Books On Deck This Summer

August 29, 2016

I love building out my healthy living goals with new recipes, practical take-aways and healthy living tips. Here are a few books I went through this summer for inspiration.

The Apple Cider Vinegar Companion by Suzy Scherr

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14.95 paperback

The dad from My Big Fat Greek Wedding is to Windex as Suzy Scherr is to Apple Cider Vinegar. Want to make pickles? Done. Clean your house? No problem! Kill off garden weeds? Vanished. Freshen breath or ease a sore throat? Say no more! Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is where it’s at ya’ll. And as if that isn’t enough, she also includes a section on how to make your own ACV.  All you need is 3 small apples, 3 teaspoons of sugar (or honey) and some filtered water.

Because ACV can do pretty much anything it eliminates a lot of commercial, chemically laden products and unnecessary waste. ACV’s healing, cleaning, freshening, fortifying, preserving and flavoring power leaves you with extra cabinet space, extra money and a whole lot of fresh air.

Some of the recipes she includes are:

  • Homemade Cough and Cold Syrup
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea remedy
  • Hiccup Cure
  • A million dressings, sauces, mustards, ketchups, chutneys and marinates including a Chipotle Mustard, Peach Honey Mustard and a Hard Cider Mustard.
  • Pickled everything from green beans to Maple Bourbon Carrot and Parsnip Pickles to Ginger Pear Pickles (drooling!)
  • Pickles that are ready in ONE DAY!
  • A ton of drinks like: Sparkling Honey Ade and a Ginger-Molasses Elixir. She even includes a Fire Cider Recipe – woot!
  • And it doesn’t stop there – don’t even get me started on the Summer Raspberry-Peach Shrub drink:

1 c fresh peaches, peeled pitted and chopped; 1 c raspberries, 1c sugar (or I would sub honey or maple syrup) combined overnight to make a simple syrup. Strain and add to 2 c ACV. Let cure for a week and is good for up to 6 months. WHAAA?!

  • Not to mention the ACV donuts – I’m not going to lie, this book had me at donuts.
  • Plus a beauty section with recipes for a DIY facial toner, deodorant, sun soother, aftershave, breath freshener and acne treatment.
  • Also included is an all-purpose cleaner recipe, a carpet cleaner, deodorizer, fabric softener, weed killer and more.

There are a few books that I think everyone should own and this book hands-down one of them.

Building A Healthy Child by Melina Roberts, N.D.

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12.95 paperback

Building A Healthy Child focuses on feeding babies from birth to about two years old. 100 pages in total, the first half of the book is a science-based guide on feeding what foods and why. The next 25 pages are recipes and the last 25 pages include a preconception prep appendix, a pregnancy appendix and a vaccinations appendix.

She includes a food schedule for parents about what foods to introduce and at what age. In addition, she talks vitamins, supplements and probiotics for babies, toddlers and breastfeeding mothers. It was interesting to see that she recommends probiotics for babies.  In addition she has a bunch of natural remedies for teething, colds, cuts, scrapes, sunburn, bites, gas…etc.

A couple of things that stood out to me is Roberts recommends waiting to feed babies grains until they are two. She explains that the pancreas does not reach full maturation until about twenty-five months which means we can not effectively break down grains until around two years of age. And consequently, respecting the development of the child’s digestive system can help with allergy prevention,

She also touches on the benefits of breastfeeding including cited examples like breast milk promotes the development of a healthy digestive tract, it contains bifidus factor which promotes the growth of Lactobacillus bifidus in the infant gut and helps build the foundation of healthy microflora. Plus breast milk provides a specific immunity from the mother that lasts for the first three months.

She talks about problem foods to avoid and includes some great recipes to guide you in the right direction. Banana fritters, creamy white bean veggie dip and gluten-free Paleo, sugar-free banana bread all caught my eye. She also talks about the dangers of baby formula and includes a recipe on how to make homemade formula.

This book brings the WHY when it comes to feeding babies specific foods. It’s a paradigm shift on how we feed our babies with an emphasis on building strong gut health. A quick read, this is a great resource for anyone who is expecting or getting ready to introduce foods.

Go Clean, Sexy You by Lisa Consiglio Ryan

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24.00 paperback

I am loving this detox tool by Lisa Consiglio Ryan. This book has four, 10 day, detox plans – one for every season. They are all gluten-free, Paleo, vegetarian, dairy-free and mostly raw. Great for beginners or experts, Lisa focuses on eating real, whole foods to fuel your body. Great as a detox, to set better habits, lose a few pounds, maximize your nutrition intake, eat clean, gain more energy or manage stress – this guide is busting at the seams with benefits.

