IMG_7522title: Living Lively: 80 Planet-Based Recipes To Activate Your Power & Feed Your Potential
author: Haile Thomas
Publisher: William Morrow, 2020
nonfiction

Part motivational text, part cookbook Living Lively is the debut publication for Haile Thomas, a 19-year-old African American wellness and compassion activist and international speaker. Haile founded her own business at age 12 ” to redefine youth empowerment through holistic education and address the need for free/affordable plant-based nutrition and wellness education in underserved/at-risk communities.” At 16, she became the youngest graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her recipes are meant to support a vegan lifestyle.

The book begins with a strong push for over all wellness. Thomas provides workspace in the book for readers to reflect on what they’ve read and make it their own. Yes, she’s trendy, inviting readers to ‘love all their emotions’ and reminding them ‘gratitude is a must’. This however, allows her to reach out to her peers. Her overall message is one of wellness and well-being and these thoughts are amplified

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Maple Cashew Cream and Banana Toast with Super Seed Crunch

with guest contributions. While she’s writing for a young crowd, I can say I never felt excluded from her message. At any age, we can use reminders to tend to ourselves with healthy practices. Besides that, her recipes look like they’ll fit my new calorie counting regiment. I haven’t tried them yet but, am looking forward to some of the toast recipes she provides for my breakfast. And the Sweet Pea. And Corn Risotto and the My Mama’s Jamaican Rice and Peas with Curry Mushrooms. The food looks good! While most of the recipes are accompanied by photos, none have nutritional information.

While the overall all message of the book is one of positivity, sometimes people need to be absolutely, positively be reminded to take all their medication as directed and meet with therapists as scheduled more than they need to be told to be thankful in order to maintain mental health. While gratitude is a necessary ingredient in the lifestyle Thomas supports, by not realizing it’s not enough to get everyone through the day leaves some people out, almost in an irresponsible way.

I would recommend this book for individual purchase for those whose anxieties or depressions won’t prevent them for some sort of benefit from better nutrition. It misses the mark for too many people because it fails to realize so many need therapies beyond yoga and tofu so, I would not include it in my library. Just bringing in one or two more guest contributors could have made all the difference with this book. I would give it to a young person who is trying to embrace a healthier lifestyle, if they’re ready for this holistic approach. It is good to see a young Black woman promoting messages of overall health. I hope that her message becomes more inclusive.