As a blogger of modest (modest) fame, I receive several books in the mail every month asking that I please review them for my blog. Many of them I am more than happy to because I have been looking forward to the release for a long time, as was the case with the recent reviews I wrote of Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach and Liz Wolfe’s Eat the Yolks. Others I put on the list but sometimes do not manage to get to because there really are only 24 hours to a day, despite all the manipulations of E=mc2 I’ve tried in my brief 25 years.
Last week I recieved The South Asian Health Solution in the mail. It looks like a standard diet book. It reads like one. It is full of explanations of what happens in the body when good foods and bad foods are eaten, and its stocked heartily with delectable recipes. It’s an awesome book, and that’s good. I expect paleo health books to be awesome books. Especially when they are published by Mark Sisson. (This one is.)
But the thing is – this is not a standard diet book. This book is written specifically with the genetics and the cultural background of South Asian people – so primarily Indians – in mind.
This makes this a diet book that does something almost no other diet books do –
It reaches people beyond the white middle class. (While still being inclusive to all, and particularly good for those who have resistance to dietary change based on food preferences.)
To which I can say nothing but “Amen.”
My own book – much as I do my best to write as inclusively as possible to all genders and identifications and ethnicities and sexual orientations and socioeconomic statuses — falls into the general category of paleo health books. Educated people read them. Mostly - though not all – white people read them. Middle and upper middle class people read them. It is written for people who sort of already fit within a certain cultural milieu. This is not a bad thing. It is just a thing.
The South Asian Health Solution has specific recommendations in it for how to “modify cultural traditions that lead to weight gain and disease.”
It provides tips for physicians who work with diverse populations to help them modify their diets — in every chapter.
This applies to south Asians but to other cultural groups as well.
It does so with both “advanced” and “beginner” explanations.
It has chapters devoted to women’s health (!!!).
It has chapters devoted to children’s health and raising families.
Because all of these things are crucial to convincing as many people as possible that this is easy and worth a go, and they are also quite helpful for reaching people who might not have ever encountered paleo and other trendy diets before. I cannot say for certain if this book will appeal to south Asians more strongly than others, or if other minority groups will be interested in this book. I am not a south Asian. I am not a minority. But I trust that Dr. Sinha knows a bit more about what he’s doing here than I could ever hope to.
So I am excited about this book for so many reasons. It’s a great diet book. It’s got women’s stuff and children’s stuff. It’s smart. It contains:
- How to look beyond LDL to accurately interpret cholesterol, including a discussion of the 2013 cholesterol guidelines
- Understanding key biometrics and lab results used to monitor health (what Dr. Sinha calls the “Metabolic 6-pack”)
- How to modify cultural traditions that lead to weight gain and disease
- Detailed nutrition advice and recipes that have helped patients and wellness clients from all backgrounds optimize body composition and reverse disease
- Detailed exercise chapter with illustrations geared towards beginners and advanced exercisers (includes apps and tips for the most sedentary individuals)
- How to effectively manage sleep, stress, and fatigue
- Recommended high-tech tools and apps used successfully in the clinic and during corporate wellness programs
- Dedicated chapters on women’s health: includes PCOS, healthy pregnancy and weight loss tips tailored specifically for women
- Dedicated chapter on children’s health co-written with pediatrician, Dr. Shally Sinha (Dr. Sinha’s wife), which takes on pediatric obesity and common lifestyle issues in today’s infants, children, and teens
- Dedicated chapter on premature aging and senior health
- Each chapter ends with special advice for physicians/health professionals who struggle to engage diverse ethnic groups with lifestyle changes
Yet more than anything, I am excited about it doing real work that the paleo health world needs. After AHS 2012, I wrote a blog post about the lessons I learned and things I experienced there. I blogged that I became even more aware of how homogenous the paleo scene is. (Go to paleo fx in Austin this April… you’ll see what I mean.) There was even a talk there about traditional diets and helping people who eat them modify them to embrace more natural foods. I took it down because such a rabid debate sprang up on my site in its wake, and I was not interested in being party to anger any longer. (This was, also, and perhaps moreso, tied to my justified claims of sexism in the sphere.)
This is a big part of my dream. I want health for the whole world. Everybody deserves it. It’s hard when you don’t speak the language or know the culture, and it’s hard when you are an outsider. It’s not easy to breach those walls. No one wants to be a preacher, and everyone wants to be understood and understanding. But slowly this change is coming, and we have Dr. Sinha in large part for being a leader in this battle. It is made all the more incredible because he speaks to patients and to health professionals at the same time.
And sometimes, if you want to make change, you have to make it from the top down and the bottom up.
My hat’s off, and my enormously large gratitude and hugs are, to him and his team. Thank you.
Enter TODAY to Win a Brand New Fully Stocked 32GB Kindle Fire HDX with Case and Keyboard – In the HECK YES Sexy by Nature Countdown Giveaway!
Ladies what up!
Today I bring to you nothing other than fun and love:
I want to give you the best tablet of all time – the Kindle Fire HDX – because… well.
I can. !!
And because Sexy by Nature is coming out in less than two weeks. (Party!)
And because the book is currently on sale at Amazon for $19.86, while the cover price is actually a full $27. (Party!!)
And because the Kindle Fire really is the best tablet of all time – I am an avowed user – despite all Mac hating and superiority complexes to the contrary.
(Please don’t hate me, Mac users. I still love you.)
