Friday, July 15, 2016

Review of Eat to Beat Alzheimer's by Francie Healey

 Today I'm happy to host author Francie Healey as she promotes her cookbook, Eat to Beat Alzheimer's: Delicious Recipes and New Research to Prevent and Slow Dementia, through WOW! Women on Writing. You can learn more about Francie's inspiration for the book,  (and find a list of blogs giving copies on the tour!) here.

About the Book: 

Eat to Beat Alzheimer's offers a practical guide and an empowering tool to bring nourishing, healthful, and delicious food into the lives of people concerned about Alzheimer's and other cognitive problems. Almost 9 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and the toll is rapidly increasing. This book will appeal to everyone concerned about dementia and memory loss in either themselves or a loved one.

Recent research makes clear that the impact of aging on the brain can be reduced by simple diet and lifestyle modifications. The delicious food choices and easy-to-prepare recipes in this book are based on the latest findings showing that they can help slow the progression of Alzheimer's and other conditions like it, or prevent them entirely.

Readers will gain the knowledge and tools to take charge of their health by incorporating tasty, healing foods into their diet. The information in this cookbook will be as relevant and useful 20 years from now as it is today. And the recipes will still be just as delicious.

Eat to Beat Alzheimer's is available on Amazon & Barnes and Noble.

Paperback: 200 pages
Genre: Cookbook
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (June 30, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1938288610
ISBN-13: 978-1938288616

About the Author:
Francie Healey is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in Santa Fe, N.M. She specializes in the psychology of eating, helping people with health conditions to develop conscious eating habits and understand how food contributes to healing. Using her expertise to help clients manage cognitive decline through nutrition, Francie educates them on meal planning; the creation of simple, nutritious meals; and other keys to achieving a healthy relationship with food. She holds a Master's Degree in Counseling, and is a Certified Health Counselor and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Find Francie Healey Online:



Twitter: @FrancieHealey


Roughly 5.4 million people suffer from A.D. (Alzeheimer's disease) in the U.S. alone. Nearly one in every five Medicare dollars is estimated to be spent on people with A.D. and other forms of dementia. --From Eat to Beat Alzheimer's: Delicious Recipes and New Research to Prevent and Slow Dementia

First off, I quickly realized Eat to Beat Alzheimer's is much more than a cookbook. Francie's background in mental health and nutrition shines through as she shares information and research on Alzheimer's disease and dementia, and what researchers believe is tied to both conditions. I learned about the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet, and how it is up to each individual to listen to his or her body when it comes to dietary choices. In other words, there's a reason highly processed and preserved food leaves us feeling less than stellar. While I try my best to eat a whole foods diet, I often fall prey to the "busyness" that leaves us eating out more often than we should. Flipping through the recipes in Eat to Beat Alzheimer's made me immediately want to head out to the nearest health food store and stock up on the many of the spices and herbs found in the recipes. As a woman approaching my early 40s, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned about neurogenerative diseases and know I need to step up my game in the kitchen, for both me and my family. 

The recipes in this book are plentiful, and provide a good variety for even the pickiest of eaters. As huge fan of eggs for breakfast, I was thrilled to see offerings like Spinach and Egg Bites and Mozzarella and Zucchini Frittata. There are also several soups and stews, crisp and inviting salads, healthy snacks to help curb the sweet tooth (such as Quinoa Pumpkin Muffins), and more savory fare (Garlic Shrimp with Kale, Salmon with Lemon Relish,  Smothered Chicken and Sweet Potatoes).

I recommend this book to anyone stuck in cooking rut or who wants to focus on more whole-body nutrition. There's even a one-week sample menu to get you started. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Finding Love in Unimaginable Places

Today I'm participating in a group blogging event. WOW! Women on Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about finding love in unimaginable places. Why this topic? We're celebrating the release of Michael French's twenty-fourth novel. Once Upon a Lie (Terra Nova Books) is an exploration of the secrets families keep, and the ways those secrets can tear a family apart, Visit The Muffin to read what Michael has to say on finding love in unexpected places and view the list of all my fellow blogging buddies.

As a bonus, I will pick one commenter from this thread to be entered into a group drawing for the chance to win your own copy of Once Upon a Lie

Twelve-year-old Jaleel Robeson is on the run after the police in his tiny Texas town try to frame him for the death of his father. A world away, Alexandra “Alex” Baten is growing up amid all the material comforts a wealthy Los Angeles lawyer can provide. One day, a simple cup of lemonade unites their lives, leading to a maze of adultery and murder that shatters Alex’s youthful innocence and Jaleel’s struggle to reshape his life.

While the forces of the law try to unravel the mysterious death―or at least find a scapegoat―the two youths see the trajectories of their lives entwine, unravel, and come together again. Justice, Alex learns, can be a strange and nebulous thing, easily enmeshed in webs of loyalty and betrayal. Justice, Jaleel finds, can be a powerful―but dangerous―rock on which to build a life of honor and courage. As their stories play out over the years in cities far apart, best-selling author Michael French fills the world of Alex and Jaleel with a cast of vivid characters both supporting and threatening their efforts to build a life that “works” amid the expectancies of others and their own conflicting drives.

My Story: 

At the end of my sophomore year of college, I found myself in a place I truly never thought I would be. I was fighting for my life, but the war was internal. I had decided I was tired of living, tired of fighting, tired of trying to figure out who my friends really were, tired of working 35+ hours a week and taking a full course load, and tired of worrying about how I was going to pay off the credit card debt I had racked up. I was 19 years old, but the heavy blanket of sadness had followed me around for a long time, as my parents packed up and changed homes and the towns we lived in often multiple times a year. I had no sense of what a home really was.

