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VINE VOICEon October 26, 2003
If I could give this book 10,000 stars I would. This book is absolutely incredible! Some points:
- This book is HUGE!! 750 pages full of information (I was surprised I didn't have to pay much more for it -- for the amount of info this books contains, I would have easily expected to pay at least twice what it costs!)
- Amazingly well-written!
- Takes no sides, gives you the facts in a clear, concise way
- Complete with theories of Chinese Medicine and descriptions of disease patterns and how to cure them
- Very up-to-date -- this book is not just about old remedies -- it discusses all the issues of the "modern westerner"
- Very well organized with an incredible index that you can use to find absolutely anything
- Lists more foods than you probably know of, as well as the characteristics and therapeutic uses of each
- Provides numerous recipes (though it's not meant to be a cookbook, I was surprised to find that it not only describes the foods, it tells you how to *use* them, how to *prepare* them, and even how to store them!)
If you are looking for a guide to foods that is modern and up-to-date, yet helds to the traditional premises, this is it!
This book made me think about what I've been eating and drinking (and I don't mean alcohol -- you'll find some eye-opening truths here about the water you drink, as well as what the meat, poultry, and eggs go through before they get to your fridge.)
This book made me become a vegan.
This book made me purify my water before I drink it.
This book made me a conscious citizen of the planet!
But don't worry -- there is NO preaching! If you are intent on eating meat -- fine! All the suggestions in this book provide for carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and everyone in between! It simply tells you te facts and allows you to think for yourself.
Thank you, Paul Pitchford, for putting together such an incredible book -- it's an immense achievment!
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VINE VOICEon February 22, 2009
I have fibromyalgia and got tired of doctors experimenting on me with drugs and other substances. The nutrition information out there is highly contradictory, and I wanted to find a way to eat and to live that would make me feel better but also be practical to do and make sense.

Pitchford presents his material in a logical and mostly easy-to-understand way. Drawing from Asian traditions (mostly Chinese medicine but also Ayervedic) with a wealth of supporting Western research, he goes from general to specific so that both those without medical training and those with can make good use of the book. It's far more than just "eat less refined food." If the end result is that you do so, you'll have gotten plenty of value for your purchase and the good news is that you'll want to. But Pitchford also presents much more information, and although the wealth of specifics pertaining to Chinese medicine were too much for me to understand and reconcile, his approaches to my general constitution type and specific medical complaints were very easy to understand and implement and what's best, they work.

Pitchford doesn't have a particular dietary axe to grind, other than the aforementioned elimination of refined foods. His recommended way to eat incorporates lots of whole grains and vegetables, but he doesn't advocate vegetarianism for everyone, nor does he present absolutes such as "you should never eat ______." He talks about easing into a new way of eating and makes it painless to achieve. I have shelves full of books on diet and health, but this is the only one I consider indispensable. I wish I'd started living my life this way before I started collapsing. Thankfully, I am well on my way back to a normal life, and I consider this book a large part of the reason why.
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on April 14, 2007
The author does a great job of covering a vast amount of information with a good amount of detail. The probem I have with this book is that it is extremely bias - it suggests or implies that one would/should ultimately aspire to Sattva ideals. Primarily a lacto-vegetarian diet that tries to eat one to two meals a day. This is simply not in the best interests of many people, certainly not children, teens, or most adults that are working in the real world. To imply it as an ideal - means that anything less than is inferior. It is also not in line with Traditional Chinese nutrition theory.

Furthermore, the food energy classifications are inconsistantly incorrect. He confuses or miscatagorizes many of the foods. Many of the foods he categorizes as cool are in fact warming and vis versa. Many writers that come from a macrobiotic background reverse Yin/Yang, Warm/Cool from that found in TCM however that does not seem to be the case here as the energetics are sometimes in agreement with classic TCM and other times not. A much more accurate catagorization of food energetics can be found in Daverick Leggett's books, Helping Ourselves and Recipes for Self-Healing.

That said if one really understand the asian energetics of food and has a strong sense of good nutrition the remainder of the information is valuable. However it should not be relied on for accurancy or used as a resource or required text in nutrition programs or acupuncture schools due to it's obvious bias and glaring inaccuracies.
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on April 25, 2005
This book is very thorough and comprehensive. The advice works, explaining to me things like how coffee, hot sauce, processed breakfast cereals, etc is bad for me. As a recovering alcoholic, this book has helped me self-diagnose myself with having an unhealthy liver, along with the steps to take for healing. You can't just buy this book and live to be 100 and/or stop getting sick, reading this book and applying it takes discipline and effort. Most all the foods you enjoy are the ones that are bad for you, and seeking out and preparing the healthiest foods is quite a chore. Being healthy is a prerequisite to being happy, and the best guidance on health ive found after much searching is certainly this book. Buy it.
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on August 2, 2006
This book was recommended to me by an accupuncturist who did a great job on my back. I found it contradictory and ultimately confusing to the point of being useless. Readers are encouraged to diagnose themselves as being damp or dry, warm or cold, with an interior or exterior issue, and with an excess or a deficiency. (There may be more categories, that's all I can remember now.) The main problem with the book is that if one is, say, both damp and cold (which Pitchford states is a common combination) then the dietary advice is contradictory. One chapter says to eat raw vegetables, the next says no. One says eat meat, the next says no. One says fruit, the next says no. One stresses brown rice, the next says very little brown rice. In addition, being too far along one axis is the same as being the opposite condition. If you just said "Huh??" then get used to it if you order this book.

