The ultimate guide to using food as medicine from the Nutrition expert for the Today Show, Joy Bauer.
Nutritional healing has gone mainstream and researchers at top universities are publishing studies that show how the right foods can help prevent, manage, and sometimes entirely reverse the defining symptoms of a wide range of health issues. Whether it's unwanted pounds or high blood sugar, mood swings or digestive trouble, the cure can be what you eat every day.
Now Joy Bauer, a nutrition consultant to celebrities from actors to gold-medal winning athletes, explains exactly what to eat to lower high cholesterol and blood pressure, improve skin tone, sharpen memory, sleep better, and take charge of PMS, arthritis, and more. Each chapter focuses on one of the many conditions that drive people to seek Joy's professional help and simulates a personal consultation. Readers walk away with up-to-the-minute, scientifically researched recommendations on particular foods to seek out and which ones to avoid, plus grocery lists, meal plans, recipes, and supplement recommendations presented in easy-to-follow 4-step prescriptive plans.
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About the Author
JOY BAUER, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder of Joy Bauer Nutrition in New York City and can be seen regularly on the Today show as well as other national television programs. Joy is the nutritionist for the New York City Ballet and writes a monthly column for Self magazine. Joy is also the official nutrition/diet and weight-loss expert for Yahoo's millions of readers. She lives in New York City.
Carol Svec is an award-winning health writer and author of four previous books. She lives in North Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
Welcome to My Office
Welcome to my Office
My motto is this: Life is hard . . . food should be easy.
But for many people, knowing what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat
is a puzzle they have lost all hope of ever solving.
Anyone who has ever tried to make a commitment to healthy eating knows the
obstacles: The dizzying number of choices in grocery stores and restaurants
. . . the crazy, always-on-the-go schedules of nearly every member of the
family . . . the relentless hype and marketing surrounding fatty and sugary
snack foods . . . and the powerful appetites fueled by habits, traditions,
and humongous portion sizes. As if that wasn't enough pressure, add in the
swirl of conflicting information about specific diets-high-carb versus low-
carb, high-fat versus low-fat, calorie-counting versus no-counting, cabbage
versus grapefruit versus eggs versus whatever.
Who wouldn't feel overwhelmed and frustrated? And when we're frustrated, we
tend to fall back into old, unhealthy eating patterns. Have you ever gone
on a diet to lose weight, but ended up gaining weight instead? Or did you
lose weight only to put it back on again within a year or two? Has your
doctor ever put you on a special diet to treat a health problem, but you
soon abandoned it because it was just too complicated
for real life? If so, you're not alone. These scenarios happen more often
than you might think. No one consciously plans to eat her way into a larger
dress size, or to make himself a candidate for triple bypass surgery. But
dietary uncertainty can turn the best intentions sour, even when the stakes
are high. When it comes to good nutrition, it is so easy to go from being
totally motivated to feeling utterly defeated.
It doesn't have to be that way. Whatever else is going on in your life,
food should be the least of your worries. Eating is a piece of cake.
How Food Makes Us Nuts
I understand why you might be skeptical. We have a strange love/hate
relationship with food. We want to eat cupcakes, but be as slim as Jennifer
Aniston. We fantasize about our ideal meal, but settle for a burger and
fries from a drive-through window. We buy "skinny jeans" for the body we
want to have, but then eat comfort foods because those jeans don't fit
anything but our dreams. Love/hate-two sides of the same sneaky cookie.
Food does more than nourish us, so it makes sense that it can elicit
complex feelings. Of course, its most important role is to nourish us-to
give us the vitamins, minerals, energy, and nutrients necessary to keep us
alive and healthy-but food is also about love and family traditions. It's
how we celebrate and comfort and nurture-which is why food is at the center
of weddings and funerals, and it's the first thing we think to bring when
we hear a friend is sick. Food is about taking away the pain that comes
from hunger, but it also has become about easing our boredom, stress, or
depression. We tend to eat too much of almost everything whenever we get
the chance. We eat in the car, at work, in front of the TV, or standing
over the kitchen sink. We snack before meals, after meals, and sometimes in
the middle of the night, sometimes without even waking up. Next to sex,
eating is the activity most responsible for making us feel any number of
emotions, including happiness, longing, pride, pleasure, shame, weakness,
Food is like that great, big proverbial elephant in the room-which also
follows you around all day. We try to ignore it, but every time we turn
around, there it is. Yet despite the huge (mammoth!) role food plays in our
lives, we don't really know how to talk about it, at least not in a way
that helps us make the best choices when it comes time to eat.
