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Tuesday, September 7, 2010


A spiritual take on maintaining health

"The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes" (New Page Books, $15.99)

Dietitian Constance Brown-Riggs's self-help diabetes guide includes the basics, such as body mass index charts, a graphic showing how to read the nutritional information on food labels and a section on how the body processes sugar. But Brown-Riggs reaches out to the approximately 4 million African Americans with the disease by focusing on spirituality "because people of color tend to be people of faith," she writes. Each chapter ends with a passage called "For Your Spirit," which is often a Bible story. She also discusses how beauty ideals in the community that allow for curvy bodies are "good news for our self-esteem but not so great for our health." The book ends with a two-week sample menu of healthful Caribbean and soul food favorites.


Dance to a different beat

"Carnaval Workout" (Acacia, $16.99)

There's no need to wait until March for Carnaval, no need to fly to Rio to celebrate the holiday. Cue up that DVD player and pop in "Carnaval Workout" for a sweatier and slightly more awkward version of your own! Smiley instructor Kimberly Miguel Mullen leads at-home exercisers through three dance segments, plus the warm-up and cool-down, adding up to a 47-minute workout. The first (and the second . . . and maybe third) time through, dancers will need to get used to really moving their hips and mastering the difference between "snake arms" and "vanity arms." "Carnaval Workout" is a cardiovascularly challenging workout that showcases a dance style not typically used in mainstream American aerobics classes.


All about babies


If you drop by the mommy blog ("pure baby") only once, do it on a Friday. That's when Heather Fruzzetti, a mother of two in Loudoun County, posts hilarious kid quotes as a recurring feature called "Fantastically Funny Friday." Her readers contribute such gems as this conversation between a 4-year-old named Connor and his mother, which occurred while unpacking a train set. Connor: "Why do these trains look so old?" Mom: "Because they belonged to grandpa when he was a little boy." Connor (who had clearly seen some sepia-toned photos): "Really? Back in the olden days, back when things were brown?" Other posts on the blog are about "everything safe, healthy and pure for babies ages 0-3 years," such as homemade baby food, pool safety and making kitchens eco-friendly.

-- Rachel Saslow

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