Friday, July 26, 2013
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Products are awesome. Lotions and creams are miracle-workers. And there are certain hair products it’s entirely possible we may die without. But there are some things you just can’t buy in a jar. They’re the vitamins and minerals your body needs to harness its natural beauty-boosting power. With simple vegetables, fruits, and a juicer, you can give your skin, nails, and hair what they really need.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a person who hates to eat healthily. I wouldn’t order a salad at a restaurant if the salad was brought out of the kitchen by a unicorn shooting rainbow-sparkled salad dressing out of its horn. My natural hatred for eating vegetables is why I’m obsessed—obsessed—with juicing. It is just so much easier to get your essential veggie and fruit servings out of the damn way with a juicer!
Why not just buy your juice at the store? Because store-bought juice tends to be processed, and usually contains non-useful ingredients like corn syrup, fructose, or sugar. Even when juice says “100% natural” on the front, it is nothing like raw, fresh juice. It’s been heated and sterilized and has additives to make every batch taste the same, and it was probably made quite a few days ago.
With juicing, you pick up an apple, toss it in the juicer with the skin and seeds and core (but not the pits or stems -- juicers don’t like those), and fresh juice comes out five seconds later. You get all the micronutrients that were in the apple (especially in the skin) and you know exactly what went into your apple juice.
The juicer I own is a Breville Juice Fountain ($149), and I use it almost every day. It rules because you don’t really have to peel most fruits and vegetables—you just drop them into the juicer. That’s the only step.
Through some delicious trial and error, I’ve made up a few beauty-specific juicing recipes for you. Today, I whipped up a juice specifically designed to help you get longer, stronger nails. With all the nail art we’re all doing around here, we need to strengthen our claws, right? This recipe will bring nutrition and much-needed TLC to hardworking nails, the same way a deeply quenching rain delivers micronutrients to over-harvested fields. Here we go!
Longer, Stronger Nail ElixirNote: If you don’t have a juicer, this would work in the blender. The juice will come out a lot thicker, but the raw nutrients will still be in there.
Ingredients4–5 large kale leaves with stems removedKale is nature’s perfect food. This serving has more iron than a steak, and is full of vitamins and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—the stuff nails go nuts over!
1 large or 2 small mangoesApart from being ridiculously delicious, mangoes are loaded with vitamins C and A, which nails need to stay healthy.
4 apricots with pits removedApricots have lots of calcium, iron, and beta-carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, helping your skin and nails replenish themselves!
about 30 green or red grapesGrapes have vitamins C and K—and the K can help tiny cuticle nicks to clot more quickly. These little fruits also boast high levels of iron and antioxidants that help fight aging in the skin (read: they help keep hands looking younger longer.)
2 whopping handfuls of blueberriesBesides their ability to turn nearly any drink purple, blueberries are a wonder food, and have the one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits. The lutein in them also helps keep the tissue around your nails lookin’ fresh.
2 teaspoons of chia seedsChia seeds are the latest miracle food trend, and it’s no wonder. Found in stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, chia seeds are a complete protein packed with antioxidants, vitamin B, and omega 3 fatty acids.
Prep & Juice!Wash and de-pit and de-stem everything you need to, then combine everything except the chia seeds in your juicer or blender. Hit the “on” button. If you’re using a blender, add 1 cup of water to help everything liquefy.
When you’ve got your juice together, add the chia seeds to it and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. This helps the seeds expand. Then stir and drink!
This recipe makes about 16 oz., which you need to keep in the fridge in an airtight container and stir before drinking. Drink it all up within two days—fresh raw juice loses its almost-miraculous powers rapidly!
This juice will start as a lovely purple-y green color, but when thoroughly stirred, it will be, um, less lovely—more like a muddy green hue. Who cares though! It tastes like a blueberry grape mango rainbow, and the chia seeds add a pleasant texture.
Shhhh, listen. Hear that? It’s all 10 of your fingernails, strong, drumming, and cheering in unison.
In the summertime, there is no better feeling than going to the beach or the pool and feeling the warm sun on your skin. I love getting that sunkissed glow just as much as any girl, but I have had to teach myself to become really diligent with sunscreen over the years.
When sunscreen just doesn’t cut it, there are a few foods that have been proven to help reduce the changes of sunburn. Take a peek below and make sure to stock up the next time you’re at the market…
1. Dark ChocolateChocolate lovers, rejoice! Believe it or not, dark chocolate actually acts as a shield from the sun. It contains four times as many phenols compounds (help to decrease the risk of developing cancer) and catechins (heart healthy flavonoids) as tea. Both of these are antioxidants that help protect our skin from sunburn and skin cancer, according to Daily Glow, so eat one square of dark chocolate a day.
2. TomatoesAccording to a study from the British Society of Investigative Dermatology, lycopene-rich tomatoes can actually protect your skin against sunburn. Lycopene helps to neutralize the damaging effects of UV light and eating lycopene-rich foods can actually help prevent your skin from aging. Throw a few tomatoes in your salad or use tomatoes paste in crust pizza.
3. Green TeaI have always loved green tea. Besides its abilities to boost your immune system, clear up your skin, and speed up your metabolism, it also helps to soothe sunburns. Drinking one to two cups of this antioxidant-rich tea a day helps to reduce the redness of sunburn. It even repairs broken capillary veins too. In fact, studies show that it can actually block DNA damage from happening as a result of UV light, according to Daily Glow. Drink up, ladies.
4. Red PeppersAccording to Mind Body Green, bell peppers contain an antioxidant called capsiate, which decreases skin damage caused by UVB rays. Peppers also help to reduce inflammation from sun exposure. Whip up some of my stuffed bell peppers to reap these benefits.
5. GarlicYou might remember how I included garlic in my list of foods that help to flatten your belly. Not only does garlic detoxify and reduce bloating, it also can protect the skin from the aging effects of UV radiation, according to Health With Food. Garlic contains a natural compound called allicin, which has strong antioxidant and healing properties. Antioxidants fight off free radicals that enter your body from sun exposure, so eat your garlic.
6. Aloe Vera JuiceIt’s a pretty widely known fact that aloe vera gel helps to soothe sunburns and smooth out wrinkles. It’s a kind of a magic concoction for your skin. But aloe vera juice also has it’s own healing properties. According to Every Nutrient, this juice is excellent for healing damaged tissues and skin cells in our bodies. Sun damage doesn’t stand a chance against this healthy drink!
7. Olive OilOlive oil is not only great to use for cooking, it’s also an antioxidant-rich food that fights sun damage. One study actually proved that incorporating olive oil regularly into your diet can help to reduce reddening from sun exposure by 35%, according to an article from World’s Healthiest Foods.
8. Pomegranates Pomegranate seeds have polyphenols (similar to the phenols I mentioned above), which protect skin from UVA and UVB rays. According to Mind Body Green, they also help your sunscreen to work and inhibit hyperpigmentation.
9. Citrus Orange and pink citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, contain large amounts of the skin-cell protective compound called limonene. These fruits also come packed with flavonoids, which improve the skin’s ability to recover from sun damage. Lemon water, anyone?
10. CarrotsThese orange veggies have carotenoids (plant pigments that are rich antioxidants), which help to protect against sunburn because of their antioxidant properties, according to Gene Lester, M.S., Ph.D., a plant physiologist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service.
It is important to remember that, while you can eat as much of these foods as you want, nothing will help to prevent sun damage more than sunscreen. Eating one square of dark chocolate does not mean you can go to the beach SPF-free. Remember to oil up with tons of sunscreen and wear a hat to shade your face when you’re spending long amounts of time in the sun, ladies.