If you’re anything like me in 2012, chances are you’re not a complete health fanatic. You’re interested in healthy diet, but you probably eat a normal diet. This means pastries, meats, salt, sugar, processed foods and coffee (hello office world). After all, these are the foods that are readily available everywhere – at the office, at events, at the cafeteria – you simply can’t escape them.
Even if you want to make a change it seems quite impossible, because temptations are everywhere. To really make a change you need to be prepared and you need time for the transition from your diet to that healthy diet that will improve your skin, health and life.
These are 8 specific things you can change about your diet that are going to improve your skin, mood and overall health. And you’ll probably lose some weight as well if you’re interested in that. Let’s start!
1. CUT OUT SUGAR AND PASTRIES AND EAT MORE LEMONS AND BERRIES
Roll your eyes all you want at this advice, but this change is super important. Sugar and refined grains are major reasons for weight gain, skin and health problems. Sugar destroys collagen in your skin and By cutting those out of your diet you reduce your risk of these problems. By adding lemons and berries simultaneously you not just protect your body from harm, but you bring benefit to it, so it can blossom like a flower. Someone’s poetic today. Berries and lemons are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory factors that we need for better skin.
2. MAKE HALF OF YOUR PLATE FRESH OR STEAMED VEGETABLES
You’ll never look your best if you lunch with pizza, steak with French fries or burgers on the daily. You need to take half of that portion and make it a salad. Or steamed veggies. It would of course be best if you make your entire meal healthy, but if you can’t at first – start with just that half serving. That little half will fuel your body with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy agents, that will make you feel and look better.
3. SAY BUH BYE TO MILK AND CHEESE
I know. This. Is. Hard. I love me some cheese too. And even though cheese isn’t the healthiest food in the world I still like to eat cheese from time to time, but not daily. When it comes to skin dairy is not very beneficial: skim milk is strongly associated with acne and because cheese is very salty it causes your face to swell. Cheese is also considered to contribute to skin aging because of its high content of AGE’s – these molecules destroy collagen.
4. EAT MORE NUTS AND SEEDS
That’s a good thing, right? Nuts and seeds are delicious! And they’re good for the skin because they contain omega-3’s that are important for keeping moisture in the skin – thus nuts prevent dryness and skin aging. Make sure, that you eat nuts in their plain form – not salted or caramelized – just plain raw or even slightly roasted nuts are a perfect health and beauty snack.
5. EAT LESS MEAT, INSTEAD ADD MORE FATTY FISH TO YOUR DIET
Eating fish instead of meat is a great way to add more omega-3’s and protein to your diet, while reducing the levels of saturated fat that we normally get by consuming red meat. Fish also provides vitamin B12, Selenium and some vitamin D – all important nutrients for health, that most people don’t get enough of from their diet. This easy switch will reduce inflammation and therefore is beneficial for overall health and for the appearance of the skin. It’s best to eat fish once to twice a week.
6. START YOUR DAY WITH LEMON WATER, NOT COFFEE
A lot of people will want to kill me because of this one. But what can I do, coffee is a beauty killer. If you rub it on your skin it might be beneficial, but if you drink it – there’s not much beauty benefit to it: it dehydrates your body and your skin and prevents the absorption of many beauty minerals and vitamins, which can lead to bad wound healing, brittle nails and hair loss. Lemon water on the other hand – hydrates your body, activates detoxifying enzymes in the liver and helps build more collagen – just consider it a part of your beauty routine! Plus it’s perfect way to start your day.
7. REPLACE REFINED GRAINS WITH WHOLE GRAINS
This is quite an easy thing to implement, if you’ve already managed the other 6. Whole grains in my humble opinion taste a lot better than refined grains and add much more value to your diet for the same value of calories. Whole grains contain more fiber and the beauty minerals iron & zinc. This is always good for your skin – it loves the nutrients in whole grains. Besides whole grains are shown to help you lose weight.
8. ADD MORE PULSES TO YOUR DIET
Before I consciously started eating healthy I would eat pulses about once a month. I was constantly eating only pizza or grilled chicken with bread and some sauce. But legumes offer many health and beauty benefits – they help you lose weight, they clean out toxins thanks to fiber and they’re loaded with iron and protein – both important for beautiful skin.
START TODAY AND MAKE PROGRESS
Start slowly with these diet changes. Maybe try one change per week. At first you do need some preparation and some planning on what to buy and what not to buy, but you don’t need to change everything at once. Once you get to know whole foods – you’ll actually start loving them. By adding more and more of the beauty foods to your diet and removing one by one the ugly foods from it, you’ll start craving beauty foods and won’t like doughnuts at the end of those 2 months.
Crazy, right? Who doesn’t like doughnuts?
I don’t. Now. I sound like a complete douche, I know. But I don’t care. I really don’t like doughnuts anymore. Every now and then I have a craving and when I finally decide to buy a donut, it’s a bigger disappointment than the ending of How I met your mother.
So this week make one change.
The most difficult change for me was (and still kinda is) quitting sugar. It’s also the biggest change I made in my eating habits and the one that affected the way I look and feel the most. Which one are you struggling with? What would be the biggest challenge for you?