Try this skin-saving cocoa and coffee mask

Beauty aficionados have been raving about the beauty benefits of cocoa and coffee lately – and when I tell you why, it’ll all make perfect sense!

When you use cocoa and coffee in combination, they brighten up your complexion, wake up tired eyes, decrease puffiness in your face, and even treat breakouts!

No matter your skin type, the cocoa and coffee mask recipe I’m sharing with you is sure to work wonders for you. I just love this mask because it’s simple to mix up, and only requires a couple of kitchen cupboard ingredients.

Cocoa and coffee are the staples of this chocolaty mask, but feel free to tailor the recipe based on your skin type and the ingredients you’ve got in your kitchen. For dry skin, add full-fat yoghurt. For oily skin, add lemon juice. Try it out!

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Cocoa and coffee mask recipe

You’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (your basic Nestle Cocoa works fine)
  • 4 tbsp finely ground coffee beans or espresso (instant coffee works too if you don’t have
  • your own grinder)
  • 8 tbsp dairy product (such as heavy cream, plain yoghurt, whole milk or nut milk)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey

How to make the mask:

  1. If you’re using whole coffee beans, finely grind them in your grinder. Make sure they’re super-finely ground so that they don’t scratch your skin! If you’ve just made coffee, you can use the freshly brewed coffee grounds. They just won’t contain as much caffeine (and your skin loves caffeine!)
  2. Combine the coffee with the cocoa powder in a small bowl.
  3. Add in your dairy product of choice and stir until you form a smooth paste. For a thicker paste, use less dairy.
  4. In a separate bowl, warm up the honey in a warm water bath or in the microwave, then stir it into the concoction.

How to apply the mask:

  1. Use your fingertips to apply the mask to your clean skin. You can use it all over your face and neck.
  2. Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes or until dry.
  3. Wet a facecloth and press it onto your face gently to loosen the mask, then rinse the mask off with warm water.
  4. If you’ve got sensitive skin, avoid rubbing your face – the coffee grounds could potentially get scratchy!

You can store the leftover paste in your fridge for up to three days.

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Six things that help me conquer my sweet tooth over the festive season

Are you high? Before you say no, think about what you’ve put in your mouth lately. If it includes anything from thick, creamy milkshakes and rainbow-coloured cereal to chicken nuggets and cold cuts, there’s a pretty good chance you’re riding a sugar high right now.

 

Don’t feel bad – you’re not the only person buzzed with a sugar addiction right now. In fact, research shows that nearly a quarter of one’s daily caloric intakes – 325 calories on averages – comes from foods like baked goods, soft drinks, fruit juices and desserts. In other words, from sugar.

 

I find that year-end is the toughest time of the year to try and take control of your sugar cravings. Do you agree? Here are seven tips that help me take control of my sweet tooth that really work!

 

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Six ways to curb your sweet cravings this December

#1: Eat a decent breakfast every day

Did you know that 90% of sugar addicts skip breakfast? That’s right. They wait and get a big hit of sugar at around 10am. When you eat breakfast, you prevent the drop in blood sugar that makes you crave sugar later in the day. A hearty, nutritious breakfast doesn’t have to take you long to whip up – try a delicious low-calorie smoothie or avocado baked eggs.

#2: Choose fruit whenever you can

Satisfy your sweet tooth with bananas, apples, and berries; all of which temper natural sugar with fibre and loads of antioxidants. Dried fruit and fruit juices will also do in a pinch. Just be aware that they pack far more calories than fresh fruit. I limit myself to a quarter cup or less of dried fruit or one cup of fruit juice each day. Frozen fruit smoothies are another great healthy way to get your sugar fix.

 

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#3: Never cross the 150 calorie line!

So you’re at a Christmas party or a dinner and you simply can’t say no to a chocolate or a cupcake. Let’s be realistic – this happens! But when it does, be sure to stick to 100 to 150 calorie portions and 16 g of sugar or less.

#4: Plan your indulgences for right after dinner

You can’t toss out or give away all the sweet treats you get given for Christmas, I know. So the trick is to indulge in them at the right time – after dinner. Late-night sweet fixes give you a pure, unaltered sugar rush. Treat yourself right after dinner instead and you’ll reduce (though not counter) the insulin-spiking effect.

