An accessible read with candid advice on how to maintain a healthy weight—for good.



In her debut book, Lewis offers straightforward strategies for sustaining a healthy weight.

After seven years of research as a weight-loss coach, Lewis shares eight common-sense steps to prevent weight gain after an initial weight loss. At the outset, she clarifies that her guidebook is “not a weight-loss plan” but a lifestyle approach with specific instructions on “how to keep the weight off once you’ve lost it.” Lewis believes “food is not the enemy we’ve made it out to be. I don’t believe that we’re meant to spend our lives counting calories, grams of fat, or anything else….I believe that life and food are meant to be enjoyed.” To strike a balance between the two, she aims to help readers keep unhealthy weight off for good. Some of her tactics are obvious—e.g., being self-accountable and prepared—while others are more demanding, such as having a day consisting of protein-only meals (aside from a small salad or piece of fruit). This quick read is divided into nine chapters that, aside from her strategies, feature success stories from her clients as well as her own. One particular client, a 65-year-old diabetic fond of artificially sweetened diet soda, enlisted Lewis’ assistance to help him lose 35 pounds. By following Lewis’ instructions, he quit his lifelong affection for diet soda and saw his blood sugars drop from “their highs of 400 to 125” after one week. Lewis advises readers to regularly step on the scale and to be prepared by sticking to a preplanned grocery list. Her other weight-loss tips are refreshing, even to the experienced dieter. She points out (notably, without citing any research) that “[w]hen the low-fat, high-carb diet became popular in the United States, the health of Americans took a serious nosedive.” As such, she attempts to debunk the notion that low-fat diets are healthy, instead advocating for the elimination of “bad fats,” artificial sweeteners and starches from daily consumption. Saying she doesn’t want to “bore” her readers, Lewis excludes scientific research citations, referring readers to the Internet and other weight loss–related books for details.

An accessible read with candid advice on how to maintain a healthy weight—for good.  

Pub Date: Jan. 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492258650

Page Count: 94

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

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A lucid (in the sky with diamonds) look at the hows, whys, and occasional demerits of altering one’s mind.

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Building on his lysergically drenched book How to Change Your Mind (2018), Pollan looks at three plant-based drugs and the mental effects they can produce.

The disastrous war on drugs began under Nixon to control two classes of perceived enemies: anti-war protestors and Black citizens. That cynical effort, writes the author, drives home the point that “societies condone the mind-changing drugs that help uphold society’s rule and ban the ones that are seen to undermine it.” One such drug is opium, for which Pollan daringly offers a recipe for home gardeners to make a tea laced with the stuff, producing “a radical and by no means unpleasant sense of passivity.” You can’t overthrow a government when so chilled out, and the real crisis is the manufacture of synthetic opioids, which the author roundly condemns. Pollan delivers a compelling backstory: This section dates to 1997, but he had to leave portions out of the original publication to keep the Drug Enforcement Administration from his door. Caffeine is legal, but it has stronger effects than opium, as the author learned when he tried to quit: “I came to see how integral caffeine is to the daily work of knitting ourselves back together after the fraying of consciousness during sleep.” Still, back in the day, the introduction of caffeine to the marketplace tempered the massive amounts of alcohol people were drinking even though a cup of coffee at noon will keep banging on your brain at midnight. As for the cactus species that “is busy transforming sunlight into mescaline right in my front yard”? Anyone can grow it, it seems, but not everyone will enjoy effects that, in one Pollan experiment, “felt like a kind of madness.” To his credit, the author also wrestles with issues of cultural appropriation, since in some places it’s now easier for a suburbanite to grow San Pedro cacti than for a Native American to use it ceremonially.

A lucid (in the sky with diamonds) look at the hows, whys, and occasional demerits of altering one’s mind.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-29690-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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


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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