Last updated on November 4th, 2021 at 12:02 pm
Every day that I wake up, I am just so extremely grateful for nature, and how if you look around you, everything you need to thrive and live a vibrant life is right at your fingertips. All you have to do is accept it, and use it.
The sun has gotten such a bad wrap over the years, it makes me sad that we are indoctrinated to completely fear the sun, instead of being educated in safe, healthy, and life-giving sun exposure.
It always blows my mind that healthy fats like grass-fed butter and organic coconut oil can help protect your skin against sunburn. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true.
Nourish your body with these four healthy foods, that I am about to share, which will help protect you from the inside out.
I have seen this first hand with my husband. When we first got married, we lived in Germany and went on a “backpacking” trip to Italy for two weeks in July. By the first day, he turned bright red – like a lobster. This was in the days before we were making headway in healthy and holistic living, and this was the just norm from then on, we joked about his skin all the time.
After moving to West Texas (and the brutal sun rays we experience here) my daughter and I have never really had a problem with major sunburn, I have always contributed this to the fact that both of us are free-range butter eaters. My husband and son, on the other hand, will turn pink rather quickly. After explaining to them why they should eat more butter, and then initiating them to the club of “free-range butter eaters,” things started to change rapidly. Now we are, all able to spend several hours in the sunshine before having to apply sunshine screen without turning bright pink.
You might think butter as sunscreen? I often joke with Nate that butter can pretty much solve any problem that you may have. It is the best form of sunscreen, and also one of my all-time favorite food groups.
Growing up in South Africa, I have always had a relatively healthy respect for the sun, and have carried that into my adult life. I rarely just get destroyed by the sun, and truly attribute that to my diet. A nutrient-dense whole food diet, filled with lots of healthy fats is truly the key to sun protection. I just want to be clear that I am not against using sunscreen (as long as it is non-toxic.) But, it should always be the second line of defense.
Why do we need sunshine?
Our bodies need vitamin D, and the sunlight is the very best and most available form of vitamin D. The problem is that when you are covered up in sunscreen all day long, every single day, you are completely missing out on this very vital vitamin (actually a hormone.) Moderate (and safe) sun exposure is not harmful, in fact not getting enough sunshine is what is harmful to the body.
I could spend so many hours explaining why vitamin D is so essential, but I will stick with the basics for now. For women, vitamin D is especially helpful for hormone balance and eliminating excess estrogen – which is key to keeping PMS symptoms, hormonal acne, painful periods, and fertility issues diminished.
Immune cells are also a receptor site for vitamin D, so that is why it is very important (especially if you have an autoimmune disease) to get plenty of sunshine and to soak up all that vitamin D.
Sunshine is my favorite form of vitamin D, not just because it is free, but also because the skin can regulate vitamin D conversion into the active and absorbable form, and the other cool thing is that the skin can store vitamin D reserved for the future.
So do not fear the sun, respect the sun, and practice safe sun exposure.
4 Simple foods to eat for sun protection.
Sunburns are an inflammatory response, therefore it is important to avoid foods that add to inflammation such as; processed wheat and grains, refined and artificial sugars and sweeteners, processed vegetable oils, and conventionally raised animal products. These products will only add to the inflammation burden on the body and will not help the body’s natural inflammatory response. Refined and artificial sugars and processed vegetable oils increase the body’s advanced glycation end-products, and this not only quickens the aging process, but also creates an environment that is far more likely to absorb the sun’s harmful rays, and burn the skin.
♦ beets, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, watermelon, pastured bone broth (chicken or beef,) organic coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, mushrooms, raw honey, basil, and other herbs, cherries, garlic, and green tea.
Quality, Healthy Fats:
Fats are the building blocks for every cell because each cell membrane has a fatty bi-layer. This means that healthy fats are key to cellular health and reducing inflammation. Saturated fats are responsible for helping the body’s natural inflammatory response (which as mentioned before is all that sunburn is), so eating these foods will help prevent sunburns in the first place.
♦ grass-fed butter, grass-fed ghee, pastured tallow, pastured duck fat, pastured beef liver, and organic coconut oil.
Antioxidants And Vitamin C:
Antioxidants help protect the body against free radicals and therefore help to reduce inflammation. Lycopene (found in tomatoes – make sure to buy organic and local if possible) can help protect the body and skin from the sun’s harmful UV damage. Vitamin C helps the body maintain and build collagen as well as protect the body against free radicals. So consuming extra vitamin C will help boost all the nutrients that you are already eating.
♦ sweet potatoes, blueberries, tomatoes, strawberries, avocado, olives, goji berries, dark chocolate, artichokes, elderberry, cranberries, blackberries, cilantro, carrots, pomegranates, grapes, squash, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cocoa, cumin, parsley, basil, ginger, thyme, garlic, cayenne pepper, and green tea.
Collagen is the naturally occurring, pure protein found in the connective tissues, bones, and muscles of animals. It is the parts of the animal that we no longer consume today. Around 25, the body slowly starts to decrease collagen production, so this is why is important to add it to your diet. Stress also aids in the rapid depletion of collagen. You might be wondering what collagen does? Well, collagen helps with the elasticity of the skin, keeping it firm and plump, it also helps with fine lines and dark spots. It is a super potent beauty powder, as it helps with hair, skin, and nail health, as well as digestive health. Take note that most collagen, unfortunately, contains glyphosate residue, so make sure to support brands who carry the “glyphosate residue-free” stamp.
♦ pastured bone broth (chicken or beef), pastured organ meats like beef liver, pastured meats on the bone, pastured eggs, and grass-fed gelatin, grass-fed collagen peptides.
Safer Sun Screen
It is disheartening to learn that, most conventional sunscreens are one of the most toxic beauty products on the market and they are also the ones most families use often. The toxic ingredients in sunscreen are not only very powerful endocrine disruptors but have also been linked to allergies, learning issues, and a variety of cancers.
Not only do these toxic concoctions affect our health, but it also damages the fragile coral reef systems. So even though you might not care about the chemicals on your body, protecting the oceans and beautiful mother earth is important too.
I love, use, and highly recommend Beautycounter’s Countersun Collection. Beautycounter has eliminated over 1800 harmful ingredients from their products, creating a trustworthy and safe alternative.
♦ Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30
♦ Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30
♦ Countersun Mineral Sunscreem Mist, SPF 30
♦ Countersun Daily Sheer Defense For Face, SPF 25
After Sun Care
It is important to keep the skin hydrated after being in the sun. This helps to replenish the moisture and also nourishes the skin. I recommend staying hydrated with water with a pinch of sea salt, but also applying this Countersun After Sun Cooling Gel. Speaking from personal experience this has helped to greatly diminish minor burns overnight.
More to read: Everything You Need To Know About Safer Sunscreen & Sun Exposure and 8 Reasons Why I Don’t Wear Sunscreen Daily.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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