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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This cleansing cabbage and hemp salad only takes 10 minutes to toss up

Are you looking for something quick, easy as well as tasty to toss up at lunchtime? Then this colourful cabbage and hemp salad recipe is just the thing for you!

This delicious salad incorporates a variety of colour, which is essential for obtaining a vast amount of nutrients in a single meal. It’s sure to stave off midday slumps and instead give you a great energy boost!

With added hemp seeds for protein and healthy fats such as avocado and olive oil, this salad is perfect for a satisfying lunch.

Bonus tip: Blend up a nutrient-dense green juice to enjoy with your salad for an added nutrient punch!

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Tasty hemp and cabbage salad recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 1 small head of purple cabbage
  • 1 handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup olive or hemp oil
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • Juice of a lime

What to do:

  1. Wash, cut and prepare all of the vegetables on the ingredients list.
  2. In a side bowl, whisk the olive or hemp oil with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the vegetables, olive or hemp oil and hemp seeds.
  4. Squeeze the lime juice over your salad and refrigerate it for one hour.
  5. Remove your salad from the fridge, then top with sliced avocado.
  6. Enjoy immensely!

Let me know what you think of this tasty recipe!

This cherry and beet smoothie supports your liver and reduces inflammation

If you’re anything like me, you’re all for recipes that pack both lots of flavour and a nutritional punch!

This tasty cherry and beet smoothie is dark purple in colour, and is laced with an array of nutrients that are great for every aspect of your health, but especially your natural detox system AKA your liver. Try it out!

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The nutritional benefits of this cherry and beet smoothie

In this smoothie, you’ll reap the liver-supporting benefits of beets. You’ll also take in a fantastic dose of inflammation-fighting cherries, ginger and cacao.

All other ingredients on the list are just as beneficial, and will provide your body with a great punch of all the vitamins and minerals that it needs to reboot and refuel!

The smoothie has a taste that manages to be both earthy and zesty at the same time, which is absolutely delightful first thing in the morning or after a workout.

How to blend up a tasty cherry and beet smoothie

Serves: 2

You’ll need:

  • ¼ cup almonds, cashews or hazelnuts
  • ¾ cup cherries, fresh or frozen
  • 2.5cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 beet, peeled and chopped
  • ½ banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tsp lime zest, grated
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • Small handful oats (optional, for a filling breakfast smoothie)
  • 2 tbsp hemp protein (optional, for a post-workout pick-me-up)

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Spread the nuts of your choice out on a baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until the nuts are lightly roasted. They should be golden brown in colour.
  3. Remove the nuts from the oven and transfer to your blender. Add the remaining ingredients to your blender and whiz on high-speed for one minute or until completely smooth.
  4. Divide the smoothie into two glasses, serve and enjoy!

I went on the Orchard on Long Radical 3-Day Juice Cleanse

Last week I went on a juice cleanse. For you. Well, for me, really. But I had you in mind. Promise. Now, those of you who know me will know that I’m very much obsessed with detoxing. I’ve tried a couple of different local juice cleanse programmes that have done wonders for my body and taken my health to the next level. Last week, I finally got around to trying the 3-Day Radical Cleanse by my favourite Cape Town juice bar: Orchard on Long. Yup, for three whole days I binged on green juices… And I lived to tell the story!

Before I get to my juice cleanse diary, let me elaborate a little on the cleanse that I did and why I did it. So, the 3-Day Radical Cleanse, which will cost you R1 050, is a relatively advanced cleanse sequence. You get six juices to drink per day. I’d say it’s best for “experienced” juicers, but I’m sure beginners would be able to stick it out, too. Just a side note: Orchard on Long does offer other programmes that are designed for newbies entering the cleansing arena, such as the 1-Day Activation Cleanse and the 1-Day Radical Cleanse, which both cost R350 each.

My decision to do this juice cleanse can’t quite be chalked up to any one thing. I wasn’t really trying to drop weight, though I’d been feeling a little sluggish after eating pretty badly over the past month due to stress and other factors. I felt that it was time to take back my health. I wanted to feel a little lighter, fresher and, well, newer. The 3-Day Radical Cleanse promised nutrient-dense, alkalising and detoxifying juices that would “target every nook and cranny”, helping me achieve maximum detoxifying results. Sounded pretty good to me!

