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Diet, schmiet, wellness, dullness. I’d rather drop acid

Ideas

BOOK TALK

Diet, schmiet, wellness, dullness. I’d rather drop acid

Two cookbooks crossed my desk this week. One looks good enough to eat; the other, oddly for me, is fascinating

Sunday Times books editor
I want to enjoy exercise, I really do, but I don't.
NO THANKS I want to enjoy exercise, I really do, but I don't.
Image: 123RF/Dolgachov

I like to eat nice things. I like to read about eating nice things, whether it’s a restaurant review, a novel or a cookbook. I also enjoy watching food shows. If you have not watched Chef’s Table on Netflix, you are missing out on so many nice things. 

However, I have a desperate need to be called lithe at least once in my life, but I realise, sadly, that is never going to happen because of my love of food — and genetics.

A book that's good enough to inhale.
A book that's good enough to inhale.
Image: Supplied

Yes, I can hear the good voices in my head saying balance counts and moderation is the answer and you have to exercise, eat smaller portions, develop a devotion for cucumbers et cetera. Blah. So much meh. I want to enjoy exercise, I really do, but I don’t. I have tried many times to find that endorphin high that is oft bandied about. I felt it somewhat, I think, in my right shin, but then when the somewhat moderate high slid into a somewhat low (and a little bit of anger), it felt as if I was giving in to the man. The man who makes billions of dollars from women’s skewed versions of themselves and the wellness industry. Oh, can we ban the word wellness, please? It’s on my list of much-hated words, like webinar.

Two books arrived on my desk yesterday which represent this push-pull part of my personality so succinctly.

Of course, my favourite is called Lazy Baking: Really Easy Sweet and Savoury Bakes by Jessica Elliott Dennison. It’s a hardcover with many beautiful, wholesome, warm-toned photographs of dusted flour and dough on wooden tables, globs of melting butter, pots of chocolate and oozing jams, fluffy loaves and sugared buns. You want to inhale the cookbook. For a novice baker like myself (I prefer cooking that doesn’t require measuring ingredients) this book does seem to make baking pretty fuss-free. I’m looking forward to trying out the one-cup pancakes on Saturday morning.

This offering examines the science behind uric acid, how it works in our bodies and what effects high levels of it can do.
This offering examines the science behind uric acid, how it works in our bodies and what effects high levels of it can do.
Image: Supplied

Dennison writes: “You don’t even need to get the weighing scales to make these pancakes — simply grab a cup or mug and use it to roughly measure out the ingredients [YES!]. Within minutes, you’ll be enjoying light, fluffy pancakes. Serve them with strained natural yoghurt and any flavour jam or spread, and a little grated citrus zest, or your own favourite toppings.” Next on my list is to try to make Elliot’s sea salt chocolate cookies, which are mouthwateringly described as having a “crisp edge, a squidgy centre and enough flaky sea salt to balance the sugar and chocolate”. There’s balance there, see.

Then I started reading Drop Acid: The Secret Key to Losing Weight, Controlling Blood Sugar and Achieving Extraordinary Health by Dr David Perlmutter with Kristin Loberg. The tagline after all that is “The Surprising New Science of Uric Acid”. According to the back blurb “it features the groundbreaking ‘LUV’ (Lower Uric Values) diet, 35 delicious recipes, self-assessment quizzes and a 21-day programme for dropping levels”.

This book has some science which supports the idea that high levels of uric acid can lead to many serious illnesses. However, mainstream medicine has not looked fully into this yet. But it is written by a five-times New York Times best-selling author. Dr Perlmutter thoroughly examines the science behind uric acid, how it works in our bodies and what effects high levels of it can do. It’s a fascinating read. I have not tried the LUV diet, perhaps never will, probably never will, but now I know what it’s all about, if it is going to be as groundbreaking as the blurb says.

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