Your Beauty Diet: The Very Best Skin-Nourishing Foods

You guys!!! I’ve been so busy since I got back from Europe. The new school year is starting, so I’ve been helping my sister set up her classroom down in Philadelphia. I’m always amazed at how much work teachers have to do and how many classroom resources they have to pay for themselves. Shout out to all the educators out there! Side bar: if you want to donate to her classroom, please don’t hesitate! You can donate here and if you’d like to know a little more about her classroom check out this link.

Anyway, I’m just getting back into the swing of things since the trip. I came down with a horrible cold as soon as I got back, and that really took the wind out of my sails. If you’ve been following for a while you know that I rarely, and I do mean rarely, get sick. I’m totally married to taking preventative measures against cold and flu season, and on the rare occasion that I do get sick, I’m all about those quick, natural remedies. All this travel had my immune system in a tailspin though, and what’s worse is that all that sick and tired started to surface on my skin. You know that weary-eyed, dull look you get when you’re sick? Well let’s just say that cold added about 20 years to my Gesicht. Not cool.

Beauty is only skin deep, right? Meh. Not always. The foods we eat definitely impact our beauty from the inside out. We are what we eat for real! So when trying to bring your sexy back, diet is a key component. Here is a list of the best beauty foods to incorporate into your lifestyle.

THE BEST BEAUTY FOODS

  1. Lacto-fermented foods are excellent for improving digestion as they are predigested by bacteria so nutrients are more available for the body to use. The process also creates natural probiotics, key for good gut health. Studies also show that lack of certain acids such as hydrochloric acid in the gut contributes to skin problems from rosacea to acne.Lactic acid bacteria can help increase these acids. Other important beauty foods to eat are prebiotic foods such as Jerusalem artichoke, bananas, green veggies, asparagus, onions and garlic that feed the good bacteria in your gut. Foods rich in digestive enzymes such as papaya and pineapple can also help nourish gut and skin health.
  2. Anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation contributes to a host of skin problems including dryness, pimples and loss of skin tone, as it breaks down essential collagen. Anti-inflammatory foods include lacto-fermented foods and those rich in antioxidants and omega-3s. Grain-fed meats contain inflammatory fats whereas grass-fed meats are rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and omega -3s. For beauty and health, avoid highly processed foods, sugar, alcohol, pasteurized dairy and gluten that can all contribute to inflammation.
  3. Alkalising foods. Many naturopaths believe that too much acid in the body may lead to skin and health issues from arthritis to eczema. The modern diet is full of acidic foods such as red meat, alcohol, refined grains and sugar. To see and feel the benefits, reduce these and eat lots of alkalising foods: lemons, green leafy veg, fruit, herbs, spices, herbal teas.
  4. Antioxidant-rich foods have anti-inflammatory properties and help protect the skin from free radical damage that ages it prematurely. Free radicals are unstable molecules that naturally roam our bodies looking to partner up with healthy cells, which they then damage. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits, veggies, spices, green tea and legumes. While oxidation is a normal part of our body’s processes, it is exacerbated by exposure to toxins and pollution, eating processed foods, stress, cigarettes and alcohol so try to cut down on these for your health, and your complexion.
  5. Vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C helps support collagen production and boost the skin’s immunity. Lemons, camu camu (a cherry-like fruit), acerola cherry, green leafy veggies, berries, papaya, kiwi fruit, broccoli and cabbage should all be on your shopping list if you want a beautiful complexion.
  6. Vitamin A. Beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A helps rejuvenate the skin and promotes cell turnover, improving dry flaky skin. Carrots, sweet potato, leafy greens and seaweeds are rich in vitamin A. Cod liver oil is another great source and also contains skin-loving vitamin D.
  7. Spark up your skin. Minerals are key catalysts for many biochemical reactions, helping to make enzymes, antioxidants and hormones. They are essential for skin’s hydration, resilience and overall texture and health. Oats, buckwheat and chickpeas contain silica, for example, which can help to promote skin elasticity. Zinc in pepitas is another anti-inflammatory helpful in repairing and building the skin, particularly if you are prone to acne or oily skin. Soak grains, seeds and legumes to reduce anti-nutrients, aid their digestibility and unleash their goodness.
  8. Support the liver. Foods that support the liver are very important to wellness and beauty because this organ is involved in every metabolic process. Max sulphur-rich foods, including those from the brassica family – cabbage, broccoli, kale – in your diet and enjoy nourishing, slow-cooked bone broths.
  9. Eat liver-supporting herbs such as milk thistle, rosemary, fennel, dandelion and burdock root.
  10. Eat fat. Eat essential fatty acids. The ideal ratio is 1:1 – 5:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but in the Western world it looks more like 20:1 – 50:1. While omega-6s are essential, their dominance causes inflammation in the body, so avoid processed packaged foods and refined vegetable, seed and nut oils.Eat fresh seeds and nuts for omega-6s and dose up on omega-3s by eating fresh fish (especially cold-water fish), flaxseeds and chia seeds. Be sure to eat freshly ground flaxseeds and chia seeds as they oxidise very easily. Krill oil is also a great omega-3-rich supplement. Other skin-boosting unsaturated fats are olive oil – avoid heating it as it oxidises – and the fats in avocado.Cook with saturated fats such as red palm oil and coconut oil: these are stable and rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which are great for digestion, brain and skin health.
  11. Eat protein. Insufficient protein in the diet can lead to sallow-looking skin and lack of muscle tone. Protein is vital for collagen synthesis, tissue growth and repair. It’s important for balancing blood-sugar levels and it builds muscle, increasing basal metabolic rate or the rate at which you burn fat. Good protein sources are fish, grass-fed meats, fresh nuts and seeds and cultured dairy.

