Friday 5 – Some of the Best Books I’ve Read Lately!


You guys, these are some of the best books that I’ve read in a long time! Sometimes it’s hard when there is such an abundance of books to read.. Which ones do you choose? You certainly don’t want to waste your time on a mediocre one. I found all five of these books to be absolutely worth my time!


The Island Beneath the Sea
by Isabel Allende (fiction, audio) – worth a read

I listened to this one on audio and this is one I think I would appreciated more if I were reading the physical book instead. The production could have been done much better, in my opinion. I also felt like the narrator was just reading facts at the beginning. I could picture myself immersed in this book if I were reading it myself and I might understand or get a better grasp of some of the French words if I had read them in print.

While the story is a bit long and slow in some parts, it really is a unique one from a different perspective than I have ever read. Assuming some of the historical aspects are true, I got a glimpse of life of Haiti and New Orleans in the 18th and 19th centuries when slavery was a “natural” part of society.


Confessions of a Paris Party Girl
by Vicki Lesage (nonfiction, audio) – MUST LISTEN

Okay, not everyone is going to love this book. I admit it. You may not even like it if you are a francophile or an American who has studied or lived in France.

But I loved it. Lesage’s voice is authentic and I loved to hear her struggles as a twenty-something in Paris – alone. While I studied in France way before the days of cell phones and Craig’s List and I was by no means alone, I felt like I could relate in a way. Plus, I have dined and drunk wine from baby bottles at her beloved Refuge des Fondues! Her tales are fun, light-hearted and something I just needed to hear right now.


The Girl with Seven Names
by Hyeonseo Lee (nonfiction) – MUST READ

I couldn’t stop reading nor could I stop telling everyone about this book. This is the true story of Lee’s life in and (unintentional?) escape from North Korea. She is just a bit younger than me, so it was crazy for me to picture what things were like while she grew up. I kept thinking, HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS? I could only imagine what life was like for her through her stories and as she stated, she had it pretty good. I also liked that there was a map in the book showing her route and other defectors’ routes. The difficulty astounds me.

I couldn’t stop talking about this book after I read it and have since recommended it to so many friends… I’ve also been that annoying person who says, “DID YOU KNOW?” about apparently everything I now know about what North Korea was like in the 90s. I’m sure some people just want me to shut the hell up already.

Instead, just read this book. I felt so ignorant while reading it; but also realize how much I’ve taken for granted the lifestyle I was given at birth.


Girl, Wash Your Face
by Rachel Hollis 

YOU GUYS! THIS BOOK! It was recommended to me by my library audiobook app after I listened to You Are a Badass. I didn’t know anything about it. But it looked like a short enough listen.


I liked it so much that I could see myself buying a copy and then totally geeking out and highlighting passages. Despite the fact that there is a big section about parenting and motherhood in the book, I don’t believe that it detracted from the overall message. I have a friend, though, that disagrees. She wished she could skip over those parts.

Hollis talks about the Lies we tell ourselves, then gives personal accounts of how she overcame them in hopes that everyone can take something away. It helped me look at certain parts of myself in a whole new perspective.

The thing is, I’m nothing like Hollis. I’m not a mom of four. I’m not looking to build an empire. I’ve been through some dark moments, but nothing like those she’s been through. But I still found that I could relate.

I’ve since recommended it to so many people, one being my hairdresser who said she’s already listened to it three times! Her husband even listened to it once (though the book is geared more toward women, as you can tell in the title).

Since then, I’ve found out that Hollis has kind of a cult following! She has released a “movie” in theaters which I think is motivational piece? called Made for More. Maybe live? It’s hard to tell. It was one night only, but they are doing an encore on Monday, August 13, 2018.

In any case, I just felt like this book fell into my lap at the right time. READ OR LISTEN TO IT.


