5 Companies to Support Now …

Let’s face it. Health is trending. Juice Cleanses are more popular than ever. People have finally stopped counting calories and started counting ingredients. Amy’s Organic built the first completely organic “fast food” drive through in a small town in Northern California and Food Babe recently convinced Subway to remove the Yoga Mat Chemical from their breads. As happy as I am to see the results of our demanding healthier options in the last five years, there’s also a disturbing trend of corporate companies supported by Monsanto (Dean Foods), jumping on the bandwagon and releasing “healthy” options themselves, without the consumer understanding that the additives are anything but healthy, not to mention, they’re supporting Monsanto without knowing it. Horizon and Silk to be specific. Let’s take Almond Milk for example. Most Almond Milks, including brands at Whole Foods like Blue Diamond, contain less than 2% almonds, and neither are certified organic. Organic is important when it comes to almonds, otherwise you’re ingesting harsh pesticides and an almond that has lost it’s nutrition during the chemical process. Whole Foods has a great Organic Almond Milk option, but then you’re still dealing with the issue of a watered down version which should be made with mostly almonds, not water. So with all of this being said, here are my top five fave brands to support right now.

New Barn Organic Almond Milk

New Barn is the first Almond Milk I’ve found that is not only certified organic, but averages 55 almonds per bottle. Yes, the bottles are small and expensive, but often go on sale monthly for $2 off. You seriously can’t find a thicker, creamier and tastier almond milk than this. I use it for my lattes daily, and compared to all other almond milks, when I use it in my electric frother, it’s the only one that stands the true test of frothing as perfectly, rich and full as cow’s milk. More importantly, the ingredients list is short and sweet. No additives you can’t pronounce and the only Vanilla Almond Milk on the market sweetened with Organic Maple Syrup and real Vanilla Extract. I highly recommend this for iced or hot coffee. If you want to get into a discussion about the amount of water we’re using in California to deal with the increase in almond consumption over cow dairy, the documentary Cowspiracy is a great place to start. The meat and dairy industry is the #1 reason for our water problem, not growing almonds, millet and other grains, which actually ranks 11th in California’s water use. The demand for meat in America is so ridiculously high it’s literally killing us, and our planet. Not to mention, when you buy meat in a conventional grocery store, you’re at risk for contamination from very sick and abused animals. New Barn wins for taste, texture and a near perfect ingredients list. http://www.thenewbarn.com

NewBarnBlog1.jpg

Jackson’s Honest Chips

I choose these Purple Heirloom Potato Chips for one huge reason. They’re the only one on the market cooked in Coconut Oil. Need I say more? I steered away from chips years ago when I went through my clean eating shift in 2011, because the majority of them are cooked in Canola Oil/Safflower Oil. Coconut Oil is a super nutrient dense oil that actually has tons of health benefits, all of which you probably know by now. Yes, we health nuts use it for everything, from makeup remover to face serum to oil pulling to baking. In fact, I replace all recipes using butter with coconut oil. Jackson’s also now has GMO free Corn Chips, cooked in Coconut Oil of course. http://www.jacksonshonest.com

Jacksons-Purple-Heirloom_1024x1024.jpg

Artizan Organic Coffee Nespresso Pods (BPA Free/Recyclable)

Although I always liked the idea of owning a Nespresso to ditch my $5 a day Urth Cafe (LA) Organic Latte habit, I couldn’t justify the huge waste involved with using toxic plastic pods owned by Nestle filled with a crappy, pesticide ridden coffee. So late last year, in a last ditch effort, I did a quick Google search for “organic coffee pods” to see if anyone had yet decided to invent an organic pod using BPA free plastic and recyclable materials. I almost gave up the search. It was a hit overseas in the UK and Australia, but nothing was coming up for the USA. At the last minute Artizan popped up, and suddenly my $5 a day latte habit became a $.58 cents per pod miracle. I’m also super impressed with their email customer service and comprehensive, easy to navigate subscription option which ships monthly. For true doubles, I use two pods per latte using the single shot setting on my Nespresso machine, then top off with New Barn Vanilla Almond milk, add a little coconut sugar and voila: Cheaper than Starbucks, totally organic and environmentally guilt-free. http://www.artizancoffee.com

