“In the winter, we gravitate to foods that are going to ground us and give us the warmth we need during colder months. We might have root vegetables—carrots, parsnips, rutabagas—things that grow beneath the ground.” –Bryant Terry, Chef, Author, and Activist
[Note: the following article first ran in Les Nouvelles Esthétiques & Spa, October 2012.]
Eating seasonal foods is one of the most healthy, sustainable things you can do for personal and planetary health. It means you’re eliminating thousands of miles in food transport, you’re supporting your local economy, and you’re eating fresh. Another bonus? You get to look forward to the changing varieties of foods each season, and as they change, so do the body’s needs.
This isn’t limited to what you ingest; it also applies to…
Fall skin care treatments
With fall comes the kaleidoscopic beauty of changing leaves, brought on by falling air temperatures. But unfortunately, lower temperatures mean less moisture for the skin. To counteract this lack of humidity, be sure to indulge in seasonally appropriate treatments.
For those of you who have some experience blending your own skin care treatments, here are a few suggestions.
Carrot Seed Essential Oil has a warm, earthy aroma and serves as an excellent addition to skin care products, especially for dry or mature skin. For a fall moisturizer, try blending 2 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil with 2 drops of Geranium Essential Oil in 10 ml of Evening Primrose Oil. Benefit: Rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Rose Hip Oil is a great anti-aging oil. It can be used on its own or added to other oils to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scarring. Try 1 to 2 tsp. for the face, 2 to 3 Tbs. for hands or feet, and 4 Tbsp. for body. Benefits: High in unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and GLA (gamma-linoleic acid)
Evening Primrose Oil has a light, sweet aroma and is good for dry, aging, or chapped skin. Try 10 drops for 1 to 2 tsp. of another carrier for face; 1 tsp. for 2 to 3 Tbsp. of another carrier for the feet; 2 tsp. for 4 Tbsp. of another carrier for body; and ¼ c. added to a bath. Benefits: Rich in vitamin E and GLA. (Note: Because most undiluted essential oils can cause irritation or other allergic reactions, “carrier oil” is needed to act as a delivery system for topical application. Carrier oils also provide a variety of skin-loving properties, as appropriately noted in this article.)
Masks and Peels provide convenient treatments and easy add-ons. Look for products such as a cranberry mask, pumpkin mask, rosemary mask, or a pumpkin exfoliating peel. Benefits: They contain antioxidants and complement seasonal facials.
Powders such as wild yam root powder or carrot powder can be easily incorporated into scrubs, hydrotherapy, and body wraps. However, note that they do not dissolve well in oils, so try adding ¼ tsp. to 2 Tbsp. of a lotion or mud. Benefits: Rich in beta-carotene.
Your skin relishes what you eat, too
Ingredients such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, walnuts, and flax are particularly important in the fall, as they offer an abundance of antioxidants and omegas, respectively, to help protect and repair skin cells from free radical damage and to aid the skin in retaining moisture content. Light salads are easy dish-outs. Here is a recipe to get you started:
Butternut Squash Salad
Butternut squash and cranberries are loaded with anti-oxidants while walnuts are rich in omegas.
4 lb. butternut squash (approx. 9 cups of 1” cubes)
1 ½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. organic amber agave nectar
¼ c. water
¼ c. black walnuts, chopped
1 tsp. fresh French tarragon, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp. fresh chives, chopped
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1 tsp. sea salt
1-2 Tbsp. fig infused vinegar (to taste)
1/2 tsp. white pepper
PREHEAT OVEN TO 400°
Peel and cut butternut squash into 1” cubes.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil, spread out on a half sheet pan, and roast for 15-20 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the agave nectar and water. Set aside.
In a sauté pan, toast the black walnuts on medium heat for a few minutes, being careful not to burn. Set aside.
Once the butternut squash has cooled, pour it into a large mixing bowl and gently toss with the walnuts, fresh herbs, cranberries, sea salt, vinegar, and white pepper.
Begin adding the agave nectar mixture a ¼ cup at a time until you get your desired coating. Refrigerate and enjoy.
“Is Squash the Most Underrated Superfood (Not) on Your Dinner Table? via Publishers Weekly. Note: squash includes; pumpkin, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and 20 other varieties
By Lisa Sykes, Sustainability Specialist, Universal Companies.
Lisa Sykes is a regulatory affairs and sustainability manager for Universal Companies. She also serves on the advisory council and co-chairs of the personal care product committee for the Green Spa Network. At Universal Companies, she leads a variety of regulatory and sustainability activities related to proprietary brand raw materials, finished products, labeling, marketing claims, and packaging to ensure compliance with cosmetic laws and regulations. She also develops and implements company sustainability measures and serves as a liaison between the company and counsel, third party certifiers, formulators, professional affiliations, and the local community.