Did you know that chocolate is a health food? It’s good for your skin, your brain, and your sex life. Information like that should be enough to send you racing to the store to pick up a copy of David Grotto’s 101 Optimal Life Foods, but this little gem is full of even more helpful information about how to adjust your meals to improve health and well-being.
The book contains a foreword by celebrity Montel Williams. It seems an odd choice unless you know that Williams has multiple sclerosis and embraces Grotto’s advice to manage that chronic disease. This is not a system that requires you to buy prepared meals or cut out an entire category of food. In fact, what Grotto suggests is simply what we used to call ‘eating sensibly.’ Unfortunately that concept has lost a lot of ground in the past few decades, so 101 Optimal Life Foods will be a revelation to many readers.
The first section of this book covers ‘Thirty Challenges to an Optimal Life’ and addresses specific health issues such as skin (eczema, psoriasis, acne, and aging or damaged skin), circulatory problems, chronic and recurring pain (migraines, muscle, and nerve), cognitive issues (including depression, stress, and insomnia), sexual dysfunction, digestive disorders, and bone disease. Each condition is clearly described, with appropriate foods and even three-day menus and recipes attached to each.
In the second section, Grotto gives us an optimal cookbook that is full of easy recipes for dishes that the entire family can (and will!) enjoy. There’s nothing bland or sparse about Grotto’s system, either. In fact, good food shared with family and friends is part of a healthy overall lifestyle. There’s nothing here that forbids you to have a pizza or a piece of cake – instead, the focus is on positive and easy things you can do to improve your health.
Author Grotto has degrees in the dietary sciences as well as experience in the natural foods industry. He also serves on the advisory board at Fitness magazine. His passion for a nutrition-based path to good health is clear, and he has an open and encouraging writing style that inspires enthusiasm and hope in his readers. His earlier book, 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, kicked off a new trend in the way we view ‘diet’ as a source for enhancing life rather than a discipline that requires sacrifices and misery.
101 Optimal Life Foods will delight those who already incorporate food into their holistic health plans, especially that part about chocolate being good for us. More importantly, though, this book can serve as a fun and practical guide to those who are just waking up to the importance of nutrition but who haven’t yet figured out how to implement a workable and affordable plan for themselves.
Optimal living is more than gobbling down prescribed medications to stifle symptoms – it’s a roadmap to responsible preventative care of our whole being by including wise health practices in our daily routine to make life feel good. As Grotto says in his introduction, “Get ready to take charge of your life and begin ‘living’ again.”