cover-v5-2.jpg

Addictive Wellness Chocolates

I stumbled upon Addictive Wellness Chocolates one day while shopping at Erewhon Market here in Los Angeles. I was immediately intrigued by their “Tranquility” Chocolate, as the caffeine content in some dark chocolate can actually keep me up at night, but night time is my favorite time to nosh on this antioxidant rich superfood. I actually slept better after “Tranquility”. Creating a medicinal chocolate is brilliant in my opinion, because it’s taking my love for herbs and plant based medicine and mixing it with my love for dark chocolate. They’re actually incorporating Taoist and Ayurvedic herbs in to a super nutrient dense dark cacao, and incorporating my favorite adaptogenic herb of all, Ashwagandha. The benefits are endless, but I use Ashwagandha to balance hormones and battle stress. It has a calming effect, but not sedating. The “Energy” is perfect if you’re on the go, with the energy buzz coming from Mesquite. Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Non GMO and Soy Free. http://www.addictivewellness.com

freeandnative_Addictive_Wellness_1a.jpg

Raw Coconut Aminos

I use this almost daily to replace vinegars for salad dressing and soy sauce. Raw Coconut Aminos contains over 17 active amino acids and tastes sweet like soy sauce, without the phytoestrogens. Soy is no longer the health food it was once considered. Not because it didn’t start out that way, because it certainly did, but because soy sauce manufacturers utilize a chemical process known as acid hydrolysis that does not incorporate fermentation. Fermentation is super important when it comes to soy. With this process, the harmful effects of the soybean are not inactivated. I’ve brought the controversial topic of soy up in many of my blog posts since 2011 because eliminating soy from my diet completely (along with gluten) was one of the main reasons I was able to heal my thyroid completely without drugs. Functional Medicine doctors go in to detail about why and how this works if you’d like more information, find one in your area. A lot of people are also unaware that soy sauce also contains gluten from wheat. In 1997 GMO soybeans went from 17% of U.S. soybean average to 68% in 2001, to an astounding 94% in 2014. Enough said. I do a very simple dressing using Organic Olive Oil, Coconut Aminos, Himalayan Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper. http://www.coconutsecret.com

851492002047-1_1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

My Daily Rituals: Best of Organic Beauty Guide (2014)

Oh how I’ve missed you all! Making my “Glo Girl” Comeback all about YOU with quick and easy links included, just in time for the holidays!

I’ve spent the majority of this last year searching and researching every single ingredient in the latest organic beauty products, to find out what truly works and doesn’t for anti-aging and prevention, using only the most natural and organic ingredients possible. This was no easy task. After the first few months, I was finally able to narrow it down to the best of the best. The point of this, was to see what would happen if I used the regimen every single day for one year. And then, of course, blog about it if it, in fact, made a noticeable difference in my skin. (Or I suddenly woke up looking like Tay Swift.)

So how do I know all of this works? A combination of watching my skin age rapidly (at 31) to watching it miraculously “heal” (at 35) and learning as much as I could from the nutritional protocols I’ve been taking for years to restore my health back to optimal, after fighting a three year battle with an autoimmune disorder, chronic inflammation, adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism. All of this, without drugs, and using only organic, food based supplements and food as medicine.

Did I trust this process always? NO. Was I willing to try it? YES. Why? Because I didn’t want to be drugged for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to suffer anymore. I tried all medical routes and they failed me. I wanted to prove “the experts” wrong. I’m stubborn. I don’t give up easily. And thank God for that, because this way of life not only didn’t fail me, it changed me.

The point of bringing up my health history for this particular blog, is that, quite simply, “We Are What We Eat.” Part of what makes my skin look better than ever, is my every day diet. Predominately plant based, high in good fats and omega’s and low in sugar, with nothing processed EVER.

So, with that said, if your diet is total crap, this regimen will not work well. If it’s used in combination with a clean diet, then get ready for a straight miracle. For the first time ever, I can say I’m totally in love with the way my skin looks and feels. Considering thirty-six is just around the corner, when we, as women, are supposed to see the biggest decline in the condition of our skin….. I’m stoked to say, I’m not losing this battle, and hopefully changing the way women look at anti-aging and skin care. Botox and Fillers are not the future of anti-aging and they shouldn’t be the norm. Like drugs, they are a quick fix and loaded with toxic chemicals. Plant based beauty solutions have been around much, much longer and European women, being much more open to this way of anti-aging, are proof that it works.

With that said, these products are absolutely, hands down my go-to’s every single day, and I’m so excited to finally share them with you. Happy Holidays Y’all!

