Prepping 101 by Kathy Harrison

Full title: Prepping 101
40 Steps You Can Take to Be Prepared: Protect Your Family, Prepare for Weather Disasters, and Be Ready and Resilient when Emergencies Arise
by Kathy Harrison

This book is aimed at people who are are interested in ensuring continuity of life as normal as possible during a severe incident. It is about taking action before things take a turn for the worse in order to maintain food, services and other needs during an outage, for example.

It is written in simple, matter of fact language which is understandable to the majority of people. There were no technical words to confuse the reader, and the language used was appropriate for the intended audience.

There were many images throughout the book which made it more appealing to read, and made it less of a dry reference book.

I like that each chapter is distinct and this means that the reader, should they so wish, can focus on a topic of their choice and pick and choose how they actually use the book.

I found that the book was difficult to read on the device I was using to review it. I was unable to read it on my kindle, which I would have preferred – as it is bigger, and so had to read it on my tiny phone. This made reading the book a chore and is my one big black mark against the book. Obviously once it is published it will be in a variety of formats so this should not affect anyone buying the book.

If you live in a remote part of the UK (and considering that in the year of publishing the UK experienced severe Arctic conditions which caused water and electricity outages), it may be worthwhile applying at least some of the ideas in the book.

“If a member of your household moves into independent living, you can give him or her a preparedness folder. Such a binder is a great house-warming gift for the newly independent young adult or even for a parent or grandparent who isn’t in the habit of thinking in terms of emergencies.”

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

3.5/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

Get your copy [click on the image for more information or the link if no image is visible]:

“_blank” href=”https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B075G2TQ4J/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B075G2TQ4J&linkCode=as2&tag=julsho-21&linkId=b61ff68cd8293337bf9bdd694587513d”>Prepping 101: 40 Steps You Can Take to Be Prepared: Protect Your Family, Prepare for Weather Disasters, and Be Ready and Resilient when Emergencies Arise

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Official description:

The next severe storm, power outage, or financial meltdown could hit at any time. Having a household contingency plan and being part of a strong, resilient community could mean the difference between life and death. This friendly and highly accessible guide introduces the most important, practical steps your whole family can take to ensure survival in short- or long-term emergencies. The critical information is presented in 40 achievable tasks, ranging from simpler ones such as creating a preparedness notebook and repackaging store-bought food for storage to more involved preparations like learning to collect rainwater and building a solar oven.

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The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook: Issues and Answers from Research to Recovery by Kathy Steligo

This book would be most useful for:-
• Someone with breast cancer
• The partner or carer of someone with breast cancer
• A relative or friend of someone with breast cancer

The books covers the range of breast treatment stages, but focuses on the reconstruction element predominantly. It is therefore useful to those who wish to educate themselves about surgery to the breast for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer.

This is a book about surgery to the breast (and for Americans – obtaining insurance payout for such treatment). Therefore anyone wished to know more about those matters would be well served by this book.

The book is divided into parts.

Part one is about Mastectomy and the different aspects of this, including male mastectomy and also lumpectomy. The surgical methods used for mastectomy or lumpectomy and how these affect reconstruction of the breast or breasts.

Part two is about reconstructive procedures and takes the reader through the different techniques that can be used to rebuild the breast following surgery. Implants and autologous techniques are described in detail along with some pros and cons. Adjusting the remaining breast to match the new breast are discussed as are nipple and areola reconstruction.

Part three is about the operation: pre-op, post-op, recovery and moving forward into the future. It provides a countdown to the surgery (in some instances only useful to those having surgery in USA, but other bits are still helpful), what to expect in the hospital and how to prepare for your return back home. It also takes the reader through potential problems that could arise, as well as taking them beyond recovery and back to normal, many folks don’t realise how traumatic that is in itself, so it is good to see it covered here!

Part four is about finding answers and making decisions. It is useful to guide you in choosing your treatment wherever you live. But the majority of this seems to be biased to those who will be having their treatment in America and how to ensure that their insurance will cover errors their treatment and accommodate their reconstruction preferences. It does have a helpful section for those who will not be having the construction, but who will support, care for or be a friend of someone who is.

Finally there are sections on Notes (referenced throughout the book), Glossary, Resources and an Index. All useful to enable the reader to move back and forth within the book to access the most relevant information as needed.

