How to Sprout Mung Beans

Sprouted food, including fresh sprouts, is so often viewed as a hippie-crunchy food trend. I think that sprouts really couldn't be more relevant right now, when so many of use are in need of easily digestible foods, and plant-based protein is more popular than ever. If you're wondering what protein has to do with sprouts, marvel at this: one cup of mung bean sprouts has 14g of plant protein! Why mung beans? These are a great starter sprout for novices, or those who want easy, high-nutrient, foolproof sprouts fresh from their own kitchen.

Some other amazing nutrition facts about mung bean sprouts:

  • Mung bean sprouts are highly alkaline foods that support healthy pH balance and skin glow.
  • They're easy to digest, and offer ample enzymes for your body.
  • Mung beans are an amazing source of folate, with 100% of your daily recommended dose in just 1 cup.
  • They're packed with high levels of key beauty minerals like skin-clearing zinc and calming magnesium.

Ready to sprout your own? Get familiar with these simple steps and you could have fresh sprouts in your kitchen this spring, and year-round:

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Step 1: Assemble your Equipment

Here's all you really need for sprouting mung beans:

  • dried mung beans (Bob's Red Mill offers them bagged, and you can also find them in bulk bins— bagged, from a high quality source can be better for avoiding contamination.)
  • sprouting bag (you can also use a jar or bowl, but I highly recommend investing in a hemp sprouting bag for ease of use and proper air flow that ensures your sprouts don't spoil or grow unwanted bacteria. You can reuse it again and again, and it's so simple that you will thank me!)
  • Water and a bowl

Start by measuring out about 1/3 cup or less of dry mung beans (I prefer to sprout just a little at a time because sprouts only last a few days and this prevents waste).

Step 2: Rinse & Drain

Pick out any bad beans and rinse the leftovers in a bowl, draining afterward.

Step 3: Soak

Cover beans in water a let sit 8 hours or overnight. The beans will swell slightly.

Step 4: Transfer to Your Sprouting Bag

Drain soaked beans, transfer to your sprouting bag, and cinch the top of the bag. Immerse the bag in water for a few seconds, until it is soaked through. Hang the bag to drip dry on a cabinet handle or hook.

Step 5: Rinse Sprouts Twice Daily

In the AM and PM, immerse your sprouting bag in a bowl of fresh, cool water. Swish it around to rinse the sprouts inside, and hang to drip dry once more. In 2-4 days, you'll have fresh sprouts! You can sprout them shorter or longer time frames, depending on what you prefer.

Step 6: Keep Sprouts Fresh

Store your well-drained sprouts in the fridge. They'll last just a few days, so enjoy them quickly, It helps to store them with a paper towel that can absorb excess moisture that will cause them to spoil more rapidly. These sprouts are amazing in salads and smoothies, and as a crunchy topping to stir frys and other, unexpected dishes (nachos!).

Detox Smoothie: The Springtime Pear

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If you've ever felt that you just didn't have time or interest in following a detox plan or a mapped-out cleanse, I hear you. While some detox programs do have excellent benefits, it takes time and effort to seek out a good one, stock up on the ingredients or supplements needed, and to follow its guidelines carefully. So most of the time, you forget the idea altogether. But detox doesn't have to be all or nothing!

This season, commit to one easy nature-approved detox strategy: incorporate more naturally-detoxifying spring foods in your regular diet. The Spring Beauty Renewal chapter of Eat Pretty outlines the full list, including artichokes, asparagus, and a green favorite that I use in the below recipe— dandelion greens.

The benefits of supporting your body's detoxification include glowier skin, increased energy, shedding unwanted pounds, and an immune boost that will aid you in staying well even after spring has passed. This is the season to focus on detox, to keep your beauty and body in balance. But I promise, it's okay to take a simplified route.

To get you going, here's an easy detox recipe that works as a light, blood sugar stabilizing breakfast (it has the key combo of healthy fats + clean proteins + fresh veggies/fruits). Feel free to add your favorite superfoods to suit your unique beauty needs in any season.

The Springtime Pear

This light yet filling and nutritionally balanced smoothie offers a trio of detox superstars— fresh dandelion greens, pectin-rich pear that cleanses internally, and chlorella— that support beauty and health in the spring season and beyond.