Best Moisturizer: Tied between Elska Apotheke Rosehip and Frankincense Ultra Hydrating Cream (made locally here in Los Angeles) https://www.etsy.com/shop/ElskaApotheke and Super Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream by Andalou Organics. http://www.vitacost.com/andalou-naturals-super-goji-peptide-perfecting-cream. Both of these are anti-aging power houses. I switch these up morning and night.

Best Overall Anti-Aging: Reserveage Organics Naturally occurring Collagen with Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Supplement. 1 scoop in water daily. http://www.vitacost.com/reserveage-organics-collagen-replenish-with-hyaluronic-acid-vitamin-c-2-75-oz

Best Exfoliator: Acure Organics Seaweed and Chlorella Brightening Facial Scrub. http://www.acureorganics.com/Brightening-Facial-Scrub-p/012.htm

Best CC Cream: Andalou Organics 1000 Roses CC CreamObsessed. I wear this every single day and stopped wearing makeup entirely because of it. Amazing ingredients, including my favorite anti-aging ingredient ever: Roses. Simple as that. PS. If you have oily skin, this CC cream will be waaaaay to moisturizing for you. If you live in a dry climate, like me, and have ultra parched, dry skin, you will fall madly in love. No need to apply anything else. On the run? This is all you need for moisturizer, skin corrector and sheer tint for that “makeup” look. Available in Sheer Nude and Sheer Tan. When people tell me I “GLO” I promise you, this is why. 😉 http://www.vitacost.com/andalou-naturals-1000-roses-cc-color-correct-sensitive-sheer-nude-2-fl-oz-2

Best Oil: Forget Argan Oil. 100% Pure Organic Rosehip Oil is my fave.  Use once or twice a week as a deeply penetrating anti-aging treatment directly after showering when skin is the most dry. http://www.vitacost.com/aura-cacia-deep-rosehip-facial-oil-serum-1-fl-oz

Best Makeup Remover and Serum in One: Hands down, Organic Coconut Oil in a jar!! Dr. Bronners is the best. Removes even the toughest waterproof mascara. Swipe cotton pad over hardened oil. Found, anywhere.

Best Powder Foundation: Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder. I’ve been blogging about this one for years, and it’s still the best. Antioxidant Galore. No Mica. (PS. Right now ALL Mineral Fusion Products are 30% off with free shipping over $60, so stock up on these next few items!) http://mineralfusion.com/index.php/shop/cosmetics/face/pressed-powder-foundation

Best Eye Cream: Kat Rudu Cucumber Cooling Eye Bright Gel. Beverly Hills Beauty Icon famous for her “Jet Set Facial” and responsible for making Kate Beckinsale’s face the most beautiful face over 40 I’ve ever seen. Also, I’m lucky enough to be one of her clients. I adore this woman’s use of organic ingredients.
http://boutique.katrudu.com/product-p/002.htm cucumber cooling eye bright gel

Best Concealer Stick: Josie Maran. Just, yes. http://www.sephora.com/argan-creamy-concealer-crayon-P381727 josie maran concealer stick

Best Lip “Sticks”: Ahhhhhh, I looooooove these. And the Mineral Fusion one is made with coconut oil while offering highly pigmented color. My “go to” day time shade is “Shimmer”. http://mineralfusion.com/index.php/shop/cosmetics/new-sheer-moisture-lip-tints/sheer-moisture-lip-tints Best Red Award goes to Burt’s Bees Crayon in “Napa Vineyard”. Get your Gwen Stefani on. http://www.burtsbees.com/Lip-Crayon/792850028500,default,pd.html

Best Shampoo and Conditioner: For growth and lifeless, fine hair. Andalou Organics Biotin infused S&C is the longest running Shampoo and Conditioner I’ve ever used.
http://www.vitacost.com/andalou-naturals-full-volume-shampoo-lavender-and-biotin-11-5-fl-oz

Best Body Butter: Andalou Organics 1000 Roses Body Butter: Super thick and creamy. Be patient. Takes time to really work in to skin, but SO worth it. Skin retains serious moisture and radiates shine. http://www.vitacost.com/andalou-naturals-1000-roses-body-butter-8-fl-oz

Best Deodorant: I hope, by now, I don’t have to reiterate the importance of using Aluminum Free Deodorant. You’re trapping years worth of toxins that need to come out. Want an all natural deodorant that truly works so you can sweat them out once and for all, while not allowing cancer causing Aluminum to seep in to your breast tissue?! Boom! So good you can skip a day. http://www.trulysnaturaldeodorant.com/ (Store in warm place so that it’s easier to apply).

