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

Allergy Sufferers Survival Kit

Everyday Health

Everyday Health proves, again and again, to be a goldmine of great health-related information. If they offered 205 newsletters, I’d subscribe to them all. A recent slideshow was especially helpful (and timely). Portable Items to Stop Allergies in Their Tracks, by Madeline Vann, MPH, includes a lot of “Allergy Hacks” that aren’t just useful, they may very well be life-saving.

I found a few ideas in the slideshow that I’d never thought of – and I’ve lived with allergies all my life. Sometimes it almost feels like I’m allergic to more things than I’m NOT allergic to!

If you suffer from allergies, you’ll want to check out this awesome list of things you need to put together for your very own Allergy Survival Kit. You’ll see a few that you probably already keep on you at all times, but I’m sure (like me) you’ll find some you hadn’t even thought of.

Like why you should take vinegar with you to the beach or the common sense of always having a change of clothing with you. Great stuff, trust me.

3 Simple Things You Can Do Today to Feel Better Tomorrow

Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Butterfly
 

Dr. Frank King is a chiropractor and doctor of naturopathy specializing in homeopathic remedies. He has added author to his bio with an exciting new book, The Healing Revolution: Eight Essentials to Awaken Abundant Life, Naturally.

Imagine you’re a spider with just one leg,” says Dr. King. “You put forth immense effort to try to haul yourself around and not only does it wear you out, it’s frustrating and you don’t get farIt gets a bit easier with two legs and easier still with four legs. But it’s not till you have all eight legs that you can really dance!

Dr. King explains that the eight legs represent Eight Essentials we need for optimum mental, physical and spiritual health:

  1. Empowering your human spirit
  2. Water
  3. Nutrition
  4. Fitness
  5. Sleep
  6. Nature
  7. Relationships
  8. Hands On Techniques (touch).

It would be overwhelming and self-defeating to look at all eight areas and think, ‘I have to make significant changes in every area immediately!” Dr. King says. “You don’t have to and who could? I know from my experience with countless patients and friends, and even in my own life, that you can see immediate results by making a few small changes at a time.”

Below, Dr. King describes three steps we can take today that we can actually benefit from tomorrow… if not sooner!

Drink half your body weight in ounces of spring or well water every day.

If you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces of water (about 9 cups).

Many of us walk around dehydrated without realizing it and that can have a significant effect on our health and how we feel,” Dr. King says. Dehydrated bodies trap toxins and encourage water retention – a natural defense against the chronic “drought.”

Our bodies need the steady flow of pure, spring or well water. If you don’t like the taste, try mixing up to a teaspoon of sea salt into a quart of water,” he says.

A simple test for dehydration: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and hold for three seconds. When you release, if the ridge from the pinch remains for more than a second, you’re probably dehydrated.

Take at least a few minutes every day to connect with nature. Nature brings perpetual revitalization and ongoing renewal, especially when experienced through multiple senses: the smell of freshly turned earth or evergreens in the woods; the touch of cool stream water on your face or feet; the sight of birds on the wing and budding blooms.

These are not just pleasant little gifts to experience – we need them for restoration, renewal, revival and rehabilitation,” Dr. King says. “The more disconnected we become from the Earth, the more we inhibit our body’s natural ability to heal.”

Take a brisk, 10- to 20-minute walk every day. Walking is the simplest, most natural form of exercise. You might walk a nature trail, walk to the store instead of driving or take your pet for a stroll.

Three brisk 10-minute walks a day are as effective at lowering blood pressure as one 30-minute walk,” Dr. King says, citing an Arizona State University study. “Outdoor walking is preferable to walking on a treadmill or other machine, since the uneven surfaces and changing directions of natural walking will engage more muscles and tendons.”

Swing each arm in synchronization with the opposite foot to strengthen your cross-crawl functionality and mind-body balance.

About Dr. Frank King:

Dr. Frank King is a chiropractor, doctor of naturopathy, and founder and president of King Bio, an FDA-registered pharmaceutical manufacturing company dedicated to education, research, development, manufacture and distribution of safe and natural homeopathic medicines for people and pets. Dr. King is also the author of, The Healing Revolution: Eight Essentials to Awaken Abundant Life Naturally! (www.kingbio.com). A fourth-generation farmer, Dr. King raises yak, camel, boar, wisent and American bison sold under the Carolina Bison brand. He is a member of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States.

 

The 2 Day Diet? Now You’re Talking!

Diet Two Days a Week, Eat the Mediterranean Way for Five

The 2 Day Diet
 I love it when I’m able to write a book review about a book that I actually got a lot out of.  Today I have the opportunity to do just that.

I was sent a copy of The 2-Day Diet: Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five to review and the benefits are twofold:

  • I get to tell you beautiful people all about a book that I know you’ll love.
  • I learned a lot about nutrition, calories, and eating healthy from reading the book myself!

I regularly read a great deal about health and nutrition (as in daily… 24/7).  Before reading The 2-Day Diet, I actually felt like I was sitting on an impressive amount of information when it came to the whole game of calories in/calories out.  However, after reading the book cover to cover, I now have a much better understanding of a body’s needs and a better handle on how the body uses food as fuel.

