Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Oct 2003

LE Magazine, October 2003 - Profile: True Beauty

Despite a high-profile career as a beauty6 consultant, Kat James suffered privately from crash diets and food binges that threatened to ruin her health. In her new book The Truth about Beauty, James tells how eating well, adding supplements and shedding toxic “junk” from her diet transformed her looks and her life.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on January 2021.

For beauty consultant KAT JAMES, beauty begins within.

Kat James, the author of the recently published book The Truth about Beauty: Transform Your Looks and Your Life from the Inside Out, knows a thing or two about external beauty. After dropping out of college, she enrolled in beauty school and eventually moved to New York City from Michigan. She quickly developed a career as a top makeup artist, helping supermodels, television personalities and celebs look perfect for TV and photo spreads. Her past and present celebrity clients include Kyra Sedgwick, Leanne Rimes, Kevin Bacon, Kate Hudson, Daisy Fuentes and Sarah Jessica Parker. She has made appearances on Geraldo, Gordon Elliot, NBC Weekend Today, The Discovery Channel and ABC’s The Main Floor. Her beauty tips have been featured in Marie Claire, In Style, Self and Glamour. Despite her success, James felt terrible about herself and spent hours a day doing her own hair and makeup to draw attention away from her weight and skin problems.

These days, at age 37, James is slim and boasts beautiful skin—even without makeup. She has the type of body that people spend hours at the gym trying to get, with the type of smooth, blemish-free skin that people think you need Botox and chemical peels to achieve. But James doesn’t follow an exercise regimen or get weekly $500 facial treatments. Instead, the beauty secrets she shares in her book focus on eating well, adding supplements and “shedding” toxic junk from your diet and cosmetics cabinet.

James’ book lays out easy-to-follow steps to improving your looks through health, but the way James arrived at these remedies was far from easy. In fact, it took a life-threatening illness for James to start taking care of her health—dropping from a size 18 to a six and getting great skin were mere external side effects of her new attention to what went inside her body.

James had suffered from bulimia for years, crash dieting and bingeing constantly. When she was 24, she began to suffer from fatigue, heart palpitations and blurry vision. When she began to pass undigested food, she finally saw a doctor who told her she had pre-diabetic symptoms and a severely inflamed liver. Suddenly she wasn’t concerned that her body was too fat—she was concerned about her body functioning at all.

Panicked about her health, James read up on alternative medicine and began taking milk thistle. Within two months her liver enzymes had dropped from 500 to a normal 35. Even though her doctor was convinced that her recovery was a fluke—not the result of the milk thistle—the possibility that alternative medicine could have cured her was intriguing.

She continued researching alternative healing and health food and started taking supplements to normalize her blood sugar. Soon her cravings began to subside. Her skin, which had been itchy, extremely dry and inflamed for years, no longer required creams and lotions—a change James attributes to the essential fatty acid supplements she was taking for her liver. She added supplements to improve her mood and metabolism and began to feel better overall.

Despite all of the health benefits she was experiencing, James continued to binge, though less frequently. And she was bingeing on things like whole-grain bread and nut butter instead of diet soda and packaged, hydrogenated snacks. Finally, after a night of bingeing and writing in her journal, James decided to give herself “permission to fail” and let go of all of her “when-I-get-thin” goals. In The Truth about Beauty, she describes feeling “an outpouring of love and sadness from my heart to my body.” She says from that point on she never binged again.

Soon after that revelation, James began to lose weight—over the course of three years she dropped down to her current size six, without exercising or dieting, and without the deprivation associated with so many of the no-fat, no-pleasure diets she had been on over the years. Beyond emotionally confronting her eating disorder, James believes that through her new “real foods” diet and the use of supplements, she had regained a healthy body chemistry and metabolism, and had conquered her addiction to sugar. “In most cases of drastic weight loss, the food obsession remains strong, though suppressed, along with a frantic fear of missing workouts,” says James. “My entire body chemistry changed and that is why I do not have to rely on willpower or obsessive damage-control measures.”