Serves 1-2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ripe organic pear, cored
  • 1 medium handful organic dandelion greens
  • 1/4 ripe avocado
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 serving collagen powder (I like Vital Proteins marine collagen) or your favorite plant-based protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp chlorella powder (I like Sunpotion)

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and process until smooth. If needed, add more water to thin to your desired consistency. Serve immediately.

 

Spring Product Obsessions 2018

Alleluia, it finally feels like spring on the East Coast. This season is a natural cue to detox, and that includes cleaning out the products that are old or just not serving you. It could also mean experimenting with something new. Today I gathered up the natural products that are my latest springtime loves, from a very extra new deodorant to a milky serum to a travel version of a product that I’m betting you already rely on. Maybe one of these six winners will be your next healthy beauty purchase…

Vapour Aer Next Level Deodorant, $24

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Next Level Deodorant— such an amazing name. And it speaks the truth; Vapour took things to the next level when they created this product, from the formula to the delivery system to the statement-making natural scents (are you more Palo Santo Blood Orange or Lavender Myrrh?). It took the company 5 years of lab time to perfect Aer, and I have to say, while I was not in the market for a new deodorant for my own routine (still in love with my fave Meow Meow Tweet Grapefruit Baking Soda Free deo), I can’t find a single flaw here. I got my Aer Deodorant in the Beauty Heroes April Limited Edition Beauty Discovery Box, featuring Vapour. If you hurry, you can get one here (this will sell out fast), or you can always grab the product itself in the Beauty Heroes store. Switching to a natural deodorant from a conventional formula often feels daunting, but I tell you there’s never been a better time to make the switch.  Conventional anti-perspirants contain ingredients that you don't want on your skin or next to your breasts every day (aluminum and synthetic fragrances are two), and they block one of your body’s major detox pathways. Aer is a natural deodorant (read: not anti-perspirant), and it worked for me from Day 1. Now, on Day 20, it’s still working well and I have yet to experience any irritation from the “just a pinch” of baking soda in this formula. If you’re baking soda sensitive, you might actually find that you’re okay here. The cream-to-powder formula doesn't feel wet and cold under your arms after you apply (one reason I usually avoid cream deodorant sticks like this one) and you only need a tiny amount, so this stick will last you at least 2 months— likely far more. And the scent— let’s just say I never expected to have palo santo-scented pits, but I’m kind of loving it. Thank you for working so hard to hit the mark on this, Vapour!

W3ll People Bio Bronzer Cream Stick, $23.99

I was thrilled to discover this cream bronzer-in-a-stick just as the weather started to warm. The stick delivery system makes it easy to swipe anywhere, and the cream formula blends in quite well, so that the tiniest dot mimics the effect of sun on my face. I’ve found that a warmer bronzer shade like this one (mine is Natural Tan- 01) looks even more realistic on my skin than pink-toned blush. For spring/summer, I’m keeping it close at hand. W3ll People, a green beauty pioneer, has perfected its formulas, so you can’t go wrong with any of their natural makeup— this one especially. It also comes in a small pot ($11.99), in case you prefer a tinier size.

 

Coconut oil is just about everyone’s multipurpose beauty and health staple, and this eye-catching tube makes it so easy to transport. I use coconut oil regularly for oil pulling, and have always loved it for makeup removal, and recently was shocked to find that I can toss this tube in my bag without fear of leaks! It’s designed for travel, and made with Fair Trade, cold-pressed coconut oil. Each purchase also feeds one child a meal through Feeding America food banks. If you’re a coconut oil devotee and you travel a lot, you absolutely need to give this pretty tube a try.

 

Confession: I haven’t worn foundation since my wedding day, almost 7 years ago! After living with acne for almost a decade and clearing my skin with changes to my diet and lifestyle, I live in as little coverage as possible. My daily staple for sun protection and barely-there coverage is Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Tinted Face Sunscreen. But I got curious about Ilia’s new True Skin Serum Foundation— a mix of skincare and makeup that sounded too good to pass up. The pros at Aillea helped me match my skin to shade F1 (I thought there was no way I could be the lightest shade, but even though the formula looks extremely pale in the bottle the match is great), and I have to say that I really love this formula! It’s loaded with nourishing ingredients like baobab, rose hip, and jojoba oils, in a base of aloe and coconut, and that seems to ward off any chalky dryness. Dimethicone also helps it apply with a silky finish (a feature you don't want to compromise on for your base makeup). It’s buildable and light enough that I don’t feel like I’m wearing a heavy foundation. This one is a new staple when I want a little more coverage.

