Gluten-free Cranberry Oat Protein Cookies

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Cranberry Oat Protein Cookies

Since little Margaux came into the world two weeks ago, I’ve definitely been on hiatus from all things cooking. But the perfect combination of my mom napping with the little babe and a sudden burst of energy on my part (probably due to my placenta pills… But more on that later!) led to my first venture back into the kitchen to make a super yummy adaptation of a recipe I saw on Greatist.

I’ve been on the hunt for a healthy, high-protein snack to munch on while breastfeeding — cuz let me tell you, keeping a little munchkin fed burns a ridiculous amount of calories and can leave you totally starving. I’m not typically a snacker, but this nourishing another human thing kinda changes everything! It’s been amazing to watch the baby weight just fall off with simply eating super healthy and breastfeeding! (Stay tuned for an upcoming post on healthfully losing baby weight)

Anyway, this gluten-free, flourless protein cookie recipe looked like just the thing! I modified the ingredients slightly to increase the healthy fat factor (super important for making milk and keeping energy high) and bind the cookies together a bit more. But try these puppies out – they don’t disappoint!

Cranberry Oat Protein Cookies

(gf, v)

Ingredients

2 cups organic rolled oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon organic hemp protein powder (I use Nutiva)
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together oats, cranberries, protein powder, almonds, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, stir together almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and almond milk.
Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well.
Form into cookie sized balls, drop onto a non-greased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Sustainable Organic Nursery Collab with Havenly!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

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From the moment we moved into our lovely new home in Santa Monica, I became preoccupied with setting up our little girl’s nursery. I had my design ideas (check out my original inspiration board) and of course Pinterest, where I clarified my vision; I had my intentions of creating a sustainable, non-toxic and eco-friendly nursery befitting an Organic Beauty baby, but getting started, and pulling the whole thing together was proving to be a much bigger challenge than I had expected.

Unlike the other rooms in our new home, the nursery was a complete blank slate (just look at the before photo below!).  Anything could happen.  And being 6 months pregnant at the time of our move did nothing to decrease the pressure and anxiety I felt at getting it all done, and done perfectly at that.  I had a few pieces of furniture in mind (like the lovely Helix Bookcase from CB2 that we already had, as well as the Eames Style Molded Rocker and Babyletto Lolly Crib and Changing Table that I’d had my eye on for awhile), but accessorizing and pulling together a cohesive look was something I knew I needed help with.

Organic-Beauty-Nursery-Before-and-AfterEnter: Havenly, an awesome (and affordable!) online design service.  Basically, they get a sense of your design aesthetic, and the space you want to create, and match you with a designer.  After a chat and more extensive review of what you want, your designer comes up with two different initial concepts.  You clarify what you do and don’t like about each, and magically, a few days later, you’re presented with a final concept that totally encapsulates your style, aesthetic, and vision.  A few revisions later, you’re presented with a shoppable list of all the items in your design.  All you have to do is click, order, and then assemble your beautiful space using your design as a schematic.

Our designer, Clare, took great care to incorporate the existing furniture I wanted to use, and the items I had grown completely obsessed with in my months of planning (like this super modern Arctecnica Prism Mobile and these geometric wall decals), and was super patient with our last minute switch-ups.  And when we ran into some hiccups — items being disproportionate for the space, out of stock, or looking different in person than they look online — she did a great job sourcing new items that fit the bill.

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Together, we took a raw space and transformed it into a bright, breezy, versatile and stylish nursery that fits in beautifully with the aesthetic of the rest of our home.  And most importantly, I had help in sourcing organic and sustainable pieces to keep the nursery non-toxic and eco-friendly for our little snickerdoodle. From the natural leather pouf handmade from recycled materials, and the nontoxic, lead and phthalate-free crib and dresser made from sustainable New Zealand pine, to the organic pillowsbedding, and eco-friendly sheepskin rugs — everything was custom designed to create a cozy, safe space for our little one to play, thrive and grow!

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Ready to try Havenly out for yourself?

Use the discount code, ORGANIC20, to get 20% off design services, and create your own perfect space!


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Giveaway: Block Island Organics Skincare

Block Island Organics Giveaway!

Block Island Organics Giveaway
We’re so excited to bring you this awesome giveaway — the entire product line from Block Island Organics a $65 value!

Check out our review of this wonderful line here.

To enter, please take both of the following steps!

1. Follow me on Instagram by clicking here.

2. Like Block Island Organics on Facebook by clicking here.

3. Leave a comment with the steps you took!

For a bonus entry, click here to join our email list for awesome free coaching and exclusive wellness content!

Sensitive skin? This line is your savior!

Block Island Organics

Super sensitive skin can be a real downer. It seems like everything from a scented lotion to the tiniest drop of an abrasive ingredient can set your skin on a downward spiral of redness, breakouts, and bumps.  Finding pure, organic, unscented skincare that is actually effective for slowing the signs of aging, protecting skin, and balancing skin can seem downright impossible.. Well fret no more!

