Top 5 Ways to Beautify Your Thanksgiving Meal

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1. Add cranberries—but not the ones you think. Yes, you probably already plan to serve cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table. And you should, as cranberries are antioxidant-packed berry with phytochemicals that preserve your skin elasticity. But the standard cranberry sauces (both store-bought and traditional recipes) contain about 88 grams of refined sugar (think of that as almost a full half cup of sugar) in just one cup—enough to spark inflammation, speed up signs of aging, and promote unwanted weight gain.

This year, make the Antioxidant Cranberry-Apple Sauce featured in Eat Pretty Every Day, or try your own recipe with less sugar. Your skin won’t miss it!

2. If you eat meat, upgrade to a high quality source, like organic free range turkey. If it's a part of your diet, Thanksgiving turkey can be a source of valuable building blocks for your beauty—but it's extremely important to choose well. Factory farmed meats are commonly fed poor-quality feed and given antibiotics to prevent disease, both of which have a negative impact on your overall beauty and wellness when you consume them. This year, make organic a priority at your table (wherever you can, but especially for animal products and Dirty Dozen produce!). Organic meat has significantly higher levels of beautifying omega-3 fatty acids and fewer harmful fats.

3. Put greens on your table. Traditionally, (not so beauty-friendly) green bean casserole is the rare glimpse of green we get on Thanksgiving Day. This year, make room for leafy greens among the regular dishes you serve, as they're a daily essential for radiant skin. Greens are powerhouse sources of skin-clearing vitamin A and collagen-building vitamin C, and they work hard to feed the healthy, probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. For Thanksgiving, look beyond a green salad to a sauté of greens and garlic, or a seasonal dish like the Warm Fall Salad featured in Eat Pretty (a favorite in my family!)

4. Make time for gratitude and mindfulness at mealtime. Ensure that your body is able to break down and assimilate all of the wonderful beauty nutrients in your Thanksgiving meal by creating a mindful space in which to eat. Appropriately, Thanksgiving centers around gratitude, which has been shown to increase our happiness, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and have beauty benefits long-term. This Thanksgiving, take time to think or speak about what you’re grateful for; consider finding a mantra to recite or share before your meal; and breathe and relax while eating. You’ll change the way your body digests and uses your meal—as well as how you feel afterward. 

5. Spice up dessert. You’re probably already having pie, and cookies, and cake, right? To make them more beauty-friendly, add spices to all of your holiday desserts. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are just a few of the antioxidant-packed spices that offer phytochemical benefits like a reduced blood sugar spike from sugar, digestive support, and an immune boost. And I challenge anyone not to love baked apple slices, which are free of added sugar and taste like the inside of an apple pie. To make them:

Simple Baked Apples: Core and slice fresh organic apples and layer them in a heat-proof dish. In a bowl, melt a few tablespoons of organic, grassfed butter, and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice, plus a little unsweetened apple sauce. Brush this mixture over your apple slices and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

  • As a bonus, I also love to serve something bitter— like this Bitter Is Beautiful Salad or a cocktail made with digestive bitters— to support healthy digestion of this filling meal!

What are your favorite ways to beautify your own Thanksgiving table?

Beauty Ingestible Road Test Part 2: Moon Juice

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I recently had the opportunity to celebrate Free People's new beauty + wellness lineup at a launch event in Nashville. The super cool and gorgeous (and also incredibly nice) Free People crowd came out to shop and sample and dance and drink (ingestible beauty cocktails, of course). I created a few drink recipes for the event using some of the top beauty ingestible brands to grace Free People's shelves. For the first post in this series, on The Beauty Chef, click here.

This time I'm trying out Moon Juice, a cult favorite brand with a lineup of superfood powders (called 'dusts') that includes the radiance-boosting Beauty Dust.

What you need to know about Moon Juice: This California-based line of dusts and other delicious edibles comes packed with ingredients you probably haven't heard of, but will want to check out if you have disposable income. Lots of the ingredients used in Moon Juice formulas are traditionally used in Chinese Medicine. Ans anecdotally, they have very powerful properties. I tried a few Moon Juice powders and was impressed to feel an immediate effect from Spirit Dust and Brain Dust.

How to consume: Moon Juice Beauty Dust is a powder, which makes it a perfect add-in to smoothies. A serving in 1 tsp in 8 oz liquid. Be sure your smoothie recipes include some kind of fat (coconut milk, almond milk, avocado, etc.) to achieve the best texture with the powder mixed in. Since there's a bit of stevia added to this powder, you'll want to be careful not to have too many other sweet ingredients in your drink, or it will quickly become overly sweet.

Love it for: Exotic beauty powerhouses like pearl and schisandra that are known to nourish the skin and provide potent anti-aging benefits.

Cost: $65 USD for 8oz (about a month's worth of servings)

Peachy Complexion Tonic

This sweet, creamy tonic combines the skin-nourishing fats from coconut and the collagen-building vitamin C in peaches with a slew of exotic skin superfoods like schisandra, pearl, and goji, found in Beauty Dust by Moon Juice.

Serves 2

  • 2 cups chilled unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 ripe organic peach
  • 2 tsp Moon Juice Beauty Dust
  • scant 1 tsp ground ginger

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until serving.

A.M. Beauty Foundation Smoothie

I created this smoothie to complement the new Sacred Beauty Salon Series online, created by makeup artist, health coach, and my friend Rebecca Casciano. Enjoy this beautifying start to your day!

