383: 11 Health & Beauty Secrets for a Better Second Half, as taught by Liz Earle
Wednesday June 5, 2024

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With forty’s arrival five years ago, I gradually began to see subtle, very subtle changes in my skin, hair and physical body; however, as someone who has always been curious at a young age about staying healthy regarding what I eat, how I care for my body and skin, etc., I wasn’t necessarily surprised, but I also knew I wanted to become even more of a student learning how to best take care of my entire body and mind to prevent anything I did have control over, delay anything that while inevitable, need not be sped up by ignorant lack of care-taking, as well as prolong the quality of my living experience as cognitive and physical health and strength are key components to deepening the quality of everyday living, connections, opportunities, etc.

Ever the student, I ask questions incessantly, of any expert in their field I have the good fortune to work with, interview or schedule sessions with, and when I don’t know someone personally, I reach for books written by experts who have done research in their field of study. As well, reading content by someone, a woman, in this instance who has experienced and lived and is living through the changes of our body and skin and mind, has tried and knows what works in a healthy approach is very much looking up to a wise sister, aunt or mother. So when I learned that Liz Earle, a long-time veteran in the sustainable beauty and wellbeing arena beginning in the early 80s, she, now in her early 60s and not only looking amazing but is living an amazingly full and inspiring life (here is her personal IG account), had written a new book that is already a Sunday Times bestseller, but more importantly, it is worthy of that achievement because it is a book full of nuggets of valuable information to give you the keys to indeed living a better second half of your life, I purchased it, and read it in two nights. Now, I would like to share an introduction to 11 nuggets of valuable information she shares, and if these speak to you as well, I am confident you will appreciate all that the book includes.

1.Support Sirtuin Activity

What the heck are sirtuins you may be asking, as I did as well while reading this section of the book, so let me share what Earle writes. “Surtuins are a family of genes, which code for proteins, and are involved in cellular health, including SIRT2 that regulates inflammation and SIRT6 linked to longer lifespan.” When we support our sirtuin activity, “we are enhancing our ability to increase our life-/healthspan by protecting and repairing DNA. Sirtuins are considered important in the prevention of cancer, as they help detect when a cell is cancerous and suppress its replication.” Along with this awesome reason, sirtuins also protect our heart and improve our blood pressure, regulate glucose and fat metabolism and help cognitive function.

Now you may be asking, okay, how do I support sirtuin activity, and that is where understanding what nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is comes into play because Sirtuins will only do their job if they are given NAD+.

NAD+s are a “naturally occurring co-enzyme (form of niacin, vitamin B3) found in every cell of our bodies and is broadly used to help protect and energise cells . . . and one of its crucial roles is to feed our sirtuins so they can do their job repairing damaged DNA and improving our energy production.”

Okay, with all of that shared, how we increase our NAD+ is to actually experience some acute stress in the body. Intentionally caused, but only for a very short period of time. Earle shares that each morning at the end of her shower, she does a 60-second cold water (ice-cold) blast. Other ideas include 10 minutes of intense exercise, drinking green tea, eating spices or polyphenols – chili or ginger for example, or intermittent fasting. Food that contains NAD+ such as liver, chicken breast, pork, beef, avocado, brown rice and peas also help us in this area of needed nutrition.

Phew! Okay, so again, be sure to check out her book for more in-depth explanations, but this is a helpful nudge to welcoming acute stress even if it may be uncomfortable while we are engaged, we are helping our body and future health out in many ways we will never know because we will have avoided unwanted outcomes.

2. Reduce or eliminate your exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins

No doubt this suggestion is common sense to TSLL community, but it bears repeating to underscore the benefit we give ourselves when we avoid any of the pollutants or toxins below:

  • Don’t smoke or vape
  • avoid smoky environments
  • Avoid places that don’t have adequate ventilation and the air is full of toxic or unhealthy smells – dry cleaners, nail bars, etc.
  • Avoid using aerosol sprays in confined spaces without ventilation
  • Don’t breathe the fumes of household cleaning agents – all the more reason for all-natural cleaning products.
  • Alcohol
  • Heavy metals – mercury from deep sea fish and dental fillings

By tending to these areas we support our mitochondria – “parts of cells that generate most of the energy needed to power cellular activity . . . [they] also detoxify ammonia in our liver cells and play an important role in apoptosis, the removal of dead cells safely . . . when our mitochondria fail, our organs fail.”

