May 25, 2011

Really Natural Books: Energy, Convenient Solutions: How Americans Can Solve the Energy Crisis in Ten Years

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Energy, Convenient Solutions: HOW AMERICANS CAN SOLVE THE ENERGY CRISIS IN TEN YEARS by Howard Johnson offers solutions using current technology that would solve the energy crisis. He explains how the energy crisis does not need to be solved just because of climate change, peak oil, etc., but we should focus on solutions to prevent "economic collapse and war".

This book is a collection of descriptions of energy systems-past, present, and future-and of many possible and practical ways to replace fossil fuels with renewable fuels or nonfuel energy systems. All of the new systems described could lead to no-net carbon dioxide addition to our atmosphere. Using easily understandable terminology, the book describes the many energy systems, sources, fuels, conversions and usages that comprise our total energy system. Use of the information in the book could lead to new, safer power plants, new powering and fueling systems for our vehicles, and greater energy efficiency and reliability. These systems are real and practical alternatives that will replace the use of fossil fuels and stop the hemorrhaging of billions of U.S. dollars for petroleum imports.

This book is easy to read; however, it's simplicity is also deceiving. There seems to be a common theme of a less intrusive government, and I do not agree with Johnson's thoughts that we should be drilling for more oil in the US. I am pissed that he calls environmentalists "opportunistic" and "self-serving."

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

May 6, 2011

Really Natural Books: Nutrition at Your Fingertips

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Nutrition at Your Fingertips by Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN is a handy dandy reference book. From weight management to trace minerals, everything related to nutrition is explained.

"Nutrition at Your Fingertips covers all the basics, from what happens if you eat too little fat to the safest way to defrost food. It also includes helpful charts that provide readers with must-have information, such as which foods contain key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, along with their benefits and a breakdown of food label terms. It's the kind of resource people can go back to over and over again."
-Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, New York Times bestselling author

This book contains information useful for vegetarians and omnivores alike, as well as those requiring special diets like diabetics and celiacs. Food sources for vitamins are displayed in easy to read charts, as well as the BMI index for adults. One of the items I found most surprising is that my cup of espresso actually contains about half the caffeine of a cup of brewed coffee!

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

April 29, 2011

Really Natural Books: The Way of the Happy Woman

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The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life by Sara Avant Stover is an inspirational book for any woman and would make a nice Mother's Day gift.

Our ancestors adhered to the daily, seasonal, and yearly rhythms of nature by necessity, but modern life overrides these cycles, compromising women's health and happiness.

In this book, Sara Avant Stover shows how simple, natural, and refreshingly accessible practices can minimize stress and put us back in sync with our own cycles and those of nature. When we honor spring's seedlings, summer's vibrancy, fall's harvest, and winter's quietude, we harmonize our inner and outer worlds.

Sara's suggestions nurture the body, invigorate the mind, and lift the spirit. Illustrated yin and yang yoga sequences, one-day season-specific retreats, enticing recipes, and innovative self-reflection techniques make it easy to reconnect with the essential.


I especially appreciate the seasonal yoga sequences and recipes. In fact, I plan to make the quinoa and roasted asparagus tabouli today!  Asparagus season has begun in my garden!

This book is all about treating yourself right, and Sara even shows you how to find the time to do so. It's not about pampering, which implies decadent luxury. It's about nurturing your body and spirit.

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

April 25, 2011

Really Natural Books: The Moral Lives of Animals

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The consumption of and treatment of animals is often justified on the belief that they do not possess the same mental capabilities as humans, especially morality. As a child, my own experiences with pets taught me differently and was probably the first step towards my choice to be a vegetarian. 

 
The animal brain varies by species and may not be exactly the same as humans; however, Dale Peterson explores the behaviors and values of animals in his new book The Moral Lives of Animals.

"Cooperative hyenas, scorekeeping impalas, heroic rats--humans are not the only creatures with a code of ethics. Dale Peterson of Tufts University argues that animals across many species exhibit behaviors that reveal evolutionary continuity between us and them. The rules and values Homo sapiens shares with other species provide a basis for Peterson to speculate about the future of our relationship with our fellow fauna."--Scientific American "Recommended Books" column

Peterson even explores sexual relationships, as humans are not the only ones to copulate for pleasure or engage in homosexuality. Evidence for such behavior is found in Bonobos.

