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Beauty is Wellness: Spring Beauty Food

strawberry splashWelcome to Beauty Is Wellness, a column about the link between nutrition, lifestyle and beauty based on my health coaching practice of the same name. I’m thrilled to share information about my favorite beauty foods, original recipes for beautiful skin, hair and nails and nutritional tips for beautifying from the inside out in the months to come. If you have specific questions about the beauty and nutrition connection that you’d like to have answered in this column, contact me at jolene@beautyiswellness.com.

 

Beauty Is Wellness: Spring Beauty Food—Strawberries

 

If you’ve been following along with the Beauty Is Wellness posts from the past few weeks, you know that spring is the season of detox, and that your BFFs for detoxifying from the inside-out are fresh spring greens. Maybe you’ve even made my Wild Rice Detox Salad, or dressed up a bowl full of fresh greens with one of my beautifying dressings. But sometimes even greens need to be set aside for something sweeter. This week cooking with a juicy spring fruit that’s packed with benefits for your skin, eyes, teeth and body: the strawberry.

 

Although you can find strawberries year-round, they’ll be a ready for local harvest in much of the country in a few short weeks. This is the moment when they’ll taste best and will be packed with the most beauty nutrition. Whether you pick your own or buy strawberries in the grocery store, choose organic only, since conventional strawberries are on the Dirty Dozen list of the most pesticide-laden foods. Pesticides add toxins back into your body after you’ve been working so hard to usher them out!

 

Strawberries are powerful boosters for your skin, eyes and immunity, thanks to their high levels of collagen-building, anti-inflammatory vitamin C. One cup of strawberry halves has one and a half times your vitamin C needs for the day, even more than you’ll get in a whole orange. In one study of foods eaten in the U.S., strawberries were ranked as the 4th best fruit source of antioxidants, behind blackberries, cranberries and raspberries. Strawberries are also loaded with manganese, a mineral that defends against aging by helping protect your mitochondria. Strawberries contain a powerful plant compound called ellagic acid that helps steady your blood sugar—a must for preventing wrinkles and blemishes—and has anti-cancer properties. You may have also heard that strawberries are also uniquely beneficial to your teeth, thanks to their natural whitening and plaque-clearing abilities.

 

Ready to get picking? For a spring beauty recipe that’s packed with sweet strawberries (but no refined sugar, synthetic flavor or colors), try this fresh take on rice pudding:

 

Stewed Strawberry Pudding with Strawberry-Maca Sauce

This rice pudding-like dessert uses millet (a protein-rich seed that’s high in calming, mood-boosting amino acids) in place of rice. Maca powder is an unusual ingredient that you can find in a health food store—it’s said to be powerful for energy and libido. You might also want to serve this dish for breakfast, with or without the maple syrup.

 

Serves 4

 

1/2 cup dry millet, rinsed and drained

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

3 cups quartered strawberries, divided

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

sprinkle of ground cloves

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp maca powder

2 tbsp water

 

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine millet, almond milk, 1 1/2 cups of quartered strawberries, salt, cardamom, and a pinch of cloves. When the almond milk starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low and cook 15 minutes more, until the millet is soft. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and maple syrup. Set aside to cool. In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend 1 cup quartered strawberries, water, and maca until silky smooth. Top each serving of pudding with strawberry sauce and remaining strawberries.

 

For more beauty nutrition news and recipes, check out beautyiswellness.com.

 

Text, recipes and images ©2013 Jolene Hart. All rights reserved.

 

BIO:

Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP is a Philadelphia-based writer and founder of Beauty Is Wellness, a natural beauty and health coaching practice. She teaches women to use nutrition and lifestyle choices to look and feel their best from the inside out.

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