Deskbound – Book Review

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Have you heard the catch phrase that sitting is the new smoking?

Recent studies have found that sitting for more than two continuous hours at a time increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, back and neck pain and other orthopaedic problems. This isn’t reversible by going for a twenty minute walk or a gym session. Americans spend an average of thirteen hours a day sitting.

Kelly Starrett says we are not moving enough, not moving well and we are not performing basic maintenance on our bodies. His book is a mobility system aimed at turning you in to a healthy, productive and fit deskbound warrior.

The book explains the consequences of poor posture and is full of easy to understand diagrams and full colour photographs showing different postures, concepts and exercises. The book describes ways to optimally move, for example squatting, walking and carrying a bag.

There’s a whole chapter on setting up and using a dynamic workstation (more often called a standing desk). Kelly advocates using mobility tools to perform basic maintenance on our bodies, like foam rollers, battlestars, balls, double balls and exercise bands.

The last section of the book is the most useful as it contains prescriptions or exercises targeted at specific body parts.

Highly recommended.

Book Review: One Pot Favourites by Pete Evans

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I own a few of Pete Evan’s paleo cookbooks and I love them all. I was keen to see if his latest cookbook ‘One Pot Favourites’ lived up to my expectations.

The cookbook features one hundred meals to roast, braise and slow cook. You can adapt the recipes, but you may like to invest in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.

All of the recipes are paleo friendly, so they don’t contain dairy, legumes, grains or refined sugar.

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We tried the tikka masala recipe, but swapped the chicken for lamb. The instructions were easy to follow and dinner was delicious. We served it with steamed rice, but to keep it paleo you could use cauliflower rice.

There are chapters devoted to vegetables, seafood, poultry, pork, lamb, goat, game and beef. You’ll be tempted by recipes for creamy cauliflower and coconut curry, whole roasted salmon with lemon and herbs, congee, Jewish penicillin (chicken soup), duck vindaloo, and porchetta with crispy crackling. The recipes come from all around the world from Bali, Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea, Malaysia, France, Ethiopia, Peru, South Africa, Jamaica and the Middle East.

I’ve bookmarked a few recipes for dinner next week and I can’t wait to try another hearty meal from this cookbook.

Highly recommended.

One Pot Favourites by Pete Evans is available to purchase from Dymocks online or in one of their book stores.

Book Review: Serve to Win by Novak Djokovic

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Novak Djokovic reveals the gluten-free diet and fitness plan that transformed his health and pushed him to the pinnacle.

In 2011, Novak Djokovic had what sportswriters called the greatest single season ever by a professional tennis player: He won ten titles, three Grand Slams, and forty-three consecutive matches. Remarkably, less than two years earlier, this champion could barely complete a tournament. How did a player once plagued by aches, breathing difficulties, and injuries on the court suddenly become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world? The answer is astonishing: He changed what he ate.

In Serve to Win, Djokovic recounts how he survived the bombing of Belgrade, Serbia, rising from a war-torn childhood to the top tier of his sport. While Djokovic loved and craved bread and pasta, and especially the pizza at his family’s restaurant, his body simply couldn’t process wheat. Eliminating gluten—the protein found in wheat—made him feel instantly better, lighter, clearer, and quicker. As he continued to research and refine his diet, his health issues disappeared, extra pounds dropped away, and his improved physical health and mental focus allowed him to achieve his two childhood dreams: to win Wimbledon, and to become the #1 ranked tennis player in the world.

Now Djokovic has created a blueprint for remaking your body and your life in just fourteen days. With weekly menus, mindful eating tips for optimal digestion, and delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, you’ll be well on your way to shedding extra weight and finding your way to a better you. Djokovic also offers tips for eliminating stress and simple exercises to get you revved up and moving, the very same ones he does before each match.

You don’t need to be a superstar athlete to start living and feeling better. With Serve to Win, a trimmer, stronger, healthier you is just two weeks away.

The book is mostly about nutrition and the effect of going gluten free had on his life. However Novak tells stories about how he started playing tennis, his family background, describing support he got from his family that helped him to overcome problems and become the best tennis player in the world. I was fascinated by the the background stories Novak gave about growing up in Serbia during the war and I’ll pay him more respect now for his circumstances.

There is seven day meal plan of his diet and recipes developed by Chef Candice Kumai included in the book. Novak encourages you to try the diet for just 2 weeks to see if you feel any better.

Overall it is an easy read and good introduction to the gluten-free lifestyle. It’s a must-have for fans of Novak Djokovic.

