If you read my Q&A on Hillary’s blog, you’ve already seen me mention this book—it was my absolute favorite summer read! Granted, it was my only summer read, but that’s a minor detail (it’s hard to find time for other books when I have a 600-page NASM textbook staring me in the face daily). Kimberly Snyder and her two books came highly recommended to me by a friend, and I was in no way disappointed.
Kim’s (I decided we’re on a first-name basis now because, I mean, I read her book and tweeted at her once, so I’m pretty sure that makes us besties) Beauty Detox Solution is, at its core, a way of eating. She does offer weekly meal plans and recipes at the end of the book for those who want to follow a strict diet plan, but the majority of the book is just outlining major principles of eating for optimal digestion. This includes rules for which food groups you should and shouldn’t combine, the order in which you should eat certain foods, which foods you should avoid—all with digestion in mind. Kim focuses on digestion based on the understanding that when your body isn’t using up energy trying to digest miscombined or difficult foods, that energy is freed up to repair damage cells, combat any illness, and increase our beauty and overall health.
Even though I have no intention of completely following Kim’s (or anyone’s) eating rules (I’m more of an “everything in moderation” girl), I learned so much from reading this book (hence the short novel of a blog post). Kim really dives into the why behind all her dietary suggestions, so even if you’re not looking to change your way of eating, you will still gain a lot of useful knowledge about digestion, food and the human body. I wanted to highlight some of my personal takeaways from the book because while some of Kim’s suggestions are unrealistic for me, I’ve still made little tweaks to my usual dietary habits since reading The Beauty Detox Solution.
1. Eat light to heavy throughout the day.
Before reading this book, I was under the impression that dinner should be your lightest meal because later in the day you’re less active and therefore won’t be burning off any calories. While Kim does support not eating immediately before bed (eat dinner about three hours before you hit the hay), she explains that if you’re going to have a heavier or less-than-ideal meal, it should be at dinner. This is to prevent a digestive “traffic jam.” Start your day with easily digestible foods (fruit, vegetables) that will be in and out of your stomach quickly, and then move onto the stuff that takes a little more time to break down (starches, protein, etc.), so that easily digestible food doesn’t sit on top of the hard stuff in your stomach and putrefy (beautiful image, I know).
I now keep my mornings really light (unless it’s the weekend and someone wants to do a boozy brunch, in which case, sorry, Kim…). I’ll start by drinking a glass of water with lemon in it, then make myself a juice (I finally own a juicer!!), and then an hour later (or whenever I’m hungry), I’ll have a smoothie or acai bowl for breakfast. If I’m craving pasta or fish, I’ll save that for dinner instead of lunch.
2. Unless you’re nursing (i.e. an infant or that third-grader on the cover of TIME Magazine last year), dairy really shouldn’t be part of your diet.
I already figured this one out with my 30-day dairy-free experiment, but Kim reiterates that no one should be consuming dairy. She lists the following reasons: the protein in dairy, casein, is difficult for our body to break down and digest; dairy creates mucus; conventional dairy is packed with hormones and drugs; and pasteurization kills natural enzymes in dairy that would have helped us digest it. If you’re going to eat cheese, pick goat’s milk cheese because the natural enzymes in a goat are closer to those in humans, and therefore it’s easier for us to digest.
3. Even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, you should eliminate or greatly reduce your gluten intake.
Gluten, the protein in wheat, rye and barley, can cause toxic reactions in our bodies that trigger our immune system and cause inflammation of the intestinal tract. If you do choose to eat some whole wheat food, make sure it’s organic, because most wheat crops are heavily sprayed with pesticides and grown in mineral-depleted soil.
I think a 30-day gluten-free experiment might be in order for me to see just how it affects my health. Until then, the only change I’ve made is saving gluten-containing foods for dinnertime (see #1) if I want them.
4. Choose honey over agave.
Wait, whaaat? I thought agave was a magical natural sweetener here to save us all from the evils of white sugar?? Kim explains that agave syrup is not a whole food found in nature, and that it has to undergo processing to get into its liquid form, sometimes involving chemicals and heating processes. Raw, organic honey is a better choice (unless you’re vegan). Easy swap for me—I love honey!
5. When it comes to protein powder, go with hemp.
Plant protein is the easiest protein for our body to digest, as soy and whey are typically highly processed. Plus, raw hemp protein powder contains 14 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein in a 30-gram serving. I don’t supplement with protein powder very often, but I have used hemp protein powder a couple times in recipes on the blog: Banana-Hazelnut Coffee Protein Smoothie and Almond Butter Muesli Bites Rolled in Coconut.
6. Choose almonds/almond butter over peanuts/peanut butter.
When it comes to nuts, avoid peanuts. They’re prone to mold and fungi, and non-organic peanuts are among the most pesticide-saturated foods out there (maybe why so many people are allergic to them!). Swapping in almond butter for peanut butter is a no-brainer—they taste equally delicious to me!
7. Cook with coconut oil.
I’d been meaning to hop on the coconut oil bandwagon for a while, and The Beauty Detox Solution solidified that move. Coconut oil, because it’s a completely saturated fat, is much less susceptible to nutritional heat damage. When it comes to cooking, I’ve swapped out the olive oil for coconut oil.
8. Nix the table salt. That $16-vile of Celtic sea salt at Whole Foods (FML) might actually be worth the price tag.
I think we all have a general understanding that too much salt in our diet is a bad thing, but when you do sprinkle a little on that corn on the cob or add some to your favorite cookie recipe, choose high-quality sea salt. Celtic and Himalayan sea salt has been dried by the sun, is raw, and contains enzymes and a slew of minerals. Table salt, on the other hand, is typically just denatured sodium chloride that’s dead, kiln-dried and highly processed.
9. Don’t mix animal proteins.
Animal protein is one of the most difficult things for our body to digest, and eating two different types of meat in the same meal is even harder on our bodies. Will I never enjoy a summer clambake again and have my fill of shellfish followed by lobster or some tuna? Hell no. But I do keep this in mind when eating sushi, and now try to pick rolls with only one type of fish in them.
The book shares tons of other dietary tips not covered here, but these are just the tweaks I knew I could easily incorporate into my own eating habits. And I can’t wait to read Kimberly’s second book, The Beauty Detox Foods, which is packed with recipes and explanations of how certain foods increase our health and beauty.
Have you guys read either of Kimberly Snyder’s books? What were the big takeaways for you?