Note that NONE of these books has a section on M.E. Their sections on 'CFS' most often refer to patients with PVFSs, depression or candida. Information given on 'CFS' in these books should be ignored as it relates to no distinct patient group and certainly not M.E.
It is often most helpful to read the section on diseases similar to M.E. such as M.S.
To read many more book reviews on books dealing with diet, see the Useful books on diet and nutrition page.
Before reading the information given in the book reviews and books below, please be aware of the following facts: 2. The research referred to on this website varies considerably in quality. Some is of a high scientific standard and relates wholly to M.E. and uses the correct terminology. Other studies are included which may only have partial or minor possible relevance to M.E., use unscientific terms/concepts such as ‘CFS,’ ‘ME/CFS,’ ‘CFS/ME,’ ‘CFIDS’ or Myalgic ‘Encephalopathy’ and also include a significant amount of misinformation. Before reading this research it is also essential that the reader be aware of the most commonly used ‘CFS’ propaganda, as explained in A warning on ‘CFS’ and ‘ME/CFS’ research and advocacy and in more detail in Putting research and articles on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis into context.
1. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ are not synonymous terms. The overwhelming majority of research on ‘CFS’ or ‘CFIDS’ or ‘ME/CFS’ or ‘CFS/ME’ or ‘ICD-CFS’ does not involve M.E. patients and is not relevant in any way to M.E. patients. If the M.E. community were to reject all ‘CFS’ labelled research as ‘only relating to ‘CFS’ patients’ (including research which describes those abnormalities/characteristics unique to M.E. patients), however, this would seem to support the myth that ‘CFS’ is just a ‘watered down’ definition of M.E. and that M.E. and ‘CFS’ are virtually the same thing and share many characteristics.
A very small number of ‘CFS’ studies refer in part to people with M.E. but it may not always be clear which parts refer to M.E. The A warning on ‘CFS’ and ‘ME/CFS’ research and advocacy paper is recommended reading and includes a checklist to help readers assess the relevance of individual ‘CFS’ studies to M.E. (if any) and explains some of the problems with this heterogeneous and skewed research.
In future, it is essential that M.E. research again be conducted using only M.E. defined patients and using only the term M.E. The bogus, financially-motivated disease category of ‘CFS’ must be abandoned.
2. The research referred to on this website varies considerably in quality. Some is of a high scientific standard and relates wholly to M.E. and uses the correct terminology. Other studies are included which may only have partial or minor possible relevance to M.E., use unscientific terms/concepts such as ‘CFS,’ ‘ME/CFS,’ ‘CFS/ME,’ ‘CFIDS’ or Myalgic ‘Encephalopathy’ and also include a significant amount of misinformation. Before reading this research it is also essential that the reader be aware of the most commonly used ‘CFS’ propaganda, as explained in A warning on ‘CFS’ and ‘ME/CFS’ research and advocacy and in more detail in Putting research and articles on Myalgic Encephalomyelitis into context.
Finally a book I can unreservedly recommend! I've been very interested in books on diet for a while now, but this one really stood out. It doesn't miss out anything vital nor have anything in it that is so wrong that unreservedly recommending it is difficult. It's so well done and the most complete book on diet I have found so far.
This book is a pretty good summary/amalgamation of many of the very best books on diet I have found, such as Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Sally Fallon, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan, Real Food: What to Eat and Why by Nina Planck, Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol by Mary G. Enig, The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife, The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food by Kaayla T. Daniel, The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger by Nancy Deville....
Plus: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride, Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Improving Health and Longevity with Native Nutrition by Ronald F. Schmid, The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease by Uffe Ravnskov and The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) by Mark Sisson.
What is also wonderful about this book is that it is also a book about health and treating illness. It deals with the topic of health in some depth and does NOT just tell you to eat well and as your ancestors did and everything will be fine. The author acknowledges, as many do not, that while yes following a diet as close to our ancestors as we can get is essential this is not all we need to do to stay healthy and to improve disease states.
In other words, having an optimal diet that suits your genes gets you at least 70% there and is the most important step for health, but there are other areas we need to look at as well. This book explains that we are facing far more assaults on our bodies than our ancestors did due to pollution and chemical exposures and so we need to raise the levels of antioxidants and other nutrients we take in accordingly. Supplements are essential.
We also need to do what we can, whether we have health issues yet or not, to get the chemicals that we couldn't avoid out of our bodies through nutrient supplements and also methods such as FIR sauna use, green drinks, body brushing and so on.
How much vitamin C we need, for example, isn't set in stone from one person to the next, nor even one day to the next. How much we need depends on how many chemicals our body has to detoxify. When our chemical load goes up, so too does our need for all sorts of nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C. There is also significant biochemical individuality between people and some of us need far more of certain substances and nutrients than others.
The fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D and E, and also omega 3s from fish oil and fermented cod liver oil are so important, and low-fat diets are to be avoided, but some of us may also need coenzymated B vitamins, sublingual B12, B1 as benfotiamine, carnitine, ALC, RALA, CoQ10, iodine, magnesium and extra vitamin C, this book explains. Assessing whether or not you need betaine HCl, probiotics and digestive enzymes with meals is also key, as you are not what you eat, but what you can actually digest!
As the description of the book says, this book combines, `Your body's Paleolithic needs with modern nutritional and medical research for complete mind-body wellness.'
This book provides information on:
1. The basic principles and foods of the hunter-gatherer diet; meats, eggs (if tolerated), non-starchy vegetables, healthy oils, and small amounts of nuts, seeds and fruits. Avoid processed foods, trans fats and oxidised oils, plus anything you are allergic to, plus sugar and high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes and fruit juices. A high-fat, moderate protein and green vegetable filled diet is the way to go!
2. Why we are not suited genetically to eat foods such as grains and legumes, and especially not in large amounts, and the many problems these foods can and do cause.
3. Why we are not suited genetically to eat dairy products. (Although the book does recommend fermented and raw dairy products to some extent, for those that can tolerate them.)
4. Why adrenal or thyroid problems cannot be fixed until you deal with your leptin problems, through following a non-high-carbohydrate diet.
5. Which supplements are most important and which we all need to take and why, and how to make sure you buy only good-quality supplements. Some basic information is included on dosages.
6. Why following a low-calorie diet wont extend your lifespan unless the diet helps keep insulin levels low and why supplementing individual hormones which test as low can be problematic.
7. Why there is little point treating a person for a psychological issue if they have significant nutritional deficits and these deficits are best treated first and then other psychologically-based assistance given, if it is still needed.
8. Hunter-gatherers did NOT die young, as is often stated and human health actually deteriorated when agriculture was introduced.
9. Grass-fed/pastured and organic meats and eggs are best, along with home-grown or organic fruits, nuts and vegetables.
10. Those facing serious illness and gut problem are advised to follow the GAPS diet program (which describes a low-fibre easy to digest diet with lots of stocks, unrefined sea salt, meat and vegetable soups, eggs, liver and good oils) and also recipes from Sally Fallon's excellent Nourishing Traditions book.
This book tells us that we need to stop being self indulgent and grow up, and eat what our bodies need for health. Not just what brings us superficial comfort. That isn't an easy thing to do, but that doesn't mean it is not worth striving for. It really is worth getting through those first few fairly awful days of switching over to a fat-burning metabolism (instead of a carb-burning one).
