Blueberry Banana Muffins with a Golden Flaxseed Twist

Categories: Breakfast,Desserts,Recipes,

These muffins are loaded with just about equal parts deliciousness and nutritiousness, with deliciousness winning ever so slightly. Although both qualities are of an impressive amount, deliciousness did beat out nutritiousness due to the amazing flavor combinations that my blueberry and banana loving mouth subjectively found heavenly.

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As for the nutritiousness component, well there is no denying that these muffins are likely one of the most nutritious muffins you could prepare {and preparing them is easy ~ this recipe should take you no more than 30 minutes tops!}. Blueberries have been shown to prevent mental decline in later years and also reverse abnormal brain activity. They contain huge helpings of tannins, which are linked to the reversal and prevention of age-related mental decline. There is no question that our brains are our sexiest body part! Our wits may be our most memorable asset, but only if we use them wisely and keep them in tip-top shape. And this means keeping mental stimulation and eating the right foods. Researchers have found that eating blueberries is not simply a preventive measure for optimal cognitive functioning later in life. There are tangible benefits to consuming blueberries for optimal brain health in our youth, too. Think an increase in cerebral blood flow and acute improvements in cognitive functioning that lead to increased mental clarity and improvements in spatial working memory. Now that is what I like to call delicious information!

We can thank the stellar antioxidant content of blueberries for nimbly crossing our blood-brain barriers and exerting measurable improvements in existing neural pathways, cellular communi- cation, and neuronal regeneration and strengthening.

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These muffins are undeniably appropriate for consuming at breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. I am not sure many other muffin recipes can be granted such highly esteemed any-meal-of-the-day status. This status should only be granted to muffins that contain so many nutritious ingredients that you cannot help but approve them for breakfast consumption. Scratch that. To me, consumption is not a word that sounds mouth-watering enough for these bananay beauties. Let’s go with luxuriation. There we go…breakfast luxuriation.

Ingredients (makes about 8 muffins):

½ cup water
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup fresh blueberries (preferably organic)
2 medium-sized ripe bananas
2 tablespoons Earth Balance or another vegan margarine
10 medjool dates, pitted
1 teaspoon Stevia powder (optional, to make them a bit sweeter)
½ cup almond flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or oat flour for gluten-free version
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 ground vanilla bean
½ tablespoon cinnamon
⅓ cup raw sunflower seeds (optional)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a muffin tin with 8 paper liners or lightly grease. Mix water, baking powder, baking soda and ground flaxseeds in a small mixing bowl or cup and let sit for a few minutes. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine water-flaxseed mixture, bananas, Earth balance (or other vegan margarine) dates, Stevia (if using), almond flour and whole wheat pastry flour. Process until a nice evenly mixed dough forms. Pour the dough into a large mixing bowl.

Add the sunflower seeds  to the large bowl containing the dough and mix in well. Add in blueberries at this time and mix them in too. Divide the batter evenly between muffin tins (they should be about ¾ of the way full). Optional: Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with a bit more blueberries.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are golden brown. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan, then gently remove and let them cool completely on a cooling rack. Don’t try to remove the muffin paper before they are completely cooled because they will stick to the paper. Enjoy!

Blueberry scientific reference for you:

L. T. Butler, D. Vauzour, C. M. Williams, et al., “Blueberry-Induced Changes in Spatial Working Memory Correlate with Changes in Hippocampal CREB Phosphorylation and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Levels,” Elsevier 45, no. 3 (2008): 295–305.

Gluten-free Ooey Gooey Peanut Butter Black Bean Brownies

Categories: Uncategorized,

DarkBrownies2!

These brownies are benevolent, but may appear dangerous. After all, they are so delicious that consuming too many at one time is an entirely likely scenario.  This possibility can easily be averted. Perhaps not effortlessly averted at first, but averted nonetheless. Trust me, I am speaking writing from experience. There is a way! So, not only do I have this new decadent brownie recipe to share with you, but I also have a convenient strategy for avoiding overconsumption. Win and win! You may be able to thank me by preparing these brownies and celebrating the happiness of your taste buds. Well, that is if you love the chocolate, coffee and sweet medjool dates combination as much as I do. I seem to have a minor problem mistrusting people who do not enjoy chocolate {is this reasonable?}, but I hope to recover from this personality idiosyncrasy soon. Please wish me a full recovery from this chocolate “prejudice” of sorts.

