The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E.

The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. (HFME) is fighting for the recognition of M.E.,
and for patients to be accorded the same basic human rights as those with similar
disabling and potentially fatal neurological diseases such as M.S.

Useful books on diet and nutrition

The best books on diet section includes:
  1. No More Heartburn: The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders and Wellness Against All Odds (and other books) by Sherry A. Rogers MOST IMPORTANT!
  2. Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudes MOST IMPORTANT!
  3. Good Calories, Bad Calories (or, The Diet Delusion) by Gary Taubes
  4. Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon
  5. Deep Nutrition: Why Our Genes Need Real Food by Catherine Shanahan
  6. Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride (Plus: The Body Ecology Diet and Breaking the Vicious Cycle)
  7. Food rules by Catherine Shanahan
  8. Minding My Mitochondria: How I Overcame Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Got Out of My Wheelchair by Terry Wahls
  9. Know Your Fats by Mary Enig PhD
  10. Real Food by Nina Planck
  11. Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig PhD
  12. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price
  13. The Schwarzbein Principle
  14. The Untold Story of Milk By Ron Schmid
  15. The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy by Mark Sisson
  16. The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet and Shou-Ching Jaminet
  17. Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard W. Wrangham
  18. Fat: It's Not What You Think by Connie Leas

The Useful books on diet and nutrition section includes:

  1. The Great Cholesterol Con by Malcolm Kendrick 
  2. The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food by Kaayla T. Daniel
  3. A Life Unburdened: Getting Over Weight and Getting on with My Life by Richard Morris
  4. Trick And Treat: How 'Healthy Eating' Is Making Us Ill and Natural Health & Weight Loss by Barry Groves
  5. The Coconut Diet by Cherie Calbom and John Calbom
  6. Organic Manifesto: How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe by Maria Rodale
  7. The Pulse Test: The Secret of Building Your Basic Health by Arthur Fernandez Coca
  8. Digestive Wellness (3rd Edition) by Elizabeth Lipski
  9. Why we get fat and what to do about it by Gary Taubes
  10. Cholesterol: The Real Truth by Sanda Cabot
  11. The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease by Uffe Ravnskov 
  12. The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith
  13. Let's Get Well by Adelle Davis
  14. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
  15. Fat Flush for Life: The Year-Round Super Detox Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman
  16. Changing Habits, Changing Lives by Cyndi O'Meara 
  17. The Zone by Barry Sears
  18. The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That's Destroying Our Health by Barry Sears
  19. Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health by Thomas E. Levy
  20. The Holford low GI diet book
  21. Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases and The Gerson Therapy: The Amazing Juicing Programme for Cancer and Other Illnesses by Charlotte Gerson
  22. The Carnitine Miracle by Robert Crayhon
  23. Genetic Nutritioneering by Jerrery Bland
  24. Dangerous Grains by James Braly, Ron Hoggan
  25. The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Cordain
  26. Living Low Carb by J Bowden
  27. Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight by Michael R. Eades
  28. Raw Juices Can Save Your Life: An A-Z Guide to Juicing by Sandra Cabot
  29. Transfats: The Killer In The Kitchen
  30. The Diet Cure by Julia Ross MA
  31. Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Improving Health and Longevity with Native Nutrition by Ronald F. Schmid
  32. Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat by Bruce Weinstein
  33. Hidden Food Allergies by Patrick Holford
  34. Healing Foods: Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn's and IBS by Elephant Publishing
  35. Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill: The Complete Guide to Fats, Oils, Cholesterol and Human Health by Udo Erasmus
  36. Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko and A. William Menzin M.D.
  37. The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements by Sarah Wernick
  38. Good Gut Bugs: How the Healing Powers of Probiotics Can Transform Your Health
  39. The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat by L Cordain

Special topic books:

  1. Salt your way to health by Dr Brownstein
  2. Iodine: Why your body needs it and why you can't live without it by Dr Brownstein
  3. The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife
  4. Coconut Oil by Gursche
  5. The Choice is Clear by Allen E. Banik

Non-recommended diet books

  1. Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health by Joseph Keon
  2. Sweet Poison: Why Sugar is Making Us Fat by David Gillespie
  3. Allergies: Fight Them with the Blood Type Diet and Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer & Achieving Your Ideal Weight by Peter J. D'Adamo and Catherine Whitney
  4. Your Body's Many Cries for Water
  5. Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System by Patricia Bragg and Paul C. Bragg
  6. Fats Are Good for You: How Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Actually Benefit the Body by Jon J. Kabara
  7. The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature's Liquid Gold
  8. Dr. Braly's Food Allergy and Nutrition Revolution by James Braly
  9. Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat by Hank Cardello and Doug Garr
  10. Healing Foods - Healthy Foods: Use Superfoods to Help Fight Disease and Maintain a Healthy Body
  11. Complete Book of Juicing: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality and Diabetes & Hypoglycemia: Your Natural Guide to Healing with Diet, Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, Exercise, and Other Natural Methods by M.T. Murray
  12. Probiotic and Prebiotic Recipes for Health: 100 Recipes that Battle Colitis, Candidiasis, Food Allergies, and Other Digestive Disorders
  13. What to Eat and Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health by Marion Nestle
  14. Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Guide to Shedding Pounds and Feeling Great

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.

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Before reading the information given in the book reviews and books below, please be aware of the following facts:

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.

The Yoga of Eating: Transcending Diets and Dogma to Nourish the Natural Self

This book is very interesting reading and makes many interesting points. A full book review is coming soon.

A Life Unburdened: Getting Over Weight and Getting on with My Life by Richard Morris

This is a well-written, witty and inspiring book that also offers REAL health advice and information about what we should be eating and not eating, and not just silly fads or the usual popular misinformation.

 

This book busts the following myths:

 

1. Eating fat makes you fat

2. There is no such thing as good and bad foods

3. Nobody has time to cook anymore

4. A calorie is a calorie and whether calories come form protein fat or carbs doesn't matter when it comes to weight loss

5. Exercise cures disease

6. Junk food in moderation wont hurt anyone

7. People that lose weight become healthy

8. The best diet for health and weight loss is a low-fat and high-carb diet

 

The author explains that eating real food is the key, both to improving your health and to improving your health. We need to eat satisfying foods, foods with natural fats in. Health and weight loss is all about food quality, not quantity. Exercising more is not a way to lose weight, as lots of exercise makes you lots more hungry, although it has many health benefits in moderation.

 

This book explains that we also need to match the size of our commitment to the size of our problem and really work to educate ourselves. Just blindly following the advice of any one person is not enough, we need to know the basic facts ourselves.

 

The author eats a diet with very little grain in, and that includes lots of free-range/pastured.grass-fed meat including organ meats, raw dairy, animal fats, cod liver oil, and organic fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds are soaked and dried first to deactivate enzyme inhibitors. You can read more about this way of eating, and the research behind it, in books such as Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food and the WAPF website.

 

This book must have taken a lot of guts to write. The author is very open about his own life and struggles with obesity in a way you just don't see in lots of books about losing weight. He describes his experience as one of misery and humiliation. Part of the problem, he explains, is that obesity is seen as a moral issue rather than a nutritional issue.

 

The book is funny. For example, popcorn with unhealthy vegetable oils on it and served with a big suagry soda/soft drink at the movies is described as a 'diabetes starter kit.' The book also never takes a preachy tone so it is very easy to read.

 

The book has an excellent introduction by the brilliant Sally Fallon and the author mentions experts such as Nestle, Enig, Schlosser, Taubes and most of all Weston A. Price in the main text.

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone that is overweight and feels like they have tried every diet there is, and is sick of always being hungry and feeling tired. The author knows what he is talking about and offers genuine good advice - not just for losing weight but for making your life as good as it can be and focusing on what is important, and feeling better and more healthy. This book ends on the message that nobody can do it but you, but you can do it. It is hard to argue with that.

 

I hope this book is widely read and that this message can get out there to lots of people. People being given absolutely terrible dietary advice that just wont work for most of us no matter how hard we try and is based on consensus rather than facts, and then being blamed and seen as having moral weaknesses when they inevitably stay overweight just has to stop! It is the medical advice that is lacking here, not the moral fibre of overweight people!

The Great Cholesterol Con by Malcolm Kendrick

This book explains that the cholesterol hypothesis is well and truly dead! It has been disproven, comprehensively. The current obsession with cholesterol levels and avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet is utterly misguided.

This book was very convincing on this point but if you'd like a far more in depth explanation and history I'd highly recommend 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' by Gary Taubes. This book is also impeccably referenced and argued.

This book explains that:

- High cholesterol levels don't cause heart disease
- A high fat diet, saturated or otherwise, does not affect blood cholesterol levels
- Saturated fats are not in any way damaging or dangerous
- Statins offer very little protection against heart disease and are not worth taking for most people, especially women
- Concepts of good and bad cholesterol are ridiculous and 'madcap'
- Statin drugs are the most profitable drug ever and make pharmaceutical companies billions and billions of dollars a year and this is why the cholesterol hypothesis continues to be so relentlessly promoted
- Matthias Rath (as supported by Linus Pauling) has part of the heart disease puzzle right when he talks about the role of low vitamin C levels in causing heart disease
- Statin drugs have many dangerous side-effects such as muscle pain, depression and progressive memory loss, death and hideous deformed babies when given during pregnancy
- Low cholesterol levels are bad for your health
- The war against cholesterol, using statins, comes close to a crime against humanity

I loved the comment that eggs are full of cholesterol 'because it takes a lot of cholesterol to make a healthy chicken' and that our brains need a good amount of cholesterol to function at all well. The idea of throwing away egg yolks and all their nutrition and eating just the whites, for supposed health reasons, is foolish in the extreme.

Overall I'd give this book and 8 or 9 out of 10. I had real problems with the quality of the last chapter however, and that chapter I would give a far lower rating, so I've compromised and given the book 3 out of 5.

I recommend skipping the last chapter entirely or taking it with a huge grain of salt and then reading excellent books on how to treat or avoid heart problems such as 'Detoxify or Die' or 'The Cholesterol Hoax' by Dr Sherry Rogers.

To say that heart disease is caused by emotional stress and to ignore homocysteine levels, omega 3 vs omaga 6 imbalances, low vitamin C levels (as per Linus Pauling and Matthias Rath's research), the huge toxic load of people today (heavy metals, plastics and pesticides etc.), trans fats, the moving away from traditional and nutrients-dense foods and mass nutrient deficiencies (including deficiencies of the major fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E and K plus magnesium) is not good scientific writing. Stress is but one factor of more than a dozen significant factors and certainly is nowhere near the top of that list. The idea that stress is only a problem now, in recent times, is also hard to take seriously.

On the plus side, this book had one of the best styles of writing I have ever found in a health book. The first few chapters in particular were very enjoyable to read and even made me laugh out loud a few times!

I just wish the very poorly written and argued conclusion chapter had been omitted form this book, it really lets down what is otherwise an excellent book.

This book is essential reading if you're an egg yolk, cholesterol or saturated fat dodger and especially if you're taking a statin drug. Don't fall for the statin drug hype and be very wary of any doctor that does!

Trick And Treat: How 'Healthy Eating' Is Making Us Ill and Natural Health & Weight Loss by Barry Groves

This book has so many important things to say. Not just about weight loss, but also about health and about our health system.

 

This book explains that while it is our responsibility to make healthy choices, to make a choice first we have to understand that there is a choice. We need accurate information. Unforunately the current food guidelines are based on myths and wishful thinking rather than science.

 

The author goes on to say:

* The health industry is one of the most lucrative in the world and so the focus has become wealth rather than health.

* Many published drug studies are no more than infomercials. Journals, doctors and academia have been bought by the drug companies and many patient ground that claim to be grass-roots groups are in fact 'astroturf' groups; faux advocacy groups.

* The NICE Guidelines in the UK are heavily lobbied by drug companies and not at all based on good science. Guidelines by committee are disastrous, especially when vested interest groups are involved.

* Mild symptoms of illness such as tiredness and aches and pains have been normalised in our society but they are not normal and are related to our current poor dietary advice and diets.

* The pharmaceutical industry is not focused on cures but on treatments which can be sold to the patient over and over again. Not only is this industry not the one to look to for real cures (as so many still do), but they help the cures we do have often remain unused and ignored. For example, type 2 diabetes has been curable since the 1970s, yet many patients are still just given drugs to take for life to minimise some of the symptoms of the condition.

* Early detection of disease is being twisted and presented as it it is the same thing as preventing a disease, which of course it is not. The early detection push is primarily about increasing the market for various drugs. Don't donate to the big cancer and MS charities etc. if they don't support prevention measures and instead focus on mere early detection.

 

The author writes about diet, that:

* The advice to cut down on sugar but to eat lots of grains makes no sense.

* Low fat, high-carb and low calorie diets are not healthy and not the best diet for weight loss.

* High levels of glucose (as with a high-grain and high-carb diet) compromise the immune system.

* Grains are not as high in nutrients as we have been led to believe and in fact these foods can leach nutrients from the body if not properly prepared. The same is true of legumes.

* Excess fibre can cause problems for some people and fibre from grains is not necessary. Bran flakes are not a health food, but a faddish waste of money.

* The bioavailablity of nutrients is much lower in raw produce compared to cooked.

* Low salt diets have not been tested for safety and the scaremongering about salt is not scientific.

* Healthy low carb diets must be high in fat and NOT protein.

* The Paleo diet is very relevant today. Good macronutrient ranges by calories are 10 - 15% carbs, 15 - 25% protein and 60 - 70% fat.

* Saturated fat is a healthy traditional fat.

* The ideal figure for carbs has been found to be around 50 - 75 grams a day, and this is the maximum a person with diabetes should eat. This amount is a good one to start with and some people will feel best making it slightly lower or higher.

* People that are very ill (eg. MS patients) may do better starting with around 110 carbs a day before gradually going down to 70 grams a day. Going too low or too low too fast may make such patients more ill.

* It is a good idea to lower your carbohydrate intake gradually, so as to make the transition less stressful for the body. Going from a high-carb diet to just 20 grams of carbs a day is too much of a shock, and not necessary.

* It is not healthy to get glucose from protein long-term. It is wasteful and puts a strain on the liver and kidneys.

* A BMI of 25 - 30 is still a healthy weight and may even be the healthiest weight range.

* The idea that traditional foods are causing all our modern diseases is ludicrous.

 

Important authors such as Abram Hoffer, Adele Davis, Weston A. Price and Shanahan are quoted. Good information is also given about the dangers of some vaccinations and soy products and of fluoride, why humans are not designed to run, why excessive exercise can be harmful and pain and injuries should not be ignored.

 

The author has been following a low carb diet since 1962 so he really knows his stuff.

 

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.

 

My only issue with this book is the authors assertion that we need to eat only 2 serves of fruit or vegetables daily and that claims we need 5 or more are unsupportable and quite silly. The sugar content of fruit is discussed, and the author claims that fruits and vegetables deliver few antioxidants. But the issues of taste, enjoyment, vitamins and phytonutrients are not discussed at all. What about the important detoxification aids and cancer-fighting nutrients present in brassica vegetables? What about all the folate and other nutrients in leafy greens? What about all the bioflavanoids present in foods like capsicums? None of this is even mentioned. It is a very strange part of the book, not remotely up to the standard of the rest of the book. This section is so poorly done it risks detracting people from the rest of the book, which is of a high standard and well reasoned, argued and researched. Best to just skip the anti-vegetable chapter I think.

 

This one quibble aside (plus the lack of good basic supplementation information), this is a wonderful book on diet and a great achievement by the author. This book is just as well written and researched as his book on the dangers of fluoride in our water supply, the first book I read by this author. That book is well worth a read as well.

 

To read more about why we need to eat the traditional foods we evolved to eat and why proper nutrition is so important to health and treating disease books such as Deep Nutrition and Primal Body Primal Mind are excellent extra reading. These are two of the most important books there are for anyone dealing with serious disease; along with Detoxify or Die and any of the high quality vitamin C books by Dr Thomas Levy and others.

 

A great quote from this book:

 

"There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action." Bertrand Russell.


 

            Like the authors' Trick and Treat book, this book has so many important things to say. Not just about weight loss, but also about health and about our health system.

 

This book explains that while it is our responsibility to make healthy choices, to make a choice first we have to understand that there is a choice. We need accurate information. Unfortunately the current food guidelines are based on myths and wishful thinking rather than science.

 

The idea that traditional foods are causing all our modern diseases is ludicrous.

 

The author writes about diet, that:

* The advice to cut down on sugar but to eat lots of grains makes no sense. Don't be fooled by the 'whole gain holiness!'

* Low fat, high-carb and low calorie diets are not healthy and not the best diet for weight loss.

* The GI is oversold and overhyped and used to push many unhealthy foods and a low-calorie agenda.

* Other animals with an abundant food supply don't get fat, so this is not just about too much food but about eating the wrong foods.

* High levels of glucose (as with a high-grain and high-carb diet) compromise the immune system.

* Grains are not as high in nutrients as we have been led to believe and in fact these foods can leach nutrients from the body if not properly prepared. The same is true of legumes.

* Excess fibre can cause problems for some people and fibre from grains is not necessary. Bran flakes are not a health food, but a faddish waste of money.

* Low salt diets have not been tested for safety and the scaremongering about salt is not scientific.

* Healthy low carb diets must be high in fat and NOT protein.

* The Paleo diet is very relevant today. Good macronutrient ranges by calories are 10 - 15% carbs, 15 - 25% protein and 60 - 70% fat.

* Saturated fat is a healthy traditional fat. We need to eat real foods and not things in boxes.

* The ideal figure for carbs has been found to be around 50 - 60 grams a day (The Trick and Treat book recommends 50 - 75 grams a day). This amount is a good one to start with and some people will feel best making it slightly lower or higher.

* People that are very ill (eg. MS patients) may do better starting with around 110 carbs a day before gradually going down to 60 or 70 grams a day. Going too low or too low too fast may make such patients more ill.

* It is a good idea to lower your carbohydrate intake gradually, so as to make the transition less stressful for the body. Going from a high-carb diet to just 20 grams of carbs a day is too much of a shock, and not necessary.

* It is not healthy to get glucose from protein long-term. It is wasteful and puts a strain on the liver and kidneys.

* A BMI of 25 - 30 is still a healthy weight and may even be the healthiest weight range.

* A weight loss of a kilo a week should be seen as a maximum.

 

Good information is also given about the dangers of some vaccinations and soy products and of fluoride, why humans are not designed to run, why excessive exercise can be harmful and pain and injuries should not be ignored.

 

The author has been following a low carb diet since 1962 so he really knows his stuff.

 

The whole book is contained and summarised in the first 36 pages which is helpful for those that just want the basic information fast.

 

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.

