How to Sprout Mung Beans

Sprouted food, including fresh sprouts, is so often viewed as a hippie-crunchy food trend. I think that sprouts really couldn't be more relevant right now, when so many of use are in need of easily digestible foods, and plant-based protein is more popular than ever. If you're wondering what protein has to do with sprouts, marvel at this: one cup of mung bean sprouts has 14g of plant protein! Why mung beans? These are a great starter sprout for novices, or those who want easy, high-nutrient, foolproof sprouts fresh from their own kitchen.

Some other amazing nutrition facts about mung bean sprouts:

  • Mung bean sprouts are highly alkaline foods that support healthy pH balance and skin glow.
  • They're easy to digest, and offer ample enzymes for your body.
  • Mung beans are an amazing source of folate, with 100% of your daily recommended dose in just 1 cup.
  • They're packed with high levels of key beauty minerals like skin-clearing zinc and calming magnesium.

Ready to sprout your own? Get familiar with these simple steps and you could have fresh sprouts in your kitchen this spring, and year-round:

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Step 1: Assemble your Equipment

Here's all you really need for sprouting mung beans:

  • dried mung beans (Bob's Red Mill offers them bagged, and you can also find them in bulk bins— bagged, from a high quality source can be better for avoiding contamination.)
  • sprouting bag (you can also use a jar or bowl, but I highly recommend investing in a hemp sprouting bag for ease of use and proper air flow that ensures your sprouts don't spoil or grow unwanted bacteria. You can reuse it again and again, and it's so simple that you will thank me!)
  • Water and a bowl

Start by measuring out about 1/3 cup or less of dry mung beans (I prefer to sprout just a little at a time because sprouts only last a few days and this prevents waste).

Step 2: Rinse & Drain

Pick out any bad beans and rinse the leftovers in a bowl, draining afterward.

Step 3: Soak

Cover beans in water a let sit 8 hours or overnight. The beans will swell slightly.

Step 4: Transfer to Your Sprouting Bag

Drain soaked beans, transfer to your sprouting bag, and cinch the top of the bag. Immerse the bag in water for a few seconds, until it is soaked through. Hang the bag to drip dry on a cabinet handle or hook.

Step 5: Rinse Sprouts Twice Daily

In the AM and PM, immerse your sprouting bag in a bowl of fresh, cool water. Swish it around to rinse the sprouts inside, and hang to drip dry once more. In 2-4 days, you'll have fresh sprouts! You can sprout them shorter or longer time frames, depending on what you prefer.

Step 6: Keep Sprouts Fresh

Store your well-drained sprouts in the fridge. They'll last just a few days, so enjoy them quickly, It helps to store them with a paper towel that can absorb excess moisture that will cause them to spoil more rapidly. These sprouts are amazing in salads and smoothies, and as a crunchy topping to stir frys and other, unexpected dishes (nachos!).

The Meaning of Mala Beads

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Get inspired to wear your intentions this season.

In my own life, clothes have always been so much more than functional— or even fashionable. A new item of clothing (I’m talking tops, dresses, and underthings more so than gym socks, obviously) represents the person I am and want to be at the moment I wear it. This is the connection that first drew me to a career in fashion— even before my days as a beauty editor! Looking back through my closet, I connect with the person I was when I chose certain pieces; I remember where I wore them, and how I felt. But what about jewelry?

If your clothing is an outward expression of self and intention, your jewelry is even more so.

A metal ring, glass beads, pearl earrings— these natural materials can hold so much significance, and can last for years, to be passed on when you’re long gone as a reminder of you.

At times in my life, I’ve been seriously attached to jewelry items (whether or not they have any monetary value!). In my teens, I used to wear a tiny guardian angel pin every time I flew on an airplane. Going through a stressful time, I put on the same pair of earrings from my husband every day for months as a reminder of strength. After my son was born, I received a simple hammered metal pendant with his initials that I treasure. A plastic art deco pendant that I found in my grandmother’s jewelry box after she passed brings me close to her every time I wear it.

This spring, I added another meaningful piece to my jewelry with a beautiful set of mala beads. When I say beautiful, I mean that I honestly lost my breath when I pulled this strand of beads from its package!

