Holiday Pfeffernusse Cookies

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What are you baking this holiday season?

I love these festive cookies for their addictive spiciness, petite size, and pillowy texture. Pfefferneuse (‘peppernut’) cookies are traditional German, Dutch and Danish spiced Christmas cookies that I remember eating as a child. They have a licorice-like anise flavor that may be a bit polarizing, but that I find festive and perfect during this season. I recreated the traditional cookie in gluten free, egg-free, and refined sugar-free form— and the result is perfect! Bake them in your own home as you embrace the darkness of the winter season and the soon-to-be return of the light.

Holiday Pfeffernusse Cookies

These cookies can be easily frozen and ahead of when you want to serve them.

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  • 1 tbsp ground chia seed (+ 3 tbsp water)

  • 2 1/4 cups gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill GF 1-to-1 flour blend)

  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • 1/4 tsp cloves

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp allspice

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon unrefined salt

  • 1/2 cup unsalted organic grassfed butter

  • 2 tsp anise extract

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/4 cup molasses (use blackstrap molasses for a less sweet, more deeply flavored cookie)

  • 1/8 cup coconut sugar, blended into powder (can sub conventional powdered sugar if desired)

 

DIRECTIONS

In a small dish, whisk together chia seed and water and set aside to gel.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a large bowl, beat butter, anise extract, coconut sugar and molasses. Stir in the chia mixture, and then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll 1” balls of dough, flattened slightly on the bottom, and place onto greased baking sheets. Bake until the cookies start to brown on the bottom, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack and cool slightly.

Pour powdered coconut sugar into a plastic bag and drop cookies into bag, one by one, to coat them with sugar.

How Snacking Helps Your Beauty— plus a Simple Office Snack!

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Did you know that snacking can actually help you reach your beauty and weight loss goals? It's true; snacking often gets a bad rap, but it can be a delicious route to your best skin and your healthiest weight. The trick is to know how to snack well, to be well-versed in what to eat, and to plan ahead. The type of snacking that's best to avoid is the graze-all-day, munch-whenever-you-feel-like-it approach. It's quite taxing on your body to be digesting all day long, you miss out on the natural cleansing of your digestive tract that happens between meals, and you don't ever get to truly feel satiated (or actually hungry?) when you snack too often.

Snacking becomes a beauty essential when you have a long stretch between meals, and when you're training your body to maintain steady blood sugar for longer and longer periods of time. A snack at 4:30PM, when you've had lunch at noon and are waiting on a 7PM dinner reservation, can prevent a blood sugar crash, support healthy metabolism, and keep you from ravenously overeating late at night. I think far too many women still equate weight loss, or maintaining their ideal weight, with long periods of fasting. Can fasting help you lose weight? 100% if done in balance with good nutrition and steady blood sugar. See the current intermittent fasting trend. But quite often fasting is not sustainable, nor does it correct existing issues with blood sugar balance and cravings.

Many (most?) of the clients who come to me with weight loss goals end up eating more food during our time together. They also lose weight in the process. We work on blood sugar stability, and eating complete meals that help your body feel satisfied and free of cravings. I recommend snacks when you're going a long stretch without food; better to have a beauty-friendly snack than to end up hangry or scarfing a candy bar. Also better not to feel restricted, which amps up your cravings!

Ideally, you'll reach for snacks that include a source of protein and/or healthy fat to fuel steady blood sugar. A raw trail mix, hard boiled pastured egg, apple and almond butter, wedge of avocado topped with sea salt and seeds, or a low-fruit protein smoothie are all classic choices. But I know you're always looking for new ideas. Below is a simple snack recipe that is packed with skin-healing, hormone balancing zinc from sesame seeds, plus chia for fullness and great digestion, tons of healthy fats and just enough sweetness to satisfy a craving. Shake it up in the morning and take it to the office to avoid the vending machine!

