Eat Pretty?

I’m not going to lie, living in NYC, I can kind of…take it for granted. 

Kinda like when you hear someone lives near the beach, and then you learn that they rarely go in the ocean. 

Let’s just say I like to stick to my neighborhood. I avoid Times Square like the plague. Vehemently resist going to Brooklyn. (I feel inadequate around hipsters). And steer clear of Macy’s on 34th at all costs. Too many tourists taking photos on their iPads. 

 But every once in a while, I realize that I live in the greatest city in the world, and so I’ll take a Saturday afternoon, and go on an adventure. I just start walking and see where the city takes me. 

Well, just a few weeks before I came back home for Christmas, I stumbled upon this hole in the wall used book store. 

Now, pause. If you’ve read any of my blog, then you’ll see the irony here…because…I hate reading. I mean, I cannot remember the last book I read. Seriously. I was the SparkNotes kid in highschool. And somehow managed a 4.0 in both high school and college. 

But any who….

This little bookstore caught my eye. It was tucked between a little red awninged cafe, and a nondescript walk up on a “quaintfully” run down-ish East Village street. Hidden in the basement, underneath a hokey yellow and red sign that was straight out of the Eighties. 

But you walk in and it’s this cramped little space with thousands of books. Shelves and shelves of floor to ceiling books. The aisles can fit one person width-wise at a time, and you can just get lost for hours perusing the titles. 

Hey, just because I don’t read books, doesn’t mean I can’t see what’s out there. 

But this one had that “old book” smell, and it was just before Christmas, and I was sipping my thermos of tea, and I just felt so…New York. 🙂

But as I was Matilda-ing my way through the shelves of books, I came across a title that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end:

Eat Pretty.

I did a double take…Did I read that correctly? Surely no one would be that dense to title a book that glaringly triggering to women suffering/on-the-brink-of/recovering from eating disorders. 

But there it was, plain as day: Eat Pretty.

So. I bought the book. I write an ED recovery blog…I’ve got to know what’s out there.

And let me tell you…I made it through the first chapter and a half, and I just had to stop reading. I was getting so pissed off I was beginning to get hives. 

What this book is communicating is exactly the type of thinking that can cause women – especially teenage girls – to develop disordered eating habits, if not a full blown eating disorder. 

For me, my version of this book was a line from a Mary Kate and Ashley movie. They were packing their lunch for high school, and Ashley goes, “I’m having an apple. It’s cute food.”

Cute food. As if high school wasn’t difficult enough trying to look cute for the boys when your body is awkwardly adjusting to puberty, now you also have to take into account the “cuteness” of your food?

Just. No. 

But Eating Pretty? Sure, maybe in some out-of-touch book marketer’s mind he or she thought that it would be a catchy, click-bait-y, title, but attaching a judgement on how and what you’re eating in relation to your attractiveness is recipe for disaster. 

Reading through the book, it was all about eating for beauty. Avoiding the “Beauty Betrayers” – such as gluten, dairy, meat, processed foods, canned foods, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, fried food, and overcooked food — just to name a few. 

Sound like an eating disorder much? 

I had to put the book down. It was literally making my skin crawl with anger. This book was encouraging eating disorders and disguising it as “wellness.”

That is not eating pretty. That is eating restricted. 

You know what is eating pretty? Having a hamburger and not feeling an overwhelmingly intense sense of guilt and shame. Enjoying an ice cream cone with a friend on a hot day and not wanting to purge afterwards. Helping your mom cook dinner in the kitchen and not trying to control the amount of butter or oil she uses in the recipe. 

It’s eating freely and loving yourself no matter what goes in your mouth.

That’s eating pretty. 

How dare you tell me that I am inadequate or “not pretty” if I don’t adhere to this grueling and impossible standard of “pretty food.”

No thank you. 

We should encourage girls and women to eat healthily, yes…but that a woman should love herself and feel pretty no matter what she eats. 

Because Food does not equal Pretty or Not Pretty. 

Food does not factor into your attractiveness. 

It doesn’t matter if you eat an apple or a slider from White Castle. 

“Eating” and “pretty” should never even be in the same sentence, let alone thought process. 

As an anorexia survivor, this book brought out the mama bear in me. For all the young, impressionable girls out there who are going through high school and looking in the mirror every day and asking themselves, “Am I pretty enough?” everyday, just like I did. 

And I thought that food — or rather, the lack of food — would somehow aid in this quest for self worth and lovableness and yes, prettiness. And I strived for that perfection — those same damn “Beauty Betrayers” — all the way down to 78 pounds. 

And osteopenia, a missed high school graduation, serious hormonal issues, and shattered relationships later, I can tell you…eating — what you eat or don’t eat — will not, cannot, and should not EVER have ANY impact on your worth as a person or your “prettiness.”

That comes from the inside. That comes from your heart. How you treat others. How you love yourself. And from Christ shining through you. 

Not by “eating pretty.”

Give me a damn break. 

