Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Brad's Raw Made Easy by Brad Gruno

A lot of people consider going raw for weight loss or weight maintenance. I wasn't interested in the book for either reason. I thought it may be a way to eliminate acne outbreaks. Contrary to popular belief, you do not outgrow acne. So I replied to the notice to receive a free review copy and the book arrived a few days later.

Brad Gruno is the founder of Brad’s Raw Foods. The book briefly outlines how Brad’s Raw Foods came to fruition in the Introduction. Anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit will find it inspiring and also pick up a few tips on what to do when building a business.

The following chapters contain a wealth of information on what food does to the body and how the body uses it. He makes a pretty solid argument, or so it seems to me a novice, for going raw. But I don't think anyone would argue that a raw diet is not healthy, unless you have medical conditions that would lead to the contrary. So I didn’t need convincing. I was on board from the moment I requested the book!

The problem I’ve had in the past with making any modifications to my diet is the amount of effort it takes to learn how to prepare meals again. I remember one occasion, the grocery store clerk walked by and asked, “You’re still here!?” I was literally spending hours reading labels and trying to find things. I found it easier to just get what I’ve always gotten and get the heck out of the store.

Not only does this book have a massive list of food items that can be used to prepare meals.It contains the nutrients they provide along with the health benefits. And he includes over 80 pages of recipes for you!

I think the key that will make this work is that Gruno actually encourages you to balance your raw diet with cooked food but only 20% of the time. And only after the detox, which does require going 100% raw for 4 weeks. The flexibility in what to eat (meal plans are included), when to eat, and even how to eat will allow a lot more people to be successful.

Other lifestyle changes like exercise, meditation and how to incorporate these gradually into your daily routine are also discussed. All of these sections have subtitles so you can easily skip them if you just want to stick with how to go raw.

Although the author takes care to consider people who are budget conscious, there are a few (5 at most) kitchen gadgets that you will need to make most of the recipes that are in the book. Gruno notes that the only mandatory tool is a good set of knives and I won’t say that isn’t true, but if your patience is like mine it will take exactly one day for you to decide that it requires too much effort.

The final pages are packed with thorough responses to FAQ’s. So that may clear up any questions remaining after you finish the book. I had never heard of Brad Gruno before requesting this book but after reading it, he seems like a pretty cool guy. 

So what do you think?  Are you going to go for it!?

Find out more at www.bradsrawchips.com, www.facebook.com/bradsrawchips, and on Twitter @BradsRawFoods

Affiliate Links
Brad's Raw Made Easy on Amazon  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I received this book from a friend. The same brilliant friend that sent me The Warmth of Other Suns, one of the best books EVER. The beginning of the year seems like a convenient time to implement new things. So I decided to see if Mrs. Sandberg’s career advice would be worth implementing since I’ll be heading back to the office in 2014 having had a 2 week vacation to think it over.

I’m glad I got to the book when I did. It discusses workplace dynamics from a fresh perspective, that of a woman to women and that of a person under 50. The tips on career progression, mentoring, presence, showing emotion, working with men, and taking risks are not repackaged versions of what was written 20 years ago. This content is fresh and it’s about the now.

Starting with Chapter 7, the discussion shifts to women that plan to have children and women that already do. Sandberg speaks in depth on balancing family responsibilities with a partner so that you don’t have to choose between family and career. She encourages women who plan to have children to avoid derailing your career because you think you can't do both.

The author briefly touches on men that are negatively impacted when choosing family obligations over long days at the office and she also urges men that in order to see this shift in attitudes towards women, they have to be conscious of what’s happening.  

For a woman that’s married with kids, or plans to be in the near future, its a thorough read from cover to cover. But for me, a woman without a spouse or children, I benefitted from Chapters 1 through 6 and didn’t get much from the rest. There are 45 pages devoted to the topic of women with families and the two chapters that remain after that are more or less observations and summation. 

This book is necessary but I believe it’s ahead of many workplace realities. That is, of course, unless you work for a company like Facebook which Sandberg does. But the only way to change that is to either wait on some people to retire, or continue the conversation. Sandberg encourages the latter.

You can join the conversation at www.facebook.com/leaninorg and www.leanin.org

UPDATED 2/3/14: Looks like Lean In will become a movie. Hmmmm,  I’m not sure I can envision it. Get more details here.

Affiliate Links
Lean In on Amazon

Lean In: For Graduates on Amazon

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays by Chinua Achebe

After one of my book clubs decided that Chinua Achebe would be the theme for the November meeting, I decided to read “The Education of a British-Protected Child”. I already had this book in my collection thanks to Mary Okeke Reviews. I figured the book would be a way to learn more about Achebe since I wasn't very familiar with the author, often referred to as the father of African literature. 

The book is a collection of essays that span from 1988-2009. One thing the essays quickly reveal is that Achebe never had a problem getting things off his chest. Particularly his repugnance for British colonialism in Africa which he voiced, unapologetically, in more than a few of the 16 essays.  

I viewed this book as a gateway because I know very little about African history. The essays made me want to do further research and with an impressive list of titles cited at the end of the book, I was glad to have a starting place.  

But he doesn’t only discuss Africa. He speaks about his experience living in the US and he also touches on the relationship, or lack thereof, between Africans and African Americans. In that compelling essay, Achebe says that both Africans and African Americans are still suffering consequences from the transatlantic slave trade.

He speaks highly of James Baldwin and also names W.E.B DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, Leo Hansberry, Chancellor Williams as remarkable individuals. Achebe urges us to write our own stories (as did Miles Davis, Sidney Poitier, and the editors of “A Lie of Re-invention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X”).

Since the book was a series of unrelated essays, its tough to touch on everything it contained. But it was worth the read. As was Achebe’s more notable novel “Things Fall Apart”, the first book of a trilogy, which I read earlier this year. Achebe died in March at 82 years of age.

“The first order of business for Africans and their relatives, African-Americans, is to defeat the intention Baldwin speaks about. They must work together to uncover their story, whose truth has been buried so deeply in mischief and prejudice that a whole army of archaeologists will now be needed to unearth it.” Chinua Achebe

Affiliate Links