A Butternut Squash Recipe for the Worst Winter Days | Healthyish


February isn’t an easy month to be healthyish, even when it’s your job. I started January extremely ambitiously, but now I’m staring down the contents of my fridge, unable to contemplate another root-vegetable-centric meal. So it makes sense that, when this Butternut Squash Parmesan recipe emerged from the Test Kitchen a few weeks ago, I had a complete meltdown…a happy meltdown. « It’s SO goooooood, » I told freelance recipe developer Lauren Schaefer, who developed this riff on eggplant Parm for Healthyish. Then basically everyone else on staff got their hands on a piece, and they agreed. It’s everything we want in a Parm, with the ideal ratio of tomato sauce to cheese and squash that cuts like butter and melts in your mouth. Winter, touché.

Remember our friend squash pasta from last year? He’s still great, but I give Parm a slight edge for coming together faster (no need to pre-cook the squash) and being optionally gluten-free (if you omit the bread crumbs). « Making eggplant Parm is usually an all-day affair, and there are so many dishes involved because you’re frying, transferring, baking, all of that, » Schaefer says. This Parm, on the other hand, can be done in under two hours and involves mostly just assembly. You start by making a quick tomato sauce using a can of whole tomatoes, anchovies (it won’t taste fishy, we promise!), garlic, and red pepper flakes. While that cooks, you peel and cut the squash, which is the only real labor here. « Everything else is pure satisfaction, » Shaefer promises, and she’s right.

Eggplants have tons of water in them, which is why you have to salt and fry the slices before baking. Squash, on the other hand, is a very different vegetable (it’s actually a fruit, but what kind of annoying person says that?). It will release a little liquid in the baking pan, but just enough to soak up the sauce and cheese and bind all the delicious flavors together.

Speaking of the cheese, Schaefer uses Parmesan because, uh, it’s a Parm; mozzarella for that photogenic cheese pull; and a dark-horse addition of Greek yogurt, which adds richness and tang. (And protein? Sure!) The dairy gets mixed together, then all that’s left to do is put it together—sauce on the bottom, then squash, then cheese, then repeat until you’re out of stuff to layer—and bake. Ten minutes before it’s done, Schaefer adds some breadcrumbs for a crispy bite.

I’d make this Parm on a Sunday night and serve it alongside a romaine salad with a bright, lemony dressing, and I’d be very happy reheating it for lunch the next day. But the nice thing about this Parm is that it’s sized for a very reasonable 8×8″ dish—not one of those massive casserole pans—so you’re not drowning in leftovers for weeks. If you’re into long-range meal prep, you could assemble it, seal it tightly, and pop it in the freezer for the next time you have an impromptu winter dinner party. It’ll thaw beautifully, and hopefully, someday, I will too.

Get the recipe:


This hearty winter squash recipe is a twist on traditional eggplant Parmesan with fewer steps (there’s no need to wait around for the squash pieces to dry, plus you don’t have to fry them!) but no less satisfaction.



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How to Drink Yerba Mate Like a Pro | Healthyish


On a snowy stretch of Williamsburg dominated by brick-walled coffee shops, Porteñas is a shock of gold and green. Leaf-patterned cushions cover cafe chairs, houseplants perch on shelves, and even the stout slabs of poppy seed cake nestled inside the pastry case are suspiciously moss-colored. It’s not just aesthetics—it’s a proper salute to yerba mate.

The caffeinated tea is South America’s lifeblood. First cultivated by the indigenous Guaraní people in pre-Columbian Paraguay, the yerba mate leaf, along with its traditional brewing practices and drinking rituals, is a fixture of social gatherings across the continent. But uninitiated Americans are more likely to grab a Venti latte to-go than sit and sip the bracing, bitter wash of tannins. Porteñas owners Carmen Ferreyra, Gretel Pellegrini, and Fernanda Tabares are aiming to change that.

healthyish mate 2

Photo by Emma Fishman

The bar at Porteñas serves up empanadas, juices, and, yes, plenty of mate.

