This is a review of an e-book by a fellow blogger that I’ve followed for years. His blog, Zen to Fitness, is inspired by the idea that health and vitality should not be a struggle. I am not an affiliate marketer for his book; this review is simply me sharing insights on an interesting book I read by a blogger who has inspired my own fitness pursuits.
Having spent a great deal of time learning about and exploring many different kinds of diets, I’ve come across a lot of overly complicated explanations of how to eat healthy. Everyone seems to think their way is best, but I’ve found that the basic principles of diets that actually work are always the same: eat meals balanced in proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, made from fresh, high quality ingredients. Avoid too much sugar, and enjoy your food, eating when you’re hungry until you’re full. Whether it’s Paleo, Primal, Zone, Locavore, Vegtarian, Vegan, or Traditional, these principles always seem to hold. Of course, exponents of each diet focus on what makes them different, and this just leads to confusion. Vegans will tell you that eating meat leads to bodily decay, while the Paleo crowd will tell you that not eating meat leads to decrepitude.
The truth is that eating healthy should be really simple. This is the basic truth idea of The Simple Guide to Eating Well, a handy e-book by the author of the Zen to Fitness blog. Chris, the author, explains in about 40 pages everything you need to know about how to eat for health and stress-free living, without espousing any one diet over another. He helps readers take back their relationship with food, focusing on the essential aspects of a healthy diet and cutting out all the rest, making eating healthy simple and therefore easy and enjoyable.
Focus on Essentials; Be Aware of Details
The real value of the book is that it doesn’t dumb-down nutrition but still avoids overwhelming the reader with unnecessary information. Chris does a great job of only focusing on the essentials of healthful eating, starting with an explanation of what a well-rounded diet should contain. He goes into the specifics regarding protein, fat, and carbohydrates, explaining just as much as you need to know in order to craft your own healthy eating plan. Without pushing any particular diet, The Simple Guide to Eating Well explains that balanced, fresh ingredients should form the core of any meal. It really is that simple.
Once the basics are set out, Chris goes into just those details that make a difference in your dietary health. I was worried that things would get a bit overwhelming once he started talking about Omega-6/Omega-3 ratios and the difference between refined and unrefined sugars and carbohydrates. I also know that there is a problem in oversimplifying these things and leaving people without enough information to make an educated decision; telling people that butter is better than vegetable oil without explaining why just leaves them frustrated and skeptical. The Simple Guide balances perfectly between the two extremes. It keeps to the essentials without talking down to the reader.
The only flaw I found was in its presentation. A lot of the information gets lost in large, rambling paragraphs. Breaking up some of the ideas would make them easier to pick out and therefore understand. Nevertheless, the most important points are highlighted in bulleted lists, and figures help illustrate the core concepts well.
Teach a Man to Fish
I think that the best thing about this book is that it actually teaches the reader how to make good eating decisions, instead of simple telling people what to do. The concept is conveyed well in the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for life.” The Simple Guide to Eating Well does not set out a specific diet, and in fact requires that you experiment, but it gives you a balanced set of principles to follow as you figure out the best way to eat for yourself. The greatest lesson to be taken is to allow yourself to enjoy food and to listen to your body. And keep things simple. Eat what you love, take care of your body, and you will come to health easily and without a struggle.
Zen to Fitness is a great blog providing simple, straightforward advice about getting fit without tearing out your hair. Skip all the stressful workouts and restrictive diets and enjoy your body. Check it out.