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Beetroot and Pumpkin Dip

Roast Beetroot & Pumpkin Dip – eat your antioxidants!

[recipe] Serves 6 |  75 mins go-to-woe

BEAUTY BOOST
So much beauty in colour! The vibrant purple flesh of beetroot is full of antioxidants and minerals that will look after your skin both inside and out. The minerals iron, potassium and zinc detoxify by creating healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to skin cells for regeneration, repair and renewal. The antioxidants fight against inflammation which treats puffy and red complexions. Pumpkin’s bright orange colour is a sign that this veggie is loaded with beta-carotene. This plant carotenoid gets converted to vitamin A and acts as a very powerful antioxidant to neutralise free radicals thereby helping to prevent wrinkles and keep your skin moist and looking youthful. And the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E of walnuts are another moisturising, wrinkle-fighting beauty boost to your skin.

YOU’LL NEED
2-3  beetroots – remove leaves, leave skin on but get rid of those rough bits at the top and bottom

2 chunks or 1/3 butternut pumpkin –  chopped into cubes

2/3rd cup walnuts

1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/2 tbspn black mustard seeds

1/2 tspn cumin seeds

salt and pepper to season

TO MAKE

  1. Turn oven on 180C.
  2. Place beetroot and pumpkin on baking tray lined with  non-toxic baking paper, drizzle with some extra olive oil, toss and place into. Roast for an hour.
  3. Halfway through roasting the beetroot add the garlic, walnuts, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the tray.
  4. Remove tray from oven when beetroot & pumpkin has roasted and garlic, walnuts and seeds are lightly toasted.
  5. Leave to cool before removing most of skin from the pumpkin.
  6. Add all roasted and toasted ingredients to blender or food processor and whiz until creamy.
  7. Add oil to mixture and blend until desired texture of dip has been reached. Season.
Beetroot and Pumpkin Dip

Beetroot and Pumpkin Dip

TIP & TRICKS

Toasting the walnuts, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and roasting the garlic by popping them into the oven while the beets are baking develops the flavour of the ingredients and infuses the beetroot with a spiced, nutty, garlicky deliciousness!

TO SERVE
Simply serve with a colourful array of fresh veggies and a variety of crackers.

Tired? Here are the best iron-rich foods

Tired? Here’s the ultimate list of the best iron-rich foods

We all know we should be eating the best iron-rich foods to maximise energy levels.

Without iron, our bodies lack the essential nutrient that forms haemoglobin. This is the key protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to vital organs – literally keeping us alive.

Healthy iron levels ensure optimum blood flow, making skin glow and giving you the vitality to do the things you love effortlessly.

What’s more, they help reduce hair loss, one of the side effects of low iron supplies, contribute to wound healing and smoothing out skin for acne sufferers.

But before you start popping iron pills, consider this:

Is a packaged supplement really the best remedy or can simply tweaking your diet solve your tiredness issues once and for all?

How to know when you lack iron

These are telltale signs that your liver – the organ that stores iron – is lacking this energy-giving element.  In a US study, researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine found severely iron deficient people (anaemic) nine times more likely to suffer from restless legs syndrome.

Other low-iron symptoms include:

  • unshakeable fatigue
  • headaches
  • breathlessness
  • brittle nails
  • heart palpitations
  • cravings to consume ice, clay or paper
  • passing pink urine (beeturia)

But supplements aren’t always a safe, straightforward solution.

A study reveals up to 70 per cent of people on iron tablets report stomach problems. Further research has shown, if you’re pregnant, overdosing on iron could make you more prone to gestational diabetes.

It’s hard to overdose on iron through diet alone but taking supplements could push levels to dangerous heights, aggravating genetic conditions such as hemochromatosis and making women more susceptible to heart disease.

I’ve always believed you reap all the iron you need (18mg for women aged 19-50 and up to 27mg for pregnant mums) from a balanced healthy diet – and research backs this up. But it’s not as simple as selecting and eating the best iron-rich foods.  Certain foods and drinks help but they also hinder iron absorption.

Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C dramatically aid its uptake. Adding a glass of orange juice to mealtimes can increase iron absorption from plant foods by 85%, says one study.

But tannins and acids from drinks like cocoa, tea (including green tea), coffee and red wine can block the body’s intake of iron – up to 60% for coffee and 90% for cocoa. So it’s advisable to consume these at least an hour before or after eating.

Poor gut health, phytates (an antioxidant) and fibres in wholegrains can also reduce mineral absorption (unless pre-soaked and cooked) while calcium (dairy), soy and phosphorus can limit the penetration of plant-sourced iron. Weirdly, camel milk is an exception as it has more Vitamin C and ten times the iron content of cow’s milk.

The good news?  Despite around a third of the world’s population suffering from iron deficient anaemia (according to the World Health Organisation) – it is easily preventable by eating the freshest and best iron-rich foods.  So here they are:

Top 15 best iron-rich foods

  • Red meat: Chicken liver, beef, kangaroo. Most iron in our diet comes from plant foods rather than meat. Top tip: curry powder can really help.
  • Seafood: Oysters, mussels, sardines. These are a rich source of protein and iron.
  • Plants: Swiss chard and spinach (beautify breakfast with this iron-packed super-smoothie). Did you know vegetarians are no less likely to develop anaemia than meat-eaters? Top tip: cooking plant-based foods first helps release more iron.
  • Seeds: Sesame seeds are rich in iron. Top tip: tahini dressings and dips are a delicious addition to your diet.
  • Pulses & grains: Fortified breakfast cereals, kidney beans, lentils. A broad selection of beans and harvested crops will keep you firing on all cylinders.
  • See this list for the amount of iron in different foods per 100g.

