Top critical review
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Second thoughts on this book
on February 19, 2003
I reviewed this book earlier and gave it 5 stars. I still believe the book has some good information, but I have to say that in practice, much of the food (dairy and grains) doesn't work for me.
I think this book way overemphasies the importance of dairy. I'm allergic to all forms myself but even in its raw form, very few peoples have traditionally consumed raw milk. And further back, no one consumed it. Most people on the planet to this day cannot digest raw milk. There is still too much lactose whether you leave it raw, culture it or wish it had none. Pasteurized milk is really bad for you but raw milk still has some of the problems as it still has the lactose and the proteins. It aslo needs to be handled very carefully.
Cultured pasteurized products like yogurt still have many of the problems of pasteurized milk.
I found the suggestion to include whey, a major milk protein, as a starter in many of the recipes unless you are very allergic too it not to make much sense as you should completely avoid foods you are allergic too as they act as a poison in your body. I did try some of the recipes without whey and they didn't work very well.
This book also bases a lot of its traditional methods of food preparation on very recent techniques. 1000 years ago is nothing in human time and there does seem to be evidence that for most of humanities time, we ate nothing like this. We are mainly meat, fruit and non starchy veg eaters, with very small amounts of denser carbohydrate foods thown in. There is a lot of evidence that yeasts may not be so good for many of us. There is speculation that it may contribute to autism amoung other conditions.
There is much evidence that we did not consume grains for most of our history. Nor did we use yeast in our foods. Or dairy. In a sense, these three foods could be labled newfangled as the amount of time we have been eating them is a drop in time.
Another problem is the books very strong emphasis on "debunking" the whole saturated fats issue. The problem many have with saturated fats is not saturated fat in and of itself, it is the type of saturated fat. Mainly the kind of fat that develops when you feed an animal (or human) large amounts of grain. This is not a healthy fat and is not the kind of fat that was eaten 20,000 years ago.
Also, some of the long lived peoples that are referenced apparently have been studied and have been shown to have deficiency diseases and to have partaken in selective upbringing where sickly offspring are allowed to die which of course makes for a very hardy population....
Still, the book has some good information about fats.
If you want a healthy diet stick with fish, free range grass fed meat with the fat, coconut oil, olive oil, fruits and mainly non starchy vegetables and avoid any form of bread and pasta. Be careful with raw dairy, yeast foods and any form of grain, especially gluten grains (wheat, rye, barley and probably oats). They have a relatively very short history of use and they give many people huge problems regardless of how they are prepared.