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Books – Food Over Medicine

July 2, 2013

1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing, July 2, 2013
This review is from: Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Could Save Your Life (Hardcover)

I saw this book on NetGalley and was eager to dive into a book about objectively looking at food and nutrition as a way to decrease the need for doctors. That isn’t what I saw. It’s one more in a list to strive for credibility of a vegan diet, with an unabashed view at eliminating what they don’t like.

From the book – “These people are writing storybooks. They may be very interesting. but they’re not to be confused with science. They cite a lot of studies, but a close look shows that they misinterpret them to promote their diet, and they never conduct a single study of their own to prove their case.”

This seems to rely on an ever growing list of books and entertainment documentaries that use fear to get people to change, and if they try being vegan and don’t stick with it, they’re criticized, sometimes publicly.
“Fear can be a really good motivator”

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is used as source. Criticism of governmental organizations taking money to determine direction, but relying on a group that’s an offshoot of those that will do or say anything for the goal of eliminating animal agriculture. Unbiased? Hardly! It appears a book to legitimize the business and organization.

Food poisoning caused by animal agriculture is another point. Food poisoning – in general terms – is not just animal products. Contamination is in many foods and produce, including organic produce, is also a factor and often (including in the book) blamed on animal agriculture. Of course there’s little details they hope the reader doesn’t know – like the lack of animal agriculture facilities near the farms. The Organic Trade Association notes “Certified organic farmers are prohibited from using raw manure for at least 90 days before harvest of crops grown for human consumption. ” Much of the produce matures in 60-90 days, so by standards cannot be blamed on agriculture. Wildlife going through the fields is a major concern for organic farmers, however.

“GM: Maybe it’s asking too much to expect AND to do the same, but is there any medical literature anywhere that suggests there’s anything healthy about poultry? Has there ever been a study don’t that if you eat poultry, it’s good for any of your organs or has a positive effect on longevity? Is there any study in the world that suggests that poultry has health benefits? PP: No.”

A search online shows there is not agreement on that. Further it shows eggs are a healthy part of the meal plan, according to studies attributed to Yale University.

There’s a great deal of discussion about doctors and unnecessary procedures, which I think there are or wouldn’t be interested enough to read this book. Then he shows how by picking and choosing what you want to find, you can “prove” anything. True. So…why should I believe, then, sources from organizations who want to eliminate some foods from the diet and eliminate animal agriculture of all kinds? A group that, from the Amazon information, she’s influential in. That explains why it’s mentioned repeatedly.

There’s a push to allow balanced research on nutrition in high school. It’s followed by a story of a residential school for violent male juvenile offenders offered to take part in a plant based diet, participating in preparation, journaling about the experience. The kids got better grades, behavior improved and they did better at writing. GM noted the implication that the diet was the reason. It doesn’t say it was compared to an equal number of kids that had no changes to the food but kept a journal and kept busy; or those preparing meals with meat or cheese in them and how that compared. One standard for what they want to prove, another for what they don’t like.

The authors make points like “Those who pollute the water supply and destroy the environment should be responsible for paying for it. And the price of animal products should have some bearing on the true cost of producing them, which includes this damage.” The blame for environmental damage certainly is not just agriculture. There are cities dumping sewage, but not held accountable. People not maintaining properties so there’s wildfires, impacting many other lives, and that’s not held accountable for environmental damage.

Even a broken clock is right twice a day – there are points in here that seem accurate. But there’s clearly a more than food agenda – from the animal rights phrases to outright saying, regarding educating people in nutrition, “If the medical community continues to fail in that responsibility, we in the plant-based foods movement will pick up the slack. We will get the word out in books, in films like Forks Over Knives, on the Internet, through educational ventures like The Wellness Forum, person-to-person, and in any other way we can.”

Including books to induce fear and connect the dots for people. Including telling stories and discrediting science that doesn’t match the results they want to show. With that, the information within does not seem trustworthy. It doesn’t appear accurate and balanced on things I know about, so makes me question those things I don’t know about. In any case, a long review, but many points that are not balanced, are not likely popular with their intended audience, but for those who were seeking information as I was, this book isn’t it.


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