I’ve been meditating on and off for years, but I’m still a novice when it comes to meditation culture and history. I learned from Mala Collective, the maker of this gorgeous necklace, that mala beads are traditionally worn as a meditation tool, to help you count mantras as you meditate. Their 108 beads are open to interpretation, but they may represent chakras, mantras, or Sanskrit letters. You get to decide what they mean to you.

To me, this set of beads is a reminder of my goal to meditate daily, as well as a wearable symbol of my commitment to live life as my best self, through any circumstance. I feel inspired when I wear it. I feel energy. I feel grounded in my intention to live my life accepting and expressing joy. That’s all I could ask for in an item that I can wear and keep with me daily!

These particular multicolored peach, mint green, rose, and blue beads are breathtaking— they’re mixed Amazonite, a stone meant to connect you to inner power and inspire you to take charge in your life. You can find malas made from an incredible variety of gemstone beads (Mala Collective has SO many exquisite ones), meant to inspire all kinds of feelings and actions in your life. You can choose the one you’re most drawn to, or one that supports your current goals. The brown beads are rudraksha seeds that are believed to provide inner calm, peace and freedom from negative thought. I like that they’ll darken as I touch them over time. This set of beads is hand-knotted, and I love imagining the care that went into its creation, just like love I put into a homemade meal.

Knowing the meaning of malas, and how personalized they can be, I now plan to give them as gifts to loved ones, with the hope that they’ll wear them and stay connected to their own intentions. They may be fashionable, and lovely, but fundamentally they’re a way to wear your desire to live your most beautiful life— a message for you to carry with you each day.

What jewelry or clothing items are most meaningful to you— and how do they connect you to your personal health goals and intentions?

2018 Beauty, In One Word

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At the end of each year, I choose a single word that sums up how I want to feel in the year ahead, or how I want the new year's events to feel to me. Almost like a year-long affirmation, in place of traditional resolutions. In the past, I’ve chosen words like VITAL, MAGICAL, and even RELAXED.

My word for 2018 is…flow.

As in, ‘in the flow,’ ‘go with the flow,’ ‘ebb and flow.’ Just flow.

This year, I plan to do more of the things that get my body into a state of effortless flow, whether that means writing what I love, cooking more of the meals that inspire and challenge me, finding opportunities to relax without interruption, or spending time with the people who bring joy and ease into my life.

Kind of like yin and yang, I see ‘ebb and flow’ as uniting to create balance. 2016 and 2017 put me into a place of paring down, re-prioritizing, and introspection—an ebb that in a way feels like it has prepared me to flow easily once again. I love that the idea of flow also presumes the loss of self-consciousness, of comparison, even of time. It’s a freedom to be as you are and truly be in the moment.

Here’s a definition of ‘flow state,’ from wikipedia:

“In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity."

Beyond a flow state, I also want good things to flow from me to others in 2018. I want it to be a year to continue to build positive energy in myself and share that energy with the world.

What word is inspiring you as we begin 2018? Can you choose a word of the year and post it somewhere where you’ll see it throughout the 12 months ahead? It may just keep you on track and inspire you far better than a January resolution.

If you are looking for support to reach your 2018 health and beauty goals, consider joining my Eat Pretty Together global coaching group, a virtual community of women that meet twice each month for an hour of learning, conversation and inspiration. For more info, check out my Eat Pretty Together program page.

Top 5 Ways to Beautify Your Thanksgiving Meal

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1. Add cranberries—but not the ones you think. Yes, you probably already plan to serve cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table. And you should, as cranberries are antioxidant-packed berry with phytochemicals that preserve your skin elasticity. But the standard cranberry sauces (both store-bought and traditional recipes) contain about 88 grams of refined sugar (think of that as almost a full half cup of sugar) in just one cup—enough to spark inflammation, speed up signs of aging, and promote unwanted weight gain.

This year, make the Antioxidant Cranberry-Apple Sauce featured in Eat Pretty Every Day, or try your own recipe with less sugar. Your skin won’t miss it!

2. If you eat meat, upgrade to a high quality source, like organic free range turkey. If it's a part of your diet, Thanksgiving turkey can be a source of valuable building blocks for your beauty—but it's extremely important to choose well. Factory farmed meats are commonly fed poor-quality feed and given antibiotics to prevent disease, both of which have a negative impact on your overall beauty and wellness when you consume them. This year, make organic a priority at your table (wherever you can, but especially for animal products and Dirty Dozen produce!). Organic meat has significantly higher levels of beautifying omega-3 fatty acids and fewer harmful fats.

