Deep Cleansing Argan Oil Magic

IMG_5730We’ve long been obsessed with all the amazingness that is argan oil here at The Organic Beauty.  It’s healing and hydrating benefits are unparalleled, and it makes for a phenomenal and versatile treatment for skin, hair, even cuticles!

Though we’ve been staunch advocates of the oil face wash method for a few years now, it took the power of argan oil and a little company out of North Carolina called Goldenseal Wellness to convince us that there could be another option.

Enter the lathering, soothing, healing and hydrating Artisanal Argan Cleanser with Eucalyptus.  Made with a base of hand-milled, small batch Moroccan argan oil, with the addition of some extra healing ingredients, this cleanser is deep cleansing without over-drying, and deeply hydrating without making your skin oily.  After cleansing, skin feels super clean and fresh, without that tight, dry feel you get after using most other face washes.  We can totally see this becoming a summer skincare staple in our home!

For even more anti-aging and hydrating goodness, we love following the face wash with the pure, unfiltered Artisanal Argan Oil with Vitamin E, which makes for a lovely healing serum and moisturizer, as well as stretch mark treatment, hydrating hair mask, cuticle oil, and more!

These powerful beauty products are fair-trade, proven effective, and are super affordable (which is hard to come by with high quality argan oil!).  It’s time to get on the argan oil bandwagon yourself and join the glowing, gorgeous party!

5 Ways to Deal with Winter Darkness

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

The other day, I went to bed at 9:30.  Now if you know me, you know how totally crazy that is.  I used to be the world’s biggest night owl.  Even as that started to change, I’ve never voluntarily gone to bed before 11pm.  Bonkers.  Now, do I feel super lame and old? No! Was it because I had nothing better to do? Of course not!  Rather, this insanely early bedtime was a result of my listening to my body and taking steps to combat winter blues, lack of energy, and general malaise.  And guess what?  It worked!  I woke up before my alarm, to bright sunlight streaming through my window.  I had tons of time for myself in the morning to get outside with the pup and relax into my day.  I was super energized for an early yoga class (which I rocked, dare I say). And I was super productive and motivated all day long.  So what’s my secret?

This time of year, as the days get shorter and darker, it can get a lot harder to motivate yourself to stay healthy.  The lack of sunlight puts us in a foul mood, zaps our energy, and can wreak havoc on our immunity.  And all this, in turn, can make it nearly impossible to hit the gym, stay away from fatty, sugary comfort foods, and stay motivated to take care of our bodies.

This impulse to hibernate is natural.  Our bodies and metabolisms naturally start slowing down.  We need more sleep to stay energized.  And the decrease in sunlight certainly can lead to depression (seasonal affective disorder), food cravings, and general crankiness.

Unfortunately, we are not bears.  So we can’t just peace out until March rolls around.  But there are some crucial adjustments that we can make to our lifestyle, eating, and supplementation that substantially decrease the negative impact of dreary winter darkness on your body and mind.  And believe me, they work!  Here are my 5 ways to deal with winter darkness

1. Adjust your schedule.

The number one most important thing you can do to increase energy and boost your mood in the winter is to get the plenty of sleep at the right time of night to maximize your daylight hours.  If you’re sleeping until the last minute, forcing yourself out of bed, and rushing through your morning, you are robbing yourself of those crucial morning daylight hours, which can spell the difference between being a moody mess for the next 4 months, or being your usual, happy self.

To maximize your morning, you NEED to get to bed earlier.  It’s dark, it’s cold, what do you really have to do at night anyway?  Keep those Netflix binges down to just one or two shows and get thee to bed before 11pm, OR just listen to your body!  If you’re starting to feel sleepy way earlier than that, don’t fight it! That’s a prime example of your body telling you exactly what it needs, so do yourself a favor and heed it’s call.

With your new early bedtime, you can wake up earlier, giving yourself more time in the morning to maximize daylight, before you hunker down at your desk for the next 8 hours.

Have trouble getting to sleep early? Check out How to Sleep Better Naturally for all my best tips!

2. Maximize your sunlight.

First thing when you wake, you need to get some light on you to set your circadian rhythms up for an energized day.  Open those blinds and stand in front of your sunniest window for a few minutes!  Go take your dog for a longer walk outside.  Go for a run in the fresh air.  Exposing yourself to natural light in the morning combats winter depression, fatigue, and boosts your immunity!

You also need to get some light during the day.  Leave the office for lunch, run out for tea instead of making it in the office, take breaks to walk around the block and breath in some fresh air.  If you can get a total of 20 minutes time spent outdoors in the daylight hours, you will definitely feel a difference in your body and mood.

