Let's Get Glowing
This post was inspired by a 2-part video series that I did with Pedal On Beauty in which we chatted about our favorite fitness-industry beauty tips for skincare & nutrition. Check out the videos at the bottom of this post!
Everywhere we look, advertisements for beauty products and supplements promise to give us a youthful "glow;" to tighten and clear our skin, to reverse aging, and to quickly + seemingly effortlessly give us the bright, dewy complexion we yearn for. Magazines, stores, and websites are filled with these "quick fixes," yet so many of us continue to suffer from a number of skin conditions like acne, dry skin, blackheads, or a lack of said "glow." This is because our skin is a living, breathing, detoxifying organ! It needs to be fed, nourished, taken care of, and loved from the inside out.
In addition to getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, drinking plenty of water, managing stress, balancing hormones, and cleansing your face, the number one thing that you can do for healthy, radiant skin is to optimize your diet to feed your skin from the inside to show on the outside. You literally are what you eat. Our skin is the last organ that receives nutrients from the foods we eat, so "an apple a day" alone isn't going to cut it (but it's a start!).
Let's chat about what foods to avoid and what foods help us thrive. Keep reading, because I have THREE Beauty Smoothies for you to try at the end of the article!
Foods to Avoid
I bet you can guess what is on this list before you even read it! This is nothing you haven't heard before, just a friendly reminder that if you really, truly want radiant skin, you need to make some shifts in your diet and lifestyle. If you "can't" commit to a complete avoidance of these "foods" (you totally can!), commit to an 80/20 mindset: eat healthy 80% of the time, and enjoy mindfully 20% of the time. When possible, make healthier choices (swap almond milk for dairy milk, enjoy one cocktail rather than 5, etc). If this becomes a challenge, ask yourself which is more important to you: the cupcake or the glowing skin. The abs or the third margarita.
What are the excuses that you fall victim to, and are they really what you want? Write them down, take them in, and make a choice. It's all in our priorities. If you want it, make it happen!
The majority of humans react negatively to dairy for a number of reasons. The two biggest being: 1) you are not a baby cow, and 2) our bodies stop creating the enzyme that breaks down lactose, lactase, when we are between 2-5 years old. Our bodies simply cannot digest it! This is because this is when we are supposed to stop drinking milk and start eating solid foods! Did you know that we are the only species to drink milk (not to mention that it's milk from another species) into adulthood?
Simple solution: substitute with non-dairy milk! There are so many options available today (almond, hemp, soy, cashew, macadamia just to name a few), and it's simple to make it yourself at home! I wrote a blog post as to how to make your own (which also shows you how to make a healthier matcha latte)! Cheese fiend? Daiya, Miyoko's Creamery, Treeline, and Kite Hill (and many others) make really amazing alternatives. You can find non-dairy yogurt (my favorites are Forager and COYO), non-dairy chocolate (most dark chocolate doesn't include dairy and is actually good for you!), and my Healthier Mac & Cheese is not only delicious and healthy, but it's completely dairy-free! Check it out here.
Nutritionally sugar does nothing for us. In fact, what it does do is cause brain fog, weight gain, bad skin, inflammation, cravings, lethargy, raises our blood pressure, causes countless diseases and depression, and so much more. It's addictive and it's deadly. Avoid added sugar at all costs. If you need help, I have created a 4-Day Sugar Detox to help you. Learn more about it here + read testimonials & FAQs here! I used to add six (!) sugars to my coffee and eat multiple desserts in one sitting. If I can ditch it (and not look back), you totally can, too!
- Processed and High-Glycemic Foods
A general rule-of-thumb when it comes to eating mindfully is to avoid anything that comes in a box, anything that has unpronounceable ingredients, and anything that comes in an unnatural form (white bread versus whole grain bread is one example). Keep it simple!
- Fast Food & Junk Food
Did you ever wonder why you can eat 20 chicken nuggets, a large milkshake, and two double cheeseburgers and still want more? Or, you momentarily fill up, but you're hungry (maybe even hangry) again 20 minutes later? Well.. it's because it's not food. When you eat foods that are fake, processed, loaded with GMOs and MSG, and full of sugar, your body doesn't process them as food! It simply brushes them aside, stores them as fat, and sends a signal to your brain that you are still hungry because your body recognizes them as "foreign substances."
I know you don't want to hear this, but your alcohol habit is reaping havoc on your skin! Alcohol dehydrates the skin, inflames facial tissue, causes redness, destroys collagen, damages the liver, and is toxic to the cells that detoxify our body. Not only that, but if you are drinking cocktails or mixed drinks you are also consuming massive amounts of sugar! I used to love Moscow Mules, and then I found out that each one has about 55g of sugar (and it's not like I was just drinking one)! No thank-you.
Simple Solution: stop! I started replacing my alcohol with kombucha, and I am loving it!
Another Solution: drink BETTER and drink LESS. If you must indulge, go for one glass of red wine or one clear beverage (gin, tequila, and vodka) with a smart mixer (kombucha is amazing here as well, I now sub this for ginger beer in my healthier Moscow Mules!). Then, balance as best you can with two big glasses of water.
