A Green Smoothie Recipe You Can’t Not Like

If you don’t like green smoothies, we can’t really blame you.

Putting salad into a blender and then drinking it goes against a lot of what we’ve been taught about culinary best practices.

But as avid green smoothie drinkers, we aim to make your next one a good experience. Because the thing is, a well-crafted green smoothie just tastes like fruit. And the more you drink them, the more you might even come to appreciate a green smoothie that tastes, well, green.

And your skin? Your skin loves green smoothies. So many nutrients packed into one, easy-to-drink package.

In the past we’ve posted articles with herbal green smoothies and even this one where we talked about how amazing the Vitamix is and used it on camera (the things we do for you!)

But today we want to share a recipe that’s more simple, and perfect for the beginner.

Berry Blastoff Smoothie

This recipe comes from Simple Green Smoothies, an amazing site for exploring what’s next for your blender. Jen Handsard and Jadah Sellner, two friends and moms raising our families on healthy, created this site to offer whole-food recipes that help increase energy and manage weight. They’re the realistic type, admitting that while they’re committed to a green smoothie a day, pizza and ice cream still have a place in their hearts (and diets.)

So we thought it’d be cool to post one of their recipes for you to try, and they agreed.

Green Smoothie Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 bananas

*1-2 of the fruit ingredients should be frozen to achieve best taste and texture.

Directions:

  1. Assemble ingredients in blender in this order: spinach, water, fresh fruit, frozen fruit.
  2. Blend and enjoy!

Because this smoothie has 2 bananas in it, it’ll give you lots of energy in addition to tasting amazing. For those looking to cut down on sugar, feel free to reduce to 1 banana and 1 cup each of the berries. It will taste a little greener but still delicious. 🙂

Antioxidant-rich berries help you eliminate free radicals in the body. Spinach is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, giving your body a lot of what it needs to thrive. Your skin will thank you!

What’s your favorite green smoothie recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

A Green Smoothie Recipe You Can’t Not Like is available on http://annmariegianni.com/

How To: Balance Combination Skin Using Food

Combination Skin

Combination skin is one of the most common skin types out there, and there are a lot of different ways it can show up. The term “combination skin” just means that there is more than one condition going on. It could refer to experiencing anything from oily and dry skin to rosacea and acne simultaneously.

The most common type of combination skin is an oily T-zone with dry cheeks. Sometimes this has to do with your natural pore size (larger pores produce more sebum) and other times there’s something else going on entirely. It’s different for everyone and it’s important to work with your skin in the unique way that it needs.

Our initial reaction might be to turn to skin care products designed to combat combination skin, and that can help. But given that combination skin is a symptom of imbalance and can manifest itself in many different ways, it’s also helpful to take a few steps to help your body get back in balance.

What Causes Combination Skin?

Like most skin conditions, there’s no easy answer to this question. There are a lot of different individual causes and it can also be a combination (no pun intended) of things going on.

  • Genetics is the most common cause of your skin type, including combination skin (thanks mom and dad). Chatting with your parents and grandparents about their skin is a great way to know what might work well for your skin.
  • The skincare you’re using is another thing that can cause combination skin. Using skincare with irritating ingredients can exacerbate what is already going on.
  • The environment you live in can make a huge difference, too. Often when people move to a different environment their skin can go a little haywire and it can be difficult to reign it back in. For some people, it just takes time for the body to get used to new environmental factors and their skin will relax back into its usual patterns. Other times it takes a bit more vigilance.
  • Stress and hormones can most certainly aggravate combination skin. Increased stress or out-of-balance hormones can do all sorts of wacky things to your entire body, and because the skin is the last organ to receive nutrients from the bloodstream, those extra or unbalanced hormones can affect combination skin.

How to Work Internally with Combination Skin

We usually work with combination skin externally, but there are also a few things you can focus on internally to help. The key here is balance — it always comes back to balance.

