Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You: The Owner's Manual by Michael F. Roizen M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz M.D.

I probably would never have picked up this book if I hadn't seen the Oprah Winfrey Show a few weeks ago. On the show, a 42 year old woman who had let herself go (and I mean really let herself go) was profiled. She was 50 pounds overweight, sedentary and ate a horrible diet that consisted of greasy Rueben sandwiches with fries (for breakfast) and 4 six packs of soda per day. This woman was a walking time bomb for health problems-- and then she received some help from the authors of this wonderful book, "You The Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide To The Body that Will Make you Healthier and Younger".

The two authors of "You: The Owner's Manual" have each been famous in their own right for a while now. Dr. Michael Roizen was on the New York Times best seller list a few years ago for his popular book "Real Age- Are You As Young as You can Be?" And Dr. Mehmet Oz has been a regular on "Oprah" for the past two seasons, always educating viewers on important health issues.

On the "Oprah" show, the doctors used the techniques from their book to turn this unhealthy 42 year old into a healthy and fit woman. It happened quickly too-- in just a few months. The concepts were simple enough but I wanted to learn more so I went out and got the book myself.

First of all, "You: The Owner's Manual" is not a diet book. It's a book about lifestyle change. You do not need to give up soda for just three months--you need to cut it out of your life for good.

I like the way the book is set up-- it's chock full of diagrams and illustrations to help to better convey the author's points. With chapters on the heart and arteries, bones, the immune system and of course diet, this book is an overview on how to keep your body healthy. It goes into a detailed overview on everything from the adrenal glands to the aging brain. But it's not a textbook and the book is instead written in easygoing, layman's terms.

No book on healthy living would be complete without a section on exercise and this book actually has some very informative information. There is also a section on strength training exercises and the descriptions are illustrated (courtesy of a disturbing little elf-like creature, who appears throughout the book). I appreciate the illustrations, as it makes it easier to see how the exercises should be done properly. There's also some yoga techniques detailed and then an easy to decipher physical activity sheet to give you an idea of how to go about your workout routine.

Of course, the part I was most interested in was the chapter on healthy eating. Besides food recommendations and a listing of the foods that we all should eliminate from our diets (like foods that contain trans fats, sugars and hydrogenated oils), there's an action plan for changing how you eat. There are tips like avoiding eating late in the day, which we all should already know but few of us practice. The book also includes a few recipes, most of them delicious-sounding, for dishes like dijon chicken, grilled tilapia and cheese blintzes.

"The Owner's Manual Diet" is basically a lifestyle change, but there are a few rules and tips listed in the book ( a good tip: change your dinner plate size to 9 inches instead of the standard 13 inch-- it will trick you into thinking your plate is full).

There's a list of foods that we all should eat daily-- foods like nuts, whole grain breads and fruits (this is definitely not one of those low carb fad eating plans). There are also recommendations for how much water to dink and multivitamins that we should supplement with. In an easy-to-read format, the eating plan is listed by meal type, with dozens of choices for every meal. It makes for an easy mix and match eating plan, with enough variety to satisfy just about anyone.

So who do I think is the target audience for "You" The Owner's Manual"? I think it's a well written book for health conscious adults-- not for dieters looking for that quick fix. It's a book that you will turn to again and again for healthy living tips, information on ailments and yes, healthy eating plans.

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