My Favorite Skincare Products For Summer

I am sharing my favorite (and safe) skincare products for summer with you today in this video!

If you are like me, your skin could use a little extra love and attention in the summer.  With the exposure to UV rays, air conditioners running on high, swimming pools and outdoor sports, your skin is working overtime.

Our skin is our body’s largest organ. We often forget this fact.  And we don’t realize that almost all of what we apply to our skin gets absorbed directly into our bloodstream.

About a year ago, I was reading a wellness blog by Kris Carr (she is a wellness advocate, writer, cancer survivor)  about the toxic ingredients used in skin care products and the lack of regulation in the beauty industry, and her words really made me think.  Here I am, working so hard to be the healthiest I can be, dedicating so much time and energy to good nutrition and exercise, yet I’m using skincare products that are full of toxic chemicals. And I’m absorbing them right through my skin.

Click on these links to purchase any or all of my summer faves mentioned in this video: 

Sugar Scrub, Sunscreen, Face Oil, Body Butter.

Email me if you would like a safe skincare consultation or click below to shop the entire collection at my online store.

Broccoli Pesto Quinoa - 101 Cookbooks

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Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients

  •     1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  •     2 cups water
  •     5 cups fresh broccoli, cut into small florets (about 2 good size broccoli crowns)
  •     4 garlic cloves
  •     ⅔ cup freshly grated parmesan, divided
  •     ⅔ cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted, divided
  •     ½ teaspoon salt
  •     Juice from one fresh lemon, about 2 tablespoons
  •     ¼ cup olive oil
  •     ¼ cup heavy cream
  •     Optional toppings: chopped basil, red chile oil (recipe below), sliced avocado

TIP: To make this dish vegan, substitute the heavy cream with coconut milk. For the parmesan, you can use Parma, or add about ¼ cup sesame seeds in place of the parmesan.

Instructions

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the quinoa with 2 cups water until boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

2. Heat a large pot of water to boiling and add the broccoli. Cook just until broccoli starts to soften and is bright green. About 90 seconds. Drain broccoli and rinse with cold water to stop broccoli from continuing to cook. Set aside.

3. To make the broccoli pesto:  puree 2 cups of the blanced broccoli, garlic, ⅓ cup of the almonds, 1/3 cup of the parmesan, salt and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until nearly smooth.

4. Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with the broccoli pesto. Taste and dd more lemon juice or salt if desired. Add the remaining ⅓ cup parmesan cheese.

5. Spoon mixture onto serving platter or plates. Add toppings. I recommend sliced avocado and liberal amounts of the red chile oil.

6. Red Chile Oil: Heat ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a small saucepan until heated, but not so hot that it smokes. Turn off the heat and stir in 1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside and let cool. This is good prepared the day before and kept in refrigerator overnight. Bring back to room temp

Safer Skincare: 4 Harmful Chemicals To Avoid

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You may already know that beauty products can be a major source of our exposure to unhealthy chemicals. And since the skin is the body’s largest organ and absorbs most of what is put on it, we need to make sure all of our beauty products are healthy and non-toxic!

Here is an assignment I give to all of my health coaching clients.  Take the time today to count how many beauty products you are using.  I 'm talking about everything from your makeup bag to your shower.  Now read the labels on those products.  Look them up on the Environmental Working Group ( EWG)  Skin Deep Database to see how they rate for things like hormone disruption and toxicity. 

* The Environmental Working Group or EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database lets you search more than 62,000 products and rates them based on the ingredients listed on the label.  The EWG scores products on a scale of 1-10, with 1-2 being least hazardous. 3-6 being moderate hazard and 7-10 being high hazard.

Did You Know?

  • There are over 80,000 chemicals used in commercially available products. Many do not have any safety data.
  •  Only 10% of of the chemicals found in beauty products have safety data
  • The United States has not passed a federal law regulating what companies can put in personal care products since 1938
  • In the past 20 years the US has banned a mere 13 ingredients found in personal care products–the European union has banned 1,300.
  • Anything that you put on your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream. Consider that we use birth control patches, nicotine patches, and hormone creams because our skin acts as a conduit  to the rest of our body.
  •  Research has shown there is a connection between toxic chemicals exposure and disease.

Here is a list of a few of  the harmful chemicals that we know to avoid.  If you want to fast forward to see 5 very easy and natural beauty swaps that you can make today, CLICK HERE.

