We’ve all heard the old adage “you are what you eat,” but how many of us really take it to heart? The truth is, we know the food we put into our bodies has a huge impact on our health, inside and out yet most of us continue to eat processed junk and don’t get enough nutrients from whole foods. What small habits and practices can we develop to improve this? How we look is a huge motivator for eating healthy and making healthy choices, so what are the foods that you eat on the regular to quickly notice a difference in the health of your hair, skin and nails? Other benefits of incorporating these foods into your diet may include a healthier gut biome, less bloating, more energy and a better mood. I’m not an expert in nutrition, but science and nutrition backs up this list. And my personal experience is that since I started consistently incorporating these foods into my diet over the past year, I have had better skin at 42 than I had in my twenties and my hair has regained its fullness and length since a bout of hair loss from pandemic stress in 2020. Plus my energy has increased, my aches and pains have vanished and I’m sleeping better!
Before we get to the list mentioned, let’s address the biggest obstacle of why most of us know we should be eating better but we still grab our phones and order Uber Eats or head to a restaurant for lunch and or dinner multiple times a week. Convenience. Lack of whole foods on hand and ready to go when hunger hits. And price! I have heard countless clients tell me how expensive groceries are. I am not going to argue that. But in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Preparation is the number one key to having success with eating healthy.
I am the Queen of Lists in the notes section of my iPhone. I love checking off the bubbles on my lists and I keep an active list going at all times for things I am going to need for my next shop at the four places we frequent most- Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco and Target. And below that grocery list, is a list of recipes I plan on making this upcoming week. I don’t get as rigid as some and have each recipe planned for each day, but I know ahead of these are at least 4-5 recipes that will be on the menu at some point this week.
Inevitably you will forget something on your list or the store will be out. It doesn’t mean you can’t still make a variation of the dish you anticipated. Google a substitution or type the three main ingredients on hand + recipe and see what Google pulls up for you. I used to think “Nope. Can’t make that anymore.” and either run out to the store to buy the missing ingredient and blow my budget or order take out. Now I get creative with my substitutes and have a fully stocked spice drawer which helps too. I also like to keep some frozen veggies on hand and fruits on hand. They come in handy in these situations and also help when you only have time for a quick shake or it’s close to restock time and you don’t have a veggie side dish.
The freezer is also a great way to cut back on your food waste. Portion stuff out when you buy it and freeze it. You will be surprised how much can be frozen and how long it lasts. Bone broth is also a defender of food waste. Have a carton of bone broth and some veggies that have seen better days? Perfect- grab some spices and toss it all together and simmer. You just made a veggie packed, collagen rich soup that is perfect on a fall day and will also strengthen your nails and hair and help joint pain.
Multi-tasking is a big one. When you are cooking dinner and watching over the stovetop, why not chop up some veggies like carrots, celery and peppers or wash some blueberries for the week? Red peppers are amazing for your skin and are loaded with Vitamin A. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants. Prepping when you are already cooking makes it so easy to throw together a quick lunch and cuts back on food waste. Another thing I do is when I make something, I make extra. My husband and I work opposite hours, so this ensures there is always something healthy in the fridge that can be prepared in a couple of minutes at any time of day. When you make extra, it doesn’t mean it has to be exactly the same either. If I am baking a big piece of salmon, I will often season half of it with lime, Sriracha and maple syrup for dinner with coconut and cilantro rice and the other half with lemon and dill to chill in the fridge and make flake up for a salmon wraps with arugula. Farmed salmon have a bad rap, so I always look for wild. Salmon is a great food within moderation and it’s loaded with omega 3’s and Vitamin D which helps grow healthy, strong, shiny hair. I also give my two dogs salmon oil every day and I swear that’s why they have shiny, soft coats.
If you have an unlimited budget, you can of course eat well and eat out. Most of us don’t right now. The economy is a little unsteady and most of us are being conservative with our expenses right now. My husband and I could eat out more, but we chose not to. We prefer cooking our own food and limit our take out to twice a month max. When we lived in Toronto, we ate out all the time- 3-4 nights a week we would order out or go out. The more money we made, the more we spent on eating out. But when the lockdown hit, that changed and so did our income. When we moved to San Diego and were starting over, we decided we didn’t want to make that a regular thing in our life again for two reasons- health (not knowing the quality of the food we were consuming, hidden seed oils, large portions, etc) and financial (we would rather save that money for a trip to Asia and/or retirement and savings). We brew organic coffee every morning and rarely go out for fancy coffees. Very little take out and eating out. It adds up quickly and you will be shocked how much you save when you track it. But that’s a whole other blog post for another day!
Stacey’s Grocery List for healthy skin, hair and nails:
Avocados- high in good fats and an excellent source of vitamin E, which may support hair growth and reduce skin inflammation.
Eggs- high in protein and biotin for strong, thick hair.
Blueberries- high in antioxidants and Vitamin C for clear skin and fights inflammation.
Spinach- loaded with beneficial nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C, all of which are important for hair growth.
Beans- a great plant-based source of protein and Zinc, which is essential to hair growth.
Gound Flax Seeds and Chia Seeds- High in omega 3’s, anti aging, anti inflammatory, may help prevent dandruff and help acne prone skin.
Wild Alaskan Salmon- high in omegas and good fats for shiny hair and glowy skin.
Stacey’s Glowing Skin and Healthy Hair Smoothie:
This smoothie will boost your energy and keep you full for hours! Making a delish smoothie at home will also save you at least $10 than getting one on the go.
1 scoop Girl and the Sea collagen powder.
1 serving 11:11 Rainbo Tincture.
1 scoop Australian Natural Protein Company organic artisan cocoa grass fed whey protein.
1 cup frozen blueberries.
1/2 frozen banana.
1 cup spinach.
1 tbp ground flax seeds.
Mylk or coconut water- your choice and liquid amount varies on how thick you like your smoothie.
Add all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend for a minute. Enjoy!