one simple change – a giveaway


I met Winnie Abramson by chance a few years ago at a blogging conference in Atlanta. Somehow it came up in conversation that she didn’t have a room and was going to sleep on a cot in someone else’s room, and since I had two queen sized beds and was using only one, I just up and offered it to her. I didn’t know her very well, but she was friends with my friends, and I wanted a friend of my friends to be comfortable.

This decision was really how Winnie and I became friends. We spent the following morning sitting around in our pajamas, drinking tea, and talking. I think we might have even missed the morning session, which was fine by both of us. I told Winnie about trying to make a transition to food writing full time, I learned about Winnie’s parents’ restaurant, her passion in nutrition and whole foods, her family, and aspirations. The entire time I kept thinking, “This is such a healthy approach to eating and thinking about food – we need more of it.”

Fast forward to now. Winnie and I are better friends – having gotten to know one another over several years. And now, Winnie has an excellent book out, One Simple Change, that helps people make small, manageable changes in their lives bringing them closer to a healthier lifestyle. There is no dieting, there are no hard and fast rules. Instead, there are gentle suggestions on what might work better for you. Simple changes – that is key. Use one, use two, use them all – Winnie’s voice is kind, non-judging. She is here to help you make sense of wholesome approach to eating, drinking, sleeping, and so on, but she isn’t dogmatic about it, nor does she tell you that you have to use all of these rules.

There are a few wonderful-sounding recipes in there. And I wish I wasn’t so up to my gills in recipe testing before starting to pack up my kitchen. Winnie’s recipes will have to wait for the new apartment – and the new kitchen, so that’s something to look forward to.

My immediate simple change (it’s in the beginning of the book) is now I drink a glass of water immediately upon waking up. Winnie talks at length about the health benefits of having a glass of water immediately after getting out of bed, and I’ve noticed an amazing shift in my energy level even before I have my cup of coffee. I add a slice of lemon to mine – to make my sleepy self want to drink water in the morning. It’s working – and it’s wonderful. Best of all, I feel like I start my day off in the best possible way.

Perhaps what I love most about the book is how approachable it is – anyone can benefit from something there. Yes, Winnie is a friend, but honestly, I couldn’t write what I just did if I didn’t genuinely like the book, friend or not. Given that we’re about to enter a New Year, it might be a perfect book to pick up as we turn a new page. I’m not a big fan of resolutions – they sound so absolute – but I like the idea of one simple change (or a few), to try on for size. To me, “I will try” sounds much more attainable than “I will” and I’m more likely to stick to healthier habits when I give myself a little wiggle room.

And because I think this is going to be a useful and helpful book to just about anyone, I’m doing a giveaway of One Simple Change. Leave a comment below with something you hope to accomplish in 2014. Comments will be open until Christmas Eve, December 24, 11:59pm, and I’ll randomly pick a winner by New Year’s Eve. [Giving myself a few days since I’ll be unpacking and settling in.]

**UPDATE** The winner of the giveaway is Liz (comment #7). Liz, I will be in touch! Thanks so much to everyone who commented – you guys are so inspirational! Wishing you all luck with your changes – and 2014 in general!

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  • Whitney

    I want to be happier. I’ve been letting my job and long commute drag down my marriage and the happy things in my life. Ready to turn the chapter and move onto 2104!

  • Faith

    Let’s see…in 2014, I hope to plan my wedding, while staying sane, happy, and on budget. No fussing over little details, no putting myself in debt for a party, and DEFINITELY no turning into a diva!

  • Sarah

    I want to go to bed earlier. I’ve always been a night owl but now that I have a 1-year old I need to be energetic in the morning. Dragging along just isn’t cutting it. If I get to sleep earlier I can be better for her and show up at nap time – the only time I have for me- to keep my creative projects moving forward.

  • Carley

    Hi! In the new year I want to have my writing published somewhere. I don’t care if it’s just once, if it appears on a website or in a small magazine, wherever or however. The point is that I’ll take the first steps toward writing professionally. I’ve been noodling this goal for a while. Thanks for prompting me to say it “out loud”!

  • Laviza SHARIFF

    Thank you for the chance to win this awesome book! I hope to finally get serious abut creating and packaging, and ultimately marketing, the Pakistani simmer sauces I have been tinkering with. Also I hope to “unplug” more, and focus on family and being in the moment….but, not unplug too much, otherwise I would have missed this giveaway!

  • Lena

    I would like to exert more control over my life in a lot of different ways, more sleep, better eating habits, more exercise, cleaning! I would just like to feel like I am empowered to control those things/myself and not just live in a reactionary way – solving problems as they arise.

  • Pia @ Bread and Beta

    I hope to create a more sustainable routine for exercise, nutrition, sleep and relationships. This looks like a wonderful book and I’m always looking for small changes that can be easily incorporated.

  • Mindi

    I hope to have better relationships – with everyone. Two years, I lost 50 lbs and had a great outlook on life. I’ve stopped a lot of the healthy habits I acquired through that journey and I feel like it has impacted my entire life, especially my relationship with myself. I will try to do better in 2014.

  • Alycia

    I hope to be more brave and dare myself to go for it! (Whether “it” is a potential move out of state or asking for a raise, etc)

  • Margarita

    For 2014, I simply want to just start making things happen instead of being sad about things that are not happening. Be more proactive and positive.

    This sounds like a great book! I drink water before I do anything else in the morning and learned that from “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano.

  • c.

    I want to remove the sharpness from my voice. It is self-judgmental and leaks out when I talk. Others mistake it for me being mean. I am only being mean and self-loathing to me. But I want it gone.

    That is my goal. To change the tone of my words.

