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1. 7 Quick Tips for Glowing Skin

GIRL, DO YOU WANT TO GLOW?

{I know I do.}

Here’s a little secret… fabulous skin starts from the inside.

Radiant, glowing skin is an indicator of good health along with a nutrient-rich diet. If you are loading up on fruits and veggies and vitamin-rich foods, your body will be healthier and, in turn, you’ll have radiant skin.

The flip side is that high quantities of processed foods, sugar, caffeine, stress and/or lack of {quality} sleep can make your skin appear lackluster and dull.

Good news! Changing the way you eat is completely within your reach. What you choose to eat will determine the way you look today and over the years to come.

Please check out my 7 Quick skin-busting foods that contribute to overall good health, and contain properties which help your skin look healthy + radiant!

#1 DRINK PLENTY OF WATER.

Sara Sullivan AvocadoI know, I know. We’ve been hearing this one for years, but are you really drinking enough? Exercise, hot weather and poor diet can increase your need for water. Dehydration is a leading cause of dull skin and wrinkles and, contrary to what you may think, dehydration does not just affect dry skin types but can affect oily skin too. Consuming adequate water daily is essential for keeping your skin hydrated, supple and for eliminating toxins.

How much? Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces per day. Example, if you weigh 150 pounds you would drink 75 ounces per day.

This will give you visible results on your skin.  When you’re properly hydrated it will show through a natural glow + suppleness.  What wonderful side effects!

#2 MINI-CLEANSE EVERY MORNING WITH WARM LEMON WATER

Traditionally used as a liver stimulant, lemon water is believed to help purge toxins from the blood, helping to keep skin clear of blemishes.  In addition, the antioxidants in lemons combat free radical damage which is responsible for many symptoms of aging. Antioxidant intake can help offset this damage, minimizing wrinkles. Woo hoo!

First thing in the morning, drink a mug of warm water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed right on in there.

#3 FIBER, FIBER, FIBER!

Did you know that fiber works extra hard to keep your skin flawless and acne proof? Fiber helps to improve the circulation of blood, keeps it thin, and improves the supply of oxygen and nutrients to skin cells, improving your skin’s appearance from the inside out.

It also keeps your intestinal tract regular and enhances the elimination of waste products from your body. Clean body = clear face.

An emphasis on fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens {think spinach,kale, collards, sprouts} which will provide essential nutrients and fiber in a natural form. Include a plateful of salad or lightly sauteed leafy greens with every meal.

#4 CUT DOWN ON SALT

If savory snacks are your weakness, you may be experiencing dehydrated skin. Excess sodium in your diet can suck the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dry and dull {and it can also contribute to puffiness and swelling}. To avoid this, cut back on salty treats and avoid processed foods all together.

#5 AVOCADO

If you tend to steer clear of avocados because of their fat content, think again. The healthy monounsaturated fats found in avocados make them one of the best foods for your complexion. These healthy fats keep skin from drying out and help to maintain its youthful appearance. Avocados are also high in B vitamins which contain anti-inflammatory properties — no more redness!

Try adding avocados daily to your sandwich or salad or just eat half an avocado for snack. Yum!

#6 GREEN TEA

Drink your way to great skin! Green tea is packed with antioxidants + free radical-fighting agents {in addition it is high in vitamins C, D, and K} that will keep your face youthful.

Try swapping your morning coffee {which dehydrates your skin} for green tea.

Your complexion will thank you.

#7 ELIMINATE DAIRY

Nothing {nothing} ever changed my skin more than going dairy free.

Some foods are just not face-friendly and dairy is one of the worst offenders.

Dairy products are pro-inflammatory, which means they can worsen acne issues and also accelerate aging. {It’s pretty clear that inflammation is a huge cause of skin woes.} So it just makes sense to fill your body with anti-inflammatory options to keep things calm and glowing.

I recommend that you find your calcium in other forms, such as dark leafy greens.

Has your skin cleared up after giving up dairy? Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your stories and experiences!

INGREDIENTS

Quinoa Tabbouleh 
Makes 4 servings
1 cup dry quinoa
1/2 red onion
2 medium tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4″ pieces
1 bunch parsley (about 2 cups)
1 bunch mint (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 Tablespoons lemon juice
extra lemon juice to taste
salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS :

Rinse the quinoa under cool water.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the quinoa and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the quinoa is fluffy and the water is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice the half a red onion and put it in a bowl covered with water and a pinch of salt to soak. Cut the tomatoes in quarters and squeeze out the seeds. Dice the remaining tomato flesh into small pieces. Finely mince the garlic, parsley, and mint. Empty the quinoa into a large bowl and allow it to cool.

Once it has cooled, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and a healthy pinch of salt. Pour it over the quinoa and stir until the grains are evenly coated. Add the onions, tomatoes, garlic, parsley, and mint, and stir to combine. Taste the salad and add more lemon juice or salt as desired.
Serve room temperature or cold.

2. Three Foods that Reduce Belly Bloat

Does this sound familiar?

Have you ever woken with a nice flat belly and by the end of the day there is a five-inch expansion in waist circumference?

{Certainly not a self-esteem booster, huh?}

Below are my top three bloat-busting foods that will help reduce your tummy troubles and have you zipping up those skinny pants in no time!

