From Chocolate Mousse to DIY Spa Treatments, More Reasons to Love Avocado
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If you were to ask Rebecca Leffler (writer, journalist, and author of Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French Way with Plant-Based Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Season), she’d tell you that “having to choose between pleasure and health is so last season.” Her book proves it with more than 150 healthy, seasonal, and plant-based recipes; DIY beauty tips; positive playlists; and fully illustrated yoga routines for everything from digestion to self-confidence. You’re guaranteed to feel good, enjoy life, and look fabulous when you start living the new French way.
When we think green and clean, avocado is one of the first foods that come to mind. We asked Rebecca about this super-nutritious fruit, and here’s what she had to say:
So, I couldn’t help but notice that avocado made it onto your list of “best friend foods.” Why?
I have several “best friend foods” in the book and in my life, but, as I announce officially in the book, avocado is the true love of my culinary life.
It’s delicious and nutritious — I’ll spare you the boring scientific details, but, in sum, it will make your skin glow (vitamin E), turn you into a genius (OK, maybe not, but the omega 3 fatty acids are incredible brain food), make you really strong (protein!), and get you pregnant (well, avocado has a lot of folate, so if you are pregnant, this is an extra bonus).
It also has a creamy, “buttery” consistency that makes it a great replacement for mayo or butter or cream in sauces. Plus, you can use it in sweet or savory meals (it’s just as comfortable mashed with Mexican spices and onions as it is laying on a bed of chocolate). It’s technically a fruit, but lives its life as a vegetable. Hey, it has a bit of an identity crisis, but since it’s like a celebrity and only makes a brief cameo once you open it, it’s great to use it in creative ways. No avocado left behind!
What are a few creative ways we can use avocado?
When it comes to avocado, I find that the “simple but elegant” approach is usually best. It’s such a delicious and nutritious food on its own, so making a simple avocado tartine (eating it with just a drizzle of lemon juice or spices on toast) or added to a salad is always a great option. I always compare eating to fashion — an avocado is like the perfect pair of jeans: all it needs is a nice blouse and some cool heels and you’re good to go. One of my favorite snacks is half an avocado filled with a splash of lemon juice and 1 to 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds.
If you want to dress it up, my all-time favorite way to eat avocado is… avocado chocolate mousse! It’s so easy and so incredibly creamy and flavorful. There’s a basic recipe in the book, but I also like to experiment with different spices, nut milks, or fruit, depending on the season. Mint essential oil is an amazing addition to this too.
Avocado is also great in smoothies as an alternative to bananas for those watching their (natural) sugar intake. I love it blended and added to pasta for a creamy sauce. It’s the quickest meal ever, and so satisfying — just blend avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, optional garlic clove, salt, and pepper (cayenne if you’re brave) in a blender — or even just mash with a fork — then pour the sauce over pasta. Top it off with your favorite herbs if you have them on hand; otherwise, even a sprinkle of herbes de Provence or dried thyme or oregano are magic. I’m all about green to-go, and this is excellent as a desk lunch, at a picnic, or while traveling. I also love avocado to add creaminess and texture to blended soups — so refreshing when it gets warm outside.
I love that your book takes a holistic approach to living well. What are some non-food ways we can use (and benefit from) avocados?
Like many foods, avocado’s health benefits inside the body are also beneficial on the body.
It hydrates the skin and can make your hair shiny. Once you get used to rubbing a mashed green fruit on your face, you’ll find it’s magical. The oleic acid will make skin softer and glowing and the protein in avocado can help to nourish the hair from the roots to the ends.
Mix with spirulina and rub on your face for a hydrating, antioxidant-infused mask, or rub into your hair with some coconut oil — another favorite beauty food extraordinaire. If you can eat it, it’s probably great for your skin and body too.
Beauty tips, positive playlists, yoga routines; tell us a little more about your book and how to use it.
Having to choose between pleasure and health is so last seasonEveryone loves to quote the old adage “you are what you eat,” but it should be “you are how you eat.” It’s great that green eating is becoming more ubiquitous — as juice bars pop up all over major cities and cabbage has taken on kale-ebrity status — but so many people are focusing so much on what they’re eating without looking at the whole picture. Eating kale salads and drinking juice is great, but not if it’s going to stress you out or if you have to hold your nose when consuming it. The book is designed to meet readers where they are in their health journeys. If you don’t speak fluent chia seed and hate kale, there are so many recipes for you. Or, if you are a raw vegan enthusiast with a passion for green juice, you’ll find something that speaks to you, too.
I also wanted to have fun with some of the lessons of traditional French cuisine. French cuisine is known — and rightly so — for its amazing breads, pastries, and, of course, crèmes de la crème, but there is actually a lot we can learn from the French approach to eating. Eating seasonally and in moderation, taking time to enjoy our food, sharing meals with friends and loved ones, and looking at food as something to be savored instead of as punishment. I also think that many people in the health world tend to take things a bit too seriously, so one of my goals with this book is to get people to lighten up their meals… and their lives. There are “positive playlists” with songs in every chapter, yoga tips, and beauty recipes to make blending greens or chopping vegetables much more fun… and très chic, of course.
The book is very easy to use. I start with basic must-have recipes, then accessorize by season. There are also recipes and tips from experts from across the world — you can do yoga with Tara Stiles or Elena Brower, make a dish with a fancy French chef like Alain Passard or Thierry Marx, get beauty tips from Tata Harper or Rose-Marie Swift, and even turn your home into a wellness paradise thanks to Paul Scialla from Delos Living. It’s like bringing these people home with you every day. (I wish I could fit them all into my kitchen or my pocket, so this is the next best thing!)
