In this self-help guide, pillars of wellness replace quick fixes while illustrating a holistic approach to health.
Like many wellness authors, Horn (Living Green: A Practical Guide to Simple Sustainability, 2006) uses his own experiences to build a model for healthy living. Tired of the traditional “Standard American Diet,” he began researching and modifying his own habits, recording his physiological and mental improvements along the way. Unlike many other titles in the genre, the book suggests a six-pillar approach to wellness rather than speedy remedies, life “hacks,” or minor tweaks. This tactic seeks to find a bridge between the evolutionary history of humans and the modern realities that present obstacles to a healthy existence—tight living space, lack of movement, and the availability of harmful foods. The six pillars—thinking well, eating well, moving well, sleeping well, hosting well, and staying well—provide an all-encompassing strategy. For example, in the section “Thinking Well,” the author describes the benefits of planning and ranking. With busy lives, demanding jobs, growing kids, and complex obligations, people can easily lose sight of health as a priority. The author suggests beginning with the concept of what living healthy means to the individual—and scheduling activities that match that vision. Horn provides a great insight about objectives: “Updating your goals isn’t abandoning them.” In other words, he explains, it’s better to adapt than to stay rigidly wedded to a design that may not currently serve an individual’s ambitions. In “Eating Well,” the author deftly supplies heavily researched data about several major diets, including paleo, Mediterranean, and the standard American diet. He then points to an overarching “85% rule” (“the right percentage of the time to stay strictly disciplined” about eating well) that can be used to determine the best template for nutrition and lifestyle. Horn also discusses the benefits of intermittent fasting to rest the digestive system. The book is cleverly stocked with statistics that hit home—such as the tidbit that one hour of watching TV shortens an individual’s life by 22 minutes. “Moving Well” helpfully covers the various benefits of swimming, resistance training, and more while supplying many cited references for data and statistics. In “Hosting Well,” Horn discusses the importance of accommodating healthy bacteria and includes valuable and less common information about avoiding phthalates, BPA, and pesticides.
A refreshing look at wellness from a big-picture perspective.