Weekend Reading and a Special Giveaway


I am excited to be able to link up with James & Jax for her weekend reading blog hop. I am even more excited that my post is not only about what I’ve been reading lately but it also features a giveaway that is both book and health related. Even more exciting is that I am going to let you chose the prize but I’ll get to that part shortly. First let me give you some background details.

I’ve been following a vegan diet for a couple of months now; a decision I came to for health reasons after realizing my body was having a hard time processing dairy. Just a few weeks into making this change I instantly knew it was the best thing for me. I felt great physically, I had tons of energy, and surprisingly I had no cravings. To this day I still feel the same, it’s pretty amazing. It also didn’t take very long before I wanted to learn more about veganism and plant-based diets. Thankfully our public library now has eBooks for the Kindle and I have been checking out tons of eBooks that deal with veganism as well as books about healthy eating in general. I realized that I research everything from safety ratings for automobiles to diner reviews on yelp why shouldn’t I research more about my health and how I am eating? So that’s what I did.


The book I first started off with, which is also part of the giveaway, was Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. You probably have heard of Pollan from his widely successful books; “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”. Heck, you have probably heard of the “Food Rules” (and maybe have already read it) as well. If you have read Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” then you will recognize this principle; Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. That principle in and of itself is a great rule of thumb to follow but Pollan has taken it a step further and broken those three statements down into a set of 64 guidelines which is what “Food Rules” is.

To call “Food Rules” a book is a bit of an exaggeration. The description of the book from Amazon refers to it as “a pocket compendium of food wisdom” and that’s exactly what it is. A set of 64 guidelines broken down into three sections: What should I eat? (Eat food) What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly plants) and How should I eat? (Not too much). Pollan recognizes that it is very challenging for every reader to adapt all 64 guidelines but asks that we at least try to incorporate one from each section into our lifestyle. Below I have listed three of my favorite rules that I have incorporated into my lifestyle.

Part 1- What should I eat?

“Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle”

I would say that 80-85% of my shopping is done in the peripheries of the store with a few big exceptions being beans and grains that are located in the middle aisles. I think I am ok though, I don’t think Pollan meant avoid bulgur wheat, I think he meant avoid Twinkies.

Part 2- What kind of food should I eat?

“Eat your colors”

Someone once told me I should eat five different colored fruits/veggies a day and I thought that was a great idea. Pollan’s rule is very similar and it is something I try to do every day. I love fruits and veggies, especially raw ones, but I do sometimes find myself eating the same colors every day. Now I try to eat an assortment of colors and I can tell I am getting in a ton of different vitamins and nutrients my body needs which is a great feeling.

Part 3- How should I eat?

“Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored”

I was notorious for sitting on the couch and snacking out of boredom. There were times where I finished a whole bag of chips (family size) and didn’t even realize it until there was nothing left. I call that mindless eating and that was something I only did out of boredom. Now if I am watching TV and feel the urge to snack I ask myself whether I am hungry or bored. If I am hungry I grab a piece of fruit, if I am bored I do something else. It took awhile but I have learned how to tell the difference and it has really impacted not only my weight loss but my overall feeling of well-being.

For this giveaway I would love to give you a copy of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. Don’t worry if you are an omnivore, this book is perfect for you. Pollan has both plant and meat based guidelines- perfect for everyone! If you have read this book please still enter. I am sure you know someone who could benefit from reading this. Plus with the holidays coming up you can always re-gift it 😉

But wait- there’s still more. Remember earlier when I said you got to pick your own prize. Well, that is true too. In addition to “Food Rules” you also get one other prize of your choosing. I am listing below some of my favorite books, cookbooks, and DVDs that are health/diet/eating related and you get to pick one of them as your prize.

1. “The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living” by Mark Bittman

I bought this cookbook about a year ago and have made many recipes from it. Bittman follows a vegan diet half the day so there are recipes for meat-eaters and vegans alike. Every recipe I have made from it was fabulous and I love that there are indicators for fast, make ahead, and pantry staple recipes.

2. “Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock” and “Vegan Pie in the Sky: 75 Out-of-This-World Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Cobblers, and More” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

VwaV was my first vegan cookbook and was purchased at the same time as “Food Matters”. I love this cookbook and I did even before I adopted a vegan diet. My favorite recipe is the beet, barley and black soybean soup. So yummy! Even Paul, a meat-eating Midwesterner, loves her recipes. I am also including “Vegan Pie in the Sky” which is her newest cookbook but will swap out with her cupcake or cookie cookbook if you prefer either of those over pie 🙂

3. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” and “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan

In “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” Pollan discusses the evolution of the American diet and the American way of eating and “In Defense of Food” shows us how to change it.

4. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingslover

I haven’t read this book but it is on my to-read list. I bought it at a library sale and hopefully will get to it soon. A friend of mine said it completely changed how she eats so I thought it would be a good book to include on the list. This is the book description from Amazon:

“Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.”

5. Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives (on DVD but you can choose the books instead if you prefer)

Two movies that I think will completely change how you look at food and both tie in to Pollan’s “Food Rules” completely. Food, Inc. gives us an in-depth view of how the demand for cheap food has impacted what we are eating; choosing cheap over nutritious and the ripple effect it has created. Forks Over Knives shows the consequences of a Western diet and the benefits of adopting a plant-based one. If I wasn’t a vegan already this movie (actually book, I haven’t seen the movie but I’ve read the book) would have pushed me to it.

Contest Rules

To enter leave a comment as to which one of the five prizes you would want and why.

One entry per person

The contest runs November 28th, 2011 until 1159pm CST December 4th, 2011. One winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) and announced on this blog December 5th, 2011. Once notified, the winner will need to supply their mailing address.

