If from the look of your arms, chin, and upper lip you have started to suspect that Greeks have been crossed by a strain of mutant goats, you might be right. How often do you spend plucking, plucking and plucking those nasty wiry black coarse hairs from all those unforeseen places only to see them resprout nastier and stronger the next morning? What is a hairy Greek girl supposed to do? Could it be that our hair like the mythical beast the Hydra has the knack of sprouting two heads when you shave one off and on and on until one stray beast gives birth to a patch of fifty? And now with summer right in front of us, the war with the hairs is at full blast. It is unthinkable to go out with the moustache you’ve inherited from Giagia Angela or the black bush on the upper part of your thighs, the part you can’t reach with the razor or that just slips your mind. What is left in your arsenal? In this article we talk about the pros and cons of hair removal and give tips to take off that unwanted hair and keep it off (at least for a week).
Tactic #1: Shaving
The least expensive but most labor intensive method for hair removal
- Good for patches with rapidly growing skin such as calves
- Certain shavers which contour to body and have moisture strips can give a quick clean
- Little to no pain
- Labor intensive
- Tendency to miss spots when you DIY
- Less effective because roots are not affected
- Razor burn, skin bumps, cuts or negative skin reactions to shaving
- Possibility of ingrown hair occurring
Tactic #2: Waxing
Effective overall and long-lasting, but can add up
- Effective at eradicating hair at root so longer lasting
- Quick and relatively painless (except for a couple of seconds)
- Less possibility of ingrown hair
- With enough waxing treatments hair becomes less prone to re-root and come back
- Possibility of developing irritation, pimples or rash even infection because of forceful skin removal
- Weekly to biweekly treatments add up to a small fortune when you get it done at your local beauty or wax salon (starts from $60-180 for full body at some places)
- Skin can get easily dried and chapped with prolonged waxing
Tactic #3: Threading
Precise and effective, but only good for face, less so for overall body hair removal
- Best method for shaping eyebrows and getting at those hard to reach areas
- Effective and longer term because it gets to the root of the hair removing it
- Least abrasive method for skin health
- The pain, ouch! Ouch! Ouch! The pain—you can feel each and every hair getting plucked from its socket with each excruciating roll of the thread that some tear
- Takes longer to perform than other methods
- Not effective for every part of the body, can you imagine threading the bikini area? (OUCH!)
Tactic #4: Laser Hair Removal
- The most effective way for getting rid of unwanted hair
- Painless and fast
- Few skin side effects, but exposure to laser light is questionable
- By far the most expensive treatment for hair removal can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars for a full treatment
- Must follow a treatment period that lasts from six months to treat hair and a year or more to maintain
- Although skin follicles are zapped on the spot never to return, it does not guarantee that new skin follicles might grow to replace the old which means you get the same unwanted hair even after spending a fortune to remove it several years later
Tactic #5: Hair Removal Creams and Lotions
- Cheap and easy to use, just spread on problem areas and wait for the cream to work its magic
- Good as a last-minute alternative or supplement to shaving
- Depending on the product, does its job rather well
- The stink! If you can stand to smell like a rotting skunk in your most private of areas, go for it
- people have been known to develop skin allergies and rashes as the chemicals (think about it, they are acids that eat through the enzymes of your hair follicle) can be quite caustic and dangerous
So what’s the best tactic for getting rid of that unseemly goat hair? Probably a cross between waxing and laser treatments if you can afford it. Threading definitely beats all others on the face. When pushed to the extreme, a good ol’ shaver with some Nair is your last resort. Happy baring!
Food staples you keep in your cupboard are good for the stomach, but ancient Greek women used such food stuffs as yogurt, honey, olive oil to concoct beauty remedies. With a bit of intuition, it is easy to turn food that is good for the body into what is beautiful for it too.
Beauty Secret #1: Honey face masks and body scrubs
It is said that it was the Greeks who started using honey as a beauty ingredient. Honey is considered as an amazing beauty ingredient and is used in many home made face packs, creams and lotions. Greeks use honey for making face packs and body scrubs. Honey is a natural humectant drawing moisture up to the epidermis and trapping it there. Additionally, honey has anti-inflammatory properties and it also helps in the removal of dead skin cells.Honey was mixed with olive oil, milk or various herbs such as thyme or rosemary for a generous body scrub. This created a natural softness and glow to skin.
