lucyfrancis12

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My Go-To Skincare Prodcuts

Good morning/afternoon/evening (wherever you may be reading this from!)

Following on from my last post regarding nutrition for skin health, I thought I’d share a few of the products I’ve used and still use now, that I’ve found to help my skin alongside adjusting my diet. Funnily enough, I actually work for a private dermatology clinic alongside leading skin consultants which has in turn definitely helped give me knowledge to care for my skin and understand what may suit it more, as well as what I’ve learnt through my own studies and research.

The truth is, I don’t use a whole lot on my skin. Hell yeah I’ve tried a bunch of things over the past few years – desperate to find ‘THE product’ and hoping the promises the clever marketing teams threw upon us were true (the product never lived up to the expectation FYI). In my opinion, keep it simple. You don’t need layers of creams, lotions and potions on a daily basis; more often than not it’ll overload your skin with chemicals or clog up your pores and make it worse.

The skin is the largest organ in the body and being completely exposed to the world, it deals with enough toxins and pollutants from our environment. I aim to keep my skincare natural and simple to protect and give it some love! Oh and always try and wear SPF. Factor 50 on the face, always. I was kindly given samples by La Roche Posay through my workplace which I use – they have a great tinted sunscreen from the Anthelios range which is paraben free and non-greasy.

From an acneic point of view, medicine can of course be a solution depending on the severity and whether you’ve tried other options, too which have perhaps been ineffective. I used to really struggle with spots and experimented with various topical lotions over the years to reduce the appearance of them. I remember going to Space NK, one of my favourite beauty stores, and spending way too much dosh on one little product that unfortunately was so harsh, it burnt my skin and gave me peri-oral dermatitis. It took SO long to heal and looked like a persistent scab. It was also really sore. After reading about the healing properties of pure argan oil, I tried using it on the dry patch every night for about a month and it was incredibly effective. From then I decided to stop wasting my money on ‘quick fix’ products that had no positive benefit (and quite the opposite of a quick fix) and take a more natural approach.

Although the main healer for me *see my previous blog post here*, was through changing my diet (work from the inside out to address the imbalance initially), I found a few products which helped improve my skins texture and maintenance of happy skin, therefore becoming staples in my skincare routine. I feel like I’ve finally found my groove!

 

  • Remove & Cleanse:

    When I wake up I normally just splash cold water on my face, pat it dry and that’s it (glamorous eh). To remove makeup at the end of the day, I use Micellar Water. It’s gentle and effective, leaving no sting or itch and does the job. I don’t really wear much makeup, I like a fresh look during the day and will jazz it up more in the evening or for a special occasion. If I have worn more makeup than usual (or just fancy a more luxurious double cleanse), I use Aurelia’s Miracle Cleanser; I really love this brand, it has added probiotics and is totally natural and organic with ethically sourced ingredients made in Britain. I’ve been using their products for over a year now and I’m hooked.

  • Toning:

    I don’t always do this, but when I feel my skin is a little lacklustre, I use the Pixi Glow Tonic. It contains aloe vera, ginseng and botanical extracts, plus 5% glycolic acid to gently exfoliate and give a fresh glow.

  • Moisturiser:

    I use Aurelia’s day and night creams. Again, it contains only the good stuff and is thick and super hydrating. It also smells HEAVENLY due to the plant and flower essences it contains.

  • Girly extras:

    I like to call these my girly extras; not essential, but a treat to use now and then. A good face mask is always fun for a pamper when I have time. I love to use Liz Earles’ green clay mask which is amazing at drawing out impurities from the skin if it’s a little congested. Lastly, one of my favourite products I use is Aurelia’s cell repair night oil, not everyday, but maybe once or twice a week (it’s also vegan, for those interested). My skin can get quite dry as it’s pretty sensitive to our random weather changes here in the UK, and after suffering with acne when I was younger, I find this oil really helps balance out sebum production and leaves my skin baby soft when I wake up! A little goes a long way and I find I really notice a difference when I use it. *I thought I may add that this post is not sponsored in any way – I’ve bought all these products myself because I genuinely love them. An alternative to this night oil is pure Argan oil or even avocado oil – I just use it from my kitchen cupboard! 1 tsp + 1/2 is all you need – really massage this in to the skin to work it’s magic, just make sure to wash it off instead of sleeping in this one as you may want to save your sheets from turning a yellowish-green colour…(previous experience, oops).

