Hydrating skin courtesy of Pai Skincare. Natural glow courtesy of True Botanicals. Clean make up by The Organic Skin Co.
Skin is always in. If your skin isn’t at its best sometimes – that’s OK too! However, there are basic steps that we can mindfully take that help improve and create healthy achievements.
Our skin, being so complex and industrious, is the largest organ on our body so it’s only fair we take good care of it. After countless experiments and long eye-twitching nights of research, I concluded this: a regimen can be made simple, guileless and efficient.
The key is consistency and daily protection.
Keeping things as ‘natural’ as possible is the catalyst to a nourishing relationship with the physical and the essence of simplicity. Like fruitful soil is to a thriving plant, what we put into/on our bodies count. I advocate reading labels thoroughly and staying away from ingredients that suck (chemicals, synthetics, unpronounceable shit) as our skin is wickedly consuming and holds everything in. The absorption rates on our scalp, underarms and face are 7-10 times higher than a lot of parts. Its extraordinary day to day functions are colossal. Unlike other vital body systems, our skin is exposed to the environment, which includes weird germs, heat and harmful substances yet provides an airtight, watertight and flexible barrier between one another.
Feeding the skin naturally by being mindful of consumption is another way we’re able take control of our habits. It all begins from the inside out so eat all the fresh, leafy greens, my friend! Hydrating is important as well – with lots of water and sorry, alcohol doesn’t do the same thing.
What we put on our skin is a crucial variable too. A guiding principle: Choose safe, sustainable products that contain fewer ingredients. This equals less chance for irritations/reactions, higher potency and a smaller, overall ecological impact. You don’t need to go nuts on trendy, luxury botanicals and ornate fillers. However, when you can, invest in good quality products that help optimize skin. Cause, hey, we’ll be wearing it for the rest of our lives.
Below are my favourite vegan, cruelty-free, natural go-to daily products that do the job like no other.
Have you ever heard of chickpea flour (also known as garbanzo flour)? To some of you, it might sound yucky, but it’s actually a staple ingredient in many Indian, Pakistani, Nepali, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine where it’s transformed into a variety of crepes, crusts, breads, sauces and battered dishes. I may even be a little shy from the versatile uses of this super-flour!
Made from dry ground chickpeas, it’s a fantastic alternative to wheat and soy flour since it’s naturally gluten free, vegan and grain free. It’s definitely a must have flour for baking and cooking and always stocked in my cupboard! Admittedly, it sometimes gets forgotten because of my love affairs with coconut flour and almond flour. However, chickpea flour is just a resourceful and you can use it in almost anything savoury and sweet. The taste is not as sweet as coconut or almond flour, but I do find it’s easier to substitute it in a recipe that may call for wheat flour.
One of my favourite baking brands is a Canadian company called Cuisine Soleil. They carry a wonderful selection of gluten free flours that promises to be 100% organic, allergen free and a quality you can count on! Did I mention they were Canadian? 🙂 Their chickpea flour is an excellent source of protein (compared to other flours), high in dietary fiber and perfectly suitable for vegans and vegetarians like myself.
The most common thing to make from chickpea flour is socca bread. It’s simple, easy to make and a perfect introduction to chickpea flour. But the other day, I had a major craving for flavourful falafel balls. My problem is that whenever I order it from restaurants, it’s smothered in what’s probably a ton of canola oil (yuck!) and heavily fried in table salt. And there’s also a chance that it’s not gluten or wheat free. So like most comfort food, I make a healthier version of my own so that cravings are satisfied and arteries aren’t getting clogged! Haha!
What you’ll need:
1 cup of organic chickpea flour (Cuisine Soleil Chickpea Flour)
1/2 tsp of sea salt or Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tsp of parsley flakes
1/2 tsp of cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp of garlic granules or organic garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder (you can use chopped and finely minced onions if you have the time)
1 tsp of cilantro (flakes)
1/2 cup of HOT water
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (squeezed)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or organic cold pressed coconut oil (for frying or drizzling)
Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make sure you get all of the clumps. Add the hot water and lemon juice to mixture. Stir and combine, Let sit for 10 minutes or so.
The ones I made were deliciously baked. You can fry them too in falafel ball shapes with olive/coconut oil on medium high heat if you want. If baking, preheat oven to 350 F. Using your hands, take some batter and form into desired patties. Place on parchment paper and lightly and evenly coat with oil. Bake for 13 minutes. Flip and bake the other side for another 13 minutes or until brown, crisp and solid.
Serve with greens. Pair with healthy tahini, chutney or hummus!
Simply Bars + Table Mountain = Match Made in Heaven!
This is me on top of Table Mountain, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. It’s 1085 metres high. So you can imagine how hungry I was when my friends and I finally made it from our 1.5 hour hike! I am proudly holding my favourite snack: The Simply Bars by Wellness Foods. I brought about 2 dozen of these with me to Cape Town simply cause I don’t like to live without them. They’re a Canadian brand so they’re only available in select North American retail stores. However, you can order them worldwide on Vita Cost but shipping to South Africa can get pricey.
These protein bars are super delicious. I’d like to describe them as a tasty, healthy, crunch bar similar to the texture of a rice krispies square. They’re not like your usual gummy, thick whey protein bars as they’re made from non GMO soy crisps. Gluten free, low sugar (suitable for diabetics), no sugar alcohols, low GI, vegan, kosher, low carb, easy to digest and high in protein and fiber with the least amount of calories – I couldn’t find that in ANY protein bar. And believe me, I was on the hunt for days for a bar like this. All of their products are natural and made with 12 ingredients or less and they don’t use ingredients you can’t pronounce. Each bar contains about 16 grams of protein and more fiber than sugar. It’s a simple as that!
The bar I’m holding on Table Mountain is the Cinnamon Pecan flavour which is my absolute go to. They have a range of flavours like Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Coconut and Raspberry & Cocoa. (I love them all!) But like a lot of the health products out in the market, these bars can be on the more expensive scale compared to a crappy box of Nature Valley granola bars. And once you become dependent (or addicted) to these bars like me, it adds up. The bars retail individually from $1.99 CDN – $2.59 CDN. I always buy a box of them from my local health store in Toronto to save money. But I won’t complain since I get what I pay for! 😉
So forget your average Kellogs “only 90 calories” granola bars, the sugary Lara Bars or your steroid protein bars that taste like chocolate plastic you once thought was all good for you and simplify your life. Your tummy will thank you. 🙂
You can also check out this link on their website to see how their bars compare to the leading brand of protein bars: www.thesimplybar.com/compare