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review 2017-02-28 11:10
Cravings: How I Conquered Food - Judy Collins

By:  Judy Collins

ISBN:  9780385541312

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publication Date:  2/28/207 

Format:  Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Biographies & Memoirs


Iconic singer, (folk legend) songwriter, and author, Judy Collins delivers her most timely and critical memoir yet CRAVINGS: How I Conquered Food — courageously told, a personal harrowing struggle with painful addictions and her battle food: bingeing, bulimia, weight loss, and gain.

One of hope, recovery, renewal, and inspiration.

CRAVINGS is the author's heartfelt honest story of finally "filling the black hole" in her soul that comes from untreated food addiction. Sixty years of experience, struggling to find a solution. Compulsive eating. How she "slayed her demons" and conquered food addiction.

Insightful and informative, the musical star shares her personal story with others, to help them find a way to break free. Folk singer Judy Collins' tumultuous relationship with food began when she was a child, and led her into a downward spiral of bingeing, purging, and alcoholism that followed her for much of her life.

"In music, Judy found spiritual solace. In her addictions, she lived in a spiritual desert and had to find water and sustenance, the spark of inspiration and some solution that would end the drama of diets, pills, plans, doctors, extreme answers and mutilating consequences. . . "

Her proven plan has been a success offering joy and continued health. She is sharing her discovery with others. To help others out there seeking answers to their own food disorders. A new life, "free" of cravings.

It wasn't until she met her now-husband, Louis Nelson, in the 1970s that she decided to get sober and recover from bulimia. Collins, now 77, hopes her upcoming book, will help others resolve their own addictions

Her solution is a balanced food plan "free of the foods" that cause the addictions: Sugar, grains, flour, wheat, corn, and many foods which she is allergic to (containing alcohol). The foods which cause bulimic, anorexic, or overweight disorders; causing feelings of fear and self-loathing; diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among many others. (It works. Trying removing all these items for your diet, and you will remove the cravings.)

Collins highlights her life from childhood through her music career and her battle with alcoholism. Her personal and business relationships. Her family and the many people she has met along the way and influences in her life. Diet Gurus and others in her fight. Her ups and downs. She has spoken out previously and references here, regarding her alcoholism and the suicide of her only child, and the survivor of her own attempt to end her life at age fourteen.

With CRAVINGS the author wants to encourage others who suffer from the same problems—there is a way "through the dark" night of the soul of compulsive overeating.

The folk star has been sober for thirty-eight years from alcohol; however, has had to learn to eat in a different but healthy way. Someone who was controlled and obsessed by food. From fasting, compulsive exercise, restricting food, bone loss, purging, bulimia and an array of dieting.

As we learn from Judy’s personal story and account, this horrible addiction begins at childhood. With our children and grandchildren today — being subjected to large amounts of sugar, processed foods, chemical, additives, and preservatives— (as well as adults) trouble lies ahead which will carry into teens and adulthood in many ways, if not identified and corrected. We all have to take control. She like many of us, have become an advocate for healthy foods, speaking out against the big food companies which make money with added corn, fat, sugar, salt, and additives.

Judy steps out to share her tragedies, even from an early age of three, nothing made her happier than to devour sugar in any form. Sugar fueled her race through life, as does many others today. It was the beginning of her dance with the devil.

From depression, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, sadness, nightmares, anxiety attacks, and blackouts. She spent most of her life deep into her addictions, trickling over into other areas of her life. She explains how alcohol addiction is sometimes twinned with sugar addiction.

“My mind is clear, my heart is light, my health is perfect, she writes. . . I surrendered to it and never looked back." Collins has been sober now for 39 years and recovered from bulimia for more than 33 years.

"We are all in the same lifeboat, but the rescue ship is in the harbor, and we can all come aboard," she writes, hoping that readers will be inspired by her story to resolve their own addictions.

In summary: Teaching people about addiction and opening up a forum is part of Collins’ goal with Cravings.

After reading her latest book, have even more respect for her incredible journey. She is a timeless legend. Compelling and absorbing, readers will be moved by her inspiring journey and hopefully educated about food addictions— and make the necessary changes needed. Highly recommend!

A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an early reading copy in exchange for an honest review.




Photo Credit @ Brad Trent

On a side "food/health" note:
As many of you know, I am a food advocate. Having severe food allergies, and after keeping years of food journals, about ten years ago, went to a totally vegan diet. I found additives, preservatives, and chemicals to be causing my health problems, plus all the items Judy has listed in the book. I do not drink alcohol or eat sugar, or processed foods. I do not take any medications, nor do I eat grains, sugar, flour, corn, etc. The slightest addictive or chemical, I can experience Anaphylaxis or heart issues. Plus without the junk, you maintain your health, weight, and your size 4.

