stress responses were designed to ensure survival, today, stress isn’t always due to negative situations. Does a big pimple the night before a fun event bring any memories?

Having breakouts, in and of itself can cause stress. Acne sufferers may experience embarrassment or frustration over their red bumps and pimples, which unpleasantly affects their self-esteem, sense of well-being and self-worth. This added stress triggers pore cells to become sticky, thick and clogged, which leads to even more severe breakouts. Also, just experiencing the discomfort, itching or soreness of acne can add to stress.

Overall, people with severe acne tend to have higher levels of anger, anxiety and stress.

How Does Stress Trigger Acne?

Regardless of the cause, stress adversely affects the circulatory, endocrine and nervous systems, causing a number of reactions that influence the development of acne symptoms.

Stress activates the fight or flight system and triggers an influx of stress hormones and inflammation. These hormones (adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine, testosterone and CRH [corticotropin-releasing hormone]) increase the heart rate and activate the immune system. Even though modern day stressors are rarely life or death, things like eating, growing and reproducing take a back burner making the skin suffer. This influx of hormones and ensuing inflammation increases oil production, weakens and break pore walls, and leads to breakouts.

The main hormones that trigger acne are testosterone and cortisol. Testosterone increases oil production, which creates an environment that the p. acnes bacteria loves. Cortisol causes excess oil production and inflammation, and over time, this steroid hormone (corticosteroid) breaks down proteins, weakens the immune system and becomes an inflammatory response, triggering acne. When combined with stress behaviors like overeating and lack of exercise, this contributes to obesity, all of which are linked with acne. Plus, stress delays wound healing, which is needed to resolve breakouts.

Immune System, Inflammation and Acne

Stress dampens the immune system and elevates inflammation, which then contributes to acne. Inflammation causes a release of inflammatory neuropeptides, which weakens and breaks the pore walls, releasing pus into surrounding tissue and causing more inflammation.

Stress Behaviors and Acne

Stress can lead to destructive behaviors like drinking alcohol, smoking, poor eating habits, inadequate rest and lack of exercise; all which trigger acne. Coincidentally, these behaviors also trigger acne on their own. Stress can also cause additional behaviors like scratching, rubbing or touching the affected areas, which may be subconscious, or a compulsive behavior.

In addition to appearing or mentioning being stressed, one may notice acne patients are fatigued yet hyper, which can affect their work and relationships. This may likely be due to an imbalance in the ph of their blood.

Stress Induced Medical Conditions

Stress can trigger gastrointestinal issues like colitis, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or ulcers, which are also linked with acne. Stress, known to reduce the inability to fight infections, also slows wound healing, making it a direct link to acne flare-ups.

Acne Stress Solutions

To help control acne, identify stressors and when possible, avoid those people, places and situations. Engaging in relaxing activities will slow oil production and balance the blood ph, which in turn help clear existing breakouts and prevent future breakouts.

Great stress-busters include deep breathing; yoga; tai chi; mediation; Qigong, exercise (especially taking a walk outside); journaling, make quality time with family and friends and a good diet. Spa is good for the soul: Schedule a deep pore-cleansing facial and conclude with a relaxing massage. For more ways to cope, see Stress Solutions.

Lastly, instead of hating one’s skin, thank the body for providing a warning (in the form of acne) of the toll stress is causing. Other stress related diseases can be fatal, whereas acne can definitely be controlled.

Photo by Lenetstan