Hot Summer Looks: Nails


With the warmer weather, it’s time for pretty open-toed shoes and that means, nail polish! 

According to the David Suzuki Foundation 2010 report, 80% of nail polishes contain at least 3 chemicals linked with health and environmental concerns, including cancer, reproductive disorders, asthma and severe allergies.

There are  3 toxic chemicals/main offenders we need to watch out for:

  • DBP (Dibutyl phthalate)  - Used as a solvent for dyes and as a plasticizer to prevent nail polishes from becoming brittle, this phthalate is classified by the EU as a suspected endocrine (horomone) disruptor and as toxic to reproduction. 
  • FORMALDEHYDE – Used as a nail hardener, The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen.
  • TOULENE - According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, toluene is a moderate skin irritant that can cause dermatitis with prolonged contact. It is also a developmental toxicity hazard and has been identified in human milk. 


Below are 5 companies that got rid of these 3 toxic chemicals and now market their brands as '3-Free' so you can feel better about what you are painting on your nails:  

  • BUTTER LONDON (my personal fav). Find it at Whole Foods, Noah’s Health Food Store or 
  • PIGGY PAINT FOR KIDS (Also water-based). Find it at 
  • SCOTCH NATURALS - Scotch Naturals water based nail polish is vegan, gluten free, fragrance free, toxin free, paraben free, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable. They also have a safe and fun Kids line called Hopscotch Kids. Find it at
  • ZOYA – Find it at selelct Wholefoods or at
  • DEBORAH LIPPMAN (also they don't do animal testing). Find it at Sephora or at

BRIT BEET Tip:  If you are thinking of acrylic nails - think twice.  Acrylic nails are popular due to their longevity but they contain Toulene (one of the 3 toxic chemicals we have already identified) and may also contain MMA, a chemical banned by the FDA. Due to a lack of industry regulation however, this chemical could still be used at your local salon. What you need to know is that It can cause respiratory problems, eye and skin irritation and neurological issues.  Worth thinking twice about... probably. 

Turn Back Time. Battle-Ready Foods To Combat Aging Skin


Do you look in the mirror and wish you could turn back time (thanks Cher)? You’re not alone. We all want to keep our skin looking as youthful as possible. However when we look truth right in the eye (pun intended) we soon discover that the production of collagen - the protein responsible for our youthful appearance, declines as we age, starting around our last thirties (oh no), and again after menopause (oh great). This decline in collagen basically means finding sagging skin, lines and wrinkles, something we ALL dread seeing in the mirror.

Of course there’s always the Botox route.  But if you’re like me and you’d rather stay away from injecting botulinum toxin into your body, then you’re going to be relieved to find out there are some powerful natural weapons within easy reach. And the best part is you can find these battle-ready foods ready to deploy at your local grocery store.  



We are always being told to ‘eat up our greens’, well just add ‘stop the sag’ as another one! Greens are an excellent source of vitamin C, which functions like your dependable foot soldier on the front lines of anti-aging, helping to produce and maintain collagen.  A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition{1} found that eating foods that contain higher levels of vitamin C are associated with a lower likelihood of wrinkled, dry and sagging skin. But that’s not all! Greens also contain a hefty supply of vitamin A, which promotes elasticity and rebuilds the skin’s cells, keeping it looking healthy and smooth. Unlike synthetic vitamin A that appear in pricey cosmetic items, our bodies can utilize the vitamin A from food far more effectively, getting it into the body in the areas it needs to go. BRIT BEET tip: Because vitamin C is destroyed by heat, try cooking your greens the ‘healthy way’ by steaming for just 3-5 minutes so they retain this valuable nutrient.
Best choices are: Broccoli, spinach Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens and kale

OMEGA-3 FATS (AKA the GOOD fats)


Despite your fears, eating Omega 3 fats is NOT going to stop you from fitting into your favourite skinny jeans and are essential to your overall health. You can think of them as one of your anti-aging ‘special forces’. They protect the membrane of our cells, like a ‘boot camp seargent’. They stop harmful agents from entering the cells, allow waste products to move in and out of the cell and bring our must-have skin nutrients in to ‘feed’ the cell. 
Best choices: Cold water fish (mackerel, salmon, trout), Flax seeds, walnuts, sardines and unrefined canola oil (GMO free and for cold use only i.e: salad dressings)


Fruit comes armed and loaded with vitamin C which we now know produces and maintains collagen. It also contains powerful antioxidants that protect the skin cells from free radical damage that can speed up the aging process. Need I say more!
Best choices: Papaya, strawberries, pineapple, Kiwi fruit, oranges and avocadoes


