As featured on Move Nourish Believe: Carla Oates, best-selling author of DIY natural-skincare book Feed Your Skin and founder of Australian organic skincare and wellness brand The Beauty Chef, shares her beauty tips for spring-cleaning your body the natural way.
Spring is the season of new beginnings, when nature awakens after winter and the world comes alive. It’s also the time when our bodies come back to life, too, after months of hibernation, heavy eating and too much sofa time with a glass of vino. A lack of activity during the colder months combined with eating stodgy comfort food can lead to a feeling of heaviness, tiredness and general malaise, which can impact the way our skin looks, too, so there’s no better time to reset your body with a detoxing spring clean. But where do you start? Follow these simple tips and recipe ideas for a health and beauty reboot that will clear out any toxins accumulated over the winter months to leave you with radiant skin, hair and nails and looking and feeling your best from the inside-out.
Drink lots of water.
Water is the best (and easiest) way to flush your system of toxins, but it’s important to only drink pure, filtered water – there’s no point cleansing your body of toxins only to replace them with other nasties found in tap water. I use the Beauty Chef Inner beauty Water Purifier that sits on the counter, but any good water filter will do – drinking clean, pure water is the aim here.
Start your day with a glass of warm filtered water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, as not only does this replace your morning coffee with a healthy non-caffeinated alternative, but it also helps to clean out your liver, kick-start your metabolism, prepare your gut for the day’s upcoming digestion as well as alkalising and hydrating your body, too.
Soups are also a great way to pack in the nutrients while you’re detoxing and one of my favourites is spring vegetable soup in chicken broth – just throw zucchini, broad beans and asparagus into a freshly made chicken soup (add some Himalayan pink rock salt, as it’s full of health-loving minerals) with fresh herbs, quinoa or soaked brown rice for extra fibre and a dollop of fresh kale pesto on top (substitute raw almonds and a little salt instead of parmesan). Chicken soup is replete in sulphur containing amino acids, great for detoxifying the body. Cruciferous veggies including cabbage, kale, broccoli are also rich in sulphur containing compounds and are plentiful in spring. Try and eat some every day in soups, salads juices etc.
Eat lots of salads with spring fare alongside a good clean source of protein added (fish, nuts, seeds). Your body needs protein as well as a host of other nutrients to detoxify properly. Dandelion leaves are harvested in spring and make a great cleansing addition to your salads. Herbal teas are also a great way to boost your water intake – slice up ginger root and top with boiling water for a detoxing brew; got mint or coriander growing in the garden? Both make lovely teas that aid digestion and help eliminate toxins from the body. Dandelion tea also makes a fantastic detoxifying drink.
Drink your veges daily.
I could write a book about why green smoothies are great for your body, especially when detoxing, but I’ll just start with the basics here. First up, I’d recommend a blender like the Vitamix, which gives you a concentrated nutrient hit while retaining all the cleansing fibre of the fruit and veg. Fruit juice without fibre is a heavy load of fructose on the liver (defeating the purpose of a detox!) plus fibre is great for helping to clear out the digestive system and bowels while also feeding beneficial bacteria in the gut, and as I always say, beauty begins in the belly.
Ideally, stick to vegetable smoothies and only add in small amounts of low glycemic fruits – I often add half an apple to my smoothies to add a little sweetness and for its great digestive properties plus lemon for zing and its alkalising and cleansing power to boot. Green vegetable smoothies are super alkalising, don’t spike your blood-sugar levels, and are a great source of vitamins, minerals and chlorophyll, which helps oxygenate the blood as well as boosting glutathione (the body’s main antioxidant).
Try a blend of spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, mint and lemon for a detoxing breakfast juice.
I know this sounds strange, but chew your juice, too, as your mouth supplies lots of digesting enzymes that help break down carbohydrates, making the nutrients more available for the body to use.
Smoothies can be a meal replacement if they contain some protein and good fats. They are a great idea for breakfasts during a spring detox. One of my favourites is the….
Tropical Detox breakfast Smoothie….
Throw 1 scoop of The Beauty Chef BODY Inner Beauty Powder | 200ml coconut milk | 1 tsp chia seeds | 5 walnut halves| ½ cup chopped fresh pineapple (contains great enzymes for skin and digestive health)| ½ banana | 2 tbsp chopped mint| six ice cubes made with filtered water in a blender and drink. It’s delicious topped with a sprinkle of coconut.
