5 Essential Foods to Keep in Your Kitchen That Are Not Just For Eating

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"Let Food Be Thy Medicine" - Hippocrates

As wellness gurus, we have all heard this saying. I truly stand by this way of thinking and practice it in my day to day life. Besides food being thy medicine in sickness, it is also thy medicine in skincare and bringing out your inner glow. :)

Here are 5 items I always have in my kitchen that will keep you healthy and healed from the inside and out:

1. Raw Honey

I use raw honey almost daily, whether it is in my morning oats or a dollop in my tea or smoothies. Raw honey means it is unpasteurized and unfiltered. If you want to reap the health benefits of REAL honey, it needs to be raw. Otherwise, the golden, clear honey you get in a squeeze bottle is really just a processed sweetener. I could write an entirely separate post on raw honey (and I will), but to keep it brief, raw honey is anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and is rich in phytonutrients, which is AMAZING FOR YOU.

For your skin:After you take a warm shower and your pores are open, take a spoonful of raw honey and massage it all over your face (avoiding the eyes). I usually have my hair wrapped in my towel and I sit on the couch with my head titled back. The honey might get warm and start slowly migrating down your face, so don't walk all over the house with it. Just sit back and meditate for about 10 minutes. Then, rinse off the honey with warm water.

*BENEFITS:Helps reduce swelling from acne / Prevents acne / Soothes itchy dry skin acting as a natural moisturizer / Regulates Skin pH that promotes tissue healing and regeneration

2. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is high in protein and helps aid digestion. I eat a cup of greek yogurt a couple times a week, since I am not a huge meat eater. It is packed with probiotics, which I believe is absolutely essential to keeping a healthy digestive track.

For your skin:You can combine greek yogurt with raw honey for an ultra soothing face mask. Greek yogurt carries many of the same skincare benefits as raw honey. However, if your skin is feeling very red and irritated, I would recommend greek yogurt, since the refrigeration will calm your skin.

For your hair: It is a great deep-conditioner! Massage the yogurt into your hair and put a shower cap on for 30 minutes. Then, rinse and wash your hair as you normally would.

3. Avocado

I am obsessed with avocado toast and guacamole, so this is obviously a staple in my diet. It is loaded with fiber, potassium and all of the good fats!

For your skin:Pop half an avocado into a smoothie, and it will help improve your skin from the inside out. As with any of the items on this list, you can apply it topically as well. It is an amazing moisturizer.

For your hair: This is perhaps my favorite use of an avocado. If you have dandruff, an avocado scalp scrub is just what you need. Read my recent post about the Avocado/Banana Hair Mask.

4. Rolled Oats

I make oatmeal with steel cut oats, but I used rolled oats to sprinkle in my smoothies or my greek yogurt. Oats are an excellent source of fiber and protein, and they are quick. I don't have a lot of time in the mornings, so adding it to a breakfast smoothie with peanut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, and my favorite fruits is what I do best.

For your skin: I get one or two itchy little hives on my cheeks, chin or neck occasionally after I eat certain foods. I cannot pin point the food allergy, but I do have very sensitive skin. This is just something I have learned to deal with for half of my life. If I am at home and start feeling itchy, I mix rolled oats and greek yogurt and put dollops on my itchy areas. It soothes away the irritation, and keeps any swelling down. For a natural exfoliator, grind up almonds, oats, hempseeds and mix with a splash of water to create a paste.

5. Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Of course you knew I would have coconut oil on the list. :) This is the one thing in life I cannot live without. I use it for cooking / baking / full body moisturizer / dental hygiene  or "oil pulling" / skincare / haircare.

IN A NUTSHELL: Coconut oil is the best thing to have ever happened to me in terms of wellness. It cured my cystic cheek acne, evened out my skin tone, increased thickness of my eye brows and eye lashes (my eyebrows were thinning at the ends, and it has since grown back), and it can do the same for you. You just have to be patient. If you use it on your skin, it might make you break out for the first month, because your skin is detoxing. If you can make it through that cycle, you will see the long-term benefits.

If anyone has specific questions or would like more detailed answers, feel free to email me zenjules@gmail.com.

Have a nice week ahead!

Jules