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#YVRFoodies Meetup Group at Fortune House BC. Food, Camera, Action.

February 28, 2016

Raincouver-Rain-Catchment-Systems-Resider

The experience of moving to a new city can be ever so exciting, nerve-racking and outrageously adventurous. On the other hand, the experience of moving back to the city that I once called home, returning to the familiar yet unfamiliar, can be ever so dull, uninteresting, and blah.

6 months ago when I decided to move back to Vancouver after living in Toronto for 8 years, I didn’t expect it to take so long for me to get accustomed to this place I considered “home”. Sometimes I feel lonely here in my “home town”. Most of the time, I just feel like I need to make an effort to rebuild a solid group of friends that share the same interests and hobbies as I do now.

And so I’ve heard Meetups are a pretty good way to meet like-minded people in a new city. Which brought me to my first #YVRFoodie event at Fortune House BC.

Continue Reading…

Features

Toronto’s New Healthy Food Delivery Service: Culiniste | Product Review

July 5, 2015
As a holistic foodie, I’m very conscious of how my meals are prepared and where the ingredients come from. In an ideal world, I would shop at the local farmers markets and cook at home every night. Of course, this is easily said than done. Sometimes, even taking the time to buy groceries can be very challenging, let alone prepping and cooking at home after a long day out. This is where food delivery services like Culiniste is perfect for time-tied urbanites who enjoy cooking at home without the hassle of grocery shopping and meal prepping.
Culiniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks Project

What is Culiniste?

A better way to cookCuliniste delivers fresh ingredients with new recipes every week. There are 6 new recipes to choose from each week. There is no time commitment and deliveries can be skipped any time. They also offer vegetarian and gluten-free friendly options. Culiniste places a strong emphasis on delivering meals that are between 500-700 calories.While I don’t believe in counting calories (because I believe the quality of the calories is much more important than the actual number of calories), I do appreciate their cautious effort in delivering lean meals that comprises of complex carbs, clean protein, and healthy fats for a satiating, well-balanced meal.

Culiniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks ProjectEco-Friendly Company

The ingredients came in a cardboard box with thermal packaging and gel packs to keep things cool and fresh. I like how every item used for the packaging can be recycled. Even the gel packs are made of a natural solution that will not add environmental waste into the water system. A definite +1 for their eco-friendly efforts!
Culiniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks Project
Culiniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks Project

Top Quality Ingredients

Culiniste sources all their ingredients from local farmers in Ontario and Quebec. The raw ingredients are shipped out of a nearby distribution center that ensures optimal freshness and reduces the gap time from when the produce is harvested until it’s delivered.This means the ingredients are most likely fresher and more nutrient dense than what you’d get at the grocery store. Produce shipped to grocery stores are usually harvested prematurely to account for ripening in transit, and produce that is prematurely harvested results in loss of flavor and nutrients.
Culiniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks Project
I truly believe that it is the freshness and the quality of ingredients that distinguishes a good dish from an exceptional one. 
I could tell the Culinste ingredients were very fresh because the salmon’s simple seasoning of salt and pepper was enough to bring out its natural buttery-ness and melts-in-mouth texture. An indication of farm-fresh ingredients with superb flavors without the need for heavy seasoning and spices. 

Culiniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks ProjectWhat I would change about the Culiniste

Since the Culiniste focuses on providing healthy nutritious meals on top of convenience, I think they should introduce recipes that include healthier alternatives to traditional recipes. For example, I would have substituted the potato with lower Glycemic Index carbs that are high in fiber and protein like chickpeas or quinoa.
Culiniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks ProjectCuliniste Review, Culiniste Discount Code| Rosy Cheeks Project

My Overall Experience

I think Culiniste provides a great deal of convenience and time saved for those with busy schedules. It took me around 45 minutes to prep and cook the entire meal which really didn’t take much time at all. It is also a fun experience for couples or for parents and their kids to spend time in the kitchen together. 
 
For novice cookers, Culiniste is like your personal grocery shopper and kitchen helper. It takes the headache out of grocery shopping which can be overwhelming for new cooks, introduces you to simple recipes that can be easily replicated on your own. For seasoned home cooks, Culiniste pushes you to try new recipes, venture with unfamiliar cuisines and experiment with new ingredients. If you’re looking to cut a break from your usual dinner menu, improve your cooking skills, skip your grocery shopping this week and try Culiniste next week.

Get your first 2 Culiniste 
Meals for free with this promo code: https://culiniste.ca/referred-by/227
Features

Skin Essence Organics Product Review | Facial Set

June 12, 2015

In an earlier blog, I wrote about the importance of using clean, natural, organic skincare products (you can read about it here). Today, I will talk about my natural, organic skincare regime and the products I personally use every day.

