Summer Skin Care


Summer Skin Care

By Valerie Smith, Nob Hill Store Team Leader

I’m frequently told that I have beautiful skin– and while the flattery is nice, my skin looks like it does because I take care of it. In my years here at the Co-op I’ve discovered a few fundamentals:

  1. Eat good food, five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day! Limit processed foods.
  2. Drink more water. Glowing skin is hydrated skin.
  3. Avoid toxins. Get a few houseplants to filter the air; use natural, non-toxic body care; quit smoking. That kind of thing.
  4. Nourish and protect. Outer layers can be damaged and worn away with rough treatment, so be kind!

It’s often said that the skin reflects a person’s health inside. I have seen the customers who eat well, exercise, and smile; many have a healthy glow about them. I’ve also learned that most of us have to reckon with our skin at some point, whether acne, eczema or dryness. While this list isn’t a substitute for proper research or medical advice, it supports healing and doesn’t interrupt those other avenues.

For me, all natural skin care is a nourishing ritual. It’s about pampering myself and having that being okay! I love the fresh smell of natural crèmes and butters. Sometimes scented, but with light, plant-source essences. My skin eats it up. I don’t get that feeling with artificial scents and petroleum-based ingredients.

Does your facial moisturizer cause your skin to break out? You might want to switch from the one you used all winter to a lighter one. In winter we needed to retain fat to keep us warm, we shed it in the summer. Facial skin is moister and often oily in the summer, and excess oil can result in blemishes. Though your cleanser is probably fine, you’ll need to use a thinner, lighter moisturizer in the summer. The same goes for body lotions.

Feed your Skin

Some of my favorite skin secrets aren’t lotions or oils; they’re foods. I told you that eating good food is good for your skin, but there are some foods that directly nourish it. And the great news: they’re delicious, too. Here are a few of my favorites:

•           Almonds. One ounce contains 35% of the daily value of vitamin E, an important fat-soluble anti-oxidant. As it combats free radical damage, the monounsaturated fat in almonds helps the skin stay elastic and hydrated. All nuts are a good source of biotin, a B vitamin essential for hair and skin health. Olives and avocado are good alternatives.

•           Red bell peppers. Packed with vitamin C and bioflavonoids, red peppers are good for the health of blood vessels that supply food and oxygen to the skin. Berries can be substituted here.

•           Dark salad greens. These bitter greens act as a digestive stimulant and gentle detoxifier. Skin is an organ of elimination, helping to push out toxins. Cleansing foods make the skin’s job easier.

•           Eggs. Their protein is high in sulfur, and this makes it perfect for feeding the protein structure of the skin. Egg yolk is high in vitamin A, a critical skin vitamin. A vegan alternative might be beans with a side of butternut squash or glazed carrots.

•           Apricots. Each one has over 15% of the daily value for vitamin A. It comes as beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. All carotenes are antioxidants as well, and combat free radical damage. Any vegetable that is bright red, orange or yellow will have a lot.

•           Kiwi. There’s a full day’s supply of vitamin C in each kiwi, as well as 250mg of potassium. Potassium not only helps your energy level, it combats the water retention caused by eating too much salt. That can cause your skin to look puffy and dull. Oranges can fill in here.

All these foods are great for snacking and adding to meals in salads and sides. They are also great for the heart, brain, and the immune system. Foster beautiful skin with these yummy foods and your whole body will benefit.


This year I’ll do it. I’ll wear sunscreen every day. According to the Environmental Working Group, more than one million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year, and I don’t need to be on that list.

Because I spend so much time helping customers select sunscreens, I have spent a lot of time researching them. I also needed my own guidelines for picking and using sunscreens. Here is what I came up with:

•           Value of full-spectrum. Remember when sunscreens were called “tanning lotions?” They protected from the UVB rays that cause sunburn, not the UVA rays which cause premature aging and increased risk of cancer. The only ingredients that protect from UVA rays, remain effective over time, and aren’t considered health risks are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

•           Apply enough. The SPF is rated for a 150-pound, 5’4”person wearing a swimsuit. That person would need to use 1 oz. of sunscreen. You won’t need as much if you wear long sleeves and pants, but don’t skimp on covering exposed skin.

•           Avoid harmful chemicals. Look for products without parabens, triethanolamine, or petroleum products. Likewise, learn and avoid your allergies.

•           Apply appropriately. Use a higher SPF for long outdoor sessions than for the drive to work. Look for water-resistant options and re-apply often when swimming.

•           Remember sunscreens won’t do everything. Wear a hat and loose, long-sleeve shirt when you’re outside. Eat in the shade, and avoid the 10am to 2pm sunlight.

Now that I’m donning sunscreen every day, I’m more mindful to cleanse my face at night. I use a clay mask more often to clarify my skin. In case you’re wondering, my yard work sunscreen is Badger SPF 30. For work, MyChelle’s Sun Shield SPF 28; I like its muted color.

My next move? Get the people in my family to use sunscreen more often, especially my ten-year-old son, who can sidestep a lifetime of problems by starting now. Children have very thin skin and are more prone to burns. Treat your child’s sunscreen like any medicine and keep it out of reach when not in use. Even the safest sunscreen is potentially dangerous when ingested. You can use the same sunscreen that you use for yourself on your children as long as it’s full-spectrum and high SPF. Be diligent about applying it.

