Sunday, May 20, 2012

Top Five: Natural Beauty Products I Can't Live Without

The five natural beauty products I am about to tell you about have literally changed my life. They are products that I recently added to my daily beauty routine and I really couldn't live without them.

Dry Body Brush
Dry Body Brush
Dry brushing daily is a great way to keep skin clear of debris and loosen dead skin cells. It can also reduce cellulite. Our body rids a lot of toxins through the skin everyday - so if we have dry skin the toxins can't always be released and our body just reabsorbs them. Dry brushing your skin is one of the best ways to get circulation going, helping to oxygenate cells and carry impurities away through the lymph system. It's important to find a natural-bristle brush at a health food store or online (I found mine at Whole Foods for under $10). To use a dry body brush: just make long, smooth strokes in the direction of your heart. After just one use, I noticed a huge difference in the appearance of my skin.

Buffy Body Butter
Lush Handmade Cosmetics
This product goes hand-in-hand with the dry brush. After I use my dry brush then I get in the shower. I first cleanse my skin and then I use Buffy. It is made with ground rice, almonds, and beans to act as exfoliants; the rough textures eliminate lumps and bumps and sloughs away dry skin cells to reveal brighter, fresher looking skin. The cocoa and shea butters leave the skin beautiful, smooth, and moisturized. You can find Buffy Body Butter at Lush Handmade Cosmetics

Neti Pot
As strange as it may sound, a neti pot is used to clean out your nose. It washes away environmental chemicals, pollen, mucus, dust, viruses, and bacteria - all the stuff your nose encounters every single day. I usually suffer from mild allergies in the spring and this has almost eliminated all of my symptoms. All you do is fill it with luke warm distilled water and a salt solution, tilt your head to one side and start rinsing (water goes in one nostril and out the other). It's actually quite refreshing. Neti pots can be found at drugstores and health food stores.

Tarte Cosmetics Mascara
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara
Tarte Cosmetics are a new discovery of mine that I am totally excited about. They are natural cosmetics that don't use parabens, phthalates, or synthetic fragrances to name a few. This company cares about their customers health as well as the environment. Plus, Tarte's products are animal cruelty-free and vegan. I am already in love with their mascara and can't wait to try more of their products. They are available at Sephora

The Natural Dentist Mouthwash and Toothpaste 
The Natural Dentist Mouthwash and Toothpaste
I absolutely love The Natural Dentist's toothpaste and mouthwash and have noticed a difference with my gums and teeth. The mouthwash does not have alcohol or artificial flavors or colors in it. It reduces and prevents bleeding gums and protects against gingivitis. I use the whitening toothpaste which is an anti-cavity toothpaste as well. It contains no peroxide or other harsh chemicals (like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). I found them at Whole Foods

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Very Berry Chia Smoothie

I love smoothies and usually drink two different ones a day. In the morning I make a protein smoothie which has chocolate protein powder, a frozen banana, and almond milk (FYI - frozen bananas make a HUGE difference in smoothies). In the afternoon, around 3:00 when I start feeling sluggish, I have a smoothie made with yogurt and fruit like a Post-Workout Green Smoothie or a Very Berry Chia Smoothie. 

Here are a few facts on why you should include Chia Seeds in your diet;
  • They are very rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • They provide fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. 
  • When eaten, the chia seeds form a gel that can make you feel fuller longer and helps clean out your digestive system.

 If you want to learn how Chia Seeds can help detoxify your body, click here and watch the short video created by Hungry For Change - you won't be disappointed.

Very Berry Chia Smoothie

1 cup Berries (mixture of 2 or more - strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries; fresh or frozen)
1 Banana (fresh or frozen)
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds
Add Stevia or Agave to sweeten (optional)

Blend until smooth and enjoy!
(Tip: Either use frozen berries and a fresh banana or fresh berries and a frozen banana. If you use only fresh for both, add ice.)

Tips On How To Freeze Bananas:

Peel the bananas, lay them on a baking sheet, and freeze for up to 24 hours. Once frozen you can put them all together in a large gallon sized freezer bag (they won't stick together). Put them in the freezer and use within a month. Also, the more brown spots, the sweeter the banana will make your smoothie - so freeze those brownish bananas, don't toss them.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

For The Love Of Fries

I LOVE fries! They are filling, delicious, and flavorful. No, I am not talking about the greasy, nasty French fries that cause weight gain and heart disease. I am talking about delicious fresh vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and squash cut into strips, seasoned, and baked. 

A few years ago I came across an article in a magazine about making your own oven-baked fries. It said to cut potatoes into strips, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle on seasoning and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes (turning half way). They were delicious and I was hooked. 

All the "fry" recipes below are healthy and way more satisfying than the fries you get all your local fast food drive-thru (click on the name of the fry to get the recipe): 

Via Pixelated Crumb

Via Convections of a Foodie Bride

Via Skinny Taste

Via Our Best Bites

Via Spoon Fork Bacon

Via The Talking Kitchen 

Via My Recipes

Via Shape

Via The Novice Chef

Via iVillage

Via Can You Stay For Dinner

Via Oprah

Also, check out this recipe for Crispy Seasoned Oven Fries from Self Magazine and this recipe for Garlicky Baked Fries with Parmesan and Parsley from Shape Magazine