 

I have only 2 major issues with this book. The first is the authors' assertion that we need to eat only 2 serves of fruit or vegetables daily and that claims we need 5 or more are unsupportable and quite silly. The sugar content of fruit is discussed, and the author claims that fruits and vegetables deliver few antioxidants. But the issues of taste, enjoyment, vitamins and phytonutrients are not discussed at all. What about the important detoxification aids and cancer-fighting nutrients present in brassica vegetables? What about all the folate and other nutrients in leafy greens? What about all the bioflavanoids present in foods like capsicums? None of this is even mentioned. It is a very strange part of the book, not remotely up to the standard of the rest of the book. This section is so poorly done it risks detracting people from the rest of the book, which is of a high standard and well reasoned, argued and researched. Best to just skip the anti-vegetable chapter I think.

 

What is weirder still about this book as opposed to Trick and Treat, is that it also contains some pro-high vegetable intake comments. The author recommends eating unlimited amounts of green leafy vegetables or 'liberal amounts' of green leafy vegetables for example. Plus it is stated that we should get most of our 50 - 70 grams of carbs a day from vegetables, but that would be very difficult to do with just two vegetable serves a day!

 

My second issue is the ignorant comments made about supplements not being necessary if you eat well. The author may be a diet expert, but he is not an expert on supplementation or the use of supplements in treating serious disease.

 

Dr Abram Hoffer explains that we need about 45 different nutrients in optimal quantities. He also explains that no nutrient works alone, and that an enzyme reaction that needs three different nutrients to take place, requires all three nutrients and so no one nutrient should be considered more important than the other.

 

Some nutrients can be obtained in reasonable amounts in food, while others will sometimes or always require the use of supplements to ensure optimal levels. It is not true as some claim that the optimum levels of all nutrients can be obtained through diet alone.

 

Supplements are necessary, for the following reasons:

 

* The soils used to grow our food are often very depleted.

* The levels and types of toxic pollution and toxic chemicals we are exposed to are vastly higher now than they were in the past (which requires far higher levels of nutrients than were necessary in the past, to deal with them).

* Many nutrients in food are fragile and only remain fully intact when food is picked and then eaten immediately. Storing foods for long times and heavily processing foods can dramatically lower nutrient levels in the food and may destroy some nutrients entirely; for example, oranges have been found to contain between 100 mg of vitamin C and 0 mg of vitamin C, each.

 

Supplements are necessary and eating well is also important. As Dr Sherry Rogers writes, 'What you eat has more power over disease than any medication your doctor can prescribe. Food is awesomely powerful.'

 

It is also important to be aware that the more ill you are, and the more stress your body is under the higher your nutritional needs will be. A person can need many times more vitamin C when ill than they need when they are well, and these higher doses just cannot be gotten from food.

 

More helpful information on intelligent supplementation is included in books such as 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 among others.

 

Condensed tinned soups, low carb bread, vegetable margarine and tinned vegetables are also not healthy foods in my opinion, and I'm not a fan of promoting mircowaving of foods.

 

These two big quibbles aside, this is a very good book on diet although by far not as good as his Trick and Treat book in my opinion. That book is by far superior. It is a more engaging read and covers more ground and is just put together a lot better. If you have a choice between the two get Trick and Treat, absolutely. There is no need to read both of the books either, as the advice given is virtually the same in both.

 

The above books are also highly recommended additional reading for anyone serious about improving their health. along with any of the high quality vitamin C books by Dr Thomas Levy and others.

The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food by Kaayla T. Daniel

This book provides very well written and easy to take in information on why soy should be eaten only in the traditionally fermented forms (tempeh, natto, miso) and only in very small amounts, if at all.

The facts on soy are shocking. Not only are the many health claims made about soy extremely dubious, there are many serious concerns about its safety as a food.

Soy is hardly the health food it is promoted to be by the soy industry and in the highly processed form it is almost always eaten in, it is not very 'natural' either, and should not be considered a 'whole food.'

The idea that huge amounts of soy are eaten in asian countries, and have been for very long periods of time, and that this contributes to their good health is just a myth!

Products containing soy protein isolate, soy oil, hydrolized vegetable protein etc. should be avoided - especially by pregnant or lactating women, babies and children and women who are trying to become pregnant. (Sterol containing margarines should also be strictly avoided by this group.) Soy supplements are also to be avoided.

Giving a baby soy formula is like giving them 3-5 birth control pills a day and can have permenent effects on their reproductive health such as precocious puberty, small penis size, overdeveloped male breasts, longer more painful periods and infertility. Eating lots of soy has a drug-like or hormone-like effect.

Soy can inhibit enzymes in the body, reduce testosterone levels, reduce libido, cause a number of thyroid problems, increase cancer risk, cause cardiac arrhythmias, cause a toxic build up of manganese or aluminium and low iron levels and many other problems. Soy is also one of the top 8, 7, 6 or 4 top food allergies - depending on whose numbers you listen to.

Problems with the thyroid often occur at a dose of only 30 grams a day. 5 recent studies showed that soy is worthless in treating menopausal symptoms. 4 recent studies linked soy estrogens to infant leukemia. The goitrogens in soy which interfere with thyroid fuinction cannot be cooked out of them, as with many other goitrogenic foods. Most soy in the US is also GM. The list goes on.

This book includes some very sad case studies of the terrible effect soy has had on peoples lives, especially when soy is given to very small children and babies.

One of the worst things about the heavy promotion of soy is that this inferior food is displacing many healthier food items in our diets and on our farms. The (very well funded) soy lobby has done such a good job of demonising far healthier oils and foods such as coconut oil, eggs and butter, based on twisted science.

I'm going to find a traditionally brewed/fermented soy sauce for use in cooking occasionally and restrict my soy intake to that plus a few of my lecithin containing supplements (where I can't find a soy free alternative).

If you are a big soy eater, or eat foods which are processed and may contain hidden soy, this book is essential reading.

You may also want to read the information on soy and its dangers on the Weston A. Price website.

The Coconut Diet by Cherie Calbom and John Calbom

This is by far one of the better diet books out there as it has a real focus on maintaining and improving health, and is not any type of fad diet or quick fix weight loss diet.

This book does not ask you to choose between weight loss and improving health, which is as it should be.

The sections on blood sugar problems, juicing, thyroid issues, and Candida were well done and there is also some useful information included on detoxification methods such as colon, liver, kidney and gallbladder cleanses.

It is wonderful to read a book on diet by an author that is well read enough not to be fat phobic and that understands that a high carb diet is not suited to many of us and has negative health consequences and can cause weight gain.

The book focuses on coconut oil and recommends the use of this one coconut product rather than also including coconut cream or milk, or coconut flakes, it should be noted.

If I had to choose between them, I'd have to go with Mary Fallon's brilliant book
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats hands down, but this book is still very good. Both books advocate a whole foods diet and the liberal use of 2 - 3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily for reasons of weight loss and good health, but Fallons book has a special diet section aimed exclusively at very ill people, which I found very helpful. I also found Fallon's recipe section far better than Calbom's. I liked the look of half a dozen of Calbom's recipes, but perhaps even two dozen or so of Fallon's.

(One other quibble: I wish that all the comments about 'CFS' in this book (and almost every book on diet and health, it must be said!) could have been omitted, as every diagnosis of 'CFS' is a misdiagnosis and talking about 'CFS' as if it has a distinct cause and reaction to treatment is unhelpful and potentially harmful to patients who need instead to be given correct diagnoses and treatments appropriate to whichever of any number of hundreds of different diseases they actually have. See Dr Hyde's book
Missed Diagnoses Myalgic Encephalomyelitis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Second Edition for more information on this issue.)

Having said that, this book is still very good overall and I would recommend it.

Saturated fat sounds scary and gluggy and is often described as 'artery clogging' and 'not heart healthy' but the truth is very different. Saturated fat isn't saturated by some sort of horrific 'glop' but by hydrogen! The same element that is in water.

Saturated fats such as coconut oil are an important part of a healthy diet. We need to eat them to be healthy. Don't believe all the saturated fat hype!

If you'd like more information on why coconut oil is good for you, why the saturated fat/cholesterol = heart disease hypothesis is utterly dead scientifically speaking, and why a low fat, high carb and low calorie diet is not the best path to maintaining health or a healthy weight, see books such as
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage), Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol, Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats plus The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It.

Organic Manifesto: How Organic Food Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe by Maria Rodale

This book is essential reading for anyone sitting on the fence about whether or not to buy organic food.

It is very simple to read, well written and only 180 pages.

In this book the author explains:

- We must demand organic food now
- Buying organic is more important than buying local
- Organically farmed soil stores carbon
- The chemical system of agriculture is killing us
- Cheap food means high health costs
- Using antibacterial hand washes is like washing your hands in pesticides
- Whether or not organic foods have more nutrition is besides the point
- There have been significant declines in nutrients in food in the last 50 years
- The more we try to isolate ourselves and to defy nature, the more we make ourselves weaker
- Synthetic chemicals are destroying our health, and our ability to reproduce
- The idea that we can't feed the world without chemical farming is LIE
- Chemical farming is a better term than 'conventional farming' as there is nothing conventional or traditional about all the new toxic chemicals being used on farms
- Chemicals are not properly tested before being approved for use and are often not removed from use even when proven to be harmful or a cause of cancer
- Crop yields are similar between organic and chemical farming when rainfall is average, higher in organic farming when there are floods or drought
- Organic farming uses 30% less fossil fuels
- Organic farming requires 15% more human labour and so creates jobs
- Organic farming provides an economic return equal or higher than chemical farming, and without government subsidies

It is so easy to get overwhelmed with how much control large corporations have gotten over our lives and our health and our food supply. But we do have some power and what we buy changes the world - so buy organic!

You can also help further by buying Fair Trade organic products, plus switching to plant-based cleaning and personal care products and avoiding plastic water bottles.

Going 100% organic is very difficult at this point but going 80%, 90%, or 95% organic is still a worthy goal and every change we make helps.

This book is highly recommended. The author's passion for the subject is obvious and, I think, infectious.

To read about how you can work to undo the damage caused to your health already by pesticides and hormones in food, and the plastics we take in when we use plastic water bottles and other plastic products the book 'Detoxify or Die' by Dr Sherry Rogers is essential reading.

Using her daily 'detox cocktail' and an FIR sauna you can get some of this gunk out of your body and improve your health and reduce your risk of disease in the future. The book also explains how modern cutting-edge medical testing can be useful. This program is essential particularly if you are about to start a family or your health has already been affected by your toxic chemical levels.

The Pulse Test: The Secret of Building Your Basic Health by Arthur Fernandez Coca

Dr Coca developed this test in the 1930s and 1940s after his ill wife told him that her heart beat much faster than usual after eating certain foods.

The basic test protocol is for a person to take their pulse, eat a suspect food, and then take their pulse again immediately after, and at 30 minute intervals for a few hours. If the pulse speeds up 6 beats or more, you many have an allergy to that particular food.

Of course there is a bit more to it, as this book explains.

This book explains that the best way to determine your allergic foods is to retest them enough times that you are sure the pulse reaction isn't a coincidence and due to something else, includes information about the foods which most often cause delayed food allergies, how to determine your usual pulse range, and how to do an elimination diet so you can more easily isolate your food allergies.

The information in this book is accurate and worth considering. I am convinced of this fact because of the number of times I have seen Dr Coca and his work on pulse changes and allergens quoted and referenced in many very high quality health books, and because of the quality of this book and the obvious scientific integrity of its author, plus the fact that for many years I have known that a racing pulse after eating something is a sure sign I am allergic to it! I'm also aware of other patients that have used this method with success.

(I also have a disease called M.E. which involves pulse changes in response to bodily exertion as a major feature, and so understanding this concept in relation to allergies wasn't at all a huge stretch!)

While we do have ELISA tests and so on now, these only ever provide part of the solution as no test tests for all types of reactions to a food, as far as I am aware. So I'm using ELISA testing in combination with the pulse test currently and slowly working out my full list of food allergens. While the more severe and obvious ones are easy to find, many are far more subtle and difficult to identify.

There are many books on this topic that contain very similar medical information or that even contain a lot of extra information about modern tests, so perhaps this isn't the best book on identifying allergies for everyone, but I did enjoy reading about this pulse test protocol from the brilliant man who actually came up with it.

This is quite an old book but I found that the author's passion for the subject shone through each page and made the text very engaging.

Thank you Dr Coca for your pioneering work!

Digestive Wellness (3rd Edition) by Elizabeth Lipski

This book contains good solid information and could absolutely really help improve the health of a lot of people.

This book was good, but not as good as the book on this topic by Dr Sherry Rogers which I found far more thorough. That book was excellent and so I would recommend it over this one. If all your library has is this book however, it is well worth a read and makes many important points.

Also worth reading are books on the SCD eating plan and the GAPS diet, if you have serious gut issues and dysbiosis and need to heal your gut. These books take a very different and diet-based approach, that may be even more beneficial for some people.

Cholesterol: The Real Truth by Sanda Cabot

It turns out the the saturated and fat and cholesterol = heart disease theory is just plain wrong and not backed up by science.

In very easy to understand language this book explains why this is the case and offers far more helpful advice on the real factors influencing heart disease and what you need to do to reduce your risk and to improve your health generally.

This book explains:

- The many vital functions that cholesterol performs in the body and why low cholesterol levels can cause a number of serious problems including aggression, suicide attempts and depression, slower brain function, weak immune system, hormone deficiencies, greater cancer risk and a shorter life span. Cholesterol levels should be above 4.7 mmol/L (180 mg/dl) according to Cabot.

- Why statin drugs are unnecessary, unhelpful and dangerous and can cause serious and sometimes irreversible problems in many patients. (One study showed that 98% of patients taking on statin drug had muscle problems.)

- Far more useful blood tests to asses your cardiovascular disease risk (and your general health) than tests of cholesterol levels include: blood sugar and insulin tests, CRP tests, Homocysteine level tests, thyroid function tests, and blood pressure and pulse tests.

- Low thyroid hormone levels can cause high cholesterol levels.

- The book recommends the following 'heart saving' tips: Don't eat lots of carbohydrate (especially refined carbs), eat enough fibre to prevent constipation, eat good fats, increase your antioxidant intake (eat lots of fruits and vegetables and start juicing), keep homocysteine low, improve your liver function, strengthen your immune system, reduce stress and add some appropriate exercise.

- The only healthy oils to cook with are virgin or extra virgin olive oil, ghee, butter, palm oil and virgin coconut oil.


This book is Australian, and so am I. Most of this book is not Australia specific (and would suit readers from all over the world) but the small part of it that was, just about made my day.

There is an awful and misleading program in Australia called the 'Heart Foundation Tick.' This 'tick of approval' is given to food products that are supposedly healthy choices, and the HF tick logo displayed prominently on their packaging. The problem is that they issue the tick to all the worst heavily processed foods such as frozen pizzas, sugary breakfast cereals and so on. It is an absolute joke, yet it obviously confuses and influences enough consumers for it to be worthwhile. This book spent several pages going through the Heart Foundations recommendations for a healthy diet, pulling no punches in point out in very clear detail exactly why each piece of advice they give out is utterly wrong, and why following this advice would make your health far WORSE!

It was so great to see this sham group called out publicly for their appalling advice to eats lots of processed foods, margarine and vegetable oils and to avoid traditional foods and healthier fats! I wish Cabot's chart pointing out why each of their dietary recommendations is UTTERLY WRONG could be printed in all the newspapers and magazines that are so often full of ads for terrible products featuring the big 'Heart Foundation Tick' logo.

The problematic parts of this book included:

- The constant ads for the author's health clinic and previous books would have been a lot better included only on a single page or two at the end of the book.

- This book warns against statin drugs, but makes a bizarre statement about how high blood pressure drugs are very safe and well tolerated. This does not at all tally with information given in books such as
The High Blood Pressure Hoax and Is Your Cardiologist Killing You by Dr Sherry Rogers, among others.

- Little information on supplements is given and a basic daily regimen including a multi and some C etc. is not mentioned, as it is by many other authors on this topic. This is important of you are taking any of the basic nutrients alone, as this book recommends. Nutrients work best when taken in combination.

- The author's recommendation to limit red meat to a few times weekly is also not supported by books such as
Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol.

Overall this book is just an excellent beginner's guide. It is very brief and easy to read and gives easy to follow details on following a genuinely healthy diet with lots of healthy fats, meats, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, and juices in it - that is not super high carb. It is a little gem and a highly recommended read for anyone that wants simple information on how to maintain their health or lower their heart disease risk.

To read more about the truth behind the cholesterol myth you may also enjoy books such as
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage), Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol and Real Food: What to Eat and Why and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, among others.

Why we get fat and what to do about it by Gary Taubes

Gary Taubes' book Good Calories, Bad Calories (Or 'The Diet Delusion' in Australia) is one of the most important health books I have ever read.

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 gives you a detailed analysis of why low calorie diets don't work and why restricted carbohydrate/high fat diets do and is backed up by compelling evidence and research at every point. 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.

Because this book was so good but so very long and complex, I really hoped that Taubes would put out a summarised edition of the book that I could lend to my friends and family. I was so happy to see 'Why We Get Fat' had been released and bought a copy right away.

While this 'distilled' book explains the same concepts and comes to the same conclusions as Taubes' previous book, and also explains some concepts in brilliant and remarkable new ways, I am not sure I would have been quite as blown away as I was by Taubes' work if I had read this book first. I couldn't help but think it was somewhat less compelling and made the various points just a little bit less convincingly. Perhaps that is inevitable with a much shorter book and comparing them is unfair? That might well be true.

What I would have liked is for each of the main points to be listed one after the other in one chapter and explained using about a half page for each. To make it really simple for everyone to get the main points.

Main points would include facts such as:

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 took 6 pages of notes while reading this book. Even though it is short, it does still give you a ton of information and research. It isn't one of those books stuffed with 'filler.'

Reading the first book I wished the author had included some sort of basic eating plan that followed his principles. After reading this book, I wish the author had not included the basic eating plan he gives at the end of the  book. I realise that it is probably only there for illustrative purposes, but it really is of quite poor quality. Yes, it describes a low-carb diet which will be helpful for weight loss...but it is very far from being a healthy diet with regard to additives, nutrients and so on. This is an important failure when one of the main reasons many of us wish to lose weight is to improve our health.

Eggs are not even mentioned in the eating plan which is quite bizarre. Even worse, microwaving is recommended and processed meats are allowed to be eaten. (Pork rinds, pepperoni, etc.) The diet allows up to 4 tablespoons of mayo daily, despite the fact this often contains unhealthy types of fat including trans fats. Aspartame, splenda and saccharin are recommended too, I was surprised to see. No mention is made of the importance of choosing grass-fed meats over conventionally farmed meats, if possible, and coconut oil is also not even mentioned.

The diet recommends 3 cups of vegetables daily which is okay, but for my preferences, I don't see why one can't eat quite a bit more than that if one chooses green leafy vegetables which are of course very low carb. Choosing what to eat is about weight control, but getting as many nutrients in is also important and this is especially true if you are ill and trying to become more well. I also just like eating lots of nice veggies with my meals, and for me 3 cups is just not enough long term. (Been there done that!)