Sesame-Date Pudding

Shake up this pudding in the morning and store it so that you'll have a snack to tide you over on long afternoons or late nights at the office. Top it with a generous drizzle of tahini, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, or a chopped date or two for extra energy.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp tahini paste, plus more for topping
  • 3-4 pitted dates (depending on size and your desired sweetness), plus more for topping
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

DIRECTIONS

In a high powered blender, combine tahini, dates and water until fully blended. Transfer liquid to a jar and add chia seeds. Close jar and shake to combine. Pack in your bag and store in your office refrigerator until you're ready for an afternoon snack (will take about 30 mins from the time you shake it up to fully thicken— in case you plan to eat it right away)! Shake or stir once more before serving.

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!).

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.

Simple Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

I’ll be honest, I’ve wasted many a shower composing emails in my head, or tallying up a mental list of to-dos to check off the minute I’m dried and dressed. I think it was becoming a mother that made me realize that a routine shower (or bath) is less a task to perform on autopilot and more of a self-care ritual to be savored.

I challenge you to seize those precious bathing moments to incorporate some simple wellness practices that will help you look and feel your best— mind, body and spirit. I try to incorporate a few of these 8 practices every time I bathe, whether I’m hopping in for a quick rinse or taking time out for a long soak.

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8 Wellness Practices that Transform Your Bathing Ritual

1. Gratitude. You’ve probably already made a mental note to bring more gratitude into your life, but you may not have found the time to be consistent. So incorporate it into your bathing ritual. When I shower in the morning, it wakes up my senses and I’m instantly grateful for another sunrise, the calming feeling of warm water flowing over my body, a roof over my head, and food that will be my breakfast meal.

2. Healthy Beauty. Your bathing ritual just won’t support your body and beauty if the products you use contain hormone-disrupting or carcinogenic ingredients. Put thought into the products you choose, and remember that your dollars are well-spent on products that absorb into your body in seconds, and influence your overall health. For ideas, I’ve shared lots of my favorite natural and organic products on this site!

3. Head massage. You know how drool-inducing a head massage can be at a salon, now slow down and bring those techniques into your regular routine. The benefits are way more than just pleasurable: gently massaging your scalp encourages the flow and drainage of lymph from your brain that keeps your brain and waste-removing lymphatic system in top form.

4. Deep, steamy breaths. If you’re showering, take a few moments to deeply breathe in steam that rises from the stream of water. You’ll calm your body, open up your airways, and help your body detox naturally.

5. Aromatherapy. In addition to steam, there are so many benefits to adding natural scents to your bathing routine; I recommend using small amounts of essential oils to avoid any synthetic fragrances. You can sprinkle a few drops of essential oils on your shower floor, make or purchase a baking soda-based aromatherapy tablet that dissolves on the floor of your shower and emits scent as you bathe, or mix essential oils with a carrier oil and/or natural salts to add to your bath. I share some of my favorite essential oils in this post.

6. Single-tasking. You’ve heard of multi-tasking, now single task— mindfully perform one task at a  time. I see this as kind of a mini warmup or trial run for meditation that strengthens the brain’s focus and calm in the same way. Pay attention to the details of your bathing ritual (even though I bet you could bathe in your sleep, it’s so routine) like scents, textures, and sensations, and you practice a habit that will serve you outside of your bathing ritual.

7. Dry brushing. I love dry brushing after I bathe— when my skin is clean and my circulation is already flowing. I think it’s the perfect addition to a bathing ritual, as it speeds up the flow of waste-removing lymph and brings glow and tone to your body (it can even reduce cellulite!). Get your own natural-bristle body brush and add this quick, transformative step to your routine using instructions found here or in the Eat Pretty books.

8. Skin-nourishing oils. The final wellness-boosting step I’d encourage you to adopt in your bathing routine is applying high-quality natural or organic oils to your skin. This practice gives you a chance to touch your skin, head to toe, and love your body. And plant-based oils will enhance the effects of your beauty diet from the outside-in.

