It is the New Year and maybe you got a book voucher from your aunt? And/or you are looking for inspiration on your goal to lose those pounds and become fit and healthy and happy? Now here is my list of books that helped me on my journey to slim down and eat well. These include autobiographic stories of athletes, recipe books, medical advice by doctors and support from skinny women and even celebrities. These books will motivate and inspire you. And whenever you get stuck, and you feel down, and you are ready to give up and go back to your unhealthy lazy self, pick one of these up and read a few pages.
Adore Yourself Slim by Lisa Jackson
Lisa Jackson has been there and done it. I relate better to people who have been struggling with their weight and she does a wonderful job with her book. It is colourful, fun to read and with lots of space to fill in your own goals, milestones and personal data. It also includes a CD with hypnosis which I thought was interesting and helpful, although I must admit I sometimes fell asleep listening to it!
I still go back to it from time to time to read my entries when I feel stuck or unhappy with myself. Reading through my entries in the book reminds me how far I have come. It is a fantastic 3 month diary and covers beauty, nutrition, styling, exercise and some recipes. Even if you don’t use all of it, like me with the recipes, it is still inspiring and motivating.
Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin
This book is great fun to read if you like a blunt and very direct style. There is no sweet talking here, these ladies tell it straight to your face. They promote a healthy lifestyle that is in tune with our environment.
The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health by T. Colin Campbell PhD
A friend of mine recommended this book to me. I read the reviews on it and thought there is no way I will be able to follow a plant based diet. However, when I had finished reading the book I told my husband that I would like to try to eat a plant based diet for a couple of months. Just as an experiment and to see if it made a difference and if we would feel better. Fantastic and supportive as he is, he agreed to try it with me, which was very helpful so I did not have to cook two meals every day! I am sure it was a big sacrifice for him as he was a steak and burger type of guy. Luckily we both loved the plant based meals (many thanks to Isa for that). My kids never really liked meat anyway, so for them it was no problem either. I recommend this book to anyone interested in nutrition and healthy eating, and it does not mean that you have to follow a plant based diet once you have read it!
Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
This was the first cookbook I ordered when I decided to follow a plant based diet. I have used it for seven years now and it is still an absolute favourite of mine. The recipes are delicious, healthy and very family friendly. The potato spinach curry and the Arabian rice and lentil soup are among my daughter’s favourites. I usually make big batches as most of the recipes make great leftover lunches for my husband to take to work. All the ingredients are easily available even here in the Middle East and most of the recipes do not take up a lot of time. Of course this also depends on how quick you are at preparing vegetables. But my children love to get involved and help out with washing, peeling and chopping vegetables. The book does not contain a lot of photos and does not include any recipes for desserts, but that does not make the book any less valuable to me. Whenever friends ask me for vegan recipes I recommend this book.
Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Unlike Appetite for Reduction (see above) this cookbook by Isa does contain lots of recipes for desserts, cakes and cookies. I love the chocolate Bundt cake and the oatmeal cookies. The tomato rice soup and the cauliflower dal I make at least once a month as they are family favourites. Again, the ingredients are easily available, the recipes are straight forward and quickly put together, except, of course a lasagne would involve more work and take up more time for preparation, but I think you know what I mean.
Vegan on the Cheap: Great Recipes and Simple Strategies That Save You Time and Money by Robin Robertson
This book has a few of my favourite recipes in it. Although a lot of it is meant to be prepared in a slow cooker, I use the recipes to cook the meals conventionally. One of my family’s favourite meals is the yellow split pea soup. I make it less soupy by adding less liquid, so it’s more like a stew (or dal) and serve it with brown basmati rice or quinoa. It is super easy to make and quick too! You can use any kind of yellow lentil, some of which cook quicker than the split peas so this can be prepared, cooked and served in 30 minutes.
Dr Neal Barnard has vast experience with treating overweight people who suffer from various diseases. He promotes a fat reduced plant based diet as well. I like his book as his recipes are really easy to make. There are a lot of nice salads (like the quinoa and carrot salad) and his Trinidadian sweet potato dish is one of my husband’s favourites.
As I have said many times, when I tried to lose weight and become fitter and happy, I felt really inspired and motivated by reading about other people’s success stories. I absolutely love before and after stories! This book is one of those stories that keep you going and make you believe that you can do it too.
Let me quote from the book here: “(…) being a Former Fat Girl isn’t about what size you wear or how many pounds you lose. It’s more about how you think about yourself; how you go for what you want; how you take risks and speak up; how you walk through life with your chin up; how you look people in the eye when you speak.”