I've been impressed with this book from the moment I received it. It's very interesting to just flip through, and also very easy to find information on something you're specifically interested in knowing about. It talks about how to choose quality foods, how to eat them, medicinal benefits, things to watch out for, etc. Also, I find that it's very up-to-date, and a modern outlook on health, including when it's better to look for organic options.
This book is an amazing reference for those with background knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and diagnosis because it provides you with complimentary dietary plans for any of the syndromes. Additionally, it provides a lot of modern and scientific information on modern eating habits, food and water quality, and the various lifestyle choices involving diet that may affect one's health from a holistic medicine perspective. Each page I read made me continually impressed with the depth of knowledge and research the authors present. This book should be on the shelf of every holistic health practitioner who wants to create a positive nutritional impact on the lives on their clients.
That said, there are two downsides I would like to comment on:
1) The benefits of this book can only be maximized with a solid understanding of TCM theory, such as yin-yang and five elements theory. The authors give you a primer on these topics but in my opinion the subject matter can be too abstract for a beginner to understand without outside help, and so the remainder of the book's content may be lost on the reader. This is not a book that breaks down foods into vitamin and mineral types, which I feel some readers may expect to find when they buy it; rather, it looks at foods based on their yin/yang profile, interactions with the Zangfu according to TCM theory, and their temperature profile.
2) The authors place unusual emphasis on vegetarianism. I do tend to agree that reducing meat in one's diet can lead to a healthier outcome in lifestyle, but this is not universally true of all patients. TCM theory does not necessarily advocate eliminating meat for all people, and for example, for many individuals with blood deficiency, INCREASING animal protein intake can be an important factor in restoring balance to the body. The authors acknowledge the unique makeup of each individual and the need to custom tailor dietary plans for each person, but at the same time, they downplay the beneficial role that meat can play in health by referring to it as a last resort, or they willfully suggest that meat is bad for you.
There is evidence in other dietary philosophies, such as the Blood Type Diet, that suggests certain constitution types may be predisposed to needing to ingest high quality animal protein more regularly, whereas other types may not need it at all. For those that need it, vegetable protein is often not an adequate substitute for the long-term. It's important to factor in the individual needs of patients before considering whether or not it's a good idea to recommend excluding meat.
In short, expect to find some bias against meat eating in this.
This book is quite ideal for someone who is looking for all of the health benefits of many whole foods. It also discusses some of the foods to stay away from. It works well in conjunction with "Healing With Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford. It's kind of like a extended glossary or index of the foods that he describes.