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Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us about Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom

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" Nourishment  will change the way you eat and the way you think."―Mark Schatzker, author of  The Dorito Effect "[Provenza is] a wise observer of the land and the animals [and] becomes transformed to learn the meaning of life."―Temple Grandin Reflections on feeding body and spirit in a world of change Animal scientists have long considered domestic livestock to be too dumb to know how to eat right, but the lifetime research of animal behaviorist Fred Provenza and his colleagues has debunked this myth. Their work shows that when given a choice of natural foods, livestock have an astoundingly refined palate, nibbling through the day on as many as fifty kinds of grasses, forbs, and shrubs to meet their nutritional needs with remarkable precision. In  Nourishment  Provenza presents his thesis of the wisdom body, a wisdom that links flavor-feedback relationships at a cellular level with biochemically rich foods to meet the body’s nutritional and medicinal needs. Provenza explores the fascinating complexity of these relationships as he raises and answers thought-provoking questions about what we can learn from animals about nutritional wisdom. On a broader scale Provenza explores the relationships among facets of complex, poorly understood, ever-changing ecological, social, and economic systems in light of an unpredictable future. Provenza’s paradigm-changing exploration of these questions has implications that could vastly improve our health through a simple change in the way we view our relationships with the plants and animals we eat. "Nourishment is a conversation between science, culture, and a greater spiritual or cosmological umbrella."―Montana Public Radio

416 pages, Paperback

Published November 26, 2018

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Fred Provenza

6 books6 followers

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5 stars
66 (60%)
4 stars
30 (27%)
3 stars
8 (7%)
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5 (4%)
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1 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Nathan.
227 reviews7 followers
September 18, 2018
Effortlessly finding its place among such contemplative environmental works such as Silent Spring and A Sand County Almanac, this book presents a simply fantastical amount of information: Some you know, some you sort-of-knew in the past but had forgotten, and, of course, the new stuff.

Even if you consider yourself to be sympathetic toward animal and plant life, it’s easy to fall into a way of thinking that figures humans as simply superior in every way, needing no help or considering that few worthwhile lessons (not to mention dietary ones) are extractable.

I posit that some of this information could very well change your life, or at least the way you look at it.

We exalt our bodies as advanced pieces of incredible “machinery”, but we still, in our curiosities, seek to not understand, but to tinker, to control. What’s being asked here is that we back up (for just a moment), look at ourselves as humans in our current state, and compare ourselves to our animal counterparts. What do they do? How do they keep functioning? What’s so special? Many animals simply *know* what to eat. The book reveals that animals left to their own devices, overall, are better off in terms of their health; not only that, but we obtain this ability, too.

Again, there’s much in here that you didn’t know that you already knew. A major charm of Nourishment is that it brings to the surface many basic understandings, but fits them into those peculiar puzzle piece spots, reminding you that our bodies are so much smarter than we know.

Of course a book so thorough and researched is going to impart an array of studies and examples, which are prevalent through this work; many reveal astounding results, and some teeter more toward that “I knew it!” realm.

Toward the latter end of the book, we’re treated to a zooming out of sorts in terms of the book’s message, as the author begins to consider possible answers to the bigger questions of the universe, how all of this ties up and, to finish, a quick but effective section on his own life.

In the end, it’s a book to read to help you reevaluate your place on this planet.

Many thanks to NetGalley & Chelsea Green Publishing for the advance read.
Profile Image for Jess Macallan.
Author 3 books110 followers
December 3, 2018
NOURISHMENT is a brilliant, thought-provoking book on nature, nutrition, and reconnecting with our innate wisdom. Fred Provenza covers an impressive number of critical current topics regarding animal behavior, plants, nutrition, health, the environment, spirituality, and more. He delivers an engaging book that offers solid research along with poignant storytelling. He's written the book in a way that invites readers to explore the ideas alongside him.

I bookmarked so many pages to revisit, I won't list them all here, but suffice it to say I'll reread this book often and will likely glean new information each time. I wholeheartedly agree with the author's emphasis on the importance of acknowledging the nutritional needs of individuals, rather than assuming one type of diet (or belief system) is appropriate. I loved the sections "The Sum of an Individual," and "A Change of Heart."

This is one of my favorite books of 2018, and I highly recommend it.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kamila.
11 reviews6 followers
April 16, 2019
Great book. I’ve heard Fred on Permaculture Podcast and I loved his energy. He covers so many different and important topics, so don’t be discouraged by the title. It’s not only about animals, in fact it’s only a few first chapters and then it gets deeper and better.
I think the book is as important to read today as is “Homo Sapiens”.
Well done sir. I was extremely delighted I’ve read your book, I’ve given it to my best friend as a birthday present. I’ll tell all my friends to read it as it is one of the best books I’ve read this year (and I read a lot). Thank you.
58 reviews
February 1, 2019
So good! I had to take this book in small portions, and digest slowly. Part textbook, part Kingsolver-esque stories, and all very relevant information for our life and times. Well researched and explained. I have passed my copy of this book on to friends as a must-read.
Profile Image for Aleksandar.
126 reviews3 followers
September 10, 2019
You can tell this is Fred Provenza's life work by the sheer breadth and depth of the this extremely well referenced book. He shares with us some fundamental nutrition wisdom, but also a lot of crucial life lessons along the way. The amount of work that went into putting this book together is a testament to how far Chelsea Green has some as a publisher.

