Anti-Ageing from the inside out with beauty detoxer, Emma Jade
Emma...How can the foods we eat affect the way we age?
Food has the ability to create either an alkaline state in our bodies, or an acidic state. Eating lots of foods that are highly processed, in bad food combinations or high amounts of low-fibre high-protein meals, wreak havoc on our digestion and cause our bodies to become acidic.
This is because food that isn't digesting properly, essentially putrefies and rots in our gut. This makes our bodies toxic and overloaded and not able to get the nutrition it needs from the food it is trying to digest.
When we become acidic, our bodies try to compensate by stripping minerals like calcium from our bones, and even from our cells, to re-alkalise.
This is obviously very bad. Depleting our bodies of our most precious minerals can lead to Osteoporosis (plus many more diseases). (Think about it, the highest rates of Osteoporosis are found in Western countries with the highest consumption of acid-inducing meat and dairy).
So having an acidic environment in our bodies leads to inflammation and free radical damage, which then leads to wrinkles and ageing, and diseases like cancer etc.
Instead, if we choose a balanced alkaline-promoting diet that is rich in raw, unprocessed dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit, along with some cooked healthy (gluten free) grains, legumes, fermented foods for gut health, and healthy fats, we can promote the alkaline nature of our bodies.
These foods are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and fibre and most importantly, are easy to digest.
When our digestion is working optimally, it allows for our bodies to focus on other things like protecting our cells from mutation, which in turn prevents wrinkles and skin ageing (and of course, a host of other diseases).
What are the benefits of antioxidants in foods? What are some the foods high in antioxidants?
Antioxidants are essential to our diet, they scavenge free radicals from our systems and prevent cellular mutation and oxidation. Without them, we would wrinkle up and wither away from disease at a very fast rate!
Luckily, fresh whole foods are abundant with antioxidants, here's my favourite go-to list (sourced from Kimberly Snyder my beauty detox guru):
Foods containing beta carotene:
- Sweet potatoes
- Turnip greens
Foods containing vitamin A:
- Sweet potato
- Dark leafy greens
- Winter squash
- Glowing Green Smoothie
Foods containing vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits
- Bell peppers
Foods containing vitamin E:
- Sunflower seeds
Foods containing vitamin K:
- Dark leafy greens
- Romaine lettuce
B complex vitamins
Food sources of B complex vitamins:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Sunflower seeds
- Nutritional yeast
I also love to add Acai and Maqui berries into my diet. They are said to contain the highest amounts of antioxidants ever, hence why they are deemed "superfoods". Chia seeds are also abudant in my diet for their high Omega 3 content, Calcium, Vitamins A and C, Iron, Magnesium and soluble fibre.
What are some foods that age us? Why? How?
Foods that age us the most are foods that cause acidity and inflammation in the body, and foods that promote free radical formation. Top offenders for this are meat, dairy, unfermented soy products, highly processed foods with synthetic ingredients and... wait for it, coffee.
These foods need an acidic environment to digest. The fact that meat has no fibre makes it even more difficult to digest (think of a traffic jam in your colon) especially if you have eaten that animal protein with a starchy food! Examples of ill-combined meats and potatoes or spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne or even a meat pie.
The typical ill-combined meals I just mentioned cause a huge strain on your digestion, causing food to trap and putrefy in your gut (sitting in a hot environment rotting for up to 3 days or more) and your body compensates for this by trying to re-alkalise itself by stealing calcium from our bones and even our cells.
Dairy is also extremely difficult to digest. This is because dairy has a protein called Casein (which has also been linked to male testicular cancer mind you). Casein is designed for baby cowes (calves) to put on rapid weight in their first year of life. It's heavy and sticky and like glue in our intestines.
In fact, Casein is used in the production of wood glue! Just think you're consuming glue every time you eat any dairy product.
Obviously having a kind of glue in your gut (that is also acid-forming) will strip the calcium from your bones as your body tries to re-alkalise itself and makes it harder for you to digest fruits and vegetables and other nutritious foods that your body needs.
If your digestion is all clogged up with "glue" then your body won't absorb the nutrients from all the nutritious foods that you do eat so it's almost not worth eating them. What a waste!
What foods are good for our immune system to keep our body and skin healthy?
