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Allergy-Free Kids: The Science-Based Approach to Preventing Food Allergies

Robin Nixon Pompa. Morrow, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-244068-6

Health and science journalist Pompa introduces fascinating new ideas about allergy avoidance in this helpful and reassuring guide for parents. A mother of three, Pompa’s experience with her own children’s food allergies prompted her to dig deeply into current scientific literature. Her discovery—that some doctors now recommend introducing, not avoiding, allergens at an early age—represents a dramatic reversal from previous medical advice. As Pompa points out, childhood food allergies have become startlingly prevalent (almost 6 million kids in the U.S., and one million in Britain, where she now resides). Pompa leads parents through the introduction of allergens during a critical window of time (according to allergists of this school, at three to five months old, at least for peanuts, and possibly for other allergens), explores various theories of why allergies have increased, and shares her personal experiences. She also offers an ample selection of “kid-friendly, allergy-fighting” recipes. Babies with dry skin, eczema, or a family history of food allergies should be tested before introducing allergens, she warns; moreover, parents should seek expert assistance (Pompa makes clear she is neither a dietician nor a physician). Pompa’s book is a detailed, informative primer on promising, if not yet conclusively proven, theories. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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He’s Not Lazy: Empowering Your Son to Believe in Himself

Adam Price. Sterling, $19.95 (288p) ISBN 9781454916871

Clinical psychologist Price maintains that increasingly competitive American society has fostered an epidemic of motivation-lacking teens and preteens, especially boys. His informative debut book focuses on those who “ ‘opt-out’ of the competition altogether” when they feel inadequate to meet the many demands placed on them. In the first section, he helps parents understand these boys’ struggles by outlining how a variety of issues affect the way they act and feel, including their changing minds and bodies, their often-neglected emotions, and their learning styles. The second section provides tools, suggestions, and guidelines for setting parents and their teenage sons on a path to self-motivation. Price reinforces his theory with case studies, expert commentary, clinical research, and statistics, adding substance to this already instructive guide. Charts and tables peppered throughout visually highlight the statistics and examples he references, and an appendix features a series of planning worksheets for teenage boys and their parents. Price’s book will provide inspiration for scores of parents seeking to understand why their sons are floundering, and will encourage greater acceptance for how today’s teenage boys face challenges. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Head-On: Stories of Alopecia Deeann

Callis Graham. Head-on Publishing, $32 (224p) ISBN 978-0-9962444-1-1

During decades of living with the hair loss condition alopecia, Graham had neither met nor heard about anyone else with it; she thus began chronicling her journey and reaching out to others like her. Now, in this beautifully photographed collection, Graham provides a thorough guide to the different types of alopecia and its triggers and treatments, also sharing numerous stories of those affected. Graham gives her story first, documenting the initial moment of discovery (her mother combing Graham’s hair in the bath), diagnosis, coping, and ultimate cultivation of community. Many strong voices are poignantly captured, along with evocative black-and-white portraits: law student Marlina, who thought alopecia would limit her romantic life, but is now married to a “hunk”; Heather, who tattooed a sunflower with a peace sign on her head; artist D.K. Wright, who tells his story in a poem, and Alexis and Vangelis, a father and son given an extra connection by both having alopecia. There are many heartwarming accounts from young children, always accompanied by a parent’s commentary. Interspersed among the personal stories are inspirational quotes on specific topics such as “Pushing the Limits,” “Realizations,” and “Unconditional Love.” This is a powerful compilation of profiles with a sincere and encouraging message. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity

John Mackey, Alona Pulde, and Matthew Lederman. Grand Central Life and Style, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4789-4491-1

Evangelical and passionate, Mackey, cofounder of Whole Foods Market, along with Pulde and Lederman (co-authors of The Fork Over Knives Diet), reaches beyond the typical diet plan tenets of eating right to feel better and lose weight; this plan is expressly intended to help save and extend lives. The impetus for writing the book, the authors state, comes from the nation’s high chronic illness rates, particularly in obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. They introduce the work and ideas of numerous like-minded health experts, highlight the world’s healthiest societies, and include stories of Whole Foods employees successfully using the plan. The Whole Foods Diet, a play on the maternal admonishment to “eat your fruits and vegetables,” is deceptively simple: consume a diet that’s at least 90% plant-based, eat whole foods, and avoid highly processed foods. In reading further, readers may feel daunted: don’t just limit dairy and meats to less than 10% of your diet, but also avoid oils (including olive oil!) and refined flour and sugar. And perhaps you’d like to make your own nut milk? Even if this health treatise’s recommendations are unlikely to become universal, its tone is inspiring. Agent: Richard Pine, InkWell Management. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Ganja Yoga: A Practical Guide to Conscious Relaxation, Soothing Pain Relief, and Enlightened Self-Discovery

Dee Dussault. HarperOne, $19.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-265684-1

Dussault, a San Francisco-based certified yoga teacher, claims that she is the first Westerner to teach “enhanced,” meaning cannabis-assisted, yoga. In this hip, user-friendly guide, she covers the benefits of “stoned yoga” and how practitioners can incorporate it into their classes and home practices. According to Dussault, the Yoga Sutras prescribe the use of this “herbal remedy” (though she acknowledges some yogis believe different herbs were meant.) The author argues that cannabis can help readers deal with such ailments as migraines and ADHD, as well as with everyday stress. Dussault employs both scientific studies and humor while handing out tips on safe consumption and class etiquette. She also explains the pros and cons of various methods, including smoking, vaping, tinctures, topicals, concentrates, and edibles (the last, stronger form may make it hard to do anything but Corpse Pose, she quips). Dussault acknowledges drawbacks of marijuana use—paranoia, clumsiness, trouble with balancing poses, and, more seriously, dependency—but she is adamant about its potential for improved relaxation, personal development, and spiritual elevation. Though some yoga purists may resist the concept, Dussault makes an entertaining and well-informed case for the marriage of cannabis and yoga. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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New Nordic Gardens: Scandinavian Landscape Design