I tried to talk to people about how I was feeling before it all snowballed. I really did. Maybe I chose to talk to the wrong people—because mostly what I got was blank stares and comments like “Seriously? What is wrong with you?” Or, “This is too heavy. I can’t handle this right now.” (This was from a guy I was involved in a romantic relationship with). I stopped eating. I slept way too much. I skipped classes, I floated through my job as a restaurant server like a ghost. I started turning in my reporting assignments for my campus newspaper half finished. I was embarrassed, because I had always been a studious and responsible writer.

One night, I finally collapsed under the weight of it all and through my tears, asked my roommate to drive me to the local mental health hospital. My first night there was terrifying. I was put in a locked ward in a bed that was situated in the middle of the room covered only by a very thin blanket. There was no door, and I could hear screams coming from down the hall. I was afraid to close my eyes. I started therapy sessions and medication the next day, and was eventually moved to a room that I shared with a woman who had OCD. She was very motherly and warm to me. My parents came to bring me clothes, but they didn't know what to say to me. They promised though, that they would help me get better any way they could.

I learned something very quickly during my time there. I discovered there were people who were MUCH worse off than me. There were people who were horribly addicted to drugs and alcohol, whose spouses beat them to a pulp, whose parents sexually abused them. There were people who were so catatonic and over-medicated that they couldn’t be with their families. I felt weak. I felt like I should have been able to handle my problems a little better. But I also felt a weight lifted off me by having other people to talk to who understood my sadness, and counselors who lifted my spirits and gently coaxed me to eat. In a moment of clarity, I found love in the unimaginable setting of a mental health hospital. I found love again for myself, for what my mind and body were capable of, and what I still had left to accomplish. I wanted to go back to college, reclaim what friendships I still had, and work through my problems, no matter how difficult they were. And you know what? It wasn’t easy, and I did have to return to the hospital briefly once more under stress during my senior year of college, but I graduated. Today I am the proud mother of two, I’ve been married for 15 years, and I help pay the bills (and have won a few awards) with my writing. I’ve often wanted to write about my experience, but have been afraid to because of what people might say about me. I would be lying if I said I still didn’t worry about that. But now I think that if I could learn to love myself in such a dark and desperate place, nothing is impossible.

About the Author:
A graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and of Northwestern University with a master’s in journalism, Michael French is the author of twenty-four books: adult and young adult fiction, art criticism, biographies, adaptations, and gender studies. A native of Los Angeles, he also is a successful businessman, an avid high-altitude mountain trekker, a world traveler to developing countries, an activist, and, with his wife, Patricia, a philanthropist raising money for programs aiding teachers in Santa Fe, N.M., public schools, which are some of the most challenged in the country.







Purchase a copy of the book here.

I'd love to hear about your own stories of finding love where you least expected it. Share in the comments below!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Summer Travels = Article Ideas

Summer is in full swing at our house as I've tried to get into a writing groove during the months that my kids are out of school. I love summer because I get to vacation with my family, spend quality time with my kids, and get a welcome break from the daily commute of driving my kids to school. It is harder, though, because my normal schedule is thrown off with the kids sleeping later and having to juggle the driving/carpooling to camps and other activities.

June flew by. The kids got out of school at the beginning of June and we had a trip planned to visit family in Central Texas. I scrambled a bit before we left because I have a full list of contract work right now (yay!) but as I wrote in this post for WOW! Women on Writing, being a freelance writer/editor means you never really get a break from deadlines. I scheduled some things to post ahead of time, and I'm lucky no real emergencies popped up because I had limited access to Wi-Fi n the airports and at the places I was visiting in Texas.

We did plenty of fun things on our trip and it was great to see family again. I got to check one thing off my "bucket list" of places to visit. As a big fan of the HGTV show "Fixer Upper,"  we were in close proximity to Waco, so we made a visit to Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Market Silos complex.

A photo posted by Elizabeth (@lizb063) on

I loved the layout of the place, with it's mix of a bakery (not opened yet, but we got to sample some cupcakes!), retail space, plenty of places for photos ops, feed and seed store, and a large, centrally-located green space with lawn games and swings for children to take a break on. There was a big crowd of people but because the property is so spread out, you never felt cramped.

A variety of food trucks border the property, with a shaded picnic area, which was welcome, because Texas is extremely hot and humid and there aren't any trees to provide natural shade. (However, we didn't need to pick up lunch because we stumbled upon an In-and-Out Burger at the exit for Magnolia Market.) Score!

A photo posted by rlroberson (@rlroberson) on

I picked up a few t-shirts and a tote bag and was impressed by the number of friendly employees on the property, all who were happy to snap photos of the visitors upon request.

A photo posted by rlroberson (@rlroberson) on

Two blocks away from Magnolia Market is the Dr. Pepper Museum, which is housed in the first building built to manufacture Dr. Pepper. Not only was the architecture of the old building beautiful, but the items curated in the museum were well worth the admission price, with the history of the company, collectibles, videos, memorabilia, and more. There's even more to find in an adjacent building, along with a gift shop and soda fountain for treats.

A photo posted by rlroberson (@rlroberson) on

Like any good freelancer, I've put this list of places on my "to-do" list of article ideas and submissions. Summer isn't over yet, and on top of juggling assignments, we've also got a few more trips planned before school starts back up. I'm especially looking forward to touring Washington, DC with the kids at the end of July. Stay tuned!