Far better books for giving you practical diet information for weight control and health are [[ASIN:0452285666 Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats]] and [[ASIN:1594774137 Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life]], among others.

Even with the above small quibbles, this is still an impressive body of work. I wish we had more investigative journalists writing about 'controversial' topics to such a high standard. I'm grateful to Taubes for writing his two books.

I highly recommend this book or (if you are up to reading a very, very big and dense book) [[ASIN:1400033462 Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage)]] would be even better. Check your library for a copy of one of them, at least! This information is so important.

I give the first book 5 stars and this summary book 4.5 stars.

The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy That Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease by Uffe Ravnskov

This book explains in very easy to understand language that common myths about fat and cholesterol include that:

- High fat foods cause heart disease.
- High cholesterol levels cause heart disease.
- High-fat foods (especially those high in saturated fats) raise blood cholesterol.
- Cholesterol clogs your arteries and so do saturated fats.
- Animal studies prove the saturated fat and high cholesterol = heart disease theory
- Lowering your cholesterol level will lengthen your life.
- Eating only or primarily polyunsaturated oils is good for you.
- The anti-saturated fat and low-cholesterol campaign is based on good science.
- All scientists support the saturated fat and high cholesterol = heart disease theory.

Instead of this book being one long block of text the book is broken up into sections, each one dealing with one of the myths listed above and why it isn't correct. (Note that I haven't listed the exact titles here, I've paraphrased them slightly.) I thought that having these different sections each dealing with a specific set of facts and evidence made the information a bit easier to take in.

The section at the end where the author gave information about some of the other experts in this field that are also doing what they can to make the public aware that the lipid hypothesis is unscientific, was also very good. The quotes given by each of them were just excellent. They cut right to the point!

The author lays out fact upon fact in this book in a very convincing and logical way. The facts are so shocking. The way the public has been manipulated for profit is appalling. This information is something that very much needs to be more widely known. This book, and the other books by this author on this topic, deserve to be widely read.

The book is also occasionally bitingly sarcastic and very funny. I'd highly recommend it.

Much of the same information in this book is included in the excellent
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) by Gary Taubes. This book also explains why 'calories in, calories out' is bunkum and why low fat diets are not healthy. Books such as Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats are also good choices for anyone that wants to read more about this topic and what really constitutes a healthy diet.

Some of the great quotes from this book:

--------

``But what about heart disease?' This is the response of many Americans when advised to consume the foods of their ancestors, foods like butter, whole milk, eggs and meat. Fear of saturated fat and cholesterol has put a solid brick wall between the consumer and satisfying nutritious food - and filled the coffers of the food processing industry.' Sally Fallon

`The fourth and last wrong measure of probability I shall take notice of, and which keeps in ignorance or error more people than all the other together, is... the giving up our assent to the common received opinions, either of our friends or party, neighbourhood or country. How many men have no other ground for their tenets, than the supposed honesty, or learning, or number of those of the same profession? As if honest or bookish men could not err; or truth were to be established by the vote of the multitude: yet this with most men serves the turn. If we could but see the secret motives that influenced the men of name and learning in the world, and the leaders of parties, we should not always find that it was the embracing of truth for its own sake, that made them espouse the doctrines they owned and maintained.' John Locke

`Frankly, the recommendation of the American Heart Association, government health agencies, and the media, -- that people switch from saturated fats to polyunsaturated vegetable oils -- has probably killed and crippled more Americans than both World Wars." Former brain surgeon Russell Blaylock MD

The cholesterol campaign is "the greatest scientific deception of this century, perhaps of any century." Physician and scientist George Mann

"The public is so brainwashed, that many people believe that the lower your cholesterol, the healthier you will be or the longer you will live. Nothing could be further from the truth." Paul Rosch MD FACP

"If you have come to believe you can ward off death from heart disease by altering the amount of cholesterol in your blood, whether by diet or by drugs, you are following a regime that has no basis in fact." Edward Pinckney MD former co-editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association

"The current campaign to convince every American to change his or her diet, and in many cases to initiate drug `therapy' for life is based on fabrications, erroneous interpretations and/or gross exaggerations of findings and, very importantly, the ignoring of massive amounts of unsupportive data." Russell Smith MD

"The idea that saturated fats cause heart disease is completely wrong, but the statement has been "published" so many times over the last three or more decades that it is very difficult to convince people otherwise unless they are willing to take the time to read and learn what all the economic and political factors were that produced the anti-saturated fat agenda." Mary Enig PhD

"Fearing to lose their soft money funding, the academicians who should speak up and stop this wasteful anti science are strangely quiet. Their silence has delayed a solution for coronary heart disease by a generation. Those who manipulate data do not appreciate that understanding the nature of things cannot be permanently distorted - the true explanations cannot be permanently ignored. Inexorably, truth is revealed and deception is exposed. ...In due time truth will come out. This is the relieving grace in this sorry sequence." Professor Mann

"Your fear of dying--if you happen to be one of the great many people who suffer from this morbid preoccupation- may well have made you a victim of the cholesterol controversy. For, if you have come to believe that you can ward off death from heart disease by altering the amount of cholesterol in your blood, whether by diet or by drugs, you are following a regime that still has no basis in fact. Rather, you as a consumer, have been taken in by certain commercial interests and health groups who are more interested in your money than your life." Professor Mann's

"One must be bold indeed to attempt to persuade large segments of the populations of the world to change their accustomed diets and to threaten important branches of agriculture and agribusiness with the results of such uncontrolled, primitive, trial and error type explorations. Certainly modern science is capable of better research when so much is at stake." Raymond Reiser

"The public is so brainwashed, that many people believe that the lower your cholesterol, the healthier you will be or the longer you will live. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The cholesterol cartel of drug companies, manufacturers of low fat foods, blood testing devices, and others with huge vested financial interests have waged a highly successful promotional campaign. Their power is so great that they have infiltrated medical and governmental regulatory agencies that would normally protect us from such unsubstantiated dogma.
The current campaign to convince every American to change his or her diet and, in many cases, to initiate drug "therapy" for life is based on fabrications, erroneous interpretations and/or gross exaggerations of findings and, very importantly, the ignoring of massive amounts of unsupportive data...It does not seem possible that objective scientists without vested interests could ever interpret the literature as supportive." Professor Rosch

The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability by Lierre Keith

This book is as the description says, 'part memoir, nutritional primer, and political manifesto.'

 

Lots of books talk about the harm eating processed foods and high levels of sugars and grains on our health, but this book is one of the few that combines this with information about the effect all these many grain crops have on our environment and on many different ecosystems.

 

The author talks about all the hidden death that is involved in the production of foods such as grain crops, and why vegan meals may involve far more death than the more obvious death of a single animal to provide a meal for an omnivore. Many animals are made extinct when land is cleared for grain crops and billions of small animals such as mice and rabbits are killed every year by harvesting equipment, for example.

 

The book explains that buying a soy burger may give you an emotional quick fix but it does nothing at all to deal with any of the bigger issues, is terrible for your health, and gives money to some of the biggest corporations that are causing some of the worst problems in worldwide hunger and so on. To be truly moral in our eating habits involves more than just extending morality to a few animals who are most like us. The rest of the world, all those billions of other lives, count too.

 

The author also writes about how our soils need to eat and what they need to eat is either fossil fuels or animal products such as manure, and that there is no way around this. That we are part of a circle of life and trying to separate ourselves from this cycle is causing a lot of problems for our environment.

 

The author explains that we are designed to eat meat and that the shocking figures often quoted about the huge use of resources to produce meat are not only inaccurate but also misleading as they are always based on grain-fed animals that are factory farmed. Grass-fed and free range meats are a different matter entirely.

 

Some quotes:

 

"Soil, species, rivers. That's the death in your food. Agriculture is carnivorous; what it eats is ecosystems, and it swallows them whole."

 

"A vegan agriculture is an ecological wasteland."

 

This book warns against the very real health dangers of a low-fat and low-protein vegan diet. Despite the title, this book talks little about vegetarianism, and is really discussing issues around veganism, mostly.

 

The Weston A. Price Foundation, which I agree with the author is the best website on nutrition that is available, says that one can be healthy eating a vegetarian diet that includes liberal amounts of healthy fats such as saturated fats from coconut oil, organic/free range eggs and good quality fresh milk. A vegetarian diet can be done healthily, they explain, although you do still miss out on some of the most nutritionally dense and important foods such as liver and bone broths. So it can be done healthily but isn't exactly the same.

 

It is also true that some of us really can't feel well eating purely a vegetarian diet while for others, done right, it seems to work for them. People have biochemical individuality and just because some can be vegetarians it doesn't mean we all can.

 

Veganism is different to vegetarianism, nutritionally speaking, and is not supportable particular when it comes to pregnant women and children. (More information on this in the brilliant book 'Deep Nutrition.')

 

Some of the personal memoir parts of the book were very well done and very moving. The most moving was the author's description of the day she started eating meat again. I admire the authors writing style as well as her immense bravery in writing such a book and I'm sad she has had to cop so much unfair criticism. This book is not harshly written and the authors deep compassion for people and animals and all forms of life shines through every part of this book.

 

The sections on nutrition were excellent. The author discusses lectins, the problems of a high carb and high sugar diet, how little difference there is in eating sugar or grains - which the body turns into glucose just as it does with sugar, the cholesterol and saturated fat myths, the problem of opiates in grain and dairy products, the lack of vitamin A in plant foods and the need for fat in the diet to absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, the huge problems with soy and especially pregnant women and babies, and small kids eating soy, and the importance of fat, protein and animal foods. The author also summarises the work of Weston A. Price and Sally Fallon, Gary Taubes, Schmid, Eades and Marg Enig PhD very well.

 

For more information on nutrition I'd recommend readers check out the books by all those authors, they are all excellent.

 

This book is essential reading if you are following a low-fat vegan diet, if you think any type of low-fat diet is healthy, or if you think eating lots of wheat or soy foods such as soy milk, soy burgers and soy shakes is a healthy and highly moral choice and makes you part of the environmental solution rather than the problem. Read the book with an open mind and then make up your own mind.

 

I'd also recommend this book to everyone who eats food as you are bound to get something useful from this book, whether it is a new way of thinking about food or the environmental impact of our food, or some new ideas on making different food choices. This book doesn't discuss every issue surrounding this topic, and isn't all you need to read all on its own, but does make some very valuable contributions to the wider discussion of this topic.

 

The idea that we need to eat the foods our genes evolved to eat to be healthy makes so much sense. It also makes a lot of sense that this applies to animals as well and that feeding cows grains, which make them ill, is a very bad idea - as is growing food in ways which aren't sustainable and which negatively impact our health, so many other living things and the health of our planet.

 

Despite its imperfections this book well and truly deserves 5 stars.

Let's Get Well by Adelle Davis

I'm astounded by the fact that Adelle Davis knew so much about health and nutrition way back in 1965. If only most of today's doctors knew half as much NOW as she did then!

This book illustrates how far ahead of her time the author was. This book is really interesting reading for anyone very into the topic of diet, nutrition, health, healing and disease prevention.

It is true that if Adelle were to somehow be able to rewrite her book today that some of the advice given would be different, but the fundamentals of her approach still hold true today.

Vitamin A is still vital for skin conditions; salt, protein and the B vitamins (especially B5) help stressed adrenals; fish oils still aid cardiovascular disease; the B vitamins are essential for all CNS diseases; every drug we take or toxic substance we are exposed to still uses up nutrients; vitamin E still prevents scars; hydrogenated fat still needs to be strictly avoided along with processed foods and especially refined sugars and grains; HCl is vital to good digestion; low calorie and high carb diets still don't work to keep us healthy or to let us lose weight long-term; liver is still a wonderfully beneficial superfood for anyone battling illness and vitamin C is still the most important supplement for us all and must be taken at the right dose.

People in poor health are still poor surgical risks; extra nutrition and supplementation is still needed before and after surgery; huge amounts of vitamin C are still needed by those with serious or infectious diseases; it is better to take slightly too much of a nutrient than not enough; diseases can still be treated if the causes are unknown by following a high-nutrient diet plan and also following the advice given for similar diseases and people with gut diseases still need hyper-nutrition, and so on.

I am pretty sure she would advocate higher doses of the B vitamins than the very low ones available back in the '60s, and also higher doses of vitamin C considering that you need more C depending on how many toxic chemicals and drugs your body has to detoxify. Her recommendation for ill people of a whole foods diet and around 5 grams of vitamin C (or 500 mg six or seven times a day) and 100mg B5 six or seven times a day, along with some B complex six or seven times a day is still better than many advise today, however.

We also know more now about causes of arthritis, that cholesterol and saturated fat are not things we need to avoid, that many of us need to avoid dairy, gluten and soy and that one needs to take all 8 types of vitamin E when taking vitamin E as a supplement.

This book was an interesting read but it was also a bit depressing to read about how early on all of this good information was known and that many of us are still yet to act on it or even to know about it. The media still treats many of these basic ideas with scorn or just ignores them completely, despite the mountains of evidence. I wish so much I had known all this information earlier into my own illness.

Because this book is so old and there are so many wonderful newer books out there which are written with a very similar spirit to this book, I would recommend reading this book along with at least one of these newer books and not using it as a sole source of health information. For all its wonderful points, some of the information IS now known to be incorrect and the unwary reader could be missing out on some great newer information by relying solely on this book. One of the best is Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, but there are also several others that are similar that would do a good job as a companion to this book.

Overall you can't help but be very impressed by Adelle Davis and wish we had more doctors like her today!

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

The first section was good, the second section was brilliant and the third didn't do much for me at all and seemed pointless. It would have been much better I think to end the book with the important points made in the second section, rather than just tapering off into the making of a pointlessly complicated and fancy meal.

I learned a bit more from this book about why grass-fed beef (without a barcode!) is best, why monocultures are so problematic and why eggs from caged birds should be avoided by all. It made me feel so glad I don't live in the US where the crazily destructive corn subsidies exist! (Is anyone doing anything to stop them?)

It's a good book and an important book but I do feel it could have been better organised to make slightly clearer points and would have been a better read if edited down to about half the length. Some parts just go on and on describing the most uninteresting and tedious small details! The great parts were often obscured by so much trivial detail, which was a shame.

(The comment at the start that bread and pasta were 'uncontroversial' healthy foods made me laugh as well. What?!)

I'm really glad I read this book though and would recommend it, and the doco 'The Botany of Desire' as well. Check to see if your library has a copy.

Fat Flush for Life: The Year-Round Super Detox Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman

This book contains a mix of information on diet and on detoxification.

Overall the content is very solid, far more so than in many other books on this topic which tend to be quite superficial.

It was great to read a book that understands the huge benefits of healthy fats and isn't fat phobic, or salt phobic. The recommendations for sauna use, and instructions for various sorts of cleanses (Castor oil packs, coffee enemas, oil pulling, dry body brushing etc.) were good as well.

However I don't agree with the recommendation of whey protein (as this isn't at all a whole food), FOS powder (which some claim feeds Candida and causes other digestive problems) or see the need to buy expensive bottled cranberry juice - freshly made juices of a wide variety of vegetables just have to be better for you, in my opinion. Have a glass of fresh vegetable juice each day rather than the cranberry juice drink, I say - or replace it with some apple cider vinegar in water as the author suggests.

I don't think you need to follow every single suggestion of the author's to see benefits. Just do the best with what you can and buy the best quality seasonal and if possible local and organic produce you can afford and don't worry too much about doing everything recommended in the book perfectly.

Overall this book is a valuable contributor to this topic and provides lots of useful information for those that want to maintain their health or even improve it a bit. (It may also be useful if you want to lose weight but improving your health is the main focus.)

Many of the same topics are also covered, albeit with more of a focus on treating serious health conditions, in excellent books by Dr Sherry Rogers such as
Detoxify or Die and Wellness Against All Odds.

Changing Habits, Changing Lives by Cyndi O'Meara

This is by far the best book on nutrition and diet I have read from an Australian author. This book might well be Australia's answer to Nina Planck's Real Food: What to Eat and Why

Cyndi O'Meara has done a brilliant job with this book and it deserves to be very widely read in Australia and all over the world.

This is not just a diet book, it is a book about how to stay healthy, how to avoid all the diet hype and fancy products and just focus on the simple task of eating real food.

The best sections were those on GM foods, the benefits of unrefined salt, the importance of fat, butter being far superior to margarine, eating nuts in shells, the benefits of eating eggs, the benefits of raw dairy, problems with soy, the benefits of juicing, ignoring calories, avoiding microwaves, minimising dried fruit and sugar, minimising alcohol and chemicals, sunbathing, choosing organic foods, and as much as possible avoiding antibiotics.

I did have a few quibbles with some of the advice, but the vast majority of the content was excellent.

Probably the biggest issue I had was that there is a significant bias towards a high carb diet in this book which is quite a bit too low in fats and especially protein. I disagree that a low protein/fat and high carb breakfast containing lots of fruit will be satisfying for many people or that we can all feel our best eating only one small serve of meat 5 days out of every 7 or so. This type of diet may of course work well for some, but it suits some of us very poorly. I also disagree that the magic formula given for the daily diet of 2 serves of starch, 2 serves of protein, 4 serves of vegetables and 4 serves of fruit will work well for most of us. Many of us need far more protein, do better with far more vegetables than fruit, and would feel very unwell and gain weight eating so much starch and carbohydrate. Fat is not even mentioned in this formula which is concerning although at another point in the book it is recommended that 20 - 25% of calories come from fat, which is a bit low but not too bad at least. Some of the information given about what our paleolithic ancestors ate was also skewed towards vegetarianism and low-fat to some extent and just didn't tally with what I have read in other books.

I also disagree that eating 50% or more food in the raw state gives you more energy. For some of us, cooked food gives far more energy as it is far more easily digested. This is discussed in books such as
Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human and Wellness Against All Odds.

I also wish that all the comments about 'CFS' in this book (and almost every book on diet and health, it must be said!) could have been omitted, as every diagnosis of 'CFS' is a misdiagnosis and talking about 'CFS' as if it has a distinct cause and reaction to treatment is unhelpful and potentially harmful to patients who need instead to be given correct diagnoses and treatments appropriate to whichever of any number of hundreds of different diseases they actually have. See Dr Hyde's book
Missed Diagnoses Myalgic Encephalomyelitis & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Second Edition for more information on this issue.

Again, some small quibbles about exact food ratios aside, the overwhelming majority of the content of this book was excellent and I can only recommend this book very highly for anyone who wants to stay healthy and raise healthy children.

It is also very well written, easy to read and broken up into many small sections which makes making small changes far less overwhelming. It contains just enough information on each topic, not being either too long winded nor too brief and vague.

The author is to be congratulated for producing such an important and well put together book. If only we all could have been brought up on such an excellent diet and understanding of health as the author has! But still, better late than never, for sure.

Optimal Nutrition for Optimal Health by Thomas E. Levy

I read things in this book that I hadn't read in many other books on diet and so I'm glad I read it, overall.

