Clean Beauty. Are You Ready To Make The Switch?

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Your skin is your largest organ. You've probably heard that before, but what does it mean? Basically, what you put on you goes in you. We care so much about what we eat, why wouldn’t we focus this same energy on the beauty products we use?

If you’re not sure if your makeup and skincare products are non-toxic, they probably aren’t. Most cosmetic companies use ingredients that can build up in our bodies to toxic levels or are so strong they kill all the good bacteria living on and around our skin.

How to start? Luckily, there are now many retailers and companies that exclusively make and sell non-toxic beauty products at various price points. Stores like Credo and Cap Beauty do the work for you. Everything is clean and the staff are always super knowledgeable and helpful. I began my collection of non-toxic beauty products by replacing old products as they ran out. I now am proud to use 100% non-toxic products and my skin has never felt better.

Some of you might be following my takeover last week with clean beauty sight The Moment, but for those of you who missed it, here are my favorite non-toxic beauty products.

 

SKINCARE

Marie Veronique Oil Cleanser: Removes makeup and dirt without stripping your skin. Also feels super silky. Apply to dry face and neck, and rinse with warm water.

Marie Veronique Eye Repair Serum: Protects the delicate skin around your eyes and prevents signs of aging.

Odacite Eye Contour: My other favorite eye serum. Really soothing, especially for tired eyes. Baobab oil is rich in Vitamins A, E and F.

Vintners Daughter Active Botanical Serum: The holy grail of clean beauty products, this company only makes one product and they make it really well. Worth the investment.

Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Serum: Lifting, firming, toning, tightening, basically all the things that matter when you hit 30+.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask: One of my favorite products. Super effective without being messy. I use this three + times per week.

Osea Advanced Protection Cream: Like La Mer but better, cheaper and non-toxic (no, La Mer not a clean beauty product!). Feels really luxurious on your skin.

Sun Potion Shea Butter: Serious food for your skin. So serious, in fact, that they don't even bother to scent it. Use on everything: cuts, burns, acne, scars, dry skin, wrinkles, hair, the works.

MAKEUP

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular CC Cream: A little SPF, a little coverage, a little anti-aging magic, this is my all in one and I use it every day. 

Juice Beauty Ultra Natural Mascara: It's hard to find a clean mascara, but I think this one is the best.

Juice Beauty Perfecting Concealer: Made of pure coconut oil and perfect for covering up spots and discolorations. 

Vapour Foundation: Because sometimes I go out and want to feel a little extra special.

Kosås Cream Blush: Natural highlighter and cheek color that is super easy to put on.

Kosås Lipstick: The best long lasting colors.

HAIR

Innersence Beauty Shampoo and Conditioner: Great for taming, cleaning and conditioning my unruly locks.

Abhati Sacred Hair Oil: I use this for shine and as a mask the night before I wash my hair. Plus, it smells amazing!

Reverie Milk: For frizz. Enough said.

SCENTS

Cap Beauty Anointing Oil: A magic potion that makes you smell and feel good.

xx

 

MUSHROOM DASHI BROTH

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I have a confession to make: I hate making bone broth. I don’t like dealing with the bones and I just never have the time or a pot big enough to bother making my own broth, when I can just buy it. I know, I know, I could use a crock pot and #savemybones, but I don’t cook that much chicken, so I don’t have many bones. Rant over, but basically, I’m happy to spend a few bucks on a quart of quality bone broth from time to time – a little indulgent, but to me the time saved is worth it.

What I love making at home, however, is a Mushroom Dashi broth. It takes less than an hour, is incredibly rich in flavor and nutrients, goes great in a soup or a mug, and doesn’t require a freezer full of chicken bones. 

 
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MUSHROOM DASHI BROTH

INGREDIENTS

2 kombu sheets

2 quarts of water

2 cups dried mushrooms (I used shiitake)

1 large piece of ginger (about the size of matchbook), peeled and cut into chunks

1 tbsp bonito flakes (optional)

MAKE IT!

Wipe kombu with a damp cloth. Put two quarts of water in a pot with kombu. Heat over a medium heat and let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove kombu, add mushrooms and ginger and turn up the heat a little. Right before the water starts to boil, lower heat back to a simmer.

Let simmer for about 30 minutes total (if using bonito flakes, add them at the end), drain broth, keeping mushrooms to puree in soups or crisp in the oven (highly recommended – tastes like bacon!).

Use your mushroom dashi broth just as you would bone broth to add flavor and nutrients to soups and stews. If you want to enjoy your Mushroom Dashi broth in a mug, experiment with some different flavorings, like turmeric, Braggs liquid amino acids, some sliced green onions, toasted sesame oil or roasted garlic.

Broth will keep in the fridge for a few days, or can be frozen. Enjoy!

 

Photos by Diana Davis Creative

 

10 Reasons to START THE YEAR WITH A Detox

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

Many of us start the year with a detox because we feel guilty about all the Christmas cookies and cabernet we indulged in over the holidays. But when you actually do a detox, weight loss is just the cherry on top. Here are some other reasons to start the New Year off with a good reset:

 

1.     Set intentions.

What do you want to accomplish this year? Whether it’s a new job, a new home or running a half marathon, setting goals and an action plan will get you there. And if you’re not sure what you want, taking some time to yourself will help you get clarity.