I love that in France, many readers have told me that they take “me” — aka the book — with them to the grocery store and it’s like having their best friend there to coach them through their shopping trip. It can be so overwhelming to start eating healthy, so the aim with this book was to make it easy and fun. Whether you’re more of a steak frites or cauliflower steak person, there is something for everyone.
Anything else we should know about Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic?
No avocados were harmed in the making of this book.
Oh and if you read it, you’ll be healthy, happy, beautiful, and a little bit French. Doesn’t that sound great?
For more about Rebecca or her book, visit her site, LaFleurParisNY. Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French Way with Plant-Based Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Seasonis available wherever books are sold.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
6 Foods This Nutritionist Eats Every Day
I am a huge fan of variety and seasonal eating, primary because eating a wider array of foods exposes your body to a broader spectrum of nutrients. Mixing it up means that rather than larger armies of fewer types of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, a smaller number of a larger assortment shows up for work in your body. That&rsquos important, because each nutrient performs unique functions.
I am a huge fan of variety and seasonal eating, primary because eating a wider array of foods exposes your body to a broader spectrum of nutrients.
Mixing it up means that rather than larger armies of fewer types of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, a smaller number of a larger assortment shows up for work in your body.
Thatâ€™s important, because each nutrient performs unique functions. In other words, vitamin C canâ€™t carry out potassiumâ€™s job, and the protection lycopene (an antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit) offers differs from that of anthocyanins (found in dark berries, black beans, and eggplant).
Gobbling up different types of nutrients each day helps optimize wellness, and offers more head to toe protection against aging and disease.
That said, there are some foods I consider daily must-eats (and nope, kale isnâ€™t one of them). Each makes my list because it meets two key criteria. First, it offers unique rewards. While I can mix up the type of green veggies or whole grains I eat each day and enjoy similar benefits, thereâ€™s simply nothing else like dark chocolate!
Second, each of these staples is versatile, and satiating, so I look forward to easily incorporating each superfood into my daily meals. Hereâ€™s why theyâ€™re true nutritional all stars, and how I like to enjoy them:
In addition to heart healthy fats called MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids), which have been shown to slash â€â€ LDL cholesterol and up â€œgoodâ€ HDL levels, avocados provide anti-aging, disease fighting antioxidants and nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals. A study out this year showed that avocado eaters have higher intakes of fiber, vitamins E & K, magnesium and potassium, and get this â€“ they weigh less and have smaller waists without eating fewer calories! These creamy gems also help your body absorb more antioxidants from other healthy foods. In one Ohio State study, when men and women ate salads and salsa peppered with 2.5 tablespoons of avocado, they absorbed over seven times more alpha-carotene and thirteen times more beta-carotene, which defend against cancer and heart disease.
Ways to eat more:
I whip avocado into fruit smoothies, spread it on whole grain bread in place of butter, use it as the base for creamy salad dressings, and of course mash it into mouth wateringly delicious guacamole. You can to add avocado to countless savory or sweet dishes, from a breakfast omelet to chocolate mousse. I always keep a few on hand, and if you buy them under-ripe, toss them into a brown paper bag with an apple or banana â€“ the gases released from the fruit will speed up the ripening process.
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are phenomenal superfoods. Regular bean eaters have smaller waistlines, and a 22% lower risk of obesity, plus beans are nutritional powerhouses, packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant levels that rival some berries. In a Harvard study, which tracked over 90,000 women for eight years, those who ate beans or lentils two or more times per week had a 34% lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who ate them one or fewer times per month. And even small amounts of beansÂ - 1/2 cup a day - have been shown to lower cholesterol by 8%, an effect that slashes heart disease risk by 16%.
Ways to eat more:
Like avocado, beans and lentils can be incorporated into both sweet and savory dishes. Bean and lentil flours or pureed versions add a hearty texture to brownies and cupcakes and itâ€™s easy to swap meat for beans in a number of recipes, from tacos to pizza. I always keep vacuum sealed lentils in the fridge, so I can add a scoop to a salad for an instant protein option.
Stubbing your toe is a classic example of inflammation. The throbbing pain is accompanied by swelling and an immune system response, which promotes healing. Thatâ€™s good, but when chronic low grade inflammation occurs at the cellular level, it can wreak havoc with the body, leading to premature aging and diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinsonâ€™s. Ginger, a potent anti-inflammatory food may help quell the flames. In a study of over 250 people with osteoarthritis of the knee, those who received a ginger extract twice a day experienced less pain and needed fewer pain-killing meds compared to those who received a placebo.
Ways to eat more:
I add fresh grated ginger to hot tea, ice water, smoothies, salad dressing and sauces, and fold it into melted dark chocolate to drizzle over fruit. Itâ€™s also my key ingredient in a simple stir fry sauce, combined with brown rice vinegar, fresh squeezed citrus juice, roasted garlic and crushed red pepper. When I travel, I pack dried ginger cubes, so I wonâ€™t miss out on its benefits.
You may have heard about a recent study, which found that satiating almonds pack far fewer calories than the label states, due to the fact that not all of the fat is digested and absorbed. But thatâ€™s not the only reason almonds are a weight loss ally. Their protein and fiber keep you fuller longer, and delay the return of hunger, and their good fats trigger the production of a substance in the GI tract that shuts off hunger. This may be why one remarkable study found that a low-calorie diet enriched with almonds (versus complex carbs) resulted in a greater loss of body fat and a 50 percent greater reduction in waist circumference.
