Thursday, September 29, 2011

Featured Book: Because I Said So by Dr. Charlotte Rainey Green

About the book:

Most parents want their children to be happy, productive, and successful—but not all parents know about the parenting strategies that can give their children an academic edge. Because I Said So investigates the influence that parenting styles have on a child’s social and academic success. Are you authoritarian? Authoritative? Permissive? This book provides valuable insight on various parenting techniques that either promote student achievement, or hinder a child’s success and contribute to academic achievement gaps. There is no definitive manual for raising children. But with Dr. Green’s new book, parents can learn strategies to help their kids succeed socially and academically!

About the author:

A school administrator, business owner, and community leader who provides professional development in schools and facilitates community conversations. As part owner of Behavior-onics Inc., Green offers parenting tools for effective parenting.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Featured Book: Reflective Empowerment by Philip Guy Rochford

About the book:

Everything you think, say, and do impact on your life. You therefore have the power to make your life what you want it to be. Reflective Empowerment provides a simple, but powerful, program to design the life you want. It is a one-year program that builds one brick of empowerment, on another brick of empowerment, until your full brilliance of empowerment is unleashed.

Reflective Empowerment shows you:

  • How to move from apathy to empowerment 
  • Secrets and benefits of reflection 
  • Importance and benefits of action 
  • The practice of examining your life 
  • Where to put emphasis in your strategic thinking 
The route to your empowerment is mapped out in Reflective Empowerment, and gives the background to show the connectedness to 7 critical steps of empowerment:

  • Self-awareness Vision of your purpose 
  • Clarify and detail your goals 
  • Embrace persistence Upgrade your skills 
  • Take others to new heights 
  • Review your results and target your better performance 
Reflective Empowerment offers a sustained, easy, approach to taking control of your life, and doing the things that are necessary to empower you to be the best that you can be. By actively following the simple daily guidelines, as outlined in Reflective Empowerment, you design your own success, and take responsibility for your own empowerment. Moreover, your empowerment blossoms fully when you support others to be their best, as well as enhance the environment.

About the author:

Philip Guy Rochford, Success Coach, has authored five motivational books, and co-authored two others. He specializes in Executive Coaching based on his extensive corporate experience of over 40 years. He was Chairman of a commercial bank, a petroleum marketing company, and an airline. For 15 years he was a director of Neal and Massy Holdings Limited, one of the largest business conglomerates in the Caribbean. He is a business economist, chartered accountant, chartered secretary, and chartered banker. He is a Certified Mediator, a Reiki Master, TM Sidha, and Feng Shui practitioner.Philip has five children and seven grandchildren. His wife, Edlin Dianne, is herself an author, and they live in Trinidad and Tobago.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Giveaway Reminder: Beth's Book Reviews Bookmarks

This is your weekly reminder to enter if you haven't yet.

I wanted to share a little something with my readers so I ordered some bookmarks.  They came out super cute, if I do say so myself.

I'll be giving away one a week to a random reader who enters his or her name in the nifty little form below.

This is an ongoing giveaway so you can enter at any time and you only need to enter once!

The contest is only open to readers with a US mailing address (but it can be a PO Box!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Featured Book: Young and Dumb by Mitchell Bergeron

Young and DumbPrepare to delve into the depths of the teenage mind in this erratic and ever so anxious thrill ride. Prepare for the single most eye-opening book of poems you will ever read. Prepare to expand your mind in the most legal way. Prepare to get intoxicated with love, lust, and sorrow. Prepare to get buried beneath stanza upon stanza of suicidal imagery. Prepare to be jaded. Prepare to get angry. Prepare for the revolution. Prepare to be enlightened. Prepare to go to Hell and back. Prepare to get violated. Prepare to feel disgusted. Prepare to cry. Prepare to question everything you have ever known. Prepare yourself and remember YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Mitchell Bergeron is an 18 year old student. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: Keys to the Kingdom by Senator Bob Graham