What wellness practices do you love to incorporate in your own bathing ritual?

The Beauty Benefits of Bitter Foods

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Sure, you love sweetness. Or maybe you're more of a saltiness person. But bitterness? It really deserves more fans— especially given its major benefits for your beauty!

Bitter foods stimulate digestive enzyme production and bile flow, seriously helping your digestive process, which in turn has a visible impact on your skin (as well as your weight, moods, and immunity!). Bitter foods also support liver detox (very important in the fall as well as the spring), further supporting skin glow, and help reduce cravings by satisfying a very important taste on your palate.

My favorite bitter beauty foods include radicchio, endive, arugula and sesame (all featured in the addictive recipe below), as well as turmeric, artichokes, dandelion greens, and grapefruit. Digestive bitters are another way to reap the benefits of bitterness in your routine— a few drops of bitters into a small amount of water before a meal also jumpstarts the digestive process.

If you make an effort to include more bitter foods in your diet (fall beauty goal?), you'll notice that bitterness can be a strong taste on your palate. it's not a taste we encounter very often anymore. Try to embrace it, remembering how amazing it is for your body. I love pairing bitter foods with something naturally sweet and tangy, like a dressing that mixes apple cider vinegar and honey, or one that incorporates balsamic vinegar and a splash of maple syrup. The dressing below includes pomegranate vinegar (I found a naturally fermented and super delicious version at Trader Joe's) with balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, and the end result is so satisfying and very balanced when paired with bitter greens.

Aim to eat your bitter foods early on in your meal, to get the most digestive benefits. Make this salad the first course at a fall dinner or holiday gathering, and you'll feel it work magic on your digestion even after the dessert plates have been cleared.

Bitter Is Beautiful Salad + Sesame-Pomegranate Dressing

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This salad combines the beautifying bitterness of radicchio, endive, arugula, and sesame with the natural sweetness of pomegranate. It's a perfect first course that supports healthy digestion.

Serves 4 to 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large head radicchio, chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby arugula
  • 2 small heads endive, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds separated
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pomegranate vinegar (can sub ACV or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • unrefined salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp warm water

DIRECTIONS

In a serving bowl, toss radicchio, arugula, and endive. Top with pomegranate arils (seeds). Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together tahini, oil, vinegars, maple syrup, and salt to taste. Add about 2 Tbsp water to thin dressing. Plate each serving of salad and drizzle with dressing to serve.

Beauty Is Wellness, In Depth: Collagen

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Eat Pretty, In Depth is a new long-form feature that takes a deep dive into a topic that's important for your beauty and health. If there's a subject you'd like me to explore in depth in the future, contact me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.

Collagen & Your Beauty

There’s a collagen craze that’s been building in the beauty world for the past several years, and, in all honesty, it’s not something I’ve been too eager to jump on board with. For one, the word collagen is one I associate with images of unnaturally plumped lips or skin, and animal parts that make me squeamish. And collagen shots, gummies, hot chocolate, and tons of other sweet collagen drinks have totally turned me off too. But the truth is that there’s way more to collagen than injectables and collagen-fortified junk food. And more reasons to consider it than just its skin benefits. Let’s explore.

Collagen is an incredibly important and abundant protein in your body; you'll find it in your skin, muscles, tendons, bones, nails, teeth— even blood vessels. The middle layer of your skin, the one that makes up your skin’s bulk and gives strength to that gorgeous outer layer you see, is primarily made up of collagen. There’s no question, you definitely want this stuff in your body as you age! However, as with most great things, we make less of it as the years pass by.