Annika Zetterman. Thames & Hudson, $45 (288p) ISBN 978-0-500-51945-5

This beautifully illustrated book serves as a informative guide to the principles and techniques of contemporary Scandinavian garden design. Garden designer Zetterman sets out principles, organized by chapter, that clearly analyze the structure of Scandinavian gardens and explain their distinctive and dynamic features. The author has a keen sensitivity to the natural elements of the landscape, especially light and stone. Hardscape is the skeleton of gardens, and the author gives it an appropriately prominent place, incorporating stone and wood into the gardens’ fundamental vocabulary. The color palette of these gardens may be pale or sober, but the resulting character is not unemotional. One minor aesthetic quibble with the book itself: the text is grey and hard to read. This is a coffee table–worthy lookbook brimming with ideas and aesthetic integrity. It will stimulate possibilities for gardens well below the northern reaches of the Scandinavian latitudes. Color photos. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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The Little Book of Cacti and Other Succulents

Emma Sibley, photos by Adam Laycock. Quadrille, $14.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-84949-914-9

Desert candle, string of hearts, and mother-in-law’s tongue are among the 60 varieties profiled in this stylish guide to caring for indoor cacti and succulents, low-maintenance houseplants that are popular among city dwellers. Sibley, founder of the startup London Terrariums, provides helpful tips for pruning, watering, propagating, and potting a variety of these plants, and includes troubleshooting advice such as how to spot signs of overwatering. The book includes better-known cacti and succulents as well as more obscure varieties, and artfully captures the aesthetic appeal of each plant, drawing attention to the different shapes and textures. Alluring photos of the plants against brightly colored backdrops accentuate the unique characteristics of each type. The neat design and colorful photos make this book a desirable keepsake for cactus enthusiasts. Color photos. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Stirring Up Fun with Food: Over 115 Simple, Delicious Ways to Be Creative in the Kitchen

Sarah Michelle Gellar and Gia Russo. Grand Central, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4555-3874-4

Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Gellar’s path from teenager to young mom is a trajectory undoubtedly mirrored by many of her fans, and they have a treat in store with this book, which goes beyond the merely aspirational and Pinteresty with blueprints for natural foods made from scratch that also manage to be cute and clever. Vegetables are allowed to be their own delicious selves, as in baked crunchy green bean “fries.” For each month, the proverbial busy mom gets a meal’s—or a party’s—worth of simple recipes that hang together. Some have show biz links, such as July’s Shark Week menu or May’s Star Wars menu (Gellar and husband Freddie Prinze Jr. voiced characters in an animated version of the franchise). Recipes are solid, thanks to coauthor Russo’s Martha Stewart Living background, and are as tempting for adults as for children—if a little weighted toward muffin-size versions of staples such as macaroni and cheese and shrimp lo mein, and a cheerful variety of food-on-a-stick that includes Caesar salad and latkes. Agent: Dan Strone, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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Spanish Made Simple: Foolproof Spanish Recipes for Every Day

Omar Allibhoy. Quadrille, $24.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-8494-9760-2

Allibhoy, chef and owner of a chain of U.K.-based Spanish food and tapas restaurants, collects a vibrant array of low-fuss dishes. He shares his best recipes, many passed down from generation to generation, for weeknight meals, weekend lunches, larger gatherings, and tapas. All are authentic and simple and hail from various regions of Spain. Allibhoy makes a concerted effort to employ simpler techniques and familiar ingredients to make these recipes accessible to home cooks of every level. Sangria and meat focaccia highlight appetizing “nibbles” that segue into hearty and robust meat and game dishes such as Moorish marinated lamb cutlets and Spanish chicken cordon bleu. Fish and seafood dishes are equally appealing, including clams “fisherman style” and mussels in a cream sauce. Eggs and poultry also feature prominently, as do vegetables, which are substantial enough to star in entrees such as green asparagus with serrano ham, stuffed zucchini, and broad beans with chorizo. The chapter on paella and rice, is outstanding with mouthwatering recipes for seafood paella, baked rice with pork ribs and sausage, and more. Vivid full-color photos round out this superb introduction to Spanish cooking. (May)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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So Good: Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours

Richard Blais. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-66331-2

The practical follow-up to restaurateur and Top Chef winner Blais’s 2013 Try This at Home, which called for sous vide cookers, smoking guns, and squid, dials back the showmanship (for the most part) and amps up the flavor. One of the keys to Blais’s appeal is his ingenious juxtaposition of flavors, seen here in dishes such as roasted Concord grapes and ricotta toasts, and notions such as the addition of bone marrow to meatballs. He also innovates with ingredients, swapping out noodles for shaved coconut to prepare coconut noodles with peanut sauce. His creations are as tasty as they are surprising. Full-out showstoppers include fried duck confit with eucalyptus honey and mustard greens, and a barbecued lamb’s head carnitas. Blais also includes plenty of dishes that can be completed with less time and effort, such as snap peas with feta and mint, beet and barley chili, and Heath bar chocolate bread pudding. It’s clear that there’s a method to Blais’s culinary madness: he’s doing his damnedest to get the most flavor out of the best ingredients. Home cooks interested in upping their game will want to give this one a look. (May)

Reviewed on 03/17/2017 | Details & Permalink

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