I’ll end with this one thing:

Food is not good or bad. It is not pretty or ugly. Food is nourishment. And you should nourish your body adequately and responsibly and enjoyably. 

Restriction is never pretty. Never has been. Never will be. 

Drop mic. 


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268 responses to “Eat Pretty?”

  1. I totally agree. And I can relate. I live in Las Vegas and I stick to my neighborhood. Avoid the strip Like the plague like you said too many tourists. Very good read.

    • Thanks Desiree! Yeah I like the hidden parts of big cities. I’ve actually never been to vegas! I would be one of those tourists if I visited! hahahaha thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      • I’d be a tourist in New York. I have been to New York before and I have to say even I avoided time square and Macy’s. No thanks. I stuck to the places I could get to by fairy. Hugs and love back.

  2. I went to New York back in September for the first time. My boyfriend, a native, gave me the best sight-seeing experience. It was love at first sight, for New York and I;-). The culture, the people, the vibe, just fantastic.

    Nice to met you and thanks for sharing.

  3. Very, very well said. I watch my weight very carefully, not to look good, but because I am a backpacker, and every extra pound has to be carried up and down the trails. But, on the other side of it, too little weight and you start destroying muscle tissue, muscles that you need to take you up and down that trail.

    There are good reasons to watch your weight, but eating pretty certainly isn’t one of them. I feel for young women who look at the movies, television, and magazines and feel that to be pretty they need to be so thin that their ribs poke through the skin. I read somewhere that this all started during the Marilyn Monroe age, everyone wanted that thin look, then thinner until Twiggy (look her up if the name means nothing), then even that wasn’t enough. Prior to the movie era people weren’t as concerned about physical beauty as they were about a good match. Somehow we went horribly wrong.

    Again, very well said.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. wow, backpacking! sounds awesome! Sounds like there’s a fine line of where your optimal performance is. thanks for the great food for thoughts. you’re right, i wish it would go back to the good matches 🙂 hugs to you xox

  4. I AM FULLY WITH YOU ON THIS. Eating pretty is eating what you want without shame. That sounds like a horrifying book, I’m amazed that you were strong enough to read through it. I remember getting triggered by some reading in my English class a few weeks back and I had to put it down because I was crying so much 😔 By the way, you have the cutest duck face!!!! I remember when I came to New York on vacation, I was definitely one of those tourists snapping photos of Macy’s on 34th 😅

  5. I recently had a discussion with my daughter about eating for nourishment. She is in fourth grade and is by far the tallest kid in her class. She came to me and stated she wanted to diet, so she wasn’t going to eat that much the next day

    Needless to say I sat her down and explained its better to eat ive or six smaller, nutritious meals throughout the day to keep the bodies energy and metabolism up. She understood, but I left the conversation feeling enraged at the” standard “that is being spread to kids today through all outlets!

    I let her know that under no uncertain terms that we thought she was beautiful no matter what and eating healthier to power the bodies engine was OK as long as she ate and made sensible choices.

    Thank you for the blog!! Blessings to you!

    • It sounds like you are an incredible mother. Yeah, that would have enraged me too. the standard, whether we realize it or not, is getting impress upon girls at a younger and younger age! it makes me so sad. way to speak the truth! hugs xox

  6. Ahh, I’m so glad you found a little book store nook. I have city girl envy! I love to wander about the city and find shops crammed in corners. I also love the street food, and I suppose that has a beauty all of it’s own! I love to stop for a taco and a down the road, some Asian concoction, and coffee, don’t forget the coffee! Than finish the whole day with ice cream. It’s a bit funny you wrote this, I was just really missing street food and bookstores.

    I’m sorry about the book. It sounds dreadful. I had 3 girls and they’re all well, but the struggle against these cultural messages was intense. It’s everywhere and it’s really hard to teach our girls how to ignore all that and have life and life abundant.

    • haha the street food is definitely an art form! Yeah, the cultural messages can be so destructive for young, impressionable minds. thanks for stopping by and for sharing your city love letter 🙂 hugs xox

  7. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. John 6:27

    For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives approval from man. Romans 14:17-18

    Food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 1 Corinthians 8:8

  8. Spot on!!!
    Remarkable to read what you had gone through.
    How guilt n shame can eat you from the inside out; I utterly hate that feeling. Always counting, always thinking about food. Thinking about food 24/7, but not allowing yourself, not feeling worthy to deserve it…
    I wish that monster could go up in flames…

  9. I love preparing food and eating, having been trained and employed to prepare and serve food. I love your blog and your generosity in sharing yourself. I like the introduction and the route you took for your message. I am now reflecting on how my high school years contributed to my choices in what I chose to use to make me feel ok.