My only criticisms of this book are minor and are that I feel it could have highlighted the benefits of very nutrient rich foods such as bone broths and liver a bit more, been a bit more educated about the history of the beneficial use and complete safety of larger amounts of vitamin C and have at least mentioned the possibility of grounding or earthing as the best way (aside from avoidance) of improving problems caused by EMF radiation - as per the new book on grounding co-authored by Dr Sinatra (Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever?).
Because this book does provide such a great summary of all the books listed above, it can also be a bit light-on for theory in some areas and so reading some of the books listed above may also be a good idea for anyone with a real interest in some of these topics - even though this book does in fact contain all the practical information on diet needed. For example, the information on fats is far more detailed in `Know Your Fats' and the book by Gary Taubes contains far more detailed information on why the saturated fat = heart disease hypothesis is wrong and how high insulin levels from high carbohydrate intake cause weight gain. So it just depends how much you want to read and in how much depth.
Having said that, this book also contains lots of information that isn't in any of the other books listed above, which is pretty impressive.
For those who need more information on health, supplements, extensive health testing, detoxification issues and want more specific information on FIR sauna use and how to safely go about it the book Detoxify or Die by Dr Sherry Rogers is essential extra reading. These two books would go very well together, for anyone facing serious illness (as I am). While `Primal Body, Primal Mind' contains all the practical information you need to change your diet, extra information about precautions and expected healing reactions is pretty important if you're seriously ill and about to start any type of detoxification or supplementation program and the aforementioned book by Sherry Rogers provides this.
'Primal Body, Primal Mind' is also surprisingly easy to read, thanks in part to all the short little chapters on each topic, and the author has a great writing style. The book is also very well referenced and the arguments given are convincing, logical and compelling.
I also love that this book completely lacks the self-aggrandising tone (and comments) that some nutrition books have. The author's lack of a huge ego is also seen in the way she so wholeheartedly recommends other great groups, websites and books such as those run by the Weston A. Price Foundation and its members. The author also recommends not taking her word for it and reading as much of her reference material (and other relevant material) as possible. It is so clear that this author's only agenda is genuinely helping people by promoting the most accurate, unbiased and helpful health information.
I'd like to thank the author for writing this book. It is a huge achievement. I hope it is as widely read as it deserves to be, and gets lots of very positive reviews as well.
ps. I have a severe neurological and cardiovascular disease called M.E., but am slowly improving month by month (after more than a decade of slow worsening) through dietary, nutritional and detoxification interventions - as described in books such as this one.
Quotes from the book:
"The brain and body simply have to have certain raw materials to work with in order to function properly." Nora T. Gedgaudas.
"All of the structure and function of the human body are built from and run on nutrients. ALL of them." Janet Lang
This book is one of the most important health books I have ever read.
(My copy was called 'The Diet Delusion' which is the UK and Australian etc. title of this book, I think.)
The author is incredibly intelligent and that this book took the author more than five years to write, shows. I've read few health books so intelligently written as this one.
I thought I was quite well educated about diet and the need to restrict refined carbohydrates (for good health and to stop weight gain) but I learned so much from reading this book.
This book is not a simple book offering practical advice and a diet sheet but a detailed analysis of why low calorie diets don't work and why restricted carbohydrate/high fat diets do.
The book explains that:
1. The 'calories in, calories out' mantra is a myth
2. 'A calorie is a calorie is a calorie' is a myth
3. The 'just eat less and do more exercise to lose weight' message seems to be logical but is actually wrong and unhelpful
4. Overweight and obese people often eat no more calories, or even less, than their thinner counterparts
5. Low calorie diets also reduce the amount of nutrients in the diet
6. It is a myth that the brain and CNS needs 120 - 130 grams of carbohydrate as fuel in order to function properly, as the body can use fat and protein equally as well, and these fuels are likely the mixture our brains have evolved to prefer.
7. Restricting calories with a low fat/high carb diet just makes you hungrier and more lethargic and slows your metabolic rate. Weight loss is only maintained if the patients stays on a semi-starvation diet forever, which is impossible for most people and also undesirable. Being far more active just makes you far more hungry.
8. It is a myth that reducing calories slightly or increasing activity slightly will lead to weight loss.
9. It is a myth that we evolved through periods of feast and famine to be very good at holding onto fat. Fat gain is due to excessive insulin levels caused by high dietary refined carbohydrate intake. It is a sign of something in the body going wrong, not a healthy adaptation.
10. Fructose is not much better than glucose and the two together may cause more harm than either individually.
11. The idea of a weight 'set point' is a myth
12. Insulin is the overall fuel control for mammals. High insulin levels cause the body to store fat and stop the body from using fat as fuel. This means that high carbohydrate foods make you put on more fat, and also leave you still feeling very hungry and unsatisfied.
13. Our bodies have evolved to do best on a diet of plentiful fat and protein (including saturated fat), lots of greens and minimal fruits and starchy vegetables. This diet is the best for health and also for losing weight and stopping weight gain.
14. Dietary fat, including saturated fat, is not a cause of obesity. Refined and easily digestible carbs causing high insulin levels cause obesity.
15. To say that people are overweight due to gluttony and slothfulness is just not correct and it is very unfair. Overeating and a sedentary lifestyle are often CAUSED by eating a high carbohydrate diet! This association has wrongly been interpreted as a cause of weight gain, rather than an effect.
16. Hunger caused by eating a high carbohydrate diet (or excessive exercising while on a low calorie diet) is a very strong physiological drive and should not be thought of something mild and psychological that can be overcome with willpower. This is something serious occurring in the body, not the brain!
Thus psychological 'treatments' for obesity are inappropriate and cruel. Most people are overweight due to bad medical advice, NOT a lack of willpower, greed, laziness or because they lack 'moral fibre'
17. People have different insulin secretory responses. Even if insulin secretion is slightly off, weight gain can occur.
18. Eating large amounts of a high sugar and high fat food like popcorn is easy because the body will not use most of the carbohydrate and fat for immediate fuel but will store much of it as fat - leaving you able to eat a lot of it and still be hungry a short time later as well.
19. Eating foods with a large bulk or high in fibre wont fill you up, you need the correct proportion of macronutrients and will stay hungry until you get them.
20. Those advocating the low calorie and high carb diets for health and weight loss are not involved in legitimate science. These approaches are not supported by the evidence.
I have still not covered so many other great points!
The bottom line is that we have evolved to eat a diet that contains enough fat and protein to cause satiety, lots of green vegetables and minimal amounts of fruits and starchy vegetables. Our bodies really can't cope with huge levels of refined carbohydrate as have recently been added to the modern diet.
More detailed information about this type of diet (and the benefits of traditional foods as well such as raw milk, organ meats, bone broths and fermented foods) can be found in books such as 'Nourishing Traditions' and 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat' by Sally Fallon (of the Weston A. Price Foundation) and Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan and Luke Shanahan, among others.
This book is a *very* dense read. (Those that are very ill and can't read such a long and complex book may do best to read just the first chapter and the last 2 chapters as these provide a summary to some extent.)
My only criticisms of the book are that a brief, maybe half page summary, of each chapter at the end of each chapter may have been very helpful for those of us that struggled taking in so many new facts at once due to illness or any other reason. I'd also have liked the ideas of Weston A. Price to be featured a bit more prominently than just on the acknowledgments page! But I accept that space was a concern for the author, as he states.
