One of my biggest passions in the women’s health community is to help educate and inform others about better-for-you and the environment skincare, makeup and household products.
Below you will find (3) easy safer skincare swaps to make over Thanksgiving weekend with the added bonus of free products & shipping!
We often think that just because something is safer to use, it’s not as effective. That is simply untrue. We have the research and resources in 2017 to create products that WORK but don’t cause a toxin overload in your body. You don’t have to be relegated to using coconut oil for everything – especially if you have specific skincare concerns that require more muscle.
For years, I didn’t use deodorant or foundation or fancy hair products because I thought I only had two options. Don’t use the toxic products lining drugstores and department store shelves OR use them. I didn’t know there were other options out there besides making my own products at home.
Honestly, making my own skincare products became pretty exhausting, and I found my skin looking less and less vibrant with my coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and jojoba routine. Fine lines around my eyes started popping up and vinegar wasn’t cutting it for breakouts.
Thankfully, I was introduced to a couple skincare & makeup lines I trust and love for their dedication to transparency and responsible ingredient sourcing.
I’m going to share with you how to swap out some of your go-to toxic products for safer versions that are effective and beautiful!
SWAP OUT YOUR BABY WASH
Newborns are already born with almost 300 toxins in their cord blood. If that statistic doesn’t knock you off your feet, then maybe the list of ingredients in America’s most popular baby wash will. Some of the below ingredients are considered safe like citric acid and glycerin but the large majority are associated with health concerns like immunotoxicity, allergies, organ system toxicity and eye irritations.
Johnson’s Baby Wash Contains: Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, PEG-150 Distearate, Glycerin, Polyquaternium-10, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance. EWG SKIN DEEP RATING: MODERATE HAZARD
Beautycounter’s Gentle All-Over Baby Wash is safe for even the most sensitive skin and contains a mix of plant-based ingredients and safe synthetic to cleanse your baby without stripping away moisture or adding a toxin load to their bathtime! All of Beautycounter’s products are EWG Verified which means they have been screened through the most rigorous standards for human and environmental safety standards.
SWAP OUT YOUR FOUNDATION
Foundation is a non-negotiable makeup item for many of us. It adds an extra dose of hydration, hides blemishes, dark spots, scars and unevenness and helps set our blush and bronzers. But many store-bought foundations like Dior Nude Air Serum contain ingredients that are illegal in Europe & Canada, have a high propensity towards allergic reactions & even have legal use restrictions in cosmetics. No thank you!
Beautycounter’s Tint Skin Foundation is a medium-coverage, lightweight foundation that gives your skin a luminous glow without looking or feeling oily. It provides buildable coverage so the first layer feels like a tint moisturizer and the second layer has the look of a thicker, high-coverage foundation. It is one of Beautycounter’s best-selling products for good reason & one I use everyday to even out my complexion.
Need help choosing your color? Use our FIND YOUR SHADE GUIDE!
SWAP OUT YOUR DEODORANT
Woo-wee, this is a big one if you are dedicated to leading a lower toxin lifestyle! Conventional deodorant contains a mix of ingredients like carcinogenic aluminum and hormone-disruptors that can be problematic, especially because they are applied directly on our armpit lymph nodes and near breast tissue.
Not to worry! PRIMALLY PURE has just released an updated version of their best-selling non-toxic deodorant (made with ingredients you can eat!) that is even more powerful than their old version! It stops more stink and controls wetness more than the old formula while still being suitable for sensitive skin!
Primally Pure’s BRAND NEW Charcoal Deodorant has an impressive list of non-toxic yet effective ingredients including kaolin clay and charcoal to help detox underarms and tallow and coconut oil to moisturize skin. A small amount of baking soda helps stop smell without causing irritation!
This Paleo White Chocolate Energy Bar is made with coconut butter, ghee, four different seeds, spices and orange blossom water!
I had a half-empty jar of coconut butter sitting in my cabinet and for some reason it was bothering me. Coconut butter is such a multi-purpose ingredient, and I find myself getting very creative with it. I just had to come up with something nwI used it to make a Garlic Aioli with Truffle Fries this weekend too – that recipe will be in my upcoming ebook!
How freakin’ good do these look? I can’t wait to share them with you!
Ghee is a lactose and casein-free clarified butter with many health benefits. It’s popular in Ayurvedic cooking and has a buttery, silky smooth mouthfeel and a sweet taste. For the longest time, I didn’t do well with ghee. Only in the last 6 months have I been able to consume it without getting a headache. Now that I’m able to eat ghee again, it’s my main cooking fat for me and my 16-month-old.