James looked great, she felt great, and she was angry. “I was so discouraged always hearing the same things: Americans are lazy, like their food and that’s why they’re like they are,” she says. “I believe we’re that way because our chemistry has gotten screwed up. We’re not even given the chance to walk down the street without having some kind of thing we’re addicted to thrust in our face. It’s really not because we’re gluttonous and lazy.” She wanted to know why the alternative remedies that had helped her so much had been almost completely passed over in TV health segments and government-funded research. “I wanted to know why information with the potential to help so many people was not being talked about,” she writes in The Truth about Beauty. “Why did I have to go through what I did, risk my health, waste my disposable income and forfeit my quality of life if there existed proven therapies or therapies with potential rewards that could at least be tried without risk of detrimental side effects?”

Kat James:
How To Look And Feel YOUR BEST

I look and feel my best when I am on a consistent roll with supplements and my food choices (traveling is always a challenge that requires extra effort, but it’s worth it). I take a wide variety of supplements, and the list shifts with my needs (the most important thing is to know your health issues, then choose your supplements). Here’s my general regimen:

My secrets for staying young: Chronoforte: My A-list beauty supplement. The acetyl-l-carnitine, carnosine, alpha lipoic acid, nettle and quercitin found in Chronoforte are not only anti-aging to the proteins in the body, but great for the skin and the shape from both a blood sugar and antioxidant standpoint.

The All-In-One Weight Loss Formula with chromium, gymnema sylvestre and HCA helped me normalize my biochemical reactions to food and to maintain my shape without effort.

DHEA, dong quai and chaste tree berry, ornithine-arginine: They all modulate hormones that make our bodies look and feel good.

Other supplements used by Kat James:

CoQ10 for energy and leanness

Indole-3-Carbinol for breast health

Perrilla and Borage oils for breast and skin health and anti-inflammatory benefits

Silibin, Curcumin and NAC or SAMe to keep my liver healthy

MGN-3 when I’m over-taxed or under the weather

Green powder in my smoothie in the morning for the enzymes, detoxifying effects and vitamin K

Phosphatidyl choline for healthy cell membranes; also promotes healthy skin

Kelp and l-tyrosine for my sluggish thyroid

Gamma E Tocopherol/Tocotrienols for the full benefit of the E family

For more about the supplements Kat recommends (she’s not a doctor, so she can’t make personal recommendations by e-mail or mail), check out The Truth About Beauty. For information on Kat James’ land or sea-based programs, e-mail

True Beauty
For beauty consultant KAT JAMES, beauty begins within.

Spurred by her own transformation, James decided to get the word out about whole foods, supplements and pure beauty products. She provides tips and articles on her website,, private consultations, frequent seminars, magazine and TV interviews and the Total Transformation Cruise, a Caribbean trip hosted by James that includes a menu designed to taste good and “put an end to cravings and weight gain,” herbal nightcaps, and all-natural “Oscar caliber” makeovers.

Years of research have gone into The Truth about Beauty, which she wanted to be like a personal consultation, complete with “all of the inspiration, practical strategies, informational resources, doctors, diet counselors and beauty tips never provided to me, which I believe are crucial to practical success at transforming oneself.”

She wanted the book, like her seminars, to appeal to the “converted,” such as Life Extension readers, who are already very concerned and knowledgeable about their health. But she also wanted to appeal to those who are as cynical as she used to be, through the “motivator they’re accustomed to,” beauty. At her seminars, she throws out a few celebrity names and reminds people, “I didn’t look this way ten years ago—that’s when they get their pencils out.” She adds, “I was forced by a crisis to look at these health problems and address them one by one. When you fix them in a real way, nutritionally and with supplements, and with your lifestyle, reducing stress and being active, you start to see something that is so much better than what you could ever achieve when you look at a magazine cover and try to emulate that from the outside.”

To achieve the kind of transformation she had or simply improve your looks via health, James suggests that people stop depriving themselves and eat as much “real and fresh” food as they want. “I cleared out my cupboards after I overcame my eating disorder and it was all of this stuff that never goes bad,” she says. “It was rice cakes, melba toast, fat-free instant soup, fat-free shake mixes and sugar-free hot cocoa. Those things had been recommended to me by professionals many, many times. Even professionals had bought into what the food industry had masterminded and got the government to back up. And that’s mind-blowing. That gets me.”

Now she indulges in “lots of good, inflammation-inhibiting fats.” At a recent meal at Quintessence, a raw foods restaurant in New York’s East Village, she was chowing down on nuts, avocado and coconut cream—foods that would have sent her fat-phobic self running. “My palate has evolved,” she says. “My eyes will roll up into my head when I sip some of this unsweetened coconut juice out of a raw coconut. That wouldn’t have happened before and that’s why in my book I made an effort to say ‘start right where you are.’ She says a flourless sprouted Manna bread with raw almond butter is “what cake with frosting used to be to me.”

