Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Book Review: Tim Caulfield's The Cure for Everything

If you don't feel like reading the rest of this review I'll summarize it by saying, Tim Caulfield's The Cure for Everything is the perfect antidote to the idiotic glossy paged world we're stuck with and is a definite must read.

In fact I enjoyed reading it so much, that a few pages into the copy Penguin sent me, I headed over to Kobo and ponied up my own dough and bought an e-version so that I could read it that much more often by using it to make my recumbent bike interval training, not just bearable, but something I even kinda, sorta looked forward to.

You see Tim's book is something I'm not sure I've ever read before. I'd describe it as an "evidence-based romp" (words that I'd never thought I'd string together) and his clean writing and his truly delightful and delicious self-deprecating brand of humour makes you want to pick it up again and again.

Tim covers a fair bit of ground in his personalized debunking of the scads of bunk we face when considering self-improvement projects like fitness, diet, genetics, and chronic disease prevention.  And when I say personalized, I mean it in that Tim takes himself through his own anecdotal n=1 journey through celebrity trainers, dieting (back to that in a moment), colonics, personalized gene testing, accupuncture and homeopathy.

I actually bookmarked huge swaths of the book with the intent of sharing with you some favourite passages, but sitting here now and writing this review, I don't want to.  Not because I'm lazy, but because I don't want to spoil your read.

I will however point out the one area where the book and I disagree rather conclusively.  Diet.  I say, "the book", rather than Tim, because Tim and I met last October at the Canadian Obesity Network's conference and we took the opportunity to chat quite a bit and over the course of our discussion, I think I may have swayed him some from the success=suffering formula presented in the book.  Personally I don't believe in white knuckling through hunger and cravings on an ongoing basis and rather encourage consuming the healthiest diet you can actually enjoy, and not striving for the healthiest diet you can tolerate, while simultaneously using time, macronutrients and sufficencies of calories to try to turn off physiologically driven dietary drive.  I also think he gave Canada's Food Guide pretty much a free pass, though to be fair, weight loss was more the focus of the chapter than formal evidence based nutrition.

Diet notwithstanding, the book's undeniably fabulous.  I couldn't recommend it more highly.

Tim, in a tribute to where you spent much of your time writing, close at hand while writing this review was an ice cold beer.

(If you'd like, you can follow Tim on Twitter)

[If you're in Canada, here's the link.

If you're in the USA, you can pre-order on Amazon over here]