`The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth' by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S. is the latest and best of the healthy eating genre, the `best foods' book. Earlier entries in this category are `Superfoods' by Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews and the '12 Best Foods Cookbook' by Dana Jacobi. Bowden's book is different in three directions from these other volumes. First, it contains no recipes. This is little loss, as the second difference, the much longer list of `good' foods more than makes it up. One can quite easily find good recipes for these foods by yourself. For starters, just get Pratt and Jacobi's books! The third difference is that the author has many comments on what is NOT good for you, what you should avoid, as well as the many things you should search out.
The very best news in this book is the revelation (or confirmation, if you are up on your nutritional news flashes) that coffee, wine, butter, eggs, chocolate, cinnamon and watermelon are GOOD FOR YOU! One of the biggest surprises is that most soy products and many milk products (although NOT cheese and yogurt) are NOT good for you. Weak soy products include soy milk and tofu. Fermented soy products such as miso, like so many other fermented food products (yogurt, Kimchee, cheeses and sauerkraut) are still valuable, enhanced by the friendly bacteria responsible for the fermentation.
In spite of all the great news about some guilty pleasures, Bowden gives no relief for the bread and pasta lovers among us. It seems that grains such as wheat and rice, no matter how `unfussed about with', are high in `empty calories'. Processed white grain and their wheats come off as being close to being poisonous! I'm exaggerating, of course, but I sometimes have the feeling that our good Dr. Bowden sometimes overstates his case just a smidge. One example that caught my eye was his opinion on the relative value of the commercially packaged honey (regardless of flowery source) versus raw honey in the comb. While I am not intimate with all the details of honey processing, I have seen some of the steps, and I honestly can't see how a bit of centrifugation and even pasteurization can succeed in turning something good into something bad or at least neutral. On the other hand, Bowden does agree with a general position on food processing that claims that all heat treatment such as pasteurization degrades foods. The entire `Raw' food movement is based on this premise. So, while I am not ready to go out and buy my dehydrator and ship my range off to the metal recycler, I chalk some points up to the `Raw' camp from this very knowledgeably written book. One question I would pose to the Raw camp is how can you deal with especially good foods such as bitter greens which are almost inedible, or at least unpalatable if left uncooked.
One thing I find missing in this and virtually all other books on nutrition is a good practical sense of what in economics is called the marginal value of one food over another. For example, what is the practical difference to us between raw honey and `processed' honey. I will grant the difference, but is that difference worth the effort required to search out a source for raw honey when the `Sue Bee' honey bear is on every supermarket shelf. A more serious thought on the marginal value of foods arises when the author, or any other nutritional author touts a particular nutritional benefit, such as the anti-prostate cancer properties of lycopene found in both tomatoes and watermelon. As I am genetically predisposed to prostate cancer, I am inclined to wolf down as many tomato preparations as I can get my hands on. My problem is that this `hope' is probably pretty slim. Two portions of tomatoes a day for the rest of my life will probably change my chances by about 0.2%. I'm just guessing here, but I have a hunch that if someone ate a perfect diet according to these recommendation, the difference may still be too small to measure. This is why the author's negative comments about grains, milk, and soy are probably more valuable, as they warn us against things which we have for generations believed to be especially good for us.
I found only one weakness in Dr. Bowden's facts, or at least in his completeness. In the article about cinnamon, he does not distinguish between true cinnamon (cinnamonum zelanicum) from Sri Lanka and it's close lookalike, cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) from China and southeast Asia. My hunch is that the good doctor was really talking about cassia. He would have removed a small blemish on his thoroughness if he would have distinguished the two. In general, he would have given a small bone to those of us who dote on such things if he were to have given the scientific names for all plant and animal food sources.
Overall, this is a really good book on nutrition. Not because it's facts are better than those in many other books on nutrition, but rather because the cases for both good and bad foods are so eloquently and readably made. My two favorite facts are on the relative nutritional value of dandelion greens and lamb. Now dandelion should be no surprise, ALL green leaved vegetables are good for you. It's just that dandelion, like so many greens, is cheap. The good news about lamb, my very favorite meat, is based on the fact that sheep are grass fed, unlike cattle and pigs. And, if there is any one lesson we get from this book, our food sources, like us, are what they eat, and green grass is much better for Bo Peep's charges than corn or wheat.
