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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at nutrition - and not just for the sick, March 13 2001
By 
Carol S. (Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
Although I don't necessarily agree with everything Annemarie Colbin has to say about food & health (for example, I believe that certain immunizations are a critical part of one's health care and not unnecessary or harmful), "Food and Healing" is an excellent and thoughtful treatment of a complex subject. The title may erroneously give the impression that the book is just for those who are ill. In fact, the book has a lot to offer to anyone who is interested in learning more about nutrition, and how what we eat can make us feel better or worse. We know that caffeine can give you energy or make you nervous, and that a high-fat diet can cause heart disease; Colbin theorizes that other kinds of food, food ingredients and even methods of preparation affect the body in different but no less profound ways. Particularly intriguing are Colbin's musings on "food philosphy": e.g., multi-faceted comparisons of different diets; how different thinkers approach food in a different philosophical way; various ways to look at food choices and their effects on the body. I was impressed by the breadth of the sources Colbin cites (although occasionally one finds an outdated reference, like the ones to the now-debunked Tasaday "tribe") and how she weaves everything together into a coherent and readable book. What really won me over, however, was Colbin's insistence on taking a flexible approach to eating. Colbin emphasizes that no diet should remain static, and we need to choose different kinds of diets to reflect and address what is going on in our lives at different times. She is remarkably open-minded and tolerant of all points of view, allowing the reader to take away nuggets of wisdom from unlikely sources. If some of the opinions expressed seemed a bit too airy-fairy for me (e.g., auras, and her apparent rejection of the germ theory of disease transmission), even these sections were interesting and thought-provoking. Required reading for anyone who has "food issues," wants to improve her diet, has a chronic health problem, or works in the nutrition field.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a comprehensive resource, March 29 2001
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
I just borrowed this book from a friend, and Colbin covers everything--there were several pages I xeroxed before returning it. It doesn't propose any specific philosophy, rather it evaluates the effects of different foods on the body. She incorporates Chinese and ayurvedic philosophy also and details macrobiotics. I am vegan, and I especially recommend it for vegetarians since it explains how to balance your diet, making sure you get enough calcium and the essential B12. Colbin emphasizes all-natural foods and listening to your body. I'm gonna buy a copy when I get back to the states. Enjoy!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking, Jan. 24 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
This book provided me with a new way of thinking about food and how it affects health and energy levels. Her explanations can be pretty "alternative" and many of them are not grounded in medical science, but as long as you're aware of that, this is a very practical book. As she points out, there are many connections in this world that conventional science is only starting to discover. Colbin's ideas work when put into practice.
If you're open to new ideas about food and diet, read this book. If you want to be vegetarian but don't feel good on a vegetarian diet, or if you aren't happy with how you eat but aren't sure what to do about it, read this book. She makes few judgements and refuses to label foods (or diets) "bad" or "good" - she just tells you what effects she's obseved and lets you draw your own conclusions. I appreciated her awareness that everybody's different; that depending on your climate, the season, your personal biochemistry, what you have eaten previously in your life, and even your job, your dietary needs will differ.
Colbin's cookbooks ("The Natural Gourmet" has delicious recipes) put her ideas into practice and prove that you can eat the way she recommends without feeling deprived.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Low Fat Eating, May 27 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
If you missed Annemarie Colbin's fine book, Food and Healing, the first time around, it's back in a revised edition. First published in 1986, it rapidly became a classic exploration in detail of why and how we are what we eat. Reissued in 1996 by Ballantine with a new preface by the author, Food and Healing now incorporates the latest on low fat eating, findings on food combinations and new alternative medicine paths into what remains the Bible of the holistic view of food and health.
Ms. Colbin's view is thoroughly common sensical. She recognizes the fact that we are each individuals, and that once we have digested the facts, theories and proposals in her book we must make decide on what eating choices are best for us.