(Click infographic to enlarge)

Iron Infographic

Red Lentil Curry

Red Lentil Curry

YOU’LL LOVE…

Winter is here! So with the chilly nights, why not try this Indian red lentil curry to warm you and your family up!  Lentils are legumes and are high in protein, folic acid and dietary fibre. The curry uses an array of spices but has a fragrant mild taste so is good for little ones. Dried red split pea lentils cook in 15-20mins making it ideal for a quick easy dinner idea for week nights. Read more

How to Lighten your Toxic Load when it Comes to Lipstick

Don’t be fooled: some of your favourite lipsticks could contain more than just a splash of pretty pigment and glossy goodness, especially bright reds! Many mainstream lipsticks are in fact loaded with toxic metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and nickel, thereby heightening your risk of dangerous diseases and organ damage. Yikes!

Why should you think twice before swiping on just any old lipstick?

The average woman consumes anywhere between 4 to 10 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime (gulp). Those same sticks of lippie may contain toxic ingredients that could be doing more damage than good.

Exposure to certain metals has been linked to health concerns including reproductive, immune and nervous system toxicity. Symptoms can include headaches, weakness, constipation, fatigue, muscle and joint pain.

When bio-absorption of heavy metals occurs, each person is affected in different ways depending on their specific threshold and manifesting as different symptoms, but there’s still that risk. Wouldn’t you feel more at peace knowing you were limiting your toxic exposure as much as possible? The brain is not designed to cope with heavy metals, nor is the internal system, so it only makes sense to stay away from toxic ingredients in favour of safe, nourishing alternatives.

It’s not just heresy – there’s proof!

A recent study conducted by University of California found concerning levels of heavy metal content in 32 popular lipsticks and glosses. Lead turned up in 75% of products and about 30% of products contained levels of chromium higher than what’s considered safe when people applied them at the average daily rate. Alarming stuff!

What metals should you avoid?

Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminium, zinc, chromium and iron are found in many lipsticks formulas.

High levels of cadmium can be stored in the kidneys and could lead to renal failure.

Lead is an enzyme inhibitor and over a long period of time it can build up and cause a plethora of health issues for its wearer or consumer.

Moreover, chronic exposure to nickel, arsenic, aluminium, chromium, iron and zinc can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, neurological deficits and developmental problems.

And there’s a big loophole too. Because certain heavy metals are considered a contaminant and not an ingredient, it doesn’t have to be listed on the label, so you might not even know what you are applying to your pout. To me, that’s the scariest part, not knowing what the heck is in all of your consumer products! How can you possibly protect yourself without such important information?

What ingredients should you be applying instead?

Yes, lipstick makes you feel beautiful and confident but it shouldn’t be making you sick or drying out your lips.

I am absolutely transparent about all of the ingredients my Luk Beautifood Lip Nourish Lipsticks are made from. These include skin-healthy foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins and free from synthetic dyes, fragrances and preservatives. Similarly, the 100% Pure makeup range that I stock contains only safe, healthy, natural, fruit pigmented ingredients that cause no harm to your external or internal health and you will never EVER find hidden nasty ingredients in either collection. That’s how makeup should be!

It’s a choice. It starts with YOU.

Why are we still okay with applying potentially dangerous, irritating chemicals to our skin? Perhaps we think only a small amount won’t do much harm, perhaps there’s not enough education, or perhaps we’ve fallen victim to marketing codswallop from big consumer companies that think it’s okay to sell a bunch of toxins to the masses and mask it with glitz and glamour advertising tactics.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you. You choose what should go on (and therefore in!) your skin, and you choose how many chemicals and potential endocrine-disruptors you wish to be exposed to. But choose wisely, beauties.

Chances are, if you’ve read this article right to the very end, you’re beginning to think twice about some of your makeup and household product choices and I am glad!

Educate yourself

There are MANY resources out there on the interwebs. I’ve even created quite the library of further information about this topic (see below for a few key subjects):

The Dirty Thirty toxic beauty ingredients

How to detox your beauty routine

The list of hazardous and toxic beauty ingredients

I’m here to empower my natural beauties and inform you about what’s healthy, what’s safe and how you can safeguard yourself from harmful toxins effortlessly and easily, without skimping on quality when it comes to your makeup products. I’ll hold your hand and walk you through the process, because as women, we deserve to be anointed with the purest and safest of ingredients for a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Image via dollarphotoclub.com

Cindy

Got a question about this particular subject? Do you feel like there should be better regulation for certain cosmetics companies? Leave a comment below!

Skin Food Series: Chia seeds

Great looking skin and healthy insides starts with the food we eat, so each fortnight I’ll be bringing you a Skin Food Series blog post (a bit like our Beautifood Bites) which will profile all of the wondrous superfoods and healthy ingredients that contribute to a unstoppable glow on the inside out and outside in.

To  kick things off, today I’m talking about all things chia seeds! This splendid little superfood has been especially popular these past few years, peppering everything from juices to muesli to fish, and it’s no wonder why.

Chia contains the richest natural plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. On the protein front, they have approximately two times the protein of other grains, even more so than flaxseeds. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. They also provie calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc to the body and have the ability to restore vital moisture, diminish redness and inhibit wrinkles to the skin. Talk about being a total miracle food!

The tiny, tasteless seeds can be added to just about anything for a healthy boost.  Blend them in juice, grind them into a flour, or just sprinkle them into your yoghurt; you’ll get the same nutritional benefits than if you were to eat them alone. Amazing!