From the Back Cover:

Lose weight fast with the international diet sensation. Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five.

The 2-Day Diet is easy to follow, easy to stick to, and clinically tested. Simply eat a low carb, high protein diet two days a week, and follow the classic Mediterranean Diet (now recognized as the gold standard in warding off heart disease) for the other five.

The 2-Day Diet is designed to  maximize weight loss, minimize muscle loss and keep you feeling full. It  can have dramatic anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits. With this diet you can finally be slim, fit and healthy. With meal plans and 100 delicious and filling recipes.

“A far more effective way to lose weight.” –Daily Mail

“Put an end to 24/7 calorie counting.” – The Sun

“Revolutionary and clinically proven.” –Good Housekeeping

 

The Value of Updated, Clinically Proven Information

A lot of people cling to out-dated fitness and weight-loss information that really amount to little more than old wives tales. So much clinical research has been done over the years and it’s kind of nuts not to take advantage of the information this research has uncovered.

Researchers, doctors, and nutritionists are sitting on more information today than they were 20 or even 5 years ago.  In spite of this fact, most people still struggle with their weight and if most of us actually went for yearly checkups, we’d probably find several numbers that didn’t mesh with the numbers on our doctor’s chart.

I guess part of the problem is the fact that, sure, there’s a wealth of nutritional information available – but there’s even more junk food and empty calories available.  Pile that fact on top of the fact that we’re basically a non-active society and it’s a wonder the problem isn’t worse than it is!

The 2-Day Diet: Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five presents a clear plan for taking control of your diet and your health.  In addition to naturally solving weight issues, following this plan will also help you age better and will provide you with anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, and anti-heart disease benefits.  If you aren’t at your optimum weight – this program will help you find your way and if you ARE at your ideal weight, it’ll help you stay there.

Some of the information covered in The 2 Day Diet Includes:

  • the combination of exercises you need to be doing
  • eight steps to weight loss
  • the foods you should eat on the five days you aren’t on a “diet”
  • WHY this program works
  • meal planners
  • how to become more active
  • recipes for each of the 7 days
  • and more…

(review continued below)

The 2 Day Diet
 

From the Introduction:

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this that we are getting fatter. Rates of obesity have reached epidemic proportions, and worldwide there are now more overweight people than those who are a healthy weight.  Despite massive government investment in healthy eating campaigns and any number of different diets promising effective weight loss, the number of us who are overweight just keeps rising…..

…. With so many different diets available, can The 2-Day Diet really make a difference? We believe that it can. The 2-Day Diet is designed to help you make the right choices, lose weight, change your habits, and actively improve your health without leaving you feeling deprived. Our work with serial dieters has shown that this unique approach offers a real alternative for anyone who struggles to stick to a conventional diet. We were so impressed by the positive results of The 2-Day Diet that we wanted to make it available to everyone who is struggling – or who has struggled – to lose weight.  The 2-Day Diet has paved the way to a slimmer, healthier future for many of our dieters…. – From The 2-Day Diet: Diet two days a week. Eat the Mediterranean way for five by Dr. Michelle Harvie & Professor Tony Howell

Click through any of the links above to learn more about this revolutionary (and common sense) approach to weight loss and management.


 

 

A Few New Quick & Easy (and even delicious!) Tips for Preventing Diabetes

An Ounce of Prevention...

Unsweetened Tea

An easy diabetes prevention tip: Switch from soft drinks to unsweet tea. Add frozen fruit slices for extra flavor!

I write frequently on Self Help Daily about preventing diseases. I guess the words “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” are tattooed on my psyche. One of the reasons for this just may be the fact that I’ve seen many of these diseases up close and personal. One such disease is diabetes. My mom fought diabetes for a great number of years. People can, and do, live full, beautiful lives with diabetes – but, make no mistake about it – it’s a game changer.

With a diabetic, the disease they live with has to be in the forefront of their mind at all times. Whereas a lot of diseases (like my thyroid disease, for example) can be pushed out of the individual’s mind 98% of the time, a diabetic must never push their disease aside. Doing so could cause them serious harm.

The serious nature of certain diseases (heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Diabetes) prompts me to write about their prevention as often as possible.  We’d be nuts not to take experts’ advice when it comes to doing ALL WE CAN to prevent any of these diseases.

I recently read several new diabetes prevention tips and wanted to pass them along.  The number of people being diagnosed with diabetes continues to climb, so it’s obviously time we all pay more attention to preventative measures. These tips are so easy to implement into our lives, I’m sure you’ll join me in doing so right away. As in NOW!

