What you put in your mouth can show up on your face and other epidermal areas of your body. Having said that, it’s important to load up on whole foods and water and skip the sugar and refined flours which can attach to collagen and elastin in your skin and accelerate aging. In addition, poor food choices often cause digestive issues which will manifest as skin conditions such as acne, dry skin, rosacea and eczema. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, clean protein, water and essential fatty acids can go a long way towards maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
Dark Leafy Greens. Kale, arugula, collard greens, spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and other members of this family are good sources of minerals which help to carry water to the cells and are involved in many reactions in the body including maintaining collagen levels. They are rich in beta carotene and vitamin E which protect the skin from sun damage. Greens also contain folate which helps maintain and repair DNA and zinc which promotes collagen production.
Berries. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries contain numerous antioxidants which protect the skin cells from sun damage and even cancer. A skin superfood, berries are also rich in vitamin C which is a natural wrinkle fighter, anti-aging compound and skin tightener.
Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. These orange wonders are a great source of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor that slows skin cancer development and the overproduction of cells which can clog pores and create blemishes. Carrots and sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C which stimulates collagen production in addition to all of those other wonderful things previously mentioned!
Pumpkin Seeds. These tasty winter squash progeny are a good source of zinc and selenium which maintain collagen levels and skin elasticity. Zinc helps create proper protein structures including cell membranes and has been known to reduce acne. Selenium and zinc also protect the skin from UV rays. Along with other nuts and seeds (flax seeds and walnuts are highest omega-3 source), pumpkin seeds contain essential fatty acids which hydrate the skin, quell inflammation and maintain skin cell structure and integrity.
Coconut Oil. High in lauric acid and capric acid which are antimicrobials that boost the immune system, coconut oil is great for skin health whether used topically or internally. It’s rich in vitamin E which is a natural skin moisturizer, anti-inflammatory agent, UV protectant and free radical fighter. Plus coconut oil is a friendly fat that helps the body absorb skin healthy, fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and E.
What other foods do you consume to keep your skin looking young and radiant? Or, have you noticed any negative affects from certain foods (i.e. sugar, dairy, vegetable oils)? Please feel free to share your experience below.
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I get it. There are mornings when you need breakfast-to-go or afternoons when a sweet treat that isn’t full of sugar and flour would hit the spot. My yoga friend, Katy, found this awesome flour-less peanut butter banana muffin recipe from Detoxinista. They are delish and you would never know that there isn’t an ounce of flour in them.
I modified her recipe a bit, and oh was it yummy! Sometimes I find that banana is a little too sweet, so I substituted steamed and mashed sweet potatoes for the banana. Because the consistency is a little thick, I added a little almond milk to thin it out and lighten it up. I also added some freshly grated ginger, a dash of maple syrup and a few mini gluten and dairy-free chocolate chips. Pumpkin pie spice is also a wonderful addition. You can use peanut butter or almond butter in this recipe. One of the reasons why I love this recipe so much is because there are a variety of substitutions you can make to change up the flavor and texture.
They freeze well, so I make mini-muffin batches and then store them in several quart size Ziploc bags and thaw out as needed.
So without further ado…
Are there any flour-less, dairy-free, white sugar-free baked good recipes that you like? Please feel free to share a link to the recipe here.
Although it sounds cliché, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and unfortunately, it’s one of the first things to slip off the radar during the busy Holiday season. Fortunately there are very simple things you can eat for breakfast that don’t require much work in the morning while you’re trying to get out of the door. These ready-to-go breakfast ideas are also great for entertaining guests over the Holidays so you can enjoy your company and not feel like you’re spending hours in the kitchen.
1. Porridge/Oatmeal: The important thing here is to soak your grains 7 to 8 hours before cooking. The soaking process neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and unlocks the nutrients in the grains so that your body can assimilate them. Consider trying a mixture of gluten-free whole grains like buckwheat, millet and amaranth. One of my favorite recipes is my Coconut Ginger Pumpkin Porridge. I used this recipe by Real Food Outlaws as a starting point and then added grated ginger and apples or raisins to the mix. I then top this warming dish with toasted pecans and coconut. Yum! You can make this the morning of or cook on low in the crockpot overnight. By the way, the pumpkin pie spice from Frontier is my go to spice this time of year for porridge and healthy baking.
2. Birchermuesli: I learned about this wonderful breakfast food in Switzerland. My husband’s family there makes this regularly. Basically, you soak oats/muesli overnight in an acidic mixture to help pre-digest the oats. In the morning you add your spices, yogurt and fresh fruit. I love this recipe because you can make it the night before and it’s about done in the morning with the exception of a few additions. Quick, easy and healthy.
