We’re often told to “look within” to find the answers, but what if we told you that it might be the opposite when it comes to gut health? Our body gives us many clues (some obvious, some not) about what’s going on with our health but what we want to discuss today, is the importance of gut health and why your skin could be the peephole into your wellbeing.

Carla Oats, journalist and founder of supplement brand, The Beauty Chef, is a driving force when it comes to establishing the link between the gut and our skin. Her own journey began with her struggles with eczema and allergies as a child and noticing the same symptoms in her daughter when she became a mother. In a bid to improve her family’s health, she implemented a gut-healing protocol of probiotic-rich, lacto-fermented whole foods and the results were outstanding.

This lead to the birth of The Beauty Chef. Her best-selling GLOW powder (launched in 2009) was the world’s first living, bio-fermented, probiotic supplement, which established a whole new category of ingestible beauty products. Below she shares more about her journey and her advice on how to use her supplements to support your gut and improve your skin.

We are huge lovers of the beauty chef here at H&H and use it as part of our everyday routine, what can long-term users expect from Beauty Chef products?
Just like you have a daily outer beauty routine, The Beauty Chef products are designed to work synergistically together as a complete inner beauty routine to promote gut health and beauty from the inside, out. They are also intended to be products that fit seamlessly into your lifestyle to support your skin, health and well-being long-term. My philosophy – beauty begins in the belly – is at the heart of our brand and aside from promoting radiant skin, all of our formulas work to nourish your gut health. This means that long-term users of The Beauty Chef report clearer, firmer, more glowing skin, balanced digestion, more energy and healthy, strong hair and nails.

We know that gut health is at the heart of The Beauty Chef, how did you become aware of gut health and how did it inspire you to create the products?
My whole philosophy and The Beauty Chef brand was really born out of my own experience with eczema and allergies. As a child, I saw a naturopath who dramatically changed my diet and this had a profound impact on my skin. So, early on, I really began to understand and appreciate the link between gut health and skin health.

Then, about 10 years ago, my own daughter began experiencing similar skin issues which led me to do further research into what might be causing them. After investigating various studies that looked at what we eat and how food affects the gut, I put my family on a gut-healing protocol which included lots of lacto-fermented wholefoods. After including these foods regularly in the meals I cooked for my family, I noticed a profound difference in my daughter’s skin as well as the improved well-being of the whole family. When friends also began to ask me why my skin looked so ‘glowy’, I knew I was onto something and started lacto-fermenting 24 superfoods that had powerful skin benefits in my kitchen at home – and essentially, this was how GLOW, my first inner beauty product, was created.

Gut Health - The Beauty Chef

What are the ingredients that make The Beauty Chef so beneficial for our gut health?
What really sets The Beauty Chef apart from other brands is our choice of certified organic or biodynamic wholefood ingredients and our unique bio-fermentation process – Flora Culture™ – which involves introducing a mother culture into our ingredients to ferment for a period of 6–8 weeks. This process supercharges our ingredients, making them more bioavailable for the body to use, and it also creates a natural, food-based probiotic. This means that the final formula is not only packed with skin-loving superfood ingredients but prebiotics (to feed the good bacteria in your gut) as well as probiotics and postbiotics.

Most of us probably don’t know the state of our gut, what are the things to look out for that link to having unhealthy gut health?
While symptoms of gut health issues can be incredibly varied, the skin is often a great barometer for what’s going on inside the gut. While it might not sound very glamorous, the gut is where 70% of our immune system lies, it’s where we make nutrients, metabolise hormones, neutralise pathogens and make detoxifying enzymes – so it’s super important to get your digestive health in check in order to feel well and of course, experience clear, glowing skin. There is also more and more research showing the link between gut health and skin issues such as eczema, acne and rosacea and that’s why I’m so passionate about educating people about the gut/skin connection. Where there is gut inflammation, there will be skin inflammation so this is why it’s so important to address gut health because once you do, your skin will radiate a glow that no amount of topical treatments and cosmetics can replicate.

What are the first signs of having a healthy gut and how long does it take to really gain an impact on your overall health?
It truly depends on the gut health issues you’re dealing with. For someone dealing with chronic inflammation, leaky gut or a parasite, for example, the first step to healing their gut will be more complex and important than someone who simply wants to improve their general digestion (but has no underlying gut health issues). In saying that however, once you start to nourish your gut with lots of healing whole foods, you can see results fairly quickly and research shows that you can also influence the diversity and balance of microbiota in your gut in just a few days.

Again, your skin is a really great window into your gut and often people will notice clearer, healthier, less congested skin before anything else. In a consumer trial of our GLOW Inner Beauty Powder, for example, 95% of participants reported an improvement in pre-existing skin conditions (such as eczema and rosacea) after just one month’s use!

Are beauty chef products for people with a certain skin type or do you recommend it for all types?
The Beauty Chef products are certainly designed to work with all skin types but we also have a really wonderful tool called ‘Your Remedy’ which allows you to create your personal ‘3-Step Inner Beauty Solution’ based on your primary skin and lifestyle concerns. For example, while we consider GLOW Inner Beauty Powder your essential daily beauty blend and something that is great for all skin types, our CLEANSE Inner Beauty Powder is perfect for skin that is particularly congested or when you feel like you’re in need of a seasonal cleanse or detox. Our BOOST range is also designed to complement your chosen ESSENTIAL and target specific skin concerns. So, if you’re concerned about skin texture and fine lines, you would choose COLLAGEN, while if sun damaged or stressed skin is your primary concern, ANTIOXIDANT would be a great fit. And finally, if your skin is dehydrated and you’re looking to support cellular hydration from within, HYDRATION is a great option! The third step in your routine would be from our SUPPORT range which, depending on your primary lifestyle concerns, consists of SLEEP Inner Beauty Powder – a delicious anti-inflammatory nighttime tonic which promotes restful, restorative sleep – and BODY Inner Beauty Powder, which is an incredible wellness protein powder designed to bring your whole body back into balance.

Which types of food do you eat on a daily basis to additionally help your gut health?
I’m such a foodie and I absolutely believe that beauty is an inside-out process, so I have found that unprocessed, organic, low GI and low HI (human intervention) whole foods are the best way to promote gut health, glowing skin and overall wellbeing. Not surprisingly, I always make sure that I include of lots of prebiotic and probiotic-rich lacto-fermented wholefoods – like sauerkraut, kimchi and The Beauty Chef products – in my diet as I know they have such a profound and positive effect on gut health. Leafy greens and fibre-rich foods also make up a large part of my diet as they feed your gut microbes and I also think that healthy omega-3-rich fats are essential as well, for both gut health and skin health. Found in foods like nuts and seeds, avocados and oily fish, healthy fats are not only integral to gut health but also brain, heart and immune health and they are super nourishing for the skin too.

What is the one top tip that you swear by to gain a healthy gut?
More lacto-fermented foods and The Beauty Chef products, of course!

SHOP The Beauty Chef online at Hipandhealthy.com