  • Rebecca

    I’ve been drinking a glass of water on waking for years and it is great! I would like to try to remember to do the same thing at about 3pm – that’s when my energy flags again and I’m likely to cheat on my diet with a cookie. I think an additional glass of water might help with that.

  • Jennifer

    In 2014 my goal is to follow through with a dream I’m in the process of achieving. The challenge is I have a problem with sticking with something and completing it. Of I do stay on course it would be life changing for me with the opportunity to do the same for others.

    Good luck everyone.
    I hope we all have an amazing 2014 and reach our goals and far beyond.

  • Marci

    I hope to find a more fulfilling job , run another marathon in my hometown, and be more accepting of myself and things I cannot change.

  • jacquie

    to continue to find the strength to heal from the trauma of caused by a long time abusive domestic situation that I let 1 1/2 years ago. It is a long journey and I’m struggling with it. mostly I don’t want to be made bitter by and would hope at some point to be able to trust again at least a little. I don’t know if it is possible put I would like to continue to work on that path.

  • Holly

    This past year tested me in so many ways, that my health began to decline. I’m hoping that staying positive, in spite of the hardships I am facing, will make the new year better for me and my family.

  • sybille

    I shall reconsider again to start up my small little bookshop combined with offering lunch, even though friends and family literally “dis-persuaded” me a year ago from this idea. I shan’t detain this time, if I think it’s right.

  • Leslie

    Oh goodness, this year I turn 60…water with citrus as I awake is a solid goal I believe I can achieve…as much as I can change my life to live in a more rural environment. I want to leave the cement and asphalt CA life suburban to the rural life.

  • minervasowl

    It is so encouraging to see all of these hopes and goals. 2013 has been a stressful and expensive year for me, especially the last couple of months. I am hoping that in 2014 I can recover a bit financially and get back to a more positive, relaxed state of mind, focusing on activities that make me happy and not spending a lot of time worrying about things which are out of my control and instead just try to be prepared.

  • sharon

    Family and personal health problems really through me off track. Water in the morning sounds like a gentle way to refresh my body, get me back on track.

  • Marianne A.

    i am going to reign in my tendency to pick and eat mindlessly throughout the day. The calories from aloof those BLT’s ( bites, licks and tastes) really adds up.

  • paula

    Be better and true to myself and my family – starting with taking vacation days before losing them to the man!

  • Dawn

    I want to sort through and eliminate most of the years of boxes stacked in our garage. There’s nothing like a clean slate for a new year.

  • Georgie

    My hope is to have a better relationship with me. To manage my weight, educate my mind, and to thine own self be true and do all the things I love.

  • Kyenne

    I want to slow down. And be a kinder person. I know that these two choices will lay a foundation for any other changes I make.

  • Lavi

    i want to do one push-up, a real one, not on my knees…i am in good shape but thsi has always escaped me :)

  • Gloria R.

    In 2014, I want to start a journal up again. I did it a few years back and it helped me so much in day to day living. I also included a daily grateful list. I have lost some of the people and special fursons (pets) in my life, but I have new beings to be grateful for. It’s time to keep it in the written word again. :)
    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and have a wonderous New Year.

  • Heather

    I am going to keep working towards a healthier and more earth friendly lifestyle, and I’m going to create a plan foe less screen time! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  • Lauren S.

    I want to really truly organize my home so it will be easier to take care of so that I can give me energies and joy to the really important things in life and not get distracted by moving dirt and papers around (i.e. cleaning).

  • SHScott

    I want to do more cooking at home and less eating out. The bustle of restaurants makes me eat faster and over eat, while cooking is relaxing and even better when a couple friends come over and we try a recipe together. Plus, I can control the fats in the recipe, which helps my other goal of losing my “buddha belly”. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season!

  • Andrea

    I will try to be stronger: in my convictions, in my body (from my workouts), and in my work/school performance.

  • colleen

    I am planning on working less but working better. I want to remembering how to care for the people I work with every day rather than just focussing on getting the job done. I am going to take the time spent NOT working to take better care of myself and my husband, and have the time to enjoy our cats, our garden, our kitchen…and all the other things I love but have been too busy to appreciate fully.

  • Cherish

    In 2014 I am hoping to become an even better cook for the sake of my health and my family’s health.

  • Ambu

    In 2014 I hope to grow into the big commune I just moved into, start training as a therapist, and continue to grow into love and awareness in this new environment… A beautiful challenge! :)

  • Alice

    I gave up Cokes, the “real thing” red can cokes. My mouth still waters when I see one but my A1C dropped to a healthy level.

  • TheGeek

    There are always health and fitness goals for me, but this coming year, I have to non-related goals that I’m much more focused on: finish one novel in the universe I’ve been building since high school, and make a quilt for a dear friend’s wedding in July.

  • Diana

    For the new year , I would like to find simplicity in all my areas of life. I believe if I can simplify, the true gifts of life will come to the forefront of my life and I will find the balance that I am looking for.

  • alice

    I want to get through more books than I did in 2013. So I am letting my magazine subscriptions lapse. And maybe I can manage a little less time on the internet… ;-)

  • rebecca

    In 2014 I’d like to buy a house, it seems intimidating and immense to be a homeowner but it’s been a goal for a long time :)

  • Amanda

    shockingly enough I plan to be a little more scheduled and hopefully thereby become more efficient – I have become way too good at de-stessing and going with the flow! ;)

  • Abby

    My goal (since Rosh Hashana) has been to be more compassionate & less judgemental – a good thing to keep on into and through 2014! But as you say – one simple thing – a glass of water first thing – sounds good too!

  • Michael Meserve

    I want to write. I create recipes everyday, refine, test, but need to have greater fortitude and organization in writing down the bones.

  • Irina

    I plan to return back to regular exercise as I my little girl gets older :) Best of luck in your new apartment!