Shortly after an explosive op-ed piece about the 9/11 investigation appears in the New York Times, its author, former Senator and Co-chair of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Commission John Billington, is murdered near his Florida home. Enter Tony Ramos, ex-Special Forces operative and former aide to Sen. Billington and currently a State Department intelligence analyst. Billington, having sensed the danger he faced, has left Ramos detailed instructions for an investigation into suspected Saudi complicity in 9/11. Ramos, in conjunction with Billington's daughter Laura, uncovers a shocking international conspiracy linking the Saudi Kingdom to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Despite efforts to derail their investigation, whose scope encompasses Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Ramos and Laura discover that the Kingdom has recently provided bin Laden and al-Qaeda with three nuclear devices, two of which are successfully detonated by the terrorists overseas. But they were just a warm up to the grand finale. The third device, Ramos learns, will be detonated off the California coast. Now Ramos and a team of Special Forces must race against time to prevent al-Qaeda from unleashing nuclear disaster on American shores, and beyond. 

Received for review. 

This one gets four stars.  I really enjoyed it!  It was rather on the longer side and a bit dense, but it had a great tone and flow that kept you engaged throughout.  The characters themselves weren't overly lovable, but they were interesting and well written.  The action and suspense levels were excellent and on par with a David Baldacci or Steve Berry. 

I highly recommend this to political thriller fans. 

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Monday, September 19, 2011

Baking by the Books: Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

I read a lot of cozy mysteries that include yummy recipes for cookies and other baked items and I love to try the recipes (but I can't reprint them for obvious copyright reasons so you'll have to pick up the book if you want to try them!) so I've decided to share my results in a new post series called Baking by the Books.  I'd love your feedback!

Viking Cookies 
from Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

These are a white chocolate chip oatmeal cookie which were super yummy but the recipe makes a TON (I ended up with 14 dozen!) so be prepared to pass some on to friends.  This would also be a perfect recipe for a bake sale.

Between baking up a storm for The Cookie Jar and unravelling the mystery of her cat Moishe's recent strange behaviour, Hannah Swensen has a lot on her plate. But she'll always make time for her business partner, Lisa, who's in the midst of preparing for a big family reunion. Everyone is delighted when Lisa's long-lost uncle makes a surprise appearance. No one has heard from Gus in twenty-five years. Uncle Gus is immediately the hit of the reunion. He's almost as popular as Hannah's scrumptious carrot cake, which is also Gus' favourite dessert. But the next morning, as the whole family gathers for the group photo, one person is missing. Hannah offers to track down Uncle Gus, but her search leads to a shocking find. Over by the bar at the pavilion, she spots two slices of her infamous carrot cake, frosting-side down on the floor - and Gus' corpse with an ice pick jutting out of his chest!Now Hannah's got to sift through a long list of suspects to find a killer - even if it could mean a recipe for her own demise...  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Featured Book: WE x Infinity by Charlie Pedersen

About the book:

WExoo: Face the Terror of our World EquationAs the “Bin Laden door closes”, a new door opens! Charlie Pedersen’s innovative new visionary fiction uses twenty second century quantum science cosmology to provide linked “hindsight” to the past, which is our present, and follows a cosmic path out of the chaos we now call the twenty first century. Pedersen’s disruptive, visionary new novel crosses hard copy, e-Book and silver screen genres as it takes readers into the future and then back again to our own reality to face the chaos and terror of our current World Equation. Experience the convergence of literature and video taking you from compelling story to the next level of awareness and most importantly, answers. In WE x ∞ ,scientists from one hundred years in the future send intelligent e-messages in hologram form across the space-time continuum to thirteen quantum science labs across the world. In a high speed adventure from Berkeley, California, through Switzerland, China, Russia, England, Germany and Japan, culminating in a confrontation with the future in New York City, Pedersen’s science heroes engage the CIA and Interpol to thwart white collar criminals and terrorists trying to disrupt new, world changing directives from reaching the United Nations General Assembly. The prominent issues of our times – water, energy, world health, trafficking, terrorism, illegal immigration and militarism – are tackled head on as Pedersen explores two fundamental questions in his compelling story: What do WE have to do for humanity to really change? Can our infinity (∞) of opportunities overcome the current forces of denial and the power of the status quo? Following up on Stephen Hawking’s description of our times, on Yahoo!Answers, 2006, as “political, social and environmental chaos”, and his more than rhetorical question “How can we sustain the next one hundred years?”, WE x ∞ cleverly suggests that if we cannot learn from the past, maybe we could learn from the future. Pedersen’s intriguing and suspenseful blend of science, contemporary events and fiction (science faction) gives readers a unique “futuresight” by which to judge today’s most daunting challenge: our own denial of the terror of our current world equation.


