Reading: Real Food, The Life You’ve Always Wanted

Finished reading:

Real Food by Nina Planck – What if some of the nutritional and health ideas you’ve believed for most of your life were suddenly swept away — ideas that have been woven into the fabric of our culture, including:

  • Fat is bad. Low-fat is good.
  • Saturated fat and cholesterol will give you heart disease.
  • Pasteurization makes food healthier and safer.
  • Foods should be fried in vegetable oil to be healthier, not animal fats.
  • If you want to be really healthy, you should be vegetarian. Or better yet, vegan.

Nina Planck skillfully blows these and other myths out of the water, showing why traditional foods — “real” meat, milk, butter, eggs, fish, fruits, vegetables (and yes, olive oil) — in other words, foods that have been around for hundreds and hundreds (or thousands) of years are good for you, while industrial foods (corn syrup, vegetable oil, refined sugar and flour, and, unfortunately, most conventionally produced meat and dairy) are the true culprits of increasing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in industrialized countries.

Find this hard to believe? So did I, at first, but the many references to current research as well as Nina’s personal experiences soon made me a believer. While looking up her book, I found that her web site has a lot of articles and resources — you might find the book page interesting, as well as the series of excerpts about “Real Milk” from her book that can be found in the bottom of the right-hand column. Many of the other articles looked interesting as well.

Before you start drinking whole milk and eating meat again, Nina does talk about how not all milk or meat is created equal. Grass-fed beef has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and actually less fat than conventionally produced grain-fed beef. Milk is better for you when it comes from cows that have been pasture-raised and have enough space to move around, in contrast to factory cows with their infected udders and therefore high levels of antibiotics. Unpasteurized milk from a healthy cow is even better — pasteurization destroys many of the nutrients, enzymes, and beneficial bacteria that help us to absorb more of the nutrients from milk. (Lactose-intolerant folks can drink unpasteurized milk because the lactase which comes naturally in milk helps to digest the lactose.) So why do we pasteurize milk, anyway? Again, I refer you to the excerpt on Nina’s web site.

Of the many food and food-issue books I’ve been reading lately, I’d rank this one among the highest “must-reads.”

The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg – This Christian book is about how classic spiritual disciplines — prayer, “slowing down,” confession, and the like — aid in a changed life. While there are a few suggestions for things you can try, this is not primarily a “how to” book like Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, but more of an inspirational book for motivating you to try integrating some of these practices into your life. I really liked John Ortberg’s style and his authentic voice; some of his personal stories made me laugh out loud.

With a bookmark: (Books I just started reading, or books I’ve been “reading” for ages. Most recent first.)

  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg
  • Birthing from Within by Pam England and Rob Horowitz
  • Sacred Attitudes by Erica Ross-Krieger
  • Body, Soul, and Baby by Tracy Gaudet
  • What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, and Sandee Hathaway
  • The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst
  • A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson

In the library book box:

  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, M.D.
  • So That’s What They’re For! by Janet Tamero

4 thoughts on “Reading: Real Food, The Life You’ve Always Wanted

  1. Ortberg described _Life_ as a “dumbed down version of Dallas Willard’s _Spirit of the Disciplines_.”

    I am wondering if you could put together a top 10 list of your food books. Or a link list in your sidebar? I’ve been following your blog and a few others, and I’d love to put together a “comprehensive” reading list of the best of the best. I suppose I could do searches… But if you had time… 🙂 Thanks for all the info on this subject. I am inspired!

  2. Hi Corrie,
    Glad to see you read Real Food. Back in nutrition school what gave me a similar eye-opening experience was reading Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions which is a dynamite book, aligned with Real Food ideas, and something you’ll want to keep as a resource.

    Nourishing Traditions as well as tons of other great resources for ancient nutritional wisdom are in abundance at the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation ( website. A blurb from there says: “PPNF is…a non-profit educational resource providing access to modern scientific validation of ancestral wisdom on nutrition, agriculture, and health for 56 years. Originally known as the Weston A. Price Memorial Foundation, we serve as the guardian for the precious archival material from the research of Weston A. Price, DDS and Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MD, and most of the great nutrition pioneers of our time.”

    Anyway, hope you find it useful. sounds like Real Food has opened up a whole new world. It’s one I adore. Enjoy!

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