To the author, thank you so much for all your hard work. This is such an impressive body of work. I wish we had more investigative jounalists writing about 'controversial' topics to such a high standard.
I highly recommend this book. Check your library for a copy, at least!
Excerpt From Gary Taubes Book: “Why We Get Fat And What To Do About It”
Regrettably, the European medical-research community barely survived the Second World War, and these physicians and their ideas about obesity weren’t around in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when this question of what regulates fat accumulation was answered. As it turns out, two factors will essentially determine how much fat we accumulate, both having to do with the hormone insulin.
First, when insulin levels are elevated, we accumulate fat in our fat tissue; when these levels fall, we liberate fat from the fat tissue and burn it for fuel. This has been known since the early 1960s and has never been controversial. Second, our insulin levels are effectively determined by the carbohydrates we eat—not entirely, but for all intents and purposes. The more carbohydrates we eat, and the easier they are to digest and the sweeter they are, the more insulin we will ultimately secrete, meaning that the level of it in our bloodstream is greater and so is the fat we retain in our fat cells. “Carbohydrate is driving insulin is driving fat,” is how George Cahill, a former professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, recently described this to me. Cahill had done some of the early research on the regulation of fat accumulation in the 1950s, and then he coedited an eight-hundred-page American Physiological Society compendium of this research that was published in 1965.
In other words, the science itself makes clear that hormones, enzymes, and growth factors regulate our fat tissue, just as they do everything else in the human body, and that we do not get fat because we overeat; we get fat because the carbohydrates in our diet make us fat. The science tells us that obesity is ultimately the result of a hormonal imbalance, not a caloric one—specifically, the stimulation of insulin secretion caused by eating easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods: refined carbohydrates, including flour and cereal grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and sugars, like sucrose (table sugar) and high- fructose corn syrup. These carbohydrates literally make us fat, and by driving us to accumulate fat, they make us hungrier and they make us sedentary.
This is the fundamental reality of why we fatten, and if we’re to get lean and stay lean we’ll have to understand and accept it, and, perhaps more important, our doctors are going to have to understand and acknowledge it, too.
This book is an amazing read on nutrition, genetics, anthropology, history, medicine, metabolism, and traditional food preparation.
It explains why what you eat changes your gene expression and that most diseases are caused by faulty gene expression, NOT permanent genetic changes and that what you eat (or don't eat) can affect your family's genes for generations.
The basic food advice is the same as on the Weston. A Price website mostly, for anyone that can't afford the book. But this book offers so much more food for thought than just providing a simple list of good and bad foods. There is so much research and information here that I hadn't read before, even though I'm a big fan of reading books on nutrition lately. This book discusses some concepts which are not usually included in Paleo type books, and goes into so much more depth on more commonly discussed topics too.
This book really changed the way I thought about a few things. It was one of the those books that after I finished reading it I had that sudden bizarre urge to buy another copy of it, just in case, that happens sometimes with books that make me really see the world in a different way. (Yes, I know that urge is bizarre! I didn't buy another copy though just thought about it a bit, so that makes me only a slightly weird bibliophile I hope.)
This book condenses a massive amount of research into one small book.
In short, eat real old-fashioned food. Eat good quality meats (not grain fed) and don't take the fat off, eat good fats like olive oil, butter, animal fats, palm oil and coconut oil, eat the usual meats but also organ meats, eat bone broths (chicken stock etc.), eat fermented and sprouted foods, eat lots of fresh vegetables and go easy on the fruit. Avoid at all costs sugar in all its forms as well as unnatural fats; trans fats.
This book explains that:
* The genetic lottery is not random and our genes are not set in stone. They are exquisitely sensitive to how we treat them. Genes make what seem to be intelligent decisions guided in part by chemical information in the food we eat.
* The idea that modern diseases are caused by traditional foods is just nonsense, and, "The merging of business and science into one corporate body means that medical science can no longer countenance advice incompatible with the interests of commerce."
* Beauty and health are linked. Voluptuous curves are a sign of health.
* When a women is pregnant and not properly nourished, this not only affects the baby's development but can mean that nutrients are taken from her own body and given to the baby. With some fatty acids for example, this can leave the pregnant woman with a smaller brain post-pregnancy!
* Many foods today are not as nutrient dense as they once were (e.g. Produce is picked before it is ripe).
* Eyes being set too close together, crowded teeth in a smaller jaw, and a short nose are signs of poor nutrition. Often children will show more of these features the higher they are in the birth order.
This book explains about diet that:
* The four pillars of authentic cuisine that should be eaten daily are 1. Meat cooked on the bone, 2. Organ meats and offal, 3. Fresh fruits and vegetables and 4. Fermented and sprouted foods.
* It is not true that today's animals are fatter than they used to be and we need to eat lots of fat to be healthy - as our ancestors did.
* Meats should be slow cooked on the bone and not overcooked. Meats should be eaten with some meat fat. Organic pasture-raised beef is worth the price.
* Bone broths are a very healthy addition to the diet. The wonderful complex flavour in sauces and soups made with stock is also a sign that they are highly nutritious.
* Saturated fats are needed by the body and have many health benefits.
* Raw dairy foods have many benefits, particularly traditionally made/homemade yogurts.
* The most important foods to avoid are sugar, processed foods and vegetable oils/trans fats. Even small amounts of trans fats have serious effects on the body and how well it can function and resist disease.
* Only small amounts of traditionally cultured soy products should be eaten and all commercial soy products should be avoided. Protein powders and milk powders should be avoided.
* Whether you eat sugar or starch from grains or legumes etc. your body winds up absorbing sugar. Advice to cut down sugar but to eat lots of grains makes no sense.
* If you have insulin problems or are overweight, cut daily carbs to 100 grams or less.
* Drink only fresh vegetable juices if you drink juices, never tinned or bottled.
* If you are ill, avoid junk food completely. You just can't afford to give new 'ammunition' to the enemy.
There were a few parts of the book that I disagreed with.
1. Most notably the authors comments about vitamin C and other supplements were terrible and showed a real lack of basic research in this area. This book is wonderful about diet but should not at all be used for information on supplements.The authors are not experts on this topic.
2. I would also have appreciated it being said more strongly that for many of us, and particularly many of us that are ill, we will do far better avoiding all dairy foods and grains (as the Primal Body book does) - and not just minimising grain intake. Even raw dairy foods and sprouted grains are not for everyone. This book omits almost entirely the hugely important subject of food allergies and intolerances, which is a real shame.
3. Raw nuts and seeds as the author recommends are not ideal for some of us and we do better when these foods are soaked and dried or sprouted. Even if eating raw nuts doesn't hurt your stomach and affect your digestion, soaking and drying them neutralises the phytic acid in them which blocks the absorption of minerals.
4. Marquardt insists that his mask crosses all cultures and fits on every beautiful face, but I am not at all as convinced of this as the author was. I think this is a questionable claim and that beauty can in fact be much more varied. All the pictures in the book of siblings and how their faces varied were fascinating nonetheless though I did feel a little sorry for some of them being discussed and evaluated genetically in such a way in a public forum.