Ways to eat more:
I love to whip almond butter into smoothies, slather it on whole grain bread or wedges of fresh fruit, and add sliced or slivered almonds to everything from parfaits to garden salads and stir frys. Almond flour is also one of my go-to ingredients for coating eggplant and baking cookies.
In addition to in season fruits, from tangerines to pink grapefruit, I rely on fresh citrus juices and zest to spruce up ice water or season my meals. Just a single orange supplies 120 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C, a fat-burning powerhouse linked to less body fat and smaller waist measurements. Citrus also provides naringenin, an antioxidant in the flavonoid family, which has been shown to prevent weight gain and ward off metabolic syndrome, a collection of conditions that can lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In animal research, scientists have found that naringenin reprograms ratsâ€™ livers to burn, rather than store, excess fat. And a Dutch study found that over a 14 year period, women who consumed more of the antioxidants found in citrus gained two times less weight than those with the lowest flavonoid intakes. Pretty potent stuff!
Ways to eat more:
In addition to snacking on fresh citrus fruits, I add wedges of lemon, lime and key lime to water and iced tea, fold zest into my homemade darkÂ chocolate truffles, and add splashes of citrus juice to salad dressing, stir frys and slaws.
In my newest book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim,Â I devoted an entire chapter to dark chocolate and made a â€𭳚ily Dark Chocolate Escapeâ€™ a mandatory treat. While it may seem counterintuitive, enjoying dark chocolate every day is a smart weight loss strategy, because itâ€™s been shown to curb cravings for both sweet and salty foods. Itâ€™s also remarkably good for your health (check out my list of chocolateâ€™s top 10 health benefits, from protecting your heart to boosting brain activity). Best of all, indulging in chocolate enhances mood, creating the same sense of euphoria you experience when youâ€™re in love!
I keep individually wrapped dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater) tasting squares on hand, and pack them when I travel. But I also incorporate chocolate into meals, by folding it to oatmeal, whipping it into smoothiesÂ , drizzling it over popcorn, using as a dip for fresh fruit, and experimenting with adding it to savory dishes, such as vegetarian chili.
What&aposs your take on my list, and which healthy foods make it into your daily diet? Please share your [email protected] and @goodhealth
Oatmeal Face Mask
What You’ll Need :
- 1 cup of oatmeal
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1 sliced cucumber
- Face towels
Cook one cup of oatmeal based on the directions on the package.
Mix the 6 tablespoons of honey and 6 tablespoons of plain yogurt together.
Combine oatmeal, honey and yogurt together. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Apply the mask to face while avoiding eye area and place two cucumber slices to closed eyes.
Relax and let the mask sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing off with warm water and drying with a towel.
2. Vanilla lip scrub
Lips feeling dry and flaky? Try applying this homemade lip scrub made using sugar, vanilla and coconut oil and gently exfoliate with your finger. Warning: try not to eat the whole tub.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
Combine all ingredients well and store in a small jar.
Antioxidant cacao facial mask - Rejuvenating
- 1 tsp clay (for this mixture we recommend red Moroccan rhassoul clay)
- 1 tsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp Bare Origin Golden Chocolate oil
- a pinch of turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon & saffron
- crushed dry rose petals
- 1 tsp of water or enough to make the clay smooth enough to be able to apply it on your face
- Put all dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the oil and water and blend until the mixture is smooth enough to be applied on the skin, add more water if needed.
- Apply the mask on your face and leave it on for 15-20 minutes, until dry. Wash your face with warm water.
- To balance the PH level and hydrate the skin after applying this mask I recommend spraying your face with a generous amount of pure, botanical face mist.
- Afterwards, apply a few drops of pure argan oil or other moisturizing oil like rose hip, hemp or apricot.
Enjoy These DIY Body Wraps!
With this post, you now have your own catalog of homemade body wraps that will all give you various health benefits. No longer will you have to spend a bunch of money at the salon to get the same treatment!
Now we’d love to hear from you: Have you tried a body wrap before? What has been your favorite? What tips do you have to make it work best? Let me know, and let me know which DIY body wrap from above you are going to try!
30 Healthy Sweet Snacks That Will Satisfy When a Craving Strikes, According to Dietitians
Get your sugar fix with wholesome, naturally sweet treats.
If a craving for something sweet typically means devouring a candy bar, sleeve-full of cookies, or a tubful of ice cream, &ldquohealthy sweet snacks&rdquo might sound like an oxymoron. The good news: You can indulge in the sweeter things in life without totally abandoning your healthy-ish lifestyle.
Rather than reaching for highly-processed, sugar-loaded foods every time you crave something sweet, update your snacks arsenal. &ldquoA sweet, healthy snack is one with ingredients we can recognize from nature,&rdquo says Kristin Koskinen, R.D.N. That means fresh, frozen, or dried fruit, dark chocolate, smoothies, and treats made with whole foods like nuts, seeds, dates, and coconut, she says.
Make this tweak, and you&rsquore not only cutting down on the not-so-healthy stuff (additives, preservatives, and added sugars), but you&rsquore also nourishing your body with vitamins and minerals, filling fiber and protein, and healthy fats, which will help quell hunger pangs until your next meal.
How to choose a healthy sweet snack
Check in with yourself: Are you actually hungry or just in the mood to visit the office vending machine? &ldquoMake your snacks purposeful and don&rsquot graze, as that might turn your healthy snack into a meal,&rdquo says Sarah Pflugradt, R.D., author of You Get One Body.
