Welcome to Green People’s guide to healthy living. We’ve compiled lots of handy tips, little known facts and essential information on everything from skin care secrets to your complete detox plan.
Few of us are aware just how many man-made chemicals our body comes into contact with on a daily basis - we’re simply not designed to deal with this chemical burden and it can place a great strain on the body.
I am a firm believer that you get from your body what you put in. So by using the purest organic ingredients on your skin and eating a healthy, balanced and organic diet, you can be sure that you’ll get nothing but good things back.
I hope you enjoy this guide and that it helps you on your organic journey towards a healthier, more vibrant you.
Green People founder
Why choose organic skin care?
Do you really know what’s in your skin care?
- Over 70,000 synthetic chemicals are used in cosmetics
- Up to 60% of what you apply to your skin may enter your bloodstream
- It only takes 26 seconds for some of the chemicals in cosmetics to enter your bloodstream
This means that potentially harmful synthetic chemicals and pesticides can penetrate your skin and enter your bloodstream.
Did you know it is actually worse to put toxins on your skin than eat them. Your liver contains detoxifying enzymes which break down toxic elements in your food, but what you apply to your skin can enter directly into the bloodstream and will be stored in your organs and fatty tissue.
The daily use of multiple personal care products allows synthetic chemical ingredients to interact with each other, causing unpredictable additional dangers. They may combine with another to amplify their own toxicity or create new, greater combined toxicity.
To avoid a build-up of toxins in the body, choose organic skin care that is certified by a recognised body such as Ecocert, Soil Association or Organic Food Federation.
When switching to organic skin care products, you might experience a ‘skin detox’. Natural beauty therapists consider this a period of adjustment – your skin is in the process of cleansing itself of accumulated toxic chemicals.
Be patient, it may take up to two or three weeks before you see a visible difference in your skin and you may experience signs of skin detox such as inflammation. The skin detox can be greatly assisted by undergoing an internal detox (read on for our internal detox programme).
Are you getting enough water?
Water is a life-sustaining beverage and makes up more than two thirds of your body weight. Needed for every function your body provides, water carries vital elements, oxygen, hormones, and chemical messengers to all parts of the body.
Water is also your first line of defence against skin ageing. It hydrates your skin from within, effectively plumping it out, meaning fewer fine lines and wrinkles.
Healthy living tip
Begin your day with a large glass of tepid water with the juice of ½ of a fresh organic lemon.
- Lemon is rich in vitamin C, helping to rejuvenate your skin from within
- Drinking lemon water is naturally cleansing, helping to flush out body toxins
- Fresh lemon water drunk 15-20 minutes before a meal helps to speed up your metabolism
- Lemons cause an alkaline reaction and thereby help to balance your body’s natural pH level
Inner beauty tip: If you get bags around eyes, you could just be dehydrated. The thin skin around your eyes is one of the first places to show signs of skin dehydration and ageing. You may find that increasing your daily water intake gives your skin a natural hydration boost and reduces bags.
Before the invention of refrigerators, fermentation was a vital method for preserving fresh foods like vegetables, meat and dairy. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and water kefir are rich in prebiotics which are essential for healthy body function as well as being an anti-ageing miracle.
Why eat fermented foods?
Our bodies are made up of at least 10 trillion cells and 100 trillion microbes, mostly in the form of bacteria. We do little to support the friendly bacteria that are essential for keeping the body young, but by fermenting our foods we help to keep our bodies healthy, vibrant and youthful by providing vital nutrients and bacteria that we can’t receive anywhere else in our diets
- Create a healthy inner ecosystem
Fermented foods support the balance of natural microbia in the gut, helping healthy bacteria to flourish, whilst restricting the pathogenic (bad) bacteria.
- Improve digestion
The microbia in fermented foods helps to support and protect the lining of the gut. This helps you to absorb more nutrients from your food and increases the efficiency of toxin removal.
- More nutritious than supplements
Fermented foods contain hardier and more bio-available probiotics than lab-grown supplements, meaning they are more likely to survive in the gut. This is because organic foods have had to evolve to survive in the wild, fighting off disease and environmental challenges. Fermented foods will also help the supplements you do take work better for your body.
The truth about sugar
We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, but it’s not just our waist lines that could be impacted.
Eliminating sugar in your diet will protect the collagen in your skin. Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
The more sugar you eat, the more AGEs you develop. AGEs damage proteins and most vulnerable to damage are collagen and elastin, the protein fibres that keep skin firm and elastic. AGEs also deactivate your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes, leaving you more vulnerable to sun damage.
Discover the benefits of detoxing
It is impossible to completely avoid taking synthetic chemicals into the body; they are in the air, food, drinking water, carpets, wall paint, foam-filled furniture and in many household products
A great way to improve your health and boost your well-being is to cleanse your body of its accumulation of toxins by following a detox programme.
Preparing your detox
Detoxing can cause a strong physical as well as mental reaction, so plan your detox diet well ahead.
- Cut out tea, coffee, sugar, bread, meat, alcohol and tobacco a week before
- If you have any health problems always consult your health practitioner first
- If you are pregnant do not use the detox diet below, but enrich your diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, herbal teas and water as well as cutting out coffee and alcohol
Morning: drink a glass of hot water with the juice of half an organic lemon (200ml)
Rest of the day: eat organic grapes whenever you feel hungry. Aim to eat at least 1 kilo of grapes.
Drink plenty of filtered or bottled water, herbal teas (try peppermint, chamomile or ginger) and freshly squeezed, diluted organic carrot, celery and apple juice throughout the day. Minimum 8 glasses (200ml each).