    • Thanks Jeff, that’s so awesome. yeah, preparing and serving food for others is such a gift of love. Yeah, I definitely could use some reflection time on that as well. thanks for stopping by! hugs xox

  10. That’s what is beautiful in NYC; to go and find the things that they DON’T show on The Today Show or all the trendy programs. I LOVE finding the murals, the stores, even restaurants that don’t get written about in the tour books etc. but yah, a book can’t make eating a pretty thing. Its to eat what YOU want and when YOU want it that makes it pretty for each person. You are wonderful and you are pretty and it doesn’t take a book to figure that out. xoxoxoxoxoxo

  11. I’ve found that when I listen to what others say I should do, I invariably go wrong. But, when I stay in tune with God and listen to my own council informed by Him, things tend to go much better! Anyone who tries to sell you pretty, macho, cool, etc. by way of food, clothes, car, or beer is a liar. Nicely done, Caralyn. I know you helped some young minds tonight!

  12. I always think about what Jesus said : What matters is not what goes into your mouth, but what comes out of it. I think we tend to forget that in this modern world of ours. We forget that what matters is kindness and compassion for each other, to have a beautiful soul radiating love for life, ourselves and for each other. We are all going to die, no matter what we eat, and what is it really that matters in the end? To die in a beautiful body, that anyway will decay, or die with a beautiful soul that you will bring with you forever. 💖💖💖

    • Thank you so much, Trini – you’re so right…we should go to The Source to get the straight scoop on things. Amen – kindness and compassion are the keys! thanks for stopping by! hugs xx

  13. What a great post! We are glad you wandered into that store and shared your thoughts on this! Thank you, plus it’s so well-written as always. Great, great message. Thank you.

  14. You are such a lovely writer! Thank you so much for putting forth your ideas! I used to fall prey for such books… Even Youtubers introduce these sorts of diet fads to their audience. It’s cool that you’ve educated me some more on a healthy mind. I used to suffer from obsessiveness over my food and body image due to childhood bullying. This was really great! Keep it up! xx

    • Oh gosh thank you so much Jila! I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece! Yeah it always breaks my heart when YouTube influencers or other “icons” that young girls look up to, use their platforms to push diets or unhealthy body image. Sending you big big hugs xox

  15. You are so right. On a similar note, several years ago I was trying to lose weight and eat healthier. I got a book that was supposed to be a Christian book teaching us how to stop eating when we are no longer hungry. I was doing well on it, and I enjoyed the book, until I came upon a line that said if you are not losing weight, you don’t love God. All I could think was, “How dare this author accuse me of not loving God!” I stopped reading right then, and I donated the book to the library. I kind of wish I had thrown it in the trash. That is where it belonged.

    • Thanks so much:) oh gosh, that’s so discouraging to hear that a Christian book was saying that. I’m glad you stopped reading that book. Because no one can define your relationship with the father except for you! Thanks for stopping by! Big hugs xox

  16. Great post. As a book lover, I got excited about your description of the bookstore and perhaps discovering a life changing read. And maybe it was, just not how I anticipated.
    Good for you for seeing the truth about this particular book, and not buying into the b.s. and shame that culture tries to feed us, and especially women.
    Loving the blog; keep it up!

    PS– You never know, the next book you find might just be the nugget that makes a reader out of you. (Not that you’re not great exactly as you are. But I always love hearing writers’ takes on the books they read. Thx!)

    • Thanks Steve! What a kind note of encouragement. Yeah it was a really neat little book store! Haha that’s very true! I may just have to give books a chance 🙂 hahah Hugs and love xox

  17. I’m glad you wrote this article, and that it angered you when you read the book.

    I’ve spend so much of my life feeling useless, and hiding behind rubbish that broke up my life and nearly destroyed my family, and never knew what it meant to be the apple of God’s eye until He intervened at rock-bottom; right in the midst of the gutter, He stepped in, joined me down there, and lifted me up and out and cleaned me up with His own hands, telling me all the while what He thought of me, that was so different to what people were thinking and saying.

    Often the rise of anger within us when we recognise what hurts God and people causes us to be agents of change, as long as we don’t take the law into our own hands.

    I’m looking forward to your book getting out with the refined distill of what God is putting on your heart.

    Many blessings,

    • Thanks so much Indi. it’s so true, He does step in and show us that we truly are the apple of His eye. I’m so glad that you’ve felt that healing too. You’re right, I think it hurts God to see His children hurting and believing they have to be perfect, because He already perfected us in Christ! Thanks for the encouragment and for sharing some of your story. big hugs xox

  18. I’m originally from S.I., and worked in the city before moving to NJ, so I know what you mean when you say New Yorkers take living here for granted. I avoid all those places too! And ughhhh, how annoying does that book sound. I’m glad you put it down. It’s all about having a healthy balance and not giving a shit when you want to enjoy a burger!

    • Thanks Lauren! You’re right! Life is alllll about balance. It’s when things get out of balance that things get sticky! yay east coast gals! 🙂 thanks for stopping by! hugs xox

  19. Wow. I thought you were going to find a book that “spoke to you.” I love those kind of stories where someone hadn’t read in years, wander into a bookstore, something catches their eye and they fall in love – with a book. But then…not this time. Sigh! Sorry about that. Discovering a bookstore should be a magical experience. I love your response to it. I’ve had to respond to some types of preaching the same way, because guilt trip preaching has a similar effect on me. Bravo, sister.

