"On average, we consume 71 pounds of caloric sweeteners each year. That’s 22 teaspoons of sugar, per person, per day."
~ from Michael Moss' Salt Sugar Fat
Unselfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele BorbaAccording to educator and parenting expert Michele Borba, many young people are caught up in their Instagram or Snapchat personas in place of caring about real people, and this self-absorption can in turn lead to a lack of community spirit, aggressive behavior, and bullying. She says that children need to be taught empathy as an antidote to self-absorption. In Unselfie, her accessible descriptions of empathetic behaviors explain how to help children practice empathy. Parents and teachers who want to raise caring children will find this a valuable resource.
Your Kid's a Brat and It's All Your Fault by Elaine Rose GlickmanDo you know kids who rampage through public spaces, sass their parents, and never say "please" or "thank you"? Are you concerned about correcting or preventing rude behavior? If so, take a look at Elaine Rose Glickman's book, where she explains how parents can regain and retain authority over their children. In an engaging, often humorous style, she discusses how to nip brattiness in the bud. Appendices offer short and sweet practical strategies and an anecdotal Q&A section. Even parents with well-behaved children will appreciate the common sense of Glickman's approach to socializing kids.
Gluten Exposed: The Science Behind the Hype and How to Navigate to a Healthy... by Peter H.R. Green and Rory JonesAccording to Gluten Exposed, about one percent of the American population suffers from gluten intolerance, but many more people who have not been diagnosed with this condition are maintaining gluten-free diets. Authors Peter Green and Rory Jones provide clear and accessible information on disorders that inhibit the digestion of gluten, how to diagnose them, and appropriate treatments. Their advice: consult a doctor rather than relying on popular opinion or the Internet. Diverse diets are better, they say, unless you're actually gluten intolerant.
The Underdogs: Children, Dogs, and the Power of Unconditional Love by Melissa Fay GreeneAfter Karen Shirk fell victim to a disabling neuromuscular disorder, every service dog agency she contacted said she was too impaired to benefit from a dog. In response, she trained her own dog, then started a new organization, 4 Paws for Ability, which places dogs with people who have unusual needs. In The Underdogs, author Melissa Fay Greene relates dog-human history, describes dog training methods, and provides inspiring accounts of dogs that have helped people cope with severe difficulties. Greene's "heartwarming portraits of dogs and their families" (Kirkus Reviews) offer inspiration and encouragement.
Reading and Writing Cancer: How Words Heal by Susan GubarSusan Gubar, a literature scholar and the author of a book on surviving ovarian cancer, Memoir of a Debulked Woman, blogs about "Living with Cancer" for the New York Times. In Reading and Writing Cancer, she explores the therapeutic effects of writing about cancer and of reading about others' experiences. She comments on the insights she's found in books and blogs focused on cancer and promotes the value of daily writing, suggesting ways to get started writing and offering specific tips on creating blog posts. Though Gubar states that there's nothing positive about cancer itself, she says that writing about it has restored her sense of dignity and control over her life.
Focus on: Food and Eating
My Beef With Meat: The Healthiest Argument for Eating a Plant-Strong Diet... by Rip EsselstynIf you've been thinking about eliminating meat and milk from your diet, take a look at Rip Esselstyn's impassioned discussion in My Beef with Meat. The triathlete and former firefighter from Austin, Texas explains how a plant-based diet can provide plenty of nutrients while reducing the risks (such as heart disease and stroke) that come from consuming animal products. To help you get started, Esselstyn includes a substantial section of recipes organized by categories such as breakfast, sandwiches, varieties of snack foods, and desserts. Here's an informative and accessible guide to vegetarian eating.
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran FoerCelebrated novelist Jonathan Safran Foer dives into nonfiction in Eating Animals, which carefully explores the history of meat-eating, the philosophical implications of choosing to eat certain animals but not others, and the meat production industry. Factory farms, the remarkable depletion of sea life, and unpleasant details of meat processing raise ethical and environmental questions that have led Foer to choose vegetarianism. Though his thoroughly-researched (he visited farms and slaughterhouses himself) and thought-provoking argument doesn't answer all possible questions about the subject, as he acknowledges, he offers a "highly entertaining take on an increasingly visible" (Publishers Weekly) issue for those who are concerned about where our food comes from.
Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat by John McQuaidThe tongue has one crucial job: "to distinguish food from everything else." However, the unconscious physical process though which we determine what's edible is complicated: understanding it involves several biological disciplines, including microbiology, genetics, and neuroscience. It also requires cleansing one's mental palate by, for example, discarding that scientifically baseless diagram of the tongue depicting four distinct regions dedicated to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter flavors. If you've ever wondered why and how we eat what we eat, check out the engaging, accessible, and scholarly Tasty.
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael MossAcclaimed investigative journalist Michael Moss reveals how corporate food engineers manipulate our seemingly insatiable addictions to salt, sugar, and fat -- feeding America's current health crises, from obesity to diabetes. Moss breaks down the chemistry of junk foods' appeal, as well as the social trends and advertising strategies that lure us to buy despite the known risks. In particular, he targets the marketing of "healthier options": foods touted as low in one of the unholy trinity (for example, sodium) but dangerously high in the other two (sugar, fat). Salt Sugar Fat offers a sobering view of "the food we hate to love" (Publishers Weekly).
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael PollanMichael Pollan, author of the award-winning Omnivore's Dilemma, thoughtfully and wittily approaches contemporary first-world food production and consumption from a naturalist's point of view. Eating provides our most frequent and intimate connection with the natural world, though we don't often think of our microwaved meals and fast food sandwiches so profoundly. Our eating habits are problematic, he asserts, and not just because our diets are overloaded with fat and sugar. However, without deeper knowledge of the food industry, it's hard to know which items to buy and consume. In Defense of Food offers a useful guideline: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
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