Never one to shirk away from my veggies, I was really happy to discover they are right up there in our fight against the ‘sag’. Why? These glorious veggies are full of vitamin E, another battle-ready  antioxidant that works as a synergistic 'fighting force' with vitamin C and A, protecting the skin from that free radical damage.
Best choices: Broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, turnip greens


Into our 40’s, and especially as we transition through the menopause stage, hormonal aging brings with it an increase in ‘mirror shock’!  Wrinkles and dry, sagging skin creeps up on us as estrogen levels, that were once part of our collagen production line, start to wane. But wait, help is on the way! Nuts and seeds are armed with phytoestrogens - plant compounds that help replace estrogen levels, slowing down that aging process (thank goodness).
Best choices: Sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds


As the current media darling of youthful skin and weight loss, you may have already heard of the proclaimed benefits of bone broth. According to Dr Kerryann Petrucci, New York Times best-selling author of 'The Bone Broth Diet', "When you eat bone broth, you’re really eating cooked collagen. This is a powerful way to restore collagen in your skin and make those wrinkles disappear. Sure, you could find a lot of products with "collagen" on the label, but dietary collagen is more potent — it mainlines collagen to your cells. Additionally, the gelatin derived from the collagen you get in bone broth heals your digestive tract which is a surefire way to prevent inflammation and aging skin."   Another devotee of bone broth is Julia March, New York City's 'skin-care wizard and well-known facialist.  "I highly recommend bone broth to everyone who wants clear and firm skin. It  contains minerals that nourish the skin cells, and they calm inflammation in the body—and consequently on the face as well.”

Making and consuming bone broth is also taking a nose-to-tail approach that honors the entire animal, reducing the waste by creating nourishing products from different cuts. So go ahead and cook up a big batch of bone broth to help repel the invasion of wrinkles, lines and sagging skin and bring back that youthful glow. Not sure how, I've created a simple and easy recipe that will hit the skin sweet spot. Get recipe >>

So next time you look in the mirror, remember that you have army of food outfitted to combat aging skin and you don't even have to petition parliament to deploy it. It's just steps away in your own kitchen. 


What Is Cleaning Your Beautiful Face?

It’s a night-time ritual that has been played out on the silver screen time and time again.  A beautiful lady sits down at her boudoir table and proceeds to take off her make-up. Outside of Hollywood, it’s not as glamorous but the scene is still the same – the night-time face cleansing remains a staple routine of women today – we like to feel ‘clean’ and ready for bed, having wiped away the memories of the day. 

Although the ritual has stayed the same, facial cleansing products have evolved over generations; Perhaps you remember watching your grandmother layer on the the Ponds cold cream or your mother lather up the Pears soap – I only have to smell Pears soap to be instantly transported back to my youth.


Today there is a plethora of facial cleansers all proclaiming to make us look more beautiful. If you choose to buy your cleanser from the supermarket or pharmacy you may be paying for more than you bargained.  Ingredients coat or cover the skin, interfering with its own natural function and can contain artificial fragrances, artifical colours, parabens and other toxic chemicals that can contribute to system toxiciity, allergies, cellular level changes and have even been linked to cancer.   

Luckily, there are other options. You can side-step all the chemical muss and fuss and go straight to a natural brand.  One of my favourites brands is ‘Evan Healy’ whose name is behind the plant-based skin care range, free of synthetic and artificial ingredients. It costs around $33.00 and  one bottle last me around 6 months.  The brand also claims:

  • Field to farm and fair trade practices,
  • Certified organic ingredients,
  • Vegan and not tested on animals,
  • Free of GMO’s,  parabens and gluten
  • Ingredients sourced from family-owned farms and women’s cooperatives. 

 Most impressive to me though is that it the brand received ‘Best Rated' by EWG Skin Deep – a database launched in 2004 by Environmental Working Group to create online safety profiles for cosmetic and personal care products.

I'm a big fan of their Rose Cleansing Milk which is for 'mature' skins (never thought I would be in that bracket but rather that, than the alternative). According to its description on the evanhealy website, Rose Cleansing Milk is:

  • A wax free, plant based milk with the gentle cleansing action of natural soapbark.
  • It contains regenerating plant oils and purifying white kaolin clay which leaves the skin feeling clean, relaxed and refreshed. 
  • It is used for all skin conditions but especially skin with oily/dry areas (me!)

Why I like is that it has that lingering rose scent, and feels smooth and soft on my skin, with a very gentle cleansing action.  My skin does feel radiant and fresh after I use it at night. Honestly, I don't need it to do much more so I am keeping it in the night time routine until I discover the next best cleanser. Keep watching this space....  

Winter Skin: Make Yours Fabulous!

