If you’re looking for a seasonal guide to eating, health, and general wellness, look no further. Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by former beauty editor Jolene Hart is a perfect book for healthy living enthusiasts new and old. If you’re familiar with the “food as medicine” approach, this book’s premise isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it still offers a lot of useful facts, tips, and recipes that Hart recommends for optimal beauty. Though the book is not exclusively vegan, many of the recipes are, and Hart advocates for a mostly plant-based diet.
Eat Pretty is divided into three parts: Rethink Beauty, Four Seasons to Eat Pretty, and The Essential Beauty Players. In the first section, the author makes the distinction between so-called “Beauty Betrayer” and “Eat Pretty” foods. Most of us are familiar with what foods and substances are decidedly detrimental to our bodies. Alcohol, caffeine, Bisphenol A (BPA), dairy, fried and overcooked foods, gluten, meat, soda, sugar, and processed foods are all things to avoid in one’s diet. Hart further elucidates the importance of such a distinction by categorizing these foods in terms of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
The book’s second section emphasizes the importance of eating seasonally. I loved that Hart discussed the health benefits of seasonal produce, not only in terms of their overall importance in one’s diet, but also as to their influence as an individual acclimates to each season. For example, in the spring chapter, the author welcomes this time of rebirth with cleansing foods such as endives, dandelion, and artichokes. With each food that is highlighted, Hart provides a brief outline of its nutrients and specific beauty benefits. For each season, the book provides a handful of appropriate, beauty-enhancing recipes. There are a couple that contain fish, but vegans can replace it with another vegan protein source.
Hart also addresses some essential beauty concepts like digestion, mindful eating, food combining, hormones, and exercise. Since I’ve recently stopped drinking coffee on a daily basis, I appreciated Hart’s own comments about caffeine excess.
Not all of Hart’s points should be followed blindly, however: despite her convincing discussion on food combining, for example, there is really no scientific basis to support the practice. Further, at other points in the book, Hart references standalone studies to make sweeping claims about sleep habits, meditation, and other lifestyle topics that are common research areas.
Still, I found plenty of tips I’ll incorporate into my daily routine! Here are my favorites:
1. Drink herbal tea instead of coffee: Chamomile relieves cramps and promotes restful sleep; dandelion root is great for detox, as it supports liver function and digestion; ginger boosts the immune system, fights colds and is anti-inflammatory
2. Daily lemon water ritual. Soon after waking, simply boil some hot water, squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice into your mug, and sip. Lemons help cleanse the liver and have natural diuretic effects, making them a perfect start to the day.
3. Spring beauty foods: Arugula, which is in season now, contains glucosinolates that are known to lower inflammation, protect cells from DNA damage, and reduce skin redness caused by the sun.
4. Also in season, green beans are a great source of silicon, which helps strengthen connective tissue and keeps skin, hair, and nails strong. Incorporate tip 3 and make a light spring green salad with arugula, green beans, sugar snap peas, and one of these refreshing dressings.
In all, I found Eat Pretty to be an enlightening read, one that has encouraged me to eat for seasonally and with greater intention. With such a comprehensive guide about my favorite veggies, I feel more inspired to lead a healthy vegan lifestyle.
Have you read this or another inspiring vegan diet book? Share!
Photo: Jolene Hart