Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Baby Boomer Diet: Body Ecology’s Guide to Growing Younger by Donna Gates

Well, if that’s not a title to make you want to dive in and follow every recommendation. I have been familiar with Donna Gates’ Body Ecology Diet, or BED, for a few years now. She’s a big proponent of gut flora. Did you know that more than 60% of your immune system is located in your intestines? Gives a new meaning to those “gut feelings” doesn’t it.

Seems like public enemy number one of our gut health has a name that everyone knows: Louis Pasteur. Yes, the man who discovered “germs” and gave them a universal stamp of disapproval took his theories too far. Indeed, more babies were saved when doctors simply washed their hands before ushering them into this world, but how many of us have been deprived of the valuable nutrition in raw milk?

Here’s a helpful article that will explain it better than I can:

I began reading this book this week and I’m up to Chapter 7. Let’s see how long it takes to read and digest. (Get it? It’s a book about digestion!)



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Still almost finished…

I’m not surprised that I don’t mind living with piles of books taking up floor space. If stepping over things that didn’t belong on the floor were an Olympic sport, I’d be weighted down with medals.

This project must be what it’s like to eat a hot dog by halving it with every bite. You think you’re just about finished, but there’s always a nub left to tackle. Okay, perhaps the hot-dog-eating analogy is a bit inadequate, because at some point you’re just going to give up. The point is, whenever I think I’m ready to organize the books by category and shelve them in their new homes, something else pops up that needs to be added to the list.

Two days ago, it was all the little phrase books I’ve collected over the years, most of which are older than I am. Looks like I’m well-prepared to say a variety of things in Italian, German, Spanish and French, a la 1954, useful if I’m looking for the heppest, most nifty, gee-whiz hangout, Daddy-o.

Yesterday, it was my music book collection, very few of which have ISBNs, some without covers, impossible to trace. What is the name of that Beatles’ songbook? I can’t even remember the cover photo (or was it a drawing?) and ran out of search terms, so I sent a plea to to help me figure it out.

The most distracting thing about archiving the music books is the new-found desire to pull out my guitar and actually play. “I’m Sorry” by John Denver anyone? This, while perhaps fittingly, keeping one eye on the dream-crushing paring down to the final 24 on American Idol.

Meanwhile, I started reading Donna Gates’ “Baby Boomer Diet”, which promises to teach me a new way of eating that will turn back the clock. I confess that I’m familiar with Donna’s Body Ecology Diet, or BED, and know I won’t get far downing mint chocolate-covered espresso beans from Trader Joe’s while reading it.

Which brings me to a point to ponder: do I just read these books or do I actually follow what they prescribe? Do I cook my way through each cookbook, or just read through them and pick out recipes I’d like to try? And when do I actually let someone know I’m writing a blog?

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Almost there…

The bulk of my library, ready for sorting and finding their homes.

Okay, that doesn’t look like too many books, but so far I’ve added 245 to LibraryThing, and that doesn’t include those that need manual entering. Not everything has a lovely ISBN ready to populate the page.

So far, I have no system, no goals for reading down the piles. Once everything is entered and categorized, I’ll begin the process of returning the books to the various shelves I have scattered about my flat. There’s the built-ins in the living room, the IKEA bookcase I assembled and anchored to the wall of my bedroom, and a couple of small, foldable shelves that could go anywhere.

Today, I remembered there are crates of books in a storage locker in Santa Barbara beside the furniture and Majolica pots taken from my Mom’s house that don’t fit in her new apartment. I cringed at the thought — more books to categorize, more shelf space that I don’t have, more to (gasp!) read. And what about the lovely new book on courage by Debbie Ford that will be out in April? Will I have to wait until my library has been digested to entertain something new? Is this what those about to marry encounter when they consider being with one person for the rest of their lives? Will I develop a taste for some “strange” and stray from my own books? I’ll let you know.

Meanwhile, technology is threatening to leave me behind. Recently, a young(er) man was telling me how he reads the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the Economist on his iPad, before he even gets out of bed. No going to the newsstand anymore. You don’t even have to go to the front door and bend over to pick up the physical paper. Now you can roll over, grab your iPad and be immersed in the day’s news without moving more than a couple of inches.

I have an iPad, which I bought to Facetime with my boyfriend while he was in London. It surely would have been cheaper to use the phone, but there is something nice about being able to see him, and the technology is pretty seamless. And of course Words With Friends keeps me in touch with people without having to contact them. When they make a move, I know they’re alive and well. Then I learned that I could read the magazines I subscribe to on the iPad, and started downloading issues of Wired, the physical copies of which remain in their plastic delivery bags, scattered about my apartment.

Reading online is a revelation. There’s video and audio and other treats you don’t get with the physical magazine. But have you ever read Wired? It’s pretty dense, and there are definitely long-paragraphed stories I’m happy to skip, which feels a bit like cheating. I think I have to cut myself a break here and be happy if I make it cover-to-cover, whether or not I’ve read all the content.

I’ve also begun to dig into the latest novel I wrote in November, during National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  Check out the website: I’ve competed five times! Yes, there are five shitty novels in Kinko’s boxes under my bed and tucked up on the shelf, waiting to be read. Add those to the pile, please! If I haven’t said it already, this is a project that will easily last me the rest of my life. *Sigh*

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Oh, joy! I found a website that allows me to (fairly) easily create a library of all my books. It’s called LibraryThing, and you enter the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and 9 times out of 10, up pops your very book, with all the pertinent details, including how many other LibraryThing members carry that book in their collection.

I now know that I have more than 200 books, as that is the limit for free use of the site. As a measure of my commitment, I will plunk down the ten bucks to add more books. I’m almost there, almost ready to organize my collection by topic and title and get them back on the shelves, ready for reading.

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A lifetime’s library

I’ve been reading since, well, who knows? But somehow, buying and owning books became more of a pattern than actually reading them. Several years ago, I learned the secret to getting from cover to cover. Take a book out of the library! It comes with no price tag and a built-in deadline, an irresistible combination.

The idea for this project came to me after I recently moved into a new apartment. Why, I wondered, was I lugging around all these unread books? Knowing that I will probably move again in the next year, I thought Read ’em or weep. And so this project, as amorphous and potentially eternal as could be, was born.

The first thing I did, I am reluctant to admit, was buy a brand new book. A full-priced, albeit paperback, novel that I could have checked out of the library. It was the little rebellious girl in me throwing a spanner into the works, as my English boyfriend would phrase it.

So I’m almost finished with Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It’s the first novel I’ve read in years, the first book that had nothing to do with food or spirituality or writing or travel or finance or health and wellness that I’ve bought in a decade, and it’s quite good. Once finished, I can proudly put it on the shelf with the other already read books (yes, I’ve read a few) and move on to the next.

It’s not just books unread by the score; I’ve amassed a hefty assortment of magazines — Newsweek, Wired (couldn’t resist the $3 promotional subscription price), San Francisco, 7 x 7, The New Yorker (left by a generous neighbor), and Rolling Stone (which I didn’t even subscribe to, yet manages to find its way into my mailbox regularly) — and a wide variety of email newsletters. I’m a sucker for a free ebook (most of which remain, you guessed it, unread).

I thought I’d create a database, a lovely table of titles and such, but happened upon a lifesaver, a website called LibraryThing, and am now in the process of entering all the ISBNs (International Standard Book Number) and categories. I’ll not only be able to organize my books more effectively, but I can see how many others using the website share my interests.

My intention is to read these books and provide as much of a synopsis and review as I can muster, not being a book critic or even a completely attentive reader. I’ll do my best!

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