You are what you eat, or better yet, what you eat has an effect on you inside and out, both physically and mentally. Eating a healthy diet allows your body to be fueled up to train for that next 10K, it allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day!
Most importantly, it actually helps your skin. Healthy skin loves a solid skin care routine, it loves to be cleansed, it loves moisturizer, but most of all it loves nutritional food and a healthy diet.
We at UNITED & FREE are deep supporters of plant-based diets. While we were able to find a lifestyle and diet that works for us, we also understand that this lifestyle might not be for everyone. We’re not here to judge, we just want you to know once you find a healthy diet that works for you, you’ll start to notice a few things; here’s what you should keep an eye out for.
You enjoyed a nice Charcuterie cheese plate, you’ve eaten too much garlic bread while at a nice dinner or maybe it’s been a busy work week and you’ve just finished your fifth coffee of that day (and it's only 10:00 am). You might notice, in a day or so, that your skin has started to develop acne or you might feel more tired than usual after eating that meal. Maybe your eyes suddenly feel a bit watery, red and scratchy. While some foods that cause sensitivity can leave you feeling itchy, tired or can cause your skin to feel oilier, traditionally it’s been hard to identify exactly what food is causing the issue.
The bonus of a healthy diet is that it gives you a starting point which allows you to weed out the good, the bad and see what works for you. This method allows you to understand if your body is sensitive to wheat, dairy, heavy fats or soy products by simply starting off with what works and adding in different food types over a period of time. People who notice reactions from certain foods can test it out by removing the food from their diet and then adding it back in at a later date to see if the same reaction occurs. This will allow you to identify and isolate sensitivity causing foods that are irritants to your body.
Any time we’ve been off track in our eating habits we definitely feel it in the gym. The energy level of your workout just isn’t there! Often this is overlooked; perhaps you’ve just had an off day or not enough sleep from the night before. One thing we tend to notice with some foods (wheat and yeast in our case) is that they will cause our body and mind to suddenly feel tired and sleepy. We always thought this sudden lethargic feeling was due to just a lack of sleep; but after identifying what works for us and eliminating the culprits from our diets we haven’t had a problem making it out for those evening runs! Incorporating a higher amount of dark green veggies, which are high in vitamin B6, in an afternoon meal or snack, will also help you to feel recharged!
The greatest benefit to a healthy diet is that you will start to notice the foods that are good for your skin and the ones that are not so good. The best skin foods you can have in your diet are the ones with probiotics (Sauerkraut or vegan Kimchi), Omega 3s (Avocado), Antioxidants (Blueberries and Spinach) and those that are high in zinc (Nuts). Not only will your skin thank you but your whole body will love you, especially if you tend to be prone to acne.
On the other hand, some of the main foods that could cause problems with your skin are dairy (milk and cheeses), gluten (bread and grains containing gluten), soy and caffeine. If you notice after consuming these foods your skin starts to breakout or even feel dry and itchy then it might be time to look for some alternatives.
Today’s plant-based milk and cheeses have become mainstream. They are fortified with multiple vitamins and minerals and in most cases, you can’t tell the difference between animal-based and plant-based (and personally we prefer plant-based). Switching out coffee for green tea could be beneficial as on average 6-ounce cup of coffee contains about 70mg of caffeine while green tea on average only has about 35mg of caffeine, or better yet, go decaf (2-10mg of caffeine)!
These are just some of the benefits of incorporating a healthy diet. While we could list all of the benefits ranging from healthy and beautiful skin to improved mood and more energy every day, we felt that the benefit of being able to understand yourself a little better is key to making positive lifestyle changes. What do you think? When is the last time you’ve listened to your body?