A while ago, I read Naomi Wolf's book, Beauty Myth, about how the cosmetic companies feed into women's insecurities. Selling us beauty products, implying that without them, we're hideous. And we buy into it. Because we're women. And as women, we constantly compare ourselves to the perceived "ideal" woman and then criticize and ridicule ourselves when we don't measure up. Because ideal isn't real. It doesn't even exist except in photoshop. I wish I could say I was above this. But, I assure you, I am not.
I know this because every time I go to a store with a cosmetics/beauty aisle I'm drawn to it like a magnet. I scour for new products in packaging with clean lines that projects clinical strength with light natural Tahitian flower scent. Naturally, some will make the cut and end up in my cart. When I do this, I am fully aware of what my expectations for this product are. Reducing the size of my large forehead, erasing the ever present lines on it while correcting my receding hairline. Giving me cheek bones. A gorgeous, pore-less Mediterranean olive skin tone. And thick hair. (Among others.) Ok, I want to look like Angie Harmon. Or Padma Lakshmi. Wait, no, definitely, Malia Jones. So, my expectations might be a tad unrealistic. Then the work of rationalizing products out of my cart begins. The entire process is extremely unpretty. And I usually end up with at least one intricately nude colored lip balm to add to my already huge arsenal of barely there lip products only I know I'm wearing because it's not visible to the naked eye.
So when I came across the book The Recipe for Radiance, marrying two things I'm passionate about, eating healthy and trying to look like Malia Jones, I knew I had to read it. It's all about eating your way to beauty and slathering food on your face. Fun! We all know that beauty comes from the inside. And trying to achieve health by merely taking a gummy multi-vitamin is just pissing your money away. Because your body won't absorb most of these foreign sources of nutrients. No, your body, wants the good stuff. Real food that's really good for you. From the inside out.
A staple I have in my pantry that I use all the time is coconut oil.
I use it to pop popcorn, make pancakes and for this, one of my favorite recipes:
Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Coconut oil
Plop some coconut oil in the bottom of a fry pan.
Add a bit of minced garlic & a pinch of crushed red pepper.
Peel and cube sweet potatoes, add to pan (the smaller they're cut, the faster they cook).
When the potatoes are near done, add kale, arugula or spinach. Whichever you prefer.
Salt and pepper it to taste.
Done & delicious.
(And no, I don't "measure".)
I also use coconut oil cosmetically. I take my make-up off with it. Bonus, it doesn't sting my eyes the way the ones on the store shelves do. Plus there's less packaging and it's way less expensive. Especially if you buy it drum-sized at Costco like I do.
When I read in the book that you could wash your face with coconut oil and it has antibacterial properties, I tried that too. Now, I have oily skin, so this seemed counter intuitive to me, but it didn't make me more shiny or breakout, it just added moisture. And as a woman over 40, I need all the moisture I can get.
The book is filled with both recipes to eat (the Chilled Thai Almond Butter Noodles are amazing) and recipes to apply to your skin. So check it out and say screw you to the cosmetic companies out to make you feel less than. And most of all, feel beautiful from the inside out.
(And if you haven't heard of oil pulling yet, you may want to research it & give it a try. I can only make it 5 minutes, myself.)