Beauty Secret #2: Herbal infusions:
Greeks made herbal infusions on their own by seeping herbs and flowers in vinegar and then mixing them with beeswax. This was then applied on the face and the body keeping skin healthy and radiant. They also used the beeswax infusion as a hair remover.
Beauty Secret #3: Milk baths for skin softening:
Women of the upper classes to keep skin supple often bathed in tubs full of goat or cow’s milk. They often took a milk bath before attending religious ceremonies or special events such as weddings. Nowadays milk bathing is not very common, but there are some women who still wash their face, neck and the arms with milk. Milk cleanses the skin and makes the skin very soft and supple.
Beauty Secret #4: Nutritious Greek Yogurt:
Who needs Ponds cold cream when you have Greek yogurt? Ancient and modern Greek women applied yogurt as a moisturizer to keep skin well nourished and soft. It provides you relief from sun burns as well. Make a natural mask with yogurt mixed with honey, olive oil or some herbs, or use yogurt alone. A two-week trial of not only spooning a Fage yogurt for your mouth but also for your face will bring noticeable results.
Beauty Secret #5: Olives and Olive Oil:
Olives contain high doses of minerals and exhibit antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. They are also good for delaying the process of aging of skin and keeping your skin young looking and glowing for a longer period of time. So, Greeks include olives in their daily diet.
It is believed that Greeks were the first to use olive oil. Not only is olive oil a natural moisturizer, it is also a rich source of antioxidants. These help in treating dry and chapped skin, making your skin revitalized and hydrated. It is also good for speeding up the regeneration of the cells of the skin. So while you sprinkle the oil on the Greek salad, slather a bit on your face and hands.
Beauty Secret #6: Sea salt for skin exfoliation:
Since Greece is close to the sea, the ancients were able to get sea salt easily. They used this sea salt to exfoliate their skin. Sea salt can make your rough and sun exposed skin soft and naturally glowing. Sea salt is mixed with olive oil to make a natural peel or it can be used alone. This will remove dirt, blackheads and dead skin cells, and keep your skin rejuvenated and radiant. The natural minerals present in sea salt help in keeping the skin well-nourished and healthy.
Beauty Secret #7: Hot baths:
Greek women take hot baths regularly and this is believed to be one of the major secrets of their natural beauty. They take heated baths in bathhouses. They regard hot bath as very important because according to them, hot bath helps in opening the pores of the skin. This in turn leads to the removal of all toxins from the skin in a natural way. While ancient women were not permitted into the public baths, most had dedicated bathhouses for them or private baths in their villas.
As Greek girls, we love the generosity in our breasts, but we hate the same in our butts. What can a girl do to keep from looking like Kiria Evangelio–you know, the widow in black that dresses in a podgia with the knee highs rolled down to right under her knees, a fish hair net over her head. You know, the one who looks like a giadouri when she bends down to pick up the chorta from her front yard? Yes, that middle zoni is considered irresistible in Middle Eastern cultures, a tribute to the Goddess, but in Ameriki, agapoula mou, you can’t get away with wearing your flab like a Firestone radial around your waist.
Luckily, another Greek has come to our rescue. His name is Joseph Pilates. Pilates designed a fundamentally new regimen of fitness, one that focused on one’s “powerhouse”–the stomach and butt, the center point of all the body’s activities. If you are a Greek girl who likes a little more than your usual helping of tzatziki and Feta cheese in her souvlaki pita, chances are those are the areas you need the most help on. We at Greek-American Girl.com can vouch for Pilates. In one month, there was a noticeable difference in our bodies. It is the one sort of exercise that combines yoga with muscle toning so that with a concentrated, efficient use of muscle, you can burn fat and tone at the same time. In contrast to other workout programs that build bulk through repetitive toning exercises or useless sit ups (most sit ups never even touch the lower abdomen, the part that sucks in your gutt), Pilates both flexes and elongates muscles in the torso and oxygenates by using controlled breathing. In the end our stomach winds up looking like one of those 6’2″ models on the runway of the upcoming Vogue collection.
