Organic Avenue

Menu

our blog

FEED YOUR BRAIN is our phrase for everything we do to inspire and enable a healthier generation through learning and information. In our stores, we have Feed Your Brain menus, Feed Your Brain wallpaper and now we have our first online example – our Feed Your Brain blog!

Close

>3 Easy-to-Prepare Chia Seed Puddings

Vanilla Chia PuddingCh ch ch chia! You can find chia seeds everywhere and in everything these days—smoothies, tortilla chips, brownies, you name it. Hydrating, loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and a complete protein source, it’s no wonder this ancient seed has reemerged with a bang.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to get your chia fix is to create your own chia seed pudding. Check out 3 simply delicious recipes that we go cr cr cr crazy for!

 

Vanilla Chia Dream

Here’s our go-to recipe for a filling breakfast, dessert or anytime treat. With just 4 ingredients, it can be part of your daily dietary protocol, too.

Serves 1

> 3 tablespoons chia seeds

> 1 cup almond mylk, Coconut Mylk or Cashew Hemp Mylk

> ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

> ½ tablespoon coconut nectar or maple syrup, or 7-10 drops of liquid stevia extract

> Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and stir well. Seal with lid and let the mixture sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator (overnight is best for a thicker, creamier pudding). We love to triple the recipe and store it in a 32oz mason jar—readily available for a chia craving.

 

Red Velvet in a Jar

Here’s an ultra-healthy take on the classic cake, without the refined sugar and artificial food coloring.

Serves 1

> 3 tablespoons chia seeds

> ½ cup beet juice or Royal Red

> ½ cup Coconut Mylk

> ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

> ½ tablespoon coconut nectar or maple syrup, or 7-10 drops of liquid stevia extract

> Handful of crushed raw pecans (optional)

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and stir well. Seal with lid and let the mixture sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Top with crushed pecans (or nut of your choice) when you’re ready to enjoy.

 

Tropical Coconut Parfait

The perfect summer treat, a spoonful of this coconut pudding will transport you to a tropical island—even when you’re enjoying it on the island of Manhattan!

Serves 1

> 3 tablespoons chia seeds

> 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut

> 1 ½ cups Coconut Mylk

> ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

> ½ tablespoon coconut nectar or maple syrup, or 7-10 drops of liquid stevia extract

> Diced fresh or dried pineapple (optional)

Add all ingredients to a mason jar and stir well. Seal with lid and let the mixture sit for at least an hour in the refrigerator. Top with fresh or dried pineapple pieces when you’re ready to enjoy.

 

If you’re on the go this week, you can still get your chia fix without stepping foot in a kitchen. Organic Avenue has you covered with our signature Chia Berry Tapioca. Infused with fresh strawberries, this coconut yogurt-based pudding is a convenient way to get healthy probiotics and antioxidants from your breakfast or snack!

>How to Stay Healthy While Traveling

Beagle TravelingWhile we love New York no matter the time of year, summer is the season to get out of town—whether it’s a weekend getaway nearby, or an extended trip to an exotic or faraway location. For some, vacation is an excuse to forgo healthy habits established at home. While it’s fun (and necessary) to relax and indulge at times, it’s still possible to continue your wellness routine on your trip. Most importantly, you want to stay healthy while traveling in order to enjoy all that your destination has to offer.

 

Jet-Setting Success

Traveling, especially in-flight, can be extremely dehydrating. Above all else, make sure to hydrate before, during and after your flight. It’s well worth the wait to use the tiny restroom for happy cells! As far as what to drink, get your pure water, Coconut Water and green juice in before heading to the airport. While in-flight, stick to H2O. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages will only dehydrate you more.

Digestion also slows down in-flight due to the extreme altitude, so it’s best to keep snacking to a minimum. If you’re on a long trip and must eat on the plane, do it as close to landing as possible—it’ll be easier for your body to process the food once you hit the ground. Pack some clean and easy to eat snacks in your carry-on. Our faves are ripe bananas, baby carrots, sprouted almonds and dark chocolate. We’ve also been known to mix up a Big Kale Salad on the plane before—staying fresh in our signature OA cooler bag, of course!

