Good For You Friday: Salmon & Arugula Salsa Verde

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Last week, I cracked open my good ol’ copy of Giada’s Feel Good Food, and I made Baked Salmon with Arugula Salsa Verde.  Not only was it fast, easy and inexpensive, it was delicious and healthy.  Cooking this kind of dinner makes me feel like I am #winning.  The salsa verde is a sauce-and-salad-in-one, and it’s perfect over steamed quinoa.

| Baked Salmon with Arugula Salsa Verde | (serves 4)

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1 cup finely chopped arugula
  • ⅔ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Ingredients for Fish:

  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 4 (4-oz) skinless salmon fillets, each about 1 inch thick
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

For sauce:

  1. Combine arugula, parsley, olive oil, capers, lemon zest, lemon juice, ¾ tsp salt, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

For fish:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix parsley, chives, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Coat salmon fillets all over with olive oil. Put on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with 1 tsp salt and ¾ tsp pepper. Sprinkle herb mixture over top of fish, pressing slightly to adhere.
  2. Bake fish 9 to 10 minutes. Put 1 fish fillet on each of 4 plates. Spoon arugula salsa verde alongside. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

This is a perfect Monday Night meal.  It won’t stress you out, and it will help you start to feel healthy again after an indulgent weekend (or was it just me who had 125 margaritas??)…

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Dragontree Apothecary: Uppers and Downers

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Since high school, my mother has warned me about “burning the candle at both ends”.  I’ve always been one to work and play hard, and sometimes it catches up to me before I can take the time to take care of myself.  I sometimes end up sick or less than pleasant to be around…  These days, rather than drown myself in an endless fountain of coffee and take a Tylenol PM every night, I’m responsible about my uppers and downers… 😉

I discovered The Dragontree Apothecary a couple of months ago, and I wanted to tell you about some of their products that have become favorites of mine.  The collection of supplements is 100% holistic and formulated according to Chinese medicine.  When I’m running on fumes, these lil’ guys have really helped, and I think they should be a part of every busy woman’s secret arsenal.   A major plus: the tinctures are just 1 ounce, so they’re great for travel or just throwing in your bag.  You can add them to water or just take them straight from the dropper.

The first thing that you need to know about The Dragontree Apothecary’s Energy Support tincture is that it’s caffeine-free; it is not a stimulant – caffeine actually depletes adrenal glands and the thyroid and can lead to adrenal burnout over time.  (Think you’re tired and irritable now?  Just wait until your metabolism is shot from abusing caffeine.)  This tincture is actually most effective when taken over a period of time, like a during a stressful week or month.  I took this a lot during the month of May, and it really helped to keep me focused and alert without being jittery.

The Sleep Support tincture is amazing.  On nights when I’ve stared at a screen for too long and too close to bedtime, I take a dropper full of this and I fall into a deep sleep – quickly!  I get some serious R.E.M. action and I actually wake up feeling refreshed; how often does that happen once you’re a mother?  And, if you take it regularly, you won’t become addicted.  Actually, when taken regularly, even during the day (!) it “evens out” your nerves, making you more calm both day and night.

Sore?  Bruised?  Achy?  Stiff?  Muscle spasms?  Tweaked neck?  Muscle Melt Liniment will help, seriously.  Every one of the 37 ingredients in this liniment (which is basically a targeted, medicinal body serum) are there for a reason, and many have been used in the Eastern martial arts world for hundreds of years.  Unlike Icy-Hot or Bio-Freeze, this formula doesn’t numb the problem, it actually employs powerful anti-inflammatories as well as ingredients that enhance circulation and reduce muscle spasms.  Richard and I both swear by it.

So, what if your whole body hurts?  Muscle Melt Herbal Bath uses many of the same ingredients as the Muscle Melt Liniment.  It’s one of the most effective herbal bath soaks I’ve ever used.  I feel like a hot, wet noodle when I’m done, and the next day my soreness is gone.

The Dragontree Apothecary has lots of other holistic remedies, too.  I’ll be stocking up on their tinctures and tonics come cold and flu season…

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RMS Beauty Newbies

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Have you ever wished that RMS Beauty would make a soft, shell-mauve-nude Eye Polish, or maybe the perfect pinky-nude Lip Shine?  Well your wish (and mine) has been granted.  RMS recently launched the prettiest “nothing” colors, and I can’t stop reaching for them.

