Every day someone tells me that I’m glowing. The truth of the matter is that I have struggled with acne for years and the thing that has cleared my skin and brought me that healthy glow more than anything else, is going vegan. Even as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, painful cystic acne formed along my jaw line and forehead. It took getting rid of the hormone-laden bovine breast milk and chicken reproductive output, for my own hormonal situation to calm down.
As a nutrition coach, I spend all day looking at the faces of my lovely clients. Since I know what kind of food they are eating, I can definitely see the connection between their complexions and their dietary intake. My conclusion? The people who are eating the most plants are the glowiest! In the list below I will highlight some of the best plants to eat for great skin.
However, I also believe that glowing, healthy skin is an outward reflection of overall health. As a Holistic practitioner I believe there are other factors that contribute to health and beauty, such as getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, having a positive outlook on life, fresh air, happiness, and a few more “interesting” ones that made my list…
Here are my top 10 tips for glowing skin:
1. Avoid foods you have sensitivities or allergies to.
This is my number one tip, because eating foods that cause you inflammation will cause your outward appearance to lack luster as well. The most common food allergens are dairy, wheat, corn, soy, peanuts, eggs, fish and shellfish. For me, and for many of my clients, the trio of wheat, dairy, and sugar are most problematic for digestion, well-being, weight, and beauty. You can discover your own sensitivities by listening closely to your body, keeping a food log to record how you feel after you eat different things, or trying an elimination diet.
2. Exercise to a sweat and vitamin RS.
On the days when I am out for a long run or creating a pool of sweat in a spinning class, my glow is ramped up to the max. Blood circulation throughout the body pinks up those pretty cheeks.
If you are not into this kind of intense excercise, Vitamin RS, also known as regular sex, could just do the trick, as sex is known to help reduce pressure and promote blood circulation amongst other benefits.
3. Minimize or eliminate sugar, junk foods and processed foods.
Play the grocery cart game. Look in people’s grocery carts and then look at their skin. You will see a direct correlation. The more fresh, unprocessed foods you will eat, and less sugar and junk food – the better your skin will look. Try to experiment with some high-raw nutrition and see what type of an effect it has on your appearance.
4. Eat foods rich in silicon.
Known as the “beauty mineral”, silicon promotes youthful, elastic skin and connective tissue throughout the body. It also therefore reduces wrinkles, improves the strength and thickness of the skin and gives hair and nails a healthy appearance too. Silicon-rich foods are nettles, radishes, romaine lettuce, spinach, cucumbers with the peel, bell peppers with the peel, tomatoes with their skin, oats, and baby greens.
5. Eat foods that contain sulfur.
Sulfur-containing foods make the skin radiant and give it a beautiful tone. Sulfur is also crucial for healthy joints, hair, and nails, and is said to heal scars and acne (and make your hair curlier!). You can bathe in sulfur-rich hot springs and use cosmetics containing sulfur, and you can eat it too: arugula (rocket), onions, garlic, radishes, pumpkin seeds, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, hemp seeds, kale, mustard greens and watercress are all easy additions to your vegan diet.
6. Have a zinc-rich diet.
Zinc is a powerful anti-inflammatory that also keeps lymph circulating through the body. It is crucial for a healthy immune system, heals acne and wounds, prevents the signs of aging, and much more. Zinc is so important it is one of the few supplements I myself take. Food sources of zinc are poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, sesame seeds, leafy green vegetables, lentils, tofu, almonds, and whole grains.
7. Make sure you are getting enough iron.
In his book, Eating for Beauty, David Wolfe writes “Iron-rich blood produces a soft glowing tint of beauty visible just underneath the skin. Leafy green veggies such as spinach, Swiss Chard, and parsley are rich in iron, as are Jerusalem artichokes, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, millet, figs, dried apricots and dates. To absorb the iron from these foods, you must eat them with vitamin C rich foods. And note that drinking coffee close to meals inhibits iron absorption, so nix those after meal espressos!
8. Smoking and beautiful skin do not co-exist.
You may get away with it for awhile when you are young, but down the line your skin turns as gray as your ash. Smoking is linked both to skin aging and early age wrinkles in addition to the other disastorous affects cigarrets have - so quiting is one of the best things you can do for your skin, your health, and your enviroment.
9. Easy on the coffee.
I refer to coffee as fake fuel because we often use it to mask the fact that we are truly exhausted. If you can’t wake up without your coffee, it’s time to move your bedtime a little earlier. Coffee might pep you up but it won’t hide those dark circles and dull skin. (It also stains your teeth. White teeth make your complexion and appearance “pop”).
10. Don’t wash your face.
Sounds crazy right? But quite often just rinsing thoroughly with warm water is all you need, even after a heavy workout. If that doesn’t feel right to you or you need to take makeup off, learn how to wash with essential oils and a warm washcloth. Even my acne-prone oily skin gets beautiful results just with a few drops of Neroli Oil and a clean, warm cloth at night before bed. I learned this technique from Nadine Artemis who owns a vegan beauty company called Living Libations, and it works like a charm.
So best of success to you in getting that vegan glow, and above all, remember: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in; their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross