Tag Archive | books

Tips for Soothing and Shrinking Your Belly with the 21 Day Tummy

I received a copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated in any way, all of the opinions expressed are given freely and are my own.

Health journalist Liz Vaccariello brings a third book to the market with 21-Day Tummy: The Revolutionary Diet That Soothes and Shrinks Any Belly Fast, the latest in a chain of books written about weight loss and digestion.  While the book held no help for me because of its reliance on meats, eggs and limited dairy, however; page 105 has a sidebar of Vegetarians Welcome Here stating that vegetarians are used to making substitutions. It did hold some interesting hypotheses on what causes bowel pain and digestion issues, including pregnancy.  Research regarding the gut conditions of pregnant women shows that they undergo dramatic changes which explains a great deal of the complaints mothers have during and after birth, the high need for modification of diet and even the high incidence of elimination diet in treating breastfed children.

There are some quick tips given regarding the “Belly Buddies” that should be included in meal plans such as:

  • fiber
  • magnesium
  • anti-inflammatory fats

Most of these may already be known, but the authors do go into greater detail into these categories, and they also include a quick reference list on page 95. At the end of the book there are “Belly Bully” tests which are propositioned as reverse elimination diets.  You add a certain amount of these foods to meals across a span of time and see if you have an adverse reaction.  Garlic and onions, my own nemeses are on this list.

There are recipes and meal plans given including make a head meals.  There are three phases, and a fairly lengthy bibliography referencing where some of the research for this book came from.  Convenient shopping lists are also provided and an index of recipes to make meal planning quicker.

Also present is a nice discussion of exercise and studies that conclude too much exercising not only impedes weight loss but it ruin the intestinal lining – a fascinating read and research but the test subjects were postmenopausal women, so it may not apply to all groups. Several studies are sighted that support the use of moderate exercise in maintaining a healthy weight and health GI tract.

This book definitely provide some interesting recipes and may be just what someone looking for an alternative way to manage their gut health is looking for.

Please read more about the book and its authors below:

Trim Tummy Fat – and Target Bloating, Gas and More – with 21-Day Tummy,

imageThe Revolutionary Diet That Shrinks and Soothes Any Belly Fast

Treat Common Digestive Disorders While Dropping Pounds and Inches in Three Weeks

NEW YORK October 28, 2013 From burps and groans to discomfort and moans, millions of Americans have stomach issues. One of the most common? Extra weight – which frequently brings indigestion, painful stomach cramps, uncomfortable bloating, and other tummy troubles. Research shows that foods that lead to gastrointestinal problems are often the same ones that pack on the pounds. Reader’s Digest editor-in-chief and New York Times best-selling author Liz Vaccariello suffered from these embarrassing symptoms, so she followed her own gut and teamed with Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN to distill the latest science and create 21-Day Tummy, a new healthy eating plan that shrinks and soothes any belly fast.


21-Day Tummy, available now at www.21daytummy.com and in stores nationwide December 26, does what no other diet plan can do: it trims tummies while tackling the “big five” most common digestive problems that no one wants to talk about: heartburn, gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. The easy-to-follow plan focuses on carb-light, anti-inflammatory foods scientifically proven to balance gut flora, reduce inflammation, soothe the digestive system and shrink fat cells (“Belly Buddies”), while avoiding pro-inflammatory fats and high-fructose foods (“Belly Bullies”).

“When I uncovered research linking two of my own challenges – weight gain and digestive slowdown – I knew I had a fresh solution to a common problem. I’m amazed at how great I feel eating this way – my digestion is regular and I don’t suffer cramps or feel bloated anymore,” said Vaccariello. “It’s possible to lose weight and improve digestion at the same time, and 21-Day Tummy will show you how, leaving you healthier, happier – and more comfortable!”

