Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What am I reading?

I wanted to fill you in on the things I am reading and the cookbooks I am using.  Since I am sharing all of this information with you, I thought you might want to know where it is all coming from, AND maybe you might want to check it out!  But I will warn you, once you start learning and reading all of the delicious recipes... it gets addicting! (At least for me.)  This is kind of a long post, but it is totally worth reading until the end... there is a secret surprise waiting at the end!! But don't cheat and skip down to the end now though :-)

In my very first email (post), I told you that this all started after watching an Oprah episode on eating healthy.  Alicia Silverstone talked about going vegan and discussed her book, called The Kind Diet.  This book really started it all for me.  She is all about being kind to yourself through your diet and being kind to animals.  The Kind Diet is basically the kinder version of a book, called Skinny Bitch (excuse my language), which boasts a vegan diet without actually saying it's recommending a vegan diet.  They gave it that title to to capture reader's attention, and I guess it worked.  This book is a very quick and easy read if you don't mind the authors being very frank with you.  These books are not just for people who want to know about the vegan diet. They are great books that offer not only everything you would want to know about a natural, healthy diet, but also, they offer both recipes and weekly menus.  These are great starter books to introduce you to a healthy lifestyle.  The Kind Diet has some amazing recipes!  That is where my Peanut Butter Cup Recipe came from.

The most recent book I have purchased is The Engine 2 Diet.  I got this book for my Dad for his birthday.  I have heard so many great things about it.  It's hard to get men interested in health and nutrition when it seems like all of the books are geared towards women.  Well, this book is perfect for both men and women.  I haven't read it yet, but my dad is in the process of reading it now, and I hope to read it when he is finished.  If you buy one book, I suggest buying this book.  It gives you pantry guides, workout regimens with pictures, shopping guides, recipes, menu ideas, and more.  It is the perfect starter book for anyone wanting to get healthier, have more energy, live longer, and loose weight (if that is a goal of yours).  Here is a how the book came about: 

Professional athlete-turned-firefighter Rip Esselstyn is used to responding to emergencies. So, when he learned that some of his fellow Engine 2 firefighters in Austin, TX, were in dire physical condition-several had dangerously high cholesterol levels (the highest was 344!)- he sprang into action and created a life-saving plan for the firehouse. By following Rip’s program, everyone lost weight (some more than 20 lbs.), lowered their cholesterol, and improved their overall health. Now, Rip outlines his proven plan in this book. With Rip as your expert coach and motivator, you’ll transform your body and lifestyle in a month. His plant-powered eating plan is based on a diet of whole foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruit, legumes, seeds and nuts.

Please go to the book's website and watch this short  video. 
And if you have a little extra time, watch the video on this website.

I am also in the process of reading Michael Pollan's book, In Defense of Food.  Here is a little snippet about the book... 

"Because most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it -- in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone -- is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming "edible foodlike substances" -- no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion.  In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context -- out of the car and back to the table." 

Michael Pollan wrote another book that I would like to read called, Food Rules.  This is a great clip from when Michael Pollan was on Oprah discussing Food Rules. This is a short book and another great starter book.  In this book, he offers a guide for anyone concerned about health and food.  The book is a set of memorable rules for eating wisely. Whether it is at the grocery store or an all-you-can-eat-buffet, this book is a handy, pocket size resource/guide for anyone who would like to become more mindful of what they eat.  He also just released a documentary, which I really want to see, called, Food Inc.  Watch the trailer!  You can actually rent this documentary at Blockbuster! 

I get a lot of the scientific information from a book called Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina, who are both Registered Dietitians.  Don't freak out, this book does talk about how to become vegan, which is odd considering the title.  Instead, it discusses all of the myths and actual scientific information and studies regarding protein, dairy, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals, etc., and end of the book describes what a vegan diet should look like.  It talks about vegan athletes, raising vegan children, and pregnancy.  It gives you the scientific resources to make your own decisions, and if you decide to do the vegan thing, then it provides a great guide.  Overall, it's just a very informative book on nutrition.  

Robyn Openshaw is a mother of four teens and creator of the website, GreenSmoothieGirl.com.  She is a nutrition professor at a university and has also written a guide called, 12 Steps to Whole Foods: Manual & Recipes.   The guide is expensive to buy in hard copy, but you can download a copy onto your computer from her website, and have it printed off and bound so it's just like the hardcopy but cheaper!  (Sam actually did that as one of my gifts for my birthday... so sweet!) Robyn has read many of the popular and widely recommended health books that I would love to read, but I just don't have the time to read 50+ books.  BUT thanks to her, she has already done that, and shares all of the information she has learned in a condensed version on her website and in her guide.  She is a busy, working mother, and she offers great tips for staying healthy even with a busy lifestyle.  She is full of information and is one of new favorite resources. Check out these clips of Robyn making her fresh salsa in five minutes and healthy alternatives to chips.

In addition to the blogs that I have shared with you, I have been using some great cookbooks.  I already mentioned The Kind Diet.  Another cookbook that I love is  The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. This is my go-to book for entertaining.  This is the book I used for my Easter brunch recipes.  She divides the book into occasions such as, Romantic Dinners for Two, Casual Meals for Four to Six, and more.  Then she divides each occasion into spring, summer, winter, and fall menus.  You don't even have to plan the menu, she does it for you!  She has great recipes even if it's not an occasion, and you just want something delicious like Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies (yummy!).  Visit Colleen's website  and watch her video on how to make her Garlic and Greens Soup...it's soo good! 

I also really like The 30-Minute Vegan: Over 175 Quick, Delicious, and Healthy Recipefor Everyday Cooking  by Jennifer Murray.  This cookbook offers quick, easy recipes and great tips.  

I know all of these cookbooks are vegan recipes, BUT you don't have to be vegan to enjoy them.  I have cooked several things out of these cookbooks for my parents and others, and they love them!  I even get people requesting the recipes!  You could simply consider incorporating a few vegan dishes into your weekly meal routine, just to get an idea of how delicious and easy the food can be!  And you will notice how you feel full afterwards but not miserable... just simply satisfied with maybe some room left for dessert later! 

I'm not saying that you should go out and buy or read any of these, but I wanted you to know where I am getting my information.  And if you want to go check out some of these books, than that's great!  I also just have some general knowledge of my own from personal experience that I share, and I have a monthly subscription to Women's Health Magazine where I get information from every once in a while too.  I also frequently visit many of the blogs and website that I have listed on my blog list for more information.  

I will continue to keep you updated on any good books, cookbooks, blogs, or websites that I find.  In the meantime, let me know if you decide to check out any of these books, try any new recipes, or if you find anything that I should try! 

With Love, Health, and Happiness,


Did You Know???
So we all know about the wonderful world of Sprinkles Cupcakes.  If you don't know about these cupcakes, then you must go try them!  They are absolutely delicious.  They company started in Los Angeles and the celebrities quickly made these cupcakes famous... and for good reason!  So when I decided to do the vegan thing, I was sad that I was going to miss out on the many desserts that I love (I have a huge sweet tooth), BUT little did I know that I have not missed out on anything.  Sprinkles has VEGAN CUPCAKES served daily.  Red velvet cupcakes with a cute little "V" on top.  I didn't really like the red velvet flavor when I was eating their original cupcakes, but these vegan red velvet are SO good!  They taste just as good if not better than the original.  Sam surprised me with a box of four on my birthday, and I had half of a cupcake every night that week with a little vanilla coconut milk ice cream on top of the warm cupcake.  One word...AMAZING! 


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