Menu Navigation

It’s likely you’ll be dining out for most of the meals on your vacation, unless you’re renting a home and cooking there, or staying with friends and preparing food together. If you’re relying on hotels and restaurants for your meals, always make sure to start with a raw salad, even if it’s just a plate of mixed greens with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and squeeze of lemon. The enzymes in the raw veggies set your digestive system up for success. For extra digestive support, take a probiotic each morning on an empty stomach. As always, check with your doctor before adding any new supplements into your regimen.

If you choose to eat animal protein for your main course, make sure to balance it out with a lot of cooked veggies. Our favorite trick—create an entrée out of the veggie sides. You can even take a look at the sides offered with the protein dishes that may not be available a la carte. If you ask the server nicely, you may just find yourself with a big, satisfying plate of sautéed spinach, asparagus, roasted cauliflower and mashed sweet potatoes!

For quick and easy energizing breakfast options, grab fresh fruit at the hotel or pack a box of organic, gluten-free cereal in your bag. If you can find a local juice and smoothie bar, even better! Check out Happy Cow for a listing of all the vegan and vegetarian spots wherever you’re headed. And, Organic Avenue ships our juice nationally, so you can have a 6-pack of your favorite cold-pressed bottles waiting in your hotel fridge upon arrival.

Keep it Moving

Even if your game plan is to lie out in the sun with a piña colada in hand for most of your vacation, it’s important to fit in some physical activity—just 30 minutes each day is all you need. You’ll feel so much better—and look better in your new swimsuit! If you’re on the ocean or a lake, go for a refreshing swim or kayak. If you’re a runner, challenge yourself to jog on the sand for 2 to 3 miles. If you’re in a mountainous area, check out the nearest hiking trails. The possibilities are endless! And of course, if you’re stuck in the hotel on a rainy day, there’s always the gym, so make sure to pack your favorite running shoes.

 

No matter how far away from home you are, it’s possible to look and feel your best while out of town. Use the time off from your usual routine to truly care for yourself—body, mind and spirit—which doesn’t necessarily mean being extra strict. For support finding the right balance when you return to the city, OA and our knowledgeable Advisors are here for you. Wishing you safe and fun-filled travels this summer!

>Healthier Summer Cocktails and Mocktails

CocktailIt’s important to drink a lot of pure water, especially if you’re out in the sun all day. On occasion though, the situation calls for something more fun or festive. Below are a few cocktails and mocktails to try at your next summer soirée.

 

Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie

> 2/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

> 1/2 cup Coconut Yogurt

> 1/2 cup almond, Coconut Mylk or Cashew Hemp Mylk

> 1/4 cup pomegranate juice

 

Blend these ingredients for a pretty purple beverage that’s best served in a clear glass or frozen mug. You can also stop by Organic Avenue for a Total Sweetheart Smoothie as a guilt-free treat made of blueberries, bananas, almond butter and Cashew Hemp Mylk. It’s sure to satisfy a sweet craving.

 

Skinny Margarita

> 6 ounces tequila

> 3 ounces triple sec

> 8 ounces club soda

> 4 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

> 1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest

A margarita on the rocks or blended is perfect for any time of the day, and this version has only 150 calories. Using the lime zest around the rim eliminates the need for salt, but you can always add a little bit, if you prefer.

 

Chia Citrus Cooler

> 2 tablespoons chia seeds

> 4 cups freshly squeezed citrus juice of choice

Pour 1 tablespoon of the chia seeds in two separate mason jars. Add half the liquid to both jars and stir well. Chill a few hours before drinking, and give it a good shake to break up clumps of chia seeds before drinking.

 

Classic Cosmopolitan

> 1 ounce vodka

> 1 ounce cranberry juice

> 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

> 1 teaspoon agave or coconut nectar

Add contents and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a martini glass.

 

Watermelon Water

> 4 cups watermelon chunks

> 1 quart chilled water

> 1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar

> 7 basil leaves

> Pinch of sea salt

Puree melon in a food processor or high-speed blender. Stir in other ingredients and serve from a pitcher, or double up the ingredients to add to a punch bowl. You can also add vodka or rum to this for an adult cocktail, or simply spike an OA Watermelon Juice for the same effect!