I recommend 4th & Heart Ghee which is the best-tasting and most affordable ghee I’ve found. You can find it at some health food stores but I prefer to buy it discounted on Amazon. It comes in several delicious flavors including Vanilla Bean (heavenly in baked goods or on roasted root veggies), Himalayan Salt (what I used for this recipe), Truffle (not truffle-y enough for me), California Garlic (I have yet to try) and Original (just a good ol’ plain ghee).
PS Just discovered on 4th & Heart’s website they will be releasing 3 cacao & ghee flavored spreads called Chocti at the end of this month (October 2017)! I’m going to get my little mitts on that as soon as it releases! I can’t believe they’re teasing me like this but I took a few marketing classes in university so I get it.
Well I hope I’ve convinced you to include ghee in your diet now! I didn’t even discuss all the health benefits but you can read up on them here. Noticeable improvements in my digestion & satiation since I started eating it again!
Okay so these bars are a new-to-me type of energy bar! Dense in texture, oh-so-crunchy, and full of my beloved Mediterranean flavors like cardamom, orange blossom and cinnamon. Imagine those warming tastes combined with creamy coconut butter, salted ghee and crunchy pepitas and sunflower seeds. It’s pretty heavenly. Oh and did I mention they contain absolutely no sweetener?!
These Paleo White Chocolate Seed Energy Bars are best served cold straight from the fridge since coconut melts at room temperature. They’re very satiating thanks to all the fat, fiber and minerals. You can slice them into large bars for a real hearty snack or into little squares just like fudge!
If you’re a fan of Lebanese, Turkish or Indian flavors – you will definitely love these seedy, crunchy, grain-free, nut-free energy bars! You can get creative with the flavors – add some vanilla bean powder, grated orange zest + ground ginger for even more flavor. I kept them fairly simple so that YOU can get creative & learn how to mix and match flavors to your liking.
Enjoy these sugar-free Paleo white chocolate energy bars full of gut-healing, skin-loving ghee! Have them with a cup of your favorite tea or even better: my White Tea Rose Latte!
White Chocolate Seed Bar with cardamom and orange blossom
- 2/3 cup softened coconut butter
- 1/3 cup ghee (I love this one)
- 2/3 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- In a small saucepan, melt the coconut butter and ghee together over medium-low heat and stir to combine.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined. The mixture will be very thick and seedy. Taste and add more spices or orange blossom water, if you desire.
- Line a small rectangular glass dish or loaf pan with parchment paper. Spread the mixture evenly into the dish. The smaller the dish, the thicker the bars will be.
- Refrigerate until solid (about 1 hour) and slice into squares using a sharp non-serrated knife. Store in the refrigerator and serve cold to prevent melting.
Minneapolis has it all! Great food and drinks, thoughtful city design, beautiful lakes and the kindest people on the side (which side?) of the Mississippi!
My husband and I just returned from our 3-night stay in Minneapolis. I surprised him for an early 40th birthday gift – some time alone without Grace doing what we love to do. Namely, eat, explore and eat.
I chose Minneapolis because I had heard they were on the forefront of design and sustainability while still maintaining that mid-century charm reminiscent of 8th grade American history textbooks.
We visited at the end of September – just before it gets too chilly to ride bikes around the lake. In fact, they had quite the heat streak a few days before we arrived but thankfully we still got a reprieve from Florida’s 90+ weather. It was a comfortable 55 to 60 degrees our entire stay with a good dose of sunshine and some non-threatening drizzle here and there.
When planning this trip, I wanted to balance all of our eating and drinking with lots of city exploration and outdoor time.
We arrived to our hotel, The Hewing, on Friday evening, hungry and ready for a drink! The hotel isn’t cheap but it’s worth every penny to be in a neighborhood so walkable to great restaurants, coffee shops and the river. We had a king-size room for 3 nights that was just perfect. Big, beautiful shower with a separate toilet room, comfortable fluffy but not too fluffy bed, plenty of space for suitcases, large flat-screen TV and an upscale cabin feel. It’s only 10 months old too!
The Hewing is a converted warehouse with the original brick walls and wood floor. A private yoga studio, gym and spa treatment room are located in the basement along with free bikes for guest use. I used the yoga studio every day because… HELLO PRIVATE YOGA STUDIO.