The Secretary General steps back. Alyson defers to Ellis. ELLIS (walks to the podium and begins speaking) "Thirty days ago we had a world changing event" . . . Ellis looks up...hearing some commotion. Before he can continue, the President and the Prime Minister are collared around the throats by Almidh and Degom’s cocked arms, and pulled in front of the room with guns at their heads. The other five waiters step up and point guns at the tables around them. The guests are dead silent, except for shocked gasps. FARAH ALMIDH (with his arm around the President’s throat) "I am Almidh of the Khalid Faizal. We are here to reject this sinister plot to subordinate the entire Arab world, to de-economize our people’s oil franchise. We will show the world"... From the left and right flanks, everyone hears: CENTURY22 SECURITY TEAM! "Not on our watch!" First it comes from Harry, pointing his revolver at Almidh, and then from Glaser on the other flank, pointing at Degom who's holding the Prime Minister. Then Almidh hears a thunderous thud, thud, thud from two angles. Kay and Hong shed their tear away formals and are literally striding across the tables like gazelles, one table centerpoint to the center point of the next table thud, three, thud, two, thud, one... then,.....

About the author:

Author Charlie Pedersen emerged from the executive ranks of information technology, finance and the aerospace private sector to write genre-blend novels that tackle contemporary issues and place them in a world of science fiction and suspense. With a broad background that includes working with the Apollo Lunar systems and creating what is now America’s largest automated teller network, the Star System, he has been able to achieve a clear understanding of the human and organizational dynamics necessary to effect significant large scale change: The messanger must have credibility; and the message must be true and compelling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: When No One Is Watching by Joseph Hayes

When No One is WatchingOn the eve of announcing his run for Congress, a charismatic Chicago politician causes a deadly accident. Panicked, he frames his best friend, a good-hearted alcoholic, and flees the scene. As one man tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered life, the other embarks on a meteoric rise to political stardom. But when a dogged detective digs deeper into the case, the political superstar must decide just how far he is willing to go to keep his dark secret and avoid an explosive scandal that could ruin him and rock the entire nation. In this suspenseful thriller, author Joseph Hayes asks, is "the greater good" just a lie we tell ourselves to justify the sins we commit when no one is watching?

Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars.  It was very well written with a great pace and feel and was immediately engrossing.

I have to say that I sped through this wondering just how it would end.  It was a fascinating look into an ethical dilemma - is one life more valuable than others?  The characters were full-bodied, yet what one might expect of the pond scum that is politicians and lawyers.

I must admit that while the majority of this was a page turner I was not overly impressed with the ending, but the time investment was well worth it nonetheless.

This is highly recommended for political thriller fans.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Giveaway: Beth's Book Reviews Bookmarks

I wanted to share a little something with my readers so I ordered some bookmarks.  They came out super cute, if I do say so myself.

I'll be giving away one a week to a random reader who enters his or her name in the nifty little form below.

This is an ongoing giveaway so you can enter at any time and you only need to enter once!

The contest is only open to readers with a US mailing address (but it can be a PO Box!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Manual For Living: Connection by Seth David Chernoff

Manual For Living: CONNECTION, A User's Guide to the Meaning of LifeCONNECTION, the second book in the Manual For Living series, is a thought-provoking, soulful inquiry. Author Seth David Chernoff guides us through a series of questions, asking why we think what we think and do what we do - in relationship to our own life, others in our immediate environment, and humanity at large. Written in easy to understand language with contemporary, practical examples, Connection shows us that our life is much grander than our circumstances; it is a gift filled with choices. In these pages we come to see others and ourselves through the lens of compassion and oneness. These concepts help us eliminate pain and victim mentality. By choosing full engagement in the present moment, denial, excuses and regrets naturally drop away. The process requires only an open mind and open heart. The information presented steers each of us toward an inner compass and unique path to view life's challenges in a new way. Connection is for anyone seeking out higher purpose and deeply satisfying relationships.

