on November 29, 2009
In his new book Jimmy presents 21 "life lessons" he has learned from livin' la vida low-carb. It all started when he lost about 200 pounds on a low carb diet. Since then he has become an informed blogger and enlightened voice of this way of eating.
He talks about his personal experiences, provides lessons from the medical literature and even recounts his own brother's death from symptoms related to morbid obesity. While you may not agree with his conclusions you can't argue with his heartfelt sincerity and soulful delivery. He even depicts in a humorous manner how he snared a role in a George Clooney film as a doorman. He even had a shot at a talking role!
The topics range from pediatric obesity to metabolism and even touch on cancer and memory loss. He quotes from the experts including author Gary Taubes, Dr. Eric Westman and Dr. Richard Feinman. Each topic has lessons illustrated with appropriate medical references which are presented in an easily readable manner.
He assumes the reader is familiar with low carb eating and spends more time discussing the health ramifications associated with this lifestyle although what he says is most important is that whatever diet is chosen be followed carefully. He acknowleges that there are different diets for different people although it is clear where his loyalties lie.
He even provides dramatic insights in his recollection of Heidi Diaz and the infamous Kimkins diet ... interesting reading to say the least.
So, whether you are an old hand at low carb or are looking to test the waters, Jimmy provides an interesting and compelling ride. Five stars!
on January 21, 2010
For most of my life, I've struggled with various eating disorders (sugar addiction, bulimia and compulsive overeating.) I'm sugar sensitive - someone whose body reacts to sugar like a toxic drug. Sugar triggers a reaction in my body that makes me crave more and more and more.
When I eat a low sugar diet it's like turning off the switch to binge in my brain. And yet I've often gone off this way of eating for several reasons - I feel deprived or I want to eat like a "normal" person and eat whatever I want. When I go off my eating plan, I go right back into the compulsive overeating.
Enter Jimmy's book. What Jimmy's book and podcast have done is given me support to stick with a low sugar diet, as unconventional as it may be. His passion for low carb living is evident. Let his story guide you into a space of trust - where you listen to your own body to uncover what works for you.
on November 21, 2009
This is a great mindset shift to help you get out of the "going on a diet" mentality, and into the "I'm in a new, healthy, low-carb lifestyle and I want to live this way for the rest of my life because I want to be back into my high school clothes and stay in them + I want to feel great every day and to prevent cancer and heart disease."
If you've tried low carb and gradually found the carbs going back into your mouth, and then back on your butt or gut, this book will help you to get the kind of mindset that will allow you to keep the grea energy and weight-loss results that you can get from a low-carb lifestyle. Jimy goes through all of the major hang-ups that people have an obliterated them one-by-one.
One of the most difficult things about living low-carb is the poorly informed opinions of others. Everyone tells you that you're going to get gout or plop over from a heart attack because of all the saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Here's the thing about all that - NOT TRUE. We've spent billions searching for proof and there has been none to find. Jimmy breaks down everything and arms you with a psychological defense to the great mass of misinformation that passes for health advice.
This book will help you get rid of your low-carb hang-ups and live the life you've always wanted in the healthy and energetic body that you deserve.
on April 6, 2010
Okay, so you should know that my review is biased.
Like Jimmy, I have become obsessed with "Livin' La Vida Low Carb" to the point that my family has banned me from talking about carbohydrates, particularly at dinner.
Also, Jimmy has personally been exceedingly generous to me as I have built out my own website on low carb diet science.
So when I cracked open his book, I was rooting for him. I wanted a homerun.
Verdict? He hit it out of the park. Beyond my inflated expectations. Here's why:
1. Jimmy has walked the walk.
On December 31, 2003, Jimmy weighed well over 400 pounds. As his 2004 New Year's resolution, he decided to try the Atkins diet and stick with it. One year later, he had dropped over 180 pounds. That's more than many people weigh! Since then, he has kept the weight off. In a world in which something like 95 percent of dieters fail long term, his success story stands out and demands attention. Obviously he's done something different.
