Book Review: A Diet For 7 Generations by Michelle Yandle
“A Diet for 7 Generations” is a diet book with a difference. Namely – it’s not about a diet in the commonly used sense of the word. Rather it’s about a return to a diet (in the sense of “a way of eating”) that is focused on just eating real food.
So it’s about saying goodbye to packets and numbers we can’t decipher and eating food as nature intended it. Some people refer to this way of eating as Paleo or Primal. Others call it Just Eating Real Food and many call it all of these things under the umbrella concept of “eating from an ancestral perspective”. And no, this doesn’t mean slavishly copying the foods of our ancestors. Instead as Michelle puts it in her book it’s about:
“Eating as our ancestors did rather than what our ancestors did.”
The focus then is on eating nutritionally dense foods and on embracing a slower model of food preparation. Simpler meals and sustainable eating – like we used to do before consumerism and convenience took over. Think farmers markets, organically produced produce and community gardens. In taking this perspective, A Diet for 7 Generations goes beyond what may sometimes be seen as wellness at a superficial level (coconut muffins sweetened with maple syrup or banana smoothies and almond milk lattes etc).
A Diet For 7 Generations is a fantastic book to have in your home to start you off on your real food journey or, if you’re already started, to get you thinking about some of the deeper issues behind the food that you eat. You can pre-order Michelle’s book today using this link: http://www.thegoodlifehealth.com/the-book.html.
So What’s In This Book?
This book is part memoire, part real food guide and part recipe book.
What makes this book a bit different is that Michelle shares some of her own story. So we learn about her personal journey from sickness to health, from “super vegan” to moderate meat eater, from Slim Fast shakes to simple home cooking of meat and three veg and from a control/deprivation mentality focused on calories, fat and/or sugar to an intuitive eater feeling free in a real food lifestyle. I loved this part – especially as I can totally relate! (Well not the vegan part but with the freedom I feel in my eating versus when I was calorie counting and fat phobic.)
The focus of the book is on food as part of a much bigger picture. We are challenged to consider issues of sustainability to think about how we as individuals play a part in the health of not only our children but in the health of our children’s children and in the health of our planet as a whole.
To explain this the main part of the book is divided into chapters that focus on 11 Concepts that have worked for Michelle. These include topics of: Eat real food; Get back in the kitchen; Seasonal Cooking; Local Supply; Ethical considerations and Mindfulness. Michelle bases her 11 principles on her own personal experience. She isn’t telling you what will absolutely work for you but rather but saying that based on her research, observations and studies this is what has worked for her and for many of her clients. Michelle is a graduate of Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and is an excellent example of someone putting her study there to really good use to help others.
There are also over 70 quick easy and delicious recipes including classics like fish and chips or roasted veggies to something different like cauliflower mash and coconut yoghurt or staples like bone broth and kefir as well of course as some super delicious desserts.
While you may think there’s an over supply of real foodie cook books on our shelves (and certainly there are more and more) there are only a few health and wellness books or cook books that take an ancestral health perspective and which have a New Zealand focus. I love it that Michelle’s book includes a look at the New Zealand’s Dirty Dozen as well as listing seasonal and local veggies for for this country including some not found elsewhere – like the feijoa fruit. But by the same token if you’re not in NZ there is still much to learn in this book.
Who Is This Book Perfect For?
This is a book for newbies to real food but also for those that might consider themselves experts. More than anything though it’s a book for busy people who want to know the basics of real food eating as well as some of the big “whys” behind the real food movement.
The book contains a lot of useful information condensed and communicated in easy to understand language. This is not a definitive guide book on real food and it doesn’t try to be. It is practical, concise and works well to read either from cover to cover or by dipping in and out of.
I have to mention that the book is very basic in its layout. It’s definitely not a book for you if you’re only into glossy cookbooks with loads of pictures. But what it lacks for in that department it more than makes up for in content so if it’s the information you’re after don’t let a lack of pretty pictures put you off!
My Favourite Part Of The Book:
My personal favourite part of this book is the chapter dedicated to being grateful for what we have. Principle 8 under the heading “Be Thankful” in which Michelle advocates a return to the practice previously carried out by many to say Grace. As Michelle says it’s such a powerful powerful practice to sit and actually say thanks for our food before we eat it. And not just our food but taking the time to say thanks for our family, our safety, our gifts. Of course it can be a religious practice but equally it can not be.
This is something that I grew up doing and it always feels a bit strange to me when people just start eating without there being even a moment to acknowledge the meal or the person who has cooked it or the farmer that grew the vegetables or the animal that gave its life. I try to make a point of saying grace with Dominic each evening and agree with Michelle when she says:
“Cook with intention and be thankful for your food.
This practice will nourish you from the inside out.”
In conclusion, this is a fantastic book to have in your home to start you off on your real food journey or, if you’re already started, to get you thinking about some of the deeper issues behind the food that you eat.
You can pre-order Michelle’s book today using this link: http://www.thegoodlifehealth.com/the-book.html.
Warm Carrot Cake Porridge
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 cup coconut milk or almond milk
1 small carrot, grated
1 tsp mixture of cinnamon/ginger/all spice etc.
1-2 tsp fresh tumeric (or 1/8 tsp powder)
3 heaped Tbsp chia seeds
¼ tsp cinnamon
WHAT TO DO:
- Mix all the ingredients except the chia seeds in a blender until combined well.
- Place in a jar with the chia seeds and stir through.
- Shake the jar periodically until the seeds begin to gel.
- Leave in fridge overnight.
- In the morning – gently warm the porridge in a saucepan over medium heat until desired temperature reached.
- Serve with your favourite dairy or non-dairy yoghurt or kefir and sprinkling of cinnamon.