Cleanses and fasts are hot these days, with many A-listers leading the charge and touting the health benefits of detoxing. There seems to be a new “it” cleanse weekly. In New York City and other urban areas, there are detox depots popping up everywhere that offer and deliver a host of pre-mixed cleanse tinctures right to your door.
This concept may sound familiar to many Jewish folks. Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people and it is traditionally marked with a 25 hour fast. The idea, of course, is to repent, not detox, but perhaps some of the health and beauty benefits are the same, regardless of whether you are cleansing your body, your soul or both,
“Fasting has been shown to turn on longevity genes, known as sirtuins, which in turn may help your skin look younger,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City.
What you eat after the shofar blows and the holiday draws to an end also plays a role in just how healthful your Yom Kippur fast and break-fast is.
Take the bounty of appetizing offered at many a break-fast table—salmon, smoked salmon, sable, Nova Scotia, pickled herring, whitefish, and even gefilte fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. “These are good for the skin. The omega-3s serve as building blocks for healthy skin cell membranes. So when you break the fast, consider a food like salmon,” Zeichner says. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least twice a week because of the health benefits associated with omega-3s. Skin health is just one of them!
Authors of the forthcoming book Naked Calories Jayson Calton, PhD, and nutritionist and chef and Mira Calton, CN agree: “We love the lox—but forgo the traditional bagels,” the duo tells Beauty in the Bag. “Lox is smoked salmon and after fasting your body can really feast on the micronutrients in this food,” they say. “It’s best to whet your appetite with wild varieties like sockeye and coho for more than three times the recommended minimum daily dose of omega-3.”
Pick a Bagel
The problem with bagels is that most are considered refined carbs because they are made with white flour. These foods spike blood sugar, and can cause weight gain and acne. Choose whole wheat or whole grain bagels instead, and consider scooping out the inside. You will hardly notice and it adds some extra room to pile on your omega-3s. Whole grains are also rich in fiber ,which aids digestion and helps lower risk for heart disease. They also make you feel fuller for longer, which can help enhance weight loss efforts.
And don’t forget to hydrate! Most people start to feel cloudy and tired while fasting, and this is largely due to dehydration, says Miriam Wiener, a weight loss coach in Los Angeles, Calif. and the CEO of Kosher for Life International, LLC. Drinking water is also good for skin health. Hydrated skin is supple and radiant, while dry skin is well… dry. “For beauty—and for breaking the fast—you’ll want to focus on three things: hydration; healthy essential fats; and detoxifying fiber,” she says. “With this in mind, I always break the fast with a superfood smoothie. Smoothies are extremely filling, and when prepared properly, they can replenish and beautify your body from the inside out. Most importantly, smoothies are very easy to digest,” she says. Proper digestion is the key to a smooth, clear complexion and an energized body. “The very worst thing you can do after a fast—or anytime—s to bombard your body with an improperly combined heavy meal, or with inflammation-triggers such as white flour, sugar, and trans-fats.”
Wiener suggests this Vegetable Smoothie as a post-Fast mocktail.
8 ounces water, cranberry juice (no sugar added) or 4 ounces almond milk
2 heaping scoops raw sprouted rice protein powder
1 teaspoon raw coconut oil or coconut butter
2 tablespoons sprouted chia seed powder
1 green apple, cut in pieces
1 stalk celery, cut in pieces
1 handful fresh parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth, adding more liquid as desired.
Here’s to an easy fast!