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Book Review: One Spirit Medicine by Alberto Vilioldo

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About the Author:

Alberto Vilioldo, Ph.D., is a Cuban-born psychologist, medical anthropologist and author, writing primarily in the field of neo-shamanism.1 Vilioldo has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and Andes for more than 25 years. In 1984 he founded the Four Winds Society, which offers extensive education in the philosophy and practice of energy medicine, training students to become modern-day shamans. He also directs the Center for Energy Medicine in Chile, where he investigates and practices the neuroscience of enlightenment.2 Read more about the author on his Biography page.

Book Review:

This book is an interesting mix of general wellness advice and spirituality. Vilioldo presents a lot of information in this book about the connection that physical health has with the emotional and psychic well being of the body. If you’re a medical practitioner this book may blow your mind. If you’re a spiritual person you may find this book as interesting as I did. I never thought of my body the way that Vilioldo describes things. It’s a refreshing way to look at your physical health. The only thing I found frustrating was that Vilioldo would talk about the disadvantages of how life is often lived in the modern world and the ailments that arise from it. But he didn’t provide that many solutions in the book. I would read about all sorts of illness he’s talking about and think okay, that’s good to know. But how do I fix it? He would only provide solutions to some issues but not to the many, many issues he brought up. There is a lot of information that he presents in this book (see Table of Contents above). There are so many topics he touches upon so I’ve chosen just to do an overview in this review. One of the many topics are that everyone should make sure their digestive systems (gut brain) are working properly. He basically says that if your digestive system isn’t working at optimal levels it can seriously impact not only your health but your spiritual journey. It makes sense to me that a pure body helps to contribute to a clear, functioning mind. When our minds are clear then we have a greater chance of making the right decisions for ourselves spiritually and otherwise. Vilioldo characterizes each stage in the spiritual journey with an archetype: the healer, divine feminine, sage, visionary, etc.

I haven’t decided yet how seriously I want to take this book. Certainly, a lot of things he suggests the reader do for a more balanced life seem like common sense to me. For example, his 7 day detox plan sounds interesting. But for some people it would not be affordable to buy the amount of supplements he suggests for the detox. The dosage of the supplements seem high to me, but I suppose one would seek the advice of their doctor before embarking on such a detox. In any case, this book will open your mind to the possibilities of a dialogue between spirit, body and mind. I would suggest readers take this book with a grain of salt. While I think Vilioldo makes a lot of valid points I wouldn’t take his word as gospel, nor would I take any author’s word as gospel. For many people the best thing to do is accept the information that makes sense to you and leave the rest.

Rating: 4/5


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Book Review: The Food Babe Way by Vani Hari


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About the Author:

Vani Hari is a food activist and the creator of FoodBabe.com. In her work, Hari has influenced how food giants like Kraft, Subway, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, and Starbucks create their products, steering them toward more healthful policies. For most of her life, Vani Hari ate whatever she wanted — candy, soda, fast food, processed food – until her typical American diet landed her where that diet typically does, in a hospital. It was then that Hari decided to make health her number one priority. Her newfound goal drove her to investigate what is really in our food, how it is grown, and what chemicals are used in its production. The more she learned, and the more lessons she put into action, the better she felt. Eager to share the truth about harmful ingredients as well as the secrets of her healthy lifestyle with friends and family,
Excerpt from The Food Babe Way, Author page

Book Review:

Well there’s a lot to talk about in this book so let’s get started. Part I of the book deals with Vani Hari’s story and also how she came to start investigating food ingredients. She has a list of chemicals to avoid which she calls the “Sickening 15”. These chemicals commonly found in processed foods are called obsegens. I did a quick search on google and the term does actually exist. However, since I’m not a scientist I cannot say how accurate her information in the book is. Hari has lately been attacked by some in the scientific community that call her a fearmonger and scientifically illiterate. I’m not here to debate whether she is or not, as it would take an awful lot of time for me to research each of her claims. But the good food habits she lays out in Part II of the book make sense to me. For example, many people drink lemon water in the morning as a way to do a light detox every day. Also, drinking juiced fruits and vegetables are certainly known to improve health by getting more nutrients into your body. I’ve also tried Hari’s advice about not drinking during meals. That has definitely helped with my digestive processes. I like her advice to eat meat like a condiment instead of making it the main attraction of a meal. So there are still some valuable things for me to take away from this book. Part III contains all the recipes and eating plans. The recipes are healthy and common dishes that you can also find some variation of on the internet for free. For the eating plan I would actually flip things around. She has the heaviest meal at dinner time and I actually like my heaviest meals to be breakfast and lunch. I need more fuel during the day when I’m out and about at work, whereas at night time I’m usually just relaxing. Also her guidelines for how to eat while traveling or dining out make a lot of sense but what if you are in an area where there you cannot get organic foods easily? I’m not willing to load down half of my luggage with food just because of that. I would personally make take the healthiest options available and then go back to eating organic when I get home. Hari’s way of eating seems very restrictive in some ways. It worked for her and that’s great. But it might not work for everyone. I actually bought a paper copy of the book to use as a reference but going through it now, I think I may actually return it. The book is also available at my local library so I don’t think I need a personal copy on my bookshelf. To be honest, I’m a little disappointed in this book because a lot of her advice has already been talked about and published by many other authors.

