Eat pretty: our interview with Jolene Hart

As long-time fans of Jolene Hart’s and her debut launch Eat Pretty, we’re so pleased to be featuring an exclusive interview with her on the Baby2Body Blog. We’ve covered every topic – juggling motherhood with a career, eating for your complexion, boosting your happiness, and much more. We hope you enjoy it!

A little bit about Jolene: Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP is a Health Coach, certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners, and founder of the pioneering beauty coaching practice Beauty Is Wellness. She is the author of Eat Pretty, a seasonal guide to looking and feeling beautiful using nutrition and self care, and the co-founder and Director of Education of the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance. Her beauty and health writing has appeared in a wide range of national and international publications, including InStyle, Allure, Organic Spa, Delicious Living and The Huffington Post. Her next book will debut in 2016 from Chronicle Books.

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1) How did Eat Pretty come about?

My journey to Eat Pretty started out as a very personal attempt to better understand my decade-long struggle with skin issues. I was dealing with cystic acne, eczema, redness and sensitivity, along with allergies, low energy and weight gain, and during much of that time I was working as a beauty editor at a major women’s magazine— so, giving millions of women advice on how look beautiful. Needless to say, I felt like an imposter! I had always been taught that food was medicine but had been advised by so many experts that there was no link between acne and diet.

It took me years of failing to make progress with prescription medicines and topical treatments, as well as every acne-clearing product that crossed my desk, to be desperate enough to explore the dietary connection to skin health. When I did, I started seeing changes immediately, and I knew that this food-skin link needed to be shared with other women who were as frustrated as I was! That experience really changed my course. I studied to become a health coach at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, started coaching, and continued researching the nutritional link to beauty for a few years before I had the idea for Eat Pretty. Connecting food and skin has turned my career around, from a beauty editor with an outside-in focus to a health coach with an inside-out approach to looking and feeling beautiful every day.

2) Why should pregnant women eat with their complexion in mind?

It goes without saying that, foremost, we eat with our baby in mind while pregnant. But when you look at the foods that are particularly nourishing to your developing baby— healthy fats, minerals like iron and zinc, A, C and B vitamins— there is a ton of overlap with the best nutrients to build and maintain radiant skin. It’s nice to know that by eating well for your baby, you can support your own gorgeous skin as well!

3) What benefits do we gain from a plant-based diet?

Plant-based foods are truly living fuel for your beauty, compared to the processed and packaged foods we find on shelves that have been designed to stay edible for months and years. Plant foods also incredibly nutrient-dense, so you get an impressive amount of nutrition in even a small serving. One handful of kale, for example, has over 200% of your daily vitamin A (a major skin-smoother that balances oil production in the skin) and over 100% of your daily vitamin C (a powerful age-fighter that supports healthy collagen).

Plant-based foods also offer a rainbow of phytonutrients— plant chemicals that provide major beauty benefits like UV defense (lycopene in tomatoes and quercetin in apples), wrinkle prevention (allicin in garlic) and reduction of inflammation (curcumin in turmeric). The beautiful natural colors we see in plant foods reveal that rainbow of beauty benefits.

4) Tell us your five beauty-enhancing nutrients for pregnancy, motherhood and beyond

  1. Omega fatty acids are key for baby’s brain development, as well as our hormone balance, glowing and well-moisturized skin, mood stability, and a reduction in inflammation (a precursor to wrinkles, blemishes and redness). Getting enough healthy fats of all types in our diet (think avocados, olives, raw nuts, wild salmon and sardines, and coconut oil) is a must-have for energy, fullness and all-around beauty.

  2. B vitamins— the entire spectrum— are important for energy, breastfeeding, and supportive of the body when it’s under stress. B vitamins also have incredible beauty benefits, from calming and hydrating skin (B3) to strengthening hair and maintaining hair colour (B5) to repairing cell damage (B9).

  3. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-ageing vitamin that gets depleted quickly. C fights free radicals to slow the aging process and is essential for healthy collagen and elastin in the skin. It supports healthy metabolism and boosts absorption of iron— key during pregnancy and beyond.

  4. Vitamin A is a major skin vitamin; it heals, increases cell turnover for smoother, glowing skin, balances oil production, and defends against UV damage. Some of my favorite beauty foods like sweet potatoes, kale, squash and pumpkin are major sources of beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body.

  5. Probiotics. Not only is beneficial gut flora essential to pass onto your baby, your digestive health influences how well you break down and assimilate nutrition from all of the healthy beauty food you’re eating. A probiotic supplement or probiotic-rich fermented foods can boost your levels of beneficial flora, helping you to digest and eliminate better, and ensuring that you get more from your diet. Healthy skin directly mirrors a healthy gut, so this is one to remember for lifelong beauty!

5) What are some of the challenges or rewarding experiences you’ve faced as a working mother?

Having a baby and releasing a book in the same month in 2014 was so challenging that I have to laugh when I think back on it. Maybe a little too crazy! Looking at the bigger picture, I think as a working mom your own self care suddenly becomes incredibly low on the priority list. I never stopped devoting time to nutrition— I wouldn’t have had the nutrients to breastfeed or the energy to power through my days without it— but it’s the things like exercise, meditation, reading for pleasure, social time with friends, etc. that I must put on my calendar in advance, or else forego completely. Those self-care practices can be really impactful for beauty, mood and anti-ageing.

I also try to serve as a model of a beautifying, Eat Pretty life to inspire others to live that way, but it can be challenging to fill that role on days when I’m feeling drained and pulled in too many directions. In some ways, being a working mom has been a fabulous and realistic way to figure out what works and what is impractical in terms of daily beauty nutrition advice for busy women everywhere.

6) Many women experience acne during their pregnancy. Which food-based remedies would you recommend to help improve irritated, blemish-prone skin?

Diet is number one here; include protein, healthy fats and an abundance of colourful veggies in your meals, and eat regularly so that your blood sugar remains stable. Avoiding sugars, processed foods and refined carbs can also support blood sugar stability, which has links to clear skin. Of course, sometimes our hormones are going so wild during pregnancy that breakouts are inevitable. When that happens, and in the interest of keeping your skin clear preventatively, raw honey masks are my go-to.

Apply honey (look for raw or Manuka varieties that contain active enzymes and nutrients that are lost in pasteurised honey) to clean, damp skin and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water and follow with a warm, damp cloth. The benefits are smooth, well-hydrated, less breakout-prone skin.

Thank you SO much to Jolene for sharing these incredible tips. We’re so pleased that we get to share her knowledge and expertise with you!

Jolene has kindly gifted us a signed copy of Eat Pretty – and it’s up for grabs! Just click through our Rafflecopter giveaway to submit your entries, and the winner will be announced in one week. We’ll notify you that you’ve won on our social media accounts. Good luck!

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What did you take away from our interview with Jolene? Let us know in the comments below!

Want more nutritional advice and information on how to eat well during pregnancy and as a mom? Check out our free ios app!


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