BEAUTY FOODS: Carrot Walnut Muffins That Your Skin Will Love

BEAUTY FOODS: Carrot Walnut Muffins That Your Skin Will Love

When it comes to skin care, what you eat matters as much as what you use ON your skin. Think healthy fats, like walnuts, flax and coconut, and beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in our body. Other minerals, like zinc, plus vitamin C, fibre and protein also play significant roles.

Photo by Andreea Ch on Pexels.com

Is it possible to get most of these ingredients into one beautiful muffin? Yes. I have been scouring the web for healthy recipes that involve minimal ingredients and are free from all the nasties that our skin does NOT love. For most, this includes refined sugar, wheat, and dairy. This might look different for everyone, but those specific ingredients can cause inflammation in the body, which often shows up on our skin.

This Carrot Walnut Muffin recipe is inspired by Pinch of Yum. I swapped out a few of the ingredients that this recipe calls for, only because they weren’t in my pantry at the time, but I am happy with the substitutions. I also added raisins, because I have a life-long love affair with them 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 C rolled oats
  • 8 pitted dates
  • 1/4 C melted coconut oil
  • 2 C grated carrots
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 C walnuts, plus more for topping
  • 1/4 C raisins
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • Combine all ingredients, except for raisins, into a blender. Mix until a smooth batter forms
  • Stir in raisins and spoon batter into 12 lined muffin tins. Top each muffin with a walnut piece
  • Bake for 15-18 mins
  • Let cool before eating. Serve with butter, almond butter, or cream cheese
  • These store well in the fridge for 5 days, or freezer for 3 months
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Weekly Meal Plan #4 {plant-based}

Weekly Meal Plan #4 {plant-based}

I decided to go completely plant-based for the month of February. I don’t usually label my way of eating, other than to call it “intuitive eating”. If I want some lean, organic chicken, fish or sharp cheddar, I will have some…in moderation. If my body cries out after eating certain foods, I listen.

My reasons for going plant-based for month include PH balancing my body, improving my gut flora, supporting my genetic make up, boosting my immunity to better fight off the strange viruses and cancer that seems to being hitting many of my family members. Others might prefer a more plant forward way of eating to save the planet, clear up skin, lower blood cholesterol, and even save a dollar.

These delicious meals and healthy snacks are ones I have personally created or tried. Always refer to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list, which helps you decide which fruits and veggies should be purchased organic. When you are incorporating more plants and veggies into your diet, expect to feel more full (yes! plants contain fibre), expect your sugar cravings to dwindle, expect to have more energy and feel lighter.

Meal 1: Thai Rainbow Salad with Sweet Honey Peanut Dressing: I chose a rainbow of veggies (purple cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, grape tomatoes, bell peppers), and chopped them all up. In a measuring cup, mix together 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp tahini, 2 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp tamari or soya sauce, a sprinkle of chili flakes, and a splash of hot water. Stir until creamy, adding more hot water, if needed. Toss the chopped veggies with the dressing when ready to eat.

Meal 2: Farmer’s Market Pasta with Walnut Pesto by Pinch of Yum. This dish lets you customize your veggies, and the walnut pesto really couldn’t be easier to make…plus it is some serious brain food with all those walnuts.

Meal 3: One pan Curried Sweet Potato Chickpeas by Minimalist Baker. Who doesn’t appreciate cleaning up only one pan? This dish is hearty and will not leave you feeling hungry. The flavours marry beautifully and the colours!

Snack 1: Banana Zucchini Muffins by Ambitious Kitchen (sub eggs for flax eggs for a vegan option)

Snack 2: The Easiest #dairyfree Oat Milk. This makes a great base and is delicious on it’s own, but feel free to add cacao powder or strawberries for a different flavour. As it’s a month of plant-based eating, it is important to have a good alternative milk for cereals, coffee and cookies 😉

My suggestion: Put these 5 dishes on rotation for the week. Take a day to prep one or more, or as much as you can. Make double, divide it into single serving sizes, and you’ve just mastered meal prep. Have a great week!

Beauty Foods: A Sweet Vegetarian Chili to Make Your Skin Glow

Beauty Foods: A Sweet Vegetarian Chili to Make Your Skin Glow

With the crispness and dryness in the Fall air, I couldn’t help but include all the pumpkins and squashes in today’s chili. My skin is beginning to dry up, so I’m turning to food to nourish myself from the inside out.

Sweet Pumpkin Chilli 2

You might already know that phytonutrients are nutrients that protect the plant from damage, and this means that they pack major antioxidant properties.  Lycopene, beta carotene and lutein are forms of these compounds and are bountiful in the tomatoes, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato and pumpkin in this dish, and provide dietary protection of the elements for your skin. Studies show that a diet rich in phytonutrients may produce continual, whole body protection from UV damage that leads to cellular degeneration.