 

Bloody Mary

> 2 ounces vodka

> 4 ounces organic tomato juice

> 1/2 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce

> 3 drops hot sauce

> Pepper and/or horseradish (optional)

Serve in a large glass with ice and your favorite garden veggies. Celery, green beans, peppers, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, baby asparagus, and cilantro are all great to add. This is the ideal weekend morning drink for when you’re just not ready for anything sweet and tropical yet. Plus, if you have kids, you can make them a virgin one.

 

Citrus Sangria

> 1 bottle chilled red wine (medium dry is best)

> 16 ounces chilled plain or lime club soda

> 8 ounces Orange Juice

> 2 sliced limes

> 2 sliced lemons

> 2 sliced oranges

> 2 ounces brandy (optional)

Add all ingredients to a large pitcher. Cover it and chill. Serve over ice. Enjoy with lots of good friends, and don’t forget the Coconut Water for the morning after!

>Foods for a Fabulously Healthy Fourth

Berry ParfaitJuly Fourth is the official kickoff of summer, jam-packed with barbeques and get-togethers. We can’t wait to head to the beach and perhaps a rooftop this weekend. And, we know that we’re bound to encounter some foods there that aren’t exactly health promoting: hot dogs, hamburgers, mayo-drenched slaws—the American classics. It’s important to enjoy yourself and indulge a bit, but also have some plant-based options around to balance out the treats.

We’ve got you covered with some clean, yet incredibly tasty recipe ideas to knock the flip-flops off even your most traditional friends!

 

Guacamole Potato Salad

Instead of reaching for the mayonnaise, which can be difficult to digest, try making an avocado-based sauce to coat your potatoes. Loaded with fiber, healthy fat and protein, you can’t go wrong!

> Peel, chop and steam Yukon gold potatoes.

> While the taters are cooling, mash up a couple of avocados with lemon or lime juice.

> Add red onion, bell pepper and any herbs you fancy. If you’re not into cilantro, you can include some chopped dill or basil instead.

> Mix in a touch of Djion mustard, our secret ingredient, for extra tartness.

> When the potatoes are cooled, toss them in large bowl with the creamy guac and refrigerate until you’re ready to party it up.

 

Gluten-Free Millet Veggie Burger

These hearty burgers are free of all common allergens and can include any veggies or spices that suit your fancy!

> Bring water to a boil in a medium-sized pot.

> Lower the heat, add ½ cup of dry millet and let simmer for 15 minutes.

> Strain millet and set aside to cool.

> Sauté 3-4 cloves of garlic in coconut oil in a skillet until gently cooked.

> Add a chopped onion, and stir until the onions become translucent.

> Add chopped kale, broccoli, carrots (any veggies you’d like!) and cook for a few minutes.

> Stir in curry powder, cayenne pepper or any of your favorite seasonings.

> Add the cooked millet and mix well.

> Cut the flame and add 1 cup of millet flour.

> Stir until the mixture cools.

> Form the cooled mixture into patties with both hands (makes about 7-8)

> Cook each patty on both sides with a touch of coconut oil in a skillet.

> Enjoy with crunchy romaine lettuce, sliced avocado and Dijon mustard on a gluten-free bun.

 

Flag Parfait

While the American flag cakes topped with whipped cream and berries are fun and festive, they’re usually loaded with white flour and refined sugar, not to mention the dairy. For a healthier take on this staple, why not create coconut parfaits topped with fresh, organic strawberries and blueberries?

> Chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight.

> The next day, a few minutes before you’re ready to whip, chill a mixing bowl in the fridge.

> Open the can and spoon the hardened coconut cream into a bowl (Save the water for your afternoon green smoothie).

> Add a dash of maple syrup and vanilla extract for sweetness and mix until smooth.

> Refrigerate until you’re ready to add the fruit toppings.

> Separate into small bowls and top with chopped strawberries and whole blueberries.

If you don’t have time to prepare the coconut cream, stop into your nearest OA for our signature Coconut Yogurt, a perfect base for your patriotic masterpiece!

