Happy Memorial Day

Photo Credit: Dylan Price

Yogurt – Icelandic Style

Has anyone else tried siggi’s? I noticed it for the first time the other day and I was curious. I decided to go with the Pomegranate Passion Fruit.  My jury is still out on this one… I like that it’s sweetened with agave and hence not very sweet. There is a fruity tartness that seems to be more passion fruit than pomegranate. It is thick. Very, very thick. As with Greek yogurt, I’m shocked how a nonfat yogurt can be so thick. However, this Icelandic style is unfortunately lacking in the consistency department. A fork would be an option. Well maybe that’s extreme, but it is really thick.  A plus – this skyr (aka the traditional yogurt of Iceland) has 2-3 times the protein of standard yogurt. Pretty cool, but I would definitely take a little less protein and a little more creaminess.

Will Skyr follow the Greek variety and be the next yogurt craze? I don’t think so, but it’s quite interesting and worth a try!

Super Veggie Quiche

I recently posted my friend’s delicious recipe for a crustless vegetable quiche. This was the first time I made a quiche so I was a little nervous, but it was really easy and so, so tasty. Nicole, I hope I made you proud!

The cheese: Havarti Dill

(Anyone who knows me well knows I’m not huge on cheese so if I’m taking a picture of a hunk of cheese, it’s because it was THAT good!)

So excited to have this for lunch today and dinner again tonight!

Chickpea Salad

When I was a kid, I discovered this delicious salad at a diner on Long Island.  A couple of years ago, when I was no longer frequenting the diner, I attempted recreating this delightful little side dish. I’m happy to say it really does taste like the one I always loved…

So simple – just mix:

  • 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans (drained)
  • a handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 slices of chopped raw onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

After mixing & tasting, add a dash more olive oil/vinegar if needed  (I always eyeball the oil & vinegar amounts then adjust after tasting)

Reading Ingredient Labels

I was just looking at L’Occitane’s blog and read a very interesting fact: “The first three ingredients listed on the label generally represent about 90-98% of the product. Ingredients listed in the middle of the label usually present about 5 to 8% of the product and the last ones about 1 to 3%.”

So while all of a product’s ingredients are relevant (keep reading the entire label), those first three are the bulk of whatever you’re buying – good to know!

Here’s the full article: The Truth About Natural Beauty Products

Relaxing Room Spray

Photo Credit: She Essential Beauty

Lavender, lemongrass and bergamot – the perfect blend to clarify the air and calm the senses. Shē Essential Beauty is the creator of this room spray, amongst other home and beauty products. Shē is a holistic company with a really cool beginning – two licensed acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists founded the line upon the priniciple that beauty truly comes from within.

I just came across their blog and it has some very informative posts, like this one: Emotional Beauty (includes an easy to do “Natural Beauty Meditation”!)

Fashion Forecasting

As if figuring out what to wear each morning wasn’t hard enough then you throw it that small detail we call weather and you can really find yourself tearing apart your closet. I know every woman can relate to such mornings, when the clothes are flying, outfit after outfit is rejected…Sometimes, after this storm of fabric, you end up with something that makes you smile… but then you walk outside and oh no, you realize you’re totally not dressed appropriately in the end. Of course, I’m sure some of us stay very on top of the daily forecast so these mistakes are avoided (too hot, too cold, no rain boots, etc), but even with the weather man’s input, it can still be tricky! Want some help dressing both cute and climate-appropriate? I found the best site – The Weather Stylist. Just type in your zip and there it is – not just your local weather, but a whole array of outfits to choose from! There’s even brand and pricing information for each item. Getting dressed was never so easy.

Graphics Courtesy of The Weather Stylist

The Original “Green” Cleaner

Way before there were “green” products there was Bon Ami.  Developed over 120 years ago, Bon Ami was the gentle alternative to the harsh quartz-based cleaning powders around in the 1880s. Today, Bon Ami continues to make cleaning products that are gentle on both its users and surfaces – everything is biodegradable, nontoxic and hypoallergenic. I’m especially a fan of their all purpose cleaner and dish soap (super gentle on hands). Every Bon Ami product comes in the most simplistic option of “Free & Clear”, as well as a fun, scented option – Tangerine Thyme.

