A Bride's Guide to Looking and Feeling Her Most Beautiful

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Wedding season is gearing up, and brides everywhere have but one thing on their minds: looking and feeling good on one of the most special days of their lives.

Actually, that's a huge lie. Brides have 8,659 other things on their minds, from the weather forecast, to the bridal party outfits, to the playlist you’ll be moving to. Every detail of the wedding runs through the bride's mind at one moment or another, so it's really a wonder that she has any time to take care of herself!

To help take the pressure off of seriously overwhelmed brides, I've pared down my favorite pre-wedding beauty pointers (all available in detail to brides who take part in a Beauty Is Wellness coaching program) for looking and feeling your absolute best on your wedding day—or at any big event. These tips are the foundation of glowing skin, an energetic body, your healthiest weight, and minimal stress as your wedding day approaches.

Here's the Eat Pretty approach to looking and feeling your best as you walk down the aisle:

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

1. See sugar for what it is. On your special day, no doubt you're going to celebrate with wedding cake, a plate of petit fours, a slice of homemade pie, or your favorite celebratory sweet. But in the weeks and months before your wedding, sugary foods are tied with stress as the #1 saboteur for brides. Refined sugar contributes to unwanted pounds, makes you more prone to acne, fine lines, dryness, and uneven skin tone, plus it takes you on a hormonal roller-coaster (as if you weren't experiencing enough drama as you plan your perfect wedding day!). If your wedding day goals include clearer skin or shedding extra pounds, cut out sugar as much as you can (try skipping it completely for 10 to 14 days to reset your cravings, if you have them), and find some healthier ways to deal with stress than sweet treats— think dinner with a friend, meditation, sweating in a sauna, or a long soak at the end of the day.

2. Make friends with ferments. Okay, not right before you say your vows, but in the weeks and months before your big day! Sauerkraut—along with other fermented foods like kefir, brined pickles, kimchi, and miso— contains beneficial probiotic bacteria that help amp up the digestion and absorption of beauty nutrients that happens in your gut after you eat. There are several times more probiotic bacteria in fermented foods than there are in store-bought capsules, so try eating your way to better gut health with a few forkfuls of fermented foods each day. Cultivate a healthy population of bacteria and you'll not only boost your immunity and moods and help out your skin, hair and nails, you'll stop bloating and gas (which is a great thing to avoid on your wedding day) before they start.

3. To slim down, eat. Eating to reach your healthiest weight can sounds counterintuitive, but trust me— it works. Starving or cutting too many calories slows your metabolism and dries up the stream of beauty nutrients that your skin, hair and nails need to glow—and grow. Forget dry salads, rice cakes and meal replacement bars; build your diet around beautifying proteins (think wild-caught salmon, lentils, hemp, raw nuts, sardines, pastured eggs, quinoa, etc.), healthy fats (avocados, raw nuts, coconut oil), and an abundance of fresh, seasonal veggies— and eat a combination of the 3 at each meal for your best blood sugar balance. While you’re at it, aim to eat less of the sugars, gluten-containing grains, dairy, and alcohol that can cause inflammation.

4. Don't fall prey to stress sabotage.  Brides, you know that stress is an inevitable part of wedding planning, so create a plan to shut it down before it takes a toll on your beauty and health. Stress, unchecked, can cause breakouts, weight gain and lackluster skin before your big day, not to mention make the entire experience a lot less joyful. Pick a stress-busting activity that makes you happy—it might be yoga, jogging, meditation, or taking a walk in nature—and practice it regularly. I also love supplements and teas like magnesium, lemon balm, lavender, and even CBD to support calm and relaxation.

5. Plan what you'll eat in the week leading up to your big day. You know that when you get busy, beauty nutrition goes out the window. So don't leave your wedding-week meals to chance. Take control of your meals and plan a grocery list of foods that will make your skin glow, rev up your energy and help you handle stress. Go for an anti-inflammatory menu filled with the foods mentioned in number 3, above. When your wedding day arrives, you'll be looking and feeling gorgeous—and you'll feel great about splurging on all of your favorite indulgences during your celebration.

6. Know that you're going to glow on your wedding day like no other day before! Whether or not science can quantify the radiant glow you get from being truly joyous and in love, it's there. Not only will you see it, but so will your partner, and everyone else in the room. Remember that you are gorgeous, and the happiness of this occasion will only amplify your glow beyond what you can imagine!

Bonus: if you're heading to a sun-filled honeymoon destination, you can help prevent UV damage by filling up on sun protective beauty foods that contain lycopene and beta carotene (think watermelon, red peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes). You'll come home with memories, but leave behind the sun damage.

Tell me: what made you glow on your big day? I'd love to hear your own advice for wedding day beauty!

Would you prefer one-on-one coaching to motivate you to put these tips into action in your life? Contact Jolene to set up a free consultation to decide which Beauty Is Wellness coaching program fits your beauty and health goals.

Sunflower photo: Ivan Cabanas — Bouquet photo: Courtney Apple

Originally published July 2013/Updated April 2019

Finding the Beauty in Holiday Baking, + Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cookies!

