Book Review: "Sane and Simple Nutrition" by Nia Shanks
If you're looking for a new diet plan that will tell you exactly which foods to eat, which foods to eliminate, how many calories to consume each day, and when to consume them, you might benefit from reading Sane and Simple Nutrition by Nia Shanks. Not because it does any of those things, but because it offers a new perspective on eating and food.
Before I go any further, I must admit there is probably a bit of personal bias in this review. As someone who has experimented with several rigid diets at this point - including paleo, vegetarianism, and the old-fashioned 'counting calories' approach - only to find myself stressed, hungry, and lacking energy, so much of this book applied my own experiences with dieting and nutrition. I actually found myself agreeing with Nia out loud as I read.
Nia's approach is, well, simple. In her own words, "Sane and Simple Nutrition is about stripping nutrition down to the bare essentials for the simplest, easiest, and most stress-free way possible to build a better body." That means you won't find pages of studies and opinions from health experts about whether or not you should soak your grains or eat cheese. You won't find tables and diagrams of detailed daily meal plans. You will not find entire chapters devoted to chastising certain foods or food groups. Not that there's anything wrong with research, planning, and food elimination when necessary - it's just not what you should expect from this particular book.
Nia's approach is a bit different. Rather than focusing on the nitty-gritty details of diet plans, this book aims to reset your approach to food and eating. One of the primary goals of Sane and Simple Nutrition is to help readers break free from what Nia calls "OCD eating habits" and the guilt that often comes with following a strict diet. This book is not a guide to analyzing your food but a guide to enjoying your food and building a healthier, better body in the meantime.
Sane and Simple Nutrition is an easy read and written in a conversational style. Although it's a quick read, there's also a lot of take away and practical tips. Here are some of the topics I found most helpful:
- The Domino Foods Chapter: This chapter discusses how to avoid fods that trigger overeating.
- The Sane and Simple Nutrition Chapter: Outlines Nia's nine mental and physical principles of healthy eating.
- The Real Food Reference Guide + Resources: This short chapter provides a list of foods to include in your diet as well as tips for shopping locally.
- Intermittent Fasting Chapter: This chapter details two approaches to intermittent fasting and gives some advice for doing it without falling into disordered eating habits.
- Sane and Simple Strength Training Chapter: This is a very short chapter but I appreciate that Nia includes recommendations for strength training in her book. Some of the nutrition books I've read have felt a little incomplete with no mention of physical activity.
Sane and Simple Nutrition is available in PDF format, and you'll find links throughout to recipes, resources, and other information. I do wish some of the information were a little more detailed and that there were more recipes. Other than that, this is a good resource for any athlete looking to simplify and clean up their diet and their overall approach to food.
"Sane and Simple Nutrition" is available for $13.00 in PDF format at NiaShanks.com.