Furry Logic (10th Anniversary Edition): PERFECT Gift for Animal Lovers

Cat Pause
11/14/2014

Furry Logic
I just wrote a review on my Cat Blog for an adorable book I know you’ll love as much as I do – Furry Logic: A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges.

One of the secrets to happiness is filling your life with things that make you smile and… hopefully… even laugh. This wonderful little book is filled with smiles and laughs just waiting to happen. Not only is it something I know you’d love, it’d make a wonderful gift idea for any cat lover, dog lover, ostrich lover… let’s just say, any animal or bird lover – that’ll be easier!

Read my Furry Logic: A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges Review on Cat Pause or simply click through and check it out on Amazon: Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges

Are Grains Harming Our Brains?

A Renowned Neurologist Says, "YES!"

Grain Brain
I often like to remind Self Help Daily readers that I am not a doctor, nurse, or any other variety of medical expert.  I’m like most of you – I gather my information from experts, then come to my own conclusions, based on their years of expertise and research.

I thought this would be an appropriate time to remind you of this very fact as I introduce you to one such expert and his fascinating studies with grain’s effects on the brain.

Renowned neurologist David Perlmutter, MD, has a very popular book that you may have heard of:  Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers.

If you’ve read much on the subject of wheat and other forms of gluten, you probably realize that the wheat we have today is not the wheat our great grandparents enjoyed. As William Davis, MD points out in Wheat Belly, “…  today’s wheat has been genetically altered to provide processed-food manufacturers the greatest yield at the lowest cost.”

Grain Brain  and Wheat Belly are filled with information about the negative effects this “genetically altered” wheat has on our bodies and minds.

Here’s a scary statistic: More than 5 million Americans are now living with Alzheimer’s. That doesn’t even count the numbers who are living with other forms of dementia – If we knew the numbers for those, combined with the Alzheimer’s numbers, I’m certain we’d lose sleep.

For weeks.

David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, Board Certified neurologist, and author of the book Grain Brain believes we can do a GREAT deal to prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by our diet alone.

Perlmutter says we should focus on eating lots of nuts, veggies, olive oil, eggs, wild fish, free-range chicken, grass-fed beef, avocados and some dairy, but to always choose whole milk.

As for what we should avoid, he says to stay away from trans fats, sugars, processed foods and carbs.

He gives the green light for eating fruits sparingly but says we should completely eliminate gluten.

From Amazon:

David Perlmutter, MD, blows the lid off a topic that’s been buried in medical literature for far too long: carbs are destroying your brain. And not just unhealthy carbs, but even healthyones like whole grains can cause dementia, ADHD, anxiety, chronic headaches, depression, and much more. Dr. Perlmutter explains what happens when the brain encounters common ingredients in your daily bread and fruit bowls, why your brain thrives on fat and cholesterol, and how you can spur the growth of new brain cells at any age. He offers an in-depth look at how we can take control of our “smart genes” through specific dietary choices and lifestyle habits, demonstrating how to remedy our most feared maladies without drugs. With a revolutionary 4-week plan, GRAIN BRAIN teaches us how we can reprogram our genetic destiny for the better.

GRAIN BRAIN is a #1 New York Times bestseller and a finalist for a 2013 Books for a Better Life award.

Reviews for Grain Brain:

“Dr. Perlmutter takes us on a detailed tour of the destructive effects that ‘healthy whole grains’ have on our brains. Modern wheat, in particular, is responsible for destroying more brains in this country than all the strokes, car accidents, and head trauma combined. Dr. Perlmutter makes a persuasive case for this wheat-free approach to preserve brain health and functioning, or to begin the process of reversal.” –William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly

“If you want to boost your brain power, keep your memory, and lift your mood and energy, as well as heal from a host of other common complaints, Dr. Perlmutter is your guide. This is the definitive instruction book for the care and feeding of your brain!” –Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution

“Dementia and many other brain diseases are not inevitable, nor are they genetic. They are directly and powerfully linked to a diet high in sugar and grains. Grain Brain not only proves this, it also gives you everything you need to know to protect your brain–or a loved one’s–now.”–Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom

If  you’re interested in learning more about Grain Brain, click through one of the links or the picture at the top.

Coming Next Week: My review of Wheat Belly!