So now, here’s a look into my juice cleanse journey…

 

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My juice cleanse diary

Monday (3 days before cleanse)

7:45AM

A menacing calendar invite pops up on my phone just before I step into the office, reminding me to “stop drinking coffee/alcohol and eating dairy/bread/meat”. You see, in order to get the most out of any juice cleanse, you need to prepare your body. You’ll want to start weaning yourself off of your usual indulgences and make a few adjustments before you start, so that your body doesn’t go into panic mode when you consume nothing but liquid for three consecutive days. Yup, this Monday without coffee was tough!

2PM

The work day is almost over, and all I’ve consumed is green tea, nuts and berries. The tummy rumbles are real right now.

7:30PM

My evening yoga workout seems to have kept my hunger at bay. For dinner, I enjoy two soft-boiled eggs sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Tuesday (2 days before cleanse)

10AM

My head hurts. By now, I’ve usually glugged down a cup of coffee. Maybe two. Today, I drank a blueberry and coconut water smoothie for breakfast, and plan to sip on green tea for the remainder of the day. Caffeine is part of my morning ritual. Okay, maybe it isn’t just a ritual. Maybe I’m addicted to it. Whatever.

1:30PM

Time to meet a friend for coffee during my lunch hour. Well, she has coffee, and I have a cup of chilled green tea with a sashimi salad.

8PM

I feel like inhaling a plate of nachos right now, but I blend up a raw cacao and peanut butter smoothie bowl for dinner instead. Yes, chocolate for dinner. I needed a pick-me-up, okay?

Wednesday (1 day before cleanse)

9:30AM

I pick up my box of juices! It’s huge. And heavy. All this is going into my body in only three days? Whoa, okay. I spend the next half an hour arranging it all in my fridge.

8PM

After a one-hour spinning class, I’m pretty starving, but I resist temptation and cook up a low-calorie vegetable soup for dinner. I feel pretty ready for my impending cleanse. Bring it on!

Thursday (day 1)

6AM

I wake up bright and early, feeling ready for my cleanse. I’m about to drink cold things for three days straight. I’ve done it before, so I can do it again, right? I hope they’re tasty. Let’s see how it works out.

9:30AM

After drinking a mug of warm water with sliced lemon to wake up my system, I have my first juice, which is labelled “Greens”. It’s… Not bad! A blend of spinach, kale, dates, wheatgrass, orange, pineapple, vanilla, oats and spirulina. It’s actually pretty sweet and refreshing. I definitely taste the spinach and kale, but luckily the pineapple keeps it from going full veggie flavour.

11AM

Onto my second juice – The Electro. It’s a blend of celery, kale, spinach, apple, lemon, ginger and cayenne pepper. Pretty gingery, but it was better than the first one for sure. Plus it was filling. I feel full. Not necessarily sated, but I’m certainly not starving.

1:30PM

I might be starving… I’m not sure. Maybe it’ll pass? I drink down my third juice, The Panda. Avocado, pineapple, lime, celery, cucumber, spirulina, apple spinach and ginger are the ingredients in it. Wow, tasty!

3:45PM

Feeling rather dizzy, but still going. Time for my fourth juice, the Sunflower Special. It’s a mix of sunflower greens, celery, wheatgrass, lemon, apple and kale. Okay, wow… The wheatgrass taste is rather overpowering. But it’s drinkable.

5PM

I’m feeling pretty energised! Perhaps it’s the little bit of caffeine in the green tea I’ve been drinking throughout the day to thank for this?

5:50PM

Time for my fifth juice, the All Star Greens juice! Yes, another green juice. It’s loaded with watercress, celery, parsley, basil, kale, cucumber, mint, spinach and lemon. It tastes a lot better than it sounds.

8PM

Dessert time! My sixth and last juice of the day is the Almond Milk. A delicious combination of raw almonds, vanilla, Himalayan salt, dates and coconut oil. I close my eyes and it tastes a little like a milkshake. As someone who needs to end their day on a sweet note, this is kind of life-saving.

10PM

It’s time for bed. I feel a little dizzy, but actually not so bad. I’ve had a caffeine withdrawal headache all day, but I’m sure the feeling will pass as the juices get to work and the toxins leave my body.

Friday (day 2)

9AM

I’m done with the first day! Walking into the office was hard. I almost fainted from all the smells. Do my colleagues really have to drink their coffee at eat their oatmeal at their desks? I find it rather inconsiderate. Also, why are my senses so heightened? Okay, juice time.