The exact foods Judy outlines are some of the main factors which cause these problems. When you eliminate these things from your diet, these health problems go away. Yes, it takes planning, no you cannot dine out and a little more difficult when traveling; however, it is worth it in the end. Our society today is lazy and will not take the time and effort to stay away from these foods and take a bolder stand. If they did, our food industry may be different, today.

I totally agree with the addiction. I see my son and his family. Always dieting, exercising, and health issues at a young age and grandchildren. They crave the sugar. One thing leads to another. When I visit, I tell them they must throw out everything in their pantry and refrigerator. I cringe. I refuse to eat any of these items and until they take their health seriously, they keep doing the same things and expecting different results, as many others.

On a side note "about the name": Fun to see my name on a book cover.

We all love "The Judy Collins!" (After all, I have her name). I was born Judy Dianne Collins (my parents love her, as well). The name Judy was very popular in the 50s. If you grew up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, you have to be a fan of Grammy-winning folk-music legend Judy Collins, known for her iconic renditions of "Amazing Grace", "Send in the Clowns" and “From "Both Sides, Now."

After my divorce, I legally took back my maiden name, Judy Collins in the early 80s, and have been referenced to the “Queen of Folk” throughout my career with the same name. Especially when in the media, advertising, and publishing business in Atlanta— always a reference to “The Judy Collins,” and her songs.

Proud to bear her name! However, when it was time to find a domain for my website and blog, and social media, of course, that spot was taken by the "queen" herself, so I had to avert to Judith D Collins.

Have listened to her music for years, enjoyed her concerts, her record albums, and her books — still a huge fan of her music. An inspiration to many. Exciting, to see she still is "full throttle" ahead at age 77 with Judy Collins and Ari Hest: Silver Skies Blue Album. Nice! Do not see retirement in her future.

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/02/Cravings
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review 2017-01-31 18:18
How to train as the #2 hero
Sidekicked - John David Anderson

I haven't read a large amount of middle grade fiction but I must say that I've really enjoyed John David Anderson's writing thus far. Sidekicked was a lot of fun and right after finishing it I added two more of Anderson's books to my TRL. The story revolves around Andrew "Drew" Macon Bean (admittedly a fantastic name) who is not your typical sidekick. His powers aren't the usual 'faster than light speed' or 'stronger than steel'. Nope. (I'm not going to reveal his powers because they are truly unusual and it'll be more fun for you to read it and found out for yourselves.) However, he is a typical nerdy kid just trying to make it through middle school unscathed. There's the usual pre-teen drama about who likes who and fitting in but on top of that is uncertainty about the safety of themselves, their families, and the town. Like Miss Bixby's Last Day, Anderson doesn't shy away from tough subjects. The drawbacks to having superpowers such as having to lie to one's parents, worrying about the mental health of one's mentor (the Super assigned to each Sidekick), and navigating adolescence are dealt with in a very loving, realistic way. Drew is a likable character and I think boys as well as girls will identify with him and become invested in his story. If you have kids in your life who are obsessed with superheroes but are not overly enthusiastic about reading maybe you could suggest that you read this one together. I have a feeling it will be a hit. :-) 9/10


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-01-10 20:03
Girl Walks Out of a Bar: A Memoir - Lisa F. Smith

I know where this author has been in her head - the same awful (and sometimes wonderful) places I was some years ago. Although I didn't get into drugs as well like Lisa, alcohol was my downfall in virtually every part of my life. Hope I'm 'over' it now - some twenty years (twenty!! - cannot believe how many years ago...) without a drink thanks to treatment and AA. Lisa describes the situations where the choice between alcohol and work, or alcohol and marriage, or alcohol and life will always be alcohol. The blackouts (when I carried on drinking and living but my memory stopped recording) - not knowing the next day, but having a nasty feeling that you did something terrible... To be confronted by those who loved me about those things... A well written account of her descent into a messy lonely existence, just using to keep away the withdrawal effects of not using. And also about her recovery 'one day at a time'.

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review 2016-12-25 15:55
Review: "Fierce & Fabulous" (Sassy Boyz, #1) by Elizabeth Varlet
Fierce & Fabulous - Elizabeth Varlet

*** DNF at 61% because of CHEATING! ***


Note: the cheating wasn't completed, but only because Ansel's hookup freaked out when he realized that Ansel was a guy. Ansel would have totally gone through with it though.


So fuck this shit!


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review 2016-10-04 00:03
#CBR8 Book 108: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Rachel, trying to drown the sorrows of her recent divorce in alcohol and denial travels to London on the train every morning and back to the suburb where she shares a flat with an old friend in the evenings. As she passes the area where she used to live, she observes a seemingly golden couple and makes up a fantasy narrative about their life to comfort herself in her loneliness. She's named them Jess and Jason and believes them to have a perfect relationship, in contrast to her miserable life, post failed-marriage.