A brand that I’ve fallen in love with is a local Ontario skincare line called Skin Essence Organics. Why I love it? Because I’ve never seen such dramatic improvements in my skin with any products I’ve ever tried until I switched over to Skin Essence Organics.

My Skin Type

I have combination skin. Oily T-Zones which are usually my acne-prone areas but dry cheeks. That’s why I usually look for products that thoroughly cleanses my face to prevent breakouts while providing a good amount of moisture and hydration at the same time.

Skin Essence Organics Fresh Facial Cleanser

Skin Essence Organics Review | Facial Set | Rosy Cheeks Project

Why I like the Skin Essence Fresh Facial Cleanser

It leaves a minty fresh feeling on my face. My face feels very clean as if it can breathe again but at the same time it doesn’t make my face feel dry and dehydrated like other cleansers do.

How it makes my skin feel

Rich and thick gel-like cleanser with soft micro beads that lightly exfoliates my skin.

How my skin has changed since using Skin Essence Fresh Facial Cleanser

I used to get breakouts once every week or so but now my skin has cleared tremendously and seldom get breakouts anymore.

SuperIngredients in the Skin Essence Fresh Facial Cleanser

Ingredients: 
Vegetable Glycerin*, Saponified Oils of Coconut*, Sunflower*, and Castor*, Arrowroot Powder*, Witch Hazel Extract*, Coconut oil*, Lemongrass Oil*, Coriander seed Oil*, Rosemary Leaf Extract*, Peppermint Oil*, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum
(*Certified Organic)

Witch Hazel Extract is an astringent that helps to cleanse the skin while the Coconut Oil and Rosemary Leaf extract helps to tone and hydrate.

Skin Essence Neroli Facial Moisturizer for Dry and Aging Skin

Skin Essence Organics Review | Facial Set | Rosy Cheeks Project

Why I like the Skin Essence Neroli Facial Moisturizer

At the Yoga Conference where I sampled the Skin Essence products, I tried all four moisturizers that were available (Neroli, Nourish, Light, Soothe). They were all oil based serums that really hydrated the skin without leaving it oily.

The reason I chose Neroli is because I have pretty dry and dull skin (except for my T-Zones) and Neroli felt the most nourishing out of all of them. To prepare myself for the long harsh winters here in Toronto, something as moisturizing as Neroli is needed. I would recommend using something lighter like Nourish or Light for the Summer and Fall and Neroli for Winter and Spring.

How it feels

Smooth, creamy-textured serum that smoothes and softens my skin. The serum is absorbed within minutes and leaves my skin looking plump and rejuvenated.

How my skin has changed since using Skin Essence Neroli Facial Moisturizer

There’s more vibrancy and life to my skin. Acne scars and spots have faded. Oil balance is my skin has also improved (not having to deal with oily T-Zones is awesome!) I’ve also noticed the speed at which my skin cells regenerate has improved a lot.

SuperIngredients In the Skin Essence Neroli Facial Moisturizer

Ingredients:
Jojoba Seed Oil*, Rosehip Seed Oil*, Macadamia Nut Oil*, Apricot Kernel Oil*, Orange Oil*, Kukui Nut Oil, Neroli Flower Oil*, Jasmine oil*, Evening Primrose Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin-E)*, Zinc Oxide (Non-Nano) 
(*Certified Organic)

Rosehip Seed Oil are oils extracted from the seeds of roses. It’s great for healing scars, burns, and reducing fine lines. It also rejuvenate skin cells and heals broken capillaries.  Neroli Flower Oil regulates oil and minimizes large pores while clearing acne. Contains high levels of Vitamin C that regenerates cells and stimulates collagen production.

Skin Essence Facial In A Jar Exfoliant and Softening Mask

Skin Essence Organics Review | Facial Set | Rosy Cheeks Project

Why I like the Skin Essence Facial In A Jar Exfoliant and Softening Mask

The exfoliant is a jar of powder that you dilute out with water. I like that I can adjust the level of graininess depending on how much or how little water I put in.

How it feels

Like a grainy green tea powder – The exfoliant powder is finer than most exfoliators. It’s less abrasive than most beaded exfoliators which are great for people who have sensitive skin.

SuperIngredients In the Skin Essence Facial In A Jar Exfoliant and Softening Mask

Ingredients:
Oat Powder*, Marshmallow Root Powder*, Jasmine Flowers*, White Kaolin Clay, Stevia Leaf Powder*, Corn Meal*, Green Tea Extract*
(*Certified Organic)

Marshmallow Root Powder contains high concentrations of antioxidants Vitamin A and C. It’s great for calming and softening the skin, reducing inflammations and diminishes blemishes. White Khaolin Clay is known to be one of the mildest clays for sensitive skin while helping to draw impurities out of the pores without removing natural oils

Skin Essence Ocular (Eye Serum)

Skin Essence Organics Review | Ocular Eye Serum | Rosy Cheeks Project

Why I like the Skin Essence Skin Essence Ocular (Eye Serum)

This works well with reducing puffiness and the dark circles under my eyes.

