Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Meg Wolff's "A Life in Balance" - A Review and Giveaway


"Health is not valued till sickness comes." - Dr. Thomas Fuller, English physician, 1732.

“ Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are. - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Lawyer, politician, epicure, gastronome, 1826.

"…. man is what he eats.” - Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach, German philosopher and anthropologist, 1863.

"Ninety per cent of the diseases known to man are caused by cheap foodstuffs. You are what you eat." - Dr. Victor Lindlahr, American physician and health movement pioneer, 1923.

“First and foremost is improving the way you eat.” - Meg Wolff, cancer survivor and macrobiotic nutrition advocate, 2010.
It has been many, many months since I first met Meg Wolff, a seriously health-conscious blogger who writes about diet and nutritional issues on her blog, Becoming Whole 2; The Huffington Post; and her titular site, Meg Wolff. It was, like several million connections in this age of ferocious technology, an online introduction. It was in the early days of launching My Legume Love Affair, a monthly bean-centric food-blogging event which I created to highlight the health benefits, beauty, and marvelous global diversity of every sort of seed and pod bean, as well as other comestible legume plant products. Meg had contributed two fine recipes to the event: a simple navy bean soup, and a vegan chili. Little did I know how much Meg embraced the plant-based meals which I have continued to celebrate from all far corners of the world. Little did I also know the reason for her commitment to what some would consider a radical change in diet: Meg Wolff had been visited not once, but twice with cancer.

Cancer is among the most terrifying diagnoses, haunting not only those who have the misfortune of learning that they have the disease, but also the medical community. Men and women of science have made truly remarkable inroads against its ravages, and yet they still have their work cut out for them in terms of understanding its causes and identifying those who might be most vulnerable. Developing new treatments to eradicate or slow the disease's progression are equally challenging in making a positive change for patients whose quality of life and very longevity are at stake.

Meg, after enduring the loss of her leg to bone cancer, and her breasts to a radical mastectomy when the cancer returned, decided to take it upon herself to search for answers that were far away from the traditional treatments of chemotherapy and radiation, both of which did not leave her with a particularly hopeful outlook for future years of disease-free happiness.

Twelve years later, Meg has more than survived the illness which doctors predicted would take her life in a matter of months. Meg is thriving now, because she had nothing whatsoever to lose by adopting a plan for a plant-based diet, eschewing animal proteins and fats; sugars and other dubious sweeteners; and conveniently processed foods which taste great when you are stressed and in a hurry to be fed, but do not properly nourish.

From this simple, yet radical dietary and lifestyle change, Meg has written A Life in Balance – Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Optimal Health. With an emphasis on Asian ingredients which have proven to benefit the longevity of women on the Pacific Rim, Meg presents recipes which embrace whole grains; vegetables, herbs, and fruits; legumes; seaweeds; natural sweeteners; and soy products.

Many of the recipes are not particularly difficult to prepare. “Squashed Adzuki,” a mash of four easy-enough-to-find ingredients, will be making its debut on my table very soon. Meg also presents dishes from such notable authors as Rip Esselstyn, creator of the popular 28-Day Engine 2 Diet; and Rory Freedman of the Skinny Bitch series of cookbooks. With so many varied dishes, there is no reason to be bored. The cookbook even presents some very unique and satisfying recipes for the sweet tooth in you. Yes, you can have your treat and eat it, too.

You will not find lard-laden pie crusts, nor high fructose corn syrup in any of Meg's bountiful offerings, but what you will discover between the pages of innovatively delightful recipes are those little precious life lessons on stress reduction (the stress which is often responsible for our poor eating habits), a greater appreciation for life's miracles, and the possibility that you may find yourself quoting Rabbi Harold Kushner:
"One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick."
I am very pleased to be able to offer a giveaway of Meg's lovely new book, A Life In Balance - Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Optimal Health. To be eligible to win, please leave any sort of comment on this post. Anonymous comments must include a contacting email address. I will assume all shipping charges no matter where the winner globally resides. All I request is that you read and cook from it in good health. Comments for the pool of entrants will be collected until 11:59 p.m. New York time, a week from today, December 15. The playing field, at my insistence, is level. The winner will be selected through a random drawing. My family and personal friends are not eligible to win. Even if you have won a previous prize from MLLA, you are still eligible to win this happy, healthy cookbook. I will announce the winner on December 16.

F.T.C. Notice - I received a review copy in addition to a giveaway copy (at my request) from the author and publisher. I am glad to promote this book and would have done so even if I wasn't afforded a copy to give away.

31 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

An interesting book!

Cheers,

Rosa

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal said...

Wow Susan, that book sounds very interesting and lovely. Would sure love to win it :)

Rasmus said...

