The Beauty Chef’s Ultimate Pantry Essentials

The Beauty Chef - The Beauty Chef's Ultimate Pantry Essentials

 

By Courtenay Turner

What we eat can have a medicinal effect on our health. Food not only fuels our bodies, but also feeds our cells and influences our microbiome – the ecosystem of microorganisms that populate the gut. Unsurprisingly, consuming a diet high in processed foods, as opposed to a diet rich in wholefoods, can negatively influence the number and species of microbes in the gut.

In order to cultivate a healthy microbiome and experience all of the associated benefits – glowing skin, increased energy and improved wellbeing – we therefore need to nourish our bodies with pure, unadulterated wholefoods.

Read on to discover how to stock your pantry with The Beauty Chef’s favourite, beauty-boosting foods and eat your way to radiant, glowing skin…

 

Fats

Gone are the days of demonising full-fat products – fat is back and it deserves a spot in your pantry! Healthy fats (like those listed below) are essential for glowing skin, hair and nails as well as numerous other functions in the body. Your brain, for example, is about 60 percent fat and requires a lovely dose of omega-3 fatty acids, namely DHA, to function at its best.

The Beauty Chef loves

  • Extra virgin olive oil: Olive oil is predominantly made up of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid which is said to reduce inflammation. Extra virgin olive oil is best drizzled on salads and soups and is also delicious when used for frying or baking at moderate temperatures. Be sure to choose an extra virgin variety that hasn’t been blended with other refined oils.
  • Extra virgin coconut oil: Containing lauric acid and caprylic acid, the same fatty acids found in breast milk, coconut oil may be effective against harmful pathogens – great news for those suffering from yeast infections and similar gut-related issues.
  • Grass-fed, organic butter or ghee: Both are rich in vitamin K2, one of the most powerful vitamins when it comes to preventing premature ageing. K2 helps to inhibit the calcification of the skin’s elastin, keeping the skin plump and springy. Cultured butter is also a delicious addition to your pantry and will nourish the gut with its probiotic power.

 

Nuts & Seeds

Quality nuts and seeds are a wonderful source of healthy fats and protein. Many also contain vitamin E, a powerful anti-inflammatory that fights free radical damage. A diet rich in vitamin E promotes healthy, glowing skin. We recommend soaking and activating your nuts to make them easier to digest.

The Beauty Chef loves…

Brazil nuts, macadamias, pecans, hazelnuts, almonds, coconut, chia seeds and flaxseeds. Nut meals (like almond meal) are also a great substitute for grain-based flours when used in baking recipes.   

 

Proteins

Eating foods that are high in protein gives the body the amino acids it needs to make keratin, which is crucial for the health of your hair and nails, as well as the outer layer of your skin. Protein-rich meals also help to keep you feeling satisfied, which benefits both your appetite and your metabolism.

The Beauty Chef loves…

  • Organic, free-range eggs: Eat the whole egg (not just the whites!) and you’ll get a beautiful dose of vitamin A which is vital for healthy skin and skin texture. Eggs are also a great source of vitamin D, zinc, selenium, B vitamins and antioxidants like lutein – all of which help to boost skin health. Studies show that lutein (found in egg yolk) can even improve skin hydration.
  • Bone broth: Bone broth is rich in amino acids like glycine, which helps to encourage the cells in the gut wall to regenerate. Another amino acid, proline also supports collagen production – which is essential for both skin and gut health. Bone broth is an affordable and gut-nourishing addition to your diet – especially if you make it yourself.
  • Sustainably-sourced seafood: Oily, deep-sea fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for skin healing. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease inflammation and can improve skin texture and quality. While fish is an incredibly healthy addition to your diet, many types (especially the larger varieties) contain high levels of mercury. Stick to around two servings a week of smaller fish (like sardines) as they’re generally lower in mercury. Stuck for ideas? Check out The Beauty Chef Cookbook which is full nourishing meal ideas.
  • Tempeh: Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh is a great source of vegetarian protein. It’s also a good source of non-dairy calcium and is fermented with gut-loving probiotics.

 

Fruit

Fruit is not only nature’s candy, but it also boasts a whole heap of skin-loving antioxidants, fibre and prebiotics that feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Many fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is vital for the formation and synthesis of collagen. Choose organic or spray-free where possible and wash conventionally-grown fruits in water and apple cider vinegar to remove pesticides.  

The Beauty Chef loves…

Kiwifruit, papaya, berries, banana, citrus fruits, pear, figs, mango, tomato and avocado.

 

Vegetables

Nutrient-rich, non-starchy vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet and occupy at least half of your plate. Where possible, choose organic produce – conventional veggies are grown in mineral-depleted soils as well as gut-compromising pesticides and herbicides. Starchy vegetables, such as sweet potato, are also a wholesome source of carbohydrates when you’re feeling particularly hungry.

The Beauty Chef loves…

  • Non-starchy vegetables: Dark leafy greens eggplant, cauliflower, capsicum/peppers, garlic, onions, mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, asparagus.
  • Starchy vegetables: Pumpkin/winter squash, sweet potato, and low GI versions of white potatoes like the Nicola potato.

