Book Review: Eat Pretty

Eating healthily used to bring up images of thin, soggy salads and limited joy. Fortunately, there has been a surge in make clean eating appealing and Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty Inside and Out by beauty editor Jolene Hart is no exception. For anyone interested in eating healthily or nutrition, this will be a hit. The food facts are often fairly well known, but with a beauty-based spin on the recipes, ideas and tips given. The beauty foods are largely plant-based, although eggs and fish both feature.

The book itself is a gorgeous addition to a coffee table or bookshelf with the water colour front cover, and elegant design which continues through the book. The contents are divided into Rethink Beauty, Four Seasons to Eat Pretty; and The Essential Beauty Players. In Rethink Beauty, Hart explains the difference between what she dubs Beauty Betrayers and Eat Pretty foods. As you’d expect, Beauty Betrayers are the foods that make your skin come up in spots and sensitivity, make your gut bloated, and generally leave you feeling run down. Eat Pretty food are, of course, all the fresh, healthy produce that will leave you feeling lighter, more energised and clear skinned. Hart looks at these negative-effect inducing foods and explains why they cause problems, such as gluten, sugar, BPA, dairy and overcooked foods. Like many health writers today, Hart explains the importance of each macronutrients -carbohydrates, proteins, and fats -but also lists the benefits of vitamins and micronutrients such as zinc.

Four Seasons to Eat Pretty gives suggestions on what to eat throughout the year. Obviously this varies based on where you are, but it gives a few good ideas on what might be locally in your shops. Seasonal food undeniably tastes better as it hasn’t had to be picked before it is fully ripe and shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. It helps you to eat the foods that are suited to the seasons that you are in. After a winter of eating rich, comforting foods, spring is the perfect time to detoxify the liver with lots of the fresh greens that are starting to grow with the rising temperatures. Expanding from the nutrients list of the previous chapter, Jolene Hart suggests foods to eat for each season and to keep stocked up on, with the benefits of each listed. For each season, a few sample recipe ideas are suggested.

The final section looks “beyond the plate” talking about sleep, stress and healthy digestion (which is often overlooked) and how to make sure that these factors optimise your health and beauty rather than reduce it.

Some of the research has had reports recently published, which adds weight to Hart’s book, particularly in relation to acne. However, I can’t conclusively say that every single claim made in the book does have a corresponding area of proven research to it, so listening to and feeling how your body reacts to the food is also important. Gluten, for example, divides many people. If you are truly allergic to gluten, then of course you have to avoid entirely. However, most people have a degree of intolerance ranging from negligible to very sensitive. In this case, go with what you feel is best for you, and this is may vary day-to-day.

Overall, this is a really lovely book; great as a gift. It helps to help you to stay positive about eating clean and healthy, as well as understanding some of processes behind how food affects your body. Pop it where you can see it next to some flowers to keep you reminded of your Pretty Eating aims. Big thank you to my friend Sophie who kindly bought me this read!

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