Eating for beauty and your wellbeing
Natural skincare can work wonders, but for truly amazing results what you’re putting inside your body should be equally nourishing. As a chef, I’ve always been fascinated by the ways our food choices show in our skin, and in eating for beauty. Here I’ll show you how.
Following just one of these pillars for better skin health will reap visible results.
All six, combined with superfood skincare, will help achieve your healthiest-looking complexion yet.
Not so long ago, ‘fat’ was a dirty word. Thankfully, thanks to a new wave of wellbeing chefs, the days of the trend for ‘low fat’ (read ‘high in sugar’) are coming to an end. The truth is, good fat can be wonderfully beneficial for our bodies, inside and out. Eating good fat is essential for plump, glowing skin, and also makes hair and nails look better. Get your daily dose of good fats from avocados, nuts, fish and seeds, and switch your regular cooking fat for coconut oil, which helps the body absorb nutrients. I’ve sworn by bone broth for years, so I’m excited that it’s now become a real foodie trend. The beauty of bone broth is that it’s simple to make, nourishing and rich in skin-boosting collagen – think of it as a fantastic facial, from the inside out! One of the best bits about good fats is that they help reduce sugar cravings. Which leads us nicely onto my next principle for glowing skin…
I believe that cutting harmful refined sugar from your diet is the single best thing you can do for your skin and overall heath. Sugar is a major cause of skin ageing; it causes glycation, breaks down collagen in the skin and makes surface cells brittle and stiff – essentially caramelising them. The result is that skin that looks dull, with premature lines and wrinkles. Giving up sugar is one of the most difficult things I have ever done – it is highly addictive, after all. But try it for just a few weeks, see your skin look clearer and brighter, your body lighter and leaner and I promise you’ll soon lose the taste for it! Coconut sugar is a great switch for regular sugar, as it has an earthy sweetness with a low GI, and encourages good gut bacteria. One final word on sugar; try not to think of it as a reward – it’s an empty, temporary high that will only deplete your skin and wellbeing.
The word ‘superfoods’ is bandied around a lot in the world of wellbeing. On the one hand, it’s fantastic that we are now all more aware of healthy ingredients. On the other, how can we separate the hype from the truly ‘super’ superfoods? I have spent many years researching and sourcing superfoods, and one of the reasons I created my own skincare range is to show how incredible they can be for skin health. True superfoods are high in antioxidants, which are essential for protection, repair and preventing the cell damage that causes skin ageing. For example, among the antioxidant powerhouse ingredients I’ve chosen for my products is Red Raspberry, which is equivalent to an SPF of 50. Complement my superfood-infused skincare by eating bright, vibrant coloured fruit and vegetables as much as you can, such as beets, broccoli, dark leafy greens and blueberries. This inside-and-out approach is essential for effective anti-ageing and overall wellbeing. Find out more about my superfood skincare ingredients by clicking on the button below.
‘Clean’ foods are unprocessed, close to their natural state, free from preservatives and additives and – more often than not – don’t have a huge list of ingredients on the pack… or maybe don’t even come in a ‘pack’! Bread and pasta, both staples of the modern diet, are not clean foods. Anything with added sugar, usually to help it last longer, is also not clean and should be avoided. In fact, you’ll be surprised what sugar is added to – bread, sauces, ‘healthy’ cereals and many other everyday items that you thought were savoury and sugarless. Choose organic where you can, though some things are more important to buy organic than others. I always buy organic milk because cows that live outside are grass fed and they are given less antibiotics. I also choose to avoid wheat because it leaves me feeling bloated and lethargic, and can also contribute to rosacea, eczema and skin sensitivity. If you love bread but are finding processed types irritating, give sourdough a try instead – due to the slower fermentation process it’s less likely to cause bloating.
There’s good reason for the saying ‘gut instinct’. The gut is known as the second brain because it lets us know when foods don’t agree with us. So if dairy makes you gassy or bread and pasta leave you bloated, it’s your gut telling you that something’s not quite right. A good probiotic supplement is fantastic at helping to restore good bacteria in the gut, which you can then maintain with a clean, nutrient-dense diet. As a chef, I also love the French approach to eating; a little green salad to start; raw food with lots of enzymes to help the meal go down well. And one more essential tip for eating well – chew! Wolfing down lunch at your desk or dinner in front of the TV means you’re not focusing on how much and what you’re eating, and probably aren’t chewing your food enough either. Chewing our food until it’s liquid means our body can process it, and take all the nutrients from it, better. It’s such an easy way to get even more goodness out of your food. Bon appetit!
As a lifelong foodie, I believe that mealtimes should be full of joy, not an exercise in self-punishment.
Life is all about balance and it’s absolutely okay to indulge every now again. I still enjoy dessert at a dinner party, and a steak with a glass of good red wine on a night out. Look after yourself the majority of the time, and go have a treat on occasion. When you don’t stress over being strict, life is much healthier and happier. Stress is also a premature ager, so simply by not beating yourself up, getting plenty of sleep and listening to your body, you are already doing something wonderful for the way you look and feel. Gentle exercise every day will also improve your mood and you’ll naturally feel less stressed and more comfortable in your own, glowing skin.
Follow me on Instagram for lots of skin-loving recipes, and eat beautiful!