You want to help to increase the sebum production of the dry parts of your skin and reign in the sebum production of the oily parts of your skin.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Drink water! It wouldn’t be one of my articles if this one wasn’t on the list. Staying hydrated is essential to proper skin function. Everyone’s skin reacts a bit differently to dehydration. True to form, people with combination skin tend to experience a bit of both worlds. The parts of the skin that underproduce sebum will be further inhibited and the parts of the skin that overproduce oil won’t be plump enough to comfortably absorb the extra oil.
  • Take an Essential Fatty Acid supplement and work on maintaining proper Omega balanced in your body. This is great for combination skin because these fatty acids play a crucial role in increasing the structural integrity and barrier function in the skin. These most often come in the form of fish oil supplements, but can come from other sources as well. Though it seems like taking an oil supplement would increase the oiliness of the skin, it actually doesn’t. Skin that over-produces oil is often as depleted as skin the underproduces oil, it’s just a different reaction to the same internal stimulus. I know, I know, human bodies do the strangest things.
  • Working with Adaptogens to help balance your body’s functioning is another great practice in general. We have talked about adaptogens before — their main function is to help regulate the body’s reaction to stimuli on a hormonal level. This is especially helpful if you find that your skin gets a bit out whack when you’re feeling stressed out.
  • Your Diet is vital. Nourishing yourself and making sure that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet is the best way to take care of your skin. It (always) goes back to your bloodstream and how your skin is fed. If you’re not eating enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, your blood will be depleted by the time it reaches the skin. How well do you perform when you haven’t had enough to eat? Put that into a micro-scale and it’s the exact same thing for your skin.

Here are a few diet tips for you that are pretty easy to follow and can make a big difference.

  1. Eat veggies of every color, especially green and orange. These are high in minerals, beta carotene, and fiber.
  2. Eat fermented foods. They’re already partially broken down and the enzymes in the foods help your stomach to break your food down better, which means that your intestines can pull nutrients out more readily.
  3. Cut out processed foods and sugars. They gunk up your liver and don’t put any helpful love into your bloodstream that can feed your skin

Do you have combination skin? What tricks have you found to help keep it balanced?

Sources:

Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center – Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health

The Naked Chemist – Causes of Combination Skin

The following post How To: Balance Combination Skin Using Food was originally published to Annmarie Skin Care

How to Create Your Signature Scent (And Why it Should Include Vetiver Essential Oil)

Vetiver Essential Oil

Ladies, if you’ve ever worn Chanel Sycomore, Lancome Hypnose, or Sarah Jessica Parker Covet, you’ve enjoyed the base note of vetiver.

Men can find the unique fragrance in Prada Infusion de Vetiver, Lancome Sagamore, Carven Vetiver, and more.

Would you be surprised to learn that vetiver is one of the most popular of all ingredients in perfumes? Wherever it’s found, vetiver lends a grounding, sensuous, and warm aroma perfect for a wide range of applications.

Have you ever tried it in your own blends, for its grounding and calming effects? Reputed as a favorite among base notes, vetiver can lead you in lots of fun directions. Want a new relaxing and moisturizing body oil, air freshener, or cleansing mist? Start with vetiver and add the right ingredients, then sit back and enjoy.

Want to try it?

What is Vetiver?

Related to lemongrass and part of the Poaceae family of plants—scientifically called vetiveria zizanioides—vetiver is also called “khus” in its native India, where it was once used for making ropes, screens, mats, baskets, blinds, and insect and rodent repellents.

Historically, vetiver was thought to help increase safety and financial resources, and its hedges were used to trap crop residues and silts to form an earth embankment. Ancient Sanskrit manuscripts detailed its use as a water purifier, and inscriptions on copper plates dating back to 1103 AD listed “khus” perfume as belonging to the Royals. As recently as the 1950s, vetiver grass was shown to have the ability to help improve soil fertility and facilitate ground water recharge, and was used in India to help reclaim the soil for planting.

