Hungry for Change review

There has been a lot of buzz around the internet lately about the new film “Hungry for Change” and I’ve seen some relatively strong opinions on both sides. (Not to be confused with the Hunger Games, which I know much less about but which is getting a lot more attention…)

I watched the film when it was available to view for free online, and overall, I’d say it is worth the view. Though it had its flaws, the message was good and for most people, the changes they recommend would be beneficial.

The Good

They majorly slam processed foods, sugars, artificial sweeteners, MSG and other preservatives. I agreed 100% with the info they provided on these points. They provided some good science to  back up what these chemicals do to the body and were pretty convincing in their recommendation to avoid them.
They definitely promote the veggies, and since most people are not getting near enough fresh veggies, this is great.
Probably my favorite part was how they addressed the mental aspects of food and dieting. My favorite piece of advice from the movie was to not think of it as “I want that (food, drink, etc.) and can’t have it” but to reframe in your mind, take control if it and think “I could have that (food, drink, etc.) but I don’t want it.” Merely changing your mental attitude away from a scarcity mentality, which will make you crave it more, will help change the overall outlook on food.
The movie also addresses the importance of letting go of feelings of guilt, shame, etc related to your body image and how you relate to food. This is vital for many people, because just the guilt/shame about needing to lose weight and not being able to it very difficult for many people and increases cortisol and stress hormones.
There was a star studded list of speakers and while I disagreed with some of them, they all promoted their ideas kindly and in a coherent manner.
Did I mention they came down hard on artificial ingredients and sweeteners It would be worth watching for that alone.
The Not so Good

There was definitely an underlying anti-meat message, and one instance where they specifically said that meat, especially grilled, was dangerous, without giving any science or reference to back it up. It also seemed like several times quotes from Dr. Mercola (who promotes eating quality meats) were cut off in the middle of a sentence or though, and it made me wonder if that is what had been edited out.
In the same way, they fell a little short on their healthy fat recommendations. They suggested plant based fats like avocado, olive oil, etc. but didn’t mention coconut oil at all. They came close when they said “Even Salmon can be a good source of healthy fats” but failed to mention that grassfed meats and pastured chicken and eggs can be as well.
There was a weird story line mixed into the whole thing about a woman who was struggling with her health. It wasn’t that the story line was bad, it just seemed like it was forced the way they wove it into the film.
The whole thing was very pro-vegetable juicing. Certainly, there are worse things to be a proponent for, but I always recommend vegetable smoothies instead of juice (and suggest throwing in a little gelatin too).
They talk about the importance of gelatinous foods like chia seeds and aloe, which is true, but don’t mention Gelatin, which is one of the best sources.
Although not perfect, Hungry for Change is a decent documentary that you might want check out if you’re in the mood.

Do you agree with my opinions? Disagree? Are you drinking a veggie smoothie as you type? Let me know below!

The Healthy Gluten Free Life Book Review

I was recently (ok, not quite so recently) sent a copy of the The Healthy Gluten Free Life by Tammy Credicott to review, and with my husband’s extended hospital stay and a few conferences in the last month, I am just now able to actually write the review (oops!)

The thing that is unique about this particular cookbook is that the recipes are gluten, dairy, soy, and EGG free. Some of the recipes use non-gluten flours that are still grains, and I wouldn’t use them for this reason, but there are some great meat and vegetable based recipes too.

Especially for families with egg allergies (like mine!), this cookbook provides 200 egg free recipes, and the recipes that I’ve tried have been very good thus far.

I tried several of the chicken recipes and the flavor combinations were great. My kids were also drooling over some of the dessert recipes, and there were quite a few grain free ones as well.

I liked her recipe for homemade Chorizo sausage, and there was a pineapple mango salsa that was excellent too.

Overall, it was a great cookbook, and even though I wouldn’t use some of the recipes because they used other types of flours, I really enjoyed the recipes I tried, and there were still a lot of recipes that I plan to test out soon.

Another thing I did really like about this cookbook is how well organized it is. The recipes were well organized, even within their own categories so I could search by ingredients I had on hand.

