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Let’s Get It Together For Summer

Help and support signpost

Summer is upon us once again, and it’s time to get out the warm weather gear, honestly evaluate our bodies, and try to get our minds out of the torpor of cold weather. I know; it’s exhausting. Fortunately, there are some very good self-help books now available to guide us on the path of righteousness.

If Oprah trusts Bob Greene, so can we. He’s not kidding around in trying to get us to look and feel 20 YEARS YOUNGER. Greene concentrates on exercise, nutrition, skin care, and sleep. While some advice may be hard to follow (eat red meat no more than three times a month), most of it is just good common sense (no sugary sodas or fried food). He also gives tips on such varied topics as avoiding jet lag, how to keep our brains active, and thoroughly cleaning loofahs.

Oh, that we could all look like the gorgeous Maria Menounos, and have her career in movies and on TV. At least we can read THE EVERYGIRL’S GUIDE TO LIFE and learn her philosophy. Being organized is a lot of the secret to her success, and she’s willing to share her system for attacking clutter and managing our time. She’s also thrifty, and has a practical plan for when to spend and when to save. But that face and figure! We must pray for her.

If you or a friend are expecting, pick up immediately THE MOMMY DOC’S ULTIMATE GUIDE TO PREGNANCY AND BIRTH. As the title suggests, it’s written by women who are both moms and doctors, and they totally get it. I especially like the section called “Countering Meddling and Fear Mongering.” They deal with frequently asked questions, and refute some pretty interesting myths. No, they have not seen a correlation of heartburn leading to hairy babies, for example.

There’s no way around it; for many of us, weight is a constant issue. Ann Louise Gittleman espouses FAT FLUSH FOR LIFE, and many swear by this method. This book approaches detoxing the body through our system’s natural responses to the seasons. The promise of a boosted metabolism and dropping the pounds without hunger is certainly enticing.

Another detox plan is put forth by Anjum Anand in her manifesto ANJUM’S EAT RIGHT FOR YOUR BODY TYPE. According to this Food Network host, Ayurveda, a holistic Indian medical system, is the answer. It’s an interesting philosophy, and the recipes look very tasty. After all, Anand is known as “the Nigella Lawson of Indian cuisine.”

Ani Phyo has written several books on the benefit of eating raw food, and in ANI’S RAW FOOD ASIA, the choices range from the expected salads with a twist (Baby Bok Choy with Chinese Cabbage in Ginger Sauce) to some pretty exotic desserts (Lavender Ice Cream with Cashew Kream). She also discusses what it’s been like to live between two worlds, America and Korea.

The recipes in FRESH & FAST VEGETARIAN are more familiar to us; most of us have tried vegetarian lasagna, for example. But author Marie Simmons focuses on how busy home cooks can prepare a delicious meal that’s full of eye appeal, and guaranteed to entice even the most picky eater. If you haven’t yet discovered Quinoa, her dish with spinach, tomatoes, and walnuts would be an excellent place to start.

Nowhere near as exciting, but vital for those of us who are trying to hold the line on weight, are MY CALORIE COUNTER (Jennifer Sucovv and Maureen Namkoong) and

THE LOW GI SHOPPER’S GUIDE TO GI VALUES 2011 (Dr. Jennie Brand-Miller and Kaye Foster-Powell). Both are small paperbacks which easily fit into a carry bag or roomy purse. No more “Gee, who knew” excuses with these guides on hand.

And if it all seems just a little overwhelming, pick up EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY by Bruce Eric Kaplan, famed cartoonist for “New Yorker” magazine. A tongue in cheek manual for getting to a happy place.

There are, of course, many more self-help books currently on the market, but these should give us a pretty good start. I feel better already.

To purchase any of the featured books on Amazon, click on the title in RED.

Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist. She writes extensively, both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle.

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