Dear Friends,

Welcome to our Fall e-newsletter. This month, our talented and knowledgeable spa experts will give you tips on how to care for yourself and your domestic environment, all focused around the single theme of antioxidants. Antioxidants like Vitamins C and E from vegetables, fruits, and vegetable oils, Polyphenic antioxidants from tea, coffee, soy, fruit, chocolate, oregano and red wine, and Carotenoids, from fruit and vegetables – especially those orange and yellow in color – provide important health and anti-aging benefits. Other antioxidants help protect our skin from aging and can help minimize some of the damage from sun. Our resident scientist, Executive Chef Daniel Chong-Jimenez, will lead us on a hunt for knowledge about antioxidants that will help us lead healthier lives and influence our children to do so as well.

 
 
 
 

Antioxidants and the Fountain of Youth

Executive Chef Daniel Chong-Jimenez explains the importance of antioxidants in our foods and the mechanisms through which they work.

Evidence continues to mount in the case of antioxidants as the most important component in the human diet after fats, protein and carbohydrates.  These are identified mostly with oxygen radical absorption as a characteristic capacity to neutralize free radicals.  But what are free radicals?

Free radicals come in many different chemical varieties, and while we recommend eating foods rich in antioxidants to absorb these free radicals, it doesn’t mean that free radicals are all bad.  Indeed, free radicals are a crucial part of a healthy life.  They are a byproduct of breathing, an essential component of cellular communication, enzyme synthesis and immune defense.  However, too many of these, in the wrong places, have a detrimental effect.

The free radicals that we are concerned with are the oxygen radicals.  There exist about four identified varieties of oxygen radicals circulating in our bodies at any given time.  They have an un-paired electron that is looking for a "buddy" to bring its energy level to a stable state.  Absent nutrients from food bearing antioxidant properties or donor electrons, the free radicals will react with very delicate cell membranes to “steal” a hydrogen atom from the cell membrane to stabilize its energy field.

Think of a unicycle and how difficult it is to ride it with only one wheel.  Convert the unicycle into a bicycle and it becomes easier to ride.  The unicycle rider flays his arms about as he struggles to balance and maneuver; the bicycle rider merely secures the handlebars with his arms and directs his energy towards his legs; he is balanced on the bike.  Similarly, a free radical is actively seeking to create a pair of wheels to make its "ride" easier.  That missing part of the pair is the electron it takes from a donor.

If the donor is an atom from the cell membrane, the consequences can be very bad over time.  These include increased rigidity of the cell membrane, decreased activity of membrane-bound enzymes, altered activity of membrane receptors and altered permeability of the membrane.  All of the above result in a diminished ability of the cell to function properly.  Multiply this by the trillions of cells inside your body and the many roles they serve:  memory, heart, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, ovular, testicular and on and on.  The whole begins to wither and die as the domino effect ensues at the micro-component level of our bodies.

Taking daily action against oxidative stress is the best defense against this aspect of aging.  Genetics also plays an important role, but until human cloning is perfected and parents can choose what genes to pass (or not) to their offspring, we’re stuck with eating healthy to get and stay healthy.

The simple meals of our ancestors followed the seasons, preservatives were few and meat was reserved for special occasions.  Vegetables and whole grains were abundant.  While it is true that life expectancy is higher than ever, is the quality of life at such advanced age worth living?  The answer is yes if we can keep our health, undoubtedly the most prized possession, as long as possible.
 

 

Two Enticing New Spa Services

Spa Director Betty Loiacono talks about the triple benefit coffee oils and ground beans can provide for your skin through natural antioxidants and other properties.

Imagine 'drinking coffee through your skin' as a way to gain health benefits. You can, and you will. Spa savants, backed by science, now recognize that coffee provides a perfect medium for delivering antioxidants through meaningful spa therapies.

Coffee provides a triple benefit for your skin:

  • When used as a scrub to exfoliate, the caffeine in the ground coffee beans acts as a vasoconstrictor, dehydrating fat cells and temporarily tightening the skin, making it appear smoother.

  • The ground coffee beans contain natural antioxidants in compounds and pigments that provide topical protection against free-radical damage to skin cells.