  1. Fish Oil Supplements Could Prevent Diabetes.  I’m starting to think fish oil supplements should simply be taken automatically. They’re known to be beneficial in preventing both heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, and now they’ve added diabetes prevention to their resume. (See Fish Oil Supplements Could Prevent Diabetes for more information.)
  2. Eat more Walnuts.  Ever notice that, that “eat more nuts” makes its way to just about every list of health tips you read? Good thing they’re so delicious!  A Harvard study found that women who ate two or more ounces of walnuts per week, on average, had a 24% lower risk for type 2 diabetes…those who ate just one ounce of walnuts per week had a 13% lower risk. This one’s almost too easy, isn’t it? Noshing on delicious walnuts each day is more than a little doable, it’s deliciously doable.  (Source)
  3. Say NO to soft drinks. Just one sugary drink a day increases your odds of getting diabetes. Switch to unsweetened tea with lemon or good old-fashioned water and put the odds in your favor rather than stacking them up against you. Tea proves to be a lot of people’s secret weapon when it comes to giving up soft drinks.  Like any true southerner, I have a weakness for sweet tea – but that’s almost as bad as soft drinks.  If you add lemon slices, a little honey, some mint, or (my personal favorite) frozen peach slices and frozen raspberries to your tea, you’ll forget about sugary drinks right away.  As a bonus, you can eat the fruit when the drink’s gone. Trust me, this is the way to go.
  4. Take a brisk walk after a meal.  Doing so apparently stabilizes levels of glucose in the the bloodstream.  The study suggest walking for about 15 minutes after each meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Source)
  5. Eat Hot Chocolate at Bedtime. Saving the best for last: As a card-carrying chocoholic, I did a fist pump in the air when I read that having a cup of hot chocolate before bedtime can prevent diabetes.  I am so all over this one that it isn’t even fair.

How to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks Without Prescription Drugs

Review for Janet Bond Brill's Latest Book "Blood Pressure Down"

Blood Pressure Down: The 10 Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks without Prescription Drugs
When I was offered an opportunity to review Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs on Self Help Daily, I jumped at the chance. I was already familiar with the author, Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., L.D.N., and had even previously written a review of another of her books: Prevent a Second Heart Attack (click the link for the review).  Truth be told, after reading Prevent a Second Heart Attack, I was already looking forward to the author’s next book!

Like most people, I’m completely and utterly drawn to the idea of handling as many health problems (and potential health issues) as “naturally” as possible. Obviously this isn’t always possible – after all, many medications are life savers.  I like the thought of a patient proactively working with their doctor – doing their part to bring about healing and better health.

From the Back Cover

For the 75 million Americans with hypertension, a safe, effective lifestyle plan—incorporating the DASH diet principles and much more—for lowering blood pressure naturally.

If you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone: nearly a third of adult Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension, and another quarter are well on their way. Yet a whopping 56 percent of diagnosed patients do not have it under control. The good news? Hypertension is easily treatable (and preventable), and you can take action today to bring your blood pressure down in just four weeks—without the potential dangers and side effects of prescription medications.

     In Blood Pressure Down, Janet Bond Brill distills what she’s learned over decades of helping her patients lower their blood pressure into a ten-step lifestyle plan that’s manageable for anyone. You’ll:

   • harness the power of blood pressure power foods like bananas, spinach, and yogurt
   • start a simple regimen of exercise and stress reduction
   • stay on track with checklists, meal plans, and more than fifty simple recipes

Easy, effective, safe—and delicious—Blood Pressure Down is the encouraging resource that empowers you, or your loved ones, to lower your blood pressure and live a longer, heart-healthy life.

75 million Americans, alone, have high blood pressure – the number just blows my mind.  One of my daughters recently commented (kind of matter-of-fact) that just about everyone she works with has high blood pressure. The disease is almost as rampant as it is dangerous. Needless to say, if you have high blood pressure, please make sure that you’re under a doctor’s care.  Read Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs, taking notes throughout the book, then take the book and your notes to your doctor.  Tell him/her that you want to treat your blood pressure as naturally as possible!

Below are just a few of the things I love most about this wonderful book and just a few of the reasons I’d love to see everyone add this book to their library as soon as possible.

  1. I’m not the least bit “medically inclined.” My knowledge of medicines and diseases couldn’t even fill a notebook.  Let’s not let this get out, but I”m not entirely certain I could fill 2 notebook pages! Yet, Janet Bond Brill makes everything beautifully clear.  When I read her books, I always find myself wishing she’d taught my biology classes. She puts everything “within reach” of her readers, which is wonderful of her considering this is life and death information.
  2. This book presents a DOABLE action plan. You’re given 10 clear steps that you can begin implementing the very day you open the book.  In reverence to the authors and publishers I work with, I never want to “give away” too much information. For one thing, it’s simply not fair to them!  For another thing, however, it’s not fair to my readers because I’d never want you to miss out on a wonderfully important book because you think you’ve “gotten” all the information you need.  This is why I don’t want to lay out the ten steps for you here, however, I will tell you one because it makes me smile (as in ear to ear): Eat Dark Chocolate.   Each “Step” has an entire chapter devoted to it.  Eat Dark Chocolate has 16 pages, itself, detailing how dark chocolate has strong beautiful roots as an ancient medicine.  You learn how and why dark chocolate is so healthy and then you’re given the magic words: Eat 2 Tablespoons of Natural, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder or One or Two Squares of Dark Chocolate Every Day.  Yes, Ma’am!
  3. Exercise – as in what qualifies and what doesn’t – is covered in great, clear detail.
  4. You learn the effects sleep and relaxation have on blood pressure.
  5. Recipes! There are quite a few delicious and healthy recipes included.  Sometimes it’s hard to know which foods are healthiest – after reading Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs, you won’t have any more excuses. You’ll know for certain which foods you should throw on the table and which foods you should throw in the trash.
  6. You’re also given tips for slashing salt at home as well as in restaurants.  Salt is very problematic for hypertension, but getting rid of it’s a lot easier than you’d think.  You’ll also see where salt is showing up in foods you never would have expected.
  7. Label Lingo – you’ll learn what to look for on labels at the store. There is a list on pages 88-89 that I’ve written on an index card. I’ve become quite a label reader, so arming myself with healthy information makes good sense.  As the author says, you’ll learn where the salt’s “hiding!”
  8. You’ll learn the importance of magnesium as you’re given 10 easy tips for adding magnesium to your day.
  9. The author takes a very confusing subject (supplements) and lays it all out in plain language.  At the end of the chapter, you know exactly which supplements you should be taking.
  10. Last, but certainly not least (in fact, it’s my favorite thing about the book!): Blood Pressure Down: The 10-Step Plan to Lower Your Blood Pressure in 4 Weeks–Without Prescription Drugs is for ANYONE, whether you have high blood pressure now, have a family history of high blood pressure, love someone who has high blood pressure, or simply want to eat healthy as a preventive step.  I, personally, do not have high blood pressure.  I have, however, read this book cover to cover, memorizing the information as I went along. I feel like I am armed with information that’ll help prevent me from ever being one of the 75 million Americans with hypertension. Equally important, I have information to share with my family to keep them from developing problems with their blood pressure.

