BOOK REVIEW: DR HELENA POPOVIC – NEUROSLIMMING

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We live in an obesogenic environment. It’s a world of fast living, sedentary jobs and leisure activities, labour-saving devices, and an overabundance of cheap, accessible, energy-dense, nutrient poor, highly-processed foods. It’s also an environment where a growing majority of people are overweight or obese and those who succeed in shedding weight will often find themselves regaining it (and possibly more) in the 12 months after the fact.

NeuroSlimming looks to address some of these problems and get people to really stop and think about how and why they eat, rather than getting too hung up on what they consume.

 

To read the rest of this review please visit the following website: http://magazine.100percentrock.com/reviews/book-reviews/201702/223334

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BOOK REVIEW: ADAM MACDOUGALL – THE MAN PLAN

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The Man Plan is a no-nonsense health and fitness book specifically designed for the modern individual. It is targeted at men in particular and those who have become complacent about their health and confused by the inundation of messages about fad diets and fitness plans while the Western world battle a burgeoning obesity epidemic. The Man Plan is designed to be practical and offer some real solutions to some big problems that are often overlooked.

The manual is written by former NRL champion, Adam MacDougall. It includes testimonials from MacDougall’s former colleague at the Newcastle Knights, Andrew Johns, coaches Paul Roos and Craig Bellamy and three everyday people who have tried and had success with this program. This book is one that is clearly dear to MacDougall’s heart as he lost his friend Dennis to various lifestyle diseases at an early age. Also, after retiring from professional rugby league in 2011, MacDougall turned to the nutrition industry and started up the Man Shake Company.

This guide features 10 man rules for success and some are quite sensible like always reading nutrition labels, sleeping for at least seven hours a night and eating a good breakfast as well as the very practical “measure it” and “move it”. This book is for people who have let their health take a back-seat because they’re too busy or swamped by the daily grind. MacDougall says that just ten minutes of high intensity exercise using a series of primal moves which he outlines as well as eating properly are a good foundation for success and these don’t necessarily require costly visits to the gym or expensive grocery shopping at organic food stores.

The book also includes 50 recipes that are protein rich. There are options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides and snacks. This is not a guidebook filled with rigid or unrealistic dos and don’ts or expensive and inaccessible ingredients. Instead, the recipes use lots of lean meat, vegetables and fruits and even offer tasty favourites like a meat pie and hamburger among the many mouth-watering options.

The Man Plan simplifies the health and fitness message and encourages people to “man up” and be accountable for their health and well-being. This is not about impractical and unachievable solutions, it’s all rather straight-talking and rational and in some ways it argues that it could even save you money. The Man Plan is ultimately a realistic guide from someone who knows their fair share about these topics and at the same time makes it accessible to the modern and everyday man and woman.

Originally published on 3 July 2015 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/arts/books/adam-macdougalls-the-man-plan-2015

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FILM REVIEW: THAT SUGAR FILM

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That Sugar Film is a provocative documentary by Underbelly actor and former Tropfest winner, Damon Gameau. It nods at Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me (by turning one healthy man’s body into a vessel for an experiment) and shares the entertaining, stunt documentary style that Michael Moore favours.

Gameau begins as the pillar of health and has been sugar-free for some time. With his girlfriend Zoe Tuckwell-Smith expecting their first child, Gameau is prompted to think about the effects of sugar, assembling a team of experts including a doctor and nutritionist.

The goal is to measure and track Gameau as he consumes 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. This is 31 teaspoons more than the recommended intake for men in America and the average amount that teenagers consume. Gameau restricts his diet to so-called ‘healthy’ foods like cereal, juices and low-fat yoghurts. The results are shocking, as the extreme diet takes a toll on Gameau’s health and mental state.

Along the way, the origins of sugar are explained, as is the point when doctors first suspected the links between sugar and various ailments. Gameau also visits a remote Aboriginal community with high incidences of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as an American town where children occasionally have mouths full of rotten teeth from drinking too much Mountain Dew.

The story is told in a convincing and entertaining manner. Talking head interviews are edited so that the experts appear superimposed on food packaging. It’s a visually appealing touch, though it does dilute the message somewhat, as it is difficult to see the individuals’ credentials.

That Sugar Film features cameos from Stephen Fry and Isabel Lucas (Hugh Jackman also appears but is uncredited). Ultimately, it’s an informative and challenging documentary that offers lots of food for thought in a colourful package. The finale is rather silly and unnecessary, but for the most part this film will force people to rethink some of their choices.

Originally published on 16 February 2015 at the following website: http://thebrag.com/arts/sugar-film

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BOOK REVIEW: THE CSIRO & BAKER IDI DIABETES RECIPE BOOK

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Diabetes – and the type II variety in particular – is becoming increasingly common. There are now more than 1.5 million Australians with the disease and this number is set to double in the next five to 10 years. In the past, when people were diagnosed they were often told they would have to cut out sugar from their diets. But The CSIRO and Baker IDI Diabetes Recipe Book looks set to challenge some of that thinking.

The cookbook is by two nutrition researchers and a dietitian along with contributors from the research and academic fields. These individuals have decades of experience in the area and have previously been published in academic journals and media articles. The recipes are also accompanied by glossy colour photographs by Cath Muscat. The result is a polished cookbook full of sumptuous recipes.

