This book has some definite plusses and minuses. Some of the information and recommendations in it are extremely well-documented. Others are not well-documented, and some are just generally suspect. (The author says we should all be eating raw meat regularly, and doesn't even address issues of e. coli or salmonella. She also recommends soaking all fruits and vegetables in bleach water prior to eating them, although chlorine is a known carcinogen.)
From a Christian perspective, I must point out that certain recommendations are contrary to Biblical instruction (eating raw meat, with the fat, although the Bible recommends against eating fat OR blood). Some concepts are based on evolutionary premises (man did not originally eat grains; only meat and animal products).
The book is really not useful as an introduction to whole foods eating. First of all, it is very overwhelming. Second, nearly all of the recipes are "weird"; most American families would not be willing to eat like this. Third, there is very little practical information offered. For example, there is a list of alternative sweeteners, explaining what each one is. No information is given as to HOW one would use these sweeteners. Finally, the overall philosophy is burdensome. Ms. Fallon teaches that all grains, legumes, and flours must be soaked and/or fermented prior to use. This means no standard yeast breads, no baking powder biscuits, no tortillas, no pasta, etc. Unfortunately, this is also one area where the external support is practically non-existent. No research is cited, no definitive "proof" is given: only examples of some fermented foods that traditional societies did eat (which, of course, does not at all demonstrate that that is ALL they ate; in fact, plenty of "quick breads" are "traditional").
There ARE concepts in this book which are extremely well-documented and which I found fascinating. They are so far removed from what we're accustomed to hearing that they are well worth the reading of the book. Did you know that there is no research to demonstrate that cholesterol is related to heart disease? Did you know that saturated fats have not been linked to heart disease, but polunsaturated vegetable oils HAVE? This kind of thinking was completely new to me, but these (and related) facts are extensively supported, with numerous quotes in the sidebars from multiple sources. Nourishing Traditions does a good job of compiling them. However, you might just as well read the books the author cites - in particular The Cholesterol Myths and The Milk Book.
Although I have not yet read every page (my hubby was our chef and carried this book around like a bible!); I completely respect the research and opinions presented here. I am unaware of some of Rachel's major complaints...and would like to offer an alternative opinion.
As a person who is, not only highly educated, but extremely involved in the health of my family, and NOT dependent on what doctors are spoon-fed by pharmacists...I found Sally Fallon's background information very insightful. It is true that the recipes require extra planning and preparation. It was so much nicer to have someone else who loved being in the kitchen to prepare these foods. But I am willing to make the effort, simply because it IS better. Better for me and better for my family. Just so you know, it does require some adjustment on the part of your tastebuds as well (many things carry a slight sourness that our over-sugared taste buds are simply not used to). But the recipes are a wonderful collection worth exploring!
So, if you are a spoiled American who has never experience real food from another part of the world and are completely dependent on convenience foods, fast foods, and junk foods...most definitely, this is not the book for you. But if you ARE interested in improving your health...beyond the ridiculous claims of eat more whole grains, etc...and want to know how to make those grains digestible in a way that does NOT overtax your pancreas to the point that you develop type 2 diabetes...then consider this a major step in the right direction. IMO no self-respecting, serious-about-health-food person would neglect to have this book!
One of our family favorites are the crispy nuts! It also has one of the best chicken broth methods/recipes EVER!
Bethany C. (rnb) reviewed Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats on
Helpful Score: 5
If you're interested in how to get the most nutrition out of your foods, then I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
This is an amazing collection of information. It really does turn pretty much all of the generally held opinions completely on their heads. I have found it incredibly helpful and am looking forward to trying the recipes. Since my family and I have more food sensitivities than others seem to, I'm hoping that it allows us to start eating foods we had to cut out before, now that we can start eating them and/or preparing them correctly.
To respond to some of what Rachel said, I don't believe this is meant to be an introduction to eating whole foods. This to me looks like a manual or reference guide once you've already made the leap and hung out in whole foods for a while. As for the eating of raw meat, if you read the author's intent, you've known the cow its whole life, what it ate and how it lived. Chances of e-coli coming from a grass-fed cow given free pasture, that you've followed from the time it was born, and you also knew how much care was taken in the slaughter, it might not be such a worrisome thing. That said, I don't even eat sushi, so raw meat is something I would be skipping. But I might not be so averse to a bit of pink in my steak, where right now I can't handle even the smallest amount.
I think it's dangerous to go whole hog unless you've a lot of time, preparation, and/or spare containers everywhere, not to mention an empty fridge. I've decided to take things step by step. We're going to try ketchup and mustard first, and maybe a fermented drink. I also have the ability to buy sprouted grain bread, tortillas, and flour where I live, so I'm ready to do that. One day I'd like to sprout my own but only after I get my feet wet. If I were to throw out all my food and start over this would be so overwhelming, so don't feel like you must do that! My mother on the other hand has problems with nuts, so she will be making the crispy nuts first. Start small and gain confidence (and the taste buds) and maybe it'll change all our lives for the better!
I have mixed feelings about this book. The general information that challenges the "politically correct nutrition" is very good. Most of that makes sense. I really couldn't get into most of the recipes however. They are either extremely time consuming, boring(tasteless) or too exotic/strange for a house full of children. My children are use to "real" food and this was too much for them. The dessert section was banned by my husband who is usually very tolerant of my forays into "healthy" cooking. I wish they could revamp the teaching parts and combine them with family tested, short on time/money recipes.
Love this book!!! My son has struggled with mild autism for years. We have seen amazing improvement in his behavior and focus since implementing the principles and recipes from both Nourishing Traditions and the GAPS book (Gut and Psychology Syndrome by: Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride). Many of the recipes are not typical of the American diet, but I look at this book as a springboard. I implement the principles and the ingredients into my own recipes. Highly recommend this book.