Paul Pitchford’s Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition is a proper reference book for those into acupuncture and Chinese medicine. It offers an in-depth analysis of various nutritional concepts and a wealth of information about green foods and regeneration diets. It also doubles as a cookbook, delivering a massive selection of recipes, mostly focused on vegetables. The book is available in hardcover and paperback versions, of which the latter is obviously the cheaper. According to some buyers though, the hardcover version is actually the lighter of the two. Given that we’re looking at 750 pages of content here, the weight aspect should probably be considered as well.
So what exactly do you get if you purchase this book?
A massive bundle of information would probably be the best answer to that. Given how it’s structured, Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition lends itself well to being treated as a one-time read-through, but individual chapters make good separate reads as well, for those looking for specific information.
According to its author, the purpose of the book is to provide “healing, awareness and peace” for the reader, and it seeks to accomplish that through a very detailed presentation and analysis of the core concepts associated with Chinese medicine. The book goes way above and beyond promoting whole foods and their benefic effects on health and healing. It discusses concepts such as “bitter” and “sweet” foods (the meanings of which are obviously different from what the Western world understands by bitter and sweet), and it encourages readers to diagnose themselves as warm/cold, damp/dry, struggling with a deficiency or excess, and with an interior or exterior issue.
While this book is indeed dedicated to everyone interested in achieving a higher level of well-being and healing through nutrition, it is by no means a sort of summary layman’s guide to Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic nutrition concepts. In fact, it goes into painstaking details on every one of the issues it tackles, to such a degree that some readers find it annoying and impossible to properly understand/follow.
Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition teaches readers how to apply the five-element theory to nutrition, and how to treat not only illness but also various nervous disorders through diet. The book promotes the transition from animal products to whole vegetable foods, and it goes into great detail in regards to the selection of salts and waters. Oils, sugars, condiments, minerals and vitamins are also discussed, together with food presentation, children’s nutrition, color diagnosis, color therapy and the psychology of diet changes. It is indeed a complete guidebook in a nutritional sense, thoroughly researched and well-packaged. While the concepts discussed are served up in an easy-to-understand form, the amount of information can be quite overwhelming, especially for someone looking to actually implement the methods/principles discussed.
In addition to all the above, Healing with Whole Foods also goes into great detail about the proper use and nature of various grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweeds and sprouts. Separate sections are dedicated to pickles, milks, relishes, yogurts, desserts and salads.
While the number of readers who have rated the book positively is overwhelming, there are a few dissenting opinions out there concerning the usefulness of the sheer amount of information it delivers. Some readers have actually found contradictions here and there. For some physiology-types, the nutrition advice is apparently erratic from one chapter to the other. Those who diagnose themselves as cold and damp for instance – which is apparently a common combination according to the author – will sometimes be told to eat raw vegetables, while in other spots they’ll be advised not to. Some have complained that they failed to identify a proper dietary course for their specific physiology, even after reading the book in its entirety as well as the reader comments on various forums.
Still others argue though that Healing with Whole Foods is much more than just a strict dietary guide, which offers exact and easy-to-follow advice. It actually gives readers control over their own health by helping them understand WHY certain goods are not good for their physiology-type, and why others are. While the gist of the book may indeed be: steer clear of processed foods, eat whole foods, preferably organic, with a variety of produce, Paul Pitchford goes way above and beyond that. He gives his readers the actual tools to shed a lifetime of digestive and other health issues. The reason why there seems to be little reader feedback concerning the actual effects the information contained within the book has had on people’s lives, is simple: those who follow its tenets and achieve the goals set forth in it, simply do not know what sort of health problems they have avoided.
Concern that the information contained in Healing with Whole Foods has simply grown outdated also exists. While there may indeed be new research results that have come up in more recent years, everything in the book is still as valid as it has ever been.
One word of caution about Healing with Whole Foods is indeed in order though: if you’re looking for a cookbook with healthy recipes and are simply not interested in the ins and outs of Chinese medicine, or do not have the time to attempt to soak up all the information, this book may not be for you. It has to be said though that it does actually deliver its fair share of recipes too.
About the Author
Paul Pitchford is a well-known and respected nutrition researcher and expert. Over three decades, he built up his knowledge regarding dietary practices and the ways of East Asian medicine, through apprenticeships and working with various masters of meditation. His special vision of the links between health and nutrition stems from his ability to apply Far Eastern thought to the major dietary therapies developed in the West.
Healing with Whole Foods Review Conclusion
Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition is well worth its price. It is in fact a must have resource for everyone serious about achieving a higher level of well-being through diet. Its apparent intricacy is but a facade covering the impressive level of detail in which the author discusses all the presented concepts. It is a superb reference for most people, as well as an excellent source of nutritious, whole-food recipes, admittedly focused on the vegetarian side of the issue.