Nourish Your Skin and Eyes From the Inside

i’m sorry it’s been so long since i’ve posted anything.  i’ve been traveling, dealing with some unfortunate news, and fighting off my online gaming addiction, diablo 3.   i had sworn off any kind of online gaming (i find them too addictive and lose all perspective when it comes to time management).  many hours of gaming leads to incredibly dry eyes.  ideally, you should take a break every 20 minutes with a 20 second break by looking far away or closing your eyes.  you could also do a break every hour, though it becomes a 5 minute break to rest your eyes, but who remembers to do that when your wizard or demon hunter is busy melting down mobs?  this reminded me that i’ve been wanting to share with all of you some of the things i take internally to nourish my dry skin and eyes.

Krill Oil, Chia Seeds and MegaHydrate

Krill Oil, Chia Seeds and MegaHydrate

first up is the most common of the 3: omega-3 supplements.  i take it in two forms, both animal and plant.  why? because the bioavailability of the two is different.  i use the plant form when i need an extra boost, but i take the animal form daily.  i really should just take both daily, but i take a lot of supplements to help with my lupus, and sometimes i just get tired of taking stuff.  anyways, as i’m sure many of you already know, a good source of omega comes from fatty fishes such as salmon, mackerel, and cod.  grass fed beef can also be a good source of omega-3 but not corn fed.  when the cows are corn fed, the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 oils inverts and causes more inflammation in the body.  i attended a lecture from an eye doctor who stated that you needed around 500mg of EPA + DHA (specific forms of omega-3) to avoid deficiency and 1g (1000mg) for proactive support.  you want to choose one bound in triglyceride form, as opposed to eythl esther, because it is more stable and absorbable by body.  i’ve heard omega-3 bound in eythl esther form can melt styrofoam! doesn’t that sound kind of scary to be putting into your body?  though triglyceride bound omega-3 supplements are more expensive, consider it as an investment in your health.  unstable omega 3s easily oxidize and actually cause more inflammation in your body.  the last thing you want is the supplement you’re taking to actually be harmful instead of beneficial.  certain brands also send their products in for 3rd party testing providing quality assurance and peace of mind.  the lecturer recommended the brands Nordic Naturals, PRN, and PhysioLogics for this reason.  another reason for taking supplements instead of just eating lots of fish is that all the toxins, for example mercury, are filtered out.  now you’re probably wondering why a krill oil is pictured instead of one of the omega fish oils i’ve listed above.  i bought these in bulk when they were on sale, so i’m just finishing them up.  krill oil is supposed to be more bioavailable, so you’re supposed to need less.  however, there haven’t been as many studies on it compared to fish oil.  i’ve also heard that krill has issues of sustainability.  though i haven’t looked into it that much, since i’m planning to go back to fish oil.  if issues of sustainability are a concern to you, i’d recommend further research into the subject.

my favorite form of plant based omega-3 is soaked chia seeds.  i soak 4 tablespoons of chia seeds in 2 cups of herbal or green tea.  why tea? i hate the taste of plain water (it’s just so boring!) and certain teas helps alkalinize your body.  the mixture will need to be stirred a few times in the first few minutes to prevent clumping.  after a few minutes, i will store it into the fridge where it will turn into a jelly/pudding like texture overnight.  you can either take spoonfuls of this as is or mix into more liquid (it will be like healthy version of the frog egg sized tapioca asian drinks).  there are also recipes on the internet that teach you how to make healthy pudding with chia seeds, or you can put into into baked goods.  you’re supposed to consume this mixture within a week, but honestly i’ve had it last 3 weeks in my fridge without any problems.  the chia gel also helps you feel full.  i like taking a 16oz tumbler and filling 1/5 of it with the chia gel mixture and the rest with some sort of liquid (usually tea or coconut water for me) when i attend my night class.  it helps prevent the hunger pangs i tend to get late in the night when i’ve eaten dinner too early.

last on the least is a supplement called MegaHydrate.  it’s an antioxidant supplement high in negatively charged hydrogen.  why hydrogen? according to the literature, the scientist discovered that the common factor in longevity of people living in remotes region of the world was that they drink water from melted glaciers.  the water from the melted glaciers, also known as glacial milk, had a lower surface tension allowing the cells to absorb water with greater ease thus facilitating hydration, nutrient intake, and waste elimination.  with further research, the scientist discovered what made the glacial milk so special was negatively charged hydrogen ions.  in addition to facilitating hydration, the negatively charged hydrogen is also supposed to be a powerful antioxidant, donating it’s extra negative electron to help neutralize free radicals.  there’s a lot more literature involved about the benefits, but that’s really too much science for me.  i’ve been out of school too long, and my brain just doesn’t want to work that hard.  i encourage you to do the reading if it interests you or want to learn more about it.  i’m not one to care too much about the science.  all i care about is the results.  i’ve noticed significant alleviation of the trouble i have with my extreme dry eye and itchy skin from my sjogren’s syndrome.  i need less eye drops and less lotioning when i take MegaHydrate.  this is the one supplement i make sure i never run out of in the house.  sometimes i get sick of taking pills and take a break from the rest of my supplements, but i always take this.  yes, that’s right.  that means i ignore the vit d and my omega-3s, and i just take this.  through various experiments with my supplements, i’ve discovered that the MegaHydrate has the most noticeable effect.  of course, long term, it’s not enough by itself, but if i want a short break from lots of pills, this is the one i take.

 

Readers, what are you doing to nourish yourself? please share your favorite tips and supplements down below!

