As a nation, we love to feel and look good – we’re obsessed by it. And while we love spending our money on the pursuit of beauty and perfection, you might be surprised to find that we can look gorgeous, feel amazing and defy the aging process with what we might already have in the fridge.
Delicious and delightful at all ages
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, we as a nation spend more than $8 billion every year on beauty products. But it might be time to ditch the creams and lotions. Vegan health coach and Latin dancer Donna Wild is sharing her favourite recipes for looking and feeling good.
Donna has been a vegetarian for 20 years, and a vegan for nine, and she swears by fresh fruit and leafy green vegetables to maintain a youthful, glowing look.
“If it’s alive while you eat it, then it will bring life to your mind and body and create a youthful and glowing appearance,” Donna, 31, says.
“You are what you eat, so eat fresh fruit and have skin tight and firm like a banana peel.”
Enjoying a healthy lifestyle for most of her life and growing up in New South Wales’ Byron Bay, Donna encourages her clients to keep three things in mind: sleep, water and fresh organic produce.
Beauty sleep: Get great sleep with these tips >>
Fresh, organic produce
“I could talk all day about why this is important. Every cell in your body feeds off sugar, carbs turn into sugars in the body for energy so we need carbs or we need sugars,” Donna explains. “The brain in particular relies on sugar. Ever wondered why you craved sugary foods while you’re doing your studies or working hard at the computer? Your brain is using up the sugar that it has and would love some more. That’s why I love carbohydrates, carbohydrates from fruit in particular. The best sources are bananas, mangoes and dates.”
And how can you incorporate fresh organic produce into your diet every day? Donna has a variety of recipes on her blog which are great for good health and glowing skin.
Wild banana smoothie
- 3 bananas
- 1 big handful of baby spinach
- 1 big handful of coz lettuce
- Water to suit desired texture (usually 1–2 glasses)
- Add all ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth.
- “This recipe is surprisingly delicious and refreshing,” Donna says. “You will never need coffee again if you start your day with this! Kids don’t need coffee and you asked for a youthful recipe, this is youth in a glass.”
More green smoothies: Kim Snyder’s glowing green smoothie recipe >>
Raw vegan lasagna
- 5 large zucchinis
- 900 grams cherry tomatoes
- Handful of Italian parsley
- Handful of cilantro
- Handful arugula
- Handful of spinach
- 1/4 cup pinenuts
- 1 cup of sundried tomatoes, oil-free
- 1/2 avocado
- Use a potato peeler to cut the zucchinis into thin, long strips.
- In a food processor, mix your cilantro, parsley and spinach.
- In a pan or on a plate, lay down your first layer of zucchini pieces and spread spinach mixture over the top.
- Also add arugula or spinach leaves between the layers of zucchini and spinach mixture.
- Blend together the sundried tomatoes and avocado to make a marinade or sauce.
- Strain this mixture to make it less watery if needed.
- Add a layer of this to your lasagna and then another layer of zucchini.
- Now, to make the “cheese sauce”, blend one large zucchini with the pinenuts.
- Add this to the top of your lasagna and then another layer of zucchini.
- Chop up your cherry tomatoes and spread these across the top.
- Cover the cherry tomatoes with one more layer of zucchini then press down firmly so all the layers are compacted nicely.
Breakfast chia pudding
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 2 cups of water
- 4 dates, soaked in water
- Sea salt
- Vanilla extract
- Add desiccated coconut and water to the blender and mix well.
- Soak the chia seeds into one cup of the coconut mixture and whisk.
- Blend 1/2 cup of the coconut mixture with the dates, salt and vanilla extract and set aside the other half cup of coconut mixture.
- To serve, whisk all together and pour into a bowl. Add your favourite berries and enjoy.
Foods to make you glow
- Avocado — rich in vitamin A, avocados help replenish the skin by removing dead skin cells from the body.
- Chia seeds — these seeds are a great source of fibre and a good digestive system means good skin.
- Cilantro — this delicious herb is a natural cleanser and is sure to rid your body of all those nasty toxins you’re carrying around.
- Pinenuts — high in vitamin E, pinenuts can help maintain great skin and get your metabolism working well.
- Water — we all know that water is going to help give us a youthful and glowing appearance, so instead of drinking your coffee in the morning, start the day with a couple of glasses of water.
And Donna has proof that leafy greens and fresh produce will not just keep you looking young, but acting young too.
“One of my dance students adapted to the lifestyle that I teach at 70-plus years of age after suffering two heart attacks,” Donna said.
“She’s now 77, surfing and dancing. Her doctors think it’s a miracle. She tells them it’s the plants.”
To get inspired about living well and keeping a young and vibrant look and feel, head along to Donna Wild’s blog. She also runs three-month Wild Bodies programs if you’re looking for ongoing support and inspiration.