2.     Get organized.

Purge old things and make room new stuff. Clean your sock drawer, get a new calendar, dust behind the couch. It feels good to start the year fresh.

3.     Get back into the routines you love.

Have you fallen out of your healthy habits during the holiday rush? Whether it’s a meditation practice, a spin class or even just having a lemon water in the morning, take the time to reestablish your favorite healthy routines.

4.     Save money.

You might be shocked to find how much money you save when you’re not buying lattes, cocktails and going out for all (or as many) of your meals.

5.     Kick a bad habit.

Smoking, too much coffee, chewing gum, midnight snacking, we all have them—use this time to get over it.

6.     Try something new!

Have you always wanted to check out Reiki, take a pottery class or see a nutritionist (ahem!)? Use your free time and extra pocket money to check a box off your bucket list.

7.     Chill out!

Treat your detox like a staycation and do all the things you never have time for: Go to bed early, sleep in late, take a nap…or a bath, watch a movie, all seven seasons of Game of Thrones, read a damn book.

8.     Clear your foggy brain.

Wake up in the morning feeling fresh and ready to tackle the day; be more focused and productive at work and at home. Sounds simple, but trust me, it’s magical.

9.     Feel happier and more confident.

Did you know over 95% of our serotonin is in our gut? Taking time to eat healthy over a consistent period of time will make you feel better about yourself. Full stop.

10.  Fit into your jeans again. 

Ok ok, it's in here. A lot of us are motivated by weight loss, and that’s not a bad thing. 

 

This year, instead of setting broad, unattainable resolutions while we’re at our lowest (tired, hungover, anxious, cranky), let’s take some time to reset and reconnect with ourselves, so we can create tangible goals and muster the motivation needed to pursue them for longer than a few weeks. 

Who’s ready? Sign up for the RASA Challenge here.

 

Salted Chocolate Tart

Alright friends, this recipe is a little more involved that what I normally post, but it’s just too good not to share and actually not that hard to make. This salted chocolate tart tastes just as decadent as it looks, but is totally grain free, super low in sugar and high in healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. The perfect holiday indulgence! 

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SALTED CHOCOLATE TART

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Bake Time: 45-50 minutes

Ingredients

Coconut Almond Crust

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1/2 cup ounces organic coconut flour

6 tablespoons ghee (I used Fourth & Heart's vanilla ghee), melted

2 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 pinch sea salt

Salted Chocolate Filling

1 package of chocolate chips (9 ounces) (I used Lily's stevia sweetened chocolates)

1 ¼ cup full fat unsweetened coconut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla powder (can be scraped from a vanilla bean)

2 pastured eggs, beaten

Maldon Sea Salt

You will need a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom (like this one) for this recipe. They are super easy to find (and cheap!).

 

Make It!

Start with the crust. This can be done the day before, if you want to break the process up into two parts. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Combine all dry ingredients into a bowl and combine, then add melted ghee and work with a fork (or your hands) until the ghee is fully incorporated and you can make balls with the dough.

Add the crust to the tart pan, working the edges first. Spend a decent amount of time pressing the dough into the edges of the pan. A strong edge will form a strong crust that you can easily cut through, so don’t skimp on this step. Firmly press the remaining dough into the bottom of the pan. The dough should be about ½ as thick on the bottom as it is on the edge.

Place tart pan on baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Start checking at 15 minutes, as each oven is different and you don’t want to burn it. Once brown, remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To make the filling, create a double boiler to melt the chocolate by heating water to a simmer in a pot and placing a bowl on top. The water should not touch the bowl, but it should rest nicely on the pot. Break up chocolate and add to bowl, stirring occasionally with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Once melted, remove bowl from pot and slowly whisk in coconut milk and vanilla. Allow to cool slightly, then add one spoonful of chocolate into the beaten eggs to temper. This is to prevent the eggs from scrambling when you pour it into the hot chocolate mixture. Then slowly add eggs to chocolate, stirring continuously.

Pour filling into tart pan and top with a generous pinch of Maldon sea salt. Make sure the tart pan is on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes, or until it’s almost entirely firm (give it a little shake in the oven to test). Remove from the oven and allow to cool before placing in the fridge.

When you’re ready to serve, push the bottom of the tart pan up to remove it from the pan. Place on a cake plate, cut and serve with coconut whip cream. 

 

 

Make This: Almond Ginger Snap Cookies

Something about the holidays just makes me want to bake. These Almond Ginger Snap cookies are an OG RASA favorite and the perfect, guilt-free treat for when you're craving holiday sweets. Best part: they take about 20 minutes total to make and are 100% vegan, which means you can munch on the dough 'til your heart's content. 

 
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ALMOND GINGERSNAP COOKIES (Vegan, Grain Free)

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Bake Time: 10 Minutes 

Makes about 10 small cookies (depending on how much dough you eat)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups almond flour

1 tsp baking soda

3 tbsp ground ginger (or more if you like a bit of heat)

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

3 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Make It!

 

Preheat oven to 175 C / 350 F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Heat maple syrup and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Whisk until combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until well combined. Roll 1 tablespoons of the dough into balls and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Flatten with the palm of your hand and be sure to leave room between each cookie.

Bake for 10 minutes or until brown on the edges and cool.