This author is all about preventing diseases, not just treating them, and I hope you will follow her advice as well.  I “whole-heartedly” recommend this fantastic, potentially life-saving book.

About the Author: Janet Bond Brill, PH.D., R.D., L.D.N. is a nationally recognized expert in cardiovascular disease prevention and the author of Cholesterol Down and Prevent a Second Heart Attack. She has been a nutritionist in private practice for many years. Visit her website at www.drjanet.com.

 

How to Naturally Treat Acid Reflux Disease and Symptoms

Foods and Herbs That'll Help You Feel Better FAST!

Red Apples - Treat Acid Reflux Disease Naturally

Anyone who has ever experienced acid reflux knows what misery means.  The pain, the burning, the FOUL taste left in your mouth… there just isn’t anything remotely good about it. While there are medications available, most of us would like to be on as few medicines as possible.  Having said that, of course, if your condition is especially bad, you’d be nuts NOT to see a doctor for a prescription.  You don’t look nuts to me, so I know you’ll see a doctor if you need to.

Fortunately, there are actually quite a few things we can do to treat acid reflux symptoms on our own.  By just making a few changes to our diet and, if needed, adding a few simple things to our diet, we can spend more time sleeping soundly and less time sitting up in the middle of the bed cursing every bite we took the previous day.  Been there, hated that.

Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux:

The following is a dream team for those experiencing digestive problems.  Experts suggest trying different ones to see which work for you. Just be sure to stick with them long enough to see if they’re doing you any good or not.

  1. Aloe Vera Juice.  This juice (with a taste that requires a little getting used to) is a MUST HAVE for anyone with digestion-related issues.  While drinking a little Aloe Vera Juice can quickly alleviate nausea, indigestion, and heart burn, it’s also a great idea to drink some each day – before you actually have pain or feel queasy.  You should take up to 4 oz daily, preferably before eating.  We’ve kept Aloe Vera Juice in the refrigerator for as long as I can remember. It aids digestion and is a God-send for upset stomachs.
  2. Herbal Licorice.  I have never, personally, tried Herbal Licorice but it sounds pretty amazing.  A story on Treating Acid Reflux Symptoms (Fox News) reported that Herbal Licorice is believed to be effective in treating stomach and intestinal ulcers, reducing stomach acid levels, coating the stomach wall with a protective gel and relieving constipation.  Look in the Vitamins/Minerals/Herbs section of your favorite store.  Licorice Herbal Tea is available on Amazon (I’m throwing some into my cart asap!).
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar. I have to admit, this one caught me a little off guard!  While I love Apple Cider Vinegar in barbecue sauces, German Potato Salad, and a lot of other recipes, I’ve never considered taking a spoonful or two of it. Apparently, I don’t know what I’ve been missing.  Apple Cider Vinegar has a calming effect on your stomach and naturally alleviates stomach acid. In fact, a lot of people who haven’t gotten relief for their Acid Reflux Disease with other methods have had great success with Apple Cider Vinegar – something that was probably in their pantry the whole time.  Simply add 2 teaspoons to a glass of water and drink three times per day.  The water will make it more palatable – as will the knowledge that you’re chasing stomach acid away.

See Treating Acid Reflux Symptoms (Fox News) for a few more suggestions.

