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

How Something as Simple as Gratitude Can Chase the Blues Away

Plus a Review of Living a Life of Gratitude by Sara Wiseman

Living a Life of Gratitude

When you’re feeling blue, you don’t just want to feel better, you want to feel better INSTANTLY – as in 10 minutes ago. One of my favorite tricks for picking yourself back up is, at once, ridiculously easy and ridiculously hard.

Easy because it simply involves expressing gratitude and hard because that’s the last thing we feel like doing when we’re feeling down.  And yet, it’s the best – and fastest – way to snap out of a really rotten mood.

A while back, I was feeling kind of like a grump’s grump.  I could’ve given Oscar the Grouch a few pointers on sourness. I honestly can’t even remember what put me in such a way, but I distinctly remember just sitting and fuming on my living room couch for the better part of the morning.

It finally occurred to me that it really wasn’t much of a way to spend the day – especially one so close to Christmas. I decided to give my favorite “mood zapper” a try and, sure enough, after thinking of a few things (more like people) I was grateful for, the dark cloud lifted and whatever had gotten  me off course that morning suddenly didn’t seem so important.

The thing is, we can only entertain one dominant thought at a time – whether it’s a negative one or a positive one is just about entirely up to us. If we put our energy into focusing on positivity, there isn’t any room left for negativity. It has to pack up its nasty little bags and leave.

Good riddance.

A book I was recently sent to read and review fits perfectly with this approach AND it takes it one step further.  Living a Life of Gratitude (Your Journey o Grace, Joy & Healing), by Sara Wiseman, is a beautifully written book with a very powerful message.

What I love most about this lovely little book is this: It will help you to focus on gratitude, joy, and hopefulness BEFORE negativity has a chance to take root.

From the Introduction:

In the moment we give thanks, everything changes.

Our hearts crack open. We are flooded with love and light. And in that exact instant, we shift from our negative state to an awareness that positive, joyous, and brimming with bliss – we experience the Divine healing that is our birthright.

The trick is to learn how to create this moment not just once in our lifetimes, but over and over again.

The secret is found in gratitude – in the surrender to the grateful heart, the open heart, the heart that willingly walks in the magic and the mystery – not just for a moment or moments, but at all times. – Living a Life of Gratitude (Your Journey o Grace, Joy & Healing), by Sara Wiseman

From the Back Cover:

In the moment that we give thanks, everything changes . . .

. . . Our hearts crack open. We are flooded with love. And in that exact instant, we shift to an awareness that is positive, joyous, and brimming.

Sharing uplifting stories that travel from the beginnings of life to the end, Living a Life of Gratitude shows you how to open your heart to a journey of reflection that will help you slow down and appreciate life for what it is. Whether you use it as a source for discovering inspiration or for strength in times of struggle, this book is a guide to finding light and love, even when you least expect it.

I hope you’ll click through one of the links and read more about Living a Life of Gratitude (Your Journey o Grace, Joy & Healing), by Sara Wiseman. Read the reviews and even take a look inside the book.

One of the most important resolutions we could all make this year is one that few… very, very few… will actually make, and that is to simply be more grateful for all that we have and all that we are.

There’s a lot of peace, contentment, and joy in simply being thankful.

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.



The Next Book You Have to Read: Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos, Ph.D.

Why We Have GOT to Get Moving!

I’m asked the following question a lot, “What’s your favorite book?”  My answer?  “Besides the Bible, cookbooks, and every Agatha Christie mystery I ever met… my favorite book is the one I just read.”

Sounds trite, but it’s the truth – the pure, plain, simple truth.

I love books a great, great deal.  They’re mentally stimulating – whether they’re a great mystery by Christie, an inspirational book by Max Lucado, a “Complete Idiot’s Guide..” (love those!), or a self help book everyone… or no one.. is talking about. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals

One great way to find out what my favorite book is at the time is to find out which one I just passed along to two of my three daughters (Emily or Stephany) – they’re carrying on the book loving tradition.

Emily recently returned a book (Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death – and Exercise Alone Won’t) I’d passed along for her to read. She loved it as much as I did and it has served as the fodder of quite a few conversations we’ve had.  That’s the beauty of books – they can lead to wonderful, constructive, and positive conversations.  Often times, as is this case, these conversations aren’t just healthy, they can be healing. What’s more they can even lead to longer lives.