“When you drink coffee for the first time, you don’t drink it black because, if you do, you don’t drink it ever again,” Ferreyra says, laughing. That’s why Tabares, the chef at Porteñas, is using yerba mate in less traditional ways, like herbal mate blends, “matteccinos,” and mate-spiked juices. Tabaraes even uses an imported mate concentrate on her glitter-dusted empanadas and in her crème brûlée, and, yes, to punch up that poppy-seed cake.

New-school ways to consume mate abound, but Porteñas hopes people will discover the pleasure of drinking mate the traditional way too. That means sipping from a wooden gourd using a straw called a bombilla. This can requires a bit of finesse because the loose-leaf tea can clog the filter if you don’t hold the bombilla right. So the cafe stocks glass gourds with filters that separate the tea from the straw, to ease the learning curve. Those are available for purchase, along with the traditional wooden variety, online and in the cafe—but if you’re looking to master the traditional technique, practice makes perfect. Here, Ferreyra walks us through it.

healthyish mate 1

Photo by Emma Fishman

Fact: Chocolate bombónes are the perfect mate chaser.

First, you need to put dry yerba mate inside the gourd and shake to dislodge any dust. Then you add hot water—take the kettle off before it boils to avoid burning the tea—and insert the bombilla at a 45° angle. Water should be poured slowly—if it’s poured too fast, the tea will separate and steep unevenly. Pros looking to elongate the experience will steep the tea a little bit at a time (instead of flooding the whole gourd at once) so you can sit and sip as long as possible. After all, drinking yerba mate is a social activity. You sit and gossip and pass the gourd to your right until an entire liter of hot water has been used up. Every group has a “leader” who is in charge of adding more water, and you can gracefully bow out of the next round with simple gracias.

This rotation is part of yerba mate’s ritual, and it also distributes the caffeine. (It would not be advised to consume a liter of mate on your own.) The first sip is the most bitter, and the flavor mellows over time as the tea is diluted. It’s a wonderful way to pass an hour. If you’re in a rush, you can still pick up a creamy mate latte or espresso-spiked mate on your way to the train, but, at a time when most coffee shops specialize in attracting anti-social, laptop-wielding freelancers or churning out to-go orders, the owners of Porteñas are hoping people will linger.

“Mate is a tradition that you share with friends and family, and that’s what we wanted to create,” says Ferreyra. On the opening weekend, she says, five groups of friends squeezed into the space. They caught up and laughed, then did something Ferreyra found surprising: They passed the gourd. « It was a total surprise for us because we thought nobody would share and they ended up doing just that, » she laughs. Cleary, Brooklyn’s mate culture is brewing.


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Cultured Guru Sauerkraut Makes Me Truly Excited to Drown My Gut in Probiotics | Healthyish


When a food possesses superpowers like, oh, a dose of good-for-the-gut bacteria, I can’t help but have faith in it. I just know I will relish the flavor and reap the benefits and sing its praises for all time, forever, amen. It’s a feeling, not a science.

Somehow, though, the first two jars of sauerkraut I tried reached their expiration date still half-full. The first one I tried was too pungent; the next was too pasteurized (honest mistake). Out went the jars, and out went the wild optimism I’d placed in sauerkraut.

Some months later, I heard about a fermented foods brand called Cultured Guru right where I used to live in Baton Rouge. Its microbe-rich pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi line the refrigerators of health food stores across Louisiana, from Whole Foods to the no-frills neighborhood shop where I break for produce and plate lunches. Cultured Guru’s Instagram feed of plant-based bowls—bibimbap! sushi bowls! supersized, spiralized salads!—mesmerized me. So did the science behind its products.

spicy tofu poke with pickled shiitake mushrooms

Put that sauerkraut in a grain bowl.

Microbiologist and co-owner Kaitlynn Fenley developed Cultured Guru’s small-batch sauerkraut recipe to allow “the best probiotic microbes from the cabbage to thrive and remain throughout the fermentation process,” she says. A super-specific ratio of sea salt, water, and cabbage means the finished product teems with lots (and lots) of species of Lactobacillus. Fenley tests every batch to be sure.