 

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#5: Cut out “overt” sugars as far as possible

Tackle the worst offenders first: Sucrose-laden treats! Yup, I’m looking you right in the eye, frappuccinos. If you drink sugary drinks like these every day, try get into the happen of having one every other day instead.

#6: Enter a sugar rehab

You’re an addict. Therefore, you need to detox before you can fully recover. It takes five days to fully overcome your cravings for sugar, and you’re bound to feel awful for about three of them. Prepare to be edgy and irritable while you resist temptation for the first three days. By day five, you’ll feel like a whole new person – I promise! And, you’ll have learned that a little sugar goes a much longer way than you previously thought.

I hope these tips work well for you. Good luck!

This peppermint mocha protein shake is the best post-workout drink ever!

This creamy, protein-packed post-workout smoothie combines two of my favourite things: Chocolate and coffee! And the addition of the mint leaves give the drink a refreshing flavour that I just adore. Enjoy!

 

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Peppermint mocha post-workout protein smoothie recipe

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • Stevia to taste

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass, garnish with additional mint leaves if desired, and drink immediately.

Ten unique strategies to help you beat your chocolate cravings (yes, really!)

Halloween is only a few days away – will you be able to stop yourself from reaching for the sweet treats? Here’s a dose of reality that might have some effect on you: Studies show that people gain 2.5 kg or more during the holidays, and that they hold onto that weight…

 

Though the “holiday season” typically applies to the festive season, many people start indulging when the pumpkins come out – and don’t stop until the 1st of January! So, allow me to become the voice of reason right now: Those few minutes of sugary, gooey bliss aren’t worth the inevitable toll on your health, waistline and sanity.

 

These unique battle-tested tips will help you crush your cravings and avoid holiday weight gain!

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Ten effective ways to curb your chocolate cravings

#1: Keep the enemy out of the house!

This is rule number one. Know your enemy, which is chocolate in this case, and keep it out of your house, car, glove compartment, desk and anywhere else it will be a temptation.

#2: Pinch your nose or earlobes for ten seconds

This is an ancient acupuncture secret. Acupuncturists believe that pressure points restore balance in your energy, as imbalances and blockage of energy cause cravings.

#3: Use brighter bulbs in your dining room

Dim lights lower your inhibitions and let you feel better about eating more. 100 watt bulbs work well – just be sure your fixtures can handle them.

#4: Add vinegar to your diet

Apple cider or organic red wine fit the bill. Vinegar improves digestion by keeping food in your stomach longer, reducing the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. The result? You’ll feel fuller for longer!

#5: Up your magnesium levels

Intense chocolate cravings can be signs of magnesium deficiency. Eat more leafy green vegetables – they’re packed with this mineral. Otherwise, consider a magnesium supplement.

#6: Light a vanilla-scented candle

There’s a theory that the scent of vanilla reduces sugar and chocolate cravings, as immersing yourself in a scent all day will desensitise you. Reader’s Digest called it the “Christmas Dinner Syndrome” – when the person who’s been cooking doesn’t eat as much as their guests because they’ve been smelling dinner all day.

#7: Brush your teeth

Minty toothpaste cleanses your palate and will kill the taste of anything you crave. You’re fat less likely to snack if you’ve just brushed your teeth – anything you try will taste awful!

#8: Cut out sweeteners in your coffee

Sweeteners spike your insulin levels, which leave you with a huge drop later, causing you to crave more. If you must use a sweetener, try stevia.

#9: Eat balanced meals

You have cravings when you’re malnourished or stressed. If you’re nutritionally satisfied, your less likely to suffer intense cravings in the first place. Eat protein with every meal, and you’ll find yourself craving less unhealthy stuff throughout the day.

#10: Wait ten minutes

All – yes, all – cravings pass. If you can distract yourself for 10-15 minutes with a short burst of exercise, you’ll burn calories and release some endorphins while forgetting about that chocolaty treat! Try a brisk walk around the block, do 20 push-ups, or climb a few flights of stairs.

