What's up Peeps!
At the end of my post yesterday, I got inspired by my lasagna to add a different perspective on how to look after one's health and skin for a nice glow, recovery whatever else the case may be that I think it plays an equally important part THE FOOD WE EAT BOOOORRRRRIIINNNGGG lol...but it's true. They say we are what we eat, after what we consume is what our body is using to build an maintain, healthy glowing skin actually starts from the inside.
Don't get me wrong, I like stuffing my face with pizza, fried chicken, french fries and whatever else like the next person, not saying all junk food should be avoided, I do believe in balance, when we deprive ourselves of the little things that bring a smile to our faces, can actually make us indulge more all at once, also no bueno. Some foods tho, hold some form of superpower just like certain foods are extremely detrimental.
After I got the vid, obviously I got really sick and almost died and unfortunately, I looked like it too. It aged me and my skin a decade instantly. I wasn't quite fond of that, having always worked so hard to stay looking young. Were all my efforts in vein? When I say all parts of my body got destroyed in some way is an understatement. Healing the after effects has been quite a task, my gray looking sickly skin was one of those things. Not much I can do about it but practice mindfulness in various ways probably forever.
Food being one of those things, and eating the proper foods and discovering superfoods became my new journey. Of course the internet is a big database of all the useless information one wants, it can actually become a helpful tool with the use of discernment and common sense. Like some moron, I googled and read about all the foods I like and eat regularly to see their impact on the health, with kidney issues left over from my illness along with a severe accidental lanacane poisoning after a sunburn during one of my Rockies trip, I didn't want to eat anything that would aggravate that too much while still having some of my guilty pleasures.
It was a daunting task but boring me likes to learn so I actually found it kinda fun and now I know a bunch of fun facts nobody cares about when it comes to food health and I don't like or trust hospitals much due to some shady experiences and they never seem to diagnose me proper especially when it comes to my allergies.
When I was 19, I died of liver failure, my heart had stopped and stood next to my body while the doctors were trying to get my heart pumping again and for some reason returned after they gave me epinephrine as a last resort, which turns out is also for allergies that was still unknown at that point , that was a really weird experience for me, even for the doctor, especially when I mentioned a few things he had done and said while he believed I was dead. What? How do you know this? I replied with, I was standing next to you, while another voice was talking to me, asking me to go back.
I was put on a liver transplant list but I ended up healing my own liver but it left scarring so it gets irritated when I eat certain foods and many frequent hospital visits to keep track of my healing and white blood cell count was monitored for a year thereafter. Listening to my body did help me identify which foods are irritants and which are ok and today, I don't experience too many problems as long as pay attention and not be a douche to my body. Almost like a miraculous recovery nonetheless.
This anecdote isn't completely pointless or irrelevant, the liver and the skin are highly related. It's purpose is to detoxify our body and when it gets overwhelmed, it releases toxins thru the skin and pores to compensate and get some instant relief to be able to function normally. Our bodies are smarter than we are! That is why diet is important far beyond the building blocks we put in it. What irritates the liver will irritate the skin by default.
What irritates the liver? Alcohol being the worst, drinking one glass of water per alcoholic drink helps the filtration, but binge drinking and getting drunk is really really bad. If you feel drunk or buzzed, that's the liver being overwhelmed and not able to filter the toxin of alcohol fast enough and it accumulates in the body and will immediately try to get rid of it via the skin. Why alcoholics tend to have bad skin and enlarged pores.
Obviously, quitting drinking was on my agenda, it took me a few years of stubbornness to actually put it in practice being so young and in the "party" age, working as a bartender and all of the cool kid stuff with no parental supervision going on but I eventually found the will power to be better for myself...plus the pain from the scar irritation was really bad.
The importance of the building blocks of our largest organ was once again highlighted last December after someone in my household (not me) ended up in the burn unit with 8% of his body burned by a battery explosion. (Those of you who vape and have the big round lithium battery, I advise to not keep it in your pocket...EVER). With deep burns that consumed much of the leg destroying all of the skin right down to the muscle in many areas, surgery multiple skin grafts were required meaning a lengthy recovery time was in order.
Part of the recovery was a Diet that included skin superfoods and a little bit of knowledge. That included me because I was the caregiver when he couldn't do anything for himself along with the heavy pain drugs causing a distraction and memory issues for doctor visits and a sound clear mind was required to take in all the important information and absorb the aftercare information, keep track of appointments and everything else. With the body being in heavy recovery mode, low blood sugar was a big concern along with infection.
He ended up with over 90 staples in his leg to hold the grafts in place, special extra daily moisturizing after the bandages and staples were removed, which funny enough, required serums and creams as high end with very similar properties to those mentioned in my last post. Doctor prescribed! OMG, I felt a little smart for a moment, although my reason was vanity but re-enforced I was on the right track for my own selfish desires of remaining young looking as long as I can.