Morning: drink a glass of hot water with the juice of half an organic lemon (200ml).
Rest of the day: drink filtered or bottled water, herbal teas and organic vegetable juice. Dilute juices with water: one part vegetable juice to one part water. Minimum 8 glasses (200ml each).
Morning: eat as much raw organic fruit as you like. Drink plenty of filtered or bottled water and herbal teas.
Lunch: organic vegetable salad, this can be raw or slightly cooked. Drink plenty of filtered or bottled water and herbal teas.
Supper: organic vegetable soup. Drink plenty of filtered or bottled water and herbal teas.
What your face reveals
According to the ancient healing systems of Ayurveda, your face is a mirror of your mind and of your general health. Different parts of your face also correlate with different organs of the body and their individual healthiness.
- A red, bulbous, greasy nose, possibly with prominent veins, may indicate high blood pressure, heart and liver disorders or excess alcohol
- Yellow skin can indicate disorders of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas
- Pale face and cheeks can indicate weak glands, congested and inactive liver and anaemia
- Cracks at the corners of the mouth can show vitamin B2 deficiency and digestive disorders
If you notice that a particular area of your face looks irregular, this could be more than just skin-deep.
The Acid Mantle
Skin and hair are protected by a thin sticky fluid, the acid mantle, formed from sebum, sweat and acidic secretions produced by ‘good’ bacteria. The acid mantle creates a hostile environment for ‘bad’ bacteria, which prefer an alkaline environment.
Any disruption to the acid mantle – e.g. excess sunlight, poor diet, alkaline skin products, harsh scrubbing and stripping detergents - interferes with the protective layer of the skin and strips away the acid mantle.
This leads to dehydration, roughness and irritation and can play havoc with sensitive or acne prone skin. Using pH balanced skin care products that don’t contain SLS is a good way to protect the acid mantle which is so vital for defending your skin against microbial invasions.
Skin care basics
Your skin is constantly changing and the season, weather, indoor climate, health and your emotional wellbeing can all affect how your skin looks and feels.
Skin care that is packed with nourishing ingredients and free from synthetic chemicals will help to bring your skin back into balance naturally.
Depending on your skin type you can choose from many different types of cleansers:
- Cleansing Balms – semi-solid and oil based, perfect for dry skin
- Cream Cleansers – the consistency of a rich moisturiser and a great all-round option
- Foaming Cleansers – bubbly and light, ideal for those with oily or acne-prone skin (avoid Foaming Cleansers that contain drying alcohol and SLS)
Many people skip this step in their skin care routine, but it brings about an almost instant difference. By removing excess dead skin cells, scrubbing immediately improves your skin’s texture and allows your moisturiser to penetrate deeper into your skin.
- Exfoliate once or twice a week
- Use a gentle scrub with tiny natural grains such as bamboo or apricot kernel powders
- Avoid exfoliators which contain plastic micro-beads as these pollute our water systems and are hazardous to marine life
- As we age our cell renewal slows down and skin begins to look dull; increase your exfoliation to regain your radiance
Everyone should moisturise, no matter what your skin type. Using a natural moisturiser that is rich in nourishing plant ingredients supports healthy skin flora, prevents premature ageing and helps to balance your skin’s natural oil production leaving your skin supple, soft and plump.
- Apply moisturiser immediately after cleansing when your skin is still moist (this is especially important for older skin as collagen and elastin fibres are less efficient at retaining moisture as we age)
- Don’t over moisturise, as this can cause clogged pores
- At night use a nourishing facial oil based on jojoba or rosehip, followed by a light serum. Alternatively you can use a light yet hydrating night cream containing natural fruit acids
Holding back the clock
The rate at which your skin changes with age depends on several factors. Natural or intrinsic ageing caused by the effects of gravity, hormonal changes and time itself cannot be avoided, but there are things we can do to prevent premature skin aging.
- Follow a good, natural skin care regime
- Eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of antioxidant rich foods
- Protect your skin from external factors such as sun damage and cigarette smoke (yours and other people’s!)
- Sleep on your back to avoid developing ‘sleep lines’ caused by repeatedly crumpling your skin against your pillow
Anti-ageing facial workout
As we age, our facial muscles weaken and our skin begins to sag. Just as gym workouts promote muscle tone and strength, facial exercises help build up muscles in your face, improve circulation and revitalise tired skin.
Facial fitness regime
Look in a mirror while doing the following exercise:
- Smile as broadly as possible while keeping your lips closed and mouth corners turned up
- Try to make your mouth corners touch your ears!
- Next wrinkle your nose and see your cheek muscles move upwards
- Feel the cheek muscles really work and count to 5
- Repeat 10 times
Inner peace is the foundation of outer beauty, whereas stress can wreck your health and play havoc with your looks. Dull hair, brittle nails, weight gain and wrinkles can all be caused by stress so it’s really important to take time to reduce stress in any way you can.
Tips to beat stress
- Take a five-minute break – go outside, flick through a magazine or have a power nap
- Eat a banana to boost your levels of the stress-busting hormone serotonin
- Think of something funny – when you laugh you boost your levels of endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in your body
- Have a good stretch – raise your arms and stretch them over your head to relax a tense back and stiff shoulders
- Exercise regularly, a 20 minute brisk walk in the morning sets your day in a positive swing
We hope you enjoyed this guide and that it has helped you discover more about your skin and body.
For more information, articles and news, head to the Beauty Hub or sign up to the Green People email newsletter for tips and recommendations direct to your inbox.