Catherine Saxelby – Nutrition for Life

Hardie Grant Melbourne Australia
Revised edition published 2020

What a very sensible book on nutrition and diet this is! No wonder it has been in constant demand since its first iteration in 1986. Nutrition for Life provides the reader with a simply explained, factual run-down on major aspects of eating, and offers information that will allow the reader to make informed decisions about what he/she eats.

As with many books on nutrition, a key message is: Eat more vegetables. However, it goes much further. Catherine Saxelby examines food faddery, myths and misinformation whilst also giving sus simple to follow ways of preparing for good eating.

Barbie speaks with Catherine Saxelby about Nutrition for Life

For example, she explains why you do need to eat carbs in a healthy balanced diet, she talks about the necessity of fat in the diet (good fat), she defines how much protein we need and lists what we could well do with eating less – junk food, fast food, sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol.

There’s never a requirement to remove, simply a suggestion to limit. There is also sound advice to think about what we are being told and by whom and with what ulterior motive – So…we can have a glass of red wine and some sugar. We don’t do better to eat kale if we prefer spinach. There is no scientific evidence for the miracle foods and substances somewhat wildly promoted in some media – like turmeric, maple syrup or matcha. And so on.

The need to plan one’s shopping is very clear – let’s make sure we have a pantry and fridge with all the things we need to cook at home as much as possible.

The principal message in this book is to seek health and pleasure in eating and not be carried along on a tide of fads or movements nor to allow ourselves to become confused about what is really very simple, the matter of healthy eating habits for a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Nutrition for Life is a very useful book, written in a clear and readable style with many handy features for quick reference, like the little orangey yellow key facts boxes. Food choices and eating plans are treated not as a moral issue, but simply as a matter of food-body science. It’s the old mantra of ‘You are what you eat.’

We all know that scoffing nothing but buckets of hot chips won’t end well, but we also know that we can indulge sometimes in these things as long as the rest of our eating is balanced and moderate.