Smitten with Smitten Kitchen; Avocado Cup Salad, Two ways Revised

for those that don’t know, Smitten Kitchen is a food blog that focuses on stepped up comfort food from scratch. i first came across it when browsing through Pinterest for dinner recipes.  i saw a beautiful picture of Baked Crunchy Pork Chops and knew i’d score extra points with the bf if i made it.  it was a huge hit and not too hard to make. since then i’ve tried a few more recipes from the site, and every single one of them was a hit.  even the ones that didn’t come out ideal, due to my poor skills in cooking, came out delicious.  i’m most enamored with her recipe Apple-Herb Stuffing For All Seasons. this one was such a hit that my boyfriend ate the entire dish on thanksgiving day, forcing me to make another batch the next day so that we could enough have stuffing to continue our tradition of making breakfast casserole with the leftovers.

today, however, i want to introduce you a healthy recipe by Deb of Smitten Kitchen. i’m always trying to work in a bit more vegetable into my diet.  i’ve discovered trying to eliminate something from my diet usually ends in my craving more junk foods than on the elimination list.  however, slowing adding in the good stuff and thereby not having so much room for the bad stuff seems to be working out so far.  i won’t tell you that it eliminates cravings, but it does slowly lessen them.  allow me to introduce you to Avocado Cup Salad, Two Ways.  i tinkered with both recipes a little bit, but you can see the original recipes here:

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/04/avocado-cup-salads-two-ways/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+smittenkitchen+%28smitten+kitchen%29
Avocado Salad with Black Beluga Lentils

1 cup black beluga lentils, cooked, drained (about 1/2cup of dry)
1 large bell pepper, finely diced (I used a mix of colors because we keep them around for the kid)
1/4 cup finely diced white or red onion
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Dashes of hot sauce or pinches of cayenne, to taste (i’ve tried cayenne but not hot sauce)
2 ripe avocados

this recipe is really versatile.  the original recipe called for black beans.  why did i choose to replace it with black beluga lentils?  one, because the first time i made it, i thought we had dried black or red beans in the pantry, but we didn’t.  two, these cook much faster and don’t need presoaking.  we don’t have any canned goods in our pantry because we’re trying to eliminate things that might have bpa from our diet and sometimes canned beans can be a little too soft for our liking.  seriously, once you try making chickpea salad from dried garbanzo beans, you can never go back to canned. the original recipe called for juice of 1 lime.  if you decide to stick with lime, we like the juice of 2 limes, but we prefer lemon in our salads overall.  lemon seems to brighten the flavors better, and we like the acidity .  i also reduced the amount of avocado from her recipe because there’s usually just the two of us eating, and i didn’t want to have too much leftovers.  the way i have the recipe set up, it will serve 2-3 as a heavy side dish, or have it with some bread for lunch.  in the original, deb uses the avocado halves as a holding cup for the rest of the ingredients and suggests eating it with a spoon.  i’m much too lazy and messy for that, so i dice my avocados and toss it directly into the salad.

directions:
1.  prep the lentils or beans according to directions.  if you’ve gone with the black beluga lentils, i find that i prefer a cook time of 8-10 mins, rather than what the package says.

2.  dice (doesn’t matter what size, as size will just vary the texture of the salad) the bell pepper, onion and jalapeño and place in a large bowl.  i like to measure out all the above ingredients in a glass 1 cup measuring cup, so i can use it to make the salad dressing after and save myself an extra dish to wash later.

3.  combine olive oil, lime juice, salt, cumin, and cayenne/hot sauce, and whisk together to make the dressing.

4.  dice avocado into the bowl that’s holding the rest of the ingredients, mix with dressing, and serve.

lentil avocado cup salad

Avocado Salad with Black Beluga Lentils

Avocado Salad with Cucumbers and Radishes in Ginger-Miso Dressing

1 cup finely diced cucumber (from about half a long English or 2 small Persian cukes), seeds removed
1 cup finely diced radishes (from about 4 large red ones)
2 scallions, finely chopped
4 tablespoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons miso (deb recommends white miso, shiromiso, which is more mild/less salty)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated or minced fresh ginger root (or more to taste)
2 ripe avocados
1/4 teaspoon of yuzu pepper
splashes of yuzu juice to taste (i gave my bottle 4 shakes)

yuzu is a japanese citrus.  like bacon, it makes everything taste better.  maybe because i didn’t want to stock my kitchen with sesame seeds just for this recipe (deb’s original recipe called for both white and black kinds), i felt the recipe was kind of boring.  i decided to add yuzu pepper to give it some kick and yuzu juice for flavor and acidity.  it really brightens up the salad.  i also substituted low sodium brown miso for the recommended white miso, since we already had that in our fridge.  if you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger instead.

directions:

1. dice cucumbers, radish, and scallions, and mix together in a large bowl.

2. mix sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, yuzu pepper, and yuzu juice together to make the dressing.

3. when ready to eat, dice avocado into vegetable mixture, pour in dressing, mix, and serve.

sorry i don’t have a picture of this one.  my avocados were kind of old so they were more brown than green.  needless to say, it made a hideous picture.  it doesn’t look as exciting as the lentil version anyways.  i hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do.  to me, they’re prefect for the warm weather, since it doesn’t require me to heat or cook anything besides the lentils.  it can be served room temperature or chilled, making it a good alternative for those hot days when all you want to do is eat milk and cereal or potato salad.

Yuzu Juice and Yuzu Pepper

Yuzu Juice and Yuzu Pepper

Readers, what do you think of this recipe?  do you have any summer favorites?