Foods That Help Acid Reflux Symptoms:

The following foods are known to help naturally treat acid reflux disease and help keep acid from forming in the first place. (Source)

  • Red apples
  • Ginger root
  • Basil leaves
  • Herbal teas
  • Grapefruit
  • Yellow mustard
  • Fennel seed
  • Pickles

A Few Other Simple Tips for Treating Acid Reflux Disease:

  1. Eat slowly. Take your time to chew each bite thoroughly and even put your fork or spoon down between bites.
  2. Don’t eat while flustered, angry, or even agitated! Chill out… THEN eat in peace.
  3. Keep a food journal.  If you take a few weeks (or even months to be especially thorough) and write down everything you eat and drink each day – then note whether you’ve experienced pain and discomfort or not – you may see a pattern develop. Your problem could possibly be solved simply by cutting out certain foods, or even restaurants.  Common “problem” foods include fatty foods (because they’re more difficult to digest), fried foods, citrus fruits, garlic, chocolate, caffeine, and tomatoes. Keep in mind, however, that foods that bother one person may not bother you one bit. That’s why a personal food journal is the best way to go – then you’ll know the only “problem” foods that really matter – those that are a problem for YOU!
  4. Eat small meals frequently as opposed to a couple of large meals each day.  This advice is given for so many different issues that I’m starting to think it’s simply healthier to eat lightly throughout the day. Whether it’s weight loss, hiatal hernias, stomach ulcers, or acid reflux disease, this advice is golden.  When it comes to acid reflux disease, the correlation is simple: Large meals force the stomach to create more acid. Is it any wonder all-you-can-eat buffets often spell misery?
  5. Be smart about when you eat.  Don’t eat right before exercising or right before going to bed (or even lying down on the couch for a cat nap).  You should wait at least 3 hours after eating before going to bed.

 

Finally, if you battle acid reflux (either several times a week or several times a year), I highly recommend the best book I’ve found on the subject: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet. Click the link to find this great book on Amazon or click the following link to read my The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet Review.

One Small Step Can Open a Whole New World

Don't Let Life Slip Away from You!

No Line Bifocals

I know, better than anyone, that my advice isn’t worth pure gold. Even on my best day, I’d never suggest that anything I have to say is worth a $20 bill. Someone once suggested that I charge people to read certain articles on Self Help Daily. I was relieved that he suggested it in e-mail, so he didn’t have to see me throw my head back and laugh as I said, “Oh, that’s a good one!”

I don’t have an over-inflated sense of myself or anything about me… well, I take that back. I’m beyond cocky about my cooking. I’m pretty sure that if anyone ever told me something I cooked or baked was less than a 10 on a scale of 1-10, I’d grab them by their neck collar and throw them out of my kitchen, all the while asking them how they managed to live to this point with absolutely no taste buds.

I’d offer to set up a fund and solicit money to buy them a new tongue – one with taste buds that actually function. I’m just charitable like that.

In all seriousness (an area I seldom visit), the advice I’m about to lay on you is golden. It’s the best advice you will get all year.

I’m not being cocky.

I’m not being grandiose.

I’m simply being honest.

If you have anything in the world that stands between you and enjoying the world to its absolute fullest, I plead with you to take the one small step to navigate around it.

I have been needing new glasses for years. YEARS. But, like most people, I kept seeing other things that I’d rather spend time and money on. Looking back, I know just how ridiculous I was. I’d even go as far to say that I was foolish.

Since I’d last gotten a pair of glasses, my vision has changed a great deal. I could tell when driving or riding in a car, for example, that I couldn’t read signs I was pretty sure I once read. When reading a book or the back of a cereal box, for that matter, I always had to take my glasses off or peek over the top in what I always termed my “annoyed librarian look.” The kind of look a librarian throws to kids who aren’t talking with their “indoors voice.”

The vision change happened so gradually I wasn’t fully aware of just how much I was missing. I knew that I had been slacking off on my writing and reading, but I guess (somehow) I never attributed it to the simple fact that trying to SEE the words I wanted to type and read had become such a challenge.

I knew I needed stronger glasses and I knew I needed bifocal lenses. But I kept putting it off – for years. And years. It wasn’t vanity because thanks to AMAZING technology, today’s bifocals look exactly like all other glasses. “No Line Bifocals” look the same as all other glasses. It boggles the mind, but NO ONE knows you’re wearing bifocals except you. You know it when you can actually read without taking off your glasses, you know when the text on your phone is clearer than ever, and you know when you don’t whip out your annoyed librarian look while reading small print.

More than anything, I think I was afraid of being able to adjust to bifocal lenses. I envisioned myself getting seasick just walking through the room. I pictured myself floundering in a distorted world that suddenly seemed like a house of mirrors.

I got my beautiful new No Line Bifocal glasses this weekend and am relieved to say I’m neither seasick or floundering. What I am is amazed.  Absolutely amazed.  A whole new world has, literally, been opened up for me and I realize, now, that I didn’t even realize, then, just how much I was missing.

As soon as we left Lenscrafters, I found myself reading billboards and restaurant names from FAR away.  Because my vision had deteriorated slowly, the world had, in a sense, slowly slipped away from me.  But the story has such a happy ending, I can’t even feel sad for the time lost – I’m too excited for the time saved!

If you need glasses, bifocal lenses, hearing aids, or anything else that will help open a whole new world for you, again, I’m pleading with you to simply take the small step needed to walk through the door.  The world may be slowly slipping away from you and, because it’s been so gradual, you may not even completely realize it.

