Book Review: Half The Sky

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving day.  And I have so very much to be thankful for.  Yes, life has its challenges, however, today, I am focused on gratitude and all of the many blessings I have.

First, I am so thankful for my amazing husband and my 2 delightful (and oh so helpful and cooperative) boys. Second, though maybe not even in that order, I am thankful for my health, especially given all of the challenges I have faced in this arena.  Getting up in the morning and going for a walk means so much to me, and having the health to be able to do fun things with my lovely family is wonderful as well.

Next? I want to thank all of you!

I love writing recipes, and I love that you all enjoy them so much and are so vocal about this.  I have been receiving so much beautiful and inspired feedback in the comments section of this website, that I feel as though I am mentally dwelling in a feedback loop of caring, generosity, and positivity.  And let me tell you all, it is a wonderful loop to be in with all of you!

So, not to be a downer or anything, (and I apologize for the abrupt transition) however, I do want to mention others today, who might not have as much to be thankful for as I do.  That is why I would like to discuss one of my favorite books of late, called, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, it is a call to action in support of women around the globe, making the case for investing in women’s health and autonomy.  Here is a review of the book by Publisher’s Weekly:

Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9% in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China’s meteoric rise was due to women’s economic empowerment: 80% of the factory workers in the Guangdong province are female…The authors reveal local women to be the most effective change agents: The best role for Americans… isn’t holding the microphone at the front of the rally but writing the checks.

So as we move into this holiday season, I’m going to be selecting one (or more) of the charities that Kristof and WuDunn profile in their book and making a contribution.  Thus far, I have fallen in love with The BlinkNow Foundation and its founder Maggie Doyne, though there are many other compelling stories and organizations in the book.

Whether you wish to make a contribution or not, this book is completely and utterly inspiring, and today, on Thanksgiving day, I am giving away a copy of the book.  All you have to do to be eligible to win Half the Sky is leave a comment discussing your favorite charitable organization, volunteer opportunity, or something that you are grateful for in your life. This giveaway is open to everyone everywhere and I will pick the winner randomly. This contest will end at midnight, November 30th 2010.

Again, I’m so thankful for all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving,

UPDATE: This giveaway is now over. The winner of the Half the Sky book was Lisa. Thanks to everyone who participated!


  1. says

    Thanks for the recommendation, I been looking for a book and this is interesting. I know I am a little late to comment, I really like your post and I hope you still doing good.

    Thanks and Take care.


    • Annie Joy says

      We sponsor a little girl in Zambia through World Vision. I love getting her letters because it makes giving, personal. Kiva is also such a great way to connect with and get involved globally even if it is just a few dollars. Every dollar DOES make a difference!

  2. Veronica Parnitski says

    I really like donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This holiday season I also plan to make my first donation to Heifer International.
    I am very grateful for my family, friends, boyfriend, pets, music and love. I’m also very grateful for finding your blog and Almond Flour cookbook. I made your pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and it turned out really good. I can’t wait to make more of your recipes now that I have my 5 lbs of almond flour from Honeyville.

  3. Kellie says

    I, like Monica, above, am just so thankful for my beautiful family. We have 9 children now in varying degrees of health, We have 4 bio children, 2 very healthy children who are from Liberia, 2 little people, also from Liberia, both with their special challenges, one with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and one with achondroplasia- he has had a trach for almost 4 years now.. but healthy fats, healthy eating, raw milk, and a myriad of other things brought my baby back from deaths door at 13 months, and 13 lbs. Our last child is a little girl adopted from Russia by another family, abandoned at least 8 times and now she is in her forever home. I trust a healthy diet, and much therapeutic parenting and constant compassion and security, that she will be able to overcome the worst of her FAS, RAD, and ODD diagnosis- unmedicated!
    Its a hard job raising, home schooling, feeding my family, but literally every day I do recognize and acknowledge how blessed I am to be able to do just those things!
    My home, is my charity. Thank you for your work, your site is so inspirational, and NEEDED!
    Happy Hanukah to you and yours! From our family-Kellie

  4. Monica says

    I am thankful for my healthy, happy family. We are large and in charge. We just adopted our 4th and 5th children…so that brings our number of children to 9. We are open for more children who need a loving and stable home to call their own….so many do not have this opportunity. Thanks for the wonderful ideas and healthy foods.

  5. Jackye Ham says

    Elana – thank you so much for bringing this book to a wider audience. I want to tell you about an amazing organization here in Atlanta called Living Water, founded to help rescue girls ages 12-17 from the forced sex trade. These girls are the flip side – forced into prostitution by their abusers for their own profit, with nothing for the girls but abuse, torture, and beatings. We ARE a sisterhood and must lift each other up!

