Want to have the kind of body that a Brazilian bathing suit was designed to drape over? When traveling to Rio de Janiero, the city that, to many, pretty much defines the ideal image of “beauty,” it’s no shocker your average chick might for a moment wonder: “what trade tricks can I pick up…” And that was my mindset when I boarded the American Airlines non-stop flight from Dallas to Rio. Ok, so I didn’t just board, I did a pre-flight Quickie Workout while standing at the gate waiting to board (after all, I was about to endure a 10.5 hr flight and I wanted to get my metabolism pumping), plus butt squeezes and knee lifts mid-flight to keep the circulation going and minimize my chances of a blood clot… ok, so it was also a last ditch to tighten my backside in preparation for that feared/loved Brazilian bikini.
Already feeling a twinge of tightness from those in-flight butt squeezes in-between meals, movies, sleeping, and reading, I felt ready to brave the tropical heat of the beach city and find out how these women were so beautiful!
Drinks… and Food
As is custom when you (or at least I) land in a foreign country, I like to get my bearings by going to a
place with great views and imbibe in some local libations. So I boarded the two-stage cable car up to the 1,300 foot high summit of Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar) where, lucky for me, situated at the top was Abençoado Bar & Restaurant on Urca hill, known for their caipirinhas made with only fresh, seasonal fruits (many of them superfruits) that are blended into each drink from whole (not juice) form. It’s so good it almost feels good for you! Of course, the fact that it is an alcoholic beverage… maybe not the best for you. But really, it’s all about the fresh juices.
Caju fruit (or cashew fruit). Yes, it’s the fruit part of the nut. In fact, the nut takes up only a very small top portion of the fruit, making the process of obtaining those nuts quite wasteful and expensive in countries where the fruit isn’t highly regarded as the wondrous, should-be superfruit that it is, and the way it is regarded in Brazil. Apparently the Caju fruit is stuffed with Vitamin C and when mixed into a caipirinha, it’s simply magical!
Other superfruit-infused caipirinhas (or regular juices) to try:
Siriguela- another vitamin C bomb that looks a bit like a Kumquat
Acerola- a superfruit cherry that locals swear kills colds thanks to its insane amount of vitamins
Pink Peppercorn- so it’s not a fruit… but it’s a natural fat-burner and I love that the locals infuse it into their drinks. It’s delicious and beautiful… just like the Brazilians!
But it’s not all alcoholic beverages that the Brazilian beauties drink. Fresh, local fruit juice is served all over the city in little corner kiosks where they squeeze, press, or crush the fruit right in front of you and serve it up fresh- no cans, bottles, or any other unnecessary packaging except the fruit skin. What could be more green? Beyond fruit, local fish cooked with little oil, but lots of herbaceous flavor is a regular on most menus, as well as interesting native tubers and vegetables from the surrounding jungle, like Manioc- a potato-like root vegetable that is served in several forms from ground and powdered to sliced and fried (like French fries).
Fact is that fresh, organic, nutrient-dense ingredients naturally help to beautify the skin while simultaneously imparting energy and life. Sure, there are some fast food joints in Rio, but many of the “fast food” spots are actually kiosks where the food may be fast-ish, but still whole, healthy, and fresh and therefore beauty-supporting! Dinner is typically light, and dessert is the norm- but, again… it’s only a few bites.
Instead of skipping breakfast, carbing out on lunch and pigging out on dinner, seems the Brazilian beauties eat backwards: a healthy full breakfast that includes lots of fruit (including the superfruit acai) and oatmeal, followed by a lunch of steamed fish, salad, local veggies, and finally a light dinner of small tapas-style plates and salad. And, yes, dessert. Life is about living pleasurably in Brazil. And that includes dessert.
Ok, so, yes, if you want to be a Brazilian Beauty, it helps to be Brazilian. However, there are lots of beauty secrets that lots of Brazilian beauties have in common. Here are a few:
Bikini Wax every 15 days.