>We’ve Got That Summertime Spinach

Cooked SpinachWhen the temperature officially hits 80 degrees, we’re naturally drawn to lighter food options like fruits and greens. We especially love versatile ingredients that are currently in season. Not only do they taste better, but research also suggests that produce picked at its peak contains more nutrients than when harvested out of season or stored for long periods of time. Fruits and veggies also lose nutrients as they travel long distances, so a local, seasonal food is the ultimate find. One of our all-time favorites is spinach, which just so happens to be readily available at our NYC farmers’ markets.

 

Popeye’s favorite food indeed has many benefits and can easily be incorporated into your diet with the ideas below.

 

Iron it Out

The Sailor Man taught us that spinach contains iron, but due to its high oxalic acid content it can be difficult to assimilate—unless it’s paired with a vitamin C-rich food. Just squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice on your salad, and you’ll reap the iron’s benefits. Iron is essential to produce hemoglobin and red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body.

For a great breakfast smoothie, blend your favorite vitamin C-containing fruits (blueberries, mangoes, pineapple, etc.) with baby spinach and coconut water. No time to make your own? Visit an OA store for our signature Lite Weight Smoothie.

Build Lean Muscle

Naturally occurring nitrates in spinach, just like those found in beets, may help build muscle strength, according to a Swedish study. The nitrates may help bring more oxygen to muscles and aid in post-workout recovery as well.

You can always go the green smoothie route after the gym, or if you prefer to chew, try a simple spinach salad with creamy avocado, nature’s high-protein fruit. Add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of Himalayan pink salt, and you’re good to go! Our Lunchbox and Deli Salad Scoops are also great on-the-go snacks—nut and seed-based protein on a bed of leafy spinach.

Strengthen Bones

Spinach is one of the best sources of vitamin K, known for both blood clotting and maintaining healthy bones, and the minerals calcium and magnesium present build strong bones as well. Just make sure to do the vitamin-C pairing for maximum absorption.

If you’re in the mood for a simple, bone-supportive side (or light meal), try a spinach sauté. Throw chopped garlic and onion in a pan with a bit of coconut oil on medium heat and stir until translucent. Add the spinach and stir until it soaks up the flavor and wilts to your liking. After it cools, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top.

 

No matter if it’s juiced, blended, tossed or cooked, enjoy lots of spinach while it’s in its prime this summer. If you’re on the way to the beach or coming back from a long travel, stop into an Organic Avenue location for restorative plant-based goodness featuring spinach and more!

>Celebrate Pride with ‘The Big Rainbow Salad’

The Big Rainbow SaladJune is Gay Pride Month, and this week we’re celebrating here in Manhattan. To get into the spirit, we decided to create a recipe for ‘The Big Rainbow Salad,’ honoring a fruit or vegetable in each color of the rainbow. Lots of color not only equals lots of pride, but also lots of antioxidants, which can be valuable if you’re planning on attending multiple parties and events this week!

 

Here’s how to build ‘The Big Rainbow Salad’:

> Add 3-5 ounces of baby spinach to a large bowl

> Shred half a head of purple cabbage and 2-3 large peeled carrots

> Mix all components together to become the salad base

> Chop a yellow bell pepper and cut a handful of cherry tomatoes in half—add these beautiful colors to the bowl

> Toss a handful of blueberries and blackberries on top for sweetness

> Dress the salad with the juice of a whole lemon and the flesh of a ripe avocado, massaged into the veggies

> Add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt to bring out the flavors

> Enjoy with 2-3 friends!

 

Here are the specific health benefits of each colorful component:

Red: Tomato

Known for the antioxidant lycopene, which helps protect our cells from free radical damage—a perfect way to balance out the effects of any recreational foods and beverages you may indulge in this week.

Orange: Carrot

Loaded with beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A for healthy eyes, bones and radiant skin.

Yellow: Yellow Bell Pepper

Bell peppers of all colors are full of potassium, an electrolyte which helps the body’s regulate fluid—a great way to stay hydrated before and after Pride celebrations.

Green: Spinach

Rich in minerals iron and calcium—make sure to eat with a squeeze of lemon. Antioxidant vitamin C will help you absorb the iron to build new red blood cells for oxygen transportation.

Blue: Blueberry

Anthocyanins, the major antioxidants in blueberries give them their bright blue hue and can have powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.

Indigo: Blackberry

Eating blackberries may help to tighten skin tissue, giving you a fresh and youthful look without expensive serums and creams.

