Friday, March 10, 2017

Book Review [Creating an Abundant Practice by Andrea Alder]

When I first started reading this book I had no intentions on writing a review. I heard the author on an internet radio show and I liked her style and original ideas and services she provided to wellness professionals and decided to get a used copy for my leisure reading. However, as I got into the book I realized that I needed to spread the news about Creating an Abundant Practice: A spiritual and Practical Guide for Holistic Practitioners and Healing Centers by Andrea Alder.

Being a wellness instructor  and naturopath teacher, I offer a business component in all of my classes that deals with the business of business however, what Andrea does is nurtures the soul of the business through providing the individual or the group with excellent strategies to make their business everything they want it to be by tapping into the metaphysics of business growth and progress. It was very exciting to read about the internal requirements of vision, repetition, clarity and self-healing first. I was particularly impressed with the Future Vision Exercise and even tried it myself!

After boosting the reader's confidence to excel beyond their own expectations, Andrea then encourages the reader to do the work. This is a resounding mantra when it comes to any change for the better, however, the layout of chapters 4-13 gives a step by step process that works lovely for building a powerful brand, producing professionalism, working the target market, building partnerships and alliances, expanding business, and getting the attention of the media.

As a holistic health professional for more than twenty-five years, I have seen many many businesses and well intended holistic health professionals come and go in the field of wellness. For many it is the business aspect of healing that becomes the turn off and makes it easy to give up. However, with a guide book such as Creating an Abundant Practice and consistency it can make the journey to success more organized and doable.

It is quite noticeable that this book is self published and possibly self-edited because there are quite a few typos, typesetting errors and unclear photography and illustrations, however it doesn't take away from the information. The cover also doesn't portray the richness of the content, but it's colorful.

Every new and old healer should take a stroll through these pages, do the activities and keep the book as a reference manual if you know health and wellness is a part of your life purpose. I recommend Creating an Abundant Practice: A spiritual and Practical Guide for Holistic Practitioners and Healing Centers by Andrea Alder and give it 4 ankhs.

K. Akua Gray
March 10, 2017
Houston, TX

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Review [Vibrant Hair by Elaine Destiny Bey]

Positive information is a plus in my book every time, all day. Vibrant Hair: African-American Hair Care, Knowledge and Culture by Elaine Destiny Bey is a tiny little book with a serious mission to educate and inspire those with natural curls and the original man's hair. It is a very brief book for beginners and is more like a pamphlet than a book. It's only 34 pages.

Vibrant Hair is great for those who know nothing about the African hair experience and its evolution through time in the new world. Elaine also includes a few details about hair during American slavery that I had never heard of. It would have been good for her to include the sources from which she received the historical information. There are no references at the end of the book.

The writing is basic and very easy to understand although it does come off a little preachy in some places. There are also areas of repetition in the text that could have been left out. The author does include relevant photographs throughout the book to accent points made in the writing. My favorite part of the book was the natural hair tips at the end of the book. All of them are in alignment with good care for whole body in general. I would recommend this book to anyone working with pre-teen and teenage girls of African descent who need a lesson in loving their own natural hair.

I hope one day there is an updated edition, the book has potential and can be developed as a viable source of modern information to encourage self love and understanding. Vibrant Hair gets 3 ankhs.

K. Akua Gray
September 22, 2016
Houston, TX

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review [The Millennial Mentality by Elan Carson]

I like books with impact and The Millennial Mentality by Elan Carson has that from the very beginning. The cover gave me the first impression of being global and the chapter titles gave me the second impression of a fun read with titles like "It's Complicated", "The F-Word" and "I Can't Stand the Rain". However, when I got into the Introduction I kind of felt like someone was shouting at me about something I had nothing to do with and it kind of put me on the defense since I am not a "Gen Yer". short for Generation Y.

With the commitment to read this book, I ventured on into the chapters and had a change of heart by the time I got to Chapter 3 which gave some really good info about student loans that young and old people can benefit from. Chapter 1 and 2 struck me as being silly stuff about dysfunctional relationships and cats, however it did spark my compassion for the lonely.

Now by the time I finished Chapter 4 "Quarter Life Crisis", is where the book began to bring out it's value to the reader. This chapter had the most enlightening information and heartfelt truths that I see in my own children. I loved the part about connecting with nature, and having the freedom to choose in every life situation. I would have to say that chapters 4-6 spoke some profound truths about Generation Y and the current events that touch us all including suicide and helping others through selfless service.

Chapter 7, "All in a Day's Work", is the longest chapter that revealed some interesting concepts about Gen Yers in the workforce and business today. The one problem I had was the author's suggestion for transparency from the company's that they work for. If a company reveals everything to every employee and you have people who are still operating on low levels of emotional immaturity some information can cause tantrum like results that can be unfavorable. And judging from all the baggage the millennial generation are carrying according to the author, tit for tat would be present more than not. The author even expressed this in an earlier section of the chapter where in so many words she said that someone else in the company she worked for got a raise and she didn't, so she quit.

In the later chapters 8-11 Elan touches on some good social issues that still need to harmonized in the American society like feminism, gay rights, race issues, and body image. The final chapters of the book 12-14 seemed like fillers and returned to some silly stuff like Harry Potter and Selfies, but I did find the chapter on gen yer lingo interesting.

I also got a chance to be in the company of a few Generation Yers while I was reading the book and threw out some of the topics that were covered in the book as a conversation and they verified a lot of the points that were made in book and seemed quite interested in getting a copy to read. This let me know that Elan was right on the money when it came to bringing forth a book that will fulfill its purpose in educating other generations and her own generation about what living as a young adult in today's society is really like. Let me also mention that Elan's writing style is very user friendly and reflective of her formal education in writing. I like good writing.

With that being said I would recommend this book to those seeking clarity on what's going on in the minds of young adults today and to those young people who want a peer perspective on what's important as they travel into maturity and fulfilling their life purpose.

The Millennial Mentality gets 4 ankhs.

K. Akua Gray
September 19, 2016
Houston, TX

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Book Review [Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin]

This is an interest specific book and a good read for all birth workers and families who are interested in learning more about pregnancy and birth. As a certified midwife and holistic doula instructor I like to read as many books about birthing that I can get my hands on. Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin is a book that is on every recommended reading list about midwifery. Ina May is a legend in her own right by being one of the pioneers of birth rights and an advocate for natural birthing for almost 50 years. So it has been a pleasure for me to read this book by one of the icons of midwifery in the United States.

Spiritual Midwifery is an easy read for anyone. Ina May uses plain language and lots of photographs and -illustrations to view the important points in her writing. It is clear that she wrote this book as an empowerment tool for everyone with an interest in birthing. The book is divided into three distinct sections: birth stories that documents a brief history of The Farm and the births that made this community famous, a section for families to learn how to take care of themselves during pregnancy and prepare for birth, and the third section is designed to give an overview of what a midwife does in the birthing process. The birth stories are plentiful, in fact I think there are too many of them that kind of repeat the same things in a different way, however there are some unique ones that give a different point of view like breech birth stories and the twin birth stories.

The information given in part two is invaluable for families as a guide to having a successful pregnancy and birth by creating a loving atmosphere with synergy that is beneficial for both the mother and her birthing partner(s). She includes such topics as nutrition, advise to husbands, and after baby exercises.

As for the section for the professional midwife I learned a few things to take notes on that I can use in my midwifery services including more supplies to add to my midwifery bag. She also talked about some strange diseases that I had never heard of in pregnancy and birth. Ina May leaves no stone unturned in sharing the vitals of developing good midwifery skills including the female anatomy, prenatal care, a very detailed section on presentation, and infant care once the baby arrives. However, these are not complete for midwifery training and should only be used as an enhancement to a formal training program or apprenticeship of midwifery. As a holistic midwife, there are some medically learned procedures that are taught in the book that I would use caution on and some chemical medications that I would deem unnecessary in a truly natural birth.

This book is a beautiful testimony to the miracle of birth and the strength that women have in bringing forth humanity for the survival of the world. A person cannot read this book without changing their view point about birth and the beautiful journey of creating other people!