So yeah, I had reason to believe this sauerkraut would be good for me. But I really wanted to know if it would taste good.

Cue the praises.

Its saltiness, brightness, and just-right tang made me wonder how I ever gave up on sauerkraut. It tasted and crunched like fresh cabbage (!!) after three-ish weeks of fermentation. Turns out, fermenting in an oak barrel keeps the cabbage crisp thanks to tannins, and it boosts the number of bacteria species in the veg. This, I’m told, sets Cultured Guru apart from other fermentation companies in the United States.

Now, I’m scooping it onto salads, burgers, and breakfast skillets or downing shots of brine like it’s lemonade. Just like that, I’m stocking up on sauerkraut again before the jar in the fridge even dips below half full.

Buy it: Cultured Guru Sauerkraut, $9.

All products featured on Healthyish are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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Hex Your Ex Then Bake a Cake | Healthyish


Every week, Healthyish editor Amanda Shapiro talks about what she’s seeing, eating, watching, and reading in the wellness world and beyond. Pro tip: If you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll get the scoop before everyone else.

Healthyish friends,

I like amari, the bitter, Italian after-dinner drinks, because they’re basically wellness shots made with a bajillion good-for-you herbs. I was at Fausto recently, a very good restaurant that your parents will also love, and at the end of the meal our server gave us some Averna (that’s a brand of amaro from 1969 that had been unearthed in an old gas station in Tuscany). I swear to you it smelled like gasoline—to the point that one of my dining companions sat with his nose in the glass, in a fugue state, for about five minutes. We debated whether it was possible for an amaro to absorb the, um, terroir of a gas station, but then we stopped caring and just drank it.

The 5-Star Review

Why not hex your ex this Valentine’s Day? Salty, the feminist sex newsletter run by Claire Fitzsimmons, will send a card to your ex, letting them know they’ve been mildly cursed. Then you can finally move along with your life, bake this chocolate cake (or this one) or this one), and share it with someone you love, even if that someone is you.

What I’m Cooking

seared lamb with marinated halloumi and herbs

Photo by Gentl and Hyers, food styling by Susie Theodorou, prop styling by Nina Lalli

Bon Appétit’s March issue dropped yesterday, and I haven’t earmarked this many recipes from a single magazine in a long time. I already made Carla Lalli Music’s seared lamb with halloumi because those are two of my desert-island ingredients, and I can report that it was as good as it looks, even when you double the spices by mistake. This weekend I’ll be going in on some red wine and soy–braised short ribs from The Good Fork chef Sohui Kim, and I’m eyeing this sesame-scallion sauce, which seems like a meal-prep dream come true.

Now that Healthyish is more than two years old (!), I sometimes rediscover recipes that I totally forgot about. Like the time I asked Chris Morocco for a sheet-pan salmon recipe, and he delivered this perfect little number. The dish is so simple and super flavorful thanks to the miso mojo, made with an acidic triple-threat of orange juice, lime juice, and rice vinegar, plus a couple tablespoons of miso and thinly sliced serranos. I’ve been using the leftovers as salad dressing all week.

This Week on Healthyish

MacKenzie Fagan heads to La Copine, the desert roadside diner of our dreams, to talk to the co-owners about the intentional community they’ve built there. I ate at La Copine when I was in Joshua Tree last month, and it does indeed feel as utopian as she describes. (And I’m still thinking about those charred green beans with tahini and mint.)

Who I’m Following

Sam Youkilis for the warm-weather places. Cora Harrington aka The Lingerie Addict since I heard that Call Your Girlfriend episode. Lukas Volger, who’s not a new follow but he’s back on his #28daysofoatmeal, and I’m watching like it’s Russian Doll.

Until next week,

Amanda Shapiro
Healthyish Editor

P.S. I still don’t know how to pronounce this natural alternative to retinol that our skincare writer Deanna Pai investigated, but I’ve been saying bah-koo-chee-oil to myself for the last few days, and it’s making me laugh.


