We all want clear, glowing, plump skin, am I right? These days, we can go to great lengths to achieve “dream skin” that looks and feels like a newborn baby’s soft, supple tush. Chemical peels, toxin-filled expensive creams, serums, botox, fillers – and the list goes on.
But what if we could feed our skin from the inside out? What if the foods we ate every day could help prevent premature aging, contribute to a clear complexion and help to boost skin-plumping collagen production? Not to mention provide us with sustained energy, help with weight-loss and prevent diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease? All achieved naturally and quite inexpensively using real, whole foods.
It’s exciting to think that every time we eat, we have the ability to change our bodies’ chemistry for the better.
I am a fan of incorporating what I call beauty foods into both my own and my clients’ meals. I also made it a priority to infuse beauty foods into every single recipe found in my new e-book, Clean Eating. Eating for gorgeous, healthy skin is actually quite simple if you follow these guidelines:
- Reduce your consumption of dairy (especially non-organic and low-fat dairy)
- Reduce your consumption of high-glycemic foods like refined sugars, soda, flours, grains and alcohol
- Eat a variety of whole, unprocessed foods with lots of brightly coloured vegetables
- Eat fibre-rich foods
- Eat healthy fats
- Eat healthy proteins
- Eat antioxidant rich foods
- Eat probiotic and prebiotic rich foods
Pretty straightforward huh? If you stick to these principles (as often as you can) you will start to look and feel truly radiant. Here’s a little breakdown of the beauty foods found in my Creamy Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash + Coconut Milk from Clean Eating – the perfect fall meal.
Butternut squash, carrots and tomatoes are full of antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin c, manganese, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help to fight off free radical damage and oxidation in our bodies which helps to protect and repair the skin. These antioxidants also help to reduce inflammation in the body and skin.
Leeks, onions and garlic all contain a special fibre which travels directly to our large intestines. They then become healthy food for the good bacteria in our gut which helps keep the bad bacteria in our bodies at bay. Good gut health means good skin health!
FIBRE & PROTEIN
Lentils are an incredible source of fibre and plant-based protein. We get 16 grams of fibre and 27 grams of protein in just ¾ cup of lentils. Not to mention 40% of our daily iron requirements. High fibre and protein helps to balance our blood sugar and keep our skin clear and blemish-free.
Raw coconut oil, coconut milk and pumpkin seeds provide us with healthy fats which help to keep dry, dehydrated skin at bay and give us that dewy glow. These healthy fats also help prevent our blood sugar from spiking and negatively affecting our hormones and skin. They also keep us feeling satiated and full, preventing sugar and carb cravings.
CREAMY LENTIL SOUP WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH + COCONUT MILK (Recipe from Clean Eating by Talia Chai)
Makes 5-6 cups
1 Tablespoon raw coconut oil
1 red onion, diced
1 leek, cut in half horizontally and sliced into thin half-moons (white + light green parts only)
1 red finger chilli, seeds removed, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 vine tomato, diced
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped (about 3 cups)
3 carrots, peeled and
chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 cup red lentils, stones removed, rinsed
2 teaspoons sea salt
black pepper to taste
5 cups filtered water
juice from 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 Tablespoon parsley leaves, chopped
pumpkin seeds (for garnish
In a large pot over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add the onion, leek, cumin, chilli, thyme and garlic. Sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add tomato paste and diced tomato, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, squash, lentils, water, salt and pepper. Stir well. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover pot with lid and turn heat down to low. Simmer for 25 minutes, or until veggies are soft and lentils arecooked. Turn off heat. Using an immersion blender, blend soup in pot until completely smooth. Add lemon juice and coconut milk. Taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Pour into serving bowls and swirl in a dash of coconut milk and sprinkle with chopped parsley and pumpkin seeds for garnish.
Talia Chai is a Clean Foods Chef, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Instructor, Wellness Speaker and Writer. Talia is the author and photographer of Clean Living: 52 Dairy-free, Gluten-free and Refined sugar-free recipes which you can find here. For more, head to www.taliachai.com or find Talia on Instagram and Twitter @taliachai and on Facebook.