Especially if you have a member of your family with Celiac disease, or a true egg or dairy allergy, The Healthy Gluten Free Life would be a great resource for you.

Have you read The Healthy Gluten Free Life? What did you think? Share below!

Make Shi(f)t Happen Book Review

I recently read the book Making Shi(f)t Happen by Dean Dwyer from BeingPrimal.com.

I’ve read Dean’s blog in the past, and I like his no-holds-barred approach to health and nutrition. To give a little background, Dean was a former Vegan/Vegetarian who, at age 45, decided to try a new approach.

He re-introduced meat into his diet and adopted a paleo way of eating, but more importantly, he addressed the often missed mental and emotional aspects of health and weight loss.

Dean breaks his own journey and his advice to others into a series of 20 Shi(f)ts that helped him (and will help others) change their weight and their lives.

Though it does address the health and nutrition aspects of weight loss, I liked that the majority of Make Shi(f)t Happen focuses on the mental and emotional side. I’m hopeful that we will see these aspects being addressed more often in the next few years, but Dean is ahead of the curve on this one.

Make Shi(f)t Happen is an easy read, and Dean’s writing style is very enjoyable. I finished the book within a few hours of starting it and I’ve made a list of several mental shifts I am going to work on myself. I especially like his suggestions to:

Run your body like you’d run a business by having actionable steps to accomplish a goal, rather than just setting an abstract goal and trying to reach it.
Focus on exercise for its functional aspects rather than weight loss. It is true that your physique is made in the kitchen, and yet, many people still trudge away on the treadmill in hopes of losing weight.
Make a list of the thing that you could do that would make your life great and review this list often to make sure you are making progress toward them.
So many health and nutrition books are geared toward women, and Dean does a great job of reaching out to men and women in his book. I thoroughly enjoyed Make Shi(f)t Happen, but I think it would be especially effective at reaching men as well. Dean’s straightforward writing style and sense of humor might be able to get through to teenagers or spouses who are resistant to or struggling to make health changes.

I think this book would also be very effective for those who know they need to make a change, and perhaps even know what nutrition changes they need to make but are struggling to stick to the changes.

Make Shi(f)t Happen is now available on Amazon. You can also check out Dean’s writing at DeanDwyer.com.

Have you read Make Shi(f)t Happen? What did you think? Share below!

Sweet Potato Power Book Review

I recently read Sweet Potato Power by Ashley Tudor and I admit that at first, I was somewhat skeptical of a 250+ page book completely about sweet potatoes, but Ashley did a great job.

While this book definitely has some great sweet potato recipes, it also has an easy-to-understand explanation of why a grain free diet is helpful and why sweet potatoes are an exceptional carb source for those of us who are grain free.

This book would be especially beneficial for athletes who feel that they need the additional carbs for the activity level but don’t want to get them from grains or processed foods. Ashley even includes recipes for natural sweet potato based sports drinks.

Sweet Potato Power also has a wonderful and easy to understand explanation of the body’s hormone systems and why excess carbs can damage proper hormone levels.

Ashley does a great job of addressing the importance of sleep and how stressors such as lack of sleep or harmful foods can cause chronic inflammation throughout the body. I was impressed with the way she explained how over-exercising can cause as much stress as not exercising at all.

What Is Best for YOUR Body

One of my favorite parts of this book is how it breaks down how while each of our bodies is very different, there are still substances (grains, sugars, etc.) that are not good for anyone. Sweet Potato Power gives great resources of figuring out what method is right for your body within the healthy eating framework.

Sweet Potato Power provides resources for self-testing and for finding a good doctor in your area.

I’m a big fan of self-testing glucose levels to monitor my own glucose reaction to different foods and Sweet Potato Power gives a great guide for how to do this on your own.

Oh the Recipes…

Sweet Potato Power includes some great sweet potato recipes including (my two favorites) Sweet Potato Linguine and Sweet Potato Quiche. There’s even a recipe for sweet potato cupcakes (which are on my list to try this week!)

I’d definitely recommend Sweet Potato Power and it would be especially beneficial for athletes who are trying to figure out how to incorporate healthy carbs without eating grains or sugars.

Have you read Sweet Potato Power? What did you think? Let me know below!