If you think about how much you clean over the course of your life, it is truly an investment in your health to not only go natural with your food and beauty products, but also your every day cleaning supplies! I know many people are probably doubtful of the effectiveness of natural cleaners and I’ll be honest, I don’t think there’s any natural product that can match the strength of bleach, but they are many effective, natural alternatives out there – like Bon Ami, like good old white vinegar, etc. Give it a try!

Why Go Natural with Skin Care?

There are several common “bad ingredients” that give you good reason to go natural with your skin care. If you see one or more of these, I would definitely pass and look for a more natural choice!

Some of the offenders include:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – known to cause irritation of the skin and eyes. Also, there has been a possible linkage to skin tumors.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate – sounds so similar to the previous “bad guy” and is actually its cousin. This one is extremely prevalent in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, and detergents. It’s what makes products get all foamy, which is nice, but toxic when Sodium Laureth Sulfate is the source of the bubbles. This ingredient has proven to be a skin irritant and a substance not enjoyed one bit by our trusty livers.

Petrochemicals –  this group includes names like benzoic acid, ethanol, ethylene, vinyl acetate, propylene, and toluene. Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum or other hydrocarbon origin. Petrochemicals are used to make things like petroleum jelly and mineral oil. They are seemingly harmless and simple, but their byproducts, like dioxin, are known to cause an array of serious health problems, including cancers and endocrine disruption.

Phthalates – you’ll see these in shampoos, lotions, and other things you are regularly coating yourself with, but be warned – in spite of their wide spread use their safety is highly debatable. Reproductive, endocrine and respiratory disorders have been associated with phthalates.  Yet, they continue to be used as solvents in perfumes, as well as stabilizers and lubricants in other body care products. Phthalates are used to make rigid plastics soft and pliable…rigid plastics soft and pliable?  Since I don’t think we would even somewhat equate our skin to plastic, I would strongly say that this is another one to avoid.  Phthalates, see you later,  I’ll leave you to soften my tupperware.

Parabens –  methylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben – they all help to increase the shelf life of products, but is it worth it? The hormone-like effects of parabens disrupt the endocrine system, hence potentially leading to reproductive issues. Not nice, not desirable, put it back on the shelf!

You are wondering why such unhealthy ingredients like these would be used in so many beauty products? Simple answer: they are cheap, cheap, cheap!

Got Greens?

Last night, I was really feeling like I needed more greens in my life so I whipped up this supremely green and delicious stir fry.

I simply sauteed the following nutritious ingredients at medium heat for about 15 minutes (or until veggies are as tender as desired):

  • kale (a whole bunch)
  • broccoli (3 crowns)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper
  • 1 bunch of scallions (6 scallions total)
  • 1 jumbo sized clove of garlic
  • approximately 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (if you like spice)

7 Hot Ingredients

You’ve probably been seeing these 7 being featured more and more in natural skincare lines lately. Here’s a quick summary of their uses/benefits.

Oak Extract – known to reduce wrinkles and increase skin’s elasticity

Argan Oil – makes hair smooth & shiny

Green Tea – contains powerful antioxidants to reduce fine lines, reduce puffiness and increase brightness

Vitamin C – required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. Also essential to the formation of collagen.

Super fruits (like goji, acai & pomegranate) – packed with antioxidants that have the ability to counteract skin’s age damage caused by free radicals

Resveratrol – aids collagen production

Mulberry Extract – acts as a skin brightener and helps to control age spots

Natural Teeth Whitening

Here are some all natural and wallet-friendly ways to make your pearly whites even whiter!

Celery, Apples & Carrots – All three are high in cellulose so they act like natural abrasives. They cleanse teeth and remove surface stains. All three are perfect snacks to eat raw all by themselves so keep chomping or start today!

Spinach, Broccoli & Lettuce – Greens like these contain mineral compounds that form a film over the teeth, which stops pigments of other foods from staining teeth.  So there’s external benefits in addition to all of the the internal ones…we like.

Strawberries – contain malic acid, a natural astringent. Simply rub strawberries directly on your teeth and leave on for about five minutes (not any longer) and brush thoroughly with toothpaste to remove the mixture. If the seeds are a lagging issue that’s where floss comes in.

