Recently I was asked what color of food I gravitate towards when I do our grocery shopping. I thought about it for a while, going back and forth between yellow and green, green to red, red to orange, and back to yellow. The truth is that I like my food to be colorful. I consciously cook our meals thinking about the colors they will have at the end. We, as a family, love veggies in our meals, so I will do vegetarian rice bake (recipe is at the end) and purposely make sure that we have broccoli for green, squash for yellow, red peppers for red, and so on, and after thinking about this I realize that colors become more important when cooking meats which are usually colorless…
I grew up eating veggies, my father, who is Panamanian and where being vegetarian is now something more or less acceptable, have consistently make sure that there is no meat in his lunch meals. So eating vegetarian sandwiches, or soups, or just plain salads, was something I was used to early on. We will go to restaurants and when everybody was ordering sweet and sour chicken, my father was ordering tofu stir fry… it was lunch… no meat allowed.
Then I married my Korean husband, which grew up eating an even wider array of veggies in each and every form from fermented to fried, and for whom eating veggies in every meal was the norm.
Fast forward 20 years together, we have changed our diets A LOT from the old Atkins to vegetarian, to vegan, to keto, to fasting… you name it… we have tried. But the constant has always been the veggies and we wanted our kids to feel that eating a bowl of brussels sprouts is as good as eating chicken wings… and for years we have incorporated different veggies in different styles, from fried to baked to teriyaki veggies stir fry or vegetarian curry.
One Sunday I did breakfast which included scrambled eggs, when I served I realized I forgot the spinach… it looks yummy but all yellow… no greens. I quickly cooked some spinach and put it right on top… we were all happy. We needed the veggies, we needed the color.
I consciously make sure that 4 out of the 7 meals (dinners) we eat are vegetarian based, the other three meals are meat-based. We enjoyed it and I feel good to know that the kiddos, genuinely smile when I come back from the supermarket with the biggest brussel sprout bag ever… We know we will eat good… and green.
Vegetarian Rice Bake
In a baking dish put the white rice (this can be basmati, jasmine, even quinoa and other grains like farro or barley or a mix of grains). Spread the white rice in the baking dish.
Cook the veggies, first the onions and bell peppers (and chickpeas if using) together with one tablespoon of the oil and add the cumin and coriander, salt and pepper to taste. Cook until soft and then add it on top of the rice.
Then do the green beans and carrots with the other tablespoon of oil, paprika, sumac, and salt and pepper to taste and cook until soft again and put it on top of the rice too.
Mix all together until the veggies are distributed. Top with the mozzarella (I used about a cup) and on top of the mozzarella at the feta cheese (about 1 cup). Cover with foil paper and put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, then take the foil off and bake for another 10 minutes, then put the broil on and broil for 5 minutes (or until the feta cheese is brown/melted)
You can use any veggie you like, we have used corn, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes, zucchini (really good), and yellow squash.
My mindfulness journal tasked me today with being mindful in the morning. This took a bit of thinking from my side… like many of us I wake up when “I need to” which is right before everything starts moving. I wake up, I go straight to the bathroom get myself semi-ready and start working on the kid’s lunches and breakfast and all while having some fun family talk. Then I finish my makeup and tidy up my bedroom and kitchen and leave right after to go to work with my oldest son who has early cross country practices.
So you see, taking a few minutes to be mindful put me in a pickle… So I tried a different approach to my morning. I woke up EARLIER and allowed myself to have a me-time without interruption. Of course, for this to happen, I had to go to bed EARLIER too! No caffeine after 4:00 pm and did my best to be in bed earlier than usual.
So I woke up at 4:25 gave myself a pep talk and got out of bed. I worked out for 45 minutes and after I was done, I dedicated time to do my journal. I did my best to be mindful in the morning while waking up, working out, journaling, and writing…
I liked the way I felt, more in-tune with the morning routine, more in-tune with myself. I did not like the fact that I felt that in order to achieve that I need to move my schedule (go to bed earlier, wake up earlier) instead of having the freedom to take a chunk of time of the day just for me… but I am learning with time that to be responsible of my actions and choices do make a different and I chose to have a house, a husband, two kiddos, and a full time job, so I think that being grateful for those choices is better than feeling grumpy because of needing to wake up earlier…
I have plans of doing this again, at least 3 times a week and for the other days, I plan to move the mindful moment for the night incorporating it in my night routine… we will see how that goes.
