Book provides a plan for healthier life

Elizabeth Cran
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Why did Atria Books (“a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.”) send this book all the way from New York to us? It is not by an Atlantic writer, it is not about any aspect of Atlantic Canada and it was not published here.  

Still, it contains much about health and food that’s useful to know and not widely available elsewhere, so we’re reviewing it as an exception that’ll prove the rule.

Its title is The Life Plan Diet, and its author is named Jeffry S. Life. He’s a doctor by profession and 75 years old. When he was 60, he writes “I learned that I had advanced, chronic heart disease.”  A month or so later, he read about the annual "Body-for-LIFE" contest.  His girlfriend (now his wife) strongly encouraged him to participate. With only 19 weeks before the contest,  Life had to change his way of eating and drinking, take vitamin and mineral supplements, and plunge into “an exercise program that I was really not prepared for.” He also began an M.A. program in sports nutrition and exercise science.

All this determination paid off.  In December 1998 he became grand champion in his age category.  He has never looked back.

This book is definitely not a fad diet. It includes 40 recipes which sound good, contain few exotic ingredients and can easily be adapted. They seldom contain meat, but can use it. They do contain fish, cheese (low-fat), eggs, tofu, and yogourt.  

One of the central features of The Life Plan Diet is that it’s directed almost exclusively to men; we’ve not seen any other such book. Fortunately it can be used by women with only a few changes. It’s aimed at the (usually) middle-aged man who’s starting to put on weight and become flabby and slow down, all of which he’s apt to attribute to aging. Life makes it clear that this is not so, and that dieting, exercise and taking the right supplements will reverse these tendencies, based on his own experience. He also has a series of letters from former patients corroborating this, which he calls "Real Men, Real Motivations.”

Probably the most generally useful chapters are 3, 4 and 6 and 7-11 on various forms of diet.  There is even one entitled The Heart Health Diet. Chapter 12, entitled Hormones and Nutraceuticals Enhance Weight Loss, is valuable even if you don’t need to lose weight.

All of this is well-written in plain English.

Elizabeth Cran is a freelance writer who writes a book review column for The Guardian. She can be reached at 95 Orange St., Apt. 101, Saint John N.B., E2L 1M5, or call her at 506-693-5498.

Organizations: Simon Schuster, The Guardian

Geographic location: New York, Atlantic Canada, Saint John

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