Sitting Kills, Moving Heals is the perfect example. Not only is this the next book I hope YOU read, I hope it’s the next book you recommend to everyone you care about.

From the Back Cover:

Your Chair is slowly killing you.  But exercise alone isn’t the answer.  Easy, everyday, all-day movement will keep you healthy for life.

Medical studies show that too much sitting will shorten your life, even if you exercise.  No matter how much exercise we get, most of us spend hours each day immobile in our chairs, and we’re fatter, sicker, and more tired than ever before. Why isn’t exercise enough? What’s missing?


Dr. Joan Vernikos, former Director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, applies her groundbreaking NASA research on Gravity Deprivation Syndrome to everyday health here on Earth.

Your body needs to move in gravity to stay healthy.  In the near zero gravity of space, astronauts’ muscles and bones atrophy, as if they were rapidly aging.  Sitting all day at a desk, in long commutes, or in front of the TV is just like zero G – if you don’t move in gravity, you’ll suffer the same rapid aging as astronauts.

Astronauts are quickly restored to full health by returning to active life on Earth – and so can you.  Vernikos shows that the key to lifelong health is more than just traditional gym exercise, but a natural lifestyle of constant, natural movement that resists the force of gravity.

Vernikos’ easy-to-follow, commonsense plan shows how simple, everyday, fun activities like walking, gardening, dancing, golf, and more will keep you healthy, strong, and independent your whole life long.

Sitting Kills, Moving Heals is a fascinating read from page one.   Learning about the effects of gravity and “Gravity Deprivation Syndrome” literally made me stand up and pace as I read a great portion of the book!  I love the encouragement to move – for adults and children, alike.  As the author points out, children mimic what they see adults do. If children see active adults, they’ll tend to be more active, themselves. However, if they see inactive adults who rely too heavily on television, computers, and other forms of technology – they’ll probably mimic the inactivity as well.

Exercise is not a substitute for activities that come naturally throughout the day, 365 days a year, for the rest of your life. – Page 52

Among Other Things, the Book Includes:

  • Easy ways to “sneak” more activity into your day.
  • The benefits of stretching.
  • The 8 Fundamentals of G-Effective Activity.
  • How to create healthy habits that’ll keep your body from aging prematurely.
  • Stretches and Exercises to prevent muscle atrophy (remember, we’re dealing with a NASA expert here!).
  • The Health and Fitness Pyramid explained in detail.
  • How to completely relax.
  • Strength Training benefits.
  • The author’s expertise on gravity and exercise machines.
  • Gravity therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Helping the brain heal itself.
  • How to be a kid again and why you should!
  • Benefit of inversion (gets blood to the head).
  • Benefits of certain sports and activities.

Basically, you’ll gain a whole new way of looking at your health and life.  This is honestly a book unlike any other and I’m 100 percent certain it” effect your life and health positively.

See Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death – and Exercise Alone Won’t for more information. This one’s a life changer.

Bare Naked at the Reality Dance!

The Book's as Good as the Title

I just finished reading Bare Naked at the Reality Dance by Suzanne Selby Grenager. When I was asked if I’d like to read this inspirational book, I took one look at the title and asked, “How soon can you send it to me?”

I’m a sucker for attention-grabbing titles and this one grabs you with both hands.

Book Description:

Do you want to wake up and fall in love with yourself? Do you want to make the difference you were born and are dying to make? That’s what Suzanne Grenager does—and will help you do—in this intimate, from-the-trenches transformational journal of a wife, mother, daughter, yogini, spiritual mentor and work-in-progress. Whether you are a novice or veteran on the spiritual path, Suzanne’s soul-thrumming real-time trek toward her Self will amuse, shock, inform, and, most of all, inspire you to see and be the wild and wonderful person you already are. In the Himalayas and in Nova Scotia, at the ashram where she is blasted by a Swami yoga master’s love, and down on the farm, Suzanne’s struggles, triumphs and insights will ignite you from deep inside out. Instead of telling her readers what to do, this natural born teacher offers the example of her hard-won self-love and trust, spurring us to a way that is utterly our own. In her warm, transparent and distinctly feminine voice, Suzanne empowers us to take who we are and run with it, into a world that can’t wait for our light.