Those small issues aside, the authors advice and views tally very well with my own and with my reading. I have a severe neurological disease with some similarities to MS and I have found that I have felt so much better staying around the 50 - 75 gram mark and eating the foods she suggests. This lower-carb diet also greatly helps my hypoglycaemia symptoms, makes me feel more satisfied after meals (and not starving hungry right after each meal due to blood sugar surges) and has treated my PCOS as well. I also do far better avoiding grains, legumes and dairy products too. I am using this style of diet, along with other supplemental nutrients and detoxification methods, to slowly improve my severe neurological disease - which had been slowly worsening for more than a decade. This advice works and lots of the food is very tasty as well (with the exception of organ meats!).
This book is so much more than just another Paleo diet book. Even with its imperfections it is still a 5 star book. I couldn't decide at first whether or not to get this book or the also highly regarded Primal Body Primal Mind book by Nora Gedgaudes. I'm so glad I splashed out and bought both. While the advice on diet given in both is very similar, they each cover quite different ground in discussing the harm modern foods can cause and why traditional foods are so important. If at all possible I would really recommended reading these two books together. Together they are more than the sum of their parts and cover just about everything you could need to know about diet, with little duplication between the two as well.
Both of these books are genuine masterpieces, in my opinion. Jaw dropping, paradigm shifting reads that were so dense with fascinating facts that I took pages of notes on each as I read.
Both are in my top 10 health books list - along with Detoxify or Die plus The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders by Dr Sherry Rogers, Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins by Dr Levy, The GAPS Diet book, books on orthomolecular medicine by Abram Hoffer, and others. Good Calories, Bad Calories was also very good although the final conclusions and advice on reducing sugars etc. are covered by this book, mostly.
The Primal Body Primal Mind book by Nora Gedgaudes would be the book I'd choose if I had to pick between that book and Deep Nutrition, because of the great information on considering avoiding grains and dairy, food allergies and the good basic information on supplements and detoxification, but I do really recommended not making such a choice and buying both. It is a small price to pay for such valuable and life changing health information.
This book is so important for everyone to read, but especially those that are ill or are thinking of becoming pregnant (or have children already, to a slightly lesser extent). It explains how positive or negative genetic changes can happen over generations based on the food we eat and how vitally important it is to eat well before becoming pregnant. This book talks about how what we eat changes the next generation in a powerful way that I have not seen replicated in any other book.
This book also focuses very much on disease prevention, a topic mostly ignored by mainsteam media and medicine today. Prevention is of course always far easier than cure! The book is also very put together and written in an engaging and even witty way. Thank you to the author for all the work shown here. I hope this book and its practical-advice-based summary 'Food Rules' are very successful.
If you're ill you may also want to read all the books I just listed above, all of which add something essential to the puzzle of how to start healing the disease you have. Diet alone is not enough if you are already very ill, but it is the VITAL first step, always, along with improving your gut health.
In her first book, Deep Nutrition, Catherine Shanahan MD explains that what you eat changes your gene expression and that most diseases are caused by faulty gene expression, NOT permanent genetic changes and that what you eat can affect your family's genes for generations.
Deep Nutrition is so much more than just another Paleo diet book. In short, the author recommends that we eat real old-fashioned food. Eat good quality meats and don't take the fat off, eat good fats like olive oil and coconut oil, eat the usual meats but also organ meats, eat bone broths (chicken stock etc.), eat fermented and sprouted foods, eat lots of fresh vegetables and go easy on the fruit. Avoid at all costs sugar in all its forms as well as the dangerous unnatural fats; trans fats.
Deep Nutrition is a great book but it takes a bit of time to read and contains a lot of dense research, which not everyone has the time to engage with.
If all you want is simple and easy to take in information on what to eat and how to prepare your food, with a minimum of extra research and long explanations of things, then this book is the best of its kind out there by far!
It gives you information broken down into lots of short sections, and covers:
* Which fats are good for you and which should be avoided and why saturated fats are good for you
* Why soy products can be dangerous
* Why sugar consumption should be reduced and starchy foods eaten only in moderation
* Why MSG should be avoided
* Why eating more veggies is more important than eating more fruit
* Why good quality grass-fed meats are so important, and factory farmed meats can be bad for you
* Why low fat dairy products are not the best choice
* Why raw dairy products, fermented vegetables and kefir can be healthy additions to your diet
* Why fake healthy foods should be avoided and how to pick them
* Why adding salt to veggies and other dishes makes them taste better and is good for you
* Why eating bitter foods is good for you...and much more.
This book is a great choice for anyone that wants to start eating healthily, or more healthily, but doesn't have the time or inclination to read pages and pages of research. It has lots of tips for how to get kids eating healthily too and so is a good choice for parents.
I have only two problems with this book.
1. It could contain much more information on why some of us will do better avoiding all grains and dairy products. This is particularly important for anyone battling any serious illness and may impede healing progress.
2. The information on supplements in this book is misleading and incomplete. While there is a big grain of truth in the statement 'don't expect most supplements to do much' it is also misleading to leave it at that, and to ignore all the evidence we have that supplements are necessary for most of us and certainly when it comes to healing disease and the right supplements for the right person can often have amazing effects and is backed up by a lot of compelling evidence. (Lots more information on this is in many of my other reviews, I wont go into it all here.) The author is an expert on nutrition, but is not at all an expert on orthomolecular medicine or high dose vitamin C - it is far better to get information on this important topic from those who specialise in it and that have years of experience and familiarity with all of the relevant research. Improving diet and gut health is the first essential step in healing any disease, but the vast majority of us will also need additional nutritional support and diet alone is just not enough. This is particularly true when disease is severe.
But other than these two points the book is just about perfect, as was Deep Nutrition, which is remarkable. This book summarises so many of the best diet books into one tiny volume that just about anyone can read and follow.
Deep Nutrition is so important for everyone to read, but especially those that are thinking of becoming pregnant. It explains how positive or negative genetic changes can happen over generations based on the food we eat. Deep Nutrition is a great book and it is even better if read together with Primal Body Primal Mind by Dr Nora Gedgaudes. They each cover different ground to a significant extent but come to very similar conclusions. (Gedgaudes believes that dairy foods and grains may not be for everyone, particularly anyone battling illness. This is an important point.)
If you are physically able to read either or both of these longer books I highly recommend it. Really understanding the WHY of why some foods are recommended in this book and why some are not is just so helpful. It helps you explain what you are doing to others more clearly and for me it helps give me more motivation to stick to eating healthily. Reading about what trands fats acy=ually do to the body and to your hells is horrifying, for example. The books are also just genuinely fascinating and enjoyable reading.
If you are after some recipes for traditional foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, soaked nuts and organ meat dishes then you might like to buy Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is pretty great. Soaked and dried nuts digest so much better and the sauerkraut is delicious and also helps your digestion. Know Your Fats by Mary Enig is also good for more information about healthy fats and why saturated fat is actually good for you. The Weston A. Price Foundation site is also wonderful and packed with good information and articles.
The author has done a great job with this book and the diet she advocates (or something very similar to it) is a wonderful and essential first step in any healing program. Supplements and other things are necessary to healing as well if you have a severe disease, diet alone wont be enough, but having a nutrient dense diet with no nasties just has to be the first step in healing. The idea that all these new diseases are caused by old fashioned traditional foods such as meat, eggs and fats including saturated fats is just illogical nonsense. Our ancestors thrived on traditional foods and so do we.
