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When visiting with a friend recently, I realised during our conversation I was mentioning quite a few books I had read. It started me thinking about how much what I read effects my life, so I’ve done a quick flick back through this year of reading. I’m not a fast reader, and alas, neither do I have high retention, but I enjoy reading and persevere, regardless.

The advent of e-readers has been a boon to my reading. Books are now cheaper, and for me, living where I do, more readily accessible. Also, there is not the problem of what to do with the physical book after I’ve read it. Do I keep it, or do I move it along?? That is not to say that holding the e-reader and turning virtual pages has quite the satisfaction of a real book, but to me, it is a trade-off I’m willing to make with most books (not all). I have noticed that the iPad mini (gift to myself) is much easier (than the old iPad) to hold, and enhances my reading process.

But I digress.

Here’s the list from this year, though I’m not sure they sound very interesting. I’m mostly a reader of non-fiction. I’ve listed the books in the order I read them, starting in January up until now. This is not necessarily the order in which I enjoyed them!

Almond Cake from Elana Amsterdam book

Almond Cake from Elana Amsterdam book

The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. As some of you know I can’t eat wheat or any grains very well, so this was a help for some all-important comfort food. I also subscribe to her blog.

Protein, veggies, and whole food fats is the way to go!

Protein, veggies, and whole food fats is the way to go!

The Calorie Myth by Jonathan Bailor. It helped me understand the science of how our body uses food, and it reinterprets old research, as well as reveals new research with regard to healthy foods and eating styles. I do not advocate slavish dedication to ‘diets’, I just found this book gave me a new understanding of how my body uses food. I have been using most of its guidelines for nearly a year now, since January, and can honestly say I have not felt as well for many years.



In the same spirit of inquiry I read:

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox by Kate Rheaume-Bleue, BSc, N.D. – pretty informative but not light reading, found it after hearing Kate in a radio interview, not recommended except for those health geeks among us, or those with calcium absorption issues.

The Wahls Protocol by Terry Wahls, M.D. This is a book about Paleo principals and functional medicine and how she cured her own MS. I also found this through a radio interview. Kind of interesting, probably more so if you have been diagnosed with MS, which, thankfully, I have not.

Magnesium Trace Mineral (am sure this was some 6th grader’s science project—awful book)

Magnificent Magnesium by Dennis Goodman MD. It sounds awful and corny, but was actually pretty informative, proving once again you cannot judge a book by its cover. Magnesium is a really wonderful mineral for our bodies. Since starting to take supplements in May of this year, I’ve seen improvement, if not elimination, of leg cramps and heart palpitations. It has also been good as Mother Nature’s little helper to ‘move things along’, if you know what I mean. Dr Goodman is a heart specialist, and much of the first part of the book focuses on the function of the cardiopulmonary system, but it does go on to include the multitude of benefits the right amounts of magnesium can bring to our bodies. The ‘right’ amount is key here, and, much to my surprise, was more than I am able to consume in my day to day diet. Any mineral that is contained in chocolate can’t be all bad.

Stitches by Anne Lamott. Loved this book and highly recommend it, short and entertaining as well as thought provoking.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. The one piece of fiction that sneaked into my list this year! You would have to be sleeping under a rock to have not heard of this one. Loved the book, thought the movie was average.

Your Personal Paleo Diet, by Chris Kresser. I read this to educate myself on this new trend in eating. Some very useful information, much of which was in The Calorie Myth, but enough of a different interpretation of the information to make it worthwhile. He also has a very good website and I like his relaxed approach to the Paleo lifestyle. A key thing I learned was to soak pulses before cooking and eating them. Has saved my digestion no end of distress!

Next came my melancholic phase of dealing with my Dad’s passing 18 months previously…

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast. I’d read a review of this book and thought it might be interesting. It is written in a very unusual format, that of a comic strip. The content somewhat reflected my own experience, and was a bit of confirmation, but I found the format somewhat distracting, and I’m not sure I can recommend it.

Dad and Me, circa 1997

Dad and Me, circa 1997

The Long Goodbye, a memoir by Meghan O’Rourke. This was my breakthrough book in the mourning of my Father. She writes of the loss of her Mother with such raw intimacy I found it extremely helpful. I cried more than once while reading it, but it was very productive for me.

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. This should be on everyone’s ‘must read’ list. And the reason we should all read it is so we can have the discussions about dying and illness and infirmity before it happens to us or someone we love. The first part of the book does not paint a pretty picture, I nearly put it down, following so close on the heals of starting to recover from Dad’s passing. But then it got interesting. He describes many case studies and scenarios both from a medical point of view, and from that of a son with aging parents. Very worthwhile, if not easy to get through, at times.

And now I’m back to regaining some balance in life…

Eat to Cheat Ageing by Ngaire Hobbins. Excellent, practical book for over 60’s, but also for younger people who plan to get old! Hobbins is an Australian dietician and writes from her experience of working with older adults and their difficulties with maintaining healthy weight and eating patterns. You may be surprised at how important it is to maintain your muscle mass, and even a few extra pounds, in later life. This should also be required reading for us all.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington. I’m actually cheating just a little bit here, I still have just a few pages left in this book, but I’ve read most of it and thoroughly enjoyed it. I started it because I wanted to know if I should recommend it to our daughter when she had a bad patch a couple of months ago. Her life seemed a bit unbalanced and took a physical toll on her. What I found was a book that I could relate to! You may know Arianna Huffington as the editor/founder of the Huffington Post. I thought she would write something for the high powered, achievement-oriented, career woman. However, she writes with great dexterity about how to live well in all areas of our lives. I especially love the quotations she uses often throughout the book. I am not familiar with her other books but I think I may go have a look… as soon as I finish the next two books awaiting me on my iPad!

Liquidz cafe, 'famous' bananas, appear on their Facebook page!

Liquidz cafe, ‘famous’ bananas, appear on their Facebook page!

Happy 2015 to you all.

xx Ardys