Also to be noted is that while these beauties do justifiably appear as though they could be filled with mouthfuls of undesirable guilt, they are bursting with only the sweetest of intentions and salubriousness. Did I just write that these brownies are bursting with sweet intentions? Gosh, I would give human traits to brownies. Let’s both pretend that sentence didn’t happen. Moving on…

As a treat, I used Hersey’s Special Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder to produce an even darker hue and richer chocolaty flavor. As you can see {take note of photos unless you are blind, in which case I have no idea how you are able to read this}, I think that strategy worked. Look at that dark, almost black color! If you decide to use another type of cocoa powder, the final brownies may not turn out as dark, but there is no question that they will be just as yummy.

These brownies are energizing for numerous reasons. Firstly, this recipe contains coffee, which I highly recommend purchasing of the Certified Fair Trade variety. I’ve linked you to a great brand that I love.

Brownie ingredients (makes about 6 large or 8 medium brownies):

1 cup cocoa powder of choice
1 (15 oz) can black beans, aim for an EPA free brand
12 soft medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup oat flour (oats are naturally gluten-free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup natural peanut butter (I used smooth)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon French roast coffee (or coffee of choice)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (aim for the ceylon variety)
1 tablespoon green superfood powder of choice (optional)
Grain-sweetened dark chocolate chips for topping (optional)

UltraDarkBrownies

Directions:

In a food processor, legit process every single ingredient together. You shouldn’t have any trouble processing them all. I added the dates, cacao powder, beans and water first, processed those ingredients completely and then added the other ingredients. This worked well for me.
Take a glass baking dish (8X8 size) and gently grease with coconut oil. Add the brownie mixture and press down with your palms to spread the mixture evenly. Bake for 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.
Cut brownies into squares, enjoy them as is or with your favorite non-dairy ice cream. Both ways are absolutely delicious!

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Finally, my strategy to avert overeating on these beauties if you decide to prepare them for yourself instead of a group of friends and/or family members is to cut them into individual servings you would eat for dessert {or um, breakfast}, wrap each square in tin foil and then freeze them all. This way, you can unravel a square and heat it up {it’s soooo good warmed!} any time you want without eating any other squares. Granted, this is unless you are unusually hungry after a hypothetically long workout {or hey, just unusually hungry} and can do with more than one square {lucky you!}. I hope you LOVE this recipe as much as I do. I am going to enjoy one tomorrow for dessert breakfast.

XO,

Talia

The Most Delicious Healthy Tiramisu

Categories: Uncategorized,

This may be my favorite dessert EVER. Did I just write that? I think I did. I could erase what I wrote in less than a few seconds, but that would be a big mistake. It should be known that this is one incredible healthy dessert. Yes, healthy! The key to making this tiramisu taste as excellent as it looks is to make ladyfinger cookies first and use them in preparation of the recipe.

Ladyfinger cookies date back to the eleventh century France when they were enjoyed as delicate sponge cakes by the wealthy. They are pretty old even though my healthy version is very new! The traditional recipe has changed little in nine hundred years and was carried throughout Europe by the marriages of the numerous daughters of Bertha of Savoy to the scattered thrones of Europe.

Flash forward to today and Ladyfingers are viewed as a delicacy and, by many, to be one of the rarest of the bakers’ arts.

The name Ladyfingers is self-explanatory as they are biscuits roughly shaped like fingers. Traditionally they  are made using far from the healthiest  ingredients as the classic recipe contains egg whites  egg yolks, sugar, flour, powdered sugar and other ingredients never found in my recipes. Hence, I decided to create my own delicious healthy version! You can shape these cookies into the traditional shape of ladyfingers, which is to make them look like a lady’s “fingers” (see photo ~ mine look a bit like bars) or shape the cookies into round cookies. It’s up to you!

There is undeniably timeless beauty (and tastiness!) in whichever version of this recipe(s) you decide to make. I did find my emotions taking flight as I sunk my teeth into each bite. Enjoy everything you may, creative treats included, and sink your teeth into the simple pleasures of being human!

Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 50 minutes

Ladyfinger cookie ingredients:

13 medjool dates, pitted and softened

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

1/3 cup your favorite nondairy milk or nondairy mocha

2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)

½ very ripe, large banana or 1 small banana

2 tablespoons vegan butter or coconut butter

¾ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or ½ cup raw cashew butter

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground vanilla or vanilla extract

2 cups buckwheat, spelt or oat flour (or a mix of them)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet with coconut oil, olive oil or cooking spray. Soften medjool dates by soaking them in warm water overnight or by soaking in water and heating in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once dates are softened, discard water and place pitted dates in a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. I recommend pouring in the nondairy milk (I used almond milk!) into the food processor first so that the liquid is on the bottom, which makes blending easier and smoother.  Process until all ingredients have been combined. You may need to turn off the food processor and mix with a large spoon before turning on again, but it should blend easily. If it is too thick in some areas, add a few tablespoons of water.

