Book Review: The Meat Fix

      132 Comments on Book Review: The Meat Fix

John Nicholson spent most of his adult life as a soy-munching vegan and paid for his “healthy lifestyle” with lousy health.  His story is similar in many ways to Lierre Keith’s, but their story-telling styles could hardly be more different.  Keith’s writing is poetry.  Nicholson’s is comedy … that is, if you don’t mind laughing at a guy who suffered for many years.

Nicholson is a British sportswriter, which is probably why his book The Meat Fix is so thoroughly enjoyable.  Sportswriters are often the most colorful, witty journalists on newspaper staffs – or perhaps they’re just the ones who are allowed to be colorful and witty.  In either case, Nicholson is laugh-out-loud funny as he recounts his life as a vegan, the health problems he developed as a result, and his road back to health.  (You can probably guess which road he took from the title.)

As a self-described latter-day hippie, Nicholson gave up meat for the usual reasons:  it’s better for your health, better for the planet, and of course it’s the morally superior path – the same beliefs that Lierre Keith sliced and diced so thoroughly in her book.  Like Keith, Nicholson was quite proud of his vegan diet … for awhile, anyway.

The thing is, I wasn’t just a non-meat eater, I was Mr. Wholefood:  brown rice, healthy vegetable oils, lentils, beans, tofu, nuts, fruits and vegetables.  All the stuff doctors now tell you to eat, well, I started hoovering all that up way back in the mid 1980s when it had only just become part of the “healthy” eating advice and when very few outside of the small community of hairy, bearded, dope-smoking, wholefood-eating New Agers had even heard of it.

So for twenty-six years I ate no cholesterol, no animal fats and ate polyunsaturated and wholegrain everything … I really was a walking advert for healthy eating.  You couldn’t eat more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff than me.  If there was a competition for healthy eating, I’d have won hands down – and I was told as much by doctors and nutritionists year after year.

That was, of course, Nicholson’s mistake:  listening to doctors and nutritionists.  A lot of us have made the same mistake, but he paid a higher price than most.

All well and good, but there was trouble in paradise.  I was ill.  Really ill.  And I’d been ill for the majority of those twenty-six years.

For years I lived with what would come to be known as IBS:  irritable bowel syndrome.  Starting back in 1993 as a vague feeling of digestive discomfort, it escalated to the point where every meal would leave me feeling like I had lead weights in my gut, my belly bloated and distended and my digestive tract in revolt in the most dramatic and unpleasant way.  If you had a cruel sense of humor, you could say I was a dirty protest waiting to happen.

I’d test the sewage system’s capacity by passing out vast slurries of burning effluent which left me feeling sweaty and exhausted.  This would happen seven or eight times a day during the worst periods.  It was like this to a greater or lesser degree after every meal, every day, every month, every year, on and on and on for seventeen years.  Yeah, how d’ya like me now?

What’s more, slowly but surely, year after year, I kept putting on weight until I was clinically obese.

Toss in sky-high cholesterol (which of course led to a prescription for statins), fatigue, headaches and gastric reflux, and it all adds up to a miserable existence, even though Nicholson invites the reader to laugh at his misery.

In one chapter, he describes strolling down Michigan Avenue in Chicago and feeling a gut spasm he knew signaled an impending explosion.  He ran into the nearby Art Institute, only to find a long line of people standing between him and the toilets.  He dashed over to a security guard and begged to be allowed in immediately.  It was only his best Hugh Grant/charming-Englishman impression that swayed the dubious guard, who at first insisted he had to wait in line like everyone else.

“Yes, yes, quite and rightly so, but this is very, very urgent.  If I wait, I will quite assuredly be making an absolutely awful mess of this expensive marble floor, and I’d hate to do that.  Could I just run through without queuing?”

The guard relented, and Nicholson sprinted to the men’s room with no time to spare.  As he puts it:

I was seconds from deploying that most unwanted of verbs:  brown-trousering.

Early in the book, Nicholson describes his working-class childhood and the typical British fare his family consumed.  Yes, there was some sugar, bread and other junk, but they also ate meats, organs, eggs, and full-fat diary products.  His parents and grandparents, he explains, considered low-fat diets and especially vegan diets as radical and weird.

But of course, that’s part of what made going animal-free so appealing.  Nicholson recounts the years he and his longtime girlfriend spent in totally-hip Southern California, where ordering tofu scrambles in restaurants gave the British working-class kid a seat at the cool kids’ table, so to speak.  No fuddy-duddy bourgeois diet for him anymore … he was now a full-throttle vegan and smug about it.

Once we had established this as a way of life, we really loved it.  As a vegan you are top of the moral food tree – or so you think, anyway.  You are a big notch above mere vegetarians and the vegetarians know it.  So vegans win … To the more militant vegan, the vegetarian is little better than the meat-eater:  someone too weak to give up animal products; too enslaved to the killing machine.

