Jodie Pappas of Clean Kiss

NAA Member on A Mission: Jodie Pappas

We’re incredibly proud of NAA members and Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner students, and the unique ways that they apply the Nutritional Aesthetics® philosophy in their personal and professional lives. It’s our goal to support them and share their wisdom by highlighting their stories with you in a periodic ‘Member on a Mission’ feature. Our latest featured member is Jodie Pappas, Founder and Skincare Chef of Clean Kiss. 

Jodie hit a turning point in her life twenty-plus years ago when she was struggling with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) that caused infertility and other medical issues affecting her health. She turned to natural health and food to help her clean up her life, overcome PCOS and is eternally grateful for the birth of not one, but three daughters (a singleton and later twins). She is also indebted to another life altering experience that helped her become who she is today when one of her beautiful twins was born with a rare medical condition that required major reconstructive skull surgery and treatment through Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

Jodie Pappas of Clean KissThrough these medical struggles, Jodie always sought for a natural solution. Jodie is known as a Family Natural Health Expert and is a published Author of Your Family Health Organizer (2007, Robert Rose Publishing Inc.). She has been a featured guest on City TV's Breakfast Television, Global TV Morning, CTV, CHCH, Rogers TV, and countless radio shows in many cities across Canada and the USA informing parents about becoming advocates and taking charge of their families' health for over a decade.

As a small child, Jodie can recall her father digging and pruning in his garden and it was his passion that inspired Jodie to love nature and to want to grow her own harvest that she could also cook up for her family.  Formulating natural skincare and appreciating the holistic benefits of plant-based nutrition, is just an extension of the beautiful things we can create from mother earth.

Jodie has a BA in Psychology, Certificate in Human Resources Management, Certificate in Organic Skincare Formulation, a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200), is currently studying Nutritional Aesthetics® towards being a Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® (CNAP).  

Jodie has leveraged her passion for wellness through clean living and a balanced lifestyle of yoga and fitness, and organic gardening. The creation of her natural skincare product line, Clean Kiss, is an extension of her advocacy for families to take charge of their health by reading labels, teaching that “What you put ON your body, goes IN your body” and encouraging them to find healthy personal care products that REALLY work!

We spoke to Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner student, Jodie Pappas, about the role that Nutritional Aesthetics® plays in her business and her integrative approach to skin health:

Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance:

What excites you the most about the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance?

Jodie Pappas:

I have been an avid student of nutrition as a means to greater health for as long as I can remember. Actually, when I think about it, it has been twenty years in the making since I first was diagnosed with fertility issues stemming from PCOS. At that time, I made some radical lifestyle changes including switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet and ensuring my body was getting the nutrients in needed at each and every meal. It is this passion that led me to start my own natural skincare brand, Clean Kiss, back in 2014. Making clean formulations that are free from toxins combined with healthy, balanced eating truly is the secret to glowing skin, energy and longevity.

For the last several years, I was looking for more specialized nutritional education to add to my credentials. I explored many programs and nothing ever felt like quite the right fit for what I hoped to do with it. My ultimate goal has been, and continues to be, to marry up the science of nutrition with the art and science of beautiful, handcrafted natural skincare to be able to help other women get the skin they truly desire. I want women to know that non-toxic, topical solutions are only part of the puzzle and that living a healthy lifestyle is the other part of it if they want skin that ages gracefully.

When I discovered the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance's CNAP Training Program, I finally felt it all come together for me! This was the program I was looking for and feel that through the extensive curriculum I will be able to advise my clients how to use nutrition, lifestyle and non-toxic topical skincare solutions to meet their goals.

I enjoy being guided by Rachael because of her vast and expansive experience and knowledge base. The value I get out of the program is incredible.


How do you apply Nutritional Aesthetics® principles to your work?

Jodie Pappas:

I am working on developing a series of workshops for my clients of Clean Kiss that incorporates nutrition, lifestyle choices and non-toxic skincare so that they may bring all of these elements together to achieve their health and skin goals.

I also wish to start offering private one-on-one consultations with women who wish to delve deeper into a customized plan for themselves.

I’ve already starting incorporating more nutritional tips in my marketing to lay the groundwork for my future plans, even though I am only halfway through the CNAP.


Please complete this sentence, and elaborate as much as you wish: “For optimal skin health, I wish people would do more of ___________________, and less of ___________________.”

Jodie Pappas:

For optimal skin health, I wish people would do more of: The four simple principles of health, such as drinking more fresh water and/or herbal teas, wearing sunscreen every day, reading product labels to steer clear of toxic ingredients, and eating the rainbow of colorful foods on their plate at every meal.

I wish people would do less of: Eating refined carbohydrates (the white foods such as sugars, pastas, rice) which prematurely age the skin, staying up too late leading to inadequate rest, stressing less and finding way to manage their stress through yoga and meditation.

We are so grateful to Jodie for being a dedicated CNAP student and Lifetime Member of the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance!

Connect with Jodie Pappas:

Join our Mission:

Learn more about NAA Membership HERE, and our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program HERE.

We’d love to feature YOU as an upcoming Member on a Mission!

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!

We want to hear from you!

How do you apply Nutritional Aesthetics® principles to your own work? Please share in the comments below!

Cozy healthy skin lifestyle practices

5 Healthy Skin Lifestyle Practices to Beat the Winter Blues

For many of us wintertime is a mixed bag--months filled with a jumbled mixture of solemn introspection and exuberant celebration; as well as reflection on the past and resolutions for the future. During this darker, colder time, it's also easy to slip into "winter blues" mode. Whatever the season brings, we want it to be filled with your desired mix of wonderment and nourishment, so today we offer up some of our favorite mindfulness, self-care, and healthy skin lifestyle practices to help you make that happen!