Foods to Embrace
Now that the hard part is over, read on to see which foods are best to get the glow! Our skin thrives from vitamins (B, C, & E especially), minerals (iron and zinc are biggies), healthy fats (with special emphasis on omega 3s), fiber, phytonutrients, and protein. Remember to also drink lots of water! How much? Find out here.
- All Fruits & Vegetables
Seriously. Eat the rainbow, and eat as much of it as you'd like! The more (natural) color that you add to your plate, the better!
Some of my favorite glowing skin power houses: leafy greens, avocado, berries, kiwi, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, sweet potatoes, seaweed, pumpkin, pomegranate, carrots, citrus, and papaya.
- Nuts & Seeds
Good fats are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. They keep our skin hydrated and youthful.
Be sure to get enough of both omega 3 & omega 6 EFAs (essential fatty acids) by eating foods like walnuts (best ratio of balanced omegas), almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
- True Whole Grains
Carbs are not the enemy! "True" whole grains are very low on the glycemic index (this helps to maintain a steady flow of insulin), full of powerful antioxidants like biotin and rutin, and contain massive amounts of fiber (for healthy digestion).
Some of my favorites are sprouted and ancient grain breads/tortillas, amaranth, quinoa, barley, farro, oats, brown rice, and millet.
- Spices/ Superfoods/ Adaptogens
Add as many of these to your diet as possible! I love to toss these into soups, dressings, smoothies, chia puddings, protein bars and more!
My favorites for glowing skin: ginger, turmeric, spirulina, cinnamon, nutritional yeast, paprika, maca, lucuma, and acai.
My Favorite "Beauty Smoothies"
(From L to R: Berry Orange Sunset, Spa Day, Green Watermelon)
Berry Orange Sunset
I throw this one together a lot. It's great for an early morning boost, a bonus beta-carotene spin on your normal orange juice, or on a hot day when you need a little extra energy.
(Makes 1 Large or 2 Small, approx. 2.75 Cups)
- 1 Orange
- 2-3 Carrots
- 1/2 Grapefruit
- 1/4 Pineapple
- Handful of Berries (I used blueberries and cherries in this photo)
1. Juice the carrots, orange, grapefruit, and pineapple in a juicer (smooth) or high-speed blender (a bit chunky, but more fiber, you can also strain if desired) to desired consistency.
2. Pulse berries in a food processor.
3. Pour juice into tall glass and top with berries! You can mix them in or let them "bleed" into your sunset!
Approximate Nutrition for Full Recipe:
310 Calories | 1g Fat | 78g Carbs | 14g Fiber | 53g Sugar | 5.5g Protein | 100mg Sodium
I created this recipe for a smoothie shop client who wanted a "spa day in a glass," and asked me to use as many "powerful things" as possible. This one is the most involved of all three, but is nice for a fancy, at-home spa day!
(Makes 1 Large or 2 Small, approx. 2.75 Cups)
- 1 Cup Homemade Nut Milk (walnut or almond)
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Watermelon
- 1 Cup Spinach
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Kiwi
- 1/4 Cucumber
- 1/2 Cup Blueberries
- 1/2 Lime
- 1-inch Knob Ginger
- 1 Tablespoon frozen Acai
- 1 Teaspoon Aloe Vera Gel (optional!)
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Moss Gel (optional!)
- 2 Teaspoons Spirulina
- Pinch Cinnamon + Sea Salt
1. Add it all to a high-speed blender and blend to desired consistency.
2. Garnish with a thin cucumber slice for that fancy "spa feeling."
Approximate Nutrition for Full Recipe (without aloe vera or sea moss):
215 Calories | 5g Fat | 44g Carbs | 9g Fiber | 22g Sugar | 7g Protein | 275mg Sodium
This one is perfect for a hot day or after a killer workout. It's super hydrating, delicious, and easy to throw together fast! I usually take this one to the beach (sometimes with watermelon vodka).
(Makes 1 Large or 2 Small, approx. 3.5 Cups)
- 1/2 Watermelon, fresh or frozen (frozen for icy!), cubed
- Big Handful Spinach
- 1 Green Apple, cored & chopped
- 1/2 - 2/3 Cup Coconut Water (I like to fill it up about 1/3 way to the top, the amount you choose will depend on how thin you would like your drink, how much watermelon you have, and how much extra hydration you'd like!)
- Juice from 1 Lime
- Big Handful Mint
1. Toss it all in a high-speed blender and blend to desired consistency.
2. Serve in a glass with frozen watermelon chunks and fresh mint.
Approximate Nutrition for Full Recipe (very loose recipe using 3 cups watermelon):
275 Calories | 1g Fat | 70g Carbs | 7.5g Fiber | 52g Sugar | 5g Protein | 78mg Sodium
1. DRINK MORE WATER.
2. Exercise often (and cleanse your face afterward!).
4. Get your Zzz's.
5. Smile! We all look our best when we are smiling :)
If you'd like to learn my skincare secrets, check out the videos below! The first one is "What's In Your Gym Beauty Bag?" + the second one is "Nutrition & Skincare."