I'd really like to get this one. It would be great to be ebale to show it to alls those people who stubbornly claim that vegan food is not nutritious...

Gulmohar said...

Meg's story is so motivating and I must say that she is so brave. The cookbook sounds great too :-)

Terri. said...

Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the opportunity!
tshaw6580@yahoo.com

Torviewtoronto said...

sounds like a very useful book thank you Susan for this opportunity

Hannah said...

I'm very excited to check out this book and would love nothing more than to win it! Your review makes it sound even more riveting of a read than I had imagined.

Vicki said...

This book sounds like something I need. I've been cooking way too much meat-based fatty stuff lately. I need a detox.

bellini valli said...

We could all benefit from positive changes in our lives in many different ways. Food is a good way to start. I would be honoured to have this book in particular in my collection.

Anonymous said...

i would love to win a copy of the book - while i can't say i have given up sugar i do avoid high fructose products and meat. i would love a cookbook to help me explore a more and varied plant based diet - especially with recipes that are simple and straight forward to prepare.

jacquieastemborski AT comcast DOT net

Victoria Challancin said...

This is a sign of a well-thought out book review: You make me want to buy the book!

Anonymous said...

Very interested in food as medicine that also tastes great! Have fought the cancer-demon myself and could use any and all weapons available.

ttimoshuk@hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book. Would love to try the recipes.

ttimoshuk@hotmail DOT com

Lisa said...

A lovely gesture Susan and an inspiring story.

Jill said...

Sounds like a great book! Would like to read it :)

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading your blog...and I very much enjoyed checking out the info on "a life in balance".

Thank you for reviewing this book--makes me want to buy it as I'm all for simple and easy to do.

Ricki said...

What a beautiful review. I am a fan of Meg's blog (and Meg!) and would love a copy of this book. She's really a shining example of healthful living to all of us still striving!

Lana said...

Susan, thank you so much to introducing me to Meg Wolff and her beautiful book. I am always in awe of the people who gather the last ounce of strength to fight against the odds. My cousin is a breast cancer survivor and a firm believer in macrobiotic nutrition. She taught me a lot in the last few years.
I would love to have this book so that I can pass it on to her, as another source of inspiration and recipes for health.

Tandblekning said...

Life in Balance, offers a different perspective. I think the the main concept is about a stress-free, healthier living.This is such a wonderful giveaway!

Deborah said...

Isn't it funny that those in the 1800's knew from the beginning that you are what you eat. I just wish more people understood this concept. Sometime I am horrified to see what people bring in their lunches! I try hard to offer a couple of "meatless meals" a week but then run out of ideas. This would be wonderful to introduce to our family table. Thank you! I'll check out Meg's book and website.

Fearless Kitchen said...

I'm not sure that our family is ready to adopt a completely plant-based diet, but I think that like most Americans we could certainly stand to cut down on the animal proteins in our life. This book would be a good asset in that process.

s said...

very interesting.

Sharmi said...

Hey Susan, Its been so long! Thanks for dropping by! I am glad you did:) Some of our old buddies stopped blogging, so do not blog hop much! How are you?Its so nice to visit after so long:)
That book really seems very useful esp. for vegetarians like me!

Katerina said...

Sometimes I feel so disappointed with what we eat and believe that no matter what we do junk will still enter our bodies. Cancer has knocked my family's door three times. My grandma died of it, my father suffered but ovecame it and now my father in law fight it. It is really hard.

BangaloreBaker said...

Most of the diseases are the result of 'living to eat' rather than 'eating to live'. That is my belief but, there are many diseases which have nothing to do with what the person ate/eats. If a person can avoid preprocessed food, that itself is a great way to a healthy life I believe.

Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy said...

The opening quote of the post is so true.Unless we fall sick, or put on weight, or high BP we do not realize the importance of healthy eating.This looks like an interesting book.Would love to win and learn some healthy tips.

moonsword said...

Thank you for the giveaway and sharing Meg's inspiring story.

Sarah S. said...

Merry Christmas Susan, and thank you for offering up a copy of this really lovely sounding book! Would love to be in the running.

Sweet Artichoke said...

Thanks for reviewing this book, which seems very interesting. I recently read a book from D. Servan Schreiber (in French, but it's been translated) which is on the same subject. I am definitely keeping the reference for Meg's book, Thanks for sharing it!

Wendy (The Local Cook) said...

I would love to win this - I'm always looking for more whole food recipes!

jennaseverythingblog said...

I love, love, love your description of Meg's food philosophy. My mother in law just went through breast cancer (and is finishing up her radiation in the next few weeks), so I am more conscious than ever about the importance of eating right and eating foods that will promote longevity and health.