Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

24 April 2011

Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss -- and the Myths and Realities of Dieting by Gina Kolata

In this fascinating and (dare I say unputdownable?) book, Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss, New York Times science writer Gina Kolata analyzes the history of popular diets and body-image standards in the United States. She concludes that, while the medical and diet industries are unlikely to cure The Death Fatz, a better understanding of why we're fat can teach us how to find and maintain our natural (versus a socially constructed unlikely “ideal”) weight.

Kolata frames the story of weight-loss in America with a two-year clinical weight-loss study she sat in on at the University of Pennsylvania comparing the low-fat, low-calorie LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, Nutrition) diet with the low-carb Atkins diet. At the study's end in 2006, Kolata reports, the participants demonstrated a standard pattern of weight-loss -- initial success, followed by setbacks, with most participants ending up about as fat as when the program began.

And that is a point that is made over and over again in Rethinking Thin -- despite what the medical and diet industries may claim, most dieters will not lose a significant of weight and/or keep it off for a long time. While diet and exercise are frequently cited as the solution to The Death Fatz, studies discussed in Rethinking Thin show they aren't always effective and that fat people who attain their "ideal" weight frequently can’t maintain it. Not won’t, but can’t.

Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss -- and the Myths and Realities of Dieting written by Gina Kolata & read by Ellen Archer (Tantor Audio, 2007)

14 July 2010

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon

Despite its subtitle (which screamed "fad diet book" at me, but I may just be paranoid), Health at Every Size is not a diet or weight loss book. Instead, it is a commonsensical guidebook for living healthily in the bodies we have. Bacon proposes that anyone, at any size, can be healthy. Rather than focusing on what we think a scale or mirror is telling us, we should instead focus on eating well and living an active life. As long as our health is good (low cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose readings, etc) why should size matter?
Accepting yourself as you are today doesn't mean giving up. It means learning to live in the present with the body you have. It means facing and acknowledging reality. (169)

You know best how to take care of yourself. Trust that. Let go of the rules, the judgements, the "expert" advice. Respect your hunger and appetite, and let them guide you to better health and fulfillment. (263)
Exhausted and infuriated as I am by society's constant, casual assumption that thin = healthy, I found Health at Every Size quite refreshing.

Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon (BenBella Books, 2008)

04 May 2010

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall et al

It has become increasingly clear that growing, harvesting, selling, buying, preparing, and eating food plays a central role in the world. And it is equally clear that some things are going wrong. Much of our food is unhealthy. Many people are no longer aware of where their food comes from. Some have no idea what they are eating. In fact, over the past hundred years -- especially during the half century since the end of World War II -- the industrial, technological world has increasingly destroyed our understanding of the food we eat: where it comes from and how it reaches our tables.

Not preachy or holier-than-thou, Harvest for Hope is very factual and to-the-point and I would say that, overall,  this book serves as  good introduction to making environmentally healthy food choices. While Goodall addresses the moral choices we face in food selection, she does not expect people to become vegans. Rather, she suggests we make the best choices we can by selecting locally grown seasonal organic foods. Goodall definitely sees consumer choice as a means for initiating change in the food industry.

Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating by Jane Goodall with Gary McAvoy & Gail Hudson (Warner Books, 2005)

24 March 2007

Second Act: Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures

I've been going through my library's catalog, trying to read as much of the ostomy stuff available because I've been feeling a little out-of-sorts about life with an ostomy lately and I don't really have anyone to talk to who won't try to bolster me with platitudes. Alas, the list of materials isn't very long and quite a chunk of it's outdated.

However, I just finished reading actress Barbara Barrie's Second Act and it's such an encouraging (and entertaining) book. It's a very intimate, honest, and funny look at her experience with colon cancer and colostomy surgery. Some of it's absolutely toe-curlingly terrifying -- the herniated stoma that looked like "a pink penis coming out of a donut," frankly, just make me want to vomit. But Barrie treats it all with a fine dose of humor and spirit which is extremely admirable and practical behavior I shall try to keep in mind the next time my stoma is shooting undigested peas at the bathroom mirror as I try to put on a new faceplate.

