I read this book in high school-a long time ago. I've read a number of books since then about what is wrong with the American-style of food production, but none that have had as much impact as The Jungle. The furor this book created at the turn of the last century was the driving force that led the US Congress to create the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sadly, like many so-called watchdog organizations, the FDA has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the food industrial complex it is supposed to be regulating. When it comes to food security, car safety, home buying, banking, etc. the cost of laissez faire capitalism is too high a price to pay.
This is a handy reference book for natural medicine. Conventional health care providers often say that alternatives to prescription medicines, surgery and radiation would be great if only there was sufficient evidence that these methods worked. This book discusses many of the plagues of Western civilization-diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc. from the perspective of natural medicine. Therapies that have been championed by natural medicine advocates for decades if not centuries are supported by well referenced articles from standard medical journals. Medical research is always evolving so that by the time the ink dries on the page the material is dated. Still, it provides the reader with a coherent explanation of how various herbs, nutritional supplements and other means are believed to work for specific ailments and what evidence there is in scientific literature to support their use.
Full disclosure-Alan Gaby was one of my favorite teachers when I was in naturopathic medical school. He is a funny guy who has forgotten more about nutrition than I will ever know-and I know more than most. This is an exquisitely detailed discussion of osteoporosis. It is all you would ever want to know about the subject and oh so much more. It is well referenced and though the book, like many of us, is getting a little long in the tooth, I still find it a useful reference for those of us in an ever expanding club-the menopausal majority.
This is a relatively short book-about 250 pages, and is full of interesting explanations for really basic questions like what is the evolutionary advantage of things like pain, fever or nausea? Illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune diseases and the emergence of super germs are not just a result of random forces or evil spirits, but can be explained in the light of natural selection. While unsettling as this may be to Darwin haters, I find that having a rational explanation for what I see in my practice every day gives me insight into ways to help people cope, if not heal.
I recommend this book primarily for clinicians that have an interest in treating women's health issues. It is grounded in years of clinical experience and academic research. This is definitely not a navel-gazing kind of book. The author discusses conventional and alternative approaches to various gynecological conditions with a fluidity that presents the facts and allows the reader to decide what the best option is. Too many natural health authors provide more heat than light when comparing and contrasting various approaches to illness. I believe the future of medicine will be much more integrative than the past has been and this textbook is a great step in that direction.
This book has lots of useful information; especially on topics like exercise and balance and how to avoid falling, that goes nicely with Dr. Gaby's book on osteoporosis, which is more heavily weighted on nutrition and hormonal interventions. Dr. Nelson has done a lot of research on the subject but does not get bogged down with scientific data. It contains helpful advice for those who are frail as well as those who are able-bodied and would like to remain so.
Almost 100 years after the publication of The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, it's a little depressing that food safety is still a significant threat to unsuspecting consumers. It seems like every month there is a new food recall because of contamination by really scary organisms like E coli 0157:H7. Want to know why? Read this book.
I first heard Sandra Steingraber give a talk in the spring of 2002 in Anchorage. I went right out and bought the book and had her sign it. This is not unusual for me. When it comes to musicians and authors I almost always buy their product because I know this, along with ticket sales, is a major part of how they put food on the table. That said-I love this book. Dr. Steingraber has an almost poetic way of presenting information about toxins and pollutants in the context of a woman going through nine months of pregnancy. It is personal. She goes month by month describing the developmental stages of her unborn child and the environmental dangers to this child. It is poignant and has a voice like none I have read before.
Cognition is a group of mental processes by which knowledge is acquired or used. With advancing age, performance on many tests for cognition declines. This book is based on a ground breaking study called the Nun Study. A group of more than 700 Catholic nuns were followed over many years by Dr. Snowden who made notes on the kind of work these women did, their health status and did tests of their mental function. Upon a sister's death, an examination was done to look for physical changes to the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease and evidence of other changes associated with dementia. This book gives clues on ways to preserve mental function into old age. The information from real human beings that perform all sorts of work from the most menial to the highly academic, while controlling for other factors such as environment and diet, is a true gift. The book is well-written and comprehensible to people without an extensive science background without being simplistic.
This was the first of three books by author Michael Pollan that I have read to date. it was a book club selection and all of the avid readers in my club loved this book. You may have seen a program by the same name on your local PBS station from time to time. If you like the film you will love the book. In it Michael gives us a plant's-eye view of the world. He explains how four plants: apples, potatoes, marijuana and tulips, have manipulated people into propagating their species. He is a journalist and knows how to tell a story, as well as a gardener with a fine appreciation of the plant. He asks the question: just who is really domesticating whom? It is a fun read.
Omnivore's Dilemma received many awards when it was published, including a spot on the New York Times top 10 books of the year in 2007. In Botany of Desire, Mr. Pollan told the story of four plants. In this book, he gives us a natural history of four meals-fast foods, "organic foods" in the big business model, agriculture produced from sustainable farming practices, and hunting and foraging. He goes into exquisite detail of where these meals come from and, while not always appetizing, it is endlessly fascinating.
Okay so I am a Michael Pollan groupie. He sums up the thesis of this book in seven words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Like Upton Sinclair, and Eric Schlosser, Michael explains what food is to an audience that has, for whatever reason, become estranged from food. I especially like the beginning of this book where he points out that much of the American fascination with "health" and the micronutrient content of "food-like substances" is because we don't really know what food is. In Europe and Asia, where the preparation and enjoyment of actual meals are an important part of the culture, they have far less incidence of our Western diet diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. As these cultures are embracing the lure of the "Happy Meal", they are catching up. This is a cautionary tale that is not preachy.
Read any good books I missed? I love to get recommendations for well written health related books. This list could definitely be expanded. So share already. If you will email me with your favorites, I will give them a look. Tell me the name of the book and the author and tell me why you think it deserves a spot on this list. Email me at: email@example.com