Short and sweet
This book deals with the complete lifestyle, based on the “lifestyle compass”. This compass, developed by Tamara de Weijer, has six different directions: sense of purpose, movement, relaxation, sleep, communication and nutrition. In a healthy lifestyle, all parts of the compass have a place. De Weijer offers a lot of practical advice for this. Each chapter contains many explanations and interviews with people about lifestyle and questions that you can answer on your own. Writing style is clear, and the tone is moderate: Don’t be too strict with yourself, even small steps will take you far in the end.
Who are the authors?
General Practitioner Tamara de Vijer is a well-known advocate of a healthy lifestyle. Among other things, she founded the association “Arts en life” and is regularly featured in the media to emphasize the importance of lifestyle. She was also a guest on the podcast Healthy Conversation. De Weijer often uses the phrase “no grains, but paprika,” and so previous books focus a lot on nutrition. But she writes in this book, “I am increasingly aware that more is possible – and necessary – from a different diet. Let’s just say, you wouldn’t get there with paprika alone. It makes clear that this book also pays a lot of attention to aspects like meaning and connectivity. De Weijer the book with the journalist Catelijne Elzes. Recipes and photography by Tse van den Baum.
What about this book?
The book consists of an explanation of the lifestyle compass and the six parts. Each of these components is discussed in a separate chapter. Moreover, attention is paid to changing behavior and alertness. The book also contains information on obesity and weight loss and contains recipes. You don’t have to read the book from front to back: You choose which side of the lifestyle compass you want to work on, which is great. Suppose, for example, that you want to work on communication, you read this chapter first. In it, you read that loneliness and social isolation can undermine your health, and what you can do about it for your health. For example, you can define your social environment and create an action plan to communicate with your contacts, join a club, or you can ask a doctor to refer you to a health coach. These – if you’re being honest – are still very difficult procedures for someone who feels lonely. The advice in this book is more realistic in the areas of nutrition, sleep, and exercise.
When it comes to food, De Weijer, for example, advocates eating most unprocessed products and lots of vegetables, eating three full meals a day, avoiding snacks, and cutting back on alcohol. The recipes are easy to prepare and colorful. I find it surprising that very few animal products are used in recipes. There is absolutely no meat and only a few fish and egg recipes. Dairy products are also used modestly, for example in the form of some Parmesan or ricotta. Moreover, plant-based dairy products are often used in recipes, such as coconut yogurt and almond milk. Surely these are more products made from milk and yogurt than cow’s? Perhaps the focus is that recipe developer Van den Boom works with vegan food brands, as mentioned in the “About Food Makers” chapter. All in all, the recipes in the book are largely plant-based.
What can you do with this book?
With this book you can make every aspect of your lifestyle healthier. You choose which side you want to work with, and how large or small the steps you want to take. So it is not a “pre-made” plan. You apply the principles to your own life and your own circumstances. This means you must be able to make these choices on your own and determine the steps. For some people, help will be welcome, for example from a trainer or dietitian.
The tone of this book is very nice. As you read it, you become passionate about taking care of yourself in every aspect of your lifestyle. I think it’s very good that this book pays close attention to the lesser-known aspects of lifestyle, such as meaning and communication. The book is well illustrated and contains many photos of Tamara and her family and many recipe pics. Vegetable recipes may very much be a bridge too far for people who prefer eating potatoes, vegetables and meat. But overall, it’s a great book for anyone who wants a healthier lifestyle.