Monday, January 24, 2011

Cookbook Review: Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko

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     This book review has been a long time coming. I received Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko back in August as a pre-release and have been holding onto it and thinking about it for quite a while.

I was not familiar with Boutenko's past with green smoothies and a raw lifestyle before I read this book. I thought it would be an interesting read, and I'm all for learning about new diet suggestions and the reasoning behind it. I do not buy into many of these prescribed “diets” because I truly believe that dietary habits should be part of your lifestyle, fitting in and complimenting your activity levels and personal needs.

That is another blog for another day...

Green for Life initially caught my interest because there are times when I crave greens as bad as I crave sweets! Lentil soup with tons of spinach and kale, kale chips, pureed spinach sauce over curried chickpeas and rice, and butter lettuce salads are some of the things I've been eating lately. I've been trying to find easier ways to get in larger quantities of greens in our meals and thought that this book would provide some ideas to grow from.

The book begins with a back story of her family and the medical problems they were plagued with, including hyperthyroidism, chronic rheumatoid arthritis, fatigue, arrhythmia, edema, asthma, allergies, depression, and diabetes. There is a triumphant turning point in which the author cries all night, dramatically changes the family's dietary intake, and they run a 10k three months later to celebrate their awesome health.

I have no doubt that this happened, but I do doubt that it was the raw and green foods that did that. I'm not saying that they hindered their progress to this point, either. What I would like to call attention to is the fact that any sort of dramatic beneficial change to your diet is going to have dramatic impact on your overall health. 

My main issue with the book is that I feel Boutenko is trying to sell her particular path or way of doing things without recognizing that there might be others out there that will not benefit from the suggestions as described. For instance, there is an entire section in the book devoted to testimonials from people who have gone on a 30 day green smoothie drinking 'cleanse' and had success. This section is followed by a question and answer session from other participants outlining their energy levels, elimination habits, and overall wellbeing before, during, and after the 30 day trial. This makes it feel a bit gimicky to me, but that's just one opinion.

The Amazon page has many 5 star reviews of people who are thrilled with the book and have adopted drinking their green smoothies everyday.

I did enjoy the book and the few recipes they did give, but what's wrong with just eating 4 kiwis and 2 bananas with a huge salad and a glass of water? Again, I'm sure that's just me.

I'd save your money on this book, or just browse through it at the store to get the general idea. I wish there was more emphasis on greens in addition to your already healthy-ish lifestyle, rather than pushing a green smoothie lifestyle that can fix all kinds of issues.

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