Tag Archives: Vitamins

Hair Loss Alopecia Areata

Alopecia Ahmed Carter Jan2021

Hair Loss Alopecia Areata
distressing you?

Alternative methods to encourage
resolution & get your confidence back.

Image courtesy Unsplash: Ahmed Carter

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Have you ever seen a clump of your hair falling out, especially whilst in the shower?

There’s nothing more distressing, when bunches of your hair is seen clumped at the drain of the shower.Often this happens as part of pregnancy or post delivery and breast feeding.
Women in particular, just have to ride the anguish of hair-loss, combined with waiting for our hormones to rebalance, and the pre-pregnancy normality to return.For men, it can also cause a lot of distress, though shaving the hair off completely can be one way of solving the embarrassment of hair loss.

But what if your hair is not only falling out, but leaving bald patches all over your scalp?This kind of loss in patches is otherwise known as Alopecia Areata. The immune system’s white blood cells which usually protect us from free radicals, viruses and bacteria, turns and fights against our healthy hair follicles instead.These become smaller, whilst the production of hair slows down drastically.

It sadly doesn’t have a cure, but we usually have to wait patiently for our hair to grow back in its own time. Alopecia Areata can be treated with various kinds of prescribed medications, consisting of Immuno-suppressants, Minoxidil, Corticosteroids, Anthralin or Diphencyprone. However, taking these for longer periods of time can have side effects, consisting of leaving the skin looking lighter in colour or discoloured, causing reactions or irritations, to stomach aches, nausea and tiredness.

Gallery of Images from Unsplash Chrissie Kremer, Ahmed Carter, Shaving Head by Malcolm Lightbody & Amy Treasure.

Dealing with hair loss can be extremely stressful, especially if constantly monitoring the patches or how much has fallen.It can make us feel insecure, anxious and irritable.For those that want to try an alternative and more healthy option for boosting hair growth, consider these:

Probiotic Supplements – Adding these to your diet can assist your digestive system’s health, aiding and treating various autoimmune conditions, including alopecia areata. Improving the condition of your immune system prevents your body from reacting to threats which can cause inflammation and reactions.The kinds of foods to eat include cultured vegetables, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha and apple cider vinegar.

Zinc – Is a vital mineral which supports hair follicles. Taking a supplement can aid boosting your immune system, whilst repairing your gut’s health, making it more responsive to the threat of free radicals.Not only will the supplements provide therapeutic benefits, it can work as a natural treatment for alopecia areata.Foods which are high in zinc include pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef and lamb, spinach, cashews, chickpeas and yoghurt.

Ginseng – can be taken in either powdered, dried or tablet form. It works by reducing inflammation and boosting our immune functionality and homeostasis: (any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability).Alopecia areata can be treated naturally by including the consumption of red ginseng.

Consuming Anti-Inflammatory Foods – these will naturally benefit our digestive tract as they provide nutrition as well as a calming effect on our system.Often those suffering from Alopecia Areata are deficient of certain nutrients.Start by avoiding foods which are highly processed and contain loads of sugar.Instead, include foods like beets, broccoli, nuts, seeds, spices like ginger and turmeric, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, coconut oil, bone broth and wild-caught salmon to your list for consumption, which are high in antioxidants, essential fatty acids and necessary minerals. Changing up your diet can aid how you feel as well as restore autoimmune problems shown in our bodies.

Stress Reduction – can have amazing effects on our body.Often stress can cause all sorts of ailments from skin conditions like Eczema, sleep deprivation, anxiety and hair loss.Participating in activities that encourage blood circulation can assist with relieving stress levels.These include meditation, spending time outdoors, scrapbooking or keeping a journal. You can also join support groups with those dealing with alopecia, as well as surrounding yourself with family and friends who are supportive and encouraging.

Acupuncture – Can be a natural treatment to consider not only for increasing blood circulation, but for dealing with depression and anxiety.Acupuncture works by stimulating and releasing the flow of energy in the body’s pressure points whilst reducing inflammation.It can also assist with minimisingT1 cells that attack hair follicles which cause hair loss, like alopecia areata.

