Book Review: Blueprint for Health by James Duigan
I have interviewed the celebrity trainer James Duigan on a few occasions (see here) and his ethos always resonates - in essence that being our best selves is not only about getting faster and fitter but more to the point, recognising that crucial element so often overlooked in fitness programmes - a positive mindset. A quote that will be with me forever is: "there are only so many lunges you can do....it comes down to your attitude and mindset. If you have a healthy self-respecting, self-accepting mindset, it will reflect in the choices you make.” So true and so relevant in our world today.
Australian-born Duigan is the founder of Bodyism gym, the Clean & Lean diet philosophy and the trainer responsible for transforming a host of celebrities including Elle MacPherson, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Lara Stone. He was close to penniless when he first arrived in London resorting to sleeping on night buses and tubes, admitting that he was too proud to ask for help. Fast forward just 8 years and his value is close to 20 million pounds and almost 1 million books sold.
The 4 Pillars
Blueprint for Health encapsulates Duigan's four fundamental pillars of health—MINDSET, NUTRITION, MOVEMENT, AND SLEEP—and outlines what we can do to strengthen them, with guided meditations and affirmations to help us along the way. The section on mindset is really what sets this book apart as Duigan is adamant that, "what you choose to eat how often you move your body and the amount of rest you give yourself are determined by your thoughts. So your commitment to being healthy comes from how much you love and accept yourself."
His 14-day plan combines 80 recipes with movement, sleep and mindset guidance designed to help readers realise their better selves. Interestingly, his recipes are not unlike some of those featuring in my forthcoming GLOW skin book that is overflowing with skin-brain-heart-healthy foods (watch this space for more!) - think turmeric Sweet Potato Ginger and Coconut Soup, tempting Bowls, tagines, eas banana muffins and other nutritious snacks to keep the body balanced through the day. What is also hugely refreshing is that the dreaded calorie counts are non existent (a bug bearer for me as regular readers will know as it makes people obsess about energy/calorie intake to the detriment of actually enjoying the food they are eating.)
Is it for me?
Duigan knows the wellness industry and this book includes some nuggets of advice, most especially on mental health. I'm lucky, as being a qualified dietitian I know the science and over the years have interviewed leading scientists, dermatologists and numerous other medical experts, so much of his advice comes second nature to me. But those wanting to live in a more mindful and healthy way will certainly benefit and the recipes all look and sound delicious!
Although a few on-line reviews have suggested that the book is aimed at the 'beautiful people' market and yes, the numerous photos of beautifully tanned and toned bodies posing in stunning backgrounds may be a put-off for many folk, but Duigan's advice is for the 80 to 90 percent of women who he says are blinded by the belief that they are not good enough. “Waking up every morning feeling exhausted isn’t normal – it’s common. People need to be kind to themselves. The perfect body is the body you are happy in, so listen to it." And in my experience, this is the essential first step in becoming healthier and happier in yourself and with the greater world.
Blueprint for Health by James Duigan is published by Pavilion Books, £14.99/€16.80 and is available from leading bookstores.