Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Way of the Happy Woman

The Way of the Happy Woman isn't the typical type of book I review on Hugger Food.  I tend to stick to cookbooks, specifically vegan ones.  However, when the publisher approached me about this book that contains vegetarian and vegan recipes in addition to self-care and yoga practices, my interest was piqued.

The book is split into 4 parts, one part for each season.  Each part contains a message centering on the meaning and intentions of that season, a one-day retreat, a group of recipes, a yin yoga practice, a flow yoga practice, a meditation, and a reflection.

I focused on autumn, the chapter for which is introduced with a few pages discussing change, diving into one's heart, and staying grounded.  There are instructions for daily self-massage with oil and for a beautiful full-day, at-home, technology-free retreat.  The author spells out the entire retreat day, so it's easy to follow without temptation to stray.

The recipe section has a list of foods that best support health during the season and continues with a couple recipes each for breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages, dinner, and dessert.  I made a lovely Apple Walnut Quinoa Porridge fully of omega-3-rich flax seeds and warming cinnamon (I also added ginger).  It's the perfect start to an autumn day.  There's a Spiced Apple Cider recipe that I'm sure would be wonderful to sip in front of a lit fireplace on a chilly night.

Being a yogini, I love the inclusion of 2 different yoga practices.  Asanas (yoga poses) are sketched out in order in stick figure form, which is how I was taught to create a practice back when I was in yoga teacher training.  I think the stick figures would be difficult to follow for a newer yoga student, but that is just my perception.

I'm looking forward to experiencing the other three seasons through the guidance of The Way of the Happy Woman.  I enjoy the insight around seasonal rituals, self-care, and healthy eating that the author imparts.

As an aside, The Way of the Happy Woman's publisher, New World Library, is the publisher behind Christine Arylo's Choosing Me Before We and John Robbins's Diet for a New America.  Christine Arylo is a frequent contributor to Mastin Kipp's The Daily Love website and is a huge proponent of treating oneself well as a constant practice (her brand-new book is Madly in Love with Me).

Diet for a New America's 35th Anniversary Edition will be published next month!  I vividly recall reading this book on a flight to New York City two-and-a-half months after becoming vegetarian on October 10, 1998.  For many, it's the book that created the opening to vegetarianism and veganism.  From the publisher:  "In Section I, Robbins takes an extraordinary look at our dependence on animals for food and the inhumane conditions under which these animals are raised. Section II challenges the belief that consuming meat is a requirement for health by pointing out the vastly increased rate of disease caused by pesticides, hormones, additives, and other chemicals now a routine part of our food production. Finally, in Section III, Robbins looks at the global implications of a meat-based diet and concludes that the consumption of the resources necessary to produce meat is a major factor in our ecological crisis."  I have been recommending it for 14 years now and I know it's loved by many, so I'm grateful it continues to be updated as years pass.