Making Mornings Mindful

Making Mornings Mindful

What is a morning routine? 

  • daily ritual you perform every single morning as soon as you wake up before work. Morning rituals set the tone for the rest of your day. 
  • “Every action you take is a vote for the person you’re trying to become” -Atomic Habits, James Clear

Benefits of a morning routine:

  • Less stress: YOU control your schedule instead of letting your schedule control you. Mornings are typically known for being chaotic, but they don’t have to be this way if you choose to take control over it. 
  • Prioritize Self-care: A morning routine helps you take care of your mind and body before the rest of the day demands your attention. Ever notice that when you push a workout to the end of the day something often comes up and you end up not working out at all? Well, if you got it over with in the morning, that would never happen. You’ll feel 100% after you took that extra time in the morning to take care of yourself and are ready to take on the day, no matter what life throws at you. Remember, you can’t fill from an empty cup! 
  • Better sleep quality: Think you don’t have time to do a morning routine? That means you need to wake up a little earlier, which means you need to sleep earlier! Consistently going to sleep and getting up at the same time every day has a positive impact on your sleep. You’ll be surprised at what waking up just 30 minutes earlier can do. 
  • Reach your health goals: When moving your body is part of your morning routine, it becomes a habit that you won’t be able to live without. You’ll notice you will begin to workout to feel good both mentally and physically, rather than to look a certain way. But because you are doing it consistently every single day, you will end up seeing the results you always wanted. You will also make better eating decisions throughout the day, because of all the hard work you already put in that morning.

Steps to a successful morning routine
Take a screenshot or print out this infographic as a checklist! 

  1. Avoid going on your phone as soon as you wake up (unless absolutely necessary). Most of us will check social media or respond to text messages / emails before we even brush our teeth or drink water! The moment you look at your phone, your mind will become reactive to everything. By taking care of your personal obligations first without distractions, you can respond to the demands of others with a clear mind. We like to utilize Apple’s “Do Not Disturb” setting so we don’t receive any notifications until we are done with our morning routine. 
  2. Drink water! Ever feel hungry as soon as you wake up? Probably means you’re just thirsty! You haven’t had water for 8 hours so you’re probably dehydrated. We like to drink a huge 40oz water bottle before our first meal of the day.
  3. Meditate. Some people could never imagine themselves sitting in silence, alone with their thoughts. This is something we struggle with doing every day, but when we are able to take even 5 or 10 minutes to meditate, it clears our minds and centers our focus. Think of meditation like a gym for your brain – the more you practice it, the stronger your mental focus and clarity will be no matter what the day throws at you.
  4. Move your body: Get your blood flowing! Not every day has to be a hard workout. Some days can be yoga, walking, or stretching, but the goal is to move your body every single day to keep your heart and mind healthy. You’ll feel so great after you get those endorphins flowing and you’ll have one less thing to do for the rest of the day. 
  5. Get outside: We suggest going for a short walk outside (this could also be your workout.) Did you know that just getting 10 minutes of sunshine in the morning can boost your mood and energy levels? 
  6. Take a cold shower: There are numerous benefits to showering in cold vs. hot water. Improved skin and hair, decreased inflammation, improved blood circulation, and potential weight loss are only some of the benefits of taking cold showers regularly. When you take a cold shower, it activates your body’s energy, waking you up quicker than a double shot of espresso. This doesn’t mean you have to always shower in cold water but a quick rinse after your morning routine to get your day started will kick you into high gear. 
  7. Eat a healthy breakfast: Now after all those things you did to improve your well-being, you’re definitely not going to want to ruin it with an unhealthy meal. Think of food as FUEL! What nutrients does your body need to function at its optimal performance? Remi’s favorite go-to breakfast is a protein smoothie with protein powder, almond milk, fruits, spinach, almond butter, and chia seeds for a quick and nutrient dense meal. Bryn’s go-to breakfast is avocado toast on sourdough bread with an egg, spinach, and pickled onions. 