2. Jimmy talks the talk.
Jimmy is not a doctor or a nutritionist, but he has educated himself brilliantly, and his scholarship is apparent on every page here.
3. Great for newbies.
Diet science can make for snoozy reading. But Jimmy has broken it down easy. His style mixes confessions, anecdotes, and research.
4. Reinforcement for low-carb veterans.
Are you a low-carb fanatic, like me? Jimmy's book will reinforce a lot of what you know AND turn you on to things you didn't know about low carb.
5. A breezy read and a big reference.
Look out, folks, the book is nearly 500 pages! At first glance, I was like, yikes, how am I ever going to finish this? But Jimmy is a graceful and cheerful host. This is both a page-turner and a handy reference. You need not consume it all at once.
6. Jimmy is funny.
Jimmy's take on the different fad diets out there had me laughing out loud. And his Southern-flavored gosh-gollyisms often make for withering retorts to critics.
7. Lots of good science in here.
For instance, Jimmy's Lesson #2 ("Most cholesterol tests by your doctor are virtually meaningless") is a great weapon if you ever get into a debate about cholesterol with a physician or neighbor.
8. Debunks criticism of the low-carb diet at length.
In Lesson #19 ("You can't always believe the negative studies on low carb"), Jimmy deconstructs a lot of nonsense out there, and he does so in a non-technical way.
9. Jimmy is not selling any diet plan or program.
There is no "angle" with Jimmy. He just wants to get good information to the public. Agree or disagree with him. Fine. But trust that he is sincere and transparent in his intent.
10. Jimmy is a godfather of the online low-carb diet movement.
Jimmy has interviewed practically all the top low-carb experts and even some of the biggest critics of the low-carb diet (e.g. Dr. Dean Ornish). His podcast is star-studded, and he's beloved by respected figures in the low-carb community.
11. Original quotes and interviews from leaders in the field.
Hot fresh quotes and original comments from the likes of Dr. Jonny Bowden, Dr. Richard Feinman, Dr. Jeff Volek, Dr. Mary C. Vernon, Gary Taubes, Dr. Nathan Eliason, and literally dozens more low carb luminaries.
12. Jimmy is humble.
This book is non-didactic. Sure, it explores the science and reality of low-carb living, about which Jimmy clearly has strong opinions. But Jimmy doesn't claim to have solved all the mysteries of diet and nutrition. His brand of humility is refreshing in a world where seemingly everyone claims to have the answers prepackaged and predigested.
In my experience, prepackaged stuff is usually filled with high fructose corn syrup (literally or metaphorically).
13. Presents research connecting dietary sugar/carb intake with practically every ailment under the sun.
Dr. Peter Cleave's Saccharine Hypothesis -- that dietary sugar causes many of the chronic diseases of civilization -- is a powerful idea indeed. But most science journalists ignore it. For Heaven's sake, why??
Jimmy does a fantastic job here presenting original research and quotes suggesting that many of the most pernicious killers of our time -- from brain cancer to Alzheimer's disease to Parkinson's disease -- appear to be caused by excess carb/sugar intake and may be prevented through smart changes in diet.
14. Hilarious blow-by-blow accounts of Jimmy's battles with anti-low carb people.
From angry vegans to internet hucksters to dubious low fat diet doctors, Jimmy has taken them all on. He recounts his best clashes with original quotes.
15. Complementary resources online.
As I mentioned above, Jimmy's blog and websites provide essentially full service solutions for anyone who wants to dive in deep with this low carb diet stuff.
16. Personal help.
Despite being a web celebrity who gets thousands of visitors a day to his sites, Jimmy is amazingly accessible. As he mentions on page 241: "I personally answer every email that comes my way." Wow! I can barely keep up with my own Facebook messages.
17. Jimmy is an optimist.
As he details in his last chapter, which is quite confessional, Jimmy has been through his fair share of struggles. But he has emerged from episodes that would have probably crushed other people, and his hopeful attitude pervades his book.
