By now I’m sure most of you know the power of food. It’s what makes up our cells, organs, and our internal and external environments. The saying ‘ we are what we eat’ has been waxed poetic, but at the end of the day nothing could be more true, and I believe that people know this, but tend to ignore it on a daily basis!!! We know we shouldn’t be eating dairy (not all of us, but most), as we feel awful after eating it, but we suffer through the aftermath because ‘I can’t give up cheese or milk’! I’ve heard this so many times before, so it’s the perfect example. (*** note some of you may feel amazing with a little grass fed dairy in your lives! I know I can tolerate some grass fed butter in my bulletproof coffees, but minimal amounts and not everyday***).
Maybe this shows up in the way that you feel after said meal/food that doesn’t bode well with your stomach, or maybe you’ve developed a sensitivity to a particular food due to overuse, or your body is simply rejecting it because it can’t digest it. These are subtle signs that your body cannot breakdown the chemical make up of the food, your liver is burdened with too many toxins and because our bodies don’t have a ‘voice’ in the way we know it, so it speaks to us loudly every second through symptoms and ‘feelings’. These gut feelings are not a coincidence, and the symptoms are not just because, and they should not be ignored. Every time we feel that symptom or stomach ache we are creating inflammation in our body! Inflammation which might not appear on the external body (or it might in the form of rashes or pimples! I get lots of pimples when I’ve tried to eat eggs again after being plant-based for 8 years), but lots of it is silent inflammation. Systemic and silent inflammation affects every single cell in our body, and not only does cumulative damage to our beautiful bods, but it steals our ‘GLOW’ away, and you start to become the Tin Man from wizard of oz. Creaky, pain ridden, fatigued and your overall radiance is gone. I’ve seen it in myself first hand, and know what a toll it can take on the body. It’s hard to pinpoint and treat because so many people are just used to not ‘feeling great’. They have take it as their norm, and have come to terms with this way of living.
That is not ok though, especially not with me! I want EVERYONE to feel healthy, energetic and glow from the inside out.
The good thing is we can use FOOD to heal, glow and reduce inflammation, but we have to tune into what our bodies truly want and need, not what we think they need, but what our body is asking for.
Below I’ve compiled my list of foods that will guide you! These aren’t the be all and end all, but they are extremely rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and full of protein, healthy fats and complex carbs. They target your internal cells, which ultimately give light and radiance to your external organs. Remember: everything is connected.
Key nutrients to keep the eyes healthy are vitamin A, especially as beta carotene (think: carrots), B vitamins to assist with eye metabolism, antioxidants to protect the fatty acids in the eye. Essential fatty acids boost eye health—the retina has the highest concentration of fatty acids of any tissue in your body!
Chia seeds: Rich in omega 3, with the omega-3 fat DHA being concentrated in the retina. It gives support to cell membranes, boosting eye health and protecting the retina. Have up to 2 tablespoons daily. I use them in my oatmeal and smoothies. They are also a great source of protein.
Eggs: Although I can’t eat eggs as I’m quite allergic to them, they are a wonderful food if you can digest and assimilate their goodness. The yolk is a source of both lutein and zeaxanthin, along with healthy fat and protein. Lutein and zeaxanthin are damaged by cooking so lightly poach or boil your eggs for the best results. Serve over greens (spinach and broccoli) for even more vitamins and minerals.
Blackberries: Contain a special anthocyanin (it gives the berries their color and its antioxidant properties) to protect retinal tissue and pigments from free radical damage, including UV. Include as part of your five a day. You can buy frozen ones for your smoothies, or get some freshies to throw on your oatmeal or chia pudding.
HAIR + MUSCLES/TISSUES:
Nutritional deficiencies from an unbalanced or processed diet, aging, stress, hormonal imbalances, and post-pregnancy can severely affect the hair and scalp. It’s important to take care of the scalp for healthy hair, roots of the hair in the scalp are like plant roots in the soil. It’s very easy to congest the scalp with hair products full of silicone and refined, fast foods. Remember what you feed your body, is what you feed your hair!