Received from the publicist for review.

This one gets four stars.  It continues in the thoughtful and well written footsteps of the author's first book and contributes additional valuable insights into life.

The author has a clear, friendly writing style which makes the book genuinely enjoyable to read.  Each section (Connection, Communicate, Disagreement, etc.) is separated into smaller "chapters" of under five pages each which makes for incredibly easy reading.  They are sized just perfectly to provide an educational "snack" when you have just a few minutes to read.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book were:
  • We should not focus on forcing others to become who we want them to be, but on becoming the person we know ourselves to be.
  • We cannot control another's actions, only our reactions to them, which is where our true power and freedom exists.
  • There is an opportunity for learning and growth in every connection, in every moment.
I highly recommend this to those who enjoy reading self-improvement materials as another resource to help you in your journey of knowledge and I look forward to future releases from the author.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review: Coming Up for Air by Patti Callahan Henry

Coming Up for AirOn the coast of Alabama, there is a house cloaked in mystery, a place that reveals the truth and changes lives...

Ellie Calvin is caught in a dying marriage, and she knows this. With her beloved daughter away at college and a growing gap between her and her husband – between her reality and the woman she wants to be – she doesn’t quite seem to fit into her own life.

But everything changes after her controlling mother, Lillian, passes away. Ellie’s world turns upside down when she sees her ex-boyfriend, Hutch, at her mother’s funeral and learns that he is in charge of a documentary that involved Lillian before her death. He wants answers to questions that Ellie’s not sure she can face, until, in the painful midst of going through her mother’s things, she discovers a hidden diary – and a window onto stories buried long ago.

As Ellie and Hutch start speaking for the first time in years, Ellie’s closed heart slowly begins to open. Fighting their feelings, they set out together to dig into Lillian’s history. Using both the diary and a trip to the Summer House, a mysterious and seductive bayside home, they gamble that they can work together and not fall in love again. But in piecing together a decades-old unrequited-love story, they just might uncover the secrets in their own hearts… 

ARC received for review.

This one gets three stars.  It was a surprisingly fast read and really quite enjoyable.

One of things I didn't like were the main character's consistent use of "Mother" to refer to her mother instead of "Mom".  It just became super annoying and really rather Mommy Dearest feeling after a couple of chapters.  I know it was meant to convey the relationship between the characters, but it was just irritating.

That said, the book was overall an interesting read with a story that you genuinely wanted to follow until the end to see what happened.  The idea of the daughter finding the mother's journal and discovering various family secrets was intriguing and thought provoking.  The whole situation was handled skilfully and with a level of authentic compassion in the writing.  While I may not have particularly liked the main character as a person, this was worth reading for the emotional journey you took with her.

I certainly recommend this to those looking for a solid, intelligent read.  This was one of those books that really makes you think long after you've finished reading.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Monday, September 12, 2011

Featured Book: How To Think Like a Pro, Act Like a Pro & Play Like a Pro by Issac Byrd

About the book:

HOW TO: Think Like a Pro, Act Like a Pro & Play Like a Pro: The 8 Principles That Bridge the Gap Between Professional and Amateur AthletesWhat is the difference between professional and amateur athletes? The difference cannot be physical or the most perfectly built athletes would be the most successful. We know that is not the case. The difference is mental. To become an elite athlete, your physical and mental abilities must come together and work as one. The eight Principles of Isaac Byrd’s Elite Process™ give you those keys to mental success which professional athletes use, but never talk about. By incorporating the Elite Process™ into his training early on, Isaac Byrd was able to have a successful six year career in the NFL and he mastered three different sports. To maximize your athletic ability and play like a professional, no matter what the sport, read How To: Think Like a Pro, Act Like a Pro & Play Like a Pro.