18. Cool discussions on low carb arcana.
Ever wonder whether it's better to go on a low carb or "zero" carb diet? Jimmy surveys a dozen low carb eminences about whether a zero carb diet is healthy or not. The debate will raise eyebrows. His book is packed with stuff like this, and that's why it makes a cool companion piece to your other low carb reading.
19. Compelling arguments.
Low carb diet results speak for themselves. If you've been on Atkins or a similar plan for a while, you know how great you feel when you're not spiking your insulin and blood sugar all the time.
But just because the evidence is out there doesn't mean people are easily convinced. To the contrary! Jimmy does a great job here of essentially burying you with mountains of arguments, reports, analyses, and quotes. I cannot imagine that an objective, intelligent reader could get through this book and not be at least a little bit swayed.
20. Jimmy's experience running his web empire is fascinating in and of itself.
Don't care a stitch for the low-carb diet? Fine. Then read this to learn about Jimmy's tribulations with the Kimkins diet -- definitely an encounter from outer space.
21. Higher quality than you expect from an independently-published book.
For a non-physician independently publishing his own book on diet and nutrition, Jimmy did a remarkable job. Unique, high-quality science reporting and a personal story of triumph over adversity. What more do you need?
on December 10, 2009
As usual, Jimmy Moore does not disappoint. This book is a must read for anyone who is seriously interested in improving health, losing weight and understanding why low carb is the preferred way to eat. Two factors make this book so important and worthwhile reading now. The first is it comes to the market at a time when governing agencies like the ADA, AHA are beginning to admit the value of carb restriction for better health. Secondly, Jimmy provides the reader with information obtained directly from the researchers that have provided the science behind the changes in nutritional recommendations that are slowly emerging.
Over the years many myths surrounding a carb restricted lifestyle have generated a lot of media and an influx of diet books that have put a negative spin on carb restriction and promote a high carbohydrate lifestyle while research scientists were hard at work in the lab proving otherwise. Medical doctors who switched their patients from the usually recommended low fat diet to low carb diets were seeing great improvements not only in body mass but overall health. These are the people Jimmy talked with - the people who actually achieved the results first hand, the doctors who cured patients with diet and the scientists who explained to Jimmy how and why this happens.
This book is based not only on Jimmy's outstanding personal experience, but on years of interviewing doctors and scientists and digesting mountains of scientific research which he translates so personably into words that are easily understood by layman.
Not interested in scouring through the medical and scientific journals for the current science on nutrition but still want the facts?
Read this book.
Director, Metabolism Society
on December 3, 2009
This book refutes every attack against the low-carb diet and reveals its many benefits. Jimmy Moore lost 180 pounds in 2004 and has kept that weight off ever since. He is absolutely dedicated to sharing the benefits he has received from the low-carb diet and helping others to achieve those same benefits.
It has been known for some time now that a high-fat, low-carb diet is the most effective way to lose a large amount of weight quickly and to keep that weight off. Yet, anyone who goes on a low-carb diet will soon find their diet under constant attack. The diet industry, which makes untold billions from having people quickly lose weight and gain it back just as fast, cannot tolerate the existence of a diet that actually works. Every person who successfully loses weight and keeps it off has no reason to buy their products. The diet industry has powerful allies in the processed food industry, which wants people to buy high-carb products that are cheap to make and never spoil; and the medical profession which also supports low-fat, high-carb diets; as does the government; and even the United Nations.
The diet industry and their allies have filled the media with attacks on the low-carb diet and Dr. Robert Atkins, its founder. Low-carb dieters can expect criticism of their diet by well-meaning friends and relatives who have been convinced by the media barrage that the low-carb diet is ineffective and dangerous. Many people have given up their low-carb diets because they have been convinced by this nonsense.
But the low-carb dieter also has an ally, Jimmy Moore.