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RMS Beauty’s Eye Polish in Myth is just gorgeous; it’s the perfect shade for the no-makeup-makeup look, which I personally favor on a day-to-day basis (the color is a taupe-mauve- with just a hint of shimmer).  If you haven’t tried RMS Eye Polish before, you are in for a treat.  It suits even the most sensitive eyes, and it’s coconut oil base is incredibly hydrating, so it’s great for more mature, dry skin as well as all other skin types.  Just swipe it on with your fingers and go.

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RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Honest just might be the sexiest color, ever.  It is pinky-nude, sheer, glossy perfection, and it is my new go-to, both day and night.  Lip Shine is one of my favorite products of all time; the formula isn’t sticky or tacky, and it leaves lips so moisturized and soft, never dry or chapped.

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For those of you who cannot wrap your head around applying foundation (namely RMS Beauty’s “Un” Cover-Up) with your fingers, their new Skin 2 Skin Foundation Brush will come in handy.  The spiral-y tip of the brush conforms to facial contours instead of dragging product across the skin.  I dip the brush into the “Un” Cover-Up and lightly buff the brush in a circular motion over my face.  It leaves a full, even, airbrushed look.  (Note: for under my eyes, I still prefer to use my fingers or a Beauty Blender.)

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RMS also released a new Skin 2 Skin Blush Brush, which works well with both their Lip 2 Cheek and their Buriti Bronzer.  Just lightly dip the brush into the pot and swirl onto the cheeks; it won’t pick up any foundation that’s already on your skin, but it will leave the perfect flush.  This is my favorite new tool!

I leave you with some Thursday words of wisdom from my girl, Mindy Kaling:

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Sex Ed + Sustain

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Let’s talk about sex, baby.  No, not really, but let’s talk about sustainable, fair trade, nontoxic condoms.  Recently, I connected with Meika Hollender of Sustain, (her father, Jeffrey Hollender, founded the eco-friendly household product brand Seventh Generation) and she enlightened me on the subject of safer safe sex.

Here is what I learned:

  • Did you know that most condom brands sold in the U.S. contain carcinogens called nitrosamines?  In 2010, the World Health Organization and the UN Population Fund called on condom makers to address this toxic risk, but their call to action fell on deaf ears.  Today, Sustain is one of two condom manufacturers that is free of any detectable nitrosamines.  They are also vegan and are never tested on animals.
  • Sustain only uses natural, Fair Trade latex from one of the most sustainable rubber tree plantations on the planet.  It is located in southern India, and it’s banned child labor and provides a community of 180 rubber tappers and their families with higher wages, education and healthcare.
  • This rubber plantation is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which is the gold standard in sustainability.  It means that indigenous rights, the local ecology, water resources and the long-term well-being of adjacent communities are all supported and protected.

Girl Power: another awesome thing about Sustain is that while their end-consumer is male, their target market is female.  Why?  Women influence over 70% of condom purchases, but account for just 40% of sales.  They report feeling awkward or embarrassed when buying safe-sex essentials.  Sustain’s message, product and packaging is one that women can feel comfortable with.  Now, we can all breathe easy in the checkout line; the packaging basically looks like that of breath mints.

I also love that Sustain has made a commitment to women everywhere.  They donate 10% of their pre-tax profits to organizations focused on increasing access to reproductive healthcare and family planning in the U.S. (think The Breast Cancer Fund and Planned Parenthood).

Buying condoms might not be on my mind on a daily basis, but now that I know the facts, I know which brand that Bare Beauty will endorse going forward.  You can purchase Sustain at FreshDirect, Earthfare, Harris Teeter, Amazon and most major pharmacies nationwide, and of course, on their website.

You may now get back to your regularly scheduled Summer lovin’.

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Good For You Friday: Hippie Bowl

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I recently purchased my new favorite cookbook, The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl and Spoon.  I feel like it was written just for me; I LOVE meals that come together in one dish, all mixed together in harmonious goodness.  The author, Sara Forte runs a great food blog, The Sprouted Kitchen, and released a book with the same name in 2012 (also a favorite).  One of the recipes in Bowl and Spoon, The Hippie Bowl, is easily the best meal I’ve made at home in a long time.  Not only is it delicious and healthy, it is satisfying and beautiful to look at.  It would be the perfect thing to serve to health-conscious dinner guests, as it looks and tastes impressive.  Just FYI, it is quite easy to make, but it is not something you can whip up in 20 minutes; you’ll need a little time for prep work, etc.  However, it is so worth it.  And, the leftovers are on point.  (Richard does not do leftovers, but he loved this meal so much he went back for more the next day.  For me, this is the ultimate compliment.)

