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1,592 of 1,648 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read even if you don't cook
I was seeing references to this book in other books that I found helpful: The Metabolic Typing Diet and Life Without Bread. But I delayed more than a year before buying Nourishing Traditions. I figured if I knew what to eat, I didn't need a cookbook too.

I was wrong. This is a textbook as much as a cookbook. I liken it to Joy of Cooking. You can learn a lot...
Published on March 18, 2002

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2,369 of 2,705 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like the ideas, not the presentation
Let me start by saying I agree with Sally Fallon on a LOT of issues - I'm not a fat or protein-phobe, nor am I a carbo-phobe. I believe in eating a wide variety of traditional foods, including animal products.
However, I have to say that as I read more of this book, I'm somewhat disappointed. She has some great ideas that I'm definitely going to pay more attention...
Published on May 31, 2003 by Denise Patterson


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1,592 of 1,648 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read even if you don't cook, March 18, 2002
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
I was seeing references to this book in other books that I found helpful: The Metabolic Typing Diet and Life Without Bread. But I delayed more than a year before buying Nourishing Traditions. I figured if I knew what to eat, I didn't need a cookbook too.

I was wrong. This is a textbook as much as a cookbook. I liken it to Joy of Cooking. You can learn a lot from it about food and nutrition even if you never use its recipes. I have used recipes from both, though, and can attest to their deliciousness. But I must admit, for me the best thing about reading Nourishing Traditions is learning about nutrition, not learning new recipes.

The authors criticize the "Diet Dictocrats" who propound the "politically correct" low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. I find the epithet of "politically correct" rather grating and would hope they drop it in later editions.

The book's thesis is a Rousseauian one: industrial food production yields a product unsuited to our body's nature. To find out what is suited to our nature, we ought to rely on research of what preindustrial societies consumed. Thus, as another reviewer pointed out, they view themselves as continuators of the program initiated by the dentist Weston Price (author of Nutrition and Physical Degeneration).

I had spent years eating in accordance with the low-fat dietary dogma and my health suffered because of it. I give the authors credit for recognizing a wide spectrum of ideal diets depending on one's genetic makeup. What is more problematic is how one draws the line between natural and unnatural. Is the line to be drawn between industrial and nonindustrial societies, or is it more basic than that? The book NeanderThin, for example sees humanity making a wrong turn with the advent of civilization. Civilization brings cultivation of grain and the domestication of dairy animals. Nourishing Traditions embraces dairy and grain as long as they are prepared in ways consistent with nonindustrial societies.

Despite these controversies, Nourishing Traditions is a treasure trove of valuable information. Just one small tidbit: there is a concern that beef in the USA has an unfavorable fat profile--there is an unsatisfactory omega 6/omega 3 fatty acid ratio. I just learned from Nourishing Traditions that this problem is not present with lamb in the USA because lamb is virtually all pasture-raised. Since I live in a small apartment and have no place to hang a side of pasture-fed beef, this was very helpful information.

OK, OK, one more tidbit. Everyone by now should know that people who eat nuts live longer. I love the taste of nuts but they always were hard for me to digest. Nourishing Traditions explains why and told me how to eat nuts without the digestive upset. These people know their stuff.

I've seen five stars on a lot of books, that were, frankly, pretty lightweight. This book is a keeper. It's not someone's brilliant marketing concept turned into a book. It's clearly the product of much, much, hard work. It's not the final word. But it's a comprehensive presentation of a coherent worldview on healthy nutrition.
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509 of 533 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building on Dr. Price's Work, August 6, 2007
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
The 'most helpful' review for this book here at Amazon questions the reliance by this book on Dr. Weston Price's work, simply because he was a dentist. Fair enough, but the smart thing would be to see what he said for yourself. Instead of relying on Sally Fallon's word for why Dr. Price's work was so important, I went and read his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, myself. I actually checked out one printed in the 1940's from a university library, to avoid any reprint changes he may or may not have approved.

His work is fascinating. He first sought to understand why isolated people on traditional, unprocessed diets had such remarkable teeth, dental arches, and resistance to disease, particulary tuberculosis. Instead of focusing on the traditional methods used in medicine that seek to cure medical problems after the fact, he was out to find out a way to prevent the problems in the first place. What a novel idea. What he discovered was that traditional diets of isolated peoples maintained the teeth and health of these people in a dramatic fashion. He also found that within a generation of being exposed to processed food diets, these people began to experience the same health problems we have now. Why rely on his work, which dates some 70 years old? Because this same research can't be done today, there just aren't enough people that are still untouched by civilizaton and processed diets.

