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The Green Foods Disappointment
on October 10, 2008
On recent internet boards for treating diseases, I was introduced to the miraculous genre of Spirulina and other green foods (in curing and preventing many common illnesses the natural way). The positive opinion of Spirulina, Wheatgerm, etc. was also shared in some of my favorite recent finds - such "The Clear Skin Diet" by Alan Logan and "You are what you Eat" by Dr. Gillian McKeith . I was a quick convert. After I took Spirulina daily, I immediately noticed an upsurge in energy and mood uplifting. This is great, I thought!
Then I started thinking...I ought to know more about what I am putting into my body. Spirulina gets results, but it also has an odd (not unpleasant, just odd) flavor to it upon ingestion. I found it incredible that such healthful substances could almost seem like a "secret society", considering the nonexistent media coverage I see in magazines or other outlets. I like to understand the details, clinical tests, chemical compositions, cultural history, geographic popularity, good brands of Spirulina to buy, algae and other green foods that many health books mention, but none really dedicate themselves to in detail. Internet searches came up with sporadic information here and there, but nothing really organized or thorough.
So there goes my old standby Amazon.com. After reading the various 5 star reviews here, I bought this book in eager anticipation. This book must be good! This book will tell me all I want to know in detail about Spirulina, and much more healthful green foods I can add to my diet.
I do want to say that I think most information in this book is good, some pieces of information here and there are excellent (in terms of it is not wildly duplicated in other health books). The author is clearly well intentioned. It has a catchy title. This is a topic that I haven't been able to find too many information about.
Unfortunately all that is eclipsed by the fact that we have far superior health books out there that really sets the gold standard - much better researched, written, organized and graphically put together for the end user. After reading "The Clear Skin Diet" by Alan Logan, the bar was set high. This book just didn't deliver a 5 star qualification in comparison. I took this back to Amazon.com.
For a couple of reasons:
1.) Book seems incredibly disorganized
Although the subtitle mentions specific food names, the author organizes the book into chapters by type of product. Ok not a problem I can figure it out. I thought Spirulina might be under Chapter Five: Algae, but after flipping back and forth it was Chapter Seven: Water Plants? Alright not a problem, maybe the index can help me.
I then looked under Chlorella in the index, and found it was mentioned in 10 or more pages. Those pages are in 4 to 5+ chapters! Am I suppose to go to all those sections to read and locate what I am looking for? You pretty much have to read the whole book to get any useful information, and even then, it will be diffult to synergize the whole picture together.
I then found the placement of information within each chapter was unnatural. For example, under Chlorella, for the first couple of pages the author writes about Chlorella and its successful uses in specific cases. The definition of what Chlorella is came later. This is counter-intuitive. Convention and natural flow (a good example is Wikipedia) would define first, then supports it later with details. I think the disorganization added to the general confusion of the book.
2.) Author's writing style is left wanting
This may be a personal preference. The author's writing style did not engage me. For example, interesting topics are begun, with the user's interest first engaged. Then discarded quickly to the next topic, with the reader feeling unsatisfied and left wanting for more. This is pretty much done in the course of the entire book. The lack of details in any one topic and lack of back up research left me with the general impression that the book could really use some substance.
I wasn't a fan of the author's indirect writing style either. I did take some very nice naps attempting to finish the book.
3.) Unfocused: too many eggs in too many baskets
Lastly here I found the author tried to write about too many macro-economic and social concerns that is semi-related to the topic, but the book could really do without. Here and there, he mentions/hints the conspiracy of big pharma against cancer and natural treatments, then branches off to the unsynergistic approach behind conventional medicine, the hazards of eating farmed meat, chemicals in fish and our day to day products, etc. There are quite a lot of such examples.
Those are information I already knew about (as a novice health junky.) Nothing is new and nothing is written in detail. The tone is always vague. The research certainly didn't impress me as there are no bibliography and very little mentioning of factual trials.
I found those ramblings futher diluted the solidity of what this book aspires to be - "The Green Foods Bible - Everything You Need to Know...."
Green Foods is an excellent category to write a book on, unfortunately in my opinion the author didn't use this opportunity to perfect and throughly cover this niche.
To sum up here, my gripe with the book is that if one is going to market the book as "The Green Foods Bible", you are appealing to an audience that knows something about this genre already. I think the target audience has less need to be converted, but more need (and interest) on easy to access, well organized information backed up by solid research. Perfecting the book into a focused, solid, on topic and user friendly reference can go a long mile.