Obviously, we received an entire stack of paperwork dictating the special diet and meal plans required to feed the skin so it could re-build as fast as possible to reduce the risk of infection including measures to avoid low blood sugar leading to passing out at random, that alone can be quite dangerous. As long as the grafts don't take and a burn is open is a major risk for adverse effect along with not all skin grafts are successful and some have to be redone if the body rejects it.
Diet was a crucial part in building the skin around the grafts as fast as possible before the body rejects it like some fucked up race against your own body and immune system. I was afraid to look at the paperwork and the life adjustments that would be required, me and diet are not exactly BFF but it was a necessity. Like a responsible caregiver, I studied the paperwork to do proper meal planning and include as much superfoods to ensure proper healing and an as fast as possible recovery.
To my surprise, there was actually no changes required. What? Is my diet so freaking boring that we already ate like a skin graft burn unit patient?!? OMG, I wasn't sure if I should be proud of myself or feel more boring. either way, it explained a lot as to why we don't seem to age like the rest of our peers. Well fed skin from the inside, I'm sure that helped for a faster recovery the fact that the body already contained the required nutrients needed and the wounds actually managed to close up and reducing the time of exposed areas even to the surgeon's standards.
As we age, we lose collagen and that is an essential part of skin cell regeneration and the time it takes. As we lose collagen, we lose elasticity in many areas like our skin being the first but also in our bones and slows down the reproduction of cells in our body to replace the damaged ones. It's normal to have these cell cycles, depending on the area of the body we experience a complete cell turn over every so often.
The nutrients first go to the more important organs and processes to keep us alive and then the rest goes to the less vital parts after. Eating a lot of sugar interferes with the quality of collagen produced and how the body distributes it in a process called glycation. Not only does refined sugar toxins come out of the pores as the liver tries to clean up our bad habits, it also reduces our body's natural collagen's effectiveness along with reduced production we already experience as part of the natural aging process of our bodies. Triple whammy on how bad sugar really is, a concept that goes far beyond weight gain/loss concept most associate with refined sugars.
Refined sugars include the obvious sweets, pop and alcohol but also bread, pasta, also including cow's milk but as a catch 22, cow's milk also has important protein that aids in skin building, obviously a proper balance is an asset, too much is bad, too little also has it's own effects beyond calcium and bone strength. As a side note irrelevant to skin, the carbonation in fizzy drinks like pop requires calcium to digest and if you are not consuming enough, it will take it from your bones to compensate. In other words, the popular drink is a big culprit in premature aging of several parts of the body in various ways. I actually don't even drink it, it's so poison to us on so many levels.
Another important detrimental food class to our skin and liver, fatty foods like animal fat, deep fried foods, the usual suspects in that class. The liver hates fried foods and animal fats and will try it's best to release it via the pores as soon as possible to reduce the body from absorbing it as much as possible and clogging arteries. Catch 22, fat is an excellent energy source for our body to transform why our bodies tend to absorb it as reserves and we end up with a spare tire or a muffin top.
Not all fats are bad, vegetable fats are actually beneficial to reduce the absorption of the bad artery and pore clogging spare tire causing unhealthy fats. The body is smart, if you eat enough healthy fat and control the amounts of bad fat ingested, the body will keep the good stuff first and release the bad. Vegetables like avocado, olive oil, various raw unsated nuts chia seeds, and dark chocolate (70% + cacao content). Certain meat products are actually somewhat beneficial in responsible quantities. That's where milk comes in along with eggs with the most optimal being FISH protein.
Protein requires protein to digest often cancelling out the protein that was eaten for example beef protein being a really hard one to digest. The best protein is actually built by and within the body itself using amino acids as the building blocks rather than a digested protein. There are multiple classes of amino acids, the more variety of amino acids included within the production of said protein, the stronger and more beneficial it actually is. The key is once again not too much of anything but a wide variety of high amino acids from a wide variety of natural foods. Cooking foods often reduce the body's harvestable nutrients, including a great deal of raw unprocessed foods is actually key.
Now, what does amino acids have to do with boosting collagen production and skin health? Collagen is actually one of these said important fibrous proteins that our body naturally produces. Important protein not just for muscles but also crucial for bone flexibility along with a faster skin cell turnover. An other effects of healthy fats, the body can turn it's excess into consumable energy of a higher quality longer lasting than the energy produced by carb rich foods like bread or pasta and other sugars, reducing the amount needed for our daily tasks.
