Archives for March 2017

Vibrant Skin Naturally: Inside Out

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a presentation on the key to vibrant skin, called Vibrant Skin: Outside and In. It was an hour-long presentation organized by the Natural Food Pantry in Ottawa and presented by Emily Kielbiski, a Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) and self-described skincare enthusiast. We learned about the composition and function of skin, different skin issues, and key nutrients that heal and nourish skin cells. I learned a lot from it and wanted to share some of that information, given PureNaturalist is all about holistic benefits of natural foods and overall wellness. This post will summarize skin composition and functions, discuss key nutrients promoting radiant skin naturally and give some tips to help achieve vibrant skin inside-out for different skin types.

Skin Composition and Functions

As most know, your skin is your largest organ. It’s made up of 3 layers that have different functions but work all together to reflect how healthy you really are. The epidermis is the outer-most layer that is visible to you and everyone else. It is actually made up of dead skin cells and houses melanocytes, which are cells responsible for melanin production. The epidermis also works with the sun to produce vitamin D. The second and middle layer is the dermis, which contains oil & sweat glands, hair follicles, blood vessels, and proteins. It helps provide nutrients to the epidermis, and helps strengthen your skin while providing its elasticity. The hypodermis is the deepest layer, which is a layer of fat and connective tissue that helps with regulating body temperature and protecting muscles & bones.

Skin Diagram

Given your skin is made up of different layers with different functions, it is imperative to know which nutrients nourish your skin, internally and topically.

Skin Nutrition

The main nutrients that nourish skin include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Omega-3 Oils, which have different functions that promote healthy skin. Other beneficial nutrients worth mentioning that help maintain that radiancy are probiotics, Zinc, Omega-6 oils, Protein, and Sulphur.

Vibrant Skin from Within

Here are some tips to achieve vibrant skin based on what you’re ingesting and your skin type.

  • Dry skin – needs hydration. To avoid skin flakiness, maintain skin elasticity by drinking water and eating foods high in essential fats, protein and vitamin C.
  • Oily skin – must avoid processed and greasy foods. Nourish your skin with anti-inflammatory foods such as cruciferous vegetables and drink plenty of water.
  • Sensitive skin – can be strengthened with antioxidants. Eat foods that are naturally high in the key-nutrients mentioned above.

Vibrant Skin Topically

Here are a few tips of what ingredients to use or avoid in skincare products.

  • Dry skin – Use gentle exfoliation for flakiness. It needs deep and rich hydration to have elasticity and suppleness. Use richer oils like Shea butter or Evening Primrose oil to moisturize.
  • Oily skin – Use gentle cleansers to not strip skin and alter pH level. Use fast absorbing light moisturizers like Jojoba oil. Products that contain anti-bacterial essential oils (e.g. tea tree, lavender) are also beneficial.
  • Sensitive skin – Use soothing products free of irritants like alcohol and fragrances. Anti-inflammatory ingredients like chamomile, sage, calendula are beneficial.

This information was part of the presentation and I hope that it gives a better understanding of skin nutrition. It’s also a reminder that eh-ve-ry-thing starts from within and eating foods that are naturally rich in nutrients have holistic benefits. Being mindful of ingredients used in skincare products and cosmetology will ensure that you’re truly protecting and nourishing your skin rather than harming it. After all, it is the largest organ and has many essential functions.






Quick Broccoli Shrimp Stir-Fry Recipe

This stir-fry recipe is perfect for those of us who enjoy Chinese take-out but don’t always trust the seafood quality. I’m always skeptic of shrimp when I’m eating out and usually opt for cooked fish instead. I question if it’s farmed or wild or whether it’s been cleaned thoroughly, how long it’s been sitting out and pray to not get any food poisoning. As a result, I’ve been kitchen experimenting with Asian flavours and creating homemade versions of my favourite takeout foods with much success. I’ve realized that not only does it cost a fraction of the price I usually pay, but it tastes proper and is made with quality ingredients. This delicious, quick, and simple Broccoli Shrimp stir-fry recipe always satisfies my craving for Chinese takeout so I’m sure you will enjoy it.

Honey Ginger Garlic Stir-Fry Sauce

What really makes this recipe is this bomb stir-fry sauce I concocted to use as a quick flavouring base. It’s made with ingredients that were in my fridge and inspired by various flavours I enjoy in Asian cuisine. I wanted it to be balanced with sweet, salty, sour, hot and fragrant flavours. Based on the latter, I used soy sauces (dark & light), oyster sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, chili flakes, vinegar, lemon, honey, fresh basil, green onions, and sesame oil.

The specific measurements are listed in the recipe below. After mixing and adjusting the taste to liking, cover & let it sit in the fridge for 30 mins at least, so that all the flavours can infuse. The longer you leave it the more flavourful it becomes. Store it in the fridge for up to 10 days (or longer ’cause honey is a natural preservative).

Food Prep

Now that the stir-fry sauce is prepared, the next step to a bomb stir-fry is your selection of produce. Inspired by vegetables found in Chinese takeout, I opted for broccoli, carrots, peppers, mushrooms and onions. The choices are endless to be honest and depend on your personal preference.
Just keep in mind that some veggies take longer to cook (e.g. carrots) so prep them in a way to facilitate the cooking process. I had some wild shrimp left and decided to butterfly them. You can omit the shrimp and do it vegan or even substitute shrimp for tofu.

Now that everything is prepped, the next step is stir-frying, which will take less than 10  minutes!  If you have a wok then perfect but a large frying pan will also work. Try using an oil such as peanut, sunflower, or grapeseed oil, with a high burning point because the heat will be high. I served it over Jasmine rice and sprinkled sesame seeds on top. You could also serve it with noodles or stir-fry the noodles as well. It’s a quick, simple, and delicious recipe that can easily be modified and made with ingredients you like that’ll satisfy a Chinese takeout craving.


Serves 2

Broccoli Shrimp Stir-Fry

Quick, simple and delicious recipe to satisfy any Shrimp Broccoli Chinese takeout craving, especially on busy weeknights.

15 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

Recipe Image
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  • 10-12 Large Wild Shrimp, cleaned & deveined
  • 2 Cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms, chopped or sliced
  • 1 Carrot, sliced thickly
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced
  • 3/4 Cup Bell pepper, sliced
  • 5 Tbsp Ginger Honey Garlic Stir-Fry Sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp chili oil from shrimp chili paste (optional)
  • Ginger Honey Garlic Stir-Fry Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp kikkoman soy sauce or light soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Tamari or dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 1 inch thick ginger root- grated
  • 2 large garlic cloves- minced
  • 1 green onion finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar/white wine vinegar/ lemon
  • 2-3 Tbsps Honey (check at 2 TBsp to make sure it's up to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)


  1. The stir-fry sauce should be made ahead of time by mixing all ingredients in a jar, taste it and adjust seasoning to liking.
  2. Place wok on medium-high heat, add 2 Tbsp of oil.
  3. Add sliced onions & bell pepper. Cook & stir for 2 mins
  4. Add broccoli & carrots, cook and stir for 2 mins.
  5. Add shrimp & mushrooms, stir well then add stir-fry sauce and water. Stir & cook for 5 mins.
  6. If using chili oil from shrimp-chili paste, add it at this point and stir it into sauce.
  7. Turn off the stove and cover your pan/wok to trap in heat and moisture.
  8. Serve on top of Jasmine rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Cuisine: Asian |
408 cal
14 g
71 g
5 g

Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info



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