My book corner exists for several reasons. Probably the most basic reason is that I am an obsessive, voracious reader and I love to share my discoveries with others. The most recent additions to this treasure trove are Southwest Flavor: Adela Amador’s Tales From the Kitchen. Recipes and Stories From New Mexico Magazine; We the Eaters: If We Change Dinner, We Can Change the World; and The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health.
So…what does food mean to you?
Part of the health coaching relationship revolves around food and a client’s relationship to both actual tangible edibles and to ideas surrounding what is eaten (or what is not). I think that taking a step back from a potentially judgmental stance that sees some meals as “good” and others as “bad” opens greater horizons in the conversation. When I am able to educate clients about external forces that may or may not place a part in shaping their relationship to food, in any case, I feel as though I am offering a true benefit that will last beyond our coaching relationship.
The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health offers a lively, accessible discussion of gut bacteria and its role in overall body health. Its introduction by Dr. Andrew Weil and its authors’ status as research and teaching faculty at Stanford mark it as a reliable source; that its inspiration seems to have stemmed from digestive disorder experienced by the authors’ child adds to its authenticity. These are two brilliant parents who have a lot of scientific resources at their disposal and what they learned and do at home is what they are sharing with their reading audience. As a student and eventual practitioner of TCM, I am somewhat annoyed when Western medicine acts as though it discovered gut bacteria and invented its effects (TCM identified the umbrella category, phlegm, over 2,000 years ago and discussed its relevance to gut health ever after). However, I suggest this book to patients in clinic all the time and use it as a comparative resource. Some patients want to hear what Western medicine has to say so that they can ground my explanation of Chinese medicine in something that they can understand; for this purpose, The Good Gut is wonderful. This book is also exceptionally useful for pregnant patients who want to learn about gut health and newborns. Finally, it has recipes and suggestions for diet that anyone can follow.
We the Eaters: If We Change Dinner, We Can Change the World offers a brilliant analysis of the construction, meaning, and effects of the stereotypical American hamburger, fries, and corn on the cob meal. Its author, one of the founders of Feed, subscribes to the notion that hungry countries house violent citizens and she argues that cheap food is in no way cheap—not overseas and not at home. This is a book to read more than once; its political and social message is diplomatically presented and compelling. What it has to say about health—both in the United States and globally—is something that should not be ignored. Gustafson concludes her book with a positive message of hope by giving doable, attainable suggestions. She’s not against burgers and fries but she does want us to think, to eat local, and to build a healthy community that feeds into a healthy world.
Southwest Flavor: Adela Amador’s Tales From the Kitchen. Recipes and Stories From New Mexico Magazine doesn’t expound a political viewpoint and it doesn’t have a lot to do with science and gut health. Instead, this is a sweet collection of recipes and stories about a place that I love—New Mexico. New Mexican food is a hybrid of tradition, history, and geography. It is Native American, Spanish, and Mexican and it is also American. When I read this book, I remember my two years in Albuquerque when I was writing my doctoral dissertation and teaching at UNM. Mrs. Amador writes the way people there speak and I can hear her gentle New Mexican accent as I read. For me, Spanish food, southern Italian food, and New Mexican food are the three that I love best, the three that say “home” to my heart. If a person doesn’t have a chance to go to New Mexico and try the characteristic food therein, this book offers a lovely way to learn and to maybe be inspired.
So what, for you, does food mean?
Two Hearts Wellness is a local holistic health and wellness outfit with a passion for all things nourishing, including but not limited to: joyful living, great food, art, and literature, and–of course–traditional Chinese medicine. If you want to learn more about me, click here and do feel free to follow my blog, check out my Instagram, connect with me on Facebook, or contact me here to set up an appointment for personal training or health coaching services. If you are interested in Asian bodywork therapy, click here to book an appointment online.