Using roughly three tablespoons of batter, with your hand, mold into Ladyfinger cookie shape (long and thin is key) and place on the cookie sheet. Do this until there is no batter left. I found this is easier to do with damp hands. The batter is less sticky this way. Bake for 20 minutes or until they become slightly golden. I recommend placing them on the top level of the oven vs. the bottom level to avoid burning the bottom of the cookies. Remove from oven and allow them to cool. Note: Keep an eye on them in the oven, as they can burn easily if you are not careful given they are rather thin cookies. Their final color will be someone darker than traditional Ladyfingers. Once the cookies have completely cooled, enjoy them as is or use them to make tiramisu! These cookies will last up to five days stored in the fridge and 3-4 weeks stored in the freezer.

Coconut Cream Tiramisu

Tiramisu originated in Italy in the 1960s. I thought it was older than that, but we can simply be thankful that it is now in existence for our dessert enjoying pleasure! In fact, the word tiramisu in English translates to “pick me up”, “cheer me up,” “wake me up” or “lift me up.” Obviously, my version of tiramisu doesn’t contain any ingredients such as animal products or sugar found in most traditional recipes and I do believe it is one of my most delicious creations. Most accounts of the origin of tiramisu   is in a restaurant called “Le Beccherie” in Treviso, Italy. A confectioner named Roberto Linguanotto, owner of  the restaurant and his apprentice, Francesca Valori, whose maiden name was Tiramisu, are purportedly the inventors. I wish I could thank them myself! However, debate on this does persist. What we do know for sure is that tiramisu is almost always delicious.  Very likely, my recipe is one of the few tiramisu recipes in the world that is actually good for you! You only have one life and one body, so if you are going to enjoy tiramisu, and you should, making this recipe helps your body to be healthy and prevents disease rather than contributes to it.

This is likely one of the few tiramisu recipes in the world that is actually good for you. You only have one life and one body, so if you are going to enjoy tiramisu, it should be one that is helps your body be healthy and prevents disease rather than contributes to it!

12-15 ladyfinger cookies will be used for this recipe.

Dipping sauce ingredients*:

1 cup freshly brewed coffee

2 tablespoons amaretto

*You can also use prepared nondairy mocha. I made this using soy mocha too and it was wonderful.

Coconut cream icing ingredients:

8 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for at least 2 hours in water

½ cup raw cashew butter or ½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight

2 tablespoons ground coffee of choice (I used French dark roast)

2 tablespoons amaretto

1 teaspoon ground vanilla or vanilla extract

3 (15 oz.) cans coconut milk, refrigerated overnight and liquid removed

Optional garnish:

Cacao powder

Melted dark chocolate

Organic fresh berries

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 8×8 inch baking pan (or line with parchment paper). Set the greased pan aside. Use 12-15 Ladyfinger cookies and soak them one by one in the dipping sauce. Soak them for about 30 seconds ~ 1 minute each. Don’t worry, they will not crumble or become overly mushy

Place all of the coconut cream ingredients (except for the two cans of refrigerated coconut milk) in a food processor and process until the mixture becomes completely smooth. Pour these ingredients out of the food processor and into a medium-sized bowl.

Use the two cans of refrigerated coconut milk to prepare coconut whipped cream! Make sure the coconut milk has been refrigerated overnight and the liquid removed from the can. Chill a large mixing bowl for 10 minutes before whipping! Place the hardened coconut cream in your chilled mixing bowl and beat for 30 seconds with either an electric or manual hand mixer. If you use an electric hand mixer, this should take you less than 1 minute! It will take you slightly longer if you use a manual hand mixer but not much longer. Stir the rest of the cream layer ingredients into the bowl with the whipped cream.

To make the cake, use a glass baking dish and line it with parchment paper or tin foil. Prepare the bottom layer using half of the soaked ladyfinger cookies and add a nice layer of the whipped cream layer on top. Smooth down the whipped cream layer using a spatula or very large spoon. Place the remaining Ladyfingers on top, creating a second layer. For the top layer, add more of the coconut cream icing and then place the bars in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, garnish with your favorite toppings such as cacao powder, melted dark chocolate, shredded coconut and/or fresh berries, cut up into square slices and enjoy! The cake will last up to 4-5 days in the fridge and up to three weeks if stored in the freezer.

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).