You know the excited feeling when you are preparing for a night out or a big event. Whether you’re going for a night on the town, seeing old friends, or going on a big date you want to look your best. Instead of depriving yourself of nutritious foods, its important to educate yourself and find out the right things that will keep you energized, feeling your best, and most importantly, not feeling bloated. There are lots of seemingly healthy foods can make you feel sluggish. Here are some tips and ideas to keep you feeling slim and confident before stepping out to any event.

Avoid tofu stirfrys. You may think you are being healthy by eating a vegetarian meal at an Asian restaurant, but that highly processed, GMO soy in the form of tofu has a high potential of bloating you out. Full of trypsinogen-inhibitors, soy also is associated with slowing down thyroid function. It is one of the most mucus-forming foods, so it is difficult do digest and again, bloating! Stay away from soy milk as well. It is soaked, boiled, pressed and ground in a multi-step process to create that processed white-colored fluid full of estrogen-mimicers. You can get a stirfry, but stick to an all-veggie one instead, with a little brown rice, and have a salad first. For milk, almond or hemp please.

Well, speaking of mucus-forming foods we are obligated to talk about dairy now. Many people turn to dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese and non-fat milk as a seemingly healthy option. This is not the case. Dairy causes congestion, which can lead to bloating and definitely feeling tired and sluggish. It’s simply very difficult for the body to digest and wastes a ton of Beauty Energy. Even if you are not lactose intolerant or sensitive, dairy contains a protein called casein that is next to impossible for humans to digest. I suggest avoiding it altogether, especially before a big event. If you are interested in the ironies of how areas in the world that consume the most dairy have the most osteoporosis (hint: it has to do with how acid-forming dairy is in the body), check out Chapter 5 of The Beauty Detox Solution. Try the So Delicious brand of coconut yogurt if you are jonesing for yogurt.
Another food to avoid when trying to limit the bloat is beans. Beans are acid-forming, and of course, they’re known to cause gas. Though they are high in protein, but they are also high in complex carbs, including raffinose oligosaccharides, to be technical. Foods that are high in both protein and carbs are what I call Nature’s “Oops” Foods, as they are inevitably difficult to digest, and make for a poor Beauty Food Pairing meal- with just one food! They will make you feel heavy before going out, which does not inspire feeling attractive or sexy. Try Dharma’s Kale Salad with avocado or a millet-bread avocado sandwich, or a quinoa dish instead.
Frozen Meal
Avoid canned soup and frozen meals. The main reason is because they are full of horrible chemicals and preservatives. Also, they are filled with ridiculous amounts of salt that will leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Though you can find “healthy” or “organic” frozen meals that are low calorie, they are not beneficial to your health. You are much better off eating a simple home-made vegetable dish with a nice green salad, and maybe some grains or tempeh. Oh, and if you microwave your frozen meal, you might as well eat the cardboard box it came in instead, for you will have zapped out an miniscule remaining nutrients to be had.
Though I’ve been harping on it a lot lately, I can’t help myself. I have to include soda yet again, which is probably the worst thing you can put into your body (okay in my top 3). It’s absolute empty calories, and filled with sugar. All sodas are highly acidic! The sugar will give you a brief rush, then leave you feeling extremely bloated and tired.  Not to mention, the carbonation may not be quickly moved out of the  stomach, causing bloat. Get used to drinking iced herbal tea with stevia or xilitol. It’s much better for you, and just as refreshing. Water with lemon is always the best choice.

Now, diet soda is included because not only does it have all the horrible side effects of soda, it has fake sweeteners that are filled with chemicals. These days, people are so concerned with diet and calories, that artificial sweeteners are becoming more and more common which include Splenda, Equal and Sweet ‘n Low (I always associate those scary pink packet with my poor grandma, who passed away at the young age of 64. She went through boxes of that crap). These sugar substitutes have a number of health issues, and are even linked to certain cancers. So remember, watch out for those zero calorie “energy” drinks and “vitamin” drinks. They may claim to give you energy and vitamins, but they are acid-forming, leading to bloating. You are much better off drinking water with lemon, then satisfying your sweet tooth with fresh berries or a Glowing Green Smoothie. The natural fruits and veggies are much more easily digested, and will give you a longer lasting energy than the artificial sources.

These are just a few food, drinks and ingredients that might be causing you to feel bloated and unhealthy. There are so many things out there that are marketed to be healthy and organic but really are filled with chemicals and salt. Stick close to nature, and natural forms of foods for energy!

New York Times Bestseller and Nutritionist