Reviewed: The Organic Pharmacy’s Signature Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial

 Reviewed: The Organic Pharmacy’s Signature Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial

words by Harriet Chubb

After one too many people in the industry had exclaimed their surprise that I was yet to try a product from The Organic Pharmacy, let alone a treatment, I decided it was high time I booked myself in for a facial at my local branch in Richmond. Nestled subtly into the hustle and bustle of Richmond high street, stepping into the store had an immediate calming effect and I was warmly greeted by the staff, who all needless to say, had flawless skin, a wonderful advertisement for the brand. Opting for the Signature Rose Crystal Lymphatic Facial (I had heard so much about the Carrot Butter Cleanser and wanted to try it for myself in a facial) my beauty therapist, Diaria, settled me into the incredibly peaceful and divinely fragranced room. Always thinking (rather smugly I might add) that I had great skin, albeit slightly dry – Diaria managed to educate me more about my dermis than any therapist has ever managed to. Highly educated in skin science, she was able to identify hidden blackheads around my nose, forehead and chin and skilfully and painlessly extracted them, teaching me along the way how to prevent them in the future. The facial that subsequently followed was one of the most relaxing experiences I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. The Carrot Butter Cleanser is applied first to soften and decongest the skin, followed by a complexion brightening flower petal exfoliation. Three separate masks of seaweed, honey and jasmine were then applied to me before she used rose crystals to decongest my lymphatic system. I am ashamed to say that at this point I promptly and embarrassingly fell asleep as the process was that relaxing. I am assured by Diaria though that an acupressure massage then took place to firm the facial muscles.

The result was immediate, once outside and back on the shop floor I could see and feel that my face was noticeably brighter, clearer and glowing. In fact it was difficult to not constantly touch my face to reiterate the soft feeling. The staff were extremely attentive at this point too, taking me through every product that was used and why it works so well. Diaria made me see that I needed to change my steadfast, standard skin routine from cleanse, tone, moisturise, to cleanse, tone, repair, moisturise in the morning and to only cleanse, tone and repair the skin at night. My thick layer of moisturiser before bed has apparently never been necessary as when you sleep your skin needs to repair, not work hard to absorb excess moisture.

“I wanted to create exceptional treatments that focus entirely on the individual through a combination of techniques and fantastic products so that you could see visible results every time”. This quote by Margo Marrone, the Co-founder of The Organic Pharmacy, superbly sums up the experience that I had at the Richmond store a few weeks ago, the knowledge of the staff and the quality of the products meant that I left entirely rejuvenated and educated, I couldn’t recommend it highly enough and I hope to return again soon.

Signature Rose Crystal Facial – The Ultimate Facial Experience. 60 min £80 & 90 min £110 (including Collagen Boost Mask and feet and arm massage)

The Organic Pharmacy, 3, George Street, Richmond, 0208 948 7049 [email protected]


Fitness Myths Busted

Fitness Myths Busted

by the experts at

Recent research shows that whilst exercise of any kind is good for boosting the immune system, maintaining a healthy heart and even producing positive psychological effects, it could also be counterproductive and cause you to put on more weight than you actually burn off.  Part of the problem is what scientists refer to as ‘compensation’ and it works on the principle that whilst low-moderate exercise can burn calories, it can also stimulate hunger meaning in the long term you eat more and therefore store more fat. We talk to the experts at my to bust some fitness myths so that you put your energy in where it counts…

Small exercises tone better
One of the biggest mistakes people make in the gym is doing small, isolated exercises like bicep curls or tricep extensions thinking that this will tone certain parts of the body. Studies show the best way to tone the body is to do large compound exercises like squats, lunges, press ups and deadlifts since these require more muscle fibres to perform and as a general rule of thumb the more muscle fibres you recruit the more calories you burn.

You can lose fat from certain parts of the body
Another common gym myth is that you can lose fat from certain parts of the body like your stomach or hips. This isn’t true and unfortunately you can’t exactly pick where you lose fat from. The good news is that if you persevere and are determined, you will eventually lose fat from your ‘problem areas.’