Rating: 3/5


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Book Review: The Earth Diet by Liana Werner-Gray


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About the Author:

Liana Werner-Gray was raised in outback Australia, Alice Springs. She is an advocate for natural healing using a healthy diet and lifestyle. After healing herself of many negative health conditions including a pre-cancerous tumor, digestive issues and disorderly eating through embracing a natural lifestyle, Werner-Gray began lecturing and teaching about The Earth Diet internationally. The Earth Diet was published by Hay House in October 28th 2014. As the founder and owner of The Earth Diet, Liana directs a team that helps people all over the world find recipes that work for them. Through her company, she has helped thousands of people improve, and in some cases even entirely heal, conditions such as cancer, diabetes, addictions, depression, acne, heart disease, obesity, and more. Listen to her radio show on Hay House Radio here.
Excerpted from The Earth Diet About page

Book Review:

The Earth Diet starts off with an introduction to Liana’s story. She had not been eating well after living on her own for the first time and as a result of unhealthy eating, a pre-cancerous tumor developed in her neck. Doctors gave her the options of waiting, getting surgery to remove the tumor or getting radiation. She was only 21 years old at that time and decided to do her own research to heal her body naturally. To satisfy her junk food cravings she created healthy alternative recipes for things like chocolate, hamburgers, pizza and chips. After three months of adopting a natural lifestyle, the tumour in her throat disappeared. In 2012 Liana’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. She was determined to help her mother heal herself and developed a program which included daily juicing, and meals made from The Earth Diet recipes. Her mother has now been cancer free for three years.

Part 1 of the book explains The Earth Diet principles. The first chapter continues with the basics. On page 6 and 7 you will find the Do’s and Don’ts. It really makes a lot of sense if you read these lists. Liana also explains why processed foods and GMOs are bad for us. Chapter 2 talks about self-healing: what it is, self-healing strategies, how to manage detox symptoms, and taking it one day at a time. Chapter 3 is about The Earth Diet lifestyle: choosing what is right for you, making your own meals, positive thinking, how to eat on a budget, and the issue of body care products. There are some DIY personal care recipes at the end of this chapter for things like: toothpaste, natural perfume, lotions, hair treatments, etc. Cleaning products and dangerous household and body care products are also addressed in this chapter. Chapter 4 deals with how to use the recipes, meal planning, and equipment. Chapter 5 lists all the things you might need in your pantry to make The Earth Diet recipes. Chapter 6 helps those who are ready to begin with The Earth Diet: cleaning out your cupboards, how to transition and what to do when you’re ready to go deeper. Part 2 of the book contains the recipes. There are recipes on juicing, making milks, smoothies, teas, raw vegan main dishes, cooked vegan dishes, Meat eater’s dishes, condiments and desserts. The Part 3 of the book contains The Earth Diet guides. So for example if you are looking to loose weight there is a guide for what to eat, drink, etc with that goal in mind. There is also a clear skin guide and a meat eater’s guide as well.

I’ve tried several of the recipes in this book and so far I have really loved them. I have a real sweet tooth and I’ve struggled for years with this as I grew up on junk food chocolate. See my post on The Benefits of Raw Chocolate for more details. So when I read in this book that I could still have a raw chocolate or something sweet every day I was really happy. I agree with Liana that when we deprive ourselves of things it just makes the problem worse. I love that The Earth Diet is so flexible. I had been a vegan at one point in my life and I got extremely sick. So I went back to eating meat though I upgraded to organic meat. I would like to become vegan again but I’m not sure if it’s possible for me. I’m going to see how my body feels as I decrease the amount of meat I eat. Intuitive eating is a really hot buzz word lately and that also makes a lot of sense to me. We often don’t credit our bodies with the intelligence it actually has. Your body often knows what it needs before you do, if you don’t get the signals mixed up. For example, Liana explained that we are able to eat so much junk food because there isn’t much nutrition in it. Then your body signals you to eat more to fill those nutritional gaps. But eating more junk food doesn’t help because junk food doesn’t nourish your body. I also didn’t realize that gluten is actually hard for anyone to digest! Check out Wellness Mama’s podcast on How to Know If You Have Gluten Sensitivity and her blog post on Why Gluten Isn’t a Food Group. I’ve cut out gluten for about two weeks now and am feeling really great. I also find that my body really likes the fresh green juices. I hope to get a juicer soon so I can make my own juices at home. Just a note: by juice I’m talking about homemade organic juice from fruits and vegetables, not the store bought kind which contains preservatives and lots of sugar. Anyway, I am really enjoying my Earth Diet journey and I will continue doing this. This is a lifestyle I know I can stick with.

