Eating for Eternal Beauty
Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef, explains how to nourish your skin from the inside-out
Serums and sunscreen play a pivotal role in any anti-aging skincare routine, but what you feed your microbiome could actually be more beneficial to your skin’s long-term health and glow. This isn’t just a gut feeling either. Carla Oates, founder of The Beauty Chef, started her company based on the well-researched idea that your skin is showing you what’s going on inside your gut. As above, so below. Or in this case, what’s showing up on the surface is a direct reflection of what’s actually happening on a deeper level.
The gut-brain connection has been a hot topic for years now, but the gut-skin connection is still making its way into the mainstream. Oates, however, has been aware of this unique interconnectedness since early childhood. “The Beauty Chef stemmed from my own skin and gut health issues and that of my family’s,” she recently told rē•spin. “As a child, I suffered from eczema and allergies, so my mum took me to see a naturopath who dramatically changed what I ate, removing processed foods as well as allergens such as gluten and dairy from my diet.”
Food as Skin Medicine
More and more studies are linking your skin’s health to your gut health, and the food you choose to eat can have a dramatic effect on the condition of both. When irritation, inflammation, or congestion show up in your reflection, chances are you have underlying gut issues. “After changing my diet, I soon noticed my allergies and eczema subsided, so I experienced firsthand the connection of food as medicine,” Oates remembers. This connection hit home even harder when her daughter began struggling with her own skin issues at just 10 years old.
“In 2009 my daughter experienced similar skin issues to mine including that of eczema and allergies, so I decided to put my entire family on a health protocol – introducing lots of gut-loving, Lacto-fermented wholefoods, teeming with beneficial bacteria into our diet. These included time-honored probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi.” It was this probiotic-rich diet that inspired the first iteration of the GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, which contains 18 bio-fermented superfoods with prebiotics and probiotics for gut health, glowing skin, and wellbeing.
“At The Beauty Chef we believe that beauty begins in the belly,” Oates goes on to explain. “Around 70% of the body’s immune system is located in your gut. It’s where we make nutrients, regulate our hormones and our metabolic health, neutralize pathogens and toxins, make neurotransmitters – so our gut health can profoundly affect not just how we look, but also how we feel.” If you aren’t eating a well-balanced, whole-foods-rich diet your skin won’t receive the nutrition it needs to maintain a healthy glow. You’re also more likely to feel tired and lethargic.
The Gut Skin Axis
“What’s interesting is that what influences the health of your gut more than anything else is your gut microbiome, the mini-ecosystem of tens of trillions of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract and you are host to,” Oates says. “Our relationship with them is very important – in fact, it’s possibly the most important relationship you will ever have. These microorganisms are super influential and help regulate your gut, immune, brain, metabolic health, and overall health.”
“When it comes to our skin – more and more research shows the link between your gut and skin inflammation, it’s called the gut-skin axis.” One of the main regulators in this gut-skin connection is how the gut microbiome communicates with the skin. It does this through intricate interactions with the immune system that regulate inflammation in the body. When you have a leaky gut, intestinal bacteria can enter the bloodstream and accumulate in the skin disrupting the skin’s microbiome. “Interestingly most skin issues, including acne, rosacea, autoimmune skin issues like psoriasis, and eczema are all fuelled by inflammation. Studies show that people with acne and rosacea are ten times more likely to have gut issues.”
Signs of premature aging can also be caused by gut issues. As we age we naturally start to produce less collagen- an important protein in our skin that keeps it looking plump and youthful. We also experience changes to our gut as we age that can trigger low-grade inflammation, a phenomenon that’s sometimes called “inflammaging”. While we can’t stop aging from happening completely (and do we really even want to?), we can encourage healthier microbial diversity to slow down the effects of inflammaging. Skin deep in this case isn’t just a superficiality. Proactively reducing inflammation through food and supplementations can ward off wrinkles, but it’s also key in preventing the development of many chronic diseases.
Nourishing Your Microbiome
“If you want naturally clear, glowing skin on the outside, you need to be healthy on the inside, starting with your gut,” Oates reminds us. The Beauty Chef believes that one of the best ways to restore a healthy gut microbiome is to increase your consumption of probiotics- through a whole-foods-rich diet and by supplementing with broad-spectrum probiotics.
Many conventional probiotic supplements contain millions of copies of just one strain of probiotic. This creates a “monoculture” in your microbiome, which can lead to more gut damage in the long run. The Beauty Chef’s inner beauty powders are unique in that they are multi-strain probiotics that combine the healing power of natural ingredients like licorice root, slippery elm, milk thistle, and aloe vera to nourish a healthier gut microbiome and give you glow-ier looking skin.
While we aren’t suggesting you break up with your favorite anti-aging serums, we do hope you’ll consider gut-healthy foods and inner beauty supplements as equally important parts of your skincare routine. To help get you started, here’s a nourishing, anti-aging recipe that combines collagen-rich whole foods and an added nutritional boost from The Beauty Chef’s Deep Collagen Inner Beauty Support.
Sweet Potato Collagen Bliss Balls
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 150g peeled roasted sweet potato (approx. ½ small sweet potato)
- ⅔ cup almond meal
- ⅔ cup cooked quinoa
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1½ tablespoons DEEP COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Support
- 2 teaspoons almond butter
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
- Heat the oil in a small frying pan over low-medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic, until softened. Set aside to cool.
- Place the sweet potato in a medium bowl and using the back of a fork or a potato masher, mash until smooth. Add the almond meal, quinoa, yeast flakes, DEEP COLLAGEN powder, almond butter, and sweet paprika and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- Using damp hands, roll the sweet potato mixture into walnut-sized balls and set onto a large plate. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast the white and black sesame seeds together in a small frying pan, until the white seeds are golden. Transfer into a wide bowl and set aside to cool. Once cooled add the hemp seeds and stir to combine.
- Toss and coat the sweet potato balls in the sesame and hemp mixture, pressing to secure.
- Eat immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.