What We're Reading This June

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Each month, we like to share what we're reading. Here are the healthy and inspiring titles that have piqued our interest this month.

Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears
by Pema Chödrön

They say: In this book Pema Chödrön shows us how to break free of destructive patterns in our lives and experience a new sense of freedom and happiness. Drawing on the Buddhist concept of shenpa, she helps us to see how certain habits of mind tend to “hook” us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, and addiction. The good news is that once we start to see these patterns, we can begin to change our lives for the better.

The key is learning a new way of facing the inevitable difficulties and insecurities of our daily lives: we must learn how to stay present and open our hearts. “This path entails uncovering three basic human qualities,” explains Pema. “These qualities have always been with us but perhaps have gotten buried and almost forgotten. They are natural intelligence, natural warmth, and natural openness. Everyone, everywhere, all over the globe, has these qualities and can call on them to help themselves and others."

This book gives us the insights and practices we can immediately put to use in our lives to awaken these essential qualities. In her friendly and encouraging style, Pema Chödrön helps us to take a bold leap toward a new way of living—one that will bring about positive transformation for ourselves and for our troubled world.

We say: This book changed my life. I'm not a brave person by nature, and I've been through some tough stuff in the last 12 months. I read this book at precisely the right time. I learned to confront my fears and release them. I recommend it to anyone who is going through a rough time. This book taught me how to avoid feeding negative emotions.  

You Can Trust a Skinny Cook
by Allison Fishman

They say: Co-host of Lifetime's Cook Yourself Thin Allison Fishman shows you how to eat great—and look even better!

In You Can Trust a Skinny Cook, Allison Fishman teaches you how to stay thin and trim without giving up on the good things in life. She shows you how to take control of your health by taking charge in the kitchen with delicious, healthy meals served in the right portions.

We say: I met Allison last month, and she shared a copy of her book with me. I love it. I kept saying, "these are like my recipes!" That is, as a healthy eater, it's rare to find a cookbook that contains so many recipes that are not only good for me and easy but also interesting and inspiring. Allison's no-nonsense style in the kitchen and affable personality make this a must-read for healthy eaters.

Clean Start: Inspiring You to Eat Clean and Live Well with 100 New Clean Food Recipes by Terry Walters

They say: CLEAN START makes it even easier for everyone-from the kitchen novice to the seasoned chef-to eat clean. CLEAN START features 100 exciting new recipes for the foods we all need more of, featuring Terry's signature quick, easy, and delicious preparations. CLEAN START inspires you to take the next step…no matter where you're starting.
We say: Members have been talking about this book--they love it. It's full of healthy recipes that anyone can make.

Start Fresh: Your Child's Jump Start to Lifelong Healthy Eating by Tyler Florence

They say: Chef Tyler Florence believes that everybody deserves to eat delicious, flavorful food prepared with care and the freshest ingredients —and that goes for babies, too.  In Start Fresh, he takes the expertise he has used to create his own line of organic baby food and presents quick, user-friendly recipes for 60 purees packed with simple, easy-to-digest fruits, vegetables, and grains straight from the earth—nothing fake or processed allowed. 

A practical, charming little package from a caring dad and exceptional chef that thousands have come to trust , this book will give parents the tools they need to prepare nutritious food their babies will love to eat—for a truly fresh and healthy start.

We say: Tyler Florence has long been a favorite Food Network chef of mine. This is a great cookbook for anyone who has kids and needs advice teaching them to eat right.
Fitness Fast Track to a Better Body: All-Time Best Workouts to Tone and Trim in 15 Minutes

They say: Fitness magazine's millions of readers know who to turn to for exercise routines that deliver better-body results fast. In this book you'll find the most popular 15-minute workouts of all time from the magazine's Express Fitness section to help you fit exercise into your busy schedule and reach your fitness goals-fifteen minutes at a time.
  • Brings together the top-requested 15-minute workouts from Fitness magazine in one book
  • Includes specialized workouts for trouble zones such as butt, abs, and arms
  • Shares total-body workouts and body-weight-only workouts you can do anywhere along with expert tips on training like the pros
We say: We LOVE Fitness magazine, and this book is no exception. Be sure to read Coach Nicole's review of the book!