21-Day Tummy includes:

  • · Real-Life Success Stories & Advice Reader’s Digest recruited real men and women who tried out the 21-day plan. All lost weight – up to 19 pounds – and belly inches. The grand tally of weight loss in three weeks: 90 pounds! They each reported major improvements in their digestive issues and most found that their gas, bloating, nausea and bellyaches disappeared. The top tester dropped 19 pounds in 21 days and completely stopped taking medications for acid reflux.

  • · Recipes: 50 scrumptious recipes that incorporate Belly Buddies – foods that help shrink and soothe stomachs – such as Tomato-Ginger Flank Steak, Ratatouille Frittata and Strawberry Soufflé-lets.

  • · Workout Plan: An optional equipment-free workout plan created to soothe and sculpt your belly with a mix of core strengthening, walking, and yoga exercises.

  • · Belly Bully Tests: Guidelines on how to identify which Belly Bullies are problematic for your system and what you can reintroduce to your diet, so you can enjoy a variety of foods.


21-Day Tummy will help you target the foods and behaviors that challenge your personal digestive system and show you how to eat in a way that keeps you feeling great – and looking lean – for life.


21-Day Tummy

Pub date:  December 26, 2013

ISBN:  9781621451112



Available now at ReadersDigestStore.com and wherever books are sold.


About Liz Vaccariello

Liz Vaccariello is the editor-in-chief and chief content officer of Reader’s Digest, one of the world’s largest media brands, with 26 million readers. A journalist with 20+ years experience in health and nutrition, she’s also the coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers The Digest Diet, The 400-Calorie Fix and Flat Belly Diet!. Vaccariello regularly appears on national programs such as Good Morning America and The Doctors, and has been featured on The Biggest Loser, Today, Rachel Ray, and The View. Previously, Liz was the editor-in-chief of Prevention. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters. Her blog, Losing it with Liz, lives on rd.com. She has over 3,000 followers on Twitter (@LizVacc).


About Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN

Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 25 years of experience in the nutrition and wellness field, specializing in digestive disorders. Kate completed her postgraduate training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate. The author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Well with IBS, she has been interviewed in many national publications, including Ladies Home Journal and Fitness magazine. She lives and practices in Boston, Massachusetts.


About Reader’s Digest Association

Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) is a family of iconic brands that celebrate reading, sharing and doing among consumers on print and digital platforms. Our portfolio of products includes our flagship magazine Reader’s Digest; Taste of Home, the world’s largest circulation food publication; The Family Handyman, America’s leading source for DIY; and a suite of Enthusiast titles including Birds & Blooms, Country, Country Woman, Farm & Ranch Living and Reminisce. For more than 90 years, we have simplified and enriched the lives of a passionate readership by discovering and expertly selecting the most interesting content in family, food, health, home improvement, finance, and humor. Reader’s Digest casts a global footprint by providing products and services around the world through owned and licensed operations. Further information about the company can be found at www.rda.com.

Toxins in Your Environment May Effect Your Thyroid and Weight Loss, Learn More

I have long been a proponent for safe and sane weight loss.  I believe the research that a calorie deficit is required to lose weight which means you have to expend more calories than you put in, 3500 calorie deficit per week to lose a pound to be exact. However, in my decade in the fitness industry helping thousands of people stay healthy I have met individuals who, for some reason, no matter how much the exercise and how much they cut their calories, can not seem to lose weight.

This is one reason I was intrigued to receive, read and review THE THYROID SOLUTION DIET Boost Your Sluggish Metabolism to Lose Weight by Ridha Arem, MD. The opinions expressed about this book are my own,I received no compensation for this review.  You should always check with your medical professional before starting any health or fitness program.

For a book about dieting there was a large proportion of chapters dedicated to information, a ton of information, almost too much information.  There are some pretty long discussions about hormones, nothing so in depth that you need a degree to understand the concepts, they just were a little dry to read. That being said, I was impressed with the knowledge presented and I do enjoy expanding my mind.


