Thursday, May 30, 2013

I've been reading the newly released Digestive Health with Real Food by registered dietitian AglaĆ©e Jacob, a copy which was sent to me for an honest review. Here's my take on it: Firstly, it's a beautifully designed book, chock full of charts by the author detailing several digestive issues such as IBS, Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, GERD and more. Author Jacob explains the basics of digestion in the most complete manner I've ever read. Quotes such as this one by Hippocrates (“All diseases start in the gut”) and this one by Heather Morgan, M.S., N.L.C. (“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”) explain the purpose of the book. Jacobs, who has dealt with digestive issues speaks from personal experience and strives to show the basics of digestion—what goes on in the gut—and what happens when digestion goes wrong. Charts showing food allergies and intolerances, a description of short-chain fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS)--what they are and why to avoid, along with descriptions of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and the foods that can cause a reaction are all shown in comprehensive yet simple-to-understand text and charts. Almost every digestive issue can be found with details of the why it occurs and how to minimize the problem through diet and restriction is given. Chapter 4 is devoted to nourishing foods with tables to measure and monitor your own health. Here, Jacob explains the micro-nutrient balance between fats, carbohydrates and protein and gives a list of safe vegetables and which to buy organic. You will learn about probiotics, safe natural seasonings, and which fluids to enjoy and which ones to avoid. For many digestive issues, healing is accomplished by discovering the allergens, eliminating them from the diet and finally, slowly reintroducing them. Ms. Jacob convinces the reader that a paleo diet is preferable to others to combat each digestive issue and then offers real food solutions. A troubleshooting chapter covers cravings, fatigue and what to do if the symptoms return. I was interested to see she gives recommendations for that nasty distress constipation, often a companion to other digestive issues. Her recommendations in a nutshell: eat more fat, be patient, avoid trigger foods, take probiotics, get enough water and exercise. And if these don't help, she offers info on managing stress, abdominal massage, taking magnesium, sipping ginger tea and more. In short, everything you can do to help yourself naturally is listed. Chapter 10 gives some wonderful basic recipes for digestive health such as making ghee, bone broth, basic soups and stews, all-in-one salads and some snack foods. Each is accompanied by a full page, full color photo to get the digestive juices flowing. It's not a complete cookbook but offers enough recipes to fuel your body and your imagination. If you are eliminating foods, there's a section offering a weekly meal plan to reintroduce foods back into the diet. In conclusion, this book should be the bible for anyone suffering from digestive disease who wants a step-by-step manual for a holistic therapy. Jacob did it using her methods and so can you. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review - the 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley

I've been reading—and sampling recipes from—the 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking, the soon-to-be released third cookbook by Hayley Mason and Bill Staley. A copy was sent to me for an honest review, and I am delighted with the content and the overall presentation. While this book is aimed more for the newcomer to Paleo nutrition with tear-out shopping lists and a 30 day menu, the recipes are a delightful extension of their innovative cuisine from Make it Paleo and Gather, with the exception that there are no desserts, appropriate for the 30-day detox period. The book, a sturdy nearly 9 x 12 paperback printed on quality glossy paper, is divided into three parts: 1. What is the Paleo Diet? with testimonials, helpful ideas on what to eat and drink, growing your own food and meal-building; 2. the 30 Day Meal Plan showing basic ingredients and shopping lists for each week; and 3. the Recipes which are sectioned by type: Breakfast, Chophouse, Fish and Seafood, Ground Meat, Pasta, Salads, Sides and so on. This is a beautiful book, well-written with timely information on the benefits of not only eating Paleo but of using high-quality ingredients. The recipes are wonderful. To date I have made the Kale Salad with Bacon and Fig Vinaigrette, Buttered Squash Ribbons, Roasted Rosemary Carrots with Onion (which worked perfectly with a Greek-style boneless leg of lamb) and the Smoky Roasted Turnips with Bacon. Each was a delight and had simple-to-follow directions. I am looking forward to testing the Garlic Ginger Chicken and the Italian Wedding Soup. Even if you're well on your way to Paleo cooking, this book is worth every penny just for the recipes. The publication date is June 11th but you can pre-order now from Amazon. Highly Recommended.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Home to Whiskey Creek - Review


Adelaide Davies returns to Whiskey Creek after a fifteen-year absence. The homecoming is not what she'd prefer, however, her aging grandmother—the woman who raised her--needs help. Addy, a trained chef, comes home to care for Milly and to help run her restaurant. But she's not happy to be back. One horrible night, fifteen years earlier, changed her life forever, and there are too many people she'd rather forget. But someone hasn't forgotten Addy. Within days of her arrival, she is abducted from her bedroom at Milly's and dropped into a disused mine. By a stroke of luck, her cries for help are heard by cyclist Noah Rackham, out for an evening ride. Addy's grateful for the rescue, but Noah isn't someone she welcomes seeing either. Once the senior who captured her heart, he is also the twin brother of a boy who perpetrated an act of violation she cannot forget...and paid for it with his life.

This fourth book in Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series starts off with a bang and doesn't let up. I took it to the gym and was so caught up by the end of page one that I managed 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer without even watching the time. I do not feel I'm giving away anything in the plot in the above paragraph because all is revealed in the first few pages. What happens to Addy, why she chose to remain silent over her assault, and the devastating effects bringing it to light would have on so many in the small Gold Rush town is the real plot of the story. Novak, long on my automatic buy list, creates an intense study into the human character by showing how people are neither all bad or all good. While many of the characters from previous Whiskey Creek books make appearances and their stories are seamlessly woven in, this is about Addy and Noah, and their character journeys. This one will grab you and not let go, even after the last page. I acquired this one from NetGalley for review. Ms. Novak's book releases July 30.