SO. Go read about the Kindle if you want @ here.
It’s 32 GB. (really I can’t afford the 64 and who needs that many gigs anyway? Unless you’ve downloaded seasons 1-9 of Scrubs… but in that case just let me know, and I’ll email the episodes over to you one at a time.)
It’s wi-fi connected (obvi).
It’ll come with a fancy leather case, because who doesn’t want a fancy leather case?
It’ll also come with a brand new Bluetooth keyboard.
Entrance is easy peasy —
- just pick any (one, or two, or three, or all) of the options in the widget below. The raffle works by a point system, so the more you do, the better. But if you just want to do one, all the more power to you! There’s even a freebie for this audience since just about all of you like the paleo for women page on Facebook already.
If you’ve already pre-ordered the book, you can still pick the pre-order option! Just forward your pre-order receipt to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget the extra bonus: the special pre-order price of $19.86 on Amazon right now — that’s 23 percent off!
Why Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain is a Best Selling Cookbook and has 200,000+ Likes on Facebook
As I described in this post, I have recently decided to turn myself into someone who takes food more seriously. Sure, I have always eaten whole foods. But I have never really cared about how they are prepared. In fact, for my few first years of paleo eating I mostly ate raw or microwaved vegetables (unless someone else made them), canned fish, and avocadoes. Making tasty food just wasn’t worth the effort. What was important to me was the fact that I was eating.
This is one theme that I’ve found scattered among the lives of many disordered eaters I know. The fastest way to eat food is the best way, so some of us eschew the preparation process and go right for the goods. It’s almost as if the willpower to stay away from food falls out from under me and there is almost nothing left to keep me from eating once my feet have started moving toward the refrigerator.
So I confessed in the Nom Nom post that I want to impress some non-paleo dieters in my life with my mean cooking skills (hah!). That’s a real motivation. But it actually goes much deeper. As I move further and further away from restriction and my disordered past, I wonder: can I develop love for prepared meals? Can I have food in my life as a pleasure, rather than as a drug?
I do believe that I can.
Let me instead phrase it like this: What not about Danielle?
Danielle wrote and photographed everything in her whole NYT best-selling book, Against All Grain: Delectable Paleo Recipes to Eat Well & Feel Great. She has a toddler for whom she cares and of whom, of course, there are beautiful photos in the book. She is a brilliant writer and I enjoy her prose simply for its own sake. There is something delightfully simple and peaceful and loving and homey about her cooking, all the while with Danielle being a fiery spirit with a serious knack for beautiful food and beautiful photos.
(The credit for all photos in this post save the Finding Nemo and those taken on my phone, which you will definitely be able to distinguish, goes to Danielle at her site, againstallgrain.com)
I want to quote the dust jacket to demonstrate to you just how pleasurable her writing is and to give you a preview of what’s inside:
“A self-trained chef, Danielle is the new face of grain-free cooking, tempting foodies of all stripes with her accessible recipes for vibrant Paleo food. Paying homage to the dishes she loved in her pre-Paleo life, she has ingeniously recreated all her favorites without grains or dairy in her first cookbook.
Complementing her innovating recipes with elegant photography, Danielle takes you on a culinary Paleo journey that includes everything from quick breakfasts to sinful desserts, with a long list of hearty entrees in between. And because Danielle knows she’s not the only one with a finicky toddler at home, she has included a special section filled with healthy recipes that kids will be eager to eat and moms will be eager to serve.”
In her introduction, she writes:
“As I began my culinary experimentations, I noticed a lack of recipes as well as personal accounts of setbacks and progress, and wanted to document my journey to help others. I decided to combine the power of my acquired culinary skills, my love for food, and my equal love for journalism and an all-out crusade, and started my blog, Against All Grain. I aimed to not only end my own suffering, but also to become a source of hope for others suffering from all types of diseases or allergies.”
So we have in Danielle’s book:
-a completely grain, soy, and dairy free cookbook. This is important. I need my food to be dairy free.
-innovative recipes that think outside the box
-new inventions as well as new methods for traditional dishes
-and a wide -perhaps the widest- array of types of meals to learn how to cook.
This final point is perhaps my favorite of them all.
There is a big debate in the paleo health scene about whether it’s okay to have “replacement” foods such as paleo cookies and pancakes. These foods are not ideal. No one who is being honest with themselves thinks so. These foods often include nut flours and have sugar in them and do not have super high nutrient density. They also may be addictive and highly caloric and therefore stymie weight maintenance efforts. But… well. So what? I say. YOLO.
(Internet speak for “you only live once.”)
Of course I am still going to eat mostly liver and vegetables and fruits and such – the real, hearty, nourishing paleo stuff. But I also know the world needs lightness and fun and love, so what’s the harm in knowing how to make the delectable sweet stuff?
Danielle delivers both kinds of food, and in spades.
Since in this book are:
-The “basics” (much as it was the case with Michelle’s book, and a big reason I love both of these books). Vinaigrettes, chutneys, barbecue sauce, ketchup, preserves, marinara sauce, pico de gallo, and chicken broth are all included.
-”the grain free kitchen and pantry” in which we learn all about almond flour and coconut products and the like.
