I Tried Huel, the Future of Food, and You Should Too

My fight against low energy rages on. I’m pretty sure the key to feeling energized isn’t in the massive amount of coffee I drink (what a wonderful world that would be). The key to getting your groove back is in a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and exercising. We’ve all gotten that memo. When I’m eating right, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly, my body just feels better, ya know? I am absolutely determined to find that fountain of youth, y’all. As always, ambition gets the best of me, and I go totally extreme in my efforts. So this happened. I spent a long 5 days on a liquid diet, and maybe after you read this you will too. Hear me out.

I should tell you again that I’m not one of those people that lives to eat. I’m more like one of those people that eats to live. The idea of meal replacement shakes doesn’t send me running for the hills, though I tend to avoid them because of all the toxic additives that many of them contain. Then I discovered Huel. Huel is a nutritionally complete powdered food that contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, proteins, essential fats, carbs, fiber, and phytonutrients without all the chemical additives. I mean, they bill themselves as the future of food. Lofty claim, right? But hey, it’s vegan, it’s sustainable, it’s cost effective, it’s time saving, and you get a free t-shirt with your first order. So I thought, why not give this stuff a try.

I’m an all or nothing kind of lady. I figured if I was gonna try Huel, I was gonna try Huel, straight up, no chaser. I mixed the powder with nothing but water for the first 3 days and ate nothing else. Seeing is how I’m one of those people that eats to live I figured I wouldn’t miss food all that much. I was wrong. I’m gonna be bluntly honest here. Huel tastes like…well, imagine this: you take food, then you subtract flavor, texture, and go ahead and get rid of all that makes food indulgent or delicious in any way until you’re left with nothing but science. Then you’ve got Huel.

Ok, so I’m totally exaggerating, but if you’re expecting the future of food, think again. I will admit, however, that the taste isn’t offensive at all (it actually has a kind of oat taste to it) and the texture isn’t so bad either, but I did find myself missing food. As for my energy level, to be honest, I felt really good. I haven’t felt hungry at all and I was able to keep up with my daily yoga without feeling overly tired or strained. Full disclosure: I abandoned the whole just water thing after the first 3 days, and opted for breakfast smoothies with Huel. Best decision ever. These smoothies have been down right tasty. You can even cook with Huel, baking it into a healthy cookie recipe, or even a savory stove top dish. The website offers a variety of recipes that include Huel, so there’s that. Anyway, Huel is definitely worth a try. If you’re looking to improve your diet, increase your energy level, maintain a healthy weight, or even drop a few pounds you should give Huel a go.

Check out the video below for a look at a fabulous kitchen, a beautiful man, and some tips on using Huel.

Try This—Jicama!!!

I should probably admit that I’m kind of a picky eater. I’m almost always certain to pass on funny looking veggies I’ve never heard of at the farmer’s market. Seriously, no matter how many rave reviews jackfruit, or whatever, gets on cooking sites, just looking at that thing gives me the shivers. I’m the one at the kitchen table using the prongs of my fork to separate that unidentified ingredient from the rest of the meal, holding it up to the light, crinkling my nose, and asking, “what is this?” I’ll even go so far as to do a ton of research on the superfood du jour, but not even a stellar report card of health benefits can convince me to take the plunge.

Anyway, as with most of the new foods I end up trying, the story starts with a stir fry. I love stir fry. No other meal can trick me into putting fermented whatever-the-hell into a dish I’m about to consume, no questions asked. It is stir fry that got me to try mung bean sprouts, bok choy, water chestnuts and countless varieties of mushrooms. So on my latest run to the Asian food store, I got my hands on jicama.

I’d been hearing a lot of good things about jicama. I decided to just bite my bottom lip and add it to my weekend stir fry.  Omigod! Probably the best decision I’ve made in a long time… My decision to pack tank tops when flying to England was decidedly the worst decision I’ve made recently because cold. Anyway, jicama is the truth, y’all. It’s like a mix between an apple, a russet potato, and a turnip. I mean, who knew? Okay, so maybe I’m a little late to the party, as I’ve seen a ton of recipes floating around Pinterest, but still, better late than never!