- Fermented probiotic rich foods such as coconut or water kefir, raw sauerkraut, raw kimchee or fermented probiotic drinks made from whole foods that keep your gut healthy are powerful immune boosters.
- Ginger is a powerful immune protector, it contains natural antibiotics, is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, it aids with congestion and can actually kill cold viruses.
- Garlic has powerful immune boosting properties and increases the production and activity of white blood cells therefore boosting our immunity.
- Turmeric is known as an adaptogen that provides immune support and helps protect the body from stress.
- Chilli and capsicum (peppers) contain capsaicin which helps to prevent sickness.
- Cinnamon has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells therefore boosting our immunity.
- Plant-based Omega 3 rich foods such as chia seeds keep our skin healthy.
- Tomatoes contain lycopene which boots immunity, prevents diseases and also helps with skin ageing.
What would your diet be on an average day?
Following the Beauty Detox Solution, my diet on an average day consists of this:
1 x large glass of warm lemon water (to cleanse the liver and digestive tract)
1 x large glass of filtered alkalised water with 2 vegan probiotic supplements or probiotic powder (at the moment I'm loving Amazonia Raw Pre-Probiotics which contain billions of whole-food based fermented probiotics in an easily digestible form)
- 1L Glowing Green Smoothie (GGS) - receipe by Kimberly Snyder.
- Some fruit or carrot and celery sticks dipped in an apple cider vinegar, tamari and tahini dip (if I'm still hungry).
- Sometimes I'll make chia pudding with coconut milk, cacao and stevia if I'm having a sweet craving and am still hungry after my GGS.
Large kale and cabbage salad with yummy toppings such as avocado, tomato, onion, cucumber, dulse flakes, pepitas, and a tahini or cashew cheese dressing
Vegetable soup (in Winter) when I want something warm and comforting
Can range from:
- Sweet potato and mushroom lentil shepherd's pie
- Vegan mushroom soup with gluten free toast
- Mediterranean roasted vegetable quinoa salad
- Eggplant curry on brown rice
- Savoury millet porridge with pumpkin and onions
- Stuffed capsicums with quinoa and vegetables
- Vegetable bowl with spiced quinoa
- Medjool dates (to satisfy my sweet cravings)
- Fresh bananas are the perfect energy-boosting and satisfyingly sweet snack
Dessert (if any)
Raw vegan chocolate mousse made with avocado's (it's seriously amazing).
Baked apple with cinnamon and rice malt syrup sauce. A couple of medjool dates make for an amazing everyday dessert - they serve the sweet tooth brilliantly whilst also being good for you.
What are your thoughts on Green smoothies?
Green smoothies are life-changing. They allow us to get a lot of nutrients into our systems in a short amount of time whilst being in an extremely digestible form. We are able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients because we have already broken down the cell walls of the raw greens in the blending process.
They're hydrating, full of chlorophyll, digestive enzymes, vitamins and fibre (which is great as they fill you up). They give you an amazing energy rush and keep your blood sugars level throughout the day. They help keep you extremely regular, which is what we all need. Plus they taste great!
The best thing you can do for your health is invest in a high-powered blender like a Vitamix to make the smoothest green smoothies!
Could you recommend 3 changes we could make to our diets today, that would help get us on our way to anti-ageing from the inside?
If you love meat and dairy and can't give them up all together try cutting down on meat to at least 3 times a week and when you do eat that meat, make sure you properly combine it (so meat with veges and no starches).
When you don't consume something as often it becomes more special when you do, so you will appreciate eating it much more anyway.
1. Try Meatless Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (there's an abundance of amazing vegetarian and vegan food blogs out there so for inspiration you just need to look!) Instagram and Pinterest as well as food sites like tastespotting.com and foodologie.com are awesome resources to find healthy food bloggers (plus there's always Google).
2. Swap out milk for nut milks (fresh homemade almond milk is my absolute favourite and it's also super easy to make). (When you eat less meat you don't spend as much money, so you are able to afford more nuts and other more expensive pantry items).
3. Cut down on coffee as it's extremely acid-forming in the body. If you're a coffee addict try to drink only 1-2 cups max per day and replace the milk with a nut milk like rice milk or homemade hazelnut milk (not soy that's another story altogether). Soy affects your hormones as it's a phytoestrogen it's hard to digest unless it has been fermented and soy is mostly GMO) so best to just avoid it.