Love is who we are when we let go of who we are not.

Now’s as good a time as any to address a question I’m occasionally asked.  No, I do not always agree with absolutely every viewpoint, idea, belief, or concept expressed by the authors of the books I read and/or recommend.  I don’t choose my books based upon the criteria of I must agree with every single word and the author and I must see eye to eye on absolutely everything.  Where would the fun be in that?!  If you never broaden your horizons or stretch the boundaries of your mind, you can forget about growth of any kind, shape, or form. Sure, you may not be familiar with the term yogini (when I first saw the word, I pictured someone doing yoga in a bikini), but here’s the thing, you don’t have to be! I’m convinced that we can learn something from everyone. Yes, even someone doing yoga in a bikini.

Truth be told, some of my favorite books are those where I find myself blissfully unaware of where the author is “coming from” in the beginning.  I happen to enjoy the heck out of watching the answer unveil before my eyes.

The author of Bare Naked at the Reality Dance , Suzanne Selby Grenager is a very spiritual author and her writing is nothing short of beautiful. You’ll find her story very inspiring, insightful, and informative. This is a book I would definitely recommend.

Feelings are the voice of the soul. 

Author Biography

Suzanne Selby Grenager is a seasoned writer and spiritual mentor with a well-honed gift for helping people see, appreciate and express their particular greatness. A former Philadelphia Inquirer and Spiritsite.com columnist, her work has appeared in Yoga Journal. Suzanne was an early Kripalu Yoga student, teacher and regional leader, and for 10 years, a transformational life coach. Certified in the holistic Rubenfeld Synergy Method, she has lived in India and Egypt and has a second home in Nova Scotia. She is married to Trond Grenager, a Norwegian architect, and has two grown children.

The more I treat myself that I am worth it, the more worthy I see that I am. 

Book Review: Life is a Business by Charles E Cox

Manage Your Life Better So You'll Enjoy It More

Life is a Business by Charles E Cox

Life is a Business by Charles E Cox

I can’t tell you how much I love spending time with a great book.  There’s just nothing like it. At the very least, a great book is entertaining.  At best, a great book can challenge, inspire, and motivate you to implement changes in your life.  Changes that can affect your future, encourage positive changes and bring your dreams well within reach.

Now, that’s a book worth spending time with.

I was recently sent such a book to review and it’s my pleasure to do so today. The book is Life Is a Business! Manage It Better So You’ll Enjoy It More by Charles E. Cox, Jr. and it is a fascinating read from cover to cover.

There’s a difference between learning something and being taught something. – Eddie Hutchins

Book Description

The Fortune 500 Life is achieved by recognizing that every step needed to build a successful personal life emulates every step CEOs take to build a successful business—you simply need to learn what they are and how to apply them. And that’s exactly what the upcoming book “Life Is A Business! Manage It Better So You’ll Enjoy It More” is designed to do.

Authored by Charles E. Cox, Jr., “Life Is A Business! Manage It Better So You’ll Enjoy It More” is the first in “The Fortune 500 Life” book series. Demonstrating parallels between running a successful business and managing a successful life, this book profiles current Fortune 500 companies to showcase nine key principles that relate to and impact your personal life.

Considered a “Life Improvement” book, Life is a Business! is designed to appeal to everyday working class people who often struggle to manage their personal lives. These struggles can be overcome when recognizing that “life is a business” – life and business challenges are strikingly similar and nearly every life decision is a business decision.

About the Author:

Charles E. Cox, Jr. Is a native of Minnesota’s Twin Cities. He is an author, speaker, philanthropist and serial entrepreneur with a passion for helping people of all ages and race find their inner strength through financial stability, entre­pre­neurism and over­all finan­cial lit­er­acy. Charles believes that the combination of a solid education with a deep understanding and respect for the monetary impacts on life will help all people on their journey to pros­per­ity. Charles’ entre­pre­neur­ial spirit has led him to spend the last fifteen years of his career seeking challenging opportunities in real estate investment and sales, development and venture capitalism. Charles has also man­aged careers in con­struc­tion, as a licensed gen­eral con­trac­tor and elec­tri­cian in the state of Minnesota. – From Life is a Business

