Monthly Archives: April 2012

An Avocado a Day …

keeps the wrinkles at bay. Why should this come as any surprise?  It perhaps does to a recent piece in  The Metro; since it is being lauded as the ‘olive oil of the Americas’.

the ‘pear-fect’ anti-ageing ingredient

The avocado is oft touted as a ‘superfood’ (gah, I do find that word  irritating and a tool of marketing hype!).  All foods are super in their own way, BUT the Avocado is a power-house of supercharged, nutrient-dense, creamy versatility, providing monosatured fats such as omega 3-6, vitamins a,c, e, h, k  b-complex, folic acid, plus various minerals such as magnesium (curbs sugar cravings!), iron, copper, calcium.  What’s not to like!?

Benefits of Avocados

It seems many women steer clear of the humble avocado, for fear of of its FAT content.  Pshwah!   It would be better for your waist and your wallet to reduce your intake of saturated fats (processed foods, hard cheese, red meat, butter and refined sugar, pastry) and hidden refined sugars  … muffin anyone?   The Avocado is one of the ultimate beauty foods, the skin and nervous system need good fats (polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats) to function effectively and the Avocado is filling, nutritious, hormone balancing and fabulous for the skin.

I eat about 2 avocados minimum a week (if I can find nice ripe ones!) and I mainly chop them up and put them in a salad, or for a quick snack I mash them with a wooden spoon until smooth and add in Paprika, lemon juice, black pepper and a little drizzle of Olive or Rapeseed oil and pile it on some toast ..Yum.   I will post some more adventurous foodie recipes with Avocado soon, a lot of ingredients that I’m thinking of using are not in season or available yet.

Although, the benefits of any food are best absorbed via our diets, if you are Avocado-averse, why not try using a good quality organic Avocado oil as an alternative for veg and salad dressing?

Even better, why not  include it in your skincare regime?  I would suggest purchasing in small quantities as it does have a short shelf-life and once a bottle is opened is best used up within 6 months of opening.   I have found it very popular with students and clients in my teaching practice and clinic when creating skin blends.  It is rather rich, but has a very creamy, dense texture.  Amazingly softening, it is a wonderful oil to use at night on dry, dehydrated and mature skin, sun damaged skin or used as a body oil, especially used on legs and arms which can tend to dry out more.  I purchase  my organic base oils and essential oils from www.materiaaromatica.com, who have amazing quality raw materials and also a selection of skincare blends.

Green beauty – Avocado Oil

(*picture credit: www.cookingissues.com)

Here is a recipe to tempt you:

  • Super Softening Facial oil (20ml)

10 ml Avocado oil

5ml   Jojoba oil

5ml Macadamia oil

Use every night after cleansing, you will need about a 5p piece size of oil warm in hands and then press into skin, including neck and chin.  Then apply upward strokes to work the oil into the skin without dragging.   Massage any excess into hands and nails.  If your skin is excessively dry or mature, try using just Avocado oil on its own.  The macadamia and jojoba oils are extremely skin compatible and absorb well without leaving a heavy or greasy residue.    This blend would also be rather fabulous on shins and legs, to get you pins summer perfect!

If you would like to naturally fragrance your oil blend, use a 25ml bottle and you could add a blend of the following:

  1. 4 drops Frankincense + 2 drops Rose (dry/sensitive skin)
  2. 4 drops Frankincense + 2 drops Grapefruit  (combination skin)
  3. 3 drops Lavender + 3 drops Patchouli (sensitive, dry, all skins – balancing)Do not use essential oils during 1st trimester of pregnancy, see advice from a qualified Aromatherapist (IFA. IFPA) if you are receiving GP or alternative healthcare for any health conditions.

     

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Filed under Anti-ageing, Food, Recipes, Skin, SuperFood

Get Buffy with it ..

skin like an armadillo?
image: animal-wildlife.blogspot.com

Ok, Spring has sprung … the sun has been a bit shy of shining but you know it is only a matter of time before the legs and arms will have to be revealed in all their pallid, bumpy, pasty, dehydrated glory (unless you have been a dedicated  goddess of sloughing and slathering over the winter months …yeah ..riiiight!?)

Well, following on from the Avocado post, here are a few top tips for gently coaxing that skin to hydrated, smooth,* ‘plumptiousness’.. ready … action!

My top 7 tips to shed the Armadillo

  1.  Eat your greens, nuts, seeds, oily fish, berries, and  whole grains
  2.  Stay hydrated – pure water, or to jazz it up thin slices of cucumber, or lime/lemon/ orange and put in a jug of water – chill and drink through the day; hot water and lemon, green/herbal teas (keep coffee and tea, cola and juices to a minimum)

    The ultimate beauty tool – a body brush!

  3. Dry skin brush daily – effective and cheap!  Purchase a long-handled natural bristle brush and start gently, before your morning shower, brushing in UPWARD strokes from soles of feet, up legs (back/front), buttocks, back, gently in overlapping strokes, I use circular motions on abdomen (clockwise direction) but you can use upward, arms brushing towards armpit from fingertips, very gently across chest and finally upper back.  Carry out daily for a week, then alternate days for a further week. (Avoid brushing like a possessed Lady Macbeth with a brillo pad – raw lobster look is not the  desired result, and avoid the face and breasts).

    Skin brushing diagram
    (image: www.subtlethings.com)

  4. Shower with a non-drying soap or shower gel
  5. Anoint and nourish your body with a mini massage daily after your shower apply your favourite body lotion/oil/butter or make this one up:
  • 10 ml Macadamia oil
  • 10 ml Jojoba oil or Coconut oil (or combine 5 ml of each)

Macadamia is a ‘dry’ oil and is deceptively rich even though it is easily absorbed into the skin – it is one of my favourite oils, I love it and it suits all skin-types.   Jojoba is actually a liquid wax and is very similar in chemical structure to human sebum, it is suitable for all skin types and is excellent to use neat as a facial oil.  Coconut is extremely economical, provides excellent glide and leaves skin gleaming.