Review: Bend Your Brain (From the Minds Behind “Marbles” The Brain Store)

151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (And Grow) Your Mind

Bend Your Brain
Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind has a few questions for you: Want to get your frontal lobe breaking a sweat? Make your blood pump to your cerebellum? Stretch your occipital lobe to its limits?

If you’re as interested in mental fitness and brain health as I am, you’ll answer this question with a question of your own: How soon can we begin?!

Fortunately, you can begin the second you get your hands on this outstanding book. Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind is actually more than a book, if we’re being honest here. It’s more of a workout program for the part of our body that is probably taken more for granted than any other part.  Which is perfectly ridiculous when you consider that it runs the whole shebang.

Bend Your Brain
From the Back Cover:

Then you need to bend your brain! This first book from the team behind Marbles: The Brain Store, a chain devoted to building better brains, offers puzzles and brain teasers to help enhance memory, build problem-solving skills, and reduce stress.
Since Marbles started helping people play their way to a healthier brain, they’ve sold, solved, and been stumped by more than their fair share of puzzles. Along the way, they’ve learned which puzzles tie people in knots (not in a good way) and which ones make the neurons downright giddy. With the help of their in-house team of BrainCoaches and access to cutting-edge neuroscience, they’ve designed these puzzles to keep your mind flexible and fit.
Arranged in five key brain categories—visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory—Bend Your Brain offers a variety of puzzles ranging from mind-warming (easy) to mind-blowing (hard!):

·  Connecting the dots? More like working your spatial-orientation skills.
·  Identifying famous smiles? Flexing your visual memory.
·  Taking a closer look at your keyboard? Coding, storing, and retrieving.
·  Word-doku? Summoning cognitive abilities like appraisal, inference, impulse control, and evaluation.
·  Word scrambles? Tapping your brain’s association areas.

Your brain is your most important muscle, so let the brain-building begin! –  Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind

Bend Your Brain
I have to say, I love everything about “Bend Your Brain.”  I know the STELLAR reputation Marbles: The Brain Store has in the mental fitness world.  When it comes to brain fitness, Marbles is “all in.”  They invest their hearts, bodies, and souls into discovering how the brain works, what it needs to keep working at an optimum level, where problems can arise, and what steps can be taken to avoid these problems.  I’d have as much confidence in their teachings on brain health as I would Rachael Ray’s teachings on cooking, Jillian Michael’s teachings on physical fitness, Albert Pujols’ teachings on swinging a baseball bat…

Well, you get the idea. We’re talking about experts in their chosen field.

MARBLES: THE BRAIN STORE is in malls across the country. They’ve been featured in Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, USA Today, and Wired, as well as on the Today show and Martha Stewart Living.  Like I said… experts.

While the book is flexible, the cover is made of a very sturdy material – it isn’t the type of “romance novel” paper covers that dog-ear or tear. It’s ideal for curling up in a comfy chair with a pencil and a hot Chai Tea Latte as you treat your mind to a FUN and STIMULATING workout.  I’m, perhaps, more familiar with brain games and brain puzzles than the average person. Another one of my blogs (“Out of Bounds“) involves mental fitness and brain health.  While doing research for the articles on “Out of Bounds,” I’ve bought and used countless books with “brain stimulating” puzzles.

Frankly, there are quite a few on the market that are outstanding. However, the puzzles throughout Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind are different from other puzzles I’ve seen in other books. Bend Your Brain does a much better job of letting you know WHY you need each type of puzzle.  I also love the fact that the puzzles address the five key brain categories (visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination, and memory).

What good would it be to focus on just one or two?!?!

If I were to recommend one book for the individual who is interested in protecting and strengthening their mind, this would be the book.  The puzzles are a PERFECT blend of challenging, very challenging, and OMG challenging.  What’s more, they’re a lot of fun!

If you’re looking to strengthen your mind and memory, increase self-confidence, and even improve your problem-solving skills, Bend Your Brain shouldn’t just be the next book you buy… it has to be the next book you buy.

Click through and learn more about Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips, and Tricks to Blow (and Grow) Your Mind. Trust me, this is one you and your brain are going to love.

Bend Your Brain Book Review
Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

Great Quote About the Calming Effects of Tea

There's a Great Deal of Comfort in a Cup of Tea

Quote About Tea
This morning, my trip to the grocery store wasn’t as uneventful as it normally is. Seems my car’s brakes forgot how to do their job.  Thankfully when I first noticed their sudden case of amnesia I was in a parking lot so I was going really slow.  So thankfully I didn’t hit anyone or anything.

