Thursday, 22 September 2016

Nutritional Yeast, the Next Big Food Craze?

Nutritional yeast, it sounds awful doesn't it? But it's been a while since coconut oil happened and we're due a new food craze any time now. Before I stumbled across a recipe which called for this I had no idea what it was. I imagined it came in a block, like the kind of yeast you'd use to make bread (if you weren't using powdered). It doesn't, it comes as a tub of flakes.


Here comes the eye-opener: there's different elements and types of yeast. I know, mind blown. There's active yeast which is used to make beer and to bake with, there's an inactive part of that yeast that makes up nutritional yeast, and there's also a fungus kind of yeast which can lead to illness. Don't substitute active baking yeast for nutritional yeast or you'll end up with a foaming mess.

Nutritional yeast is insanely good for you too, especially if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. In one 5g portion you get Thiamin B1, Riboflavin B2, Niacin B3, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and so much more good stuff. The nutritional label is posted below for anyone who wants more details. The woman who served me in my local health food shop told me that the body's absorption process is more efficient because the yeast itself has already absorbed these goodies. As an added bonus for celiacs, the flakes are also gluten free.

It's not available in supermarkets so you'll have to go to a health food shop. Holland and Barrett stock it so it shouldn't be difficult to find. I paid €4.35 for this tub. In the UK, Holland and Barrett are selling it for £3.29. It's a very reasonable price.

After all of this information, and the fact it has 'nutritional' in the title, you'd be forgiven for assuming it's disgusting to look at and eat. Nutritional yeast flakes are a light yellow colour. They smell quite pleasant, like bready-cornflakes. The packaging describes the flavour as cheesy and nutty, which is true, but it depends which foods you add it to.
When the flakes are added to a dish during cooking or sprinkled on soup they contribute a background hum of flavour. When I sprinkled some on cottage cheese they added a strong cheesy depth to the food. The lesson there is if you want a more intense flavour pair it with bland food, but if you're only after the nutritional benefits add it to flavourful dishes.
Overall it's extremely pleasant and extremely good for you, so if it's going to be the next big foodie craze it's one you should jump on now.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Review: Clinique Pep-Start 2-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser

I picked this product up as an alternative to my beauty staple, the Clinique 7 Day Scrub. It promises to be gentle enough to use twice a day, although I think that's excessive for even the most gentle of exfoliating cleansers. Like all Clinique products it's fragrance free.
The Routine: Before I used this product I removed my makeup with a makeup remover wipe and washed my face with soap. Why wash your face before using a cleanser you ask. Anything that exfoliates is too harsh for the delicate skin around your eyes.
While my face was still wet, I rubbed the cleanser into my skin. The exfoliating balls aren't visible but when you rub the cream against your skin but you can feel the fine exfoliating beads gently working. As I mentioned before, I took extra care to avoid my eye area.
The Good Bits: It's definitely gentle and safe to use every day. I wouldn't go as far as saying it should be used twice per day. If you have oily skin the overstripping of your face will only lead to excess oil production. Seeing as this product is aimed at young people (under 30s) this should really have been made clear on the packaging.
The cleanser foamed nicely, without creating too much of a lather. The exfoliating beads are small, plentiful and effective. Some other exfoliating washes I've used have a sparse amount of large beads which roll around your face like useless plastic boulders.
The Less Good Bits: As I've mentioned above, one of my beauty staples is the 7 Day Scrub. I like that product because it has an instant wow factor; you can feel the difference to your skin from the first wash. Pep-Start doesn't have this effect. It's better than any other 2-in-1 I've used, but it's not as good as the 7 Day Scrub.
The Price: The RRP in the UK is £16.50; in Ireland it's €23. It's certainly the most expensive product of its kind, as other products sell for £5-10, but Clinique is a premium quality brand.
The Verdict: It's certainly a good quality product and great for if you want to shave time off your routine because it saves you having to cleanse your face and then use an exfoliator. It's better than other 2-in-1 brands, I would even go as far as saying that it's the best of its kind. If you are looking for a serious exfoliator, however, I would go for the 7 Day Scrub. That scrub is so good it has eclipsed this review.
The Future: The UK is looking to ban the plastic microbeads used in these kinds of scrubs and exfoliators, but Clinique have confirmed that this product contains biodegradable beads and they have also reformulated the 7 Day Scrub to include the same. So they're both here to stay.