Back in England a few years later, Nicholson began to experience the bloating, gas and diarrhea that would evolve into IBS.  Naturally, he sought advice from doctors.  After working his way through the National Health Service system, with weeks and sometimes months of waiting to see the next doctor in a chain of referrals, he ended up being examined by a supposed specialist.

This was a bit of joke, really.  When you’re told some is a specialist, you expect them to have more knowledge than your average doctor, don’t you?  Certainly more than a drunken man on the street.  I’m not sure the man I saw could make such a claim.  Perhaps he was just a drunken man on the street masquerading as a specialist.

The specialist, of course, prescribed a fiber supplement.

I immediately thought this was an idiotic notion because had he looked at my diet diaries, he would have realized I ate more fiber than a horse.  Remember I’m eating brown rice, whole-meal bread and a dozen portions of fruits and veg a day.  No human on earth was eating more fiber than me.  If my stools were going to be solidified by fiber they would have already been.  But he didn’t listen to me and preferred only to hear his own misinformed ignorance.

Against his better judgment, Nicholson took the fiber supplement.  You can guess what happened next.

The Fibrogel induced some of the most violent reactions I have ever suffered from.  I took it twice and it sent me onto a new level of gross-out symptoms as I passed the entire contents of my body into the toilet in a constant stream of jellified slurry, my guts in spasm and my whole body in a cold sweat.

I know what you’re thinking:  why on earth didn’t he just give up the vegan diet?   As someone who spent years getting fatter and sicker on a vegetarian diet before wising up, I can tell you why:  it’s damned difficult to give up a cherished belief, especially when all the supposed experts insist your diet is a good one.  The problem must be with you, not with the oh-so-healthy diet.

It wasn’t even Nicholson who suggested trying what he now calls The Meat Fix.  It was Dawn, his significant other.  As his health continued to decline (and hers, although to a lesser degree) and doctors proved themselves incapable of providing answers, she finally told him they needed to try eating meat again.  After mulling it over, Nicholson agreed.

So the next day they walked into an organic farm shop feeling lost, strange and somewhat guilty.

I half expected an alarm to go off and the woman behind the counter to point to us, shake her head and say, “I’m sorry, sir, I can’t serve you.  You’re a vegetarian and you don’t believe in animals being killed for food.  These are all corpses, you know, they’re not soya meat.”

It really did feel that illegal.  It seemed like we must surely stand out in some way, as though we had big green Vs on our foreheads.

They were so unfamiliar with eating meat, they had to go online to learn how to cook it.  Nicholson returned to the world of eating animals with a piece of liver, but cooked it nearly to a crisp because he couldn’t bear the sight of blood on his plate.

That changed in a hurry.  Once he got over the initial revulsion of being a meat-eater again, he cooked a grass-fed steak and found that eating it was a nearly religious experience.

As I bit into it and the flavor washed over my taste buds, I was amazed.  A tingle shot down my spine.  The rich meaty juiciness was mind-blowing … This was a raw, basic and quite shocking primal response.  It was quite the weirdest thing I’ve ever felt when not on drugs.

… The degree of satisfaction and satiation I experienced wasn’t like any meal I’d had as a vegetarian.  This caught me utterly by surprise.  Perhaps it’s like having sex for twenty-six years without realizing you haven’t had an orgasm, then one day, woo-hoo, you find out what you’ve been missing for so long.

Over the next several weeks, Nicholson and Dawn consumed foods that once had a face with a vengeance:  steaks, liver, pork chops, venison, chicken and fish.  They dumped the soy substitutes completely.  Doctors couldn’t cure Nicholson’s ailments, but The Meat Fix did.

So how exactly did this new old-fashioned, meaty, fatty, fishy and creamy diet affect me?  In short, in every way possible.  It’s now been eighteen months since I started eating meat, and so many changes have occurred.

My IBS vanished immediately and has not returned, not even once for old times’ sake.  I get no bloating, no upset bowels, no stomach pains.  It now all works normally and regularly as I remember it before I stopped eating meat.  All those years of suffering are now a thing of the past.  Mind blowing.  I thought I was stuck with it forever.  Even today I am still amazed by this.

I’ve also lost a lot of body fat … Within a couple of months, I had dropped a stone in weight, all of which must have been fat, taking me from 23 percent to 15 percent bodyfat.  At the same time, I began to put on muscle from my thrice-weekly gym visits.  I became broader of shoulder and more narrow at the waist even though I wasn’t working any harder than previously.

Believe it or not, what I’ve described so far is all from the first half of the book.  The second half begins with a chapter titled Everything You Know Is Wrong and goes from there.  After putting a supposedly heart-stopping food back into his diet ended years of suffering and ill health, Nicholson of course wanted to know why.  So he began digging into the real science of nutrition and health, much as I did when creating Fat Head.  In the rest of the book, he writes about what he’s learned:  no, animal fat won’t kill you; yes, saturated fats and cholesterol are good for you; no, grains and soybeans aren’t the basis for a healthy diet, etc.

