There is nothing in life that I like more than yoga and food, so when it was combined into one book, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
To begin, Tara Stiles' Make Your Own Rules Diet is a book after my own heart because I believe every person is different and has different dietary needs.
Soooo, what happened with me is: After formal education in nutrition, I spent years carefully adhering to "The Rules" set out in my curriculum and thinking I was super healthy and awesome. My acne disappeared and I had more energy than I ever had.
But then I ended up with eczema - Allllll over. I was "doing everything right" nutrition-wise but couldn't understand why I suddenly broke out in this crazy rash. I saw a practitioner of Tradition Chinese Medicine who rebalanced my body. The kicker? He told me to stay off of all the foods that I often ate - lemon, lime, garlic, onion, spinach, etc, etc. No doubt these are healthy foods, but they weren't bringing me health.
This shifted my whole paradigm of thinking and well, left me to believe that people have to pay attention to what their own bodies are telling them and adjust their diets and lifestyles accordingly. I believe that people can't just go by a book written by someone else, or go by what they've learned in school and have that be the end-all-be-all. Soooo, I really liked how Tara Stiles encouraged this inner listening. There's nothing more empowering to be in charge of your own rules - making and breaking them at your own discretion and being okay with it.
I tried two recipes from this book and they were very banana-y. I did a soft-serve Nice Cream made of mashed banana and French Toast substituting banana in place of egg. These were some of the best ideas ever and I felt they were healthy alternatives to the real thing and very creative substitutions.
In terms the French Toast recipe, I tossed the banana into a food processor to get a nice even consistency for dipping - she recommended either using a fork to mash up the banana with almond milk or using a hand mixer. I would have excluded the "mashing by fork method" altogether because I imagine it would lead to a lot of lumps. Not a big deal. It makes this book accessible to people who don't have every appliance on the planet. :D
Based on her recipe, I was supposed to end up with 4-5 slices of French toast. It yielded over 10 slices using measurements given in the book...and I still had some dip left over. Maybe I used abnormally large bananas and she used abnormally tiny bananas. Either way, I was caught off-guard by the vast quantities of French toast I made this morning. Again, not complaining because it was super delicious.
One of my favourite things about her cookbook section is that she often begins with a blurb about how she created the recipe or her personal stories associated with these recipes. A lot of them involved Hungry Tara with few groceries at home. She would improvise using what she had on hand and it lead to creating something awesome. I love it. It encourages readers to also take a chance and experiment in the kitchen annnnnd not to follow the rules of a recipe.
Switching over to the yoga section, I like how there are photos and descriptions of entire sequences. The way she writes is almost like she's speaking to you in a class - it's written in a very inviting way and she offers modifications in the text. I'm a fairly visual person, so I would have loved to see photos of these variations. I anticipate that people (like me) would just imitate what's in the photo rather than taking the time to also read the description and realize that there are other options.
For example, in the upward dog section, I would have liked to see a photo to the side demonstrating low cobra, with the belly on the floor as an alternative. With plank and push-up, I would suggest photos of these poses done on the knees. Left to me, I would probably add one with a big red "x" through it that shows a sagging lower back to instruct people to lift their core beside one done properly with a nice, green check mark. As a yoga instructor myself, I feel that I have to bring extra awareness to lower back safety because it's such a prevalent problem in North America and I see it in yoga classes allllll the time. So much so, that I have about 50 different ways of saying "Don't allow your belly to sag".
Overall, great book. It was inevitable that I would like it - it has two of my favourite things! I'm visiting NYC next month...perhaps a visit to Strala is in the mix?
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing
for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my
honest judgment of the product.