Second Act: Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures by Barbara Barrie (Scribner, 1997)

30 January 2006

Reads & Listens, January 2006

The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror by Christopher Moore
Another much appreciated Christmas gift from The Husband. While any book that has an undead Santa is likely to be a good one, this book was even better than I anticipated. Very Pratchett and Rankin-esque -- which means nothing much, really, but it's the new year and I'm still wasted.

Counting Heads by David Marusek
So dense and complicated that I don't know how to summarize it easily. "Many people look for some rich girl's head?" That's too easy. Overall, a very impressive book that was not easily put down.

Flirting with Pride & Prejudice ed. by Jennifer Crusie
Collection of non-scholarly essays examining P&P. Funny is places, thoughty in others, and always very personal. I especially enjoyed the essays about Mary and Charlotte as I tend to feel they got the short end of the stick.

Poison by Chris Wooding
Poison's sister, Azalea, is stolen by the phaeries. In order to get Azalea back, Poison does a deal with the Phaerie Lord. Of course, he does not uphold his end of the deal ... A pretty good story with some interesting world building.

Where's My Cow? by Terry Pratchett (illus. by Melvyn Grant)
"It goes HRUUUGH! It is a hippopotamus! That is not my cow!"

Invasion of the Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
Latest adventures of that merry band. Brilliant, as always.

Once Upon a Time (She Said) by Jane Yolen
Mishmash of Yolen's essays, short stories, and poems about fairy tales. Writings include those intended for adults as well as children and the non-fiction is interwoven with the fiction which I found a little confusing, sometimes. Mostly, it was too much of a good thing and I came away feeling as if I had eaten too much cake.

Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
Horrifying and yet so probable.

The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs ed. by Reader's Digest
This book covers all the standard supplements and gives pretty precise instructions for usage. The dosages might be too conservative for some, but they usually match those listed in MedlinePlus, Gale's Health & Wellness database, and EBSCO Health. A good guide for beginners or those looking for a solid reference for their home library.

The Turkish Lover by Esmeralda Santiago
Santiago was a guest on last week's episode of Daisy Cooks! She was so compelling (and Daisy's enthusiasm for her works so infectious) that I had to borrow this book. It was marvelous. I cannot speak of it without gushing or blowing the whole story. I must go devour the rest of her works. Now.

Hubbert's Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage by Kenneth S. Deffeyes
Published in 2001, some of Deffeyes predictions/assumptions are already off (but perhaps it doesn't matter when the oil will run out so much as it will). Provides a good overview if you want to know where oil comes from, how we find it, drilling technology, etc.

28 February 2005

Reads & Listens, February 2005


Vaginas: An Owner's Manual by Dr. Carol Livoti & Elizabeth Topp
Even better than The V Book! Funny, honest, and extremely informative. (Excellent for reading aloud to cornered spouses). Buy it for Valentine's Day.

Guji Guji written & illus. by Chih-Yuan Chen
Charming story about a crocodile brought up in a family of ducks. Also contains one of my favorite lines: "Mother Duck didn't notice. / (She was reading)."

Something About Emmaline by Elizabeth Boyle
Complete and utter candy floss. A dull baron invents the perfect wife and is then appalled when some fraudulent chit starts running around London claiming to be his wife. All the plot twists are quite predictable (I mean, if any of it astonishes you, you're rather dim) and the premise is utterly preposterous, but rather cute. A nice candy floss book for a "when the fuck will winter end??" kind of afternoon.

Q Pootle 5 written & illus by Nick Butterworth
While on the way to a party, little green dude named QPootle5 crash lands on Earth. He tries to enlist aid from the Earthlings he meets, but none are particularly helpfull until he meets Cat. The illustrations are charming and the construction materials used to build the space craft are really quite clever. (It was like reading a book inspired by Pikmin!)