  20. Well said. The world needs to hear from people who have learned to live healthy despite their eating disorder. I am glad that you are a survivor!!

  21. I grew up in the age of “Twiggy”, a pencil thin model of the 70’s and diet was my middle name. I could never starve myself, but I did go from one fad diet to the next so that it threw my metabolism off and short changed my thyroid. I’m not obese, but I can work out til the cows come home and not lose weight. I had a trainer a couple of years ago and no matter what we did. Nothing. But because of the workout I did reconfigure and looked fine. But it was disheartening to us both.
    My point being is that mentality of making a young person do these radical eating routines does considerable damage. The sad thing is, I was not fat in those days. I was fine. But I put my body through hell and now that 50 my normal functions stopped. Part of it was age, but I’m guessing more of it was my system said, “Enough!” and that was it.
    My daughter says her youngest is anorexic and has dwindled to nothing, but is fortunately getting help. So, yeah these unreasonable and ridiculous books out there should be piled into the middle of the street and lit up!!!
    Thanks for sharing. you are an inspiration.

    • ah yes, Twiggy. I know her well. thank you for sharing this. You’re right, there are so many negative infulences out there for these impressionable young minds. Oh gosh, I am so sorry to hear that your granddaughter is suffering from anorexia. I’m glad she’s getting help. I’ll definitely keep her in my prayers. big hugs xox

  22. *Boom* You go, Caralyn!
    I felt very similarly about a book called Hook, Line and Sinker, a Christian dating book for teen girls (I know, I also read Captivating, more on that in a minute). Aside from the glaringly obvious fact that I was splitting from the author’s denomination under the pretense that it was near if not totally cult, this was such a striving, christian-religious-feministic based book it just made me sick, like I’m all for girls having their own brains but PUHLEASE do not portray guys like vanity items to shop your Christian circles for. Oh my gosh.
    But of course, I’d recently read Captivating by Eldredge, as well as the Every Young Man’s Battle trilogy and there just is no way any dating book, correct or not, could ever stand up beside those four books, it’s just not possible.

    But back to YOUR book ;D
    You are what they need. And I hope you never stop giving yourself, because even one experienced life can speak louder than all the misinformation if you just find your audience. And they’re out there, bombarded with twisted societal ideals and ready to give up, but Father is so going to speak his love for them through you–and already is (:

    • Hey Carson! aw, thank. Hmmm, I’ve never read that but it sounds like I probably should steer clear too! I’m actually rereading Captivating right now with my mom. oh gosh, thanks again for your glowing words. I am so touched . Hope you have a rockin’ weekend 🙂 hugs xox

  23. Hey! I’m a Christian recovering from an eating disorder (and making progress!) and I read your blog frequently – it’s been a great help and motivator, especially in the early stages of my recovery. This post struck me because it’s one of the topics I also feel really strongly about. It makes me feel so angry that modern society places so much value on pushing yourself to your limits, whether it be by working too hard, partying too hard, restricting what you eat or engaging in excessive exercise. It seems like the balance has been lost – there’s little emphasis on resting (unless you’re “constructively” resting by doing yoga/reading an intellectual book/expanding your mind etc), or letting yourself go, or just allowing yourself to eat what your body wants. There are endless books and articles and tv shows about “how to do the healthy lifestyle”, and if you don’t strive to achieve “the perfect body” and “be the best you can be” then you are somehow failing at life and you are less worthy than those who spend their lives working out and eating gluten-and-sugar-free-vegan-raw everything. There is no “one size fits all” solution to “healthy eating” – but the people who write these things act like they’ve found the Holy Grail because they know that people fall for that crap, and will buy it. They don’t understand the damage that they are doing by claiming to be experts in something that doesn’t have a right answer. I see a dietitian regularly and even she admits that the the specialists are always receiving mixed messages, because different research will reveal different things and something that’s “good for you” today will be “bad for you” tomorrow. Yes, by all means, we should take care of the body that God has given us – but do we really need to be told how? Most people will instinctively and intuitively act in a way that’s good for them – by listening to their bodies, not the mixed messages that modern society throws at us. We are all different and unique and special and pretty just as we are, so why do we try so hard to fit in and be the same as everyone else?

    I’m looking forward to reading your book, when it’s written. Maybe far in to in the future, after it’s been a bestseller and sold millions of copies, someone will stumble across it in a little tucked away bookshop in NYC, and they’ll flick through it…and they’ll be inspired.

