Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom

( 65 )

Overview

Ravenous is among the most engaging, fun, and insightful books about appetite you’ll ever read. A wonderful mélange of memoir, recipes, the exploration of food production—topped off by uncommonly delicious writing.”

— Sue Halpern, author of Can’t Remember What I Forgot

 

     How can I, a food lover and lifelong overeater, learn to be satisfied?

     That is the question Dayna Macy asks in her ...

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Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom

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Overview

Ravenous is among the most engaging, fun, and insightful books about appetite you’ll ever read. A wonderful mélange of memoir, recipes, the exploration of food production—topped off by uncommonly delicious writing.”

— Sue Halpern, author of Can’t Remember What I Forgot

 

     How can I, a food lover and lifelong overeater, learn to be satisfied?

     That is the question Dayna Macy asks in her memoir, Ravenous. Like many of us, Macy has had a complicated relationship with food all her life. As she heads toward midlife and a size 18, she decides to change her relationship with food from the inside out by embarking on a yearlong journey—from her childhood home in up­state New York and back up the California coast—to uncover the origins of her food obsessions.

     To understand why she craves certain foods and not others, Macy travels across the country, meeting the people who know the finer points of her passions—the olive farmer, the sausage maker, the chocolatier, the artisanal cheese maker. She deepens her understanding of what food means to her by learning where it comes from and pay­ing close attention to the effects it has on her—both physical and emotional. Along the way, she forages for wild plants, tours a certified humane slaughterhouse, learns to practice mindfulness with a Zen chef, re­visits her beloved Slim Jims, and learns to listen to her body through yoga.

     Recounting memories from her youth, Macy looks at the nostalgia deeply em­bedded in food and the powerful forces of family and tradition that shape our diets. Delving deeper into the spiritual under­pinnings of eating, she examines what it means to be satisfied—and forges her own path to balance and freedom.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401926922
  • Publisher: Hay House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Dayna Macy’s essays have appeared in Self, Salon, Yoga Journal, The Huffington Post, and other publications; and in several anthologies. For the last decade she has worked at Yoga Journal as Communications Director, and now also as the Managing Editor for International Editions. She lives in Berkeley, California, with her husband, the writer Scott Rosenberg, and their two sons.

Website: daynamacy.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 65 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 65 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    Supposed to be free...

    I sure wish this was a free book like the e-mail that I received from B&N said it was.

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 14, 2011

    Loved this book

    Dayna Macy is ravenous, and has been for most of her life. Like many of us, she'd like to understand why, but unlike most of us, she actually goes on a spiritual and literal journey in search of an answer. In her book, "Ravenous - A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom," Macy takes the reader on a culinary odyssey, visiting the farmers and artisans who are responsible for bringing the tastiest morsels to our tables. But more importantly, Macy honestly and poignantly takes us along on her personal quest to understand her complicated relationship with food and its psychological and spiritual meaning in her life, and by extension, in ours.

    One of the most striking and engaging aspects of Dayna Macy's writing is how unflinchingly personal it is. Her story includes vignettes from her past. Her difficult relationship with her father and its unfolding, from her childhood through his illness and death, is interwoven with memories of particular foods, traditions, and recipes. She describes time she spent with a lover in Europe, shortly after her father's death when she was still sorting out her grief and conflicted feelings. Macy openly confesses her attraction toward a meditation teacher and chef she visited during her journey in writing this book, even though she is happily married to writer Scott Rosenberg. Her visit to a humane cattle ranch and her witnessing of the slaughter leaves her deeply affected; she describes retching at the sights and smells, yet does not make a decision for vegetarianism. And, over and over again, she opens up about her inability to reconcile with the lack of control she has over food in her life. There's a lot of heavy, thought provoking material here, punctuated at the end of each chapter with wonderful, healthful recipes meant to nourish the spirit as well as the body.

    This book however, is not all unfathomable depth or darkness. There are many light and even funny moments. Macy has a gift for bringing her readers in to her wonderful family with its Jewish traditions and making us feel at home there. There are warm scenes of her cooking for and with her husband and sons, and of a joyful Passover seder with her extended family. Her matzo ball soup recipe appears on page 107, the recipe that finally satisfied her mother's palate. Throughout the book, Dayna Macy urges readers to experience food with joy, and she also demonstrates her commitment to sustainable agriculture and food production practices. The book is never preachy, yet she does question the impact of big corporate interests on not only the quality of our food, but on how we view it and relate to it in our culture.