Most of these chapters cover familiar ground for dedicated Fat Heads and paleo types, but Nicholson’s witty writing makes them a pleasure to read even if the information isn’t new to the reader.

The book ends with a discussion of government food policies.  Like me, Nicholson doesn’t believe government officials or the medical industry got together and conspired to make entire populations fat and sick, but of course that’s been the result of their recommendations.  Also like me, he doesn’t expect government officials to fess up and admit they were wrong anytime soon.  It’s up to us to educate our peers.  This book is an outstanding resource for anyone who needs educating.

Think of it as a de-programming guide for those who’ve been brainwashed by the dope-smoking, bearded, sandal-wearing, soy-munching New Age crowd.  As Nicholson puts it:

Your lesson here is that oldest of adages, get it printed on a t-shirt, hell, I’ll even print it on a t-shirt for you.  NEVER TRUST A HIPPY.

 

p.s. — I’m traveling to Chicago on Friday and returning Sunday.  Months ago a work buddy and I made plans to attend a White Sox game on Friday and a Cubs game on Saturday.  He’s on a mission to see a game in every major league park.  I had hoped to be off the crutches by now, but so it goes.  I’ll crutch my way around the stadiums.  Anyway, I’ll check comments when I can, but I won’t be near a computer very much until I return home.

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132 thoughts on “Book Review: The Meat Fix

  1. John Nicholson

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for this excellent and comprehensive review – I really appreciate it. Delighted you enjoyed it. A lot of people seem to be getting a lot out of it.

    John

    It’s a delightful and informative read, John. I hope you sell a million copies.

    Reply
  2. Cathy

    I too can identify. While I always loved meat I also loved bread, sugar etc. It was only after I went low Carb for weight loss and one day it occurred to me that my digestive system had settled down. Two other things that have disappeared with lc diet are gastric reflux and restless legs syndrome. All three of these unpleasant symptoms recur when I “cheat. I was always told that GR was caused by high fat foods. Wrong! And has anyone ever connected restless leg syndrome to high Carb diet? I have now tested this several times (sigh… I am so weak) and can say with certainty, the only time my legs bother me is after a Carb binge.

    Chareva and I both used to get occasional restless legs at night. Neither of us have had it since going low-carb — unless we cheat.

    Reply
  3. Maggie

    I just finished watching ‘Fat Head’ – I know you’re saying “where have you been” it’ been out for years” ; to that I say, ‘better late than never’
    I just had to say ‘thank you’ – It was so informative and made so much sense – I also will pick up the book ‘The Meat Fix’. Enjoy the baseball games this weekend.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Barbara Angele

    Good luck to you without a government. Surely you must think we need some kind of governing entity nor FOR YOU of course but for people in general or if your town is leveled by a tornado or flood just to name a few. Also labeling people is a form of bullying and not funny if this is a comic type blog.

    That said the book sounds GREAT and look forward to reading it. I totally agree with you about our WESTERN doctors not being able to diagnose a health problem that is diet related. I read your blog because I think your message is about taking responsibility for your own health ? I think we can learn more from each others personal stories about health issues and healing than we can from studies done by Western doctors who all come out the same schools and have read the same text books to get their PHD.

    Surely you were aware of FEMA’s incompetence in dealing with hurricane Katrina. That said, if government limited itself to protecting people against both other people and naturals disasters such hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, I’d be delighted. Those aren’t the government activities that have pushed us to the brink of financial collapse.

    Reply
  5. Cathy

    I too can identify. While I always loved meat I also loved bread, sugar etc. It was only after I went low Carb for weight loss and one day it occurred to me that my digestive system had settled down. Two other things that have disappeared with lc diet are gastric reflux and restless legs syndrome. All three of these unpleasant symptoms recur when I “cheat. I was always told that GR was caused by high fat foods. Wrong! And has anyone ever connected restless leg syndrome to high Carb diet? I have now tested this several times (sigh… I am so weak) and can say with certainty, the only time my legs bother me is after a Carb binge.

    Chareva and I both used to get occasional restless legs at night. Neither of us have had it since going low-carb — unless we cheat.

    Reply
  6. hausfrau

    My Brother-in-law has IBS. they are also dedicated vegetarians. On one of the few occasions when my sister and i debated the merrits of our very different diets I cited the fact that Indians are mostly vegetarians and yet have one of the highest cardiac incidence rates of any nation. She basically responded that Indians still consumed dairy and were not purist enough to reap the benefits of a veggie diet. ummm…i let the subject drop.
    on another note, I’m 8 wks pregnant and I haven’t thrown up yet. Its difficult to compare to my other pregnancies but I do think the low carb diet has helped a bit with the nausea and stomach issues. Maybe its the lack of blood sugar swings? Just good info for the ladies who read here.

