Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review: Effortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola

I have followed Dr. Joseph Mercola via e-mail for awhile and put a few of his health tips into place in my life. I wish I could have him, or someone, like him for a doctor. Since I don't see that happening soon, I found putting his plan into practice would be helpful for me. His new book, Effortless Healing, is a well-written, easy-to-follow manual for how to improve your health holistically. 

Effortless Healing has three sections. In part 1, Dr. Mercola explains what effortless healing is and how to best follow his plan for your optimum health. Part 2 includes 9 healing principles for helping you attain your optimum health:
Drink pure water,
Eat your veggies,
Using fat for fuel,
Exercise less and gain more benefits,
Enjoy the sun and get vitamin D,
Let your gut flourish,
Clean your brain with sleep,
Go barefoot and other ways to stay grounded, and
Avoid these 6 "health foods."
Part 3 offers advice on making the plan work best for you. 

Some of Dr. Mercola's principles offer advice that is counter to what you may have heard before. I like that Dr. Mercola backs all of his advice up with meticulously referenced end notes. He also puts this advice into words that are easy for any layperson to understand. This book was enjoyable to read and it is easy for me to follow as I try to make my own health changes. The first step is actually the most challenging for me right now as we live in a temporary apartment and it is hard for me to know how to do anything to make our water system better where we are. We are house shopping after a move so this won't last forever, but I would like to get started on the plan. I wish he had some advice for those in apartments or temporary situations. Otherwise, I found a lot of helpful advice in the book.

I would encourage anyone to read this book that is wanting to improve their health. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: The Healthy Mind by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson

Our son has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. My grandpa passed away from dementia a few years ago. I think what we eat helps fuel our bodies, which is why I want to cook foods that helps my family to take care of their minds and bodies. The Healthy Mind Cookbook has been a great resource to help me learn better how to fuel my body and my family's with foods that help "enhance brain function, mood, memory and mental clarity." (from the cover)

Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson have created a beautiful cookbook with some delicious recipes and eye-catching photos throughout the book. The book has an especially great chapter entitled, " The Culinary Pharmacy." This chapter shares some of the healthful foods used in the recipes along with what those foods can do to improve your mind.

Recipes that caught my eye in this book include: High Flying Turkey Black Bean Chili, Cranberry Orange and Apricot Muffins, Apple Pie Spiced Walnuts and Raisins, Kale Quinoa Salad, several delicious looking salmon recipes and and several tonics and elixers including Jeanne's Brain Tea. I found the recipes in this book easy to follow and ingredients that I can find locally in the Midwest.

I highly recommend this book for both the information and the recipes for someone who wants to eat for their health and enjoy what they eat too.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review: Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado withCandace Lee and Eric Newman

When Chelsea and Sawyer Chambers split up, Chelsea takes their 2 kids back to her deceased mother's coffee shop to open it up and make a new life for herself as a single mom. She opens up shop and then faces some big challenges. However, unbeknownst to her, she also has some heavenly assistance to help her face them.

have read most of Max Lucado's books, so given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to read this one. I started out being interested in it, but then I found myself struggling to finish it. I just didn't find some of the day-to-day parts of this book to be believable. At the same time, I also found the heavenly angel and spiritual warfare parts to be reminiscent of This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti. Even so, I liked the aspect of angels watching over the characters. I struggled with the storyline between Chelsea and the children and between her and her sister because the story felt predictable in some places and the characters or storyline weren't very developed from my point of view in other places. One aspect that I did like about this book is that it helped the reader see a relationship between our prayers and how God uses them to make a difference in people's lives. I didn't find that with the other Lucado books that I have read. I would give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Book Review: A Good Food Day by Marco Canora

Marco Canora is a chef by trade. A Good Food Day is his 2nd cookbook, with his first being, Salt To Taste. I confess I haven't tried his first book but after using this one, I am going to look for it. Canora offers this answer to, What is a good food day? Marco says it is a day when feeling well and eating well go hand in hand.

Canora used to live the fast and busy life of a chef. He stayed out late, drank too much caffeine, smoked and didn't make the best food choices. He is still working as a chef, except these days he is taking better care of himself. In this book, he shares how he came to change all of that after facing some health issues. I appreciate his down-to-earth approach to cooking and eating healthy. As part of what he has learned, he shares his 10 principles for a good food day that makes good sense to me. 

