Natural Avo-Honey Face Mask

Avocado Honey Face MaskI have VERY sensitive, dry, acne-prone skin. I’ve learned through trial and error that the less ingredients (read: less chemicals) my cosmetics contain, the better my skin looks and feels.

Once a week I like to make this homemade avocado-honey face mask. The avocado is incredibly hydrating for skin due to its vitamin E content and healthy fats, and the honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which cleanse the skin and fight breakouts. Honey is also a humectant, meaning it creates a kind of barrier on the skin, attracting and trapping moisture inside. Together the two ingredients soften and brighten your complexion. I’ve found that my skin actually glows immediately after I rinse the mask off. Test it out for yourself!

Avocado face mask

Mash and Mix

1/3 avocado

2 tsp raw honey

Apply the mixture to your face, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

DIY face mask

XO

 

DIY Superfood Cereal

DIYCereal

I’m a cereal fiend. It’s become a bit of a problem over the years. My guilty pleasures: Kix, Lucky Charms and Reese’s Puffs (I cringe even writing the names). In college I’d keep boxes of those in my dorm, and no one box would last more than two days. Even today I can’t really keep them in my kitchen because I have trouble sticking to appropriate portion sizes.

In my bio I talk about approaching food as fuel and medicine. This cereal is the perfect example. It’s packed with antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, fiber and countless other vitamins and minerals. The kicker here is that while every ingredient in this recipe is a real, whole food, it is still higher in calories so you should attempt to stick to about a 1/2 cup to  3/4 cup serving. That said, it’s delicious!  I’ve been sprinkling the mix over yogurt, and some days I’ll eat it with unsweetened vanilla coconut milk.

Mix

1/2 cup roughly chopped organic almonds and cashews

1/3 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup raw cacao nibs

1/2 cup sprouted buckwheat (I cheated and used Emmy’s Organics super cereal..it’s good!!)

1-2 cups Toasted Coconut granola mixture (mix 1 cup rolled oats, 1 cup coconut flakes, 1 tbsp honey, and heat in the oven until golden brown [about 7-10 minutes] on 375 degrees)

1 cup brown rice crisps (I used OneDegree brand)

…and enjoy!

Superfood Cereal

Experiment with this recipe. You can substitute bran flakes or corn flakes for the brown rice crisps…maybe add chia seeds or flax seeds. You can add walnuts or pecans. A DIY cereal has no limitations or rules. Throw together what you like and enjoy all the goodness it brings your body.

 

XO

 

 

Giving up cheese ain’t easy, but this alternative is kind of amazing.

NutrYeastOk so most of you have either never heard of this questionable substance or are just flat-out repulsed by its name. I get it. It sounds weird…yeassst. I was put off by it too in the beginning, but as I’m sure you’ve guessed–I had a change of heart.

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast (active yeasts are used to make bread) made from sugar cane and beet molasses.  It has a delicious cheesy, nutty flavor profile and is dairy free, salt-free, gluten-free and packed with B vitamins and protein. A teensy 3 tbsp serving has a whopping 9 grams of protein..say what?! That’s right.

We really have Vegans to thank for making it so popular, but dairy-lovers can benefit from it too. Though, if you ARE trying to kick dairy, this can be used in almost any recipe that calls for cheese. Most use it as a substitute for parmesan cheese (It is similar, really!). While nothing will ever, ever replace cheese–the real thing is too damn good–this stuff is pretty tasty. I use nutritional yeast as often as I can and now look at regular cheese as a more indulgent treat. If I’m breaking out the 5-year Gouda, you know it’s a special occasion :)

I’m honestly hooked. I douse stove-popped popcorn in it, mix it into steamed veggies and sprinkle it on avocado toast.

You can find it at most health food stores. I buy mine in bulk from Whole Foods (it’s surprisingly cheap).

I say try it once. You might be pleasantly surprised.

 

 

Why you should strive to be a positive force.