 

Grains

The modern western diet heavily favours grains like wheat, rice, corn, oats, rye and barley. However, they’re rarely prepared correctly (soaked or fermented) and many of us are unable to digest them properly. Many grains also contain “anti-nutrients” like phytic acid, which bind to essential minerals and proteins, such as zinc and calcium, preventing their absorption. Rest assured however, this doesn’t mean we should all be grain-free, simply that we are more mindful when it comes to consuming grains. Gluten-free “pseudo-grains” can be a wonderful source of prebiotic fibre, when prepared properly.

The Beauty Chef loves…

Buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff.

 

Herbs & spices

Herbs and spices not only add flavour to your cooking, but they also fire up digestion, support the immune system and are high in skin-protective antioxidants. Cardamom and black pepper boost natural killer cell activity, while turmeric and ginger are powerful anti-inflammatories.

The Beauty Chef loves…
Cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, turmeric, cloves, cayenne pepper, basil, rosemary and thyme.

 

Fermented foods

Fermented wholefoods form the cornerstone of The Beauty Chef philosophy and formulas. Aside from their nutritional properties, fermented foods also play a key role in balancing our immune systems. They contain live probiotics – as well as the cell walls of the probiotics that have died during the fermentation process (known as postbiotics) – which interact with our immune systems in a way that promotes healthy immune function. This is particularly important when our immune systems attack our healthy cells, leading to inflammation of the gut and skin. Our Founder & Director, Carla, attributes her glow to the power of fermented foods!

The Beauty Chef loves…
The Beauty Chef’s Inner Beauty range, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso and fermented dairy.

 

Superfoods

While all wholefoods are “super” in one way or another, there are certain foods and ingredients that work to amplify your health even further. They don’t fall into the “everyday” category and certainly aren’t pantry essentials, but nonetheless, including them in your diet can benefit your gut, skin and overall wellbeing.

The Beauty Chef loves…

Raw cacao powder (which acts as a prebiotic in the digestive tract), matcha green tea, maca powder, slippery elm and bee pollen.

 

What’s an absolute essential in your pantry? We’d love to know!

How to cultivate true beauty

The Beauty Chef - How to cultivate true beauty

 

When you feel happy and content, you exude a radiance that no amount of cosmetics can match. You also tend not to sweat the small stuff so much. The questions is, how can you get more of this beauty elixir, happiness?

People often think that the acquisition of certain things will make them happier. But Harvard psychologist and author of The New York Times bestseller, Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert, says our brains constantly misjudge what really makes us happy. In fact, studies have shown that it’s the little things that make the biggest difference to how you feel and function.

While being happy certainly takes discipline and daily effort, if you do the work, you reap the rewards! Here’s how to cultivate a self-renewable supply…

 

Be busy, but not overwhelmed

Everyone needs a reason to get up in the morning and in Japan, it’s called ikigai. Hindus call it dharma. Knowing our purpose and feeling needed helps us connect with our communities but sometimes, we say yes to doing more than we can manage. Studies show that people who are time-pressured report feeling less happy, so prioritise things that matter most to you and listen to your intuition – say no to things that ordinarily you would say yes to simply out of obligation.

 

Move as often as you can

Exercise releases feel-good neurotransmitters such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and endorphins that trigger positive feelings and calm the nervous system. Countless studies have proven that exercise makes us feel better, reduces tension, boosts energy and improves body image. Aim for around 150 minutes a week, or five 30 minute sessions. Even squeezing in a quick 10 minute walk when you can is beneficial.

 

Spend time with friends

While online likes and followers may flush the reward centre of your brain with the addictive neurochemical, dopamine, connecting with loved ones in real life produces the stress-reducing bonding chemical, oxytocin. Face-to-face conversation and physical contact are powerful mind-body medicines that lower heart rate and cortisol levels, boost immunity, relieve pain and anxiety and increase happiness levels.

 

The link between food and mood

The good bacteria in the gut produce many mood-altering neurotransmitters, including 80–90 percent of the happy hormone, serotonin. To make key neurochemicals, we need a diet rich in wholefoods including complex carbohydrates (from starchy veg and whole grains), amino acids (mostly from lean protein), antioxidants and phytonutrients (from plant foods), vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (from oily fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil). The microbes in the gut are also responsible for keeping your gut in balance so it’s important to include an abundance of lacto-fermented, probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut and kimchi as well as prebiotic-rich foods and soluble fibre as they feed the “good” bugs that live in your digestive system, keeping it robust and healthy. Avoiding sugary, processed foods and hard-to-digest foods – such as unfermented dairy and gluten – can also keep your gut happy.

