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

Beauty Ingestible Road Test Part 1: The Beauty Chef

I recently had the opportunity to celebrate Free People's new beauty + wellness lineup (everything from natural beauty stars like Axiology and Gressa Skin to beauty ingestibles like Sunpotion and, yes, even Eat Pretty!) at a launch event in Nashville. The super cool and gorgeous (and also incredibly nice) Free People crowd came out to shop and sample and dance and drink (ingestible beauty cocktails, of course). I created a few drink recipes for the event using some of the top beauty ingestible brands to grace Free People's shelves, and I'm going to share them all with you here.

First up is The Beauty Chef, whose Hydration Inner Beauty Boost was a huge hit with event guests because it tastes like tropical, coconutty SUMMER.

What you need to know about The Beauty Chef: This Australia-based line is all about digestive health for beauty, which is a mission close to my heart. The three Inner Beauty Boost liquid supplements from The Beauty Chef (Hydration, Collagen, and Antioxidant) all undergo the brand's Flora Culture fermentation process, which allows them to deliver 6 billion probiotics in about one tablespoon of liquid (your daily serving).

How to consume: This one is easy—mix it with water, chilled herbal tea, or, as in my recipe below, detoxifying lime water!

Love it for: Probiotics and their powerful benefits to skin clarity, energy, good moods, and overall health.

Cost: $50 USD for 500mL

Poolside Skin Refresher

This tropical-tasting cocktail delivers a potent burst of detoxifying, collagen-building vitamin C from fresh lime juice, with the bonus probiotic and skin-hydrating benefits of coconut water and aloe vera, found in The Beauty Chef Hydration Inner Beauty Boost.

Serves 1

  • 1 cup pure water
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp The Beauty Chef Hydration Inner Beauty Boost

Stir together and serve chilled or over ice.

Skin-Boosting Side Dish: Miso Broccoli Lentil Salad

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Put a beautifying spin on a classic dish, lentil salad, with this probiotic0rich version. This salad is rich in digestive health benefits from food-based probiotics that do so much to support radiant skin, good moods, energy, and our healthiest weight. The fermented miso paste that helps flavor this salad is a source of that beneficial probiotic bacteria, a daily MUST-HAVE in your beauty diet! Lentils and hemp seeds are also two of my favorite beautifying sources of protein, which your body uses as a building block of your hair, nails, and skin.  Enjoy!

Miso Broccoli Lentil Salad

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 heaping cup steamed organic broccoli spears, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely diced organic orange, yellow or red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp shelled hemp seeds

Directions

In a saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the lentils and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Simmer until lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, oil, miso, and garlic to make a dressing. In a serving bowl, combine lentils, broccoli, and peppers, and toss with dressing and hemp seeds. Serve warm or chilled.

Change your Skin with 'Ferment Your Vegetables'

A few of Amanda's colorful ferments. Recipes found in Ferment Your Vegetables.

A few of Amanda's colorful ferments. Recipes found in Ferment Your Vegetables.

The word 'fermented' doesn't exactly evoke beauty. Which is why it may come as a surprise that fermented foods are one of the essentials in any beauty-boosting diet.

To put it simply, the radiance of your skin mirrors the health and function of your digestive tract. The better you're able to break down and assimilate all of those beauty foods you're eating, the more your skin will glow and your body will thrive. Keeping your gut's population of good bacteria happy supports your immunity, healthy weight, and emotional wellbeing, and it also helps make sure that there are good bacteria living in other places in and on your body—like on your skin, where they defend against a host of skin issues.

Even if you're already growing conscious of your gut health, thanks to all the recent attention on the power of our microbiome to do things like alter our mood and influence our weight, you may not know how to make your daily diet more supportive of your gut. That's where Ferment Your Vegetables comes in.

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My first helping at the Ferment Your Vegetables luncheon.

My first helping at the Ferment Your Vegetables luncheon.

This truly inspirational, delicious, and beautifying collection of fermented recipes was written by Amanda Feifer, an incredibly talented friend. Amanda's been fermenting for years (I made my very first jar of kimchi in one of her DIY classes years ago), so she's way, way ahead of most of us who are just catching on to the fermentation trend. But even though Amanda's an absolute pro with an amazing blog brimming with her fermentation knowledge and recipes, she's incredibly humble, and offers unwavering support about the ability of anyone—truly anyone—to ferment at home. Just talking to her about fermentation is a confidence builder, because she makes it sound so foolproof. Turns out, with her cookbook in hand, it actually is.

To celebrate the launch of Ferment Your Vegetables, Amanda invited her friends to an incredible spread of her fermented recipes. I have to share this with you because it was my dream lunch invitation. She laid out a feast of krauts and kimchis, kombuchas and pickles. I got to taste so many of the recipes she shares in Ferment Your Vegetables, and there wasn't a single bad one in the bunch.

Curried Cauliflower Pickles in progress.

Curried Cauliflower Pickles in progress.

At left is one of my recent recipes in progress from her cookbook—Curried Cauliflower Pickles, made after the original jar of cauliflower pickles she gave me disappeared within days, leaving my household hungry for more. Now, this is my first ferment of cauliflower, and it stinks. Waay more than sauerkraut. I had to leave it in our basement to ferment. But it was worth it. The 4-ingredient recipe couldn't be easier (remember when I said foolproof?!). And the results are delicious. As a bonus, if you make the Curried Cauliflower Pickles on page 52 of Ferment Your Vegetables, you can make the Curried Cauliflower Picnic Salad recipe that accompanies it (I used vegan mayo in my version and it was delicious), which was one of the highlights of Amanda's fermentation spread for me. I could eat it all the time. Come to think of it, my skin would love that.

Just to note, if you're just beginning to incorporate fermented foods into your diet, start slow. Even a few bites or a 1/4 cup serving of fermented kraut or kimchi contains a powerful dose of probiotics! Aim to eat a small serving each day, and you'll be doing something amazing for your health and beauty this year.

And grab a copy of Ferment Your Vegetables to support you in your journey!

1, 2, 3: Your Fall Beauty Focus List

I’m always amazed that this time of the year— the transition between summer and fall— has its own unique look, feel and smell. The sun and air are changing, ever so slowly, but for a time we’re smack in between two distinct seasons, “living at the instant where the pendulum reverses its swing,” describes nutrition researcher Paul Pitchford his book Healing with Whole Foods. My body and skin feel that difference!

While you savor the unique energy of this transitioning moment of the year, I wanted to share some of the best areas of focus for your beauty and body this fall. If you could keep just three ideas in mind for the fall season, make them: digestion, connection, & repair.

I explain why (and how) ahead.

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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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