Fact, Fun, & Fiction: Mini-Book Reviews

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Note:  In college I has a wonderful Eng. Comp. teacher who gave us latitude within a long list of books to read. We did not even have to finish a book we disliked, just add the number of pages read to the total needed for the semester. That did the trick for me after the required readings in high school.

Now I read voraciously, and do not feel compelled to read or finish a book I do not enjoy. As for book clubs, I generally shy away from them because the books are chosen by others and I may not want to read that book.  Do feel free to accept or reject any of these as reading material.


Product Details

Bruno. Gene, MS, MHS: A Guide to Complementary Treatments for Diabetes. The title from Square One Publishers Health Guide Books of this book is perfect, especially the headline before the title: Enhancing Your Diabetes Treatment Naturally and the subtitle: Using Natural Supplements, Nutrition, and Alternative Therapies to Better Manage Your Diabetes. In a nutshell, the title says it all! What’s the author means by complementary is that these  suggestions are not meant to replace what your doctor has prescribed, but rather to help you deal with diabetes to improve your overall health.

The first four chapters are important to read because they provide the background for the treatments later in the book and the author requests you read them first. But after that, the book becomes more of a reference book that allows you to jump around depending on your diabetic issue. In the next four chapters, Bruno tackles health information on diabetic neuropathies, cardiovascular issues, eye health, and weight gain. He ends with a chapter on how to choose and use dietary supplements and a one-page conclusion.

The four appendices following the conclusion are quite helpful: A: Following a Low Gycemic Index Diet, with charts and menus; B: Resources; C: Complementary Therapies highlighted from the earlier chapters defined at length; and D: Body Mass Index information. Very impressive to me were the 37 pages of References that the author lists as his research sources.

This is comprehensive guide and reference book will be very helpful to anyone who is pre-diabetic or diabetic and seeks some natural remedies and non-prescription aids to complement the doctor’s guidelines. Showing the book to the doctor first might also be a good idea, so you are both on the same page with your treatment.

Square One Publishing has a very reasonable price ($7.95) for this helpful book by Gene Bruno. It is available (new and used) through Amazon.com and Alibris.com.

P.S. This month is National Diabetes Month and my recent posting on  it promised a review. This is it!


The Fat Burning Kitchen by Mike Geary (Certified Nutrition Specialist) & Catherine Ebling (personal trainer)  and The 23-Day Advanced Nutritional Fat-Burning Blueprint by Mike Gary are two guidebooks that are easy-to-read and to understand. The first combines foods that keep you fir with exercises to stay fit. They discuss teas, protein sources, cruciferous vegetables, Onions, Garlic, Krill Oil, Coconut Oil, etc. to help you plan your diet. The exercises focus on weight training and give you a workout plan that requires barbells and kettle bells. It is a good primer to get you started on a healthy lifestyle. (122 pages.

The 23-Day booklet is only 31 pages and contains some of the same information as the first book, so I would recommend the first Fat Burning Kitchen as my first choice. Both were sent to me gratis for review purposes and are currently available for $10 on www.fatburningkitchen.org. (Photo is from the website promotion.)


My third offering is actually a repeat from August, because this past Monday evening my husband and I saw Dr. Ruth in person in Center City Philadelphia and the National Museum of American Jewish History. She was interviewed by Maiken Scott, the host of WHYY’s program,  The Pulse, and did a wonderful interview. Ruth Westheimer is funny, honest, and in-your-face about the importance of sex in your life. She linked healthy sex with Jewish traditions and said something we older women would appreciate. In Judaism, even after menopause, it is the husband’s obligation to please his wife sexually. A tiny bundle of energy (4’7″), Dr. Ruth made us laugh, made us think, and inspired us with her positive attitude and voie de vivre, which  is the focus of her book. I think she sold a slew of books at the talk and her words and ideas  are like brilliant jewels! Here is the link back to my review: https://www.menupause.info/archives/16941.   Enjoy again!


Finally, a fiction book that I think Dr. Ruth would love: Fear of Dying by Erica Jong. If you read Fear of Flying or Fear of Fifty, you know that, like Dr. Ruth, Jong is graphic about sex. But this book is much more, because it deals with the death of her parents, the serious illness of her husband, and her own fears about herself and dying. I found the book enlightening, funny, and heartfelt.

