In­side knowl­edge

Country Style - - HEALTH AND BEAUTY -

JULI­ETTE WIN­TER TALKS WITH CARLA OATES, THE BEAUTY CHEF, ABOUT FER­MENTED FOODS AND HOW DI­GES­TION AF­FECTS THE SKIN.

arla Oates’s in­ter­est in the power of plants be­gan as a hobby and be­came a suc­cess­ful ca­reer. Based in Bondi and the founder of the skin­care and in­ner beauty brand, The Beauty Chef, Carla spends as much time con­nect­ing with na­ture as her busy sched­ule al­lows. “I love Syd­ney but I also ap­pre­ci­ate how easy it is to leave the hus­tle and bus­tle with so many great places so close,” she says. “I like bush­walk­ing — the south coast is a favourite, as my fam­ily has a hol­i­day house in Kiama. It’s so beau­ti­ful there, the best of both worlds — you have both the beach and the coun­try.” Carla’s cu­rios­ity about plant-based in­gre­di­ents blos­somed while work­ing as a beauty editor on body+soul, a weekly sup­ple­ment in News Corp news­pa­pers, 15 years ago. Af­ter re­search­ing the ben­e­fits of look­ing af­ter your skin with ac­tive plant com­pounds, Carla be­gan ex­per­i­ment­ing with her own beauty recipes us­ing or­ganic food from the kitchen and fresh herbs from her gar­den. “I firmly be­lieve that nat­u­ral skin­care is su­per ac­tive,” she says. “Plants are rich in an­tiox­i­dants that pro­tect them from the en­vi­ron­ment and when we con­sume or ap­ply these plants, they trans­fer many of the same ben­e­fits. Plants are rich in vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, es­sen­tial fatty acids, al­pha hy­droxyl acids, and en­zymes; they are cleans­ing, anti-inf lam­ma­tory, anti-bac­te­rial and re­gen­er­a­tive. We have a syn­ergy with plant life that can’t be repli­cated by syn­thetic chem­i­cals.” De­mand for her home­made skin­care balm and in­ner beauty pow­ders — both rich in fer­mented in­gre­di­ents — f lour­ished along­side The Beauty Chef ’s core phi­los­o­phy: di­ges­tive health as the key to ra­di­ant skin. “Our gut is where 70 per cent of the im­mune sys­tem lies,” she says. “It’s where we metabolise hor­mones, make detox­i­fy­ing en­zymes and make nu­tri­ents, and so much of what goes on in our di­ges­tive sys­tem can im­pact on our skin.” Ideally, it’s best to con­sume a range of fer­mented foods, as each has dif­fer­ent strains of good bac­te­ria. Sauer­kraut, ke­fir (a fer­mented milk drink) and kom­bucha (fer­mented tea) for ex­am­ple, all have their own par­tic­u­lar or­gan­isms. Although the skin is the body’s largest or­gan, it’s also the last to re­ceive vi­tal feed­ing — if you’re nu­tri­ent-def icient or have a slug­gish di­ges­tive sys­tem that’s not ab­sorb­ing them ef­fec­tively, your skin is the f irst to miss out, leav­ing it look­ing lack­lus­tre. “There is more and more sci­en­tif ic re­search show­ing the ways in which di­ges­tive health and pro­bi­otics play a huge role in skin health,” Carla says. Whether she’s bush­walk­ing or strolling by the sea, Carla’s in­spi­ra­tion for bet­ter health and beau­ti­ful skin stems from the nat­u­ral won­ders around her. “We don’t need to make su­per-duper syn­thetic in­gre­di­ents in a lab,” she says. “Fer­men­ta­tion turns nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents into su­per nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents — ac­tive, bal­anced and re­ju­ve­nat­ing.”

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