  • Caffeine is a systemic diuretic that will stimulate the body to expel fluids. The increased topical tension of the skin reduces noticeable puffiness and eliminates excess fluids around the eyes and in areas of cellulite.

    It’s important to pay attention to news about antioxidants, which prevent or slow the oxidation process, as Chef Dan explains above. Oxidation is associated with skin aging and with damage that can be exacerbated by unprotected exposure to the sun.
  • The Spa at Norwich Inn has introduced two new and exciting spa services featuring coffee skin care products. Our Coffee Body Polish is a 25-minute treatment designed to exfoliate the skin, revitalize micro-cellular circulation, tone areas of cellulite and soften the skin.

    Our Anti-Cellulite Detoxifying Body Wrap is a runaway hit. This 80-minute therapy marries the Coffee Body Polish with a lavish body heat wrap.  Ingredients include a blend of ground organic green Arabica coffee, oils of rosemary, citrus, mint, peppermint and coconut followed by an application of shea butter lotion laced with calendula, aloe, comfrey, golden seal and hibiscus flower extract. Our guests have expressed their pleasure with the results and especially enjoy the subtle, fragrant combination of the coffee and floral essences.

    Plus, of course, they’re receiving great antioxidant benefits!

     

     

    Boutique

    Retail Director Cheryl Urso shows us how to enjoy the benefits of coffee-based spa services at home.

    To complement our two new coffee body treatments, our Spa Boutique carries a collection called BodyCoffee. The collection includes a cleansing body wash, a moisturizing lotion and invigorating polish and energizing oil. All are rich in antioxidant coffee extract and essential oils. Since several of these products are used in our spa treatments, they carry the same scent of coffee blossoms, jasmine-like floral and citrus. Now you can take home and continue your coffee spa experience, or try it at home by shopping at our online retail site.

    In facial skincare, our Vitamin C Crème is rich in antioxidants, aloe vera-based and infused with vitamins and grape seed extract. This lightweight moisturizer nourishes, hydrates and counteracts potentially damaging free-radicals. Take some home, or order online, and use every day for healthier, better-protected skin.
     

     

    From Chef Dan’s Kitchen

    Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Pecan Bisque, a perfect antioxidant recipe for fall

    Serves 8

    3 cups peeled and medium diced butternut squash
    1 cup chopped celery
    1 cup chopped yellow onion
    1 clove garlic
    2 tablespoons lightly roasted pecans
    4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
    3 tablespoons canola oil
    4 cups vegetable broth or water
    2 cups apple cider
    1 pinch nutmeg

    salt and pepper -- to taste

    1.  Toss the squash, celery, onion and garlic in the canola oil and spread over a cookie pan and oven roast for 45 minutes at 390 degrees F (reduce roasting time by 20 minutes if using a convection oven).
    2.  Place the roasted ingredients (above) in a soup pot and add the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, skimming any froth off the top with a ladle.
    3.  Allow the soup to gently simmer for 30 minutes and remove from the heat.
    4.  Allow the soup to cool and transfer to a blender and blend to a smooth consistency.
    5.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired and enjoy hot.

    Nutritional breakdown for 10.2 oz. wt. (approx. 1 1/4 cup volume):
    141.6 Calories, 1 gram protein, 22.7 gram carbohydrate, 6 grams of fat

    This is a seasonal favorite of the many guests who always call each fall to make sure that it will be on the menu.
     

     

    Housekeeping

    Okay, we admit we’re stretching the antioxidant metaphor a bit, but stay with us. Executive Housekeeper Mary Ann Rodino talks about keeping wrought iron and other patio furniture looking good.

    Rust is oxidation, and that’s the enemy of iron. This fall, be sure to hose down your cast iron furniture and garden ornaments thoroughly to knock off all loose paint. Let them dry, then gently go over any chipped areas with a wire brush, and then go over them again with fine wire wool. Hose down the piece again, let it dry and then apply a coat of primer or just spray with Rustoleum or similar paint. The results should look good, but don’t be surprised if you have to repeat the process in a few more years.

    Speaking of wire, fall is a good time to clean your window screens as well as your windows. Brush and wipe the screens and windowsills, then clean the glass.