Ever since I picked up the Nourishing Traditions book it quickly climbed my list of most important books I’ve read (and will shortly own) and I’ve had a hard time putting it down. I thought it must be a good book because I waited for it for almost 6 months from the library, but the wait was worth it, and I think you should read it too. After reading half of it I’ve already noticed how little I knew about food in general, the history of food and why people ate certain foods, nutritionally, rather than just for the taste.
The book is a great mix of medical information, stories from medical studies, information from old cookbooks/textbooks and a list of recipes. On top of all that, the authors take a great deal of time to explain to you what they think and why they think it, and they back it up with historical examples of why what they are suggesting you should eat works as good fuel for people. The recipes seem very interesting to make and they have quite a few recipes using ingredients that I haven’t seen a lot of other cookbooks even touch. Furthermore, they tell you how to make a ton of things, even condiments, in a manner that most increases the nutrition of the item you are making. The focus is always on maximizing the nutrient value of the item to be eaten, with taste being a close second or tied with maximum nutritional value as number 1.
This book is a lot like Alton Brown’s cookbooks where he explains how the cooking action works (whether braising, roasting, grilling, etc) and then he gives you some recipes for how to use the cooking method to it’s full potential when you’re cooking tasty meals. If you like how he works you’ll like this one. Also, his cookbooks are just great cookbooks too.
One prevailing theme throughout this book is the focus on maximizing the nutrient content of the food you’re eating. When a recipe introduces a new food item the author places a side bar in place to inform you about the food item, why it’s important to eat it in the specific form they have mentioned, and what nutrients you derive from eating the food item in that form.
If you are searching for a new book to read this winter I think this would be a great one to pick up and read.
One caution I would give you is that if you haven’t already made the switch from eating processed/modified foods to natural whole foods you may not be ready for a book like this. This book focuses on using products that are currently demonized by our food industry and medical profession, and if you aren’t ready to go against what is considered “normal” in our society you might not be ready for something like this. This book recommends that you drink raw, whole milk. If the idea of eating anything other than regular old skim isn’t something you would entertain than you might not be ready to read a book like this. If you can’t fathom the idea of giving up white bread or sugar, or at least reducing their consumption and focusing on whole grains as much as possible this book might be tough to read. (However, if you want great explanations for why those foods are considered better for a person to eat than other refined foods this book provides great information and analysis on why they are better for you, and it does it by focusing on the nutrition of the food and telling you what biological need food in this specific form fills for our body.)
I can tell you that eating whole, natural foods, even if they are demonized, sure makes you feel a lot better. I have less aches and pains, our family hasn’t really been sick with a transmittable sickness this whole winter, and having more pep is certainly better for me, even if my weight never changes. It’s easy to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables when you eat this way and I can tell a difference in the way my body “runs” if I stray from this method too much.
Not to mention the food tastes freaking great.