| Hippie Bowl | (serves 4)

2 (14-ounce) extra packages firm  tofu
¼ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or Tamara
3 tablespoons sambal oelek (chile paste)
1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 cup millet (you can also use quinoa or brown rice)
2 cups  low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or coconut oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups  stemmed, chopped kale
4 cups  (about  5 ounces) baby spinach
Sea salt
Juice of ½ lemon
4 carrots, shaved into ribbons
1 cup sprouts (broccoli, pea, or micro greens)
2 avocados, peeled and quartered
Tahini Citrus Miso Dressing (recipe below)

In a shallow dish, whisk together the coconut sugar, soy sauce, sambal oelek, vinegar, and sesame oil. Drain and press the tofu between the layers of a folded dish-towel to absorb any excess liquid. Cut each block into 1-inch  squares; toss them in the marinade and let soak for at least 30 minutes—a few hours is even better—flipping them halfway through. Preheat the oven to 475ºF.

For the spiced sunflower seeds, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and toast the sunflower seeds until just fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, cayenne, and sugar and toss them around until the sugar is hot enough to stick to the seeds, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a piece of parchment and spread  out in a single layer to cool. The seeds can be made up to 3 days ahead  and stored in an airtight container.

In a small pot over medium-low heat, add the millet and toast for a few minutes until you hear  them start to pop. Add the broth, bring  it to a boil, turn it down to a simmer and cover and cook for 15 to 18 minutes, until millet is tender. Turn  off the heat, remove  the lid, fluff with a fork,  and stir in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Cover it again and let sit until ready to use.

Spread the tofu on a rimmed baking  sheet lined  with parchment; it’s okay if some of the marinade drips. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing halfway  through, until the edges are browned.

To sauté the greens, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet, add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant. Add the kale and spinach in batches with a pinch of salt and the lemon  juice and sauté just until wilted, about 2 minutes.

Assemble your bowl with a portion of the millet, and then add your other toppings in quadrants on top: a scoop of tofu beside the warm greens,  the carrot ribbons next to the sprouts. Top with some avocado, a hearty sprinkle of spiced sunflower seeds, and a generous drizzle  of the tahini dressing.

| Tahini Citrus Miso Dressing | (makes about 1 cup)

1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons white or yellow miso
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons Sriracha or hot sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 large  orange (about ⅓ cup)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Lemon juice, to taste

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, miso, honey,  sesame oil, and Sriracha to combine. Whisk in the vinegar,  orange  juice, salt, and pepper  to taste. Thin with water or lemon  juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed.  Taste and adjust seasoning.The dressing will keep, covered,  in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Yum.  Enjoy your weekend.

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Calling All Kahina Lovers: Essaouira

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Photo: Bette Walker

I know that many of you are big Kahina Giving Beauty fans – I know that I am.  Their Fez Body Serum is one of my all-time favorites.  The complex, sexy, spicy scent transports you to a more exotic place than, say, your bathroom.  And, I love that I don’t have to bother with perfume after moisturizing; people always ask me what fragrance I’m wearing.

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Villa Maroc, Essaouira, Morocco

Well, those fine ladies at Kahina have outdone themselves; they’ve created a light, fresh version of their incredible body serum: Essaouira (pronounced es-suh-weer-uh).  (Essaouira is a small, beautiful coastal village about two hours outside Marrakech.)  Floral notes like rose and lavender are combined with geranium and sandalwood to create an exotic, floral scent that is also bright and crisp.  Carrier oils like argan, watermelon, sunflower and olive deeply moisturize, but are also  readily absorbed, making it perfect for the Summer heat.

Sorry, I probably had you planning a trip to Italy yesterday, and now I’ve got my heart set on Morocco…  ‘Tis the season…

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Farm to Face, Italian Style: Bottega Organica