Violet: Purple Cabbage

A great source of dietary fiber, which keeps you feeling satiated and aids in digestion. Add crunchy raw cabbage to all of your salads for its cleansing effects!

 

No matter who you are, celebrate Pride this week by taking care of the unique individual that is YOU. Wishing everyone a happy, safe and healthy celebration!

With LOVE,

Organic Avenue

>Eating for SPF: 6 Foods that Protect Against Sun Damage

Sunshine on the SeaThe sun is shining more often these days, and if you’re like us, you’re inclined to spend every free minute outdoors. It’s no secret that we’re huge proponents of natural zinc oxide-based sunscreen, like those from Coola, The Honest Company and Pratima. However, it’s not just what you put on your skin that strengthens the protective barrier between your cells and the sun’s ultraviolet rays, it’s what you put in your body that counts even more.

Check out our top 6 SPF foods to pair with your favorite sunscreen all season long:

 

Tomatoes

Research suggests that the antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes may provide long-term protection against UV damage. Lycopene is best absorbed when paired with a healthy fat, like extra-virgin olive oil, so give ‘em a drizzle before consuming. We also enjoy a sprinkle of mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt and a squeeze of fresh lime juice on ours!

Featured in: Lentil Soup*, Tomato Garden Vegetable Soup*, Three Bean Chili*, Savory Chickpea Soup*

Watermelon

Super-hydrating and super-satisfying, watermelon actually contains 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes according to the USDA. This essential antioxidant neutralizes free radicals, protecting cells from potential sun damage, and it helps keep your immune system strong.

Featured in: Watermelon Juice

Bell Peppers

Nutritional therapist Dana James explains that bell peppers contain capsiate, an antioxidant which decreases UVB-induced skin damage and may prevent inflammation from sun exposure. These ‘fruity’ veggies (yes, bell peppers are technically fruits) can add a hint of sweetness and crunch to any summer salad.

Featured in: Lunchbox Salad Collard Wrap, Lunchbox Salad Wrap, Lunchbox Salad Scoop, Shredded Curried Cabbage

Carrots

Grounding carrots are known for their high beta-carotene content, which the body converts to vitamin A for healthy eyesight. Beta-carotene can also help to prevent sun damage, and according to Women’s Health, a recent Korean study suggested this antioxidant actually repairs cells from past sun exposure. Grate into a raw salad, roast with coconut oil or gently steam with a pinch of sea salt to bring out their sweetness.

Featured in: Carrot Juice, Carrot Ginger Soup*, Big Kale Salad, Lentil Soup, Broccoli Slaw, Lunchbox Salad Collard Wrap, Lunchbox Salad Wrap, Lunchbox Salad Scoop, Thai Collard Wrap, Deli Salad Scoop

Matcha

One of our favorite energy boosters, matcha green tea is loaded with antioxidants, particularly catechins, which protect the skin from UV damage, according to dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone. Just add a boost of organic, stone-ground matcha powder to your morning smoothie, or brew it the traditional way using a whisk and ceramic bowl.

Featured in: Matcha Chia Glo, Iced Matcha Latte*, Revival Smoothie*

Cacao

Not only is pure, raw chocolate crave-worthy, mood-boosting and energizing, it also contains a high percentage of sun-shielding flavonoids—4 times the amount found in tea. If you’re searching for a chocolate bar to give you a lift, make sure the cacao content is 70% or higher. The darker the chocolate, the more antioxidants present. Or, you can use raw cacao powder to make your homemade smoothies or desserts even more delicious!

Featured in: Chocolate Mousse, Revival Smoothie*, OA Fine & Raw Sea Salt Bar, OA Fine & Raw Almond Chunky Bar

 

*Available at select locations

 

>Gift Ideas for the Healthy Dads in Your Life

Father and Child on the BeachIt’s that time of year to celebrate dad and let him know how much you appreciate his guidance and generosity. Even if wellness is on your dad’s radar, he may be used to putting other family and work obligations ahead of staying healthy. Lovingly remind him to eat his veggies and stay active with gifts that promote self-care.