Just as it approaches that time of year when my brain begins to think about the holidays, Christmas shopping, and all the wonderful things that come from September – December… that’s when my car says, “You know what’d be cool right now? A big fat Mechanic Shop bill!”

It has such a sick idea of good times.

As soon as I got back home, I did the only thing I could do or needed to do.  I poured myself a big tall glass of sweet tea and everything was right with the world again.

Tea is the comfort food of drinks, isn’t it?  I love it for that.

The quote at the top is from a great book I recently reviewed on my tea blog. The book’s aptly titled Tea Wisdom and it’s absolutely a little beauty.  Click the title to read more about this book and see more tea quotes.

As for me, I think my day calls for another pot of tea.

Thou Shalt Not Whine by January Jones

Thou Shalt Not Whine! Advice for Growing Older without Whining From Author January Jones

In the hilarious, yet equally thought-provoking, book Thou Shalt Not Whine, author January Jones reminds us of a pit people tend to fall into as they grow older. They tend to complain (yes, maybe even whine) about their age. They often develop a mindset of expecting others to do things for them…

Why? Because they’re old.

Some expect to be able to get away with rudeness…

Why? Because they’re old.

Many will complain, at great length, to anyone and everyone about their aches, pains, creaks, and… yes… even bathroom visits.

Why?  Oh, you know.

January Jones, in a witty, insightful style that’s all her own, has this great advice for people who complain about getting older: She suggests to simply stop looking in the mirror and to act any age you choose – preferably the age you remember as the best time of your life.

Beautiful.

Read my Thou Shalt Not Whine Review on Self Help Daily.

Thou Shalt Not Whine: The Eleventh Commandment: What We Whine About, Why We Do It and How to Stop is available on Amazon (paperback) and is also available for Kindle – meaning you can start laughing right away!

Why The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman Should be the Next Book You Buy (Review)

Ten Reasons Why You're Going to Love this Book

The VB6 Cookbook Collage

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore

If you’re looking for fun, simple ways to eat healthier, here’s a book that’ll prove to be a dream come true for you. The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night doesn’t just provide you with delicious, easy to make recipes that won’t break the bank, it makes eating healthier fun and.. yes… tastier.

Okay. Before you accuse me of getting my Self Help Blog mixed up with my Food Blog (Get Cooking) let me assure you I’m posting a cookbook review on Self Help Daily for an excellent reason. You see, this isn’t just a cookbook. This book is actually part of a life improving program, The VB6 plan by Mark Bittman.  Anything that can improve someone’s health and life is a perfect fit for a self help and self improvement blog.

Have you ever heard the term “flexitarian?” Flexitarian refers to a relationship with food that isn’t 100 percent strictly vegan.  It’s a way of eating that is flexible, meaning more people will actually STICK with it. Mark Bittman’s VB6 program is simplistically beautiful: You simply eat vegan before 6:00 pm.  The program has helped a great number of people improve their health, lose weight, and feel better than they’d felt in years.

See? I told you this book was a perfect fit for a Self Improvement blog!

Below are the Top 10 Reasons you shouldn’t wait another day before you buy The VB6 Cookbook:

