Friday, January 30, 2015

DIY Body Scrubs

I like to use a mix of fine and coarse ground sea salt in my body scrubs. Finer salt is more gentle so better for people with sensitive skin. Coarser salt is able to exfoliate more and help your skin get clean.You can find these at any grocery store,should only cost a few dollars. Then I add oil. Different oils have different benefits and treat different skin issues. For example, grape seed oil strengthens and tightens skin while moisturizing to fight aging. Grape seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties that make it good for people with sensitive skin. Coconut oil has a nice smell and contains vitamin E to help repair damaged skin. In my own experience, coconut oil really makes my skin smooth. I got my oils at the Queens Health Emporium my local health food store. I'm sure they could also be ordered online.

The essential oils and extracts are mainly used for scent since salt and oils don’t have much of a smell. Fresh fruit juices or shavings of peel can also be used. Citrus fruits are great because the smell really comes through, especially if it’s fresh. I have used fresh lime and grapefruit in the past and I highly suggest it, I loved the smell. I found these other essential oils at the health food store and on amazon. (just regular lime juice from the grocery store)

One example of a scrub I made contained sea salt, apricot oil, coconut oil, orange extract, and lime juice. 

The ratio and ingredients are up to you depending how you want the finished product to be. I like mine the constancy of wet send. I usually start out by filling a container halfway with salt. I add oils until it is saturated, mix it and then add more salt and fragrances. It’s so easy and inexpensive compared to similar products on the market now. One 200 mL jar sized batch usually lasts me 2-3 weeks. My skin feels great and I feel good about what I'm using to clean my body. Many commercial body care products contain a long ingredient list of chemicals. I prefer something with a few simple ingredients that I know and understand. There are some of natural products on the market now, but I find many of them are cost prohibitive. The oils and extracts will last a while. I haven't run out of any of mine and I've made seven or eight batches. I've had to buy more salt but it's pretty inexpensive.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chicken Salad

I love flexible recipes, dishes whose components can be altered to any taste or preference. Chicken salad is such a simple and quick meal that everyone can enjoy. 

When I buy chicken I look for organic, I look for animals that have not been treated with hormones and antibiotics. I want animals on their natural diet that lived outside. Where I live in Queens there are alot of Kosher meat options which I trust to be a better quality meat from a more humanely treated, healthy animal. On a receant trip to Target we picked up this:

I personally enjoy my chicken fried in a little soy sauce, but you could cook it how ever you like, maybe some lemon and garlic. I like dark salad greens, no ice burg lettuce but again this could be mixed up. All you have to do is cook the chicken. You could add whatever you want to the salad, maybe cheese or carrot slices. Delicious. Fast. Easy. Crowd Pleaser.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Growing up I never liked eggs. I think I was mostly given scrambled eggs or omelets. I've just never liked the texture so I avoided eating eggs. Last semester at Queens College, I took my first cooking class. We cooked eggs in a variety of ways including hard boiled, soft boiled and poached. I had never tried poached eggs before but I love them now. I had to practice making them at home. Our final exam for the class was cooking our own eggs Benedict. I have been ordering poached eggs when I eat out and cooking it at home as well. I like them with toast and a side of hash browns.

I believe in using my choices as a consumer to support farming and agriculture practices that I support. I buy organic, free-range/cage-free, humane verified, and non gmo whenever possible. So the eggs I buy from the local grocery store usually look something like this:

The recipe for poached eggs that I was given in class and have been following at home is as follows:
The Perfect Poach
-2 large eggs
-1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Break the eggs into individual cups. Fill a pot halfway with water. Add vinegar, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Swirl water in the pan creating a whirlpool or vortex. Pour the eggs into the vortex, remove pot from heat and cover with a lid. Allow the eggs to sit for 3-4 minutes. White should be set or firm, yolk should be giggly and runny.

This morning I made breakfast: Poached eggs with whole grain toast, a hash brown and banana slices

As I continue to cook and learn about food I have found I also like my eggs over-easy. It took me a week or so to get the flipping right but over-easy eggs are quick and may be easier than poached.

Get a frying pan hot with butter. When the butter stops bubbling add one egg. I tilt the pan to keep the egg in on spot on the edge. The hard part is flipping which I got down with a bit of practice. some pepper and toast go great with over easy eggs.

Saturday, January 10, 2015


Definition: Different people decide to go vegan for all kinds of reasons from health concerns to ethical beliefs. Veganism for most people is more than just a diet. Vegans are people who do not consume or use any animal products. No meat, eggs, dairy, leather, fur, honey or bone products. Veganism is a perfectly healthy diet. It may seem like a big adjustment at first but can be easily maintained with the proper knowledge. 

To me, being a Vegan isn't about saving the animals, although that's great. I personally would like to well informed. I want to make conscious decisions about my lifestyle. I personally do not believe there's anything wrong with killing an animal for food, however the way we have mass produced animals is an issue to me. It's unhealthy for humans, it's bad for the environment, it's bad for animals, and it enables an economic system where the poor stay poor and the rich get richer. As a person who has all these options and information available to me, I want to use it for the best. I don't want to spend money on practices that I don't support. It has been a tool to help me live a healthier lifestyle. Create a better world starting with your diet.

