Title: Carrots'N'Cake: Healthy Living One Carrot and Cupcake at a Time
Author: Tina Haupert
Themes: healthy living, diet, weight loss, exercise, personal experiences, nutrition, physical fitness, lifestyle
Plot: From one of the most popular blogs comes an innovative, even fun way to diet. Carrots'N'Cake is all about eating your carrots...and savoring your cupcake, too. Tina Haupert shows how to drop the pounds and keep them off by adopting eating habits that are healthy, balanced, and above all, livable. She serves up easy-to-follow fitness routines, food tips, and her most popular feature: cookie Friday.
My Thoughts: I don't know if I would have picked this book up if not for Early Reviewers over at LibraryThing. I just usually don't "do" lifestyle books...but I am pretty happy that I got a chance to read and review this little tome. Haupert uses personal anecdotes as the binding theme to this fitness and nutrition manifesto. Her experiences as an adult woman who was suddenly inactive (for the first time since age three), working a desk job, and eating without a care to nutrition or weight lead naturally into her dedication to completely altering and improving her eating and exercising habits. I enjoyed her personal experiences and felt they tied together all of the tips Haupert offers-and appreciated the range of stories that included eating junk food at an office job to obsessing over a pug to the point of moving...twice...in order to have one. However, I just felt that I personally found it hard to connect to Haupert since my "health or fitness background" is the opposite...I've never been active and have always had to watch what I eat and am only now trying to improve both my exercise and eating habits.
Haupert's overlaying theme is moderation and a focus on healthy foods and prioritizing fitness. She argues that your visits to the gym should be what you center other activities around, not what is haphazardly fit into your schedule. She argues that your health should come first, not that it is easy, but that exercise and nutritious eating is essential and improves the quality of our lives. Haupert gives tips for "realistic dieting" that includes a discussion on moderation in how you eat, yes eat healthy food-but its good to have controlled splurges (like her cookie Friday) to keep up your motivation for eating healthy! I really like this concept and agree with it. With eating it is impossible (for me at least) to go all or nothing, I can't completely cut out chocolate and french fries! But it's doable to cut down on it, which still makes an improvement in your health.
Littered throughout the thematic chapters are recipes, from potato salad to oatmeal to carrot cake, Haupert offers recipes for healthy foods that are all fairly easy to look up. In this regard I am not fully prepared to review Carrots'N'Cake as I have only tried two of the recipes so far-Banana Oatmeal Chip Cookies, and Baked Banana Oatmeal (I love oatmeal and banana, obviously). But both of these were healthy, tasty, and easy to whip up so I am looking forward to trying a few more of the recipes included in the book.
With all of that said, I was also expecting a bit more from this book. It is largely stories of Haupert's life...with rather vague and sometimes obvious tips for better health (not that they aren't appreciated and motivational). When I cracked open this book I had expected a little more exercise and meal-planning based content. In this end, this is largely a series of vignettes from Haupert's life with a few recipes, tips, and exercise plans thrown in-in other words, a bit of fluff. That didn't stop my enjoyment of it, but I wouldn't go to this book looking for specific guidelines in changing your eating or exercising habits-it's more motivational than anything else.
Recommendation: I enjoyed reading Haupert's stories, trying her recipes, and motivating myself to make improvements in my exercise and eating habits. I would recommend this to anyone struggling with weight issues as a realistic and healthy way to "diet"-though I don't really consider Carrots'N'Cake a diet book...it is more of a fitness manifesto and memior.
Similar Reads: Runner's World Runner's Diet by Madelyn H. Fernstrom and Ted Spiker
Haupert, Tina. Carrots'N'Cake: Healthy Living One Carrot and Cupcake at a Time. New York: Sterling Epicure, 2011.