Let food be your medicine
I’ve been reading Twyla Tharp’s latest book, Keep it Moving, a bracing look at aging. Too often we think of fighting aging with hair dye, expensive cosmetic potions, even surgery, but recasting it as simply another phase of life, with its own pleasures and perils, is far more energizing.
Of course, Tharp is a dancer and movement is her lens, but her book’s larger message is to not stop; accept aging, but assess and adjust. Goals, energy and enjoyment don’t end at any age.
And with this book, there is plenty of healthy enjoyment to be found at the table. Sponsored by the National Osteoporosis Foundation and written by the cookbook pros and Cookbook Construction Crew, Sheilah Kaufman and Paul Jacobsen, the book begins with some medical information with recommendations for exercise and medication. Their most reassuring message is that osteoporosis is not an inevitable result of aging.
Before the recipes, the book supplies larger diet information, which can be summed up pretty simply–eat a lot of different real food, avoid sweet and salty junk food, and limit the alcohol and caffeine. This is advice that makes it easy to eat healthy–there’s so much choice!
The recipes taps into that choice with a broad selection of dishes (including one from me–Sicilian-Style Pasta with Sardines–an excellent off-the-shelf quick dinner). The recipes range through the menu and across cultures. Begin the day with Cannoli French Toast, made rich and healthy with ricotta cheese and for an after dinner dessert try Bittersweet Chocolate Loaf Cake made with good-for-you dark chocolate. For Asian Flavors try Curried Shrimp with Apples or Chinese Steak with Pea Pods. The Mediterranean diet has long been touted as a healthful way to eat, and this book offers Moroccan Lamb Meatballs, A creamy yogurt-based Tzatziki, and Garlic Sautéed Rapini, among many others.
In fact, the book is a perfect balance between new flavors and easy techniques, which you can enjoy even more knowing the dishes are good for you.