Top 10 Foods For Gorgeous Skin

Categories: Blog,Natural Beauty 411,NUTRITION IQ,Nutrition Tips,Talia's Must Read,This Blog,Uncategorized,Welcome,

Let’s get wild for berries, a bit crazy for kale, and 100 percent enlightened about which foods promote clear, glowing skin. The phrase, “you are what you eat” is very true, but especially true when it comes to our complexions. The only way you are going to look healthy is if you are actually eating plenty of healthy foods! Below you will see me and my complexion. My junk food eating evil twin with bad skin decided to avoid appearing in this blog post at all costs.

This is how it works:

1) The hormones inside our bodies are huge contributors to how our skin appears on the outside and whether or not we will get breakouts. A hormone called insulin is the king of skin-health regulating hormones. Insulin is most commonly known as the hormone for regulating blood sugar and is associated with diabetes, yet fascinatingly, it also increases oils that appear on our skin. Who would have thought? Not me! Until operation skin health research went down, I would have never guess that the same hormone associated with diabetes was involved with our complexions!

2) Insulin levels fluctuate based on what we eat, and these fluctuations can affect other hormones such as testosterone that also promote acne. Processed foods made with white flour and sugar lead to blood sugar spikes, causing insulin levels to go into a treacherous “pimple-producing zone”. Sugar and processed foods are nada good for our skin. Stay away from the Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks desserts and your skin will thank you!

3) Of course this is more complicated than just sugar and insulin. Harvard researchers have discovered that milk is not a skin-friendly food. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a study in which the diets of 6,084 teenage girls were analyzed. Girls who drank two or more servings of milk per day were 20 percent more likely to have acne. Milk contains bioactive molecules that act on the glands where blackheads are formed. William Danby MD, a dermatologist at Dartmouth, noted in an editorial accompanying the study that 70 to 90 percent of all milk comes from pregnant cows and that the milk contains hormones such as progesterone, testosterone precursors and insulin-like growth factor releasing hormones, all linked to acne.

What are the foods you should eat for radiant skin? These foods are my top 10 stellar (get your glowing grove on!) skin superstars:

1) Leafy green vegetables~ The secret is out. Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables are your best asset to get radiant looking, clear skin AND preventing wrinkles later in life. This is because greens, like kale, spinach, arugula, lettuce, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and any other edible green vegetable on planet earth are packed with the most nutrients and antioxidants per calorie. They contain such an abundant quantity of nutrients per calorie that no other food group comes even close. Leafy greens are like a huge shining star filled with antioxidant richness in every energetic molecule and all other foods simply cannot compare. The nutrients in these greens are the #1 key to looking young, slowing down the aging process and giving our skin a healthy glow. Raw leafy greens contain only about 100 calories per pound! That’s a huge volume of food for so few calories. Greens contain substances that protect blood vessels and are associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes too. This shouldn’t surprise you given the insulin, skin health and diabetes connection! Trying to lose weight?! Greens are an amazing tool for weight loss, since they can be consumed in virtually unlimited quantities. I’m a proud Kale-afornia girl for a good reason!

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2) Mushrooms~ Like those leafy greens, mushrooms are a fantastic anti-aging food and they contain a slew of potent antioxidants conducive to maintaining youthful, radiant skin. The cells of mushrooms contain aromatase inhibitors, which are compounds that block the production of estrogen. High estrogen levels are linked to breast cancer and this is why studies show that consuming even just one button mushroom per day reduces our risk of breast cancer by 64%!!!! In general, the foods that help our skin glow with health are also the foods that we should be eating to prevent disease! All mushrooms contain aromatase inhibitors, including the most commonly eaten mushrooms, like white, cremini and Portobello. Mushrooms are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you can eat, they have been shown to strengthen our immune systems and they also contain high levels of selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, copper and ergothioneine. Ergothioneine what? CLICK HERE to learn about this incredible and rare antioxidant. Grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich topped with creamy avocado anyone?!

3E45CDF8-B07D-48E4-835B-CAEFB45000893) Chia seedsWhen you think of chia seeds, think of omega-3 fatty acids! Omega-3 fatty acids are more plentiful in chia seeds than any other plant food! In terms of the health of our skin, omega-3 fatty acids are truly essential for achieving our best looking skin. This is because these healthy fats regulate oil production in our skin cells. Without enough, our skin will look dry and flaky and no one wants that! Chia seeds are also anti-inflammatory and can help alleviate skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. Eat more chia seeds and don’t let dry and flaky skin happen to you!