In Life is a Business, Charles E. Cox, Jr. lays out 9 Key Principles to a Prosperous Life

  1. Vision/Mission.  Create a clear vision of what you want for your life.
  2. Sustainable Growth and Education. Keep strong, steady growth and a commitment to education at the forefront of your vision.
  3. Financial Literacy & Stability.  Commit to an ongoing quest to obtain and understand the truth about your finances so you can stabilize your financial health.
  4. Health & Wellness. Maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
  5. Stress Pressure & Change.  Prepare for inevitable stress, pressure, and change so you can better manage your way through them.
  6. Stewardship/Philanthropy.  Serve your community to build a sense of community.
  7. Vacations. Plan and take vacations with your family.
  8. Marriage.  Enter marriage with the same caution and consideration as you would a business merger.
  9. Personal Image (Reputation). Build an honorable personal and professional reputation.

These 9 principles are “fleshed out” through the fast-paced book.  Each principle includes what I’d call a “Call to Action” by the author, turning the book into an interactive journey which self help fanatics like me LOVE.  I also loved the wonderful inspirational quotes sprinkled (very effectively) throughout the book.  The quotes, the illustrations, and the fascinating comparisons between life and business make this a book that’s honestly hard to put down.

I can’t wait to read the next book in the series – the first one kicked things off beautifully and has left me wanting to hear what Mr. Cox has to say next!

I hope you’ll visit the Life is a Business website and learn more about Charles E. Cox.  He’s the sort of person who will leave a lasting impression, and  a wonderful one, at that.


Do It or Age Quickly by JB Berns

Is that a Title That Grabs You Or What?

With Self Help Daily, Out of Bounds, and Get Cooking – I’m fortunate enough to get a lot of books to read and review.  If I like them, I tell my online friends (that’s you) about them, recommend them to my family, and place them on one of our bookshelves.  If I don’t?  I haul them off to Goodwill and pretend I never saw them.

If they’re extra atrocious, I don’t burden Goodwill with them. Straight to the recycle bin in the hopes of being reborn into something better… much better.

I remind my friends of this every now and then because I do talk about a high number of books – I want you to know that, on average, it’s only a percentage of the books I actually read or TRY to read.  I hope you know that if I take the trouble to sit down and talk about a book, I perceive that it has real value and that I think you should strongly consider it.

Put another way, if I tell you about a book, I think you can get something out of it.

The book shown above is the most recent book to make the cut. Do It or Age Quickly:60- Second Practices to Live Better, Stronger, and Longer: A guide full of the wisdom my friend JB Berns has gathered from Chinese … years of martial arts training and teaching. by JB Berns is a highly unique, easy to read, and utterly fascinating book about a subject we’re all completely interested in: Aging well and aging slowly.

Product Description

Finding the time to improve your own health & well being can be a challenge in this day & age where balancing work, family, & obligations is often a juggling act. Now with these simple & fun 60 second every day practices, people can learn how to bring their lives into balance & live better, stronger, & longer.Inside this book JB describes the unique system he has developed of just 21 simple practices to care for you mind & body that most people have never heard before. From natural toothpaste that whitens teeth, to stress & fear-reducing methods, to herbal tea that energizes & bolsters you immune system, to effortless stretches & exercises, to natural weight loss & hair preserving remedies – they are all part of his easy, 21 step approach and only take 60 seconds each.

About the Author

JB Berns has a long background in personal and wellness training, and developing exercise systems. Fitness Magazine named him as one of the top 10 personal trainers in the nation in 1999. His invention, the Urban Rebounder, is now in over 5,000 gyms worldwide and 18 different countries. He has appeared on many national television programs discussing health and wellness.

I love many things about this book – beginning with the title. A great book title GRABS the reader and HOOKS them. They want to read more and learn more.  This book’s title does this as brilliantly as I’ve seen it done. Ever. Do It or Age Quickly:60- Second Practices to Live Better, Stronger, and Longer: A guide full of the wisdom my friend JB Berns has gathered from Chinese … years of martial arts training and teaching.. How’s that for a call to action?!