Here are 5 healthy skin lifestyle suggestions to warm up your self-care habits on even the coldest of days:

1. Look for everyday wonders to lift your spirit.

cozy socksDo you have the winter blues? Is the shortage of daylight hours leaving you time-crunched and stressed? You might not be able to conjure more daylight or shift any real work off your plate, but making a conscious effort to appreciate ‘right now’ through the eyes of a child might brighten your mood.

Feed your senses and soak in the details. Slip on some fuzzy socks and wiggle your toes while you enjoy hot ginger tea and listen to the fireplace crackle. Crack open some skin-friendly raw nuts or a juicy pomegranate for a snack and marvel at their intricate design. Place a few drops each of cinnamon, sweet orange and clove essential oils in your diffuser and enjoy the baked cookie smell throughout your home.

2. Savor and simplify to feel true abundance.

Are you overwhelmed with options? We grant you permission to be a bit of a diva about what is on your plate and your vanity! Adopt an ‘If you don’t love it, leave it’ policy in both places. Scan the holiday buffet for foods you truly treasure and skip the everyday dishes that are available all year long. It is not your responsibility to sample everything on the table. Cherry pick a pretty plate and then slowly and mindfully savor every mouthful.

Likewise, resist the urge to retain the half-dozen bottles of lotions that clutter your cabinet and leave your space feeling less than pretty. Try slimming down your product line-up to the ones that truly demon- strate your desired results. Slow down your mirror time and steal some moments for a facial massage that makes you feel pampered. Need a reminder? Post a message or self- care mantra on your mirror for easy reference.

3. Set intentions for the New Year that serve you.

setting resolutions can be part of a healthy skin lifestyleHas your New Year’s resolution list left you feeling inspired and focused—or frustrated and disappointed? The time-honored idea behind creating resolutions is that of hope. If you are settling for less, perhaps it is time for a fresh and personalized approach.

Do you love the resolutions ritual of writing your list each year? Great! Experts agree that those who commit to a formal list strategy are more likely to attain their goals than those who do not. Incorporate these tactics to increase your goal setting effectiveness. Here's what we suggest:

  • Keep it focused. Choose 1-3 items that are realistic yet expansive.
  • Connect each item to your ‘why’—your deeper core values and driving passions.
  • Write it down and be specific.

Prefer to skip the traditional list? No problem, you can create a ritual that is unique to you. Brainstorm different approaches like these to get you started:

  • Make a list of ‘Don’ts’—behaviors and thoughts that no longer serve you. Write each one on a slip of paper and roast them like marshmallow in the fireplace to symbolically release them.
  • Make a list of ‘Done’—a long and glorious list of all the things you have accomplished this year.
  • Letting it all go with dance or even charades is always a fun approach with a
    cleansing, emotion-releasing feel.

4. Practice the gentle art of saying ‘no’ to increase your focus.

Is your mental dialogue drowning in ‘shoulds,’ ‘coulds’ and ‘have-tos?’ Has people-pleasing seriously dampened your creative drive? It can be hard to say no to people because you don’t want to disap- point. But you owe to yourself to create limits.

Avoid taking on too many commitments or spreading yourself too thin so you can focus on your resolutions for the year without undue distraction. Value your time, be clear on your priorities, and say no politely, without apology or sense of obligatory explanation. Judicious use of ‘no’ can you make space for more ‘YES!’ in your life.

5. Take care of your hardworking hands and feet.

When was the last time you gave some of your hardest working skin some love? Cold toes and frigid fingers bring out the winter socks and mittens, but as your hands and feet go under wraps, they often grow increasingly in need of some TLC.

This is the perfect season to build in some simple yet meaningful skin pampering time into your routine. Invest in a divine hand cream and place the bottle next to the sink, the computer, or by your bedside so you can remember to use it often. A trip to the spa for a reflexology foot massage relaxes tense soles. Or schedule a Friday night in, and treat yourself to a foot scrub and soak with a scent that helps any old day feel like a holiday.

With a little thought and purposeful action, healthy skin lifestyle practices like these can transform quiet winter nights into pampering celebrations; and crowded celebrations into nourishing moments. Celebrating and self-care can be one in the same this season, helping you to shine your light all the way through to spring.

Do you want to learn how to support your clients with more healthy skin lifestyle practices like this?

We devote an entire month of curriculum specifically to healthy skin lifestyle practices in our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® (CNAP) Training Program. We also train you on how to help your clients implement these changes in their busy lives, so that they can follow your recommendations with greater ease. This makes for faster, and more sustainable results!

CLick HERE to learn more about the CNAP Training Program, and get started today.

NAA File Card Library cards

NAA Membership Update: New Hormone, Microbiome, and Lifestyle Resources Available

NAA Membership is loaded with exciting educational benefits, valuable industry savings, and regular member features like our Member on a Mission blog posts and periodic member co-hosted webinars. Our all time member-favorite benefit though, is the NAA File Card Library--a well of easy-to-digest skin wellness information that can be used for quick reference, or as client handouts. We've just added nine new cards to the Library!

In this pack, we focused on three of our pillars:

  • The Microbiome. This developing body of knowledge examines the influence of digestion and the microbiome on skin health.
  • Hormones & Skin Health. Hormones play a big role in glowing skin, so this is a topic that we love exploring, for women and men alike.
  • Lifestyle Practices. Sleep, exercise, your environment— here we look at the lifestyle influences on skin health.

In The Microbiome, our three new cards are “Key Differences Between the Skin and Gut Microbiome,” “Probiotic Skincare Mythbusting,” and “How pH Affects the Skin's Microbiome.”

In Hormones & Skin Health, our three new cards are “Hormones and Teen Acne” and “Endocrine Health and Hyperpigmentation,” and "Skin Changes During Menopause."

In Lifestyle Practices, our three new cards are “How Too Much Screen Time Damages Your Skin,” “Oil Pulling 101,” and “How to Improve Indoor Air Quality for Better Skin.”

Are you intrigued to learn more about these and get your own access to the NAA File Card Library? We hope so!

Click HERE to check out all of the amazing benefits NAA Membership has to offer, and join our movement today!

