[title subtitle=”What NOT to Eat and Why”]No-no Nomz[/title] There are cosmetically “ugly” foods like the bitter melon and the Nopal cacti, and then there are truly ugly foods like the Frappuccino and the fried Oreo. I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of girl who will reach for the heavenly fried goodness, without hesitation, before even considering a more nutritious alternative.

Truth be told, I’m also the kind of girl who hates being told “no.” No fries? Watch me stuff my face. No alcohol? Here’s a toast to your negative ways. It’s not really the act of being told “no” that bothers me, but rather the act of being told “no” without a reason. I’m sorry, but I just can’t base my snacking habits on your advice alone. I’m simply not wired that way! I need to be given reasons why and trusted to make the right decisions for myself.

Wait, Paula, so what exactly are ugly foods?

Ugly foods are foods that do more damage to your body than good. They’re the type of snacks and meals that don’t provide you with all the necessary nutrients to function at your best. As a result, those foods, the sugary stuff we crave, are often beauty-hindering.

So, instead of simply telling you, “you shouldn’t eat this or you shouldn’t try that,” I’m going to give you reasons why you should moderate your ugly food consumption. Eat your way to a prettier you? It’s totally possible if you avoid the following no-nos.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”black” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Alcohol[/infobox]

For a tequila girl through and through, refraining from alcohol is a tall order. Every time I raise a glass—or four—to an incredible night, I pay the consequence in form of a nasty hangover. Of course, like clockwork, I lie in bed, the next morning, cursing at all my reckless decisions from the night before. Somewhere in the middle of my lengthy monologue, I remember to swear that I’ll never drink again. The promise, unfortunately, lasts no more than a week. Somehow alcohol finds its way to my lips, down my throat, and towards my liver. So much for self-control.

Until recently, my love affair with liquid courage was unrestrained. Trust me, I know what it’s like to be the life of the party. But, surprise, surprise, alcohol has done little to nothing for my body and my skin. Not only does it steal nutrition and hydration from the body when consumed, but alcohol also stresses out the liver—an organ that regulates blood flow to the skin. Think lackluster cells and broken capillaries. Ew!

So, next time you’re considering a few too many drinks, think of your beauty hangover. Headaches aside, alcohol makes you pay in more ways than one. Moderation is key.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”brown” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Caffeine[/infobox]

While I don’t depend on coffee to get through the day, I do enjoy my cup of joe. Even so, caffeine consumption, however small, is no beuno for the body. Caffeine induces our bodily hormone, cortisol, which makes us more prone to wrinkles and even more susceptible to storing belly fat. A major burden on the liver and adrenal glands, caffeine also prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep.

Next time you reach for that triple-shot cappuccino light on the foam, think of your abs. You might want to make it a single or double shot instead.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”yellow” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Dairy[/infobox]

Everyday, up until when I left Taiwan for boarding school, my mom would make sure I consume at least one 48 fluid ounces of milk. Wanting me to “grow taller” was the be-all and end-all of our relationship. By time I was 16, the only milk you could really get me to drink was one that accompanied a big bowl of Frosted Flakes. I had maxed out my dairy consumption—I was done.

For those who don’t have height-conscious mothers like mine, cutting out dairy might prove to be a little bit more difficult. But hey, no fear, here are some scientific reasons why you should chill it with the ice-cream. Conventional dairy products, those found in grocery stores, usually contain antibiotics and added hormones that spike the insulin level in your body. The added insulin is usually the cause for unwanted acne. Dairy, also a common food intolerance, contains casein and lactose which can cause bloating, gas, and other digestive issues that make it harder for your body to break down food.

When consuming dairy, opt for raw or organic products from grass-fed animals. This way, you can minimize the hormone intake.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”red” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Fried Foods[/infobox]

Not going to lie, it’s a little hard for me to practice what preach when it comes to fried food. Over the years, I’ve been asked countless times what I’d like my last meal on earth to be. And, over the years, I have, without fail, confidently professed my love for French fries. Hail to the trans fat!

You and I, however, should cut out as much fried food as possible because oils heated at high temperatures for frying purposes are the number one contributors to cellular damage. A source of free radicals, fried foods cause wrinkles, inflammation, and age spots and have been linked to obesity, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

How does that phrase go again? Oh, right: “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”gray” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Overcooked Foods[/infobox]

Believe it or not, overcooked foods are just as bad as fried foods. The more you brown or burn a meat or vegetable, the less nutrients it retrains. Prone to AGE formation, or Advanced Glycation End Products that cause wrinkles, overcooked meat can be extremely damaging to your natural beauty.

Try cancelling out the overload of free radicals from singed meals by eating raw and antioxidant-rich foods. Steaming, lightly sautéing, and poaching your protein and vegetables is key.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”orange” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Processed Foods[/infobox]

Ah, chips, dips, and Pop-Tarts! Easy to store, processed foods are made with absurdly long shelf-lives. Filled with preservatives, chemical additives, synthetic dyes, and fake flavors, they give little to no nutritional benefits to your body. Despite their grab-and-go convenience, they’re unable to fuel your body with the energy it needs. Also consistently high on the glycemic index, they are known to cause acne, wrinkles, and hormonal imbalances.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”purple” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Sugar[/infobox]

Other than adding inches to your waistline, sugar directly contributes to wrinkles, age spots, blemishes, lackluster skin, and cellulite. It steals nutrients and hydration from your skin, suppresses your immune system, feeds all the bad bacteria in your body, and curbs the production of anti-aging hormones.

Unfortunately, the more sugar you eat, the less likely your brain is able to tell you that your body is full. It goes without saying that sugar is highly addictive.

Article sweeteners are no better equivalents. They also cause water retention, bloating, indigestion, and headaches.

It’s best to stay away from sweet treats if you can.

[infobox subtitle=”” bg=”blue” color=”white” opacity=”off” space=”30″ link=”no link”]Keep an Eye out for:[/infobox]


Soda is liquid calories. Not only does it contain a large amount of refined sugar, but it also speeds up the body’s aging process when consumed. Think skin atrophy, tooth enamel decay, and bone loss—sexy stuff!

Pesticide-Sprayed Produce

Why buy and consume all things organic? Produce exposed to pesticide residue contains toxins that interfere with the defense and repair processes of the cells in your bodies. The fewer the pesticide and additives your body has to accumulate and battle, the more likely you are to keep off unwanted weight.

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