If it seems daunting to incorporate all of these into your life at once, just take it one step at a time. Even just not going on your phone and drinking water as soon as you wake up are HUGE steps to improving the quality of your life. The goal isn’t to do a million things every single morning, but instead to do a couple small things consistently. Trust us, once these things become habits you will see huge results! We have grown to love our morning routines and hope you do too.

Crispy Eggplant Tofu (vegan)

Crispy Eggplant Tofu (vegan)

One of my guilty pleasures and favorite places to get a quick meal is Panda Express. I know it’s not authentic Chinese food, but man is it good. My two favorite entrees at Panda would have to be the orange chicken and the eggplant tofu. However I will admit their eggplant tofu is extremely oily so I aspired to make a somewhat healthier version and add my own touch to it.

This version of the dish gives you nice crispy eggplant and tofu pieces (not deep fried!) covered in a yummy garlic and ginger soy sauce glaze. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients: (makes about 2-3 servings)

  • 2 small or 1 large Chinese long eggplant (regular eggplant will work too, but not as well)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 block firm tofu
  • Avocado oil (or any neutral vegetable oil)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger, minced
  • green onions, chopped (optional, for topping)
  • Sauce:
    1. *1 tbsp light soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
    2. *1/2 tsp dark soy sauce (regular soy sauce fine if you don’t have this)
    3. 1 tbsp water
    4. 2 tsp sugar (I use monk fruit sweetener or coconut sugar as a healthier alternative)
    5. 1 tsp cornstarch*substitute tamari for gluten free

Instructions:

  1. cut eggplant into bite size pieces and then **place into a bowl of water (enough water to cover eggplant) then add sea salt to water and mix. Cover with something heavy (I use a smaller bowl of water) so that eggplant pieces are completely submerged in water. Leave for 15 minutes.
    1. **This step is very important to get rid of the bitterness of the eggplant! You could also add sea salt to the eggplant pieces and let them sit out for about 45-60 minutes, but i like the submerged water method because its faster haha.
  2. While waiting for eggplant, press your tofu. Grab your half block of tofu and place in between a dish towel or 2 paper towels. Place something with some weight (not heavy enough to break the tofu, I usually use a small plate) on the top towel layer. Leave for 10-15 min to let most of the moisture out of the tofu. After 10-15 minutes, cut tofu into 1/2” thick pieces and set aside.
  3. Combine ingredients for sauce in a bowl and mix well.
  4. After 15 min for eggplant is up, empty water and pat pieces dry with a dish towel or paper towel.
  5. Sprinkle eggplant pieces with about 1 tbsp cornstarch and mix by hand, until each piece of eggplant is evenly coated with with a thin layer of cornstarch.
  6. In a non-stick pan on medium-high heat add about 2 tbsp of avocado oil and add the eggplant pieces without them touching. Cook pieces one side at a time until all sides are lightly golden brown and eggplant is soft (about 3-5 minutes per side.) Transfer eggplant from pan to a plate and set aside.
  7. In same pan or another non-stick pan at medium heat, fry your tofu (I usually do this step at the same time eggplant is cooking in another pan.) You can also coat your tofu with cornstarch to make it extra crispy if you would like, but i find it’s not necessary. Spray or lightly drizzle avocado oil into pan and place tofu pieces with largest sides down, not overlapping. Flip when nice and dark golden brown, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer from pan to a plate and set aside.
  8. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of avocado oil, minced ginger, and garlic into the same pan on medium high heat. Once fragrant, add the eggplant and tofu back into the skillet. Mix the sauce again until cornstarch is fully dissolved and then pour it over the eggplant and tofu. Immediately stir a few times, until the eggplant and tofu pieces are all evenly coated and the sauce thickens.
  9. Transfer everything to a plate, top with green onions, and enjoy! 🙂

**This dish is best served fresh! I’ve tried to save leftovers and eat it the next day, but it is not nearly as god since it loses its crispiness.

Drink Smarter, Not Harder

Drink Smarter, Not Harder

Happy May, everyone! This month, we will both be celebrating our birthdays with our friends and loved ones. Since we already know we’ll be drinking alcohol as part of the festivities, we thought we’d share our tips on how to still partake in drinking without wreaking havoc on your body. 