The photos in this book are gorgeous and just made me want to try the recipe. I know I will use this book more when it is summer and garden season in here in the Midwest. In the meantime, I enjoyed his recipe of Garlicky Brussels Sprouts. Canora also gives little tips with his recipes that chefs may know but an average cook may not. For example, along with this recipe, the garlic should be put in the pan in cool oil to infuse the flavor better and to prevent it from burning. I did not know this. He offers recipes for most every type of meal, and has some great breakfast recipes among them. I had not tried adding cooked steel cut oats to breakfast shakes but it makes sense to me. His recipes of Pear-Maple Oatmeal Shake and Cherry-Vanilla Oatmeal Shake are my list to try next since I enjoy both shakes and oatmeal for breakfast. 

I recommend this book for both the basic health information shared by Canora as you consider making your own dietary changes, for delicious fresh whole foods recipes and for the beautiful photographs. It is a keeper for me. I also find that most of the ingredients are readily available to me in the Midwest. 

 I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Book Review: Nourished by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph

Mother-Daughter team Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph have teamed up to write another terrific book that women can relate to. I thoroughly enjoyed We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook, their first book, so couldn't wait to read their second book. In this book, Nourished, they help the reader live a more nourished life by helping the reader manage parenting struggles, cluttered surrounding , crowded schedules and feeling negative about body image or spiritual image.
I enjoyed Nourished. I found much of what they write to be helpful to me, and likely helpful to many women. They have at least two generations thoughts and ideas covered as they share ways we women can make our lives a little better. I found some helpful ideas on improving my life as we go tough a move and I try to make new friendships and renew old friendships back in our hometown. I also, appreciated the marriage ideas and the  help in seeing how God wants to nourish our lives. Overall, it was like grabbing a cup of tea and sitting down with these ladies to gab and learn. Their writing style is uplifting and showcases each lady's personality. I could often relate to both women but you should be able to at least identify with one of them, and to learn and grow. I would recommend this book to women of all ages and at all stages of life as I think most women could relate to this writing duo.

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review: Make It Happen by Lara Casey

This bright beautiful book is not just a reader. Make It Happen is a book to write in, make notes, and highlight to learn from Lara Casey. In fact, writing in a notebook or journal alongside the book would be useful. This is the kind of book that I really prefer to have a hard copy of to mark up but it is available in an electronic version as well.

Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live On Purpose offers Lara Casey's story of how she started living a fulfilling life for God. While I won't post any spoilers here, I will say it wasn't a perfect path. But that is what I love about Lara's story. She shares from her heart, is real and honest about the hard things she faced and how they ultimately changed her course for the better in the end as she realized what was most important.

While Lara shares her story in this book, she also shares how you can turn your anxiety, fear, imperfections, drive and dreams into a story that involves you living your own life of purpose for God. She shares in the beginning of how you can start anywhere in the book and read. The first three parts involve her sharing her story and the reader engaging in some questions for themselves. Then Part 4 involves the reader using that section mainly as a workbook to find the path they want to take.

If you are searching for your path, I think this book could be a helpful tool for finding it. I also, think it would be great to do this book with a good friend or mentor or a small group for more feedback. I thought I might be to old for this book, but as a middle aged woman, I found the material helpful in learning to dream again and put the past behind. I intend to do more of the workbook sections along with my journal as I decide what course to take next for myself.

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Review: The Chia Cookbook by Janie Hoffman, Founder of Mamma Chia

The Chia Cookbook is beautifully illustrated with brightly colored pictures of the recipes. I was drawn to this book from the moment I received it. I selected it after reading, Chia Vitality, Janie Hoffmann's first book, and wanting to incorporate the seeds into more of my recipes than just my smoothies.

The Preface of this book gives a history of Janie Hoffman's experience with chia seeds. Janie is also the founder of Mama Chia. If you have read Chia Vitality, this part isn't new. However, if you are new to Janie Hoffman's books, it is a nicely summarized background to the cookbook. It is also a good refresher on her background.

This cookbook is divided into chapters for smoothies and drinks, breakfasts, snacks, salads and soups, main dishes and sweets, desserts and cocktails. The illustrations  make the recipes look inviting. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Recipes include| chia peach jam, chia gazpacho, Tuscon white beans and baby kale, key lime chia cheesecake, and apricot hazelnut blondies. Not every recipe has a photo, but many of them do. I also found it easy to take the basic recipes and make a few changes to suit my tastes, like the recipe for Raspberry-chia Dressed Arugula Salad with mint and Almonds. I made a few minor changes to suit my family's tastes (greens and seasonings) and it is quite good. As a teadrinker, I really liked that this particular recipe also used tea in the dressing. Yum!

If you are looking to incorporate more chia seeds into your diet in a variety of ways, I would encourage you to get a copy of this book. 

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.