This is a collaborative post by Ellie Jo.
When it comes to making ourselves healthier while looking more attractive our thoughts often turn to diet. Unfortunately, they turn to diet in all of the wrong ways. They turn to self-imposed misery. They turn to months upon months of starvation on a rigid calorie controlled diet. They turn to munching on unappetizing prepackaged “meal replacements”, dubious shakes and afternoons spent grouchy and irritable when our blood sugar inevitably crashes. But this thinking, imposed upon us by a diet industry that doesn’t want us to get better, is fundamentally wrongheaded. It is not the absence of foods that make us slimmer, makes our skin firmer and more lustrous and lends vitality and sparkle to our eyes. It’s not starvation through which we achieve true gorgeousness… It’s eating, In fact, it’s eating a lot, just substituting the wrong foods for the right foods.
Here we’ll look at ways in which you can eat your way to a slim, healthy figure, glowing skin and lustrous hair while also being full of energy and vitality.
Why you should never, ever, ever replace a meal
The very concept of a meal replacement bar or shake is essentially wrongheaded, as is starving yourself and subsisting on “detox teas”. There is no shake or bar that is a substitute for a healthy, balanced meal and while healthy eating may not be convenient on the go, a little preparation in the morning or evening is infinitely preferable to relying on fatty, sugary, and salty convenience foods. Detox teas may contain ingredients that are beneficial for one’s health but they are not an acceptable substitute for a nutritious meal. Moreover, provided that you have a healthy liver and kidneys, your body needs no assistance in ridding itself of toxins.
The convenient meal replacements offered by diet industry mainstays may be low in calories but assuming that low calorie equals healthy is a gross oversimplification. All calories are not created equal. A hen’s egg and a can of Coca Cola, for instance, contain the same amount of calories but only a lunatic would claim that they have the same nutritional properties.
There’s no greater thing you can do for your health or your appearance than cleaning up your diet, but while your diet may be the most important lifestyle choice you make, there are some other important lifestyle changes you’ll need to make to look and feel your best.
The bad habits that have got to go
Before you go about cleaning up your diet, it’s time to address some other bad habits that will need to go to ensure that you make the greatest possible progress. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, for example (a lifestyle that involves little exercise and a lot of sitting), you will not make as much progress if you don’t embrace regular exercise. Aside from the obvious muscle toning and fat burning benefits, regular exercise increases the flow of blood to the skin, meaning that your skin gets all the vital nutrients and oxygen that it needs to look its best in ways that cannot be serviced by a sedentary lifestyle.
Moreover, sitting for long periods of time without getting up to exercise is also damaging to posture which can prevent food from being properly digested and can deform your appearance, making excess weight carriage look more pronounced.
Finally, there’s absolutely no excuse to smoke in the 21st century. Everyone is well aware of the health risks and there are more solutions than ever for smokers to quit smoking or transition to less harmful materials. Check out www.ecigwizard.com/ for a range of vaping solutions. You may also find that you stand a better chance of quitting with the use of nicotine gum and patches than by relying on willpower alone.
Unlock the power of plants
Red meats and even white meats like chicken fillets and turkey steaks that have long been presumed healthy are high in saturated fats which contribute to unhealthy cholesterol buildup. Moreover, processed red meats like salami, pastrami, and pepperoni are Grade 1 carcinogens which are directly linked to cancer growth. The evidence is increasingly showing that ditching animal products in favor of a wholefoods, plant-based diet is not only the best diet for weight loss but for general health.
Here we’ll look at plant foods that are proven to reduce body fat, add gloss to your hair and radiance to your skin to keep you looking gorgeous naturally. It’s easy on the family food budget too!
Foods that blast body fat
Blasting body fat is not (and never has been) about depriving your body of calories. While a dramatic reduction in caloric intake may lead to an initial loss of body fat, such a drastic reduction is rarely sustainable and will likely slow your metabolism to a crawl and make you utterly miserable. Instead, fill your refrigerator with natural fat burning foods that will not only improve your health but help to melt away the unsightly pounds. A protein-rich diet that includes lots of pulses and grains can help to regulate your cravings and make you feel fuller for longer while also building metabolism-boosting lean muscle mass. Whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa help to regulate your body’s fat storage while thermogenic foods like chili peppers, paprika, and green teas are instrumental in fat burning. Even foods that are rich in healthy fats like peanut butter can help your body to burn stored fat. Grapefruit is also a great natural fat burner as it regulates blood sugar and lowers insulin reducing the amount of fat that is stored in the food you eat.
Foods for glossy hair
One of the key components of beauty is a mane of thick, glossy, lustrous hair… But there’s no need to spend a fortune on expensive shampoos and conditioners that promise the world yet rarely deliver. True trichological beauty lies in ensuring that your hair is well-nourished, and these delicious foods are perfect for thick and glossy hair.
- Brocolli- full of minerals like zinc and calcium that are essential for healthy hair growth.
- Lentils- packed with protein but also iron and folic acid ensuring that oxygen and nutrients reach your follicles.
- Berries- As well as being tasty and satisfying, berries (especially blueberries) are rich in antioxidants including vitamin C which are essential for hair health.
- Seeds- If fish is off the menu, seeds are a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids which are great for thick and glossy hair.
Foods for radiant skin
Nothing says beauty like gorgeous, glowing skin and while there are shelved upon shelves of beauty creams, serums and cleansers on the market, you can save a small fortune by loading up on the food groups that will keep your skin looking young, firm and vibrant no matter what your age;
Omega 3 fatty acids- These keep your skin full and firm by helping it retain moisture. Pumpkin seeds are not only rich in these but also zinc which boosts immune function and helps to prevent spots, bumps, and acne.
Chlorophyll- While it gives plants their green color, eating chlorophyll-rich foods won’t turn you into an Incredible Hulk. Instead, it will increase oxygen flow to the skin, lending it a healthy glow and ensuring its absorption of vital nutrients.
Beta-Carotene-.Your body actually converts this into vitamin A, which encourages healthy skin cell production. Beta carotene also helps to destroy the free radicals that damage skin cells. You can find it abundantly in tasty root vegetables like sweet potatoes and (of course) carrots.
Antioxidants- Speaking of free radicals, these can be triggered by sun damage, but this damage can be mitigated by a diet rich in antioxidants. They are found in berries and leafy veggies, but the powerful antioxidant lycopene is also found in tomatoes.
Loading up on those food groups will keep your skin looking naturally healthy while ensuring that you look younger for longer.
Rachel is an Austin blogger, educator, mom, wife, young breast cancer survivor writing about health, saving money, and living a happy life in Austin, Texas.
Rachel has written for HuffPost and Hometalk and has been featured on KXAN, Studio 512, Fox 7 Austin, and CBS Austin.