Saturday, June 29, 2013

Put Your Best Face Forward

I'm about to get vulnerable with you. Don't worry I won't have you getting misty eyed, but I want to share a triumph and by doing so, share hope and knowledge as well.
I have breifly mentioned before, that since mid-highschool I have struggled with acne. And trust me when I say I've tried it all - from the basic clean and clear, to proactiv, to special order neutrogena. The skin care aisle was a familiar place for me.
 My freshman year of college I got desperate and went to the dermatologist. Still no result and although it was tempting, birth control was not an option for me. 
Nothing was working for me and let me tell you, it is a terrible feeling to be ashamed of your face. To constantly be worrying if your makeup is wearing off. To not want your picture taken, or your boyfriend to kiss your forehead.
At my worst, I was introduced to an esthetician who changed my life. 
She taught me the importance of what you put into your body.
Growing up my mom always ate a clean diet, and taught me how to do the same but now my diet became personal. 
There are lists all over the place about foods that are good for your skin such as {this one}, and they are awesome. It is super important to get all of the vitamins and minerals that your skin needs to thrive.
But the game changer that my esthetician taught me is this:
 The three big no-no's for acne prone skin.

1. Refined Flour/Grains

This includes typical white bread, and pasta. If you want to clear up your acne, eat only whole grains as much as possible. The more refined the grain is, the more inflammatory effect it has on our body. Refined grains increase keratinocyte production in the body which is often the root of an acne problem.

2. Dairy

Yes, I'm sorry. Milk, cheese, yogurt. It definitely has it's benefits, but clear skin is not one of them! Just like refined grains, dairy has an inflammatory effect on the skin, and milk is the worst offender. Not to mention all of the hormones that are in dairy these days. When I consume dairy, it's like I'm asking for a breakout.

3. Sugar
This one shouldn't surprise you, I think we all have heard that we need to cut back on the sugar intake. But did you know that we all have yeast living inside of us? It's a natural thing, in moderation but yeast feeds on sugar, and your sebaceous glands in your skin contain yeast. When the yeast feeds, it grows and has a little party on your face. I don't know about you, but thats one party that can hit the road!

Now obviously this isn't going to be a cure-all because everyone's body is different, but I have had such success that it would be selfish of me to keep it to myself. 
Keep in mind that in both photos I'm wearing makeup. The first photo is the summer before my freshman year in college, and the second is a month ago and exactly 2 years after the first.
You can see that by no means do I have perfect skin now, but I feel like I am looking at two different people. All that I changed was my diet.
I really hope that this helps someone out there who is struggling like I was!


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Bite Sized Quinoa Pizzas

There are a few key things I like in a meal - ease in preparation, nutritional value, and quality of leftovers.This recipe scores high on all counts, and I'm excited to hop on this muffin tin meal bandwagon with a recipe of my own. The star of the show is quinoa, making this dish lean protein packed, and if I did the math right only 2 grams of fat per serving. Ummm.. come to mamma! Printable Recipe Here!! 

To start off, you will need about 2 heaping cups of cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked) in a large mixing bowl.
This is going to be the meat of the meal. I used tri-colored quinoa but regular quinoa is fine. I just like to  mix things up sometimes.
Go ahead and press a garlic clove or two and if you're scared of vampires go for three.
Mix in two eggs
And add some grated cheese - mozzarella is the classic pizza choice, but you can use cheddar, pepper jack, fontina, whatever floats your boat!
I added about a teaspoon of oregano..
..and a tablespoon of basil. I wish I had remembered to pick up fresh basil, that would have been much better.
And for the heck of it add a few shakes of paprika followed with a pinch of salt and dash of pepper.
In the spirit of pizza, we've gotta add tomatoes! Dice about 1 cup's worth give or take. I've found that with tomatoes it comes down to personal preference.
And mix it all together. I also added a cup of frozen sweet corn to add a pop of sweetness to the bites.
This mixture amounted to about 9 regular sized muffin cups, and 20 mini muffins.
Go ahead and pop them in the oven at 350 for 12 minutes, or until you see the tops browning.
Serve warm with cheese and avocado on top, dip into pizza sauce or enjoy them just the way they are!
I will normally double this recipe, because it reheats like a charm, and they are perfect for easy lunches in a hurry or on the go. 
Let me know how you like them!