This is an excellent book of useable information on nutrition! I hope the author gets together with a strong culinary collaborator and turns all this information into a cookbook.
on February 1, 2007
This is a beautifully presented book, a pleasure to look at with its crisp photos and clean layout. The content more than matches the promise of the aesthetics - it's packed with all sorts of gems, including:
* "Ask the Expert" top 10 food lists from various authorities who are either health writers or practitioners
* starred entries within the list of 150 foods, designating the cream of the crop
* a glossary that helpfully defines various nutrients, hormones, diseases, etc
* mini-lessons on such hot topics as the glycemic index, differentiation of fats, and eating organically
* interpretation of foods from homeopathic, Ayurvedic, and yoga nutritional therapy perspectives
The 150 selected foods are organised into chapters by food genres: Vegetables; Grains; Beans & Legumes; Fruits; Nuts, Seeds, and Nut Butters; Soy Foods; Dairy; Meat, Poultry, and Eggs; Fish and Seafood; Specialty Foods; Beverages; Herb, Spices, and Condiments; Oils; and Sweeteners. Each food listing carries an explanation of which nutrients makes it a winner, why these nutrients are so good for us, who in particular would benefit, and who's at risk and so should avoid that particular food. Jonny even frequently provides tips on selection and preparation.
So much of the information is fascinating, and often surprising. Discover that cashews are a member of the poison ivy family, while eggplant is actually a berry and falls into the nightshade grouping. Learn that raspberries are calorie for calorie one of the most high-fibre foods on the planet, and that spinach and tomatoes are great for your eyes thanks to the lutein in them. Determine how to convert unsalted butter to ghee, which is one of the finest cooking oils available and provides an important rejuvenating tonic for the mind, brain, and nervous system. And realize that country of origin of cheese affects its cancer-fighting, fat-reducing properties.
Although very entertaining, this book is still solidly backed by the science. The research presented is impressive, but Jonny is adept at making complex things simple. As a result, the book is an easy and engaging read - so much so that it feels a little like enjoying a conversation with Jonny over a cup of coffee (or, after reading this book, a glass of noni juice!).
If you want to understand what you're eating, its properties and how it affects your body, this well-considered book is a must-have. As a health and fitness trainer, I'm enthusiastically recommending this book to all my clients so they can achieve fat loss, health, and performance goals through informed dietary choices.
This book could not be any better. There are a million books out there that tell you what foods are healthy and, anyone that has paid any attention at all, can tell you what is healthy and what is not. But this book goes farther by giving you all the research and little known facts about so many different foods. And it presents both sides of controversial topics, such as soy. I now have a resource to see how I can correct problems through nutrition. This is highly recommended for anyone that has an interest in improving their health through nutrition. Thank you!!!
Eat this food, it'll make you healthy. Oh, wait a minute, that was yesterday's news. Actually, make sure you DON'T eat this food because it's not as good for you as we previously thought. Don't worry because we may change our minds again tomorrow, though, so keep checking back!
Do you find your head spinning round and round at all the relentless health claims you hear bantered about in the news just about every single day? Who among us has the time to keep up with it all? Do we really care?
While the information that comes out about the latest research on the various foods we eat can sometimes be humorous in its perplexing contradictions, the sincere desire by most people to eat right for the sake of maintaining their weight and health is certainly no laughing matter to them.
Especially for those tens of millions of Americans who suffer from health threats such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, among other things, getting the right information about what to eat could very well mean the difference between living a few years longer or dying a tragic premature death.
This is a sobering thought that should be seriously examined by all those who are in charge of providing health information in America. Enough with all the hyperbolic innuendo every time a new study about the healthy benefits of a new food comes out!
All we want is to be told the truth about what foods are genuinely good for us, not constantly spoon-fed more of the same old mumbo jumbo garbage science we often hear from the plethora of company-financed studies from those who have a vested interest in a specific outcome. There's a reason why they pour millions of dollars into this supposedly impartial undertakings--profits at the hands of the public's ignorance!
Can't somebody (ANYBODY!) just come up with an unbiased and reliable resource for solid nutritional information that the average person can use to determine what they should be eating for optimum health with no pretenses, just the unadulterated truth?!
Well, that resource is finally here thanks to weight loss coach and nutrition expert Dr. Jonny Bowden who has penned his most brilliant worked to date entitled The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why.
While the title may fool many people into believing this is just one big yawner of an encyclopedia-type book about food, don't be disillusioned because it is so much more than that. Bowden writes with such a personal flair for what he does borne out of his sincere passion for healthy living that he even makes discussing complex nutritional terms like flavanoids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals sound cool.
For me, just one look at the dedication page of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth helped me realize that Bowden didn't just flippantly throw this list of foods together in some sloppy attempt to crank out another book. Instead, he took great inspiration from the best people in his life to guide him along about what to include in this book, like his late mother, his beloved dog, his faithful companion, as well as two other women who should be very familiar to anyone who is livin' la vida low-carb--Lora Ruffer from "Low-Carb Luxury" and Regina Wilshire from the "Weight of the Evidence" blog.