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It’s nearly impossible to get through the holiday season without baking up a pie, a batch of cookies or a loaf of quick bread— and who would want to skip that anyway? Warm kitchens brimming with good smells are one of the pleasures of fall, and baking is a holiday tradition that many of us enjoy year after year.

The question is, how do we make baked goods— specifically desserts— more beauty-friendly without taking away the pleasure?

Here’s my must-do list for beauty-friendly baking:

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Recipe for Fall Beauty: Chia Spice Smoothie

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In this season of pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cheesecakes and pies, it’s easy to lose sight of the powerful skin nutrition that’s found in pumpkin.

One serving of pumpkin has about seven times the skin-smoothing, glow-inducing vitamin A you need in a day, so snacking on pumpkin is an instant jumpstart for lackluster skin.

Sometimes we forget that pumpkin is actually a vegetable (not simply a flavoring), and that we can cook and eat those pumpkins we pick at our local farm— not just carve them and put them in the window.

When you snack on a pumpkin muffin or sip a pumpkin coffee, you’re not getting much, if any, of pumpkin’s mega dose of vitamin A (excellent for boosting cell turnover and smoothing skin at a time of year when your skin needs it more than ever!). What you need is a smart way to use pumpkin this season, so you can make the most of this veggie and the fabulous pumpkin flavor that we love so much in the fall. Beauties, it’s time to take pumpkin out from beneath that mountain of sugar and make it into a delicious, festive, crave-worthy treat that also keeps your skin gorgeous!

For a creamy, spiced snack that’s more satisfying than a pumpkin donut and worlds more beautifying for your skin, try my Chia Spice Smoothie, below. The omega-3-rich chia seeds add just a bit of healthy fat, to ensure that you absorb all of the beauty vitamins packed inside pumpkin. You can use canned pumpkin, or cook your own in the oven (don’t forget to roast the seeds, which are high in skin-healing zinc!).

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Reader Q: How Can I Sweeten Smoothies Without the Sugar?

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Q: How can I sweeten smoothies without the sugar?

A: Add naturally sweet foods that offer extra beauty benefits.

One downfall of smoothies you buy at chains like Jamba Juice and Planet Smoothie is the major sugar content- 30, 40 or 50 grams of sugar (50 grams of sugar is the equivalent of 12 sugar packets!).

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Reader Q: Do I Need to Detox?

Should detoxing be part of my beauty routine?

Q:  Do I need to detox?

A: That depends on two things:

1) what your current diet looks like

2) what detox means to you

‘Detox’ has become a quick answer to weight loss, turning it into a crash diet for many people. Detox now involves anything from consuming only juices for weeks at a time, to taking supplements, shakes, and powders, either in addition to meals or as meal replacements.

 

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For Gorgeous Skin, Cut Sugar, but DON'T Cut These Sugar-Packed Foods!

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Being sugar-conscious is one of the smartest things you can do for your skin, simple as that.

But while you're working on cutting refined sugar (you know, the added sugars you get in just about every processed food, from granola bars to yogurt to cereals and tomato sauce), there's one type of sugar-containing food that you SHOULD NOT eliminate...fruit!

'But doesn't fruit contain just as much sugar as some processed foods?' you ask. Good question.

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Help or Hype? Supplements and Snacks that Promise to Beautify

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Would you pop a pill for pretty?

In the latest issue of Organic Spa magazine, I take on the topic of nutricosmetics and nutriceuticals—foods or supplements that promise beauty benefits. If you've noticed of these products on shelves lately, you've pinpointed a major trend that doesn't show any sign of letting up. For my article I spoke experts including Jody Villecco, Nutritionist and Quality Standards Coordinator for Whole Foods Market, who confirmed that nutriceuticals and nutricosmetics are taking up an increasing amount of shelf space in stores.

So, are they help or hype?

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Super-Slimming Summer Beauty Foods

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You’re heading to the beach or pool this weekend, and you want to make sure your bathing suit fits just right.  You could cross your fingers that you wake up on Saturday with a flat belly, or you could get proactive by filling your diet with naturally slimming, seasonal beauty foods. Where to start? It’s all about cutting back on the foods that cause you to retain water and pack on the pounds, while adding in the delicious summer beauty foods that have powerful de-bloating properties. These foods are natural diuretics, meaning they fight fluid retention, a common hot weather beauty complaint.

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These Unexpected Odds & Ends Build a Beautifying Smoothie

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You graduated Green Smoothie 101 with honors, and you're ready for some fresh ideas to elevate your morning beauty drink. While you've probably been encouraged to start acquiring exotic powders and superfood berries to take your smoothies to a new level, I have a different suggestion: rethink what you throw in the trash.

When it comes to veggies, one person's trash is another person's smoothie base! Now, don't get all grossed out on me. I just want you to consider that the odds & ends that you usually put down the garbage disposal or in the compost might actually be blendable beauty nutrition that's going to waste. Here are the powerful smoothie components that you might be tossing out by accident:

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