"Love the skin you're in!"
How many time have you heard that and really, just rolled your eyes and thought to yourself, "Yeah. RIGHT. Easy for YOU to say."
We try to drum into our kids (and ourselves) that beauty is only skin deep. That what really matters are our characteristics, personality and the relationships we have with other people. It's what we DO with our life that's important, not how we look. And I really am so on board with this line of thinking - but at the same time, it's really nice to be able to love the skin you are in as well as loving who you are on the inside too. So today I want to talk about this, because I've experienced skin issues for quite a few years now.
After having my 4th child, I developed a skin condition called rosacea. Apparently it's really common for women with pale skin to develop this condition after a stressful event (i.e. child birth!) and currently, the medical profession state that there is no cure for it. What it looks like is different for everyone, but for me it's red skin around my mouth and nose, often accompanied with small pimple break outs.
The thing is, I don't have rosacea all the time. I'll break out, it will be red and sore for a while, and then clear up... Only to have the whole process repeated again. It's very frustrating! I've done liver cleanses, detoxes, used special cremes, mineral powders, increased my zinc intake etc etc. Totally against my better judgement, I even tried a low dose antibiotic which DID clear it up for a few months. But then it came back again.
Sleep and relaxation seems to be a common factor in my skin being free of blemishes. When I take time to go to bed early and meditate consistantly, my skin appreciates this. I'd love to say that I get 8 hours of sleep each night, but between being a full time mum, running a business and having a social life, sleep does get neglected.
I can't possibly ignore the immense power of our mind. Positive thoughts and mindset have a huge impact on health - I see this literally every single day in my profession. At times my skin has cleared up after a week of sending 'positive energy' to my skin. It sounds a little crazy - but it's worked for me several different times.
Dr Google will tell you to remove refined sugars, dairy products inflammatory foods etc etc from your diet, to improve digestive health (which by default should improve skin health). It's also recommend to avoid 'hot' foods - chilli, spices, even cinnamon - because they can cause the tiny cappiliaries on your face to dilate, causing you to look red and flushed. My diet is already very clean and very RAW - my idea of an epic dessert is to make ice cream whipped up with frozen bananas, or a protein ball make with nuts and seeds. Yet, I still have flare ups with rosacea.
Here's my 5 favourite foods that really help in adding micronutrients to your diet each day, which help not only your skin, but your overall health.
These babies are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant which acts as a sunscreen from within (though maybe not for redheads like myself!) Lycopene helps eliminate anti-aging free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays – in other words, protecting your skin against sun damage. I'd still recommend a natural suncream to protect your facial skin from UV rays.
To get the maximum benefit from your tomatoes, consider eating them cooked rather than raw. Cooking helps to break down the lectin component of tomatoes. Lectins are hard to digest proteins, like gluten. Many of us can eat lectin-rich foods without issues, but if you experience any kind of gut discomfort during the digestive process then consider cooking lectin foods, like tomatoes.
They're full of vitamin C, which smoothes wrinkles by stimulating the production of collagen. One study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who consumed 4 milligrams of vitamin C (about half a small sweet potato) daily for three years reduced the appearance of wrinkles by 11 percent (1).
Vitamin C creates a brighter complexion and evens out skin tone, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Many anti-aging skin products contain this nutrient for this very purpose - though topical application doesn't increase skin vitamin C content (2). We need to get plenty in our diet for it to be effective for improved skin health.
Where do I even start with the health benefits of Lemons! They contain many alkaline minerals, which help to buffer excess acids caused by poor diet, pollution, stress and other factors. Lemons can promote even skin tone by reducing scars, dark spots, pigmentation and acne. For beautiful skin and a healthy body, drink a glass of warm water and lemon in the morning. This miracle drink is claimed to have many health benefits, including reducing the darkness of blemishes, cleaning out acne and giving you glowing skin (3).
I often add spirulina to my lemon drink, for a generous serving of plant based iron. The vitamin C content of the lemon helps your body absorb the iron in the spirulina. This algae is also a great detoxifier too.
Avocados are high in healthy fats, helping to keep your skin flexible and moisturised. This study found that a high intake healthy fats (like the fats found in avocados), was associated with thicker and more supple skin (4). Avocados are also a good source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage. Vitamin E seems to be more effective when combined with vitamin C - so a combination of healthy fats like avocados, paired with vitamin C rich foods like citrus, leafy greens and strawberries is a sold foundation for glowing skin.
I often make a Jaffa Shake by blending leafy greens, celery, oranges, avocado, chocolate plant protein protein powder and cacao into a smoothie. It's packed full of micro-nutrients, as well as being absolutely DELICIOUS. Pretty much my standard breakfast or lunch meal during the winter time, because it can be made without frozen ingredients.
Hemp seeds are also a highly nutritious fat to include into your diet. The omega 3 fatty acids and zinc content are vital for boosting brain function and healthy skin. I add hemp seeds to my smoothies and salads for a healthy fat component.
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries and strawberries help the body produce collagen, responsible for giving skin that supple and smooth look. Berries are positively loaded with antioxidants, which is SO important in reducing free radical activity in the promotion of healthy skin. The more healthy skin cells you have, the better!
Of course, berries are often sprayed with all kinds of harsh chemicals and toxins, all of which can wreck havoc on your immune system and skin health. I buy organic frozen berries when they are on sale at the super market - when Coles have them for 30% off I buy up!!! I also take an organic berry concentrate to get the benefits of organic produce for a fraction of the price. This berry concentrate is scientifically proved to increase skin microcirculation in healthy middle-aged women by 39%, boosting skin hydration and thickness (5). I make this into a facial, by opening up the capsule and mixing it with activated charcoal, raw honey and water. My skin feels SO GOOD afterwards!
If i can add just one more to this list, it's celery. It's such an important mineral-rich vegetable that we all need - daily! I used to suffer from gut issues - bloating, IBS, gas etc. After 30 days starting each day with celery juice, the symptoms were reversed - and I could eat beans again without causing my gut to explode! ;)
Putting your best face forward starts with fresh fruits and vegetables - natural foods that are high in micro-nutrients. Getting a huge variety into your diet each day has so many benefits - not just to healthy skin, but in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, improving heart health and promoting healthy DNA strands.
I might not have figured out the exact cause of my skin issues, but I do know that with a bit of love my skin looks glowing and well cared for. And when it doesn't, I take extra care to focus on nutrient dense foods - and give myself in to more self care and sleep.
- Tam xx
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Tamara is such a friendly and down to earth person who has such an obvious passion for what she does! She walks the talk and is such an inspiration for health and wellbeing.
I first meet Tamara approximately 8 months ago when I attended her "Gut Initiative" workshop looking for answers to several health issues. WOW talk about an eye opener, I found everything started making so much sense, and have been implementing little things at a time.