Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Books worth Reading - Book Reviews

Here are a few books I read, that are worth reading. I will elaborate more as you read on. Keep in mind, that the order I write them in is important, so read the whole thing like it’s a review of a collection of works. It seems like each book came to me at the right moment, step by step developing a broad story. In the end of this book reviews, you will find a link to an additional article that takes the knowledge you can derive from reading these books and makes sense out of it all in the hopes to explain a high enlightening notion of mechanisms of health by natural design.

  • Omnivore's Dilemma - by Micheal Pollan
  • Gut and Psychology Syndrome - by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride
  • Full Moon Feast - by Jessica Prentice
  • Earthing - by Clinton Ober, Dr. Stephan Sinatra and Micheal Zuker

Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

Omnivore's Dilemma is an extensive investigation by journalist Micheal Pollan, who describes western society's close relationship with corn. How corn depends on human hands to survive, and how our industry today is based upon corn's overabundant farming to supposedly feed the nation. Micheal goes on a journey to track down the simple fast food staple found in a Burger at MacDonald, by going to see the farms that drove the animals off the land in order to supply an excessive amount of corn, that ends up largely consumed by the animals that were driven off the land and placed instead in a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO).

In his meticulous investigations, Micheal describes the huge change in US policies that propels farms to lose their farming security and convert their operations into supplying excessive amounts of corn. This change in policy dragged many farmers into a mode of survival from season to season. There is a hunting description of the sites where the corn is gathered and the operations that hold thousands of livestock in conditions far from humane.

Nutrition isn't the concern in this book, but rather the history, advancement in technology and the practicing policies of the western civilization. The book moves on to another section, devoted to Michael's personal involvement in helping a grass farmer named Joel Salatin in his extraordinary farming design based on mimicking patterns in nature. Joel Salatin describes it as Beyond Organic, as a practice of maintaining a rhythm and cycle of growing grass as the main focus and administering livestock and poultry at the right time. Michael describes a week long adventure on Polyface farm in Virginia, and has the opportunity to supply juicy quotes from Joel Salatin and the intimate interaction with the meat that comes out of that farm.

In the Third and last section, Michael goes on an adventure of intimate explorations of a hunter and gatherer, as far as he could experience in the Bay Area and California wilderness. He debates the issue of hunting and gathering, supplying a wealth of quotes from poets and renowned writers on the subject. He makes friends with people knowledgeable in hunting and gathering, and makes his personal hunt come true and an unforgettable foraging adventure after wild and exotic mushrooms. In the end he cooks up a full meal in recognition for his efforts and gratitude for the chance to explore and share with the readers in his book.

After reading his book, the Omnivore's Dilemma, I developed a huge appreciation for his work. Micheal Pollan describes and debates an Omnivore's dilemma in western civilization. Without his work, one cannot fathom how brutal western policies are and how it has driven the healthy image of a farm far far from what it traditionally was and is pictured in most of our imaginations. Thanks to him, one can gather real information on the options a human being faces, whether to drive animals off the land and conform to a brutal governmental policy, or become a land orchestrator, with the heart and knowledge of mimicking nature as to supply a more harmonious rhythm to meat production, or take it a huge step backward in human evolution and instead just hunt for meat and gather mushrooms.

The bottom line is, you have many options to choose from, and they are equally accessible. It might only be a matter of personal education and at the disposal of those who own the skills that essentially make a way of life approachable.

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Her first edition published in 1988, the book I read was the 7th edition, and somewhat up-to-date on the science relating to nutritional knowledge. The book has a clear and undeniable connection between the health of the digestive tract and chronic illnesses, specifically psychological ones. The main focus of the book is understanding digestion processes, the overwhelming connection between poor diet and the development of an imbalance in gut bacterial populations, and the best part is the in-depth guide into a protocol the doctor has developed, that has successfully sealed and healed the gut of many Autistic, Schizophrenic and Psychotic children and adults and improved their lives greatly.

The book is as simple as a guide designed to restore digestive health by eliminating carbohydrate rich food, and implementing a more traditional diet based upon meat and vegetable stocks, fermented food (primarily sauerkraut, but also yogurt and sourdough) and much more. Because the gut is home to thousands of different bacterial species and sub-species, the undeniable truth that “food controls the population” gets a deeper meaning, largely related to our personal responsibility to the state of our health. Though, due to growing psychological disorders in children, the parents are liable to the child’s health resulting from the toxic environment that their bodies are exposed to on a meal to meal basis while growing up in western civilization.

