We’re lucky to have lots of plant-based protein powders on the market today. Most have a “main” protein plus other proteins and ingredients (chia, flax, etc.). But what’s the latest evidence for their benefits?
Soy protein has been around since the ’50s in isolate form. It’s a complete protein and has lots of nutrients and a creamy flavor. A recent study found snacks containing soy isolates reduced appetite and sugar intake.
Pea protein is newer and is low in calories and fat. It has an incredible (though not complete) amino acid profile to boot! Early research suggests it promotes muscle growth just as effectively as whey protein powder.
Brown rice protein has one of the mildest flavors out there. It’s a good choice so long as there isn’t too much sugar in the brand you’re selecting! Research shows that, like pea protein, it supports changes in body strength that are similar to whey protein’s effects.
Pumpkin pie, potato and gravy hacks!
There’s no place like home for the holidays. But everyone at home may not be up for tempeh or kelp … so here are some new (vegan) twists on traditional dishes. They’ll please the whole table!
Pumpkin pie is typically made with eggs and lots of condensed milk in the filling … but you can easily replace both with silken tofu for a healthier and just as tasty version everyone will love!
Swapping butter for olive oil in your mashed potatoes not only makes them 100 percent plant based, but also gives the added benefit of healthy fats—without sacrificing taste!
Get on the vegan gravy train by frying up an onion with garlic and herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage, plus half a pound of mushrooms. Add 4 cups of veggie stock and simmer, then thicken with cornstarch to get that velvety consistency.
Modern love (for the planet)
Environmentally woke holiday celebrations include being mindful of your decorations’ footprint. Make sure you’re showing a little love to the Earth this holiday season.
Get a real tree! Yes, it will die, but Christmas trees are carbon sinks while they’re alive. They can even be organic. It takes 20 years of reusing an artificial tree before that plastic pine can be considered more eco-friendly than a real one!
Use fewer lights, switch the lights you do have to LED ones and make sure any lights you have are on a timer to minimize energy usage. Your monthly electric bill will thank you too.
Skip disposable plates, napkins and utensils. Regular old washable ones will save a ton of waste and keep some cash in your wallet. Don’t have enough dishes of your own? Have guests bring some, or look into dish rental services if you’re feeling fancy.
Do you find yourself wrapping gifts each holiday season that you know are unneeded—and maybe even unwanted? (Oh hi, novelty socks and a DVD copy of By the Sea.) There is a better way. Giving these research-backed, out-of-the-box gifts offers health perks for givers, receivers and the environment. Thanks, science!
The gift: Your words
The research: According to a 2017 report, gratitude is associated with long-term success in relationships and reduced reports of physical symptoms, plus an increased likelihood of optimism and exercise. (Basically, a grateful attitude could lead to great abs and a marriage to rival Chrissy Teigen and John Legend’s!)
To practice gratitude, call to mind someone you’re especially grateful for. Write a letter to them, noting a few specific things they’ve done for you, why you’re grateful to them and how their help impacted your life. Explain what your life is like now and how often you think of what they’ve done for you.
Pay them a visit and read the letter out loud to them, allowing both of you time to express your feelings afterward.
The gift: Your detective skills
The research: One 2013 study revealed subjects were happier when told how their gift would make a difference in the recipient’s life, compared with those who didn’t hear these details.
So, before giving your usual charitable donations, research the concrete ways your gifts will help someone.
The gift: Your help
The research: A 2017 study comparing volunteers to non-volunteers found that the volunteers were as healthy as non-volunteers who were five years younger. Call it the elixir of altruism.
To find out who could use some help this holiday season, look for some volunteering opportunities in your local paper (in print or online). Using this method, I found an opportunity to help at a shelter for street-level sex workers in my city, where I continued to volunteer for the remainder of the year.
The gift: Your company
The research: In a study published in the journal Positive Psychology as a Mechanism for Social Change, participants felt happiest when given a gift card to take a friend out to coffee, compared to handing over the card to their friend or using the card on themselves while out with a friend. These results point to the leveled-up benefits of giving while also connecting.
Put this study into practice by taking a family member or friend shopping or springing for goodies at a food festival or coffee shop/restaurant you visit together. Like we’ve said throughout this issue of alive: vegan food is better together!
The gift: Your local loyalty
The research: It’s well documented that locally made goods take less fuel to transport and often need only minimal packaging, supporting the environment and your community.
Choose one-of-a-kind, locally made presents at mom-and-pop shops, specialty vegan foods at your local natural health retailer, winter squash from the backyard—or even homemade holiday goodies you’ve prepared.*
The research: A 2013 study revealed that participants found greater happiness by giving three “gifts of time” in one week (meeting with three friends for time above and beyond their normal activities) compared to the placebo group.
We all know someone who’s run off their feet or could use some TLC. Plan to do something for them (including running their errands, cleaning their car or organizing a room in their house) or an outing with them. If possible, try to leave your smartphone at home so you can truly give the activity as much time and attention as it takes.
Cardinal rule: Remember all creatures
Extend your generosity to animals by helping your kids fill up a bird feeder, set out a salt lick, leave peanut butter bread for squirrels or bake homemade treats for the neighborhood doggos.
With a client roster that includes Mindy Kaling, Olivia Munn and Amber Heard, Katey Denno is one of the most well-recognized makeup artists in Hollywood. But she has an important mission that sets her apart from her peers: She works with clean, green products and is using her platform to urge others to do the same.
