Using Real Food for Natural Face Masks

Real food face mask 1

When you visit the spa in an attempt to make your skin look better, one of the most common treatments you’ll get is a facial that uses a face mask. While face masks at spas are often highly effective, visiting a spa on a weekly basis may not be in your schedule, and often harsh ingredients and chemicals are used.

However, you can make your own natural face masks at home – using ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen. Homemade natural face masks are also relatively easy to make, and it is easy to double or even triple the recipe to share!

Oatmeal Face Mask

You’ve probably heard that oatmeal is good for soothing flaky itchy skin related to sunburn or other irritations, but oatmeal is also an ideal ingredient for a facial mask for people with dry or dull skin because it’s moisturizing and nourishing to the skin and pores without being oily.

Prepare an oatmeal face mask by combining 1/4 cup oat flour with 1 tablespoon heavy cream. [We at The Kicking Kitchen would also suggest substituting coconut oil or nut milk for the heavy cream.] Stir the mixture to make a thick paste and gently spread it over your face while standing over the sink.

Let the mixture rest on your skin for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. If you have very dry skin, following an oatmeal mask with a night cream or moisturizer can make an ideal evening treatment.

Avocado face maskAvocado Mask

In many parts of the United States, avocados are available pretty much year round. While the antioxidants, vitamin A and healthy fat content is good for your body when you eat it, it’s also a great ingredient for use in a topical face mask for the same reasons, and you’ll notice that your skin feels tighter and your pores look smaller after using an avocado mask.

To make an avocado face mask, combine 1/2 avocado with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl. Mash the avocado and olive oil together with the back of a teaspoon to fully combine them.

Use the mask by gently spreading the mixture over your face with a towel around your neck to keep the mask from getting messy. Let it stay on your face for about 15 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.

Honey Mask

Honey is antibacterial and has long been used in natural remedies for pimples and blackheads. However, honey can also be used in a face mask to help soothe inflamed skin and to restore natural moisture content to the skin.

You can make a honey face mask by simply warming a small amount of honey in the microwave or on the stovetop before gently rubbing it over your face. Just make sure it isn’t too hot before you put it on your skin! Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes before thoroughly washing it off.

You can also add a small amount of another moisturizing ingredient like heavy cream for a mask that isn’t quite as sticky if you wish.

Taking a trip spa for a facial is a great way to get your skin looking its best, but for many busy people, it just isn’t in the cards on a weekly basis. For others, a spa visit is a bit too expensive to add into the monthly budget. These things should not hold you back from having the healthiest skin possible! When you just don’t have time to visit the spa or a visit seems too expensive, make your own face mask and reap the benefits of well-maintained skin – even in the comfort of your own home.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from Los Angeles and has contributed to many health and beauty blogs. She loves treating herself and her daughter to a spa day and loves recreating her favorite treatments at home. Find more beauty tips and tricks on her Pinterest.

Photos: Creative Commons

10 Things You Can Do on Earth Day


It’s Earth Day! Today we are sharing 10 things you can do to participate in Earth Day – 10  Things You Can Do on Earth Day 2013from Rustle the Leaf. What can you do today or any day to help make a difference in protecting and sustaining our planet?

1. Slow the Flow
A faucet leaking just one drop per second wastes over 1,300 gallons per year! A leak from a hot water source wastes both water and fossil fuel, creating more greenhouse gasses. Most repairs to plumbing fixtures pay for themselves within just a year. Fix it!

2. Think Green when You Clean
Cleaning products that contain chlorine or petroleum distillates expose your family to toxins and then end up in the ecosystem. Choose nontoxic, naturally derived cleaning products, which are proven effective but won’t cause long term damage to the Earth.

3. Choose Both Sides
Every year, pulp mills release over one trillion gallons of chlorine-tainted water as part of the paper making process. Using the other side of the paper can cut that pollution almost in half! And choose recycled paper—especially processed-chlorine-free recycled paper.

4. ‘Green’ Your Machine
Americans waste over 700 million gallons of gasoline each year just because tires aren’t properly inflated. Millions more are wasted because our vehicles aren’t properly tuned up. Keep your machine running ‘Green!’ You’ll save money and reduce emissions!

5. Meat Less for Dinner
Once a week, plan a meat alternative for dinner. Enjoy pasta with a marinara or Alfredo sauce, meatless chili burritos, or even grilled veggie burgers! Reducing meat consumption conserves fresh water, saves topsoil, and even reduces air pollution!

