Food for Your Face: Manuka Honey Face Mask, November 22, 2016

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Good Morning, friends!

Today I’m going to take a little detour from the usual and talk about food in a different way- food to nourish your skin! A few years ago I was that girl spending tons of money at Sephora and Ulta on all the new fandangled products that had the promise of being the golden ticket to clear, beautiful skin. I never had really BAD skin- I had a normal about of zits, blemishes etc, but I had red, blotchy, un-vibrant/dull looking skin. I was self conscious enough about it that makeup foundation was absolutely crucial and even just the thought of washing my face in front of people would give me anxiety. I would pick at my skin non-stop. (Of course, this only made matters worse.) Until… everything changed! About three years ago I found the blog- The Love Vitamin. (Since then her blog as BLOWN UP! Because she’s amazing.) Finding this blog was truly a big stepping-stone in my wellness journey. Tracy’s whole premise is to nourish the skin and clear breakouts holistically. She encourages skin healing through diet, exercise, lifestyle, self love, and natural/unconventional products. To be honest, this opened a whole new world that I had never even given much thought to. Goodbye forever, toxic face products!

Why is avoiding chemicals in your cosmetics, skin care and makeup important? Because your skin itself is your body’s biggest organ and although it provides a barrier to the outside world, it is not at all impenetrable. Case and point: many medications are actually delivered through the skin. However, how much of a substance actually gets into your skin varies depending on a number of factors. These factors include chemical size/structure and where on your skin it is applied. (Some areas of your skin are more absorptive than others).

Most conventional personal care products contain a large array of chemicals- the majority of which are suspected toxins. Many of these toxins have not been tested for safety on humans and can potentially lead to serious health problems such as cancer, reproduction issues, neurological issues, etc when absorbed. (EEEK!)

I could go on… but today, I want to talk about why I use manuka honey as a natural, yet highly effective face mask—thanks to Tracy at The Love Vitamin!

Manuka honey has been revered as medicinal for thousands of years. It is a powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and nutrient rich honey created by the bees in New Zealand after they pollinate the manuka bush. Its bioactivity and measure of antibacterial strength/quality can be measured by several methods that have been approved by the New Zealand government. Two approved methods of testing are the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) method and the KFactor Method. There are various factor ranges - the higher you go, the more potent the medicinal properties. For example, a Kfactor of 12 guarantees 65% of the pollen grains in the honey are Manuka pollen grains, while a Kfactor of 22 guarantees 90%! I personally use Wedderspoon Manuka honey due to their quality sourcing, packaging, and superior and verified product. Manuka honey also has a variety of other nutrients such as, but not limited to, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, amino acids, b vitamins, and magnesium.

Ingested, manuka honey has a wide variety of benefits (it tastes amazing in hot tea!) but it is also incredibly beneficial topically as well! Here are some of its acclaimed benefits for the skin:

1.     It reduces redness and agitation due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

2.     It’s antibacterial properties help to reduce the severity of breakouts and increase healing by drawing out bacteria from the pores.

3.     It helps to brighten skin, reduce acne scars, and encourage skin regeneration.

4.     It helps to hydrate and revitalize skin by holding moisture in. This is especially important if you are prone to dry, irritated skin. It hydrates the skin without leaving it oily!

I apply a manuka honey facemask almost daily! After I shower in the evening, I mix about ¼- ½ teaspoon of honey with a little olive or coconut oil and apply it to my face. Mind you, this type of honey is (and rightfully so), quite pricy. However, using so little, one jar will last you for many months! I allow this to sit for at least 30 minutes to an hour as I wind down for the evening. Try it and let me know how you love it!

Aphrodisiac Cashew Butter Truffles

Maca powder is a ground, root vegetable that has been cultivated and used for its medicinal properties in Peru for thousands of years. It is being studied for its adaptogenic qualities (ability to even out hormones). It has been known to increase energy, stamina, and libido. It is no surprise that maca has found its way to our western market. I order mine online or get it from my local natural grocery store. I have had some hormone dis-regulation in the past and adding maca to my diet has been crucial in re-gaining control. It is frequently in baked goods, treats, smoothies, oatmeal… you name it!

Moral of the story: It’s valentines day… and maca is an aphrodisiac… make these truffles and you and you significant other eat them all with a bottle of wine. ;) 

Ingredients

·      Cashew butter, 4 tbsp

·      Coconut oil, 3 tbsp

·      Coconut manna, 4 tbsp(I use Nutiva brand)

·      Maple syrup, 2 tbsp (depending on how sweet you like them!)

·      Cocoa nibs, 3 tbsp

·      Fresh beet juice, 2 tbsp. I juiced mine with a juicer, but you can also steam cubed beets in a  little water to draw out the juice!

·      Maca powder, 1-2 tbsp (to taste! It has a malty taste)

Method

Melt coconut manna and oil just enough to were they are not solid. (If they are solid when you begin). Combine oil, maca powder, beet juice, maple syrup, manna, and nut butter in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Make sure the mixture is at room temperature before adding the cocoa nibs. Stir until combined. Place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes- or until the mixture is hard enough to form balls. Using your hands, QUICKLY form balls out of the mixture. Make sure your hands are not too warm and you do this quickly because as you will see…. They will melt in your hands! Place them on a plate and chill in for 5 minutes. At this time, you can melt ½ cup of white chocolate in a double boiler. Dip the top of the chilled truffle balls into the chocolate and immediately sprinkle with sprinkles.  Serve chilled and store in the fridge!