Quercetin – is a plant pigment (flavonoid) antioxidant which aids in reducing inflammation and fighting damage caused by free radicals.It is often used to treat autoimmune disorders, as it has a strong effect on the bodys’ immunity.Quercetin is found in red wine, onions, berries, apples, green tea, buckwheat tea, Ginkgo biloba, St John’s wort and American elder.Adding it to your diet can stimulate hair regrowth due to quercetin’s anti-inflammatory properties.Supplements and creams can be purchased at your health food stores, but ensure that Quercetin is the main ingredient, or that bromelain, another anti-inflammatory enzyme is included.

Lavender Essential Oil – An all-round ingredient to keep in one’s medicinal cabinet, Lavender finds another place for aiding our health.It is a powerful antioxidant which reduces inflammation, and can assist with the production and thickening of dermal layers, improving the health and depth of hair follicles.

Rosemary Essential Oil – is used to enhance the growth and thickness of hair, by increasing the metabolism of cells.It can be as effective as the prescribed drug, ‘Minoxidil’ which is used for treating alopecia areata.Rosemary oil can also be used to treat dry scalp and treat dandruff.

Gallery of Ingredients & Products – Rosemary, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Oasis Balm & Serum, Kiwi Fruit Oil.

In case you missed the previous blogs and their benefits, here are some oils related to encouraging hair growth:

Products for Hair related concerns from the Essentially Lili Range is Oasis Serum.This all-natural product includes the following healing, soothing, stimulating, antioxidant Ingredients:- Coconut (Cocos nucifera), Wheatgerm (Triticum Vulgare), Black Seed (Nigella sativa), Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis, Soyabean (Glicine max) Baobab (Adansonia Digitata) & Tamanu (Calophyllum Inophyllum) with Essential Oils: Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini) Patchouli (Pogostemum Patchouli), Roman Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis), Rose (Rosa Centifolia), Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana), Carrot Seed (Daucus carota) & Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) & Grapefruit Seed Extract.

Black Seed Oil which soothes an inflamed, flaky, itchy and sensitive scalp.Black Seed Oil can assist with regrowth to thinning out areas on the scalp whilst aiding conditions like Psoriasis. Applying the Oasis Serum blend twice daily can improve the condition of the hair follicles whilst treating the irritated skin condition.

Pumpkin Seeds are extremely rich in zinc, antioxidants, omega-3 & 6 essential fatty acids and Vitamin E.These aid with fighting free radicals, maintaining our youthful appearance, whilst the zinc levels help balance hormone levels, benefiting hair re-growth and reversing loss.

Kiwi Fruit Oil can be used to treat your hair, as it promotes elasticity, bounce and averts the loss of moisture from the scalp.

To read more about the benefits of these other components contained in the Oasis Serum, please check out the Ingredients page.

BLOG PARTICIPATION:

  • Have you been suffering for conditions like Alopecia Areata?
    If so, how long has it been a concern?
  • Have you tried using supplements or natural oils to encourage hair regrowth?
  • Would you consider using the Oasis Serum to aid the condition?
  • “About Lili & Why I make Essentially Lili Products.”

    About Lili & Essentially Lili – My Health Studies include from 2016-2019 Diplomas in Aromatherapy, Holistic Skincare Products, Clinical Nutrition, Stress Management, Reflexology, Holistic Pain Management, and a Member of International College of Holistic Medicine.I’m currently studying Clinical Nutrition for Over 50s.

    My aim is to help you get the results you want as I have already been on that hard journey to overcome the autoimmune disorder. If you wish to know more about Clinical Nutrition and how to kick start your health, book a private Consultation. Please send an email to info@essentiallylili.com should you need further assistance.At Essentially Lili, the products made are all using 100% Natural Ingredients. See the wide variety of Products available on the webpage.

    Should you need help in deciding, start by reading the Reviews & Testimonials about other Customers who have enjoyed using the products.We have had some amazing Before & After results from Clients using the All-Natural Skincare products.Please don’t forget to write your comments and reviews on our pages to share the love with others.

