Shannon's Edit

Best Natural Beauty Books

May 5, 2011
beauty books

Every now and again, you come across a book that’s a keeper — those you refer to often and recommend to friends. I have many such reads that will never gather dust on my bookshelf. Here’s a sneak peek at just a few…

Beauty Books to Buy

Clean Body: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself by Michael DeJong

A handy little book I keep on my shelf is Michael DeJong’s Clean Body: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself. Small in size, yet big on natural tips, it’s a great book to have on hand at home, especially if you want to move away from products made with chemicals. Rather than harping on about how our toxic household cleaning and beauty products are making us sick, Michael DeJong offers solutions that are right there in your kitchen. Using just five pure, natural ingredients: baking soda, lemon, olive oil, salt and white vinegar, he shows you how to wash, scrub and rinse with complete peace of mind, all while saving dollars and the environment. Also check out Michael Dejong’s Clean: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing to get you on the path to de-toxifying your entire home.

Eating For Beauty by David Wolfe

No matter what we put on our skin in the effort to make ourselves beautiful, it’s not going to do a thing if we’re not beautiful on the inside. In Eating for Beauty, nutritionist David Wolfe takes you through all of the amazing natural foods that work internal wonders, foods that have been known for thousands of years to promote inner beauty and good health. He also talks about the concept of beauty, where it came from and why it’s so important to us. If you’re interested in understanding how to achieve real beauty, this is a book to buy not borrow.

Look Great, Live Green: Choosing Bodycare Products that Are Safe for You, Safe for the Planet by Deborah Burnes

Self-confessed beauty junkie Deborah Burnes gets right down to the nitty gritty of what toxins are lurking in every day beauty products, shares secrets on how to look past the hype and recipes to make your own beauty products straight from your kitchen pantry. I like this book for many reasons, the main one being Deborah has done all the dirty work for you. She also shares some great hints and tips on how to assess what products deliver the promises and those that are certain to toxify your body.

RAW by Charlie Trotter and Roxanne Klein

Two celebrated US chefs who actively promote sustainable living and showcase it through their incredible culinary pursuits. Many of which are featured in RAW. With recipes such as Mediterranean Cheese Salad with Dragon Crackers and Indian Red Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream and Pecan Praline, this talented duo show just how diverse and satisfying a raw diet can be. Plus with gorgeous pics from photographer Tim Turner you’ll want to un-cook every recipe in the book. I’m starting with the sweet stuff: banana chocolate tart with caramel and chocolate sauces (see recipe below). If you’re vegan, switch out the honey for raw agave nectar.

I’ll be blogging about some new releases in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for those. Read a book that you love? Feel free to share it in the comments!

Banana Chocolate Tart with Caramel and Chocolate Sauces
Serves 4

There may not be a better combination than bananas and chocolate, unless, of course, caramel and walnut are added to the mix. This tart intoxicates through its remarkably sensual, intense flavor. It is the sort of a dish that once you begin eating it, you are compelled to stop talking to others at the table. The child in every adult emerges when this tart is served.  Charlie Trotter & Roxanne Klein

For the cashew milk
3 cups raw cashews, soaked 10 to 12 hours in filtered water, rinsed, and drained
6 cups filtered water

For the date paste
1 cup pitted Barhi dates
1/2 cup filtered water

For the chocolate-fudge almond
1 cup raw almond butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup organic cocoa powder
Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
1 1/2 teaspoon nama shoyu (raw soy sauce)

For the Mexican chocolate sauce
1 cup Chocolate Fudge-Almond
1/4 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

For the honey walnuts
1 cup raw walnuts, soaked for 6 to 8 hours in filtered water, drained, and patted dry
2 tablespoons honey granules
Dash Celtic sea salt
Dash freshly ground cinnamon

For the tart shells
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sprouted flour
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
Pinch of Celtic sea salt

For the caramel sauce
3 heaping tablespoons raw cashews, soaked for 8 hours in filtered water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon Cashew Milk
2 tablespoons raw dark honey
2 tablespoons Date Paste
2 tablespoons maple syrup

4 tablespoons Mexican Chocolate Sauce
8 tablespoons Chocolate Fudge-Almond
28 banana slices
4 tablespoons Honey Walnuts, broken


Make the cashew milk
1. In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews and water and blend until creamy. Line a large sieve with a double thickness of cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Pour the cashew mixture into the sieve and let drain, then grab the corners of the cheesecloth, hold together securely, and squeeze the cheesecloth to extract all of the milk. Transfer the milk to a covered container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Make the date paste
1. In a food processor, combine the dates and water and process until completely smooth. Use immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Make the chocolate-fudge almond
1. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until smooth. Set aside 1 cup for the Mexican Chocolate Sauce. Use immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Make the Mexican chocolate sauce
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together vigorously. Use immediately, or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Make the honey walnuts
1. Combine the walnuts, honey, salt and cinnamon in a bowl and toss to coat the nuts evenly with the other ingredients. Spread the nuts on a nonstick drying sheet on a dehydrator shelf and dehydrate at 105°F (40°C) for 12 hours. Transfer the nuts to the shelf, spreading them evenly and continue to dehydrate for 24 hours longer or until crisp. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Make the tart shells
1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the bottom of each of 4 ring molds each 2 inches in diameter. Pack the mixture firmly into the molds. (You will have more dough than you need for 4 molds. Because the tiny tart shells are fragile and time-consuming to make, it is a good idea to line additional ring molds with the remaining dough in case of breakage.)

2. Place the molds on a nonstick drying sheet on a dehydrator shelf and dehydrate at 105°F (40°C) for 3 hours. Remove the tart shells from the drying sheet and dehydrate directly on the shelf for about 10 hours longer, or until just dry.

Make the caramel sauce
1. Drain the cashews, pat them dry, and then measure them. You should have 1/4 cup; discard any excess. In a high-speed blender, combine the cashews, Cashew Milk, honey. Date Paste and maple syrup and process until smooth. Strain the puree through a fine-mesh sieve. Set aside 4 tablespoons for the tarts; reserve the remainder for another use.

1. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the Mexican Chocolate Sauce in a circle on each plate. Put a tart shell on top of the sauce. Spread 2 tablespoons of the Chocolate Fudge-Almond on the tart shell.

2. Arrange 7 banana slices on top. Drizzle 1 tablespoon Caramel Sauce over the bananas and on the plate. Sprinkle with the Honey Walnuts.

Wine notes: This rich tart requires a wine with serious heft and sweetness because of the golden rule that says, the wine must always be sweeter than the dessert. Trevor Jones’s Old Tokay from Australia’s Barossa Valley, although not a raw wine because a spirit has been added, makes for too perfect a combination to be shunted aside. Its concentrated chocolate and caramel flavors are truly unbelievable with the syrupy richness of the sauces.

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