In Do It or Age Quickly, the author answers every concern we have about aging and gives solid, practical, wonderfully simplistic advice for aging slowly – as well as looking our best while we do so. What’s extraordinary is that this advice can be carried out in minutes a day.

Below are just a few of the subjects covered in this very fast paced and fun to read book:

  • how to have more energy
  • how to protect your eye health
  • how to improve (and hang onto!) your hair
  • isometric exercises
  • mouth health
  • importance of deep breathing
  • the right way to sleep… yes, there’s a right way and a wrong way!
  • how to achieve mental power and protect your brain
  • wheatgrass (so important it has its own chapter)
  • how to achieve your healthy, natural weight
  • …and much more

If you’re interested in living longer, looking younger, having more energy, living better, and living stronger, you should gather as much information as possible. To achieve anything in life begins with collecting and arming yourself with information. This book is an excellent source of information about aging well… and slowly. To learn more about Do It or Age Quickly:60- Second Practices to Live Better, Stronger, and Longer: A guide full of the wisdom my friend JB Berns has gathered from Chinese … years of martial arts training and teaching. and to order your own copy today, click the link.

Turning Your Upside Down World Right Side Up!

I just finished reading a book by Deb Scott, The Sky is Green and the Grass is Blue: Turning your upside down world right side up!.  There were so many things I loved about this book – from the author’s infectious positive and fun-to-read style to the catchy title – a title that starts the reader off on a journey to discover what the author has in mind.  As an avid book reader who always has more books that she wants to read than time in which to read them, I love something else about this book – something that I’ve started embracing books for having: Large enough text for me to lie the book on the front of my treadmill and read as I trudge along.  Big bonus!  I actually finished this wonderful book this afternoon while getting in my daily exercise on my treadmill.

There is great power in the now. Give up the hope of a better past, and start focusing your time and energy on a better present moment, right now. – Page 15, The Sky is Green and The Grass is Blue.

I’d categorize this book under the following categories:

  • Spiritual
  • Self Help
  • Self Improvement
  • Inspirational
  • Motivational
  • Recovery
  • A Book that Makes You Glad to Be Alive!

That last category?  Just made it up – Just for this book.   When I finish reading a book, I ask myself what my initial opinion of the book is.  After the standard, “Like it, love it, or eh -so-so,” I always have a few summarizing thoughts about the book, the author, or the way the book left me feeling.  After reading The Sky is Green and the Grass is Blue: Turning your upside down world right side up!, I thought, and subsequently wrote down, the following:  “This book was like a walk through an inspirational and spiritual garden.  There were so many lovely thoughts, quotes, stories, and illustrations along the way – just like beautiful flowers along a garden’s path.  I kept stopping to pick one and could see one just ahead – from the first page of the book to the last.

I share a lot of books with you, my friends who also happen to be my readers.  If I got something out of a book, I want at least the same for you.  But it can be tricky.  I don’t want the article to come across as a book review, per se.  My goal for Self Help Daily is for you to truly get something out of every single post – whether it’s a dose of inspiration, a blast of motivation, something to think about over the course of the day, or even a good (loving) kick in the butt (speaking of which, put down that soft drink).    All of this means, I like to share something with you from the book that’ll give you food for thought for your day and, hopefully, your life.  However, in fairness to the author – I never want to give too much away.

Generally, I just approach it like I do everything else in life – I let my heart be my guide. So, here goes!

As I said, The Sky is Green and the Grass is Blue: Turning your upside down world right side up! is filled with insightful, wonderful gems. Some of these are quotes, some are examples, and some are stories. However, the majority of these gems are the author’s own lovely thoughts and views of life. Deb Scott has lived a full life and seen her share of troubles and triumphs. It’s because of this view that she’s able to write such a thought-provoking and inspirational book.

We may not be able to control the direction of the wind, but we can always adjust the direction of our sails. – Deb Scott

It seems to me that this book is written, primarily, with the individual in mind who has been in a battle or who is currently on the battle lines. Even though neither description fits me, personally (for which I thank God profusely), I did get a great, great deal from this author and this book. I can only imagine what someone who has suffered any sort of abuse or addiction would take away from this book. I have an idea that it’d be this: A new life.

I’m not even remotely exaggerating.

