OPTIMAL YOU by Christine Gingerich
Ms. Gingerich was the keynote speaker at an event that I was attending. Hearing her speak about her personal journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle ensured that I wanted to pick up this book. Ms. Gingerich grew up on a farm where the table was laden with fresh produce from their garden and meat they raised. Sounds perfect. The downside was that they also enjoyed sweets, particularly pies. Her first job at a chocolate factory didn’t help her battle her sweet tooth. While in high school she was athletic so was able to burn off the calories but come university she went way past the “freshman fifteen”. Having tried “every diet on the market” without significant, long lasting results she looked at herself in the mirror one day and decided that she had to get her life and eating habits under control.
Years of studying nutrition, obtaining a degree in physical education and coaching others to cope with their own need for lifestyle changes.
Yes, technically this is a cook book but it is also so much more. “Optimal You” is chock full of information, both motivational and educational. It is broken down into easy to follow sections which are helpful in starting your own personal journey towards a better lifestyle. I thought the “Overcoming Hurdles” and “The Optimal Kitchen” sections were especially helpful. Often we know what needs to be done but seeing it in writing explaining the “why” is the extra little push one needs to actually make the changes.
So, on to the recipes.
All the recipes in the book are made with fresh, natural ingredients that are not difficult to find, something that is important to me. They are written in an easy to follow manner and accompanied by beautiful full color pictures. Also important to me as a reader is that the recipes were food items that I would prepare anyway – just healthier versions. These include wonderful appetizers and main dishes as well as (I would be remiss not to mention them) soups and salads. Appropriately, the luncheon at the event featured items from “Optimal You” and feedback later was unanimous that everyone had enjoyed their meal with her Squash Soup getting special kudos. There is an “Apple Fritter Pancake” recipe that I want to try for our next special family Sunday Brunch.
All the recipes are easily distinguishable as “gluten free”, “egg free”, “wheat free” and “dairy free” with small colorful icons.
At the risk of repeating myself there is so much more included than the recipes. Ms. Gingerich includes health saving tips, time saving tips and I particularly enjoyed the “Notable Quotes” that she interspersed throughout the book. I have to admit to getting home and flipping through the book just to read those first. The first notable quote belongs to Ms. Gingerich:
“Every moment of every day you make choices.
These choices help to form habits that collectively create your own lifestyle.
Your lifestyle ultimately determines the quality of your life.”
When I purchased her book she graciously signed it for me. Meeting her in person, I can honestly say that she is the best advertisement for this book. Not to embarrass her but – her hair was shiny, her skin was glowing and she was slim and fit … if that’s what Optimal You can do for a person count me in!
A few sample recipes and a meal planner can be found on her website www.optimalyou.ca.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (from her website)
Christine was raised on a farm outside of Stratford, Ontario where she grew to appreciate country living, natural wholesome foods and hard work. Even at a young age she had an insatiable desire for alternative medicine and preventative natural healing. Sadly, at a young age, she also developed a “sweet tooth,” and in her late teen years, found herself struggling with weight issues.
Having received her degree in Physical Education from Wilfrid Laurier University, in Waterloo, ON, Christine understood the basic essentials for good health. She began to change her diet and started a walking program. Her extra weight started to slowly melt away. She then began working in the health industry as a personal trainer and aerobics instructor, training in a variety of facilities and coaching a large clientele. After completing her Bachelor of Education in 1995 Christine joined the Waterloo District School Board as an elementary teacher.
In 2004 she conjoined her teaching and coaching skills from the classroom with her passion for natural healing, launching her personal coaching business, Optimal YOU.
Christine was a writer for the former Open Magazine and has recently published her first book, Optimal YOU: Great-Tasting Recipes & Powerful Lifestyle Strategies to Achieve Optimal Health. Her two-part "LifeStyle Coaching" episode aired on Grand River Living, a magazine-style show on Roger's cable television.