About the author:

“The best athlete to come out of the state of Missouri in the last twenty-five years” is what the St. Louis Post Dispatch said about Isaac Byrd. He was a high school star in football, basketball and baseball. In college he dominated in two sports: in baseball he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and in football he was drafted into the NFL and played for the Tennessee Titans and the Carolina Panthers. Today he travels the country as a speaker inspiring young athletes and showing them how to maximize their abilities by using his Elite Process™. For more information on Isaac and his services visit

Friday, September 9, 2011

Review: You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl by Celia Rivenbark

You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl: Observations on Life from the Shallow End of the PoolIn her latest wickedly funny collection of essays award-winning humorist Celia Rivenbark tells it like it is ... and how it should be.

With her trademark style of Southern snark and sass, Celia channels her inner Betty Draper and shares her thoughts on everything from terrorists to Twitter to The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

So grab your Snuggie and pour a glass of your favorite boxed wine - You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl will make you laugh so hard you'll split your yoga pants.

ARC received from the publisher for review.

This one gets two stars.  This was not "wickedly funny".  It was only marginally amusing, at best, and I'm being very generous.  I'm not sure if it's because I'm from New England and really resent the author's use of the term "Yankee" or what, but I really found this more than a bit offensive. 

The only, only good thing about the entire book was the information about a study scientists did on cats to see how they spent their time (watching TV, playing, sleeping, looking out the window, etc.). 

I strongly recommend giving this one a pass.

☆☆= Just Okay

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Featured Book: It's Not Your Fault by Emanuel Barling Jr. Esq. and Ashley F. Brooks R.N.

It's Not Your Fault: Weight Gain, Obesity and Food AddictionThe plight of the overweight and obese has become a national debate that has poured over into television talk shows such as Oprah and the evening news. Oprah devoted an entire show to the book, Women, Food and God asking viewers to email their comments to her web page. Our reactions to the limited theories advanced on that show are contained in this book.

American obesity rates are the highest in the world. Sixty-eight percent of adults are categorized as overweight, one-third of them are diagnosed as clinically obese. There are nearly 7 million overweight and obese children in the U.S. today. Childhood obesity statistics show that obese children have a 70% chance of becoming obese adults. The percentage increases to 80% if either one or both parents is obese as well.

Americans did not get fat overnight nor did some mosquito spread a deadly virus that causes obesity. Eating until becoming obese is now the leader in American addictions surpassing cigarettes and alcohol. There are tangible reasons why Americans are gaining weight, becoming obese or cannot lose it. The so-called “healthy foods” you’re eating are making you fat and ill.

We ask and answer the questions: Are you eating a lot of salads but still gaining weight? Juicing and still gaining weight? Drinking so-called health food shakes to lose weight without success? Changing your diet so often you feel like a yo-yo? Can’t stop eating? Finding working out impossible because you are getting too overweight to walk, jog or exercise for very long? Are you considering a drastic means to lose weight such as liposuction, gastric bypass or lap-band surgeries?

PLEASE STOP NOW. It’s Not Your Fault! The information in this book led to one author losing more than 80 pounds and the other losing 20. And still losing weight. It is easier than you think.

We describe the causes of food cravings, overeating, addiction and discuss food allergies, delayed food intolerance and the dangerous addictive chemicals used by food manufacturers that cause the compulsive/obsessive eating that leads to obesity. We offer a 90-day challenge and easy 12-step dieting rules that can start readers on their way to losing weight.

We also discuss how certain chemical food addictions in children originate with the eating habits of pregnant mothers that start in vitro. We offer important information to help expectant mothers stop the cycle of addiction.

“I'm having great fun already with the book. Fascinating read. And extremely informative. I'm appalled at the extent of my ignorance!” Barbara Paskin, BBC

Preface by Ashley F. Brooks:

As a former overweight person and frequent “yo-yo” dieter, I had to realize that I was an addict. I was addicted to the fast easy packages with calories and fats listed by serving that provided me with an instant breakfast, lunch or dinner. Coming home late with no dinner on the table meant I would have to make a quick trip to one of the local fast food chains or a “run” to the market to buy ready-made food.

If one of us was running late or bored with what was in our refrigerator, one more trip to the fast food place or my favorite quick frozen pizza was easier than cooking. Who doesn’t have a favorite frozen pizza they can’t resist and a fast food place they love when bored or when all else in the kitchen fails. We kept a special drawer filled with menus from what we thought were healthy local restaurants and fast food stores that delivered. We used them frequently.