1. Triclosan

Found in: toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial soap

Triclosan was all the rage as antibacterial products became ubiquitous in the 1990s. Even the FDA agrees that there is no health benefit to humans who use triclosan, and in 2013 ruled that manufacturers using it had to demonstrate that there were no long-term detrimental effects. Triclosan (in liquid products) and triclocarban (in bar soaps) have been linked to hormonal disruptions, bacterial resistance, impaired muscle function, impaired immune function and increased allergies. Instead, use naturally antibacterial and antiseptic agents like tea tree oil.

2. Parabens

Found in: makeup, moisturizer,  shampoo, personal lubricant and spray tan products

The FDA acknowledges several studies linking parabens, which mimic estrogen, to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm count, but has not ruled that it is harmful. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders. Look for ingredients with the suffix “-paraben” as well—paraben-free products will be labeled as such.

3. “Fragrance”

Found in: moisturizers, deodorant, lotion, face cream, shampoo, conditioner

Federal law doesn’t require companies to list on product labels any of the chemicals in their fragrance mixture. Recent research from Environmental Working Group and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an average of 14 chemicals in 17 name-brand fragrance products, none of them listed on the label. Fragrances can contain hormone disruptors and are among the top 5 allergens in the world. Our advice? Buy fragrance-free wherever possible.

4. Oxybenzone

Found in: sunscreen

Oxybenzone is one of the highest-risk chemicals found in sunscreen. It acts like estrogen in the body, alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women. Studies on cells and laboratory animals indicate that oxybenzone and its metabolites may disrupt the hormone system. Opt for sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide or avobenzene instead.

I know that is a lot of information, but it’s important we all know the facts! Knowledge allows us to make confident, empowered decisions about the products we buy  Plus, it is easy to  avoid or reduce your exposure to these toxins with a few simple swaps to your beauty routine.  Check out my recommendations here:

Natural Beauty Swaps

If you are new to my website....Welcome and thanks for being here!  I specialize in helping women lose weight, balance hormones, and get healthy and fit so that they feel like the most vibrant version of themselves and have the energy to focus on what matters most to them. 

Shoot me an email I'd love to chat about your health and wellness goals.

Yours in health,
Lisa C.

Minerals: Tiny But Important Nutrients

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When we are talking about nutrition, essential minerals are chemical compounds that your body absorbs through food so that it can function at it’s best. Minerals perform many important tasks in the body – they help your muscles, brain, and entire central nervous system run. They help your metabolism, impact hormone regulation and build bones.

Simply put, you need them, but many people don't get enough.

Although I recommend taking some high quality supplements (See my recommendations HERE), as part of your health and wellness plan, the best sources for minerals are from whole foods, so you can take them as nature intended.

Here are some of the essential minerals (and foods that contain them) you'll want to focus on getting into your diet:

  • Calcium: Green leafy vegetables kale, dairy products, almonds, chickpeas, dried fruit, flaxseeds, broccoli, bok choy, watercress.
  • Iron: Most organic, grass-fed meats, seafood, beans, dark, leafy vegetables, raisins, dried apricots, peas. 
  • Potassium: Avocado, squash, spinach, sweet potato, wild-caught salmon, dried apricots, coconut water, white beans, bananas.
  • Sodium: All vegetables, dairy products, meat, shellfish, salted nuts, table salt, and my favorites--sea salt and himalayan pink salt.
  • Magnesium: Spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, black beans, yogurt or kefir, almonds, dark chocolate (yay!), avocado, figs, banana.
  • Phosphorous: Pumpkin seeds, organic meats, dairy, tofu, lentils and beans, tempeh.
  • Sulfur: Arugula, coconut juice, milk, or oil, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, radish, watercress), dairy, garlic, dried fruits, eggs, legumes and dried beans.
  • Chloride: table salt or sea salt, tomatoes, rye, seaweed, olives, lettuce, celery.

And here is some good news if you enjoy a glass of wine....Wine (red and white) contains all 13 of the minerals necessary to sustain human life? Mineral waters also contain most, if you're not a drinker!

Starting today, make sure you include more mineral-rich whole and organic items in your shopping cart. Foods like kale, dried apricots, nuts, beans, and others, contain a lot of minerals……So load up on these!

Note for my vegetarian and vegan friends:  Adding vitamin C-containing food with your iron-containing food can help you absorb it. For example, if you make a spinach salad, throw in some fresh orange slices, or toss your sauteed kale in fresh lemon juice.

 

Tahini and Miso Dressing

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Today I have this most delicious and slightly addicting dressing-dip to share with you.  I have been using this recipe in my 10 Day Total Reset Detox and everyone loves it!  It works great as a dip for sliced raw veggies, or use it as a dressing in a buddah bowl or any of your usual green leafy salads. You could also use it as a spread for sandwiches.

