A Recipe for Midlife
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.