A convincing guide to achieving good health through diet.



A chiropractic physician surveys U.S. health care and suggests precautionary measures contributing to individual well-being.

Debut author Darnell has been a holistic chiropractor for 20-plus years. In this comprehensive, logical guide to modern diet and health, he emphasizes preventive care rather than treating symptoms: “Health doesn’t happen by chance. Begin sowing the right seeds now!” Early chapters contrast U.S. health care unfavorably with that of other developed countries: a life expectancy chart does not correlate in the expected way with total medical spending. Intriguing reasons are suggested for the better overall health in different countries, such as smaller portion sizes in France. Darnell lists America’s most pressing illnesses and tells how chronic inflammation leads to tissue damage. In particular, he reveals dietary factors that lead to epidemics like diabetes. Some of his bugbears are hydrogenated oils (indigestible), high-fructose corn syrup (a source of empty calories, it also blocks insulin receptors), repeated antibiotics use, and the mercury in farmed fish. Even a week of eating mainly processed foods can have a negative health effect, as a study of college students revealed. The author’s discussion of dietary and environmental toxins is sobering, but by revealing the worst offenders, he arms readers with preventive tactics: “Toxic chemicals are part of everyday life…everyone should take steps to minimize their exposure.” Methylation and pH are discussed in later chapters: eating leafy greens and consuming methylated vitamin supplements help to detoxify the body while eating a balanced diet keeps the body’s pH stable. Darnell deftly backs up his advice with references to medical journals, and the useful figures, tables, bullet-pointed lists, and “Health Tip” inset boxes make the information accessible to laypeople. It’s said that folks are “only as healthy as their” spines, and so the book closes with case studies of patients whose diverse complaints—ranging from constipation to infertility—were addressed by chiropractic medicine. Everything is explained very well. The only odd thing is the religious veneer that’s been overlaid on the book: references to the Bible and God seemingly come out of nowhere.

A convincing guide to achieving good health through diet.

Pub Date: May 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-8640-8

Page Count: 166

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2017

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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