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Master Your Metabolism Review

I recently finished reading Jillian Michaels' Master Your Metabolism, and I have some mixed reviews about it. Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I don't know that I would necessarily recommend it, depending on where you are in your journey to living a greener and more organic lifestyle. For those that are just starting out, I think that it does a great job of detailing all the reasons why we should do our best to remove the environmental toxins from our lives. However, it does it in such a detailed way that you will probably be pretty overwhelmed (I was, and this certainly isn't the first book I've read on the subject). It covers such a wide variety of things we need to change (food, environment, medicines, beauty products, etc), that it just seems overwhelming.

The first part of the book starts out by describing all of the ways in which environmental toxins destroy our metabolism and make us fat. The idea is that it is not only the foods that we are eating, but also the pesticides in our lawns, chemicals in our houses (for a chance at winning some great Seventh Generation products, go on over and enter!), beauty products that we use, etc. that are affecting the levels of toxins in our bodies. She goes over all the individual hormones in our bodies, and likens your body to an orchestra - when it all works together, everything is in tune and running smoothly. However when one hormone gets out of whack, all the other ones are thrown off too as they try to make up for the problems that the one is causing. She goes pretty in depth about the hormones, which isn't my particular area of interest, although I do suppose it is relevant to the lifestyle changes.

The second and third parts of the book go into more detail in the changes that you can make and how you can go ahead and start fixing your completely messed up metabolism. I did feel like a lot of the book was written for people with thyroid problems or problems like PCOS, but there are some good ideas for the rest of us as well.  I think my biggest complaint was that it was repetitive and very in depth about the specific nutritionist, hormones, micronutrients, etc. It was pretty extreme for the average person, I think that it could have been summed up in a chapter or a podcast, and didn't really need close to 300 pages to explain it all.

Basically the breakdown of the points that she made are:

1) Go organic. All the time. If that isn't reasonable (which it isn't for most), then do it as much as you can, particularly with dairy, meat, and produce.

2) Choose real foods instead of "franko-foods." Your body doesn't know how to process things like Twinkies, and it makes your metabolism all crazy.

3) Everything in moderation - you don't have to give up sweets completely, but opt for healthier, less chemical ridden foods like Newman's Own peanut butter cups instead of Reese's

4) Cut out plastics - they contain things like BPA, phthalates, etc which can interact with your body mechanisms and do bad things (reduce fertility, increase risk of cancers).

5) Reduce pharmaceuticals - we take way too many over the counter medicines, and we get them in seemingly benign places such as our drinking water. This doesn't mean to go out and buy bottled water (see #4 - cut out plastics), but rather to do things like install a reverse osmosis filter, which isn't really practical for many of us.

6) Work out - you still need to work out to maintain a healthy body. Getting your metabolism in check will just make it easier to work out less and still stay slim.

7) Relax a little! As a nation we are overworked and overstressed. Find ways to relax - get a massage, take a vacation, play with your kids, whatever makes you feel good.

I guess overall the book was just different than other "green living" books. Unlike something like Real Food or The Omnivore's Dilemma, this book is a lot more detailed on the biology of it all. Like I said before, there is a long section about your hormones and all that they do in your body, and another long section about all the micronutrients that you should be getting in your diet. I don't feel like the book helps you to eat more intuitively or holistically, but rather it breaks it down into such small details that it feels like you are never going to be able to remember all the information, nor would you be able to make changes that would really make a difference. Likewise with the chapter about beauty products and the toxins in them - it is basically just a list of all the toxins and the products you can find them in, but it gets rather overwhelming because it seems like they are everywhere and there is really no way around it. She does say at the beginning of that chapter to make small changes and anything that you remove will help, but overall the book was very list like, and got rather dry because of it.

Overall, I think the book was interesting, but I wouldn't really recommend it because I think it could be rather discouraging to someone who is just starting out and trying to make small changes or baby steps towards a healthier way of living.

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