Book Review: Going Against the Grain

Whatever doesn't fit anywhere else...
Post Reply
User avatar
Registered User
Posts: 18130
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:03 pm
Location: Australia

Book Review: Going Against the Grain

Post by kenobewan » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:36 am

Going Against the Grain by Melissa Dianne Smith

This is one of two books I brought with xmas gift vouchers - I doubt I would have brought it otherwise. What I didn't realise is how widespread a problem gluten and grains are. I thought if I got one thing out of both books it will have been worth the effort. I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Of the two, this was the bigger surprise. Despite my initial reservations, I thought I would get more out of the metabolic typing. I was in for a shock. While I don't agree with everything in the book, this book was nothing short of a revelation.

Great or Good

What can I say, but I'm on a roll. This year's holiday reading has proved miraculous. The proof is in the pudding and this book has been, I believe, the most important weapon in my nutritional arsenal yet. Identifying myself as a high carb metabolic type was important step. Going against the grain has made me feel and look healthier.

I decided not to go 100% grain free. When a grain is as nutritionally sound and healthy as quinoa, I decided to leave it in. Quinoa became more important when I became high carb. The author gives you three main options and states that quinoa is gluten free.

I was shocked to learn that 40-50% of the population has some degree of gluten sensivity. The link between chronic disease and gluten/grain free looms large. I don't believe that there is enough evidence or studies to support this yet. I am expecting this link to be demonstrated in the near to medium future.

We already know how much diet influences chronic disease. It is not a stretch to believe that gluten free could play a major part. Such nutrition makes sense when you realise that medicine does not and will not cure chronic disease. Other lifestyles play a part, but nutrition is the most important.

There are lots of recipes and helpful information towards the end of the book. Personally I did not find these chapters as useful as others would - I have already made many changes to my diet. But its good to know that she provides support to the theory.

Its not very often I read something that blows me away these days. Her comments that schizophrenia can be treated with a gluten free diet, was such a statement. While I have cancer, my mind jumped to the possible implications. Further reading appeared to support her claim - that schizophrenia is suspected to be a chronic disease and may be treated with a gluten free diet. I wondered about the possibilities of treating cancer through diet and grain free.

Like metabolic typing, the author encourages self awareness. She expresses the view that she would be surprised if you notice no differences. The support she provides is in recognition of the fact that she believes most people are addicted to grains and at the very least could benefit from a detox period.

Requires Improvement

While it is true that the most common food allergies are to relatively recent additions to out diet - gluten and dairy - it does not follow that an ancient diet is necessarily more healthy. The paleolithic diet has numerous limitations and has been criticised as a potential healthy replacement for the modern diet.

Sure with all the processed food and empty calories in the modern diet, the paleolithic diet is an improvement. As I learned, while there may not be a diet that is universally good for everyone, there are foods that are universally bad. Most processed foods fall into this category. I believe that an over reliance on animal protein also falls into this category - even for a high protein metabolic type.

The recipes average three servings of animal protein in the form of red and white meats daily. She does recommend buying organic food where possible, but even this amount of organic meat would tax the system I believe. If you don't buy organic meat the diet becomes dangerous. It was recently uncovered that 50% of Australian beef is raised on growth hormones. This does count the number raised on antibiotics to improve their yield. I personally still eat salmon, but have recently halved the amount I am having a week.

If you are a high carb metabolic type, this recommended diet would be worse. As I discovered, it creates fatigue, reduces energy and affects your immune system. Unfortunately, there is not one source of univerisally good nutrition. As when you are selecting medical services you need to be your own doctor. After nearly four years, I believe that I have finally pieced together a diet that works for me.

Any previous pieces of my nutritional puzzle, provide a critique to this diet. I believe that there are minor limits within it. Once you pronounce no grains as the most healthful you leave yourself open to exceptions. To me quinoa is a notable exception. There is also the reliance on processed foods and cooking, meat encourages both. Having said this I believe as a nutritional book, these limitations are less than those of the other pieces of the puzzle.


This book provided me with a major piece of the puzzle of nutrition health. Anticancer taught me about the right foods to eat. The raw foods diet showed me how to maximise the nutrtional benefit of the foods I was eating and reinforced how bad processed foods are. With the metabolic typing I finally corrected having too much protein in my diet. With Going Against the Grain, I finally attained good health.

As I said in my last book review there is nothing like something working to demonstrate the benefits. Like vitamin D, I had no idea the size of the problem until reading this book and doing further research. Sure I knew about celiacs disease, but what could that have to do with my health or chronic disease in general - I believe that this book demonstrates a lot.

There are no guarantees. I don't expect to cure my cancer through nutritional therapy. What I do expect is to boost my prevention, move further to the right of the median and enjoy better health and energy now!

I would go as far as recommend to everyone to try one of the diets - what have you got to lose! You may not experience as many short term benefits as myself, but you are likely to experience some improvements.

This book is not without its limitations. For me the adoption of the paleolithic is evidence of this. Eating meat this much is not likely to be healthy, even if you are a high protein type. So that is why I say that this book fills part of a nutritional picture. I rate this book as a must read.

Post Reply