So. That inspiring book:
Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out by Jolene Hart.
It's no coincidence that this book dropped onto the shelves now and caught my eye, since one of the chapters begins, "If you're reading Eat Pretty for the first time, it may feel like your own personal spring; it's your moment of reinvention." Even though we usually make resolutions for the new year, it feel more natural to really work on them when the days are longer, the sunlight makes us feel more positive, and we want to take part in the rebirth that the Earth is experiencing too.
Eat Pretty is a three-part book: 1 explainins Hart's philosophy on beauty ("healthy vanity" is a really interesting concept she introduces,) 2 is a seasonal breakdown of foods available at what time and what they do for our bodies (with recipes,) and 3 is other ways to take care of yr body beyond feeding it well. The healthy vanity idea really made me do a double-take.
As someone who identifies as a feminist and a punk (among many other things) there have been numerous times in my life when I've made unhealthy, and even deliberately destructive choices to prove that I didn't care what anyone thought about me, or how I looked, or how I lived my life. To come across the idea that being "vain," something most children are taught is a vice or that old school feminists have declared irresponsible or not serious enough, can be a positive choice was enlightening and a bit of a relief. I suppose I knew that already, but it's nice to have reminders. Hart writes, "Our appearance shapes the way we feel about ourselves - and that reflects in our confidence, in our decision-making, in our overall joy, even in the way we treat others." We need to learn to love ourselves before it becomes second nature to be kind to others (including other animals!)
I appreciate that Hart isn't pushing beauty products on us, nor is she insisting on a standard of beauty, and I highly doubt that she secretly works for the asparagus lobby. ("Get 'em hooked, and good!") She also definitely keeps it real:"There are no overnight miracles. If you expect to wake up with hair that has grown silky-smooth overnight after eating half of a butternut squash, you'll miss the point." Her idea is that everyone is already beautiful; we just need to treat our bodies the way they deserve. It sounds hokey, I guess, but it's true.
Anyway, Hart then goes on to list the top "Beauty Betrayers:" alcohol, caffeine, sugar, meat, processed foods, etc. Personally, my biggest indiscretion is my sweet tooth - followed by caffeine, I guess. I don't usually drink more than a cup of coffee a day, but I do drink a lot of tea as well.
How have I been trying to incorporate Hart's healthier suggestions?
"add first; subtract later.") Yogi and Traditional Medicinal teas are always favorites. A lot of these I had already, but I've stocked up on nettle leaf and roasted dandelion root teas. Nettle is good for allergies, roasted dandelion root is a liver detoxifyer, ginger tea helps with digestion and inflammation, peppermint relieves stress. At the bottom is a laxative tea, which I use mostly during cleanses. Not shown are my caffeinated teas or raspberry leaf tea, which "supports the female system" aka helps with menstrual cramping and regulates one's periods.
How to use up more watercress: in a salad with endive, lentils, onion, and olives.
I have also stopped eating sweets for the most part, besides plain dark chocolate, fruit, and dates.
There's one other Spring recipe from the book that I want to make. Hopefully I'll get to that soon, and hopefully I'll continue making the other recipes through their respective seasons, or at least incorporating more of the beautifying (and otherwise good for keepin yr body working well) ingredients into my diet. If nothing else, it'll make me expand my produce horizons.
This is not really a vegetarian cookbook: I think there are a couple fish recipes and some with eggs but it is primarily gluten-, dairy-, and meat-free. In any case, there's a ton of great information about the wonders of vegetables!
It's recommended for sure. In case that wasn't apparent.