· More than 50 recipes and meal plans

· A list of favorite foods to eat for weight loss that make this diet unique

· Detailed exercise programs with 100 step-by-step photos

· The 15 common causes of metabolic problems that lead to weight gain

· The hidden factors and toxins in your environment that lead to weight gain and how to eliminate them

· Techniques to control cravings

· Mind-body relaxation methods for counteracting stress and reasons why stress makes you gain weight

· Success stories from Dr. Arem’s patients

· Information on why organic foods do minimize damage to metabolism and are integral to a successful diet and optimal health—which contradicts recent studies that diminish the importance of organic foods

Who is Dr. Arem and why should you take note of what he has to say? Ridha Arem, M.D., is an endocrinologist, clinical professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, and director of the Texas Thyroid Institute in Houston, Texas. He served as chief of endocrinology and metabolism at Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston for many years. You can visit www.aremwellness.com for more information or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm2NlIc_XEo to watch a video of Dr. Arem.

What do I personally think of the diet? There were a few places in the book where certain foods were to be avoided because they cause a unwanted reaction “x” and then other sections where that same food were to be eaten because the caused a wanted reaction “y’”.  I always find these situations confusing and they never seem to be addressed by any authors.  A simple explanation of why and when you would eat them should suffice.  I am also not a big fan of diets offered in “Phases”. The weekly shopping list can help simplify meal planning for many and so can the 10 Tips for long-term weight loss which include “pay close attention to sleep and stress” two of the biggest hindrances to weight loss in my mind and experience.

There are photos of exercises but they are black and white and about 1 inch in size – I would suggest to those who are new to working out, overweight, or obese – do yourself a favor and meet with a trainer at least once to get some good tips and an honest eye to watch your form.  The exercises are really good ones but the Common Errors listed “starting out with a range of motion that is too deep” can be vague for someone new to lunges and unaware of what an appropriate range looks like.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is suggested, which I definitely agree with.  Zumba in the Circuit and Butts N Gutts are two classes that I teach that use this method of training and I can attest to the quick results clients have seen, and I myself have had after pregnancy.  “People who exercise in intense spurts have about a 15 percent higher resting metabolic rate” (meaning they burn more calories when they aren’t working out).

Here is a quick guide to jump start eliminating toxins in your environment from Dr. Paul Thompson. He is a nationally renowned surgeon, Age Management practitioner with the Cenegenics Medical Institute. He has helped patients around the country reverse diabetes, combat obesity, fights off genetic health risks, and has guided them to living longer and healthier lives. Dr. Thompson’s Tips (www.drthompsonstips.com / Twitter: @drthompsonstips).

Dr. Thompson says “we are bombarded with toxins every day, even though we think we are being healthy”. These toxins can affect endocrine systems resulting in children experiencing earlier puberty and irregular hormone levels, diabetes, depression, and thyroid in adults.

The most common sources of these neuro-endocrine toxins are:

· Plastics, including storage containers, wraps, can linings and water bottles

· Pesticides & fertilizers- which affects many of the foods you feed your family everyday.

· Common Cosmetics

· Common Cleaning products

Here are Dr. Thompson’s Tips to avoid these toxins to protect you and your family from A Toxic Takeover

1) Plastics: Avoid Them!

Whether it is plastic water bottles, wraps or food containers.

Use a water filtration system, it avoids the use of plastic water bottles and saves a bunch of money

Use glass food containers to store those leftovers.

2) GO Organic, Organic, Organic.

By going organic you can avoid the whole toxin trap. It may be a little more expensive on the front end but what is your health worth? You will SAVE MONEY in the long run in the healthcare you and your child will may need.

3) Cosmetics and cleaning products.

Look for the natural products. Companies realize this is becoming more and more important to the healthy and educated consumers so the products perform well and there are plenty on the market. Once again there is a bit more of a cost…but lots of visits to the doctor do as well.

4) Parents:   Stay Away from BPA!

Look for BPA and BPS free toys. These are often found in the plastics and are a potent Neuro endocrine toxin.

