If you shook up Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book with The Joy of Cooking and a couple early Bob Dylan albums, the result would be similar to Nourishing Traditions. Sally Fallon's anti-food-establishment manifesto isn't just for hippies, though; using evidence and well-reasoned arguments, she shows why the Powers That Be aren't telling the whole truth about food and eating.
There's something subversively political about the whole thing, which makes it way more fun to read than a simple manual on Foods-To-Eat and Foods-Not-To-Eat. There is a lot of that, but the jargon helps us devour each word like we're revolutionaries in constant danger of capture: she rails against Diet Dictocrats and Politically Correct Nutrition. If there was a flag, she'd wave it.
Fallon's premise is that the shadowy figures behind the Illuminati-esque Food Pyramid have hijacked American health, that fat isn't bad for you if it's good fat, that traditional forms of preserving actually increase the nutritional value of certain foods, etc. She presents her theory in the lengthy introduction before sharing practical advice for alternative diets.
In essence: it's a huge cookbook with old-timey recipes for purer, better eating. But below the "I-practice-acupuncture-and-only-wear-makeup-for-the-photo-shoot" exterior, Fallon uncovers a realm of research, practical theory and alternative nutrition that makes sense. While you learn how to make mussel salad, porridge, and blue cheese dressing, sidebar supplements offer testimonials, fun facts, important facts, fact-y facts and more.
Whether you wear a three-piece and coordinate meetings or milk goats wearing overalls, the establishment-breaking nutritional lifestyle Fallon espouses is attainable. Appendices and an extensive index are helpful for using Nourishing Traditions as a resource, though you'll want to read the introduction first. Or don't, and buck the system, which you clearly want to do if you buy this book.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.