News flash! You don’t have to drink 10 shots a night to have fun, and you most likely can’t drink like you’re 21 anymore. If you were drinking back to back nights in college, with an incredible resilience and no hangover to date, consider yourself lucky but those days only last for so long and age will eventually catch up with you. The sad truth is that alcohol has a lot of detrimental effects on the body. However, when consumed properly and in moderation, it can still be a fun social activity you can enjoy with others. 

How alcohol negatively affects your body:
Alcohol unfortunately has a long grocery list of short and long-term negative effects on your body.

  • Short term: hangover, dehydration, fatigue, lack of coordination, inflammation, mood and behavioral changes, weakened immune system
  • Long term: liver damage, muscle deterioration, heart damage, increased chances of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. 

Realistically, alcohol is a part of life for many people and is often present at most celebrations, meaning that giving up drinking for good is difficult. While it may be bad for you, it can certainly be consumed responsibly by following our tips below: 

Tips on how to drink smarter: 
Before drinking – make sure you are eating a lot of fiber and whole foods. The more processed junk food you consume beforehand, the worse your hangover will be the following day. Do NOT drink on an empty stomach, as doing this will cause the alcohol to damage your stomach lining. We like to take a milk thistle supplement if we know we’ll be consuming alcohol later that night, which helps coat and protect your liver! 

During drinking – Hydrate! Make it a habit to drink water in between your drinks and remember to pace yourself. You are in control of how much you drink and only YOU can gauge how much is too much. A good rule of thumb to remember is that your body metabolizes around one drink per hour, depending on your body weight. 

After drinking – Sleep well, hydrate, be sure to have a hearty meal the next morning to soak up whatever alcohol is left within your body. Many people think greasy, fried foods the morning after drinking will help absorb the alcohol but in reality it is only a temporary fix and will end up making you feel even more lethargic and disgusting than before.. If you are hungover, sipping on any type of herbaceous bone broth will do wonders, which is why pho is the ultimate post-drinking cure! 

Our favorite hangover free / sugar-free drink recipes: 

Remi’s Skinny Spicy Margarita

  • 1 shot tequila blanco
  • Juice of an entire lime
  • couple slices of jalapeno (option to muddle w/ seeds for extra spice)
  • liquid stevia
  • Lime La croix or other sparkling water
  • Instructions: Mix everything together except la croix in a cocktail shaker or cup and pour over ice (Don’t forget to rim the top of your glass with some tajin.) Top with la croix and enjoy! 

Bryn’s Vodka Mixer

  • 2 shots of vodka
  • 1 can of fresca
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • ice 
Eating Out Without Stressing Out

Eating Out Without Stressing Out

With restaurants closed for dine-in during the pandemic, many people have learned just how much healthier and cheaper it can be to cook your meals at home. Admittedly, sometimes food just tastes better at a restaurant and eating out is such a fun social experience that we’ve all missed. As restaurants are starting to open for dine-in again, we wanted to share our tips on how you can get the best of both worlds by staying on top of your health goals and still enjoy meals out. When we both struggled with our eating disorders, eating out was a topic that brought upon anxiety and stress. If you’ve dealt with a similar insecurity of overindulging and ruining your “diet” from eating out with friends, we’ve got you covered. Like everything in life, moderation and balance are quintessential to truly appreciating something. Here are our tips on how you can still dine out at restaurants without the guilt.

PLAN AHEAD! Find out what restaurant you’re going to eat at and look at the menu beforehand to choose what you want to order and plan in advance.

  • If you know you’re eating out later and and that the food won’t be very healthy, try to eat something lighter and full of nutrients for breakfast or lunch to balance your day. 
    • ie. If you want to order pasta, maybe eat a lunch that is light in carbs and high in protein. If you’re going to order a steak, maybe opt for a plant based protein source for lunch. 
  • Having a few drinks at dinner? That is totally fine! Make sure to hydrate during the day beforehand and eat foods full of nutrients that will help your body metabolize the alcohol faster, reducing your hangover the next day. 
    • Foods high in protein, fiber, and vitamins. Ie. oats, salmon, eggs, dark leafy greens will help your body metabolize alcohol faster.
    • Add lemon juice to your water which helps to protect your liver and detox your body. 

