Being a 34-year old mom of two boys, I feel like I can no longer rely on “my youth” for healthy looking skin. I actually have to put in some effort in order to make my skin look fresh, bright and to prevent fine lines and wrinkles (until I’m old enough to justify a little help from a dermatologist. I just saw on Marilyn Denis the other day that there are now non-invasive ways to boost collagen in your face – hurray!).
Until than, a big part of looking good on the outside, has to do with what’s happening on the inside; for the most part, your skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside your body. As a nutritionist, this is really helpful when it comes to working with clients. Skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and even acne can tell me a lot about what types of foods my clients should or shouldn’t be eating (usually the main culprits are gluten, dairy, and refined sugar).
Until you can justify a visit to the dermatologist, here are some foods to incorporate into your diet to keep your skin looking youthful and fresh! (note that most of these foods have the same vitamins and minerals that you find in topical skin creams and lotions. It’s much more beneficial to your skin and overall health to eat them vs. apply them topically!)
- Cucumbers (especially the skin – think: eat the skin for healthy skin!)
- Water! Ever wonder why your skin looks grey and dull the morning after having a few cocktails? It’s because your skin is dehydrated! Aim to drink 6-8 glasses per day.
- Brazil nuts, mushrooms, shrimp and fish like cod, tuna, salmon and snapper. What do these foods have in common? Selenium! A mineral and antioxidant that helps to prevent skin damage from free radicals.
- Eggs and orange foods like squash, sweet potato and carrots are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which can improve the look of wrinkles and brown spots
- Vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers, kiwi and citrus, and foods rich in lycopene (think tomatoes and watermelon) can not only protect your skin from the sun, but undo sun damage that’s already happened.
- Eating healthy foods is not an excuse to avoid sunscreen though! Applying an SPF 30 sunscreen daily is one of the most important things you can do to prevent premature skin aging.
- Exercise! A recent study said that regular exercise can shave 10 to 20 years off the look of your skin. Start sweating!
- Vitamin E rich foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, olives, olive oil and leafy greens
- Omega-3 fats found in chia, flax and hemp seeds, walnuts, sardines, anchovies, herring, and salmon
- Green tea
- Avoid refined sugar (choose healthy sweeteners like unpasteurized honey, real maple syrup and coconut palm sugar) and excess alcohol (aim for up to 6 alcoholic beverages per week) Cheers to healthy, younger looking skin!
One of my biggest fears as a mom has nothing to do with my kids. It has to do with me, and my fear of losing the ability to use my brain in other ways than just scheduling drop offs and pick-ups, folding laundry and getting groceries.
I graduated with a B.A. in Media Studies from Western University, went on to work in Corporate Marketing for BMO for 5 years and than went back to school to become a Registered Nutritionist. My fear is that if I don’t start using my brain, I’m going to lose it and when I do decide to go back to work in about a year I won’t be relevant anymore and my brain will be mush. Now that my youngest is 3 and a half months and sleeping 12 hours every night I can no longer use the excuse; “I’m too tired to think.” It’s time to start thinking again, which means I want to start writing again.
Even though I’m not as tired anymore, I still don’t have a lot of time, so my blog posts going forward are going to be more like quick thoughts or tips, sharing healthy recipes (even if they’re not mine), and venting about being a mom of two young boys. Very short, but hopefully still helpful and enjoyable to read. My youngest son Max just woke up from his nap as I’m writing proving my point of having very little time, but just like how fitting in exercise, meal planning and cooking is important to me; so is writing so I’m simply going to start making time for it again.
Here’s my first healthy thought to test out the new blog format, and it’s been on my mind lately as I’m now back in the category of being abled to drink wine again (and cosmos – my fave;). A quick tip on living a healthy lifestyle – don’t let it slide. It’s ok to enjoy a glass or two of wine, order pizza or have dessert, but just because you allow yourself those treats, don’t let your entire healthy eating strategy go out the window. It’s very easy to have the all or nothing mentality, but that’s not the right attitude to have! It’s all about the 80/20 rule – keep it healthy 80% of the time, and let yourself have treats 20% of the time. But during that 20%, you can still minimize the damage to your health by:
- Continuing to keep proper portions in mind. Have pizza, but keep it to 2 slices, and have a big salad or load on the arugula
- If you’re treating yourself to a nice, juicy steak than have cauliflower instead of creamy mashed potatoes as a side
- If you’re having a drink, don’t also treat yourself to a unhealthy dessert – choose one or the other
- Stay active! Fit in exercise whenever and wherever you can, even if that means leaving 10 minutes earlier to walk and pick up your kids versus driving some days, or doing a quick set of pushups before your shower
Keep these little tips in mind to avoid the 80/20 becoming 70/30 or 60/40. Oh, and if this post doesn’t motivate you, I just heard a stat on the news the other morning that exercising on a regular basis can shave 10 or even 20 years off your appearance. That’s motivation enough for me to run downstairs and do a quick 20 minute circuit a few days a week.
