Rachel Grunwell is a journalist who specialises in health and wellbeing. In her first book, Balance: Food, Health + Happiness, she interviews more than 30 experts from NZ and around the world on how to live a healthier and happier life. She also includes her own story of being an unfit, stressed-out journalist and mum, to someone who knows runs marathons and helps others with their fitness and lifestyle plans. There are also 30 recipes for delicious snacks and smoothies to enjoy in your day.
I enjoyed that there are so many experts from all sorts of fields in this book. So rather than buying 30 separate books, you only need this book to discover their key messages! There are plenty of doctors and professors in Balance, as well as some household names that you will know as well.
The chapters are diverse, so it’s not just about nutrition. There is a chapter about giving, and this chapter includes the incredibly inspiring story of lawyer and mother Denise Arnold who leads a charity to help children in Cambodia, helping combat the problem of child trafficking.
There is a chapter about challenging and changing yourself, with an inspiring list of experts that include Simon Richardson, an award-winning artist; Toby Mundel, a university lecturer; Dr Borja del Pozo-Cruz, a university senior research fellow in active living, Carlene Newell de Jesus, a dancer and researcher, and newsreader Niva Retimanu.
Another chapter deals with building resilience, and this chapter includes wise words from Robert Isler, a university associate in psychology, Theresa Gattung, a business leader and Ian Walker, a paraplegic marathoner. I was also invited to take part in this chapter, and hopefully, I have provided some useful hints to anyone suffering a major health crisis (in my case cancer), or a major work crisis (in my case redundancy.)
There is a great chapter on nutrition, and some fabulous food writers share their tips, including Nadia Lim and Lola Berry, as well as Dr Clare Wall who is a university associate professor of nutrition and dietetics.
Rachel Hoffman offers decluttering tips in another chapter, and Sarah Wilson, famous for I Quit Sugar, offers tips for sustainable living.
Published by Beatnik Publishing, it is a beautiful book that is cleverly designed so you can dip into the sections that are of most interest. It’s not a book to read from cover to cover, but rather to browse more organically, so you can take on board what is important for you and your life at that moment. It’s written in a very laid-back, colloquial style that is very accessible.
I loved the premise of this book, that it is all about ‘balance’ and the way the book is written and presented, also promotes this idea. There are so many sensible, practical ideas from a variety of experts in this book, that will certainly enhance others lives. Rather than extreme, ‘all or nothing’ concepts, this is a book that has achievable ideas, that will promote better living and happiness. The recipes look delicious too, a bonus to all the words of wisdom included!
Reviewer: Karen McMillan