Women We Admire | Avra Epstein July 28 2016
Avra Epstein is the founder of the vegan lifestyle blog LoveWildLiveFree.com and a Toronto based lawyer who loves to create organic + vegan meals. We met Avra recently when she came to our Skincare Clinic to enjoy a custom facial treatment with Julie. We became inspired by her passion for conscious healthy living, so we asked her to share some of her thoughts with our readers!
What are your top 5 skincare tips?
- Hydration is key. I always start my day by drinking about 1L of water 30 minutes before I eat and then I continue drinking water in a glass reusable water bottle throughout the day. During my most recent treatment at Province Apothecary Julie shared with me that according to Ayurvedic medicine if your lips are dry then that is an indication that you need to hydrate. In addition to using lip balm, I have been sure to drink extra water whenever I notice that my lips are dry. One of my favourite ways to stay hydrated throughout the day is to drink homemade infused waters. I love the combination of fresh organic mint, cucumber and sliced lemons. I add these ingredients to a large jar of fresh spring water or filtered water and refrigerate overnight. It is really delicious!
Every product that you use externally on your body absorbs into your body, so I exclusively use natural and organic cosmetic products made with plant-based ingredients. When shopping for face products, cleansers, moisturizers, makeup and other cosmetics, I always look for vegan products which are inherently cruelty-free. I also read labels to ensure that these products are free of parabens, sulfates, petroleum, phthalates, artificial colours, synthetic fragrances and other unhealthy chemicals. I also always choose nail polish that is “5 Free”, meaning that the formulation is free of toluene, formaldehyde, lead, nickel and phthalates.
Dry brushing to detoxify and exfoliate. I have been dry brushing before showers for over 5 years and love the results. Dry brushing softens your skin by removing dead skin cells, it also helps to improve circulation, lymphatic drainage and cellulite too. You can find an excellent set of instructions on how to dry brush here: How And Why You Should Start Dry Brushing
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! I always moisturize my entire body after showering and whenever I wash my face. In the winter months, when it is especially dry, I never leave home without moisturizer in my purse so that I can reapply after washing my hands.
- Always wash your face before bed. It is so important to cleanse your face and remove any makeup before you go to sleep. There are a lot of air-borne environmental pollutants that we encounter daily and chances are that they have probably landed on your face throughout the day. A freshly washed face means your skin can breathe while you get your beauty sleep!
What's your go-to morning routine?
I start my day by washing my face and then tongue scrapping, which is an Ayurvedic oral hygiene practice that removes bacteria, food buildup, fungi, toxins, and dead cells. Next, I oil pull for 20 minutes with a spoonful of organic, unrefined coconut oil while I get ready for the day. I have been oil pulling for over 2 years and the results have been phenomenal. My teeth are extra white and healthy, and I have not had the need to use any synthetic tooth whitening strips. The oil pulls out toxins and bacteria, so if you’re trying this out be sure not to swallow any of the oil. Also, spit it out in the garbage when you’re done as the oil could potentially clog your drain. I always brush my teeth after I oil pull using natural, fluoride-free toothpaste.
Next, I rehydrate and drink about 1L of spring water or filtered water 30 minutes before eating. Usually I have a smoothie as my first meal of the day. I always use organic bananas, hemp hearts and filtered water as the base of my smoothie. Typically I will add any combination of frozen organic fruit, like raspberries, mango and blueberries. I also love adding raw cacao powder, maca power and greens, like kale or baby spinach.
What foods do you recommend for healthy, vibrant skin?
For healthy, vibrant skin I recommend eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, free from preservatives and other chemicals. My food philosophy is that you are what you eat, so I prefer to eat mostly raw, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, as well as whole-grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. I eat organic and local foods as much as possible and always 100% vegan.
I was vegetarian for a long time and thought I was eating “clean”, however, my diet included dairy and eggs. During this time I would suffer from painful breakouts on my face and back. I attributed these breakouts to monthly hormonal changes. I learned that this was not an accurate assumption because as soon as I stopped eating dairy and eggs the breakouts went away. Since going vegan and incorporating a lot of raw foods into my diet my breakouts did not return and my skin cleared up and healed itself naturally.
Ingredients (1 large serving or 2 small servings)
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tbsp chia seed
1 cup (250 ml) plant-based milk
1/2 cup of Rolled Oats (not quick cooking oats)
3 tbsp rasins
1/4 tsp vanilla extract/raw ground vanilla beans
a pinch of cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl. Stir to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients. Place in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least 5-6 hours, but preferably overnight.
Serve as is, or top with your favourite toppings, like fresh fruit, coconut flakes, mulberries, cacao nibs, nut butter and/or maple syrup.
The oats should keep in the refrigerator for about 2 days.
Avra publishes organic vegan lifestyle living resources on lovewildlivefree.com where she shares everything from nutritious recipes, to vegan style and travel, as well as health & wellness information, while showcasing the best of Toronto vegan businesses and local food along the way.
Click here to check out our feature on Avra's Toronto Love section of her website!
Avra Epstein | www.lovewildlivefree.com | facebook.com/lovewildlivefree | @lovewildlivefree