The Help
by Kathryn Stockett (fiction) – MUST LISTEN

Okay, so I know I am behind the times on this book. It was published in 2009 and was even adapted to the big screen. After seeing the movie Hidden Figures with my mother-in-law, she asked me if I saw this movie.  I have never read the book nor seen the movie; but it kept coming up on lists of “best audiobooks”, so I finally picked it up from my local library.

I would have to agree! The voices are superb and I don’t know how or what could make this book any better than it is. PERFECTION. I immediately looked up the author and her goodreads profile said that she is “currently working on her second novel”. I’m amazed she hasn’t put anything out since this one.


What is the best or most surprisingly good book you’ve read lately?


Friday 5: Completely Different Books


Here are a few books I’ve read recently. A couple are short ones. But I’ve noticed that I’ve been listening to and reading a lot of nonfiction. There is one novel on this list. I remember thinking when I read it that it felt like a long time since I’d engrossed myself in one! But after looking at this recent list, I realize that these are 5 complete different styles of books.


Happiness Hacks: 100% Scientific! Curiously Effective!
by Alex Palmer (audio, nonfiction) – worth a read

Truth be told, this came up as a suggestion in my Hoopla App, where I download audiobooks from the library. It is a quick listen/read, so I gave it a shot. I wondered what kind of quick “hacks” would actually make one happier. I was surprisingly pleased to learn a thing or two – especially the tidbits about relationships. I listened to the audio version and realized later that I didn’t retain anything. I couldn’t think of one idea I learned to put into practice. So I downloaded the e-book from the library and wrote down those little bits of advice that struck me as novel. Here are a few:

  • Plan vacations earlier: Studies show that the after effect of a vacation is short-lived, but the time planning for and leading up to a vacation offers great happiness.
  • Relationships: Make sure their are at least 5 positive interactions with your significant other to every negative one. Less than this was a high predictor of failed relationships!
  • With so many options out there, use a bracket to make decisions to help with decision fatigue.
  • Use a dim red bulb as a reading light – I don’t remember why on this one!
  • Build things yourself – even if it’s a piece of IKEA furniture.
  • Complain with a purpose – include how you’d prefer things to be and/or how they can be improved.
  • Don’t “like” something on social media, provide a thoughtful comment instead.

Studies that back these “hacks” up are provided in each case. These are just a few that I hadn’t heard before.


The Truly Healthy Vegetarian Cookbook
by Elizabeth Thomson 
(nonfiction, cookbook) – MUST READ

Remember when I read the How Not to Die cookbook? I said that the cookbook had semi-complicated recipes with long ingredient lists. For someone new to trying a more whole-food, plant-based diet, the How Not to Die cookbook to be a little intimidating. However, Liz Thomson’s The Truly Healthy Vegetarian Cookbook is not. I found this book because I follow her blog I Heart Vegetables.

Thomson shows how easy it can be to add more plants to your diet. She even includes ways to add meat, if you are so inclined or to eliminated animal products are if you are completely vegan. There is even a page titled 15 Snacks, 10 Minutes, 5 or Fewer Ingredients. I, personally, want “recipes” like this, but authors often shy away from them because they might seem too “easy”.

This cookbook includes the title “truly healthy” because not all vegetarian (meatless) and vegan (animal-product-less) lifestyles are healthy. You can avoid meat and animal products and still eat just chips and processed foods all day. Healthy means eating more fruits and veggies and getting all the nutrients you need. She addresses all of this in the first chapter.

And while the point of this cookbook may not be to show how easy and/or quick it can be to whip up whole-food, plant-based, healthy meal, it’s what I’ve been learning to be true. When I don’t have to thaw, prep or sear meat, my meals come together much more quickly. Yes, I still eat meat and dairy products; but over the past year I’ve really come to love lentils and all kinds of beans, too. And any time I can learn to add more vegetables to my diet the better. Remember, only about 13% of Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables. Are you part of that small percentage? I certainly am not! (Yet.)


The Science of Getting Rich
by Wallace D. Wattles (nonfiction) – maybe?