I believe the reason some diets become wildly popular for a time is that
they allow us to understand food and eating in a new way, and they give us
a different language to use when trying to sort out our confusion. Think
about it: During the past few years, we've all learned the language of
"Carbs"-what carbs are, what low-carb eating looks like, the difference
between net carbs and total carbs, bad carbs and good carbs, et cetera, et
cetera. Before that, we studied the language of "Fats." And before fats, we
all knew how to parse calories.
So it's not that people lack information about food and eating. In fact,
most of us have more information than we know what to do with. Literally.
Many of my clients have such sophisticated vocabularies that they sound
like third-year nutrition students. The problem is that they don't know how
to combine all the disparate pieces of the diet puzzle into a plan that
they can use to achieve their individual, highly personal goals. They are
eager-desperate, even-to gain control over food. But they can't do it with
That's where I come in.
The Power of a Step-Wise Program
In my 16 years as a nutritionist, I've helped thousands of people overcome
their worst problems with eating. In the process, they have grown stronger
and healthier. In many cases, they have added 10, 15, or even 20 years to
their lives by controlling or even reversing disease processes.
How can food turn your life around? Let me tell you about 56-year-old
Stephen, a high-powered lawyer who was all but ordered by his doctors to
make an appointment with me. To say he was initially resistant to seeing a
nutritionist would be an understatement. It was a hard sell, but in the end
the encouragement (and begging and pleading) of his wife and children
persuaded him to come to see me.
He was a nutritional wreck. At 5' 9" tall, Stephen was significantly
overweight at 250 £ds. His body mass index (BMI) was 37, officially
classifying him as obese. His lab values were high across the board: High
cholesterol and triglycerides put him at high risk of heart disease, and
high fasting glucose levels meant Stephen was officially diagnosed with
type 2 diabetes.
To try to get control over these risk factors, Stephen's doctors put him on
three powerhouse medications-a blood pressure drug, a statin to lower his
cholesterol, and Glucophage to lower his blood sugar. And then I got a hold
I gave him a food plan to help him lose weight, lower blood sugar, and
lower his cholesterol . . . and when he had an episode of gout, I gave him
tips on how to treat that, too. Once he overcame his initial reluctance,
Stephen approached his new eating program with the same intensity he used
to succeed in every other aspect of his life. He made a spreadsheet to
track his weight loss and his lab numbers, he used his eating plan like a
script: he memorized and followed it religiously. He consulted me whenever
circumstances made it more than likely he would need to deviate from it-to
make sure he wouldn't do too much harm. He ate cake at his birthday party,
he socialized with friends, and he enjoyed holiday celebrations-but all
within the guidelines of his food program.
At the end of a year, Stephen had lost more than 60 £ds, bringing him
down to under 190. His critical blood measurements-triglycerides,
cholesterol, and fasting glucose-all dropped to within normal ranges. He
continued to take the statin, but he was able to stop taking the Glucophage
and the blood pressure medication. As of this writing, Stephen has
maintained his weight loss and health benefits for three years. His doctor
told him that because of the nutritional changes, Stephen has probably
added at least ten healthy years to his life.
As amazing as this story sounds, Stephen's results are not unusual, and
well within anyone's reach. No matter what your personal health goals are,
I have a terrific food plan for you. I'll even help you figure out exactly
what your goals should be.
My goal is to make reading this book as much as possible like a one-on-one
consultation with me in my New York office. I'll tell you everything you
need to know to lose weight, look gorgeous, improve your mood and memory,
boost your bone density, and stay healthy. I'll even give you a script to
follow-a focused four-step program that spells out everything you need to
know to think and eat just like a nutritionist. In short, I'll provide
everything you need for success.
Step Inside My Office
Let's start at the beginning, with the absolute basics. One of the main
questions I'm asked over and over is what defines good nutrition. In
general, it means eating the right foods in the right combinations
throughout the day to optimize your energy and overall health.