Dr. Natasha exposes you to the effect of sugar consumption. Due to sugar being an easy source of food for opportunistic bacteria (those who tend to develop a pathogenic expression), those grow in numbers and outnumber the probiotic bacteria (symbiotic and life giving bacteria). Consuming sugar, from sweets and processed foods (like bread and pasta), causes these bad bacteria to secrete toxins, that damage the gut wall and severely impair digestion of proteins and fats. She introduces the opiate-derivatives from gluten (gliadorphin) and milk (beta-casomorphin-7), as being an issue of improper digestion by intestinal enzymes due to damage done by bad bacteria to the cells that secrete them. The combination of a damaged gut wall (leaky gut) and opiate-derivatives due to incomplete digestion leads to exposure of the brain to toxins, that leave the child’s immune system impaired and cognitive growth is disrupted.

She essentially leads the reader into an understanding that digestion can be improved by adhering to beneficial food sources and specifically the introduction of probiotic food. Those good bacteria improve in population on the diet she guides you into adopting, which rewards you with a healthier gut and complete digestion. The idea is to replace the dominating populations that are not beneficial for you, with populations that are beneficial for the cells environment. This is a protocol that lasts from a year to two years, and starts with eliminating a lot of food choices from your meals and gradually adding more choices over time in a process that verifies your bodies tolerance to these foods.

I was impressed by the wealth of knowledge she shares, and in particular the depth in guiding the reader into practicing a diet for themselves or for another, as a therapy. She strongly suggests those who are planning on having a baby, to start the process by amending their own personal diet, as the baby inherits the bacterial population from the mother at birth and through the parents eating habits. With proper nutritional habits implemented prior to the baby’s conception you can assure a smooth pregnancy and a healthy delivery. With proper probiotic balance, the child will develop a strong immune system and will have a smooth transition into solid food. She describes many cases of Autistic children that were suffering language and school setbacks to have regained learning capabilities and in many of these cases these children were able to reverse the symptoms of these syndromes to undetectable levels.

Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice

Stumbling on this book is a blessing, as the author of this collection of traditional wisdom's imparts on the reader a comprehension of health from a traditional perspective on nutrition, as simple as a yearly lunar cycle.

Jessica Prentice loves food and her personal journey of illnesses drove her to deal with health and nutrition from an early age. Her cooking skills are evident between each chapter that follows an in-depth conversation on a particular lunar cycle. You will find after each chapter an accompanying collection of recipes associated with that particular cycle of the moon. What makes sense in this book is the abstractness of a lunar cycle and its connection to our traditional lifestyle following the changes in seasonal availability of major staple foods. She begins with the Hunger Moon, which is devoted to the time of year that scarcity is everywhere and accepted, in the spirit of celebrating and appreciating the lack of abundance before nature restores its resources. Scarcity exists and the awareness and endeavor through such a moon period imparts a deeper connection of spirit to the forces of nature and it’s governance over life and its cycles.

What follows are moons devoted to significant abundances throughout the year. Like the Sap Moon, that discusses syrup production from maple trees and many other trees, and the traditional process of cooking the sap down into sugar. Every chapter you will find the author quoting texts from traditional sources, like stories from indigenous tribes that practices a similar activity around that time and how they found nourishment from nature by following this intimate rhythm. Other moon cycles worth mentioning are the Egg Moon, that discusses the correlation between different cultures and their celebration of a moon full of egg production, like Easter. Or the moon of producing fat, since livestock is kept traditionally and helped cultures survive with its many gifts, you find that cultures would cherish fat as a storage food for time of scarcity.

The main drive of the book is to restore your connection to food, because the author found health and healing from connecting with food. In a world where fast food and processed food is convenient, many suffer digestion problems and lack the knowledge of preparing their own meals let alone comprehend their seasonal availability and importance. Real food heals those that intimately interact with it, which form a personal bond of spirit to spirit. As all food is alive, the ultimate understanding of “Living takes life”, whether a life of a plant or a life of an animal, a connection to the cycles of life and death is discussed. Not in order to convert plant-base eaters into omnivores, but in order to look at the sacredness of life as it goes past our lives and truly nourishes us.

I greatly cherish this collection of insightful descriptions of traditional wisdom and forgotten practices. To fathom the notion that Honeymoon originates as a moon cycle, when newlyweds would consume only raw honey in order to increase their fertility, pulls you back into wondering how honey was once understood as truly nourishing. Real honey, which is unprocessed, meaning not heated and not filtered, can supply all the amino acids the body requires as well as many nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. It’s only when you process it that you lose the nourishing effect of honey, and all you are left with is sugar.