For the rundown on jicama, check out these useful infographics below, courtesy of draxe.com, then keep scrolling for some serving suggestions courtesy of thekitchn.

Jicama (HEE—KAH—MAH)

Serving Suggestions

  • First, know that a jicama stick can stand up to a carrot stick any day — excellent on its own, or with a dip or vinaigrette.
  • Jicama makes an excellent salsa — a perfect match for a tortilla chip or to top a taco. Cut jicama into slim sticks, then dice it finely. Combine the jicama with corn or diced tomato, black beans, a little red onion or scallion, minced jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice.
  • Cut jicama into thin strips or matchsticks and make a slaw with shredded red cabbage, carrots, and avocado.
  • Tuck jicama matchsticks into fresh spring rolls.
  • Stir-fry jicama; its flesh stays crisp when cooked briefly, adding a refreshing crunch to any strir-fry. Try it with broccoli, garlic, ginger, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds or cashews.

 

4 Miraculous Overnight Face Masks + A New Super Indulgent Beauty Secret

Lazy girl beauty tips are really the best beauty tips. I love homemade beauty recipes, but truth be told I love-love the homemade recipes that use just 2 ingredients. No muss, no fuss. Who doesn’t crave a simple, effortless beauty routine that literally works miracles while you sleep. Nature has provided us with all we need to make that a reality. These 2-ingredient masks will have you waking up to a brand new you! Beauty sleep, y’all!!!

Lemon + Almond Oil Astringent

If dark circles are your issue this lemon + almond oil astringent is gonna be your new best friend. Just mix a few drops of lemon juice with a little bit of almond oil. Apply this mixture underneath your eyes before you go to bed and wake up to a visible difference.

Tomato + Honey

Vitamins and minerals galore! Tomatoes are the star of the show in this face mask. If you’ve struggled with large pores or acne or if you just want to rescue a dull complexion, you should give this a go. Chop up a slice of tomato and mash it up with a little bit of honey to form a paste. Apply this to your face before bed and wash it off in the morning. You may want to lay a towel over your pillow to prevent your bed linens from getting stained.

 

Oats + Honey

To give dry skin the boot, try this mask. This one is one of my all time favorites! It’s perfect for all skin types and is a go to combo for sensitive skin. Mix equal parts oats and honey into a thick paste. Apply evenly to your face before bed, massaging in circular motions. Wash it off in the morning to reveal skin that is soft and dewy to the touch! Again, you may want to lay a towel over your bed linens.

Coconut Oil + Tea Tree Oil

These oils combined are the holy grail of antiseptic blemish control! If your skin can tolerate coconut oil as a moisturizer (steer clear if you’re prone to acne and clogged pores), try mixing in a few drops of tea tree oil into a spoonful of coconut oil forming a semi-clear serum. Apply this all over your face and neck before bed and rinse off in the morning.

Super Indulgent Beauty Secret

Now for the part where we all start living the dream: how about your new beauty secret is eating chocolate!!! Thanks to the geniuses over at Sakara Life (yep, the same Sakara Life that does organic meal delivery) we can now nom nom on delicious dark chocolate on our way to beautiful skin. Beautiful skin from the outside in!

As Sakara Life co-founders Danielle Dubois and Whitney Tingle explain, “You can moisturize the top layer of skin with creams and serums, but the phytoceramides in Beauty Chocolates replenish the cell barrier and stimulate collagen from within, helping to seal in moisture, plump and smooth wrinkles, and boost your glow!” All that goodness is packaged in a delightful little chocolate that you can enjoy as a midnight snack. Best part is these babies are clinically proven to give you results in two weeks. Snack on chocolate for two weeks. Seriously?! Yes, please! My advice: whip up one of these simple overnight masks, pop a chocolate, and slip into the most extraordinary beauty rest of your life.

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.