Of course, the people who come to see me lead different lives and strive to
achieve a wide range of goals. So for some, good nutrition means focusing
on increasing energy. I've worked with professional and student athletes,
dancers, actors, and business executives who need to maintain a consistent
level of performance. For other people who have a strong family history of
disease, good nutrition means minimizing their risk of heart disease,
diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, migraine headaches, arthritis, osteoporosis,
or cancer. For others, it means finding a way to lose the weight they might
have been struggling with for years.
A while ago, a man I'll call Bruce called me up and told me that one of his
friends had lost a ton of weight after he became my client, and now he
looked phenomenal. His buddy said that I worked miracles. Bruce was calling
because he had a weight problem, but he was a busy person. He knew all the
tricks, had been on all the diets, had gained and lost 100 £ds more
times than he could count, and didn't want to bother with an appointment if
I couldn't guarantee success. "Tell me," he said, "are you the person who
is absolutely going to help me prevail, once and for all?"
He didn't mince words! But he just asked outright what everyone really
wants to know-can my programs work, immediately, quickly, and forever? The
short answer to that question is Yes, dramatic and long-lasting results are
absolutely possible . . . but the chance of success depends entirely on
you. I don't want to give anyone false promises, not in my office and not
in this book. I'm only as good as my clients' follow-through, so if you're
after the kind of transformation that your friends (like Bruce's) will call
miraculous, I'm here to help. I can show you how to evaluate your needs,
give you a dynamite eating plan, and guide you through some of the most
common nutritional pitfalls. We are a team-I'm your food coach, but
ultimately you're the one who'll be doing the heavy lifting.
A Few Words about Commitment
In the end, no matter what spurs you to seek help, three things are
necessary for you to meet your goals:
1) The right coach. Well, you've got me, so cross this one off your
list. I have a great track record for success with my clients.
2) Rock-solid nutrition and health information. Cross this one off the
list, too, because that's what this book is all about.
3) Your personal commitment to stay in it for the long haul. This one is
up to you!
Personal commitment is a big deal. None of this will work for very long if
you're only following a food program because you're going on vacation, or
because someone else is on your back about losing weight. You have to be
doing this for you. You have to want results and be willing to work for
them no matter what obstacles get in your way. After the September 11
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I heard lots of stories
about how people ran for comfort foods and the liquor cabinet and gave
themselves permission to overeat and drink . . . for weeks. My belief is
that it's incredibly important-especially in times of crisis-to eat right
and stay on top of your health.
Think about it: Whenever you say "I'm overwhelmed, I've got too many things
on my plate"-or "I'm depressed . . . or too busy . . . or too anxious"-what
do you do? If you're like most people, you give up on good nutrition and
eat foods that make you sick, contribute to your illness, or put on weight
you spent months trying to shed. In the end, you're left feeling depressed,
sluggish, and easily angered. How is that helpful?
That's why I really think that any time could be the right time to make
food changes. Your commitment is what's important, the commitment to eating
well the majority of the time-not perfect foods, but healthy foods. It is a
commitment you'll need to honor when you're home, when you're out, when
you're shopping, and when you're socializing. It's a commitment to totally
change your lifestyle.
Changing how you eat is never easy. The first step is to get in the right
place mentally. If we're going to try to create a little nutritional magic,
there are a few things you need to do to prepare for this adventure:
. Limit your use of the word diet. I am a registered dietitian, but I
hate that word, so I call myself a nutritionist instead. Diet seems to have
horrible connotations. It is impossible to use the word diet in a sentence
without sounding sad or judgmental. Try it: "I really should go on a diet."
"My doctor put me on a diet." "Boy, if anyone needs to diet, he does." The
only time diet doesn't sound like a prison sentence is when we talk happily
about going off one. Try not to use the D-word; it will just demoralize
. Repeat after me: "I can do this!" The prospect of trying another
weight-loss program can feel like staring into a black hole-no joy, no
light, no end in sight. It's easy to feel defeated before you even begin,
so some degree of nervousness is understandable. But a more appropriate
response is enthusiasm and confidence. Trust me. I'm a professional. I've
done this hundreds and hundreds of times before. No matter what your
personal issues are, I've seen worse (and you'll read some of those stories
in the chapters to come). I will give you all the secrets for success I've
learned over the years.
