What’s your background? Where did your love for beauty and health start?
When I started out, some 17 years ago, I was working as a beauty editor for a mainstream newspaper and while researching the ingredients in beauty products, I became concerned with the amount of toxic chemicals in skincare products. Consequently, felt very passionate about helping to change the paradigm in the beauty industry, an industry that I felt was very one dimensional and wasn’t very transparent or healthy.
From my own personal experience, I also knew that glowing, healthy skin comes from within. I had eczema and allergies as a child and consulted with a naturopath when I was a teenager, who put me on a diet, eliminating certain foods and adding in others. I noticed a big difference in my skin and wellbeing.
It was from this point I made it my mission to help educate people on healthier skincare options, and published a book called Feeding Your Skin (2002, by Penguin Books). Over the last fifteen years I have researched the best treatments, foods and lifestyle practices for skin health and overall health. I’ve written hundreds of articles on natural beauty and health and researched into the benefits of plant based foods for healthy skin from the inside and out. I penned a DIY beauty column for the Sunday Telegraph for eight years as well as being the natural beauty editor for Wellbeing Magazine for 14 years (which I still am).
My daughter had eczema around 10 years ago, and I was doing some research around gut and skin heath and saw that there was a link. I put her on a gut healing protocol, part of which included consuming lacto-fermented, probiotic foods, and saw a huge difference to her skin. So, I started making my own fermented foods and continued to see the effects to the skin and wellbeing of the entire family. People were asking me what cream I was using because they saw my skin was glowing! I created quite a demand for my fermented foods, soon supplying to extended family, and friends of friends, so it seemed a natural progression to launch The Beauty Chef. GLOW was my first product, with 24 bio-fermented, skin loving superfoods.
When I created The Beauty Chef, it was with the intention of educating women that glowing skin comes from within, which means feeding your skin from the inside out. And more specifically that ‘beauty begins in the belly’. Good gut health is vital for healthy, robust, radiant skin.
How would you describe what you do today?
I am the CEO and Creative Director of The Beauty Chef, a company that creates bio-fermented probiotic powders and elixirs for gut health, glowing skin and wellbeing. I really love what I do and it is truly rewarding creating products that make a positive difference to people’s lives. I am very passionate about the natural world and the synergy we share with it. I love that while I started making my fermented foods in the kitchen, I now work with a team of naturopaths and leading microbiologists on continuing to improve our biofermentation process and work with them on the latest research into probiotics, gut health and skin health. We will continue to do more and more research into the correlation between gut health, certain strains of bacteria and how they impact the health of the skin and overall health and wellbeing, and share these findings and research with our customers in the form of content and new products.
How did you come up with the natural fermentation process of your products?
We were the first company to make a biofermented, probiotic inner beauty powder, and we also use our own unique lacto-fermentation process called FLORA CULTURE™. This is where we introduce our own unique lactic acid-producing mother culture (that has been culturing successfully for 25 years) to ferment our organic superfoods. It takes six weeks for the mother culture to work her magic.
Fermentation has been used in traditional cultures for centuries to preserve foods in the days before refrigeration. But fermentation also has many health benefits. It helps neutralize anti-nutrients (such as phytic acid found in legumes and grains) that prevent us from absorbing other nutrients in our food.
Fermenting ingredients makes them more bioavailable so our bodies can absorb more of their nutrients. Lacto-fermentation also produces natural, broad spectrum probiotics which help balance digestive health and encourage good bacteria to flourish.
When wholefoods are lacto-fermented, they are easier to digest and their nutrients become more available for the body and skin to use.
Fermenting wholefoods using The Beauty Chef’s natural fermentation process, creates powerful, live and bioactive formulas that are truly good for your body, beauty and belly.
This is why our products help give you energy as well as beautiful skin.
When you’re not feeling yourself, how do you return to equilibrium?
When I am feeling a little imbalanced, I walk!
Walking is like a natural filing system for my brain, I start with a busy mind and by the end of the walk, I have solved any issues and indecisions, alongside the world’s problems. Walking is meditative, rhythmic and cathartic. It is very balancing.
I either walk along Bondi Beach where I live, or Centennial Park which is a short drive away. Connecting with nature whether it’s bush or sea, is very important for my wellbeing. Acupuncture is something that really resonates with me, I find it very relaxing and great for recalibrating.
I also make sure that I am eating lots of brain and body boosting plants and nothing beats a little time out with cup of tea and a game of scrabble for refocusing and getting my mind off work when it gets hectic.
How do you choose which inner beauty product is best for you?
Each Beauty Chef Inner Beauty Powder is formulated for different skin and health benefits, but each is designed to improve gut health and digestion, and promote healthier, glowing skin from the inside out.
I often recommend starting with GLOW Inner Beauty Powder (your internal skin moisturizer and daily skin support and maintenance formula) and then to turbo charge your inner beauty routine, add an Inner Beauty Boost. The Boosts act like your inner beauty skin serums to target specific skin concerns: COLLAGEN, for skin concerned with cellular aging, HYDRATION for dehydrated skin or ANTIOXIDANT for skin that is lackluster from being tired, overworked and run down. CLEANSE is a great product for when you are feeling toxic as it helps assist the body’s natural detoxification processes. BODY is brilliant for those looking for a snack, meal supplement or overall nutrition and immune booster, ideal for those who are wanting to achieve or maintain a healthy weight range. SLEEP is excellent for those who struggle to get their zz’s. It is rich in soothing and calming herbs like passionflower and lemon balm as well as biofermented turmeric and spices and makes a delicious bedtime beverage.