Low intensity cardio is best for losing fat
Research conducted at the Exercise Physiology Laboratory at the University of California in America found that low intensity cardiovascular exercise increased fat mobilisation, but not fat burning and that high intensity training such as strength training or sprinting was found to burn far more fat.

Low calorie diets are best for losing weight
Whilst it is true you need to create a ‘calorie deficit’ and use more calories than you eat, if you restrict your calories too much your body responds by going into survival mode, slowing the metabolism down and conserving fat. Therefore it’s important to gradually reduce you calorie intake over a period of time.

Lots of repetitions burn more fat
Quite often when in the gym people will perform an exercise for 20 repetitions thinking the extra reps will help to burn fat, but research shows lower reps with a heavier weight (between 8-12) could be far better at burning fat since this puts more of a demand on the body and sends a signal to your endocrine system to increase the metabolism for up to 48 hours afterward.

The Healthy Eating Weekend Plan

The Healthy Eating Weekend Plan

When it comes to the weekend, any plans of eating healthily over the week tend to get thrown out the window causing metabolisms to slow, sugar levels to rise and weight gain. We’ve teamed up with the scientists at to bring you a ‘Healthy Eating Plan’ for the weekend that addresses the common dietary mistakes people make and reveal the nutritional tips and specialist vitamins and minerals you should be incorporating in your diet to help ensure you get the results you want.  



Swap: Croissant with butter and jam

For: Cinnamon porridge oats with blueberries


Studies show that what we eat for breakfast can affect everything from our mood, cravings and energy levels for the rest of the day. It has a lot to do with our blood sugar levels because when we eat a carbohydrate high in sugars such as a croissant with jam and butter it can cause our blood sugar levels to rise and fall dramatically. This then brings about certain hormonal changes in the body that can cause us to crave other sugary snacks and also leave us feeling tired and lethargic. A breakfast of cinnamon porridge oats and berries on the other hand is perfect for regulating blood sugar levels, stopping cravings and keeping the body slowly energised throughout the day since the low glycaemic index carbohydrates supply a slow sustained release of energy, the cinnamon has been shown to control blood sugar levels and the nutrient dense blueberries contain a natural compound called flavonoids which help to jump-start and nourish the metabolism.


Swap: Tea and chocolate biscuits

For: Green tea and an apple


Whilst there are certainly benefits of drinking tea such as the antioxidant properties, there isn’t when it comes to the added sugar, milk and chocolate biscuits. That’s why it may be better to substitute your normal morning tea with green tea and an apple since green tea contains a catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which as well as being associated with a number of health benefits such as helping to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and reduction in the risk of cancer, it’s also thought to be responsible for the fat loss properties of green tea by increasing your body’s ability to use stored body fat as energy. Also just one apple contains 95 calories, has zero fat and cholesterol, contains crucial vitamins such as vitamins C, K and B6 and is high in fibre to help keep you fuller for longer. Alternatively you can buy Green Tea Extract Capsules.


Swap: Pepperoni pizza

For: Cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado and salsa


Pizza dough is a high glycaemic carbohydrate which means it causes blood sugar levels to rise, insulin to be released and therefore causes your body to store fat and this is only made worse by the fact you usually eat your lunch whilst sat at the table doing nothing physically active. But research shows you can still burn calories even whilst you sit there as long as you ditch the pizza for something healthier, like a cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado and salsa. This is because studies show cayenne pepper can increase the body’s metabolism by 25%. Plus avocados contain the enzyme lipase, which is the enzyme responsible for breaking down fat that is stored in the body.


Swap: 30 minutes of slow jogging on a treadmill

For: 15 minute of High Intensity Interval Training


According to research published in the Journal of Obesity in 2011, regular steady state exercise such as ‘walking and jogging at a moderate intensity disappointingly has led to negligible weight loss.’ This is because scientists believe slow endurance training like running at a low speed can mobilise fat on the body but not actually burn it. That same journal however stated how a method of training called High Intensity Interval Training not only required less time to perform, but also was far better at burning body fat and increasing the metabolism so you continued to burn calories even after you’ve finished at the gym. High Intensity Interval Training simply involves working at 85% of your maximum work rate for 30 seconds (e.g. sprinting or very quickly cycling) followed by 100 seconds working at 60% of your maximum heart rate (e.g. jogging or cycling slowly) on and off for 15 minutes.