#1 Peppermint Tea {I swear by this!}

This refreshing, minty tea has huge benefits both for your health and your digestion. It makes a refreshing {caffeine-free} pick me up that can effectively aid digestion, help relieve stomach gas and bloating, prevent flatulence and relieve heartburn. It has the ability to alleviate gas by relaxing the digestive tract and boosting normal peristalsis.

If you’ve never tried it before I’d really recommend giving it a go, not just for the health benefits, but for the refreshing taste as well.

You can serve peppermint tea hot or cold. However, for a bloated stomach, it’s best to drink a piping hot cup of peppermint tea.

#2 Watermelon

Sara Sullivan CucsWatermelon, as the name suggests, is almost all water — 92 percent! Since water flushes waste and excess water out of your system, enjoying this water-rich food is ideal when it comes to reducing a bloated belly.

Another perk, it also has a natural diuretic property and is a quality source of potassium.

{The balance between sodium and potassium is important when it comes to controlling bloating.}

Bonus! It’s less than 100 calories per large wedge, and surprisingly isn’t loaded with sugar

{oh, and it tastes simply indulgent}.

Do it yourself Flat-Belly Spa Water

Mix 1/2 lemon {sliced}, 1/2 cucumber {sliced} 1 cup watermelon chunks and 1 sprig rosemary with 40 ounces water. Sip throughout the day.

#3 Cucumbers

Have the image of cucumber slices over puffy eyes during a day at the spa? Eating them raw can do the same thing to reduce internal “puffiness.”

This veggie is a natural diuretic, which will help to increase urination and flush toxins out of the body. Cucumbers are also rich in sulfur and silicon which will stimulate the kidneys to better remove uric acid.

Bonus! cucumbers are low in both sodium and calories!

“De-puff the Pouch” Cucumber Juice

2 cucumbers, 4 stalks celery, 1/4 piece of fresh ginger root + 1 sprig basil

Run all ingredients through your juicer and enjoy!

3. Which fruit reduces belly fat?

{Drum roll please….}

Did you know that the avocado is being called the world’s most perfect food?

I fully agree.

I have been devouring avocados for years. Putting them in sandwiches, on toast, in smoothies, dips and stuffing them with quinoa. I must admit, for some time I feared the avocado.

I spent my college years chowing down fat-free crackers, fat-free chips, fat-free cheese + fat-free anything you could get your hands on {anyone remember Snackwell’s?} Clearly not an advisable plan.

So when I finally escaped the fat-free madness of the 90′s, the full-blown fat + flavor of the avocado was beyond welcomed and I never looked back.

Good News!

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, monounsaturated fats—such as those found in avocados—should be added to the list of foods that help you burn more calories {amen}.

While too much of the wrong fats (trans fat and rancid vegetable oils found in cookies, crackers and almost all processed food) are bad for your health and waistline, a diet rich in the right fat — good monunsaturated fats — can help you shed that belly weight, revealing those lean abs that you know are just waiting to come out!

In order to maintain a speedy metabolism, you need to keep inflammation in check and avocado’s unique combination of essential fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and antioxidants helps you do just that. Plus, one avocado’s 14 grams of fiber kicks up your calorie burn and the monounsaturated fats promote the feeling of satiety, making it easier to adhere to your diet plan.

Avocados are incredibly delicious, versatile and nutrient dense and they:

  • are rich in potassium {higher than bananas}
  • are a good source of protein, dietary fiber and phytonutrients.
  • are high in Vitamin K- (allows your blood to clot normally + helps to protect your bones)
  • are a decent source of B-complex vitamins, contain vitamins A, C, E,
  • are rich in magnesium, iron, calcium and other trace minerals

Yes! Pure, raw, plant-based, nutrient dense, fat!

The fruit is also one of the most versatile. You can eat it fresh or use it as a salad ingredient or sandwich filling. You can also make a dip, smoothie, juice or puree from avocado. The fruit is quite filling and is regarded as a complete food.

So put on your sombrero or crank up the salsa music and get cooking!

Please note that avocado’s are a high-calorie dense food. Just because a little bit of something is good for us, it does not mean that more of it is better. Bottom line, drinking margarita’s and polishing of the bowl of guacamole will not bring out your six pack abs…

How do you select and store avocados?

To tell if it is ripe, squeeze it gently to see if it gives. If you buy it ripe it can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. If it is not ripe you can speed up the ripening process by placing it in a paper bag. I always have success with this ripening method. It may take a few days.

INGREDIENTS

KALE & AVOCADO SALAD  

3 cups of kale, cut into bite-sized pieces {I prefer Lacinato Kale}

3/4 cup of peeled and shredded carrots

3/4 cup of shredded red cabbage

1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced

2 green onions, washed and sliced

1 avocado, cubed

1/2 cup roasted almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts

DRESSING

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dijon mustard

salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS :

Prepare dressing my whisking all the ingredients together in small bowl. In a large bowl, toss kale with half of the prepared dressing, massaging the kale leaves with the vinaigrette.  {This will help break down the cellulose structure of the leaves and will leave them softer, and more flavorful!}

Let the kale sit while you chop the other veggies and then add them on top of the kale. Pour the remaining dressing on top of the veggies and toss everything together. Taste and see whether extra salt or pepper are needed for flavor. Top with roasted almonds or toasted seeds.