This is by far the superior 'Food Rules' book! The basic food advice is the same as on the Weston. A Price website too, for anyone that can't afford the Food Rules book. But having this information in such a brief and easy to read format is sure to be really helpful for lots of people.
I'm planning on giving copies to a few people. Although I will also unfortunately have to include a brief note noting that the information on supplements should be avoided and that they may also want to read up on why some of us do better with no dairy or grains. This is a 4 and 3/4 star book in a world of mostly 1 and 2 star books.
A full book review of these books is coming soon.
All three books share a similar foundation, but for my money the GAPS book is by far the superior of the three. It is an updated and expaned upon version of the Vicious Cycle book and offers a lot more solid information than the BED book and is more suited to the severely ill.
Note that a new and improved edition of this book is coming very soon (late 2012?), so probably best to put off buying it until then.
I was very unsure about this diet at first, as it seemed to clash so strongly with so many of the wonderful health and diet books I had been reading.
Wahls recommendation of a low fat diet that was also very low in saturated fat is the opposite of what highly respected lipid expert Mary Enig PhD recommends, and what is recommended - based on a ton of very convincing evidence - in so many other great books based on maintaining or regaining health through eating the diet our bodies have evolved to do best on, such as Primal Body- Primal Mind, Primal Blueprint, The Perfect Health Diet, Eat Fat-Lose Fat, The GAPS diet and others.
So when a friend told me that in fact Dr Wahls has very much changed her stance on fats and saturated fat and now recommends cooking with healthy fats such as coconut oil, butter/ghee (from grassfed cows) and lard, I was really happy to hear it!
With that one big issue resolved, this is a diet that tallies hugely with what some of the very best experts in this field are saying and combines the best of what many excellent nutrition books have to say into one dietary plan that I feel is really the best diet out there for anyone battling a serious disease. It is just excellent. I recommend following it if you are ill, very highly.
Patients need to read up online about the changes Wahl has made in addition to reading this book, or else just get the information of the diet online while making sure it is up-to-date. (I hope so much that those that have written very pro-low fat fat diet comments about this book on the reviews page will read this updated information somehow. The right fats in the diet are so essential for healing, and for proper mitochondrial function.)
The book recommends eating soy products, rice and potatoes and also recommends a low-fat diet. The current diet plan does not support adding these foods to the diet and is a high-fat diet; high in healthy fats. It is a low-sugar and starch, dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free diet that minimises or eliminates grains, legumes and potatoes. (Some of us need to completely eliminate these. I know I do.)
Wahls writes, 'Raw dairy still has casein (protein) that looks like gluten to our immune system. That means raw milk still stimulates immune system problems. For those with food allergies / sensitivities it is still a major problem. Once sensitized - always sensitized. I avoid and strongly urge all with an a chronic disease or autoimmune disease to AVOID. Gluten grains - wheat, rye, barley, and the protein in dairy - can lead to an over active immune reaction -- which then can lead to autoimmune problems, asthma, rashes, mood problems and more. For many going gluten free, dairy free is the beginning of better health. Going fully paleo (no grain and no legumes) for many will lead to even more vitality. But for most - it is a transition that may take several weeks or months. It is ok to start small, but do start the journey..'
Wahls' current diet plan, as best as I can work it out, is as follows:
* Eating 9 cups of non-starchy vegetables and berries each day (3 cups each of greens, sulfur containing veggies, and colourful veggies) is essential. Choose organic and/or grow your own if you can.
* It is okay to take in some of your 9 cups in the form of freshly pressed juices.
* Eating good quality grass-fed/free-range/organic meats daily is essential.
* Cook with natural fats such as coconut oil, lard and clarified butter/ghee.
* Eating organ meats such as liver is recommended at least once a week. Liver is very important for B vitamins. Cooked medium rare is best.
* Bone broths are recommended daily. They are full of minerals and help heal the gut.
* Eating seaweed once a week or more is recommended.
* Eating nuts/seeds or nutritional yeast is recommended daily, including coconut milk.
* Eating sprouts is recommended, such as broccoli sprouts.
* Eating fermented foods such as unpasturised sauerkraut is recommended.
* Eggs are recommended, although people with autoimmune diseases should not have egg whites due to a problematic protein in the egg white. (They should be eliminated at first and added back after a few weeks, and only eaten if there is no reaction to them. Same with nightshades)
* Eating small amounts of honey or cocoa is okay, and so is eating natural flavourings in food such as spices and ginger.
* Getting enough Omega 3 fatty acids and not too many Omega 6s is important, so Omega 6 containing oils should be minimised and fish oil capsules taken, and foods such as hemp oil, seafood and flax oil eaten. The best ratio is 3:1.
Other helpful things:
* Vitamin D should be over 50 ng/ml and under 100 ng/ml. (Take a test every 1- 3 months and take 4000 IU vitamin D3 daily, or more if needed. 150 ng/ml is toxic.).
* Having daily quiet time is important, to calm down our adrenals. Meditation, massage, nature and family time is also important.
* Epson salt baths, melatonin and herbal teas can help sleep.
* Minimise toxin exposure and quit smoking.
* B complex supplements or sulphur amino acids may be helpful (under a doctor's direction).
* Heavy metal testing and treatments such as clay baths and facial clay masks and saunas may be helpful.
* A good quality water filter is essential.
Wahls also supports ideas such as:
* Supplements can in some cases be helpful, but they can never replace a nutrient dense and healthy diet. A proper diet must always come first. Foods contain many beneficial cofactors and other compounds not included in supplements and many that we have not yet even discovered or named.
* Getting evaluated for potential food allergies, toxic load issues and more personalised nutritional needs by a practitioner of functional medicine is a very good idea. The Institute for Functional Medicine can help you find a provider in your area.
* Drugs are not the answer. Let food, good wholesome food be thy medicine.
* "Between the unexpected, unpleasant events in our lives and our response to those events is a space, and in that space we have a choice in deciding what our response will be. We can either give up or get up each day and do our best."
* "Epigenetics is how your environment talks to your genes. Our cells are capable of reading the state of our environment and activating or deactivating genes. This means that, based on the choices we make, we can turn on genes for health or turn off those health-promoting genes. In other words, it is your health behaviors such as diet and activities, that determine whether the health-promoting or the health-robbing genes are active. For some conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or hemophilia, our genes are an important factor, often the cause of the disease. But for the obesity, heart disease, mental health and autoimmune epidemics that are driving up the cost of health care in the U.S. and around the world, there are no single genes that are the culprit. Instead, for each of these problems, multiple genes are involved, and they interact in a complex way with the environment."
* We need to stop blaming our genes for our illnesses and work on making the best of the 70% that is under our control.
* "Yes, it does cost more to eat vegetables. But you will pay the price either way--for food that restores your health and vitality or for doctor visits, drugs, surgery and loss of work due to health problems."
* "Functional medicine is really looking at health of the cell. And what can we do to help the individual make the environment for their cells, an environment for doing the biochemistry life more ideal. So that comes down to the fruit you eat or do not eat, the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink, the toxic load that is in your body is a result of the exposure you had over a lifetime because if you couldn't get the toxins out the day you were exposed to them, they get parked in your fat and did you know that your brain is 70% fat? So if you can't get the toxins out you had today with your whatever your exposure was, you're parking it in your fat and your brain which is going to create havoc over time."
Hard to argue with any of that! I agree with all of it. Most of the above are quotes from Dr Wahls, from her many websites.