-”to start off your morning” or, as I like to call, BREAKFAST, which includes (but there are twice as many in the book) smoked salmon eggs benedict, maple sage sausage with cinnamon apples, Spanish frittata with chorizo, pear-berry crisp, banana porridge, two kinds of granola, and coconut milk yogurt (I can’t wait to make this! I’m so tired of the Trader Joes and Whole Foods versions with 20 grams of sugar in them.)
-”small bites” which includes chicken satay, trail mix, rosemary-raisin crackers, sweet potatoes fries with wasabi aioli, and sweet potato chips. Mmmm.
-”soups, salads, and sides” which includes paleo clam chower (yes! definitely making that for my brother’s wedding), roasted butternut squash soup with sausage, warm spinach salad with bacon and mushrooms, coconut-lime rice, grilled artichokes with remoulade, and about fifteen others.
-28 main dishes (!), including thai pad see ew, fettuccini alfredo with blackened chicken, seafood, chorizo, and chicken paella, curried short ribs, carne asada burrito bowls, and honey-lime salmon toastadas.
-a section for kids foods like fruit roll ups, granola bars, honey graham crackers, and chicken tenders,
-a bread imitation section called “muffins, loaves, and morning cakes” that I literally cannot stop looking at. These “these can’t be paleo they look so good!” breads include both banana and zucchini bread, currant scones and rosemary scones, hamburger buns, peach streusel coffee cake, and “world-famous sandwich bread.” Um, yes, thank you. And when made out of coconut? Gotta love more variety in all my various coconut consumption habits.
-26 “sweets and treats,” OMG, with dishes like chocoalte layer cake, lemon meringue pie (I swear on my life last night I was wondering if any paleo people make lemon meringue pies… now I guess I will be one of them), black bottom banana cream pie, chocolate fudge sauce, seven-layer bars, and just about everything. Everything. I want Danielle to open a bakery.
-drinks in the section “sip on this” like mulled apple cider, berry-basil spritzer, and thai iced tea. Mm.
So there’s the whole range of paleo options, from the simple to the hearty to the fluffy and addictive, and I like that fact very, very much.
OH. No, wait, sorry, this is the best part: Danielle has a handy labelling system for every recipe in her book:
One yellow EF graphic for “egg free,”
a blue one with SCD for “specific carbohydrate diet,”
a red NF for “nut free,” (yayy! since I’m not a huge fan of nuts),
and a green V for “vegan.”
Awesome. Even if you’re not a vegan yourself – as I am not myself – you may some day find yourself asked to participate in a vegan mac n cheese off, and while you might scoff, now perhaps you can blow them away, and with natural foods, too.
No, sorry, the best stuff’s still gotta be the recipes. Photos of some of which are included below. I took photos of my own with my phone to show you what they are like with the recipes in the book, and then I nabbed a few off of Danielle’s site so you can get a better idea of the real stellar quality of her stuff.
Phone photos (if you can’t tell I’m kind of a glutton for the baked goods):
Against All Grain Blog photos:
So there you have it.
Danielle gives me everything I need for both a healthy grain and dairy free and nutrient dense kitchen, as well as the delight of her baking and her sweets and her photography…. with promises for joy and enjoyment I might be able to, over time, learn how to keep myself.
And, as always, in celebration of learning how to enjoy food, I’ve purchased another copy of Against All Grain to give away. Huzzah!
Entrance is easy peasy – just one click – choose one or more of the options below. Contest ends next Wednesday March 12 at midnight!
And, as always, be sure to check out the blog post where I am giving away five free, pre-release copies of the women’s health manifesto Sexy by Nature: The Whole Foods Solution to Radiant Health, Lifelong Sex Appeal, and Soaring Confidence.
And, Thursday March 6-Sunday March 16,I am giving away a brand new, fully-stocked 32 GB Kindle Fire HDX with a pristine Otter Box case (!). Here.
Last week I had the enormous pleasure to sit and chat with Abel James of The Fat Burning Man fame. (He is, after all, the #1 Health Podcast in six different countries, including the US.) But Abel and I go much further back than that. We went to the same college, though a few years apart, and share many friends in common. We met and became fast friends at AHS 2012. We both really, really, really love to inspire people, and really, really, really love to question norms… two facts that can make for a hell of a discussion.
In the introduction to the podcast, Abel even calls me a “take-no-prisoners powerhouse” …. which I can’t help but feel enormously flattered by.
So in this podcast we talk about Sexy by Nature – of course - but we focus on the parts Abel found the most uniquely thought provoking:
What do I think it means it be sexy? How do I feel sexy, and how do I get other people to acknowledge it?
Why am I, and why are you, sexy?
What do you learn after being paid to dance on a stage in a bar every weekend for months and years? (A la the tiny photo of me below?)
In Abel’s words, in the podcast you learn:
-”A surprising concept from go-go dancing you can use to boost your sex appeal
-Why putting on weight can make you sexier
-A mental trick you can do right now to instantly become more attractive
-And much, much more”
Check out the audio (AND VIDEO!) versions of the chat at Abel’s site –
Or grab the 2/27/14 episode of The Fat Burning Man from iTunes.
I also just wrote a guest post over at Abel’s blog that exposes the secrets of how models really slim down - 10 Ways To Look Like A Model (That You Should NEVER Try)…. more about which I’ll be posting next week.
Don’t forget tomorrow’s the last day to enter for a free, pre-release, signed copy of Sexy by Nature by finishing this powerful sentence in the comments at http://paleoforwomen.com/sbn:
And if you want to read excerpts of Sexy by Nature before it comes out and get exclusive tips on how to be sexy, be sure to join our brand new community on the facebook page!