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Photo: Bette Walker

So, there are a million “farm-to-face” skincare lines out there these days, which is great, but for me to get excited, I need a little more than that.  Bottega Organica is just what the doctor ordered, literally. Dr. Andrea Alimonti (Harvard and Sloan-Kettering) at Bottega Organica has fused together Western medicine with pure, organic, plant-based ingredients to create a gentle, anti-aging skincare line.
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A little background on the good doctor: While world-renowned geneticist Dr. Alimonti was studying a novel cure for cancer he developed a screening method to detect the effect of plant extracts on aging and skin senescence. After screening thousands of different combinations, he was able to identify a handful of Natural Inhibitors of Senescence (NIS) – natural substances with the potential of slowing the aging of human cells; Bottega Organica was born soon after.  Dr. Alimonti has since won the Dr. Josef Steiner Cancer Research Award (2015), which is second only to the Nobel Prize for Cancer Research.  Can you spell L-E-G-I-T?
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Most products are made in small batches on the founder’s farm in Liguria, Italy, (which has been in the family for over 500 years, and pesticides have never been used there) and all the organic and wildcrafted herbs are harvested on site and then alchemized with cold-pressed olive oil.  And, this isn’t just any olive oil –   it’s made from perfectly ripened olives that are cold-pressed on the same day that they’re harvested.   This allows the oil to retain its powerful anti-aging properties.  These products are definitely not the equivalent of rubbing some store-bought olive oil on your skin.  (All of Bottega’s creams are made in batches of 20 units (!) on the founder’s alternate dreamy oasis, a farm in upstate New York.)
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I could go on, but if you click here,  you’ll get a video tour of Bottega Organica’s pristine olive orchard and farm in Liguria, Italy with the brand’s chief scientist, Dr. Andrea Alimonti.  It is so, so beautiful; it’s going to motivate you to start planning that trip you always talk about…
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Here are some of my favorites from the line:
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Extra-Nourishing Face Formula: I’m not sure you will find something better for dry skin.  This formula is unique to anything else I’ve tried; it truly seals in moisture.  The Ligurian olive oil is blended with anti-aging golden and prawn sage, anti-inflammatory chamomile, high mallow extracts and rejuvenating carrot.  Put it on before bed, and you will wake up with a soft, supple, glow-y complexion.
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I’m very, very picky about body oils; if they are gooey and thick, I just can’t deal.  Bottega Organica’s Nourishing Body Oil is perfection.  No greasy, sticky gooeyness here.  My skin feels supple, well-hydrated and clean.  And, this oil imparts just a hint of a healthy-looking glow.  I love the subtle orange fragrance – which is totally unisex – and it fades soon after application, so it doesn’t interfere with fragrance.
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The Eye Illuminate Cream is borderline life-changing and I kind of want to eat it – it’s like olive butter.  I usually prefer eye serums to creams, but this one has no weird emulsifiers in it and it sinks right in while doing some heavy-duty moisturizing.  It also contains a host of other anti-inflammatory, antiaging ingredients that really make a difference in the appearance of the skin around my eyes: specifically, arnica, cucumber, horse chestnut, rosemary, coneflower, prawn sage and wild carrots.  This is one of the best, most luxurious eye creams I’ve ever tried.  Also, I have very sensitive eyes, and I find it incredibly gentle.
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The Detox and Purify Herbal Tea is a pleasantly smooth-tasting tea, unlike most detox teas, which I find a little too pungent.  It also has a nice calming effect, so I like to drink it when I’m stressed or in the evening before bed.  This tea combines relaxing chamomile, rejuvenating lemon verbena and sage, and purifying senna and French lilac to purify the skin from the inside out.
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I know you’ve been wondering, and yes, Bottega Organica also sells their Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and it is AMAZING.  It is definitely some of the best olive oil I’ve ever tasted;  it would make a great gift for a foodie.  But, prepare to be spoiled for life….
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So, now I want to go to Italy and I’m really hungry and I have to go grocery shopping.  I’m sure that Richard will be thrilled at what I come home with and how much it costs….
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Ursa Major: A Majorly Green Father’s Day

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Richard and I recently tried an all-natural unisex skincare line called Ursa Major from Vermont and we really like it.  It is so refreshing to find products that we can both use, especially when we travel together.  I mean, that ziplock baggie is so darn small; why not pack just one face wash for the two of us?  That way, it guarantees room for non-negotiables like my favorite face serum, which I am NOT sharing.

He likes the Fantastic Face Wash because it gives him that squeaky clean feeling without the harsh sulfates.  I like it because it takes all of my makeup off in one fell swoop.  Cost: $28 for 8 oz.

Richard used to be a loyal Cetaphil face lotion user in the past, so he likes how hydrating and mild the Fortifying Face Balm is.  I like that it leaves a nice matte finish and that it has some antiseptic/antibacterial properties (witch hazel, willow bark extract) for my breakout prone skin.  Cost: $36 for 2 oz.