When collagen starts to degrade (due to natural aging, a diet that's not beauty-friendly, stress, smoking, UV damage and general free radical overload), the skin loses its support and strength— and wrinkles, sagging skin, and loss of volume happens. To mask this trend, you could get a temporary injection of collagen into trouble areas (or use it to plump up lips, cheeks, etc.), but there are risks to that route. You could also opt for LED light treatments to stimulate new collagen production, though these treatments can be costly and they work best with continued use. Collagen supplementation in your diet plays the long game by slowing collagen loss and rebuilding collagen to maintain a youthful complexion, at a much more affordable cost, with benefits beyond skin appearance. I’ve been experimenting with collagen and am seeing skin that looks a bit more hydrated (and I’m actually using less facial oil and moisturizer), and I’ve heard raves from clients and friends who added collagen to their diets and saw healthier-looking skin. From what I can tell, those who see the biggest results already have dry skin, or skin that’s showing early wrinkles. Many of the studies done on collagen show a greater improvement in older women, some post-menopausal, with skin that’s on the dry side; so if you fit into any of these categories, you may stand to benefit the most from adding collagen to your body!

So, what/how/when to supplement collagen? Should we reach for that collagen candy after all? How about collagen pills? Powders?

What to look for— a collagen peptide or hydrolyzed collagen formula, and a high-quality source that aligns with your diet.
— Jolene Hart

You have a LOT of choices when it comes to adding collagen into your diet. I have no doubt that these choices will continue to expand rapidly in the years ahead. Just know that some sources of collagen are more proven to be effective than others. At the moment, there’s good evidence that collagen peptides (basically just small proteins that contain a few specific amino acids) improve skin hydration and increase the water absorption capacity of the skin (both of which can lead to a significant visible difference in skin, since better hydrated skin often means plumped, less visible wrinkles), as well as improve skin elasticity. You can readily find collagen peptides in powder form, making it easy to add to smoothies and other foods. Collagen may also improve the appearance of your skin by reducing the depth of visible wrinkles, which is quite exciting for a big range of ages.

Collagen Choices

If you’re an omnivore, you can choose from collagen peptides sourced from cow, pig, fish, eggs, or chicken. Bovine collagen seems to be the easiest to come by in products on the market today, followed by chicken and fish. Full disclosure: I personally don't eat red meat or pork, and haven’t for 25+ years, so bovine or porcine collagen is not something I desire to add into my diet. I haven’t tried these types of collagen to speak to their effects. However, studies done on several of these collagen types are compelling (usually results showing after 4 to 8 weeks of supplementation). Both Verisol, a brand of bovine and porcine collagen, and BioCell, a brand of chicken collagen, are well-studied for their positive skin effects. The brands Vital Proteins and NeoCell offer some of the highest quality collagen peptide powders on the market.

Marine collagen peptides easily penetrate the gastrointestinal wall and through blood circulation are mainly deposited in the skin.
— Jan 2016 study in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity

Lately I’ve been experimenting with marine collagen peptides, as much of the research I’ve found was done with marine collagen and shows that it is quite bioavailable (it appears even more so than bovine or porcine collagen), and is type I collagen, which is the type found abundantly in the skin. I’m a fish-eater, so I feel comfortable with this source. Again, it’s a personal thing. Food is a personal thing. I encourage you to always be very personal with your food choices, and to choose what nourishes and makes you feel best.

Beyond the promise of improved skin hydration and less noticeable wrinkles, one of the benefits that has led me to incorporate collagen into my diet is its ability to heal and seal the gut lining, which is a need that many of us (especially those with skin issues) have. Any food that supports digestive health is a major beauty food in my eyes! For additional gut benefits, bone broth delivers collagen and an array of health-supporting nutrients, and is worth a look if gut health and nourishment is your primary concern. Organic chicken broth is something I have chosen to put into my diet now and then postpartum, and it’s a fantastic source of collagen and beauty minerals that nourish your skin and heal your gut, if needed. Other collagen benefits that have been studied or are being researched include nail and hair strengthening, reducing cellulite, as well as reducing joint pain.

