Sunday 15 September 2019

Six books for a mid-year health kick

Give your September season an overhaul with these buzzy wellness tomes, says Liz Connor.

Reading the right books can boost your health
Reading the right books can boost your health

Liz Connor

We rarely enjoy consistently, bankable good weather in this country, so when it’s reasonably warm outside during the summer months, it can be difficult to maintain your good intentions to live a healthy lifestyle.

From the pressure to make the most of any fleeting sunshine to the lure of pub gardens, summer can easily throw your gym schedule and meal-prep plans off track — and as for early nights? Forget it.

But as September rolls around, this is the perfect time to put the hangovers on ice and get your nose stuck in a book to inspire a mid-year health kick.

Whether you’re interested in nutrition, looking for new healthy dinner recipes or simply want to stay a step ahead of your wellness-obsessed friends, here are six of the best titles to add to your bedside table right now...

1) Is Butter a Carb?

by Rosie Saunt and Helen West

Ever since the ‘clean eating’ movement fooled us into fearing a vast array of foods, a new genre of literature has emerged to counteract some of the most damaging myths that still prevail. One of the latest is this evidence-based nutrition tome from Rooted Project founders Rosie Staunt and Helen West, two dietitians on a mission to fight against the sheer volume of unsubstantiated food ‘facts’ floating around on the internet.

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Undated Handout photo of Is Butter a Carb? by Rosie Saunt and Helen West

Covering everything from fad diets to the modern panic around gluten, the pair deep-dive into the pseudoscience that surrounds food, and counteract it with the latest clear and easy-to-digest scientific research on various points of contention. A perfect bedtime read for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the diet industry and its many conflicting ‘rules’. €21, Little Brown Book Group

2) Lift Yourself: A Training Guide To Getting Fit And Feeling Strong For Life by Laura Hoggins

More women than ever are discovering the physical and mental benefits of weight training, but if you’ve never so much as picked up a dumbbell before, heading into the weights room at your local gym can be pretty daunting.

That’s where Laura Hoggins comes in. After teaching hundreds of women how to deadlift, overhead press and upright row at some of London’s top gyms, the strength and conditioning trainer has condensed her years of knowledge and experience into one handy book.

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Undated Handout photo of Lift Yourself: A Training Guide To Getting Fit And Feeling Strong For Life by Laura Hoggins

From perfecting your form to building a stronger physique, this micro-manual is a great introduction to the benefits and joys of pumping iron. €21, Penguin Life

3) A Monk’s Guide To Happiness: Meditation In The 21st century by Gelong Thubten

Before he became a Buddhist monk, Gelong Thubten was — perhaps rather surprisingly — a hard-partying actor in New York, who found his fast-living lifestyle was making him very unhappy. Desperate to find a solution, Thubten did a 360 on his life plan and travelled to Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist centre in Scotland, to learn how meditation could help heal his mind.

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A Monk's Guide To Happiness: Meditation In The 21st century by Gelong Thubten

Since then, he’s taught everyone from Ruby Wax to Benedict Cumberbatch the ancient practice, and has spent years pondering the secrets to living a happy life. In this optimistic book, he sets out some practical methods for meditating (even if you’re a total sceptic), as well as how you can incorporate the Eastern practice into a busy, working lifestyle. Yellow Kite, €18.19

4) In Praise Of Walking: The New Science Of How We Walk And Why It’s Good For Us by Shane O’Mara

Many of us walk every day, but how often do you take a moment to appreciate the small miracle that is putting one foot in front of the other? In this love letter to walking, neuroscientist Shane O’Mara takes a close look at its benefits for our bodies and minds, as well as the unique advantage it has given humans as a species. Enabling us to spread out from Africa, walking, O’Mara says, has not just helped us to survive, it has allowed us to thrive.

 

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Undated Handout photo of In Praise Of Walking: The New Science Of How We Walk And Why It's Good For Us by Shane O'Mara

Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply like to get out and do the school run on foot, this book will make you appreciate the physical, mental and societal benefits of getting outdoors on two feet. €16.99, Vintage Publishing

5) Pinch Of Nom by Kate Allinson and Kay Featherstone

Chefs Featherstone and Allinson became an internet sensation when they started the Pinch of Nom Facebook page back in 2016.

Originally intended as a way to share low-calorie recipes with other slimmers, the concept blew up and they’re now the UK’s biggest food blog, with over 1.5 million followers and counting.

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Their first cookbook sold more than 210,000 copies in just three days after its release. The duo have gathered together some of their favourite guilt-free, home-style recipes from over the years (there are more than 100 featured), that don’t mean missing out on all the good stuff. Think Cumberland pie, Mexican chilli beef and — our fave — comforting Indian ‘fakeaways’. €24.99, Pan Macmillan

6) The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and Vagina — Separating The Myth From The Medicine by Dr Jen Gunter

Does eating sugar cause yeast infections? Does pubic hair have a function? What’s the truth about the HPV vaccine? These are some of the pertinent questions obstetrician Jen Gunter sets out to answer in this no-nonsense guide to women’s health.

Covering everything from your reproductive system to the vaginal microbiome, Dr Gunter has created a genuinely compelling resource on the female anatomy that’s a refreshing read.

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The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and Vagina - Separating The Myth From The Medicine by Dr Jen Gunter

She even takes a look at some of the many vaginal wellness trends floating around at the moment, like vaginal steaming and jade eggs (yep, she’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s number-one critic), and explores whether they actually have any plausible benefits to your downstairs area.

An empowering read for any woman who needs to get to know their body a little bit better. Out August 27, Little Brown Book Group, €21

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