  6. Melissa Secrest says

    Kiva, World Vision, & Children’s Cup have my global heart. The Raleigh Rescue Mission has my local heart. I truly believe we are all at our fullest when serving others. Thank you for this post.

  7. Ilene the Bubby says

    A special tzedaka (charity) of mine is “one Day at a Time” which gives financial help to couples who are going through fertility treatments though the expense is overwhelming for them. One Day also gives emotional support & counselling to the couple. Following a positive outcome, I hope, another tzedaka is E.F.R.A.T. – financially helping women who are already pregnant, cannot afford another child but do not want to abort. EFRAT enables free medical services for mother and baby, free baby food & supplies, a resting time for the mom, and financial help for a year or two. A baby is potential plus and God’s way of saying life and the world should go on. Besides, the birth of a new little life is an excuse to PARTY, make yummy food, and invite people over to partake and celebrate this new citizen of the world!

  8. Silvia Giragossian says

    This Thansgiving I am giving thanks to my wonderfull family that have been coping with my health issues. I’m also giving thanks to all my friends and relatives that have been praying for my recovery. I’m feeling better bou not of the woods yet. Thank you all for caring.

  9. BPansy says

    i’m thankful for your website! thanks so much for sharing!
    and i am thankful to give ~ i couldn’t be more blessed!

  10. says

    I just wanted to tell you that my friends and I celebrated a late Thanksgiving together today in Nederland. There was much talk of your book since 4 out of 10 of us no longer eat gluten, and one man made several “deconstructed pies” with various crusts fixed separately from the pie fillings so we could mix and match. One of his crust recipes was from your cook book as was at least one of his 3 bread recipes. Everything was excellent. I just bought my own copy of your book this week at Vitamin Cottage. So, I am thankful for you this holiday.

  11. Karen says

    Elana, Thanks for the tip on what sounds like a wonderful book. Along with some other folks, I started a non profit called Legacy Land Conservancy. We work to preserve, conserve, and restore open spaces and to educate people about the importance of habitat, nesting, and feeding sites for wildlife. I love it.

    I am also active in the local food bank and we (Legacy) donate nature themed pillowcases that don’t sell at our fundraiser to local childrens charities or missions.

  12. Debra E Wise says

    I’m grateful for the American Red Cross. My family has been recipient of the blood services as well as other services, such as finding an enlisted person in time of a family crisis/disaster. As a medical secretary, I’ve seen so many lives saved via blood transfusions. Blood is an absolute miracle, and to see so many giving people — it just blows me away. Since becoming disabled, I’m unable to give financially, but I can give a pint of blood every 8 weeks (thank you, menopause!), and I can also donate 4 hrs monthly at a blood drive. I recently started attending a new church, and a blood drive ministry was set up. I volunteered; the site coordinator was astounded at the help I was able to give her and our contiual donors there. One pint of blood can change so many lives at once. New friends can be made. And we can appreciate, enjoy, and be grateful for each other no matter where we come from and no matter where we’re going in life! I’m thankful the American Red Cross changed my life in so many ways!

    Debra E. Wise

  13. Kathryn says


    I am grateful to be in a financial position where I can make charitable contributions. I primarily give to religious organizations, but am willing to explore giving to organization that improve the lives of women around the world. My son recently spent time in Afghanistan and what he said about women there is very disheartening. I am blessed to be a citizen of the USA and proud to vote in every election. Your blog changed my life for improved health, and I appreciate your pitch to help improve the lives of others. Sometimes we just need a suggestion to act upon. Blessings to you and those you love!

  14. Heather says

    Thank you Thank you Thank you, Elana, for all that you bring to our lives!

    There are so many wonderful volunteer opportunities, but two of my favorite “overlookeds” are the shoebox projects that some homeless support groups put together each year (usually at the beginning of witer) and the opportunity to read the paper aloud on the phone for the visually impaired.

    The shoeboxes for the homeless usually contain items for warmth and self-care. So whether it’s lots of hotel soaps you have, or some time to knit scarves, or are adept at finding sales on socks and gloves, you can participate.

    In Wash DC, where I am, we have a service for the blind and visually impaired to call one of the people who is on duty to read out any article from the newspaper. You are on duty at your own home, and chances are, you were going to read the paper anyway, so why not read it for two people at the same time.

    One of the reasons I like these opportunities is that families can participate together, if they’d like.