    See the Blog Library for previous writings about Face Mapping, Dry Skin in Winter, Raiding Your Fridge, Keratosis Pilaris Tips, Anguish of Acne/Rosacea, How to deal with Cystic Acne & Understanding Your Body. Your feedback allows us to improve the content and information provided and products made.

    We look forward to hearing from you, With Love Essentially Lili.

Autoimmune Issues Dirty Foods

Carrot Seed

Autoimmune Issues
Dirty Foods

What to consume
to help these related issues

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In the last blog we shared about ‘Autoimmune issues’ as there’s been a lot of talk regarding what it means to you. Please note that you should get yourself diagnosed by a Doctor or Nutritional Expert as the scientific evidence is constantly evolving.

Start with getting additional help – if you need to get certain tests done, whether they are blood or excrement tests, have them done by the right specialists. This will allow the doctors and specialists to check for various imbalances. Whilst autoimmune issues can be quite disheartening and stressful, you can start by changing your diet and making notes about how you feel after eating certain foods. If you have any of these common symptoms, hopefully they are not that serious and will go away with time. However, if they are persistent, please get yourself checked out. You might think that leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but the truth is, it can affect the body is so many other ways.

The main organs, tissues that are affected by autoimmune issues are:

  • Skin – with symptoms like Rashes, red bumps on facial skin or red flaking skin. Other skin concerns are Acne, Rosacea, Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis;
  • Digestive tract upsets – Stomach cramps, Gas or bloated stomach, Diarrhea or constipation, may indicate irritable bowel disease;
  • Brain – Anxiety, Stress, Headaches, Brain Fog, Fatigue or hyperactivity, feeling weird, tired or even exhausted;
  • Red blood & blood vessels;
  • The Glands – affecting organs like the Pancreas for Type 1 Diabetes; the Thyroid, where underactivity causes Hashimoto’s disease or overactivity causes Graves’ disease. These activities usually result in Weight loss or gains;
  • Connective Tissue – with conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus;
  • Muscles & Joints – with symptoms like Rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia symptoms, giving pain, weakness, stiffness or other discomfort;
  • Other symptoms include Attention Deficit problems, Asthma, Dry mouth, frequent colds, allergies, Feeling depressed.

    So what’s eating dirty about? To support a healthy gut and encourage immune system response, we need to ensure our body has the right organisms.Our body needs a daily dose of elements, minerals, and nutrients to regenerate cells and function well.
    These include oxygen, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and more, in addition to the water we should consume.

    When we have foods that are rich in Soil Based Organisms (SBOs), these plants are grown in environments where the soil is rich and containing high active microorganisms. The organisms should protect the plants from becoming contaminated or undernourished.Have you ever seen giant healthy veggies grown in someone’s loving backyard or allotment?

    Scientific literature often references soil-based organisms. Foods that are healthy, rich in nutrients, elements, amino acids, vitamins, and calcium can assist with how one deals and treats certain health conditions. Disclaimer:This is by no means an instruction for readers to stop seeking medical advice or to stop taking medication prescribed by doctors.

    For example, when my Grandparents and parents were young and growing up in Italy, they hardly ever had any kind of skin conditions. Their base ingredients were grown in the garden without pesticides, the butchers and farmers were using real feed for their animals, and the foods were made at home with love.(This doesn’t mean they didn’t have other health issues growing up, though most of these have been treated with modern medicine.)Before refrigerators, foods were often buried in the ground or maintained in a dirt cellar. The microbes in the soil helped preserve the foods whilst the lower temperatures kept bacteria away.

    We used to play in the dirt, in vegetable and flower gardens, touching feeling and enjoying the earth between our finger. Instead, we are more obsessed with over Sanitising and killing any kind of bacteria – Note, it is necessary after using bathrooms and before eating! The introduction of fast foods, processed ingredients, an abundance of sugars, salts, and E-numbers have seen a new generation of health concerns from weight gain, skin issues, and more.

    If you were to do an experiment to see if there’s a difference in your health status, it would involve increasing the intake of foods that are high in soil-based organisms and maintaining a healthy balanced diet. For example, if you had conditions like allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, flatulence, indigestion, autoimmune & inflammatory diseases, fungal infections and nutrients deficiencies, see what happens if you changed your overall diet for a while.