TIPS FOR ORDERING AT A RESTAURANT: Always look for an option with veggies! 

  • Try to order something that has some type of vegetable incorporated. One of our favorite tips at any noodle soup restaurants (ramen, pho, etc.) is to order the vegetarian option but sub veggie broth for beef / chicken broth. You can still get the delicious flavor of the broth while still getting all your veggies in. Also, beef / chicken / pork bone broth has tons of vitamins and collagen. 
  • If your group is okay with it, try family style! Offer to split multiple dishes with the person / people you’re dining with so you can order a vegetable dish and get to try more entrees. 
  • None of the entrees look appealing to you? Check out the side dishes / appetizers! You can typically make a meal out of the sides / appetizers which usually have smaller portions, are more inclined to incorporate vegetables, and cost less than an entrée. 
  • Save your leftovers and add more vegetables when you eat them the next day: 
    • Ie. adding spinach to noodle soups, adding more vegetables to pasta or rice dishes, or just eating it with a side salad at home to boost the nutritional content and volume. 

Treat eating out as a special occasion by not doing it too often during the week. We like to view eating out as a nice weekend treat. Weekdays are typically for cooking and eating healthy while weekends are for enjoying new restaurants with friends. Stick to your diet on the weekdays so you can enjoy your weekends eating out guilt-free! 

Give your body a digestive break after eating a large dinner by skipping breakfast the next day. We recommend at least a 12 hour break between the last meal of the day and first meal the following day to reset your digestion. 

It’s easy to overeat when eating out (anyone else love all you can eat kbbq?) but listen to your body! Eat slow, enjoy the food, and stop eating when you’re satisfied. No one likes being stuffed to the point where they can’t breathe. Remember, you can always take home leftovers to eat the next day! 

Don’t beat yourself up for having a couple unhealthy meals a couple times a week! You won’t ruin your progress after straying from your diet once in a while. Even fitness professionals cheat every so often for their sanity. It’s all about balance!

Our goal has always been to make living a healthier lifestyle easier to understand and execute. As we all know, food is one of life’s greatest gifts to us so we hope this month’s newsletter brings you more sense of calm and control. You have the power to choose what you eat and how you eat it — food does NOT own you! Happy eating, everyone!

One Bowl Chai Chewy Cookies

One Bowl Chai Chewy Cookies

The kitchen is already a daunting environment to be in, especially when you throw scratch baking into the situation. Like many hobbies, baking is not suited for everyone, especially because there’s much less room for error as opposed to cooking.

For example, if you add a pinch more of baking soda than a recipe called for, everything you had dreamed of your dessert becoming may be thrown out the windows. Goodbye, dreams of finally becoming a professional patisserie today!

We’ve been there too and, honestly, we’re fed up with the smoking ovens, wasted flour and excessive hours now up in flames similar to the last attempt I made baking something I saw on Tik Tok. We’ve got some good news to share with you amateur bakers like ourselves out there! Here’s a quick, easy, fool-proof cookie recipe that I promise you and your friends begging for more of.

This recipe is:
Oil-free! The binding agent is the nut butter and the flax egg
Perfectly sweetened and flavored with a conglomeration of spices
Similar to cake, it has a dense, chewy texture that’s addictive!
The perfect comforting fall dessert during these uncertain times
Vegan and full of natural ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup GF oat flour (blended GF oats, I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg (or use a flax egg – mix 1 tbsp flax with 3 tbsp water, let it rest for 5 minutes before adding)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • White chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place oats in a blender and process until it has a flour-like texture
  3. In a large bowl, combine everything together until it’s a wet dough texture. Add in the chocolate chips last.
  4. Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Enjoy!
Wonton Happiness Salad (inspired by Souplantation)

Wonton Happiness Salad (inspired by Souplantation)

