At 42, I’ve become completely unapologetic about taking care of myself.
If I don’t, nobody else will – and I don’t mean that in a negative way. I’ve just realized that if I am not paying attention to what I need, it’s just not going to happen. Nobody cares about you as much as you do. And, although I have my own business plus I’m a busy mom, I have to make sure that I’m feeling my best in order to take care of everyone else around me. About a month ago, I wrote about how I was super stressed and not taking care of myself, which happens to the best of us, but I’m back now and feel so much better!
As a real food nutritionist, I really care about what I put in my body, AND how I treat it in other ways than nutrition. Here is what I do to feel great and have glowing skin over 40 – some of these might surprise you!
Sleeping well is, in my mind, the #1 beauty trick there is. It’s critical to get enough sleep. I know you think that you’re doing fine with only 5-6 hours a night, but the truth is, everybody needs to be getting closer to eight hours (some a little more, some a little less) every day.
If you’re not getting the rest that you need, it will be obvious in your skin. I am in bed most nights before 10 and wake up (naturally, without an alarm) around 6am feeling refreshed and ready for the day. If you’re dragging through your day in a sleep-deprived state, the resulting hormonal disruptions means your face and mood will reflect it. Blue-blocking glasses in the evening while in front of a screen can help your body know it’s time for sleep. Also, be sure to check out sleep remedy if you need a little, all natural push to help you fall asleep.
You simply can’t have great skin without paying close attention to eating great food, which includes limiting sugar, eating naturally raised meats, sustainable seafood, organic vegetables and fruit, healthy fats and drinking enough water. (Don’t worry, I give you lots of tools for easily achieving this in The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook and in Paleo Lunches and Breakfasts on the Go.
I can’t stress enough the importance of eating enough good fats. I feel like I can tell which moms at school pick up are on low fat diets – they complain that their skin and hair are dry and flat, and worry that they look older than their actual age. To make things worse, they’re generally not in a good mood! It’s not their fault. Sadly, they’ve been educated that the foods that actually make for great skin – fats like avocado, butter, coconut oil, and eggs – are scary and unhealthy. These fats are on the daily menu for me. They’re great for my skin, hormones, and mood. They keep me feeling full, and they don’t make me gain weight!
I also am a huge advocate of getting enough protein. Signs of low protein include getting sick often (you need protein for a strong immune system), poor wound healing, edema, and hunger. Protein, like fat, is satiating and people who are snacking all day because they’re always hungry are usually the ones who don’t consume enough protein.
I also drink tons of bone broth and eat foods high in vitamin C (like red peppers) and zinc (like shellfish), which supports healthy skin. Check out my post on optimal human nutrition for more information on which foods to eat and why. I also recently did a post on “What I Eat in a Day” to give you a sense of what my real life meals look like.
I try to get outside and go for a walk/run every day. I go hit a local trail and alternate between sprinting and walking. Sometimes I do this alone, but I also have a few friends I can text to see if they’re free to come along, which fills my “social” bucket at the same time.
I also love doing hot yoga, and quick spurts of kettle bell swings alternated with squats and other compound movements. For me, these are the best forms of exercise and leave me feeling great instead of drained.
I’ve been working at home lately, so I also get up from my desk often. I’ll write/work for about 20 minutes then get up and move around – doing laundry, starting dinner, grabbing the mail, hitting the post office. I have a standing desk that I use about 50% of the time I am at the computer. When I’m on the phone I balance on a wobble board or stretch out on a foam roller. This ALL counts as movement!
When those three main categories (sleep, food and movement) are working, I feel pretty great. I’ve realized that I am not really motivated by goals like most other people. I don’t set a weight to attain, a certain distance to run or weight to lift. I just don’t really care about many markers other than simply feeling good, which has absolutely changed my life! I used to think there was something wrong with me until I read Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin and found out I’m a “rebel”, which makes so much sense. This means, I will only follow the rules that I set for myself. (Challenge accepted!)
Before I dive into specific products that I use and love, I’d like to mention a few more things I do that I believe help me feel great.
