Book review

Book review

A Life in BalanceA life in balance
by Meg Wolff Down
East Books, 2010, 160 pages, $19.95
ISBN: 978-0892729067

It’s true: cancer is non-discriminating. It doesn’t care about your ethnicity, your income, or whether you floss every day. However, science has shown time and again that a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise can greatly reduce your risk of developing cancer. No one knows this better than Meg Wolff, author of A Life in Balance.

In 1998, after battling breast cancer, Wolff gave up her typical North American junk food-centred diet for a plant-based one. Since then she’s been educating others on the importance of a whole foods diet, and, with the help of a few friends, she wrote this cookbook, showing that a balanced diet does not mean a boring diet.

The book is organized in sections such as “Beans & Bean Products,” “Grains,” and “Sea Vegetables” and covers everything from breakfasts to desserts. It also contains handy tips and tricks for transitioning into a whole foods diet, including a list of the most pesticide-ridden veggies, tips for optimal digestion, and explanations of some of the more obscure ingredients.

As for the recipes themselves, Wolff offers an array of tasty options. Although all the recipes are vegan, they are packed full of protein, often using beans, legumes, and soy products such as tempeh.

For a sophisticated occasion, try the Old Bay Tofu Cakes with Cream Horseradish and Creole Mustard Sauce, served over a bed of fennel slaw. For a more casual dinner party, consider serving the Lentil Loaf, a play on the classic meatloaf that replaces the meat with a mix of lentils, sautéed veggies, rolled oats, and pecans. Vegans and omnivores alike will be impressed with each dish’s unique and perfectly simple flavours.

For people who are trying to improve their diet, A Life in Balance is an excellent resource, covering all the basics; it even contains a recipe for cooking brown rice. Wolff ’s collection of recipes is far from elementary, though, inviting readers to dip their toes into the nutrient-rich world of sea vegetables such as arame, hijiki, and wakame.

Although some might cringe at the thought of eating these underwater wonders, Wolff insists they are a concentrated source of essential vitamins and minerals—and, with the right preparation, taste delicious.

Although we cannot always control our health, we can control what foods we put into our bodies. A Life in Balance can help readers regain that control, choosing foods that off er preventive and feel-good properties.

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