Why I’m No longer Afraid Of Food

My Unpopular View Of Diets

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(If you’d like to watch the video I made about this topic, check it out here!)

I’ll be honest, this has been quite a revelation for me and I know it will be for you too. Food has been an obsession since the first fast weight-loss diet. The idea that we could lose weight at rapid speed simply by radically changing the food (or “food”) we ingest and how often we eat. But with that comes unhealthy obsession, eating foods that don’t actually sustain us, relying solely on food instead of treating the lifestyle changes, yo-yoing between one weight and the next, etc. Diets only last for so long, they’re not sustainable, and it is such an unhealthy way to try an obtain an “ideal body.”

However, with that comes the complete opposite end of the spectrum- Obsession with HEALTHY FOOD. This is much healthier and far more beneficial for your body, but as with all things, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. I’m not referring to healthy, vibrant, whole foods because you can literally eat as much of those as your body needs and you will become the most lively, lovely, vibrant person. I am referring to the obsession with healthy food. You can go too overboard. There is even something people can be diagnosed with called Orthorexia, which is “a medical condition in which the sufferer systematically avoids specific foods in the belief that they are harmful.” source

This causes STRESS. The nasty six letter word that is the underlying cause for so many diseases and conditions.

You can literally look up any problem you have, might have in the future, your friend has, your dog has, and you will always find that there is some food group that you should remove from your diet to help heal your body and/or as prevention.  This isn’t a bad thing- it is quite miraculous! The fact that our body is literally made up of the food we eat is nothing short of incredible. We have the ability to change our weight, our skin, our ailments, even our genes just by choosing what foods we put into our mouths. Can I get an Amen because I think this definitely deserves an AMEN!

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But as I have learned through my time at the Institute Of Integrative Nutrition and from personal experience, you must must must have balance.. with everythingI do have a type A personality so I do have the tendency to go to the extreme with things. I am a research lover and really enjoy learning as much as I can and becoming the best I can be.

But I now know for sure that I went overboard.

There was a time, quite recently actually, where I felt like I literally couldn’t eat anything. If you read health articles or books, or listen to podcasts, or watch documentaries, you can always find someone bashing each and every food group. And not only sugar and gluten because those have been “evil” for awhile (and for good reason.) But there are some that say you shouldn’t eat meat. Or beans. or fruit. or fats. or anything with seeds. or grains. The list goes on and on and contains all types of food no matter how raw or pure it may be.

While I was searching for my one ticket to save me from my breakouts and heal my gut, I was listening to anyone and everyone. I was trying all of the recommendations, cutting out all of the food groups, taking all the vitamins, I was like a derailed train that just kept going and gaining more speed. But you know what? Nothing seemed to be that one perfect answer that solved all of my problems. Yes, there are definitely things I do that keep my skin more under control and my stomach more manageable, but there wasn’t anything that seemed like my holy grail.

And I had become afraid of food. 

I never felt like I could go out with friends, eat the same dinner as my husband, go to family functions because I knew either A. There would be nothing for me to eat and I would be really hungry. or B. If I did indulge and break my insanely strict diet I would break out horribly and my stomach would swell up to a 6 month old pregnant woman. And you know what this caused? STRESS. Big fat stress all day every day. Even when I wasn’t dealing with the crossroads of deciding if I should or shouldn’t go to an event, it would be there all day. I would have mini battles in my head of “Oh I really want this. But can I? I have already had so many fruits today. But will this red apple be too much sugar for my system? Will I have a reaction? Is it worth it? Am I seeing anyone soon? Will I look okay when I take my makeup off? Oh but I really want that juicy apple. But nah, I guess I shouldn’t. Let me just have a little more water.”

For real you guys. This was my life. And looking back at it now I realize how crazy it was, how much low level stress I was dealing with every day.

But then we decided to go to France for vacation. And I told myself that I will give myself complete leeway to eat whatever I wanted. Breakouts be damned, I wanted to treat myself! It’s not everyday you go to a beautiful country, and why go and not have the complete culinary experience?!? It’s near blasphemy.

