Aging Where? Not On My Watch

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by KeOnte Criswell

For us over 40 dolls, we know all too well how much the skin changes. Long gone are the days when we could stay out all night, sleep for 5 minutes, splash water on our faces, and be at work the next day looking bright-eyed and perky. Now, even with a solid 7-step skincare routine and a full night’s rest, someone will occasionally ask “Are you feeling okay? You look a little tired.” Yes, Jerry, I’m fine! I’m just old. Also, I’ll be napping in my car at lunch.

Since time will inevitably march across all of our faces (don’t you love a good Steel Magnolias reference) here are a few foods to help slow down Fatha Time.

Red bell pepper: These girls are carrying. They’ve got a high content of vitamin C (you need this for collagen production) as well as carotenoids. They’re incredibly versatile as well. They can be cooked into dishes (have you tried them in sautéed spinach?) or you can eat them raw with hummus, in a salad, or on their own. You have to admit, red bell peppers get that crudite party popping.

Blueberries: I’m not a big blueberry fan but toss them in pancakes, muffins, or smoothies and I’m all in. While they may not be my zuzh (it’s a word, just trust me), I appreciate all blueberries have to offer. These tiny girls have vitamins A and C and also anthocyanin, an age-defying antioxidant. I don’t have to like you to respect you, Miss Blueberry.

Fortified plant-based milk: I’m not a vegan/vegetarian doll at all. I developed an intolerance to lactose in my 40s. We all know how important vitamin D and calcium are for bone health but did you know there’s a link between gut health and acne? Before I was diagnosed with IBS, I was constantly fighting acne despite a pretty healthy diet and a consistent skincare routine. It was all because I had a leaky gut. This allowed harmful bacteria by-products to get into my bloodstream and make their way to my skin. The girls were starting a protest on my face! “No more cow’s milk!” So friends, if you’re having breakouts around the cheekbones (stomach), eyebrow area (gallbladder), or jawline and chin area (hormonal imbalance/diet) consider making the move from dairy.

Dark, leafy greens: I know you’ve heard it a thousand times about how ‘these vegetables are full of good B vitamins and vitamins A, C, E, and K.’ You also know they have a bunch of carotenoids antioxidants that protect cells (remember, cells replicate every day so play nice with them). And maybe you just don’t like spinach and kale no matter how well it’s sauteed and seasoned with a little olive oil, a dash of sea salt, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. That’s okay! We’re Southerners and we love a good batch of collard/turnip/mustard greens. They count also. I know I said I’m not vegan/vegetarian but I do dabble. My favorite way to cook greens is with chicken broth, no meat. I know what you’re thinking. Trust me when I tell you it’s still fabulous and hasn’t got my Southern card revoked.

Red wine: I bet you thought I was going to say water. Yes, water is the BEST girl on the block. She is Queen B. You don’t need me to tell you that. Let’s talk about my underrated homegirl, red wine. She has a high concentration of the polyphenol, resveratrol, in her bag (swag). Polyphenols are antioxidants that boss up on those naughty free radicals that don’t want to see you win. After you’ve had a long hard day of peopling and adulting a glass of your favorite red wine can help you relax, unwind, and de-frown your face helping to stave off wrinkles. Word on the street is that Oregon pinot noirs are high in polyphenols and European wines have a higher polyphenol concentration than American wines. Personally, I love a good a Spanish wine, how about you? Before you go off to indulge, let me share with you the wise words of the king of R&B, Bobby Brown: drink responsibility. Yes he meant responsibly and yes he was stone cold sober at the time. Despite the flawed delivery, he’s right folks. Drink responsibly and in moderation.

If you’re not a drinker, go for some dark chocolate. My personal fave is Ghirardelli’s dark chocolate with sea salt and caramel. Gather your coins because she is not a cheap chocolate but she’s truly one of the best.