4) Hemp seeds~ Hemp seeds have a bad rep, which is entirely undeserved! When most people think of hemp seeds, thoughts of marijuana and hippie hemp bracelets will likely come to mind. If hemp seeds could express emotions, I know they would be deeply saddened by this highly inaccurate misrepresentation! More accurately, hemp seeds are a nutty tasting, nutritious food and any comparison to hippie hemp bracelets and/or associations with druggy stuff is a huge disservice to these great tasting, omega-3 rich seeds. Hemp seeds are a terrific beauty food! They tie with chia seeds for the most omega-3 fatty acids per calorie of all foods and they contain a slew of other beneficial nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin E, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus and protein. When you think of hemp seeds, can you imagine gorgeous looking, radiant skin? Can you do it? I dare you.

5) Flaxseeds~ Flaxseeds also pack a hefty amount of omega-3 fatty acids, placing in a solid third place behind chia seeds and hemp seeds. Omega-3s have been shown to help keep our skin soft, hydrated and totally smooth, so that is why these three foods take a high place on this beauty food list! They have even been shown to increase the speed of wound healing! Flaxseeds measure notably high in the anti-inflammatory index too. This means that skin irritation, tissue inflammation and redness may be reduced when you eat more flaxseeds. Get ready you guys because the flaxseed skin goodness gets even better! What is just as incredible about flaxseeds is that they contain an abundant amount of a chemical called lignans. Lignans act as powerful antioxidants, protecting your cells from dangerous free radicals that would otherwise mutate your DNA and damage cell membranes. Lignans are converted by the bacteria in our bodies to horomone-like compounds called phytoestrogens that have protective effects against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer. What does this mean for our skin? Phytoestrogens help keep our estrogen levels in a healthy range, which is important for obtaining beautiful looking skin because there is a link between circulating estrogen levels and skin clarity! Flaxseeds are a terrific source of iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, folate and protein too. Top your smoothies and shakes with ground flaxseeds and feel that radiant skin happenin’ on your healthy face.

6) Walnuts~ The form of vitamin E found in walnuts is pretty unusual, but it’s an extra beneficial form. Most foods contain the alpha-tocopherol form of vitamin E, but walnuts contain the gamma-tocopherol form, which has been shown to be extra nutritious and heart healthy as well as extra skin healthy! As for the vitamin E and skin health connection, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that protects the fats we eat from forming free radicals before they are completely digested. This is kaliciously fantastic because free radical damage is what leads to aging, including skin aging. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, so we absorb more of it when we eat it with foods containing healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds!

7) Berries~ Blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, why hello there you are lookin’ fine inside of my body and those antioxidants of yours are lookin’ pretty darn fabulous on my skin. What antioxidants do I speak of? These antioxidants are called anthocyanins (this is a very sciency name, I know) and they are potent free radical attackers and anti-aging promoters. Anthocyanins are actually the chemicals that provide pigmentation to red, blue, and purple foods like berries! Berries are also bursting with vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium, folate, copper and fiber to help us go from bland to radiant!

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8) Green tea~ Green tea contains many catechins, which are a class of antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents. One of the major catechins in green tea has been found to specifically target skin inflammation and cancerous changes in our skin. Scientific research has even found that the chemicals in green tea protect mouse skin from cancer caused by sunlight. Studies on human skin have resulted in similar findings. Caffeine what?! Get this…Green tea does contain some caffeine, but has smaller amounts than other caffeinated beverages like coffee. Fascinatingly, studies comparing the effectiveness of decaffeinated green tea and regular green tea at fighting skin cancer found that decaffeinated green tea failed to produce the substantial anti-cancer benefits found from drinking regular caffeinated green tea. When it comes to fighting cancer, go for the caffeinated tea!

