Forever young

Deepa Ballal
Filed on April 25, 2021

Learn the tricks to keeping soft and supple skin for life from the experts

We live in a society that is obsessed with looking young. From gawking at celebs to consulting agony aunts, our quest for that age-reversing elixir seems endless. The sight of a wrinkle or grey hair is enough to throw us into the dungeons of despair. With our cabinets brimming with miracle potions and chemical lotions, we fail to figure out what could fix it. The truth is, we underplay the role of processed food, stress, hydrogenated oil, sugar, toxic relationships and a dormant lifestyle, all of which and more contribute to those laugh lines, baggy eyes or saggy skin.

Many even choose to go under the knife and wake up only to sue for the botched-up process. Others don't wink an eyelid while spending a fortune to meet some dubious beauty standards just to validate their worth. It's time to look for options that can iron out the lines of ageing naturally by healing us not just externally but internally too. We are done with quick fixes, aren't we?

We meet a few entrepreneurs and health coaches who have adopted a holistic approach to health and share some tips as to how one can slow down and prevent, the mental and physical signs of ageing.

Surekha Sadana

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Talking to her soon after her 51st birthday, Sadana doesn't seem to have aged one bit. Based in Dubai, India, and London, she has successfully helped people lose weight, clear their skin, balance their hormones and reverse lifestyle diseases through a whole plant-based diet.
Be it churning mouthwatering recipes and sharing on the different WhatsApp groups, conducting free meditation classes or counselling her clients, she believes in replacing medicine with natural remedies and the right kind of supplements to bring back the ancient wisdom of healing with food.

Food especially plant-based not only help in alkalisation and detoxification but also correct digestive function. "A healthy gut is a key to reverse ageing and ensure longevity," agrees Sadana. "What's the use of being beautiful with underlying health issues?" she quips. She strongly defies treating the skin alone for age-related problems.

For one to feel and look young she insists one has to work on their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. "It is the interconnectedness of these four that can help us heal," she sums up. A staunch believer in the circadian (sleep-wake) rhythm she feels good to sleep is what can cure many age-related ailments. Beauty sleep is not a passing phrase after all. "Even practising intermittent fasting can do wonders to one's overall health," she adds. Apart from this, one has to do things that make them happy be it dancing, singing or drawing. "You see, this is what keeps us alive from within," says Sadan. It is this cumulative effort that shows on one's skin and rejuvenates it.

Some of her daily skincare routines include brewing different herbal teas, having a gooseberry or a tsp of gooseberry powder with water early in the morning on an empty stomach, using a homemade face wash, herbal toner, and an exfoliating powder.

Face wash: Gram flour, sandalwood powder, fuller's, turmeric and a few saffron strands mixed with water or rose water. Apply and leave for two minutes and rinse.
Exfoliating face mask (apply twice a week): Mix almond powder, oats powder, a few saffron strands and honey/maple syrup. Apply gently and rinse after 15 minutes.

Sunmeet Taluja Marwaha

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Being a Dutch citizen, Holland's environment-friendly culture was always deeply ingrained in Marwaha and in her journey to keep her family healthy, she embarked on a mission to go completely natural. In 2017, she started Natuur (nature in Dutch) with her husband and mentor Atul, to provide people with chemical-free options in body and home care products. Today it sells around 250 products, all-natural. Soon UAE-based Organic&Real would have Natuur products on their shelves.

"Experts believe that on an average 700 chemicals are coursing through our bodies, many of which were lathered into our hair before we could write our ABC's; potent hormone disruptors, formaldehyde and cancer-causing 1,4 dioxane to name a few," reveals Marwaha.

Based in Gurgaon, she also conducts workshops and encourages people to read labels and buy wisely. "Never buy a skincare product that has a warning sign on it. The rule of thumb is what you cannot eat, you should not be using on your body or for cleaning your home," she suggests.

"Going natural is indeed a very liberating and empowering experience," she sums up. For anti-ageing, she suggests an age-old Ayurvedic technique of oil pulling (swishing a tablespoon of oil like organic coconut oil as a mouthwash on an empty stomach) and an oil cleansing face wash made by blending different oils.

Sandhyaashree Rajiv

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When Mumbai-based Rajiv accompanies her 22-year-old daughter to college, many end up asking if she was there to enrol herself for a postgraduate course, a compliment that she gracefully accepts today. But her journey from battling with self-esteem issues to graciously accepting herself has not been less than a saga. Constantly reminded of her weight, she always sought comfort in food. All of this took its toll; she looked much older. "In 2005 I turned vegan and for the first time, I had total clarity about what to put in my mouth. I lost six kg in a month," says an elated Rajiv. Since then, she has managed to lose 20 kg and sustain it too.

With the right food coupled with an exercise routine, she managed to even run in a couple of marathons. When asked to list things that accelerate ageing; negative thinking tops her list.
Today, she is a life coach and an expert in alternative healing techniques; and through her initiative Catharsis, has helped people all over the globe realise their life purpose. "I also tell people how not to eat and how the wrong food ages you," she says with a smile. Understanding one's hunger pattern and how not to succumb to emotional eating, and the benefits of autophagy, the body's way of cleaning out damaged cells to regenerate newer, healthier cells, through intermittent fasting constitute the gamut of her work.

It's high time we worked on improving our overall health to slow ageing; after all, we all want to get better with age.

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