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo Book Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo by Jason Glaspey and Neely Quinn and it was definitely much more comprehensive than I expected for a “Complete Idiot’s Guide!”

This 300+ page book not only has explans why some modern foods (grains, sugars, vegetable oils, etc.) are not healthy, but also some great recipes and a meal plan.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Paleo is also extremely easy to read and has lots of quick tips and easy reference for the main points. I think this would be especially useful for friends or relatives who don’t understand your way of eating and who could benefit from an easy and concise explanation.

I’ve tried a few of their recipes and especially enjoyed their Salmon Cakes with Mango and Cilantro Salsa and their Sausage Stuffed Tomatoes.

Perhaps my favorite part was at the very end where they compare a paleo diet and a standard American diet side by side for nutrient levels. I often get questions about if we will miss out on nutrients on a real food diet, and this clearly shows the superior nutrient levels in a paleo/real-food diet.

This book isn’t an intensive guide for already experienced grain free and paleo eaters, but it has a great introduction to the paleo lifestyle and reasons for choosing it. It also has some simple and delicious recipes that are great for beginners.

What is your favorite real food book? Have you read this one? Share below!

It Starts With Food Book Review

There are so many great health books coming out right now and It Starts With Food is probably one of my favorite.

It was written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, founders of Whole9 and the Whole 30 Challenge and it is a great primer for those who are delving into a healthier way of living and those who just need some extra motivation.

They cover all the basics of healthy eating and healthy living and explain how food affects your hormones, gut, brain and how foods can create or help remove inflammation in the body.

I like that It Starts With Food doesn’t shy away from explaining the science but also presents it in an easy to understand and logical way. Dallas and Melissa address why eating a grain free (even dairy free) low-inflammation diet is so important and give resources to make it workable with kids, family or even while pregnant/breastfeeding.

The book doesn’t pull punches about the fact that a transition to a healthier lifestyle can be tough at first, but they put it in perspective. One of my favorite lines in the book was: “It is NOT hard. Please don’t tell us this program is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

It Starts With Food encourages a strict 30-day no-cheat clean diet with no grains, vegetable oils, dairy, sugars, or food additives. I’ve seen great success with clients from a similar diet and I suggest a similar plan with my 30-Day Wellness Challenge.

I also like that they focus on the health aspects and the science behind eating this way now and don’t just rely on “our ancestors ate this way” as their support for the lifestyle. As they said “We are far more concerned with health than we are with history.”

If you’re just starting into the Paleo/Primal/Grain Free way of living and are struggling to find motivation, It Starts With Food might be a great resource for you. If you have relatives who don’t understand why you’d eat this way or who could really benefit from eating this way, this is a great book to pass on to them.

While It Starts With Food won’t be a lot of new information to those who are already on the paleo/primal/grain free bandwagon, it’s main strength, in my opinion, is how clearly the information is explained and in the motivation.

Have you read It Starts With Food>? What did you think? Share below!

Virgin Coconut Oil Book Review

I recently re-read the book Virgin Coconut Oil written by Tropical Traditions founders Brian and Marianita and I’m glad I did. I’m already a huge fan of coconut oil, obviously… (just google “Wellness Mama Coconut Oil” and check out all the results), but this book always makes me want to go drink some coconut oil.

Virgin Coconut Oil Book Review:

I use their coconut oil for everything from cooking to skin lotion to putting in my coffee. I buy it by the five gallon bucket and I’m certainly convinced of its quality, but it was great to read about how their company was formed and all the effort they put into ensuring the most high quality coconut oil available.

Virgin Coconut Oil also cites many studies and scientific information about coconut oil and it’s many benefits:

Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of MCTs (medium chain triglycerides). Not only do MCTs raise the body’s metabolism leading to weight loss, but they have special health giving properties as well. The most predominant MCT in coconut oil, for example, is Lauric acid. Lipid researcher Job Kabara states “Never before in the history of man is it so important to emphasize the value of Lauric Oils. The medium-chain fats in cocnout oil are similar to the fats in mother’s milk and have similar neutraceutical affects. These health effects were recognized centuries ago in Ayurvedic medicine. Modern research has now found a common link between these two natural health produces – their fat or lipid content.” Outside of human mother’s breast milk, coconut oil is nature’s most abundant source of Lauric Acid and medium chain fatty acids.

