It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions. After eggs and bacon it says, “Work!” After beefsteak and porter, it says, “Sleep!” After a cup of tea (two spoonfuls for each cup, and don’t let it stand for more than three minutes), it says to the brain,
“Now rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature, and into life: spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!”
~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
I was thinking as I woke today that I would like to share more here in this space. With a full plate, endless deadlines, wonderful chaos and dots connecting like you would hardly believe (thank you, thank you, thank you!), my time has become precious…rather… I am learning to realize just how precious it has always been and to appreciate the moments I do take for myself more thoroughly.
I have a new morning ritual.
I have been starting each day with a mug of tea. This simple act alone stops the swirling of the world for a moment, provides the much needed motivation to just sit in silence and begin from neutral rather than pulling myself out of bed and catapulting frantically into my day, attacking to-do lists and endless emails and phone calls and responsibility without thought to what climbing these mountains actually means to me; why I live so big and fast and dispense all my energy with such relentless passion.
I believe there is power in stillness and silence, yet I struggle to embrace either. Wrapped up in my mug of tea, I somehow remember to breathe.
Now for what you really want to know.
Tea is a real treat for the skin!
The skin’s appearance is determined by its exposure to potentially harmful environmental influences such as sunlight and air pollution, in combination with diet and topical care.
Red, green, white, and black teas from around the world have been used for centuries in various medicinal remedies. There have been a number of encouraging studies of the skin benefits of green tea. Animal studies showed protection from skin cancer. Both animal and human studies have credibly demonstrated that topical green tea formulations reduce sun damage. Green tea appears to exert sun damage protection by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation rather than by blocking UV rays.
Considering their well-documented antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, topical green tea polyphenols are likely to slow down the development of some signs of aging. Green tea’s gentle but powerful action is of immense relief particularly for those with skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff,and acne - all of which are exacerbated by inflammation.
The simple how to:
1. Brew yourself a cup of your favorite tea. I highly suggest organic green or white tea for their antioxidant goodness, but chamomile, rose and lavender are favorites of mine and lovely as well, particularly for calming sensitive skin.
2. Sip and think good thoughts. Yes, this is required. :)
3. Remove tea bag (warm, not HOT) and gently swipe over your entire face, neck and decollete for an incredible natural toner. This simple step calms skin, reduces inflammation and general puffiness, soothes tired eyes, balances excess oil and sweeps away any dry skin or flakiness. Did I mention it feels incredible and costs practically pennies?
- If you are feeling particularly in need of an emergency fix, keep a tray of green tea ice cubes in your freezer and slide over your face on especially puffy days when you need serious and fast acting relief.
Remember the tea kettle - it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings!
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. I agree. But that doesn’t mean you should pile on the pancakes, sausage, bacon, half dozen eggs and cup after cup of acidic coffee.
This is the time to start your day off right and to get your system fueled properly to truly live your day big.
Once a week my husband and I indulge in something rich and hearty off the seasonally rotating special’s menu of our favorite breakfast place and boy do I enjoy that! But my everyday fare looks like it’s own section at a natural foods market.
I start with this:
Which tossed into my Vitamix turns into this:
It’s a pretty incredible mix of solid nutrition. Today’s blend includes:
giant fist of curly kale
giant fist of dinosaur kale
giant fist of collard greens
handful of parsley
handful of cilantro
handful of basil
one green onion
one large clove garlic
one stalk celery
fist of cauliflower
fist of napa cabbage
one inch hunk of fresh ginger
half tablespoon miso paste
two tablespoons nutritional yeast
tablespoon flax seeds
tablespoon raw sesame seeds
half an avocado (I generally use one whole)
half a jalapeno, seeds removed (leave them if you like it super spicy) (not pictured)
half a lemon (not pictured)
shake of cayenne pepper (not pictured)
teaspoon chili powder (not pictured)
teaspoon cumin (not pictured)
two cups ice
water as needed to blend
This is my general mix. Depending on how many days removed from my farmer’s market trip I am, there is some variation. The type of green doesn’t matter, just get them into your diet. I favor kale, collards, cabbages, parsley and cilantro, but spinach, arugula, romaine, etc. are all great. Variety is key for balanced nutrition.
