I know it is the worst cliché, but it really fits here and nothing else quite does. This book, Deep Nutrition, by Cate and Luke Shanahan, is a life-changing book.
It’s a lot of other things, too. For instance, it is a fascinating and informative review of the work of Weston Price, an American dentist who became convinced that the modern American diet was, as the Surgeon General used to say about cigarettes, hazardous to your health.
Price’s travels are rather exotic and interesting, just as travelogues, and make a great case for the notion that the modern western way of eating seriously undermines human health. Shanahan’s experience mirrored Price’s. Shanahan, an MD, practiced for years in Hawaii and observed that the health of each succeeding generation that she treated declined. Grandma, who had grown up and lived on the traditional Polynesian diet, generally had good health. Mom, who had switched to Rice Crispies, Crisco and Coca-Cola in her lifetime, not quite so healthy. Daughter, who was raised on processed foods, had all sorts of health problems – facial deformities, crooked teeth and the like – that the preceding generations had not known.
Shanahan concluded the obvious from her own observation and looked to the research of Weston Price for validation. It was there.
The book is also educational on a scientific level. There is a great deal of exposition about the science of epigenetics – the idea that you and I, through our diets, lifestyle and mode of thought, can actually affect the structure of our genes. In other words, we are not simply stuck with the hand we’ve been dealt, but can turn on our gene expression to give ourselves better odds against those diseases we are told are simply dependent on what we’ve inherited. Diseases like cancer and heart disease and dementia.
Shanahan makes a compelling case for the notion that biological health and physical beauty are related. That idea is pretty intuitive to me, but it is very interesting to see it fully discussed and expounded in this book.
The book is also a wealth of information about traditional diets in long-surviving cultures throughout the world. Cultures based on thousands of years of collected wisdom about many things, food included.
Finally, and most importantly, this book is a self-help book. It tells you the basics, the fundamentals of healthy eating, as proven in the vigor of traditional cultures. I won’t recount the elements here, I don’t want to steal Shanahan’s thunder. But I will say that we have more or less adopted this kind of eating/cooking in our household and the results have been amazing. Lost weight in the places we wanted to lose it. Better sleep. Triglyceride counts are way, way down. Cholesterol ratios now are outstanding. No more headaches. It goes on and on.
Another aspect of this book is this – it explains that everything we’ve been told (fed) about diet by the advertisers and the government is just dead wrong. The “experts” are not telling the truth, they are marketing for the interests who are paying them. Sound familiar?
If you are suffering from the effects of a modern diet – and if you are eating a modern diet, you are suffering, believe me – you should read this very satisfying and informative book.