More than Skin Deep
By Kripa Watts
As we age, the radiant bloom of youth goes through an inevitable transformation and we start to notice changes in our outward appearance (at least I suspect I’m not the only one).
How we perceive these changes might mean the difference between peace or agitation, confidence or lack of self esteem and, in general, whether we feel contented or not. Without doubt surrendering to aging can be a major challenge, especially since we get faced every day with images of ideal human beauties that are not even true likenesses of the actual model. Most magazine images show the teeth to be whiter than white, the cheekbones lifted and skin with such a glowing, flawless finish that even Barbie would find it hard to live up to! And it’s all thanks to the photoshop artist!
So what are we to do? How do we support ourselves in looking and feeling the best we can, while surrendering to the inevitability of physical changes in such a way that we really do ‘age gracefully’? Here are a few of my thoughts on these questions – I hope you find them helpful.
First, I think it is important to step outside of focus on oneself for at least a few minutes each day. If we take a moment to look at anything in the physical world, we will see the same cycle – passing through birth, growth, degeneration, death……..and once again, rebirth. To be able to see beauty in each of these stages is an excellent practice, which can shift our perception with regard to loveliness. I find it especially interesting to look at images of elders from indigenous cultures, where the emphasis on ‘youth equals beauty’ is less so than in the west. In these images, the faces are often lined and leathery from years of working alongside the elements. In many cases the story of the person’s life is etched into the face. And, more often than not, the beauty of experience, even wisdom, radiates from the image.
Secondly, I would recommend trying not to compare oneself with another – especially when the ‘other’ is a glossy magazine cover. Take inspiration from others, find joy in their good qualities and allow their light and beauty to encourage you on your path toward fulfilling your own potential, just don’t compare yourself. After all, our differences make everyone special, and imperfections often are the very thing that makes a person striking.
Thirdly, on the most practical physical level, truly nourish yourself. To a large extent, your appearance is an outward expression of what goes on inside. That inner world includes your thoughts and emotions, as well as physical elements such as the foods you include in your diet. Have a care for these things and make sure to choose wisely. Keep company with positive, kind and expansive thoughts. Choose pure, fresh foods that are rich in trace elements that really do feed and protect the house that you live in – otherwise known as your body.
To leave you with some practical suggestions, here are a few of my favorite foods and herbs that will encourage your beautiful, shining self to come out and play:
Cucumber – eat it for the silica it provides. This will strengthen your hair and nails and provide this trace mineral, which is essential for collagen production. Put slices of it into a pitcher of water and drink to keep your body flushed and skin hydrated. Or mash it up into a paste for a refreshing facemask. You’ll feel so much better about yourself if you take the time to relax and enjoy for those few precious moments for such an inexpensive beauty treat.
Red Clover – I have great memories as a child of picking red clover that would grow on our lawn, taking the spiky flowers one by one and sucking out the sweet nectar from the end. Little did I realize what a blast of goodness I was getting from such an indulgence. Red clover nourishes the blood, supports detoxification, helps maintain healthy hormone balance and delivers a host of antioxidant flavonoids, to name a few of its benefits.* It’s a wonderful tonic for the skin!*
Vitamin C rich foods – especially colorful fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is absolutely essential for the production of collagen, which helps give integrity to the skin and contributes to its healthy appearance.* When Vitamin C is delivered in colorful whole foods, the nutrient is supported in its activities by the presence of other natural compounds or phytonutrients. The combined activity of these individual components is more than any one of them can provide alone.
Nettles – You may know nettles as the weeds that can be found in large patches along roadsides, in forests and by pathways in moist climates. Venturing into said patch can result in painful little swellings that, for most people, last a couple of hours at the most. These weeds happen to provide a host of nourishing trace minerals that support detoxification pathways of the body and already normal, healthy inflammatory response.* Nettles can be eaten sautéed as a vegetable, blended into a smoothie or infused into vinegar and used in salad dressings.
These are just a few of my favorites – a number of them can be found in our MegaFood Skin Nails and Hair product – check it out. You are of course encouraged to experiment and share your secrets. Please let us know what makes you feel beautiful inside and out.