Let Food Be Your Medicine by Don Colbert

Let Food Be Your Medicine: Dietary Changes Proven to Prevent or Reverse Disease

Physician-turned-journalist Don Colbert, MD offers intriguing and practical advice for optimum nutrition and wellness in Let Food Be Your Medicine: Dietary Changes Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. Early on, Colbert shares the deceptively simple insight that we catch colds but we develop chronic diseases like Type II Diabetes or Cardiovascular disease. That is not a coincidence, either. In Latin, “Dis” refers to being “apart”, disjointed, or having a negative or “reversing force.” Ease refers “freedom from pain” or being in a tranquil or peaceful state. In essence, disease signifies a breaking away from a peaceful or tranquil state. The process of developing and solidifying disease, however,  is complex and involves lifestyle & environmental factors, as well as the interplay of all systems of mind, body, and spirit.

I tend to gobble up books about food, nutrition, and wellness and am naturally obsessed with how the gut or the “microbiome”, i.e. the ecosystem living in the core of your body, is more powerful and influential over our general health & well-being than we once imagined. A discussion about the microbiome is another conversation entirely and is far beyond my scope of knowledge; but Colbert does not overlook discussing current research about the delicate ecosystem living between our brain and bowel. How curious that we may even begin to view our food cravings as tiny demands from the bacteria in our guts who have lives of their own? In essence, we are feeding them. You better believe they don’t always have your best interests in mind, either. The little “voices in your head” (or, gut, in this case) take on a whole new meaning. Read this book to dig in a little deeper as to how and why our microbiome is so influential and critical to our overall health.

Colbert mixes testimonial with current medical evidence to present a compelling argument for being mindful and deliberative when it comes to what we put into our bodies. Learn about his struggle with autoimmune disorders and how his quest to heal himself resulted in weeding nightshade foods (peppers, eggplants, tomatoes) out of his diet. Not all food is equal in its ability to nourish, heal, or harm, either, as you may know. We often take for granted that we do not innately know what foods are harmful or helpful. Many of us grew up in homes in which our parent(s) worked and perhaps did not have the time to prepare and cook whole, nourishing meals all week long. In short, eating “healthy” is not common sense. Failure to meet your daily nutrient requirements or to altogether make harmful dietary choices is not therefore some testament to your lack of willpower. Quite simply, many of us have to learn how to make better food choices, and that starts with education. If you have any curiosity whatsoever in how you can better yourself simply by changing what you put into your body, read this book.

This book is not a fix-all for all that ails you, nor does it substitute for the relationship you have with your primary care physicians or doctors. Part of what is working about healthcare is that we acknowledge that wellness involves the alignment of mind, body, and spirit or the non-physical part of a human being. Grey’s Anatomy sums up the dilemma well in one episode in which Dr. Preston Burke, esteemed neurosurgeon, argues with Dr. Cristina Yang that nurturing a  patient’s spiritual state is equally as important as the medical intervention being performed, for the reason that human beings are not merely physical bodies. The non-physical parts of us require care and respect, too. Though Colbert’s book does not discuss the role of spirituality in health in great depth, he no-doubt weaves his own faith into the book (but it is not oft-putting for non-Christians). I can most certainly recall a time in my lifespan of thirty-six years when the words “soul”, “spirituality” and “Ayurveda” would have never made an appearance in a discussion about disease, illness, or health & wellbeing. But today? We are becoming more interdisciplinary & holistic in how we not only view but “treat” illness — and how we care for whole human beings (not just symptoms).

If you are even the slightest bit curious about how food can harm or heal, read this book. If you would be amazed by the prospect of eating a diet that custom made to fight diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, auto-immune disorders — read this book. Believe it or not, one of the most powerful statements that Colbert makes in this book is this: cancer, depending upon the type and staging, can and  very well does constitute a chronic disease that can actually be managed like other chronic diseases not unlike COPD, heart disease, and diabetes. I don’t know about you, but aside from a cure that’s the very best next thing!  Bear in mind, Colbert is not claiming to have a cure for cancer; but he lays out, in one case, a diet plan that is tailored not only to the cancer patient but to the specific stage of cancer in order to increase the chances of putting the cancer into remission…and we can do this with vegetables, micronutrients, plants–with the plentitude of healing, delicious foods that are available to us should we be inclined.

Get Up! by James Levine

get upThat the average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their day sitting is no surprise to anyone who works in an office environment. But few realize the health consequences they are suffering as a result of modernity’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle, or the effects it has had on society at large.