Antioxidants: They protect the blood capillaries for healthy circulation to the scalp; these come from an array of sources but think of bright colours like berries and intensely pigmented vegetables – peppers, radishes, greens, and cucumbers.
Vitamin C: Berries are also a great source of vitamin C, which is used to form collagen, a structural protein that holds the hair together. Even a small lack of vitamin C can lead to dry hair that breaks easily. My favorite berries are strawberries which have a higher Vit C content than citrus, and Red Peppers which are even higher than citrus and berries! Eat your peps guys.
Protein: Eat good quality protein—it’s the building blocks of hair, nails, skin. Insufficient protein can lead to slow and brittle hair growth. It could be vegetarian sources like hemp seeds, miso, and microalgae or from fish and a little good quality chicken.
Silica or Silicon: Essential for the growth of collagen. Silica can help to prevent hair thinning and to restore vitality to hair. Plants are the best sources of silica: brown rice, apples, cherries, almonds, oranges, fish, oats and seeds.
KIDNEYS + UNDEREYES:
The skin around the eyes is the most delicate of the body and as such is prone to showing changes in our water balance—dehydration makes the skin thinner and the blood vessels more obvious so we notice dark circles. When the body retains fluid it can cause eye bags, especially if we’ve had a lot to drink close to bed or have a diet high in processed salt.
Cucumber: MY FAVORITE! A great beauty food with a high water content to help rehydrate. Silica helps to build collagen and sulphur to strengthen the skin. It also contains vitamin K that help the elasticity of blood vessels and multiple beauty boosting antioxidants like vitamins A C, E.
Watermelon: My other favorite, at approximately 92% water it helps rehydration and it contains many antioxidants that support eye health as well.
Blueberries: A traditional food for the eyes and a number one food for antioxidants lutein and anthocyanins (again due to their purple color!), that help to protect the delicate blood vessels, improving the circulation to the eyes.
Goji berries: I feel like these don’t get enough praise. They contain an array of potent antioxidants that protect the skin from aging, including a carotenoid that protects and strengthens the tiny capillaries to the eyes. It’s also made up of special sugars that help to keep the skin hydrated. Being a complete protein as well they help give not only your eyes a special sparkle, but your skin and hair. Have up to a Tablespoon daily.
SKIN, SKIN, SKIN:
Super Berries: Goji and mulberry are traditionally used in Asia to keep the skin youthful and moisturized. They contain special sugars that attract water, moisturising from the inside out. In Tibet goji are known as ‘the elixir of youth’, they’re the only known food that stimulates the youth hormone, which declines with age. Include a small handful as part of your five a day, as stated above! These guys really are magical that I had to include them twice.
Seaweeds: By weight, seaweeds are higher in minerals and vitamins than land vegetables and they contain omega-3. A single sheet of nori has the same amount as two avocados!!!, helping nourish and preserve moisture. You can include 1 tsp of dried seaweed daily, or use kelp flakes instead of salt as a seasoning.
GLOW FROM THE INSIDE OUT + REDUCE INFLAMMATION:
Turmeric: Traditionally used on the skin by Indian brides to brighten and even the complexion, it contains a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant called curcumin that is also anti-inflammatory. You can increase absorption of curcumin by combining it with black pepper and essential fats, making it a great dressing for meals. Add half a teaspoon to smoothies, juices, soups, or while cooking grains.
Cayenne: Powerfully improves the circulation, including the skin’s microcirculation. A simple tip is a glass of warm water first thing in the morning with a pinch of cayenne powder and a squeeze of lemon.
Kiwi Fruit: A superb source of vitamin C (which is thee vitamin for your GLOW), improving collagen production, skin texture and radiance. You can have up to two to three kiwi daily.
Avocado: My favorite food on the planet. It’s a well-known source of healthy fats and vitamin E, helping to thin ‘sticky blood’. Have one small avocado daily, yes daily. In my opinion you can’t have enough. Funny fact, when I was healing there were some days that I was eating up to 3 avos a day! Crazy, but my body needed the healthy fats and minerals.