 

Six Healthy Tips for Navigating Party Season

It’s that time of the year again: holiday parties, family dinners and cocktail events dominate your calendar. Just because your schedule demands a few more nights out than you might normally have, doesn’t mean you have to derail your whole healthy eating plan or be a total party pooper.

Before you stress about your seemingly endless schedule of restaurant reservations and cocktail parties, read these tips:


TRY NOT TO SHOW UP STARVING. This is a guaranteed bread basket disaster. If you’re planning to go out for dinner, have a high fat snack, like raw nuts or ½ an avocado, before and make sure to drink a lot of water so you’re not ravaged by the time you arrive. 

THE ONE BITE RULE RARELY WORKS. No one ever had just one chip. Ever. If you’re trying to stay away for the aforementioned bread basket or the fries your friend ordered, just resist. Or…if you want to indulge, add a decent portion to your plate, eat it, enjoy it and be done with it.

DRINK A LITTLE BETTER, AND A LITTLE LESS. When ordering alcoholic beverages, stick with wine or spirits with soda water and lemon/lime or bitters. Opt for premium spirits when you can and savor them, instead of throwing 'em back. 

BYO-HEALTHY FOOD. If you're headed to a friends house for dinner and cocktails, bake a batch of healthy cookies or bring some sort of treat that fits into your lifestyle so you can indulge guilt free. Not sure what to make? Try my favorite Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. No one will know that they are grain and refined sugar free, if you don't tell them. 

CHOOSE YOUR INDULGENCES AND GO FOR IT. If you just love your Mom's yule log, get yourself a piece and eat it. The whole thing. Stop cutting little wedges and going back for more, you probably end up eating more that way and feeling less satisfied. Just eat it.

IF YOU OVERDO IT, MOVE ON. There’s no point in beating yourself up over a dessert spread binge. It happens to the best of us. If you wake up in the morning feeling guilty about the night before, make up for it with a healthy breakfast, some hot lemon water and good workout. Don’t waste time feeling badly about it. 

 

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MAKE THIS: Harissa-Spiced Acorn Squash Soup

It's officially soup season and the market is ripe with squash in all different shapes and sizes. Squash boast an incredible amount of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamins A, C, B12, and folate, and just tastes right this time of year. 

When buying squash, look out for varieties with soft, edible skin, like delicata, petite butternut, kabocha, and (my personal favorite) acorn squash. There's nothing wrong with thick-skinned squash, but let's face it: it's annoying to cook! Save yourself the trouble. 

This Harissa-spiced acorn squash soup has become a staple in my kitchen over the past few weeks. I love the heartiness of the squash, along with the warmth and depth of flavor from the Harissa. Serve alongside roast chicken, a simple salad or have on its own.

It's also the perfect recipe for RASA's post-Thanksgiving Leftovers Challenge. If you're not signed up yet, get on board!

Happy Cooking!

xx Mia

 
Photo Credit: Diana Davis Creative

Photo Credit: Diana Davis Creative

HARISSA-SPICED ACORN SQUASH SOUP

Ingredients

¼ cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil ghee                                                                                               (Fourth & Heart's California garlic ghee is amazing in this)

2 medium-sized acorn squash

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

4 cups bone or vegetable broth

2 tbsp Harissa paste (I like New York Shuk)

Salt and pepper

Rosemary (for garnish)

Make It!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut acorn squash and scoop out seeds. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Melt ¼ cup of ghee or coconut oil and pour evenly over squash. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 40 minutes, or until tender.

Heat remaining tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee in a Dutch oven. Add chopped onions and garlic and stir over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add roasted squash and Harissa and continue to stir for another minute or two before covering with broth. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.

Use a hand mixer or transfer contents to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh or dried rosemary as a garnish.

 

Pumpkin Pie PROTEIN Shake

Photo credit: Diana Davis Creative

Photo credit: Diana Davis Creative

This guilt-free take on a classic holiday dessert is sugar free, full of healthy fats and nutrients. Plus, it's ready in a pinch!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients

¼ cup pumpkin puree

2 tbsp coconut butter

2 scoops vanilla protein powder (like Sunwarrior Warrior Blend)

1 thumb sized nub of fresh ginger, peeled (you can use ground ginger, if you’d like)

1 tsp cinnamon

1.5 cups nut milk

Make it!

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

 

Pantry Clean Out: What To Toss And What To Stock

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One of the easiest ways to stay healthy and sane is to simply eat well at home. We can’t really control what oil is used in restaurants or how much sugar they add to their salad dressing. Of course, we can be smart in making restaurant and menu choices, but it’s no fun to be obsessive about it and let's be real: sometimes you just want to eat a basket of fries. Instead of feeling guilty about it, balance out your indulgences by having the healthiest foods you can on your own time and in your home.

Food marketers are savvy and find sneaky ways to hide sugars and processed oils into our foods to make them cost less, last longer and harder to put down (once you pop, you just can't stop). Even seemingly “healthy” food companies and grocers are guilty of stocking these products. Fortunately, there are good products out there, we just need to know what to look for!

So, what can you do? Spend an hour or so in your pantry and fridge diligently looking at the labels of your nut butters, milk, crackers, chips, granolas, condiments, cookies, etc.