3. Fritatta: My body requires substantial protein some mornings which is why I love fritattas. A fritatta is an excuse to load up on your favorite veggies. Some of my favorite ones include, arugula, mushrooms, red peppers, leeks and Swiss Chard. The combinations are endless. I encourage you to stuff your fritatta with as many dark leafy greens and veggies as possible to counteract all of the nutrient depleting foods consumed over the Holidays. Add your favorite fresh or dried herbs for a special punch. I love to include fresh dill or cilantro when I can. If you can tolerate dairy, add a little grated parmesan, cheddar, ricotta or goat cheese for extra body and flavor. Make your fritatta ahead of time and keep in the fridge so it’s ready to warm up for breakfast, lunch or dinner with a nice side salad.
4. Soup: Soup is one of my FAVORITE winter breakfasts. You can pack alot of nutrients in soup and it’s a great way to get in your bone broth. Homemade bone broths pack a lot of minerals that are missing in our diet. I don’t care what kind of soup you make, but if’s chock full of veggies and homemade stock, I’m happy as a clam. The beauty of soup is that you can make it in batches and freeze it. It’s also quite packable and portable. Just reheat and voilé! Breakfast is served anytime, anywhere.
5. Dinner: In this country, we get stuck on eating “breakfast foods” for breakfast and this is just lame. We think nothing of having an omelet or fritatta for dinner so why not wild salmon and a side of collard greens for breakfast? Leftovers for breakfast are a great way to get the day started. You may have to think outside the box a little.
The bottom line is to eat in the morning and keep your mind open about what constitutes breakfast. If you’re not a breakfast eater currently, start slow. You may try a piece of fruit with a little bit of almond butter at first until your body adjusts to having food in the morning. And if you don’t fee like breakfast when you get up because you’re up before the rooster, pack your breakfast and eat it once you get to work. Your body will thank you for it…and so will your co-workers when you’re less cranky due to proper nourishment.
I have some other breakfast ideas on Pinterest that you are welcome to check out. What are some of your favorite healthy breakfasts? Please feel free to share them here.
The Holidays are upon us and so are the sugar and refined flour laden goodies. It’s important not to deny yourself, but instead, be realistic about what you put in your mouth. Foods with sugar, flour and dairy in them are often too congesting for the mind and body. Eat too many of them and you find yourself congested or stuffy, battling a head cold, sluggish, not being able to think clearly and just plain sick. These foods are taxing to the immune system and can overload the liver, bowel and lymphatic system when ingested in excess.
If that’s not bad enough, these foods can cause the pounds to creep up on you which is never fun when you’re trying to get yourself into your favorite pair of skinny jeans.
1. Indulge on occasion. If you don’t, you just might find yourself binging on a half gallon of egg nog ice cream later which is much more taxing on the body than if you just had a bite or two of that decadent pumpkin cheesecake here and there. Balance your indulgences by making sure the rest of your meals are healthy and full of vegetables. And whatever you do, NEVER skip breakfast.
2. Dive into the healthy foods first. Let’s face it, when you’re at a party there are so many divine treats. Often we come hungry and fill up on heavy, calorie rich foods rather than kicking the party off with some crudités or lighter salads. Go for the lighter, nutrient rich foods first (provided they are available) so you want eat as much of the junky stuff.
3. Leaving grazing for the cows. Sometimes we think if we don’t grab a plate we’ll eat less. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A plate helps you gauge how much you have eaten. If you can handle it, skip the dinner plate and grab a smaller dessert plate. Start with one small plate and see how you feel. Eat slowly. Savor each decadent bite. You can always grab another if you’re still hungry, but chances are you’ll be just fine and you’ve just tricked yourself into thinking you ate a full plate of food. Ha!
4. Make a green drink before you head out the door. Green drinks are chock full of nutrients which eliminates cravings. Make a green smoothie or juice. Drinking a cup of homemade stock is another good choice. Not only are you getting some good nutrients into your system, you’re hydrating yourself as well. Try this tip before heading out to a party or shopping. You don’t want to stroll by Cinnabon on an empty stomach. It always seems like a good idea at the time… but this is a great segway into #5.
5. Slide into those skinny jeans at least once a week. I’m not a fan of the scale because it’s a number that may or may not be reflective of what’s healthy and causes us to become neurotic about our fluctuating weight. Putting on your slimmest pants a few times during the Holiday season will help you decide whether or not you’re packing on a few extra pounds. Yoga pants and leggings are comfy, but that waist band will grow right along with you!
6. Come with your own healthy dish. Bring something healthy that you love and enjoy it. If you fill up on that, you won’t reach for other temptations. Chances are other party-goers will appreciate it as well.
7. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough rest tend to have increased appetites and eat more. Yikes. So make sure you get your butt to bed at a reasonable time and take a little cat nap before you go out if need be.