Dr. Thompson’s Final Prescription

Good luck, a little extra time and money spent selecting food, cleaning and storing products, and toys will keep your family happier and safer. But for many it is the transition that is the tough part. Once you do, your long term health will change as you age.

Further Bio

Dr. Thompson is currently the CMO and CEO of Cenegenics Texas Medical Institute in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. (www.Cengenicstexas.com ). He is a cofounder and board member of USMD a Medical Development Company. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons & the Chief of Surgery (20 years), Chief of Staff, and head of the Credential Committee at Southeast Missouri Hospital.

Cabinet Culprits Keeping you From Optimal Family Health -CONTEST ENDED

If you haven’t already guessed my family is on a path to optimal health and nutrition. I am not a nutritionist or dietitian and I can only speak from my personal experiences of what has helped me and my family; though, as a tween and teen a great deal of money was spent on sending me to these professionals and I attend many workshops and trainings in regards to health and fitness. Over the years I have learned to weed out what doesn’t make sense and is a fad, from factual evidence based knowledge. Of course, at the end of the day I do what is best for my family.

The biggest offenders – cabinet culprits (pantry poisons seemed a little too sensational and I don’t have a proper pantry) are:

  • high fructose corn syrup
  • hydrogenated oil

I know a lot of people will put any white flour or white sugar up there too, corn products, soy products, etc.  but honestly vilifying all of those will leave the average American family on a budget with little to eat and working parents frustrated with what to feed their kids. More than a decade ago I went hunting through our cabinets and got rid of everything with those ingredients.  We didn’t have much since I have always been a label reader – but what we did have came as a surprise: ketchup, jam, tomato sauce, peanut butter, teriyaki sauce and others that had looked healthy at first glance.

Our family has never looked back.  We don’t purchase anything with those two ingredients and we look specifically for items listing whole grain/whole wheat first, that are low in sugar and low in salt.  We don’t buy anything with ingredients we can not pronounce.  When I was pregnant with my second son we went to a 24 hour grocery to pick up some bread.  They did not have our regular loaf so we started looking at other brands.  One in particular was free of HFCS and HO but it had some questionable ingredients.  Luckily, we had a smartphone and were able to look them up to see what we were buying.  My husband and I were shocked to find several of the ingredients in the bread were banned by the European Union for food products and one ingredient in particular was not only banned in Singapore, but if caught using it in food for human consumption – the penalty was death (I know the argument could be Singapore is strict, but still…)

That said here are some items to start including in your meals that would give your family higher nutrient quotients, more fiber and inevitably more energy for activities such as school, work, and play.

  • whole wheat pasta
  • whole wheat bread
  • fresh fruits and fresh vegetables
  • flash frozen fruits and vegetables is fresh aren’t possible
  • spinach instead of iceburg lettuce on sandwiches and in salads
  • natural peanut butter (or nut butters) over large commercial brands with high added salt and sugar/ oil contents.

There are 6 easy things you can add to your food arsenal tomorrow. If you include getting rid of sodas, or juices and opting for water or half water/half juice, or water infused with fruit – you can then cut your family’s sugar consumption. Wheat pasta may run only 50 cents more a box, though you can get Barilla Whole Wheat on sale for $1 or less at times and for wheat bread we buy Kinnikinnick bread which you can actually find at conventional groceries sometimes 2 for $5.

Recently I received a copy of The Self Health Revolution by J Michael Zenn and that has renewed my devotion to eating healthy.  I’m not a big fan of the new fad “eating clean” for many reasons most of which are addressed by a very level headed article written here http://www.jcdfitness.com/2010/09/clean-eating-is-a-scam-and-why-you-should-abandon-it/ so I don’t have to go into large detail about why I don’t subscribe to “eating clean” – if you are interested read it.