Souplantation has always been one of my favorite places to eat. Even though they basically just serve soup, salad, and lots of carbs, something about it was just so good and I have so many fond memories there. Since they didn’t have Souplantation in Hawaii, my family and I would always make a trip there whenever we would visit the states. Once I moved to Los Angeles, of course I became a club veg member so I could receive all the coupons and special offers. I ate there at least once a month, always looking forward to their new menu items and of course always sneaking an extra blueberry muffin in my purse on my way out 😉

When I found out Souplantation was permanently closing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I was devastated. The thought of never having the tuna tarragon pasta or those fat noodles in the chicken noodle soup ever again broke my heart. My friends and I were all equally distraught so we decided to recreate some of the dishes at home for a (social distancing) potluck. I was in charge of creating the famous Asian Wonton Happiness salad which I put my own healthy twists on, of course, and surprisingly it turned out so good! Dare I say possibly better than the original? I wouldn’t go that far but I have been craving it for lunch every day since which definitely says something.

This salad is basically a Chinese chicken salad (I added chicken but Souplantation’s version doesn’t have chicken) but what makes it so good is the sesame ginger dressing and the air fried wonton chips. All the yumminess of fried wonton strips without all the oil / deep frying for less guilt! I hope you guys give this recipe a try and pay homage to the great salad and soup buffet that we all love and will miss greatly. Enjoy 🙂

Recipe: (makes about 6 servings)

  1. Ingredients:
    • 4 cups romaine lettuce, cut into bite size pieces
    • 3 cups cabbage, shredded
    • 1 cup carrots, shredded
    • 4-5 store-bought wonton wrappers (for air fryer version) OR can buy pre-made wonton strips
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, stems removed
    • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
    • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
    • 2 chicken breasts (optional)
    • optional toppings / ingredients:
      • sliced almonds
      • avocado
    • Dressing:
      • 2 tbsp avocado oil
      • 1/4 cup Rice vinegar
      • 1 tbsp Sesame oil
      • 1 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari / coconut aminos for gluten free)
      • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
      • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce OR see below for healthier alternative
        1. Healthier hoisin sauce (makes 1/4 cup)
          • 1/8 cup light soy sauce (or tamari / coconut aminos for gluten free)
          • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter (read ingredients, should just be made of peanuts)
          • 1 tbsp honey
          • 1 tsp rice vinegar
          • 1 tsp sesame oil
          • 1/2 tsp miso paste
          • 1 clove garlic, grated
  2. Instructions:
    1. For chicken:
      1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
      2. Once boiling, add chicken breasts in and cook on medium high heat for 20-25 minutes.
      3. Once time is up, place chicken in cold water immediately to stop cooking and let sit for about 5 minutes, until cooled.
      4. Pat chicken dry and place in large bowl. Use two forks to shred the chicken into small bite size pieces.
    2. For dressing:
      1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined.
    3. For air fryer wonton strips:
      1. Take about 6-8 wonton wrappers from package, keeping them stacked together. Cut entire square into 16 pieces so each strip is about 1 1/2” x 1/2”
      2. Separate all strips from each other and place into a bowl (it’s okay if some are still stuck together, they will separate in the air fryer.)
      3. spray a little avocado oil (option to omit oil, it will still work.) Mix well until all strips are evenly coated.
      4. Place strips in air fryer basket and set air fryer to 350 degrees F for about 8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
      5. Once done, let cool
    4. For salad:
      1. Place all salad ingredients except avocado, if using.
      2. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss well to combine (start with a little dressing and add more as needed by preference)
      3. Top with avocado (if using) and serve immediately!
Dalgona Matcha Latte (vegan, refined sugar free)

Dalgona Matcha Latte (vegan, refined sugar free)

If there’s one thing that has been going crazy viral during this quarantine it’s the dalgona coffee trend. Everyone and their mother is making it and as someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I was getting a little jealous. After doing some research I found out that there is a way to create a dalgona matcha and boy was I excited because matcha lattes are my absolute favorite drink.

