By Donna Gates, author of The Body Ecology Diet
If you find yourself coveting the gorgeous skin of fashion models in most of today's magazines, first think CLEAN, then think GREEN.
Companies that produce skin care products would like you to believe that a beautiful complexion can be purchased in a jar. But truly radiant, moist and blemish-free skin is a result of being clean, not just skin deep, but from deep within.
Create clean blood that continuously supplies wonderful nutrients right to the doorway of each and every cell in your body and you're well on your way to having beautiful skin.
Today, keeping toxins out of your blood and organs is difficult because we live in a "sea" of chemicals and drugs, and eat mostly refined foods. If your goal is healthy skin, you have to make a conscious effort to cleanse these dangerous substances out of your body while putting in the finest nutrients. The good news is that your body is constantly in a cleansing mode and was created with the ability to push out toxins as long as you supply it with the energy to do so.
Cleansing energy is more abundant when you provide your body with the foods mentioned below. (Each food and its nutrients will be discussed in later articles.)
Six Organs That Keep Your Skin Healthy
The six organs responsible for providing you with beautiful skin include your:
- Large intestines
- Small intestines
But you are accountable to them as well. Keep them clean at all times and beautiful skin will result from your daily efforts.
Your liver and kidneys are the two filtering organs that constantly provide ongoing housecleaning services. Today they are seriously overworked and underpaid. Why overload them with outside challenges? Shield them from outside harm, feed them well, and they'll keep you and your skin healthy.
Sitting on top of your kidneys are your walnut-sized adrenals. Often called the "workhorses" of the body, they make many essential hormones including pregnenolone, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Healthy hormones are an essential ingredient when seeking energy and beautiful skin.
A well-nourished, energetic thyroid also provides hormones and works closely with your adrenals to create energy. Dry, flaky, sluggish skin is evidence of a weak thyroid.
The well-being of one's liver, kidneys, adrenals and thyroid is dependent on the condition of your small and large intestines. These two organs not only provide nutrients to other organs, but they are also responsible for the removal of waste products from your body. When waste meant for elimination remains in your intestines your skin becomes thick, oily and blemished. Pure, flawless skin is a reflection of clean intestines.
Drugs, alcohol, chemicals and heavy metals (mercury, lead) do daily damage to millions of Americans. Your liver is damaged from refined oils containing trans-fatty acids. Your kidneys are damaged by common table salt devoid of natural minerals. Trans-fats and refined salt are found in thousands of processed foods consumed by most Americans every day. Pasteurized and homogenized dairy products also clog your kidneys. They are to be avoided, but to reach your goal of good-looking skin you also need to add foods into your diet that nourish your six organs of beauty.
Spring is here and in Chinese medicine spring is the season when the liver naturally cleanses and heals by pushing out dangerous toxins. Green foods including chlorella are excellent for the liver. Dark green leafy veggies including kale, spinach, dandelion greens and broccoli are especially wonderful foods. Have them cooked, raw, juiced and even cultured.
More Foods to Nourish Your Body and Skin
Green super-food formulas provide a combination of nutrients including cereal grasses, algae and green veggies. Look for one that has organic ingredients and was designed to heal and nourish your intestines. They are great in the morning because they help alkalize your blood, are more pleasant to take than a handful of supplements, and provide protein, minerals and fatty acids.
Other foods known to contribute to healthy skin include raw and virgin fats and oils. Coconut oil is especially good for your thyroid. Mineral-rich foods (dark green leafy veggies, ocean veggies and seafood) and antioxidant-rich foods (black currant and blueberry juice, and green tea) are a daily must.
One group of foods worth mentioning here are fermented (or cultured) foods. An article in the April 2004 issue of Natural Health Magazine (p.35) states, "Tangy, tasty and teeming with health benefits, fermented foods are the new stars of a wholesome diet." Cultured dairy is the rising star of the milk industry, according to Dairy Foods magazine. Fermented foods are found in every traditional culture around the world, says Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions. (We'll have an entire article dedicated to fermented foods in a later issue.)
Think Clean and Green, and have beautiful skin. By the way, you'll also discover new levels of energy blossom even as the blemishes fade.
Donna Gates, a nutritional consultant and respected lectureron candidiasis and related immune disorders, is in large part responsiblefor expanding my awareness of the importance of traditionally fermentedfoods in your diet. Signup for Donna's free monthly e-newsletter for her ongoing expertinsight into the importance of fermented foods and much more now.Her sage advice in the article above will help you achieve attractiveskin, but keep in mind that you'll be improving your underlyinghealth in order to attain that youthful appearance -- as you canguess, by improving your underlying health you'll experience manyother benefits as well, including a strengthened immune system.
Donna is the author of TheBody Ecology Diet, which is in its 7th printing, to date hassold over 100,000 copies, and I highly recommend. Her basic premisein The Body Ecology Diet is that tens of millions of people areunknowingly suffering from a systemic fungal infection, promotedin the body by a number of factors such as high-sugar diets, antibiotics,and birth control pills, and causing an imbalance in the body's"inner ecosystem."
The results of this imbalance can include food allergies, depression,skin rashes, digestive problems, menstrual irregularities, cancer,and a variety of other immune-related disorders. Her book presentsa wide variety of solutions to restore the imbalance -- includingthe extensive focus on the importance of traditionally fermented(or "cultured") foods high in probiotics.
I was introduced to one of the healthiest fermented foods onthe planet, kefir, by Donna, and now strongly recommend it as partof my dietary program. Kefir is a highly therapeutic cultured food,considerably more so than yogurt (kefir's taste is somewhat likeyogurt, but its consistency is more of a drink than yogurt). Itis very high in the "good" active yeast and bacteria thathelp restore your digestive system's balance and keep your colonclean and healthy, leading to a strong immune system and thereforehelping you fight disease, overcome food allergies and the otherissues noted above, and look younger.
As with all foods, you should be very careful about what kefiryou consume and how it is made. The prepared kefir you will findon the shelves of most grocery stores is not recommended. For one,it is made with pasteurized milk, and the pasteurization destroysmany of the enzymes that make kefir healthy in the first place.Furthermore, when you read the labels of these grocery store "kefirs"carefully, it usually does not contain all the strains of friendlybacteria and the good yeast of traditional (i.e., real) kefir.
So what kefir should you consume?
As it is central to Donna's "Body Ecology Diet" --she devotes an entire chapter to it -- she was confronted with thissame question. And she found an answer which I have evaluated andused extensively and now offer to you here: the BodyEcology "Kefir Starter."
This "Kefir Starter" is imported from Germany (thenutritional value of traditionally fermented foods like kefir iswidely understood throughout Europe, where kefir is much more common.)The package contains six individual "kefir starter" packetsenabling you to make your own very high quality kefir very easilyand quickly (you need no kitchen skills to do it), and for high-qualitykefir it is very economical, as one box alone allows you to makeup to 42 gallons of kefir (that's 64 cents per gallon!)