Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Pear and ginger protein porridge – breakfast in bed

Cold and dark mornings make life that little bit harder (this time of year I constantly question my decision to move home from Australia…Gold Coast, I miss you), but coffee and porridge (and cashmere) make it somewhat bearable.  I’ve added some extra protein to this recipe to help minimise the blood sugar spike the typical bowl of oats can cause.  I always make porridge with almond milk, as I try and keep it dairy free, and add nuts and seeds too.  This recipe gives the creamiest dairy-free porridge I’ve managed to make yet, and a  rainy Sunday morning is the perfect time to curl up on the couch or in bed with it.

Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Serves 2 (or one if you’re hungry)

  • 1 x pear – 1/3 grated, 2/3 chopped
  • 1 x apple (red – gives the best flavour) 1/3 grated, 2/3 chopped
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Oats (1.5 cups)
  • 1 x heaped teaspoon coconut oil
  • Almond milk
  • 1 x egg

 

Soak the oats in a pot with almond milk for 10minutes, while you chop and grate the fruit. Heat some oil in a pan and lightly fry the chopped fruit and cinnamon.

Add the coconut oil, ginger and grated fruit to the oats and turn on the heat.  Stir porridge gently to dissolve the coconut oil, and when this is mixed in and most of the almond milk has been absorbed (and the porridge is practically cooked) add in the egg and stir vigorously – you have to be quick with this step or you may end up with egg-fried-porridge.

Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Top with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (and nuts/granola/dark chocolate if you’re feeling very extravagant) and serve with a large coffee and a good book.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

Turmeric and vitamin C smoothie to fight off the flu

Is there anyone out there that is not actually sick? Seriously?  I thought I would have avoided it, due to a combination of not doing the dog on it over the festive season, and having the flu vaccine all the way back in October.  Nope, aches and pains, feeling light-headed and sniffling, with a mo’fo of a sore throat to top it off…even though perhaps it would be worse without said vaccine?  Who knows, and right now I don’t care, I just want to feel better.

 

We’ve all heard the classic advice, fluids, rest and paracetamol…but what if that’s just not cutting it?  Vitamin C, zinc, vitamin B – check.  After gargling water until drowning seems a realistic possibility, and genuinely considering swallowing an entire tube of the topical anaesthetic in work, I found some other ways to soothe my symptoms.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

  1. Liquid chlorophyll

I’ve mentioned this before in relation to acne and clear skin, and the brand I’d recommend is Nature’s Sunshine, usually available from Here’s Health, or your local health food store might be able to order it in for you.  Chlorophyll is a great all round detoxer (hello there, January) but also really good to soothe a sore throat – and diluted in water, it’s another way to up your much needed fluid intake. The Nature’s Sunshine version tastes nice and isn’t as concentrated as some brands, which means it shouldn’t stain you teeth (some of them are really thick and dark).  I add a tablespoon to a 2L bottle that I keep in the fridge to drink throughout the day, and will have a few glasses with a half a teaspoon to treat a sore throat on top of that.  It has a really nice cooling effect and I have yet to get sick of the taste (can’t say as much for cough syrup).

 

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

2.  Tea tree oil

A blocked nose can really benefit from facial steaming (especially if your hearing has become affected) and I like to add tea tree oil to the bowl – which will not only help clear your sinuses, but  is also great for any skin breakouts.  Another way to do this is the get yourself an oil diffuser – I have a water based one in work that helps my surgery not smell like the dentist (which can help with nervous patients) and humidifies the air, helping both my sinuses and skin to function better (air conditioning can be a nightmare for both).  Not too sure where my diffuser came from, as it was a present, but you can easily find some online.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

 

3. Turmeric

Currently in fashion, mainly for it’s anti-inflammatory effects, I’ve written about its benefits before.  Not only is it anti-inflammatory, but turmeric also has anti-microbial properties.  I have turmeric with hot water, lemon and ginger most days, but while run down I looked to up the dose somewhat – and this smoothie was the result:

1 x banana

1 x t1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 x small knob ginger, peeled

1 can of coconut milk (I use the full fat version, but either should work)

Handful of raspberries

Juice of 1/3 of a lemon

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

Blend together and serve with your favourite netflix series and a box of tissues.  Have you also been struck down with the flu?  I’d love to hear any tips you have for fighting it off, and if you try any of the above – I hope they help!