How it feels

A light oil-based serum that nourishes the skin around my eyes, leaving it soft and supple.

SuperIngredients In the Skin Essence Ocular (Eye Serum)

Ingredients:
Rosehip Seed Oil*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Hemp Seed Oil*, Borage Seed Oil*, Apricot Kernel Oil*, Nettle Leaf Extract*, Olive Oil*, Kukui Nut Oil, Blue Chamomile Oil*, Tocopherol (Vitamin-E), Zinc Oxide (Non-Nano)
(*Certified Organic)

Again, Rosehip Seed Oil trumps the ingredients list here. Helping with skin cell rejuvenation, healing of scars and blemishes. Tocopherol (Vitamin E) helps with strengthening the skin’s capillary walls and protecting the eye’s sensitive skin barrier.

///

If you’re interested in trying Skin Essence Organics, I’m offering a limited time promotion until June 7th! Use my promo code ‘rosycheeks’ on their online store here for 10% off all products. Shipping is Free over $50!

Skin Essence Organics Discount Code | Rosy Cheeks Project

Features

Sunscreen Safety Tips: Sunscreen Guide For Your Health

June 2, 2015

It’s beach weather and the sun’s blazing. Before you slab on your sunscreen today, think again. Flip it around and take a look at the ingredients. As savvy consumers, we have the tools and resources to find out what we’re really putting on our skin.

Is the sunscreen you’re using harming you more than it is protecting you? If you don’t know what to look for in your next sunscreen, below is a simple Sunscreen Guide I’ve put together for you!

The RCP Sunscreen Guide Includes:

  • 3 Things You Wish You Knew About Your Sunscreen
  • Bad Sunscreens and Harmful Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid
  • Good Ingredients To Look For In Your Sunscreen
  • Common Sunscreen Brands To Avoid

3 Things You Wish You Knew About Your Sunscreen

(http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/8-little-known-facts-about-sunscreens/)

1. Say NO to SPF 50+ sunscreen
(http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/whats-wrong-with-high-spf/)

  • Sunscreen with SPF 50+ provide marginally better protection.
  • A sunscreen of SPF 100 will provide only 1% more in sun protection than SPF 50
  • Overdependence on high SPF leads to overexposure under the sun
  • High SPF products require higher concentration of sun filtering chemicals
    • some ingredients may pose health risks such as skin damage, and hormone disruption

2. Common skincare additive, Vitamin A, may speed development of skin cancer

  • May trigger development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin under sunlight
  • Also known as: retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, and retinol

3. You’re not as protected as you think you are

  • Sun’s ultraviolet radiation emits UVA and UVB rays
  • Most sunscreens protect against UVB (cause of sunburns and non-melanoma skin cancer) better than UVA (cause of melanoma skin cancers)
  • Sunscreen’s SPF rating has little correlation to protection from UVA rays

Bad Sunscreens and Harmful Sunscreen Ingredients to Avoid

1. Spray sunscreens

  • Poses serious inhalation risks
  • Easy to apply too little or miss a spot
  • FDA doubts their safety and effectiveness

 2. Sky-high SPFs

  • SPF “sun protection factor” only refers to UVB rays that burn the sun
  • Does not represent product’s protection from UVA rays misleading rating; false sense of security
  • UVA rays penetrate into body, accelerate skin aging, suppress immune system, may cause skin cancer
  • Suppress sunburns that raise risks of other types of skin damages

3. Oxybenzone

(http://www.ewg.org/news/testimony-official-correspondence/cdc-americans-carry-body-burden-toxic-sunscreen-chemical)

  • Active ingredient in sunscreens found in beach/sport sunscreens
  • Hormone disrupter that acts like estrogen in the body
  • Cause of hormonal imbalance, endometriosis in older women, and lower birth weights in newborn girls

4. Retinyl palmitate

  • Based on government studies, sun-exposed skin with retinyl palmitate may speed development of skin tumors and lesions
  • Nearly 20% of sunscreens contain retinyl palmitate, a form of Vitamin A
  • Night creams with this chemical may help skin look more youthful, but not in sunscreen

Good Ingredients To Look For In Your Sunscreen

(http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/nanoparticles-in-sunscreen/)
(https://www.tga.gov.au/literature-review-safety-titanium-dioxide-and-zinc-oxide-nanoparticles-sunscreens#conclusion)

1. Zinc oxide 

  • #1 choice for sun protection
  • chemical will not break down under sunlight
  • provides greater protection from UVA rays than other sunscreen chemicals approved in the US

2. Titanium dioxide

  • sun protetion without health risks
  • studies have shown no potential for harm as compared to materials from normal sunscreen

Common Sunscreens Brands To Avoid

Based on EWG’s Sunscreen evaluation, the below four brands filled the list of the worst sunscreens.