  1. Gorgeous Book. Whenever I review a book on Self Help Daily or Get Cooking, I always pay close attention to my first impression of the book. Is it well-made (meaning it’ll stand up to years of use and enjoyment)? Is it attractive? Does it look like the publishers were serious about impressing the readers or was their heart only halfway into it? The VB6 Cookbook is a real looker. The beautiful, hardback, 250+ page book is everything, visually, I’d want a book to be.
  2. Mark Bittman. Period. To say I cook a lot is a ridiculous understatement. I’m in my kitchen more often than a Priest is in church.  I’m seldom happier than I am when I’m cooking meals for my family and I LOVE trying out new recipes as much as I LOVE using and re-using favorite recipes.  Mark Bittman is the author of many of my favorite recipes. When I want to try out a new recipe for something in particular, I’ll turn to Mark Bittman’s recipes before I turn to a lot of household name celebrity chefs.  His recipes never fail, it’s as simple as that.
  3. Healthy Eating = Healthy Living. Not long ago, I spent a few days in the waiting room of a cardiology surgical center.  I was with a family member who was WAY too young to find themselves in a hospital gown in such a place. Sad thing was, as I looked around, I saw A LOT of people who were WAY too young to be where they were. Heart disease isn’t just frightening, it’s striking more and more people and it’s striking them at younger ages.  Plain and simple, it’s the American diet and something has got to be done about it.  We’re creating our own plague of Biblical proportions and if people don’t wake up and start eating healthier, they’ll find themselves in hospitals, cardiology departments, and worse.
  4. KISS.  No, not the rock group.  KISS as in Keep It Simple, Stupid.  This book – or more to the point, this program – makes it painless and incredibly simple to start eating healthier. If you don’t know why that’s important, you must have skipped number 3.
  5. Delicious Food! Even if, somehow, you didn’t associate these recipes with healthier eating, you’d still love the delicious flavors.
  6. Fun Food.  Whether you’re one of those people who live to cook (like me) or you’d rather do just about anything BUT cook, you’ll love The VB6 Cookbook.  The recipes are fun, creative, and mix things up a bit in the kitchen.  You’ll find recipes you’ll be so excited about you’ll want to try them the very day you get the book.  I actually made my first recipe (Chipotle “Mayo”) from The VB6 Cookbook within 2 hours of getting the book in the mail. That’s a new record, even for me.
  7. Your Family. While this one may somewhat tie in with number 3, it’s important enough to get it’s very own number.  The more healthy meals you’re able to feed your family, the better their health will be. Not only are you giving them wholesome, healthy food at one particular meal, you’re introducing them to a whole new relationship with food. They’ll soon realize that healthier eating is actually more flavorful than unhealthy eating.  When you get right down to it, most unhealthy food tastes pretty much the same.  Fried. Fatty. Salty.  The VB6 way of eating will introduce your loved ones to a world of wonderful flavors that’ll make them fall in love with healthier eating.  Here’s a little secret about eating healthy – you can keep this between you and me, the kids and spouses don’t have to know: Healthy eating becomes addictive.  When you get rid of the bad stuff, you’ll find yourself craving the good stuff.  Where you once said, “I need a big fat cheeseburger with a farmer’s wealth of bacon,” you’ll find yourself thinking, “I have to have a Cherry Vanilla Smoothie and Vegetable Pot Pie or maybe Schezuan Beef and Celery..” (3 of the recipes in the book).  I don’t know why – but it’s my experience that the healthier you eat, the healthier you want to eat. Sadly the same is true about unhealthy eating.
  8. Motivation and Inspiration.  The first pages of the book include Mark Bittman’s “My Story.”  The motivational intro makes you even more committed to eating right. Basically, you jump right in the boat with the author and agree to go on a healthier journey with him.  He’s one of those authors who write in a manner that makes you feel like he’s talking to you, personally.  Reading his books (and even his recipes) feels like you’re having a nice little visit with him.  This type of writing cannot be taught, it’s a gift and when he was gifted, he was gifted generously.
  9. Information and Advice Beyond the Recipes.   After the wonderful Introduction, pages 12 through 45 lay out the VB6 plan beautifully. There are charts, information, meal plans, ideas, suggestions, and more.   There are also personalized tips and ideas with each recipe in the book – including “variations” and “more ideas.”
  10. You’re the Boss of You.  While The VB6 program is best (as in you’ll see the most results) if you follow it as designed, when all’s said and done, You’re the boss of you!  If you want to approach the program strictly and eat Vegan before 6:00 on most, if not all, days – go for it!  If you want to simply add MORE vegetarian meals to your diet, then approach the cookbook in that way.  If you’re simply looking for fresh new healthy recipes to serve your family… the cookbook is still a must have.

 Some of the recipes you’ll love:

  • Chipotle “Mayo” (the first recipe I made from the book – delicious! This “mayo” is a great dip for vegetables and is excellent as a condiment for burgers or protein patties)
  • Scrambled Sweet and Hot Peppers
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Nut Butters
  • Everyday Salad Bowl
  • Blueberry Spoon Bread
  • Schezuan Beef and Celery
  • Cherry Vanilla Smoothie
  • Avocado Banana Smoothie
  • Morning Milkshake
  • Pork Chop Pan Roast
  • Raspberry Sorbet on a Stick
  • Green Toast
  • Fruit Candy
  • Frozen Tropical Truffles
  • Red Paella with Scallops
  • Beans, Shrimp, and Fennel
  • Southwestern Bean Dip with Peppers (black beans, cloves,cilantro…)
  • Red Soup
  • Creamy Tomato Soup
  • Big Batch Cooked Beans
  • Rice Pudding with Slow-Roasted Fruit
  • MANY MANY MANY more.

