Ask An Expert: Jordan McCrary on Nutrition
When Jordan McCrary of Juices and Berries made the bold decision to cut off all of her processed hair to reveal her natural curl texture, she awakened a desire to become a healthier version of herself. She documented her quest to find the right hair products and connected with many women who were on the same journey. She hopes to help women of color embrace their natural selves through self-care.
Burt’s Bees: Why is self-care important to you?
Jordan McCrary: Self-care is important to me because it is an act of self-love, and self-love is the foundation for everything good in my life. When I love myself, I take the pressure off of other people to do that for me. It makes all of my relationships and interactions so much richer!
What are your go-to self-care practices?
Right now, I love listening to guided meditations as soon as I wake up to help set my intention for the day. Drinking fresh squeezed juices, taking supplements and getting out into nature also rank pretty high on my list.
How do you fit self-care into your life, even when you’re busy?
When I get busy, I have to make self-care an even bigger priority or else I may end up burning out. Setting aside 15-minute breaks throughout the day to go for a walk, make some herbal tea or read a book are so critical for maintaining a positive perspective and seeing how lucky I am to be alive. When I have that awareness, it’s so much more fun to go through my to-do list.
Do you believe a daily skincare routine is an important part of self-care?
Having a daily skin care routine makes healthy skin a habit which turns into a lifestyle. Thinking of skincare as a ritual infuses my routine with an intention that makes it more impactful. It’s a time for me to love and accept my skin as it is. Washing and cleansing my face night and day creates consistency and confidence.
What does your skincare routine look like?
I keep it really simple when it comes to skin care! I wash my face and use an exfoliating pad to slough off any dead skin, then rinse and follow up with an oil blend. At night, after I wash my face, I’ll use a night cream for more moisture. Then on a weekly basis I’ll do a clay or sheet mask! It helps me see taking care of skin as an act of self-love instead of a chore. I turn skin care into self-care when I infuse it with an intention which, for me, is love. When I see it as a moment to feel my own unconditional love, that stays with me and makes me want to continue being the best version of myself. I end up choosing better foods and all-natural ingredients because I feel that’s what I deserve.
How did you become interested in nutrition and its effects on skin health?
I became interested in the impact of nutrition on skin health once I noticed the how my skin would react to certain diets. When I cut out a lot of processed food and sugar from my diet, the breakouts I got on my chin and forehead virtually disappeared. I then started exploring other ways to get clear skin from the inside out and I was hooked once I started seeing the benefits.
What are your favorite foods that benefit your skin?
My favorite skin foods include almonds, blueberries, sweet potatoes, kale, avocados and pretty much anything that is high in fats and antioxidants. Free radical damage is real, so having a lot of antioxidants in my diet is critical. I love cucumbers because they have a high water content. Since I am not much of a meat eater, I make sure to get enough fat in my diet from avocados and flaxseeds. I also love seamoss and bladderwrack tea because they contain a ton of minerals!
Do you have any meal prepping tips for beginners?
Meal prepping has saved me so much money and time! If you’re new to the meal prep game, fear not. Just plan a menu for the week, check your kitchen to see what you already have, make a list of ingredients then go grocery shopping. When you get home, IMMEDIATELY prep your food so that you can make it look appetizing. Wash those berries, chop that kale, make a big batch of rice and beans! I like to have fresh and cooked food prepared so I can grab-and-go and make meals. I love bowls.
If someone only has five minutes per day to spend on taking better care of themselves through food, what would you recommend they do with them?
With five minutes, I would just add a raw fruit or vegetable to whatever meal they are already eating. Chik-Fil-A for lunch? Add an apple on the side. Love almonds? Keep a stash in your purse so your blood sugar doesn’t dip and you end up craving junk. It’s not about taking “bad” food out, but adding in more of the nutrient-rich foods!
What are some healthy snack alternatives you suggest to others for when someone might be craving sweet or savory items?
I am on a mission to completely eliminate processed sugar from my diet in 2019! I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I make energy balls with dates, cocoa powder, walnuts, almond butter, chia seeds and vanilla extract. They are SO GOOD! As far as savory, I love seaweed snacks and plantain chips. I just make sure to read the ingredients if I’m buying something already packaged.
How do you balance what you eat when you are traveling?
I’m so compassionate with myself when I travel. I go on Yelp and bookmark a bunch of healthy restaurants in the area. If I’m with family and friends, I’m down to go wherever the group decides. I’ll opt for bowls or a wrap, but if the place has a meatless burger option, I’m going IN.
What’s your favorite comfort food?
French fries are my favorite comfort food. Carbs are my love language.
Lastly, how does healthy nutrition help you take care of yourself?
Healthy nutrition gives me the energy, stamina and mental clarity necessary to take care of myself. There’s so much unhealthy food being marketed to us on a daily basis. When I fuel myself up with fresh, life-sustaining food, I’m able to make better decisions that I know will benefit me in the long run. I cut myself some slack when I do slip up, because I know it’s what I felt I needed at the time. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about loving whatever arises which is what self-care is all about.