Schedule in sweet snacks: Ideally, snacks bridge the gap between meals, keeping your blood sugar in check and your energy and mood up all day long. If you know there&rsquos going to be over four hours between meals (for most of us, that&rsquos the lunch-to-dinner stretch), plan for a snack to avoid getting hangry or overeating in the evening, suggests Liz Wyosnick, a Seattle-based R.D. and owner of the private practice Equilibriyum.
Remember your macros: &ldquoA healthy snack is basically like a miniature meal,&rdquo says Beth Auguste, a Philadelphia-based registered dietitian and women&rsquos fitness specialist. That means for every 100 calories, there should be about 3 grams of fat, 8 to 10 grams of protein, and 8 to 10 grams of carbohydrates. Make sure to include some fiber, too (3 to 10 grams) to help slow your digestion and the release of sugar into your bloodstream. With this combination, you&rsquoll have a steady supply of energy as opposed to the sugar spike and crash that comes with sweet snacks.
Consider your calorie count: Depending on your lifestyle and size, a reasonable calorie range for snacks is around 200 to 300 calories. A simple rule of thumb: 100 calories will sustain you for about 1 hour, says Wyosnick.
Minimize added sugars: Research links added sugars (a.k.a. sugars not naturally found in food) to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease&mdashwhich is why the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends you limit your intake to less than 10 percent of your daily calories (or no more than 6 added teaspoons per day). If you&rsquore reaching for a pre-packaged snack, look out for sneaky sugars on the ingredients label like organic cane juice, corn sweetener, corn syrup, fructose, lactose, maltose, molasses, and malt syrup.
Tame your sweet tooth: Sugar can be addictive as more sweet-tasting foods might fuel cravings for more, per a recent review in Frontiers and Psychology. In light of this, try to balance your intake of sweet treats with some savory snacks, too, suggests Wyosnick.
Next time your sweet tooth calls, reach for a wholesome snack that&rsquos naturally sweet and satiating. Here, 30 healthy options that fit the bill:
41 Vitamix Recipes That’ll Pulverize Your Preconceptions
Have you noticed how people just fall in love with their Vitamix? Thanks to its powerful high-speed motor and sharp blades, this multitasking blender has become the ultimate kitchen tool, the stuff of culinary daydreams and Amazon wish lists.
As with many good things, there’s a catch. The Vitamix’s price tag runs upwards of $400. Talk about breaking your heart and your piggy bank.
If you’re considering investing in one, check out their handy “blender recommender” that can help you decide which model would suit you.
Beyond soups, smoothies, and ice cream, the Vitamix is an excellent tool for all kinds of meal-prepping. And it’s a substitute for many other kitchen gadgets — immersion blender, grater, stand mixer, juicer, and more.
Plus, it’ll grind grains into flour and nuts into milk. If you regularly use alternative flours or milks, you’ll definitely save money DIYing it. (Yeah, we’ve just given you two ways to justify that price.)
If you’ve already jumped on the superblender bandwagon, get ready to put that sucker to use in ways you didn’t even know were possible.
Don’t have a Vitamix? Don’t feel left out. A * indicates recipes that are doable with a regular blender or food processor.
1. Acorn squash soup
This two-step process couldn’t be easier. Cook whole acorn squash in a slow cooker. Scrape out the seeds, and then blend the squash, dates, rosemary, and almond milk. The friction of the blades warms the soup. Serve it topped with pecans.
2. Spanish gazpacho
A refreshing, cool summer soup is minutes away. Blend raw tomato, cukes, bell pepper, garlic, and olive oil into a smooth or chunky soup, and then let it rest (hello, flavor melding!) and cool. Top with chopped veggies and a swirl of olive oil.
Healthy? Over-the-top healthy. And it tastes gooooood.
3. Skinny broccoli-cheddar soup
Broccoli-cheddar, we’re calling you out as one of the biggest healthy soup impostors on the menu, with heaps of cheese and butter. But this veggie version deserves its health halo, with just 4 ounces of cheddar divided among four servings.
Simmer 4 cups of broccoli florets (see what we’re sayin’ about this recipe being healthy?), an onion, and a carrot in vegetable stock. Then let your Vitamix work its magic, puréeing and warming. The cheddar cheese will melt right in.
4. Blender tortilla soup
This vegetarian version of the familiar Mexican soup replaces the chicken stock with a base of tomato, carrots, and avocado that gets puréed into a creamy, warm soup using your Vitamix’s soup setting.
Black beans and corn add texture and amp up the protein and fiber. Top with your favorite taco fixings, baked tortilla chips, diced buttery avocado, and fresh cilantro.
5. Simple pumpkin soup
Soup’s on, indeed, with yummy pumpkin, coconut milk, and maple syrup. The topping of garlicky kale with sesame seeds adds contrasting flavors and textures and bumps up the nutritional value.
6. Mexican-style tomato soup
The Mexican inspiration shows up in the form of canned diced tomatoes, piquillo peppers, cilantro, and cumin, yet this recipe adds intrigue with coconut milk. The Vitamix makes this veggie-riffic soup into a smooth-textured, lively flavored elixir.
Top with baked tortilla chips, diced avocado, and a wedge of lime.
7. The best green smoothie
Call it a beginner’s green smoothie: no kale. (Breathing a sigh of relief?) Instead, tender spinach leaves bring the green to this light, naturally sweet glass of goodness. Frozen bananas, peanut butter, dates, and almond milk provide the creamy base.