From the Back Cover:

Mark Bittman’s breakthrough diet plan, first introduced in the #1 New York Times bestselling VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good (click through for the hard back version of this bestseller  – a Kindle edition is also available), has been hailed as “compelling” (Publisher’s Weekly), “commonsense” (Washington Post), “sustainable” (TheKitchn.com), and a “small painless change” that can have a “huge impact” (Salon.com). Now he expands on his appealing, simple, reasonable approach to flexitarian cooking with a companion cookbook, featuring hundreds of delicious new ways to make VB6 your permanent style of eating. It’s never been easier to eat vegan before 6:00 – and deliciously all of the time.

I hope you’ll click through and take a closer look at The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night – I’m really excited about this particular approach to eating and I’m having a ball with the wonderful recipes.

I know you’ll love The VB6 Cookbook just as much as I do.

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

Beautiful excerpt from a beautiful book.

“I know my duty to life, to stop wars… especially those I cause within myself.” – Alice Walker, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing: New Poems (A Palm of Her Hand Project)

About the Author: Alice Walker is known around the world for her fiction, poetry, essays, and human rights activism. She was honored with the 2010 Lennon Ono Grant for Peace and has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame. Visit the author’s website, Alice Walker’s Garden, to learn more about her beautiful writing and poetry.

Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less

Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less

Are you addicted to busyness?

Before you answer, here’s an excerpt from Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less:

We all get overwhelmed with busyness at times. But if you find yourself frequently comfortable with or bragging about how over-busy you are, you may want to question whether you’ve become addicted to being busy. Have you convinced yourself that you thrive on busyness? Do you often feel a physical satisfaction and increase in energy from “multitasking” – from the thrill of jam-packing a day with more than seems humanly possible, or from the drama of working under impossible deadlines and meeting them at any cost to health and family? At the end of a workday, do you have difficulty focusing and calming down? Do you feel a sense of emptiness?

If the answer is yes to most of these questions, you might want to consider developing a more sustainable approach to work and activity in general. Your current and future health probably depends on it. – Page 9

Does it ring a bell… or maybe I should ask, Does it ring an alarm clock?! Click through the link above for more information about this wonderful little book that could be the wake up call you REALLY need.

How to Find Time to Read More

We all know how vital reading is to mental health – and if we choose the right books, reading is just as vital to our physical, emotional, and Spiritual health. The problem is we’re all too familiar with another fact.. there are only 24 hours in the day!

If reading is one of the things you’re trying to find more time for, I have a quick and easy tip for you and it all has to do with location, location, location.

Place the different books you’d like to read in strategic places around your house.  Maybe these books include the Bible, a promising mystery, a couple of inspirational books you’ve been meaning to read, the latest National Geographic, a self help book everyone’s raving about, and maybe even a good old fashioned Stephen King hair-raiser (better you than me, I’m fond of sleeping).

You could place one book beside each of your most frequented spots in the house…

  1. Near your favorite “evening spot” – you can always squeeze in at least one chapter before the ballgame (or “Bachelor” episode, if you’re so inclined).  You’ll often find yourself squeezing in a little reading during commercials and… depending on how the game’s going, maybe even during the broadcast.
  2. In the bathroom.
  3. In the kitchen. I almost always have an Agatha Christie mystery going and keep it in the kitchen. I sneak in chapters while keeping watch over my cooking or while procrastinating the dish-washing.
  4. In your pocketbook.
  5. Beside your bed. There’s nothing more relaxing that doing a little reading right before bedtime – unless, of course, it’s Stephen King. I wouldn’t invite him or his minions along for an evening read.

While I prefer good old-fashioned books I can flip through, there’s also a lot to be said for e-books and Kindle books. If you’re like most people, this would mean your books are ALWAYS within arms reach.

And that is a very positive thing, indeed.

+++ If you’re looking for a great inspirational or self help book, check out my book reviews on Self Help Daily. If it’s a novel you’re interested in, check out my daughter Emily’s book review blog, She’s Got the Book!

 

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!