No idea how I happened upon this book, but as I'm currently trying to "get healthier", it seemed like a timely read!
By Timothy Caulfield
Timothy Caulfield is a health junkie (and academic), who like all of us I'm sure, is tired of all the commercial and media bullshi*t surrounding fitness, diet, and health fads. His book covers four areas of healthy living: fitness, diet, genetics and alternative medicine. In each chapter, Caulfield tests out a claim and researches the facts behind what "works" and what doesn't.
I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters on exercise and dieting. Fitness wise I learned the best ways to exercise are intensity or interval training and resistance training. Targeting specific areas doesn't work. And, exercise isn't the best weight loss method (that would be diet) but does help you get fitter and healthier, and being fit and healthy is more important than being skinny (so I keep telling myself as I try to learn to run using my C25K app).
The diet chapter was interesting as well. To lose weight (or maintain a healthy weight) you have to eat small portions, cut out junk food, and ensure 50% of your diet is fruits and vegetables (easier said than done). That means water, not juice or pop too. Cauldfield follows a diet put together by the authors of the Pure Prairie Eating Plan, which I bought at our local independent bookstore. It's a decent recipe book that advocates for simple, healthy meals made from ingredients available locally. I reckon it was worth my money.
But then the book stopped being awesome. I'll be honest, I thought the chapter on genetics was a bit boring. And I just skimmed the alternative health chapter because the message was that alternative remedies, naturopathy, homeopathy etc aren't evidence based thus it don't work. I didn't need to read 50 pages proving the author's point over and over again.
One of the appealing aspects of this book was that the author is local so I cheerily enjoyed the local references. Plus, the University of Alberta is a prominent employer of many of the experts (as well as the author) and having spent 7 years there myself, I enjoyed the name drop.
This book is well researched and includes information from the latest scientific studies, statistics, and expert interviews. Caulfield does a great job of infusing his humour (sarcastic, self deprecating, etc) throughout the text and this made it an enjoyable read. I was super annoyed by his lack of academic citation for the studies/articles/statistics etc mentioned, but Caulfield does include a disclaimer about this, as well as all the citations at the end. Such is the way for popular general health literature I suppose.
I learned stuff about exercise and dieting, thus reading this book was well worth the effort. If you'd like to learn stuff about your health too, give this book a look.