The bit of the book on prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM) MAY now be out of date and I have copied the information from the book and a news article for reference, below, although PBM is about avoiding cancer altogether. I only highlight this to bring to attention the tendency for any factual books to go “out of date” with the advancement of science and technology. Therefore any reader should check their facts carefully before relying on information in books.

“ If you’re a previvor, prophylactic bilateral mastectomy (PBM) is the most effective way to reduce your breast cancer risk, lowering the odds of a diagnosis by 90 percent or more. “

From a 12 January 2018 news article – young breast cancer patients with faulty BRCA genes have the same survival chances as those without.

The book includes a lot of acronyms, but these are all written in full the first time that they are used. There is also a glossary at the end of the book, along with notes where references have been made in the text.

I reviewed the kindle version of the book and found it easy to read. It was easy enough to enlarge images, tables and photographs to view them. The author wrote in an informative tone at just the right level for someone who doesn’t know all the technical terms for treatments on offer, including full descriptions of what each procedure involves. Visual materials were useful and purposeful, rather than just put in to pad out the book, they were inserted into the text in appropriate places and allowed the reading odd the book to flow without hindering the reader.

Having all the information about how mastectomy (or lumpectomy) is carried out, immediately, or subsequently, followed by the reconstruction; and the different reconstruction methods, is extremely useful.

It wasn’t a generic book for all world areas, it was very definitively American. This may or may not be a problem for readers about to go through a procedure. However, non-American readers will have to filter out the non-helpful facts during their reading /research.

Overall I decided that this book would be QUITE USEFUL. The reason being because it was in essence an American book and there quite large sections of the text that would not apply to readers in other parts of the world. However the information about the actual treatment and surgical procedures and the research and decision making processes is useful to anyone considering reconstruction.

I would probably recommend this book to other people affected by breast cancer.

“It pays to thoroughly research your options and know what to expect before you decide whether breast reconstruction is right for you.”

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook: Issues and Answers from Research to Recovery

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Official description:
Since 2002, The Breast Reconstruction Guidebook has been the best resource on this topic for women who have had a mastectomy. Equal parts science and support, it is filled with stories that illustrate the emotional and physical components of breast reconstruction. Kathy Steligo, a gifted writer and breast cancer survivor who has twice had breast reconstruction, compassionately answers women’s questions about how they will respond emotionally and physically to losing a breast, whether to treat or prevent breast cancer. Steligo provides detailed descriptions of the various surgical options for mastectomy and reconstruction, as well as information on choosing and paying for a surgeon, preparing for and recovering from surgery, and handling the many practical details and difficult decisions women will face along the way. A road map of the mastectomy and reconstruction journey, this book gives women the comprehensive, unbiased details they need to make their own informed decisions about whether reconstruction―and which reconstructive option―is right for them.

Readers learn how breasts can be recreated using implants or their own tissue and the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Surgery timelines, recovery, and potential problems (and how they can be resolved) are also explained. A new foreword by Dr. Minas Chrysopoulo, MD, of the PRMA Plastic Surgery Center for Advanced Breast Reconstruction, highlights the book’s strengths and offers a medical perspective on breast cancer and reconstructive surgery.

The extensively updated text includes new discussions of
• innovative reconstructive procedures
• contralateral mastectomy
• the benefits and limitations of nipple- and areola-sparing mastectomies
• nipple delay procedure
• patient-controlled tissue expansion
• cohesive gel silicone implants
• microsurgical advances that improve tissue flap procedures
• fat grafting
• nipple reconstruction
• nipple and areola tattooing
• reconstruction with the BRAVA system
• pregnancy after TRAM
• male mastectomy and reconstruction
• decision making and solving cosmetic and medical post-op problems
• surgical procedures that reduce the risk of cancer
• the latest research data on mastectomy and reconstruction
• and much more

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Slow Dough Real Bread by Chris Young

“Real Bread is made without the use of processing aids or any other artificial additives.”

I was anticipating that this would be a book of how to make real bread in the traditional way. Including different recipes and style of bread making.

