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Content by Amy VG
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Amy VG (Southern Ontario)

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The Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free Recipes
The Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free Recipes
by Susan O'Brien
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.53
34 used & new from CDN$ 12.85

44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fabulous Cookbook For Gluten and Dairy Intolerant Folks, Aug. 28 2009
This is such an amazing cookbook. As a stay-at-mom to three little ones I have my share of quick and easy healthy meal cookbooks but when I found out I was gluten and milk protein intolerant I didn't know where to start.

I am so glad to have picked this book up four months ago. Susan O'Brien's The Gluten-Free Vegan is not only jam-packed with easy healthy recipes, but what I love is her use of newly researched "health benefit foods" like walnuts, agave nectar, a slew of healthier flours (like quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum), and coconut.

And the dishes made from the recipes are awesome! My husband and I have been wanting to make food like this on a daily bases, and now we are!

Our favourites are:
Curried Apple and Cauliflower Soup
Fava Bean & Vegetable Soup
Golly Bean Salad
Mexican Quinoa Salad
Mock Tabbouleh Salad
Kale with Peanut Sauce
Spinach Dal
Spinach Tofu with Peanut Sauce
Vegetable Stir-fry (we've tried a lot of different stir-fries and this one is THE best!)
Asparagus Risotto
Italian Risotto
Italian Style Pasta
Lentil Stew
Mushroom & Olive Pizza
Pad Thai
Currant Scones
Pumpkin Scones
Chocolate Cookies
Berry & Cherry Crisp
Carrot Cake
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Rice Treats
Peach & Blueberry Cobbler
Peanut Butter Cookies
Cashew Crème Frosting

And the above list are just our favourites!! A couple of months ago I bought this cookbook for my brother as well, as he is also gluten and diary intolerant, and unfortunately he is also allergic to peanuts so he just omits that part in the recipes or uses an alternative.

I don't know what I would have done without this cookbook, definitely a huge lifesaver. The recipes take anywhere from 15m to 45m to make start to finish, which is not too bad for great healthy food, and it is great as so I am not a slave in the kitchen all day.

Venerable Father
Venerable Father
by Paul Breiter
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 21.86
17 used & new from CDN$ 20.07

5.0 out of 5 stars If I could rate this higher than five stars I would!, July 8 2009
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This review is from: Venerable Father (Paperback)
What a wonderful hidden gem I have just finished reading. At first, while reading the beginning of the book, I didn't like it because it contradicted my idyllic perceptions of what monastic life was like. But as I let go of those ridiculous incorrect perceptions I really started to love the book. My goodness those Thai Forest monks have it extremely tough! "Venerable Father" was such a fascinating read. It really painted a genuine picture of what Breiter experienced as a monk with such an important teacher as Ajahn Chan. Just awesome!

The Foundations of Buddhism
The Foundations of Buddhism
by Rupert Gethin
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 37.95
38 used & new from CDN$ 20.84

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, June 13 2009
For the past 6-7 years of having studied a little bit of Zen, a little bit of Tibetan, and now Insight/Vipassana I was getting perplexed with the varied, yet similar, teachings within each Buddhist school. And so, when I found "The Foundations of Buddhism" by Rupert Gethin I was hoping to get an overview of the "basics" concerning all schools of Buddhism. This book definitely accomplished this goal. While reading at times was heavy with information and definitely academic, this essential book made the "common threads" clear with Gethin's thorough investigation. Some of the chapters I had to read twice to "get it" as there is a lot of information provided, and I'm sure I will need to read this book over and over to fully digest the material. I now have a much better understanding of the traditions of Buddhist thought and practice. Having said that, and though I am thankful for reading this book, I realize now that really the main point of Buddhism is the practice (meditation, mindfulness), regardless of tradition. Though, of course, having the necessary background is helpful for us Westerners, especially for knowing the rich historical traditional side of Buddhism.