Along with skin health, collagen can really boost hair and nail growth along with keeping it healthy along with optimizing healthy joints and cartilage. Another excellent source of collagen is bone broth. Making homemade soup and stocks by boiling bones especially from pork or chicken and beef, any bones for that matter along with harvesting the gelatin from your pork roast (not the fat, just the weird jelly substance that sits on top of it). The gelatin is separated from the fat naturally after it's been cooled. That is collagen my friends. In a technical sense, it makes gummy candies and jello a great source of gelatin aka collagen despite it's high sugar content. If you are going to reach for a sweet treat, that is one to consider but obviously in moderation.
We have come to know as sugar being bad but that mostly applies to refined sugars. Fruits are a healthy source of sugars in moderation and can help reduce the sugar cravings that lead us to candies, pop and baked goods in the first place. Our brains crave because of dopamine, why food is often associated as a drug when it comes to emotional eating and overeaters. Eating fruits feeds the same receptors but in a healthier way.
Besides satisfying our brain and dopamine, fruits contain many vitamins, minerals and the nutrients that give them their rich colors like berries especially blueberries, are packed with anti oxidants that help fight free radicals that build up and also responsible for damaging the skin that are present in daily life like sun exposure, chemicals in the air, stress, etc. Super colorful foods = and army or a shield for a natural protection barrier for the skin, protecting it from damage in the first place. Another key feature, most fruits are above 70% water, also helping with proper hydration and to replace the electrolytes lost to sweating.
Same can be said for vibrant colored non fatty vegetables via fighting free radicals and hydration ,of course consuming them raw being optimal with a few exception to the rule, one being TOMATOES, yes I know it's technically a fruit but I don't make tomato pies or add it in a fruit salad so we'll include it with the vegetables. Tomato is rich in lycopene that is enhanced when cooked or processed, so yes your tomato sauce is actually a super food.
In the list of super veggies is onion and garlic, they are like little blood scrubbers. Concentration of heavy metals in our blood from air pollution (especially for welders and other metal trade related work), food contamination and other sources are detrimental for the skin and also considered a free radical. Both onion and garlic are excellent natural detoxifier including heavy metals along with having anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Especially handy when having a cold as well.
Our bodies are made up of 70% water, proper hydration is in order. Many of our favorite drinks like coffee, alcohol and sugary drinks are diuretics meaning they pull hydration from the body and when dehydrated, the body will pull water from other places to feed the more vital parts of our body taking from elsewhere, meaning the skin is first on the list of sacrifice. Keeping properly hydrated with WATER is crucial to keep the pesky wrinkles from the skin.
Coffee isn't entirely harmful having it's own important nutrients called polyphenols, antioxidants also found in dark chocolate that are also beneficial against free radicals along with helping fight inflammation that tends to cause redness in the skin. The key is moderation. If you have a chocolate craving, dark chocolate is the healthier alternative and contains less sugar than it's popular counterparts we tend to go for.
Although salt is an important mineral for our bodies, too much of it is never a good thing and same goes for the skin. Too much salt will also cause dehydration along with drawing moisture from the skin and in turn highlights wrinkles. Many processed foods and salty snacks along with fast food contains ridiculous amounts of salt, it can cause inflammation in the skin especially those pesky under-eye bags. It can also promote water retention within the body along with aggravating acne as the dehydration it causes can trigger sebum glands to over produce pore clogging oils. Before you reach for that salty nut mix thinking you are doing a good thing, a better option is raw unprocessed snack instead.
Some dried foods like dried figs is actually a super food full of minerals and vitamins that promotes healthy hair skin and nails. Both fresh and dried are loaded with benefits but dried by far outweighs the other. This dried fruit is so powerful, it's nutrients equal that of a full egg! Dark circles under the eye is often related with an iron deficiency, eating dry figs and pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of iron. Being rich in anti oxidants, also a great food for fighting free radicals. This superfood is a great replacement for sugary snacks along with being easy to incorporate into salads, especially spinach salad or any charcutrie board.
Citrus is another powerful superfood not just meant to fight colds but for skin health in various ways, rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids and quercetin, it not only nourishes the skin but helps promote the health of blood vessels and capillaries that actually lead to it and is actually powerful enough to reverse damage that was already done on a cellular level and also contains anti-inflammatory properties along with the ability to reduce age spots from the inside 😲 ...it is the fruit of youth.
Does this mean we have to throw all our guilty pleasures of our beloved western diet out the door? Well of course not just balance is an asset. Incorporating a few changes as to how we consume them and mixing with superfoods reduce the amount of unhealthy foods consumed, have that pasta, why not add a bountiful layer spinach and cottage cheese in that homecooked favorites like lasagna, that tomato sauce is an asset and none of us eat it on it's own...well that's a lie, I eat a good deal of the sauce as I make it. Reducing the amount of meat and adding more vegetables is a simple way of eating those guilty pleasures while reducing the amount of pasta also being consumed while having a filling and satisfying meal for our taste buds.
