Thursday, July 2, 2009

enLIGHTened by Jessica Berger Gross

In my never-ending quest for a healthier lifestyle that works for my lazy self, I picked up this book about yoga, diet, and overcoming the obstacles in our lives that prevent us from ultimate mental, emotional and physical health.

Jessica Berger Gross grew up in an abusive household where both of her parents worked to support the family. Meals were most often ones of convenience, with little thought to the effects the food was having on the family's health. Between eating to comfort and insulate herself from the issues in her family and the unhealthy nature of the food that was eaten, Jessica developed a weight problem that would plague her on and off through much of her young life.

One semester in college, she traveled to Nepal to study. Here she was forced to walk to most places, while eating primarily vegetarian meals, and she lost weight without even trying. She was also able to continue her dabbling with yoga, which she was first introduced to in high school. While these healthy habits would not continue consistently upon her return, the seeds had been planted for healthier, more sustainable habits that would eventually bloom into a full-blown lifestyle.

I enjoyed this book a great deal - it is never preachy or condescending, it includes some yogic teachings and poses, as well as small tips and recipes that were helpful to the author as she found her way. Jessica also shares some of the very personal struggles she endured before she found herself in the healthy place she is today. I found this book to be very inspiring but not heavy or pressure-inducing. While I don't ever see myself living as clean a life as Jessica, this book gives me hope that small steps can make a big difference.

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