We will see with time how the new routine works, and looking forward to more challenges my new mindful journaling adventure may bring.
It is well known and scientifically confirmed that having a healthy sleeping pattern is crucial to our overall mind, body, and soul wellness, and that adults should have between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. I have to recognize that throughout my life my sleeping patterns have been inconsistent, erratic, and flat out not sufficient.
When I was in high school I was the first one to enlist in an “all night study group” with my friends. We will pick a home (sometimes mine) and we will START studying around 8 or 9 and we will stay up thanks to coffee, lots of coca-cola, and chips throughout the night. We would close books around 3 or 4 in the morning, sleep for two hours, and get ready to go to school, acting like zombies during school hours, but lucky enough, acing every test.
I applied the same concept in College and it worked! I graduated with an Engineering degree pulling all-nightersat the library and bars (no judging I did graduate).
While in high school and college my sleeping ritual and pattern had been sneaking out of the window, once I
became a mother it went running out of the front door never to look back. Between breastfeeding and working full time, being sleep deprived became normal. I remember about five years after becoming a mom that I woke up one day at 8 a.m., and oh my it was a miracle. I had by then two boys, a full-time job, and shared every household responsibility with my husband, including cleaning and cooking. I was a very happy and sleepy mother and wife.
My boys were never the ones to sleep until late, they would wake up at the crack of dawn, with happy faces and empty bellies. I loved every minute of those mornings, and my husband was up for family time too. Now my boys are older, if they wake up before me they know how to start with their breakfasts until I roll out of bed around 7:00 a.m. (yes, the crack of dawn is still their wake up alarm).
In the years to come, my nights have had several rituals and several patterns. From using my nights to sew and quilt, from devoting long nights to reading, to use them to study for my Life Coaching certification, and for a while, I turned off the lights and went to bed at 9:30 sharp (with an alarm set up at 4:00 a.m.).
When I started my journey of self-improvement I came across the importance of a nighttime routine and hours ofsleep. I immediately downloaded an app and started logging in my sleeping hours and to my surprise, I was sleep deprived at an average of 5.5 hours of sleeping time! I have been working hard to try to create an automatic nighttime routine which is easily doable and without too many steps. I have been able to increase my hours of sleep, and I do feel the difference especially on my happiness vs grumpiness when I am tired and sleepy. I learned to put my sleeping time as a priority instead of letting it be the last action of the day and compensating for the lack of sleep with coffee cups at 5:00 pm!
It is a work in progress and I do have several factors working against me in order to maintain a healthy 8 hour sleeping time, but taking into consideration the importance of a good and healthy night sleep I keep my log, I check with myself, I check my moods, my fatigue, and I do take it seriously. Nighttime may be running away from me must of the time… but I am certainly running towards it as well.
Every day we have the opportunity to redefine ourselves, I have been knowing this for a while and I do work daily on positive personal development. Practicing awareness with our surroundings as well as internally allows us to detect parts of our daily thoughts and beliefs that interfere with the goal of just “being a better person”.
During my interaction with friends and family for the last three months, it has come very clear how differently people are reacting to these challenging times as we try to consolidate the external worldwide chaos with our neurotic, monotonous, boring, and scary household life.
Some friends and family will clearly state out the commitment to take this mandatory “time-off” to re-evaluate themselves, take the time to look inward, to take upon projects and goals unfinished and get them done. From improving our communication (and patience) with our children to becoming a better baker or to read more books or simply cleaning that forgotten drawer you’ve been avoiding for years…
I personally found myself on this side of the balance, especially at the beginning (yes nothing remain the same after three months of constant uncertainty and immobilization). As soon as I realized that the kids were not going back to school and as we followed the stay-at-home orders, I sprung into thinking how I can use this time positively. I soon became discouraged as my work from home completely consumed my day due to the lack of “fast and easy technology set-up” I had in my office. That combined with two school-aged children doing all their school work at home and having to feed the family three times a day plus snacks did not help.
So I slowed down the list of goals for self-improvement, embraced my new days as they came, and put my mind into making my husband happy, my kids smarter, my boss content, and my parents relaxed. I did learned how to sew masks, I did continue with my never-ending life coaching learning, I did become a better baker (thanks to the Great British Bake-Off), I did continue to exercise as I would normally do and improved by nutritional intake, however, there where other items I have yet to complete, and I simply don’t care.
