Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Review of Quantum Wellness

Well, I finally made it through this book. I had to renew it twice, meaning I had it out of the library for over two months, which must be a new record for me.

Really, though, what did I expect? I found out about the book when I was reading US Weekly at the gym...one must consider the source, I guess! I was reading about Oprah's vegan cleanse and thinking that sounded interesting, and the article mentioned that the author's appearance on her show was the reason Oprah did it. So I checked the book out. Sigh.

First, I couldn't find any credentials for this author other than that she's written other self-help books (I checked her website). She talks about being a former model in the book, and no offense to models, but I'm not sure how modeling qualifies a person to advise people how to live their lives. The book cover is riddled with blurbs from other self-help gurus like Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson (sp?), so I guess those are her credentials? I wasn't sure.

Second, I really should have known myself better than to think I could read a self-help book successfully. I was rolling my eyes the whole time. I hate the patronizing, new-agey tone employed in the self-help books I've picked up, and this one was no exception. The writing was just okay, and in the beginning of the book, after a bunch of poorly-constructed sentences, I thought, "Am I really going to be able to read this?" But I did. I had to skim, but I read it.

Third, I was put off by all the talk of religion and "Spirit". It was like she was trying to appeal to everyone with these blanket statements, but I couldn't see it appealing to anyone. But that's just me.

And finally, even though I didn't have an entirely open mind about this book, I could see the value in some of her advice. The problem is, the stuff I agreed with, I'm already doing. I have already cleaned out my house to get rid of stuff I'm not using and create a better home environment. I already know how to figure out what's really bugging me when I'm worried about something. I'm already trying to eat better, exercise, etc.

One thing she brought up was keeping a journal, which I often think about but never seem to do. She recommends keeping a food journal as well as a journal of just random thoughts/what you're worrying about, so you can pick out patterns. I might try doing that.

She also talks extensively about the meat industry and what happens to animals...awful, awful things. I already knew a lot about it, which is why I've cut down on meat consumption and tried to eat at restaurants or buy from grocery stores that get the meat from local farms...I may eventually go vegan, but I'm not quite ready for that. And that brings me to the one message that I really appreciated about this book: that just because you're not ready to do everything, doesn't mean you can't do something. I am not ready to go vegan and give up leather, etc., but I am ready to eat less meat, so that's what I'm doing. She calls it "leaning into" your goal. I agree with her that by taking small steps toward a goal, you're much more likely to commit to a change. If you did it all at once, it would be overwhelming, and you'd revert.

The cleanse, which was the reason I picked up the book in the first place, was one of the most interesting parts of the book for me. She advises doing a cleanse (up to three weeks, as long as you can manage within that time period) where you don't ingest any animal products, alcohol, caffeine, sugar (or chemical sugar substitutes, either!), or gluten. Ulp.

I'm still thinking about doing this, but my biggest stumbling blocks, I've found, are the gluten and the caffeine. Not that I'm drinking a pot of coffee a day, but I so enjoy a nice warm cup of tea or a nice soy latte in the morning. I love holding the warm cup in my hands and sipping a sweet (from Splenda or Equal, not sugar) creamy caffeinated beverage to start my day. Especially on a cold rainy day like today. I must be more addicted than I think I am, because the thought of giving it up, even temporarily, is a little alarming!

Re: gluten, I am a total carb girl. I love to snack on pretzels; I love noodles; I love peanut butter sammies on whole wheat bread, I love bagels, etc. That one would be really hard too.

So, also as she advises, I'm just sitting with the idea for awhile to get used to it, and I may decide to do it at some point in the future. I will need a backup plan for how to replace what I'm cutting out, though, or I'll be off the cleanse after one day!

She gives vegan recipes in an appendix at the back of the book, which I found disappointing. I think they are meant for folks who have never tried eating vegan food before, because she calls for a lot of fake meat in them. Anyone who has ever tried grocery store fake meat knows that (most of) it sucks. You're much better off getting your protein from beans, or sources like quinoa, etc., than you are eating tasteless approximations of meat...nothing makes me miss meat more than grocery store faux chicken or beef! (There are some exceptions, but they are typically found in more specialty stores, not your average grocery store.)

I have also simultaneously checked the Veganomicon (a huge vegan cookbook...I love that the title blatantly refrences Evil Dead!) out of the library, and am enjoying it...this one might be an owner. A book like this would be much more helpful to me than those other recipes, I think!

So, while this was not my favorite book ever, I did find some value in it. Imagine that!


bilunabirotunda said...

I'm curious what the Quantum in the title is supposed to refer to - ? Is it part of the new agey mumbo-jumbo? A reference to size? Baby steps? Sheer meaningfulness, aka Quantum of Solace? :-)

Bellybee said...

I think she means wellness in all aspects of your life? The problem is, by covering it all in one book, she made the coverage all very superficial. I can't imagine using this as a real guide to self-change in every aspect of your life. It's more like a pamphlet of topics you might want to investigate further.