The information on supplements is very minimal, but the information on diet and food combining is useful. This is an interesting read, though probably not an essential book. After taking lots of notes from it I plan to sell my copy, as there is nothing there that I'll really go back to look up.

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.

The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That's Destroying Our Health by Barry Sears

See 'The Zone' book review.

The Schwarzbein Principle

The information in this book on why low fat, low calorie and low cholesterol diets are very bad for you was excellent and the doctor wrote about why and how she came up with her concepts in a very compelling way.

I've read several books on this topic, but this book explained some of the facts about insulin levels and insulin resistance and so on in ways I hadn't read about before. I learned some new things, which was great (after many years following a similar diet to the one the author recommends). The book was also very easy to read, even where the information was somewhat technical.

The practical advice on what to eat was good, but I'd have preferred a more structured approach.

Having said that, I think the advice I got from the book to eat fat and protein until satiation and then to have 15 carbs with each of my three meals daily, and 7-5 carbs with each of two snacks, is just about spot on. (This is the reocmmendation only for someone overweight and who is very inactive BTW.)

I'd like to have seen the author discuss food allergies and intolerances. This subject is almost completely omitted, which is a shame. The author also ignores all the information about why dairy foods, gluten, wheat and soy can cause huge problems for some people.

This is a great book to read on eating a moderate carb, fat and protein diet, but perhaps not the best stand-alone book. If you'd like more information and facts about some of the theories mentioned in the book, with extra information about the healthiest and most traditional food choices, I'd recommend as extra reading;

1. Good Calories, Bad Calories (retitled The Diet Delusion in UK/Oz)
2. Deep Nutrition
3. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
4. Eat Fat, Lose Fat

The Holford low GI diet book

Doing what this book says 100% left me feeling ill as there was way too much carbohydrate and not enough protein in the meals, and also nowhere near enough fat. I could not stick to this diet, it left me faint and unwell and too ill to do anything. Not recommended. Although some of the basic principles are solid the eating plan is not good or healthy.

The Zone by Barry Sears

This says it is a moderate protein, fat and carbohydrate diet book. At first I agreed with this statement and was a huge fan of this book. I thought the diet was pretty well balanced. But 2 years later my views are very different.

I now see this as a diet that is way too low in good fats, slightly too high in protein and that has far more carbohydrate in it than many of us need. The 11 blocks of carbs were too much for me, I felt just wrong eating that much.

I also now very strongly disagree with the author saying that cod liver oil should be avoided in favour of fish oil. Cod liver oil, and especially fermented cod liver oil, is our number one superfood and the vitamin A, D and K in it are so vital to good health. The Weston A Price Foundation and others have also explained that fish oils are processed at very high temperatures, unlike FCLO. FCLO is by far the superior supplement.

I strongly disagree with Sears also that calories need to go down to 1600 a day or so for women to lose weight. If fat intake is high, and carbs are somewhat low ( 60 - 80 g a day or so) then you can still lose weight eating 2000 - 2500 calories - or really by ignoring calories altogether. As amny others have said, it is what you eat that is so important and not just how much of it.

Sears ignores the importance of traditional superfoods like bone broths, fermented vegetables and so on, as well.

Books with far more useful information on diet include:

Eat Fat, Lose Fat by Sally Fallon
Deep Nutrition
The Primal Blueprint by Sisson
Know your Fats by Mary Enig
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes
The Schwarzbein Principle

The Paleo diet is superior to the Zone but I don't agree with the low fat version. I think the best place to look for the most health promoting diet possible is the Weston A. Price Foundation. In short, eat real foods and lots of traditional foods, eat protein and good fats to satiety and restrict carbs to perhaps 60 - 80 grams a day or so if you are trying to lose weight.

(Also, everything in this book about 'CFS' should be ignored as it has nothing at all to do with M.E. and is of extremely questionable validity generally even for the various 'CFS' misdiagnosed patients.)

Having said all that, I found Sears' concept of food blocks really helpful, and a much easier way to remember which foods are high in carbs and which can be eaten freely.

I still sometimes work out my meals in terms of food blocks but instead of having 11 blocks each of carbs, fat and protein daily, I'm more likely to have 7 blocks of carbs, 22 or more blocks of fat and around 8 or 9 blocks of protein! Quite differnet to 11, 11 and 11! But I feel much healthier on this type of ratio.

Getting lots of good fats in is so important to health and to healing. Even if you're a Zone fan, following it but significantly upping your intake of good fats such as coconut oil and olive oil can only be helpful.

Healing the Gerson Way: Defeating Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases and The Gerson Therapy: The Amazing Juicing Programme for Cancer and Other Illnesses by Charlotte Gerson

I bought this book on the recommendation of Andrew W. Saul.

I'm glad I bought it and I feel I have come away from reading it with some useful information, although I have found out that I am too ill and do not have the financial resources to follow the program fully.

(Like many people with severe M.E. any type of overexertion makes the disease worse, and this would include drinking juices hourly and having to interact with the juice bringer hourly, plus the enormous input and overexertion etc. in a weekly enema would be impossible, let alone 3 or more a day. The juices would also be far too high in carbohydrate for many of us, and we would feel more ill still from avoiding protein - as would others with mitochondrial diseases.)

However, I have bought the best quality juicer I could afford (NOT the $3000 one recommended!) and have been using it a lot, and have boosted the amount of vegetables I eat each day considerably too. I plan to do maybe 30% of the program. The book actually warns against this, and says that the program must be followed 100% to work. But you can only do what you can do I guess and it all helps, so I still have my little ember of hope and this program is part of that, although I'm also dong several other equally important things (a full orthomolecular program including high-dose vit C etc.).

One would have to be VERY VERY wealthy to follow this program fully incidentally. Expenses include a full-time carer for 12 hours a day to juice and do food prep and enemas (this cannot be done by the patient), a one-off expense of $3000 for a juicer (and no that third zero isn't a typo!) plus the cost of 8-10 kg or so of all organic fruits and veg each DAY, plus the costs involved in 3 daily coffee enemas.

I have to admit I was quite disappointed about how much the book only talked about each part of the program in the context of cancer. The amount of information about chronic disease was just tiny. Quite often it would be explained that you need to avoid X or take Y 'to shrink tumours' - but often no explanation was given at all as to why those of us facing non-tumour related disease should also do X or Y. This is important to know when you are considering giving up a food for years, or stopping a supplement you believe is important and I feel this was a big problem with the book, for chronically ill readers.

Another big problem I had with the book was when it said to avoid reading other health information as much as possible, as only the Gerson program was correct and everything else, just about, was wrong. Such an attitude is just.... unhelpful and doesn't inspire confidence in the authors. Knowledge is power.

(It's quite strange that while Saul recommends this book, the Gerson people warn against anyone reading and following HIS very very good books, or anything like them! I think that is a shame, and perhaps a bit arrogant.)

The recommendation to take highish doses of some B vitamins without taking some of all the B vitamins, as almost every orthomolecular expert recommends, also seemed a bit of a worry.

I'd have loved a section in the book for what to do if some of the contra-indications for enemas apply to you or you are too ill for enemas. Enemas are said to be contraindicated for those with cardiac insufficiency and diarrhoea (which would include all M.E. patients!). Can you use FIR saunas instead to some extent, I'd like to know?

I'd also like to know what those of us with severely reduced circulating blood volume that benefit from and need extra sodium (such as those with M.E. and also POTS or NMH)...how or even IF this can be combined with the extremely low sodium Gerson approach?

Overall this book was useful reading, if significantly flawed, and not something that could be followed strictly by all patients. Worth reading certainly but perhaps with just a grain of salt, for several reasons.


The Gerson Therapy: The Amazing Juicing Program for Cancer and Other Illnesses

I just wish information was included about what to do if you know you do very very poorly on high carb diets, and need moderate amounts of protein from meat, and also some healthy fats and some salt too (to boost blood volume and for the trace minerals). It is assumed that you'll be able to do a vegeatarian diet and this is absolutely out of the question for me due to my illness, as well as almost every other person I know that also has Myalgic Encepahlomyelitis.

I'd love a version of the plan for those who have higher fat and protein needs, but really I guess I've kind of worked out one for myself.

I found this older Gerson book better and less rigid in some ways than the more updated version.

As I said in a previous Gerson book review, I do plan to follow the regime about 30% as this is about all I can manage and even that is quite taxing. I'm grateful to the authors of this book, however, for making this information available.

The Carnitine Miracle by Robert Crayhon

This book explains why eating meat and good fats is so good for you and full of nutrition, and why high levels of refined carbohydrates should be avoided, in a very easy to read way.

This books is almost totally about diet, rarher than about carnitine supplementation.

Very little discussion is included about different types of carnitine and the author just recommends carnitine tartrate without really explaining what the pros and cons of the other types are. So don't buy this book if a discussion of the different carnitines is what you are after. This book isn't helpful in that area.

The diet described in the book (or a close approximation thereof) is the diet I feel the best on, and I have also experienced significant health benefits from taking carnitine daily as well. It improves my severe cardiac insufficiency (caused by M.E.) and lets me be upright a significant time longer than would be possible otherwise, for which I'm very grateful.

Carnitine may also work even better when combined with magnesium and CoQ10 (as ubiquinol), as books by metabolic cardiologist Dr S. Sinatra explain, among others. I've certainly found this to be the case myself.

This book is definitely worth a read if your library has a copy.

Genetic Nutritioneering by Jerrery Bland

This book may have been the best in the field in 1999, but in 2011 I think that maybe parts of it are outdated (the recommendation for certain doses of nutrients is very low, as is common in many older books compared to recent ones) and many different types of nutrients that we know are important aren't mentioned too.

Before reading this I read 'Deep Nutrition' and found that book really impressive, far more so than this book which seemed very incomplete and sketchy in some areas.

The two books cover a lot of the same areas, although 'Deep Nutrition' recommends that we get all our nutrition from food and doesn't recommend any supplements, a stance I disagree with.

I'd probably recommend reading 'Deep Nutrition' along with any of the very good books on orthomolecular medicine rather than this book, although it may be worth a quick read if your library has a copy.

The Paleo Diet Cookbook by Cordain

This book gives a great summary of the Paleo diet that could be very useful for patients that are very ill and cannot read very much.

The author's website contains interesting info about why eggs, capsicum, eggplant and tomatoes should also be avoided. It'd be great if this info had been in the book.

I disagree with the authors very-low salt stance and would advise them to read about unrefined sea salt and the work of Dr Brownstein on the many myths about salt and low-salt diet scaremongering (and the cholesterol scaremongering as well). I also disagree that saturated fat in moderation is a bad thing, and don't agree with the author's recommendation of flaxseed oil for cooking.

But overall, this book is fairly solid and a good overview for newbies.

Living Low Carb by J Bowden

As a long-time convert to the 'bread and pasta are NOT health foods' idea, and someone who has read a fair few books on this subject, I was surprised that I learned as much from this book as I did. While I didn't agree with all of the author's conclusions, it's a really interesting read.

A lot of the focus is on weight loss, but there is also a fair bit of information about the health effects of a controlled carb diet plan, as well as diets such as the paleo diet.

This book would be a great introduction for those new to this topic and for doctors as well, although I wouldn't at all say this is an essential book.

Protein Power: The High-Protein/Low-Carbohydrate Way to Lose Weight by Michael R. Eades

This book focuses on maintaining good health but tells you how to achieve weight loss as an additional side effect.

Phase 1 of the diet recommends that you eat less than 30 grams (net) of carbohydrate a day (plus lots of healthy fats and a 90 - 120 g or 3 - 4 oz serve of protein with at least 2 meals daily, depending on your weight/size).

Phase 2 of the diet allows up to 55 g of carbohydrates daily.

The Maintenance Phase allows 60 - 150 carbs a day, depending on what works best for you and your body.

This advice tallies very well with the information given in books such as
The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger, Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) as well as Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It. Each of these books recommends cutting down to around 60 grams of carbs or so daily in order to lose weight, and then upping your carb intake when you're at the maintenance level.

As someone who has been spent significant time on the Atkins induction phase where carbs were limited to 20 grams daily, I feel this is too low for some of us to feel our best and so I would personally recommend skipping Phase 1 of the diet, and going straight to Phase 2 where you are allowed more grams of net carbs daily.

It is far less stressful on the body to lose weight and restrict carbs more slowly and there are so many benefits in eating huge amounts of (lower carb) vegetables daily plus a little fruit; including that they are enjoyable to eat!

For those of us battling serious illness and that have adrenal issues there may also be problems with going VERY low carb, as some articles I have read have explained. As far as healthy people maybe doing better avoiding the first Phase, this is just a completely unsubstantiated personal opinion! It is probably best to just do what feels right to you.

While I agree very much with the overall message of this book and find this type of diet makes me feel the best and helps me maintain my healthiest weight, I would have to say that I would probably choose any of the books I have listed above in preference to this one, if I had to pick just one of them.

(This book recommended some very unhealthy and junky foods, which really put me off. It also lacked some of the extra practical and scientific information contained in some of these other books. My reading also seems to suggest that a higher fat diet with moderate protein and controlled carbs is the best choice, rather than a similar diet which advises eating protein moreso than fat as this one does.)

If you are needing to lose weight as well as deal with any type of illness then the best pick of them is probably
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Sally Fallon.

If you're fairly healthy and all you want is to lose weight and learn more about why high carb and low fat diets don't work then I'd recommend
The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger.

Don't believe the hype about low fat and low calorie diets being the best way to lose weight and be healthy. It turns out that 'calories in, calories out' is dead wrong! You can also lose weight without increasing your activity level at all. It also turns out that very low fat diets are dangerously unhealthy. For more on this the scrupulously referenced and brilliantly argued book
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) is essential reading.

Raw Juices Can Save Your Life: An A-Z Guide to Juicing by Sandra Cabot

This book is a good choice for those very new to juicing.

There is not a lot of depth in this book compared to others on this topic such as
Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life: Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets and others but it is an okay choice with some good content if you're really just after the basics. It is a very small book and a quick and easy read.

Note that this book does not contain any type of in-depth discussion over which type of juicer to buy - centrifugal vs. single or twin gear.

I agree strongly with the main premise of this book which is that having some vegetable juice daily is an excellent choice for your health, whether you are well or seriously ill or somewhere in-between. It can be really tasty as well!

The Diet Cure by Julia Ross

This book is very solid. It explains that low calorie diets just don't work, and that when we eat foods we are allergic to or that feed a Candida problem we create food cravings.

Low calorie diets can leave you adrenally exhausted and even fatter than when you started too.

The author recommends not starving yourself, or missing meals or trying to attain a weight that for you is unrealistic. Coconut oil is recommended, along with lots of real and unprocessed foods including at least 3 tablespoons of healthy fats a day (coconut oil, lard, ghee etc.), at least 4 cups of vegetables daily, and at least 20 - 30 grams of protein at each meal. A caution is given against eating soy, and the book also provides a very good basic supplement regime. The doses given are not at all extreme or super-low.

I was really happy to see the author recommend activated B vitamins, as so few authors seem to be aware of them and their huge benefits over standard B vitamins.

The author points out the problems with the most popular diet programs such as the Zone, Atkins and Weight Watchers, for their ignorance of food allergies such as grains and dairy products, among other things.

I'd probably give this book 5 stars were it still 1999. This book is pretty wonderful and well above average for being written in 1999, but wouldn't make my top 10 list in 2012 even though I am glad I borrowed it from my local library. The author has a great writing style too.

The book discusses causes for symptoms and problems losing weight or which may cause weight gain, which is great, but many topics are just not discussed at all and some of the testing information may be outdated. For a broader view of this topic and finding out what could be causing health issues I would recommend Detoxify or Die by Dr Sherry Rogers. This book also contains good info on testing nutrient levels.

On the topic of diet, this book is still very good, but books such as Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats give more detail and references.

This book is still miles better than a vast number of unhelpful low-calorie and anti-fat books out there though, for sure.

Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine: Improving Health and Longevity with Native Nutrition by Ronald F. Schmid

For anyone that knows the basics about the nutrition research of Weston A. Price and wants to learn a little more, this book is a good choice. It is also a good choice for those that are new to his very important work and does a good job of summarising all the major points.

Dr Price researched traditional diets from many peoples around the world. This book is in part a tribute to the work of Dr Price.

Buying this book or Sally Fallon's Eat Fat Lose Fat (which also gives a great short summary of Price's work) is probably a better option than buying Price's huge textbook Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. They are both a much easier read and give you all the practical information you need, although of course some very dedicated people will want to read the huge textbook too.

There is lots to like in this book. As well as the excellent summary of Price's work (complete with lots of shocking photographs of teeth and facial structure, taken from Price's book) this book is also just full of useful information, observations and advice.

The author makes an important point when he says that only a reasonably healthy attitude towards life can maintain the discipline needed to follow a healthy diet (with some exceptions). Parts of the book discuss spiritual aspects of health and that true health encompasses good physical and psychological health, but this is never done in a sanctimonious or preachy way, which I appreciated. The author just provides some food for thought on the topic.

Reading about how Eskimos got vitamin C through eating meats such as adrenal glands was interesting, as was the information on how knowing about the most nutrient dense foods was seen as immensely valuable in traditional cultures, why vegan diets can be so dangerous for your health and on people living to 120 years old or more on traditional diets up to the 1930s.

The author writes that that some people do best avoiding raw fruits and vegetables until significant healing has taken place and gut health is good. This is wonderful to read! (People that advise ill people to eat lots of raw vegetables and fruit take note! Raw fruit and vegetables are much harder to digest than cooked ones, and this is particularly true if you are ill and have gut issues). The 'raw is always best' myth has to die, it is just not true and can cause real harm to ill people who need all the digestive help they can get in order to heal. The author says that raw and lightly cooked foods should not be forced.

The book also contains critiques and comments on several diets including the Macrobiotics diet, Pritikin, Atkins, and Gerson. There is also a good explanation of how the death rates of people living long before us are skewed. The modern diet does not make us live longer on average as is so often claimed, and many lived to old age (and a very healthy old age too!) eating traditional foods.

This book has some interesting information on healing. It explains that to treat disease liberal amounts of liver, brain, tripe, pancreas, kidney as well as other meats and seafood are helpful, and these meats should be served as lightly cooked as is palatable. Dr Gerson used to give his patients 240g of juiced calf liver, three times a day. Today dessicated liver capsules can replace this 'tasty' drink, thankfully!

(Good news for those of us who just can't eat or drink any type of liver. You can also buy good quality heart and brain capsules. I take all three as part of my healing regime. They are good stuff.)

The author explains that the meat and produce we buy must be of a high quality, and why this is so important - particularly when it comes to meats. (Grain-fed beef is not good for you!) The book contains a massive amount of information on which types of meat and fish are best and why.  Green juices and carrot juices are recommended as are raw dairy products.