But wait… there’s more!

Click here to print out our Infobite card which details the beautiful benefits of Chia Seeds

Click here for a delicious Vanilla and Cinnamon Chia Pudding Breakfast Bowl recipe

Click here to learn how to create your own Banana, Coconut and Chia Seed Bread

Image via My New Roots

Are you a fan of the humble chia seed? How do you like to eat them? Leave a comment natural beauties x

cindy luken signature

Click here to add your own text

Berry Crumble recipe clean food luk beautifood

Pear and Berry Crumble Recipe

(from the archive)

This pear and berry crumble packed with vitamin C and antioxidants makes the perfect winter treat!

And who does not love fruit topped crumble? Working to boost your immune system and fight wrinkles, our pear and berry crumble recipe with a nut, oat and coconut oil topping takes less then an hour to make – 20 mins to cook / mix and 20 mins to bake making it an effortless way to end a cool winters day.

BEAUTY BOOST

Strawberries: Looking to reduce acne?  Strawberries are naturally rich in salicylic acid – a common ingredient in commercial acne creams! They also help to whiten your teeth and provide a radiant smile.

Blueberries: Full of antioxidants, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant counts of everyday fruit. They have been proven to fight wrinkle formation by neutralising free radical damage to tissues in the skin, including collagen and elastin.

Pears: Vitamin C works to produce and maintain collagen in your skin helping to keep it plump and feeling smooth.

Raspberries: They are a rich source of dietary fibre to flush out toxins and create clearer skin while helping to fight blemishes or breakouts.

Oats: Also high in fibre, oats help to regulate blood sugar levels while vitamin B aids the regeneration of skin cells for a fresh, revitalised appearance. The iron in oats allows the skin to recieve oxygen to grow and repair, keeping it strong and wrinkle free!

PEAR AND BERRY CRUMBLE RECIPE

40 minutes wo to go. Serves 4

YOU’LL NEED

3 cups berries (fresh or frozen)

2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup almond meal

1/4 cup rapadura sugar

1/4 cup nuts, crushed (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts etc)

1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

HOW TO

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

2. Heat a saucepan over low heat.  Add pears, berries, orange juice, cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, grease the sides of a baking dish with a small amount of coconut oil.  In a large bowl mix oats, almond meal, sugar, nuts and remaining coconut oil.

4. Pour berry mix into the baking dish and top with oat mix. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden.  Serve pear and berry crumble warm.

TIPS AND TRICKS
  • Make extra crumble topping and simply top with a few fresh berries and yoghurt for breakfast the next day!
  • Use fresh or frozen berries.
  • Save a teaspoon of the warm berry mix and blend with 1/4 cup of walnuts and 1 frozen banana for a delicious ice cream!
Berry Crumble

Pear and Berry Crumble with a dollop of unsweetened natural yoghurt

 

 

Beauty Benefits of Zucchini beauty food zucchini luk beautifood

beauty benefits of zucchini

beauty food zucchini

Also known as a courgette or a summer squash, zucchini is dark green in colour and is related to both squash and pumpkin.

FOOD ACTIVES:

Vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and zinc.

BEAUTY BENEFITS OF ZUCCHINI:

Zucchini’s high water content helps to revitalise and hydrate your skin while manganese helps the body to develop strong bones and teeth.  Vitamin A in zucchini also protects the skin by being present within the epidermal layer, acting to absorb the suns UV rays to help maintain healthy, bright skin. It also helps to prevent age spots, wrinkles and sagging from forming.

COOK:  

Usually served cooked, zucchini can be steamed, grilled, baked and fried.  A quick cook is all it needs, drizzle with some oil or throw it into a stir fry.

TIP:

Try cutting long and flat slices of zucchini.  Quickly fry, bake or grill the strips with oil and roll up some mixed veg inside,  creating sushi made from zucchini!

dividers R1-beautifood middle yellow

PRINT TO KEEP HANDY

PRINT this gorgeous 10x15cm beautifood skin food card to keep beauty inspiration at finger tips reach in your kitchen

Step 1. Simply click on the  skin food image .

Step 2. Then right click and choose ‘Save image as’ where it will be a JPEG in whichever folder you choose.

Step 3. Open the saved image and print on a postcard size (6”x4”/10cmx15cm) photo paper.

Step 4. Send to printer for your gorgeous skin food card!

Step 5. Display on your fridge file in a A-Z card box in your kitchen.

be delicious.... inside and out

Beauty Benefits of Zucchini beauty food zucchini luk beautifood
Beauty Benefits of Snow peas luk beautifood beauty food snow peas snowpeas

beauty benefits of snow peas

beauty food snow peas

Snow peas contain an edible pod that contains immature peas.  This legume is similar to a snap pea but with a thinner pod wall.

FOOD ACTIVES:

Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, thiamin, calcium, manganese,  magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, folic acid and fibre.

BEAUTY BENEFITS OF SNOW PEAS:

Beauty benefits of snow peas begin through their naturally high flavonoid content.  These work in the body as antioxidants protecting both your insides and outsides!  They help to fight off and reduce exposure of free radicals which in turn can reduce the appearance of premature ageing. Beauty benefits of snow peas also include their high Vitamin K content which helps reduce dark circles under the eyes while folate aids the renewal of hair cells, keeping your locks strong and shiny! Beauty benefits of snow peas will revitalise your appearance and support a glowing complexion.

COOK:  

Snow peas are a fantastic addition to stir frys,add them towards the end of cooking to maintain a delicious crunch, adding texture to your dish.  They also a great addition to any salad.

