Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, FAHA, Terri Ann Parnell, RN, MA, and Carol Turkington New York: St. Martin’s Griffin; 2008
Heart Smart for Black Women and Latinas is a practical guide to making positive changes in eating habits, physical activity, and stress reduction. The book is coauthored by a cardiologist and a cardiovascular nurse, in collaboration with a medical writer and editor. The value of this book lies in its accessible, nonthreatening style. The authors understand that readers often feel alienated by diets with unfamiliar ingredients and intimidating recipes, and that many women shy away from gyms with daunting exercise regimens and lengthy commitments. The twist is that the authors give gender- and culture-specific advice in the hopes that it will resonate with their target audience.
Many of the ingredients in traditional African-American and Latin Cuisine are intrinsically healthy; it’s the preparation of these ingredients that introduces lard, deep frying, and high doses of salt. The book instructs how to eat in moderation and prepare traditional foods in healthier ways. The chapter on exercise proposes devoting a mere 10 minutes a day to being active. Parking on the far side of the parking lot, pacing while on the phone—anything that increases physical activity is a good start.
I enjoyed reading Heart Smart for Black Women and Latinas. It provides a realistic approach and gentle encouragement to women who might otherwise feel alienated from the diet and exercise culture. As I look around our clinic waiting room, I see many women whose lives could be touched by the messages in this book and the wisdom in its pages. I recommend it highly.
Elizabeth H. B. Mandell, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Midlife Health
University of Virginia