Wondering how to keep your skin and body in balance during the season of holiday stress and excess? Gail Simmons knows a thing or two about food and beauty, and she's happy to help. She's not only special project director at Food & Wine and judge of Top Chef but a big believer in beauty from the inside out. Gail gave us a slew of great tips for keeping your body and face in balance no matter how cold it gets or how demanding your father-in-law is. To find out how to eat your way to inner and outer wellness, just keep reading.
- Protect your skin with antioxidants. "This year, I'm focusing on cooking stuff that's full of antioxidants," Gail says. "Sweet potatoes, pomegranates, kale, and deep green, leafy lettuces like arugula are all great choices."
- Don't forget the cranberries. "Cranberries are a great holiday fruit for staying balanced," Gail told us. "They're great for your skin, they're delicious, and you can use them in a ton of different ways: cranberry sauce (of course), by drinking cranberry juice, adding them to cocktails, in stuffing. Basically, you have a lot of options and they're full of great antioxidants and a ton of other nutrients."
- Get dark. "The darker the color, the better it is for you," Gail notes. "Kale, broccoli, pomegranates and cranberries, as I've said. These are all great to eat because the darker the fruit or vegetable is, the more vitamins and nutrients they contain, which in turn nourishes your skin and your entire body."
- Plan your meals well. There's a lot of food around this time of year, so Gail suggests putting in a little bit of forethought about what you put on your plate. "Fruits and veggies make you feel good, and they make you look good," she says. If you're bringing a dish to family dinner, make sure yours is the one that's a veggie.
- Go nuts. Literally. "Another thing that's great for your skin is nuts: almonds walnuts, pecans," Gail explains. "They've got a ton of healthy oil and Omega-3s, they give you energy and help keep you full as well. All-around super foods."
- Stay hydrated. "Hydrating is really important", Gail says. "Even if you feel chilled on the outside, you still need to retain your internal and external moisture, and that comes two ways: drinking water, and keeping your skin hydrated from the outside. When the weather's like this I always use Eucerin Calming Cream  ($8). Since I'm working a lot, my skin gets red and cracked, and the Calming Cream has oatmeal in it, which is a really great natural soother."
- Fight irritation. Besides oatmeal, "Try to incorporate other things that soothe," Gail says. "I'm all for eating food, not putting it on, so make sure that you're cooking with foods that soothe and hydrate your skin like olive oil, avocado, and cucumber."