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He was a very sickly, fragile child who was constantly getting sick. When he was passed over as a player when he was a teen due to his ill health, he devised a series of exercises that toughened up the gutt, the core of the body.Years later, he put this exercise routine to work as an interned nurse for Britain on his patients who were crippled or parapalegic casualties of World War I Over the course of 25 years he developed a series of exercises using pulleys and weights attached to hospital beds that required slow, controlled movement. He gave these patients a gentle but firm way of using their torso, the only part they could use of their body, for some of them. He eventually migrated to the US where he founded a studio on the East Side. His technique which bears his name very soon became popular with the actors and dancers of the New York City arts and culture scene.His technique has witnessed a massive wave of popularity in recent years, appealing to many from the likes of Melanie Griffith, to Daisy Fuentes. It is especially effective for women’s bodies as it elongates the torso without building excessive muscle.
Check out these sample Pilates moves, but remember to consult your doctor before starting this or any other exercise regimen. It is recommended that you take a class or two with a certified Pilates instructor to get the gist of the proper form and the most effective breathing technique.
Rolling Like a Ball: Sit up straight with your legs folded in front of you for this one. Grab your right ankle with your right hand and your left ankle with your left hand. Lift them slightly off the floor and find your balance on your butt. Then extend your legs out straight in front of you holding onto your ankles with your hands all the while.Your legs should make an open “V.” Then taking a deep inhale, rock yourself back all the way to your shoulders. With the exhale, rock forward and stop just at the starting point of the V leg extension (if you can.) Your hands should be holding onto each corresponding ankle thoughout this exercise. The trick is to tighten your abs and torso so that they counteract the force of gravity and momentum bringing your body to a halt. The power it takes to end the forward force is what tones the muscles. This is a hard one. It takes balance and skill, not to mention a lot of guts.
Quick! What’s the sexiest feature on a GA girl’s face? Her eyes, of course! Greek girls have the best bedroom eyes, the ones that say “Come and play with me in the dark.” And if eyes are the windows to the soul, then what a deep soul we must have. Deep set, dark and mysterious, alluring, they fish’em in like the sirens. They are a Greek girl’s most powerful weapon. Just look at how seductive Kati Garbi’s are.
Here are some ways to bring out the best in those beauties. Read more “She’s Got Kati Garbi’s Eyes”
I always try to pay attention to the synchronicity that goes on in my life; the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear related in some way but I have no idea how or why. So when I had a client recently tell me about the power pose, and then I came across a TED Talk talking about the same thing, AND I realized that if I forced myself to smile (rather than looking like I’m dying) during a high intensity Zumba class I get a burst of energy. I had to investigate further to see how they were all connected.
Famous TEDTalk psychologist Amy Cuddy speaks about the psychological-physiological connection between body posture and non-verbal communication and confidence, self-esteem, and perception
What did I find out?
That the power of nonverbal communication not only on has an effect on how people perceive us but it also strongly affects how we perceive ourselves. And that the power pose, aka Greek goddess pose, is a great tool to help harness that power.
What is the power pose?
The power pose is simply holding one’s body in an expansive, “high-power” position; arms open and out or on waist, chest high, legs spread apart.
Check out these pictures of Greek goddesses and how they are all depicted in this pose. Whether this was done on purpose or not in the art, there is no question that these woman are all illustrated in this pose.
Photo credit: Google images
What does this pose do to our bodies on a physiological level?
Research has shown that holding this position for as little as two minutes a day actually stimulates higher levels of testosterone (the hormone linked to power and dominance in the animal and human worlds) and lower levels of cortisol (the “stress” hormone that can, over time, cause impaired immune functioning, hypertension, and memory loss when elevated).
How does this pose help us psychologically?
The power pose leads to increased feelings of power and a greater tolerance for risk. As a result we can “pose” our way to more confidence and a higher self-esteem, even when we don’t necessarily have the thoughts at that time to back it up.
How is all of this related to my Zumba class?
It’s just another example of how nonverbal cues affect one’s own perception and thoughts. Even though I felt like calling it quits during my workout, by smiling, I was able to counteract those thoughts hormonally and actually induce a burst of energy!
Why is the title of this post called the Greek Goddess Pose?
It seemed most fitting considering that the majority of you reading this are most likely Greek AND I always try and stay true to my roots.
If you’re a female reading this, you too, should practice the Greek goddess pose.
By taking 2 minutes out of your busy day, every day, to practice this pose, you can experience the benefits associated with it as well!
The reality is, whether we call this the power pose or Greek goddess pose, we are all powerful strong confident women and sometimes we just need to strike a pose to remind ourselves of that.