I’m already a huge fan of saturated fat, but it was great to see the reminder of all the important roles of saturated fat in the diet:

  • “Saturated fatty acids constitute at least 50 percent of cell membranes. They give our cells necessary firmness and integrity.” (as in avoiding wrinkles and getting rid of cellulite!)
  • “They play a vital role in the health of our bones. For example, at least 50 percent of our dietary fats need to be saturated for calcium to be effectively incorporated into the skeletal system.”
  • “They lower Lp(a), a substance in the blood that indicates a proneness to heart disease.”
  • “They protect the liver from the toxic effects of alcohol and certain drugs.”
  • “They enhance the immune system.”
  • “They are needed for the proper utilization of essential fatty acids. Elongated omega-3 fatty acids are better retained in the tissues when the diet is rich in saturated fats.”
  • “Saturated 18-carbon stearic acid and 16-carbon palmitic acid are the preferred foods for the heart, which is why the fat around the heart is highly saturated. The heart draws on this reserve of fat in times of stress.”
  • “short and medium chain saturated fatty acids have important antimicrobial properties.”

Virgin Coconut Oil also details the various ways that coconut oil is supportive:

  • Digestive health
  • Brain Health
  • Weight Loss
  • Thyroid Health
  • Skin health
  • Energy levels

While some would worry about gaining weight from adding saturated fat to their diets, the book reminds: “Scientific studies have reported that the fatty acids from MCTS in coconut oil are not easily converted into stored triglycerides, and that MCTs can not readily be used by the body to make larger fat molecules.”

If you are on the fence about Coconut Oil’s health benefits or if you haven’t already, I’d definitely recommend reading Virgin Coconut Oil.

If you’ve never ordered from Tropical Traditions before, they will send you a FREE copy of Virgin Coconut Oil with your first order of any size if you order through this link.

Have you read Virgin Coconut Oil? What’s your favorite thing about coconut oil? Share below!

Practical Paleo Book Review

I was ecstatic to receive an advanced copy of Practical Paleoand was completely unprepared for how HUGE this book was and how much information it contains!

Diane Sanfilippo did an amazing job of organizing all the information in a very easy to read and understand format. This 400+ page book is actually an easy and fun read.

Practical Paleo is a wealth of information and has specific dietary suggestions for various conditions including:

Digestive Issues
Thyroid problems
Autoimmune problems
Neurological health
Blood Sugar Balance
Heart health
Cancer Recovery
Fat Loss
MS, Fm or CFS
The first section of Practical Paleo is an easy to understand guide of the Paleo way of eating and why certain foods can be harmful. Diane breaks the science down into easy to understand sections. This part would be wonderful for any friends or family members who don’t understand or agree with your way of eating to read! It’s also a comprehensive intro for anyone starting the paleo way of eating.

The second section of Practical Paleo has meal suggestions for all of the above conditions in an easy to read and use format.

The final section of Practical Paleo has over 120 paleo recipes. My favorites so far were the cauliflower hummus and the chicken liver pate (which I’ll be posting my review of separately soon). There are also a lot of great salad recipes which are a summer favorite at our house.

At the very end of the book are some great quick reference pull out guides on healthy foods, best choices for fats/oils, stocking the pantry, vegetable sources of healthy carbs and more.

Overall, I’d highly recommend Practical Paleo. As its name suggests, it is a great practical and applied guide to eating and living the healthiest way for your body. It contains a plethora of great information and is more like a Paleo encyclopedia than a regular book!

You can’t actually get a physical copy of Practical Paleo just yet, but it ships on August 7th and it is available for pre-order so you can make sure you get a copy. It also has a special pre-order price of almost half off the cover price… click here to reserve your copy.

Also, check out Diane’s great blog Balanced Bites.

Have you Practical Paleo? What did you think? Share below!

How To Raise A Healthy Child Book Review

Several friends recommended How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor and I finally got a chance to read it. Though it was written in the 1970s, much of the information is just as important (if not more so!).