    Strange that the almost-purists have a higher rate of heart disease than those who consume dairy and meat and are therefore less pure.

    Dr. Michael Fox gave a talk on last year’s cruise about why low-carb diets make pregnancy easier.

    Reply
  7. Barbara Angele

    Good luck to you without a government. Surely you must think we need some kind of governing entity nor FOR YOU of course but for people in general or if your town is leveled by a tornado or flood just to name a few. Also labeling people is a form of bullying and not funny if this is a comic type blog.

    That said the book sounds GREAT and look forward to reading it. I totally agree with you about our WESTERN doctors not being able to diagnose a health problem that is diet related. I read your blog because I think your message is about taking responsibility for your own health ? I think we can learn more from each others personal stories about health issues and healing than we can from studies done by Western doctors who all come out the same schools and have read the same text books to get their PHD.

    Surely you were aware of FEMA’s incompetence in dealing with hurricane Katrina. That said, if government limited itself to protecting people against both other people and naturals disasters such hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, I’d be delighted. Those aren’t the government activities that have pushed us to the brink of financial collapse.

    Reply
  8. hausfrau

    My Brother-in-law has IBS. they are also dedicated vegetarians. On one of the few occasions when my sister and i debated the merrits of our very different diets I cited the fact that Indians are mostly vegetarians and yet have one of the highest cardiac incidence rates of any nation. She basically responded that Indians still consumed dairy and were not purist enough to reap the benefits of a veggie diet. ummm…i let the subject drop.
    on another note, I’m 8 wks pregnant and I haven’t thrown up yet. Its difficult to compare to my other pregnancies but I do think the low carb diet has helped a bit with the nausea and stomach issues. Maybe its the lack of blood sugar swings? Just good info for the ladies who read here.

    Strange that the almost-purists have a higher rate of heart disease than those who consume dairy and meat and are therefore less pure.

    Dr. Michael Fox gave a talk on last year’s cruise about why low-carb diets make pregnancy easier.

    Reply
  9. Bex

    Oh you are a bad man…..now look, I ‘accidentally’ went onto the Book Depository site, and it fell into my virtual basket…:D

    Nice to see more British writers working it out, I was worried our establishment (apart from Zoe Harcombe) just blindly believed everything they were told….’The Men Who Made Us Fat’ (TV series shown here last month) started off very promising but then went back to calories in by the second programme.

    Look forward to reading this, and may pass it to some VERY sanctimonious vegetarians I know….

    The very sanctimonious ones probably won’t be swayed, but you never know.

    Reply
  10. Graybull

    Thanks again, Tom…………for finding and reviewing this book. Just more ammo against misguided plant zealots and government incompetence.

    Opp………sorry about the firearms analogy…..before the PC people come to see me………….let’s just say……..Great find………look forward to reading it for my own information.

    Reply
  11. Bex

    Oh you are a bad man…..now look, I ‘accidentally’ went onto the Book Depository site, and it fell into my virtual basket…:D

    Nice to see more British writers working it out, I was worried our establishment (apart from Zoe Harcombe) just blindly believed everything they were told….’The Men Who Made Us Fat’ (TV series shown here last month) started off very promising but then went back to calories in by the second programme.

    Look forward to reading this, and may pass it to some VERY sanctimonious vegetarians I know….

    The very sanctimonious ones probably won’t be swayed, but you never know.

    Reply
  12. Graybull

    Thanks again, Tom…………for finding and reviewing this book. Just more ammo against misguided plant zealots and government incompetence.

    Opp………sorry about the firearms analogy…..before the PC people come to see me………….let’s just say……..Great find………look forward to reading it for my own information.

    Reply
  13. Caitlin

    Peggy, don’t feel alone – cute little me loves bathroom humor, much to the chagrin of my macho significant other, who can’t believe the stuff I can come up with. The book sounds right up my er, alley; a break from some of the heavier scientific tomes that lay the background of our way of life, such as GCBC. I still have to finish that one! I suspect the guys love a girl that that can cook delicious meats and make a toilet joke, (not necessarily simultaneously).

    Reply
  14. Hitssquad

    Tom,

    Also, Dr. Eenfeldt posted an interview with Dr. Michael Fox (about carbs and pregnancy) on his YouTube channel on July 22:

    Dr Eenfeldt: “You were mentioning nausia during pregnancy, also a very very common problem for a lot of women. What’s the cause of that, do you think, and what could you do about it?”

    Dr. Fox: “[…] in pregnancy what we see are faster and more dramatic drops in blood sugar which create the symptoms of hypoglycemia in a much more dramatic way, and one of those symptoms is nausia, and another would be craving food or carbohydrates. So the women that go on food binges: if you think about it it’s typically carbohydrates. They want ice cream, or some sweet, and that also contributed to the massive weight gain that we see in those patients.”

