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Tag Archives: book reviews
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. (more…)
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.” (more…)
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.
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.
As part of the Soul Power Series, a new release by New York Times Bestselling author Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha, “Tao Song and Tao Dance” hit stores today and offers a continued study of Dr. Sha’s extraordinary healing techniques and concepts.
Dr. Sha is a conventional medical doctor as well as a doctor of Chinese medicine. Demonstrating his humanitarian efforts, for which he was awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Commission, Dr. Sha founded the Institute of Soul Healing and Enlightenment and the Love Peace Harmony Movement. He is also a master of Eastern disciplines such as tai chi, qigong, feng shui and kung fu. Named Qigong Master of the Year at the Fifth World Congress on Qigong, Dr. Sha’s Soul Power Series reveal his secrets, wisdom, knowledge and practical techniques to transform every aspect of life. As a soul leader, healer and divine servant, Dr. Sha claims that we should “Heal and transform the soul first; then healing and transformation of every aspect of life will follow.” (more…)
Learning how to cook can be intimidating, but learning how to cook when you’re trying to lose weight can seem impossible. Easy and Healthy Ways to Prepare Fresh Vegetables is an approachable, easy to read book that instructs readers how to peel, prepare and preserve your favorite produce.
Co-authors Arnold Weislo and Annabelle Delaval decided to write the book after a trip to their town market where Weislo watched his friend, an excellent cook, choose vegetables for a pasta dish that he would prepare.
“When I saw him choose the vegetables while I was buying pasta, it bugged me slightly. And I wanted to do like him: be able to choose vegetables and most of all, be able to cook them afterwards,” said Weislo.
With plenty of photographs to help guide readers through the steps of cooking with popular vegetables, the book addresses nutritional qualities, health benefits, peak seasonal information and recipes, like Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart, for 20 vegetables.
Not only does the book offer general tips for preparing fruits and vegetables, but it provides insight on how to clean, cut and prepare some of the trickiest types of produce. (more…)
The book Moving Beyond Depression: A whole-person approach to healing by Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D. with Ann McMurray may be a self-help treatment approach that you find fits well with your desires to improve health and lose weight. Dr. Jantz suggests that our culture is over medicated, especially when treating depression, and many find side effects like weight gain and decreased libido contribute to depression even if overall mood is improved. While the book begins with emotional currents, there is also a nice focus on nutrition, movement, and the whole person.
It is likely that Dr. Jantz chose to begin with the various emotions that can be involved in depression because a major part of experiencing depression is what one feels. Also many therapists are most comfortable discussing emotions. There are several examples and stories throughout the book in which you may be able to recognize aspects of yourself.
The book As Thin as You Think by Kristin Volk Funk is the kind of self-help about which research and my experience make me very skeptical. The intention is for the book to offer “The Keys to Unlocking Your Weight Loss Power,” revealing both the path to success and the reasons that caused your weight gain in the first place. The book is meant to be positive, encouraging, and easy, but I am always skeptical about a “quick fix”.
A “quick fix” is offered within the preface of the book- and it’s trance. I have worked under an experienced therapist who practiced trance, a variation of hypnotism, with clients and observed more than one client undergoing a trance session. I do believe it can be a powerful technique, but it is still not a “quick fix” for any type of struggle.
Kristin offers several mantras that readers can adopt. However, it seems that she is forgetting the research that reminds us that such mantras cannot be given to us but must be something that we already believe and must be used simply as a reminder for the self.
There are too many excuses as to why we aren’t fit as a country. Among those excuses are mentions of how pricey it can be to buy gym memberships or workout equipment for the home. Those excuses seem fair to most people, but what if you were told that some of the fittest people in the country have no money and no access to any standard gym equipment? An attorney found this to be true as he dealt with clients in California correctional facilities.
After seeing how incredibly strong and fit inmates became during their time in prison, attorney William Kroger and his friend, a trainer, Trey Tuefel, devised a workout plan called Felon Fitness. Now, they’ve written a book, Felon Fitness: How to Get a Hard Body Without Doing Hard Time. Now all can become prison yard fit without doing time.
In the 90’s, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation removed free weights from the prisons. Inmates looking to strengthen up had to resort to body-weight exercises. Exercises such as push-ups, cherry pickers, pull-ups, and burpees were done at very high repetitions to obtain extreme levels of strength.
The tough repetitive body weight workouts are exactly what the book promotes along with a no nonsense diet plan.
I am generally fairly skeptical about self-help books, but I was very pleasantly surprised to read 8 Keys to Recovery From An Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience by Carolyn Costin and Gwen Schubert Grabb. I am guessing they believe that simply using their names makes them more approachable to readers; however, it is clear that these are intelligent, educated, and experienced professionals. Perhaps I would have been less surprised by the expertise of this book if they had included their degrees and licensing (all those fancy letters after their names) on the title page.
By the time I got to the third key, I had stopped writing down highlights for this review because the value of this book is greater than than the sum of the eight individual keys. Not only do I believe this book can be extremely helpful to someone suffering from an eating disorder, but I believe it could be helpful for other practitioners who are not specialized in eating disorders in helping someone experiencing a mild eating disorder. (I still think it is important to refer to specialists for anyone suffering from a moderate to severe eating disorder.)