 

That’s pretty much it guys. Now I’m in my early twenties, dare I say it I’m thinking I should probably consider using an eye cream soon (I normally just use the same moisturiser for my face around my eyes too), you know, for preventative measures n all – so if anyone has any recommendations, I’d love to hear it.

What are your favourite skincare products?

L x

 

 

 

How I Changed My Skin Through Food

What some people may not know is that I used to really battle with my skin when I was younger; this is one of the main reasons I actually became interested in nutrition; I wanted to help myself naturally and take care of my own body properly from the inside out. Topical lotions didn’t work for me (or at least have any lasting effects) and taking pills wasn’t something I was prepared to do for the sake of my appearance (as self-conscious as I was about it). After making some changes to my diet I dramatically changed my skin. I was amazed at how something so simple as what we put in our mouths could make such a difference, which continually leads me to be fascinated at the power of nutrition across many aspects of the human body. Below you can see the condition of my skin before (left) to now; not perfect but a massive improvement (both no makeup).

 

When I was 16/17 my hormones went whacky, I believe it may have been triggered by the OCP but my diet, although not bad, was lacking consistency and I didn’t really have any knowledge about food groups or the benefits certain nutrients can have.

After finally getting fed up with acne, uneven texture/tone and seemingly a hormonal imbalance, I did my own research with a lot of trial and error, finding certain things which helped a little, a lot, and some none at all. From my experience, here’s a few tips for getting your skin back to a happy balance again. I know what it’s like to want to cover up and hide, I thought my skin was ‘just that way’ but you CAN seriously help it through your diet, it just takes a little time and effort which I’ve been working on, (which is why I want to share!) *Please note, everyone is of course individual – this is what worked a great deal for ME after struggling for a long time… so if this helps you even a little bit, I’d be thrilled.

 

  • Increase your plant intake (a lot). This is a huge factor. Veggies and fruits contain SO many benefits as we know, but in particular the antioxidant property which helps combat oxidative cell damage and inflammation which can present visibly in our skin. Start giving your body tons of colours and it’ll thank you for it in more ways than one. Sweet potatoes and butternut quash (beta-carotene containing foods) are great options as our body converts this red/orange colour pigment into Vitman A (active retinol); an important vitamin for skin health. Whole foods really will help nourish your body with the goodness it needs to heal. Zinc is a mineral beneficial for the skin as it aids in wound healing and control of sebum production which can help ward off the congestion of pores. Zinc rich foods include whole grains such as oats and also pumpkin seeds, chickpeas and oysters!

 

  • Water. This may be an obvious one, but so many people overlook the importance of hydration and make do with just a couple of glasses daily. 2L is a good bench mark and if you’re particularly active/exercising regularly, more! It keeps our cells doing all their complex jobs properly and will help assist detoxification pathways for a glowy, plump complexion. You may need to take regular visits to the bathroom initially… but your body will soon get used to it, ha.

 

  • Limit processed foods and added sugars. This is another biggie. Added sugars and highly processed foods are really not your skins best pal. High GI/GL foods can lead to a steep insulin spike in certain individuals, increasing inflammation in the body and the production of certain enzymes that can bind to collagen (a type of protein found in skin) and start to break it down – a process call ‘Glycation’. This can be a tough one to conquer as sugar can be addictive and is often hidden in foods, but try and make the swap to more natural sugars or have a little now and then with a combination of fat, protein or fibre to help slow the glucose absorption into the blood. Just be mindful that certain sugars contain slightly different properties to others, so some can be slightly more favourable than others. Small changes that build and progress are much better than going all out and giving up after a week; that way you can see how your skin reacts and work with it to find a good balance. *Remember our skin re-generates every 27-30 days so give it some time! Example; Swap your cadbury sweety bar or ‘low fat’ yoghurt (normally pumped with added sugars to boost flavour), for a juicy piece of vitamin-filled fruit (mango? Hello beta-carotene!), a handful of nuts or a protein rich snack like a boiled egg. Guaranteed you’ll have lasting energy aside from seeing the benefit in your skin too.