I’ve been meaning to read this for probably a decade. Wattles wrote this book in 1910. It’s been referred to often in books about the Law of Attraction. While I certainly understand the premise, I wasn’t inspired or wowed by this book as many others have found it to change their lives. I’m sure it’s the language used during that time period that doesn’t speak to me. But it is a quick read. If you want to give it a shot, you can download it for free on Rhonda Byrne’s website for The Secret here


Medium Raw
by Anthony Bourdain (nonfiction) – worth a listen

Like many, I was saddened to hear the news of Anthony Bourdain’s death. I wasn’t a superfan, but I did enjoy watching No Reservations from time to time. His Quebec episode inspired us to travel there. (Although not in winter as he did!) It’s still one of my favorite episodes. I love the way he tells stories.

Not long after his death, his first book, Kitchen Confidential, skyrocketed up to #1 on the Amazon sales chart. That book was written in the late 90s (published in 2000), when my idea of food consisted of whatever was cheap while I was trying to transition from college to finding a job. I read this great article that was written after Bourdain’s death about how the book came about, explained by his editor and friend.

I haven’t read Kitchen Confidential – yet. I’m on the long library waiting list. Instead, I went with Medium Raw because fellow blogger Lisa recommended it, indicating that she liked it better. It was 10 years and I feel like not having even read Kitchen Confidential, that I could tell.

What I love about Anthony Bourdain is that he was always undeniably himself. What I didn’t always like is that he would criticize others for not being who he thought they should be. In some ways, I felt like he apologized for this (not directly, but in a way only Anthony Bourdain can do!) in Medium Raw. It’s almost like he was acknowledging his own evolution. But those changes are only part of what this book is about.

I downloaded the audio version from my library and enjoyed listening to it so much I’m hoping to listen to it again at some point on a road trip with my husband, who is also a fan. I can’t imagine now, not listening to Kitchen Confidential on audio when it becomes available at my library. His voice, passion and story-telling are uniquely his and I can’t imagine soaking up his words any other way now.


by Delia Ephron (fiction) – worth a read

Not sure where this one was recommended to me, but I must have put it on the hold list at the library for a reason! I watched more than my share of Nora Ephron films in the 90s, so when I learned Delia is her sister, I was intrigued. Plus, the setting of this book is in Italy. Who doesn’t love Italy!

When I sat on my deck reading this book on a windy, hot summer afternoon, I was whisked away. It’s funny that I could call this a quick, easy read when I was just getting so angry reading it. The book is written from the point of view of the four main characters, but I didn’t like any of them!

After reading the book, I went back to read the reviews on goodreads. I found people either loved it or hated it, but I was somewhere right in the middle. Because it was quick, I’d say it was worth the read, but it isn’t one I’d put at the top of my list. I found that many people disliked the characters as well. But do we really have to like the characters to like the book? That’s where the tension comes in.


Do you ever feel differently when reading different kinds of books?


Friday 5 – What I’ve Read Recently


Here are a few books I read and listened to within the last month or so… Everything was good, but no must reads this go ’round. If I had to pick one of these five, go with You Are a Badass.


Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste Ng (fiction, audiobook) – on the fence

I’ve started and stopped this book a couple of times. Mostly because there were just too many holds on it at the library and I couldn’t renew it or finish it before the renewal date. I finally downloaded the audio from the library to my phone. That way, I could listen to it as often as possible (read: when I’m walking or doing housework), rather than just in the car. To be quite honest, I don’t understand the hype around this book. I think it’s making it’s way to the big screen or getting a TV series deal now or something. I thought it was good, but not great.

That being said, when I think back about it, there are some themes that I didn’t notice how interconnected they were while reading the book – conflicting perspectives that provoked my thoughts long after reading this book. Maybe that’s all an author really needs – someone to keep thinking about the book long after it has been read.


