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What are congesting foods?

When the oil (sebum) in your skin is flowing healthily it plays an important role in protecting your skin and keeping it strong, supple and smooth. However, if your skin has a tendency to congest, congesting foods in your diet will cause the sebum to thicken and block your pores, resulting in bumps and breakouts.

Common congesting foods: full fat dairy products (excluding yoghurt), cheese, chocolate (including vegan and organic), chocolate drink powders, ice-cream, commercial mayonnaise, meat fat (especially sausages, mince and chicken nibbles), red meat and pork (excluding lean varieties), chips, fried foods and takeaways, protein bars and powders (including plant based varieties), coconut oil (for highly congesting skins only), peanuts and cashews (and their butters). Note: non-dairy alternatives to cheese, chocolate, ice-cream etc. are often just as congesting. Avoid these foods altogether and focus on unprocessed, whole-foods instead.

Skin-Friendly Alternatives:

Full fat dairy products and cheese (excluding yoghurt): Ricotta, cottage cheese, goats cheese or feta are better than hard cheeses however avoiding cheese altogether until the skin is clear. Nutritional yeast (also known as Brewer’s Yeast) gives food a savoury taste similar to cheese. Hummus or avocado are great alternatives to having cheese as a snack. Skim milk or seed/nut milks, coconut yoghurt are good alternative to full fat dairy. Note: non-dairy alternatives to cheese, chocolate, ice-cream etc. are often just as congesting. Avoid these foods altogether and focus on unprocessed, whole-foods instead.

Chocolate: Medjool dates, figs, date and carob balls or treats from the Bestow recipe books (don’t have too much coconut oil though).

Chocolate drink powders: Use cacao, carob, cinnamon, turmeric or a spice mix to make your own hot drinks using seed or nut milks. Add some honey, pure maple syrup or molasses for sweetness.

Ice cream: Gelato or blended frozen fruits.

Commercial mayonnaise: Bestow French Dressing or any other Bestow salad dressings (ask your therapist for our recipes), pesto or hummus.

Meat fat (especially sausages, mince and chicken nibbles), red meat and pork: Grilled or baked meat dishes favouring lean meats; chicken, turkey and fresh fish alternatives.

Coconut oil: Other oils such as olive or avocado.

Peanuts and cashews:  Raw, unsalted nuts such as almonds or brazil nuts.

Nut butters containing peanuts or cashews: Tahini or almond butter.

Chips: Make your own oven-baked sweet potato or kale chips using olive oil.

Fried fatty foods or takeaways: Grilled, steamed or baked foods, salads and stir fries.

Protein powders:  Eggs, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, canned tuna, beans and Brewer’s Yeast. Add 1⁄4 cup of tinned white beans to your smoothie to boost protein levels.

The Bestow Recipe Books

The Bestow way of eating avoids all congesting foods and uses skin-friendly, whole-foods instead. The range of five Bestow Recipe Books follow skin-friendly principles. Instead of focussing on what you can’t eat, you can enjoy what you can eat – including healthy treats! The recipes are tasty, nourishing and easy to prepare. Bestow Within I contains an education section on heating and congesting foods and provides a list of skin-friendly whole-food alternatives and lots of recipes to show you how to use them.

  • April 2, 2020

What are heating foods?

Certain foods can heat your skin, causing it to appear reddened and sensitised. These foods are called ‘vasodilators’ and they heat your skin by increasing the blood flow through your fine capillary system. If you suffer from rosacea or flushed cheeks or nose, you will be particularly sensitive to heating foods.

Common heating foods: coffee, alcohol, caffeine (energy drinks, etc), chocolate, peanuts, cashews, nut butters containing peanuts or cashews, spicy foods, chilli, paprika, wasabi, hot curries, oranges (including orange juice), strawberries and very hot or cold foods.

Skin-Friendly Alternatives:

Coffee: Coffee decaffeinated by water method, chai tea (avoid chai syrups), herbal teas (without orange peel) and dandelion, macha, beetroot, mermaid or turmeric lattes.

