Encouraging, honest information and real-life cases that show the role food can play in healing the body.

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THE OTHER SIDE OF IMPOSSIBLE

ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO FACED DAUNTING MEDICAL CHALLENGES AND REFUSED TO GIVE UP

Can eating the right food play a major role in healing medical problems?

Rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, ADHD, severe seizures, multiple sclerosis, and food allergies related to peanuts, gluten, dairy, soy, and a host of other allergens—these are just some of the medical issues explored by former Newsweek senior writer Meadows in her first book. Most of the author’s interviewees are parents of children with these serious, sometimes life-threatening illnesses who have tried every conventional medical method—most often, prescription drugs—to help their children lead healthy lives. But when those traditional methods have failed to produce long-term positive results, they have turned to alternative methods, often as a last resort, and been overwhelmed by the drastic, progressive changes. Highly attentive to important details, Meadows takes readers through the agonizing months and years of pain, suffering, anxiety, and fears that these parents and adults faced as they tried to find solutions to their medical issues. As the author discovered, food played a significant role in all of these situations. Once the diet was changed, the symptoms changed, and the children improved, primarily because the body’s gut bacteria, or microbiome, had changed. Other methods Meadows clearly discusses include fecal pills and enemas, identifying the mind-body connection between food and its allergic reaction in the body, and the importance of positive feedback and the drive to feel better. Although the author doesn’t outline a specific diet, she includes enough information about foods that helped others for readers to piece together their own menu and do their own experimentation to help overcome some of these debilitating diseases. The author’s helpful additions include further resources, websites, a sample menu, and bibliography, as well as references to the many doctors and practitioners interviewed in the text.

Encouraging, honest information and real-life cases that show the role food can play in healing the body.

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9647-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

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.

WHY WE SWIM

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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