Sadly, collagen does not exist in plants, so there’s no comparable vegan or vegetarian collagen alternative to collagen peptides and bone broth, even though I’ve heard recipes like ‘vegan bone broth’ being touted. I think the idea of vegan bone broth is a great one, as broth is an incredibly nutrient-dense, healing food, but it’s not actually not ‘bone’ broth so choosing it for collagen-building will not yield the same results. For vegans who want to build and preserve collagen, I recommend eating plenty of collagen-building nutrients (see below) from whole foods, filling your plate with antioxidant-rich foods to fight free radical damage to collagen, and cutting down on inflammatory foods like sugar that break down collagen prematurely (this approach is helpful to anyone). There are also a few plant-based collagen-building supplements on the market; like this vegan and gluten-free supplement from Reservage that combines several components of collagen, including vitamin C, amino acids and silica, that may be of interest to vegans and vegetarians.

How Much Collagen do I Need?

One other thing to note about collagen supplementation is serving size. If you’re using collagen, or you intend to, check out how many grams you’re getting in each serving. 2.5 to 5 grams of collagen is a dose range that has been studied often and shown to produce results, whereas I find that brands routinely offer you scoops in the 5 to 15 gram range, and often recommend you taken them multiple times a day. Basically, you can buy a really high-quality collagen product and stretch your money by dialing down the daily serving size— and still see results. Also note that collagen is high in protein, so it may be helpful if you’re looking for beauty-friendly protein sources to add to your diet, and you may also want to cut down slightly on other protein in a smoothie, for example, if you’re going to be adding protein from collagen.

2500 mg of collagen peptides daily increase skin procollagen by 65% and elastin by 18% over an 8-week period.
— 2014 study on Verisol collagen

Another exciting thing to note is that some of the studies done on collagen supplementation show that some of the skin benefits like elasticity and moisture continue for weeks after stopping the collagen supplement. Basically, this could indicate that you’re making a real change to your skin because you’re providing your body with the building blocks it needs to make more, or better, collagen than you were before.

 

Collagen Supportive Nutrition

Regardless of your chosen diet, it helps to fill your meals with components of collagen (like high-quality protein, silicon, sulfur) and the beauty nutrients that support collagen production (like vitamin C and zinc). Here's where to find them:

  • Vitamin C. (strawberries, leafy greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, colorful raw peppers, citrus, kiwi) An essential cofactor in collagen synthesis.
  • Protein. Specifically the amino acids glycine, lysine and proline (pastured eggs, bone broth, legumes). Other top beauty proteins come from plant sources like quinoa, sea vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, hemp and pea protein, lentils and tempeh, as well as animal sources like wild salmon and sardines.
  • Vitamin A. Key for collagen regeneration. (Leafy greens, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, pastured eggs)
  • Lycopene. Supports collagen synthesis. (Tomatoes, watermelon, red peppers, sweet potatoes)
  • Sulfur. An important component of collagen. (Arugula, garlic, cabbage, pastured eggs, and radishes)
  • Silicon. Collagen contains lots of silicon. (Cucumbers, celery, radishes, red cabbage)
  • Zinc. Essential to the collagen formation process. (Pumpkin seeds, cashews and oysters)
  • Manganese. Required for collagen production. (Hazelnuts, teff, amaranth, black and white beans)
  • Copper. Helps develop collagen. (Sunflower seeds, oysters, shiitake mushrooms, almonds, lentils, asparagus)
  • Anthocyanidins. Bioflavonoids that protect and strengthen collagen. (Blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, eggplant, red cabbage, red onions)
  • Omega-3s. Maintain healthy cell membranes. (Flax seed, chia seed, wild salmon, walnuts)
collagen-beauty-nutrition

 

*For collagen recipe inspiration, you can download the free NeoCell & Delicious Living Collagen Kitchen ebook (I contributed the delicious Blueberry Cashew Collagen Smoothie recipe!).

--GIVEAWAY--

To win a 10 g tub of Vital Proteins Marine Collagen AND a 10 g box of Vital Proteins Marine Collagen individual travel-size sticks (both sourced from wild caught red snapper) [a $97 value], Leave a comment on either this post, or my Instagram post featuring these Vital Proteins products by the end of the day on May 3rd. Winner will be chosen at random.