Once you get past the introduction and explanation of what real bread is, which is actually very interesting, the book is totally recipes. Recipes from bread officianados make up the bulk of the book and there is a lot of different types of bread to choose from. There were a number of recipes that I really liked the look of and have bookmarked. Now, I need to be clear here, I don’t cook or bake, I leave that to my husband, who excels in this area. So having read the book, I am hoping that he will be willing to try some of the recipes that I like the sound of on paper.
Of course this does mean that I cannot comment on the quality of the recipes nor their instructions, but they did look OK from a non-bakers viewpoint (naturally).

If you like trying new cooking techniques and you are willing to take the long view to get maximum flavour and benefits from your baking, this book could point you in the right direction.

I am looking forward to trying the likes of croissants and roasted pumpkin sourdough very soon.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Making bread is an ancient craft and a fulfilling experience, a skill that is learnt by touch and feel. There is nothing more satisfying than kneading, pulling, stretching and punching the dough, using a little yeast and sugar to transform its lumpen beginnings, as if by alchemy, into a loaf. But it’s not all hard work. To get a truly wonderful bread, you can use a starter to do the work for you and it does wonders for the texture, flavours and aromas of the final bread. The Real Bread Campaign has been running since 2008, encouraging people to get baking and raising awareness of the additives that exist in most shop-bought loaves. In Slow Dough: Real Bread, learn secrets from the campaign’s network of expert bakers to make a huge array of exciting slow-rise breads at home. Whether you want to make a Caraway Seed Rye Bread, a Fougasse Flatbread or an All-Butter Brioche, in these recipes you’ll learn how to make different starters for different breads, as well as the fundamental processes (many of which you can just sit and wait for): fermenting, kneading, first proof, last rising, and baking. In a world of mass-production and redundant additives, bread being among the worst offenders, this book, about real craftsmanship, is like a breath of fresh air.

Homo Deus A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

“When everybody uses the same oracle, and everybody believes the oracle, the oracle turns into a sovereign. So Waze must think for us. Maybe it will inform only half the drivers that route No. 2 is open, while keeping this information secret from the other half. Thereby pressure will ease on route No. 1 without blocking route No. 2.”

I wasn’t expecting this! It isn’t what I’m used to reading, nor what I tend to select for reading in my leisure time.

Sadly, it wasn’t something I wanted to read in all honesty. Unfortunately, I only superficially read the description of the content and so assumed that this was a fictional work. As a result I have found it, in the main, to be somewhat of a chore to read.

However, that said there were parts that I found engaging and interesting enough to read in a focused manner.
The bits I read most intently were the bits about the disappearance of death, the origin of lawns and the rise of the data-flow and one or two other areas.

Ultimately the book discusses the ‘usefulness’ of humans in society, and the likelihood of humans (homo sapiens) becoming ‘devoid of … value’ in society, as we move into a more technological age. An age where robots and AI take on many roles currently undertaken by trained and experienced individuals.

The author reviews changes in societal structure through history, bringing forth examples from many different times, from different cultures, to expand his point and give weight to his arguments. It is not a poorly written book by any means, it is just not the material for me.

I’m trying to think who this book would be best suited to and really, because it is so far from my usual reading material of choice, I am struggling to think of someone that I know who may want to read this book.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Official description:
War is obsolete
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

Famine is disappearing
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

Death is just a technical problem
Equality is out – but immortality is in

What does our future hold?

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the critically-acclaimed New York Times bestseller and international phenomenon Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, returns with an equally original, compelling, and provocative book, turning his focus toward humanity’s future, and our quest to upgrade humans into gods.
Over the past century humankind has managed to do the impossible and rein in famine, plague, and war. This may seem hard to accept, but, as Harari explains in his trademark style—thorough, yet riveting—famine, plague and war have been transformed from incomprehensible and uncontrollable forces of nature into manageable challenges. For the first time ever, more people die from eating too much than from eating too little; more people die from old age than from infectious diseases; and more people commit suicide than are killed by soldiers, terrorists and criminals put together. The average American is a thousand times more likely to die from binging at McDonalds than from being blown up by Al Qaeda.
What then will replace famine, plague, and war at the top of the human agenda? As the self-made gods of planet earth, what destinies will we set ourselves, and which quests will we undertake? Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.
With the same insight and clarity that made Sapiens an international hit and a New York Times bestseller, Harari maps out our future.

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Cancer with a small ‘C’ by Elizabeth Caush

“We still had to get indoors, wipe the pooch’s paws, put his breakfast down, change his water –all this I did as if on autopilot.”

