Makeover Mondays: My Makeup Gets a Makeover

I remember when my mother took me to the Clinique counter at Nordstrom’s when I started taking an interest in make up (because other girls were wearing it). The “all natural” look that Clinique exhibits is still a far cry from how I look at make up these days. My thoughts have evolved from wearing make up for looks to wearing it for protection (at least 30 SPF on the face) to wearing it to nourish my skin and my body, topically – remember, you absorb much of what you put on your skin, so why not buy products that you could, essentially, eat? My husband has expressed his slight disappointment in me when I wear too much makeup, telling me I don’t really look like myself, while also telling me how beautiful I am without it (no, I do not take this for granted). This expression and almost permission to not wear it, paired with research and more knowledge around how many toxins and chemicals we not only put in but on our bodies, and I have broken free from my 15 year old make up routine and have found the perfect solution for me. I thought I would share it here.

When I started looking for new, cleaner products, I went for unscented, no parabens or other chemicals that recent studies consider unsafe, and may interfere with metabolism and overall health (not to mention the chemicals that we don’t yet  know are harmful). I started to use what I have learned about plastics and parabens, and links to hormone imbalance and cancers, when shopping for cosmetics. There is much to learn through ewg.org’s Skindeep site. And then there are the links that xenoestrogens have to metabolism and unhealthy weight gain.

Then I thought I would push it further. I started moisturizing with coconut oil (yep, the kind you cook with), washing my face with grainy raw honey and thought about making my own toothpaste (powder)  - I have yet to get to that one.  One aspect of looking for a better beauty and hygiene protocol is always the cost of trying different products. But low and behold, I was led to Sequioa Beauty through a networking meeting with a physical therapist. I got some samples, heard some enthusiastic testimonials and of course, it being local, I was sold on trying this stuff. And it is practically edible. My routine is as follows:

makeup 1

  • Wash face twice a day with Sequioa Purify and Release Cleanser
  • Dab problem areas and potential pimples with the Sequioa Anti-Inflammatory Serum
  • Apply Juice Beauty SPF 30 tinted concealer. I don’t plan on purchasing this once what I have runs out. It’s a bit too heavy.
  • Apply Juice Beauty powder if needed, for less shine.
  • I use brown eye pencil, brown mascara and shimmery brown eye shadow for special occasions, or when I have more time. I like eye shadows that last a long time.

Other:

  • Brush teeth with Sonicare electric toothbrush, Tea Tree Therapy toothpaste (but I wanna start making my own tooth powder)
  • Moisturize body after shower with raw coconut oil or Awakening skincare products (right now I have Hands)
  • For the lips, homemade chapstick from my friend Ilah Jarvis in Peppermint. I think it’s pretty easy to make!

Yes, Sequioa is a bit of an investment, but I use one pump of the cleanser and two to three drops of the serum everyday, so it lasts a long time. There is a slight scent, but it isn’t artificial and I rather enjoy it. Earthy but sweet.

 

Makeover Mondays: Lunch is Important

Just over two years ago, right before my love and I got married, I realized (in retrospect) that I was trying, as many people do, to look my most svelte and feel my strongest in a bit of an unhealthy way. I rarely ate lunch. I was good at breakfast, and scarfed a ton for dinner, but lunch got lost.

Often times we aren’t aware of how we aren’t taking care of ourselves. We can lose sight of the smaller, easier habits we can put into place easily, or just remind ourselves of. As kids, we didn’t forget to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. Breaking for meals was obviously important for our parents to instill in us as kids. Meals were scheduled events that we were raised to take part in; if you are a functional parent at all, you ensure that the kids get breakfast within a short time of waking, eat lunch at lunch time (remember old fashioned lunch time? 12pm?) and eat dinner at least one to two hours before bed. We have let fall some of the most fundamental and simple habits. And we have replaced these simple, instinctual habits with complicated, expensive devices, plans, diets, pills or products that often times have side effects, aren’t sustainable and aren’t, well…fun or delicious. So, I raise my hand and confess. I lost sight of lunch. It is one of the things I have been working on over the past couple of months to get back and find again: making a balanced meal, sitting down and eating it for at least half an hour. What a concept!  : )

As your personal nutritionist, this is one area where I say, “Do as I say, not as I do…” Now, I will try to do as I say when it comes to lunch. So, for this weeks’ Makeover Mondays, I am making over lunch, or rather, I am making over the absence of lunch in my life to prioritize its presence. Maybe you should too!