Alcohol: Kombucha, lemon lime & bitters, soda water spritzers or sparkling water with a slice of lemon.

Chocolate: Medjool dates, figs, date and carob balls or treats from the Bestow recipe books (don’t have too much coconut oil though).

Peanuts and cashews:  Raw, unsalted nuts such as almonds or brazil nuts.

Nut butters containing peanuts or cashews: Tahini or almond butter.

Spicy foods, chilli and paprika: Fresh herbs and less ‘spicy’ spices such as ginger, cloves, nutmeg, mace, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, caraway, coriander and mustard seeds.

Oranges or strawberries: Any other fresh fruit in season

Orange juice: Apple juice, dark grape juice and lemon juice – all best diluted in water.

The Bestow Recipe Books

The Bestow way of eating avoids all congesting foods and uses skin-friendly, whole-foods instead. The range of five Bestow Recipe Books follow skin-friendly principles. Instead of focussing on what you can’t eat, you can enjoy what you can eat – including healthy treats! The recipes are tasty, nourishing and easy to prepare. Bestow Within I contains an education section on heating and congesting foods and provides a list of skin-friendly whole-food alternatives and lots of recipes to show you how to use them.

  • April 2, 2020
What we put INTO our body is just as important as what we put ONTO our body. When it comes to skin we need to soothe it from the outside with beautiful skin care products as well as the inside with the foods we are eating.

While talking with women in the South Island this week, we discussed how easy it is to be fueling skin problems without being aware of it. Many of us tend to get little blockages or breakouts and wonder why?

Becoming more aware of the foods we are eating and what they are doing to our skin is the key to this. Are the foods you are eating congesting or smoothing?

  1. Ricotta, cottage cheese or feta

These are best enjoyed in small quantities and make a delicious addition to a salad, sandwich or savoury treat. They are great to use in place of hard cheeses which contain six times more saturated fat than steak.

  1. Soy milk, almond milk, rice milk or soy yoghurt

An alternative to full cream dairy products, these are lovely in desserts or the occasional coffee as well. Soy yoghurt and a little fresh fruit makes an easy and healthy snack.

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  1. Grilled or baked lean meat dishes, organic chicken, turkey or fresh fish

These provide amazing nutrients for our body and are better options than eating mostly red meat. Try to reduce the red meat intake, trim off visible fat before cooking and avoid mince, sausages, pork and lamb (which all contain high levels of saturated fat).

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  1. Grilled, steamed or baked foods, salads and stir fries

There is nothing more tempting that hot chips, takeaways or other fried foods when you are running short of time and are very hungry but trust us, go for the healthier option of grilling, steaming or baking your food and your skin will thank you. Salads and stir fries are quick, easy options to whip up that will be far more beneficial to your health and won’t leave you with that yucky feeling we so often get after consuming foods that are fried and high in fat, salt and sugar.

  1. Bestow French Dressing (ask your therapist for our recipe)

After you have whipped up your salad (instead of getting takeaways) be sure to top it off with Bestow French dressing, a healthy alternative to mayonnaise.

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  1. Eggs, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, spirulina powder and brewers yeast

Protein powder, drink and bars seem all the rage at the moment but can have a congesting effect on the skin. Instead, go for any of the above ingredients mixed into a smoothie, sprinkled on a salad or eat on their own.

  1. Tahini, almond butter, raw, unsalted nuts and seeds

Like to snack on peanuts or spread peanut butter on your toast? Peanuts are prone to causing blockages in the skin so try Tahini as an alternative spread which is made of sesame seeds and is a great source of calcium. Otherwise, a more similar tasting option would be almond butter and this is also a wonderful source of magnesium and the most alkaline of all nuts. Snack on raw, unsalted nuts and seeds such as almonds and Brazil nuts instead of peanuts or cashews.