    "Ravenous" is an extremely readable and touching book, and one that certainly many readers will relate to. Its short chapters are each a story in themselves, each taking us to a different farm or artisan's shop, or to a new aspect of the meaning of food. Each chapter ends with a delicious recipe that is not overly challenging to prepare. The only negative here is that some of the foods and experiences which Macy describes are probably not accessible to the average American. Macy and her family live in the Berkeley area of California and have the access to and means to purchase some very high end artisanal foods. Additionally, Macy is able to consult with yoga instructors, chefs, and other culinary professionals that most of us do not have access to.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    Interesting perspective on food and eating; thought-provoking

    As an emotional eater myself I found this book very interesting. I enjoyed her journey learning about different kinds of foods, as well as the recipes that accompanied each section. It certainly gives some food for thought as regards one's eating habits and choices. I've tried to think about my emotional eating in the past, and found this book to encourage that kind of introspection. It doesn't provide any steps or final answers (because, really, they'd be different for each person), but is quite inspiring, especially if you have personal issues with food.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Journey to Freedom

    Ravenous is scripted journey written by Dayna Macy documenting her attempt to free herself from her obsession with food. She writes of how this love began as a comfort and then grew as an addiction that ruled her world and her view of food. Each chapter begins with a food she adores and cleverly transcends back into her past as a child relating to how her love for a specific food began.
    Each chapter is then concluded with a recipe with that type of food as an ingredient.
    Thinking to understand her addiction she attempts to gain more knowledge by visiting various food enthusiasts and learning the preparation of that food.
    The reader then gains facts of the research from making chocolate at The Xocolate Bar in Berkeley to foraging and collecting wild edible plants in a city east of San Francisco. As a whole the book is clever and the reader gains a good fast read with a unique recipe book as well.
    The only chapter in the book that brought questions and bewilderment would be the chapter where the author goes to a certified organic meat ranch to come to terms with her love of beef. She meets with one of the wives of the ranch who leaves before witnessing a 'humane killing' of a young calf with the statement of "I could be a vegetarian." She says, her eyes filling with tears, but my body needs the protein."
    I found it odd and disappointing that the author let the woman remain in ignorance with out informing her that it is possible for a Vegetarian and/ or Vegan to eat meals fully enriched with protein. Surely the author has discovered this fact over the course of her many meetings with food authorities and trip to organic vegetable farms.

    The chapter just left a dull thud to my senses over the writer's new revelations of the experience of watching a calf be killed and the authors proclaimed new respect for all animals that will now end up at the dinner table.
    Over all I enjoyed the book and would not let this chapter prevent me from giving it as a gift. However if giving this to one of my friends that is a Vegetarian/ Vegan or animal activist then I'd strongly recommend they not read chapter 12.
    As part of the FTC disclaimer rules I am making you aware that
    I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2011

    Lovely Lesson on Mindful Living (and Eating!)

    A beautiful memoir recounting an often tumultuous relationship with food (as - in my opinion- a microcosm of her relationship with her Self), Dayna Macy in Ravenous strives chapter-by-chapter to redefine her rocky relationship in a healthier way while concurrently discovering what makes her tick the way she does.

    I enjoyed the memoir sections of this book very much, and I think Ms. Macy has a delightful way of using a particular food each chapter (for the first part of the book) to captivate the reader (and make our mouths water!)

    While Ms. Macy takes us on a journey of love of self and hope, for those who can not relate to a dysfunctional relationship with food, I am not sure this is the read for you. Also, I could not quite determine the genre of this book - whether it was self-help, a memoir, book for foodies, or - most likely - a combination of all of the above. It felt more like a collection of short stories, but great short stories nonetheless. My favorite part of this book was the peace of mind and new focus on life Ms. Macy achieves through each chapter.

    At its core, this book is a delightful lesson in mindful eating; and therefore in mindful living.

    Thinking about why we do the things we do.

    Eat the things we eat.

    Say the things we say.

    Feel the emotions we feel.

    Stopping to think about the "whys."

    That is what this book did for me.

    And we could all afford to practice a little bit more of that.

    Thanks to my friends at Hay House for sending me a free book unique to those they've sent before!


    One lovely orange that calls your name

    Cut orange lengthwise into six segments.
    Breath in the aroma that's released.
    Eat each segment slowly, savoring the orange's flavor, taste, and texture.

    Let it fill your mouth, and your heart, with joy.