Vegans get asked about protein all the time. It's ignorant. If you've taken biology or chemistry you should know that all living things have protein. Vegetables are living things. The protein from vegetables is actually better for you because it dosent come with the fats and cholesterols that accompany animal protein. Beans, nuts, and whole grains are sources of protein that come with fiber, vitamins and minerals that are awesome for you. I found this explanation from the Vegetarian Resource Group helpful. We need around 0.36 grams of protein per pound we weigh per day. Biased on my weight (125-ish lbs) I need to get about 45 grams of protein a day which I have found fairly easy to do on a plant based diet.

If you know your science, you know that it's not actually protein that our bodies need; it's the specific amino acids that our bodies need in order to make protein that we get from plant or animal proteins. Some foods can be high in protien, but not have all the amino acids we need. For example, grains are lower in lysine (an essential amino acid) and legumes are lower in methionine (another essential amino acid) than those protein sources designated as high quality protein. Meat eaters and vegetarians alike need to get protein from a variety of different food sources to ensure all essential amino acids are being consumed.

Nutrients: Where do vegans get their nutrients?
B Vitamins: in nuts, fortified cerials and milk alternatives 
Vitamin D: Sunlight exposure is one source of vitamin D. Some brands of alternative milks, orange juice and cerials are fortified with vitamin D.
Calcium: Good sources include almondmilk, orange juice and many brands of tofu. Nuts and dark green leafy vegetables including collard greens, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens also provide calcium. 
Iron: Look for iron in whole or enriched grains and grain products, iron-fortified cereals, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, some nuts and dried fruits.

What it looks like:Veganism does not mean eating salad all day. Veganism is about getting a variety of different foods. More fresh produce. I personally ate alot more rice, beans, pasta, oatmeal and multi-grain breads. Cheese was the hardest thing for me to give up. Eating out can be hard depending on the location. I useually carried snacks, tried to check menus online ahead of time and often found myself creating my own meal out of sides at certian resturaunts.

Famous Vegans: Actors, politicians, musicians, and athletes that are vegan include: Alan Cumming, Anne Hathaway, Brad Pit, Jenifer Lopez, Olivia Wilde, Ellen DeGeneres, Ellen Page, Emily Deschanel, Woody Harrelson, Jake Sheilds, Bill Clinton, Mac Danzig, Alicia Silverstone, Russell Brand, Timothy Bradley, Milo Ventimiglia, Sara Silverman, Arian Foster, Steve-O, Peter Dinklage and many more

Vegan Resources:
Diet For a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe
Michael Pollan: Cooked, Food Rules, The Omnivores Dilemma
Mark Bittman: VB6
Fed Up
Forks Over Knives
A Place at the Table
Food Matters
Food Inc
online: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Food Matters
Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
Party Like a Vegan
Vegetarian Times