 

de Mamiel Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir, $135

I was introduced to this exquisite skin treatment in the April Beauty Heroes Discovery Box, which has long ago sold out, but I had to share it again here because it continues to impress me as I use it. De Mamiel’s founder and formulator, Annee de Mamiel, is an esthetician, aromatherapist, and licensed acupuncturist trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Her products are inspired by the needs of her clients and she truly practices slow beauty— sometimes taking years to develop, trial, and perfect her products, which work on the physical, emotional, and cellular levels. This would be beautiful in theory alone, but in practice I can tell you that my skin truly glows after using her Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir— a milky serum that protects from environmental damage and stimulates regeneration and repair. Using both first and second generation antioxidants (including the powerful ferulic acid and superoxide dismutase), as well as incorporating principles of vibrational beauty, this formula continues to work over time, with continued use. Though de Mamiel’s handmade products (made in the UK) may be a true skincare splurge that’s not in the budget at all times, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to use this elixir and its Beauty Heroes sidekick, Exhale Daily Hydrating Nectar. Beauty Heroes has introduced me to some amazing brands, but this one might be my most favorite new discovery!

 

CV Skinlabs Body Repair Lotion, $14.50

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I have long loved this natural lotion, and routinely recommend it to clients with eczema and sensitive skin that is healing from a number of conditions— including radiation irritation. Its combination of anti-inflammatory reishi mushroom, turmeric and bisabolol, as well as calendula and beta glucan, does wonders for compromised skin. You will see a difference in your skin’s condition after one application, and continued use heals skin (if you’re experiencing eczema or skin rashes, this lotion helps skin heal topically while you are working from the inside out to change the root cause of the skin issue). Had to share it again this spring— the season when we start to bare more skin, and of course want it to be clear and healthy.


NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or a product from the Beauty Heroes store, I will receive a small commission on behalf of Beauty Heroes. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and these Vapour and de Mamiel products was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

Plant Protein-Packed Breadsticks

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Many of my clients come to me eager to incorporate more plant-based proteins in their diets, but feeling short on ideas. One easy recommendation is to simply eat more beans and legumes like lentils, which offer mega protein, key beauty minerals like zinc and iron, and tons of fiber that's helpful for blood sugar stability, digestion & elimination (and in turn, glowing skin and balanced hormones), and weight loss. They're fabulous and usually super easy to throw into salads, dips, and classic comfort staples like tacos and veggie burgers. There are also a range of bean flours that you can experiment with to create baked goods that are much higher in protein and even grain-free if you wish.

These crunchy, savory breadsticks do just that. They're made with garbanzo bean flour, which looks just like white flour but offers more protein (about 5g protein in just one of these breadsticks!), zinc (a key mineral for immunity, skin healing and preventing acne), and fiber. This recipe is incredibly easy and kid friendly (turns out that rolling breadsticks is a lot like making a snake out of Play-Doh, for those of you who also have little ones). Set aside 15 minutes for prep and recruit a small helper. Change up the spices (I mixed poppy seeds and organic garlic powder here), get fancy with the designs if you like, and serve them with this Spring Vegetable Soup for a protein boost. 

Garlic Poppy Seed Breadsticks

Adapted from The Chickpea Flour Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tsp poppy seeds
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 7 Tbsp water

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, garlic powder, and poppy seeds. Add olive oil and water, and mix until dough forms. If it crumbles and won't hold together, add just a small amount of water. Divide the mixture into 10 balls, and roll each into a breadstick about 8"- 10" in length. Transfer breadsticks to baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Spring Sweets: Coconut Cream Eggs

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My husband's dear grandmother Ellen passed away this week, just a few days before Easter. She and I first connected over our shared love for my husband— she loved to tell me stories from his childhood, and I loved to hear them. But over the years we had a chance to bond on a more personal level— often over food— and she became a grandmother to me long after my own grandmothers had passed. She was a willing tester for my recipes and would often send me a single sentence email that made my day when a food photo I posted to social media caught her eye. And it was always the sweet recipes that got her attention. She had a love of sweets that I share, and I loved indulging her with treats, as many of her family members did.