Rating: 5/5


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Book Review: Babushka’s Beauty Secrets by @RaisaRuder and Susan Campos


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About the Author:

Raisa Ruder doesn’t seem to have a professional website so I’ve had to take excerpts from different book sites for more information about her & her co-author Susan Campos.

“Raisa Ruder was a registered nurse in her native Ukraine when she decided to move to the United States fifteen years ago. For seven years she worked at the famed Anastasia salon doing eyebrows and facials until opening her own West Hollywood salon in 2005. She noticed the large amount of preservatives in American products and decided to introduce her Babushka’s old world beauty recipes in her salon. She quickly became LA’s go-to-girl. Her clients include: Madonna,Tyra Banks, Molly Simms, Ali Larter, Nicolette Sheridan and others.

Susan Campos is a broadcast and print journalist. She is a former anchor for the national weekend edition of Today. She’s reported for Dateline and hosted numerous entertainment shows on MSNBC. She currently writes trend stories on beauty for The New York Times’ “Styles” section and its T Magazine, and is a contributing editor for Radar Magazine. – See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/authors/raisa-ruder/#about

Excerpt from Hatchett Book Group

“Esthetician to the stars Raisa Ruder learned her time-tested beauty techniques from her Ukrainian grandmother (or babushka, as they say in the old country). Now everyone can discover the all-natural, better-than-botox secrets the Hollywood stars use to shine on the red carpet! Ruder reveals her sought-after beauty recipes that can fight wrinkles, plump lips, and eliminate crow”s feet and acne, using inexpensive, everyday grocery items like eggs, honey, vegetable oil and strawberries (and a splash of vodka for freshness!). At last, by popular demand, Raisa Ruder opens up her babushka”s secret pantry and shares her most amazing and effective beauty advice.”

Excerpt from Chapters Indigo

Book Review:

I like that this book starts with an introduction to Ruder’s story and relationship with her grandmother (babushka in Ukranian). The chapter two then deals with what tools and ingredients you must have to try the recipes. These are all basic tools that most people have in their kitchen as well as basic ingredients. Who knew that potatoes had so many DIY uses? Not me. The third chapter is all about how to set up your own at home spa. Then chapters four through fourteen deal with the recipes. Along the way Ruder gives tips and mini stories about her babushka. The last chapter is babushka’s wisdom. There are a lot of good recipes in this book which I’m definitely going to try. Most of the recipes are for immediate use but where applicable Ruder gives storage instructions. The one thing I didn’t like is that some of her recipes recommend using petroleum jelly. For those who aren’t aware, petroleum jelly is made from a mixture of hydrocarbons (crude oil) and impurities in the processing of petroleum jelly have been linked to cancer. It’s very strange to me that she would recommend all these natural recipes and then use petroleum jelly as well! Anyway, there is a lot of advice in this DIY book besides the recipes. Most of it is common sense such as don’t smoke , drink to excess, always take off your makeup when you get home for the night, don’t take hot showers, etc. There are no pictures in the book just cute illustrations drawn by Mona Shafer Edwards. I actually borrowed this book from the library as I saw this in the book store but wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy it. I’m glad I didn’t buy it after all. Although most of the recipes are pretty simple and use everyday ingredients the book gave me a vibe that I didn’t like. I felt like the book emphasized shallow beauty ideals. Ruder is always talking about her famous clients and how her treatments make them look red carpet ready. Maybe it’s just me but I was wishing she talked more about nourishing the skin from the inside rather than using topical treatments to look better.