Back to this book. I believe much of what Sally Fallon has to say is right on the money. She was wise to heavily rely on what Dr. Price found and then has provided much additional information and some good recipies to go along with it. I agree with some of the other reviews here that state that implementing much of what she suggests into your diet will be a challenge. Our society and the giant food manufacturers have made it so, because that's how they earn a profit. Any way you slice it, eating healthy is a lot more work for you individually because you have to rely on yourself to prepare fresh unprocessed foods. But it's worth doing, and if you take bits and pieces and start to implement them gradually you and your family (and your future offspring) will be much better off because of it.
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2,227 of 2,355 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Responding to some objections UPDATED, July 13, 2008
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
While the front matter in the book is pretty earth-shaking in terms of toppling most dietary shibboleths erected in recent years, the sidebar information as you go through the book is just as eye-opening. But let me deal with some objections I noted when reading Amazon reviews of this book. There are over 200 reviews, which says something about this book: it may not be on airport book racks, but people are reading it.

The NT way of eating is downright dangerous.

This is in the eye of the beholder. Most studies showing a decrease in heart disease deaths due to cholesterol-lowering drugs or diets show an increase in death rates from all causes. Which one are you going to take your chances with? Several well-done studies audited by independent researchers show no correlation between deaths related to heart disease or artheriosclerosis and the consumption of butter, eggs, and red meat. A few studies show that butter and saturated fats appear to have a protective effect.

What happens is that the government, the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and others (the Diet Dictocrats), cherry pick the studies they will publicize and which aspects of these studies the public will learn about--which the MSM then dutifully report to John Q. Public. Studies whose results seem to defy the diet-heart hypothesis are silenced, starved of funds, and ultimately shuttered. Hence you have people like my father-in-law who says he's not supposed to eat organ meats because they are high in cholesterol. There is absolutely no relationship between the amount of cholesterol in a food and the likelihood of it contributing to artheriosclerosis. The one exception is a form of oxidized cholesterol (present in powdered milk and powdered eggs, and in liquid lowfat milk), which did produce artheriosclerosis in rats. These are the foods we are supposed to eat to lower our cholesterol, and they actually contribute to heart disease!

Sally Fallon et al. have a thing against vegetarians.
This criticism was the most prevalent among the reviews. The reviewers were very emotional in their comments...but that should not be construed as reflecting an emotionalism (can I say that?) in the book. The book is unemotional. However, vegetarianism is the most deeply established alternate diet we have--many people are invested in it body, heart, and soul. I won't debate here whether vegetarianism is a good diet or not, but I will say that there are several points in the book where it's pointed out that pure vegetarian (vegan) diets are likely to contribute to a deficiency in fat-soluble vitamins (which come from animal products, primarily), some B vitamins and, if the grains/beans/legumes are unsoaked and unfermented, to the loss of minerals. Children in particular are profoundly affected by the lack of animal fat in the diet, and this is very sad to see.

On the other hand, a form of "vegetarianism" is followed in some cultures (more out of necessity than choice) which includes animal products in the form of eggs, raw and cultured dairy products, seafood, shrimp and fish eggs, and insects. These high-vitamin foods are sought-after commodities in these cultures, since they contain the all-important fat-soluble activators necessary for strength, long life, and healthy reproduction. The book notes that these more vegetarian cultures tend to suffer more from dental caries (as noted by Dr. Price) than others, but there are no diatribes.

The book is not well referenced.
I do not get this one at all. There are 63 footnoted pages of text explaining traditional foods, the role of certain substances in the diet (with an emphasis on fats), and the shortcomings of modern food processing and what can be done about it. There are 188 references listed in a separate section; most of these are research periodicals.

Sally Fallon is down on working moms.
"No one in modern America deserves more sympathy than the working parent on a limited budget....While it is not necessary to spend long hours in the kitchen in order to eat properly, it is necessary to spend some time in the kitchen. Simple, wholesome menus require careful planning rather than long hours of preparation...nutritious meals can be prepared very quickly when one lays the groundwork ahead of time. If your present schedule allows no time at all for food preparation, you would be wise to re-examine your priorities." There are two pages of simple hints and advice that anybody could follow.

Sally Fallon is down on moms who don't breastfeed.
"If, in spite of these measures, your milk supply is inadequate, don't feel guilty. Lack of adequate milk supply sometimes does occur, especially as baby grows and his appetite increases. You have done the best you could and your baby can still grow up healthy, strong and smart on a homemade, whole-food baby formula."