The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering
The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering
by Bhikkhu Bodhi
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.25
34 used & new from CDN$ 5.43

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense but worth it, May 17 2009
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This little book is fully packed with information on the Noble Eight-Fold Path laid out by the Buddha over 2500yrs ago. The author, Bhikkhu Bodhi, thoroughly takes the reader through the path, one step at a time, in clear and short text. I did find some of the academic words to be slightly over me, but I had a dictionary close by so it wasn't a big deal. This is an intense read and the last couple of chapters were really hard for myself to understand, so this book is definitely not for beginners. I will be reading this book often, as I'm sure new insights will pop up with every thorough read.

Raising a Son: Parents and the Making of a Healthy Man
Raising a Son: Parents and the Making of a Healthy Man
by Don Elium
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.99
60 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Informative, May 17 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Raising a Son" by Don & Jeanne Ellium. The first couple of chapters were fascinating to read, which explains the boys biological, psychological, "soul" (while some may disagree with the term "soul", I understand it as our basic individual being/personality), and cultural forces. It really helped me to understand, and accept, some of my son's natural personality traits.

I also appreciated their abundance of advice on how to parent and discipline sons (in a positive, productive way), and they present their views and advice in a well organized manner. They provide lots of personal stories, charts, and activities to help convey their suggestions. I really liked their explanation on the several different types of parental "fences" a parent can use, and when the appropriate times to use a certain "fence" (fences: guidelines, rules). The author's remind to be "firm but loving" which is such common sense, but something parents so easily forget, normally from their own personal "baggage".

I think both of the authors are counselors, and this is very evident, so there are a lot of recommendations for the parent to figure themselves out (as the parents past can affect their current behaviour) to better be able to parent their own children in a loving way. They are big on making sure parents are emotionally available for their children, which is so important, and making sure parents see the "positive intent" in their children's actions and words (which may sometimes come across as disrespectful or hurtful, but if the parent investigates further realizes the underlining message).

I definitely recommend this one, but perhaps another parenting book in addition to this one is a good idea. I also enjoyed "Hold Onto Your Kids" by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Mate and "Everyday Blessings" by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn, and for when children are small "You Are Your Child's First Teacher" by Rahima Baldwin Dancy is also top on my list of must reads.

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
by Leonard Sax
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.57
56 used & new from CDN$ 5.47

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth a read for all parents, April 26 2009
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Being a parent, and knowing how to parent in a positive way, is such a challenge nowadays. Perhaps because we don't have as many "village elders" anymore, to help guide us and help raise our children, we're almost completely alone trying to figure out the "best" way with-in our current culture. Also, as Leonard Sax suggests, our current culture has changed so much, even from just 30 years ago, it's definitely hard to know how to forge ahead with suitable parenting ideas for this current time.

I am so appreciative of authors like Sax who have cared enough to do the leg work and Sax has come up with five suggestions as to why some of our young boys seem so unmotivated and underachieving. Sax has definitely come up with very interesting and extremely helpful opinions (the five factors are: video games, teaching methods, prescriptions drugs, environmental toxins, devaluation of masculinity). For me, it was a great, and important, read as I knew there was something missing with-in our current culture for our young boys, and yet I didn't or couldn't put it altogether, and so, in "Boys Adrift" Sax explains some of the issues in such a clear light. And it makes a lot of sense. Also, the environmental concerns explored in this book are a bit alarming, and I am so glad to now be informed on how to avoid exposure to both certain plastics, as well as, certain medications.

Last year, I took my 5-yr-old son out of SK because the teacher was complaining he wasn't paying attention in class and couldn't sit still, and I started to homeschool him. He still has days where he has trouble focusing, and usually stands for his entire math lesson, but I am now able to understand him more, that this is his nature, and because of that understanding I am able to provide better educational choices for his young mind, and I can tell already that this has been very positive for him.

Moving forward, as parents of boys, we can use Sax's advice and make the best choices for our sons. To become responsible for our children, not to have our current culture dictate all of our children's ideas and behaviours.