3. Put greens on your table. Traditionally, (not so beauty-friendly) green bean casserole is the rare glimpse of green we get on Thanksgiving Day. This year, make room for leafy greens among the regular dishes you serve, as they're a daily essential for radiant skin. Greens are powerhouse sources of skin-clearing vitamin A and collagen-building vitamin C, and they work hard to feed the healthy, probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. For Thanksgiving, look beyond a green salad to a sauté of greens and garlic, or a seasonal dish like the Warm Fall Salad featured in Eat Pretty (a favorite in my family!)

4. Make time for gratitude and mindfulness at mealtime. Ensure that your body is able to break down and assimilate all of the wonderful beauty nutrients in your Thanksgiving meal by creating a mindful space in which to eat. Appropriately, Thanksgiving centers around gratitude, which has been shown to increase our happiness, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and have beauty benefits long-term. This Thanksgiving, take time to think or speak about what you’re grateful for; consider finding a mantra to recite or share before your meal; and breathe and relax while eating. You’ll change the way your body digests and uses your meal—as well as how you feel afterward. 

5. Spice up dessert. You’re probably already having pie, and cookies, and cake, right? To make them more beauty-friendly, add spices to all of your holiday desserts. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are just a few of the antioxidant-packed spices that offer phytochemical benefits like a reduced blood sugar spike from sugar, digestive support, and an immune boost. And I challenge anyone not to love baked apple slices, which are free of added sugar and taste like the inside of an apple pie. To make them:

Simple Baked Apples: Core and slice fresh organic apples and layer them in a heat-proof dish. In a bowl, melt a few tablespoons of organic, grassfed butter, and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice, plus a little unsweetened apple sauce. Brush this mixture over your apple slices and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

  • As a bonus, I also love to serve something bitter— like this Bitter Is Beautiful Salad or a cocktail made with digestive bitters— to support healthy digestion of this filling meal!

What are your favorite ways to beautify your own Thanksgiving table?

Eat Pretty in College

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You know your college years require hard work and diligence to achieve the grades, and goals, that you want. But what about your college skin goals? Sometimes eating pretty from your dorm room seems to require as much effort as your studies!

Each fall, I get a new crop of clients who want to build a beauty routine that supports radiant skin from within— but they’re feeling seriously challenged by the college status quo. Cafeteria food, parties & late nights, lack of kitchen access and fresh food on hand when they want it, and stress in general present major challenges that are sometimes unique— or at least heightened— in this phase of your life.

If you’re in college, grad school, or heading there soon, I’ve assembled some of the most important items and tips that you need to boost the beauty nutrition in your life. Whether you want to clear your skin, amp up your glow, balance your hormones, or just improve your energy, mood, and overall well-being, this guide will help you focus your efforts. Wishing you a beautiful college experience!

x Jolene

Stock these basics in your dorm room:

No refrigeration needed:

  • Plant-based protein powder (great go-to when you need to make a quick smoothie)
  • Spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger)
  • Teas (a selection for wake up and wind down)
  • Greens powder (when you can’t get fresh greens)

Refrigerate if possible (though these can also be stored at room temperature):

  • Lemons (for AM lemon water)
  • Avocados (have 1/2 as a filling snack; add to salads, grain bowls and smoothies)
  • Shelled hemp seeds (excellent source of protein and healthy fats)
  • Raw nuts and seeds (pair with fruit for snacks)
  • Probiotics

Helpful Gadgets and Appliances:

  • Bullet blender like the Nutribullet
  • Electric kettle (to make a cup of tea, a bowl of oatmeal, warm lemon water, etc.)
  • Microfridge (it’s a college staple, great for storing fresh food)
  • Small knife and cutting board (something easy to clean and store)

— I also recommend taking your Eat Pretty, Live Well journal with you to school— journal a few days of food every now and then to keep yourself on target, and use the trackers and lists inside to set and reach your healthy skin goals. It really keeps you mindful!

Jolene's nutrition tips for gorgeous skin at school:

Don’t skip breakfast! Make a simple smoothie that includes protein, healthy fat and as much fresh food (veggies and/or a small amount of fruit). A basic example is unsweetened coconut milk with plant-based protein powder, greens powder, and organic berries.