The Stellar Shave Cream is just that: a cream.  It is not a foam, it is not a gel, it does not lather.  It will take your guy a minute to get used to its texture and consistency.  However, it is much more hydrating than conventional shave cream.  Not to mention it’s nontoxic, duh.  It also won Esquire Magizine’s Best Shave Cream Award for 2015.  Cost: $24 for 5.3 oz.

BTW: These also all come in travel sizes for your lil’ ziplock baggie.  :)

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Also, you do know that Father’s Day is just around the corner, (Sunday, June 21) don’t you?  Ursa Major’s Stellar Shave Set would be a great gift for the guy who is trying to going Green.  It’s only $60, and if you mention Bare Beauty in the notes at checkout, they will throw in a travel size face wash for free.

And, if you happen to be shopping at Birchbox for yo’self, you can also add some Ursa Major to your cart while you’re there for your baby-daddy.

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My Green Beauty Summer Must-Have’s

 

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Photo: Bette Walker

 

Hey there, Bare Beauties.  Today, my friend, Chassity at Look Linger Love featured my Green Beauty Summer Must-Have’s.  Head on over there to check them out!

Also, did you see that even the gals at the Zoe Report are converting to nontoxic beauty?

In other news, did you know that over 75 food brands still line their cans with BPA?  The Environmental Working Group is trying to change that.  Read more about which brands use BPA, which don’t, why it’s so important* and take action by signing the petition that demands that these companies stop using this dangerous chemical.

*Bisphenol A has been shown to mimic thyroid and sex hormones in people and animals. It has been associated with a wide variety of health problems, including altered brain and nervous system development and changes in the reproductive system. Much of the evidence of BPA toxicity is based on laboratory animal studies, where low exposures to BPA during pregnancy or early life can permanently affect fertility, behavior and body size and can predispose animals to later life cancers (Vandenberg 2013).  There is less than definitive evidence of BPA toxicity to people, but observational studies associate BPA exposure with a host of issues, including behavioral changes in children and diseases like obesity and heart disease.  While it is not clear how much BPA ingestion is harmful to humans, the existing evidence suggests that the developing fetus and young child are most at risk. Children cannot metabolize and excrete BPA as quickly and efficiently as adults (Edginton 2009, Ginsberg 2009). Detoxified BPA can be reactivated as it passes through the placenta to the fetus (Corbel 2015).

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Why You Should Sprinkle Sea Kelp on Everything

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Happy Good For You Friday!  This is something I’ve been meaning to write about for, like, two years.  While I was pregnant, my sweet Aunt Kathleen sent me this article about iodine and how important it is for both fetal and early childhood neurodevelopment.  It literally makes a difference in IQ.

Iodine is also essential for optimal thyroid function.  These days, many women have problems with hypothyroidism, or a low-functioning thyroid.  This can lead to a sluggish metabolism, fatigue, trouble concentrating, depression, feeling cold all the time, low sex drive and even infertility problems and increased chance of miscarriage.  (Sidenote: Western medicine tends to under-diagnose hypothyroidism.  If you are curious about your thyroid function, get a full thyroid blood-panel, including TSH and have a naturopath check out the results.  What they consider to be healthy thyroid levels differs from many Western Medicine docs’ opinions.)

Despite the availability of iodized salt in the US, most of us are still iodine-deficient; many people are opting to cook with sea salt, (which does have its own set of benefits) and the salt used in processed food is not usually iodized.

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So, how much iodine do you need and how are you going to get it into your diet?  You could take supplements, but most of us don’t need to go that far, and it’s a good way to swing the pendulum into the other direction, which isn’t healthy, either.  You could eat seaweed a few times a week, or you could season your food with Maine Coast Sea Seasonings.  My favorite is the Dulse with Garlic.  I add it to almost everything.  If you are looking for extra flavor (and iodine), but you don’t want the bloat from salt, it’s a great alternative – and it doesn’t taste “weird”.  Are there other good sources of iodine?  Well, you would have to eat about 40 lb. of fresh vegetables and/or fruits to get as much iodine as you would from 1 gram of whole leaf kelp….

How much iodine do we need?  According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

  • Adults 18 and older should get 150 mcg daily
  • Pregnant women 18 and older, 220 mcg
  • Lactating women, 290 mcg.
  • Infants 0-12 months, 50 mcg
  • Children 1-8 years, 90 mcg
  • Children /young teens 9-13,120 mcg
  • Teens 14-18, 150 mcg.

* I’m not being paid to promote Maine Coast, I just really like their product and use it in my home all the time.  Bare Beauty never publishes sponsored posts. *

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