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers

I am a big “Wow” burger fan, as my instagram followers are well aware – but as its January (and dark and horrible…when will it end?) and I’m aiming for a month of being hangover-free, I will most likely be Wow burger free also.  I’m addicted to the kale and quinoa burgers from Strong Roots, but decided I needed a back up plan so I don’t overdose on them.  I was a vegetarian for a long time, and actually cooking meat tends to freak me out out of the time…so sweet potato burgers made the cut.  By popular request, find below a recipe for some that I made recently – which actually turned out to be vegan:

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, roasted (VIP that they are roasted, not microwaved or boiled – flavour is nothing as good)
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa (I used red, because that’s what I had in my cupboard – the colour will only really change the appearance, not the flavour, so use whatever you have/find)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • coconut oil
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup + of flour

*If you need to make these gluten free, just make sure to use gluten free cornstarch and flour.

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Peel the sweet potato and wrap separately in tinfoil, ad bake until soft – I find this takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes, depending on the shape of the potatoes.  Mash once roasted.

While these are roasting, cook the lentils and quinoa according to each packets instructions.

Mix the spices together, and place spinach leaves in a large bowl.  Begin sautéing the onions and garlic once everything else is cooked.

Mix together the mash, lentils, quinoa, onions and garlic, spices and spinach, adding the cornflour and 1 cup of flour as you do so.  Using some extra flour on your hands, make up to 8 burgers and place on baking paper on a large baking tray or chopping board (one that fits in your fridge).  Leave for a few hours or overnight.

This will make about 8 burgers – which, unless you have a giant family to feed, will probably make you feel sick to eat (they only keep for 2-3 days in the fridge).  I freeze about 5 of them whenever I make them, as 3 is the most I can get through in a couple of days.  2 will fit well in a small ziplock bag, just make sure to fold it over so they’re not touching each other (and subsequently stick together).

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

Fry lightly in coconut oil, and serve with tomato relish (Ballymaloe for me, please) and mayonnaise – or veganaise if you prefer. I find I don’t really need a bun with these, as they have quite a “carby” taste to them anyway, and work well with a salad, or sliced avocado (I feel life in general works well with sliced avocado).

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

There’s always a bit more work in vegetarian food, if you really want some flavour – but I found these ones worth the effort. Let me know how you get on with them, and I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Butter and coffee – and mental clarity

Bulletproof coffee has been a fad for a few years now – with its main presence of social media consisting of videos of butter being blended with coffee and coconut oil.  It has been claimed to promote weight loss, improve physical performance and seriously boost energy…but do any of these claims actually stack up?

The original bulletproof recipe came from Dave Asprey, the bulletproof executive.  I started following Dave’s blog years ago, when he was experimenting with anything and everything that could make him more productive, and before his coffee recipe became a thing.  He has spent a serious amount of time and money trying out different sleep patterns, diets and exercise (among other things), in an attempt to discover the most efficient and easiest way to feel as healthy and energetic as possible – so he’s not advocating spending every hour in the gym and eating only green plants, but instead trying to “biohack” his body for maximum results, with the least investment of time and energy necessary.