Don’t be fooled by fancy terms on the box, like gluten free, no added sugars, or no trans fats, and get rid of the following products:

 

Processed Vegetable Oils 

I’m talking about those highly processed and tasteless vegetables oils, like canola, corn, soybean, safflower or sunflower oil. They are a major cause of inflammation, which leads to a variety of unwanted issues. Staying away from these oils will help you avoid processed foods in general. Note: some food companies are using non-GMO vegetable oils in their products, which in small amounts are not a huge deal.

Refined  Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners 

Get rid of cane sugar, products with high fructose corn syrup, sugary cookies and treats. Anything  with Splenda, NutraSweet, sucralose or aspartame should also go in the bin. These are chemicals.

Franken-Ingredients

Anything you cannot pronounce or that sounds like a chemical: Buh-bye.

Really Old Stuff

Condiments, spices, anything in the freezer that has frostbite. The general rule of thumb for spices is two years. Check expiration dates on everything else, and when in doubt, give it a whiff.

After you have detoxed your kitchen, take an audit of what you need and make a shopping list! Here is a quick list of pantry essentials that will ensure that you can always make a satisfying and healthy meal at home.

 

Good Fats & Oils 

Coconut oil, ghee, good quality butter, olive oil, avocado oil. When cooking, a quick rule of thumb is to cook hot foods with fats that are solid at room temperature and use oils, liquid at room temperature, for non-heated applications (like a salad dressing or garnish).

Vegetables and Herbs

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat a plant-based diet. Make plants the cornerstone of your diet. Adding variety in your meals will automatically increase your nutrient intake (and add flavor!). Shop the periphery of the grocery store or head to your local farmer’s market. And don’t forget the herbs too: parsley, basil, dill, cilantro—spice things up!

Good Quality Proteins

Find a local butcher or a grocery store where you can get organic, grass fed meats, free range poultry, pastured eggs and sustainable fish. 

Healthy Dried Goods

These items have a long shelf life and can make for easy snacking and quick meals. Examples include, coconut flakes, nuts and seeds, steel cut oats, beans and legumes.

Spices

Make sure to keep plenty of healthy and anti-inflammatory spices on hand. Some favorites include, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Getting high quality spices and storing them properly (away from heat and bright lights) is important too. 

 

Before you hit the store, do some research. Take your time to find products and brands that use good ingredients. Once you figure out what you like, it will be quicker and easier to shop. A few of my favorite brands to look out for:

If you find one or more of your pantry staples on the toss list, don’t freak out! Try to replace it with something a little better and consider moving that item from an everyday item to an occasional treat. It's all about balance and finding alternative products you enjoy just as much (if not more!).

Xx Mia

 

NUT MILK 101

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

If you’re not making your nut milk yet, this is your opportunity to get on board. I promise, it’s not nearly as intense as it may seem. Not only is homemade nut milk insanely creamy and delicious, but it is cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment than store bought varieties.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the nutrition labels on the various almond milks…cane sugar, carrageenan, natural flavor? Did you know that some Silk and Almond Breeze milks only contain 2% almonds? What's more? Although that $3.99 carton seems cheaper than $6.99 of raw almonds, the raw nuts actually produce more milk and are package free (especially when you get your nuts in the bulk foods section). Plus, if you've ever tried to buy legitimate nut milk (that is, with more than 2% nuts and less than 5 ingredients) a carton can cost you anywhere from $8 - $20 (gasp!).

Whether you are a homemade nut milk novice or devotee, we’re diving straight into the deep end here with walnut cinnamon milk (recipe below). This isn’t your basic almond milk; it’s warming for cooler months, doesn’t curdle in your coffee and is a great vegetarian source of those coveted omega 3 fatty acids. 

Walnut Cinnamon Milk

Cinnamon gives this creamy milk a warm, nutty flavor and helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Use in your morning coffee, with granola, in a smoothie or drink on its own.

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts (feel free to substitute other nuts here; almonds, cashews, pecans, a combo…get creative!)

4 cups filtered water + extra for soaking

1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla powder

Sea salt (just a dash)

Make It!

Soak your nuts in filtered water overnight, or for a few hours.

Drain nuts and add to a high-speed blender with 4 cups of water, sea salt, vanilla and cinnamon.  Blend on high for about 2 minutes. Pour through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth into a bowl and transfer to a jug. Save your pulp for cookies, cakes, crackers and more (recipes and ideas coming soon!).

Your walnut cinnamon milk will keep in your refrigerator for 3-5 days. You’ll be able to smell if it has gone off.

Forgot to soak your nuts? No sweat. Soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes, but you get more nutritional value out of the nuts when you soak them longer.

I’m challenging you all to give this a try. Tag RASA on Instagram in your nut milk making adventures for a chance to win a RASA Challenge for you and a friend. 

 

Anxiety Fighting Foods: What You Eat vs. How You Think

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Anxiety is rampant these days. It’s an epidemic, and even if you recognize that your anxious feelings are irrational and unproductive, they can still be hard to shake. If you’re plagued by those Sunday scaries or have a nagging feeling that just won’t go away, it might be worth taking a look at your diet for an answer.

Promising studies suggest that your gut flora, that is, the microorganisms living in your digestive tract, has a strong influence over your emotions. This implies that a happy tummy can lead to a happy mind (and vice versa). So how do you create and maintain a healthy gut flora? A few simple tips:

 

Decrease inflammation: Inflammation is both a symptom and a cause of poor gut health. To combat this, you should not only eat anti-inflammatory foods, but also limit consumption of pro-inflammatory foods.