Miso is an incredibly healthy addition to this dressing.  It's a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, and a high quality source of vitamin B-12. Miso stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach and restores probiotics to the intestines.

Tahini and Miso Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (about an inch)
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

Add the ingredients to a food processor or blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add more water if needed to achieve desired consistency.

My Favorite Things: May

Here are a few of the things I’m digging in the world of health, fitness and nutrition right now!

 

Favorite Eat and Drink: 

Let's start with an Eat and a Drink for your Memorial Day BBQ!

Favorite Eat:  Herby Picnic Potato Salad, with Kale, Apples and Chickpeas

Get the Memorial Day party started with this hearty herb potato salad by Green Kitchen Stories. This is a great vegan side dish to take to any BBQ this summer. There's even a generous dose of protein, thanks to the addition of chickpeas. Love! (Also loving Green Kitchen Stories for beautiful vegan recipes!)

Favorite Drink:  Watermelon Margaritas

Speaking of parties, I love this 3 ingredient watermelon margarita!  These are the perfect margaritas for summertime. No sugar added!  Whip up a batch of naturally sweet and refreshing watermelon juice for impromptu happy hours all summer!  Get the simple but brilliant recipe at Minimalist Baker.

 

Favorite Read

 The Universe Has Got Your Back

I have been following the lovely Gabby Bernstein for a while now, and I love her work.  This woman is a force to be reckoned with.  I will let the title of the book speak for itself.  If you are like me, and are interested in meditation, mindfulness and living with more love and less fear........Gabby nails it for you in this book.  My copy is dog-eared and full of notes!

 

Favorite Product

Beautycounter Sugar Body Scrub

This product is a MUST HAVE for smooth, silky summer skin.  An indulgent mix of brown sugar and top-tier oils—primrose, apricot kernel, sunflower—feels and smells amazing, plus it removes dead skin cells gently and effectively.  The result is perfect glowing skin for wearing shorts, tank tops and summer dresses.  This is a product and brand that I love and sell on my website.  You can shop right here!  And get some Safe Sunscreen too, while you are at it.  To celebrate Memorial Day, you will get a free gift with $150 purchase through Monday.

 

Favorite Workout Wear

The Enlite Bra, Lululemon

I am a long time lover of Lululemon workout clothes, but I think I have discovered the best workout bra ever made!  When my beloved chef, Katie Baum told me about this bra, she could not have been more enthusiastic!  Here is a quote:  "THIS BRA CHANGED MY LIFE!" 

This bra is supportive and comfortable and looks beautiful!  (no more unflattering uni-boob!)  I have two warnings:  1.  Make sure you try it on....The bra sizing was a little different than what I usually buy.  2.  Watch out for sticker shock.......$98.  But totally worth it if you have been searching your whole life for the right sports bra.

Tips For Healthy, Radiant Skin

You may already know that beauty products can be a major source of our exposure to unhealthy chemicals. And since the skin is the body’s largest organ and absorbs most of what is put on it, we need to make sure all of our beauty products are healthy and non-toxic!

The challenge we face today is that healthy products are not the norm. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG):

    “The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 different ingredients daily. Many cosmetic chemicals are designed to penetrate into the skin’s inner layers, and they do. Consequently, some common cosmetic ingredients turn up in people’s bodies. Among them: industrial plasticizers called phthalates; parabens, which are preservatives; and persistent fragrance components like musk xylene.”

Here is a an assignment I give to all of my health coaching clients.  Take the time today to count how many beauty products you are using. I’m talking about everything from your makeup bag to your shower. Surprised? Now, read the ingredient labels on those products. Look them up at EWG’s Skin Deep database and see how they rate for things like cancer, immunotoxicity and reproductive toxicity. Do those same products make you feel beautiful now?  If not, you are not alone.

You might be feeling like you just don’t want to know. You’ve been using the same moisturizer, cleanser and toner for a decade and they work—end of story. If that is your mentality, I hope you will reconsider.  Two years ago, I was reading a wellness blog by Kris Carr (she is a wellness advocate, writer, cancer survivor)  about the toxic ingredients used in skin care products and the lack of regulation in the beauty industry, and her words really resonated.  Here I am, working so hard to be the healthiest I can be, dedicating so much time and energy to good nutrition and exercise, yet I’m using skincare products that are full of toxic chemicals. And I’m absorbing them right through my skin.

Here are a few simple ways to start cleaning up your beauty routine.

1. Cut down on the number of products you use each day. Sometimes, cutting down on your body burden is as easy as simplifying your beauty routine. Less is more!  These days I have only two products in my skincare routine.  I wash my face with Beautycounter's Cleansing Balm and I use the Hydrating Face Oil as my moisturizer.  That's it! 

