This article originally appeared in The Chalkboard Mag.
When my clients ask me for tangible steps that they can take to help defy age, they usually assume I will follow up with a green juice recommendation or my favorite skin serum.
Most people do not realize the complexity of the anti-aging process; It goes far deeper than just what is on the surface.
If you are unhappy, stressed, or not living as your authentic self, it shows up on your skin and throughout the various systems in your body.
Believe it or not, a significant part of defying age depends on your mental and emotional health. But whether the steps are physical or emotional, my overall secret to defying age is living a cleansing lifestyle. Here are some ways in which I cleanse every day to help defy age.
DIVING INTO PAST EMOTIONAL TRAUMAS | It took decades of active personal growth for me to truly understand the importance of investigating and releasing emotional past traumas.
Growing up, I never felt like I was good enough. My family was full of overachievers, and I constantly felt like I could not measure up. This narrative wore away at me for years, and some of this negative self-talk stayed with me well into my adult life. It contributed to me feeling low, sluggish, and it even made me look older than I was.
When I finally faced my past traumas through methods such as yoga, therapy and consuming countless self-help books a weight began to lift. My mood felt lighter, and my skin became more radiant.
While it may seem harrowing at first, reconciling traumatic events and negative themes from your past can have monumental effects on aging. If you are stressed and worried, which happens when you do not address past traumas, it shows on your face and in your skin. Subconscious thoughts will circulate and can down-regulate the immune system.
Letting go of challenges from the past is a constant work in progress, and it does not happen overnight.
There are several steps that I take daily to cleanse from past emotional traumas:
+ I journal in the morning to release stresses, anxieties, and frustrations that arise from the past. Journaling helps to get these emotions on paper and out of your mind.
+ I meditate for 5 minutes in the morning as a way to let go. This means not tapping into e-mail, social media, etc., as soon as I wake up.
+ I turn off all electronics from 8 pm to 8 am. At night, I journal three things for which I am grateful. This helps me focus on the positive before bed, which allows me to fall asleep easier.
CLEAN, BUT FLEXITARIAN EATING STYLE | I also cleanse daily through the food that I eat.
When I first began my personal health journey, one of the first changes I made was to eat more plant-based. My body was screaming for this transition for years, and I finally listened.
Almost immediately, I noticed my complexion brighten, and my skin became firmer. My demeanor became more relaxed, and my energy level skyrocketed. I experimented with a strict vegan diet, and it ultimately did not work for me. I found my ideal 80/20 balance with a flexitarian, plant-heavy eating style, and it works perfectly for me. When I do eat meat, it is very clean and in moderation.
I am drawn to specific foods such as bitter greens like dandelion and arugula because they are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. They are high in vitamins C, K, and A and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Bitter greens contain a significant amount of fiber, which so many of us do not get enough of, and they also have high levels of folate. They also do wonders for the digestive system.
Cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and kale, are another favorite of mine. They are packed with cancer-fighting properties and reduce inflammation, which is at the root of most diseases. They keep your blood sugar steady, help you lose weight, combat heart disease, and balance hormone levels.
Fermented foods like miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut contain probiotics that can promote gut health. Probiotics can help with problems such as gas, bloating, and leaky gut. If you have issues with being irregular, fermented foods can help sort you out by improving digestion and reducing diarrhea.
Fermented foods are an excellent food group for those with IBS and Crohn’s disease. As if that was not enough, fermented foods can also benefit your immune system and heart. I go out of my way to include fermented foods in my own hand-delivered S.O.U.P. Cleanse program.
Legumes are a great source of clean protein, fiber, and iron. Research indicates that beans are one of the single most important predictors of longevity in older individuals. Beans are not only known to have slimming effects, but they can also help protect you from heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
I do have some vices. I love coffee, but I make sure to drink exclusively organic coffee since it is one of the most pesticide-treated crops. I also love pasta, pizza, and cheese. However, when I over-consume these types of foods, it shows on my skin, my lack of energy, and my mental fog, so I only eat them in moderation.
JUICING | A considerable part of cleansing through food is juicing.