  15. says

    I’m thankful for friends, family, my health, and websites like this one that share information and recipes so I can eat yummy food that supports, rather than hurts, my body. I made 6 SCD-compliant dishes to take to Thanksgiving dinner, and 3 of them were from this site. Of the other 3, 2 were from other sites, and only 1 was from a book. Thank you!

  16. Linda says

    Even though the past two years have brought my family some tough times to deal with medically, emotionally, & financially (sometimes more drama than daytime soaps,) I can appreciate all the good we have going for us. So many times, I see someone less fortunate than we are & it helps remind me that things can always be worse. So I try to find a way to help that person or someone else who is really in need. I am blessed with a wonderful husband & 4 children who support each other in many ways. I know many aren’t so lucky to have a good support system whether it be family or friends. One of my most gratifying ways to help is that throughout the year I help single moms with children by donating clothing, food, items for birthday & holiday gifts, school supplies,gift cards for gas, cell phone mins., etc. I also donate new toys for ‘Toys for Tots“, and raffle basket items to support our school’s music program. Another way I feel blessed is being able to support our troops by donating needed items and writing notes of encouragement. Not only during the holidays but throughout the year, those in need don’t stop needing just because it’s not a special occasion.
    One doesn’t need to be wealthy to share what we have.. through the internet & store sales, such as buy one get one free, collecting from others, or giving what you have but don’t use… it’s easy to find ways to gather items to help others without overstretching the budget.

  17. Nancy says

    One of my favorite charities to give to is the Southern Poverty Law Center who tirelessly fight against racism, homophobia, bullying, poverty and ignorance. And local food banks, and healthcare organizations, as well as Heifer and Doctors without Borders.

    I am grateful for my family, my partner, my clients, and all the people who give of themselves to support the education and healing of others. This includes you, Elana. I give out your website info and book to so many people who are beginning to change their eating- Thanks for all you do, and for introducing us to this book, too.

  18. Amanda says

    I am so thankful to find peace in my life. I finally began to appreciate all the things right in my life vs. the not so great. I am happy that I can live my life with joy no matter what the circumstance.

  19. Maria L says

    OX FAM.

    Our homeschool group is hosting a “dinner” next week for families at our area public school. Families will buy a ticket for “dinner” and the proceeds go to Ox Fam! We meet as a group next week to decide on options of what to buy: a goat, etc.
    We will be eating donated pasta ( I’ll have to bring GF/ grain free meal I guess).
    And the middle school kids will be cooking. :)
    Once you buy your ticket, you are given your “family” : we can learn all about the country we are from, local foods, customs. The father is assigned a job, we will learn all the work the mother has to do also each day, the $$ we get each week, toys the kids have, etc.
    The “wealthy” eat at the cafeteria tables, the poor sit on the floor to eat, and the very poorest receive no food at all.
    If you contact Ox Fam (they have a web site) they will help you set up the same thing in your town, church, etc.

  20. says

    I have to share with everyone the great, and I mean GREAT dressing from Elana….Twas a huge winner at dinner today…Plus the Pumpkin squares and the Brownies were to die for!….Thank you Elana for all you Gluten free recipes..One day I hope to purchase your book!

    Hope Thomas
    Palmer Lake, Co.

  21. Jennifer Robbins says

    Hi Elana, This comment is long overdue… I have have your book and been using your recipes for a long time and I owe you many thanks! My small family eats mostly vegetarian and I have celiac disease so cooking for my family is a challenge for me.

    Both my daughter and my husband love your chocolate chip cookies and I feel good about what is in them. We also love your fish sticks and your pumpkin pie muffins.

    I appreciate how easy most of your recipes are to make So today I’m thankful for all your beautiful recipes and how generous you are to post them for us. They have made our lives better. I am excited to be baking again after being diagnosed with celiac two years ago and it is mostly because of you.

    Thank you, Jennifer

  22. Judy Stine says

    I am thankful for my salvation in Jesus Christ to save me from sin and give me eternal life and for my husband of 43 years, my 2 children and my 5 grandchildren.

  23. Michele B says

    One of our favourite charities is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation, especially since two years ago my husband was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It has been an interesting two years, with chemo for him, but things are going very well…he is in remission, as his type of NHL in not curable. I am thankful everyday for my husband, my two boys, the doctors and nurses at the cancer clinic…and that is the tip of the iceberg. Even though we “Canucks” celebrated our Thanksgiving last month, it is always great to be thankful in our everyday lives. That being said, Thank you for your great blog, full of wonderful recipes and ideas. Cheers!