The essential oil comes from the roots of the plants, which are interlinked underground and grow about 12 feet into the soil. Known in India as the “oil of tranquility,” vetiver was known to possess many potential health benefits as well.

Benefits of Vetiver Essential Oil

In traditional medicine, the herb was used to treat arthritis, muscle aches, rheumatism, and circulation problems, and to promote fertility. Modern herbalists use it as an aphrodisiac, to tame inflammation, and to help fade scars and hyperpigmentation.

Some studies have even suggested that it may help calm symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A study done by Terry Friedman assessed children’s behaviors, in particular their ability to focus, and how they were affected by certain essential oils. Vetiver showed a 100% improvement in behavior, performing significantly better than lavender and cedarwood.

In aromatherapy, vetiver is considered to be primarily grounding, with the following potential emotional benefits:

  • Promotes restful sleep.
  • Relaxing, calms nerves.
  • Anti-depressant.
  • Restores one’s connections to his/her roots.
  • Counteracts symptoms of trauma.
  • Awakens sexual desire.
  • Helps ease mental exhaustion.

Its incredible benefits have made it historically sought after, and clearly modern day formulators have caught on. (Though to get the real benefits, you should use the essential oil and not a synthetic replication.)

If you’re familiar with the scent of vetiver, you know that its earthy scent is loved by many but also benefits from being balanced by accompanying middle and top notes.

What is a Base Note?

At its simplest level, perfumery consists of composing a balance of ingredients using three different categories:

  1. Top notes make up between 10 and 30 percent of the blend.
  2. Middle notes make up between 30 and 60 percent of the blend.
  3. Base notes make up between 15 and 30 percent of the blend.

The top notes (also called the “head notes”) are those you’re likely to smell first, but they quickly evaporate, usually within 5 to 30 minutes. These are the ones that rush at your senses when you first smell the fragrance, and create its first impression. They typically come from flowers and leaves, and are often stimulating and uplifting—perfect for counteracting fatigue or depression. Some top notes include basil, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, neroli, and sage.

Middle notes last a little longer, maybe a few hours. These come to the fore once the top notes have evaporated, and are considered the “heart” of the fragrance. You’re likely to detect them about 10 to 30 minutes after you’ve applied. They are usually linked to creating balance between mind and body. Think full-bodied scents like chamomile, cinnamon, geranium, ginger, rose, and ylang ylang.

Base notes evaporate the most slowly of all three, and may linger for a day or more. They are said to mingle with the heart notes to create the full body of the fragrance, but most of all, they provide the final impression. Think foundation scents, those that are heavy, deep, tenacious, and strong. These oils are usually connected with grounding us, counteracting nervousness and anxiety while promoting relaxation, and a feeling of being supported. Vetiver is a base note, along with other oils like cedarwood, clove, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and vanilla.

Combining the three categories to create a fragrance is where the fun lies in perfumery. How much of each you use depends on the effect you want to have. Let’s say you want to stimulate and enliven the senses. You might use more top notes, maybe two or three, compared to only one middle and one base. If you’re seeking a fragrance to encourage meditation or introspection, you may want to use more base notes, with just a bit of top and middle.

5 Vetiver Essential Oil Blends to Try

There’s a reason vetiver is used so commonly in perfume formulas. It has grounding aromatherapy and a scent that mingles well with others. Though it mixes well with many oils, some are better than others.