Functional or holistic medicine just makes so much sense. It treats the actual cause of diseases, rather than just blindly drugging everything and focusing on endlessly chasing and minimising symptoms.
There are 3 basic principles of the type of medicine discussed by Wahls and others in this same field:
A. Get the good stuff in. Give your body the fuel and tools it needs to work at an optimum level. Good food, nutrients and all the proper vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Make sure you aren't deficient in any of the major nutrients as the different nutrients all work together.
B. Get the bad stuff out. Make sure your body can detoxify out all the toxic substances and toxic by-products of bodily processes properly. Stop as many toxins from getting in in the first place, and do things which aid detoxification to get rid of the ones you have.
C. Reduce your body's total load. The total load concept is that lessening the body's overall burden/work and stress level in one area, will improve health generally and improve the body's ability to heal because the body's total load (or burden) is lessened. Fixing one problem frees up bodily resources that can be then be used to help other parts of the body function getter or to heal. In other words, you need to look at the body as a whole in order to heal, and not just the one part of the body that is generating the most symptoms.
A special note to M.E. patients on the Wahls protocol:
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a neurological disease similar in some ways to MS, which also causes demyelination and mitochondrial dysfunction.
For those with my particular neurological disease, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, it is important that activity levels be kept always within very strict limits, or else relapse will occur. (Death is also a risk in M.E. if overexertion is severe. This is not about symptoms or feeling fatigued, but a problem of cardiac insufficiency, reduced circulating blood volume and POTS and so on which is very serious and non-negotiable. Overexertion always causes a worsening of the disease.) But of course activity levels can and should be raised slowly to keep in line with health improvements in M.E. - this is something that happens naturally anyway.
For those unfamiliar with the disease, many M.E. patients are housebound and almost entirely bedbound (and far too ill to use wheelchairs for even small periods of time in a day or week) and limited with even basic communication and reading; which is also part of why I am trying hard to summarise the work of Wahls for them as much as possible. 30 minutes of gravity opposing exercise is probably a great recommendation for almost everyone but should be ommited by M.E. patients unless they can do this without becoming more ill or symptomatic.
Also, Wahls says: 'It is common to have some level of detoxification (more fatigue, headache) in the first week which resolves and then improves markedly by week two.' I would say that for M.E. patients this statement is not quite right and is an enormous understatement. M.E. patients will often have quite severe healing reactions to supplementation and changes in diet. These can be severe enough to make a patient no longer able to feed themselves or do other tasks of daily living, as well as leave them in agony. They can also last FAR longer than just a week!
It is important for anyone ill to make the dietary changes gradually, and for patients with M.E. this caution should be taken very seriously. Jumping in with both feet too fast could leave you very very ill for months afterward. Healing reactions are a good sign that healing is occurring, but need to be controlled so they don't become overwhelming. Switch to the full diet over a few months at least. Slowly but surely is the way to go! Improvements will almost certainly be slow too, so patience is necessary there as well, especially when the illness has been severe for many years or even several decades or more.
M.E. patients will also often do far better eating cooked veggies rather than raw, which can be too difficult and painful for us to digest. (For more M.E. patient-specific tips and cautions see the HFME website.)
This diet is described as an MS diet, but really this diet is the diet we have all evolved to be best suited to. All of us need such a nutrient-dense and low-toxicity diet, and so I hope people with all sorts of diseases look into the Wahls diet and not just those with neurological diseases. The diet can also help where there is not yet a correct diagnosis. We all need the right amounts of the nutrients that enable healing, no matter what disease we have.
For some people following this diet plan will be enough, but for others a higher level of intervention will be required in addition to the diet. The first step toward healing has to be an excellent diet and good gut health, combined with minimising toxin exposures. If more help is needed then, as Wahls explains, it is best to see a Functional/Holistic medicine expert so that it can be determined what extra supplements or other supports you may need. The key is learning about your own 'biochemical individuality.' There are so many tests now which can be done to determine where your detoxification pathways are failing, which nutrients you need more of or have problems utilising or why your gut is still not functioning right.
For those that can't find or can't afford to see a Functional/Holistic medicine expert, or cannot see any medical expert due to being housebound etc., an excellent companion to Wahls book are the books by Functional/Holistic medicine experts such as Dr Sherry Rogers. Dr Rogers tells you exactly which tests may help you, how to treat more complex gut problems and how to go about following a more intensive detoxification regime involving a detox cocktail and FIR sauna use. Dr Rogers books are to some extent `do-it-yourself' health books but ideally Dr Rogers recommends that you get well with the help of a qualified practitioner that will be able to order the appropriate tests for you, and also help you interpret them.
Dr Sherry Rogers writes in `Detoxify or Die',
`I have to laugh when people ask me if I do alternative, herbal, acupuncture or holistic medicine. 'No,' I reply. 'We do state-of-the-art medicine. In other words, we find the biochemical, nutritional and environmental causes and cures rather than blindly drugging everything. Sure, herbs are gentler, safer and more physiologic than drugs and holistic medicine attempts to incorporate many diverse modalities, etc. But there is no substitute for finding the underlying biochemical causes and cures. This is real medicine. This is where medicine should and would have been decades ago, if it had not been abducted by the pharmaceutical industry.'
Following a super-high-quality diet is also the foundation of Dr Rogers' treatment plan and so starting with the Wahls diet (which is the best there is) and then moving on (if necessary) to follow Dr Rogers' advice on advanced detoxification techniques just makes so much sense. The best book of hers to start with is Detoxify or Die. It is just brilliant and very easy to read as well. It has so much good information and support for sauna use and so much more. Her book 'The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders' is also excellent.
In addition to books by Dr Sherry Rogers I'd also recommend books and articles by Dr Lawrence Wilson (particularly his book on sauna use), Dr Klenner, Dr Abram Hoffer, Andrew Saul, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig and any and all of the vitamin C and orthomolecular experts such as Linus Pauling and Dr Thomas Levy. Other excellent books on diet and nutrition (with huge amounts in common with the Wahls diet) include Primal Body-Primal Mind, The Primal Blueprint, The Perfect Health Diet and Deep Nutrition as well as books on the GAPS diet for the treatment of dysbiosis and a diet-based plan to heal the gut.
Gut health is so important and if gut health is poor, then your body can't properly use all the wonderful nutritious food you are eating. Many of us need to heal the gut first of all, and this may at first involve supplements such as Betaine HCL, enzymes and probiotics, as well as dietary changes, as these books explain. All of these books, along with Wahls book, are far more than just standard Paleo diet books.
Combining the excellent Wahls diet with the advice on detoxification by Dr Rogers (including the use of an FIR sauna and a daily detox cocktail and 'oil change' nutrients and digestive supports) has seen me finally start to slowly improve my health this last year and a half. I'm slowly improving month by month from a very severe neurological disease - thanks in part to the work of Dr Wahls and Dr Rogers, and others like them - that has left me housebound and almost entirely bedbound for many years. I have been housebound and almost entirely bedbound (and far too ill to even use a wheelchair, or even the phone) for over 10 years and I got ill when I was just 19. Getting slowly worse and worse year after year was terrifying, especially when I was so ill and disabled already.
I wish so much I had had this information early on in my disease, rather than coming to it more than 10 years in. Healing is so much easier the earlier you start it.