What are the biggest red flags for different kinds of hormone imbalance? And more science and hijinks on The Paleo View with Sarah and Stacy
Last week Sarah and Stacy had me as a guest on their podcast The Paleo View. They said that it was a moral imperative for them to have me on — other people were starting to come on the show more often, and they needed to keep me as their most frequent guest. This made our fourth episode together, I think.
And what an episode, too!
Let it stand by way of an introduction that I love and admire these two women beyond words. Sarah’s The Paleo Approach, the ultimate guide to autoimmune disease that was released last month and which has made gigantic waves in the paleo and holistic health scenes, and Stacy’s Beyond Bacon and Eat Like a Dinosaur are just some of the many reasons these women inspire me daily.
They also happen to be sassy, and strong, and smart, and mmmmmm yay!
So in this podcast we focus on hormone balance.
What are the primary kinds of hormone imbalance, and what are the signs and symptoms?
What role do hormones play in other health conditions like autoimmune disease? Is there a connection? (Answer: you bet!)
What’s up with birth control and how can it negatively affect hormone balance both in the short and long term?
And boatloads more.
And don’t forget the opportunity to win a free, pre-release, signed copy of Sexy by Nature, by submitting your completion of the sentence “I love my body because…” in the comments at the blog post http://paleoforwomen.com/sbn.
And check back in a few days as I gear up to give away big.
Today, I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror of Barnes and Noble for an embarrassingly long amount of time. Three minutes. Five. Ten. Why? Yesterday I finally “caved” – I went to the thrift store and bought a whole new set of pants, having barely managed to squeeze myself into my last pair of “fat” pants no longer.
I needed to up my size. I learned in the dressing room the need was even more drastic than I thought.
This was a bit of a shock – to go from a zero to a six – (holy I’ve been squeezing Batman) and so I found myself poking and prodding for days afterward.
How different do I now look?
Honestly I have no idea.
And am I any more or less attractive than I was before?
Well. That’s subjective, but I am feeling damn adamant that it’s about the same.
To assert in the title of this post that you lack objectivity is, I know, offensive. I apologize. Nonetheless I am certain the statement is true – it is literally impossible for me to see myself (and for you to see yourself) outside of my own current situation and time. As human beings, just as it is impossible to see ourselves without judging ourselves relative to other people, it is impossible to see ourselves without judging ourselves relative to a way we have been in the past or how we anticipate we might be in the future.
We have no objective standards. It is beyond important for us to realize this fact.
To help demonstrate to you just how powerful this phenomenon can be, I have compiled a wide variety of comparisons of different photos of myself taken at various points in time. Below are two photos posted with comments on them: one set from the context in which the photo was taken — the then – (so if the photo was taken in 2011, I share my thoughts from 2011), and then one set from today, the now.
Today I look back on photos in which I had thought I was egregiously overweight, bloated, jiggly, or poorly shaped and I think either ‘healthy wow’ or ”skinny wow” – two sets of thoughts that were completely beyond my my current, unobjective, fearful mind.
Will I do the same thing in the future with my current self? Will I, over time, come to view the body I am in in this moment in 2014 as even more worthy of admiration and love and beauty than I do now? Will I look back and think all of my “bad” days were so unbelievably uncalled for?
I am not objective.
I do not pretend to be.
First up are photos from my pre-weight loss days.
Fall of 2009, right before I shed thirty pounds in three months, so I weighed approximately 135-7 pounds. Here, I am participating in a (unorthodox) wilderness evacuation group, having the time of my life, and in extraordinarily good health and fitness, as I lifted heavy things and climbed mountains all day every day:
Spring of 2008:
Fall of 2007: Hiking the Great Wall – after a whole summer of living and doing trailwork in the Colorado wilderness.
In retrospect, I looked good, and happy, and healthy.
Then come the post-weight loss double-zero, lean years, in which I maintain my attitude of being hyper critical and fearful:
This photo is from the Spring of 2011, from my go-go dancing days:
The fall of 2010:
This photo is from the winter of 2011, in which I thought I was having a “fat month” intermission during the lean years:
Spring of 2011 on a beach in Taiwan:
Okay, the fact that I was worried about being “fat” in these photos is scary.
Also the spring of 2011 on a beach in Taiwan:
This photo is from the summer of 2013, right before my recent complete fertility and regular menstruation-gaining weight gain:
Then are the photos I have taken of myself since the weight gain. Since they are so recent I do not have “then” and “now” selections, but I do have “bad brain” and “good brain.”
From the thrift store when I was trying on new pants – checking in on how far apart my feet now need to be for the gap:
This photo is from last weekend, taken at 4am in the hallway of a Latin dance conference in Chicago, at which, of course, I was so happy:
So there you have it. What are some takeaways?
-You probably saw a woman much healthier and lovelier than I ever did/do – then, now, good brain, bad brain. Though I think I’m getting the hang of it now.
-Thighs are a big deal for me. We all have that one “big deal” flaw or what-have-you that is the most important to us.
In fact, this point is worth delving into a bit, since a study I participated in in college demonstrated that we seek in and judge other people the things that we are so attentive to as flaws in our own selves. So I immediately look at people’s skin and their thighs when I “judge” them – or at least these are the characteristics that stand out – because I focus so intently on my own.