I started drinking bulletproof coffee after reading Dave’s book, Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks, last May.  I had started a new job, and was studying part time, so I was looking for a way to focus more clearly and for longer – and one that wasn’t going to take up a tonne of my time, as I didn’t really have any to spare.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

I now have bulletproof coffee (and usually only bulletproof coffee) for breakfast, and have converted some of my nearest and dearest to it too.  There are a number of variations on the recipe, but I have the following:

  • one large cafetiere of coffee
  • a tablespoon of butter
  • a tablespoon of XCT oil (a fraction of coconut oil, consisting of medium chain triglycerides and completely flavourless)
  • a spoon of collagelatin protein powder

I blend all of this together in a nutribullet and drink it on the way to work.  With this I take omega 3 fish oils and Coenzyme Q 10 – because they are apparently best absorbed if consumed with fat.  I’ve noticed a big difference in mental clarity, as promised, and both my mood and blood sugar appear to be more stable.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

 

Blood sugar

Previously, I was the type of person that had to eat regularly, or I simply couldn’t function.  Having patients that ran through my lunch could be a big problem sometimes, and I would feel pretty awful if I didn’t eat when I was supposed to.   I have seen the difference that bulletproof coffee has made most clearly in this area – missing my lunch is unfortunately a regular enough occurrence, but once I’ve had my coffee, I no longer become foggy-headed or as tired as I did before.  I’ve had days when I haven’t had the chance to eat until after 5pm (not something I’d recommend), but have almost forgotten I missed lunch because the impact has been minimal.

 

Mid morning slump

This has all but disappeared – that crash that I used to experience after regular coffee (particularly on an empty stomach) no longer sends me looking  for toast/chocolate/anything that looks vaguely appealing around 11am – although if there’s a delivery of donuts from Aungier Danger in the staff room, I am not responsible for my actions.

 

Mental clarity

Avoiding both the mid morning slump and light headed moments have obviously improved how well I’m able to function, but on top of that, my head just feels clearer anyway – and I find it so much easier to focus, and for longer periods of time   The way I’ve really noticed this is that when I have porridge or toast as well as my coffee, I don’t have that same clarity.  This is, I think, down to the carbohydrates in the said toast or porridge.  Reducing carbohydrates or calories can promote a fat burning state called ketosis, in which your body gets energy from fat (ketone bodies) instead of glucose.  The XCT oil in the coffee contains exogenous ketones, and, along with reducing carbs, can help your body to burn fuel from fat instead of glucose – something that is gaining popularity in both fitness and health circles, as it can supposedly increase mental clarity and promote fat loss.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Weight

I haven’t noticed much of a difference weight wise, although I would imagine if you have a big problem with cravings throughout the day (and have a job that allows you to eat while working), this could have a big impact on unwanted weight gain.  Some of my friends have found it fills them up though, and they tend to snack less as a result – and they can eat at their desk etc.

 

Have you tried bulletproof coffee, or any version of it yet?  Or do you have a go-to breakfast that is as quick to make?  I’d love to hear what keeps you focused throughout the day, and especially if you’ve your own variation of the recipe above!

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Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

5 Dairy Free Recipes

Cutting back on dairy, despite the benefits my skin has experienced, has not been easy.  I have always been a big chocolate fan, and custard, crème brûlee and ice cream are up there with my favourite desserts.  So although I definitely still indulge in the odd milkshake or dessert, for the most part I avoid it – which has been helped by experimenting with dairy-free recipes.

Oat milk is the best replacement for milk in tea and coffee that I’ve found, especially this one (thank you Russell, you did say it was a game changer) from Oatley.  I like almond milk in porridge, with cinnamon and berries, and coconut yoghurt practically tastes like dessert.  I’ve found a few recipes online that do actually taste as good as dairy based ones, and can be a bit less expensive than health food shops.

Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

  • Homemade coconut yoghurt from The Little Green Spoon – one of the best websites to check out if you’re looking for baking options without dairy, gluten or processed sugar.
  • This panna cotta recipe from Food Renegade, which I particularly like because it’s not sweetened with dates (is it just me or are all “healthy” desserts these days just a variation of date flavoured something? Date-flavoured banoffi, date-flavoured brownies, date energy balls…personally, I can’t take anymore dates).
  • Food renegade once again comes up trumps with this ice-cream, that doesn’t require an ice cream maker (what people expect you to have in your kitchen these days sometimes astounds me).
  • These raspberry jellies from the I Quit Sugar website are so easy, and full of gelatin – which is great for your gut health and skin, and could not be easier to make.  I use the same Collagelatin that I put in my bulletproof coffee every morning.

Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

  • And finally, the original Bulletproof coffee itself – not a dairy-free recipe but you could leave out the butter (as I mentioned before, butter doesn’t seem to count as dairy, as far as my skin is concerned) and this coffee has now become my regular breakfast.  A scoop of collagen protein (which I tried initially), or collagelatin, as above, really fills me up for the morning – and I don’t get any post-caffeine crash afterwards.  I definitely find my mental clarity is improved, and it can also be useful for anyone trying to shed some excess weight (so basically a magic drink).

Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

Have you tried a variation of any of the above?  I am always on the lookout for more recipes, so I’d love to hear from you if you have any you’d recommend.

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Gluten Free Granola | The Daily Glow

Gluten Free Granola

I have discussed giving up wheat before, but this granola is gluten free by accident.  I was looking to make something that was going to fill me up until lunch time (not always possible from a breakfast on the go – I’m really an “eggs, toast, avocado and sides” girl at heart, even at 6am) and experimented with nuts in the hope that their high protein content would keep me going for the entire morning.  Like the porridge bread recipe, this is very simple and pretty hard to mess up – although chopping the nuts makes for a noisy preparation, so maybe no midnight baking with this one.

Gluten free granola | The Daily Glow

Makes 2 baking trays worth/3-4 jars depending on size:

  • A large bowl of a selection of nuts: brazil, pecan, walnuts, almonds, cashews (Lidl is great for cheap bags of them)
  • Sunflower seeds/Pumpkin seeds/Flaxseeds
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp maple syrup/sweetener of choice
  • Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius. Melt the coconut oil and mix together with the vanilla essence, maple syrup and cinnamon – I am a big cinnamon fan, so tend to be pretty heavy handed with this.  Cinnamon is reputedly good for reducing insulin resistance and stabilising your blood sugar – and although the research to date isn’t the most robust, it is definitely a better alternative to sugar in your porridge, granola etc (and yes I know there’s maple syrup in this recipe too – cinnamon isn’t that appetising all by itself, but I find it reduces the amount of sugar/honey/maple syrup required).

Roughly chop whichever nuts and seeds you fancy – a sealed sandwich bag and a rolling pin are your best friends for this (and I did warn you it can be noisy, I think my neighbours either side of my tiny apartment must hate me, as my favourite time to bake this is a Saturday morning and then eat it warm).

Gluten free granola | The Daily Glow

Mix nuts with the maple glaze, ensuring everything gets covered. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread a a thin layer of the granola on it. Bake for about 20minutes, or until golden brown – this can go from “gently toasted” to “burnt to cr*p” pretty fast so be careful!

Leave to cool on the baking paper and store in an airtight jar or tin for up to two weeks (it may last longer than that, but I’ve never had the chance to check).

Gluten Free Granola | The Daily Glow

I usually take this to work with me in a glass jar (save the planet!), but it doesn’t make for a bad lazy Saturday brunch, if you top it with poached blackberries and vanilla yoghurt.  Let me know if you try it!

Beauty sleep – how to get the most out of your night

An ever-so-slightly compulsive multitasker, I love being able to get things done while doing something else (clearly I’m aiming for “coolest person the year” 2017 to add to my 2016 accolade).  So breakfasts I can bake while I’m out running, or decent face masks that I can wear while flying (without freaking fellow passengers out – I mean the ones that look like moisturiser when they’re on) have a special place in my heart.  Following on from my non-resolution of getting up on time, while I am actually asleep, I like to get as much out of the hours after sunset as I can.

