I loved this book! It was deeply informative, stimulating and fun to read. It was not only "an eating plan that helps fight everything from asthma to heart disease," but truly a guide to leading a healthy lifestyle.
The authors, Christopher Cannon, M.D., a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Elizabeth Vierck, an accomplished writer in the medical and aging fields, pulled together an enormous amount of research about the wide variety of diseases that are related to high levels of inflammation in our bodies. Of equal importance they offer a simple guide including food shopping, recipes, exercise and family care plans that reduce inflammatory triggers and promote a healthier life with fewer chronic health problems.
Although my 89 year old mother-in-law assumed from the title that this book only addressed digestive problems, and a colleague thought it was aimed at his wife who has fibromyalgia, the truth is that inflammation has connections to many health and age related problems including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, many of the forms of arthritis, autoimmune diseases, allergies and inflammatory bowel diseases, among others.
What's truly fun about this book is the style in which it is written and the way it is designed. To me, it reads like a Tony Hillerman novel - a page turner and yet when you reach the end you realize you've learned about a whole new culture! In this case, the culture is discovering a healthy alternative to the American way of eating.
At the end of one chapter I couldn't wait to see what was coming in the next. And within each chapter, the layout leads the reader from the most important to the least important information, so you can browse through a chapter and focus on the technical/medical explanations or move on to the food selections, recipes and other lifestyle choices. Type set and visual set-asides also help the reader move from one set of facts to another.
I consider myself a healthy eater, but I learned a wealth of information that will promote my family's health as I cook healthier meals. Among the facts I now understand are the difference between saturated and unsaturated fats and that if you mix legumes and rice or a grain to create a full, non-animal protein meal, you don't have to eat them all at the same time to get the protein punch, but can consume the combination within a 24 hour period. There's also a full chapter titled "fast-food survival" - how to select healthier foods in fast-food and other restaurants.
The final third of the book has a chapter on herbs and supplements, exercise and stress-reduction, exercise and weight control, and special and popular diets including the wheat-free and dairy-free kitchens. The authors' attention to detail is impressive. For example, as someone who has meditated for 30 years, I found the description of different mediation techniques to be accurate, simple and instructive.
These authors are steeped in the material, have done their research and know how to convey this impressive amount of technical/scientific information to a lay audience. I have purchased the book as a gift for many friends and family members and would highly recommend it to students, teachers, health-care providers and the general reading public from teens to older adults.
Mary Ann Wilner
Oliverea, New York