Soaked baked goods don't turn out.
There may be some credence to this criticism. I don't know all the recipes (there aren't many bread/baked goods recipes in the book). The one recipe I made produced some very decent sourdough bread. It turned out just as the book said--it was different, and boy was it sour! The good news is, you don't have to be a purist. Although refined flour is bad for the body, you don't have to eat it by the truckload. Making your own bread (even if it breaks the NT rules) is still better than buying stuff from the store; it's fresher, tastes better, and you can buy a bag of top-quality flour for the same price you'll pay for a loaf of the good stuff. If you do that, you will rely less on pre-made bread products for the foundation of your diet--lowering your overall intake of refined carbohydrates. Without all the flour-based products from the store, and with a few home-made loaves and a batch of cornbread or muffins now and then, your protective fats will take care of you.

Sally Fallon and Mary Enig reference their own works.
This is to be expected, after one has written a number of extended/scholarly works (which Mary Enig has done) and is now contributing to a book intended for a general audience.

The recommended foods/supplements are too expensive.
After reading The Maker's Diet, I had the same thought: how is everybody supposed to get a hold of raw milk and grass-fed meat? We don't all live in California and have Silicon Valley-sized incomes, bub. Don't even get me started on the supplements. This is not the case with NT. While it's true that if you want the ultimate cod-liver oil, it can get kinda spendy, the emphasis here is on putting the highest quality of food you can afford on the table. A philosophical shift might be helpful here. You will become convinced, reading this book, that the epidemic in degenerative disease afflicting Americans is due to our long-distance, highly processed mode of food production. A dollar spent today on high-quality food may save thousands in medical bills down the road. It is an investment, and you get to choose where you need to spend and where you can pull back. There are many, many simple ideas and techniques in the book that you can incorporate right now in your kitchen, lots of basic recipes and just a few key ingredients you can stock right away. Like lard.

The recipes/cooking methods take too much time.
This also would seem to be a criticism that sticks. But here again, we need to examine priorities. Do we really need to watch 3 hours of television a night? Do the kids really need to be trucking here and there to a different activity every afternoon/evening? Why can't Mom get some help in the kitchen? Perhaps the family needs to spend more time together, planting a square foot garden. Then everybody can get excited about eating food that tastes good and is good for you. And if all that Pollyannish stuff doesn't work out, Mom can just get sneaky. Pull out the margarine and substitute butter. Put liver in the tacos. Use brown rice pasta and less of it. More rice and potatoes and less bread. No more bottled salad dressing. Soak everything.

Personally, I used to stress about every meal when I first started using this book. Then I realized that if I just took 5 minutes every night to think through the next day's meals, everything went so much more smoothly. I could soak the oatmeal or the beans, get some stock going to simmer through the night, pull out meat from the freezer, or if all else fails, make a shopping list and figure out how I can procure the stuff I need. Sometimes it can be difficult to locate a crucial ingredient. NT has a Sources page that is invaluable, especially if you want to try making something exotic, like kombucha. The Internet, of course, offers a lot of different packaged goods. And then again, different areas of the country have access to different foodstuffs. I could go to Trader Joe's and Wild Oats in Washington but they don't have that here. On the other hand, I can buy meat and milk directly from a farm. And lard from local hogs.

***

This is long, and sometimes I wonder why I stay up to write about such things. Is a review of Nourishing Traditions really that important? I think it is, and I'll tell you why. Because when you read about Dr. Price and what he learned about the impact of nutrition on the body (not just the teeth), you will realize that being in the home, cooking fresh high-quality food for your family, is the most important thing you can do. All the things modernity has brought us, all the activities (for better or for worse) have tempted us away from the table and pushed us toward the TV tray. Fast, flash-frozen, microwaved meals and reheated pizza--no wonder we are all fat and exhausted. Cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke--they wait at the end of our lives for us and what can we do to protect ourselves? More immediately, when a child is born and the birth is difficult, or the child has physical problems, it is absolutely searing for the parents. When that child grows up and has allergies, learning disabilities, childhood diseases or cancer, everyone suffers. Poor nutrition in the parents is a death sentence for the next generation.

The health care crisis in this country has a lot of factors involved in it--but one of the most preventable causes, one over which we have the most control, is what we put on our table and what we put in our mouths. We have the power to heal ourselves and it is worth making it a priority.

UPDATE 4/9/09
Still cooking with this book. Lately I've experimented alot more with the soaked flour recipes and have gotten good results. And while my husband tried to tell me politely that he really didn't prefer the sourdough bread, the yeasted buttermilk bread is a hit. And it smells like heaven while baking.

