8 Vegan Substitutes for Common Pantry Cooking and Baking Items

2721121532_de6f471b07

One of the nasty pitfalls of becoming vegan or pursuing a more plant-based, healthy lifestyle is the allure of vegan or low-calorie products. These packaged goods mock the “real” thing with often not so forgiving preservatives, colorants, and other additives. That’s why one of the biggest challenges is finding simple, within-hands-reach ways to replace the most common ingredients with their vegan or healthy (and just-as-real) counterparts.

Continue reading

Facial Skin Care

True health (and beauty!) comes from within. Your skin is a reflection of what is going on inside. Breaking out is a product of hormone imbalances, a poor diet, stress or a combination of all these factors. If you aren’t eating right or dealing with stress properly, your skin may show it. And while some people eat fast food and drink sugary sodas on the reg and still have “perfect” facial skin, it just means the damage is affecting them internally and expressing itself in different ways. Don’t compare yourself!

If you aren’t happy with your skin and want to steer clear of antibiotics and dangerous chemicals that promise clear skin (but through sketchy means), try taking the truer approach that, albeit may take longer, will ensure lasting, natural results.

By eating a plant-based diet and becoming more “regular” through improved digestion, your cells will cleanse, revealing a more beautiful, glowing complexion as a reflection of your cleaner internal terrain. Prescription drugs, creams, and other external remedies will only mask the problem, not fix it. As they say, you can put lipstick on a pig

However, once you get your diet in check, it is NEXT important to shield your facial skin from external factors that you can’t necessarily control – pollution, allergens, sun exposure, tap water, other people touching it, pillow cases, dry weather, humidity, etc. Plus, as you cleanse from the inside out, your skin will eliminate toxins through the skin, and it is crucial that you keep your skin as clean as possible so these toxins don’t clog your pores.

I recommend keeping it as simple and cheap as possible. The following five elements to facial skin care have transformed my complexion from one that was sensitive and blotchy and annoying to deal with to one that is now clear of a single blemish and consistently glowing!

** Click images for source **

1. BODY/FACE CLEANSER

No need to dish out the big bucks for this step. A simple $5 vegetable oil-based soap bar is all it takes. Look at the ingredients and make sure they are as crude as possible.

South of France soaps smell great and have many different scents – my favorites are the almond, green tea, pomegranate, and verbena varieties. They are great for the entire body and all you need to get rid of surface dirt.

Check out how pure and basic the ingredients are in these soaps.

2. TONER

This is a new addition to my facial regimen. I never used a toner until I moved to Turkey, where rose water is widely sold and heralded for its aromatic and pH benefits. You can find rose water easily online. If the rose water you find doesn’t come in a spray bottle form, just buy an empty spray bottle at a local pharmacy and fill it up to use. Or, you can pour a small swig in your palm and pat your face with the water prior to moisturizing.

This organic rose water is made from Alteya, a Bulgarian source. You will love the way your skin smells after applying this! It’s also a great refresher throughout the day, uplifting your complexion and your senses.

3. EXFOLIATOR

Seriously, there is absolutely no need to buy into these expensive exfoliator on the market. Yes, they’re organic and awesome and smell wonderful, but they are super expensive and not nearly as potent as what you can make in your own kitchen with some sugar and a drizzle or dab of something else, depending on your skin type.

The basic recipe is as such:

2 tablespoons of table sugar…

+ 1 tbsp of honey for moisturizing

or

+ 1 tbsp of cooled green tea for anti-aging and tightening

or

+ 1 tbsp of  yogurt for soothing and cooling

or

+1 tbsp of lemon juice for detoxing/cleansing

Try to exfoliate at least 2-3 times per week to release dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, which will allow for deeper cleansing and clearer, more glowing skin!

4. BODY/FACE MOISTURIZER

My favorite body moisturizer is from Derma-E. The company keeps their products as natural and organic as possible and adhere to strict quality requirements.

My favorite facial moisturizer has changed over the years, as I find it to be THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. element of facial skin care, since it stays on your skin with you all day and your skin essentially absorbs it, so it’s important that it’s as high quality as possible. I used to pay a lot of money for Tata Harper’s serum, which I find smells amazing and is really effective, but at first it was far too much money to justify ($150 for 50 ml) .

However, because of its potency, you only use a little (dime size) at a time – not like pharmacy story brands where you passively lather on loads and loads. This stuff works and you notice the difference in your skin tone and texture after first use. The rebuilding moisturizer costs $100 for 50 ml, but my skin works well with just using the serum as a moisturizer. If your skin is drier, opt for the moisturizer. Both work great!

I am a Tata Harper fan, but I know there are many organic moisturizers on the market that are similarly effective and cheaper. Check out these websites for your fit in philosophy and cost.

- www.juicebeauty.com

- www.100percentpure.com

- www.eminenceorganics.com

- www.pharmacopia.net

- www.annmariegianni.com

5. NIGHT OIL

Before I go to bed, I spare excessive use of my Tata Harper products and apply an essential oil. Argan oil is by far the most effective and least oily and clogging feeling oil I’ve found yet. It’s praised for its healing effects, especially if you are dealing with wrinkles or scars, and it has sincerely changed my skin and done away with any scars from past break outs or that scar left behind from when my sister bit my nose when we were kids.

There are many organic argan oils on the market. Just be sure that the one you buy is 100% argan oil and not mixed with other things. It’s a slight expense, but the supply lasts awhile since you are supposed to be modest with application.


I hope this list inspires your facial skin care regimen. Keeping it consistent and basic will cut costs and avoid surprise skin break outs and acne scares. Keep in mind that because these products are so pure, they are potent – a little goes a long way!

In the name of beautiful skin, I wish you all fabulous summer complexions!

xo Aylin