8. Watch your beverages. This is my downfall right here. Wine, oh how I love thee! I find that if I pour a half a glass, I drink less, but other folks find that if they just pour one large glass and nurse it all night they do much better. You can even try counting 1-2-3 when pouring to get about a 5 oz. serving. Bring mineral water and lime to a party…you can pour yourself a spritzer in-between glasses of wine to hydrate and slow you down. The bubbles help with setting a slower pace. I know some people that even add sparkling water to wine and enjoy it very much. Hell, some nights you may just want to skip the wine and have the non-alcoholic spritzer
9. Find a food-free space in which to mingle. If you’re standing next to the food table all night, chances are pretty high that you’re going to be tempted to try most of it if not all of it. Search out a food-free space so you’re not tempted to graze continually. If you’re hosting a party, be sure to set-up an entertaining space where there is no food. Your guests’ waistlines will appreciate it!
10. Make time to play and get your butt moving! Let’s be realistic. You’re going to eat homemade Christmas cookies and indulge in your Aunt Maud’s fabulous spinach and artichoke dip. Give those sedentary indulgences a little balance with some movement. Physical activity will help the body burn up a few extra calories this Holiday season AND it will give you the energy you need to attend to your Holiday “to do” list. Get a few extra walks in every week, take the stairs, sneak a few squats in during your walk and add a set of crunches or push-ups in-between batches of cookies.
Whatever you do, be playful about the Holidays. Enjoy them. It’s a special time to visit with family and friends so don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods with them. Feelings of deprivation are never fun and only breed a negative relationship with food.
The more mindful and playful you are with your food during the Holidays, the better off your mind and body will be. A healthy mind and body is the BEST gift you can give to yourself and others this Holiday season.
Here are a few other healthy holiday tips from past posts. Now I would like to hear from you. How do you keep the weight from creeping up during the Holidays? Share you tips below.
Those of you who know me, know that I LOVE me some sandwiches. Unfortunately, since I’ve cut waaaaaay back on my gluten intake, I rarely eat them anymore. So what’s a girl to do?
Well, on occasion if I’m really in a sandwich mood, I’ll use a gluten-free bread or brown rice wrap, but some days it doesn’t cut the mustard. So I was noodling around on the internet and discovered some amazing recipes for collard green wraps. Now, I have made lettuce wraps before, but they don’t always hold up well if you’re transporting them. So this notion of wrapping my sandwich deliciousness in a dark leafy green rocked my world. I was kicking myself for not having thought of it earlier!
Collard green wraps are a healthy way to jazz up your traditional sandwich or wrap regardless of whether or not you’re gluten-free. You can stuff them with something more conventional like a tuna, chicken or egg salad or you could fill them with your favorite veggie toppings such as red pepper, sweet potato, avocado, fresh herbs and some type of protein such as hummus, quinoa or legumes.
Here is the recipe I made with families at the Washington Youth Garden a few weeks ago:
Collard Green Wraps
Source: Inspired by Sprouted Kitchen
Servings: 4 wraps
- 4 large collard green leaves*
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup of tender greens or micro-greens
- 2 cups of raw or roasted julienned or grated beets, peeled
- small handful of scallions, chopped
- 1 cup of radishes, sliced or julienned
- 1 cup of potatoes, boiled or roasted (red, white, sweet)*
- ½ cup of basil, marjoram or lemon thyme, chopped
- ½ cup goat cheese (optional)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 TBSP tahini or cashew butter
1. Prepare the collard leaves by cutting off the stems at the base of each leaf, then, using a paring knife, carefully cut the thick bump of stem off the back of the leaf so it becomes flush to the leaf. This will make the collard flatter and easier to roll.
2. Blanch greens, by placing them in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Drain and place in a bowl of ice cold water to cool. Note, you can also use the leaves raw if you don’t mind the texture.
3. Prepare the vegetables as indicated above.
4. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk together. Adjust ingredients to taste. Drizzle over prepared veggies and herbs.
5. Layer veggie mixture at the base of the collard green leaf. Fold the collard sides over and roll tightly like a burrito. You can serve it immediately or store in the fridge, wrapped, for about 2 days.
*Notes: For a larger wrap, use 2 leaves at a time, overlap them halfway to create a bigger wrapping surface.
Feel free to add any combination of veggies and herbs, depending on the season. In lieu of potatoes, you could also add 2 cups quinoa, millet or buckwheat, soaked for 7 hours and cooked or beans, soaked for 12 hours and cooked. If you’re in a hurry, stuff with store bought hummus and/or guacamole!
I have pinned a few other collard green wrap ideas on Pinterest. Feel free to check it out. Post your collard green wrap recipe ideas below!