I've witnessed moral behavior amongst my dogs. When we recently added a puppy to the pack, one dog took it upon herself to protect the pup whenever her sibling was mean to the new pup. It surprised us all to see her take a stand against her sister, whom she is extremely close to in order to protect the puppy.

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

April 8, 2011

Really Natural Cooking: Heart of the Artichoke

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Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys by David Tanis is an amazingly beautiful cookbook! Although not strictly vegetarian, the pictures are incredible and make you salivate over the recipes. From Fresh Peach Ice Cream to Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream, the meals are varied and unique.

A recipe is "what happens between the concept of a dish and its final result," he observes, then paints a fine line between "om" and "yum" with 14 meditations on kitchen rituals, small moments of epiphany that tie his childhood oatmeal to his adult polenta or celebrate the genius of the Ziploc bag. Cooks who live in an unchanging climate seem to have a penchant for dividing their cookbooks into seasonal chapters and Tanis is no exception. The (artichoke) heart of this work consists of 20 full menus, five for each season. Spring offerings include Vietnamese vegetable summer rolls, and "The Flavor of Smoke," featuring tea-smoked chicken salad. Summer belongs to herbs with choices like flat-roasted chicken with rosemary, and rice salad with sweet herbs. With the fall comes flatbread, a focaccia served alongside stuffed raviolone.

This cookbook provides seasonal menus perfect for anyone trying to eat locally and for selecting the freshest ingredients. For over 25 years, Tanis has been the chef at Chez Panisse, but you don't have to be a gourmet cook to follow these recipes.

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

February 22, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks: Raw Food for Real People

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Raw food contains the most nutrients compared to its cooked counterpart. Other than fruit, most people don't eat enough raw food. Raw Food for Real People: Living Vegan Food Made Simple by Rod Rotondi makes it easy for anyone to be a raw foodie!

Many have touted the health and energy benefits of raw foods, but few have presented recipes and instructions for making raw food appealing -- and satisfying -- to everyone. Chef Rod Rotondi demonstrates that going raw isn't hard -- in fact, it's fun, easy, and more delicious than you've ever imagined. You will learn all the fundamentals of preparing your own raw foods at home, including setting up your raw kitchen, transitioning to raw foods, sprouting, dehydration, and raising your kids on raw foods. Best of all, he offers a wealth of recipes for smoothies, breakfast, appetizers, soups, salads, dressings, entrées, and decadent desserts. Rod demonstrates that the best -- and utterly delectable -- way to go green and get healthy is to eat fresh food in its natural state.

I especially like the section on "Making a Salad a Meal". We do this a lot in our home, and I feel so much better after a salad meal. I don't feel weighed down. From "rawsagna" to nut "mylk", there are recipes sure to please anyone, even skeptics.

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

February 14, 2011

Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save our Most Critical Resource

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You've probably heard of peak oil, and you've probably heard of peak water. The truth is without fresh, clean, water, it doesn't matter if we have oil. Water is life sustaining; oil fuels modern luxuries.

Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource is an amazing resource of photographs and articles by leading environmentalists about our most precious resource.

Who controls our water resources and how much water do we have left? Can we enact meaningful changes in our personal lives, our policies and our laws to protect our remaining freshwater reserves? Can we learn to share water equitably with each other and the planet? 
 In this collection, some of the world's leading writers, activists, photographers, and artists have come together to answer those questions and put us on a path for change. Water Matters: Why We Need to Act Now to Save Our Most Critical Resource is a call to action and a solution-focused guide to solving our global water crisis. Authors take on both the good and the bad--the impact of climate change on water resources, the threat of privatization, and the challenge of thirsty agriculture, as well as a growing grassroots water justice movement, tools for watershed literacy, and success stories in conservation and efficiency.

I highly recommend this book! Everyone needs to read this and become educated on one of the most pressing critical issues of our time.

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

February 9, 2011

HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth

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If you are a parent, then your children are part of what author Mark Hertsgaard dubs "Generation Hot". After becoming a father, Hertsgaard realized climate change had arrived a century earlier than predicted. In Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, Herstgaard writes on climate change with some optimism in this personal book.

Q: Is that why you say your daughter belongs to what you call Generation Hot?

A: Not only my daughter. Every child on earth born after June 23, 1988, belongs to Generation Hot. Generation Hot includes some two billion young people, all of whom have grown up under global warming and are fated to spend the rest of their lives confronting its mounting impacts.