In Get Up! , health expert James A. Levine’s original scientific research shows that today’s chair-based world, where we no longer use our bodies as they evolved to be used, is having negative consequences on our health, and is a leading cause of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Over the decades, humans have moved from a primarily active lifestyle to one that is largely sedentary, and this change has reshaped every facet of our lives–from social interaction to classroom design.

Levine shows how to throw off the shackles of inertia and reverse these negative trends through simple changes in our daily lives. (description from publisher)

Giada’s Feel Good Food by Giada De Laurentis

giadas feel good foodFood Network’s star Giada De Laurentis reveals her secrets for staying fit and feeling great in Giada’s Feel Good Food, a gorgeous, practical book with healthy recipes including nutritional information, and personal lifestyle and beauty tips.

Finally answering the question her fans ask most often, “How do you stay so trim?,” Giada De Laurentiis shares the delicious easy recipes and tips she uses to maximize energy and remain fit. Here are 120 recipes for breakfasts, juices, lunches, snacks, dinners, and desserts that can be combined into a month of delicious feel-good meals. So that everyone can enjoy these dishes, many are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and/or vegan, with helpful icons to call them out – and, for the very first time, each recipe includes a calorie count and nutritional analysis. Special sections delve into Giada’s everyday life, including her beauty and exercise routines, how she satisfies sugar fixes, what’s always in her bag, and her ordering tips for eating in restaurants.

With 100 color photographs, Giada’s Feel Good Food is a beautiful guide to staying on track while still eating everything and enjoying life to its fullest. (description from publisher)

Coffee Is Good For You by Robert J. Davis

A guest post from Sharon:

Which of these statements are true?

  • Genetically modified foods are harmful
  • Aspartame is unsafe
  • High-fructose corn syrup is worse for you than sugar

If you said none of the above, you are correct!

But if you’re in the majority of people who are both angry and frustrated with conflicting health information, Robert Davis steps in here to help.

The introduction of his book, Coffee Is Good For You, breaks down why there’s so much confusion as to what is good or bad for you, then goes on to explain how the scientific method fits into nutrition studies. For example, different kinds of studies are more reliable than others, and you should always look at who’s funding the studies, and whether or not they had any say as to what goes on in them. A lot of people skip over the introduction of most books, but this one is definitely worth your time!

After the introduction, we get to the meat of the book. Each chapter is divided into categories of nutrition claims (fats, sugars, diets, etc), then broken down further into a specific claim, which is marked as yes, no, half-true or inconclusive, followed by the findings of pertinent studies. If this all sounds very dry, don’t worry: Davis is extremely good at dropping bits of trivia and humor to keep you interested in what’s being said.

Once you’ve read Coffee Is Good For You, just make sure you can soften your know-it-all response of, “Actually…” when someone inevitably recites scraps of flawed information.

Frugal Librarian #41: Vitaminimalist

The most expensive multivitamin is the better one, because the price reflects a company with more stringent quality controls, right?  Not at all.  But the cheaper ones aren’t any good either, right?  Wrong again.  Some of them are stellar.  Some.

It turns out there is pretty much no correlation between cost and quality, from a few cents per dose to some over fifty cents a pill.  Some don’t have the the advertised  RDA of certain vitamins.  Some have unhealthful contaminates.  Some are of such low quality they don’t disintegrate properly, rendering them ineffective.

So, just don’t take vitamins then?  Also, a bad idea.  Read the results of this experiment and buy the cheapest with a passing score.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The month is promoted by a coalition of national nonprofit organizations, professional medical associations and government agencies, with the purpose of raising breast cancer awareness, sharing information and providing screening services.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death (after lung cancer) in women; more than 170,000 women will be diagnosed and more than 40,000 women will die from the disease this year. It is estimated that 2 million women living in the United States today have been treated for breast cancer.

Besides a healthy lifestyle and early detection through regular exams, the best way to fight breast cancer is to educate yourself. If you or someone you know has fought or is fighting the disease, the Davenport Library has many books that may be helpful including:

Breast Cancer: the complete guide by Yashar Hirshaut

The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: the script you need to take control of your health by Dede Bonner

After the Cure: the untold stories of breast cancer survivors by Emily Abel

Cancer is a Bitch or, I’d Rather by Having a Midlife Crisis by Gail Konop Baker

Pretty is What Changes: impossible choices, the breast cancer gene and how I defied my destiny by Jessica Queller

Choices in Breast Cancer Treatment: medical specialists and cancer survivors tell you what you need to know by Kenneth Miller