Friday, July 30, 2010

My Spin: On The Culprit and The Cure

I'm not prone to discussing informative/self-help books.  I find they generally make for lousy discussion since you either agree with them or you don't, so all you could do in a discussion is nod your head like a sycophant, or argue.  Neither of which appeals to me.  (And I haven't the attention span to read much else lately, so I've pretty much given up on goodreads)   I tried this once by suggesting Raising Cain for a relief society bookclub, and the resulting meeting was ugly.

So I tenuously want to tell you about a book I read.  The Culprit and the Cure.  

In many ways, this book is the biggest dose of common sense you already know that you could find to read. The gist of it is so obvious it feels silly to summarize it.  Healthy people tend to live longer, and have higher quality of life.  Your health improves if you eat healthy foods in healthy amounts, and are physically active.  The end.  Sort of.   

The thing that made this book work for me, was that is was beyond thorough.  Dr Aldana has read pretty much every paper written about every study ever done regarding diet and exercise, and has spent considerable time researching behavioral science as well.  He makes it very clear from the get-go that he's not sharing his opinion with you in this book, he's just trying to make the behemoth of information he's digested fit in a bite-sized book.  What surprised me, (but probably not him) was that arming myself with the facts, statistics, and information in this book provides a pretty steady stream of motivation to make changes. 

I love that he was very non-judgmental about how so many of us end up in the unhealthy fixes that we do, and that he provided a multitude of reasons to exercise that have absolutely nothing to do with weight loss.  I am as prone to vanity as anybody, but I loathe vanity as a reason to diet or exercise.  A superficial motivator cannot create a lifelong lifestyle change.  I think feeling better, having more energy, flexibility, and agility are more along the right line of thinking.  And wanting to live a long, healthy life and not be a burden on our families or the healthcare system is maybe an even better reason.  

This book is full of details about every type of food you could think of to eat, and what is scientifically known and suspected about it.  I felt it cleared up a lot of the haze in my brain over fats of all sorts, and about grains. The section about glycemic index and about dairy were also surprisingly enlightening.  

Because of the academic nature of the material in this book, it does get a little dry in parts.  But overall, I think it's probably the best comprehensive source of proven information on diet and exercise that I'm likely to come across.  It's also full of tips on how to make small, realistic changes, as well as advice on how to make the bigger, harder ones.  The behavioral science take on this information is invaluable.  

I guess I'm destined to find all this interesting because I have a personal conviction that keeping my family healthy and teaching my children healthy habits is part of my parental stewardship on a very spiritual level.  I've also been flinging the book at my family with evangelical zeal, with no real takers.  (Although Mr Renn has consented and is listening to the book on CD).  

I love the idea of preventing illness and disease.  I love the idea of being healthy and energetic into old age.  I really rather love the idea of being a good steward of my body, and recognizing it as a miraculous creation and gift of God.   Besides, healthy people have more fun.

So, um.... go read it.  

1 comment:

hairyshoefairy said...

Still making my way through it (I'm working on another book, too so it's taking time). I like those thibgs about it, too. It's a full lifestyle change - not a quick fix. I like your take on teaching these thing to your family being one of your responsibilities. It really is and I need to be better about remembering that.

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