James also touts dark greens (with an oil-like walnut to enhance absorption of vitamin K), dark berries, plain yogurt and other cultured or fermented foods that balance the gut and boost the immune system. “Eggs are also great,” she says. “I am so tired of hearing people order those useless egg-white omelets.” She adds: “The biggest revelation you come to on the road to evolving your palate is that the most ‘decadent’ foods are also the very best for you. Give me real organic cream and butter, real, dark, sugar-free chocolate—not some hydrogenated piece of technology.”

Many of the beverage and food recommendations James suggests in her book, consultations and seminars focus on what she calls “upgrades” rather than “second-rate substitutions.” Her book has numerous charts suggesting replacing coffee with Teechino (an herbal, caffeine-free coffee substitute), sodas with spritzers, regular milk with soy milk or organic cow’s milk, margarine with extra virgin olive oil, conventionally raised meat and poultry with organic free-range meat and poultry, processed cheese with natural or organic cheese, and so forth. “Look at what you do with the most frequency,” she says. “If you drink this unhealthy beverage all the time, the more you drink it the more effect you are going to have when you upgrade that one thing with something you love the taste of. And I don’t ask anyone to fool themselves or continue having something they don’t like.”

Though James is not a proponent of deprivation, she suggests people steer clear of certain types of food. “The two top foods that age us in my opinion are sugar and hydrogenated fat.” She recommends low-glycemic foods that stabilize blood sugar, particularly for sugar and carb addicts.

In addition to suggesting food upgrades, James is a big proponent of supplements. “If you ignore your chemistry, you can’t just diet and expect it to change,” she says. “You have to restore your nutrient levels. You need major, therapeutic doses of supplements. I believe this is why so many people needlessly have an unhealthy relationship with food because they are depleted and their bodies are screaming for true nourishment. They are stuffing a full belly but they are malnourished.”

At the very least, she recommends that everyone take a high-potency, quality broad-spectrum multivitamin and mineral supplement with herbs and the best phytonutrients. She also recommends Life Extension Mix. In addition to these basics, she suggests that everyone tailor a supplement regimen to his or her own needs. She says she’s learned a great deal about effective ways to use supplements from Life Extension Foundation. “I have lots of different supplements that I take but we are not static beings and our needs shift according to our current challenges,” she adds. “The more informed you are, the better able you are to customize what you take each day to your needs.”

For anti-aging, James says some of the most compelling available science points to taking carnosine and alpha-lipoic acid and acetyl-l-carnitine. “I take Chronoforte, which contains all of those, along with herbs like turmeric and milk thistle—the latter of which helped me escape a lifetime on awful immunosuppressant drugs, by regenerating my liver cells and helping to reverse my non-viral form of hepatitis (along with alpha-lipoic acid and EFAs),” she says.

She also says people should avoid using harsh products and solvents on the skin and stay away from “the sand, zap and peel approach to wrinkles.” Right now she’s excited by marine extracts, which she says can ionize tissue and stimulate cell regeneration. “Transdermal catalysts and growth factors are also an important part of the current advances,” she adds.

Of course, you probably won’t read about some of the remedies James talks about in your local paper. She recalls being in the offices of one of the top morning TV shows: “They said, ‘Oh, we love your story, but can you just not talk about supplements?’”

This mainstream rejection of alternative therapies is why self education is so important to her. “Stop looking at what you put on or in your body as something your doctor has you taking or your trainer, facialist or dermatologist has you doing,” she says. “You are with yourself all day long. You have to become your own expert. You have to know that the information is there and that it’s not as hard as you think to get informed about these things in a relatively short period of time. If you have a specific issue, you could know more about a real way out of your problem than your doctor in an afternoon. It is sad but true.”

That’s why she recommends that people log onto the LEF website and read the magazine. “I think Bill Faloon’s editorials have made me bolder in this book,” she says. “We can’t expect to be informed by just watching the six o’clock news.” It’s also why she’s hitting the road in support of her book. She has seminars planned throughout the country this fall where she’ll be spreading her message: “Beauty is not a frivolous pursuit. It’s a birthright.”