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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eat Pretty (and be kind to others)

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?

Non-caffeinated teas. I still drink a cup of coffee in the morning for now, though! (As Gena says on Choosing Raw, "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.

Nettle leaf tea infusion. I left this out on the fire escape overnight for the blood moon lunar eclipse! Drank it today with some lemon juice and stevia. It was really delicious and refreshing. Surprisingly so.

Brazil nuts, which contain selenium (a necessary mineral - it maintains skin elasticity and protects against free radicals)

Coconut yogurt with goji berries, blackberries, oats, and walnuts. Antioxidants, selenium, zinc, healthy digestive bacteria...

This is one of the recipes in the Spring section of the book: Lemony Beauty Smoothie. It has watercress, lemon, and parsley in it, among other things. All very detoxifying. I never buy watercress! It lent a slight pepperyness to the smoothie, but it was light and creamy and slightly sweet too. Really good.


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.

15 comments:

  1. I was so excited by your review and the concept of this book that I downloaded it on my Kindle before I even finished reading this post. I think this is such a beautiful mission and I'm so excited to read this book. I'm definitely going to have to make some nettle leaf tea infusion as well... my allergies are already a nightmare. Did you just cold brew it then add lemon and stevia later? Beautiful smoothie and salad too. Thanks again for the review!

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    1. Aw, great! I'm happy you were moved by the review! I think you'll really like the book. It seems like both of us are on similar self-love & clean eating journeys.
      Yep, the nettle tea I just added to room temp water and let it sit out overnight. After I moved it inside to the fridge and juiced half a lemon into 8 oz of the tea, plus a dash of stevia. So, so good!

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  2. I love your review and interpretation of the book's message. I think you are right on. The book sounds like an interesting read both for its concept of beauty, and for its practical help to achieve the beauty of good health.

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    1. Thanks, yes, I guess it really boils down to optimal health. Being healthy and happy is beautiful.

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  3. Thanks for presenting this book so genuinely; I likely otherwise never would have known it existed! Disappointing that there is no connection made between compassion and beauty, but perhaps people like you embracing the finer points of her message will open the author's mind.

    If sugar is your biggest indiscretion, I think my love for it is a blinking, neon sign. Sigh. "Add first, subtract later;" I like that.

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    1. Thanks, Abby. I think some people will make the connection.
      I like "add first, subtract later" too because usually I'm too full on healthier stuff to binge on the sweets after dinner. USUALLY. Sometimes I make room :)

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  4. I was just looking at zines about body positivity and such and nothing incorporated an overall feeling of love for every body type. I am going to be 35 in June and I have dealt with eating disorders and trying to do the whole 'fuck watching what you eat' and both were to extreme for me and both left me not like my body.
    I started doing yoga to get the stress out, from yoga I was able to connect with my body...I learned that I neither had to say no to Oreos or eat a whole sleeve of them. Having few a day was okay for my mind and my body.
    I try to stay away from caffeine - I do have 1-2 cups of coffee a day and do tea a lot. Most of my tea is caffeine-free (If you ever want to trade teas - let me know)...I do not like to think of things as bad - it just makes food dangerous for me.

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    1. Hi Kendy! Thanks so much for commenting. I totally agree with a lot of what you say here and was thinking about putting it in the review but my feelings about it are very conflicted and it would have become a huge nonsensical mess had I tried to tackle the subject. You said it much more clearly than I could have.
      Telling people straight out to stay away from sugar OR ELSE is just as destructive as letting someone eat themselves sick on an entire box of cookies. It is a really fine line. As I get older I'm getting to know and understand my body a little better and I'm realizing that personally I just do not react well with sugar. I always overdo it and end up feeling sick and grumpy, and as Hart points out, I often take it out on other people.
      I think her point that you won't see results overnight from eating a squash is relevant also in that if you (the general you - not You, Kendy) eat cookies occasionally, you don't need to have a breakdown and throw a fit. It doesn't mean too much in the long run, if you generally have a healthy lifestyle.
      It almost seems like she might agree with the fact that you SHOULD enjoy those occasional cookies; just as we ought to know what wonderful vitamins and minerals are in nuts, vegetables, and whole grains - and be mindful and thankful for what they do to our bodies, we should similarly be mindful and thankful for the little treats. When we appreciate them (and, yes, their mood-elevating potential) we don't need to eat as many. As you say with yoga, we just need to learn to connect better with our bodies and give it what it wants and needs!

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    2. PS Yes I DO want to tea swap! I'll e-mail you!

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  5. SUPER interesting. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for this one! Our local indie bookstore haas an excellent cookbook section, so I imagine it is there right now. Maybe I'll see if the library will buy it too...

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    1. Glad you think it sounds interesting! I hope you can find it.

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  6. I need more caffeine-free tea in my life again. The time in my life that I felt healthiest and happiest with food stuff was when I was really into "elixirs." So witchy, so good! I've lost touch with that, but this is inspiring me to bring it back! The book sounds interesting and I appreciate your reflection on it!

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    1. Caffeine-free tea is great! You can drink as much of the delicious stuff as you want and not have to worry about staring at the ceiling until 3 am. I really got into peppermint with stevia this winter.
      This is yet another book I wish you had time to read and we could discuss (over caffeine-free tea, of course) because there's a lot going on in it, and I'd love to hear yr opinion.
      Alas, in an alternate universe where we both aren't so busy.

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  7. That is why I consume so much alcohol, sugar and processed foods -- keeps me from being just too darn good looking.

    I avoid the caffeine so as to not kill someone and then having to spend the rest of my life in jail.

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    1. But it doesn't even work! You're still beautiful!
      I get similar feelings when I drink caffeine, but I also get those feelings when I drink water, SO...

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