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.
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-- Rachel Saslow