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La Copine Is a Queer Oasis in the California Desert | Healthyish


According to Instagram, the high desert that surrounds Joshua Tree National Park is a progressive Millennial dream. There’s the Integratron, a dome built by an alien abductee where visitors can bathe in the vibrations of crystal bowls. Desert chic Airbnbs abound, most of them featuring some combination of Acapulco chairs, macramé wall hangings, and galvanized steel hot tubs. And the park itself is a favorite among weekending Echo Parkers and Silverlakians, skin impossibly dewy despite the arid climate.

healthyish la copine vibes 2

Photo by Katie Thompson

La Copine’s citrus and beets salad, topped with sunflower seeds and poblano-lime vinaigrette.

But Joshua Tree and the surrounding towns of the Morongo Basin are also part of California’s 8th Congressional District, one of the most conservative in the state. Just down the street from the Integratron is a low-slung church surrounded by chain link fence, the word “JESUS” perched on the roof in white letters. On the road to a popular outsider art museum, there’s a sign for a gun range written in what looks to be the spidery hand of a serial killer.

It’s in this land of contrasts that Claire Wadsworth and Nikki Hill—partners in life and business—decided to open their restaurant, La Copine. Located on the vividly named Old Woman Springs Road, La Copine seats just 42 and feels like a gussied-up roadside diner. For a queer visitor to the desert, walking through the door feels like stumbling upon a gay, matriarchal oasis. The staff is largely female or gender nonconforming, and everyone seems delighted that you’ve decided to stop by, even when the wait list is twelve deep. The positive vibes, as they say in Joshua Tree, are strong. Add to that Hill’s food—architecturally craggy fried chicken, flattop-blistered green beans showered with mint and dill, a brownie masquerading as chocolate almond cake—and it’s no surprise that customers can expect to wait two hours on the weekends.

We spoke with Wadsworth, Hill, and other members of the La Copine community about the pull of the desert, the importance of inclusive spaces in the food industry, and what makes La Copine such a special place.

healthyish la copine 1

Photo by Katie Thompson

« Nikki and I met at a dinner party. My sister Ali and I were in a band, and we lived in this all-girl band house in Philly. I will never forget the first time I saw Nikki. I walked in the front door, and Nikki was rolling out gnocchi dough on our kitchen table. My heart dropped, and I froze. We just immediately fell in love, and two months later she moved in.

We had been living in LA for a few years, and we had just gotten married. It was Earth Day, and it’s free to get into the national parks on Earth Day, so we decided to go to Joshua Tree. We’d never been. So we went to the park, walked around Pioneertown, saw a double rainbow and a lightning storm, found the Integratron, and that was it. We knew we were moving to the desert. Joanne [the owner of] the Integratron told us about the restaurant. Two weeks later we were buying it. The previous tenant literally handed us the keys and the lease, said, “Well ladies, it was really nice doing business with you. Call me if you need anything. If I were you, I’d get myself a shotgun,” and walked out the door.

You look at a place that votes as a conservative county, and you think, “These people aren’t going to like me because I’m different than them.” And then they’re the ones who are calling you saying, “Hey, I saw someone in your parking lot at two in the morning, and I chased them out.” It’s such a wonderful community.

Still, to this day we get letters in the mail with religious, anti-gay material. We get one every other month, and it looks really cute on the outside, like someone let their kid decorate it with stickers and glitter. And inside it’s packets saying, “The gay man is the devil.”

All the people who protested and fought for civil rights, they did it so that we could just exist. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re just existing and doing what we’re good at. We’re so lucky. Every night, we put our hands on the building, and we tell La Copine that we love her. Every night. We just want to fill the building with our love so that it keeps it going. Love makes things grow. »

healthyish la copine 2

Photo by Katie Thompson

Nikki Hill, co-owner and chef

My friend told me about these girls who were in a band together and hosted these pop-up dinner parties where they would play music and wine would be flowing. Did I want to spend my one day off cooking for a dinner party and washing all the dishes for a bunch of girls in a band? I said yes.

