The Fourth Essential Element for Living Beautifully
Eat to stay and look young
Good nutrition is an essential part of being and staying healthy. By combining healthy eating with exercise; you can reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of diseases, like heart disease and cancer, enhance your emotional well-being and reduce facial wrinkles. Reduce your wrinkles by eating right. The meals shown here are actual meals that I’ve cooked. Pardon me for their less then professional appearance. I cooked them in my kitchen and shot them on my iPhone.
I love food, tastes, textures and will try almost anything. My father’s family was in the food business for years and I studied cooking at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, during my years on Wall Street. In fact as a trade off, I taught my exercise trainer, Lory to cook and she would help sculpt my body. We’ve both benefited. What we have learned the most is how to improve our eating and exercise habits and to enhance our youthfulness. We look and feel great.
There are more and more studies that show that avoiding diets high in fat and sugar helps to reduce wrinkles. High fat and sugar foods slow down cell turnover and that means skin cell turnover too. Remember, as you age, your skin cells turn over more slowly. So, if you can avoid the foods that slow them down, you want to do that. And, if you can eat foods that increase our skin cell turnover, then you want to do that as well. It’s when your skin cells are turning over the fastest that your skin looks the most radiant. The combination of cells turning over faster like constantly exfoliating, combined with eating foods that increase the internal skin cell turnover makes for the most gorgeous and youthful skin.
“Good people, good food.”
My “must” avoid food list is pretty simple. I try to stay away from fried foods, artificial sweeteners, foods with labels that I don’t understand the ingredients, and I avoid goopy desserts. And, while I do love both dairy and red meats, I rarely indulge. I eat with the goal of reducing toxins with food that are high in antioxidants. I do this to increase my skin cell turnover, not just for my face, but also for my whole body. I want to constantly flush out toxins and take in foods high in antioxidants.
Planning a meal does require some thought and imagination. Think of all of the foods with beautiful colors… Orange foods, reds, greens, yellow. It’s these foods, mostly fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene, all of which increase cell turnover for healthier skin. I’m an artist, I think in color. When I’m preparing meal, I think about what my plate will look like when it’s all put together. It’s a bit like making up a woman’s face. I have already envisioned how I am going to apply a woman’s makeup as soon as she has sat in my chair. I do the same with cooking. A well-styled plate to me is about ¾ vegetables to ¼ protein and the colors and textures look great together.
I usually start with my protein or my main vegetable dish. So, if I’m making tilapia, I have to figure out what can I put with it so the plate will look pretty and heighten the tilapia flavor? Or, if I’m making roasted Moroccan Eggplant, I have to decide what to accompany this dish to enhance both its look and its flavors?
I’m pretty sure this method of meal planning rubbed off on my twins. When they were young, we would gather around the kitchen island doing homework and cooking dinner, I would ask for their help with dinner. I’d say, “We’re having grilled salmon for dinner, what else should I put on the plate to look pretty with the salmon?” My daughter might suggest steamed carrots and my son would say “No… too much orange. Let’s choose something green like maybe string beans or spinach.” Then my daughter one would pipe up and say, “I want broccoli. That will look pretty.” This banter was very cute. I’d get all sorts of suggestions of different colors and textures from vegetables to grains. It was a good way to get them involved and creative. Their favorite meal was still macaroni and cheese, which just made me cringe.
“Be with someone who brings out the best in you, not the stress in you.”
Diet does affect your complexion, your skin, and your youthfulness. It may not be medically proven, but there are many articles written about herbs and their antiaging effects. Some herbs are believed to help boost the body’s immune system, improve cell reproduction, and increase blood circulation. I incorporate certain herbs into my diet because they can be added as a spice and flavor to foods I’m already eating and they might even help to keep me younger.
Here is my list of foods that I think are skin-enhancing. I usually try to base my meal planning and dining around:
Red Bell Peppers
I believe that there are youth-enhancing herbs. I try to incorporate most of these into my daily diet. Maybe they are youth-enhancing, but at the very least they are flavor-enhancing:
What you eat and drink should help your skin cells stay hydrated. Skin that is hydrated is generally more plump, firmer, and less likely to sag or wrinkle. Make sure you consume enough liquids, and I don’t mean wine or coffee. Keeping hydrated helps you tighten your facial skin. Water is the best choice, but you can also drink non-caffeinated tea, and natural, non-sugar juices. Do I follow the 8 cups a day rule? I don’t know exactly. I start my day with a large water bottle in my hand and when it’s empty I grab another one, or refill it. I always have a glass or two of water by my bedside. Water is always my choice. I do drink red wine and occasionally caffeinated coffee or teas, knowing full well that they may dehydrate my skin slightly.
Red wine does have its benefits. I’m sure you’ve heard about resveratrol, an ingredient that is found on the skin and vines of red-wine grapes. Some people say this little chemical compound in red wine may be the reason that French women never get fat. It seems, at least to American women, that French women indulge in all of the things that we desperately try to avoid: pastries, real butter, cheese at every meal, red meat, red wine, and cigarettes – and they still mange to stay trim and youthful even into menopause. To top it off, French women have a lower incidence of heart disease than American women. Many studies credit resveratrol with their luck. I liked a daily glass of red wine, before I learned of resveratrol, but I insist on it now. By the way, you don’t have to drink the wine. It is available in supplements.
Lets talk supplements and vitamins
I believe supplements can be beneficial, but the key to vitamin and mineral supplements is eating a balanced diet. Food contains thousands of fibers and phytochemicals that work together and cannot be duplicated with a pill or a cocktail of supplements. Before taking any vitamin and mineral supplements, talk to your physician or nutritionist about your personal dietary plan.
What’s on the supplement menu? I am not the best pill taker, so I’m a drink your supplements kind of girl. I use a plant-based probiotic mix as my base and add it to raw kale, spinach, parsley, lemon, ginger, apple and whatever raw vegetable I have in my refrigerator, along with a large dash of cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, curry, nutmeg, and turmeric. I also chew a baby aspirin every day; I hear that keeps your heart in check and can ward off heart attacks in women (talk to your doctor). I am a fan of FABOVERFIFTY™ and they have published this as the short list of vitamins needed for women 50+: Multivitamin, Fish Oil, Calcium, Magnesium, Resveratrol, and CoQ10.
“Remember, no makeup transformation can give you everything that you desire. – It’s impossible. It’s like saying that after a wonderfully satisfying dinner that you won’t wake up hungry. But, we do. That’s why there’s breakfast.”