Nutritional Grail

Title: Nutritional Grail

Author: Christopher James Clark

Year: 2014

Publisher: Extropy Publishing

Synopsis: As a chef who specialises in the healing properties of food, Christopher James Clark has written “Nutritional Grail” as a way to show people how to be self-dependent and think about how the food they are consuming and the environments they’re living in affect their health.

Review: “According to grail mythology, a valiant knight can save the ailing Fisher King…” Wait! ‘Is this a fairytale or a book about nutrition?’ I thought to myself. At first I was sure I had been tricked that this book was just a fairytale, but luckily not. That was just the opening scene that the author had to set in order for us to understand why this book is called the “Nutritional Grail”. To cut a long story short, a knight had to ask ‘Whom does the grail serve?’ in order to save the Fisher King and return the kingdom to health. Christopher James Clark believes this is what we should be doing now with everything we eat and drink. We should look at it and think ‘Who does it serve’ or ‘What is its purpose’ so that we can fully appreciate the way foods affect our health. He regularly references the ‘Dark Ages’ of health and how we are becoming more awakened now as consumers.

Something I knew straight away when opening this book is that it’s nothing like other books I have read. It reads like an academic book as it’s packed to the brim with facts, figures and science. Yes it might be a bit heavy for a chilled-out Sunday evening, but if you’re keen to learn about the scientific evidence on which foods are good and bad for you, plus how marketing campaigns have ruled our lives for too long, this is perfect. It would also be great for someone who is studying, or is looking to study nutrition. A huge range of topics are covered from the macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) to water and recent history of how sugar was put into almost every product we consume.

Christopher analyses the scientific claims that have circulated before, like the claims that saturated fat causes heart problems and that the Atkins diet is good for you. There are times when he goes into a bit too much scientific depth and therefore it makes it tough to get through or to enjoy. Although he hasn’t done any of his own research, he simply looks at research that has already been done and shows us whether it’s true or to be taken with a pinch of salt (pun intended).

To tie the whole book together there are some simple nutritious recipes right at the very end, that puts into practise the great advice that Christopher gave throughout “Nutritional Grail”.

Summary: Discussing a wide range of topics “Nutritional Grail” uses scientific research to find out how consumers in first world countries have become so unhealthy over the past century. It also provides history on how sugar became such a powerful industry as well as dealing with which foods we should and shouldn’t be eating. Overall its mixture of scientific facts, analysis and advice make for a helpful academic read.

Book Rating: 7/10

Favourite quotes:

  • “There has never been, nor will there ever be, a standardized diet that is best for everyone.”
  • “Our ancestors, as many people now realize, enjoyed much healthier diets than do most modern humans.”
  • “The restaurant industry is indeed trending towards healthier concepts, but most restaurant menus are not yet designed by nutrition experts.”

Nutritional Grail has been featured in Men’s Health, The Huffington Post, Women’s Health, BBC Good Food and more. Feel free to find out more about Christopher and his book via his website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

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