    God bless x

    • Hi LP, thank you so much for your thoughtful response. i’m sorry that ED connects us, but I’m so glad you’re on the journey of recovery! you go!! 🙂 You’re so right – there really is no one size fits all. amen to all of your words! haha oh gosh, you’re funny. but seriously, thank you. I am so touched by this 🙂 you are incredible. and a warrior. sending big big hugs xox

  24. I can completely agree with you on taking where you live for granted. I’ve been in Dublin for nearly 3 years now and I’m still finding out how amazing this city is!

    But seriously, love this blog!

  25. I wish my nearly 15yr old daughter could hang out with you, she would so benefit from a mentor who speaks her language in the way you do. She thankfully doesn’t have an eating disorder but definitely lacks confidence in her looks even though she is so lovely. If you were a Mum, what would you say to yourself? I know I was a teeneager once upon a time but it’s so hard to look back and remember. There is so much pressure on young girls from vloggers with their makeup demos, it’s ALL about how you look All the time. Perhaps you’ve already written an advice post about Mums to their daughters and I missed it? If so please can you post a link? Thanks and God bless, i can see He is using you in a wonderful way.

  26. A moving piece. I worked for 30 years at a research I college campus in the Deep South where eating disorders were widespread not only on campus but also within the local high school population. A handful of psychologists have made careers in this college town specializing in treating these disorders.

  27. Call me crazy but as a Canadian girl, a poutine ( fries gravy and melted cheese) is a Beautiful thing! lol But what else is beautiful is people like you who are transparent enough to share their stories of recovery and encourage others to love themselves and not worry about eating pretty but instead to eat healthy! Xoxo

  28. i reckon that’s the thing about living in any place. after a while, you get used to it. and it’s sad. i remember the first time i saw melbourne. i was blown away by practically everything i saw. i took pictures like there was no tomorrow.

    now, every time i go, i’d be like, “oh, yeah.”

    i find that sad, to be honest. i mean, i still love melbourne but it’s the kind that has settled over time.

      • it IS beautiful. but that’s just me, though, as i’m into old architecture and stuff like that.

        plus, there’s just something about melbourne i can’t quite explain…

        but, ultimately, i reckon home is where the heart is. as much as i love melbourne, i still consider the philippines my home. mainly because my parents are there. =)

  29. “It’s eating freely and loving yourself no matter what goes in your mouth. That’s eating pretty.” You’ve hit the nail on the head, lady! Books like the one you’ve picked up are so dangerous, particularly to the young and impressionable. Also as a side note, I dream about visiting New York sometimes. It looks so wonderful in the movies 🙂 I’m in the UK so I’m sure people feel the same about the likes of London but NY…it’s just one of those magical looking places.

  30. I do not believe that we should restrict the foods we are eating just because society says so, Too many people today, remove certain foods from their diets when there is no medical reason too. My sister, who is now 48, was diagnoses with anorexia when she was 30, she was 85 lbs when someone finally noticed. But, God noticed and she became pregnant, who knows how, only God does and the doctors told her that if she didn’t start eating she would die and her baby would die, she slowly came back and survived and so did the baby, who is now 18. Then 7 years ago, her older daughter died in a car accident and my sister stopped eating and wanted to die, but then her other daughter became pregnant and my sister became a grandma and she began eating – it’s tentative and fragile and each day she has to choose to eat to stay alive. She is light, and you look at her and you think the wind will snap her in half, but she is fighting to stay alive and each day is all she as, is all any of us have. We don’t need ‘pretty eating’ we just need to eat.

  31. Sounds like an irresponsible manipulation of a common concern. Why are looks so important? To attract men? To be prettier than other girls? The voice of shame echoes “ugly” if it was even a passing thought. So yeah, eat what you will and label this nonsense what it is. And .. write your own book that gets it right.

    Now, people with the opposite problem of your former one – the dangerously obese – do have a problem with too much food. And the wrong kinds of food. So that balance is there and there’s a happy medium to be struck.

    But eating to be pretty? That’s a bad path to go down. Happy that you steered clear and are helping others to do the same…


  32. Thank you for sharing this important message!
    There is too much focus on what food you must eat/not eat, everywhere.
    What about teaching children, and everybody, how to feel good about themselves instead!
    And having a healthy relationship with food, not a guilty one.
    I never read magazines anymore.
    For many years, I have seen through the hidden messages.
    I eat what feels right for my body, and what makes me happy.
    We must live, and be joyful.
    Not live in guilt and shame, never being good enough.
    And be told this message from everywhere you go.

    By the way, you are an awesome person – both on the outside and the inside!
    Your soul is magnificent!


    • thanks so much! AMEN to that! Let’s do a self-love/empowerment education! that’s so true! food is fuel and nourishment and yes! enjoyment too! That’s so awesome that you’ve banished those messages from magazines in your life. what an inspiration. you go girl!! I’m cheering for you!! and gosh, thanks again for you kind words. I am seriously so touched 🙂 big hugs to you xo

  33. Great Post!
    It’s scary to think that there are books and resources out there that try to pitch such terrible habits to people as if it will help them.
    But it is also amazing to see people like you taking the time to write this blog and to try and reach out and encourage and educate people about the truth of Eating Disorders so others don’t have to go through it.