Yes THE Brazilian wax that leaves a “landing strip”… This specialty wax style isn’t just a Brazilian specialty anymore. Go to pretty much any salon in the US and ask for one and there isn’t hesitation- the wax technician knows exactly what you’re talking about. But the reason for the almost hairless style? To maintain a clean and manicured look that hides perfectly beneath the skimpy Brazilian bikini bottoms, and also looks pretty good naked. Because it is quite the job, one that requires the placement of hot wax in places that are sometimes never even seen, locals like that they live in a humid climate. Why? The hair follicles are more open and the skin is more relaxed, allowing the hairs to more easily slip out with less pain. But to make sure a bunch of red blotches don’t replace the hair, natural local aloe vera is often applied to help calm and cool the skin.
Forget cellulite pills and creams, the ladies I spoke too prefer to get massages to help detox the system and help breakup and smooth away the appearance of cellulite… weekly. Love that! For them, massage isn’t a choice, it’s not a luxury, it’s a mind/body necessity that helps to keep them less-stressed (which comes through on your faces ladies) and healthier overall. Not to worry, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get your arms, legs, and back massaged. Have your guy do it instead (* side note: massage the lower back helps improve blood flow to the pelvic region which helps turn you on… just saying).
Weekly Avocado Mask- for the hair and face.
Said to have mystical and aphrodisiac powers, this nutrient-dense fruit that’s high in healthy and nourishing mono-unsaturated fats known to help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, slow insulin release and boost cell repair is both eaten (often mixed into a smoothie), and spread on the skin and hair. When used as a hair and skin mask, avocado helps hydrate and imbue a natural glow. Make your own face mask by mashing it with honey for a face mask, or mixing it with milk for the hair (or just spread it on as is), and leave on for 15 minutes before washing it off.
That golden hue of Brazilian skin is natural, not faked by laying out on the beach holding tinfoil. Yes, Brazilians tend to spend a fair amount of time in the sun playing outdoor sports or just enjoying the great outdoors, but sunscreen http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/sun-screen.html is an overwhelming (and honestly surprising) must!
Au Natural… almost.
Because they tend to take such great care of their skin, allowing it to naturally glow from the inside out, why would they then cover it up by pancaking on makeup? Exactly. They don’t. Make-up is minimal and used as an accent not a statement.
Beach. Running, playing football, even straight up exercise at open air/sand-side gyms, this is a culture that’s filled with physical activity. So much so that the main Oceanside street (typically a multi-lane thoroughfare) is closed to just 1 lane on weekends, creating a spacious fitness path for exercisers of all types and ages- runners, roller bladders, cyclists, and strollers.
But it’s at night when their bodies really get a workout! Samba isn’t just a sexy dance done on special occasions or for show. It’s a ritual, it’s part of the culture, it’s life! At night the samba clubs, complete with live music and sometimes dinner service, light up! Couples and singles old and young come out to feel the music, shake their bodies, and just let loose. There are even late-night Samba Schools that practice until wee hours of the morning in preparation for competitions between other local schools. But don’t get the wrong idea here. There aren’t just schools, they are dance halls, some even stadiums where the floor is filled with observers who get in on the dancing action too, while the school practices front and center- yes, to a live band.
This is a walking city. Okay, so maybe not everything is close. But the locals find a way to walk anyway! From shopping, to lunch breaks, getting to a local point A to B, or just taking an afternoon stroll, walks are a normal everyday part of life.
One of my traveling companions, an older man in his late 70s, maybe even 80s, said “you know, there is something different about the women here. It’s not just that their faces and bodies are beautiful, it’s their attitude. They aren’t overdoing it, they just are confident in who they are, and they exude that, THAT is beautiful.” And THAT is true. Some of the women might not, in photos, be viewed as stunning. In fact, they might not even be viewed as pretty. But be their presence, see their warm smile, their honest and authentic and outward expression of self, their confident energy, their welcoming attitude, and their natural femininity, and you will undoubtedly see beauty. There is a definite self and body-awareness of how they move, walk, gesture, and glance. It’s not fake. It’s simply aware. But like their beauty routine and day to day upkeep is. It’s not fake, it’s just aware. And that’s beautiful.