3. Eat more fish

Specifically, “the oils found in fatty (oily) fish, notably DHA. When it comes to building a better brain, DHA is the real winner.” The lower the DHA levels, the more likely for cognitive decline. “MRI scans show that those with the most DHA in their diets have the least damage to white matters hyper intensities, important parts of the brain where nerve fibres carry signals deep within our brains.”

The oil fish Earle lists that will increase DHA levels are sardines, salmon, herring, anchovies, and mackerel.

Back in episode #336, a detailed episode shared oodles of ways to enhance the health of the brain as taught by Kimberley Wilson and her book How to Build a Healthy Brain.

4. Meditation makes a difference

When we meditate we are training our brain to be our ally, rather than being at its mercy when it retreats to survival mode and takes us with it which is not a boon for our health. We welcome the brain to rest and recharge when we meditate, but not only when we meditate. We are teaching our brain when we meditate how to rest and step back from incessantly thinking, so that we can do this when we need to throughout our day. Conscious awareness because our modus operandi when we utilize the tool of meditation that gives us back the reins of our brain.

To clarify the difference or the distinction between meditation and mindfulness: Meditation is a tool of mindfulness. “Meditation [allows] the mind to settle into a non-thinking state, allowing both brain and body to full rest. Mindfulness is actually an outcome of meditation, as once you come out of a meditative state, you automatically find yourself more aware and present in the moment . . . mindfulness involves effort to focus, for example on the beauty of a tree or object — not a bad thing in itself, but still using brain energy and thought to concentrate on being actively present or ‘mindful’ in the moment.”

~Learn more about the many other benefits and how to meditate here in this post, and when you enroll in TSLL’s Contentment Masterclass, part of one of the eight lessons discusses and teaches meditation as well as shares a guided meditation practice.

5. Refrain from making comparisons to others

The primary part of how to prioritise yourself is accepting that you deserve to BE prioritised. So it is a reseting of our mindset.

And much of our mindset is conditioned by the outside world, especially if we are living unconsciously, making decisions based on the applause or approval of others. When we stop comparing, we set ourselves free to really listen to what we need to feel nourished, not what other people or the culture say we need to do in order to be ‘normal’ or ‘on the right track’.

Earle writes, “What matters is that I respect myself enough to be the best version of me. How? By taking the time and actually carving out some space in my life to make this happen.”

6. Start the day well

Consciously design your morning to be nourishing and set the best tone for whatever you will encounter.

Here on the blog we’ve shared multiple times posts and episodes full of inspiration for starting the day well, so I will link those just below.

Now, Earle is a mother, so she recognizes that for many women especially, their mornings may not feel like they can design it as they need, but what I appreciate about her book is that she dismisses these ‘norms’ and again reminds us to nourish ourselves and shares ideas on how to do this while also caring well for our children.

Back to ideas for starting the day well, make sure it isn’t rushed, involve stretching, consciously express gratitude in a form that suits you – something we talk about here on the blog often and is detailed in the post below as taught by Jay Shetty – drink water, and while she has other suggestions, some I wouldn’t include, it really depends on what you need. She talks about gum health and how to best care for your teeth and mouth with the suggestion of using a water pick rather than floss as studies have shown them to be twice as effective. Making this change is something I have been thinking about switching to for a while now, so I did some exploring and found one that I will be picking up soon. Y0ou can check out Forbes’ list of the best ‘water flossers’ here.

7. Create more NAD+!

We talked in-depth about what NAD+ is above in #1, so when we increase NAD+ we are increasing the body’s ability to “assist over 500 enzymatic reactions as NAD+ is a co-enzyme found in all living cells thus increasing longevity. It is important to note that “it is not possible to effusively supplement directly with NAD+, but we can give the body the ingredients it needs to build its own supplies, so by giving the body niacin and other vitamin B3 derivatives. These can be found in foods such as “eggs, avocado, salmon, and dark leafy greens”. Again, Earle goes far more into depth about other ways to increase the production of NAD+ in her book. Exercise through strength training each week two times over the course of ten weeks has shown to increase NAD+ levels, so we’re seeing a lot of overlap in healthy lifestyle choices that improve the overall quality of our health and increase our longevity.

