This book couldn’t have made it into my hands at a more opportune time – unless I could’ve gotten it 10 years ago when I underwent my hysterectomy at the age of 28 due to endometriosis! I would’ve tried anything to make the pain go away. I did try everything. I even gave up my reproductive rights to make the pain stop. And you know what? The pain hasn’t really stopped. My journey with inflammation did not end there. I’m finally, 10 years later, with a doctor who has done the right tests and is getting to the bottom of my health issues. I’ve got an autoimmune disorder called Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, and I’m on a lot of medication. For some people, this is the diagnosis you get in the early stages of diagnosis, and it can change as time goes on. MCTD includes symptoms of three different autoimmune disorders – lupus, myositis, and scleroderma. I also show signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. In short, my immune system is attacking my body. There is also a LOT of inflammation, so much inflammation. At one point I was losing my eyesight due to inflammation in my eyes. The only thing so far that has controlled the inflammation is daily steroids, which aren’t good to take long term either.
What does all of this have to do with a cookbook?
I didn’t know about the author’s battle with endometriosis or that this was a cookbook that would help control inflammation when I first received it. I was asked to do a review, because that’s something I do. I enjoy cookbooks. So I said yes. But this is way more than a cookbook.
At the time I received this book, I’ve already been trying to adjust my diet for five years, and still don’t feel like I’ve hit on something that works for me. For one thing, like the author says, a sudden and drastic change in diet is difficult to do. It’s overwhelming. I tried to make it easy on me by signing up for meal delivery subscriptions, and even the ones that send meals that are ready and all you have to do is microwave them. The diets are still difficult to stick to because, I don’t know, my body isn’t used to those foods, and to me, they taste nasty. So I keep defaulting back to what I was already doing in the first place, which is eating the healthiest that I can, and doing little changes each day that, gradually, overall have led to a much healthier diet than I used to have in the past. Still, I’m excited about this cookbook because I think it will help me further my journey down the path of eating an autoimmune/inflammation-friendly diet, and ultimately helping me be healthier and hopefully coming off of some of these awful meds I’m on!
The author’s note in the beginning tells a story about a conversation she had with a cab driver, and how he seemed to lose interest when she said she was writing a plant-based cookbook. After she told her story of endometriosis and how this diet helped her avoid surgery, he said “you should have led with that.” I second the driver’s words: She should’ve led with that on the cover of the book. There’s a whole lot of people out there dealing with inflammatory conditions who are struggling to follow the fad diets, and failing, especially when there’s so much conflicting information out there about what is healthy for you. One diet might directly contradict the other, and it is very confusing. I would have bought this book myself (which I never do these days; as a reviewer I am offered them in exchange for a review) if I had known it contained recipes and advice that could directly help my specific health concerns.
The only drawback I see to many of the recipes in this book is that the ingredients are not readily found at my local small-town grocery store. I haven’t heard of some of these. I live in the south, and prefer southern dishes. However, with a little pre-planning, it’s easier than it used to be to get uncommon ingredients. You can even buy groceries online now and have them delivered to your door, so this is an option I utilize frequently whenever I can’t find the ingredients I need.
For anyone out there who is struggling to make dietary changes, I recommend this book. Because the changes are gradual, so it’s easier to implement them, and easier for the changes to stick.
For anyone suffering from an autoimmune disorder or any type of inflammation, I recommend this book because the recipes are aimed specifically at inflammatory conditions and are less likely to cause you to have a painful flare of your condition.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review. I was not required to post a positive review, and all opinions are my own.