Back to You: A Fresh Start with Jolene Hart

January 13, 2016

When the calendar page flipped a couple weeks ago, signaling the fresh start of the New Year, we had some trouble kicking it into gear. We were still feeling sluggish from the over-scheduled, over-indulgent holiday season, and, frankly, a little stuck. So, we sent an SOS to beauty editor, author and certified health coach Jolene Hart, who has made a name for herself due in part to Eat Pretty, her book of nutritional advice and beautifying recipes. From tips on getting back into the self-care groove to her favorite beautifying and energizing smoothie ingredients, Jolene expertly answered our questions and provided exclusive recipes to help us, finally, greet 2016 with our best face forward.

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As a health and wellness coach, what do you recommend for anyone needing a pick-me-up after the excitement of the holidays has subsided?
The holidays are definitely an emotional time, and after they’re over we sometimes struggle to get back into a routine. After a season of giving and going, it’s an ideal time to focus on your own needs. Also, look into bringing some of that uplifting holiday joy into your day-to-day life, because the highlights of the holidays—like giving to others, time spent with loved ones, comfort foods, even sparkly décor—don’t need to be put away at the end of the season.

What’s the most common resolution-making stumbling block you see in your practice?
I’m all about goal setting, but I don’t like making one big resolution or goal at the outset of the year—it’s too make-or-break. Instead, I coach my clients to come up with a single word that sums up the result that they want from the year ahead. Then they post that word in visible places, like the background to their smartphone or on a pretty piece of paper tucked into their vanity mirror, and let that word guide them through the decisions they make in the year ahead. For 2016, my word is “magical.” I’m ready to stop trying to micromanage my daily life and allow more to happen organically—hence the “magic.”

What are your favorite seasonal ingredients for winter, and what are their health properties?
For winter, I love ginger, pomegranates and mushrooms. Ginger supports immune health during cold season, is warming to the body during the winter, and reduces inflammation, which we often struggle with after holiday indulgence. Pomegranates help stop the formation of wrinkles and preserve collagen, and are incredibly antioxidant-packed, which slows down aging head-to-toe. Mushrooms are powerful immune-boosting foods that reduce inflammation and provide stress-fighting B vitamins. Shiitake mushrooms are a particular favorite for their content of skin elasticity-preserving selenium.

Which seasonal ingredient offers the biggest beauty boosting bang for the buck?
I have to say lemons. I always, always have a bowl in my kitchen! Drinking daily lemon water is a wonderful habit for detox, collagen building and liver health. Lemons are highly alkaline foods, which balance out our internal pH from the many acid-forming foods in our diets, like, sugar, dairy, nuts, meat, and caffeine. The pith of lemons contains bioflavonoids that strengthen blood vessels and support lymph flow throughout the body. And the flavor of lemons so perfectly accents green smoothies, dressings, and so many other beautifying foods—it just makes you want to eat more of them!

Do you have a smoothie every day? What are some of the benefits of drinking smoothies?
I don’t have a smoothie every day—but some days I have more than one! For me, the benefits include easy access to a balanced meal on the go and getting ingredients that really fuel my body, especially when I pack my smoothies with energizing greens and protein, skin-friendly fats and antioxidant-rich spices.

What are your “Top 3” favorite ingredients to use in smoothies, either for flavor or their beauty benefits?
I love shelled hemp seeds, ginger and avocado. Hemp seeds are one of my regular add-ins for their fantastic combination of beautifying fats, protein and minerals like iron and zinc. They really round out any plant-based smoothie and make it more satiating and beneficial to your skin. Ginger, as I mentioned earlier, adds a spicy kick to smoothies and offers powerful anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting benefits. Inflammation is a factor in the formation of blemishes and wrinkles, as well as in sensitive skin and stubborn weight gain, so anti-inflammatory foods are deeply supportive of our overall beauty. And avocado makes smoothies thick and creamy while providing instant energy and skin-friendly fats.

Can you tell us about a time when your body was trying to tell you something—but maybe you weren’t listening? And what changed when you did listen?
The biggest example of this was definitely my persistent skin issues; I ignored their link to my diet and inner health for a long, long time before exploring the skin-nutrition connection. I had a gut feeling that my cystic acne and eczema were signs that something was out of balance in my body. But I wanted a quick fix, and when I sought help from countless experts, I was always assured that there was no link between my skin issues and my diet. It took me almost a decade to get the confidence to go my own way! When I finally decided to look into the nutritional link to beauty, I found the connection was so deep. But I’ve ignored other things too, like digestive troubles and periods of burnout when I’ve been working too hard. I’ve really learned that the skill of listening to your body is incredibly valuable, and you have to be an active participant; it’s not something someone else can do for you.

Thirsty for more? Head this way for four of Jolene’s beauty-enhancing smoothie recipes.