Christmas is coming – there’s only one thing we’re more excited about than the presents… The scrumptious, mouth-watering food! We’ve rounded up 5 delicious recipes for you to cook up a storm before the Christmas dinner party – your guests will be left wanting more, we promise.


A Brightening Christmas Tree Salad

Lend your dining table a burst of colour with this Christmas tree salad!

With pomegranates, pecans, oranges and fresh chard, it’s an explosion of textures and flavours in your mouth. This vibrant salad also ensures you get added boosts of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, Vitamin C, fiber and good fats.

Healthy has never tasted this good!

 

A Heartwarming Parsnip and Apple Soup

Credits: Lauren Caris

Christmas is never Christmas without some decent, heartwarming soup.

Who cares about the humidity in Singapore? Nobody’s going to complain about the heat with a soup this pretty and that leaves you with a warm feeling in your tummy.

The sweetness of apple and parsnip are tempered with the savoury blend of onion, garlic, vegetable stock and a dusting of curry powder, resulting well-balanced flavours overall. Cook Lauren Caris spiced things up and opted to top the soup off with black lentils and vegetable crisps, but you can still do the traditional croutons if you so wish!

The best thing for you busy people? You can make this soup in advance and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days before the dinner.

 

ROAST. BEEF.

We truly intended to start healthy, but did you REALLY think we’d just go completely clean on you?

It’s Christmas – bring on the juicy roast meat and happiness!

This recipe by Olivia throws together a bunch of simple, easy-to-reach ingredients like mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and ground pepper, but turns out a dish that smells mouth-watering while it’s still cooking, and that looks like hours were put into it (well, it does take about 2 hours… but two-thirds of those are spent in the oven)!

Nothing really beats roast beef except roast beef with sautéed mushrooms. Any leftovers would make a mean breakfast the day after too, but don’t make him a sandwich.

Alternative: Consider this brilliant turkey recipe if you really prefer leaner meat for Christmas!

 

Snow Coconut Balls

Remember how we were gushing about how coconuts are wonder fruits that can help with skincare, haircare, and even promoting hormonal balance?

We’re bringing them back with this recipe by Tamara Novakovic – yummy coconut balls that are probably the closest thing that anyone in Singapore can get to snow this Christmas.

Alternative: Try a healthier take on the classic chocolate cake with this recipe if you’re still looking to stay healthy!

 

The Classic Eggnog

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without eggnog.

This recipe delivers Christmas in a cup: warm, wholesome sweetness for the perfect close to a laughter-filled night with loved ones. Replace the milk with coconut milk or almond milk for an even healthier take on the eggnog, and do without the heavy cream. Skip on the alcohol for a kid-friendly version, and help yourself to a cup – but just one.

Alternative: For the lactose-intolerant, opt for this equally yummy, dairy-free version, or try this twist on the classic eggnog for those who really love their pudding and desserts.

 

Credits: Toa Hefitba (@heftiba)

 

We’ve all heard the stories and studies about the connection between what you eat and how clear your skin is.

Well, it’s true.

Much of our health can be indicated by our current skin condition. The skin, as the largest organ of our bodies, serves as a barrier that protects our insides and regulates our internal temperature. As such, an unhealthy looking skin can probably be a clear indication that you may be unhealthy internally!

We at Porcelain believe that, as one of our three philosophies, that “good skin is clear and radiant from within.” In addition to getting facial treatments regularly and adhering to a great skincare routine, the capstone to achieving beautiful, healthy-looking skin from the inside out would be to get a healthy diet.

We know, we know –  it’s hard to resist the temptation of all the awesome Christmas goodies but if you want good skin, there are certain foods you probably should steer clear of

Here are 4 foods you should avoid to ensure you #GetYourGlowOn throughout this Christmas season:

 

“Sugar, We’re You’re Goin’ Down”

Credits: Brooke Lark (@cheekykitchen)

Acne is mainly caused by our insulin levels, and too much of insulin stimulates our sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, which clogs our pores to turn your skin into a breeding ground for P. acnes bacteria, which feed on your sebum and spew out inflammatory by-products (yikes).