Feast: Food to Celebrate Life by Nigella Lawson
Probably, the most attractive and tempting cookbook I have ever read. I must own it. (A bit surprising to me, because How to be a Domestic Goddess just infuriated me).


I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Ready, Working Mother by Allison Pearson (read by Emma Fielding)
I read this novel two years ago and loved it very much. I was a bit leery about listening to the abridgment, but should not have worried because this is an excellent adaptation. I am in love with Emma Fielding's voice -- she is Kate Ready. My only quibbles are with the story itself, but that has more to do with a personal reaction to Kate's choices and less with plot or style.

30 September 2002

Reads & Listens, September 2002


The Rules for Marriage by Ellen Fein & Sherrie Schneider
Agree with whatever he says, do what ever he wants, and feel free to speak your own mind (as long as it agrees with his). Fuck that shit.

The Rules II by Ellen Fein & Sherrie Schneider
As a woman, your whole life is dedicated to getting and keeping a man. You are incomplete without a man. You must have a man. To get one, you must entrap him by following the Rules.

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake
Raw, gritty, and much too good to put down. Read it all in one marathon session and then re-read the sections I twitched through.

Water: Book Two (Reunion) by Kara Dalkey
Nice play on the whole Lady of the Lake/Merlin & Nimue mythos.

Thrush Green by Miss Read
All Creatures Great & Small without the veterinary practice. Are Ella and Dimity the most horrible stereotype of a lesbian couple or what? Not as if most of the characters aren't stereotypes, anyway, but I find Ella and Dimity's to be particularly annoying. I know these are supposed to be "charming," "simple," and "gentle" reads, but I think I'll stick to James Herriot.

The V Book: A Doctor's Guide to Vulvovaginal Health by Elizabeth Stewart & Paula Spencer
Every woman should own a copy of this book. Every heterosexual man, too.

Mmm ... Christmas presents ...

Water: Book Three (Transformation) by Kara Dalkey
Too much happened in too little book. I'm reading along and stuff's happening happening happening and then *bang* here's the end and there's Merlin with King Arthur and I feel like I have whiplash it all happened so fast.

Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Less magical than The Mistress of the Spices, but still quite a fairy tale.

The Faded Sun: Kesrith & The Faded Sun: Shon'jir by C.J. Cherryh
Hard going in some places, but that's more due to Cherryh's style than to the content of the books. Her aliens are, after all, alien and so understanding some points requires close reading. Also, as there is very little that is light or humorous about these books, it can all get a bit depressing. On the other hand, considering the topics, how could there be anything light or humorous? Still, quite interesting and well worth the extra effort. If you want light science fiction, go read Anne McCaffrey.

30 May 2002

Reads & Listens, May 2002


The Indelible Alison Bechdel: Confessions, Comix, and Miscellaneous Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel
Highly entertaining memoir in which Bechdel describes her progression as a cartoonist and includes lots of early drawings of men (oddly enough). The bulk of the book is made up of strips from her calendars, for other magazines, or special occasions, and autobiographical work like her highly amusing coming out story.

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley
Very clever juvenile novel about a young girl, Corinna, who disguises herself as a boy and works as a Keeper of the Folk. The Folk are what we might think of as boggles or imps, but much stranger and more inhuman -- more something that stepped out of a nightmare than characters out of the Blue Fairy Book. The Keeper must keep the Folk fed and placated lest they make mischief. At fifteen "Corin" is hired by the Lord of Cliffsend to be the Keeper of his estate. At Cliffsend she encounters mystery after mystery ... An extremely well imagined story with several neat twists and turns along the way.

Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds by Judy Grahn
Mine is the "updated and expanded edition," but it doesn't seem much different from the edition I read obsessively in college. This book is an extremely educational combination of gay cultural history, folklore, and memoir. Damn fine poetry, as well.