11AM

I’m feeling a tad wary about the rest of the cleanse now that I know what all the juices taste like. I hope the novelty won’t wear off. My bladder is constantly full of liquid. It’s quite uncomfortable.

12:15PM

I’m three juices into the day and I actually feel great! I probably only feel this way because it’s Friday, right?

6PM

I’m busy working from a coffee shop. I just finished my fifth juice of the day. I had to have a change of scenery – delicious smells be damned! My last juice is sitting in my bag. I’ll treat myself to it after a light run around the block after finishing my work.

6:45PM

Still at the coffee shop. It’s interesting working through the “am I really hungry right now, or am I just bored?” and “am I really hungry right now, or am I just used to eating at this time?” questions on a juice cleanse.

8PM

I’m on the couch, feeling a bit drained after my run. But I know it’s normal to feel light-headed after even light exercise when you’re consuming so few calories per day. I drink my almond milk juice. It’s so good!

10:30PM

Okay, maybe the lack of food is getting to me a little, because I just yelled at someone on the phone who probably (okay, definitely) didn’t deserve to be yelled at. Also, I feel so antisocial. A Friday night spent at home? Really? Okay, time for bed.

Saturday (day 3)

7:45AM

I wake up and I feel totally fine. I’m not miserable or starving. Hmm, surprising. I do miss food and liquid that isn’t juiced fruit and veggies, but I suppose knowing there’s a light at the end of the tunnel makes it manageable.

1:30PM

If anything, I feel a little tired of not eating. I’m on my third juice of the day, and I’m about to go and meet a friend for tea. I think I miss salty carbs the most. I want pizza. And nachos. I wouldn’t mind ice-cream, either.

11PM

Got a little caught up watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills episodes, so I’m finally heading to bed with my last juice. I’m feeling a little sentimental – I’m going to miss having everything I need for the day tomorrow planned out for me. Plus, there’s nothing in my fridge except for an almost-empty bottle of red wine and a LUSH face mask.

 

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The final verdict

While I’m not going to tell you what I weighed before and after the cleanse (what, are you crazy?!), I will say that I had lost 3 kg when I weighed in on Sunday morning. 3 kg in three days? Not too shabby. I feel lighter on my feet and the furthest thing from bloated. Not that I’m constantly stuffing my face with food and eating to excess, but you know what? Sometimes I do (there, I said it).

In addition, my mental and physical energy levels have skyrocketed and my skin is glowing! I can also feel that my digestive system and liver are well-rested. Gosh, I feel absolutely fabulous in actual fact! It wasn’t cheap, but eating healthy usually isn’t. It was, however, well worth it. I think I’ll do this cleanse once a season.

If you too want to invest in your health, give a juice cleanse a try. Just like you set aside money from your budget for high-quality clothing and accessories that will last, your body deserves the same attention. Whether it’s splurging on a gym membership when the temperatures dip and you can’t run outside, or a seasonal reboot to your diet, it’s always worth it. I promise you!

Now if only I could go cold turkey on my beloved chocolate cake and pizza…

If you want to read more about the juice cleanses that Orchard on Long offers or get right to placing an order, go here.

How to make my favourite summer drink: Blueberry and lavender lemonade

Lemonade seems like it would be good for you, right? I mean, lemons are, after all, one of nature’s wonder fruits, packed with detoxifying nutrients. However, most lemonades are packed to the brim with inflammation-causing sugar. They also typically heat the lemon juice, which breaks down the delicate vitamin C and enzymes that make it so good for your body in the first place.

 

This blueberry and lavender lemonade recipe of mine is lightly sweetened with honey, and is never heated enough to destroy any of its goodness! The blueberry adds antioxidants and a pretty purple hue, while the lavender adds a lovely subtle sweetness. I make a big batch and keep it in my fridge during the summer to keep me going through the hot days. Enjoy!

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Blueberry and lavender lemonade recipe

Makes: 2 glasses

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp frozen blueberries
  • Juice of 3 or 4 small lemons
  • 2 cups filtered water

Method:

  1. Boil the water, then stir in the dried lavender. Let steep for about ten minutes, then strain out the lavender using a fine mesh strainer. You can also just steep the lavender in the water like tea if you have a loose-leaf tea strainer.
  2. Let the water cool down until it’s just warm enough to touch, then stir in the honey until it dissolves.
  3. Add the lemon juice. Adding the lemon and honey when it’s not super-hot preserves the health benefits of both these foods.
  4. To serve, lightly muddle a tablespoon of blueberries in the bottom of each glass before topping with ice and lemonade.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of lavender to serve.