For the dalgona coffee, the whipped texture is created by using instant coffee. Since matcha powder won’t yield the same effect, you need to first create a whipped base. There are 3 options for the whipped base: heavy cream, egg whites, and aquafaba which is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. Being that aquafaba was the only vegan version, I decided to give it a try. Turns out aqufaba is literally LIQUID GOLD. Apparently it is used as a vegan replacement for egg whites, typically for the egg white froth at the top of cocktails (who knew?!) After whipping it up for the first time, I couldn’t believe that I had been dumping that liquid gold down the drain every time I used a can of chickpeas! It whipped up so quickly and looks and feels exactly like whipped egg whites. It also surprisingly doesn’t taste like chickpeas at all, and isn’t salty even if the chickpeas are salted.

Okay enough of me raving about chickpea water… let’s get to the recipe:

DALGONA MATCHA (vegan, refined sugar free)

  • Ingredients
    • aquafaba (liquid from chickpea can)
    • *1 tsp matcha powder (culinary or ceremonial grade) *add more or less depending on how strong your matcha powder is / how strong you like your matcha
    • refined sugar free sweetener of choice:
      • liquid stevia: 1 full droplet
      • stevia: 1 serving size (1 packet of stevia)
      • maple syrup: 1 teaspoon **(or more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
    • 3/4 cup plant based milk of choice (oat milk tastes best in my opinion)
    • ice (optional)
    • a nice, clear glass that will display your beautiful creation. Mason jars work great!
  • Instructions
    1. Pour the *amount of aquafaba you are going to use out into a large bowl (big enough so you can mix vigorously and not splash)
      1. *I find that one chickpea can produces enough aquafaba to make 2 drinks, so pour out about 1/2 of what you got a from the chickpea can
    2. Either using an electric hand mixer or portable frother (what I use) whisk the aquafaba until it becomes a fluffy whipped texture. You can also use a regular handheld whisk but it will take much longer.
      1. The time for this depends on what tool you are using but will at least take about 3-5 minutes. Keep mixing until it reaches a nice foamy whipped consistency like in the picture.
    3. Once aquafaba is the consistency you’re looking for, add in matcha powder and liquid sweetener of choice
    4. using either a electric hand mixer or hand whisk (portable frother not strong enough for this step) mix in the matcha powder and sweetener until completely mixed in
    5. taste mixture to make sure it is too your liking. If it needs more matcha or sweetener, add it now
    6. put ice into your glass (if using) and then add plant based milk
    7. carefully spoon whipped mixture into your glass (if not all of it fits, don’t worry. You can add more later after you drink some)
    8. Take a picture of your beautiful creation (because half the point of making this is to post on instagram obviously) and then mix and enjoy! 🙂

Hope you enjoy this recipe! I seriously make it at least 3x a week now and find myself looking for any excuse to use chickpeas to get the liquid haha. Don’t think i’ll be spending money on expensive matcha lattes anymore even after this quarantine is over. Being your own barista is fun 😉

The Skinny on Skincare

The Skinny on Skincare

Hey guys! This month’s topic is all about the skin! Maintaining clear and consistent skin is something we have both struggled with our entire lives. Growing up, we had horrible acne that was primarily caused by our genetics however many other external factors played a huge role in this too. We’ve tried every product, gimmick, or supposed quick fix on the internet to clear our skin.  Although it has taken some time, we’re finally at a place where we’re very familiar and content with our skin but we wish we knew what we know now back then. As a disclaimer, we are not dermatologists and we know that everyone’s skin is different, but here are some basic tips that have worked for us in hopes that it may help some of you!

Your skin is the largest organ in the body. Aside from your digestive tract and stomach, your skin is the first part of your body that touches the outside world. Like a sponge, your skin will absorb any environmental factors it comes into contact with. 

Skincare starts from within, products are merely supplements that can help. Similar to pharmaceuticals, they treat the symptoms but not the cause. Although your skin may look better on the outside, it is a direct reflection of what’s within your body too, aka your health. 

Hydration! Your skin will appear just as hydrated as how much water you consume to quench your body internally. Try to drink at least 9-12 cups of water per day. 

Diet. Processed sugar, carbs, and high fat products will wreak havoc on your skin. When your skin begins to age, it is oxidizing, which is what brown spots are a result of. Eating foods high in antioxidants will slow down the aging process in your cells. 

