Book review

Joyous Health

Book review

Focus on clean eating - not dieting - to eat and live well.

Joyous Health:Eat and Live Well without Dieting
By Joy McCarthy
Penguin Australia, 2014, 304 pages, $29.99
ISBN: 9780143190738

As far as holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy is concerned, “kilojoule” is a dirty word. Even if you’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to lose weight for years, the first thing you will learn from picking up her beautiful new book, Joyous Health, is that you no longer need to count those pesky units of energy.

Subtitled “Eat and Live Well without Dieting,” Joyous Health is part cookbook, part nutrition guide, part how-to manual for living well. There are dozens of recipes for everything from smoothies to snacks, but the holistic nutritionist also makes it clear that there’s much more to well-being than a wholesome diet. She shares information on other vital contributing factors, such as sleep, mindfulness and fresh air. But perhaps what makes McCarthy’s take on things so appealing is that she makes a healthy lifestyle seem easily attainable.

In other words, you don’t necessarily have to make your own kombucha or deprive yourself of every sweet treat you crave. Rather, McCarthy says, start with the basics: listen to your body, eat real food, introduce positive changes gradually and keep moving. There are many more so-called “joyous tips” throughout the book, and, when broken down into bite-sized pieces, so to speak, a healthy lifestyle becomes not just manageable but also downright fun.

McCarthy herself has struggled with digestive problems and body-image issues. By sharing her personal story at the outset, she makes it easy for readers to relate to her. Formerly employed in marketing, McCarthy followed her bliss by studying holistic nutrition. She went on to start a program called Eat Well Feel Well with yoga instructor Michelle Uy. It helps people adopt a new way of eating and living without dieting, through holistic nutrition and yoga. Out of that program grew McCarthy’s book.

Easy to navigate and read, and designed with pleasing spring colours, Joyous Health also makes cooking healthy food a pleasure. Among the standout recipes are Mango Cashew Millet Salad with a lime-ginger vinaigrette, Avocado Kale Tartine using wholegrain or gluten-free bread, Cardamom Parsnip Pear Soup and Chili and Cinnamon Chocolate Bark. Then there are those for wraps, burgers, muffins, butters, dips, juices and even frozen ice pops.

With this cookbook on hand, you won’t need any convincing to eat well. And you certainly won’t be expected to count kilojoules.

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