Five things to consider before purchasing a juicer

Are you considering hopping on the juicing bandwagon? Before you do, let me fill you in on the pros and cons of juicing that people don’t always consider before splurging on the best juicer on the market.

 

Every juicer has its own pros and cons. However, simply knowing about their features won’t be enough in making the best choice when it comes to buying one. Here’s what you need to consider before buying a juicer.

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Five things to think about before you start juicing

#1: Juicing takes a considerable amount of time out of your day

Most people don’t realise that they spend a considerable amount of time on juicing each day. Apart from the ingredient preparation, you need time to juice and then clean the appliances immediately. Therefore, purchase a juicer according to the time you have to spend on juicing. Manual or centrifugal juicers can operate quickly. In most cases, you need around 15 minutes. Masticating juicers, on the other hand, are not only fast, they can be cleaned just as easily. Other kinds of juicers take up a lot of time in producing your drinks.

#2: Different juicers will juice items differently

The better juicers are capable of extracting juice from not only fruits but also vegetables. Triturating juicers are powerful thanks to their twin gear system. They’re capable of crushing even the toughest vegetables into a pulp. These juicers can take care of the more difficult parts, such as rinds, cores and seeds. If you prefer leafy green vegetables as juice materials, a manual or masticating juicer will be sufficient.

#3: The storage time for your juice will depend on your blender

Not all juicers are capable of preserving the nutrients of the fruits and vegetables during the juicing process. This means that you may have to drink up the juice as soon as you make it with certain juicers. Others will allow you to store the juice for a longer period of time.

Into more detail: Most centrifugal juicers produce quite a bit of heat during juicing. The heat can oxidise the juice, which compromises the freshness and nutritional value of the drink. If you’re planning on storing the juice for a period of time before consuming it, you might want to consider buying a triturating or a masticating type of juicer. The triturating juicer produces the best quality juices, allowing you to store them for up to three days before drinking.

#4: High-quality juices come with a higher price tag

In order to produce a high-quality juice, you need to spend extra time and money. Some juicers can make a juice faster than others. They can be cleaned just as easily, too. However, the juice produced isn’t of a high quality. In some cases, they might not even extract the juice completely because they work so quickly. If quality is a concern, opt for masticating or triturating juicers. Just keep in mind that they take a lot of time to produce and are a tad costly as well.

#5: The details of a juicer could affect your use or purchase

Juicers have many additional properties that you shouldn’t overlook. Most are quite noisy, especially the ones with motors. Durability is another factor to consider – the materials should be of a high quality. Take a look at the warranties as well.

Picking out a juicer might not be an easy task. However, considering the above pointers will help you choose one that’s perfect for your needs! And, I can promise you one thing: Buying a juicer is a fantastic way to invest in your health! You won’t regret it.

What I eat in a typical day on a raw food detox diet

When I tell people that I eat nothing but raw foods to detox my body every few weeks, they automatically think “eeuw, celery and carrot sticks!”. But a raw food detox diet can be filled with much variety, flavour and abundance! Plus, you can create really satisfying raw meals in just a few minutes.

 

Detoxing on raw foods provides a number of health benefits ranging from immune support, decreased risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, and weight loss. If you’re thinking of going on a raw food detox diet but have no idea what to eat while you’re following the detox plan, take a look at what I eat in a typical day while on a raw food diet.

 

A day in raw foods

These meals add up to 2,000 calories in total.

Breakfast: A raw fruit and vegetable smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kale
  • 4 bananas
  • 5 dates, pitted
  • 2 cups cherries

Method:

Blend the ingredients with enough water in your blender on high-speed to reach your desired consistency. Drink up immediately.

Lunch: A cucumber and papaya salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 diced cucumber
  • 1 diced papaya
  • 1 lime

Method:

Toss the cucumber and papaya together, then squeeze a touch of lime over the top.

Dinner: Zucchini spaghetti with sundried tomato marinara

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 spiralised zucchini
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • Fresh herbs
  • Fresh chopped vegetables of your choice (spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, etc.)

Method:

Add the zucchini noodles to a bowl. Blend the remaining ingredients together and serve atop the noodles.