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There are a few things I’m hoping to accomplish with this blog, but overall my goal here is to inspire healthy and balanced living. Eating the right foods and moving your body are a huge piece of the puzzle, but I think many people overlook the mental aspect of a wholesome lifestyle.

Someone who I’ve grown close to over the past year said to me, “You’re a positive force. You really are such a positive force, Tiffany.” It took me a moment to gather the meaning from those words, especially because they were so unexpected. Ultimately, I think he was telling me that I have impacted him and potentially others in a really positive way, whether that be big or small.

Wracking my brain for specific examples, I came to the conclusion that I just like to laugh. Seriously, I laugh a lot. Laughter is contagious. Is it not?

On any given day I’ll love my body, hate my body, stress out over nothing or obsess over whether or not I’m getting ahead or falling behind in life or in my career (I believe that’s called being human). Regardless of what I’m dealing with personally, I always find myself smiling or laughing when I’m around others.

No one breezes through a single day completely unscathed, and the best thing you can do at the end of the day is just laugh. Release some endorphins, let go. A smile or a laugh–forced or not–is mirrored in whoever you’re talking to (so are frowns or scowls).

My friend told me I was a positive force. I smiled, and as a result he smiled. IT’S SO SIMPLE!!!

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Smile and laugh to bring peace to yourself, but also to bring a little joy to others (we’re all having a bad day in some way). Misery may love company, but happy people attract a bigger crowd. You’ve got to work at it just like everything else.

Troubles and problems will persist throughout your entire life. My philosophy is that if you attempt to be happy day-to-day it will all add up to something pretty great.

I never knew I was a positive force, but now it’s my goal to continue to be one. Isn’t this how we change the world? One person at a time? Think about it…

:)

TWO-Ingredient Pancakes

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Two ingredients? Hard to believe, I know. Just bananas and eggs! I added a little powdered peanut butter to mine because I’m a peanut butter freak, but you really don’t need it. A little cinnamon would also be a nice touch. But, do you!

Mash

1 large ripe banana

Mix 

Mashed banana and 2 eggs

Optional

Mix in 1 tbsp powdered peanut butter

Coat a skillet with coconut oil and place a spoonful of the mixture onto the pan. Cook on medium heat. Re-coat the pan before cooking a new pancake. 

PanCakess

Instead of maple syrup, I heated some frozen raspberries on the stove until they became a warm sauce, and then topped it off with some sliced strawberries. Sooooooo good.

Enjoy!

Green Punkin’ Smoothie

grpumpkVery rarely do we ever actually taste true pumpkin. Pumpkin breads, muffins and lattes are all loaded up with sugar (which is of course why they are so freaking good). Real pumpkin is a little more earthy on it’s own, and when you’ve adjusted to the flavor it really is quite good.

While pumpkin is full of good-for-you fiber, vitamins and minerals (iron, vitamin A and vitamin E), my favorite benefit is it’s skin-boosting properties. Pumpkin helps fight wrinkles!! I’m overly concerned with my skin because it’s naturally VERY dry. The carotenoids in pumpkin (similar to those in sweet potatoes) neutralize free-radicals, which helps delay signs of aging (aka wrinkles).

Tis the season, so I’ve started experimenting with different pumpkin smoothies. First up…Green Punkin’ !

Blend

1/3 C pumpkin puree (I used 365 Organic canned pumpkin)

1 1/2 frozen bananas

2 large handfuls organic baby spinach

1 tbsp almond butter

pumpkin pie spice to taste

2 tsp stevia

unsweetened vanilla almond or coconut milk

Optional: Top off with a sprinkle of hemp seeds for an added superfood boost.

 

What happened to my body when I stopped counting calories.

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Every single piece of food that passed my lips used to get logged onto my phone. I became a serious calorie counter my senior year of high school, and incidentally that was when I was at my thinnest. Forget it if I indulged and exceeded my allotted 1,400 calories for the day–3 slices of pizza would earn me almost 3 hours at the gym.

The majority of my friends thought I was crazy and obsessive, but hey, they didn’t understand. They were those ‘naturally thin’ girls that can eat whatever they want and not gain a single pound. It was frustrating to say the least.

