I finally lost momentum and quit reading 90% of the way in. This is the middle east version of Dances with Wolves, just like the movie Avatar was DancI finally lost momentum and quit reading 90% of the way in. This is the middle east version of Dances with Wolves, just like the movie Avatar was Dances with Wolves on steroids. Do I really need to be beat over the head with the reality that native people usually are on the losing end when more powerful societies move in? Isn't this the story of human existence? Portraying one side as 90% evil and the other as 90% the victim totally ignores the realities of human conflict and does not further the cause that the author claims, which is to try to promote peace....more
Davis definitely did his homework about wheat. Although I haven't bought all lot of his conclusions of cause and effect, I think he did make a good caDavis definitely did his homework about wheat. Although I haven't bought all lot of his conclusions of cause and effect, I think he did make a good case for reducing the amount of grain in our diets. That being said, I think the trend I'm seeing, of all a sudden, health conscience people wanting to go "gluten free" is not called for, and I think that Davis is derelict in not making that point. I think that he's being a little too fanatical, and some of what he's saying at the end of the book shows a definite deficiency of research. Such as:
"Beer is made from wheat." Traditional beer is made from barley. There are wheat beers, the most popular being hefeweizen, and since barley has gluten even traditional beer would need to be avoided by those with gluten intolerances, but if one is simply avoiding wheat for whatever reason, they can feel free to indulge in their favorite Pale Ale.
"Cheeses are "fermented" thereby changing the proteins and making them more digestible." The change in the protein is cheese is not caused by fermentation but by acid de-naturing and enzymatic digestion. Cheese and yogurt both have their start in fermentation, whereby the lactose is broken down, resulting in them both being tolerable to the lactose intolerant. The acids resulting from fermentation cause the proteins to solidify (coagulate) and come out of solution. To make cheese, rennet is added, which partially breaks down the proteins and causes further coagulation into curds. Cottage cheese is made without the fermentation process, but by simply adding acid in the form of lemon juice or vinegar, or just adding rennet to coagulate the protein and making the curds. Since the lactose isn't broken down, cottage cheese is not tolerable for people who are lactose intolerant. So, Davis's logic as to why cheese can be eaten freely, but other dairy products need to be eaten in moderation, breaks down and needs to be further analyzed. If it's the fermentation that makes cheese healthier, yogurt should be just as healthy as cheese. If it's the enzymatic de-naturing, cottage cheese made with rennet should be just as healthy. My guess is that Davis's theory would be that it is the partial breakdown of the protein by the rennet that makes cheese a healthier option.
I also object to Davis's lack of real solutions to the problem of over-consumption of grains and under-consumption of vegetables. There is a reason for this phenomenon that is not the fault of big-pharma and industry. Bottom line: grains are easily stored and vegetables aren't, making grains the basis for an inexpensive diet. There is real arrogance on the part of many health conscience people that all one needs to do is switch their shopping habits to the produce department of their grocery store (preferably Whole Foods) and all will be well. What they do not take into consideration is the insane amount of energy it takes to bring produce to the market year round, and how expensive it makes vegetable calories as opposed to grain calories. Any real solutions to improving America's diet needs to stop fixating on GMOs and high-fructose corn sugar and concentrating on workable solutions to make vegetables more affordable and available. Urban gardens, greenhouses, and more use of frozen vegetables can all come into play. But, to get back to Davis, to offer a solution that is only realistic for the segment of the population that can afford to divert the amount of their income to make the change in diet that he suggests is no solution.
All in all, it's a thought provoking read, but should be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism....more
Not a bad book, but it had some flaws that kind've bothered me. Since this wasn't entirely fiction, I would expect more attention to scientific and meNot a bad book, but it had some flaws that kind've bothered me. Since this wasn't entirely fiction, I would expect more attention to scientific and medical facts. For one, there was nothing mentioned about the royal family's remains being found in 1991, and that any descendants through the female line could easily be verified through mitochondrial DNA. Instead, there's a totally unbelievable plot line involving DNA in which the male protagonist supposedly has had his genome tested to determine his relationship to the royal family as though one can ask for such a test without attracting attention from other descendants and/or the Russian government. Also, a plot line wherein a character has a "mild" case of hemophilia that is never diagnosed by doctors. However, since it was caused by the same defective gene that afflicted Alexei, the hemophilia would have the same severity, and would have been easily recognized by doctors.
There were also some problems with the timeline. There's about 10 years unaccounted for in the the female protagonist's life. It seems like it would have made more sense to start the story earlier in time at an earlier point in her life. ...more