Lastly, I really loved all the great suggestions in the last two chapters, Detox and Afterword. Very helpful. Especially in the Afterword where he suggests creating parenting communities who hold fun and safe events for our kids (like ping pong or Guitar Hero tournaments), and to communicate together as parents. Perhaps this will create that "village" we are sorely lacking.

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood
Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood
by Karen Maezen Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.57
33 used & new from CDN$ 1.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, wise words, April 13 2009
This book is not full of obvious in-your-face parenting advice. Karen Maezen Miller's wise words are much more subtle, and yet, extremely humorous and colourful. This should not be your only parenting book, but it does offer some very invaluable help: all mothers are on this wild ride together. We all suffer from the same worries, fears, and anxieties. And we all are blessed with the natural contented ability for the love and caring we offer our children. I wish I read this when I was pregnant with my first (especially since this book is really geared for new mothers of babies, not really for older children, but some of the writings can work for mothers of children of all ages.) I think I would have benefited from knowing we all are not perfect, we all experience the same insecurities, and as Karen Maezan Mille suggests everything really turns out fine as long as you stay in the present moment and follow your instincts.

One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism
One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism
by Joseph Goldstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.35
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A little book that clarifies a lot, April 11 2009
After reading various reviews about this book "One Dharma", I was undecided whether to pick this one up. But I did because after studying Buddhism of various traditions for several years now, I had become slightly confused which tradition was the "best". One Dharma attempts to briefly explain the traditions of Zen , Tibetan, and Theravada and tried to see their, sometimes conflicting, similarities. I think Joseph Goldstein had a huge undertaking with this, and in the end, did an excellent job. After reading this book, I now have a much clearer picture of my own path, which way to go in terms of practice, and I have been reminded to keep an open mind to various views of certain teachings, those which I may or may not at first "agree" with. This is my second book I've read which has been written by Joseph Goldstein, and I must say, he has gained a lot of respect from me, with his amazing amount of knowledge and experience, and even in the way he can communicate this wisdom to Westerners. Perhaps those with negative reviews of this book did not have an open, nonjudgmental mind when reading it, and perhaps did not read it from cover to cover.

Mindfulness in Plain English: Revised and Expanded Edition
Mindfulness in Plain English: Revised and Expanded Edition
by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from CDN$ 7.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Hands Down: The Best Guide Out There, April 7 2009
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If you are looking for a specific step-by-step first guide on how to learn the Vipassana meditation technique, then look no further. This guide is absolutely the best! (Especially alongside the Insight Meditation Kit, by Goldstein and Salzberg, which expands a few of the basics and provides some of the main teachings of the Buddha.)

The author, Brante Henepola Gunaratana, having not grown up in North America, surprised me with his knowledge of our informal English language here in North America so well, as he uses such precise, identifiable, and understandable words to convey this Vipassana method.

The first couple of chapters are on why to meditate, the basics, and what you need to bring to the practice. After that, he dives right in with the specifics: what to concentration on, what your body and mind should be doing, and how to deal with problems and distractions, which will be inevitable along the way. I also enjoyed his helpful suggestions on how to bring mindfulness through-out your entire day, using walking mediation, mindful eating, intention exercises, and slow motion activities.

This is a book I'm going to read though over and over again! Thank you!!

Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices
Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices
by Thich Nhat Hanh
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 40.49
34 used & new from CDN$ 29.21

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Resource, March 20 2009
I'm extremely impressed with this collection: full of gathas, practices, recitations, meditations, ceremonies, plus numerous discourses, and even sheet music for the main chants. Absolutely amazing! The ceremonies are so beautiful, one for children, mothers, refuge, Buddha's birthday, weddings, New Year, burials, and so much more. Everything you, your family, or a practice group, needs to have a lovely Buddhist practice in Thich Nhat Hanh's Zen tradition.

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