Lastly, the big puzzle to me in reading all these 5 star reviews is that not one person (unless there is a review I missed) discusses how their health was improved, how they lost weight, anything! Isn't that really the proof of a book on dietary recommendations?

Bottom line: eat whole foods, not processed, organic if possible, and a variety of produce, whole grains, and small portions of lean meat. I just saved you 700+ pages of reading and $30-something. And you're welcome.
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on November 3, 2011
My mail person commented on the weight of this huge book as she struggled to carry it in her pouch to my door. At over 700 pages, this book should be purchased in the hard-cover edition. This edition actually weighs less than the soft-cover book. This is a work covering everything you ever wanted to know about using whole foods to cure anything that ails you, preventing diseases from starting, even using the fung shui system to classify foods. You can read this book from cover to cover, or pick a chapter of immediate interest. I will use this book for years to come as a reference book on all sorts of topics. I found a section near the end of the book on why root canals are not the option one should choose to repair a tooth. I wish I knew that many years ago. To learn how to eat properly, how to choose the foods you want to eat, and how to keep one's body in good health, are all reasons to buy this book. The vendor is swift to get the book to you in excellent condition. All in all, one of the best books I have ever purchased. It was suggested to me as a book to buy in a nutrition course I am taking at this time.
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on October 19, 2005
A truly wonderful reference book for almost anything to do with health. If you need to know what body constitution you are - which elements are out of balance and what to do about it - how to look for, avoid, treat and cook for certain imbalances - it's all here in one book. Amazing.

The recipes are easy to follow and delicious! The information on general health issues astounding. I was pleasantly surprised to even see information on IP6 and MGN 3 - two groundbreaking treatments for immune system dysfunction and cancer.

If you don't have a health problem, buy this book to assist in staying that way. If you do have a health problem - this is a priceless gem.
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on January 11, 2007
it would be Paul Pitchford's Healing with Whole Foods. I use it constantly. I have been reading it for the last 2 years, and every time I pick it up I find something more interesting about food and health.

I have bought 5 copies of this book for friends because it is so life changing and fantastic if you are looking to make a dietary change from the Standard American Diet (SAD), if you want to incorporate more whole foods into your diet, or if you are looking to better understand the realationship between your diet and your health.

In addition to the being the most comprehensive reference book on the specfic healing characteristics for whole foods, it also contains delightful inspiration and discusses things like vibrational cooking, and how different methods of cooking impart certain energies to the dish. It is also a huge VEGAN recipe book!

This book revolutionized the way i think about food. My health and well being has never been better, I am cooking more and with greater pleasure, and my diet has never been healthier and more attuned to my needs.
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on November 23, 2009
Its obvious the facts are well thought out and presented about the importance of a balanced diet of whole foods at its natural state, and body type awareness. There is enough knowledge here to fill nearly every page without the use of meaningless commentary. The author explores subjects carefully, including TCM, while giving enough facts to be careful of suggesting that someone treat their own serious disorder. As this requires a qualified Dr. there is enough here to build interest to look further into many of the subjects the book covers.

The one reason I could not give this book a solid 5 stars is the authors incessant comparisons between American, specifically, and Chinese diets, which at times makes this book frusterating to read. There is an aire of superiority to his words at times and it comes off as the all too familiar native rejecting their own culture and over induldging, an artificial zealous embrace of another. As if the Chinese diet is everyones savior. He sometimes, nearly at best, distinguishes between ancient rural diets and the modern Chinese diet; he faintly hints at the changing society and eating habits in China. Also doesnt mention the state of poverty in much of China in ancient times and the necessity to farm nor does he mention many other diets of the world or specify that he is speaking of monastic life rather than rural famine but gives an overall "this is the best diet ever, everyone elses is terrible". With all that is written about the traditional rural diet, I sense other facts were ommited that while not important to this book, he seems to want to almost cover them up. For instance there is no mentione of the lines around corners for Pizza Hut in china, while not important, dont act like the Chinese have flawless diets. Diets aside, when it comes down to food itself and whats in it and whats happening, hes very detailed.

I am a student of qi gong and TCM, studied medicine and Taoist practices with a priest in a Beijing monastery and Ive spent time in china in the city, monasteries, and rural areas. Ive always eaten well but this book helped me gain a much deeper understanding to foods I am already eating, and enhanced my consciousness.
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on August 20, 2004
This is a great book whichs contains a lot of concrete advice. There are are many dietary suggestions for a wide range of ailments and one does not need to have any background in Taoism or Ayurvedic foods to use the book. One of the most important points is repeated often: reduce consumption!

One can learn a great deal in a number of areas from reading the book including basic nutrition, the afore-mentioned traditions, and food preparation. Hihgly recommended.
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