“How to be beautiful”? The question is an ancient one.

Thankfully, the answer is easy: Wake up. Breathe.

And that’s it.

It’s easy. And it’s very, very hard.

Sadly, in our modern age with its infinite choices and endless exposure to advertising and media of every sort, “just being yourself” has become a complicated proposition. So, we’re here to answer the women of South Africa’s most burning question:

A Weighty Issue

Many women associate a perfect body with falling within a specific weight range. Of course, there are some people who have serious issues with their weight, but outside of this many people do put pressure on themselves to be a certain clothing size, height and weight. The perfect body is often associated with a size 8, when actually natural and healthy size 6, 10, 12, 14 and 16 women are beautiful and normal too!

The “average” height for an adult woman ranges from 142.2cm in Bolivia, to 171.8cm in the Dinaric Alps. That almost 30cm gap is just the average. Keep in mind that there will be shorter Bolivians and taller Alpinians on that scale too.

We should celebrate this variation in our bodies and promote the beauty of each individual. In the words of an icon of self-compassion, Ellen Degeneres:

…Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.

It’s not about fitting into a specific box.

So, now that we’ve covered that every body is beautiful, let’s address self-love.

Nutrition = Self-love

In our opinion, self-love comes from looking and feeling great. One way to achieve this is through consuming good, nutritious food that’s both delicious and healthy.

There is the well-known saying that “you are what you eat”. This phase has been around a long time, first appearing in English in the 1920’s and 30’s when adverts emerged saying “Ninety per cent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs.You are what you eat.”

So, this notion that you need to eat good food in order to be fit and healthy is not new. And what comes hand-in-hand with being fit and healthy is some self-love. The two are intertwined.

Sweet Nothings

The simple truth is, you’re already beautiful, just as you are. The only way you could be any more beautiful, is to be more you. So, to celebrate the sweet truth of how lovely you already are, we’ve decided to share some tantalising treat ideas, as you celebrate being your own, truly beautiful you. Remember – they are treats!

1. Choc-Dipped Strawberries

Just when you thought chocolate was the most amazing all-encompassing awesome thing on earth (which, let’s face it, it is), we’ve upped the ante by injecting some oh-so-yummy antioxidants: Strawberries.

These sweet-tart superfoods pack a vitamin C punch. Simply pop a punnet in the fridge for an hour or two. Gently melt a slab of dark chocolate on the stove, then dunk the cold strawberries in the hot chocolate and watch the chocolate settle into a hug-me jacket around the sweet fruity point.

Munch, and prepare for the truest love you’ve ever tasted.

2. Choc-Nut Popcorn

Pop a bag of popcorn in the microwave. While it’s making its magic, melt a tablespoon (or more!) of peanut butter on the stove in a big pot. Stir a teaspoon of cocoa into the mix. As soon as the popcorn comes out of the microwave, stir it into the pot, and voila – deliciousness!

Make it even more amazing by subbing the peanut butter for Nutella. For extra creaminess, stir a teaspoon of butter into the choc-nut mixture before adding the popcorn.

3. Chocolate Milk

I bet you didn’t see that one coming! Chocolate milk (as we all know) is a great way to drop a hint of sweetness into your day. What makes it awesome is that this chocolatey drink is actually a very effective post-workout recovery drink, too. And if you use good quality cocoa, you’ll be boosting your daily magnesium intake, as well. Now that’s our idea of win-win!

4. Frozen Chocolate Bananas

This works a lot like the strawberry delight we’ve described above. The main difference is that we’ve frozen the fruit, rather than refrigerating it first.

Simply cut a banana in half, freeze it for up to an hour, then dip it in the dark chocolate you’ve been melting (and not eating!) while you waited for it to freeze. Besides the magnesium content of good quality dark chocolate, bananas are full of potassium, making them the perfect sweet treat and mineral pick-me-up.