By Sarah McColl
Deepak Chopra and Kimberly Snyder, a nutritionist and author of the Beauty Detox book series, have a radical idea: They want us to feel beautiful—and they don’t want us to suffer for it.
“Radical beauty is about shifting your state of consciousness from the inside out so that your face and your skin reflect what’s happening deep inside you,” Chopra said. “So radical beauty is not about polishing the flower petals, it’s about nourishing the root.”
Their new book, Radical Beauty: How to Transform Yourself from the Inside Out, outlines the six pillars that contribute to this shift. The time-tested, 5,000 year-old Indian wellness system known as Ayurveda—roughly translated as life-knowledge or science of life—forms the backbone of many of the suggestions within the book. The guiding principle is this: Everything in nature works together in harmony. As is the great, so is the small.
That means every little thing is an expression of a big one. Consider not the number of carbs we consumed in last-night’s nacho plate, but how our energy feels today; not our shadowy under-eye circles but the quality of our sleep and pre-bedtime rituals. When the basic elements of everyday life are in balance—including what we eat, how we move our bodies, how we rest and connect with others, the outdoors, as well as with ourselves—that’s radical beauty.
None of this is a quick-fix—a radical beauty concept in and of itself. Though the practices and recipes (like Snyder’s famous Glowing Green Smoothie) will likely make you feel like a goddess immediately, what Ayurveda and the Radical Beauty authors encourage are consistent daily habits and seasonal shifts to bring your life, and yes, your looks, in balance.
“You should put forth intentions for a joyful, energetic body; a loving and compassionate heart; a reflective, quiet, alert mind; and lightness of spirit,” Chopra said. Meditate on that.
Radical Beauty Tips for Fall
From an Ayurvedic standpoint, fall is ruled by the air-based energetic element, Vata. Out of balance, this element can heighten feelings of stress and anxiety—familiar sensations during the season when we swing ‘back to school,’ even if just in spirit. Chopra and Snyder suggest these grounding measures to feel anchored in body, mind and spirit, and achieve beauty and balance this fall:
Fire Up the Stove for Fall Veggies
Dipping temperatures call us back into the kitchen for cold-weather food pleasures like roasted veggies and fall produce. In season now: Beautifying mushrooms—considered a tonic for several systems of the body and one of the few food sources of vitamin D—plus Brussels sprouts, turnips, daikon radish, and cauliflower, served up with quinoa, brown rice or amaranth.
Make Time for Tea Time
Lemon balm, chamomile, valerian root, ashwagandha or tulsi tea can all help chill you out. Look for these ingredients in tea blends touted for “relaxing” or “anti-anxiety” benefits or source the herbs individually.
Eat Slowly for Better Digestion
If Vata’s air element is out of balance, it can lead to constipation. Keep things moving by filling your plate with fiber-rich foods, taking a magnesium-oxygen supplement as needed (the authors recommend Detoxy +), and always remembering to make a ritual out of the meal, eating slowly and mindfully.
Alert: Chopra and Snyder call this the foremost anti-aging practice we can incorporate into daily life. Each morning, spend 5 to 10 minutes massaging warm sesame oil over your entire body (use cooling coconut in warmer months). Use circular motions over rounded areas like your feet, and long, straight movements over the limbs. Give extra attention to your feet, hands and fingernails, or just your feet and scalp if you’re time-pressed. According to the authors, this simple daily ritual soothes the nervous system with rejuvenating effects that can help organs grow stronger and promote skin that glows.
Saturate Your Skin
Colder temperatures can lead to certain areas of the skin needing a bit of extra TLC. Slick on lip balms made with natural ingredients like shea butter, olive oil and vitamin E (steer clear of the ones that are petroleum-based), use mild cleansers free from artificial fragrances, upgrade to an oil-based moisturizer, and keep your hands soft with a thick cream. Outside, wrap your neck and hands in scarves and gloves to keep your now-hydrated skin protected from the elements.
Don’t Neglect Your Downtime
Fall should be a gentle season of transition—just look at those changing leaves!—but this time of year can pass by in a blur if we’re not paying attention. The start of school in September leads quickly into the holidays and culminates in a raft of end-of-year deadlines. Balance stress by creating downtime for yourself with whatever rituals help you feel nourished and grounded: meditation, massage, cooking big, slow batches of soups, curling up on the couch by candlelight, or climbing into bed early with a book.
Mother Nature couldn’t give us a better excuse.