October 14, 2011

Really Natural Books: Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way (Wise Woman Herbal) by Susan Weed

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Susan Weed is a rock star in the herbal world. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (Wise Woman Herbal Series, Book 1) was like a Bible to me when I was pregnant for the first time. Weed continues the Wise Woman Herbal Series with Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way (Wise Woman Herbal).

Herbal medicine pioneer and author, Susun Weed, says there are proactive measures that both genders can take to prevent cancer, keep their libido humming, and treat common maladies such as enlarged prostate, uterine fibroids, and incontinence.

This book discusses:

    • Foods to eat and foods to avoid for maximum reproductive health
    • How to make and use herbal medicines that are safe and effective
    • Things to try at home for common ailments "down there"--before going to the doctor
    • Top strategies for avoiding two common surgeries: prostatectomy and hysterectomy
Although it is part of the Wise Women Herbal series, Down There addresses for everyone, women, and men.  It is a great resource, but sometimes I feel like Weed simplifies herbal medicine a little too much. 

 

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 10, 2011

Really Natural Books: National Geographic's Ocean Soul

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National Geographic is famous for excellent photography. Ocean Soul, a new book by Brian Skerry, upholds this tradition and takes it underwater!

Ocean Soul is a love story. It is a story of discovery. It is a story of hope.

The story begins when a boy who loves the sea attends an event with underwater photographers and has an epiphany: "I had always wanted to explore the oceans, but I now understood how I would do this. I would do it with a camera." With sheer deter mination, hard work, and a little bit of luck the boy, named Brian Skerry, realized his dream with more than 20 awe-inspiring articles for National Geographic magazine. Now, with Ocean Soul, he showcases his stunning photography and describes his adventurous life in a gripping portrait of the ocean as a place of beauty and mystery, a place in trouble, and ultimately, a place of hope that will rebound with the proper attention and care.


This book is truly beautiful and would make a great gift for any lover of aquatic life. One of my favorite images is of a lemon shark pup taken in the Bahamas. Skerry artistically documents a world many of us will never see.

It does not appear that the book is made from FSC paper or recycled content.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 30, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks: The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes

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I love my Cuisinart Slow Cooker! Just toss the ingredients in, then come home from work to dinner made! Nothing could be easier, except I seem to make the same thing in the slow cooker. It is always some version of this soup or dal, and I have been wanting a slow cooker cookbook to get me out of my rut.

The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes by Judith Finlayson is in its second edition. Although, this is not a vegetarian cookbook, which I would prefer, the recipes are easily adaptable and many are rated as "vegan friendly".

Opposite the pressure cooker's speed stands the leisurely pace of the slow cooker, also enjoying new popularity. Despite the hyperbole of the title, The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes breaks out of the usual soups/stews confinement of other Crock-Pot cookbooks. Judith Finlayson has gone to some trouble to create spicy Caribbean Pepper Pot Soup, full of tropical vegetables and hot pepper. Hearty Carbonnade reproduces the famous Flemish beef casserole, complete with its obligatory beer. Rarely seen elsewhere, South Africa's national dish, Bobotie, here boasts curry-spiked meat under an egg topping. Indian dishes, both meat and vegetarian, also appear. Even cake is not out of the question if the slow cooker is prepared as Finlayson suggests. There are enough temptingly tasty recipes here to keep those slow cookers plugged in 24 hours a day.

I'm making the red lentil and carrot soup with coconut for dinner tonight! Yum!

This book has beautiful photographs to get your mouth watering, and there are even dessert recipes. I've never made dessert in my slow cooker and look forward to more adventures in slow cooking!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 26, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks + Recipe: The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook: Simple Food Solutions for Everyday Meals

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My father is a celiac, and I have dappled with a gluten-free lifestyle myself. Once you get started, it is really quite simple to learn to cook gluten-free, whether it is simply a choice or medical need.

The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook: Simple Food Solutions for Everyday Meals is filled with great recipes and photographs to get your mouth watering!

Here's an example of a recipe:

Cinnamon-Raisin Muffins with Streusel Topping

Streusel:

1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts

1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons brown rice flour

(such as Bob's Red Mill)

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

11⁄2 tablespoons canola oil or

butter


Muffins:

Cooking spray

3.3 ounces brown rice flour (about

3⁄4 cup; such as Bob's Red Mill)

4.1 ounces potato starch (about

3⁄4 cup)

2.1 ounces tapioca flour (about

1⁄2 cup)

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

11⁄2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

3⁄4 cup raisins

1⁄4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1⁄3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup plain soy milk



1. Preheat oven to 400°.


2. To prepare streusel, combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until mixture resembles small peas.


3. To prepare muffins, place 18 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups. Coat liners with cooking spray; set aside.