This is a thoughtful but not didactic book, solid and grounded in research, yet written with an entertaining touch. Rarely have we encountered a book that so well explains the nutritive quality of food, and its effects on body, mind and spirit. Don't miss it.
Review by Meredith Sayles Hughes
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4.0 out of 5 stars A healthy approach to eating for wellbeing, Jan. 13 1999
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
Annemarie Colbin lays out a myriad of information as to how foods affect your mood, energy and overall wellbeing. She describes in detail what happens when we eat certain foods, particularly in combinations which may explain why many of us can't lose weight or remain sick and tired. The descriptions of various popular diets is enlightening.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never look at food the same way again!, May 30 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
A powerful, thought-provoking book. Ms. Colbin is extremely knowledgeable and readable. This is a great book for vegetarians and would be vegetarians who have dabbled in natural hygiene, macrobiotics and other "branches" and have trouble sorting through all the conflicting information and dogmas.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Food and healing, June 29 2014
By 
M. MacPhee (Nova Scotia Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
look forward to viewing this book, read some of the book from a friend,am happy to have it and will gain much information from it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, March 14 2014
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This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
I love this book. I love how she breaks down nutrition and eating to a much simpler way then we are expected to see it today. She has her strong beliefs but her experiences showed her that it is not right to force a single type of diet on anyone and that is the tone of the book. She talks quite a bit about Japanese type of cuisine and macrobiotic type eating but that's what has worked for her so I don't think that's something to criticize. I cried at the end of the book when she warmly and intimately shares her experience of dealing with a very difficult decision she is forced to give into. Never thought I'd cry over a book about food! She's opened my mind and I refer to her other work often as well. I bought this copy for my father who deals with cancer and cardiac issues.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone needs to read this book while they are young!!!!, Aug. 10 2009
By 
Kate Gallagher (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
I was so angry when I finished this book I was driving my family and friends crazy. I was diagnosed with "fatty liver" disease in 2005. I became symptom free by eating a veggy/fruit diet with low fat and red meat. It worked while I was living in China but back home it was back to the pastas and Caesar salads within two years. I finally came full circle in November 2008 only this time it took more than diet to get me back in shape. I went to a naturopathic doctor on my PCP's advice and she further restricted my diet to eliminate heavy metals and pesticides etc. So, no coffee, no alcohol, no shellfish, no fish that eat other fish. I picked up this book hoping it would help. Boy, did it.
I now know exactly what to do to keep my body healthy and eating right. She calls it health supporting wholefood diet. My naturopath calls it an anti-inflammatory diet. Very clear and convincing. With a good bibliography.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars farked!, March 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Food and Healing (Paperback)
Foods That Sharpen Your Mind
What you eat, and when, has a bigger impact on your brain than you might think
By Lowell Ponet.
"Eat your fish," my mother would say. "It's brain food." She was not, of course, a nutritionist. She was merely citing an item of food folklore that has been around for ages.
Judith Wurtman, on the other hand, is a nutrition scientist at M.I.T. When her daughter was studying for the bar exam, Wurtman recommended tuna "to keep her mentally alert." And when Wurtman travels, she carries cans of tuna fish for snacks.
Wurtman and her colleague and spouse, Dr. Richard J. Wurtman, Director of M.I.T.'s Clinical Research Center, have measured the reactions of the brain to different foods. They and other researchers have discovered that food affects the mind in powerful and surprising ways. What you put in your mouth can change your mood, alertness, memory, and clarity of thought.
"It remains peculiar to me," Richard Wurtman has said, "that the brain should have evolved in such a way that is subject to having its function and chemistry depend on whether you had lunch and what you ate. I would not have designed the brain that way myself." But nature apparently did, and what scientists have learned about it can be of great value to us.
Use their findings in the course of an average day, and you may well gain mental acuity:
Breakfast. The first thing in the morning, millions of us feast on carbohydrates such as pancakes and syrup, or, even worse, sweet rolls. These sugars and starches increase the presence in the brain of the soothing neurotransmitter serotonin. As a result, we might not reach our normal morning energy peak.