Exercise. When you take the time to break a sweat, you’re assisting your body with pumping new fresh blood everywhere. This improved circulation will keep your skin looking healthy and alive. Be sure to wash your face after your workout though.

Stress. Your body is a holistic interconnected system, meaning when one part is out of sync, other parts of your body will malfunction. When you stress out, your hormones are out of flux, producing more than it should. This may lead to losing sleep or making unhealthy unhealthy eating choices, both which will reflect in your skin.

Environment. External factors play a significant role in your skin’s appearance. If you live in an area that is known for being polluted or having very dry air (ie. Los Angeles) make sure to use a humidifier and air purifier in your home to offset the time you spend outside. 

Tips for better skin:

  • Don’t touch your face! 
  • Wash your pillowcases at least once a week. Pro tip: Replace your regular cotton pillowcase with a silk pillowcase and your skin and hair will thank you. 
  • Wipe your phone screen and glasses down frequently 
  • Avoid re-wearing the same mask often (ever heard of Mask-ne?)
  • Consider using a humidifier while you sleep for added moisture
  • While your face is important, don’t forget to give the rest of your body some love too! Put lotion on your entire body right after you get out of the shower because that’s when your skin will absorb and lock in the moisture best. 
  • When doing your skincare, rub the products on your neck, chest, and hands as those are the areas that show the first signs of aging

Skincare Products: 

  • Most important skincare item: SPF SPF SPF! UV rays from the sun are the primary culprit for damaged, aged skin. Apply even if you’re indoors (UV rays penetrate through windows) and multiple times a day if you’re going outdoors (only lasts 30-50min, depending on SPF.) 
  • Top 3 ingredients for better skin

Yes, having clear healthy skin is extra work but you deserve to look and feel your best! When you have clear skin, it boosts your confidence by allowing your beauty and health to shine. Let yourself have that extra time in the morning and night to give your skin some extra TLC and your skin will thank you. Hope you enjoyed this month’s newsletter and see you back next month for more tips and tricks to improve your health and become your best self. ❤

Refined Sugar-free Trix Bars

Refined Sugar-free Trix Bars

These trix bars I made follow this booming trend of desserts that don’t skip out on creativity, nutrition, or color minus the sugar crash and integrating more fruits. When I’m heading out of the door or craving a sweet at the end of the night, these small bites are absolutely perfect satisfaction. They’re frozen like ice cream bars, quick to eat, and visually appeal to anyone who lays their eyes on them. Unlike sweets chalk full of fat and processed white sugar, fruits are basically nature’s candy and have been proven to lower the risk of diabetes, according to consistent research highlighted in TIME magazine.

Make these delectable bites for your kids, friends, or for your own personal sweet stash (like I tend to always have fully stocked). There’s more where this came from. Similar to other recipes I post on this blog, these trix bars can be tailored to whatever you please. Switch it up with blueberry and raspberry, kiwi and watermelon, or even mango and melon. Anything can be yours if you make it so.

TRIX BARS

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup of frozen or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pepitas

DIRECTIONS

  1. Process all ingredients except the fruits in a food processor until it forms a dough-like consistency
  2. Take the dough out of the food processor and flatten it into a square dish (I used a loaf pan because that’s all I have but a square pan would work better here)
  3. Put the bottom layer into the fridge. This will be your crust
  4. Blend the frozen bananas in a high-powered blender until it appears like ice cream
  5. Blend the strawberries until they are softened
  6. Pour the banana ice cream first onto the date crust then the strawberry mixture after
  7. With a chopstick or knife, swirl it to mimic the look of trix yogurt.
  8. Place into the freezer and enjoy tomorrow!

Ancient Grains Bowl (Inspired by True Food Kitchen)

Ancient Grains Bowl (Inspired by True Food Kitchen)

One of my favorite places to eat in LA is @TrueFoodKitchen who is famous for their Ancient Grains Bowl. This bowl is essentially a plant based buddha bowl that is comprised of grains, sweet potatoes, veggies, and topped with a delicious vegan pesto sauce, avocado, and hemp seeds. You can also add on a protein (tofu, salmon, or chicken) if you would like.

