Saturday, June 11, 2016

HOW NOT TO DIE by Michael Greger

HOW NOT TO DIE is an expensive audiobook only if you compare it to others, but even not then. The reduced download price is $25, while many others are in the $8 to $15 range. But here’s the thing. How much is saving your life worth? If you follow the advice given on a wide variety of illnesses (and what to eat and avoid), you may save yourself dying from heart disease, stroke, cancer, plus diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, kidney failure, and all those pharmaceutical pills they put on the network news toward the end of the broadcast to fight what you may have gotten from eating junk food, soda, smoking, and not exercising. (Watching too much TV.) I say “but even not then” because look at the length. It is 17 hours of knowledge, a virtual college course in nutrition. Most audiobooks are 8 hours. And what makes this particular health book special is the tone the narrator takes. (That he is also the author makes it doubly authentic.) Dr. Michael Greger is a nutritionist, vegetarian, and Humane Society director. His tone is not condescending. He is not out to chastise you for eating meat. He is presenting the science in a personal way, with case studies from his own practice aiding people dying of diseases, between the facts regarding how foods affect health. Some things you will learn is how certain teas are better than hypertensive drugs, how coffee reduces liver inflammation, how soy prevents certain cancers, and what whole foods beat any expensive supplement you care to name. (High cholesterol? Forgot statins: eat brazil nuts and exercise instead.) Greger explains why grilling meat is better than frying in the kitchen (if you must eat meat, which increases chances of many cancers), and why boiling hot dogs is better than grilling or frying them. I doubt that Greger has eaten a hot dog in a long time, but my point is that he’s not angry with listeners, he’s being honest and is not into supplements (but rather slow, whole foods) so he’s not pushing vitamin brands on the side like so many health food books do. Also, listening to this book instead of reading it means you’re not stuck in a chair with eye strain problems, you’re out walking or hiking or biking (as I do), listening AS you exercise. It’s a win/win. And a no brainer. So, even though this audiobook was released last year, I’m just now hearing it and making it AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH. Tower Review: "What is the takeaway you'd like listeners to leave with in hearing this audiobook, and how was the recording experience?" Greger: “I hope people take away the good news that we have tremendous power over our health destiny and longevity—the vast majority of premature death and disability is preventable with a plant-based diet and other healthy lifestyle behaviors. Recording it was brutal. Took five days and my vocal cords were not happy. But lots of slippery elm bark and licorice tea got me through it!"

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