Bacon and eggs contain high fat and cholesterol. They are slow to digest, diverting blood from the brain and thereby reducing mental sharpness. "When I see people eating pancakes with butter and syrup or bacon and eggs for breakfast," says Judith Wurtman, "I feel like shaking them and saying, 'why are you eating that food? Don't you know how you're going to feel?'"
A good breakfast, scientists now believe, features foods low in fat. This means choosing lean ham instead of sausage or bacon, low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese as a butter substitute, and fresh fruit or juice instead of syrups and sugary foods. (The fructose sugar in fruits digests slowly and does not trigger the reaction that table sugar, corn sweeteners and honey do.)
How about caffeine? After one or two cups of coffee or tea at breakfast, you will be more alert, have better reaction time and score better on some performance tests. After three or so cups of coffee, however, caffeine over stimulation can begin making you less sharp and clear-headed.
Lunch. Most people recognize the dangers of the "three-martini lunch" and its ability to dull the mind all afternoon. (Alcohol might be called the anti-brain food; chronic use can cause structural and functional damage.) But few are aware of the effect of a "three-carbohydrate lunch" featuring only such foods as bread, pasta or potatoes, and sweet desserts. One study, headed by psychologist Bonnie Spring, now at the University of Health Scientists/Chicago Medical School, Found such meals make women sleepy and men calmer and more lethargic. Moreover, says Spring, "we found that men and women over age 40 were less able to keep their minds focused on work for up to four hours after eating carbohydrates than those who ate a high-protein diet instead."
Why? Protein-rich meals of poultry or fish, for example, charge your bloodstream with amino acids, including tyrosine. Tyrosine is carried across the protective filter called the blood-brain barrier. In the brain this amino acid is available for conversion into the alertness chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. If stress exhausts the brain's supply of these neurotransmitters, the result may be confusion, indecisiveness, anxiety and depression.
Another key nutrient that is carried across the blood-brain barrier is choline, which is found in fish, meat, egg yolks, soy products, oatmeal, rice, peanuts and pecans. Choline is a chemical precursor of the brain neurotransmitter acetycholine. The latter plays a major role in memory.
Dinner. Unless you need stimulation and energy to work or study though the night avoid proteins - such as juicy steak or fish - at supper. Instead chose carbohydrates. These foods alter brain chemistry indirectly: By triggering a release of the hormone insulin, they cause muscle cells to take up most amino acids in the bloodstream. One amino acid not taken in is tryptophan, a scarce chemical that competes with other amino acids for transport through the blood-brain barrier. With its competition reduced, more tryptophan enters the brain, where it is converted to the soothing neurotransmitter serotonin.
What about the glass of warm milk your mother told you would make you sleepy at bedtime? She was wrong. While milk does contain tryptophan, nutrition scientists now find that the protein in milk cancels the effect of this amino acid. The best snacks before bed are carbohydrates: oatmeal cookies or an English muffin with jelly.
Carbohydrates may have a deeper influence on the mind than scientists used o suspect. According to Dr. Samuel Seltzer of Philadelphia's Temple University School of Dentistry, Tryptophan can also help us reduce sensitivity to pain.
Indeed, the Wurtmans and others believe that millions of us unwittingly use sweets and other carbohydrates to make us feel better. As the days grow shorter each autumn, for example, some of us plunge into the severe condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), characterized by depression, hours of extra but unsatisfying sleep each night, and weight gain. This seasonal weight gain comes mostly from eating carbohydrates in response to cravings that are strongest in late afternoon or evening.
During the shorter days of fall and winter, the pineal gland manufactures more of the sleep-wake cycle hormone melatonin. According to Richard Wurtman, this may have some effect on brain seritonin.
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Food and Healing
Food and Healing by Annemarie Colbin (Paperback - July 12 1986)
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