Polyphonist’s #CBR5 Review #52: Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food by Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan

DeepNutritionA dear friend gave me this book and for quite a few months I found it hard to get into. It demanded more focus than most other books because it talks scientifically about food and our bodies and I think there was a part of me that didn’t wholly want to understand the bad shit I’d been doing to myself by ingesting various types of food that weren’t good for me. But for so long, I’d resisted the “good” and “bad” foods, because that type language seemed to reinforce getting down on yourself for your eating habits. “Oh, I’m gonna be bad just this once…” someone says as they have dessert. Or, “I know it’s bad for me but it’s only a little and it tastes so good.” Plus, there’s so much changing and conflicting information about what’s bad, what’s good, and why. A few years ago, eggs were evil, and I’m not talking deviled eggs. Bad cholesterol! Heart attack for breakfast! Run for your lives! Then it was just the yolks that were supposed to be bad. Nowadays, we’re being told that eggs are okay in moderation. There was a War on Butter for a while. Margarine was our savior. Then it comes out that margarine’s not all that better and could have unhealthy transfats. It’s difficult to know what’s right.

In this book, I found a good explanation of why certain foods are better for you. How they’re good for you, how to eat and a little bit about how to prepare them, how they affect your body and your children’s bodies. Brain growth, skin health, the vitality of your organs and cells…it was all in this book and while it was fairly scientific and sometimes I found myself rereading sections over to fully get what the author was saying, it actually took a pretty complex subjects like nutrition and biology and ultimately made them accessible.

From this book, I finally understand the negative affect sugar has on the body. I also learned why vegetable oils aren’t nearly as good as everyone makes them out to be. Apparently, certain vegetable oils, like the ubiquitous canola and soybean oils, change chemical composition when they’re heated. This chemical change take a healthy oil and makes it into a mutant which then mutates and deep fries your cells.

The author is a doctor and with her co-author husband talks competently about food, nutrition, and the science of both. There were a few times it seemed a little repetitious, and honestly the illustrations aren’t always helpful since most aren’t high quality, but on a whole, this book has educated me about what food really does for and to my body and has also given me some concrete ways to make healthier changes and choices.