Here are some tips for blending vetiver to create appealing scents:

  1. Moisturizing body oil: Blend your favorite carrier oil (jojoba, fractionated coconut, rose hip seed, argan, evening primrose, avocado) with three drops each of lavender and palmarosa, and one drop vetiver.
  2. Relaxing diffuser: Having a stressful day? Try blending 3 drops vetiver in your diffuser with 10 drops petitgrain, 6 drops cedarwood Virginian, and 6 drops Peru Balsam.
  3. Meditating bath: Add the following to your bath to create a relaxing, grounding escape—4 drops each bergamot and geranium, and 2 drops vetiver.
  4. Calming mist spray: Give your room a calming, relaxing feel by misting this spray about—35 drops lemongrass, 25 drops anise seed, 25 drops allspice, 25 drops Red Mandarin, 20 drops vetiver, 20 drops bergamot, and 4 ounces pure water.
  5. Nature walk perfume: If you can’t get to the real woods, try using a little of this fragrance instead—5 drops lavender, 4 drops lemon, and 3 drops vetiver in a 5 ml bottle filled with fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil.

What Blends Well With Vetiver Essential Oil

In general, vetiver blends well with:

  • Ylang ylang
  • Cedarwood
  • Tangerine
  • Lemon and other citrus scents (lime, grapefruit)
  • Jasmine
  • Lavender
  • Patchouli
  • Petitgrain
  • Neroli
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Marjoram
  • Cardamom
  • Clary sage

Experiment with balancing top, middle, and base notes and soon you’ll be creating beautiful blends that please your palette and give you the aromatherapy you want.

Do you use vetiver in your homemade blends? Please share your ideas with our readers.

Sources:

Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Vetiver in India

The Prairie Homestead – 10 Essential Oil Recipes for Your Diffuser

Vetiver Aromatics – Perfume Recipes

The following article How to Create Your Signature Scent (And Why it Should Include Vetiver Essential Oil) See more on: http://annmariegianni.com/

Annmarie Skin Care

Back in 2008, two video bloggers working in partnership – Annmarie and Kevin Gianni, both heavily involved in the health scene, made it their goal to provide an answer to a key question that was being asked of Annmarie by her audience: What skin care products do you yourself use?

Organic Skincare Company Berkeley CA -  Natural and Wildcrafted Products
Helping women look and feel beautiful with organic and natural skin care without the toxins.

After searching through their own cabinets and finding that what they were using was not entirely up to scratch in terms of a healthy lifestyle, Annmarie made it her goal to find alternatives which she could then share.

After trying many different lines of health products, she found that most of the natural and organic lines simply weren’t quite effective enough, or they didn’t live up to the term “organic” in quite the way that both she and Kevin considered to be true to the terminology.

And it was at this point, after feeling somewhat duped, that Annmarie and Kevin decided to establish their own line as a way to afford better control over the product ingredients.

They set upon a search for skin care formulators, only to find that some of them were created using ingredients that were not under any governance to be listed on the label.

After a long, hard search, Annmarie came across Bunnie, a chemist by trade, and an organics aficionado by nature. Together, Annmarie and Bunnie agreed to collaborate on what was to become a natural and organic product range named Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.

In 2011, Annmarie and Kevin began to put together a team as a way to get their message out to an ever-growing audience. Their new products already had achieved a certain level of success, after having received endorsements from popular authors, health doctors and also a variety of luminaries in the field.

Today, irrespective that it’s Annemarie’s name on the product line, she’s the first to say that it’s not about her, but rather, it’s about the team. The team are comprised of thoroughly dedicated and passionate individuals, and it’s them who drive Annmarie and Kevin to push on in terms of providing education (and their product range) with regards to the skin care industry.

Annemarie Giannia

Annmarie Gianni was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York. She’s a “seeker” by nature, and quickly tired of what she calls “cooties” in the world of skin care products. As such, she took the helm with the aim of finding the cleanest, greenest products, while still working just as well as those alternatives you’d find in a local health spa.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin was born and raised in Brookfield, CT. At the company, he’s referred to as Mr. Boss Man and he describes his position as being there to ensure that the wheels remain on the bus. His motivation for his work comes from the knowledge that he and the team are cultivating huge change within an industry that desperately needs it. Plus, he loves hanging out with his work colleagues so much that work seems more like play.

Annmarie Skin Care