TIP:

When buying snow peas look for bright and shiny, crisp pods, making sure they are blemish free.  Wash them before adding them to your dish and don’t forget to trim or snap off the ends.

dividers R1-beautifood middle yellow

PRINT TO KEEP HANDY

PRINT this gorgeous 10x15cm beautifood skin food card to keep beauty inspiration at finger tips reach in your kitchen

Step 1. Simply click on the  skin food image .

Step 2. Then right click and choose ‘Save image as’ where it will be a JPEG in whichever folder you choose.

Step 3. Open the saved image and print on a postcard size (6”x4”/10cmx15cm) photo paper.

Step 4. Send to printer for your gorgeous skin food card!

Step 5. Display on your fridge file in a A-Z card box in your kitchen.

be delicious.... inside and out

Beauty Benefits of Snow peas luk beautifood beauty food snow peas snowpeas
Beauty benefits of paprika luk beautifood beauty food paprika

beauty benefits of paprika

beauty benefits of paprika

Paprika is a spice made from dried, ground chili.  It can vary from  orange to deep red in colour and is generally less spicy than chilli or cayenne powder.  Paprika can range from mild to hot in spiciness with either a smoked or sweeter flavour.

FOOD ACTIVES:

Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, carotenoids, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and folate.

BEAUTY BENEFITS OF PAPRIKA:

Beauty benefits of paprika stem from its carotenoids galore! The mixture of lutein and zeaxanthin works to maintain a healthy eye sight. Paprikas carotenoids work  to enhance radiant skin instead of a dull tone while vitamin K helps to remove the darkness under your eyes. Beauty benefits of paprika also maintain healthy and gorgeous hair as iron enhances oxygen delivery, to allow the hair to continue to grow while Vitamin B6 helps to prevent hair loss by stimulating healthy growth of cells. This creates a healthy environment for hair growth, revitalising your cells for strong, shiny locks!

COOK:

Paprika is used to both colour and season meals, such as soups, rice and stews.  Combine with garlic or cayenne powder to rub over chicken, meat or fish or lightly sprinkle with oil over potatoes, carrots or cauliflower before roasting.

TIP:

Looking to bring out gorgeous flavour, colour and beauty benefits of paprika? Paprikas properties are more pronounced when it is heated with a small amount of oil and then mixed into the dish.

dividers R1-beautifood middle yellow

PRINT TO KEEP HANDY

PRINT this gorgeous 10x15cm beautifood skin food card to keep beauty inspiration at finger tips reach in your kitchen

Step 1. Simply click on the  skin food image .

Step 2. Then right click and choose ‘Save image as’ where it will be a JPEG in whichever folder you choose.

Step 3. Open the saved image and print on a postcard size (6”x4”/10cmx15cm) photo paper.

Step 4. Send to printer for your gorgeous skin food card!

Step 5. Display on your fridge file in a A-Z card box in your kitchen.

be delicious.... inside and out

Beauty benefits of paprika luk beautifood beauty food paprika
Grilled vegetable and lentil salad recipe clean food luk beautifood

Grilled Vegetable and Lentil Salad Recipe

 This grilled vegetable and lentil salad is a staple ‘go-to’ recipe for a quick, filling lunch or a busy school night to make eating healthy easy. 

If you struggle to buy or make a salad that just doesn’t fill you up enough or give you the energy you need, this grilled vegetable and lentil salad will do the trick. Rich in protein and fibre, this salad will not only satisfy your lunch time hunger but will nourish your skin from the inside out. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any vegies you have sitting in the fridge!

BEAUTY BOOST

Lentils are packed full of fibre to help to sooth digestion while ensuring as many nutrients are absorbed into your body as possible. It also helps to balance blood sugar levels making this grilled vegetable and lentil salad a perfect meal for the middle of the day. They are also high in protein and iron to keep you energised.

Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fats for  a radiant, plump complexion.  They help skin cells to lock in both nutrients and moisture and are great for maintaining glossy strong hair.

Parsley contains both vitamin A and vitamin K  to brighten eyes and reduce the appearance of dark circles.

GRILLED VEGETABLE AND LENTIL SALAD RECIPE

30 minutes wo to go.  Serves 4

YOU’LL NEED

1/2 cup green/brown lentils, rinsed

4 cups water

2 zucchini

2 capsicum, cored and seeded

1 small egg plant

2 cups of rocket (or 1 small bag)

1/3 cup toasted walnuts, crushed

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pinch of salt

HOW TO

1.  In a medium saucepan combine the lentils, water and salt.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat, simmering uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

2.  Meanwhile, cut zucchini, capsicum and eggplant into thin strips, coating lightly with olive oil.  Grill vegetables on medium heat until tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes each side (Capsicums may take slightly longer).

3. Place rocket into a large salad bowl.  Chop vegetables into cubes and add into a large bowl, on top of the bed of rocket.

4. Strain the lentils, rinsing with some fresh water.  Stir in walnuts, parsley and red wine vinegar and transfer the mixture into the salad bowl.  Stir gently and serve.

TIPS AND TRICKS
  • Make extra of the lentils and save in an air tight container in the fridge for tomorrow.
  • Top grilled vegetable and lentil salad with some avocado and natural yoghurt for a delicious mix!
  • Don’t have any dried lentils on hand or running short on time? A can of (organic) brown lentils will do the trick, just rinse and add.
Grilled vegetable and lentil salad recipe clean food luk beautifood

Either serve Grilled vegetable and lentil salad in a big salad bowl or leave veggies whole and serve with some wholemeal wrap bread!

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Beetroot and Pumpkin Dip

Roast Beetroot & Pumpkin Dip – eat your antioxidants!