Dr. Mendelsohn is a pediatrician who was hoping to change the field from the inside. In this book, he shares his experience from years of practice.

While Mendelsohn challenges many of the common procedures of Pediatric medicine, he starts by explaining that he doesn’t feel that the doctors are at fault as much as the system itself needs to be changed.

I’ve often felt the same way in my dealings with doctors, especially pediatricians. As a whole, doctors tend to be compassionate and truly interested in helping their patients, though there are still things they have been taught by a faulty system that I refuse for my children.

An Oldie but a Goodie:

With the exception of encouraging mothers to give babies a drop of whiskey to calm them, I felt that most of the information in this book was still very valid and needed in today’s world.

Mendelsohn gives advice and encouragement to parents for handling most minor illnesses at home, and gives a helpful checklist at the end of each chapter for when an injury or illness requires medical help.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I agreed with How To Raise A Healthy Child on topics of illness treatment (or non-treatment), strep throat treatment, ear aches, active children, and many other points.

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor even touches on healthy birth (home vs. hospital), vaccination, and how most skin and respiratory problems (asthma, allergies) actually stem from food intolerances!

We very rarely take any of our children to a doctor (and NEVER give Tylenol or other drugs to bring down fever), and after reading How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, I’m even more comfortable in these decisions. I especially love that Mendelsohn urges parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their child’s health and says that for minor illness, parents can often handle it better than a doctor could.

How to Raise a Healthy Child is an easy read (I was able to finish in a night) and I’d highly encourage it to all parents or those expecting a first child. I’ll be giving it to many friends as a pregnancy gift and think that much of the information would be helpful to many parents.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Share below!

Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook Review

If you haven’t already heard the buzz, Sarah Fragoso from Everyday Paleo recently released her new Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook!

Sarah’s blog is a wealth of information and delicious recipes and it is on my list of daily reads.

I use Sarah’s original book, Everyday Paleo, often as a reference and for recipe ideas, and I think her new book will be just as helpful.

The Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook has over 80 family friendly recipes that are easy to prepare as well as healthy versions of condiments and sauces. It is a great resource for families just starting off on a paleo/real food way of eating as it has a budget guide, list of staples, week long meal plan and shopping list and more.

Even for seasoned real food eaters, her Family Cookbook provides recipe ideas and budget tips that will bring delicious variety to the menu.

I love how Sarah focuses on making meals a family event and encourages ways that the entire family can help prepare, cook and enjoy the meals. She also provides a list of lunch and snack ideas, which is a valuable resource, especially for parents who struggle to find healthy options to send with their children to school.

The Recipes

I’ve had the chance to try a few of the recipes in Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook, and like the recipes on her blog and in the original Everyday Paleo, they are easy to prepare and delicious. Our favorite so far has been the Whole Greek Chicken with Roasted Garlic.

It is incredibly simple to make and can be put in the oven to cook while you clean house, play with the kids, or relax (anyone actually do that?) We had it for lunch today and it was a kid favorite. I was out of lemons so I sliced an orange instead (lemon was great too!) and sprinkled with fresh parsley, salt and pepper. The roasted garlic really adds flavor and I love to add the roasted garlic to some wilted spinach.

Each recipe in Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook is accompanied by a full size color picture, which makes it great when my kids want to help pick out meals for the week (and they are much more likely to be excited about trying new meals when they got to pick them).

The kids favorite recipe was “Rocket Fuel” a grain free healthy treat (check the back of the book!).

The Guides

Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook also provides some very helpful quick reference chapters for making the transition to a healthier lifestyle (or saving time in the kitchen if you’ve already switched). In the first section of the book, Sarah provides guides to:

Basic foods to have on hand
10 steps to help you get started
How to get kids on board
Lunch ideas to pack on the go
Quick and simple meal ideas
Week long meal plan with shopping list
Budget guide
Check it out!

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to check out Sarah’s blog and her new book. Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook is a wealth of information in an easy to read package. I can’t wait to try more of the recipes, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too!

Have you read Sarah’s blog or previous books? Will you check out this new book? Tell me below!