My mother experienced gradual hearing loss beginning at a very young age. Although everyone needed to repeat things to her several times, she always seemed to think that people were mumbling.  Everyone, thinking of what all she was missing, kept telling her to get her hearing checked because she needed hearing aids.  No one did it in an ugly manner, of course – only jerks do that.  Personally, I never even minded repeating myself.  If someone actually cares enough about what I say to ask me to repeat it… I’m flattered!

However, my mom (who was such a character, I can’t even tell you – she was the very definition of a PILL!) did what just about everyone with hearing loss did. If she’d already asked someone to repeat themselves several times – she didn’t want to keep on asking, “What?” or “Excuse me?”  She’d simply kind of guess at what they’d said and either laugh or or answer with something she hoped would fit the situation.

Sometimes she’d be so off base I’d have to laugh.  She’d answer my dad at times with completely off the wall responses and I can still see the befuddled expression on his face.  One time he told her that the heat needed to be turned up “a couple of notches” and she said, “I’m going to the store later.”  He said, “Okay. Let’s go with that.”

To which she replied, “Of course you can go with me.”

He then looked at me and whispered, “Help.”

While we sometimes laugh at moments that surround vision and hearing – at ourselves as well as others – let’s be honest. It’s not all that funny, is it?  While we may tell ourselves, “I’m as blind as a bat!” or while someone may tell us, “You can’t hear a lick!” – I don’t think anything that stands between someone and life is anything to laugh at.

My mom, to her credit, did make an appointment for a hearing test. She got a couple of hearing aids and, honestly, tears kind of come to my eyes when I remember the look on her face when she heard birds singing for the first time in what must have been 20 or more years.  We were in front of her house and she said, “Listen!  The birds are singing!”

I thought, Momma, they’ve been singing all along.

So often, she’d ask us, “Have you always been able to hear that?”

She started calling her hearing aids her “ears” and would often say something like, “We can go in a minute… just let me put my ears on.”

The world had slowly slipped away from her and she didn’t even know it.   You, while reading these words, may be in the same boat as my mom (hearing loss) or with me (vision problems).  The world could be slipping slowly away from you, and that really breaks my heart.

If the only thing standing between you and hearing aids, glasses, reading glasses, or bifocal lenses is vanity – let me give you a wake up call.  No one cares. They really don’t.  I think a lot of people are afraid of looking “old” or of being perceived as “old” when it comes to glasses and hearing aids.

Duh!  There are grade school kids who require glasses and hearing aids.  Besides, I’ll give you another little wake up call.  If you’re in your fifties, you aren’t keeping that a secret from anyone, no matter what you may think.  The world will know you’re there and, guess what… again, they don’t care! Fifties and sixties, today are like the yesterday’s forties.

Never be ashamed of your age… be proud.

Besides, let’s be honest, who will be perceived as older, the one who has to do the “annoyed librarian” move or the one who simply sees what they want to see.  Who’ll be perceived as older, the one who says, “What?” or the one who gives a perfect answer every time, right on cue?

Today’s glasses and hearing aids are made so stylish, anyway.  With people living longer, companies are making sure that these products are as fashionable and discreet as ever. Trust me, you’ll be blown away.

You’ll want to kick yourself for not taking that first step sooner. When you’re seeing or hearing everything you’ve been missing, you will feel like a whole new world has opened up right before you.  Think of the scene in the movie Avatar when Pandora opens up for the first time.  It’s like that… only better.

You’ll find that you have more time to actually LIVE and enjoy life. You may not realize just how much effort it takes to try to do things others take for granted. I spent so much time taking glasses off, putting glasses on, walking closer to see what I needed to see, etc. I never realized how much effort I was having to put into life!  The same is true for those who have hearing loss. They have to ask others to repeat what they said (and subject themselves to some people who get annoyed when they have to repeat themselves), they have to try to read lips (my mom mastered this trick), they have to, nervously, throw out an answer and hope for the best.

That’s a lot of effort. It’s also a great big fat (and needless) barrier between yourself and life.

Please don’t live on the sidelines any longer. Make this the week you call for an appointment. There is LITERALLY a whole new world waiting for you to step into it. You just have to make that first step.  As I’m typing these words, I see my computer screen more clearly than ever. The words are sharp and clear.  Every now and then, I glance out of the window my my desk and window and see the birds and trees that I love so much. They had been slowly fading away from me and I can’t tell you how overjoyed I am to have them back.

When things fade away gradually, you never realize it fully until you have them back again.  I stopped reading the signs on the way home because it occurred to me, my husband has seen them all along. He doesn’t need me to read them to him!  So, I silently read them to myself and felt so much joy that I had trouble containing it.

The world is a joyful, beautiful thing. Please don’t let it slip away. I feel so strongly about this that it hit me this morning – if my words and our story (mine and my mom’s) can make just one person take that first step, every minute I’ve ever put into Self Help Daily will have been more than worth it.

 “Listen!  The birds are singing!”  (Momma, they’ve been singing all along.)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Acid Reflux Diet

If Acid Reflux is a Problem for You, This Book Will Become Your New Best Friend

A few members of my family have had nightmarish experiences with acid reflux. After watching what they go through, I marked this condition as one I pray I never experience.

