Most helpful critical review
65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Good, but wish it were more scientific
on January 25, 2011
I was aware when I bought this that it wouldn't be quite what I wanted: I was looking for an encyclopedia of staple foods with basic background information, nutritional information, purchasing and storage guidelines, and general cooking recommendations, etc. I knew this would be much more New Age-y than I wanted, but it seemed to be the nearest thing available. (I guess I'll have to compile my own.) I do like it and will keep it, but will be looking for other sources to supplement it.
There is a lot to like about this book, but I wish the author had conflated less the nutritional and mystic properties, and given more concrete information. The book is actually less informative than it appears because it fails to provide any solid basis for the statements it makes about foods' properties, even nutritional properties that should have been easy to quantify and qualify. It's often vague about the food's properties and not clear if the attributed benefits are physical or metaphysical. (I will not comment on her information regarding mystical properties because that is not what interests me.) As an example: She notes that beans are filling and relieve constipation but doesn't finish the idea and add that it is because **they are good sources of protein and fiber**. She finally does mention that they are high in fiber, but it's a paragraph later and she doesn't really connect this to their health benefits.
I also would have to question some of the stated benefits: I'm not sure I'd eat a lot of blackberries to alleviate diarrhea. I'll agree that blackberries may have nutrients that could do so, but I suspect that they would be overpowered by the fruits' fiber, with potentially uncomfortable results. My gut feeling is that that there is some hyperbole at work in the descriptions--many of the foods sound like miracle drugs. I absolutely agree that eating well promotes better health, but it can't save everybody from every ailment.
For the most part, I ignore the "information" that isn't what I need, which isn't really very troublesome but does leave gaps.