Lemon* or Orange – specifically the peel (inner side), which you can leave against teeth for 10-15 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly.

*The citric acid of lemons has the ability to strip your teeth of calcium and weaken the outer covering of teeth (aka enamel) so don’t overdue it!

Baking Soda – I’ve already listed this as a key natural beauty must-have (for skin & scalp). Baking soda also naturally lightens stains on teeth. Just dip your toothbrush in some baking soda and brush like you normal. Hence, the addition of baking soda in many toothpastes these days.

**Warning: Don’t use any of the last 3 (strawberries, lemons & baking soda) more than once a week because like with any whitening treatment, natural or unnatural, you can damage your enamel if you overdue it!! Also, if you have sensitive teeth, you want to be even more careful.

JUARA Skincare

I have two new scrubs that I am loving right now. Both are by JUARA Skincare, a company that fuses natural Indonesian skincare treatments with modern science.

The first is their Rice Facial Scrub, which is rice-based (of course) and has such a clean, fresh scent. It reminds of something I used as a teenager, but I just can’t put my finger on it!  So needless to say, I especially enjoy the nostalgic aroma every time I use it. This sulfate and oil-free scrub contains rice starch, which helps to soften the skin and prevent moisture lost. This is a great choice for all skin types.

The second scrub I’m loving is JUARA’s Candlenut Body Polish. Again, the smell is unique, but in this case sweet and nutty. Personally, I love that in a body scrub. Like the facial scrub, this is really effective, but not harsh. Love it.

Try one or both and let me know what you think!

Fresh & Fruity Body Washes

With options like Red Raspberry, Green Apple & Ginger, Italian Red Grape, and Bulgarian Lavender, Desert Essence Organics Body Washes are the perfect springtime shower accessory! All of the varieties contain natural, botanical ingredients. They are not super moisturizing or oily (traits you would want in the winter months). Rather, they are nourishing yet refreshing and I just love the colorful, photographic packaging. Desert Essence also makes handwash in some of the same scents with the same bright style of packaging.

Photo Credit: DesertEssence.com, LLC

Natural Fact of the Day

All types of tea, whether white, green, black, or oolong, come from the very same plant (the Camellia sinensis). A tea’s “color” classification is determined by the processing of the leaves from field to cup. No matter the selection, tea is packed with antioxidants and a delicious beverage hot or cold. Personally, my favorites are iced green tea with a splash of lemonade, hot jasmine green tea or black tea with a teaspoon of honey and a splash of organic milk.  What’s your favorite? If you don’t know, broaden your tea horizons and try some new varieties today!

Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

Healthy Italian Wedding Soup

Here is a healthy twist on a classic from Dr. Walter Crinnion, author of Clean, Green & Lean: Get Rid of the Toxins That Make You Fat

(Serves 4)

  • ½ package lean ground turkey
  • 4 Jennie-O Italian Turkey Sausage links, sliced
  • Spike seasoning to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 package gluten-free pasta spirals
  • 8 cups water
  • 32 ounces organic vegetable broth
  • 1 14½-ounce can organic tomatoes
  • 3 cups organic frozen spinach
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

How to: In a large sauté pan, brown the turkey. Season with the Spike, drain, and set aside. Place the sausage in a sauté pan, season with the Spike, and brown. Add the sea salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Stir in the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and set aside. In a large soup pot, heat the water and the broth, tomatoes, and spinach. Add the turkey, sausage, and onion powder, and stir until a low boil is attained. Reduce the heat simmer and stir in the pasta. Cover, simmer for about 30 minutes, and serve.

(Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from Clean, Green & Lean, by Walter Crinnion. Copyright © 2010 by Walter Crinnion.)

Author Bio
Dr. Walter Crinnion is one of America’s foremost authorities on environmental medicine. A naturopathic physician, he is the director of the Environmental Medicine Center of Excellence at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona and chair of the Environmental Medicine Department. He is a close colleague of Dr. Peter D’Adamo, author of the monumental bestseller Eat Right 4 Your Type.

For more information, visit www.crinnionmedical.com.