When the publisher of this book contacted me to find out if I would review it, I was intrigued by the title: Passionate Nutrition: A Guide to Using Food as Medicine from a Nutritionist Who Healed Herself from the Inside Out. I immediately said yes as I wanted to know more. This book follows the astonishing life story of the author, who currently runs a thriving nutrition counseling practice (20 offices!) in Seattle, Washington. Well-written, touching, and inspiring, this book is for anyone who struggles with food and nourishing him or herself.
Her honest account of a harrowing childhood—at one point she and her brother lived with her abusive father in an abandoned gas station— and subsequent challenges as a young adult make her recovery and commitment to healing even more remarkable. I finished this book wanting to give her a hug, and recommend it to everyone I know. It’s that powerful.
Layout and design:
As with every title I have seen from Sasquatch Books, the book is beautifully designed, with lovely fonts and small details that show loving care. The book is divided into four sections. Part I covers the author’s story; her background of poverty and abuse helps her counsel her patients. Part II includes five chapters that cover her approach to nutrition counseling, including much that I didn’t know, and reinforcing a lot I have recently learned. Part III covers shame, cravings, learning to trust our intuition, natural beauty recipes, and sex. The final section provides the recipes.
The 22 recipes range from drinks, snacks, mains, sides, and staples. Recipes that sounded intriguing to me are nettle infusion, chicken liver paté, meat loaf, raw beet salad with pumpkin seeds and parsley, and parsnip purée.
What I liked about the book:
Tons of great information, laid out in helpful sidebars. She does not advocate for a particular diet, and her specialty is eating disorders (all types) and obesity. So the book isn’t gluten-free, or paleo, or targeted in that way. Instead, she talks about nourishing ourselves at a deep level, and what’s happening in your body with your food.
She is against counting calories and restrictions. If I had to put her in a category, she is paleo-ish. Pro-fat, pro-animal protein, pro-organ meats.
I wasn’t so keen on:
She is pro-salt, so people on low-sodium diets for medical reasons should take that into account. She doesn’t note that people may be on special diets for health reasons, so there is no information included about gluten, sugar, or salt, for example. She does distinguish between bleached table salt and Himalayan or natural salt, which comes with a host of additional minerals.
Anyone who has ever struggled with food. Anyone wanting to learn more about nutrition and digestion, and nurturing yourself.
Not recommended for:
If you are on a specialty diet for health reasons, read the recipes carefully. Some may work for you, others will not.
A note about my book reviews: In the past, I tested at least three recipes from each book, took photos, and described my experience. Due to my dietary limitations (extremely-low-sodium for my Meniere’s Disease and trigger-free foods for migraine relief), it is no longer possible for me to test the recipes and do them justice.