According to wellness celeb and former TCM Guest Editor, David Avocado Wolfe, a glowy complexion comes to those who keep it simple. We’re suckers for a good sheet mask and the slew of new beauty tools, but the truth is that excellent skin requires simple daily skincare habits – and most of them are internal.
From his upcoming book, The Beauty Diet, Wolfe, an advocate for raw food, ancient healing modalities and natural living , pinpoints high impact lifestyle habits and foods that you can’t glow without…
The race to obtain and create smooth, ageless skin is one of the cosmetic industries biggest money makers. While the skincare aisles are lined with products claiming to reduce fine lines, smooth wrinkles and create a youthful glow, some of the best skin supporters are things you may not have even considered. Here are five daily skincare habits you can try to create flawless skin without spending your hard-earned dollars on chemical-filled skin creams or invasive surgeries.
As your largest organ, skin requires water to function properly. Without enough water, it becomes dry, flaky, and prone to breakouts, acne and wrinkles. Hydration is not just about drinking lots of water — it has to be quality water. Tap water destroys your skin because the chlorine added to city water kills your gut flora on contact! The probiotic strains of bacteria in your gut are crucial to beautifying metabolic functions such as extracting nutrients from your food that make their way to your skin. Drinking plenty of natural spring water, or glass bottled water, is one of the best ways to keep your skin glowing. | Try infused-water like this if you crave something with more flavor.
Sleep Away Cortisol
In the age of technology, proper sleep is getting harder and harder to achieve. Falling asleep while watching TV prevents your body from releasing sufficient melatonin and getting the restorative rest your body needs to repair damaged cells and wipe away fine lines and wrinkles. Working around the clock may seem like a badge of honor, but elevating your cortisol hormone will age you quickly and tax your adrenal glands. Nothing is worse for beauty then prolonged levels of cortisol (the fight or flight hormone) flowing through your body. Don’t worry about how many hours you sleep, focus on sleeping in a quiet, dark room; leave the computer outside your sleep sanctuary and grab a book instead. | Learn how to get better quality sleep here.
Eat Stress Superfoods
Stress is a response to challenges in your environment. Occasionally stress can be helpful (like when you’re working out) but prolonged, continuous stress has devastating effects on your appearance and overall health. Stress causes a breakdown in your immune system resulting in acne breakouts and skin rashes. Eating superfoods that have grown in a stressful and challenging environment will help you adapt more easily to stress. These ‘adaptogenic foods’ include maca, a root that grows at very high altitudes, and astragalus, a bush that can thrive in extreme environments. Add these secret weapons to your daily smoothies and watch your skin start to shine. | Learn about reducing stress here.
Superherbs are a lesser known way to support the health of your entire body, including your skin. They nourish you at a deeper level than regular fruits and vegetables can and in a different way than superfoods. Superherbs like reishi, chaga and schizandra contain unique photo-chemicals that feed your immune system and tonify vital beauty organs like your kidneys and liver, directly influencing the appearance of your skin. The great thing about these herbs is you can consume them every day without your body developing a resistance to them. A simple one to start with is goji, an amino-acid superstar revered in Chinese medicine for thousands of years as a power hitter for beauty. Try adding gojis to trail mixes, as an oatmeal garnish or eating them straight out of the bag. | Discover twenty amazing superherbs here.
Swap In The Right Fats
Fats and oils get a bad rap, but more and more research is showing that high quality fats are essential for beautiful skin and a radiant glow. Commercial oils like canola are highly oxidized, bleached and deodorized, making them instant beauty killers. They cause serious cardiovascular health problems and severe acne breakouts. Good fats, like avocado, coconut, cacao (chocolate) and black sesame oil, are loaded with vitamins and minerals that lubricate your skin making it shiny, rich and moist. Don’t fall for the fat-free myth that has you turning your back on the most important part of a healthy diet. Remember that these fats can be used topically to nourish your skin as well. Cacao butter not only softens and hydrates your skin when applied topically, but the aroma is nothing short of heavenly! | Learn about healthy fats here.
Cut Down On Sugary Foods
The real beauty killer is sugar not fat. Sugar spikes your insulin levels, wreaks havoc on your metabolism and causes your skin to become leathery and rough. This ‘cross linking’ of sugar and protein is difficult to reverse and gives your skin a coarse, wrinkled look. Excess carbs cause weight gain faster than anything else, especially carbs that flood our body with glucose quickly. Stay away from white carbs like pasta and breads, because they can spike your blood sugar more than refined sugar can, turning your body into a fat storing machine. To satisfy those sugar cravings eat fresh organic fruits and try calorie-dense foods like chia seeds, nuts and avocados. Learn how to beat sugar cravings here.