For anyone who still thinks you can’t get the same gorgeous looks with natural makeup as you can with the chemical-laden stuff: get into Denno’s work (@kateydenno). The lips are bold, the eyes smoky and the skin luminous.
Denno’s path to becoming an internationally recognized green beauty guru has been both unique and inspiring. She started out as a social worker working with male-to-female transgender clients who taught her “so much about the transformative power of makeup.” This, she says, is what inspired her to strike out on her own as a full-time makeup artist.
Though she’s now known for championing green beauty throughout the industry, that wasn’t always the case. “I started out buying the typical mainstream cosmetics that my peers carried in their kits,” she says, noting that she had an “Aha!” moment early on in her career. “I was looking on the back of a pro makeup artist palette of creamy pigments and read the warning label that cautioned users to keep certain colors away from eyes and mouths. I thought: If this stuff shouldn’t go near those parts, how safe is it really to put on our skin?”
She became concerned about the possible harm these sorts of ingredients could do to her body and to our planet and realized she needed to do something about it. “One day it clicked, and I thought: I can make a real change if I take a stand within the industry and start using product formulated without known toxins,” she says. “It was a pretty simple concept, although at the time, beauty products that worked for me as a makeup artist weren’t plentiful.”
That was 10 years ago. Now, in large part thanks to Denno, the industry has started to change, and good-for-you products are easier than ever to integrate into your routine. Plus, they’re just as good as (if not better than) the dirty stuff for creating a flawless face.
To find out the best practices for cleaning up your skincare routine for winter (and getting gorgeous makeup for those holiday parties!), we turned to the queen of green beauty to share her tips.
Winterize your skincare
“Depending on your climate, upping the ante with oils and butters that have greater density is usually the way to go,” says Denno. “I generally switch from using just oils to topping them with creams and lotions on more dry skin areas, and using a hyaluronic acid product is a great way to seal in the moisture.” Since you’re probably spending less time in the sun during the winter months, Denno suggests spending those cloudy days targeting any sun damage you may have acquired over the summer by using plant-based retinols and vitamin C serums.
“If your shoulders and/or neck/back/arms are showing, make sure that you’ve tended to all of your skin—not just your face!” says Denno. “Use a deeply hydrating oil or lotion, and perhaps mix it with some shimmer to get a glow all over.”
Up your holiday party makeup game
Take this winter’s best beauty looks from the Hollywood screening room to your very own living room with a few easy hacks. “Instead of wearing that bold lip color as it was worn on the red carpet—high density, full gloss or multiple layers—try tapping it on lips for a more stained appearance and follow with a coat of lip balm,” says Denno. “And a bold shade of eyeshadow that spans lash line to brow could be whittled down to a sheer wash of color along the lash line for a fun pop of color without the crazy intensity.”
Steal some inspo from the runways
Denno has plied her trade at high-profile events like New York Fashion Week, and the tips she picked up working backstage aren’t just reserved for the runway. They can translate easily into real life and don’t require any fancy tools or products. “Swipe on your favorite bold red or deep berry lip color, and then use a fingertip to press it into lips … Then, use a cotton bud placed between the lips, stick pointing straight out, to swipe left and right a few times to remove excess lipstick before it transfers to teeth,” she says. And a bonus? You can use the same tube of lipstick to pat the perfect sheer flush onto the apples of your cheeks.
Katey Denno’s favorite foods for beauty
“No one anything is right for everyone, so I hesitate to make any claims that anything ingestible will work for everyone,” says Denno. But here are three ingredients she swears by to help make your skin glow as brightly as your holiday lights.
Green juice or lightly steamed green veggies
“I have absolutely seen my clients’ eyes become more sparkly and bright when they introduce [these],” says Denno. Plus, research has found higher intakes of veggies protect against skin damage.
There’s a reason why “hydration, hydration, hydration” is such a well-known skincare mantra. “Keeping your diet very high in fresh organic produce and filtered water absolutely makes for beautiful skin,” says Denno.
“I personally see a difference in my skin when I take high quality vitamin E supplements,” says Denno. Ingesting antioxidant vitamin E can help inhibit a process called collagen cross-linking that’s related to signs of aging. (Touch base with your health care practitioner to make sure oral vitamin E is right for you before you stock up!)
We couldn’t make Gaz Oakley our cover/breakout star of 2018* without sharing some of his recipes with you. That would be cruel! The man behind the popular Avant-Garde Vegan YouTube and Instagram accounts has been prolific in his recipe output this year. So, how did we choose just a handful out of the 70-plus gems in his new cookbook, Vegan Christmas? It was tough, but we settled on foods for three holiday meals: a beautiful brunch, a light lunch and a masterpiece of a dinner. Each recipe is gluten free too, friends!
To round out your holiday feasting, grab a copy of Vegan Christmas. With its clever culinary ideas (vegan Welsh rarebit, anyone?) and photos so vibrant you can almost taste the food, it’s a fantastic resource for Christmas, Thanksgiving or really any holiday where you want to hear a chorus of gasps from your guests.
Adapted from Vegan Christmas by Gaz Oakley. Copyright 2018. Excerpted with permission from the publisher, Quadrille Publishing c/o Chronicle Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
When the urge strikes for a treat, no need to turn on the oven. Head over to your blender and whip up a dessert-inspired smoothie instead! These delectable smoothies will satisfy your holiday sweet tooth and keep you energized and satisfied while supporting your healthy eating goals. Now that’s a miracle on 34th Street (or whatever street you live on).