Monday, February 17, 2014

The China Study

Author: Colin and Thomas Campbell

Well the cover the tells you what this book is about “the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted”. I don’t know if it’s the most comprehensive or not; but I would say that they’ve done a lot of research. The book focuses on the effects of animal food vs plant food on the human body. The authors did research on rats as well as humans. The reason it’s called “china study” is because the authors were part of a big research project that studied the effects of dietary habits on people in China.

The authors attack the common myth most people have that a meal should be heavily dominated by proteins and that plant food doesn’t have enough protein so they need to resort to animal food.

There are a few chapters devoted to major diseases like cancer, heart diseases, etc. and how they’re a bane of the meals rich in animal food. Thy were also able to quote some real studies done on people who had heart diseases and how a low fat diet rich in plant food helped the patients.

Then they talk about the basic principles of nutrition. This seems similar to Michael Pollan’s rules. The number one being – which was and is my favorite even before I read this book – eat food and not nutrients. Food is more than sum of its parts. Implying eating an orange is more than eating separately whatever it’s constituents comprise.

It does get tiring to read about so many studies etc. and so I did skip some sections. Other than I think it’s an interesting book. If you’re baffled by all the protein debates that you keep hearing these days, then this is the book for you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Lean In

Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and recently became the first female billionaire. In this book, she talks about women in the workplace. About biases against women, about biases among women, about how women can have a work life balance, what you need to have such a balance and so on. I was a little skeptical before reading this book – it sounds like one of those self help books that give you nothing more than common knowledge. However the more I read it the more impressed I was. There were so many things I hadn’t thought about and still wouldn’t if I hadn’t read it. There’s a lot of good, practical information in the book.

For example, there’s one topic I specifically remember because I never thought about it the way she explained it. Sheryl says that many women shy away from the workplace because they have kids and the salary they would get would barely cover the daycare expenses. So they’re unable to justify being a salaried employee. However she says that it is only in the beginning. As you progress in your career, your salary would eventually high enough for you to be able to justify to yourself.

The book is not just about theories and anecdotes from her life, she’s quoted a number of research studies on various subjects.

I would recommend this book for not just women but also men. Men share the space with women – be it in the workplace or at home.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Quick pots de creme


I’m always looking for simple and quick desserts. This quick pots de crème from King Arthur fit the bill perfectly!


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream (I’d fresh cream so I used that)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Place the chocolate chips, salt, sugar, and espresso powder in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground.

2) Add the egg and pulse just until the mixture is smooth.

3) Heat the cream to just below a boil, with small bubbles forming around the edge of the saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl).

4) Turn on the processor, and slowly add the cream. Scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Add the flavoring of your choice and pulse to blend.

5) Divide into 6 individual serving cups. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.

It was liked by one and all! Can you see the little white thing towards the bottom of the bowl? I’d some ladyfingers stashed in the freezer. I thought this would be a good time to use them. Turned out it wasn’t a bad idea!

If you’re running low on the clock and looking for a yummy chocolate dessert then look no further Smile