I’ve had oodles of email requests asking for more information on organic skin care. While I’d love to personally cover and explore this fascinating area of health and beauty, I do recognize that my know-how barely scratches the surface of this incredibly vast space. That’s why I’m always thrilled when educated experts are willing to assist me, and with that I’m happy to say hello to and welcome Stephanie De Gasperis, CNP, NNCP., today !
It delights me to introduce another guest blogger to the I’m A Little family and without further delay, here’s some more about Stephanie:
Hello I’m A Little. My name is Stephanie De Gasperis and I am a certified fitness instructor and holistic nutritionist (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, CNP and Natural Nutrition Clinical Practitioner, NNCP). I earned my degree at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Toronto. I am passionate about holistic lifestyle, including the use of natural skin care and cosmetics. This passion has led me to currently oversee the opening of Husk, an all natural skin care and wellness boutique in the city. We’ll be opening August 2013, so stay tuned, and in the meantime follow our journey on Instagram here.
With many of you wondering how to attain that endless summer glow, I’ve got 5 brightening and beautifying foods that nourish cells, moisturize skin, and revitalize soul. Ready to radiate all season long? Treat yourself to these powerful beauty foods and you’re skin will thank you well into the summer months.
1.) Olives and Olive Oil
A classic symbol of purity, peace and abundance this beauty builder comes in hundreds of shapes and sizes. To raw/superfood expert and author of Eating for Beauty, David Wolfe, “olives are perhaps the greatest beautifying food of all.” This claim is backed by the fact that this fab fruit boasts one of the highest natural sources of Vitamin E – the body’s favourite fat-soluble antioxidant, capable of diminishing fine lines, repairing connective tissue, and enhancing circulation. Vitamin E even protects the skin from UV light making it suitable for the summer season. Olives are an alkaline* fat source, comprised mostly of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat (over 75% of total). They are the highest fruit in minerals (including calcium), a good source of plant-based protein, and contain antifungal/antibacterial properties. Before completing this impressive portrait, it’s worth noting that olives are a good source of squalene – a property known to smooth skin and stimulate the immune system (a derivative – squalane – is a popular ingredient used in the skin care industry to achieve the same effect). Topically, olive oil is a soothing source of nourishment for parched skin, hair and nails.
Ideal for summer, cucumbers are high in nutrients and water (96%), helping you hydrate on hot and hazy days. Held high in ancient civilizations – Egypt, Greece and Rome – for its skin healing properties, the phytonutrient (plant nutrient) caffeic acid in cucumbers is known to soothe irritated skin and decrease swelling. Applauded as a top kidney cleanser, cucumbers are also a source of skin-regenerating Vitamin A, beauty-sleep promoting tryptophan and fat-flushing fiber (pristinely prepackaged with fluid needed to help process the roughage). But wait - put down your peeler! You definitely don’t want to miss out on benefits of cooling cucumber’s chlorophyll containing and silicon-rich skin.
- Look for organic/local varieties free of harsh sprays usually used on chemical-laden conventional counterpart.
Like olives, this nutrient-dense and beauty-enhancing fruit is high in the heart healthy monounsaturated fat. It helps promote satiety and offers busy beauties a sustainable energy source. Avocados are a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin C, and copper. This standout super fruit is also anti-inflammatory and improves the body’s ability to process carotenoids (precursor to Vitamin A).
- Vitamin A stimulates skin growth/differentiation & maintains structural integrity, as well as lubricates, mucosal tissue.
Believed to be a major staple in prehistoric diets, onions are thought to be the first domesticated crop. China, Egypt and India have incorporated this skin-strengthening veggie in diet and lifestyle for at least 5,000 years. Before Olympic games, Greek athletes would drink its rejuvenating juice, and Romans wrote of healing properties including its use as a trusted treatment for mouth sores and dog bites. In the middle ages onions were prescribed to alleviate burns, flesh wounds, hair loss, parasites, headaches and upset stomachs. Their antiseptic properties prevent purification in the intestines and they are high in the supreme strengthener: sulfur. According to David Wolfe, sulfur is the “foundational mineral of all beauty”. Sulfur-rich collagen provides elasticity and flexibility to tissues. Sulfur is also found in keratin – the protein found in hair, skin, tooth enamel, and makes up 98% of nails!
- By consuming healthy fats (like those found in the oils of olive, avocado and coconut) sulfurous elements found in onion are more readily available to thirsty tissues.
The multitude of benefits associated with the meat, water and oil derived from this tropical nut make it a functional food. It has been historically used in Indian and Polynesian cultures for both cosmetic and therapeutic purposes. The water from the coconut is similar in composition to our blood plasma and is nature’s best source of electrolytes making it the ideal post-workout bevy. The meat of a young coconut is a pure and raw saturated fat (not the long-chain fatty acids that our bodies battle to breakdown). These are Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) which are quickly metabolized by the body (providing an efficient source of energy), rejuvenating tissue that has incurred oxidative damage, and balancing the nervous system. Topically, MCFAs are well received by the skin. The oil from the coconut forms a chemical barrier to ward off infection and is a top treatment in reducing symptoms of psoriasis and eczema.
- New mamas take note! Coconut oil helps reduce appearance of existing stretch marks (great preventative measure in this case too). You can also add irresistible luster to lips with this beauty balm generously provided by nature.
A Few Beauty Balancing Notes:
- By selecting to local and organic whole foods we create an enlivening relationship with all of nature’s prepackaged goodies.
- While these whole foods are a tremendous source of nutrients, it’s important to consider individual sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies – which can cause more harm than good, such as igniting internal inflammation. A top beauty zapper, systemic inflammation is currently being connected to most chronic conditions.
*The acid/alkaline balance in our bodies is super important when it comes to health and beauty. Our blood maintains a consistent PH of approx. 7 on the scale (0 being totally acidic and 14 being purely alkaline). The typical Western diet is high in acidifying foods (i.e. grains, meat, sugar, alcohol and stress). Acidity creates internal imbalance and leads to both puffiness and inflammation. Strive to include local and organic alkalinizing fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
I know there’s a lot of info to take in here! Whenever looking to boost your beauty organically just remember: tune into your body, follow the rhythms of the seasons and most importantly, strive to maintain a balanced lifestyle.