I give this book 4 ankhs and recommend it to all birth workers and all families interested in empowering themselves in procreation.

K. Akua Gray
September 4, 2016
Houston, TX

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review [The Indigo Children by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober]

The Indigo Children have been legends for a long time. As a primary school educator for more than two decades I personally witnessed the evolution of the kind of children that entered my classroom year after year. However, only after reading The Indigo Children by Lee Carroll and Jan Tober do I now fully understand that what I was seeing in the different types of children was a spiritual shift in consciousness.

I like the approach these two authors take in writing this book. They are not trying to convince you that special children have come into this world, instead they skillfully provided the testimony and research findings of expert educators, and counselors who have worked many years with children. They also provided the stories of parents and children to give first hand accounts that is clear evidence of their points.

What is a indigo child? " is a child who displays a new and unusual set of psychological attributes and shows a pattern of behavior generally undocumented before." The book unfolds an array of select information to make identifying an indigo child very easy. The authors and experts touch on every aspect of raising these children from everyday interactions, education requirements for their success, how to use positive and effective discipline, socialization and health care. It is noted in the text that many on these children are diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), with the emphasis that sometimes this is an accurate diagnosis, but most times it is not. The book gives several concrete ways to verify a diagnosis and how to tell the difference between a true disease presence and the presence of a real indigo child. As an educator I also worked with children who were diagnosed ADD/ADHD and find that many of the techniques that were taught in the school system were also recommended in the book, this tells me that some part of education administrations took the concept of the indigo child seriously and recognized that educators would need these techniques.

The best part of the book by far is the chapter on the Spiritual Aspect  of the Indigo. They talk about the compassion for the world that these children have and their ability to remember past lives. The indigo children  have a special color to their aura which radiates indigo. One spiritual expert states she began "seeing" this aura in children as far back as the 1970's. The authors state that many are born with a natural understanding of metaphysics and are knowledgeable of their karmic debt. I also liked the section on helpful hints in raising indigo children. They are special and should be treated with respect and honor, really as any other child, but an indigo child will demand it through their behavior.

The book has some slow spots where it may seem like one expert is saying the same thing another expert said earlier. However, if this type of topic interests you then it is a good read. I recommend this book to those who are working with children.The Indigo Children should be mandatory for all daycare and seasonal camp workers, especially if they do not have a degree in education sciences. The internalizing of the material is sure to ease the tension between them and the children they might consider difficult.  If you  have children, whether they are indigo or not this book is a good manual to help you develop a better mental, physical and emotional relationship  with your child.

I give this book 4 ankhs.
K. Akua Gray
July 14, 2016
Houston, TX

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Book Review [Life is a Gift by Aliyah Kamala]

To receive kind words from anyone is a very important part of living securely and healthy. Being a writer of an affirmation book myself, I find delight in knowing that others share the need to provide positive encouragement to others in a time when so much negative and despairing events plague our countries around the world. Life is a Gift: How to Use Affirmations to Transform Your Life by Aliyah Kamala is a great addition to the positive words that we not only need to speak to ourselves for personal growth but also to those we love and to the energy of those whose lives and actions we do not understand.

This simple text is an ideal first book presentation to the world of the heart and love for humanity that Aliyah has so nicely shared as a dedication to her three children. From my first encounter with the book, I could see and feel that she chose the right colors for the cover, the right font to express loving words, the right size and the right length to make the book an inviting addition to your nightstand, coffee table or to carry along with you in your purse.   However the aesthetics of the book is only a small addition to the what you will find inside that warms the heart and nurtures the mind to change.

There is only one thing about the book that I think could have been given more consideration and that is the title. Often new authors don't take the time to research the uniqueness of their titles and it pools them into an unfavorable position of having quite a few titles with the same name which puts them at a disadvantage in the world of keywords and engine searches.