2. Start reading labels. EWG has created this handy list of the top ingredients to avoid for women, men and kids. If you have a smart phone, check out these great apps -  EWG’s Skin deep. or Think Dirty

3. Choose a safe sunscreen.  This is one of the easiest healthy changes you can make!  We're all going to be buying sunscreen and enjoy the outdoors this summer.  So why not choose wisely?  I love All Over Sun Protection by Beautycounter.  It is 19% zinc and goes on transluscent.

Of course, it is not just about what you put on your skin. In addition to using safe skincare products, do you know what makes my skin glow?  Taking AMAZING care of myself.....eating nourishing foods, staying hydrated, sweating every day, managing stress and getting plenty of rest.  Having a non-toxic skincare routine is essential, but it is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to looking and feeling your best.

 

 

 

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

There’s just so much I love about this dish. Aside from how delicious it is, this meal is super healthy, easy to make, and can be prepared in advance.  Zucchini has a high water content, making it low in calories. So, once you stuff it with some flavorful veggies and the protein rich quinoa, top with just a bit of mozzarella…...you’ve got an amazing healthy meal. This is a light dish, so I serve it with a nice big salad.

If you'd like, you can try topping the zucchini boats with a bit of a light marinara sauce!

To keep this vegan, eliminate the parmesan and mozzarella.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes or ½ C. grape tomatoes, finely diced
  • 6 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 - 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked red quinoa
  • 3 - 4 large fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 tablespoon Parmesan, grated (optional)
  • ½ cup mozzarella, grated (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil, onion and red pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté 6-8 minutes, just until the onion softens a bit.

  3. Scoop just a bit of each zucchini out with a round scoop. Chop the scooped out bits up into a small dice put the zucchini aside.

  4. Add the tomato, zucchini bits, thyme leaves and some salt and pepper to the pan. Continue to sauté for another couple of minutes. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach wilts down.

  5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cooked quinoa and sprinkle with some fresh basil leaves. Add the Parmesan if using. Stir to combine and set aside.

  6. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment for easy clean up. Arrange the zucchini on the sheet. Using a small spoon divide the mixture between all of the zucchini. Cover the baking sheet with foil. You can refrigerate at this point up to a couple of days if you'd like to serve it later. Otherwise, place the sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, covered.

  7. After 30 minutes, uncover and top each zucchini with some mozzarella. Place the sheet back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.

 

 

If I Had $200 To Spend On My Health, What Would I Buy?

 
 

Last night at a dinner party I was asked a terrific question:  "If you had $200 to spend your own health and wellness, what would you buy?" 

I love this question, because it – very simply – cuts to the chase.  It allows me to share with you what I value most in a health and wellness plan to help you look and feel your best!

So here is how I would spend my $200..........

 
I would start every day drinking two cups of water with lemon and an Energizing Green Drink   $2.26/day. 
 

(Note:  I already have a high powered blender!  If I didn't have a blender for my smoothies, I would buy that first.  Wow.....$200 goes fast)

Smoothie Ingredients that I buy every week:

  • Almond Milk $4.99 (or use water)
  • 1 12oz box spinach $2.49
  • 1 bunch kale $1.99
  • 1 bag frozen blueberries $6.40
  • 1 bunch of bananas $5.50
  • 1 bunch celery stalks $2.00
  • 4 honey crisp apples $4.00
  • 2 cucumbers $1.78
  • 4 - 6 lemons $2.50 for a 1 pound bag

(This is not exactly accurate because I also use various herbs, chia seeds, hemp seeds and coconut oil in my smoothie, but they last a long time, so I estimated)

Total = #31.64. $4.52 per batch or $2.26 per smoothie. 


 
I would get A Fitbit to track my daily steps and I would do "at home" strength and stretch routines.  The Fitbit Flex is $70.00, but the steps are free!
 

I always tell my clients "You don't have to join a gym to stay strong, slim and healthy!"  If my budget was too tight for a gym or fitness classes, I would get a basic pedometer and set a goal of 10,000 steps per day (that's about five miles.)  I would do my my strength training and stretching at home for 20 minutes.


 
I would take a high quality fish oil supplement   $30
 

If I was going to choose one supplement to take daily, it would be fish oil. Fish oil supplements are rich in the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are vital to good health. They support your body’s ability to prevent chronic diseases and help protect it against inflammation. They also promote a stronger immune system; they support cardiovascular, joint and vision health; they strengthen skin, hair, and nails. 


