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

Are You Eating These 7 Healthy Fat Foods?

 

Are you eating these 7 Healthy Fat Foods? Check our list!

We all need natural fat in our diet – it’s vital for optimal health! We are sharing some of the best healthy fat foods that are simple to add to your diet, will nourish your body, and help keep you feeling full longer. If these are not common foods for you, try adding one or two to start and add more when you’re ready!

  1. Avocado is loaded with heart and brain-healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are highly anti-inflammatory and help to stabilize blood pressure. Avocados contain more lutein, a cancer fighting carotenoid, than any other fruit. Use them in guacamole, salads, sandwiches, pudding, smoothies, and salads. Try our Avocado Frites recipe too!
  2. Walnuts, Almonds, and Hazelnuts all contain healthy unsaturated fats and Omega-3 fatty acids that improve your heart health, balance blood-sugar, and actually help to increase the feel-good chemical in your brain – serotonin . Nuts are an easy snack to take on the go. Eating them raw helps retain nutrients that may be lost in roasting. It’s also best for digestive purposes and mineral absorption to soak nuts in cold water for several hours, then let dry in a dehydrator or on a flat, dry surface. Add these nuts to salads, oatmeal, smoothies, stir fries, or just snack on them!
  3. Coconut is known as a one-seeded “drupe” that can be considered a nut, seed or fruit. Although coconut oil is a saturated fat, nearly 50% of the fat is lauric acid, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties. It’s known to have healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil. Use coconut oil in baking, on toast, in oatmeal, for sautéing vegetables and rice, and add whole coconut to granola, smoothies and rice and veggie dishes.
  4. Hempseeds have a nutty flavor and contain one of the best known ratios of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, allowing the body to take in more Omega-3s, which we often don’t get enough of. Hempseeds offer support in reducing inflammation, increasing metabolism, balancing hormones and boosting the immune system. They are an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral needed for optimal cell function, in every type of cell in the body. Sprinkle hempseeds over a salad, on top of granola or oatmeal, add to smoothies or use as a topping on desserts.
  5. Olives contain healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and are known to be anti-inflammatory. They help improve memory, control appetite and reduce wrinkles. Hydroxytyrosol, a phytonutrient in olives is linked to cancer prevention and helps prevent bone loss as well. Eat olives over salad, pasta, or alone.
  6. Flax Seeds are rich in nutrients and has a high omega-3 fatty acid content. It contains lignans that provide antioxidant protection. Flax seeds also have a mucilage (gum) content that offer special support to the intestinal tract. These three features are what make flax seeds unique.  Flaxseeds are high in fiber and beneficial for the cardiovascular system, inflammation, cancer and diabetes prevention, and digestive health. Add flax seeds or flax seed meal to your smoothies, cereal, oatmeal or homemade granola bars.
  7. Chia Seeds are easily digested seeds that have a mild, nutty flavor. When added to juice or water, chia seeds develop a gelatinous texture that also supports the intestinal tract. Chia seeds come from a member of the mint family and are high is Omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of fiber and assists in weight loss, improving cardiovascular risks, blood sugar and satiety. Chia seeds can be sprinkled on your cereals, salads, made into a chia pudding, or added to smoothies.

How do you get healthy fats in your diet? Do you eat any foods on this list on a regular basis?

 

 

 

Resources:

http://weightloss.about.com/od/nutrition/a/aa043007a.htm

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/why-avocados-have-good-fat-to-consume.html#b

http://www.classicalmedicinejournal.com/the-classical-medicine-journal/2011/5/13/the-avocado-anti-cancer-and-high-in-nutrition.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nuts/HB00085

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/coconut.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=46

http://www.livestrong.com/article/167905-what-are-the-benefits-of-hemp-seeds/

5 Food Habits to Get You Energized this Spring!

 

5 Food Habits to Boost Your Energy this Spring, including green smoothies!

Green smoothie to-go!

When spring time comes around, many of us get the mental and emotional awakening –  we feel happier, more positive, ready to get outdoors, explore, try new things and new foods! This explosion of energy and excitement also often comes in a physical sense, and we wake up feeling fresher, energized and ready to take on another beautiful day.

If you’re NOT feeling that way this spring, it may be due to your diet. If you wake up feeling sluggish, perhaps with a headache and would prefer to go back to sleep, you may need to revamp your food habits. And this can be easier than you may think!

Below are five fabulous food habits to add to your life. Try one or try them all, but you will undoubtedly be feeling far more energized, fresh, healthy and ready to jump into another spring day!

