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Not milk? Despite aggressive ad campaigns, dairy sales are down, and plant-based milks are growing strong. People are waking up to the truth behind dairy.

Cow’s milk isn’t so healthy after all. Even organic milk is filled with hormones, casein, and cholesterol. According to peer-reviewed studies, milk consumption is linked to many health issues, including:

  • Certain cancers: ovarian, uterine, breast, testicular, and prostate.
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Inflammation
  • Acne
  • Sinus problems
  • Digestive issues (lactose intolerance)

I was especially shocked to learn that drinking milk can increase your risk for Osteoporosis and bone fractures. Isn’t that the opposite of what we’ve been told our whole lives? If it sounds unbelievable, feel free to check out this page, or this page, which cite credible sources.

Still not convinced? You might also consider the ethical and environmental impacts of the dairy industry.

Cow’s milk is meant for baby cows, and 2 out of 3 humans can’t even digest it properly. So if we aren’t drinking milk for health, why are we still drinking it? Well, most of us still want SOMETHING to have in our coffee and cereal, right?
milk alternatives portlandIf you’re open to trying a milk alternative, here are some tips:

  • Try before you buy. Starbucks now offers soy, almond and coconut milk. So many options! My friend swears a soy milk chai tastes like a snickerdoodle cookie, and I love a vanilla coconut milk latte. It’s an easy way to test out the flavor and consistency without committing to a full gallon of milk.
  • Don’t expect it to taste like milk. Think of it as a whole other beverage, or you might be disappointed. Like anything, it takes time to adjust. Maybe try drinking your coffee black for a week, then add a milk alternative. You’ll appreciate it all the more!
  • Try the sweetened version first. Most plant-based milks have a sweetened and unsweetened version. I recommend trying a sweetened version first if you’re used to creamer or 2%. Once you get used to the taste, try the unsweetened version for savory cooking or if you want to cut back on sugar.
  • Temperature matters. Putting a cold milk alternative into hot coffee can cause it to separate. You’ll see little floating things at the top of your drink, and wonder how life could be so cruel. Heat up your milk for hot drinks, it’s worth it! However, creamers like this one are usually fine. I also recommend making sure milk is nice and cold for cereal – it’s just much better that way.
  • Consider your options. Some plant-based milks work great in savory dishes, while others are best in beverages or baking. See the descriptions below for more details. Also keep in mind that different milk alternatives vary in taste and texture, so don’t give up after only one try.

Here are some popular options:

  • Coconut: My favorite plant-based milk! It’s creamy and rich, but has a neutral taste, making it versatile in sweet or savory dishes. Full fat coconut milk (usually found in a can) is very thick and works well for curries and yogurts. But for everyday use, like over granola or in lattes, I drink a lighter coconut milk (around 4 grams of fat per cup).
  • Soy: A classic milk alternative, found at any coffee shop or grocery store. It has the same amount of protein as cow’s milk, making it a popular alternative for athletes and anyone looking for extra protein. However, non-GMO soy is hard to come by, so some people avoid it.
  • Almond: Sweet and simple. This is a great option for baking, over cereal, or in coffee. It usually has a thinner consistency, but if you like nutty almond flavors, this is your best bet!
  • Hemp: Hemp is one of my favorite options for lattes. It gets SO frothy, and has a wonderfully nutty taste. I’ve yet to try it in baking or cooking, but I imagine it would work for both.
  • Rice: The perfect way to ruin your day. It’s thin and gross. I’d prefer water in my cereal instead of rice milk.
  • Hazelnut: I’ve actually only tried chocolate hazelnut milk before. It’s basically Nutella as a beverage. Highly recommend.
  • Oat milk: Another thick and creamy option! Works great in baking, and is especially delicious in pumpkin spice lattes.

Of course, these are just a few options, and each version has different brands and variations (like unsweetened or vanilla). You can also try making your own milk using a blender and a nut milk bag.

Swapping out your milk for one of these options can make all the difference for your health, the planet, and the cows! 🐮

Do you have any favorite milk alternatives?

xo
allegra

 

Hi loves! I finally found a great natural concealer, so I had to share! For years I’ve been using this concealer from Tarte. It’s incredible for acne coverage, but I had a few ethical reasons for wanting to switch to another brand. I tried a lot of products to replace it, but nothing even came close until I ordered Hynt Beauty’s Duet Perfecting Concealer.

hynt beauty concealer

First off, the ingredients are mostly clean. The EWG rated it a 2, which is a great score! It’s organic, vegan, and free of toxins and petrochemicals.  Plus it has added skincare benefits with aloe vera, avocado oil, cupuacu seed butter, and botanical extracts.

The consistency is very thick and creamy, and the finish has a natural sheen to it. That’s something I love in a concealer, but I know it’s not for everyone. Here’s a sample of the color “light” on my wrist (not blended at all).

hynt beauty1

This would definitely be considered a high-coverage concealer, even capable of covering a tattoo. I only need a tiny speck to cover a blemish. I also love mixing a small amount with moisturizer to use it as a foundation.