Serve to Win by Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player who is ranked World #1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Book Review: Paleoista by Nell Stephenson

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Building on the huge success of books like The Paleo Diet, Nell Stephenson’s Paleoista offers a fun, female-friendly way for women to enjoy the health benefits of what has been called the “Caveman Diet,”

A Paleoista has radiant skin, boundless energy, eats decadent food at every meal, and never feels deprived. As the ultimate Paleoista, Nell Stephenson knows exactly how to incorporate the Paleo diet into one’s day-to-day life with ease, efficiency, and style. Paleoista is an easy-to-follow guide for any woman interested in reaching her healthiest potential and includes:

  • A Kitchen Makeover Guide, to get started on the right foot.
  • A Healthy Grocery Store Field Trip, to stock a Paleo-friendly kitchen.
  • Two Weekly “Hours in the Kitchen,” to prep a week’s worth of meals ahead of time.
  • A Move-to-Lose Plan, to show you what to do with all your extra energy!

This book has lots of great tips on how to shop and cook efficiently, as well as eat healthy on business trips. There are a number of case studies of Nell’s client which add credibility.

I suspect this book would appeal more to younger females and in particular athletes. If you want a more scientific approach to the theory behind the paleo diet, read either Loren Cordain or Robb Wolf’s paleo book.

There’s only two week’s worth of meal plans and over 50 recipes. I wish there was a month’s worth of meal plans. Some of the recipes have unusual ingredients, such as ostrich, dandelion greens and bison.

Overall Paleoista is a great first book for females wanting to get started in the paleo way of life.

Paleoista – by Nell Stephenson

Nell Stephenson is the coauthor of The Paleo Diet Cookbook. She contributes to The Paleo Diet Newsletter, USA Triathlon, and other publications. She owns and operates an online Paleo nutritional counseling business and is a competitive endurance athlete and has raced Ironman World Championships. Visit her at www.NellStephenson.com and for more, visit www.Paleoista.com.

The top 49 essential cookbooks as voted for on Food52.com

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Here’s a list of the top 49 essential cookbooks as voted for on Food52.com are as follows in order of most votes:

70 – How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
62 – Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
41 – Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
49 – Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
37 – Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
37 – Silver Palate Cookbook by Rosso & Lukins
37 – The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
37 – Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan
32 – Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
31 – Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten
29 – The Way to Cook by Julia Child
26 – The Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
25 – The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl
23 – Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson
23 – Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Going
23 – The Fannie Farmer Cookbook by Marion Cunningham
23 – Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
21 – Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
21 – The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
20 – The Flavor Bible by Page and Dornenburg
20 – Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller
19 – The Italian Baker – Carol Field
19 – Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan
18 – Complete Asian Cookbook – Charmaine Solomon
18 – All About Braising by Molly Stevens
17 – Twelve, A Tuscan Cookbook – Tessa Kiros
17 – New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne
17 – Delia Smiths’s Christmas – Delia Smith
17 – Apples for Jam – Tessa Kiros
17 – America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
16 – Seafood Cookbook – Pierre Franey & Bryan Miller
16 – Saved by Soup – Judith Barrett
16 – Regional Foods of Northern Italy – Marlena de Blasi
16 – Jamie’s 30-minute Meals – Jaime Oliver
16 – Flour by Joanne Chang
16 – Bistro Cooking by Patrica Wells
16 – A Passion for Piedmont – Matt Kramer
15 – Betty Crocker Cookbook– Betty Crocker
14 – Silver Spoon
13 – Tender by Nigel Slater
13 – New Best Recipe by Cook’s Illustrated
13 – Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, Alice Waters
12 – Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper by Kasper and Swift
12 – Ratio by Michael Ruhlman
12 – The New Basics Cookbook by Rosso and Lukins
12 – Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart
12 – Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
12 – The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

What is on your list of essential cookbooks?

Book review: Make Peace with your Plate by Jess Ainscough

Make Peace with your Plate – by Jess Ainscough aka The Wellness Warrior is a part memoir and part discussion on “ditching diets and mending our torturous relationships with food.”

The book explores common diet myths and encourages a “wholefood” plant-based way of eating, whether that is raw, vegan, vegetarian or includes some meat that is up to you to decide.

It’s about loving and accepting ourselves and eating food that loves us back.

Jess says: “This book also covers the lifestyle, diet and mindset changes that keep me thriving, six years after my incurable cancer diagnosis at 22 years old.”

Jess talks about her journey with Gersons Therapy and doesn’t shy away from singing the merits of coffee enemas. She also talks about body brushing, clay eating, and oil pulling. Jess discusses the chemicals and food which are harmful to us, and then recommends products which are better for our health.