A couple weeks ago I was approached by a company called Love With Food, a snack discovery service that just announced it will begin shipping to Canada on August 2nd, and they wanted me to share the good news.
As a nutritionist, I promote the idea of real food and avoid packaged foods as much as possible, but I’m also a busy mom of two boys aged 2 and 2 months so I understand the need for healthy snacks that I can grab in a pinch for me and my toddler!
The challenge these days is navigating the grocery isles and knowing which snacks are healthy. Love With Food takes the guess work out of choosing healthy snacks, and also provides variety because as most parents know, kids get bored of the same old snacks. The box included things like organic popcorn, roasted pumpkin seeds and healthy protein and power bars with ingredients like dates, walnuts and almond butter.
The way it works…
Love With Food is a snack discovery service that focuses on bringing affordable, all-natural, organic or gluten-free snacks to consumers on a monthly basis. There are different types of boxes you can purchase depending on the size of your family, allergies (there’s a gluten-free box) and if you’re in a home or office setting. The best part is that with every purchase, Love With Food donates to organizations like the Global Food Banking Network. To date, it has donated more than ONE MILLION meals to food banks.
Canadian customers have the option to order The Deluxe Box, a sampling of 16-20 new surprise snacks starting at $16.50 USD/month, or The Gluten-Free Box, a sampling of 10-12 surprise celiac-safe and mostly dairy-free snacks starting at $19.99 USD/month. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Canadian food banks to help fight world hunger. Love With Food is offering an introductory shipping cost of $3.99 for the first 5,000 international customers to sign up.
To learn more about this tasty discovery service, visit www.lovewithfood.com.
The last 5 weeks is probably the longest I’ve gone without posting a blog since I started writing in 2010. The reason you ask? I had another baby!
Maxwell Andrew Follett was born on June 6th, 2016, and wow life is next level busy with a two-year old toddler and a newborn. Every minute in a 24 hour period is filled with breastfeeding, cleaning, laundry and toddler needs, ie. searching frantically for his favourite stuffed animal while putting sunscreen on him and getting his lunch packed for daycare. This leaves little time to have a longer than 10-second conversation with my husband, cook dinner, shower, brush my teeth, and have any personal time.
Before having Max people said to me that I’ll wonder what I did with all my free time before he was born, and they were right, but I know what I did with my free time – I blogged, worked with nutrition clients, wrote nutrition articles, and tried new healthy recipes; things that will have to go on the back burner for the next few months while Max is so young. Being a parent is not about you; one of many lessons I’ve learned in the last few weeks. Other things I’ve learned:
- When you only have time to choose brushing your teeth or going to the bathroom – choose going to the bathroom
- It’s impossible to be everything to everyone in your family
- Having kids is friggin’ hard sometimes, and it’s ok to admit that
- With every bad moment, there is a good moment on the horizon
- The newborn stage doesn’t last forever; “this to shall pass” (I’ve never said that phrase more in my life)
- Eat fast (opposite of what I tell my clients, but I’m going to retract that recommendation for people with young kids) and when you can. My favourite healthy grabs lately: boiled eggs, baby carrots with hummus, blueberries, granola bars, apples, nuts, cheese and crackers
- Learn to be content with your circumstances. When the going gets tough, a natural response is to look ahead and want to speed up time; long for the day when your children are more independent, but I look at Jack who’s already two, and I miss the days when he was a bouncing, cooing baby. Things go so fast, and I have to force myself to enjoy the moment regardless of how hard it may be
- Dinner is no longer a relaxing time to unwind in front of Etalk – it’s pure pandemonium
- I’m so blessed to have two healthy, beautiful boys and an amazing husband – something I remind myself everyday
- Taking 10 seconds to breath deeply can work wonders
- A positive attitude is everything – when both boys are screaming sometimes it helps to just laugh out loud
- Try and do one thing everyday for you that makes you feel like yourself. Whether it’s painting your toenails, curling your hair, working out…it’s important…the laundry can wait
- For the next year, I can only wear shirts that allow me to whip out my boob at a moment’s notice
- I need to put “shower” on my to do list or it won’t get done
Despite the craziness of life, and no matter how hard it gets we have so much to be thankful for, and before I know it Jack and Max will be all grown up and I’ll miss these days (at least that’s what I keep telling myself).
Unfortunately, I’m going to put blogging on hold for a few months until I get the hang of this “mother of two” thing, but I will be back – hopefully with some awesome tips on how to whip up healthy meals for a family of four in 30 minutes – stay tuned!