Book Review: The Diet Dropout’s Guide to Natural Weight Loss

Posted by Jennifer (the RD) on December 14 ,2012

If you are looking for a very practical, user friendly, fact based guide to weight control, this is the book for you.  The reason I enjoyed this book was because it did not offer any quick fixes or give out any gimmicky recommendations for weight loss.  As a Registered Dietitian, I can tell you that the information presented in this book was very evidence based.  However, it was distilled down to very easily understood, simple language.     I am actually considering using it as an addendum to a weight control course I am teaching next year.

I can’t vouch for any of the recipes since I haven’t tried them, but it was nice that those were included also.

Overall, I highly recommend this book written by Stan Spencer, Ph.D.

♥ ♥

Book Review – Vegan’s Daily Companion

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on November 10, 2012

The Vegan’s Daily Companion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is a book that offers 365 days of inspiration for the vegan, vegan curious or new vegan. This book is full of information about the vegan lifestyle with a focus on activism.

This book is divided by the days of the week and each day focuses on a topic. Mondays topic is For the Love of Food, it outlines healthy food options. Tuesdays are about Compassionate Communication, techniques for peace and nonviolence. Wednesdays are Optimum Health for Body, Mind, and Spirit, featuring health tips and lifestyle choices. Thursdays are Animals in the Arts, stories about animals in literature and film. Fridays are Stories of Hope, Rescue, and Transformation, stories and photos of animals that have been rescued. Saturdays and Sundays are Healthful Recipes, featuring simple vegan recipes.

This beautiful book would be a useful guide to someone who is thinking about adopting a plant-based diet. Some may be turned off by heavy activism tone.  I enjoyed many of the recipes and the layout of the book.

♥ ♥

 Book Review – Tommy Bahama’s “Life is One Long Weekend”

Posted by Jennifer (the RD) on October 5, 2012

After eating a wonderful salad at the Tommy Bahama restaurant, I had to buy this book.  The recipes are very good, solid recipes that are fairly easy to follow.  There are also lots of really nice, tropical pictures that make you want to travel to someplace tropical too!  🙂  For those of you that are fans of the  restaurant, the recipes are not exactly like the entrees from the restaurant although they are similar.  The best sections of the book, in my opinion, are the unique recipes for tropical drinks and the different sauces…they were really unique.  There are lots of  gems here in this cookbook!

Aside from some obvious typos, I really enjoyed this book.  It makes me want to go somewhere tropical!

 ♥ ♥


Book Review – 8 Weeks to Optimum Health

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on September 15, 2012

8 weeks to Optimum Health by Dr Andrew Weil is a step-by-step plan for improving health in a natural way. The author is a Harvard trained medical doctor and a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine.

What I like most about this book is that it is a simple week-by-week plan. It is about changing behavior and making small consistent changes in the way you live.

For each week there is an outline of simple tasks to complete. These tasks are organized by projects, diet, supplements, exercise and mental/spiritual.

Here is a sample of the tasks for each week:

Week 1

  • Clear out unhealthy food from your pantry and fridge
  • Eat broccoli twice a week
  • Walk 10 minutes, 5 days
Week 2
  • Eat one soybean product
  • Drink green tea
  • Eat more whole grains
Week 3
  • Buy organic fruits and vegetables
  • Take vitamin E
  • Add stretching to your exercise routine
Week 4
  • Add garlic to your diet
  • Increase walking to 25 minutes, 5 days
  • Examine your sleep habits
Week 5
  • Add ginger to your diet
  • Try a one-day “fruit-fast”
  • Use a steam bath or sauna for 20 minutes
Week 6
  • Add leafy greens to your diet
  • Visit an art museum
  • Try a one-day juice fast
Week 7
  • Increase walk to 40 minutes, 5 days
  • Volunteer
  • Reconnect with an old friend
Week 8
  • Increase walk to 45 minutes, 5 days
  • Continue with dietary changes

I think most changes would be easy to incorporate and be beneficial for most everyone. If you were looking to make healthy changes in your diet and lifestyle, I would recommend reading this book.