As the days (and weeks) progressed I saw how my friends and family switch from being positive and getting personal goals set up to straight up complaining about why now we are in this frenzy of improving ourselves… like one friend said: “I have enough not to lose my mind thanks to the extra anxiety I have with kids, and unemployment, and not getting out of the house, and making and remaking budgets, I don’t need the pressure of redefining myself so at the end of this ordeal I come out a better person which of course includes for some weird reason being on a better physical shape too. Idon’t want to be a better person, I just want to survive this in one piece”. I deeply sympathize with this feeling, and I do get it, however, it was hard not to hear the fear speaking out, the solid acceptance that we are in a deep hole, that all is dark, that is hard and difficult, that the way out looks impossibly far away.
Although I do understand the refusal to take this moment to look inward, when outward is going ballistics, it’s for that same reason that we should take time to analyze ourselves, our feelings, and our thoughts. Perhaps not with the purpose of redefining ourselves, but surely with the goal of finding our center, our own personal stability, our balance, and our hope.
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.
I am turning 40 with a whole new healthy lifestyle and following Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet was the best gift I could have given myself.
After one month of following the diet, I can honestly say that the results are not only visible, but I can internally feel them too.
I feel more energized, happier, in control of what I eat, and extremely satisfied every time I realize I have reached another weight loss goal! (the scale never lies). I do believe that when we are happy with ourselves we show it to those around us, and my family has been constantly complimenting my new attitude and self-love. Watch out 40 Here I Come!!!
What I like about this diet (or what I like to call it: Healthy Lifestyle) is that it is easily accommodating to my day to day life, turning into something that you not only adapt just to lose weight or just to gain energy but, something that you can adapt as a permanent lifestyle. Your everyday life will only be improved when this plan is constantly followed (I know I feel and look like the young active mom I want to be).
I would like to complete this journey by providing you one quote from the book that better describes why this new adapted healthy lifestyle is the one you need to get on right now…
❖ “So, despite all the bad press over the years, certain carbohydrates play an important role in balancing your hormones and regulating your metabolic rate, while avoiding the dreaded weight loss plateaus that accompany conventional mainstream diets. Furthermore, when you eat these carbohydrates, you’ll feel much better than you would if you were following a traditional diet.”
The reason why I think this is a very important part of the book is that it shows that by adapting to this lifestyle we are moving around how we eat and when we eat, but there are no severe restrictions to any foods, and for me, that is a major hit with this diet. I am a mom with growing kids, a full-time job, a husband that has health issues, and I cannot create two or three separate meal plans, I needed to downstream our diet as a family while making sure we are all healthy and fit, and this book did just that.
As the book says
❖ “Always Eat After 7 pm is a three-phase program that teaches you how to lose big by strategically eating big when you are naturally hungriest—in the evening. This may sound too good to be true, but let me assure you it is no gimmick. It’s all about making strategic and smart food swaps, and you can still eat your favorite foods.”
I am glad I shared my journey with you. I hope it motivates you to start your own journey towards a healthier lifestyle, not only for you, but also for your family. (for post 1, 2 and 3 see below).
Post 3: http://themariparklife.com/2020/06/18/1139/
I have seen the changes in my body and the changes in my mentality towards nutrition, this book has allowed me to become more nutrition smart, allowing me to understand my metabolism (especially now that I am turning 40), my eating habits (old and new), and my confidence in making the right healthy choices for me and my family.
Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion which is now available to purchase and you can learn more about the book and how to purchase here http://bit.ly/2wNaFIx
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own.
After two weeks of diving into the diet program, I found myself on a clear path to achieving my goals. My goal was to lose weight without losing my sanity and after one week I started seeing the results. I started losing weight, and the main reason was that I was shifting how and when I was eating. I started sticking to the Intermittent Fasting (the Lemon water is still my favorite thing to drink every morning) and soon breaking the fasting with one of Joel Marion lunches ideas, and soon enough I started seeing results.
I am basically following the Morning Ritual that Joel Marion mentions at the beginning of the book which is found below
❖ “One of the simplest 3-Minute Fat-Burning Morning Rituals, lemon water is a glass of water mixed with the juice of one half of a lemon. This drink provides all the benefits of regular drinking water, which supports weight loss, digestive health, physical performance, and cognitive function.”
In a nutshell, the Always Eat After 7 PM plan consists of The 14-day Acceleration Phase to kick-start the program and see rapid results, The Main Phase where you’ll learn exactly which foods to eat when in order to achieve your weight-loss goals, The Lifestyle Phase to keep the weight off for good, and within this concept comes the ability to make it easy to follow, without deprivation or exhaustion, and gaining a ton of energy along the way.
