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book reviews

52 Small Changes Could Be Your Tool For a Happier, Healthier Year

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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Calories & Corsets Looks at 2,000 Years of Dieting

Book by Louise FoxcroftIn 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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Tao Song and Tao Dance Continues Study on Alternative Healing Techniques

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.”
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Get Out of Your Veggie Comfort Zone with Easy and Healthy Ways to Prepare Fresh Vegetables

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.
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Moving Beyond Depression Utilizes Physical Health to Improve Mental Health

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.

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