 

  • Incorporate healthy fats into your diet. Your omega 3 intake is crucial in the maintenance of healthy skin. Oily fish like mackerel and salmon, chia seeds and walnuts are great options. Extra virgin olive oil and avocados are also excellent fat sources to include in your diet. Fats are the building blocks for healthy cell membranes, formed in two layers (phospholipid bi-layer) and help absorb certain fat soluble vitamins. We need fats for every function in our body!

 

  • What about dairy? It’s common for people to find dairy a trigger with skin conditions (generally from the GH the cow produces or processing techniques), so it could be worth cutting back on to see if it helps you. I personally can’t have milk, but can tolerate certain natural yoghurts and cheeses, I believe this is due to the lower concentration of lactose and protein ratios – plus the addition of pro-biotics/live cultures in yoghurt assists the digestion process with some additional nutrition benefits. I think an important aspect to note, is to source your diary produce carefully to enable maximum nutrient bioavailability and also welfare of the animal. Cutting out entire food groups can often do more damage than good, potentially leading to nutritional deficiencies so test with caution or seek advice from a specialist to help you. Plant-based milks like cashew/oat/almond milk are a great alternative if you’re vegan or would like a dairy-free option but I’d opt for the unsweetened versions to keep sugar down and strongly consider vitamin-enriched varieties.

 

In terms of skin products… I will happily write another blog post leading on from this regarding the types of products I use and my general skin-care routine for anyone who is interested from a beauty perspective, too. Stay tuned!

L x

 

Ref: 1 , 2 , 3

 

Loaded Spicy Chicken Lettuce ‘Tacos’

Loaded Spicy Chicken Lettuce ‘Tacos’

Hey guys.

These Spicy Chicken Lettuce Tacos are probably one of my favourite recipes I’ve created. They have everything I love about a good meal; texture variety, full of flavour, lots of colour and packed with nutritents to make our cells happy. PLUS they are so filling despite being on the low carb side, with protein remaining high and a good portion of healthy fats to keep you satiated. During the hot weather I find heavy, rich meals a little tough on digestion, so something light and zesty is perfect to keep my tummy happy. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients for 1-2 people (depending how hungry you are!):

180-200g chicken breast cut into strips

3 large cauliflower florets, roughly chopped

1/2 a red onion, chopped into chunky slices

8 cherry tomatoes on the vine

1 giant flat mushroom sliced

2 large handfuls baby spinach

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 garlic glove

1/2 lemon (juice)

1 tsp tabasco

5 gem lettuce cups

a few coriander sprigs

1/2 avocado (about 30 grams) chopped into cubes.

coconut oil 1 tsp

olive oil spray

 

Method:
  1. Start by prepping your veggies and chop up to size.
  2. In a non stick frying pan, add 1tsp coconut oil. Once melted, add the red onion slices and cauliflower. Coat with 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp paprika until well covered.
  3. Whilst you’ve made a start on the veg, grab a grill tray and line with tin foil. Spray your olive oil across the base (or 1 tsp liquid) and arrange the chicken breast pieces across. Chop your garlic clove and scatter across the chicken with the remaining 1 tsp of paprika, a squeeze of lemon and S+P if you like, rub into the chicken to coat it with a little more oil on top.
  4. Pop your chicken under the grill for about 15-20 minutes on 200c. Flip the chicken over half way through and check on it now and then to ensure no burning or over cooking.
  5. While the chicken is grilling, add the rest of the veg to your frying pan; mushrooms, tomato and spinach. Add 1 tsp chilli flakes and mix well. Cook on a medium temperature for about 12 mins.
  6. While you have the two main parties sizzling, lets get organised to plate up! Chop your avocado into cubes and set aside.
  7. Wash your lettuce cups thoroughly and arrange on your plate. Once your veg mix is cooked, distribute it into the cups evenly.
  8. Add your chicken pieces to your tacos (if you have too much, save some for lunch tomorrow!)
  9. Scatter across the avocado, coriander, more lemon and 1 tsp of tabasco.
  10. Voila! ‘Loaded Spicy Chicken Lettuce Tacos’ complete! DIG IN.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Do let me know if you make it, I love seeing your creations!

L x

Banana, Blackberry & Maca Protein-Packed Smoothie Bowl

Hello lovely readers,

I’ve created a delicious smoothie bowl recipe I KNOW you’ll love.

