Book Review of Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

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Helpful Score: 21


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.