[recipe] Serves 6 |  75 mins go-to-woe

BEAUTY BOOST
So much beauty in colour! The vibrant purple flesh of beetroot is full of antioxidants and minerals that will look after your skin both inside and out. The minerals iron, potassium and zinc detoxify by creating healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to skin cells for regeneration, repair and renewal. The antioxidants fight against inflammation which treats puffy and red complexions. Pumpkin’s bright orange colour is a sign that this veggie is loaded with beta-carotene. This plant carotenoid gets converted to vitamin A and acts as a very powerful antioxidant to neutralise free radicals thereby helping to prevent wrinkles and keep your skin moist and looking youthful. And the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E of walnuts are another moisturising, wrinkle-fighting beauty boost to your skin.

YOU’LL NEED
2-3  beetroots – remove leaves, leave skin on but get rid of those rough bits at the top and bottom

2 chunks or 1/3 butternut pumpkin –  chopped into cubes

2/3rd cup walnuts

1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic

1/2 tbspn black mustard seeds

1/2 tspn cumin seeds

salt and pepper to season

TO MAKE

  1. Turn oven on 180C.
  2. Place beetroot and pumpkin on baking tray lined with  non-toxic baking paper, drizzle with some extra olive oil, toss and place into. Roast for an hour.
  3. Halfway through roasting the beetroot add the garlic, walnuts, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the tray.
  4. Remove tray from oven when beetroot & pumpkin has roasted and garlic, walnuts and seeds are lightly toasted.
  5. Leave to cool before removing most of skin from the pumpkin.
  6. Add all roasted and toasted ingredients to blender or food processor and whiz until creamy.
  7. Add oil to mixture and blend until desired texture of dip has been reached. Season.
Beetroot and Pumpkin Dip

Beetroot and Pumpkin Dip

TIP & TRICKS

Toasting the walnuts, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and roasting the garlic by popping them into the oven while the beets are baking develops the flavour of the ingredients and infuses the beetroot with a spiced, nutty, garlicky deliciousness!

TO SERVE
Simply serve with a colourful array of fresh veggies and a variety of crackers.

Tired? Here are the best iron-rich foods

Tired? Here’s the ultimate list of the best iron-rich foods

We all know we should be eating the best iron-rich foods to maximise energy levels.

Without iron, our bodies lack the essential nutrient that forms haemoglobin. This is the key protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to vital organs – literally keeping us alive.

Healthy iron levels ensure optimum blood flow, making skin glow and giving you the vitality to do the things you love effortlessly.

What’s more, they help reduce hair loss, one of the side effects of low iron supplies, contribute to wound healing and smoothing out skin for acne sufferers.

But before you start popping iron pills, consider this:

Is a packaged supplement really the best remedy or can simply tweaking your diet solve your tiredness issues once and for all?

How to know when you lack iron

These are telltale signs that your liver – the organ that stores iron – is lacking this energy-giving element.  In a US study, researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine found severely iron deficient people (anaemic) nine times more likely to suffer from restless legs syndrome.

Other low-iron symptoms include:

  • unshakeable fatigue
  • headaches
  • breathlessness
  • brittle nails
  • heart palpitations
  • cravings to consume ice, clay or paper
  • passing pink urine (beeturia)

But supplements aren’t always a safe, straightforward solution.

A study reveals up to 70 per cent of people on iron tablets report stomach problems. Further research has shown, if you’re pregnant, overdosing on iron could make you more prone to gestational diabetes.

It’s hard to overdose on iron through diet alone but taking supplements could push levels to dangerous heights, aggravating genetic conditions such as hemochromatosis and making women more susceptible to heart disease.

I’ve always believed you reap all the iron you need (18mg for women aged 19-50 and up to 27mg for pregnant mums) from a balanced healthy diet – and research backs this up. But it’s not as simple as selecting and eating the best iron-rich foods.  Certain foods and drinks help but they also hinder iron absorption.

Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamin C dramatically aid its uptake. Adding a glass of orange juice to mealtimes can increase iron absorption from plant foods by 85%, says one study.

But tannins and acids from drinks like cocoa, tea (including green tea), coffee and red wine can block the body’s intake of iron – up to 60% for coffee and 90% for cocoa. So it’s advisable to consume these at least an hour before or after eating.

Poor gut health, phytates (an antioxidant) and fibres in wholegrains can also reduce mineral absorption (unless pre-soaked and cooked) while calcium (dairy), soy and phosphorus can limit the penetration of plant-sourced iron. Weirdly, camel milk is an exception as it has more Vitamin C and ten times the iron content of cow’s milk.

The good news?  Despite around a third of the world’s population suffering from iron deficient anaemia (according to the World Health Organisation) – it is easily preventable by eating the freshest and best iron-rich foods.  So here they are:

Top 15 best iron-rich foods

  • Red meat: Chicken liver, beef, kangaroo. Most iron in our diet comes from plant foods rather than meat. Top tip: curry powder can really help.
  • Seafood: Oysters, mussels, sardines. These are a rich source of protein and iron.
  • Plants: Swiss chard and spinach (beautify breakfast with this iron-packed super-smoothie). Did you know vegetarians are no less likely to develop anaemia than meat-eaters? Top tip: cooking plant-based foods first helps release more iron.
  • Seeds: Sesame seeds are rich in iron. Top tip: tahini dressings and dips are a delicious addition to your diet.
  • Pulses & grains: Fortified breakfast cereals, kidney beans, lentils. A broad selection of beans and harvested crops will keep you firing on all cylinders.
  • See this list for the amount of iron in different foods per 100g.

