Even though she’s been investigating many more issues and things than most of us for a long time, certified holistic health coach, yoga teacher, wholefoods chef, and author Lee Holmes is no exception to this rule.
Holmes started researching and experimenting with nutritious recipes—many of which were free from gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, and sugar—to eat herself well after she was in 2006 diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
That’s an auto-immune disease Wikipedia tells me is characterised by chronic widespread pain and a heightened and excruciating response to pressure. Its other symptoms can include debilitating fatigue, sleep disturbance, joint stiffness, difficulty with swallowing, bowel and bladder abnormalities, numbness and tingling, and cognitive dysfunction. Suffice to say, it’s a serious-enough illness to make you rethink—and rejig—aspects of your life.
But instead of opting for the generally prescribed medicine to treat the illness, Holmes figured there had to be another way to treat (if not cure) fibromyalgia. Cue the creation of Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful, a beautifully presented book containing over 100 nutritious recipes designed to counter auto-immune illnesses such as fibromyalgia by eating yourself well. It follows on from her Supercharged Food and Supercharged Food for Kids cookbooks.
The recipes—many of them refreshingly free from gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, and sugar—focus on simple, nutrition-packed, anti-inflammatory ‘super foods’, and are designed to produce inner and outer health and beauty.
I’ll not deny I was—and am—dubious about the book’s title. Surely being healthy is more important than being beautiful? But I will concede that the word ‘beautiful’ is likely to aim to imply healthfulness-related and -radiated beauty than that of the narrowly defined notions of beauty we find in film, television, and glossy magazines. So, I’m approaching it more along the lines of the adages ‘you are what you eat’ and ‘beauty isn’t skin deep’—that is, what’s inside matters just as much and affects what’s outside.
‘It’s not about wanting to be Peter Pan,’ Holmes says in the press release. Rather, it’s about continued good health and aging gracefully, changing your lifestyle instead of see-sawing between fad diets.
Title quibbles aside, the book is gorgeously presented (Murdoch Books can always be counted on to produce incredible cookbooks—all three of Holmes’ books are through them). The Supercharged Food: Eat Yourself Beautiful images are salivation-inducing scrumptious and the communication design is clear and useful. For example, colour-coded symbols and initialisms denote at a glance whether a recipe is wheat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, and so on.
The recipes too are delicious. Adhering to the food-as-medicine principle, the meals are full anti-oxidant, immune-boosting foods. I roadtested three at a recent dinner party: broccolini with garlic and chilli; carrot, lemon and fresh mint soup; and turmeric, cauliflower and almond.
I’ve haven’t images of the recipes both because my interpretations weren’t nearly as pretty as the book’s and because they were consumed so quickly and so heartily I didn’t have time to take a picture before they were gone. I recommend instead checking out the ones in the book—if they don’t inspire you to crack out your cooking utensils, nothing will.
It goes without saying then that Supercharged Food and its recipes warrant a thumbs-up review. So too does the complementary website, which boasts a host a supporting material, including meal plans, information, and resources—it’s easy to see why Holmes has been awarded as both a writer and a blogger.
Supercharged Food is relevant to those of us aiming to conquer some auto-immune illnesses, but it’s a healthful choice for those of us who aren’t. Maybe one day we’ll have no need of the necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention adage because we’ll have thwarted it by living the prevention-is-better-than-cure one instead.
Thanks to Murdoch Books for the opportunity to review Supercharged Food and apologies the review has taken so long to post—post-person confusion saw the book wrongly delivered to my neighbour’s place, but the book’s found its home now and I won’t be relinquishing it anytime soon.