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The Microbiome Diet: The Scientifically Proven Way to Restore Your Gut Health and Achieve Permanent Weight Loss Kindle Edition
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The diet is based around "Four Rs": 1) Remove the unhealthy bacteria and the foods that unbalance the microbiome; 2) Replace the digestive enzymes that you need for optimal digestion; 3) Reinoculate with probiotics (intestinal bacteria) and prebiotics 9foods and supplements that nourish this bacteria and keep it healthy); 4) Repair the lining of your intestinal walls, which have likely become permeable and are releasing partially digested food into the bloodstream and causing major problems like inflammation.
The diet has three phases. In the first, you avoid sugar, eggs, soy, gluten, and dairy (as well as all packaged/artificial foods). This is the heart of the four Rs above. Phase 2 is the metabolic boost. You eat a wider range of foods and introduce some items like milk and eggs. Phase 3 is about maintaining healthy weight loss. You eat about 70% of the phase 2 foods and then some 'goodies' in between.
The diet is set up to cleanse the system of the bad stuff, heal your gut, and in the process wean you off the items that cause the insatiable cravings and hunger. At the same time, improve all over health. Recipes and a meal plan are given at the beginning, as well as a shopping list for each stage. Recipes are set up to be made quickly and easily using fairly staple foods. Chicken, salads, seafood, etc.
For the recipes, I had a few problems with the directions (e.g., I have no idea what I'm doing when I'm told to "deglaze the vinegar"). As well, with a few I wasn't really sure what was going on (e.g., I'm told to saute garlic and then add wet Kale and let it simmer - but I'm not quite sure how wet the kale should be?). But on the whole, I was able to follow the recipes and they satisfied me - I wasn't left hungry. There were no surprises here - a lot of the recipes are superfood centered, so you'll see similar iterations in other cookbooks that focus on organic and superfoods like cruciferous vegetables and legumes). I wish there was more information about substitutions (e.g., I can't eat seafood and when given an ingredient like apple cider vinegar, I'd like to know if malt cider is an acceptable alternative.)
Although there weren't a lot of exotic ingredients (I wasn't able to get jerusalem artichoke or kimchee at my local store), there are resources on where to get many ingredients. One big downside for me was tracking down the huge amount of supplements, which was 7-10 pills a day and some powders. Be prepared - it is a heavy cost up front (perhaps not as heavy in the long run for good health, though). If you are outside of the US, this will be a hard diet to follow.
Recipe examples include: minted fruit salad with brazil nuts, rich vegetable soup, jerk cornish game hen, mussels steamed in beer, gazpacho smoothie, stuffed mushrooms, and snacks such as baked kale chips.
I've tried the diet for 3 weeks now and the cravings really do go down. I haven't received all the supplements in the mail or tracked down all the ingredients as of the time of writing this, though, and will update later. But the weight is coming off.
If buying the Kindle version, the formatting is a bit harder to read than with the book version, so I recommend the physical copy.
Reviewed from an ARC.
I am NOT a patient of the doctor, but I have been following the method of eating in this book several months before this book came out. I arrived at this diet by studying research on the gut microbiome and figuring out how to implement that research into my own eating. The amazing thing to me is that the doctor's recommended diet and conclusions are similar to my own. And what he has observed in his patients is exactly what I have observed of myself.
I have spontaneously lost a lot of weight and six inches off my waistline. My lipids are great, but were statin worthy before I started. I have lost hypoglycemia, allergies of all types, and simply feel great. I felt I was a very healthy person before I started, but the list of improved things is very long.
I say "spontaneously" because, as the doctor states, this is not a diet requiring calorie counting. It does not require restricting any particular macronutrient. You eat what you normally eat (minus bad foods listed by the doctor, but this was not a big deal for me) but add gut friendly foods. The emphasis is on inulin, found in garlic, onions, asparagus, and such. I'll add dandelion greens because I enjoy them and they are a better source than a few of the others mentioned. Also probiotic foods. I will also point out that some Korean markets have leek kimchi and scallion kimchi, so one can get a dose of inulin along with the probiotics. Plus authentic Korean kimchi to me is better than the health-store "kimchi".
I found that I was losing weight, about 2 lbs per week. Without doing anything other than making sure I got plenty of gut friendly foods. Then my tastes started changing. I'd get out of the blue cravings. One was for raw honey (sorry doc, I know it is on your bad list, but my gut wanted it). I've never eaten it raw since an allergic reaction some time ago. One tablespoon, and that's what I needed. Other similar cravings. Soon I learned to listen to my gut and let it tell me what I needed. It's almost a dialogue between my brain and my gut. I eat what I want, but to be frank what I want is good, healthy food.
Now my weight is stable at a healthy level. I eat what I want. But what I want is different from before. I want onions. I want garlic. I want all the good stuff that feeds the gut. The doctor says at various stages you can deviate 90% or 70% from the diet. The funny thing to me is these deviation numbers also seem automatic - I'd say they are about right, but the gut stops you from going to far. It's not something I have to think about.
I try to get as much of my fiber as possible from real food. But there are some advantages to supplementation as well. I was previously hypoglycemic, but my symptoms did not fully disappear until I started taking glucomannan. Also, for those of us with cholesterol issues, there are several fibers of benefit. These additional fibers are not in the book.
I end with a quotes from the book that perfectly reflects my experience:
"Restoring their intestinal health and balancing the microbiome frees them from cravings and compulsions while putting them in touch with what their body needs and wants. It's almost as if they have awakened their 'inner nutritionist', instinctively seeking foods they need to remain healthy, energized, and fit."
Exactly! We discovered it independently, but the doctor has a great book!
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Brain. The Microbiome Diet is the BEST book I have read in a long time.Read more