It was no secret that I looked forward to one of Ellen's own recipes too— I know that I wasn't the only one— coconut eggs that she would handmake and deliver to each of her grandkids (and their lucky partners) on Easter. This year we won't have that recipe and its (super-sweet but seriously addictive) flavor to look forward to, so this week I found myself dreaming up a way to recreate it, as I thought of her and processed our family's great loss. I never knew what was in Ellen's recipe (and maybe, in a way, didn't exactly want to know– sometimes it's better to just enjoy). So instead of trying to match hers, I created an Eat Pretty-style coconut cream egg that I hope pays homage. I like to think she would approve.

As a longtime coconut cream egg lover (I'm talking since childhood), I'm quite pleased with the results. Conventional coconut cream eggs are packed with refined sugar, but these get their sweetness from maple syrup and dates, plus creaminess from cashews and coconut butter. Don't skimp on the big pinch of unrefined salt that balances their flavors. Dipped in dark chocolate, they're my new Easter tradition, one that I'll make each year while I think of Ellen.

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Coconut Cream Eggs

Makes about 16 eggs

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water at least 4 hours, rinsed, and drained
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp coconut butter
  • 3-4 soft dates (depending on their size and your preferred level of sweetness)
  • unrefined salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut flakes, divided
  • 6 oz high-quality dark chocolate (at least 70% dark)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

In a high-powered blender, puree soaked cashews, maple syrup, dates, and a generous pinch of salt. Using the tamper, or frequently scraping down the sides of the container, ensure that there are no lumps and that the blend is relatively smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut flakes and blend again for a few seconds, to break them down slightly. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the rest of the coconut flakes, adding slightly more if you find that the mixture is not quite thick enough to form into shapes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using wet fingers, form 1 Tbsp scoops of the coconut mixture into flattened egg shapes and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Chill them in the freezer while you prepare the chocolate.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and coconut oil over low heat. Remove chilled coconut eggs from the freezer and coat each one with melted chocolate. I like use one hand to balance each egg on a fork above the saucepan while I use the other hand to spoon melted chocolate over top. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the pan, and carefully slide each chocolate-coated egg back onto the parchment. After you've coated all of the eggs, transfer to the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. Store in the fridge until serving.

The Meaning of Mala Beads

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Get inspired to wear your intentions this season.

In my own life, clothes have always been so much more than functional— or even fashionable. A new item of clothing (I’m talking tops, dresses, and underthings more so than gym socks, obviously) represents the person I am and want to be at the moment I wear it. This is the connection that first drew me to a career in fashion— even before my days as a beauty editor! Looking back through my closet, I connect with the person I was when I chose certain pieces; I remember where I wore them, and how I felt. But what about jewelry?

If your clothing is an outward expression of self and intention, your jewelry is even more so.

A metal ring, glass beads, pearl earrings— these natural materials can hold so much significance, and can last for years, to be passed on when you’re long gone as a reminder of you.

At times in my life, I’ve been seriously attached to jewelry items (whether or not they have any monetary value!). In my teens, I used to wear a tiny guardian angel pin every time I flew on an airplane. Going through a stressful time, I put on the same pair of earrings from my husband every day for months as a reminder of strength. After my son was born, I received a simple hammered metal pendant with his initials that I treasure. A plastic art deco pendant that I found in my grandmother’s jewelry box after she passed brings me close to her every time I wear it.

This spring, I added another meaningful piece to my jewelry with a beautiful set of mala beads. When I say beautiful, I mean that I honestly lost my breath when I pulled this strand of beads from its package!

I’ve been meditating on and off for years, but I’m still a novice when it comes to meditation culture and history. I learned from Mala Collective, the maker of this gorgeous necklace, that mala beads are traditionally worn as a meditation tool, to help you count mantras as you meditate. Their 108 beads are open to interpretation, but they may represent chakras, mantras, or Sanskrit letters. You get to decide what they mean to you.