The bar & restaurant in the lobby had fantastic people watching, a great cocktail and cider list and the food looked quite delicious. And it’s beautiful to boot. We didn’t dine there but we grabbed a drink everyday. The front desk even gave us some drink coupons because some rambunctious wedding guests kept us up until 6 am Friday night blasting shitty club music.
Friday night’s dinner was my favorite meal of the trip! The Bachelor Farmer has it all going on. Great ambience (cozy, mature and upscale without being uncomforable), an attached speakeasy (very swanky, not totally my scene) and a little cafe for daytime treats. I had the crispiest skinned chicken thigh over the creamiest cauliflower puree outside of France. I can’t even describe how amazing the flavors were – the only non-AIP ingredients were butter and black pepper. They even started our meal with local melon seasoned with salt and pepper as an amuse-bouche. My husband had a cider cocktail and I had a glass of sauvignon blanc. The service was excellent. This is 100% a can’t-miss, don’t-miss restaurant in Minneapolis.
View from farmer’s market across Mississippi River to Nicollet Island
We also visited the Mill City Farmer’s Market which runs on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm through October. I’m glad we didn’t skip it because this farmer’s market is in a very unique location – along the river and an old train depot in the mill district. An old Pillsbury factory sits nearby that I believe offers tours (don’t quote me). You can grab tacos, a green juice or a bag of local organic apples and sit on the steps watching the bikers and joggers move along the river.
Mill City Museum next to the Mill City Farmer’s Market
I picked up some incredibly fresh-pressed juice at the market. My favorite was the beet-ginger – it tasted spicy and cleansing – perfect for the morning after lots of cider sampling the night before. I also grabbed a 9-pack box of Ommie Snacks. The owner is a friendly woman who offers a wide variety of fruit and seed based snack bars with interesting flavors like Apricot Chai and Lemon Poppy. They are delicious, not too sweet, but perfect little snack squares and only about $2/pop! You can order Ommie snacks online HERE. I will be ordering & having them shipped to Florida!
We needed to get some activity in to make room in our stomachs for more food on Saturday afternoon. This task proved easy to accomplish as Minneapolis’ lengthy city bike system and trails connect the north loop of the city to the Mississippi to the chain of lakes to the west. We rented Nice Ride bikes for a couple hours one day and biked from Uptown (a neighborhood just south of downtown) along the charming Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and adjoining neighborhoods.
View of Lake Calhoun from the bike path that weaves around the chain of lakes
The homes along the lake are a feast for the eyes – a mix between Victorian, 60s modern and 21st century sleek. There’s a separated bike path away from walkers, joggers and rollerbladers so you can speed along at your heart’s content. Lake Calhoun has a deck with concessions 100 or so people were resting on around 3:30 pm Saturday, watching the sailboats and kayakers mosey down the sparkling water.
I recommend downloading the Nice Ride bike riding system app if you choose to rent city bikes and getting a 24-hour pass if biking for longer than 60 minutes. You have to check them into a station every 30 minutes so it helps to have the app with a maps of stations and a timer.
Oysters & cider from Spoon & Stable
That evening we headed back to the hotel to unwind before grabbing another drink at The Hewing bar before walking to dinner at Spoon & Stable. This was my least favorite meal of the weekend but it was still quite delicious. We sat at the bar because it was slammed by 7 pm. It felt a little too pretentious in there for me and the bartender was being a bit of a know-it-all about my food allergies. I’m sorry, but they’re my food allergies, not yours, sir. We had oysters and Aspell cider to start. For dinner, I ordered the Tamarind Glazed Pork Chop which was at least 12 ounces – HUGE! It was undercooked even though they said it wasn’t. It was 100%. I sent it back and they re-plated it and it was perfect – much better. Other than those minor transgressions, I’d recommend it but it The Bachelor Farmer was a step above for sure.
Artist-designed mini golf in Sculpture Gardens at Walker Art Center
My top city pick though was the Walker Art Center. Situated just on the southern outskirts of the center of downtown, this modern and intellectually designed 7-story building housed some of the most kooky and ironic contemporary art I’ve ever seen. I much prefer it to the Art Institute of Chicago which is so enormous and echo-y, you need a full 8 hours to see the whole thing. Just walking through the smartly designed space is a feast for the eyes.
The Walker was much more digestible – and speaking of digestion – they have the cutest bar and restaurant inside called Esker Grove. The bartenders and patrons were so friendly and gave us lovely suggestions for later in the day! I grabbed a cider (Aspall Blush – an English apple cider with a touch of blackberry juice and the color of rose) before exploring the Sculpture Gardens along the museum.
