Recent Posts by Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Are your hands showing your age? My 4 steps to younger hands

4 Steps for Younger Hands | The Organic Beauty Blog

About 6 months after we moved to LA, I started noticing sun spots appearing on my hands and arms.  Suddenly, my pale and youthful hands looked blotchy and, well, old.

I refused to settle for this unpleasant side effect of living on the sunnier coast, and set out to uncover the best natural remedies to keep my hands looking young and pretty.

These four steps protect and heal hands, as well as reverse the damage that they suffer from being exposed to the elements.  When I follow my own advice, my hands look great.  But when I slack off and neglect them (as I have been lately), the sun spots and leathery looking skin come right back.  So I’m getting right back on the bandwagon — I’ll be sure to post some new before and after photos in a few weeks!

4 Steps to Younger Hands

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Cooking with Bone Broth.. and why you should use it!

SPONSORED POST: I’ve partnered with Milk & Eggs, an amazing farm direct grocery delivery service, to bring you guys some delicious, super seasonal, and always healthy recipes a few times a month.  I’m so excited to share some of my favorite dishes with you!

Cooking with Bone Broth | The Organic Beauty Blog

After years of maintaining a mostly vegetarian (or at most, pescatarian) diet, I struggled with the concept of incorporating bone broth into my eating.  But after tons of research, discussions with my colleagues in holistic healthcare, and seeing the benefits in my own body, I’m sold.

I started adding Brothee Organic Bone Broths, made locally here in Southern California, to my weekly Milk & Eggs grocery delivery orders a few months ago, and I’ve never looked back.  Here are just some of the many health benefits of using organic bone broth:

  • It promotes and supports strong immunity
  • It helps to treat and overcome digestive issues like leaky gut and IBS
  • It supports the body in overcoming food intolerances and allergies
  • It improves joint health and mobility
  • It supports healthy skin, hair, and nails
  • It fights inflammation in the body

Crazy, right?! So basically, this humble broth, made simply by simmering beef or chicken bones (though duck or fish bone broth is a thing too) with some vinegar and spices, is pretty much the world’s most perfect health and beauty food.

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The Best Natural Baby Care Products

Best-Natural-Baby-Care-Products

I am a huge stickler for natural ingredients when it comes to my skincare and beauty products (hence this blog ; ), but I admit that I’ll make the occasional teensy-weensy exception for a particularly effective or otherwise desirable product (though I never compromise on the big bad ingredients listed below).  But when it comes to my baby, I am gung-ho, 100% of the time.  I’ve never let anything chemical or toxic touch my baby’s skin, and that is no small feat.

Most of the baby care lines out there, even the self-proclaimed natural ones, are not as natural as they claim.  A quick glance at the extensive ingredient lists can reveal a whole range of chemicals and mysterious ingredients, which though not necessarily toxic per se, are definitely not natural.  Babies have the most delicate of skin, and since their organs are always growing, what we put on (and, of course, IN) our babies can literally impact the building blocks of their little beings.

Though they’re obviously not the sole cause, chemicals in baby care products have been linked to asthma, hormonal imbalance (including premature puberty), skin issues like eczema, and even cancer.  So even if you’re not totally on board with the green beauty industry, making sure the products you use on your baby are all-natural should be a really high priority!

I’ve tested several natural baby-care lines, and the ones below have come out on top.  All of these best natural baby care products are formulated without toxic chemicals, including:

  • Talc (carcinogenic)
  • Phthalates (carcinogenic, asthma)
  • Synthetic Fragrance (linked to asthma, allergies, endocrine and hormone disruption)
  • Propylene Glycol [PEG] (allergies and asthma)
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (skin irritation, hormonal disruption)
  • Mineral Oil and other petroleum-derived ingredients (possible carcinogen, hormonal disruption)
  • Parabens (neurotoxin, endocrine disruption)
  • Triclosan (carcinogenic, endocrine disruption)
  • Lanolin (contaminated with pesticides)

Some of the product lines below are 100% all-natural, which I tend to favor, and others contain a few synthetic or chemical ingredients that are considered safe for babies and still receive the best ratings on EWG.  There are definitely other brands out there, and new natural baby care products are coming out all the time, so this list is by no means exhaustive.  If you’re going to try another product line, just make sure the products are free of the chemicals above, the ingredient lists are rather short, and that you recognize every ingredient listed (a great rule of thumb when selecting any product to put on or in your body!).