  • Banana Boat
  • Coppertone
  • CVS
  • Neutrogena

Extracted from EWG’s Sunscreen Hall-Of-Shame.

Below are a list of the worst sunscreens rated by EWG based on their SPF levels and ingredients containing oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.

11 Worst Spray Sunscreens
These sunscreens are aerosol sprays with SPFs above 50+ and the harmful additives oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.

Banana Boat Clear UltraMist Ultra Defense MAX Skin Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
Coppertone Sport High Performance AccuSpray Sunscreen, SPF 70
Coppertone Sport High Performance Clear Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100+
CVS Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100
CVS Sheer Mist Spray Sunscreen, SPF 70
CVS Sport Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 100+
CVS Wet & Dry Sunscreen Spray, SPF 85
Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunscreen Body Mist, SPF 70
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 100+
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70
Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen Spray, SPF 85+

12 Worst Sunscreen Lotions
These sunscreen lotions claim SPFs above 50+ and contain oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate.

Banana Boat Sport Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
Coppertone Sport High Performance Sunscreen, SPF 75
Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
Coppertone Ultra Guard Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
CVS Sport Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
CVS Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 100
CVS Sun Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 70
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Daily Liquid Sunscreen, SPF 70
NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 60
NO-AD Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 85
Ocean Potion Protect & Nourish Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70

Natural Sunscreens I Recommend Using

These are products that contain natural, skin loving ingredients that provide protection againt UVA and UVB rays.

Bare Belly Organics Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
EWG Rating: 1
Where to buy: Bare Belly Online Store 

 

 

Sunscreen Safety Tips: Sunscreen Guide For Your Health | Rosy Cheeks Project
Aveeno Active Naturals Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen, SPF 50
EWG Rating: 3
Where to buy:  Any Drugstore

 

Sunscreen Safety Tips: Sunscreen Guide For Your Health | Rosy Cheeks Project
Andalou Natural Oil Control Beauty Balm, Untinted, SPF 30 
EWG Rating: 1
Where to buy: Loblaws, Whole Foods Market, any health food store

 

Sunscreen Safety Tips: Sunscreen Guide For Your Health | Rosy Cheeks Project

Skin Essence E-Cream with Zinc Oxide 
EWG Rating: n/a
Where to buy: Skin Essence Online Store

(Exclusive RCP 10% off promotion on any Skin Essence products. Use promo code ”rosycheeks’. Limited Time Offer until June 7th)

Love yourself.
Love your skin.
Be Sunscreen Savvy and Practice Sun Safety This Summer 🙂

Features

How Yoga Saved My Life

May 22, 2015

We yogi’s fall in love with yoga for a reason.We love how mentally stimulating it is to challenge our bodies to fold and bend in ways unimaginable. We love how physically challenging it is to push ourselves to stretch one inch further than we did the last time. Most of all, we love how rewarding it is to find peace, calmness and tranquility after practice, lying beside our little puddle of dedication and hard work. 

We love how mentally stimulating it is to challenge our bodies to fold and bend in ways unimaginable. We love how physically challenging it is to push ourselves to stretch one inch further than we did the last time. Most of all, we love how rewarding it is to find peace, calmness and tranquility after practice, lying beside our little puddle of dedication and hard work. 

But for those who have not done yoga before or who have not experienced this invigorating practice that evokes a natural state of euphoria, this can all sound like hocus pocus and a little far fetched, right?

The story I’m about to share will open your eyes and quite possibly change your perception of yoga.

This story is about how yoga has helped my friend persevere through some of the darkest days of her life. It is hard evidence and living proof that yoga and eating well truly makes an impact on our health and mental well being. 

*I’d like to thank Lisa for sharing her awfully inspirational story. Reminding us of the impeccable strength we all hold within us to fight off our inner demons, no matter how big or small, tangible or intangible, real or imaginary it can be. 

/// How Yoga Saved My Life by Lisa Shiller ///

The Dream Life?

How Yoga Saved My Life | Rosy Cheeks Project

Not many people can say they are living the life of their dreams. Living so contently with who they are and enjoying every moment. I can honestly say that I love my life and every day is a new amazing adventure into The World of Lisa. But things were not always so fantastic for me. Actually, it wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I was able to bring myself higher than I had ever been before.

Dealing With Undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder

When I was about 15 years old a dark cloud started building in my consciousness. It rolled in and out of my life like waves in the sky dampening my days, weeks or months. I was dealing with the side effects of undiagnosed borderline personality disorder. I felt emotions stronger than most people with little knowledge of how to deal with them. Every time the dark cloud receded I hoped and prayed it would never emerge again. Sometimes the dark cloud would show as depression, leading to suicidal thoughts and extreme anger. Other times it would emerge as bouts of intense anxiety and panic attacks. It was a nightmare.

