If you haven’t noticed by now, I like going Dexter’s Laboratory on my own person.

And since drugs aren’t part’a that equation, I instead do things like ab challenges, my #30daysofnewthings challenge, and… now… the caratenoid diet. I actually started this back toward the end of January… and I figure now’s as good a time as any to record some conclusions. So here it goes: the chameleon caratenoid diet:


The experimental background goes thusly: Science shows that if you eat certain foods (like specif fruits and vegetables) high in carotenoids, you’ll take on a sunny glow. Except, instead’a catching cancer, you’re probably fighting it if anything. So, I wonder, “I’m a big fruit and veggie eater,” (not too big literally, thankfully – one of the perks of a veggie diet) “Why aren’t I glowier?” The answer (and I had to do a bit of research to learn this) boils down to types and amounts. Specifically – types of carotenoids (those’re the things that change your skin color) and amounts (they say 3 – 5 servings a day is optimal). So, wait, there are types? Ugh… I have to learn things?!

Shhh-shhh, I’ll hold your hand and walk you through it. It’s really simple:


Beta Carotene containers give you the yellowy hue…

And Lycopene containers give you a rosier glow.

(That wasn’t so hard, was it?)

Mind you, beta-c’s give the veges an orange hue, but we end up more yellowy upon nomming, apparently. As the colleagues of Steve Jobs noted, he took on a more yellowy look with his Bugs Bunny diet. Armed with that observation, I wondered: “Maybe I need more variety if I wanna look pretty instead’a piss colored” That conclusion came from the scholarly knowledge obtained in first grade art class when we put cellophane paper on top of one another: “Red and yellow… make orange!” I’m bad at self assessment, but as I look down now, I’m this weird ruddy shade of pale – which when you’re as pale as I am and gypped of genes that should’ve been bestowed on you on account of being half Hawaiian and all, just makes you look ill. Still, I could stand to use a good boost of both if we’re gonna do this right; we want a healthy, even orange-but-not-oompa-level-orange; not a mere racial Asian or Native American complexion swap, lovely as both are (I don’t look it but I’m a mongrel to begin with and more than likely already contain more than a bit of both – it fact, that’s probably why I’ve cycled all the way back to pale; it’s like when you put all the colors of the rainbow together and get blinding white light).

So, anyway – what’s the setup gonna be?


Well, eating a vegan diet’s pricey to begin with. So, I’m not going to get too creative here.
That will be hard, because I’m a nut for the produce section. But we’ll keep it focused and functional and just look at the caro-toppers (highest carotenoid containers) for the red and orange groups. That’d be:

BETA CAROTENE: Sweet potato, Carrots, spinach
LYCOPENE: Guava, watermelon, tomatoes

There we go. My official directive next vittle trip is to add these into my cart, and subsequently, belly. Science says I need about 3-5 servings collectively of fruit and veg each day. I get about that right now, but what the switch this month will be (I’m already grumbling louder than my tummy because I don’t like breaking from ritual) is subbing in that guava and/or watermelon for my some of my other fruits (I’d eat both, but I can’t. Because: poor). And subbing in carrots (which I kind of hate but I’ll do it. For vanity science) and spinach (already on it; love it) and sweet potato (which I literally forget what it tastes like) for… I dunno? I dunno what I’ll sub that in for. Maybe buying less of my expensive fruit will make money-room for these vibrant new additions. These I’ll dine on daily for one month – half the amber-makers and half the rougey-makers. And hopefully one tropical looking money-maker by the end of it. Progress will be incrementally documented via entry, along with a start/end comparison couple’a photos. No tanning. No tweaking. No filter. No makeup.

“Oh, shiz just got rill, Ashley. You taking yourself surrrrious here or what?”

Yes. Yes I am. Shall we?

End of January, 2015

My fear of yellowing has led me to too ruddy a complexion.

I’ve doubled down on the Lycopene by having too much tomato (I make a soup outta the stuff at night).

Think I’ll add sweet potatoes in the mix, throw some spinach in, and buy some carrots too.


Mid February 2015

Not a carrot fan, but trying.

Bought a sweet potato as a backup, but it’s just one of those foods that makes me feel tired and lazy and not wanna get anything done. I feel like my color might be evening out a bit.

Or maybe I just want it to.

Mid-to-End February, 2015

Became a carrot fan.

Became too much of a carrot fan.

I was right, my color was evening out – but then it shot to the other end of the spectrum. And I didn’t even realize it until I was at the fitness center, jogging on the treadmill and thinking – Why does my hair color look so weird? It’s the same blonde I always ask Cathy for. The lighting in here’s the same as yesterday… Then I realized, it wasn’t my hair or the bulbs above. It was me. I matched my golden tresses. Was I sick?! Mind you, by this point, I kinda forgot I’d started this experiment at all. This def reminded me. And I wish I’d paused and snapped a pic of how horribly fairy-tale-creature-esque I looked. Kinda surprised how quickly your flesh shade can transmogrify

Start of March 2015

A few months, and I think I’ve managed to find a balance:

For Beta Carotenes, I’ve been doing carrots and spinach (which I put into soup at night)

And that soup’s my base for half of my Lycopenes: tomatoes.

To even it out though, my other half of Lycopenes is gotten by snacking on watermelon slices during the day.

(Along with other fruits too – though I never did manage to add in guava.)

Well, it’s definitely not a “tan”, but my complexion’s definitely less ruddy than it was toward the start there. Neither of these shots are me with makeup, and there’s definitely some sorta difference. A concession I’ll make is that I’ve started drinking a lot more water, been eating less of the prepackaged vegan junk food (those noodles are dangerous), and swapping my nighttime fruit snacking for earlier in the day. I also quit eating dates and figs (’cause once I pop, I won’t stop till my pant buttons pop off) After a week, I stopped having cravings for the addictive stuff that makes my face turn into a black hole that sucks in any edibles within suck’s reach.

Oh, and I’ve lost five pounds.

So, there’s that.