If you suffer from bonafide seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or if you have trouble getting out into the daylight every day, you may need to supplement with a sunlamp.  These puppies simulate the sun and do wonders for your mood.  Use your lamp for 30 minutes in the morning, and you can even give yourself a few energizing bursts of light during the day as well! (Just not after 4pm).  Check out the NatureBright SunTouch Light and Ion Therapy Lamp.

3. Supplement smartly.

One of the biggest causes of cold weather colds, moodiness, and lack of energy is vitamin D deficiency.  In the northern hemisphere, it is completely impossible to get enough vitamin D from it’s natural source (sunlight) during the winter months, and deficiency in this crucial vitamin is at the root of host of unpleasant health problems.  Make sure to get 4000 IU of vitamin D daily, preferably in a liquid, sub-lingual formulation that is absorbed most efficiently by the body.  My favorite is Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte.  Just 2 drops under your tongue every morning, and you’re good to go!

4. Move that thang!

Moving your body is crucial during these cold, dark months.  It boosts your mood, immunity, and heats you up from the inside out.  The morning is the best time for exercise in the winter, so make good use of your extra time in the morning to go for a run, hit a yoga class, or do some spinning.  If getting out of the house is just too hard, than pick a sunny spot by the window and workout at home!  Check out my Youtube playlists for Quick Morning Workouts.

If morning workouts just aren’t feasible during the week, than pick one or two nights a week to exercise after work, put them in your calendar, and bring your gear with you so you don’t have to go home first.  Aim for being done by 8pm at the latest, so you’re not too wound up for an early bedtime.  Then add one or two workouts during the day on the weekend to make up for the rest!

If you’re really bothered by the cold, shoot for heating workouts like hot yoga or anything intensive where you’ll work up a sweat.  Shoot for at least 180 minutes of movement a week, broken up in whatever configuration that works best for you.

5. Up those healthy comfort foods.

Eating seasonally does wonders for boosting mood, energy, and immunity in the winter, and thankfully, there are tons of great seasonal comfort foods that totally do the trick!  Put those cold salads and smoothies on hold for a few months (they are way to hard on your body in the cold weather), and opt instead for comforting soups, stews, and hot dishes.

Increase your healthy whole grains like brown rice and buckwheat — this is the time of year when your body loves them best!  Up your healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados, which are awesome for energy.  And load up on all that awesome seasonal produce like sweet potatoes, gourds, and root veggies that are hearty, sweet, and utterly comforting.

There are also some healthy, seasonal desserts that can feel particularly good this time of year.  Things like gluten-free apple crisp and cranberry walnut banana bread are my faves.  Check out my healthy seasonal fall recipes!

BONUS STEP: Increase the coziness factor!

Making your home feel warm and cozy is crucial for improving your mood in the colder months.  Opt for warm lighting, candles, fluffy blankets and pillows, and make sure the temperature is just right.  Sip hot teas at night, and take time to curl up with a great book.  Trust me, it makes all the difference.

{Photo: Pinterest}

Food-Based Exfoliation for Fab Skin!

Buff Her Food Exfoliant on The Organic Beauty

I admit it, I’m a sucker for a good scrub.  But with sensitive, oily skin, many scrubs out there are too rough, or just not substantial enough to give me what I need.  So I was particularly pumped to discover Buff Her, a positively delicious line of organic, food-based face scrubs.

How to Make Your Coffee Habit Work FOR You

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

It’s no secret that coffee is one controversial little beverage.  About 98% of my clients come to me with a pretty serious coffee habit, and of those over 3/4 are bona-fied addicted.

So what’s the big deal, you ask?  Coffee never killed anyone, right?

Well, let’s clear a few things up.

Skin Perfecters from the Sea of Galilee

Lavido Skincare on The Organic Beauty

The Sea of Galilee has long had a reputation for benefits to beauty, health, and even spirit. The volcanic thermal springs and mineral rich waters from this mythical body of water and it’s surroundings make for an intensely healing base for an amazing line of natural skincare products, especially when combined with raw, plant-based ingredients.  This is Lavido, and I have been falling more and more in love with this line every day that I’ve used it!

Starting with the Gentle Exfoliator Cream, with cold-pressed pomegranate seed oil, lemon, and macadamia nut, which smells heavenly, and delivers beautiful exfoliation paired with deep hydration, renewal and brightening. Followed by the Alert Eye Cream, with plant-based hyaluronic acid, cold-pressed avocado oil, and citrus oils that keeps eyes looking younger, more awake, and totally de-puffed in a light, creamy formula.  And, of course, my favorite, the Invigorating Facial Serum, with cold-pressed evening primrose oil, frankincense and rose hip that prevents aging, deeply hydrates skin, and I kid you not, smells like aromatherapy heaven.