Foods high in sugar and saturated fats – like white bread, candy fried foods, ice cream, sodas and anything else with a main ingredient of sugar – triggers inflammation and binds to collagen, degrading skin cells. The spikes in your body’s insulin levels that sugar causes further exacerbate inflammation and steep insulin spikes increase the production of skin oils and contribute to the clogging of follicles, which can worsen skin complexion.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to quit sugar cold turkey. It all comes down to how much sugar you’re eating in a day—particularly at any one time. If you consume a soda and a candy bar, for example, you’re likely spiking your blood sugar levels, and you could break out hours later.

If you suspect sugar could be the cause for your bad skin, try to cut down on the sugary drinks to notice a difference.

 

High Glycemic Foods, or “Bad Carbs”

Credits: Olia Gozha (@oliagozha)

The glycemic index is a way to tell the “good carbs” from the “bad carbs. High glycemic foods can also be understood as foods that are high up on the glycemic index, and that means “bad carbs”. These are foods that break down quickly in the body, triggering an insulin spike and raising blood sugar levels. They also cause your hormones to fluctuate and overall inflammation—both of which encourage acne. Foods like white bread, processed breakfast cereals, white rice, potato chips, cookies and cakes, etc are foods you should cut down on and instead, choose low glycemic-index foods, like vegetables, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and most fruits.

 

Fast Food

Credits: Niklas Rhöse

Despite its great taste, fast food is unhealthy — period. Studies have already shown that fatty greasy fast food not only expands our waistlines, but slow our thinking and even increase inflammation in the body, potentially worsening acne and even asthma symptoms.

Try to reduce the number of visits to a fast food joint, or opt for a salad instead if you do visit one.

 

Milk and Dairy Products

Credits: Frank Luca

Before you leave out a plate of cookies and milk for Santa, include a note to tell him that milk causes acne. No, seriously.

So far we know that there is a correlation between acne and a high glycemic load diet and foods that spike blood sugar can also increase inflammation in the body, causing acne breakouts.

But why milk?

Milk contains an abundance of a hormone called IGF-1, a growth hormone which is really good for calves, but not for humans. IGF-1 in milk is also one of several factors that cause inflammation in humans. The insulin spike you experience when you consume milk and dairy products also causes your liver to produce more IGF-1, worsening your acne.

Peace,

 

 

 

 


Be water my friend.
— Bruce Lee


 

The importance of water to the body and keeping hydrated is usually underestimated, and it really shouldn’t be! The amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%, which means that water is a key component of the skin. As the largest organ, the skin contains approximately 64 percent water. Our skin has several different functions: to protect, regulate, feel and act as a barrier against external toxins, like pathogens and chemicals. The skin also regulates body temperature and helps us sense our surroundings. As the outermost barrier of our body, the skin regulates the body water content by controlling water loss from within the body to the outside via the skin’s topmost layer and also blocks water permeation from the outside.

If your skin feels dry, tight, itchy and flaky, then it probably lacks hydration! It may also look and feel rough and lack visible radiance. Dry skin will lose its soft, pliable characteristics and may crack, which could lead to the increased risk of infections. Dehydrated skin may also increase signs of aging, such as the appearance of visible wrinkles.

Here are four ways you can keep your skin (and body!) hydrated to ensure that your skin is hydrated with a natural radiance and dewy glow:

 

1. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water

Since our body and every organ are at least 75% water, it’s a given that we require a hydrated medium for our bodies to function properly, and that means choosing to consume foods that help hydrate you and also drinking water. Different people require different amounts of water to stay hydrated.

Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. One way to tell if you are not drinking enough water is to check your urine. If your urine is usually colorless or light yellow, congratulations – you are well hydrated. If your urine is a dark yellow or amber color, you may be dehydrated, so drink up!