-When I was 137 pounds I nitpicked specific body parts – mostly my thighs, though I guess that’s not apparent in these photos – and every time I looked at these photos on facebook I winced, thinking other people would find me unattractive.
-When I was 105 pounds I nitpicked specific body parts – mostly my thighs – and every time I looked at these photos I felt bad about myself, like I wasn’t winning the skinny game.
-When I returned to 130+ pounds in 2013 I still had bad days, but the good days significantly outnumber them. “Bad brain” tries to pick apart my body and put it into these tiny, scrutinizable, dissectable pieces, but “good brain” says “hell no, woman, you are healthy and whole, inclusive of every piece of you.”
-Fear robs us of love and objectivity. In my current body, I am so afraid of being judged and rejected as substandard. But in hindsight – having already lived the time – I look back on it knowing that everything was perfectly fine and healthy.
-Even in a case in which I/we look back and find myself in less good health, I can still see how my fear made me feel unacceptable, but I needn’t have felt that way, since everything was just plain okay. And I am on a continuously evolving, surprising journey.
-Life is not neat. It is messy. This fact can be scary, but it can also be quite lovely and liberating. Looking at photos of like this demonstrates how much our bodies change even while our reactions to and fear about our bodies stays the same. I have the same fears and anxiety at 130 pounds as I did at 105, and at 137. Of course there are differences, but my anxiety about it all has always been present. Knowing this fact teaches me a bit more each day to let go of control and embrace each day as it is.
Okay! Whoopah. What do you think?
As of writing this post, there are exactly twenty days left until Sexy by Nature is released!
I also got about $2000 worth of books shipped to my house last week – and then took them all back to the post office for delivery to media outlets and bloggers all over the country today. That was one of the more fun trips to the Post Office I (and the employees) have ever had.
Having had my hands on it, I am so in love and feel so greedy.
Greedy, as in, I want to buy all of them myself and then give them all away to you for having been the best audience and community in the history of the planet.
Which I am going to try to do. I am giving away five free signed copies - details for entry are at the end of the post!
In between here and there is a quick preview in text and vlog form and a Sexy by Nature Q & A!
When I first opened the package I received in the mail containing book #1, I had no idea what was inside it. I hadn’t known it was coming. I was shocked. Speechless. Incredulous. Ohmigod I made this thing.
Immediately following the paralysis were all the usual emotional suspects: excitement laced with fear, visions of it on shelves, and intense foreboding as I knew that the second I opened it I would see nothing but flaws.
Book image, I thought, is a whole hell of a lot like body image.
Nonetheless I pushed forward and… nothing bad happened.
In fact, lots of good things happened.
Sure, I see a thing here or there I’d like to tweak, but overall, I am psyched with what we’ve put together. So psyched. This book is… well, it’s good. Damn good. I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up. I read it twice. Call me a first class ass, but it’s true. I think my book does some very powerful things.
Here is my first day with the book and a preview in vlog form!
Sexy by Nature Q & A
What is Sexy by Nature?
Sexy by Nature is, much like this website, three things:
1) a guide to physical health for women of all ages, shapes, and levels of health (think: weight maintenance, hormone balance, clear skin, fertility),
2) a guide to mental invincibility, self-love, and empowered confidence, and
3) a revolution, in that it calls women to own, love, and be allied with their natural bodies in a radically new and powerful way.
What is the purpose of Sexy by Nature?
The purpose of Sexy by Nature is to empower you. It’s to throw off the chains of the old ways of doing things and to free you to love and nourish your body. It is to heal you, transform your health, help you love your body, and become more excited every day to be the woman inside it.
How is Sexy by Nature organized? What do you talk about?
Approximately 2/3 of Sexy by Nature is all about physiological healing.
The other 1/3 is the mental, social-norm bucking, self-loving stuff.
Sexy by Nature is divided into five distinct parts:
Part I: Trailblaze (in which 7 “old rules” are discarded in favor of 7 kick ass “new” or “nature” rules)
Part II: Nourish (in which I explain my food philosophy, why its different from other health advocates, and what to eat and why)
Part III: Live (in which ten lifestyle hacks for better health and happiness are provided)
Part IV: Overcome (in which female specific health issues are discussed: hypothyroidism, female weight loss, PCOS, infertility, hormone balance, libido, acne, PMS, cramps, birth control, and more)
And Part V: Strut (in which I detail my philosophy of self-love, how to achieve self-love, the secret to being sexy, what sexy is, fearlessness, empowered confidence, and more)
Click here to read the table of contents!
What is the secret to being sexy?
I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but let it stand for now that sexy is about excitement. It’s about partnership with your body. It’s about health. It’s about worth. And being sexy…. you own it, and manifest it, you become it, all by being…
Who you choose to be.
Is Sexy by Nature really only for women/females?
I wrote this book with women in mind, certainly. I am a champion of the need to take female-specific health issues seriously. But:
A) if there is a woman in your life, or you ever interact with women, this could be a great read to understand how to help empower and love and heal them, and
B) if you ignore Part IV: Overcome, the one on female-specific health issues, you can learn about healing, about food, about lifestyle, about social norms, and about the way society has kept everybody from loving and being whole, not just those who define themselves as traditionally female and womanly.
Can I trust the author of Sexy by Nature?
Can I read more about the book elsewhere?
Is there a community of support for people interested in the book and implementing the changes for Sexy by Nature?