I highly recommend reading Full Moon Feast, as it really is dedicated for health by learning about the traditional way of life prior to the industrial age. Most of us have not inherited good eating habits and cooking skills due to the fast pace of western civilization, and thus we suffer from digestive problems due to processed foods found abundantly around us year in and year out. Scarcity is not any issue anymore, so it becomes convenient to order online a hamburger, which we have no idea where it came from, how many animals are in that one burger and how far it had to travel.

Earthing by Clinton Ober, Dr. Stephan Sinatra and Martin Zucker

Is this the most important health discovery ever? After reading this book I understood our connection to nature on a whole different scale. Earthing, called also Grounding, is the simple act of exposing your bare feet to the earth’s soil. This helps discharge the static buildup in your body, that harms internal hardware (like the mitochondria), and allows the flooding of all your tissues and organs body-wide with simple antioxidants – namely, electrons.

This book was written as a simple introduction into the science of antioxidant replenishment through discovering your true connection, physiologically speaking, with the planet you are living on. It delves into the main issue of illnesses, as it is reflected by scientific journals, called inflammation, and how half an hour of exposure to these ground currents turns all inflammation body-wide just like water to fire.

The book begins with Clinton Ober telling his personal life story of discovering the healing effects and his personal desire to share it with anyone in his path. He didn’t have much of a scientific background, but that didn’t stop him from conducting the first studies that clearly demonstrate an improvement in people who connected to this stream of free electrons. He later got involved with Dr. Sinatra, a cardiologist who clinically understood the hearts electrical nature, and had conducted many more studies that improve the literature on the subject of Earthing.

Personally, I had been grounding for a while prior to reading the book because of learning about the benefits of Earthing from investigating it online. Though, I found that I have a personal account on the efficacy of Earthing. I had found it gave me a lot of energy and my abilities to sleep were smooth. At some point I started neglecting to ground myself, and I noticed digestion problems, sleep problems, muscle stiffness and fatigue throughout my day. Even eating a full meal, that once gave me lots of energy to keep on working, had me feeling unable to tap into that available energy. I also experienced an inability to maintain the unconditional love and joy that lifts my chest up high and my spirits with it. Once I figured I hadn’t been grounding, I went back to doing so and all these problems vanished.

The book has a comprehensive feedback section, and what I deduced from it is that it helps a lot of people with a lot of problems. Severe problems, like chronic illnesses, to simple problems, like a deep cut to the skin. What I noticed was a recurring reaction, which as soon as these people ground themselves, within an hour a major portion of their pain, resulting from the inflammation, subsides. However, it has been also reported, that as soon as they disconnected from the ground or had forgotten to do so for even one night, the pain would return. Therefore, I concluded that Earthing is a major painkiller and an inflammation resolver.

It has an important role in shutting down inflammation in the body, allowing cells to switch the genes associated with healing and repair. This is crucial for the healing process to begin, however the return of the inflammation shows me that a deeper issue must be resolved, and it could be related to nutrition of some sort. Whether physical nutrition, mental nutrition or emotional nutrition, it really depends on a personal level. The Earth, is seems, sets up the stage and platform for healing to occur, but then it really is up to that person to amend his lifestyle. Personally, I would love to walk barefoot as a lifestyle, wouldn’t you?

In the book you will find visual evidence of the effect of Earthing. From thermal imaging to microscopic images of red blood cells, the effect is clear enough on camera to develop a personal belief that this simple act of Earthing is more than a miracle, but more like an evolutionary benefit of life on a planet. What Dr. Sinatra emphasizes is the drastic change, within 30 minutes, of many biomarkers of health body-wide, that he calls for rewriting physiological text books. I would agree, as this entire chase after antioxidants is a foot away, and all it takes is redesigning footwear, floors and mattresses to complement this connection we require from the ground. Thus, we could build our health from the ground up (as Dr. Sinatra loves to say).


Now, these reviews are there to share the gist of what the authors share with the reader. Of course, a more detail analysis is required to get a more complete picture of all these elements and of more elements that can be derived from prior investigations I made into nutrition.

In the following article, you will find an in-depth connection between the knowledge you can infer from these books and hopefully you will acquire tools that will take you in a path of self-recovery from the diseases of civilization.

The Bacterial Entity and the Hunger for Connection

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