Sunday, June 26, 2011

Packing for Mars by Mary Roach

Is there any other author who is so willing to throw themselves into their research as Mary Roach? The woman drank recycled URINE for this book, for goodness sake.

As always, Roach's book left me with facts to horrify my friends and family. This is why I love her so. Packing for Mars looks into the space program, and all the very unattractive things the prospective astronauts have to go through in order to be launched into space.

Heroes, yes, they are. Awe-inspiring, yes, they are. Even more so now that I know all the trouble they have to go through just to poop in space. A lot of money is spent researching how astronauts use the restroom, how they eat, down the to tiniest thing. Now I also know that astronauts get steak and eggs on launch day - because those foods are almost 94% digested, which leaves little to be....released later.

Someday, NASA wants to plan a trip to Mars, our closest planet. Which is still millions of miles away. We've landed unmanned vehicles on Mars, but they want a manned mission. Initially, it seems to be a one way trip, which there are volunteers for. Now they are trying to figure out how to get enough food to Mars so that the astronauts can come home. It's incredibly interesting to read.

And I still have plenty of fun facts to scare friends and family.

Friday, June 10, 2011

French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

I've read other reviews of this book and have been amused at the people who are offended that Guiliano is being superior and calling Americans fat. News flash, Americans. We're fat. Instead of getting offended, I jumped right into this book. It's helpful that I've always loved all things French.

Guiliano didn't pen a diet book. She simply tells us what French women do differently and then gives us advice on how to incorporate it into our lives. Everyone who has ever crashed dieted knows that it's short term and doesn't really work (and potentially does more harm later on). The whole restricting everything lifestyle change rarely works either. Very few people can stick to that for long. What Guiliano suggests is making moderate changes and still being able to indulge in the food that you love.

Her first suggestion is to keep a food diary for 3 weeks, no calorie counting, just writing down everything you eat and drink. Then you analyze your weak points, where you eat out of control portions or just plain overeat. Then for 3 months you start pulling back. Make portions smaller (actually, for America, that basically means just eating NORMAL portions and not our steakhouse portions that we're used to).

Guiliano includes several recipes that sound great. I've already started the food diary and managed to increase my water intake by a few glasses a day. I really do feel perkier.

With all my health problems, I was looking for ways to be healthier. I may not be able to change genetics but I can control what I ingest. And if I lose a few pounds with it, I won't complain.