But wait, there's more--did you know that when you enroll in our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® (CNAP) Training Program, you get LIFETIME NAA Membership included? You do!

Click HERE to learn more about the program and get instant access to the program and all the benefits of NAA Membership today!

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!Are you already a CNAP Student or NAA Member?

Be sure to login to grab this latest card pack. But before you go, please tell us:

What’s your favorite NAA File Card?

What do you love most about NAA Membership?

Please share in the comments below!

woman outside in winter

Nourish and Nurture Your Skin for the Upcoming Cold Weather

As the cold weather sets in, the time has come to swap our summer skincare to meet the skincare challenges brought on by winter. By changing up our skincare regimen now, our skin can stay healthy and happy through the winter; ready to shine when another spring season rolls around.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do to ensure your skin stays hydrated, protected, and does not suffer too much from the harsh pang of winter.

Cold weather skincare ingredients to look for

As winter skincare demands more nourishment, the lightweight gels and creams we turn to during the summer can no longer cut it--indoor, heated air will cause them to evaporate faster than they can provide benefit, and they don't provide enough emollient protection for the cold weather. Instead, try to get your hands on natural skincare products that contain some of the following emollient ingredients:

  • Argan oil is great for those with dry skin, as it has healing and anti-aging benefits alongside the hydrating power. If you have oily skin, make sure you test a product before adding it to your routine, as oils can cause breakouts.
  • Avocado oil has soothing and regenerative properties, and our skin absorbs it easily.
  • Jojoba oil is similar to our own sebum, and it has some amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also hypoallergenic and contains the vitamins A, E, and D. Jojoba is a fantastic choice for mature skin.
  • Shea butter can be used for rashes and eczema, and it’s really effective for adding some extra moisture to your skin during the winter months. It’s great for moisturizing your body as well.

Before you start using any product on a more regular basis, make sure you test it and track how your skin reacts. Introduce products gradually, and only one at a time.

Try a Homemade Facial

honeyAs you need to deliver more soothing and moisturizing ingredients to your skin, sometimes the best thing you can do is mix a mask yourself--or teach your clients how to do this at home. Here are some you can try:

  • Heavy cream and honey will leave your skin supple and soft. Mix a tablespoon of honey with heavy cream and apply to your face. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse.
  • Banana and milk make an excellent combination for dry and patchy skin. Mash a banana in a bowl and add a tablespoon of milk. Apply, leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse.
  • Carrot and honey are good for dull and patchy skin. The beta-carotene will help lighten the spots, while honey is great as an anti-inflammatory agent. Peel and puree a carrot and add a tablespoon of honey. Apply and leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Consider the products you use

Now is the time to revamp your skincare shelf (or shelves?).

First, take a look at what you are already using and how many steps your morning and evening routines have. Is there a step you might be looking to add now?

For example, if you don’t normally use an eye cream, autumn is a great time to introduce one, as the sensitive skin around your eyes needs all the help it can get to stay hydrated and protected.

Think about your toner, the face masks you usually use, as well as your exfoliator and cleanser. Try to switch to ones that are more nourishing, less drying, and that will not strip your skin as much.

You should also take this opportunity to check expiration dates and consider how long an item has been open – and throw away anything suspect.

Drink more water

girl drinking waterWe usually feel more thirst during the summer, as our bodies lose water while sweating in the heat. However, we actually tend to get more dehydrated in the wintertime because we also tend to drink less water.

As you already know, H2O is what keeps your skin looking plump and feeling smooth and soft to the touch. Though it's not enough to rely solely on drinking water to achieve hydrated skin on the surface, skin cells cannot form and function properly before they rise to the surface without adequate water. No amount of hydrating skincare will be able to help if you don’t hydrate your entire body enough and nourish your skin from the inside.

Get a reusable water bottle to carry around with you and sip throughout the day. You might even want to use an app to remind you that you need to keep hydrating.

Consider heat and humidity levels

If you like to turn up the heat in your home when it gets cold, and if you tend to take very warm or hot showers, you might be doing more damage to your skin than you know. The heat dries your skin out, causing it to crack and peel. Even if it doesn’t get to a visible point, too much heat will make itself felt deep down.

Try turning down the heat. Start with the shower, and keep it pleasantly warm. Turn your home’s heating down as well – especially during the night, when you will also be sweating under your duvet if you make the room too hot.

On top of that, you can invest in a humidifier to keep the moisture in your space at optimal levels, ensuring your skin stays hydrated.

Final thoughts

Cold weather skincare doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or complex. You just need to start by understanding your skin’s needs, and listening to the signs it's giving. If it's dry, give it more oil and water. If it's irritated, then maybe it's time to simplify your regimen. Provide it with enough moisture and nourishment, and it will thank you every day.

Fall Skin Guide on an iPadWant more integrative cold weather skincare tips?

Sign up for our free Integrative Guide to Healthy Skin HERE!

About the author:

Guest author, Sarah Kaminski, is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows. Connect with Sarah on Twitter at @SarahKaminski10.



detox foods

7 Detox Foods You Probably Already Have in Your Kitchen

People are sometimes anxious about the idea of detoxing, or "going on a cleanse," due to the the perception that it requires lots of effort, planning, and nothing less than a total lifestyle and diet overhaul. This can sometimes be the case, but it certainly doesn’t have to always be. You can help your body get rid of toxins naturally on a daily basis by simply adding more detox foods to your regular diet. The great news is that you probably already have these in your kitchen; and if not, they are easy to find in any grocery store.

Here are 7 of our favorite, easy-to-find detox foods:

1. Lemons

Lemons are the backbone of many "detox diets." Rich in beneficial antioxidants and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin B, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, they help cleanse the body of toxins, boost the immune system and stimulate the liver.

When added to water, lemon juice can ease digestive issues such as heartburn, bloating, constipation, and nausea. Lemons also naturally help support healthy blood sugar levels, and promote regular elimination.