Recipes follow the seasons and are simple and easy to make. The summer detox plan has a pineapple spinach smoothie, mushroom sliders, a vegetarian taco salad, “cheesy” kale salad and a creamy avocado and cucumber soup to name a few. Recipes repeat at least once during the 10 days to keep costs and shopping lists to a minimum. The book also includes complete meal plans and full shopping lists for each detox.

Recipes are sandwiched between a healthy living guide and a chapter on post-detox tips. She includes a breakdown of what you will need in the kitchen, why detox, what to expect and tools to help along the way. She recommended using pH strips to test urine to make sure your body is staying at an optimal 7.3 and also includes a list of foods that are either alkaline/neutral or acidic so you can get yourself as close as possible to optimum.

This book is very approachable. Lisa opens herself up and shares her experiences with food including some of her own personal food obstacles she has overcome. It is upbeat, optimistic and informative. You really get to meet and know Lisa in this book and it is easy to appreciate all of the hard work that went into developing this tool.

A 10 day detox is so approachable – anyone can do this! I would recommend this book if you want to start eating cleaner but don’t know where to start. I would also recommend this book to people who eat clean now but need some new inspiration or a kick in the pants to get motivated again.

Give It a Go, Eat a Rainbow by Kathryn Kemp

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Kathryn’s PR team sent me this book to enjoy with my kids and I’m so glad they did! I have used the phrase “eat a rainbow” in my house without much buy-in from my kids BUT throw a main character in the mix, a plot, a wizard and some guessing games and my kids are all, “You have to eat your carrots because it will make you see better!”

This book is interactive with “pick the right answer” or “fill in the blank” verbal activities. My kids (4 and 2) loved identifying all of the different fruits and veggies shown on each page. The felt proud when they knew the answers. They also loved talking about what Blake, the main character, would do and when we finished, they asked to read it again. And they still reach for it at story time.

This book hits all the right notes. It shows how sugary foods can make you slow and sluggish. It breaks down veggies and fruits and talks about how they benefit the body. Giving kids a reason why they should eat that specific veggie can sometimes be just the push they need to try something new. If nothing else this book started some great conversations in my house. Here is an unprompted conversation that manifested after our first read though.

10% Happier by Dan Harris 

15.99 paperback
15.99 paperback

I read this book for a book club I found through W.E.L.L. Summit here in Boston. At just under 300 pages it was a quick read and I banged it out on a round trip flight from Boston to Atlanta. It’s about one man’s experience with quieting his mind through meditation. I have so many thoughts about this book. First let me say I am a meditation skeptic. I’ve half heartedly tried to meditate a few times in my life generating less than Earth shattering results so: I move on. I admit it, that’s the instant gratification side of me taking the reigns. But anyways, what I liked instantly about this book is Dan felt the same way I did: skeptical. He muses about his experiences with breaking down the hype, finding an informal meditation mentor and eventually experiencing meditation success. It’s a layman’s approach, a skeptic’s approach and a dude with a high stakes/NYC/no time for this touchy-feely crap kind of lifestyle, finding pause and peace in one of the strangest places. Inside himself, through meditation.

There are so many great “Post-it Note” worthy tidbits here. Like stick these sayings all over my house and car and I think it would seriously help me have a more positive outlook in life. They all point to the power of responding instead of reacting. Meditation gives Harris the ability to identify, label and recognize feelings and emotions. Doing this he is able to distance himself from emotion and respond thoughtfully. Here are a few quotes that resigned with me. Of course these are more powerful in context but I still like them.

“Thoughts are just thoughts with no concrete reality….You can’t cope with such a situation because it doesn’t exist. It’s a mental phantom.”

“How do we do a better job of staying in the now? Say yes to the present.”

“Things are not happening to YOU…they are just happening.”

“Make the present moment your friend and not your enemy.”

“Mindfullness represents an alternative to living reactively.”

“Picture the mind like a waterfall, the water is the torrent of thought and emotions; the mindfullness is the space behind the waterfall.”

“When a big wave is coming at you the best way not to get hit is to dive right in.”

“The only thing that you can control is how you handle it.”

“Learn how to be happy before anything happens. This happiness is self-generated, not contingent on exogenous forces.”

About thoughts: “Ask yourself, Is this useful thinking?”

“All we can do is everything we can do.”

“Mindfullness provides space between impulse and action so you are not a slave to whatever neurotic obsession pops into your head.”

Doesn’t this make you want to buy a stack of Post-its?! Anyways, he also includes a how-to guide and some great tips for beginners who want to explore the power of meditation.

Overall this was not a life-changing book but I do find myself employing some of its practical concepts like not waisting time on worry. If I start to notice that my brain is getting into a “what if” worry pattern, I ask myself: “Is this thinking useful?” It seems to help me move on.

What are you reading?

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