Wellness Interviews with Inspiring Women
Read Time: 4-5 Minutes
As we continue sharing our quest for a summer glow that starts from within, I was thrilled to learn that we have a fan in Dana James, the founder of Food Coach NYC & LA, a functional medicine nutrition practice that helps correct biochemical and psychological imbalances through nutrition intervention and psychological exploration. If you’re as intrigued by that description as I was then keep reading for our chat on food, skin, self-care, and more!
Kat: Your approach to nutrition and wellness is fascinating. What inspired you to want to help women find their inner and outer glow?
Dana: We see others through their radiant body which is a subtle (and invisible) energy field that wraps around the physical body. The radiant body becomes expanded and more magnetic through clearing the mind of upsetting memories that get lodged in the cellular body. Unless you reinterpret and reprocess these memories in a way to dispose of the judgement you have attached to them, your radiant and physical body will lose their vibrancy. This means the inner work is VITAL for external beauty and an outer goal. I firmly believe that inner beauty precedes outer beauty, particularly as we age. Most of us can think of a radiant woman in her 60's who is so joyful that she is magnetic and you want to be around her all the time!
By the same token, we can't neglect the outer beauty. Because there's a bi-directional relationship between the two, when you neglect the physical body, your inner mind is also a mess. You're deprioritizing yourself in favor of something that gives you a bump in your self-worth. For instance, if you're constantly missing lunch because you're too busy at work, you're neglecting your physical body in favor of accolades at work or the fear of getting fired. Ultimately that is more important to you, even if it is subconscious.
I also want to stress the importance of looking after our physical body and not obsessing over it. Wanting to be beautiful has a bad rap in certain circles and it really shouldn't have. We don't condone women for wanting to earn more money, so why do we turn our nose up at those who want to look more beautiful? It is not vapid. It's self-care and a reflection of your inner mind.
K: Can you tell us a bit about the four archetypes of women you have created?
D: These are exciting! From interviewing over 2,500 women in my practice, I noticed that there were patterns, deeply entrenched patterns, that women had around food, beliefs, behaviors and ultimately how they valued themselves. I realized these could be categorized into four types of women based on how they sourced their self-worth. Not whether it was high or low, but where it was coming from. Its source was ironically why women self-sabotaged. For instance, if you've promised yourself you'll go on a detox but then find yourself sitting at a bar with a girlfriend less than 8 hours later, it's helpful to know why. Why did you do this when you said you would detox? Why is the integrity to your word so low? Using the archetypes, there would be one of four main reasons why you didn't stick to your word.
1. Permission to switch off because you had a hard day at work. That's the excuse of the Wonder Woman, the achiever archetype.
2. You wanted to play and playing was more important than the detox. That's the Femme Fatale, the one focused on her external beauty.
3. Your friend asked you for a drink and you felt bad saying no. That's the Nurturer - the compassionate archetype.
4. You're feeling a little spacey and need the red wine to ground you. That's the Ethereal - the celestial archetype.
While all four women broke their promise to themselves, the reason behind it was different for each woman and it all links into their source of self worth. This isn't about why you drink (as that could be any of the four reasons depending on the circumstances), but rather about not following through on your word and the reason behind it.
I wrote a whole book on this. The Archetype Diet: Reclaim Your Self-Worth and Change the Shape of Your Body.
K: We are in the summer here in New York which, along with city living, can wreak havoc on the skin. What’s your summer skin care routine and advice?
D: Wear a natural sunscreen, but make sure you religiously cleanse and tone to take away the residue. The zinc and titanium molecules in natural sunscreens have great staying power and while you want that during the day, you don't want to sleep in it! Use MŪN's Akwi Purifying Cleanser followed by the Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner (so good)!
Lighten up on your moisturizer. So often we stay with a winter moisturizer because we're familiar with it, but it's often too heavy for humid NYC conditions in the summer. Or skip the moisturizer altogether and use a serum instead. Same applies to makeup. Go for a barely there tint instead of the heavier winter makeup.
I love Vitamin C serums for city summer skin. Vitamin C offers a protective barrier from city pollutants and is also used to create collagen. It's the rate limiting step in the synthesis of collagen. We absorb it through the skin too, hence why the serum works so well. I suggest taking 500mg of Vitamin C per day as an additional supplement.
K: What are your go-to superfoods and supplements, especially for the summer months?
D: You must start with a clean diet before you even think about adding superfoods and supplements in. If not, it's like wearing sequins with no dress!
With that said, these would be my top five additions.
1. Papaya - the orange carotenoids help to exfoliate skin cells like a very mild retinol. This keeps the skin bright and radiant. Make a papaya smoothie with my BeautiFUEL plant protein powder, which helps activate collagen and elastin.
2. Lemon - use the lemon rind as well as the juice of an entire lemon to upregulate the liver's ability to detoxify chemicals, which includes pesticide residue on the non-organic summer salads you might be eating!
3. Watermelon - who wants to miss out on this? Juicy watermelon juice running down your arm, that's just pleasure in itself! But it also contains pigments that enhance your natural SPF by 5X. I'd take that over a chemical sunscreen any day!
4. Heirloom tomatoes - they enhance your SPF too! And god they taste good in summer! Make an heirloom tomato salad with fresh basil or a tomato and watermelon gazpacho for a two-fold SPF punch.
5. Cucumber juice - nothing is more hydrating than a cucumber juice. Packed with potassium, it's summer's anti-bloater! Pare it with mint and fresh fennel for the optimal summer drink. Add vodka if you want :)
My favorite supplements, besides the Vitamin C, is a B Vitamin complex (all the B's not just B12) to help metabolize the rosè that's being drunk!! And my BeautiFUEL plant protein to keep the skin subtle and radiant.
K: You’re a busy gal with a lot going on...how do you practice self care and why is it so important?
D: It's now just who I am. I've practiced it for so long that when I'm not doing something in my routine, like meditation, I just don't feel right. I become more chaotic and complex in my thinking. I value my brain immensely so when clarity starts to get muddy, I check in and course correct.
I'm also very adaptive and don't obsess over things and constantly ask if this is what I want. If it is, I keep going. If not, I change it.
K: What advice would you give someone who is new to and/or believes they are too busy to practice self care?
D: You're never too busy to practice it. You're deprioritizing yourself and that doesn't support anyone - not your kids, partner, work, or friends. Start small by making yourself a smoothie for breakfast everyday over summer. It takes less than five minutes and will totally change how you feel about yourself over the rest of the day. That will then set you up for success! And buy my book when it's out as that will give you the inner mind steps to change your perception.
Ready to step up your self-care for summer and get glowing? Don’t forget to cleanse and tone with Dana’s favorites as she suggests above. Our Akwi Purifying Cleanser sweeps away impurities and unclogs pores without stripping your skin, while our Anarose Hydrating Rose Toner balances your skin’s pH, soothes, firms, and provides long-lasting hydration.