Winter can be a really challenging time for our skin.  The cold air and lack of moisture plays havoc with our skin cells, causing awkward breakouts, elephant-like rough patches and itching areas that push us to constant scratching.  It can be embarrassing and quick frankly, a problem we don't need or want! So what can we do to prevent these unpleasant skin situations from erupting and how can we outfit ourselves with the most fabulous winter skin? Here your BRIT BEET Winter skin first aid kit:  

  1. Stay hydrated: All our cells need water to work efficiently and it is an essential component of healthy, glowing skin. A quick test to know if you are hydrated is checking the color of your urine: clear urine = hydrated; dark yellow urine = drink more!
  2. Exfoliate:  If you haven't been a convert to exfoliating before, Winter is the time to break out the exfoliation scrub and get rid of dry, scaly patches that may have appeared thanks to Old Man Winter. How often should you exfoliate? Once a week is a good bench mark after which your skin will feel soft and smooth to the touch. 
  3. Eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids: Choose foods such as salmon (wild is best), sardines, scallops, ground flaxseeds, flaxseed oil and walnuts. Some of these foods also contain fats called ALA's which can help keep your skin function properly and also help reduce inflammatory responses in the skin which can lead to rashes and break-outs.
  4. Choose organically grown fruits and vegetables: These are rich in antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E and vitamin C, flavonoids (plant molecule) and carotenoids (plant pigments) which all play a crucial role in anti-inflammatory and immune support, helping our skin to look its best.
  5. Consume drinks that are antioxidant rich: Green tea and cold-pressed juices help fight free radicals that can damage the cellular structures of the skin, accelerating our skin's aging process.
  6. Allergens/Sensitivities: Be aware of foods that have caused a sensitivity or allergic reaction in the past as they can trigger unwanted skin conditions such as dermatitis and breakouts: Some of the most likely culprits are: wheat, corn, tomatoes, oranges, chocolate, cow's milk, shellfish, alcohol, vinegar, sulfites (red wine), peanuts and strawberries. BRIT BEET tip: Don't just avoid these foods in their whole state; make sure you are reading labels as many of these foods are common ingredients in packaged foods.
  7. Exercise: 30 minutes every day!  This improves our circulation and brings fresh nutrients and oxygen to our skin cells for that lovely glow. 
  8. Skin Hygiene: Cleanse your skin gently each night, allowing the cleanser to sit on the skin for a few minutes so it breaks down dirt and impurities, then wash it off with warm water or a clean face cloth. Follow with a toner to close up the pores and balanced the skin's pH. BRIT BEET tip: Look for natural toners that contain ingredients such as rosewater which hydrate and clarify our skin. You may want to avoid toners that contain alcohol which can dehydrate our skin and exacerbate those awkward dried patches brought on by Old Man Winter.   

If you follow these simple and effective steps, you can rock that fabulous Winter skin all season long and be your beautiful self, inside and out!   

Whipped Cacao Coconut Butter


Guest Post by Graydon Moffat, Founder of Graydon Clinical Luxury Skin Care

Slather this cacao coconut butter on indiscriminately! It won't behave like a regular lotion or moisturizer; it's an oil so it'll melt into your skin. It also makes a great shaving cream.

It’s stable at room temperature, and because of cacao butter's high level of antioxidants and coconut oil's natural antimicrobial properties, it'll last you a good while without turning rancid.


100g cacao butter
100g coconut oil
25g MCT
25g camelina oil 

Optional: ¼ tsp of some sweet orange or peppermint essential oil, raw vaniila and/or cocoa powder.


  1. Measure out your ingredients into a small, heatproof bowl.
  2. Place it over a pan of simmering water or a slow cooker and gently stir until it's completely melted. Your house should smell amazing at this point.
  3. Once it's melted, transfer to a small, deep metallic bowl and carefully place it in the fridge (or freezer, if you're impatient like me) and allow to set. It Should take about 20 minutes.  
  4. Once it's semi solid, going to town with a handheld mixer. It won't take long at all to whip the body butter from a solid chunk of yellowish fat into a gorgeous, ivory cloud.
  5. Finally, just transfer everything to your jar(s). It does smell like chocolate so try not to eat it!

What's All The Fuss About Bone Broth?

As the current media darling of youthful skin, you may have heard of of bone broth, with its legendary benefits; digestive health and immunity-boosting, joint support and weight loss, to name a few. 

According to Dr Kerryann Petrucci, New York Times best-selling author of 'The Bone Broth Diet', "When you eat bone broth, you’re really eating cooked collagen. This is a powerful way to restore collagen in your skin and make those wrinkles disappear. Sure, you could find a lot of products with "collagen" on the label, but dietary collagen is more potent — it mainlines collagen to your cells. Additionally, the gelatin derived from the collagen you get in bone broth heals your digestive tract which is a surefire way to prevent inflammation and aging skin."  