After reviewing Judith Lieberman’s books last year: Growing Old is a Full Time Job (Link: https://www.menupause.info/archives/14484) and Death, Dying and Dessert  (Link: https://www.menupause.info/archives/15334) , Jong’s book addresses many of the issues found in Lieberman’s books, only in a fictional backdrop. But like many if Jong’s other books, I am sure this is autobiographical. It feels too real to be made up. I recommend it highly if you are at all interested in how someone writes with raw honesty about death and life after death.

Her main character Vanessa’s trip to India with her husband Asher in the book after his near-death crisis helped her cope with all the issues surrounding her parents’ deaths, her own mortality, as well her husband’s critical illness. On that trip, her character  is lauded for her work as an actress in “giving  women permission to be tough yet feminine.” And perhaps that is Jong’s legacy. She seems fearless when it comes to honesty about sex and feminism and notes a quote by her (fictional) mother in the book, who had died recently: “You must seize your life.” Jong’s honest takes on life and death, as well as love and sex, may be written as fiction, but they sure feel like real life to me!

Fear if Dying is published by Macmillan and the price varies depending on whether you buy hard cover, soft cover, new or used. Check at your book stores or online @ Amazon or Alibris.


the doctor is in: A Review of Dr. Ruth’s latest book

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

 

Dr. Ruth Westheimer, better known as just Dr. Ruth, has become my newest role model. After reading her latest book, the doctor is in: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre (with Pierre A. Lehu), I am a new fan. Recently, she was featured in AARP Magazine with her dollhouses, a heartfelt hobby that allows her to recreate in miniature the home she lost when she became an orphan at age 10, having lost her family in the Holocaust of WWII. When her book was listed, I knew I wanted a copy.

While I have always known her as a sex therapist, I did not know much about her childhood trauma, one that would make any child lose her joie de vivre, love for life.
On page 17, Dr. Ruth writes:  “Truly, joie de vivre is about embracing the best ways to enjoy life.” She then explains how the French word blasé is the opposite of this. “Instead of being amazed, you are always bored.”

This explanation is the foundation of her helpful book written in such an easy conversational tone that I felt I was actually listening to her in a lecture instead of reading her words on a page.

Even the chapter titles reflect her message of living life to the fullest. Here are some of the titles:

Chap. II: Always Move Forward
Chap. III: Embrace Your Passions and Your Beliefs
Chap. VI: Enjoy the Crazy Turns Life Takes
Chap. IX: Take Risks
Chap. X: Recognize That It Is Never Too Late

In between there are chapters about her life, personal facts that make her own joie de vivre believable. Torn from her family, she is alone (with other children like herself), then lives on a kibbutz in Israel, also lives France and then the United States. Dr. Ruth writes about her own love life: three husbands, two children, four grandchildren, and perhaps a late-life boyfriend.

Because my website is about older women, I was especially interested in the last chapter before the question & answer Epilogue. At 86 and 4’7” this tiny dynamo  speaks with confidence and self-knowledge about recognizing that it is never too late to pursue your dreams. And in this chapter she reveals something about herself that makes the book title even more relevant: “To some extent, I feel I am living life not just for myself but for those who passed away.” (p. 164) I believe she is pointing directly to her parents and grandparents who did not survive Hitler’s maniacal insanity to purify the human race by murdering millions of citizens (Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, etc.)

Throughout the book she does talk about sex and how to approach it with joie de vivre, especially as one grows older. I feel her book is more about life itself, with sex only one portion, so I have not focused on the sexual aspects. However, the next-to-the last paragraph of the last chapter speaks directly to the focus of my website: menopause and beyond, or the term that Margaret Meade so aptly coined: PMZ-post-menopausal zest. This paragraph not only addresses older women, but also the theme of the book:

“There are some women who expect their sex life to wither and die once they go through menopause. With that expectation, that’s exactly what happens. But there are others who come to the realization that sex without the risk of getting pregnant is better than ever. Their sex lives bloom after menopause, especially if their kids leave them with an empty nest and the added privacy that it brings.”

I am inspired by Dr. Ruth’s words, her book, and by the dynamic woman herself. The book, the doctor is in, is available in stores and online. (Hard copy $24.95, Amazon Publishing) Dr. Ruth can also be reached at www.drruth.com as well as on YouTube and Twitter. At 86, she still teaches at Columbia University’s Teacher College in New York City, where she has lived in the same apartment for more than 50 years. I could not have chosen a better new role model!


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