Your body will thank you for introducing all of these cleansing foods into your diet. I’ve been really good about changing the way I think about and choose the foods I eat. The payoff is immediate. More energy, a total relief from abdominal discomfort, and now that I think of it, I’ve also been less stressed out and anxious than I’ve been in years. Cherry on top? A youthful glow to my skin. What more could a lady ask for?!

Source: The Beauty Chef

Blueberry Beauty—Spa Days at Home

I watched Willy Wonka over the weekend. Not that newer Tim Burton mess. Nah. I watched the classic, y’all. The Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder and the incredibly macabre songs. Yep. That’s the one. I just love those strangely sinister children’s stories a la Edward Gorey.  Anyway, I’d just gotten to the part in Willy Wonka when Violet Beauregard turns into a blueberry and I got all déjà vu all over again. I love blueberries, and when I was a kid, my mother used to say that if I wasn’t careful I’d turn into one. Ha!

I guess I proved Mommy wrong because I’ve been eating, drinking, and most recently smearing blueberries all over my skin and I still haven’t suffered Violet’s fate. Seriously, blueberries are the incredible, edible, antioxidant rock star of DIY beauty. Internal and external, that tiny purple giant is a beauty powerhouse. There are so many ways to enjoy the benefits of blueberries that I couldn’t settle on just one, so I decided to share a few ways to reap their rewards with you.

For Snacking

Blueberries are an excellent source of fiber, they’re low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. They’re also jam packed with vitamins. So if you find yourself a little peckish between meals, grab a cup of blueberries and nom nom away. One cup of blueberries is an energy boosting and filling snack at just 84 calories!

For Breakfast

One of my favorite breakfasts is this super simple blueberry banana smoothie. Just blend together 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup plain or vanilla whole fat yogurt, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1/2 of a medium sized banana. Add a little ice to the blender to make it extra frothy.

For Beauty

Harnessing the antioxidant power of blueberries and coupling it with the antibacterial power of honey, this face mask is easy to whip up and the results amazing. In a blender, mix about 1 cup of blueberries, 2 tbsp raw honey, and 2 tbsp raw sugar. Apply this mixture to your clean skin and allow it to work magic for about 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Eat, drink, and bathe in blueberries, y’all! I promise you won’t turn violet.

Homemade Beauty Recipes Using Silken Tofu

I have been a vegetarian since I was a kid, nearly 25 years now, and I can honestly say that I have made probably hundreds, maybe even thousands of different tofu recipes. I’ve fried tofu and made the most delicious sandwiches, like this glorious vegetarian version of Bánh mì. I’ve put tofu in smoothies to make them creamier and to add that extra kick of nutrients. I’ve even made desserts like chocolate pudding using tofu as the main ingredient. Seriously, I’m no stranger to the versatility and nutritional value of tofu. But for all my years of tofu consumption, I have never thought to make a beauty recipe using this staple ingredient. Surprising, since as you know, I have a penchant for smearing food on my face. I’m really kicking myself for waiting so long to try this.

Let’s just go through some of the basics, shall we? Tofu boasts a seriously impressive report card when it comes to nutritional value. It’s an excellent source of protein and all 8 amino acids. It contains iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and Vitamin B. Um, can you already feel that goodness melting into your skin? I’ve made a few quick tofu masks to get you started. The possibilities are endless but here is the basic formula I use:  silken tofu+ exfoliant + liquid + add in. Depending on your particular skin concerns, you can skip the exfoliant, you can double up on the liquid, or you can leave out the add in. Seriously, the combinations are totally up to you!

Silken Tofu Beauty Recipes

Basic Ingredients

There are no steadfast rules when it comes to the amount of each ingredient you use. I usually just eyeball it, but my closest guess is that I’m using about 3-6 tablespoons of silken tofu, with about 1-2 teaspoons each of my exfoliant and my liquid. I top it off with no more than a couple of drops of essential oil, or a pinch of fresh herbs and spices. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Silken Tofu

This is the softest tofu of the bunch. Just make sure that there are no added preservatives and you’re good to go.

Exfoliant

I’m in love with ground oats. My skin is a bit on the sensitive side and ground oats manage to exfoliate without stripping and irritating my skin. Other exfoliant options include coffee grounds, baking soda, sugar, salt, and ground rice

Liquid

To add a little moisturizer into the mix, the liquid you use can be anything from honey to olive oil, to coconut milk. Whatever floats your boat and targets your specific skin care needs. I like to use a little bit of yogurt and a little bit of honey as my liquid, a good combination for acne prone and sensitive skin.