9) Dark chocolate~ Dark chocolate is da bomb food for attaining beautiful skin, but there is a catch. This catch is that the added sugar and dairy that accompanies many dark chocolate candies is damaging to our skin, so it’s important to choose our dark chocolate wisely. Go for a vegan, unsweetened or very low sugar brand of dark chocolate and you will reap all of the benefits that unprocessed cocao powder has to offer! What are these benefits I speak of? Dark chocolate contains a unique composition of powerful flavonoids that have special skin protecting benefits not contained in other foods. Think protection from harmful UV radiation from the sun as well as antioxidants that promote soft, smooth, problem free complexions. Dark chocolate has been found to reduce skin roughness and scaliness and increase skin moistness and thickness. Rejoice!

10) Sweet potatoes~ Hello beta-carotene! That bright orange hue looks good on sweet potatoes and it looks good on your complexion too. Sweet potatoes are an extremely rich source of this nutrient, which is a precursor of vitamin A. You can count on sweet potatoes for plenty of vitamin C, manganese, copper, phosphorus, B vitamins and fiber too! Including this superstar starch in your diet will help your skin become more vibrant, lustrous and clear.

These foods are all jam packed with antioxidants, substances that help our skin repair damage. Plant foods contain an array of thousands upon thousands of teeny tiny phytochemicals and each one contributes to maintaining the health of our bodies, keeping us disease-free and youthful looking. The foods richest in carotenoids (a class of phytochemicals) are super foods for your body, not just your face. They supercharge the immune system’s defensive capabilities and help prevent numerous diseases, including heart disease and cancer! There are so many microscopic chemicals in brightly colored plant foods that scientists haven’t even discovered all of them yet! In regards to the appearance of our skin, the more carotenoids and phytochemicals that are present, the faster our skin can repair damage, remove and detoxify waste products and other toxic compounds. Never fear, beautiful skin awaits you!

Note: Glittery skin is not guaranteed. If glitter is your thang, you may have to make a run to your local Sephora or Ulta store for that extra oomph of shimmery bedazzlement. Oh yes, and silly faces don’t hurt for enhancing skin clarity. While this has not been scientifically proven, my theory is that there is a correlation between silly face making and skin clarity. Don’t take my word for it though. It’s only a theory at this point. Although, what is the point of having a blemish-free face if you don’t use it to make silly faces? There is no point, I’m telling you. Also, you may call me a ham…ur..vegan ham!

To watch my YouTube video that accompanies this post, CLICK HERE.

Here is a photo I took that day. What a bedazzling place!

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For further reading, resources and scientific studies, please check out Chapter 5 of my book, Love Your Body!

Here is an excerpt from page 94 that I adore. This study is fascinating!

A recent study examined people’s perception of skin ‘“lightness” and “yellowness”—yellowness is influenced by both carotenoids (which increases from the foods we eat) and melanin (which increases in response to sun exposure). The researchers asked people to choose from sets of photos of two different skin colors—one in which yellowness was due to melanin and one in which it was due to carotenoids (carotenoids are most dense in leafy green veggies) —and asked which skin color appeared healthier. Subjects overwhelmingly chose carotenoid coloration over melanin coloration as the healthier and more attractive skin color.[i] Given these results, one of the researchers noted that we’d be better off eating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables rather than lying out in the sun! There is a direct relationship between skin appearance and health.

Forget loading up on expensive skin creams and potions that never seem to reveal noticeable or lasting improvements. If you are prone to acne or dry, dull skin, I’m so excited to tell you that you can tap the potential for beautiful skin through simple diet changes. Glamorous skin can be yours without buying one skin care product at Sephora. Healthy food is not only more affordable, it benefits your entire body, not just your face.

[i] I. D. Stephen, V. Coetzee, and D. I. Perrett, “Carotenoid and Melanin Pigment Coloration Affect Perceived Human Health,” Evolution and Human Behavior (2010).

No Bake Gluten-free Rich Chocolate Walnut Cake

Categories: Desserts,Food,Gluten-Free,Holidays,Recipes,

Processed with Snapseed.

This no bake cake was devoured by friends in under 10 minutes! It was an impressive sight to see. It truly is the best compliment when your taste testers love your recipe so much they can’t stop eating it or asking for seconds. The day I created this recipe was also the day I wrote this poem. In my next book you will find a collection of recipes as well as poems. It may be unconventional, but I think the writing and the recipes go together hand-in-hand. As every recipe I create is healthy, my poems are uplifting and their common ingredient is uplifting words. I hope you enjoy both this recipe and the poem!