    Soil-based organisms will help nourish the cells in the colon and liver and allow for the creation of compounds like Vitamins B, K2, antioxidants and enzymes . They will also help balance the immune system, reducing inflammation as well as fight off harmful bacteria like Candida, fungi, and parasites which could block or damage the lining in the gut.

    How to start eating dirty:
    • Start by not sanitising your foods.
    Wash your vegies that you buy fresh with running water, but don’t scrub them with brushes and produce washes. The carrots will contain beneficial microbes and some 500 milligrams of dirt, which is about the size of an average supplement capsule.
    Include Probiotic Foods to your diet like Kefir, Yoghurt, Sauerkraut (which is cabbage cut fine, salted, and allowed to ferment until sour). The pasteurizing process destroys microorganisms that are not desired by applying heat to control the rate at which fermentation takes place. This process is applied to drinks such as milk, wine, beer, cider as well as foods such as cheese and crab meat. Destroying the enzymes could be why many of us have developed an intolerance to lactose. Kefir could assist with improving digestion or malabsorption of lactose.

    Raw Honey & Bee Pollen consumption has helped many with seasonal allergies, hay fever and inflammation. A good friend of mine has been taking & administering to her family 2 teaspoons of honey every day to prevent allergies.The natural immunization of the microbes contained in the honey and pollen becomes part of your gut, nourishing any gut bugs as it allows you to adjust to the seasons and environment.I will have to start this with my husband!

    Incorporate and Live Life Outside – Swim in the ocean or lakes, play in the parks and gardens, get yourself grounded. Get a dog (if you are not scared of them like me!) take your shoes off and walk on the grass and feel the earth between your toes for a dose of ‘microbes’.Remember the film, ‘Pretty Woman’ when she says, “Let’s Cop a Squat and take a day off’ as she took his shoes off to touch the grass!

    Eat Dirt Apparently the best dirt-based supplement is ‘Shilajit (she-lay-jit) which comes from the bordering Indian & Tibet regions of the dense, nutrient and mineral-rich soils of the Himalayan mountains. This supplement contains over 85 minerals, humic and fulvic acid which help the body to carry minerals through the thick cell walls and assists the longevity of the cell’s life. It is often used by the agricultural industry as a soil supplement.

    So whilst we try to eat a healthier balanced diet, including foods that have high active microorganisms will assist our bodies to repair internally.They will help regulate the immune system, reduce inflammation of the gut naturally as the walls are strengthened and protected.And as we start to enjoy life outside, back to our roots, consuming foods as they were intended to be eaten.Ideally, removing foods that can cause damage to the gut is necessary. Replace these with foods that help heal, repair, and rebalance with probiotics and supplements.I will write more about microbiome, foods that heal and probiotics in the coming blogs.

    Begin a new page – seek alternative methods if you don’t want to take medications as there are plenty of new options.Whether these options are through the Nutritionist, Specialist, Acupressure, Reflexology, Herbal teas & medicines, Homeopathy pills as well as Conventional medication.Your goal should be to find a solution that gives you well-being to your Mind, Body & Spirit a Holistic balance of all these.

    BLOG PARTICIPATION:

    What do you do with the veggies that you buy?
    Have you always had a balanced healthy diet?
    What did your parents used to eat when they were growing up?
    Feel free to comment and share your personal stories below.

    About Lili & Essentially Lili –My Health Studies include from 2016-2019 Diplomas in Aromatherapy, Holistic Skincare Products, Clinical Nutrition, Stress Management, Reflexology, Holistic Pain Management, Member of International College of Holistic Medicine.

    You can read more If you wish to know more about Clinical Nutrition and how to kick start your health, book a private Consultation . My aim is to help you get the results you want as I have already been on that hard journey to overcome the autoimmune disorder. Please send an email to info@essentiallylili.com should you need further assistance. At Essentially Lili, the products made are all using 100% Natural Ingredients. Check out the variety of Help Skin Assistance products available on the webpage.

    Should you need help in deciding, start by reading the Reviews & Testimonials about other Customers who have dared to try them out. We have had some amazing Before & After results with their using the All-Natural Skincare products. Please don’t forget to write your comments and reviews on our pages to share the love with others.