I do, however, have a great source of information, help, tips, and recipes for my loved ones as well as you. It’s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet and it can help sufferers enjoy eating and life again!

This is another one of the excellent “The Complete Idiot’s Guides” that I was sent to review.  I love these books so much, I have an entire book shelf that’s orange. I pass them around for others to enjoy, then they come home to roost on the shelf. I pluck them off regularly to find information or recipes.

Seriously, you should begin your own collection of these outstanding books.

If you or someone you know has acid reflux, by all means you’ll want to start your collection with The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet!

From the Back Cover:

If you live with acid reflux, you know how painful it can be – the burning, nausea, bloating, and sleepless nights.  But there’s good news! You can reduce and even eliminate your symptoms with a few healthy diet and lifestyle changes and enjoy eating again!

Packed with tips for treating and relieving your acid reflux- plus over 140 delicious recipes that won’t aggravate your symptoms – this helpful guide gives you everything you need to know to be free of acid reflux for good.  In it, you get:

  • A look at how your digestive system works, what causes acid reflux, and common symptoms you might experience.
  • Advice on keeping a food journal to help identify and eliminate your “trigger” foods.
  • Nutritional notes on the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats you need and how they can help – or hurt – in your battle against acid reflux.
  • Tips for preparing digestion-friendly foods quickly and easily at home, plus suggestions for avoiding reflux when dining out.
  • Over 140 mouthwatering recipes for acid reflux-free living, from breakfast to dessert.

Some of the chapters include:

  • What Causes Acid Reflux (a great education on the workings of the digestive system, who’s at risk for acid reflux, diagnosing acid reflux, when to seek help…)
  • Treating and Relieving Acid Reflux (includes herbal and plant-derived remedies, tips for sleep and managing stress, medications that help and medications that hurt…)
  • Weight Management with Acid Reflux (watching calories, the connection between acid reflux and weight, creating balance, healthy eating on a budget…)
  • Ensuring Your Success on the Acid Reflux Diet (protein and the Acid Reflux Diet, How much fat do you need?, good fat vs bad fat, carbohydrates, menu planning, exercise…)
  • Cooking and Dining Out Strategies (tasty flavor combinations, smart substitutions, “at the restaurant,” different cuisines, fast food, special occasions…)
  • Recipes for Reflux-Free Living (Breakfasts, breads, snacks, appetizers, sandwiches, salads, entrees, poultry, vegetarian main courses, pastas, grains, vegetables, desserts…)

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet will set you up for success because the book, itself is set up for success.  Everything is spelled out beautifully and simplistically. Each chapter sums up what the reader has learned with a recap the author calls “The Least You Need to Know.”

Each time I read a Complete Idiot’s Guide, I think, “Why didn’t all those school books I read over the years use THESE authors and THIS approach?!”

If you or anyone you know experiences the evils of acid reflux, I strongly recommend this great book. I’ve used many of the recipes, myself, and I don’t even have acid reflux!  Click through one of the links for more information.

Check out the ridiculously impressive collection of The Complete Idiot’s Guides on Amazon. They cover just about everything you could possibly think of!


Listen to Your Body, It’s Trying to Tell You Something

Irony, Danny DeVito, and Gargling Glass

Normally, I have a real fascination with irony.  Normally, there are few things that amuse me more than a deliciously ironic situation or occurrence.  I say normally because irony recently smacked me on the backside. Plato Quote About Health

Without my consent.

As you may know, last month I decided to take part in a National Health Blogger’s Challenge.  Each day the blogger was to take the day’s “prompt” and write about something pertaining to health.  I was off to a smashing success and was having  a lot of fun with the process.  I was doing a lot of research about health-related topics, learning a lot of fascinating things, and generally having a great time with the entire process.

Then… what would irony dictate in such a situation? Exactly. I got sick.   Smack to the backside.

I won’t bore you with long details.  Long story, short – I had my thyroid removed in 1990 and, since that day, have had to take a daily supplement (a supplement to give my body what my non-existent thyroid cannot).  My daily medicine recently turned on me – giving me more than my body required.  This threw just about everything in my body off kilter and ultimately led to low iron and a host of other less-than-fun side effects.

For a few months, I haven’t felt totally like myself.  But you know how we wives and mothers are – the same things that would alarm us about our children and husbands.. we tend to overlook in ourselves.

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

When I realized that I had “enjoyed” recurring mouth ulcers for two months straight, I broke down and went to the doctor.  I would often have two HUGE mouth sores at once.  These weren’t your normal mouth ulcers, either.  I’ve had those before and, while they’re bad enough, these beasts were far worse. Once, I even got one on my tongue that looked like a small crater.  That dude hurt so bad, this non-drinker would have gotten snookered if it would have made me forget the pain for even 10 minutes.  Each time, in the middle of the night, as I sat on the bathroom counter putting Orajel on these sores, I’d think, “If I had access to hard liquor I’d drink until I thought I could fly.

They were that bad.

Of course, since I have never drunk anything stronger than espresso, I’d probably think I could fly as soon as I opened the bottle.

