Former model and aesthetician Yara Shoemaker is the author of the new book Health On Your Plate. She shares her natural beauty tips and recipes In addition to speaking about her passion for healthy cooking. She covers her history of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, shows how to build confidence in the kitchen, shows how to review, revive and renew your pantry, how to make traditional cultural dishes with exotic flavors and a healthy twist, and more. She also has lots of tips on her blog: Yara’s Way!
She discusses her passion below:
I’ve always believed that people are in greater need of nutrition than food. My grandmother says that more people die from a full plate than an empty one. I found this to be especially true when I moved here seven years ago from my native Syria, where meals were cooked at home with ingredients bought fresh from the market. Here, I was lost among the colorful packaging and clever marketing in the supermarket aisles. But faster and easier doesn’t mean tastier or healthier, and after I fell in love with a wonderful man (now my husband), I became more concerned for my health and that of my loved ones. I was determined to extend our “expiration dates.”
Love inspired my mission to understand the source of life: food. I gathered a team and dedicated three years of my life to researching every tool and ingredient in my kitchen, complementing modern knowledge with my grandmother’s traditional wisdom. The elders of her village are energetic and disease-free, and I aspired to understand their graceful way of aging. I decided to stock my kitchen to match my grandmother’s as closely as possible. Memories of her cooking inspired me to choose earthenware pots instead of non-stick cookware, and it turns out that scientific evidence supports that choice.
Just like food is more than bright packaging and catchy slogans, beauty is more than the creamy concoctions and promises marketed to us. Growing up, I often saw my mother in the kitchen before bedtime, not making a midnight snack, but blending a pinch of this with a hint of that to create her own natural beauty treatments. These simple solutions have been passed down through generations of women in my family, and I am excited to share these secrets with women around the world to enhance their health and natural beauty. I think every woman feels best about her body when it’s healthy both inside and out, so I was sure to include many natural beauty recipes in my book.
Enjoy these simple solutions to a more naturally beautiful you!
- In a blender, combine a large handful of clean, dry spinach leaves with one egg yolk. Spread the mixture on your face, let rest for half an hour, then wash off with warm water. This is great for moisturizing dry skin and easing sun damage!
- For an intense mask to give your hair strength and shine, combine equal amounts olive, castor and coconut oils, add one crushed garlic clove and mix well. Massage the mixture into your hair and let rest under a shower cap for three hours. While waiting, make a strong infusion of chamomile and fresh lemon juice. Wash your hair with the infusion to remove the garlic scent, then wash again with your preferred shampoo.
- To exfoliate your skin and reduce the appearance of pores, wash your face with freshly squeezed juice from an overripe tomato. Wait half an hour, then rinse your face with warm water.
- To soothe dry patches of skin, rub in a drop of sesame oil. Wash off the excess with soap and water. This is great for chapped lips!
- To reduce eye puffiness, take some thin slices of potato. Let them rest over your eyes for half an hour, then gently wash with warm water.
- For oily skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and lightening dark spots, mix equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Spread this on your face and let rest for two hours, then wash well with soap and warm water. A special note: this should only be done before bed, and you should wash your face well before the next morning. Lemon juice can make your skin very prone to sun damage!
This excerpt comes from my new book, Health On Your Plate; a complete resource for your optimal healthy lifestyle! It’s the quick guide to everything you need to know, from the healthiest cookware and appliances, to essential spices, produce and ingredients every kitchen should have and how to shop for them. I even uncover eye-opening, little-known food mysteries that will help keep you and your family healthy and safe. And you can look forward to my easy, versatile recipes that help you get creative in the kitchen to make incredibly healthy and delicious meals, as well as natural beauty solutions!