By Janine Tait
Over the last 20 years as I have studied dermonutrition and developed the Bestow range of skin-specific superfoods, I have seen time and time again the power that diet has to change, heal and transform skin. One of the essential beliefs I have come to is that balance is beautiful.
NUTRITION TO THE POWER OF THREE
Our bodies require three macronutrients for optimum health; fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Since macro means large, macronutrients are the nutrients needed in larger amounts than the micro nutrients like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It is very important to include a healthy balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in our diet for beautiful skin and to support vital bodily functions such as digestion, growth and development.
FAD DIETS STARVE YOUR SKIN
If you look back over the years you can see there have been times where one of these macronutrients has been blackmarked by media as being detrimental to our health in some way. While there is usually a kernel of truth in each approach, the concept is often taken to the extreme, research is misconstrued and ‘fad diets’ come out such as ‘low fat’ or ‘carb free’ or ‘high protein’. Without doing any research ourselves many of us swallow this misinformation and can get caught up in these ways of eating which are not necessarily healthy for us in the long-term.
NO-CARB DIETS NOT A SOLUTION
A no-carb or low-carb diet is one of the darlings of the weight-loss world at the moment and I am concerned about that.
While I recognise that a low or no-carb diet works for weight loss and can be useful in the short term, I feel strongly that this is not a healthy long-term lifestyle solution. When you attempt to remove a whole food group from your diet, not only does your body suffer, you also starve your skin of important nutrients it needs to thrive. Many of the clients who come to us for help with skin disorders are not having any carbohydrates at all except from those found in fruit and vegetables. Cutting out carbs entirely makes it hard to get your B vitamins and certain fibres. A recent study from Harvard showed that people who ate 70 grams/day of whole grains, compared with those who ate little or no whole grains, had a 22 percent lower risk of total mortality, a 23 percent lower risk of CVD mortality, and a 20 percent lower risk of cancer mortality. Need I say more!
“Choosing to nourish your body with the three macro-nutrients will support you and sustain you in your wellness journey – the slow beauty way.”
THE SLOW BEAUTY WAY, BALANCE IS BEAUTIFUL
The Slow Beauty way is all about championing a nourishing and sustainable healthy lifestyle. It calls us to step away from the fad diets on the fringes and return to the radical middle – the place of beautiful balance.
When your body is being nourished with high quality fats, a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates and good, lean protein it receives all the building blocks it needs to function optimally.
FAT IS BACK
Fat has had a bad reputation in the past for all the bad things it does to our bodies. While this is true of saturated fats, good quality fats are essential for many body functions. Fats provide long lasting energy, support the development of hormones,
play an important part in protecting our vital organs and help to maintain our body temperature. Without fat, we are not able to utilise fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and 6) are particularly important fats as they are not able to be produced by our bodies. This means it is vital for us to obtain them from food. When it comes to skin health, EFA’s are very healing and protective helping to buffer your skin from the effects of the environment, keeping it smooth, supple and free from damage. They help to keep the skin moist and can reduce inflammation.
EAT GOOD QUALITY FATS
Some healthy fats we recommend are nuts such as walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios and almonds, nut butters (with no added sugar or salt), Bestow Beauty Oil, olive oil, tuna or salmon, seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and chia
and organic butter. These are all better choices than margarine, mayonnaise, high fat meats, sweets and other saturated and trans fats. Some examples of a serving size of fat in a meal would be a quarter of an avocado, two tablespoons of olive oil, a
small handful of nuts and seeds or two tablespoons of nut butter.
EAT GOOD QUALITY LEAN PROTEIN
Every cell in the human body contains protein and it is essential for building, maintaining and repairing your body tissues. Protein is also important to balance blood sugar levels that can lead to fatigue.
Protein should be consumed at each meal to ensure you are getting enough. The recommended serving size is around the size of your palm. I encourage you to include proteins such as chicken and eggs (free range where possible), fish, kidney beans, seaweed, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, peas and full cream milk. Eating the right amount of protein throughout the day will help you feel fuller for longer, giving you more energy in the afternoon and keeping you full until dinnertime.
EAT GOOD QUALITY CARBOHYDRATES
Carbohydrates are your body’s main energy source. When you eat them your body breaks them down into glucose which is then transported to the cells via your bloodstream. Energy is needed for body functions such as digestion, breathing, movement and is the preferred source of energy in our brain, heart and central nervous system.
There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are refined sugars (like white bread and other sweet foods with excess sugar) and have very little nutritional value to the body. It is advisable therefore that they be
consumed in very small amounts. It is better to have complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly into your body.
Good quality complex carbohydrates to include in your diet include legumes, vegetables, kumara, wholegrains, brown rice, fruit, beans and nuts.
PLAY THE LONG GAME
Health and beauty is a long-term game and consistency is perhaps the greatest challenge of all. Most people can summon up short-term discipline, but it is long-term lifestyle changes that truly make the difference. Everything I do, from the skin care I put on my skin, to the dermo-nutrition boosters I take to nourish my skin from within, to what I choose to eat are all chosen with the long game in mind. Choosing to nourish your body with the three macro-nutrients will support you and sustain you in your wellness journey – the slow beauty way.
Janine Tait is a dermo-nutrition specialist, beauty therapist educator and a respected leader within the emerging Slow Beauty movement. She is the New Zealand distributor for Janesce and the founder of Bestow Beauty which provides skin superfoods, nourishing recipes and beautiful wellness rituals.