by Nina Planck, published 2009
For me, reading this book simply resulted in confirming a lot of biases I already have regarding ideal nutritional practices. Those confirmed biases could be reduced down to:
- make most of what you eat yourself
- when eating animals, use as much of the animal as you can (including bone, skin, organs, etc.)
- when eating fruits and vegetables, use what is in season when possible
- focus on organics and other traditionally raised and cultivated foods
- avoid eating things that were not regularly consumed 100 years ago
- avoid anything processed, “packaged” sweetened or artificially preserved
- eat more fat than you’re “supposed to” and don’t get your nutritional advice from headline news or the government
There’s more to it than that, but that’s a good start to revolutionizing the way most moderns/Americans eat in the West.
The book is essentially 200pgs of these broad outlines and a few more specific guidelines, along with basic scientific information on why this is the right way to eat and how various research agrees. The advice is good for women (and men) planning to conceive, women in pregnancy, nursing mothers and babies ready to eat things besides breast milk.
In other words, the “best” diet for fertility, childbirth and infancy, is also the best diet for children and adults in terms of achieving optimum health outcomes and maximizing genetic fitness and expression.
The weakest part of the book is the author’s condoning of various “cheats” and nutritional oversights based on the arbitrary logic of “a little poison now and then won’t kill you”, and it was a let down to learn that after following these nutritional practices she still ended up getting drugged out and giving birth by C-section during her own pregnancy.
Mothers to be will probably find the affirmative tone and validative diction of the book enjoyable. And for some this will be a revelation. For me, I didn’t get a lot new. It did get me to think about how hopeless health (and intelligence?) outcomes must be for generations of people in communities without the knowledge, incentives or resources to eat this way. It also got me thinking about how easy it is to overdo good nutrition, to obsess about it and give it undue consideration. It’s important, yet spending your life on feeding yourself doesn’t leave time for much else which to me is like luxurious primitivism.