    Reply
  15. Sally Myles

    Just bought this book for my Kindle so I hope it’s as good as you say. I have to say, another person has benefited from the knowledge I’ve had since reading Wheat Bellly and watching Fat Head – a friend of my Mum’s, she’s in her mid seventies, and suffers so badly from an IBS type disease that she nearly cancelled her holiday in case she soiled herself away from home. I persuaded her to cut out all wheat for a week so see if she’d have an attack, and surprise surprise she didn’t have one. Whether she sticks to it long term or not I don’t know, but yet another n=1 trial has worked. *ducks out to read my new book*

    I hope she sticks with it.

    Reply
  16. Caitlin

    Peggy, don’t feel alone – cute little me loves bathroom humor, much to the chagrin of my macho significant other, who can’t believe the stuff I can come up with. The book sounds right up my er, alley; a break from some of the heavier scientific tomes that lay the background of our way of life, such as GCBC. I still have to finish that one! I suspect the guys love a girl that that can cook delicious meats and make a toilet joke, (not necessarily simultaneously).

    Reply
  17. Hitssquad

    Tom,

    Also, Dr. Eenfeldt posted an interview with Dr. Michael Fox (about carbs and pregnancy) on his YouTube channel on July 22:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0WOqaTTzaI&t=814s

    Dr Eenfeldt: “You were mentioning nausia during pregnancy, also a very very common problem for a lot of women. What’s the cause of that, do you think, and what could you do about it?”

    Dr. Fox: “[…] in pregnancy what we see are faster and more dramatic drops in blood sugar which create the symptoms of hypoglycemia in a much more dramatic way, and one of those symptoms is nausia, and another would be craving food or carbohydrates. So the women that go on food binges: if you think about it it’s typically carbohydrates. They want ice cream, or some sweet, and that also contributed to the massive weight gain that we see in those patients.”

    Reply
  18. Kay

    Book looks good, but like another comment, I don’t think it will change a lot of minds. I would love to be able to hand this book to family and friends but frankly I’ve done that with Taubes book and I’m sick and tired of explaining to people in my life why I eat eggs, and meat, and butter, etc… Yes, I’m still overweight, but I’ve lost 20 lbs in the past year by JUST adding Fats and Meats back into my diet and without increasing my exercise.
    I would have lost more if I didn’t keep slipping back into old habits (and ingrained bad advice). Plus it really doesn’t help when the people around you say things like “You can have just one piece of cake, come on, one slice, that’s so silly not just having one slice!” uggggggg
    Sorry, I’m grouchy and bloated today, had bread and beer yesterday 🙁

    I’m hoping Nicholson’s sense of humor will appeal to people who wouldn’t read Gary Taubes.

    Reply
  19. Sally Myles

    Just bought this book for my Kindle so I hope it’s as good as you say. I have to say, another person has benefited from the knowledge I’ve had since reading Wheat Bellly and watching Fat Head – a friend of my Mum’s, she’s in her mid seventies, and suffers so badly from an IBS type disease that she nearly cancelled her holiday in case she soiled herself away from home. I persuaded her to cut out all wheat for a week so see if she’d have an attack, and surprise surprise she didn’t have one. Whether she sticks to it long term or not I don’t know, but yet another n=1 trial has worked. *ducks out to read my new book*

    I hope she sticks with it.

    Reply
  20. Kay

    Book looks good, but like another comment, I don’t think it will change a lot of minds. I would love to be able to hand this book to family and friends but frankly I’ve done that with Taubes book and I’m sick and tired of explaining to people in my life why I eat eggs, and meat, and butter, etc… Yes, I’m still overweight, but I’ve lost 20 lbs in the past year by JUST adding Fats and Meats back into my diet and without increasing my exercise.
    I would have lost more if I didn’t keep slipping back into old habits (and ingrained bad advice). Plus it really doesn’t help when the people around you say things like “You can have just one piece of cake, come on, one slice, that’s so silly not just having one slice!” uggggggg
    Sorry, I’m grouchy and bloated today, had bread and beer yesterday 🙁

    I’m hoping Nicholson’s sense of humor will appeal to people who wouldn’t read Gary Taubes.

    Reply
  21. Paul

    Hi Tom,

    The Meat Fix reminds me of an obit on Hope Bourne :- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/7968464/Hope-Bourne.html

    At Ferny Ball she kept bantams. A small but wiry figure, she was often seen in pursuit of wood pigeon, deer, rabbit or hare, wielding her American-made .22 rifle or 12-bore shotgun – “What one didn’t get, t’other did,” she would say. To feed herself, as well as shooting for the pot, she fished and grew vegetables. She ate 1lb of meat a day (some of which was none too fresh) and drank from a stream.

    She lived to 91.

    Kind regards,

    Paul.

    Wow. She was paleo before paleo was cool.