“Yoga Kept The Stormy Waters Calm”

How Yoga Saved My Life | Rosy Cheeks Project

When I was in high school a drama teacher introduced our class to yoga. It was supposed to be a way for us to perform freely on stage, but what I found was that when I was practicing yoga it was the only thing that kept the stormy waters calm.

I fell in love with my practice because I had accidentally stumbled across the mental health benefits of yoga.

The following years I dove deeper into yoga and meditation to stabilize my mood, eventually doing a yoga teacher training in India after I graduated from university. Things were great in India. I remember feeling truly happy for the first time that I could remember since I was a child. I still have a journal entry from my 25th birthday where I spent the whole day trekking around the Himalayan Mountains by myself. But when I arrived home in Toronto I started my full time job doing business intelligence and my practice soon fell to the wayside. The only memory of true happiness was in the page of my journal that I held onto in my mind with only a thread.

Falling Through The Cracks

Just over a year into my job I was stressed out, depressed, hated my life, and could think of nothing but going back to India and finding my true happiness again.

I hit rock bottom when I found myself admitted into CAMH on suicide watch for almost a week. I ended up being off work for two months.

This was the first time I was officially diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Something I had been dealing with for my whole life but had no idea. I was subconsciously self-medicating with yoga and healthy eating.

For the first month after my diagnosis I worked on destressing and getting to a point where I could function. The second month I started designing my life so that I would never find myself in that place again.

How Yoga And A Conscious Diet Transformed My Life

How Yoga Saved My Life | Rosy Cheeks Project

Over the next 10 months I have consciously built up my amazing life. I started doing yoga for my mental health at least 3 times a week. I set aside that time to look inward and find myself. I ate healthy before, but I took it to the next level. Mental health and nutrition are deeply connected. I discovered the importance of going above and beyond with the safety of the food we eat and the products we put on our skin. So much that I started my own business with a health and wellness company.  I wanted to help others, so I also quit my job doing business intelligence at a big telecommunications company and started working at a small startup where I save lives with mathematics. Something that intrinsically makes me feel good about myself.

My life today looks very different then it did a year ago. Now I have a morning yoga practice before I walk to work. I do what I love for a company that I can feel good about. And I get to read, hang out with friends or work on my health and wellness business if I feel like it in the evening. I cook most of my food, and get my groceries delivered from local organic farms. I love my food. And I love my life.

But my survival came down to yoga. I can’t count how many times I’ve cried tears of joy or sadness on my mat. It’s a place where I can just be me. No distractions. No judgments. It’s a place where I can check in with myself and say “What does Lisa need today?”. And then I can give it to myself. Yoga has taught me to be gentle and forgiving with my soul.

It takes constant effort, but I found my peace. My dark cloud has dissipated. And if it ever forms again I’ll know what to do.

Everything I ever needed to be happy was actually right inside of me. Not in some mountain range half way across the world. My peace is anywhere I happen to be because it’s something I can find within myself. And that’s the best gift that yoga can give. My life.

///

Do you have a similar story to share? I’d love to hear about your experience with yoga, nutrition, and how it has helped you discover a better place within yourself.

 

Features

Skin Essence Organics Review: Dull to Healthy, Glowing Skin

May 10, 2015

I’m a true believer of ‘sharing is caring’.

That’s why I can’t wait to tell you guys about this amazing organic skin care line, Skin Essence Organics, that I’ve started using a couple months ago. But before I do, I want to tell you about my journey from dull, lifeless skin to healthy, glowing skin.

skin essence organics product review

My Battle with Acne and Dull, Sallow Skin.

In the last year, I’ve noticed a gradual decline in the quality of my skin and color of my complexion. I was struggling with things like white heads, black heads, cystic acne, stubborn acne scars, sallow, and lifeless looking skin. I tried using a number of different products to help with reducing acne and acne scars with no avail.

In addition to stubborn acne and acne blemishes, my complexion lacked the glow and luster that I used to have. Even my Mom who normally thinks I’m the prettiest girl on Earth (like every Mom does of their daughters) said my skin looked awful, dull and lifeless. I was ready to give up and just let it be… until I stumbled upon Skin Essence and decided to give my skin one last try.

I’m honestly so glad that I did cause there has been a drastic change in my skin.

My skin looks refreshed, vibrant, and I noticed my skin cells regenerate a lot faster now. Since I’ve started using Skin Essence, I’ve actually been receiving compliments on my skin.

People have been telling me that my skin has a natural ‘glow’.

Why I Invested in Skin Essence Organics

Everyone I know who uses Skin Essence has Flawless, Glowing Skin

I first heard about Skin Essence from a girlfriend of mine who has amazing skin. She told me she uses this organic skincare line, Skin Essence Organics, that transformed her skin completely. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the benefits of clean, natural skincare versus chemical-laden skincare. So I just assumed she naturally has good skin and that it doesn’t have anything to do with her skin care regimen.

