Autumn Health Special
Picture the luscious green leaves of summer, vibrant in colour and velvety in texture. Now picture those same leaves in autumn; dry, crisp and brittle, the result of several natural processes of decay, but also from the wind and rain of the season.
The skin is a reflection of your internal condition, and your diet, in combination with the external conditions it endures, namely the weather. Moisturising goes without saying, and in the autumn and winter months your moisturiser should provide a stronger barrier than the thinner ones more suited to spring and summer, and don’t forget that your moisturiser should still provide sunscreen. My blog today will give you some tips on how to care for your skin internally this season.
Autumn is the traditional season for detoxification, in tandem with nature, a time for regeneration. After all the summer festivities, it’s time to clean out and prepare for the colder season ahead. A detoxification programme during autumn can keep you well-prepared for the travails of winter, help boost your immune defences, and provide damage limitation for your skin.
An autumn detox is relatively easy, and is best taken gently, one step at a time. The first step is to gradually eliminate foods that tend to be the most inflammatory and acidic. Remove inflammatory foods such as sugar, refined foods, trans-fats, processed or junk foods and carbonated drinks. To promote detoxification, emphasis should be on including an abundance of fresh organic vegetables in smoothies, juices, salads and if cooked, just lightly steamed.
Foods To Emphasize
Green leafy vegetables: Bitter greens such as dandelion, endive, mustard greens, parsley, beet greens, kale, chard, spinach, bok choy, and mixed salad greens are rich in chlorophyll and nutrients that help cleanse the liver, digestive tract and bloodstream while alkalising the body.
Cruciferous vegetables: Kale, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower contain compounds that support liver detoxification, reduce inflammation, balance hormones and enhance immunity.
Other vegetables: Onion, shallots, garlic and leeks help cleanse the lungs and intestines. Artichokes help detoxify the liver. Beets cleanse the blood. Celery and cucumber offer hydrating nutrients to support alkalinity, flush toxins and hydrate the skin. Sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables provide important probiotic bacteria to support digestion and immunity. Sea vegetables such as kelp and nori provide iodine and minerals to support deeper toxin removal.
Fruits: Apples, blueberries, blackberries, pomegranate and raspberries are antioxidant-rich fruits that help cleanse the whole system.
Mushrooms: Culinary medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake and oyster mushrooms help remove waste from cells and tissues, support efficient digestion, reduce inflammation, boost immunity and offer powerful antioxidant support.
Herbs & Spices: parsley, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, rosemary, sage and thyme add variety and spice to your diet. More importantly, they offer powerful antioxidants and compounds to support detoxification and reduce inflammation. Many of these spices also help strengthen digestion for more efficient elimination.
Herbal teas: You will find many commercial herb teas formulated to enhance detoxification, or you can make your own. Simmer root herbs (mentioned above), such as ginger and turmeric for 15 minutes, then add in more delicate leaves such as rosemary and parsley, take off the heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Drink warm or at room temperature.
Protein: Oily fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, A non-allergenic protein powder several times per day is very supportive and keeps your blood sugar and energy on an even keel. For those of you who do not eat meat, I recommend either a rice-based protein powder, sprouted pea or hemp seed-based powders.
Sprouted grains and legumes: For added detoxification and nutritional support, I recommend sprouting grains such as brown rice, quinoa or amaranth as well as legumes such as mung beans. Sprouting increases alkalinity and nutrient content, and increases enzymes that support detoxification and vitality.
Mineral broth: Simmer celery, green beans, courgette, parsley, kale, spinach and mushrooms for 45 minutes. Strain and drink the broth throughout the day, or purée and eat as a soup.
Tips For Daily Detox Support
First thing in the morning: hot water with freshly squeezed lemon and an inch of fresh ginger. Alternatively a cup of freshly made juice (room temp) or hot mineral broth.
Before bed: Lemon olive oil drink: peel and de-seed one organic lemon, place in a blender, add 1 tablespoon organic olive oil and 300ml of filtered water, strain (optional) and drink before bed at least 2 hours after your last meal. This ‘beauty’ drink helps to cleanse the blood and digestive system, supports liver and Gall Bladder health and many clients report improvements in their sleep quality and their skin.
Note: It’s important not to eat dinner too late in the day, because it can hinder digestion and interfere with efficient detoxification and repair while you sleep.
Water: You may be surprised how many health conditions can virtually disappear with the introduction of more water into the diet. These include heartburn, arthritis, chronic pain (back and otherwise), irritable bowel issues, high blood pressure and more. I cannot stress enough, the importance of water in your body: it moistens tissues, helps regulate body temperature, assists in the protection of organs, prevents constipation, lessens the burden on the kidneys and liver, flushes out toxins, lubricates joints, dissolves minerals and other nutrients, making them more accessible to the cells, and carries nutrients and oxygen to the cells. If there was one tip for great skin it would be hydration!
The Importance Of Good Elimination
Fiber is important for a successful detox. Ground flax, chia, rice bran or psyllium powder mixed in water can be used daily during your cleanse to help you eliminate efficiently and successfully. Be sure to start with small amounts and follow with plenty of fluids.
Be creative and enjoy the process! A detox program can be considered a period of intensive and intentional shedding of toxins, both regenerating and health boosting.