If you’re looking for a beverage that has a bit more flavour than your regular H2O, try coconut. Aside from its myriad of uses and health benefits, coconut water (naturally occurring liquid from the inside of a coconut) stacks up against water as a better ‘hydrator’ as not only does it hydrate you, blood sugar levels are also restored faster as it contains natural sugar. It’s also lower in both calories and sodium, which makes it a great alternative for water.

 

2. Cut down (or stop completely) on foods that dehydrate you

Drinking enough water is the key to hydration. However, lack of water intake isn’t the only cause of dehydration. Some foods, when consumed excessively, can lead to dehydration as well.

Many of the foods we eat are processed and stripped out of its true nutrition, which makes the food highly acidic to the body and creates water retention to thin out the toxicity. As the body strives hard to flush out the waste, our body becomes dehydrated.

Beverages such as coffee (sorry coffee aficionados out there) and alcohol can also make dehydration worse as both are diuretic, which causes you to urinate more frequently than usual. This is why you usually feel dehydrated and experience headaches after a night of alcohol, as the alcohol depletes your cells of water, which in turns causes these symptoms.

 

3. Eat your greens and fruits

Foods with a lack of nutrition and high acidity due to processing cause an imbalance in your pH level. To maintain a good pH balance in your body, start including in your diet fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes, as these alkaline forming foods not only provide your body with optimal nutrition but also ensures that your system is oxygenated and hydrated.

Another way to maintain your pH balance is to supplement with digestive enzymes, as our pancreas is largely responsible for the production of these enzymes so if your pancreas isn’t working properly, the supplement ensures that your natural enzyme level is where it needs to be.

 

4. Get a good night’s sleep

We’ve said it before in previous posts and we’ll say it again: sleep is important!

Published research articles have suggested that people who sleep in are more creative, score higher on inductive reasoning tests, are less stressed and are more productive. Sadly, many people (especially 9-5ers) get by on less.

Science says that we need not less than eight hours of sleep to perform optimally daily. However, if you do your body a great service by getting enough sleep (7-8 hours minimum), you are actually allowing your body to regenerate on a cellular level, and as a result of that, your body becomes less-stressed and more alkaline.

Don’t skimp on the zzz’s and ensure that you get adequate, quality sleep by developing a good bedtime routine. That means not using your electronics 2-3 hours before bedtime and letting go of the thoughts that may run rampant in your mind at night.


Water is the driving force of all nature.
— Leonardo da Vinci


 

Peace,

 

 

 

Running yourself on a really hectic schedule shopping for Christmas? Struggling to finish everything on your plate by that dreaded deadline before the festive season? You might be putting yourself (and your skin) through some serious stress right now, and you might have noticed duller skin on top of increased tension and fatigue.

Here are 10 tips on how to #GetYourGlowOn in time for Christmas and the New Year (and they pretty much revolve around hydration and oxygen)!

 


 

1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Credit: Ethan Sykes (@e_sykes)

You probably already know that hydration is the key to better skin. Drinking water is one of the easiest ways to flush your skin back into plumpness, which helps to “fill in” wrinkles and pores for a smoother-looking complexion. Water can also help fight off breakouts as sebum levels on the skin are reduced when it’s sufficiently hydrated. It’s one of our guiding philosophies to have a good balance of water and oil on the skin in order to prevent acne breakouts and blemishes. Then again, drowning yourself in water at one go isn’t the solution. Moderation is key – hydrate yourself and give your skin a steady flow of water throughout the day, since your body can only take in so much water per hour.

If you aren’t the kind to drink your water, eat it! It’s even better to reach out for vegetables and fruits simply because they hydrate your body twice as effectively as a glass of water! Moreover, this water stays in your body longer, as opposed to the water that simply passes right through.