A.M. Beauty Foundation Smoothie

What serves as your beauty foundation first thing in the morning? A combination of skin-nourishing fat, clean protein, radiance-boosting greens, and ample beauty minerals. Try this smoothie as the foundation of your day— an A.M. meal that ticks all of the boxes for essential beauty nutrition. It’s energizing, blood sugar stabilizing (key for balanced hormones ad glowing skin), and quite filling, so feel free to adjust the portions to meet your ideal serving size.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1 to 2 scoops (one serving) plant-based protein powder
  • heaping 1/2 tsp spirulina powder
  • heaping 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 to 1 whole banana (depending on your desired sweetness)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 3 medium handfuls fresh greens (I used 3 large swiss chard leaves)


Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and process until smooth, adding more water to thin if desired. Serve immediately.

Summer Beauty Dessert: Toasted Coconut & Cardamom Peach Crumble

Last week I had the thrill of sharing an entire Eat Pretty-style menu at an exclusive Beauty Is Wellness Supper Club event at Whole Foods Market South Street in Philadelphia. This also happens to be my local Whole Foods, aka the spot I run to at all hours of the day and night when I need ingredients for a meal or recipe!

The menu included one of my favorite summer recipes from Eat Pretty, the Blueberry Lentil Salad (p 115), plus 3 other courses designed to support beauty in the late summer season.

I thought I'd share the recipe for the meal's finale, my Toasted Coconut & Cardamom Peach Crumble, because it's perfect to make RIGHT NOW. Yes, even after Labor Day we'll be enjoying fresh peaches (and wanting to savor them, since before long we'll be missing summer stone fruits), so make this gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free (can you say 'beauty-friendly'?) dessert tonight. And then have the leftovers for breakfast tomorrow:)

The most unique part of this crumble is the topping; it's a mix of toasted buckwheat (which contains a phytochemical that blocks wrinkle formation), gluten-free oats (a great source of silica for healthy hair), plus coconut flakes and coconut oil (excellent fats for skin and hormone health). You'll also find blood sugar-stabilizing cinnamon and detoxifying cardamom in this recipe, along with organic peaches that are loaded with skin-smoothing vitamin A and collagen-building, wrinkle-fighting vitamin C. Did I mention that there is no refined sugar and only a tiny amount of (relatively low glycemic) coconut sugar— about 1 tbsp in a serving? It's a true Eat Pretty-style summer dessert. Feel free to experiment by adding berries if you have them on hand!

Toasted Coconut and Cardamom Peach Crumble

Exotic cardamom spices up the flavor of summer peaches—and adds to the beautifying power of this dessert. I love to serve it warm, when the buckwheat and oat crumble is crisp, but leftovers can double as breakfast with the addition of almond milk.

Serves 6

Filling:

  • 8 medium organic peaches, pitted and quartered
  • 1/4 cup large/fancy grade unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • sea salt

Crumble:

  • 1 1/2 cup gluten free whole oats
  • 3/4 cup large/fancy grade unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup toasted buckwheat groats, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine filling ingredients, tossing to coat peaches well.  Transfer to a 9- or 10-inch pie plate.

Using a food processor, pulse remaining crumble ingredients until just combined. Crumble topping over peaches and bake for about 50 minutes, until top turns golden brown.

A 5-Minute Healthy Hair Breakfast

In the beauty world, there’s a lot of buzz about hair-boosting supplements. Some experts swear by them, while others feel that they’re only as good as placebo pills. While the jury’s out on which supplements really make a measurable difference in our hair health, we do know that there are certain nutrients that your body needs to build healthy hair, and you can make it a point to include those in your diet with the goal of supporting gorgeous locks.

At Beauty Is Wellness, my approach is always to take in nutrients from whole foods first, before reaching for supplements. That doesn’t mean gulping down foods that you hate or slaving over a bunch of complicated recipes. In the case of healthy hair, it couldn’t be easier, or more appealing, to whip up my hair-nourishing Banana Breakfast Smoothie, below.

What are the secrets to a smoothie that boosts hair health? Since the foundation of our hair is keratin protein, this drink is packed with protein-rich hemp seeds that also provide iron, another mineral that supports strong locks. A healthy scalp is key for shiny, elastic hair, and hemp seeds are powerhouse beauty foods that offer healthy fats to nourish your scalp and skin as well. (For added scalp benefits, make time for regular cardio exercise, which brings circulation to your scalp and releases healthy scalp oils). Silica is an important nutrient for hair thickness, and the oats and banana in this smoothie are great sources. The final dash of cinnamon is rich in manganese, a nutrient that supports healthy hair and the production of hair pigment. All in all, it’s a complete hair booster at around 250 calories and a filling way to start the day. As for supplements, I’ll be following studies to see which ones come out on top!

 

Banana Breakfast Smoothie

This sustaining, perfect-for-the-a.m. smoothie nourishes healthy hair from the inside out.

Serves 1

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 peeled, frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup gluten free whole oats
  • 2 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine ingredients in a high-powered blender and process until smooth.

Chocolate Truffles for Beautiful Skin!

These Raw Cacao Almond Truffles are actually beneficial for our skin and our bodies, and completely free of refined sugar. Make them once and I predict that they'll become a go-to sweet treat. You'll serve them at holiday parties. You'll give wrap them up in a lovely box and give them as a gift. And they won't leave you with that terrible, over-sugared feeling.

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I was instantly intrigued when I heard about Kishr, a unique infusion of dried coffee cherry, saigon cinnamon, ginger and cardamom that has origins in Yemen and has been around for over 1,000 years. It has 10 times more available antioxidants than green tea!

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Sip This Festive Beauty Drink on Thanksgiving Morning

Green smoothies may get you through most days of the year, but holidays call for something a little more special. As you anticipate your delicious Thanksgiving meal, give yourself, your skin and your digestion a pick-me-up with a festive sweet/tart cranberry drink.

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