(Click infographic to enlarge)

Iron Infographic

Red Lentil Curry

Red Lentil Curry

YOU’LL LOVE…

Winter is here! So with the chilly nights, why not try this Indian red lentil curry to warm you and your family up!  Lentils are legumes and are high in protein, folic acid and dietary fibre. The curry uses an array of spices but has a fragrant mild taste so is good for little ones. Dried red split pea lentils cook in 15-20mins making it ideal for a quick easy dinner idea for week nights. Read more

How to Lighten your Toxic Load when it Comes to Lipstick

Don’t be fooled: some of your favourite lipsticks could contain more than just a splash of pretty pigment and glossy goodness, especially bright reds! Many mainstream lipsticks are in fact loaded with toxic metals like mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic and nickel, thereby heightening your risk of dangerous diseases and organ damage. Yikes!

Why should you think twice before swiping on just any old lipstick?

The average woman consumes anywhere between 4 to 10 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime (gulp). Those same sticks of lippie may contain toxic ingredients that could be doing more damage than good.

Exposure to certain metals has been linked to health concerns including reproductive, immune and nervous system toxicity. Symptoms can include headaches, weakness, constipation, fatigue, muscle and joint pain.

When bio-absorption of heavy metals occurs, each person is affected in different ways depending on their specific threshold and manifesting as different symptoms, but there’s still that risk. Wouldn’t you feel more at peace knowing you were limiting your toxic exposure as much as possible? The brain is not designed to cope with heavy metals, nor is the internal system, so it only makes sense to stay away from toxic ingredients in favour of safe, nourishing alternatives.

It’s not just heresy – there’s proof!

A recent study conducted by University of California found concerning levels of heavy metal content in 32 popular lipsticks and glosses. Lead turned up in 75% of products and about 30% of products contained levels of chromium higher than what’s considered safe when people applied them at the average daily rate. Alarming stuff!

What metals should you avoid?

Heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminium, zinc, chromium and iron are found in many lipsticks formulas.

High levels of cadmium can be stored in the kidneys and could lead to renal failure.

Lead is an enzyme inhibitor and over a long period of time it can build up and cause a plethora of health issues for its wearer or consumer.

Moreover, chronic exposure to nickel, arsenic, aluminium, chromium, iron and zinc can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, neurological deficits and developmental problems.

And there’s a big loophole too. Because certain heavy metals are considered a contaminant and not an ingredient, it doesn’t have to be listed on the label, so you might not even know what you are applying to your pout. To me, that’s the scariest part, not knowing what the heck is in all of your consumer products! How can you possibly protect yourself without such important information?

What ingredients should you be applying instead?

Yes, lipstick makes you feel beautiful and confident but it shouldn’t be making you sick or drying out your lips.

I am absolutely transparent about all of the ingredients my Luk Beautifood Lip Nourish Lipsticks are made from. These include skin-healthy foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins and free from synthetic dyes, fragrances and preservatives. Similarly, the 100% Pure makeup range that I stock contains only safe, healthy, natural, fruit pigmented ingredients that cause no harm to your external or internal health and you will never EVER find hidden nasty ingredients in either collection. That’s how makeup should be!

It’s a choice. It starts with YOU.

Why are we still okay with applying potentially dangerous, irritating chemicals to our skin? Perhaps we think only a small amount won’t do much harm, perhaps there’s not enough education, or perhaps we’ve fallen victim to marketing codswallop from big consumer companies that think it’s okay to sell a bunch of toxins to the masses and mask it with glitz and glamour advertising tactics.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you. You choose what should go on (and therefore in!) your skin, and you choose how many chemicals and potential endocrine-disruptors you wish to be exposed to. But choose wisely, beauties.

Chances are, if you’ve read this article right to the very end, you’re beginning to think twice about some of your makeup and household product choices and I am glad!

Educate yourself

There are MANY resources out there on the interwebs. I’ve even created quite the library of further information about this topic (see below for a few key subjects):

The Dirty Thirty toxic beauty ingredients

How to detox your beauty routine

The list of hazardous and toxic beauty ingredients

I’m here to empower my natural beauties and inform you about what’s healthy, what’s safe and how you can safeguard yourself from harmful toxins effortlessly and easily, without skimping on quality when it comes to your makeup products. I’ll hold your hand and walk you through the process, because as women, we deserve to be anointed with the purest and safest of ingredients for a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Image via dollarphotoclub.com

Cindy

Got a question about this particular subject? Do you feel like there should be better regulation for certain cosmetics companies? Leave a comment below!

Skin Food Series: Chia seeds

Great looking skin and healthy insides starts with the food we eat, so each fortnight I’ll be bringing you a Skin Food Series blog post (a bit like our Beautifood Bites) which will profile all of the wondrous superfoods and healthy ingredients that contribute to a unstoppable glow on the inside out and outside in.

To  kick things off, today I’m talking about all things chia seeds! This splendid little superfood has been especially popular these past few years, peppering everything from juices to muesli to fish, and it’s no wonder why.

Chia contains the richest natural plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. On the protein front, they have approximately two times the protein of other grains, even more so than flaxseeds. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. They also provie calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc to the body and have the ability to restore vital moisture, diminish redness and inhibit wrinkles to the skin. Talk about being a total miracle food!

The tiny, tasteless seeds can be added to just about anything for a healthy boost.  Blend them in juice, grind them into a flour, or just sprinkle them into your yoghurt; you’ll get the same nutritional benefits than if you were to eat them alone. Amazing!

But wait… there’s more!

