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Diaper-Free Before 3: The Healthier Way to Toilet Train and Help Your Child Out of Diapers Sooner
Diaper-Free Before 3: The Healthier Way to Toilet Train and Help Your Child Out of Diapers Sooner
by Jill Lekovic
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Takes the fear out of potty-training, 13 July 2012
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I seriously recommend this book for anyone with a baby. The younger the baby, the better, but also suitable for toddlers. Fully compatible with Attachment Parenting, Montessori and conventional methods, it uses an evidence-based approach to explain why waiting for "readiness" in the child probably isn't best, why potty-training isn't going to psychologically scar your child for life and how to get them out of nappies with confidence.

Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-free Recipes
Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-free Recipes
by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unusually fantastic but pricy, fiddly recipes & in a fairly user-unfriendly format, 18 Sept. 2010
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GREAT things about this book:

* The recipes work and are unusually good. In my experience a lot of vegan cookbook recipes tend to be fairly bland and/or just don't work (like the ingredient quantities are made up), Easy Vegan Cooking: Over 350 delicious recipes for every ocassion: Over 350 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion being a good example. This book is VERY different. The author has obviously made all the recipes herself and is a real foodie. Best recipes: Morroccan tagine with spring vegetables, Sweet potato crepes with coriander-tamarind sauce and Spanakopita are all out of this world and were definite winners with herbivores/omnivores alike at my house.

* I found the "punk points", which are basically food preparation tips, REALLY useful. How to cut up a butternut squash and mango with minimum fuss, for example. The sorts of things my Mum might have taught me if these foods were as popular/available in the 80s!

* The quirky, humourous personal touches and auto-biographical stories in this book. It's not just a cookbook, it's a little peak into the Brooklyn/New York alternative punk scene and this lady's life. Let's face it, food isn't just fuel, it's culturally important to most of us. I really enjoyed reading the author's food-related memoires.

* The info on veganism in general (e.g. net resources) and on how to veganize other recipes. I have a LOT of cookbooks and have used the tips to veganize my favourite recipes.

NOT-SO-GREAT things about this book:

* NO PICTURES, AAAAARGH! I have never eaten a knish in my life and have no idea what it looks like. This goes for a lot of the other fabulous, often ethnically diverse recipes too. Next edition: please include photos!

* The colour scheme (orange, brown and white) coupled with lots of capitalization and vertically oriented titles. Difficult to read and all a bit seventies, macho and too contrary. The block-text contents page was also highly user-unfriendly.

* Difficult to get hold of ingredients. It was hard to get ground flaxseeds, nutritional yeast, hijiki, cremini mushrooms, wheat gluten and the like when I lived in the UK. And has anybody EVER seen "liquid smoke" in the UK?!

* Expensive ingredients. Now I live in Norway I can't even find arrowroot powder or sliced almonds, and if I do find any of the quirkier ingredients required in this book I have to remortgage my house to buy them... OK, most readers don't live in one of the most expensive places on Earth like I do, but many of the recipes require lots of ingredients such as herbs, spices and flavourings, as well as tropical fruits and vegetables. It's why they're so yummy. But for the budget-conscious this could mean cutting back.

* The dodgy, annoying and inconsistent page numbering for recipes in the index at the back. E.g. the mango chopping tip is on page 153, not 154. And there are more! Just irritating and almost a bit low-budget.

* High calorie, saturated fat, sodium, sugar and refined carbohydrates in many of the recipes. (Yes, plantfoods do contain saturated fats: coconut, palm oil & cocoa beans.) Probably why so much of it tastes so good! I was trying to lose weight when I got this book and really had to tone down and cut back on some of the ingredients. However, to be fair, the author does give a tip on fat substitutes for cookies and cakes for her chubbier readers :-)

* Complicated recipes. Although the result was ultimately worth the wait, I think it took me a good 2 hrs to make the sweet potato crepes with coriander-tamarind sauce. All those individual crepes to cook, vegetable preparation, blending and grinding took ages!! Plan ahead folks!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 24, 2014 11:30 AM GMT

Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven - A Gutsy Guide to Becoming One Hot (and Healthy) Mother!
Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven - A Gutsy Guide to Becoming One Hot (and Healthy) Mother!
by Rory Freedman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Scaremongering and potentially dangerous, 9 Aug. 2010
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How to spot a badly written book on diet and nutrition
Lesson 1: Look for authors lacking proper medical qualifications in diet and nutrition (such as "studying nutrition for 15 years" and a "Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition").
Lesson 2: Look for references to Patrick Holford's The Optimum Nutrition Bible: The Book You Have to Read If You Care About Your Health. To find out why, read Bad Science by Ben Goldacre.

