A Recipe for Midlife

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - —Lisa Ben­dall

Health­ier ways to cook for your age and stage of life

OUR RE­LA­TION­SHIP WITH FOOD, like all re­la­tion­ships, changes over time. Ear­lier in adult­hood, we of­ten grab low-nu­tri­tion con­ve­nience foods as we chauf­feur kids around or work through our lunches. We don’t al­ways con­sider what these empty calo­ries are do­ing to our bod­ies. That’s the sort of re­la­tion­ship with food that Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice were hav­ing – un­til the Bri­tish co-au­thors hit midlife and started to think about the ways that the in­gre­di­ents in their food might be an in­vest­ment in their fu­ture health.

As we get older, our me­tab­o­lism slows, and our hor­mone lev­els drop. Our mus­cle mass and bone den­sity de­cline. The Midlife Kitchen: Health-Boost­ing Recipes for Midlife & Be­yond fo­cuses on the nu­tri­ents we need to sup­port these changes so we can cel­e­brate our bod­ies, in­stead of sab­o­tag­ing them, go­ing for­ward.

This book isn’t about magic an­ti­ag­ing su­per­foods – al­though they are in­cluded. Rather, it aims to present a healthy bal­ance that in­cludes plenty of vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, lean pro­teins and less pro­cessed carbs. Some recipes fea­ture pro­bi­otics, while oth­ers are high in cal­cium or put a spot­light on phy­toe­stro­gens.

Ev­ery recipe is coded with a graphic that links its nu­tri­ent con­tent to one or more of eight cat­e­gories, in­clud­ing heart health, blood- su­gar bal­ance and bone and joint health. (Some recipes, such as Red Len­til & Smoked Mack­erel Kitchri, ad­dress all eight.)

Are the claims in these pages cred­i­ble – can eat­ing fen­nel re­ally re­duce in­flam­ma­tion, and can chicory re­ally safe­guard your di­ges­tive tract as you jour­ney through the sec­ond half of life? The au­thors ac­knowl­edge that nu­tri­tional re­search is on­go­ing. Be­fore link­ing an in­gre­di­ent to a health ben­e­fit, they con­sid­ered the vol­ume and qual­ity of ex­ist­ing ev­i­dence. They also sought ap­proval from reg­is­tered di­eti­tian and nu­tri­tion­ist Dr. Sarah Schenker.

The book is meant to sup­port our nu­tri­tional needs, but first and fore­most, The Midlife Kitchen has a strong yum fac­tor. Eat­ing should be a life­long plea­sure, af­ter all. And if noth­ing else, the ap­peal­ing de­scrip­tions of Ba­li­nese Yel­low Chicken Curry and Wal­nut, Water­cress & Pecorino Pesto will mo­ti­vate us to try more com­bi­na­tions of di­verse in­gre­di­ents, pro­vid­ing the nov­elty and va­ri­ety that we crave as we get older. (Cer­tain long-time favourites, like cho­co­late mousse, will still grab our at­ten­tion, how­ever healthy their take is!) The recipes are in­ten­tion­ally un­com­pli­cated and prac­ti­cal, with easy-to-source in­gre­di­ents. A list of must-have items to keep in your “midlife larder,” like olive oil and flaxseeds, is also supplied.

It would be nice if the print was larger – af­ter all, our eyes change at midlife, too. And it would be helpful to have to­tal prep and cook­ing times listed. If you need to know which recipes co-or­di­nate best with your food al­ler­gies and sen­si­tiv­i­ties, you’re left to fig­ure that out on your own.

But we like the “midlife hacks” – tips for choos­ing in­gre­di­ents or us­ing sub­sti­tu­tions. And the gor­geous food pho­tog­ra­phy has whet­ted our ap­petites. If you find your re­la­tion­ship with food could use a lit­tle cou­ples coun­selling, The Midlife Kitchen will be a valu­able ad­di­tion to your cook­book col­lec­tion. Ex­cerpted from The Midlife Kitchen. Text copy­right © Mimi Sencer & Sam Rice 2017. Pho­tog­ra­phy copy­right © Isssy Cro­ker 2017. Reprinted with per­mis­sion of Oc­to­pus Pub­lish­ing Group.

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