  1. Mejool dates and cacao balls

Dates are an amazing sweet treat to enjoy! They can be eaten on their own or made into balls. Mix dates and cacao in a food processor, roll into balls and sprinkle with LSA. You can add other nuts and seeds to these if you would like something a little adventurous. They make a great go to instead of chocolate when you need that sweet fix, otherwise, if you must have chocolate, the darker and more bitter, the better!

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  1. Gelato

With summer over but the heat still lingering at times, opt for Gelato when out with friends instead of icecream.

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  1. Warm milk or soy milk with a dash of cacao, molasses, cinnamon or honey

As those cold nights approach, try warm milk with a dash of honey and cinnamon instead of milo or hot chocolate; it gives that same warm, soothing feeling. Nothing like sitting in front of a fire with a hot drink in your hand!

  • April 2, 2015

During my first decade as a beauty therapist in the 1980’s I tried to treat skin with topical treatments and products alone. 

That was fine when I was dealing with basically strong and healthy skin. But as soon as I was faced with sensitive or inflamed skin, or skin disorders like acne or rosacea, I was out of my depth. Eventually I became so disillusioned that I left the career I loved and did the 9-5 office thing.

I returned to the beauty industry two years later, determined to find answers, and providentially came across the woman who would become my mentor – Janice Sarre Smith, naturopath and holistic skincare therapist.

 

Through Jan, I discovered a respectful way of working with skin that preserved the integrity of the protective top layer of the skin (the stratum corneum). 

AND, I discovered how absolutely essential skin nutrition was.

Topical skincare is important but true skin transformation is only possible when we nourish the skin from within.

Your skin is created from within. Your visible skin is the end result of a process that begins deep in the skin layers and is influenced by your diet, your lifestyle, your gut health and your stress resilience. It’s not going too far to say that your skin is a reflection of your life.

During my 15 year career as a dermo-nutritionist and skin health therapist I have learnt that:

  • Gut health is directly connected to skin health. 
  • Dull, inflamed or spotty skin are indicators that your body is not getting enough of the nutrients it needs, or that poor diet is actively working against a clear, glowing complexion.
  • EFA’s are essential for preventing and treating break outs, for clearing congestion, for moisturising dry skin and for promoting a smooth texture and luminous glow.
  • Fibroblasts (anti-ageing cells that produce collagen and elastin) require a regular supply of key nutrients and a deficiency in just one nutrient will limit anti-ageing activity.
  • You can’t heal a constipated skin. Acne and congested skin are exacerbated by a build-up of toxicity caused by a sluggish digestive system.  
  • Congesting foods fuel acne from within and need to be removed for progress to be made.
  • Heating foods exacerbate inflamed skin conditions and need to be removed from the diet to give the skin a chance to calm and heal.
  • Bestow skin nutrition boosters can fill the nutrient gaps in our modern diets and ensure our skin has the vital nutrients it needs to heal and thrive.
  • Self-care rituals are vital for skin health and wellbeing. 

So, whether you are looking to heal sensitive or challenged skin, or take healthy skin from good to glow, skin nutrition is a vital piece of the puzzle. Remember…

What you put on your skin is only half the story.

  • May 14, 2020

5 blackhead myths busted!

Blackheads are caused by dirt stuck in my pores.

Blackheads are formed when the oil your skin produces mixes with dead skin cells and forms a blockage in the pore. The surface of these blockages turns black as the air oxidises the normally colourless oil.

Blackheads are not from having dirty skin but more to do with the oil your skin produces being too thick and sticky. The key is to improve the quality of your skin’s oil and keep it flowing which prevents it from getting stuck in the first place. To do this you need to replace foods that degrade the quality of your oil like cheese and chocolate with more supportive alternatives (see our list). It is also important to include the Bestow Beauty Oil in your diet as this has been formulated to improve the quality of your oil and help prevent it blocking. BUT remember this needs to be in conjunction with reducing your intake of congesting foods! (read more about congesting foods here!)

Having blackheads means I have oily skin.

Anyone can develop blackheads regardless of how oily their skin is. It is not about the amount of oil your skin produces but more about the thickness of that oil and/or the tightness of the pore. The thicker the oil or the tighter the pore, the more likely it is that it will block, and a blackhead will form. 

