We were lucky enough to be joined by Holistic Nutritionist Sandra Millward from Radiate Wellness for Founder Friday earlier in October. In case you missed her conversation, here is a little overview for you from our Founder Sam:
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My chat with Sandra was all about how food impacts our skin’s health.
Your immune system can be harmed through stress so you can manage this by ingesting antioxidants, collagen, and vitamin C and D. Being a natural skincare brand, it was really fascinating to talk to Sandra about the crossover between the ingredients we recommend for the outside of your skin (through your Somerset Moss skincare), and those that we should eat.
For example, did you know that Omega 3 (found in salmon and chia seeds) regulates skin oil production and while doing so, improves the skin’s natural barrier? These ingredients build the skin’s strength and stimulate collagen production that smooths and hydrates the skin’s texture. Omega rich oils like cranberry, avocado and moringa oil are packed with antioxidants and are all found in the Somerset Moss Collection.
Our skin especially loves avocado oil and carrot seed oil because they contain vitamin A. This vitamin helps get rid of dead skin cells and is essentially a natural occurring retinol - dream!
My main takeaway from Sandra was that if there is an ingredient you can’t pronounce on the back of a product, the chances are that your body won’t know what to do with it. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it - and that goes for the products you use on your skin too.
My first question for Sandra was:
1. What are your main pillars of your food beliefs?
She explained that her three pillars are mind, body and spirit and that they all need to be in balance. Developing awareness around when these pillars are out of balance is especially important so we can start take action to restore the equilibrium. One rule she abides by is ’I’m not perfect’ which allows her to take a break from negative thoughts around food.
Next I asked:
2. If you could choose, which would be the key foods you would eat in abundance?
How many greens did you eat this week? Sandra shared a simple rule with us - to have greens with every meal. Watercress, spinach and of course the West Coast favourite kale are packed with different vitamins and can be easily added to a smoothie or served up as a little side dish at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Incorporating this into your diet is great for improving circulation, which encourages the oxygenation that leads to happier skin cells.
Watercress! Sandra let us know that this is an amazing source of Vitamin A and C which makes it ideal for supporting eye health and overall immunity.
Side note: We got into fall mode and I recommended this watercress soup recipe from Hemsley and Hemsley which is my go to! And here is one of Sandra’s favourite soup recipes with chickpea and turmeric.
Next on Sandra’s list was blueberries. They are an amazing source of antioxidants and are packed full of Vitamin C which supports great skin and is the key for unlocking collagen. Add them into a chia pudding, smoothies, porridge or just snack on a bowl of them. They work to reduce inflammation in the body and help protect from stress and pollution.
3. What are three foods that negatively impact our health and that we should definitely keep to a minimum?
Another trick of Sandra’s is to swap out the humble potato for sweet potato. Unlike potatoes, sweet potatoes are full of the antioxidant beta carotene which converts to vitamin A. This helps with skin elasticity and the turn over of dead skin cells to reveal a more plump and radiant complexion.
Keeping our liver in a clean state is so very important and everyone's tolerances for food groups such as dairy + gluten varies. Giving your body a little break from these can really help to alleviate the stress that the internal organs are feeling and provide a reset.
I was shocked to learn from Sandra that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine! Sugar binds to the collagen molecule in the skin and breaks it down which means that the skin starts to lose its elasticity and malleability, leading to wrinkles. Like me, Sandra is all about pro-ageing naturally, so it’s important to be aware of this!
Fried foods should be kept to a minimum because these oils and bad fats damage the dermis and epidermis and are harmful for the liver. Unfortunately they don’t have any health benefits for your body! Good fats, on the other hand, are great anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Sandra reminded us that processed food contain high amounts of sugar or salt. I LOVE the rule that you should pick foods found on the outside perimeter of the grocery store (aka the healthy, fresh ingredients). This prevents you from visiting the aisles with more processed, packaged foods. My other favourite foody rule is to eat from the colours of the rainbow every day.
Sandra believes in the 80/20 rule, meaning that most of the time you adhere to a plant based diet, with a 20% (ish) allowance for treating yourself. For me, I love a glass of wine or piece of cake now and again.
4. What do you do when you need a pick-me-up on a day when you’re feeling sluggish?
She was quick to answer ‘ drink more water’. She also makes green juice always containing celery and lemon. I love to add greens and maybe a spicy kick of ginger to my juices.
5. What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and wine are Sandra’s guilty pleasures! Although saying that, fair-trade, organic dark chocolate is a fantastic source of magnesium that has such great benefits for our nervous system when we feel anxious or stressed.
6. And finally, what are your best on the go snacks?
Carrots, celery, humous, nuts and seeds, bananas, apples with almond butter are all great on the go options to keep your energy levels throughout your day.
Thanks to Sandra for joining me and to you for reading my overview! You can check out the Instagram Live here and make sure you follow Radiate Wellness for more great insights on how to improve your wellbeing.