Here’s to a slimmer waistline this holiday season!

This rich and creamy chocolate hazelnut smoothie bowl is the perfect pick-me-up

Feeling down lately? Well, then, this chocolaty smoothie bowl is just what you need! This chocolate and hazelnut concoction is pretty much like eating a banana and Nutella crepe with a spoon… It’s simply divine! And, the best part is it’s super healthy, too. Enjoy!

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Chocolate hazelnut pick-me-up smoothie bowl recipe

Serves: 2

Ingredients to blend:

  • 2 tbsp chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Ingredients for topping:

  • Sliced frozen banana
  • Crushed hazelnuts
  • Cacao nibs
  • Cacao powder
  • Dark chocolate chips
  • Hemp seeds

Method:

  1. Combine all the blending ingredients in a blender and whiz on high-speed until completely smooth.
  2. Pour the smoothie mixture into a bowl, then garnish with the topping ingredients.
  3. Serve with a spoon and enjoy immediately.

Sip away your PMS symptoms with this delicious cashew chocolate smoothie

It’s not at all unusual to sit on the couch with a heating pad and a big bowl of chocolate anything during your period. The food cravings are borderline impossible to ignore, but devouring an entire dessert probably won’t make you feel much better.

 

It’ll do the opposite in fact… After indulging in something yummy, you’re more likely to feel tired and bloated. Luckily, my creamy, chocolaty smoothie satisfies those sugary cravings while easing PMS symptoms at the same time!

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How this cashew chocolate smoothie can help ease your PMS symptoms

This smoothie of mine is made with yoghurt and chocolate soy milk, which will help satisfy your sweet tooth while providing your body with calcium, which has been shown to help reduce PMS.

It also contains spinach, which is a great source of fibre and B vitamins; also proven to decrease PMS symptoms. The banana and cashews offer magnesium, which helps relieve bloating and also eases cramps.

Then, just throw in some avocado, since studies show healthy fats as such can also help ease PMS symptoms. Ready to sip PMS goodbye?

Cashew chocolate PMS prevention smoothie recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup chocolate soy milk
  • 1/6 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup filtered water

For garnish:

  • Sprinkling of dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high-speed until completely smooth.
  2. Pour the smoothie into a tall glass, then top with the chocolate chips.
  3. Enjoy immediately.

Seven reasons why chocolate is a superfood

If you don’t like chocolate, stop reading this now! Chocolate is a food of the gods… Literally! The 18th century Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus thought cacao was so important he gave the tree the name “Theobroma cacao” or “cacao, the food of the gods”.

 

If you’re not familiar with the word cacao (it’s pronounced “ka-kow”), it’s what chocolate’s made from. And it’s actually a bean (AKA the cocoa bean). Most people equate chocolate with sugar and candy, and lump it with foods to be avoided or eaten only on special occasions. While most processed and adulterated chocolate should be considered as such, cacao in its raw food is one of the world’s top superfoods! Here’s why.

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Seven reasons to eat more chocolate

#1: Chocolate is packed with antioxidants

Cacao packs a tremendous antioxidant punch. In actual fact, it contains more antioxidants per weight than acai, goji berries, blueberries, pomegranates or red wine.

#2: Chocolate is a feel-good food

Cacao is rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which your body uses to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, nature’s feel-good chemical.

#3: Chocolate promotes brain health

Nutrients in chocolate have been implicated in enhancing cognitive performance.

#4: Chocolate is high in magnesium

Cacao is in fact the top whole food source of magnesium. Perhaps the reason you crave chocolate so often is because you’re lacking this mineral?

#5: Chocolate is rich in vitamin C

Chocolate is extremely rich in this all-important vitamin.

#6: Chocolate can protect your heart

A number of studies have shown that cacao can be beneficial to your heart health and in turn prevent heart problems.

#7: Chocolate keeps your teeth healthy

Chocolate and the health of your teeth have been long associated… Did you know that? Interesting, right?

And there you have it… Seven reasons to eat more chocolate and not feel guilty! Can you say best news ever?