. Dare to make the leap. Pop quiz: Which is more fun, wading into the
shallow end of the pool or doing a cannonball off the diving board? When we
were kids, all we wanted to do was jump into the deep end. We tend to lose
that sense of courage and daring along the way. As adults, we need to find
a way to get back that feeling of one . . . two . . . three . . . let's
go! And we're talking about nutritional changes, so you can't hurt yourself
by making a full, unrestrained leap. This is about your health-the only
risk is if you don't do anything. So go ahead, take a deep breath, and jump
. Think big. As far as I'm concerned, small changes add up to small
results. Grand changes equal grand, life-altering results. We're on this
earth for such a short time that I don't believe we have the luxury to move
slowly. And face it, it can be just as hard to make a small change as it is
to go for the whole enchilada (so to speak). So, you might as well go for
it. Make the big changes! The payoffs will be larger, and your
gratification will come sooner.
. When the going gets tough, remember that it's just food. That
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Let me start off by saying that I have been a loyal follower of the Today Show for a very long time. A few years back, a nutritionist by the name of Joy Bauer slowly started to become a regular expert they have on. At first i didn't really think much of it, but as i started listening to her tips and suggestions, i found myself eating better and losing weight without even realizing it. Cut to today, I am in the best shape of my life and all this is due to Joy! I have read every book and keep an eye out for all her segments. She is extremely knowledgeable and after doing lots of research on her, very well respected and at the top of her field (which is obviously nutrition). Food Cures, her newest book, is nothing short of spectacular. If you are serious about losing weight or trying to be a healthier eater, don't walk, run and buy this book! I can't say enough positive things about it. Thank you Joy for changing my life.
This is an excellent 'reference' book as well as one to get you started on the right path to better health, and yes weight loss is that's what you need. I already ate healthy but have painful arthritis and I really needed to lose 20 lbs so after seeing Joy on The Today Show promoting her book back in November, I made the purchase just before the holidays but didn't really get down to reading it until a bout with arthitis got me down earlier this year. I cannot believe what a difference this book has made in my life in just 3 months. I have never written a review until now, but I highly recommend this book to anyone who is REALLY ready to make a significant change in their life and health.
I LOVE this book! It is a roadmap for a healthy you. The user-friendly tone made it a delight to read. The information at the beginning of each chapter is fantastic. Well written, very informational, helped me understand my health issues more clearly - loved the real-life stories. The 4-Step Plans are AMAZING. Quick, easy, right to the point. It helped me figure out which supplements I should take and put an amazing grocery list right into my hands. I have made some of the recipes and they are delicious (Skinny Sheppard's Pie is terrific) and the food plan is so easy to follow. I was happily surprised to find all of the research links at the end of the book. No hocus-pocus here people. Joy has created a rock solid book based on the latest research and breakthroughs - Thanks Joy!
With our country amid an obesity epidemic and clear evidence that poor nutrition/eating prompts or worsens many diseases (from heart disease and cancer to PMS and migraine), Food Cures should be mandatory reading for every American teen and adult. No matter your goal -- to lose weight, be stronger, look better or cure disease -- this book tells you how to do it: The information is clear, accurate, and precise about what to eat, when, why, how much no matter your particular situation or goal. The 4-step programs are easy, safe, realistic and results-driven. But more than just great advice from two qualified sources -- nationally known, top-notch nutritionist Bauer and veteran health and medical author Svec -- Food Cures offers tasty, easy-to-preare recipes that put most cookbooks to shame. (Each has complete nutritent listings -- I've tried several, all delicious -- and are perfect for either family dinners or trying-to-impress parties). If you eat, you need this book. It will feed your mind and improve your body. A must for every kitchen and library!
I saw the artical in womens day. As i read i became more pulled in. I have been on a up hill climb learning to eat as a life style change. I took away small things from the article right away. I went to look her up. Found her diet plans and recipes i have enjoyed every one i tried so far. Saw she had some books. Purchased the it again i read and could do several small things that t believe will make a hugh difference . I am telling my friends different things i have learnd and they are trying it too. Wish i found sooner. My story is i have always been a picky eater. And i might have had an eatting disorder. Ionly eat what i liked and often only maybe twice aday from my tees on
-Moves swiftly across the house by sliding with his socks.- This sounds awful. -He mumbles with a mouthful of goldfish at his computer playing music.-