Keep healthy snacks on hand. These are essential when you’re up studying late at night, if you missed a meal, or even to satisfy hunger in a healthy way before a party. Try to include protein and healthy fat in your snacks as much as you can— think an apple + almond butter, a wedge of avocado sprinkled with hemp seeds and spices, or chia pudding.

Make mealtime relaxed and fun. Try not to eat while you’re stressed or studying. Eat with a group of friends who make you feel relaxed, or find a quiet spot where you can enjoy your food and engage your senses so you digest well and feel yourself become full.

Don’t stress too much about Beauty Betrayers. In general, if you keep your beauty nutrition on track, you won’t be greatly affected by splurges that are a normal part of college life. But if you’re partying all the time and ignoring your body’s needs for fresh, colorful, whole foods, you’ll see the difference in the mirror. This is a great time to learn how to get yourself and your skin back in balance with nutrition and self-care if you indulge too much.

Have a cafeteria plan. I believe that there’s at least some good in every school cafeteria— you just have to find it, or ask for it. Maybe there’s a great salad bar, a smoothie station that lets you customize your blend, or an epic selection of fresh fruit. If it’s not obvious, go out of your way and ask, politely, if your cafeteria can provide some staples like a varied selection of grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat) instead of just white rice; or ask if the taco bar can be stocked with collard greens and lettuce leaves in addition to processed flour tortillas. There are always healthy upgrades to be made, most of them are simple, and there are probably lots of other students who will benefit from them too!

Don't depend too much on caffeine. Try and energize your body in other ways— with a good night's sleep, meals that burn slowly and keep your blood sugar stable, and adaptogens that improve your stress response and boost your energy naturally (like maca, ashwaganda and tulsi). Caffeine takes a toll on your skin and robs your body of essential nutrients, so try to make it a tool you use strategically, rather than an everyday essential.

Drink smart. The truth is that alcohol affects your skin— and not in a good way. If you’re going to drink and you want to prevent skin issues, moderation is the key, the same way you would moderate sugar. Here’s how to support healthy skin when you’re drinking—

  1. Before drinking, have a balanced meal with protein, healthy fats, and veggies. This will lessen the glycemic response of the sugar in your body.
  2. While you’re drinking, drink plenty of water and eat something if you can (again, lowering that glycemic response).
  3. After drinking (later that day or the next morning), take a multivitamin, drink coconut water or electrolyte water to replenish fluids and nutrients lost, and have another balanced, antioxidant-rich meal. A green smoothie is a great way to replenish lost nutrients!

Establish a self-care routine now. College is super fun, but at times, it’s also super stressful. This is a great time in your life to practice managing stress in a healthy way. Make a list of beautifying practices that help you relax— think meditation, your favorite workout, a long walk, dancing to music you love, an evening of movies and facials with your roommates; whatever chills you out in a healthy way— and put them on repeat.

What strategies have kept your skin glowing at college? I'd love to hear what's working best for you and how you've adapted your beauty nutrition essentials to fit your dorm room!

Comment or email me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.

Books background image by Abhi Sharma. Used with Creative Commons permission.

The Best Essential Oils for Your Bath

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Whenever I have one of those days where stress, work, and motherhood (or all of the above) wear me out yet leave me wired, a bath is how I wipe the slate clean and prepare for restful sleep. You might call it a bathing meditation, because it has similar effects for my mind and body.

Many of my clients who have had difficulty sleeping or managing stress have found a bath to be an ideal evening self-care practice. If nighttime is the time when cravings hit, or when you find yourself staying up too late binging on TV, or even when you tend to feel restless and unable to settle into sleep, I challenge you to break that routine with a bath. A warm bath (I like mine HOT, even though I know it's dehydrating to my skin...!) detoxifies, relaxes muscles, increases circulation, restores the mind & body, and pampers you. It's an ideal time to grab a magazine, listen to a podcast, slather on a face mask— or just stare at the ceiling and breathe. And then there's the water. You can find any number of amazing bath products (see a few faves at the end of this post) to boost the benefits of your bath, but just a few drops of the right essential oil make an otherwise average soak into a tailored spa treatment. I like to change it up but always come back to some combination of lavender + jasmine + sandalwood. 