Every meal hurt to eat, coffee hurt to drink, and life kind of sucked for a while.  I’d wake up in the middle of the night in hideous pain because my mouth would have dried out while sleeping and the sores would feel like salt had been poured into them.

Salt was actually one of the countless “home remedies” I tried – a particularly painful one.

In addition to the personal hell the mouth sores caused, I also had zero energy and – to use a highly technical phrase my daughters and I use when we don’t feel right -  simply felt “poopy” all day and all night.  I’d fall asleep at night right in the middle of favorite prime time television shows.  During the day, when I normally go back and forth between working in my home office and doing my regular housekeeping chores, I found myself not giving a dang about any of it. I normally go ALL OUT with Christmas decorations, but it was all I could do just to put the tree up this year.  And, believe me, that was a day long production.  Put a few limbs on… sit and play solitaire on my iPad… put a few decorations on…. lie down and recover.

I wasn’t ME and I wasn’t at all fond of the person impersonating me.  After all, I’m seldom ever still and this imposter seldom ever moved!

And all of this went down right in the middle of writing about health topics like how important it is to see a doctor regularly, how vital it is to take care of yourself, etc.

Smack. Right on the butt.

Ultimately, it was the mouth sores that led me and my hard head to the doctor.  Nothing like constant pain to break your will, is there?

The doctor was SO impressed with the size of the mouth sore I had at that time. I told him I was kind of lucky at that moment because I only had one. While he was admiring the size, I told him that it was the second largest one I’d experienced – that I’d had another one the size of Danny DeVito. He laughed and said he wished he’d seen that one.

I thought, “Me too.”  Then I probably wouldn’t have had the 3 that followed.

As my body and health begin to get back to normal, I’m realizing how puny I actually felt. How could I not have seen that something was wrong?!

That’s a question most of us ask in these situations, isn’t it?  We swear up and down that things “crept up on us” when the truth is, we knew it all along.  We just looked the other way.

Ladies, I honestly believe we are the worst about this.  It occurred to me when I was sitting in the doctor’s office – if one of my daughters or my husband had been experiencing painful mouth sores like I had, I would have dragged them kicking and screaming to the nearest doctor.  I’d have thought, “Something is wrong, here. This isn’t remotely normal.”

Yet, here I was the one going through it and I had a million reasons why I didn’t need to see the doctor.  Duh.

This would be a good time, in all fairness to my family, to point out that they had no idea I was going through all of this. If they had, they would have become impossible nags!  All they really knew was I’d had a few mouth sores.  They never saw how big they were and I did a great job of hiding the fatigue and weakness from them. Everyone always has a lot going on in their lives and I didn’t want anyone worrying about me.  Besides, I fully expected to start feeling like my old self any time.  After all….

  • Oh, I’m just tired…
  • I guess I haven’t been eating right…
  • Must be allergies…
  • I’ll give it another week…

Listen to Your Body

In addition to my Self Help Daily, a food blog, and a cat blog, I have 9 other websites/blogs which happen to include a a Dream Interpretation Website.   Your’s truly is a dreamologist. Nothing crazy  like “You had a dream about snakes.. so you will be visited by bad luck…”  That’s nonsense.  What I do is “read” dreams – by “listening” to the dream symbols, the dreamer’s emotions during the dream, and other seemingly hidden details.  I can tell what’s behind the dream, as in what’s hidden in the subconscious mind.

Quote about listening to your body And yet I couldn’t read what my own body was trying to tell me!  Or maybe I simply wouldn’t.

Either way, my mistake could have led to real trouble.  That’s why I’m writing all of this for you – on the off-hand chance there are other hard heads out there besides me.

If you find yourself EVER thinking, “I’m just not myself lately..” realize there is a reason for it.  Never allow this situation to continue for any amount of time.  After all, there are a lot of conditions that if (caught and treated early) won’t amount to anything, but if you ignore them, they can lead to something downright hideous.

In fact, because I let myself get so run down, I became an open invitation to a nasty bug that was going around.  I never, never get sick, but here I was – mouth sores, runny nose, bad cough, and the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. It felt like I’d been gargling glass.

If I had gone to the doctor as soon as I realized I wasn’t myself, I’d have spared myself a lot of grief and pain.  It’s my hope that you’ll learn from my mistake and will always go to the doctor at the first sign of trouble.

Even if you find yourself feeling more tired than normal, don’t keep writing it off as something else.  What’s the worst thing that can happen? The doctor’s going to tell you your healthy?! If that were to happen – and I hope you’d swing by Starbucks to celebrate your good health – you still got information you can use.  If you get a clean bill of health, then you know that your lifestyle has to be held accountable. You aren’t getting enough rest, you need more nutrients, protein, and vitamins from food, or you’re running yourself ragged.

The trip to the doctor would have pointed you in the right direction.

Unfortunately, most of us try to weed out all of the things in our lifestyle, THEN go to the doctor.  The problem is, by then, we’ll just be more run down and if there IS a medical problem, it will have only gotten worse during that time.

Never take your health for granted. When it has been compromised, even slightly, you realize what a blessing good health is. Life is too delicious to spend one minute of it feeling less than your best.

Listen to your body. If it begins behaving in a way that’s alien to you, don’t make excuses, make an appointment.