Rating: 3/5


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Book Review: Homemade Beauty by Annie Strole


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About the Author:

Annie Strole is a Brooklyn-based makeup artist, natural beauty expert, and contributing editor for style, beauty, and DIY site, Lovelyish.com. A lifelong luxury beauty product junkie and hippie-at-heart, Annie eventually began researching the ingredients of her beloved beauty potions out of curiosity. Not pleased with her findings of the effects of some particularly nasty ingredients, Annie decided to take her beauty into her own hands by creating effective, all-natural beauty products at home using the freshest ingredients possible. She shares 150 of these recipes in her new release Homemade Beauty: 150 Simple Beauty Recipes Made from All-Natural Ingredients, out November 4, 2014.
from MindBodyGreen.com

Book Review:

This is a pretty simple book of homemade beauty recipes. The ingredients list for most of these recipes are never longer than 8 items. Most are 4 ingredients or less. Also most of the ingredients on the list are commonly used in the kitchen or household. There are of course some specialized ingredients like essential oils, or zinc oxide for sunscreen. But these are easily found at natural food stores online or at retail stores.

I’ve tried some of these recipes and so far my fave is the microdermabrasion recipe. Why microdermabrasion? At the time I’m writing this it’s winter, and my skin has dry, flakey patches on it. So this recipe is amazing at helping to get rid of those dry flakey patches without irritating my skin too much. Also, if you go to the spa to get microdermabrasion done it’s quite expensive, time consuming and you could walk out the door with a red face. Who wants to walk about the city looking like they got a bad sunburn? Not me. With this recipe I can do a less abrasive version of microdermabrasion from the comfort of my home. Plus I don’t need healing time as this version is so much more gentle.

The only thing I don’t like about this book is that Strole doesn’t talk much about how long each recipe will keep. Since none of these products have preservatives, they could go bad easily. While most of the recipes are easy to make on the spot, sometimes it’s nice to make things ahead of time and use when needed. I don’t always have time to do DIY on the spot and I’m sure busy mothers would have the same problem. Strole also doesn’t give any storage advice e.g. store in cool, dry place. I think that would be helpful for those who are newbies to DIY. Besides the recipes, you will also find throughout the book a pageor two devoted to an ingredient spotlight, telling us the properties for each and what it’s good for. I liked the ingredient spotlight and found it interesting.

Overall, this is a fairly good, if simple DIY book. This book is good for those who are beginners at DIY or those who like to keep things simple. For more elaborate or challenging recipes I would recommend The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel.

Rating: 4/5


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Book Review: Mireille Guiliano, French Women Don’t Get Facelifts


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About the author:

Mireille Guiliano was the spokesperson for Champagne Veuve Clicquot and former President and CEO of Clicquot, Inc. (LVMH). She has been recognized as “an ambassador of France and its art of living,” by the French daily Le Figaro, USA Today further dubbed her “the high priestess of French lady wisdom.” One of the few women who have reached the top echelon of the wine and spirits as well as luxury goods industry, Mireille has been called a champion of women in business and works with groups promoting business opportunities and education for women. A native of France, she grew up amidst cooks, chefs and restaurateurs in provincial France and was educated in Paris, where she studied French and English literature at the Sorbonne and languages at the Institut Supérieur d’Interprétariat et de Traduction. Mireille holds the French equivalent of a master’s degree in English and German and certification as a translator/interpreter. She also has a command of Italian and several other languages.
Excerpts from bio page

Book Review:

This is another book that isn’t about being eco-friendly per se. It’s about beauty and wellness in general. The title of this book really intrigued me, that’s why I picked it up. Plus I wanted to read about the French woman’s perspective on aging well and beautifully. Guiliano has a kind of quirky writing style. Most of her book comprises of personal stories and anecdotes to give examples about her perspective. Each chapter has a humourous title. Chapter one for example is called assessing gravity. Guiliano notes that American women seem to have an all or nothing attitude about beauty. Some women either give up on taking care of themselves after a certain age, or get obsessed with maintaining youthful looks by artificial means. But in her opinion there is a way to still look your age and be well groomed. In the minds of French women, being old doesn’t start until after 80 and hence most French women are more comfortable with their age.

In each chapter Guiliano gives advice, some recipes and personal rules that she follows. The style is quite informal and she often repeats her advice. Grooming is a topic she touches often on. To sum up her ideas on grooming: it’s a good idea to have a great hairstylist, dress well for your age and body type, use natural skincare as much as possible, avoid extreme colours, and wear less makeup as you age. Her ideas about health are related to grooming because you cannot look your best if you’re not healthy. So her health advice is to keep good nutrition and sleep habits, drink lots of water, spend 15-30 minutes outdoors daily, breathe properly, and get some daily activity.