Early in our marriage we were so busy eating at home was almost a luxury. There was so much to do and so little time. Between friends, social events and business meetings, we were fortunate to eat lunch and dinner in some of Los Angeles’ finest restaurants. We were so busy feeling lucky to be there that we never considered what was in our food beyond the attractive menu and the server bragging about the flowery sounding specials.

Most packaged meals would be on my husband’s reject list but were a “must have” quick fix for me. If all else failed, I would grab a bag of healthy looking mixed lettuce and precooked chicken from the market and toss on some bottled dressing. “EasyPeasy” – I was done. I always thought I was eating healthy food. We all think we are “eating healthy” when we eat fruits and vegetables from the market. In between all that I would grab a bite of cereal, a diet bar or drink a protein shake or juice.

Over the years, to stay at my “fighting weight” I routinely tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystems, the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Bally’s diet, Slim Fast diet, the blood type diet and every other fad diet out there. Some worked briefly, on others I gained weight. Some made me overeat when I stopped. Others caused me to gain twice as much weight afterward. I read a bunch of diet books and followed their programs. I even went to the diet specialists’ offices for counseling and the humiliation of weighing in. After one day on the Subway diet, I was ready to puke from overeating. I couldn’t stop eating the “foot-longs.”

I have come to recognize that the foods I took for granted as being healthy were not the foods my body could accept without gaining weight. The reality was that the so-called “healthy” foods pushed us dangerously close to death. Almost losing my husband wasn’t enough to make us realize that we were both addicted to the ingredients in food sold in America. It took an epiphany. It made me ask myself, “What is in the food that makes you crave eating so much? What is in the food that makes you want to constantly overeat? What is happening inside your senses that connects to your mind and cause the chemical dependency that makes you rush to the plate of food as if one were starving in the wilderness?” This is not just about whether you have emotional problems arising from your past eating habits which many believe requires therapy. It is about the practices of the food industries who use chemical addiction and other stimuli to create a psychological and biological need for their food. We are talking about chemical dependency. It is also about the big corporations and all the billions in profits they are making off of you, me and folks that are part of audiences like Oprah’s every day. The more you eat, the happier you make the food manufacturers and retailers. Their scientific studies on how to infect your mind through addiction obviously work. As living proof of their success, we have become a shockingly overweight and obese society. In the past, addiction was associated with a troubled person who needed drugs or alcohol to soothe his or her “messed up”, pathetic or depressed life. Ads for such places as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous tell us that the only solution for drug, alcohol or food addicts is on a therapist’s couch or in a twelve-step program. AA, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and others will lay out a good-looking food plan to help you with your so-called “behavioral addiction” to food. Many of the plans offered are a match to the same Food Pyramid chart that we all saw on the wall of the doctor’s office growing up. But the Food Pyramid chart doesn’t say anything about avoiding those addictive food ingredients found in most non-organic food stuffs – ingredients that turn the key to addiction inside a person’s mind in the same way as it does with heroin. How can treating weight gain and obesity as a “behavioral problem” make the addiction go away when you fail to inform a person that their “brand-new” miracle diet contains the exact same addictive food ingredients that made them fat in the first place?

If you choose a new diet plan, you need to understand the full impact of what caused you to be overweight in the first place. The biggest fear of those who lose weight – including myself – is that once you have lost the weight you gain it right back as soon as you return to eating regular food. Frequently, the result of the post-diet weight gain is to put on twice the weight you lost while dieting.

I lost a brother to obesity. I almost lost my husband to secondary obesity. I was having physical problems myself because of a weight gain of nearly 30 pounds after grappling with an illness. I understand obesity and the pressure others put on us after we gain weight. People whisper and make unkind remarks behind the backs of those affected and our society makes unspoken rules about how a person should look.

We have all known overweight people who torture themselves with guilt. We see many of these people on television shows baring their souls to a transfixed audience.