The Daily Glow - Sleep

Invest in silk
I have already mentioned how sleeping on your face can cause a number of wrinkle-related problems, and I am slowly managing to change from a regular face planter to a poised sleeping beauty (I hope). A silk pillowcase can reduce some of the face planting effects, and also promote frizz-free tresses. The number one question I’ve had in relation that entire post was where to get the pillow cases, so below is a list of some recommended suppliers. I bought both my eye mask (if you think eye masks are overrated, try a silk one before you really decide) and pillowcase in Australia a few years ago, so I haven’t tried any of them myself yet – these are recommendations from friends.

  • www.holisticsilk.com This is a pricey enough option (£55 plus delivery from the U.K.), but the designs of the eye masks are amazing – particularly good as presents for those people that literally have everything.
  • www.theethicalsilkco.com A bit more reasonably priced (€45, plus €6.50 delivery. Warning: they do a lot more than just pillowcases and eye masks, so you could be in very real danger “justifying” the delivery charge and buying right, left and centre – don’t say I didn’t warn you) and the company was founded by irishwoman Eva Power, if you like to buy Irish.
  • www.homestoreandmore.ie The cheapest of the lot (2 for €25) and also an Irish based purchase.

I have found a silk eye mask to be my best friend in the aforementioned sleeping on my back attempts – there is something in having my eyes covered that makes it just about okay to not burrow into the pillow as I doze off, so you may want to check out those too while you’re at it.

Update: I found my actual eye mask eye mask on amazon.co.uk – and it’s not going to break the bank.

The Daily Glow | Wanderlust Lite

Hydration
I tend to have gloves on for most of the working day, so I always come up short when it comes to drinking enough water.  Combine that with working in air conditioning or heating, sweating it out at the gym and having an active social life (aside from January – silly season got me again this year) and I am forever trying to hydrate.  Adequate water intake is crucial for clear skin and headache-free afternoons – in fact mild dehydration is said to be the number one cause of midday fatigue (not hunger, despite my stomach’s notions).  By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so trying to make a habit of drinking water rather than waiting for your body to remind you is the best way forward.  An American survey showed that 75% of the general population are chronically dehydrated.  Drinking later in the evening is sometimes inconvenient (I tried this, getting up in the middle of the night every couple of hours is not for me, but have a go if you really want to), so I’ve found one way around it is to bring a pint of water ) with me when going to bed (usually with a chlorophyll supplement in it, as in the photo below – Dublin City council’s water supply may not win awards, but it’s not green) – but leaving it to drink first thing in the morning instead. This way I feel like I’m not actually starting on a deficit, and am more likely to remember to drink water throughout the day.

The Daily Glow - hydrate

Overnight oats
This one saves my a€€ when I have not managed to get up on time, but still need to have breakfast (I always need breakfast, I am not a nice person without it).  I make it in a glass jar (or take away coffee cup – I hate buying coffee without my Keepcup, but sometimes I’m stuck and cave, so I always re-use them if possible) and usually take it with me, but you can make up a big batch for 2-3days and keep it in the fridge. You need:

  • Oats (gluten-free if needed)
  • Milk – I use almond milk as I try to keep dairy milk to a minimum because it affects my skin, but you can use whatever type you like.
  • Yoghurt – greek gives a really nice texture, and you don’t need a flavoured one unless you have a very sweet tooth. You can use soya or coconut for a vegan version.
  • Vanilla protein powder – I do use a dairy based one for this, simply because I have yet to find a vegan one that tastes remotely nice (any recommendations very welcome on this one!)
  • Frozen raspberries

Mix the oats, milk, yoghurt and protein powder to a bircher muesli type consistency. Add the raspberries, which will defrost overnight. You can add cinnamon, chopped walnuts, brazil nuts, blueberries or anything else that takes your fancy. I’ve made a number of different flavours, including “Pumpkin Pie” with puréed sweet potato, cardamom, cinnamon and ginger – which although delicious, was pretty time-consuming to make, so I tend to revert back to chopped banana (add in the morning – black banana oats its not so inviting, no matter how hungry you are) and walnuts, or raspberries and flaxseeds.