If you have any issues leaving a comment you can email me (axid200@gmail.com) or DM me (@dacialee33) and I will add them for you.

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

*No purchase necessary for entry, all opinions and viewpoints expressed are my own and I did not receive payment nor was I solicited for this giveaway.


November 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Books, Food, Giveaway.


  1. Caryn replied:

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I read Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” and really enjoyed it and have had “Food Rules” on my list for awhile now too! Of the prizes, if I won, I think I would choose the cookbook. Trying to use one of those a little more these days 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity!

  2. yerttle replied:

    ooooooohhhh…..in the words of my three year old “IwantIwantIwantIwant!” 🙂 I think I’d like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, but probably for a stupid reason.

    Anthony Bourdain said it was good. If Tony likes it, it’s either got to be really good or full of swear words. I’m betting on the really good one. 😉

    You’re awesome!

  3. James & Jax blog (@jamesandjax) replied:

    This is the best post I’ve read all week. Scratch that, all month! I loved Food Rules when I read it earlier this year. I can’t recommend it enough, just like you!

    I can’t decide which of the above prizes I like best! They all are things I would devour & cherish. But for the sake of this contest entry, I’ll settle on . “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” & “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan. But I know I’d also love the first cookbook you mentioned because I’m always seeking easy, cheap meals to make after a long day at work with a crazy toddler at my heels. (I’m suddenly tired just typing that.)

    Thanks for linking up to my bloghop!!!

  4. sayitrahshay replied:

    I think I would like to win the Vegan with a Vengeance and the Vegan Pie in the Sky. My kid has a dairy allergy and we have been toying with going vegan for a while. This would be a way to experiment. Also, PIE!

  5. The Busy Crab replied:

    Well, let’s see now…I think I’d like Mark Bittman’s book if i were to win. Although I rarely eat red meat (saved for special occasions), I am not ready to cut it (or poultry) out of my diet completely.

    I DO however need to find creative and yummy ways to prepare fruits and vegetables healthfully. I gravitate towards the greens in the produce aisle and would love to explore the other colors of the veggie-rainbow. I mean, there’s only so much I can do with good ol’ leafy greens and carrots, you know?!

  6. Mommy Entourage (@MommyEntourage) replied:

    Thanks for the great write-up. All of the books found fabulous but I like the Food Matters Cookbook because it encompasses both vegan and non-vegan recipes!

  7. Robin Elton replied:

    I’ve read and loved all of these! But I took them out of my local library. I’d love to have the Mark Bittman cookbook in my kitchen for easy reference.

  8. monica (@monica_ms) replied:

    “The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living” by Mark Bittman, I totally want this book! I’m always looking for new recipes and adding a few new amazing vegan ones would be outstanding!

  9. Simply Sidney replied:

    I’m learning so much about food from you!! I love this giveaway and this post!! I think I’d actually pick Vegan with a Vengeance, now there is some proof that I’m learning from you 🙂

  10. Update on Christmas Goals | Blogging Molly replied:

    […] you’re in the mood to win something, pop on over to my blogging buddy Dacia‘s site and enter to win her contest. It’s a super easy entry and you get to pick your […]

  11. justapilgrimsoul replied:

    First of all, I’m so impressed and proud of the changes that you’ve made in your life. You are truly an inspiration.

    I’d have to choose The Food Matters Cookbook since I have all of the other books.

    I can’t wait for you to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle so that we can discuss it!

  12. Racheal West Koontz replied:

    I’d like to enter as well this time. I would want #3 because I have read one of Michael Pollan’s other books and learned so much about the food industry as a whole. It really opened my eyes to some things that I had already had an idea was going on and helped me to adjust the way I approach food, both processed and unprocessed. I think it would be good to learn more about what all is out there.

  13. Whitney (@whitgetsfit) replied:

    My WW leader once brought in the “Food Rules” book for a meeting. I thought it was a great tool for the meeting. She passed it around and asked us to each read a rule aloud. I’ve been meaning to read it since that meeting!

    If I were to choose a prize, I would choose Mark Bittman’s cookbook. I find Bittman’s recipes to be wholesome, simple, and best of all, fail proof. This might sound like an exaggeration, but his no-knead bread recipe changed my bread-making life. I can only imagine how incredible the rest of his collection might be.

  14. Maggie Borders (@magsbord) replied:

    I would like “Food Rules” because that is something I often struggle with–especially eating your colors in fruits/veg and not eating when bored. Hearing more of Pollan’s thoughts on these issues–as well as his other sections would be extremely helpful to me. I am trying to eat more natural foods rather than processed, and so reading his advice on these issues would be extremely helpful to me.

    Six months ago, everything I ate was processed and fried. Now, I have cut a majority of that out of my diet. I’d say that I was originally 95% processed/ 5% natural. Now I am about 15% processed, 85% natural, and I feel like I am in the best shape of my life! I would like to continue the transition, and “Food Rules” would really help in this journey.

  15. NewVeronica2011 (@NewVeronica2011) replied:

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing your books and new experiences with the Vegan diet! I would like to win the “The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living” by Mark Bittman. It has both vegan and non-vegan recipes, which I know I would enjoy!

  16. Rose D (@RoseD78) replied:

    Food Matters cookbook would be the one of my liking. Because as you know I love to cook. If i can incorporate new foods into my kitchen that would be fantablous to do!!
    Your doing a great!!!

  17. Brittany (@brittermonkey) replied:

    I would want #5 because I have all the other ones 🙂

  18. jakennicksmomma replied:

    Eek! 20 min until the deadline…I would choose…. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingslover

    It sounds super interesting! Also, seems like I really need to read Food Rules too! 😀

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