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3 Gut-Healing Recipes to Make Your Stomach Happy

SPONSORED POST: I’ve partnered with Milk & Eggs, an amazing farm direct grocery delivery service, to bring you guys some delicious, super seasonal, and always healthy recipes a few times a month.  I’m so excited to share some of my favorite dishes with you!

One of the most common health concerns I hear about from my clients is stomach troubles.. I’m not just talking about the serious, diagnosed kind, but rather just a feeling like something is off.  From bloating and gassiness, to occasional stomach pain or just feeling crappy after a big meal or a wild night, digestive issues are so commonplace that we almost kind of take them for granted.

Our digestive system is a barometer for the state of our whole body.  An out-of-balance digestive system can lead to emotional and psychological issues (heightened stress, anxiety, depression), nutrient malabsorption, headaches, skin problems, fatigue, and so, so, so much more.  It’s the first place I look when a client comes to me with a myriad of mysterious and seemingly unrelated issues.

Healing the gut leads to healing throughout our whole body, so getting our gut to a happy place should be our number one health priority!

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How to Enjoy Stay-at-Home-Motherhood More

Enjoy Stay-at-Home Motherhood | The Organic BeautyFor the first year of motherhood, I was on cloud 9.  I loved this sh*t.  I felt like I was made for being a mama.  But life with a baby is verrrry different from life with a toddler.  I can’t just put little M into her carrier or stroller and spend the day out doing what I want to be doing anymore.  I don’t have the luxury of those two nice, long naps anymore, that afforded me to the opportunity to relax, get work done, and maintain some balance.

My little M is a full-fledged person now, with her own opinions and desires.  And though I still follow all of my 5 Secrets to Happier Motherhood, suddenly, as we approached a year and a half, they just weren’t enough.

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5 Steps to Healthier Eating in the New Year

SPONSORED POST: I’ve partnered with Milk & Eggs, an amazing farm direct grocery delivery service, to bring you guys some delicious, super seasonal, and always healthy recipes a few times a month.  I’m so excited to share some of my favorite dishes with you!

5 Steps to Healthier Eating in the New Year | The Organic Beauty Blog

We all seem to start every new year with the best of intentions for eating healthier, losing weight, or getting more energy.  But so often that goal can feel so huge and nebulous.. where do I start? What is healthy eating? Should I start a cleanse or a new diet?  Oftentimes, our overcomplicating or overthinking of this relatively simple concept can suck the resolve right out of us.  And after a few well-intentioned weeks, we’re right back where we started… Tired, bloated, and squeezed into jeans that feel too tight.

What I always tell my nutrition clients is this: healthy eating is SO much easier than the media and diet industry make it out to be.  You don’t need a diet, or a detox, or a book to tell you the common sense food rules that govern great health.

Michael Pollan put it best:

Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.

There.  That’s IT.  Seriously.

But I know we need a little more guidance than that, so here are my 5 simple steps that you can start doing right now, that will make eating healthier and feeling better an immediate reality.

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Best Natural Beauty Products of 2016

2016 was a banner year for natural and organic beauty.  With so many amazing brands and products to choose from, we naturally-minded organic beauties are no longer limited to choosing from insanely overpriced celebrity brands or crafted in someone’s basement hippie brands (not that we’re not obsessed with many of those).  Now we don’t have to sacrifice selection, effectiveness or budget to stock up our bathrooms and makeup bags with beautiful products that work wonders on our skin, hair and bodies, without harming your health or the environment.

Below are some of our favorite new (or new to us) products from the last year, all of which follow our strict criteria of natural beauty.