I date Generation Hot to June 23, 1988, because that's the day humanity was put on notice that greenhouse gas emissions were raising temperatures on this planet. The warning came from NASA scientist James Hansen's testimony to the United States Senate and, crucially, the decision by the New York Times to print the news on page 1, which made global warming a household phrase in news bureaus, living rooms, and government offices the world over.

Unfortunately, Hansen's and countless subsequent warnings by others went unheeded. The U.S. government, under Republican as well as Democratic leadership, listened as much to corporate-funded deniers of climate change as it did to actual scientists. So instead of shifting to greener technologies, U.S. emissions have soared over the past twenty years. That, in turn, helped accelerate global warming to where it triggered outright climate change. And as David King explained, once climate change gets triggered, it can't be turned off quickly.

As a result, my daughter and the other two billion young people of Generation Hot are destined to live with rising temperatures and stronger climate impacts for the rest of their lives. Which is why our new mantra in fighting climate change has to be "Avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable." On the one hand, we must redouble our efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming before it unleashes an unmanageable amount of climate change. On the other hand, we have to put in place better defenses against sea level rise, more effective water conservation systems, and many other measures to manage the climate change that is already unavoidable. In short, we have to live through global warming even as we strive to stop it.

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

February 7, 2011

The Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear

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The polar bear has become a symbol of climate change. It is the symbol of global warming, in particular, as it is completely dependent upon sea ice for existence.  The ever shrinking polar ice on our planet may bring about its extinction except in conservation programs at zoos. The great white bear is cuter and fiercer than other species that are equally as threatened by global wierding, and thus the story of the polar bear is one that fascinates humans.

The Great White Bear: A Natural and Unnatural History of the Polar Bear by Kieran Mulvaney is the story of two fictional bears.

Polar bears are creatures of paradox: They are white bears whose skin is black; massive predators who can walk almost silently; Arctic residents whose major problem is not staying warm, but keeping cool. Fully grown they can measure 10 feet and weigh close to 2,000 pounds, but at birth they are just 20 ounces. Creatures that may wander thousands of miles over the course of a year, they begin life in a snowdrift.

Human encounters with these legendary beasts are cause for both excitement and apprehension. Tales throughout history describe the ferocity of polar bear attacks on humans; but human hunting of polar bears has exacted a far larger toll, obliging Arctic nations to try to protect their region's iconic species before it's too late.

Now, however, another threat to the polar bears' survival has emerged, one that is steadily removing sea ice and the life it supports. Without this habitat, polar bears cannot exist. The Great White Bear celebrates the story of this unique species. Through a blend of history, both natural and human, through myth and reality and observations both personal and scientific, Kieran Mulvaney masterfully provides a context for readers to consider the polar bear, its history, its life, and its uncertain fate.

This book is also adorned with a section of beautiful photographs in the middle section.

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

January 24, 2011

Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment

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I love neuroscience! I think it is really fascinating, and this science of the brain is finally catching up to what humans have known for centuries.

I recently attended a conference in which neuroscience backed up traditional methods of natural parenting. Now, Dr. Perlmutter and Dr. Villoldo combine neuroscience with spiritual practice in their new book Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment:

The quest for enlightenment has occupied mankind for millennia. And from the depictions we've seen--monks sitting on meditation cushions, nuns kneeling in prayer, shamans communing with the universe--it seems that this elusive state is reserved for a chosen few. But now, neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo have come together to explore the commonalities between their specialties with the aim of making enlightenment possible for anyone.

Joining the long-separated worlds of science and spirit, Perlmutter explores the exciting phenomena of neurogenesis and mitochondrial health, while Villoldo brings his vast knowledge of shamanic and spiritual practices to the table. Together they draw from the most powerful tools in each discipline to create the Power Up Your Brain program, a ground-breaking, five-week plan that helps prime the brain for enlightenment. With nutritional advice, dietary supplements, physical exercise, shamanic practices, meditation, and visualizations, Perlmutter and Villoldo guide readers, step by step, through a program to help them clear their minds from previous trauma and open themselves up to experience the inner peace, vast insight, and extraordinary creativity that define the experience of enlightenment, paving the way to successfully face the challenges to come.


Of course, the authors recommend, "Choose as many organic foods as possible." The connection between chemicals, food, and our brains cannot be ignored, whether seeking spiritual enlightenment or just optimum health.

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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