The Plant-Based Solution by Joel Kahn, M.D.

I love good books that promote healthy eating/vegetarianism, so I was pleased to receive The Plant-Based Solution by Joel Kahn, M.D. from Sounds True Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. As a non-carnivore for 30+ years, I have had some concern about whether or not I am getting enough protein in my diet, how much protein a woman my size actually needs, and whether I really need as much protein as my husband keeps reminding me I do.

I’m kind of a skeptic about books which claim to have “the answer” to every nutritional issue, and I went into the reading of this hoping that the book wasn’t just a load of what I think of as nutribabble—lots of words and advice about how to eat without anything to back it up.

But I was happy to see how well sourced the book is, and how readable it is. There are chapters dealing with heart issues, diabetes, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, brain function, the immune system, GI and kidney systems, animal ethics, and more…even including sex. Looking at the TOC, I wondered whether this was a mile wide and an inch deep, but he gets into each of these topics including personal stories to increase the “relatability factor.” He’s been vegan, not just vegetarian, for many years, which sometimes can come across as a bit preachy and hard to relate to – but the stories really help here, and Dr. Kahn’s personal story is compelling as well.

The second half is really a handbook that includes a 21-day plan (with recipes) to help people get started. This book will be a good resource for those interested in eating well without meat and who don’t really need or want to wade through scientific literature. Four stars.

 

The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook by Patsy Catsos

COVER Catsos IBS elimiation diet

It isn’t a topic that is often discussed with strangers (if at all), but anyone who suffers with IBS knows there is SOMETHING going on in their digestive system that isn’t quite right. And that person has probably spent years searching for the answer. Thanks to Crown Publishing / Harmony and NetGalley, I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of The IBS Elimination Diet and Cookbook in exchange for my honest review.

This book explores the relationship of FODMAPs to IBS. While IBS is a well-known term, we are only recently hearing much about FODMAPs. The idea of a low-FODMAP diet as part of the treatment for IBS has been gaining traction in the past year. Go ahead, Google it – a quick search for “fodmap” returns 31 million hits!

So what’s a FODMAP anyway? The word is an acronym for “fermentable oigo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols,” which are a group of hard-to-digest carbs found mostly in wheat, milk, beans and soy (along with some fruits and veggies). Not everyone with IBS is sensitive to the same things, so it’s important to find out just what your senstitivites are. This book, originally self-published as IBS—Free At Last, has been expanded to include recipes and is designed to walk you through eliminating all the FODMAPs from your diet, then adding them back one at a time to uncover your individual sensitivities.

It is estimated that there are over 60 million IBS sufferers in the U.S, along with many others who suffer from Crohn’s, celiac disease and ulcerative colitis. Monash University in Australia has led the way in learning about FODMAPs and providing hope for millions who are all too familiar with the problem (whether they choose to talk about it or not!), but easy-to-understand specific information has been somewhat scarce.

Written by Patsy Catsos, MS, RDN, LD, who is a medical nutrition therapist and FODMAP expert, as well as an author, this guide would seem to be a good starting point for those unfamiar with FODMAPs as well as a source for some recipes to help cope with the day-to-day reality of IBS. Four stars.