An accessible manual about the nuts and bolts of wellness.

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Your Toxic Waist

HEART ATTACKS, STROKES AND NOW . . . CANCER ! HOW TO STOP A TOXIC WAIST FROM POISONING YOUR LIVER AND STEALING DECADES OF YOUR LIFE.

In this informal self-help book, first-time author Power provides open-minded individuals with the means to take charge of their well-being and get a longer lease on life.

Power repeatedly returns to the idea of a “bubble belly,” stressing that our tendency to make light of this flaw with a pat and chuckle is a grave error. He points to this mini bulge as a frequently ignored harbinger of the damage caused to the liver and arteries due to poor diet and lack of exercise. He highlights the connection among a sedentary lifestyle, not eating well and the early onset of conditions such as heart disease, cancer and strokes. To simplify his points, Power relies on childlike illustrations that resemble those found in an old-school health textbook. Statistics, which are rarely sourced, offer a larger context for poor habits, pointing out the decade-by-decade increases in TV watching, meat and cheese consumption, and corn production, among other topics. With an index and headings like “Fresh Insights: Energetics,” the book’s structure does little to indicate what topic a chapter will address. It closes with several simple, throwback recipes (pineapple-stuffed squash or “Kaluha (sic) Chicken,” anyone?). The focus on practical nutrition, as well as embracing lifestyle changes as an alternative to overmedicating, echoes the notable documentary Forks Over Knives. Frequently, the lighthearted tone belies Power’s serious message that, for health issues, personal accountability and discipline are the best allies. The book may be simplistic and repetitive for readers already deeply concerned with their own personal well-being, but the plainspoken advice from an experienced doctor will appeal to readers newly interested in getting off the couch and stepping away from the potato chips.

An accessible manual about the nuts and bolts of wellness.

Pub Date: March 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-1480118591

Page Count: 132

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2013

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

WHY WE SWIM

A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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