Although Bowden has since backed away from his support for the low-carb lifestyle despite having written what is arguably the best book on low-carb living (Living The Low-Carb Life: From Atkins to the Zone Choosing the Diet That's Right for You), it's nice to know he has sought the assistance of some of the leading voices in the low-carb community for the right perspective on what to include in this book. THANK YOU for remembering your low-carb supporters, Jonny!
And Bowden most certainly covers the gamut in his book looking at the specific vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, fish, beverages, herbs and spices, oils, and sweeteners that are considered the very healthiest for you to consume. Page after page, you get to see the spectrum of choices available to you starting with the best in each food category. You get the good, better, and best for each food group!
But what will most likely shock a lot of people about this book is the fact there is scant mention of supposedly healthy foods we hear so much about such as soy, dairy, and grains. GASP! How can this be in a book about the "healthiest foods on Earth?" READ THE BOOK!
At the same time, Bowden includes not-so-well-known health foods like butter, macadamia nuts, eggs including the yolk, the right kind and quantity of dark chocolate, hemp seed oil, raw honey, and the saturated fat-laden coconut oil among the best for you to eat. Say what? Do you wanna know why these were included in this list? Again, READ THE BOOK!
While the user-friendly layout and vibrant pictures included in The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth are absolutely gorgeous (kudos to the design team!), it's that signature Jonny Bowden writing style that captivates your attention from the very beginning and makes you want to keep reading what would normally be a rather drab and boring book from page one all the way to the very last page. It's almost like a dietary suspense novel because you never know what you're gonna discover next!
I'm anxiously awaiting all of the so-called health "experts" to start coming out of the woodwork blasting away at this book for promoting some hidden agenda. But too bad for them they won't have a leg to stand on because every single food included in these 360 pages is completely backed up by some of the most compelling evidence you will find anywhere. Credit Bowden for doing his homework.
There's a lot that can be learned from someone who can clearly explain what "grass-fed" means for beef, "free-range" means for eggs, and "organic" which is being put on just about everything these days. Bowden is the one who makes it all understandable and practical so that it benefits all those who read it--a real asset in our fast-paced, time-sensitive society!
In addition to the hundreds of hours he spent researching for this book, Bowden also implored the assistance of some of the world's best and brightest health advocates to compile their own top ten lists of their favorite health foods. People like Drs. Michael and Mary Dan Eades from "Protein Power," Dr. Fred Pescatore from "The Hamptons Diet," low-carb researcher Dr. Jeff Volek from the University of Connecticut, Dr. Oz Garcia, Dr. Barry Sears, and so many more are sprinkled throughout this book! It's a literal who's who in the health and nutrition world, so you won't want to miss their recommendations.
Also, as a special bonus gift for getting this book, Bowden provides a complimentary sample CD of one of his three new audiobooks called "23 Ways To Improve Your Life" which I previously reviewed at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. This man truly has a gift for communicating both in the written and spoken form which is a real asset considering the crisis of health we face today.
Jonny Bowden isn't just another health book author who is here today, gone tomorrow--he has made helping people live a healthier lifestyle his life's work. I'm so glad he wrote The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth because it adds some much-needed clarity to the debate over what foods are the most healthy. After reading this book, there should be no more doubts!
on April 10, 2007
Nutritionist Jonny Bowden presents The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, a guide for readers of all backgrounds that does not shy away from controversy. From why milk-off-the-supermarket-shelf is questionable (pasteurization destroys many nutrients, plus factory farmed cattle tend to be fed unhealthy diets with massive doses of antibiotics) to the value of blueberries as a memory-promoting food to the antioxidant properties of peanuts, and healthy foods such as Goji berries that readers may be unfamiliar with, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth is sure to dispel common misconceptions and encourage better food choices and eating habits. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth is not a vegan or vegetarian book, as it promotes the value of eggs, grass-fed beef, and certain types of seafood, but the majority of ingredients listed are fruits or vegetables. Full-color photographs and a frank discussion of food controversies - including those for which there is not enough evidence to support proof one way or the other - round out this practical and solidly honest guide. Highly recommended.
on December 12, 2008
Author & Book Views On A Healthy Life!
Book Review: The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press, 2007) by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D.
Sometimes I think we're living in the dark ages rather than during a period of enlightenment. Practically all of our population can read and is educated, and should be well aware of the advantages of nutrition, exercise, and healthy living. Unfortunately, recent studies have indicated that the current situation is the exact opposite--American obesity is leading us all down the road to an overtaxed health system. Each year we see our government implement laws to improve our health. The key however is not our government. As citizens, our duty is to take control of our own health.
