Waist Away reads like one of those long, candid conversations you’ve always wanted to have with your family doctor. The kind you never get to enjoy because everyone’s watching the clock and other patients are waiting. But if you could just sit there and chat about everything from sex to transfats, menopause to diet, the conversation might sound something like the content of this book.
Mother-daughter doctors, Dr. Mary Clifton and Dr. Chelsea Clinton, pool their talents for Waist Away, tackling some subjects individually and others together. Their chapter “Fifty Shades of Green,” for example, addresses sex and sexuality, and is a combined effort; there’s no hint of discomfort as the pair tackle the subject head-on, even suggesting an array of erotic literature.
Clifton is a vegan and a strong believer in the benefits of a meatless, plant-based diet. She discusses how forgoing meat has changed her life and made her feel healthier and more energetic. She offers a collection of some of her favorite recipes and includes first-person anecdotes from people who have taken her advice and changed their lives.
If there’s a main focus to Waist Away, it’s the virtue of vegan living. Clifton is a firm believer that a diet containing red meat significantly increases the risk of chronic disease, so it’s a subject she doesn’t hesitate to address in a very pragmatic way. “I try not to use any “v” words on the first appointment,” she quips of her encounters with patients. “It’s like talking about your crazy relatives on the first date.”
Throughout the book the tone is friendly, reassuring, and even humorous. Clifton describes some of the challenges she’s encountered as a vegetarian—for example, going out to dinner parties and being the only guest at the table without a plate of food because of her “special needs.” Her approach is down-to-earth, grounded, and practical, and her recipes reflect her focus on healthy living with foods such as Cajun red beans, vegetarian chili, wraps, and sandwiches.
Clinton takes the helm of chapters on bone health and fat but seems to have less of a presence in Waist Away than does her mother. The book is heartily endorsed and given additional credibility by Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “Waist Away will change your life,” he writes in his foreword, and “Mary Clifton and Chelsea Clinton are experts. This book is a practical guide that will get you onto the right path, answer your questions and hold your hand along the way.”
Waist Away is an enjoyable and informative book, with an attractive cover featuring a slim doctor holding an apple. Clinton makes a strong case for going vegan. Careful readers may just find themselves making a few lifestyle changes.