Deb Scott has battled a demon (alcohol) that many face but only the strong defeat. She also battled an abusive relationship. I love that she didn’t just find her way out of the darkness… she’s going back for others who haven’t found their way out yet.

The Sky is Green and the Grass is Blue: Turning your upside down world right side up! can serve as a beautiful guide and companion to those who are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Make no mistake about it, it’s there and Deb Scott can be your guide.

I want to hasten to add, however, that even those of us who have been ridiculously blessed – having never been mistreated by anyone and who can claim coffee or chocolate as the only addictions they’ve ever had – can, and will, benefit from this book and author.

We magnify what we focus on. - Deb Scott

Here’s an example. Deb Scott points out, beautifully, a truth that I have always felt strongly about: The more we focus on something, the larger we make it. We actually end up magnifying what we want most to diminish! If you keep focusing on a small habit or trait of a loved on… keep thinking about it…. keep talking about it…. keep obsessing over it… it will become so large that you won’t be able to stand being in the same room with it. That’s why it is so important to focus on positive things in life and positive traits in people.

Think about it, our thoughts fill the room that we happen to be in. Do you really want to be filled with negativity, criticisms, and pet peeves? Hadn’t you rather be surrounded by love, laughter, positive thoughts, and positive energy?

The next time you begin to zero in on insignificant, petty little habits or idiosyncrasies of someone, switch your frequency. Think about his sense of humor – how he always makes you laugh. Or think about her sweet nature – how she wouldn’t hurt anything or anyone, even if they struck first.

Instead of thinking about your “small” house, think about how “cozy” it is! Instead of thinking about all the work you have to do, think about how blessed you are to have a job and the health with which to do it. Instead of criticizing yourself for being overweight, focus on how young you look, your beautiful hair, or your eyes that your friends envy so.

Fill your thoughts and fill your world with positive energy and show negativity the back door. There’s no doubt in my mind that I come across as Mary Poppins sometimes. It’s a fact I don’t just live with, I actually embrace. And it’s something that isn’t reserved for my writings or blogs – I’m this way in the kitchen, in the store, while vacuuming, in the laundry room, working in my yard… and so on. I simply think any time spent generating negative energy is a waste of time and an insult to God. It’s also not fair to people around you – the ones you spew it all over!

My husband and I had a funny talk last night at supper. He was talking about a guy he has golfed with before. He said he wasn’t his favorite golfing buddy because he was so negative. Then he told a story about a guy he likes to golf with. This guy isn’t as good of a golfer as the other guy, but he apparently thinks he’s the next Tiger Woods. He’ll hit a so-so shot or even a bad one, then look at my husband and say, “Wow. I couldn’t have hit that one any better!”

I love this guy!

Remember, we can’t unscramble the scrambled eggs. But we can come up with delightful new recipes to serve and enjoy them. – Deb Scott, Page 39, The Sky is Green and The Grass is Blue

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I promise that you’ll find plenty of beautiful flowers to cut and enjoy along the garden’s path.

Buy The Sky is Green and the Grass is Blue: Turning your upside down world right side up! on Amazon today.

The Skinny on Willpower: How to Develop Self Discipline

The Skinny on Willpower by Jim Randel

I’ve fallen completely in love with books that are as visual as they are motivational, educational, inspirational, and helpful. Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle with illustrations by Patrick McDonnell (creator of MUTTS) is a perfect example. I fell hard for that book and now I’ve fallen hard again.

The Skinny on Willpower, How to Develop Self Discipline by Jim Randel is a first-class example of a book that’s a lof of fun to look at and a lot of fun to read… yet, amongst all of the smiles is a great, great deal of useful and helpful information.

“Willpower isn’t something that gets handed out to some and not to others… it’s a skill you can develop through understanding and practice.” – Gillian Riley

The adorable stick figures in this book get into a whole mess of situations. You follow the skinny little characters as they learn about willpower and “making it happen.” Basically, The Skinny on Willpower, How to Develop Self Discipline is a great lesson on self-discipline and willpower told in a story format. You’ll find lessons, bullet points, and quotes throughout the book as well. The characters, through trial and error and with help from the author (moderator), they find the path to making their dreams come true.