Inspiration and productivity may reach you today,
or it may be a moment in which you find no muse has come your way.
Each day, month and year is different than the last,
an obvious truth most of us have come to inevitably grasp.
Many search for treasure in the form of ego, looks, money and fame,
failing to understand that helping others is the name of the best life game.
If today wasn’t one in which your heart soared with creative unobstriction,
or you found the best way to say, “I existed!” or “I matter!” with conviction,
remember that it is not one day, month or year that matters in the end,
but many years of practicing integrity, humility and kindness to those you meet and befriend.

Processed with Snapseed.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes Cook time: None, just freeze!

Bottom layer:

12 medjool dates, pitted and softened
1 cup ground or finely chopped walnuts
½ cup rolled or steel-cut oats
3 tablespoons coconut shreds
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
ground coffee (optional)
1 teaspoon ground vanilla or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Filling:

1 ½ cups soaked cashew nuts (4-6 hours of soaking) or 1 cup raw cashew butter
2 tablespoons coconut butter or (more) raw cashew butter
3 tablespoons vegan butter/margarine (melted) or more nut/coconut butter
12 medjool dates, pitted and softened
½ cup cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon ground vanilla or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 can coconut milk, refrigerated overnight (do not use the liquid part!)
½ cup whole walnuts or walnut pieces, optional

Optional toppings:

Cacoa powder
Cacoa nibs
Nuts of choice
Berries
Flowers

Directions:

To prepare the base for this no bake tart, add all of the base ingredients to a food processor and pulse for a few minutes or until the mixture forms a sticky dough. For a rustic texture, be careful not to process as much. For a smoother texture, process for a few more minutes. Once mixed, use you hands to push the mixture down into a 9’’ cake tin with removable bottom. Place this in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

To prepare the filling, add the softened dates to your cleaned food processor along with the rest of the filling ingredients (except for the walnuts). If using vegan butter/margarine, melt it by heating it in the microwave for 30 seconds before adding it to the food processor. Process all of the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling over the base layer, flattening out the top. Leave the tart in the freezer for at least 2 hours or the fridge for at least 4 hours. Add your favorite decorative toppings before slicing and serving. Enjoy! This tart will last for up to a week in the fridge and 3-4 weeks if stored in the freezer.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

Categories: Desserts,Quick & Easy,Recipes,Uncategorized,

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I believe in this cookie dough. I believe in these cookies. I believe they can achieve sensational tastiness in my mouth and yours too. I too believe that they will forever be a staple in my house and again, hopefully yours as well. I love them like I would the best of the best cookie dough (or cookies!) at any restaurant I’ve ever been to. Yes, I just wrote that. What a declaration, but it’s not one I am about to take back. This is why: I eat the dough (or a warm cookie!) with coconut milk vanilla ice cream and/or coconut whipped cream on top and it’s insanity! For the purposes of clarity, I mean insanity in the best way possible. It’s like when you are at a Taylor Swift concert (Unfortunately I wouldn’t know, we are imagining this hypothetically) and you say (it’s really almost a scream because the music is so loud), “This is INSANITY!” and you mean it in the best definition of the word “insanity!” possible. If you end up at a Taylor Swift concert, it will likely only happen once in your life unless you are her stage manager or another position working for her, but we are thinking in terms of probabilities here. If however, you make these cookies while playing Taylor Swift music as loud as you want, you can do so as many times as you want. How fun does that seem! If we are to maintain utmost accuracy, I happened to bake these cookies while listening to Eminem. You might not have expected me to be an Eminem fan, but I happen to be a very large one. If I am going to prepare one of my favorite cookie recipes, then I should obviously put on my favorite rap music.


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Now, you don’t need any ice cream or whipped cream to find this dough or cookies almost sinfully delicious because, hey, a cookie should shine without any assistance from tasty toppings, but I really do like one warmed with ice cream as a special treat. Sometimes I make these cookies and eat one without ice cream on the go as I’m running out the door because I’m desperate to get to my favorite book store and don’t want to purchase any junk food at the cafe while I’m there. I warm a cookie up in the microwave (for 30 seconds if refrigerated and 1 minute if frozen) and mmmmm a warmed cookie is, as mentioned before, INSANITY. Oh yes, and I love how short the ingredient list is.

