Incredibly, amazingly, wonderfully useful. That's what I have to say about this book.
Now, I'm wondering what it says about my age that I was able to read this book from cover to back in three days, in the same way I normally devour a fiction novel.
I guess that probably says more about the books readability, though, than about me being an old 27 year old. It had so many interesting facts and so many great ideas about how to use those facts to live a healthier longer life that one might think it would be easy to occasionally get bogged down by facts. This didn't happen. Everything was presented in such a way that even the layman would easily get maximum benefit.
The book was separated into sections that will make it easy to go back and re-look up something I might later forget or be wondering about. The beautiful, glossy color pictures were a great addition to the words that made it easy to visualize everything he was saying. Bowden's "Four Horsemen of Aging:" free radicals, inflammation, glycation, and stress, are a humorous and realistic way of looking at the things that actually cause disease and then figuring out what we can do about them.
I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I think it is VITAL that people not only know how to lead healthy lifestyles but also understand the benefits and therefore have the motivation to do so. A book like this provides the motivation and the know how. It occasionally made me laugh, which in no way took away from the seriousness of the message. The power and beauty of the chapter on emotional intelligence is something I think will stay with me for life. The power of friends and community is, indeed, amazing!
That's not to say everything was perfect with the book, though, and there were actually a few things with which I had trouble.
And thus, my little rant, which you can choose to read or not:
Okay, Dr. Bowden, I get it. You like wild salmon. No, you love wild salmon. Especially from Vital Nutrients. We can find this Vital Nutrients salmon via your website, and you recommend that, to live healthily, we eat A LOT of it! He might have overstressed this point just a little bit. I almost wish I had counted the number of times he mentioned it.
It might have been less annoying for me if he had also mentioned vegan alternatives to the omega-3s and health benefits of salmon, but every time he mentioned flax, it was in parentheses, as an afterthought.
Because the fact is, SO MANY STUDIES have shown that a vegan diet with B12 (because, studies say, the supplement is actually better for you than the meat from which you can get it naturally) is pretty much the healthiest diet there is. I understand that he doesn't believe this, and that's fine. The thing is, he has so many arguments that make is seem like a salmon-eating vegan would be the healthiest way to go that it seems odd of him to disregard veganism entirely. It would have been awesome if he had given vegan alternatives (which I know exist, and to which he occasionally alluded) that give the same nutrients as the things he was suggesting.
He also goes a little overboard on the supplement advice. It seems like I would be taking about a thousand pills a day. In "The China Study," I read that there are several studies that have shown that taking supplements of certain vitamins and minerals can often have the opposite effect of what we are hoping. In this book, I've now read the opposite. Does this mean studies are showing these two contradictory things, and if so, what am I supposed to believe? In any case, it seems logical to me that getting my vitamins and minerals from natural, food sources is the most effective way to go. I therefore think that a great addition to this book would have been this: each time he suggested a supplement, he could have also given a short list of foods that would also give the desired nutrients.
I'm also not entirely sure how I felt about the section on hormones. But this has nothing to do with what he was saying or his way of saying it; it has more to do certain beliefs of my own about living a more natural life. So I've decided not to go there.
Note: he does address some of these things in the conclusion, but it almost seemed a bit like 'too little, too late' for me.
Okay, rant over. What makes these things okay, I suppose, is that he was very clear about what was his OPINION and what came from studies and could be considered fact. In the end, like I said, despite my occasional negative thought about it (and the fact that my rant is longer than the actual review), I actually loved this book. I'm looking forward to reading some of Jonny Bowden's earlier books that he talked about in this one. They sound like they will be just as interesting and informative. And on that note, I'm off to exercise using some of the awesome methods he gives in his book. He makes exercising seem so doable! And while he in no way made me think I should stop being a vegan, he did make me think that I've got to find a way to start loving blueberries!