I wont know how much of my damage is irreversible until I improve a lot more (a LOT more I hope!) and find out where I plateau. But for those that have been ill 'only' 5 or 7 years or less, or that are not severely ill, I do think these approaches could be curative or very close to it. At the very least they will undo as much damage as can be undone.
My big dream is to get to a 30% function level, where I can live independently.... I'm still so far away from that currently, but I am at least making slow but sure progress now! Being able to cook a little this last year after 8 years or more not being able to even make myself a cup of tea has been just so wonderful. Cooking myself an egg is a joyful experience! It is so wonderful to now each month be getting small UNsymptoms and UNdisabilities!
I have learned so much about health that I would never have known if I had not become so ill and been forced to learn it!
The Wahls Foundation is a nonprofit organisation that hopes to raise funds to do research on this diet. Buying this book helps fund their research. The book is mostly recipes and reading more of her ideas online is so helpful. I'd highly recommend watching all her free videos online (watch out for the loud sound on some of them - ouch!), plus her FB page and blog and website. They are all so helpful.
Dr Wahls is the real deal and is clearly motivated by a genuine desire to help ill people improve their health. I wish her and her Foundation all the best and thank them for all their wonderful work. This is real cutting edge medicine.
Best wishes for future health to anyone still reading this far!
Eating real whole foods is so important. Overall this book has some really good content, but what let it down in my opinion was the way it was organised.
I found it impossible to read in full, as there were bits of information on each page of many different types. It'd have been so much better if it'd had a recipes section at the end, and the health info divided into clear sections.
This book isn't perfect but is well-worth a read all the same. It is probably the only health book I have bought, however, that I haven't been able to read cover to cover, which is pretty frustrating.
But it is well worth buying just for the recipes.
(Patients with M.E. may wish to also read the summary paper 'Food as medicine in M.E.' on the HFME website, for more information.)
This book provides an excellent introduction a very healthy version of the Paleo diet in a very easy to read and engaging format.
The idea that modern diseases are caused by traditional foods is just nonsense!
Don't believe the myth about those eating traditional diets typically dying young, the truth is very different. I'd recommend reading information from Weston A Price for more information on this topic if you can. (See Nutrition and Physical Degeneration or the WAPF website.) This is the way we have all evolved to eat and to be healthy.
The author advises us not to be afraid of trying something that is old. No matter how much you read, there is no better substitute for trying the diet yourself for a few months to see how much better you feel.
The author explains that:
* Much of the conventional wisdom on diet that we have accepted as fact is wrong.
* Our primal ancestors were likely stronger and healthier than we are today.
* Excessive fibre (eg. from grains) is not good for you.
* Lectins and phytates in grains can cause real problems. Going grain free for 30 - 60 dayts to see if you notice any improvements is a good idea. Not everyone does well eating grains. Even if grains don't seem to cause you problems they should only be eaten in small amounts.
* Cholesterol, saturated fats and eggs are good for you.
* We need to eat lots of animals and plants.
* We need to eat when hungry and stop when we are satisfied.
* We need to avoid poisonous things (e.g. processed foods, processed grains, unnatural fats and sugar).
* If you exercise more you will be more hungry than before so exercise is not a weight loss aid. Low calorie diets and exercise programs work for a while, until the adrenals burn out, but are not a long term solution for 96% of us or more.
* 80% of weight loss is about diet and the rest is down to genetic factors.
* Ultra low carb diets are to be avoided. For one thing, they cut down the nutrition from fruits and vegetables.
* A high fat, moderate protein and a fairly-low-carb diet is best. Most people will do best with losing weight by eating 50 - 100 carbs a day. Some may need to stay at this level longterm while for others 100 - 150 carbs a day will work well as a maintenance level.
* Protein should be eaten until satiety and no more, and carbs should be eaten at the above amounts which leaves fat intake as the main variable. High fat foods should be eaten when you still feel hungry.
* There is no need to count daily calories.
* Foods such as wild rice, coffee, dark chocolate and starchy tubers should be eaten in moderation. Juices should only be consumed if fresh, and vegetables juices are best.
* Organic and grass-fed meats are best.
* Use butter, palm oil and coconut oil for cooking and EV olive oil for salad dressings.
* Some people may benefit from intermittent fasting but it is not for everyone.
* Live with the earth's circadian rhythms if you can and go barefoot sometimes if you can.
* Optimal genetic expression is the goal of his program.
The author provides a good introduction to the topics of epigenetics and nutrigenomics and provides a very high quality eating plan too, along with some tips on how to reasonably exercise and to make sure we get enough rest and sleep too.
The authors advice and views tally very well with my own. I have a severe neurological disease with some similarities to MS and I have found that a very low carb diet of 20 grams or so of carbs a day, makes me feel unwell after a few months. It seems like maybe my liver and kidneys cannot handle the extra strain. I have felt so much better staying around the 50 - 75 gram mark. It is also a far more pleasant diet to eat by far. This lower-carb diet also greatly helps my hypoglycaemia symptoms, makes me feel more satisfied after meals (and not starving hungry right after each meal due to blood sugar surges) and has treated my PCOS as well. I also do far better avoiding grains, legumes and dairy products too. I am using this style of diet, along with other supplemental nutrients and detoxification methods, to slowly improve my severe neurological disease - which had been slowly worsening for more than a decade.
Ideas for improvements for future editions of the book (requested by the author in the book):
* The benefits of going barefoot are mentioned but there is no accompanying discussion of the benefits or earthing and grounding.
* The part at the start of the book which talks about people with happy and positive dispositions suffering less illness should be deleted! Also, the part about basketball players "willing" themselves taller is even more ridiculous and tarnishes the credibility of the rest of the book immensely, to say the least! That comment is by far the worst in the book and it should never have made it past the first edit.
* Protein shakes should not be listed as health foods.
* The section on supplements could be far more complete.
* The bits at the end of the book which contradict the previously given information about not counting calories, ignoring the calories in and calories out myth, and that recommend quite extreme fasts and a low calorie eating plan should be removed or edited.
There is no need to buy the author's brand of recommended supplements but I would urge readers to buy good quality brands of supplements (Jarrow, Carlson's, Thorne Research etc.) and avoid crappy supermarket brands like 'Centrum' which have been shown to do more harm than good!
As Dr Sherry Rogers writes, it is better to have good quality supplements and take them only every second day than take harmful ones with the cheap and wrong forms of some nutrients in, every day!
Other good books on this topic include Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and best of all, Primal Body Primal Mind. This last book is the best there is on this topic, in my opinion, bar none. It has far more of a focus on treating disease than this book has and far better information about supplements.
Mark's website and books are far superior to most Paleo books and websites, including 'The Paleo Diet' book. You can get a ton of information on this topic free from this author on his excellent website. The article on the site about whether or not to avoid dairy products, was the best I have ever read on this topic and I highly recommend it.
(Finally someone who understands that negative studies on milk drinkers have used ONLY pasteurised and homogenised milk, not raw milk! And that even though raw milk may solve the problem of milk intolerance for some, some of us are still better off avoiding dairy products completely.)
To me an author that will give away so much high quality information for free, instead of just having a basic website that gives away little and urges you endlessly to buy the book, is the sign of someone who is genuinely motivated to help people and is not just about serving their own vested interests.
A lot of work has gone into making this book very simple to read and to follow. It is very well put together and well illustrated and designed as well. Thank you to the author for all the work here. I hope this book is very successful.