Minneapolis bars almost always had a local or craft cider on tap!
The Sculpture Gardens seem to be the most iconic Minneapolis attraction other than the bridge. A large spoon with a cherry sits in the center while a variety of other quirky statues are walking distance around it. A giant bright blue pop-art rooster and the artist-designed mini golf course were my favorite. There’s also a beautiful basilica near the museum that we admired from afar. Next time, I’d love to go inside to check it out.
We headed back into Esker Grove to grab another cider (this time a Sociable Training Wheels) and took the suggestion of the bartender to walk south to Uptown. Yes, Uptown is south. It’s up of some town, I’m sure.
Uptown is the trending young professionals neighborhood full of everything the crunchy hippie part of my heart desires.
Coconut milk ice cream from Sebastian Joe’s in Uptown
We had dairy-free, vegan ice cream at two places: Sebastian Joe’s and Milkjam Creamery. First stop, obviously.
At Sebastian Joe’s, I got a scoop of their coconut milk strawberry and coconut milk dark chocolate (which had a funny name I can’t recall … maybe Nuclear?!) It was rich, creamy, and I couldn’t finish the whole thing. The kind of ice cream you could easily trick your newly diagnosed lactose intolerance kid with.
Milkjam was a more interesting experience though their ice cream was less creamy, more ice-y. While the ambience and scent at Sebastian Joe’s left a lo to be desired. MilkJam is bright, fun, and engaging. Their flavors and topping offers are much more condensed and unique – you can get a donut ice cream sandwich even! I chose the vegan (almond and coconut milk) Toasted Coconut + Black Chocolate.
Okay maybe it wasn’t called Black Chocolate but it was made from the darkest cocoa I’ve ever seen – literally black in color. I topped mine with a drizzle of olive oil and a flaked smoked sea salt… which they were super stingy with… the 15-year-old kid clearly did not understand my love for fat and salt. They also win on logo design.
MilkJam is connected to a restaurant that smelled like my Moroccan dreams called World Street Kitchen. We didn’t get to eat at it but it’s on my list for next time. The smells tied me over until then.
Organic cheese curds from Wisconsin and Lowry Hill Meats pickled beets for a quick snack
While in Uptown, we also visited Lowry Hill Meats and got a bag of organic cheese curds with a container of their house-pickled beets for snack. I wanted handfuls of salami and pastrami as well but I was saving my appetite for dinner at Burch Steakhouse.
At the recommendation of a bearded and kind-eyed patron at Esker Grove, we headed to Tao Natural Foods. It’s one of the coolest crunchy vegan shops/cafes I’ve ever been in. It felt like I was in a cozy wooden cave with smells of burdock and turmeric wafting through the air. There’s a small upstairs loft with an impressive selection of bulk organic herbs – everything you’ve heard of and never heard of. There’s even a small, cozy and dimly lit massage room with a lovely orange glow and scent of lavender eye pillows.
Tao Natural Foods’ upstairs loft herb bar
At the cafe, I ordered the best turmeric latte of my life and even grabbed the recipe from them. It was coconut milk, turmeric, cinnamon, honey and a splash of vanilla. Frothy, thick and so, so warming. Tao Natural Foods makes me want to be a 23-year-old Master’s student in Minneapolis on a cold February day.
For shopping, we visited Patina – this store was Urban Outfitters meets Etsy meets some Minnesota state park’s souvenir shop. I LOVED IT. And spend a lot of money. You have to visit and leave at least an hour to peruse! Pacifier in North Loop is also the cutest freakin’ baby store I’ve ever been inside. I mentally spent $2,000 there but physically bought Grace a $5.95 book. You can shop Pacifier online for gifts – I know I will be!
We walked around the Lowry Hills neighborhood after that and before dinner at Burch. Beautiful tree-lined streets, modest brick and shutter homes and apartments that probably cost 3x what they would in Florida. Very charming. The kind of neighborhood I’d love to live in – walkable to tons of shops and restaurants!
Our third night’s dinner at Burch did not disappoint. We arrived for an early 6 pm dinner and it was already packed. The smells of meat over an open flame, the sounds of a bustling city restaurant full of celebratory events, and the open kitchen was exciting. We ordered another Sociable cider, a grass-fed 6 ounce sirloin each (medium rare, charred crust) and a side of caramelized carrots with a sherry gastrique. The food was easily modifiable – the housemade A1 sauce and horseradish came on the side with pickled beech mushrooms. They left the goat cheese off the carrots – which were dessert in themselves. Caramelized in sugar water until dark brown with the perfect hint of wine-like vinegar. 7/10 for atmosphere and 9/10 for steak.