O’s Little Book of Happiness
by The Oprah Magazine 
(nonfiction, audio) – worth a read

This is a collection of submissions to the Oprah Magazine of what brings people happiness and joy to people’s lives. You cannot help but smile when you read some of these these. Some are even inspiring. I listened to them on audio, but I think this book would be better suited to read. It’d make a great coffee table book!


My Italian Bulldozer
by Alexander McCall Smith (fiction) – worth a read

I’m not quite sure how I heard about this book! But I may have put it on my TBR (to-be-read) list when I was longing for Italy. It’s a pretty easy, fairly quick read and while fun, not exactly earth-shattering. I like the thought of driving a bulldozer in the countryside of Italy, though!


You Are a Badass
by Jen Cincero (nonfiction, audiobook) – worth a read

This book has been on my TBR (to-be-read) list for at least a year or two; but I think I was thrown-off by the title. It made me feel like the book was trying to hard to get my attention. But when I finally downloaded the book on audio and listened to the author read her own words, I learned that the title and the voice of the book are completely authentic to her personality. Sincero takes many of the motivational and self-help ideals and spins them in a way that is more down-to-earth that even the biggest skeptic will get on board.


How Not to Die Cookbook
by Michael Greger, M.D. (cookbook) – worth a flip


After reading Dr. Greger’s How Not to Die and having reconfirmed what the health and nutrition field claim as the healthiest way to eat (eat real food, mostly plants), it was natural to pick up this cookbook to help transition to a more whole-food, plant-based diet.

What I liked about this book is that Dr. Greger explains such a diet without going into all the technical and medical detail that he does in How Not to Die. However, I found many of the recipes in the book to be quite cumbersome with long ingredient lists and new techniques that make such a transition seem daunting. I do know that that doesn’t have to be the case and I’ll let you know the cookbook next week that will prove that to you! (That being said, the How Not to Die Cookbook does have a few recipes that make checking out this cookbook from the library to flip through it. I just wouldn’t purchase it just yet. )


Where do you read most often?


Friday 5 – What I Read


By the looks of this post, it’s been almost all cookbooks and audiobooks these days. I think there is a reason for this, but I won’t get into it now! 🙂 This was a really good selection, though. And these are books I read probably over a month ago. Let’s see what I retained…


How Not to Die:
Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
by Michael Greger (nonfiction) – must read

For the past few years, I’ve heard it said numerous times from various sources that we should be eating “real food, mostly plants”. Dr. Greger explains why. This is a doozy of a book! With a section on the most common diseases that lead to death and in-depth explanation why food is the root cause and how the right food can heal us, too. He opens with his example of his grandmother’s diagnosis of a terminal disease and in changing her diet – lived 20 more years.

There is a lot of information to back up his claims, so much that I skimmed over most of it, taking greater note on certain diseases that afflict loved ones. I wholly admit that I didn’t read every word of this book, but that I find what Greger writes to be candid and enlightening. The second half of his book focuses on how to approach a healthy diet with a checklist of your daily necessities and a stop-light approach to foods (Green light – EAT! Yellow light – think twice, don’t eat often. Red light – don’t eat).

Why is this all not common knowledge? There is no such thing as Big Broccoli!

I followed up by reading his cookbook of the same name which was recently released. You can also find information about specific diseases, foods and studies on his website at


The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas 
(fiction, audio) – must read

I absolutely adored this book on audio! I don’t know what constitues YA, but this one has a lot of not-necessarily-just-young-adult themes that are appropriate for these times. The book is being adapted for the screen and the trailer has just been released! I haven’t watched it yet, but I will say I think Amandla Stenberg will make a perfect Starr Carter.


This is Me:
Loving the Person You Are Today

by Chrissy Metz (nonfiction, audio) – worth a read

This popped up as a suggestion on Hoopla Audio where I download books from my local library. I promptly snatched it up and listened to it while picking up around the house and doing dishes. I really liked learning about Chrissy’s journey to Hollywood and also her philosophies now. She really puts her personality out there in the writing and reading of this story as well! She offers little nuggets of truth, too, like “Hurt people hurt people.”