  24. says

    Happy Thanksgiving Elana!
    I am grateful that you make GF more fun!
    In keeping with your note about Pakistan, the Women’s Development Association, a 501c3 based in Greenwood Village, CO, raises funds to sponsor young women and children in the ghettoes of Lahore, Pakistan.
    The sponsorships send someone to school for $100 per year! The students go to school 6 days a week and learn micro- business skills as well as health education. Giving to this organization is a nonviolent way to fight terrorism because education provides the students with a way to prosper and get out of the ghetto.
    Thanks for recommending the book and giving an opportunity to expand knowledge of great charitable organizations on a mission to change the world.

  25. Linda says

    I have a ‘gratefulness moment’ every day where I think about the things I was grateful for during that day. I read that counting your blessings daily improves overall health and attitude. So, rather than being thankful one day of the year, I am opting to find the things that ‘make my day’ every day. :)

  26. Cundy says

    My favorite charity is any domestic violence shelter ….teaching a woman that she doesn’t have to be hurt for any reason… a very rewarding experience and that she can have the strength to support herself and her children even when she thinks she cannot make it.. well… unless you have been there its a bit tough to understand..years may go by and she still may not trust her own instincts enough to get into another relationship… But surviving and living, teaching her children can be done …websites like this one can help to rebuild thoughts and lives by cooking, it gives a woman the confidence to know shes ok..Thank you Elana for all the great ways to heal…. Cindy from Kansas

  27. MaryBeth Matthews says

    I am thankful for my local foodbank (and all the people and organizations that contribute to it). It helps people who really need help.

  28. Erin says

    Thanks Elana for mentioning this book! My mom just recommended I read it (and I”m hoping it’s in my stocking at Christmas!).
    I try and look for the positives every day – my yoga instructor tonight mentioned that as well. Try and take the thoughts in your head, and turn them into a positive thought, everything can be seen in a postivie light if you try, and then you realize how much you really do have to be grateful for!

    Happy Thanksgiving from your Canadian friends!

  29. Lisa Vance says

    As the surviving spouse of one of our military heroes, I am thankful everyday for the freedom our military defends and our constitution grants. I’m also thankful for the opportunity I had to know my husband, even though short; my family; my friends and my fur-babies who make me feel special every single day. Outside of motherhood and apple pie, I’m also thankful for my doctors who I believe saved my life by diagnosing my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Celiac Disease after many many years of misdiagnosis and numerous side-effect problems caused by non-treatment. Today, I’m happy, healthy (for the most part) and often pain-free! And, one last person… I’m thankful for Elana and her wonderful recipes which have helped me in my transition to a gluten-free lifestyle.

  30. Betsy Burtis says

    While it is so easy to find things to be discourage about, I love this holiday for its ability to make us think about what we still are grateful for – and it’s a holiday that has nothing to do with gift giving! That said, I’m thankful for my health, my family and for living in a country that has so much abundance. I volunteer for the YWCA’s sexual assault and domestic violence crisis line and I am thankful that all the women in our shelter have found a safe place to be this holiday. I’m a huge fan of Nick Kristoff (follow him on Twitter – he’s really interesting), but haven’t read the book yet (it’s on my wish list). My two charities of choice this holiday season are Kiva.org (which I just learned about from Oprah’s show) and Heifer. All my friends will be getting gifts from these two places since they all have all they could need and there are so many in need.

  31. judy says

    I am thankful for the local Libraries that have computer available for public use. allowing me to find sites like yours.

  32. says

    Elana, this is such a thoughtful book to give away this time of the year. Hopefully many of us stop to take the time to reflect on things we are thankful for. I am grateful for the abundance in my world today. The peace & comfort of believing that everyone I love is in good health & feels happiness & strength in their world.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family :)

  33. says

    It’s hard to have a favorite charitable cause, I just pick a few each year to donate to, there’s so many. This year we are taking toys to the local mission and donating some clothes. Last night my little boy saw one of those commercials for donations to buy food for starving poor kids in third world countries. He’s just five and you could see the wheels turning trying to comprehend being homeless. Which brings me to something I think I will be thankful for every day for the rest of my life…which is stumbling across Elaine Gottschall’s book. I have a practically normal little boy now, instead of an autistic one. I also have had 41 years of health problems brought into remission because she took the time to write that book and work so hard on the cause. Many people thing of the SCD of horrifically limiting, for us it was total freedom. I think we’re pretty lucky.
    Have a wonderful holiday!!! I’ looking forward to your cupcake book, and your almond flour book is just a joy!