You bet! Sexy by Nature and all of its things – from health tips to inspiration quotes to success stories – can be found at the Sexy by Nature facebook page here.
Where can I get my hands on one if I don’t win the giveaway?
At Amazon HERE.
All right ladies, here goes! Good luck and have fun!
And if you already pre-ordered a copy, it’s easy peasy for my publisher to go in and cancel the order. So enter away! Nothing to stop you here.
Plus I really, really want to hear why you love your body!!!
Personally, I am Stefani Ruper, and I love my body because it gives me feet for dancing, hair that can be whipped about in the wind, and all the serotonin and dopamine I need in order to experience love and life.
On the very last page of Sexy by Nature, I list resources for further reading. Only about 15 books make the list – ranging from topics such as acne to natural childbirth, and with many in between. One category I give special attention to is myth busting. And in that category? Just two books: Denise Minger’s stellar Death by Food Pyramid, and Liz Wolfe’s highly informative, storied, uproariously fun Eat the Yolks, which just so happens to come out today.
Myth busting books are crucial – perhaps the most crucial of all the one’s we’ve got out there.
What’s more – and this is a certain sell, I’m making a firm endorsement here – of all the people you might want to be in conversation with about what it means to be healthy, what’s going on in society today about what it means to be healthy, and how to be healthy, it is Liz Wolfe.
I have every so often in my short writing career come across facebook and blog posts that posits the question: “Who is your favorite paleo health guru?” My answer? Liz Wolfe. I also like Diane a lot. Chris Kresser. Chris Masterjohn. Stephan Guyenet. Paul Jaminet. Denise Minger. The list goes on. But Liz prioritizes holistic healing. She believes in a sound mind and a sound body.
And she’s brilliant.
In Eat the Yolks, it shows. If I could give you EtY in two sentences, it would be this:
EtY is a guide to understanding food, understanding what is healthy, and doing it all with a firm, learned, experienced, and loving leader. If any book is going to convince you that a paleo-type approach is the “right way” to eat, and why, it is this one.
(Talk about fodder for defending your diet, eh?)
In some more scattered details, here is how the book is laid out, and later on some snippets just to give you a taste of what you’ll be in for with EtY:
Eat the Yolks is in four simple sections: Fat, Protein, Carbohydrates, and Nutrients. In the first three, Liz decimates popular myths and tells you everything you need to know about what’s gone wrong in dietary advice (and what the proper alternative is). In the final one, she talks about how important nutrient density, and explicates all of the different nutrients you need as a part of a whole foods diet. Vitamins A, D, and K (1 and 2) are some of Liz’s favorites, and, holy hell, rightfully so. Magnesium, phosphorous, sulfur, selenium, iodine, zinc, and iron all also receive high praise and detailed attention.
What’s so right about the way Liz does health is that – A) it is not tyrannical, B) it emphasizes quality over quantity, and C) she cares just as much about what you include as what you exclude. Yes, get rid of your grains. Yes, throw out your vegetable oils. But make sure you get the full-fat, nutrient dense liver. Eat the greens. Drown yourself in bone broth. This is the stuff of which powerhouse bodies and real healing are made.
It is entirely possible to eat “paleo” by consuming lean beef and carrot sticks only. No way, says Liz. Nutrients are the most important factor of health, so go after them with gusto.
Also, Liz emphasizes fertility for women as one of the primary markers of health. If you’re of reproductive age and you’re not menstruating, this is a clear sign – a “red flag” – in her words, that something is clearly amiss in your physiology.
Well – I can’t say I disagree. In fact, it’s an enormous relief to see a popular health guru out there paying attention to female-specific physiology.
For a woman, the body only reproduces if it perceives adequate nutrient and energy stores, so if you’re not menstruating (as many raw foodists or vegans or yo-yo dieters or SAD eaters may find is the case), this should make you want to sit up and take stock. Now – personally – I also know that a lot of things can still be right if the reproductive system is wrong. You may undereat and therefore unde-rproduce hormones you need to ovulate, but I don’t think that’s necessarily cause to panic. It’s cause to think and to fix as best you can – but, ladies, know that your health is not in a basket on its way to hell if you are not menstruating.
As Liz would well agree. She would just tell you to think deeply about what you’ve got going on, and go eat a whole foods diet, and get some bloodwork done, too, if you’ve gotta.
As a mythbuster, Liz
-articulates a long defense of cooking
-destroys the “health benefits” and “evolutionary origins” of veganism
-tells us why everything we’ve ever been told about fiber, whole-grain, low-carb, and high-carb is wrong
-has an entire section titled “why cruelty free is a fantasy” in which she reminds us how many animals suffer in the production of plants – “just because we’re not chewing on it doesn’t mean it didn’t suffer on our behalf” – how many forests are decimated for cotton production – and how cruelty is a necessary part of the food web – of every human beings participation in the food web – even if the food we eat comes in a styrofoam package and its primary protein is seitan. Of course we have to be responsible omnivores – but Liz is firm on this point. Life requires responsibility and awareness, and isn’t it better to know where our food comes from and do our best to do so with love rather than be ignorant, hateful, and fearful?
-is real about our motivations for doing things – some of her quotes could easily have come out of or be added in to my own book: “admittedly, when I went low-carb, I cared about absolutely none of this. I just wanted to trade some perfectly healthy curves for hard angles.” This is a story many of us are well-familiar with – and we absolutely must deconstruct the myths and psychological wiring we’ve got floating around our heads compelling us to do these things in order to be able to eat the nourishing way we need to.