So the key is to make sure you have really good quality oil that flows well. Taking the Bestow Beauty Oil supports this. It is also important to avoid congesting foods which can thicken the oil in your skin, making it more likely to block the pore. Topical hydration is also very important to reduce the occurrence of blackheads. You skincare routine needs to support hydration to keep your skin soft and supple, allowing the flow of oil naturally out onto the skins surface. 

I get lots of tiny blackheads on my nose and in the crease of my chin.

Chances are these aren’t blackheads. We all have slightly larger pores on the nose and some parts of the chin. The inner walls of our pores are constantly sheading skin cells and this helps protect us from infection. If harmful bacteria find their way into our pores, chances are they will find themselves on a very unstable surface. As helpful as this is, it does mean that larger pores, combined with a little bit of oil and shedding cells leaves you with slightly darker pores. You can squeeze something out of if you try but honestly, don’t try! It will be back within a few days and you risk permanently damaging the pore opening. Remember these are not blackheads, which are actual blockages in the skin.

To help minimise the look of these slightly larger pores, work on keeping your skin hydrated. However, drinking water is not enough! You need a topical approach to hydrating the skin. We recommend bathing the skin with a Bestow soaking cloth before locking in that precious moisture by applying a good quality oil or moisturiser, depending on your skins needs. This will help refine your pores AND prevent your skin cells from building up.

It doesn’t matter what I do, I’m just more prone to blackheads.

Good news! There are definitely things you can do to prevent yourself getting blackheads. It is a two-way approach of treating the skin, looking at what you are feeding your skin (or not feeding it!) and also what you are putting on it. 

The oil produced by the skin needs to be of good quality and of the right consistency to be able to flow naturally onto the skins surface where it acts as a barrier. To do this you need to make sure you’re consuming an essential fatty acid supplement such as Bestow Beauty Oil. Bestow Beauty Oil is blended to meet your skin’s needs for EFA’s. Unfortunately, relying on food to provide this doesn’t cut it these days. Alongside EFA’s we always recommend a vitamin B supplement as this helps support the EFA’s to do their job. We recommend the Bestow Beauty From Beneath which has been formulated with your skin in mind, giving you the correct balance of B vitamins it needs. 

There are also certain foods that contribute to blackheads by degrading the quality of the skins oil and therefore causing it to block. See the list of these below and how to replace them with skin friendly alternatives. 

Topically the key is to keep the skin hydrated. This can easily be done with a good skin care routine which includes bathing the skin and then the application of good quality products. The Bestow Soaking cloth is a great tool for bathing the skin. Following this step we encourage you to apply a very hydrating gel or serum and then immediately locking all that precious moisture with a quality moisturiser or oil. Doing this skin care routine religiously morning and night will keep your skin hydrated and healthy. 

Having blackheads means I am not cleansing or exfoliating enough.

It’s the exact opposite! You may be over cleansing and over exfoliating your skin which causes dehydration. Many of us feel when we get blackheads that our skin needs a good clean and we approach this in a variety of ways. Firstly, we are tempted to cleanse morning and night or double cleanse at night. The skin only needs cleansing at the end of the day to remove makeup, chemicals and pollutants and it usually requires this to be done only once. When we cleanse the skin twice, we risk removing the protective barrier of the skin leaving it open to all those nasties we are trying to protect it from and causing it to become dehydrated. 

You can also want to give the skin a good scrub, convincing ourselves that the harder we scrub and the harsher the exfoliant the cleaner our skin will be. FALSE! Over exfoliating the skin will strip the protective barrier away and can leave it feeling dehydrated and tight – trust us, not a good thing!

A skin that is dehydrated from over cleansing or over exfoliating is more likely to experience tightening of the pores and therefore blackheads. Instead we recommend cleansing once in the evening with a gentle lotion or cream cleanser and using a gentle exfoliant every few days. 

  • November 29, 2019