A Bride's Guide to Looking and Feeling Her Most Beautiful

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Wedding season is gearing up, and brides everywhere have but one thing on their minds: looking and feeling good on one of the most special days of their lives.

Actually, that's a huge lie. Brides have 8,659 other things on their minds, from the weather forecast, to the bridal party outfits, to the playlist you’ll be moving to. Every detail of the wedding runs through the bride's mind at one moment or another, so it's really a wonder that she has any time to take care of herself!

To help take the pressure off of seriously overwhelmed brides, I've pared down my favorite pre-wedding beauty pointers (all available in detail to brides who take part in a Beauty Is Wellness coaching program) for looking and feeling your absolute best on your wedding day—or at any big event. These tips are the foundation of glowing skin, an energetic body, your healthiest weight, and minimal stress as your wedding day approaches.

Here's the Eat Pretty approach to looking and feeling your best as you walk down the aisle:

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

1. See sugar for what it is. On your special day, no doubt you're going to celebrate with wedding cake, a plate of petit fours, a slice of homemade pie, or your favorite celebratory sweet. But in the weeks and months before your wedding, sugary foods are tied with stress as the #1 saboteur for brides. Refined sugar contributes to unwanted pounds, makes you more prone to acne, fine lines, dryness, and uneven skin tone, plus it takes you on a hormonal roller-coaster (as if you weren't experiencing enough drama as you plan your perfect wedding day!). If your wedding day goals include clearer skin or shedding extra pounds, cut out sugar as much as you can (try skipping it completely for 10 to 14 days to reset your cravings, if you have them), and find some healthier ways to deal with stress than sweet treats— think dinner with a friend, meditation, sweating in a sauna, or a long soak at the end of the day.

2. Make friends with ferments. Okay, not right before you say your vows, but in the weeks and months before your big day! Sauerkraut—along with other fermented foods like kefir, brined pickles, kimchi, and miso— contains beneficial probiotic bacteria that help amp up the digestion and absorption of beauty nutrients that happens in your gut after you eat. There are several times more probiotic bacteria in fermented foods than there are in store-bought capsules, so try eating your way to better gut health with a few forkfuls of fermented foods each day. Cultivate a healthy population of bacteria and you'll not only boost your immunity and moods and help out your skin, hair and nails, you'll stop bloating and gas (which is a great thing to avoid on your wedding day) before they start.

3. To slim down, eat. Eating to reach your healthiest weight can sounds counterintuitive, but trust me— it works. Starving or cutting too many calories slows your metabolism and dries up the stream of beauty nutrients that your skin, hair and nails need to glow—and grow. Forget dry salads, rice cakes and meal replacement bars; build your diet around beautifying proteins (think wild-caught salmon, lentils, hemp, raw nuts, sardines, pastured eggs, quinoa, etc.), healthy fats (avocados, raw nuts, coconut oil), and an abundance of fresh, seasonal veggies— and eat a combination of the 3 at each meal for your best blood sugar balance. While you’re at it, aim to eat less of the sugars, gluten-containing grains, dairy, and alcohol that can cause inflammation.

4. Don't fall prey to stress sabotage.  Brides, you know that stress is an inevitable part of wedding planning, so create a plan to shut it down before it takes a toll on your beauty and health. Stress, unchecked, can cause breakouts, weight gain and lackluster skin before your big day, not to mention make the entire experience a lot less joyful. Pick a stress-busting activity that makes you happy—it might be yoga, jogging, meditation, or taking a walk in nature—and practice it regularly. I also love supplements and teas like magnesium, lemon balm, lavender, and even CBD to support calm and relaxation.

5. Plan what you'll eat in the week leading up to your big day. You know that when you get busy, beauty nutrition goes out the window. So don't leave your wedding-week meals to chance. Take control of your meals and plan a grocery list of foods that will make your skin glow, rev up your energy and help you handle stress. Go for an anti-inflammatory menu filled with the foods mentioned in number 3, above. When your wedding day arrives, you'll be looking and feeling gorgeous—and you'll feel great about splurging on all of your favorite indulgences during your celebration.

6. Know that you're going to glow on your wedding day like no other day before! Whether or not science can quantify the radiant glow you get from being truly joyous and in love, it's there. Not only will you see it, but so will your partner, and everyone else in the room. Remember that you are gorgeous, and the happiness of this occasion will only amplify your glow beyond what you can imagine!

Bonus: if you're heading to a sun-filled honeymoon destination, you can help prevent UV damage by filling up on sun protective beauty foods that contain lycopene and beta carotene (think watermelon, red peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes). You'll come home with memories, but leave behind the sun damage.

Tell me: what made you glow on your big day? I'd love to hear your own advice for wedding day beauty!