The Best Day Ever: 10 Resources For Wellness On Another Level
WE’RE GOING DEEP this month with wellness guru David Wolfe. We know you Chalkboarders can handle it! We’re ready to talk about a few hard-core wellness tools and protocols our Guest Editor relies on that will really get you thinking.
David Wolfe is about as hard-core as things get. He’s one of those experts who pushes our definition of health to it’s boundaries. He’s not satisfied with simply ‘not being sick,’ but wants people to know they can be vibrantly healthy in a way they might never have imagined.
In our experience, figures like David can be polarizing. There’s something about a health pro who promotes feeling vibrantly well that can really throw some of us modern urbanites out of whack. The very idea of ‘vibrant wellness’ can throw the seasoned skeptic in all of us into high gear.
Wolfe is known the world over for promoting a deeply grounded and holistic lifestyle: a mostly raw, super-natural diet and wellness protocols that counter some of the issues that come from our modern lifestyle. Let’s be clear: we’re one thousand percent ‘pro’ all our modern technologies and luxuries, but health experts like David help us to step back and take a fresh look at how some of our modern ways of life can negatively effect our health.
We asked David to break down some of the key resource he relies on for optimal health. Below he touches on everything from great nutrition (smoothies and mushrooms) to grounding and zapping: two topics you might not have heard much about! Here’s David…
Last week I promised you that I would share some of my thoughts on health-related matters, and so today I’d like to tell you about some of my favorite resources and ideas to make today the best day ever!
One thing I think is really important, and will become increasingly so in the future, is learning how to nourish our immune systems. We live in an age of superbugs and viruses that can spread easily because of how, as a whole, we, in the past, misunderstood and neglected immunity. Widespread use of antibiotics, sterilizing oral-care products, antibacterial lotions and soaps and sterilized living have encouraged certain strains of bacteria and viruses to become super strong and resistant to disinfectants and antibiotics. The way forward is to nourish our immune systems so that if we come into contact with some of these bacteria, viruses and other pathogenic organisms, we will have natural resistance.
In the spirit of this, I’d like to offer 10 of my favorite practices to help you enjoy the best health ever:
DRINK SPRING WATER
We cannot underestimate the importance of water quality and staying hydrated. Pure, quality water is more important than nutrition and minerals for helping our bodies carry out normal metabolism and detoxification processes. Water is the universal solvent, meaning more substances dissolve in water than in any other. Avoid toxic tap water and plastic water and drink the purest water you can find. Seek out pure spring water that comes straight out of the earth whenever possible. Drinking fresh spring water will change your consciousness, hydrate your cells, and possibly even change your life. If you are drinking water, all the time, and you are still dehydrated, start adding some sea salt to your water (2-3 pinches per liter).
I really love that millions of North Americans are now blending a meal or two on a daily basis. When you use a high-speed blender, such as the Nutribulllet, to make your daily smoothie (what we call a NutriBlast), you are breaking down ingredients into their smallest, most absorbable sizes. This means you get more nutrition out of your food. It’s like chewing your food thousands of times. Quality food is an investment, especially if you are buying organic or biodynamic and so it makes sense, if you are committed to your health, that you maximize the value of the food you consume by blending.
GROUNDING / EARTHING
My friend and colleague, Dr. Joseph Mercola, who is speaking at our upcoming Longevity Now Conference, and who will be featured later this month in The Chalkboard, calls grounding “the ultimate antioxidant.” Do you remember how you felt as a child walking barefoot along a beach? Or playing as a kid in the soft, moist grass? You probably didn’t know it then, but you were connecting to the earth’s energy, which has been shown to be a powerful tool in fighting inflammation and supporting the body’s immune system. Most of the time we wear shoes, walk on dry wood floors and carpets, as well as avoiding actually touching nature. The effect of these behaviors is that they disconnect us from a powerful source of energy — the earth. When we reconnect to the earth’s energy in a direct skin-to-skin contact we experience the beneficial anti-inflammatory and energizing effects of Earth’s electrons. People who practice grounding or earthing on a regular basis like me, say it helps them sleep better, feel better, and have more energy during the day. It definitely helps me eliminate jet lag as well.
