Top 5 foods: Avocados, raw nuts, leafy greens, artichokes, and blueberries.(Photo: Getty Images)
Each day we face choices that affect our health on countless levels; “Should I eat that gluten filled cookie, use that toxic, yet extremely effective pesticide in my garden, or pay double for that organic moisturizer that works almost as good as the one laden with chemicals?”
Luckily there are experts to help us choose wisely, like clean beauty guru and New York Times best-selling author of Gorgeous for Good, Sophie Uliano. In her latest book, she dishes on how a whole food, plant-based diet will deal with 90% of your skin problems, how to make peace with your reflection, and how to find the balance between chemical and natural skincare.
Yahoo Beauty: I love that you say the key to absolute beauty is to embrace our imperfections. But for most of us this is harder than saying ‘no’ to a brownie.
Sophie Uliano: Ha, I love that! It’s all about acceptance. Am I going to accept my less than “perfect” skin, nose, stomach, etc. or am I going to fight it, or try to hide it? If I go with the latter, I’m going to be miserable, whereas if I just step up and own that I am “human”, it feels fantastic. Think of the women you love and think are gorgeous. Is it because they have perfect everything? No. It’s because she is likely honest about her flaws. The most beautiful women I know don’t try to change who they really are, warts n’ all.
You mention that beauty is an inside and outside job. Can you elaborate?
Beauty is a holistic thing: It might start with a beautiful foundation - but unless your diet is clean, your body is strong/flexible, and you are connected to your truth, you won’t be able to find true gorgeousness. In my book, I work from the outside in.
If the food we eat is better than any cosmetic we can purchase, what are the top 5 foods you recommend we eat for beautiful skin?
A whole food, plant-based diet is where it’s at and will solve 90% of your skin problems. Top 5 foods: Avocados, raw nuts, leafy greens, artichokes, and blueberries.
How exactly can 90% of your skin problems can be solved with a plant based diet?
Unlike meat and dairy products, unprocessed plant-based foods contain a plethora of skin enhancing nutrients, including all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need for glowing skin. This is why it makes sense to eat a 100% plant-based diet. Since I’ve made the switch, my skin has never been better. But it’s important to note that even if your diet is plant-based, it must be as unprocessed as possible, and sugar-free.
Which skin problems can be helped by diet?
The biggest skin problems that you will see clear up are anything related to inflammation, such as redness, irritation, sensitivity and Rosacea. Going dairy free will also help with dark circles and puffiness. Remember that by increasing your fruit and veggie consumption, you are also increasing your fibre and water consumption, this will move things through your system quickly, and help to detoxify your your entire system on a daily basis, which leads to clearer and more beautiful skin.
Which foods are best for skin?
You want to load up your diet with raw nuts and seeds (all those good Omega 3 fatty acids are great for your skin), and loads of fruits and veggies that span the colors of the rainbow.
Can you explain why “natural” means nothing on a skincare label?
“Natural” is an unregulated term, which is why it means nothing. Anyone can slap this label on a product to make it sound good. The truth is that if you want the real deal, you have to look for a certification such as NATRUE, ECOCERT, OR NSF-ANSI.
Sometimes eating all the kale in the world can’t help. Which four anti-aging products do you recommend that are proven to work?
L'Ascorbic Acid, Retinol, AHA’s/BHA’s, and peptides. However, they are only safe and effective when formulated with other great ingredients.
What do you think is the most powerful beauty product on the market?
I’d have to say a really great retinol product. Although, there is power in numbers, so it’s more useful to think of a powerful combo of products for your beauty regimen, rather than just one do-all-product.
How do we find balance between “all or nothing beauty.”
If you’re a “can’t be bothered” or “haven’t got the time/money” girl, at the very least I would recommend daily exfoliation and application of a stable vitamin C product, and a good mineral sunscreen.
In a perfect world, all natural, chemical free products would be the most effective, but sometimes they aren’t. When should we let go and go chemical?
It’s important to understand that many really great formulations that contain peptides, retinol, and L-ascorbic acid, are synthetic. Peptides are made in a lab! This is why it is foolhardy to think you have to steer clear of all “chemicals”. When there is a more natural alternative, which is POWERFUL enough to give you results, then you would use it. A great example is a peel: The chemical peels are not great and can lead to inflammation, whereas natural pumpkin peel contain fruit acids, which are super potent.
What is the best beauty advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t change yourself - don’t try to be like anyone else because there’s only ONE of you!