Balancing your omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid ratio is a great start. That means eating more omega 3-rich foods (salmon, eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds) and less omega 6’s (vegetable oils). We need both, but Western diets tend to be heavier on the 6 and lighter on the 3, so just try to balance it out.

You can also flavor your meals with anti-inflammatory spices, like ginger, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon, and cook with coconut oil instead of processed vegetable oil. 

Incorporate probiotics into your diet: Good and bad bacterial both play a role in gut health, but it’s all about ratio and you want more of the good than the bad. Probiotics are essentially the good guys. Some probiotic-rich foods include pickles, yogurt, kombucha, dark chocolate (yes!) and miso.

Ditch refined sugar and processed foods: Sugar is food for the bad bacteria, and processed foods are hard to digest, which causes inflammation and throws off this whole ecosystem of gut health. Cutting out processed foods will automatically lower your sugar and omega 6 fatty acid intakes.

Craving a cookie? There are good options out there with unrefined sugars. Check out my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Be mindful of alcohol consumption: Alcohol is processed in the liver. Your body likes to get rid of it fast, so alcohol gets prioritized and cuts in front of all the other foods your liver has to process. This can cause some digestive dysfunction and—you guessed it—inflammation.

Before you panic, the operative word here is mindful. A glass or two here or there might not throw you off, but 10 drinks on Saturday night could be the cause of your Sunday anxiety. Listen to your body. Also, when you drink too much, you run the risk of doing or saying stupid s***, which certainly doesn’t help. It’s okay though: we’ve all been there.

Avoid foods you cannot digest: Food intolerances wreak havoc on your digestive system and can cause anxious feelings. We are all different, so taking the time to learn more about your unique and amazing body can help and empower you to make the better food choices.

 

The good news is that you have nothing to lose by trying one or all of these tips, because they not only help with anxiety but overall wellbeing in general. There are other ways to mitigate anxiety as well: yoga, exercise, meditation, massage, taking a bath, hanging out with friends and family. Pair your healthy diet with some of these activities and you could be anxiety-free in no time.

If you’re looking for a jump start, try the RASA Challenge or get in touch with me about coaching packages. Consultations are always free.

xx

 

Make This: Kale Cauliflower Rice

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Oh hey, fall! New season, new recipes. That means it’s time to ditch your frozen treats in favor of something a little warmer and heartier. For anyone trying to cut down on grains or eat more vegetables, cauliflower rice is a satisfying solution. This version, mixed with kale, garlic, shallots and a firm squeeze of lemon, takes it to the next level and goes with pretty much everything: salmon, chicken, lamb, falafel….

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How to rice cauliflower? You can literally just shave a head of cauliflower with a sharp knife, but this method can get a little messy. If you have a food processor, it will be a much cleaner experience. And if you’re really feeling lazy, just buy riced cauliflower in the frozen section of the grocery store. No judgements, pinky swear.  

The best part? This recipe is 100% RASA Challenge-approved, along with 20 other recipes in the fall/winter book launching this Friday!

KALE CAULIFLOWER RICE

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup kale, finely chopped (about the same size as the riced cauliflower)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper

Make it!

Heat coconut oil in a medium-sized sauté pan. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for about 3-5 minutes over a medium heat. Add kale and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Next, add cauliflower. Stir to combine, add ¼ cup of water to steam, and stir for a few more minute and cover until warmed all the way through. Top with lemon juice salt and pepper. Take off heat and top with olive oil and sea salt before serving.

Xx Mia

Which Fats Should You Cook With? Let's Break It Down.

Ever left oil in a hot pan and seen it start to smoke? That’s an indication of the fats' smoking point, or the heat at which it starts to oxidize, release free radicals and becomes rancid. This isn’t good for taste or health; think burnt flavors and harmful carcinogens being introduced into your food.

When it comes to cooking, you want to use stable fats that have a high smoking point. Generally speaking, these are saturated fats from animals (butter, lard, chicken fat) and some plants (like coconuts); their primary characteristic is that they are solid at room temperature.

Unsaturated fats—including your beloved olive oil—are considered unstable. From a molecular standpoint, it just means that the bonds between the carbon atoms are a little loose and they’re more susceptible to degradation, especially when heated. This doesn’t make these oils bad—in fact, they’re very very good for you—just not ideal for cooking.

So what should you use and when? Here’s a simple breakdown to make cooking with fat a breeze:

BAKE, SAUTÉ AND FRY WITH THESE.

Coconut oil: The best plant based oil to cook with.

Butter: Look for organic, grass fed butter and only if you’re not sensitive to dairy.

Ghee: Basically clarified butter, which is made when you separate the fat from the milk solids and is better for people sensitive to dairy.

Animal fats: Duck, chicken, pork.

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SAVE FOR YOUR SALAD DRESSINGS, GARNISHES AND OTHER COLD FOODS.

Olive oil: Invest in a good cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, if you can. The taste and nutritional value are worth the few extra dollars.

Avocado oil: Great for making salad dressings.

Nuts and seeds (including sesame oil): Use as a garnish or in dressings to add healthy fats to your meals.

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ABORT! AVOID THESE GUYS ALL TOGETHER.