Swap: Cheese burger

For: Grilled wild salmon with chickpeas, kidney beans and white beans


Salmon is a great source of the essential fatty acid Omega 3 which studies have shown can increase the body’s ability to burn fat by ‘up-regulating’ the efficiency of the mitochondria to burn fat. The mitochondria are best described as the powerhouses of our cells and put simply when they work better, we burn more fat. Fortunately for those who don’t like fish you can get Omega 3 in your diet in supplement form and 60 soft gels of Omega 3:


Swap: Spaghetti Bolognaise

For: Spanish omelette with chopped green vegetables and peppers


Your metabolism slows down when you sleep so any excess carbohydrates or calories you eat at night will be stored as fat whilst you sleep. That’s why it’s important your last meal of the day is a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie and high protein meal since this will ensure all your hard work at the gym isn’t undone overnight.


8:00am: Morning run without breakfast 


One way of increasing the amount of fat you can burn is by going for a 30-45 minute first thing in the morning without eating any breakfast. What this effectively does is force your body to use stored fat as energy since your body has gone 8 hours without eating (whilst you sleep) so your muscle glycogen levels and insulin levels are low and glucagon levels are high, put simply this means hormonally your body is in the perfect state to start burning fat. So to do this wake up in the morning, get hydrated with a glass of water but don’t eat anything. Then go for a 30-45 minute run and then you can eat your breakfast.


Swap: Toast and marmalade or chocolate spread

For: Fruit smoothie made with Acai Berries


The basic principle of losing weight is to use more calories than you eat, but often people will make the mistake of not eating enough nutrient dense foods to keep their metabolism and other normal bodily functions running efficiently. That’s why it’s important to ensure you eat enough fruit since it contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes that keep the body nourished despite the calorie deficit. One of the most nutrient dense foods to receive huge media attention in recent years due to celebrities such as Oprah and Brad Pitt using them is Acai berries. Rich in antioxidants, omega fats, phytochemicals and vitamin A, B1 and C they are considered by nutritionists to be a great addition to any diet.


Swap: Toast and marmalade or chocolate spread

For: Whole wheat crackers with almond butter


Research conducted at Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain found that the healthy fat content in nuts produced very good satiating effect in those looking to lose weight.  Therefore having whole wheat crackers with almond butter as a mid-morning snack will help stop cravings, reduce hunger and more importantly prevent any lapses in your diet.


Swap: A chocolate bar

For: An orange


Now obviously chocolate isn’t great for you but perhaps less obvious is the fact oranges are a great source of Vitamin C, which has been shown to promote the production of Carnitine in the body, which can break down and oxidize fatty acids in the body.


Swap: Fish and chips

For: Lean beef steak with steamed carrots, broccoli and cauliflower


Scientists have found that a specially fatty acid known as Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) found in beef can actually increase your body’s ability to burn fat. Scientists from the I-Shou University, the study took 63 obese subjects and randomly assigned them to receive daily supplements of CLA (3.4 grams) or a placebo (salad oil) in a milk product for 12 weeks. Results showed that after 12 weeks of supplementation participants in the CLA group displayed average decreases in bodyweight of 0.7kg, BMI of 0.31 kg/m2, body fat mass of 0.58kg and fat percentage of 0.6%. Unfortunately CLA is only present in beef in small doses and not the effective 3.4gram dose mentioned in the study above, fortunately 60 soft gels of pure CLA are available from for £7.99.

