Monday, June 24, 2019
How to Be Well When You're Not: Book Review
What is intriguing about this book is it is written by Ariane Resnick, P!NK's personal chef. Yes, that P!NK, the singer (AKA Alecia Beth Moore).
How to Be Well When You're Not is actually geared towards a very specialized population: individuals struggling with serious illness. It is not a diet book. It is a guide book for people feeling sick and hopeless, "Practices and Recipes to Maximize Health in Illness".
This book was borne out of the author's own experience suffering from Lyme Disease and then soon after, chemical poisoning. In both cases, Resnick struggled to get an accurate diagnosis for a long time and was told she had little hope for recovery. She was basically left to her own devices to either find a solution or accept her suffering as a permanent state of affairs. She opted to stay hopeful and find a solution and successfully recovered from both. The book provides a framework for others to do the same.
Now as a therapist, this book interests me because I have many clients with chronic pain or health issues. I can tell you right now that for many of them, staying hopeful can be a challenge!
The forward of the book is written by P!NK herself, about what Ariane has done for her health working as her chef while on tour.
Then Resnick shares the story of her own illnesses and recovery and why she wrote this book.
In the second section of the book, Resnick provides a series of therapeutic writing exercises for readers (something us therapists often do with our clients). They touch on gratitude and making friends with your body, among other things.
The section on food does provide some recipes, but it is not at all a meal plan. She recommends journalling about your food intake, and your emotions (another thing us therapists often recommend to our clients).
Resnick's main dietary guidelines are eating whole foods (the usual sensible suspects including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins) according to what works for you (i.e. makes you feel best). She recommends avoiding tea/coffee/alcohol/pop, if possible unless you are certain they are not having a negative effect (frankly, when I am sick, coffee is usually one of the first things to go because it makes me nauseous!).
Resnick also recommends eliminating sugar and instead using stevia or monkfruit, or manuka honey if you don't like calorie-free sweeteners.
The recipes are mostly liquids: elixers, smoothies, soups and broths, which I suppose makes sense for when you are unwell, particularly if you have nausea and/or digestive issues. But there are also some raw and cooked veggie recipes and even a few rather yummy sounding desserts.
So, do I recommend this book? If you are struggling with some sort of chronic health issue and are not finding effective treatments and are losing hope, than absolutely. Besides the recipes, the book is really a blueprint for fighting off despair and remaining hopeful for recovery or remission.
Disclosure: The publisher sent me the book to review, but all opinions on this blog are my own.