Now, you don’t need any ice cream or whipped cream to find this dough or cookies almost sinfully delicious because, hey, a cookie should shine without any assistance from tasty toppings, but I really do like one warmed with ice cream as a special treat. Sometimes I make these cookies and eat one without ice cream on the go as I’m running out the door because I’m desperate to get to my favorite book store and don’t want to purchase any junk food at the cafe while I’m there. I warm a cookie up in the microwave (for 30 seconds if refrigerated and 1 minute if frozen) and mmmmm a warmed cookie is, as mentioned before, INSANITY. Oh yes, and I love how short the ingredient list is.

Note: This cookie is for sweet potato lovers such as myself. For those who are more in the mood for conventional chocolate chip cookies without the addition of sweet potato, the ice cream scoop cookies or the BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies may be ideal cookie recipe choices.

There once was a girl who delighted in chocolate,
as she did so while looking at a night sky filled with stars.
During these moments the present was all that filled her mind.
A past of toil and struggle escaped her as did all of her scars.
Dancing in the dark as the ocean waves brushed her skin,
she felt the beauty of the breeze all around her and deep within.
All we have is the present and future, she thought.
So you may create a life anew at any time sought.
It’s never too late to eat more healthy desserts,
and to play and laugh until it almost hurts.
We can find our footprints grazing the sand beneath our feet
in a land where new paths filled with charms of our own choices
are always within our determined reach.

New choices, new desserts and new adventures are always in your reach. Here is a new recipe waiting for you! Recipe time!

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes for baked cookies!

Ingredients (makes about 6 large- or 8 medium-sized cookies):

½ cup sweet potato
1 (15 oz) can white beans or garbanzo beans from EPA-free can
¾ cup date sugar or 12 medjool dates, pitted
½ cup date sugar, optional (for extra sweetness)
2 tablespoons peanut butter or coconut butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground vanilla or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ cup oat flour (for gf version) or spelt flour
1 tablespoon maca powder, optional
⅓ cup steel cut or rolled oats, optional
¼- ½ cup dark chocolate chips or carob chips
⅓ cup raisins, if desired

Directions:

To make cookie dough, process all ingredients (except for oats, chocolate chips and raisins) in a food processor until smooth. Pour the dough into a large mixing bowl once processed and mix in the oats, chocolate chips and raisins. Voila! It’s done. Eat as is or bake them into cookies!

To make cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place tin foil on a baking pan and lightly grease the tin foil. Scoop individual tablespoons of the mixture onto the tin foil until the batter is completely used. Slightly flatten each one with your clean hands. Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Make sure not to overcook them if you desire a crunchy outside and soft inside. They will continue to cook and harden once you remove them from the oven.

Skin Cancer: The Protective Effects of A Plant-Based Diet

Categories: Health Tips,NUTRITION IQ,Uncategorized,

RainbowJuly26th!I live for the summer. I love the feeling of the sand between my toes, the refreshing ocean waters and the warmth of the sun on my skin. To me, summertime is all about lying on a beach with a great book, wearing cute, strappy sundresses, and enjoying outdoor picnics! I want nothing more than to be jovial and carefree during my favorite season, but two words come to mind whenever I think of basking in the sun: skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year than breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined. Shockingly, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. This is serious business. Applying sunscreen regularly, avoid tanning beds, and limit your hours in direct sunlight is definitely not all that we can do to protect ourselves from the sun’s damaging rays. The power of our diet cannot be underestimated. Thankfully, many of the foods that help us prevent other diseases have skin cancer–fighting properties too. Given our high odds of developing skin cancer, it’s good news that fruits and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help protect our skin. In fact, nutrient-rich, plant-based foods happen to be a shining sparkle of glorious {healthy} light at the end of this grim tunnel.

I am going to get a bit scientific here, so bear with me: Cancer can flourish in the body only when cells that undergo free-radical damage and the subsequent DNA damage (which happens when we spend too much time in the sun!) can’t be repaired by the cell’s DNA monitoring and repair tools. Natural, plant-based foods are rich in phytochemicals and other amazing, skin-protecting compounds, substances that are needed for these repair mechanisms to function optimally. If your diet is low in vegetables and fruits, your body will not obtain enough nutrients for its cells to defend it from oxidative damaged caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Studies have pointed to green vegetables especially as foods that fight skin cancer {and most cancers, for that matter}, because they have the most phytochemicals per calorie.