-cites Chris Masterjohn as an expert. Six hundred thumbs up.
-kicks margarine to the curb – and quotes Judith Shaw on her expose work regarding the history of trans fats: “USDA figures show that butter consumption in the United States had actually dropped to one-quarter of what it had been at the turn of the century while consumption of hydrogenated vegetable oil margarine had risen 200 percent.”
-decimates the “healthy cereal” myth in part by telling the Kellogg story — you know, about how the Kellogg company was begun was an extremely conservative, religious company bent on purifying the body with products like fiber. For pages. I even learned that Kellogg was involved the production and proliferation of some of the first soy-based food products.
-calls out the ‘French paradox”– saying that “the curious fact that the French eat plenty of saturated fat yet suffer low incidence of heart disease–is actually the “Eskimo-Chinese-Greek-Puerto Rican-Okinawan-and-beyond paradox.”
-decimates both the lipid hypothesis and the diet-heart hypothesis by explaining their origins(in a whole chapter):
Did you know, for example, that the first heart attack on record occurred in 1912? I didn’t until Liz told me. Sure – this fact is at least to some degree because diagnostics improved, but doctors and hospitals certainly existed before 1912 and if heart attacks were prevalent before this time then it would have fit a set of already well-known criteria. It did not. Heart attack began growing and multiplying… and only have been for the last 100 years.
By 1930 the number of reported heart-attack related deaths was 3000. By 1960, it was 500,000. The “lipid hypothesis” – that is, that cholesterol in the blood causes heart disease – and the “diet-heart hypothesis” which states that saturated fat in the diet causes blood cholesterol to rise – says Liz, arose as a response to panic over what might be causing people’s hearts to just stop working.
“Let’s start here: in 1954, a researcher fed some cholesterol to rabbits. The rabbits developed arterial damage. This researcher did not, however, prove that this is also what happens in humans. Because, like, it doesn’t. In fact, you might even say that rabbits and humans are entirely different animals. Rabbits–tiny herbivores not designed by nature to consume cholesterol-rich foods like meat, eggs, and butter–have completely different metabolic machinery than humans….”
The thing about Liz’s books is that reading them is as enjoyable as talking to her, if that’s even possible. I get off maybe five or six good one-liners in my book. Liz accomplishes them with ease, and with about five to a page. She is beyond funny (perhaps the only diet book to eloquently pull off a reference to denim tuxedos), and snappy, and witty, and real.
I also like how often she says damn.
Here are some smart and/or snappy soundbites:
“For the first time, I wasn’t content with simply following rules. I wanted to know why this was working and whether all the worries were justified. I wanted to know everything. With no dog in the fight, I set out to discover the truth about food, nutrition, and how I could best nourish my body. I wanted to know how we got here, why we believe what we believe, and what all of it meant to my health.”
“Let’s call them crop oils–partially because they’re derived from big-profit agricultural crops, and partially because the word crop looks a lot like the word crap, and I like that.”
“The hodgepodge of jackassery and lies that stitch together health fears, nutrition dogma, and profitable products disguised as health foods is damn difficult to tease apart. But if we don’t try, well, who’s the real jackass?”
“Let’s usher in a new era. Let’s move on. But first, let’s dunk decades of conventional wisdom and heart disease hood-winkery in a great big vat of pork fat.”
“Truth is, I don’t care how much you eat. I care about quality and nutrient density. The rest, I believe, generally works itself out.”
“Paleo is not a diet. It’s not a fad. It’s not a rigid set of rules to follow. It’s not a sound bite. It’s an exploration of history, nutrition, the human diet, and, most important, our health.”
“So what to do? In a nutshell: Go full-on food badass. Eat what your ancestors ate.”
“The Paleo community…is doing something unprecedented. We are crushing nutritional dogma. We are fighting the lies we’ve ben fed for years, and or health is better for it. We are bringing the way we eat back into harmony with how our bodies work. What we’re doing goes deeper than dieting. We are reclaiming our health. (Fist Pump.)”
“Someone once told me that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly at first. So go out there and royally suck at finding, growing, or cooking healthy food. I’ll be right there with you, every step of the way. You are worthy of the truth, and you’re worthy of good nutrition.”
Which I think explains what Liz did with this magnificent work pretty damn well.
And is Liz not one of the best representations of an unapologetic, natural, loving, embodied, powerful, and radiant women we can look up to?
(And is she aware that her shirt matches the chicken?! Unbelievable.)
Ladies what’s up what’s up!
First – there’s a Nom Nom Paleo giveaway happening from now through Wednesday at midnight!
There were two giveaways in the last week that need winners!
First up: The Primal Organics Skincare $100 giftcard giveaway. The winner of that prize is…
I don’t know Alba’s last name, but she should have just gotten an email from me and the kickass Primal Life Organics team.
Second up: The 21 Day Sugar Detox Book and Cookbook giveaway. The winner of that prize is…
Okay, this is totally bizarre. 2000 + entries, and the winner is my mother.
She already has a copy. And this feels like the nepotic house of representatives of the ancient Romans and Nero is my emperor.
So I am going to draw again.
The second winner is…
Audra Lewis Dentinger!