The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden gives an overview of what we should be consuming on a daily basis. Citing recent research and experts in their fields, Bowden covers:
* Vegetables--turnips, greens
* Grains--quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal
* Bean & Legumes--edamame, garbanzo beans
* Fruits--kiwi, cherries, cranberries
* Nuts, Seeds, and Nut Butters--almond butter, sunflower seeds, walnuts, flax seed
* Soy Foods--natto, miso, tempeh
* Dairy--milk, yogurt
* Meat, Poultry, Eggs--organic, grass-fed, free running
* Fish & Seafood--salmon, omega-3, wild, tuna
* Specialty Foods--fermented
* Beverages--coffee, tea
* Herbs, Spices, and Condiments--parsley, oregano, apple cider vinegar
* Oils--coconut, sesame, olive
* Sweeteners--blackstrap molasses, honey
Bowden's book covers origins of foods, their benefits, and even offers a glossary of unusual terms. The end of each chapter mentions an expert and his or her top ten foods as well.
Did you know:
Medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil kill the bacterias causing strep throat, pneumonia, and sinusitis?
Ginger may out-perform Dramamine in preventing seasickness?
Oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples?
Snacking on sunflower seeds offers protection against heart disease?
Eating eggs may protect against breast cancer?
Kids should eat wild salmon to boost their brain development?
Unless you're a nutritionist, you certainly still have something new to learn about how foods help keep us sharp, toned, and disease-free. Educate yourself by reading Bowden's The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. You'll not only help yourself, but you'll put your children on the road to health for life.
on December 28, 2006
Full Disclosure: I'm the one who recommended Jonny Bowden to write this book. No one paid me; I did it simply because I knew he was the best man for the job. As a result, I was fortunate enough to read it before it became available to the general public, and I can say without reservation that Jonny has knocked it out of the park.
If you're interested in food and nutrition, you need this book. If you think you already know a lot about food and nutrition, you *REALLY* need this book -- because I guarantee you, you *will* learn something new. Probably several somethings new, and some of it is going to surprise you. Jonny slaughters a few sacred cows, I warn you. If you're just starting to learn about nutrition, this book will bring you up to speed virtually overnight. Furthermore, it will entertain you while doing so.
Jonny knows his stuff, and that's important. What's equally important is that he writes really well. You won't slog through pages of musty jargon. Jonny's writing is clear, engaging, and fun to read. If you're like me, and find being entertained and educated at the same time almost too wonderful to bear, Jonny's your guy.
In short, this is the nutrition book -- and probably the health book -- of the year -- and the year hasn't even started yet. Still, with the perspective of thirty years of fascination with nutrition, I say that with absolute confidence.
If you care about your health, or just like learning stuff while being entertained, order The 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth *now*. You won't be sorry.
on September 10, 2007
"The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" is a carefully researched, well written book. The author gives you the complete nutritional lowdown on each of the 150 foods included in the book. A number of the 150 foods have a star at the beginning of the article on them, signifying that according to Jonny Bowden they are nutritional superstars (the best of the best).
The book includes chapters on vegetables, grains, beans, fruits, nuts, seeds, and nut butters, soy, dairy, meat, poultry and eggs fish, specialty foods, beverages, herbs and spices, oils and sweeteners. It is chock full of useful nutrition information for those wanting to use food to prevent or help heal various diseases.
The author is careful to accurately state the facts about the nutritional benefits of each healthiest food included in the book. Bowden always backs his assertions about the health benefits of each food with the scientific research that supports the food's health benefits. He is also quick to point out where certain excellent foods have been hyped to work miracles that they can't possibly preform. Bowden calls a spade a spade. He also has a good sense of humor.
While there is no recipe section in the book, the author gives many suggestions for ways to "simply" use each healthiest food. His suggestions are very uncomplicated and really doable.
on July 25, 2007
I love this book. Not only is it inviting, with it's glossy pages, big print and beautiful pictures of each food being discussed, it has valuable information in it that is easy to understand. I have done a lot of readying about how I should eat and I was shocked to find a book that agreed with every single thing that I have come to believe. Each section gets to the bottom line, and doesn't beat around the bush. It especially impressed me with what he said about eating grains, dairy or soy. That he had the guts to tell the truth. I was so thrilled to have confirmation on the things I have come to believe about healthy eating.
on April 17, 2008
Although we've all been told to eat 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables a day, this book actually INSPIRES you do do so because Bowden's writing style is so engaging and easy to read. While there are other books on the market with basically the same message (eat more fruits, vegetables, and fish) this book tells you WHICH fruits, vegetables, and fish give you the most bang for your buck, nutrition-wise. Ever since I bought this book a couple of weeks ago, I've been consciously eating many of the foods described in it, and I feel better already. Reading this book almost makes one feel as though you've got your own personal coach who encourages you to eat what you should be eating, which definitely makes this book worth the money. Like I said, even though we already know what we're supposed to be eating, sometimes one needs the INCENTIVE to do so, and this books provides just that.