Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lean, Green, Beauty Queen

I bet we can all agree that 4th of July weekend left the door wide open for some serious fun, but also some not so healthy food/drink choices. No biggie! Let’s just get back on track this week. In order to kick off my ‘no longer on vacation’ state of mind, I have decided to commit to a morning-breakfast green drink every day this week and I am dragging my friends along with me!

Here is my easy no juicer needed, beauty-boosting "margarita" recipe: 'Lean, Green, Beauty Queen.'

½ cucumber
2 stocks of celery (not to be confused with “bunch”-just two sticks)
Large handful of spinach
Large handful of curly kale (vein removed)
1 small-medium green apple
¼ lemon
1 cup of filtered water
Ice (blend or serve on the rocks!)

Serves 2 (you can try to drink the whole thing in one serving-no pressure ha!)
Simply blend all ingredients together, minus the lemon then pour on ice. Add lemon to taste. Depending on the strength of your blender, you may need to blend a few things first then keep adding as you go. It is easiest to chop all the veggies, or at least make them a little smaller so you don’t destroy your blender.

This may not be your favorite drink, taste-wise, but it is refreshing, a great energy booster, aids detoxification and will make your skin look incredible. It is perfect to incorporate after a not so healthy weekend or anytime you want to boost your health, no matter the time of day. I’ve gone months drinking it daily. Consider this your new beauty secret-might be a pain but it's well worth it!

Here is a break down of all the ingredients and their benefits:

Hydration is key to maintaining good health. Cucumbers are 95% water so incorporating them into your diet is an easy way to increase hydration and help the body flush out toxins. Cucumbers contain vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and fiber, along with other vitamins and minerals especially important for beauty (and hair growth!)! What’s up with putting cucumber slices on your eyes?’ Other than resembling an open face sandwich, relaxing with cucumbers is known to decrease dark circles and puffiness around the eyes. ‘Everything makes me breakout, I’m not risking it by putting Nicole Richie’s dinner on my face. Don’t fret; any excess cucumber juice trickling down your cheeks could help reduce those unpleasant bumps! Cucumbers are known to help calm acne. What is that waxy coating on the outside of cucumbers? EW.’ Conventionally (nonorganic) grown cucumbers are often waxed to protect them against bruising while being shipped. Plant, insect, animal or petroleum-based waxes are most commonly used, along with extra compounds such as milk casein (protein linked to milk/dairy allergies). It is difficult to determine the source of the waxes being used and many people have different reactions (one of my friends gets really bad stomach aches and bloating when she consumes wax coated cucumbers) so try to buy organic when possible. Well, can I just peel the skin off so I don't eat the wax?’ Yes, but unfortunately you then loose many of the cucumber’s nutrients only found in the skin.

Summer is the perfect time to shop for celery! It is in the summertime that celery is in season, meaning you can easily find it locally, naturally grown (a lot of times, this means it has gone through the same process as “organic” produce just without the certification) and at its best price. The largest vitamin found in celery is vitamin C. Aside from supporting the immune system vitamin C helps to prevent free radical damage (by-products such as pollution are know as ‘free radicals’). Vitamin C can help reduce the severity of inflammatory complications such as asthma, while also helping to prevent more serious health issues like cancer or heart attack. ‘I heard celery has tons of sodium.’ There is about 100 milligrams of sodium in approximately two stocks of celery, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrative daily value for sodium intake is 2,300 milligrams, which is about 46 stocks of celery. Lets be honest, no one is having that much celery in a day, and like I talked about in 'Pass the Sodium, Please' there is huge difference in good and bad “sodium.” Good sodium, like sodium from natural resources such as veggies, is a huge beauty and health booster!

Thanks to Popeye, we’ve all grown up knowing we should eat our spinach. I call spinach the ‘hot mama’ veggie because it holds some ideal vitamins and nutrients for our beauty and body overall, but especially if you plan to have kids one day. It is a great source of protein, vitamin C (antioxidant, protects against free radicals), vitamin A (healthy skin, teeth, reproduction and helps promote good vision, also some super duper quality breast milk) and vitamin K (makes proteins which help produce healthy bones and tissue. Newborns are very low in vitamin K; another reason spinach is great for you and your baby if you plan to breast-feed in the future). It also contains fiber and acts as a natural laxative, helping to eliminate toxic build up. Spinach has been said to fight against eczema, acne and psoriasis.

There are many kinds of kale, so this means many to choose from! Yes, they all are great for you too. Kale is one of those incredible veggies that most people often look past when shopping for produce. It is one of my favorites! The many nutrients found in kale are known to aid digestion and support the body’s detoxification process, giving those who consume it the upper hand in dealing with all kinds of toxic exposure. Like spinach, it contains vitamin A, C, K and fiber. It has also been linked to the fight against cancer. It holds omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants too, which are major beauty must-haves! ‘Kale is too bitter, I hate the taste.’ Try a few kinds of kale to find one that best fits your taste buds. Most often, I’ll remove the 'vein' and just use the leafy part in my recipes; the vein is usually the reason for its “bitter” taste.

Green apple
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but why is that? Well an apple is full of vitamins, minerals and contains tons of fiber. It helps control apatite, aid digestion and stabilize blood sugar. Green apples are one of the sweetest (ha!) beauty tools in my bag of tricks, as they are known to have a “whitening” effect; I hardly ever use “traditional” whitening toothpaste. ‘I hate green apples, can I have red?’ Green apples are lower in sugar (reason for its sour taste) and tend to be easier digested so I suggest going for green before sugary red. If you absolutely cannot stand green apples, try Pink Lady. Pink Lady apples contain the least amount of sugar for a red-ish apple (though still more than green). If you want, switching it up between the two; your body will soon start to crave that sour beauty!

See benefits of lemon in 'Lemon Drop Detoxifier.'

Put your beauty margarita in a fun glass and sip with a friend. Making my concoctions look appealing allowed me to really start loving health, even if its 7am, I’ll drink this in a margarita glass while I get ready. Find the beauty in health. It really is a mind thing; if it doesn’t look good I won’t eat/drink it nor will my friends. Allow yourself to see health as fun, festive, enjoyable and absolutely beautiful! xo

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