Book Review: Back in the Swing Cookbook

Friday, October 14, 2016
Most all of us can look back on our lives and see times when dramatic events have occurred that have felt like a punch to the stomach or have “knocked our socks off." During those times we endure, take each day one at a time and long for what is “normal” and when we can feel “back in the swing” of our lives. This is particularly true for those who face major illness, like breast cancer.

Two wonderful women, Barbara C. Unell and Judith Fertig, who understand personally the longing and challenge of getting “back in the swing” of things, put together a cookbook to help breast cancer survivors with the process of embracing life after treatment in order to find their new “normal." Their cookbook is The Back in the Swing Cookbook: Recipes for Eating and Living Well Every Day After Breast Cancer.

I had the pleasure of working with these women when we launched our healthy lifestyle tableware company, Livliga®, in Kansas City three years ago. One of the weekend-long events we had as part of the launch was a luncheon. The food was served on Livliga® dinnerware and the recipes came from the Back in the Swing Cookbook. Judith Fertig is the chef who designed the recipes to be healthy and with ingredients particularly supportive of the health of breast cancer survivors. The food served at the lunch from this cookbook was delicious and perhaps as important, visually appealing. I experienced first hand the benefits of this thoughtful cookbook. 

Livliga® dinnerware can make a recipe shine, by adding some extra visual appeal to healthy meals.
The cookbook is packed full of goodness. And it is not all about recipes. It is about how to live and embrace a healthy life, including the foods to eat, insights from survivors, health news, and ways we can help ourselves live a healthier and happier life. For instance, throughout the book there are sections called “Treat of the Day”. Each of these sections highlights a specific way you can help yourself feel better and be happier and the scientific reason behind it.  One section gives you “Scientific Reasons to Watch a Funny Movie” and then shares some of the American Film Institutes top 100 funniest American films.  A few from the list are Tootsie, Singin’ in the Rain, A Fish Called Wanda and When Harry Met Sally.

The core of the cookbook is its recipes. The recipes highlight ingredients that are proven to be good for our health, healing, our immune system and for preventing disease and the re-occurrence of disease. Although the focus is clearly for the breast cancer survivor the approach and recipes are relevant and good for us all.

There is a real flare to this cookbook. It entices us with internationally based recipes imbued with herbs and spices that wake up our senses (Asian Chicken Salad with Fresh Ginger Vinaigrette). Back in the Swing also takes classics and adds an upgrade of healthier ingredients that satisfy our taste buds while warming our hearts (Celebration Chocolate Cake includes a filling with pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg).

In this era when we are busy and find it hard to spend time in the kitchen, this cookbook makes it easy to cook. The recipes are made up of accessible ingredients and are simple to assemble. The best part is how the recipes taste and look.  If you want to embrace a healthier lifestyle this cookbook is a great place to start.

My personally adage is: The greatest gift we can give ourselves and the ones we love is the gift of health. The Back in the Swing Cookbook is a perfect way to give this gift.





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