So we went and for the first day I was subconsciously keeping track of how much bread I ate, how many veggies I had, and I had to break that habit. So I don’t know how many vegetables I ate during our trip, but I definitely know it wasn’t the allotted 3 cups a day. And those baguettes and pastries? Yeah. Your girl ate them. A lot of them. I also had delicious cheeses and alcohol.

Are you ready?

I FELT INCREDIBLE. not only that, but I also looked absolutely great.

My body was bangin’, my skin was glowy, but most importantly I felt so joyful and more at peace than I have in a very, very long time.

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I could not believe the results. All this time I thought that “unhealthy” food was the root of all evil, when that wasn’t it at all. The stress over being healthy and not allowing myself to ever let go, and then the guilt when I did indulge was doing damage to my mental state which was totally affecting my body and it’s symptoms.

And then it hit me- No food is inherently evil. It’s the manipulation and modification of foods that can make it unhealthy. Eating foods that are made in a lab or that are heavily with pesticides and chemicals, food that has been so processed and pumped with artificial sugars, THAT is what is unhealthy.

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But bread that was handmade by the baker early that morning, cheese that came straight from the farmer’s farm, meat that came from the hands of the butcher, these are not the things that put our body out of balance. They are the things that sustain us. Not only from a physical point of view, but also our mental and emotional state. If you constantly eat foods that you find gross or unappetizing, your body isn’t going to receive it as well as a beautiful balanced meal that satisfies every taste bud in your mouth.

However, we must remember that everyone’s body is different. You must always listen to your body to see how it reacts to foods, what works for your friend may not work for you. And you shouldn’t always eat super heavy, extravagant meals, your body will feel sluggish and probably run down over time. But hey, your girlfriends wanna go out to eat and chow down on some delicious food thats full of dairy and gluten and sugar and split a bottle of wine? GIRL, DO IT.

The medicine you will receive in the form of laughter and community is far more beneficial than staying home alone and eating the same food you’ve been eating all week. 

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Being back home, I now approach my diet with a much softer and relaxed hand. If I want that cheese on pasta? I’ll add it. If I’m way too exhausted to make dinner, I have no problem going out and picking up something to eat, even if it’s not the healthiest thing. Balance is key. You can be healthy eating tons of whole foods while also eating some gluten here and there, or dairy, or whatever. Try to get good quality foods because that is what counts. You should really try and avoid that processed junk that filled with preservatives and colored dyes, but again, if you’re at some barbecue that only happens a couple times a year and you see your favorite chips, girl- eat those chips.

Stop restricting yourself to the point of stress. Let loose and be wise.

I hope you now feel a little less suffocated and constricted. Your body is a wonderful, magical thing and it can handle a little indulgence every now and again.

Be kind to your body and your mind.

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I hope this helps you further along your journey of Becoming A WellSpring Of Life.

All my love.

Joanna

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How To Reduce Cortisol (STRESS)

It’s Time To Tell That Cortisol To Get LOWWW

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If you guys know me, or follow me on my social media— you’ve probably deduced that I have a tendency to stress the frrrriiiick out. But you also probably know that I struggle with gastrointestinal issues as well. Surprise, surprise, most stomach problems are caused from the body’s response to stress.

Quick story: Your body manifests your mental and emotional state in your physical body. So if you’re ever going through a hard time at work, home, relationships.. this all translates into your body. The symptoms depend on the person, some get skin issues, some people get really imbalanced hormones, some (like me) get stomach problems. So just keep that in mind when you’re addressing your health issues- ask yourself how happy are you? how stressed? Is there anything you are dealing with?

Okay so back to me. (so self absorbed i know)

The main reason many people have stomach problems due to stress is because you subconsciously squeeze and contract your stomach. What do children do when they feel sad or uncomfortable? They cross their arms over their stomach- as if to protect it.

If you read my previous post, I kinda go into detail about all of the things that I’ve been struggling with. You can find that here. So through my journey of healing my body and healing my gut (that would randomly give me such awful pain, chills, bloating) I have learned so many tips and exercises to use to help calm my body down. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so whenever you are in the “fight or flight” mode, your body floods itself with cortisol. Causing a whole host of problems.