    You can also request to join the various groups I have set up.You can ask your questions and discuss your thoughts/concerns about health, skincare and nutrition. I share not only what I have studied with the school in London about Nutrition and the Body, but what the other experts write too. Essentially Lili Q&A – Taking Care of Your Skin and Essentially Lili Nutrition & Well Being.

    Blog Library include: Anguish of Acne/Rosacea, Men’s Grooming, How to deal with Cystic Acne, Understanding Your Body, Perseverance Is Key, Understanding Your Body, Essentially Lili Products, Essential Oils, Managing Stress & Raiding Your Fridge.

    Your feedback allows us to improve.We look forward to hearing from you, With Loving Regards Lili.

    Check out the Gallery of Pictures – Autoimmune issues Dirty Foods Part 2 – Leaky Gut Buster Affects, Oasis Serum & Balm for Psoriasis, Swiss Bees, Fresh Food Market in Barcelona Spain Feb19

  • What’s In Your Fridge?

    What's in Your Fridge

    What’s In Your Fridge?

    Contains many All-Natural Goodies
    which benefit & assist your body & skin!

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    Have you ever thought of opening your fridge to have fun with what’s in there?
    We often just associate the fridge with foods and drinks for consumption, but not for the other benefits they may contain.

    When my sister and I were in our teens, we used to wait for our parents to leave the house for a few hours before raiding the fridge! Out came the yoghurt, eggs, lemons and more as we experimented with hair treatments, colouring, face masks and girly things. We had some hilarious incidents during these sessions, though often the clean-up was more challenging than the task we were trying to reach.

    During my Holistic Skincare Product making Diploma course, we learned about the kinds of ingredients that are contained in Commercial products compared to what we put in our Naturally made products. I have chosen to only use Naturally sourced ingredients as it goes with our Brand, Integrity and stays true to the About Me Story.

    A while ago I wrote to my Facebook friends what they could do for a quick remedial way of treating their skin.  I shared this because often we think that we should spend loads of money on expensive Masks and Treatments, which often contain a combination of synthetic chemically made nasties that do more damage than good.  I often say to my customers, if you can read the ingredients without needing a Dictionary, then you’re on the right track!

    Typical ingredients found in Commercially bought Masks include: 
    Aqua (Water), Cetearyl alcohol, Glycerin, Kaolin, Magnesium aluminum silicate, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Rosa damascena flower water, Cera alba (Beeswax), Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan stearate, Urea, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteareth-20, Xanthan gum, Pelargoneum graveolens (Geranium) oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Allantoin, Tocopheryl acetate, Benzoic acid, Althaea officinalis root extract, Dehydroacetic acid, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Mannan, Salix alba (White willow) bark extract, Citric acid, Polyaminopropyl biguanide, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Dipropylene glycol.

    To be safe, just check the ingredients of the products you’re using, especially if you have sensitive skin and are prone to breaking out in red blotches or spots.

    To end the year with something fun, here are some tips on taking care of your skin with what’s in your fridge.  Remember to wash your face with warm water before and after applying a face mask as this will help keep your skin clean and allows valuable nutrients to penetrate!

    Let’s start with these:

    Apple, Grapefruit, Honey, Lemon are all great for adding to your Mask.
    Apricot – Fresh or dried is rich in Vitamin A.
    Avocado – flesh of the fruit has high oil content, as well as lecithin, Vitamins A and B.
    Avocado butter has Vitamins A, B, G and E.
    Banana – Rich in Vitamin A, great to mash and put on your face.
    Blackberry – use the fruit to make a mask, the leaves in a toner can help refine the pores.
    Carrot – Rich in Vitamin A, use the juice with your face mask.
    Cucumber – very similar pH to the skin, is soothing, cooling and healing. Use the juice in your face mask and slices on your eyes whilst relaxing;
    Eggs – Use the Yolk to make a mask for dry skin and the whites to make it set!
    Mayonnaise – the vinegar helps restore the acid balance of the skin whilst the oil is softening and moisturising.  I have found for me, products with Vinegar irritates my sensitive skin, so be careful if yours is the same.
    Melon – added to face mask for cooling effect.
    Oatmeal – is great added to masks!
    Peach – the whole fruit can be used in a face mask.
    Strawberries & Tomatoes both have astringent action on the skin, which is great for face mask.
    Wheatgerm – Rich in Vitamin A, B and E, used dried for masks.
    Yoghurt – Good for removing blackheads, great on your face.