Between the ages of 17 and 23 my weight has fluctuated A LOT. I’ve gained and lost 20 pounds nearly twice. Finally, however, I feel like I’ve found a balance. It really pains me to say this but I……stopped counting calories(!)

Not counting calories is terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. Not knowing whether I ate 1,500 calories or 2,500 calories in one day is haunting. I do my best to ignore it.

However, the big question is: What happened to my body?

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My world as I knew it ended. Rather than scanning the dinner table and calculating a 300 calorie meal, I now look for colors and textures wondering how I can put together a beautiful, balanced plate. Rather than perfectly spacing out my snacks and meals throughout the day, I’ve learned to listen to my body and give it the fuel it needs when it needs it. Being truly mindful of what your body needs versus what your mind wants is not easy.

The greatest outcome of ditching my calorie log has got to be the change my body as experienced. Naturally I have wider hips, fuller legs and broad shoulders. No matter how little I eat I will never be a stick, which is what I prayed for for the longest time. These past few months I’ve watched my body embrace and grow into it’s natural shape. I still have moments where I look in the mirror and grab my waist and think, “If I could just ditch the chocolate for a month and double my workouts…”  However, I honestly am beginning to admire my body’s shape in a whole new way.

Stairs

I believe a huge part of it for me has been committing to the balanced lifestyle. Yes, I do make sure to workout throughout the week and I will say no to dessert sometimes (can you believe it?!). I still measure out portions of calorie-dense foods and try to stop eating before I’m stuffed. When you commit to a balanced lifestyle you just feel good, and I really think your physical appearance reflects that.

A rather hard concept to grasp is that your body is not meant to look like anyone else’s. It is your own. You won’t know what it’s capable of until you take care of it and treat it with a little kindness and respect.

One last comment…

While I’m ditching the math, I do believe everyone should try counting calories for a short period of time just to understand portion control. Trust me–a true serving of pasta is depressingly smaller than we all want it to be. I wouldn’t be able to create balanced meals and snacks without knowing proper serving sizes. You don’t need the extra food anyway. A serving is plenty to fuel your body! 

XO

 

Real. Raw. Peanut butter cups.

Peanut Butter Cups

Pass the peanut butter, it’s time to get down to business. We all know how hard it is to resist a Reese’s. Chocolate and peanut butter are truly a heavenly pair. Honestly though, the cleaner I eat the more sensitive my taste buds are to artificial ingredients. I don’t get the same high off of a store-bought peanut butter cup as I used to. The initial bite might be AMAZING, but I’m left with an odd taste in my mouth. Not to mention the guilt of willingly feeding my body absolute garbage!

This morning I tried my hand at homemade raw peanut butter cups. Ooo-wee they’re good, and FULL of superfoods.

pbcups

Mix

1/4 c. almond butter

1/2 c. peanut butter

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1 tbsp raw honey

**Pour mixture into muffin tins or cupcake wrappers and place in freezer until hardened.

Meanwhile…

Mix 

1/2 c. cacao powder

1/3 c. coconut oil, melted

large handful of chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (I crushed up half of an almond NibMor bar)

1 tbsp raw honey

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Take the hardened peanut butter base out of the freezer and pour the chocolate mixture on top. Place back in the freezer until completely hardened and enjoy!

xo

 

My first acai bowl, baby.

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Isn’t it beautiful? After scrolling through countless photos of bright purple acai bowls on Instagram and Tumblr, and spending way too much money buying them from my favorite juice joints, I finally made my very own. And oh baby…

Yes, I know what you’re thinking–”Does that really taste as good as it looks?” My answer to you is: hell yeah it does!!!

Blend

-1/2 C. frozen organic raspberries

-1 1/2 frozen bananas

-1 tbsp organic cashew butter

-3 Organic Burst Acai Capsules

-a splash of water!

Sprinkle

-coconut flakes

-hemp seeds

-cacao nibs

Enjoy!

 

xo