CONGRATULATIONS TO INSTAGRAM USER @Christiineneeeee who won the collagen giveaway!

 

References:

Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis, 2014.

The Effect of Oral Collagen Peptide Supplementation on Skin Moisture and the Dermal Collagen Network, 2015.

Effects of a Nutritional Supplement Containing Collagen Peptides on Skin Elasticity, Hydration, and Wrinkles, 2015.

Skin Antiaging and Systemic Redox Effects of Supplementation with Marine Collagen Peptides and Plant-Derived Antioxidants, 2016.

Having a Healthy Hair Moment

If you've been struggling with your hair, or unhappy with its appearance, let's talk. Hair health is impacted by so many factors, both internal and external. Damage to your hair can come from styling, overexposure to salt and sun, and even hair products. But so many of us forget that stress and a diet lacking in healthy hair beauty foods (see below!) take a major toll too, leading to thinning or brittle strands.

This month, my subscription Beauty Heroes Discovery Box inspired me to have a healthy hair moment. Inside my mailbox was a gorgeous trio of Innersense Organic Beauty hair products (complete with redesigned, minimalist packaging) that has led me to slow down and enjoy my hair care time a bit more (Innersense calls this a 'hair ceremony'— don't you love that?).  So I wanted to share some of my favorite new natural hair products with you, as well as arm you with my favorite healthy hair foods list so that you, too, can have a healthy hair moment this spring. (And seriously, if you havent already, join Beauty Heroes. I consider it a self-care strategy. It is such a treat to receive this carefully-curated box every month, with a full-size natural or organic beauty product—this month it was three full size products, plus a beautiful sidekick hair oil—for less than $40).

This spring, I'm using the Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrate Collection for shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner— all from my Beauty Heroes delivery. I love the subtle scents of the shampoo (called hairbath) and conditioner, and so far I think I'm seeing less frizz when I air-dry, and slightly more defined, piecey waves overall. My hair is fine and naturally a bit wavy, and these hydration-heavy products haven't overwhelmed it. I don't think I've used spray-in conditioner/detangler since I was a tween, so I plan to use the Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner a bit more during the summer months; I can see it being a beach and pool staple for hair protection. I'm also loving Captain Blankenship's Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray for extra definition and waviness (and a gorgeous rose smell). I am so glad I finally purchased it and highly recommend it for wavy types!

But that's just half of my current hair routine. Here's my inside look at beauty foods for hair:

HAIR NUTRITION

To address lackluster, brittle, or thinning hair from the inside out (which is key for long-term hair health!), here's a list of nutrients, and corresponding beauty foods, to get more of in your diet:

  • ZINC. So many of us are deficient in zinc. A lack of this mineral can lead to an itchy scalp, hair loss (even eyelash loss...) and create the conditions for splits to readily form. It's best to get zinc from your diet, not from a pill, so try eating more oysters, whole grains, eggs, and nuts like pecans and walnuts.
  • OMEGA-3s. Just as you might imagine, omega-3s keep your strands elastic and shiny. Take a high-quality fish/algae oil supplement or get your omega-3s from wild salmon, flax, sardines, and pumpkin seeds.
  • PROTEIN. Protein is a building block of healthy hair and its main component keratin, so you absolutely MUST get enough in your diet for optimal hair health. But, you definitely dont need to go out and eat a steak—try plant-based protein sources like pastured eggs, wild salmon, quinoa, tempeh, and spirulina.
Click for a 5-minute healthy hair smoothie...

Click for a 5-minute healthy hair smoothie...

...for the rest of this hair-boosting lineup, read my COMPLETE LIST OF HAIR-STRENGTHENING FOODS HERE. And find out why SEAWEED may be an overlooked hair nutrition secret.