A final water tip? Water actually reaches all your other organs before reaching your skin, thus it’s important to give your skin water directly (and keep it there – another of our mantras!) as well by using suitable products. Apply a hydrating moisturiser as soon as you can after leaving the shower (especially if you’re the kind to take really hot showers, which actually dries out your skin – but more on that later). After showering, the skin is extra porous and thus can better absorb the water that you apply on it after.

2. Double Cleanse — Because Once Just Isn’t Enough

We’ve probably worn our clients down with Mantra #2: Always double cleanse.

The first cleansing step not only helps remove makeup, but also the more superficial layer of grime that accumulated throughout the day (so this applies to you too, guys). The second step essentially is a deeper cleanse for your pores before using a toner to clear any other remnants.

You might think it a hassle, but your skin will really thank you for it once you’ve worked this habit into your skincare regimen. After all, there really isn’t a point in slathering on the moisturisers if nothing is going in (worse, you might be further trapping dirt and increasing sebum production within): Double cleansing and toning only help to prep the skin to maximize absorption of nutrients from your serums and moisturisers afterwards.

3. Exfoliate!

Twice to thrice a week, use a gentle exfoliator to boost your skin’s job of clearing dead skin cells. Exfoliation also helps to boost microcirculation, so you experience brighter skin within minutes.

4. Moisturize your skin

jeremy-bishop-14593

Credit: Jeremy Bishop (@tidesinourveins)

Our tropical climate in Singapore largely calls for gel moisturisers rather than cream-based ones, but get your skin specialist to make suitable recommendations for your skin type. As we mentioned above, it’s not sufficient to drink or eat your water, especially if you’re gunning for a healthy, radiant glow this Christmas! Remember to moisturise every morning and night to speed up the process.

In the morning, spritz skin with a hydrating mist or spray for instant rejuvenation, followed by a lightweight water-based moisturiser and top with sunscreen. Nighttime calls for a little more intensive moisturisation, so consider using a deeply hydrating serum underneath the moisturiser for an added moisture boost for glowing skin.

5. Don’t Forget Your Lips, Neck and Décolletage

Remember to care for the rest of the area on and around your face as well as you care for your skin! It’s easy to neglect these areas, but your neck and décolletage develop wrinkles which tend to reveal more about your age than your face itself. Don’t forget to include all these areas in your skincare regimen, including cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturising. Your lips also deserve some TLC to complete the entire healthy outlook!

6. Let Your Skin Breathe

Aside from Tip #1 (hydrate, hydrate, hydrate), this is also another really fast way for your skin to reboot into its healthy, radiant state – don’t wear foundation! It’s something most women find a challenge, but by skipping this step, you’re also feeding your skin with more oxygen without it having to go through all the layers of makeup, foundation, and whatnot.

Moreover, foundation and heavy makeup can cause congested skin – a shortcut to acne and dehydration thereafter. Unless you’re really conscientious about removing your makeup at the end of every day, we suggest skipping this step for awhile if you want glowing skin pronto for Christmas and the New Year.

Oxygenated blood is red, and deoxygenated blood is blue, right? Keep those cheeks flushed with oxygen, and you’ll naturally experience brighter skin.

We probably also shaved ten minutes off your morning routine before work for you – you’re welcome.

7. Never Leave Home Without SPF

Credit: Glen Jackson (@glenjjackson)

No matter the time of the day or night, never leave home without sunscreen.

Of all the benefits you get from this tip, this is probably the most convincing in your quest for Christmas-ready skin: It helps to prevent sunburns, skin discolorations, which means more even skin tone, which means a reduced need for foundation or concealer… refer back to Tip #6.

8. Book Some Facials

noah-buscher-385639

Credit: Noah Buscher (@noahbuscher)

While you still have some time, clock in some hours at your facial spa to help boost results from your home skincare regimen. Your therapist has techniques and access to equipment that can revitalize your skin with greater efficacy.

What can professional facial spa services do? Good facial massages help stimulate microcirculation and lymphatic drainage to aid removal of pollutants in the skin. What you get afterwards is healthier and more radiant skin.