After two weeks in the program I gained so much energy back that I was able to add work-out time 3 times a day and I was really surprised by the amount of energy I have throughout the day. Instead of feeling deflated at the end of the day, I had sufficient energy to clock in 30 minutes of running, cycling, follow-along routines, and more.
And if you are wondering, quoting from the book, how Intermittent Fasting works, here it is…
❖ “Intermittent fasting really shines when it comes to improving the hormones that directly affect your hunger, blood sugar, and metabolism. One is insulin. Intermittent Fasting combats insulin resistance, meaning that it helps your body use insulin more normally, thereby lowering your diabetes risk and boosting your metabolism.”
Once you start reading all the scientific facts backing up this info you realize and understand the reasons why IF works. What are the things I love the most about the book? Well first is the easy-to-follow plan. The first weeks are basically made for you to follow in order to get the results you want. No guessing, no counting macros, no counting calories, just what your breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner should be. You can follow it or mix and match as you want.
I also liked the recipes!!! My family has already picked two or three favorite dinner meals that we have repeated, and they are delicious! For example, the Stuffed Bell Peppers are delicious and so easy to make. the whole family enjoyed this dish a lot. Last Saturday I made the Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Roast with Roasted Peppers Stuffing, and we had a restaurant-quality meal at home. We finished dinner off with the No-Bake Salted Caramel Bars… all of this and still sticking to the diet… Priceless!!!
The book features full and complete meals packed with flavor and none of the restrictions other diets have. The recipe portion of the book also includes a great variety of smoothies that I and 12 year-old son have tried and loved.
Without a doubt, Joel Marion’s Always Eat After 7PM program makes dieting easy and eliminates 90% of reasons for resistance, allowing you to easily adapt to this healthy new lifestyle.
I invite you to see my previous two posts!
Learn more about the book and how to purchase here http://bit.ly/32oR90L
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own
Having a hectic life with little room to take the time to do elaborate diet plan meals or extensive work out hours was the main reason to choose Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion as my way to go to accomplish my weight loss goals, specially when my 40th birthday is around the corner. I am a mother and a wife with a full time job as an marine engineer, with a Life Coaching growing business, and although we condition ourselves to be ok being the last one in line… I wanted to put me first and treat myself to a healthier me.
For my first post please see link:
The book opened the opportunity to shift how I diet. Instead of watching my family eat dinner while I had a shake or a cup of tea or coffee (as part of a diet), I am now actively participating and eating during dinner time. This alone was for me a big motivation to go ahead and sign up on this program and follow the book. Additionally, I found myself reflecting on my previous beliefs of food, nutrition, calorie intake, and health. I truly enjoyed how all those previous concepts are being replaced by “smarter” ones that are allowing me to reach my weight loss goal while keeping my sanity.
The more I read the book the more I realized the great impact of the knowledge this book was provided to me. From breaking away from the notion that in order to lose weight I needed to starve myself to the new concept of intermittent fasting and eating late at night. This book impacted me health-wise way more than I expected it. It opened my eyes to a new way of looking at nutrition, weight loss, and a healthy lifestyle. Based on surprising science, Always Eat After 7 PM debunks popular diet myths and offers an easy-to-follow diet that accelerates fat-burning and allows you to indulge in your most intense food cravings: Eating the majority of your calories at night.
In this post, I wanted to provide more info on the author Joel Marion. Bestselling author, Joel Marion, is a fitness expert and nutritionist debunking the myths underlying traditional dieting and offers a simple, highly effective weight loss program. I believe that a great book is the result of a great author and this is no exception. Below is a quick interview with the author that allows us to understand his background, vision, and passion for achieving optimal nutrition.
1. What was the inspiration behind writing this book?
Joel Marion: After authoring 6 best selling books it was glaringly obvious there were 2 huge misconceptions about dieting that needed to be exposed. The first is that you can’t eat late at night or before bed, which science now shows is NOT true. And second, you can’t eat large portions that satisfy your natural instinct. This book solves both these problems by providing an evidence-based, enjoyable approach to dieting that can be used by any person to quickly achieve their weight loss goals.
2. How long did it take for you to develop and perfect this diet?
Joel Marion: It actually took several years of researching for me to discover the real science of eating late at night. After a few years of tweaking and refining, I finally came up with a rapid fat loss solution that overcomes all the pitfalls of traditional diets.