Add-In

This is the fun part! You can go crazy here with essential oils, fresh herbs and spices, and even chocolate.

Directions

  • in a blender, add all of your ingredients and blend until smooth
  • apply to your skin and leave it on for about 15 minutes
  • wash it off with lukewarm water

Possible combinations

Tofu + Ground Oats + Yogurt + Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Tofu + Coffee Grounds + Milk + Chocolate Powder

Tofu + Ground Oats + Honey + Cinnamon

Tofu + Honey + Olive Oil

I am so excited about this recipe! I never have to waste another half eaten container of silken tofu again! I absolutely love the way this mask feels. I promise you will too!

2 Ingredient Homemade Mosquito Repellent + Sleep Spray

Just as I was settling back into a relaxing sleep routine, the heat wave hit. Tossing and turning. Then the temperatures started to cool down just enough this weekend for me to start to get comfortable…BAM! Mosquitoes!!! I can say without a doubt that mosquitoes are my least favorite part of Summer. I can be surrounded by people and literally every single hungry mosquito in a 5 mile radius will bite me. Just me. My mother says it’s ’cause I’m so sweet which (don’t judge me) actually makes me feel a little better. Mommies are awesome like that.

Anyway, I was in desperate need of some mosquito-free rest and relaxation. I’ve always heard that the go to mosquito repellent is citronella. I really am not too keen on the smell of citronella, especially when I’m trying to get some shut eye. Fortunately, citronella isn’t the only scent that mosquitoes hate. We’re talking lavender, y’all. Who knew?!

Lavender is probably my favorite essential oil. For real, I use it in all kinds of recipes. Seriously, I go through those little bottles like water. I always keep a homemade lavender face mist at my desk to relieve stress. I use a lavender leave in conditioner daily. And now I have a new recipe to add to my arsenal, and yours. This recipe goes straight ninja on mosquitoes all while calming you into the deepest, most restful sleep of your life. Check it out and you can totally thank me later!

Homemade Mosquito Repellent + Sleep Spray

Ingredients

  • witch hazel
  • lavender essential oil

Directions

  • pour your witch hazel in a small mist bottle (I used 2oz bottles) leaving a little space at the top
  • add about 10 drops of lavender essential oil, or more to really get that lavender scent up and running
  • if you’re feeling fancy, you can add some fresh, dried lavender
  • close the bottle and shake well
  • to use, spray the mist all over your bed linens and your whole body
  • store on your bedside table

This spray is so gentle that you can use it directly on your skin without fear of irritation. I really use a lot of this spray, so I tend to have to make more on a weekly basis, but it’s so worth it. For the first time in years, I get to sleep at night… the deep slumber of a person that has absolutely no mosquito bites.

Images: pinterest/eyeswoon + pinterest/annieselke

Homemade Cooling Cucumber Mask for Eyes and Face

So my attic is finally raccoon free in fixer upper #1. These things were tough to get rid of and I didn’t get a wink of sleep, y’all, though I did have the chance to drown my sorrow in homemade salad dressing. You win some, you lose some. Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, I sleep like a baby through all the sirens and various city sounds. Nature sounds,  not so much. Raccoons in the attic = Many sleepless nights, you guys, so I was sooooo looking forward to finally getting a full eight hours. Sigh. Then the heatwave hit. I can usually get away with no air conditioning because of the way these old houses were built. Thick stone walls and tons of windows make for a well ventilated space.

Sadly, not even old school architecture could save me from this last heat snap. The attic stayed uncomfortably hot until dawn and here I was tossing and turning until eventually having to get up and go on just 3 hours of sleep. My tired eyes have been all the proof the world needs of my sleep deprivation. I’m rocking dark circles and puffy eyes like I have a newborn at home. Not cool. Fortunately, it’s cucumber season and cucumber is the holy grail of summer beauty.

I’ve really been giving my eyes some TLC these past few days, and I just have to share this miracle recipe I’ve been using. When you have dark circles and puffiness around your eyes you probably run to get cucumbers or a cold compress, amiright? Why not combine the two?! Ive been whipping up this recipe and storing it in the freezer. Two birds, one stone. The best part about this cooling eye mask is that if you’re acne prone, you can use it as a facial mask too! So what is that, like three birds, one stone? Whatevs. This recipe is truly miraculous.

Homemade Cooling Cucumber Eye Mask

ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 8 drops carrot seed essential oil (optional)

Directions

  • In a blender, mix all ingredients together into a creamy consistency
  • transfer mixture to an ice cube tray and freeze
  • to use, take one cucumber ice cube and allow it to thaw (preferably in the fridge so it remains cold)
  • apply it all around your eye (or all over your face if using as a facial mask)
  • let your skin soak up all the goodness for 10-15 minutes
  • rinse off with lukewarm water

 

Source: PaleoMama