When you are a true seekers of spiritual enlightenment you never get tired of receiving encouragement, hope, words of wisdom and positive vibes. Life is a Gift provides these elements in abundance. Here are a few of my picks from the text that resonate with my essence and puts a smile on my heart.
"I easily release all resentment and hurt. My heart is filled with love."
"I am clear in asking for what I want. I deserve the best of all things."
"It feels amazing to exercise everyday. I am committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle."
"I fully and completely embrace tranquility as a way of life."

Aliyah also provides a place for the reader to express your inner light with instructions and lined pages for you to write your own affirmations. This book can easily become a classic as a small but powerful "gift" to grow with.

I give the book 4 and half ankhs.

Dr. Akua Gray
July 7, 2016
Houston, TX

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Book Review [Ultra-Metabolism by Mark Hyman, M.D.]

It works. It's measurable. It has a lot of great recipes too. It's the Ultra-Metabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss by Dr. Mark Hyman. Since I work with quite a few clients who want to lose weight or adopt a lifestyle that helps them maintain their weight I'm always looking for a good read on weight management. I realize that since we are all different when it comes to body types, eating lifestyles, movement regimens and time management, it's a good idea to have a wide variety of options for my clients. This book came recommended by another wellness advocate in the community, so I ordered it and let it sit on my shelf for a few months. What prompted me reaching for the book again was that since I came back to the USA from Ghana where I spend half of the year, I noticed that my metabolism had begun to slow down and I started to see a slight increase in my own weight. I decided to see what the book had to offer since my own metabolism needed a boost.

Ultra-Metabolism gives you a complete 360 degree program for weight loss and weight management with emphasis on controlling your appetite, detoxification, reducing your stress, boosting your thyroid health and super charging your metabolism. He opens the program by assisting the reader in changing their thought patterns about weight by dispelling several myths that society has been feeding to the minds of people for a long time. Hyman calls these the 7 Myths That Make You Gain Weight: 1) Don't starve yourself, 2) The truth about calories, 3) The truth about fat, 4) Which carbs to eat, 5) Don't eat like the French, 6) Don't eat like the Sumo Wrestler and 7) Don't believe the government. And since 7 is such a lucky number he then includes The 7 Keys to the New Science of Weight Loss which includes protocols for 1) Controlling your appetite, 2) How stress makes you fat, 3) Inflammation and fat, 4) Preventing oxidative stress, 5) Turning our calories into energy, 6) Fortifying your thyroid and 7) Cleansing yourself of toxic weight.

Hyman rounds out the program with THE ULTRA-METABOLISM PRESCRIPTION (love that). This is the reinforcement and the motivation needed for a successful lifestyle change. Including setting up a healthy kitchen and preparing you to combat the common challenges and pitfalls that you have faced in past weight loss efforts. I like the structure of the book, because each chapter includes a summary and each 7 Keys chapter includes a self assessment that lets you know how you're doing in each category of the new science of weight loss.

It's an easy read and quite a page turner which is rare for a self-help book, however each chapter keeps you wanting to know what's next. He does repeat himself quite a bit for emphasis which can be challenging when you got the point the first time. This is not a book that you can just read and put down. It is a manual that requires some work and organization on your part. Dr. Hyman offers several online resources to help with organizing this lifestyle change and starts you off with a 6 Week Challenge to get you started on working on all the 7 Keys one at a time over the 6 week period. He also guarantees a weight loss of about 11 pounds in the six weeks if you truly follow the program correctly. It works.

An added feature to the book and the program is the array of Ultra-Metabolism recipes. I tried several of them and found favor with Hot Brown Rice Porridge, Peach Quinoa, Avocado and Bean Burrito, Asian Bean Salad, The Cashew Lettuce Wrap (I had to make this one vegan), The Coconut Dal, a very delicious split pea soup, and Baby Bok Choy with Wild Rice (again since I'm vegan I made the proper adjustments to the recipes). I'll be adding these to my regular meal preparations for my family.

I am very happy to recommend this book to all who are ready for a new and proven plan for weight loss and weight management. This book will never go out of style as long as people need assistance with eating for health and wellness. I give this book 4 and half ankhs.

You are also invited to follow me on Goodreads.

K. Akua Gray
Houston, TX
July 2, 2016