    • thank you so much for this thoughtful response. you’re right, this was definitely discouraging to see that young girls can read “pretty” and feel the pressure to take on this extreme diet. thanks for your encouraging and kind words. means the world. hugs to you xox

  34. ‘Food is not good or bad. It is not pretty or ugly. Food is nourishment. And you should nourish your body adequately and responsibly and enjoyably. ‘

    I absolutely agree! Wonderful post!

  35. Great job. Its a shame that society pushes such values to any of us, but especially to young women and teens. Although personally…I firmly believe that brussel sprouts are ugly. And bad. 😉

    • Thanks Lorrie! You’re right, especially when young teen girls are already dealing with such crippling self esteem/peer pressure issues. Let’s build one another up! Hahah that’s funny about the brussels sprouts. 🙂 haha hugs xox

  36. Snaps!! To you my friend . Love this post and the light you shed on such a ” UnPretty ” Book with even less beautiful ideals . Blessings to you !! 😚🙏😚!

  37. I saw this book too at Barnes and Noble here. I thought it was interesting but would contain nothing I didn’t already know about food. I don’t know if you have been reading my blog and noticed that I’ve had an awful lot of problems when it comes to food. This way of eating or that, my diabetes and my blood sugars. . . .the constant state of guilt for eating what I eat. I lack freedom. Is it the beginning of an eating disorder to you or very different? I have OCD, anxiety disorders and depression already. As an esthetician I feel a bit confused on how to address what foods can help your skin and help you be healthy and beautiful without being like this book. I hope I certainly am not.

    • Hi Pikku, sorry I just read this comment after your subsequent comment (just how it comes in on my notifications ) so I didn’t mean to say “awesome” about this. I was meaning you writing a post! I’m sorry that you’re having to endure those health issues. I think that, especially when our health problems involve digestion or food, it is hard *not* to have your relationship with food be affected. I wouldn’t say that’s an eating disorder, but I would just encourage you to “keep an eye” on it, and if you’re finding a lot of anxiety or fear around eating or food, then I would definitely suggest talking to a health professional about it. They may have some ideas or solutions for you. hope that helps. Hang in there. i will definitely be praying for you 🙂 hugs x

  38. That book is dangerous. It should be called Read Ugly. Anyway, the bookstore sounds heavenly. Do you remember where it was? I work in NYC and would love to visit it.

  39. Hey, lady: try to track down the author’s e-mail address and send her a link to your blog…that always makes for some interesting commentary.

    My favorite form of “eating pretty” has more to do with chocolate syrup artfully drizzled across a plate bearing a slice of peanut butter cheesecake; or richly-hued steamed carrots, bell peppers and broccoli arranged in a fan in opposition to an artfully-grilled chicken flourentine.

    Oh gosh, I just finished lunch and my mouth is watering. Time to get some cookies from the snack machine.

    • hmm that would definitely be a powerful move! I’d really have to work up the courage to do that! haha but you’re right, maybe she doesn’t get the connection. haha oh my gosh i’m craving cheesecake now 🙂 hehe hugs to you xox

  40. Thank you so much for an inspirational post. It is really helpful to me as a girl who wants to make the right decisions about nourishing my body and not fall into the lies of eating disorders and being skinny enough that I hear about all the time. Thanks again 🙂

  41. This post has spent days rattling around between the ears over the last few days as I’ve made yeasty baked goods, cinnamon rolls, garlic knots, and pizza. On the menu soon will be something sourdough. I’ve thought about the pleasure of baking, the joy that fills my being when I’ve done a good job with the work. The joy I experience when my sweetie, or my friends enjoy the stuff I’ve baked is good, almost holy. Food is for our nourishment, and our pleasure. The meals we hear about in Scripture are communal, enjoyed together with other people, or if/when we’re alone with God. I find it fascinating in reflection that the first sin, the first turning away from God centers on food. From the beginning we have a misordered relationship with food, and with God and much I presume on both parts has to do with control and a warped sense of what that actually means.
    It is beautiful that you are here, sharing your experience, sharing your relationship with God, helping us to reconcile our relationship with God, our bodies, our self, and with Food. This is not only possible, it is miraculous, holy and beyond our wildest expectations.
    Thank you for pointing out how this book continues these misordered relationships. God bless you Caralyn.

    • Oh gosh thank you so much for this beautiful (and delicious 🙂 ) reflection! It sounds like you are quite the baker! You’re right-Jesus is the *bread* of life. There it is, plain as day. Thanks for your wonderfully kind encouragement. IT means the world. Hugs and love xox

  42. Good food, to me, is some of the most rewarding stuff about life. To condition people to care what other people think about what they are eating (or that what they are eating really should matter to other people at all) is quite foolish. So go ahead, have pancakes for breakfast (with butter and syrup). Put extra cheese on your pizza (who doesn’t love more cheese?). Get barbecue sauce all over yourself while you eat dinner with your hands. Have fun with food!

