This potent superfood has endless health and beauty benefits

Spirulina Smoothies on The Organic Beauty Blog

It’s no secret that I am all about superfoods here at The Organic Beauty.  People may taut them as trends or fads, but I’ll tell you this: any food that gives you more nutrients and benefits ounce for ounce than your run of the mill, non-super foods, gets a thumbs up from me. Though there seem to be new superfoods that sprout up all the time, I’m all about the most tested and tried of the bunch, and there’s one that I keep coming back to year after year: spirulina.

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How this nutritionist feeds her baby

Nutritionist Feeds Her Baby

As a holistic nutritionist, I put a lot of thought into what and how I want to feed my baby. Her first foods and the way she is fed set her up for a lifetime of healthy eating and a happy relationship with food.

I did a bunch of research before I settled on baby-led weaning and a very specific set of first foods for my little one. Check out this video where I discuss what I love about baby-led weaning, what foods I feed my little one, and how I’m setting her up for a lifetime of happy, healthy eating!

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Keep your Belly Happy with Chia + Probiotics

Kunachia on The Organic Beauty Blog

A happy digestive system is the basis of a slender waistline, glowing skin, and elevated mood, so I am a huge proponent of daily steps to boost digestive health.  I take my probiotics daily, I add awesome soluble fiber to my daily smoothies and oats, and I eat all kinds of prebiotic foods like greens, bananas, and alliums every day.

But when I find a way to combine some of these steps into one, I get super pumped. Enter: Kunachia, a perfect blend of organic, milled chia seeds and probiotics.  Loaded with omega-3’s, antioxidants, fiber and protein, Kunachia scrubs your intestines of toxic buildup, while populating your gut with beneficial bacteria.  This nutritional one-two punch is super powerful for all areas of your health, making it the perfect addition to your morning smoothies, oats, yogurt, and desserts!

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A Mega Warrior Smoothie for Endurance and Energy

Sunwarrior Protein in The Organic Beauty

One look at my Instagram feed, and it’s pretty obvious that green smoothies are my top pick for breakfast.  I probably rock one of these puppies 5 out of 7 days a week in the warmer months, and only slightly less often when the weather cools. My green smoothies have a whole huge salad’s worth of greens, loading my body up with iron and folate, lots of healthy fats in the form of coconut oil and almond butter, omegas in the form of chia seeds, antioxidants and tons of vitamins in the form of berries, and a heaping dose of protein in powder form. Naturally, I’m always on the hunt for the best protein powders and get super pumped when I discover a new one.

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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.

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Why You Need to Kick That Soda Habit, STAT.

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

8-Reasons-To-Quit-Soda-The-Organic-Beauty

One of the blessings and curses of living in my little Brooklyn-yoga-meditation-farm-to-table-CSA-kale-quinoa-organic universe is that I get a little out of touch with the rest of the world. I find myself assuming that everyone (well, if not everyone, than at least most people) is on a similar path. Then I’ll have a conversation with someone and be swiftly disabused of this naive notion. There is still so much work to do.

One of the areas in which my naiveté gets the best of me is soda. I have truly been living under the subconscious notion no one really drinks soda anymore. True, there has been a marked decline in our nation’s consumption of soft drinks over the last 5-10 years. As a country, we’re guzzling about 450 cans of soda a year, on average, per person — a number that hasn’t been this low since 1986.  But to me, this still sounds crazy, and it’s got to stop.

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Meatless Monday Recipes

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

The Organic Beauty Meatless MondayI get that going totally plant-based isn’t for everyone.  I myself eat seafood a couple of times a week, and have no intention of cutting it from my eating. But regardless of where you are on the omnivore-herbavore spectrum, taking at least one day out of the week to go totally meatless has some major health benefits, and is definitely worth making a regular healthy habit.

Rocking a Meatless Monday just once a week will:

  • Lower your cancer risk
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Help you lose weight
  • Reduce risk of diabetes
  • Increase lifespan
  • Improve your nutrition
  • Reduce your carbon footprint

Pretty powerful stuff for just one day of healthy plant-based eating, right??

Here are some great recipes to get you started:

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Snacking Is Making You Fat (and moody, and bloated)

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

The whole snack-happy, “six-small-meals-a-day” dieting philosophy is one of the worst things to have happened to Western food culture, and is pretty much the bane of my existence as a nutrition counselor.  Basically, this phenomenon has created a nation of perpetually hungry, moody hypoglycemics, and although this is great for my business, it is terrible for the health of this country.  Allow me to persuade you that snacking is one of your biggest food woes, and to show you a much better way!

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How To NOT Lose Friends Over Your Lifestyle Choices

By Callie McBride

“Look who’s off to the gym again.”

“I’d eat as many greens as you, too, if I were a giraffe…”

“At the end of the day, I’d much rather have the cupcake than not.”

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These and plenty of other comments can be routinely heard from family, friends, co-workers, and people who lead a different lifestyle than you do, and seem eager to judge. In the nearly 3 years that I have been vegan, and in the 5+ years that I have expressed my passion for health and fitness, I have laughed off ‘vegan’ jokes, stomached outwardly opinionated friends, and even held my tongue around certain people who are quite vocal about their disapproval or disinterest in a holistic way of living. Certainly not everyone is as gung-ho about hot yoga and green smoothies as you are, but it can become frustrating when your life choices become criticized on a regular basis and you feel the need to refrain from practicing those choices in order to fit in. Just last week I spent a number of days with a loud, fun-loving family whose only agenda was to lounge, eat, and drink. (I know, I know, where can you sign up!?) Like many families, this one especially loves to come together over a meal, so inviting a girl with a plant-based diet into the home was a challenge for them. Each time they had questions or comments about my lifestyle, I graciously answered and listened to what they had to say. After a while, though, the vegan jokes were popping up 4 or 5 times in an afternoon. “The ribs are on the grill, we know you can’t wait!” “We made this cheesecake special for you-oh waaaaait.” My personal favorite: “So, you’re vegan…like, where do you find joy in life?”