Would you prefer one-on-one coaching to motivate you to put these tips into action in your life? Contact Jolene to set up a free consultation to decide which Beauty Is Wellness coaching program fits your beauty and health goals.

Sunflower photo: Ivan Cabanas — Bouquet photo: Courtney Apple

Originally published July 2013/Updated April 2019

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.

 

Spiced 'Skin Glow' Smoothie

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Autumn foods like sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, squash, and greens are packed with nutrition that just plain makes skin glow— which is a great thing because this season of detox and transition can be tough on our complexions. These autumn foods are particularly powerful sources of beta carotene that helps increase cell turnover for smoother skin, balance oil production, speed up skin cell renewal, and protect against UV damage. If you’re looking for a place to get more of this amazing beauty nutrient in your diet during the fall and winter, try this smoothie, which also balances blood sugar with that key combo of healthy fats, protein, and abundant veggies (but still tastes sweet!). This recipe can be made with roasted sweet potato, pumpkin, or winter squash— and it’s delicious in all of its forms.

Spiced ‘Skin Glow’ Smoothie

This antioxidant-packed smoothie delivers the protein and healthy fats necessary to stabilize your blood sugar in the morning, while also targeting your skin’s seasonal need for extra healing and repair with beta carotene-rich pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato.

Serves 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (try coconut, almond or hemp)

  • 1/2 cup filtered water

  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin, sweet potato or winter squash puree

  • 1/2 banana

  • 1 serving plant-based protein powder (1 to 2 scoops)

  • 1/4 cup raw pecans

  • 2 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp Eat Pretty pumpkin pie spice (p.137 in Eat Pretty) - or sub cinnamon

  • 1 tsp blackstrap molasses (optional for depth of flavor) 

DIRECTIONS

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

Nourish & Detox: Sweet Autumn Soup

Ready for a sweet and comforting fall soup that will supercharge your skin with its beta carotene content and support natural fall cleansing to prepare your body and beauty for winter? This simple soup is the recipe for you. Kabocha squash is one of the most delicious types of squash, and it’s naturally sweet. The addition of apples to this recipe lends it even more sweetness along with detox properties, making this soup perfect to complement a savory dish. Or you can eat light and fill up on the soup by itself—if you do, try adding avocado chunks for extra healthy fats.

Sweet Autumn Soup

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Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 2 organic apples, cored and chopped

  • 1 tsp fresh minced sage

  • 1 quart broth (I prefer vegetable broth in this recipe, but you can use whatever you enjoy)

  • 1 cup pure water

  • 4 cups roasted kabocha squash (about 1 medium)

  • unrefined salt

  • ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt coconut oil and sauté shallot over medium heat until golden. Add apples and sage and cook until apples begin to soften. If foods starts sticking to the bottom of the pot, go ahead and pour in a little broth to loosen it. Add remaining broth and water, as well as the roasted squash, and simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Puree with an immersion blender, or in a high-powered blender in small batches.

For more beautifying recipes, see the Eat Pretty books and my recipe page.

BEAUTY FOOD FOCUS:

Kabocha Squash. Kabocha squash is a perfect beauty food for your eyes, thanks to its fabulous content of healthy vision nutrients, from vitamin A to the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin. The major dose of vitamin A from this winter squash variety continues to support the skin cell renewal and growth that your skin needs this season, while balancing dry and oil spots. It’s a powerful food for radiance! You’ll also get B vitamins (key for gorgeous, strong hair) and iron in your kabocha squash. To roast, cut your squash in half, remove the seeds, and place on a rimmed baking sheet greased with coconut oil. About 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven gives you super-soft squash that you can use in smoothies, puddings, muffins, soups, or mashed as a side dish. You’ll want to eat it straight from the oven with a spoon.

Apples. The pectin found in apple flesh helps the body eliminate waste more effectively, making it a must-have food for natural detoxification and even lowered cholesterol. Apples support healthy digestion in other ways, by supporting a healthy microbiome, which is essential for clear skin, immunity, good moods, and maintaining a healthy weight. The skins of apples (try to eat them and leave them on in recipes as often as you can—and try to buy organic!) are concentrated sources of beauty nutrients, including one phytochemical that stops the formation of wrinkle-causing AGEs and another that reduces allergies.

The Eat Pretty Formula for Easy Packed Lunches

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For some of us, the arrival of fall means a return to the lunchtime grind. For others, that lunchtime grind goes on Mon-Fri, 365 days a year, making it easy to lose steam and creativity. Whether you’re packing lunches for your school-aged children or yourself, getting confident with a basic, Eat Pretty-approved formula for the meal you assemble is a key jumping off point for (no exaggeration) thousands of lunchbox variations. Once you know the formula, you can get creative and listen to your body, knowing that there’s pretty much no way to mess up! And heads up: this is essentially the formula I use for every meal, every day, and one that has helped me to rebalance my hormones, find my healthiest weight, and enable my skin to glow. It’s also helped so many of my clients to do the same. So, here we go!