The idea of La Copine came about because we always wanted to recreate the night we met, so we started doing personal dinner parties for friends. We knew we wanted a name that was a little feminine and French, and “la copine” came up. It means girlfriend, but it’s also a casual meaning for girlfriend. So it’s not like, “We’re lovers!” but it also could imply that.

healthyish la copine 3

Photo by Katie Thompson

Sandy Guevara, line cook

I identify as pretty thoroughly genderqueer. Generally I prefer non-gender pronouns like “they,” but mostly I feel like gender is for other people’s comfort. I’ve been trying to get people to go with “it,” but nobody’s picked up on that.

I was living in LA and coming out to the desert quite a bit. There feels like so much possibility here in the desert. When I was younger, all the queers would move to the city for possibilities because you got to be yourself. Now it feels like reverse migration. Cities have become so expensive and so restrictive that now the country feels like where possibilities exist. But my fear in moving up here was isolation. The first time I walked into La Copine, I went, “Wow! Look at all these beautiful freaks!” It felt like a pocket of home.

I’ve been a baker for the last ten years. I’ve seen and experienced some horrific harassment in kitchens, and it’s nice to be in a place where that doesn’t even seem like a possibility. It’s nice to be able to come to work and not wear armor. And the food is delicious and the atmosphere is beautiful and everybody is happy here. Nikki and Claire took a pretty big risk opening a business in a place that isn’t always welcoming. It’s a lot of people busting their ass to do a good thing. You can feel the difference when you work in a place like that, and hopefully you can feel the difference when you eat in a place like that.

healthyish la copine 5

Photo by Katie Thompson

Ali Wadsworth, Claire’s sister, front of house

I’m very close to Claire—Nikki too. It’s like having two sisters, which is the best. When they were living in LA, I would go out to visit them, but as soon as they moved to the desert, my trips got longer and longer.

Living in the middle of nowhere is not for everybody. Claire and Nikki say, “The desert spits out what it doesn’t like.” It makes you face shit that maybe you would just avoid back home. It pulls things out of you.

We’re open Wednesday through Sunday, two to seven. Most nights, the waiting list is so long that we have to shut it down at five. When celebrities come in, we make them wait. But even the people who are pissed that they have to wait, as soon as they sit down and eat, they’re the happiest people in the whole world. Everything Nikki makes is going to be the best, and everything is going to be sent out with love.

We have family meal together at the end of every night, which is a magical thing. A really nice meal helps you be in the moment and look at the beautiful place that you’re in right now, enjoy the people you’re with. It does feel like family. I mean, it is my family.

healthyish la copine 4

Photo by Katie Thompson

Hannia Sobrevilla, owner of Teocali, the shop in an Airstream in La Copine’s parking lot

I was born and raised in Mexico, and I have a background in fashion. When my brother got married in Oaxaca, I got the idea to collaborate with artisans there. So my business is textiles and accessories that are handmade, fair trade, ethical, and sustainable.

I met Ali when I was in college, and Claire and I became friends through her. A little over a year ago, I was living in Portland, and Claire invited me to come visit. That was when she said, “I don’t know how your business is doing, but our parking lot is yours if you want to set up in a trailer.” And now Claire and Nikki and Ali and I all live within a three-block radius of each other. It’s like Sesame Street. When I first moved out here, I had zero cell service so Claire got me walkie talkies for my birthday. We would come home from work and just radio over invitations to hang out.

My mom is into astrology, so a few years ago she bought me a reading. I asked about the business, and the lady said, “I don’t see it in the Pacific Northwest. I see it taking off in three years, but I see you in the desert.” The desert is a crazy place but it provides, and Claire and Nikki have given me a world of opportunities.


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The Vegan Eggs Substitute That’s So Good I Feel Guilty Eating It | Healthyish


The egg: versatile, protein-rich, great at any meal, for a snack, and don’t even get me started on its power as a leavener, binder, and emulsifier. You’d think I’d be a two-egg-a-day woman, but the truth is I haven’t had the pleasure of cracking one in a decade. I’ve been a vegan since 2009, and I miss eggs more than anything. I’ve always been a savory- over-sweet breakfast person, but, without eggs, what’s left? I’m plenty familiar with tofu scrambles and chickpea flour omelets, decent visual doppelgängers that don’t really approximate the real thing. And don’t talk to me about savory oats.