 
I would get a great face oil to moisturize my skin.  $68
 

I can not live without my favorite face oil from Beautycounter.I have to admit, I was skeptical before I first tried putting an oil directly on my face.  I wasn’t sure it would work well for me......I was wrong!  My skin has never looked more soft, radiant and "glowy". Lightweight and silky smooth, this blend of seven natural oils moisturizes, nourishes, and helps firm skin. Fragrant jasmine oil replenishes moisture, while omega-rich argan oil helps minimize the appearance of fine lines.


 

Looking For A Private Consultation To Jumpstart Your Health And Wellness?

Call me for a FREE Breakthrough Session and let's figure out a plan that will work for you!

Spring Time Asparagus Soup

A creamy asparagus soup with fresh herbs and tangy lemon juice - the perfect soup for spring. Enjoy with a piece of crusty bread and a small side salad for a light and healthy meal.

Ingredients

  •     1 medium onion, diced
  •     2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  •     1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  •     2 and 1/2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth, divided (chicken broth also works well)
  •     1/2 cup of soaked cashews
  •     Juice of one medium lemon
  •     1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt
  •     Pinch of black pepper
  •     2 tablespoons of fresh chopped dill or tarragon
  •     1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil
  •     1/4 cup of fresh Italian parsley

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until soft and translucent (6 to 8 minutes). Add in the chopped asparagus and sauté another 2 minutes.
  2. Add 2 cups of vegetable broth to the pan and simmer over low-medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the asparagus is slightly tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a blender, add the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, the lemon juice and the 1/2 cup of cashews. Blend for 1 minute, or until the mixture is smooth. Add in the onion/asparagus mixture with the broth. Blend again
  4. Add in the salt, pepper and fresh herbs. Blend another minute or so until the soup is creamy and smooth. Taste and season further.  Re-heat soup in same pot, otherwise it's great at room temperature. Serve with a crusty piece of bread.

Kelly's Healthier Hot Chocolate

Sometimes you need an energy boost…and sometimes you just need chocolate.

Healthier Hot Chocolate:  A rich and creamy chocolate treat, free of dairy and refined cane sugar.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons organic, unsweetened cocoa powder
Generous dash of cinnamon
2-3 teaspoons coconut sugar
pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan over high heat.  Keep stirring with a whisk until piping hot (avoid boiling).  Serve with a few marshmallows for a special treat.

Why I love this:

Studies have shown that cocoa powder is associated with decreased blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels.  These heart healthy benefits can be attributed to the flavonoids, powerful antioxidants, found in cocoa.  Cocoa powder also contains important minerals like copper, manganese, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.  Cinnamon contains essential oils with many health benefits and adds a delicious nutty flavor.

Recipe inspiration from this wonderful hostess and healthy mama!  My sweet friend and partner, Kelly Hollins.

The Sugar Conundrum: Let's Talk Sugar

Doughnuts, soda, chocolate chip cookies, pecan pie, creamy puddings, cakes, candies…oh the joy of sugar!

We all love to indulge in a sweet treat, and these days treats are not at all rare in the Standard American Diet.  We eat sugar waaaaay to often.  100 years ago, sweets were truly a treat, and were consumed rarely or on special occasions.  Generally, these treats were sweetened with raw honey, or real maple syrup…...the good stuff.

Nowadays, our sugar fix comes from highly refined sugar.  This highly processed sugar is in virtually every packaged food in the grocery store, and probably lurking in all of your cupboards.

It can also fly under the radar by other names - high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, maltodextrin, maltose…just to name a few.

Here is a scary example:

A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar.  If you’re reading the ingredients list though, you won’t see sugar clearly listed.  Coke in the United States is made with high fructose corn syrup as a lower-cost sugar alternative.  High fructose corn syrup is actually the second ingredient in Coke, behind carbonated water.

Consuming just 4 teaspoons of sugar a day has been linked to numerous diseases and imbalances in the body.   Here are just a few:

  • Lowers ability of enzymes to function
  • Impairs structure of DNA
  • Raises adrenaline levels in children
  • Suppresses the immune system
  • Causes hormonal imbalance (hello pms, menopause, night sweats, cramps, irritability and mood swings!)
  • Contributes to a weakened defense against bacterial infection
  • Causes free radical formation in the blood stream
  • Increases fasting levels of glucose in the blood
  • Candidiasis (yeast infections)
  • Over-stresses the pancreas, causing damage

These are just 10 of the 124 known diseases and imbalances connected with sugar.  Yikes!

Not only do we need to worry about processed sugar, but we also need to be watchful of artificial sweeteners; Aspartame, sucralose, cyclamate, acesulfame potassium…these are definite NO-NO’S!

The fact that they are called ARTIFICIAL says it all. Do we really want to expose your body to these unnatural chemicals? NO WAY!

