• The subtle energy of your food becomes your mind.
– The Upanishads
“You are what you eat” is a cosmic law. That phrase is like a zip file that was attached to our spirit when we were emailed to the planet. It seems strange that I have never met anyone who did not know the phrase “you are what you eat.” From this phrase, much can be derived.
At the most basic level, you remake yourself moment-by-moment and meal-to-meal. The food you eat becomes part of who you are. Thus, lasting beauty stems from a commitment to eating beautifying foods.
There are two ways to approach a more beautifying diet: Adding healthy foods, pure water and beautifying nutrients. Leaving out unhealthy, damaging foods and tap water.
Not sure what to leave out? The foods that disfavour beauty include processed-chemicalized foods, refined sugar, processed-cooked starches, cooked rancid oils and fried foods. Sweets, refined breads and sodas are damaging to the teeth and skin and stimulate weight gain. Starchy hybridized cooked carbs (including most common breads and grain products, as well as, potatoes) make the skin dry and pasty. “White” foods such as white bread, white rice, refined pasta, rice cakes, potato chips, French fries, soda pop and energy drinks are low in minerals and high in sugar. These are exactly the things we need to avoid. Foods like these deplete the body of minerals, create acidity and can lead to fungus, yeast and mold overgrowth and immune system susceptibility in the body.
Sugar is damaging to the skin because it attaches to collagen molecules, causing stiffness and inflexibility. This leads to accelerated skin damage and wrinkle formation. In addition, when simple sugar molecules such as fructose or glucose are in the bloodstream without the moderation of an enzyme, they can become attached to proteins or lipids (fats). This process is called glycation. Glycation creates the formation of rogue molecules called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). If a person has a high amount of sugar in their diet, they will have a high amount of AGEs in their bloodstream – and these inflammatory compounds literally prematurely age us.
Cooked and rancid oils and fats are also particularly destructive because these compounds do not dissolve in water. Since we are primarily a water-based life form, it makes metabolism of cooked and rancid oils difficult at best. Cooked and rancid oils may make it into fatty organs and tissues where they are inflammatory in nature, burden these organs and inevitably create detrimental responses in the skin’s complexion, leading to acne, wrinkles and premature aging.
Raw fats and oils are important though. Every cell in your body requires some fats and oils. When you eat healthy fats – like pure omega 3 fatty acids, olive oil, oily seeds, and avocados –your cell membranes become flexible and the cells can absorb nutrients well and respond properly to hormones. But when you eat unhealthy fats, they end up being deposited in parts of your cell membranes that take the place of good fats like a toxic impostor. These cells can become stiff and inflexible, causing both health and beauty problems. Inflexible cell membranes make it difficult for nutrients to be transported into the cells. Circulation can become sluggish, which contributes to dry, flaky skin and acne. Stiff cell membranes make your cells less responsive to important hormonal messages. All this adds up to bad news for your skin and longevity.
Sometimes skin conditions (like eczema and psoriasis) can be partly caused by nutritional deficiencies (toxic foods are also causative factors in these skin conditions). Once the deficiency is rectified and the body has what it needs as building blocks, the body can heal itself and the skin will return back to normal. Vitamins and oils that are important for good skin are destroyed by heat. These include: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and omega 3 fatty acids as well as raw saturated fats (especially coconut oil). On the other hand, nutrient-rich raw food is ideal for placing a sparkle in the eyes, lustre in the hair, radiance in the skin and a pleasant odour to the body.
Let’s face it; approaching your diet from a place of denial and discipline does not work in the long run. The easiest way to make changes is to begin by adding, not subtracting. By adding nutrient-rich foods, superfoods and superherbs, you allow your body to shift automatically at its own pace so that, eventually, processed foods will lose their appeal.
The foods we add should be as nutrient-rich and as densely mineralized as possible. Eating organic foods, superfoods and superherbs grown in mineralized soils is ideal. Over time, the goal is that every food you put in your mouth is nutrient-dense. This will go a long way towards building healthy tissues throughout the body that will have long-term implications, not only for beauty, but for longevity as well.