“One of the most honest letters I received at the time simply stated, ‘I don’t know what to say.’ Honesty. You just need to be honest, rather than trot out the phrases that you may have heard others say.”

I expected something with verve and energy, giving details of the trials of dealing with cancer, but with the underlying belief that is was an illness that could be dealt with. I was looking to read something that reflected how I had approached the whole cancer issue. I wanted to read a book that I could relate to and say ‘that is how I felt’.

It was someone’s cancer journey, but not mine. Mine was different. Everyone’s is. It didn’t resonate with me, as I had hoped, based on the description.
The first half was a ‘bald’ description of diagnosis and treatment. The second half was about the rebuilding of a Christian marriage, and the author’s re-integration into the family of her church.

The book was pretty much a book of two halfs. The first half being about the cancer life; the second half being about her marriage and faith beliefs.

As regards cancer and its accompanying ‘ghosts’ or ‘monsters’, this book will possibly not work, as the author intends, for anyone other than devout Christians. I don’t think I would have bothered reading it had I known what the latter part of the book would be like.

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Although any cancer diagnosis is devastating not only to a patient but also to their family, a positive outlook, a grateful heart and a belief that life can only get better is vital to recovery. There will be readers who understand the attitude that overtook me at the time; my marriage breakdown will resonate with others – just as our reconciliation will also be close to the hearts of some people. I also draw on some hilarious moments, because it wasn’t all bad. My cancer attacked me when I was most in need of a break from life. Disastrous, worrying, life threatening and emotionally draining, the story will touch on some very personal, sad moments but also the victorious end when I refuse to even acknowledge that I had cancer. Yes, it was real, but it deserves no place in my life any more and certainly no capital ‘c’.This is a cathartic book for me and hopefully an encouragement to others who may be going through a similar situation to mine. This book is an honest account of how I drove myself to get well again. Ten years on, my life is so different that I hardly recognise the person in the story. But it was me and it is my story.
About the Author
Elizabeth Caush lives in Portsmouth, UK, with her husband, adult son and Wallace, the White West Highland Terrier dog who constantly sits by her side whilst she is writing or knitting. Wallace is also a source of inspiration as Elizabeth walks him daily while she thinks through the next chapter of writing and mulls over thoughts for the books and articles she wants to produce. Born with a positive attitude, Elizabeth is often found encouraging others to achieve their potential, try new things and improve their lives. This particular book has been in her ‘waiting room’ for ten years as some of the memories have been too painful to revisit, but as she hears of more and more women diagnosed with breast cancer (including her sister and next door neighbour) she wanted to write for them in the hope of encouraging and helping them through their journey. This is Elizabeth’s second book, the first being ‘The Blanket Book’ a look at how therapeutic knitting can help people through the traumas of life.

Cooking for Chemo …and After! by Chef Ryan Callahan

What I expected:
I was expecting a book that gave me guidance on how to feed someone undergoing chemotherapy. 

What it was:
The author aims this book at caregivers, family and friends.
If the reader is familiar with using America recipes, foodstuffs and measures then this book may be appropriate, otherwise it may lie unused on a bookshelf.
Personally, I feel that it is a good idea to prepare the mindset of the food preparer by reading the book in advance of any chemotherapy. So that they are prepared. This book is NOT only a recipe book. It is also a guide on how to tempt patients to eat with flavours and textures.
However, some of the measurements are not easily understood, for example I don’t know what 1 stick of butter is and I haven’t a clue what a breakfast sausage would be. Plus, I don’t know where I would get Kosher Salt from, nor corn muffin mix. And, some of the other ingredients I do not understand as they are americanised, for example cilantro, chuck roast, round roast, London broil or beef round.
I would not be able to comment on mistakes in nutritional information or recipes as I do not have the expertise.
Kosher Salt is one of the items mentioned in the book. I had not come across this before. It is in fact similar to Sea Salt but with a finer grain structure. This structure is important in how the salt flavours, and sticks to, food.
There was no glossary to help with this book, if I didn’t know it, it was a case of googling it.
I struggled from the outset with reading this book as it is printed entirely in block capitals and a non-standard font.
However, I found it interesting to read about the structure of the flavours and tastes in the food. But once I got to the recipes, the non-familiarity of the measures and food-types turned me completely off even attempting any of the recipes.
I found the information about flavours and how they interact very interesting. I feel more inclined to have a go at cooking myself, but not with the recipes given.
In summary, as previously mentioned, reading block capitals is not easy and I found this irritating, plus I struggled with the American food descriptions and measures. I could not use this book as a cooking aid.
The fifth chapter – the recipes section is divided into 6 categories, with extra information at the beginning of each category. The recipes are apparently ordered on how a chemo patient can tolerate the heaviness of foods. 