The Crazy Makers: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Brains & Harming Our Children by Carol Simontacchi
"Nutritionist Carol Simontacchi takes a hard, shattering look at how the pseudofood being promoted today ... can, in fact, physically erode our brains." It's an interesting and, perhaps, valid premise (bad food is bad for your brain), but the book is badly written and doesn't contain the amount of clinical research I expect. Instead, it reads too much like another hysterical diet of the month book. It's also quite shamelessly (and erroneously) linked with Rachel Carlson's Silent Spring.

Consumed: Why Americans Love, Hate, & Fear Food by Michelle Stacey
Well written social history of America's love/hate relationship with food and the pseudoscience behind these obsessions. Supports what I've suspected for a while -- for many people, food isn't merely food, but either a clever enemy or a wonder drug. Me? I am an apologetic Food Hedonist. I like my pirogi fried up in some nice butter with lots of onion until everything is a golden brown. And I eat it with gobs of real cow full fat sour cream. Then I feel guilty and don't eat any for another 3 months ...

A Thing of Beauty by Casey Claybourne
Amusing romance novel about a socially inept bluestocking, her magic "beauty cream" (boot polish), and the rake who loves her. Makes decent use of British history.

Naked by David Sedaris
Neither as funny nor interesting as Me Talk Pretty One Day, this is similar bitter collection of adventures and mishaps. I expect the audiobook version would be much more entertaining.

How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
Quite disappointingly, I couldn't seem to get into this novel at all. The characters? A lot of annoying prats and wankers. The plot? Another story about middle age angst and the search for fulfillment. In the end, it was just so much blah, blah, blah ... A great pity, as I loved High Fidelity and About a Boy -- they were witty, sharp, and had characters I cared about.

Black Rubber Dress: A Sam Jones Novel by Lauren Henderson
Sam Jones is much more kickass than Stephanie Plum will ever be and thank god for that! The world only needs so many whinging Jersey girls. Sam is sexy, cynical, and really quite brilliant. Am I smitten? Oh, yes. This particular novel (I'm not certain it's the first in the series) is a neat little mystery about the dirty world of the Sloans -- blackmail, drugs, murder, and champagne.

Juniper by Monica Furlong
This is billed as a prequel to Wise Child (which I haven't read). Happily, this book stands well on it's own. Juniper is the only child of the King of Cornwall. Her privileged life ends when she is called to study under he godmother Euny. Euny is a doran (a wise woman) who disdains creature comforts like filling meals and soft beds. After Juniper has learned all she can, she returns to Cornwall to fight her wicked aunt. A good read although the end did seem ... rushed? pat? not clever enough for the rest of the book?

The Wayfarer Redemption: Book One by Sara Douglass
My library catalog has this cataloged as Battleaxe and I've also seen it referred to as Book One of the Axis Trilogy. I think the problem is that this series (whatever it's called) has been repackaged for the U.S. market and, somewhere along the line, names were changed and books were condensed together -- six into three, or something like that. Anyway, it's a very good book and I look forward to reading the other two (or five). Unfortunately, the cover art, while very good, bears little connection to the content of the book.

Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins
The newest collection by the US Poet Laureate -- this is actually a collection of previously published poems plus twenty new poems. Very good, but I still want to listen to The Best Cigarette.

Dress Codes of Three Girlhoods -- My Mother's, My Father's, and Mine by Noelle Howey
"Memoir of three journeys into womenhood as experienced by a transgendered father, a tomboy mother, and their daughter". Really good. Makes me realize my childhood experiences were normal -- or, at least, others have had similar experiences. Go read it.