  34. Linda Lamers says

    We have had a great deal of change in our lives recently and I am so thankful for my husband, children and friends who have been so supportive and strong!
    I am also thankful for you Elana! Getting your recipes on a regular basis and emails such as this one, connecting us in such wonderful ways!

  35. Liz N says

    I organization that I support is The Fulfillment Fund in Los Angeles. It helps underprivileged youth by offering opportunities to expose them to new experiences via a mentoring relationship. I was a mentor to a student from 8th grade to her graduation from high school. She is now a college senior, expecting to graduation in 2011. I am so proud of her and how she she has grown. She would be one of those students to easily ‘fall through the cracks’ of our system. Being her mentor offered me a chance to impact her life, share experiences with her and learn from her too! I am thankful for good health, a loving family and, being employed in this tough economy!

  36. Gina says

    On next Monday, the 29th, I will be leaving California to spend the month of December in Nairobi, Kenya at an AIDS orphanage. This opportunity just fell into my lap only about two weeks ago, and I could not be more surprised of thankful! It hasn’t quite sunk in that I’ve been given this incredible chance to really, definitively make a difference, even if it is in the lives of only a few children. The organization is called Hands of Hope International, or more specifically, Seeds In His Garden.
    I am also grateful I got into the only college I applied to, what I feel is the best school in the world.
    And lastly, though hardly the last thing I am grateful for, I am grateful for this website which has let me continue baking (and perhaps more importantly eating!) even though I’m “paleo” now. And that I found this book which I plan on getting for my sister (who I am thankful for) who is doing her senior thesis on the oppression of women in the Congo.

  37. Kristy LaFollette says

    Thanks for the book recommendation Elana! I am too very thankful that I have such caring friends and through them, get to meet many amazing people who inspire me even more to make the world a kinder, safer place. Have a great Thanksgiving, love ya!

  38. says

    My favorite volunteer experiences and charities are those that work with under-privliged children. Their innocence, kindness and curiosity always touch my heart.

  39. says

    Elana – Thank you so much for offering up this topic right now! It is inspiring to hear about how people are helping others in the world – whether in their own communities or globally.
    I have recently had the amazing opportunity to volunteer with my Mom in Uganda for a couple months, for an organization called “Rescue Widows Elderly Youth and Orphans with AIDS”. http://www.rweyowa.org

    This amazing group of young men has been volunteering in their own community for many years (with very little funds) creating awareness and education about HIV/AIDS. They are one of the few locally run, small organizations that is truly making an impact in their community. They help to fill in the gaps where other organizations have failed. Making sure that people who have received medication from other organizations actually have the means to take those medications, food to remain healthy, and community support. They work specifically with women and orphans as they know that these groups are so much a bedrock of the community, so vulnerable, and so important. It was amazing to be able to support them and to continue supporting them in any small ways we can.

    Thank you again for bringing up this topic!
    Smiles –

  40. Valerie Trapp says

    I love Thanksgiving! My favorite time of the year. A crispness in the air, The last of the leaves falling and the celebration of Christ’s birth around the corner. My family is scattered, but my husband [ 35 1/2 yrs!] and his family will be at our home to celebrate a time of Thanksgiving together. This tradition was passed onto me by his mother. I get to be the hostess. My brother in law said he would not go anywhere else, but our home for Thanksgiving! He even turned down another invitation. What a compliment to my husband and me. Our home has also been opend to our daughter and her family. Due to rough times in our economy, my hard working son in law was w/out a job most of the year. In order to save their credit and survive they have moved in. We love it! Just like times of the past, when families lived together. I am blessed to have them here, but most of all, waking up to the smiles of grandchildren! My list of being thankful is long! I am very blessed with family, friends, and most of all a loving God. This website helps me w/ ideas and sharing. Thank you for this and your experimenting with recipes! I always enjoyed cooking, but now I cook healthy and feel so much better :) Keep it up!
    Happy Thanksgiving to all– enjoy your family!!! and Count you blessings…. I sure do!

  41. says

    So happy to see you promoting this book. Half the Sky was one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read, and I hope more and more people discover it. Though I was well aware of some of the everyday atrocities committed against women, such as rape and sex trafficking and honor killings, I was not as familiar with more gruesome subjects like fistulas. More importantly, it helped me see the how the cultural norms that oppress women breed things like terrorism and hinder economic growth. It encouraged me to start donating 10% of every paycheck I receive to organizations that empower women; the habit has affected my finances a lot less than I was anticipating, and I now have a new reason to look forward to paydays.