6. Walk, Hike, Ride a Bike
If people in the U.S. would occasionally ride a bike for a short errand instead of driving a car, over 70 million gallons of fuel could be saved each year! And there’s the added benefit of enjoying the fresh air and exercise! For short errands, take a hike!

7. Plant a Tree Every Earth Day!
Over a 50-year lifetime, a tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion. It also provides shade that keeps homes and cities cooler!

8. Give Weeds a ‘Hand’
Herbicides aren’t the only way to control weeds, and they’re certainly not the most environment-friendly way! Invest in a good pair of gloves and garden tools, and remove weeds by hand. Also, choose natural alternatives to pesticides for getting rid of pests!

9. Lighten Your Energy Bill
There’s a brighter way to light your home: new Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). Compared to regular bulbs, CFLs last 10 times longer, use only 1/4 the energy and pro-duce 90% less heat—yet they produce more light per watt! Brighten the future: go CFL!

10. Reduce, Reuse Recycle
It’s more than just a slogan. You can start making the world a ‘greener’ place today: return hangers to the cleaners, donate clothing and computers to charities, pack lunches in reusable containers instead of bags, there are hundreds of easy things to do! It’s up to you!

List from Rustle the Leaf



5 Ways to Create Daily Bliss in Your Life


What does “Bliss” mean to you? For us, bliss means fully accepting yourself and your life in the moment and

feeling harmony and happiness with your body and soul. Aaaaaah, bliss. :)

Today we are sharing a post written by Lindsey Smith and Lorraine Miller, the authors of the recently released book, Bliss Cleanse: Your Two-Week Mind, Body, Spirit Guide to Greater Health and Happiness. Enjoy!


bliss (n): total state of happiness; utter joy 

Photo: Fangol

Photo: Fangol


When it comes to finding or creating bliss, it’s important to understand where you are and where you want to go, all while appreciating the here and now.

Bliss is not much of a “thing,” but more of a feeling. Bliss is a feeling of happiness for no reason, a state of relaxation, or a deep appreciate for life.

To help you cultivate more daily bliss into your life, try one of these tips daily:

1. Do something you love. Do at least one thing each week that really makes your heart sing, something you would feel truly grateful for. Know that this act of self-love will nourish you like no food can.

2. Practice daily gratitude. Simply write down 3-5 things you are grateful for and focus on how you feel when you think about them. We recommend getting a separate journal to do this, and practicing gratitude either first thing in the morning or last thing before going to bed.

3. Spend extra time with people who make you feel loved, supported, and appreciated. It’s easy to hibernate in the winter when it’s cold, but make sure you make time for those important people in your life.

4. Get crafty. Try starting a hobby or picking up something you used to love, but haven’t done in a long time. Winter months are great to get creative or crafty because we tend to be indoors more.

5. Spruce up your surroundings. Decorate your space with green plants and inspiring artwork. Celebrate your space and make it yours by choosing items and colors that lift your spirit and make you feel good.

Written by Lindsey Smith and Lorraine Miller, authors of the new, unique book, Bliss Cleanse: Your Two-Week Mind, Body, Spirit Guide to Greater Health and Happiness. For more information, visit

The Secret Ingredient : Love


By Annette Ramke, CHHC

It’s mealtime.

Maybe you’re cooking an old favorite.

Or you found a new recipe you can’t wait to try.

In either case you’ve been to the store, picked up everything the recipe calls for and are all set to make your chosen dish.

Food is washed, diced, chopped, mixed together, cooked, baked, tossed, or blended. All according to the directions on paper or in your head.

But something’s likely missing. Something to make your meal complete and your food more delicious than you can imagine.

It’s a secret ingredient. One that you’ll rarely find listed in a recipe.

What is it, you ask?

Photo: Fangol

Photo: Fangol

It’s love.

While that may sound a little “fluffy” to some, I am pretty darn serious.

Because when we “get” the fact that what we put into our body matters, then that means all of it.

And so it matters – the conditions under which are food is grown or raised. It matters the care given, how the plants and animals are treated and, in turn, our earth.

Think of the kind of energy you are taking into your body from an animal raised in factory farm conditions and, under stress, transported and butchered in a huge “processing facility” versus the animal raised and lovingly cared for according to its natural ways on a family farm and which is not forced into trucks at the end of its life before it reaches our plates.

Think of the energy of produce grown from genetically-modified seeds, fungicide and pesticide-laden as compared to fruits and vegetables that are grown organically, using nature’s tools for pest management and for protecting our environment.