Darkling I Listen by Katherine Sutcliffe
All right, so I knew straight away that the nurse was Anticipating. Disappointing? Yes, because it was just too fucking obvious, but I hoped the how and why would make up for that. Did it? No, she was just the son of an abusive conservative Christian cult family who grew up to be a transgendered psychopath. How original is that? It reads like an over-the-top Jeffrey Deaver novel that tried too push itself too far. I'm also quite bothered by the whole linkage of psychological instability with transsexuality. Oh, yeah, freaks and murderers. Brilliant.

How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quinlan
Very amusing and insightful book about the joys of reading. I wish this book had been around when I was twelve and feeling life a freak of nature :)

Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden
Surprisingly flat. Such a pity, because I loved Holden's previous novels, but this one lacks the wit and charm of its predecessors. It's cute, but not clever. The ending? Ick. How perfectly Disney. The characters? Two dimensional, at best. Still, a good library book for the train or waiting room.

The Birthday of the World by Ursula K. Le Guin
"Short" story collection set in the Hainish Universe. Many of the stories reminded me of stories by other authors. Particularly, "The Matter of Segri" (ah, the power of naming things!) which reminded me of an anthropologist's look at The Gate to Women's Country. However, what Le Guin has written is distinctive enough from the other stories, that I did not find myself doing a compare and contrast exercise in my head.

Song for the Basilisk The Tower at Stony Wood Ombria in Shadow by Patricia McKillip
I love Patricia McKillip. Ever since The Riddlemaster of Hed, I have been completely enamored by her storytelling abilities -- the lushness and rhythm of her language is positively addictive. Already, I want to read these books again.

28 February 2002

Reads & Listens, February 2002


Emma by Jane Austen
If it were not for The Best Friend's love of Austen and her introducing me to BBC productions of Austen, I would probably never have re-read this book. You know what? It's a surprisingly contemporary and humorous little novel. Way better than I remember from high school.

Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex, and Politics by Starhawk
I felt rather obligated to read something by Starhawk after being told (rather hotly) that she was one of the most brilliant women ever born. Unfortunately, this book seemed dry and dated. I mean, I'm usually all for Witchcraft, environmentalism, and gender awareness, but this book left me wondering what was the big deal.

The Professor & the Madman by Simon Winchester
Another book I read based upon the opinions of others. Interesting story, certainly, but not a ripper.

The Cyberthief & the Samurai by Jeff Goodell
So very, very bad.

Amanda's Wedding by Jenny Colgan
Amanda is getting married and her friends vow to make sure the wedding will never take place. It sounds horrible, doesn't it? Actually, quite fluffy and rather fun.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
So much better than the movie.

London Holiday by Richard Peck
Three middle-aged friends holiday together in London. A delightful story to give your spirits a little boost on a rainy day.

Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden by Diane Ackerman
Garden erotica for those of us who are appreciate the idea of gardening, but would rather read about them than dig one.

Talking to Addison by Jenny Colgan
Wonderfully amusing little read (especially the geeky bits).

Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin
I had to keep reminding myself that this was a novel, not an anthropology book. Amazing collection of stories, songs, myths, and more of people who "will be might have been."

The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: Menstruation by Karen Houppert
Amusing and horrifying, it makes you seriously consider what the whole feminine hygiene industry must think about its consumers. Also, makes you think about how fucked up we are as a society that we can talk about sex quite casually, but Auntie Flo's strictly for darkened rooms and lowered voices.

A Natural History of Love by Diane Ackerman
Like all her other books, both educational and entertaining. Would make a wonderful Valentine.

The Pooh Perplex by Frederick C. Crews
Utterly ridiculous literary criticism of Winnie the Pooh. Perfect fun for English Literature students.

Bountiful Women: Large Women's Secrets for Living the Life They Desire by Bonnie Bernell
Both a celebration of voluptuousness and a practical guide for living as a woman of size (like how to ask for a seat belt extender without feeling ashamed).

The Bride of the Wind: The Life of Alma Mahler by Susanne Keegan
"And that is the story of Alma, / Who knew how to receive and to give. / The body that reached her embalma' / Was one that had known how to live." Now, there's a woman I'd love to have to dinner.