The Hellenic body type, from this point onwards known as the “Hellenic booty,” is a common sighting on many Greek American women, esp. from a rear-end view. The apple bottom, or pear shape body type, with the bigger than average behind has always been admired and sought after by many, dating back to ancient times. The ancient Greeks had a name for it– callipygian, meaning “pertaining to or having finely developed buttocks” (The quest for the callipygian ideal.” (1)
The latest news about a study that proves that women with bigger butts have better brains, all over the scientific community and social media for the last few days, has many individuals within the Greek American community highly intrigued, including me!
Scientists from the University of Oxford state that:
“People who have more weight in their thighs and backsides often have a higher level of intelligence because they produce more Omega- 3 fats which contribute to brain development.
“The idea that body fat distribution is important to health has been known for some time,” stated Konstantinos Manolopoulos, the lead researcher of the Oxford study. (2)
Possible confirmation bias considering the lead researcher was Greek? Maybe, maybe not…
So what else according to this study does a bigger behind seem to provide?
16,000 women were included and those with larger apple bottoms tended to have lower levels of glucose and cholesterol while maintaining higher levels of Omega-3 fats. In addition, these women were predisposed to higher levels of leptin, a hormone that helps maintain energy levels by inhibiting hunger, leading to lower levels of obesity.
Not only does it seem that having a Hellenic booty is beneficial for the woman herself but for her offspring as well.
“Evidence shows that the fat content in a mother’s breast milk comes from her lower half of the body, which includes her thighs, buttocks, etc. This means that the high amount of Omega 3’s becomes a part of the baby’s balanced breakfast.” (3)
And THIS may be the real reason as to why so many men prefer bigger bootied women…
“The high amount of Omega -3 storage may be an evolutionary way of ensuring successful children, and men have a biological imperative to produce intelligent offspring.” (5)
Finally, as if the above weren’t enough, these specific body typed woman also seem to live longer healthier lives:
People with fat stored in their thighs and rear end are more likely to produce hormones to metabolize sugar, lowering their risk for things like diabetes and heart disease. Having a big butt is thus linked to having a longer life. (6)
It will come of no surprise when the origins of the Hellenic booty gets traced back to diet, specifically the Mediterranean diet. The same healthy fats, proteins and deep green vegetables that compose the Mediterranean diet not only promote healthy brain function BUTT are also the same type of foods that have been linked to the acquisition of a bigger booty.
So what about women who tend to gain excess weight in their bottom half, fail to acquire the curvaceous callipygian look and instead look something like this?
Here are some simple suggestions to help you slim down and rediscover the callipygian within you:
- Up your greens…a lot!
Eating fresh green leafy vegetables is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can regulate your hormones. Pear-shaped body types are usually a result of estrogen dominance and eating a large amount of greens allows the excess fiber to help regulate this dominance. Have a hard time eating salad several times a day? Try implementing a daily green smoothie; one smoothie can contain up to 4 cups of greens which equals one small salad.
- Eat coconut oil
The benefits of coconut oil are many including the regulation of hormone levels in the body. Coconut oil also provides the required building blocks for hormone regulation. You can cook with it, bake with it, eat it raw, or even add it to your coffee.
- Eat raw carrots
Raw carrots contain an indigestible fiber that helps the body perform its natural detoxification process more efficiently. Specifically, fiber binds to unused hormones and toxins and helps to pull them out of your body. Carrot fiber also prevents estrogen from being reabsorbed in the intestine, which can happen when your digestion is slow. Just remember to slice carrots lengthwise rather than width wise when preparing. Chopping carrots across actually damages this fiber lowering its effectiveness.
- Practice phytotherapy
Phytotherapy is the use of medicinal plants to heal and restore balance. Maca, ashwaganda and black cohosh are all examples of medicinal herbs and have a long history of helping individuals with a variety of ailments, particularly hormone regulation. These herbs can be drunken either in tea format, tincture and or taken as a supplement.
Hormones work like locks and keys. If ones off, they’re all off. So while destressing might not immediately affect the sex hormones (estrogen for example) it does immediately regulate the stress hormone, cortisol. Take a few minutes a day, several times a day, to do whatever you need to do to allow yourself some peace and relaxation, so as to be able to help regulate your other hormones as well.
