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Live Simply: Whole Foods Inspiration!

live simply

photo credit: Live Simply blog

I’m slightly obsessed with this food blog because it has such wonderfully helpful information for a real food diet. Now, while eating “real food” seems like a ridiculously simple concept, many of us are not doing it.Consuming a nutrient dense, whole foods diet rich in plants is the single best thing you can do for your health and the health of your skin. If you are feeding your body what it needs to be at optimal status, your skin will need much less intervention and special attention!

The Live Simply blog encourages this kind of diet with posts on stocking your kitchen, making your own food staples and deliciously simple recipes! If you are thinking about cleansing, removing refined foods, or simply eating better…you need this blog:

Stocking Your Fridge

Stocking Your Pantry

Stocking Your Freezer

Easy to Make Staple Foods

I Love Tea, and this blog too!!

teas

This adorable blog is the ultimate beauty DIY fix! I’ve already pinned so many of their recipes and ideas my head is spinning. I love making new mask and scrub recipes, but sometimes even i need a little inspiration…and that is why I’m constantly on the hunt for new material. Hello Natural is such a beautiful resource for all things natural, especially natural beauty. For me, spa-ing at home is practicing self care. I’ve written about the importance of self care in the past. Self care is vital to health and beauty. It is so much more than showering and brushing teeth. It focuses our loving attention back to our “temples” and helps balance the onslaught of stress, strain and pollutants our bodies go through on a daily basis.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, tea..haha. Sorry, sometimes I get a little sidetracked when discussing self care. Did you know that herbal teas not only hydrate but provide an excellent source of phytonutrients our bodies crave? Eating fruits and veggies are the primary source for phytonutrients, but herbs and herbal teas are like the icing on the cake!

One of my roommates in college was from Casablanca, Morocco and she used to make huge pots of Moroccan Mint Tea. She would make it for us as we studied for finals to help balance stress and to this day, that smell still reminds me of the comforting feeling I felt while drinking it.

The Hello Natural’s post on making your own versions of your favorite boxed teas is truly special, because it shows just how easy it is to make these teas. When you make them yourself, they are much more nutritious, not to mention safer. (Many commercially boxed teas use non organic herbs that contain pesticide residues and GMOs.)

The 3 Things That Ruin Your Skin

3 things

I posted recently about the 90 Day Candida Cleanse I’m currently working through, as well as the importance of limiting sugar in the diet for healthy skin. Yes, sugar causes inflammation and skin imbalance. But why exactly? Are there other diet or lifestyle components that do as much, if not more, damage? The truth is that there are three major factors that not only ruin your skin – they ruin your health! Restricting (or better yet, removing) these three things from your life is the single most effective thing you can do to ensure more beautiful skin and a higher level of health. Sp, what are these three things?

Stress, sugar and vegetable oil. Each of these things cause the never-ending that breaks down your skin and causes inflammation, premature aging and illness, and most of us are frequent users of all three! They spike blood sugar levels, mess with insulin resistance and disrupt hormonal balance. This leads to the breakdown of the entire body resulting in weight gain, wrinkles and disease. How, you ask? Let me explain a bit…

Mega trans Fatty Acids and Oxidation

Vegetable Oils are the fats expressed from canola, sunflower, corn, safflower, cottonseed, soy and other non traditional vegetable sources. In order to extract these oils, tremendous amounts of heat, pressure and chemical solvents are used, resulting in foul smelling muck that then needs to be bleached, fragranced and flavored to be palatable. Vegetable oils fall under the polyunsaturated fat category. Sounds pretty good, right? Nope! Polyunsaturated fats turn into toxic trans fats when exposed to high heat. What does this mean, exactly? Any product containing vegetable oil that has been treated with heat in any way (chips, cookies, roasted nuts, etc) also contains toxic trans fats. Yes, you heard that right. The label can claim that the oils added are trans-fat free. They were, actually, when initially added. However, the heating process changes all that, and the label becomes very very misleading. Furthermore, when these vegetable oils are refined for salad dressings, sauces or cooking oils, they lose their antioxidant properties and their molecular structure is distorted. The original seeds, nuts or vegetables can be healthy foods, but not the extracted, processed and refined oils.

Why are trans fats so bad for you? They are toxic substances not recognized by the body. They clog arteries, and cause oxidative damage. When I talk about oxidative damage, think free radicals. We’ve all been told about the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin and in the body. they break down important fats, proteins…even our DNA structure if left to their own devices. We’ve been told about the importance of antioxidants to neutralize these free radicals. Oxidative damage from trans fats trumps the damage from free radicals. When it comes right down to it, the main thing we all want to avoid is inflammation in the body and vegetable oils are a major source of internal inflammation when added to the diet.

