Adopting a healthy lifestyle can be daunting, as anyone knows who has tried. Eating well, exercising, and reducing stress are all invaluable, but changing one’s habits can become overwhelming. Many of those New Year’s resolutions may have gone by the wayside already– and it’s only March! But, help is on the way in The New Health Rules, an easy-to-read book by Irvington author, Danielle Claro, written with Frank Lipman, M.D. It’s a compact manifesto chock-full of basic, common sense information that provides guidance on simple changes that will help readers achieve whole-body wellness. Exquisite photographs complement the authors’ 100 manageable life-changing suggestions — each is one paragraph in length.
Claro describes her mission: “To cut through all the noise about wellness and create something emotional. The book has been created in such a way as to open the reader’s mind and heart to basic information needed, and make it easier to digest with alluring photos, as well.” Readers can open the book to any page and work on one health issue any day of the week; easy-to-follow, straightforward advice, uncluttered by unnecessary technical information is her style. But, as The New Health Rules Foreword states, “…you’ll get every bit of expert, actionable wisdom you need to transform your health. This book is not meant to change you in a weekend. It’s meant to map out the healthy habits you want to integrate deeply and forever.”
Pointers on topics such as eating, moving, boosting, healing and living are all based on a deep-rooted understanding of what differing choices we have all made in our lives: our choices in home and work surroundings, from sleep routines to preferred cleaning agents. Habits and routines vary from person to person, so start where you are, the authors emphasize, be patient with yourself, and listen to advice you think will work for your lifestyle.
Health issues are integral to Claro’s work life. She launched Breath magazine as Editor-in Chief, and her co-author Dr. Lipman, was referred to her as a columnist because of his pioneering work on integrative and functional medicine. They started writing together soon after.
But Claro’s roots as a professional writer started long before. As the daughter of two writers and editors (Irvington residents Fran and Joe Claro), Danielle proofread in college, copy-edited during her modern dance career, and ghost wrote multiple books. After she had her children: Ruby, now 19 and a sophomore at Oberlin (a performer at Irvington’s Farmer’s Market), and Ian, aged 16 and a sophomore at Irvington High School (where he is editor-in-chief of the school newspaper), she went back to the magazine world at a senior level.
Claro is now the Deputy Editor of Real Simple Magazine where she has been for 5 ½ years and where she met the gifted photographers, Gentl & Hyers, whose work graces her text. In creating the book’s concept, Claro emphasizes, “I wanted people to be in a comfortable place, hold the book easily in their hands, be receptive, feel happy and not burdened by it. That’s when we are open to change. You can open the book randomly to any place, begin a new practice, do it over and over, and then you have a relationship to it. Then you can keep going back to different messages. That’s how I would like readers to use this book.”
She also stresses the value of being familiar with your own particular state of mind, your own cultural roots and zest for life and not denying yourself those pleasures. “I’m Italian,” she notes, “and I have a natural proclivity toward pasta.” Claro is a perfect example of someone who lives a large part of what this book has to offer spiritually, mentally and physically without abandoning her roots. Her message: do things that make sense for your life.
“As Dr. Lipman says, “Change by change, you’ll build a lifestyle that sticks.”
The New Health Rules is available at Galapagos Books in Hastings, The Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, and at Barnes & Noble.