by Judith Fertig
Wise food choices that optimize digestion and promote natural, ongoing detoxification can help us attain red-carpet shape, professes nutritionist and beauty expert Kimberly Snyder, New York Times bestselling author of The Beauty Detox Foods. She aims for optimum health as the basis for achieving a desirable outward glow. Snyder says she once struggled with several beauty issues.
In seeking wellness on the way to becoming a nutritionist, she found that her daily energy level improved after she started making shifts in her diet. She then lost weight, her hair got healthier and her formerly troubled facial skin became clear and smooth.
Healthy eating pays dividends in radiant skin, lustrous hair, sparkling eyes and a sleek physique.
Blogging about her gradual transformation and lifestyle philosophies attracted media attention and a celebrity clientele by word of mouth. “I never looked for clients; they found me,” she says. Today, Snyder counts entertainers Fergie and her actor-husband Josh Duhamel, Kerry Washington, Channing Tatum and Drew Barrymore among the many celebrities she has helped get into better camera-ready shape.
Early into her personal transformation, Snyder realized that digestion holds the key. “I never linked my constipation issues with my acne,” she says. “It’s a tremendous amount of work to digest food. It’s no wonder that eating a fast-food sandwich with gluten bread, animal protein and cheese with casein produces a mid-afternoon slump. They are hard to digest together and all at once, taxing body energy,” she explains. “Then, when you feel the inevitable drop in energy, you might turn to caffeine or sugary soda, but that only brings on another slump.”
Snyder, who is now a vegan, suggests simplifying meals and starting them with whole, raw, plant-based foods like salads. She advises her clients to start the day with lemon juice in warm water. If they don’t feel like breakfast, she advises, “Don’t force yourself. Listen to your body, it knows best.”
When hunger hits, Snyder blends a Glowing Green Smoothie—what she calls, “the star of the whole Beauty Detox program,” in her book. A batch of three to four servings requires seven cups of chopped spinach; six cups of chopped romaine lettuce; one-and-a- half cups of chopped celery; one banana; an apple and a pear, both peeled, cored and chopped; two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and two cups of filtered water. She claims that drinking this smoothie can make a difference in just three days.
She also lists 50 plant-based foods for specific body benefits because they are naturally alkaline-forming during digestion and assimilate more effectively than acid-forming animal protein, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and sugar. By improving digestion, we end up feeling more energetic.
Carefully timed consumption is another key in Snyder’s beauty regimen. She recommends starting the day with a light smoothie, eating foods based on whole plants throughout the day, and then eating a raw salad and a vegetarian meal or some animal protein as an earlier dinner. Eating fruit by itself on an empty stomach helps it digest better than when combined with other foods that take longer to process. On hungrier days, Snyder suggests turning to whole grains such as oats or quinoa, which are high in fiber and lower in fat, or fibrous chia seeds.
When energy is low, she advocates supplementing with bee pollen or a protein smoothie. She stresses, “Progress, not perfection,” as her mantra, advising that it’s better to take small steps and keep moving forward rather than try to change everything all at once. She believes that experiencing higher energy and beauty benefits provides effective incentives to continue instead of trying to stick to a strict, numbers-based plan that doesn’t take into account energy or digestion.
“The metaphor I use for healthy digestion is a waterfall versus a stagnant pond,” says Snyder. “You want your system to be moving, dynamic.” To keep digestive “sludge” out of our body’s systems, Snyder recommends a proven detox approach of drinking liquid only between meals to help foods digest easier. She particularly recommends her own Probiotic & Enzyme Salad, made with four cups of shredded cabbage; one inch of fresh ginger, cut into strips; one teaspoon of caraway seeds; and cold, filtered water, all left to naturally ferment in a jar at room temperature for about five days—or refrigerated raw sauerkraut from a health food store—to help flush out toxins. She also emphasizes supplementing with probiotics, such as her unique formula made from soil-based organisms. Infrared sauna treatments can also help leach heavy metals out of body fat and decrease cellulite.
“These techniques have been around for a long time because they work,” says Snyder. “As I always say, outer beauty is a reflection of inner health.”