These artificial substances are known neurotoxins.  What this means is that they can actually alter brain chemistry and specifically act on nerve cells.  Avoid these at all costs.  Even though we may be consuming small amounts of these artificial substances, consuming them on a daily basis, day after day, adds up to quite a bit over the years!

To sweeten a cup of hot tea or a smoothie, try a few drops of stevia in liquid form.  I also love using maple syrup and raw honey as sugar alternatives.

Of course, the best sweet fix of all is FRUIT!  Fruit is nature’s candy.  Aside from being sweet, fruit is loaded fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and lots of supportive nutrients.  So ditch the sugar, and eat more fruit to fix your sweet tooth.

Sign up for my Challenge Starting this MONDAY

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For an amazing sweet treat sweetened with dates and maple syrup try my famous recipe for Raw Balls! 

My family calls them AMAZE-Balls. 

Beauty

Our skin is our body’s largest organ. We often forget this fact.  And we don’t realize that almost all of what we apply to our skin gets absorbed directly into our bloodstream.

That is why it is so important that what we put on our skin is 100% non-toxic.

The reality is that companies are allowed to use known toxins — ingredients that have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues, and hormone disruption — without even disclosing these ingredients to us!

About a year ago, I was reading a wellness blog by Kris Carr (she is a wellness advocate, writer, cancer survivor)  about the toxic ingredients used in skin care products and the lack of regulation in the beauty industry, and her words really resonated.  Here I am, working so hard to be the healthiest I can be, dedicating so much time and energy to good nutrition and exercise, yet I’m using skincare products that are full of toxic chemicals. And I’m absorbing them right through my skin.

Beautycounter: Skincare with a conscience.

That’s when I discovered Beautycounter: a skincare and cosmetics company that’s dedicated to only using safe/non-toxic, but effective ingredients in all their products. Better yet, they’re working to help facilitate legislation that would mandate regulations for the cosmetics industry and prevent the use of unsafe ingredients in skincare and makeup products.

Did you know? It’s all in the numbers.

Here are a few cold, hard facts:

 

The United States has not regulated the cosmetics industry since 1938. Companies can pretty much do whatever they want. We have introduced over 85,000 chemicals into commerce since World War II.  Of these, almost 80% have never been tested for safety. 

Europe has banned 1,300 harmful chemicals from use in skincare products.  The United States has banned only 11.  Beautycounter compiled a list of almost 1,500 ingredients they have determined as unsafe and will not use them in their products.  Yet their products are still 100% effective!

 

Four reasons I love Beautycounter:

1) These products work. Unlike many of the “organic” or “natural” products I’ve tried, these products work.  Just because a product says it’s organic or all natural doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  For example,  a skin care product can contain only 1% organic ingredients, and the manufacturer can legally call this product “organic”.  Plus, organic products don’t have a very long shelf life, which is not ideal when you’re spending money on quality skincare products (but that’s a blog topic we’ll save for another day).

2) I feel good knowing that what I’m putting on my skin (and into my body) is safe. All of Beautycounter’s products are rated between 0-2 on EWG’s Skindeep database, which rates product safety.

3) I love supporting a company that is doing their part to make the world a better (and safer) place. Beautycounter is lobbying in Washington to reform the current laws and impose the stricter guidelines they have chosen to follow. They also work with non-profit organizations that are working to reduce our amount of chemical exposure.

4) I want you to feel good from the inside out. I would never have taken on a beauty and cosmetics line if I didn’t feel passionate about it. These products compliment the work I do on so many levels.  Looking good, and feeling good, go hand in hand.

-- LC

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Baked Salmon with Parmesan and Herb Crust

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Recipe inspiration from Add A Pinch.

Ingredients

  • 1 salmon filet

Parmesan Herb Crust:

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive Tapenade for serving    (Optional - but my husband loves a few tablespoons of tapenade with this dish)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425º F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easiest cleanup.
  2. Chop the garlic, parsley and parmesan cheese in a mini processor, if you have one.  Set aside
  3. Place salmon, skin side down, onto lined baking sheet. Cover salmon with another piece of parchment paper. Bake salmon for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and remove top piece of parchment paper. Top with garlic, Parmesan and parsley mixture. Return to oven uncovered and bake for 15 minutes. The Parmesan cheese should have melted and lightly browned..
  4. Allow to rest about 5 minutes and serve.  Olive Tapenade is a delish topping. 