Processed vegetable fats: these are basically unsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to increase their smoking point. No Bueno! Be especially careful of fried foods, as they are often made with canola oil.

A note about canola (or corn) oil: last time I checked, corn was not an oily or fatty food (not like avocado, coconut or walnuts). Where do they get this “oil”? Doesn’t sound very natural, if you ask me.

 

I recognize that there’s a lot of confusion about fats these days. If you’re baffled by the American Heart Association’s recent attack on saturated fats (including coconut oil), you should be. It’s extremely misleading. To learn more about how these claims have been poorly researched and reported on, read this.

Xx Mia

 
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How to Stay Healthy and Still have Fun on Vacation

Summer isn’t over yet! If you have one last vacation in you before the leaves start to fall, you’re going to want to make it count. But the only thing worse than the end of summer holidays, is feeling like you have to start all over with your wellness routine.

There is a healthy balance binge eating and binge health; you don’t want to go overboard eating and drinking everything in sight–that’s not going to feel good, but at the same time, you want enjoy and indulge a little. Here are a few tips to living it up on vacation without totally blowing your whole healthy vibe.

 

1.     Pack healthy snacks. Make sure you don’t find yourself in a situation where you’re starving and there’s no healthy food around. Bring easy to pack, high fat snacks that will keep you satiated and energized when traveling. Try homemade trail mix with raw nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and cacao nibs, or Vega One protein packets.

2.     Skip the breakfast buffet. It’s never really that good and it’s so hard to stop once you start. Just don’t even go.

3.     Stay active and plan workouts in advance.   Try to fit activities into your itinerary. If you’re going somewhere outdoorsy, try hiking, surfing, kayaking…whatever is available. Or, if you’re planning a city getaway, walk everywhere, rent bikes, try out a local yoga studio, make it a part of your trip. And if neither of these options work for you, get yourself some booty bands and a jump rope. They will fit in your bag and can guarantee a killer workout anytime, anywhere.

4.     Don’t use your holiday as an excuse to eat junk food.  Just because you’re going to loosen your “gluten free” belt for a few days, doesn’t mean you have to eat airplane peanuts and ketchup flavored chips. Make your cheats count and save your indulgences for really good food. Quality, not quantity!

5.     If you want to try something naughty, wait until your last day. That afternoon gelato run or morning chocolate croissant is a slippery slope; once you have the first one, you’re going to want it every day. Instead of denying yourself completely, just have it on the last day and you won’t have to worry about coming home with a waistline of souvenirs.

6.     Drink lots of water. Drink more water than you normally would. It’s summer, it’s hot, you’re moving around, trying new foods, help your body flush it out!

And what about when you get back? If you gained a few pounds, it’s probably a lot of water weight and your body should self-regulate, so just get back into your normal routine as soon as you can. If you want to kick things up a notch, try no sugar, fruit or grains for a few days or sign up for a RASA Challenge or RASA Lite.

Xx Mia

 

When life gives you collagen powder, make cookies

Collagen is the most dominant protein in the body. You can find it in your hair, bones, skin, muscles, tendons, digestive tissues, blood cells…pretty much everywhere. Unfortunately, that abundance starts to decline with age, along with other factors like poor diet, smoking and too much sun exposure. When we have less collagen in our bodies our skin sags and wrinkles, our digestive lining is weakened, which can lead to leaky gut, and the cartilage between our bones starts to break down, along with other unpleasantries.  

Luckily, we can supplement collagen when we stop naturally producing it. These products are all the rage; you’ve probably noticed an entire aisle’s worth of collagen products at your local health food store (powders, lotions, potions, liquids), but what do you do with it all?

Aside from adopting a healthier lifestyle, here are a few ways to increase your collagen intake:

1.     Add collagen protein to matcha or coffee.

Blending collagen powder (like Vital Proteins) into your morning brew makes it frothy and creamy without any milk. I like to add a dash of stevia and Bulletproof Brain Octane oil or coconut butter for some extra energizing, fat burning fuel.

2.     Try a collagen face mask.

Your skin is your largest organ, and what you put on your body goes in your body. There are a ton of collagen-rich masks available on Amazon with the quick click of your browser. Always opt for non-toxic products.

3.     Drink bone broth.

Treat it like a savory latte. Try plain or with a little coconut milk and maybe some turmeric. It’s delicious and makes a great night cap or afternoon snack.

4.     Make cookies (recipe below!)

These bad boys are full of collagen, grain free and low in sugar. Oh happy day!

cookies

Better Than Botox Cookies

Makes 10-12 cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour*
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 scoops marine collagen
  • ½ cup vegan, sugar free chocolate chips**
  • Sea salt

Make it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix almond four, coconut, collagen powder and salt into a medium bowl. Add chocolate chips, followed by almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup. Use a spatula or your hands to mix until fully combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a spoon to scoop out golf ball-sized pieces of dough, form into a cookie shape with your hands and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used (feel free to eat some along the way—they’re great raw too!) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown.

P.S. friends, these are 100% RASA Challenge-approved!

* If you make your own nut milk, you can dry out the pulp to make flour. Just spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and put in the oven at 175 degrees F for about 90 minutes. Give it a whirl in a dry blender to break apart any clumps.

