i can remember a particular school holiday in my very early teens, when cycling was only something i did to deliver papers of a morning, being somewhat at a loose end for however many days schoolkids got for holidays then. i was too young to get a job anywhere, but too old to accompany parents to the supermarket or other mundane daily chores, so i turned to television, the very object that is currently partly blamed for the obesity epidemic much written and talked about nowadays. except rather than watching so-called trash, i found a daily dose of yoga expounded by the late richard hittleman. not quite so high up the popularity stakes as it is now (velopress have published at least a couple of volumes on the subject in recent years), this stuff was intriguing; it coincided with that eager to learn phase that i was (and still am) going through, and it looked very much like you could get yourself fit without much in the way of physical action.
over the holiday period, this was eagerly watched and practised everyday; i can't remember whether it actually made me fitter and more flexible or not, though i suffer from few ailments all these years later, having continued the practise up until the early nineties, coincidentally when richard hittleman passed away. it is strange, to me at least, that the only part of that series that i can confidently recall was mr hittleman's contention that, the more yoga was practised, the less the body would rely on meat as a part of the daily diet. i do remember thinking that this couldn't possibly be true, since i couldn't see the connection. but only a year or so later, i became, and have remained a vegetarian. i have no truck with the posters seen in butcher shop windows that proudly and dogmatically state meat to live. because i'm proving otehrwise.
the practising of yoga, pilates and other alternative forms of exercise is now well documented even within the pages of such as cycling weekly, but in the real world are still often viewed with a degree of suspicion. it wouldn't be the first time i've been referred to as a 'hippy', though i don't suppose the shoulder length hair does much to countermand. yet despite this being an epithet aimed in my direction, i can't help passing this along in the direction of mr kelinson, authr of this fine book on healthy eating for those with more on their mind than watching yoga programmes on telly. it may well be that his enthusiasm for proper eating, for fresh ingredients, proper nutrients and the like are well intentioned, but he does tend to go on a bit.
the early, opening chapters mention farmers' markets a bit more often than is necessarily prudent in my opinion, and i can't help thinking that his case may have been helped a tad if the writing were a bit more down to earth. there can be little doubt that kelinson undertsands the contribution that each particular food group makes to our daily wellbeing, and it is also possible that he lives not a wheel's throw away from an entire city of farmers' markets. this may be more of a north american thing than that of the uk, but having notionally investigated the possibility of making a short movie pertaining to one of the recipes to accompany this review, i found it well nigh impossible to complete the ingredient list for even one of the recipes. islay is likely a special case in this respect, since farmers' markets are somewhat thin on the ground over here; farmers there are by the dozen, but it's all beef and sheep and no veg.
that said, the recipes, all eighty five of them, are more than likely to aid and abet not only your health and vitality, but also the workings of your digestion. there are easy (if you can find the ingredients) recipes for dressings, dips and toppings, soups, grains, seafoood, meat, pasta; all the usual suspects, so if you find your current nutritional training regime to be a bit heavy going, and you're willing to put up with a bit of excessively earnest and precious writing, this might just be the book for you. it's certainly worth the price of admission for the recipes alone.
the athlete's plate by adam kelinson, is available from cordee books for £17.95
posted monday 22 march 2010..........................................................................................................................................................................................................