 ♥ ♥

Book Review – “Please Feed Me”

Posted by Jennifer (the RD) on August 12, 2012

This very unique vegan cookbook was written by a vegan punk rocker who spent years “…surviving on potato chips….”   The author not only includes recipes in his book, but also chronicles his punk lifestyle…gigs, influences, touring, etc…pretty interesting stuff!  I bought this book at Hot Topic more than 5 years ago.  It must be out of print now, because I saw that it is selling for over $70 on and it’s not even a hard cover book!  The used version is also available for MUCH LESS!

My thoughts on the book…?  Some of the recipes are a little too simple and might be a little boring for some.  However, some of the recipes are actually very good and tasty, and really speak to the home cook.  There’s a recipe I like entitled Mixed Veg noodles that lists one of the ingredients as 2 handfuls of mushrooms (shiitakes, or whatever you can afford).  This is a good cookbook for “everyday” food and also for starving students or those watching their budgets.  Overall, I think it’s a great book to have on your cookbook shelf.

 ♥ ♥

The Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous Project – Book Review

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on July 6, 2012
The Eat, Drink, and be Gorgeous Project by Esther Blum is a book that inspires healthful eating by creating awareness of what you are eating and the motivation to make positive changes. The author is a registered dietitian and a certified nutrition specialist, resulting in a book that is full of informed nutritional advice and common sense.

My favorite feature of this book is the three-month food and exercise log. (See my post) The log is organized so you can track your meals, exercise, water intake, protein, fat, low-sugar veggies, complex carbs and low-sugar fruits.

This is not really a diet book and I think that is why I like it. This book offers four different meal plans: low-carb, dairy and gluten free, balanced and lean body. These meal plans are not a strict diet or restrictive way of eating. These plans are balanced diets that will aid in weight loss but more importantly they will help you to embrace healthy lifestyle habits.

In addition, this book offers advice on meal planning and grocery shopping. Also, there is exercise advice, sleeping tips, information on nutritional supplements, easy recipes and a list of substitutes. The main focus of the book is self-love with a balance of clean, mindful eating with some indulgences. If you were interested in making healthy changes in your diet, I would recommend this book. It is a quick and easy read that will be helpful in realizing your goals.

♥ ♥

Book Review – Veganomicom

Posted by Jennifer (the RD) on June 15, 2012
I am not a vegetarian, but do eat lots of vegetarian food.  My sister bought me this book because she knows that I teach a vegetarian class and that I am always experimenting with vegetarian dishes.  I actually think this really is the ultimate vegan cookbook, just as it says on the front cover.    The book is not only well laid out, but has an EXCELLENT opening section, explaining what staples to stock your pantry with, proper use of kitchen tools, how to  understand cooking and prepping terminology (julienne vs. dice or mince, etc.), how to understand the basics of various cooking methods, etc.  The recipes are extremely well written, with very wonderful introductions for each recipe that make you feel like  the authors are speaking directly to you.  Of course, the recipes are wonderful!  My top rating to this book that I believe vegetarians and non vegetarians alike will enjoy.  🙂

♥ ♥


Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on May 11, 2012

Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy by J.J. Virgin is basically a diet book with an exercise program. I really do not like diet books because I do not believe they work long term. I believe you need to make lifestyle changes to keep weight off not temporary changes.  That being said, I did enjoy this book. I like the nutrition plan because it was basic common sense and easy to follow.

J.J.Virgin is a nutrition and fitness coach. This book has a strength training plan that that is straightforward and easy to follow. In addition, she stress aerobic exercise and good sleeping habits.  I think this book would be good for anyone who wanted a good levelheaded plan with lots encouragement.

♥ ♥


Book Review – “Eat to Live’

Posted by Jennifer (The RD) on April 6, 2012

Overall, this book had some wonderful advice.  It really advocates a change in lifestyle.  IT IS NOT A DIET.  Who can argue with the fact that increasing the nutrient density of your meals is health promoting?  The basic premise is that if you carefully choose a diet with lots of whole, unprocessed fruits, veggies, and grains, and dramatically increase your intake of plant based as opposed to animal proteins,  you can significantly reduce your weight while preventing or potentially reversing obesity related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  The format is very strict, and I am not sure what percentage of the readers can adhere to such a regimen, but it makes good, sound sense and it is pretty hard to refute it.

