Comfort Cravings

How to soothe yourself without food—and how to eat healthfully and mindfully

Books to Help You Eat Better & Enjoy Food

Delicious Reading

Are you seeking a creative idea to get your book club motivated?  If so, you may want to look to the Birmingham, Alabama Foodie Book Club for inspiration.  Each month, this club chooses a food themed book to read (see www.foodiebookclub.wordpress.com).  Members bring a dish inspired by the book to share.  What could be better than critiquing a book while sampling tasty food?  This book club is the brain child of Shaun Chavis who has worked for Health magazine and Cooking Light.

Here are some of the Alabama Foodie Book Club reading picks:

■Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

■Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris

■Bottomfeeder

■Bread, Body, Spirit: Finding the Sacred in Food

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■Candyfreak

■Cherries in Winter

■Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World

■Feeding A Yen

■Gastronomical Me

■Sex, Death, and Oysters

■The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

■The Omnivore's Dilemma

■The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

To Get Started:  Try Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table by Ruth Reichl. This memoir was written by a witty New York Times food critic.  It is a delightful, interesting read (as are her other books).  Warning: the food descriptions might make you a little hungry.  It comes with recipes that you can divvy up amongst the members.  

For a Conversation Starter:  What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin.  This book will inspire you to bring a unique and wacky dish that you eat when your significant isn't home.  Melted peanut butter on popcorn is okay for this group.  No judgments here.

For a Quick ReadFood Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan.  It's a solid reminder of the basic principles of healthy eating.  All of Pollan's books are a must read.

For Those Who Hate Dieting:  Eating Mindfully by Susan Albers.  If you are sick of dieting, this is the perfect book for you.  Bring a dessert or snack you crave.  Learn how to stop overeating it and instead savor it mindfully.

A Book for Fun:  Keep your eye out for The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick. This is a fictional book purely for fun that will be released in May 2011.  It's a story about national bake-off contests.  Bring a dish to the group from your favorite national bake-off like the Pillsbury's annual contest.

For the Environmentalist:  Read Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes by Mark Bittman.  This book is part cookbook and part guide to understanding how the way you eat impacts the environment.

For Your Health:  YOU: On a Diet: The Owner's Manual to Waist Management by Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen. These two dynamic doctors share tips for improving your health.  You can cook a healthier version of your favorite meal.

For a Transformational Read:  Women, Food and God:  An unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth.  Geneen Roth never fails to inspire you to take a closer look at your relationship to food and life.  Geneen's books are engaging and entertaining.

Best wishes on starting your food book club.  Eat, Drink & Be Mindful!

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns, and mindfulness. She is the author of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food, Eating Mindfully, Eat, Drink, and Be Mindful, and Mindful Eating 101 and is a Huffington Post blogger.  Her books have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, O, the Oprah Magazine, Natural Health, Self Magazine and on the Dr. Oz TV show. Visit Albers online at http://www.eatingmindfully.com

Susan Albers, Psy.D., is a psychologist who specializes in eating issues, weight loss, body image concerns and mindfulness. 

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