The Daily Glow - overnight oats

How do you make the most of your beauty sleep?  I would also love to hear any tips you have for better sleep – I’m a terrible insomniac at times, which makes most of the above null and void!

wheat free bread: porridge bread

A recipe for wheat free bread

I started 2017 by sleeping through midnight and dosing myself up with cough syrup and paracetamol, due to being the 7th person I know to go under with the flu…not exactly hitting the ground running like I had planned.  So while I’m eating all the chocolate that’s left in the house (how else is it going to disappear so I can start this “new year, new me” sh*te?), I decided to bake some porridge bread to keep me on the somewhat straight and narrow for the rest of the week.

There are numerous “porridge bread” recipes out there, as a quick Google search will show, however this is the one my dad uses (the aforementioned super-baker) and as I’ve had a few requests for a recipe, here is his.

porridge bread - oats

  • 2 teaspoons soda bicarbonate (bread soda)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 500g natural yoghurt
  • 1L ish porridge oats (and obviously make sure these are gluten free if you’re coeliac etc) – I use an old 500g yoghurt tub to measure the oats and then adjust the consistency by adding more. You want a dryish consistency, so depending on the type of yoghurt you use (low fat, full fat, greek etc – I use full fat, or whatever Super Value has in stock when I need it) you will need to keep adding oats until you have a texture similar to this:

porridge bread

  • Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds or whatever else you like

Mix the yoghurt and the bread soda in a large bowl and let them “work” while you preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. The yoghurt will start to swell and air bubbles will appear. I tend to do this while unpacking the shopping/making dinner/cleaning the house etc as the longer you leave it the better a rise you’ll get out of the bread.

yoghurt porridge bread

Grease a baking tin with butter or coconut oil.  When the oven is hot, mix in oats as described above, followed by the salt, and any other seeds you fancy.  If it gets too dry, you can always use a little bit of water to adjust the consistency further, and pop it all in the bread tin.

porridge bread

The lower shelf of the oven is better, otherwise you can end up with a burnt  top and undercooked centre.  50 minutes is a general guideline, but I always check it after 40-45 minutes and if your oven is fan assisted it might be done at this stage.

You can slice this and freeze it, as it does go off pretty quickly (but if you’re anything like me when it comes to bread, this won’t be an issue).  Typically, this is made with dairy yoghurt, but a vegan friend of mine has made it with soy yoghurt and achieved a general bread-like consistency – so feel free to experiment with it if you want a dairy-free option.  Let me know how you get on!

skin clearing series: part 2 - diet

Skin Clearing Series: Part 2 – diet

Diet and it’s affect on skin is a controversial one.  Many dermatologists insist diet has no effect on acne, and we all have that friend who gorges on chocolate but has not a spot (and sometimes not an extra pound, like seriously) to show for it – so what to believe?  Hormones (and therefore sebum production) can certainly be affected by diet and lifestyle, and there is research suggested an association between milk and acne – based on an increase of IGF1 in milk creating an increase in circulating androgens (basically something in milk that affects hormones).  Personally I think the only way to work out what is best for you and your skin is to give it a go, observe the results and adjust as you see fit.

