Saturday, June 26, 2010

How to Get Gorgeous Skin

Even the best cosmetics need a smooth canvas in which to adhere.  Truly gorgeous skin comes from within.  Hydration and rest are the biggies and of course the most difficult.  You may think that diet coke is quenching your thirst and you only need five hours of sleep a night...  Sure you can cover those dark circles with the $30 concealer in your stash but that's just masking the underlying issue. 

Here are my top ingredients to achieving the healthiest looking skin... 

1.  Water.  Skip the juice and sugar free drinks.  Aim for at least 2 liters.   If you are currently drinking zero ounces of water during the day, start off with 1 liter.   Begin the process gradually!  And remember, whole fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of water, though difficult to calculate the amount.

2.  Sleep.  If you are getting less than 5 hours asleep a night, try for 6.  8 is usually ideal for most, though usually unobtainable.  But the key here is try.  It takes some time to unwind the stress induced body.  The body heels itself from all the stressors it sustains during the day while you are sleeping.  It is an important physiological process. 

3.  Minimize salt.  The advent of convenience/packaged/frozen foods and meals has really set us up for disaster in terms of heart disease and other ailments.  But in the short term, too much salt retains water and causes bloating and puffiness, especially around the eyes.

4.  Load up on fruits and veggies.  Seems like a no-brainer right?  Easier said than done.  Just by adding an additional serving a day to start will be enormously beneficial.  Whole fruits and veggies contain so many vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.  Great examples are avocado, blueberries, spinach, carrots...  The more colors of the rainbow you can pack in during the day the better!

5.  Eat breakfast.   We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  It really is!  Sure you grab for that cup of joe but substance is the key.  It revs up the metabolism, gives you real energy from within, not the fake caffeine high that fizzles after a couple hours later leaving you reaching for another cup.  Oatmeal is your best choice.  Sprinkle on some raw sugar, brown sugar or maple syrup.  Throw in a few blueberries or slice up a banana.  Add a splash of milk.  Doctor it up anyway you like but try to limit the cream and sugar!  Even a bowl of Cheerios is amazing for you.  They are not just finger food for babies!  Add some skim milk and some fruit. 

6.  Eggs.  I know, I know, but what about all the cholesterol?!  Well I'm not talking a 3 egg omelete with sausage and cheese, 1 or 2 eggs scrambled, over-easy, sunny-side up, fix them anyway you like them with some multi-grain toast.  Eggs are jam packed with nutrition.  Protein, Vitamins A, B and E and selenium.  Anyone out there taking Vitamin supplements?  Get your vitamins from whole foods first, then supplement accordingly.  Your body absorbs the forms differently and consequently absorbs the vitamins fom whole food sources more readily. 

7.  Whole Grains.  We all need some more fiber in our lives.  Look at all the foods now that come with it added.  Yogart, fruity water drink mixes, etc...  Skip the over-processed, bleached and stripped of goodness breads and cereals.  Better yet, bake your own bread.  It really isn't complicated.  Good bread consists of yeast, water, flour, pinch of salt, maybe an egg or honey for flavor.  Mix whole wheat pastry flour and unbleached white flour to start.  When is the last time you read an ingredient list on your package of bread.  It's astounding! 

8.  Sunscreen!  Don't leave home without it.  Even if it's overcast. Sure a nice summery glow is what we all want but there are a ton of products out there that can help you to achieve the look.  The sun is damaging, drying, causes wrinkles, not to mention the aging affects it has on the skin.  It's not worth it.  Again you can load up on the expensive lotions, serums and creams to counteract the effects, but they can only do so much.

9.  Omega-3 fatty acids.  These little buggers need to be obtained from food.  Your body cannot make them.  They are crucial for brain function and development, prevent dry patchy skin, and they reduce inflammation.  Inflammation that cannot be seen, inflammation deep within your body that can cause heart disease.  They can help against depression, help heal the skin from the damaging effects of the sun and help with the strength of your hair and nails.  Sources are salmon, tuna or fish oil capsules are a good source, but also walnuts and pumpkin seeds.

10.  Exercise.  Not running marathons and working out in the gym for 4 hours, but a simple stroll around the block, sets of 10 squats in front of the tv during commercials, lunges on the way to the kitchen for a snack.  Whatever you can do to strengthen those muscle!  More muscle means more calories burned when you are just lounging on the couch.  Yoga is the perfect choice, it encompasses the mind, body and spirit.  Just be careful though, the first time I followed a Rodney Yee DVD I could barely walk the next day.  It didn't even feel like working out!

So bottomline, no drastic changes here.  Moderation is the key.  Incorporate 1 or 2 things at a time and we will all be healthy and gorgeous together!