    P.S. – Mr. Kristof writes a blog for the New York Times as well: http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/

  42. Meg says

    I too am thankful for so many things in my life, big and small, but one little thing I am thankful for this year is the ability to share healthy, whole, and delicious foods with my family and friends this Thanksgiving, because of the work of people like you, Elana! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

    My favorite charitable organization is the Girl Scouts; an organization that has directly influenced my life, and is committed to building strong, confident, forward-thinking young women who go on to do wonderful things with their lives.

  43. Christiana says

    I am constantly amazed and thankful that I reconnected and married the wonderful man to whom I was engaged at 20 – after a 35 year gap! We were young and foolish then, broke up and went our separate ways. No contact, nothing for 35 years – each living happy, full lives. Fate, and the internet, brought us back together at a time we had both been left alone. The love we shared in our youth had never died, was rekindled and is now wonderful, warming and mature.

    Each day I am thankful for all our blessings, a warm home, and all the comforts we need. In light of our plentiful comforts, I support ShelterBox – an amazing organisation that supplies basic necessities to communities struck by disaster – as quickly as possible, all packed in a useful box – hence the name. Check it out at http://www.shelterboxusa.org

  44. says

    What a great book – I have been meaning to buy it for some time now.
    I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with a small organization that gives microloans to enable others around the world, mostly women, to start small businesses and pull themselves and their families out of poverty through hard work. Living in a less developed country has made me so aware of just how much I have to be grateful for and the responsibility that I have to give back.

  45. Patricia says

    I am thankful for my health, and your blog certainly helps me cook for healthier living. So for that, enabling a healthier life to all your readers, I am very thankful to you.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  46. Susan says

    Elana, what a fabulous gift you are giving away! Because that gift–the book–will (hopefully) create a series of gifts for women around the world. I have read so many times and from so many sources, that if we can help women lift themselves up (with work, education and health care), that it will almost ALWAYS benefit the entire family. Which in turn benefits the entire village, one family at a time.
    If I win this book, I will read it and then share it with FreeCycle (another of my favorite organizations), with the stipulation that when the next recipient is finished with it, they will pass it on as well.
    Enjoy the holidays, but don’t push yourself too hard!

  47. says

    I run a non-profit called BULA, leading short term mission trips around the world. I look for sustainable ministries being run with integrity, and then bring teams of volunteers in for 2 weeks to help with special projects. One of my favorite places to take teams is called Homes of Hope in Fiji, where we work with young moms rescued from the sex trade and from domestic violence. You can see more on their website, hopefiji.org
    I also love KIVA, which uses micro-financing to help women in third world countries to pursue their dreams.

  48. Lynnette says

    I took out the bedspread that I used before my divorce, with trepidation that some memories might best be left behind. But I needed it for my new guest room in my new house the first one that I ever bought by myself. Its a beautiful woven colorful tapestry of colorful blended bands of oranges reds greens and aubergine and cobalt blues. As I read your post today I remembered that I bought the bedspread both because it was beautiful and heavy and soft but also because it was woven by women starting their own business with a micro loan in central America. I”m so grateful for my health, my wonderful children and family, and all of the fun we have, including cooking together which we enjoy very much. They are now off on their own and are a second generation of your readers! Thank you Elana! You make eating delicious again.

  49. Heartsong says

    I am thankful for my family, of course…my friends…. and many many other blessings… but I want to say here how privileged I am to live in a part of the world where there is running water. I can go to my water filter whenever I want and drink a glass of clean water. I can go to my shower and relax and clean myself in a stream of hot water. I feel so very thankful for these privileges.

    One of my favorite charities is called ‘Friendship With Cambodia.’ It was created and is run by a local woman here in Eugene, Oregon.


    Today is my birthday and I am thankful to be beginning another year of blessings on this beautiful earth.

  50. Daniela Tanner says

    Thank you for recommending Half the Sky, Elana. My spouse and I are in the process of adopting a third child internationally (our first two are biological). The experience has made us even more aware of the struggles women have all over the world to the extent that some even have to give over rights to their children to the state.

    I will definitely take a look at this book.

    And in other comments, I made your cinnamon rolls and cream cheese frosting yesterday. Delicious!

  51. Sharon says

    One of the many things for which I am thankful is to be working for the non-profit, fair trade company — Ten Thousand Villages. As founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization, paying artisans fairly and giving them access to a market for their handicrafts, Ten Thousand Villages has facilitated major change in thousands of lives, primarily because of women artisans. I have seen the difference in homes, villages and family lives because of fair trade and access to markets, along with product development. It is well documented that assisting women is the best way to benefit the entire family and as well as empowering women and benefitting the community. Although it’s not a charity, I also volunteer in the stores because I believe so strongly in their mission.