It doesn’t matter that you became heavy because of an illness, society still labels you as a glutton. There is a negative ring around the bathtub that generates stares, glares and blame. While the struggling person is tortured with guilt, his or her family struggles and suffers right along with them. It is now the elephant in the room across America haunts our collective consciousness.

The pressure to lose weight can easily be fixed once you understand what is causing your weight gain. As you read on you will see it really isn’t your fault. The fault is in the food you choose to eat. Specific chemical substances are intentionally added to stop you from putting the fork down which causes you to become overweight. The food manufacturer doesn’t care if you get fat. They only care that you buy their product. Become addicted to it and you'll keep buying it.

Withdrawal from these addictive chemical food ingredients will make you feel tired because your body has become dependent on one or more of the toxic ingredients to keep you going – much like craving a cigarette or alcohol that your body doesn’t need.

Then, like other addicts, you may go through various stages of withdrawal, which include moodiness, depression and exhaustion. Only eating more addictive food ingredients will make it go away. So it is back to the refrigerator or out to a fast food store to stop the burning desire for more of these chemicals. Only you aren’t saying to yourself, “I want more addicting chemicals”. You are saying to yourself, “I am really, really hungry”, when the truth is you are not.

It is the ups and downs of food addiction. I know. I was there. But I found a way out. And you can too by considering our experiences and the research in this book and our companion books and adapting the information to your lifestyle. We wish you success in your search for answers.

About the authors:

Mannie Barling is a lawyer, author and businessman who spent more than thirty years practicing law in the Greater Los Angeles Area. In the 1970s, Mr. Barling served as in-house counsel to two of the first HMOs in Los Angeles including one that treated more than 13,000 patients a month. Mr. Barling actively participated in the management of these clinics as well as convalescent hospitals, including reviewing all medical matters from PSRO (Professional Standards Review Organizations), physician utilization, interviewing doctors,specialists and evaluating malpractice claims.

Mr. Barling helped pioneer Medical Outreach programs and health fairs throughout South Central Los Angeles and Inglewood. He also lobbied on behalf of the clinics and hospitals in the state capital on issues involving changes in health law, patient reimbursements, and hospital and clinic claims for payment from Medicaid and Medicare with such luminaries as health expert Carl Weissburg and Edward L. Masry of Erin Brokovich fame.

Throughout the 1980s, Mr. Barling continued to form and participate in the day-to-day management of medical practices, clinics and ancillary service companies such as x-rays, laboratories and physical therapy units. Throughout the 1990s, Mr. Barling represented the largest factor of medical accounts receivables across the United States negotiating agreements involving the purchase, operation, and management of hospitals, clinics and private practices throughout Southern California.

At the same time, Mr. Barling was involved in every phase of restoring an acute care hospital in East Los Angeles and seven clinics serving the Latino community from insolvency at the time of purchase to becoming a $100 million a year medical practice serving the eastside of Los Angeles and parts of Orange County. Along the way, Mr. Barling represented Fortune 400 businessmen, actors and motion picture production companies, as well as serving as a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also served as a judge pro tem and arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, arbitrating important cases such as the construction of the Los Angeles Tennis Center on the UCLA campus.

Mr. Barling’s first book on health, Taking Control of Your Life — a Journey to Wellness, is based upon his personal experiences with the treatment of colon cancer and other digestive diseases. The authors' companion book, Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula — A Change of Lifestyle Diet for Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS, coauthored with Ashley F. Brooks, provides answers and illumination for the 79 million plus Americans who suffer the debilitating effects of Crohn’s disease, IBS, IBD, ulcerative colitis and a secondary diagnosis of arthritis, gout and gouty arthritis.

Ashley F. Brooks, born in Youngstown, Ohio, is a second generation Irish-American holding Irish and American passports. She is also a third generation nurse. In 1915, her grandmother was in the first graduating class of St. Elizabeth Nursing School. Ashley followed both her grandmother and mother’s path by receiving full-time training and employment in the hospital operated by the nuns at St. Elizabeth School of Nursing before graduating to become a licensed registered nurse.