Image taken from


Back to Reality: How a trip to Mount Haven, Penzance healed my back pain

Back to Reality

 How a trip to Mount Haven, Penzance healed my back pain

I write this on the train returning to London after a weekend in Penzance where the impossible happened – the year-long pain in my back vanished. It all started when I fell off a surf board at Sydney’s Bondi Beach (not cool). When I emerged from the waves (they weren’t even big, I’m ashamed to say) I felt an unusual sensation in my upper back and neck and by the time I had reached the shore everything had frozen up. It was the type of pain that you get when you wake up having slept funny, or pick up the shopping bags to quickly and something just snaps (at least that’s what it feels like) – its utterly excruciating, totally debilitating and when it eases it puts the fear of god in you that at any moment it could come back.

I have been living with a slight pain in my upper back ever since I had the accident a year ago now. I can feel it when I get dressed, when I laugh, when I run and when I stretch… All the blinking-time in other words. That was until I met Sam at Mount Haven.

I came down to Cornwall’s Marazion coast for the Festival of Sport, a weekend dedicated to games, races, triathlons and some live music in the evening. And it was when I was trying to book myself into a hotel called Mount Haven that I found out about the lovely treatments they offer – they couldn’t find me a room but would I be interested in a massage? Why, yes, I would. And that was that.

A few words on Mount Haven itself; run by husband and wife team, Mike and Orange, it’s cosy, relaxed, yet stylish, and every bit lives up to its name. As you step in the door, you are greeted by the calming smell of incense. I was then introduced to Sam, my masseuse, who also revealed she was an osteopath. When she asked me if I have any particular problems I told her my surfing accident story. Sam then took a look at my back and diagnosed me with scoliosis – a common condition that means my spine is slightly curved. She also felt the area that has been causing me pain and said confidently that she thought she could help.

As I lay on the bed Sam pressed on particular points around my upper back and as she did I felt a sharp stabbing pain that, after a few seconds, began to gently ease as though she was taking the pressure off. This is because given enough time the ‘trigger points’ in the tissue, which are lacking blood supply and consequently are in a state of spasm, send a message to the brain, which in turn sends a signal back to the tissue to release. Also, when the pressure is released the tissue is flooded with fresh blood containing the oxygen and nutrition that the tissue needs to stay functional and healthy. It felt unbelievable. Afterwards my back felt lighter and so much more at ease. I had finally found someone that had actually made a difference, three doctor appointments, 10 physio sessions, and 11 massages later.

As I said, I am now on the train home and it feels like a completely different journey to the uncomfortable one on the way out in which I had to adjust my seating position every ten minutes. This is great news as I may just have to take another trip down to Mount Haven very soon.

Find out more about Mount Haven here: They are currently running a special offer on their “Time to Transform Getaway Breaks”. If you have a back problem and want some advice on the best way to deal with it you can contact Sam at [email protected]

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

recipe by Deliciously Ella

These muffins are insanely delicious. So beautifully rich and chocolatey with awesome little pieces of crunchy pecans spread throughout the soft, gooey middle! It’s the zucchini that makes the texture so perfect though as it makes the mixture so much moister than before, ensuring that each bit melts in your mouth.

They’re super healthy too, packed with all kinds of goodness from the nutty plant protein, to all the fiber, polyphenols, potassium, magnesium  and vitamins C & A. So now you can indulge without the guilt!

Makes 14 muffins


– 1 large zucchini

2 heaped dessert spoons of raw cacao

1 ripe banana

2 cups of ground almonds

1 1/2 cups of pecans

1/2 a cup of quinoa or brown rice flour

1/4 of a cup of almond milk

1/4 of a cup of raw agave

8 medjool dates

1 dessert spoon of coconut oil

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract

1 teaspoon of baking powder

sprinkling of salt


Start by pre-heating the oven to 180C.

Remove the ends of the zucchini and grate it onto a plate – use the finest side of a cheese grater to do this.

Then place the pecans in a food processor for 10 second intervals until they brake into little crunchy pieces, leave these to one side.

Place the banana, pitted dates, agave, almond milk, grated zucchini, cinnamon, vanilla bean, baking powder, salt and cacao into the food processor (without the pecans).

