Thursday, May 30, 2013

I've been reading the newly released Digestive Health with Real Food by registered dietitian Aglaée Jacob, a copy which was sent to me for an honest review. Here's my take on it: Firstly, it's a beautifully designed book, chock full of charts by the author detailing several digestive issues such as IBS, Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, GERD and more. Author Jacob explains the basics of digestion in the most complete manner I've ever read. Quotes such as this one by Hippocrates (“All diseases start in the gut”) and this one by Heather Morgan, M.S., N.L.C. (“Every time you eat or drink, you are either feeding disease or fighting it.”) explain the purpose of the book. Jacobs, who has dealt with digestive issues speaks from personal experience and strives to show the basics of digestion—what goes on in the gut—and what happens when digestion goes wrong. Charts showing food allergies and intolerances, a description of short-chain fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS)--what they are and why to avoid, along with descriptions of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and the foods that can cause a reaction are all shown in comprehensive yet simple-to-understand text and charts. Almost every digestive issue can be found with details of the why it occurs and how to minimize the problem through diet and restriction is given. Chapter 4 is devoted to nourishing foods with tables to measure and monitor your own health. Here, Jacob explains the micro-nutrient balance between fats, carbohydrates and protein and gives a list of safe vegetables and which to buy organic. You will learn about probiotics, safe natural seasonings, and which fluids to enjoy and which ones to avoid. For many digestive issues, healing is accomplished by discovering the allergens, eliminating them from the diet and finally, slowly reintroducing them. Ms. Jacob convinces the reader that a paleo diet is preferable to others to combat each digestive issue and then offers real food solutions. A troubleshooting chapter covers cravings, fatigue and what to do if the symptoms return. I was interested to see she gives recommendations for that nasty distress constipation, often a companion to other digestive issues. Her recommendations in a nutshell: eat more fat, be patient, avoid trigger foods, take probiotics, get enough water and exercise. And if these don't help, she offers info on managing stress, abdominal massage, taking magnesium, sipping ginger tea and more. In short, everything you can do to help yourself naturally is listed. Chapter 10 gives some wonderful basic recipes for digestive health such as making ghee, bone broth, basic soups and stews, all-in-one salads and some snack foods. Each is accompanied by a full page, full color photo to get the digestive juices flowing. It's not a complete cookbook but offers enough recipes to fuel your body and your imagination. If you are eliminating foods, there's a section offering a weekly meal plan to reintroduce foods back into the diet. In conclusion, this book should be the bible for anyone suffering from digestive disease who wants a step-by-step manual for a holistic therapy. Jacob did it using her methods and so can you. Highly recommended.

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