4. Weigh or lightly spoon brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, granulated sugar, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in raisins and walnuts; make a well in center of mixture. Combine oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in soy milk; add to rice flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle batter evenly with streusel topping.


5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 1 muffin).


CALORIES 201; FAT 8.5g (sat 0.8g, mono 3.9g, poly 3.2g); PROTEIN 2.3g; CARB 31g; FIBER 1g; CHOL 24mg; IRON 0.6mg; SODIUM 149mg; CALC 57mg


I can't wait to try out these recipes!  Many of the recipes are not vegetarian, but it is pretty easy to adapt them, and this cookbook does not claim to be a vegetarian, gluten-free one.  Also, some recipes rely on gluten-free mixes, like Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix, which doesn't both me as it simplifies the recipes, and it is always stocked in my pantry.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 5, 2011

Really Natural Books: American Wasteland

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How much food do you throw away each time you clean out your refrigerator? I'm ashamed to admit it is usually quite a lot in my household. Not only is this wasted money, it is wasted resources that could feed hungry people. Add the amount of food wasted on farms, grocery stores, and restaurants to be astounded that Americans actually dispose of nearly half of all food produced.

American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It) by Jonathan Bloom is thorough exploration of food waste and how we can improve our inefficient ways.

Since the Great Depression and the world wars, the American attitude toward food has gone from a "use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without" patriotic and parsimonious duty to an orgy of "grab-and-go" where food's fetish and convenience qualities are valued above sustainability or nutrition. Journalist Bloom follows the trajectory of America's food from gathering to garbage bin in this compelling and finely reported study, examining why roughly half of our harvest ends up in landfills or rots in the field. He accounts for every source of food waste, from how it is picked, purchased, and tossed in fear of being past inscrutable "best by" dates. Bloom's most interesting point is psychological: we have trained ourselves to regard food as a symbol of American plenty that should be available at all seasons and times, and in dizzying quantities. "Current rates of waste and population growth can't coexist much longer," he warns and makes smart suggestions on becoming individually and collectively more food conscious "to keep our Earth and its inhabitants physically and morally healthy."

Bloom's book gives much food for thought, so once again I will vow to waste less food while feeding my family.  From saving the planet to saving our pocketbooks, there are so many reasons to read Bloom's book and amend our ways. 

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 2, 2011

Really Natural Dessert Cookbooks: Sinfully Vegan

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There is nothing better than a good dessert. Make it vegan, and the guilt goes away!
Sinfully Vegan: More than 160 Decadent Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth by Lois Dieterly makes your mouth water!

What better way is there to end a meal than with a luscious piece of cheesecake, a rich slice of chocolate cream pie, or some chewy peanut butter cookies--all made with easy-to-find vegan ingredients? In this newly updated and expanded edition of Sinfully Vegan, Lois Dieterly shows you how to do just that, with more than 160 dairy-, egg-, and cholesterol-free recipes.

Sinfully Vegan offers desserts from every shelf of the pastry case: cakes, candies, cookies, brownies, pies, tarts, puddings, and quick breads. Complete with essential baking and preparation tips, creative recipe variations, nutritional breakdowns, and wheat-free alternatives, Sinfully Vegan is the ultimate vegan dessert resource and an essential addition to any kitchen. And since there are no eggs in the batter, plenty of sampling is encouraged!


From toasted coconut pecan pie to peanut butter twist brownies, you won't miss the dairy in any of these recipes! My only critique is I wish there were pictures to accompany the recipes. I am always motivated by images!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 29, 2011

Really Natural Books: Vegan for Life

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I have been a vegan in the past, but I abandoned this diet when pregnant with my first child. We do eat a lot of vegan food, and I love learning more about how to eat healthy!

Vegan for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Be Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet by Jack Norris, RD and Virginia Messina, MPH, RD is a great book for those just beginning their vegan lifestyle, as well as those you have chosen this animal-free diet for years.