Why I love this:  Few single foods can bring as many health contributions to your diet in significant quantities as wild Alaskan salmon.  Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your heart, skin, mood and cognition.  It also a great source of vitamin d, selenium, and the essential amino acids.   This Salmon recipe is one of the easiest go to recipes you could have in your repertoire. The parsley and parm gives this salmon an amazing flavor for very few calories. Simple, easy, delicious and nutritious, and perfect for a quick dinner or date night – serve with your favorite steamed green veggie and whole grain for a delicious meal!

Clean Up Your Beauty Routine

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Here are 5 very easy natural beauty swaps that you can make today. 

I consider these to be the most important swaps to start with because of the surface area that these products cover on the body and the frequency of use!

1.  Body Wash: Commercial body wash often contain parabens and fragrances that are known allergens and endocrine disruptors.

  • I LOVE Dr. Bronner’s all-purpose pure castile soap.

2.  Body Lotion: Watch out for parabens, fragrances, dyes  in the ingredients.

3.  Deodorant:  Contain aluminum, triclosan and other harmful ingredients.I finally found 2 natural deodorants that work for me.

  • PiperWai
  • Schmidt’s

4.  Toothpaste:  Make sure your toothpaste does not contain Triclosan.  I also choose to go with a fluoride free toothpaste.  All of these products can be purchased at Amazon. 

  • Redmond Earthpaste
  • Jason’s
  • Tom’s Toothpaste

5  Sunscreen:  Watch out for the ingredient oxybenzone.

 

Here are my Beautycounter skincare recommendations by skin type

I have been a Beautycounter consultant for some time now and it is a brand that I love and trust. I really appreciate the fact that the company not only offers safe and high performing products, but is also working hard to educate consumers and pass legislature that will better regulate the beauty industry.

So how do you know which of these safer, highly effective products are right for you?   Here are my recommendations, including my own skincare routine:

Dry Skin

I live in a VERY dry climate so this is my personal skincare regimen.

Acne-Prone/Oily

Oily skin is often a symptom of chronically dry skin. As mom to a teenager,  I can attest to this winning combo:

Mature Skin

The Countertime Rejuvenating line is best for mature skin, actively working to reduce dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. I particularly enjoy the Rejuvenating Night Cream, Eye Cream and Cleansing Balm.  I would also recommend the Plumping Face Oil # 2 with Jasmine for mature skin

Sensitive Skin

The Nourishing Face Collection is best for those with sensitive skin. The Nourishing Day Cream, Night Cream and Eye Cream are all formulated without any fragrance and the Cream Cleanser is particularly gentle. For sensitive skin, I would also recommend the Brightening Face OIl # 1

Face Oils to use for your skin type

Use A face oil morning and night as you moisturizer, or add a few drops to your cream moisturizer.

 

You can check the safety of the products that you use on a daily basis on the Environmental Working Group ( EWG)  Skin Deep Database to see how they rate for things like hormone disruption and toxicity.  (low numbers are best)

Naturally Perfect Skin!

Hi Friends! I have found the most effective and natural way to cleanse and moisturize my skin!

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I have to admit, I was skeptical before I first tried putting an oil directly on my face.  I wasn’t sure it would work well for me. I have had problems with rosacea in the past and I was afraid that a face oil would cause breakouts........I was wrong!  My skin has never looked more soft, radiant and "glowy"

These products are a staple for me because they contain a unique combination of wonderful  "nourishing botanicals" and it’s from a brand I know, trust and love.   Beautycounter is a company that is dedicated to bringing safe and high performing products to the beauty industry.

Here are my favorite skin care products!   I know they will give your cleansing and moisturizing routine a beautiful boost.

Lustro Face Oil 2

The simplest way to moisturize skin and boost radiance, this silky formula contains a luxurious blend of pure plant oils. Unlike synthetic oils, which can sit on skin, our Lustro Face Oil is easily absorbed for the ultimate in hydration. Lustro Face Oil 2 contains jasmine oil, an ingredient that adds a subtly sweet floral scent and helps improve skin's elasticity, making this formula a great option for anyone with dry or mature skin.

Nourishing Cleansing Balm

This best-selling balm melts into your skin to hydrate while it cleanses, removing makeup and other impurities but never stripping away moisture. With vitamin C to brighten skin and raspberry and cranberry seed oils to hydrate, the formula can also be used as an intensely nourishing face mask.

Gentle Exfoliator Polishing Cream

This gentle yet super-effective exfoliating cleanser sweeps away impurities to uncover fresh, radiant skin. Non-abrasive jojoba beads help slough off dry skin, while organic coconut oil and aloe soothe and hydrate.

To see the entire Beautycounter collection, click here:    BEAUTY

Lisa's Tips For Using Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil is full of many nutrients and wonderful health benefits.  It’s a rich source of lauric acid, the medium-chain fatty acid (the good fat people!).  It can boost your immune system, improve your skin, and help you body burn fat.