** I use Lily’s Chocolate Chips

xx Mia

 

HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM A BOOZY WEEKEND

We all know that post-holiday weekend feeling. You let it rip on the Tostitos, pizza and rosé for a few days straight and then reality sets in; Puffy, tired, a little thirsty, you’re dreading going back to work and slightly panicked about putting your jeans on.  

A weekend of indulgence shouldn't completely derail your wellness regimen, but it can definitely make you feel that way. That “puffiness” is most likely a combination of inflammation and bloating, aka temporary weight gain (cue sighs of relief).

What you might not realize is that your body is still dealing with Friday night on Monday morning (which is why cheat days don’t work, but that’s another story), so give yourself a break and your body a chance to reset. Here are a few tips for bouncing back:

1.     HYDRATE.

Drink lots and lots of water to flush out whatever is in your system. Adding a squeeze of lemon will also help you detoxify and de-bloat.

2.     GO GRAIN FREE FOR A FEW DAYS.

Easing up on grains (not just gluten) will give your digestive system a little rest, because hey, it deserves a vacation too!

3.     REDUCE SUGAR, EVEN THE NATURAL KIND.

Sugar is inflammatory and breeds bad bacteria in your gut. Laying off sugars (refined, unrefined, even fruit!) will give your body an extra hand so it can heal and reestablish a heathy ratio of gut bacteria.

4.     SWEAT IT OUT.

Get back to the gym as soon as you can. And while you’re at it, spend some time in the steam room or an infrared sauna, if that’s available to you.

5.     SLEEP.

Go to bed early and try to get a solid 7-8 hours to allow your body to reset.

 
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Before you head out for the holiday weekend, pack some healthy snacks: protein packets, raw nuts, carrot sticks, maybe an avocado. And if you want to plan your post-fourth of July reset, check out our new 10-day Challenge: RASA Lite.

Have fun, friends! 

Xx Mia

 

IT'S HOT! COOL OFF WITH THESE SUMMER SPICES (AND A RECIPE!)

Hot town, summer in the city. New York, you’re on FIRE right now. It seemed to go from a pretty mild spring to an all-out heat wave in just a matter of days. And while I love nothing more than cutoff denim and failed attempts to find a spot by the pool at Soho House, my body is still adjusting to these blazing heats.

Aside from consuming iced everything—ice cream, iced coffee, just plain ice—spices can play a key role in regulating your internal body temperature. When we think of spices, our mind often goes straight to the warming kind, like ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, clove, but taking a shot of ginger in the heatwave doesn’t really have the same effect as it does during the winter months.  

With temperatures on the high, focus on cooling spices that can help you tame that fire, just like the warming ones can light it up. Here are a few of my favorites and how to use them:

  • Mint: Add to smoothies and salads.
  • Coriander: Excellent in spice rubs for grilled meats and fish.
  • Dill: Add to pureed soups and fermented foods, like sauerkraut and pickled onions.
  • Cumin: Great for roasting and sautéing, also check out the recipe below!
  • Cardamom: Pairs great with sweets. Try adding to your next batch of homemade nut milk.

 


 

RECIPE: SPICED CARROT SALAD

This easy to make salad is great with grilled chicken or lamb. If you like to eat mezze style (as in a bunch of small, flavorful dishes), this dish is the perfect addition to your spread.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 whole carrots, peeled and shredded

2 tablespoons dried goji berries or currants

1 tablespoon cumin (a cooling spice, yo!)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted

½ tablespoon Maldon sea salt

MAKE IT!

Using a mandolin, shred carrots and place in a bowl. Sprinkle cumin over carrots and mix to combine. Next add olive oil, goji berries and sea salt. Mixing thoroughly and serve.

The salad keeps in the fridge for about 4-5 days. Try incorporating into your weekly meal prep to put in your lunches and serve alongside your favorite protein for dinner.

Xx Mia

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How To Cheat On Your Diet And Feel Good About It

Can I cheat? It’s the number one question that I get asked. Fundamentally, my goal is to help people crave healthier foods so there isn’t a need to "cheat", but even if you already eat super well, sometimes it feels good to go ham (literally, where is the bacon?). So how can you indulge and feel good about? Here are a few tips:

SET REALISTIC GOALS
Before we talk about how to cheat, let's think about what you're cheating on. Setting too many restrictions and unrealistic goals for yourself will only lead to an "ah f*** it moment", followed by that dreaded post-binge guilt. Make a plan that you can stick with for more than 3 days. 

ONLY EAT FOOD YOU LOVE
Life is too short to eat food you don't like! If you're trying to "diet" and you don't like the food, it's not going to work. Period. Think you could never truly enjoy healthier foods? Talk to me

FIND BETTER ALTERNATIVES TO YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCES
Be smart about your choices. Read labels. You might be surprised to find that there are healthy versions of your favorite junk foods that don’t actually taste like junk. Some of my favorties:

MAKE YOUR CHEATS COUNT
In other words, don’t eat a donut alone in the dark. Share your indulgences with friends (not the donut, the experience). Really take time to appreciate and enjoy your food. When you’re home on your own, just eat healthy. No one is watching.

WHEN IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL. DO IT. 
If something is really going to make you happy—like cake on your birthday, your mom’s meatloaf or a bowl of pasta at your favorite restaurant—go and have it. Live your life. But just don’t make it an everyday thing.

