Recently, I finished reading what I thought to be a very interesting book that was bound in a pretty, pink cover. Book title: “Eat Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out" by Jolene Hart. My first reaction when seeing this book and reading the title was, “Here we go ... another diet book masked in a superficial title of eating pretty.” The word “pretty” itself has now become a bit controversial since there is the ongoing debate of society’s beauty standards. The book is all about lifestyle vs. diet.

Despite it all, I was curious about the book and what it meant to "eat pretty." It was also given to me during a time where I felt extremely exhausted, was having major breakouts, and didn’t feel like myself. I finally opened up that pink book and found that it really wasn’t a weight loss or diet book at all. It was more of a health book you would find in a nutrition class - laid out in a clever and endearing way. It's all about creating a healthy lifestyle instead of dieting. 

Instead of the words healthy and unhealthy used to describe food, Hart uses “eat pretty foods” (for, of course, healthy foods) and “beauty betrayers” (for the unhealthy foods). She doesn’t just say "eat this and you will feel great." She explains the science behind each food and how it affects a certain organ, which can lead to things such as breakouts. Weight is lightly discussed in the book. She only says “a slimmer waistline” or “help you metabolize better." This change of thinking only emphasizes the lifestyle vs. diet argument.

Cultivating a healthy lifestyle is the main goal of the book, not stressing people to look like someone or something else. She also discusses breakouts, aging, irritation, fatigue, stress and mood. She explains if some of those are out of balance, then the rest of the body will be unbalanced, as well. Dieting can also have bad effects on certain parts of the body. The Whole 30 diet actually takes away quite a few nutrients from one's diet and makes people more prone to binge eating. I now only keep "beautifyer foods" at home. If I'm going to have something unhealthy, it's going to be out to eat somewhere - which is something I don't do that often. 

In only 198 pages, Hart covers all four seasons of food, the importance of sleep, and my favorite: a breakdown of every vitamin and mineral we need, how it helps us and where to find it in the food we eat. She explains all of the beauty betrayers we must get rid of or, at least, eat in moderation. She also provides a chart of vitamins and minerals we need (again my favorite part — I still reference it when grocery shopping) that are vital in achieving beauty inside and out. The bulk of the book is a breakdown of each of the four seasons in the year and what foods to be aware of and corresponding recipes for that season. She ends the book by stressing the importance of life beyond the plate — stress, sleep, a healthy liver and everything that influences how you digest food.

My testimony: I have been reading “Eat Pretty” over this past month, as well as applying what Hart says to my diet (or as I like to call it now, “eating pretty”) and I have noticed a difference. Yes, I have lost weight *my jeans thank me* but more importantly I feel better, my stress levels are more maintained, I have more energy (just ask my roommates), and my “zit-apocalypse” is gone. I now crave healthy food (and if you know me personally, my eating habits used to be similar to those of Lorelai Gilmore). Not to say I don’t eat "beauty betrayers" because sometimes I do - just in moderation. For example, I had a nice Asiago bagel from Old School Bagel Cafe yesterday. However when I eat “pretty,” I feel pretty inside and out! So the next time you think about gaining that "bikini body" or maybe fitting into that dress that has been hanging in your closet for a while, try changing your lifestyle with "Eat Pretty". Think: lifestyle versus diet. They actually go hand in hand. 

Check out this book and other books by Jolene Hart.