  1. Get Your Green Juice On. By juicing on a regular basis (especially green juices and mostly veggies!), you add in some alkalizing foods that will help to balance your body’s natural pH level (which should be a little alkaline) and give you a burst of nutrients that might be difficult to eat in their whole food form all at once. By juicing, you’re getting this super-dose of vitamins and minerals and helping to flush out toxins that may be contributing to your low energy. New to juicing? Check out our 7 Tips for Getting Started or take on our 7 Day Juicing Jumpstart Challenge!
  2. Eat Green Veggies Daily. Kale, spinach, collards, bok choy, dandelion greens, watercress, dark lettuces – these superfood veggies will boost your energy and moods, helping you feel happy, light and vibrant. Try using these veggies in salads, smoothies, give them a quick water sauté with some garlic and a pinch of sea salt, or try out Cashew Kale recipe.
  3. Get Smart with Smoothies. If you need an easy and quick breakfast in the morning, please don’t grab that bagel with cream cheese. That just won’t sustain you or give you the vibrant springtime energy we know you’d love to have! Instead, blend yourself a power-packed smoothie with some almond milk or water, almonds, avocado, banana, kale or spinach, berries and coconut. Or experiment with your own ingredients – just stick with whole foods, good sources of protein (like nuts/seeds), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut), and some green veggies. For more tips on how to create the perfect smoothie to kick-start your day, try our Smoothie Tips for the Newbie here.
  4. Drink water. A general rule of thumb is to drink about half of your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink about 75 ounces daily – more if you’re pretty active. Dehydration can bring us down (our energy and moods) fairly quickly. Plus, if you’re drinking more water, it should help you to drink less soda and other sugary drinks that will only compromise your immune system, blood sugar balance and energy. Squeeze in some fresh lemon juice to bring some alkalizing power to your body (remember tip #1 about keeping your body’s pH on the alkaline side?).
  5. Eat More Plant-based Protein. While eating some quality meat or animal protein can be beneficial for many of us, overdoing it can often lead to low energy and feeling sluggish. Our bodies work hard to digest meat, which means less energy is available for the rest of the body. Try swapping your steak for black beans or tempeh (or another plant-based protein source). Need some ideas for plant-based protein recipes? We have a whole bunch in our book: Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen and some on our Recipe page. You can also check out Forks Over Knives for yummy recipes.

Strawberry Mango Sorbet – for Your Kiddo and You!

 

[Kendall] As a mom to a 19 month old, I’m finding that I have to be a little tricky when it comes to getting good, whole foods into that little belly of his. He loves food, but there are certain things that he doesn’t want to eat as a toddler – like carrots, zucchini, beans and avocados! – he loved these as a baby. The only veggies I can get him to eat these days without hiding them in something else are peas, squash, sweet potato, and sometimes cherry tomatoes…and that’s about it. Of course, being a huge fanatic of leafy greens, I’m always finding ways to sneak those in. I also want to make sure he gets plenty of healthy fats (so important for adults too!), and of course, proteins.

And I’ve read about how if you start your kiddos on good whole foods, real veggies, etc., they’ll want to eat them. They won’t be picky eaters. While I’m sure that’s true to some extent, I think that when you’re dealing with a toddler who just wants to declare his independence, you may just be SOL (sh*t out of luck) sometimes. I’ve also heard that it often takes eight times of trying a certain food before your child will like it and want to eat it. I’ve found this to be true in some cases, but there are just some foods that he doesn’t like. At least, for now (or just on certain days).

I’m sure this will change in time. I don’t want mealtimes to create any pressure for my little guy or me, so I give him the healthy whole foods he will eat, try some others at different times (the majority of which get spit out and tossed on the floor), and then sneak in the rest.

I also don’t make a separate “special” meal for my kiddo. He eats what my husband and I eat with some modifications, mostly to make it easier for his little hands and fewer teeth. We aren’t a strict vegan or vegetarian household, but do eat a plant-based diet, so he is exposed to some quality animal food. Interestingly, he isn’t much of a meat-eater (but neither am I).

The result of all of this is a mama who has turned into quite the creative toddler food chef! Interestingly, many of these concoctions I’ve come up with are things I enjoy quite a bit myself. It’s also gotten me to make raw veggie juice every day. I used to juice maybe a few times a week. Now, its daily because it’s the easiest way to get some good veggie nutrients into my little guy – he gulps down my juices! I also make smoothies packed full of healthy stuff: avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nuts and nut butters, kale, spinach, carrots, coconut, and a banana or some applesauce to make it more palatable for picky little taste buds. I hide pureed veggies in sauces or scrambled eggs, make chia pudding (he loves it!), and hide good stuff in pureed soups.

