Food Makes us Happy (and can also make us healthy)

When Beth Aldrich talks about food, she’s not just happy; she’s in heaven.

“I don’t just love eating food. I love looking at it, smelling it, thinking about … It’s an obsession in the best possible way,” she says in the new book she wrote with Eve Adamson, “Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Feel Fabulous” (NAL Trade, 2012).

It’s not a diet book or a health book; it’s about loving food, but also about loving yourself enough to eat the very best food.

We met just before the launch of her book, and Beth is the best example of her philosophy in action. She’s slim and full of energy. You’d never guess that a serious car accident in 2007 changed her life. She went from successful television host to patient, and while she worried that the damage to her face meant the end of her career, this mother of three sons had time to think about what was important and what would make her happy.

“Food makes us feel good,” she says. “And I knew I could make a difference in how people think about food.”

She started studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, because she says that she had a feeling that this was the place that could teach her about food, health and—she hoped—happiness.

The result? A new career, a new book and yes, she’s happy.

“When someone I’ve helped calls back and they’ve seen results, I get giddy,” she says. “When you find the right path you know you should be on, there’s such joy.”

From her lovely home in Wilmette, Beth lives what she teaches. In her book, she doesn’t ask you to deny yourself or count calories. But each week, for 10 weeks, she asks you to try five things.

Most are simple: drink more water, have one ounce of dark chocolate each day (yay!) or try a new food. A few are tougher: start each day with a green smoothie, teach your children to help in the kitchen, and go vegetarian one day a week. But you only have to do five things for that one week. And in the end, it adds up to a healthy diet.

“The goal isn’t to be bone thin,” she says. “It’s about bridging the gap between guilt and pleasure, and enjoying food for what it is.”

Check out Laura’s experience trying out the “Real Moms Love to Eat” 10-week program at small makeitbetter.net/real-moms. To learn more about the book, go to realmomslovetoeat.com.