 

Track His Progress

Wearable fitness trackers are all the rage these days. Whether it’s a Fitbit, Jawbone or Nike Fuel Band, you can’t go wrong to help your dad keep tabs on his physical activity and number of calories burned each day. Fitbit’s Charge HR is the best on the market according to Forbes—a result of “60 hours of research and 10 days of real-world testing.” With a high-tech tracker on his wrist, he’ll perfect his ‘dad bod’ in no time!

Get Him New Gear

If your dad wants to get in shape for summer, but needs that extra push to hit the gym, gift him new workout clothes! A fresh pair of breathable shorts and a functional t-shirt, like an anti-odor top from Lululemon will help him feel more confident. We’re also fans of Uniqlo’s AIRism line for t-shirts that will keep him cool even during the most intense circuit training or cardio sessions. For additional functional and stylish pieces, check out Men’s Health’s picks for spring 2015.

Just Bounce

If dad has limited time or doesn’t want to commit to an expensive gym membership, introduce him to our favorite piece of exercise equipment. We’re not talking about the Bowflex—it’s actually a rebounder (mini-trampoline). If he jumps for just 7-10 minutes each morning, he’ll tone his entire body, improve his digestion and cleanse his lymphatic system. We love the Jumpsport, which is designed with bungee cords instead of metal springs, for a quiet and low-impact bounce. Rebounding is a great cardio alternative to running, as it’s gentle on the knees and joints. As always, make sure your dad checks with his doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen.

Clean Grilling

Grill gifts are standard for dads who love to spend their weekends tending to the barbecue, even on their special day. To reserve some extra room for plant-based ingredients on the ‘cue; pick up a potato and vegetable grilling tray, like this one from Williams Sonoma. Sneak some of our favorite Japanese sweet potatoes onto the rack, and you may find your pop forgoing the last piece of porterhouse for their satisfyingly starchy goodness. For additional barbecue tips to share with dad, check out our post on ‘Grilling with Love.’

Juice Him Up

If your dad has trouble getting his veggies in, try the liquid form. Juice is super nourishing for the cells, as it bypasses digestion and its nutrients are assimilated in just 20-30 minutes. One cold-pressed juice a day, and your dad will be on his way to instilling a long-term healthy habit. Order a Custom Mix-and-Match 6-pack of our best-selling juices like Royal Red and Sweet Greens and have all of the organic deliciousness delivered straight to his door.

 

Wishing all of our favorite dads a fun, healthy and joy-filled Father’s Day! We’ll be firing up our grill with veggie kebobs in their honor.

xoxo,

Organic Avenue

>Summer Skincare Tips for a Naturally Radiant ‘Glo’

Summer SkincareSince summer is the season we’re most active—traveling, spending time outdoors, often in and out of the water—some of us neglect elements of our skincare regimen, perhaps even throw it out completely. While it’s always a good idea to simplify what we put on our skin, and how many products we use, it’s important to maintain a routine throughout the warmer months. Your skin is your largest organ, and any substance you apply topically makes its way into your bloodstream pretty quickly. That’s why it’s important to use natural products whenever possible. Here are our top tips for healthy, glowing skin this summer.

 

Keep it Clean

The major skin issue from high temperature and humidity is extra oil production, resulting in breakouts. On the flip side, air conditioning can dry out the skin, causing the sebum to overcompensate and secrete even more oil. If you’re spending a lot of time in chlorinated pools, you might be susceptible to additional inflammation. You want to keep your skin clean, but make sure you don’t strip your skin’s natural oils, which protect against UV damage.

While there are many natural cleansers on the market, including our fave Tata Harper, you can also give your skin a deep clean and maintain its optimal pH using simple 1-ingredient solutions. We love jojoba oil and hemp seed oil as face cleansers. Although it may sound counterintuitive to cleanse oily skin with oil, these plant-based oils won’t clog your pores and may actually balance out excess sebum. Just like with any new product, however, do a test first before committing. Another all-natural favorite is raw honey, especially manuka honey—a gentle, antibacterial solution for breakout-prone skin.

You can use these ingredients just like any other face wash. Simply splash your face with warm water (not hot, which is too drying), and gently massage the natural goodness into your skin. Rinse and pat dry with a clean towel.

