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One of the most important assets you have in your quest for beauty is energy. Energy is a key factor in your ability to shed weight easily and permanently, achieve great health and look your most beautiful. Energy regenerates your liver and other tissue cells, flushes toxic waste from the body, helps maintain your ideal weight, keeps your skin's collagen smooth and your hair healthy, and keeps blood from stagnating into dark under-eye circles. The more energy you have, the better you feel and the more beautiful you become.
What eats up energy? The quick answer: digestion. Yes, digestion! Did you know that the full process of digestion takes more energy than any other internal function of the human body? Some experts estimate that digestion takes as much as half or more of your total energy.Digestion is the key that can elevate your beauty to the highest levels, or, adversely, take you down, by sucking up precious energy that could be used for other processes. Beauty Detox Foods are designed to free up energy from digestion, which is the single most important way to redirect large amounts of energy to make weight loss easy and help you look your most beautiful.
Your body's systems are always trying to maintain perfect balance, which leads to superior health and beauty, but this is possible only after you have cleansed yourself of toxic material that constantly accumulates. The more efficiently you digest food (in other words, the less energy your body has to spend on digesting), the more energy your body has to clean out the old toxic material and perform all those beautifying processes. The toxic sludge amasses at a much faster pace when you're not digesting your food efficiently.
Detoxing yourself by getting rid of old waste is the key to allowing your digestion to function optimally. When you loosen the toxic sludge from your system, your energy will automatically increase because your body will be able to perform digestive and other functions efficiently and with much less effort. Thanks to that renewed energy, you will also lose weight and look years (or even decades) younger. Your skin will radiate and your hair will grow in with vibrant body and a healthy sheen.
Most diets focus on the number of calories or grams of carbs and protein to consume, yet they make no effort to deduce how efficientlyor notyour system can break down or use any given food. These eating plans don't consider Beauty Energy and how it's used up in digesting foods that are difficult to break down. Calories and grams of carbs and proteins alone don't give a holistic picture of how healthy a food is within the human body, how nutrient-dense it is or how much fiber it contains. Nor do they give you any clues as to the amount of foreign chemicals, preservatives and additives that may be in that given food. That is the very reason that dieting and losing weight have always seemed like such a miserable chore and struggle, a struggle that most of us feel we are losing, along with energy levels. And it's one of the reasons people age at such an accelerated rate. There's more to our achieving thriving health and beauty than adding up a bunch of numbers. Don't worry, because you are soon going to learn the easy way to lose weight and get your energy back again.
The high content of mineral-, enzyme- and fiber-rich Beauty Detox Foods will help cleanse and unclog the waste from the intestines so that your body can start to absorb nutrients optimally. But building up toxic waste in the body can take many years, even decades, so detoxification on a deeper level is not something that happens instantly. It should be a gradual, controlled and regulated process and it needs to take place continuously to get the tangible results you are after. In fact, detoxification that happens too quickly can be very uncomfortableyou can feel or actually become ill. But you can start to see changes fairly quickly by making important shifts in the foods you eat.
Eat more veggies and fewer animal products
The best thing you can do to improve your overall health and beauty is to fill your diet with whole, unrefined plant foods. As pointed out in Forks over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, "Natural, plant-based foods provide all the essential nutrients needed for a well-balanced and healthy diet, as there are no nutrients found in animal-based foods that are not abundantly available in plant foods, with the exception of vitamin B12. And you can supplement vitamin B12 for insurance." In the past, B12 was obtained in adequate amounts from a plant-based diet, because microorganisms in the soil manufacture B12. But today, foods are sanitized and scrubbed of soil exposure. Although you may choose to keep some meat in your diet for taste, social, familial or any other reasons, there is no nutritional reason to do so. We discuss protein (that inevitable topic when the notion of a plant-based diet is discussed) in the following section, but rest assured that if your diet isn't deficient in calories, it is practically impossible for you to be deficient in protein.
To keep your body running efficiently, greens are one of the most important food groups. Green vegetables are among the most nutrient-dense of all foods and are full of alkaline minerals, including calcium, chlorophyll and amino acids. They make up your key Beauty Foods that regenerate and purify your cells.
Besides greens, you want to eat substantial portions of a wide range of vegetables, which will supply you with key minerals, enzymes and vitamins. Their fiber will help sweep waste from the body, as well as fill you up.
Your best beauty greens and vegetables include the following:
Artichokes (Jerusalem)CarrotsGreen beansRomaine lettuceCauliflowerKaleScallionsArugulaCeleryLamb's quartersSea vegetablesAsparagusChardLeeksShallotsBeansChivesMushroomsSpinachBeet greensCilantroMustard greensSprouts (all varietiesBeetsCollard greensOkraBok choyDandelion greensOnionsSweet potatoesBroccoliDillParsleySwiss chardBrussels sproutsEndiveParsnipsTurnipsCabbage (green, purple or Chinese)EscarolePeppersWatercressFriséeRadishesWheatgrass
It's preferable to eat only fresh vegetables. However, frozen vegetables are the next best choice if you don't have access to fresh produce or the time to purchase it. Canned vegetables should be avoided altogether, as they may contain preservatives or chemicals such as bisphenol A, are high in sodium and tend to have lower nutritional value than fresh or frozen vegetables.