When I was diagnosed with cancer in my thirties, I started experimenting with juicing organic vegetables. It immediately lessened my sugar addiction, improved my digestion, and gave me glowing skin. Over time, it restored so much of the energy that I had lost over the years to being sick.
When you juice, you harness the full power of the plants that you are consuming. I still remember the first time I had Burdock root juice from Erewhon. It was like my body was awakened for the first time. I was buzzing with energy and life – far more so than any caffeinated drink I have ever consumed. Burdock removes toxins from your blood, improves skin conditions like eczema, and even acts as a natural aphrodisiac. Isn’t it just so incredible what plants are capable of?
People always want to know what kind of fancy foods I am juicing, but the truth is, juicing can be super simple. My base is always celery, cucumber, lemon, and ginger. Those common ingredients alone are super powerful. Cucumber supports the kidneys, celery helps detoxify the liver, lemon promotes hydration and is loaded with vitamin C, and ginger aids in digestion.
LIVING A CLEANSING LIFESTYLE | When I realized how living a cleansing lifestyle changed my life for the better, I decided that I had to share this process with other people. That is how my S.O.U.P. Cleanse was born.
I started my career as a Holistic Nutritionist running Cafe Gratitude’s and M Cafe’s cleanse programs, created juices for Erewhon and then I developed healthy food recipes for Earth Bar at LAX. But I yearned to provide people with the opportunity to cleanse regularly and not just now and again, which is why I developed a delivered S.O.U.P. Cleanse that people can participate in several weeks each month.
My 5-day delivered S.O.U.P. Cleanse is available to people who live in the Los Angeles area, and it is made up of organic and plant-based soups, salads, broths, tonics, and lattes designed to keep your immune system strong. Throughout the cleanse week, I provide cleansers with motivational e-mails, supplement recommendations, unlimited access to my team and me.
THE SIMPLEST WAY TO IMPROVE HEALTH | I would say that proper hydration is the simplest way to improve health aside from juicing vegetables. I recommend a mandatory 16 ounces of water in the morning with lemon before any caffeine or food. This small change has been life-changing for many of my clients.
So many of us are dehydrated on an intracellular level. We drink water and think we are hydrated. But modern farming practices have stripped the soil of essential minerals. The lack of minerals results in us not absorbing as much water as we need to. That is why I love water boosters that are loaded with macro minerals that help us hydrate intra-cellularly like this one.
CLEANSING THROUGH NON-TOXIC BEAUTY PRODUCTS | When you start paying attention to how you can cleanse every day, you will realize that you can incorporate cleansing into almost every aspect of your life. For example, it is super essential to cleanse the beauty products in your routine since so many common ones contain carcinogens, irritants, and endocrine disruptors.
It’s critical to be mindful about what skincare and beauty products you are using because your skin is your largest organ and can absorb 60% of what you put on it.
I love make-up from clean brands like ILIA, RMS Beauty, and Kosas; and non-toxic skincare brands like January Labs, Le Cleanse, Tata Harper, and Barbara Sturm — you can learn more about all these brands right here on The Chalkboard!
CLEANSING TOOLS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT | I have grown quite addicted to emotional and physical cleansing methods like yoga, lymphatic drainage, and Epsom salt baths.
Yoga helps ground you, which is a powerful form of cleansing to let go of the past.
Keeping your lymph system moving is also pertinent to effective cleansing. Unlike the circulatory system, there is nothing “pumping” the fluid through your lymphatic system. This means that if you don’t manually drain your lymphatic system, your lymph stays stagnant.
A stagnant lymph system is comparable to having a clogged sewer line in your home. You may not notice it immediately, but eventually, all the toxic junk will build up and cause serious problems.
Finally, when you take an Epsom salt bath, the salt will draw out toxins from the body, helping you cleanse your system physically.
BIGGEST PIECE OF ADVICE | Learning to love yourself is the number one piece of advice that I can give you.
You can take steps to cleanse every day, but none of them will make a lasting impact if you do not love yourself. Some ways in which I have learned to love myself include hardcore journaling every day, working with various intuitive healers, practicing meditation, and experimenting with psilocybin journeys.
And finally, I recommend always having a self-love mantra in mind. Mine is “I am loved; all I need is love.”