The Miracle of Coconut

While coconut oil can be too heavy as a facial cleanser or moisturizer (it is a fantastic eye cream, though!) we love it as a body moisturizer. According to Clinical Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, coconut oil is a great alternative to the petroleum-based moisturizers on the market, as it helps to strengthen underlying tissue and remove excessive dead cells on the skin’s surface. A little dab of coconut oil goes a long way, which makes a jar last forever—and who doesn’t want to smell like a tropical paradise every day?

Some believe that coconut oil has a natural SPF of 10 and may provide short-term sun protection. We feel that if you’re going to be in the sun for an hour or more, it’s a good idea to grab a natural zinc oxide sunscreen, like our favorites by Coola and The Honest Company.

Hello, Aloe!

Despite proper planning and SPF application, we may still find ourselves with that accidental sunburn at some point this summer. Nature’s best remedy is pure aloe vera gel. While you can grab a bottle at the health food store, there’s nothing better than getting your relief straight from the plant itself. Simply cut a leaf off and slice it open. You can leave the peel on your skin directly or rub the juice right in. To enhance its cooling properties, refrigerate a leaf for a few minutes before applying to your skin.

Aloe can also be used to calm all other types of skin inflammation, including breakouts. And just like coconut oil, it makes a soothing eye serum, to send those bags from late summer nights packing!

 

There are plenty of amazing ingredients from Mother Nature to give you your best skin ever. It’s essential to put the right stuff on your skin, but we also know that what goes in your body counts even more. Above all, stay hydrated and load up on antioxidant-rich foods for soft, bright and beautiful skin this summer and beyond. All the more reason to sip Cucumber Juice and Matcha Chia Glo poolside this weekend!

>Summer Soup Ideas

GazpachoEven though the weather has warmed up, there’s no need to forgo a cold weather classic. When prepared raw or chilled post-cooking, soup can be a satisfying light dinner or lunch to get through the dog days of summer. All you need is your favorite vegetables and/or fruit, a bit of creativity, and a quality high-speed blender or immersion (stick) blender. It can also be a fun challenge to make a new creation using only what you have on hand in your fridge. Here are a few simple, customizable options of healthy, plant-based liquid meals to keep you cool in the coming months.

Cucumber Soup

Cucumbers are about 95% water, so they lend themselves naturally to cool, refreshing soups. Blending them with vegetable broth, fresh dill and a splash of Coconut Mylk gives you a simple summery meal. You can always play around with different seasonings and herb combinations to give it more bite. Cucumber is such a versatile base for a raw plant-based soup—let your culinary imagination run wild!

 

Gazpacho

Toss chopped, fresh tomatoes into a blender and add your choice of accompanying veggies, for a personal take on this summer classic. Bell pepper, cucumber and avocado are great additions for a more robust base. Throw in a pinch of sea salt and cayenne pepper, along with fresh herbs like basil or chervil to excite your palate. And if you’re like us and can’t get enough garlic, add it in, too! Just use a small amount of water or vegetable stock to help facilitate blending of all this deliciousness. Gazpacho is meant to be chunky, so no need to blend too long.

Watermelon Soup

Fruit soup, anyone? This smoothie bowl is a quintessential light meal for those with a sweet tooth. Blend together a whole watermelon (sans seeds), a little bit of lime juice and a few sprigs of fresh mint and basil. Pour it into a bowl and top with fresh blueberries and vegan coconut whipped cream. The sweetness will cool off even the hottest days and the red watermelon, blueberries and white cream combine to make it the perfect contribution to a Fourth of July potluck.

Potato Soup with Indian Spices

Take some potatoes, peel ‘em, dice ‘em and boil ‘em. Sauté some onion and celery in coconut oil and add in any curry or garam masala spice mix you have in your pantry. Drain the potatoes and throw them in with the onion/celery/spice mixture. Let them cook a bit and then hit it with some vegetable broth and Coconut Mylk. Cook together for a few minutes on low to medium heat and then use your immersion blender to mix it all together—length of time depends on how smooth you like the texture. Enjoy warm, or chill in the refrigerator for a few hours if it’s a scorcher outside!

Summer is just days away—so it’s time to make your blender your best friend and try out some of these recipes. For a chilled soup on the go, you can always stop into OA for our Spicy Avocado—a creamy, peppery guacamole in a bottle.