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A novel for these times and healthy pumpkin spice lattes

My family and I had the opportunity to visit Muir Woods last week, just north of San Francisco. A few hundred feet inside the redwood forest, a sign directs visitors to look up at a cluster of giant trees surrounding an enormous, broken stump.

"Notice the circle of trees," it said. "When a redwood dies from the trauma of wildfire or drought, the roots live on and new trees grow up all around it, creating a dense, protective family circle."

In a world suffering from so much loss right now, remember, if you can, to find sources of peace in your life and lean on them—whether they are people or pets, places, foods, physical activities or works of art such as books, drawings, music or films.

If you would like a worksheet to clearly identify reliable sources for yourself, you can find one in Chapter 9 of The Habit Trip, Emergency Plan.

Regardless of what phase of life you're in, these unique, personalized resources can offer shelter and solid ground for regrowth.


P.S. Yes, that photo is of the actual woods. Scroll to the bottom for one more. Any forest will do for me, but those redwoods are truly something special.


Gone Like Yesterday: A Novel

Speaking of books, I want to share a book that seems right for these times. It isn't about war or acute political upheaval, but it isn't a candy-coated distraction either.

It's a story about family (chosen and ancestral), identity (racial and otherwise), exploration, wisdom through generations and the choices that shape us. There's some romance in there, as well.

Gone Like Yesterday by Janelle M. Williams is a poignant, sometimes haunting tale about two Black women, "Zahra, a listless college prep coach, and Sammie, a teenage girl and budding activist soon off to college" who travel together from New York City to Atlanta in search of Zahra's missing brother.

It has mystical elements, singing moths, and a thematic drumbeat that circles back, on repeat, to Kendrick Lamar's song lyric, "We gon' be alright." The audiobook is lovely, as well.

👉 For those in Nashville, I will be interviewing Janelle Williams (and short story author Kelsey Norris about her book, House Gone Quiet) this Saturday, the 21st, at noon CST at the Southern Festival of Books. We will be in the Wolf Room at the Tennessee State Museum.

I'm still reading House Gone Quiet, a searing collection of stories about grief, community and what it means to be at home. Fans of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Taleand poetic, lyrical language will love this one.


Can A Pumpkin Spice Latte Be Healthy?

Last, this week at Forbes, a pumpkin spice lover wanted to know how to have their favorite seasonal coffee drinks without damaging their health.

Trigger warning for folks in a weight loss loop: In this column, I share lots of information about how many calories and grams of sugar and fat might be hidden in your favorite brew, 👉 but you don’t have to count calories to make your drinks healthier!

With a few adjustments, seasonal drinks can absolutely be part of a healthy diet and as tasty as ever.

In this column, you'll find:

➡️ nutritional information about some of the most popular seasonal drinks offered by Starbucks and Dunkin

➡️ info about how to order them in healthier ways

➡️ how to make your favorites at home to save on both cash and calories.

Click here for all the details! ❤️☕️

And don't forget you can always send your own question to me through the anonymous form at Forbes' Hey, Health Coach.



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