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Book Review: Vintage Remedies Guide to Real Food by Jessie Hawkins

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If you think that this title sounded somewhat familiar, you may remember my review post I did on the first book by Jessie Hawkins, The Handbook of Vintage Remedies. I love reading and learning all about health through diet & nutrition, herbs, natural body care, and more, so I didn't even think twice about buying this book before I read it. I had such a great reaction with the first, I knew I'd want this on my bookshelf, too (or with my cookbooks, as is more accurate for this volume).

Similar to the other, Guide to Real Food is broken up into many sections and chapters. The first few sections are devoted to the following:

  • The history of food and how its production has been adulterated in the last 100 years.
  • What makes up a "real food" or criteria as defined by composition (minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fats, etc.).
  • What types of oils/fats are good & bad.How food today is targeted to children and why that is so dangerous (very interesting chapter on growth of children versus growth of adults).
  • Seven 'confusing' foods including meat & dairy and how they fit into a "real foods" diet.
  • How to help your children with cooking!

The second entire chunk of the book is simply devoted to explaining over 150 food items (fruit, nuts, poultry, vegetables, etc.) that are considered whole foods, and breaking them down by composition, what they are used for and how they are generally cooked. This is such fascinating information for me to read, since Mrs. Hawkins has given us every opportunity to know what types of vitamins and minerals we're ingesting with each healthful food item. Along with each food listed, is a recipe underneath!

What I love most about this book, other than the explanation of foods (similar to her explanation/uses of herbs in Vintage Remedies) was that every single one of her recipes were so simple. We should all know that when you read an ingredient list at the store, the less ingredients, the better! The less ingredients that are in a product probably make it less 'shelf-stable' (able to sit on a shelf for a very long time), but the preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose syrups are what are causing our country's obesity and health issues on a grand scale. Each recipe had less than 10 ingredients, usually most had 5. The steps were very simple to understand and follow, and what we tried, we loved!

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Lastly, I wanted to talk a bit about the company, Vintage Remedies. They have an excellent website, and are currently expanding their organization to textbook/online classes. These include the following: Natural Wellness, Family Herbalist Course, Holistic Wellness Professional Course, and a Clinical Master Herbalist Course (3-4 years)! I would love to take a class like this but they are quite expensive and currently with small children don't feel I have the time to pursue it as I'd like. I think I will wait a few years to re-evaluate, and go from there. I hope to someday take the Natural Wellness Course, which is just a 3-5 month commitment.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see our review of one of Vintage Remedies Guide to Real Food recipes and how-to!

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