 

Sleep yourself happy

Feeling tired can make you irritable and impatient and sleep deprivation can also raise stress levels, increase your risk of depression and lower libido. Conversely, getting 7–9 hours of rest each night boosts immunity, productivity, motivation and memory and helps to stabilise your emotions. One study found that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to experience repetitive negative thoughts, while another found that sleep-deprived people are less able to empathise. Good sleep hygiene requires discipline and practise, so aim to switch off all electronic devices at least an hour before bed, try not to eat a large meal right before bedtime and avoid drinking alcohol for a few hours prior as well as it can disrupt your deep REM sleep. Meditation, a soothing soak and sedative herbal teas like camomile can also help.

 

Practise gratitude

Keeping a gratitude journal has been shown to lower pain levels, stress hormones and blood pressure, boost motivation and optimism and improve your sleep, moods and life satisfaction. Start by writing down three things you’re grateful for each night and show your gratitude to others by sending them a card or calling them to say thank you. Being outdoors and appreciating the beauty of nature is also a lovely way to practise gratitude.

 

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in Wellbeing Magazine.

Pineapple & Ginger Digestive Tonic

The Beauty Chef - Pineapple & ginger digestive tonic

 

SERVES 1 (makes 3/4 cup/180ml)

Boost your digestion with this deliciously hydrating tonic – perfect for those balmy summer afternoons.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup (70g) fresh or frozen diced pineapple
  • 1/2 medium orange, peeled and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 passionfruit, pulp scooped out
  • 1 large handful mint leaves
  • 3cm knob ginger, peeled
  • 2cm knob turmeric, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) coconut water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost
  • Edible flowers, to serve (optional)
  • Ice, to serve (optional)

METHOD

  1. Place the pineapple, orange, passionfruit, mint, ginger and turmeric through a slow-press juicer.
  2. Add the coconut water, lime juice and ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost to the extracted juice and stir to combine.
  3. Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth then strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  4. Serve over ice and top with edible flowers, if desired.

 

Tried this recipe and loved it? Share a pic and tag us on Instagram using the hashtag, #TheBeautyChefEats.

Get gutsy with Carla | Why is collagen so important for skin health?

The Beauty Chef – Get gutsy with Carla – Why is collagen so important for skin health

 

You may have noticed that collagen has become a bit of a trend in the health, beauty and wellness world. And everyday there is a new skincare product, supplement or article touting its benefits.

But with so many formulas, variations and sources of collagen now on the market – marine, animal, hydrolyzed, powdered, liquid – it can be confusing to know where to start.

 

BUT FIRST, WHAT IS COLLAGEN?

As the most abundant protein in our bodies, collagen plays an essential role in the health of our bones, joints and connective tissues, muscles, gut, nails, hair and skin. In fact, 75–80 percent of the skin’s structure is made up of collagen –  so ensuring we support our body’s production of it is super important if we want to enjoy a healthy, glowing complexion.

Our bodies naturally make collagen by combining amino acids – from protein-rich foods such as lean meat, fish, dairy and eggs – with key vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, zinc and copper. The trouble is however, that as we age, our body’s ability to produce and synthesise collagen naturally declines, leading to fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, dull and lacklustre skin.

 

THE GUT-SKIN-COLLAGEN CONNECTION

Where there is gut inflammation, there will be skin inflammation and this means an accelerated decline of collagen and elastin as well as susceptibility to skin problems– including acne, congestion and eczema. Although our production and ability to synthesise collagen decreases with age, our diet and lifestyle choices as well as our exposure to free radicals and oxidative stress can also influence the rate at which collagen declines. This is why eating foods rich in antioxidants is so important as antioxidants help to combat the effects of free radicals, which attack collagen.

As I always say, ‘beauty begins in the belly’ so nourishing your body with nutrient-dense wholefoods will not only improve your gut health and decrease inflammation, but the ripple effect is that your skin will glow from the inside, out.

 

HOW TO BOOST YOUR COLLAGEN INTAKE

Try bone broth. There is nothing more nourishing to the gut than bone broth. Rich in glycine – the amino acid that helps to protect and strengthen our gut – as well as proline – which supports collagen production – and L-glutamine – which strengthens the intestinal barrier, bone broth is incredibly anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce both gut and skin inflammation.

Supplement wisely. It can be super confusing choosing a collagen supplement and while there are a myriad of both animal and marine collagen options now available, what is even more important for skin health is choosing a supplement that contains ingredients that support our body’s natural production and ability to synthesise collagen, rather than collagen protein alone. Our COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost, for example, is a beauty-boosting elixir that is packed with antioxidant-rich superfoods – including maqui berry, papaya, pomegranate, blueberry and acai – which help to boost your body’s natural collagen production. All the ingredients have also been supercharged by our exclusive bio-fermentation process – Flora Culture™ – which means the final formula contains gut-loving probiotic bacteria to support gut health and promote glowing skin from within.

Up your intake of vitamin C. When it comes to collagen synthesis, vitamin C is of supreme importance. It also helps to boost the body’s levels of glutathione – the master antioxidant produced by the body to combat free radical and oxidative damage, helping to prevent cellular ageing. Good sources of vitamin C include dark leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, broccoli and strawberries – as well as our GLOW Inner Beauty Powder and COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost.

 

Have you added COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost to your inner beauty routine?