Another key thing to include in everyone’s diet is good, hydrating, clean, structured water. I recommend finding a natural spring for fresh, wild spring water. Water flushes toxins, transports nutrients, keeps cells hydrated and plump and prevents dry skin. Chemicals and pollution abound in our world. No source of tap water anywhere in the world (except in Iceland) is safe to drink. You have to either get a filter or your body will become a filter.
Raw food contains a lot of hydration in the form of juice. Juice makes your tissues plump and youthful. If you desire beauty, your tissues should have a juicy, hydrated quality about them. You can also get hydrating benefits from juicing fruits and vegetables and young coconut water.
Here are some important foods and nutrients to include for beautiful skin and hair:
Antioxidants to slow the oxidation of cells by free radicals (reactive oxygen). Good concentrations of antioxidants are found in berries, citrus, cacao, leafy greens and many superfoods, as well as raw fats and oils.
Enzymes to promote absorption and assimilation of nutrients. Enzymes are naturally present in raw foods and low-temperature dehydrated foods. Enzyme supplements are also recommended to improve metabolism, speed healing and for youthening.
Omega 3s are important essential fatty acids lacking in most people. Omega 3s are found in hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, evening primrose oil, algae oil, fish oil and Krill oil. They protect cell membranes and provide what the body needs for better skin hydration. They decrease red splotches in the skin and help smooth rough skin.
Saturated Fat (Coconut Oil and Raw Butter) is the dominant oil in your body and makes up over 60% of the oils in your skin. Raw saturated fats are important antioxidants that also support the nervous system.
Vitamins A and K protect against skin cancer and help the body produce sebum – an oil that serves as a natural conditioner. Good sources of both these vitamins include dark green vegetables such as: kale, broccoli, chard, collards and beet greens.
Vitamin C youthens, decreases wrinkles and plays a role in synthesis of collagen, a protein responsible for elasticity. Vitamin C is easily found in most fruits and vegetables, especially papaya, kiwis, strawberries, tomatoes, red bell pepper, oranges and lemons and limes. Botanical, concentrated powdered vitamin C sources such as camu camu, acerola, amla and rosehips are also recommended.
Vitamin E protects cells against free radicals and is commonly found in almonds, avocados, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, olives, olive oil and lettuce. Vitamin E supplements are recommended; one should consume both tocopherol and tocotrienol forms of vitamin E.
Zinc helps the immune system and digestion, improves stress levels, supports healthy hair and helps heal eczema, acne and wounds. Good sources of zinc include poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pecans, almonds and nearly all foods that are naturally black in colour.
Although topical creams and oils can help your skin and hair look more radiant, the best way to build beauty is to glow from within. Invest in delicious foods, superfoods and superherbs. Remember, the foundation of beauty is within.
David “Avocado” Wolfe has been an advocate of raw food for 20 years. He is considered by his peers to be one of the world’s leading authorities in nutrition. He is a bestselling author and world authority on raw foods and superfoods. He is the founder and the leading contributor to the Internet’s only peak performance and nutrition online magazine: www.TheBestDayEver.com See David Wolfe in Vancouver at the Seed Event, October 13, PNE Forum. www.seedevent.org
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup ice
- 1 handful of fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 handful of fresh or frozen raspberries
- 2 tbs. goji berries
- 1 tbs. hempseed oil or
- pumpkin seed oil (Styrian)
- 1 tbs. spirulina powder
- 1 tsp. acai powder
- ½ tsp. camu camu
- 3 tbs. tocotrienols
- (raw rice bran solubles)
- 1 tbs. xylitol
- 1 dropper schizandra berry tincture
- 1 dropper vanilla stevia
- Optional: 1 tbs. longan powder (or 1 handful of fresh de-seeded longan fruits)
photo © Konstantin Yuganov