Once they have turned into a smooth paste pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl with the almond flour, quinoa flour and pecan pieces. Mix well

Place the muffins into muffin cases and bake for about 15 minutes, until the top begins to brown and a knife can be stuck in and removed without any batter sticking to it.

Leave to cool and set for about an hour. Then enjoy!

Sweet Nothings: Try a low-sugar diet by using these healthier substitutes instead…

words by Miss Savvy

Sugar is the devil incarnate affecting our skin, hormones and digestion and let’s not be fooled here; whether you are choosing the whiter than white sachet sugar at the greasy spoon or opting for the nice brown natural looking stuff, it’s much of a muchness. Brown sugar has a little molasses added to give it that ‘healthy’ look but nowhere near enough for there to be any nutritional value. So is there an alternative that will offer a little more than empty calories and waist expansion? Thankfully there is!

I divide them into two camps;

1/ Healthy Slimmers- agave nectar, xylitol and stevia.

2/ Health Maintainers- honey and molasses.

Before we embark upon this journey to the land of all things sweet I would like to add that one of the best things we can do for our health is to curb our sweet cravings and opt for the savory side of life. Tuck into green leafy veggies, pulses, slow releasing carbs like sweet potatoes, buckwheat and brown rice. Enjoy good quality protein and snack on nuts and seeds. Eat fruit in moderation; though high in fructose it also contains vitamins and the all important fibre. But if something more resembling the fine white is needed then choose from below and use sparingly.

Agave Nectar
Agave is one sweet babe and takes me back to my ‘Lyles Golden Syrup’ childhood but how does it rate as a healthy alternative? Agave is from a Mexican plant that produces the sticky juice that is ninety percent fructose. For this reason it has had some bad press and been likened to high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So what are it’s redeeming points? As the sugar in the syrup occurs naturally it shouldn’t contribute to tooth decay in the same way as sugar, it has a much lower glycemic index than sugar (30 as opposed to 100)meaning it won’t dump a huge hit of sugar in your bloodstream, it contains naturally occurring calcium and iron and as it is sweeter than sugar you will tend to use less. Drizzle with vigilance and always buy a premium raw agave nectar. Perfect with porridge, pancakes and anything that cries out for syrup.

Pronounced zy-lit-ol this is the one to favour if you want a sweetener that looks and tastes just like white granulated sugar; even hard core sugar fanatics will not be able to tell the difference! It is obtained from plant fibres so completely natural, it’s GI is a ridiculously low 7 so it will have minimal effect on blood sugar levels and it has 40% less calories than sugar; it’s a win win! And there’s more; Xylitol is tooth friendly by minimising the bacteria which cause tooth decay and it is good for the gut as it discourages the growth of candida. Superb in baking it can be used like for like and to replace anywhere where you see the granulated sugar sign apart from in baking bread as it inhibits yeast.

The leaves of this small shrub from China and South America have been used for several centuries to sweeten tea, medicine and as a very sweet treat- Stevia is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar! The leaves have a liquorice taste but when refined it retains its uber sweetness without the aftertaste and is a very attractive zero calories. Stevia has almost no effect on blood glucose, will not feed bad bacteria in the mouth and is a divine combination with fruit, cereal or in your cuppa. Stevia is also heat stable so can be used in cooking and baking but it can be tricky getting the sweetness right. There is a school of thought that is concerned that the stevia we consume is so chemically processed that it is many moons away from the plant (which also contains phytochemicals and nutrients) and therefore health concerns could arise but only more research will be able to verify this.

Rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals honey has been used as a food and medicine since ancient times but not all honey is made alike. Many have undergone a process of ultra filtration and pasteurization which strips it of many nutritional benefits. Opt for raw and local honey as it is very high in antioxidants; the darker the colour the higher the level. It also contains propolis that is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal and being local it will be a big boost for your immunity. Manuka is also a savvy choice; excellent for the immune system, gut health and skin conditions such as acne and eczema. It provides what is called non-peroxide activity (NPA) which is a unique antibacterial property that is not so easily affected by heat, light or chemicals in the gut. Aim for 5+ – 15+ UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) and get spreading!