The information on vitamin C in this book is not up to the standard of the rest of the book unfortunately and should be completely ignored, as should his falling for the nonsense about saturated fat causing heart disease. Aside from those issues a and the fact that small parts of it are a little dated (such as sources for various meats etc.), this is a really solid book on nutrition and beginning to heal. Just add a bit more saturated fat, as our ancestors did!

If I had to choose between this book, Sally Fallon's Eat Fat Lose Fat, or the wonderful Primal Body Primal Mind (which also contains information about diet in the WAP vein, plus good information on basic supplementation and why many of us do better with dairy and grain-free diets) I would pick the latter, followed closely by Fallon's book, but this is still a very solid read and has a small amount of unique and worthwhile content as well. So I am glad I bought it even though I did already own those other two books, and others.

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 writing style of the book is engaging and finds that perfect balance between being too complex and dumbing things down too much. The book is very easy to read and very genuine and I came away from this book liking the author a lot.

The author has done a great job with this book and the diet he 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. Food really is medicine as the author says. Eating traditional foods and the food that our bodies have evolved to do best on just makes so much sense.

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.

 

Transfats: The Killer In The Kitchen

This book states clearly and convincingly that trans fats are lethal, and should be avoided by anyone concerned about their health. The evidence against trans fats is overwhelming and well documented and we ignore it to our own detriment.

 

This book explains:

 

1. Some fast food meals are up to 40% trans fats!

 

2. The Danish government banned trans fats and rates of heart disease dropped dramatically.

 

3. Trans fats contribute to allergies, inflammation, heart disease and obesity, and many other health conditions.

 

4. Trans fats are unnatural fats. When we consume trans fats our bodies are unable to synthesise them properly and so abnormal cells are formed.

 

4. There is no safe level of trans fats. Even small amounts can have dramatic effects and the lebel 'trans fat free' is allowed to be put on foods that have low levels of trans fats and so is unhelpful and unreliable. Avoid all products which contain hydrogenated oils.

 

(I knew trans fats were to be avoided but I didn't know that they were sometimes included in nutrient capsules and tablets, which was shocking.)

 

5. If trans fat were to be banned in the US, it is estimated that 275 US lives would be saved each day.

 

This book says that trans fats are 10 x more dangerous than saturated fats, which is a statement I do not agree with. This book also wrongly claims that high saturated fat intake causes heart disease (and that a low fat diet is best, and that low fat or fat free products such as dairy foods are healthy choices). Saturated fats are actually good for you, and essential to good health and the lipid hypothesis is WRONG, as lipid expert Mary Enig Phd explains in her book Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol.

 

The book also promotes heavily processed foods such as breakfast cereals as healthy choices. Trans fat free margarine is recommended as a healthy choice too!

 

Overall this book is wonderful at warning of the dangers of trans fats, but sadly does a much poorer job of talking about which foods we should eat in a healthy diet. It is very influenced by the agriculture board and the food pyramid, unfortunately.

 

The diet information given in this book is of a poor quality and should be ignored in favour of books such as Mary Enig's plus Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food or Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life and other similar books.

 

But if you aren't sure what damage trans fats are really doing to you and why you should give up certain convenience foods, this book might be the one for you. It makes an extremely compelling case for us all to avoid trans fats completely and the author does a great job of explaining the problem with trans fats.

Real Food Has Curves: How to Get Off Processed Food, Lose Weight, and Love What You Eat by Bruce Weinstein

This book was much better than I expected and wasn't all just a rehash of the things we all already know about avoiding processed foods.

It shows you why eating real food is not difficult, and is certainly not a sacrifice and why the things you make using real ingredients will taste so much better and be far more satisfying. When your food is more satisfying, you'll eat less, the authors explain.

The book is also full of simple recipes, and lots of basic information abvout which oils to use and how to choose the best produce, how to avoid fake-foods full of chemicals and so on. The listing of foods into categories of real food, almost real food, barely real food and not real food was an excellent idea.

My only criticism is that the authors are still slightly tainted by the 'low-fat' and 'low-calorie' paradigm, which is unfortunate. (Low fat or no-fat milk or yogurt is not as good for you or as satisfying as full fat, and is full of awful milk powders. Cutting meat portions right down and adding more potatoes is also unlikely to be as satisfying, and there are imnportant nutrients to be gotten form meat as well.) Overall though I was happily surprised by how little these very popular but wrong ideas made an appearance, especially considering the authors' ties to Weight Watchers.

The book also avoids issues of food intolerance and other health related dietary restrictions, but then that is beyond what this book is trying to do - this book is more a starting point on the healthy diet path. It does one thing well, which is fair enough.

The authors clearly have a real passion for the topic but are not in the least annoyingly preachy.

If you're stuck in a processed food rut and lack the knowledge or even the motivation to change your ways this book could be just what you need.

Hidden Food Allergies by Patrick Holford

This book provides good information about how prevalent hidden food allergies are and how to identify them in order to improve your overall health.

This book explains that:

- The major cause of IgG allergies is a leaky gut
- Your immune system can unlearn IgG food allergies
- Once you've had the food allergy tests done, avoid those foods for 3 - 6 months
- To help heal the gut, the following can be helpful: Vitamin A, the B vitamins, zinc, selenium, glutamine and enzymes
- Butyric/caprylic acid can help heal the gut wall
- Once you've avoided problematic foods for 3 months, add them back slowly and use a 4 day rotation diet
- Trial new foods for 3 days
- Trial one new food a week and no more

For information on how to heal a leaky gut I would recommend the book
No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days--Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Most or even all of the information in this book, and information on many other health topics besides, is also contained in Patrick Holford's other book
The New Optimum Nutrition Bible and so that book may be a better value choice than this one, depending on your needs.

Healing Foods: Cooking for Celiacs, Colitis, Crohn's and IBS by Elephant Publishing

The photography was beautifully done, and great images really do make you excited about cooking and eating the food.

The introductory text was also very well done, as was the weekly and monthly shopping and cooking plan pages. These pages would be especially useful if you are running a SCD household for a family, I imagine. The book is intelligently written and well put together.

As someone with allergies to eggs and dairy, and that can only eat eggs on a rotation basis, the vast majority of the recipes were off limits to me. I also need to avoid nightshades and at least a dozen other things (very high sugar recipes, almonds, peanuts, raw veggies and fruit, pumpkin, peas, etc.). I wished so much I could eat the 24 hour SCD yogurt and eat lots of the recipes in this book, as I was reading it.

I have written down the instructions for about half a dozen recipes though that I am excited about, but they are almost all desserts. (Not that there is anything wrong with that!)

Just wanted to put that comment out there for those with dairy and eggs issues, as the vast majority of recipes contain one or the other or more commonly, both.

(I'm still in the very early stages of working out fully trialling and evaluating the diet, mostly due to my allergy issues and inability to have the all-important yogurt. Nut milks are just not the same, and so hard to make. Trying coconut kefir is next on my list. Much of it is how I have been eating anyway, and so makes a lot of sense to me but I am still working out all the finer details and how to get around all the super allergenic foods that to some extent are at the core of it.)

This book is great if you are able to eat all the things on the specific carb diet and I highly recommend it, and of course the book that explains the diet
Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet.

If you have lots of annoying allergies and intolerances like some of us do, you may be better off checking out a copy from your library first and giving it a good look over before buying your own copy. That is what I did. If my allergies improve in the future I'll definitely keep buying this book in mind!

Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill: The Complete Guide to Fats, Oils, Cholesterol and Human Health by Udo Erasmus

This book provides a good overview of the different types of fats and oils there are and how much of each of them we should be eating and which fats we need to avoid. In short, we need to eat lots of different types of natural fats and avoid heavily and carelessly processed fats and oils and unnatural trans fats.

This book is a good place to start in learning more about fats and oils.

The author explains:
- An oil is not just healthy or unhealthy, how old it is and how it has been processed and how it is packaged matters. Oils should not be exposed to lots of heat and light in processing and should be sold in dark glass bottles (brown bottles are better than green, and oils sold in clear bottles should be avoided.)
- How to choose the best oils and fats at your local supermarket. This book is not a sales pitch for the author's excellent 'Udo's oil' product and in fact the author also recommends getting lots of your daily fat intake from fresh (and/or freshly ground) seeds and nuts rather than any of the oils you buy in bottles.
- The term 'cold pressed' is meaningless. It just means that heat wasn't applied while the seeds or fruits were being pressed. Look for oils which say that they are unprocessed. Unrefined and mechanically pressed oils are best.
- When buying olive oil all you need to look for are the words 'extra virgin' and possibly organic.
- Freezing oils is okay.
- We have come to believe that oils should be tasteless, but properly pressed oils should be full of flavour.
- Never heat oils above 160 degrees C and 320 degrees F. Do not heat expeller pressed oils at all and only use them to dress cooked foods.
- We need to eat omega 3 and 6 oils in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio.
- Don't buy ground flaxseeds. Grind your own but always consume them no more than 15 minutes after grinding.

The author of FTHFTK is quite opinionated and believes that animal foods are not really all that good for you. There is an anti-animal foods and animal fats bias that unfortunately runs all through every part of this book. There is also a huge bias against saturated fat and cholesterol containing foods which is also not backed by science. This seems to stem mostly from a vegetarian bias. I feel this unscientifically supported personal bias lets the otherwise very high quality of this book down a bit. These problematic biases are NOT supported in Mary Enig's book, which is one of several reasons why it is superior. Mary Enig also presents more solid information on canola oil and soy oil and why these are not healthy choices.

Erasmus actually lists soy oil as one of the healthiest oils you can possibly eat, it is listed third in a list of healing oils while eggs and and even fresh pressed oils are listed roughly 13 and 11 places down respectively. A list that places eggs at the bottom and not far above foods like margarine just has to be at least a bit 'off.' Instead of just stating the obvious fact that butter is better for you than trans fat filled margarine, the author goes through them point by point!

There is probably also a too big bias towards flax and hemp oil in this book, with the author even claiming that such oils are far better than fish oils for their EPA and DHA content which just doesn't tally with other experts on this issue. (This claim is commonly made by those with a strong vegetarian bias, but not by those that have no bias either way.)

Coconut oil, one of the healthiest oils there is, is barely mentioned in this book. It is not really recommended by this book either, but perhaps this is due to the age of the book and the fact that most coconut oil products were hydrogenated at the time the book came out? This seems at least a possibility. (Or it may be further evidence of the author's bias against saturated fats.)

Erasmus's stance is contradictory on some issues such as the link between cholesterol levels and their impact on health. In one chapter he says that in the future cholesterol level blood test may be seen as very unimportant, and that today the importance of this test is vastly overstated and is just a big health fad. But at the same time how eating each oil affects cholesterol levels is mentioned again and again in the book, which sends a message that cholesterol levels are one of or even the most important issue when looking at dietary fats. The author could be a LOT clearer than he is on why the dietary saturated fat and cholesterol = heart disease hypothesis is wrong. Cholesterol levels are talked about endlessly in this book. Saturated fats are not 'sticky' and your body needs saturated fats and cholesterol to be healthy!

The author also claims that a grain based diet and a diet made up of almost 70% carbohydrate calories is a good choice for maintaining a healthy weight and treating obesity (again see
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) for information on why this isn't true), that female gender protects against heart disease and that saturated fat intake is linked with cancer and raises cholesterol levels as well (see The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It and Fat: It's Not What You Think for the facts on this) and that 15 - 25 % of calories from fat is an adequate amount for us all - which many authors (such as Mary Enig and Sally Fallon) would strongly disagree with.

(Erasmus's website now states that fat intake of between 15 - 60% is probably ideal, which is interesting.)

If you're very interested in this subject you can get an even more well-rounded fats and oils education by reading this book along with Gary Taubes' book
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) and of course Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol by Mary Enig plus perhaps also Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and The Coconut Oil Miracle (Previously published as The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil).

Udo Erasmus's book is of a high quality but if I had to choose between this book and Mary Enig's book then I have to say that
Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol would win hands down. Mary Enig has a Phd in lipid (fat) chemistry and Erasmus does not.

Erasmus's book is also almost 20 years old.

Having said that, the significant amount of information that Erasmus's book also contains on the causes of disease such as poor nutrition levels and overburdened detoxification systems and how what matters is the cause of a disease rather than its labels is very well done. The section on health vs. political and financial interests is also very good. This part of the book contains such important information that many readers may learn a lot from and may not read in many other health books.

It is for this reason that I give this book four stars overall (on Amazon). Three for the information on fats and oils and an extra star for the bonus health information it so passionately imparts on nutrition and detoxification and their role in disease prevention and treatment.

Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko and A. William Menzin M.D.

What I liked about this book was the concept of making green drinks - giving you a choice in-between just eating greens as they are and juicing them.

I found this idea useful and have adapted some of the recipes in the book for use in my daily diet, as although I'm a big fan of green juices, you do need some fibre each day as well and just chewing mountains of spinach gets a bit much after a while.

Juicing vegetables is best as it means you absorb far more nutrients from them than when you're just blending them, and juiced vegetables (and cooked vegetables) are hugely easier to digest than merely blended up ones, but whizzed up veggies can be very tasty as well.

(My favourite veggie side dish is a recipe I made up that has huge cooked bunches of spinach in, lemon juice, an avocado, some unrefined sea salt and a good drizzle of olive oil - all whizzed up in the food processor - just delicious!)

I would have felt very ill and hypoglycemic eating the 4 serves of fruit in many of the smoothie recipes in this book, they were beyond sugary. But you can easily adapt the recipes to have more greens and less fruit in them.

If people come away from this book determined to add more greens to their diet then that is wonderful. I wish this book had stopped just at making this very important point.

I hope the very extreme vegan diet the author follows doesn't catch on in the same way. To advocate and follow a diet with little or no salt in it, and very little fat, that is made up of 80% green smoothies plus some flax crackers, fruit, salads and occasional nuts is not just very unhealthy but dangerous.

We need decent amounts of healthy fats to live, probably at least 30% of our daily calories. We also need salt to live, and all the minerals in unrefined sea salt are a good addition to the diet and not unhealthy at all. What is healthy for a chimp is NOT what is healthy for a human! We are evolved to need for more protein and fat and to need animal products. We have evolved in different ways to chimps and have different digestive systems and so on.

For more information on the diet we are evolved to eat, see 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat' or the Weston A. Price Foundation website. This site explains that no traditional cultures were totally vegan.

The books 'Know Your Fats' and 'Deep Nutrition' explain why we need good fats to live and to be healthy and the problems that can be caused by poor quality fats in the diet or insufficient fats.

The book 'Deep Nutrition' explains how a vegan diet may make a small minority of people feel okay in the here and now, but this could be due in large part to the healthier non-vegan diet followed by your parents and grandparents, and why eating a strict vegan diet very low in protein and fat could be very detrimental to your offspring and their offspring, as your genes need real food.

The book 'Catching Fire' explains why cooking food and eating meat and eggs made us who we are and why cooked veggies are easier to digest than raw ones.

I realise that if I wrote up my own diet here, or just about any of us did, it would be very easy to criticise by each of those groups with different beliefs, but this really was an extreme diet plan that goes against a lot of good science and really isn't ideal or healthy or even safe for lots of us, at the very least.

Each to their own, truly, but I just wanted to put a warning out there for anyone being pressured to eat all raw and all vegan and feeling terrible while doing it. I hope the author remains in good health on this diet too. I couldn't help but worry about her health as I read this book. Her writing style was engaging and it was hard not to like her by the end of the book.

Dangerous Grains by James Braly, Ron Hoggan

This book explains that humans have consumed grains for less than 0.5% of their history and that:

 

1. Many of us are not suited to eating grains at all and probably very few or none of us is suited to eating a diet that contains huge amounts of grains. We have been eating meat and fruit and vegetables for 2.5 million years and grains for only 12 thousand years.

 

2. Even if you don't notice immediate effects from eating grains, they could still be silently and slowly causing you harm. The first noticeable problem caused by gluten sensitivity may be cancer. Gluten is a poison.

 

3. The intestinal biopsy is considered the gold standard test but this test may be normal in some patients that do have in fact problems with gluten. The most sensitive test is tTg and others include EMA and AGA (which tests for IgG and IgA). When the biopsy is abnormal this means you have an advanced problem, and finding the problem before it becomes advanced is far better for the patient.

 

4. Rice and corn don't contain gluten but can cause their own problems.

 

5. Gluten is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE! Many of us feel a strong compulsion to eat it. Gluten grains and dairy have morphine-like properties and this accounts at least in part for why these foods are often seen as 'comfort foods.' Craving grains is a sign you may have a problem with them and may need to avoid them.

 

6. Desensitisation to gluten is not appropriate and gluten must be avoided if a sensitivity exists.

 

7. Grains contain several psychoactive substances and anti-nutrients aside form gluten and can damage the human intestinal wall. (Soaking or fermenting grains before eating them can inactivate some of these, however, it should be noted.)

 

8. If your diet is gluten free, the only way to test for gluten sensitivity is rectally.

 

9. Gluten problem can cause a floating fatty stool, diarrhoea, wheezing, depression, and a chronically low BP of 90/60. More at risk groups include those with Downs syndrome and thyroid problems.

 

10. Celiac or Coeliac disease is only one type of gluten sensitivity, there are several others such as latent/silent gluten sensitivity and non-Coeliac gluten sensitivity. 15% of the population has some immune response to gluten. Gluten-induced neurological damage can be irreversible. Gluten can cause white matter brain lesions.

 

The author recommends avoiding gluten grains and dairy, having food allergy tests and gastric analysis and a comprehensive nutritional program including nutrients given by IV when stomach problems are severe.

 

This is excellent advice and is part of what I have been doing to treat my own illness. I crave grains intensely, but do far better avoiding them entirely and following a Paleolithic diet which also contains lots of nutrient dense foods such as bone broths, coconut oil, raw cultured vegetables, kefir and liver.

 

Going grain free for a while wont hurt anyone and might really help lots of us and is at least worth serious consideration by those of us that are seriously ill.

 

This book, or one like it, is essential reading for anyone battling a serious disease, or that has any type of gut problem and probably worthwhile reading for everyone. This book is very easy to read, well referenced, well put together and a credit to the authors. I would recommend it.

 

The only downside is that as this book is around 10 years old, the information on testing will not be as up-to-date as it could be and so looking online for information about newer tests is probably a good idea after reading this book.

The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Foods You Were Designed to Eat by L Cordain

I'm a big supporter of the Paleo diet concept and the idea that we need to eat the traditional foods our genes need to be healthy.

This book claims to be the last word in explaining what our ancestors ate, and to not be just another book full of fads, but it is seriously flawed. The author seems to be trying to merge information on what the caveman diet consisted of with as many modern food fads as possible. He is particularly ignorant about healthy fats and oils.

The book is also not very convincing in the way it explains the scientific basis for the Paleo diet.

I disagree with the authors very-low salt stance and would advise them to read about unrefined sea salt and the work of Dr Brownstein on the many myths about salt and low-salt diet scaremongering, and the cholesterol scaremongering as well. The author has also been grossly misinformed about saturated fats. You should probably ignore what the author says about fats and oils in this book, as most of it is just plain wrong.