Best Nail Polish and Nail Polish Remover: There’s nothing worse than the smell of ultra harsh, chemical NPR and absolutely nothing more drying on hands and nails. How the heck does this work so well, smell so good and actually moisturize after removing polish? I have no freaking idea but buy it and you’ll thank me for it. Polish colors also on point. http://mineralfusion.com/index.php/shop/nail-color-and-care/nail-treatments-and-remover/nail-treatments-and-remover

 

 

Gluten Free Spinach Pasta in a Basil Pesto Sauce with Raw Pecorino Cheese

Gluten Free Spinach Pasta in a Basil Pesto Sauce with Raw Pecorino Cheese

Healthy Recipe for the day y’all: This was my lunch yesterday and it was so fast, simple and delicious. #eatclean

Bring water to boil. Add a generous amount of Himalayan Pink Salt to boiling water. Add desired amount of “Pasta Joy” Brown Rice Spinach Pasta (gluten free) and cook for 16 minutes on med/high heat. Pasta made from brown rice takes a little longer to cook, but mine was perfectly Al Dente. Strain. Return to pot. Add a little olive oil and a basil pesto sauce. Top with grated parm. Use raw cheese if possible. Enjoy.

Meet Bonafide Bombshell Maria Brickey!

About a month ago, in the middle of getting a pedi and simultaneously instagramming a shot of my toes, I glance up for a moment and see Maria Brickey. She’s adorable and I can’t take my eyes off of her. Fuchsia Pink hair, boyfriend jeans, flip-flops, strategically placed, artsy tattoos and perfect skin. I’d love to knock off perfect points for the Trenti sized Starbucks cup she’s holding, but I don’t … because it’s filled with water. “She can’t be more than twenty-eight,” I think, but I raise it to thirty when she sits down next to me. Not because she doesn’t look young, but because she’s more woman than girl close-up. I want to say something to her, but I stumble like I’m crushing on Macklemore and ask her what brand her boyfriend jeans are? “American Eagle Outfitters,” she sweetly replies with a smile. And then we don’t shut-up. We literally finish each others sentences. Here’s what I find out about Maria in the next thirty minutes:

She’s actually forty-two, married to her high school sweetheart (who later walks in with full sleeves), and a mother of four, one of whom is eighteen!? When she tells me this I look at her the way I once looked at Gwen Stefani in a swanky LA hotel bathroom. The “Seriously You’re Not Just Perfect Because They Airbrush The Crap Out of You, You Are Actually Perfect” look. I’m fascinated by this real life Gwen Stefani, mainly because she doesn’t have a team of stylists, a personal chef, Tracy Anderson kicking her butt and she’s not a millionaire. She’s a local, Petaluma stay at home mom who shares my weird Essie Nail Polish fetish, Iced Green Tea addiction and Coconut Oil for everything mantra. We almost share a birthday. I’m May 7th, she’s May 8th. Team Taurus yo. We both use the adjective “rad” and “bad ass” even though it’s clearly not the 80’s anymore. We’re both health obsessed and quickly learn that even though we got in to this mess via Vanity, it isn’t about Vanity at all, but about finding “Perfect Health” at any age. We eat clean and, at the moment, we’re both doing some seriously heavy detoxing. I love her because if she said anything less than all of this, I’d have to rethink my entire blog. If Botox and processed foods were her jam, and she looked this damn good, then everything I preach would be for naught.

I love her because she wants everyone around her, including her family, to be healthy too, so she painstakingly makes everything from scratch, even pasta and bread for the kids. It’s all about ingredients, even if you’re not gluten free. I love her because after twenty-five years together, she still thinks her husband is hot as hell and refers to him as her boyfriend on weekends. I love her because this is her latest Facebook message to me:

“Bought organic wheat berries from whole foods, sprouted them, dehydrated them, ground them into whole wheat flour, and made homemade free range chicken egg pasta… hell yeah! I bought some sorghum flour for myself, so no gluten for me, I’ll letcha know if it turns out…. Here’s to bad ass health conscious chicks!!”

For Maria’s baby soft skin (and no, I can’t stop touching her arm when I see her), take Dead Sea Salt baths once every few weeks to sweat out toxins. This consists of hot water and Masada Genuine Sea Salts, and no lotion afterwards, just straight coconut oil on entire body and face.

