Nutrition for Healthy Skin

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cutest little avocado ever
cutest little avocado ever

So, remember that time I smeared avocado on my face? Eating it also happens to be pretty good for your skin.

Tuesday night, I spoke about nutrition for healthy skin at a super-fun fitness event in New Jersey, put together by a consultant from Rodan & Fields, who talked about some of their awesome products. Participants were also treated to healthy snacks and a free kickboxing class.

Here’s a little cheat sheet version of what I covered at the event. Here’s how to nourish your skin from the inside out!

Eat a Balanced Diet: Consume regular, balanced meals and snacks including: fruits and veggies along with lean sources of protein, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and healthy fats. 

Eat the Rainbow: Pigments in fruits and vegetables such as the beta-carotene that gives carrots their brilliant orange color can also make your skin glow.

Pay Attention to Antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that may prevent or delay cell damage caused by free radicals. Popular sources include: fruits, vegetables, red wine (and champagne!), dark chocolate, coffee, and tea.

Choose Supplements Carefully: Aim to get your vitamins and minerals from food first and use supplements to fill in any gaps (for example, iron and vitamin B12 for vegans). A few exceptions: many of us, especially in the northern states (especially in winter), would benefit from a vitamin D supplement. You might want to consider fish oil as well.

Use Sugar Sparingly: Inflammation caused by rapid sugar breakdown leads to sagging, wrinkles, and exacerbation of conditions like rosacea and acne. Sugar also deactivates the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. Save the sweet stuff for special occasions and check labels for hidden sources in processed foods.

Drink Plenty of Water: Hydrated skin is happy skin. Aim for 8 cups a day to get your glow on. Your needs may be more or less, depending on age, activity level, and other factors.

Go Easy on Alcohol: To avoid wrinkles and blotchy, tired-looking skin, stick to one drink per day for women or two for men.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight has been linked to inflammation and related skin problems like acne, sweating, and impaired wound healing. Being underweight can cause skin dryness and a pallid appearance.

Get Enough Sleep: Aside from keeping “hunger hormones” leptin and ghrelin in check, sleep gives the body a chance to repair and regenerate tissue. Also, when we’re tired, we’re more prone to stress, another known skin irritant.

Know Your Triggers: Keep a food journal and note skin’s appearance before and after eating to help you identify problem-foods if you suspect something is causing a reaction.

Don’t Smoke: All the antioxidants in the world won’t offset damage caused by the free radicals introduced to your body when you light up.

Are there any particular foods you try to include—or avoid—to keep your skin healthy? 


Awesome Corrected Fitspiration

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Good morning and happy Friday! So…I saw these “corrected” fitspiration posters floating around Facebook yesterday and thought they were so great, I had to share.

This one cracked me up the most: 

But this one made me happy in that teary-grateful kinda way: 

Is post-menstrual syndrome a thing? I think I have that. Either that or it’s just been one of those weeks. Good news, though! I’m off to visit a friend in Toronto for the weekend and am super-excited to experience a new-to-me city.

What are you up to this weekend? 

Winter Must Be Cold

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“Well a ring-a-ding-ding.” (from Clearly Delicious Food Blog)

I think studying for the RD exam is seeping into my brain a little too much. Last night I dreamed I opted out of a second date with a guy because he told weird stories about making chocolate-covered NYC sewer crawfish for his neighbors during Hurricane Sandy and talked a big game about glycogen when he had no idea what he was saying. I also got caught in some kind of race and woke up trying to figure out a route home and worried about dead mice falling from the ceiling and collecting under my bed. Awesome.

A few times during the night I also woke up because my iTunes had opened up on its own and started playing music. I eventually gave up and shut the machine down. What gives? Either Mercury retrograde is totally f***ing with me or I have a ghost buddy who likes the Apples in Stereo song “Winter Must Be Cold.” I hadn’t even thought of that song in roughly seven years, and you’d think that was the first song in my iTunes library, but nope. Not even close. So whatever.

The morning started well, though. I just got back from a free Dancelates class—it wasn’t my favorite thing ever but the instructor was great and it was fun to try something new. Time to start the day for real. Hello Tuesday, let’s do this thing.

Have you had any weird dreams lately? 


Lucky Foods for the New Year

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Happy 2012! Hope you had a great New Years Eve. Do you like to nerd out over New Years Day rituals? I kind of do. I like the idea of starting your new year off doing things you hope to do a lot of in the coming 365 days—start off on the right foot, you know?


Beans & greens for good luck in the new year!

Certain foods are thought to be good luck when eaten on New Years Day. Greens and green foods in general are said to promote financial wealth and growth. Same goes for beans and lentils, as they’re round and swell as they cook.  Long noodles are on the list too. Some meats and fish dishes can be lucky too, but stay away from lobster, as they move backwards and are thought to symbolize setbacks.