The fight is not as unbalanced as it seems. Jimmy has an answer for every attack on the low-carb diet and those answers are clearly explained and well laid out in this fine book. Jimmy uses his own life experience and superb research skills to blast a big hole in every one of these attacks. Along the way, Jimmy provides a great deal of vital information that everybody should know about dieting, health, food additives, healthy and unhealthy foods, statin drugs, childhood obesity, and many other issues. I particularly like his explanation of why one should eat grassfed meat, and the benefits of saturated animal fat. As a follower of the nutritional principles of Dr. Weston A. Price, I really appreciate the information he presents on these issues.
While Jimmy is not a scientist, he has excellent analytical ability, and does a great job of exposing the weaknesses of various studies attacking the low-fat diet and meat-eating. Jimmy has a great deal of common sense, and uses it to show how absurd the attacks on the low-carb diet actually are. The book is well written and very easy to understand. Jimmy has a gift for explaining things. The book is also very entertaining, as Jimmy has a great sense of humor. It is impossible for me to think of his description of the absurd "ear stapling" diet without bursting into laughter.
There is so much to learn from this book, that I will be rereading it for some time to come. This book will be particularly useful for everybody who has ever started a low-carb diet, as it will help them deal with the criticism they are sure to encounter. Anybody who is even considering losing weight should read this book.
Review is by Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meat.
on December 14, 2009
Since I am widely quoted in this book, it is obvious that I would have a high opinion of it. I have to admit, though, that my brilliant insights are less compelling than the human angle, particularly Jimmy's personal perspective and the comments that he has elicited from the people he interviews and various experts and patients alike.
The interview with Veronica Atkins, for example, shows her (in my view, justifiable) disappointment with how the diet has been treated and her activity in helping children. The book is certainly personal and anecdotal. The numerous encouraging anecdotes stand up well against the "concerns" and conjectures of government and private health agencies, as those are based on no evidence, anecdotal or otherwise. Studies are described accurately and "Lesson #19: You can't always trust or believe the negative studies on low-carb diets," parades the collection of poorly designed and poorly interpreted studies largely by MDs whose greatest goal is to prevent patients from even trying a low carbohydrate diet. The chapter includes Steve Phinney's deconstruction of the absurd Dr. Lessnau who claimed to have found somebody hurt by the Atkins diet (fulfilling the wishes of the medical establishment for thirty years).
A section on childhood obesity is a little discouraging and there is a deeply personal chapter on the death of Jimmy's brother, both chapters giving insight into the real world. So, overall, I recommend this book highly, not as a scientific treatise but as a view of the inside of people seriously trying to deal with health problems in the face of discouragement from official agencies.
on January 20, 2010
First off I am a long time low carb dieter and have lost over 150 lbs and kept it off. That being said, low carb foods and dieting aren't anything new to me. When I saw this book I thought there was really no way I would learn anything new in it but I was very wrong!
This book is great for beginners because it is like a crash course of low carb information from what Jimmy has learned over his five years Livin' La Vida Low-Carb... but there is more detailed information that is great for us veterans too. He goes in depth to explain some details about scientifically HOW the diet works and does a great job of explaining how having what some doctors consider a slightly elevated overall cholesterol number might not be a bad thing after all.
The book is slammed with references to different studies for and against low carb; I thought it was awesome to see him put so much data in front of his readers to really let us decide if low carb is right for our lifestyle.
Speaking of lifestyle, Jimmy and I are both in agreement that Livin' La Vida Low-Carb is a complete lifestyle change, not a diet. You will struggle with success if you view this as a short term diet instead of a complete dietary shift and a lifestyle modification for a healthier, happier you.
on January 30, 2011
It is crazy making how hard it is for anyone to publish an openly low-carb book these days. That is, a book that wears its low-carb leanings on its sleeve -- or I should say, jacket.