Our body not only takes in the protein, fat, carbohydrates and vitamins of our food, it takes in the whole essence of it — from the way it was grown, to the manner in which it is prepared.

You can test this by seeing how you feel after eating certain foods. There may be more aggression, more sadness, more unsettledness. But also more joy, contentment and wellbeing.

Beyond how our food is grown there is the atmosphere in which it was prepared. Can you notice the difference in how you feel between eating, say, a fast food meal versus a home-cooked meal made with care and love? Or a home-cooked meal made under feelings of stress, anger and resentment compared with a restaurant meal made by a chef passionate about real food and her work?

I am going to venture to say that there is a light bulb going off for some right now. Maybe you had never stopped to reflect on this.

So when we shop for our food, when we get in the kitchen, we have a lot of power, actually!

First, the act of showing up in the kitchen, of placing a priority on food, is an act of radical self-love. This comes from realizing that your meal is not just there to fill a hole in your stomach, but rather to nourish and support your body. When you bring your presence, care and love to preparing your food, you are not just making dinner, you are caring for your body and your life.

So….grow the love.

Grow the love inside you.

Our tips:

Choose food grown with love.

Make self-care (self-love!) a priority – one aspect of which is preparing healthy meals for yourself.

And when you are in the kitchen, treat this time as a scared time as much as possible. Feel the gratitude for your food. Your health or the path toward health you are on. For the people you will share the food with, whether yourself or a whole group. Really feeling the gratitude, the love, as you are preparing and eating a meal makes all the difference between food that merely pacifies a hungry stomach and food that helps us create a life full of meaning and well-being.

Love your food. Love yourself. Love your life.


Six Things That Helped Me Cope With Crappy Cancer

Today we are sharing Kendall’s guest blog post with WhatNext: Six Things That Helped Me Cope With Crappy Cancer. We’ll give you a hint – eating some tasty, healthy food was one of them! Click the link to read more.

If you are facing cancer, is a fabulous resource with support and a pretty cool format for connecting with other cancer peeps. Check them out!

3 Steps to Making Your New Year Resolutions Stick



It’s that time again. New year – new resolutions. But do any of us really follow through? Lose 20 pounds. Start exercising. Eat better. Get that closet organized. Learn how to play the piano.

We may have great intentions, and perhaps begin to work on our resolutions, but then somewhere along the way things seems to stall. Resolutions are forgotten. Or they are too difficult. Everyday life continues. We’re too busy. Not motivated.

What is it that inspires us (or doesn’t) to make and stick with our resolutions? Why do we make certain commitments in the first place? Is it actually the feeling behind the resolution? Do we resolve to lose weight because we want to feel happy, healthy, and energized? Do we promise to start working out because we want to feel strong, beautiful and youthful? Do we vow to clean up and organize the kids’ playroom because we want to feel less chaos and more peace?

What if we are all going about our resolutions completely backwards? Are we doing it all wrong?

Here’s an idea. Try making your resolutions or any attempt to make changes in your life around how you want to FEEL? Then might we actually stick with it? And even build a life around that feeling or feelings that truly lasts?

Try this exercise.

#1) Think about how you DON’T want to feel in the new year. What emotions or physical experiences did you have that brought you down or created negative energy in your life? Have you felt stressed and disorganized? Weak and tired? Chaotic? Generally unhappy? Smothered?

#2) Now consider how you DO want to feel. How do you want to feel physically, emotionally or mentally? What is most important to you? Do you want to feel energized and happy? Do you wish to feel relaxed and strong?  Peaceful? Organized? Try to narrow this down to two or three that you want most. Write these down.

#3) For each answer in #1, make a short list of specific ways you can achieve that desired outcome. If you decided you don’t want to feel stressed, but instead want to feel calm and peaceful, how can you achieve that? Try not to take on so much, which means perhaps dropping a class or other activity? Set aside time to meditate, go for a walk or do yoga? Have designated time for yourself on a daily or weekly basis? Do you wish to feel more clear-minded? If so, how can you accomplish that? Create a schedule? Clean up your desk? Remove clutter in other areas of your life? Go to bed earlier? Begin working on these tasks one-by-one.

We also suggest keeping the words you listed in #2 visible so you remember how you want to feel to help motivate you. And you may be surprised how much more motivated you are by an emotional, mental or physical state!


Food is Love

Kendall: Friday’s tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has affected so many of us, Annette and I included. We are moms: Annette’s beautiful daughter is 13. My little guy is 15 months. And at the moment, it’s difficult to find the motivation to talk about food, post a recipe or schedule another book signing. I only want to hold my baby, focus on my family, send love and peace to those stricken with grief in Newtown and try to figure out what to take away from something so unbelievably heartbreaking.