    -Dayna Macy, Ravenous, Page 203

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2011

    Contact customer service about free

    This is not the first time an email has come and said a nookbook was free. The last time it happened to me, I contacted customer service. By the time they got back to me, they told me the offer (I had cut and pasted the email) had expired, that free was only good for a limited time. I wrote back that I had clicked on the link the day I got the email and for a solid week afterwards and it was never free. They never responded again. This time the email came Saturday morning and two hours after it came I clicked on the link and it wasn't free. I want someone else to complain so maybe they will get this fixed! It is irritating.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    Great

    The book wrestles with our culture's utter lack of respect for the food we put in our bodies. The reader journeys with the author as she sets out to learn where her food comes from and take control of her eating habits. Through her writing I feel as if I journeyed with her. The book helped me see through my own food issues. EXCELLENT!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2012

    Great book!

    As someone who has struggled with weight issues most of my life, I can definitely empathize with the author's struggles to be free from her unhealthy relationship with food. I loved the recipes in between chapters, and the honest and frank writing. It must have been hard to bare her soul in this way, but as I followed her journey from dependence on food to soothe to using food as nourishment, I felt a kinship with her, and I felt that I could also achieve the goals I had set for myself to deal with my stress eating. The reminder to eat mindfully at the end, with the "recipe" for the orange, is something I carry with me, and try to do at every meal.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 29, 2011

    I was lucky to get it free

    I downloaded this book from B&N for "0.00" on 2/24. I recall reading that it was a short term promotion and downloaded it immediately. That said, I'm midway through the book and am savoring every informative and entertaining age. The author has real style!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Ravenous Memories & Recipes

    A few weeks ago, I received my current book to review from Hay House titled "Ravenous: A food lovers journey from obsession to freedom" By: Dayna Macy

    "Interesting......" I thought to myself as I read along. "Who knew that there was so much therapy in food. Sure there is addiction, and gorging. Gluteny, sex, lust, temptation. But spiritual therapy?" I was skeptical.

    We travel with the Author Dayna Macy, as she tries to explain why she is over weight. She has watched her weight go up and up with the years and top out when she has her sons. However something strikes her odd, when coming home from the grocers, a packed variety container of fresh olives call to her. She eats them one by one until they are all gone. Leaving none for the dinner party she had originally bought them for. She decides to look at her food obsessions, see the source of them spiritually, mentally, and take a closer look into where they are made. By doing this, perhaps she will be able to see where it all went horribly wrong.

    From Sausage to Chocolate, Urban Scavenging to the Cattle Slaughter, we read Macy's love for food and struggle with her through hurtful memories of her father, faith, and life. Ultimately she discovers that going back to deal with old ghosts, and finding a new appreciation for food, that instead of gorging she just needed purging, and to accept her curvacious and healthy body.

    This is an easy read intertwined with fun fresh recipes that would delight anyone no matter the cooking level.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2011

    Hated it!

    Nothing good about this book. Especially hated the chapter on slaughter.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    Food Pornography, and a look through the eyes of an addict.

    This is a book about food taken out of context to a pornographic extreme. There are over 140 pages of the book that are an in depth look at the food which the author is most addicted to. There are scatterings of stories about how she came to have her addiction. Mostly it is a book about the object of an addict's desire through her own eyes. The book is well written, and the author has skill in the craft of writing. However the book leaves us feeling more like voyeurs than readers. The last two chapters appear as a hastily written and overly brief attempt to describe the authors latest attempt at overcoming her addiction using a variety of very Berkeley California new age techniques. Only the briefest mention is made of her real practice of very carefully weighing her food intake. Even as a person that struggles with food, I put down the book feeling embarrassed for the author. This not a book about growth, solutions, or overcoming an addiction. It is a book about the what it feels like to be addicted, about the distortions in thought processes for the addict. The book is an uncomfortable read without leaving me anything to take away. Just when I thought that there might be some insight that the author has to share the writing becomes rushed, stingy, and secretive. I was left clueless as to why someone that wrote so easily about their first sexual experience a few chapters into the book would keep secret the details of something that might help other food addicts. The recipes that are between chapters look like they would make good food. We would expect no less from someone struggling with food addiction. Here in this book they are completely out of place like an ad for whiskey in an Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlet.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

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    Posted March 5, 2011

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    Posted February 26, 2011

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    Posted March 3, 2011

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    Posted April 3, 2011

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    Posted February 26, 2011

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    Posted February 26, 2011

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    Posted February 27, 2011

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