Book Review: Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Get The Glow’

It’s been a while since I wrote a book review, and as a literature student I read an awful lot of books, so it’s not as if I don’t have material enough to begin writing one. If it’s something you guys are interested in I can begin reviewing and recommending texts I’m reading for my course- but today it’s one definitely non-course prescribed book: Madeleine Shaw’s Get The Glow.

I’m not entirely sure how I would define a “glow”, but I know that Shaw has it- and no I don’t think it’s just fancy studio lighting. I know that when I feel glowing it entails the following things:

  • Hair that is soft and healthy looking
  • Skin that looks radiant, without any niggling spots or eye bags
  • Merely looking awake and not like some bad tempered owl that’s been woken up slightly too early
  • Having energy- enough so that I can do uni, work, and social stuff
  • Feeling chilled out and like I have everything under control
  • No bloating etc.

So, that is my definition of feeling “glowing”, and when I was going through a bit of time where I felt distinctly un-glowing I ended up purchasing this book. Since reading it I’ve been watching Shaw’s “5 Things” videos and using one of her yoga sequences over on YouTube, and she’s actually really grown on me. I even subscribed. But back to the book: as well as promising me some tips on glowing a little more, it had some pretty decent recipe inspiration.

Now, I didn’t follow Madeline’s six week plan- just picked up the most helpful tips in the book and ran with them, making a few tweaks to my lifestyle and creating some of my own recipes. So what did I take away from the book, in a few bullet points, and what did I like about it?

  • I became aware that although fruit is delicious and you should in no sense stop eating it, it was just as beneficial to me (and would reduce my sugar levels) to replace some of my fruits with veggies.
  • Shaw acknowledges that hangovers and binges do happen, and offers sensible advice to deal with them, rather than extreme detox and sweating it out.
  • Shaw doesn’t demonise fats. She provides a guide of healthy sources, and I love that in some recipes, where required, she uses proper butter. She also uses coconut oil, but sometimes this can be exchanged for butter. She’s pro-fats and acknowledges coconut oil (expensive…) isn’t the be all and end all.
  • There’s a strong message of taking time out and promoting self-acceptance
  • She reinforced the importance of taking time over preparing and eating food
  • Some recipes use ingredients the average person cant get hold of, but with some knowledge and imagination you can use your own substitute e.g. quinoa can be swapped for brown rice, or wholemeal cous cous, or lentils maybe.

And then the things I didn’t like so much…

  • Some recipes don’t offer an alternative that’s reasonable for most people- for example buckwheat, almond, or rice flour. None of these are particularly cheap or accessible for me. Yes the tag line of the book is “100 delicious and easy recipes”, but it doesn’t matter how delicious and easy they are if I can’t afford/ get hold on the frigging ingredients.
  • Cacao, and macca in the energy balls, again not so accessible. Coconut sugar in the banana loaf…. I would use this as inspiration, perhaps replacing the cacao with unsweetened dark cocoa powder, and the sugar with honey or even some dates blended up with water to make a syrup.
  • The section on gluten in “More Ways To Beat The Bloat”. I don’t agree with demonising or cutting out gluten unless you’ve been medically tested for intolerance or allergy. I feel as though the reason people complain about gluten is because they choose foods that, yes, contain gluten, but also refined flours, sugars, additives etc. Bulgur wheat contains gluten, rye contains gluten. They aren’t bad for you. White bread contains gluten, those processed cakes you pick up on roll back contain gluten- and lots of sugar and additives. The latter gluten containing foods are the ones most of us go for, hence some unpleasant bloating.

All in all Shaw’s book was a great buy for me, and I refer back to it for inspiration and advice when needed. The recipes are mostly simple to make, especially in the ‘Breakfast’ section. I am desperate to make the pecan pie bars and sticky toffee pudding, as well as the chickpea and lentil dahl. It’s well written, oozing positivity and if a cookbook can be a feel-good read then that’s what it is.


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