8. Peanut butter banana smoothie
The peanut butter and banana combo was beloved by Elvis Presley, so it’s only appropriate that this smoothie is “all shook up” in the king of blenders.
With oats, bananas, protein powder, and a healthy dollop of all-natural nut butter for some satiating fat, it’s a complete meal in a glass — perfect as a speedy breakfast or a re-energizing post-workout drink.
9. Creamy green smoothie
Don’t let the color fool you — this is a tropical smoothie, tasting of coconut, mango, and ginger. The Vitamix whips them into silky submission along with avocado and almond milk. And that bright green? Tender spinach leaves (we promise you won’t taste ’em).
10. Red beet Vitamix smoothie
The blogger describes this vibrant red smoothie as “the closest thing to a cocktail without the alcohol.” Who wouldn’t want to sip that?
Raw beets, apple, kale, and orange give this smoothie a lively flavor that’ll take you from lethargic to livened-up in just a few swigs.
11. Sunshine smoothie
This sunrise-in-a-glass is a thing of beauty, but there’s more to it than good looks. With a peppy punch of vitamin C and potassium from the citrus fruits, plus superfood goji berries, it’s pretty and healthy. So sip this cheery drink and smile.
12. Apple-cinnamon smoothie*
What says “fall” better than apple pie in a glass? Cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup flavor this raw apple and oat smoothie. This recipe calls for dairy. We used whole milk and full fat yogurt, but feel free to swap in nondairy milk.
13. Energizing green shamrock smoothie bowl
Smoothie in a bowl? What?! It starts to make sense when you realize that the larger surface allows more room for toppings like sliced banana, shredded coconut, and chia seeds.
The Vitamix pulverizes kale (remember to stem it first), dates, almond butter, and milk into glossy goodness. Get all artistic with the toppings and you’ll feel like you’re eating at a spa.
14. 1-ingredient banana ice cream*
This treat turns a healthy fruit into a delicious, melty dessert, and it doesn’t even require an ice cream maker. Simply chop your banana, freeze it, and then dump the chunks into your speedy blender.
This dairy-free recipe will satisfy your sweet tooth. Eat it immediately and savor the creamy flavor, or let it freeze to your desired consistency.
15. 5-minute creamy mango ice cream
We’ve sung the virtues of homemade banana soft serve, but here’s a new twist: the same method with mangos. Use a Vitamix to churn up a tropical treat using coconut milk and frozen chunks of mango, and enjoy the creamy, dairy-free deliciousness.
16. Berry-lime sorbet
This sorbet can be made in minutes from just five ingredients. Frozen strawberries and raspberries, almond milk, lime, and a sweetener of your choice are carefully blended over a range of speeds so the berries won’t melt.
Eat right away while the temperature and texture are just right, or scoop into balls and freeze.
17. Green juice
Everyone’s been talking about celery juice lately. We’re staying on the side of “the more, the merrier” — as in more fruits and vegetables. In addition to celery, this recipe calls for romaine lettuce, spinach, apple, orange, and lemon.
No offense to Jamba Juice, but once you’ve mastered this nifty trick for straining your own fruit and veg combo in a Vitamix, you may never look back.
18. Strawberry basil lemonade*
Skip the store-bought lemonade mixes with their artificial sweeteners. A Vitamix whirls lemon, strawberries, honey, and fresh basil into a sweet, tangy, incredibly refreshing beverage. Make a double recipe — everyone’s gonna want seconds.
19. Fresh strawberry margarita
Put your Vitamix on the bar and whip up this frothy margarita. Strawberries, lime juice, and honey form a citrusy trifecta that blends with the lightly smoky-sweet tequila. Garnish this pretty cocktail with a fresh berry or a mint leaf.
20. Orange mocha Frappuccino*
This smoothie comes with a movie reference. Get it? Answer below.
While you’re thinking, we’ll tell you about the ingredients in this outrageous Frappuccino. Step aside, Starbucks. Well, not quite — this recipe uses the chain’s brand of instant espresso (but you can substitute a grocery store brand).
Bananas, dates, a whole orange, nondairy milk, and cocoa powder join the espresso in the Vitamix, which crushes and whirls the ingredients into a smoothie so good it’ll make you laugh.
21. Homemade almond milk
Homemade nut milk sounds like a hassle, but it’s easier than you think if you’ve got a high-speed blender (an essential tool for this task). It’s also much cheaper than the store-bought stuff, and you know exactly what’s in it.
30 DIY Beauty Treatments You Can Do in the Comfort of Your Home
After a long day of working from home (or just a long day in general), treating yourself to an at-home spa day with a glass of wine (or non-alcoholic beverage of choice) in hand, dedicating that 10-45 minutes to yourself sounds like the perfect way to end the night by treating yourself and skin with the right nutrients.
Nowadays, we’re spending a lot of time at home, and that means that we have more time than ever to slather masks on our faces and do all the treatments we generally don’t have time to. But instead of filling our (now online) carts with expensive masks, we’re sharing some you can do at home, with ingredients that are already in your pantry. From hair masks to body scrubs to good ole’ face masks, we’ve got your whole body covered:
Healthy Fruit-based Chocolate Mousse You’re Gonna Love
This is one of the 2-minute desserts I make when I’m lazy or don’t have the time to make something more time-consuming. It’s healthy, made only with fruit, cocoa powder and honey or another liquid sweetener (like maple or agave syrup). However, very often I omit the sweetener if the banana is ripe enough and is giving enough sweetness to the cream.