To find out which essential oils are best for the bath, I previously interviewed essential oil expert Robin Block of Wyndmere Naturals for her picks. I also added some of my own favorites to this list! Pick the ones that speak to you and follow the key instructions afterward for a rewarding beauty ritual you'll revisit time and again:

Best Essential Oils for the Bath

  • Rose: “If I had to pick only one oil, I’d probably choose rose oil,” says Block. “It’s calming but gently uplifting and it helps with anxiety or nervous tension.” Rose oil supports all skin types, so even those with dry, sensitive skin will benefit from its restorative effects.
  • Cedarwood, Sandalwood or Rosewood: Block says that any oils that come from tree bark are incredibly soothing and grounding—and I totally agree. Sandalwood in particular is prized for its fragrance, as well as its calming properties, making it a personal fave.
  • Neroli: This lovely oil, which is extracted from orange blossom flowers, calms the mind and uplifts the spirit. It makes a great addition to a wintertime bath, since, “We’re often starved for uplifting scents in the winter,” Block says. Neroli is a gentle sedative that encourages sleep and reduces anxiety. Think of this oil as the antidote to a stressful day.
  • Vetiver: Vetiver, distilled from the roots of the vetiver plant, is a humectant oil that brings moisture to dry skin and peace to your mind. “In India, vetiver is called the oil of tranquility,” says Block.
  • Lavender: Known as the quintessential oil for calm, lavender is a favorite for nighttime baths and the treatment of insomnia. Lavender also supports damaged, stressed or irritated skin, making it a wonderful choice for many of those with skin issues.
  • Roman or German Chamomile: Chamomile is known for its gentle, calming properties, making it an excellent essential oil to add to a tension-reducing bath before bed.  Add a few drops of chamomile essential oil to a chamomile tea bag and let it soak in your bath for extra benefits, Block suggests.
  • Ylang Ylang or Jasmine:  Ylang ylang and jasmine essential oils maybe stimulants that uplift your mood, but I also find them to be soothing to your body. A bath scented with these exotic oils, which are aphrodisiacs and blend especially well together, also benefits dry skin.

After filling your bath, Block recommends that you wait a few minutes for the water to reach a warm temperature, and never get into a bath that’s steaming or scalding, since it does strip natural oils from the skin. (I'm trying to do this more!). Then sprinkle a few drops of your chosen essential oil (or essential oil blend, since most oils mix well with others) into a cup of whole milk or a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add this diluted mixture to your bath water and stir to blend. Add essential oils directly to hot water and they will evaporate quickly, along with their therapeutic benefits. Or, as an antidote to sore muscles, mix a few drops of essential oils into two cups of Epsom salts and dissolve into your bath.

When choosing essential oils for your bath, look for an indication that the oils are 100% pure and therapeutic grade. Brands like Wyndmere Naturals, Young Living, doTERRA and Aura Cacia are known for the purity of their oils.

Want to add instant therapeutic benefits to bath, with a product that's ready to use? These are some of my personal favorite natural and organic bath products:

EO Botanical Bath Salt Soaks. With a range of natural scents and a choice of different types of salts (from Himalayan pink to sea salt and Epsom salt), these are a great budget-friendly bath soak option. 

Pursoma Bath Soaks. The Pursoma Hot Tub Bath (a splurge at $36) in particular helped me stop a cold in its tracks. The best part of these detoxifying bath blends is the incredibly high-quality ingredients, including wild harvested seaweeds, organic ginger powder, and pure French clay.

Dr. Hauschka Aromatherapy Bath Kit. A collection of trial sizes of Dr. Hauschka’s rosemary, spruce, sage, lemon and lavender bath oils that make your bath smell amazing and leave your skin so moisturized and happy.

What's your current favorite natural or organic bath product?

Note: This post was originally published 8/26/11 and was most recently updated June 2017.

Summer-Ready, from the Inside Out

Got summer on your mind? I certainly did when I shared some of my favorite beauty nutrition-focused summer beauty prep tips with Anthropologie. Check out my summer-ready tips for inspiration, and don't miss the accompanying lineup of beautifying recipes (including a peek at a favorite recipe from Eat Pretty Every Day) to get your beautiful self ready for the season ahead. 