The book includes healthy recipes and meditations. Although it was originally released as a ebook, this edition contains three times the amount of content.

An inspiring story of transformation and great introduction to a wholefood plant based way of eating.

Recommended.

Make Peace with your Plate – by Jess Ainscough

The Wellness Warrior

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Book review: Asian After Work by Adam Liaw

Asian After Work

Asian After Work by Adam Liaw is written to provide recipes for simple food every day. The book is divided into days of the week, and also includes a section on basic Asian sauces. You’ll need access to an Asian supermarket as many of the recipes contain specialist ingredients, such as sake, Sriracha chilli sauce and Shaoxing wine.

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Be tempted by pork and prawn wontons, coconut and tamarind pork belly, BBQ Genghis Khan, pi pa roast duck or master stock poached chicken breast. 

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Enjoy some of your favourite take-aways at home with teriyaki chicken, a healthy version of sweet and sour pork, dumplings, and Singapore noodles.

We tried the sang choy bao recipe and was pleased with the result. It took around 30 minutes to prepare and cook, so it was an ideal dish to have ‘after work’.

There is only a handful of dessert recipes.

Asian After Work Adam

Overall a good solid accessible Asian cookbook. It is ideal for beginners who have less than a hour to prepare a meal.

Asian After Work: Simple Food for Every Day
Asian After Work by Adam Liaw

Book review: Ecoman by Malcolm Rands

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Ecoman: From a Garage in Northland to a Pioneering Global Brand by Malcolm Rands is a great read about his rise from running small business out of his garage to the new global multi-million dollar business of Ecostore. Be inspired by Malcolm’s pearls of wisdom and offbeat stories. I love how he turned some of his personal weaknesses into strengths.

I mostly enjoyed hearing about the ecovillage where Malcolm lives which is based on the principles of permaculture. His house was one of the reasons he started his business as he was searching for some environmentally friendly products which he could use on his garden. Interestingly enough he gets a lot of customers from gardening expos!

Recommended.

Ecoman – by Malcolm Rands – buy on Fishpond.com.au

Book review: Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer

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I was pleased as punch when I got myself a copy of Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer.

The book is divided into sections and includes crabbing at Port Parham, Pre-Christmas Drinks, Carols Buffet, Christmas Eve Supper, Christmas Day Lunch, Boxing Day Leftoverss and then New Year’s Eve Lunch and Dinner as well as Food for the Beach House.

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The book is illustrated by full pages of colour photography for most of the recipes.

Some of the recipes contain unusual ingredients such as burrata, vino cotto, and verjuice which you can find at a good deli or online at Maggie Beer.

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The only drawback to the book is most of the recipes serve 8 people, which is ideal if you have a big family, but not so good for the every day. But these are really recipes for special occasions so it is appropriate.

I cooked the warm brioche and ice-cream sandwiches and since it was my first time at brioche, I was comforted by Maggie’s reassuring instructions that the mixture would be moist. They were delicious.

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Be tempted by seasonal recipes such as pickled fig-glazed leg of ham, pavlova with lady finger banana and passion fruit topping, and Christmas pudding with cumquat brandy butter. For Christmas day lunch choose between roost goose with marmalade and cumquat stuffing and goose fat roasted potatoes, roast turkey with prune and orange stuffing and Cumberland sauce, or roast pork loin with verjuice and grapes.

Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer is a beautiful book you’ll want to cherish for special occasions with family.

Maggie’s Christmas by Maggie Beer – available on Fishpond.com.au

Book review: Bill’s Italian Food by Bill Granger

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Bill’s Italian Food by Bill Granger covers over 110 recipes with full colour photographs of the dishes and happy shots of Bill’s family. Although the recipes are not necessarily authentic Italian fare, they are Bill’s interpretation.

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The recipes are divided into the following sections: pantry, instant, weekday, slow, dinner, party and sweets.

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We tried the bellissimo meat loaf with simple tomato salad as well as the mozzarella, roasted capsicum and caper pizza and both were delicious. Highlights from the book include slow roasted lamb shoulder, with orange, anchovy and fennel; as well as the chocolate and hazelnut cake with nutella frosting.

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Granger confesses it’s not just the food he loves, but they way Italians live: “They don’t suck coffee from disposable sippy-cups … They lean against marble bars and drink tiny grown-up espressos.”

A delightful and seasonal Italian inspired cookbook.

Bill’s Italian Food – buy now on Fishpond