I also bit the bullet and bought the Country Living Grain Mill. This is a hand-powered mill and so might not be for everyone, but I'll vouch for it. If you enjoy baked goods as much as I do, it's worth trying to make them as healthy as you can. All the soaked flour recipes turn out hearty, whole grain products that only involve one extra step (besides grinding, that is)--you take the flour and liquid (usually buttermilk) and mix it up the night before and leave it out. Only the pancakes are really "soaked" in the sense that you get a soupy mixture. The rest of the time it just forms a ball of dough.

The real secret to these recipes is the food processor. You are taking a pretty firm ball of flour and buttermilk (or yogurt or cream cheese) and trying to work a few tablespoons of yeast/salt/water/honey/whatever into it the morning after. The food processor (a powerful one--I use a Kitchenaid) makes this task relatively quick and painless, since inadequate mixing will result in hard dry spots in your finished product. If you want to make these recipes and have to choose between the food processor and the grain mill, get the food processor. (I doubted I'd use one very much, but it sees frequent use in our kitchen.)

Cookies and cakes...the next frontier. The few cookie recipes in the book are very different than what I'm used to, but the ones based around ground nuts are easy to make and absolutely delicious. There aren't many different recipes for muffins and quick breads, although some variations are provided. You can experiment. You can also take an "ordinary" recipe and try to modify it in some way to bring it more in line with NT principles.

Some NT "recipes" are really no-brainers that are obviously favorites in the author's family or meant to jog your brain into thinking more creatively. The Flourless Carob Cake, for instance, is a basic sponge cake that you might find somewhere else and yet not try in favor of the more familiar flour-based ones. It is in fact pretty easy to make, and very sophisticated. Good luck, and happy baking.
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456 of 486 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the most vitally important and essential nutrition book to exist, August 22, 2005
By 
Niel Rishoi (Livonia, MI USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
It is unfortunate that the Spotlight review, under the heading, "Like the ideas, not the presentation," is the first one readers here see, because the review is written by someone who hasn't a clue as to how vitally important this book is. Such a misinformed review only undermines the astonishing scope of this book; it is evident that this reviewer has not any viable credentials to back up what amounts to a series of laughably feeble reasoning points. Worse, it is evident that the reviewer has not actually read Weston A. Price's "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration," which she dismisses in a naively peremptory way. Anyone who has read this eye-opening, exhaustively researched book on primitive versus modern diets, and see the evidence presented, will see why Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig have spearheaded a virtual campaign on the dangers of modern diets.

Let's face it - our foods have changed. And not for the better. In the long span of history, the last 100 years has wrought some devastating transformations in how food is handled, prepared, and, most insidiously - processed. Our genes are basically used to food that for millenia, was relatively pure, wholesome, unaltered and uncorrupted. So, since the turn of the century, matters began to shift. As manufacturing and processing became more sophisticated, food began to undergo a drastic change. Not having any longer to butcher our own beef, harvest our own vegetables and grains, make our own fats, we could rely on "companies" to start doing it for us. And what did we get in return? Fats (perhaps most disturbingly) are chemically altered and hydrogenated, turning them into dangerous poisons (just READ how margarine is made - it will incite one big colossal "yuck"); animals are mass produced in inhumane warehouses; are fed poor diets and get injected with god knows what; grains and vegetables are grown in sterile, pesticide-laden soils; refined, devitalized sugar and flour is in everything; we're offered and forced everything from hydrogenated fats to high-fructose corn syrup to MSG to plastic sugars. And guess what? This is the sickest, fattest time Americans live in. Heart disease, cancer, obesity, degenerative diseases, are at an all-time high. We have antibiotics, anti-imflammatories to conquer infectious diseases, but in return, we have heart disease, cancer, degenerative and neurological dysfunctions in its place. As this exhaustively researched and documented book illustrates, the culprits for this state of affairs is definitely tied to the devastating changes wrought in our foods. Though the medical establishment has found a way to treat diseases, it has ignored many of the current causes of those diseases in the first place.

This book offers a method, a return, so to speak, to a time when food was consumed in its purest state. Ironically, that's a difficult thing to do; only through specialty stores and farmers can we get naturally raised food. Most of the food - as cheaply and quickly made as possible - offered in supermarkets is nutritionally worthless, being as it is, refined, processed, laden with questionable chemicals and riddled with substances that have no place in our bodies. The sobering fact remains: most food conglomerates simply don't care about consumers' health.