Here's what you'll find:

Eat Pretty: A Summer Detox Guide

Spring Detox Recipes

Many thanks to the incomparable Anthropologie for sharing my pre-summer inspiration, and letting me play dress up at their offices! Here's an outtake from our shoot:

PS THIS is the lovely jumpsuit I got to wear from the Anthro collection.

Images courtesy Anthropologie.

Eat Pretty Spring Detox with Free People

If you're looking for a bit more energy, glow, and lightness this spring, follow along with the 4-week spring detox series I've created for Free People, over on their Bldg 25 blog (a great site for fashion, beauty and wellness inspiration, btw!).

This series is all about detoxing gently, with nutrition and simple shifts in your routine (no juice cleanses or fasting necessary) to support your body's own natural detoxification channels, which are turned on and turned up during the spring season. You'll learn how to add more detox-supportive nutrients into your diet, flush out waste, and prevent some of the biggest sources of toxins from re-entering your body The goal, as always, is to get you looking and feeling your best from the inside out. I hope you enjoy it!

Here are links to the series posts:

Week 1: Go Green

Week 2: Hot Water Hydration

Week 3: Paring Down

Week 4: Detox Your Environment

Happy spring!

Having a Healthy Hair Moment

If you've been struggling with your hair, or unhappy with its appearance, let's talk. Hair health is impacted by so many factors, both internal and external. Damage to your hair can come from styling, overexposure to salt and sun, and even hair products. But so many of us forget that stress and a diet lacking in healthy hair beauty foods (see below!) take a major toll too, leading to thinning or brittle strands.

This month, my subscription Beauty Heroes Discovery Box inspired me to have a healthy hair moment. Inside my mailbox was a gorgeous trio of Innersense Organic Beauty hair products (complete with redesigned, minimalist packaging) that has led me to slow down and enjoy my hair care time a bit more (Innersense calls this a 'hair ceremony'— don't you love that?).  So I wanted to share some of my favorite new natural hair products with you, as well as arm you with my favorite healthy hair foods list so that you, too, can have a healthy hair moment this spring. (And seriously, if you havent already, join Beauty Heroes. I consider it a self-care strategy. It is such a treat to receive this carefully-curated box every month, with a full-size natural or organic beauty product—this month it was three full size products, plus a beautiful sidekick hair oil—for less than $40).

This spring, I'm using the Innersense Organic Beauty Hydrate Collection for shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in conditioner— all from my Beauty Heroes delivery. I love the subtle scents of the shampoo (called hairbath) and conditioner, and so far I think I'm seeing less frizz when I air-dry, and slightly more defined, piecey waves overall. My hair is fine and naturally a bit wavy, and these hydration-heavy products haven't overwhelmed it. I don't think I've used spray-in conditioner/detangler since I was a tween, so I plan to use the Sweet Spirit Leave-In Conditioner a bit more during the summer months; I can see it being a beach and pool staple for hair protection. I'm also loving Captain Blankenship's Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray for extra definition and waviness (and a gorgeous rose smell). I am so glad I finally purchased it and highly recommend it for wavy types!

But that's just half of my current hair routine. Here's my inside look at beauty foods for hair:

HAIR NUTRITION

To address lackluster, brittle, or thinning hair from the inside out (which is key for long-term hair health!), here's a list of nutrients, and corresponding beauty foods, to get more of in your diet:

  • ZINC. So many of us are deficient in zinc. A lack of this mineral can lead to an itchy scalp, hair loss (even eyelash loss...) and create the conditions for splits to readily form. It's best to get zinc from your diet, not from a pill, so try eating more oysters, whole grains, eggs, and nuts like pecans and walnuts.
  • OMEGA-3s. Just as you might imagine, omega-3s keep your strands elastic and shiny. Take a high-quality fish/algae oil supplement or get your omega-3s from wild salmon, flax, sardines, and pumpkin seeds.
  • PROTEIN. Protein is a building block of healthy hair and its main component keratin, so you absolutely MUST get enough in your diet for optimal hair health. But, you definitely dont need to go out and eat a steak—try plant-based protein sources like pastured eggs, wild salmon, quinoa, tempeh, and spirulina.
 Click for a 5-minute healthy hair smoothie...

Click for a 5-minute healthy hair smoothie...

...for the rest of this hair-boosting lineup, read my COMPLETE LIST OF HAIR-STRENGTHENING FOODS HERE. And find out why SEAWEED may be an overlooked hair nutrition secret.