If you’ve ever done grade school theatre or participated in a kindergarten beauty pageant, you know how exhausting it is to hold a fake smile. Unfortunately, that’s what I felt like I was doing. While I recognize that the digs and comments are all in good fun, I quickly felt that I stood out like a sore thumb every time the dinner bell rang. It got me thinking that no matter what life choices a person makes, if they stand out from what’s considered the ‘norm’, it can be tough to live out those choices in a social setting.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

In an effort to remedy my feelings of frustration and inconvenience toward people who don’t understand why I eat the way that I do, I have compiled a list of ways to inform without lecturing, extend invitations without pressuring, and constructing rebuttals without starting World War III.

1. Share your snacks. A fool-proof way of convincing people that vegans (or simply healthy eaters) aren’t aliens and that healthy eating can be delicious, is to show them with food! Choose your favorite healthy treat or green appetizer to make and bring to a summer barbecue or birthday party so that you can eat your cake and have it, too. All those jokes will disappear once vegan chocolatey goodness is in the picture.

2. Keep it short and sweet. People who are unfamiliar with the plant-based diet and holistic lifestyle will ask questions. Be sure not to transform into your old high school biology teacher and go into a 30 minute spiel about the benefits of kale and the history of coconut oil. Instead, stick with a brief answer to the ever-popular question of why you live the way you do. I usually say with a smile, “It makes me feel great and brings me happiness. I just like to feel my best!”

3. Have a few tricks up your sleeve. If the joking continues, pull out some of your own. Making sure not to judge or offend, think of cheeky ways to throw a question back onto someone who may be grilling you about your particularly green dinner plate. “I’m actually trying to see if my body starts sprouting leaves, thanks for noticing!” “I’m in a competition with my pet rabbit to see who can consume more raw carrots within a day. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.” “When the rest of the world zigs, I zag. You should really try it.”

4. Extend open invitations. Especially when vacationing with friends or living with roommates, sneaking away to the gym can frustrate people who either aren’t on top of their fitness game or who want to spend time as a group. Instead of waking up at the crack of dawn to fit in your workout before everyone else’s day starts, make a suggestion for the group to rent bikes or play beach volleyball. Your dedication to fitness shouldn’t be overruled by your peers, but asking them to join in is a win-win situation. A dance party is a wonderful disguise for a cardio without…

5. Go all out with a plant-based feast. If your siblings, boyfriend, or business partner are still on the fence about your obsession with raw veggie collard wraps, pull the final trigger an invite them over for 3-course vegan or plant-based meal to wow them. For brothers or boyfriends who frequent Buffalo Wild Wings and Taco Bell on a weekly basis, try Alicia Silverstone’s 7-layer dip; they won’t know what hit them. For your mother or sister and their sweet teeth, try any of Chocolate Covered Katie‘s cookie, cake, or pie recipes-most are sugar and fat free. For the culinary connoisseur, prove just how dimensional veganism can be by slaving over any of these gourmet raw recipes, and be sure to kill the presentation.

These tricks won’t have anyone running away from you, and may even open some doors to more willing eaters.

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A New Snack to Bug Out On

By Callie McBride

A snack to bug on

It’s no secret that the world population is continually on the rise. Just look at any Starbucks on a Monday morning, the 4 train on a weekday at 5:30pm, or even your local DMV. In all seriousness, the world is constantly expanding, which calls into question how accommodating our planet is to such growing numbers. As plants, animals, and the nearly 7.1 billion people on this earth currently share worldly resources, the prospect of more of each becomes daunting. How will we feed and nurture all living things on planet Earth 10 or 20 years from now, when we struggle to do so today?

There just may be a solution, but its a little buggy. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, could be the answer to our food supply worries. In fact, they estimate that currently 2 billion people in the world already munch on insects as part of their daily diet: fried locusts in Thailand and beetle larvae in Australia, for example. Okay, if that grossed you out, don’t worry. Think of it as less of a scene from “Survivor” and more of an off-beat but healthy snack, like Seaweed Snacks.

In the newest information pamphlet, “Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security”, constructed just this year, the FAO of the United Nations is crediting edible insects for their nutritional value, environmental impact, economic improvement, and betterment of livelihood throughout the world. The FAO states that locusts contain loads of iron, even more so than beef. Eating insects could also positively affect our environment, as insects require only 2 pounds of food to  make 1 pound of bug meat, a huge difference from the 8 pounds of food that cattle need to make 1 pound of meat. This means more food for everyone!

If you still aren’t convinced, think of our funky food history. As humans, we went from eating real and wholesome foods like fruits and vegetables from the earth, to highly processed and refined white foods such as bread, cheese, and sugar. A healthy take on food is certainly back on trend, with an emphasis on all natural and organic foods grown straight from the ground. Those carrots you love to munch on were picked out of soil, and so would a grasshopper, should such an item fall into your palate!

The trend, which may seem strange, isn’t all that new. San Francisco restaurant La Oaxaquena serves up toasted grasshoppers, known as “champulines“, and the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans offers insect cooking demos and tastings-mealworm salsa, anyone?

This new global topic may open the doors to controversy, as people with food allergies or preferences may not stomach the idea. For instance, how would a vegan approach the prospect of eating insects? Does she set them apart from animals, or group them all together? Moreover, would a health-conscious person only be struck with eating insects that have been deep-fried and salted? There are many questions that arise with such a lofty proposition, but we can certainly expect answers as the need for food security continues and a solution is sought after.

For more information, visit FAO.org and search “edible insects”.

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