At-Home Spa Day! 10 DIY Masks You Can Make to Treat Yo’ Self.
Dear reader, if you’ve never treated yourself to an indulgent day of skincare luxury, do yourself a favor and put a spa day on the calendar.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Look, I know you could find an online deal or book an appointment at a spa for a facial, and that’s great too.
But, there’s just something about taking some quiet time for yourself, relaxing at home, and enjoying your favorite movie while a face mask does its thing. (Not to mention avoiding the awkwardness of having to disrobe in front of strangers.)
Even if you can’t escape to a seaside getaway, you can still get some R & R by treating yourself to a relaxing day of pampering! (Plus, come on, you deserve it!)
And, one of the best ways to do that is with some DIY masks and skin treatments.
Did you know that there’s a treasure trove of skin-nourishing ingredients that can be found in your own kitchen?
Today, we’re going to rummage through your fridge and pantry to find the top 10 skin-boosting items to concoct your very own spa-worthy treatments so you can get to relaxing and beautifying!
A Couple Tips Before We Start
Tip 1 : As with any natural ingredients, there’s always a chance of allergic reaction or irritation. Just because you’re used to eating a food doesn’t mean your skin won’t react to it.
I would suggest doing a patch test first by applying a small amount to the inside of your wrist and waiting 24 hours to see if there’s a reaction before slathering it all over your face.
If you have a reaction, rinse it off immediately and discontinue use.
Tip 2 : If you plan on using an ingredient on your face, try to buy organic to lower your chance of skin becoming irritated by pesticides or chemicals.
My Top Skin-Boosting Ingredients
Why It’s Good for Skin
That lovely plant you keep on your windowsill isn’t just for sunburn relief, it can also do some great things for your skin!
Aloe has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It also contains antioxidant vitamin C as well as other skin-nourishing nutrients.
Together, this team not only makes aloe vera great for treating wounds and damage (like sunburns), it also helps skin heal blemishes and repair aging UV damage.
All you need is the lovely, gooey aloe gel to enjoy this succulent’s benefits.
DIY Aloe Vera Mask
1 . Carefully cut one of the leaves (watch out for spikes!) and rinse under running water. You can then just cut off a section of the leaf, slice open the fleshy outer part of the leaf and scoop out the gel.
2 . Apply the delightfully soothing gel all over face and neck (avoiding eyes), and allow to dry (15-20 min.). Rinse with warm water and pat skin dry with a soft towel.
3 . If you keep the aloe leaf intact, and only slice off sections as you use them, you can wrap the end in plastic wrap and store it in your fridge for 2-3 weeks.
But, you should use an aloe mask 2-3 times a week, so it may not even last that long!
Don’t have a green thumb? Here’s a couple of my favorite aloe vera products for all the perks with none of the fuss!
I formulated my serum to deliver a powerful dose of moisture to skin! It contains 20% hyaluronic acid to bind moisture to skin, boosting its hydration by 10x!. This formula also features organic aloe vera, along with organic ingredients to nourish and soothe skin and promote healing for soft, beautiful skin!
This lovely lightweight moisturizer includes antioxidants and aloe vera extract to help skin maintain hydration while balancing oil production to reduce shine for a flawlessly matte finish. It also promotes healing, making it great for those with acne-prone, oily or combination skin!
Why It’s Good for Skin
Avocados do so much more for you than feed your guac addiction (as if we needed more of reason to love them!).
Avos have amazing moisturizing properties due to their high levels of poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids.
The natural oils in avocados penetrate skin to restore moisture and lock it in, and they help protect skin by strengthening its moisture barrier.
Avocados also contain antioxidant vitamins C and E to help repair damage and fight signs of aging by encouraging collagen production.
Next time you’re mashing some in a bowl, set aside a spoonful for your face for soft, radiant skin!
DIY Avocado Mask
Mash ripe avocado in a bowl and add honey (optional). Stir until it creates a smooth paste. Apply to clean skin and leave on for 10-15 min. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat skin dry with a soft towel.
If you’d rather eat your avocado than wear it, I hear ya. Here’s my picks for products with avo so you don’t have to sacrifice an ounce of precious guacamole.
This soothing moisturizer includes all the deep hydrating benefits of avocado oil, as well as shea butter and green tea extract! This decadent formula is great for all skin types, but is especially wonderful for treating dry or aging skin with essential fatty acids to help quench and restore skin!
Sit back and let this mask work for you! This nourishing mask penetrates to deep layers of your skin to provide nutrients and lasting moisture. Avocado nourishes and binds moisture to skin while cucumber reduces redness and inflammation to soothe sensitive skin. Together, these ingredients soften and brighten so your complexion is refreshed and radiant!
Why They’re Good for Skin
As you may have heard, berries have been dubbed a “superfood” for their high levels of flavonoids, polyphenols and antioxidants.
That’s fancy speak for berries will fight free radical damage to smooth out fine lines and improve skin’s elasticity.
Berries also include fatty acids which help soothe inflammation and hydrate and soften skin.
If you can spare some yummy strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and acai berries, you can whip up one heck of a skin-boosting mask!
DIY Berry Mask
- 2 Tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup mixed berries
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (you can eliminate this if your skin is sensitive or easily irritated)
In a blender, mix yogurt and honey until combined. Add mixed berries and lemon juice (optional) and blend until mixed.