So while many of us in the Greek community may be blessed with the genetic predisposition and the cultural cushion to have both the booty AND brains, how we treat our bodies AND our minds dictate what we actually look like.
This article was contributed by Roula Marinos Papamihail
[author ]This article was contributed by Roula Marinos Papamihail, MA CHHC Founder of My Healthy Soma, a wellness consultant and health coach. She can be reached at www.myhealthysoma.com or at email@example.com for more information and appointments. www.myhealthysoma.com[/author]
Rewind a few years back –my husband and I were dating. I went to my then future mother-in-law’s house often and she offered food often. I usually refused. Being young, in love and oblivious to all other than my new found love, I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that I was saying no frequently to my mother-in-law’s offering. I refused constantly without a second thought. At that time, I was very particular with what I ate and the amount I ate; a precursor to my current health coaching business. After a few months and hundreds of “no’s” my future mother-in-law threw her hands up in the air one day and loudly yelled, “This girl never eats!” and walked off. At that moment, I realized how my constant refusing of food was not only frustrating her but was actually “eating away” at her!
Greek hospitality (i.e. food offering) is so ingrained within the Greek culture that the ancient Greeks had a name for it: xenia. While the concept of xenia included more than just the offering of food, as a guest, it was considered offensive to refuse this food from a host. Modern Greek culture has changed in many ways since then, but this ancient belief almost seems to continue to be pervasive among many, especially the older-generation Greeks. While more Americanized Greeks have been exposed to the prevalent belief system of “just say no” when it comes to food offered by a host in the Greek culture, this type of mentality can be interpreted as flat out rude by the host. It can even activate anxiety and defensive responses from the host, definitely not making for a pleasant visit.
As a guest saying no, you may initially shrug the whole interaction off and not think twice about it (like I used to) that is, if your host allows for it. Everyone has experienced the determined giagia (grandmother) or theia (aunt) or any other family member for that matter that offers us food in their home, and persists even after we politely refuse. As a result many guests end up feeling irritated, annoyed and sometimes flat out resentful to the point of avoidance due to this “badgering!”
So what’s a woman to do when she visits a loved one’s home and knows that she’ll be offered an offering that she might not want AND will be hounded if she refuses?
Read the suggestions listed below and enjoy your food!
- Offering hospitality (food) to guests equates to offering love and support for many hosts. While you might be viewing food as just nutrition and not comfort or anything else, the persistent host obviously views it as a lot more than that and as a guest I’ve come to the conclusion that this should be respected.
However, there are ways to graciously accept without deviating to far from your regular style of eating if the food offered is something you wouldn’t typically eat OR you don’t really want to eat.
- Chew slowly. Depending on how long you’ll be visiting, chewing slowly will allow you to leave food on your plate and not eat the whole thing. While this is not ideal (and may possible be perceived by your host as you not liking the food) you can just blame it on the fact that you’re a slow eater.
- Drink raw apple cider vinegar prior to visit. By drinking a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar diluted in about 6 ounces of water, prior to your visit, you’ll be setting up your gut (by raising hydrochloric acid in your stomach) so as to be able to fully assimilate and effectively digest the food you’ll be eating (if type of food served is the problem).
- Eat a small light breakfast or lunch or dinner, depending on the time of visit prior to visiting. This way you’re taking into account the additional calories that you’ll be consuming (if weight gain is your concern).
- Schedule in a work out for the day. Ideally work out prior to your visit. That way, your metabolism will be revved up and you’ll burn off the calories before they settle in your waist.
- Understand where they’re coming from and be ok with it. Remember, saying no to the food is like saying no to the love. Keeping this in mind will make you more empathic and allow you to be ok with succumbing.
- If you DO say no, explain why in detail. Your following a detox, diet or have a newly acquired food intolerance that “theia” just doesn’t get. “Gluten intolerance? What in the world is that?” as she places loukoumades (fried doughnuts drenched in honey) in front of you. If eating what is offered will truly put you in a bad spot both physically and or mentally, make sure to explain why in detail. There’s nothing worse than a gracious host wondering why you refused their food with negative thoughts predominating their mind the whole time you’re there!
Will I be offended a few years down the line when my sons bring home my future daughter-in-laws and they refuse my “offerings?” Probably not, but as I like to say, you never kseries (know). One thing I do know, though, is that everything I prepare in the kitchen today is made with love and offering food made with love is just one of the many ways that I express it.