You don’t need to go for a full-on Master Cleanse-style fast with lemon juice to get the benefits. Simply try starting the day with a glass of lemon water, and drink some hot lemon and honey before bed.

2. Green veggies

green vegetables and sproutsMost of us don’t need to be reminded to include green vegetables in our diets. We know we should be eating them. But for some reason, these delicious and vital foods don’t appear on our plates as much as they should. From a detox perspective, green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, watercress, and sprouts are helpful because they contain nutrients that produce sulphorophanes, which speed along the detox process and boost our immune systems. Click here for suggestions on how to prepare green detox foods for optimal flavor.

3. Brown rice

Full of iodine, potassium and fiber, brown rice is a great detox food to support colon cleansing. For optimum benefit, choose an organic variety. Soak the rice for at least half an hour to soften the bran layer, and then cook it thoroughly to make it easier to digest.

Most brown rice varieties use a 2.5:1 water to rice ratio, but check your package for the exact ratio. To cook brown rice, boil the water, add a dash of Himalayan salt and/or a dash of peanut or coconut oil. Add the rice and return to a boil, then turn the heat all the way down and cover the pot. Your delicious brown rice should be perfectly cooked in 30 to 40 minutes. Just enough time for you to prep the rest of your meal.

4. Beets

beetsBeets get their bright color from betacyanin, which not only acts as a pigment, but also helps detox the liver, which speeds up the elimination of toxins. They also contain the mood-boosting chemicals betaine (used to treat depression), and trytophan; as well as iron and vitamin C. For optimal nutrient density, add raw grated beets to a salad or sandwich, or blend them raw before adding to a soup.

5. White tea

Everyone knows about the benefits of green tea, but white tea is now gaining in popularity as a detox food too. The least processed tea variety, white tea is made by harvesting the leaves while young and at their most potent, then drying them naturally to preserve all the goodness. This gives it a particularly high density of antioxidants; and like green tea, it boosts the effects of enzymes used in detoxing the body.

6. Garlic

Garlic is another detox food with numerous health benefits. It protects the liver and heart from damage, boosts the immune system, and preserves our levels of the powerful antioxidant glutathione. It can also boost the effects of detoxing enzymes such as quinine reductase and glutathione transferase.

Studies have shown that more of garlic’s beneficial properties are released if cloves are crushed, and then left for at least five minutes before cooking or adding to other ingredients. You also don’t want to overcook it, so we recommend adding it to the end of your sauté, rather than at the beginning.

7. Artichokes

artichokesThe key to artichokes’ detox powers is a high content of cynarin--the chemical that gives them their sweetness. Cynarin stimulates the liver and gall bladder, promoting the absorption of nutrients and speeding along the excretion of toxins. Some studies also suggest cynarin can be effective in lowering "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, and supporting healthy blood pressure. To get the full benefit, prepare the artichoke by steaming or grilling. 

Detox foods don't have to be exotic or expensive to be effective.

We hope this article inspires you that even simple, common foods--when prepared properly and consumed regularly--can help your body detoxify itself on a regular basis.

Do you want to learn more simple strategies to help your clients live skin-healthy lives?

Check out our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program. This in depth program teaches aestheticians, nutritionists, health coaches, and other skin wellness practitioners how to support their clients towards reaching their skin goals through our integrative approach to healthy skin. The course is self-paced, so you can get started today!


basket of wild yams and sweet potatoes to show the difference

Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potato Yams, Wild Yams: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between sweet potatoes and yams? It seems like one of those age-old questions, kind like "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" The more relevant question this time of year might be "What’s on my Thanksgiving table? Sweet potatoes or yams?" 

Sweet potatoes and yams are one of Autumn's greatest food staples

roasted sweet potatoes with rosemarySweet potato pie, candied yams, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato soufflé, roasted yams--they all kind of taste the same, don’t they? When you go to the grocery store, do you look for sweet potatoes or yams? If your recipe calls for sweet potatoes but you can only find garnet yams or jewel yams, what do you do? Do you scrap the recipe or do you substitute the yams for the sweet potato?

When it comes to the sweet potato and yam side dishes and desserts we typically think of, it really makes no difference. The sweet potatoes and yams you see in a regular grocery store are really just different varieties of the same sweet vegetable: they are all sweet potatoes. In fact, the term "sweet potato yam" really should be called "yam sweet potato."

So are sweet potatoes and yams really all the same?

No. Yams are not just varieties of sweet potatoes. True yams are actually a completely different category of vegetable and have no relation to potatoes or sweet potatoes. Let's learn more about what actual yams are.

When you see the term "Chinese yam" or "wild yam," these are actually referring to this different type of yam which is in the Dioscoreae family. This family has about 200 different varieties, which are different sizes and colors, and they are native to Africa, Asia, and can also be found in the tropical regions of North and South America.

Like sweet potatoes, the flesh may range in color from white, ivory, or yellow to purple. But unlike sweet potatoes, a yam has a thick, rough, scaly (even sometimes "hairy") skin which can be white, pink or brownish-black. Their shape is long and cylindrical (oftentimes having offshoots referred to as “toes”), and they can grow to be several feet long.

Yams have played a central role in the diets of many different countries for thousands of years. They are used in stir fry and roasted vegetable dishes, and have an earthy NOT too sweet taste.

Yams have several health benefits and contain many nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, fiber, and potassium. They also contain a storage protein called discorin, which may benefit those with certain cardiovascular issues.

Wild yam and hormonal activity

Wild yam cross sectionWild yams and wild yam extract are also considered by many alternative or herbal healing practitioners to help balance out women's hormones and relieve symptoms during menopause. Women across cultures in which wild yams grow have managed their symptoms using them as food and topically for thousands of years.

