So how go the resolutions?

For those of you with fitness resolutions, it was a good day. On the streets of my neighbourhood the unseasonably high temperatures allowed skin on legs and arms to be revealed. Runners and walkers could be seen every few hundred metres outside. This is not a typical site in the first week of January. It usually takes the hardy of personality and the well stocked of winter apparel to be out. For myself I enjoyed a brisk walk in the warm air, although I confess that cooler temperatures and a bright sky would have pleased me more.

For those of you that have challenged yourself to dietary resolutions, I have to tell you that I received one of the best Christmas presents ever this year when someone got me a copy of Alice Waters’ new book called The Simple Art of Food. Alice Waters is renowned for her commitment to preparing foods for her restaurant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley California, from locally grown, seasonal, and organic foods. Hers is a philosophy of eating and food that likely can do more to help a person lose weight than any 6/8/12-week, carb/protein/fat restriction, eat for your genome/blood-type diet anyone ever invented.

I further treated myself to two excellent books that put perspective on the total craziness and zaniness behind dieting. Both were published in 2007 and both of them I recommend if you are in the mood for making a brain shift about eating. An Apple a Day: the Myths, Misconceptions and Truths about the Foods we Eat is by Dr. Joe Schwarcz, The Director of the Office for Science and Society at McGill University in Montreal. This book is plain good fun for any nerdy information geeks like me who want to get to the bottom of such thorny issues as should I be eating fish for omega 3 fats even when I am told they are also full of mercury, should I eat soy to lower blood cholesterol or avoid it to avoid thyroid problems? The other book is titled Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss – and the Myths and Realities of Dieting. Written by highly respected science writer for the New York Times, Gina Kolata, it’s another good book to help us reconsider our punishing attitude toward food and our bodies.

Interesting that both An Apple a Day and Rethinking Thin have the word “myths” in their subtitles! Yes, it may all come back to Alice Waters and the Simple Art of Food. Even Dr. Schwarcz in his book’s opening line says “Eating used to be simple”. I’ll report back after a more thorough reading, but for now if a diet as one of your new year resolutions, consider first power walking over to the bookstore for Alice Water’s new book. Savour it for a new approach to eating: one with an emphasis on flavour and on enjoying our food. As much as eating used to be simple, eating used to be enjoyable. Once we know how to enjoy food, it’s so much easier to stop when we’ve passed the point of enjoyment.

If you received any interesting books on walking or eating over the holidays, post here. There’s nothing like a good afternoon of reading after a chilly January training walk!