"Low-carb" was considered a big-seller buzzword -- but only briefly in the mid-2000s, the commercial heyday of books, magazines and food products bearing the phrase "low-carb" somewhere in the title or label. Then came a perceived "crash" of the so-called "low-carb craze." And now, the publishing industry will scarcely touch a book with "low-carb" on the title. Or, more precisely, they don't want to put "low-carb" on the jacket -- regardless of the message within the pages.
Meantime, the movement continues to grow, with the accumulation of the science supporting carb lowering (or carb control, carb restriction, glycemic index lowering, glycemic load lowering, or any of those other names for what usually amounts to pretty much the same thing). And with the accumulation of a whole bunch of doctors and other health professionals, fitness professionals and layfolk with firsthand experience of what the writer of "21 Life Lessons" has dubbed "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb."
Jimmy Moore, a longtime triple-digit weight loss success story, is one of those layfolk. In fact, he might well be the most vocal layperson on earth regarding the topic at hand.
Moore has a twice-weekly podcast, several well-read blogs and numerous other web-based avenues devoted to getting out the message of every imaginable aspect of low-carb, from the latest research to his own daily menus to a state-by-state listing of practicing doctors friendly to low-carb nutritional approaches. "21 Life Lessons" is Moore's second self-published book. His podcast has evolved into an all-stars of nutritional science, featuring extensive interviews with everyone from science writers and researchers carrying the Atkins torch to big names who are decidedly not low-carb friendly, like Dr. Dean Ornish and the noted vegan and founder of the Physician's Council for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), Dr. Neal Barnard.
If ever there was a writer with a well-established preexisiting platform and a solid, ready-built audience for a niche-topic book, Jimmy Moore is it. So why didn't a publishing house pick up his second book? Why did he have to self-publish?
On one of his podcasts, I heard him say it was largely because he wouldn't take "low-carb" out of the title. (If I remember wrong -- if I'm misquoting -- sorry! But even if he didn't say it, I'll bet that's what it comes to.)
Plenty of Amazon's best-selling books as I write this (January 2011) promote some version of the low-carb message: "The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman" is #1 in Books and #1 in Weight Loss; "New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great." is #31 in Books and #1 in Healthy Living; "Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It" is #32 in Books, #1 in Nutrition and #1 in Nursing; Suzanne Somer's "Sexy Forever: How to Fight Fat after Forty" is #46 in Books and #1 in Women's Health: Diets & Weight Loss. The 17-Day Diet is #52 in Books. Even the vegan-based "The Crazy Sexy Diet," #81 in Books, touts a "low-glycemic" approach.
Yet, out of the eight diet/nutrition books in the 100 top-selling books on Amazon on this day -- five of which are low-carb or low-glycemic oriented -- only one has "carb" on its jacket: the anti-low-carb "The Carb Lovers Diet," #29 in Books (and #1 in Diets: Low Fat -- get its message?). (The other two books in the top 100 are "The 400-Calorie Fix" (Prevention Magazine) and the super-duper-anti-low-carb "The China Study.")
Additionally, of today's 20 top selling books in Diet, nearly all are low-carb. The three books in that category not already mentioned are "The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet," "The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free" and "The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages."
My point? It is next to impossible to get a publisher to put the word "carb" anywhere on a book cover these days -- unless your purpose is to bash low-carbing.
Even though low-carbing itself is more popular and more influential than ever. Evidence? The sales figures of the books named above.
To add insult to irony, few individuals have done more than Jimmy Moore to bring about this very popularity and influence.
In "21 Life Lessons" Moore shares a devastatingly intimate portrait of how his world -- inner and outer -- has changed since receiving the fateful Christmas gift of a copy of "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution" in 2003. The New Year's resolution diet he began a week later launched not just a new chapter in one man's health, but also birthed the career of an extraordinarily prolific and candid -- and at times astonishingly civil and large-hearted, given some of what's been leveled at him -- infopreneur and activist.