Banana Breakfast Smoothie

If you're hungry, you can whip up a 5-minute, 5-ingredient healthy hair breakfast with many of the foods in my above list. Get this hair-building Banana Breakfast Smoothie recipe.

Put these hair-supporting ingredients on your grocery list to make the smoothie:

  • unsweetened almond milk
  • banana
  • gluten free whole oats
  • shelled hemp seeds
  • ground cinnamon

What are your favorite natural hair products? How about hair-strengthening foods?

Win a Whole Foods Gift Card and Vitamix Blender!

Epic giveaway alert!

I'm so excited to announce that I've gathered together a collection of key tools for beauty—and you can win them, along with a copy of Eat Pretty Every Day, this January.

Here's what's being given away—just what you need to make 2017 your most beautiful year yet:

  • a copy of Eat Pretty Every Day & limited edition frame-able recipe print
  • a $200 Whole Foods Market gift card (one of my favorite places to shop for beautifying food!)
  • A Vitamix 5200 Series blender (one of my favorite kitchen tools!)

It's all available to win in the 2017 'New Year, New You' Eat Pretty giveaway. And it's super-simple to enter: just enter your info on the giveaway page here: http://budurl.com/epedgiveaway

US residents can enter to win this amazing package of beautifying tools until January 27th, 2017. Giveaway sponsored in part by Whole Foods Market.

Cacao: Winter Beauty Inside + Out

One of my most favorite ingredients for winter beauty, cacao, has been showing up in my skincare routine and in my diet a LOT more lately. Did you realize that cacao delivers skin benefits from the inside and outside?

When the weather turns cold, I reach for cacao in my smoothies, hot drinks, desserts, and even savory dishes (a little cacao in homemade chili is amazing). And this year, thanks to Josh Rosebrook and the Beauty Heroes team, my skin is getting a dose of cacao from the outside as well, with the Josh Rosebrook Cacao Antioxidant Mask that arrived in my November Beauty Heroes Discovery box.

Here's what you need to know about this powerful mask, and a special recipe from the pages of Eat Pretty Every Day that's a staple in this season of sweets & treats. Enjoy!

CACAO FOR BEAUTY - OUTSIDE: To me, this mask has both a silly and a serious side. Smearing it on feels a bit like donning warpaint; arming yourself against future harms to your complexion, perhaps? But if you're a beauty buff the ingredients inside will catch your attention for their potency and purity (not just natural—organic). Not only does antioxidant-rich cacao show up as the second ingredient, it's accompanied by such desirable anti-agers as turmeric, baobab, marula, ashwaganda, cinnamon, elderberry, and ginger. It's like slathering a superfood smoothie directly on your skin.

And if you have ever met Josh Rosebrook, you understand on an even deeper level exactly how much love goes into his craft. His formulas are unique, high-performing, and in a class of their own—much like Josh himself. If you ordered the November 2016 Beauty Heroes Discovery box, you'll also be able to mist on Josh Rosebrook's Hydrating Accelerator, and dab on his incredible new unisex perfume, Ethereal. Amazing, right? I can't say enough amazing things about Beauty Heroes!

CACAO FOR BEAUTY - INSIDE: Salted Superfood Chocolate Bark, from the winter chapter of my latest book Eat Pretty Every Day, is one of my favorite recipes, for its ease, deliciousness, and beauty benefits. Make a batch of this amazing Salted Superfood Chocolate Bark (recipe below- top it with your favorite raw nuts and seeds, spices, and dried fruit) and enjoy it while Josh Rosebrook's Cacao Antioxidant Mask works its magic from the outside. Consuming cacao reduces redness in the skin, protects against UV damage, and increases moisture in the skin by boosting nutrients, blood, and oxygen supplied to skin. It also contains a phytochemical that helps block wrinkle formation and, of course, creates feelgood endorphins in the body when we eat it. Time to make a batch of this amazing treat tonight:

Salted Superfood Chocolate Bark, from Eat Pretty Every Day:

salted-superfood-chocolate-bark.png

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