    • Thanks for this thoughtful reflection. You’re right-it’s foolish. Everything in moderation, of course, but food is to be enjoyed! And shared! And experienced! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  43. Hi BBB,

    Sorry that you had a bad book experience. I am glad though that you spoke out against bad information. Hope you will find some reading you do like. Also, enjoy that great city you live in. My family and I got to visit last summer for my daughters’ dance competition. Have a great week,


    On Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 4:01 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “I’m not going to lie, living in NYC, I can kind > of…take it for granted. Kinda like when you hear someone lives near the > beach, and then you learn that they rarely go in the ocean. Let’s just say > I like to stick to my neighborhood. I avoid” >

  44. […] about her relationship with her body, with food, and her relationship with God. Her blog post Eat Pretty rattled around between the auditory canals, asking me to listen to the words. Particularly over […]

  45. I’ll pass on the White Castle slider… Eat real food (aka something that grew in the ground or eat least ate something that did on it’s way to making protien). Enjoy the time in the kitchen preparing the meal. Share the meal with someone at the table (not TV trays or with screen-time). That will help the digestion, regardless of the social expectations.

  46. the french poet Marcel Proust once said: to discover new things we need not travel to fresh new distant places, just the same places with fresh new eyes. I love that you embrace the diversity and abundance your place has to offer. good way to enjoy life – well done you! #StrictMotivation

  47. Wow, great blog. I love that “old book smell” and you are so right, there are too many things in this world that make people NOT feel good about themselves. Food should not be one of them.

      • You’re welcome, and thank you! I’m new and you were the first person to like one of my posts. If you hadn’t I would have never found you (if my blog wasn’t saved to my favorites, I couldn’t find it either) Reading it brought up memories, that I hadn’t thought about in years 🙂 so, again thank you!

  48. You know, I was friends with this girl in middle school who developed a nasty eating disorder. I was so afraid for her, that I wanted to find out more about anorexia just to see what it was like for her. I ended up scrolling through some grotesque “Pro-Ana” websites that just made chills run down my spine. I am so glad that you are using your blog to point out these issues and discuss them openly. I only wish there were more of these around on the Web to counteract all those horrible “Pro-” websites. Thank you.

  49. That’s pretty ballsy but it doesn’t surprise me as we have people like Oprah and Dr Phil giving out weight loss advise and they have been heavy losing and gaining every year and hawking new products that go belly up and then they sell the next one

      • Yup it’s all a scam I did a three part lying on labels series as the norm was 60-20-20 give or take and a protein bar, drink or meal was just that all protein and now those are not even all protein and fall into the old norm of mainly carbs

  50. Thank you! I see so many young women today berating themselves because their size 2 is a little tight, and they feel like they have to spend 40 hours in the gym so that they can look like the models who look ill in order to be beautiful! Hogwash!

    I just wanted you to know two things. I’ve added your blog to my resource list in the menu of my blog, and I’ve recognized your blog on my latest post. If you would like to see either, please click the link below. Thanks for writing!

    • Thank you so much! Oh wow I’m honored that you would add my site to your resource section! And you’re right, it makes me sad to see that too. Hogwash is right! Haha 🙂 hugs xox

  51. I KNOW RIGHT !!!? Sorry this made me way too excited! But it’s so true! Personally I’ve struggled with restricting, anorexia, calorie counting, and binging. All with this “eat pretty” mindset of “eating clean and looking beautiful and flawless”. Eating healthy is good, but a lot of this “clean eating” diets are not calorie sufficient. I would know. I love this post <3 so much

    • thanks you so much! i love the enthusiasm! 🙂 thanks so much for sharing your story. i’m sorry that our pasts connect sum but I’m so glad we’re both enjoying a life of freedom now! big hugs to you xox

  52. Ah, I love my food and it shows. Lol! Rice and some fatty food. I’m unhealthy. 🙂
    Yes, please, tell everyone to bloody eat! Back in the days, we didn’t hear about gluten-free, etc. I feel so not-trendy. What about you? 🙂

  53. Ahh, this is so accurate! I’m recovering from an ED, too. I can remember beginning to diet by 12 years old. (Shouldn’t I have been outside playing or something?!)
    It’s freeing to finally not feel guilt, shame, and a host of ridiculous negative emotions in relation to food I eat. We do live in a culture that pushes the young to think “pretty” or “beautiful” is equated to food, eating habits, and body weight. I’ll throw that book on my do-not-read list.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m sorry that our pasts connect us, but I am so glad that we’re both embracing freedom! You’re right-the cultural climate is definitely sad. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  54. Guuuuuurl. I could tell you felt this deep in your soul. I appreciate your passion. You’re making an affect on the world, whether you realize it or not. Keep writing. 🙂

  55. eeeexackly! I love this post! Until recently, I never allowed myself too much thought about what was appropriate in the realm of eating, let alone food being ‘pretty’. And what you’ve described in the list of things pretty much eliminates anything fun. It’s quite oppressive. Goodness!

