January is always a month full of fresh starts, goal setting, and hopeful mindsets. It can also be a month chock-full of conversations that are all about diets, cleanses, and bikini bodies. And with social media having more and more of an everyday presence in our lives it can seem like we are the only ones without a ‘perfect’ body or ‘perfect’ diet. Being surrounded by that kind of talk and those kinds of images can make starting the newest juice cleanse or cutting out entire food groups seem like a tempting idea. And while a properly done cleanse and understanding food intolerances can definitely be beneficial, you might want to pause before doing so. When done incorrectly this type of restriction can become pretty harmful to your health…both physical and mental.
This is why we want to talk about 'the uncleanse' -- the idea that instead of focusing on what you should be cutting out of your diet, you start to consider whether or not you're adding in enough of the good stuff. Glowing skin and radiant health is NOT about subtracting from your plate; instead, it's about ensuring that you're getting enough nutrient-dense foods.
What Happens When You Don't Get Enough Nutrients?
When we're not getting enough nutrients, a lot of things can start to go haywire, everything from your skin to your body to your brain function will take a toll when our diets are overly strict. Instead of feeling healthy, full of life, and glowy, it's more than likely that you'll be tired, dull, and facing some potentially pretty harmful health woes.
Let's start with what happens to our skin when we're not eating enough. If you're looking for that glowy complexion, you aren't going to get it from heavily restricting how much you eat. That glow is closely correlated to the amount of nourishing vitamins and minerals you're consuming. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that carotenoids, the colorful pigments found in fruits and veggies, are key supporters to your overall complexion. Those who consumed more fruits and veggies saw an improved, golden skin tone while those who didn't experienced a reduction in quality of skin tone. Your skin is your largest organ and needs the proper fuel to function as it should. So that means you should definitely go in for the second serving of veggies.
As for what happens to the rest of our bodies when we're not eating enough? It's a long list, and good health is not included. You'll be tired and lethargic, your metabolism is going to slow way down, your hormones will get messed up, heart and digestive issues, hair loss, and the list could go on and on. Restricting will just warrant a bunch of side effects that are going to work against your pursuit of wellness.
And we haven't even gotten to the mental side of things, it's far too easy for what starts as an innocent juice cleanse to turn into some pretty disordered thoughts about food. Thoughts that are definitely not going to improve the quality of your life. Lack of proper nutrition has also been linked to increased anxiety and depression. The bottom line is, when you focus on restricting calories, you are also inevitably restricting essential nutrients that your body and mind need.
What Happens When You Do Eat Enough Nutrients...
This is why we wanted to celebrate all the good stuff that can happen when we do properly fuel our bodies and some recipes to help you go about doing that. When we take care of our overall health, our skin will thank us. Start to think about switching your focus from what can I take out to what can I add in? Focus on consuming nutritionally dense foods, fermented foods, foods with high water concentration, and, most importantly, whole, unprocessed foods. To catalyze some inspiration, check out the five breakfasts we've cooked up down below to help you start your day on a good note while boosting your glow and overall wellness. We've broken down the key ingredients that make them genuinely beauty-boosting meals.
Five Nutrient Dense Breakfasts & How They Support Your Glow
Glowing Green Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup ice
- 1/2 cup berries
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 handful greens
-1 cup milk or milk alternative
This is my go-to smoothie every morning; it's filling and chock-full of good for you nutrients. The berries are full of antioxidants which help to control free radicals that can damage your cells. They also improve blood sugar response, are high in fiber and add some sweetness. Avocado is the star in this recipe, full of healthy fats it's going to help keep you satiated longer and will help keep your skins top layer motorized and glowy. Also, it makes the smoothie insanely creamy. The handful of greens is going to give you a huge boost of vitamins as dark leafy greens are some of the highest nutritionally rich foods.
Coconut Yogurt Parfait
- 1 cup coconut yogurt
- 1/2 cup granola
- 1/2 cup mixed berries
-1 tablespoon chia seeds
This is a super easy breakfast to throw together as you're heading out the door, it's also going to hit you with a lot of good nutrients right away. Coconut yogurt will give you a good dose of probiotics that can help improve your gut microbiome. When looking for granola, I would suggest finding one that's full of healthy nuts, seeds, and spices as they will give you a good boost of protein, fats, and vitamins. Berries again give you a nice boost of antioxidants and sweetness. And finally, the tablespoon of chia seeds is your superstar healthy fat that's going to make this meal extra satisfying.
Caramelized Banana Oatmeal
-1/2 cup oats
-1/2 cup milk or milk alternative
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
This is a super warming and tasty treat for chilly winter mornings. Oats are a great breakfast choice as they're full of fiber, full of vitamins, and are super filling. The walnuts add a healthy fat and are really good for your brain health. Now you're going to take half the banana, which is a good source of B6, Vitamin C, and magnesium, and mash it into your oats while they're cooking to sweeten it up. Then you'll slice up the rest of the bananas up, put them on a pan with a bit of olive oil and brown sugar and let each side cook until they're slightly brown. Place them on the top, and they'll be a super sweet treat in the morning.
- 2 eggs
- A handful of halved cherry tomatoes
- ½ cucumber chopped
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 bacon strips
- ½ avocado
- 1 slice of toast
This breakfast spread is a classic for a reason… it has your protein, your veggies, your healthy carbs, and fats, and it’s undeniably tasty. Your eggs, which you can scramble together with your veggies or make a nice omelet, will give you a boost of heart health, vitamins and fuel your brain for the day. The bacon will provide you with lots of good protein and feed your muscles. And the infamous avocado toast will deliver your healthy fats to keep you satiated all morning. Pro tip: make sure you get a bite of everything together.
- 1 can of chickpeas
- ¼ onion
- ½ red pepper
- ½ cucumber
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- ½ avocado
- A handful of halved cherry tomatoes
- Two handfuls of spinach
This is the plant-based version of scrambled eggs, and it’s packed with a whole lot of healthy goods. Put your minced onions into a pan with a bit of water and let them heat up till they turn translucent. Then add in your chickpeas, chopped red pepper, and cucumber and let them heat up. Chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber, which work together to stabilize blood sugar and keep you from crashing later on in the day. Your red pepper and cucumber help you get a hit of vitamin-rich veggies in the morning, and we all know we should be eating more veggies. Once your chickpeas are warm, mash them up with the back of a fork and then keep them cooking for two to three more minutes. Add-in on your cherry tomatoes and your seasoning for the final minute or two of cooking. Serve the scramble on top of the spinach (which is anti-inflammatory and extremely nutrient-dense) and then add on your sliced avocado ( which, as we’ve mentioned, is a great healthy fat to moisturize your skin and help keep you fuller longer).