Not only are these beautiful products clinically proven to work wonders on your skin, they’re also lovingly concocted with the utmost attention to detail.  Every ingredient is chosen for maximum benefit (and of course, the crucial olfactory element).  My skincare routine has taken on a heavenly spa-like feel with these luxurious beauties.  I can’t wait to try out the whole line!

 

5 Tips to Stave Off Colds This Season

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Lately, it seems like everyone is getting the sick, and for some of you, that might mean a whole month of chronic sniffles as the weather cools.  We may just assume that this is a normal seasonal side effect, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not!

Seasonal sniffles do not need to happen, and if you find that you’re falling victim to them like clockwork, it may be a sign of some greater imbalances in your system.

Compromised immunity can come from a lot of unexpected places — food sensitivities, stress, not eating for your body type, not staying warm enough, and of course, nutritional deficiencies.

With a few key upgrades to your eating and lifestyle, you can stay totally healthy and cold-free this season, and save those sick days for playing hooky and going to the spa or taking an impromptu day trip.

Delicious Fresh Pumpkin Bread

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Fresh Pumpkin Bread | The Organic Beauty

Ok yes. I may have gone a little bit gourd-crazy.  I had like 5 of those festive puppies sitting around in my kitchen, and decided that Sunday night was the perfect time to put them all to good use!  I roasted up a sugar pumpkin (used in this recipe), a delicata squash, an acorn squash, and another squash of unknown origin (thanks CSA!) for a whole week’s worth of yummy soup and healthy lunches.

But this bread takes the cake (so to speak!).  Made with fresh organic pumpkin (none of that canned crap!), it makes for a delicious breakfast and has the consistency of a perfect pumpkin pie.  Plus it’s gluten-free and has no white sugar!

To make the pumpkin puree:

Cut a sugar pumpkin in half, remove the seeds (wash and save them for roasting!), and roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let cool, then puree in food processor until smooth (it should have the consistency of apple sauce).  If puree is a little dry, add water to reach desired consistency.

Gluten-Free Fresh Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

1.5 cups fresh pumpkin puree
2 cups coconut flour
1.5 cups gluten-free flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk (or more, to reach batter-like consistency)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/2 cup organic raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, palm sugar, baking soda, salt and spices.  Add eggs, water, almond milk, oil, and pumpkin.  Stir until smooth. Add walnuts and raisins (if using). Pour into two oiled loaf pans. (I actually had a little extra, which I poured into a muffin tin.)  Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Organic Skincare Goodness.. For Men!

Brickell Mens Skincare

In a marketplace now getting flooded with amazing natural and organic beauty products, men often get the short end of the stick.  The ingredient-conscious man is relegated either to using flowery, feminine products or spending tons of time seeking out one of the few high-quality natural men’s product lines out there.  Well, Brickell Men’s Products is here to change that.

They’ve created a curated line of all-natural and organic men’s skincare and grooming products that are just as potent and effective as our favorite lines geared more towards women.

Our resident Organic Beau has been loving the Face Moisturizer, loaded with anti-aging green tea, nourishing jojoba oil and shea butter, and soothing aloe vera, among a roster of other potent, all-natural ingredients.  The old-fashioned, brushless Shave Cream is thick and lush, softening whiskers, and providing a nick-free, clean shave and smooth skin.  It’s full of skin-clearing antioxidant fruit extracts and hydrating oils.  And the No-Shine Lip Balm is a total standout, giving guys protection from the elements, a subtle hint of natural flavor, and most importantly, a matte look that doesn’t scream “I’m wearing my girlfriend’s lip stuff!”

For some awesome tips on men’s grooming, from how to grow a beard, how to get the perfect shave, and how to look good even after a crazy night, check out their Grooming Manual!

5 Vata-Balancing Tips for Fall

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

 

Fall-Vata-Balancing-Tips-Organic-Beauty

Ayurveda is the single most complete and comprehensive holistic approach to health and wellness, which allows us to live, eat, and move in harmony with our own unique bodies, the seasons, and our environment.  Though I am not a fan of diets or one-size-fits-all approaches, I have definitely found that Ayurveda gives us some amazing guiding principles for living the healthiest and happiest life possible, while still taking into account the vastly different experiences we have from one body to the next.

If you have not yet found your Ayurvedic type, or dosha, click here to take the assessment. It can change everything for you!

Each season has a characteristic predominant dosha, which means that if you share that dosha, you can experience a destabilizing effect if you’re not taking steps to actively balance your body.  This can cause compromised immunity (leading to colds and flus), feeling scattered or ungrounded, feeling more emotional or stressed, and even experiencing digestive issues, inflammation, breakouts and other skin issues.