I read Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson for a couple reasons. One is, of course, the press I have heard about it. The second is that because of the press, I learned about the subject matter of the book and was a little intrigued.
I am not sure if it is my cynicism speaking, but I am not sure how much I can actually take from this book. Yes, there are some good points raised, but I am also unsure of whether or not the whole lifestyle depicted in this book is realistic.
First, I want to go over the good things within this book. The overall concept about being “pretty happy” and comfortable in your body is something I think that everyone should follow. Sometimes this can be more difficult than you may initially think, but it is a good goal all the same. Who wouldn’t want to be pretty happy and comfortable with their body? The other major thing I liked was comments about eating healthy. The interesting take in this book was between the acidic and alkaline foods. I cannot comment specifically on if the balance between acidic and alkaline foods works or not. I personally do not eat that way. Well, I have to correct myself here. I do not purposely eat the way Kate Hudson suggests, so it is highly likely that my percentages are off. Theoretically, however, there is still a chance that I balance out somehow.
I actually probably fail at her plan.
My breakfasts, since the middle to end of October, are smoothies every morning during the week. On the weekends, I change it up and try things like a homemade breakfast sandwich, just a bit of toast, a bagel, et cetera. For anyone curious, my basic smoothie recipe is to peel and chop one avocado, half a tablespoon of chia seeds, frozen fruit (most often mixed berry), water or milk, and a bit of yogurt (vanilla). I will also add kale or spinach if I got it in my groceries that week. I happen to use a NutriBullet, which is super helpful for portioning and taking with me to work. Considering I wake up early, taking it with me is the best option, as I will get nauseous if I eat too soon after waking up that early.
Unfortunately, the dairy and such that I consume, especially with yogurt, soy milk, and cheese, increases the acidic part of my diet. If you add in my animal proteins like chicken and beef then, well, I do not think I even come close.
The biggest issues I take with this book are the sheer work required for the specifics of Kate’s ideas and the overall idea of following this to the letter both with and without a budget.
The sheer work portion revolves around the Drawing Board she refers to throughout the whole book. You are constantly recording your actions, feelings, food, et cetera. How much time is that going to take out of your day? The book itself also has long quizzes for you to take to figure out things like your “dosha” (body type) and generalizations regarding what you need. I do not believe that you can generalize in this way. In addition, some of the questions seem out of place and just not relevant. For example, what does the type of animal you run like have to do with anything? For that matter, none of the choices fit me anyways. I rarely run and when I do, I doubt I look like any of those animals.
Okay so now I need to move on. What about following this lifestyle when you are on a budget? For that matter, even without one?
I am a little over a year out of university and yes, I am employed on a full-time basis. That said, I do not earn lots of money and there are many things I need to save for when I can, like my retirement, graduate school tuition, and a vehicle. I do have a grocery budget, but it is unrealistic for me to do many of the things mentioned in Pretty Happy. I do need convenience and inexpensive choices, which often means I purchase cans of soup instead of making my own, or have frozen meals I can pull out for those hectic evenings (right now, for when I have to go to pottery for three hours).
Yes, I do have some meal prep on Sundays, but I am not perfect in this case, and it is pretty much impossible to be. So what am I supposed to do to follow her path? Am I to spend most of my money on the high quality foods she mentions? I do wish that eating healthier was less expensive, but unfortunately, it is not. Thus, many of us have to use packages to help offset the freshness we do manage.
The other thing about the realism of her ideas is eating healthy all the time. I have to acknowledge that Kate does say she is not perfect, which is something I think many of these celebrity food books lack. However, I still think that these celebrity books, Pretty Happy included, expect a lot and I think that when people are not able to reach the levels these books expect, things can go quite awry. I am not saying that it is impossible, because I am sure it is. Nevertheless, I think many people, myself included, would struggle with keeping themselves up to this high standard.
I think that Pretty Happy is still worth reading, if only to give yourself something to think about if you are looking to make a change. I am always looking to be healthier, but I have to do it on my own terms and I cannot subscribe to these celebrity books.
Title: Pretty Happy
Author: Kate Hudson
Publisher: Dey Street Books (Imprint of HarperCollins)