Click here to print out our Infobite card which details the beautiful benefits of Chia Seeds

Click here for a delicious Vanilla and Cinnamon Chia Pudding Breakfast Bowl recipe

Click here to learn how to create your own Banana, Coconut and Chia Seed Bread

Image via My New Roots

Are you a fan of the humble chia seed? How do you like to eat them? Leave a comment natural beauties x

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Berry Crumble recipe clean food luk beautifood

Pear and Berry Crumble Recipe

(from the archive)

This pear and berry crumble packed with vitamin C and antioxidants makes the perfect winter treat!

And who does not love fruit topped crumble? Working to boost your immune system and fight wrinkles, our pear and berry crumble recipe with a nut, oat and coconut oil topping takes less then an hour to make – 20 mins to cook / mix and 20 mins to bake making it an effortless way to end a cool winters day.

BEAUTY BOOST

Strawberries: Looking to reduce acne?  Strawberries are naturally rich in salicylic acid – a common ingredient in commercial acne creams! They also help to whiten your teeth and provide a radiant smile.

Blueberries: Full of antioxidants, blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant counts of everyday fruit. They have been proven to fight wrinkle formation by neutralising free radical damage to tissues in the skin, including collagen and elastin.

Pears: Vitamin C works to produce and maintain collagen in your skin helping to keep it plump and feeling smooth.

Raspberries: They are a rich source of dietary fibre to flush out toxins and create clearer skin while helping to fight blemishes or breakouts.

Oats: Also high in fibre, oats help to regulate blood sugar levels while vitamin B aids the regeneration of skin cells for a fresh, revitalised appearance. The iron in oats allows the skin to recieve oxygen to grow and repair, keeping it strong and wrinkle free!

PEAR AND BERRY CRUMBLE RECIPE

40 minutes wo to go. Serves 4

YOU’LL NEED

3 cups berries (fresh or frozen)

2 pears, peeled, cored and chopped

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup almond meal

1/4 cup rapadura sugar

1/4 cup nuts, crushed (almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts etc)

1 tablespoon coconut oil (melted)

HOW TO

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.

2. Heat a saucepan over low heat.  Add pears, berries, orange juice, cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, grease the sides of a baking dish with a small amount of coconut oil.  In a large bowl mix oats, almond meal, sugar, nuts and remaining coconut oil.

4. Pour berry mix into the baking dish and top with oat mix. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until slightly golden.  Serve pear and berry crumble warm.

TIPS AND TRICKS
  • Make extra crumble topping and simply top with a few fresh berries and yoghurt for breakfast the next day!
  • Use fresh or frozen berries.
  • Save a teaspoon of the warm berry mix and blend with 1/4 cup of walnuts and 1 frozen banana for a delicious ice cream!
Berry Crumble

Pear and Berry Crumble with a dollop of unsweetened natural yoghurt

 

 

Beauty Benefits of Zucchini beauty food zucchini luk beautifood

beauty benefits of zucchini

beauty food zucchini

Also known as a courgette or a summer squash, zucchini is dark green in colour and is related to both squash and pumpkin.

FOOD ACTIVES:

Vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese and zinc.

BEAUTY BENEFITS OF ZUCCHINI:

Zucchini’s high water content helps to revitalise and hydrate your skin while manganese helps the body to develop strong bones and teeth.  Vitamin A in zucchini also protects the skin by being present within the epidermal layer, acting to absorb the suns UV rays to help maintain healthy, bright skin. It also helps to prevent age spots, wrinkles and sagging from forming.

COOK:  

Usually served cooked, zucchini can be steamed, grilled, baked and fried.  A quick cook is all it needs, drizzle with some oil or throw it into a stir fry.

TIP:

Try cutting long and flat slices of zucchini.  Quickly fry, bake or grill the strips with oil and roll up some mixed veg inside,  creating sushi made from zucchini!

dividers R1-beautifood middle yellow

PRINT TO KEEP HANDY

PRINT this gorgeous 10x15cm beautifood skin food card to keep beauty inspiration at finger tips reach in your kitchen

Step 1. Simply click on the  skin food image .

Step 2. Then right click and choose ‘Save image as’ where it will be a JPEG in whichever folder you choose.

Step 3. Open the saved image and print on a postcard size (6”x4”/10cmx15cm) photo paper.

Step 4. Send to printer for your gorgeous skin food card!

Step 5. Display on your fridge file in a A-Z card box in your kitchen.

be delicious.... inside and out

Beauty Benefits of Zucchini beauty food zucchini luk beautifood
Beauty Benefits of Snow peas luk beautifood beauty food snow peas snowpeas

beauty benefits of snow peas

beauty food snow peas

Snow peas contain an edible pod that contains immature peas.  This legume is similar to a snap pea but with a thinner pod wall.

FOOD ACTIVES:

Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, thiamin, calcium, manganese,  magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, folic acid and fibre.

BEAUTY BENEFITS OF SNOW PEAS:

Beauty benefits of snow peas begin through their naturally high flavonoid content.  These work in the body as antioxidants protecting both your insides and outsides!  They help to fight off and reduce exposure of free radicals which in turn can reduce the appearance of premature ageing. Beauty benefits of snow peas also include their high Vitamin K content which helps reduce dark circles under the eyes while folate aids the renewal of hair cells, keeping your locks strong and shiny! Beauty benefits of snow peas will revitalise your appearance and support a glowing complexion.

COOK:  

Snow peas are a fantastic addition to stir frys,add them towards the end of cooking to maintain a delicious crunch, adding texture to your dish.  They also a great addition to any salad.

