Saturday, September 27, 2008

Book Review 7

real food: what to eat and why by Nina Planck

Although this book is a very easy read, I found the author's non-conventional approach to controversial topics quite enjoyable. The focus of the book is on the benefits of traditional foods compared to the the processed, ready-made, convenience foods which are currently so prevalent in North America. She takes the reader through the steps of processing which prepares these foods for mass appeal. In contrast, she makes an excellent case for unprocessed vegetables, fruits, grains and many traditional foods including wild fish, lean red meat from grass fed animals and whole milk directly from the farm.

This book does a really great job of reconnecting people with where food comes from. My wife said she absolutely loved the book and read every word! Occasionally, the author's points are even supported by some interesting research (for example, 'LDL Cholesterol: 'Bad' Cholesterol, or Bad Science?"). However, not all of her dietary advice may be perfectly representational of the advice a Naturopathic Doctor would give (please see a Naturopath if you have any questions). Also, her personal experience with vegetarianism (i.e. gaining weight) is not typical of most people (see Vegetarianism). Finally, just remember that there is much, much more to a nutritious diet than "old fashioned" foods. Otherwise, enjoy the book!

Here is her website:

Monday, September 15, 2008

CCNM Guest Speaker Udo Erasmus

What an exciting couple of weeks in regards to amazing speakers at CCNM! This was the first time I met Udo Erasmus although I have read some of his books and began taking "Udo's Choice 3-6-9" oil many years ago. Udo Erasmus, Ph.D. was a pioneer in turning the trend away from fat free products (the idea that all fat is bad) and pointing people towards the necessity of certain types of fat.

His presentation today outlined the differences between the essential and non-essential fats, therapeutic and foundational fats, as well as the effects of damaged, processed fats (like the nearly colourless, odourless corn oils). He also addressed the debated topic of the conversion of ALA fat to EPA and DHA and clarified questions on DHA from algae. DHA is so vitally important to the developing brain and EPA is also essential for healthy brain function-especially for adults.

Here is his official website:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

CCNM Guest Speaker Sam Graci

On Monday, CCNM had the privilege of hearing Sam Graci speak. This man was the inventor of Greens+ and is a phenomenal health expert and researcher. His research covers a huge spectrum of natural health issues from the benefits of high cocao chocolate to the importance of vitamin K in calcium absorption and acid/alkaline biochemistry. I read many of his books ("The Food Connection" is one of my favourites) before I entered naturopathic school and had the opportunity to see him speak on several occasions. The first time I saw Sam Graci speak was in the Canfor Theater, packed beyond capacity, at the University of Northern BC. After meeting and speaking with him in several cities across Canada, I find him to be a truly caring person.

Sam Graci has an amazing ability to simplify complex ideas for the general public, a skill I must learn to be an effective Naturopath (one of our principles is to be an effective teacher). If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, take the opportunity. If not, his books point people in the right direction and are very easy to read. Remember, his books are not intended to replace sound medical advice. For example, "The Bone Building Solution" may overestimate the amount of calcium that is available from several green plants and underestimates the amounts from some animal sources. As such, please see a Naturopathic Doctor if you have any questions.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Food and Medicine on our doorstep

Today, our Botanical Medicine class was introduced to a new way of appreciating our surroundings. Our naturopathic guide began the tour before we even got 20 feet from the school by pointing to 3 types of herbs bravely growing in one of the cracks in the concrete.

Later in the Don Valley, which is across the street from CCNM, we were told the dietary benefits and medicinal effects of Lambs Quarters, Stinging Nettle, Linden trees, Jewel Weed (Touch-me-not), Golden Rod, Yellow Dock, Plantain, Woody Nightshade, Wild Lettuce, Dandelion and many more.

It is amazing to me how the Dandelion is the most feared intruder into a lawn and yet at the same time it is one of the most healthy plants (every part of the Dandelion has tremendous dietary or medicinal qualities). This irony is unfortunately representational of much of North America's transition away from the natural and gravitation to the pharmaceutical.

Bring along one of Roger Tory Peterson's Field Guides to edible or medicinal plants for your next adventure to the local park. You might be surprised to find what is on your doorstep!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Quote of the Month

"You can or you can't; either way you're right."

Henry Ford