There are lots of ways to protect our skin from the sun

As we enjoy summer, we want to protect our skin from the damaging effects of the elements. The skin protects our bodies from the outside world and is a mirror of our inner health. This is why when we get a sunburn we feel sore, swelled, tired and inflamed.

There are ways to protect ourselves.

Scientists estimate about 5,000 tonnes of sunscreen are washed from human skin into oceans and lakes, harming coral reefs and all underwater and shoreline life.

People can be most helpful by choosing a physical sun block rather than a chemical block. Reach for formulations with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that reflect the light off the skin. New physical sun blocks do not leave us all white as older sun blocks often did. Labels on some updated products will now read, “reef safe.” Source: There’s Lead in Your Lipstick by Gillian Deacon.

I am excited to share some of my tried-and-liked products for skin protection. My choices for the face are Andalou naturals BB and CC creams with SPF 30 and Drunk Elephant Physical Daily Defense.

For the entire body, top picks are Live Clean Mineral Sunscreen Spray, labelled “reef safe,” and Baby Bum Sunscreen Facial and Body Stick SPF 50. Do not forget your lips with Sun Bum Lip Balm in Banana Flavor. They are all available at drugs stores, health food stores and online.

My advice is to always read the ingredient listing of anything you slather on your skin.

Also trending, as we try to use less processed products, are natural oils for sun protection. Check out Red Raspberry Seed Oil with an SPF of 28 to 50 depending on the brand and Carrot Seed Oil, which has an SPF of 40. Both are available at health food stores and online. Source:

Recently, my son had a wind burn/sun burn. Apparently, he did not apply sunscreen often enough. He went to a drug store to find a product to manage his pain and he bought an after-sun cream.

Only minutes after he applied the cream, he called me and asked, “is this cream supposed to hurt more than the burn?”

It hurt so bad that he had to run to the sink and rinse it all off. The lesson is to avoid the following: sulfates, which can irritate and dry you out more; parabens, which are preservatives that may mess with your hormones; and parfums/fragrances, which are synthetic ingredients that make you smell good but could add toxins to your system and sting damaged skin.

My recommendation is a pure aloe-vera cream without alcohol to soothe summer skin, or best of all, taking gel from a real aloe plant. It’s good for the skin and is striking in those planters mixed with flowers and succulents. Also, shea butter and coconut oil work well as general moisturizers after you have been in the sun.

Do not forget to protect your eyes as you head outside. Grab some sunglasses because scientists believe that eye protection from the elements may help to prevent cataracts and other eye ailments. When choosing sunglasses, look at labels that ensure 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation are blocked. And if glare is an issue for you, for example being on or near reflective water, perhaps polarized lens are a good option.

If you can this summer, avoid the sun from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you want to be outside, try hanging out in the shade under the boughs of a tree.

One large tree can provide a day’s oxygen for up to four people. Each healthy tree can reduce air borne dust particles by as much as 7,000 particles per litre of air. Thus a healthy tree is a free-standing air conditioner and purifier.

Just one large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air in one day, helping to keep our air hydrated. Source: and

Have you ever considered your food as sun protection? Studies show how closely the gut and the skin are interconnected. When one is weak, the other struggles. There are certain foods that are extremely beneficial to our skin’s health and ability to protect itself. Here is what you need to eat for a glowing complexion and healthy body.

Water: Plants wilt without water and so do we. Water delivers hydration that allows our bodies to work efficiently and energizes us. Keep water at your bedside and take a refreshing drink even before you get out of bed to start your day. A splash of cool water on your face helps to wake you up, just as a drink first thing in the morning does the same for your insides. So go for a morning flush.

Green tea: Research shows that polyphenol rich green tea, either hot or cold, offers protection to our skin. Try to sip three to four cups a day.

Colourful fresh produce: Fresh produce is abundant as the summer progresses. Reach for brightly coloured choices with red, orange, yellow, green or pink, including tomatoes, berries, apples, red cabbage, carrots and greens such as spinach/kale. These food choices will be full of fibre, vitamin C, quercetin, carotenoids and lycopene, which block damage to our cells. Incorporate fresh lemon for the vitamin C and for its potential to help clear impurities from the body.

Sulforaphane: This sulfur rich compound found in many cruciferous vegetables like brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale, has been shown to keep skin cells healthy over time and help reduce inflammation.

Chocolate : Have a sugar craving? It is perfectly acceptable to have a few squares of dark chocolate each day. The flavonoids in dark chocolate help to keep skin cells firm and functioning properly.

Go nuts: Eat the equivalent of a handful of raw nuts each day to deliver selenium, vitamin E and omega 3 to your skin for rejuvenation. Walnuts are my choice for a nutrient punch, but really any raw nut will do.

Omega 3s and healthy fats: Along with nuts, reach for foods such as omega 3 rich eggs, flax seed/ hemp seed (two tablespoons each a day), avocado, wild salmon and olive oil. These foods add healthy essential fatty acids and good fat to your diet, thus eating them regularly will give you radiant skin and hair.

