Monday, June 27, 2011

Glowing skin smoothie

In last week's blog, we gave you our five easy steps to clear, radiant skin:

1. Avoid skin aggravating foods
2. Maximise skin enhancing foods
3. A simple, effective skin care routine
4. Experiment with skin healing supplements
5. Try a juice cleanse

This week, we're dishing up a recipe for a yummy, skin-friendly smoothie to kick off your day.

Glowing skin smoothie:
  • Almond, millet or brown rice milk
  • ½ medium-sized banana
  • Handful of mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 heaped tbsp of a superfood powder* of your choice
  • 1 heaped tbsp of LSA (Linseed, Sunflower and Almond) powder
  • Optional: Sun Warrior vegan protein powder
Superfood powders*:
For candida/dysbiosis (overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut) sufferers, swap the fruit (banana and berries) for egg yolk, cashews or avocado. Coconut oil and cinnamon are great bacteria-fighting smoothie boosters for candida – add natural vanilla extract to enhance flavour and/or manuka honey for sweetness (manuka honey doesn’t feed the bad bacteria in your gut).

Smoothies are a great breakfast option for individuals prone to breakouts or skin irritations, and for people with weak digestion or digestive disorders – they deliver a burst of vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients in a form that is super easy for your body to break down (most of the work has already been done by the blender) and draw goodness from straight away.

Enjoy! xx

Monday, June 20, 2011

Food for your skin

The skin is the largest organ in the human body. It protects us from external pathogens, regulates temperature, facilitates vitamin D absorption, enables tactile sensation, and boosts detoxification.

Its detoxification function has the biggest connection with skin appearance. If we’re overloaded with toxins – playing too hard, eating too much (or too much of the wrong things) and sleeping too little – it all takes its toll on our skin. Dehydration lines, breakouts, rashes and skin irritations are all signs our skin needs some serious TLC.

To get your skin in tip top shape, we recommend these 5 nice and easy steps:

1. Avoid these skin aggravators:
- Dairy
- Sugar
- Yeast
- Alcohol

2. Eat lots of these super healthy foods:
- Fresh fruit and veg
- Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines)
- Healthy oils: olive, coconut, flaxseed
- Nuts
- Water!

3. Maintain a simple but effective skin care routine:

Skin products often promise to fix your every skin problem; they won’t. That said, choosing a brand with pure, natural ingredients, or at the very least free from the nasty stuff, is key. We recommend Simple if you’re on a budget or, if you feel like treating yourself, here are some of our faves: Aesop, Origins, Aveda and Kiehl’s (all stocked at Myer, except Aveda).

Rather than getting a whole heap of products, just get a few really good ones – a great cleanser (this one doubles up as gentle exfoliant), a supercharged moisturiser (still looking for one, tips most welcome!) or soothing face oil, and a gentle make-up remover.

4. Supplement (if you can afford the extra splurge on your skin):

For acne and breakouts – as these are often linked to bacterial overgrowth (dysbiosis) in the gut, we recommend taking a high-strength probiotic and, if you can get to a naturopath or health store, ask them to mix you up a liquid herbal formula to support adrenal health and immunity, and combat dysbiosis.

For dry skin, inflammation and recurring skin irritations (such as dermatitis or eczema) – we recommend a high quality fish oil supplement.

5. Try a juice cleanse: 

We have had excellent feedback from customers with skin conditions. If you think about it, it makes sense – by doing a juice cleanse you are eliminating all of the aggravators, giving your digestive system a rest, stimulating detoxification, and adding in a whole heap of goodness!

What are your skin secrets? We’d love to know.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A seriously delicious and nutritious soup

We made this spinach and leek soup last week and it was absolutely delicious. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s seriously tasty and packed with nutrients.

What’s so good about spinach?
  • One of the most nutrient-dense foods available  
  • Very high phytonutrient content
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits from flavanoids and carotenoids
  • High in anti-oxidant nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, beta-carotene, zinc, selenium and manganese
  • The vitamin K in one cup of fresh spinach provides almost 200% of your daily requirement
  • Excellent source of iron and folate
3 tablespoons cashews
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
1 large leek, chopped (white part only)
1 bunch English spinach, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons of coconut milk, cream or yoghurt

The how to (so easy)
1. Wash leek and spinach well.
2. Saute garlic and leek in a little of the stock until leeks soft.
3. Add cashews and rest of stock and cook for 15 mins.
4. Add spinach and cook for a further 2 mins.
5. Blend.
6. Add a dollop of coconut milk, cream or yoghurt.
7. Garnish with parsley or mint and serve.

It’s a very light soup, so it won’t be enough for lunch or dinner on its own, but a light meal when served with crusty sourdough bread or brown rice. I often put this in a thermos and drink/eat throughout the day as a snack between meals for extra nutrients and warmth.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Urban Remedy ‘winter survival guide’

Winter is here, there’s no denying it. Alarms everywhere are being snoozed, heaters blasted and woollies donned. We’re even talking about the weather. Yep, with the colder months upon us, we feel a little less sprightly and a lot less confident in our ability to stay healthy.

With the cold here to stay, and my unashamed love of winter, I thought it would be nice to share our 10 top tips for braving the winter months - an Urban Remedy ‘winter survival guide’ so to speak:

1. Start your morning (straight after rising) with a warm water and lemon (or lime). A super cheap and ever-so-easy way to kickstart your detoxification pathways and digestive system.

2. Up your herbal tea intake. There are so many excellent teas to discover but our favourites are: camomile, rose, peppermint, green tea and white tea. We love Pukka Herbs ‘Love’ tea (a beautiful combination of rose, lavender and camomile).

3. If you want to be warm, eat warm. Think soups, stews, casseroles and curries.

4. Pack your meals full of veggies: zucchini, aubergine, capsicum, mushrooms, onions and garlic. If you’re feeling adventurous, branch out and try new ones.

5. Add warming spices to the mix: cumin, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, chilli, cloves, cinnamon…

6. Discover new ingredients: we have two favourites at the moment – kombu flakes and umeboshi vinegar. Both help calm a bloated stomach and can be added to soups, legumes/beans, curries etc.

7. Make friends with ginger. It tastes great added to a stir fry, a soup (delicious with pumpkin) or simply enjoyed as a nice cup of tea. Ginger is extremely warming and a great digestive aid (it helps to settle an upset stomach).

8. Garlic wants to be your friend too. Warming and great for the immune system, garlic helps keep colds and infection at bay. If you’re prone to dysbiosis (an imbalance of the gut flora), garlic is also a great way to reduce bacterial overgrowth and ease bloating.

9. Supplement with Echinacea. If you’re starting to feel a little run down (or even if you’re already sick), this little herb will work its immune-boosting magic.

10. Use a heat pack. Place it on aching shoulders to relieve tension, on tummies to help with digestion, or just snuggle up with one and fall asleep.

Stay healthy and warm! xx