Black as midnight and densely rich molasses is the by-product of the sugar cane refining process. The juice extracted from the sugar beet is boiled down, the sugars crystallize and deposit and the syrup left over is molasses. This process happens three times producing three kinds of molasses; light, dark and black strap. With each cycle the molasses contain less sugar but more vitamins and minerals so it would be a wise choice to reach for the black strap. Deep and spicy it is perfect in ginger cakes, spread over toast, oatcakes or any cracker of your choice and yummy with porridge. Molasses is prized for it’s high iron content but also contains magnesium, potassium and calcium. Try the ‘Mineral Morning Cup’ by simply mixing a teaspoon of molasses with hot water to create a fuelling full-bodied beverage.

I would like to end with our old store cupboard staple Cinnamon – so easily relegated to a mere sprinkling on a cappuccino or Christmas bun. The wonders of cinnamon are legendary helping to relieve bloating, heartburn and stabilize blood sugar levels. Cinnamon can be mixed with any of the above to create a lively mix.

So let’s ditch the sugar coated life, savor the savoury and when a tad of sweetening is required opt for more than empty calories.




Hip and Healthy Pesto (Dairy-Free)

Hip and Healthy Pesto (Dairy-Free)

by Saskia Gregson-Williams

I made this vegan pesto as a dip at a lunch party recently and it went down such a treat. I find it very difficult to find tasty dairy-free pesto, it’s normally either too oily or not oily enough and never tastes fresh. This homemade recipe uses a mixture of herbs and nuts giving it another delicious dimension of taste. Try adding it to a sandwich, pasta dish or have as a dip with a host of colourful raw veg.

Nutritional Value:
Unbeknown to most, pesto – and this one in particular – is packed full of healthy ingredients. The basil, which contains an oil called eugenol, is packed with a host of anti-inflamatory properties. And the garlic is a fantastic immune booster. The pine nuts are a great source of fibre and they are also known for making you feel fuller for longer, not to mention that they are a good way to get some protein too. The mint is also a wonderful digestive and the cilantro (coriander) is a superb cleanser.


1 cup basil

1/3 cup cilantro

1/2 cup parsley

1/4 cup mint

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup pecans

1-2 cloves fresh garlic

1/2 cup Organic Olive oil

Sea salt, to taste

Combine herbs, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and process the mixture until it turns into a coarse meal. Then slowly add olive oil continuing to pulse the blender on and off. Continue blending until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Season with sea salt to taste. Move to a bowl, cover and store for at least an hour before serving.


Editor’s Pick: What to snack on whilst you work

* Sweet Treat: 9bar, £1.89 for four, Waitrose
9bars are a fantastic way to satiate your sweet tooth without picking something terribly bad for you. Jam-packed with nutritious seeds including sunflower, sesame, poppy and pumpkin, 9bar’s latest addition, Peanut, adds crunchy roasted peanuts and a pinch of salt to give this yummy snack bar a unique texture and the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavours. All 9bars are dairy- and wheat-free.

* Savory Snack: Popchips, 69p, Waitrose
Those who can’t help but reach for a packet of crisps at 4pm will love the healthy alternative, Popchips. Opt for the original flavour and you’ll be getting a minimal combination of just five ingredients – which is what we like to hear. They are just 95 calories too and have no trans fats, fake colouring or flavouring, no preservatives and no cholesterol.

* Raw Kick: Nosh’s Raw Smoothie, £3.49, Wholefoods
From the owners of Nosh Detox comes a new range of smoothies on the market – the first EVER raw smoothie. Thought that all your smoothies were raw? We did too, but we soon found out that the smoothies on the market are actually heated to a high temperature so that they can last longer on the shelves but the downside to doing this is that it kills a lot of the goodness. Nosh’s Raw Smoothie uses an entirely different (and secret) technique allowing you to receive all the wonderful benefits of eating raw as the smoothies retain all their vitamins and nutrients.