Grass-fed sirloin, glazed carrots & pickled beech mushrooms at Burch
Monday morning we walked to the North Loop Whole Foods for breakfast. It was only 3 blocks from the hotel, so I grabbed salad there every morning for my breakfast to save some money. They have a nice local chocolate selection there too! We also went to an adorable donut shop in The Skyway (indoor mall) called Cardigan Donuts. I didn’t see any gluten-free options but my husband enjoyed his 3 (!!!) donuts and coffee. Speaking of coffee, there’s so many amazing coffee shops in the city but our hotel had delicious coffee for free…. so we didn’t go to them! But I did have a homemade almond milk latte at Penny’s!
Oh yes, and we also tried two places for lunch that I recommend for grass-fed burger salads: Red Cow and French Meadow. We also had lunch at the Minneapolis-St Paul airport at French Meadow. They made me a wild salmon and kale salad with kalamata olives and scallions that was pretty good for airport food!
This was a FANTASTIC burger salad at Red Cow! Grass-fed & well-salted beef, a whole avocado & tender greens!
WALKABILITY OF THE CITY: 7/10 from the hotel to the Walker Art Center was 1.5 miles and to Uptown another 1 to 1.5 miles. We used Lyft and the drivers were so nice – one even gave us free water bottles he had in a little cooler for his riders. Uber can suck it.
FOOD & DRINK: 9/10 excellent for sustainable and organic food, unique menu items, well-designed cocktails and a wide variety of gluten-free cider choices – much healthier options than Chicago or even Austin!
PEOPLE: 10/10 SO DAMN NICE. Is “Minnesota Nice” a saying? I feel like I’ve heard that before. If not, it needs to be… everyone was incredibly helpful, accommodating and inquisitive. They wanted to know all about you unlike NYC or even Chicago where people put their heads down and avoid stranger interaction.
Authentic Thai Lemongrass Chicken Soup is my new recipe from the BRAND NEW Freezer Cooking for the AIP ebook!
This ebook contains 123 AIP + FREEZER-READY recipes from over 30 bloggers! You’ll get freezing, storing and reheating instructions for every recipe.
* 73 recipes were created specifically for this ebook – you won’t find them anywhere else!
* Chapters include: Breakfast, Appetizers, Snacks, Soups, Stew, Casseroles, Mains, Sides & Desserts (everyone’s favorite!)
* I’m even sharing recipes from The Healing Kitchen that have been adapted for freezer cooking!
*Make ahead meals for the whole family! This book would be great for busy moms, batch-cooking before baby arrives, working singles, frenzied families & those that like grab & go options!
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Some of my favorite exclusive recipes from Freezer Cooking for the AIP include my Thai Lemongrass Chicken Soup which I’m sharing with you below… as well as:
Chicken & Herb Dumpling Hot Dish
recipe & photo by Jaime Hartman of Gutsy by Nature
Creamy Beef & Rice Casserole
recipe & photo by Cristina Curp of Castaway Kitchen
An AIP take on Hail Merry Snacks…
“Be Merry” Strawberry & Dark Carob Tarts
recipe and photo by Andrea Wycoff of Forest & Fauna
Orange Pork Meatballs with Red Cabbage
recipe & photo by Kristina Risola of Food & Sunshine
Garlic Balsamic Beef
recipe & photo by Laura Vein of Sweet Treats
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Thai Lemongrass Chicken Soup
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2-inch piece dried galangal
- 2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 pound chicken breast, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 2 cups thinly sliced kale leaves
- Lime juice, to taste
- Ingredients for serving: Chopped cilantro
- Blend coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger until smooth using a high-speed blender. Transfer to a large saucepan or stockpot along with the chicken broth, galangal, fish sauce and sea salt. pan>
- Bring liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the chicken, mushrooms and kale and cover with a lid. Simmer for pan>10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are tender. pan>
3. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.pan>
Transfer soup to large glass container and refrigerate loosely covered until cool. Seal with a lid and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. pan>
- Allow soup to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. pan>
- Heat in a saucepan over medium-low heat until warm. pan>
- Garnish with chopped cilantro. pan>