Liquid vegetable oils did not exist in paleolithic times and cooking with flax oil is very unhealthy! Saturated fats are also an important part of a healthy diet, and eating eggs does NOT raise your cholesterol levels. The 'very high' cholesterol levels mentioned in the book of 208 are also not high at all, and well within the healthy range of 200 - 240 according to lipid expert Mary Enig PhD.

The healthiest oils to cook with are ghee (unless you're 100% dairy free), lard, tallow, coconut and palm oils and olive oil. Oils should never be heated to very high temperatures such as in deep frying. These are the traditional fats to cook with, not flax oil!

The book is also very inconsistent and vague when it comes to talking about supplements. The recommendation given for vitamin C is very low and only the alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E is recommended rather than a supplement containing all 8 forms. It is also not a good idea to take only a few supplements in larger doses as this creates imbalances, and a general basic supplementation regime is a much healthier option.

The book also claims 'protein can't be overeaten' which is just not true as excessive protein intake stresses the liver. Far healthier than a very high protein eating plan is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb eating plan as described in the books on traditional eating listed below. Our ancestors ate a lot of fat and a lot of it was saturated. Saturated fat offers many benefits to the body.

The author is also wrong about the 'calories in, calories out' theory of weight loss. The book 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' by Gary Taubes 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. Dietary fat, including saturated fat, is not a cause of obesity. Refined and easily digestible carbs causing high insulin levels cause obesity.


The book 'Know Your Fats' by lipid expert Mary Enig PhD explains the facts about fats and oils and why the saturated fat = heart disease hypothesis is wrong. See also books such as
Ignore the awkward! How the cholesterol myths are kept alive.

The book '
The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) is a far better book on the Paleolithic diet.

The book 'Deep Nutrition' offers a far more well researched and credible discussion of traditional foods and how they affect our genes. This book provides a wealth of fascinating and compelling information that is not available for free online. This book and 'Know Your Fats' and 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' are essential reading.

The Paleo approach generally is very solid, but not as it is interpreted in this book. This book contains an okay quality 3 star version of the diet - far better than the standard diet full of refined foods and grains but missing out lots of good information as well. This is not the last word on diet, but a book which is quite faddish in its approach overall.

Salt your way to health by Dr Brownstein

The author of this book explains how the 'salt is bad for you and must be severely minimised or else cause high blood pressure etc. etc.' myths came into being. I was shocked at how shonky the science that supposedly proved salt was so bad, really was (and is).

To be clear, salt is very bad for you, if you're talking about table salt.

However, unrefined salt is an entirely different substance and is essential to good health, in the appropriate amount (and also makes your food taste MUCH better as we are designed to want a bit of salt in our food!) This book also explains how very low salt diets cause their own problems and how eating table salt uses up valuable mineral stores in the body, making table salt an antinutrient.

The author explains how he has improved the health of many patients with high blood pressure as well as many other ailments, with unrefined salt and all the micro-minerals it contains (along with a comprehensive and individualised nutritional medicine program).

Unrefined salt is not a miracle cure, just another part of giving your body all the tools it needs to heal itself as much as possible. We need those 80 trace elements in unrefined salt! They do all sorts of important tasks in the body.

This book is very short and simple to read, although it is somewhat annoyingly repetitive. For those that can't afford the book, a summary of its main points is simple;Drink two litres of water every day and add 0.5 to 1 teaspoon of unrefined salt to your diet (or your water) each day. That's it!

Incidentally, many products labeled 'sea salt' are just plain old table salt. Unrefined salt is NEVER white. It is often off-white or light brown, grey or pink and is slightly moist. It should also contain 80 trace minerals. (Look for Celtic sea salt, or similar.)

Don't believe the salt scaremongers! Read this book!

See also the HFME paper: Unrefined sea salt and M.E.

Iodine: Why your body needs it and why you can't live without it by Dr Brownstein

The message of this book is so important, particularly for anyone suffering with a serious illness. The book goes into a lot of detail but all you really need to know is that:

1. Iodine is very important in the body and is essential for health.

2. Many of us are low in iodine, and the small amounts in multivitamins or iodised salt are not nearly enough.

4. If you have a serious illness, GET AN IODINE TEST! It's an easy urine test that can be done at home, and costs around $100

3. Despite some scaremongering, iodine is safe to take in doses over 1 mg although iodine levels should always be tested before iodine is given at higher doses and iodine supplement levels should be raised slowly where the patient is sensitive to the effects of detoxing.

 

The book is worth reading if you're able to get or borrow a copy, but all you really need to do is to have a test done and see what your iodine levels are like and go from there.

Books on Coconut Oil

The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife

I'm so annoyed I didn't come to the idea of using coconut cream and coconut oil as replacements for dairy products sooner!

I wish so much I had. The coconut ice creams and hot chocolates and other dishes I have been making since reading this book, and others like it, are just delicious and so good for you as well. I've been going a bit coconut crazy I have to admit!

This book is just excellent. If you aren't convinced that eating coconut oil, with its high level of HEALTHY saturated fat is good for you and wont make you gain weight, then I highly recommend either this book or 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat.'

(The other coconut books I have read also had far better recipe sections than this one - the recipes in this book were its low point.)

Don't believe the hype, extra virgin coconut oil is one of the healthiest foods you could ever eat, and it also has an anti-viral effect which is beneficial for those of us battling chronic illnesses and makes a great moisturiser as well. 



Coconut Oil by Gursche

Short and easy to read and to the point. This book contains a summary of everything you need to know about coconut oil including dosages, effects and even some recipes. I really appreciated the abbreviated format and I'm definitely going to be adding more coconut oil to my diet.

I'm not sure I'll get to the three tablespoon a day level though!

The Choice is Clear by Allen E. Banik

This book played a significant role in me choosing to buy a water distiller. (I was sent a free copy when I bought a juicer, so I sort of stumbled into the idea of buying a distiller by accident.)

It presents some compelling arguments for why distilled water is the best water and why high mineral water can be so bad for you.

Contrary to what some groups and websites claim, the distilled water made by my machine tastes wonderful! Just like you'd expect very pure water to taste. The nonsense about distilled water being 'dead' and tasting 'dead' is pure propaganda which seems to originate from those selling less effective water filters.

This is a short little book, more of a booklet really, and it is also very old, but I'm glad I read it and would recommend it to others.

I'd also highly recommend buying a water distiller to anyone that is ill, or that wants to remain well. They are the best type of water purifier in my opinion. (Although reverse osmosis units can be very nearly as good, as the book explains, if well maintained.)

Every time I look at the large amount of horrible and incredibly nasty and smelly white and brown gunk left on the bottom of my water distiller after a few uses I'm so glad that stuff isn't going into my body anymore. I'm so glad I'm not taking in all that toxic fluoride now as well. That just has to improve your health!

My cats seem to prefer the distilled water as well, and drink more of it.

The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements by Sarah Wernick

There is no doubt that probiotics are an essential part of any recovery plan from any serious disease involving poor gut function. The research on this is clear and you only have to try them yourself for a while if you're ill to see the huge benefits.

This book talks a bit about probiotic yeasts, sauerkraut and other cultured vegetables, kefir and yogurt as well as probiotic supplements, which is wonderful.

I was happy to see this book talk specifically about the very strong probiotic VSL#3 (the product I use myself) and also to recommend actual well-known brands such as Culturelle, Florastor, Jarrow-dophilus and others.

Clear guidelines are also given for dosages. For healthy people food based probiotics may be enough or 3-5 billion daily, for pregnant women or to improve health 6-10 billion, for a medical problem 20 - 30 billion and for those with severe illnesses 1 - 2 VSL#3 daily (450 - 900 billion!).

Unfortunately this book unfairly demonises animal fat and saturated fat consumption and meat consumption, promotes soy products such as yogurt and even soy oil (!) as healthy and claims that a diet high in whole grains is ideal and very healthy and over-hypes the benefits of fibre. This last is problematic as many of us with gut issues do better on a LOWER fibre diet in fact, as the GAPS book listed below explains. This book also seemed to be hugely enthusiastic about probiotics being added to junk foods like crisps and breakfast cereals in the future.

The plus of a book just about probiotics is that you get a lot more in-depth information than in books with a wider scope. The downside is that issue of every problem looking like a nail just because the author is a hammer expert! Probiotics are great and may be very helpful as a preventative but if you have serious issues probiotics alone just can't do it all on their own though they are one essential part of the puzzle.

To get the best advice you really need to read this book together with a really good comprehensive gut healing program book if you are very ill and have significant gut issues. Books which combine information on probiotics with equally important recommendations for digestive enzymes, betaine HCl, and so on along with other dietary guidelines not related to probiotics.

The best two I know of are Gut and Psychology Syndrome and No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days--Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Overall this book provides good basic information on probiotics and makes a great introduction to this topic for readers new to the topic.

 

Good Gut Bugs: How the Healing Powers of Probiotics Can Transform Your Health

It is a fact that probiotics are an essential part of any recovery plan from any serious disease involving poor gut function. The research on this is clear and you only have to try them yourself for a while if you're ill to see the huge benefits.

Some of the good parts of this book include that it advises against eating wheat and processed milk, to avoid low-fat products and letting your oil smoke when you're cooking, and advises buying only organic eggs. It also advises avoiding triclosan and unnecessary antibiotics and favourably mentions probiotics foods as well as probiotic supplements.

The book also states up front that probiotics are helpful but not a 'magic bullet' and that such overhyped claims are based on marketing and not science, which is great to read.

Overall the book was pretty good but I lost a lot of respect for the intelligence and nous for the author when I saw they had made mention of the term 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' in the text and then put in brackets next to it, 'M.E.' It really shouldn't take anyone older than 8 to know that the term Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, a term which refers to a specific disease which causes a particular type of measurable brain injury, isn't the correct abbrevaition for 'Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' - a syndrome where you need to only be fatigued and have a few other common symptoms to qualify - and that these are not synonymous terms. It is a common error, but still a maddeningly illogical and harmful one.

The plus of a book just about probiotics is that you get a lot more in-depth information than in books with a wider scope. The downside is that issue of to some extent every problem looking like a nail just because the author is a hammer expert. Probiotics are great and may be very helpful as a preventative but if you have serious issues probiotics alone just can't do it all on their own though they are one essential part of the puzzle.

To get the best advice you really need to read this book together with a really good comprehensive gut healing program book if you are very ill and have significant gut issues. Books which combine information on probiotics with equally important recommendations for digestive enzymes, betaine HCl, and so on along with other dietary guidelines not related to probiotics.

The best two I know of are Gut and Psychology Syndrome and No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days--Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders.

Between the book 'The Probiotics Revolution' and this one I'd choose the former, though this book was mostly quite good.

Allergies: Fight Them with the Blood Type Diet and Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Diet Solution to Staying Healthy, Living Longer & Achieving Your Ideal Weight by Peter J. D'Adamo and Catherine Whitney

Some of the concepts in this book are not fully scientifically supportable, but the diet may still make lots and lots of people feel a whole lot better and attain a much greater level of health! These two things are not mutually exclusive.

Reasons the claims made about the scientific merit of the exact food lists provided for each blood type are unconvincing (on the whole) to me include:

1. I have read more than half a dozen detailed and methodical explanations of why the scientific concepts in the 'Blood Type' books are based on sketchy and incomplete science. While some of the theory makes sense, they found holes in the theory and the way the food lists have been compiled big enough to drive buses through. These were not in books which deny the validity of anything that is not 'mainstream' - quite the opposite in fact. These were by some of the best health and nutrition authors around. Their arguments were very compelling (although I don't have the time to go into them here). There are also numerous articles online that contain this information which you can find by Googling. The general consensus is that the author has part of his theory right, but the way it is being presented as a complete theory with all questions answered is not correct.

2. Even if it's true that our blood type has an enormous amount to do with what we should eat, the concept of biochemical individuality would still mean that there would be just as many differences between what people with the same blood type would eat, as similarities. People are remarkably individual on a biochemical level as the book
Biochemical Individuality explains.

3. Family members with the same blood type often do well on very different diets. This illustrates the above principle, and also the concept that different diets suit you at different times of your life in response to all sorts of bodily changes, disease processes and so on.

3. The topic of this diet comes up now and then in chat groups and I have only very rarely heard it discussed favourably - perhaps by a single person? Most say very clearly that it didn't help them and was a waste of time and effort.

The book
The Body Ecology Diet: Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity explains that the blood type diet books provide valuable clues about which foods may suit us best, but that it should be considered a theory still in development. The author points out that:

- The research has not been adapted for those with Candida issues, acidic conditions or other serious immune disorders.
- The blood type diet does not emphasise the importance of eating cultured foods. For example, type Os are advised to cut out brassica vegetables such as cabbage entirely as they affect thyroid function. This may make the diet needlessly limited. But all that is needed is for these foods to be cultured, and they pose no problem! (That is a MASSIVE MASSIVE oversight for those of us with already very limited diets!)
- No protein guide is given for vegetarian type Os and Bs.
- Food combining is ignored.
- All blood types are advised to avoid apple cider vinegar, which is highly medicinal, aids digestion and is alkalising.
- Food preparation methods are not discussed which can make some foods well tolerated. (Soaked almonds and cabbage made into sauerkraut are very different to raw or roasted almonds and plain cabbage, for example.)
- Lots of foods that feed yeast are recommended on the diet.
- Unfermented soy is recommended, despite the fact this is difficult to digest and unhealthy.
- Dairy is given undue importance and over recommended.
- Wheat may cause problems for all blood types yet it is recommended on this diet for some blood types.
- The blood type diet advises avoiding coconut oil, and supports many of the myths surrounding this excellent food as explained in
Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol.
- No distinction is made between refined and unrefined oils.
- Many of the fruits and vegetables on the allowed lists and the avoid lists for each blood type do not seem to tally with the author's experience with patients and for the most part, all the blood types do well eating the same fruits and vegetables (with the exception of tomatoes).

But this blood type diet book can still improve your health possibly, because:

1. It advises cutting out junk food.

2. It advises choosing higher quality *organic* vegetables, fruit and meats and eggs.

3. It advises upping your vegetable intake.

4. It advises lots of people to cut out foods such as dairy, grains and legumes - which are some of the most common food allergens, which most people have no idea they are allergic to. The lectins in grains and legumes also cause a lot of problems for many people.

5. It advises lots of people to cut out foods such as grains and legumes - which are very high carbohydrate. This will lead to easy weight loss for lots of people.

Considering these 5 factors alone, almost anyone would benefit from going on this diet. These are 5 pieces of simply excellent advice! But you would also get many of the same benefits from following any healthy whole food eating plan or at least any which avoided recommending grain and legume consumption, as all the Paleo diet books do.

If you do have allergies or a problem dealing with carbohydrates, or a need for lots of fat and protein in your diet, you better hope you are a type O though. The basics of the type 0 program happen to fit me well by chance (though it doesn't at all fit family members of mine that have the same blood type) but I bet lots of others that aren't Os do poorly eating such a high carb diet so high in grains and legumes! (This must be why the author has revised down the amount of grains it is okay for non-Os to eat, in more recent books.)

The author's belief in the blood type diet concept seems to have escalated to faith, as one reviewer said.

It cannot hurt to try this diet for a short time, probably. But there are far easier ways to go about getting healthy and losing weight that are nowhere near as enormously complicated, or as needlessly restrictive, potentially. You might start with a simple book on nutrition and eating real food such as
Real Food: What to Eat and Why or, if you desire to lose weight as well as improve your health, Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats.

If you suspect that you may have an issue with grains and legumes (and/or want to lose weight while getting healthier), then you might want to read some of the books on the Paleo diet and try this diet for a while. There are lots of good books on this topic including
The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) as well as lots of free information online.

If you suspect you have food allergies you may want to have ELISA testing done, do some pulse testing, go on an elimination diet and then a 4 day rotation diet. You may also want to look into issues surrounding having a 'leaky gut' which is one of the main causes of food allergies. Suspect leaky gut if you have been a heavy user of NSAIDs, aspirin, ibuprofen etc. Books such as
No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days--Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders can be helpful in treating this condition.

To read about the fats we all need you may want to read
Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol and Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food.

All of these books have a solid scientific basis. Eat real food, consider that you may have hidden food allergies and try to find the diet that suits YOU as an individual, I say!

At best this book promotes a very incomplete and flawed theory that only explains one small part of the science of what we should each be eating and why, rather than the whole answer. Unfortunately the issue relies on many other factors in addition to blood type and is far more complicated.

I quite enjoyed finding out what blood type I was finally! I'm an O negative blood type. It always felt weird that I didn't know this.

The three stars in this rating are for the 5 excellent diet tips included in this book, as listed above.

Your Body's Many Cries for Water

This book was an interesting read and is worth reading if your library has a copy.

Maintaining good hydration is an important part of any health program, although other steps are also going to be necessary for almost all of us. Food allergies, high insulin levels from too many refined carbohydrates, chemical exposures and poor nutrient levels in food and many other problems all contribute to disease and must be dealt with in addition to drinking adequate water.

I wasn't at all convinced by the water cure testimonials given.

I must say I'm getting a bit tired of authors who claim that their one small specialty is the cure to everything! The water expert says all we need is water, the vitamin D expert says many diseases are caused by low D (and only recommends very low levels of other nutrient supplements) and the lipid expert says too much omega 6 is the cause of much disease and advocates high levels of omega 3 fats (and only recommends very low levels of other nutrient supplements) and so on!

The truth is that these recommendations all work best together, as part of a complete and balanced nutritional program that doesn't leave anything major out or leave you very low in any important nutrient. There is no one magic bullet. The body needs all the essential components to function well and be healthy and to heal disease. A lack of any of them will cause problems as every nutrient does everything, in the end.

I've been drinking lots of water for years, with extra unrefined sea salt and potassium, magnesium and calcium added to keep electrolytes in balance. I feel worse when I forget to drink my 3 litres or so, absolutely (and worse when I drink too much water too fast as well), and I know my body needs this much water, but this water intake is in no way a cure for my serious disease.

Readers should make sure to stay hydrated, but take the claims that water cures all ills with a grain of salt!

Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System by Patricia Bragg and Paul C. Bragg

The useful information on ACV in this book could be summarised on a single page. All you really need to know is that having a teaspoon or two of unfiltered apple cider vinegar with meals can aid digestion.

I'd read a tiny bit about ACV in a few health books and wanted to know more so I ordered this book from my local library. But in the end I got a lot more information in those brief book mentions of it!

This book is weirdly put together. It is like someone got lots of one and two page advertorials for Bragg ACV products and joined them together to be sold as a book. This isn't even remotely a properly written or researched health book. The book lacks even the most basic information about how ACV works and why. The language used in the book isn't of a professional tone and assumes the reader is not very bright or well read. The information is so poorly laid out and presented, and the content is so sparse and all along you feel you are being sold something.

