I remember my nutritionist told me that sugar is the biggest evil in our diets because sugar creates advanced glycation end compounds in our bodies, which destroy collagen and neutralize antioxidants. In general, sugar is bad for your skin and health. This is beyond candies and cakes – in fact, sugar hides in white bread, dressings and sauces all the time as well. Therefore, you may even want to switch white bread for whole-grain, pasta for sweet potatoes, white rice for quinoa. You should make your own dressing if you have time. In time you will notice the difference.

  • My guilty pleasures:

However, it’s okay to have some guilty pleasures. It’s very normal. Totally giving up beverages and foods that make you happy actually sucks. So, I think you can make some adjustments. For example, if you absolutely must have sugar in your coffee every morning, then you might sweeten it with stevia or agave nectar (natural alternatives to sugar). If you really, really need a dessert, then you can eat organic dark chocolate (70% cocoa or above). This is an antioxidant which has much less sugar. Dark chocolate in Ukraine is commonplace!

If you also have to drink alcohol in Ukraine, you can choose less processed / sugary and more natural options. Instead of drinking white wine, you can drink organic red wine. Those who can’t give up sweet cocktail may choose soda, vodka and dash of cranberry juice – this won’t give you a hangover.

Like fried chicken? Skip the batter in favor of coconut oil in the skillet. Actually, this is the best oil to cook with because it’s considered to be the healthiest cooking oil in the world. I think when you go shopping, it’s better to stick with foods which still look like their original state, when they were picked from the tree or the field, as food is also information – you become what you eat (if you eat too much processed food, that’s not going to help).

  • Natural skin remedies:

Interestingly, unlike Americans who tend to buy skin-care products from shopping malls all the time, a lot of Europeans choose natural skin remedies & here is how it works for many of them.

My friends from Ukraine shared their philosophy with me in this respect – using natural products on your body rather than processed potions in a pot is kinder on your skin, and it’s also kinder on your wallet! Individuals with sensitive skin can’t really tolerate artificial ingredients in skin-care products. As a result, the supermarket shelves may become your favorite place whenever you go shopping in Europe.

In the first place, I have discovered that many European friends use honey to hydrate their skin. This is a rich moisturizer for dry skin. Simply apply a thin layer as a face mask every week to make your skin smooth and soft.

In the second place, a lot of European friends actually cleanse with apple cider vinegar. This is a wonderful product with a lot of health benefits. Apart from killing bacteria and balancing your skin’s PH level, apple cider vinegar also absorbs excessive oil, so it helps prevent acne effectively. All you need to do is to mix ¼ cup of vinegar with ¾ cup of water, and then dip a cotton pad into the solution. Apply the mixture to your skin directly. Leave it there for 9 minutes. Rinse with warm water. This solution could be left on for a longer period of time if you have a sunburn or suffer from acne / psoriasis.

Of course, you would be well-advised to buy organic apple cider vinegar when you go to Europe. This kind of vinegar has enzymes in it, so it will work its magic on the skin.

“Those with sensitive skin may peel with cucumber because exfoliators which contain crunchy granules must be avoided. Choose a DIY peel each week – it works with gentle acids to get rid of dead cells by removing the top layer of skin from the face. Peels can leave a silky finish. This application of a DIY dry-skin face peel helps relieve any itchy and dry skin. In my opinion, natural peels could be made from many fruits, including cucumbers and strawberries. Personally, I prefer cucumbers as strawberries might stain my skin for several hours.”