The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment's Notice by Todd Henry (July 7)
They say: Have better ideas, faster, without the stress and burnout.

It isn't enough to just do your job anymore. In order to thrive in today's marketplace, all of us, regardless of our role, have to be ready to generate brilliant ideas on demand.

Business creativity expert Todd Henry explains how to establish effective practices that unleash your creative potential. Born out of his consultancy and his popular podcast, Henry has created a practical method for discovering your personal creative rhythm. He focuses on five key elements:
  • Focus: Begin with your end goal in mind. 
  • Relationships: Build stimulating relationships and ideas will follow. 
  • Energy: Manage it as your most valuable resource. 
  • Stimuli: Structure the right "inputs" to maximize creative output. 
  • Hours: Focus on effectiveness, not efficiency.
This is a guide for staying inspired and experiencing greater creative productivity than you ever imagined possible.

We say: A co-worker here at SparkPeople knows the author and shared this book with me. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to succeed and exceed expectations in the workplace. (The author will be writing a guest blog for us next month!)

What are you reading? What should we be reading?

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Recently retired. Nice to have time to be creative and receive informative information on practically everything. Report
A beautiful biography book of Navaho artist Quincy Tahoma by Charnell Havens and Vera Marie B..... Report
I am just finishing " A Better War- The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of the Last Years of America's War in South Vietnam" -quite an eye opener I had just finished "we were soldiers once and young " by Lt Gen Harold Moore and Joseph Galloway. Report
I have been re-reading my various fitness magazines and fitness books. For fun, I have been reading Stephen Hunter. Just started Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because so many friends said it was excellent. Report
What a great selection. I have been wanting to read Pema Chödrön for a while now but it is hard and expensive to get most English-language books where I am. But then I realized it was available on Kindle!!! So excited. Report
I'm reading
The Ultimate Metabolism Diet by Scott Rigden, M.D. since I have Insulin Resistance/pre-diabetes. He treats people for this disorder & the book is very helpful.
I also read daily "The Power of NOW" by Eckhart Tolle. Report
I just finished reading Emily Giffin's five books. Fun reads! My 11 year old son talked me into reading the Hunger Games trilogy. I am working on that now. I will try Leap of Faith when I finish. It sound like what I need. Thanks. Report
Thanks for the reading ideas. I may have to check some of these out! Report
Thanks for the recommendations, I may pick one up at the library. Report
I'm currently about quarter the way through "Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat". So far, it's pretty good. There's been a lot of content I already knew, but there has been quite a bit of new info as well. Report
Great suggestions! I'm going to check a couple of them out. Currently I'm reading "The Help" - it's hard to put down. Report
Sounds great Report
Thank you for this list! I read a lot and love to get ideas about new books and authors. Will be getting downloading several of these books. Report
Thanks for the suggestions! I especially like the first one and the last one (both of which were added to my Amazon wishlist).

I just finished reading 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself by Steve Chandler. It had some very good ideas and some different ways for me to look at things! I just started Nathaniel Branden's book The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (which is quoted a few times in Chandler's book) and am looking forward to learning how to improve my self-esteem! Report
I am reading "The Help" right now with my book club. I started it on Monday and it's Thursday and I'm halfway through it. It's excellent so far, and I can't wait to finish! Report
Great blog. I can hardly wait to check out a couple of these books! Thank you. Report
WOW!!! I will be adding "Taking A Leap" to my ebook list on my ipad!! Report
Excellent Daily Spark entry. I saved it to be able to try to find some of these books for my Nook. Report
Pema is foundational for me. Her instructions are so simple but amazingly insightful and helpful. Report
Great info. Thanks I'll be putting two of your recommendations on my kindle Report
Great resources! Thanks! Report
The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin again, it is good to read a book over again there is so much great information. Report
the primal blueprint with mark sisson--its about the paleo diet of our prehistoric ancestors. Report
The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin, excellent read, very informative and a practical approach to eating! Report
Dog Sense by John Bradshaw; I need to get into my dog's mind, not just my own Report