7 Ways This Plant-Based Chef Takes Care of Her Skin
Lynnette Astaire is a plant-based chef and founder of Superfood School, a virtual guide to help people discover delicious options for plant-based meal planning. Lynnette used her lifelong interest in healthy food in order to overcome PCOS syndrome, and as a way to help others take control over their bodies.
How did you get to becoming a plant based chef?Deciding to become a chef was sort of the culmination of my life experiences. I’ve always been interested in healthy food. When I was 11, I inadvertently started a Rice Krispy Treat business as a way to protest the elementary school cafeteria food and save up enough money to buy rice milk! On top of that, I was exposed to a lot of health issues growing up. My mom survived breast cancer twice. And not only did I witness my mom’s health issues first hand, but I also dealt with a lot of my own health issues as well. After a certain point, I started getting really into nutrition courses, and decided to ditch the meds and focus on food. After I graduated with a degree in fine arts, I worked a lot of restaurant jobs. I made the crossover to becoming a chef (and not just a nutrition enthusiast) after I took over my ex-boyfriend’s restaurant in Mexico. While I was there, I got a lot of back of the house, and front of the house, experience and started exploring my love of cooking. I love plant based cooking because it allows me to help people develop tools to take better care of their bodies. And today, my diet is 80% plant based, my health issues are under control, and my weight and skin are doing great!
I’d love to dive into your advice to better understand what to eat, and not eat, for skin.When people come to me, I always start with the basics. Nine out of ten times I talk to clients, they’re not doing the basic shit!
1. Drink water. Actually.Your body is 76% water. You need to consistently be replenishing that water supply. When you sleep, you lose water. It’s easy to assume that we only lose water when we’re exercising and sweating --- your body is a machine that consistently needs to be replenished. Additionally, a big reason why we get brain fog and over eat is because we’re dehydrated. Drinking the appropriate amount of water is essential for proper brain (and skin!) function. There are a lot of different types of water out there - distilled water, spring water, etc. No matter what you chose to drink, what it ultimately comes down to is that you want your water to have minerals in it. Mineral drops are great for making sure you’re getting enough of the proper minerals into your body.
2. Breathe.Why are smokers the only ones taking deep, luxurious breaths? We ALL should be breathing deeply and doing breathwork to get the oxygen we need to our cells. Your skin (and the rest of your organs) will thank you for it.
3. Sleep.When you sleep, your body gets to work. It’s that simple.
4. Watching your food intake.Watching your food intake, and not eating as many heavy foods, is great for your overall health in addition to your skin. When your body is healing itself, skin is one of the last things on the list. Skin is not the first places your body repairs. For example, your heart and brain have priority. So, if you think about the “trickle down effect” --- if you’re not getting enough nutrients into your body, your skin will suffer. And remember, everything you eat takes work to digest. So if you eat something really heavy, you’re asking your body to spend a lot of energy digesting, instead of healing.
5. Eat your GREENS!Wheatgrass and sprouts are some of the most powerful foods you could eat. They’re incredibly nutrient dense. Instead of talking about what you shouldn’t be eating, I prefer to talk about what you should be eating. If you’re eating a lot of nutritious foods, you “crowd out” the bad foods. I think it’s a healthier mindset to have. If you’re doing what you should be doing, you’ll naturally let go of the “bad” habits.
6. Sweat & Scrub.Exfoliation and dry brushing is really good for your circulation. Dry brushing gently exfoliates the outer layer of your skin, while promoting circulation within your body. I like to drybrush from the neck down. You’re skin is your largest organ, so I think it’s important to purge your body of toxins through sweat. I’m not big on cardio, and am a lot more into weight training. So, I spend a lot of time going to saunas and purging my skin that way a few times a week.
7. Fast.Proper fasting is a reset for your body. To be honest, I don’t like the word “fasting” because of the negative stigma around it. I think the word “reset” makes the most sense. I love fasting for the mental and spiritual benefits. Fasting is nature’s oldest medicine. If you look at animals --- you know some shit is going down when they've stopped eating. One of the first things animals do when they get sick is to stop eating because it allows their body to focus its attention on healing the area that needs the most attention.
How do you fast?
I fast for 10-14 days at a time, which is more than what I normally recommend to clients. I usually fast seasonally, so I end up doing it 4 times a year. If a client is in good health, and I think fasting is a good fit for them, I usually recommend fasting for 5-7 days.* On the fast, I drink a sprouted green juice, which is 76% structured water. Structured water is water that hasn’t been touched by oxygen and sunlight, and is incredibly powerful and nutrient dense. Fresh water from coconuts and cucumber are great, for example. The mix also includes green sprouts, celery, herbs and green apple.
I love the mental and spiritual benefits of fasting. Basically all the spiritual leaders fasted, and they didn’t do it to lose the last 10 lbs. They did it for the spiritual benefits. I call day 8, 9 and 10 “god mode.” All my best ideas come from god mode. Every time we fast, our relationship with food changes. When you re-introduce food back into your body, you start to figure out what food intolerances and allergies you actually have. Not only do you figure out what your intolerances are, but you start figuring out the degree in which you’re intolerant to a certain food.
How do you suggest people get more nutrients into their bodies?I love smoothies. BUT YOUR SMOOTHIES SHOULD BE UGLY!
LOL! What does that mean?Your smoothie should have so many greens in it that should be green and brown. I love starting my day with a green smoothie.
Do you have an easy smoothie recipe for our readers?Sure. I like blending together avocado, banana & sprouts with a plant based milk. Almond milk is great if it’s fresh - but unfortunately the majority of store bought almond milk is really watered down and doesn’t have a lot of almonds in it. So, instead I would recommend using coconut or pea milk. I really like to optimize all my meals and to get the most nutrition I can at all times. Let’s not waste our bodies time!
Can you talk a little bit about your skincare routine? Your skin is GLOWING.
I believe good skin starts from the inside. So, all the things I’ve mentioned so far are technically also a part of my skincare regimen. But on top of eating right and taking care of my overall health, I also really enjoy jade rolling which I share a lot of on my Instagram. I find it to be really great for circulation.
I’ve also recently started oil cleansing with a cold pressed, organic grapeseed oil. I then follow up with some more grapeseed oil, and then tone with witch hazel. If I have a flare up, I’ll treat it with tea tree oil. And I’m really particular about my makeup. I love foundation, and find it to be like the “icing on the cake.” I use Plain Jane Beauty foundation which I find to be great, natural choice for women of color. The formula is super lightweight, and really works for me specifically because I’m already happy with the canvas. I often believe that people are after a silver bullet when it comes to beauty and health. But there is no silver bullet. The key is consciousness. It’s not about doing everything “perfectly” every day. It’s about being conscious. It’s about controlling what you can control, and being OK with what you can’t control. For example, I’m vegan 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, I allow myself some wiggle room. I find that it’s a lot healthier for my state of mind if I’m not obsessed with always trying to be “perfect.”
How do you manage stress?
Empathy. Most of our stress comes from our interactions with other people. If you have empathy for the people you’re interacting with, you’re gonna be a lot less stressed out! If someone is being an asshole to you, and then you step into their shoes, and find one reason to empathize with their point of view, you’ll probably going to be a lot less stressed out.