My Kitchen Year
136 Recipes That Saved My Life

by Ruth Reichl (nonfiction, cookbook) – worth a read

I didn’t really know what this book was about, other than that it was a cookbook and that the recipes were possibly healthy: “136 Recipes that Saved My Life”. But what I came to learn is that these recipes came to save Reichl’s “life” after she became unemployed. They inspired her mentally and she illustrates how the methodical repetition in their creation could be meditative. The book is written like a story, which I love, as I read cookbooks like novels. The sections are divided by season and I found it quite lovely to read about such things while sitting out in the lounge chair on my patio on a spring afternoon. (Only a few of the recipes I could actually see myself making, but would probably eat quite a few if they were offered my way. 🙂 )


A Memoir of (My) Body

by Roxane Gay (nonfiction, audio) – worth a read


Whoa. This is a heavy, but real book. I’ve only read one of Gay’s books and it was entirely fiction. I can see where draws her ideas and feelings from now. This is a very vulnerable topic of which to write and is not a feel-good story, but one of Truth. Want a really in depth review/reaction to this book? This is one of the best I’ve read.


What do you like to read outside in the summer?


Friday 5: What I’ve Been Reading


I’ve read these almost two months ago, so let’s see what I’ve retained!


The Alchemist
by Paolo Coelho (fiction) – must read

This book has been on my to-read list for I-don’t-know-how-long. It is a fable with wisdom and lessons and I so wanted to highlight phrases throughout! I read it while Rob and I were soaking up sun in Pensacola, Florida while our Minnesota friends weathered an April snowstorm. I passed it on to Rob who read it on the plane ride back. He passed it on to the front seat pocket to leave for some other travel needing some insight to the world.


Hug Me
by Simona, Ciraolo 
(fiction) – worth a read

I found this children’s book on a list of Books to Cheer You Up. It was available in my library, so I promptly picked it up. While in Arizona a couple of years ago, I asked the people in the car with me if it was just me or if anyone else feel like cacti are always flipping us off. My Aunt Terri, who lives there, replied, “They have their arms up ready to give you a hug!” So this book made me think of her.

I enjoyed this book and I think your kids will, too.


Between the World and Me
by Ta-Nehisi Coates (nonfiction, audio) – must read, listen

Whoa. This book. I didn’t know anything about it, but it was on my list of audiobooks and I chose it because it was just the right length to get me through my commutes and return to the library before I went on vacation. Funny how that works, huh?

I had a hard time following the beginning, mostly because I knew absolutely nothing about the book. It is one of the most profound, poetically written works I’ve ever “read” and I’m glad I listened to it on audio, but I’m sure it is equally powerful on paper. I rarely give a book 5 stars on goodreads. But this one got mine.


The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
by Jonas Jonasson (fiction, audio) – worth a read, listen

I downloaded the audio version of this book from my library to my phone and listened to it while doing housework. It is a bit long, but ridiculously funny in parts. I love how prominent historical events are weaved in and out of the 100-year-old man’s life. I’d put this book in the same vein with A Man Called Ove, not because both authors are Swedish, but because they look back on the lives of older men how they lived. I enjoyed this book, but if you are going to choose one over the other adore A Man Called Ove, which I also listened to on audio. (The movie is great, too!)


Back Talk
by Danielle Lazarin (fiction) – worth a read?

How do you feel about short stories? The jury is still out there for me. This is a group of short stories I came across on my Hoopla Audio App that I downloaded from the library. To be quite honest, I don’t really remember much about them now, a month to two months later. (Such was the case with the highly acclaimed book of short stories What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky.) Sometimes when I read or listen to short stories, I feel like they drop off with no real purpose or resolution. And moving right in to the next story feels odd. I guess I like to sit with a story or a book for a bit. When I close the cover to a book, I don’t think I’ve ever just picked up the next book and began reading again.

Still, I felt like, while listening, I enjoyed them to pass the time to listen to while putting away laundry and dishes. Maybe I should accept short stories for what they are rather than imposing expectations of something they are not.