    Reply
  22. Judith

    Brilliant review, Tom! I laughed so much at the quotes that I downloaded the Kindle version straight away, which meant I was able to start reading within minutes of reading your review. the joys of the Internet!

    I just loved Nicholson’s descriptions of eating meat for the first time after all those years – particularly the lamb chops! That had me salivating so much that I went straight to the freezer so that I could enjoy some of my own lamb, grown, killed and butchered right here on my own land, 100% free range and organic. I’ve been full on Paleo since 2008 but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get a lot out of reading the book. I have ordered six copies of the print version to give away to family and friends, whether they want it or not!

    I thank you for supporting the book, and I’m sure John Nicholson would too.

    Reply
  23. Paul

    Hi Tom,

    The Meat Fix reminds me of an obit on Hope Bourne :- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/7968464/Hope-Bourne.html

    At Ferny Ball she kept bantams. A small but wiry figure, she was often seen in pursuit of wood pigeon, deer, rabbit or hare, wielding her American-made .22 rifle or 12-bore shotgun – “What one didn’t get, t’other did,” she would say. To feed herself, as well as shooting for the pot, she fished and grew vegetables. She ate 1lb of meat a day (some of which was none too fresh) and drank from a stream.

    She lived to 91.

    Kind regards,

    Paul.

    Wow. She was paleo before paleo was cool.

    Reply
  24. Judith

    Brilliant review, Tom! I laughed so much at the quotes that I downloaded the Kindle version straight away, which meant I was able to start reading within minutes of reading your review. the joys of the Internet!

    I just loved Nicholson’s descriptions of eating meat for the first time after all those years – particularly the lamb chops! That had me salivating so much that I went straight to the freezer so that I could enjoy some of my own lamb, grown, killed and butchered right here on my own land, 100% free range and organic. I’ve been full on Paleo since 2008 but that doesn’t mean I didn’t get a lot out of reading the book. I have ordered six copies of the print version to give away to family and friends, whether they want it or not!

    I thank you for supporting the book, and I’m sure John Nicholson would too.

    Reply
  25. Craig

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to read it. My copy of “The Vegetarian Myth” is tattered and dog-eared from being loaned out to friends. Important books are meant to be shared.

    Working outside on a regular basis in the Tennessee heat it has amazed me the ultra fatty and spicy foods I can eat with any of the “gutbomb” effect a lot of people would assume they’d cause. Stop at a soul food place for chitterlings or neckbones doused in hot sauce with a side of turnip greens cooked with salt pork and seasoned with vinegar hot pepper sauce? No problem.

    Cheat meals have made it very obvious that fatty and spicy foods are only a gutbomb for me when the meal also includes plenty of gluten, high fructose corn syrup, or MSG. The MSG was the toughest one of the three to figure out, since it gets hidden in so many foods. The processed food industry has started using terms like hydrolyzed protein instead since they know a lot consumers avoid foods that have MSG listed.

    I found it’s the same for me. It’s the sugars and flours that trigger gut upsets.

    Reply
  26. Craig

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to read it. My copy of “The Vegetarian Myth” is tattered and dog-eared from being loaned out to friends. Important books are meant to be shared.

    Working outside on a regular basis in the Tennessee heat it has amazed me the ultra fatty and spicy foods I can eat with any of the “gutbomb” effect a lot of people would assume they’d cause. Stop at a soul food place for chitterlings or neckbones doused in hot sauce with a side of turnip greens cooked with salt pork and seasoned with vinegar hot pepper sauce? No problem.

    Cheat meals have made it very obvious that fatty and spicy foods are only a gutbomb for me when the meal also includes plenty of gluten, high fructose corn syrup, or MSG. The MSG was the toughest one of the three to figure out, since it gets hidden in so many foods. The processed food industry has started using terms like hydrolyzed protein instead since they know a lot consumers avoid foods that have MSG listed.

    I found it’s the same for me. It’s the sugars and flours that trigger gut upsets.

    Reply
  27. Robin

    http://recipefinder.msn.co.nz/article/foodnews/8515313/why-red-meat-increases-bowel-cancer-risk

    I do wonder about these studies on mice and how they can apply them to humans. If you can shed any light, that would be excellent!
    An another note, and related to this article, I can definitely attest to the feeling of living a moral high ground as a vegan. I lived in a small ski town in Canada that was full of hippies. Some are really close friends. Going to a potluck dinner was always a painful experience as there was an unspoken competition to see who could bring the most PC meal. A gluten-free, vegan, raw food dish was usually ooo’d and aaaah’d over with exclamations of ‘I can’t believe this is —free, it’s just delecious!!’. I could never go vegan, I felt so tired and awful and continuously hungry as a vegetarian it just wasn’t an option. I would guiltily crave the juicey steaks at a BBQ while trying to talk up my portobello burger, thinking about the greater good for the world as I ate my low carbon footprint meal. ugh…gives me shivers reliving it!
    A move to New Zealand changed that quite quickly, and I jumped on the meat wagon with relish and haven’t looked back. The cranky, shaky, bloated days left with the exit of carbs. I am now pregnant with a second child, and have found adding a few carbs back in very helpful, as there is so much I can’t eat, or that is just unappealing, and still find I feel fine as long as I keep them in check.