So how do we get these skin superfoods into our diets on a regular basis? I have some ideas.

Smoothies are a great way to consume skin-healthy foods. Add some of the above to your blender with some ice, some frozen banana and a bit of water and you have a healthy skin shot in a cup.

Here are some other great ways to incorporate these foods.

Balsamic berry meal salad

  • 8 c. loosely torn greens such as lettuce, kale or spinach 2 L
  • 2 c. berries of your choice, like strawberries, blueberries or raspberries 500 mL
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced into rings
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. hemp seed or ground flax seed 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. chopped nuts such as walnuts 60 mL
  • 6 servings grilled or roasted protein of your choice such as chicken, beef or turkey. Or for a meatless option equal servings of precooked chickpeas, lentils or beans
  • 1/4-1/2 c. balsamic vinaigrette dressing 60 – 125 mL
    • Combine all of the ingredients accept the dressing. Toss. Add dressing just before serving. Serve immediately. Serves six.

Easy balsamic vinaigrette

      • I love the convenience of store-bought dressings, but if you want to shake up your own home-made dressing, try this combination.
        • 1/2 c. olive oil 125 mL
        • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar 60 mL
        • 1 tsp. honey 5 mL
        • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 5 mL
        • 1 green onion, minced
        • 1 clove garlic, minced
        • salt and pepper to taste
        • Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, salt, and black pepper together in a glass jar with a lid. Replace lid on the jar and shake vigorously until thoroughly combined. Just before serving drizzle over salad. Serves six.
        • Source:

Maple salmon

        • Trying to up your omega intake. This salmon is great with a salad or with steamed brussels sprouts or broccoli.
        • 6 salmon fillets (6 oz. each) 1 kg
        • 1/4 c. packed brown sugar 60 mL
        • 1/4 c. maple syrup 60 mL
        • 3 tbsp. soy sauce 45 mL
        • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard 15 mL
        • 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 mL
        • Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
        • Place salmon fillets in a greased 13×9 inch baking dish. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, syrup, soy sauce, mustard and pepper. Pour over salmon.
        • Cover and bake 10 minutes. Uncover and bake eight to 10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with fork. Makes six servings.
        • Source:

Raspberry rhubarb slab pie

        • Menus are no fun without sweets.
        • What a great way to enjoy fresh raspberries in season. Combined with a bit of garden rhubarb gives and interesting taste.
        • 3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 810 mL
        • 1 tsp. salt 5 mL
        • 1 c. butter 250 mL
        • 3/4 c. milk (plus 1-2 tbsp./15-30 mL) 175 mL
        • 1 large egg yolk
        • 2 c. sugar 500 mL
        • 1/3 c. cornstarch 80 mL
        • 5 c. fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed and drained 1.25 L
        • 3 c. sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained 750 mL
        • Glaze:
        • 1 1/4 c. icing sugar 300 mL
        • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 mL
        • 2 tbsp. milk or cream 30 mL
        • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in cool butter until crumbly. Whisk 3/4 cup milk and egg yolk, then gradually add to the flour mixture. Work the dough until a ball forms. Add additional milk, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary to make the dough form.
        • Divide the dough into two portions so that one is slightly larger than the other; wrap each and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour.
        • Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Roll out larger portion of dough between two large sheets of lightly floured waxed paper into an 18 x 13 inch rectangle. Transfer to an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan. Press onto the bottom and up sides of pan. Trim pastry to edges of pan.
        • In a large bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add raspberries and rhubarb. Gently toss to coat. Place over the rolled dough.
        • Roll out remaining dough; place over filling. Fold bottom pastry over edge of top pastry to seal. Prick the top with a fork.
        • Put in the oven and bake until golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool.
        • For the glaze, combine icing sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency; drizzle over pie. Cut pie into squares. Makes about two dozen small squares.
        • Source:

Spiced banana seed muffinsThis recipe is great for breakfast muffin served with a slice of cheese or served as a dessert with fruit salad. The hemp and flax offer an omega boost and hide nicely in the muffin for those picky eater

    • 2 c. well mashed bananas 500 mL
    • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar 175 mL
    • 1 tsp. vanilla 5 mL
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 c. oil 60 mL
    • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
    • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
    • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
    • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg .5 mL
    • 1 1/2 c. flour 375 mL
    • 2 tbsp. whole hemp seed 30 mL
    • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed (grind in a coffee grinder) 30 mL
    • 1/4 c. walnuts in small pieces 60 mL
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, vanilla, egg and oil. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until the batter is quite smooth.
    • Stir in the hemp, flax and nuts.
    • Pour into muffin tins and bake at 375 F (190 C) for 20 minutes.
    • Makes 12 large or approximately 20 small muffins.
    • Note: eliminate nuts if you prefer nut-free.

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