Book Review- The Body Book by Cameron Diaz
With the weather cooling down in Australia, staying healthy becomes a bit more challenging. Most of us find ourselves hitting the snooze button as our alarm clocks sing it’s time to get ready for our morning gym class, or we find ourselves reaching for another slice of comforting apple pie to keep our bellies warm on a chilly night. Well I’ve got a treat that doesn’t come with any calories and may even inspire you to get moving tomorrow morning!
Meet: ‘The Body Book: feed, move, understand and love your amazing body’ by Cameron Diaz. As a nutritionist and student dietitian, I can’t help but hold my breath every time a celebrity, chef or health ‘expert’ comes out with their own health book. My inner science-geek arrives and I can’t help but begin to question the quality of these books. We spend years studying for our Nutrition degrees, so when I read ideas and opinions by people of very powerful social media status that aren’t entirely correct I feel frustrated and helpless. As with most health-related books, my curiosity for this one began to grow. I decided to borrow it from my local library and began reading.
And I’m so glad I did.
THE LOW DOWN
First and foremost, Diaz makes the reader aware that she is not trying to sell a diet book. She’s not trying be someone she’s not. "I'm not a scientist. I'm not a doctor. What I am is a woman who has spent the past fifteen years learning about what my body is capable of, and it has been the most rewarding experience of my life." The book is written in simple English so that you don’t need a scientist or medical dictionary by your side! It’s written in a way that you feel both you and Diaz are on the same health journey together. She acts as your support system as you begin to discover the different aspects of your health. There are margins left blank for you to make notes and scribble down ideas. As the reader, you’re encouraged to make your mark whether you fold down a page you want to revisit later, or to highlight an area that resonates with you. This is your book.
“That’s why I wrote this book: so that together, we can learn the science behind the words and have the power that comes with knowing the truth about our bodies instead of absorbing the bias and misinformation that surrounds us.”
The book is divided into three sections: Nutrition, Fitness and Mind.
NUTRITION: Nutrition is science, which means the concepts are often difficult to understand and interpret. In this case, the ideas surrounding nutrition are clear, easy to understand and (excitingly) backed up by science! The chapter goes into detail about the importance of hunger, digestion, macronutrients and micronutrients; she even dedicates a whole section to water. There are pictures, boxes with extra information and diagrams. Diaz shares personal stories, experiences and information from credible and reliable sources. Diaz explains the importance of carbohydrates, protein and fat and why our bodies need them! There’s no fad diet, no cutting out food groups, just helpful, clear and wonderfully written information to help the reader feel empowered and educated about nutrition.
“Foods like rice and whole grains and vegetables provide carbohydrates, which your body turns into glucose, to give you energy. Fish and poultry and beans offer protein, which your body breaks down into amino acids to repair muscles. Healthy fats like nuts and olive oil give your body the essential fatty acids that it needs to absorb vitamins and minerals and keep you healthy.”
As a nutritionist, there was nothing I could fault about this section!
FITNESS: If you don’t feel inspired to get your body moving after reading this chapter then I’m not sure what will! When I think of fitness magazines, gurus and blogs, I tend to think of them focusing on tips and ideas for specific goals with specific exercises and routines. For a busy mum, university graduate or someone who starts sweating just at the thought of going to gym, these exercise tips are intimidating and irrelevant. This is where this book differs. Diaz discusses the important of simply moving your body anyway you can. Our bodies were designed to move!
“Every single one of us has the instinct in our body to move, to be active.”
There are tips on how to include more movement into your life without having to step foot into a gym. Diaz discusses the importance of exercise, and how it goes far beyond what we look like. She also discusses what it means to be sedentary; a term most of us hear all too often, but never really understand. There’s information about hormones, energy balance, oxygen; and a delightful explanation on our lungs, heart, muscles and bones. There’s even a whole chapter called “your lady body”. Intrigued yet? You’ll have to read the book!
MIND: When thinking about all aspects of health, most people don’t think of the mental and emotional side. We can eat well and move our bodies, but if we don’t believe in ourselves, our thoughts can override our healthy behaviours. The third part of the book discusses the mind, staying motivated and staying committed. Diaz talks about the mind-body connection because after all, our bodies hear everything our mind says!! We need to make a commitment to listen to our body.
“When you have a headache in the middle of the day, do you pop some ibuprofen and wash it down with some coffee or diet soda? Or do you ask yourself if you might be dehydrated and consider how much sleep you got the night before?”
Overall thoughts: After reading ‘The Body Book’, it’s clear that Cameron Diaz is passionate about health and sharing her ideas with others. There is a genuineness about this book that makes it appealing to both people who don’t know much about how the human body works as well as someone who has a good understanding. We’re often told what we should be eating, but are unclear clear why. ‘The Body Book’ takes the complexities of the human body and explores it in an exciting, insightful and interesting way. Would I recommend reading it? Absolutely. I parted ways with my library version and bought my very own. So yes, this book is worth it!