Maria’s Green Smoothie Recipe:

Blend:
8oz purified water with organic
1 bunch fresh spinach
3-4 stalks of celery
1 pear
1 apple
1 banana
1/2 head of romaine or red leaf lettuce
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of sea salt
Blend on high until smooth.

Maybe Maria is who I would have been, had I done the whole marriage/kids thing at eighteen. I would have done it her way. With love and loyalty to herself and her family, and the smarts to take care of herself and her body enough to look like a bonafide bombshell at forty-two. I mean, her kids must think she’s rad, and her husband must think he’s married to a bad ass …..

maria b

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies!

So I really wanted to keep this recipe a secret…. for selfish reasons, I’ll admit. I swear, these cookies are so damn good (and so damn good for you) I could set up a stand at my local farmer’s market, and eventually, package them, go global, and sell them at Whole Foods nationwide. Okay, so I dreamed a little big on this one, and 2013 is shaping up to be ambitious enough considering all other unfulfilled dreams (ie. Finish new music project “ExLions”, finish writing memoir “Let Love Rule”, get in killer shape via bad 80’s workout videos, blog more, and also, pitch idea to local paper, “The Bohemian” to be a Dear Abby of sorts, for people with questions about health and diet, under the guise of “Health Chick”.) So basically, because of my determination to apparently become Super Woman (and a New York Times Bestselling Author) you luck out and get this insanely delish recipe!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Organic Coconut Flour

3/4 cup Organic Buckwheat Flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

8 tblspn (1 stick) Organic Lightly Salted Butter (preferably from grass fed cows)

1 cup Organic Raw Coconut Sugar

1 Egg (Organic, free range)

1 1/2 teaspoons of Alcohol Free, Organic Vanilla Extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips (higher than 60% cacao)

Eden French Celtic Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together in large stainless steel bowl, butter and coconut sugar until well mixed. Butter should be room temp. Beat in egg and Vanilla.

In separate bowl mix together coconut flour, buckwheat flour and baking soda. Add this to the butter/egg mixture and stir until you have thick but smooth cookie dough. Stir in Chocolate Chips. Voila.. batter.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and scoop out 12 cookies. Add a pinch of sea salt to the top of each cookie and bake for 9 to 11 minutes on center rack. Take out when slightly browned. Enjoy…. guilt free.

Chocolate-Chip-Cookie

Tinted Moisturizer: A Girl’s Best Friend

One year ago, on my quest for a healthier, chemical free life, l learned the truth about Parabens and how they effect us, inside and out. I quickly trashed hundreds of dollars worth of products, not feeling a tinge of guilt, until it came to one: “Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer”. It’s like the Holy Grail of makeup, leaving your skin flawless and positively  glowing. I was so peeved about having to let this one go, that I actually sat down and wrote a letter to the company, begging them to keep the same formula while removing any trace of parabens. I was totally shocked when I  received a response from the president the very next day exclaiming excitedly that they were in the process of doing just that, and understood my concern! WOW. Seriously? Major kudos for the response time alone. Unfortunately, it would take months before the newly formulated product hit the market, so in the meantime, I had to search….. and search…. and search for something just as fabulous, and totally natural.

Cut to Holy Grail Senior: “Josie Maran Argan Oil Tinted Moisturizer”. Holy perfect, flawless, even coverage loaded with amazing organic ingredients. Not to mention, “Butter” was a perfect color match for my winter white skin. Downside: There are only four shades, but they are all lovely. In the summertime, I am “Linen”, just a shade darker, giving me a nice summer glow. The Argan Oil alone makes this product super moisturizing, but it’s also thick enough for thorough coverage. Evens out the skin beautifully.

If you don’t live in a dry climate, like Cali…. and you’re in a hot, humid climate, like my home state of South Carolina, this is likely to be a little too moisturizing. If this is the case, and you prefer powder to tinted moisturizer, I highly recommend “Mineral Fusion” powder from Whole Foods. This is the BEST powder makeup I have found to date, and it’s loaded with antioxidants and minerals. Never cakey.

In the meantime, while browsing Nordstrom’s the other day, I headed over to the Laura Mercier counter to find out if they ever did change the formula of my previously fave product. I was beyond thrilled to see the new, Paraben Free version of America’s number one selling tinted moisturizer. I smiled a very big smile. The world is changing, one beauty product at a time. So please, take the time to learn about the toxic ingredients in the products we use daily…..

It can literally save your life.

Image

Image

Image