I discovered Block Island Organics a few months ago, and love their streamlined products that give you all the basics for balanced, beautiful skin, regardless of your skin type. The ingredients in this 3-product line read like a who’s who of organic beauty powerhouses. After just a couple days of use, my skin was soft, nourished, and super healthy, with no sign of redness or drama.  That’s all a girl can ask for!

Start with the Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser, a super luxe and rich cream cleanser that’s loaded with antioxidants, nourishing vitamins, and botanicals like calming chamomile and rosehip, moisturizing avocado, sunflower, and coconut oils, and deep cleansing rosemary and oat, on top of vitamins C and E to prevent and reverse aging.

Follow with the Natural Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen, to protect skin from the damaging and aging effects of the sun.  Safe and gentle enough for use on kids and babies, while effective enough for mature skin, this super lightweight and non-nano zinc oxide formula also has aloe, shea butter, green tea, and coconut oil, making it an amazing daytime moisturizer.

At night, the Organic Revitalizing Night Cream totally has your back, healing skin from the environmental damage inflicted during the day, deeply nourishing and moisturizing your face while you sleep, and infusing skin with soothing botanicals and oils that calm sensitivity and slow the signs of aging.

All three of the powerful products are unscented, vegan, free of harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, and have never been tested on animals.

–> Use discount code “natasha” for 15% off all Block Island Organics products until July 6th!

Want to try this skincare dream team for yourself?

Click here to enter our giveaway!

Holistic 2nd Trimester Must-Have’s

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

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Getting some sun on our baby moon during the 2nd trimester!

Ok, mama’s-to-be, here is some good news for you! After the nausea, fatigue and anxiety of the first trimester, things are about to get way, way better.  The second trimester gives you a much needed bit of respite between the drama of the first three months (check out my Holistic 1st Trimester Must-Have’s), and the common discomforts of the 3rd trimesters. Most women get their energy back, generally feel better, and can get back to their lives as normal.

I have to say, I loved the second trimester.  My baby started moving around, I felt great, I was going to prenatal yoga several times a week, and could often be heard uttering things like, “OMG I love being pregnant!”  It was an easy, beautiful time.  This is when you’ll most likely have your baby shower, go on a baby moon, and enjoy some QT with your partner.  Without the joys of hemorrhoids and swollen ankles.  BUT, to experience this time as magical, you’ve got to take some steps to take care of and support your body and baby.  These are your must-have’s to make this happen:

Holistic-2nd-Trimester-Must-Haves

1. Bump Nest Body Pillow ($79)

The second trimester brings with it a bunch of changes to your body, which can make comfortable sleep hard to come by.  A good body pillow is an absolute must. Although there are tons of different ones out there, I love Bump Nest.  It’s insanely comfortable, versatile, and comes in a variety of adorable colors and patterns.

 

2. Pregnancy Tea ($14.95 for 2.5 oz.)

Herbs do an awesome job at decreasing the various ailments of pregnancy — like swelling and bloating, aches, anxiety, and more.  I’m a big fan of Herblore Pregnancy Tea, which is loaded with potent herbs like dandelion, nettle, red raspberry leaf, and chamomile, among many others!  I drank it throughout my entire pregnancy, and loved the results!

 

3. Stretch Mark Oil ($11.44 from Earth Mama Angel Baby):

Though you hopefully started moisturizing your belly in the first trimester, the second trimester is when a lot of growth happens, so it’s time to bump things up!  This all-natural stretch mark oil from Earth Mama Baby Angel is free of the parabens and mineral oils present in most pharmacy-bought brands. With organic calendula, borage and jojoba oils, and sweet orange, it does an amazing job at preventing stretch marks and itching skin.  I used it during my whole 2nd and 3rd trimesters, and didn’t get a single new stretch mark (and I am definitely prone to them)!

 

4. Organic Cotton Nursing Sleep Bra ($30 from Majamas)

If your boobs didn’t already start their mega-expansion, the 2nd trimester is where this will happen.  I grew one full cup size in my 1st trimester, and then another size and a half in the 2nd trimester.  Having a comfortable bra during this..um.. expansive time is absolutely crucial.  And to increase it’s versatility, why not make it a nursing bra that you can use for quite some time after birth! I love this organic nursing sleep bra from Majamas, which helps with back pain and super soft and comfy.  Plus, when you’re nursing, you can rest assured that the fabric is free of chemicals!

 

5. Maternity Jeans ($49 from Motherhood Maternity)

This is the time to start stocking up on a few key maternity items. Though the Bella Band got me through the 1st trimester, by month 6, all my old jeans were too small.  A good pair of maternity jeans might be the single most versatile piece of clothes you’ll use for the rest of your pregnancy.  I found an awesome pair of skinny jeans at Motherhood Maternity that looked great, and were the most comfortable jeans ever.  Though there are tons to choose from, I recommend jeans/pants with a high belly panel for extra support and comfort later in pregnancy.

