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

Make this 5-Minute Energizing Lunch for Gorgeous Skin

Lunch is the time of day when your body is primed and ready to digest a really nutrient-dense meal. You can make this your biggest meal of the day, packed with skin nutrition! Only, lunch also seems to be the time when we reach for packaged, processed, fast food options, in the name of convenience. To help break that trend, this recipe was also created in the name of convenience— and energy, and glowing skin. If you have 5 minutes and 4 ingredients (plus your leafy green of choice, which you ALWAYS have around, right??), you have this protein-packed beauty lunch that also adds a probiotic boost. Feel free to add more veggies to this salad, as your tastes desire and your refrigerators allow.

Chopped Chickpea-Kraut Salad

Here's a super-quick lunch I love to make when I have an empty fridge or a lack of leftovers. I always have a can of chickpeas on hand, as well as some sauerkraut (I used the Gingered Purple Kraut from Eat Pretty Every Day for this recipe— it adds the perfect flavor and color!), which is more than half the recipe. It checks off your protein, healthy fats, and your probiotic foods, and if you add greens you have an even more beautifying masterpiece that takes—seriously—5 minutes to assemble. This serves 2, or just me if I'm extra-hungry. Enjoy!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 15-oz BPA-free can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped raw sauerkraut 
  • 1 heaping tbsp vegan mayo (you can sub ripe avocado here too)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • sprinkle of shelled hemp seeds (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Add chickpeas to a bowl and mash, using the back of a fork. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve wrapped in, or over a bed of, your favorite leafy greens!

Favorite Beauty-Friendly Holiday Recipes

During this busy time of year, remember that you can make simple, nourishing dishes like the ones below that celebrate the ingredients of the season and fuel your body and beauty with the best foods around. I hope you'll try one or more of these beautifying holiday recipe favorites— they were all created with gorgeous skin, energy, and a slim waistline in mind! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me in eating pretty this year! xo

For a warm, satisfying sip... (cacao boosts circulation to your skin and relieved redness!):

For a sweet snack while you're wrapping presents... (free of refined sugar and packed with hair-boosting protein):

For an elegant appetizer to serve at your holiday soiree... (vegan and full of blemish-fighting vitamin A):

For a blood-sugar stabilizing, immune-boosting breakfast...(packed with healthy fats and an aromatherapy boost for bleak winter days):

Sweet Holiday Beauty Snack: Raw Gingerbread Bites

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It's the holiday countdown. You're wrapping presents, baking sweets and cooking course after course of your seasonal feast. Where do you get your energy while you work? If you're anything I was, you're thinking about dipping your spoon in to the cookie batter, or grabbing handfuls of chocolate chips straight out of the bag. Maybe you'll also devour a candy cane or two.

But I've got something WAY better for you this year. Take a few quick minutes to make these Raw Gingerbread Bites and keep them close at hand as you cook, clean and create your perfect holiday.

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A Holiday Appetizer to Make You Glow (+ a Whole Plant-Based Dinner Menu!)

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This weekend my husband and I will be inviting loved ones near and far to come together for one of those holiday gatherings that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy— you know the kind. The holidays, the winter solstice and the end of the year all make me feel reflective and grateful, as does a room full of friends and family. And when I have my loved ones together, I want to serve them food that will make them feel great— not go home wishing they hadn't indulged! While we'll have cookies and cocktails as well (after all, it's a celebration), I'll be serving my delicious Sweet Potato Rounds, two-bite appetizers that are sweet, spicy and amazing for your skin all at once!

If you're looking for a beauty-friendly appetizer to serve alongside your traditional holiday treats, this is the one. Any extra chutney you might have makes a great add-in for oatmeal or chia pudding!

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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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Digestive Helper? Testing GoodBelly Probiotic Products

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Digestive health is one of the secrets to great skin, but I'll be honest— not all of my readers and clients are excited about eating probiotic-rich sauerkraut, kimchi and miso. So I'm always on the lookout for tastier ways to boost the healthy bacteria in our gut, and I jumped at the chance to sample a few of GoodBelly's probiotic-packed offerings.

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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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Autumn's Perfect Beauty Fruit

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Just as blueberries and peaches are starting to disappear from local markets, we’re heading into the high season for one extremely powerful beauty fruit: apples.

What makes the apple a perfect fall fruit for our looks?

Its unique combination of cooling, cleansing and nourishing properties gives our bodies a balancing fall treat each time we eat one. Fall is the season to explore apple varieties beyond Red Delicious, Gala and Granny Smith; get creative, and choose organic varieties to support your beauty and body.

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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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