It was not until I met the owner of Skin Essence at the Yoga Conference in Toronto that really wowed me. Holy cow, I’ve never met another with such youthful, vibrant skin like him before. That was when I had that ‘ah-ha moment’. I thought to myself, “Damn this stuff really works. How the heck can someone’s skin look that healthy and radiant!?”

High Quality, Clean Organic Ingredients

Chemicals and toxins enter our body not only from the foods we eat but also from what we put on our skin. We often neglect how many toxic chemicals we accumulate by the sheer amount of chemical laden products we apply on our skin. That’s why I was really happy to find a good quality, good value product that uses clean, non-gmo, certified organic, cold-pressed ingredients. Just like the clean eating guidelines I follow for my diet, its just as important to apply the same principles to my skincare regimen.

Socially Responsible Company

It makes me feel good to know that I’m investing in a company that cares for the environment, respect animals, and support fair trade.

Smells Like Flowers. Tastes Like Candy Cane.

Yes. It smells likes flowers cause it’s made from botanicals, plants and flowers.
Yes. You can eat it cause it’s all natural with no chemicals and preservatives.
Yes. It really does taste like candy! YUM!

Common Skincare Toxins to Avoid

Source: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/top-tips-for-safer-products/

Have you ever used a product that made your skin red and itchy? It’s most likely a cause of hidden chemicals in your products that’s aggravating your skin.

Below are three common toxins found in skin care products that you should avoid at all costs: 

Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient but not necessarily safe for use on skin. Studies show that when applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase skin sensitivity. Furthermore sunlight breaks down vitamin A to produce toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and hasten skin lesions and tumors in lab animals. These ingredients are widely used in sunscreens, skin lotions, lip products and makeup. EWG urges consumers to avoid leave on skin and lip products with vitamin A.

Parabens

Parabens are estrogen-mimicking preservatives used widely in cosmetics. The CDC has detected parabens in virtually all Americans bodies. According to the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, longer chain parabens like propyl and butyl paraben and their branched counterparts, isopropyl and isobutylparabens, may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorders.

Phthalates

A growing number of studies indicate that chemical family damages the male reproductive system. Pregnant women should avoid nail polish containing dibutyl phathalate. Everyone should avoid products with “fragrance” indicating a chemical mixture that may contain phthalates

Myth #1 on Cosmetic Safety
Source: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/myths-on-cosmetics-safety/

If it’s for sale at a supermarket, drugstore or department store cosmetics counter, it must be safe.

Fact –  The Food and Drug Administration has no authority to require companies to test cosmetics products for safety. The agency does not review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market. FDA conducts pre-market reviews only of certain cosmetics color additives and active ingredients that are classified as over-the-counter drugs (FDA 2005, 2010).

What’s All This Hype About?

skin essence organics product review

100% natural and certified organic. Skin Essence products are made from a wide variety of plant, fruit, vegetable and flower extracts, essential oils and minerals that effectively rejuvenate cells, improve elasticity, and heal & nourish the skin.

Key Benefits:

  • 100% natural + organic
  • no fillers
  • no GMOs
  • no additives + water + chemicals
  • cold pressed extracts
  • fair trade
  • eco-friendly, recyclable packaging

Organic Skincare? Who Cares!?

My Golden Rule: If you can’t eat it, don’t use it!

Did you know? 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream.

So why are we “eating” chemicals through our pores?

Myth #2 on Cosmetic Safety

Source: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/myths-on-cosmetics-safety/

Cosmetic ingredients are applied to the skin and rarely get into the body. When they do, the amounts are too low to matter.

Fact – People are exposed to cosmetics ingredients in many ways: breathing in sprays and powders, swallowing chemicals on the lips or hands or absorbing them through the skin. Biomonitoring studies have found that cosmetics ingredients – such as phthalate plasticizers, paraben preservatives, the pesticide triclosan, synthetic musks and sunscreen ingredients – are common pollutants in the bodies of men, women and children. Many of these chemicals are potential hormone disruptors (Gray 1986, Schreurs 2004, Gomez 2005, Veldhoen 2006). Cosmetics frequently contain enhancers that allow ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin. Studies have found health problems in people exposed to common fragrance and sunscreen ingredients, including increased risk of sperm damage, feminization of the male reproductive system and low birth weight in girls (Duty 2003, Hauser 2007, Swan 2005, Wolff 2008).

What Toxins Are You Feeding Your Skin?

I use this website www.ewg.org/skindeep to find out how safe or unsafe common brand name skin care products are. EWG provides safety ratings on a huge variety of products that will give you an idea of what toxic chemicals are in your skin care products.