One day, she sees "Jess" kissing a man who is most certainly not "Jason" in the garden, and this causes Rachel to have a minor breakdown. Waking up after a particularly epic drinking binge, she has a cut on her head, several bruises and absolutely no memory of what happened, but she believes it may have involved her old street, and possibly seeking out her ex-husband. She also discovers from the news that Megan Hipwell, as "Jess" is really called, has disappeared.

Rachel knows (as everyone else) that the husband is always one of the main suspects in disappearance cases. She believes very strongly that "Jason", in reality Scott Hipwell, couldn't have hurt his wife. She's determined to notify the police about the strange man that she saw Megan with from the train. Due to her habitual drunkenness, Rachel's not really treated as a reliable witness by the police, further hampered by the harassment complaints made about her by her ex-husband's new girlfriend. Because she knows the police aren't taking her seriously, Rachel feels compelled to contact Scott as well, pretending to be a friend of Megan's. She needs him to know about the man Megan was seeing.

As she keeps returning to the area where she used to live, where Megan disappeared from, Rachel struggles to remember what happened to her on the night she has completely blacked out. She knows she was in the area the same night that Megan left her home - could she have seen or heard something that could help the case?

The Girl on the Train came out in early 2015 and has been reviewed a lot of times on the Cannonball Read already. I've seen it compared to Gone Girl in the press (really not a fair comparison at all) and the movie version starring Emily Blunt as Rachel is about to be released in cinemas. I put it on my TBR list when it came out, and have kept putting it off for various reasons. Now that the movie is right around the corner, I figured I should read it, so movie reviews didn't spoil the book for me. I didn't know that much about the details of the book, and probably wouldn't have chosen to read about a fairly broken woman, struggling with alcoholism and reconciling herself to a divorce in part caused by her involuntary infertility struggles, when I myself am trying to get over my own very recent failure at yet another IVF attempt. I had figured a mystery suspense novel would be a good break from the romances I normally read, where quite a lot of the books end with pregnancy and the heroines always seem to be frustratingly fertile. So this book, not the best choice to read right now.

I can only assume that The Girl on the Train has been frequently compared to Gone Girl because they both feature quite unlikable female protagonists, there is a disappearance in both books, suspense/mystery novels written by women. There are also unreliable narrators in each of the books, but having read both novels, the similarities are superficial at most, and when you get down to it, they are very different books within a genre. I'm not going to go into other ways in which they are different, as that would spoil the reading experience.

Much of the book is told from Rachel's POV, but due to her drinking, we cannot entirely trust her memories or narration. There are also sections from Megan's POV, which start more than a year before she goes missing. It gives the reader insight into her actual life, which is a lot less idyllic than Rachel's fantasy narrative. There are also some chapters from the POV of Rachel's rival, Anna, the woman her husband had an affair with, who now lives in her former house, with Rachel's ex-husband, raising their baby girl.

Rachel used to work in marketing, but lost her job after turning up to work drunk. She still goes back and forth into the city, so as to not alert her flat mate to the fact that she's unemployed. She's suffered drunken blackouts more than once, and while her ex-husband's cheating contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, Rachel's depression and increased drunkenness after the failed fertility treatments caused her to act violently and erratically and their marriage had no hopes of surviving. Rachel is still a bit obsessed with her ex-husband and the reason Anna reported her to the police is because she once showed up at their home and snatched up their baby while Anna was napping. In fact, after this episode, that increased Anna's anxiety about Rachel (who keeps calling and occasionally shows up to talk to her ex, Tom), was the reason she hired Megan as a babysitter for a time, although Megan quit from boredom after only a few weeks.

While the book is a bit slow to start (and I really didn't enjoy spending so much time in Rachel's drunken, self-pitying head), it builds the suspense nicely and gets more exciting as the story unfolds. I figured out the identity of the killer (this is not a spoiler, it's obvious from the very first page that Megan ends up dead) some time before it was revealed, but that may very well have been intentional. It certainly adds more to the tension when the reader knows more than the characters in the book, and just waits for them to catch up. The book didn't entirely work for me (but again, that could have been because it further exacerbated the pain of my own recent failure to conceive a child), and I found it a bit confusing in places. Nonetheless, I can see why the book has become so popular and I'm sure the movie will be entertaining.

Judging a book by its cover: As far as I can tell, the version I read, has the movie tie-in cover, which means it just features the movie poster on the front. A train in the background with one lit-up window, speed lines illustrating the speed of the moving train. Slight blurring of the font and the movie tag line underneath. I don't really care for tie-in covers, but it was what I got. I don't think this poster is what's going to sell the movie.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/cbr8-book-108-girl-on-train-by-paula.html
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