Then, a few months ago, my favorite deli began churning out these amazing vegan breakfast sandwiches with something called a JUST egg. I had to know the deal, so I ordered some JUST for myself.

My « egg » arrived in a 12-ounce bottle, frozen and nestled in dry ice. Thankfully it was 100-percent gimmick-free: no carton or artificial shell. The color was the appropriate yellow. I pulled up a suggested recipe and started with a Sunday morning mini scramble. My pan was hot, greased, and ready. I put in a quarter cup and instantly it adhered to the pan just like an egg! The yellow liquid bubbled, changed color, and even stuck to the sides where I hadn’t oiled. I finished my eggs with a sprinkling of sulfur-y Kala Namak salt. How did it taste? Have you ever eaten an egg? I had to check the label twice to make sure what was on my plate didn’t come from a chicken.

Healthy ish Dinner Scramble 04122018

Vegans, rejoice: You too can make a soy-ginger dinner scramble.

Nope, the ingredients are all plant and 98-percent of them are water, mung beans, and canola oil. The real revelation here is that mung bean protein, when isolated from the rest of the bean, tastes and scrambles just like an egg. Welcome to 2019, a time when a vegan frittata is totally possible.

Okay, so JUST eggs could compete against any omelet or scramble but what about in secondary uses like French Toast or in a nice egg wash over a (vegan) turnover? Done and done. Perfectly bouncy, crispy, toasts emerged from the pan, and the turnovers I whipped up were golden brown. Another little bonus about this egg is that, nutritionally, it’s pretty close to the original chicken version.

JUST has yet to conquer a few of eggs’ greatest gifts. It isn’t advisable to go baking cakes, fussing with creme brûlées, or stirring it into salad dressings. But I have faith that day will soon come. In the meantime, I can look forward to working on my French omelet technique and resurrecting breakfast for dinner, which ten-year-old me was super-into. Scrambled JUST eggs, a side of (mushroom) bacon and (coconut) buttered toast. Don’t @ me; it’s delicious.

Buy JUST Egg in select stores and online at Jet.com, $9.

All products featured on Healthyish are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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What Is Bakuchiol, Natural Skincare’s Answer to Retinol? | Healthyish


I was once in a meeting with a beauty brand when a publicist—one I know pretty well, to be fair—reached over and brushed a few flakes off my cheek.

“Sorry,” she said. “I couldn’t help it.”

I shrugged, replying, “I’ve been using retinol.”

Everyone nodded. They got it: Errant flakes are just one unpleasant side effect of retinoids, a form of vitamin A that can otherwise do lots of good, like increase cell turnover, spur production of collagen and elastin, and fight acne when applied topically to skin.

“Retinoids commonly come with uncomfortable side effects, including increased redness, dryness, and peeling of the skin,” says Y. Claire Chang, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology. For those with sensitive skin or prone to eczema and rosacea, the risk is even higher. That’s why bakuchiol, a plant-derived ingredient and mainstay in Ayurvedic medicine, has recently caused the skincare obsessed and retinol naysayers to lose their collective minds. On its own, bakuchiol has an impressive resume. “It’s an antioxidant that protects the cell from oxidative stress by regulating the mitochondria,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a dermatologist at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City. (That oxidative stress, by the way, causes cell damage that leads to premature aging.) It also mimics vitamin E in its ability to heal and hydrate the skin.

What makes bakuchiol so unique, though, is that research has found that it can provide the same anti-aging results as retinol—but without the annoying side effects. The theory is that bakuchiol activates a receptor in cells similar to those of retinol, explains Raja Sivamani, MD, a professor of dermatology at UC Davis who published a paper on it in the British Journal of Dermatology. Comparing the two ingredients, the study found the same results both in the reduction of wrinkles and improvement in hyperpigmentation. The only difference? The retinol group experienced more facial scaling and stinging.