8. Understanding how collagen works in the body and how to stimulate it

Once we hit the age of 25, collagen levels start to decrease which over time causes fine lines, wrinkling of the skin and even join stiffening. We can’t prevent this natural occurrence from happening, but we can re-stimulate it to produce more collagen naturally. There is not a one and done method for re-stimulation, but it prolongs the effects of aging from occurring, or occurring so rapidly. Not only for our skin’s benefit, but our cardiac tissue, our gut lining, and bone density.

Earle points out that if you are looking to add collagen, “all collagen comes from animal sources as collagen does not exist in the plant kingdom, so either from bovine (beef) sources or marine (using fish skin).” So there are supplements and skincare products you can use as well as methods to restimulate collagen such as laser resurfacing (Clear + Brilliant or Fraxel treatments – I have undergone the C + B, something you would do only a couple times a year – an investment but absolutely shows awesome skin firming results and reduction of wrinkles and fine lines), as well as LED lights (Earle recommends Cellreturn Platinum LED face mask and uses it most nights before bed). Regarding the LED mask brands, she shares that the “most effective ones are those that are medical-grade and are inevitably pricey, but independent testing has shown Cellreturn to come out on top. I do genuinely consider this to be a worthwhile piece of pro-aging kit and a valid investment”.

9. Skincare ingredients worth including in your regular regimen

Earle has been involved in skincare and beauty for decades in Britain and even has her own skincare line. She reminds that while she has sold her company, named after her, and has no connection with them, she still uses two of the original products – the cream cleanser – Cleanse & Polish, and muslin cloth. With that said, she has continued to update her own skincare regimen to include “specific pro-aging benefits”. She shares that the following five ingredients are the ones she comes back to time and time again:

  • Hyaluronic acid — for hydrating the skin. Naturally found in the body, it declines with age in skin and joints, so supplements, creams/serums, and even injectables are available with this ingredient (do check to ensure your product has varying weights of hyaluronic acid as based on low or high, it will penetrate either only to the surface levels or deeper and you want all weights so everything is benefitted. This is why there is such a price variation. Often the cheaper products do not have varying weights.)
  • Retinol — derived from vitamin A, retinol (available in varying percentages, so check this out before you purchase and know how the product will work with your skin) plumps, smooths and brightens the skin because reduces the breakdown of collagen and speeds up skin cell turnover, “so fresh young skin cells are encouraged nearer the skin’s surface, reducing fine lines and wrinkles”. Be sure to use this product at night as it can make your skin sensitive to light. Be sure to add it to your neck and chest-area as well.
  • Rosehip oil — A natural plant oil with a high vitamin E content, it also contains natural carotenoids (antioxidants that help guard against cell damage) and trans retinoid acid (which helps to renew skin cells). Earle points out that this is not as powerful as retinol, but “it is an excellent facial oil . . . and can be especially soothing for sentivie skin and can help calm breakouts and minor skin irritations. Used regularly, rosehip oil can help fade scars and reduce skin discoloration.”
  • Niacinamide — “another key ingredient [Earle] likes to see in serums and night creams”. A type of vitamin B3 that is helpful for inflammatory skin conditions. Niacinamide helps to build keratin proteins in the skin, strengthening the epidermis to prevent moisture loss and “5% concentrations have been shown to reduce age spots”.
  • Azelaic acid — used primarily to treat acne and rosacea and reduce pigmentation. Earle shares that due to it containing a natural tyrosine inhibitor which helps control melanin production in skin cells, she has found it effective in reducing age spots on her face and back of her hands. (links to articles that have shopped and ranked products with this ingredient for best results – here and here)

10. The gift we give ourselves when we find our purpose

When we find something that both gives us purpose and equally nourishes us as we engage with it, it is life giving, life changing and liberating. As it pertains to relationships, when we know our purpose, we have found out how to be secure within ourselves, grounded, and we need to be able to know we are best grounded all on our own and how that happens. Finding our purpose is the way. Earle writes, “Sometimes we stay with our significant others because we’re scared of being alone, so the first step to being happy and finding a fulfilling relationship is to feel happy and fulfilled in our own skin.”

