By: Joy Feldman
Publisher: JHF Nutritional Consulting
Publication Date: 2011
Reviewed By: Cory Bickel
Review Date: August 15, 2011
“Sadly, we have discounted the concept that the most powerful medical tool at our disposal is the fork,“ (pg. 19) says Joy Feldman, nutritional consultant. Fortunately, Joyful Cooking in the Pursuit of Good Health presents nutritional guidelines and recipes that teach readers how to effectively wield this tool. Feldman overcame a debilitating illness by implementing the principles of nutritional balancing science, and in Joyful Cooking she offers readers the chance to do the same. Feldman argues that many diseases that plague Americans today result from the nutrient-void diets that are now the unfortunate norm in our society. By learning to incorporate whole, nutrient-rich foods in their diets, many people can regain their health in the same way she did. Nutritional balancing offers a holistic approach to treating disease, addressing disorders at the level of their underlying causes rather than simply treating specific symptoms as they arise. It also presents a healthy philosophy about the role of food in our lives for anyone interested in improving their diet and feeling better.
Joyful Cooking begins by teaching readers how to make fundamental changes in their relationships with food and with themselves, including a meditation for increasing self-love and tips on taking personal responsibility and implementing changes in a positive way. Feldman follows this with an overview of types of food and their impact on health, including a helpful table of foods recommended by the nutritional balancing program. A discussion of the basics of nutritional balancing science is supplemented by eating plans for different types of people based on their “oxidation types,” with a guide to implementing the plans slowly to avoid being overwhelmed by a drastic dietary makeover. The author addresses how nutritional balancing can aid in weight loss, benefit expectant mothers and improve nutrition for children. A chapter on kitchen organization contains helpful tips on shopping, stocking healthy foods, and cooking techniques.
The final section of recipes gives great ideas for incorporating healthy foods into the diet. Most require only a few ingredients and are simple and quick enough for the lazy and moderately cooking-impaired such as myself. But because of the fresh and high-quality ingredients, the food is tastier and more satisfying than many more complicated dishes. The “Make ‘em Happy with Sweet Potato Oven Crisps” consisted only of sweet potatoes, sea salt, and olive oil and were delicious. The “Delightful Oatmeal Pancakes” required a few more ingredients, but were still very easy to make and quite filling, and didn’t give me that heavy, slightly sick feeling that regular pancakes usually do. The “Blissful Lentil Pasta Stew” was a great vegetarian meal, much heartier than many meatless recipes that I’ve tried. Because of the simplicity of the recipes, buying the ingredients was fairly economical since I didn’t need many exotic and expensive items. Cooking these recipes taught me how easy it is to eat healthy foods that taste good, and I plan on making those mentioned often and trying out many more.
Joyful Cooking is a good introduction to the ideas of nutritional balancing science as well as a great cookbook. The hand-drawn illustrations are in keeping with the theme of simplicity, and many lovely and inspiring quotations supplement the text well. Giving the overwhelming amount of often conflicting nutritional advice that is out there, I would have enjoyed more detailed explanations of the rationale behind some of the claims and guidelines in the book. However, the basic idea that whole foods contain many more vitamins and minerals and are much healthier than processed foods is sound, and the biggest strength of this book is that it makes it easy to include healthy, whole foods into any diet. Also, the book is very accessible to people from any background, and citations and suggestions for further reading are given for anyone interested in doing more research. While some of the dietary guidelines seemed a little daunting (no sugar, no bread, no coffee? Would life even be worth living?), Feldman offers tips to make up for these sacrifices, so they may become feasible with some practice. The recipes and guidelines offered in Joyful Cooking are a great, easy way to start adding nutritious foods to your diet and improving your health and vitality.
Quill says: Joyful Cooking contains delicious recipes and a simple approach to eating better, improving your relationship with food, and taking control of your health.