This is an excellent course about nutrition. I already knew the basics of this topic, but I learned a lot that will help me improve my immunity and prevent disease - I even learned that I was eating something that was making me sick (sugar alcohols).
This course goes beyond the usual nutrition advice that you get in health books - "Just eat plant-based foods and exercise" - to give you in-depth knowledge of every aspect of nutrition science. It explores the basics of diet and excercise, but it also addresses vitamins and minerals, supplements, fads, real-world problems (like getting hungry at night), specific diseases (diabetes and celiac), the psychology of nutrition, genetics research, what is happening in your body with cells, molecules, and bacteria in different situations (such as dealing with high cholesterol levels), and how to incorporate small changes in your life to make a big difference.
There was some really interesting material about the history of nutrition legislation, but refreshingly, politics were left out of it. Not everything in the book is without bias, but at least, when a bias is presented, it is accomanied with researched evidence and analysis supporting it. For the most part, the course was put together with a minimal amount of judgementalism and fussiness.
I especially liked the frequently asked questions portion in the last chapter. I would recommend listening to that first, but the entire course is valuable, and that's rare for me to say about such a long course.
The narrator, Dr. Roberta Anding, does a good job, but her voice can become flat and repetitive in its intonation and rhythm. She doesn't really excite you about the topic, but she does a decent job of presenting the material. Essentially, she sounds like any ordinary doctor giving a lecture - scientific and methodical, but somewhat flat.
This was well worth a credit, and it's something that I will refer to when I need a refresher about nutrition. I can say that it actually improved my health. If I had to, I would purchase it all over again.
I had just finished Robert Sapolsky's "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers" when I started this. Honestly, after the zebra book, I would have skipped this one had I not already purchased it. However, this one turned out to be quite a bit better. There is a lot more attention given to the brain and brain processes in response to stress, and there is more meat and less fluff in this one. I will, however, reiterate what I said about the zebra book. DON'T READ THIS IF YOU'RE STRESSED!. Once again, the author, himself, cautions, after he's read most of the book, that if you aren't stressed by that point, you haven't been listening. And once again, there isn't that much about stress relief.
The author was a decent narrator, but not stellar. I listened to it at 2x or 3x. The material was interesting and logical in its presentation, but I thought it went on about certain points for too long.
Overall, this is a good primer about what happens when you get stressed, and there some material here for dealing with it. I could recommend this for someone with a scientific interest in stress or psychology, but there are better books about stress relief and coping methods.
Barbara Kingsolver and her family embarked on an experiment to grow their own food - both plant and animal - for a year and eat locally grown, seasonally-available produce. I applaud their effort and I do not stand in judgment for anything they did or didn't do in their quest. Kingsolver and her family narrated and didn't do a terrible job although I had to speed it up to 1.5 and 2x in parts because they read very slowly.
This wasn't a bad book. It actually contains a lot of useful information for anyone interested in raising poultry. It just got too preachy in certain areas, it contained too many weird thrown-in references to various religions, and it didn't contain the information I was hoping for in the way of gardening techniques for growing vegetables. Perhaps that last part was unjustified given that I have recently read The Edible Garden by Alys Fowler, which I consider to be the magnum opus of vegetable gardening books. Kingsolver's agenda was very different from Fowler's in that she sought to document her family's year-long quest and not to provide a step-by-step guide.
I have to say that I thought the best part of the book to be the interview with Kingsolver at the end in which she describes the process of writing the book and how she approached it stylistically (which information she decided to include and why). I consider that interview to be one of the best explanations of the ethics and dynamics of the writing process that I've ever heard.
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is more of a story than a guide, and maybe that's why I didn't like it more; I wanted a guide. The story is well-documented, although I thought it could have used a little less description and a little more information. Kingsolver and her family have calming voices and they all read very slowly. It took me a couple of months to finish because the book drags in places and the overall pace of the book is so slow that it didn't maintain my attention.
The main point of the book seemed to me to be that there is a moral point to be made about overconsumption and that small, individual efforts against gluttony and overuse of resources add up to big changes. This would be an invaluable reference for anyone who wants to raise their own poultry or for anyone who wants some basic ideas about how to grow or raise their own food. If you're looking for more of a guide to gardening, however; read The Edible Garden by Alys Fowler. Something else - you may not want to listen to this one while driving. It's not exactly caffeine for the mind and it drags in places, but it's a great listen around bedtime or while doing something else around the house.
Overall, the concepts in this book really hit home for me. I've been struggling for awhile with what could possibly be so bad about Wheat. It's been consumed for far longer than 10,000 years, and many cultures existed for centuries with no "Western Diseases" consuming it. This books answers that question with spades, but be warned. The author dives headfirst into a lot of technical jargen, and the book could have gotton to the point in about 1/2 the amount of words. The bottom line however is that I tried it, and it worked fabulously well. The belly did go down, doing nothing more than just stopping bread. Not oats, or rice, or grits. Just Wheat. It just went away. Took about 3 weeks, and it was slow, but it worked. Mild joint pain also cleared up.