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Hi friend! Today I’m going to share a review of an excellent book I just read: Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well Without Dieting. If you can’t tell, I really liked this book. I think it’s a great purchase for anyone who is new to the healthy living scene and looking for an easily digestible introduction or even for those healthy living old hands who are looking for new inspiration.

From the moment I picked this book up off the shelf I knew I was in for a treat because I totally judged a book by its cover, which was BEAUTIFUL! And not just because it was done up in variations of my favourite colour 😉 The real treat, however, comes when you open up to Chapter 1: The Path to Joyous Health and read the statement upon which everything that follows is based:

There are nearly 7 billion people on this earth, and that means there are nearly seven billion ways to eat that can make each person thrive with joyous health. Diets are time-limited programs that promote deprivation. Basically, they make you feel guilty if you indulge in anything that isn’t prescribed for that diet. Diets aren’t sustainable, period.

Amen! I could not agree more with this sentiment and as I continued to read through the book I felt it permeate every suggestion, tip, recipe, and guideline. Honestly, she had me hooked within the first two pages when she raises the rallying cry to stop “’nutritionalizing’ your food… instead of obsessing over numbers on nutrition labels, read the actual ingredients. Instead of obsessing over how much you weigh, focus on how you feel.”

So much dietary advice is based upon the assumption that it’s being done solely to lose weight and for the short term. Joy McCarthy’s approach to healing the body and bringing it back into balance naturally promotes sustainable weight loss as a side effect of achieving actual health through whole foods and appropriate supplementation and lifestyle changes.

From the beginning Joy offers sound nutritional advice based on science, common sense, and always under the assumption that you listen to how these changes make your body feel. The book is divided into 7 chapters designed to help you build a solid foundation to promote healthy lifestyle changes. Each of the first 6 chapters contains practical, and easily enacted, advice that is designed to be implemented over a 6 week period; one chapter a week. Chapter 7 is chock full of delicious, nutritious, and totally drool-worthy recipes. The six sections are:

Chapter 1: The Path to Joyous Health

Key Takeaways:

  • Joyous Health Encompasses:
    • A positive mindset
    • Feeling and looking fabulous
    • Good digestion and elimination
    • Restorative sleep
    • Healthy relationships
    • Having energy for exercise and sex
    • Feeling joyous!
  • Set a positive intention every week.
  • Practice mindful eating, with a step-by-step guide.
  • 6 Simple Habits for Joyous Health—one to focus on each week! I absolutely loved each of these and started incorporating a couple that I wasn’t already doing.
  • Delicious Metabolism Boosting Smoothie recipe.

Chapter 2: Get your Gut on Track

Key Takeaways:

  • You’ll become a Joyous Poo-ologist. Y’all know how much I love talking digestion and poo, so this chapter is right up my alley!
    • A healthy gut equals a vibrant, sexy, joyous body and mind.
  • A tour through the digestive tract from mouth to bum and all the physiological processes in between. Don’t worry; Joy somehow manages to make the digestive process sound cool and glamorous.
  • Tons of awesome, easy, and practical solutions to common digestive problems such as:
    • Constipation
    • Heartburn
    • Gas, Flatulence, & Bloating
    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • An awesome recipe for Anti-Bloat, Stomach-Calming Tea!

Chapter 3: Foods, Supplements, and Habits for a Joyous Mood

Key Takeaways:

  • Track food-mood connections to see how common foods you’re eating actually make you feel.
  • How hormones impact your mood and subsequent food choices.
  • The impact of food allergies and sensitivities on our mood.
  • A great breakdown of important foods and nutrients to eat to help build happy hormones and boost your mood.
  • 5 Joyous Mood Habits to help change your mindset & default settings.
  • 10 Emotional Eating Quick Tips… what woman hasn’t struggled with emotional eating at some point? These tips are a simple and effective place to start changing your relationship to, and mindset around, food. 

Chapter 4: Joyous Detox Solutions

Key Takeaways:

  • Think of every morsel you eat as energy that literally becomes part of your body. Your body creates your cells from the food you eat, so when you eat vibrant foods… you will feel amazing, and this feeling will be reflected outwardly. Remember, outside beauty is merely a reflection of the inside health of your body. Boom! Love that! Use food to build health, beauty, and wellness, not pain, disease, and dysfunction!
  • A thorough understanding of why detox is necessary.
  • Foods to Eliminate From your Diet and the Top 7 Foods to Avoid. She offers a comprehensive list of the nastiest, disease-promoting foods with detailed explanations of why we want to eliminate them, at least for a specific period of time.
  • How to be a Clean Beauty—chemicals to avoid in beauty products and how to love and nourish your skin and body!

Chapter 5: Superfoods and Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Joyous Health

Key Takeaways:

  • Joy’s delicious definition of a superfood… hint it’s based on nutrient density!
  • 12 of her top superfoods, why they’re good for you, and how to use them!
  • Eat the Rainbow! Joy gives us a quick and easy break down of why we want to eat colourful veggies at every meal… it may have to do with antioxidants 😉
  • 5 Super-Joyous Lifestyle Habits to live your happiest, healthiest, most fabulous life!
  • Carrot Cake Smoothie recipe… need I say more?

Chapter 6: Create a Joyous Kitchen

Key Takeaways:

  • Joyous Health Food Pyramid—a simple guide to the foods you should be eating the most and least of to promote health. She reinstates the importance of listening to your body and adjusting the pyramid as needed for your individual biochemistry.
  • Joyous Health 10-Day Meal Plan—sweet!!
  • Stock Your Kitchen Joyously—a comprehensive list of all the best foods to keep stocked for healthy meals on the fly.
  • Tips for Joyous Shopping on a Budget, because who doesn’t want to save some money?
  • A Kitchen Makeover Guide with healthy swaps for common pantry items such as ketchup or canned soups.
  • Joyous Tools for the Kitchen—All of these tools are incredibly helpful. I would suggest starting with one or two and building from there. And don’t let the price tags dissuade you; there are budget friendly options for all the items. I purchased an excellent and gigantic food processor at Value Village for $30.

Chapter 7: Joyous Recipes

Key Takeaways:

  • This section is where the book really starts to shine. It comprises about half of the entire page count and is chock full of beautiful photos, delicious and simple recipes, and interesting new flavour combinations.
  • Regardless of your dietary preferences you’ll be able to find something yummy to nibble on whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, Paleo or somewhere in between.
  • I can’t wait to try the Almond Power Muffins; Chewy Almond Butter Cookies; Kale, Orange, & Pecan Salad; Thai Beet Soup; and the Green Beauty Juice.

Well friend, that’s my take on Joyous Health. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for inspiration to make healthy and sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle. The friendly tone and scientifically sound advice will help you eat your way back to joyous health. Have a wonderfully, whimsical weekend 🙂 If you’re inspired to buy the book you can pick it up here!

Cait xo