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RECIPE FOR LIFE: How to Change Habits That Harm into Resources That Heal
Graham and Treena Kerr
B&H Publishing Group
Religion & Spirituality
ISBN-10: 0805440682
ISBN-13: 9780805440683

For years --- way back in the 1970s --- Graham Kerr delighted and entertained audiences around the world with his witty, groundbreaking cooking show, "The Galloping Gourmet." But all that gourmet cooking, and eating, took a toll on his wife's health, so he and Treena did a turnaround with regard to their high-fat, high-calorie, high-expense indulgence in haute cuisine. Their next show, "Take Kerr" (their last name is pronounced "care"), reflected their culinary transformation. But as radical as that change was, nothing could compare to the transformation to come: they became followers of Jesus, sold nearly everything they had, started a retreat center that failed, became missionaries with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) and said "no" to a host of lucrative opportunities that resulted from their continued stature as celebrities.

Over the years, Graham, often with Treena as collaborator, has written a number of books mingling his changing philosophy on food with the couple's lifestyle of faith in Christ and fellowship with other believers. But in this book, food takes a backseat to lifestyle. Their RECIPE FOR LIFE transcends the principles of healthy eating and focuses on a principle they call "outdulgence." The idea behind outdulgence is to identify a harmful habit, give it up, determine how much the habit cost you (say, the per diem cost of a cigarette or latte or cable TV habit) and transfer that amount of money into a bank account to be used exclusively for sending donations to a charity of your choice --- or, put more succinctly, "converting habits that harm into resources that heal," the program's slogan.

In the Kerrs' case, that meant sponsoring children through Compassion International. Throughout the book, the Kerrs emphasize the highly personal nature of the outdulgence lifestyle; one person's harmful habit may not be the same as another person's, just as the chosen charity will vary from one person to another. Neither judgmentalism nor legalism has a place in an outdulgent lifestyle, they write.

The book itself is divided into two parts: the first a description of outdulgence and the second an autobiographical glimpse into the Kerrs' spiritual and lifestyle journey. Though at times the text is confusing and uneven, it is more often funny, revealing and touching. Most of all, it shows the couple's willingness to be vulnerable by exposing their --- actually, Graham's --- many relapses into a life dependent on their celebrity and the outward appearances that underscored their success. The book provides not only a testimonial to the power of God to radically change a life but also the resources that will help you enhance your changed life by becoming an "outdulgent" person.

An appendix lists non-governmental organizations (charities and non-profits) that provide assistance to eight specific categories of people in need: those who are hungry, thirsty, homeless (exposed to the elements), widowed, orphaned, sick, imprisoned and naked (in need of clothing).

The couple's many fans will almost certainly enjoy the book, while it also will appeal to those who have grown uneasy over the habits they know they need to change. For those of you in the latter category, the Kerrs offer a practical and proven way to shift your focus as you change your lifestyle.

   --- Reviewed by Marcia Ford. You may contact Marcia by email ( or through her website (

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