TIP:

When buying snow peas look for bright and shiny, crisp pods, making sure they are blemish free.  Wash them before adding them to your dish and don’t forget to trim or snap off the ends.

dividers R1-beautifood middle yellow

PRINT TO KEEP HANDY

PRINT this gorgeous 10x15cm beautifood skin food card to keep beauty inspiration at finger tips reach in your kitchen

Step 1. Simply click on the  skin food image .

Step 2. Then right click and choose ‘Save image as’ where it will be a JPEG in whichever folder you choose.

Step 3. Open the saved image and print on a postcard size (6”x4”/10cmx15cm) photo paper.

Step 4. Send to printer for your gorgeous skin food card!

Step 5. Display on your fridge file in a A-Z card box in your kitchen.

be delicious.... inside and out

Beauty Benefits of Snow peas luk beautifood beauty food snow peas snowpeas
Beauty benefits of paprika luk beautifood beauty food paprika

beauty benefits of paprika

beauty benefits of paprika

Paprika is a spice made from dried, ground chili.  It can vary from  orange to deep red in colour and is generally less spicy than chilli or cayenne powder.  Paprika can range from mild to hot in spiciness with either a smoked or sweeter flavour.

FOOD ACTIVES:

Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin K, carotenoids, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and folate.

BEAUTY BENEFITS OF PAPRIKA:

Beauty benefits of paprika stem from its carotenoids galore! The mixture of lutein and zeaxanthin works to maintain a healthy eye sight. Paprikas carotenoids work  to enhance radiant skin instead of a dull tone while vitamin K helps to remove the darkness under your eyes. Beauty benefits of paprika also maintain healthy and gorgeous hair as iron enhances oxygen delivery, to allow the hair to continue to grow while Vitamin B6 helps to prevent hair loss by stimulating healthy growth of cells. This creates a healthy environment for hair growth, revitalising your cells for strong, shiny locks!

COOK:

Paprika is used to both colour and season meals, such as soups, rice and stews.  Combine with garlic or cayenne powder to rub over chicken, meat or fish or lightly sprinkle with oil over potatoes, carrots or cauliflower before roasting.

TIP:

Looking to bring out gorgeous flavour, colour and beauty benefits of paprika? Paprikas properties are more pronounced when it is heated with a small amount of oil and then mixed into the dish.

dividers R1-beautifood middle yellow

PRINT TO KEEP HANDY

PRINT this gorgeous 10x15cm beautifood skin food card to keep beauty inspiration at finger tips reach in your kitchen

Step 1. Simply click on the  skin food image .

Step 2. Then right click and choose ‘Save image as’ where it will be a JPEG in whichever folder you choose.

Step 3. Open the saved image and print on a postcard size (6”x4”/10cmx15cm) photo paper.

Step 4. Send to printer for your gorgeous skin food card!

Step 5. Display on your fridge file in a A-Z card box in your kitchen.

be delicious.... inside and out

Beauty benefits of paprika luk beautifood beauty food paprika
Grilled vegetable and lentil salad recipe clean food luk beautifood

Grilled Vegetable and Lentil Salad Recipe

 This grilled vegetable and lentil salad is a staple ‘go-to’ recipe for a quick, filling lunch or a busy school night to make eating healthy easy. 

If you struggle to buy or make a salad that just doesn’t fill you up enough or give you the energy you need, this grilled vegetable and lentil salad will do the trick. Rich in protein and fibre, this salad will not only satisfy your lunch time hunger but will nourish your skin from the inside out. Plus, it’s a great way to use up any vegies you have sitting in the fridge!

BEAUTY BOOST

Lentils are packed full of fibre to help to sooth digestion while ensuring as many nutrients are absorbed into your body as possible. It also helps to balance blood sugar levels making this grilled vegetable and lentil salad a perfect meal for the middle of the day. They are also high in protein and iron to keep you energised.

Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fats for  a radiant, plump complexion.  They help skin cells to lock in both nutrients and moisture and are great for maintaining glossy strong hair.

Parsley contains both vitamin A and vitamin K  to brighten eyes and reduce the appearance of dark circles.

GRILLED VEGETABLE AND LENTIL SALAD RECIPE

30 minutes wo to go.  Serves 4

YOU’LL NEED

1/2 cup green/brown lentils, rinsed

4 cups water

2 zucchini

2 capsicum, cored and seeded

1 small egg plant

2 cups of rocket (or 1 small bag)

1/3 cup toasted walnuts, crushed

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Pinch of salt

HOW TO

1.  In a medium saucepan combine the lentils, water and salt.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat, simmering uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

2.  Meanwhile, cut zucchini, capsicum and eggplant into thin strips, coating lightly with olive oil.  Grill vegetables on medium heat until tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes each side (Capsicums may take slightly longer).

3. Place rocket into a large salad bowl.  Chop vegetables into cubes and add into a large bowl, on top of the bed of rocket.

4. Strain the lentils, rinsing with some fresh water.  Stir in walnuts, parsley and red wine vinegar and transfer the mixture into the salad bowl.  Stir gently and serve.

TIPS AND TRICKS
  • Make extra of the lentils and save in an air tight container in the fridge for tomorrow.
  • Top grilled vegetable and lentil salad with some avocado and natural yoghurt for a delicious mix!
  • Don’t have any dried lentils on hand or running short on time? A can of (organic) brown lentils will do the trick, just rinse and add.
Grilled vegetable and lentil salad recipe clean food luk beautifood

Either serve Grilled vegetable and lentil salad in a big salad bowl or leave veggies whole and serve with some wholemeal wrap bread!

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