When buying coconut oil be sure it’s raw (unrefined), virgin and organic. There are many culinary and beauty uses for coconut oil, so keep two separate jars......I keep one in my bathroom for skin care and one in the kitchen for cooking.

If you haven’t already started using coconut oil, there are many ways that you can get this nutrient packed powerhouse into your diet and beauty routine.

  1. Cooking: Coconut oil is a stable oil that doesn’t break down easily at high temperatures like other oils do. It doesn’t go rancid easily and has amazing nutritional properties.
  2. Skin Lotion: Coconut oil is absolutely my favorite body lotion.  It makes skin incredibly silky, healthy and radiant.  Leave a jar in the shower and put it on right before you towel off.  If you want to get really creative, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil for scent.
  3. Add to your Smoothies: It’s sweet and nutty taste makes coconut oil a great addition to smoothies. It creates a wonderfully creamy texture and makes smoothies rich and smooth.  It also adds a bounty of nutrients and a big dose of healthy fats.
  4. Bake With It:  These Chocolate Quinoa Krispy Treats are a favorite at my house, and I feel good knowing my family is getting immune and brain boosting lauric acid!
  5. Eye Make Up Remover: This trick changed my life!  Coconut oil is an excellent eye-make up remover that has been reported to help remove wrinkles and restore elasticity to the skin.
  6. Hair Conditioner: It also helps strengthen hair and add shine.
  7. For Shaving: It moisturizes legs and leaves the skin silky soft!
  8. In Coffee or Tea: As strange as this might sounds, melting a teaspoon of coconut oil in a hot beverage is an easy way to get extra coconut in for the health benefits. I usually add a little to some green tea or coffee in the morning.  It is surprisingly good!

 

Lunch with the bija life teen retreat

krisiHere are all the delicious recipes from our Modern Teen Retreat!

Lunch was served by our Rock-Star Executive Chef, Krisi Mace!

Mango Lassi served fresh berries.

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To make Lassi: 1 fresh or frozen mango, 1 cup Greek yogurt, juice of lime 1tbsp Local Honey

Place all in blender till smooth, do not over blend,

Place Lassi in a beautiful glass, add berries,another layer of Lassi, then more berries. Top layer Lassi, grated dark chocolate and a spring of fresh mint.

To make it even more refreshing freeze Lassi, it will be like frozen yogurt!! Change fruit to your favorite's

 

Asian Chicken Salad over Avocados

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4 chicken breasts, ( with or without skin) 2 celery stack 2 scallions or finely diced chives 2 Tbsp Sesame seeds 1/4 cup tamari.( or soy sauce) 1 stem grated fresh ginger 1 can water chestnuts ( can eliminate if not wanting to use canned goods) I fresh mandarin orange 2 limes. 1 tbsp sweet Sriracha sauce. ( Asian sweet chili sauce)

Sear chicken breast in coconut or olive oil. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth. Roast in 400degree oven for 20 minutes till meat is cooked to 160 degrees.

Make dressing ,scallions, Tamari,ginger ,lime juice, Siracha, and a tbsp of olive oil. When chicken is done, let it cool, shred in small pieces. Place chicken in bowl, add water chestnuts and. Oranges,. Toss mixture with dressing. Slice avocado in half ( you can keep in in skin or just scoop it out.) On a plate of your choice julienne some kale , spinach or spring lettuces, Place on plate,avocado in middle, and put lovely chicken salad on top. Enjoy.

SWEET POTATO FRIES

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Turn oven to 425 degrees

4 sweet potatoes, wash and peel skins.  Cut into desired slices, ( like french fries) place in a bowl sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt. Toss well. Place on a cookie sheet, ( I like using parchment paper) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. All ovens are a bit different. Check if you want more crisp do it for 5 more minutes. When finished sprinkle with grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes. YUM

KRISI COOKIES

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Adapted from The Healthy Kitchen

1/4 cup coconut oil ( can use butter or any other substitute of choice) 1 egg I mashed banana 1/2 cup maple syrup, honey, agave, (sweetener of choice) I cup of Pamela's bake mix 1 cup old -fashioned oatmeal 1/4 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup chopped almonds 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries. 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Preheat oven to 350  degrees. Cream tho coconut oil and egg together, till smooth,add banana, vanilla, sweetener, and orange zest. Mix well, till blended. Add oatmeal, bake mix, coconut shred, walnuts etc, blend slowly till all blended. I usually use my Kitchen Aid for this. Once again, use parchment paper on baking sheet. Put 1tbsp of dough separate 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on rack.