11. Exercise regularly gratitude

Especially in our culture today, if we don’t exercise the muscle of gratitude, it isn’t encouraged. Rather we are conditioned to think we do not have enough, and thus need more – to buy, or to become more – so therefore are not content in the present moment. It is an unsettling place we hold when we forget to take in all that we have to be grateful for and that includes our relationships and to not take what is going well for granted. By practicing gratitude in small ways throughout our day (whether just by noting them mentally, or writing them down or expressing them verbally), we become habituated in the best possible of ways of seeing all that is going well, and we see that in our relationships with others as well as with ourselves – noting how we are caring well for ourselves, living with ease and making wise decisions for today and tomorrow, so we begin to strengthen this muscle and here is some exciting news that Earle shares, “Gratitude is also a superpower that improves longevity and supports the immune system. Studies show that feeling thankful improves quality of sleep, boosts our moods, decrease our risk of depression and anxiety and can even help ease physical pain and risk of disease.” Well, then, a daily exercise of gratitude it will be! 🙂

There is so much good news about how we can care well for ourselves and effectively improve our health from the inside out as well as look our best, feeling great. We just need to know how it all works, and Liz Earle’s new book provides an abundance of science-based research to reassure us of what is best.

If any of the points in today’s episode spoke to you or you found helpful, there is so much more to explore and learn in A Better Second Half and I am confident you will find it to be a wonderful resource.

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Season 4, L’Agence (The Paris Agency)

~Click here to read my review (or tune in to the end of episode #383)

Episode 331

Friend of TSLL and the podcast (listen to episode #169), Géraldine Lepère, founder and creator and teacher of Comme une Française reviewed the series from the perspective of a French viewer and applauded the series for being designed for a French audience, depicting it as far more true to French culture and lifestyle than many other series set in France or specifically Paris.

~Explore more episodes of The Simple Sophisticate here.


3 thoughts on “383: 11 Health & Beauty Secrets for a Better Second Half, as taught by Liz Earle

  1. I’m a big fan of Liz. Looks like you enjoyed her book Shannon. As I’ve mentioned in ‘A Cuppa Moments’Have seen how she’s built her business of health and well being and always championing the health of women especially at the menopause stage. Liz looks great but she has a batterie of aids some of which are pricey but on her well being website, she offers a ‘Liz loves ‘code for certain products she uses . She always tests the products before she recommends them. She champions female entrepreneurs.
    Her daughter is the English agent for these masks and I think she offered a discount but not sure if it’s still available . Personally I’ve been practicing the cold shower therapy everyday before she made it popular and I can vouch for its effectiveness. It’s so energising!. There are a few other well being practices that’s mentioned that I’ve been doing for years . Not sure if this mentioned in the book( haven’t received mine as yet) but I do this daily practice of oil pulling for oral care. You can use coconut, sesame or castor oil. I use castor oil as this only takes 2 minutes.Swirl it around your mouth for 10-15 minutes( coconut and sesame) discard before brushing your teeth .This is a very ancient Ayurvedic practice.
    After our 20’s collagen diminishes! We can do quite a bit ourselves to help with collagen destruction. Avoiding sugar, highly process foods,UV light and smoking. I rely on a protein rich diet including plant protein and take marine collagen derived from fish. It has greater bioavailability meaning it’s easier to absorb in the body more easily than collagen from other sources.
    Need to research which ones are most suited to individual needs. Collagen supplements are not regulated the same way as medicines. Also some people cannot take supplements derived from certain animals. I don’t consume porc and so I avoided them.
    Fun fact: Gummy candy is recommended to help boost collagen production.
    Liz also has a subscription to her seasonal magazine which is a great read and her podcast is very informative.. I recommend both. Kameela😊

    1. Interesting that gummy candy can help boost collagen. I need to research that fact. I also partake in the one minute of cold water at the end of the shower which is totaling energizing. It is true that lack of awareness and care can show up on and in our bodies later in life. Taking care of our temple should be a journey of pleasure and an act of love.

  2. The book is interesting – am not through it. On the audio format, she did not provide a pdf of resources. Audible is working to obtain a pdf from the author as she frequently references resources at the end of the chapter (which are not present in the audio form). I always read with a bit of healthy and cheerful skepticism when someone claims to “have the answers” in medicine or puts their methods in a rank-order or competition with other methods. It is always welcome when there is appreciation and complementary and integrated approaches and authors interpreting a specialty matter reviewed by reputable individuals in that field (art, history, medicine, etc) and others. Thank you for bringing this book to our attention!

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