Skin Essence Organics For Your Skin Type

Because Skin Essence is made of only clean, natural, 100% certified botanicals extracts, it’s absolutely safe for anyone to use, even those with sensitive skin, acne, eczema and rosacea.

In addition to that, Skin Essence has products for: 

  • dry
  • sensitive
  • normal
  • oily

Real Ingredients = Real Value

What baffles me is the amount of chemicals and toxins that are found in expensive, department store cosmetic brands. For example Jurlique, an Austrailian based natural botanical-based skincare and cosmetics brand claims to use “potent organic and biodynamic ingredients to create the purest, most powerful skin care possible.”

I did a quick search on EWG and found their Jurlique’s Balancing Day Care Cream has a high hazard level of 7/10. It contains retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A) that increases skin sensitivity and produces toxic free radicals that can damage DNA and hasten skin lesions when exposed to sun.

As an internationally reputable brand, known for the quality of their natural, botanical-based products…Shouldn’t they know better than to add a top skin irritant in their face cream?

Source: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/520146/Jurlique_Balancing_Day_Care_Cream/

RosyCheeks Promotion in Partnership with Skin Essence Organics

I’m so happy to be able to work with Skin Essence to give you guys an exclusive special on their amazing products!

All you need to do is enter promo code “rosycheeks” to get 10% off any products from their online store. Click here to check out their products.  Shipping is Free on all orders over $50 as well. (Make a bulk order with your friends to save shipping costs!)

My Promise To You

I hope my pure excitement and enthusiasm for the product doesn’t come off as sounding too salesy. It’s my dedication to you to sift through all the health products in the market to find you the best of the best, so you don’t have to.

I won’t endorse if it I haven’t tried it on myself.
I won’t endorse it if it’s an inferior product.
I won’t endorse it if I don’t believe in the product.

And that’s my promise to you 🙂

Features

Volunteering at Marni’s Food Studio and Lifestyle Shop

April 4, 2015

Last week, I had the pleasure of volunteering at Marni Wasserman’s Food Studio and Lifestyle Shop, offering a variety of organic plant-based hands on cooking classes, workshops, studio retreats in midtown Toronto.

Marni was very friendly and greeted me when I arrived.

The studio was bright, clean, and very welcoming. Pantries were filled with all my favourite organic products and many more other things that I had never even seen or used before. I was so ecstatic to be there and literally felt like a little kid at Disneyland. Oh, I must mention she had an indoor sprouting cultivator in the kitchen! So cool! There were fresh sunflower seed sprouts and pea sprouts that were growing in there. Oh, it’s my dream kitchen!!

So.. time for the cooking class

We had several cooking stations laid out with all the required ingredients.

During the class, Marni was very mindful in giving super helpful instructions on what to look out for in the recipe like how you can incorporate other items or substitutes. She was also very diligent in making sure her students understand the health-benefits of each meal being prepared.

Interesting fact I learnt in clas: beet skin is toxic and should never be eaten.

She truly makes an effort on helping her students transition to a plant-based diet on many different levels. For instance, we would discuss how vegans/vegetarians can dine out with friends that do eat meat-lovers without feeling like there are absolutely no options to choose from. Or how to ask the right questions when you’re eating out, teaching the group how to be comfortable asking servers what is used in the food they cook at the restaurant.

I think it would be an understatement to call this just a cooking class, because it’s not just a simple cooking class where the teacher gives you directions, you cook and… end of story.

It was a class that holistically teaches people how to transition, sustain, and live a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. It was an experience that inspires me to think outside the box when cooking with normal everyday plant-based ingredients. I also left feeling more excited than ever to try the recipes and even add my own spin to things when I get home!

I think Marni’s passion really shines through in her classes. Even for those who are not vegetarian or vegan, it wouldn’t hurt to learn how to add fun and creativity into your every day cooking with plant-based recipes.

Marni offers a large variety of classes at her studio throughout the year. Check out her cooking class schedule and sign yourself up for a class!

Sauces, Sides and Dips Cooking Class

A list of the yummy-in-my-tummy dishes we made:

  • Maple Balsamic Dressing & Green Salad

  • Collards with Portobello Mushrooms

  • Garlic Oregano Yam Fries

  • Roasted Maple, Beet and Avocado Salad

  • Spinach Almond Patties

I really want to share the Spinach Almond Patties recipe with you guys.

It’s easy to make, very versatile and can be prepared in bulks so you can freeze it and have it ready to be eaten whenever you’re short on time.

I recommend adding a simple tahini-miso sauce or any saucy sauces you like to go along with this! It’s absolutely delicious!