Apply mixture to freshly cleansed face. Leave on for 10-15 min. (and resist the urge to lick off your smoothie mask), rinse face with lukewarm water.
Here’s some of my berry favorite (not sorry) ways to enjoy berries in your skincare!
This amazing refining serum gives you all the concentrated power of berries! Blackberry juice and pomegranate extract deliver an antioxidant punch to fight signs of aging while blueberry juice works as a natural astringent to tighten and minimize pores. Plus, this serum delivers a healthy dose of lasting moisture, so your skin will look healthy and flawlessly airbrushed without makeup!
This delightful acne treatment cleanser contains raspberry fruit extract for antioxidant protection and to help reduce inflammation. But, it also includes 2% glycolic acid to gently exfoliate and refine skin and encourage new cell turnover. Plus, 2% salicylic acid to give your pores a deep clean. It will leave your skin feeling clear and refreshed!
Why It’s Good for Skin
You’ve probably seen activated charcoal-based skincare products popping up on shelves as this trendy ingredient continues to gain popularity. People are using it for everything from hair washing to teeth whitening.
The magic of activated charcoal is that it acts like a magnet for toxins and can absorb 1,000s of times its own mass!
When used in skincare, it provides deep cleaning and detoxifying. The activated charcoal sucks impurities like oil, dirt and bacteria to the surface of your skin, latches onto them, and carries them away when it’s washed off.
And, no, this isn’t the same as the bricks you use in your BBQ! Activated charcoal typically comes in little capsules and can be found at any vitamin or health food store.
DIY Activated Charcoal Mask
- 0.2 grams of activated charcoal (2 capsules)
- ½ teaspoon of bentonite clay
- 1 ½ teaspoons of water
Note : Never use a metal bowl or spoon when mixing bentonite clay. Go for a plastic, glass, or ceramic bowl and plastic or wooden spoon.
1 . Open 2 capsules of activated charcoal and empty powder into a bowl. Add other ingredients and mix until it creates a smooth paste. Apply to freshly washed face avoiding delicate skin around eyes.
2 . Let mask sit for 10-15 minutes. As the mask dries, it tightens and can make skin feel itchy. If it gets uncomfortable, wash it off.
3 . Rinse with warm water. This mask might take a little bit of time to work off, so be patient and don’t scrub too hard. Pat skin dry and check out your amazingly-cleansed pores in a mirror!
If you’re a little leery about working with fine, black charcoal powder (ugh, the clean up!), here’s some products that will keep things clean and tidy.
This easy-to-remove activated charcoal mask dramatically brightens dull skin by exfoliating to remove dead skin cells and banishing deep down pore-clogging impurities. It rescues skin from signs of aging, dullness and congestion!
This double-duty masque is great for those with combination, oily or acne-prone skin. The detoxifying charcoal side draws out excess oils, dirt and bacteria from skin. The active botanical side decreases pore size by up to 20% and T zone oil production by up to 42%! Together, this masque give you smooth, purified and balanced skin!
Why It’s Good for Skin
I know, can you imagine anything more decadent than wearing chocolate rather than eating it? It might seem counter-intuitive to spread chocolate on your skin since it was once thought that sweets lead to breakouts.
However, chocolate is really high in flavonoids and antioxidants to help skin with collagen production and damage repair to fight signs of aging like fine lines, sagging and dark spots.
Plus, it provides skin with great hydration and moisture.
Note : If you’re going to rock a chocolate mask, you should use a high quality, dark variety with at least 70% cocoa or more. Don’t just go melting down leftover Halloween candy!
Who knew you could treat your skin while enjoying treats?
DIY Chocolate Mask
Mix ingredients to form a paste. Apply to clean skin and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
Wondering what sane person would waste time wearing chocolate when you could be eating it? Use these cocoa-rich products instead!
This mask packs the antioxidant power of chocolate, along with a ton of other natural skin-loving ingredients, to nourish skin and save it from the aging effects of free radical damage. It gently exfoliates and replenishes skin, and leaves you with a radiant glow. Plus, you know it smells amazing!
This luxurious mask contains lots of antioxidant cocoa, as well as vitamins C and E for anti-aging benefits, and a collection of natural oils to penetrate skin and provide moisture to deep layers. Apply this mask to smooth rough skin and restore suppleness.
Why It’s Good for Skin
In recent years, coconut oil has become the wunderkind of beauty for its ability to provide moisture to hands, feet, faces, lips, hair, etc. Coconut oil everywhere!
Aside from its obvious moisturizing capabilities due to its high levels of fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E, coconut oil also possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties to penetrate skin’s layers and help encourage healing.
While it absorbs into skin quickly, coconut oil does have a richer, heavier consistency, so you might want to steer clear or exercise caution if you already have oily or acne-prone skin.
Note : Look for an organic, virgin, unrefined version of coconut oil to ensure it doesn’t have any added fillers or fragrances.
DIY Coconut Oil Mask
You can apply just coconut oil to your face and either let it absorb as a moisturizer or rinse off excess oil with warm water.
Or, add a bit of honey, stir to combine, apply to face and leave for 10-15 min., and rinse with warm water.
My top coconut formulas that will make you feel like you’re on a tropical beach even if you’re in your pj’s in the middle of winter.
Have you ever wished you could wrap dry skin in instant moisture? You totally can! This mask uses rich hydrating coconut milk, coconut oil and shea butter to quench skin as well as deliver great anti-aging benefits. Use this mask and bid farewell to dry, dull skin.