Some of the published clinical research warns that consuming wild yam or wild yam extract can cause harm (especially if taken while the woman is already taking a pharmaceutical synthetic hormone prescription). If you are considering adding wild yam to your diet or regimen to manage symptoms of menopause or other hormonal imbalances, we highly recommend that you do your own research and see what makes sense to you. Talk to a couple of different healthcare providers from different modalities about it and get different perspectives. It is your decision whether to add hormones or possible hormone precursors to your regimen or not. Whatever your decision, make sure it is an informed one.

There are many topical wild yam creams available on the market. Be sure to read the labels, since many of them contain endocrine disrupting chemicals like parabens and synthetic fragrances. Also ask about the source of the wild yam extract in the cream itself to make sure it is natural and from the right type of yam.

What about sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes, on the other hand are members of the Convolvulaceae family. FYI, neither sweet potatoes nor yams are related to common potatoes, which are in the Solanaceae family. Did you know that there are approximately 400 different varieties of sweet potatoes? Some may look like common potatoes on the outside, some may be much larger with smooth skin and tapered ends. The flesh of the sweet potato may be almost white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, or deep purple, although white/cream and yellow-orange flesh are most common.

Sweet potatoes are healthy to eat year ’round, not just for the holidays, if they are prepared in a healthy way--meaning not candied! Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet enough as it is--there is no need to add any form of sugar to make them taste delicious. 

Whole and cubed sweet potatoesIf you are a person with sugar cravings, try eating sautéed or roasted sweet potatoes more often and see if your cravings decrease. We love them sautéed or roasted with ghee or coconut oil, and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger. Sweet potatoes also are known to help support healthy blood sugar.

Sweet potatoes are an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich food. They contain anthocyanins and beta-carotene (bioavailable precursor of Vitamin A). They also contain storage proteins called sporamins, and naturally occuring antifungal and antibacterial properties. Research continues to reveal more specific anti-inflammatory benefits--even though sweet potatoes are not the same as yams, they are still a very healthy food.

Why the confusion between sweet potatoes and yams?

Since sweet potatoes and yams are clearly two very different and unrelated foods, why are they even associated with each other?

According to The World's Healthiest Foods:

"When the moist-fleshed orange-colored sweet potato was introduced into the United States in the mid-20th century, producers wanted to distinguish it from the white-fleshed sweet potato that most people were used to. They adopted the word 'yam' from nyami, the African word for the root of the Dioscoreae genus of plants. While there are attempts to distinguish between the two, such as the U.S. Deparment of Agriculture’s labeling requirement that the moist-fleshed, orange-colored sweet potatoes that are labeled as 'yams' also be accompanied by the label 'sweet potato,' for many people this does not help to clarify the distinction between the two very different root vegetables."

True yams aren’t even widely available in most parts of the United States; you’d have to go to a very specialized health food or African/South American/Asian specialty store to find them. So go ahead and enjoy the many beautiful and delicious varieties of sweet potatoes not just this Thanksgiving, but all year 'round. 

What's your favorite way to enjoy sweet potatoes or wild yams?

Please share with us in the comments!

Member on A Mission: Angie Uhle

We’re incredibly proud of NAA members and Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner students, and the unique ways that they apply the Nutritional Aesthetics® philosophy in their personal and professional lives. It’s our goal to support them and share their wisdom by highlighting their stories with you in a periodic ‘Member on a Mission’ feature. Our latest featured member, Angie Uhle, of Nourished Holistic has successfully brought together her passion for holistic aesthetics, massage therapy, energy work, lymphatic drainage, to her community through her private practice, and online through the forthcoming Reset the Clock on Aging: Powerful New Ways Your Body Can Create Luminous Skin Masterclass Series. Angie truly takes an integrative approach to healthy skin.

Angie is obsessed with helping stressed out mamas find calm, get healthy glowing skin, and a tension free body. As a dancer for 14 years, she was fascinated with how the body works; so in 1998, she began as a massage therapist and then in 2004, was licensed as an aesthetician.

Growing up, Angie never had great skin. She tended towards breakouts and extremely congested skin, as well as very reactive skin. As she grew older, she began noticing some digestive issues; so to help herself and her clients, she decided to embark on the journey of Nutrition Consulting.

She still wasn't seeing lasting changes in my client’s skin, and she really felt there were some pieces missing. Enter Holistic Aesthetics! All of a sudden, clients were experiencing long lasting changes--not only to their skin, but to their whole person as well. That’s how she knew she was on to something.

And the real magic began when Angie learned to create my own skincare line (she trained directly with Rachael Pontillo in the Create Your Skincare Pro course). Angie decided to create her own skincare line because so many of her clients are stressed out mamas who didn’t want to have ALL the steps and a ton of products. They needed products that are simple and minimal, but still clean, effective, and affordable. So Angie created a clean, effective and affordable skincare line, with her minimalist--yet intentional approach.

We spoke to Lifetime NAA Member, Angie Uhle, about the role that Nutritional Aesthetics® plays in her business and her integrative approach to skin health:

Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance:

What excites you the most about the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance?

Lifetime NAA Member, Angie Uhle, shares her integrative approach to healthy skin

Angie Uhle:

What excites me about the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance is the mission to create awareness around an integrative approach to healthy skin. By combining healthy nutrition and lifestyle choices, you can bridge the gap between internal and external wellness.


How do you apply Nutritional Aesthetics® principles to your work?

Angie Uhle:

As a Holistic Aesthetician, Massage Therapist, Nutrition Consultant and Skincare Designer, I definitely have an integrated approach. For me I really embrace the holistic approach to skin health. Though nutrition and clean products are incredibly important, I believe it is about so much more: sleep, calming the nervous system, fixing possible gut issues, mindfulness, lymphatic health…the list goes on.  But ALL of these things are important not only for whole body health but to cultivate that vibrancy and a healthful glow from within.

Being shut down since March due to the pandemic, I had a strong feeling of missing the work I do, so I created an online series (launching September 21) to bridge the gap between internal and external wellness so that women can cultivate that healthy glow from within. I handpicked 30+ top experts and influencers to help women learn how to cultivate a youthful glow while embracing aging from the inside out by using wellness methods for internal health, environment, mindset, fascial and lymphatic health, toxic free living, self-care and massage too.