Sunlight: I get tons of sunlight and I don’t wear sunscreen. I ease my way into the summer season with short exposures and by July, I’m deep bronze.and I generally don’t wear sunscreen. I believe that the vitamin D and photoproducts we get from the sun outweigh (and even prevent!) the damage associated with aging skin! Much of the skin damage process might have to do with using the wrong sunscreens during our lifetime, rather than not using sunscreen at all. (This is a huge topic I’ll cover in another post.)
I ease my way into the summer season with short exposures to build up the anti-oxidant pigment melanin, and by July, I’m deep bronze. I do wear this light sunscreen on my face, but try to just cover up with clothes when I need protection instead of applying sunscreen on my body.I have tailored down my wardrobe and generally wear clothes that fit. It makes me feel better to wear clothes that aren’t baggy and dumpy looking. I do have a few favorite oversized sweaters, but after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve given away the items that I wore because I had them, and instead, wear just a few items that I love. Life is much simpler this way and I feel better about myself when I am wearing clothes that are flattering.
Clothes: I have tailored down my wardrobe…and generally wear clothes that fit great. It makes me feel better to wear clothes that aren’t baggy and dumpy-looking. (Sounds silly, but my wardrobe was once FULL of dumpy clothes! I thought of them as comfortable, but really they were just sad.)I do have a few favorite oversized sweaters, but after reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve given away the dumpy items that I wore just because I had them, and instead, wear just a few items that I love. Life is much simpler this way and I feel better about myself when I am wearing clothes that are flattering!
Social Media: I limit my time on social media and don’t follow people who don’t bring me joy. This means on Instagram, I follow mostly other artists and photographers who inspire me, or other farmers who are using innovative techniques. I unfollow most people on Facebook and only keep those in my feed who I enjoy. DO THIS. It will change your life!
Something Bigger Than Myself: I’m involved in something bigger than me. I think this is important for everyone. Being part of the sustainability movement makes me feel alive and like I’m making a difference.
Cultivating Creativity: I take time for creating. For me, painting (while listening to very loud music) transports me to a space where there is no time and I completely lose myself in what I’m doing. I try to take time to make that happen on a regular basis. I encourage everyone to find that hobby they love and work it into their lives.
Finally, a post on radiant skin wouldn’t be complete with out the supplements and products that I love…
Supplements: I don’t take a ton of supplements, but these days I have been taking vitamin D (I’m on the low end of normal), a probiotic (my guts need this regularly), and methylfolate. At night, I drink sleep remedy 30 minutes before bed, which really helps me fall and stay asleep. Dr. Bronner’s Soap – love this stuff. I use it on my whole body and face, and the rest of my family uses it too. Apple Cider Vinegar and Witch Hazel – these makes a great toners. Coconut Oil – I use it on my skin as soon as I get out of the shower. In the winter, it’s a solid waxy consistency but melts as soon as it hits your warm skin. I love the smell of it and it leaves my skin hydrated and smooth.
Makeup: I don’t wear makeup every day, but when I go out, I like to use a few key items. I get my products from Beautycounter, which are high-performance yet safer than any product at the drugstore. This company has banned known hormone disruptors and irritants from their line, yet their products still work remarkably well. The color cosmetics are batch-tested for metals three times, which is critical because contamination is rampant in the cosmetics industry. I love their touch-up concealer pen, tint skin foundation, and lip gloss.
Beautycounter is a B-Corp, which means they keep an eye toward social and environmental performance as well as business performance. More on B-Corps here.
Ebook Resources: One great resource for fantastic skin is Purely Primal Skincare, by my colleague Liz Wolfe. It contains all the information you need to nourish your skin with tips for food intake (I fully endorse her nutrition guide), digestive wellness, and safer skincare.
The DIY Organic Beauty Recipes by Heather Dessinger is another great guide for those who are interested in making their own products. This ebook shows you how to make your own shampoo, conditioner, lotions, and deodorant. She also includes how to whiten your teeth naturally without harsh chemicals like coal tar, fluoride, or aspartame. Click here to view more details.
I am much happier and healthier in my 40’s than I was in my 30’s. With great sleep, nutrition, movement and a few other lifestyle factors, it’s easy to feel fantastic and your skin will reflect how radiant you feel!