It is long-lasting, but it took a little bit of experimenting to get it that way. With too much moisturizer or serum underneath, the concealer slips and wears off quickly. Without enough moisturizer, it can look dry and flaky on the skin. After some trial and error, I am super happy with the results!15877075_233319820411606_5311578169403244544_n(1)

As a bonus, I LOVE that it’s packaged in a recyclable glass jar! Overall, I would highly recommend this product. There are only 6 shades to choose from, but you can order 2 samples for $6. A little goes a long way, and my pea-sized samples actually lasted me several weeks!
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I also wanted to leave you with a few tips for acne coverage:

  • Exfoliating and moisturizing are the key to natural makeup coverage! Nothing worse than flaky clumps of skin under makeup. To exfoliate, I love the Spin for Perfect Skin Brush used with a gentle cleanser. My favorite way to moisturize is this mask from 100% pure. I love it so much I use it as my daily moisturizer!
  • Experiment with different applications. The right brush or beauty blender can make all the difference in how your products apply. Lately I’ve been applying concealer with this brush, and then tapping it out with my finger to blend it seamlessly into my skin.
  • Go light on the powder! It took me way too long to realize this. Loading up on powder can often draw attention to the issue and cause creasing and lines to form throughout the day. Personally I’d rather have a hint of acne than a cake-face of makeup. Let your foundation and/or concealer do most of the work, and use a small amount of powder to set it in place.
  • A spritz of rose water or witch hazel helps set makeup so it looks more like skin! It also adds the prettiest glow ✨ I started doing this last year and have gotten so many compliments on my skin (even during breakouts)!

Let me know if you have any additional tips! Sending love to all my natural beauties. xo

It’s dinner time! With a little creativity, any of your favorite meals can be made vegan. And just a few vegan meals a week can really cut down your carbon footprint + save some furry/feathery friends. Here are some ideas:

vegan plant based dinner ideas portland

  • Pizza. Yes, vegans can enjoy pizza too. You can sub in your favorite meat/cheese alternatives, or just load up on veggies. My go-to toppings are peppers, mushrooms, onions, olives, and Vegan Mozz from Miyoko’s Kitchen
  • Spaghetti/Lasagna. When I first went vegan, I swear I had spaghetti for every meal. If all you know how to do is make pasta and heat up marinara sauce, you’re good to go. Of course, a homemade sauce is even better! I love letting mine simmer all afternoon with tomatoes, carrots, celery, brown sugar, fresh herbs and roasted garlic. Vegan lasagna is also amazing – you can layer in veggies like zucchini and eggplant, vegan ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan.
  • Baked Potatoes. Load ‘em up with chili, chives, vegan sour cream, and even vegan bacon bits. For some extra nutritional value, go for sweet potatoes!
  • Kebabs. Definitely a summer favorite! Throw all your favorite veggies on a stick, season/marinate them, and grill ‘em up! Serve with some rice + greens.
  • Burgers. I was so in love with cheeseburgers before I went vegan. I avoided veggie burgers for a long time, thinking they were all dry and crumbly. However, I’ve really come to love falafel burgers and portobello mushroom burgers, loaded with tons of condiments. I also recently discovered the Beyond Meat Burger and it is INSANELY DELICIOUS. Even my non-vegan friends were amazed!
  • Risotto, Stir Fry, or Fried Rice. Basically any rice dish can be veganized! I have stir fry at least once a week, and it’s easy to mix things up depending on what veggies or sauces I have on hand.
  • Enchiladas, Tacos, or Nachos. All super easy to make vegan. Either focus on the veggies and beans, or sub in some meat alternatives like jack fruit, or Beyond Beef Crumbles. I also highly recommend this nacho cheese sauce from Heidi Ho.
  • Alfredo. Another childhood favorite. It’s easy to create a vegan alfredo sauce using cashews or nutritional yeast. Check out some recipes here and here. Add broccoli or asparagus to get your greens!
  • Soup, Salad, Breadsticks. Olive Garden knows what’s up. Be sure to read the label on broths or salad dressings – or just make your own!
  • Chili. Always comforting and hearty, even without the meat. Serve with vegan cornbread.
  • Curry. Curry is another great option to get lots of veggies and lots of flavor.
  • Pad Thai. I can’t say no to a good Thai dish, especially with lots of peanut sauce!
  • Side Feast. You know how the best part of Thanksgiving is the sides? Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, rolls, etc.? Just throw all your favorite vegan sides together for the best dinner ever.
  • And of course, any of the breakfast or lunch ideas that I shared in my previous posts would also work for dinner!

These are just a few meals I enjoy on a regular basis, but you’re a quick Google search away from thousands of more ideas. Have fun in the kitchen! xo

If I had to classify myself as a “coffee person” or a “tea person,” I would probably say I’m a “tea person.” For most of my life I thought all coffee tasted the same: bitter, burnt, and only bearable with milk and sugar. Apparently I was just drinking the wrong kind of coffee.