Sally Fallon, along with Mary G. Enig, has done an astonishing, thorough and painstaking job in spelling out all that one needs to know regarding all manner of information about food. The writing is clear, easy to understand, and concise. The passion and near-missionary fervor with which they have pursued their topic is inspiring and infectious. The breadth of their research and work cannot be overestimated. The scope, level of information, exposés and hardcore truths these women offer is mesmerizing: one is fixated by what they know and the surprising, irrefutable facts that are detailed (by the way, the sidebars in the recipe sections of anecdotes, information and lore are fascinating). It may in fact be the singular most important body of work on food contained in a single volume. In particular, one needs to pay attention to the information regarding the matter of fats. Enig, a PhD in lipid chemistry, plainly details how fats in today's food supply has wrought health havoc, what to avoid (polyunsaturates and hydrogenated fats are a menace), what is good, and how to go about using them correctly.

Many reviewers in this forum have complained of how complicated it is to take the time to properly prepare many of the foods and recipes Fallon offers. That may be so, but the time invested is worth it. As we as consumers are made more aware of how things must be done, it may be that we simply have no choice ~~ if we are to achieve the best of health ~~ to make the proper preparation of food a top priority once again. Some of the suggestions regarding raw foods is controversial, and not everyone will be convinced, but they make a strong case, nevertheless.

This book will not please vegans and vegetarians, who will be doing a virtual "foul" howl at the convincing scientific argument that we need animal fats and animal based foods. I will never consider vegetarianism after reading this book. Fallon makes a most eloquent plea for the bounty of animals we have been offered.

I have been subsisting on the nutrition advice based on this book for a year. I eat pastured beef, chicken, raw butter, raw milk, raw cheese, organic vegetables, lacto-fermented foods, plenty of stock-based sauces, coconut oil, nuts. Fats make up about 50-60% of my diet. Not only do I feel better (no more joint problems, no more dry skin, no more digestive discomforts), and: not only have I maintained the most stable weight I ever have at a stretch, I've actually lost fat, while my fat intake has increased. I look younger, feel stronger and have more vitality. To me it makes common sense to eat food closest to the way nature intended.

It will do well to remember that any food made by Mother Nature is the way to go: any food that's been made in a factory, chemically altered or changed drastically from its original state, beware.

It is so easy to get carried away by the nutritional information, that it may be easy to overlook the marvelous, inventive and tantalizing recipes. Again, the scope, selection and research on these recipes is amazing...they are numerous, varied, and appetizing. Nearly every cultural cuisine is covered in some small or large part, and are clearly detailed. Most of all, if one relishes culinary challenges, there are some intriguing ones as such offered here.

This book may be the most valuable nutritional guide one should own.
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139 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a valuable textbook as well as cookbook, August 22, 2005
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
I have to correct some of the spurious information in a couple of the negative reviews that I've seen. First of all, yes, Weston A. Price was a dentist, not a nutritionist. Notwithstanding, he made tremendous contributions to the understanding of human health and nutritional needs. He is remembered for what he shared with the world about the travels he made to remote areas of the world to discover what healthy native peoples were eating. He went out with questions, not preformed conclusions, carefully observed, made measurements, took copious notes and photographs, and drew conclusions only after he had accumulated an abundance of evidence. He did not conclude that there was a single one-size-fits-all diet for all people, but that traditional people ate a tremendous variety of different diets, with certain key elements in common:

* they ate nutrient-dense foods

* they prepared foods in ways that maximized nutrients and digestibility

* they ate at least some animal foods, and particularly valued certain animal foods such as liver and organ meats, raw butter from cows grazing on green grass, etc.

* they discovered the value of lacto-fermentation and ate many foods fermented

* they ate some of their animal foods raw

* they ate properly prepared whole grains and seeds (soaked, sprouted, fermented, etc.) to minimize anti-nutrients and increase digestibility

* they produced their own food and taught the younger generations the value of certain foods, especially for pregnant or nursing women, children, and couples wishing to have children

* they spaced their families so women didn't have children more often than every three years so as to have the strength and nutritient stores needed for gestation and lactation, not to mention chilldrearing.

There are probably other points but this covers the key items I think.

The Weston A. Price foundation was founded by Sally Fallon, in about 1999, I believe, and not by Weston Price. Another group, the Price-Pottenger Foundation, serves as an archive of the works of Price as well as Pottenger (I don't remember his whole name; author of nutrition study called Pottenger's Cats) and publishes "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration," which surely must be the most important book on nutrition ever, despite not being written by a "nutritionist." (I've read most of what is out there.)