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How to Winterize Your Smoothies

Winterize Your Smoothies | The Organic Beauty

I love green smoothie. I’m not going to go so far as to say I moved all the way across the country to California so that I could have green smoothies for breakfast every day without any consequences — but that isn’t as far from the truth as you would think.  I really LOVE my morning green smoothies.  They are my absolute favorite breakfast, and I find them to be the most wonderful vehicle for getting insane amounts of nutrients and superfoods into my body in a very efficient fashion.

But as great as green smoothies are, drinking them in the colder months actually messes with your health, digestion, energy, and immunity.  Eating and drinking cold foods, especially during periods of cold weather, forces your body to work harder to warm it up and digest it.  Cold foods can throw off the delicate balance of your stomach lining, can increase phlegm, decrease immunity and cause or exacerbate digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea.  No fun.

In both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, eating and drinking warm foods is a big part of keeping one’s body running smoothly and optimizing digestion.  I get chastised about my smoothie habit by my acupuncturist every time I see her, and I am in a constant heated back and forth with the Ayurvedic practitioner inside me every time I opt for a smoothie or salad in the middle of December.

So what’s a smoothie and salad loving girl to do?

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Greens, Greens, Greens: Wintery Kale Beet Salad and Green Toddler Muffins!

SPONSORED POST: I’ve partnered with Milk & Eggs, an amazing farm direct grocery delivery service, to bring you guys some delicious, super seasonal, and always healthy recipes a few times a month.  I’m so excited to share some of my favorite dishes with you!

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In this installment of our collaboration seasonal cooking with Milk & Eggs farm direct grocery delivery, I am really excited to talk about more wintery seasonal eating, particularly of greens.  Dark leafy greens are one of the most nutrient-rich and delicious foods that come out of winter, and this is the perfect time of year to increase our intake of these blood-purifying, immunity-boosting foods.

To get the most out of the season’s local produce, specifically greens, nothing beats the Milk & Eggs Organic Farm Sampler Bag (pictured below), which is the most budget friendly way I’ve found to get a load of delicious, local, seasonal cooking going on in my kitchen and onto my family’s plates.  At the insanely reasonable price of $29.99, you get SO MUCH ORGANIC PRODUCE, it’s kind of crazy.  This week, I received a big bunch of kale, a bag of spinach, two heads of green leaf lettuce, celery, beets, a bell pepper, 3 heads of broccoli, a few bananas, an assortment of citrus fruits and a carton of strawberries.  WHAT?!  This usually costs me $50 or more at Whole Foods or my neighborhood natural foods store.

Seasonal Cooking with Milk & Eggs | The Organic Beauty Blog

In addition to being super budget friendly, the organic farm sampler is a great way to get all the fruits and veggies you need for the week!  This one bag has yielded countless salads, smoothies, soups, and toddler meals this week, and with the addition with a few other items in our standing order (organic greek yogurt, sprouted whole grain bread, wild-caught salmon), I’m able to feed our family of three delicious, healthy meals that come straight from our local California farms.  Boom!

My two favorite seasonal cooking recipes this week are lovely little showcases of winter’s bounty that made perfect use of my Organic Farm Sampler Bag!

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Motivation To Keep Breastfeeding, Even When It Sucks

Motivation to Keep Breastfeeding Even When It Sucks  |  The Organic Beauty Blog

Breastfeeding is one of those aspects of motherhood that you just expect to come naturally.  We’re mammals after all, right?  Do mama bears and lions really struggle with low supply, sore nipples, and mastitis? Obviously our animal counterparts are spared the emotional and lifestyle dramas and sacrifices that come with choosing to breastfeed their young — the stigma of feeding in public or breastfeeding a toddler, the limits on alcohol and potential dietary restrictions, the feeling of being totally tethered to your baby at all times (especially if, like mine, they have no interest in drinking pumped milk from any receptacle).  Even with those particularly human challenges aside, it just seems like it should be easier to do something our bodies were built to do.  But it isn’t.  At least not for many of us mamas.

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