Since I’ve been specifically addressing optimal health the last few days, I felt it was appropriate to choose “101 Optimal Life Foods” as this week’s Healthy Reads.
The author, David Grotto, is a Registered Dietitian, so he’s got credentials. That got me to pick up his book, but what hooked me was this paragraph:
“Thought the precise definition of an optimal life may vary from one person to another, one thing we can agree on is that a life absent disease while also abundant with satisfactory performance is highly desirable. We’ve made great strides in extending life span during the last century, but in meaningful ways, boomers are not living quite as well as their parents. Alzheimer’s, senile dementia, poor cognition, chronic heartburn, profound fatigue, stress, and poor physical, mental, and sexual performance are common twenty-first century complaints.”
In other words, why live longer if those extra years are plagued by nagging health issues that could quite possibly be resolved, or at least lessened, with good nutrition (and possibly some other healthy lifestyle changes). I don’t know about you, but I don’t just want to live longer…I want to live healthier.
I’m not opposed to “best foods you can eat” books that use a list of foods type format, but what’s nice, and different, about this book is that instead of doing the list thing, he divides the first section of the book into “Thirty Challenges to an Optimal Life,” which includes the health issues listed above, as well as others.
For each health issue, he lists optimal foods (and sometimes supplements), along with other health and dietary tips and a three-day sample menu.
The second part of the book is “Optimal Living Recipes.” Now, I’m often not a fan of the recipe half of these sorts of books. I often find the recipes either boring or two exotic and complicated. But the recipes in this book were juuuuuuuust right. You can call me Goldilocks.
I am a reasonably adventurous cook and eater. I like ethnic foods, and I love reading cookbooks and cooking magazines. But even when I have all the time in the world to cook, I shy away from looooong ingredient lists.
The recipes in this book, in my opinion, were interesting, yet approachable. The ingredient lists were definitely manageable. I’ve in fact made several recipes from this book already, and I am super, super busy. Even better, many of them I was able to make with what I had on hand in the fridge, freezer and pantry (occasionally making a minor modification). I know that living in Seattle means I have access to pretty much any ingredient under the sun, but as a rule, these recipes did not call for any ingredients that someone living in a smaller town would have trouble finding (at least I don’t think so).