Eat more fermented foods.
The gut is where your detoxifying enzymes live, where nutrients are created and where hormones are metabolized. It’s also where around 70% of the immune system lies, so it’s important to get the gut right, especially if you’ve been overindulging during the winter months. The villi in your gut look like little furry fingers and contain high concentrations of detoxifying enzymes that are designed to deactivate many of the potentially harmful substances found in foods. If your gut lining is damaged or you have a predominance of bad bacteria in your gut as opposed to good bacteria, then toxins can sneak through your gut wall and enter your blood stream, causing havoc to your body and skin.
To help heal the gut, consume lots of greens and fermented foods, as they help predigest food, making it easier for the gut to do its job. Plus, they produce good bacteria, which is vital for good gut health. Live organic yoghurt is rich in probiotics, as is kombucha, kefir and sauerkraut (homemade rather than bought, as the stuff found in stores is usually pasteurised). My Glow, Detox and Body Inner Beauty powders are all great sources of naturally fermented foods and probiotics – and taste nicer, too! Prebiotic foods, such as onions, greens, artichokes, asparagus, legumes, flaxseed, tomatoes, oats and garlic, are also important for encouraging the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Pack a nutritious punch into your salads.
Spring is a great time for delicious salads. There are lots of baby green leafy salad vegetables that are perfect for making nutritious and detoxifying salads.
Even better than baby leaves are micro leaves. These tiny leaves are harvested later than sprouts but are smaller than baby greens. In fact, new research has shown that micro salad leaves contain up to four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant.
Researchers compared four groups of vitamins and phytochemicals – including vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene – in 25 varieties of micro greens. Tasty examples include spinach, pea, beet, mustard leaves, chicory, radicchio and rocket. The great thing about these leaves is that they can be grown without a garden. All that’s required is some healthy organic soil, a tray and lots of sunlight. Keep a tray on your kitchen bench and regularly use in salads at home.
Carla’s top spring beauty boosters
Nature provides all the foods you need in spring to cleanse and detoxify the body, but best of all, you can apply many of these foods topically as simple, natural face masks and body scrubs. Below are my top-five secret weapons for getting gorgeous the natural way.
- 1. Get your eight hours. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason! Sleep is the time when your body repairs and renews itself, so regularly getting a good night’s sleep will not only help with your detox but will put you on the path to glowing skin.
- 2. Have regular Epsom bath salts. Whether a full bath or footbath, add Epsom salts to your water, as they’re rich in detoxifying sulfur and relaxing magnesium and promote detoxification. (Avoid if you are pregnant or if have any serious condition, consult your doctor.)
- 3. Get body brushing. Dry body brushing with a natural-bristle brush will help exfoliate dead skin cells, reduce cellulite and help drain the lymphatic system of toxins. Starting at your toes, brush your skin using long strokes towards your heart. Do this three times a week for glowing skin.
- 4. Scrub up. If you don’t have a body brush, using a body scrub is a great alternative. Make your own using 1cup of sugar and half a cup of coconut oil. Add 20 drops of grapefruit essential oil to detoxify the skin and decongest areas of the thighs and buttocks (just be careful in the shower, as oil can make the recess very slippery!). For a more stimulating scrub, use 1 cup of sugar, half a cup of coconut oil, 2 tbsps ground coffee and 2 tbsps of organic cocoa to promote toxin removal.
- 5. Treat your skin to a face mask. Decongest the skin and help bring back your natural radiance with a DIY face mask. I love this lemon, green tea and papaya enzyme face mask, as it’s rich in skin-refining enzymes, alpha-hydroxy acids, vitamins and anti-oxidants – guaranteed to bring the rosiness back to your cheeks. One of my other fave’s is the herbal oat cleansing scrub, a beautifully gentle natural recipe.
Herbal Oats Cleansing ScrubPreparation Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: Serves 2
- 2 tbsps fine oatmeal
- 1 tbsps honey
- 1 1/2 tsps distilled witch hazel
- 1/2 tsp finely ground dried peppermint
- 1/2 tsp finely ground dried rosemary
- 1/2 tsp finely ground and dried sage
- 1 drop lavender essential oil (optional)
- Combine ingredients thoroughly.
- Store in a jar in the fridge.
- This will keep in the fridge for up to one week