The WAPF does not accept money from the dairy or meat industries. I am a member and I know Sally. The foundation is supported by member dues, individual and small-business contributions and book sales. For lots of free articles from past issues of the WAPF journal, Nourishing Traditions, visit [...] I've read almost every WAPF article ever published and am impressed by the high standard of scientific proof adhered to, with citations in scholarly journals and lucid explanations of complicated subjects.

I do agree that Nourishing Traditions can be intimidating at first. I was fascinated but couldn't see myself making all these things from scratch. But gradually I started learning to make one foundational product (sauerkraut), then another (kefir), and I recently jumped in whole hog, so to speak. And for the first time I went back and read the introductory chapter, which lays out the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the book, based on the work of Weston A. Price. If you're confused by the recipes, go back and read the introduction, and just read the book as a text. Then start small. Yes, preparing nutritious food takes time, but it's a valuable investment in your health. Also, the WAPF has local chapters that can help you find sources of whole foods in your region, and you can learn a lot from other members. Check the Web site.

I actually got started in Nourishing Traditions-style cooking when I happened to attend a demonstration of sauerkraut- and kimchee-making by Sandor Katz, the author of the wonderful book Wild Fermentation (which Sally Fallon wrote the intro to). When I realized how easy it was to make saurkraut and how wonderful the process of lacto-fermentation was, I started experimenting. Now, at any given time, I have at least one crock of saurkraut or pickes or both bubbling away on my counter, and others in the refrigerator, and I make kefir every 2-3 days from raw milk. Yum!

