Review: The Lean by Kathy Freston

This book seemed so easy and wonderful that it was a book (and an eating plan) I just had to try out. Kathy Freston’s book outlines a 30 day eating plan that asks you to make one new small change everyday. It asks you to lean towards a plant based diet and (hopefully) better health. All you have to do is do the new thing every day and all of the other little things you’ve been doing since the beginning of the program. And, the things that she has you do I found to be pretty easy. For example, one of the lean’s is that you should eat an apple everyday. This has turned out to be the easiest thing now in the Fall. I may not feel this way in the Spring but with all the choices of apples on the shelves here in Western New York there is no problem. I just buy a bag of honey crisp, jonamac, ginger gold or whatever looks best every other week and I’m set. Some of the other leans include drinking water, eating ground flax seed, having meatless lunch and getting in some exercise.

I imagine that for most people the hardest part of this diet is going vegan. I already don’t keep cheese in the house and I don’t cook with meat so the leans about switching to non-dairy cheese, having a meatless lunch of having a meatless dinner were pretty easy for me since I typically make my own food. It was also found the exercise leans pretty easy because they were things I already do anyway. The hardest leans for me were her mental health leans. She asks you to check in with yourself and do a little investigating of how you relate to food and exercise and to work on focusing on the positive and pushing out the negative. I think these things are important when you consider eating to be a habit and part of your overall life. I also think these things are important because we, well, I, have used food to feel better. And, I’ve also used diet as an excuse for treating myself badly. Looking at why you did something is the first place is just as important to trying to do new things.

What I liked best about this book was that it focused on bringing new things in instead of focusing on not doing certain things. Even though you’re not eating meat, this book frames it as “going meatless”. Instead of saying, “You can’t have meat” it instead says, “Let’s eat plants!” I always find it easier to focus on what I am doing instead of what I can’t do if I really want to make progress on something.

Overall, after having done the 30 days, I feel pretty good. I’ve fallen in love with smoothies and with green vegetable juice powder. But, I’ll probably never eat as much salad as the program pushes on a daily basis. And, I’m still going to eat meat and dairy with my family and friends in social settings. I’ve not gone 100% vegan, but I’ve gone mostly vegan and that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

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