Friday, January 9, 2015

DIY Homemade Granola Bars

Audrey’s DIY Homemade Granola Bars

8x8 pan
1½ cup Oats
½ cup Brown Rice Syrup
½ cup Crunchy (nuts, graham crackers etc.)
½ cup Sweet (chocolate, marshmallows, dried fruit etc.)
½ cup Other (pumpkin seeds, sesame sticks, cereal flakes, etc.)
Optional tablespoon of peanut butter, coconut oil, etc
Optional teaspoon vanilla extract, cinnamon, cocoa powder etc
Makes 8 bars
Bars stay fresh for two weeks
1. Preheat oven to 325F
2. Mix ingredients in a bowl (rice syrup may need to be heated for 30 seconds to make it pourable)
3. Use parchment paper or lightly grease pan before pouring in the granola mix. Distribute evenly
4. Bake for 20-30 minutes
5. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting
For Christmas 2014 I have made a few batches and will be giving my loved ones granola bars with this recipie. Some of the flavors I made include: Cranberry-Walnut-Pumpkin Seed, Dark Chocolate-Walnut-Cranberry, Peanutbutter-Chocolate chip, Smores(chocolatechips, marshmellows and graham crackers), and Dark-Chocolate-Coconut-Cashew. This recipie is great because there are so many options and different things you can do. I also would suggest useing parchment paper to line the pan, makes it easier to remove the granola bars, but make sure you grease the paper so the granola dosent stick to it. I wrapped the bars in waxed paper, labeled them by flavor and put them in cookie tins with the following note:
Granola Bars might not seem like ahealthy, snack but when you make them at home they can be! This semester I completed my first cooking class, Food Science 101. I learned a lot, the greatest lesson being the confidence to cook and try new recipes. Through my studies of organic chemistry and human physiology, I have gained a better understanding of foods impact on the body which I can now apply to my cooking. I am really interested in antioxidants and urge everyone to get more in antioxidants in your diet.
Brown Rice Syrup is a complex carbohydrate like honey or maple syrup which can all be used to replace simple carbohydrates like sucrose (table sugar) or fructose (in fruits and high fructose corn syrup) in the diet.Complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index meaning they take longer to enter the blood stream. Simple carbs provide a ‘sugar rush’ while complex carbs provide a longer-term energy source for the body due to the time required to metabolize them.
Oats are another complex carbohydrate that contain high levels of protein and magnesium. About 60% of Americans are believed to be magnesium deficient which can lead to diabetes, hypertension and other issues. Magnesium is a mineral that makes up some important enzymes inour bodies. It’s involved in bone formation as well as muscle and nerve function. The recommended daily intake for Magnesium is 420mg
Cranberries contain the polyphenol Ellagic Acid.This antioxidant is also found in pomegranates, blueberries and goji berries.Antioxidants are free radical scavengers. They dissolve into the bloodstream quickly, hunt down loose electrons and neutralize them. In every cell in your body, you have mitochondria. These mitochondria take in oxygen and food particles andproduce energy (ATP) and a by-product of free electrons. As you age,the number of free electrons or radicals in your body increases. High numbers of free radicals are known to be linked to cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Antioxidants are believed to help prevent these illnesses.
Did you know that Pumpkin Seeds are more protein dense than ground beef? They are a great plant basedsource of protein! They are also high in fiber, iron, antioxidants and magnesium. The proteins in pumpkin seeds contain two great amino acids: Tryptophan which makes serotonin in the brain, needed for mood and sleep regulation and Glutamate which makes the neurochemical GABA which has calming, anti-stresseffects
Walnuts have nearly double the number of antioxidants as other nuts like pecans or hazelnuts. They are also considered a superfood for their highlevels ofthe omega-3-fatty acid alpha-linolenicacid which is essential for brain health. Walnuts also contain proteinmagnesium and B vitamins making them a good food for vegan/vegetarian diets.
Dark Chocolate: contains many antioxidants that milk chocolate doesn’t. Dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and is high in iron and magnesium.
Cashews: are another good source of magnesium and antioxidants. They also contain potassiumironprotein and unsaturated fats which are good for you!
Coconuts: contain antioxidants as well. Another good source for iron and magnesium. Coconut oil is awesome because it has so many uses. It can be used in place of other oils in cooking and it’s also greatfor the skin, used in many lotions and washes.

DIY Acne Spot Treatment/Toner

Audreys DIY Acne Spot Treatment/Toner

These simple ingredients are all you need for a spot treatment that cleans dirt and destroys bacteria while softening and moisturizing the skin. I have been using the LUSH version for the last five months and loving it. I made my own version that I have been using for about four weeks now. It’s a little more liquidy than the version LUSH sells but it still seems to work. In the future I might try incorporating some other ingredients like thyme or grapeoils but I think this basic mix is pretty effective. I use it after I wash my face and whenever I get a bad breakout I cover it in this stuff. You just apply it to skin and let it dry. I like it because it helps with acne as well as making my skin smooth and soft, neverdried out. To make just mix these ingredients useing only a few drops of the oils:
Witch Hazel Hamamelis-comes from small bushes native to North America, used by Native Americans as medicine, astringent (closes pores) & antioxidant, great for your skin, anti-aging effects, treats acne, blisters,and eczema. Can be used on bug bites
AloeVera gel-has been used for thousands of years in herbal medicine, strengthens and hydrates skin
Tea Tree Oil Melaleucaalternifolia-comes from the leaves of a tree native to southern Australia, antiseptic, helps with acne without drying out skin, also used as dandruff cure
Grapefruit Essential Oil Citrus paradisi- I have added this for the smell because the tea tree is a strong odor. Grapefruit contains antioxidants like d-limonene that nourish the skin

Introduction (About Me)

Audrey Grace Lahman born August 2, 1993 in Rochester New York. I am currently a dietetics major at CUNY Queens College working towards becoming a Registered Dietician. (Projected Graduation Spring 2016) I am a student member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I hope to be able to help provide information to people so they can make smart choices and heal themselves. In 2010 I watched the movie Food Inc in my high school economics class and my life was forever changed. Before this movie, I had never put much thought into where my food came from. I pictured farms with lots of space and happy animals. The reality shocked me. I couldn't believe we (Americans) had let our food system become so clearly messed up. I started on a food journey. The day I watched Food Inc I started eating vegan. Avoiding animal products is a healthy and easy way to avoid alot of the issues with our current agri-bussiness system for food. I was fully vegan for around two years. I consider myself loosly vegan because I still have a majority vegan diet, maybe 75% of my diet is vegan. The more I have learned about nutrition the more I have come to appreciate the many positives of a plant based diet as opposed to an animal based one. I am on an everchanging journey of diet and discovery. I plan to use this blog to share recipies I like and my nutrition discoveries. I hope anyone who reads it, even if they don't agree with my opinions, will be pushed to think more about the food they eat and where it comes from. I honestly believe that Americans should be outraged by our current food system. I plan to explain why in some future posts. If you're not mad, you're not paying attention!

Education Not Medication