One of the books I’ve been reading this month to help me with my personal wellness goals is Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art of Nourishing Mind, Body, and Spirit, by Candice Kumai. I’ve been so inspired by this book that I decided to write a whole post about it! Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by sealing the cracks with lacquer and dusting them with gold powder. The result is a piece that is even more beautiful and valuable than it was before. As a metaphor for life, kintsugi teaches us that our struggles and mistakes make us stronger and better than before.
In addition to kintsugi, the author describes ten principles for living well that are rooted in Japanese culture:
- Wabi-sabi: Admire imperfection
- Gaman: Live with great resilience
- Eiyoshoku: Nourish your body
- Ki o tsukete: Learn to take care
- Ganbatte: Always do your best
- Kaizen: Continuously improve
- Shikata ga nai: Accept what cannot be helped
- Yuimaru: Care for your inner circle
- Kansha: Cultivate sincere gratitude
- Osettai: Be of service to others, welcoming gifts
I love how the book provides practical tips for carrying out each principle, rather than just describing them in broad terms. For example, to practice wabi-sabi, you should stop comparing yourself to others, forgive, and simplify your life. I found myself really connecting with these principles, and since reading this book, I have been doing my best to live by them.
I also adore the recipe section of these book, which includes simple, healthy, and plant-based meals. These recipes are also insanely delicious, which I can attest to because I have already made six of them, and every single one was delicious! Even better, as someone who suffers from gluten intolerance, I was thrilled to discover that most of the recipes are either gluten-free, or can be made gluten-free.
So far, I have made the miso soup, light yakisoba noodles, turmeric rice, spicy miso kale salad, miso avocado toast, and matcha chocolate chip pancakes. For the noodle dish, I substituted yakisoba noodles for rice noodles to make the recipe gluten-free. I also swapped carrots for jicama in the salad, because the latter upsets my stomach. And I of course used gluten-free bread for the miso avocado toast. Some of the ingredients, such as wakame (dried seaweed), miso paste, and matcha, required a special trip to the Asian grocery store, but I once I had some of the core ingredients, I found myself using them over and over again for different dishes. I loved every single one of the recipes I tried, but my favorite would have to be the matcha chocolate chip pancakes–if you make only one recipe from this book, make this one!!
The photos in the book are of course much prettier than mine, but I thought I’d share the pictures I took, so you can see how the recipes turned out IRL.
Reading Kintsugi Wellness also fueled my desire to visit Japan one day, and it seems that Candice anticipated that her book might have this effect on people because the very last section includes a brief guide to some of her favorite places to visit in Japan. I only hope I can make use of this guide one day!
Overall, I highly recommend reading and living by the principles outlined in Kintsugi Wellness. It really helped me jumpstart my month of focus on personal well-being, and I think it’s a book that I will go back to frequently. If you’ve read Kintsugi Wellness, I would love to hear what you think in the comments (reading books and talking about books are two of my favorite things)!