Don't let the somewhat corny title of this book put you off. This book is a wonderful and very simple introduction to real healthy eating for anyone currently eating a average-quality diet.
Great things about this book:
1. For those that just want the facts super-fast this book gives you a one page summary of the eating plan within the first 6 pages of the book. The book also contains lots of extra information backing up their conclusions as well, for those that want it.
2. This book is about eating healthily and how to improve your health and reduce your risk of getting ill in the future with diet - rather than just about mere weight loss - which is so refreshing. Slow weight normalisation is a side effect of following this diet for sure, but it is not the primary focus.
3. The research for the book began when the authors were each working to improve their own health issues through diet. The authors are genuinely nice people that are passionate about helping others get the same results they have and the subject of a healthy diet and this comes through clearly on every page of this book.
4. The diet the authors recommend is made up of 20% carbs, 65% fat and 15% protein. So it is a low/moderate carb, high fat and moderate protein diet by calories, and 35% animal foods and 65% plant foods by weight. This is very similar to a traditional Pacific Islander diet, the authors explain.
The sections explaining the facts of fats, carbs and protein are of a very high quality and seem to summarise the work of all the best books I have read on nutrition and diet lately. The problems with a high carb diet are clearly spelled out as are the benefits of a high fat diet.
5. The book also recommends avoiding all grains (other than rice), legumes, dry lean meats, vegetable oils and pasteurised dairy products and recommends eating unlimited non-starchy vegetables (750 grams a day or more or 1.5 pounds), 200 - 450 grams or so (0.5 to 1 pound) of fatty meat/seafood/eggs, about 4 teaspoons of healthy fats (ghee, lard and coconut oil and a bit of olive oil), and snacking on nuts, cheese and fruit.
The authors warn that while fibre can be helpful, for some people too much fibre can be a real problem.
6. Where this book differs from many others in the same (reduced-carb and traditional foods) vein is that it explains that, yes, while your body can make the glucose it needs from protein when you eat a low carb diet, this process taxes the body unnecessarily and the conversion may be inefficient. This is especially true for those that are ill, the authors explain.
Despite my making a bit of a hobby of reading a large amount of very good books on healthy eating and diet in recent years, no other book had made these same points. So having this explained so well finally was wonderful and it explained a lot!
(I did really well on a 20 grams of carbohydrate a day diet for 6 - 9 months or so. I felt well and had no more hypoglycemia and lost a lot of weight. But after that 6 months was up my body seemed to really struggle with it, perhaps due to the fact I have severe metabolic, endocrine, and cardiac problems. (I'm housebound and 95% bedbound and very disabled.) When I finally went back up to 50 - 75 grams of carbs a day (years later) I felt so much better, and finally was able to start losing some of the weight that had crept back on on my super-low carb regime. It was also a much more pleasant way to eat; being able to have 5 cups of veggies a day and a bit of fruit! I feel like staying on this super-low carb diet for so long delayed my health from beginning to improve as well, as it made my body work harder than it had to on food assimilation which of course leaves less metabolic energy and bodily resources left over for the work of healing.)
The book explains that eating very low carb and making your body convert proteins to carbs puts strain on the liver and uses up bodily resources, generates ammonia as a toxic by-product, puts a person at risk of glucose deprivation if the are ill or lacking in certain nutrients and makes nutrient deficiencies more likely due to lower fruit and vegetable intake. Very low carbohydrate intake can also cause problems with vitamin C utilisation that may even lead to scurvy, as vitamin C is stimulated by insulin. For these reasons they recommend eating an amount of carbs daily which is very close to how much the body actually needs; 200 - 400 carb calories daily (or roughly 50 - 100 grams of carbs daily).
I agree with the authors that healthy people will likely have few problems converting one macronutrients to another (such as protein to carbs, and carbs to fat) but for those of us that are ill it is best to save your body the work and to eat foods in the appropriate macro-nutrient percentages to start with. That just seems to make so much sense!
Things about the book I am not sure about, to some entent:
1. I'm not convinced that all of us can handle the foods the authors describe as "safe starches" and in those amounts. For me eating rice with meals gives me so much carbohydrate it leaves me feeling spacey, hungry and unsatisfied. I am also unconvinced that eating rice is better for you than eating the same amount of carbs in vegetable form, as the authors even say themselves in the book that rice is low in nutrients compared to other foods, calorie for calorie. There is no real nutrition in it, and so for me no reason to eat it - and lots of reasons not to.
I found it even more surprising that not only did the authors recommend eating rice often, but they even extended this to processed foods like rice crackers and rice noodles. Foods many of us with an interest in healthy eating and nutrient-dense eating just wouldn't want to eat at all.
I recommend trying the authors' "safe starches" idea and seeing if it works for you, but being aware that for some of us these foods may be best avoided or minimised and eating LOTS of non-starchy veggies and 2-3 serves of fruit may work better for you.
2. Like many others I also cannot tolerate any of the dairy products the author recommends and also have egg allergy issues. I feel these issues could have been discussed a bit more in the book, as they are so so common. I also think fermented foods and drinks could have been emphasised more and disagree with the authors' assertions that nuts and seeds need only be soeaked if you eat a lot of them. For those of us with lots of gut and digestion problems, soaking all nuts and seeds can make a wonderful difference that is really noticeable.
(I wish so much I had learned about the importance of soaking nuts and eating fermented foods sooner!)
3. While this book provides a great summary of many of many of the best books on nutrition, the same cannot be said of the information given on supplements. This information was very patchy, incomplete and just plain wrong in many instances and it does not at all tally with the information given by those that are the genuine experts in this field. The information seems to come from strange sources, and not from genuine experts in the field. The RDAs are quoted a lot and discussed as if they were important and trustworthy and no names of orthomolecular experts or similar are really mentioned.
Such an average quality and incomplete guide may be okay for healthy people but for anyone battling serious health issues I would urge them to read far more deeply on this topic than this book allows and to ignore much of the information given in this book.
Despite what the authors of this book claim, those of us with serious health issues absolutely need intelligent and often intensive and wide-ranging supplementation along with a healthy diet before we can start to regain our health. We need as much of each nutrient as we actually need, and not just how much the RDA has been arbitrarily set at. Supplement plans must be individualised, as much as possible. We also need to take the right balance of nutrients, and not lots of one thing and none of another related thing. This has absolutely been my experience and holds true for vast numbers of other patients.
This sort of diet change is always the first step in improcving health however, and for some lucky people it may be enough. For others it is just the first essential step of many others!
(See: Detoxify or Die, Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone: Megavitamin Therapeutics for Families and Physicians, Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life and Dr. Atkins' Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs and others, for more information on this topic.)
4. The book could have done with having wider margins and more white space on the page, as well as fewer black and white images of foods (many of which looked awful or were hard to make out). Overall the book was very well put together and well edited, however.
Even if you have read the wonderful books by Taubes, Fallon and Enig, Gedgaudes, Cordain, Price, Sisson, Schwartzbein, Shanahan, Eades etc. this book is still worth reading.
I rate this as a 5 star book for healthy people who want to learn to eat better, but not quite a 5 star book when it comes to being a complete guide for those battling serious illnesses. It isn't a complete guide to health for ill people, just a very solid starting point on diet. So that is why I give the book 4 stars overall.