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My Absolute Favorite Natural Ingredients

As many of my readers and shoppers know, I'm a huge advocate of natural ingredients.

Not only are they typically received better by the skin, but many are very effective at delivering beautiful results.

Front anti-aging, to anti-acne, to soothing solutions, and more!

Today, I want to share my absolute favorite natural ingredients with you!

Natural Ingredients

Aloe Vera - this ingredient is known for its soothing properties and has been used as a skincare remedy since ancient times. It' s amazing at treating sunburns, and delivers a light moisture to the skin and anti-inflammatory benefits to help fight acne and skin irritation. The antioxidants found in aloe help to fight against aging, and so much more! I love aloe in its purest form, and I love when it's incorporated into everyday skincare products. My favorites include: Epicuren's Aloe Vera Calming Gel and Vivant's Totaloe Calming and Hydrating Gel.

Honey - like aloe, honey has been used in ancient medicine for centuries. It's best known for its healing and moisturizing properties, and is wonderful for protecting the skin from oxidative stress! Honey is packed with antioxidants, which makes it great for your body both inside and out. I am a huge fan of 100% Pure's Organic Rose & Honey Facial Cleansing Bar.

Plant Stem Cells - plant stem cells are absolutely amazing because they act very similarly to human cells. They help to facilitate skin growth and repair, meaning fuller, healthier, stronger skin. Plant stem cells typically help to speed up cellular turnover, which is essential in the fight against aging. Plan stem cells will vary from product-to-product, both in composition and potency. Be sure to speak with a medical esthetician when trying to find one that's right for you! I absolutely love Lucrece's Vitamin C Cream with Stem Cells, HydroPeptide Hydrostem 6, and iLike Organic Skin Care Grape Stem Cell Solutions Polishing Scrub.

Willow Bark - this ingredient is amazing at combatting acne, largely because it has naturally occurring salicylic acid. Salicylic acid assists in the removal of dead skin cells, bringing your fresher, more radiant skin to light! Basically, it's clearing and exfoliating, which will leave your skin smoother, clearer, and happier. Willow bark also has some anti-inflammatory properties that can assist with swelling or skin sensitivity, making it a great choice for rosacea sufferers or irritated skin. Lastly, this ingredient has been known for its lightening properties (largely because it is exfoliating), but it does so without using harsh chemicals! I absolutely adore Eminence Organics' Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster Serum!

Seaweed Extract - rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, and antioxidants, seaweed extract is wonderful for the skin. It's important to note that different brands use different seaweeds and extraction methods, but a high-quality product should delivery you detoxifying, oxygenating, re-balancing, hydrating, and anti-aging results. One of my absolute favorite seaweed-infused products is Repechage's Hydra Dew Nourishing Gel Cream.

Pumpkin - It's no secret that I absolutely love pumpkin-infused products. Fall is my favorite season, so getting to tout this fall scent year-round keeps me feeling lively and bright. But beyond that, this skincare ingredient is deeply beneficial for your skin. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and enzymes, all of which help to soothe, soften, exfoliate, and protect the skin from free radical damage. My essential pumpkin product is Rhonda Allison's Pumpkin Cleanser. I'm constantly using this product, both in my own home and on my travels!

Raspberry - I fell in love with raspberries in skin care when I tried Rhonda Allison's Raspberry Lotion. Raspberries pack a huge antioxidant punch and are rich in ellagic and salicylic acids. Combine these three fabulous components and you have a simple ingredient that helps to reverse tissue damage, keep excess oil at bay, and deliver anti-aging benefits.

"From the inside out, foods add pleasure to our day and health to our life. Although I do not believe in ruling out certain foods while only eating others, there are a certain few that you should make sure to include regularly for optimum health and disease prevention."

Holly Clegg gives us her expert insight on some delicious recipes! She's sold over 1 million cookbooks and counting!


In my cookbook, Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle at Any Age, I include berries to boost the nutrition from salad to desserts!

Berries are one of those deliciously healthy foods that help to reduce the risk of cancer and disease, while also minimizing the effect of aging.

Whether you choose strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, or blackberries, these little jewels are packed with fiber and antioxidants that help slow the aging process from the inside out.

From memory protection, reduced risk of cancers, and decreased infections, make sure you eat berries daily to benefit from all they have to offer.

My Healthy Cooking Blog gives you healthier options for easy, everyday recipes!


Strawberry and Kiwi Mixed Green Salad from Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle At Any Age

Enliven a salad with strawberry and kiwi to add vivid colors and taste — toss with a light flavorful vinaigrette and your salad makes a statement!

Makes 6 - 8 servings

8 cups mixed greens (Bibb, red leaf, spinach)

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

2 kiwis, peeled and sliced

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 green onion, chopped

1/3 cup raspberry vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup canola oil

Spiced walnuts, optional

1. In large bowl, mix together greens, strawberries, and kiwi.

2. In small bowl, whisk together sesame seeds, green onion, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and oil. Refrigerate vinaigrette until ready to use.

3. When ready to toss salad, add dressing gradually, serve immediately.

Nutritional information per serving

Calories: 106

Calories from fat: 65%

Fat: 8g

Saturated Fat: 1g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 42mg

Carbohydrates: 8g

Dietary Fiber: 3g

Sugars: 4g

Protein: 2g

Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 1 1/2 fat


Berry Good Oatmeal Cookie Cake from Too Hot in the Kitchen: Secrets to Sizzle At Any Age

A luscious cookie cake that's picture perfect and perfect-tasting.

Makes 12-16 servings

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup apricot preserves, divided

2 cups raspberries

2 cups sliced strawberries

1 cup blueberries

1 tablespoon orange juice

1. Preheat oven 350°F. Coat 12-14-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and oatmeal. Add melted butter, vanilla, and egg, mixing well.

3. Press onto prepared pan, keeping dough 1-inch from edge of pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are set. Don’t overbake. Cool.

4. In mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, confectioners sugar, almond extract, and 1/4 cup apricot preserves until creamy. Spread on cooled crust and arrange fruit in design on pizza.

5. In microwave-safe dish, heat remaining 1/4 cup apricot preserves and orange juice, just until melted. Spoon glaze over fruit. Refrigerate until serving.

Nutritional information per serving

Calories: 220

Calories from fat: 36%

Fat: 9g

Saturated Fat: 5g

Cholesterol: 36mg

Sodium: 172mg

Carbohydrates: 32g

Dietary Fiber: 2g

Sugars: 17g

Protein: 4g

Dietary Exchanges: 2 other carbohydrates, 2 fat

What are some of your favorite recipes that include berries? Share them with us in the comments sections! Also be sure to check out all the recipes Holly has to offer on her blog!


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