Congratulations Audra — you should have received an email from me already.
Finally - ladies. There are two big giveaways happening this March. First, I am going to give away signed copies of the book, probably starting early next week (if you’ve already pre-ordered one and win we will cancel the pre-order), and second there will be one big deal wow this is actually costing Stefani money it’s so cool and I didn’t know Stefani knew anything about technology and perhaps it starts with an “i” and ends in “this is an elite yet arguably superfluous device” or with a “k” and ends in “fire” gift leading up right to the actual release on March 18.
I don’t want to spoil the surprise – but it’s a damn good one.
Once every few months, I make a vow that I am going to start cooking more. Sure – I mean, I do all the time. But the way I do it is highly streamlined and efficient. I microwave vegetables. I stir-fry ground beef. And really… not much else. This is the fastest way for me to cook and to get the calories I need.
I do enjoy my heals. But this time I have an added impetus to spend more time preparing food:
There is a man in whose bed I wake up from time to time.
And he likes food.
And he likes breakfast.
And wants to know what my “specialty” is.
Um – steamed zucchini and onions?
And wants to know what this whole “paleo” thing is all abount.
Um – steamed zucchini and onions?
So it is to my favorite cookbook authors that I turn. Michelle Tam, of Nom Nom Paleo blog fame, is one of them. (See the book on Amazon @ here.) I am also digging into Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain, which I’ll show you a bit more of next week.
Nom nom has been a successful blog (and intense labor of intense love) for a very long time. Michelle is well-established as one of the foremost foodies of the paleo world, having taken food blogging and photography up as a ….
third full time job?
Next to working a night shift and being a loving mother to her two children and wife to her husband Henry?
(Image credit: nom nom herself.)
And here is the story of Michelle’s day to day life, in cartoon form in the book Nom nom Paleo: Food for Humans. Please forgive the poor quality of the photo – it’s very late at night and very dim in this home.
Which is beyond inspiring.
By the way – this book has only been on shelves for weeks, and already it is a best-seller.
And which I am giving away of in celebration of my food liberation journey at the end of this blog post.
So what am I turning to Michelle to do for me?
Her book (which is co-authored by her brilliant husband Henry Fong) does so many things it’s hard to nail it down precisely why it’s so perfect for my endeavor. The book’s got recipes for every meal, every kind of protein, every kind of vegetable… It’s paleo and it nails easy and delicious all at the same time. The food porn, as is so often the case with my brilliant photography and cooking friends, is out of this world.
But perhaps most important of all – Nom Nom is the most instructional cookbook I have ever come across.
Michelle walks me through everything.
Ever wonder what all the gadgets in a kitchen are for?
Done. Explained. In photo and text form.
(One of several pages of explanations of different tools.)
Because it is not that I am inept in the kitchen… not by a long shot. But there is a lot out there for me to learn about if I so choose.
Ever wonder how to make even the most basic things that everyone sort of presumes you know how to do? Or perhaps not how to make them from the get-go, but rather how to perfect them? I’ve been making carmelized onions for decades. But what’s the best way to make this staple?
Personally, my favorite part of this book is how it so perfectly walks you through both the simple basics and the complex delights. There are, as we just saw, many different recipes for “basic” staples such as carmelized onions, slow roasted tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, and the like.
And there are many different recipes for spices and for rubs and for sauces such as paleo mayonnaise, dukkah, or “magical mushroom powder” — things that I can add to a simple steamed zucchini and onions in seconds.
And Michelle hits every paleo must-have with ease and fun. Ghee, for example. Bone broth. Mashed cauliflower “rice.” (I’ve been reading about that one in the paleosphere for ages.) A “proper French omelet.” Mouth-watering steaks.
She calls both the paleo must-haves and the spices “building blocks.” With these blocks, you can make anything delicious and in a hurry.
Which is my kind of cooking.
So I have now, from Michelle, tried-and-true ways to make the basics.
I have ways to use and spice up those basics with other “building blocks” like the mushroom power.
I have a super simple way to make “macademia nut ricotta” which my mouth is watering thinking about.
And then Michelle also has all the glorious complex dishes, and broken down step-by-step, photo by photo.
This means I can make paleo siracha (!),
(again, forgive my poor lighting and focus… smart phones do not apparently have the night vision of a cat)
and I can make prosciutto-wrapped frittata muffins (breakfast in bed!!)
and I can make Chinese egg foo young
and I can make Peruvian roast chicken with aji verde chili sauce
and polpette di vitello (veal meatballs) for my Italian host mother
and grilled lamb chops and mint chimichurri
and kabalagala (plantain fritters! which I might make just so I can brag about making “kabalagala” and say it 100 times fast.)
And just about any other paleo meal I could possibly dream of.
So take that inertia.
And take that zucchini and onions.
This is a kick ass cookbook, and I really could not recommend it more highly. And I am so excited to have such a fun, informational book with me to set me up with the basics and rocking with the highly complex flavors in no time. My new “special friend” will (at very least) be a fiend for my paleo food in no time.
In honor of this book, Michelle and Henry’s incredible success in recent weeks of which I am nothing but enormously proud, and of my own desire to make food a fun, relaxing part of my life, I bought an extra copy of nom nom and am giving it away!
The giveaway will be open from now Until Friday 2/28 at midnight.
Enter by points system. Should be easy peasy, just one click here or there.
Good luck and enjoy, my lovely friends!