Symptoms of High Cortisol 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Rapid Weight Gain
  • Food Cravings
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Brain Fog
  • Emotionally Unstable/Mood Swings
  • Imbalanced Blood Sugar
  • Weak Immune System
  • Poor Sleep
  • Changes In Libido
  • Acne/Skin Issues
  • Aches and Pains
  • Imbalanced Hormones/Period Problems

I’m betting you have one or maybe even multiple of these problems. So let’s get down to business (to defeat the huns) no just kidding. to defeat high cortisol. (that was a mulan joke if you didn’t get it)

WAYS TO REDUCE STRESS/CORTISOL

Eat Whole Food Diet, Reducing Inflammatory Foods

  • When you feed your body things that cause it to work overtime, deprive it of key nutrients, or flood your system with toxins that it cannot process- you are putting your body and your internal systems under a lot of stress. PLUS, when you eat inflammatory foods your blood sugar becomes super unstable- rising then crashing constantly throughout the day.
    Foods that are anti-inflammatory are high in key nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants which help balance hormones and control your cravings, all of which help bring your body into balance. Read this blog to find out what Inflammatory Foods you should avoid! 

Meditate

  • Meditation has been around for centuries. Creating space and stillness in your mind and body is scientifically proven to reduce your stress response and encourage relaxation and healing. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. Try slowly building up your ability to meditate. It is really difficult, especially for those who were raised in this current generation who need that constant gratification of doing a million things at once. There are some apps you can get to help guide your meditation, as it can be difficult to know what to do and calm yourself down. Just try it for one minute one day, and keep adding a minute every day. 

Deep Breathing

  • When you’re stressed your chest become tight and your breathing becomes shallow. Very quick, light, short breaths. Unfortunately, these are automatic reactions that are part of the stress response… but most adults breathe like this all the time. To help counteract this- try diaphragm breathing. This actually activates your parasympathetic nervous system aka your natural relaxation response!!
  • How To- Breathe in through your nose, long and slow, filling up your belly and chest with air, then slowly exhale through your nose. You can also try putting one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach to help monitor your breathing, while also directing your thoughts and energy towards those areas to increase the loving healing. 

Acupuncture

  • I began acupuncture probably a little less than a year ago to help address/heal my SIBO. Combined with supplements and lifestyle/dietary changes, acupuncture had a really impactful effect on my healing journey. Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago, and is intended to rebalance the energy in the body. Injuries, disease, stress, these all cause the body to become out of balance. Acupuncture can help alleviate pain, balance hormones, heal stressed organs, achieve better sleep, increase circulation, etc. If you’re in the N. Tampa area, I have a really wonderful Traditional Chinese Doctor who offers acupuncture, she’s the best. 

Regular Exercise

  • This one should come at no surprise to you- exercise is pretty much the second most important thing you can do for your body. I’m serious. It is also one of the best ways to manage stress- as well as balance hormones, balance blood sugar, help you sleep better, yada yada yada it’s really important. There is one catch though- you MUST make sure that you do not overexert yourself to the point of exhaustion. And you must make sure you give yourself time to rest and heal. People who over train actually cause more stress on their body, releasing unnecessary cortisol into their system.
  • Although exercise temporarily increases cortisol, it brings it back down once you are finished. This teaches your body how to handle stress and how to lower cortisol levels easier. 

Adaptogens

  1. Food is medicine. What we put on and into our bodies literally break down and become our cells. So what better way to “treat” ourselves than to feed it substances that can help balance our body. Adaptogens may be something you have never heard of before- and I’ll be honest, until I became super health conscious I never heard of the word either. To put it simply- adaptogens are herbs that help your body “adapt” to undesirable conditions. “According to naturopath Edward Wallace, an adaptogen doesn’t have a specific action; it helps you respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing your physiological functions.” source 
  • I am a big big fan of adaptogens, I really believe I can tell a difference when I consistently take them. I have had experience with Ashwagandha, it is the most common and gentle of herbs. Here are the other top adaptogens that aid in reducing cortisol:
    astragalus
    licorice root
    medicinal mushrooms, including reishi and cordyceps
    rhodiola
  • TIP- always always always make sure you are buying your herbs and adaptogens from a reputable source. Often conventional foods herbs are grown with heavy pesticides and metals. I solely buy my adaptogens from Sun Potion. Their products are top of the line and they last a reaaalllyy long time.