“Other studies have also reported improvement in lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, and firmness with bakuchiol,” says Jennifer Chwalek, MD, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology. That explains why bakuchiol has snagged a starring role in recent skincare formulas, like Biossance Squalane + Phyto Retinol Serum, which boasts impressive clinical results (like a 48-percent improvement in skin firmness), and OleHenriksen Transform PLUS Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème, which boosts its effects with a gentle blend of acids. It also makes quick work of crows’ feet in Alpyn PlantGenius Line-Filling Eye Balm, which might be the most genius place for it, seeing as retinoids are typically too harsh for the delicate eye area.

Still, the research on it is relatively new—and a few derms I contacted didn’t think there’s enough data in human skin to celebrate just yet. But it’s definitely promising, especially if retinoids have been a no-go for you in the past. “Since bakuchiol seems to be less irritating than retinoid, it’s a good alternative for patients with sensitive skin or anyone who has experienced redness, burning, and scaling with topical retinoid,” Chwalek says.

Plus, it eliminates the headache of trying to pair retinoids with other ingredients. “There are instances where you should avoid specific products when using a retinoid, such as exfoliators, toners, and benzoyl peroxide, as they can cause irritation,” she says. “However, due to bakuchiol’s natural composition, it’s safe to use with other products in your skincare regimen.”

But its biggest advantage might be its overall compatibility—whether or not it’s stacking up to or replacing retinoids entirely. “Bakuchiol works as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant, so it’s ideal for those who suffer from dry or sensitive skin,” Engelman explains. “[And] its antibacterial properties also mean that it’s great for those with oily or acne-prone skin.”

For all the similarities between bakuchiol and retinoids, the difference between the two—that lack of irritation—might make the former worth a shot. And maybe the best reason of all to try it: You won’t have to worry about your face peeling in public.

Buy it: Biossance Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum, $78. Olehenriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème, $55.

All products featured on Healthyish are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


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A Vegan Banana Pancakes Recipe That’s Perfect for Lazy People Like Me | Healthyish


Do you know what a Finstagram is? If not, let me explain. It’s a private Instagram account that people use to share things they wouldn’t share on their “main” Instagrams. 2019. Really quite a time to be alive. I don’t have a Finstagram because my job is to run all of the Instagram accounts for this place, but if I did, my handle would definitely be something like Saltygurl93. If you’re wondering why, it’s because my sweet tooth was replaced with double the salt tooth. I love everything savory, especially when it comes to breakfast items. Shakshuka, breakfast salad, frittatas–you name it.

This is a story about how I went from Saltygurl93 to PancakePrincess93.

One random morning, I woke up with a craving for something sweet that was so strong I couldn’t ignore it. It felt too early for cake, and I recently threw my waffle maker out in a Marie Kondo style spree. It felt like the best option would be pancakes. So, I poked around in my pantry for viable pancake ingredients and hopped on Google looking for something simple. I came across this recipe, scanned my kitchen, realized I had all of the ingredients, and dove in.

First I smashed an overripe banana that had been sitting on my counter a little too long, then I added a drizzle of oil and ⅔ cup of almond milk. I opted for some maple syrup because I still wanted a little pancake-house sweetness in my life, then in went cinnamon, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. This recipe calls for buckwheat flour, but I had whole wheat so I subbed that. Use what ya got! And if you have leftover whole wheat flour, you should make these flatbreads. Sorry for the aside, I just really like bread! And whole wheat flour! Deal with it!

I whisked it all nicey nicey, then doled out the batter into little pancake blobs on my non-stick. In less than one Friends episode, I had a stack that looked just like those leaning towers of pancakes you see on the commercials! Truly! I’m not vegan, so I mixed together some honey and butter and spooned that right on top of the stack.

These vegan banana pancakes don’t require one thousand things like buttermilk or fancy grains, and they come together fast enough for your random Saturday morning banana pancake craving. And yes, I played the Jack Johnson song while I ate them.

Get the recipe:


You don’t have to be a veg-head to love these banana and buckwheat vegan pancakes.


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Phoebe Robinson’s Pre-Show Routine Involves Instant Pot Chili and a Fabulous Coat | Healthyish


While you’re snoozing your alarm clock six times, Phoebe Robinson has already done the dishes.