Is it safe to use a sunscreen with chemical ingredients in it? Given that UVA and UVB rays are known carcinogens, any effective, full-spectrum sunscreen is better than no protection. That said, my preference is sunscreen with natural bases and zinc oxide.

I find summer skin more prone to hot irritations like athlete’s foot, heat rash and sunburn. Aloe Vera is a great summer companion. It’s cooling, soothing and mildly anti-fungal, and can be used internally and topically. I like to drink one to two ounces of Aloe juice in a big glass of water to cut the summer heat, and I use it liberally on my skin after sun exposure or when it’s irritated. The Co-op stocks a good base of natural sunscreens, and a variety of aloe products. Come visit Jennifer at Nob Hill, Lisa Rae at the Valley Co-op, Katherine at the Westside or Michael in Santa Fe any time for deeper explanations and demos of some of our favorite skin care products!


Co-op Connection News July, 2014


Co-op Connection News

July, 2014

We are independent! At La Montanita we believe true independence comes from vibrant connections to our community, environment, and economy. As a co-op, we rely on our neighbor farmers, regional ranchers and local artisans to provide our stores with fresh, flavorful, healthy food and products. Partnering with these producers means we are independent from many of the unsustainable systems required to bring us food from far off places. Through our support, these community-oriented entrepreneurs can be independent businesses and can prioritize the environment, animal welfare, and public health. This way of doing business allows us to celebrate abundance today without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same. This is our community.

Celebrate your independence! Thank you, if you are already a member/ owner! If not, join us and have a voice in what is important for a healthy future: organic food free of chemicals, hormones, and GMOs; sustainable, fair and humane ranching and farming practices; local folks who love what they do and pass it on to the rest of us. Become a member/owner and help direct a future where we all can live well! Only $15 per year—$1.25 a month!

And, now you can get many of the Co-op Connection articles on our Community blog!

Coyona Peruvian French Roast from Equal Exchange


Peru Naturals

Exclusively at La Montañita Co-op for $7.99/lb

Bringing the coffee farmers’ private reserve coffee to co-op shoppers

Cooperativa José Gabriel Condorcanquí of Coyona, Peru

by Tom Wilde, Equal Exchange

Over the years visiting with the farmer owners of the Cooperativa José Gabriel Condorcanquí, one can’t help but notice the growers drink a different coffee at home than the coffee they exported.  Throughout the Co-op, there is a strong understanding of coffee quality and the process of de-pulping coffee beans to create the washed arabica that is the worldwide standard for green coffee.  The washed coffee that arrives to us from Coyona is as near perfect as can be.  Why then do those farmers hold aside a different inventory to roast for home use?

The coffee that growers keep for themselves is dried in what is called the natural dry process.  While most coffee is dried in a kiln before it is roasted, the special location of this region of Coyona, just on the edge of the jungle and the desert, allows the beans to dry quickly and uniformly within the juicy sweetness of the coffee cherry.  The beans offer a stronger, deeper flavor.   Knowing that natural dried coffees from Equal Exchange’s partners in Ethiopia are widely enjoyed for their more developed fruit flavors and a richer body, I had to believe that U.S. consumers would enjoy Peru Naturals as much as I do.  When we visited Coyona this past harvest, thoughtful co-op leaders like Joe Damiano of Greenstar, Michelle Franklin of La Montanita, and Kim Hash of Lakewinds expressed an interest in bringing the bold-flavored Peru Naturals for their customers to enjoy.

For that reason, Equal Exchange imported a limited supply of a few hundred pounds of these Peru Naturals.  While these coffees are organically farmed like all the other coffee from Cooperativa José Gabriel Condorcanquí, because of the small lot size, no organic certification paperwork was filed for this micro-lot.  We roasted the beans in our very popular French Roast style, which caramelized the sweetness and brought out the fruit and deep earth flavors.

There is some poetry to having this natural dry processed coffee from our farmer partners.  It was a small shipment of natural dry processed coffee that was the first export of the co-operative when they began in 1997.  Last year, the farmers of this part of Peru re-organized their co-operative and again, in their first year as the newly named Co-op Norandino, it was a small shipment of natural coffee that was the highlight of year.

So now is your chance to enjoy the coffee the way the farmers themselves think it is best.  Look for Peru Naturals at your co-op and let us know what you think!


Volunteer @ the Santa Fe Solstice Celebration

  • The team at our Santa Fe store needs volunteers to help hand out ice cream samples during their ice cream social on June 21 from noon to 4:30pm, as part of their Solstice Celebration! If you have experience handing out samples and would like to volunteer at the store, please RSVP below!

Natural Value Paper Products on Sale


Picnic and Party Supplies on Sale!

Whether it’s sandwich bags free of PVCs, waxed-paper bags made from unbleached fiber, or scrubbers made from natural walnut shells, Natural Value makes sure their paper and plastic products are as eco-friendly as possible, and they are continually on the lookout for improved technologies and suppliers that can provide them. Through June find these great Natural Value products on sale!


  • UNBLEACHED Bathroom Tissue DBL ROLL 4 PACK $2.29