In 2009 I went all out and whipped up a feast of lucky foods, including:

  • Mixed greens with roasted beets, sliced pear, toasted walnuts, and maybe blue cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette
  • Roasted garlic, served with roasted peppers, hummus, and whole wheat flatbread
  • Vegetable antipasto—lots of roasted and grilled vegetables, served with olives and feta
  • Sesame soy slaw, made with brussel sprouts, sesame oil, ginger, soy sauce and red onion
  • Lentil-stuffed peppers

Um, yeah. Totally not doing that this year. I did buy lentils and split peas, though, and I have a sh!t ton of kale all prepped and waiting to be used in something.

Do you have any New Years Day rituals? 

New Years Pre-Tox

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If every group of friends is like a family, I am totally okay with the fact that I play the role of the crazy aunt who’s always talking about the moon and telling people to eat and drink green things. If the shoe fits…

While I’d describe myself as a moderate drinker (3-5 drinks over the course of a week, usually with dinner), there are certain occasions on which I might enjoy a second or third glass of wine—or let’s make it champagne, to be festive. For many of you out there, myself maybe or maybe not included, New Years Eve is one such occasion.

While there’s a lot of info out there on how to detox after a big night out (the only true cure for a hangover is time, but here this recent NY Times piece mentions a few other remedies), what you do beforehand can have an effect on the morning after—if not physically, then at least mentally.

A big salad is one of my pre-tox go-tos

Before any food-and-drink holiday, I like to pre-game by making time for exercise and eating lots of nutrient-rich foods like big salads and vegetable-rich soups. I also try to avoid drinking on an empty stomach—that’s just asking for trouble.

Hydration is also key! I do try to drink water in between alcoholic drinks, but sometimes it’s not quite enough. Maybe if I were taller this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. My “big night out” is someone else’s “getting started” when it comes to drinking. Better to at least know your limit, I guess.

What are you doing for New Years Eve? 

SMART resolutions for the New Year

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Happy New Year—here's a mug of champagne

Are you making an resolutions for 2012? This is the time of year when people start vowing spend more time with family, save money, or get in shape and lose weight.

Unfortunately, many health-related New Years resolutions fizzle out by Valentines Day, often because they are vague or unrealistic. Anna Armstrong, a clinical dietitian with Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health in Lafayette, shares a few tips for sticking to those goals, primarily by starting off with SMART resolutions, which are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • and Timely

Though I can’t remember what mine were last year, partway through January, I made a resolution to get a massage once a month (finding a place that made this financially realistic was my inspiration). It worked out a lot better than the unspecified “do nice things for myself” I’d attempted in years past.

I don’t really have any health goals planned for this year besides to keep staying active most days of the week. With my dietetic internship starting in February, I know that 2012 is a going to be a busy year—probably not the year to take on a recipe challenge or decide to pretend I was born with not-deformed feet and start training for a marathon. Some of us just aren’t meant to be runners, and that’s okay.

I do, however, intend to keep getting those monthly massages! Also, since it dawned on me that I’ve been living in NYC almost four years and done very little in the way of sight-seeing, I’m resolving to visit one museum or other New York must-see per month.

Do you have any 2012 resolutions? What are they? 

Happy Monday

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Happy Monday guys! How was your weekend?

After a series of crazy dreams, I woke up feeling better than I have in over a week, like maybe that thing I’ve been fighting off got scared and ran away? Today kicks off my week of shadowing an RD at the clinic I’ve volunteered at since January, so I decided to start off on a good foot, with a green smoothie for breakfast.

Into the blender went:

  • half a frozen banana
  • a few slices frozen peach
  • lots of ice
  • a giant handful of spinach
  • ~ 3/4 almond milk
  • a scoop of protein powder
I stirred in some instant oats after blending and topped it with 1/4 tsp of coconut oil, a tablespoon of granola, and a few zucchini bread crumbles. That should hold me over until lunch…
I don’t have to be at the hospital until 1 pm today, which is actually kind of nice, but I have a ton of stuff to do before that! Along with errands and some work at my desk, I’ve got a date with the gym.
After spending several months getting back to where I was, strength-wise, pre-injury, and then maintaining for a couple months, I think I’m finally ready to start focusing on getting stronger. Need to make sure I protect my bones—osteoporosis, which runs in my family, is nothing to mess around with!
I downloaded an app called All-In Fitness to help me get started and track my progress. I’ve never used anything like this before, but it seemed like a safer idea than just winging it. Chris has had really great  results with a similar app (which is no longer available), and this was the closest thing I could find. We shall see.
Have you ever used a fitness app for your phone?