Dear dumplings, earlier this month, I turned 32! This came with a litany of new complaints, like all my most recent birthdays. My body is often very creaky like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, which my ultra-fit friends also confirm is happening to them. I need sleep like a baby (ironically…). As I celebrated my birthday dinner with my parents in a hip indoor-outdoor vegan bar in NE Portland, I wondered what this incremental climb in my age will do to my romantic life—terrible things, probably. (In France though, it’s a different story. Vive la France ?? !!)
Having said all that, I’ve been very calm and happy about growing up. It’s wonderful doing what you love and being recognized for it, which wasn’t something I could say during most of my twenties. Freedom, self-respect, confidence, authenticity, fulfillment…these are some things that you earn in exchange for your time, and they’re well worth it. Plus, you can still nourish youthfulness with anti-aging tips and tricks galore.
When I say anti-aging, I don’t mean trying to look twenty years younger or erasing all signs of your biological age from your physique. A big part of anti-aging should be nourishing yourself from the inside, because your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health all play a role in your energy. I think of the process as making your age something to celebrate, a lovely moment in your blossoming as a human being—which never stops, does it? (You can feel free to call it pro-aging, if you will!)
Without further ado, here are my absolute favorite anti-aging tips that I use every single day.
Sauna & Cold Shower
After doing some serious “investigative journalism” on how Kate Moss dunks her face in ice-cold water to firm and tone her skin, I had to give this one a go. I have been using a sauna at my gym and rinsing with cold water (sometimes repeating this process 2, 3 times) for about a month now, and can testify that this tip really works. The sauna stimulates your lymphatic system, opens up your pores and releases build-up. The sudden shock of cold water stimulates blood flow to protect your organs and seals in your pores—and even revs up your metabolism. In my deep dive into French beauty secrets (courtesy of How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are), I’ve also read that this lifts and tones any area of the body that is gravity-prone. Based on my experience I believe that’s true, but my favorite thing about this is how poreless and even-textured my skin has become. Tip: at home, just switch back and forth between hot and cold water.
I’ve been using Bella Aura since 2016, and this luxury Swiss-formulated line is the best regimen I’ve ever found to correct my discoloration problem. I use the Antioxidant Booster ($120) as the first step after cleansing and spraying with floral water (I alternate between lavender, geranium, or rose—most natural brands you find at the health store will be fine). It’s followed by either the Daily Repair Moisturizer ($99) or the Night Cellular Renewal ($110). This combination is brightening, toning, revitalizing, and ultra-hydrating, and makes your skin look so quenched. The Instant Repair Eye Contour ($130) erases dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness, like magic. After wasting so much money on cheaper products that don’t deliver results, I can attest that these are worth every penny. Plus, this cruelty-free line works with women argan-oil growers to provide a sustainable local economy in Morocco. Tip: Get 15% off with promo code peacefuldumpling15!
Hemp Seeds & Nutritional Yeast
I don’t do fancy supplements—although that might change! I’ve used high-end vegan collagen supplements before but they fell short of promises, at least for me. The two things that make me go into panic mode if I run out, are hemp seeds (Omega-3) and nutritional yeast (B vitamins). Both have an almost immediate impact on my energy level and radiance. In France, I suffered from severely chapped lips and didn’t understand why no amount of lip balm could help. It turns out that I was eating nutritional yeast (levûre maltée) that effectively had zero B vitamins, which can lead to chapped lips and cracked corners of the mouth. I realized that indeed, whenever I’ve traveled without noosh in the past, this has happened. Riboflavin plays a major role in skin hydration (your lips are skin too, after all), Niacin reduces inflammation, Biotin keeps things glowy, Pantothenic Acid keeps pores clear, and B12 is your energy booster.
Because of my chapped lips problem, I’ve been honing in on moisturizing lips for the past several months. One thing that really helps me is slathering my lips with 5yina Quiscent Winter Oil ($25 for a trial size), which is their deeply hydrating and anti-aging oil. It’s also beautifully red and gives your lips a rosy tint. Tip: put serum and moisturizer on your lips as well as the rest of your face, top with aloe vera gel, then seal it all in with the oil. When your lips are truly dry, liquid oil seems to absorb better than balm.
In the past month, I’ve been averaging about 1 salad a day—some days I have salad for breakfast and lunch (true story), some days I don’t have any salad. Eating fresh, raw, organic vegetables almost every day has such a striking effect on my energy levels and radiance.
This might be the best tip of all. I tend to sleep 7-7.5 hours a night. If I feel genuinely tired while doing work, I take a quick break, go get some air, or even take a nap. I do this for my brain health—an area I’d like to keep young as much as possible—and my productivity has actually gone up from all the frequent breaking and napping. A number of studies show that breaking improves memory, motivation, creativity, and output, and it’s becoming increasingly evident that humans weren’t designed to work at maximum capacity for a sustained 8-hour stretch. (The work that doesn’t get done in normal business hours, I finish up later at night and on weekends.) Try negotiating for working remotely part of the week—you might be surprised. You could take an exercise class during your lunch hour or do a fika every afternoon. Prioritize sleep over activities that you don’t truly enjoy like social media. And spend more time in nature!
What are your favorite anti-aging secrets? Spill the beans!
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling, Kat Kennedy