Authors are often villainized for giving diet or health advice that’s contrary to popular opinion, whether it’s risky, controversial or just plain wrong. And every once in a while when such a person comes along, they’re either welcomed with enthusiasm or shunned entirely. This week, British author Venice A. Fulton is facing a little of both reactions for his new health book “6 Weeks to OMG: Get Skinnier Than All Your Friends,” which offers up some head-turning health advice.
Fulton, whose real name is Paul Khanna and writes under an alias for career purposes, penned his new health book based on months of personal research and it’s already seen raging success in the U.K. Now, it’s skipping the pond to the U.S., and there’s already plenty of mixed opinions surrounding its validity.
The primary concerns surrounding the book lie with the sensational title and the unconventional advice Fulton dishes out, including the recommendations to take ice cold baths, skip breakfast, and drink black coffee to speed up the metabolism. And the promise behind Fulton’s out-there advice? Readers will lose up to 20 pounds in just six weeks and get skinnier than all their friends.
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Like many diets, the Paleo or “caveman” way of eating requires a big change in eating habits, a lot of dedication, and more effort than the typical American’s diet takes. The paleo diet also calls for a major shift in how one thinks about traditional nutrition. The book Paleoista: Gain Energy, Get Lean, and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born To Eat claims all of this and more.
The paleo diet, which first gained popularity in the 70s, has a lot of good things going for it. Dieters are instructed to cut out refined sugars and processed foods and eat more fruits and vegetables. Then comes the interesting part – all grains and dairy products are strictly forbidden. No beans, soy, tofu, quinoa, or goat cheese, what many people commonly think of as healthy foods. It’s similar to eating a vegan diet in the sense of eating lots of raw, natural foods, but paleos add lean meat, and lots of it.
Paleoista is different from the profusion of other paleo diet books in that it focuses on women. A diet whose nickname is “caveman” hardly sounds appealing to many individuals but the author, Nell Stephenson, wants her female readers especially to know that this diet can be followed by stylish, modern women (and men) who successfully balance their careers and families and still have energy left over at the end of the day.
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Gordon Filepas is a father, businessman, and husband just like millions of other people. But after losing his father and brother to cancer within three months of each other nearly 20 years ago, he began a relentless quest to know how to live a long and healthy life naturally. He shares those principles in his new book, ‘Lean and Healthy to 100.’
Of our obesity-ridden society, FIlepas says, “I don’t know how many more signs we need in Western society before we really get serious about our health.” The author considers his book a guide for achieving optimal health based on models from cultures where long lives are the norm.
One of the things Filepas is most passionate about is the health of his family. ”When my children were born…I spent so much time watching my father and brother suffer and watched how the doctors couldn’t do anything for them despite their best efforts…it scared me pretty badly,” he says.
“Prior to this I had always taken health for granted. Their deaths woke me up and made me realize that I did not want to leave the health of my children to chance.”
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Perhaps you resolved to be happier and healthier in 2012. If you feel overwhelmed or do not know where to start, a great book just came across my desk that could be exactly what you want. Brett Blumenthal has written 52 Small Changes: One year to a happier, healthier you, and it looks like an excellent program.
On the first page of the introduction, I was immediately impressed that not only is this research-based, but she has done her homework and cited her references. All of her theories seem to be right on, and it is all things we need to hear when trying to make a change, even if it seems basic. The approach is holistic, including change items in four sections: diet and nutrition, fitness and prevention, mental well-being, and green living. If you are suspicious that “green” is simply a marketing label, I would venture that these are truly healthy living habits that don’t quite fit into diet and nutrition or fitness and prevention. Each change is something that will lead to a physically and mentally healthier life, so even if you never complete the book, you can be healthier and happier.
While she is using the kaizen theory to create an entire lifestyle change in a year, I do think this is a lot of change very quickly. No single change will be cemented in a single week. You will still be practicing when you add in the next thing. After several weeks, there may be a lot to track. Brett states that you can use this book in any way that fits for you. That may mean mastering each change (which could take several weeks or months) before moving on to the next one. It may mean starting on January first. It may mean starting on Monday. It may mean starting on or a year before a milestone birthday. It may mean picking and choosing what is most applicable to you right now.
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In the book Calories & Corsets, Cambridge historian Louise Foxcroft explores the history of diets, which reaches back 2,000 years in Europe. She not only explores the emergence of fad diets and the weight loss industry, but also a history of attitudes towards fatness.
In Western civilization, people who are overweight have been judged as morally and spiritually weak, so by logical extension, diets and weight loss regimes were something punishing. The Ancient Greeks induced vomiting and used enemas in an effort to reduce body fat. The rise of Christianity further enforced the association between fatness and sin. Being fat was not only a proof of gluttony, but also represented too strong an attachment to worldly pleasures.
As the title suggests, female bodies have been submitted to higher pressures to become thin. Foxcroft looks at how the ideal female figure has evolved, along with the schemes and fads that promised to mean the means of achieving this goal. Once a problem only for the rich, over time weight gain and obesity became a problem for all classes as sedentary lifestyles became the norm and unhealthy snacks became less and less expensive.
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