There is just one criticism that I have.  The book recommends a protein intake of .8 gm/kg of body weight.  However, over the past few years, literature has supported an increased intake of protein during the aging process due to our loss of ability replete any losses in lean body mass as early as age 30.  This means that some literature supports an intake beyond .8 gm/kg, especially during illness that is accompanied by poor appetite and wasting syndrome.  Although the author may not agree with this research, it would have been nice to hear his opinion on the subject.

Also, I wanted to add that there are some recipes in the back of the book.  That was a great bonus!

 ♥ ♥

Blissful Bites

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on March 2, 2012


Blissful Bites by Christy Morgan is essentially a vegan cookbook. Since I am always looking for tasty ways to add more plant-based meals to my diet I was intrigued. The beginning of the book gives a good overview of basic cooking techniques, tools and pantry basics. The recipes are creatively organized by type of meal and season.

So far I have only had a chance to try a couple of the recipes. The first recipe I tried was the Southwest Tofu Scramble. This recipe is very similar to a recipe I already make. This version has the addition of mushrooms and zucchini, which I thought was a good addition.

Next, I tried the Un-Tuna Salad. This recipe uses chickpeas in place of tuna. Personally, I like most anything with chickpeas and this recipe was no exception. I will make this often.

Some of the other recipes I want to try are: Pan-fried Tofu with Carrot –Ginger SauceBasil-cashew cheese Sauce and Pear Almond Coffee Cake. This cookbook is all about healthy, unprocessed, whole food cooking. Anyone looking to experiment with plant-based cuisine, this book would be a good addition.

 ♥ ♥



The Secret

Posted by Jennifer (The RD) on February 10, 2012
 The Secret

A few weeks ago, a friend told me that he really enjoyed watching the documentary on “The Secret.”    Basically, the “secret”  of life is based on the law of attraction.  The things you attract to your life are a reflection of your own thoughts.  The things that you think about most supposedly appear as your life.    So, getting back to my friend…he stated that since he started to think more positively about things and visualize how well his day would flow, everything seemed to fall into place.  Traffic seemed to be better on his way to work, and his most hectic work day turned out to be a piece of cake.  Since he had tested the theory out on himself, he told me that he had set other goals for himself.  One of them pertained to health.  Hmmm….this is when I thought I would read the book and see what all of the hype was all about, especially the health segment.  So, after reading it, this is what I found:

  • I really do think there is some link between what you think about and what your thoughts may bring to you.  I have seen patterns in my own life that have truly mirrored my own thoughts…good and bad.  I won’t elaborate here, because it is just my opinion.  You will have to read for yourself.
  • If you are looking for evidence based citations/references, you will find none. The book was written in “testimonial” form.
  • The health section discussed the importance of focusing on perfect health.   There were testimonials about people healing cancer through laughter and positivity and losing weight through visualizations of a slimmer body.  Here are my personal thoughts:  the book seems to focus on positive thinking.  Although I am not sure about all of the claims made in this book,  I do believe that a lot of good can come from positive thoughts.  Positive thinking can spur us to eat better, exercise more, be kinder to others, etc.    And if the claims made in the book are also true, that’s a BONUS!

 ♥ ♥

 Forks Over Knives

Posted by Jennifer (the student) on January 6, 2012

My interest in food and healthy lifestyles led me to see the documentary “Forks Over Knives.” Since I enjoyed the documentary so much I wanted to read the book. The book parallels the documentary about the benefits of a plant based diet and it contains 125 great recipes.

Most of the recipes are quick and easy. I‘ve tried a couple, “Rip’s Big Bowl” and “Yamadillas.” I like both dishes and plan to try many more.

The feature film Forks Over Knives examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in incorporating more plant-based meals in their diet. This book would be a good introduction to plant-based meals.

♥ ♥
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