This week’s Prevention Not Prescriptions guest blogger is Gail Konop Baker, author of "Cancer is a Bitch".
I blasted into my 40’s strong and invincible. I ran, I practiced yoga, I kayaked, I ate a mostly organic vegetarian diet. I rarely got sick, no aches, no pains. I was a person others consulted for health and anti-aging tips. So it totally messed with my psyche when, at the age of 45, I was diagnosed with early breast cancer. Luckily, it was caught so early that I didn’t need chemo or radiation. Four years later, I am healthier than I have ever been, partly because it made me re-evaluate all my dietary and lifestyle choices and step up my game. When I re-evaluated, I realized while I had been very careful with what I put in my body, I hadn’t been as careful with what I put on my body. When researching carcinogens, I learned that beauty products were filled with parabens and phthalates and other toxic chemicals. For awhile I made homemade lotions and potions out of things like organic jojoba oil and shea butter and seriously thought about starting an organic facial cream company but wrote a book about my experience instead.
Now when I am on the road reading from my memoir and giving speeches, women often ask me about my personal beauty tips (I know I’m not a model but they do ask me!). I also know what they’re asking is what I put on my skin to make it glow or my hair to make it shine and while I do have favorite (organic) beauty products, I started thinking that the best beauty tips actually come from the inside out.
So I came up with a list of my top 10:
1. Always drink plenty of water. In fact right now before I keep writing this list, I’m going to get a big glass for myself. Hold on.
2. Eat plenty of fruit, especially juicy fruit, like oranges and berries. Fruit is hydrating. And just like the water it keeps the skin looking softer. In fact if you’re hungry go for fruit first. The juicier the better!
3. Eat vegetables, especially leafy greens. Also salmon, avocado and nuts. All these foods hydrate the skin. Limit caffeine, alcohol, white sugar, salt, let’s just say white anything. Don’t eat white stuff!
4. Exercise every day. The body craves this and sweat is a natural detoxifier. Exercise also pumps blood to the surface of the skin so your face is rosier without make-up. And it releases endorphins that make you look happier and relaxes the facial muscles. It also helps you fit into your skinny jeans.
5. Stand on your head every day. And practice yoga regularly. Yes, this does sort of fall under the general exercise every day in #4, but yoga has it’s own special benefits. It keeps you juicy, the body and the mind and the soul. I think a lot of staying youthful is about staying juicy. See # 2 and 3. Also, yoga is a lot about inversions and turning your body upside down as often as possible helps reverse gravity. Have you ever seen those older yogi women? Their faces don’t sag. And inversions also give you a different perspective on life, flipping your assumptions upside down. Go stand on your head now. (If you’ve never stood on your head, lie on your back and scootch your butt up flush to a wall and lean your legs up the wall and you’re officially inverted! I don’t want anyone to end up with a neck injury! Not beautiful!)
7. Eat chocolate. Dark. While I am very careful with consumption, I do believe in chocolate because cocoa is not only an antioxidant but it is also good for the complexion and has some natural sun protection built in and it also releases feel good chemicals. Plus it just tastes really yummy and that that makes you feel good. Feeling good looks good.
8. Don’t sun bathe. I was always so jealous of those Golden Goddess Girls who could tan when I was growing up while I was always too fair and uncomfortable in the sun to stay out for very long. And now? They are dried up and wrinkled and full of age spots. And I’m still pale. But oh well.
9. Don’t be afraid of your power. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be afraid to let your most authentic self shine through. Live fully and freely in your body. And most importantly, love who you are, flaws and all. Especially your flaws. Flaws are hot!
10. Have sex. Lots of it. It’s free. And freeing. It burns calories. It releases endorphins. It makes your skin glow.
And one bonus:
11. Smile. When you feel it. Don’t fake it. (maybe try #10 to get to #11). Everyone looks more beautiful when they smile!
Gail Konop Baker is the author of Cancer is a Bitch: (Or, I’d Rather be Having a Midlife Crisis). She’s working on a second a book about marriage and also working really hard on having that midlife crisis now. And if you want to know what beauty products she is using on her face and hair, you can drop her an e-mail (email@example.com) or leave a comment for her below.
Read this week's full Prevention Not Prescriptions line-up.
Related:Kathleen’s interview with Gail Konop Baker
Toxic cosmetics…the dark side of the beauty industry
Wrinkles, brown spots and acne…oh my! Safe remedies for aging skin
YOU…gorgeous. Cut the stress, catch those Z’s and put your best face forward.
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