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3 cleansing summer beauty foods from a raw food goddess

(Photo: Mark Cuddihee)
(Photo: Mark Cuddihee)

It’s the thick of summer, and things are heating up in the city, even for a raw-food goddess who doesn’t turn up the kitchen stove past 118 degrees.

Sarma Melngailis is the brains (and bombshell) behind two of New York City’s hottest raw vegan food destinations—Pure Food and Wine (sit down) and One Lucky Duck (take away). But even sexy-successful women get a little sweaty-gross running around the city this time of year, a fact that makes a rocking skin-care ritual even more crucial.

“When it’s hot out, everything gets a lot more grimy” she says. “My face feels really dirty by the end of the day, so it’s essential to cleanse well and have a good hydrating spray and serum.” (She uses Gypsy Rose Tea mist and Simply Divine Face The Day Serum.)

But in addition to using effective natural beauty products, Melngailis is an advocate for eating your skin care, a practice she explains in this month’s Healthiest Year Ever tip.

That includes choosing cleansing foods that rid the body of toxins, for clear skin. “I’m not big on colonics, but I know the theory behind it is that your skin looks clear because you’re clear inside,” Melngailis explains. Here are three foods that she’s eating now for the same effect. —Jamie McKillop

1. Golden berries. I eat them like candy. They’re ridiculously high in vitamin C. If you’re not used to them, you can’t eat too many at once because they make you go to the bathroom. They’re very cleansing and help keep things moving—and they’re anti-inflammatory.

2. Aloe vera juice. Because of the not-so-delicious taste, I have to put it in something else, like a green shake. Aloe vera juice is supposed to be really good for your skin because it’s so cleansing. Anything that cleanses your insides cleans your outsides and makes your skin clear. It also has all eight essential amino acids, it’s high in vitamins, and it’s good for collagen and elastin repair, so it can help produce younger looking skin.

3. Green tea extract. I’ll put it in grapefruit juice or, again, a green shake. It’s concentrated and comes in a dropper bottle. You always hear about the benefits of drinking green tea, but I don’t have time to make cups of tea all day, so I use the extract. Supposedly there are weight-loss benefits, and it’s a potent antioxidant. If you’re eating foods like golden berries and aloe vera juice, it’s important to have an antioxidant to get rid of toxins. My advice: Don’t drink it on an empty stomach, though—it will have the opposite affect and make you constipated.

Want to eat more beauty foods? Check out Melngailis’ Healthiest Year Ever tip, with a recipe for a glow-inducing Pumpkinseed and Herb Salad