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Beauty From the Inside Out

Alisa Ikeda


Speaking at a conference in New York, nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman looked out at all the young faces in the audience and couldn't help but wish that she'd known at their ages what she knows now: "Protecting our beauty begins in our youth and continues throughout every age and stage of life." That's when the idea for her latest book, The Living Beauty Detox Program, was born.

The great beauty cover-up

Every year women spend billions on cosmetics in hopes that they will look younger, smoother, firmer and healthier. "But camouflage isn't the answer," says Gittleman. "True beauty is an inside job!" Beauty problems - wrinkles, acne, dry hair, splitting nails and cellulite - are simply SOS signals about inward imbalances. According to Gittleman, if you take heed, you can balance your body's checkbook to look and feel better than ever.

Not so "good" intentions

Still, most of us are making an effort to stay healthy: we try to eat fat-free, avoid lots of red meat and protect our skin with lotions and creams. But, Gittleman explains, our best intentions are often the very culprits of premature aging. She says, for example, that we shouldn't wear sunscreen every single time we're outside — going without occasionally allows us to absorb the UV rays necessary for our bodies to synthesize much-needed vitamin D.

According to Gittleman, most weight gain is related to the over-consumption of fat-free carbohydrates rather than to too much fat. "It may go against all you've been taught, but trust me: fat is your friend when it comes to weight loss," says Gittleman. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are necessary for the production of prostaglandins, which are crucial to the body's fight against a variety of conditions including arthritis, ulcers, migraines and cancer. They can also help boost the cardiovascular, reproductive and immune systems, and aid in regulating energy production and fat metabolism. Oils, including flaxseed oil, primrose oil, olive oil and sesame oil can also serve as internal moisturizers for smooth, wrinkle-free skin, and blood sugar stabilizers for long-term appetite satisfaction.

Beauty 101

Gittleman's keys to a powerhouse beauty foundation A cleansed, detoxed system Purified water Lean, mean proteins Beautifying and healing oils Energizing, immune-boosting veggies and fruits Revitalizing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants Balanced hormones

Clear out those winter beauty blockers

When you think of detox and body cleansing, you probably think of fasting. Don't despair! Gittleman's Living Beauty Detox Program, which is organized by season, includes eating and cleansing your way to beauty in these cold winter months. Paying particular attention to nurturing the kidneys and adrenal glands, this season's detox plan encourages adequate rest, relaxation and meditation; daily cups of nettle tea; warm foods (apple-cranberry sauce, stuffed peppers, organic hamburger); ginger, sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar; a "Living Beauty Elixir" twice a day (eight ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice with two teaspoons of a green superfood mixture); lots of room temperature water; wearing loose, layered, natural clothing; and light to moderate exercise for 20-30 minutes at least three times per week.

If you stick to this regime, Gittleman says that in three days to two weeks, "your skin will clear up, your hair will shine, your eyes will become brighter, your brain will be sharper, your digestion will become more efficient and your energy will go through the roof!"

Gittleman's Top Ten Tips for Ageless Beauty Vitamin C to fight wrinkles and support collagen Magnesium for beautiful bones and strong teeth Vitamin B-complex to calm nerves and get rid of that washed out look Vitamin E to prevent sagging facial muscles, age spots, and provide skin lubrication Iron for a rosy complexion Zinc for wound healing and strong hair Vitamin D for calcium absorption and strong bones Vitamin A for beautiful soft skin Sulphur to heal and prevent scars Essential fatty acids to prevent nails from splitting, skin from breaking out and hair from falling out.

French artist and sculptor Rodin said, "Beauty is but the spirit breaking through the flesh." Gittleman agrees, and she offers ways to nurture the soul as well as nourish the body. Pamper yourself. Try St. John's wort or chaste tree berry for depression. Use flower essences to ward off anger, grief, guilt or stress. Practice connected breathing, meditation and affirmation. "You will soar through life with a new found sense of freedom," says Gittleman, "and explore the world of possibilities that are ready and waiting for you."

Ann Louise Gittleman, M.S., C.N.S., is the former director of nutrition at the renowned Pritikin Longevity Center and a leading nutritionist. She is the author of nearly 20 health books, including the bestselling Beyond Pritikin and Before the Change. Gittleman lives in Bozeman, Montana.

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