Top 5 Ways to Beautify Your Thanksgiving Meal

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1. Add cranberries—but not the ones you think. Yes, you probably already plan to serve cranberry sauce at your Thanksgiving table. And you should, as cranberries are antioxidant-packed berry with phytochemicals that preserve your skin elasticity. But the standard cranberry sauces (both store-bought and traditional recipes) contain about 88 grams of refined sugar (think of that as almost a full half cup of sugar) in just one cup—enough to spark inflammation, speed up signs of aging, and promote unwanted weight gain.

This year, make the Antioxidant Cranberry-Apple Sauce featured in Eat Pretty Every Day, or try your own recipe with less sugar. Your skin won’t miss it!

2. If you eat meat, upgrade to a high quality source, like organic free range turkey. If it's a part of your diet, Thanksgiving turkey can be a source of valuable building blocks for your beauty—but it's extremely important to choose well. Factory farmed meats are commonly fed poor-quality feed and given antibiotics to prevent disease, both of which have a negative impact on your overall beauty and wellness when you consume them. This year, make organic a priority at your table (wherever you can, but especially for animal products and Dirty Dozen produce!). Organic meat has significantly higher levels of beautifying omega-3 fatty acids and fewer harmful fats.

3. Put greens on your table. Traditionally, (not so beauty-friendly) green bean casserole is the rare glimpse of green we get on Thanksgiving Day. This year, make room for leafy greens among the regular dishes you serve, as they're a daily essential for radiant skin. Greens are powerhouse sources of skin-clearing vitamin A and collagen-building vitamin C, and they work hard to feed the healthy, probiotic bacteria in your digestive system. For Thanksgiving, look beyond a green salad to a sauté of greens and garlic, or a seasonal dish like the Warm Fall Salad featured in Eat Pretty (a favorite in my family!)

4. Make time for gratitude and mindfulness at mealtime. Ensure that your body is able to break down and assimilate all of the wonderful beauty nutrients in your Thanksgiving meal by creating a mindful space in which to eat. Appropriately, Thanksgiving centers around gratitude, which has been shown to increase our happiness, improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and have beauty benefits long-term. This Thanksgiving, take time to think or speak about what you’re grateful for; consider finding a mantra to recite or share before your meal; and breathe and relax while eating. You’ll change the way your body digests and uses your meal—as well as how you feel afterward. 

5. Spice up dessert. You’re probably already having pie, and cookies, and cake, right? To make them more beauty-friendly, add spices to all of your holiday desserts. Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg are just a few of the antioxidant-packed spices that offer phytochemical benefits like a reduced blood sugar spike from sugar, digestive support, and an immune boost. And I challenge anyone not to love baked apple slices, which are free of added sugar and taste like the inside of an apple pie. To make them:

Simple Baked Apples: Core and slice fresh organic apples and layer them in a heat-proof dish. In a bowl, melt a few tablespoons of organic, grassfed butter, and stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice, plus a little unsweetened apple sauce. Brush this mixture over your apple slices and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Serve warm.

  • As a bonus, I also love to serve something bitter— like this Bitter Is Beautiful Salad or a cocktail made with digestive bitters— to support healthy digestion of this filling meal!

What are your favorite ways to beautify your own Thanksgiving table?

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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Fall Beauty Food: Broccoli + Curried Broccoli Potato Soup

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To eat or not to eat? Of all the green veggies, broccoli could be the most polarizing. While it has a quiet stable of fans, it bears more than its share of insults from crinkle-nosed detractors, who, incidentally, may not be laughing when they find out how much anti-aging power they’re missing. This fall, make room for this anti-ager on your plate— or in your soup bowl, using the recipe ahead.

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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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A Thanksgiving Beauty Feast, with Sweet Potato Pecan Risotto

When you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, eating for beauty probably isn't the first thing on your mind. Securing yourself a second helping of stuffing is far more important. But if you approach your holiday meal with a little know-how about the fall foods that are best for your beauty and body, you'll come away with a satisfied belly AND a beauty nutrition boost. Why miss an opportunity to look and feel your best?

A holiday celebration can be a minefield of skin-sabotaging foods, but you'll probably also find plenty of beautifying seasonal foods to fill up on, like:

  • root vegetables (think beets, potatoes, carrots)
  • squashes and pumpkin
  • kale
  • onions and garlic
  • sweet potatoes
  • cranberries (but beware, the sauce can be a sugar bomb!)
  • nuts

This Thanksgiving, you might want to stack the deck in your skin's favor by throwing together this Sweet Potato Pecan Risotto (I promise, it's easy!), a powerhouse meal for youthful, clear skin. This risotto also makes a special vegetarian main dish (for those veggies who get tired of eating just the sides).

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