You know that I’m ALL about getting your gorgeous on and making the most of what you’ve got. So when I heard about a way to “EAT Your Way to Gorgeous,” as a diet for healthy skin + to illuminate beauty, I had to find out more.
And, I’m totally on board.
I caught up with culinary nutritionist & radiant life expert Sue Ann Gleason, the creator of the “Eat Your Way to Gorgeous” event to share her insights on how what you eat makes you even more, well, gorgeous. —S.H.
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Sharon Haver: I love the idea of EATING to look gorgeous rather than DIEting to look thinner.
With all the beauty products and anti-aging treatments out there, it would be delicious (wink, wink) to diet for healthy skin. But, how can you possibly eat to get a more vibrant, gorgeous you?
Sue Ann Gleason: Great question. Most women believe that in order to look good they have to be thinner and so they remove foods from their diet. Too many foods. Unfortunately, our ‘health” industry perpetuates this myth with a focus on LOSING weight rather than CREATING health. Weight release is actually a beneficial side effect of becoming healthier so if we want to start looking gorgeous, we have to start eating the foods that illuminate beauty.
For example, for many years we were told that fat in our food meant fat on our bodies. When this belief system was firmly in place, we all jumped on the “Low Fat, No Fat Battleship.” We waged war on fat and removed it from the premises. When fat became the enemy, we got very good at reading food labels, but we focused on the number of fat grams in the product, totally ignoring the chemicals, food colorings, and “natural” flavors added to give the food its flavor.
Our refrigerators and pantries became stocked with:
- Skim milk
- Low fat or no fat yogurt
- Fat free salad dressing (Or, no salad dressing.)
- Rice cakes
And, our favorite sweet snack became “Snackwell” cookies.
So what happens when we don’t get enough healthy fat in our diets?
- The quality of our skin diminishes.
- Our hair loses its sheen.
- We got a little grouchy.
- We can’t find our keys.
- We have difficulty absorbing vitamins A, D, E, & K (our fat soluble vitamins).
- Our bones suffer.
- Our kids start acting out in school.
- We fall asleep at our desks at 3:00 pm.
When food scientists took the fat out of our food, they added more sugar. Or, even worse, artificial sweeteners. When we ingest processed sugars without adequate amounts of quality fat, quality protein, vitamins and enzymes, our body ecology is disrupted, our blood sugars become elevated, and a hormonal cascade taxes the adrenal glands until we’re completely exhausted. “Exhausted” is not gorgeous.
SH: What foods actually make you look more vibrant and alive?
SAG: First, fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other harvested food should comprise at least 60% of our daily intake of food.
Consuming raw fruits and vegetables and fresh vegetable juices on a regular basis is a wonderful way to nutrify, cleanse, and detoxify the body. Juicing is a great way to stay hydrated with organically distilled, nutrient-dense water. The more hydrated we are, the more vibrant our skin becomes. I recommend green juices to get the benefit of a concentrated infusion of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients and green smoothies for a fiber-filled beverage that enhances our digestive health and elimination.
The second thing we need to become more aware of is the importance of including more healthy fats in our diet. Stand in any Starbucks line and you’ll hear women ordering “skinny lattes” with sugar-free syrup. No one is questioning what’s in the sugar-free syrup. If we want to look and feel more vibrant and alive, we need to eat whole foods (real food) and healthy fats: avocado, nuts and seeds, olives, fatty fish, and flax. Essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes. They are also powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
SH: Is it difficult to switch your diet and does ‘Eat Your Way to Gorgeous’ make meal planning and eating out more complicated?
SAG: Quite the contrary. When you move into a whole foods diet you shop the perimeter of the grocery store. You no longer have to spend time in the center aisles reading labels to determine which foods are the least toxic. Processed foods fall off the repertoire because once you start preparing fresher, more vibrant meals, your palate changes. I’d much rather enjoy a bowl of sliced apples and carrots sprinkled with Vietnamese cinnamon and a dollop of almond butter than a tasteless rice cake. When you move into a whole foods diet, you may even find yourself shopping at your local farmers market and eating with the seasons.
The trick is finding delicious alternatives to the foods that no longer serve you and then having so much fun with these new taste treats, your family can’t help but join you. Twelve years ago, when I married my husband, he was eating white on white. Mashed potatoes, a breast of chicken, and a scoop of cottage cheese on a white plate. He wouldn’t touch a vegetable unless it was a cucumber or a tomato growing in our garden. Last weekend he joined me on the deck for a bowl of icy spicy watermelon soup. And he liked it!
Eating out is still a pleasure, you just get a little more selective because you notice how much better you look and feel when you are preparing your own food and you’re not walking around with that puffy look that comes with eating too much salt and too many processed foods. You choose better restaurants with more vibrant options and you eat only what you can savor.
SH: Can you tell us a little bit about your ‘Eat Your Way to Gorgeous’ program? Why did you develop it and where can we find out more about how to take advantage of this 10 day, $10 event so we too can enjoy a diet for healthy skin?
SAG: My signature program, The Well-Nourished Woman Inner Circle, is a three-month online journey into living a delicious, fully expressed life. I wanted to extract a slice of that program and create a 10-day luscious living experience that would be accessible to a larger number of people who have been following my work, dancing with me on my Chocolate for Breakfast Facebook page, and drooling over my food photography. I wanted to create a program that would give me an opportunity to wrap my culinary arms around my community and show them just how much fun it can be to eat your way to gorgeous. You can find out more, here.
Sue Ann Gleason is a Washington, DC-based culinary nutritionist, radiant life expert, and writer who has been featured in Oprah and Runner’s World Magazines and numerous online publications. When not running online programs or working with private clients, she can be found sampling exotic chocolates or building broccoli forests in her mashed potatoes.
Photos: Sue Ann Gleason / Eat Your Way to Gorgeous