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The Essentials

Cut the Crap (from your diet)

Despite what my dermatologist told me when I was in high school, there is a connection between what you eat and the general look and health of your skin. Eating anti-oxidant rich foods, cutting sugars and processed foods from your diet will definitely shine through in your complexion. So too will eating pre- and pro-biotic rich foods. Read on to learn what you should focus on for a skin-healthy diet.
Cut the Crap (from your diet)

I’ve recently finished reading the book, Dirty Looks, by Dr. Whitney Bowes. It’s a great read if you are a skin care / healthy lifestyle junkie like me (Karen, btw. I’ll let Alicia speak for herself). I LOVE doing research and learning new things, and I’ve learned A LOT from this book.

Part of my job, as I see it, is to learn new things in the natural / organic / clean beauty sphere – incorporate what I learn into Essentially Haitos products – and keep you up-to-date on what I learn. In short, I do the work so you don’t have to!


So, since Alicia started the month of April with delicious smoothies geared toward healthy skin from the inside out, here’s a quick list of things to consider with your diet and how it directly affects the look and health of your skin.

This list comes directly from Dr. Bowe:

(PS - see recipe for skin-healthy overnight blueberry oatmeal at the bottom of this article)

  • BE CHOOSY WITH DAIRY. Avoid dairy milk and skim milk, in particular! These have been linked to inflammation and breakouts in the skin. Yogurt, kefir and skyr are forms of dairy that are wonderful for the skin as they contain probiotics. Just watch the added sugar!
  • ADD ANTIOXIDANT-RICH PLANTS TO YOUR DIET AND YOUR SKINCARE. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which trigger acne and premature aging in the skin. Eat your antioxidants by loading up on colorful fruits and veggies (emphasis on the veggies since the sugar in fruit can add up) and use a vitamin C serum every morning under your sunscreen. (I’m working on a killer way to add the ideal form of vitamin C to your daily skin care routine – stay tuned! 💛)
  • DON’T BE AFRAID OF HEALTHY FATS. Salmon, avocado, nuts, seeds, and extra virgin olive oil are excellent sources of beauty-boosting fats that will keep your skin healthy, hydrated and dial down inflammation. Most Americans do NOT get enough healthy fats in their diets, especially omega 3 fats. Avoiding fat is NOT the answer for a healthy body or healthy skin, you just have to choose the right ones.
  • EAT YOUR PRE AND PROBIOTICS. Your gut and your skin are intimately connected. If your gut is inflamed, it will show up in your skin. To get to the root of your skin issues, you must dial down inflammation in the gut and reseal the gut lining. Incorporate prebiotic fiber and probiotic rich foods into your diet every day. Ones I like are: yogurt with live active cultures, kefir, kombucha, bananas, garlic, leeks, dandelion greens, onion and asparagus.
  • CUT OUT REFINED CARBOHYDRATES AND SUGARS. OK, this one’s hard!! But seriously, if you truly want to improve your skin and overall heath (and waistline), white bagels, chips, most cold cereals, pretzels, and white bread have GOT TO GO. Replace these processed foods with whole foods that have a low glycemic index such as steel cut oats, quinoa, barley, sweet potatoes, squash and carrots.

Trust me, I know sweeping change is hard, but make the recommended changes to your diet one-by-one. To help, here's a delicious (and easy), skin- and gut-healthy recipe to get you started:

Blueberry Coconut Overnight Oats

All spring and summer long, we eat blueberries. They're loaded with antioxidants which fight free radicals to help protect your skin from premature aging! Plus, I have a serious sweet tooth, so fresh blueberries and a dash of toasted coconut really satisfy my sweet tooth.

Oatmeal, almond milk and coconut milk are all low in glycemic index, so they won’t trigger inflammation in your skin. It’s easy to find a blend of almond and coconut milk, just make sure it’s unsweetened! Some brands pack in the sugar, so you have the mistaken belief that you are drinking something very healthy (wrong!). Moral of the story - check the labels.

Chia seeds are rich in skin-healthy omega-3’s and fiber to keep you full.  Although chia seeds have some protein, I like to add a scoop of plant-based protein powder to ensure my skin, hair and nails are getting the building blocks they need. (You can make this without protein powder, but it makes it much creamier. Again, make sure it’s plant-based. Whey protein powder is not great for your skin.)

I try to make a big batch of these on Sunday night and portion them into jars. That way, I have grab-and-go breakfasts for the week. Alicia and I can’t get enough of them and I hope you enjoy them too!

Here's what you need:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (you can substitute chopped walnuts or almonds)
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or my favorite – honey)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (you can also use an almond/coconut milk blend instead of separating them)
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries, plus more for serving
  • 1 scoop plant-based protein powder (vanilla or unflavored)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut, toasted

How to make it:

Mix all ingredients – except toasted coconut – in a small bowl. Portion into smaller mason jars and allow to sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, stir everything together to make nice and creamy. Sprinkle each portion with toasted coconut, a pinch of cinnamon, and a handful of fresh blueberries.

Serves 2.

Hope you learned something new - and that you decide to take small steps toward better skin and overall health. Let us know what you think - Enjoy! 💙💙

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