It is more like a religious type of preaching than a scientific sharing of information. It is very heavy handed. There is also a far bit of actual Christian preaching in the book too.

I also wasn't at all sold on the dietary information in this book either, as I disagree that all of us or even most of us do well on a very high carb diet or a mostly raw diet. It is just not true that raw foods are digested better than cooked ones as the book
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats (among others) explains. Fasting also isn't for everyone and I very much doubt ACV will have any effect at all on your weight.

ACV isn't a cure-all but it is a good product and it can absolutely help digestion. It is essential for me when I eat something that has a significant amount of fat in it; it really helps.

Bragg's makes a quite good ACV product too as far as I am aware. But this book is beyond awful. There are so many other excellent health books out there, I am disappointed my library wasted money on this one.

Instead of buying this 'book' check out real health books such as
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats and Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and Real Food: What to Eat and Why and many others.

Fats Are Good for You: How Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Actually Benefit the Body by Jon J. Kabara

The title of this book is quite misleading.

This is a book on Lauricidin, a monolaurin product derived from coconut oil, that just happens to have a small amount of basic information on why the 'cholesterol hypothesis' is scientifically unsupportable.

The author has a significant vested interest in Lauricidin and does at least make this very clear. Many pages in the text are given over to positive and gushing testimonials for Lauricidin.

Coconut oil has many health promoting properties, and I'm a huge supporter of its inclusion in a healthy diet. Many books I have read have suggested that monolaurin extract can also be useful as an antiviral or an anti-Candida agent in some instances, but I'd recommend reading other less-biased books on this topic before deciding to try it.

It is absolutely something that may be worth looking into if you are ill. But plain old extra virgin coconut oil 1 - 3 tablespoons daily may also be effective in some cases and is far cheaper. For more information on this see articles and books on coconut oil by Bruce Fife and Mary Enig.

Other problems I had with the book included the stange permissive comments about sugar in the diet, about trans fats not being proven to be harmful in a balanced diet (!), the ignorant promotion of fluoride for dental health. The book was also poorly edited.

The two stars is for the solid if brief general information on cholesterol and fats. For more detailed and better referenced information on this topic books such as
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) and Know Your Fats : The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol plus The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It are recommended reading.

I'm glad I got this one from the library rather than buying it. I feel this book should have been given a title that better reflected its content.

The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature's Liquid Gold

Olive oil is very good for you, and it is a good idea to have 1 - 2 tablespoons of it a day along with some of the other good fats.

I can't say I really liked this book though.

First of all, the way it went on about the terrible film 'Under a Tuscan Sun' right at the start made it hard to take anything in it seriously, as did the other bizarre and unnecessary film references.

Worse was the fact the the book supported many of the myths about nutrition. The non-olive-oil nutrition information in this book should be ignored or at least taken with a large grain of salt, although the information on olive oil was quite good.

(Read 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' and then tell me Ancel Keys was a genuis! He was anything but, if you look at how he skewed the research, as that book explains - among many others. Coconut oil IS extremely heart healthy, actually, and a diet made up of 70% carbs is not healthy for most people and could make them very unwell and overweight and eating egg whites and discarding the yolks is just wasteful and nutritionally ignorant. 90 grams of fish is not a big enough serving for many of us and a diet with 25 - 35% fat in it is not enough fat for some people. The list goes on. The fact the author is a vegan, which I didn't know until the end of the book, made a lot of sense considering the inclusion of these carb biased facts and myths!)

The section on the problems with olive oil was very good though, as were the sections on which types of olive oil have the most polyphenols and how to store olive oil. If the book had been shorter, had far less filler and been just about olive oil it would have been a better book.

I can't really recommend this book, unless you can borrow a copy form your library. A far better read on fats is 'Know Your Fats' by Mary Enig and also 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat' by Sally Fallon or any of the articles on fats and oils on the Weston A. Price website. 'Good Calories, Bad Calories' by Gary Taubes is also highly recommended.

Dr. Braly's Food Allergy and Nutrition Revolution by James Braly

The book was written in 1985 and in some parts of this book, that really shows.

If I were reviewing this book closer to when it was written I'd probably give it five stars, but any review of this book in 2011 needs to put the book in the context of what is known today and other books available today.

The information on allergy testing methods, symptoms caused by allergies and common allergenic foods and so on in this book is very solid and quite detailed. But this is much the same advice given in many other books, and many of those books don't have some of the outdated additional information that this book contains and so they are probably far better choices in 2011.

(For example, this book says a total cholesterol level over 180 is unhealthy which is far too low as Taubes and others have explained that cholesterol levels of 200 - 240 are healthy and that low cholesterol levels can cause huge problems; this book again and again pushed the proven to be completely wrong saturated fat/cholesterol = heart disease hypothesis, and recommends we eat much less fat and more grains to be healthy; the dangerously low fat Pritikin diet is recommended as healthy; It is claimed that red meat and dairy products are the villains of the American diet; A diet made up of 60 - 70% of calories is recommended for everyone; A maximum daily intake of salt of 500 - 1000 mg is recommended which is dangerously low and not even close to the minimum recommended by unrefined sea salt experts today of 2300 mg or more; it is recommended that the last meal of the day have no meat in and be made up of all carbs; trans fats and saturated fats are put in the same avoid category with no distinction made between them - eggs are as bad for you as the dangerous and unnatural trans fats supposedly; soy infant formula which is linked with many serious problems is recommended for children with no warnings given at all.)

This book also doesn't address treating a leaky gut, which is the main cause of many food allergies. The introduction to the book is also outdated.

The book does have some good information in on basic supplementation and the use of 90% bowel tolerance vitamin C to help deal with food allergies.

For dealing with food allergies and the leaky gut that is the cause of many food allergies I would instead highly recommend
No More Heartburn: Stop the Pain in 30 Days--Naturally! : The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders by Dr Sherry Rogers.

This was a very good book in its day but outdated today and not a good choice unless you want to borrow a copy from your local library just for the allergy information in it.

Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat by Hank Cardello and Doug Garr

I agree very much with the one-star review written by A. B. Morris on Amazon.

This book is aimed at Americans that have never before read even the most basic information about how supermarkets are designed to make you buy more, and that eat almost entirely or entirely packaged foods and fast foods and...that are not very bright or willing to make any type of changes to the way they eat.

The author shows how out of touch he is with basic healthy nutrition by commenting that the idea of not eating anything with ingredients you can't pronounce is ridiculous and would see you starve to death within a week!

The comments about all healthy food tasting awful were also bizarre. As if all of us hate the taste of all vegetables and fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds and high quality meats no matter how well prepared!

The emphasis in this book is on calories and the evils of fat. Eating too many calories and too much fat makes you fat, the author claims. If that was true just recommending smaller serving sizes of the same old highly processed and sugar-filled junk food might be a helpful initiative. But it isn't true. The old 'calories in and calories out' line isn't true - as the book 'Good Calories, bad Calories' and others have explained.

Eating less (of the same old junk) and moving more isn't helpful advice for overweight people, as sensible as this advice seems. Far more important is what you eat, what nutrients it has in it and how much of what you eat is made up of allergens and refined carbohydrates and sugar (which raise blood sugar and insulin levels).

How can eating smaller portion sizes of sugar-filled cereals possibly work, when eating high-sugar foods leaves you more hungry after you've eaten them than before? It just makes no sense. These types of foods go hand in hand with overeating, as many of us can't stop eating them once we start due to blood sugar peaks and falls and so on.

Sometimes our taste buds may be fooled by fake foods but these foods wont fool our bodies, which need the nutrition from real foods. Chemical sweeteners are NOT a great solution to anything either as they have their own set of problems.

One of the worst parts of the book is the insistence by the author that while trans fats are bad for you, replacing them with saturated fats is no better. This statement is so wrong. Trans fats are unnatural fats that aren't safe for you at any level and which are immensely disease causing and dangerous. Saturated fats are healthy fats contained in many of the foods essential to good health that we need to live! (The claimed link between saturated fat and heart disease is bogus. See 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat' or 'Good Calories. bad Calories' or 'Know Your Fats' for more information.)

Chapters 11 to 13 are just horrible. I couldn't believe what I was reading. Tip Top white bread and McDonald's burgers with omega 3s added to them, and chocolate made with (unhealthy) vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter are not wonderful and healthy win-win solutions!

Although the author does some good points about why food manufacturers are not entirely to blame for health issues caused by poor food choices, the arguments in much of this book were very weak. This book is a scary read!

Sweet Poison: Why Sugar is Making Us Fat by David Gillespie

Yes, sugar is to be avoided as it can negatively affect your health in many ways including making you gain weight, but this book is problematic overall.

The book is full of inaccuracies. It claims the Atkins diet works solely through calorie restriction, when even the Atkins book itself explains that this is a myth and provides studies which show that people can lose weight on such a diet while eating many more calories than others on a high-carb diet. This book supports the myth that high cholesterol levels cause heart disease. (See The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It etc.) The book mentions fluoride as a quick fix for tooth decay. (See Fluoride: Drinking Ourselves to Death? etc.)

The book also supports the calories in, calories out myth. Worst of all, the author actually claims that eating glucose wont make you fat! He recommends pure glucose as a good substitute for sugar and seems to think highly processed starchy products like bread, Rice Bubbles, pancake mix, Corn Flakes and white flour are good choices for a weight loss diet. He also claims these foods wont leave you hungry like foods with fructose in and that all we need to do is switch sugars rather than really reducing them. It is quite bizarre.

Many authors agree that of the two fructose is more harmful than glucose, but to say lots of glucose in the diet doesn't make you feel hungry and contribute to health problems as well as obesity is just not supported by the facts, as many far better researched books have pointed out. These books also explain that eating refined starches has just the same impact on the body as eating sugar as these goods are turned into sugar in the body so quickly.

Far better books than this one which set out a diet that is all about health and disease prevention and treatment as well as just weight management, and are far better researched, and well written include: Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life, The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) and others.

Many of us have got fat eating exactly the foods this book recommends too! There is evidence everywhere that the 'glucose wont make you gain weight' idea is just plain wrong. If it works for the author and some others that is great, but for many of us this is not helpful advice and is incorrect.

I disliked the way the book was written as well, the book was quite corny in parts and felt really dumbed down instead of just simplified for a lay-audience.

What this book does well is point out that eating sugary foods leaves you feeling even hungrier, and that we need to cut down the amount of sugar we are eating even from sources like fruit juice and fruit, and cut out trans fats as well.

If you have a pretty good sugar tolerance and no health issues and are currently eating lots of sugar, the advice in this book may well help you lose weight. But even then this is not a healthy diet as regards nutrient intake. But even if it does help there are so many better books out there which all offer far superior dietary advice.

Highly processed breads, glucose, white flour and nutritionless cereals are not good for you and will make many of us fat.

 

Whitewash: The Disturbing Truth About Cow's Milk and Your Health by Joseph Keon

The good parts of this book include that it points out that commercial milk can cause problems for lots of people's health, that dairy products can have an opiate-like effect and that having lots of calcium in the diet isn't enough to ensure healthy bones.

Unfortunately this book also reinforced lots of equally harmful myths (salt is bad for you and low salt diet are best, soy is a health food, saturated fat causes heart disease and low fat and cholesterol diets are best and 15% fat in the diet may not be low enough, vegan diets are best, and so on.) The book also heavily promotes the flawed China Study and its author Dr T Campbell. Pointing out all the problems with eating dairy but then promoting eating lots of soy - a very heavily processed and unnatural food which causes allergies for a similar amount of people as does milk, just makes no sense to me. This book offers far more bad advice than good, sadly.

From my own reading I am in the 'commercial dairy foods aren't healthy for anyone (or for the mistreated and misfed cows!)' camp, but also the 'good quality raw dairy foods (from pastured cows) made into kefir and yogurt are probably healthy additions to the diet in small amounts for those that can tolerate them' camp.

I do better by far with no dairy or grains at all, but each to their own. (I don't agree that raw milk with all its enzymes removes the problems of poor milk tolerance, as some claim, as this has not been my experience.)

This book does a disservice to readers by assuming that all dairy products are commercially made using milk from unhealthy grain fed cows, and not pointing out that many of their comments just don't apply to good quality raw dairy products. Commercial milk is so far removed from normal old fashioned milk, and it is a highly processed product. Of course such a food isn't healthy! But these issues should be separated form the issues with good quality raw milk itself, surely.

To get some more reliable and better researched information on what to eat, what not to eat and the reasons for and against eating raw milk products or no milk at all I would instead recommend The Untold Story of Milk and even better Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life. This latter book provides a real guide to healthy eating and why it is important to eat the foods we evolved to eat if we want to be healthy. It is superior to this unconvincing and skewed book in every way.

 

Healing Foods - Healthy Foods: Use Superfoods to Help Fight Disease and Maintain a Healthy Body

The first warning sign that this book might be a bit misguided was when I saw that it recommended eating a low fat and high carb diet if you have diabetes.

(Hmmm... It couldn't possibly be the massive increase in the amount of sugar and refined carbs we are eating, could it, that is behind diabetes? That the NEW foods are what is causing these NEW diseases and health problems? And not the old fashioned foods that have kept many generations before us so healthy?)

While parts of this book are good, there are lots of better books out there on the topic of a healthy diet and also weight loss and improvement in blood sugar problems that are science based and just full of useful advice. The first two that come to mind are
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger.

The first book focuses on maintaining good health, and also features a special health building diet for very ill people, as well as a plan to help you lose weight healthily. It also explains that saturated fat and cholesterol are not bad for you and that the lipid hypothesis is not based on science. What we need to do to be healthy is eat real old fashioned food as this is what we are genetically adapted to!

The second book focuses on weight loss and the author explains in detail why high carb diets don't work for those with diabetes etc. and why she can no longer give her patients this bad advice.

Both books basically recommend eating healthy fats and high quality proteins until satiety then adding lots and lots of non-starchy vegetables, plus a small amount of starchy vegetables and fruit - but no more than your body can cope with without you feeling ill or being overweight.

Another excellent book on this topic is
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) by Gary Taubes. This book explains why calories in, calories out doesn't work and is bunkum, and why high carb diets make so many of us fatter. The author of 'Healing Foods, Healthy Foods' also warns about the dangers of coconut oil and saturated fats, seemingly unaware that the ever popular lipid hypothesis is bunkum as Taubes' book explains in extentively researched detail.

Eggs are also not mentioned in this book which is quite bizarre. Eggs are so nutritious and are a core part of many healing plans. Traditional superfoods such as bone broths, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, organ meats such as liver, cod liver oil, cultured foods such as kefir and many others are also not even mnetioned. These foods are so important and our bodies need them, as the book
Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food also explains.

Despite these omissions, I still give this book a solid 3 stars for providing a good basic guide to the benefits of lots of different vegetables, fruits and spices and for having some quite good recipes included at the end. One or two in particular look really good and I definitely plan to cook them soon.

Complete Book of Juicing: Your Delicious Guide to Youthful Vitality and Diabetes & Hypoglycemia: Your Natural Guide to Healing with Diet, Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs, Exercise, and Other Natural Methods by M.T. Murray

This book is out of date and should be avoided.

The parts about juicing and the recipes for juices in this book are solid, but the general information given on diet is of such a low quality and could potentially cause so much harm that this book cannot be recommended even for the juice recipes.

This book recommends that you eat only tiny amounts of protein, almost no fat at all and a whopping 65-75% of your daily calories as carbohydrates.

Despite them being traditional foods for thousands of years, healthy fats and proteins are apparently causing the modern epidemic of diabetes and other diseases and so we need to eat massive amounts of carbohydrate to get better. Hmmm... It couldn't possibly be the massive increase in the amount of sugar and refined carbs we are eating, could it? That the NEW foods are what is causing these NEW diseases and health problems? And not the old fashioned foods that have kept many generations before us so healthy?

I feel extremely ill and gain weight very quickly eating even 50% of my calories as carbohydrates and that is without me eating the 4 bread rolls a day or two large pasta servings this author recommends, and eating almost all of that intake as vegetables, a little bit of fruit and honey and a single daily serve of steel cut oats. I'd also be hungry and weak all the time, and never not feel hungry as that is what eating too many carbs does if you have blood sugar issues. For me even 40% is too much. Eating what this author recommends would make me incredibly ill.

I also 'only' have hypoglycemia and insulin resistance, and not diabetes. I hate to think what this diet would do to a diabetic.

Following the advice in this book will make most of us feel worse, and will probably make you gain weight as well, as if feeling terrible and ill and moody wasn't enough.

It seems to be based on a vegetarian agenda. Nothing wrong with eating and drinking huge amounts of veggies but the healthiest diets combine this with eating adequate healthy fats and proteins as well, is all. This is the diet we evolved to eat. Fats and protein are so important to health.

There are lots of better books out there on the topic of diet and weight loss that are science based and just full of useful advice. The first two that come to mind are
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger.

The first book focuses on maintaining good health, and also features a special health building diet for very ill people, as well as a plan to help you lose weight healthily. It also explains that saturated fat and cholesterol are not bad for you and that the lipid hypothesis is not based on science. What we need to do to be healthy is eat real old fashioned food as this is what we are genetically adapted to!

The second book focuses on weight loss and the author explains in detail why high carb diets don't work for those with diabetes etc. and why she can no longer give her patients this bad advice.

Both books basically recommend eating healthy fats and high quality proteins until satiety then adding lots and lots of non-starchy vegetables, plus a small amount of starchy vegetables and fruit - but no more than your body can cope with without you feeling ill or being overweight.

Another excellent book on this topic is
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) by Gary Taubes. This book explains why calories in, calories out doesn't work and is bunkum, and why high carb diets make so many of us fatter.

For information on why we need unrefined salt in our diets to be healthy, see
Salt - Your Way To Health.

The author of this book also heavily pushes a brand of juicer made by a company that he has affiliations with. It amounts to an ad for this product within the book. This is the only type of juicer recommended by the book and it's a centrifugal juicer as well! The worst sort! (They are okay if they are all your budget allows for, but single or twin auger juicers are far superior.)

A far better book on juicing is
Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life: Unleash the Healing Power of Fresh Juices and Cleansing Diets.

I'm tempted to not take this book back to my library, as it really should no longer be in circulation.

As another reviewer said, spend the money you might have spent buying this book on a juicer or buying some more lovely veggies to juice! 


This book is out of date and should be avoided by anyone with diabetes or hypoglycemia.

This book recommends that you eat only tiny amounts of protein, almost no fat at all and a whopping 65-75% of your daily calories as carbohydrates.

Despite them being traditional foods for thousands of years, healthy fats and proteins are apparently causing the modern epidemic of diabetes and hypoglycemia and so we need to eat massive amounts of carbohydrate to get better. Hmmm... It couldn't possibly be the massive increase in the amount of sugar and refined carbs we are eating, could it? That the NEW foods are what is causing these NEW diseases and health problems? And not the old fashioned foods that have kept many generations before us so healthy?