3. You are the author of six bestselling books, what is different about this book compared to your others?
Joel Marion: Although many of the concepts are similar, the biggest difference is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. You don’t have to deal with the burden of eating every few hours. And you don’t have to skip the carbs at dinnertime or avoid eating before bed.
The more I get to know about Joel and his approach to this new exciting diet, it is clear to me that experience and acknowledges are clearly backing up Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion which is now available to purchase. It is truly inspiring when you are following a proven diet that is backed up by scientific facts, personal training experience, and in-depth research.
I invite you learn more about the book and how to purchase here http://bit.ly/2TefhPs where additional information on this new revolutionary dieting concept can be found.
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed below are my own
I am a few weeks of turning 40 years old and my journey to my “ideal weight” has been an uphill battle all the way up.
When I was in my teens I was what is called in very good shape. I did taekwondo, I watched what I ate, and my father was an avid runner, so that kept the household into a more active and healthy lifestyle. When I was 17 I got into a pretty bad car accident and during my long period of not being able to move, my diet was restricted in a way to keep a balanced weight (which consisted of steamed broccoli and grilled chicken for about 8 months…). And then came college, the usual “freshman 15” was more like a “freshman 30”, and from that point on the battle to be in my ideal weight started. After two pregnancies and countless of yo-yo diets, my weight went up and down until I was 34 years old. I was able to stick to a diet plan and finally reach my ideal weight… I was indeed a happy camper.
However, even though I reached my goal something was not right, because the road to achieving my goal was just unbearable. I was calorically deprived and overly tired from constant rigorous exercise, and in the minute that I reached my goal, I knew that…
So as the scale kept going up in numbers, I realized I needed to find an alternative that
So I started looking around to the next best alternative and that search has continued until today. My husband, who is following a very good healthy lifestyle, mentioned Intermittent Fasting. So I did some research and the information was very conclusive about its benefits. It sounded like an amazing alternative, but I felt that everyone had a way of “fasting” and how to break the fasting or when to break the fasting was not really a common answer.
But I luckily found Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion and it was a match made in heaven. It clicked the boxes of what I needed and even better clicked the boxes of what I wanted, letting me eat the foods I wanted, not giving me crazy exercise routines, and keeping me in a plan that would keep me sane, in a good mood, and healthy.
Bestselling author, Joel Marion, is a fitness expert and nutritionist debunking the myths underlying traditional dieting and offers a simple, highly effective weight loss program.
Right into the first Chapter, Joel dives right into why this program will work for me, debunking myths after myths of dieting confusion, mistakes, and false hopes.
This info is backed up by scientific studies carried out all over the world showing the benefits of eating late at night and the benefits of intermitting fasting. Based on surprising science, Always Eat After 7 PM debunks popular diet myths and offers an easy-to-follow diet that accelerates fat-burning and allows you to indulge in your most intense food cravings: Eating the majority of your calories at night.
Here is one of my favorite quotes in the book so far:
“Late-night eating also curbs calorie intake the next day. In a four-week study, dieters added a snack to their daily regimen 90 minutes after dinner every night, and check this out: late-night eaters ate an average of 397 fewer calories per day.”
Knowing that his book is backed by multiple studies and researches almost confirm that you will get real and lasting results. He also explains how controlling the time that you eat will greatly benefit not only your weight loss but also how you should consume the meals (time, quantity, and the right foods) for your lunches, dinners, and snacks. Not only does Joel give tons of tips and tricks to stick to his plan, he includes more than 70 recipes that help with your weight loss journey.
Below is the book cover for you to check it out as well:
Additionally below is additional info I was able to find online:
I read the first few chapters of the book and am now starting to get ready to dive into my weight loss journey with Joel Marion as my guide, I feel excited and motivated! I will turn 40 years old with a big smile as I embark on the Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion plan!
Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks—While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion is now available to purchase. Learn more about the book and how to purchase it here…http://bit.ly/2TefhPs
More post to come as the plan progresses!
This post is brought to you by our sponsor, “Always Eat After 7 PM”. The opinions expressed above are my own.