Quickly… What was the last book you read?
Did you like it?


Friday 5: Books on Acid Reflux & GERD


Yesterday I shared the pain I’ve been dealing with over the past month or so with Acid Reflux/GERD. It took me about a month, but I strove to put my acid reflux at bay with minimal set backs.

When you are in pain, you will do just about anything to find relief! During that time, while taking Prilosec, I also followed as many common dietary and lifestyle recommendations which I have also listed in this post.

Still, I tried to learn everything there is to know about Acid Reflux / GERD and how to treat and manage it. Symptoms of heartburn, chest pain and bloat and burping don’t go away by popping antacids. Medications can take a few days to kick-in, so there is generally no instant relief. But once the relief started, I wanted to be armed with the information of what needs to be done to prevent this in the future.

I knew I didn’t want to just treat the symptoms. I also had read in online articles about the dangers of being on medications long-term. But there is so much conflicting information out there! Below are the books I turned to during this time. In this post, I included the year each book which published because that can sometimes matter when it comes to medical information.


The 7-Day Acid Reflux Diet:
by Robert M. Fleischer (2013)

This was a quick Kindle purchase for $2.50. The publication is only available as an e-book. I rated it a 2 out of 5 on Goodreads. That basically is the rating for “it was ok”. Why did I rate it as such? One Amazon reviewer indicated:

“No new info here – very overpriced. Just a rehash of info you can find on the web for free.” 

That might be the case, but I tend to agree with another Amazon reviewer whose quote I now cannot find that indicated that this may include info that you can find on the web; but here you’ve got it all in one place without having to do the research yourself, especially if you are experiencing acid reflux for the first time.

I haven’t tried any of the recipes. In fact, I forgot about them until now.


Acid Reflux:
How to Treat Acid Reflux
How to Prevent Acid Reflux
by Ace McCloud (audio, 2017)

I downloaded this audiobook from my library because it was only a 56-minute book. There were no reviews on Goodreads at the time. I rated it a 3 (“I liked it”) and someone has since rated it a 2 (“it was ok”). This was written by a guy who has suffered from acid reflux, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to give it a listen. There is not too much new here that you can’t find online, but again may be worth a listen if you are experiencing acid reflux for the first time.

However, since listening to this book I found that author Ace McCloud has written 400 different works ranging from cookie recipes, to habits, to money, to Miley Cyrus. Doesn’t sound like much of an expert, now, huh. He advertises some of his books throughout the audio – like “checkout my book for managing stress” or something to that affect, which may be helpful; but some may find the shameless plug annoying.

Still there was one new nugget of information I did take away:

  • Aloe Vera Juice

I didn’t know this stuff existed or if drinking it would actually work. It’s a cheap purchase at Walmart in the pharmacy section. I listened to this book early on in my stages and I was willing to try anything. It tastes just like you’d think – like aloe vera gel smells, but slides down like a liquid. Not very tasty, but you only drink about 1/4 cup at a time before or with meals. I added some to my smoothies! Who is to say this works or doesn’t work with all of the other things I was trying at once!


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Acid Reflux Diet
by Maria A. Bella (2012)

I haven’t read a Complete Idiot’s Guide to anything since… the 90s? But it was available at my library, so why not?! You’ll get a lot of info on how the stomach and esophagus work in this book. It’s got a lot of very detailed information for anyone new to acid reflux, including foods to avoid and friendly foods.

I wasn’t in love with the recipe suggestions, however. Many acid reflux cookbooks will suggest avoiding foods, but then put them in their own recipes! Also, although I know there is a correlation with high fat and acid reflux, I don’t like when low-fat and fat-free products are pushed so heavily.


Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Acid Reflux (Revised Edition):
Nutrition You Can Live With
by Elaine Magee (2008)

I loved the title of this book because when one has acid reflux and starts to do some research, one learns all of the foods to avoid. It gets to the point where you start thinking, “Well, what CAN I eat?” It’s a pretty well laid-out and straight-forward kind of book.