    A study on defective mice eating red meat doesn’t impress me at all. When was the last time you saw mice in nature killing a bovine animal and eating it?

    Reply
  28. Underground

    “Stop at a soul food place for chitterlings or neckbones doused in hot sauce with a side of turnip greens cooked with salt pork and seasoned with vinegar hot pepper sauce? No problem.”

    I want to know where you found a restaurant that still serves chitlins? Probably West TN.

    I’ve noticed the same effects though. Heartburn and other issues come around only with ingestion of carbs, primarily just with wheat. I’ve noticed that some beans, sweet potato, squash, etc… don’t seem to produce any ill effect in moderation.

    Reply
  29. Robin

    http://recipefinder.msn.co.nz/article/foodnews/8515313/why-red-meat-increases-bowel-cancer-risk

    I do wonder about these studies on mice and how they can apply them to humans. If you can shed any light, that would be excellent!
    An another note, and related to this article, I can definitely attest to the feeling of living a moral high ground as a vegan. I lived in a small ski town in Canada that was full of hippies. Some are really close friends. Going to a potluck dinner was always a painful experience as there was an unspoken competition to see who could bring the most PC meal. A gluten-free, vegan, raw food dish was usually ooo’d and aaaah’d over with exclamations of ‘I can’t believe this is —free, it’s just delecious!!’. I could never go vegan, I felt so tired and awful and continuously hungry as a vegetarian it just wasn’t an option. I would guiltily crave the juicey steaks at a BBQ while trying to talk up my portobello burger, thinking about the greater good for the world as I ate my low carbon footprint meal. ugh…gives me shivers reliving it!
    A move to New Zealand changed that quite quickly, and I jumped on the meat wagon with relish and haven’t looked back. The cranky, shaky, bloated days left with the exit of carbs. I am now pregnant with a second child, and have found adding a few carbs back in very helpful, as there is so much I can’t eat, or that is just unappealing, and still find I feel fine as long as I keep them in check.

    A study on defective mice eating red meat doesn’t impress me at all. When was the last time you saw mice in nature killing a bovine animal and eating it?

    Reply
  30. Underground

    “Stop at a soul food place for chitterlings or neckbones doused in hot sauce with a side of turnip greens cooked with salt pork and seasoned with vinegar hot pepper sauce? No problem.”

    I want to know where you found a restaurant that still serves chitlins? Probably West TN.

    I’ve noticed the same effects though. Heartburn and other issues come around only with ingestion of carbs, primarily just with wheat. I’ve noticed that some beans, sweet potato, squash, etc… don’t seem to produce any ill effect in moderation.

    Reply
  31. Michael Cohen

    @LCNana One of the arguments that I use when given the “meat causes cancer” story is that if it were at all true, we would actually see it in nature. Populations who derive most of their calories from animal sources, like the Inuit, Masai, and Plains Indians, should be rife with cancer. In fact the opposite is true, they started getting cancer and other modern diseases when they started eating modern foods, like white flour, sugar and vegetable oils.

    As I reply to people, “Where was all the cancer among the buffalo-hunting tribes?”

    Reply
  32. Michael Cohen

    @LCNana One of the arguments that I use when given the “meat causes cancer” story is that if it were at all true, we would actually see it in nature. Populations who derive most of their calories from animal sources, like the Inuit, Masai, and Plains Indians, should be rife with cancer. In fact the opposite is true, they started getting cancer and other modern diseases when they started eating modern foods, like white flour, sugar and vegetable oils.

    As I reply to people, “Where was all the cancer among the buffalo-hunting tribes?”

    Reply
  33. Firebird

    Reader wrote: “it really doesn’t help when the people around you say things like “You can have just one piece of cake, come on, one slice, that’s so silly not just having one slice!”

    Make deal with them…offer to eat a slice of cake if they’ll eat bacon and eggs cooked in butter, or a nice, fatty steak.

    Reply
  34. Laurie

    I downloaded the book to my Kindle right after reading your terrific review. I read it over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only is he hilarious, but he’s straight to the point, cutting through the b.s. I have to say that, after years of issues that wouldn’t clear up on the standard recommended diet, I completely share his negative viewpoint toward the medical profession in handling chronic ailments. Diet is not at all understood, even when it’s not overlooked. Cleaning out the grains and sugar from my diet cleared up everything that the healthywholegrain/lowfat diet could not.

    I do hope that this book will sell well and make some impact. His pragmatic, colloquial style is sure to appeal to those who don’t want to read something “too sciency.”

    Agreed. I’d happily give this book to people who wouldn’t read Taubes, for example.