6. Exfoliate with a physical scrub once a week, paying attention to legs, buttocks and upper arms in particular.  Here is a simple one to try at home:

Limes for your Exotic Citrus scrub

Exotic Sugar Lime and Ginger

2 tablespoons White sugar
2 tablespoons Brown sugar
Olive oil/coconut or grapeseed
2  drops ginger essential oil
4 drops lime essential oil
Combine the sugars in a jar and add the single or combine the oils gradually to achieve your desired consistency, if you add too much oil just add more of the sugar.  Texture should be gritty enough but enough oil to allow to scrub over skin.  You can adjust the ratio of the essential oils to suit your personal taste, but do not exceed a total of 10 drops.  Store in a clean jar and use 1-2 times a week.  I tend to apply the scrub on dry skin in circular movements over desired areas and then shower off.  The oils leave the skin really soft – bonus!  *just take care getting out of bath and ensure you clean off any residual oil as you don’t want to have a ‘kodak slip-up’ moment.
7. Exercise – get your heart pumping, the skin is one of our largest excretory organs and yet in the West we actually do not sweat enough.  Try Zumba, Spinning, a run, power yoga, vigorous walk, dancing ..whatever it takes.  Shower as soon as you can after your exertions, keep hydrated with a glass of water and keep your blood sugar up a banana , some nuts, oatcakes (+ some cheeky peanut butter) afterwards etc

*my own word, (well it is not just the perogative of Shakespeare)  in my head it means skin that has that bouncy, lit from within, peachy-rose radiance ..it’s achieved with inner goodness (thoughts and food), outer ‘goddess-ness’ (the sloughing and slathering) and yes,… some sweaty cardio too has to be endured!

Let me know how you get on .. I aim to be ‘pin-perfect’ by end of June … that’s the goal!

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Filed under Body Oils, Body Scrubs, Recipes, Skin, Well-being

Earth Day 2012 – Get Kneading!

Hello and welcome to The Beauty Botaneer and Living Lusciously

I thought it an auspicious day to start my blog – so here it is!

It’s been germinating for a while; as part of my job (Complementary Therapist, specialising in Aromatherapy and Essential Oil science), I always seem to email news tidbits or recommend ideas, recipes and current health tips to friends and clients.   It dawned on me that maybe I should put it all in one place; a virtual space to share my tips, experiences, recommendations, news and recipes on natural beauty, holistic health and wellbeing.

That old maxim ‘your health is your wealth’ truly resonates with me; when I am eating well, resting, doing activities that I enjoy,  keeping active and fit and enjoying life I feel resilient and in balance; so much more positive and motivated to pursue life and my goals with zest.  I am not always a paragon of virtue – so if anything this blog will help me to stay on track and be accountable!

I love creating botanical skincare and developing workshops and courses so I am always researching and creating new recipes (which I hope to share with you in time); you will notice a lot of ‘smell’ and ‘foodie’ threads and references, as these are my two greatest passions!

It is possible to enjoy natures’ bounty and simple luxuries whilst treading lightly on the earth and respecting its resources, as we (ideally!) respect our own.   But, don’t worry this is a hairshirt-free zone (although a raw salad may creep in somewhere!)

So, here’s a toast to good health, living radiantly and sucking the sunshine out of life.

And, since it is  Earth Day,  it would be nice to honour it in some way, even if you don’t see this post for a while, why not make a date with yourself to get out in nature sometime this week, or do something that connects you to this wonderful planet.

  • Go buy a plant for the home or office,
  • Plant some seeds – herbs are easy, peasy
  • Sit by a tree and meditate, or cloudburst!
  • Or for the ultimate feel good therapy, bake some bread.  This is an easy recipe to follow and Spelt is an ancient grain with a lower gluten level than wheat.  I added green olives to it, but you can  jazz it up with walnuts & raisins, dates, apricots, sunflower or pumpkin seeds – in any combination you wish:

Olive & Spelt Loaf Recipe

I got this recipe from a packet of Doves Farm Organic Wholegrain Spelt flour (snappy title!).  It’s sooo  therapeutic to make your own bread – this was my FIRST ever attempt.  Put kettle on, some music of choice in the background and fuelled by a pot of tea  away you go.  You can  knead away with a virtuous inner glow,  knowing that there are no fillers, extra gluten, sugar and trans-fats creeping in.

Use your loaf - my olive and spelt experiment!

 Ingredients:

  • 10oz/250g Wholegrain Spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp Yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 175ml/ 6 fl.oz warm water
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 75g/30z Pitted Olives

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, quick yeast and sugar.

Carefully measure the water and roughly mix into the flour.  While dough is still craggy add the olive oil and knead well until it feels smooth and pliable.

Leave the dough in a bowl covered with a cloth, in a draught free place for the dough to double in size.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, add the olives (or your substitutions) and  knead firmly for several minutes.

Shape the dough and put into a 1kg/2lb bread tin, or (like me) place on an oiled baking sheet and leave to rise for about 25 mins in a warm place (I turned the oven on in advance and then left my baking tray on top of the hob – ideal to help the bread rise!).

Then place in the oven (pre-heated) for 35/40 mins.  I have a gas oven and to err on side of caution I put on gas mark 5, but I checked in after 25 mins to ensure it was browning just nicely.

*******

It taste delicious, quite dense but not heavy  - lovely served with hummous or with butter and a good jam (if using the olives-free version!!).  I also made a date and sunflower seed one…scrummy.

Send me your pics or easy bread recipes you have tried!

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Filed under Bread, Recipes, Well-being