If you’re trying to work more good fats/oils/nuts/seeds into your diet, this is a perfect way. Just about any veggie can be tossed in (try zucchini, tomatoes, broccoli) for variety. I think the avocado is a must. It makes the base creamy and delicious and adds a whopping 40% of the recommended daily value of folate which is responsible for healthy hair, skin and nails.
It’s a big jump from cereal or french toast to blended garden goodness so ease in. Try one day a week and see what happens. You may wake up suddenly craving the green, I certainly do.
Bottom line - you make choices with every bite you take. How do you want to fuel your body? How do you want to fuel your life? Choose, breathe, enjoy.
Start your day with something fresh and watch the world come together all around you. Seriously, there seems to be some magic in this bright and happy tonic.
Into a blender, toss:
One whole lemon, peel removed
big handful parsley
2 tsp fresh ginger
1 small cucumber
Add a little pure water (or coconut water) if desired. Blend, sip, breath and enjoy!
Into a large bowl, toss:
1 package rinsed Kelp noodles(You can find these at Whole Foods)
2 Carrots, shaved into strips with a veggie peeler
1 large Zucchini, shaved into strips with a veggie peeler
1 cup shredded Purple cabbage
big handful chopped fresh Cilantro
Into a Vitamix (or food processor/blender) toss:
1 whole Lemon, peel removed
1 whole Orange, peel removed
2 large cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger
1 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Tamari
1 Tbsp Miso paste
2 Tbsp Toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Agave nectar
Blend until creamy then toss with the noodle and veggie mixture. Let sit for an hour or so until the kelp has softened and flavors have melded.
Top with sliced avocado, black sesame seeds and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
I’m a total sucker for sweet things and while I normally go the decadent/chocolate/creamy/carmel/peanut butter/rich things route, I can’t argue with raspberries. As a child, we grew massive amounts of these finger puppet (picture it!) treats and consumed them overflowing handfuls at a time.
Despite the June gloom that feels more like February here in Los Angeles, I whipped up this summer treat and pulled my husband and our dog outside to enjoy a few moments in the fickle sun.
This super simple recipe takes about two minutes so you have no excuse not to give it a whirl.
Into the vitamix (works in a food processor as well):
*1 1/2 c. frozen raspberries
*1 large banana (frozen will yield a thicker result, fresh will make soft serve)
*1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
That’s it! Blend quickly until smooth and enjoy.
A couple tips:
If you’re low on your veggie quota for the day (or have finicky kids you’re still force feeding the good stuff), toss in a handful of red cabbage. I promise you won’t taste it and it will only enhance the color!
Feel free to add a drizzle of flax oil or a spoon of coconut oil if you’re looking to up your body healthy oils and add a creamier mouth-feel.
Toss in some chocolate chips, shredded coconut, macadamia nuts, whatever makes you happy. With a base this healthy, have fun with it!
SUPER HEALTHY BONUS:
This fruit is packed with fiber and manganese. Fiber helps slow the digestive process so you feel full longer. Manganese is a trace mineral that helps keep your metabolic rate high, which in turn burns fat.
They are also high in ellagic acid, a phenolic compound that may help prevent cancer, inhibit the growth of cancer cells and stop the growth of some cancers.
Extra bonus - raspberries are awesome for your skin. They contain lots of Vitamin C and rank among the fruits with the highest antioxidant strength.
I’m a veggie fanatic.
But I also have a sweet tooth and a pretty consistent desire for something creamy.
The other day I got a crazy craving for a broccoli/carrot/raisin salad… the kind I remember having as a kid but can’t imagine who possibly made it for me.