New nuggets for me:

  • Chew gum. This was the first time I heard this suggestion, but it makes sense:
    • “The saliva stimulated by chewing seems to help neutralize acid and force stomach fluids back where it belongs.”
    • Generally speaking, this seems to be working for me, but I started doing this way into my treatment that… who knows!
    • I quit gum years ago; but now I may have a new gum addiction. Whoops.
  • High-protein diets are NOT more healthful that high-carbohydrate diets
    • I loved this nugget of advice. People often give up carbs to lose weight (weight loss is a big suggestion to combat acid reflux); but ignore the saturated fat that often comes with eating a high protein diet. Too much saturated fat with exacerbate acid reflux. It’s a high fiber diet that’s more important.
  • Health, NOT Weight Loss
    • This was an aha! moment for me!
    • Focusing on losing weight puts you into a dieting mindset where are you more likely to fail. All diets “work” if you work them, but they aren’t always healthy.
    • Instead, “change your focus to being and feeling healthy.” The weight loss with follow naturally.

I wasn’t in love with the recipe suggestions in this book. I did try one for Green Sauced Chicken Enchiladas. They were a little cumbersome and tasted okay, not great. It did make me think of this Lazy Girl’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole, though, and that I should make that again soon and can use green (tomatillo) salsa if I feel like tomatoes and I should continue our (sad) divorce.


The Acid Reflux Solution:
A Cookbook and Lifestyle Guide for Healing Heartburn Naturally
by Jorge E. Rodriguez, MD (2012) – MUST READ

This is the one book I would read if you want some good information on the whys, hows and what-to-do-nows of acid reflux. I checked it out from the library and have since purchased it on Thriftbooks. It’s written by a doctor who had experienced acid reflex himself for many years.

I like how Rodriguez addresses the medication situation – that it is useful to treat symptoms in the short-term; but that by no means should it be continued for long term use. PPIs (proton pump inhibitors), like Prilosec, should not be “prescribed longer than 50 days”. PPIs stop the production of the stomach acid so that there will be none to reflux up the esophagus. This is why it often takes 24 hours to three days to feel any relief of symptoms.

However, you do need that acid to break down food and absorb important nutrients in the long term! Without it, you will have trouble absorbing calcium, magnesium, iron and maybe even B vitamins, as well. Even if you think you are getting enough of these nutrients, you may not be soaking them up, which can affect your bones, red blood cells and heart in the long-term.

Rodriguez also addresses the usual list of trigger foods, indicating that that list may not be as long as we think! There is really only a short list of what foods may cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax, causing the reflux to occur in the first place. The other items may irritate an already inflamed esophagus, which is why some people can and some people cannot tolerate certain items. Maybe tomatoes, garlic, onions and I can all get back together and become one happy family?! In any case, real food that’s high in fiber and eaten in controlled portions is best.

There is much, much more to this book and I found it to be the most informational and liberating of all the books I read – the reason why I purchased it.

Some of the recipes in the book have longer ingredient lists and include complicated methods, but not all. At first glance, I thumbed through the recipes, skipping over many. But giving it a closer look, I found reasons to try some things I may normally swept under the rug, like Fennel-Scented Lentil Soup. (Fennel is a natural digestive aid!) I would have loved photos of each recipe as well as the nutrition facts. That may have made it a 5-star book for me.


Eating for Acid Reflux:
A Handbook and Cookbook for Those with Heartburn
by Jill Sklar & Annabel Cohen (2003)

This bonus 6th book on acid reflux isn’t really a bonus. I honestly didn’t read this book thoroughly, just thumbed through it. Frankly, I was quite sick of reading the same stuff about acid reflux and I felt like I got the information I really needed out of The Acid Reflux Solution.