  52. says

    I am thankful for World Vision and the hope they give children. We have supported a child for each of our children. One is actually separate from World Vision and lives in Palestine. There children get shot just walking to school. Hope School in Palestine brings children who would other wise not have an education together. All religions sit down and learn together and become friends. Maybe a beginning of Peace in that region.

    I am also thankful we have the money to give. We are not considered rich but that has many different definitions. The small amount of money it takes to help a child or family in another country is amazing. My children now support children in other countries because they saw our involvement and helped send packages in school to other children.

    Thanks for letting me express my thankfulness. Have great day full of Thanks for what we have as a Nation.

  53. Helen says

    I am thankful for my health, I was so sick after my first child and have had a long journey to discovering better health. Being Gluten free has helped so much alone with Chinese medicine.
    Happy Thanksgiving to all and happy health journeys

  54. Cindy says

    I am thankful for many things, but sometimes I like to pause and give thanks for the basics I take for granted but many can’t: family, enough food, shelter, heat, safety, etc.

    My favorite charity is personal: JDRF (juvenile diabetes research foundation). My son has type 1 diabetes and if I could only have 1 wish in my life, it would be a cure or a more reliable management system.

    Thanks for all you do! Your recipes are great low carb alternatives.

  55. Karen says

    My favorite charity is Pandora’s Project (http://www.pandys.org). They offer support and resources for survivors of sexual violence around the world, including an online forum and a virtual lending library. The founder was honored at L’Oreal’s Woman of Worth for 2009 and is nothing short of amazing in all she does.

  56. Stacy says

    My current favorite organization that I like to help out is Project Linus (http://www.projectlinus.org). They make and give out blankets to to seriously ill and traumatized children. Being a mom to two young children right now, that project is near and dear to my heart. I am so thankful for everything that I have right now. I have a wonderful family who really pulls together when the times get tough. We have been blessed beyond measure this year.

  57. Sabrina says

    I love today’s post! It is my birthday today, and I posted on Facebook that I’d like people to do a random act of kindness for me, and then tell me about it. I LOVE hearing those stories!

    I volunteer at my local humane society walking dogs, and my regular donations include it, Heifer, my alma mater, several feminist organizations, and Kiva. Kiva is, hands down, my favorite. It offers micro-loans throughout the world (you select which person/group to fund), and your donation is PAID BACK in regular installments. So you can re-loan the same funds over and over and over – helping someone new every time. It’s absolutely wonderful!

  58. Kristen says

    I am thankful for Kiva because it allows people with minimum funds to invest in future of others. With a $25.00 loan or donation, you can help make a difference in the lives of people who need a helping hand. So, whether you loan out $25.00 and wait to be paid back before you loan out more, or if you make a loan for a greater amount, it in nice to know that you are touching the life of another person.

  59. says

    I am thankful for my 85-year-old mother who is spending Thanksgiving with me — and I am thankful for my three sons, four sisters, two grandchildren (third on the way!) and my nephews and nieces!

  60. Tammy Lou McIlwain says

    I am thankful for my 29 yr. old Son who always knows when I’m having a hard time even if we haven’t spoken. My significant other who always does his best to make my life easier. That I fell into a job with a very generous boss who smiles everyday no matter what! All my wonderful women friends who rally around one another if it’s needed and if not we get together and have fun anyway!! Happy Turkey to everyone out there :)))

  61. Laree says

    My favorite charity is Heifer International. I love it because it’s based on a wise principle that’s goes something like — it’s wiser to teach a person to fish than to give them a fish. I love their gift catalog that shows people so happy and loving their animals that keep on giving and giving, in so many ways.

    Thanks again for all your fine recipes, Elana! I use so many great gluten-free recipes because of you! I am often asked for the recipe and I love passing them along!

  62. pamela says

    So thankful for my amazing, healthy, loving children! And my 8 year old’s unusual perspective: When I asked what she was grateful for she said ‘Well, it’s pretty cool that we don’t have to WASH BANANAS!’
    And you know what? It really is! Pre-packaged fruit created just for us (and naturally gluten-free :))
    Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Chanukah, Elana!

  63. Gail says

    Happy Thanksgiving To all My American Neighbors,

    I am very thankful for my family and for their health. We support several charities such as World Vision, WaterCan, and Feed The Children.

    Thank you Elana for all the great recipes that you make available on your website. I wish you and your family the best of Thanksgivings!!!

