This book is an amazing read on nutrition, genetics, anthropology, history, medicine, metabolism, and traditional food preparation.
It explains why what you eat changes your gene expression and that most diseases are caused by faulty gene expression, NOT permanent genetic changes and that what you eat (or don't eat) can affect your family's genes for generations.
The basic food advice is the same as on the Weston. A Price website mostly, for anyone that can't afford the book. But this book offers so much more food for thought than just providing a simple list of good and bad foods. There is so much research and information here that I hadn't read before, even though I'm a big fan of reading books on nutrition lately. This book discusses some concepts which are not usually included in Paleo type books, and goes into so much more depth on more commonly discussed topics too.
This book really changed the way I thought about a few things. It was one of the those books that after I finished reading it I had that sudden bizarre urge to buy another copy of it, just in case, that happens sometimes with books that make me really see the world in a different way. (Yes, I know that urge is bizarre! I didn't buy another copy though just thought about it a bit, so that makes me only a slightly weird bibliophile I hope.)
This book condenses a massive amount of research into one small book.
In short, eat real old-fashioned food. Eat good quality meats (not grain fed) and don't take the fat off, eat good fats like olive oil, butter, animal fats, palm oil and coconut oil, eat the usual meats but also organ meats, eat bone broths (chicken stock etc.), eat fermented and sprouted foods, eat lots of fresh vegetables and go easy on the fruit. Avoid at all costs sugar in all its forms as well as unnatural fats; trans fats.
This book explains that:
* The genetic lottery is not random and our genes are not set in stone. They are exquisitely sensitive to how we treat them. Genes make what seem to be intelligent decisions guided in part by chemical information in the food we eat.
* The idea that modern diseases are caused by traditional foods is just nonsense, and, "The merging of business and science into one corporate body means that medical science can no longer countenance advice incompatible with the interests of commerce."
* Beauty and health are linked. Voluptuous curves are a sign of health.
* When a women is pregnant and not properly nourished, this not only affects the baby's development but can mean that nutrients are taken from her own body and given to the baby. With some fatty acids for example, this can leave the pregnant woman with a smaller brain post-pregnancy!
* Many foods today are not as nutrient dense as they once were (e.g. Produce is picked before it is ripe).
* Eyes being set too close together, crowded teeth in a smaller jaw, and a short nose are signs of poor nutrition. Often children will show more of these features the higher they are in the birth order.
This book explains about diet that:
* The four pillars of authentic cuisine that should be eaten daily are 1. Meat cooked on the bone, 2. Organ meats and offal, 3. Fresh fruits and vegetables and 4. Fermented and sprouted foods.
* It is not true that today's animals are fatter than they used to be and we need to eat lots of fat to be healthy - as our ancestors did.
* Meats should be slow cooked on the bone and not overcooked. Meats should be eaten with some meat fat. Organic pasture-raised beef is worth the price.
* Bone broths are a very healthy addition to the diet. The wonderful complex flavour in sauces and soups made with stock is also a sign that they are highly nutritious.
* Saturated fats are needed by the body and have many health benefits.
* Raw dairy foods have many benefits, particularly traditionally made/homemade yogurts.
* The most important foods to avoid are sugar, processed foods and vegetable oils/trans fats. Even small amounts of trans fats have serious effects on the body and how well it can function and resist disease.
* Only small amounts of traditionally cultured soy products should be eaten and all commercial soy products should be avoided. Protein powders and milk powders should be avoided.
* Whether you eat sugar or starch from grains or legumes etc. your body winds up absorbing sugar. Advice to cut down sugar but to eat lots of grains makes no sense.
* If you have insulin problems or are overweight, cut daily carbs to 100 grams or less.
* Drink only fresh vegetable juices if you drink juices, never tinned or bottled.
* If you are ill, avoid junk food completely. You just can't afford to give new 'ammunition' to the enemy.
There were a few parts of the book that I disagreed with.
1. Most notably the authors comments about vitamin C and other supplements were terrible and showed a real lack of basic research in this area. This book is wonderful about diet but should not at all be used for information on supplements.The authors are not experts on this topic.
2. I would also have appreciated it being said more strongly that for many of us, and particularly many of us that are ill, we will do far better avoiding all dairy foods and grains (as the Primal Body book does) - and not just minimising grain intake. Even raw dairy foods and sprouted grains are not for everyone. This book omits almost entirely the hugely important subject of food allergies and intolerances, which is a real shame.
3. Raw nuts and seeds as the author recommends are not ideal for some of us and we do better when these foods are soaked and dried or sprouted. Even if eating raw nuts doesn't hurt your stomach and affect your digestion, soaking and drying them neutralises the phytic acid in them which blocks the absorption of minerals.
4. Marquardt insists that his mask crosses all cultures and fits on every beautiful face, but I am not at all as convinced of this as the author was. I think this is a questionable claim and that beauty can in fact be much more varied. All the pictures in the book of siblings and how their faces varied were fascinating nonetheless though I did feel a little sorry for some of them being discussed and evaluated genetically in such a way in a public forum.
Those small issues aside, the authors advice and views tally very well with my own and with my reading. I have a severe neurological disease with some similarities to MS and I have found that I have felt so much better staying around the 50 - 75 gram mark and eating the foods she suggests. This lower-carb diet also greatly helps my hypoglycaemia symptoms, makes me feel more satisfied after meals (and not starving hungry right after each meal due to blood sugar surges) and has treated my PCOS as well. I also do far better avoiding grains, legumes and dairy products too. I am using this style of diet, along with other supplemental nutrients and detoxification methods, to slowly improve my severe neurological disease - which had been slowly worsening for more than a decade. This advice works and lots of the food is very tasty as well (with the exception of organ meats!).
This book is so much more than just another Paleo diet book. Even with its imperfections it is still a 5 star book. I couldn't decide at first whether or not to get this book or the also highly regarded Primal Body Primal Mind book by Nora Gedgaudes. I'm so glad I splashed out and bought both. While the advice on diet given in both is very similar, they each cover quite different ground in discussing the harm modern foods can cause and why traditional foods are so important. If at all possible I would really recommended reading these two books together. Together they are more than the sum of their parts and cover just about everything you could need to know about diet, with little duplication between the two as well.
Both of these books are genuine masterpieces, in my opinion. Jaw dropping, paradigm shifting reads that were so dense with fascinating facts that I took pages of notes on each as I read.
Both are in my top 10 health books list - along with Detoxify or Die plus The Safe, Effective Way to Prevent and Heal Chronic Gastrointestinal Disorders by Dr Sherry Rogers, Curing the Incurable: Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins by Dr Levy, The GAPS Diet book, books on orthomolecular medicine by Abram Hoffer, and others. Good Calories, Bad Calories was also very good although the final conclusions and advice on reducing sugars etc. are covered by this book, mostly.
The Primal Body Primal Mind book by Nora Gedgaudes would be the book I'd choose if I had to pick between that book and Deep Nutrition, because of the great information on considering avoiding grains and dairy, food allergies and the good basic information on supplements and detoxification, but I do really recommended not making such a choice and buying both. It is a small price to pay for such valuable and life changing health information.
This book is so important for everyone to read, but especially those that are ill or are thinking of becoming pregnant (or have children already, to a slightly lesser extent). It explains how positive or negative genetic changes can happen over generations based on the food we eat and how vitally important it is to eat well before becoming pregnant. This book talks about how what we eat changes the next generation in a powerful way that I have not seen replicated in any other book.
This book also focuses very much on disease prevention, a topic mostly ignored by mainsteam media and medicine today. Prevention is of course always far easier than cure! The book is also very put together and written in an engaging and even witty way. Read more ›