I could eat this bowl every single day but unfortunately my wallet doesn’t feel the same way. Just one of these bowls which isn’t too large of a portion will cost you $15.50 and another $5 if you want to add a protein. So in order to keep my bank account and my stomach happy, I decided to recreate this recipe at home and I’m so glad I did! It’s one of my favorite recipes and I find myself making it at least every other week. It’s definitely required a good amount of prep work, but definitely worth it. My advice is to make a large quantity of everything and eat it as your meal prep throughout the week! You can also take bits and parts of this recipe to use for other meals (i.e. the pesto!)

Ancient Grains Bowl (makes 2-4 servings)

  1. Turmeric quinoa & farro blend
    • 1/2 cup quinoa
    • 1/2 cup farro
    • 1 1/4 cups of water
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp sea salt
    • Instructions:
      1. rice cooker: place all ingredients in rice cooker and cook as normal! (My favorite way to cook any grain because it is so easy!)
      2. Pot:
        1. Add all ingredients to pot. Stir until combined and cover. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
        2. Reduce heat, allow to simmer 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
  2. Charred mushrooms and onions
    • 1 cup sliced portobello mushroom (or whatever mushrooms you have)
    • 1 small white onion, sliced
    • olive oil
    • pinch of sea salt
    • Instructions:
      1. preheat oven to 375 degrees F
      2. place sliced onions and mushrooms into a bowl, add a little olive oil and salt and mix evenly
      3. place mixture onto sheet pan
      4. place in over for 30 minutes or until onions slightly charred, stirring halfway through
      5. lazy option: saute all ingredients on a pan on the stove! You won’t get the charred flavor but it will still taste good and be done in 1/4 of the time
  3. Any green veggie of your choice
    • recipe calls for snow peas, but I usually use steamed kale. Other green veggies that would go well with this recipe would be broccoli, string beans, or bok choy
    • Instructions:
      1. cook your veggie(s) however you like it best! I usually prefer to boil or steam my vegetables to use less oil
  4. Miso glazed sweet potatoes (the star of this recipe!)
    • 1 large sweet potato
    • avocado oil or coconut oil to coat sweet potatoes (spray works best but not necessary)
    • Miso marinade:
      • 2 tbsp of white miso paste
      • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
      • 1/2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
      • 2 tsp lemon juice or rice vinegar
      • 1 tsp water
      • 2 tsp white sesame seeds
    • Instructions:
      1. peel and dice sweet potatoes into 1/2” cubes
      2. oven:
        1. preheat oven to 450 degrees F
        2. toss diced sweet potatoes in a bowl w/ a little coconut oil spray or avocado oil spray
        3. place sweet potatoes on a sheet pan, spread out evenly
        4. bake for 30 min or until sweet potatoes are tender, tossing halfway
      3. air fryer (my favorite method):
        1. toss diced sweet potatoes in a bowl w/ a little coconut oil spray or avocado oil spray
        2. place into air fryer 375 degrees for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through
      4. while potatoes are cooking make the sauce.
      5. Sauce:
        1. Mix all ingredients except sesame seeds together in a bowl and mix until well combined
        2. add sesame seeds at end and mix again
      6. Once sweet potatoes are done, move to a bowl big enough to mix and add sauce
      7. Mix well until evenly coated
  5. Vegan basil pesto* (recipe by Minimalist Baker) *this recipe will make a large portion. Great to use for other recipes throughout the week!
    • 2 cups packed fresh basil
    • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
    • 3 large cloves of garlic
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
    • 1/4 tsp sea salt
    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 tbsp water
    • Instructions:
      1. Mix all ingredients together in a blender or food processor
  6. Optional protein
    • I used air fried tofu, but you could add any protein you want! It actually doesn’t need any extra protein though, tastes so good without it. Between the quinoa, farro, veggies, and hemp seeds you already have a very high protein packed meal!
  7. Avocado slices
  8. hemp seeds

Once all your parts are assembled, put however much of each item you want into a bowl, top with avocado slices and hemp seeds and enjoy! 🙂