The cancer-fighting benefits of consuming a high-nutrient, plant-based diet were supported in a 10-year Australian study. Researchers analyzed the diet, skin color, and sunlight exposure of 1,360 adults, ages 25 to 75. Two main eating patterns were identified: a meat and fat pattern and a vegetable and fruit pattern. Results showed that the meat and fat pattern diet was positively associated with development of skin cancer and even more strongly associated in participants with a skin cancer history. Increased consumption of the vegetable and fruit dietary pattern reduced skin cancer occurrence by 54 percent, with the protective effect mostly attributed to the consumption of green leafy vegetables. In conclusion, the researchers deemed that a dietary pattern characterized by high meat and fat intakes increases skin cancer odds, while a dietary pattern characterized by higher consumption of green vegetables decreases them. No surprise there.

A Decadent Defender

It turns out that dark chocolate, with its abundant supply of antioxidants and flavonoids, can help us ward off skin damage from the sun’s rays just as fruits and veggies do. A study con- ducted by German researchers at Heinrich Heine University found that women who drank a dark chocolate hot cocoa vs. a “chocolate” placebo beverage devoid of flavonoids had smoother and moister skin than those drinking the placebo beverage. Upon exposure to UV light, the skin of the women drinking the dark chocolate hot cocoa did not show as much of the redness that indicates skin damage. The women who drank the high-flavonoid cocoa had 15 percent less skin reddening from UV light after 6 weeks of hot chocolate drinking and 25 percent less after 12 weeks on the trial. The women drank the cocoa once every day along with breakfast.

The protective effects that flavonoid-rich foods, like dark chocolate, have on our skin can also be attributed to their ability to get more blood flowing to our skin cells. Our skin, just like the other organs in our bodies, requires steady blood flow to achieve peak health. In the German study, the subjects drinking real cocoa had skin that was 16 percent denser, 11 percent thicker, 13 percent moister, 30 percent less rough, and 42 percent less scaly than it was at the start of the experiment. Sounds good to me!

Just make sure that the dark chocolate you consume isn’t sugary (like many popular chocolate beverages) or loaded with saturated fat (like most chocolate candies). Most of the chocolate in candies is not dark chocolate and is so overly processed that it is devoid of the antioxidants that were once present in the chocolate. My suggestion is to skip the candy aisle and check out the rich dark chocolate sold in health food stores. I add organic, fair- trade cocoa powder to my homemade dessert recipes, like my favorite chocolate-carrot bread, or buy 88 percent extra-dark chocolate from my local health food store. Eat your high-percentage dark chocolate from fair trade sources and you shall reap the rewards of beautiful, healthy skin.

Some cocoa is shipped to the United States from West Africa, where child slavery is commonly practiced. Children are abducted from their families or sold for a pittance to cocoa farm owners and work 80- to 100-hour weeks without pay, much food, any education, or contact with their families. Many of them are physically abused. You can easily avoid buying chocolate produced via these inhumane practices by purchasing only chocolate that has a fair trade certification label on it. For more information, check out johnrobbins.info/blog/is-there-child-slavery-in-your-chocolate!

Scientific references and further reading:

1) H. W. Rogers, M. A. Weinstock, A. R. Harris, et al., “Incidence Estimate of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer in the United States, 2006,” Archives of Dermatology 146, no. 3 (2010): 283–87.
2) J. K. Robinson, “Sun Exposure, Sun Protection, and Vitamin D,” JAMA 294 (2005): 1541–43.
3) M. B. Engler, M. M. Engler, C. Y. Chen, et al., “Flavonoid-Rich Dark Chocolate Improves Endothelial Function and Increases Plasma Epicatechin Concentrations in Healthy Adults,” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23, no. 3 (2004): 197–204.
4) D. Taubert, R. Roesen, C. Lehmann, et al., “Effects of Low Habitual Cocoa Intake on Blood Pressure and Bioactive Nitric Oxide: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” JAMA 298, no. 1 (2007): 49–60.
5) http://www.skincancer.org/understanding-uva-and-uvb.html.