If you want to join the free series you can grab your seat here Reset the Clock on Aging: Powerful new ways your body can create luminous skin Masterclass Series.


Please complete this sentence, and elaborate as much as you wish: “For optimal skin health, I wish people would do more of ___________________, and less of ___________________.”

Angie Uhle:

For optimal skin health, I wish people would do more of loving the skin they are in, and less of just thinking that products are what will create lasting changes.

We are so grateful to Angie for being a dedicated Lifetime Member of the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance!

Connect with Angie Uhle:

Learn more about NAA Membership HERE, and our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program HERE. We’d love to feature YOU as an upcoming Member on a Mission!

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!

We want to hear from you!

How do you apply Nutritional Aesthetics® principles to your own work? Please share in the comments below!

oil on a tablespoon next to toothbrushes for oil pulling

Should Oil Pulling Be Part of Your Detox Toolbox?

Oil pulling is a great example of something that appears to be a trendy new wellness practice, but is actually rooted in the ancient tradition, Ayurveda. Like the other integrative approaches we cover in the first Pillar of our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program, oil pulling may seem a bit out-of-the-box at first, but has the potential to give your skin health routine a big boost.

What is oil pulling?

oil pulling as part of oral care regimenThe act of oil pulling is actually really simple. You take a tablespoon of oil (traditionally sesame or sunflower, but many people use olive or other edible carrier oils they have on hand in the kitchen) and swish it around in your mouth thoroughly for several minutes, and then spit it out. The theory is that the oils will "pull" the toxins from your body out of the mouth tissue, teeth, saliva, etc., which will are then eliminated when you spit it all out. After 6 to 8 weeks of doing this daily, you should experience results, though some report positive results sooner.

There are some pretty lofty health claims associated with oil pulling.

Some of the most common health issues oil pulling has been claimed to improve are:

  • Mouth and gum disease
  • Stiff joints and arthritis
  • Respiratory issues such as allergies, asthma, and bronchitis
  • High blood sugar and diabetes
  • Constipation
  • Migraines
  • Skin issues like eczema and dry, cracked heels
  • Heart, kidney, lung diseases
  • Leukemia and other forms of cancer
  • Meningitis
  • Insomnia
  • Menopause (hormonal issues)
  • AIDS
  • Chronic infections
  • Cardiovascular issues like varicose veins and high blood pressure
  • Polio

That covers pretty much everything, doesn’t it? At the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance, we shy away from making claims like these, because different practices work differently for different people. We don't like to give people false hope that they will experience a miraculous result just because other people have. And in all honestly, there's very little evidence--anecdotally or clinically--that can prove that oil pulling is the ONLY practice that people who experienced dramatic results were doing.

How does oil pulling actually work?

close-up on woman's beautiful smileThere are many differing views on whether or not oil pulling actually works by pulling toxins out through the mouth. Many detox experts and practitioners of various holistic modalities argue that you cannot detoxify the entire body just through one area.

Yet there are too many people who have seen dramatic improvements to dismiss this practice as simple good luck or even label it as a placebo effect. Jon Barron, of the Baseline of Health Foundation, notes that poor dental health (varying degrees of gum disease and tooth decay) caused by inadequate hygiene and poor diets is also responsible for causing many of the aforementioned ailments. In fact, "about 75 percent of Americans have gum disease and don’t know it."


What oil pulling can and can't do

Barron's thought is that oil pulling probably does not actually pull toxins from the body and cure diseases, but it can definitely help remove harmful bacteria, yeasts, and other germs from the mouth that contribute to gum disease. This happens because the oils themselves have naturally occurring antimicrobial properties. Also, since oil is slippery in nature, it can get into places where toothbrushes, floss, even more advanced tools like Water Piks and dental scrapers, cannot; such as the pockets that form in the gums around the roots of the teeth.

These pockets form naturally with age, but are made worse when pathogens and undigested food collect in them and cause inflammation, which ultimate leads to disease. Swishing with oil for 20 minutes daily can help clean out these pockets and help to keep the bacteria out by providing lubrication which may prevent future accumulation.

The mouth is the beginning of the digestive system; and we know that majority of the body's immune function is rooted in the digestive tract. We also know that the root cause of most skin issues such as acne, rosacea, eczema can be traced back to imbalances or dysfunction in the digestive tract. If there is dysbiosis (imbalance or lack of biodiversity within the microbiota) in the digestive system, then dysbisis is likely present in the mouth and gums as well. Conversely, if there is dysbiosis in the mouth and gums, it is likely that there are also issues in the other organs and tissues of the digestive system.

Oil pulling best practices

oil for oil pulling with copper tongue scraperAlthough the act of oil pulling itself is simple, there are some "rules" to abide by:

  1. Do your oil pulling first thing in the morning before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth.
  2. Swish for 20 minutes. This may seem like a REALLY long time, especially in the morning! We encourage you to use these 20 minutes for your morning tasks such as writing your morning pages, getting the kids ready for school; or checking your own appointment or task list for the day. It can be done!
  3. No swallowing! The theory is that if you swallow, you are re-ingesting the very toxins you are trying to get rid of. Very small amounts swallowed by accident won’t hurt, but if you feel your mouth is getting too full, you should either spit out a small amount and keep swishing or spit it out and put fresh oil in for the duration of the time.
  4. Don’t gargle it. You don’t want to risk swallowing or choking by pulling up any excess mucus. Just swish really thoroughly through the teeth, top and bottom, and side to side to clean out every nook and cranny.
  5. Once you are finished, make sure clean out your mouth. You don’t want any lingering germs or residue left behind. Use a tongue scraper (your tongue will most likely be coated), brush your teeth thoroughly, and swish or gargle with warm salt water.

Please note: oil pulling is a substitute for brushing, flossing, and getting regular dental cleanings/check-ups.

