I kind of abandoned my food blog because I have too much stuff going on, but that doesn’t mean I abandoned my interest in food, health, or food books. I think that’s a love that will last a lifetime. But it’s always good to be reminded of why and how you stay healthy and happy through food. I think it’s especially important since I’ve otherwise been making so many other awesome, positive changes in my life. That’s why I recently read Susan Albers’ Eating Mindfully and The Naked Foods Cookbook by Margaret Floyd.
There’s something about buying a Kindle that makes you more willing to read self-help books. Eating Mindfully can definitely be categorized as such, but it also makes some really good points about eating smaller meals, enjoying the smell of your food before you eat it, and taking time to enjoy the entire process of food, from buying the groceries to chopping them up. Albers brings up psychological and physiological reasons to eat more slowly and mindfully, and makes points that should appeal to a variety of readers, from those who are interested in New Age sap and those who just want to lose weight. She quotes Buddha, cites quotes and results from her own patients, and gives little exercises to do. You can write yourself a mindful eating contract, learn how to meditate, or take time to use your five senses.
I will be honest and say I only officially did one of the exercises. And the book is mad repetitive, yo. It could have been a lot shorter. I also recommend not reading it on Kindle, because it’s hard to keep track of the format of the book when you’re reading on a device that doesn’t allow formatting to be a thing. I can’t say that this book is amazing, because it’s definitely too New Agey for me to want to read again, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a lot of good points. And even not doing the exercises is fine, I think, as long as you read it mindfully.
The same publisher has also come out with The Naked Foods Cookbook: The Whole-Foods, Healthy-Fats, Gluten-Free Guide to Losing Weight and Feeling Great. I loved the title immediately, because I love it when cookbooks have other themes but still happen to be gluten-free. And this is the best kind of cookbook, because it’s one you can actually read, and I’m all about reading my books more than using them as guides to doing stuff. A companion text to a book about naked kitchens (meaning healthy, mindfully grown, as close to natural as possible, not processed foods), the book is like taking a cooking class without having to pay hundreds of dollars. It offers instructions on chopping methods, substitutions, and other stuff that chefs always know and we regular people are always slightly confused about. The recipes hit a lot of bases, from raw vegan foods to sauces and dressings to add to just about anything to stuff you’ve actually heard of before but now have a much better method for cooking.
I have to say, I liked the cookbook a lot better than the other book, but they’re both worth checking out. If you don’t mind the sort of cheeseball approach to Albers’ book, you will find it full of things that really do make perfect sense. But Floyd’s cookbook is great because it’s written with a voice that acknowledges that cookbooks with that approach are usually cheesy and New Agey, so it moves away from that. You can eat meat with it. You can be lazy sometimes. You can think some of the recipes are gross, and she won’t be mad at you. You don’t have to feel dumb because you didn’t know what a julienne cut was. It’s like a for dummies book that’s for smart people.
Even though I hate being cheesy, I have to admit to myself that since buckling down and really taking care of all of the things that were ailing my body and mind, I have a really positive outlook on life. It scares me whenever I notice it, but that’s how it is. So I’m glad I read both of these books, just because they’ll help me keep that positive outlook, both secretly on my Kindle when I check back on Albers’ suggestions, and more loudly when I use the recipes in Floyd’s book. I’m rededicating myself to the pursuit of a love of food and a healthy relationship with it. I’m getting way better at curbing my binge eating. I actually did use Albers’ mindful eating contract and wrote it in my journal. I’m looking forward to perfecting my knife skills. These books are great reminders and impetuses for change.