Book review: Nutrition Brought to Life – A thorough grounding in nourishment with 50 delicious recipes by Kirsten Chick
This is an outstanding book. The physical book itself is just stunning with such unusual attention to detail. The book title and core information are embossed on the hardcover, the cover artwork by Kristen Meyer is exquisite, the internal food photography and artwork equally delightful, the ribbon bookmark – which you rarely see these days – is the same shade blue as the cover and, also a rarity, I love the use of different pastel colours for different sections of the book.
But the real treasure trove can be found within…
Kirsten takes a holistic approach to nutrition and is clearly extremely knowledgeable. She includes references to almost 300 studies throughout the book. An additional bonus that makes this book such a delight to read is that Kirsten is an extremely eloquent and nuanced writer. There are so many paragraphs I would like to quote, but I’ll limit that to just two.
But before I do so, as well as providing more information about the contents, I have a suggestion, if I may:
Why not purchase not one but maybe two or three copies of Nutrition Brought to Life? I am sure you will want to treasure your copy and the others will make fabulous presents!
Did you notice that the subtitle to this book is “ a thorough grounding in nourishment? “ Nourishment, in a very holistic sense, is a key theme and resonates throughout the book. This is how Kirsten introduces us to the concept of being nourished:
You deserve to be nurtured, suckled, fed, given everything you need to live, be healthy, develop and grow stronger. You deserve to enjoy the texture and tastes of different foods, the sensations they evoke and the different ways they make you feel. You deserve to absorb the nutrients and vitality they offer, carry them through every blood vessel, flowing to your brain, your heart, your lungs, your toes, helping you move through and interact with life to the full You deserve to be nourished.”
I have learnt so much from this book and I shall no doubt re-read again and again. Plus, of course, there are 50 lovely recipes to try. Nutrition Brought to Life has been written for anyone who wants to live a happier and healthier life but, because of the extent of the information, is also a complete handbook for nutrition students and health practitioners.
In the first section, there are twenty chapters covering everything from the psychology of WHY we don’t nourish ourselves properly, how our digestive system works, why counting calories is counter-productive, balancing blood sugar, mindful eating, the relevance of Chinese Five Elements, the gut-brain-adrenal triangle, our microbiome, tissue protection and repair, protein power, fats and oils, strengthening our immune system, balancing hormones, and so much more!
Most chapters finish with Reflection Time, Action Plan, and a reference to appropriate Recipes relating to the chapter subject matter.
In section two, Kirsten features 50 delicious recipes separated into seven sections. They are all vegan or vegetarian but provide plenty of opportunities to adapt to add meat or fish if preferred.
Throughout, without any judgement whatsoever, Kirsten mentions vegans and vegetarians and how they might need to consider specific foods and/or supplements to ensure they have the essential building blocks their bodies need. So, whether you are a meat-eater, flexitarian or full-on vegan, this book is still perfect for you.
This is how Kirsten summarises her approach:
Your ethical considerations around this [eating animal protein] are your own, and it’s not my intention to influence them here. My personal approach is to try to make decisions that include consideration of my own health, animal welfare and the environment. Some of my decisions have shifted over the years and may well shift again as I continue to reassess my values alongside evolving research and information. Nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems, so I aim to respect whatever approach individuals choose. Sometimes one’s ethics can appear to be at odds with one’s health requirements – and all of these seem to be challenging on the wallet – but there are usually ways to navigate this, and I try to help people do this in a way that fits their own values and choices.”