Oil pulling likely won't perform a detox miracle on its own.

However, we love it because it is a simple and affordable practice that can easily be implemented into one's daily routine that is known to provide some sort of benefit, without harm. It is something about your routine that you can control. Small changes, done consistently are often what lead to the most significant outcomes!

Do you have experience with oil pulling?

Is it something you do personally, or recommend to your clients? We'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


assorted vegetables

How to Prepare Vegetables Even Picky Eaters Will Love

If you were to ask just about any client one thing they *should* do to improve their skin (from the inside out) and overall well being, "eat more vegetables" is a likely response. Though more people are now in tune with the many healthy benefits associated with eating vegetables (particularly greens) daily, only about one in 10 adults actually eats enough veggies daily. Why is this? While there is no shortage of vegetables available at every price range (even fast food establishments serve fresh salads), one of the main reasons why people don't eat enough is because they don't know how to properly prepare vegetables for optimal taste and texture.

It's important to know how to prepare vegetables properly to avoid overcooking them!

Another reason why people don't eat enough vegetables is because they don't think they like them. Just about everyone has a story about mushy broccoli or limp green beans.

However, most of the distaste clients express about their worst encounters with vegetables are really not about the vegetable itself. The problem is that the vegetables were either not prepared correctly (overcooking is the most common veggie offense), or they were bland. Fortunately, these two problems--how to prepare vegetables properly, and season them to please any palate--are easy to solve!

Here are our top tips for how to prepare vegetables and season them for maximum taste and texture:

Don't overcook your veggies!

The whole point of eating vegetables every day is to gain the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and other key phytonutrients that only come from plants. In order for those nutrients to be intact, the vegetables need to be prepared properly! Some are better raw (like salad greens, celery, or carrots), while others are more nutritious when gently cooked (beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale).

sautéed kale

Aside from being colorless, tasteless and textureless, overcooked vegetables also have had most of their nutrients destroyed. By eating vegetables raw, steamed, or lightly sautéed, you not only retain the color, flavor, and texture (which is crucial for the pleasure of the meal), but you also retain the nutritional value of the food.

Lightly steaming or sautéing vegetables (in a healthy, heat-safe fat like coconut oil, sesame oil, or ghee) to the point where the vegetables brighten in color and soften a bit, while still retaining their "bite" is what to look for. Lightly grilling or oven-roasting is also a better option than boiling, though it's important to watch the time so you don't over-char or completely dry out the vegetables.

Stock up on herbs, spices, and healthy condiments

Seasoning your vegetables with an assortment of healthy condiments, herbs, and spices is a wonderful way to not only make the veggie taste its best, but also to adjust the flavor profile of the entire meal to keep things interesting.

Assorted healthy condiments

Some of our favorites are low-sodium tamari (a gluten-free fermented soy product like soy sauce), brown miso, umeboshi plum vinegar, dulse flakes (sea vegetable), raw apple cider vinegar, and oils other than olive like coconut, sesame, grapeseed, and flaxseed. Some of our other seasoning staples include mineral-rich pink Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, Adobo seasoning (a blend of garlic and different peppers), Borsari (herbs and spices infused in salt), and gomasio (powdered sea vegetables with sesame seeds and sea salt). You can also stick with healthier versions of familiar favorites such as organic ketchup and mustard with no added sugar or hydrogenated fats.

These herbs, spices, and condiments are available in most health food stores, or the ethnic foods aisle in grocery stores. They can be expensive, we recommend buying a different one each week, and grow your collection over time.

Change it up

We all get stuck in food ruts from time to time, where we feel like we are cooking and eating the same types of foods all the time. This happens for many reasons: convenience, comfort level, cooking ability, tradition, etc.; but it is not healthy to keep eating the same things all the time. Eating should be a fun and even adventurous experience, and changing up favorite foods with different seasonings, flavor profiles, and cooking methods is a great way to keep vegetables interesting.

Assorted grilled vegetables

For example, if you're tired of steamed kale--try sautéing it or making kale chips. If you're tired of stir-fried zucchini, throw them on the grill. If you're used to boiling broccoli but don't want to overcook it, try blanching (submerging it in boiling water just for a few seconds) and then shocking (submerging it in ice water promptly after the boiling water) it instead. If you've had just about all you can take of Mediterranean-inspired flavors like olive oil with garlic and basil, try the same vegetables with Asian flavors. Sesame oil, ginger, and cilantro are great substitutes.

The skin-health benefits of vegetables are immeasurable

Consuming large amounts of fresh, organic vegetables (and fruit too) on a daily basis provides you with many of the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to heal itself, fend off bacterial and viral infections, maintain its optimal weight, and grow healthy and resilient skin cells. By learning how to prepare vegetables and season them so you like them, you'll definitely find it easier to incorporate them into your daily diet in more ways.

Young woman with clear skin holding fresh vegetables

By eating more fresh vegetables daily, you also increasing hydration, and promote an alkaline environment in the gut--which in turn will support healthy digestion, a healthy microbiome, and cellular function. This can help address the root causes of skin issues like acne, as well as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis flare-ups.

The nutrients you get from these plant foods are more bioavailable than those you would get from supplements as well, meaning they are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body. If you get the majority of your nutrients from food sources, you spend less money on expensive supplements.

Do you want to learn more about how to support your clients with practical nutrition and lifestyle tips like this?

Check out our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program!

sunscreen must be reef-friendly

Why the Snorkeling Captain Wouldn't Let Well-Intentioned Americans Use Their "Reef-Friendly" Sunscreen

Today's blog post is a guest contribution from mom of four, former teacher, and healthy kids cooking advocate, Katie Kimball--who is also a self-professed sunscreen geek. In this post, Katie informs us of the importance of using reef-friendly--not just "natural" sunscreen--and also discusses the problem of greenwashing in the sunscreen industry. Katie's also shared links to more helpful information, including a reef-friendly sunscreen guide. Enjoy, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

sunscreen must be reef-friendlyThis February, just in time to avoid having our trip foiled by the stay-at-home orders, 13 family members fulfilled my mother-in-law's dream of 40 years and traveled to Hawaii.