I’ve been feeling pretty poorly the last few days with a throat infection. Whenever I get ill, like most people, I like to increase my fruit and veg intake even more to give myself an extra boost of vitamins my body needs to recover.

This is where the power of smoothie bowls come in! You can pack so many vitamins and minerals into one meal, it’s a winner! Note: sugar is abundant in fruit and although it’s natural sugar – it’s still sugar so be mindful of which ones you’re adding in and what you’re combing it with!

For this recipe you’ll need:

1 small frozen banana

60g blackberries (frozen or fresh)

1 tsp maca powder

1 generous scoop of protein powder (I used vanilla)

55g natural yoghurt – I used Skyr

50ml unsweetened almond milk

handful of ice

Toppings:

2 Brazil nuts chopped up to sprinkle

1/2 kiwi sliced

1 tsp chia seeds

drizzle of sweet freedom choc shot

 

Method:

1. Put all your base ingredients into a blender, adding the protein and maca powder last with the almond milk (so it doesn’t stick to the bottom)

2. Whiz on high powder until thick and smooth then pour into a bowl and add the topppings! Easy peasy.

 

With the protein (powder, yoghurt & chia) and healthy fats (nuts & chia) added, it can really help slow down the length of time it takes the sugar to hit your bloodstream/absorption rate.

With the warmer weather coming I love to incorporate more smoothie bowls into my diet so keep a look out for more similar recipes to come!

 

L x

Oven-Baked Zesty Lemon + Garlic Cod With Turmeric-Chilli Quinoa

Oven-Baked Zesty Lemon + Garlic Cod With Turmeric-Chilli Quinoa

Who else just loves this time of year? With the lighter, longer days, weather getting warmer and the general hype towards summer approaching, it puts me in the best mood!

I’ve come up with a simple supper/lunch with lots of colour and variety to pack in those phyto-nutrients. This recipe is light and balanced for those who’ve gone hardcore on those Easter choccies… or for anyone simply craving a flavour packed healthy meal.

 

Ingredients for 1:

1 cod fillet (skinless & boneless)

1/2 cup quinoa

handful mushrooms roughly chopped

5/6 cherry tomatoes sliced

1 large beetroot chunk – I bought mine already dressed in a little red wine vinegar, or add your own flavour.

handful of tenderstem broccoli

handful of french green beans

wedge of lemon

1 garlic clove

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli flakes

shake of pink salt & cracked black pepper

Method:

Start with making your quinoa and cod first. Quinoa takes around 15/20 mins to cook + absorb the water, and a similar length of time for your cod to cook through.

  • Firstly, rinse the quinoa then add it to a saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. Once bubbling, turn to a simmer and let the water absorb. Keep an eye on the texture in case you need to add more water.
  • Make a little tin foil parcel on a baking tray and place the cod inside. Chop your garlic clove into slices and place over the top of the fish with the lemon juice. I also added some oil spray across the top of the fish and massaged the flavours in a little. Cover the foil over and bake at 180c for about 15 mins.
  • Pop the cherry tomatoes and mushrooms into a pan with a tsp oil/butter, sprinkle some black pepper and pink salt and let them cook gently until the tomatoes are nice and juicy and the mushrooms have softened *did you know, cooking tomatoes actually makes the nutrients more bio-available for our bodies than consuming them raw?*
  • Lastly, cook your green veg – boil/steam however you like to do it… I like mine to have a crunch, so it’ll usually take about 2-3 mins.
  • Now the quinoa should be just about absorbed, add in a tsp of turmeric, a tsp of chilli flakes and more salt/pepper if needed. Mix together until equally combined and steaming hot.
  • Plate up! Don’t forget to add your beetroot if using, too. I like to drizzle the left over lemony-garlic juice from the foil parcel over the top of everything once plated.

It may seem like a bit of a miss-match of ingredients but filling your plate with lots of colour and variety is a fab way to ensure you’re getting a range of vitamins and minerals to fuel your body. I love this combo of flavours, the lemony-garlic fish with that hit of chilli and turmeric in the quinoa is suuuper tasty. Who said simple dishes are boring? This one definitely isn’t.

 

Let me know if you try this recipe, I’d love to know your thoughts.

L x