The Self Health Revolution is pretty straightforward and easy to understand.  The author even starts with a disclaimer about repetition so I can’t complain about the ideas he tries to drive home through constant repetition.  He won me over by discussing the importance of breastmilk and breastfeeding early on pages 28-29 and bringing to light the despicable campaign mounted by Henri Nestle in 1890 against mother’s milk so he could get a market share of selling to babies.

Zenn’s book is middle of the road, he invites the reader to be skeptical and teachable, open to the possibility of learning something uncomfortable.  Many may read his book thinking he is a conspiracy theorist with ideas like “big pharma” is out to get you, but he calmly and plainly states the obvious, big pharma is out to get your money.  He highlights legislation that allowed big pharma to advertise directly to consumers – something not allowed in Europe and other moves by the FDA and big pharma.

There are other interesting facts, such as Coke was used in India as a pesticide to grow crops and that low-fat milk isn’t truly low fat 2%. “Thirty-five percent of its calories come from fat. Worse, it’s only twenty to thirty calories less than whole milk.  They label it 98% fat free because they measure it by its weight, which includes water content that contains no calories.”  How does that work exactly is what you may be asking yourself.  Zenn explains,

“It’s like mixing a teaspoon of melted butter which is 100 percent fat, in a glass of hot water, then labeling the glass of melted fat water 98% fat free.  The truth is, water has no calories, and if I were to drink that glass, 100 percent of the calories in it would come from fat.”

There is no meal plan to adhere to, no measurements of food, or even exercises to perform.   Zenn holds that you simply need to start eating better, not an insane notion, but actually quite ancient.  Think of the father of modern medicine’s famous quote:

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” ― Hippocrates

Does it work? My family and I are vegans.  That doesn’t mean we don’t eat junk food – we just have a different version of junk than the average family and to be honest it is healthier – but not the healthiest.  A penchant for soul vegetarian food runs deep within our bellies – even though it gives me a stomach ache at times.  At the start of the New Year I made the resolution for us to not eat out.  Not even on weekends when we travel to the city to play. One week in and I have already lost 2 lbs.  I cook all of our meals at home and have tried a few of the recipes from The Self Health Revolution.  Our biggest at home difference is the pizza I make, I provided a recipe in a previous post. It is more satisfying and filling than anything we get outside of the home, and the kids learn to cook! (The homeschooler in me loves that)

Caputo’s (a local grocery) was instrumental in this change.  We left with a full cart of produce and some other groceries for $88. We ate for a week and a half and still have beets, greens and few fruits left. Normally I shop at Woodman’s but it is a little far so I don’t go frequently and Caputo’s is cheaper on a lot of things. If you are local to west suburban Illinois, check them out on Route 59 in Naperville.

Zenn’s biggest selling point is that he meets the average reader half way.  He doesn’t ask or require large change, he wants you to slowly and manageably switch to a healthier lifestyle.  The book retails for $12.99 but you could win a copy with this Giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Favorite New Mystery Series by @Talexander and Holiday Gift from @Levenger

imageThis year my husband got it VERY right for Hanukah. Although he still did not wrap my gift I can forgive that because he bought me THE bed lounger.  I know it may look like one of those typical college campus pieces of furniture but I assure you it isn’t.  Where the department store bed pillows leave you cramped and smooshed while reading, not keeping their shape, this pillow has a lumbar support insert, supportive arms and an adjustable neck pillow. Now you can find this pillow on several websites but the one he purchased from and the least expensive is Levenger.com. You can visit other sites and find a matching leg pillow for $90 but honestly any pillow under the knees does the job while reading. I also received a gift card with the lounger that I assume was a deal with purchase though iy is possible it really was “from the kids”.  I used that to buy my second favorite thing from Levenger – The Thai Pad! And it was on sale with a Thai Pad Mini – I love things in miniature.