I often consider the health of my skin and hair when I am putting a meal together.  I call it, “recipes with benefits”. This sweet chili is perfect as we approach the cooler weather, it warms the heart and soul, and certainly offers up protective benefits for the whole body and skin. High in fibre, the black beans and lentils help to keep the digestive system healthy, which plays a direct role in your skin’s glow.

Sweet Pumpkin Chilli

Chili ingredients:

  • 3 C cubed butternut squash
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 small head broccoli florets
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 jar tomato sauce or 1 large can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can lentils
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup water or adjust for desired consistency
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 small can organic corn (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder (optional if you want a spicy chili)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin (optional is you are using chili powder)
  • olive oil for cooking

Directions:

  • Cut the butternut squash and sweet potato into pieces, toss in olive oil, and roast until soft at 350F
  • Sautee onion until clear in a large pot with olive oil
  • add garlic, diced carrots and cook until soft
  • add water, broccoli, lentils, black beans, pumpkin puree, tomato sauce or roasted tomatoes, corn, salt and chili powder
  • add the cooked butternut squash and sweet potato
  • cover the pot and let simmer on low for minimum 1 hour to let the flavours marry
  • serve with diced avocado and plain yogurt with dill or cilantro. My Dairy-free Tzaziki dip is delicious here as a vegan option
  • BONUS: My favourite side kick to this dish is the Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread Muffins by Ambitious Kitchen. Drizzle them with a little honey while they’re warm. Find her recipe here
Sweet Pumpkin Chilli with Cornbread Muffins

Glowing Skin From Within ~ 5 Nutrients to Add to Your Diet Today

Glowing Skin From Within ~ 5 Nutrients to Add to Your Diet Today

Our skin is affected by what we eat, or don’t eat, what we put on it, and by our environment.  Consuming trans and saturated fats can clog pores and promote bacteria production and acne.  Also, high refined carbohydrate consumption can increase testosterone conversion to DHT, which enlarges the pores and increases sebum (oil) production and acne. (pg 249, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine).  Sugar is also a culprit as it is turned into saturated fatty acids by our body and forms a greasy film on our skin.

apple beet slaw

A lack of nutrients can also cause skin conditions.  A deficiency in zinc, antioxidants, fiber, water and EFA’s can cause acne, premature aging, dehydration and sun damage as your skin is less protected from free radicals.

Some foods work well topically to improve suppleness, shine, and clean pores, but some foods contain nutrients which are more effective when eaten. Of course, a balanced, healthy diet with plenty of water will keep our entire body systems working optimally, but these particular nutrients will help your skin looking its best.

  1. Liquid EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids): Oils containing EFA’s work better internally rather than topically as they can become rancid if left on the skin and exposed to air.  Internally, EFA’s, such as walnut, sesame, and flax oil, help improve the skin’s suppleness and makes it less prone to infection.
  2. Zinc: Zinc is a micronutrient that works particularly well on acne conditions. A deficiency in this mineral can increase the conversion of testosterone to DHT, increase pore size and sebum production. Zinc plays an important role in healing and tissue building. Foods rich in zinc are spinach, oysters, lamb and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Selenium: A trace mineral that helps to protect against free radicals that can cause premature aging, dryness, tissue damage and even skin cancer. Cold water fish and brazil nuts are excellent sources of Selenium.
  4. Fiber: The roughage of plant material that binds to cholesterol and other toxins in the body and flushes it out. Daily fiber intake is important for our entire body to keep it clean. The skin is our body’s largest organ, so if the body is not clean, the evidence shows on the outside, usually in the form of skin rashes and acne. An excellent form of fiber is ground flax, an ancient seed that is the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid, plus protein, vitamins and minerals. It is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and has cancer fighting properties. (pg 430, Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill)
  5. Antioxidants: Vitamins A, C, and E help protect our body from free radical damage that can cause premature aging, tissue damage, disease and the deterioration of fatty acids. Foods high in vitamins A, C and E are berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, wheat germ, carrots, avocado, sunflower seeds, eggs, dairy and spinach.
tomato salad with olive oil
Photo by Dana Tentis on Pexels.com

And, to open up the detox pathways to allow those toxins to escape, always include exercise in your daily routine.  It aids in detoxification of toxins through the skin.  Sweating is good! And, don’t forget about water. You can liven it up with lemons and berries for flavour and it adds that extra boost of antioxidants.

Jen Casey, CNP