Leftover Slow Cooker Lamb Shanks with Leftover Roasted Butternut Squash (for lunch). Easy – just reheat! 

Add other veggies such as celery or carrots to your slow cooker if mushrooms aren't your thing.

Add other veggies such as celery or carrots to your slow cooker if mushrooms aren’t your thing.

  • 2 lamb shanks: go to your local butcher (grass fed, organic)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large heaping handfuls brown mushrooms, chopped in half
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup bone or chicken broth (made mine from scratch)
  • 1/4 cup any cheap, dry red wine
  • Finely hopped fresh thyme and rosemary (about two branches each)
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Rub lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large, wide pan over medium-high heat. Add lamb to pan and cook until browned on all sides, turning often, about 5-7 minutes. Add onions, mushrooms, garlic and herbs to bottom of slow cooker. Place lamb on top of vegetables. Pour broth and wine over lamb. Set timer on slow cooker for 6 hours at on HIGH. If you remember, turn the shanks occasionally and spooning juices over the exposed meat over the course of cooking time.

Using tongs, transfer lamb to platter. Ladle juices over lamb and serve, allowing some extra juice to be poured over lamb into individual plates. Eat fresh, or reheat the next day for lunch, possibly with leftover baked butternut squash cubes with roasted pepitas (one of my favorite sides).

Wishing you peace this holiday season.

Makeover Mondays…on Tuesday: Soothing and Warm Pumpkin Smoothie

Yesterday got away from me – I was blessed with taking care of a friends’ little one while she labored with her second. She had a healthy baby boy! And I got to spend the day with one of my favorite kids. So, sorry for the delay, but here is another holiday concoction I made the other morning.

  • 1/2 coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin
  • 2 drops vanilla liquid Stevia (or 1 tbsp raw honey)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 scoop hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp raw honey (optional)

Heat coconut milk and water on the stove until simmering. Place remaining ingredients into blender, add hot milk and water mixture, blend and serve hot. Yum!

Just Glowing With Health has a good cold version of this idea, as well. What is your favorite holiday hot beverage?

Makeover Mondays: Cranberry Persimmon Nut Muffins

I had an amazing cooking session with a client last week, and they expressed their love of a recipe that meant warmth and good memories for them. We made over a cranberry bread/muffin recipe together; the result was scrumptious! (who says you can’t make the recipe when you are missing one key component?). We didn’t have orange juice or zest that this recipe called for, so we used Fuyu persimmons that we pureed with a little water.  The look on my clients’ face was priceless when we tasted the finished product; I don’t need anything else for the holidays – that look was more than enough.

Enjoy this scrumptious recipe for dessert or breakfast. Paid it with one or two soft boiled eggs and your day will be off to a great start.

Holiday Cranberry Persimmon Nut Muffins

cranberry persimmon muffin

  • 2 cups almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill brand is good)
  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar, but coconut sugar is a better option)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons real butter, melted
  • 2 ripe Fuyu persimmons, chopped
    • Plus 2 tbsp hot water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (pecan, walnuts or both)
  • Optional – if you want your muffins a bit less moist, add 2 tablespoons of coconut flour. Without the coconut flour, they will be smoother. Your choice – try both!

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or muffin tin.

Mix together almond meal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Puree persimmons in blender with hot water. Stir in persimmon puree, butter and eggs. Mix until well blended. Stir in chopped cranberries and nuts.