Can you walk us through your morning and nightly beauty routine?
My beauty routine starts at night because this is when all the good stuff happens and the skin can truly rejuvenate without the interruption of environmental assault you are exposed to during the day. First of all, I gently cleanse my face using coconut oil and a muslin cloth to wash away the day’s grease and grime. Oil is very effective for lifting dirt from the skin and coconut oil boasts both antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it the perfect cleanser. I then dab a little Probiotic Skin Refiner onto a cotton pad and swipe it over my face to gently refine my skin, balance the skin’s natural flora and stimulate collagen production (thanks to the natural lactic acid). Then I apply a few drops of Dream Repair Serum and massage it into my face (light on my oily T-zone, however), neck and décolletage. This is brilliant for infusing both skin protective antioxidants and skin nourishing essential fatty acids (omegas 3,6,7 and 9) into the skin as well as rejuvenating the skin with vitamins A, B, C, D, E, P and K. Then I apply a little Beauty Fix Balm under my eyes, on my lips and any dry patches. Before heading off to bed, I sip on my SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder in warm coconut milk. I am very addicted to this ritual, it is delicious and rich in calming and soothing herbs as well as biofermented turmeric and spices and rich in beneficial bacteria. It’s anti inflammatory, antioxidant, relaxing and gut-loving!
In the morning, I go for a walk or run along Bondi Beach, and when I come home I drink a glass of GLOW Inner Beauty Powder in purified water with COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost. On the weekend I’ll apply a fresh food mask made with Pink French Argiletz clay, papaya and yogurt.
What is your diet like? What do you eat in a day?
Breakfast is usually eggs in some form, with mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and/or with salmon or a protein based porridge of some variety, like buckwheat, miso, apple, almond and maple porridge or a chia pudding of some variety.
Protein is very important for breakfast and to have throughout the day as it is probably the best way to maintain metabolic efficiency, keep you feeling fuller for longer and keeping your blood sugar levels balanced. It helps to increase your basal metabolic rate and is also very important for healthy hormones, skin, hair and nails.
I’ll have a glass of GLOW Inner Beauty Powder with a splash of COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost. They make up my internal beauty routine. GLOW is like my internal moisturizer and COLLAGEN is like my internal skin serum.
When I am in a rush, breakfast is a smoothie with BODY Inner Beauty Powder, it’s rich in bioavailable sprouted and fermented plant proteins.
For lunch I’ll make a big salad with lots of leafy greens, sprouts, avocado, some sauerkraut and some form of protein, whether nuts, chicken or salmon, and dinner means all kinds of culinary surprises, depending on what is in season. Mostly salads, veggies and a protein source, usually fish (often wild salmon) and chicken. I eat red meat very occasionally, usually in the form of a slow cooked lamb roast. I’m a big fan of curries and I love slow cooked soups and stews with lots of veggies, herbs and spices with bone broth. Bone broth is anti inflammatory and great for soothing and healing the gut lining.
I’m very big on eating a variety of plants to get a good dose of antioxidants, which help to fight oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. Variety is key, the gut loves a variety of fiber from different foods to feed the diversity of microbes found there and a range of antioxidants to mop up different types of free radicals.
I eat a very balanced diet and while I take into account different ideologies of eating, I avoid extreme fad diets and belief systems. I love raw food, but I also think it is important for digestion to eat some cooked food as, some food is better for you when cooked. I embrace many of the principles of paleo, but don’t have a completely paleo diet. The only thing I am quite extreme about is wholefoods. I choose low HI foods wherever possible (low human intervention foods!). There is not much room in my world for processed food!
Can you explain a little bit more about Flora Culture?
Our unique mother culture has 20 years of research behind it and is made up of a variety of lactic acid-producing bacteria that is introduced to our Certified Organic wholefoods. Over a six week fermentation period, the bacteria break down the ingredients, so the nutrients become more bioavailable for the body to use. They also neutralize antinutrients found in foods. It is a genius biological process that turns super foods into super duper foods, and produces a broad spectrum probiotic which helps to balance digestive health, and therefore skin health and overall health. The broad spectrum probiotic created is different from lab-produced probiotics, as you are getting multiple natural strains as well as bioavailable, nutrient dense foods. I have recently been working with microbiologists on increasing the levels of the beneficial bacteria in our products through continued research into our state of the art fermentation process.
What are the differences between health culture in Australia and the United States?
I think they are both very progressive in the areas of natural health and beauty and in fact quite ahead of other countries we export to in terms of the education and resonance. Our products are unique and innovative and Australia and the US have been very receptive to them as well as the inner beauty category which is a relatively new concept.
What are your top picks from CAP?
The Beauty Chef’s GLOW Inner Beauty Powder of course! I LOVE the CAPtivator energy mist, May Lindstrom’s The Honey Mud and everything RMS. LOVE medicinal mushrooms, so all the Four Sigmatic mushroom products, and am a huge fan of Sun Potion Tocos Rice Bran Solubles. These are delicious combined with our SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder.
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