I feel extremely ill and gain weight very quickly eating even 50% of my calories as carbohydrates and that is without me eating the 4 bread rolls a day or two large pasta servings this author recommends, and eating almost all of that intake as vegetables, a little bit of fruit and honey and a single daily serve of steel cut oats. I'd also be hungry and weak all the time, and never not feel hungry as that is what eating too many carbs does if you have blood sugar issues. For me even 40% is too much. Eating what this author recommends would make me incredibly ill.

I also 'only' have hypoglycemia and insulin resistance, and not diabetes. I hate to think what this diet would do to a diabetic.

Following the advice in this book will make your diabetes or hypoglycemia worse, and will probably make you gain weight as well, as if feeling terrible and ill and moody wasn't enough.

There are lots of better books out there on this topic that are science based and just full of useful advice. The first two that come to mind are
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats and The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy, and Feeling Younger.

The first book focuses on maintaining good health, and also features a special health building diet for very ill people, as well as a plan to help you lose weight healthily. It also explains that saturated fat and cholesterol are not bad for you and that the lipid hypothesis is not based on science. What we need to do to be healthy is eat real old fashioned food as this is what we are genetically adapted to!

The second book focuses on weight loss and the author explains in detail why high carb diets don't work for those with diabetes etc. and why she can no longer give her patients this bad advice.

Both books basically recommend eating healthy fats and high quality proteins until satiety then adding lots and lots of non-starchy vegetables, plus a small amount of starchy vegetables and fruit - but no more than your body can cope with without you feeling ill or being overweight.

Another excellent book on this topic is
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) by Gary Taubes. This book explains why calories in, calories out doesn't work and is bunkum, and why high carb diets make so many of us fatter.

I'm tempted to not take this book back to my library, as it really should no longer be in circulation.

Probiotic and Prebiotic Recipes for Health: 100 Recipes that Battle Colitis, Candidiasis, Food Allergies, and Other Digestive Disorders

When I read this book, I just thought 'wow' - and not in a good way. This book is very unlike most books on this topic.

There are so many good health books out there which go against the conventional wisdom and offer valuable information that is not in the mainstream.

This is not one of those books. The information in this book is of the quality you would see in any lightweight news story on health on television or in the Sunday papers health sections.

Readers are warned about the immense 'dangers' of taking any type of probiotic supplements in pill form, despite their long safety record as one of the safest supplements there is. Readers are also warned that they may cause gas and bloating but the author seems to be unaware that these symptoms are to be expected when taking probiotics and are actually a sign you want to see, as it is a sign they are working!

Yet the book also recommends the hugely dangerous statin drugs and many, many other drugs and doesn't so much as mention the huge problems associated with them which occur in a very high percentage of users. For information on the huge risk of statin drugs and why the saturated fat/cholesterol = heart disease hypothesis is dead, see books such as
Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health (Vintage) andThe Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It and Cholesterol: The Real Truth.

The book warns against saturated fat and recommends a low fat diet, and even such heavily processed and problematic items such as egg substitutes and no-fat milk. (No fat milk contains dry milk power which contains oxidised cholesterol, and also possibly whey protein. This makes this type of milk a very poor choice for health and especially so for anyone that has allergies.)

According to this book, sugar-filled fruit yogurts (which feed the bad bugs) full of chemicals are a good healthy choice while probiotic supplements which have been used with success by a vast number of practitioners, are not. The book also cautions about listening to anyone who says that HFCS is bad for you and says there is no need to avoid products which contain it.

The treatments for Candida the book recommends are anti-fungal creams and suppositories. This book lacks the most basic understanding of treating the cause of disease and not just suppressing the symptoms with drugs. We can get this same low quality and biased information from the media each day, why write a book on it?

It is claimed that non-prescription niacin can cause liver failure, but there is no evidence for this claim whatsoever. (See books by Abram Hoffer for the facts about niacin.) Readers are warned that only prescription niacin is safe.

The book is ultra-conservative with anything that isn't drug based, and super permissive with the acceptance of all drugs. Sources quoted in this book are the USDA, the Mayo Clinic and the CDC which says a lot, I think.

The basic diet advice is also poor. High carb foods feed the bad bugs and to advise those with bowel problems to avoid fats and meats just makes no sense, as genuine books on restoring gut health such as
Gut and Psychology Syndrome and Internal Bliss-GAPS Cookbook (2 Books) and Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet explain.

If you think fruit flavoured low fat yogurts with lots of sugar in, egg substitutes, graham crackers, margarine, pasta and oat bran muffins and the like are health foods, and that the RDAs for each of the vitamins are more than adequate, and you can survive on a low fat and low protein diet that is very high in carbs, then this might be the book for you.

If not I would recommend any of the books listed above or the book
Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. These are real health books that are full of recipes containing real food ingredients that are genuinely good for you. Making your own 24 hour yogurt will do so much more for you than buying store-bought sugary yogurts with minuscule amounts of good bugs in. You can feel the difference after just a few days. The two products are like chalk and cheese!

The one star rating is for the recipes this book contained to make your own kefir and kimichi, and also for the recommendation to eat foods such as these as this is also good advice.

What to Eat by Marions Nestle and Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health by Marions Nestle

If a low-fat, high carb and low-calorie diet makes you feel good and helps you maintain a healthy weight and you just want to refine your regime a tiny bit, then this might be the book for you. It tells you about some of the benefits of eating organic and choosing healthier meats although it does also give terrible advice about taking vitamins and supplements.

 

If aiming for a low-fat, high carb and low-calorie diet makes you feel awful, hungry and ill - as it does for many of us - and has impeded your attempts to maintain a healthy weight, this book has little to offer and there are so many better books out there for you.

 

This book says low fat or no-fat dairy foods are the best type to get, that adequate protein can easily be gotten from beans, fluoride is safe and good for your teeth and should not be removed from drinking water, soy formulas for infants are completely safe, vegetarian diets are the healthiest, junk food is fine so long as your portions are small and not too high calorie, to lose weight you just need to eat less and move more - all of which I would strongly disagree with based on information and research in lots of far better researched books.

 

The section on supplements is unspeakably bad and it is very clear the author has done very little research in this area. There is a grain of truth in what she says. I would very much agree that a Centrum multivitamin (or other low quality mutivitamin) is going to do very little good to anyone, but so would every nutritional medicine expert there is! The information given here is beyond skewed and extremely selective, not to mention based on flawed studies which do not at all reflect what nutritional experts are actually recommending. It is not at all the reasonable and educated overview of this topic that it claims to be.

 

(For example, negative studies using the synthetic form of vitamin E in isolation are not relevant to the use of natural vitamin E in all the 8 forms and as part of a complete nutritional program. No nutrient works well in isolation or at a dose far lower than what is typically used by nutritional medicine experts. These study flaws are very well documented, even in quite old books such as 'Live Longer and Feel Better' by Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling.)

 

Dr Abram Hoffer explains that we need about 45 different nutrients in optimal quantities. He also explains that no nutrient works alone, and that an enzyme reaction that needs three different nutrients to take place, requires all three nutrients and so no one nutrient should be considered more important than the other.

 

Some nutrients can be obtained in reasonable amounts in food, while others will sometimes or always require the use of supplements to ensure optimal levels. It is not true as some claim that the optimum levels of all nutrients can be obtained through diet alone.

 

Supplements are necessary, for the following reasons:

 

* The soils used to grow our food are often very depleted.

* The levels and types of toxic pollution and toxic chemicals we are exposed to are vastly higher now than they were in the past (which requires far higher levels of nutrients than were necessary in the past, to deal with them).

* Many nutrients in food are fragile and only remain fully intact when food is picked and then eaten immediately. Storing foods for long times and heavily processing foods can dramatically lower nutrient levels in the food and may destroy some nutrients entirely; for example, oranges have been found to contain between 100 mg of vitamin C and 0 mg of vitamin C, each.

* The high levels of sugar in the diet of many people is also problematic as sugar is an anti-nutrient.

 

Supplements are necessary and eating well is also important. As Dr Sherry Rogers writes, 'What you eat has more power over disease than any medication your doctor can prescribe. Food is awesomely powerful.'

 

It is also important to be aware that the more ill you are, and the more stress your body is under the higher your nutritional needs will be. A person can need many times more vitamin C when ill than they need when they are well, and these higher doses just cannot be gotten from food.

 

More helpful information on intelligent supplementation is included in books such as 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 among others.

 

Other bizarre claims in this book include that no doctors disagree on the role of cholesterol causing heart disease or the need to avoid saturated fats to cut down heart disease risk. This is just not true. See books such as Ignore the Awkward.: How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive and The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It for example. Even more bizarre it is claimed that the idea that eggs are good for you is just propaganda by the egg industry!

 

This book reinforces the following myths:

1. Eating fat makes you fat

2. There is no such thing as good and bad foods

3. A calorie is a calorie and whether calories come form protein fat or carbs doesn't matter when it comes to weight loss

4. Junk food in moderation wont hurt anyone

5. The best diet for health and weight loss is a low-fat and high-carb diet

 

Reading this book felt a bit like reading the 'health and beauty' liftouts in the weekend papers. Each topic was dealt with so lightly. There was no real depth of discussion or research, or the necessary intelligent and impassioned challenging of the status quo that would make putting a book out worthwhile.

 

Far better books than this one which set out a diet that is all about health and disease prevention and treatment as well as weight management, and are far better researched and well written include: Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life, The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy and others.

 

Many of us have got fat and ill eating exactly the way this book recommends. Low fat and low calorie diets which include some junk foods and lots of highly processed foods just don't work for so many of us. If it works for the author and some others that is great, each to their own, but for many of us this is not helpful advice and is incorrect. Luckily there are lots of really wonderful diet and nutrition books available today.


This book was a difficult read. The information about the history of each change to the food pyramid (something none of us should use as a dietary guide anyway) was particularly boring and tedious to get through. Much of the book was hard going to read and not written in an engaging or interesting way. It is dull, dull, dull. It has none of the intelligent writing style and ease of reading of so many other books I have read on this topic. The content of the book was also very problematic.

 

Yes, there is some good information in this book about different ways food companies have tried to skew public opinion about what is healthy and what is not. But unfortunately in this book for every myth busted or interesting fact about bias given, the author reinforces one or two or more other at least as harmful myths or pieces of shocking nutritional misinformation.

 

The assumption that a low-fat, high-carb, low calorie and preferably vegetarian diet is the healthiest for everyone and that research supports this assertion, really permeates every part of this book. It isn't questioned in any way whatsoever. But this assumption is very wrong.

 

If aiming for a low-fat, high carb and low-calorie diet makes you feel awful, hungry and ill - as it does for many of us - and has impeded your attempts to maintain a healthy weight, this book is probably best avoided or at least read with a huge grain of salt when it comes to the dietary advice given.

 

This book says junk food is fine so long as your portions are small and not too high calorie, eating saturated fat increases your heart disease risk, eating according to the food pyramid gives you all the nutrients you need (!), a low salt diet is best, the FDA is a science-based agency that should be given more power than they have already(!), to lose weight you just need to eat less and move more - all of which I would strongly disagree with based on information and research in lots of far better researched books.

 

One example of the authors' shocking ignorance is when she comments that trans fats raise the risk of heart disease as much as and perhaps even more than saturated fat. She actually says that saturated fat may be worse for you than trans fat! This despite the fact that trans fats are an unnatural fat that has a well-documented and quite shocking negative effect on health, and saturated fat is the sort of natural fat that our ancestors ate, and that we evolved to eat and need to eat be be healthy. Anyone that lists trans fats and saturated fats as equally dangerous should set your alarm bells ringing!

 

The Danish government banned trans fats and rates of heart disease dropped dramatically. Trans fats contribute to allergies, inflammation, heart disease and obesity, and many other health conditions. Trans fats are unnatural fats. When we consume trans fats our bodies are unable to synthesise them properly and so abnormal cells are formed. There is no safe level of trans fats. Even small amounts can have dramatic effects. If trans fat were to be banned in the US, it is estimated that 275 US lives would be saved each day.

 

Some saturated fats have anti-cancer benefits. Saturated fats have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties and saturated fats such as coconut oil are an important part of a healthy diet. We need to eat them to be healthy. Saturated fat sounds scary and gluggy and is often described as 'artery clogging' and 'not heart healthy' but the truth is very different. Saturated fat isn't saturated by some sort of horrific 'glop' but by hydrogen! The same element that is in water. Don't believe all the anti-saturated fat and cholesterol hype. Those myths continue purely because of the interference of vested interest groups in science.

 

For far better information on fats see Know Your Fats by lipid expert Mary Enig PhD, or The Great Cholesterol Con, Ignore the Awkward, and so on.

 

The section on supplements is unspeakably bad and it is very clear the author has done very little research in this area. There is a small grain of truth in some of the comments. For example, it is undoubtedly true that a lot of claims are made about supplements that are just not true, but it is misleading to not also note that supplements can have enormous benefit if given at the correct doses and that this is backed up by a lot of solid research. The information given here is beyond skewed and extremely selective, not to mention based on flawed studies which do not at all reflect what nutritional experts are actually recommending. It is not at all the reasonable and educated overview of this topic that it claims to be. It is really outrageous that someone can make such claims considering the safety record and effectiveness of basic vitamin and mineral supplements and it really worries me the effect that such ignorant and fanciful claims can have on peoples health and their ability to treat disease.

 

If I had listened to 'flat Earth' nonsense like this my severe neurological disease would still be worsening, and not slowly improving month by month as it is now; after 10 years or more of slow deterioration.

 

Dr Abram Hoffer explains that we need about 45 different nutrients in optimal quantities. He also explains that no nutrient works alone, and that an enzyme reaction that needs three different nutrients to take place, requires all three nutrients and so no one nutrient should be considered more important than the other.

 

Some nutrients can be obtained in reasonable amounts in food, while others will sometimes or always require the use of supplements to ensure optimal levels. It is not true as some claim that the optimum levels of all nutrients can be obtained through diet alone.

 

Supplements are necessary, for the following reasons:

 

* The soils used to grow our food are often very depleted.

* The levels and types of toxic pollution and toxic chemicals we are exposed to are vastly higher now than they were in the past (which requires far higher levels of nutrients than were necessary in the past, to deal with them).

* Many nutrients in food are fragile and only remain fully intact when food is picked and then eaten immediately. Storing foods for long times and heavily processing foods can dramatically lower nutrient levels in the food and may destroy some nutrients entirely; for example, oranges have been found to contain between 100 mg of vitamin C and 0 mg of vitamin C, each.

* The high levels of sugar in the diet of many people is also problematic as sugar is an anti-nutrient.

 

Supplements are necessary and eating well is also important. As Dr Sherry Rogers writes, 'What you eat has more power over disease than any medication your doctor can prescribe. Food is awesomely powerful.'

 

It is also important to be aware that the more ill you are, and the more stress your body is under the higher your nutritional needs will be. A person can need many times more vitamin C when ill than they need when they are well, and these higher doses just cannot be gotten from food.

 

More helpful information on intelligent supplementation is included in books such as 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 among others.

 

Far better books than this one which set out a diet that is all about health and disease prevention and treatment as well as weight management, and are far better researched and well written, and laos include some information about food politics, include: Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats, Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food, Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life, The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy and others. Fast Food Nation is great too.

 

Many of us have got fat and ill eating exactly the way this book recommends. Low fat and low calorie diets which include some junk foods and lots of highly processed foods just don't work for so many of us. If it works for the author and some others that is great, each to their own, but for many of us this is not helpful advice and is incorrect. We need to eat real foods and focus on food quality - rather than just endlessly calorie counting. That misses the point completely.

 

Luckily there are lots of really wonderful diet and nutrition books available today as well as lots of other good books which discuss the politics of food and the tactics of junk food manufacturers to influence public opinion and government policy.

Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Guide to Shedding Pounds and Feeling Great by Eric C. Westman, Stephen D. Phinney, Jeff S. Volek

I read the 'New Diet Revolution' book in around 2004 and for 6 months or so it really helped me and my health and also helped me lose weight.

 

The changes in this book include that: lean meat is okay to eat, there are more vegetables on induction, there are 2 paths in phase 4, and there are vegetarian options.

 

I'm not a fan of the idea that losing a ton of weight per week is healthy, nor that soy products or rice cheese is a health food, or that Splenda or saccharin or protein bars are health foods, and I disagree that 370 - 625 of protein foods a day is NOT a high protein diet! I also don't agree that commercially farmed grain-fed meats and commercial diary products are health foods and found it disappointing that pasture-fed meats etc. weren't talked about in the book.

 

This book is not as good as the original Atkins book. The focus is more on pushing the exclusive Atkins brand and products than on explaining the science here. It reads a bit like it was written by marketers, trying to twist Atkins a bit to make it fit a wider audience more easily. It lacks the passion of the Atkins books, from the man himself, as well as proper scientific information. It is uninspired and maybe over-simplified and would be in no way as convincing to those who had not read the previous books. It claims to be a whole movement on its own rather than part of one. I'm not sure Dr Atkins would approve of all of the statements in this book.

 

While the Atkins diet is hands down better than any low-fat or low calorie diet out there, it is not one I would recommend to others any more. I feel there are better ones out there, which take the best of what Atkins has to say and go a bit further with making it a really healthy diet.

 

I did really well on the original Atkin's diet with 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! Not eating so much meat was also WONDERFUL!!! 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.

 

Books such as Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life explain 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 these 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!

 

I really regret staying on Atkins as long as I did. But I just couldn't accept that the book was wrong, or that what worked for a while so well might be no longer working somehow. My very poor health is now finally very slowly improving and I feel my dietary change is playing a significant role in that.

 

Where Dr Atkins really excels is in his book on nutrients and orthomolecular medicine. If you buy one book with Atkins written on the cover, make it Dr. Atkins' Vita-Nutrient Solution: Nature's Answer to Drugs for sure! That is a real 5 star book. It is still one of the best there is on this topic. It is an amazing achievement by Dr Atkins. I still refer to it regularly. I think it has just been re-released as an ebook too.

 

For books on eating low-carb and high fat, and how to eat the foods we were designed to do best with and so improve your health through diet, I instead recommend books such as Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life (by far the best diet and health book I know of) and also The Primal Blueprint: Reprogram your genes for effortless weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy (Primal Blueprint Series) and Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life (without their 'safe starches!).

 

5 stars for the work of Dr Atkins but only 2 stars for this very average book.

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The book 'Caring For The M.E. Patient' by Jodi Bassett includes a Foreword by international M.E. expert Dr Byron Hyde.

He writes:

"There is so much false information that is picked up and disseminated it is near impossible to hold one’s head above the water and sift through this morass of misinformation. Any attempt to seek the truth is always a major difficulty. Somehow, Jodi Bassett and Hummingbird have managed to plow through this field of weeds."

"This is a book that deserves being read, not only by patients and physicians with an interest in M.E. but the bureaucrats in the USA Centers for Disease Control who have done so much damage to the understanding of M.E. I recommend her book to all and wish it every best success."

Paperback $18.95
Hardcover $22.95