Medical studies have shown that the average male carries up to two pounds of unwanted organisms inside his body usually as a result of contaminated food and water, foreign travel, pets and other animals, frequent use of antibiotics, regular consumption of sugar and alcohol, an overly acidic diet, poor hygiene and a weakened immune system. Women have less of a problem, although they frequently deal with an overgrowth of yeast or candida. A zapper is an electronic device that touches the skin and emits a specific square waveform that, over time, helps unburden the body of these unwanted visitors. A zapper works by electromagnetically disturbing undesirable organisms while keeping healthy tissue and healthy bacteria intact.
People are always asking me about my dental routine. One of my favorite dental hygiene practices is called oil pulling. My favorite oil to use for this is olive oil, but you can use other kinds of oils also. First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink any food, take a spoonful of oil into your mouth and swish it between your teeth for 15-20 minutes. The oil “pulls” or neutralizes all kinds of unfriendly bacteria, mucus,and toxins from between your teeth and gums. When you spit it out and brush your teeth, your mouth will feel great! According to ayurveda, regular oil pulling can help prevent many age-related health problems.
TMG, commonly known as betaine (different from betaine HCL), is a methyl donor. Methyl donors donate methyl groups (3 hydrogens and 1 carbon), which are important for detoxification processes in the liver. Researchers suspect that adequate methylation can prevent the expression of harmful genes and increase our bodies’ abilities to detoxify. Methyl donors help in the production of various liver and brain chemicals and therefore improve alertness, mood, energy, wellbeing, concentration and visual clarity. Our body’s ability to methylate effectively declines with age, and therefore supplementing or eating foods that contain TMG is recommended. You can find this important nutrient in high concentrations in organic beets, goji berries, egg yolks and TMG supplements.
If you know me, you know am a big advocate of including medicinal mushrooms as part of your health routine. Two of my favorites that I am never without are reishi and chaga. I love to go out into the woods and search for these in the wild to be used to make teas and extracts, but they are easily obtainable in forms found in health food stores and online: pills, capsules, tinctures, powder, etc. Each different medicinal mushroom has a different benefit so they work with each other – the more different kinds you take, the wider the spectrum of benefits you will receive, with reishi and chaga having the widest beneficial properties. You can add powdered or tinctured versions of medicinal mushrooms into your morning coffee or tea and it will help alkalize your system, improve your immune response, and activate the best day ever. The most benefits are received by taking them regularly over time. When Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food,” he was likely referencing substances such as these in the second part of that phrase.
BANKING STEM CELLS
A protocol that is relatively new, but which will be considered normal in the future, is banking your stem cells for future use. The younger you are when you bank your stem cells, the better. Stem cells have been used to treat nearly 100 debilitating diseases and have been used in tens of thousands of medical procedures. Banking cord blood stem cells from new babies can possibly save that child’s life one day if that child ever needs to be treated for problems concerning the immune system, joints and connective tissue. Banked stem cells may be multiplied in a test tube later and then they may be used to bolster and repopulate the immune system, help the joints heal and restore connective tissue amongst other things without the risk of rejection by the body. They can be reintroduced into the body intravenously or injected into the location where they are most needed to assist in the healing and regeneration of the existing cells.
Healthy fats are making a comeback. After years of being told that fats were bad for us, we discovered that it was all smoke and mirrors. Healthy fats are required by the body and, in particular, the nervous system. Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, sea buckthorn oil, raw omega 3+ (an algae oil or vegan version of fish oil) and cacao butter are some of my favorites. Aside from the omega 3s with their fishy smell, these oils are all great to use both internally and externally, making them truly some of the best beauty foods around. Cacao butter may be used as a moisturizer for skin and hair. It has a long shelf life so it won’t easily go rancid. And, of course, for those of you skilled in the kitchen, you can add cacao powder to cacao butter, a natural sweetener like honey, and any other superfoods to make your own raw chocolate confections without chemicals, preservatives, dairy or the processed sugar that comes along with most processed chocolate.
MIXED ORGANIC BERRIES
I’m a huge fan of berries. I talk about them a lot. If you look at the top five foods of any herbal system in the world, you will always find one or two berries in each list. Berries are loaded with soluble fiber, high mineral content, the most antioxidants, the most color pigments and they are usually low glycemic. They are a great source of energy. To me, berries are the perfect food. They feel good going in and all the way through your digestive system. Here’s a recipe you can use that I make all the time when berries are in season. It’s the best breakfast ever!
THE ULTIMATE BERRY BOWL
mixed organic berries
raw organic honey
1-2 pinches of sea salt
he shou wu powder
phycocyanin blue pigment powder
schizandra berry powder
Start with mixed organic berries and add the ingredients above as desired, plus anything else you like!