Diabetes can be controlled with the right diet and regular exercise and if necessary, medication. The recommendations for dietary control these days are not just about sugar. Instead, it’s about weight control and healthy eating patterns where the foods are low in saturated fat and high in fibre and healthy fats like oils and nuts. A small amount of added sugar is also okay along with a moderate intake of less-refined wholegrain carbohydrates.

This book is comprehensive and well-organised. It lists the appropriate serving portions for different foods and breaks them down into: low GI breads and cereals, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, fruit, vegetables, fats (nuts, seeds and oils) and indulgence varieties. Each recipe’s ingredients and method are also accompanied by the serving size; preparation and cooking time; handy tips; lovely descriptions; and a calculation of how one portion will contribute to your daily food intake. This makes preparing meals and following the diet a lot easier. There is also a full index at the back where recipe types and ingredients are listed, making it easier to navigate than some other cookbooks.

A total of 115 recipes are included alongside a sample eating plan. The recipes are generally high in protein, as this can help maintain blood sugar levels. This also means the book is not only useful for diabetics but for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and those people wanting to lose weight. The recipes also cover the full range of food types like: breakfasts and snacks; lunches; light meals; soups; substantial salads; weeknight dinners; barbeques and picnics; dinner party or weekend dinners; and desserts.

The CSIRO and Baker IDI are research facilities working hard at preventative health and the treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This volume is an excellent companion to their previous bestseller, The CSIRO and Baker IDI Diabetes Diet & Lifestyle Plan. While it’s no substitute for consulting with your doctor or health provider, it does at least point you in the right direction.

The CSIRO and Baker IDI Diabetes Recipe Book offers recipes that are designed to improve general health and to help manage weight while enabling you to eat tasty, satisfying and healthy foods. It also ultimately proves that a diabetes diagnosis doesn’t have to result in a boring or bland diet, meaning you can have your chocolate pot and eat it too.

Originally published on 29 August 2013 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/reviews/reading-with-the-au-the-csiro-baker-idi-diabetes-recipe-book

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BOOK REVIEW: MICHELLE BRIDGES – YOUR BEST BODY

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For many people, keeping their weight under control and making exercise a regular occurrence is often thrown into the “too hard basket”. The Biggest Loser trainer, Michelle Bridges knows all too well about this. The author of six health and fitness books should be left with nothing more to say about these issues. But her latest work, Your Best Body looks set to become as popular as her previous books, Losing the Last Five Kilos, Crunch Time and the No Excuses Cookbook.

In Your Best Body Bridges adopts a holistic approach. She says it’s not just about diet and exercise; it’s about re-empowering people to seize control. This involves adopting the best thinking processes, completing the best training and accompanying this with the right diet to ultimately get those coveted “slammin’ shoulders”, a tight mid-section and “shapely legs”. It all sounds great on an aesthetic level but there are also the added health benefits. She also keeps things simple by recommending that you track your progress with just two sets of numbers- your waist measurement and blood pressure.

Bridges has heard every excuse in the book. She’s worked as a personal trainer and fitness instructor for over two decades and she got her first taste of this world when she ran fitness classes at her own high school. Perhaps as a result of this experience, she teaches us first and foremost to change your mind-set. You should look at your body as being “perfect” (no matter if it’s 10 or 20+ kilos overweight). She describes the body as an enduring and efficient mechanism that is only in part determined by genetics and one that responds well to changes to routine with time.

The book is a quick but interesting read. There will be some things you already know, other things people should know (but perhaps ignore) and some important new ideas and thoughts. She focuses first and foremost on thinking better and steering clear of negativity or beating yourself up (over not sticking to new year’s resolutions and diet plans, to ultimately show that gradual, progressive improvements will lead to more successful long-term results.

In addition to the section dedicated to psychology and thought processes are stories from some of the people she’s helped. There is also an extensive section about training. It is here that cardio and weight-training exercises are described in detail and accompanied by useful photographs. Bridges also gives us a two-week sample program and an example of an exercise logbook. The former is a one-size-fits-all approach that may not suit all fitness levels but it should give people something they can build towards.

The final section of Your Best Body is dedicated to information about food and nutrients, including Michelle’s own list of superfoods and recipes. To qualify as a superfood in Michelle’s mind, it had to be readily available, naturally low in calories, inexpensive and have its nutrition claims adequately backed up. Most of these superfoods are naturally fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, but some types of meat and fish are also included.

The recipes are generally accompanied by large, full-page photographs which show off all of the colourful and tasty ingredients. There is a simple sardine salad sandwich, baked apples and a tomato, and mushroom and parsley Bruschetta for novice chefs. Some more advanced options include a red prawn curry, baked dessert ricotta, Chinese steamed whole whiting and a beef and silver beet stir-fry. The cooking and preparation times range from just five minutes to over two and a half hours.

It seems like the health and fitness brigade may have been fighting a losing battle against obesity and inactivity for some time. But Michelle Bridges is just one individual that’s on a crusade to get people fitter and healthier than ever before. Your Best Body contains the useful and fundamental building blocks to help train and re-program your thinking and to shake-up your daily routine. The holistic approach offers handy tools that are vital to know and to incorporate into daily life. And as Bridges says, your body underpins everything, from relationships with family and friends to careers and other expectations. And there is nothing in life that’s more important than that.

Originally published on 15 February 2013 at the following website: http://www.theaureview.com/sydney/book-review-michelle-bridges-your-best-body

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