Spinach Almond Patties Recipe

(recipe in courtesy of Marni @ Marni Wasserman Food & Lifestyle Studio)

  • 20 minutes to prep

  • 30 minutes cooking

  • 10 full serving

  • Storage:

    • 4 days in the fridge

    • 2 months in the freezer

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups ShaSha wheat free bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 cup ground almonds, divided into two 3/4 cup portions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree Farenheit. Place spinach and onions in food processor and blend on high until a coarse paste begins to form. Add the bread crumbs, ¾ cups ground almonds, oil, tamari, rice flour, dill and blend again until all of the ingredients are combined.

2. Fill a small bowl with water for wetting your hands while rolling the balls. Place the remaining ¾ cup ground almonds on a large plate.

3. Begin rolling the spinach mixture into small balls, and then roll each ball in the ground almonds, coating the outside of each ball.

4. Place the finished balls on lightly oiled cookie sheet.

5. When sheet is full, place in pre heated oven for 30 minutes. 6. Allow balls to cool on the sheet and place them in a bowl or on a platter.

Stay tuned for my next blog on insider tips from Marni Wasserman on how to sustain a healthy, nutritious, plant-based diet!

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Eating Healthy with Marni Wasserman

April 4, 2015

I volunteered with Marni Wasserman at her vegetarian cooking class called ‘Sides, Sauces, and Dips’ two weeks ago. Her immense passion and drive to educate people on eating healthy with a plant-based diet got me curious about her story and her journey to becoming a vegetarian. I was also very eager to get some expert advice from Marni to share with you guys!

Check out my interview with Marni if you…

1) want to learn how to incorporate more greens into your daily diet.

2) are vegan or vegetarian but are struggling to maintain a good balance of plant-based proteins, carbs, fats, and oils into your diet.

Marni Wasserman Interview | Rosy Cheeks Project

What motivated you to switch to a plant based diet and how has it affected you personally?

I have always been fascinated by a plant-based lifestyle, so it was only a matter of time before I made the switch. I am passionate about health and passionate about animals, so it made perfect sense for my life and my career to revolve around plants. I think this change has made me a more compassionate person as I have a deeper understanding of the world around us and what it provides for us, as well as the life that it possesses!

Everyone knows it’s important to get enough greens into their daily diet, but may find it very challenging to eat a sufficient amount each day. Do you have any tips on how to incorporate more greens into one’s diet?

The best way for people to add more greens in is to include them in their meals they are already having. This could be a morning smoothie, a soup, salad or sandwich. Looking to add in more of the dark leafy greens are best and as much as possible. Maybe starting with things like spinach and working your way up to kale and collards can be a goal!

Many vegetarians or vegans end up eating lots of grains and vegetables that contribute to weight gain. Do you have any tips on how to avoid that while maintaining enough energy throughout the day?

The goal is always balance. Making sure one is getting enough complex carbohydrates in addition to green leafy veggies, plant-based protein, and healthy fats are truly the key. If someone is not eating a balance of these, then they are likely to over eat on grains and starches and may find it challenging to maintain their weight. Balanced meals is always my tip for maintaining your weight and optimal energy!

Some believe eating a plant-based diet deprives the body of the essential nutrients and minerals necessary for a healthy body. What are your thoughts on this?

I think that if people are eating a wide variety of different plant-based foods, it is easy to get in the right minerals and vitamins that are necessary. Some may have to work a little harder than others, but if their goal is to stay on plants it can be done. If they find over time it is not working, then they can explore other options that still may fit within their philosophy and overall goals. It is important to mention that some nutrients like Iron, Vitamin D and B 12 may need to be supplemented from time to time.

If you were to choose, what would be the number one plant-based dish you would make to entertain a meat-loving crowd that will win their hearts over?

I would totally make them veggie burgers with sweet potato fries, along with a “caesar salad”! This always goes over so well and it hits the spot!

What are some “must-have” kitchen items to always have on hand as a healthy vegetarian or vegan? It could be anything from appliances to the types of condiments to have in the fridge or something like a sprouting kit, for instance?

Some definite items are things like Tamari, Miso, Tempeh, Beans, Almond Butter, Oats, Sweet potatoes, Nutritional Yeast, Avocado, Kale – blender, food processor and lots of cutting boards!

As a Holistic Nutritionist and a Culinary Chef, what are the top superfoods you would recommend everyone to incorporate into their diet?

I am big on lots of sprouts for sure! In addition cacao, coconut, goji berries, hemp seeds are some of my picks.

Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to say to my readers?

I would like to encourage people to experiment a little more, try new plant based ingredients, whether it’s a grain, bean or green veggie. Experiment and try new recipes. The best way to gain confidence is to come to a cooking class as it makes it real and come to life – and suddenly plant-based eating is not so intimidating anymore!

Are you ready to start your journey to a healthier you? You have no reason not to now!

Be sure to check out Marni at www.marniwasserman.com for healthy, organic, vegetarian cooking classes in Toronto. Also, remember to follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

 Marni Wasserman Interview | Rosy Cheeks Project