Moore's podcasts and blogs have inspired hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people, to lead healthier lifestyles themselves. He's inspired countless blogs, websites, books, career changes and who knows what else. He's provided all sorts of writers, doctors, bloggers and health and fitness professionals with publicity amounting to untold effect. That includes a nearly all of the writers whose books I mentioned earlier in this review. (My own website got its first -- and ongoing -- spurt of real traffic from a single-line listing in one of his blog posts.) His annual tropical "Low-Carb Cruises" provide a convivial meeting ground for some of the brightest and best-known minds in low-carb, a regular floating salon where anyone can hobnob with some of their favorite LC celebs.
But for the narrow-minded, shortsighted nature of the publishing industry, this guy's biggest publishing problem would be choosing which lucrative book deal to accept. Goodness knows any pub house would make a bundle from him -- from any book written by Jimmy Moore that's properly marketed, edited, copy edited and proofread.
The insufficiency of the last three items on that list are the reason I reluctantly give four stars, rather than five, to this remarkable book. But I daresay that right few of the books in Amazon's top 100 on any given day would be a better end product than this one, had they been produced without the massive input of the wide-ranging team of professionals whose toil is part of the collaborative effort of any top-flight book.
"21 Life Lessons" is about an inner journey. It's also about the journey of the low-carbohydrate movement in clinics and laboratories and home kitchens the world over. But it's also the story of the battle of low-carb science to overcome some terrifically entrenched ignorance and prejudice.
Unfortunately, that very ignorance and prejudice stands between this book and the platform it deserves.
Fortunately, modern technology has opened extraordinary new ways for anyone to get their message across, given enough passion, fortitude, smarts and indefatigableness. And, fortunately for me and anyone else who wants to learn fascinating stuff about human health and nutrition they will never read anywhere else all in any one place, and certainly not from such a vulnerably personal point of view, Jimmy Moore is just that guy. And this is that book.
on April 1, 2010
I personally live the low carb life, and my health has benefited from it. However, as much good as I have to say about Livin' la vida Low Carb, Jimmy Moore has so much more to say. He lost 180 pounds in 2004 by embracing the low-carb lifestyle, and has done the world a service by capturing many of the lessons he has learned on this journey in a book from which others can learn.
Considering the attitude of most of "mainstream" medicine and media towards the low-carb lifestyle, Jimmy's book is much needed and, not to overstate it, courageous on his part. He pulls no punches in what he says about the mainstream medical establishment, the government's food pyramid, and the mainstream media's uncritical (one could say "ignorant") support of the low-fat dietary regimen that has caused obesity and diabetes to explode in this country in the last forty years.
Many of Jimmy's 21 Lessons are directly related to Livin' la vida Low Carb, such as his discussion of why the low-carb lifestyle is not a fad, and how low-carb is the right lifestyle to combat cancer. He also passes on some great wisdom in a more general sense, such as his discussions of numerous flawed dietary studies, which should make anyone read anything in the mass media with a more critical eye. And, if you take the time to read actual medical reports, on any topic, you will do so with far more skepticism after reading Jimmy's analysis of numerous flawed "medical" studies.
Jimmy's writing style is engaging and entertaining, making a long book (468 pages) easy to read. That said, I rate this book four out of five stars, for two reasons:
(1) The length: while the style makes the length easy to take, I think the book would benefit from a sharp editor's pen, cutting it down by 30% or so. In more than one spot I found my self thinking, "Ok, Jimmy, I get it! Stop beating me over the head with ever more evidence and examples!" I fear the size of the book might stop some people from reading it.
(2) Not uncommon in self-published books, but still a bit off-putting to those with a publishing background, are production issues, such as (a) a top-level-only table of contents, (b) the lack of an index, (c) use of a sans serif font for body copy (uuuuugly!!), (d) too many spelling and grammatical errors, (e) inconsistent font use (ALL CAPS, italics, bold, etc.), etc.
However neither of these reasons changes the value of the content of the book. If you are a long-term low carber, you will learn much wisdom from this book, and if you are just wondering about low-carb eating, you will have you eyes opened to what low carb can do for you, and why you should consider it for your long-term health.