To me, this set of beads is a reminder of my goal to meditate daily, as well as a wearable symbol of my commitment to live life as my best self, through any circumstance. I feel inspired when I wear it. I feel energy. I feel grounded in my intention to live my life accepting and expressing joy. That’s all I could ask for in an item that I can wear and keep with me daily!

These particular multicolored peach, mint green, rose, and blue beads are breathtaking— they’re mixed Amazonite, a stone meant to connect you to inner power and inspire you to take charge in your life. You can find malas made from an incredible variety of gemstone beads (Mala Collective has SO many exquisite ones), meant to inspire all kinds of feelings and actions in your life. You can choose the one you’re most drawn to, or one that supports your current goals. The brown beads are rudraksha seeds that are believed to provide inner calm, peace and freedom from negative thought. I like that they’ll darken as I touch them over time. This set of beads is hand-knotted, and I love imagining the care that went into its creation, just like love I put into a homemade meal.

Knowing the meaning of malas, and how personalized they can be, I now plan to give them as gifts to loved ones, with the hope that they’ll wear them and stay connected to their own intentions. They may be fashionable, and lovely, but fundamentally they’re a way to wear your desire to live your most beautiful life— a message for you to carry with you each day.

What jewelry or clothing items are most meaningful to you— and how do they connect you to your personal health goals and intentions?

Beauty Ingestible Road Test: Anima Mundi

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In my experience, the foods we eat are unequivocally our greatest tools to shape our beauty and health. Which is why I think that the growing market of ingestible beauty products (basically edibles with beauty benefits) has the power to transform our beauty routines.

In the past, I've road tested beauty ingestibles from Moon Juice, The Beauty Chef, Fountain, and Sunpotion, and shared recipes that I created to use each of these lines. Take a look at those past posts for more recipe ideas. This time, I'm sharing a brand that arrived on my doorstep in my January Beauty Heroes WELLNESS Discovery Box— a BRAND NEW OFFERING from Beauty Heroes, which includes four incredible full size products from Anima Mundi Herbals.

Take a look, and dont miss the warming Cherries & Cream Skin Tonic recipe below!

What you need to know about Anima Mundi Herbals: This brand specializes in herbal ingredients (many of them heirloom) from Central and South America, as founder and herbalist Adriana Ayales is Costa Rican. Before founding Anima Mundi (the beautiful name refers to the 'shared soul' of the world), she practiced herbalism in New York City and Berkeley. Beauty Heroes founder Jeannie Jarnot describes her first experience drinking Anima Mundi products (the same ones offered in this box), "an out-of-body experience." I've newly received my Anima Mundi products, but am loving the experience of using them so far, especially sipped in the tonic recipe ahead, and by adding the turmeric-rich Curam Elixir to my morning lemon water.

How to consume: Coconut Cream Powder is incredibly versatile. You can add a tablespoon or two to smoothies, hot drinks, and just about any recipe for extra good fats— especially lauric acid for gut, brain, and skin health, as well as metabolism. Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder can also be added (1 teaspoon is a standard serving) to drinks like juices, smoothies, and teas. I could also see getting creative and adding it to dressings and sauces or sprinkling it over a decadent bowl of fruit.

Here's what I made with my Coconut Cream Powder and Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder as soon as I opened my box:

Cherries & Cream Skin Tonic

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Add cherries, both powders, and raw honey to a high powered blender. Pour boiled water over ingredients and blend until smooth. Top with additional hot water if needed to warm the tonic.

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Love it for: You will want to eat the Coconut Cream Powder by the spoonful. It's sweet, creamy, melts right into your mouth or into whatever you're making, and will be your new favorite beauty food item. The Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder has a mildly bitter taste, but it's packed with vitamin C, phytochemicals, and beauty minerals that truly nourish healthy, balanced skin from within. And love that these ingredients are incredibly high-quality and carefully sourced! They're also priced very well to include in your everyday beauty pantry.