I owe my love of books to my dad, who has always been an avid reader. Throughout my life certain books have remained in my memory, imprinted on me through the feelings they inspired by reading its pages, those feelings and emotions have stayed with me, providing a place of refuge when needed. Below is a quick narrative of these books throughout my life:
When I was 9 years old, my father gave me my first book called “Heart”, by the Italian writer Edmondo de Amici,. This was the book that welcomed me to the world of reading. My second book was the “Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery, which I have read several times during my lifetime. When I got pregnant it was the first book I bought my children, and we currently still have three versions of this book to this day.
When I was 13 years old I read “100 Years of Solitude” by the Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I vividly remember re-reading its pages, over and over, as I felt a door opening right in front of me showing me the brilliance of the human mental creativity. I clearly remember when Ursula (a character in the book) passed away, I cried, closing the book for a few minutes showing my respect to this imaginary, but majestic character. 100 Years of Solitude was the first book I bought in English. When I understood that I was going to live in the US, I went to a book store and bought it, it was the first book for my new library.
At 14 I read “Sophie’s World” by the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder who introduced me to the fascinating world of magic books, in which your mind can expand with learning and at the same time become fascinated by the storyline. At 15 I read my first scary book (and the one that has scared me the most so far), “The Turn of the Screw” by the English writer by Henry James, which gave me nightmares for months. I loved the feeling this book gave me, after watching so many horror movies, no fear has been greater than the one I felt that lonely afternoon, reading this book as the night was falling…
At 16 I had a Spanish teacher who invited me to expand my knowledge of reading, I read “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes (I can still recite the first two paragraphs of this book) along with other distinguished Spanish writers such as Federico Garcia Lorca, Antonio Machado, Miguel de Unamuno, and many others.
My father did his job too, giving me a free pass to the home library with vast collection of Latin-American writers. I lost myself in the poems of the Argentine poet Jorge Luis Borges, the Chilean poet Gabriella Mistral, the Mexican poet Octavio Paz, and the Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario (his poem “A Margarita Debayle” is one of my all times favorites, being able to remember the entire poem and giving me happy thoughts every time I read it.), among others. I devoured the books of brilliant writers like the Mexican writer Juan Rulfo’s “The Burning Plain”, the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa’s “The Green House”, and the Argentine writer Julio’s Cortazar’s “Hopscotch” (which impacted me tremendously), and of course the Chilean writer Isabelle Allende’s “The House of the Spirits” (and “Paula” which I consider one of the most heartfelt written books, so raw with sadness and hope that it touches your soul).
I spent my teenage years indulging in coming of age books like the Gothic novels by V.C. Andrews “Flowers in the Attic” (the whole series), “The Babysitters Club” by Ann M. Martin, as well as touching books like “The Alchemist” by the Brazilian writer Paulo Cohelo.
When I got to college, I returned to my father’s library every time I would go visit, stealing a book or two right before coming back to the US to “read in the plane” but never with the intention of returning them. Among my traveling companions were the Portuguese Jose Saramago, the British Kazuo Ishiguro, the Belarusian Svetlana Alexandrovna Alexievich (one of my favorites writers), the Spanish Arturo Perez-Reverte, and the American Stephen King among others.
In my latest years I have continued to read, sometimes more committed than others, still taking into account every suggestion my dad gives me (The last book suggested by my dad was by the Argentine writer Eduardo Sacheri’s “Papers in the Wind” which I loved). He will bring me books in Spanish (even when written by American or other non-spanish speaking writers) and I will go and buy books in English, submerging myself with American writers more and more every day.
I take turns between old-time literary masterpieces, and new and upcoming writers. I take turns (simultaneously) between self-help books and fiction, mixing in autobiographies and comedy. I do work in expanding my reading experience, signing myself in the “Goodreads” book clubs, local book clubs, and following my oldest son’s reading adventures.
What about you? What books have impacted you the most? Which books are you reading now? What is your personal story with reading?
… and always keep a book by your nightstand… it may surprise you.
This blog has personal input and you are invited to provide any comments at the end of the blog.
I got this book as a recommendation in a book discussion in Goodreads… I ordered online and was truly anticipating its arrival. When it came, I felt a bit of a panic… I have been sober for a while now, on my own, and after years of choosing sobriety, this was my first book on the topic of sobriety… so I was anxious… however I quickly realized I did not need to be anxious at all… just disappointed I did not read this way earlier.
The book is witty, funny, honest, informative, educational, heart-warming, and at times heart-wrenching… I read The book is witty, funny, honest, informative, educational, heart-warming, and at times heart-wrenching… I read this book slowly and taking my time. Some parts I was able to read faster than others, and other chapters I read them twice… yes, as in with a highlighter and a journal next to me twice…
As always, below is my honest review of the book.