A whole new world opened up when I went to Paris. I only knew about three phrases in French, and one of them was “an espresso, please.” So everyday, we drank espresso. I had never tasted anything like it: luxuriously smooth and creamy with a kiss of sweetness. No sugar needed. Where had this been all my life?

When I arrived back home, the search for great espresso began. Thankfully Portland has a huge coffee scene, and it wasn’t long until I found something comparable. One of the closest options was at Groundwork Coffee, just a few blocks away from me at their NW location. The coffee is roasted right on site in Kobos’ historic micro roaster – Portland’s original! The whole block smells delicious.

nw portland groundworkSo when Groundwork reached out asking for locals to try their new Vegan Horchata Cold Brew, I was all in! I’m always excited to see coffee shops add vegan options to the menu. Little Green Pickle put on an awesome tasting event at Groundwork’s Hawthorne location, which also gave me a chance to peep the breakfast menu.

I was greeted with a delicious granola bowl with cashew milk, fresh fruit, and avocado toast! Currently the breakfast menu is pretty basic, and vegans need to ask for some substitutions (ie. no egg on the avocado toast). However, they plan to expand the menu soon. I’m seeing vegan breakfast burritos in my future.😍Processed with VSCO with m5 presetNow the star of the morning was definitely the Vegan Horchata Cold Brew. Unlike traditional horchata, the base is made with almond milk and sweetened condensed coconut milk. This made for an ultra-sweet and creamy experience. It had just the right amount of cinnamon, and as expected, the cold brew was perfection. I would highly recommend this to anyone (vegan or not) who loves their coffee sweet. It’s the perfect summer refresher!

Groundwork cold brew horchata vegan

Groundwork was kind enough to send me home with some goodies, including their concentrated cold brew and nitro cold brew. I’m looking forward to making my own horchata at home.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetDefinitely check out Groundwork Coffee, and be on the lookout for new vegan options coming soon! xoxo

EYEBROWS: The most important topic of 2017. Ok obviously not, but I do love a good brow. I photograph a lot of people, and I can tell you that eyebrows done right (or wrong) can make all the difference. Ever since I realized this, I’ve been trying to achieve the perfect brow. Here’s what I’ve learned & how I do my brows with clean beauty products:

Shaping Methods: waxing, sugaring, threading, or plucking? So many options for brow shaping! I personally recommend threading if you can handle it. It’s extremely precise and no chemicals are involved (because it literally just uses thread). If you can find a threading artist with killer shaping skills, you’ve found a friend for life.

Sugaring is another great option, if you can find someone using a natural formula (like Echo Natural Beauty in Portland!) It’s much less painful than waxing and threading in my opinion.

If you trust yourself to shape and pluck your own brows, go for it! There are tons of great tutorials online.

My technique? Well, lately I’ve just been letting my brows grow wild, but I plan to go back to threading soon. I always ask them to clean up the strays and create a clean parallel line from the start of the brow to the arch (no tadpole brows). I try to keep as much hair possible, because I love big bold brows!everyday allegra shaping eyebrows_0023

Brow Products: There are so many great products out there, ranging from pencils, gels, pomades and powders. To me, it’s not so much about the type of product, but the color! I had the hardest time finding a brown that didn’t look too red/orange on my skin.

When I stumbled across this eyeshadow from Jane Iredale in “Double Espresso,” I knew I’d found the one. It might not be meant for brows, but it’s the the most perfect neutral brown for me. I also love that it can apply feathery light, or super bold, depending on how much product I use.

My technique? I create the shape using an angled brush, like this one from Ecotools. Then I softly fill in the rest with the fluffy side. To create the best shape, I follow this guide below. Achieving-The-Perfect-Eyebrow-ShapeUsing the side of my nose as a starting point, I hold my pencil/brush against my face where these dotted lines are to give a straight edge. is where the brow should begin, B is where the arch should go, and is where the brow should end.  This is also a great guide for plucking/shaping brows!

Once my brows are shaped and filled in, I finish them off with this clear brow gel from Jane Iredale. It’s easy for brows to get out of place during the day, and this gel keeps them where I want them!

The results? Here’s the difference it makes — left is before, right is after.
everyday allegra shaping eyebrows_0021If I’m wearing minimal makeup for the day (like above), I’ll keep my brows light. If I’m wearing more makeup (like the first photo), I’ll go darker and bolder. Brows are a great way to balance out your look and frame your eyes. So to me, it seems a little unbalanced to create a full-on smokey eye and then not touch my brows. Or to go super bold with my brows, and then not balance things out with a nice lip color or something. Of course, that’s just my personal opinion, and you should do whatever makes you feel best!

If you’ve ever wondered how I do my brows, now you know! I’d love to hear your techniques/tips too, so feel free to share! xoxo