The best part, of course, is we can find the same path. The author serves as the moderator for our lives as well. This book is honestly filled with fantastic advice – all presented in a way that’ll be completely fresh and new to each reader. Come on, I read as much as a cat sleeps – I’ve seen every kind of book there is. And as much as I love books, they can sometimes become monotonous. You’ll be halfway through the book and have to look at the cover to see which book it is you’re reading. There have been times when I would have sworn I’d read a book before – when, in actuality – it was a new book… just old material and worn out thoughts.

With The Skinny on Willpower, How to Develop Self Discipline, I certainly didn’t have to look at the cover any! This book is a very refreshing and fun read. I hope you’ll find a copy asap and devour every word. It won’t take long to do so as the book reads incredibly fast. But it stays with you forever.

I’ll end with an excerpt from the book, itself. In one of the strongest parts of the book, the author lays out the three key steps you need to take in order to prepare yourself to be able to sustain the resolve you need to accomplish a goal.  The first step he gives is, “Take Your Temperature.”


No, not that kind of temperature.  What we mean is ask yourself how badly you want to achieve your goal.  One of the most famous self improvement authors (Napoleon Hill) speaks to the need for “a desire of white-hot intensity,”  In other words, do you really, really want to achieve your goal?  The good news is that if you do, you can almost stop reading.

You know the expression, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”?  Well, many achievement authors would say the same thing a little differently.

“Where there’s a will, there’s willpower.”

In other words, if you want something badly enough, your internal programming (for survival) will kick in and help you find the self-discipline you need along the path to your goal.

But don’t kid yourself.  If your temperature is not high enough – if you do not want something badly enough – why bother?  Your willpower will fade when the going gets tough – and whenever you seek something of value, the going will always get tough. The Skinny on Willpower, How to Develop Self Discipline by Jim Randel – pages 66 – 67

Pet Lovers, Here’s a Book Just for Us

Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle

Guardians of Being by Eckhart Tolle and Patrick McConnell

“Millions of people who otherwise would be completely lost in their minds and in endless past and future concerns are taken back by their dog or cat into the present moment, again and again, and reminded of the joy of Being.” – Page 60

Guardians of Being is one of the most delightful books I’ve read (or seen) in a long time.  With inspiring words by Eckhart Tolle and equally inspiring  illustrations by Patrick McDonnell, this is a book you’ll want to read over and over again. Heck, you’ll just want to stare at it over and over as well. The illustrations are adorable and capture the true heart of animals.

Eckhart Tolle is best known for his wonderful book The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Illustrator  Patrick McDonnell is the creator of one of my favorite comic strips and one that Peanuts creator Charles Shultz called “One of the best comic strips of all time.” – MUTTS.  If that’s not high praise, I don’t know what is.

These two talented men combined for a brilliant and very fun to read book that celebrates something I love as much as my next breath: Animals.  Animals are used throughout the book in illustrations that I can’t take my eyes off of.  Eckhart Tolle uses pets to teach us powerful lessons because, as he says, “Everything natural, every flower or tree, and every animal have important lessons to teach us…

Below is one of my favorite quotes from the book.  It is so completely insightful and  so entirely true – especially on Monday’s.

“The vital function that pets fulfill in this world hasn’t been fully recognized.  They keep millions of people sane.” I, for one, want to go on record for thanking my pets (past, present, and future) for this task – a task not meant for the faint of heart.

When I got this wonderful book, I sat down and devoured it much as I would a piece of chocolate cheesecake.  Front to back, inside and out.  However, after finishing the book, I realized that the best way to enjoy it would probably be a daily devotional type of approach:  To read each passage and enjoy the picture, one day at a time.  So, I am going back and taking that approach.  Each morning, I lose myself (more accurately: FIND myself) in the words and illustration that bring it to life.

Although this may sound corny (something, as a writer, I cringe at the thought of) – I just have to say it because it’s so absolutely, positively, right-on-the-money true: Guardians of Being is a JOYFUL book that will fill you with Joy.

Now, remember, I warned you that it’d sound corny.  Problem is, it was too true not risk it.

I only wish I could put a copy of this beautiful book into the hands of every animal lover on earth.  You truly need to zip over to Amazon and grab a copy for yourself AND a few for Christmas gifts as well.  It’s the type of Christmas gift that your loved ones won’t stop talking about… or enjoying.