Cost: Until it sells out, you can buy the January 2018 Beauty Heroes Wellness Discovery (4 products) here, for $49. And you can find individual Anima Mundi products in the Beauty Heroes store, as well as at animamundiherbals.com. Coconut Cream Powder retails for $20, and Mangosteen Hibiscus Superfood Powder retails for $24.


NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or a product from the Beauty Heroes store, I will receive a small commission on behalf of Beauty Heroes. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and these Anima Mundi products was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

Winter Product Obsessions 2018

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New Year, and new natural and organic products to love. Here are the picks that have been favorites in my shower, stationed at my bedside, and stocking my bathroom cabinet through the winter season and beyond—

Maya Chia The Eye Achiever, $70

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I had to share this product first; it’s now a permanent bedside fixture and has already been quite effective in counteracting the visible effects of holiday indulgences (cheese! cookies! salty snacks!) that showed up as morning-after puffiness around my eyes. It’s The Eye Achiever— a new product from the amazing Maya Chia brand that arrived in my January Beauty Heroes Discovery Box. Picture this: you gently press The Eye Achiever’s cool metal rollerball underneath your eye and glide it back and forth. It’s so cooling that it feels akin to the old trick of resting a chilled spoon under your eye to dissipate puffiness (only so much more comfortable and chic). The roller delivers a layer of a light, incredibly nutrient-dense serum formulated with ingredients like antioxidant-rich astaxanthin, wakame brown algae (famously used by La Mer),  raspberry seed oil, and Maya Chia’s patented supercritical chia seed oil. It addresses the unwanted trio of wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles all at once, and feels so, so good in the process. If you’re searching for an eye product to love, this is a must try! And while you’re at it, consider a Beauty Heroes membership this year; it will honestly be the very best thing to arrive in your mailbox every month.

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These two products feel like harbingers of an oral health revolution. I’m so excited to share them with you. Hyperbiotics, a company whose probiotic supplements I’ve been testing and sharing over the last year, recently launched a probiotic toothpaste formulated with super-binding activated charcoal and a strain of probiotics called lactobacillus paracasei to gently cleanse and whiten teeth without destroying beneficial bacteria that resides in your mouth. This is pretty amazing, given that conventional toothpastes commonly contain antibacterial ingredients like triclosan that wipe out bacteria— both the good, protective kinds and the bad. After you’re finished brushing with this toothpaste (which does take some getting used to— it’s not as minty as standard toothpaste and doesn't foam), you can pop one of Hyperbiotics’ minty PRO-Dental chewable tablets, designed to restore beneficial bacteria to your mouth. These chews contain 3 billion CFUs of oral probiotic strains like S. salivarius that, unlike your usual probiotics, are meant to stay in your mouth instead of being swallowed. Long-term, a better oral microbiome can improve your dental health and your breath, and actually help your sinuses, ears, nose, and throat too.

Seed Phytonutrients Daily Hair Cleanser and Lightweight Conditioner (price to come).

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I’m sharing this amazing shampoo/conditioner duo now, because it’s about to hit shelves in January. But—confession— I’ve actually been using it since last June, when I first received a travel-size sample. I savored that little bottle (seriously, it made my hair so silky that I used it only on days when I was taking photos, hosting an event, or otherwise needed to have flawless hair) until the fall, when a full size product arrived on my doorstep— not a moment too soon because I was completely out. The combination of these formulas seems to be magical for my hair (fine, dense strands that can air-dry to unruly waves), far outperforming my other natural favorites. These formulas are 99% natural, and do a great job at bridging the gap between hair products that are healthier choices for your body, and those that perform the way conventional hair products do! What I notice most is the softness of my hair after using them; my husband has also been using these products and his hair texture feels silky where it used to be coarse. Will this dup be the perfect match for everyone? Probably not— and Seed is developing products to suit other hair types too. But these really area a must-try! (Other hair types should check out products from brands like Innersense, Acure, Josh Rosebrook, and Ahnesti as well.) Congrats on your upcoming launch, Seed Phytonutrients, and thanks for this amazing gift to my hair!


NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or a product from the Beauty Heroes store, I will receive a small commission on behalf of Beauty Heroes. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and the Maya Chia Eye Achiever product was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.