Here’s my grown up version:
In a giant bowl, toss:
3 large carrots, grated
3 cups broccoli, bite size florets
2 cups cauliflower, bite size florets
2 cups chopped celery
3 cups chopped kale
1 cup red cabbage
1/2 cup organic raisins
1/3 cup black sesame seeds
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Any other nuts or goodies you can think of!
Then, toss into a blender:
juice of two lemons (or an orange or grapefruit!)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Agave Nectar (or pure maple syrup)
1/2 c vegan mayo (http://www.followyourheart.com/products/organic-vegenaise/)
1 clove garlic
fresh or dried rosemary, basil, lavender, thyme, dill, whatever you like…
Bragg’s liquid aminos (or soy sauce or sea salt) to taste
Blend until smooth.
Drizzle dressing over veggies, toss the rainbow and enjoy!
What’s good for your belly is more often than not what’s magic for your skin. This is a highly healing, super nutritious and delicious creamy delight that will sooth your insides while doing wonders for your complexion.
I use a vitamix. It’s a godsend. I waited six years to get one, holding out thinking it’s price was outrageous and not justifiable. That was six years too long. This bad boy makes anything you throw at it an unreasonable level of creamy and delicious.
You can use a regular blender or even a food processor, it just won’t be quite so silky smooth.
Blend until creamy:
1 english cucumber
1 c cauliflower
1/2 c green cabbage
2 c kale
2 cloves garlic
2 thin slices fresh ginger
1 small seeded jalepeno (leave the seeds if you’re into super spicy!)
small handful parsley
small handful cilantro
half a lemon
big pinch good sea salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds (I used black, but all types have benefits)
Add just enough water to get the blender moving easily. Adjust to your preference of consistency.
When smooth, pour into bowls. Drizzle with sesame oil, liquid aminos and Cholula. Sprinkle with more sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Some days are just crazy busy and leave little time for fixing full meals. As I often work from home, I do feel pressure to feed myself and my husband well all throughout the day and not give in to too many quick-fixes or at least not skimp on the nutrient quotient.
That said, you can make fast and nutritious meals with very little effort. Here was our lunch today:
In the rice cooker:
1 c. black quinoa
1 1/2c. water
1/2 Tbsp Earth Balance (http://www.earthbalancenatural.com/)
1 tsp sea salt
Cook until fluffy and the machine turns itself off. (Can also of course be made stovetop)
Add one package Trader Joe’s Cumin & Chili Chickpeas (these are only 99cents and super convenient! If you can’t find them or you have time to spare, 1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas seasoned with cumin, garlic, chili, etc. will do)
Stir and add one package Trader Joe’s Punjab Eggplant. This adds great depth of flavor, smokiness and creaminess.
Sprinkle on a handful of Daiya Vegan Mozzarella cheese:
That’s it! Stir it up and you have a bowl of hot and nutritious, creamy and comforting goodness in about twenty minutes.
We are overdue for a grocery store run, but I would normally add something green to the mix. This would be wonderful with gently cooked kale or broccoli tossed in and halved cherry tomatoes would take it over the top.
My body has felt a little out of whack lately, so I have been focused on tuning in and really treating myself well.
Yesterday and today both began with fantastically fresh and healing smoothies.
Into the vitamix…
1/2 english cucumber
1 1/2 cups frozen papaya
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Blend until smooth and frothy.
Yesterday’s variation exchanged the papaya for 2 small frozen bananas. It was just as delicious - both not too sweet, very refreshing and cooling and awesome for the digestive system.
Sip to health!
My system was feeling a bit run down today and I knew that I needed to get as much garlic into my body as possible. Soup is always a fantastic solution for such things!
Into a cast iron, I tossed:
2 Tbsp Earth Balance
5 large cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
1/2 c cubed daikon radish
1 can white kidney beans
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp braggs liquid aminos
2 tsp sea salt
Saute until all is soft and fragrant.
Add 1-2 cups water then blend in Vitamix until creamy.
Drizzle each serving with 1 tsp truffle oil.