    Reply
  35. PJ

    Tom, BTW your reply to Alan “Eating frequent meals may be necessary for sugar-burners, but is totally necessary for people who’ve trained their bodies to use fat as the primary fuel” was probably meant to read “unnecessary for people who’ve trained their bodies to use fat as the primary fuel”. Good God, I couldn’t even imagine having to eat 5-6 times a day on a high fat diet. This would completely make my day revolve around eating. Hmmm . . . flashback!

    As soon as I read your review of this book, I jumped on Amazon and got the Kindle version, here at work. Within the first couple of pages, I was laughing out loud drawing curious looks from my coworkers. (Coworkers, who, by the way, don’t “get it” and think I’m crazy because I eat a low carb high fat diet.)

    His perfectly vivid description of his IBS and the resulting anal issues made me cringe. I have coworkers with these same issues. (No surprise that these are the ones that are most verbal about my diet.)

    I highly recommend this book because of the humor about a not at all amusing condition. I did find that I had to read it more slowly to absorb the English language since I speak American, not English.

    Whoops. Good catch. I fixed that reply.

    Glad you’re enjoying the book. I think his sense of humor is a major selling point.

    Reply
  36. Firebird

    Reader wrote: “it really doesn’t help when the people around you say things like “You can have just one piece of cake, come on, one slice, that’s so silly not just having one slice!”

    Make deal with them…offer to eat a slice of cake if they’ll eat bacon and eggs cooked in butter, or a nice, fatty steak.

    Reply
  37. Laurie

    I downloaded the book to my Kindle right after reading your terrific review. I read it over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only is he hilarious, but he’s straight to the point, cutting through the b.s. I have to say that, after years of issues that wouldn’t clear up on the standard recommended diet, I completely share his negative viewpoint toward the medical profession in handling chronic ailments. Diet is not at all understood, even when it’s not overlooked. Cleaning out the grains and sugar from my diet cleared up everything that the healthywholegrain/lowfat diet could not.

    I do hope that this book will sell well and make some impact. His pragmatic, colloquial style is sure to appeal to those who don’t want to read something “too sciency.”

    Agreed. I’d happily give this book to people who wouldn’t read Taubes, for example.

    Reply
  38. PJ

    Tom, BTW your reply to Alan “Eating frequent meals may be necessary for sugar-burners, but is totally necessary for people who’ve trained their bodies to use fat as the primary fuel” was probably meant to read “unnecessary for people who’ve trained their bodies to use fat as the primary fuel”. Good God, I couldn’t even imagine having to eat 5-6 times a day on a high fat diet. This would completely make my day revolve around eating. Hmmm . . . flashback!

    As soon as I read your review of this book, I jumped on Amazon and got the Kindle version, here at work. Within the first couple of pages, I was laughing out loud drawing curious looks from my coworkers. (Coworkers, who, by the way, don’t “get it” and think I’m crazy because I eat a low carb high fat diet.)

    His perfectly vivid description of his IBS and the resulting anal issues made me cringe. I have coworkers with these same issues. (No surprise that these are the ones that are most verbal about my diet.)

    I highly recommend this book because of the humor about a not at all amusing condition. I did find that I had to read it more slowly to absorb the English language since I speak American, not English.

    Whoops. Good catch. I fixed that reply.

    Glad you’re enjoying the book. I think his sense of humor is a major selling point.

    Reply
  39. Kim

    I too can relate to the nasty gastro-intestinal symptoms I used to have prior to dropping grains. Let’s just say the word “leakage” was involved and not go into any more detail! I thought that it was just something I had to live with, part of getting older maybe. Amazingly, as soon as I dropped grains from my diet, my disgusting symptoms cleared up completely.

    Now I just wish I could convince my mom. She has the same problems, only even more pronounced — perhaps from the grains having had 25 more years to work on her system. 🙁

    I’m surprised your experience hasn’t at least made her consider the idea.

    Reply
  40. Lori

    Former GERD sufferer and frequent-little-meal eater here. Without a bunch of carbs, all those “trigger foods” like coffee, fat and spicy food don’t do anything but digest.

    Having braces and an injury that keeps me from chewing, I’m monumentally happy I’m not eating several little meals a day anymore.

    Yeah, funny how the foods that supposedly gave me an upset stomach are all okay now.

    Reply
  41. Kim

    I too can relate to the nasty gastro-intestinal symptoms I used to have prior to dropping grains. Let’s just say the word “leakage” was involved and not go into any more detail! I thought that it was just something I had to live with, part of getting older maybe. Amazingly, as soon as I dropped grains from my diet, my disgusting symptoms cleared up completely.

    Now I just wish I could convince my mom. She has the same problems, only even more pronounced — perhaps from the grains having had 25 more years to work on her system. 🙁

    I’m surprised your experience hasn’t at least made her consider the idea.

    Reply

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