The cover of the book and its title grabbed my attention as I perused the health section at my local Chapters bookstore. Kale. Coffee. Together? Both of these “foods” have been making headlines, so to see them together in a book title begged for me to check out the table of contents. I loved the introduction’s title — “Breaking the Rules.” Perusing the fourteen chapter titles hooked me. This gem was put into my purchase pile — I love books, especially nutrition, health and wellness ones.
Once I got home, I opened up this book and started reading and reading and reading. This health, happiness and longevity treatise is basically Kevin Gianni’s journey from a underweight raw foodist to a a bloated overweight omnivore. Yes, vegan to meat-eater! His anecdotal account chronicles his real-life adventure as he “checks” out the science with his own body’s response to a variety of potential health-promoting pursuits. In the end, he concludes — “it’s essential to focus on long-term results…much of our scientific literature comes from an American mind-set of faster is better.”  Truthfully, lifelong health cannot be done in a 21-day quick start program or any other quick fix that media latches onto and expounds its benefits. Health takes energy and time. It takes consistency. It means figuring out what your body needs. And the only person that can figure that out is YOU — okay, as a holistic nutritionist, I believe I can help you to get in tune with what your unique body needs to be health, vibrant and awesome.
Gianni takes you on a journey from the Peruvian Andes to the Mexican salt flats to his experience of taking a Californian butchery class (there’s a challenge for an ex-vegan). He tackles the “holy trinity of disease” — sugar, carbs and gluten — as well as, alcohol, coffee, exercise, meat and stress to name a few other topics investigated and challenged. Simply put, Gianni covers a lot of ground in his search for health, happiness and longevity. In the end, he debunks many of the latest health hypes in his search for which “diet” and “lifestyle” will give a person a thriving long life. Finding your own optimal health and wellness is a journey unique to you and cannot be found in the latest fad program or diet.
5 Things That Intrigued Me From the Pages of Kale and Coffee
- No one-size-fits-all human diet exists: Okay, I already knew and probably so did you. We are all biodiverse and genetically unique. What you might need to keep out of your diet may need to be included for another person. So the latest fad “diet” isn’t going to give you optimal health for a long life. It is time to quit striving for short-term results and figure out what you need for a lifetime of wellness.
- The real indicator of health and longevity might very well be what you leave out of your diet rather than what you add in: Should I include superfoods? How about leaving in coffee? Adding in more veggies? My nutritional approach is squeeze out the less-than-healthy choices with better nutritional choices. I have tried adding in the latest “superfood” and nutritious choice only to find that I have no space in my diet for everything. Instead, ask yourself, “how do I feel when…?” and decide what to include or exclude from your dietary choices. It’s your body, so choose wisely.
- Coffee isn’t for everyone, but you already knew that. — America’s most popular pick-me-up — has a wonderful aroma and a bitter satisfying taste. In fact, Gianni cites “A study conducted by the University of South Florida and the University of Miami and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012 found that drinking two to three cups of coffee a day may help elderly people with memory problems delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by two to four years.”  Since I carry more than a couple genes for Alzheimer’s, I am intrigued by these findings. However, I also know that I suffer blinding caffeine-withdrawal headaches when I “go off coffee.” You must make your own decision about which vices you’ll include in your diet based on how you feel and how your body reacts. I “allow” myself the occasional espresso — after all, 23andMe, a genetic testing company, revealed that I am one of the 49% lucky ones, who is a fast caffeine metabolizer.
- “[T]he key to great brain health, and very possibility to longevity, may be painfully simple: keep learning and keep working.”  I have been spending a lot of time reading, researching and compiling information about brain health. Ultimately, your brain needs oxygen, glucose (energy) and stimulation — so, seize every opportunity keep your brain sharp, moldable and curious. Gianni does provide “Tips for a Healthy Brain”  and “Brain Supplements and Nutrients”  for those desiring a “to-do list” what to add to your already full life.
- Think long-term, not short-term: Gianni adapts an adage from the Peruvian Andres Q’ero people — “What will this decision look like for my health in 100 years?” (Q’ero apply this to 1000 years.) You need to be less short-sighted about your health endeavours. “Thinking long-term does two things for you and your psyche,” according to Gianni. “As long as you’re working to improve, you’re always winning… [and] focus[ing] your mind on doing things that will increase longevity…”  Short-term pursuits of a certain number on the scale or to fit a certain little black dress are health-draining, not life-giving.
Lastly, ponder this statement: “Think like a Q’ero and your body and mind will respond with more patience, better health, and, chances are, longer life.”  Your journey isn’t over and this health pursuit is a life-long adventure. Each choice can bring health or disease, but that choice is yours. As for me, I’m willing to pursue knowledge to live a happy and vibrant adventure — want to join me?
As a certified holistic nutritionist, I strive to guide you to figure out what will give you health and longevity. And when you feel well, you’ll experience happiness because health exudes from the inside out.
The first step is yours — call Brenda at 403.801.5698 or email to schedule your no-obligation Discovery Chat. Together we can decode your body’s health, happiness and longevity.
 Kevin Gianni, Kale and Coffee: A Renegade’s Guide to Health, Happiness and Longevity, (Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2015) 197.
 Ibid, 140.
 Ibid, 193.
 Ibid, 187-188.
 Ibid, 191-192.
 Ibid, 197.
 Ibid, 199.