Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds With a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer

I know it's only November, but do you have a New Year's Resolution yet? Many of us start to think about what goals we'd like to set for the next year around this time. I don't really like New Year's Resolutions, but there's one thing I'm determined to change--the food I feed myself and my family on a daily basis.

See, I have a baby who just started eating solid foods. And, being the yoga mama that I am, I am making my own baby food for her from fresh, organic, local when possible vegetables and fruits. It might sound hard, but it's actually super easy to make a big batch and freeze it into individual servings in ice cube trays. So I'm making an effort there, but I realized I'm putting forth all this effort to make sure my baby eats healthy foods while I serve frozen pizza to my husband and myself... something just doesn't add up. It won't be long until my little one will be eating the same foods I make for us, so if I want to keep her on the healthy foods track I need to find healthier options. (And applying the same, make a big-batch-and-freeze-for-later mentality I'm realizing it doesn't have to be much more effort than going to the grocery store to buy frozen pizza.)

Just when I was coming to this conclusion, I got a little surprise in my mailbox.

enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer, now in paperback, tells a story of how my YJ blogging colleague Jessica Berger Gross changed her relationship to food through her yoga practice. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you I couldn't put it down. I could relate to many of her struggles. The advice she offers is practical and simple enough that I could start putting it into action easily. The focus isn't really on weight loss so much as eating reasonably and getting exercise. In my experience if that's the focus everything else will fall into place--whether you need to lose weight, manage stress, or work your way out of depression--taking care of yourself in this way is a great start.

I'm not really interested in losing weight. Despite my admittedly rather poor eating habits (I'm a junk food vegetarian), I've been a healthy weight for most of my life. I managed to lose my extra baby weight within a month after giving birth (I attribute this to yoga and the fact that I didn't gain much because I was nauseous for most of my pregnancy). But enLIGHTened reminded me of the importance of eating right, taking long walks, and putting my health as a top priority no matter how many other things are happening in my life. And I'm also a  little obsessed with the veggie chilli recipe in her book--I'd never thought to put broccoli in chilli, but it is yumm-O.

BTW, yesterday I asked my Twitter friends to share their favorite vegetarian recipes with me. Here are a few of my most recent favorites! (Add yours to the comment section below, please!)

Little Quinoa Patties
Mexican Black Bean Enchilada Casserole
Veggie Jambalaya