2018 Beauty, In One Word

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At the end of each year, I choose a single word that sums up how I want to feel in the year ahead, or how I want the new year's events to feel to me. Almost like a year-long affirmation, in place of traditional resolutions. In the past, I’ve chosen words like VITAL, MAGICAL, and even RELAXED.

My word for 2018 is…flow.

As in, ‘in the flow,’ ‘go with the flow,’ ‘ebb and flow.’ Just flow.

This year, I plan to do more of the things that get my body into a state of effortless flow, whether that means writing what I love, cooking more of the meals that inspire and challenge me, finding opportunities to relax without interruption, or spending time with the people who bring joy and ease into my life.

Kind of like yin and yang, I see ‘ebb and flow’ as uniting to create balance. 2016 and 2017 put me into a place of paring down, re-prioritizing, and introspection—an ebb that in a way feels like it has prepared me to flow easily once again. I love that the idea of flow also presumes the loss of self-consciousness, of comparison, even of time. It’s a freedom to be as you are and truly be in the moment.

Here’s a definition of ‘flow state,’ from wikipedia:

“In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity."

Beyond a flow state, I also want good things to flow from me to others in 2018. I want it to be a year to continue to build positive energy in myself and share that energy with the world.

What word is inspiring you as we begin 2018? Can you choose a word of the year and post it somewhere where you’ll see it throughout the 12 months ahead? It may just keep you on track and inspire you far better than a January resolution.

If you are looking for support to reach your 2018 health and beauty goals, consider joining my Eat Pretty Together global coaching group, a virtual community of women that meet twice each month for an hour of learning, conversation and inspiration. For more info, check out my Eat Pretty Together program page.

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

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This winter, eat more cranberries and pears! These two naturally sweet beauty foods are ideal for cool weather, as they reduce inflammation and detoxify naturally. Eat them raw, or use as little added sugar as possible when you cook with them, to preserve their benefits. 

Here's a perfect way to use them in a naturally sweet dish that you can cozy up to all winter long:

Warm Pear Bake with Cocoa-Plum Crust

This quick-to-make dessert is packed with skin benefits from fresh pear, cranberries, cinnamon, cocoa, and walnuts. Dried plums, also called prunes (which just never sounds as appealing) are packed with iron, antioxidants, and natural sweetness, and fabulous for digestion and elimination in small amounts. Enjoy this simple treat when you have a sweet craving this season.

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Makes 3 individual servings

INGREDIENTS

3 ripe pears, cored and chopped

½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

unrefined salt

Heaping 1 cup raw walnut halves

12 dried plums/prunes

4 tsp cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

Equipment: 3 ramekins

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Toss pears and cranberries with ¼ tsp cinnamon and a dash of salt. Divide pear/berry mixture among three ramekins. In a food processor, combine walnuts, plums, and cocoa powder, and add in a generous sprinkling of salt. Divide and roll mixture into three even-sized balls and flatten each to create a top crust for your ramekin. Carefully (use a spatula if needed) transfer one crust to the top of each ramekin.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool slightly and serve.


Beauty Food Focus:

Cranberries. You’ll only find these berries readily available in stores from about October through January, so don’t miss your chance to take in their powerful skin and body benefits. The skins of cranberries contain anthocyanin pigments that protect our cells and collagen. These anthocyanins also lower inflammation, reducing redness, blemishes, and slowing the wrinkling process. Other phytochemicals in cranberries increase your skin’s UV tolerance and blood flow, giving you a radiant complexion. Cranberries support healthy digestion and lymph flow, making them perfect for the cold weather months when we’re eating larger meals. Be sure you don't just eat cranberries sweetened with refined sugars; try the Warm Pear Bake for a sweet way to eat them without added sugar.

Pears. Pears are beauty foods with so much natural sweetness, making them ideal choices for desserts or sweet snacks. Their pectin fiber helps detoxify the body, as well as support good digestion and elimination—keys for radiant skin. Phytochemicals in pear skins reduce inflammation in the body, which supports a gorgeous complexion, good moods, and a healthy weight. All varieties of pears have beauty benefits, but red-skinned pears are especially high in anthocyanins that protect your skin’s natural elasticity.