After graduation, Ashley worked at St. Elizabeth Hospital’s Emergency Department, which operated a Class A Emergency Room, accepting the worst trauma patients for all of Youngstown and its surrounding areas. Their ED was responsible for every imaginable medical emergency including rape victims, injured policemen, burn patients, women in labor, sick children, heart patients, countless code blue patients, drug overdoses, helping with casting broken bones, helping families cope with death of a loved one and an endless list of “you name it” emergencies.

The hospital was equipped for poison control and triage nursing. The hospital also treated prisoners for the county and state. The emergency room included various triage rooms to separate patients, including those patients going to intensive care, cardiovascular care and to burn units.

While enrolled at Youngstown State University working toward a graduate degree, a family tragedy put a halt to her education. Someone spiked her retarded sister’s drink with LSD at a party, which caused her sister to go into full-blown schizophrenia. Ashley or her parents frequently admitted Dorothy into various psychiatric wards. As a result, Ashley learned a lot about the disabled and psychiatric medicine firsthand. The Ohio psychiatrists wanted to commit her sister as a ward of the state. A local newspaper article about specialist Theron G. Randolph, M.D. (the father of Environmental Medicine and elimination diets) and his discoveries relating to environmental medicine and mental illness gave Ashley hope.

Ashley quit her job at St. Elizabeth Hospital, left Youngstown and moved to Zion, Illinois, to travel with her then dangerous schizophrenic sister. Ashley became the Charge/Head Nurse in a busy emergency room while watching over her sister’s treatments. Dr. Randolph advocated a new and revolutionary elimination diet. He slowly introduced various waters from all over the country in a medicine cup, testing for allergies and intolerance. The attending nurse checked the pulse and respiration as each was tested, one by one. He then added food to the test. At first, Ashley thought he was a con artist. Looking for answers, she asked one of his assistants, a physician/patient,to lunch. He looked pale, weak and starving. Ashley flipped the top down on her convertible, thinking this young doctor needed some sun. He was instantly overcome with repeated petit mal seizures when car and truck exhaust wafted their way. Ashley never questioned Dr. Randolph’s theories again.

As a result of Dr. Randolph and his teachings, her mother specialized in nutrition and started a nonprofit community service called The Council for Better Nutrition, which was directed toward mitigating the effects of diseases through vitamins, holistic and environmental medicine. She also taught the benefits of preventative medicine. She was ahead of her time and brilliant in this emerging field. Nursing and nutrition were a constant conversation in Ashley’s family up to her mother’s death.

Ashley then accepted an emergency nursing position in one of the worst areas of Chicago. There she saw and worked with some of the worst injuries resulting from some of the most violent crimes imaginable. She also saw patients infested with cockroaches, lice-ridden derelicts, junkies, hookers, knifed pimps, beaten children, policemen with gunshot wounds and sights and smells that have never left her. It was an urban war zone. Ashley has also specialized in private duty working with cancer patients, hospice, psychiatric nursing and a wide variety of other disciplines.

During her time in Chicago, she returned to her childhood interest in studying singing and acting. She took private lessons at the Chicago Conservatory of Music and acting classes at St. Nicholas Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre. She has also performed in independent feature films, television, commercials, print modeling, local and touring theater companies. She is a member of SAG, AFTRA, EQUITY, ASCAP and a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Ashley was diagnosed with a serious illness that kept her in and out of intensive care for nearly a year and required chemotherapy. It took her years of study and employing all of her family’s knowledge of nutrition to escape the death sentence given her by the treating physicians. She credits Dr. Theron Randolph, Linus Pauling’s Vitamin C theories, juicing and her mother’s vitamin and preventative nutrition theories for saving her life.

When her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, Crohn’s disease, IBD, IBS, arthritis and gout, he was given two years to live. She stopped performing in order to tend to his health needs. He was a mess and, in the beginning, one of the worst patients she had ever dealt with. The treatments offered in the late 1990s were at best minimal. It took a great deal of time to nurse him back into a productive life.

Along the way, she studied every facet of his illness and kept abreast of medical advances on a continuum. Over an eighteen-month period in 2007 and 2008, Ashley spent more than three months learning about state-of-the-art medical treatments in world-famous clinics in Austria and Germany. She has also undergone their treatment programs, which includes medicines designed from her own blood specifically matched to her body’s needs.