  56. I recently bought a Bobbi Brown beauty book for my daughter who loves experimenting with make-up. In the midst of many positive messages about inner beauty & confidence, I was horrified to find a list of good & bad foods. We had a long talk about not labelling any foods this way and enjoying food for all of the ways it enhances life… Fortunately my girl is still tucking in to chocolate seashells just now on the sofa… But we haven’t even reached high school yet and I wonder how many times I am going to have to challenge this attitude to the relationship between beauty and food. Thanks for this beautiful blog. X

    • Hi there! Thank you so much for sharing this thoughtful response. oh gosh, yeah that’s not good at all! That’s so smart not to label food — how disappointing that that book did that. keep challenging that attitude! it is important. it sounds like you’re a great parent 🙂 thanks for stopping by! hugs xox

  57. I enjoyed reading this BLOG and your recent one about your mum. I lived in Manhattan; and, I go back every year for the US Open Tennis Tournaments. I miss NYC; and, I enjoy seeing your pictures. I still have my 212 mobile phone number, which I won’t give up.

  58. I am recovering from an eating disorder too. I did not choose to have an eating disorder, but I choose every day not to surrender to my lifelong illness. I’m proud of my struggle, though seemingly trivial and undisclosed by our society, and it’s time for the world to know: we are brave. we are survivors.

  59. You never disappoint with your message, Caralyn. I would love to go in that bookstore. The smell of the old books and just being surrounded by books. I knew before I continued reading your message about “eating pretty” that would be a book similar to what our society has been brainwashing females and even males into believing is the key to a successful relationship, career, home, etc. No way hosea!!! Society and books like this one is like you said why there are eating disorders, people (young and old) who have low self-esteem, etc… Yes, you should eat healthy foods, but it’s not just about the foods that you eat, one has to not gorge on food and sit around doing nothing. We have to exercise even if it is just walking in our own home. Not eat a feast to ourselves, and as you have said, we have to accept ourselves no matter what size we are. It is not size that matters it is who we are on the inside and how we treat ourselves and others that matters. Looking like a supermodel, Victoria secret model, professional cheerleader, etc… is no guarantee that you are truly happy with yourself or life for that matter, and is definitely no guarantee that your dreams will come true. I hope that I have not offended anyone by what I have said, but society and books, articles, commercials, movies, etc.. like the one we are discussing here frustrate me to be polite. I have lived with very low self-esteem since I was a pre-teen and I’m in my 40’s now. I have had an eating issue/problem for much of my life. Binge eating, eating because I’m bored and or depressed, not eating to fit in, not eating to fit into nice clothes, to get a decent boyfriend, etc.. suffered with bulimia for two years and now i have dental problems. Yeehaa!!! Do I look like Tom Brady’s wife? No way! I have decided to do what I can to make sure that I never go back to my past lifestyle. I portion my foods to a limit that is comfortable for me and not restricting. I choose to lose weight and get myself healthy for my family and upcoming wedding. I have realized and still struggle sometimes, that i am who i am. Britt Nicole came out with a song that is beyond beautiful and amazing. here is the link:
    I need to be more focused on seeing myself through Jesus’s eyes and not mine or the world’s eyes.
    Thank you so much for sharing this! It means alot!
    God bless you and be with you always!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m so sorry that common thread in our stories, but I’m so glad that we’re both claiming freedom and peace. I’m really looking forward to listening to that song. Thank you for sharing. yes, seeing with Jesus’ eyes is definitely the way to go. big hugs to you xox

  60. I really want to respond to you, but I don’t want to be anyone who casues you pain. I certainly respect and identify with many of the things that you are thinking and feeling. But I also want you to know that I did not go to Washington on the Women’s March to protest. I hope my presence there was a statement of solidarity with many groups that I think are threatened right now. Black lives matter to me; abused women need my support; I can’t sit back when immigrants and refugees need homes and we have wealth and room.
    I am not a member of any of the groups referenced in the previous sentence, but I am a member of humankind, which means I have the responsibility stand up for those whose voices are not heard. I hope that I do what I can to help others. I know I am a woman of privilege (meaning I am white, educated, and financially secure). With the appreciation for this security that I have, I will continue to work and support those whose lives are more difficult.
    That said, I recognize that your life has also been one of struggle. I would help you any way I can and hopefully encourage you. You obviously are strong and beautiful and finding your way in the world. I applaud you for sharing with us.
    Thanks, weemsthoughtsblog

    • thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and perspective. You have a beautiful heart and that is very evident in your writing. I applaud the reasons that you sited. Amen – we as human beings need to work for respect and understanding of all people, no matter what. that is what love and life is all about:) thanks for joining the dialogue in such a respectful way! you rock, my friend 🙂 big hugs xo

  61. Hi! I just wanted to say I’m working my way out of the disordered eating mentality and these words mean so much to me.

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