Wondering what the latest beauty trend for fall is? It could be mirror fasting.
The "movement" started, claims The Guardian, when bloggers like Autumn Whitefield-Madrano became aware of their "mirror face." She tells the paper: "Whenever I saw my reflection I'd open my eyes a little wider, suck in my cheeks a little and tip my chin down in an effort to make myself look more like I wanted to. It made me feel really vain."
To counteract such feelings, she went on a month-long mirror fast in an effort to become less self-conscious. She adds: "I wanted to see how much my mood was affected by the way I perceived my looks." (It turns out, her mood could be ruined by negative mirror self-talk.) Similar missions have since been undertaken by Kjerstin Gruys of the blog "Mirror Mirror... Off The Wall" (she fasted for 12 months before her wedding).
While taking steps to boost one's self-esteem is always good in our books, this news has us wondering: can depriving yourself of anything ever be positive?
Refinery 29 writers think not. Here's their take: "Social anthropologists claim this trend is a form of denial and suggest that the real trick is to look into the mirror and accept yourself, blemishes and all."
And The Daily Mail quotes a psychologist at the Centre for Appearance Research, Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs, who says mirror-fasting is just another way to obsess about your appearance. "When working with people who have issues around body image, we encourage the "mirror exposure technique" -- to look in the mirror and take a less critical approach."
So what say you: is this trend a boon for women's self-esteem or is it a total bust?
Check out these seven unlikely beauty foods.
Seaweed, like dulse, nori or kelp, is an incredibly concentrated source of nutrition. It is especially good for minerals like iron, manganese, iodine, copper, zinc and selenium that are important for beauty. Both <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/16796808/ns/today-today_health/t/losing-your-locks-these-foods-can-help/#.ToyHwxVPmKN" target="_hplink">zinc and iron</a> are strong hair essentials, while <a href="http://www.annlouise.com/blog/2011/09/15/mighty-manganese-and-sexy-selenium-the-secret-bone-building-minerals/" target="_hplink">manganese</a> is critical for strong bones and connective tissue. And the <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/471610-minerals-for-fingernails-and-fine-hair/" target="_hplink">iodine</a> in seaweed is processed by the thyroid gland to become thyroid hormone, which stimulates energy production and the growth of hair and nails.
<a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/487190-nutritional-yeast-amino-acids/" target="_hplink">Nutritional yeast</a> may be an acquired taste, but knowing that it's packed with skin-strengthening B-complex vitamins, 18 amino acids and an impressive lineup of minerals sure helps in learning to love it. Nutritional yeast is also a complete protein. Sprinkle some over air-popped popcorn for a savory snack that's great for your skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar can help your digestion by stimulating stomach acids, promoting the healthy growth of intestinal flora and balancing pH, according to "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0373892322/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=beaiswel-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=0373892322" target="_hplink">The Beauty Detox Solution</a>," by Kimberly Snyder. It's a skin food that many swear by for good health. If you're not ready to drink a spoonful straight from the bottle (or diluted in a cup of water), sprinkle it over your salads in place of vinaigrette.
They may smell less than lovely, but sardines are beauty foods all the way. They're among the group of oily, cold water fish that is well known for high <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/317267-what-are-the-health-benefits-of-sardines/" target="_hplink">omega-3 content</a>, making them a must for healthy, supple skin, decreased inflammation and a reduction in the hormone IGF-1 that has been linked to pore-clogging oils. Sardines are also packed with calcium and vitamin D for strong bones. (Quite beautiful, no?) If you're squeamish about eating these little fish, buy the boneless, skinless variety. Spread a little on a cracker or a bed of greens, with a squeeze of lemon on top. Wild-caught, Pacific varieties are the most sustainable choices.
This cruciferous veggie is packed with anti-aging<a href="http://www.wellsphere.com/brain-health-article/cabbage-and-its-health-benefits/1393502" target="_hplink"> phytonutrients</a> and the antioxidant <a href="http://news.menshealth.com/fork-it-up/2011/06/17/" target="_hplink">sulforaphane</a>, which helps the body manufacture another powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant compound called glutathione. The pungent smell of cabbage is actually reflective of its benefits: Cabbage is rich in sulfur, a true beauty nutrient that fights infections, cleanses the liver and strengthens hair, skin and nails, according to "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1556437323/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=beaiswel-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&creativeASIN=1556437323" target="_hplink">Eating for Beauty</a>," by David Wolfe.
The antibiotic, antifungal compound called <a href="http://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/formulating/ingredient/antimicrobial/41568362.html" target="_hplink">allicin</a> that is found in crushed or chopped garlic helps give it its blood-purifying, immune-strengthening properties. Garlic boosts circulation, and also contains sulfur for healthy skin and hair. Garlic is best eaten fresh, when its antioxidant benefits are highest. Blend a few cloves into your own homemade hummus or guacamole to get the most nutrition from fresh, raw garlic.
More than a hot dog topper, sauerkraut is a digestive powerhouse thanks to the abundance of good bacteria (called <a href="http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/probiotics-10/slideshow-probiotics" target="_hplink">lactobacilli</a>) produced during its fermentation. This healthy bacteria encourages the production of digestive enzymes, to keep your belly happy and your digestion running smoothly, which reflects in calm, glowing skin.