Free Manicure with Every At Home Facial

We have managed to secure a fantastic offer from the brilliant girls at Perfect 10 Mobile Beauty for our loyal readers of Hip and Healthy….

Gone for a pedicure and immediately smudged your feet leaving the salon? Had your brand new spray tan rained on while walking home? Hate the feeling of being on the tube after having a cleansing facial? Perfect 10 eliminate all these problems by coming straight to the comfort of your own home to perform high-end beauty treatments at an affordable price. We especially love their Elemental Herbology facials, paraben and SLS free, this relaxing facial includes an extensive face massage and a pressure point foot massage, all bespoke and tailored to your own skin’s needs. We know how good they are as we have tested them ourselves!

Hip and Healthy Readers will get a FREE mini manicure if you book a full 1 hour 15 minute Elemental Herbology Facial at just £75.

Sign up to our free email updates and you can access the offer by quoting ‘Hip and Healthy’ when you book.

Perfect 10 operate in London; contact them to book through their website:

Passport to Glow: Great Skin Diet Tips From Around The World

words by Skin Expert and Organic Skin Care Range, Nourish, Founder, Pauline Hili

Japan – Eat Until You’re 80% Full and Add Seaweed
When looking for inspiration from around the globe one of the best kept secrets to healthy ageing through our dietary behaviour comes from the Japanese Okinawan population who practice Hara haci bu. This translates to ‘eat until you are 80% full’ and is an Okinawan cultural habit. The Okinawans’  life expectancy is amongst the highest in the world and their practice of stopping at 80% capacity is a smart way of avoiding over-eating as it takes the stomach receptors about 20 minutes after stopping eating to register the level of fullness. Many studies support the theory of reducing the calorific burden on our bodies being linked to longevity and we should all be eating based on nutritional value rather than watching calorific value. It’s better for your skin and your overall health. Also, seaweed plays a big part in the dietary intake of the Okinawanian diet. It’s packed with the broadest range of minerals of any food known on earth as well as lots of anti-inflammatory B vitamins making it excellent for promoting healthy skin. Recent research has focused on a class of chemicals know as fucoidans, which are found almost exclusively in certain kinds of seaweed. These molecules are fast emerging as the anti aging super-heroes and play a role in tissue regeneration, immune function and cell to cell communication. Seaweed is a great regular addition to your diet as fucoidans are not found in any of the common ingredients in our usual Western diets.

Mexico – Discover the Benefits of Jicama
Vitamin C ranks amongst the most important vitamins for healthy skin. Scouring the globe for vegetables with high levels of vitamin C we land in the heart of Mexico where Jicama, an indigenous root vegetable packed full of vitamin C, forms part of the staple diet. It has white flesh and a slightly nutty flavor similar to that of the water chestnut. Vitamin C is crucial to the development of collagen, which is the main structural protein of the skin and it also plays a vital role in the cell renewal process. Top Tip: Not just a nutritionally beneficial food, when used topically, the juice of the Jicama has both moisturising and energizing properties by stimulating the metabolism of the skin’s cells and increases the hydration of the skin.

India – Sprinkle Black Cumin Seeds
Although it is certainly not an excuse to head to your local take-away, the black cumin seeds, which traditionally top the Peshawari naan that accompanies some typical Indian dishes, contain an oil that has been shown to strengthen the hair and finger nails and improve shine when eaten frequently. The oil comes from the seeds of the annual flowering plant native to south and southwest Asia and it has a pungent, bitter taste and smell. But don’t let that put you off as it has a high level of minerals and omega fatty acids and an excellent antioxidant value. Fighting free radicals with dietary defenders is an excellent way of ensuring the skin stays healthier for longer.

Western America – Embrace the Prickly Pear
For those of you looking for an adventurous fruit to add to the fruit bowl to promote great looking skin then look no further than the Prickly pear. This succulent fruit manages to survive and hydrate itself in extremely hot desert temperatures and it provides vitamin A in the form of pro-vitamin beta-carotene, a pigment that protects the health of your eyes and skin. It contains high levels of  magnesium and potassium, which plays an active role in maintaining bone health. Getting enough of these minerals along with calcium in your diet may help prevent osteoporosis. Top tip: Topical application of prickly pear juice provides an excellent natural exfoliant to smooth away dead skin layers.