As much as I was in awe of the natural beauty and impossible volcanic landscapes, I got even more jazzed up talking about reef-friendly sunscreen with the owner of the Zodiac snorkeling trip.

You see, my family and I have literally been A-B testing mineral sunscreens for review since 2010. We're up at well over 100 now. It's such a passion of mine, that I've interviewed sunscreen formulators, worked with lawyers close to the sunscreen ingredient ban in Hawaii, and even been cited in a press release from the lab that started the whole process of banning oxybenzone and octinoxate for killing the coral reefs.

Greenwashing is hitting sunscreen hard

I was definitely the sunscreen geek cringing when uninformed vacationers were clearly using conventional sunscreen brands that will be illegal in the great state of Hawaii come 2021.

Greenwashing is hitting the sunscreen industry hard.I started offering my natural sunscreens on every excursion in case people needed something safe for humans AND coral reefs. I was at once proud and devastated when I heard a story from another American mainlander who had the best of intentions.

She said she tried to do the right thing and order “reef-friendly” sunscreen on Amazon.

"I read the label," she said. "It said reef-friendly right there. But then when we went snorkeling yesterday, the captain wouldn't let us put it on. He took one look at the back of the bottle and said it's still not safe enough."

I felt proud that marine-life-loving crusaders have gotten the word out that reef-safe sunscreen is necessary!

But let's be honest: even though the captain of the boat didn't allow all the chemical sunscreens, we all know that most people had already applied their first layer before they even got out there. That meant more coral reef killers floating away on the waves.

I’m angry that it's so easy to walk into Costco or log into Amazon Prime and get completely hoodwinked to the detriment of the environment and our children's future reproductive health!

Unfortunately, I’m not surprised. Greenwashing is bound to happen the moment anything goes into effect that threatens the big brands.

Why use reef-friendly sunscreen

Black woman sunbathing on the beachThe new law in Hawaii, which goes into effect in the summer of 2021, bans the two most dangerous ingredients for the coral reefs: oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Haereticus Labs proved that those two harm the coral reefs, but it’s so much more than that.

They're also absolutely not safe for humans, causing serious endocrine disruption and found in 97% of American urine. They're pervasive in our water supply and environment, and they really need to go. (Read more about the FDA’s proposed ban on sunscreen ingredients.)

Another study by Haereticus Labs proved that these ingredients “cause endocrine disruption to reproductive physiology, such as reduced sperm density, reduced prostate in juveniles, changes in the estrous cycle, and reduction in immunity. In one clinical study, boys who were exposed to oxybenzone exhibited lower testosterone levels. Oxybenzone exposure has also been linked to increases in endometriosis, alters lactation expression, as well as some birth defects.” Press release

What does reef-safe sunscreen mean?

We don’t need these toxicants on our skin or in the environment, and it shouldn’t be so hard to avoid them.

There are already hundreds of brands of sunscreen using safe, natural, mineral active ingredients that are 100% safe for coral reefs.

Person snorkeling in coral reefUnfortunately, the big brands have looked at this new law and are following it to the letter.

They’re only getting rid of those two offensive ingredients and slapping “reef-friendly” on the label so travelers can go to Hawaii with their products.

They're still leaving in other chemical actives, which carry with them most of the same problems, just not quite as well proven (yet). That's why the snorkel captain flipped over the tube and immediately told the travelers it wasn't enough. He's so close to the devastation of the coral reefs--we've lost half of the Great Barrier Reef since 2016 alone! Source: National Geographic

Experts know that all of the chemical sunscreen actives are wreaking havoc on marine life, not just the coral reefs. These ingredients, like octocrylene, avobenzone, homosalate, parabens and more can also damage the reproduction and other systems in green algae, dolphins, mussels, fish, and sea urchins. Source

So what can you look for so that you aren't greenwashed by the new "reef-friendly" sunscreen that only follows the letter of the law?

It's actually ridiculously simple. Under the "active ingredients," you want only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

Why zinc oxide only for safe sunscreen

I encourage you to choose zinc oxide only, for a few reasons:

  • There are some potential risks to titanium dioxide being a heavy metal.
  • Zinc oxide is fully broad spectrum all by itself.
  • Zinc oxide is also the only active sunscreen ingredient rated safe for babies under six months old. You may recognize it as the active ingredient in diaper cream as well.

Don’t worry, that doesn't mean you'll look like you've applied diaper cream to your face! The zinc percentage is lower in sunscreen than diaper cream, and formulators are getting pretty good at getting it to blend in clearly or they add tints so that you can't see the white cast on your skin.

Bottom line: good for the environment, safe for humans

For me, there's no contest. Ocean life and my future grandchildren win out every day over a sunscreen that's potentially a little easier to apply.

Don't get greenwashed! Hop on over and I'll share the best zinc oxide, reef-safe sunscreens out there out of 100 brands that my kids have had to endure for the last 10 years.

We know what works! We know what goes on smoothly.

And we can help you cut through all the greenwashed labeling that’s so confusing, whether you get to travel to Hawaii or are just hanging out in your backyard, trying have some safe fun in the sun.

Author bio:

Katie Kimball, expert on reef-friendly sunscreenKatie Kimball, the national voice of healthy kids cooking, is a blogger, former teacher, and mom of 4 kids who founded the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse. Her blog, Kitchen Stewardship helps families stay healthy without going crazy, and she’s on a mission to connect families around healthy food and teach every child in America to cook. She also happens to be a total sunscreen geek, having tested over 100 natural mineral formulas on her hapless children and pale husband.

Was this information about reef-friendly sunscreen new to you?

Did any of the information in today's post surprise you? Or were you already a pro with using zinc oxide-based, reef-safe sunscreen? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!