It took me much longer than normal to get through this book, because I kept getting overwhelmed by all the information, and tired of the alarmist attitude, so I’d shut it off and come back to the next day. Or the day after that. Funny, the subtitle has changed with a reprint- other covers I see online say Healthy Food, Healthy Gut, Happy Child. I thought it was going to be mostly about gardening, or sourcing organic food. There is some of that, but mostly it came across to me as a huge long list of things to avoid. Pesticides, GMOs, additives, airborne toxins, plastics, pasteurized milk, non-organic produce, processed anything and so on. It also feels repetitive, for all the length it should have gone into far more detail on certain things. For example, she talks about how wheat is not the same as it used to be, with no mention of how the protein structure has changed through genetic breeding, just how roundup is in the soil and pesticides on the plants. (I don’t think that’s what gluten-intolerant people are reacting to?) I felt like a lot of stuff was just mentioned and just skipped right over, leaving the reader with questions.
She makes it sound like you should only eat things you grew with your own two hands, drink milk straight from the cow, and have eggs from your own backyard-ranging chickens. But obviously most people can’t. What about the rest of us. I have a garden and I don’t even grow half of the fresh food we eat, not even in the middle of the harvest season. I have no way to keep chickens, meat rabbits, goats or a cow. For a while my husband and I bought our meat from a local farm that did its own butchering- it was an hour’s drive away and closed when the pandemic started. We haven’t been able to go back since.
The book feels entirely written from the standpoint of being a parent and helping your child have better overall health. At the end there’s chapters about encouraging your kids to try new foods when you switch to healthier options, how important togetherness at the dinner table is, and how to get kids involved in choosing healthy food and preparing it. Personally I could relate to that, though most of the ideas were not new to me: getting outside is good for you, exposure to some dirt is beneficial, buy the freshest produce possible, etc. On the other hand, quite a few of the food items the author praised for health benefits were new to me. Never heard of salmon candy before!
But the main issue I have with this book is the things I find alarming, or outright disagree with. The book says more than once, that childhood exposure to diseases like mumps and measles helps train your immune system so it doesn’t overreact to other things later on. Also makes vague negative remarks about vaccines, which made me uncomfortable (I strongly feel that children should be vaccinated). While I agree that drinking certain teas can boost your immune system and walking through the woods lift your mood, I am personally skeptical about the benefits of burning sage in your house or “earthing” (also called “grounding”) which just means coming into physical contact with the ground- because apparently your body can absorb electrical charges from the Earth. Really? Never heard of this before. I’m open to learning new things, but a bit too much about this book struck me as a bit out there. Plus the author seems to think that autism, attention deficit disorders and other neurological issues can be remedied by changing diet alone. Another concept I’m skeptical about.
I find it really hard to think critically about this book, because I shouldn’t judge it on the fact that I disagree with the author on some points. And I’m so overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of things it tells me are bad (bottle water, sunscreen, vaccines, cereal bars, tuna fish etc etc) I can’t objectively view the way it’s written at all. Except to note: a lot of alarmist tone, and not much solid information that makes me feel sure I’m reading real facts.
Borrowed from the public library, as an audiobook. Read aloud by Marguerite Gavin, 11.5 hours