She also intersperses her favourite recipes throughout the book, mostly at the ends of a chapter. Guiliano has some good points about aging well. Most people don’t think about these things in a coherent whole throughout their life. I do agree with her opinion about things like supplements. Don’t take them unless needed. The way you eat can always be adjusted to meet any deficiencies in vitamins after you get a blood test from your doctor. I also agree that instead of life expectancy we should talk about remaining life expectancy and remaining years of healthful expectancy. After all, no one wants to live to 100 if they are in constant pain.

Overall I would say this book gives some good general advice. It’s a funny, quirky book. When I read this book I felt more like I was sitting down talking to Mireille Guiliano about each topic. It’s not very organized and it meanders as a conversation does. In terms of usefulness it wasn’t incredibly useful to me because I have already put several of her recommended practices in use before reading this. It was definitely interesting to read Guiliano perspective as a French woman and how it compares to American ideals. She lives in New York with her husband currently, but was born, raised and lived in France most of her life. I would say though that this book is suited to an older audience. Perhaps it would suit those in their 60s. I felt a bit young to be reading about things like Botox and cosmetic surgery. J

Rating: 3/5

Have you ever read Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Facelifts? What did you think of it?


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Book Review: Mireille Guiliano, French Women Don't Get Facelifts


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About the author:

Mireille Guiliano was the spokesperson for Champagne Veuve Clicquot and former President and CEO of Clicquot, Inc. (LVMH). She has been recognized as “an ambassador of France and its art of living,” by the French daily Le Figaro, USA Today further dubbed her “the high priestess of French lady wisdom.” One of the few women who have reached the top echelon of the wine and spirits as well as luxury goods industry, Mireille has been called a champion of women in business and works with groups promoting business opportunities and education for women. A native of France, she grew up amidst cooks, chefs and restaurateurs in provincial France and was educated in Paris, where she studied French and English literature at the Sorbonne and languages at the Institut Supérieur d’Interprétariat et de Traduction. Mireille holds the French equivalent of a master’s degree in English and German and certification as a translator/interpreter. She also has a command of Italian and several other languages.
Excerpts from bio page

Book Review:

This is another book that isn’t about being eco-friendly per se. It’s about beauty and wellness in general. The title of this book really intrigued me, that’s why I picked it up. Plus I wanted to read about the French woman’s perspective on aging well and beautifully. Guiliano has a kind of quirky writing style. Most of her book comprises of personal stories and anecdotes to give examples about her perspective. Each chapter has a humourous title. Chapter one for example is called assessing gravity. Guiliano notes that American women seem to have an all or nothing attitude about beauty. Some women either give up on taking care of themselves after a certain age, or get obsessed with maintaining youthful looks by artificial means. But in her opinion there is a way to still look your age and be well groomed. In the minds of French women, being old doesn’t start until after 80 and hence most French women are more comfortable with their age.

In each chapter Guiliano gives advice, some recipes and personal rules that she follows. The style is quite informal and she often repeats her advice. Grooming is a topic she touches often on. To sum up her ideas on grooming: it’s a good idea to have a great hairstylist, dress well for your age and body type, use natural skincare as much as possible, avoid extreme colours, and wear less makeup as you age. Her ideas about health are related to grooming because you cannot look your best if you’re not healthy. So her health advice is to keep good nutrition and sleep habits, drink lots of water, spend 15-30 minutes outdoors daily, breathe properly, and get some daily activity.

She also intersperses her favourite recipes throughout the book, mostly at the ends of a chapter. Guiliano has some good points about aging well. Most people don’t think about these things in a coherent whole throughout their life. I do agree with her opinion about things like supplements. Don’t take them unless needed. The way you eat can always be adjusted to meet any deficiencies in vitamins after you get a blood test from your doctor. I also agree that instead of life expectancy we should talk about remaining life expectancy and remaining years of healthful expectancy. After all, no one wants to live to 100 if they are in constant pain.

Overall I would say this book gives some good general advice. It’s a funny, quirky book. When I read this book I felt more like I was sitting down talking to Mireille Guiliano about each topic. It’s not very organized and it meanders as a conversation does. In terms of usefulness it wasn’t incredibly useful to me because I have already put several of her recommended practices in use before reading this. It was definitely interesting to read Guiliano perspective as a French woman and how it compares to American ideals. She lives in New York with her husband currently, but was born, raised and lived in France most of her life. I would say though that this book is suited to an older audience. Perhaps it would suit those in their 60s. I felt a bit young to be reading about things like Botox and cosmetic surgery. J

Rating: 3/5

Have you ever read Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Facelifts? What did you think of it?