EAT MORE RAW THAN COOKED VEGETABLES
Eating vegetables raw is the key to obtaining the most beautifying vitamins, enzymes and nutrition, so eat plenty of salads and raw veggies every day. Any type of heat will destroy some of their nutrients. But I know it's not reasonable to eat only salads all the time. It's okay to have some cooked vegetables, especially when you're transitioning and when eating dinner. When cooking vegetables, avoid charring or overboiling them, because you want to preserve the nutrients as much as you can. Steaming or lightly cooking in a bit of vegetable broth, for example, will retain some of the vegetables' nutrients and ensure they are digested easily.
LIMIT ANIMAL PROTEIN
Over the past decade or so, a number of high-protein, low-carb diets have become increasingly popular. A study published in 2002 and funded by the Atkins Center for Complementary Medicine researched fifty-one obese people who were put on the low-carb Atkins Diet. Over six months, forty-one subjects maintained the diet and lost an average of twenty pounds. Sounds good, doesn't it? But consider that the participants in the study were consuming an average of only 1,450 calories per day, which is 35 percent less than the average American consumption of 2,250 calories a day. On any kind of diet, if you were to restrict your calories by at least 35 percent, you would lose weight, at least for the short term. In the same study the researchers also stated that "at some point during the twenty-four weeks, 68% reported constipation, 63% reported bad breath, 51% reported headaches, 10% reported hair loss, and one woman reported increased menstrual bleeding."
Another frightening figure from the study is that dieters had a fifty-three percent increase in the amount of calcium excreted in their urine, which is a big problem for bone density and health. A diet that creates such high levels of constipation shows how unnatural it is for the human body. Constipation holds toxins in the body and is incredibly aging.
Digesting animal protein creates all sorts of by-products in the body, like purines, uric acid and ammonia by-products. These toxins are absorbed into your bloodstream through the colon and circulate all around your body. When your blood is clogged with toxins, it can't transport as many beautifying minerals, and these toxins can age and clog the skin cells of your face. Furthermore, excessive protein consumption overworks the liver and kidneys. In his book Conscious Eating, Gabriel Cousens, M.D., discusses how ammonia, a by-product of digesting protein, contributes to aging. As he notes, "Ammonia, which is a breakdown product of a high-flesh-food diet, is directly toxic to the system. It has been found to create free radical damage and cross-linking (a process associated with skin wrinkles and aging), as well as depletes the body's energy."
Ketosis, which may occur as a result of a low-carb diet, whereby by-products called ketones accumulate in your body, makes the blood acidic. An acidic body tends to age faster. Take a look for yourself at people who are on high-protein, low-carb diets. They usually look "hardened" and far older than they are, with what I call the "old skinny" look, which has lost all its youthfulness. I'll bet you can think of some "old skinny" people!
One study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition focusing on the short- and long-term effects of high-protein and low-carb diets found that "complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet." Animal protein is also the most complex of all foods: it takes about twice as long as other foods to pass through your digestive system. The more slowly a food is digested in your body, which is a hot 98.6 degrees, the greater the chance that toxins can be created.
There definitely have to be limits to the amount of concentrated protein you consume. The "eat as much animal protein as you can" theory is both aging to your skin and body, and dangerous. Taking in more protein than is needed places a heavy burden on your body, creating acidity (see Chapter 2 for more info on acidity) and wasting Beauty Energythe very thing you are trying to avoid.
The Lowdown on Fish
Fish and seafood are generally good nutritional choices. But that's not to say that you should start loading up on seafood. Fish is cited as one of the most polluted foods you can eat. Three of the biggest water contaminants that are found in fish are hydrocarbons, PCBs and mercury, although there are others like DDT and fertilizers in our waters.
The sad fact is that our water sources, including the oceans, lakes and rivers, have been polluted with megadoses of toxic chemicals, and fish today act as a sponge for toxins and are often heavily contaminated. Toxins diminish your beauty and age you faster, so although some will argue that fish has some positive health benefits, such as good omega-3 oils (which we'll discuss later; there are cleaner options for getting these fats), the benefits have to be balanced against the dangers.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend strict limits on fish consumption for pregnant women because of risks posed to the developing fetus. However, especially if you eat out at restaurants for dinner and can choose from some better options (see below), you may choose to keep fish in your diet as part of your moderate amount of weekly animal protein intake.
Here are some tips for choosing fish if you would like to eat it:
Don't eat fish or seafood more than a maximum of two times a week.
Choose fish that may be lower in heavy metals and toxins: wild Alaskan salmon, mahi-mahi, sole, tilapia, trout, striped sea bass, haddock, halibut and whitefish.
Avoid fish high in toxins: swordfish, tuna, shark, bluefish, Chilean sea bass, tilefish, marlin, shellfish (which is particularly high in the heavy metal cadmium) such as shrimp and blue crab, Atlantic or farmed salmon, bluefish, wild striped bass, mackerel and grouper.
Avoid store-bought canned tuna fish, which is high in mercury. A woman who eats just one can of tuna a week will be 30 percent over the EPA cutoff for safe mercury levels.
Because a lot of the chemicals are stored in the fish's fat, be sure to broil or bake your fish to allow as much fat as possible to drain from it. When eating out, order baked fish as opposed to pan-seared or fried dishes.
Be cautious when eating sushi and sashimi. If the fish weren't toxic, it would be a great choice since it's raw, and the amino acids that make up the fish proteins don't become denatured from cooking. But tuna, salmon and other fish commonly used for sushi and sashimi are often the most toxic fish of all.