Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kale and Coffee: a Renegade’s Guide to Health, Happiness & Longevity by Kevin Gianni

This is not just another diet/nutrition book that promises immediate and rapid weight loss and renewed vigor and health.   Gianni is a food blogger and internet celebrity, and this book really works best in those terms.  The time sequence jumps about from chapter to chapter and I found it somewhat hard to follow, but the book works well if you consider each chapter just an independent commentary.

In his search for the best diet, Gianni starts with vegan, vegetarian, paleo and raw foods diets, and rather than getting healthier he gets sicker.  This leads to a lot of blood and genetics testing and travel all over the world checking out how other cultures eat.  

Certain themes are constant, primarily his concern that foods be as uncontaminated and true to their original nature as possible.  He has no time for anything genetically modified, and advocates using locally grown foods.  At one point he goes through his kitchen cabinets and sends all kinds of common things to be tested.  He is horrified to find, for example, that the green tea he has been drinking for several months tests very high in lead.  He and his wife agree to send foods they commonly eat to be tested on a regular basis and to eliminate those that are most toxic.  

Gianni suggests reducing body toxins by buying a water filter, limiting the use of plastic in your home, using natural cleaning products, keeping windows open when possible, and eating organic foods.

In the end, Gianni believes that there is no single eating approach that is right for everyone.  He believes genetic testing can allow people to find the diet that works best for them.  He also includes information on how important it is to control stress and suggests some techniques for doing so, and discusses ways to keep the brain active and healthy.
There is a lot to absorb here.  Many readers will find several ideas or practices they will want to try.
Reviewed by Kate Tesdell


Better by Amy Robach

I finished reading this book a few days after the American Cancer Society came out with new guidelines on women receiving mammograms.  They have raised the age to 45 and have also recommended women over the age of 55 only get this done every other year.  Amy Robach, an anchor for ABC’s Good Morning America, was 40 when she found out she had breast cancer.  She had no previous risks or family history that would make her a likely candidate for cancer. 

The fact that she even found out was a fluke as she was just “doing” her job by having a mammogram on the show to bring awareness to breast cancer. 
This book, written by Robach, takes you through her personal journey with cancer.  I found this book emotionally gripping and brutally honest.  

The surgeon recommended one course of treatment for Amy.  After consulting her brother Eric, who is a physician, she decided to have a bilateral mastectomy followed by chemotherapy treatments.  This ended up being a very smart choice.  Amy chose to keep working at a job she loved while fighting the fight of her life.  She was able to do this because of the amazing support of her family and friends.  

I think this book is an essential read for any woman, whether or not you or your loved ones have been touched by cancer.  For me, I will use the American Cancer Society recommendations as guidelines not rules.  I will choose to have a mammogram each and every year.  Thank you Amy.  

Reviewed by Brenda Rodammer

Click here to find this book