Dairy-free, Sugar-Free Strawberry Cream Pie


by Ella Woodward


When I first gave up dairy I thought I’d never be able to eat a creamy-tart style dessert, however, I’ve since discovered that a combination of tofu and cashew nuts perfectly replicates that soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Combined with strawberries and a little raw agave syrup they work wonders in this pie to create an unbelievable dessert. The sweet and creamy base melts against the ever so slightly crunchy almond infused crust and is enhanced by the beautiful layers of fresh strawberries decorating the top. Even better, this dessert is totally guilt free. It’s so healthy! No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, just nutritional deliciousness! It is amazing. Almost hard to believe something so healthy is so scrumptious. Trust me, everyone will love this no matter what their dietary preferences normally are!

For the base:

– 2 cups of ground almonds

– 1 cup of pecans

– 2 tablespoons of coconut oil

– 1 cup of dates

For the middle:

– ½ a cup of cashew nuts

– 1 cup of tofu

– 1 ½ cups of strawberries

– 3 tablespoons of agave syrup

– 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

For the topping:

– 1 cup of strawberries

Start by making the base. Place the pecans and ground almonds into a food processor and blend into a fine nut flour, this should just take a minute or so. Then add the coconut oil and dates and blend again, after 3-4 minutes a sticky dough should form. Remove the dough from the processor and mould it into a greased pie dish. Then bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes, until the top begins to brown. I like to use ceramic baking beads to ensure the pie kept it’s intended shape, but these aren’t vital. Once it is cooked remove the crust and set it aside to cool.

While the pie bakes rinse the processor. Then place the strawberries (with the green top removed), tofu, cashews, agave and coconut oil in for about 5 minutes to allow a thick, creamy middle to form.

When the pie crust has cooled remove it from its baking container, then pour in the strawberry cream. Next, place the tart in the fridge for an hour to allow it to properly set. Once it is ready to serve slice the top of the final cup of strawberries to give them a flat base on which to stand, then place them in circles on the top.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

Antioxidant Fuelled Puffed Amaranth Muesli

by Saskia Gregson-Williams

A great way to start the day, this muesli is perfect for active bods since amaranth is packed with protein. In the past the Aztecs referred to this nutrient-rich grain as the food of immortality, and its also known for its ability to reduce cholesterol. As well as a host of other health benefits it’s full of b-Vitamins, iron and calcium. This muesli is also teamed with brazil nuts, mixed seeds, pomegranate and raspberries to add to it’s antioxidant value. Amaranth must be cooked in order to make it edible and it is completely free of gluten.


1/3 cup amaranth
1/2 cup mixed oats
5 halved brazil nuts
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp flame raisins
2 tbsp fresh pomegranates
2 tbsp fresh raspberries

Heat a pan on medium-high temperature. Pour the amaranth seeds into the hot pan and cover with the lid. Shake the pan with one hand while holding the lid down with the other. Continue to shake the pan for 1 to 2 minutes while the amaranth seeds cook and puff (you should hear them pop). Remove the pan from the heat when you see all of the seeds have puffed. Mix with all the other ingredients, top with berries and serve with oat, almond or rice milk.

About Saskia
As an aspiring professional ballet dancer, I train up to six hours a day. Ballet is demanding not only on your strength of character but your body and this is where my passion for cooking and creating deliciously healthy recipes comes into play.  They say you are what you eat .I’m no cashew nut so im a little doubtful on that one but I do believe you feel as good as the food you eat. Nutrition plays a key part in injury prevention, muscle soreness and overall body performance. It fuels and heals. I’ve always been passionate about making meals that are not only supremely nourishing but tastes (and for the most part) looks delicious too – the very definition of hip and healthy.
Follow: @sassyballerina