Overall, one of the more important books I have read recently, and certainly one that is easy to universally recommend to anyone.
Profile Image for Star.
92 reviews7 followers
May 16, 2021
I really enjoyed the information rounded up in this book. Provenza makes a lot of good points regarding how studies are constructed and implemented and how it affects the results tendered. I am glad to see that not everyone blindly follows the buzzwords issued by media on new studies that have yet to be replicated or validated.
2 reviews
June 12, 2020
In this time of coronavirus pandemic and globalization, this book is a must read as the author explains why we have this disease now.
Profile Image for Catherine O’Neill .
Author 1 book15 followers
June 4, 2022
It took me over a year to read this because I was trying to MEMORIZE it. Dr. Provenza isn’t just a teacher and a scientist. He’s a SAGE OF THE AGE. This book is your one-stop-shop for all your dietary knowledge and spiritual needs. More than anything, he makes connections, and god bless him for trying to keep it as non-technical as possible. If you give this book a whirl and your day job doesn’t involve anything remotely scientific, don’t get discouraged if some parts sound deep. Keep going on this book’s journey! In the end you will be so glad you did. You will have learned so so much and you will feel immense satisfaction. I recommend reading it with your eyes and a highlighter pen. And I recommend it to all who are dining here on earth.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
185 reviews2 followers
March 6, 2023
What an amazing book. I read it with highlighter in hand and by the end I had run it dry. I read it slowly and thought about it a lot when I wasn’t reading it. I talked about it with my dear ones for weeks.

Professor Provenza takes us outside to both teach us and remind us of the many myriad ways we are all connected to nature, how individual we all truly are in these bodies, how far we have strayed from the wisdom inherent in them coming down to us through countless generations of ancestors. He has an engaging and friendly approach that kept me turning every page. I know I will read it again, with a different colored highlighter, because there is so much there I want to take with me into the rest of my life.
Profile Image for Aude Hofleitner.
175 reviews4 followers
February 7, 2023
This book tries to cover a lot of topics. The first chapters are interesting and mostly cover what I was expecting from the title but eventually the book goes through a bunch of different topics and it's hard to follow how they all relate to each other. While the different points are interesting, it feels like a compilation of arguments that the author wants to make rather than a well articulated narrative and I would struggle to summarize my main takeaway from the book.
Profile Image for Brady Heyen.
50 reviews
February 20, 2023
5 stars: a must-read!

Started this book on a whim after being intrigued by the subtitle on Libby, but it went much wider and deeper than I expected. Incredible bang for your buck. And it’s a healthy balance of about 75% science and 25% spirituality/philosophy.

Note: I listened to the audiobook, which was an updated text from 2022.
117 reviews
June 16, 2020
Dr. Provenza provides an insightful and knowledgeable account of nourishment from perspectives of animal feeding, human nutrition and emotional, spiritual and physical satisfaction. Truly a great work, written from a content perspective for all readers to enjoy and reflect. Thank you Dr. Provenza!
2 reviews
April 5, 2021
Hihgly relevant. Roughly a third of the book is not about nourishment though. The narrative gets more philosophical, spiritual and biographical towards the end. Although worthwhile to read, I expected the book to stick more to the main topic.
45 reviews
December 25, 2021
Thank you Fred Provenza! You are one-of-a-kind. We are one-of-a-kind.

This is a MUST-READ.

This is a beautiful book from start to finish. Literally a lifetime of thoughts and ideas to contemplate. I just finished the book and I’m ready to start reading it again.
Profile Image for Derek.
8 reviews
April 13, 2022
meandering and nonsensically philosophical

the author's original research is novel. there are many 'well known' food studies cobbled together to not quite land on a point. if you're interested on this author's view on jesus, nietzsche or joseph campbell, you're in luck!
May 2, 2020
A fascinating insight into what we can all learn from animals. I also love the way Fred has brought into our consciousness how to live our life.
Profile Image for Uroš Mikolič.
55 reviews14 followers
August 17, 2020
Rarely one comes across a book with such profound wisdom. One of the best books I read in recent years.
March 4, 2021
Truly a five. So much more than what the title and discussions of his animal research might indicate—though those are important too. So much wisdom and so many spiritual insights...
31 reviews
November 8, 2021
Very good. Thought provoking about many subjects from nutrition, animal and human behavior to religion and philosophy.
125 reviews4 followers
December 28, 2021
A lovely read. Rich in content. Profound in gentle wisdom. I was sorry to get to the last page.
8 reviews
May 26, 2023
Full of fascinating data, but a chore to get through. First 2/3 of the book were better.
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews

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