 

6. Prenatal Yoga Workout ($11.99 from Gaiam)

Prenatal yoga is the BEST way to relieve pregnancy swelling, aches and pains, and to prepare your body for an easy and beautiful labor.  It’s also super helpful in preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy, and is an amazing way to connect with your baby and changing body, and deal with some of the stress and anxiety that can start to crop up as you progress through your pregnancy.  I went to prenatal yoga class as much as possible, but on the days when I just wasn’t feeling up to it, having a great DVD to move with at home was a life saver.  Desi Bartlett is my yoga teacher here in LA, and her DVD feels just like being with her in class!  It features two yoga routines, Strong Mama and Cool Mama, so you can tailor your practice to how you feel on a particular day.  I also used the 10 Minute Solutions Prenatal Pilates DVD a ton to mix things up!

 

7. Glass Water Bottle ($19 on Amazon)

Staying super hydrated in pregnancy is crucial for decreasing swelling, constipation, and mucous buildup that can creep in during your second trimester. It’s also vital for your amniotic fluid and nourishing your baby!  Since you definitely want to be avoiding toxins like the BPA found in plastic water bottles, investing in a pretty glass water bottle is key.  I take mine with me everywhere to make sure I’m drinking my 2-3 liters of water a day, and love the stylish streamlined look of these bottles from Takeya.

 

8. Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth

This is an absolute must-read for anyone planning a mindful, natural birth.  Midwife Ina May Gaskin literally wrote the book on the matter, and will help you to commit to an educated, beautiful birth without fear.  I absolutely loved reading this book in my 2nd trimester, and felt so much more prepared and aware, not to mention able to have the birth I wanted after reading it.  NOTE: Read the second half of the book first, and then circle back to the birth stories in the beginning.  It can be really overwhelming to start in on birth stories without any context.  This advice came to me from a friend and awesome holistic mama, and she couldn’t have been more spot on.  Other great 2nd trimester reads are The Birth Partner and Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives.

 


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What to Look for in Natural Skincare

The world of natural skincare and beauty is definitely having its moment, but just because something claims “organic” or “natural” on the label, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Just like with everything we put in our mouths, we have to be super conscious of the ingredients we are putting on our skin.  Check out the awesome infographic below to help you know exactly what to include and avoid to be truly naturally beautiful.

Get Perfect Youthful Skin with Earthwise Beauty

Perfect Skin by Earthwise Beauty

The quest for effective, skin perfecting beauty products is tough enough as it is, but throw in some stringent criteria for natural ingredients, and you’ve got yourself a doozy.

Enter: Earthwise Beauty, a potent and effective skincare line made from food-grade quality organic, natural ingredients, herbs, and essential oils.  And I have to say, I’m pretty obsessed.

Seasonal Summer Party Recipes

We threw a lovely little housewarming party a bit ago, to celebrate our beautiful new Santa Monica home and all we love about west coast living.  (Check out our Sustainable Summer Soiree Inspiration post for all the serving ware and decorative items we used!)

We used our weekly Out of the Box Collective CSA box of fresh, local, seasonal and organic produce as a jumping off point to create our entertaining menu, and filled in the blanks from Whole Foods and food ol’ trusty Trader’ Joe’s.

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Continue Reading…

Inspiration: Sustainable Summer Soiree!

We love a good party. And now that we live in beautiful and sunny Santa Monica, with tons of indoor and outdoor space to entertain, we were itching to throw a little housewarming party to take our space for a test ride.

In typical Organic Beauty style, we focused on elevated entertaining — using sustainable party accessories, fresh local produce, and an affinity for organic style.

Check out my inspiration board for a sustainable summer soiree, then peep some photos and recipes from our housewarming party where we put it into action!

 

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How to not obsess about your health

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

This last month and a half brought with it a whole load of drama. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but basically, I developed some pregnancy related fluid in my inner ears, resulting in one ear getting completely clogged (like, pretty much deaf-level clogged), and some debilitating vertigo and nausea that rendered me couch-ridden for the better part of a month.  I essentially couldn’t move my head without throwing up!

Not. Fun.

Although my official prognosis is “this just may continue until after you give birth!” (ugh.), my symptoms have gotten a lot better, and I can now walk around and drive unassisted, and was even able to restart my yoga practice last week.  Yay!

The whole situation made me feel so out of control.

Thoughts like: “Why was this happening to me??”  “I had had such an easy and healthy pregnancy so far, and now this?” and “But I’m so frickin’ healthy! I do everything right!!!” flew through my mind on a daily basis.

Yes, I threw myself a couple of serious pity parties, but I also did my best to maintain a sense of humor and lightness around this miserable situation.

It really made me think about how obsessed we can get with our health, and how harmful it can be to lose site of the big picture and our sense of humor.