Book Recommendations: Health and Wellness

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(This is Your Do-Over: The 7 Secrets to Losing Weight, Living Longer, and Getting a Second Chance at the Life You Want)] [Author: Michael F. Roizen] published on (April, 2015)

You may have already heard of Michael Roizen.  He is not only the Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, he’s also the author of the Real Age series of books. Dr. Roizen has also co-authored with Mehmet Oz, M.D. (the YOU Series). With his education and diverse background, it’s safe to say he’s a true expert in the field of health and wellness. 

In This is your Do-Over, Dr. Roizen talks about the power we have to “change our health destiny.” He promises that we can reverse the damage we’ve done by eating the wrong foods, avoiding exercise and other bad habits. We can give our bodies and minds a second chance and change our lives for the better, by taking 7 essential do-over steps. 

Dr. Roizen starts the book with a section titled Mini Medical School, in which he describes some biological basics, in easy to understand language. He wrote this section to show readers how and why healthy choices affect our biological make-up.  He included these basics:

  • Genetics 101
  • Inflammation 101
  • Cardiovascular Issues 101
  • Fat Storage 101
  • Diabetes 101
  • Brain Function 101
  • Stress Response 101
  • Pain 101

He then goes on to introduce and discuss the seven do-over deeds: finding a buddy (to support you in your health goals), exercising, healthy eating, fighting against addiction, stress management, intimacy, and finding your passion/purpose.  Each of these actions makes up a section of the book, and within each section, the author explains why each one is important, along with how to incorporate each individual do-over into our lives. To illustrate his points, Dr. Roizen used stories about people he worked with at the Cleveland Clinic, along with a sense of humor to make the reading fun. 

I enjoyed reading This is your Do-Over because the book was entertaining as well as informative. My favorite part of the book was titled “The Plan,” which tied all the do-over deeds together. The plan provided the reader with the stepping stones to good health. I also liked the way he concluded the book, with a “Do-Over Quiz” that’s meant to be passed along to others. 


We’re living longer these days.  Yet most of us believe that our longer life will not be a vital one. Many of us fear that our brains will suffer the ravages of age, bowing down to Alzheimer’s or types of dementia. It doesn’t have to be this way.  Taking charge of our brain health is one of the most important steps we can take to enjoy quality longevity.  Good brain health is within our grasp; we just need to take that first step: a commitment to ourselves to re-vamp our lifestyle. In his book, Canyon Ranch 30 Days to a Better Brain, Dr. Richard Carmona uses up-to-date research to show us how to go beyond that first step.    

Dr. Carmona, the author of 30 Days to a Better Brain, is the vice-chairman of the Canyon Ranch organization.  After graduating from the University of California with a degree in medicine, he became a vascular surgeon specializing in trauma, burn and critical care. Later, he received a master’s degree in Public Health Policy and Administration.  Dr. Carmona served as the 17th Surgeon General of the U.S. from 2002 – 2006. 

The book is based upon the structured brain health program used at the Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.  People who go to the Canyon Ranch to improve the brain health spend 30 days enhancing their brain health through food, fitness and spirituality/mindfulness.  The ranch provides people with a holistic, take charge approach to their brain health, based upon four tenets.  People learn to take care of their body, their mental health, emotional health and spiritual needs.

30 Days to a Better Brain is divided into three parts. Part  one provides a detailed discussion about how our brain works, along with factors that affect our brain’s health.  Part two describes the 30-day plan at the Ranch; which involves healthy eating, exercise/fitness, and meditation/mindfulness. Finally, part three talks about the importance of certain medical testing, complementary therapies (holistic options), how to challenge the brain, brain healthy recipes and supplement options. 

Dr. Carmona ends the book with a chapter describing a Perfect Day of Brain Health. This was a short, yet important chapter – because it provided a simple plan that any one of us can add to their day to revitalize our brain, based on the book’s guidelines.

Because I enjoy learning all I can about brain health, I’m glad Dr. Carmona included a discussion of how the brain works and how our health affects our brain’s well-being.  There was a great deal of technical terms and information to digest, however, and required (for me, at least) more than one reading session. This may be a turn-off for some readers who prefer a more user-friendly approach. Part one is well worth reading, however, since it provides a great summary of all that our brain does for us and how it functions.  

I’m also a big believer in taking pro-active action, so I appreciated the integrative and holistic approach to brain health.  The book offered many practical suggestions and actions based on eating healthy, making exercise a part of our lives, and taking care of our mental health as well.

I liked how the author broke down each part of the 30-day plan into weekly goals; he believes that making small changes to our lifestyle will help us reach and maintain lifetime changes.  For example, in the 30-day eating plan, week one’s focus was lowering inflammation.  Week two followed with eating more fruits and vegetables.  Week three focused on controlling glucose levels and finally, week 4 discussed how to improve vascular health. 

If you’re looking for a book that provide you with a comprehensive action plan with steps that you can take every day to support your brain’s cognitive functions for the long-term, this book is for you.  The author provides practical advice that any one of us can follow.  I’ll be referring to this book again and again, to make sure I keep my brain on track during my aging journey. 

Portrait of the beautiful young woman on the meadow

Life’s Greatest Lessons: 20 Things That Matter

Life’s Greatest Lessons, written by Hal Urban, was first published in 1992.  Mr. Urban, a father and a teacher, originally wrote it to provide life lessons for his children. However, the author was pleasantly surprised when it quickly became popular with readers of all ages.  The book is the author’s philosophy of life; twenty chapters of the twenty things that matter.  Over two decades old, this book continues to provide relevant lessons for today’s reader. No matter how technologically advanced people become, there are everyday human values that will always endure, and this is what this simple book offers.  

This book is an easy read, a mere 163 pages long.  But included in those 163 pages is a comprehensive guideline to living a good life.  The chapters are short, generally between 5 to 10 pages long. The author uses personal experiences and historical references to make his points. 

These twenty principles discussed by Hal Urban are based on simple concepts that stand the test of time:  Common sense, a positive attitude, gratitude, honesty, respect (for self and others), motivation, goals, and more.  All of these concepts added together are the formula for a successful life. 

Life can be complicated, and people often struggle with choices and priorities.  In his book, Hal Urban helped un-complicate it, by providing readers with 20 fundamental life values that will never be outdated or old-fashioned.  His use of down-to-earth, concrete examples and stories provide an enjoyable book with concepts that are well-worth sharing with family and friends. 

I’ve bought this “guide to life” with my daughter when she graduated from high school, and I’m certain that when I share it with my future grandchildren, they’ll find that the ideas within it remain evergreen.   

Grandmother and grandaughter in bookshop

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. (Dr. Seuss, I Can Read with my Eyes Shut!)
Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book. (Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel)


©Vital Aging for Women 2017