Under the Radar: How Red Hat Changed the Software Business & Took Microsoft by Surprise by Robert Young
A boring and badly written piece of propaganda. Ugh. I mean, I love the penguinistas, but dear god.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
I picked this up largely based upon my enjoyment of the "SantaLand Diaries" and was not disappointed. Caustically hilarious.

30 January 2002

Reads & Listens, January 2002

The Moon By Whale Light by Diane Ackerman
I love Ackerman -- she blends poetry and science into something so compelling I can't help but fall head first into her books. And the penguins! Can't go wrong with penguins!

Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary by Linus Torvalds
So, you're married to a code monkey who's all penguinified. For your own protection, you want to learn about the cult he's joined, but you don't want end up trolling on slashdot. This is the book for you.

Journeys to Self-Acceptance: Fat Women Speak by Carol Wiley
Collection of uplifting essays discussing the myths and stereotypes about women and fatness. I recommend skimming it whenever you come down with The Horribles.

The Invisible Woman: Confronting Weight Prejudice in America by Charisse Goodman
This book makes me want to stand up and start slapping people around. I can "accept" myself, but without a major social shift acceptance doesn't mean a thing.

Fat!So? Because You Don't have to Apologize for Your Size by Marilyn Wann
Thin does not equal healthy. Eat nutritious foods, get some exercise, and stop fucking worrying about your knee dimples.

My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki
Kept forgetting this was a novel and not an autobiography. Well written, thoughtful, and weirdly humorous.

One Hand Tied Behind Us: The Rise of the Women's Suffrage Movement by Jill Liddington & Jill Norris
This book uses much unpublished material and interviews to paint a vivid picture of the suffrage movement in the Great Britain.

Can't Buy Me Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Feel by Jean Kilbourne
Marketing influences how we feel! Industry doesn't care about you! Industry just wants to manipulate you into consuming! Simply shocking, dahling.

Myrtle of Willendorf by Rebecca O'Connell
On the onset, this book seems to employ a lot of stereotypes. Not only is Myrtle fat, she's also depressing, sloppy, and constantly eating. How flattering is that? Not very, but then Myrtle isn't very happy with herself, either. It's only in the end, when she paints her "masterpiece" does she become beautiful -- not by morphing into a someone else, but by accepting herself. This is a delicious book. The descriptions of the characters, the setting, and the food make me want to read it again and again. The only thing that would have made it perfect where if I could see her masterpiece.

Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson
Cute. A murder mystery and recipes all in one slim volume.

Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
While I found this book profoundly moving, Adeline's perfect goodness got to be a bit much.

J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey
Veddy interesting, but not sure it stands out from other Tolkien biographies I've read.

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner
People who are afraid, consume.

The Foods of Israel Today by Joan Nathan
Beautiful illustrations, lovely text, and some truly yummy recipes. Foodie erotica.

Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
First book in the Goldy Bear series (I started out of order). A lot of fun to read, but not very filling.

Wake Up, I'm Fat! by Camryn Manheim
Funny hah-hah and funny ouch. Who wouldn't want Manheim as an older sister or friend? Nice legs, too.

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig
Sometimes, I read books to increase my cred with other people. Generally speaking, this never turns out to be a good idea. I like Lawrence Lessig and I enjoy listening to what he has to say, but (about half way through this book) I became lost and couldn't make heads or tails out of what I was reading.

The Onion Girl by Charles De Lint
Finally, Jilly's story. Unfortunately, I've been waiting so long to have it told and read so much de Lint in the process, that I don't care. All his books are too much a like and, while familiarity can be comforting, it can also breed contempt.

The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin
Yummy. I always wondered what would happen with Tenar and Tehanu and hoped there would be another book some day. The Earthsea books, along with Cooper's Dark is Rising series, and Pierce's Darkangel trilogy were the defining reads of my adolescence.