  64. saddened says

    Women’s economic empowerment? 80% Of the people working in factories in the Guangdong province are female? Who exactly is caring for their children? That sounds like several steps backwards, not forwards. China’s economic rise doesn’t benefit THESE people, it benefits the rich investors.

    • says

      I recommend you read Factory Girls by Leslie Chang. Though factory life in China is not easy, you’d be surprised at how quickly ambitious women are able to climb the hierarchies there. It gives even the most uneducated peasant a chance at a modern career, and it’s often been credited as the biggest factor for China’s rapid economic growth.

    • says

      Also, from my understanding the female factory workers are either young and single (and start families after they’ve settled into a managerial position), or have family members back on the farm that care for their children. Not much worse than professional women in the US, who spend most of their waking hours working and commuting and have very little time left for their kids.

  65. Raquel of Galilee says

    Being an American in the Galilee, I too can be thankful even though whole turkeys are scarce here(!) I agree with you, Elana, I am foremost grateful for my loving, growing family and for waking up to a new day of feeling good, especially feeling good about myself.

    We donate to a foundation known as Paamonim, who *re-educate* families with financial difficulties, using an elite team of professional volunteers who work with the families over long periods of time, until they are able to return to financial stability and live with dignity.
    They teach families how to rise above poverty and stand on their own two feet.
    Some of the volunteers that re-educate families financially live in my community.

  66. Molly says

    The one thing I am MOST thankful for is my family. I know this is a given for everyone, but when you are away from them, distance definitely makes the heart grow fonder. Seeing family once/year just isn’t enough! So even though I cannot see them, they are the priority in my life and I am thankful just to have them alive and healthy.

  67. says

    I believe the following is one of the best urban agriculture programs I have heard of in a long time….not to mention in my hometown of Cleveland. I am thankful that there are people out there who take the issue of food and nutrition to heart like this.

    Cleveland is planting seeds to counter the serious problems of obesity, food deserts and urban blight, thanks in part to a $1.1 million pilot program to fund the Cleveland Urban Agriculture Incubator Project, which was announced Wednesday.

    According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, the pilot program will start with six acres of inner-city lots, grown by 20 residents from the Kinsman neighborhood. The urban farming project is being supported by the USDA, the City of Cleveland, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio State University Extension Service. With approximately 3,300 acres of vacant land in the city, the Cleveland Leader says the project will be the largest urban agriculture district in the country

    Read more: http://www.slashfood.com/2010/10/29/clevelands-urban-farm-takes-root/#ixzz16CjM1ews

  68. Caroline Bull says

    I’m a huge fan of Heifer International. I get my family donations every year for Christmas. You can “buy” a brace of rabbits, a flock of chickens, or a portion of a cow, as your donation, and Heifer gives it to a family and teaches them husbandry. Then, the family is required, once they are self-sustaining, to pass a donation on to someone in their community.

    Though it seems a little cliche, I am thankful for this blog, and your recipes, as it has opened up a whole new realm of cooking and baking for my sister and I.

    Thank you.

  69. Stacey says

    I am extremely grateful for my family, for my good health, and the good health of my family. I like to share my health by donating blood and platelets to the Canadian Blood Services. I have donated more than 120 times, and feel really lucky to have been able to help save hundreds of lives. It makes the big ol’ world seem like a small community, some how … Happy Thanksgiving from a Canuck to all my neighbours to the South of the border ;)

  70. Donna Hawk says

    Elana, I know how you feel, especially being thankful for our health – often hard won.

    My favorite way to help women and families around the world is http://www.heifer.org: Teaching sustainable animal husbandry, gifting seed livestock and using ‘pay it forward’ to turn a hand-out to a hand-up, empowering entire communities.

  71. Sarah says

    Like you, I am also so grateful to have found a way of eating and cooking that suits my health challanges. Your website and many other resources have opened up so many new opportunities for me and my family. My husband and I give generously to many charities. Our favorite of late is the American Jewish World Service, which provides relief assistance to countless people most hurt by disasters around the globe in recent years.

  72. Jenn L says

    Thank you for this post. I give both my time and money to several local charities that benefit women and children who are less fortunate than I am. I am grateful everyday to be able to do what I love and contribute to my family’s overall well-being. I am truly lucky indeed while many women do not have the same opportunities that I do.

  73. Kelly says

    I am really thankful to have a job that I enjoy and at the same time am able to help others. I work at a not-for-profit speech and hearing center and it is the biggest joy to see children hearing new sounds for the first time!

    Thanks for your giveaway, I really enjoy your blog! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving :)

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