Book Reviews

This section of the website is where I do book reviews on some healthy eating books.

Now, I am not a professional book reviewer so please bear with me! These are reviews of books I have read myself and I'm reviewing them here in the interest of providing you, the reader, some information about the books in order to help you decide if they are worth reading.

I will provide links to professional reviewers of these books if I find some good ones I promise!

In Defence of Food 2008, Michael Pollan

In Defence of Food is written by a journalist (don’t let that put you off!) and I found that I could not put this book down. Michael Pollan writes about the problems of eating a ‘Western Diet’, and how we might ‘plot our escape from it’ through eating whole fresh foods in preference to processed food products. As Michael writes in the preference, “this eater’s manifesto for those who wish to return food to its proper context: out of the car and back to the table, closer to the centre of a well-lived life”.

Pollan states that the best choices for our health, often happen to also be the best choices for our planet and that meat is better treated as a side dish and not as the main. Most of us no longer eat what our mothers ate as children or, for that matter, what our mothers fed us as children. And he states that we shouldn’t eat anything our Great Grandmothers wouldn’t recognize as food!

He suggests avoiding food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high- fructose corn syrup. Also avoiding food products that make health claims and to shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle are advised by the author.

I found Michael Pollan to write in a confident, no-nonsense style and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. For me it reinforced many of my beliefs and understandings, but perhaps for you, you might find your perceptions altered somewhat!

Prime-Time Health 2010, William Sears

This is a simple to read, straight forward book aimed at those in the prime of their life (defined by Sears as a time of less pressure and when the ‘want to dos’ start to replace the ‘must dos’). Sears offers advice for making your ‘prime time’ not your ‘sick time’.

Whilst I did not read the entire book (I don’t consider myself to be quite in the ‘prime time’ category), I liked what I did read. Quite refreshing to hear a doctor espousing the (scientifically proven) benefits of exercise, good eating and actually looking after yourself (I liked the chapter on the ‘sixteen superfoods’) instead of bagging out any alternatives to the medicalised model of simply offering drugs and surgery instead of lifestyle advice.

I would recommend reading this book if you are a prime timer yourself or it would be a nice gift for a parent or friend who is one. Maybe the fact that it is written by a Doctor, may appeal to those who would take a bit more notice of this advice than other ‘less reputable’ sources of advice...

The Doctor’s Book of Food Remedies 2008 (revised & updated) Selene Yeager

Fat book, 707 pgs

‘latest research’ (as at 2008 anyway!)

‘Did you know that’...type of book

Interesting facts such as...

- nutritional deficiencies in older people can be misdiagnosed as dementia

– as we get older we have less stomach acid which means we don’t digest foods or absorb some nutrients as well as we used to

- it’s the resveratrol in red wine that helps prevent the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol stick to artery walls or that strawberries and other berries that contain ellegic acid, have been shown to block the harmful effects of cancer causing chemicals in the body.

This book is great for the person who likes the facts...who enjoys being able to contribute to the dinner party conversation and sound pretty intelligent!

All in all – an interesting book to spend your time sifting through on the hammock with a nice cup of antioxidant-packed tea or glass of red wine!

Eat Well, Live Well with Growing Children – Healthy kids’ recipes and tips 2008, Karen Kingham

This is a great little (well, not that little! – 192 pg) book aimed at helping get young eaters off to a good start. It outlines good eating habits, different food groups and discussion and tips on such topics as ‘when its not puppy fat’ and ‘eating out and takeaways’.

The recipes are healthy, simple, quick to prepare and they look very very yummy. They definitely are not just for little people! Recipes include easy apple muffins, minestrone soup, tomato and olive pasta, zucchini frittata, glazed drumettes and even cupcakes.

All in all, 9 out of 10 for simplicity of explanations of the basics of feeding your family healthily and easy great healthy recipes (and great photos of dishes too).

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