Foods, Genes & Culture

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This is an elegantly written and thought-provoking book about food authenticity, passing down food traditions from one generation to the next and why one diet does not it all. Every diet (vegan, paleo or whatever else) seems to promise a one-size-fits-all solution to health.

In Food, Genes, and Culture, renowned ethnobotanist Gary Nabhan shows why the perfect diet for one person could be disastrous for another. If your ancestors were herders in Northern Europe, milk might well provide you with important nutrients, whereas if you're Native American, you have a higher likelihood of lactose intolerance. If your roots lie in the Greek islands, the acclaimed Mediterranean diet might save your heart; if not, all that olive oil could just give you stomach cramps.

Nabhan traces food traditions around the world, from Bali to Mexico, uncovering the links between ancestry and individual responses to food. The implications go well beyond personal taste. Today's widespread mismatch between diet and genes is leading to serious health conditions, including a dramatic growth over the last 50 years in auto-immune and inflammatory diseases.Last not least, Nabhan shows some beautiful case studies of broken societies that were reconnected by them reconnecting back to their authentic diets, to their lands and their traditions—significantly boosting happiness, meaning and overall well-being.

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Salt, A World History

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Mark Kurlansky is a fascinating author who can take any subject, research it as how it relates to the rest of the world in history—and then write a thrilling book about it.

Salt, the only rock we eat, has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. A substance so valuable it served as currency, salt has influenced the establishment of trade routes and cities, provoked and financed wars, secured empires, and inspired revolutions. Populated by colorful characters and filled with an unending series of fascinating details, Salt by Mark Kurlansky is a supremely entertaining, multi-layered masterpiece.

It's one of those books that comes with maps and recipes (how can you resist that?); it's hard to put down but luckily, the almost 500 page epic keeps you going for a while. It's entertaining, educational and full of wonder and inspiration.

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The Art of Fermentation

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When I met Sandor Katz at a fermentation workshop in Santa Cruz, I was in for a rare treat. Sandor, a born-and-bred New Yorker, diagnosed with a serious auto-immune disease, relocated to a farm in Tennessee and became focused on trying to figure out what to do with farming surpluses. Researching what our ancestors did with extra veggies after harvest, he learned about fermentation. Not only has he now become the global expert on it, he is the picture of health which he attributes to hos regular diet of eating his ferments. This book is about culture (the people) as much as it is about culture (the ferments). Beautifully written, the contents touch all perspectives and for every level of interest: the chef, the historian, the anthropologist and the homemaker.

Winner of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Reference and Scholarship, and a New York Times bestseller, The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.

While Katz expertly contextualizes fermentation in terms of biological and cultural evolution, health and nutrition, and even economics, this is primarily a compendium of practical information—how the processes work; parameters for safety; techniques for effective preservation; troubleshooting; and more.

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Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You

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The theory in this book is that most people have too little stomach acid and that antacids not only do not help you but they make the problem much worse. This book is a fascinating quick read and so very helpful for anyone who may be suffering heartburn, acid reflux, GERD—and food allergies. Dr. Wright exposes how the medical profession treats the problem of a little bit of stomach acid in the wrong place (your esophagus) by almost completely neutralizing your stomach acid with powerful drugs. But without stomach acid, you can't absorb nutrients properly, and you can't prevent bacteria growth in your stomach!In my experience, about 90% of my clients suffer from some sort of stomach acid insufficiency. The author, Dr. Jonathan V. Wright, is a Harvard University and University of Michigan graduate. He is also a forerunner in research and application of natural treatments for healthy aging and illness. They should not only teach this in grade school but also in med school!

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The ABC's of Lemon

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To some people, a lemon is just some bitter fruit best used as a drink garnish or to make the occasional pitcher of lemonade. Those people are missing out on a ton of uses for these amazing globes of sunshiny goodness, and it is high time that lemons get their due. You may have heard a lot of buzz about drinking lemon juice and water at the start of each day and why that is awesome. Yes, this book will tell you why that is awesome but it will tell you a ton more information about lemons from tips to clean every room of your house to ways to use lemons for better health. Shockingly enough you are also going to learn some tried and true beauty tricks with lemons. There really is no limit to what these things can do!

By the time you are finished reading this book (maybe even before then), you are going to want to go out and grab some lemons. You might even consider growing lemon trees just because of the amazing benefits that you will get from lemons. There is a benefit from every single aspect of these fruits, from the peel to the juice and the inner fruit. Nothing will ever go to waste!

Here is a preview of what you will learn from this book:

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The Wahls Protocol

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When meeting vibrant Terry Wahls M.D. at the recent Nutritional Therapy Conference in Vancouver, Washington, I could have never imagined that, just a few years ago, she was wheelchair bound with no hope for recovery. Diagnose with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an auto-immune disease, Wahls knew that her brain needed significant amounts of nutrients and she was not getting nutrients from her diet or her supplements. She subsequently turned away from pills and supplements to functional medicine and an extremely nutrient-rich gluten-free and dairy-free paleo diet with a colorful dietary daily prescription of fresh, nutrient-dense foods. Within a year she was out of her wheelchair and doing 18-mile bike rides!

Her TEDx Talk below is well worth watching and her book, The Wahls Protocoll, an inspiration and solution for many. The best thing is, she literally MAKES you eat so much delicious foods that there is no room for junk: nine daily cups of vegetables and colorful fruits like berries, grass-fed and wild meats and fish, coconut cream, fermented foods, bone broth and other superfoods like turmeric. 

Read more on Terry Wahls, M.D. website.

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The Paleo Approach Book & Cookbook

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Auto-Immune diseases are everywhere: Rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Lupus, IBD, Type 1 Diabetes, Graves' Disease and Hashimoto's, just to name a few. When your immune system attacks your own body, medicine is often at a complete loss. We can do a lot with food, but the dietary regimen sounds grim: no grains of any kind, no dairy, no nightshades, no processed foods, minimal sweeteners and fruit and no legumes, nuts or seeds. What's left to eat?

Sarah Ballentyne's Paleo Approach Book and Cookbook (these are 2 books) focus on all the foods you actually can eat rather than on foods you cannot. The recipes in this book are incredibly satisfying, tasty an well-thought out. My favorite cracker these days is Sarah's Plantain Cracker and if you think it's impossible to create spareribs without tomato and spices, think again. My husband, as probably most husbands, is a connoisseur of spareribs (the stickier the better!), but he gave Sarah's recipe the ultimate approval with his comment "these are the best ribs I ever had!"

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