Caring for your Belly
If you could change one part of your body what would you change? For many women, their immediate response is their belly. Why? In our quest to obtain flat abs, many of us have learned to disconnect ourselves from our bellies, obsessing about every curve and dimple. In Lisa Sarasohn's The Woman's Belly Book (New World Library, 2006), she dives into the complex world of women's bellies in hopes of finding alternatives to the obsessive, negative feelings women worldwide feel about their stomachs. Exploring cultural beliefs about the body's center, she reveals that the belly is not only the physical center of the body but is also our connection to spirit and intuition. Separating ourselves from our body's core not only hinders our ability to access the truth but also creates a laundry list of physical and mental ailments, obsession being just one. The Women's Belly Book is an uplifting book that offers inspiration, exercises, antidotes, and historical information; ultimately creating a new belly vision. Although for many women it is a radical notion to accept and not belittle their bellies, Sarasohn's detailed and concise information presents a clear argument in favor of acceptance and love over obsession and hate. In fact, one of her exercises is to have a belly laugh. Why? Says Sarasohn, "[A belly laugh] is a tremor rippling through your tissues, ticking your innards. It's an inner shimmy that makes the cells of your body dance with delight."
In the world of gourmet cuisine, you'll find such diverse indulgences as caviar and truffles, organic mixed greens with heirloom tomatoes, and rich chocolates from Switzerland. But, unfortunately, other than the price of these goods there isn't a unifying principle. In Jay Weinstein's new book, The Ethical Gourmet: How to Enjoy Great Food that is Humanely Raised, Sustainable, Nonendangered, and that Replenishes the Earth (Broadway Books, 2006), the social food conundrum is solved. No longer do foodies have to ignore their ethical and environmental principles in order to have a delicious dish. Weinstein explores the politics of food in the first chapter of his book, devoting great time and research to the current administration's policies regarding environmentalism, sustainability, and food policy, and while the information is at times both heart-breaking and disgusting, it provides the reader and consumer with options as well as the impetus for change. Other chapters highlight the difference between conventional and organic farming practices as well as other problems typically left out of the food debate including the treatment of workers, water usage, and why local is sometimes better than organic. Interspersed throughout his narrative, you'll find innovative recipes (Weinstein is a professional chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America) that highlight local, sustainable, and environmentally conscious ingredients. While concocting such recipes as Tomato Fondue and Broccoli Rabe with Pan-fried Catfish Strips, flip back to the front of the book to remind yourself of the countless benefits of eating ethically.