9. Shower Without the Heater On (If You Can)

seth-doyle-133177

Credit: Seth Doyle (@sethdoylee)

We all enjoy really hot, steamy showers sometimes – especially when the rain’s making for a cold, cold day. But the heat actually isn’t doing our skin many favors in terms of hydration. If you’re able to, jump into the shower without the heater on!

10. Clock the Zs

vladislav-muslakov-261627

Credit: Vladislav Muslakov (@entersge)

Your skin and body naturally heals itself during sleep.

Sleep helps your body reverse everyday free radical damage via cellular renewal, which means you wake to better, brighter complexion (if you’ve rested enough and well). We won’t go too much into the science of it all but know that a good night’s rest can also stimulate the repair and regeneration of collagen-producing cells – so you’ll experience firmer skin.

If you suffer from restless nights and struggle to get some shut-eye, try using a sleep remedy, such as a silk sleeping eye mask to help you reach that stage of deep slumber.

And there you have it, our ten tips to #GetYourGlowOn for the festive season! You have just slightly more than a month to go – start treating that skin well!


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acai-cake

Christmas is less than a week away, and we are all undeniably excited! After all, Christmas is universally known as the happiest time of the year; and while many associate this period with the indulgence of the most sinful of foods, who’s to say that Christmas cannot become one of the healthiest times of the year too?

Festive food, whilst known for being extremely rich and often unhealthy, doesn’t have to be for you. There are a million healthy recipes available online, with even options for those who prefer gluten-free or vegetarian meals.

In today’s post, as part of our #supportlocal series, we will be collaborating with Poppy &Co. to serve up something sweet and fuss-free (even for those who can’t cook!), so that you’ll enjoy making this as much as your loved ones will enjoy eating it.


The No Bake Açaí Cheesecake

acai-cake3

acai-cake4

Ingredients

Base 

1 cup almond nuts
10 medjool dates
Honey / agave nectar / water for texture

Cheesecake 

1 cup softened cashew
100ml coconut cream (vegan) or cream (if you do not like taste of coconut cream)
1/8 cup raw (or to taste, if you prefer it less sweet)
1 tsp vanilla

Açaí Topping

2 100g Açaí unsweetened packs
1 large ripe banana
3-5 medjool dates (according to desired sweetness)
1 tablespoon coconut cream or cream

(Optional) blend in other frozen sweet fruits that you like ie grapes, pineapple, mango

(Optional) Granola, berries as cake toppings

*Honey and agave nectar can be used as sugar alternatives

 

Instructions

Base
Blend all ingredients in food processor until crumbly and sticky; at the same time
Add small amount of choice of honey/agave nectar/water for desired stickiness
Press base into bottom of cake tin (featured here is a 20cm round cake tin)

Cheesecake

Soak cashew in water overnight or boil cashew to soften it
Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth and creamy
Pour into the cake tin

Açaí topping 

Blend all ingredients in blender
Pour into the cake tin

Freeze overnight. 

Remove from freezer 45min before serving.


About Poppy & Co.

Poppy & Co. was born with the idea of bringing gourmet food and ingredients from around the world to local markets and one of their signature ranges is their Organic Açaí Berry pulp, which is sourced exclusively from the Amazon forest and exported to Singapore.

For those religious about the purity of their Açaí Berry pulp, rest assured that you can purchase Poppy & Co.‘s açaí without preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers and most importantly, sugar or sweetener. They are all wild harvested organically and sustainably from start to finish. Those who desire a little more sweetness can opt for their own addition of sweeter fruit (i.e. banana, dates and grapes) honey or agave nectar when making raw cakes, smoothies and açaí bowl.

Pasteurized packs are conveniently sold at NTUC Finest, JEM and Sports Hub hypermarts.

This December, enjoy the promotion of getting 2 boxes of 400g Açaí Berry Pulp at $21.90 (Usual Price: $12.90 per box of 400g).