    Some other great ingredients for using in masks are: Green Clay, Kaolin Clay, Kelp, Pink Clay and Rhassoul Mud. The benefits of these ingredients is that they draw the impurities from the skin, they are rich in minerals, and are able to deep cleanse the face, body and hair during the mask cleansing process.

    We will begin supplying Pink Clay in 2018 as part of our Essentially Lili Range.

    How to Make Your Own Face Mask:

    FIRST ONE:
    1. Avocado Mask – is an excellent choice for making homemade face masks for dry skin, as it contains a has Vitamins A, B, G and E.  You only need half of the avocado, you can eat the other half and give your skin a boost from the inside as well!
    2. Ingredients:½ very ripe, soft avocado &¼ cup honey
    3. Directions: Mash the avocado in a bowl, then stir in honey. Apply to skin and leave for 10 minutes. Rinse face with a cool washcloth.

    SECOND ONE:
    1. Oat Bran Mask – is great added to masks!
    2. Ingredients: 1 Tbsp Oat Bran or Oatmeal, 1 Tbsp Yogurt, 1 Tbsp Honey, 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil, 1/8 Teaspoon Bee Pollen (optional).
    3. Directions: Combine all ingredients in a small dish, apply to you skin and leave it for 10 minutes or until it is dry. Rinse.Moisturize your skin with a good serum or argon oil.  Store any leftover homemade facial mask in the fridge in a sealed container. It should stay fresh for about one week.

    THIRD ONE:
    1. Banana, Honey and Oatmeal -For a deep moisturising Facial Treatment!
    2. Ingredients:1/2 banana, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1 Tbsp honey & Water
    3. Directions: Cut the banana in half & mash it with a fork.Mix in the oatmeal, add honey & mix well. Then add water & mix until the mask’s consistency is creamy. Apply evenly to clean skin, leave it on for 15, then rinse with warm water and pat your face dry.

    FOURTH ONE:
    1. Cucumber & Yoghurt Mask – Cucumber has very similar pH to the skin, is soothing, cooling and healing, whilst Natural Yoghurt is good for removing blackheads, great on your face!
    2. Remember to put 2 slices of cucumber on your eyes whilst relaxing.
    3. Suitable for both oily & dry skin, depending on how you manipulate this versatile fruit!
    4. Ingredients: 4 Tbsp of cucumbers mashed & 2 Tbsp Yoghurt.
    5. Directions: Combine the mixture. Apply the mixture to your clean skin. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse and dry.

    LAST ONE:
    1. Papaya and Strawberry Mask – Many commercial masks use fruit ingredients.Here you will find a lovely fruity recipe to make for your dry skin, if you can stop yourself from eating it!
    2. Get yourself some extra strawberries, and you can make a fruit salad with the other half of the papaya.
    3. Ingredients: 2 large fresh strawberries & 1 cooked peach, 1/2 ripe mashed papaya,1 Teaspoon organic honey & 1 Tbsp oatmeal
    4. Directions: Place strawberries, peach, papaya, honey in a mixing bowl, and mix until the fruits are blended.Stir in oatmeal a bit at a time until a paste is formed.
    5. Apply the mask to the face and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water and finish by applying a good moisturizer.

    BLOG PARTICIPATION:

    What has been your favourite fridge raid ingredients for your face, body or hair? 
    What benefits did you find using them or was it a total disaster?  I look forward to hearing your stories and what you’d share that’s not on the list.

    You can read more About Lili here, see the range of Products on offer at Shop Categories or refer to our Blog Library for more topics covered.

    Kind Regards Lili @ Essentially Lili

    Check out the Gallery of Pictures – Fresh Ingredients, Bananas & Oats, Strawberries, Cucumber & Yoghurt, Avocados, Aloe Vera & Pink Clay.