2/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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Cooking for Chemo …and After!: A how-to-cook cookbook that teaches you how to adjust your cooking for chemotherapy patients

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Cooking for Chemo …and After!: A how-to-cook cookbook that teaches you how to adjust your cooking for chemotherapy patients

The Right Bite by Jackie Lynch

“NOT EVERYONE NEEDS TO LOSE WEIGHT and elderly people or those who struggle to take in enough calories could find that a generous mug of hot chocolate is an excellent and easy way to build themselves up.”

What I expected:
It was the description (see below) that tempted me to read this book. I remembered the times when I was travelling throughout the UK and was just eating what was available. I was pretty sure it wasn’t doing me any good. I hoped this book might just be the answer next time I have to take a trip.

What it was:
It is actually quite a nifty little book. It may not be particularly long, but it isn’t about the length it’s about the information it contains!

There are useful facts spread throughout the book, the quote at the top is just one that really stood out for me.

The book is divided into the following sections:-

Introduction
how to use this book
Understanding key nutrients
carbohydrate
fat
protein

1 Breakfast on the Go
saving your bacon
2 Coffee Bar
the worst cake scenario
3 Working Lunch
mall-nutrition
4 Takeout and Fast Food
fries, pies and lies
5 Bars and Pubs
tots, shots and (salted) nots
6 Picnics
breads, spreads and other dreads
7 Barbecues
what’s charred and what’s barred
8 At the Movies
premiere choices
Index

Each section has ‘The Right Bite’ flagged boldly in the section colour to make it stand out. These coloured flagged areas advise what the reader should select as a preference when they just want a quick nod in the right direction. For example:

“THE RIGHT BITE A protein-rich soup is always going to be the most satisfying option. Some meat-based soups can be surprisingly stingy on the protein, as meat is an expensive ingredient, whereas soups made with cost-effective pulses such as beans, lentils or chickpeas often contain more generous proportions of protein. …”

  

I have read it from front to back and having done so feel that this would be a very useful addition to the business travellers (or any travellers really) suitcase. And, more than that, anyone who is going out and about beyond the reach of their own kitchen will find it a useful addition to their bookshelf (or suitcase, or handbag, or rucksack).

In short, I would recommend this book to anyone eating outside of the home, who wants to do so in a healthy way. Buy it, read it, apply it.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

4/5 Stars (What this means…five-stars-applied-carefully)

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The Right Bite

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It’s easy to follow a healthy diet when you’re in control of your shopping list, but as soon as you step outside the front door it gets complicated . . .

Walk into any coffee shop, bar or cinema, and making the right decision becomes a challenge; The Right Bite is here to help. With accessible, practical advice for all those everyday occasions, you can make the smart choice even when healthy options are limited.

Each chapter focuses on a different eating environment – from breakfast on the go to a family barbecue. For each situation The Right Bite explores the type of foods likely to be available and compares them, explaining the main health pitfalls and highlighting top picks.

   • Understanding Key Nutrients introduces you to the basics of a good diet
   • Nutrition Numbers let you compare and weigh up your options instantly
   • The Right Bite panel allows you to immediately pick the healthiest choice
   • Fact Boxes scattered throughout give you extra tips and expert advice

Written by an experienced nutritional therapist – so you know that you are getting savvy advice – and small enough to slip in your bag, this is the one-stop guide for anyone wanting to eat healthily in the real world.

Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and runs the WellWellWell clinics in West London. Passionate about the importance of good nutrition for optimum health, she creates practical nutrition programmes suitable for a busy 21st century lifestyle. Jackie also provides advice and support for a range of blue chip companies, in the form of individual consultations for staff, nutrition workshops and menu analysis and has acted as a food consultant for brands such as Tetley. She is a regular contributor to the Mail on Sunday and the Net Doctor website and her advice features in a wide range of other national media. Visit her website at http://www.well-well-well.co.uk.