Another good introduction to the work of Weston A. Price is "Traditional Foods Are Your Best Medicine," by Ronald Schmid, a naturopath. The first half is best, where he recounts Price's travels and findings and reprints many of the startling photographs he took of the effects of traditional diets vs "white man's food" on various populations. I think Schmid wrote the book before he fully understood the import of certain aspects of Price's findings, so the second half of his book is weaker.
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250 of 271 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Medical doctor looks at Nourishing Traditions, June 4, 2002
By 
Thomas Cowan, M.D. (New Hampshire, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
I have been a practicing medical doctor for about 20 years. In that time I have pursued my interest in nutrition literally to all corners of the globe. I have read scores of books on nutrition and treated hundreds if not thousands of patients with nutritional advice and natural medicines. Of all the published nutritional information on the shelves today, by far the most informative, reliable, comprehensive, and useful is Ms. Fallon's Nourishing Traditions. When I first came across Nourishing Traditions a few years ago, I was amazed that one person was about to amass virtually the entire wisdom of traditional societies concerning nutrition into one book. I found ancient recipes, cooking techniques, food preparation insights that are simply not to be found anywhere else. I urge all those who wish to truly pursue their knowledge of nutrition and to regain their own health to do one thing. Buy Nourishing Traditions, read it thoroughly, take a deep breath, and embark on a new way of life. Thomas Cowan, M.D.
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332 of 363 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read & Cookbook, May 18, 2002
By 
Stephen Byrnes (Honolulu, HI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
This book is much more than a cookbook--it is a nutritional handbook and virtual encyclopedia of food history and food facts. The first 80 pages of the book concern themselves with nutrition basics. The sections on fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are accurate, well-referenced, and needed in today's fat-phobic world. Fallon and Enig (who is a well-known lipid biochemist) dispel the many myths about saturated fats and animal foods.
Recipes for every imaginable dish and drink are given, from appetizers and sauces to fermented fruits/vegetables and beverages. And it was SO nice to see a chapter on preparing wild game and organ meats--nutritious foods that have virtually disappeared from our modern diets (to our decided detriment). The substantial section on vegetables provides detailed nutritional info on each entry, as well as 2-3 tasty recipes.
One caveat: some of the recipes take a lot of work if you want to do them the way Fallon and Enig recommend. For example, they suggest soaking and then drying and grinding your own grains to make flour. Obviously, not everyone has time to do this. I wish there was more emphasis on alternatives for busy people such as myself. Nevertheless, there are still lots of simpler recipes to make and they are tasty and delicious.
The Resources section in the back is excellent and handy for people wanting to get started.
A word to the detractors below:
(1) Indians DO have very high rates of coronary artery disease, even the vegetarian ones, so vegetarianism is NOT a protection against this condition (J Indian Med Assoc 2000 Nov;98(11):694-5, 697-702).
(2) The claims that vegetarians live longer than omnivores (on a healthy diet) are also not supported by available data (R Smith and E Pinckney. Diet, Blood Cholesterol, and Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review of the Literature--vol. 2. (Vector Enterprises; CA)., 1991).
(3) The idea that eating animal protein causes calcium loss has been disproven many times over ((a) J Nutr, 1986, 116:316-319; (b) Amer J Clin Nutr, 1983, 924-929; c) J Nutr, 1988, 118(6):657-60; (d) Amer J Clin Nutr, 1999, 69:1:147-52; (e) J Bone & Min Res, 2000, 15:2504-2512; (f) Calcif Tiss Int, 1996, 58:320-5.
(4) The idea that eating a lot of butter or ghee (or other animal fats) contributes to or causes heart disease is false ( Lancet, 1994, 344:1195; (b) Science 2001 Mar 30 291:5513 2536-45).
(5) The idea that eating meat or animal fats contributes or causes various cancers is a popular idea that is not supported by available evidence (The Lancet, 1999, 353:686-7; (b) Aust J Nutr Diet, 1997, 54(4):S1-S44.
I'm wondering if these acrid reviewers bothered to read the book or check its many references.
Also, a few reviewers commented feeling sick after eating some of the recipes. This is usually indicative of digestive weakness and may call for digestive enzymes or fermented foods before a meal to stimulate digestive juice flow. The book does suggest eating some fermented food either right before or with with a meal to facilitate digestion. Again, I'm wondering if the critics have bothered to read the book in any detail. Nausea shortly after eating can also mean that the meal has too much fat in it. Either the people made the recipe wrong or they cannot tolerate higher amounts of fats at one time and need to cut back.
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657 of 724 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scientific Support for Traditional Diets. Wonderful, February 27, 2004
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This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
This book by Sally Fallon (with Mary Enig, Ph.D.) is an inspiring polemic against both commercial, prepared food trends and some governmental and research leaders who appear to be making recommendations on nutrition under the influence of commercial interests.
My first impression of the book is that it shows exactly how hard nutritional science actually is. The authors are citing hundreds of technical works from both demographic and controlled experiment studies regarding thousands of different food components in their way to painting a complete picture of good nutrition. Their starting point in painting this picture is the common sense assumption that historical, natural diets are invariably more healthy than those laden with commercially processed foods. This assumption is backed up by demographic research done in the first third of the last century. This is the import of the `traditions' in the title.
It turns out that the potential allies of the authors' approach come from such different quarters as the Atkins diet advocates who endorse eating meat, eggs, and other proteins in preference to (processed) carbohydrates and the `Raw Food' wing of the vegetarian / vegan movement. The latter camp would wholeheartedly endorse the authors' issues with eating foods that retain their original enzymes to aid in digestion. I'm sure the vegans and the Atkins camp will not join forces any time soon, but their appearance in the same metaphorical room on the side of the authors' position is another indication of how multi-sided complex scientific theories can become.
I have no facts to confirm or challenge the authors' claim of corruption on the part of some academics in endorsing a nutritional position to back commercial interests. I will only say that it is irrelevant to the central tenant of the book, which in very simple terms is `Eat the way your great grandparents ate'. Some of the more important details are:
1. Avoid processed fats, starches, sugars, and proteins. They are not of no value. They are unhealthy.
2. Eat animal protein and their accompanying fats.
3. Eat whole grain products.
4. Eat foods prepared in such a way that avoids loosing important nutrients.