What did I cut out?
Reducing sugar, dairy and caffeine has helped, but completely cutting them out didn’t yield remarkably better results than living by the 80:20 rule – I stick to 2 coffees a day max, and really only have milk with this and tea.  Ice cream is my favourite but I try and stick to Nobó or something similar (aside from last Sunday when I went to town in Tribeca – hot fudge sundae how are ya…aaaand yes, I can see the difference this week).  A friend of mine completed two years without milk and had the clearest skin of her life – so different things can work for different people.  Reducing sugar has had the biggest impact for me –  also take a chromium supplement to keep my blood sugar as steady as possible (blood sugar spikes are basically the devil when it comes to your skin, at least according to Beyoncé’s dermatologist – who says diabetics have the worst skin) .

skin clearing series: part 2 - cutting back on caffeine
If you’re visualising brunches filled with food envy and mid-afternoon slumps to beat the band, I’d like to stop you right there. It’s not that bad, and yes, it does take a bit of getting used to, but the biggest change I’ve noticed from adjusting my diet seems to be more down to what I’ve added (it’s not all about restriction – so you don’t need to feel guilty if you love brunch as much as I do).

 

Supplements
I’ve discussed supplements for clear skin here but the number one addition to any acne-free diet is a liquid chlorophyll supplement – I ran out of this two weeks ago, and only found my favourite brand in stock today, and god can you feel/see the difference.  I have discussed chlorophyll previously here but honestly, this is the most important thing you can do to clear up your skin. Generally the advice is one teaspoon in a glass of water daily, but I find if I’ve a particularly bad breakout/festival weekend/the entire festive season, I need to drink a diluted version all day to see the effect (large 2L bottle with 1-2 tablespoons chlorophyll – should be a pale green colour).  You have to be careful starting out, as it can impact your stomach until your digestive system adjusts to it – so start out slowly and gradually add more.

skin clearing series: part 2 diet - increasing your green vegetable intakeThe other big change I’ve made to my diet is to seriously up my vegetable intake.  I previously didn’t eat meat – and therefore you would think ate a lot of vegetables (really I tended to focus on protein like fish and beans) – but after a conversation with a nutritionist about how most of us are pretty poor veggie eaters I reassessed things.  6-7 portions of fruit and veg a day are what the official guidelines advise – but most of this is supposed to come from vegetables, not fruit – which can be a large source of sugar if you’re eating dried fruit in particular.

Green vegetables
Increasing your vegetable intake, particularly the green variety, is more difficult than it sounds.  Honestly, at the start I felt like all I was doing was eating vegetables and still I was only hitting 4-5 portions a day.  One thing that has made it easier is trying to eat greens at breakfast – and no, I’m not one for tupperware on a Sunday, doling out chicken and broccoli for every meal of the week (but fair f*cking play to you if that is you, maybe I’ll get there some day!)…but I have taken some inspiration from the fitfam-crossfit community.  A green smoothie at breakfast time is an easy addition, and doesn’t stop you having your porridge/eggs/whatever else you fancy – but you do need to make sure it really contains a lot of veg.  Baby spinach is my go-to, as it’s cheap, involves no chopping or peeling and has a pretty inoffensive taste when mixed with some coconut water, berries and flaxseed oil (kale I’m looking and you and your oh-so-bitter-and-impossible-to-hide tang).

skin clearing series: part 2 diet - increasing your green vegetable intake

The other option involves actually eating vegetables in the morning – now I know not everyone’s stomach is going to be able for that, particularly if you’re not a morning person in the first place.  The following recipe has become a bit of a staple for me when I have a little bit more time, or just can’t really face another green smoothie!

  • 1 bunch of broccolini
  • 2 eggs mixed together in a cup as if for scrambling
  • 1 tablespoon of basil pesto (I love the Happy Pear one)

Chop /broccolini into 2cm stalks (about 1/3 of the stalk).  Lightly stir fry in coconut oil/butter etc and add pesto. Scramble eggs into the mix until cooked.  I like to dollop some pesto on top at the end (kind of obsessed with that pesto if I’m honest) and serve either alone or with toast.  Obviously if broccoli is really not your thing, try something different – courgette, bok choi and asparagus can all work well.

skin clearing series: part 2 diet - increasing your green vegetable intake

Next I’ll be discussing medications for acne that still refuse to clear up, but I would love to hear how you get on with trying to increase your vegetable intake – and if you have any other ways of doing it please let me know!