Don’t judge a book by its (People Magazine-like) cover. Actor Cameron Diaz’s new health book is a super smart summary of the latest, vetted nutrition intel, fitness and self-care advice, and a whole lot more—that just happens to be penned by a celeb.
Called the The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body, Diaz and her co-author Sandra Bark have created a genre-breaker. Don’t get me wrong, the book doesn’t read like a white paper. But you get a lot of science pulled from academia, like on fats, carbs, and other things we misunderstand—plus cutting-edge intel on supplements, sleep, self-sabotage, your cells, your energy, your lady parts—and, well, poop.
Here are nine surprising, smart things about the actor-model-healthy-surfer’s book. Buy it for the celeb factor, love it for its smarts. —Melisse Gelula
1. Processed food is really not a good name for what most of the stuff sold in packages is called.
“Just because you can put something in your mouth, chew it, swallow it, and then poop it out doesn’t mean it’s food. It just means you can chew it, swallow it, and poop it out,” she writes.
2. You’ll learn “A History of Food in the United States” at a glance.
A two-page table lists the breakout “food products” of each decade since 1900 (it should be sold as a poster—every IIN grad will want it!). With Oreos from the 1910s to Depression Era Kraft Mac and Cheese and ration-workaround instant potatoes during World War II, you quickly get the sense that the things you’re eating are products of industrialization, and often wartime necessity, not farming or health. Though the 2010s feels like we’ve slam danced into kale, quinoa, and juicing. Go us!
3. Cameron Diaz will teach you smart new words.
As someone who enjoys the “Did you know?” game on pretty much any topic, I appreciated learning about the (involved and neurological) process of “opioid circuitry” when explaining why sugar causes us to feel so freaking good while wrecking our health, one cookie after another.
4. See your hunger anew.
“Hunger is your warning that you’re almost out of fuel,” she writes, it shouldn’t be something you hate or dismiss for your dress size. “Ignore it long enough and you enter a spiral of low energy, irritability, and eating any food you can find.” (Been there.) Hunger is “your body urging you to take care of yourself, to give it energy so that you can live your life,” she says. She’d rather you get ahead of yours, and eat regular, balanced meals.
5. You need breakfast MORE than you need an extra 15 minutes of sleep.
Don’t hit the snooze button. Your body and brain function better when you eat first thing in the morning. And eating more than makes up for the 15 minutes of sleep you’d be getting by making sure you don’t have an energy crash from low blood sugar.
6. Never be overwhelmed in the supplements aisle again.
Handy tables (Diaz is big on them) organize the minerals and vitamins you need and why. They’re based on your objectives—bone builders, muscle builders, antioxidants, and electrolytes.
7. There is an unconscious, and it’s effing with your food relationship.
This one might require a therapy session, but here it is: You could be too invested in your bad habits. If you say things about food, like “I’m the kind of person who…loves lattes, doesn’t need to eat in the morning,” or whatever…this could be a self-defining habit that’s actually self-harming. “I have seen how some of my daily habits and ‘treats’ were the cause of symptoms I blamed my body for,” she shares. Before you blame your body, check your habits, says Diaz.
8. Skinny people need to train.
Diaz isn’t blame-y, but she knows that a lot of women skip eating—and skip working out—to fit into their skinny jeans. But fitness is “about your physical health. Your strength. Your endurance. And a million other things you might not have considered,” she says, citing your sleep, your mental sharpness and productivity, your hormones and mood. “No matter how good you think you look in a pair of jeans, you still need to train.”
9. Buy a really nice, really big handbag.
Okay, the actor-author doesn’t really say this. But if can you carry your workout clothes with you everywhere (so no one is the wiser and you can always have it with you, at work, at ABC Kitchen, wherever) you’re less likely to find an excuse for missing a sweat session.
For more information, check out The Body Book
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