If there's one time of day that sabotages a solid effort toward clean eating (and smooth skin) for me, it's that window between lunch and dinner. Whether it's coffee drinks or cupcakes, indulging these cravings can leave you with a cascade of ill effects from head to toe. Our faces can read like road maps of poor food choices. As if you didn't already feel shame in the moment. Who needs that reminder two and three days later?
But what if, instead of mindlessly popping little sugar bombs (or salty ones - to each his own), we pause for a moment and try decoding those cravings? What are our bodies really telling us? I'll give you a clue - you can stop beating yourself up for lack of willpower. Our bodies just want nutrients. We can't help that our brains mistakenly think those nutrients lie in a cracker or a pint of beer.
Now that we've cleared that up, can I give you some advice? Make this the summer you become a Nutritarian. Really focus on fueling your body - and your beauty - with a rainbow of real food.
Are you in? Then check out these 6 must-have solutions for brightening your skin and dialing up that radiance through Labor Day and beyond!
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Omega 3's have been shown to squelch out inflammation. If you are struggling with acne, eczema, or rosacea think pastured eggs, grass-fed beef and walnuts. But don't buy just any eggs; the results from this Mother Earth News egg testing project have shown just how inferior conventional grocery store eggs are compared to those from pasture-raised, happy hens. It's time to recognize your local farm as one of your skin's biggest allies.
2. Vitamin D - Otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin. Many of us are logging record time indoors. When we are outside we slather on sunscreen to prevent skin damage. Don't worry, I'm not telling you to stop that. But you do need Vitamin D for immunity, bone strength, heart health - and cellular health. Vitamin D can boost elasticity and collagen production, reducing the appear of fine lines, dark spots and acne. You are what you eat, so seek out 100% grass-fed meats and know that even if you aren't spending enough time outdoors, at least your dinner was!
3. B Vitamins - Although unconfirmed, experts debate that B Vitamin deficiency is linked to insect bite susceptibility. I say if you're a mosquito magnet, why not try it? Who wants unsightly mosquito bites marking up those long, lean legs or those toned arms you've been working on since before Spring Break? Yet another reason to stock up on those butcher shop items - red meat is one of your best sources for B Vitamins.
4. Chromium - Sometimes it's about what we're not putting in our bodies. Chromium helps with blood sugar regulation. Researchers believe a rush of insulin leads to overabundance of oil production, resulting in clogged pores. You can avoid this hormonal response by keeping your blood sugar in check. Chromium-containing foods include broccoli, green beans, egg yolks and nuts.
5. Magnesium - Sometimes when our bodies crave chocolate they are really asking for magnesium. And while cacao is a superfood and source of antioxidants (substances that shield our bodies from cell damage), the ratio of chocolate and sugar is important. We've already determined sugar is one of your skin's biggest frenemies ("Oh, but it tastes so good", you say!). You owe it to yourself not to skimp on quality when it comes to chocolate. And rest assured, there are plenty of other options for getting magnesium into your diet. Chard and spinach are also top sources.
6. Love your liver - Beets, kombucha and paté, oh my! What do all these things have in common? They are powerful liver detoxifiers. Your liver is arguably your strongest detoxifying organ, but when it's congested with alcohol, sugar, antibiotics, pesticides... who do you think it calls on for help? You got it - your skin. Do yourself a favor and keep that liver humming with detoxifying, probiotic-rich fermented foods like raw sauerkraut.
Added bonus? Attitude is everything, and when you're eating a nutrient-dense diet, that shift in disposition can happen almost overnight. Talk about amping up your glow potential!
Declare your Nutritarianism this summer. Remember good food equals good results, and start glowing!