In the last few days, I’ve thought about how much I want to offer kindness and compassion to every person, everyday, myself included. I’ve realized how disconnected we often are from the people around us, be it loved ones or complete strangers. I’ve felt relief and peace by immersing myself in love from my munchkin, my hubby, family and friends. I’ve considered what protecting my child and my family means to me. I’ve contemplated what it means to be a parent and what a parent’s job really is. And I’ve realized how important it is to me to get away from the cell phone and computer, turn off the tv and just be present with myself and the people around me.

So those things aren’t about food, cooking, or the kitchen necessarily, but they are connected. And in fact, preparing and eating food can be the center of most of what I mentioned above.

As a mom, I prepare food for my family with love. I put together healthy and tasty meals and snacks for my kiddo, knowing that he will grow and thrive in large part because of it. He’s so interested in watching me chop, stir, season, and he often gets his own spoon and pot to stir on the kitchen floor (which keeps him occupied for about 30 seconds).

Food is a way to express love, to help balance and heal, to promote strength and renewal.

Loved ones come together over meals, providing an opportunity to be kind and compassionate, to connect, share, laugh and just be present.

Last night over a simple dinner of lentils, roasted root veggies, rice and kale, my little family talked about the things in our lives for which we are grateful. My baby is a little over a year old, and I swear as I explained what it means to be thankful and my hubby and I shared what we are thankful for, he listened intently and understood it on some level. He then babbled away, surely sharing with us the things for which he’s grateful.

So while I’m not inspired to keep up with food tips, recipes and kitchen talk right now, I’ve rediscovered that food is a catalyst for so much beyond fueling and supporting our bodies. Food is compassion. Food is kindness. Food is tradition. Food is healing. Food is connection. Food is gratitude. Food is love. And those are things on which I do want to focus – now and always.


Adding Acupuncture to Your Integrative Toolbox

Catherine Allen, LicAc, MAOM, MSc

Today we have a guest post from Catherine Allen, acupuncurist and owner of White Peony in Brunswick, Maine (read her bio below). If you haven’t tried acupuncture, it may be a wonderful tool to add to your integrative cancer-kicking and/or health-boosting toolbox! 

Chinese medicine does not treat cancer!  Whenever I talk to patients or groups about acupuncture and cancer, I like to get that out of the way first.  However, acupuncture can be extremely helpful in treating side effects from Western medicine treatments or the cancer itself.

While I am also a practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine, I generally don’t recommend taking herbs in conjunction with chemotherapy.  There is research to support the use of certain herbs to increase the effect of some chemotherapy drugs, but most oncologists are not open to that idea yet–and I don’t recommend going against the advice of your oncologist.

The foundations of health in Chinese medicine are diet, exercise and sleep.  Unfortunately, cancer treatments commonly cause side effects that interfere with your ability to keep those foundations strong.  What can we do with acupuncture?  There is a lot of research to support its use for common side effects experienced by patients undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation, including:

  • nausea–acupuncture is particularly effective here
  • decreased immune system
  • dry mouth
  • pain–either due to the treatment or the cancer itself
  • neuropathy
  • constipation/diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • hair loss–acupuncture can’t prevent the loss, but the first re-growth will be healthier

Getting acupuncture before surgery can promote relaxation, prevent infection, prevent side effects and alleviate symptoms.  The optimal time to get acupuncture is two days before surgery.  Post-surgery benefits include reduced swelling, improved mental alertness, improved intestinal mobility, and promotion of healing.  Two days post-surgery an acupuncture treatment would focus on controlling pain and improving urinary and bowel function.  One week post-surgery we would continue to work on reducing swelling and pain control, as well as treat any symptoms from medications, such as constipation or nausea.

Additionally, acupuncture promotes healthy sleep and is extremely effective at alleviating anxiety, which is understandably common in patients with cancer due to the treatment and the disease itself.  Because no medication is involved and nothing is added to the bloodstream, acupuncture is an extremely safe and effective way to support your body–both the physical and emotional aspects–while still allowing your treatments to work. Click here for more information information on acupuncture and its use in cancer care.

Catherine Allen is a licensed acupuncturist and has a private practice, White Peony, PC, in Brunswick, Maine.  She earned her Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture in 2007, and her Masters in Pain Research, Education and Policy from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2009.  Catherine’s post-graduate education includes training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in using acupuncture for patients with cancer.