Spread evenly in loaf pan or muffin tins. 

Bake for 55 minutes in loaf, 25 minutes in muffin tin or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

My Favorite Snacks You Can Make This Week

My top picks are as follows – easy to assemble, throw in your purse or backpack and eat on the go (although chewing and eating slowly sitting down is always important!).  And what makes up a good snacks? Some protein, healthy carbohydrate and fat content (fat and protein fill you up quick and give you sustained energy, rather than a quick sugar pick me up and crash from a cookie and coffee). Next time, reach for one of these:

snacks

  • Fresh fruit and nuts – the tried and true combination, ensuring you get protein, fat and carbs in your snack.

- Examples include: Banana with almond or sunflower seed butter, apple with nut/seed butter, orange with handful of nut (walnuts and almonds are my favorite)

  • 1/2 or 1 whole avocado with an array of fillings: cut avocado in half, and fill the pit bowl with any of the following:

- Fill avocado with your favorite salsa – salsa verde, chipotle, etc..
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper, squeeze of lemon juice (I love truffle salt).
- Mix together canned salmon or sardines with some curry and sea salt and pepper.
- Scoop out the avocado contents into a bowl and mash up with dollop of honey or pure maple syrup, mix with 1 tbsp cocoa powder , a dollop of coconut oil and splash of milk (any kind) and a pinch of sea salt – blend or mash well until combined.

  • Stuff 3-5 Medjool (my favorite) or any kind of date with goat cheese and walnuts
  • Any kind of nut/fruit/spice ball – play around with different combos. My favorite is honey, almond or sunflower seed butter and unsweetened coconut flakes, mixed in a bowl and rolled into balls. Keep in freezer indefinitely.
  • Blanched veggies (boil water, place vegetable of choice in water for 1-2 minutes, then place immediately into ice water). Pair with hummus or other topping or dip.
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers with any topping, dip or tapenade (suggestion: pulse basil, green olives, garlic, olive oil, sea salt and pepper in a food processor for a delicious tapenade).

What is your favorite snack?

 

Makeover Mondays: Poached Fish

Fresh, wild fish and pastured meat can be more expensive. Fact. It might not be if we set our sites on prioritizing higher quality, real food and had a longer, deeper conversation about farm subsidies in this country. Fact. But that’s another topic for another day…

On that note, I am so thankful to my in-laws who sent us home after the Thanksgiving holiday with salmon, halibut and octopus (wow – now that’s going to be one awesome experiment) that they caught on a trip to Alaska. What could be more fresh than that? So last night I poached the halibut and steamed up some broccolini (all at once – super quick) for a scrumptious and light dinner. I call it…

Birds Nest Poached Fish

bird nest fish

  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) portions halibut fillets (I just had about 2 lbs of halibut)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (I love garlic), crushed and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup white wine (give or take)
  • 1/4 lemon (if you don’t have it, don’t worry – just make this anyway)
  • 1 bunch broccolini, spears cut length-wise, optional

Season fish with salt and pepper. Add oil and garlic in a large skillet and turn on heat to low. Arrange fish in the pan and turn to coat in oil. Add wine and bring to medium high heat. Top the pan with a tight fitting lid and reduce heat to moderate. Cook fish 8 to 10 minutes until opaque and flaky, but not dry. Serve fish, spooning pan juices over fish. Squeeze the wedge of lemon over the cooked fish (if you have it).

(I tossed the broccolini into the pan about half way through the 8 minutes of cooking to steam until cooked but still crisp).

I was inspired by this recipe, but left out the nightshades (tomato is a nightshade, as are potatoes, peppers, eggplant). They can be intolerable to some, and often aren’t as obvious as the more common allergens: gluten, eggs, soy, dairy, corn, peanuts. I also didn’t have a lemon or basil, so just left them out, and it was scrumptious and simple all the same.