The Real Meal Revolution
Changing the World, One Meal At a Time.
Prof Tim Noakes, Sally-Ann Creed, Jonno Proudfoot, David Grier
I’ve been asked so many times this week whether I have read this book and what my thoughts are about it.
The short answer is that this was the best book I read on food and eating last year.
Wheat Belly perhaps comes in second.
It’s the book everybody is talking about for the moment.
While its flying off shelves, we have to wonder why?
What is it about this book that is captivating so much attention?
My hunch is that the huge appeal has a lot to do with the fact that finally, a book about ‘healthy’ eating has been written for a real audience and contains delicious normal food. There is no deprivation at all or having to do anything strange this is just plain sensible clean eating. It is a refreshing take and focus on the relationship between real food and health that busts many an old paradigm that fails people. I feel as though people are desperate for new information and a new take on diet.
The recipes in this book so beautifully illustrate that ‘healthy’ food is ‘real food’ and can be so tasty and nutritious. This is the sexiest ‘health’ food has ever looked to me.
Food everybody can cook, food that is accessible and yum and isn’t going to need you to resign from a job to set up a life around your eating and have you having to socially isolate yourself to live your belief.
I read the book over the holidays, salivated at every recipe and was delighted by it.
For so long, people have been scrambling about looking for alternative theories of nutrition in the absence of scientists being involved in the debate.
New paradigms of nutrition that debunk many of the old beliefs, are being brought about by scientific minds that base their evidence on real data and experimentation and people who have made deep and razor sharp enquiries into how the beliefs about nutrition were created and perpetuated.
It is terrifying to see how much of the current discourse around nutrition has been based on very shaky ground and not questioned enough.
The character of the intelligence behind the authors of this book urges you to question your beliefs and how whether there is enough evidence to really accept something as true.
If you were ever diagnosed as insulin resistant and suffered any of the surrounding maladies that accompany this metabolic journey towards diabetes, such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), metabolic syndrome, poor immunity, inability to lose weight despite limiting calories and increasing exercise – and had gone and done your own research – it’s unlikely that what Tim Noakes and Sally-Ann Creed are saying will be new information to you.
Insulin resistance or for some the first diagnosis of diabetes is an introduction to having to understand the relationship between diet and blood sugar regulation and how protein, fat and carbohydrate affect it. It’s when you do this research that you also learn much about how weight gain is related to insulin, that it is actually insulin that governs fat metasbolism.
In my own life, this has been a fascinating discovery for me.
It was that journey for me that led me to read ‘Why We Get Fat’ by Gary Taubes when a diagnosis of insulin resistance, PCOS and metabolic syndrome had me having to review my diet and delve into the science of insulin resistance. Bear in mind that when I triggered insulin resistance in myself, it wasn’t through eating refined food or a high sugar diet. At the time, I had cut out animal protein, was only eating organic fruit and vegetables, whole grains and nuts! I was eating what I thought to be the healthiest diet and yet was putting on weight and not feeling great.
After that diagnosis, I started doing my own research on insulin resistance and diet and discovered Gary Taubes.
Gary Taubes was the most sensible and researched voice I had ever come across when it came to nutritional theory and I’ve exposed to so much of it through this business and tried a lot. Having local and courageous South African professionals like Professor Tim Noakes and Sally-Ann Creed courageous enough to debunk prior nutritional dogma like Gary Taubes has done very successfully in some quarters, is a huge victory as far as I’m concerned for the food revolution.
Gary Taubes is no intellectual light weight, much like Professor Tim Noakes and Sally-Ann Creed, who whether you agree with them or not, are very clearly well researched opinions. Never mind just opinions, they are experienced in treating many people with this dietary approach and helping people manage and more often reverse insulin resistance and diabetes, all the while increasing athletic performance and ability.
Gary Taubes is an American science writer who was awarded an MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellowship for 1996-97, won the Science in Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers three times and is the author of Bad Science: The Short Life and Wierd Times of Cold Fusion (1993), Nobel Dreams, Good Calories Bad Calories, The Diet Delusion and Why We Get Fat.
Taubes studied applied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford (MS, 1978). After receiving a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University in 1981, Taubes joined Discover magazine as a staff reporter in 1982. Since then he has written numerous articles for Discover, Science and other magazines. Originally focusing on physics issues, his interests have more recently turned to medicine and nutrition.He’s fascinating I think and I love the calibre of the way he builds evidence based arguments and refuses to take anything as true unless researched.