QUALITY IS KEY
Eating better quality, less processed food will be easier on your digestive system and better for your overall health. If you want a burger, have one. Just maybe swap your MacDonald’s for an organic grass-fed alternative.

EAT CONSCIOUSLY
Try not to mindlessly eat a ton of crappy cheese and crackers from the buffet table (c'mon, we've all been there). If you’re eating something that might fall out of your healthy routine, make sure you’re paying attention and, more importantly, enjoying it. 

Being disciplined and taking time to reestablish healthy routines is a good thing (shoutout to all my homies on The RASA Challenge right now), and will help you make lifestyle changes that stick. You’ll notice that as you clean up your diet, your cravings will change and your “cheats” will become healthier. That’s the goal.

And for the record: yes, I cheat. All the time. But I don’t call it cheating, I call it living. No shame in that game.

Xx Mia

TRAVEL GUIDE: PARIS

Planning your summer travel? A trip to the French capital is not exactly the first place people think of when they want a “healthy” vacation, but hey: sometimes a hearty dose of fun and a bit of je ne sais quoi is just what we need. It’s called balance.  Here’s where to eat, drink and live it up in the city of love and croissants. Oui oui, Paris!


EAT
Wild and The Moon
OD on pomme frites? Pas probleme. Balance it out with a magical bowl and a golden latte at this Instagram-friendly café in Le Marais. 
55 Rue Charlot, 75003

hôtel costes
For a fancy AF but heathy lunch, park yourself in the picturesque garden of this post hotel. Order the salmon and spinach for a healthy respite from rich sauces and baguettes of neighboring bistros.
239-241 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001

Le Mary Celeste
If you’re in the mood for causal small plates, tasty cocktails and epic people watching, look no further than this stylish little corner of Le Marias.
75003, 1 Rue Commines, 75003


INDULDGE
Believe it or not, but you can now get lust-worthy French baked goods gluten free, dairy and refined sugar free (swoon!). Don’t miss the decadent eclairs at Foucade on your way to the Lourve and Chambelland in the 11th arrondisment for crispy loaves good enough for your picnic in the park.
Foucade, 17 Rue Duphot, 75001
Chambelland, 14 Rue Ternaux, 75011

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SHOP
What fun would Paris be without some ridiculously indulgent souvenir? You didn’t really just fly all the way over there for a baguette and some cheese. C’mon. For that one-of-a-kind purchase, check one of the city’s expertly-curated concept stores like Colette on stylish rue Saint-Honoré or Merci in Le Marais. 
Colette, 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003


CUT LOOSE
Time to bring those new shoes for a spin! Dance it off at the super hip Andy Wahloo or relax with a tequila cocktail (or two) at the über cool Candelaria
Andy Wahloo, 69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003
Candelaria, 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003


STAY
Traveling with friends? Live like a true Parisian and rent THIS killer apartment in Place des Voges. Yes, I’ve stayed here and the only thing chicer than the digs is the owner (and artist), Sandrine.


SWEAT
Get your derrière outside and burn off all those croissants! Lace up your running shoes and hit the Seine. You can run all the way to the Eifel Tower and check a couple other monuments off your list to leave more time for eating, drinking and shopping. 


 

SIX EASY WAYS TO COMBAT BLOATING AND FEEL BEACH READY BY THE WEEKEND

Beach season is so close, we can almost taste the Whispering Angel Rosé (at least I can!). Summer Fridays, sun-kissed skin, outdoor sports, ripe strawberries...lots to look forward to, but if your New Year’s resolution to get swimsuit ready by Memorial Day didn’t quite work out as planned, the excitement of summer can sometimes go hand and hand with a side of dread. If you're someone who struggles with their abdominal region, sometimes bloating could be to blame. 

Bloating is caused by a number of factors, like swallowing air, overeating or simply eating foods that cause you to retain excess water or...air. The good news is that by just changing a few of your eating habits you can quickly and easily reduce bloating, making you look and feel a bit lighter. Hey, you never know, maybe an ab will pop out. It’s a lot simpler than it seems and you can actually do it in just one day. Here are some simple tips to get beach ready by the weekend:

Eat potassium rich foods.

This is my favorite tip because it involves eating guacamole. Potassium helps the kidneys get rid of excess salt and the water it’s holding with it. Try incorporating bananas, strawberries, sweet potatoes and avocados into your diet.

Just drink water. Maybe with a lemon.

Stay away from carbonated beverages. Those bubbles end up in your belly.

 

Stop chewing gum.

Chewing gum leads to swallowing air and causes bloating. Most gums also have sugar alcohols, which can upset your stomach.

xx Mia

Ditch grains.

Grains (even whole grains) and other high-fiber foods can be hard to digest, even if they are part of a healthy, balanced diet. Try going grainless a day or two before you hit the sand. This one kind of sucks, because it means no chips with your guac, but just get a celery stick (or Siete Foods grain free tortilla chips).

Say no to processed foods.

Anything with a wrapper, don’t eat it. Most processed foods—yes, even in the “healthy” aisle—have vegetable oils, excessive salt and sugar alcohols. All of which contribute to that barrier between your abs and the outside world.

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But chew everything else.

This cannot be understated: CHEW YOUR FOOD. Chew it until it becomes mush. That could mean up to 30 chews per bite. Digestion starts in your mouth, help a stomach out.