Essential Oils

  • Ah, oils, my favorite! These work similarly to herbs and adaptogens, they work with your entire body bringing it back into balance. If you want to read my previous post about what essential oils are- check this post, it’ll help you understand more of what I’m talking about! Here are the top oils for reducing stress: lavender, clary sage, frankincense, and ylang ylang. I actually just bought the Doterra Roll On Blend called Clary Calm. This is specified for women who deal with PMS/menstrual problems (hormone imbalance, stress, cramps.) I like using it because it helps reduce my stress while also working on the other problems in my body. I love that it is already packaged so I can take it with me wherever I go to get a quick pick me up! 
  • NOTE- When buying essential oils, make sure they are from a reputable company!! Conventional companies are known to add fillers and toxic ingredients to their oils.. which can cause serious harm to your body. I exclusively use Doterra, if you have any questions or want to get started- let me know! 

Get Enough Sleep

  • Remember, cortisol isn’t inherently bad. It is a natural part of our body- it is the thing that wakes us up in the morning, and the thing that makes us tired at night so we sleep deeply. A lot of people with high cortisol levels have an extremely hard time sleeping, their circadian rhythms are out of balance. Getting enough sleep helps our body repair itself, and control cortisol production. Try applying the other tips to balance your cortisol and this will hopefully help our sleeping situation. ALSO- keep in mind, naps are okay. If you are super super tired and you didn’t sleep well and you can’t function- take a nap. Rest. Your body needs it.

Yoga

  • So yoga is like the ultimate cortisol defeater. It includes exercise, deep breathing, and meditation. You can also include essential oils into your practice to reap those benefits. I know yoga isn’t for everyone, but it is a really really powerful tool for reducing stress in your body. Even if it’s just ten minutes once a week. Your body feels so good afterwards, very light very open.

WHEW. Now that was a long blog post. But I know how important it was to write! If you have any questions or any other tips, leave me a comment or send me an email! Don’t forget you can catch me over on my instagram to see all of the other healthy tips and tricks.

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Hope you find the time to relax today. <3

xxjoannaxx

 

Why You NEED To Avoid Packaged Foods

Ingredients for An Unhappy BOdy

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This is quite a doozy of a topic. And while I can go super in depth with it, I’ll save you from the pages and pages of nutritional explosion.

Bottom Line: If it comes in a package, you should probably keep it in a package. 

Not only can these foods cause breakouts, sagging, dull skin, early onset aging, but serious health conditions- obesity, heart problems, diseases, diabetes, etc. You’re playin’ with fire, people.

Steer Clear from Packaged Foods

Excuse me Ma’am, Where Can I Find the Nutritional Value?  

I’ll keep it simple: nowhere. Mostly all conventional packaged foods have been so overly processed that even if it does have “okay” ingredients, the nutrientsare long gone anyway. Excessive heating and processes drain any goodness from foods. So you may feel full, but you’re nutritionally starving. And when your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, it’s going to start sacrificing parts of your body to stay running; i.e the skin.

Get Behind Me, Sugar!  

Processed Foods have a tendency to contain an INSANE amount of sugar. Not only does this cause inflammation and a heck of a lot of breakouts, but also totally wrecks your immune system. In order for our body (skin) to heal and prevent unnecessary degeneration, we have to be able to fight off diseases, injuries, viruses, etc. Sugar will also make you fat. true story.

Kookoo for Grains

The main reason why processed, packaged foods leave us feeling satisfied and full– processed, inflammation causing, gut damaging, highly refined grains. They fill you up, but then your body instantly breaks them down into sugars which spikes your blood sugar, causing wrinkles. And the inevitable post lunch crash. Food should give you energy and life, not take it away.