He’s no idiot basically and he’s been saying what our own Professor Tim Noakes is saying now, for some time.
Truth be told I would be torn to decide whose voice I respected the most, Gary Taubes or Tim Noakes. They are both fascinating and courageous enquiring personalities. Enter Gary Taubes in the youtube search box if you want to listen to talks and interviews by him and see what he is all about. He’s fascinating to listen to.
I know that the low carbohydrate, higher fat and protein way of eating promoted in this book, works for treating insulin resistance because I was insulin resistant and now I’m not, all because I eat this way as a matter of course now.
My insulin resistance returns and my immunity declines whenever I eat high a carbohydrate meal. So I’m fortunate I guess that I had to experiment with this way of diet myself before Professor Tim Noakes went public with this theory, because I know that what he was saying was true for me.
I don’t eat potatoes, I don’t eat pasta, I don’t eat rice , sugar or grains much, the moment I do, insulin resistance returns.
I no longer have to worry about managing weight or feeling rubbish, eating a nutrient dense, high -fat diet containing no sugar other than the little I get from limited amounts of fruit and some sweet veg, pasture raised eggs, and veldt reared beef, chicken and lamb, grass fed dairy, many many greens, vegetables galore, sprouted nuts, olive oils etc. I still juice tons of greens but only include 1 fruit for sweetness nowadays and limit high sugar vegetables like beets and carrots.
It works for me.
In a nutshell this is the eating philosophy they describe in the book and then they give you the most beautiful, tasty recipes to go with it.
The addition to this book of the voices of 2 high performance athletes who are also chefs and have to eat in the best way to maximise their performance, illustrating how delicious great, real food can be, is such a pleasure.
If you don’t know whether you believe in the diet they are advocating, you will still love this book for the treasure of recipes.
Even if you aren’t a person who limits carbohydrate in your diet – you’re still going to love these recipes, like cauliflower mash and a version of lasagne without gluten and starch that is simply gorgeous and recipes for making your own nutrient dense bone broths are also in there. Slow roasted pork belly with asian basting and fish bake in spicy tomato sauce and asparagus, parmesan, lemon and olive oil – and I could go on. Yum…and you won’t find refined or processed ingredients in their recipes.
I have over the years been exposed to so much nonsense around food. I have read books on almost every eating philosophy out there, I have put them to the test, I have had people try and sell me potions and lotions and ground up things from far-away lands and heard heaps and heaps of utter rubbish. Often whimsical, often too emotional and often with no evidence to back up claims.
I’ve tried it all from macrobiotics to vegetarianism to veganism to raw food veganism. The moment I cut out animal fat and protein, my health deteriorated even though I was eating great organic food and no refined carbohydrate. So this book debunking what I believe to be outdated ideas about eating like the ones that had us believing that factory margarine was a health food when real butter made from milk from real cows wasn’t, is a great move forward.
I’m very excited about The Real Meal Revolution.
When conversations about healthy eating are a mainstream conversation for everyone, I get excited.
When I hear anybody debunk the ‘fat is bad for you’ myth, I get excited.
When I hear anybody urge you to ditch refined food, I get excited.
When I see meals cooked with whole ingredients made delicious focused on real ingredients I get excited.
When I hear the word ‘revolution’ around food, I get excited.
When I hear great athletes talk about the relationship between real food and performance I get excited.
I love the focus on real whole food in this books recipes.
This is a book I will be cooking from every week.
There are no refined foods in the recipes. If you focus on finding organic ingredients and pastured animal produce which they advocate you do, this is a beautiful way to eat.
I think it’s well worth reading.
I also read ‘Wheat Belly’ over December, another fascinating book that I’ll chat to you about and highly recommend.
I’ll save that one for next week.
The Real Meal Revolution and it’s going to get dog-eared with use in my kitchen this year.
We’ll keep doing what we can to find the cleanest food from the best farms for you through all the debates.
We are indeed in a revolution and things are heating up.
Whatever you believe about eating, choose sustainably reared organic produce from great farms, real food.
If there is one place where all eating philosophies agree – it is that refined and processed industrial conveyor belt food harms health and is a one way ticket to disease.
Support local sustainable farmers and bit by bit we’ll revive traditional farming methods and heal the soil and our relationship with animals and the earth, one meal at a time.
Lovely chatting to you as always.
Debbie – Always for and on behalf of The Jozi Real Food Revolution.