My Eat Pretty-Approved Lunch Formula

Ready to make lunch?

Here’s the formula: veggies + protein + healthy fat + bonus foods.

No question, more than half of your plate (or lunchbox) should be colorful, antioxidant-packed veggies. Roast them, steam them, eat them raw, dice them, spiralize them— it doesn't matter what form they come in. This part of your meal is super nutrient-dense, delivering fiber and phytochemicals that keep you glowing. Rotate these ingredients according to color, season, and/or cravings.

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Your lunchbox also needs protein. It can be plant-based or clean animal-based, depending on your body and your preferred diet. Aim for at least 10-15 grams of protein to help you feel full, burn food slowly for sustained energy, and deliver the building blocks of skin, hair and nails that is essential to your body.

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Now make sure that your lunchbox has some form of healthy fat. Fat nourishes strong cell membranes (locking in youthful moisture), and is an essential building block of your hormones (hello, better moods and clear skin). Think avocado, raw seeds or nuts, a drizzle of olive oil or a healthy fat-rich dressing.

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As a bonus, you can add something special that brings it all together and makes the benefits even more amazing, like fermented pickles or sauerkraut, dulse flakes, gomasio (check out the recipe in Eat Pretty Every Day), nutritional yeast, etc. If you’re packing lunch for kids or you’re going to be in a crowded place where you want to make sure your lunch doesn’t stink too much, leave out the smelly stuff. But this category can be an important bonus on days when you want to feel and look extra amazing. And if you know your goal is to eat more fermented foods every day for better skin and overall health, pack some in your lunch!

If you’ve used the Eat Pretty, Live Well journal, you already know what an Eat Pretty plate looks like. If not, here’s the visual:

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Your Lunch Style

I find that everyone has unique preferences when it comes to lunch style (hello, bioindividuality). I prefer a salad to a sandwich. During the warmer months, I prefer greens over grains as the base of my lunch, but as fall and winter arrive I turn to grains and warm lunches that need to be reheated. What’s your style?

Foundations (start with these and then pile ingredients on top)

  • Greens

  • Quinoa, buckwheat or other GF grains

  • Shredded brussels sprouts

  • Beans

  • GF pasta— try chickpea or lentil pasta for extra protein

  • Lentils

Colorful Veggie Examples

  • Any roasted veggies you have on hand (I love broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, carrots)

  • Cooked beets

  • Chopped raw peppers

  • Tomatoes

  • Cucumbers

  • Radishes

  • Steamed green beans

  • Cooled cooked potatoes- white or sweet potatoes

  • So many more!

Clean Protein Examples

  • Hard-cooked pastured eggs

  • Wild salmon

  • Beans- lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans are all amazing

  • Shelled hemp seeds

  • BPA-free cans of wild salmon, sardines, naturally smoked oysters (I like the Crown Prince brand for sardines and oysters)

  • Clean animal proteins that fit your diet

  • Quinoa

  • Plant-based protein powder 

Healthy Fat Examples

  • Avocado

  • Raw seeds and nuts

  • Hemp seeds

  • Olives

  • Dressings (see below)

Dressing and Sauce Ideas:

  • Turmeric dressing

  • Classic Balsamic

  • ACV dressing

  • Green goddess dressing

  • Romesco- red pepper and almond, parsley

  • Lemon and olive oil

  • Persillade

  • Chimichurri

  • Olive tapenade

  • Pesto

Bonus Food Examples:

  • Fermented pickles

  • Kraut

  • Raw seeds and nuts

  • Gomasio

  • Dulse flakes

  • Nutritional yeast

 A few past recipes that fit the bill:

Seeing Beauty Salad

Chopped Chickpea-Kraut Salad

 Miso Broccoli Lentil Salad

Notes for success:

Keep track.

Along the way, you’re going to find meal combinations that you love (and some you don’t). Make sure you write down the combinations that are winners to your body and your palate. I keep a list on my fridge of meals that I want to remember because inevitably when it’s time to grocery shop my brain draws a blank. As the seasons change, it’s also easy to forget meals that you aren’t cooking because ingredients are not in season. So next time fall rolls back around, you’ll remember exactly what meal you loved to cook with your butternut squash, figs, pumpkin, etc.

Shift your mindset: Instead of ‘I have to,’ choose ‘I get to!’

This is big- changing the way you approach making lunches can make all the difference. Instead of “Packing my lunch is exhausting. I’m too busy to do this for myself. I don’t have time.”

Vs.

Think: “Cooking is empowering, strengthening, even a rebellious act to some degree. I can make a little time. A little investment can change the way I feel day to day, and the trajectory of my health and appearance.”

So, what’s for lunch today?

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.

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.

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.