Banana Breakfast Smoothie

If you're hungry, you can whip up a 5-minute, 5-ingredient healthy hair breakfast with many of the foods in my above list. Get this hair-building Banana Breakfast Smoothie recipe.

Put these hair-supporting ingredients on your grocery list to make the smoothie:

  • unsweetened almond milk
  • banana
  • gluten free whole oats
  • shelled hemp seeds
  • ground cinnamon

What are your favorite natural hair products? How about hair-strengthening foods?

Build a Better Beauty Sleep Ritual

 Osmia Night Body Oil— relaxing to the nervous system and so restorative to your skin.

Osmia Night Body Oil— relaxing to the nervous system and so restorative to your skin.

I absolutely love sleep.

I've said many times that good sleep is even more valuable than the most expensive night cream you can buy. It's so important for skin, energy, weight, moods—you name it—that I devoted a whole chapter to beauty sleep in my book Eat Pretty. Did you know that when you sleep your body secretes anti-aging hormones that boost skin cell production, increase collagen synthesis, and speed up damage repair? And that lack of sleep contributes to collagen breakdown, immune suppression, as well as slowed metabolism and cravings for sugar and simple carbs? Good sleep is a beauty MUST HAVE.

One key to getting the kind of sleep that's most restorative to your skin and balancing to your hormones is regularity. Your body, and nature, loves a regular cycle. Maintaining a similar schedule of sleep and wake times goes a long way toward optimizing your restorative pillow time. And the time you turn out the light and go to sleep is also key. I strongly believe that there is an ideal bedtime window (which varies in individuals but is between 9 and 11pm in general) for falling asleep to prevent a nighttime surge in cortisol, the stress hormone that has many negative effects on your beauty and sleep if it remains high. Find your ideal lights-out time (mine is 10:30) and try not to stay up past it.

And there's really so much more you can do to get fabulous beauty sleep. Ahead, I share some of the most effective strategies for optimizing your precious hours of beauty rest...

My top 5 beauty sleep rituals—practice them to look & feel better in the morning!

1. Shut off your devices at a reasonable time. When I'm on my computer or phone late, my sleep is noticeably worse. Blue light from screens is partially to blame, but your brain being keyed-up with work or social media plays a part too. I try to set a nightly shut-off time for my devices (say, 9pm) and stick to that as often as I can to protect my sleep health.

2. Sip something warm and calming. I keep a stash of herbal teas and reach for them when I want snacks, sweets, or chocolate late at night—which I know will disturb my sleep. Many herbal teas actually help relax you. Nighttime favorites include a digestive blend (see p 309 in Eat Pretty Every Day for ingredients), tulsi, or a Natural Calm magnesium drink, which further relaxes the body and prepares it for restful sleep.

3. Take a bath. You already know that baths feel amazing, but do you know why they're especially sleep-inducing? Baths raise your body temperature and then lower it when you exit the bath, signaling to your body that it's time for sleep. Add some salts and essential oils like lavender and sandalwood for even greater chill factor. I'd take one every night if I could, but I settle for days when I've been especially busy or stressed, and it helps me wind down.

4. Set aside nightly self-care time. Yes, washing your face counts as self-care. But I challenge you to do more. If you bathe or shower at night, definitely opt for a dry brushing ritual, followed by a head-to-toe natural or organic body oil or lotion. Your skin and body will be so relaxed, and you'll get the best sleep. Right now I am using the incredibly lovely Osmia Night body oil from the latest Beauty Heroes Discovery Box, and it's the best pre-sleep oil I've ever used. It combines more than a half-dozen organic oils (think evening primrose, hemp, kukui nut, avocado...) with organic French lavender and Roman chamomile, two classic calming botanicals that are ideal for nighttime. Overall, this particular oil is relaxing to the nervous system and so restorative to your skin. After this ritual, you'll feel so luxurious you'll want to sleep in silk sheets!

5. Clear your mind. Taking 3 minutes to write a quick to-do list for the next day helps me feel less stressed and more organized before getting into bed. Nothing keeps me up more than a racing mind. I also love journaling my thoughts, or even taking time to express gratitude, in my head or in writing, for the gifts of the day.

What's your must-do ritual for beautifying sleep? You can read more in-depth about the foods and habits that support great sleep in Eat Pretty!