Sugar and Glycation (advanced glycation end products)

We already know that sugar spikes blood sugar and causes inflammation in the body. However, when sugar reacts with amino acids, it also leads to something called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. The high amount of sugar (especially added sugars) in the diet can lead to glycation within the body. If there is too much sugar in the body, protein molecules can cross-link with sugar molecules. The result is the production of AGEs, which are not recognized by the body. The body produces antibodies as a result and this increases internal inflammation. AGEs love to go after proteins in the body and love collagen, which means that the higher the AGE levels in your body, the worse your skin will look.

“AGE is a fitting acronym because – along with oxidation – it’s one of the major molecular mechanisms whereby damage accrues in your body, which leads to disease, aging, and eventually, death.” – Dr. Mercola

The typical American diet includes two and a half pounds of sugar each week! That’s a lot of inflammation bombarding your system, eventually leading to it’s demise. AGEs are also highly concentrated in animal foods like meat and food that have been rapidly processed at high temps. Take all that sugar in the typical American diet, add in the trans fats from vegetable oils, high amounts of meats and foods processed using rapid cooking (fried, bbq’d, microwaved, etc,) and we have a recipe for disaster!!

Stress

It’s something that we cannot avoid completely, but something we must all learn to balance if we want to live happy, healthy lives…and if we want beautiful skin. If you need an example of how stress ages you, just take a look at any President before and after their term. BIG difference: bags, wrinkles, graying hair…you name it, they have it. Mental and emotional stress are far worse than physical stress because we have not yet evolved to automatically shut them off like we can with physical stress. When we endure physical stress (running from a tiger or running on the treadmill, for example) the body increases the hormone cortisol. This spikes blood sugar levels and moves blood from the center of the body to the extremities. It also causes oxidative stress on the body. When we finish our workout, or get away form that tiger, the body automatically switches that “fight or flight” button off, shutting down cortisol and bringing the body back into balance. The body reacts to mental and emotional stress in the same way, with one exception…there’s not an off -switch. This means that regular, un-managed stress like dealing with a break-up or tough situation at work, causes cortisol to stay high and keeps inflammation coming. Managing stress with deep breathing, journaling, exercise, mediation, etc is how your body shuts this cortisol switch off. It is vital to not only skin but to health in general.

So, let’s recap:

Reduce (or better yet, remove) vegetable oils and added sugars

Make vegetables the star of each meal – eat a whole foods plant based diet and keep meat in moderation

Minimize the amount of fast foods: fried, BBQ’d etc

Manage your stress

 Extra information here:

http://www.skininc.com/skinscience/physiology/Glycation-and-the-Skin-230102271.html

http://simplicityofwellness.com/2012/03/trash-the-vegetable-oil/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/22/how-sugar-accelerates-aging.aspx

Great Smoothie Recipes From Lunch Box Bunch

smoothies
photos via lunchboxbunch

We love this lunchboxbunch.com for all sorts of healthy skin-friendly recipes, and wanted to share their top 10 smoothies with you. Smoothies or Juices are a great way to start the day, they also make great snacks, especially when you are feeling a little foggy and need a pick-me-up to make it through the rest of the workday. In the midst of any kind of over-indulgence, try balancing it out with a little help from the produce section…Enjoy!

Favorite Cookbooks

vegetarian cookbooks

Due to my cleanse, I have been cooking up a storm. Prepping gluten and sugar-free snacks, creating nutrient dense vegetarian meals from whole foods, and exploring the world of home made dressings and sauces. I have rekindled my love affair with cooking from scratch and have the messy kitchen and dirty dishes to prove it! I usually pin my favorite recipes to Pinterest or scour social media and blogs, which are terrific resources for meal inspiration. However, I have recently started collecting more cookbooks, and adore having them in my kitchen! There are so many amazing whole foods, vegan and vegetarian cookbooks from seasoned chefs, food bloggers and the like. I find myself reading cookbooks like romance novels…I even took one with me to the beach to read. I guess that comes with earning a Master’s in nutrition – you really start to pay attention to the fuel you put in your body!

My favorites so far:
Oh She Glows
The Green Kitchen
The French Market Cookbook
Thug Kitchen
Nourishing Traditions

What are your favorites? Please share…no seriously – I want to go cookbook shopping!!

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