Drowning in Oils

If you check the ingredients, you will almost 100% of the time find some sort of processed, vegetable oil. Canola, Sunflower, Soybean, Corn, and Cottonseed are the worst and most common. They are full of Omega 6’s which can insane amounts of inflammation.

If you’re still paying attention, you’ll notice the overarching theme here is I N F L A M M A T I O N. Poor Diet is the #1 cause of inflammation. If you’re body is struggling to work properly, it is technically “injured.” And with any sort of injury, your body is going to send out signals to increase blood flow and histamines to that area to heal it. When it’s something serious, naturally induced inflammation is a necessity because it lets you know there’s something wrong. But when the cause is simply eating nutrient deficient food.. your body is going to slowly break down over time- starting with your skin.

I highly encourage you to eat whole foods rich in vitamins, proteins, fats, and antioxidants. If it was made in a lab, then a lab is needed to digest it properly. Don’t let your skin suffer because of tempting convenience foods! Treat yourself lovingly and get on that whole food diet!

xxJoannaxx

Get Skinny, Eat Fat

Fat and Happy

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If you saw my recent instagram post, you would know that I am a big fan of fat. yes, fat. F-A-T. 

About 70 years ago, the government started telling us that fat was bad for us. And yes, some fat is. Like greasy fried donuts, fast food, packaged foods, etc. BUT not all fats are created equally and your diet NEEDS FAT. This is not some luxury for health conscious freaks. It’s not equivalent to me saying you need to eat a certain mushroom grown at the top of a specific mountain.

No, this actually is applicable to everyone with all body types and food diets.

Why You Need Fat In Your Diet

  • Fat is a MAJOR source of energy. Your cells thrive when there’s fat in your meal.
  • Fat helps you absorb certain nutrients that are fat soluble. KEY TIP: A lot of great nutrients found in vegetables are fat soluble, so adding in some sort of fat (olive/coconut oil, avocado, etc) will help your body assimilate and absorb those nutrients! Really, why do all that work and eat tons of greens if you’re not reaping all of the benefits?
  • Our Brain is primarily made up of fat. (!!!!) So you really need to feed it with fat to maintain optimum function. It’s especially important in brain development for young kids, so make sure to not be afraid of fatty foods with your children!
  • Our body does miraculous things, but there are certain things our body needs to outsource; like essential fatty acids. Only certain types of fat can provide these nutrients, and as the name suggests– they are ESSENTIAL.
  • Fat keeps our bodies fuller for longer, without the constant yo-yoing of starving then stuffing, it keeps our blood sugar balanced. If you are consistently being satisfied at every meal, you will snack much less, which is better for your insulin production and weight loss!
  • With better managed insulin production and steady blood sugar, your other hormones will also eventually balance out. If you keep finding yourself starving and then stuffing your face with bad food, your body is constantly going in and out of survival mode. Spikes and drops with any hormone is going to throw your body out of whack. So by eating fat you’re not only keeping weight down, but also balancing hormones.

So now that you’re convinced that you need to reevaluate your diet, I will now raise you a point by suggesting some of the BEST foods with fat! I will also add the links to some of my favorite products that you can purchase online! 

Best Fatty Foods

  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Full Fat Dairy (if dairy sensitive, use coconut/goat alternatives! Very few people can tolerate cow dairy)
  • Nuts/nut butters (this particular brand of almond butter is just made out of almonds! which is SO SO rare! they’re usually mixed with a nasty inflammatory oil)
  • Olive Oil (extra virgin)
  • Coconut Oil
  • Ghee
  • Butter
  • Salmon
  • Organic Grass Fed Beef (if it’s not organic, you’ll be unintentionally pumping tons of synthetic hormones into your system- which are best avoided at all costs)
  • Coconut Manna (this is my newly discovered food love. IT IS SO TASTY. especially on toast with almond butter. or mixed in with a matcha latte. or just by the spoonful.)

I am such an advocate for adding more fat into your diet, it’s an important key many people are missing in their journey to health. What’s your favorite fatty food? 