With my new pillow for reading all I needed was something to read.  Sadly, my last favorite series has no new books – I’ll post about that one later.  So I decided to take a look at the online catalog and search Historical Fiction genre.  I love historical fictions as they give me the romance and suspense that other fictions do, but without the guilt of reading “romance” novels because of the historical angle.  I always feel as though I am learning something and connecting to history. If history textbooks were written from the point of view of actual individuals I probably would have fared far better in history class. 

I found one of my favorite – a female heroine point of view mystery, set in Victorian times.  Enter Lady Emily Ashton, a young widow who solves the mysterious death of her husband and meets some colorful characters in the course of her investigation (if a Victorian would deem it acceptable to call it that).  I am a pushover for continuity and the books in the series all have ties to each other. I love books that actually follow a chronology, though you could read them out of order I suppose – just don’t tell me about it!

I read the first in the series in the afternoon and headed to the library for the second book.  Then I succumbed to the holiday library closure and had to sit restlessly waiting until Wednesday to get back in to the library.  I picked up the rest of the series and am finishing A Crimson Warning now with the latest, Death in the Floating City, on hold since it is a HOT book at the library.

Having studied literature in college and trained as an English teacher I am a very picky reader.  I hate wasting time reading poorly written books, and even more abhor reading a book and not feeling anything. I’d rather hate a character then to feel apathetic to her.  I find myself reading the Lady Emily series and yelling at the pages in my mind – then arguing with myself that Lady Emily couldn’t simply do as she wished since women had few rights, yada yada yada.  I really get drawn into the intrigue of the plots with my only real disappointment being the vague generalities around the characters’ descriptions.  I am a visual person and always have scenes running through my head as I read – I simply can’t get a picture for many of the main characters but this could be a lazy brain that has relied solidly on board books and picture books for reading material the last 10 years as a mother.

My aging brain aside, (though I do pray that plasticity does last longer as per my readings) I was happy to see that the author, Tasha Alexander, now lives in Chicago. I’m not one to care much for celebrity and usually have no idea what is going on in the world outside of yoga and fitness, but I love to support local artists and spread the word of good art! Pick up any books in the series – I’m sure you’ll enjoy them.

And Only to Deceive

A Poisoned Season

A Fatal Waltz

Tears of Pearl

Dangerous to Know

A Crimson Warning

PS: I’d love to point out that the bed lounger makes a wonderful nursing support and play fort for the kids as well.

I received no compensation for this post, the opinions expressed are my own and given freely.

Green Smoothie Bible; Be the Incredible Hunk!

What’s Big, Green and Full of Power? No, not the comic book character – it’s the new craze of those craving the next big food movement – Green Smoothies. I was contacted to review a new book on the market, all opinions are my own and I received no compensation.

Introducing “The Green Smoothie Bible,” featuring 250 of the fastest and easiest recipes that will give your body the daily dose of fruits and vegetables it needs.
Delivering a bigger punch than simple fruit or vegetable juices, green smoothies add body-cleansing plant fibers and offer incredible benefits – improved skin and hair tone, more daily energy and a stronger immune system. You can choose whether to eat what’s in season or address particular health issues (bones and joints, cardiovascular health, cellular health, blood sugar and hormones).IMG_1346

Most of the recipes given are raw and vegan – two things that I enjoy!

The book itself is available via major online retailer for under $11 http://www.amazon.com/dp/156975974x/

The Green Smoothie Bible isn’t just a recipe book, it is full of information regarding ingredients (such as Chia seeds, another hot food staple for this year), nutrition, and specific recipes for alleviating conditions.

Most of the recipes are simple, quick and use easy to find ingredients.  There are some interesting blends given, including using kitchen herbs you never would have imagined drinking.

If you are like me, a veggie loving vegan the recipes are great.  If you are like my husband who cringes at the sight of anything green and leafy – even the 40/60 won’t make this a palatable pleasure, though he could choke one down. Start the kiddos early, let them help you press the blender button and they are on board with anything, especially recipes with bananas as they provide a sweeter flavor. If nothing else the book really does provide interesting facts, like B6 can be found in bananas and bell peppers.