First Impressions Of Pretty Zen, By Jules Aron

I've always loved the concept of beautifying food; filling yourself up with magical nutrients from the inside out. I love to cook and to eat. A large portion of my life revolves around food, and baking brings so much joy to my spare time. This is what first attracted me to Jules Aron's Pretty Zen series, Nourish & Glow: Foods & Elixirs, and Fresh & Pure: Beauty Balms & Cleansers. Nourish & Glow is a recipe book for people who want to feed themselves into looking great, something I can definitely get behind. It's sister tome is full of slightly different concoctions; recipes and guides to making your own beauty products. As a pair, aim to teach you everything you need to pamper your body from every direction.

I'm a big believer that skincare starts with what you put in your body. If I'm in the frame of mind where I'm really taking care of myself and paying a lot of attention to my skin (which isn't ALL of the time, not by a long shot...sometimes I really can't be bothered, and that's fine) I try to make sure I'm at least partially backing it up with good food and drink and getting all the micronutrients I need. Otherwise, I feel like I'm not getting the maximum benefits of whatever products I'm using anyway. Looking good doesn't really mean anything to me if I feel like a warmed-up pile of shit on the inside.

For me, taking care of myself means eating a plant-based diet, with no dairy, eggs, meat, or fish. I'm not saying this will be the case for absolutely every soul on the planet, but it definitely works for me, and I can't emphasize enough how much I love being vegan. Luckily, every recipe in the Pretty Zen series is vegan-friendly, which means I don't have to do any adapting or substituting to give anything a try. Every recipe is also free from gluten and refined sugars, which means nearly everyone can eat from these books.

My only criticism (which isn't really a criticism, just an observation) is that the Pretty Zen series contain a lot of niche ingredients that you'll have to pick up in health food shops, and some of the recipes work out quite expensive if you're buying everything you need all at once. For me, this means that I'll use these recipes on special occasions, or adapt them to cut down the cost. If you're looking for easy weekday dinners then just be aware these might be too far on the luxurious side!

If, however, you want to learn to make your own jeweled rose latte or healthy vegetable chips, then this collection is where you want to look. There's beautiful, colourful photography throughout (always essential for me if I'm going to try a new recipe, I like to know how that baby is supposed to look) which makes for wonderful coffee table books. I'm going to be testing out some recipes soon and publishing them here on the blog, so keep an eye out for that, and obviously look out for Pretty Zen in bookstores if you're in the market for some very special, nourishing beauty food.

This post contains samples, see my PR page for details

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