Oddly enough, my best beauty secrets don’t have anything to do with makeup—despite the product junkie I am! There are many lovely guides to eating for beauty, my favorites being The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder, Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart, and Clear Skin Detox Diet by Lauren Talbot—all of which I re-read and re-read.
While these books—and many others—have much to offer on the topic of eating vegan for wellness and beauty, there’s an element of beautiful eating that can’t be captured with nutrition guidelines: the spirit of eating. When we combine good nutrition with joyful eating, we’re in for glowing skin and a happy heart.
Joyful eating means relishing our food as well as the mealtime itself. In practical terms, this means seeking out nourishing food that we’re craving; noticing its presentation, color, fragrance, taste, and texture; and honoring our mealtime by not multi-tasking, even if just for fifteen minutes! When we relish our food, we foster gentleness towards ourselves and others—and what’s more stunning than a beautiful attitude and a sincere smile?
I am trying my best to remember and adhere to this little philosophy of mine, but the last time I truly ate joyfully was about a month ago—ahh! I attended a dinner for new faculty with my fiancé, and I was the only vegan at the table—and perhaps the only vegan in the room. On my name card was a clipart picture of vegetables to indicate my entrée preference. The other name cards had pictures of raw steak, which one of my colleagues found amusingly unappetizing.
As meals were being delivered, I heard a server say, “Where’s the vegan?” A few seconds later, a beautiful plate of broccoli, roasted port0bella mushroom, and edible flowers appeared before me. The rest of the table oohed and aahed at my dish. If you ever want to feel like a magical goddess of light, be the only one in the room eating flowers. How I savored and enjoyed that meal. But I can barely remember what I ate for dinner last night. Clearly, I need more joyful eating in my life.
Yes, but are there actual beauty and health benefits to “joyful eating?”
Rushed eating amidst stressful activities or conversations draws energy away from digestion, increasing your chance of experiencing indigestion, bloating, and other un-pretty feelings. Poor digestion is accompanied by reduced nutrient absorption. There’s no shortage of information linking nutritional health and skin condition. A deficiency in zinc, for example, may contribute to acne and dry skin (trust me—having both of those conditions at the same time is no cup of tea).When possible, create a quiet, calm environment for your meal. The right setting will help you be more present for your meal.
Being more present for your meal has additional benefits and can help you avoid under- and over-eating. I am sometimes guilty of under-eating when I have a busy day away from home. I may have a few bites of granola on my walk across campus to “keep me going,” but what I really need is a proper, balanced lunch because let’s face it, no homemade granola can give you the nutritional (beauty) boost like a large kale salad. Meanwhile, overeating taxes the digestive system and, as we all know, zaps some major energy.
The less energy spent attending to unhappy digestive situations, the more energy can be devoted towards the production of “nonessentials,” like lustrous hair and glowing skin.
The point isn’t to get stressed about our stressful eating habits, however. Rather, set aside one meal time a day to eat joyfully—at least to begin with. Depending on your work schedule, eating on the go may be impossible to avoid sometimes. That’s okay—just work with the time you can control. I promise it will make a difference in your day.
Photos: Mary Hood