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xxjoannaxx

Easiest Way to Eat More Greens

Amazing Grass’ Green SuperFood Review; The Healthiest Scoop You’ll Ever Take

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General knowledge about healthy food is becoming more well known because of the continuously progressing health movement. One of the most important health steps? Making sure you’re eating five servings of fruit and five servings of veggies– per day. That’s a lot, even for people who live and breathe health food (*cough* me.) Since my Acupuncturist told me to take a break from smoothies.. I’ve been having a really hard time incorporating enough veggies into my diet. There’s only so many salads a girl can eat.

But thankfully, while doing some research I came across Amazing Grass. This company is the bomb. They carry a wide variety of awesome products, they’re made with organic ingredients, kosher, vegan, Non-GMO, and gluten free!

Best Part? 1 serving is just one scoop! (And it’s not a crazy mammoth scoop either.) Just check out all of goodness packed in there!

gsf-nutritionalfacts-org

They have pretty much all of the nutrients covered; antioxidants, fiber, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and of course… GREENS!

They have different flavors too (berry, chocolate, lemon/lime, etc) if you aren’t a fan of plain veggie taste. I have only tried the original, and it’s not bad! Doesn’t taste like candy, but it’s pretty easy to drink down. And with all of those benefits it’s totally worth it. 

How is your produce intake? Is there some underlying reason why you aren’t incorporating more into your diet?

So, if you are having trouble eating enough fruits and veggies, this is an awesome way to start introducing them into your diet without buying tons of produce! plus the ease of it.. no plan, no prep, nothing. All you need is a glass of water!

Click HERE To Shop!

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CHEERS!

xxJoannaxx

**Some affiliate links are used; this comes at no extra cost to you, it just helps me out a little when you use those links!**

Super Food = Super Skin

The Glow That Never Goes

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Yes we all love our beauty products- those precious creams and lotions and toners and masks and serums and treatments and massages and and and.

As beneficial as these products are, without a properly balanced diet there’s only so much a topical product and do.

There are certain foods called ‘superfoods.’ These specific foods are so full of healing properties and health benefits that it’s really almost a sin to deprive your body of them. There are an insane amount of superfoods, but for the sake of time and life, I’m going to highlight some specific ones that are especially beneficial for the skin-

Avocados-They may not look the prettiest, but boy oh boy do you need to hop on that avocado toast train ASAP. Avocados (or Avo’s like the cool people say) (jk I have no idea if thats true) are FULL of healthy fats, specifically Omega 9. These help keep the skin firm and dewy, regenerates damaged skin cells, and reduces inflammation.

Blueberries– These pretty babies look and taste delicious, so it’s like a win win win win win win all day long. Blueberries are chock-full of antioxidants and vitamin A. They fight and neutralize free radicals which are known to damage skin cells and reduce collagen, they also normalize the skin’s production of oil, and help those with acne-prone skin.

Turmeric– Looks like something the dog would dig up, but it tastes like those delicious indian cuisine meals. Turmeric has insane anti-inflammatory properties. Most diseases are caused from an excess of inflammation. So by reducing inflammation, you also reduce wrinkles, increased aging, sagging skin, tired eyes, eczema, etc.

Bone broth– Just your average collagen and nutrition packed powerhouse beverage that tastes like chicken soup. Bone broth soothes the digestive system and fights inflammation; both keep that skin looking pretty, oh so pretty.

Lemon– Tasty and tarte, yellow and friend of a fellow. Lemons are filled with Vitamin C, which neutralize free radicals, help create collagen and elastin, alkalize body, and detox toxins from the body.

Salmon– Oh silly, you didn’t really think you would be able to read a blog post about food for skin and not hear about salmon, did you? Salmon are full of the Omega 3 healthy fat; which protect the skin from sun exposure, repair damaged skin, keep cells hydrated, and reduces toxins.

Not mentioned SuperFoods- 

Laughing

Smiling

A big glass of red wine with a bath and a great book

 

So there ya have it, lovies. Some great food to add into your diet. Best part is that they all taste delicous! So no gagging for beautiful skin, taste great- look great.

 

xxJoannaxx