This book goes very in depth about common causes and all the medical issues surrounding acid reflux. That part looks very detailed, but I did not read that lengthy section. It also goes over treatment and medication options, listing PPIs as part of “maintenance therapy”, which after what I’ve read about long-term use, makes this book seem dated!

What I did found intriguing in this book, though, were the recipes. I think I’d like to try every soup in the book despite the fact that there are no photos for any of them! And I found very few recipes touting the importance of low-fat or fat-free items. I may have to get a copy of this book just for the recipes!


In the end, any of these books could be helpful if you are suffering from acid reflux or GERD. However, if you don’t want to weed through everything out there, I’d recommend The Acid Reflux Solution.

I don’t have the pain that I did back at the end of April, but I can tell that my esophagus is still somewhat inflamed and irritated. Some days I make good choices, other days I don’t and pay dearly. But at least I have the tools to move in the right direction.


Do you have any favorite cookbooks or recipes for acid reflux sufferers?


Oh my GERD!


After a stressful April at work (including an IT debacle that made doing work very difficult), a much-needed, almost-perfect vacation of overindulgence, I revisited a health issue that once struck me in my 20s – ACID REFLUX.

Now when I say acid reflux, most people think heartburn, which is something with which I can totally deal. But acid reflux is something that is persistent and never seems to go away no matter how many antacids one takes. And even changing the diet takes a long time before relief is found.

My symptoms were similar to, but not exactly like those I found when I was diagnosed in my 20s – after college when I returned to live my parents, was stressed-out trying to figure out what to do with my life while working a temp job.

This time, it was the tightness in the chest and dizzy spells, however, that sent me to Urgent Care rather than making an appointment with my doctor. After many tests to rule out anything heart-related, I concluded with the Urgent Care physician that this was an acid reflux situation or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

And I basically knew what to do – get on some PPIs (aka Prilosec) and change my diet. STAT. (That night, I did begin to experience the same symptoms as I did in my 20s – heart attack-like chest pains so severe that I could feel it under my breast bone right through my back, like someone stabbing me.)

So, I made one of the healthiest, somewhat bland throw-together bowls ever and really enjoyed it:

This bowl included kale, rice, black beans, butternut squash, avocado and pepitas. I may have a drizzled a bit of olive oil over the top, too. (And yes, that is a picture of restaurateur Jamie Malone from the 2018 Restaurant of the Year edition of Food & Wine magazine. I’ve been reading all about Grand Cafe and am hoping to visit soon!)

But I wanted to learn more about treating my esophagus, not just the symptoms. There is so much conflicting information out there! So while I tried to adhere to many of these recommendations…

  • Avoid trigger foods/irritants:
    • Citrus fruits
    • Tomatoes
    • Garlic & Onions
    • Spicy foods
    • Coffee (caffeinated and decaf)
    • Most Teas
    • Chocolate
    • Alcohol
    • Fried foods
    • High-fat foods
    • Mint
    • Carbonated Beverages
  • Manage Stress
  • Lose weight
  • Don’t lie down until 2, preferably 3 hours after eating
  • Limit portion sizes
  • Sleep on your left side
  • Don’t take NSAIDs, like aspirin and Aleve
  • Eat a diet high in fiber

…while I tried to adhere to all of that, I got on the interwebs and checked out books to learn more. What of all the conflicting information is correct?! Well, if you are experiencing Acid Reflux, GERD or even persistent heartburn, I’ll share with you which books and information was worth my while and which ones you can SKIP. I hope to have this post up and info reviewed in the coming week or so!

When talking with people about my acid reflux, I’ve learned that a quite surprising number of people I know have been on PPIs for years. They are treating the symptoms, which I understand. It’s painful and hard to concentrate when you are feeling pain. But for years? In my reading, I learned why one shouldn’t be on medications like Prilosec for long-term use; yet, doctors are prescribing it over and over again anyway.

Changing diet and lifestyle is hard, but I’d rather give that a go than create future complications! More to come…

Do you have any favorite books, tips or recipes to help combat acid reflux or GERD?