This lightweight moisturizing milk hydrates and nourishes skin with coconut oil and vitamins A, C, and E. It also calms skin with anti-inflammatory chamomile extract, making it great for all skin types!
Why It’s Good for Skin
If you thought cucumber was just for puffy eyes, you’re only enjoying part of its benefits!
Cucumber is high in antioxidant vitamin C and caffeic acid which provides cool, calming relief for inflammation and irritation.
The fruit is also hydrating because of its high water content. And, the peel contains lots of silica, which helps in the battle of the sag to firm skin and improve elasticity.
Put some slices on your eyes, apply a cooling mask, and sip some cucumber water to nourish skin from the outside and the inside!
DIY Cucumber Mask
Puree cucumber in a blender. Add yogurt and blend until combined. Apply mask to clean face and leave on for 10-15 min., rinse with warm water.
Here’s some of my favorite ways to easily enjoy cucumber skincare anytime!
This mask is loaded with cucumber, as well as other skin-soothing ingredients, to hydrate skin and relieve puffiness and inflammation. Antioxidant vitamin C counters free radical damage while silica helps reduce wrinkles. This formula is great for helping skin recover post-procedure, or any time your complexion needs a pick-me-up!
Use this refreshing toner on cleansed skin to hydrate and balance your complexion. It soothes and relieves inflammation and irritation while improving skin’s cellular function and tightening the appearance of pores. Your skin is left clarified, balanced and renewed!
Why It’s Good for Skin
So. Many. Antioxidants. In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, antioxidants help fight free radical damage which can break down collagen, resulting in wrinkles and loss of firmness.
Green tea is uber stocked with antioxidants, specifically the polyphenol EGCG, which helps improve and heal skin as well as decrease inflammation by protecting cells while destroying damaging free radicals.
Next time you’re brewing a warm cup, treat your skin to some antioxidant goodness too!
DIY Green Tea Mask
Heat a small cup of water until hot (not boiling) and submerge tea bag for a bit to drench tea leaves. Remove tea bag and allow to cool.
Once cool, scoop wet leaves into a bowl and mix with honey and baking soda. Gently apply mask to clean skin and let sit for 10-15 min. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
If you’d rather leave tea for sippin’, here are some ways to still enjoy it in your skincare routine!
This potent cleanser balances skin by removing excess oils while strengthening and protecting skin from free radical damage. It sweeps in to neutralize acne-causing bacteria and soothes inflammation and irritation so your complexion will have lasting clarity.
This lotion is actually a two-fer, a lotion and toner rolled into one! Natural ingredients hydrate and nourish skin with antioxidants while also controlling excess oil and fighting signs of aging to reduce fine lines and wrinkles!
Why It’s Good for Skin
More like what doesn’t honey do for skin? Honey was used in ancient medicine for its natural healing abilities, and it does so much more for your complexion!
Honey contains natural antibacterial properties, which means it can help wipe out all that nasty blemish-causing bacteria.
It’s also a natural humectant, so it grabs moisture and binds it to skin.
Plus, this gooey gold is rich in antioxidants to fight signs of aging and is an anti-inflammatory to help soothe and encourage skin healing.
Whew! That’s a lot of love in one little jar!
Note : Speaking of which, if you’re planning on using honey on skin, go for raw honey which contains higher nutrient levels since they haven’t been destroyed by pasteurization.
DIY Honey Mask
Simply massage honey onto clean, damp skin in a gentle circular motion. Let sit for 15-20 min., rinse with lukewarm water. Make sure you rinse thoroughly, or you will discover sticky spots you missed!
Hey, honey (hee hee)! Here’s my sweetest picks for skincare featuring that liquid gold!
Can you imagine anything more soothing than washing your face with a warming cleanser? This formula gives you a cozy clean feeling with natural honey, papaya enzymes, and green tea to gently exfoliate skin and cleanse pores, all while protecting skin’s natural moisture barrier. Mmmmmm, so soothing!
This creamy cleanser combines the benefits of honey and bamboo to gently exfoliate skin, removing dead skin and impurities for a brighter, more vibrant complexion. It polishes to stimulate cell activity while promoting clarity, so your skin is smooth and glowing!
Why It’s Good for Skin
You know that good bacteria you always hear about in yogurt, probiotics?
They can be as good for your skin as they are at balancing your gut. Probiotics naturally decrease inflammation. They may also help those with acne by reducing blemish-causing bacteria.
Yogurt contains lactic acid, which gently exfoliates skin by dissolving dead skin cells.
Plus, it’s creaminess makes it super moisturizing!
DIY Yogurt Mask
- 2 Tablespoons organic plain Greek yogurt
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
- Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
Combine all ingredients and smooth onto clean skin. Leave on for 20 min. Rinse off with tepid water.
Here’s my probiotic picks!
This rich, creamy moisturizer features the probiotic acidophilus to balance skin’s good and bad bacteria. With a combination of skin-conditioning ingredients, this formula leaves skin clear, pure and hydrated!
Use this refining peel head to toe to soften skin. Natural enzymes and lactic acid dissolve and remove rough, dry skin to encourage healthy cell regeneration. It’ll give you renewed, glowing skin!
We did it, gang! Those are my top 10 natural skin-boosting ingredients to add to your shopping list for an at-home day of pampering!
Kick back with some well-deserved relaxation and skincare TLC. As always, make sure you’re taking the best care of yourself and your skin. You deserve it!
What are some of your favorite recipes for DIY natural masks? Share them with us in the comments section!