“I like to have one task I can accomplish first thing in the morning. That makes me feel actually productive,” the actress-comedian-author (a certified Triple Threat) explains. So, before starting to write anything for her books—bestselling memoirs You Can’t Touch My Hair and Everything’s Trash But It’s Okay—or working up on standup routines, she tackles the sink full of dishes from last night’s dinner.

After that, she moves onto the rest of her weekday routine: breakfast (a green juice or toast with almond butter), an hour of Spanish on Duolingo (“Who keeps up with it after high school? I’m trying to enrich my life!”), trying to “smash through emails,” and then jumping on a Peloton bike in her building’s gym and/or doing circuit training for an hour.

“Most of my work is just me seated at a desk or on a couch typing, so I need to get the energy going on the bike,” Robinson says. “I’m not just my brain—I’m also my body.” Artists like Missy Elliott, Madonna, Rihanna, Luther Vandross, and The Pussycat Dolls make up the soundtrack that pushes her through so she can get into her work-from-home flow.

Robinson’s got a lot going on between writing books and jokes, running two podcasts (Sooo Many White Guys, which is on hiatus, and 2 Dope Queens, which ended recently but became an HBO series that premieres its second season on Feb. 8), and acting (in What Women Want, also out on the 8th). We caught up with Robinson as she was preparing for her Phoebe Robinson & Friends standup show at Brooklyn’s Union Hall to see how she gets ready to make people laugh.


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This Chocolate Beet Cake Is Super Decadent | Healthyish


I have to confess that the idea for this recipe began with the name. I wanted to make something that I could call a Heartbeet cake, so I created a recipe that uses the lowly beet to add a gorgeous red tint and a super-moist, buttery texture to an already decadent chocolatey base. Of course, I also wanted the cake to taste amazing, and it does. I fed a slice to someone who claims to hate beets, and she loved it. I didn’t tell her about the beets until she asked for more.

Using beet purée in chocolate cake is not a new trick—the earthy sweetness of beets blends well with dark chocolate. But I specifically wanted a gluten-free chocolate beet cake, because I can’t eat gluten…and, well, this is Healthyish after all.

I try to avoid using gluten-free flour blends as much as possible because every brand produces slightly different results, so it’s hard to promise consistency. For this cake, I turned immediately to almond flour, which my co-worker Chris also used in everyone’s favorite gluten-free carrot cake. I love the taste of it, but also and I feel better about eating a dessert made with high-protein almond flour rather than grain flour. As I experimented in search of my dream Heartbeet cake, I found that baking with beet purée and almond flour together meant I hardly needed to add any fat to the cake at all. The natural fat of the almond flour plus the moisture of the beet purée gave the cake everything butter could. So I cut dairy from the cake as well, and made it with just a little bit of virgin coconut oil melted in with the chocolate.

Vegan readers, I’m sorry to say that there are eggs in here. The excellent structure of the cake is thanks to the sorcery that happens when you beat eggs and sugar to what bakers call the “ribbon stage”: light in color, tripled in size, and the batter falls of the whisk slowly in a ribbon-like shape when you lift the whisk out of the bowl. You need an electric mixer (handheld or stand) to achieve this unless you have hulk-like arm-whisking skills. Using this as the base of my cake gives it a light and airy crumb and holds it all together without any mysterious gums or thickeners to replace the gluten.

My editors stopped me from baking my Heartbeet cake into the shape of a heart (but if you want to go there, double the recipe and bake one half of the batter in a square pan and one half in a round and follow this method to turn them into a heart). Yes, I’m going to be making this cake for Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to sprinkle it with gold luster dust because why not? I might even make it in the shape of a heart. But this cake isn’t just for Valentine’s Day. It’s just an excellent gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake, and a very good way to use up those beets in the bottom of your crisper drawer. Whether you share the secret ingredient with your beet-hating friends is totally up to you.

Go ahead and pre-heat your oven:


Earthy-sweet beet purée gives this gluten-free chocolate cake a red velvet hue but also lends so much buttery moistness that you’d never guess the cake is dairy-free as well.



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