My Personal Opinion:
The first aspect of the book that called my attention is how personal its voice is. It was brutally honest but full of compassion at the same time. Having the personal experience of what happens when alcohol takes over, I was deeply connected to her story, from her denial, to her acceptance, and taking the hard-strong decision to stop drinking and embracing sobriety along the way.
The book goes back and forth at times, making comparisons of how it “was when drinking” and how “it is now sober”. It gives hope, it gives comfort, it gives self-compassion, at times allows us to forgive our decisions as we, along with the author, learn to make better decisions and move forward towards sobriety.
The story is her story, so we can relate at times, and at times we cannot. However, the author does point out several times, that the story is about her’ process of getting sober and she hopes that her experiences can connect with yours or a loved one of yours (in my case at times I had a strong understanding, and at times I did not… but it was her story, and from my point of view, I was happy she was just been honest about her journey. There were many parts in this book in which I saw the courage of her storytelling. It takes guts to put it out all like that… but as a person pursuing sobriety, the book gave me the lesson than if I am not honest… well I am still in denial. The honesty of the book has its mission, and I embraced it and I am thankful for it.
I do recommend this book for those people who are entertaining the idea of sobriety, and for those who have made the decision to be sober, whether you have done the 12 steps or you are trying on your own for the first or 20th time, read the book, it will help you. The book has a lot of scientific data to back up the many why’s of how we feel, think, and act while we drink, and then when we stop. It gives us clarity to understand our behavior and decision-making abilities while we are seeking the companionship of the alcohol and the radical change of our lives when we decide to step away from it.
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change’.”The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – Catherine Gray
“I didn’t have a drinking problem as such. I was great at drinking! It was the stopping. I had a stopping problem.”
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – Catherine GrayThe Witch Elm by Tana French
“Once the fear took hold, I was fucked. I’d never known anything like it could exist: all-consuming, ravenous, a whirling black vortex that sucked me under so completely and mercilessly that it truly felt like I was being devoured alive, bones splintered, marrow sucked.”The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – Catherine Gray
On playing games in relationships “You’re not a performing seal. If you need to perform tricks to keep his/her attention, you never really had it to begin with. Imagine how exhausting that would be long term. You’re starting an intimate, supportive relationship, not joining the circus”The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – Catherine Gray
“What I was really thinking was: Don’t even for a minute think I’m vanilla because the truth is I am so hardcore I had to quit. I drank so much it was a matter of life and death. I’m like a rock star compared with you… you should look at me with a touch of fear and awe because I am such a badass you would quiver just to think about the amount of rot gut I’ve ingested over the years. So step off with your preconceived notions, okay?”The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober – Catherine Gray
The Highlights of the Book:
The highlight of the book is the honesty with which it is written. You can see the soul-baring right in front of you and you want to hug it while telling yourself you can do it too.
Additionally, as a self-help book is full of science-based data, with countless studies outcomes clearly mentioned and many doctors from Neuroscientist to Psychiatrists giving us detailed information about the why and hows of alcohol abuse and reinforcing the fact that walking away from it its the best choice we have when it cannot be moderated.
The book is also full of inspiring quotes from Frida Kahlo to Maya Angelou, the inspiration is found all over the book and it gives you strength and courage. It touches on the sensitive subject of alcohol and Hollywood and how being sober is “like going against” what is view as fun and classy. The author does provide us connection with other sober people, from Podcasts to Actors, the point is that we are not alone and singled out.
Finally, the book is entertaining, I found myself laughing out loud and constantly nodding, I can clearly imagine the scenes, the bars, the restaurants, the friends, the wild parties and the painful aftermath.
It is based on the author, Catherine Gray, journey to sobriety, so it is an autobiography which is also a self-book. If self-improvement books are not your type, this is not for you, also if you have no problem with alcohol or you are very comfortable with your consumption of alcohol this book is not for you. The main purpose of the book is to give you the courage to take up on your journey to sobriety (and make it your own), so if alcohol is not the problem, I would not really recommend the book.
Information as found in Amazon:
What are you reading right now? What book would you recomend me? I am always looking for recommendations to add to my reading list.
Below is the link to the book in Amazon. It is an affiliate so I do get a small comission. Thanks.
Below are my favorites thing right now when I am reading… They are listed from my Amazon affiliate program.