Almost all of the authors' statements on individual nutritional facts are backed up by published scientific research. One or two or even ten percent of their references may be flawed, but the overall weight of their evidence is truly impressive. The only problem I find in their characterization of the way things are today is in not giving full credit to medical science in lengthening our lifespans through the suppression of infectious diseases. This is likely to be the reason behind the increase in the frequency of deaths by degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease, not a catastrophic loss of nutritional value in our diets. That is not to say their claims about the drop in the quality of our diet are not true. Always remember that these gals are making a case, they are not simply publishing scientific results.
While I think the authors have a strong case against processed foods, I find it difficult to fully endorse their next step. Their solution takes us close to the land of food extremists such as both traditional vegetarians and the more radical proponents of `raw' diets. What this means is that they raise up foods which are hard to find or difficult to prepare or are prepared in ways unfamiliar to American kitchens. This may not necessarily be a bad thing. It tends to appeal to my `Whole Earth Catalog' mentality of the home-brew lifestyle. But this lifestyle is simply not practical for the millions who work long, stressful hours followed by time devoted to kids and spouses.
My skepticism regarding their solutions is reinforced by some culinary misstatements such as the suggestion to refrigerate tomatoes after they ripen, to not add garlic to hot fat, and that artisinal breads are not good for sandwiches. The second and third statements are refuted daily by traditional Italian cooking practice. Their condemnation of all aluminum cookware and the microwave also seem more extreme than they need be.
What I take from this work is the very cautious and undramatic conclusion that the safest (and most interesting) culinary path lies in the study and emulation of historical diets. This gives a strong theoretical underpinning to my admiration of educators such as Mario Batali and Paula Wolfert who examine and promote historical cuisines based on the `what grows together, goes together'. This could easily be a subtitle of this book. It also gives support to practitioners such as Rachael Ray who promote fast cooking without resorting to overly processed ingredients.
I love a book that pulls together and validates a wide range of (my) opinions. While this book may not always be right, it is supremely valuable in its provocation to thinking. It is also supremely valuable in it's demonstrating the value of some less common foods such as sauerkraut, crème fraiche, and kim chee. This value doubles in that it actually tells you how to make this stuff. Lest it be overlooked, it is important to note that the lions share of the book is a fairly large cookbook of recipes with methods and materials that follow the book's doctrines.
At a list price of $25, the catalogue of vegetables chapter alone is almost worth the price of admission. I'm happy that here, the authors part company with both the advocates of `raw' and the old Adele Davis doctrine of saving veggie cooking water. They reinforce again the conventional wisdom of old school culinary practice which rarely leaves veggies raw. Some raw vegetables contain some bad things and cooking almost always makes the good things more available to digestion.
I recommend this book to everyone as the very next book you need to buy about food.
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195 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nourishing Traditions is a monument., March 26, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions (Paperback)
Sally Fallon's book is large in size and in its implications, valiantly sweeping away all the fog and ignorance that is endemic in the field of nutrition today. The book, focussing as it does on traditional (pre-modern) food selection and preparation, is revolutionary in all its common sense, prompting the reader to nod and say, "Yes, that's really true." It seems increasingly baffling to me that, amidst the daily deluge of ideas criss-crossing the landscape of the nutrition frontier, very few people acknowledge the contribution of 50,000 years of human history in the creation and maintenance of health. Well, Sally Fallon does. This book takes the reader to the highest ground yet. I particularly appreciated the excerpts from other books and journals, which are included liberally in sidebars throughout the book. It is a lot like reading several books in one, such is the cumulative scope of Nourishing Traditions. Of course, the recipes, all 700 of them, are fabulous. The book also has an excellent resource section to aid the reader in applying the principles laid out in the text. Finally, one comment on the book's subtitle, "The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats": This book does not tip-toe around the issues. The introduction, besides revealing many frightening (and rarely realized) facts about the state of current nutrition, also issues a call to action for people to release themselves from the collective trance perpetuated through advertising, through the common rationale that "we eat pretty well already," and even through many of the currently popular trends today, including veganism. Prepare to be educated. Prepare to do some weeding. This is a big, bright, shout-from-the-rooftops cookbook that should be required reading for anyone who has the slightest doubt about what they eat. And for those, more likely, who have no doubts.
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166 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Ever Written Period!!, August 28, 2002
This review is from: Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (Paperback)
After reading just about every diet book in existence, from Atkins to Eat Right 4 Your Type to vegan and vegetarian diet books, finally I have found a book not based on some polar not found in nature extreme theory, but a book based on the reality of what very healthy people have been eating for a very long time. Finally a book based on facts and science, not wild speculation and wishful thinking.
The diet recommended in this book is based on traditional foods used by very healthy people (and very long lived people) all over the world for thousands of years. These people all have one thing in common. They don't used processed, pasteurized, denatured food. Some cultures and lands use unpastuerized milk products as staples, others use raw meat or focus on cooked and raw meat. All peoples consume some form of unprocessed animal product, with fat and enzymes intact. They also use lacto fermented products, from yogurt to fermented fruits, vegetables and meats. The fermentation makes the food very easy to digest, adds friendly intestinla bacteria and preserves the food. The book also explains proper preparation of grains (usually soaking for a period of time) to remove phytates and make the nutrients more available.
The book is based on Weston Price's (others have validated his research and have conducted their own) research on "primitive peoples" diets from around the world. He was a dentist who traveled around the world checking the health of these people and then compared their health with the health of these same peoples when they ate processed food diets as they became available.
This is a very good book with very valuable information. The information on fats is extremely important.
Defintely the best book ever written on diet and nutrition and probably one of the best books ever written period.
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