Pasta Salad with loads of chopped fresh spinach is another great dish to still have our beloved carbs and a bit of that fatty meat and we all love like peperoni and cheese while reducing the amount consumed without feeling like we are deprived or hungry. It's easy to make and adding half of it's content as vegetables, it's perfect for a hot summer day and replenish our hydration in a fun way. A simple home made vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar and olive or avocado oil mixed with herbs. Want those unhealthy white man tacos? No problem, just load half of it with vegetables. Life is about balance. I love indulging like the next person but in a more mindful way. Much of our food is empty calories, adding nutrient dense superfoods is a good way to pack a punch towards a healthier self. Eating in a mindful way for the skin would also be beneficial towards weight loss.
Having healthy snacks handy on the counter like dried fruits and nuts available on hand rather than the salty greasy chips/crisps we all tend to reach for while deciding if we even want a snack will promote healthier snacking since we tend to eat what we see first. I'm a sucker for charcutrie boards so I like to include many fruits, nuts, vegetables with my unhealthy fatty meats, crackers and cheese reducing the amount I eat while still satisfying my craving for junk. Why not throw a few chips in there too, at least that way I will not eat half the bag.
Do we all still like waffles? Smoked Salmon, arugula with pickled onions and tomatoes.
Salmon is a prime example of an easy to make superfood, it can get costly to order in restaurants and many are intimidated to cook this protein being easy to overcook and it really taste like crap when it is. I like to go to Costco and buy a large bag of frozen Sockeye Salmon for around $45 for around 9 to 10 portions and prepare it with Renee's fresh Italian dressing and a little salt and pepper, let the fish absorb the dressing and the salt for about half hour and then cook on the BBQ or in a covered frying pan for 6 or 7 minutes or until the fat begins to render on the sides.
A properly cooked delicious salmon still has a line of raw flesh on the inside. The only ones that have to worry about raw fish are pregnant women. The combination of a proper cook and the dressing leaves the fish super juicy. Natural herbs like rosemary also offer some powerful skin benefits and are easy to add to many dish. Using fresh herbs also reduce the amount of salt and other harmful seasoning while maintaining full flavor in various dishes. The salmon above is served with rosemary rice and a New-Brunswick wild delicacy called fiddleheads that are also super packed with various nutrients. They can be found in the spring in swamps, they are a juvenile Ostridge fern still rolled up. Tossed in a bit of garlic butter.
Simple deconstructed tomato salad with cheese curds and walnuts topped with a little salt and pepper (tomatoes only) and freeze dried basil, oregano and pressed garlic marinating in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I would normally use fresh basil but I ate all my plant and didn't have any handy. Using pink Himalayan salt instead of table salt is a healthier option. The processing of regular table salt reduces the taste of it along with striping it of many essential minerals needing to add more. Balsamic vinegar like apple cider vinegar when consumed provide benefits for normalizing the skin, helping to balance the skin ph along with promoting blood circulation. Made from grapes, it contains similar health benefits and anti-oxidants to promote glowing skin.
We all love Club sandwiches, substracting the nutrient null lettuce with loads of spinach instead adding avocadoes and green onions with sour cream instead of mayo, reduced to 2 slices of bread instead of 3 with loads of chicken. A good way to enjoy an easy all time favorite with added superfood benefits and less carbs. Chicken is a much easier and healthier source of protein than beef.
Before reaching for that sugary pop or high sugar, high calorie and nutritionally empty drinks. Many fruit juices without sugar added are a great option to satisfy that craving in a slightly healthier way. Still important to consume fruits and it's juices in moderation, too much sugar can lead to diabetes and is still sugar, just less detrimental than refined sugars.
Being more mindful doesn't have to be boring, now armed with a few examples to incorporate healthy fats and and other nutrient dense foods into our diet reducing the unhealthy parts of our guilty pleasures is a step forward. With fresh fruits and vegetables getting more expensive, a good way to keep costs manageable is to visit your local ugly produce store if you have one available to your city. they often sell fresh produce at discounted prices at 1/3 of the cost at the supermarket.
Now that I played with my food a little too much turning my ingredients upside down, I have a big mess to clean up in the kitchen... any volunteers 🤣? Well I did eat some of it while writing this post and taking pictures too. Obviously I didn't make everything in this post today so some of the photography is a collection of previous meals and may have been posted under my ladybug account but most of the photography is fresh from today.
Eat well and stay healthy friend and enjoy these beauty superfoods! xox