Praise for Vegan for Life:
"A no-nonsense guide to explode the myths, avoid the pitfalls, and maximize health on a plant-based diet. Required reading for every vegan, old or new."--Michael Greger, MD, Director, Public Health and Animal Agriculture, Humane Society of the United States

This incredible resource addresses concerns of a vegan diet, such as calcium, vitamin D, and bone health, as well as food choices for managing chronic diseases. The horrors of the omnivore diet are discussed, in addition to exploring the issues about the safety of eating soy.

Whatever your questions are about being vegan, you are sure to find the answers in this book.


Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 27, 2011

The Compassionate Diet: How what you eat can change your life and save the planet

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The Compassionate Diet: How What You Eat Can Change Your Life and Save the Planet is written by Arran Stephens, founder of Nature's Path Foods. Nature's Path is one of the health food companies I respect, as they have remained independent at a time when similar companies have been taken over by mainstream food corporations.

In this book, Stephens looks at the "truth about factory farming, GMOs and organics".

What can we do to allay global warming, contend with world hunger, be healthier, and live longer? In The Compassionate Diet, Nature's Path founder and CEO Arran Stephens, who has been at the leading edge of the organic food movement for decades and a vegetarian his entire adult life, answers these complex questions in the simplest terms: Eat vegetarian.

A balanced and natural vegetarian diet is neither a fad nor a passing trend. It has been part of many cultures over untold millennia. The Compassionate Diet distills the history, philosophy, and core benefits of eschewing meat.

A sense of compassion and humanity has animated Stephens's life's work, and it drives this book. The vegetarian lifestyle has innumerable benefits, but for Stephens, eating a plant-based diet is first and foremost an expression of compassion for animals, for ourselves, and for the planet. This elegant and completely approachable book is a beautiful guide that illustrates the rich gifts that compassion yields.


One of the most interesting section of the book explores vegetarianism in world religions.

I really like this book, as it is easy to read, as well as informative and aesthetically pleasing.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 7, 2011

Global Girlfriends: How One Mom Made it Her Business to help Women in Poverty Worldwide

global_girlfriends.jpgGlobal Girlfriends: How One Mom Made It Her Business to Help Women in Poverty Worldwide by Stacey Edgar is an inspiring story. It's the story of how one mom took her tax return and started a fair trade company across five continents.

Seven years ago, Stacey Edgar had a $2,000 tax return and a deep desire to help provide economic security for women in need. She knew that of the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1 per day, seventy percent are women. What she didn't have was a business plan. Or a passport. But that didn't stop her from creating a socially conscious business that has helped poor women in five continents feed their families and send their children to school.

Global Girlfriend has since grown into a multi-million dollar enterprise that specializes in handmade, fairly traded, ecoconscious apparel, accessories, and items made by women all over the world. Global Girlfriends is Stacey's inspiring story of following her convictions, as well as her passionate argument for simple actions we can all take to eliminate extreme poverty. Stacey Edgar refused to be paralyzed by the size of world poverty; she started by taking several small steps, personal responsibility firmly in hand, and never looked back.


This is one of those stories you read and think about what is possible with life. Not only does the story tell how her business grew, but it also profiles women she has helped around the world. From selling her goods in the Wild Oats parking lot to producing a catalog, Stacey's story is one we can all learn from and applaud.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 22, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks: Ani's Raw Food Asia

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I love raw food, but I wouldn't say I was a raw foodie. Fortunately, Ani's Raw Food Asia: Easy East-West Fusion Recipes the Raw Food Way has many great recipes to spice up my raw food recipes beyond nuts, cocoa, and salads.

You've been to her kitchen, enjoyed her desserts, and mastered the essentials; now go with raw food goddess Ani Phyo back to her roots for the first ever Asian raw food cookbook. Along with recipes from Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and Hawaii and background information on traditional dishes, Ani's Raw Food Asia also offers essential tips on green living, well-being, longevity, fitness, beauty, and entertaining as inspired by a healthy Asian lifestyle.

Recipes include: Mixed Vegetable Skewers with Almond-Butter Sauce, Creamed Curry Saag, Vegetable Tempura with Orange Lemongrass Dipping Sauce, Marinated Shiitake Mushroom Dumplings, Corn Fritters with a Hot and Sour Cucumber Dipping Sauce, Dosas, Moo Shoo Vegetables, and more.


One recipe I found really interesting and never encountered before was for sunscreen! This recipe includes sesame oil, which according to Ani "blocks or reduces about 30 percent of the sun's burning rays". Who knew?

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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