PulseBOOKS: Great wine, good food will keep you happy

If you are like me, great wine and good food are two things that have the ability to enhance your happiness in life. These four books can help elevate those already good moods.  

In his latest book, Around the World in Eighty Wines (Rowman & Littlefield), Mike Veseth tries to answer the question, “Why wine?” Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic tale, Veseth follows Phileas Fogg’s journey around the world to explore why wine is a source of such enjoyment, passion and obsession. The answer: “Wine fills your glass, but it can also fill your heart and focus your mind.” Despite battling war, poor economic conditions and changing climates, winemakers in every corner of the world remain dedicated to their craft. As Veseth scours the world for the best bottles of wine, he regales the stories of these winemakers, not just in the usual places like Italy, France and the U.S., but in often-overlooked countries like Algeria, Georgia, Lebanon, Shangri-La, Syria and Tasmania.

If you’re new to wine, check out Richard L. Chilton Jr.’s new book, Adventures with Old Vines: A Beginner’s Guide to Being a Wine Connoisseur (Rowman & Littlefield). Chilton, who owns Hourglass Vineyard in Napa Valley, delivers a book grounded in his 40-year wine journey to help “new wine connoisseurs” with theirs. Chilton dissects the art of winemaking, tasting and reading a wine list before introducing profiles of his “benchmark” wines. Chosen because of the “unique place they hold in the wine world,” Chilton supplies information newbies should know about why each of these vineyards, and their classic vintages, are significant.

Just as wine makes us happy, so can food ‑ as long as you eat the right stuff. In The Happiness Diet: Good Mood Food (Atria Books), author Rachel Kelly shares her personal experiences working with nutritionist Alice Mackintosh to overcome anxiety and depression with her diet rather than drugs. Kelly and Mackintosh explain the science behind “good mood food” and the effects eating “real foods” can have on your body and mind. The authors offer food lists and recipes that can help assuage a host of emotional issues; the book is categorized by common feelings, including “beating the blues,” “mental clarity,” “hormonal peace” and even “comfort food.”

New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady also believes in the power of real food, as showcased in his new book The TB12 Method (Simon & Schuster). Brady, who’s still an elite QB at 40, credits his peak performance to the TB12 Method ‑ a program focused on strict nutrition and the practice of pliability, what he calls the “missing leg” of training programs. While some of his advice (like avoiding nightshade vegetables and utilizing bioceramic-infused sleepwear) might not be plausible for the average reader, ideas like pliability ‑ the softening and lengthening of muscles to protect one from injury ‑ are worth considering. Pliability is one of the 12 principles of the TB12 Method (others include nutrition, sleep and hydration), which ‑ according to Brady ‑ when integrated correctly, can help change your life as it did his. I mean, he has five Super Bowl rings; he might be onto something.

– Kimberly DUNBAR

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