When I first came across this proclamation, it sounded incredibly promising however I still wanted to dig a little deeper. Since there are, as yet,  no scientific studies behind the nutritional wonders of bone broth, I turned to Sally Fallon of the Weston A Price Foundation, (author of the best selling cookbook, Nourishing Traditions) and Kaayla T. Daniels, PhD, CCN, co-authors of Nourishing Broths, a book touted as “an indispensable guide to the immense health benefits of bone broth.”

In their book, Fallon and Daniels attribute bone broth, replete with its collagen, marrow, bone and cartilage as, “the right stuff” for rebuilding and rejuvenating the body containing as it does, the key components of vitamins, minerals along with the amino acids glycine, proline and glutamine. They maintain that based on the principle, -‘like feeds like’-, “broth can ensure that our bones have strength and flexibility, our joints are cushioned and resilient and our skin a youthful plumpness.”

So I took a deeper dive into these key components to see what all the fuss was about:

Did you know that collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies?

It’s literally the ‘glue’ that keeps our body together. It’s how our skin gets its strength, elasticity and youthful firmness. As we age, we naturally produce less collagen, which is why we start to struggle with sagging, wrinkled skin and creaky, stiff joints.

According to Fallon and Daniels, when we cook up a batch of bone broth with animal bones, we are literally breaking down collagen into gelatin - you know, that wiggly jelly-like substance at the bottom of the roast chicken, when its’ been refrigerated that is so unappetizing!. However, it is this very same gelatin that contains all the amino acids (proteins) that makes it so beneficial for our bodies.

In addition to more youthful and firmer skin, they assert that this high amount of collagen supports:

  • Heart health through strong and supple arteries
  • Healthy corneas
  • Improved digestion through gut healing
  • Greater immunity

Hey, needless to say, I was already sold on the collagen benefits but I kept digging into the other “right stuff”…  marrow, bone and cartilage.

Marrow, that creamy material found in the centre of bone, say Fallon and Daniels “is what we require, for healing and rejuvenation. It is the seedbed of blood and stem cells and is prized by native cultures all over the world as a sacred, energizing and regenerative food.” In Nourishing Broth, they cite evolutionary anthropologies Professor Leslie Aiello of University College London who states, “bone marrow is highly nutritious and contains many important elements for brain growth and development.” What we do know is that bone marrow is an essential part of the immune system, and that it contains a multitude of cells necessary for immune function and bone growth.

Bone broth, says Fallon and Daniels, “contains a variety of the bioavailable minerals which are easily assimilated and present in the appropriate ratios for bone building. Despite broth’s low calcium content, when it is combined with the high collagen content, this provides a cross-link important for whole bone strength and fracture resistance.”

It is important to stress that when we cook bone broth at home, we start by adding in two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the cooking water. We do this to help dissolve the bones, making the minerals more bioavailable. Remember, the amount of minerals in each batch of bone broth will vary depending on the animal bones we are using, where the animals were raised, the length of cooking time and the amount of bones used for one batch etc.  It's NOT an exact science.  

Cartilage, often described as gristle, has many vital roles – shock absorber, friction reducer and most importantly a framework for our bones. It derives its nutrients from synovial fluid and water, the latter being the chief component of cartilage (65-85%). Thus cartilage health is highly dependent on adequate water intake and exercise. According to Fallon and Daniels, "Once it is undernourished, cartilage that was once resilient and plump becomes worn down, dried out, cracked, stiff and inflamed. Then the bones that the cartilage was designed to protect start rubbing each other the wrong way, causing bone spurs, hardening, inflammation and pain. Drinking bone broth, which of course includes water, plus amino acids, collagen and other components, gives our bodies what it needs to manufacture healthy cartilage." They go on to say, "that providing the right constituents of cartilage – glycine, proline, glutamine, proteoglycans and other nutrients found in cartilage molecules, it makes it easier to prevent cartilage damage to begin with.”

So having looked at the “right stuff" in bone broth and the science behind its nutritious benefits, I decided to give it a go for myself. 

I started simmering up large batches of bone broth, using various concoctions of organic chicken bones or grass fed beef bones and an assortment of organic vegetables.

And this is what I can tell you from my own personal observations over three months:

  • I have never grown my nails this long or hard.
  • Hair strands are NOT all over my coat when I go to put it on
  • I’ve not had a cold or been sick in any way.
  • My digestion and elimination is in tune (if you know what I mean!)
  • I’m pushing hard in my exercises without the same amount of stiffness in my joints.
  • I've notching my belt tighter (could be the weight bearing exercises too)
  • And the other day I was given a big compliment on the glowing state of my skin!

Scientific studies or not, I get what the fuss is all about. Now excuse me, it’s time for my cup of bone broth.