I bought Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven - A Gutsy Guide to Becoming One Hot (and Healthy) Mother! knowing full well how badly Skinny Bitch got panned for being a poorly veiled work of vegan evangelism. But curiosity got the better of me, what was causing all the fuss? And would they be so hard-line with pregnant women, in spite of widely accepted medical advice to avoid making drastic changes to diet (such as going vegetarian, let alone vegan) during pregnancy? The answer is, unfortunately, yes: with bells on.

In fact I think the authors/publishers must have consciously or unconsciously thought: "Pregnant women are soppy and vulnerable due to the cocktail of hormones riding round their vastly changing bodies: they're therefore perfect candidates for conversion to veganism! Let's employ emotionally manipulative tactics such as graphic descriptions of animal abuse in abattoirs and indirect suggestions that by eating meat they somehow transmit the misery of the animals to their unborn child to convince them convert to veganism. Oh, and let's throw in a catchy title that will appeal to their vulnerabilites about their bodies at this critical time in their life."

Well I say: this pregnant lady has posession of all of her critical faculties and, to put it mildly, does not approve for the following reasons:

1. Even in healthy, unpregnant people it can take months to adjust to new diets that exclude certain foods such as vegetarian and vegan diets. The advice is to take it slowly, do it gradually. Pregnant women's bodies are already undergoing massive change and may not be able to cope with this additional strain or glean enough nutrients for themselves or their growing baby from the new diet. If you want to go vegetarian or vegan, it's probably best to wait until after pregnancy just to be on the safe side. Nowhere in the book did I find even a suggestion that converting to veganism should be done gradually. It was all-or-nothing all the way. Frankly dangerous and irresponsible if you ask me.

2. It gives vegans a really bad name. I don't think all vegans are irrational, ram-it-down-your-throat, health-and-probably-weight-obsessed nuts like the authors of this book. I've met many kind and compassionate vegans in my lifetime. In fact I have been both a vegetarian and a vegan and am very sympathetic to the cause and I do not rule out adopting either of these lifestyles for myself again in the future, after my baby is born. But employing such hard-line, bullying and irresponsible tactics that could put other people, CHILDREN'S, health in jeopardy to try to convert people: it doesn't do anyone any good in the long run. It's just plain stupid and irrational. The only thing it might do is make a quick buck at everyone else's expense.


PS. If you're looking for a good guide to pregnancy, get this one: Your Pregnancy Bible: The Experts' Guide to the Nine Months of Pregnancy and the First Weeks of Parenthood. New updated edition

Your Pregnancy Bible: The Experts' Guide to the Nine Months of Pregnancy and the First Weeks of Parenthood. New updated edition
Your Pregnancy Bible: The Experts' Guide to the Nine Months of Pregnancy and the First Weeks of Parenthood. New updated edition
by Anne Deans
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you need to know without scaremongering, 9 Aug. 2010
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This book is great. It's objective, up-to-date, science-based, unpatronising, accessible, broad in scope, interesting and written by experts. My favourite features are: the week by week charts on the development of your baby and expected changes in your body (assuming you are the pregnant one!) as well as a suggested birth-plan template.

Even better: it leaves out the scare-mongering nonsense that What to Expect When You're Expecting unnecessarily leaves in and is fully UK-friendly. Neither does it use emotionally manipulative or hard-line tactics to push frankly near-ideological agendas like Skinny Bitch: Bun in the Oven - A Gutsy Guide to Becoming One Hot (and Healthy) Mother! (consuming any meat, fish, dairy, sugar and caffeine during pregnancy makes you a bad mother?! per-lease! based on what evidence?!)

My only criticisms: the only user-unfriendly aspect was the weight and size of the book. Certainly not one to carry around, nor especially comfortable to read in bed. I'd like to see it in paper-back. Also, I think the authors/editor felt obliged to include complementary therapists' advice on therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology and massage. Fine, but I'd have liked to see much more evidence-based advice on whether these treatments: (a) actually work, (b) are actually safe and (c) whether the advice being given is actually true (e.g. can an ankle massage really cause premature labour?! Can stimulating an acupuncture point really cause uterine contractions?! I, personally, have my doubts.) Saying that, I was pleased to read later in the book that massage (avoiding the abdomen and lower back) is largely risk-free! :-)

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