My latest concoction turned out to be super yummy, mucho easy to make and of course, Healthy 4 ingredient Strawberry Mango Sorbethealthy-healthy: Strawberry-Mango Sorbet! The little guy loved it! Only four ingredients in the food processor: avocado, strawberries, mango, and hemp seeds. I would say that next time, I would also add a little baby spinach or kale to get some greens in.

Avocado: Considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet because they contain in excess of 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium. Contain fiber, protein, and several beneficial phytochemicals, which may protect against various disease and illness. Anti-aging properties, fight cancer, anti-inflammatory, regulate blood-sugar levels, help maintain a healthy heart and much more!

Hempseed: According to Nutiva, hempseed “is considered by leading researchers and Strawberry Mango Sorbet ingredientsmedical doctors to be one of the most nutritious food sources on the planet. Shelled hempseed ispacked with 33 percent pure digestible protein and is rich in iron and vitamin E as well as omega-3 and GLA.”

Strawberry: Rich in vitamins C, B5, B6, K and have been found to increase anti-cancer agents in the body. Adds some sweetness for Mr. Picky Eater.

Mango: Aids in digestion, helps improve concentration and memory, high in antioxidants, iron, fiber. Also sweet.

RECIPE:

1/2 cup frozen mangoes

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1 avocado, peeled, pit removed strawberry mango sorbet in food processor

2 tablespoons hemp seeds

Allow strawberries and mango to soften and thaw a bit by setting out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add water, a teaspoon at a time to help ingredients blend, if necessary. Serve sprinkled with hempseeds on top if desired.

Note: Best served immediately to maintain sorbet-like consistency. Can store in freezer and let thaw, then stir a bit before serving. Also, can store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, but be aware that the color will change as the avocado loses its greenness due to exposure to the air. Still tastes great!

Healthy 4 ingredient Strawberry Mango Sorbet

 

3 Fabulously Healthy New Year’s Eve Hors D’oeuvres

Meatless balls

Are you looking for some last-minute New Year’s Eve party food ideas?

If you’re hosting a soiree this New Year’s Eve or attending one, you may be in need of one or several dishes to share. And while it may seem easy to put out some cheese dip and Swedish meatballs, you also may be feeling enough bloat and blah from heavy holiday foods. Why not kick the holiday health factor up a notch (or three!) with one of our delicious, health-promoting recipes below. They are also simple to make, will get rave reviews and won’t leave you feeling like you need someone to roll you home.

Walnut Meat-less Balls

Yield: makes 1 dozen balls

These are flavorful and filling, and completely meat-free (think walnuts!). Enjoy as an appetizer or in your favorite tomato sauce.

1 tablespoon plus 1/4teaspoon olive oil

1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

6 button mushrooms, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup walnuts

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons wheat germ

3 tablespoons quick oats

2 teaspoons tamari

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon freshly ground

black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion, mushrooms and garlic for about four minutes, or until soft. Transfer the sautéed onions, mushrooms and garlic to a food processor; add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Form into small balls (about the size of a golf ball) and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake covered for thirty minutes. Then uncover, flip meatballs and bake for an additional ten minutes uncovered. Let them cool for five to ten minutes before serving.

Spicy Hummus

Dip some veggies, crackers or crusty artisan bread in this hummus and kick up your evening with a little heat!

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/3 cup sesame tahini

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon red pepper

1/2  teaspoon salt

1 whole lemon, juiced

In a food processor, puree ingredients until smooth.

(To make a milder version, omit red pepper. If garlic is too intense, less garlic may be used, or else roasted garlic adds a milder, richer flavor.)

Avocado Frites

This is a fun new way to enjoy an avocado or to create a healthier version of French fries.

2 large avocados, ripe but not too soft, pit removed and peeled

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1 tablespoon arrowroot

1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Place a cooling rack on which to bake the fries on top of a cookie sheet.

Cut the avocado into lengthwise slices. In one bowl, mix the vegetable broth and arrowroot. In another bowl, combine the cornmeal and spices. Dip an avocado slice into the broth mixture, then dredge it in the cornmeal and place it on the baking rack. Repeat with remaining slices.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until the cornmeal turns brown and crisp. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.